Wednesday, November 30, 2005

LRC pick
The neo-Comintern
Pat Buchanan’s latest, discussing the well-known Trotskyite roots of today’s ‘conservatives’
Eastern churches
On ethnic Jewish (and sometimes gentile) Christian Russian immigrants to Palestine
• Does the RCs’ sending Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking priests to them violate the (admittedly unofficial and nonbinding) Balamand agreement (the goal is corporate reunion, not poaching at the other side’s expense) or are these people unchurched and thus fair game?
• Do the missionary priests wholly adopt and thus honour the people’s native, Orthodox tradition? (Historically such activity usually hasn’t in practice.)
• Don’t needlessly piss off the Orthodox!
The world’s most dangerous man
Justin Raimondo thinks it’s Mr Bush

I think we at least agree that the world would have been better off if he’d been left with a trust fund and a baseball team to play with, out of harm’s way.
From The Gaelic Starover
Conservatives for a moratorium on the death penalty
On Catholics and obedience:
We don't refuse the authority of the sovereign pontiff. It's like a boy whose father tells him to steal something. He might disobey the unjust command, but he doesn't dispute the fact that his father has legitimate authority.
- Fr Peter Scott of the Society of St Pius X
From Slate
Does anybody else see something symbolically appropriate about this story?
As rule of law crumbles and turns into bird sh*t

Who/what should run the Internet?
The free market of course — it’s doing a fine job

The gay*-priest scandal
The Pope is predictably slagged
The Holy See is right to demand chastity in one’s state of life. That’s not just a rule; it’s the gospel, non-negotiable. The critics have a point, though, that there seems to be an option to ban someone — from ordination, not from full membership in the church! — simply because of his orientation. Rome can of course do that as a matter of discipline but it would be unfortunate. Right now they seem to be steering a middle course between those who want to do that and the present longstanding unacceptable status quo. ‘If you are homosexual, then show in the past three years of your life that you intend to live chastely’ is fair. No-one has the right to be ordained, by the way.

*Robert Cooper says it better than I could.
From The Onion
I realised that changing a government was like changing the rider of the same wild horse.
- Donovan

Which doesn’t mean do nothing for peace and justice but is simply the wisdom (be attentive!) that there is no utopia.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

From Charley Wingate
Curious factoid
Lend-Lease payments from Britain are expected to be completed in December 2006

You can search the blog for my views on FDR.

Also note all the goods the US gave to the USSR, which tortured and murdered more people than the Nazis and whose victims of course included many Russian Orthodox.
LRC pick
The Iraq war and Nuremberg precedent
The United States has violated the very legal precedents that it was so central in establishing at Nuremberg after World War II.
It’s fairly obvious what Mr Bush’s minders and followers alike think of rule of law.
From The Gaelic Starover
Among many other good recent entries (like this):

Remembering Dorothy Day
Who died 25 years ago today. This blog isn’t pacifist but her mix of traditional religion and work for peace and social justice — Catholic Action — is our guide. In the early C20, these people had the answers to modern problems.

Would I like to see her canonised? If and only if both parts of her message, named above, are promoted and practised, yes.

Many thanks to Katolik Shinja for the photo.

P.S. No, I’m not keen on attempts at iconography of people outside the Orthodox tradition. (Mixing rites is often a sign of theological liberalism.) Anybody can be privately venerated. In the end there is only one church, one kerygma, one dogma, but our mother the church respects (at least in theory) the integrity of her various rites.
Naff but so funny
From The Sneeze
Steve, don’t eat it!

The Cheap-Ass Cereal Hall of Fame

On the box
André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra
A pops concert. Apparently middle-class Dutch people love it.

I like it too.

I’ve worked alongside hipsters long enough not to care what they think.

(But they can come up with some very funny stuff — see The Sneeze above.)

Hearing him speak Dutch is fascinating: it’s obviously close to German* and what English would have been if the Normans hadn’t come round in 1066.

*It’s like Portuguese is to Spanish, Ukrainian to Russian or even Lowland Scots to English, a dialect that’s become just different enough to be a separate language but still mostly intelligible to the larger group.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pro-war US congressman pleads guilty to taking bribes, resigns
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
This is abortion
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynæcologists, which regulates methods of abortion, has also mounted its own investigation.

Its guidelines say that babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days of gestation should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered.
This is the ‘right’ the hipsterati are so keen on defending.
LRC blog pick
Is the state coercive?
Oh, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
- Bob Dylan in a gospel mood

Or it may be the modern state.

Whom or what do you serve?
From Fr James Tucker
Fireside Chat with the Rector is back!
An American priest’s good-natured, humorous tribute to the high-water mark of the Anglo-Catholic movement (the 1920s): imagining how somebody from the period would react to the madness one sees in churches today

Don’t take the anti-immigrant rhetoric literally: Father himself isn’t ethnically English.
Remember the lefty hawks?
Brendan O’Neill does
LRC pick
Red, white and blue dawn
Who again are the good guys?

When Christmas goes horribly wrong

One from Clifton Healy. I’ll admit that when I was a kid, before I thought liturgically, I found it strange and wrong that we sang Christmas carols in church after the 25th December! Clifton is right of course:
Welcome to the pagan holiday that celebrates the sin of acquisitiveness and purposefully entices the passions. Of course, it attempts to hijack the Christian holiday first by celebrating it for four weeks prior to the Christian holiday itself...
But not long after learning the liturgical way from the tail-end of the old Episcopalianism I understood Advent. The secular world of course doesn’t and doesn’t care.

And another from my dear old enemies at Ship of Fools (warning: language). All true and Schadenfreude consolation to those of us who haven’t got family to go to but I still love this season even in its debased form. Still markedly Catholic (admittedly built upon natural religion — we know Jesus wasn’t born in December), when even hardshell Protestants go in for statuary of Our Lord, Our Lady and St Joseph. Et Verbum caro factum est.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

From All Too Common
C.S. Lewis on the attempted ordination of women
Well done but I have to admit to giggling at the unintentional double entendre of the first clause

The Catholic faith
Katolik Shinja
Why bother with Mariology?
Everything that the Church has said and says about the Mother is, in fact, at the service of Christ, in defense of his humanity and at the same time of his divinity.

Mariology is, in fact, Christology. Her dogmas are but the confirmation and bulwark of her Son's. Whenever Mary has been neglected, sooner or later Christ has also disappeared.
- Vittorio Messori
From New Directions
What’s with all the candles?
People of little faith or no faith at all light them at the sites of motorcar accidents and other fatalities, much as they pile up flowers and multiply teddy bears. Candles – like it or not – are a derivation from the Diana Effect, flickering emblems of a post-religious sentimentality.
Or natural religion from people who were never really taught the faith — not a bad instinct, just one that needs to be churched.
Which is probably why the mainstream Church of England (where, let’s face it, candles were, in most of our lifetimes, a suspect feature associated with Romanism) has taken them to its heart.
And that Broad Churchpeople believe in nothing therefore everything.
The candles in the churches of our television whodunits are paying religion an elegant backhanded compliment.

My girlfriend has rightly long observed that secular TV shows, from people with a good eye for production values, depict RC churches aglow with votive lights before statues and decent altars and with habited nuns (being so dependent on the visual) that are better than ‘the real thing’ in many cases.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover
Fr Andrew Greeley on Mr Bush’s lies
From the stopped-clock-is-right-twice-a-day department
From Mere Comments
Be grateful so you may forgive
An interview with Paul Vitz
From Occidentalis
Theological Outlines
By the Revd Dr Francis J. Hall

A classic, now completely online
From Slate
The misleaders
How they goosed pre-war intel
Three from LRC
Tactics for the anti-war movement
• But the price of oil has gone up
• What you’ll have after Iraqisation (even now Mr Bush’s minders are talking about pulling out 60,000 soldiers*) is an Islamic revolution that will disrupt the oil supply, none of which would have happened if the country hadn’t been invaded
• Israel: living off World War II guilt (a look at the West Bank wall should disabuse one of that) and the fantasies of the Protestant religious right (more below)

Has Cheney gone mad?
Memo to Mr C: Osama bin Laden never did and does not control Iraq, but hey, they all look alike to you anyway

Side note on something both my girlfriend and I have noticed: bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are almost always referred to in the mainstream media by their first names, which there’s no good reason for as there are are no other really (in)famous bin Ladens in the West and Jordan is now ruled by King Abdullah II.

The loopy Protestant religious right
Pat Robertson reminds Eric Margolis of that menace

*Kevin Zeese rightly notes:
...will we recognize that a partial withdrawal of tens of thousands of troops, while a good thing, is really being done to confuse the Iraq War debate? The people must keep demanding – 'Bring the troops home now!' – and not be fooled by a partial withdrawal.
On the box
The Family Man

A new favourite Catholic fable, not at all churchy but seeing it again I noticed something in the background in one early scene that seems to ‘point the way’ at least to the audience, rather like what’s more explicitly on Bob Cratchit’s mantel in Scrooge.

And from the sublime to the now stultifyingly boring:

From Jump the Shark
‘The Apprentice: Martha Stewart’
Martha's "good manners" of writing a thank-you note which is basically just one last kick in the teeth to the contestants. A permanent reminder of why you lost... how thoughtful!

Friday, November 25, 2005

From The Times via truthout
Fury over gagging threat ‘to spare Bush’s blushes’
Thanks, Mr Miyagi
‘Wax on, wax off!’ RIP, Pat Morita.

An American imprisoned because of race:
Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

"One day I was an invalid," he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. "The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece."
From The Guardian
Were my captors worse than the Guantánamo jailers?
By Terry Waite

Secret UK paper accuses Israel of trying to illegally annex Arab part of Jerusalem
Eastern churches

Does the US government favour breakaway church in the Ukraine over the Russian Orthodox there?
This story has been in the blogosphere for a while — if it’s true I’m not surprised given the amorality of the neocons
From Slate
Public Enemy No. 43,527
The José Padilla case
From Katolik Shinja
‘Vegetable’ goes to university, writes book
Thank God they didn’t euthanise her, Joshua Snyder writes. The children you didn’t want are of value to him.

Eastern churches
Now threatened by a slick of toxic waste, it was once a good-sized Russian (and thus Orthodox) community* exiled just across the border in China until the Communists took over. Joshua has linked one of the late Gerard Bugge’s pages showing in words and pictures the Russian Catholic Church (search the blog for more on it) as it was there.

*According to this article in Russian, Harbin was the see of a diocese with a church in just about every part of the city, a monastery and a convent.
LRC pick
Cindy Sheehan writes to Barbara Bush

Thursday, November 24, 2005

From The Inn at the End of the World
Pour une plus grande liberté de la forme ancienne du rite romain
AFAIK the Roman Mass remains unliberated now that the 19th November is past but a cardinal says it was never suppressed, says an article in French
From Cacœthes Scribendi
Catholic vs bourgeois
There is always a temptation for religion to ally itself with the existing order, and if we today ally ourselves with the bourgeois because the enemies of the bourgeois are often also the enemies of the Church, we shall be repeating the mistake that the Gallican prelates made in the time of Louis XVIII.
Something the RC neoconnerie seem to have forgotten.
From Open Book
Rent a wreck
I’ve not seen it but this review rubbishing it is very funny. From what I’ve seen in the adverts it looks like stage-musical schmaltz pretending to be hip (and unlike the writer I found the tune in them catchy), though the stage version actually is an opera (everything is sung), which sounds interesting.

From Slate
Was Rent partially pinched?
Sarah Schulman has a point once you take out the self-aggrandising gay propaganda:
The real story of the AIDS crisis is the story of a group of despised people who had no rights, who came together, saved each other's lives, and changed the world. And that is not the story you find in any of these mainstream depictions.
I don’t see any humility or common sense about natural consequences of one’s behaviour. Anyway:
At base, it's the issue of taking authentic material made by people who don't have rights, twisting it so they are secondary in their own life story, and thereby bringing it center stage in a mainstream piece that does not advocate for them. That's an insidious but very American process. It's gone on for many, many years, [for instance with] black music, and with all kinds of fashion. So, being part of that is annoying, as you put it.
True. Another example is ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, which was really Carl Reiner writing about himself but having to bend to anti-Semitism and have a show with a goyische front-man and Jews sidelined.
[In these pieces,] gay people are always alone and self-oppressed, and have no community, and are dependent on some kind of other—a benevolent straight person, a homophobic lawyer, or even, in some cases, a woman...
Familiar to anybody who’s seen ‘Will & Grace’, a conventional sitcom romance that tells lots of gay jokes to make it seem hip — it used to be witty and funny but has run out of steam.
General: bring insurgents into political process
Hugo Chavez sells discounted heating oil to poor in New York and Massachusetts
Ties into the corporal works of mercy even though it’s propaganda for socialism (but didn’t the oil profits that made this possible come from the market?). Take out the ideology and you’ve got noblesse oblige, social responsibility.
On the death penalty
And why it should be exceedingly rare, the near-seamless garment position of this blog, different from pro-abortion cant — ‘safe, legal and rare’ — because there isn’t moral equivalence between an unrepentant murderer and an ‘inconvenient’ baby

One from TCR News via Katolik Shinja
One from Fr James Tucker:
...the very fact that this sort of thing can happen brings the whole institution (at least in Texas) into disrepute. And what does the government say after it intentionally kills a man for a crime he didn't commit? If there is some uncertainty about the guilt of the convict, how much uncertainty is too much? And do we really want to continue entrusting the government the ultimate coercive power of life and death?
• And the same story from the LRC blog
From Katolik Shinja
Iraq: they know they are lying
By Dr Thomas Fleming

Dalai Lama tells Christians and Muslims not to convert to Buddhism
Joshua Snyder wonders if he... speaking not only out of genuine goodwill, which I'm sure he is, but also out of practical concern for the integrity of his own religion. I've known enough Western ex-Christian self-proclaimed Buddhist converts to know that they seldom add much to their new religion, in the way that the recently converted Christian Asians and Africans have added so many saints and faithful to the Catholic Church. [In fact, if you want to find Christian orthodoxy in the modern world, look to Africa and Asia!] Most of the Western converts to Buddhism I have encountered, in contrast, seek belief without dogma, religion without demands, spirituality without discipline, enlightenment without effort. In other words, they are seeking something that does not exist. The Dalai Lama should tell them to watch Oprah instead.
The late apostate priest Alan Watts was one of those offenders according to a biographer of Fr Seraphim (Rose) — search the blog for my views on the last — but even he had some respect for the integrity of traditional religions (or why I like Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism better than the Novus Ordo and other kinds of modern mainline Protestantism):
I have been trying almost all of my life to work for a true catholicity, a fellowship wherein Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Jews and the rest could recognise their common ground...
Well and good as we hold that the truth in that common ground is contained in the Catholic faith. Watts denied the uniqueness of Judæo-Christian revelation; he was a relativist/indifferentist but interestingly not a syncretist:
and worship or meditate together without quarrelling, and yet without abandoning their interesting and colourful differences of method and style. I would not really want to see a Buddha-image on the high altar of St Peter’s or a crucifix in the Kaaba...
On natural religion (which we would say shares much with and is completed in the Catholic faith):
It has struck me that if one pay on attention to the meanings of the word [which of course one can’t do but anyway], most forms of temple-doings are essentially the same: chanting, bowing, candles, incense, gongs and bells — from the peyote ritual of the Oglala Sioux to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Paris, and from the Abbey of San Anselmo to the Daitoku Temple in Kyoto.

There is simply a consciousness clear as crystal and open to truth, reality or what is — which as St Thomas Aquinas would have said is what all men call God.
- From The Supreme Identity, a hard book and potentially dangerous, not something I’d recommend to everyone, including those new to the Catholic religion

The Lord loves the one who loves the Lord.

The faith teaches that one may be saved who in his conscience believes his religion to be right (contra Leonard Feeney).

The Anglosphere
Part of Catholic Europe or a toxic mutation of it? I like to think at heart it’s still the former but the best known things about it today are of the latter. (The parts that neocons like: Disraeli and Churchill for example.)

In any event, such national/ethnic pride must be balanced out by an awareness of universality, Catholicity, as Joshua points out. In a way so does Fr Paul Schneirla (he’s speaking for Eastern Orthodoxy) quoted by Benjamin Andersen.
LRC pick
Lincoln’s war-propaganda scam
Gary North on the dictator president’s co-opting of Thanksgiving and on marginal utility

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Last survivor of 1914 Christmas truce dies
Requiescat in pace
From Katolik Shinja
Pat Buchanan’s latest for peace
Correctly not pacifist but for peace

Mr Bush has a lot to answer for

Granola conservatism: evangelicals and hippies working together to help after hurricane
From Mark Shea
The gay-priest scandal

On the Holy See’s latest reaction
Well and good. Orientation in itself shouldn’t be an impediment.

On the hypocrisy of some (most?) animal-rights people
...allow me to introduce PETA to Planned Parenthood. There are other organisms besides fish that feel pain — at surprisingly young ages.
That said, helping animals is good:

City Kitty helps abandoned cats
If you can’t take care of an animal, don’t get one
From The Gaelic Starover
Map: the new blue and red zones
Apparently the only people in the US who still believe Mr Bush’s minders are Mormons
Eastern churches
Russian monk preaches online
The sermons of Archimandrite John (Krest’yankin). (In Russian.) Хорошо (good!). Pechersky (печерский) means of a cave so Fr John is of the Pskov Caves Monastery.

From the good folk at RISU
Ukrainian Catholic Church backs off from alleged claim to St Sophia’s Cathedral
They were ‘in your face’ moving their headquarters to Kiev (search the blog for my view on that) but are being tactful now: тоже хорошо. It’s one of the oldest if not the oldest church in the country and is literally Byzantine (but dressed up in baroque costume jewellery), built by Greeks from the empire and sharing its dedication (Holy Wisdom) with Constantinople’s cathedral church. The mother church of Russian Christanity.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

From The Waffling Anglican
Cultural conservatives more generous than liberals
• For all their imperfections I’m not surprised — I’ve seen it proved in my life
• It balances out the claim that people in the red US states live off the welfare charity of people in the blue ones
• OK, one on one they’re great people. So how can we convince them to stop supporting a government that practises uncharity on a big scale including sending them to die in Iraq?
The neocons are really liberals.
They don’t care about you.

Of course Catholics don’t neatly fit into red vs blue.

St John of the Cross
Eastern churches
St Nicholas Cathedral in Oradea Mare, Romania given back to the Romanian Catholic Church
The church of our hero Bishop John-Michael (Botean) — search the blog for more on him. Righting a wrong done by the Communists. The Romanian Catholics seem latinised though. At least they’re not modern.

Learnt from Recognised Internet Authority™ Stuart Koehl that the Romanian Catholics were a substantial part (20 per cent) of the pre-World War II Romanian people and by the 1930s relations with the Orthodox majority were friendly: the two priests in a village would hear each other’s wives’ confessions. Communism ruined all that.
What a friend we had in Jack
LRC blog pick
From Katolik Shinja

US troops kill Iraqi civilians
"They are all children. They are not terrorists," shouted an unidentified relative. "Look at the children," he said.
LRC pick
Internet 1, state nil
From truthout
Cheney patronises Murtha and again lies about 9/11-Iraq connexion
Translation: ‘They’re all Arabs: isn’t that enough?’

Memo to Congresswoman Jean Schmidt
Libertarian traffic control
The ideas of Hans Monderman of the Netherlands: roads without signs, traffic lights or sleeping bobbies
For Monderman it is not signs that should dictate how to drive, but the road itself. It’s not the government or “civil servants” who should legislate traffic; it’s the human drivers who should negotiate their way.

The current system of traffic — of lights and signs, of separating pedestrian, car and cycling traffic — doesn’t work, he said. It actually erodes people’s quality of life.

He believes in shared space and in the idea of bringing all traffic together so that the car driver can negotiate with the pedestrian and so on.

This, he said, necessitates introducing risk.

Most traffic systems try to minimize risk, but Monderman says “manage it.” When there’s a perception of risk, people slow down and pay attention to what’s going on around them, he maintains.

This involves giving back responsibility to civilians.

“Public space is important,” he said. “When you remove it, where can you learn to be a free civilian?”
A possible US application of his ideas

Monday, November 21, 2005

Eastern churches
I like this!
The Orthodox being pastoral to high-church* Byzantine Catholics who frequent their churches

*Search the blog to find out what this means in this context.
From The Gaelic Starover
Shame on you, Catholic League
There are pro-Wal-Mart apologias on LRC (you can search there and in their blog) but Daithí is right to blast the RC neoconnerie on this one
Trying to get closure... and justice
Does anybody know if the murder trial of the ex-priest and ex-nuns in Tanacu (search the blog), Romania is still going on or what the verdict was? I can’t find anything recent — the most recent news is somewhat old and in Romanian.
LRC picks
Let the war-crimes trial begin
Hold government accountable

Against the tide
The newspaper publisher in conservative* Orange County, California wrote against putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps in 1942

*In 1942 that still meant something.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

From Verbum ipsum
Fair-trade coffee: cui bono?
From First Things via Notes from a Byzantine-Rite Calvinist
On the cultus of America
In the absence of a strong and deep ecclesiology, American Protestantism has always been prone to embrace America as its church.
- Fr Richard John Neuhaus

Another reason for fundygelicalism’s worship of the military after the 1960s.
From Pontifications
Quotation: on bad religion vs God
Bishop N.T. Wright tells how, when he was chaplain at Worcester College in Oxford, students would often come up to him and say, “Don’t expect to see much of me this term. I don’t believe in God.” Bishop Wright had a stock reply: “Oh, that’s interesting; which god is it you don’t believe in?”

This would usually lead into a few moments of conversation in which the student would talk about God and religion, after which Bishop Wright would reply, “Well, I’m not surprised you don’t believe in that god. I don’t believe in that god either.”
The Catholic faith
What’s your besetting sin?
Something to think and pray about and a help in making a good confession

From Cacœthes Scribendi
On examination of conscience
Some Protestants twig that they’re missing something

From Slate
On the decline of the practice of the confessional
...the one sacrament casual Catholics feel free to skip. We'll get married in church, we'll be buried from church, and we'll take Communion at Mass. But regularly confessing one's sins to God and the parish priest seems to be a part of fewer and fewer Catholic lives. Where have all the sinners gone?
Two words: bad catechesis. Communion all the time, Confession none of the time is the giveaway: it’s Protestant.

All confession is to God; venial sins are taken care in your own prayer life. Grave matter — what’s objectively mortal sin — is to God with the priest as a kind of witness. So you’re not really confessing to Fr Smith.

‘Why do it then?’ you might ask. ‘Isn’t God everywhere?’ Of course, but having Fr S hear your confession gives you accountability, responsibility. It’s harder to fool yourself about your faults and sorrow for them that way.
To congregations scarred by the recent sex-abuse scandal, the thought of turning to a priest for forgiveness might not hold the attraction that it once did.
Again the solution is good instruction. To avoid the confessional because of the gay-priest fiasco is understandable but Catholics know that ‘if Peter baptises (or absolves — Confession/Absolution is a renewal of Baptism, a second plank to grab for dear life as the Church Fathers put it), Christ baptises; if Judas baptises, Christ baptises’. To tie the grace of a sacrament to the worthiness of the minister is the heresy of Donatism.
But it's strange that so many lay Catholics should have abandoned the confessional even while secular culture is increasingly awash in confession, apology, and acts of contrition of every sort.
See how hip the church liberals aren’t.
The Catholic tradition of listing the number and kinds of one's sins in regular, private confessions became standard practice after the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.
An application of dogma (not dogma in itself) that’s a gift to the whole church. It was also to do with the early Irish practice of going to monks one-on-one for spiritual direction like the Christian East does.
...expressing contrition in confession could mean the difference between going to heaven or hell: Dying with unconfessed mortal sin on your soul meant eternal torment.
It still does meant that. Some missing nuances are that only God knows who objectively is in mortal sin, and perfect contrition, which only he know one has, means forgiveness even if one doesn’t get a chance to use the sacrament.
As recently as 40 years ago, many Catholics would not have thought of accepting the Eucharist until after they'd cleansed their souls.
If we’re talking about cleansing them of mortal sins that’s entirely correct and standard Catholic practice, full stop.
Today the situation is almost exactly the reverse: Entire congregations receive Communion, while the confessionals remain mostly empty.
Again, bad catechesis. The same reason why only 30 per cent of American RCs even know what they’re receiving. So actually you’ve got mainline Protestantism in a non-Anglo-Saxon style (without nice buildings, prose or hymns or even Protestant manners or friendliness), not Catholicism.

I am thinking more and more that one has to go wherever the Roman Catholic religion is adhered to. Even if it isn’t Rome.
- Hilary
From Charley Wingate
Growing up and out
My good friend in real life’s childhood and adolescence and mine have some points in common:
I did not know adulthood myself as loss, but as gain.
He refutes the common secular claim that to grow up is to chuck out religion:
What first strikes me about this is how very much it is not about growth, but about loss.
Mark Lilla writes:
But one of the dirty little secrets about adolescence is that the young fear the very freedom they crave. They intuit the burden of autonomy and want, quite literally, to be "saved" from it. That is no doubt why, as researchers tell us, the average age of conversion is in the early teens.
That’s not pathological; it’s reality and humility if rightly understood. Being accountable to something bigger and better than you — objective truth, reality, God — is the true order of things and realising that is what of ‘growing up’ is about. Far from being oppressive — being under our own fallen human nature, our little egos and ids is just that — it’s empowering (sorry for the modern cant but it fits here) and liberating!

I can say from my growing up that when I tried to emulate the secular world’s unbelief (or rather belief against God) — briefly, over a decade ago — it made my handicaps worse not better.

I dare say it works that way for abler people as well.

From what little of it I’ve seen the world’s great religious literature seems to agree.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

US Reform Jews get it: leave Iraq

Whilst the US House of Representatives doesn’t
By Charley Reese

The fractured anti-war movement
The left and the mainstream don’t know (yet) about people like me
LRC picks
America’s founders’ vision vs the current régime

On stealth tyranny
Which can come in the form of democracy — a mob. Here’s more from the LRC blog.
Anglican doings
Mere Comments
The trouble with the Anglican Communion Network
Un-Catholic and stuck in a loop repeating history: ‘the Elizabethan settlement (and the Episcopal Church pre-Gene Robinson) failed once so let’s re-create it exactly so it can fall apart again’

Legitimate criticism that doesn’t sound like gay excuses for ECUSA (there’s a fine line between that and the English tolerant conservatism — one’s vices are one’s own business — that is a gift of Anglo-Catholicism).

While it’s relatively good that there are women ministers who are in fact Christians one can’t escape the irony that even they are being driven out of ECUSA. It’s an interesting inversion of what Gary North recently described: Yale University’s chapel recently cutting its ties to the United Church of Christ* because the UCC are too conservative! (Well, Ralph Waldo Emerson and a dear older lady, no longer with us, I used to work with left the Unitarians for that reason!) The ladies are only relatively conservative like the UCC in this case.

Here’s Fr Lee Nelson on just how Protestant this compromise is.

Mainstream RC bishops are similarly ‘defending tradition established in the 1970s’, though that they’re complaining so much may mean some real undoing of their changes may happen!

Rumour has it the Roman Mass will be ‘liberated’ today from the restrictions slapped on it. I’ll believe it when I see it.

*The Congregationalists (English Presbyterians) who founded the place and who’ve just about caught up with their Unitarian (non-Christian) offspring in their unbelief. Which is what Calvinism always shatters into, says Archbishop Robert Morse. Friend John Treat has observed that the Episcopalians, the UCC and the Unitarians are competing in the same market — upper-middle-class whites hungry for ‘spirituality’ on their own terms — for members.
From A Catechumen’s Walk via Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Traditional religions vs Protestantism
On Islam, the Mormonism of Orthodoxy, and how Prots just don’t get it
Mohammedanism is not a perversion of Protestantism; it does not share its roots, a background of 700 years, and most of its tradition with Protestantism. It shares those things with us. The Moslems don’t hate the Protestants; they just don’t GET the Protestants. Of course, the same can be said for the Protestants; they just don’t get the Moslems.
Or why Fr Seraphim (Rose) (search the blog for my last word on him) liked René Guenon.

Fr Louis Massignon got it as well.
In a 1939 article, Massignon deplored how "Germanized Ashkenazim have taken the Palestinian issue into their hands, with the perfect and implacable technique of the most exasperating of colonialisms: slowly pushing the Arab ‘natives' toward the desert." (Source.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover
The man of the hour
I like guys who got five deferments and (have) never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.
- US Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania

The hawks are starting to get it.
From truthout
Go, filibuster, go!

Another soldier hero

A woman with a conscience

I know: ‘you signed the motherf*cking contract’ (what USMC means, say the Marines) so take the consequences (do as you’re told or go to jail). Of course. But those objectors are still heroes.
Ex-CIA boss: Cheney ‘vice-president for torture’

More on torture
Andrew Sullivan via Mark Shea slates The Wall Street Journal
From Katolik Shinja
The rebuttal to ‘spiritual but not religious’
Mark Alessio in The Remnant noted the same hypocrisy about the apostasy of George Harrison
Alito was right about racial quotas too

Thursday, November 17, 2005

From titusonenine
More Americans are ‘getting it’ about war and foreign adventures
From conjectural navel gazing
The liberal American Baptist Churches get something right
Eastern churches
Beats the Novus Ordo by a country mile
To this day, being a high-church Byzantine Catholic* is a kind of living martyrdom: many Orthodox, many/most RCs (left and right) and other BCs are gunning for you.

It’s like the Anglo-Catholic experience: regarded as imposters, or hated for theological and liturgical traditionalism, perhaps patronised by the mainstream, sometimes in the name of ecumenism.

Все святые Руси, молите Бога о нас!

*Истиный восточник: a conservative with no latinisations in church, somebody who learns the rite and its language(s) and defends them from encroachments (and because of that is often accused of preaching schism).
From truthout
Mr Bush’s speechwriter rewrites history
LRC blog pick
The American gulag
83,000 people imprisoned... yet sometime CIA employee Osama bin Laden is still at large
Katelyn Sills
Apparently this girl*, who went to a private RC high school, found out that one of the staff was actively pro-abortion (a ‘clinic escort’) and told the bishop (the apostolic ministry in action). And so Loretto High School sacked the teacher but got theirs back by expelling Miss Sills.

Hell hath no fury like ageing liberal nuns scorned.

(The two adjectives naturally go together.)

Loretto High School: ‘Catholic’ not Catholic.

*Regrettably she’s also a young neocon but that doesn’t excuse what Loretto did to her.
Most insurgents telling the US to get out of Iraq are... Iraqis
In other news, most people enjoy sex and the Monkees were a ripoff of the Beatles
From Veterans for Peace
Before you enlist
The real deal on joining the military — rebutting the stuff parodied wonderfully by this
LRC picks
The truth about Bill Buckley
On his 80th birthday. I like his manner and, based on Nearer My God (use the Amazon link to the right to buy this), his religion but he’s a traitor to classical liberalism/American conservatism.

... and about Woodrow Wilson
And his secret police, by the late great Murray Rothbard

And the British are far from blameless
By A.N. Wilson

Eric Margolis’ latest
While I wouldn’t mind the overthrow of the House of Saud I don’t think Mr Bush’s minders have that plan, and of course I’d like to see the Arabians do it themselves and perhaps replace that anti-Christian régime with the Baath Party or something like it

And don’t forget to read Mr Margolis’ own site, linked in the column to the right

Famous lost words
Be wary of foreign entanglements.
- George Washington
From Katolik Shinja
What we learnt from the Reds
In 1949, Cardinal Jószef Mindszenty appeared before the world's cameras to mumble his confession to treasonous crimes against the Hungarian church and state. For resisting communism, the World War II hero had been subjected for 39 days to sleep deprivation and humiliation, alternating with long hours of interrogation, by Russian-trained Hungarian police. His staged confession riveted the Central Intelligence Agency, which theorized in a security memorandum that Soviet-trained experts were controlling Mindszenty by "some unknown force." If the Communists had interrogation weapons that were evidently more subtle and effective than brute physical torture, the CIA decided, then it needed such weapons, too.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
Terri Schiavo posthumously dehumanised
Samer: Sick... and sad.

The cruel offences committed against this poor woman did not stop with her death.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

From blog member Lee Penn
Lee: The Republicans are trying to convince themselves that they are on the rebound ...

There is this final line of the article:
That thundering sound in the distance might be a solid phalanx of elephants, on the move once more.
which deserves this Biblical analogy:
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
- Rev. 13:4
From The Gaelic Starover
The Cheney index

Congressman defends harassed church

Persecuted by the IRS* for its peace message
Perhaps we need to look beyond the IRS and determine who is using them as the Bushling’s thought-police.

I’m certain that Halliburton would be a better source of national revenue than All Saints Episcopal Church.
- Daithí Mac Lochlainn

*The US version of the Inland Revenue.
From blog member Lee Penn
US used white phosphorus in Iraq
Lee: FYI, a story about the napalm of the 21st century
Eastern churches
Katolik Shinja
Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Kyrill says to bury Lenin
Joshua Snyder: Even Vladimir Ilyich is deserving of the seventh of the corporal works of mercy
LRC blog pick
British liberty vs Lincolnite Yankee tyranny
From the founders of Canada in the 1860s
I think that every true reformer, every friend of real liberty, will agree with me in saying that if we must erect safeguards, they should be rather for the security of the individual than of the mass, and that our chiefest care must be to train the majority to respect the rights of the minority, to prevent the claims of the few from being trampled under foot by the caprice or passion of the many. For myself, sir, I own frankly I prefer British liberty to American equality. I had rather uphold the majesty of the law than the majesty of Judge Lynch. I had rather be the subject of an hereditary monarch, who dare not enter the hut of the poorest peasant without leave ... than be the free and sovereign elector of an autocratic president, whose very minister can boast the power of imprisoning one man in New York and another in St. Louis by the touching of a bell-wire!
- Richard Cartwright

From Katolik Shinja
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- H.L. Mencken
From Slate
Pope 1, Robertson nil

From Fr James Tucker
Catholic doesn’t necessarily mean the intelligent-design theory
The Bible doesn’t say how the heavens work; it says how to get to heaven
...the Intelligent Designer of ID is but a pale reflection of the God of Revelation.
From Verbum ipsum
Real profiles in courage
Robert Taft, who should have been president of the US, and today Russ Feingold

And don’t forget Ron Paul.
From Katolik Shinja
A Catholic traditionalist on war
All wars are a culmination of our collective sins. They're the result of an infection of human evils that comes to a head and proves how savage we can be to each other.

Satan loves each and every one of them and they should never, ever be fought unless every imaginable alternative has been exhausted.
- John Grasmeier

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From The Onion
Life in the Navy rocks even harder than the commercial implied
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Who is now in this blog’s links list

Theory of dumb design may explain Pat Robertson
Thanks for reminding me of the humorist Andy Borowitz

Armenian bishop nominated for president of National Council of Churches
To succeed an Orthodox priest
From last week
Santorum to Bush: thanks but no
My first generator
Fun playing with code: write your own headline for this blog!

Here are some better ones.
¿Cómo se llama?
[a]ccording to the latest government data, [Justin and Ashley] are the two most common names given to children of Hispanic parents in NY last year. For Asian parents the story is different: name number one is Emily.
Fine names all, even if the first two suffer a bit from their popularity and new ubiquity. Paul Fussell in Class (search the blog or use the Amazon link to the right) observed this phenom over 20 years ago writing about middle-class white Americans, who were and are keen on traditional English names out of a romance novel.

But as great as English culture is, it’s a little disturbing to see Hispanics use Protestant-sounding names. One can only hope that Ashley is getting a saint’s name as a middle name. By the way, as Fr Andrew Phillips has written, many traditional names in English that seem Protestant aren’t. Jennifer is really Geneviève for example and Al(l)ison really Alexandra.
The Rome Report
RC-Anglican (including Continuing Churches) dialogue on high ground, not ARCIC’s liberal mutual wank
Anglicans who become Roman Catholic generally become very conservative Roman Catholics, while Roman Catholics who become Anglican tend to become very liberal Anglicans.
- Bishop John Flack of the Anglican Centre in Rome (a mainstream type)
The parable of the talents explained
Despite our obvious religious differences a tip of the biretta to the lady who writes this blog for the exegesis

Here is another sermon on it from the good father at A View from the Sacristy.
The true religion of God is Judaism.

Christianity is nothing more than Judaism being lived in fulfilment. The Messiah has come, the rites which pointed to Him have been fulfilled.

And when any one who is a follower of Jesus the Christ goes to church, the service he sees should look like Temple worship. If it does not, it has strayed from the truth.
- A Byzantine Catholic
LRC pick
Whither politeness?
I almost didn’t blog this because I admit I don’t live up to it but it’s true. I see the divide between people who grew up pre-1970s and my generation and younger every day. The former win hands down on the niceness front.
Mr Bush is now sort of admitting he was wrong about Iraq

US Senate Republicans propose Iraqisation scheme to withdraw
Now that Iraq’s secular government are gone and Christians are fair game thanks to Mr Bush’s minders, you will see 1975 Saigon and 1979 Teheran all over again and all at once, but the right thing to do is to get out!
An economist’s case against interventionist foreign policy
From Katolik Shinja
Sex and death
By Thomas Fleming
True, but I’ll balance this out by saying that sound pre-1960s (though relatively recent) church teaching says that the unitive aspect is as important as the procreative. Of course it’s OK for older couples to have sex. Some controversialists say the Catholic faith says it’s only for procreation; they are setting up a strawman.

Regarding Mr Alito, I still think Mr Bush’s minders are playing the Protestant religious right including the RC neoconnerie but there is no ‘right’ to elective abortions. Medically necessary abortions (to save the mother’s life, not to kill disabled babies) are allowed by the church and were always legal.

And again, here’s a word on contraception.

Californian sewage causes ‘intersex’ fish
Or another reason for good stewardship of God’s creation

Monday, November 14, 2005

From Sojourners (search the blog for criticism of them)
Who would Jesus torture?
Confessions of a repentant war supporter
From truthout
Protestants still proselytise at US Air Force Academy
Why separation of church and state in the American context protects Catholics

Once again, 100 years ago evangelicals included William Jennings Bryan, who cared about social justice and had a healthy distrust of government (including the military) and war (why Alvin York refused to fight at first). They started idolising the government and military after the cultural crisis in the late 1960s.

Now the neocons can play them — thoroughly modern religion that’s utilitarian, good for making soldiers and peons to do your bidding.
Pagans in the Ukraine celebrate Svaroh (Сварог)
Tee hee hee
The Ukrainian Halych [Galician] Orthodox Pagans celebrated the Day of Svaroh at Ascension Park in western Ukrainian Lviv on 6 November 2005.
Oh, dear — how many casual readers in the West will think these Vanya-come-latelys are Eastern Orthodox? Readers who possibly thought the demeaning ‘Eastern European’ schtick on ‘Taxi’ was authentic. For all of Eastern Europe’s problems, they and their churches didn’t deserve that.

These pagans have a right to be wrong, in this case silly, probably pinching Christian ethics while making up their own theology and ritual just like neo-pagans in the West.

So if these are Orthodox Pagans what are the other pagans? Evil New Calendarist Pagans (‘they celebrate Svaroh on the wrong date!’), part of ‘World Paganism’ and ecumenism (‘they’re nice to Wiccans!’)?
From Katolik Shinja
CIA allegedly hid evidence of detainee torture
As a newspaperman I know what allegedly means: ‘we jolly well know they did it’

From Slate
The double standard
From blog member Samer al-Batal
His LRC pick:

Asian wisdom: Communism doesn’t work and neither does democracy
Both prove themselves to be disastrous experiments
These two important lessons will stand the Chinese nation in good stead as the coming century unfolds, because the adoption of Communism and democracy are the two most catastrophic blunders committed by developing nations in the late 20th and early 21st century.
Samer: The explanation for the uselessness behind these two exercises in failure: unsurprisingly, a flawed grasp of human nature.
The only politico-economic system, or to be more precise, metasystem, grounded in the fundamental reality of human nature, is the spontaneously generated free marketplace.
Chaldæan synod: presenting reformed liturgy to the Pope
‘Reformed’? Oh, sh*t.

Samer: Given the date of this article, it must have been presented by now, a work of 7 years, though which of the liturgies of the East Syriac tradition is concerned isn’t clear. I have no way of telling what the nature of these changes happens to be, whether they bode good or ill, but comments or code (perhaps not so inaccurate a term) such as the following cannot be reassuring:
A source involved in the synod said that the proposed changes “aim to maintain the tradition whilst introducing modern elements for pastoral purposes”.

Mass will have a “more organic structure” preserving changes made over the centuries, and adding new words to some moments like the anaphor.
Like I said of the Ruthenians, it seems they want to be the Novus Ordo in drag.

This is the same bait-and-switch rhetorical game played in Sacrosanctum Concilium in Vatican II: praise a traditional practice in one sentence, then a few lines down add ‘options’ that undermine that practice; in other words, make a practice optional, which according to this game really means suppress it.

Exactly how Fr George Rutler recently described the literal meaning of the Greek-derived word hypocrite, holding a conversation under your breath rather like Kevin Nealon’s old ‘subliminal news’ gag: ‘Latin, Gregorian chant and the pipe organ are great and are to be promoted... they are now optional (dump them!).’

Samer: Not an unfamiliar tune, but with no concrete information, definitive judgements cannot be made. All that can be known for certain is that the liturgical flu does stretch to the Eastern side of the pond as well, and seeing how Novus Ordo-isms have crept into the Eastern Catholic Churches with time, while liturgies celebrated in many churches have become truncated beyond reason, would it be surprising not to expect this to be anything other than another example of liturgical disfiguring? Whatever the truth may be, what is clear is that with the troubles and trials Iraqi Christians face at present, the last thing they need now is their hierarchs recklessly playing Lego with their spiritual possessions in order to pay tribute to the gods of modern liturgical Volksgemeinschaft.

*Is this the famous Anaphora of Addai and Mari? I’m hoping not. The Chaldæans (or Rome, if one prefers) had already tinkered with this one long back by tacking onto it the Words of Institution, though Rome accepts today the validity of the original form of this ancient body of consecratory prayer thought even to predate the Roman Canon. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the aftershocks of this are still being felt by many in the Vatican who weren’t so eager to give a nod of acceptance to the old anaphora — controversy may not have died out yet.) [End.]

Samer, as you of course know Catholicism isn’t monolithic in its opinions, only in its dogma, and there isn’t even agreement on this blog about the Anaphora of St Addai and St Mari. John Boyden favours adding the words of institution; I say that’s blatant disrespect for the Christian East, which isn’t what the church teaches on the subject. Most of the time one can’t blame Rome for those distortions — the Eastern Catholics latinised themselves.
Two from Lew
Do troops defend our way of life?
Or wreck others’?

The legend of Jane Fonda
From blog member Lee Penn
GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party’s decline
Lee: A conspiracy theory for you guys ... for your discernment.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

From Fr James Tucker
Changing the Mass was a mistake
Thomas Day has written excellently about these matters for 20 years — read more by buying his books through the Amazon link to the right
From Cælum et terra
On the indissolubility of marriage
And a good comments discussion on the Christian East:
The East is blessing adultery, whether the rite is penitential or not. The couple is also receiving communion while living in an objective state of mortal sin.
I asked a Byzantine Catholic priest and university lecturer about this and he couldn’t come up with an answer. On the face of it this accusation makes perfect sense but — believe it or not — the difference is not a roadblock to corporate reunion with Rome. After the Melkite union in 1724 they kept the Orthodox discipline on the matter for at least a century. That discipline is described well in these comments.
From Katolik Shinja
Prince Charles blasted Communist Chinese during handover of Hong Kong
Another reason to like him

Ten commandments for the environment
Granola conservatism

Remembrance Sunday
You never forget war

Photos: World War I in colour
From Cacœthes Scribendi
On the dark night of the soul
The classic from St John of the Cross

As old friend Mark Bonocore explained to me, the Spanish mystics talked about three stages in moving towards God (towards theosis or deification as the Orthodox shockingly and correctly put it), the first stage that’s all sweetness and light (which many/most mistake for the third stage), the dark night in which most people quit and finally union with God.