Friday, September 30, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover
Chuck E. Cheese’s war party
The Catholic faith
All Too Common
The Catholic version of predestination
From somebody who converted from the Presbyterian Church in America so he knows the icky Calvinist version (double predestination: if God decides from eternity he hates you, you’re damned whatever you do)
A note from Samer al-Batal
Our man in Beirut is back:
I was in Jordan and Syria for a while. People's frayed nerves still aiming to adjust down here. A well-known T.V. female journalist was the target of an assassination attempt. She survived, but the woman's lost her arm and leg. Keep praying.
As much as the UN were right and the US wrong about Iraq, no, I don’t want the UN controlling the Web
That job is for the free market and if the US continues to dominate that, or Germany or Singapore takes over for that matter, so be it
The War Around Us
The site of blog reader Wolfgang P. May, who served as an adviser in Vietnam

P.S. RIP The Gutless Pacifist, a liberal Methodist blog in Washington. Thanks for the support you’ve given me through the years and go with God.

Church, Monastery of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotókos (Mother of God), Weaverville, North Carolina

Eastern churches

Ukrainian Catholic bishops attend Polish episcopal conference
Great news of peace and reconciliation between the Poles and the Galicians as the former historically mistreated the latter (Galicia was Polish for most of its history).

(What’s extraordinary about the late saintly Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky) was he was a Polish count who chose to join the looked-down-upon church of some of his ancestors and led it for the first half of the 20th century.)

But in terms of working for corporate reunion — the goal of the Holy See — it sends the wrong message to the Russians, who will see a Western conspiracy all over again (remember Boris Godunov?). But the Ukie Catholics of late haven’t been working towards that goal.
O kind-hearted Lord Jesu, Our Saviour, receive the prayers and petitions of thy sinful and unworthy servants falling down before thee and unite us all in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Flood our souls with thine unquenchable light. Put an end to religious disagreements, and grant that we thy disciples and thy beloved children may all worship thee with a single heart and voice. Fulfil quickly, O most merciful Lord, thy promise that there be one flock and one shepherd of thy Church; and may we be made worthy to glorify thy Holy Name now and ever and unto endless ages. Amen.
- Blessed Leonty (Leonid Feodorov)*

*Translation tweaked by me for style and to better match the Russian.
From Francis Strand
Is the US Army now using gays deliberately as cannon fodder?
The Catholic faith
Scripture, tradition, reason and experience?
The three bases of the faith according to classical Anglicanism (said to come from Richard Hooker) are scripture, tradition and reason, to which some recently have added experience.

Whether this is right or wrong as a working definition depends on how you define those words.

It has seemed to me that ‘reason’ in the Anglican three-legged stool was a leftover from the ‘Enlightenment’ to cancel out scripture (not that we should be literalists/fundamentalists/bibliolaters) or tradition when they get in our way. ‘La foi, c’est moi!’ Likewise ‘experience’ can be a relativising dodge of Broad Churchpeople, basically the logical conclusion of Protestant private judgement.

But not necessarily if, I’m guessing, you understand ‘reason’ as Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas did as from God and about conforming yourself to objective reality, and ‘experience’ as the shared experience of the Church Catholic, simply another way of saying ‘tradition’!

Which, I understand, is what Hooker meant by ‘reason’, not what Modernists mean today.

The Eastern Orthodox have it right when they describe the basis of the faith not as a three-legged stool, or even two sources, scripture and tradition, like Roman Catholics often do*, but simply tradition, shocking in its simplicity as well as fun for scaring Protestants as it sounds like exactly the opposite of what they were taught about only the Bible being really important.

Of course as Kallistos (Ware) points out, scripture is part of tradition. All Catholics know that the two never conflict, just like defined doctrines can’t go against earlier definitions.

St Jerome, patron of biblical scholars: pray for us.

*Not that this working definition is wrong. Far from it! Like the classical Anglican one it simply needs explaining (and is less problematic than the Anglican one) and isn’t the only description one can use.
Military families bring cost of war to students

Former US Marine captain joins al-Jazeera as reporter

Insurgents play cat and mouse with American snipers

"Some people don't get the gravity of the situation here; people in the Green Zone are always trying to paint a rosy picture," said Sgt Antonio Molina, a 27-year-old sniper from Clearwater, Fla. He was referring to the fortified compound in Baghdad where U.S. officials work. "These politicians are all about sending people to war but they don't know what it's all about, being over here and getting shot at, walking through s--- swamps, having bombs go off, hearing bullets fly by. They have no idea what that's like."

Many American troops on the ground in Muqdadiyah expect the violence to continue long after they're gone.
Vietnam and Iran déjà vu.

US has sanctioned torture for too long
That it sanctioned it at all is the problem

American Legion harasses member who signed petition for peace
A fascist group that doesn’t understand the ‘freedom’ they say they fought to defend

Pentagon OKs the Osprey (more)
A dangerous (to the pilots), militarily useless pork-barrel project... whilst the soldiers forced to go to Iraq haven’t got body armour

Bring them home now
I will speak of thy testimonies also, even before kings : and will not be ashamed.
- Psalm 118 (119):46

LRC pick
Tom Engelhardt talks to Cindy Sheehan
From blog member John Boyden
Bill would allow DNA collection from all those arrested

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Students for an Orwellian Society (SOS)
‘Ingsoc is doubleplusgood’: a good parody that describes what’s really happening. 1984 was formative for me — I read it that year!

And now we’ve got this.

Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From Mere Comments
RIP M. Scott Peck
A fair assessment based on my reading The Road Less Traveled and a soppy post-conversion book that came with a tape of bad music

The description of narcissists who destroy other people is spot-on.

Most useful thing I learnt from him: the difference between constructive (good guilt, which leads to healing and spiritual growth) and unconstructive suffering (which eats away at the soul and is to be got rid of).
From The Gaelic Starover
Blast from the past
Myth: The church only discovered racial justice in the 1960s.


Racial segregation as such is morally wrong and sinful because it is a denial of the unity and solidarity of the human race as conceived by God in the creation of Adam and Eve.
- Joseph F. Rummel, late Archbishop of New Orleans

Not news here: search the blog under Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Trevor Huddleston and The Church Confronts Modernity on the glory days of Catholic Action, nothing to do with what happened in the 1960s.
The gay-priest scandal
I see a trend this week in both of Philadelphia’s snide-hipster newspapers:


One of those ‘a pox on all your houses’ moments (the rapists, the accomplice criminals among the clergy, the warmongering theocratic fascists and the smug secular folk)

The RC archdiocese did ask for this treatment

Mr Santorum voted sensibly against air strikes in Kosovo but that — Republicans actually sounding like conservatives — was only to spite Bill Clinton. A party man, he supported Mr Bush’s handlers’ aggression in Iraq. But he may be changing his mind on that (work your wonders, bugmenot), to his credit. Of course the City Paper hate him for reasons that make him look good... he’s against abortion, questions the wisdom of the state schools and criticises gender feminism (not to be confused with equity feminism which this blog supports — search the blog and/or read Christina Hoff Sommers for an explanation).

The state schools didn’t harm me but I respect those who follow through on their convictions and home-school (like Jeff Culbreath): those kids are ahead of the curve in so many ways. But his take on it does rather strike me as moral grandstanding: keep the well-meaning religious Volk in Rove/Bush’s thraldom.

Gay marriage is ontologically impossible but that’s not the state’s concern.

I’ve been to Butler, Pa. and it’s as the article describes. Otherwise the tone is that of a high school–level personal attack, non?
I’ll close my eyes and do whatever I want. I’m George Bush!
- Debra Messing as Grace Adler on the live broadcast of ‘Will & Grace’
Anglican doings
A Continuing church seeks union with the Holy See
Negotiations with the Traditional Anglican Communion (more) seem to be speeding up. I’ve met Archbishop John Hepworth and slightly know Bishop David Moyer. The TAC are sound (un-Protestant) but many of them are very modernised liturgically (the archbishop doesn’t know how to be a decent celebrant!).

If it happened, it might shore up the Anglican Use RCs* and make that scheme more than a Potemkin village/bait-and-switch operation to trick Anglo-Catholics into the Novus Ordo liberal mainstream (worse than what they left!) because there would finally be bishops to keep it going!

I know that the archbishop began as an RC priest and is married. Nothing that the Pope himself can’t absolve or dispense but would he?

Also, I don’t like the notion of ACs as a separate rite as though they are as foreign culturally to the Roman Rite as the Oriental Rites. No. They are culturally in the historic mainstream of the Latin Church even though they worship in English and also contain essentially the history of Christianity in my native language.

Fr James Tucker sees the same problem with ‘re-alignment’ of ACs with conservative Protestant Anglicans as my friends John Treat and others: ‘Anglican comprehensiveness/the Elizabethan settlement has failed once so let’s rebuild it so we can watch it fall apart again’.

Catholic worship: photo from Inquisitor Generalis

*Who don’t do Sarum Use as often erroneously reported nor the English or Anglican Missal but rather a customised Novus Ordo with elements of the 1979 Episcopal Prayer Book and nice ceremonial like the Roman Mass but not the same as it (what high-Central Churchmen and moderate ACs were doing in Texas back in the 1950s — most of the handful of AU churches are Texan). Not uncommon among the few ACs left in ECUSA and better than straight ICEL/American Novus by a country mile. It’s not ideal but if it became a default use for English-speaking RCs (not that it’ll likely happen) I wouldn’t mind.
On homosexuality
By the Perennial Rambler
Robert Cooper speaks for me on this issue: he covers all the angles and is fair and charitable but doesn’t compromise
I think there are some who end up "that way" because of licence or hedonism of some variety.
Agreed — and though it’s politically incorrect to admit, some people do recruit by hitting on teenagers — but I also agree with John Sanford and Dr George Lough that a tiny minority are born that way (far fewer than Kinsey’s unscientific 10 per cent). I’ve talked to at least one person who always knew.
Some people are born prone to being alcoholics - we know this has contributing genetic factors. Does that make being a drunk "ok"? Of course not - because there is no salvation in this.
A punto.
From Katolik Shinja
We will bury you
Agreed: it’s time to knock down Lenin’s shrine and bury his body. God have mercy on him.
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Who was transferred from somewhere in North Carolina to Houston just in time for Hurricane (unlovely) Rita but he and his family are OK!

An anti-porn Sunday?

Makes sense for non-liturgical Protestants

Of course the Catholic world East and West has a huge choice of saints, from married people (like the late last Tsar and his wife, who really loved each other) and of course holy celibate heroes to St Maria Goretti*, whose feast-days are occasions to tackle this problem from the pulpit. And of course we always have the confessional since few of us live up to the demands of truth.
"Addictions of any sort, including pornography, set in motion a compulsion that interferes with daily life," says Anderson, who previously ministered to students as a counselor at Judson (Ill.) College. "Suddenly, the day begins to revolve around that addiction. In the case of pornography addiction, nearly everything in the person's speech and actions becomes sexualized, and everything they do is done through that sexualized screen. It becomes their god."
Of course the problem isn’t sex, which is good and from God. As Fr Leo (Schlosser) explained to me once in a small conference on a retreat at his Byzantine Rite Benedictine monastery and Mark Bonocore refined for me, desire is good; the abuse of sex is lust and certainly in this case is a psychological and spiritual dead end.

Of course as a libertarian I wouldn’t want the government to try to stamp out private vice. People have the right to be wrong.
‘It seems to me hypocritical [of Dick] to turn up at Mass every Sunday and break the rules about sex during the rest of the week.’

‘It does’t strike a Catholic that way. We don’t cease to believe when we cease to behave. If the Communists seized control of England, Dick would cheerfully die in defence of the Church...

‘You seem to think that because a Catholic can’t keep all of the commandments he should, in consistency, keep none of them. I dare say Dick hopes that God will make allowances for those who lack the heroic virtue which alone enables a young and very attractive man to avoid the sins of the flesh, but missing Mass is like cutting an important parade. It’s bad manners, and as good manners are easier to acquire than good morals, bad manners are in some ways more inexcusable.’
- Arnold Lunn in And Yet So New (1958), quoted by William F. Buckley Jnr in Nearer My God

Or as Mark Bonocore explained to me, when Catholics sin we don’t try to bend the church to approve but acknowledge what we’re doing is wrong even if we keep doing it.

More to the point, as Evelyn Waugh wrote, being good isn’t necessarily the same as being holy... the difference between brothers Bridey and Sebastian. It is a funny old world and though there are road-maps and signs we ignore only at our peril, God does write straight with crooked lines.

Kurgan region of Siberia tries to tax baptisms and funerals
‘Is outrage!’

*Best known in Philadelphia (‘Fluffya’) as the name of an RC girls’ high school (‘Greddy’ as in ‘Greddy girls’) in South Philly that’s no more, having been merged with St John Neumann High School for boys (where the joyful Prof taught music for years).
LRC blog pick
Ambassador of listening gets an earful
A group of Turkish women's rights activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes on Wednesday with emotional and heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of anger at U.S. policy in the region.
From truthout
Bush’s handlers’ ‘policies in Iraq are breaking the US Army’
By US Senator Russ Feingold

Keeping FEMA out of church

Iraq war winners: al-Qaeda, Iran and military contractors

You’re going to see a Saigon-style victory for an Tehran-style Shi’ite government in a few years or sooner

Iraqis furious at ‘lenient’ Abu Ghraib abuse sentence
Pte Lynndie England got three years in jail and thrown out of the US Army, all of which she deserves, but the point isn’t that her sentence was too lenient but that the government are acting like the buck stopped with her. She’s a scapegoat for her superiors up and up the chain.

Blair and Defence Secretary John Reid in secret arms deal with Saudis

Iraq war veterans’ presence in D.C. unreported

What’s the modern Hebrew word for Lebensraum?

Laughable sycophancy

Nebosja Malic on government in the US and mostly on government in Serbia

The world loves America but resists its power
Happy Michaelmas
The Collect.
O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Rev. (Apocalypse) 12. 7.
THERE was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
- The Book of Common Prayer

Is anybody out there eating goose?

The popular imagination is often Manichæan, imagining God and Satan (ha-Satan, the adversary) doing battle directly, but God is so far above Satan and the latter is an angel like St Michael (‘Micha El?’, ‘Who is like God?’) so it makes sense for God, like a general sending regiments to battle, to send his holy standard-bearer to do the job!
HOLY Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
The angel craze in popular culture seems to have waned. As I liked to say when it was big, people hearing Roma Downey’s Ulster brogue say ‘God loves you’ wasn’t a bad thing.

John Henry Newman on the angels

More from Fr Will Brown

Now playing on my computer, where I listen to most of my music: Annie Lennox, ‘There Must Be an Angel’! (You can’t be all serious all the time!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eastern churches
More on Our Lady and original sin
And my big sed contra
Times article tries to rubbish Christianity
And here are rebuttals from Huw Raphael (his is the best) and Mere Comments
From Whitehall
Tolerant conservatism* in Vaticanese
Although this is a difficult point for many Anglo-Saxons to grasp, when the Vatican makes statements like "no gays in the priesthood," it doesn't actually mean "no gays in the priesthood." It means, "As a general rule, this is not a good idea, but we all know there will be exceptions."
A little like what the Christian East calls economy.
...the conventional wisdom in the church, which holds that as long as a prospective priest is capable of celibacy**, it doesn't matter whether he's gay or straight.

Happy Fathers’ Day
Congratulations to newly priested bloggers Frs Will Brown (of Whitehall), Lee Nelson and, earlier this year, Matthew Thurman. Ad multos annos.

*Search this blog for the definition.

**Celibacy simply means not being married. What’s called for is chastity in one’s state of life.
Eastern churches

Orthodox warn of politicising religion in the Ukraine
Particularly one party that are trying to use religion to their own ends: taking God’s name in vain. There are vicious anti-Semitic groups there that try that all the time.

Maybe Mr Lukiyaniak can convey the same message to the ruling party in the States.

Ukrainian court returns church to Orthodox from nationalist sect

Ukrainian government asks churches to help victims of slave trade
Eastern churches
Now that’s a great idea
There’s already a blog rather like that:

Throughout the theology of the eastern Church we encounter the certainty that the Holy Spirit works in ways that transcend human thought and imagination, ways that cannot, as a consequence, be contained within any theological paradigm, description, or speculation. Everything that is noble and truly good is an act of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit are the preeminent building blocks for harmonious coexistence: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22). This assurance from the apostle Paul leads us to the conclusion that wherever these fruits are found, evidence of the activity of the Holy Spirit can be discerned. Moreover, there appears to be a great deal of such evidence in the lives of many Muslims.

In the end, our relationships and the dialogue we have with every human being are defined by our obligation to love in a way that includes everything and everyone, for this is the central core of Christianity: "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn 4:16). People who belong to another creed never lose their basic identity, their spiritual citizenship, so to speak. Even if they themselves choose to ignore it, they do not cease to be children of God, created in God's image, and consequently our brothers and sisters.
- Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos)

Amen, amen, amen.

He is the Greek bishop who is reviving the Greek Orthodox community in historically Muslim Albania (ancient Illyria), a church all but wiped out during Communist rule (in 1967 Enver Hoxha banned religion, full stop, with no pretence of freedom like in the USSR).

They’re an historically, well, opportunistic people: when the Byzantines ruled them they were Greek Orthodox, when the Turks ruled them they were Muslims and when the Communists ruled them...

EWTN does a lot of good — I enjoy watching when travelling. I’ve rejoiced to see them slowly move over about two decades from the modern mainstream (with then-trendy arm-waving charismatism, or being loud for the fun of it) to not only conservative but semi-traditional! This past weekend I saw a good Mass (even though it’s been hobbled by the local wally bishop forcing them to do it versus populum) and an episode of ‘The Journey Home’ that was a wonderful witness to the Christian East: special guest Fr Terry Kraychuk, a Canadian born RC turned motorcycle-gang member who is now a thoroughly high-church Ukrainian Catholic priest (unusual for that group), рясса (cassock), cross and neckchain, камилавка (big hat) and all. Слава Богу.
Liberal church, you make me sick!
- Mother M. Angelica

Mass-and-office Catholicism

Life at Tyburn
Proper nuns in a holy place
Thanks for the link
To Jason of the new blog Penultima Thule, Blog of Common Prayer
Church of England bishops suggest Christian leaders apologise to Muslim leaders for the war in Iraq
The 100-Minute Bible
An excerpt from Genesis:
In the beginning God created heaven and earth over a period of six days. First he created light and darkness; then the vault of the heavens, separating the water above from the water below; then the dry land and all that grows in it. On the fourth day God created the sun, the moon and the stars; on the fifth the creatures of the sea and sky; and on the sixth those of the land, including humankind. On the seventh day God rested.
As someone who usually thinks only the KJV should be "legal" I am strangely okay with this. The quote you mention basically tells the reader what happened and at least it says He did the creating.

I would have to read the entire book in order to really say its okay, but if the reader understands this is a
SUMMARY only, and the doctrine-slant is orthodox, it could lead the reader to explore the "real thing."
- James Hicks

I know about half the Old Testament thanks to... reading Pearl Buck’s The Story Bible for school when I was 12. (Blessedly that was the same time I started seriously going to Sunday school and learning the basics of the Catholic faith and liturgy thanks to old-school Episcopalians including crypto-Anglo-Catholic teachers.) Such things are useful but yes, the KJV with Apocrypha is the form in English of the real thing.
From The Gaelic Starover
Tom DeLay indicted (more)
Four from LRC
The US Constitution explained to a 9-year-old

A conservative at the big D.C. anti-war march

The danger of standing armies

Early Americans understood

The Greenback Berets
Three from Auntie

‘NOLA was just asking for it... you know those damn Democrats.’

Blame the victim
Michael Brown is a pillock (more)

Sir Ian must go
Senhora Menezes is right

IRA ‘has destroyed all its arms’
Drink a round to Jesus Christ, who died for Irish men.
Demolishing some myths about Iraq
‘Get the f*ck out of my country’: most insurgents are... Iraqis

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

From Katolik Shinja
The Roman Mass
Universal indult coming soon?
A cardinal thinks so!
From Occidentalis
On the two lungs of Catholic Europe
By Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev)
LRC pick
Is there a sea change in US public opinion on foreign policy?
Let’s hope so

Incidentally I’m happy to report that I wasn’t at all traumatised by my dealings with the TSA on my Chicago trip.
From Fr James Tucker
Eastern churches

Melkite chant online
The church of our man in Beirut, Samer al-Batal

The fun OTT and even camp things about the Catholic religion
The dichotomy between externals and real faith is false and people who hate these things are grinches
From Katolik Shinja
A down side to anti-war marches
Having been on about six of them I know what this person means: everything from leftover bolshie front groups to ‘Free Mumia’ idiocy distracts and detracts

From truthout
Media deliberately underreport anti-war movement
Pope Benedict XVI
Old friends, adversaries meet and chat warmly over dinner
I’m no fan of NCR or Dr Küng but this story seems to say that the Holy Father practises ‘tolerant conservatism’ (search the blog for more on that): a Catholic gentleman

Fr Anthony Chadwick comments on the meeting.

And Michael Liccione remembers Dr K giving him the creeps in person.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Foreign Office: British and American bombing raids on Iraq in run-up to war were illegal
From The Gaelic Starover
Suicides in and near Foggy Bottom
The US State Department or the equivalent of the Foreign Office

Suicides or ‘got suicided’?

God, have mercy.
The Catholic faith
Verbum ipsum
From On the Incarnation
St Athanasius: heavy as the hip used to say a little over 35 years ago. I don’t pretend to understand all of it!
Lynndie England: yes, she’s guilty but she’s also a scapegoat
From Anglo-Catholic Ruminations
An account of the big rally in Washington this past Saturday
From Brad Simmons
Nun terrorised by terror watch
From The Gaelic Starover
Cindy Sheehan arrested in Washington (more)

And here’s confirmation from the lady herself, now one of the LRC bloggers.
Eastern churches
On these churches and evangelism

Local government officials in the Ukraine refuse to register ROCOR parish

Which makes sense — there’s already an Orthodox church in the country

Though the way the officials did it is reprehensible:
The head of the village council claimed he was fulfilling the orders of the Security Service of Ukraine and he threatened to cause problems to the parishioners’ children. As a result, some people were frightened and withdrew their signatures.
Or ‘why people don’t immigrate to Eastern Europe’.
Write on the board 100 times: ‘The Bible doesn’t tell you how the heavens work; it tells you how to get to heaven’
From Occidentalis
On not eating meat on Fridays
No, it wasn’t some fiendish popish plot to support the Italian fishing industry*

It’s in the Book of Common Prayer and many Protestants once did it too.

*Which an anti-Catholic relative told me, as though it were fact, when I was a kid.
The Catholic faith
All Too Common
One issue, two languages
Avery Cardinal Dulles on the RC-Lutheran agreement going over the great non-issue (as a friend long ago described it) that seemed to set off the Protestant heresies. ‘Believe you are saved by faith; act as if you were saved by works’ as Reginald Cardinal Pole put it. Or ‘no, we don’t believe you earn your way into heaven’, but works keep alive the grace given by faith but help it/you grow (towards theosis as the Christian East says: it’s a journey). Be that as it may, ‘one issue, two languages’ is exactly how I look at the Latin Church and the Christian East in the latter’s various forms: one Catholic dogma, different doctrinal expressions using the idioms of different cultures (like regarding this). Ut unum sint: да вси едино будут.

Here’s more on grace and free will from St Augustine.
Anglican doings
From Fr Anthony Chadwick

Spite visit
Disguised as charity: trying to pick a fight simply by being there, hoping that somebody will be less than charitable so you can call him on it: ‘I, on the other hand, was trying to be nice’:
The controversial Episcopalian bishop, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, caused an enormous stir in the Anglican world a couple of years ago by being consecrated, despite his being an openly practicing homosexual (and in violation of his marriage). He recently attended a service at All Saints Anglican Church in Concord, New Hampshire, of the Anglican Church in America, a member Church of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Many of the founding members of this parish broke away from the Episcopal Church over his consecration in 2003. Bishop Robinson showed up unannounced at about a minute before Mass in a purple shirt/collar and pectoral cross. He came in the entrance at the front of the church next to the pulpit (everyone could see him enter), and he sat in a pew in the middle of the church. He stayed for the entire service. When Bishop Robinson approached the rail for receiving communion, the rector made the sign of the cross on his forehead only. He was not disrespected by anyone during the service. Most of the parishioners recognised Bishop Robinson, but he left the church after the end of the service, having said to the rector that he was disappointed at having received only a blessing and not Communion.

It is ironic to know this has happened, and it would be imprudent to speculate as to why Bishop Robinson attended a service in a church that had been formed precisely against his consecration by the Episcopalian Church. One would expect it would be like Hans Küng going to Mass in a Society of St. Pius X chapel! Regardless, it gives heart to see a rector and a congregation with a prayerful and open attitude to the workings of divine grace. Pearls hand on slender threads - as Newman used to say. We have not the right to judge, as we don't know what really has happened in the Bishop's life over the past two years - but we should certainly keep him in our prayers. God works out His purpose in mysterious ways.
Oh, well. I’m less than prudent. Mea culpa.

The rector did exactly the right thing.

Shortly before he became the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (which he still is), Frank Griswold did something much like that (only worse), going to Mass one day at St Agnes RC Church in New York (the city where ECUSA headquarters are) where Fr George Rutler* (a former rector of Rosemont who left in the late 1970s because of the attempted ordination of women in ECUSA) was pastor. St Agnes is a nice conservative Novus/indult kind of place that uses the altar rail. But Bp Griswold went one further and, apparently dressed in mufti, received Communion from Fr R who didn’t recognise him. Apparently somebody, maybe Bp G himself, told the world (‘HA ha!’) and there was a little flurry of attention.

*Whom I’ve met: a Catholic gentleman.
LRC pick
Lew Rockwell speaks at a left-wing anti-war rally
From Katolik Shinja
Neoconservative unreality
Mr Bush’s war is a failure on all counts.
- Joshua Snyder

It’s official: the US practises torture
Where I’ve been
Part of a marvellous weekend in Chicago celebrating my 39th birthday (I reckon I have about six more years as a ‘young’ fogey):

St John Cantius
Chicago’s answer to the Brompton Oratory in a wonderful towering 19th-century building that suggests the baroque style of the old country (Poland) with a perfect mix of the right equipment, gilding and colour faded with age inside.

Note that they have public recitation of the office.

The only things I’d miss here would be Cranmer’s English (not to be confused with his theological spin) and English/anglophilic eccentricity but one can find all that elsewhere.


The Church of the Ascension
Which at least has most impressive remnants of religion

And in this tradition:

Русский baroque
Малый а мировой кафедральный собор! Chicago is very Slavic but apparently not particularly Russian. This cathedral, historically an ethnic Ruthenian congregation (as described a little here and elsewhere in this blog) in a church built and run by Russians, is near a Ukrainian neighbourhood* with a Ukrainian Orthodox and lovely old Ukrainian Catholic cathedral (St Nicholas) within walking distance of each other.

The U-505
As anti-war as I am I enjoyed a dose of 1940s nostalgia and the artisanly beauty of an old machine that happens to be a weapon, along with the aspect of humanising soldiers on the other side as this story did. There’s lots of memorabilia showing the bad (of five officers three were Nazis — many career military officers weren’t) and the good (a Lutheran prayer book printed in fraktur as all German was before the war).

Then there’s the issue of shooting at civilians (commerce-raiding). The US did the same thing to the Japanese in the Pacific.

And when the U-boat’s crew were captured the US broke the Geneva Convention by not reporting the men’s survival via the Red Cross to Germany ... in order to protect the secrecy of the mission to capture the sub and its equipment.

*With streets like ‘Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky Way’. Honorary street names alongside the official names are big in Chicago — sometimes you can’t find the sign with the ‘real’ name!

Friday, September 23, 2005

From Fr Anthony Chadwick
A prayer before going online
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the Internet, we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I don’t know if Fr C wrote this but I like it.
From Katolik Shinja
The porn of war

While I was in the pre-Katrina US in August, the media had it that world's most pressing problem was in Aruba.
- Joshua Snyder
Three from LRC
Get out of Iraq now

The chemistry of rage

It’s to do with the autonomic nervous system

The mystery of Agatha Christie
Christie offers us a world of perfect order and only wicked and evil people disturb that perfect order but they are invariably captured. That's why people in Buchenwald read her - we have a desire to believe the world is an English village.
- Johann Hari
From Philadelphia City Paper
Bad and good from a free paper that tries to appeal to the hip:

Planned Parenthood’s creative way of hurting pro-lifers
"We want to sort of expose their tactics of intimidation," Steinberg says. "They verbally attack our patients, and try to deny people their health care."
Once you’re used to killing babies, slander’s easy.
One of the protest's leaders, Father John McFadden of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cheltenham, guides the crowd away from the site of worship and back to the church. As he walks, McFadden, a big man with a soft voice, listens to an explanation of the upcoming Pledge-a-Picket campaign. Then he nods, and shares his thoughts.

"Because of the killing nature of that organization," he says, "I'm not surprised in any way."
Well put. BTW, Fr M started a home for unwed mothers in the former convent of a parish church in the area.

A corporal work of mercy
How can one better organise a volunteer, church-based group of soup kitchens, etc. to help those who really need them?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

From truthout
Cindy Sheehan goes to Washington
Comparing quotations: Bush today and Johnson in 1967
On the box
‘Law & Order: SVU’
Did anybody else see this week’s episode? Exciting and well-acted by Christopher Meloni (loose-cannon cop Stabler) but very weak on the ‘law’ part: can you say ‘entrapment’? And Robert Patrick’s soliloquy towards the end wasn’t realistic either, simply a bad theatre/TV convention.

‘The Apprentice: Martha Stewart’
I like it! Educational just like the original. In the first episode, Martha made the right choice. Dawn’s quirks, certainly something I can identify with, weren’t at all why her team’s product sucked.

The Emmys
Worthy winners included:

• Patricia Arquette, ‘Medium’
• Doris Roberts, a fine character actress (essentially she played the same part 20 years ago and was very good) and one of the only good acting highlights of her most recent show, which inexplicably also won
• ‘The Lost Prince’: search the blog for more on it
From Katolik Shinja
Abortion photos show reality
Been saying that for five years

Yankee, go home
I agree: the world’s 11th largest economy can and should defend itself.
- Joshua Snyder
The gay-priest scandal
An ‘immoral’ cover-up in Philadelphia (help, bugmenot!)

The problem probably picked up speed after ‘the end of the world’ but like many other sins is nothing new: unknown to her at least at the time, the son of the saintly Catherine de Hueck Doherty was a victim at boarding school.

Here’s the grand-jury report as a PDF file.
LRC blog pick
Down the memory hole
Remember these?
LRC pick
Relationships protect communities
Eastern churches
From Anthony Cominsky

RIP Fr John Long, S.J.
Expert on the Christian East — apparently he was a Russian Catholic

But if ecumenical conference-goers are so keen on the Christian East, why do they seem to favour the Novus Ordo* and not the Roman Mass, which (thanks in part to a circa-1000 ceremonial infusion from the Eastern-influenced Gallican Rite) obviously shares the Oriental Rites’ Godwardness?

*A token deacon and tacked-on epiklesis don’t make it Eastern. Thomas Day demolishes the ‘but it’s really closer to the East’ claim in Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

From Occidentalis
On the Ember Days
Save Iraq from what?
US military death toll in Iraq up to 1,900+
And to keep track of civilian deaths, here is Iraq Body Count.

The UK total is hovering just below 100: check Iraq Coalition Casualties.
Eastern churches

Much like the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad were honoured recently with a visit from the Russian president...

Yushchenko visits Ukrainian Catholic cathedral in Philadelphia
There’s nothing really wrong with a non-Eucharistic service with other Christians — it’s not like lending an altar for a Protestant Communion service
LRC blog pick
I remember during the Bill Clinton years when conservatives were screaming at the top of their lungs about Posse Comitatus, Waco, the Imperial Presidency, executive orders, etc., etc. Now, silence. Oh well, they'll get another chance to scream. Bush is so incompetent that he's ensuring the return of the Clintons to the White House in 2008. And Hillary won't be as gentle about wielding power as Bill.
- David Franke

I’m not so sure about the Clinton prediction and wonder if Hillary could be contained through gridlock (a Republican Congress) and be a relatively good functional conservative like Bill.
LRC pick
Jim Lobe on Bush, the Protestant religious right, the neocons and PNAC

And as Gary North was saying, quoting Will Rogers, here’s something from The Onion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Campaign to revoke 1932 Pulitzer Prize to New York Times writer (more)
Who lied about Stalin’s murders in the Ukraine
From The Rockall Times
US ups ante in apocalypse-warning protocol
The 1980s
Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbechev walking through that Russian Orthodox cathedral. It was like something from "Dynasty"!

Raisa: These icons are merely an expression of our culture-- they are not religious.

Nancy: Really? Hmm. There's Jesus, and the Virgin Mary... I don't really see how one could argue that they have no religious meaning, but if you say so...

Raisa: I do say so. I was professor of blah blah blah at Karl Marx University and--

Nancy: (giving her the hand) Yeah, yeah, yeah...
From truthout
Veterans lead counter-recruitment efforts
Talk about cred

Dodging the costs of the warfare state
Right, ‘conservative’

Journalists under attack in Louisiana and Iraq

Clinton blasts Bush
And sounds like a real conservative about the deficit: as wrong as he was in theory, in practice he was arguably better than Reagan
Famous lost words
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.
- Ronald Reagan, who at least understood the Old Right even though he wasn’t really of it
From Fr James Tucker
‘Miracolo!’ Naples is safe for another year
Here’s more on St Januarius from Benjamin Andersen
Eastern churches
The 7th September was the 21st anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Joseph (Slipyj)
His Beatitude Josyf began his road as martyr on the night of April 10th, 1945. That night, the night of his arrest, began a long period of torture – first in Lviv, in the prison on Lontskoho Street, and then in Kyiv in the prison on Korolenka Street. His torturers tried to force him to repudiate the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Holy See. Afterwards, he suffered for many years in concentration camps, with their unspeakable living conditions, and the Soviet Empire was so rich in these camps… Even in those hardships, His Beatitude found opportunities to secretly celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist at Liturgies for our persecuted Church and over the course of many years, for hundreds of thousands of his imprisoned fellow-countrymen. To support the latter in their sufferings, he even managed to send them pastoral letters.
A hero: the kind of iron man that traditionalism East and West can produce. As Jaroslav Pelikan described him in his biography Confessor Between East and West, he had the best of Tridentine RC theology (trained at Innsbruck and was a seminary professor before becoming a bishop) and later adopted the more Eastern high-church externals of his saintly predecessor, Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky).

Unknown to many at the time including I think in Rome itself the Ukrainian Catholic Church in their homeland of old Polish Galicia still existed after Metropolitan Josyf’s imprisonment and release to the West in 1963*: a truly underground church, literally in hiding, under Metropolitan Vladimir (Sterniuk). Thus they surprised everybody when they surfaced at the end of the 1980s during гласность/the beginning of the end of the USSR to take back their churches!

*One wonders at what price though: might this have been a result of Vatican Ostpolitik, the rumoured Vatican-Moscow agreement well known among traditionalists that tried to ease persecution of Catholics behind the Iron Curtain (thanks, FDR, for selling out half of Catholic Europe) by promising not to condemn Communism at Vatican II? I imagine that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad wanted the council to do that. Reflecting the 19th-century Russian tradition they come from, they weren’t at the time particularly hostile to other Christians and sent observers to V2 because they looked up to the late Pope Pius XII as an anti-Communist Christian leader.
From the LRC blog
British soldiers murder Iraqi New York Times reporter
From Katolik Shinja
Joshua’s LRC pick:

Away with the US flag pledge
From Verbum ipsum
Reverse Vietnam syndrome
From Fr Anthony Chadwick
Interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay
His recent meeting with the Pope, in his own words

On the Vatican’s reaction to the gay-priest scandal
The question now will be whether the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church will do something at a pastoral level to remedy the solitude of too many priests, progressively widening the criteria for ordaining married men and encouraging healthy community life for secular priests. Otherwise, the problems of sexual abuse and pædophilia will not go away.
With an English good word for tolerant conservatism:
I have known some possibly homosexually orientated priests who had perfect control over their feelings and lived exemplary lives -
I think most of us at least acquainted with Anglo-Catholicism have. Englishmen of the old school for example.
and hetero/bi-sexual men who were of the 'manipulating' type and who would be much more likely to abuse vulnerable persons. And vice versa. This whole issue is often too simplistic, and the problems the Church faces are more connected with Catholic orthodoxy and spiritual/psychological balance and stability than with a mere question of 'sexual orientation'. We should certainly steer a balanced course between the polarised liberal and neo-conservative positions. Thankfully, the wheels of Rome turn slowly and prudently.
A punto. There should be no attempt to rewrite the natural law and the law of God but no witch-hunts either.

This well-meant attempt at iconography, from Fr Chadwick’s as-always good entry yesterday on women and marriage, seems to be what Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) is talking about.
The tragedy of complicit media
Three from LRC
Deficit hurricane

Third World empire

The most expensive war in 60 years
From The Gaelic Starover
Cindy Sheehan arrested in New York?
Free speech my arse

More on Cindy Sheehan in New York

Update: She wasn’t arrested but was roughed up.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wasn’t this the plot of a mediocre movie with John Travolta and Nic Cage?
From Pontifications
On the alleged oppression of women in the church
In the comments of ‘How to market a boutique church’ from an Anglo-Catholic who grew up in the good old days:
I have to remark that at least in the small-town church I grew up with, the day-to-day functioning of the church was pretty much under the total control of women, between the Altar Guild, the wives of the Vestrymen (who tended to be the same as the Altar Guild), and the Rector’s wife. None of these energetic and intelligent women seemed to feel particularly oppressed or excluded…
Recently my girlfriend saw Ida Lupino’s picturesque and entertaining early-1960s film The Trouble with Angels, capturing the look and lifestyle of proper nuns right before ‘the end of the world’, and I told her that Lupino was fascinated above all else with the kind of feminism (in a good sense) she saw in convent life: a largely self-contained all-female community.

(Those movies really didn’t say very much about the faith; they simply gave people a glimpse of the church’s culture and were a sign of Protestant America’s newfound good will to Roman Catholics.)

In a bad sense the feminisation of religion in popular culture has been with us for a long time. Writers as divers as Frs Patrick Arnold (a liberal Jesuit who suddenly gets a burst of common sense on this topic) and John Weldon Hardenbrook and Thomas Day have written about it: ‘religion is for girls and sissies’.

I dare say that things like the attempted ordination of women (and the quasi- version of that pushed by liberal RCs as far as they can get away with: now Mum doesn’t just decorate the altar; she gives out Communion!) have aggravated this problem — driving even more men away from the practice of religion — as well as that of clericalism (a problem to do with equating the clergy with power, not to be confused with the sacerdotalism of the Catholic faith).

Episcopalians often are smarter than Baptists and, even when they’re barking Broad, have better taste than many RCs. Of course they’re also dead wrong about a lot of things.

On the boutique approach, Stuart Koehl once wrote that when emptying city-centre mainline Protestant churches started to change to pander try to appeal to ‘the gay community’ they eventually became (part of) the gay community, that is, indistinguishable from it. (Something that none of my homosexual friends who take religion seriously, even the ones I don’t agree with, wants.)
Eastern churches

Traditional churches unite in supporting Christian-ethics course in Ukrainian schools
Sounds good even though I’d probably oppose something like that in a non-Catholic country like the US. The Protestant religious right would love to do something that sounds like this but it’d really be rather different! This touches on the issue of religious liberty and the two approaches Catholics can take to it. Given the culture that the Ukraine is based on, this class seems a legitimate option.

Another jurisdictional pissing contest
Not between the Orthodox and schisms from them* but inter-Orthodox: Constantinople vs Moscow! (Again: they fought over Estonia a few years ago.) Or so claims an academic in an interview with the official Orthodox church in the Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church. If it’s true it seems to be the backwash of cæsaropapism (a down side of one Catholic approach to religious liberty — you start with the government seeming to favour the church and end up with the government running the church) and the millet system of the Turks (each religious group ruled separately with its own head): the patriarch in Istanbul, with no Greek flock left in Turkey thanks to Turkish persecution, would like to be a Byzantine emperor ruling all the Christians in Eastern Europe (and beyond, such as in America) again (like he did in the Ottoman Empire).

*A failing of RISU, a Roman Catholic-based religious news service in the Ukraine that posts interesting stories, is that they don’t clearly point out this distinction between the groups.
From The Gaelic Starover
The St Patrick’s Four (more)
Bush pushes military law enforcement in US

... and Israeli settlements in West Bank

Britain rules out attacking Iran

But may up the number of soldiers in Iraq
From Fr Anthony Chadwick
On bad religion with good intentions
The sectarian temptation for Catholics:
I'm sorry, but what a miserable religion that must be - the Home-aloners revisited... !
I imagine this is true of sedevacantists (the group he’s slating) and barking-mad splinter groups from the Orthodox (and sometimes among the Orthodox) like the Old Calendarist schisms. The sede scenario (the See of Peter vacant with an antipope reigning) can happen but they can’t prove it’s happening now. John Boyden has got these people sussed: they quote a recent Pope using nice diplomatic Vaticanspeak to greet visitors who are born into another faith (such as Hindus from India) and then sound like idiots, crowing that this pro forma politesse (something obvious to most people) proves that he has apostasised! Traditionalists realise that the Pope makes mistakes in prudential judgement. Neither the Novus Ordo neocons* nor the sedes seem to understand that.

*Except when the Pope stands on sound pre-conciliar teaching to preach peace.
LRC blog pick
A reminder of why real conservatives didn’t like Clinton either (more)
And why some were suckered into voting for Mr Bush in 2000
LRC pick
Military recruiters are professional liars
The rich and influential avoid combat. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton do not send young men to Iraq. The editors at magazines that support the war, National Review for example, didn't fight. They are happy to let you go, though. The reason for the All Volunteer military was to let the smart and rich avoid service and instead send kids from middle-class and blue-collar families. It works.
Libertarians correctly oppose conscription.

Friend John Treat pointed out once that the US Selective Service system (national service, known in the States as the draft) and the College Board system (a little like A-levels) were drawn up by the same people, a kind of social Darwinism to decide who should be cannon fodder and who should not.
From Katolik Shinja
The final frontier of morals?
Given how other sins against nature are excused today, is this one next? Apparently Isaac Asimov (who signed onto the second Humanist Manifesto and was no friend of Christianity) imagined such a dystopia (Joshua Snyder is better read than me).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Prayer on the Parkway
Today religion made another appearance at the RC cathedral (after being used for the Roman Mass à la S. Clement’s earlier this year)! A Eucharistic procession complete with cloth-of-gold canopy on brass poles, a decent gold baroque sunburst monstrance and a cope, dalmatic and tunicle that like the canopy looked like they were made at the latest about 60 years ago. Friend Tim Gallen observed that the only thing really wrong was there was no canopy/baldacchino over the Sacrament on Its outdoor-display stage... there was no altar either, just a sort of pillar for It. But in the overall high-church context even the smattering of modern hymns wasn’t offensive.

Stand by, ageing liberals: the restoration is under way.

Fr James Tucker’s Corpus Christi procession, 2005

Hooray for Pope Benedict XVI!
A little late but here it is
Mrs. [Barbara] Bush was criticized last week when she suggested, while visiting the Houston Astrodome, that poor people from Louisiana being housed there were faring better than before the hurricane struck.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said at the time. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.
No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war.
- Pope John Paul II
From Verbum ipsum
Criticising Galloway and Sheehan
Galloway drew boos from the crowd (at an event sponsored by a socialist organization!), when he suggested that Americans had it coming on 9/11
Did those couple of thousands of people deserve to be murdered simply because most of them were Americans? Of course not. Did the US government’s actions bring on the attacks? Undoubtedly.
Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan, instead of trying to build any kind of big-tent anti-war movement appears content to preach to the hard-left choir, recently declaiming that the victims of Katrina were "collateral damage of George Bush's insane and moronic policies in Iraq."
Insane and moronic policies in Iraq don’t affect the weather of course but Sheehan isn’t crazy — what she said is true in that the Louisiana National Guard, which exists to help in such natural disasters, were in Iraq and not in Louisiana where they should have been.
the U.S. has a right and a duty to respond to terrorism, using military force if necessary
Do the people who probably did 9/11 such as the Yemen-born Saudi Osama bin Laden deserve to be brought to justice? Of course. (It still hasn’t happened. Invading Afghanistan and Iraq did nothing to that end.) Responding to terrorism also meaning facing the problems that caused it, like propping up the state of Israel.

Bush obviously shouldn’t be president, which is a different matter to hating the man. One may not like Clinton personally and for good reason but he was a far more serviceable chief executive.