Sunday, July 31, 2005

From Huw Raphael
Perspective on terrorism
With a link to an entry from David Holford
From Anglo-Catholic Ruminations
Today’s Roman Rite feast
And a thought related to it from the Byzantine Rite:
For those who are travelling by land, air and water, for the sick, the suffering, for prisoners and captives, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
From Open Book
The decline of Christianity in Britain
Or you know it’s bad when, as happened to me, the theological college you’re applying to jacks it all in before you’ve even started, in its brochure (!), by declaring British society ‘post-Christian’
Contrary to popular belief, it was not G K Chesterton who said: "When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They believe in anything." But he should have said it. Chesterton - who is nowadays best remembered, if at all, for his Father Brown stories - viewed atheism with the utmost suspicion. Those who disbelieve in God on supposedly rational grounds, he argued, merely become prey to pseudo-religions and superstitions. His neatest formulation was probably in The Miracle of Moon Crescent when he wrote: "You hard-shelled materialists [are] all balanced on the very edge of belief - of belief in almost anything."

Chesterton feared that, if Christianity declined, "superstition" would "drown all your old rationalism and scepticism". When educated friends tell me that they have invited a shaman to investigate their new house for bad ju-ju, I see what Chesterton meant.
Quite. People who look down on the Catholic faith as superstitious eventually go in for bad knockoffs of it (like secular humanism) or for obvious bogosity.

The descendents of the people who wrote the Articles of Religion against the faith now pray to goddesses and the four winds. Google ‘William Swing’ for example and you’ll see what I mean. Their Calvinist offshoot (the fun folks who banned Christmas as popish superstition) partly became Unitarians and most of what’s left of their Congregational church in the US (the United Church of Christ) now officially does gay weddings.
There was a time when Europe would justly refer to itself as "Christendom". Europeans built the continent's loveliest edifices to accommodate their acts of worship. They quarrelled bitterly over the distinction between transubstantiation and consubstantiation. As pilgrims, missionaries and conquistadors, they sailed to the four corners of the earth, intent on converting the heathen to the true faith. Now it is we who are the heathens.
Catholic Europe: sic transit gloria.
According to the Gallup Millennium Survey of Religious Attitudes, barely 20 per cent of West Europeans attend church services at least once a week, compared with 47 per cent of North Americans and 82 per cent of West Africans. Less than half of western Europeans say God is a "very important" part of their lives, as against 83 per cent of Americans and virtually all West Africans. And fully 15 per cent of western Europeans deny that there is any kind of "spirit, God or life force" - seven times the American figure and 15 times the West African.

The exceptionally low level of British religiosity was perhaps the most striking revelation of a recent ICM poll. One in five Britons claims to "attend an organised religious service regularly", less than half the American figure. Little more than a quarter of us say that we pray regularly, compared with two thirds of Americans and 95 per cent of Nigerians. And barely one in 10 of us would be willing to die for our God or our beliefs, compared with 71 per cent of Americans.
- Niall Ferguson

‘And did those feet in ancient time...’
From Mere Comments
On righteous anger
From Protestantism, erm, Christianity Today via titusonenine
Our uniquely undisciplined moment
A Protestant article but it has a lot of good points
Among American [Roman] Catholics, the collapse of church discipline is symbolized by empty confessionals and more than $1 billion in settlements for clergy sexual abuses. [Search this blog under ‘the gay-priest scandal’.] Mainline liberal Protestants present the fool's gold standard of church discipline on every count: the hemorrhage in church membership, the closure of churches, the dilution of doctrinal and moral integrity, the absence of confession in worship, hyper-optimistic ecumenical romanticism, the avid neglect of Scripture, and knee-jerk politics [the last isn’t just a liberal problem]. American Episcopalians maintain stubborn resistance to warnings by the world Anglican Communion that they have recklessly broken fellowship. American evangelicals also avoid church discipline as they acclimate to client-driven church strategies, desperately popular preaching, the health-and-wealth gospel [search this blog under ‘Joel Osteen’], and the appetite to be really okay within modern culture.
From blog member Lee Penn
What’s wrong with being bourgeois from a Christian viewpoint
Lee: Not an apology for Bolshevism
From Verbum ipsum
On the messy aftermath of another wrongheaded war
The one on which Wag the Dog was directly based

Deo gratias and good riddance

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Friday, July 29, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI
Anglo-Catholic Ruminations
Optimistic (from our POV) Australian article about the new Pope
• Objective, Godward, liturgical... great!
• Related to that, as the article correctly hints the Catholic faith is not the personal cult of the Pope
• Regarding the other predictions, I’ll believe them when I see them
As for major issues of division in the church - women priests, contraception and married priests - [Dr Paul] Collins predicts there will be no change.
Of course not — regarding the first two, changing the universe isn’t among the Pope’s powers and he doesn’t and his predecessor didn’t claim otherwise. Once again the secular world confuses doctrine with discipline, the last item being the latter, but that rule probably won’t change either.
I think this is pretty cool
A milestone for me: today for the first time in my life I bought an internal component/hardware (a sound card), opened up my computer (looking at its green and silver guts), installed it and eureka! It works!

Now I can listen to my (legally) downloaded music and CD rips in proper fashion as well as DVDs as soon as I get some.

Thanks for the advance advice, Robert Quick.
Eastern churches
Fr George Maloney, aged 80, died 19th July 2005
Господь Бог помилует его и дасть ему вечную память. Just got this news tonight after Prof. Daniel Kavka’s funeral (see entry earlier today, two below this one). Wow. I was told the reason he switched churches after nearly 50 years as a priest (!) was that his order wanted to move him into a nursing home and he refused.

What a prolific writer, rather like the great Schmemann and Meyendorff: I’m still about halfway through Invaded by God (which I got from the library of Canon Robert Offerle when he moved), which is deceptively simple at first but each sentence needs unpacking so it’s slow going. For decades he seemed to be a profound interpreter of the Orthodox tradition for Western Catholics. Seemed a bit too accepted by the Novus Ordo folk but maybe that wasn’t his intent or choice. (The people who reject tradition turn patronising when it’s safely exotic like the Christian East, plus they can appear ecumenical.)

Here are some of his many other books.

Спасибо за всё, о. Георгий.
From The Gaelic Starover
The Pope’s imaginary offence
The Zionists are angry because he refused to let them monopolise sympathy for human suffering — again (‘Oy! Enough already!’)
He is quite capable of composing Christian prayers without input, oversight, and prior approval from Tel Aviv’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
And, one hopes, willing.

The Roy Cohn of the Oughties?
Chilling that

Remember when American Jews were famous and respected for standing up for civil rights?
Eastern churches
Daniel Kavka died yesterday, aged 80 (details)
Prof‘Prof’ was the cantor at Holy Ghost (Ruthenian) Byzantine Catholic Church* in Philadelphia (the city’s oldest Eastern-rite church of any kind) since 1947, the man who introduced me to the Russian tradition of church and folk music (as well as his own Ruthenian tradition) — and through that the language — and one of the most joyful people I’ve ever known. There is a story that he died once before, for a few minutes, but (obviously) came back. Glad I got a chance to catch up and have a drink with him at the church bar — what’s left of the old ‘Holy Ghost Club’ in the church hall — about seven years ago. That ended with an impromptu Slavic singing session with other old-timers there, including Michael Semanik**, also no longer with us.

He was originally from Pittston, in this part of the world, and had a seminary degree, from St Procopius in the Midwest back when the RC Benedictines trained Ruthenian priests in the States, in the good old days of the legitimate liturgical movement when its people were really interested in the Christian East and before the Ruthenians built their own seminary in Pittsburgh. Back then cantors (who often were called ‘Professor’) often got the same education that priests did.

If anybody deserved a papal knighthood he did.

Вечная память!

(Here is an answer to the question ‘Who are Ruthenians?’)

*This site takes for ever to load but if you stay with it you can hear Prof’s well-drilled choir (he had them rehearse every week in season, autumn to spring) sing ‘О всепетая Мати’, ‘O all-hymned Mother’.

**After the Iron Curtain collapsed he got to go to his parents’ old town, Svidník, Slovakia, where he met some cousins who unknown to him all those years had kept a connection to him as they had a photo of him from World War II in his US Army uniform!

St Michael’s Church, Prikra, Slovakia
LRC pick
Le Grand Dérangement

• 250 years ago
• The real story behind Longfellow’s Evangeline
Les acadiens: libertarian and Catholic
• Where today’s Louisianan Cajuns (like Ms Saucier?) got their name
• An atrocity committed by Britain
• Where the Americans might have got the idea for the similar ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Cherokee people about eight decades later, stealing what’s now northern Georgia from this successful, Westernised tribe
The Tanacu killing in Romania
Was looking for the latest news on this horrible crime and found several stories, all in Romanian (type ‘Corogeanu’ and click ‘OK’ to get the story links); one story also ran on what’s apparently a Byzantine Catholic site. Here’s a crude translation page.

Can any of you read Romanian better than I can?
Romania to keep troops in Iraq
Romanian President Traian Basescu... said Romania "like any other democratic state" could be the object of a terrorist attack.
Nobody bombs Portugal or Sweden. Pull out!
LRC blog picks
More on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in London

You want us to what?! Kill our customers? (more and still more)

Digging into the memory hole with The War Street Journal


The charitably Christian notion of recognizing the difference between the sin and the sinner is exactly like distinguishing between a nation's government and its people.
- Casey Khan
Benderman acquitted of desertion charge
Soldier with conscience sentenced to 15 months in jail, bad discharge for ‘missing his deployment flight’

Army bullshit:
"Sgt. Benderman quit his unit in order to avoid hazardous duty," said prosecutor Capt. Jonathan DeJesus.
Calling him a coward. No, Kevin Benderman quit his unit because, having done this ‘hazardous duty’, he didn’t want to kill people anymore for no good reason.

That’s called being a hero, Captain, not a coward.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Goodbye, Strawbridge’s
The retail dynasty founded in 1861 by a Pennsylvanian Quaker family by that name will be no more
Demonising the mentally ill
By Liz Spikol
Eastern churches
Related to this:

From Mere Comments
Breaking news: Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese votes to leave NCC
Can’t argue with that

And from The Moscow Times:

Russian Orthodox Church launches own cable channel
Imagine that: a completely non-Novus Ordo version of EWTN. Хорошо!

De-mythologising Eastern Orthodox history in America
This seems to have been written by somebody in the Greek or Antiochian archdiocese with a northern European surname (convert?) who obviously doesn’t like either the Russians or Byzantine Catholics. (‘Uniate’ gives about the same connotative offence as ‘coloured’ today. Those who use it are most of the time simply being rude.)
Of this total of 29,019 in the lower 48 (not all states at the time [1909], of course), only about 27% are Russians. The rest are mainly ex-Uniates.
So what? They were all ‘under the Russians’. Today the Ruthenian former Byzantine Catholics’ descendents make up about 60 per cent of the old Russian dioceses, now the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a smallish denomination centred in the old Slavic working-class ‘Rust Belt’ in the Northeast (Ohio and Pennsylvania).
Even the description of the Syro-Arabs in the US at the time describes them not as being "under" the Russians, but as having been "assisted" by them in building churches and missions. St. Raphael of Brooklyn, while acting under the auspices of St. Tikhon (the Russian bishop at the time), had been requested by the Syrian laity themselves to come and serve them, presumably because they weren't getting appropriate pastoral oversight in their existing situation.
Which means he was under the Russians.

It seems that even before the Russian Revolution some immigrant groups brought/asked for priests from their home countries’ churches, which canonically wasn’t quite right but understandable — an exception.

The moral of this story seems to be ‘Keep sending your cheques to Istanbul!’ (Or Damascus.)

This fellow has a lot to say about the nationalistic canonical quagmire the Eastern Orthodox in the States are in today.
NASA grounds shuttle fleet
I told you so
• Do the crew aboard Discovery know?
... ‘Now you decide!’
... ‘F*CK!’
From Verbum ipsum
Evangelicals trying to be hip... again
And what’s wrong with it
In other words, Christians can be insufferable hipsters too!
A punto. The worst of hipster snobbery and insufferable Evangelical Protestant self-righteousness as self-centred kids latch onto ‘virtue is cool’ as a new trend. (The RC neocons and parts of the Eastern Orthodox convert boomlet are the same way.)
Churches make room with "come as you are" dress codes that leave behind the formality many older churchgoers remember from their youth.
I’m a moderate on this one holding that the Catholic position is objectivity/liturgical decorum in the sanctuary but ‘come as you are’ for the laity as long as you don’t look like you’re for hire or a striptease act (in short, as long as you aren’t an occasion of sin). This place in New York’s Soho is an example of what I mean by this moderation. The Catholic Church: here comes everybody. And that’s how it should be.
And that line about "If you wear a hat in church, does that mean you're not saved?" How about "All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful"? It's one thing to recognize that tastes in fashion or music change; it's quite another to banish reverence from church altogether.
A punto.
When I read these kinds of stories it only makes me think that I wouldn't have gone anywhere near such a place when I was 20 years old. Once I finally got around to reacquainting myself with Christianity after a long period of indifference mixed with hostility, I think I wanted to find something that didn't just replicate or mimic the surrounding culture. If hanging out at church is no different from hanging out at Starbucks, what's the point? The coffee and music at Starbucks are probably better.

The (first) two comments are spot-on as well.
IRA officially renounces violence
Gaudent angeli
Drink a round to Ireland, boys, I’m home again;
Drink a round to Jesus Christ, who died for Irish men.
- Hugh Prestwood, ‘Drink a Round to Ireland’, covered by Judy Collins (listen)

Simply put, the Presbyterian majority in Northern Ireland want to be British! But of course that doesn’t give them the right to persecute the RC minority.

Also from the BBC:

Tornado in Birmingham!
A kindred blog
A Green Conservatism
Not to unduly romanticise history (life in Russia has always been hard) but the difference between these two images I’ve seen in the past couple of days, of St Vladimir (today is his Orthodox feast-day: съ праздникомъ!) in an idealised painting of a Catholic ruler (which in many ways was true: his conversion was just that in that he changed radically, trying to commit to peace and nonviolence) and of this confused Russian girl today (‘McBain to base: under attack by Commie-Nazis!’), says something.
LRC pick
Among many good articles today about the war:

At uni, only some ‘free speech’ is protected
From The Gaelic Starover
Is this an effort to question Naeem Noor Khan, or to silence him?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

From Mere Comments
‘Choice’ language is a loser
The Republicans aren’t the only ones trying a new marketing campaign for death
My theory: get to know three languages...
... and you can talk to just about everybody in Europe, not necessarily fluently but enough to communicate. Learn one language from each of the three big branches of the Indo-European family: Germanic (such as this, now the world’s second language), Romance and Slav(on)ic.

P.S. Corrections: to agree with the formal you in ‘Удачи вам!’ (where the you should be capitalised: Вам — otherwise it’s a plural) the verb in ‘Учись русский язык, конечно!’ should change to Учитесь. Простите меня!
Eastern churches
Question on the Eastern Orthodox view of divorce and remarriage
I asked this recently and am still waiting for a good answer — perhaps the Orthodox visitors here can have a go at it

You can read some of the answers offered and my replies by scrolling down the page.

In theory allowing adultery for economy’s sake is a lot like an excuse for contraception that I reject: ‘it’s between a couple and their spiritual father’ (rather like the pro-abortion one, ‘it’s between a woman and her doctor’). As an online sparring partner well puts it:
Priests and bishops have certain powers, but this ain’t one of them.
The Catholic faith
Bacon and sex: what Bible Christians believe about homosexuality
By the Revd Canon John Heidt
Whose son Fr Michael Heidt (search in this blog) I had the honour of knowing many years ago. This article — by ‘Bible Christians’ Canon Heidt is not writing from a Protestant point of view — answers the argument from people like Charles Bennison that the traditional ban on homosexual sex is something disposable along with the Levitical prohibitions of the Old Testament. (Hello? Epistle to the Romans? Oh, right. I, Chuck, erm, the church, ‘can change scripture and has many times’*.) It goes along with this, from the good old days of Pontifications before the Novus Ordo neocons took over the comments boxes, which in ways says what I believe on the issue better than what I’ve written myself.

*The part in inverted commas is an actual Bennison quotation, his perversion of the Catholic position that scripture is the church’s book, part of tradition.
LRC blog pick
In the Ukraine there are no more traffic cops
And the driving is fine, thanks

Sometimes even socialists can get it right.
The story of the "liquidation" of Ukraine's State Automobile Inspectorate (DAI) began in June after President Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Europe politician who led the country's Orange Revolution at the end of 2004, decided to drive to the mountainous [sic] for some hiking.
I understand that the Russian agency of the same name (ГАИ, pronounced ‘guy’) is a terror of ordinary citizens in a country that’s already pretty terrifying.
"...driving is less stressful because now you don't have to worry about some goon on every street corner inventing violations to hit you for a bribe."
- Vadym Chabanov, a Kiev courier rider
From The Onion
Bush to London bombers: ‘Bring it on’
WASHINGTON, DC — President Bush officially responded to the latest round of London transit bombings Monday, challenging terrorists to "do their worst." Said Bush, in a televised statement from the Oval Office: "The proud and resilient people of London can take anything the forces of evil and cowardice can throw at them. They will never live in fear of you. Bring it on." Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Bush for his comments, inviting him to visit London and ride the Underground in a show of solidarity.
"Well, it certainly led to a lot of poorly Photoshopped crying lions and unicorns in my e-mail."
Had to make sure this was from The Onion!
Eastern churches

St Vladimir’s bones return to Kiev
Where he was prince over 1,000 years ago and started the conversion of Russia to Christianity. Tomorrow is his feast-day in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Слава Богу!
From truthout
US papers censor truthful and funny ‘Doonesbury’ cartoon
I’m not a fan of this comic but this is pretty good!

US officials try out new slogan for latest war
As others have pointed out ‘war on terrorism’ is stupid for the same reason ‘war on fighter planes’ or ‘war on surface-to-air missiles’ would be but it had a nice ring to it if you didn’t think about it. ‘Global struggle against violent extremism’ just sucks: the neocons (who are, after all, a kind of liberal) trying to be PC.

Here’s more on this from Daithí Mac Lochlainn.

(BTW, Daithí, I tried watching ‘Ros na Rún’ last night on the box and didn’t understand a word of it — I needed the subtitles. It’s hard to believe that Gaelic is in the same Indo-European family as English!)

Witness: dogs bit Abu Ghraib prisoners
LRC pick
The lesson of Maribel Cuevas
Fred Reed on kids, discipline and the bloody-mindedness and incompetence of the modern state

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Asperger syndrome

Requiescat in pace

The murder of Craig Sorger
Aged 13 and slightly autistic: a ‘thrill kill’ by two 12-year-olds

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Yes, try them as adults, sentence them (one got 14 years, which doesn’t seem long enough) and God have mercy on them.

P.S. Original sin and evil are real.
From Open Book
The avant-garde orthodox Christians
From Ordice Gallups
High-church Lutherans who are Benedictine monks:

St Augustine’s House, Oxford, Michigan
Complete with eastward-facing (Godward) Mass

(And the site for their Sylvestrine Benedictine RC neighbours.)

And like a needle in a secular haystack, Mass-and-office Catholicism på svenska in what until recently was the state Lutheran church:

Östanbäcks Kloster
Their chapel, set up with choir stalls to pray the office
Their Mass, facing the wrong way but otherwise not bad!

Proper nuns
From the convent at Alsike Kloster (I don’t know if they’re Benedictines as well)

It’s all Novus Ordo-ish yet very nice (and of course very neat and orderly in a modern Germanic way — the right kind of Klaarheit, not the brutal, iconoclastic kind), more like what the old legitimate liturgical movement wanted.

I don’t believe in mixing rites (often a sign of Modernism) but in this conservative context the icons work and aren’t offensive (unlike liberals playing with them).

And speaking of Sweden, David Holford has...

Praise of and facts about lingonberries
I like eating at Ikea too
From blog member John Boyden
Hey, look! A new Pentagon toy!

More on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes

Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso.
JB: Well, I guess that’s what you get for running from people chasing you with guns.
Mayor Ken Livingstone said the killing was a "human tragedy" that was a consequence of the attacks. "The police acted to do what they believed necessary to protect the lives of the public," he said. "This tragedy has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility."
JB: Yes, damn those terrorists! Look what they made us do! [End.]

To give the mayor credit, search this blog using his name to find his remarks on what caused the bombings. In fact you can read them in the LRC pick earlier today.
LRC pick
The morals of Tony Blair
From Huw Raphael
NASA’s folly
And your tax dollars go up in smoke... Chill, guys. We already beat the Russians to the moon and there is no reason — beyond your ahem, ‘ego’ issues — to try and feed more fish. Stand down.
- HR

Monday, July 25, 2005

From Andrew Cusack
Following up on this:

Canon Bernard Iddings Bell on religion in America
In the first half of the 20th century! That and as acquaintance Larry Reilly recently paraphrased Mgr Ronald Knox, since the time of the Pilgrims America has been the happy hunting-ground of sectarianism.

It’s all only got worse, hasn’t it?

Some integrist brother Catholics and the protty religious right would accuse this blog of a similar selling-out with its libertarianism but the good folks at LRC (many of whom are Roman Catholics) explain that this isn’t so and in fact such principles can and should be anchored in the faith.
From Apostolicity
Quotation from a theological stopped clock
Which I happened to see at the right hour:
In order to win the "war on terrorism" we must address its underlying causes and win peace in the Middle East. The three Abrahamic faiths are called to be the servants of God's peace which embraces all people and alone can overcome the fears and hatreds that divide us and prevent us from regarding one another as God's beloved children. May all who call God Father and the Compassionate One be drawn together in a renewed commitment to peacemaking for the sake of God's world.
- Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the Episcopal Church USA
From Jim Cork
Follow-up on the Pope and Harry Potter:

What he really meant
Actually, two years ago, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a thank-you note on his personal letterhead to a German woman who had sent him her book criticizing Potter. He expressed a general appreciation and agreement with the need to be careful of what our children read. Some Americans and Canadians have translated the letter, using it to bolster their campaign to convince the western world that Harry Potter is a tool of Satan.

As I remarked at Amy's place, I seem to recall that when then-Cardinal Ratzinger stated that the Iraq war could not be morally justified, many people protested that we were not bound by his private opinions, and that there was room for legitimate disagreement. I guess a children's book is a more serious matter than war and peace and all that.
Such is the Protestant religious right including its RC branch.
In his movie Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock showed kids pictures of famous people, and asked them who they were. The kids got Ronald McDonald right. They didn't get Jesus Christ.
Is that true?
Eastern churches
Civitas Dei
Petition to have Turkey give Hagia Sophia back to the church
From truthout via
Overflow crowds in America meet to discuss Downing Street memo on its third anniversary
LRC picks
Two from Lew:

The decline and fall of conservatism

Eight days in July

Or why Mr Bush didn’t choose Mr Gonzales
South Street
Still fun in a bazaar-like way (once I found a reliquary crucifix in the antique shops in an ex-synagogue just south of South in Sixth Street) but yesterday I noticed that each end of the big shopping part of it now has a Starbucks. That and both Book Trader and Zipperhead moving, and the longtime presence of the Gap and McDonalds, tell me that it’s no longer the city’s hip/creative centre and really has turned into the Cherry Hill Mall.

But like I said there are still bright spots. One interesting phenom is that, as it borders black neighbourhoods, there are two black-nationalist/Rastafarian and thus Ethiopian-themed shops, one of which has real Ethiopian brass and carved wooden priest’s blessing crosses and Coptic/Ethiopian icons! (Unlike Byzantine icons these have round chubby faces and come from the style of ancient Egyptian funerary art — the Copts are the ancient Egyptians.) This is a source of much potential good; perhaps the buyers will eventually learn how, like Malcolm X/Shabazz renounced the racist pseudo-Islam of Elijah Muhammad for real Islam (and got killed for it), music legend and ganja symbol Bob Marley left Rasta towards the end of his life and died a real Ethiopian Orthodox.
From blog member John Boyden
Son of Chabad Hasidim’s founder converted to Catholicism
In the early 1800s
From Fr James Tucker
Bogus wedding vows are in
Yes, o tempora and all that but in this case it’s true: ‘till death or a better offer us do part’ is what they really mean as Fr Tucker points out:
Well, that sort of thing would make an annulment very easy: from the Catholic point of view, an intention against till-death-do-us-part permanence invalidates the marriage vows from the get-go. Your wedding dress may have a five-foot train, but you're no more married than my neighbor's dog is.
And a friend has these related observations.

The 1920s situation she describes and the modern one each have their good and bad points.

Along with what’s probably the topper, the famous ending of the glurge-fest Love Story* (marvellously made fun of by Ryan O’Neal himself at the end of What’s Up, Doc? in about the same year), ‘I can’t live without you’ is one of the dumbest lines ever about love. (Related is ‘you complete me’ though in a good way that can be true.) I should think I jolly well can live without you, but if I really love you, I’d rather not... and am concerned with your ultimate well-being and not only my needs.

You have to be enough in sync to make it work. (A Catholic getting together with a member of NARAL? Been there, done that, believe it or not. No go.) But that doesn’t mean you agree on everything. If you did, wouldn’t that get old after a while? And everybody needs constructive criticism. Look how Paul McCartney’s music turned to crap when his only critic was Linda and John Lennon wasn’t there to take the piss out of him anymore. Just agree on the really important stuff.

The moderns are wrong to think that a girlfriend or wife (boyfriend or husband for the women of course) can/should/must fill all the needs one has for different friendships and points of view but the 1920s view is sad in a way too — people (especially women) having to marry out of (economic, social) necessity and not desire and so doing with people they don’t even especially like! I’m glad a lot of that is gone but the modern way uses people too (‘I promise ... until I get tired of you’).

*There was a story in the news recently about an English couple who held the world record for the longest marriage (80 years or something like that — I think one of them just died) and when asked what their secret was the man said he apologised for something every day.
From the LRC blog
Good questions from Jon Stewart
He was interviewing a Newsweek writer, Fahreed Zakharia (or something like that) about Iraq and said this: Let's see. The theory behind this war is that democracies do not breed terrorism. Question: Isn't England a . . . . . . . democracy? And weren't those subway bombers home-grown? And doesn't this blow the democracy-stops-terrorism theory out of the water?

Good question. The
Newsweek guy blabbered some nonsense denying the obvious answer to Stewart's questions.
From TCR News via the LRC blog
Catholic anarchism
By Dorothy Day
• Part of the real Catholic Action movement (search the blog for more)
• Pre-Vatican II ≠ worshipping the general culture of the 1950s
Pope Benedict XVI
From ZENIT via
Sources Chrétiennes
Benedict XVI, Vatican II and modernity
Many believe that "Gaudium et Spes" was the key document that shaped the life of the Church in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council. However, according to theologian Tracey Rowland, 40 years of post-conciliar history and reflection on the 1965 pastoral constitution have led many to conclude that the document had an inadequate understanding of culture, particularly that of the culture of liberal modernity. The result, Rowland reckons, was the unleashing of currents within the Church that gravely harmed the liturgy and offered a false humanism ultimately destructive to the pastoral care of souls....

To be a practicing
[Roman] Catholic [sic] in many parishes, one had to buy into the pop culture of the 1960s and 1970s.
Which is why to be really Catholic it’s best to stay away from modern RC practice. Maintain old rites and stay in the historic mainstream.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Catholic faith
Stumble on Water
Picture and quotation

The dome of an Eastern Orthodox church
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
- John 8:17

‘We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth’ as the then-still-pagan Russian envoys to the eastern Roman Empire put it when they saw a church and service of this rite at the time (today the Russian Orthodox venerate St Olga, the Christian convert grandmother of St Vladimir who first had part of Russia baptised in 988).
• The icon of Our Lord is called the Pantokrator (Вседержитель in Slavonic and Russian), the Almighty. He can also be seen as the Judge at the end of our lives and of the world, with a closed book in his hand.
‘Therefore, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name...’ - the Roman Mass and the Book of Common Prayer
• Jesus saves; Mary prays.

And another beautiful image and quotation:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven
The Mass/Liturgy and Real Presence in a picture (the light is coming from windows ‘in the altar’ in Byzantine Rite terms, streaming through the main — bishops’ and priests’ — door of the iconostasis, the door directly in front of the holy table)
From Katolik Shinja
The consequences of fear
RIP Jean Charles de Menezes

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A news-source blog
From The Times via Thinking Anglicans*
The silliness and brilliance of religion on the box
Following up on this. In the States, as religious as people are, the subject has long been ghettoised on the main free channels to the same time-slots when people are (or should be) in church or dedicated to its own channels including in the balkanised pop-culture world of cable and satellite, from the fairly good but Novus Ordo EWTN to the Trinity Broadcasting Network for the spectrum of fundygelicals.

Pray within your own solitude
By Mgr Roderick Strange

*A site we haven’t much in common with that’s got a rather arrogant title, as if Anglicans who don’t buy into Mr Sarmiento’s rewarmed Broad Churchery (the secular world with a veneer of God-talk — and of course it’s gay) are guilty of not thinking or incapable of thought. Of course a church that’s this prideful about its intellectual ability has no real place for, or would have a fitting ‘final solution’ for, embarrassing saints like Russia’s holy fools and wandering pilgrims or St Benedict Joseph Labré — ‘What do you think we are, Catholic?’
A classic

P.S. The ‘L.Y.’ who owned and wrote on this card was actress Loretta Young.
Three from LRC
Your personal life is not an affair of state

The use of depleted uranium (search this blog for more)
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer

Brought to you by the Party of Morality™.

A rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight
American and particularly Southern opposition to World War I

Friday, July 22, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover
Old friends meet again?
Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein
Karl Rove talking points
A cartoon by Tom Tomorrow
From Jason Michelizzi
Who hates my politics but keeps coming here anyway (thanks):

No more AOL CDs!
Not the prettiest site but a great concept

When I finally dropped AOL they played a trick to keep automatically renewing the account and charging me. They deserve to go out of business.
Hush, the holy place
Hush, the holy place,
where unknown saints have prayed,
and sinners sought forgiving grace,
and, though they feared to lose the race,
have come before thy holy face -
within the silent holy place.

Silent I must stand in awe,
where lie the emblems of the feast
that drives away the guilt of law,
and stills the old condemning beast,
by sordid death that once was wrought
and poured out blood that once me bought.

Hush, the holy place,
where unknown saints have prayed,
and sinners sought forgiving grace,
and, though they feared to lose the race,
have come before thy holy face -
within the silent holy place.

Standing I can move no more;
standing hear the silence roar,
with the altar standing near
in thy presence without fear,
as thy love becomes so clear,
and I shed a thankful tear.

Hush, the holy place,
where unknown saints have prayed,
and sinners sought forgiving grace,
and, though they feared to lose the race,
have come before thy holy face -
within the silent holy place.

Standing silent move no more,
feet now rooted to the floor,
eyes that see beyond the veil,
a spirit Satan cannot assail,
as I stand in wordless prayer,
surely knowing thou art there.

Hush, the holy place,
where unknown saints have prayed,
and sinners sought forgiving grace,
and, though they feared to lose the race,
have come before thy holy face -
within the silent holy place.

And in the silent holy place
have I met thee, Lord,
and in the silent holy place
drunk thy holy cup,
and in that cup have tasted thee,
and having tasted I am filled,
and filled I go at last,
- Ed Pacht
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
On being judgemental
There have always been people without judgment but this is the first era in which being nonjudgmental is considered good -- though how anything can be considered good if you are nonjudgmental is another puzzle.
- Thomas Sowell

Good joke about the life cycle
An online journal that’s all in Latin! As much as I like to say that Catholic traditionalism isn’t about Latin*, this is a beautiful language that doesn’t seem dead to me thanks to so much exposure to it in its modern forms like Spanish and Italian. All it takes to make it come alive is to pronounce it the ecclesiastical way, just like Italian (as was done in Mel Gibson’s The Passion even though it probably wasn’t historically right).

*Recently in Pontifications’ comments I used the Byzantine Rite and non-Roman rites in general as examples proving that but this was ignored (by people trying to diss the Roman Mass) — such simply isn’t on the radar of many in ‘the one, Irish, Catholic and apostolic church’ as Fr Peter Robinson says.
From Occidentalis (Benjamin Andersen)
From David Hart of First Things at its mannerly Touchstone-like best:
Anyone familiar with the Eastern Christian world knows that the Orthodox view of the [Roman] Catholic Church is often a curious mélange of fact, fantasy, cultural prejudice, sublime theological misunderstanding, resentment, reasonable disagreement, and unreasonable dread: it sees a misty phantasmagoria of crusades, predestination, “modalism,” a God of wrath, flagellants, Grand Inquisitors, and those blasted Borgias. But, still, and from my own perspective ab oriente, I must remark that the greater miscalculation of what divides us is almost inevitably found on the [Roman] Catholic side, not always entirely free of a certain unreflective condescension.

...under the capacious canopy of the papal office, so many disparate things find common shelter. Eastern rites huddle alongside liturgical practices (hardly a peripheral issue in the East) disfigured by rebarbative banality, by hymnody both insipid and heterodox, and by a style of worship that looks flippant if not blasphemous. Academic theologians explicitly reject principles of Catholic orthodoxy, but are not (as they would be in the East) excluded from communion. There are three men called Patriarch of Antioch in the Roman communion—Melkite, Maronite, and Latin (I think I have them all)—which suggests that the very title of patriarch, even as regards an apostolic see, is merely honorific, because the only unique patriarchal office is the pope’s. As unfair as it may seem, to Orthodox Christians it often appears as if, from the
[Roman] Catholic side, so long as the pope’s supremacy is acknowledged, all else is irrelevant ornament. [Which is objectively and historically not true.] Which yields the sad irony that the more the [Roman] Catholic Church strives to accommodate Orthodox concerns, the more disposed many Orthodox are to see in this merely the advance embassy of an omnivorous ecclesial empire.
Fair and accurate about both sides!
From blog member John Boyden
New treaty gives CIA power over Irish citizens
US investigators, including CIA agents, will be allowed to interrogate Irish citizens on Irish soil in total secrecy
JB: This is getting outrageous!
On prayer beads including the Rosary
Popped into the Eastern Orthodox message boards yesterday to offer some history and perspective.

To answer the Orthodox objection to the Rosary* given on principle, it’s fairly obvious that the events meditated upon are directly from scripture and common Catholic dogma (not ‘the life of Krishna’ or suchlike) which is enough of a safeguard.

So while one can successfully argue for not introducing it in order to maintain the integrity of a rite (the Christian East doesn’t need Western-style meditation) of course there’s really nothing wrong with the Dominican Rosary!

And there are Western chaplets such as the Divine Mercy one that don’t involve meditation.

*I don’t advocate hybridising rites (and Rome agrees) but this page still offers some good material on this devotion and a good sample of Byzantine Rite prayers as well.
Making the rounds of the blogosphere
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) once again considers leaving the National and World Councils of Churches
Of course a lot of the social-gospel stuff — joint charitable work, etc. — is fine, except the liberal Protestants have knocked it off its foundation in orthodox Christian theology.

Without it the church simply turns into a chaplaincy for the neocons.

It’s not supposed to be that. Aslan is not a tame lion.

When the NCC and WCC began they were different. Mainline Protestants and Anglicans* were theologically much more conservative, all recognisably Christian, and so having serious ecumenical talks made sense.

I agree of course that having reunion talks with liberal Protestants as they are now is a waste of time (but dialogues to try to re-catechise them aren’t) and efforts should be shifted to ‘the new ecumenism’ among theological conservatives, especially among Catholics — essentially the point of Touchstone.

*ARCIC is a waste of time: it’s simply the Broad Church clerical union running the First World Anglican churches sitting down with the Modernist quisling RCs (the kind who diss the Pope one minute and the next wonder why, oh, why won’t he wave his hand to change the universe and let them ordain women?) and agreeing with each other. Pull the plug on that one, please!
From the LRC blog
US House votes to reauthorise ‘Patriot Act’

More from CNN via John Boyden.
Despicable. If these people were anything resembling real conservatives or "patriots" they would have eviscerated the clearly unconstitutional provisions of this thing.

Of course, when those who should know better fail to act as they should, then the only voices of opposition -- by default -- come from the wretched left. The result of this is particularly insidious: the Fox news-watching lumpenconservative general public sees this and then promptly tell themselves that the so-called Patriot act (which, by the way, is actually called the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act -- an acronym for some tortured, Orwellian wordplay) really MUST, therefore, be a good thing... seeing as its perceptibly few opponents are a bunch of miserable Commie so-and-so's like the ACLU. (Who really are, for the most part, actually a bunch of miserable Commie so-and-so's.)

Of course, there are many opponents of stuff like the P-Act, except that they're from mostly underfunded, scrappy, low-profile paleoconservative and libertarian groups who wield neither the clout nor the working capital to manipulate popular opinion the way the Heritages, AEI's and RNC's of the world can. Of course, it always helps greatly -- to paraphrase Lyndon Johnson -- to have the other guy's private parts in your figurative pocket, as in the case of the incestuous relationship between the Neocon right and outfits like Fox/Newscorp.
- archangelmr
Kevin Benderman Defense Committee
This soldier with a conscience is set to be court-martialled starting the 28th July. You can search this blog for more on him.
The world’s smallest political quiz
A libertarian classic

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Group will have the Roman Mass at RC World Youth Day in Cologne
Of all conceivable forms of enlightenment the worst is what these people call the Inner Light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within. Any one who knows any body knows how it would work; any one who knows any one from the Higher Thought Centre knows how it does work. That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones.
- G.K. Chesterton from Orthodoxy

Like with so much else in modernity he had New Age sussed.

Eastern churches
Appearance of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan
Съ праздникомъ (more on the icon)

During Soviet rule the late Fr John Mowatt of San Francisco’s Russian Catholic church helped save the most important surviving copy of this icon, which the late Pope gave back to the Russian Church last year.

Today the icon returned to the city of Kazan (more)

AFAIK the Roman Catholic authorities in Russia maintain an honourable policy of not proselytising born Orthodox, instead looking at the long-term goal of corporate reunion, possible with the Orthodox and not with Protestants.
truthout pick
The anti-neocon
New blogs
All Too Common

Anglo-Catholic Ruminations

These have potential

Not new but new to me and looks good:


And some humour from The Garden Window:

The Diocese of Wenchoster
Though as blogger Elizabeth writes:
On a more serious note though, sadly Anglicanism is rapidly becoming a spoof shadow of its former self.

Soon, the spoof will be more real, I think.
From Katolik Shinja
Vatican Radio goes silent for three minutes to pray for all Iraq dead
Four from LRC
Suicide bombing is politics in action

And Ron Paul on how to stop it

Think, Christian

Before you join the military

The military does not protect our freedoms
The Catholic faith
Mere Comments
Why the Jews reject Christ
And a rebuttal:
Of course he fails to note that while the whole thing "just doesn't make much sense" to Jews today, the original Christians were Jews, the Apostles were Jews, and that there were also many pharisees who became believers. Apparently it made sense to them then, but after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, a reinterpretation of Judaism was in order.

Judaism simply was never the same after Jesus, and went in two opposing directions, one Christian, the other the Judaism of the Talmud. The dispute remains over biblical interpretation and the identity of Jesus, just as it was in the first century.

And will Judaism, if ever a Temple is rebuilt, even then look like the Book of Ezekiel, or follow the teachings strictly of the Book of Leviticus?
If I recall rightly another Jewish argument is that they say the Messiah won’t die and Jesus of course died on the cross.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Philadelphia Muslims: ‘the London bombers don’t represent us’
From The Gaelic Starover
Pataki: why is this not surprising?
London mayor tells truth about reasons for terrorism
RIP James Doohan
Scotty from ‘Star Trek’, a fictional Scot whom even the Scots liked, and by all accounts in real life a nice fellow

From tributes from around the world:
As a technically inclined young boy who had lost my father, Doohan's character Scotty served as a role model and inspired me to study science. I went on to a career as an officer in the US Navy, eventually serving in the Reactor/Engineering department of - what else - the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and at least once, in a lighter moment, got to put on a fake Scottish accent when saying, "Achh - the engines can't take nae more!" Thanks, Scotty and Godspeed!
- Rob Schmidt, Livermore, CA
From Air Force
Demographics is destiny
Or why you hear more of Allahu akbar’ over Europe, or why perhaps Europeans contracepting and aborting themselves was not only a sin but shortsighted
From The Crux Project
Protection from what?
An article on sex
LRC blog picks
Gummint lawyers
Has anyone else noticed how many of these supposedly conservative icons who have been either nominated or confirmed to the Supreme Court have spent most or all of their careers lawyering for the gummint? Specifically, the executive branch?

Fits in well with the new meaning
conservative has taken on since the Nixon era.
It’s immoral to shut up during an unjust or stupid war
A Catholic classic:
There is something immoral or amoral in the constant statement: ‘I think it would be wrong, morally wrong, stupid, foolish for us to get into the war, but if we should get in, then it's the duty of all of us to rally behind the President. National unity before all else!’ National unity, even in the prosecution of an unjust war?

If a war is unjust, then it must be opposed before the outbreak of hostilities and after. If a war is unjust I must refuse to be a party to the injustice after the declaration of war, as well as before.

It is only when nationalism is put before conscience that leaders can do what they will with a country, and a country's wealth, and a country's blood. If leaders knew that the people would not follow them into an unjust war, if leaders knew that in an unjust declaration of war, they would have to build prisons and concentration camps to house thousands upon thousands of conscientious objectors, leaders would not lead us to war. A sit-down strike even on the barbed wire of a concentration camp is the only answer to an unjust participation in war.
- Fr John P. Delaney, S.J.
The Catholic World, April 1941
Uncle Sam wants you, even if you’re 42
Military try to raise recruits’ maximum age; bribe parents of young with money to buy houses
LRC pick
Fact vs fiction about 1950s Cuba and Castro
Thomas Woods interviews Humberto Fontova
• Before Castro, more Americans lived in Cuba than Cubans in America
• Fulgencio Batista was black
From Katolik Shinja
This story has been making the rounds of the blogosphere:

Lost in mistranslation
So Darth Vader was a Presbyterian! Who knew? (Actually, considering the monstrous system that Calvinism is, that’s not surprising.)

But wait! There’s more!

I usually can tell when Russian has been written entirely with translation software too. The grammar is usually the big giveaway but howlers like these are another.
From Hallowed Ground
What is liturgy?
Jeff Culbreath descrambles and refutes a mainstream RC parish website
Christ's name is not mentioned even once. The sole justification for Christian liturgy - giving to Almighty God the worship owed to Him - is entirely omitted. And of course there is nothing about the central themes of the Catholic liturgy: sacrifice, reparation, or mankind's need of redemption.
All that’s missing from this is that God doesn’t need the worship owed him — giving it to him is for our benefit: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

From the BBC
Three British soldiers face war-crimes trial

Mr Bush’s minders pay back/give a sop to the red-staters who voted for them?

This fellow is said to be pro-life
Eastern churches
Katolik Shinja
Catechism will help Ukrainian Catholics recover identity, bishop says
Follows up on this. For starters it should be Bishop Peter, not Bishop Stasiuk.
From The Onion
Bush awaits orders from Rove on handling of Rove scandal
File this under ‘The secular world is not cool’ including tribal youth culture

Apparently treacly cartoons can’t teach kids charity.
From truthout
No. 10 blocks top British diplomat’s book on Iraq
Sir Jeremy Greenstock describes the American decision to go to war as 'politically illegitimate'
Labour MPs blame bombings on war in Iraq

Reporter: Cheney chief of staff second source for CIA leak

FBI builds huge file on anti-war, rights groups
Civilian death toll in Iraq nears 25,000
Or about eight 9/11s, or about 500 7/7s
Iraq war hasn’t made US safer
LRC pick
‘Support our troops’ really means ‘shut up’
As pro-war blogger Jan Bear admitted in another context about mind control:
Language degenerates into a series of thought-stifling clichés which encourages other actions that are consistent with the ideology of the cult...
What Ms Bear doesn’t say is that there are obvious parallels to the misuse of the military and indeed of her own church as a quick trip online (‘Sergianists, ecumenists and world Orthodox, oh my!’) will turn up.

The Palestinians and Iraqis aren’t cults; they’re nations who want to get rid of foreign invaders and occupiers.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jewish settler seeks to become Palestinian
Potentially good: what such immigrants should have sought all along
From InfernoXV
Bavarian bishop who defied Hitler to be beatified

Maybe 80 per cent of the people don't like Saddam Hussein, but 99 per cent don't like George Bush.
- Iraqi-born Jala Mastfa

Humour from Asians about other Asians
I told him the joke about how one can tell one has been burgled by Koreans — the answer being ‘the dog is gone and your child’s maths homework is finished’.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
Who is quitting Canada* and moving to the Lebanon. I hope that means we’ll have somebody reporting direct from the Middle East!

Secret aid studied in Iraq voting
Did Mr Bush attempt to provide covert support to certain parties and players in the Iraqi elections?


Casualty of war: the US economy

A new phase in Stowe House restoration project completed

Pope hails benefits of holidays

S al-B: It may sound like something from yet another daily dispatch of the kind one would expect to originate from [Roman] Catholic neocon media organs, one quoting the Pope’s latest utterances in solemn tone or jubilous acclamation, but with subject matter like this, I think I’ll join the crowds in the excitement.

*Considering the state that HM Dominion is in perhaps it’s just as well. Of course old Warner Bros. cartoons are wonderful, marvellously drawn and classics because they didn’t patronise like the dreadful one Mere Comments describes. They have politics and other grown-up innuendo in them because they weren’t only for kids. Well, I’m fairly sure that this kind of dumbing down will never happen in the mother country, Britain, the home of irony and snarky humour that sometimes goes too far in the other direction from this treacle.