Thursday, June 30, 2005

From Katolik Shinja
Alberta’s premier gets it right on marriage
Last week’s news
Kelo: Bye-bye, private property

And this week’s
And freedom of the press
From the LRC blog
Rhode Island Senate approves medical marijuana
Former hostages: new president of Iran was a captor at US embassy in 1979
Awful for Iranians perhaps but fitting blowback for Mr Bush’s minders
From Joseph Oliveri
Openly gay (ordinand) in Mahony’s L.A.?
JO: Ah, yes — thank you, Saint John Paul the Great, for making Roger Mahony an Archbishop (1985) and Cardinal (1991).

I’d bet you a gold sovereign that they won’t be talking about this on the Coming Home Network.
LRC pick

Matt Taibbi on US military recruiting
With the perfect parody image for this blog to show during the US Independence Day weekend

Twenty years ago, the yacht-and-Lexus set went to its poor people and asked them nicely to stop taking those darned drugs. Faced with potentially calamitous army-recruitment shortages, it is now asking them nicely to get their balls blown off in Iraq. It's just as funny this time, only this time, the joke's on them.
Right, as I said yesterday referring to an American Conservative article got through LRC, as long as it’s ‘those people’ going over the yacht-and-Lexus set won’t care about the war or will keep supporting it.

If you don't want to take your chances with a two-year commitment, it now offers an 18-month gig, meaning you can go straight to war from basic training, skipping the traditional unit training that recruits used to go through before deployment. It is mulling a change in its policy of only accepting high school grads (the GED will soon be sufficient) and is reconsidering its traditional opposition to certain kinds of criminal histories.
But the back-door draft is already being used: it doesn’t matter when your contract supposedly ends because the government won’t honour it. Once you sign up, they own you. Own. (As some discharged people still technically in the reserve have also found out.)
From Verbum ipsum
Common sense from Robert Farrar Capon on creation vs evolution

Loving God’s creatures
US Sen. Rick Santorum (my gawd, that site takes for ever to download) is rather reviled by the MSM for his un-PC beliefs and politics. AFAIK I may differ with him on libertarian grounds regarding attempted gay marriage, and he’s dead wrong about the war, but he’s right about the babies, the illogic of gay marriage (on faith and logical grounds) and, it seems, being kind to animals.

As Jeanetta reminded me when I showed her this, ‘good stewardship’.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

From ZaBlanc
Famous lost words
From 1999 back when Republicans made conservative noises for peace against Bill Clinton over things like Kosovo
SS. Peter and Paul
This one’s making the rounds of the blogs. Alvin Kimel writes on...

The undeniable, offensive, glorious fact of Rome
Of course some of us set our compasses to the ‘eternal Rome’ described by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of blessed memory, not to the current well-meant but misguided modern cult of personality that John Paul II’s fans go in for (and which might be on the way out anyway if Benedict XVI follows through and reassigns Piero Marini, junking the rock-concert-tour services for something at least quasi-traditional).

As I’ve written before, the Catholic world always assumes a Rome. Constantinople for example was Rome in a technical sense like Taipei is the capital of the still-existing Republic of China today. (A typical Greek-speaking subject didn’t call himself ‘Byzantine’, which is what 19th-century British historians renamed him, but Rhomaios, Roman!) When it fell, rising star Moscow claimed to be Rome. Different factions historically have argued not if there is a Rome or not in their worldview but rather which Rome?
From The American Conservative via LRC
How they get away with it
Or why, even though I don’t know anybody in person (only about two I used to know) who supports it, there’s no huge ’60s-style protest of this war

In short:

• No draft (conscription), so the upper and middle classes don’t care.
• The economy is worse now, so people haven’t got the luxury of ‘dropping out’ anymore.
• Neoconservatism changed Jewish activism.
• Many American evangelicals accepted a kind of fascism/militarism as they reacted against the late 1960s and turned into the Protestant religious right. Though the notion of the military as a bulwark of old-fashioned morals seems laughable to many who’ve been in the service or even been near a base or a navy port of call (prostitution, etc.).
Some good news for a change
Most American doctors believe in God
Like Louis Pasteur did
Bush fibs, implying that 9/11 and Iraq are connected
In other news, dog bites man, most people enjoy sex and the Monkees were a ripoff of the Beatles

I’m glad the Democrats called him on it though.

From the LRC blog:

Last night, some of the soldiers forced to watch Bush looked like they wanted to take him out into the alley.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

From truthout
British officials predicted ‘disaster’ in Iraq
Eastern churches
Metropolitan preaches and gives blessing at biker rally
In Macedonia, a country of ex-Yugoslavia. He’s not from a recognized Orthodox church but that’s the spirit: traditional religion that engages the culture without selling out to it or patronizing.

There’s a story that this Macedonian church (a fairly recent breakaway from the Church of Serbia) wanted to go under Rome. Interestingly, if that’s true, it’s exactly how the little Bulgarian Catholic Church came into being in the 1800s and why after a flip-flop Bulgaria’s Christians ended up with Byzantium and not Rome to begin with: nationalism. The C19 Bulgarians didn’t want to be under the Greeks because the Greeks were under the Turks, and in olden times the khan thought he’d get a better deal, independence, from the Byzantines. But this story claims that this time round Rome said no, taking seriously long-term reunion with the Orthodox and so not wanting anymore to snag conversions of born Orthodox at those local churches’ expense. That’s class.

Also, Rome certainly remembers the outcome of the C19 adventure: when Bulgarian Orthodox got church independence from the Greeks/their own patriarch (the Greek patriarch in Constantinople/Istanbul refused to accept it until 1946!), most Bulgarians went back to them and the Bulgarian Catholic Church basically disappeared.
Three from LRC
The central delusion of the Christian Right

Dead Aid

Iraq, Bush and all that: what’s wrong, summed up
From Occidentalis
Archivum Liturgicum
Awesome (in its true not slang sense) resource for Roman Rite texts

Benjamin Andersen: This. Site. Rocks.

From blog member John Boyden
Blessed is real estate, for it is cash
As I was saying about church closings. And:

Now two-thirds of the congregation of St. Boniface are senior citizens. [The] Rev. James Gray, the white-bearded priest who closed a parish in Detroit before coming to St. Boniface, has sensed the future since he came here in 2001.

"You don't hear babies crying in this church," he observed.
Native American tribes branch out from gambling into other business
Justice. And a look at the right way to approach things:

The biggest difference from my perspective is that the tribe has got a lot longer perspective of stuff. They're not focused on the next quarter, they're focused on the next generation, and it makes a big difference in how they approach things.

Monday, June 27, 2005

RIP Maricica Cornici
From Pokrov (watchdog group for abuse in Orthodox churches):

The bishop is responsible
From a Romanian newspaper, in broken English

And from Fr Joseph Huneycutt, one of the first to break the story:

Convent closed for good
It may be a case of too little, too late to save poor Ms Cornici but apparently, answering Mr Ciachir’s criticism, the apostolic ministry is in action in Romania and the (dismissed now-former) nuns who committed the crime ‘just don’t get it’.

The article goes on to say that the priest never finished seminary but was allowed to serve because of a priest shortage. The convent wasn't built by the Church, but rather by a lawyer. It was all of four years old. The four nuns involved in the incident, upon hearing that the priest was suspended and the convent dissolved, struck the bishop and therefore are not among those being transferred to other convents. Zeal not according to knowledge. The Church cannot keep all evil things from happening, but once they've happened, it's good to see the bishop say no, this is not what the Church teaches, this is not how such situations should be handled, this is not monasticism, this is not right.
- Ann Lardas, wife of a priest in the Russian Church Abroad

Of course they’re not being transferred to other convents anyway — they should be going to prison where they belong.

I maintain, though, that the bishops are partly to blame for letting Mr Corogeanu into the priesthood in the first place.

Unrelated to Romania but from Fr Joseph, quoting a sermon he heard recently:

People don't want the real Jesus. Rather, they want some sort of cosmic religious Barney [the purple dinosaur].
‘You can do whatever you want because I wuv you, you wuv me.’ The big smile balloon in the sky, as I’ve heard another priest describe this, for deists.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

LRC blog pick
Media circus
As in panem et circenses, or as one might put it today, prole feed

Odd... the amount of TV attention devoted to such stories as the runaway bride and the Aruba disappearance, yet when some undetermined number of girl Marines is blown up in Iraq, the cable news barely mentions it. It's a reminder that part of the job of TV is to distract the booboisie from any story that might make the state look less than heroic. The reverse is the Internet's job, of course.
And of course pretty white women disappearing gets inordinate attention.

As LRC explains Jennifer Wilbanks didn’t commit any crime until she lied to police about being kidnapped. People have a right to come and go.
From Civitas Dei
How do you tell if people are Catholics or not?
Fr Anthony Chadwick’s version of What I believe, in his blog, Ramblings of an Unchurched Cleric. Please note the new URL for his site.

Fr C adds, answering somebody in the official RC Church:

Quote: "For a Roman Catholic, and for anybody convinced of the truth of the RCC's teachings, long-term separation from the See of Peter IS NOT an available option."
In the absolute, I would agree with you, but between us little people and the See of Peter, there are the diocesan bishops and their bureaucracies. This separation is not an "available option" but something that has been forced on us. Some of us haven't much choice...

Let us pray that the Holy Father will be given the strength to reform the whole of the Roman Catholic Church -
ut omnes unum sint.
Demolishing some modern Ortho-ganda: on contraception
To a defender of artificial birth control who is Eastern Orthodox:

So you’re saying, as a former friend pointed out to me years ago, that after getting married in your beautiful domed church and perhaps signing some pro-life petition against Planned Parenthood you’d go to Planned Parenthood (figuratively speaking) the next day and get contraceptives?

This view is exactly like most of Protestantism’s (not just the mainline — it’s what many evangelicals now accept) and unlike Christian churches in general until the 1930s.

(Perhaps the ex-evangelicals going to Antioch in the convert boomlet take this with them unchanged, like they get to keep their no-popery, and for bonus points they can connect the two just like secular society does.)

The correct RC view is that both the unitive and procreative aspects of sex in marriage are good — no-one is saying that the infertile or those over childbearing age must not have sex, as some of its critics claim or imply — but artificial birth control is still out on principle.

AFAIK the church fathers say no to ‘potions’ that do that but modern Orthodox such as Stanley Harakas and Anthony Coniaris spin that, ‘developing doctrine’ if you will (right after criticizing the RCs for developing doctrine — ‘we're the cool church that didn’t change things’), to try to make artificial birth control OK. Exactly what the Tom Hankses and Rita Wilsons, Olympia Snowes, Paul Sarbaneses, George Snuffleupaguses and other big diner-money contributors to the Phanar want to hear.

(What’s next? To prove how un-RC you are, might you or these men start claiming that the attempted ordination of women is in accord with the fathers? After all, there are liberals who claim that this is a legitimate ‘development of doctrine’.)

The bottom line, which the fathers and the Roman Catholic Church (the magisterium, which is what counts, not some alleged dissenting majority) refuse to flinch from, is that if you’re fertile but don’t want/can’t support children, do you (not you personally — does one) have any business getting married (which in the Christian scheme of things is the only way you may have sex) or even dating (which in the same scheme means ‘considering marriage’)?

The secular world says yes, sells loads of products (including barrier methods which you might say are OK because unlike ‘potions’ they’re not direct abortifacients) to maintain that illusion, and once you get in the habit of using them and they fail (as the odds say they eventually will) offers a ‘final solution’ to your little problem.

So are you saying that Eastern Orthodoxy accepts two-thirds of that except the last part?
From Byrd
Waiter Rant

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Socialists ahead of ex-Tsar Simeon II’s Liberal government in Bulgaria vote
PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is obviously related to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. His father, Tsar Boris III, was on Germany’s side during World War II but wouldn’t go along with anti-Jewish policies nor declare war on Russia owing to the historic affinity between the two Orthodox and Slavic countries and so probably was murdered in 1943. There’s a Philadelphian connexion: young Tsar Simeon went to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne!
On the box
Quiero la noche, quiero...

The only one of these three I’ve seen before. 34 years on a lot of the jokes still work.

Can you name the uncredited actor who later became famous?

Did anybody else notice that the church used in the ‘New Testament’ cigarette ad is what looks like a latinized (no icon screen in front of the altar) Byzantine Catholic church? The parody of Communion doesn’t look like real Communion in any rite.

And after that:

The Purple Rose of Cairo
Charming, period-authentic but a little surreal as well. Woody Allen’s favourite of his own films?

And then:

Another Woman
One of his dramas. The only one of this star-packed cast whom I’ve seen live on stage is Philip Bosco, breaking down in the dock as Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. Wonderful actor.
Still more on that horrible death in Romania
The Tanacu convent was built in 2001 by a private donor and had not yet been sanctified by the church.
That explains some of it but not how this dangerous nutter became a priest apparently in good standing.

Cornici's death and the revelation that Corogeanu was ordained as a priest without having finished his theological studies have prompted the church to impose stricter rules for entering monasteries, including psychological tests.
As described by Michael Rose, these tests are misused in some churches to screen out sound ordinands sed abusus non tollit usum. This case shows that there is a legitimate reason for them.

So who was asleep at the gate when this man got in?
From The Gutless Pacifist
Evolution and redemptive violence
A lot to chew on here

No particular idea of how God created the universe was instilled into me at any age, so thankfully I was never married to any one view.
A punto.

...the real world is even more interesting than anything some nutter with just enough knowledge to be dangerous can invent.
Words to live by.

To try to critique this in a Catholic way I’d say that it’s true that Christianity opposes an evil order and would instead prefer an apparent chaos that’s good, but would qualify all that by saying that order in itself is good. God is orderly in his way and doesn’t contradict himself. An apparent order that is evil isn’t from him, while the seeming chaos may have his order in it only we can’t see that while it’s happening.
LRC blog pick
Thanks, George
Lew Rockwell on the election in Iran
Three from LRC
Gary North on the fast-changing media we use
Going digital

We spend much of our lives collecting, learning, cataloguing, and generally burying ourselves in information that later turns out to be trivia.
Sounds like an insight about life and fallen human nature in general. I’m not the only one who’s found himself stuck in that trap!

My mania ended with the advent of the Web. I stopped subscribing to magazines and newspapers.
That saves money.

Nevertheless, my files have convinced me that all that time was not wasted. The discipline of reading, clipping, and cataloguing articles did provide me with an overall sense of what was going on.

I offered to give away the collection to a college library. The librarian politely refused. He is even dumping hard copies of scholarly journals, as are most librarians.
This change is largely a good thing — it wastes less paper and space — but one wonders about the Orwellian risk of not having any ‘hard copy’. (Or why modern liturgists like disposable newsprint booklets and not hardcover missals, prayer books and hymnals. Not only does this scam make a mint for certain printers but it makes it easier to take tradition away from the proles by throwing it down the memory hole.)

Writers imagine that they will be remembered, but here is the grim reality. First, hardly anyone reads old novels, except when they are assigned in an English class. Second, nobody reads old non-fiction books, except when they are assigned in a history class. The Great Books make Great Shelves, but hardly anyone ever takes one of them down from the shelf to read it in order to gain greater wisdom.
Of course the Great Books are necessary even if one only reads them once in school to ‘discipline your mind’ to work well (critically, being able to tell right from wrong, good from bad — yes, discrimination) in future... to read articles like this one and understand them, for example. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a paper book or not!

Mr North is telling the truth. Honestly, I think I could get by with only a handful of hardbacks — things like the King James Bible, the missal (of whatever traditional rite), the breviary (same) and books related to using them (like Cranmer’s Prayer Book for the psalms and canticles), and a reference book or three like a catechism. They’re what I’d grab in a fire and save.

For my purposes the rest — theological and political books and articles — is just a Google search away for the taking.

Karen De Coster notes something similar about saving and listening to music. I use a flat (one time only)-fee downloading/file-sharing service and don’t waste money on CDs anymore either. (Just downloaded: Allegri’s Miserere.)

Is Japan being played today?
By military expert William Lind

It is exactly the right strategy for a Fourth Generation 21st century, where survival will depend heavily on staying off other people’s hit lists.
These sound like words to live by!

The real Darth Vader vs the Bringer of Life
From blog member Samer al-Batal
Unveiling Iraq’s teenage prostitutes in Syria
S al-B: The chaos in Iraq, with its resultunt exodus of Iraqi refugees, has aggravated an old problem.
From Fr James Tucker
Eroding property rights

100 top American movie lines of all time

Things are getting better in the RC scene

Archbishop of St Louis sighted with a cappa magna and biretta’d priests

Fr T’s entry on Italian men reminded me of this classic Web game:

Gay or Eurotrash?
Test your fashion sense, cultural knowledge and gaydar
From titusonenine
Anglican Consultative Council urges churches to divest to support Palestinians

Friday, June 24, 2005

They got ’em!
Romanian authorities arrest monk and nuns, charging them with murder

Book ’em, Dan-O.
Prince William is now the most academically accomplished member of the British royal family

‘Now I can read maps and everything.’

This link should work until the 30th June.

A master’s in geography?!

As much as I love the Old World, things like this combined with Eurovision can make one question its status as Greece to America’s Rome.

I have a feeling that some Japanese guy building a supercomputer is laughing his ass off right now.

To be fair, though, the Queen is far from stupid, an honourable, devout woman of the old school who keenly follows politics and could run Britain for real, and it’s been suggested that her son, the Prince of Wales, as King Charles III* would have the intrepidity to actually use the powers that in theory the Sovereign still has and sack Mr Bliar’s government over the war in Iraq.

*Who’s right about a lot of things, from liking the old Prayer Book and Eastern Orthodoxy to not liking modern architecture.
More blame Bush than Hussein for war
You can’t fool all of the people all the time

What price ‘victory’?

Americans overwhelmingly reject conscription
As long as it’s happening to an ‘other’ — poor blacks and Hispanics or poor whites like Lynndie England — middle- and upper-middle-class Americans look the other way while waving flags and tying yellow ribbons. But if you draft their kids, watch support for the war disappear. Again, a lot like Vietnam.

From friend John Treat
The AFSC’s page on conscription
From Verbum Ipsum
Consistent ethic of death
Why Gonzales on the US Supreme Court wouldn’t be good

Was C.S. Lewis libertarian?
Meilaender argues that Lewis had an "Augustinian" view of politics in that he distinguished sharply between virtue and justice. The task of the state is to maintain justice, but it's too blunt an instrument to inculcate virtue.

It makes you wonder where, if anywhere, Lewis would feel at home on our political spectrum.
From LRC
Desecrating the Bill of Rights
What really matters

I wouldn’t torch a Stars and Stripes in public — I love the place and many of the people, but not the government — but American freedom means the right to free expression and the right to dispose of one’s property as one likes, as hateful as it can seem, which is what America’s soldiers were ostensibly defending, not a swastika-like emblem of the state. Privately and reverently burning an old flag (Mr Gregory’s Boy Scout experience) sounds like a fine thing but it’s actually religious: pinched from Catholic ritual. It’s what you do with old vestments and sacramentals that you can’t use anymore, such as paper icons that are damaged beyond repair.

Regarding the treatment of the national ensign I’m reminded of a story that a retired Royal Navy officer (I’ve known such) told: that the sailors aboard ships at sea had no problem with using an old flag as a cleaning rag. Funny since I’d have more of a problem doing that with the Navy’s White Ensign or any other form of the Union Jack, with the big St George’s cross red with the blood of Christ, than I would with an abstract striped flag!

Joe Sobran on typical, predictable media treatment of the Pope
The other side often makes him sound better to us than he is

That many RCs voted for Bush means to me that the concept of the RC vote is irrelevant. (The people who did it are functionally just part of the Protestant religious right.) I’d agree with some that it has been really since the 1940s, when Roosevelt’s Great Patriotic War started to level and partially homogenize American society (propaganda signs said hateful things like ‘Don’t speak Italian anymore: speak American’). It’s been that long since winning one for the Gipper and Notre Dame, and innocuous movies like Boys Town and The Bells of St Mary’s*, actually meant something about ‘Catholic identity’ in terms of the actual faith advancing in the States and real community among RCs based on that faith. It’s probably been gone since Knute Rockne. Bishop Richard Williamson isn’t infallible but he has one of several good points when he writes that one shouldn’t worship the 1950s as a kind of golden age: the rot already had set in. After all, in 1960, right in that period, the RC vote helped elect slithering filth like John F. Kennedy to the White House. (Even though the most powerful RC churchman in America at the time, Francis Cardinal Spellman in New York, saw Jack and his dad for what they were and sensibly preferred Nixon.)

*Though those movies and others like them actually say nothing about the faith or the church as such. They were just a barometer showing how much the church, still undiluted, had been accepted by other Americans: good PR. (But one can argue that, like A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life or a new Christmastide favourite fable, The Family Man, they are implicitly quite Catholic stories.) I reckon that, the convert boomlet notwithstanding (the kind of people who would have become Anglicans or John Henry Newman-like RCs 50 years ago), Eastern Orthodoxy will never reach similar critical mass in America to be reflected in movies like that: you’ll keep seeing it in ethnic bit parts and (self-hating) ethnic jokes like My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

From the LRC blog
Tom Nugent vs Ron Paul

Origami peace symbol in Japan

Censored Nagasaki report revealed

Handwriting on the wall

Max Boot blathers on and on in today's LA Times about how insurgencies cannot defeat democracies (two words: South Vietnam)...
From BBC News
80-year-old ex-Klansman, Baptist preacher gets what he deserves

Russia’s population falling fast

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn does look a lot better in comparison
From Crowhill
Hope for amputees?
Something that 25 years ago was the stuff of science fiction
They’ve got a point
This is circulating on some Eastern Orthodox blogs and shows that among the rank and file in much of the world, ‘conservative Christian’ (including specifically in the Catholic world) doesn’t equal ‘Bush supporter’:

In Greece in December of 2003, I ran into a large number of pious Orthodox Christians who held a position which startled me. In a way similar to that of many fundamentalists in this country who like to assign eschatological roles to modern day nations, depending on how the world is ending at that particular moment, I met more than a few Greeks who argued that the United States was the anti-Christ. I do not subscribe to that viewpoint -- generally I hold to the notion that God tends to be neutral toward nations, and discourage hubris in thinking about, for example, the US as God's chosen nation.* Still, these were devout Orthodox Christians, who were perfectly loving and welcoming to me personally, but sincerely held to this notion. The United States, they declared, was an international bully. It seeks only oil. It was not that they necessarily trusted Arabs themselves, but as one person put it, "We know how to deal with Arabs. We have been dealing with them for over a thousand years."
And among the Arabs are not only Christians but people who belong to the same tradition that they do, such as Samer.

*And of course this reasonable American fellow is correct, but the point remains that devout Christians in the Old World think as they do about all this.
Straw: British troops out of Iraq ‘as quickly as possible’
But he’s hedging his bets:

but only plans to do so when it is sure Iraqi forces can cope with the security threat
Right, the security threat that you created.

Straw's comments on British troop withdrawals came two days after a top US commander said that the United States will start to pull its forces out by next March.
Promises, promises.

"There have been abuses, which appallingly have taken place within the US field of command and in the United Kingdom's, and we're ashamed of that," he said.
Variation on the old passive-voice dodge ‘mistakes were made’. Hey, I think I’ll try that if I ever get pulled over for a traffic matter again. If so I’ll report here on how well it worked.

On Britain's plans, he declined to speculate on dates.

"We want to see our troops being able to leave as quickly as possible. But we have a responsibility to the Iraqi people which is to ensure that, as we leave, they are able to take over full responsibility for their own security."
Reminds me of what an HM Government official said about ‘an acceptable level of violence’ in Northern Ireland, or as P.J. O’Rourke put it, the British trying to be British about that.

My guess is they (the US and the small British force) will eventually Vietnamize, er, Iraqize and pull out and you’ll have Saigon in 1975, turning into Tehran in 1979... only this time it’s like the US turned on the Shah and paved the way for the Ayatollah.
From The Gaelic Starover
The beginning of the end
People are turning against Mr Bush’s minders’ war — even Mr ‘Freedom Fries’ calls for withdrawal


40 years late?
Why is the Vietnamese PM visiting the US?

Because it’s easier than getting Bush to go to Vietnam.
- Jay Leno

Impeach now
Fine with me but he’s only a sock-puppet. Impeaching and convicting him wouldn’t get rid of the real problem.
Three from LRC
‘God bless our troops’: why?
‘George WMD Bush’: LOL, brilliant

Replaying Vietnam:

The not-winning-the-war president

‘Withdrawal’ enters American discourse

A turnaround
I noticed this morning when trying to answer comments (thanks for writing!) that I couldn’t! When I hit ‘Publish’ HaloScan either would ignore me or give me ‘duplicate post’ or ‘wait 30 seconds between posts’ messages. It turns out that this is a bug in an anti-spam measure that they’re beta-testing, so I went in and turned that off. Now you shouldn’t have that problem but if I get hit with lots of ‘party poker’ fake comments I’ll have to try moderating comments before they appear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

From the LRC blog
A flag as pseudo-religious icon (part II)
Charles, even the phrase "flag desecration" is redolent of state worship. The Tomb of the Unknown is a temple complete with mock religious ceremonies (even if it turned out to be the Tomb of the Known in one of the minor scandals of the Reagan administration). Mt. Rushmore mimics religious statuary in Luxor or Babylon. A Roman temple offers us Lincoln Best and Greatest on his fasces-encrusted throne. The Jefferson Memorial is a Greek temple. The Washington Monument is an Egyptian religious symbol. DC is strewn with these chilling edifices. And the Christian right, in the Yankee-Puritan tradition, regards the US state as God's chosen instrument on earth, and Bush as his prophet. This kid is simply a cruder version of the official view, which will have no other gods before DC.
- Lew Rockwell

US delaying trial of Saddam Hussein
It may never try him publicly because it has too many secrets about its past relationship with him that it doesn’t want to get out in a trial. I thought as much.
Three from LRC
We’re still gonna get conned

The misery but necessity of budgeting

Can the UN really be reformed?

Even though they were right about the war in Iraq and opposing Mr Bush’s minders, Congressman Dr Ron Paul points out the classic conservative case that the UN are inherently illegitimate. The neocons — really liberals — are fine with starting wars/invading countries and world government as long as it’s them.
From Hallowed Ground
Cacciaguida on the ‘greatest generation’ hype

Jeff Culbreath tells the truth about John Denver and about holidays
How I realized I wasn’t really a Web designer
One day I heard a very funny radio ad in which a bubbly but utterly incompetent caterer raved to her soon-to-be-wed clients about her vision for their reception: ‘And for the main course: meatloaf with hearts on it, in ketchup!’

My first Angelfire pages were a little like that, not AOL 1-2-3 Publish ‘Pictures of My Kitty’ bad but rather like, if you watch ‘King of the Hill’, Peggy Hill’s overestimation of her skills, be they speaking Spanish or being a sculptor! (She’s comic relief right out of Chaucer or a mediæval morality play.)

Was reminded of that recently as I’ve been editing and pruning/purging those four- and five-year-old pages.

There’s a difference between knowing a little HTML and being a designer!

Among the lessons learnt:

• Don’t publish anything and announce it all over the Internet until you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing.
• Frames suck.
• Less is more, or like the late Gerard Bugge* said, ‘KISS (keep it simple, stupid)’.

Still, I’m grateful that some people paid me to make simple pages and even maintain a well-designed/well-made site (designed and made by somebody else).

*Sorry, but he had similar problems making and maintaining Praise of Glory: a site with lots of interesting content hampered by design, programming and technology that are behind the times (to be fair to us both the latter two have changed so quickly!). Somebody may be keeping this site up as a memorial, which is great because there is good stuff there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The site of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has a news story related to this:

Part of the betrayal of non-Communist Russians at the end of World War II by the Allies

On behalf of the countries that did it:

Каюсь, Господи; помилуй и прости. (I repent, O Lord; have mercy and forgive me.)
From truthout
How US Army recruiters work the high schools
From The New York Times

"'Does anybody know what posthumous means?' Staff Sgt. Andre Allen asked the 150 infantrymen-in-training, members of F Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.

"A few hands went up, but he answered his own question.

"'It means after death. Some of you are going to get medals that way,' he said matter-of-factly, underscoring the possibility that some of them would be sent to combat and not return."

That's the honest message recruits get once they're in. The approach recommended by the recruiting handbook is somewhat different. It's much softer. Recruiters trying to sign up high school students are urged to schmooze, schmooze, schmooze.

Let the Army be honest and upfront in its recruitment. War is not child's play, and warriors shouldn't be assembled through the use of seductive sales pitches to youngsters too immature to make an informed decision on matters that might well result in their having to kill others, or being killed themselves.
Eastern churches
Some good news:

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia considers rejoining Church of Russia
Things apparently are moving so far along that both sides of this immediate post-Russian Revolution-era split among the Russian Orthodox are looking over a draft of a union agreement now.

The document also states that ROCOR bishops are members of the Local and Bishop Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, and can participate in the Holy Synod sessions. ROCOR will also receive its holy oil from the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Конец коммунического раскола наступаюший! И ангелы поют и ликуют. Слава Богу!

Good for them. Now that the USSR is gone they can go back to things being done ‘decently and in order’ (I Corinthians 14:40) in their ecclesiastical polity.
Preaching Peace
A tip of the biretta to this site apparently of the religious left (and Episcopal), whose co-owner Michael Hardin sent me these kind words about the blog:

An interesting site in so many ways; found myself on different pages than you but still somehow in the same book so to speak. Wishing you the best.
Thanks, you too.
Three from LRC
Part of a great selection today:

The reason for the furore over Durbin
The PC gatekeepers (including neocons, who are really liberals) claim exclusive rights to the Hitler metaphor

Camp Gulag
Gitmo and the ‘conservative’ mania for torture, which disappointingly an RC message board (the Protestant religious right with the Novus Ordo and sacramentals added) largely defends as it stands with its puppet Führer, George Bush. I’ll believe Amnesty International instead. The only reason I posted in their Politics folder yesterday was because for some reason I couldn’t log onto Blogger for a few hours.

...sleep deprivation, intense noise assault, cigarette burning, water torture, beatings, humiliation [including being forced to soil oneself]. Deluxe wire cages are even included in the package.
Are being defended by people who call themselves Christians — even Roman Catholics! I am fairly sure that Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t sign off on any of this. Because this definitely isn’t Catholic.

That said I understand why people hate religion.

What’s worse than not being able to explain something is when you do explain yourself and the other person pushes on pretending he didn’t hear you. That’s a game that message-board types play a lot.

But on this board’s behalf I’ll say that being harassed by some Eastern-church types, left or right, is a lot worse: they break netiquette, get personal and resort to rumours (and even spoof posts and profiles in one’s name!). As aggravating and wrong as these people’s views, broken-record tactic and hectoring were, they stuck to the issues and didn’t go in for ad hominem.

More on mercury and autism

P.S. To ‘Max Majestic’ on the board, who vehemently denied Mr Durbin’s and Amnesty’s comparison, I’ve read both With God in Russia by Fr Walter Ciszek and Witness by Josyp Terelya and their descriptions of their treatment sound quite like what Amnesty found.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Worth repeating
You know that a church is freelancing when its website has a page called "The Apostolic Succession of [BISHOP'S NAME]." In that case, apostolic succession gives a certain bouquet of sanctity, of being grounded in tradition, without the tiresome requirement of actually maintaining that tradition.
- Jan Bear (with whom I disagree on some issues) on vagantes, fakers with mitres

Send me light
Send me dreaming
Send me the changing of the seasons.
- Julia Macklin
The Catholic faith
Purgatory explained by somebody unlikely
From blog member John Boyden
Photos of the return of the Roman Mass to Philadelphia’s RC cathedral
To yesterday’s horrific news about the death by torture of a schizophrenic girl in Romania. This writer, apparently Romanian, says that the people who did it weren’t really in good standing with the local Orthodox diocese. So why did the bishop send a representative to have a service there? Anyway, if any of this is true, FWIW these either evil or stupid people have flunked Catholic Ecclesiology 101.

Monk, four nuns indicted
They could be sentenced up to 25 years in prison, I should think without parole. He did the funeral for the girl he killed (!) after being suspended as a priest: see the last sentence of the paragraph above.

Maybe this is what Marian was talking about:

Nuns yelled at a vicar who had come to suspend Corogeanu on Sunday, and scuffles broke out, N24 reported. Riot police intervened and order was restored, the television station reported.
As I was saying.

May the angels lead you into paradise, Maricica — far, far away from these people.

Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray.
From Katolik Shinja
Truman’s crime against God
From Mere Comments
It’s so good that I used them twice today. This entry from Anthony Esolen deserves one all to itself here.

What the promoters of the attempted ordination of women don’t mean
But what in the end is a “position of authority in the Church,” if not a Cross? Does the bishop want to say, “We need to subject more women to enslavement—to the good of the flock they must help us lead; and to the dread hazard they run, the hazard of their own eternal loss, should they fail to preach the word, or should they fall adrowse at their watch and the wolf carry the sheep away. We see, in fact, that the sheep will not be led unless women lead them, publicly; and thus despite the hardships they will incur, the calumnies, the rejections, the fearful asceticism of unceasing prayer—and despite the indispensable work that faithful women already do in their homes and in their neighborhoods—we must draft women into the officers’ ranks.” Nothing of the sort. He does not, in fact, have the good of the Body in mind; at most, only the good of a relatively small number of women who might be interested in the lieutenantcy. That is because he thinks, unconsciously no doubt, of the Church as an arena for personal fulfillment, for power, for a fine career. Thus the all-male priesthood strikes him as anachronistic, an embarrassment. He believes in it, but he cannot explain why.
They have no devotion to the Blessed Sacrament or interest in sharing the sacrificial office of Christ the One Priest (in himself) as the Catholic faith understands it either. It’s all about power with them — clericalism, which isn’t what it’s really about — being fought for in a kind of Marxist class struggle between the sexes (sounds about as naff as a ‘You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby’ keychain because it is) and not the complementarity between the sexes that the faith teaches.

Though to be fair as this blog always tries to be, as friends Paul Goings and John Treat point out a lot of the Episcopalians who go in for this simply don’t know better. They’ve been told that they can do it so they do. I’m referring mainly to the ageing boomer RCs who push this stuff — people who were formed in the old ways and thus know better.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

LRC blog pick
What’s the difference between Iraq and Vietnam?

Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.
- Joel Shimberg
This blog’s new favicon
Here’s where you can make your own
This report on a strange phenom doesn’t involve Dana Scully, alas, but is very nice indeed. Fr James Tucker writes from Cancún where he is holidaying:

I popped in at one of the cyber cafes to check email and what-not. I opened Google to search for something, and what should appear in the window of remembered searches of this computer but "conservative blog for peace" and "byzantine." It would seem you have fans in Cancun.
More than one person took time out in Cancún to read this?! This blog hasn’t been self-consciously Byzantine in about two years (though that’s still present along with other good things) but that’s great (thanks!), even though lately this blog seems to get around more than I do.
Ron Kovic on Mr Bush’s minders’ war
The Bush administration seems to have learned some very different lessons than we did from Vietnam. Where we learned of the deep immorality and obscenity of that war, they learned to be even more brutal, more violent and ruthless, i.e., "shock and awe." Sadly, the war on terror has become a war of terror. Where we learned to be more open and honest, to be more truthful, to expose, to express, to shatter the myths of the past, they seem to have learned the exact opposite--to hide, to censor, to fabricate, to mislead and deceive--to perpetuate those myths.
Reminds me of this recent Tom Tomorrow cartoon:

What if today’s mindset had been in place/force when Watergate happened?
From Mere Comments
Somebody at Mercedes wasn’t thinking
Or thought that we weren’t

‘Hey! Those dummies are moving!
- ‘The Simpsons’
From occasional e-mail contributor Lee Penn*
Gorby and Ted Turner slam US ‘sickness’
So we agree with them on something. But as Lee says he points out in his new book the enemy of our enemy isn’t necessarily our friend. Also, Gorbachev and Turner together, like Turner marrying Jane Fonda, is a reminder that the Establishment right and Establishment left are really the same.

George Soros tells rich liberals to be patient
Lee: What makes these guys think that they can keep their wealth, once the New World Order is unleashed and in full control?

News of the weird, a little dated (it showed up in other blogs a while ago):

Bizarre cult of Putin in Russia

An update on out-of-control technology:

Human gene gets put into rice

*One of these days I’ll have to get around to scanning a pic of Lee. Most of us with the exceptions of John Boyden and our born Eastern Christian, Samer al-Batal, are bearded and in varying stages of becoming grizzled.
Anglican doings
The new Archbishop of York
Right about the war in Iraq, wrong about much else, just like the other, also non-English, archbishop of the Church of England. David Virtue’s site has got him sussed: his appointment is an act of political correctness, not support for the still-Christian Global South. Dr Sentamu favours the attempted ordination of women.

"Now that it's been announced that Sentamu is going to York, it is really critical that we don't get carried away by 'black Ugandan evangelical as archbishop, hooray hooray, hooray' nonsense," the source said.
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Huw Raphael on political questions and activism
The question is not "is activism unnecessary?" but rather "when is activism necessary?"

I think all activism is unnecessary in a secular and political sense, i.e. in the sense which most all activists mean them. Unless you're going to "get everyone saved" then messing with the world on its own terms only gets you messed up. The world's "terms" includes fixing it. The world and the evil one like to keep your focus on fixing things that are unimportant. Humans are sinners and no lack of laws, no advance in laws, no peaceful change in government, no revolution, no fascism, no monarchy and no mob rule is going to change that - and least of all a mob-rule that gets conducted on a "secular" and anti-Christian model. The world can not be fixed: nor is it intended to be.

Where is Jesus interested in "world hunger" or violence? Nowhere.
Ermmmm... ‘For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink’ (Matthew 25:35) ...‘Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword’ (Matthew 26:52).

When was Jesus ever not interested in morality? Never.

...the world boils Jesus down to its own level: deny the incarnate essence of Divinity, squash the seeds of moral living and, like so many left over corn husks, weave dolly out of the left overs and call it "this cool teacher".

When the argument is over should same-sex couples get married versus why are you denying our rights instead of "what is the will of God for human sexuality"; we're not going to win that argument. When the argument is over should women have the right to unborn infanticide - or should they be forced to get illegal and unsafe abortions instead of "What is the will of God regarding the life of a human being created in His own image?"; we're not going to win that argument.
Right. The terms of the arguments themselves are wrong and the possible answers beg the question. ‘So, when did you stop beating your wife?’ Mu: does not apply.

Huw links to another impressively deep Eastern Orthodox blog, Journeyman James, which has this:

‘I do not love.’ I said that to my priest the other day. ‘I don’t… I don’t love. My kids, my wife, my job… 90% of what I do is out of obligation, and it nearly always carries with it some form of resentment. It’s a cancer and I need to kill it.’ He put his hand on his beard and shook his head knowingly. ‘I need to learn how to love,’ I said, ‘for at the moment my life is basically one of anger, boredom and guilt.’

I also said this to a friend of mine not too long after my conversation with Fr. G. My friend finished my sentences for me. ‘I know exactly what you mean… it’s all the same, frustrating thing day in and day out. We suck it up and do what we’re suppose to do, and we do it because we have to,’ he echoed. Then he said, ‘you know what I do? I go to N services, and there in the quiet —with no wife, no kids, just me and the vigil lamp in front of the icon of Christ— I pour it all out. I hand it all over. And even if that peace lasts only 15 minutes, it’s enough to get me through until next time.’

...married men are allowed to want to be alone, and even find joy in it...
And from the sublime to the appalling (beyond ridiculous), Fr Joseph doesn’t avoid this:

Romanian Orthodox priest and convent are allegedly deadly spiritual frauds (more)
Physically deadly. Not everything that has the trappings of Byzantium is holy! (A visit to message-boards amply proves that already, but anyway...) They seem bent on proving H.W. Crocker right. If AmChurch* for example are the quisling self-hating Jews of the Catholic world these folks are its Taleban, looking like agents provocateurs or sick parodies created by anti-religious folks! (Keeping stuff like this death from happening is partly what a magisterium is for.) In this case I dare say the government is right and if things are as they appear and these people are guilty I hope that they get put away for a long time. Then again they sound amazingly ignorant or simply not very bright (living down to an Eastern European stereotype) which would mitigate their guilt but doesn’t completely let them off the hook.

In the comments in his blog on this story Fr Joseph points out one aspect of the problem: a 29-year-old abbot?!

The Internet has lots of Fr Daniel wannabes.

At least the Romanian Orthodox Church had the decency (I don’t know whether this was independent of the furore or because of it) to suspend that man.

*The British equivalent is represented by The Tablet or as somebody online has fittingly renamed it The Pill.
From truthout
US trained and aided Uzbek forces

Groups unite against military recruiters

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Three from LRC
The wisdom of Robert E. Lee
No racist, a strong Christian (a Virginian Low Church Anglican) and a hero

Joe Sobran on the police
In my few encounters with them they’ve almost always been courteous and helpful (that goes for black and white officers, city and suburban), even when I was in the wrong (traffic stuff), except once a few years ago where I was in ‘a situation’ a little like Joe the younger, only about a dispute over a stop sign. I shouldn’t say ‘dispute’ though the bully cop, who worked on Philadelphia’s privileged Main Line and obviously resented the people there (thinking I was one of them — I just work there), tried bloody hard to make it one, insulting me to try to get me to mouth off at him so he could slap me with a $150 ticket and two points on my licence. I didn’t fall for it and played along (played dumb), letting him fume and bait me, but didn’t get a ticket so who really won that one?

The L.A. Times superficially looks at Our Lady
Papal devotion to her is nothing new; it was a signature of John Paul II’s reign. While I don’t hold to the Protestantized view of the writer I question exaggeration* as well — as part of liturgically conservative but sober, theologically grounded Mass-and-office Catholicism (not to be confused with creeping Protestantism) I’m actually a moderate Marian. She’s far more than ‘a nice lady mentioned in the Bible’ (the default Protestant view) but her importance is all relative to her Son: because she became the Mother of God. Her praying for us, etc., only matter because, chosen by God from her conception, she ‘doth magnify the Lord’ and is in no way a rival means of salvation (logically impossible). Jesus saves, Mary prays.

*A lot of which really isn’t traditionalist: Novus Ordo neocons including charismatists are into all that.
Who I’m listening to
Bettie Serveert live at the North Star
This good Dutch indie rock band, really big about 10 years ago, and local bands the Jane Anchor (a keyboardless American version of the genre with kind of a garage vibe and a cute girl lead made cuter with hip little black-frame ‘nerd’ glasses) and the Bumrunners (hardcore stuff to spike your adrenaline) played here last night. The name of the last is nothing to do with gayness, explains another local musician, trumpet player John of Murder House (nothing dangerous really: a Zappa-ish experimental band). In the States it means underage people paying a tramp to go into the off-licence to buy them beer!

Anyway, the main act ruled and had the crowd literally stomping on the floor for an encore at 1.30 in the morning. Lead Carol van Dijk (vox and guitar, good at both — actually she’s originally from Canada) is pretty and a little exotic-looking (can’t really see that in this photo but it’s there, a look I like a lot anyway). The other visually striking member is the other guitarist (quite good), Peter Visser (standing in the background), tall and very thin with big black geek specs, very Euro and artsy.

My ears are still a little numb but it seems worth it.

All that and some more weisse beer: a great way to spend an early summer night.
From Bryant Choung
Now online:

The Ikea lamp commercial from three years ago
I love it! But this article points out what’s wrong with it:

The [discarded] lamp works fine and looks like a perfectly decent lamp. Trashing it is an act of pure and conspicuous waste, which we are prodded to laugh off as we embrace the idea that waste is not just OK but flat-out cool if the new thing is ‘better’. Period. You could argue that Ikea thus associates itself not just with the useless cluttering of landfill, but with a certain slavery to trend-following.
A punto.

In that spirit I just gave a casualty of this blog — my worn-out six-year-old computer-desk chair, from Ikea actually — to the Salvation Army.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another parallel to Vietnam: I thought that when I saw this in the BBC’s news feed this morning. thought the same.

Bipartisan plan to quit Iraq; Bush says no

Halliburton to build $30 million jail in Guantánamo

Bush policies blocked as US mood on Iraq sours
LRC pick
Steve Jobs to Stanford graduates: ‘You’ve got to find what you love’
From The Seattle Catholic via Katolik Shinja
On the separation of church and state
A topic of interest here for some time (I wrote these goals in 1999)
From The Gutless Pacifist
Plain technology
On a fascinating and misunderstood group, the Amish: they don’t pretend to live in the early 1800s. If they decide that a form of technology doesn’t get in the way of their worshipping God or threaten to break up their community, they accept it:

...the Amish are so resilient in part because their society tempers discipline with flexibility. Within the decentralized leadership, each bishop allows experimentation before deciding whether an innovation will be sanctioned by the community's Ordnung--its oral body of customs and rules. For example, the bishops have generally permitted the use of electrical inverters in Amish shops so they can operate standard 110-volt AC machines like cash registers and typewriters with 12-volt batteries. The Amish receive modern medical care and encourage scientific study of their genetic diseases. Many of their famous black buggies are made of fiberglass.
The next to last sentence touches on something that non-Amish can and do criticize because it seems parasitic: they use our doctors and scientists but aren’t allowed to become doctors or scientists themselves. I’d agree that it points to a shortcoming of the Amish faith, showing that for all its good points it’s sectarian and not Catholic, literally, not universal. They agree with us that science including medicine isn’t sinful in itself; after all they use it. So if God became man to come to all, then aren’t doctors and scientists welcome as members of the community he founded? To be fair, I don’t think they believe that all born non-Amish are hellbound but the point remains.

The Amish do not all think alike. Many Amish farmers are enthusiastic users of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified seeds, which they regard as the God-given means of sustaining their farms and communities. Other Amish (Kraybill estimates 10 to 15 percent) are allied with the Green movement; the Yale University environmental historian Steven Stoll applauds organic Amish farmer David Kline, whose way of life Stoll calls postmodern: "traditional without being nostalgic, practical without nodding to technology."
TGP favourably mentions the high retention rate the Amish have — amazingly it’s even higher than in times past. Also, I understand that even those young adults who don’t choose to join the Amish church rarely apostasize from Christianity, which says a lot.

I understand that they speak three languages: at home and work they use archaic Palatinate/Swiss German that’s changed over 300 years in America (the group died out in Europe), for worship (sermons, etc.) they use standard German as printed in Luther’s Bible* (even they are ‘liturgical’ that way) and dealing with outsiders they speak English with a largely general American accent.

From Hallowed Ground
Jeff Culbreath on the reality of farming today for most people

*Funny that they accept it as he was far more Catholic than they are (they’re Anabaptists, the ‘Old Believer’ version of Mennonites) but it is a landmark of the German language (not the first German Bible though) so there you are.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Eastern churches
Ex-Jerusalem Patriarch Irineos demoted to simple monk
For selling land to Israelis. As much as I don’t like the state of Israel such doesn’t seem a valid reason for denying him the exercise of the apostolic ministry but that’s how strongly the Palestinians understandably feel!
New blog with potential
Pious and Overly Devotional*
I have friends who are orthodox Christians and radical leftists (and vice versa: Christians on the right who are so off-base theologically it astounds the mind).
By John O’Sullivan, an Anglo-Catholic gentleman in New Jersey who belongs to this place, possibly the last sound parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. Its history is interesting: it began in 1914 as an Italian immigrant schism nothing to do with theology, one of a handful in the US caused by friction with the Irish-American Roman Catholic bishops (as happened with Ruthenians, Poles and other groups), almost all of which got co-opted by the Episcopal Church: Italian Episcopalians. This place pretty much kept its faith and practice intact though, but now it’s marooned in what used to be John Spong’s diocese, in the middle of liberal Protestantism where it doesn’t belong.

Speaking of liberal Protestantism, titusonenine via Whitehall reports that the United Church of Christ (the American descendants of the Congregationalists, the English Calvinists who were the Pilgrims in Massachusetts) are putting the lordship of Jesus up to a vote and it might not win. Archbishop Robert Morse says that Calvinism, a monstrous system, always shatters into Unitarianism; a while ago these folks caught up with that 200-year-old ‘post-Christian’, non-Christian offshoot of themselves.

There is a name for those who do not believe in the divinity of Christ, they are called: Non-Christian.
*Church talk used by selection conferences and theological colleges to put down (prospective) ordinands, usually for being Catholic or simply for — get this — being ‘religious’. The RCs do it too!
+Cantuar thinks about as highly of this medium as I do of the Anglican Communion
Even though I’ve been harassed online and even defamed by ‘spoof’ postings in my name — all by ‘religious’ people BTW, and most but not all of a conservative persuasion! (the imposter on two boards was a liberal) — ‘a free-for-all that is “close to that of unpoliced conversation”’ is still in principle a good thing, Your Grace
From Jeanetta
The last word on Terri Schiavo
She died of dehydration. That was abuse. End of story.
Four from LRC
Goooooood morning, Iraq-nam
Déjà vu

Killing in the name of the Lord
GIs behaving badly: from There Is No Good War: The Myths of World War II*
The military today

US loss, Shiite victory

A cancer cure from Japan?

*One correction: search in this blog for items about Eddie Slovik and you’ll see that he wasn’t a gangster or thug. He may have been slightly retarded and definitely shouldn’t have been in the Army, let alone in combat.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
S al-B: Something for the blog’s language enthusiasts.

Via Inferno XV:

Achtung! Al-Qawaa`id

A student faces the amusingly bizarre — or dreadful, depending on how one looks at it — complexities of Arabic (Modern Standard*) grammar, or qawaa`id.

Yal'la, shid'dul-him'meh!

The above Arabic exclamation? An idiomatic vernacular expression of encouragement that roughly translates to ‘Come on, pull up your (plural) resolve’.

Personally, I think Bulgarian verbs, their many forms of conjugation being the elephant of the Bulgarian grammar system (and unlike anything found in perhaps any Slavic language), might be enough take the breath out of any accomplished student of languages even before deciding to take a foray into Arabic.

How does this compare to Russian? Bulgarian presents quite a contrast with its sister languages. For one thing, it has definite articles, and those are stuck as a suffix at the end of the referent.

*In Arabic-speaking countries, this form of the language is used in the same way Katharevousa once was in Greece and enjoys the same place the latter did in the past. [End.]

I didn’t know that about Bulgarian verbs. They seem a little more complicated, even though of course a lot of their roots are the same as Russian’s (and Russian has ‘aspect’ as well), but the difficulty levels balance out because Bulgarian, unlike its sisters, hasn’t got cases!

I knew that it has articles: иконата, the icon. Learnt that example when a Bulgarian handed me something to read aloud to test my Cyrillic alphabet skills and I did — his wife commented that I read it with a Russian accent!

BTW, adding the definite article to the end of the noun is also something that (thanks, Michael Ernst) Swedish does: en man (like German ein Mann), a man, but mannen, the man.

Katharevousa was the Hellenists’/Greek nationalists’ attempt to pretend that Greeks still speak something like ancient Greek. The government made it the official language and forced it on everybody in school until around 1974 when they gave up and made the quite different real spoken language, demotic Greek, the standard.

Still haven’t figured out how to make Greek and Arabic letters work here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI
His Catholic vision
Good news item no. 1: Fr Anthony Chadwick has a blog.

Good news item no. 2: In which he wrote this (read it the other night; Benjamin Andersen blogged it yesterday):

Pope Benedict XVI actually intends to reunite Eastern Orthodoxy and High-Church Anglicanism (the parts without female clergy and theological modernism) with the Roman Catholic Church, nothing less! The changes in the coat of arms*, the Reform of the Reform, his many writings in favour of the traditional Roman liturgy - it all becomes clear. We are moving from the "ecumenism" we have known for the last forty years back to the heady days of the Malines Conference of 1923 (much of the preparation happened under Pope Benedict XV who died in 1922 – it fits). Why the new ecumenical alignment? Simply because since Vatican II**, it is been all talk, and nothing positive has been done except to secularise the whole of western Christianity. The multi-religion meetings of Assisi and other places are over, and so are the Buddhas on the altars, the Koran-kissing. It is now all about the Undivided Church of the future!
If all this is true, Holy Father, this blog is standing by ready to serve!

On streamlining sites and the advent of super search engines
More from Fr C:

I decided today to remove the Links page altogether, as surfers can find everything they want by using Google and other search engines. A Links page is only a courtesy to be of service to people, but it is also construed as giving support to people and organisations for which I am not responsible or personally linked in any way. So, the page has gone. I have also pruned down the liturgy page, since I am sick and tired of finding half the links no longer working. It now contains only internal links. Again, everything can be found by using search engines.
I haven’t entirely got rid of links lists but before I read this I came to realize the same thing and acknowledged it as I’ve been updating/cleaning up the design on several old pages (some as old as five years, which had atrocious HTML from when I was first teaching myself to write it) and taken a few pages down, including one with — gack — frames, giving you a leaner, meaner (LOL) site that’s more ‘on message’. It’s really the same message I tried to start out with at the end of 1999 (before getting distracted/sidetracked), dedicated to Catholicity, explaining the difference between liberality and liberalism and suspicious of big government. (Difference: I’m libertarian now and not an historical fantasist — search the blog for ‘T.S. Eliot’ for more on rejecting that as a political model.)

Spruced up for you, besides the RC, Anglo-Catholic and Orthodox pages linked above, are:

The Rosary

*I like the tiara! Better than the modern mitre he seems to prefer.

**Gack! These pages have banners and lots of pop-up windows! Hope you’ve got a blocker. I know — like V2 itself, Angelfire blows. To be fair, I know that you can pay them and get rid of all that but I decided that, with the number of hits those pages get, it wasn’t worth it.
From Anderson Marsh
Another kind of GPS
A thought from Whitsuntide and in time for Eastern Orthodox Pentecost but of course the message is always true: a good entry and with good modern artwork as well!
From Justin Raimondo via Katolik Shinja
Solzhenitsyn on US-backed ‘democratic’ revolutions
LRC pick
The taser state
Thought of these issues recently as I saw on the TV the shameful spectacle of ‘Cops’, a show that LRC has written about. What’s wrong with it is that it conditions people to think that a police state — tasering a woman driver for example — is somehow normal. In the episode I saw a part of, a 15-year-old was hauled off to jail for fighting back when her mother assaulted her. (Having lived closer to people of this social class than I’d like — BTW both the TV people and my ex-neighbours are poor whites — I can understand being tempted to hit them but no matter.) The policeman explained that according to the law (which to be fair the cops only enforce, not interpret) the mother had the legal right to manhandle her (up to a point which he didn’t specify) as she’s underage. Within the letter of the law but still horrible. Dr James Dobson, while not perfect (Protestant and AFAIK pro-Bush), is often maligned by the MSM for advocating corporal punishment when necessary. Well, guess what? Dobson’s right but what he really teaches is that it’s OK only in very limited doses (never slap a child in the face for example) for serious offences for a short period of a few years in childhood. (I’ve seen my friend Jeff Culbreath, exactly my age with four children, apply it in his household, humanely and fairly.) He would be as horrified by yanking out the hair of a 15-year-old and shoving her against a wall as I was! But again, the point here is that the state through the police wants you, free and over 21, to accept being treated by it like a stroppy five-year-old. Awful.
Happy birthday, archangelmr
Best wishes from the blog to a former friend who helped form my worldview
Two from Fr James Tucker
Israeli soldiers regret revenge attack

Catholic Europe’s better way of dealing with death

Don’t try to hide it from kids