Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Asperger syndrome
‘The Infinite Mind’ radio show on AS (parts I and II)
It’s annoying when an interviewee generalises and says people with AS can’t empathise. Somewhere else on the Web I read a good distinction between AS and high-functioning but full-blown autism: the person with AS does care how you feel and wants to be your friend; the autistic person probably doesn’t because he can’t.

I’m also not so sure there’s an AS ‘community’.

This looks like it might be really good. Apparently it was made a couple of years ago but I’m not sure if it’s been released (is it out on DVD?):

Mozart and the Whale
A film with a semi-big-name actor (Josh Hartnett) and a beautiful female lead IIRC from the indie scene (Radha Mitchell) about a dating couple with AS. Wonderful!

This could go a long way towards undoing the damage the wrong kind of media attention has done (‘Law & Order’ depicting people with it as criminals and perverts).
Eastern churches
High-church exodus to a friendly bishop?
The ‘S. Clement’s’ of the Ruthenian Catholics, Holy Resurrection Monastery in the Californian desert (the photo is of the abbot, Fr Nicholas), may change jurisdictions from the ‘ethnic Novus Ordo’ Ruthenians to the observant Byzantine (and witness for peace) Bishop John-Michael (Botean) of the Romanian Catholic eparchy of Canton, Ohio.

Ethnicity isn’t the issue: for example, Fr Nicholas, from Australia, is an ethnic Greek, not Slavic or Romanian.
Three from LRC
Conscription = Communism

Cargo-cult economics

The great college swindle

I got the headline from reading Paul Fussell
We may consider someone insane for committing homicide in Radnor or West Chester. But what of the men in suits who condemned thousands of Iraqis to death, not to mention American soldiers, in a war based on false premises? Kill one person, and it’s murder. Slaughter thousands, and it’s national defense.
- Columnist Gordon Bennett
The Catholic faith
Mary: Great only because she ‘doth magnify the Lord’
But why will they call me blessed? For my merits? No, but out of regard for God, because the Most High hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, and rightly, justly so, for he that is mighty hath magnified me. I acknowledge the favour and claim no greatness of my own. I am indeed great, not of myself, however, but because he who is mighty has done great things for me.
- St Thomas of Villanova

In Himself only God is perfect/sinless but Mary was made immaculate because of the Incarnation to come: she became the Mother of God.
Eastern churches
Are the Ruthenian Catholics to be further Novus Ordo-fied liturgically?
Господи, помилуй!

Such is scaring their high-church minority well as the Roman Rite traditionalist refugees among them. I haven’t seen this rumoured ‘revised liturgy’ online so I don’t know if any of this is true.

Some claim that the latest self-revisions not only shorten/drop things but have ‘inclusive language’. I have some of their existing books for the office that have this problem. They don’t try to neuter or feminize God but it’s still annoying and a bad sign. To be fair, in the context of a rite that is obviously still full-strength and ‘unreformed’ it’s a relatively minor problem in itself.

In 1944 Rome issued a liturgical book for them that follows Orthodox usages (no filioque in the Creed for example* among many other things) but it has never been implemented. They didn’t want to be traditional and Eastern then or now.

A feminist article coming from them seems to suggest that regrettably much of what’s going on there is really just an ethnic version of the Novus Ordo.

And on the lighter side:

Would Prince Michael of Kent make a good tsar?
He’d have to repudiate Freemasonry but he’s related to the Russian royals (and even looks like the last Tsar), likes the culture and speaks the language

*Which a lot of their churches now have done, possibly partly because it’s a gesture that’s hip in academic ecumenical circles.
Pro-soldier, anti-war
This memorial is not a monument to war. It is a symbol of honor.
- Andrew Haskell, commander of VFW Post 840, Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, US, as quoted in The Times Herald

Much like the World War I monuments all over England.
From Daithí Mac Lochlainn
Vince Daliessio on Mr Bush’s handlers playing RC neocons
Catholics who support Bush's wars for the sake of his feigned opposition to abortion are going against the express teaching of TWO popes. The message cannot be made any clearer.
Or as Daithí blogged this, such is ‘selective orthodoxy’.

P.S. Congratulations to Daithí on getting a mention and a link in Lew Rockwell’s blog!
From blog member John Boyden
English RCs use beer-mat ads in pubs to try to recruit new priests
They also say they’re going to have more lay-led services and even more parish churches that are lay-led, with the leaders living in the clergy house. The number of RC priests in the Archdiocese of Westminster (London) has dropped nearly by half since the 1970s. What I wonder is if this is mostly owing to the real vocations crisis, thanks to Vatican II and the larger culture in tandem, or the fake one on top of it manufactured by the liberals (as described by Michael Rose in Goodbye, Good Men: a selection process that deliberately weeds out orthodox and/or straight men) as an excuse to push for such services, which is both anti-sacerdotalist (anti-apostolic ministry and thus anti-Catholic) and ironically quite clericalist (not the authentic Catholic view) as this is used to sell the attempted ordination of women (such want power, not what the priesthood really means) to a badly catechized laity.

Monday, May 30, 2005

From the antiwar.com blog
Israel, stop spying on America
Join the campaign to contain and constrain the Israel lobby, especially the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and its allies, including Christian Zionists.
Forced shaving and tattooing of prisoners
Where have we seen this before?
From Verbum ipsum
I’ll take the old fusionism and the near-seamless garment
The new kind of course is rubbish

The angry isolationist paleoconservatives are probably right — this isn’t conservatism, in several older senses of the word.
You rang, sir?
From Catholic Cadet

Inject the youngest among us into yourself to make you younger
One of the most evil things I’ve ever heard

And it’s happening in the Ukraine.

As old friend Mark Bonocore told me, Catholic societies have extreme holiness and extreme evil side by side/in mortal combat; Protestant countries tend towards a kind of lukewarmness, a mediocrity. (The devil doesn’t bother with the lukewarm; Jesus said what he’d do to them.) But it seems that in the Russias decades of sovietization have given evil the upper hand for now.

Господи, помилуй!
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Monument to St Paul unveiled in Damascus
The home of our own Samer al-Batal. The outdoor statue, by a Russian, was approved jointly by the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox, in the patriarchal see of the latter.

The English (and one Welshman) propose a compromise about Anglican priests with boyfriends
Does ++Cantuar think the still-Christian Global South will buy this?

Better to handle this in the time-honoured way: uphold the faith in principle and in practice but even those who don’t practise it at home at least have to continue to preach it. (So no naff ‘commitment ceremony’, certainly not in church!) A ‘tolerant conservatism’ as somebody online recently described it. Secular people may call it hypocritical but even hypocrisy is vice’s acknowledgement of virtue and in this case works for the common good. Better a millstone round one’s neck than to cause scandal or other sins.

The last thing any of the homosexuals I know and respect (even one or two who are wrong about these issues) want is rainbow flag-waving idiocy in church.

BTW, ‘celibate’ doesn’t mean ‘not having sex’; it means ‘not married’.

Historically when Catholics sin* they don’t try to bend the church to bless what they’re doing as good; they know better. Trying to do that is horribly Protestant.

*One of those paradoxes: sinless (infallible) church, sinful people in it.
Five from LRC
Remembering another stupid war
The Russo-Japanese one. The last Tsar was saintly but not a competent emperor. Philadelphia’s oldest Russian Orthodox church* was built as a chapel for his navy as he had two warships built in that city, one of which, the Variag (Viking), famously sank during one of the battles of that war.

Interview for US Memorial Day: Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace

The plagues that kill today

War, nationalism, propaganda...

Ships and the sea
Largely forgotten but still important. I’ve only been deep-sea fishing twice but have some sense of what Charley Reese is talking about.

Most of us, I guess, have contact with the sea only at the beach and from novels. Nevertheless, the maritime industry and the world's navies are as important as they've ever been. They are beset by problems that require more visibility, at least as much as Tom Cruise's latest squeeze or the Michael Jackson freak show.
The reason many Americans don’t know about maritime issues and news is they’re not covered anymore, because:

A longtime problem is ship owners who register their ships under foreign flags to evade U.S. regulations and union crewmen, a practice that causes both pollution and safety problems, not to mention diminishes the ranks of our merchant seamen.

The use of foreign flags was probably the very first instance of outsourcing American jobs in order to operate cheaply and avoid safety and environmental regulations.
Also why a lot of cruise ships are dodgy health- and safetywise.

There's nothing like being at sea to put the human being in proper perspective. The immense oceans are hostile environments to us folks. Without the steel corks we float on, we could not survive. One feels properly small when at sea.
As the Psalmist wrote:

23. They that go down to the sea in ships : and occupy their business in great waters;
24. These men see the works of the Lord : and his wonders in the deep.
25. For at his word the stormy wind ariseth : which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26. They are carried up to the heaven, and down again to the deep : their soul melteth away because of the trouble.
27. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man : and are at their wits' end.
28. So when they cry unto the Lord in their trouble : he delivereth them out of their distress.
29. For he maketh the storm to cease : so that the waves thereof are still.
30. Then are they glad, because they are at rest : and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be.
- Psalm 106/107

Here's one final tidbit of sea news. Daytona Beach, Fla., has the largest number of recorded shark attacks in the world (who knows what happens in places where they don't keep statistics). But don't worry. Florida sharks don't like the taste of tourists, so they take one nip and spit them out – most of the time.
Speaking of the deep, I saw Titanic (the 1997 one) on the box again last night and still like it. That reminds me: I’d like to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I’ve met several older women from upper-class WASP backgrounds who were bohemian and cool like Rose ended up becoming. (Somebody rather like that in a few ways, who was a national news reporter back in the early 1960s when relatively few ladies did that, gave me my break in the newspaper business 10 years ago!) One, who died in the past year, was 180 me on a lot of issues (she was too liberal theologically even for the Unitarians whence she came) but we were friends. Back in the day even the liberals were nicer.

Hip cities without souls
Or in Philadelphian terms what’s spiritually wrong with Old City

‘Cities with moral purpose’ reminds me that in England only places with cathedrals are technically cities; those without are simply towns no matter how big. An echo of the apostolic ministry.

Speaking of Philadelphia (this might be of interest, John), rumour has it that punk shop Zipperhead may close or at least move out of South Street. The street really is turning into the Cherry Hill Mall without a roof! At least it’s still got the antiques mall in the old synagogue just to the south in Sixth Street: a sort of mini-Portobello Road where you can rescue sacramentals and if you’ve got $150 get a nice samovar.

*It’s a pro-cathedral; the bishop lives in New York. (Hmm, they’ve redone their website.)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

From Lauda Jerusalem Dominum
The Roman Mass returns to Philadelphia’s RC cathedral after 35+ years’ absence
And with style. The Fraternity of St Peter are hip to the legitimate liturgical movement and to good Anglican and Lutheran hymns. As Fr Magiera is a former professional classical singer (a tenor) and a former chorister at an Anglo-Catholic shrine church, and the organist and choir for this are from there, the resemblance to S. Clement’s (not an Irish-American re-enactment of the 1950s) was quite intentional! (Interestingly, John Notman designed both churches.)
From The Gaelic Starover
A vision of peace?
An icon painted by Melkite monks near Jerusalem: new icons with a political bent are suspect but it looks authentic
From truthout
American and British air attacks tried to goad Saddam Hussein into war
From Hallowed Ground
Jeff’s counter-syllabus
It starts off:

1. You can't be anything you want to be. Not even if you work hard and put your mind to it. You can be what God made you to be.

2. Perception is not reality. Image is not reality. Reality is reality.

3. You do not deserve a break, a new car, a new house, a massage, a bubble bath, or a vacation. If you are humble, you might deserve the opportunity to do penance. Be thankful for what you have and don't expect more.
Wisdom! Be attentive!
Pope Benedict XVI and Eastern churches
Pope visits Bari, hopes to end rift with Orthodox churches
His first trip as Pope, to the Italian city where St Nicholas’ body is enshrined. Last Sunday the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the feast-day of the moving of his relics there; the Greeks didn’t... because it happened after 1054 and the Russian Church was still in communion with Rome. (Bishops from Kiev were in Bari for the transfer.)

Слава Богу!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

LRC pick
What happened to the antiwar movement?
By Joseph Sobran
‘The Movement’ (not just the antiwar part) of the 1960s was an instrument of great evil but thinking men as diverse as Mr Sobran and even the late obscure Fr Seraphim (Rose) see that in some ways it had a point: some changes are good.

(Admitting that apparently wasn’t good enough for the Movement itself, though, which in its spoiled baby-boomer arrogance thought it had the charism of infallibility, and a dumb blind faith in ‘change’ no different from the older generation’s mistakes.)

There was the understandable romantic reaction to the early 20th century’s cold, sterile secular faith in technology, etc. (hippies going to communes to bake bread and have babies as the funny, pithy Camille Paglia observed) and the antiwar movement, which unlike in the late 1960s is marginalized if seen or heard at all.

(I’ve been on about six antiwar marches and mostly what I see are ageing boomers representing history’s leftovers — such as silly Commie front groups — and the loud ‘Free Mumia’ idiots*.)

Based on what the common man thought he knew at the time Vietnam seemed to make sense, if you really thought there was a global Communist threat. Iraq doesn’t, unless you believe like the government really wants you to (despite PC pro forma remarks to the contrary) that all Arabs are alike.

Many people don’t remember that Vietnam was an example of liberal foreign policy given added selling power by the Cold War: nation-building, exporting democracy, blah blah. Liberal poster boy JFK upped US involvement there. (Read The Quiet American: after the French lost at Dien Bien Phu, the Europeans had it sussed before the Gulf of Tonkin battle was faked.)

And the authentic, peace-loving Right — on the way out since World War II and being given a death-blow in mainstream discourse by CIA employee Bill Buckley and his National Review — including strident anti-Communists, were divided about it.

Famous anti-Communist Arcbishop Fulton Sheen famously came to oppose the war.

Even the John Birch Society were split on the issue.

(The Communists won Vietnam’s civil war and Asia dominoed a little but the world didn’t after all. Communism collapsed from its own internal contradictions as wise men like Murray Rothbard thought it would.)

Today the liberals, both of the Democratic and the neocon varieties, are doing it again.

*Here is that story.
Hollywood ready to churn out war propaganda

Friday, May 27, 2005

From blog member Samer al-Batal
Chaldean patriarch slams US evangelicals in Iraq
S al-B: Concerning the last paragraph, I believe by ‘Assyrian’, they mean to say ‘Syriac’.
From blog member Lee Penn
From antiwar.com

The pipeline from hell
Justin Raimondo on the increasing demonization of Russia, a country the neocons don’t like because it can fight back

Lee: Our rulers will propose; God will dispose ...

Crossing nuclear thresholds
Lee: ... time is running out

Господи, помилуй!
LRC blog picks
Chesterton on America and war

True Sith
Three from LRC
Cloaking red-state fascism

A week of Bush is like a year of Clinton

The OKC bomb: a federal sting gone wrong?
From truthout
Amnesty slams Gitmo as ‘gulag of our time’
The big recent news story

US Memorial Day is about forgetting
But for all the talk of war and remembrance, no time is more infused with insidious forgetting than the last days of May.

This is a holiday that features solemn evasion.
I saw insidious war/state propaganda again on the box recently in an otherwise good documentary about people who restore and fly B-17 bombers: there is a need for weapons and these planes show the beauty of the design (æsthetic) of their time and are marvellous machines representative of it, and yes, there’s the romance (nostalgia) of a more innocent, idealistic time. I’m all for these museum planes. But the way the soldiers were described (and I’m sure a lot of them were really decent fellows — some of them work on these museum projects) went beyond Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation stuff into religious allusion and metaphor (sacrifice, spilt blood, sacred values) more like the Byzantine Rite canons I read every morning than the ugly reality of World War II, which these boys were conscripted to fight. It approaches the real meaning of ‘taking God’s name in vain’, or worse a kind of idolatry of the state.

BTW, US Memorial Day began as the defeated and occcupied Confederacy’s way to honour their war dead.

Death rate for reservists in Iraq rises

Seal officer’s trial gives glimpse of CIA role in abuse

Abbas seeks clear US commitment to Palestinian state

US Senate compromise on filibuster wont’t stop president’s quest for absolute power

By Sidney Blumenthal

But Bush gets this one right
Embryonic stem cells. The New York Times and truthout get it wrong. That said the Republicans aren’t really pro-life, certainly not in the Catholic near-seamless garment sense of this blog. They simply know how to play pro-lifers better than the Democrats do.

The Pill may cause permanent loss of sex drive
Actions have consequences: what a concept

What women want
A subject that LRC has touched on: the real reasons for the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ may be to do with inherent differences between the sexes (not artificial ‘genders’) and not prejudice. Such discrimination by bosses may simply make good business sense but as the article points out, sometimes women, who tend to be collaborative and not competitive, have the better approach.

US Senate considers formal apology to Native Americans
Nothing wrong with that

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fr Joseph Huneycutt finishes his seven-part rubbishing of The Da Vinci Code
The divinity of Christ is not and never was an optional item up for vote
From The Perennial Rambler
E-mail congratulations to MP George Galloway
For telling the truth to the US Senate
The Catholic faith
Roman Rite

Corpus Christi
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the altar

Sequence: Lauda Sion
By St Thomas Aquinas

The Christian East in its several rites hasn’t got this feast (except the Ukrainian Catholics who, disobeying Rome, adopted it from the West) not because of any faith difference (as Bishop Kallistos (Ware) explains) but because of different historical circumstances. Practically speaking, nobody denied the Real Presence there*, so there are no elevations of, blessings with or processions with the Elements outside the Liturgy to answer that denial. Of course there are modes of presence — the early church, as the East does today, took God’s localized presence in the Sacrament as a given along with, in other ways, his presence in the assembly and in the celebration of the service itself, and starting in the early period, in icons. Western liberals misuse ‘modes’ to minimize ceremonial; Orthodox use it rightly to maximize it!

*A problem in the West since Berengarius in the Middle Ages, before the Protestants widely spread this error.
LRC pick
Good article explaining/interpreting Star Wars
And why it’s better than ‘G.I. Joe’, which is simply advertising and war/state propaganda. Author Casey Khan, a former US Marine, has a good blog with a lot of potential:

I choose to no longer take part in this heresy. I’m trading in my 11 General Orders for Seven Sacraments and my pocket Constitution for a Catechism. Semper Fidelis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Although the US Constitution as intended and printed is good, it’s long been a dead letter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Spiritual counterfeits
From TCR News

Private judgement: Drinking the Kool-Aid
Jim Jones and so-called ‘progressive’ RCs, et al. actually had a lot in common

This reminded me of the goofy ‘charismatic’ covenant-community cult that was active where I was at university 20 years ago, recruiting a number of students: it dipped into both Evangelicalism and the social gospel of the heretical nominally RC chaplaincy (run by baby-boomers of course), all sharing a contempt for Catholicism as we know it.

Great site though it and I apparently disagree about Thomas Woods.
Eastern churches and Palestine
From Joseph Oliveri

Pan-Orthodox Synod in Constantinople deposes ex-Patriarch Irineos of Jerusalem
Who was driven out by his Palestinian flock after he sold church land to Israelis

JO: I take no joy in the man’s misfortune, nor in the events leading to his downfall, but perhaps this outcome is a hopeful sign for Orthodox*-[Roman] Catholic fraternity in the region.

Father Dimitrios, secretary to the Jerusalem Synod, with enthusiasm tells AsiaNews what happened.

“Our community is full of joy. Yesterday, the Synod in Constantinople accepted the decision of the Synod of Jerusalem and no longer considers Cardinal
[sic] Ireneos as patriarch. This amounts to excommunication since the Orthodox Church no longer accepts him as patriarch. Ireneos can no longer work with any Church in that capacity and we no longer have to mention his name during the liturgy,” he said.
Excommunication? I’m not sure about that. I think that all it means is that he can’t serve as a patriarch or as a bishop or priest unless another Local Orthodox Church takes him.

While I question deposing somebody for this kind of mistake, nothing to do with faith or morals and everything to do with the incendiary politics in that country, maybe it’s just as well that this fellow is gone for the reason Joe refers to:

Ireneos I (whose name means the peaceful one) had a reputation in Jerusalem for pushing his followers into clashes with the friars of the Holy Sepulchre and for creating troubles in the management of the Holy Sites owned jointly with Catholic Church.

According to Father Dimitrios, Ireneos I’s dismissal will improve relations with Catholics.

“Clashes between Orthodox and Catholics had become particularly heated under Ireneos. It is true that the rules under the current status quo are very restrictive and occasionally there are disagreements and frictions. But we shouldn’t get to the point of quarrelling and fighting each other,” he said.
That is, if Fr Dimitrios, clearly anti-Irineos personally, is telling the truth (that the former patriarch really was hateful) and not simply telling these RC journos what he thinks they want to hear.

*I’ve cleaned up this page’s layout a little bit for your viewing pleasure.
From The Onion
Metalhead, goth find love
Reminds me of Drake Adams’ knowledge of the ‘tribal youth culture’ scenes: he says that skinny and beautiful goths exist more in pornography and advertising (models playing goths) than in real life. The Simpsons’ Comic-Book Guy and his female version are commoner.

But as I like to say, if I were 15 and the only choices I knew were being a goth and modern liberal mainstream churches, I’d be a goth!

P.S. A friend who is a goth-scene veteran and who prefers to remain anonymous for this tip tells me that Drake is wrong: there are many hot goths.
Four from LRC
Mainstream vs upstream media

What we owe the monks

Pax dollarum

Another price the soldiers pay

From First Things via Katolik Shinja
Westernized Buddhism vs real Buddhism
Like what’s happened to American RCs since the 1960s, Buddhism in the West is being mainline Protestantized/New Age bastardized through corruption from the larger culture.

Real Buddhism has ritual, iconography and, like, rules and stuff. (They resemble the Ten Commandments! Natural theology.)

Boomer (pseudo-)Buddhism wouldn’t have surprised George Santayana:

“American life is a powerful solvent,” he wrote. “It seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native goodwill, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism.”
(Joe Sobran softens this a bit with his emphasis on classic American Protestants’ good points.)

This article reminded me of my old pages Buddhism for Sale and From Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity, the latter showing the similarities between the two.

This concern for authentic tradition combined with an awareness of this authenticity in other traditions (not the same as indifferentism/relativism), a little like René Guenon, was one of the late Fr Seraphim (Rose)’s good points — in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future he praised Shasta Abbey in California for its authentic Buddhism, something as good as you can get without Christ, he wrote.

In the answers to Star Wars questions linked here yesterday it’s pointed that the religion in it is based largely on Buddhism.

First Things and I may disagree on political neoconnery, John Paul the Overrated and the Novus Ordo but it’s got a sober, intellectual tone brought over from Lutheranism (I like confessional Lutherans) and Anglicanism that often makes it amenable to Mass-and-office Catholicism.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

From truthout
Not all Evangelicals are duped by Bush
Some at Calvin College remember that they’re Christians:

A number of students, faculty members and alumni objected so strongly to the president's visit that by last Friday nearly 800 of them had signed a letter of protest that appeared as a full-page advertisement in The Grand Rapids Press. The letter said, in part, "Your deeds, Mr. President - neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment and misleading the country into war - do not exemplify the faith we live by."
Neo-Victorian America?
By jingo, yes: the Empire, Mk II

US Senate set to debate ‘Patriot Act’

Close Guantánamo

US plans retreat to four giant bases in Iraq

US citizens in Pakistan abused by their government

The apostolic ministry in action: Patriarch Alexis II amidst his flock in the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Kremlin, Moscow

Eastern churches
From Fr Michael (Wood)

Church of Russia celebrates feast of SS. Cyril and Methodius today in Moscow
Съ праздникомъ! Liturgical splendour from a marvellous site in Russian. The saints are famous for evangelizing what are now the Czech Republic and Slovakia, taking the common Slavonic language at the time* and giving it a grammar and the Glagolitic alphabet to make Bibles and liturgical books (approved by the Pope at the time). Glagolitic is what Russian looks like to people who don’t know Russian — the Greek-based Cyrillic letters (like Russian uses today) were invented later. Slavonic is still roughly intelligible with Russian, about like Chaucer is to this. The Latin of the Orthodox tradition for eastern Slavs.

*Which these Greeks knew because they were from Salonika, bordering what’s now Bulgaria.
The final frontier, real and mythical
Weapons in space revisited

Your Star Wars questions answered

The experts say that my old college acquaintance now-Fr Luke Miller was wrong: George Lucas wasn’t re-staging the war for American independence by hiring British actors to play imperial officers. He simply was being practical as he was filming in England!
From blog member Samer al-Batal
For economics boffins:

Mises Radio

Fleeing Iraqi Christians on road to Damascus

"Christians in Iraq paid twice after coalition forces entered," says Guryal, until recently an executive of the Middle East Council of Churches in the northern city of Mosul.

"From the time of independence in 1946, Syria has always opened its doors for every refugee who comes — Armenians, Palestinians, Sudanese and now Iraqis," says Archbishop Isidore Battikha, patriarch of the Greek Catholic Church in Damascus.
S al-B: Good statement, but another mistake by the press. Say’yidna Bat’teekha is patriarchal vicar to His Beatitude, Gregory III.

"They are all welcome in Syria, and the government asks us to help them — we open our churches, our meeting rooms, our schools, and help by money or finding money."
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
What I’m listening to (thanks to KaZaA)
‘Molly’s Chamber’ by Kings of Leon
Ooh, I feel so hip! Of course I’m not but as a friend said, we know cool when we see it. The obvious signs here that I’m not are that this song is two years old and, like a lot of people my age whom I imagine are the real target market for this soft sell, I just heard it in that cute VW Jetta ad with the jumping, dancing couple.

It’s catchy with some guitar fireworks but like the Doors and Johnny Cash (both great) not a real melody and a mumbling, sullen lead vocal about a classic pop theme (read the lyrics here): a guy complaining about a girl, some evil woman who’s trapped him using the most effective means*, described with a metaphor anybody who’s heard the name Freud will get.

(Somehow I don’t think it’s about the hobby of gun-collecting.)

Maybe it’s because I’m unhip, not part of ‘tribal youth culture’ as Drake Adams has called it, that I care about what songs mean.

So I wondered what on earth an anti-woman grumble was doing in a cheery car commercial that in its way celebrates romance, a relationship.

There is the line ‘You want it’ implying the car is the ‘she’ who’s got what you want...

(So if you buy the car will you end up resenting VW as much as this guy hates Molly?)

Did the song choice have anything to do with the content or was it just because it’s got a great beat to stomp on the floor to?

Do the No. 1 ‘consumers’ of this music care what it says?

*Mediæval people disagreed: money can buy that!
LRC picks
Spyware/adware, begone!
Slightly old news but still helpful. To find out more, search in this blog! In it (search using ‘kill2me’) you’ll find a link to freeware that kills the most persistent of these pests I’ve come across, look2me.

About the only time I’m bothered by pop-ups at home (I use Panicware Pop-Up Stopper, which works beautifully) is when I check page stats with Nedstat.

The only real problem I’ve come across lately has been with spam because I sent a few e-mails not through the Web (even using the ubiquitous and apparently less than secure Explorer this isn’t a problem) but through Outlook, also the favourite gateway of viruses. In the past couple of days my account, usually clean as Cliff Richard, has had a couple of unsavoury mass e-mails get through.

Yahoo’s free e-mail service, also Web-based and with a whole gigabyte of storage space, is also blessedly nearly spam-free.

More on the latest Star Wars (articles one and two)

Return of the body count
From The American Conservative
The lure of military society
On The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew Bacevich
Eloquent, wry, sober, deftly cutting, with undertones of anger, sadness, and hope, Bacevich writes like Paul Fussell with a political sensibility.

“Today as never before in their history,” the book relentlessly argues, “Americans are enthralled with military power.”

To a degree unprecedented but now taken for granted, the purpose of the armed forces has shifted from defending American territory to projecting power abroad.
Eastern churches
New on The Orthodox Tradition from Neil Foley:

360° panoramic view inside a Greek Orthodox church
A virtual tour of St Luke’s, Aradhippou, Cyprus: as there are choir-stalls I think it’s a monastery church, a kathólikon.

Monday, May 23, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover via blog member Samer al-Batal
George Galloway on video
The anti-war Bethnal Green MP, of the Respect Party, speaks to the US Senate
From The Rockall Times
Government issues severe -stan warning
From blog member Samer al-Batal
US military to build four giant new bases in Iraq
"They appear to [sic] settling in a [sic] for the long run, and that will only give fuel for the terrorists," said a spokesman for the mainstream Sunni Iraqi Islamic party.
Congressman Shays speaks against Syria at conference
[An] audience member, who described herself as a Syrian lawyer, said Syria is a tolerant country with a large Christian population. The country has become a safe haven for Iraqi’s fleeing a grinding guerrilla war, especially Christians escaping anti-Christian violence that has wracked Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion.

“We are Israel’s strong ally,” Mr Shays said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It would be foolish for people to think that somehow we are neutral.”
S al-B: Israel’s ally, but sadly, not America’s.

A follow-up on the Dead Sea report:

Israel, Arabs agree to save Dead Sea
S al-B: They plan a feasibility study of the proposition of transferring water to the Dead Sea from the Red Sea. But could this work? From the report linked to from a few blog entries back about a couple of days ago:

According to Amos Bein of the Geological Survey of Israel, chemical and biological reactions produced by mixing Dead Sea water with seawater could change the blue color of the Dead Sea to white or red or create deadly gases.
More on animals and food for thought (ha ha):

Was your meat smarter than your pet?
Reminds me of some of the links that Joshua Snyder posted about the horrific practice of some Koreans (some Vietnamese and some Filipinos too): eating dogs. Specifically what’s cruel about the Korean practice is the traditional way they’re killed, by torturing/beating them to get their adrenaline up (they say it’s an aphrodisiac for men that way). Of course there’s no problem with killing an animal, whether by a butcher or by hunting, if necessary and efficiently using the carcass such as for food, so a hunter who’s a good shot has the right idea. Also the Korean way goes agaist halachah (Jewish law regarding things such as kosher dietary laws, also found IIRC in the Book of Leviticus): the kosher way, the animal is ‘gently’ (relatively humanely) killed, deliberately so the adrenaline rush doesn’t happen. That and the traditional practice AFAIK of some Native American tribes — acknowledging that this was a life (thanking and even asking the forgiveness of the animal in some of their religions), killing such only out of necessity and then efficiently using what they kill for food and clothing — sound good to me.

John Redmore, who runs an organic farm in England, disagrees (with giving up meat).

"We've been eating meat since we've managed to stand on hind legs," he said. "A natural part of being human is to eat meat."

It's natural to eat animals even if they're smart, he added.

"Yeah, they'd eat us," Redmore said.

But, he added, farm animals should be treated with compassion. After all, the research shows they may be able to recognize it.
A punto. Treating farm animals kindly is why keeping them is traditionally called animal husbandry: good stewardship of God’s creation.

Many monks traditionally never eat meat not because so doing is evil (the point St Paul made against the gnostic sects of his day) but because both physically and symbolically it helps and signifies mastery of the passions (in themselves not bad either but they need to know who’s in charge). Also, recalling how the meat sacrifices of Old Testament and pre-A.D. 70 Judaism are fulfilled/superseded by the Sacrifice of Christ, Catholics, East and West, famously don’t eat meat on Fridays* by immemorial custom (and in the Orthodox tradition Wednesdays as well, recalling the beginning of Christ’s Sacrifice with his betrayal and arrest).

And if I’m hypocritical for enjoying a few rashers of bacon (from something that might not have an immortal soul or at least not have a soul exactly like mine) how many militant vegetarians are pro-life?

*Nothing to do AFAIK with the silly story about the Pope ordering people to eat fish (never the rule) to help the Italian fishing industry.
Katolik Shinja
Most Americans oppose cloning
LRC picks
The old republic has been swept away
On Star Wars and its real-life precedents in American history

Some online have slagged me for making these parallels (it seems to have pissed off the RC neocons which isn’t necessarily bad) though I am far from the first or only one to make them. (The people at Cannes seem good company.) I answered one person thus:

As you are a writer and poet of course you know that 1) in fallen human nature there really is nothing new under the sun and 2) great literature ... deals with those timeless themes, which is why somebody in 2005 watching something written in 1970-something will see the present!
And why a story obviously based on ancient Rome resonates today.

The US education system: institutional anti-kid-ism
This might be of interest to friend of the blog David Holford, a teacher in the UK

Sunday, May 22, 2005

From truthout
Rush for homeland security led to abuse

The unknown unknowns of Abu Ghraib
Laura Bush heckled in Palestine by both sides
At her stop nearby at the Dome of the Rock, she faced heckling from angry Palestinians. One man yelled, "How dare you come in here! Why your husband kill Muslim?"

"We're reminded again of what we all want, what every one of us pray for," she said. "What we all want is peace."
Then tell your husband’s handlers to get the eff out of Iraq.

Some visitors that Mrs. Bush encountered near the Dome of the Rock, a mosque on a hilltop compound known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, shouted at her in Arabic. "None of you belong in here!" one man yelled as Mrs. Bush and her entourage arrived.
Who I’m listening to
Dr Frank Senn: Back to the future with post-post-modern religion
A rather high-church Lutheran pastor, liturgist, head of a Lutheran order of pastors (rather like the Anglo-Catholic Society of the Holy Cross) and a nice fellow (got to talk to him after his lecture), he describes the Catholic religion as we practise it liturgically as ‘pre-modern’, based on revelation and giving God the worship due him. Then there was the didacticism of the modern way of worship, shifting the purpose from worshipping God for his own sake to getting a message across to the congregation, the thinking behind both much of Protestantism and the wrongheaded liturgical revisionism of the last century. And he describes affective (thanks for that word, Paul Goings), emotion-fuelled religious revivals as reactions against that cold didacticism (and the obvious failures of modernity such as totalitarianism and modern war), from the Great Awakening to Pentecostalism and its newer variants today such as the ‘praise service’, and the ‘emergent church’ phenom. Modernity was about religion’s usefulness in building up society (which of course opens up a possible abuse of religion — propping up the state at the expense of truth, etc.) but in a way this is a return to the true, pre-modern approach. In their reaction against it and the subsequent seeking of the mystical, Dr Senn says, the Pentecostals and Catholics actually have something in common!

He says that the modern approach has a ‘meta-narrative’ — passing down the message of a shared culture is the point. (He doesn’t say it but in a sense of course that’s also true of our pre-modern religion even though it might be secondary.) Post-modernism, he says, hasn’t got that.

Anyway, this disillusionment with modernity may be what can draw post-modern people to the Catholic faith. (A sign that this might already be happening is the Anglo-American convert boomlet to Eastern Orthodoxy over the past 20 years.) One of the best comments comes from Paul: let’s promote the faith not as retrograde but as ‘post-post-modern’!

He also describes us as countercultural but I don’t entirely agree: that’s true only relative to the culture right now. Our culture and our meta-narrative are what I call the historic Catholic mainstream.

And he admits that ‘contemporary Christian music’ sucks (only he said it in a nicer, soft-spoken Midwestern way!) — inferior to secular rock music.

In his talk Dr Senn brought up some parallels I and some friends had thought of before. As friend of the blog Jennifer has observed, to change one’s religious affiliation is itself a modern or perhaps post-modern thing to do, even if it’s to a traditional religion.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Eastern churches
Taissa of Byzantine Rite Church Supplies dies
Went to Hanusey’s Ukrainian Shop today and had a lovely time talking to the venerable owner, Mary Hanusey, and getting a embroidered рушник (towel) and писанка (decorated Easter egg — either this is really wood or a heavily lacquered ‘fortified’ real eggshell, white with brilliant red, orange and black Greek-cross patterns.)

Anyway I mentioned one of the US Northeast’s spots to stock up on Byzantine Rite goodies, the Byzantine Rite Church Supplies shop across the street from Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Catholic cathedral (for the longest time this treasure was jammed into a narrow rowhouse), and Mrs H told me that the longtime owner, Taissa, died this week, only in her 50s, of ovarian cancer. What a vicious disease.

And interestingly this friendly, helpful woman (she found me the chain on which I’m wearing the crucifix I always have on me), whose business easily could be mistaken for part of the cathedral, was Eastern Orthodox. Reminds me of what a friend upstate in Pennsylvania told me recently about relations now between the two sides: friendly. (Happily quite different to all the rubbish on the Internet.) The old Orthodox priest’s wife taught at her RC primary school for example.

A lot of people miss you, Taissa.

Во блаженном успении вечный покой подаждь, Господи, рабе твоей Таиссы и сотвори ей вечную память (in her falling asleep, O Lord, grant unto Thy handmaiden Taissa rest eternal with the blessed and make her memory eternal).
From Daithí Mac Lochlainn
False Dawn

The site for e-mail correspondent Lee Penn’s new book
From truthout
Swedish probe: US ‘rendering’ of terror suspects (outsourcing torture) illegal

Guantánamo comes to signify US to Muslims

Iraq government takes blame for US-backed war with Iran

Back when Donald Rumsfeld was shaking hands with Saddam Hussein (whom we’ll probably never hear from again — he knows too much)

Got to give Mr Bush credit for doing the objectively right thing
But in a way it’s too little, too late. I heard him in the TV debates say there’d be no litmus test for judges. If either side won there’d still be abortions. As I often say, I won’t be played on this anymore.
Iraq war images seeping into American culture
War without end is becoming ‘the new normal’. Chilling.
Strep throat might cause OCD in kids
The good news is they may only need some penicillin to reverse it

On taking little kids to Mass
TLM = traditional Latin Mass

That she calls it the Divine Liturgy as well is a good kind of ‘synergy’ or natural affinity between West and East, ¿no?
From The Gaelic Starover
Mr Bush spoke at the RC prayer breakfast but it’s not too late to sign Daithí’s protest petition
I did
Save the Filibuster
The Democrats may have the wrong motive (opposing pro-life judge nominees for example) but they’re still right on principle on this one. Taking this away is one step closer to dictatorship (remember when conservatives scared people with this spectre whilst Mr Clinton was balancing the budget, etc.?).
John Bolton
Mr Bush’s handlers’ plan to make him the US ambassador to the UN seems to me a now-classic modern example of conservatives being played. Ten years ago Mr Bolton would have seemed a hero to real conservatives (around the time Specialist Michael New was lauded for refusing to go under UN command) — because it was thought that to be anti-UN was to be for peace and against interventionist foreign policy. Now he’s being used by Mr Bush and company to give the finger to the UN for the latter’s opposing their interventionist, literally bloody fool’s errand.
LRC blog picks
Mark Fiore’s latest

Pat Buchanan lets the side down
He can’t shake his old Cold Warrior mindset
From blog member Samer al-Batal
Putting a name on the Iraqi dead

Why are we in Uzbekistan?

Palestine may challenge Mr Bush’s handlers’ spreading-democracy rhetoric

Pat Buchanan defends Pope Pius XII

The young and the hot-wired

Planned Parenthood teaches teenagers perversity’s best techniques

RIP Dr Eric de Saventhem
Una Voce’s founding president

UK clones human embryo

Turkey’s Assyrians openly celebrate their new year for the first time
Members of the historic Church of Iraq

Dead Sea dying and River Jordan a sewage canal

Have Jordanian archæologists found the place Jesus was baptised?

The obfuscating jargon of academics
By Robert Fisk

Our performance on Blogshares
Horrible idea for a remake

Oh, yeah, I'm bad, I'm bad, I'm really really bad

Starring Johnny Depp looking androgynous in character. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka was slightly mad and sadistic (reflecting the nastiness of Roald Dahl?) but not reminiscent of recent-vintage Michael Jackson!

Friday, May 20, 2005

From Katolik Shinja
Red Cross documented Koran abuses
From Hallowed Ground

Shasta (1996-2003): See you on the other side

By Monk Damascene (Christensen)
Another reason to love them:

'In our rustic atmosphere', Fr Herman observes, 'animals have a place. In the contemporary worldly atmosphere, on the other hand, they are as if robbed of their power, being at odds with the man-made world. When you look into the eyes of animals, you see that they are not just cute, furry playthings, but are an exceedingly serious phenomenon, creatures which take life in earnest. Animals bring in their own world, and they almost say to us: Enter into God's world. You belong to eternity.'
From truthout

From Katolik Shinja:
A sketch by Thomas V. Curtis, a
former Reserve miltary-police sergeant,
showing how Dilawar was chained
to the ceiling of his cell.

Brutal details of two Afghan inmates’ deaths
Eastern churches
Patriarch of Moscow presents Aid to the Church in Need officer with Order of St Olga
And drops his carping/posturing about ‘proselytism’ in the western Ukraine

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Wisdom, be attentive
By Elder Paisios of Mt Athos
Not that I live up to all of this...
From Katolik Shinja
On friendship
Ecclesiasticus 6:5-17
New blogs
Philly Catholic
From good friend of the blog Lauda Jerusalem Dominum, a smart Catholic fellow who’s unlike most ‘Fluffya Catlic’* RCs I’ve met.

He’s also a member of this one:

Glory of the Olives
Which has these from member Paul:

ET go home
On the science-fictiony beliefs of some atheists

Reversion to savagery
How falling away from the faith caused the unique, magnified horror of modern war — the rebuttal to ‘Christianity caused most of the violence in Western history’. Quite the opposite.

*This culture is sometimes described as ‘conservative’ but it is definitely not traditionalist in religion or even its worldview really. Just complacent and parochial and shot through with a big dose of AmChurch-manship. (Or partly why, besides clannishness and other unfriendliness, ‘What parish are youse from?’ isn’t charming anymore.) Basically ageing liberal baby-boomers and older in charge telling the elderly working-class parishioners what to do, with a number of youngish (maybe not so anymore) folk who are EWTN-type neocons. None of whom would accept or even recognize Mass-and-office Catholicism if it jumped up and bit them. (And the part of that faith which is the Christian East simply ain’t on their radar as they might put it.) The parish church one block from home is like stepping back in time though — to the 1970s!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Two thumbs up
I’ve only seen this, the first one (when it first came out!), a revival of The Empire Strikes Back and most of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Loved the first one (and it still holds up nearly 30 years on!) but didn’t understand what all the fuss was about with the others.

In fact going into this I wasn’t clear what a Sith was.

Now I understand.

It’s got the goods — strong characters to care about, a story with both epic/mythic and personal elements without getting preachy (but there are good moral lessons) or soppy and of course ace realistic computer-enhanced effects, so good that it was the only time besides watching IMAX that flying scenes made me dizzy and disoriented (in the film’s first few minutes!)

Obi-Wan Kenobi rules and Ewan McGregor does a spot-on Alec Guinness impression (he also looks and sounds, so I’ve read, like the last Tsar!). Next to nobody under 50 really talks like that anymore, which is too bad.

The soldier droids look somewhat like H.R. Giger’s aliens.

It’s better than ‘Star Trek’ hands down.

Current events are obviously very much on George Lucas’ mind.* Padme has some of the best lines including:

This is how liberty dies — with thunderous applause.
And yes, some of the major plot turns and scenes are sad — it is darker than the others.

*After all, making and releasing the movie now seems timely though as this review says (the link should work until the 25th May) Lucas wrote the story about 30 years ago and claims it’s partly about current events then — Darth Vader is Richard Nixon!
From blog member John Boyden
Schindlers (Terri Schiavo’s parents) thank Pope for support
When I gave it [a framed picture of Terri] to him he said: 'I know, I know about Terri' to me.
From Father Jake Stops the World
We have our theological differences but these two entries are good:

Real ID: Creating a Big Brother wonderland

Let’s drop the ‘lynch Newsweek’ bull
Pope Benedict XVI
From Terry Mattingly

Anglicans meet Rome’s Big Ben
Among other good things, recounting his support for the centrist Protestant but still Christian Episcopalians in the wake of Gene Robinson

"Symbolism is everything," opined David Virtue, a conservative Anglican whose Internet reports circle the globe. "When the new pope met with the patriarchs from the Orthodox churches there were public embraces and kisses, but when Benedict XVI met Williams there was only a handshake. ... Williams edged forward perhaps hoping for a papal embrace but it was not forthcoming."
From truthout
New ‘Patriot Act’ dramatically expands secret searches
Early version gives administration everything it asks for, GOP aides say
From new blog visitor Mike Banigan
An old friend I first met 24 years ago! And a WND fan:

WorldNetDaily tries to make a parallel to excuse the Koran incident at Gitmo
And doesn’t make it: one can’t excuse what the soldiers did* but it was quite a different context.

• They didn’t trash the Bible to deliberately spite the Orthodox priests: they probably simply needed toilet paper! Suppose you’re in the lav and haven’t got a roll and all you’ve got is a book that has no religious meaning to you, the equivalent (to you) of a Danielle Steel novel... (the Russians haven’t got Charmin — they often use newsprint!)
• I’m not sure you can entirely blame Islam as after all Christians, though dhimmi (second-class) in the Muslims’ worldview, are also ‘People of the Book’ to them.
• They weren’t torturing the priests.
• The pro-Bush, Moonie-owned Washington Times might be less than objective.

P.S. Remember when the Americans bombed Monte Cassino?

*I wouldn’t do that to a Koran but wouldn’t kiss it like the Gospels either (here are some reasons why not — never mind the anti-RC junk on that page) as apparently Pope John Paul II once infamously made the mistake of doing.
US considering lifting ban on women in combat
A move favoured by the Army... reminiscent of the Wehrmacht desperately sending young boys as soldiers into battle at the end of World War II including the future Pope Benedict XVI.

The day the US military come for my daughters is the day they become my enemy.
- Jeff Culbreath, who otherwise opposes this blog’s anti-war stand
From Joseph Oliveri

England’s oldest altarpiece restored to former glory
And will return to Westminster Abbey* and not end up in a museum, thank God

*The Collegiate Church of St Peter, not a cathedral (it was once, briefly) but originally the church of St Peter’s Benedictine Abbey. It’s now what’s known as a Royal Peculiar (thanks for the link, John Treat) — the priests answer directly to the Sovereign, not to the Bishop of London (canonically, not sacramentally!). St George’s in Windsor Castle is the same way.
On the box
‘Dateline NBC’
NBC did its final news programme about miracles to lead into the last episode of ‘Revelations’ (fake excitement and anticlimactic really — you know who’s gonna win):Fr Emmanuel McCarthy a not unsympathetic look at Medjugorje (problematic as Mud Gorge is — I don’t think Stone Phillips mentioned that the local bishop, who calls the shots on such, didn’t approve it) and, more interesting, they showed Fr Emmanuel McCarthy* (whom they called ‘Charlie McCarthy’ — oops, that was Edgar Bergen’s dummy), a Melkite priest who faithfully follows the Orthodox tradition, is married and the father of 13, a peace activist (co-founder of Pax Christi USA) and was instrumental (through the saving of one of his children’s lives) in the beatification of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (better known as Edith Stein). In many ways Fr Emmanuel seems a recruiting poster for this blog: traditional religion and the right kind of granola politics**, not mutually exclusive but with one logically coming from the other, part of the Catholic thing.

Then from the sublime to the ridiculous they showed a clip of John Spong, unwittingly capturing the modern Broad Church act perfectly: high trappings that don’t mean anything. In the background, as quondam +Newark was talking, was a big crucifix, while Spong was presenting his reheated 19th-century scepticism/functional atheism: he doesn’t believe in literal miracles as a modern man.

(If he had any honour he’d give up his pension but atheist cranks who aren’t nominal Christian clergymen don’t get as much attention and besides he’d have to rename his column or whatever something less dramatic than ‘A Bishop Speaks’.)

Spong, a Southerner, started out as a conservative Presbyterian. Looking at history, Robert Morse is proved right again: Calvinism shatters into Unitarianism.

At least with the sympathy towards Medjugorje NBC didn’t dismiss miracles or make fun of belief in them.

*Not our kind of nuns but a useful page to introduce you to Fr Emmanuel.

**Thanks, John Treat, for that summation of this blog.
LRC pick
US government, stop lecturing Russia and China
You are hypocrites

LRC blog picks
Forced sterilization
The whole thing began not with the Nazis but with... New England Progressivism.

If the neocons had done Waco it’d be called Operation Davidian Freedom, quips Anthony Gregory. (Remember when so-called conservatives used Waco as an example to fear the government?)

To neocons, is Darth Vader the real hero of Star Wars?
After all, he offers the universe order! (Yes, I’m a geek and can quote character, chapter and verse from ‘Star Trek’ where I first heard a version of that line. Can you? Hint: Capt. Kirk famously shouts his name in one of the movies — search this blog and you’ll find a link to a funny animated bit of him so doing.)

At college, Luke Miller, now a sound Anglo-Catholic priest, argued that American science fiction is anti-empire as in anti-British and used Star Wars as a famous example. Maybe not.

I might see Revenge of the Sith; I understand it’s getting rave reviews.

Their love for the state, its wars, and its military is not only sickening--it is as far from the New Testament as is the Koran that they want to flush.
Which reminds me of something Daithí Mac Lochlainn sent me:

Don’t receive Communion and then have breakfast with Bush

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Eastern churches
The Orthodox are doing well
Even the most "liberal" jurisdictions in America - Antioch and OCA - are hard-line conservatives by comparison with the Continuing Anglicans - let alone ECUSA and AmChurch - and that is especially so concerning the Divine Liturgy.
- Fr Michael (Wood)
From Katolik Shinja
From antiwar.com
Newsweek got Gitmo right
Which Joshua has headlined in Arabic:


What does that mean, Samer?

SS. Cyril and Methodius unite RCs and Eastern Orthodox

History of bombing civilians from the air

P.S. It says Qur’aan (al-Qur’aan?), (the) Koran.
From truthout
The dark side of al-Islam
‘Honour killings’ of women. Should the Muslims follow the faith of Abraham to its true source, convert and be rid of such? Of course. Should the US government attack and invade Muslim countries (including those run by indifferent/bad Muslims where Christians were free, such as Baathist Iraq)? Absolutely not.

10,000 steps a day help keep middle-aged women healthy and looking good
Sounds like a lot of bloody work! But one good thing about cultural changes and medical and technological advances in the past 40 years is that many people are fitter and better-looking longer than before: 50 for example isn’t really old anymore and that’s great.

Using mobile phones in rural areas trebles cancer risk
Makes me glad to be backward in this case, not on board the mobile craze

Corporate America pulling back pension safety net
As I wrote about United Air Lines:

Sins crying out to heaven for vengeance... defrauding the worker of his wages.
- The Catholic faith
LRC pick
We’ll rape your women, we’ll rape our women, but we’d never flush the Koran
James Glaser on the government’s stupid attempt to retract a Newsweek story
From blog member John Boyden
Britain’s taste for tea may be waning
JB: It can’t be!

Once saw an interview with an officer of Twinings or some other tea company in which he blamed television coming onto the scene in the 1950s for the decline of the art of the proper cup of tea. Hilary at Fiat Mihi, who is a master of the art (I don’t claim to be), has blogged about it — you can search here or there for the posting.
The Catholic faith
Paradosis via Stumble on Water
Communion as inclusion and exclusion
Quotations from Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan John (Zizioulas). The Blessed Sacrament is saving medicine but one of the things an Orthodox priest for example promises to do is ‘guard the chalice’. This is the Catholic answer to liberal Episcopalians for example whose answer to disputes over faith and morals besides ‘Never mind the teaching of the church Catholic and historic — obey me!’ (perversion of the apostolic ministry) is ‘Let’s show our love and unity (wallpaper over our real differences) by having Communion’.

To this I would simply add that sin is also an act of exclusion. When I sin, that sin is not the breaking of a law by which God and I must come to terms – rather it is also a breaking of community that includes my brothers and sisters in Christ (and really the whole of creation). Schism and heresy, by definition, are sins never repented of.
So keep the flame of grace lit in the lampada of your soul, keep on you the wedding-garment of sanctifying grace.

Recently had a conversation with an Eastern Orthodox priest in which he questioned whether the Western Catholic understanding of the state of grace was fair, meaning that objectively if one is in mortal sin one’s prayers and good works lack any grace or merit. I said that I think that’s a distortion of the Western position (rather like Calvin’s view of double predestination that if you’re damned you’re damned from the start and no prayer or good work will help you) because subjective guilt even from moment to moment is hard for us to judge, and afterwards I thought that this question reminded me of what a former friend called the great non-issue that started the Protestant heresies, faith vs works. The Catholic position as I understand it is that good works can be used by God to prepare you to be saved/have sanctifying (saving) grace restored to you*, which I think is the understanding that RC and Lutheran theologians recently came to. Again, it was a non-issue.

Believe that you are saved by faith; act as if you were saved by works.
- Reginald Cardinal Pole

Works prepare you for saving grace and heal psychic and spiritual damage to keep you in the state of grace** — not the Protestant accusation ‘You Catholics think you earn your way into heaven’ or ‘That’s works-righteousness!’.

Prevent*** us, O Lord, we beseech thee, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour and further us with thy continual help that all our prayer and work may be begun, continued and ended in thee.
*Once saved, always saved (OSAS) is bollocks. Contra Calvin we have free will.

**The Orthodox for example describe ascesis — fasting, etc. — as primarily therapeutic, not something that adds to Christ’s saving work, which of course is impossible. I think that the common Catholic position is that such opens you up to receive the benefit of that one saving work. The commonly known Western understanding that it satisfies divine justice/an angry God is valid but not the only explanation, and mistaught or misunderstood it can give the impression of just what the Protestants accuse us of. Another old friend, RC apologist Mark Bonocore, once described my explanation given here as translating teaching on temporal punishment and indulgences into Easternese.

***Literally ‘go before’; direct.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Anglican-RC official dialogue agrees on Mary (more)
The trouble with such statements is that many British, North American and Antipodean Anglicans aren’t Anglo-Catholics who positively believe in such — most, including the kind who usually are involved in these official ecumenical projects, are Broad Churchmen/liberal Protestants and so believe in nothing therefore everything. When the latter say ‘yes’ to these beliefs they probably really mean ‘yeah, man, whatever floats your boat’ (or however academics say it when they’re being condescending) not ‘we like you hold that these are true’.

There are also non-liberal sincere Christians among Anglicans who’d say something similar but not patronizing like ‘I can accept that as an opinion but not as required doctrine’ — like my Central Church friends who are high-church for Protestants but still Protestants.

Then in England and Australia there are the semi-Calvinist Evangelical Anglicans — Low Churchmen, thoroughgoing Protestants — who reject these outright as heretical because they’re not spelt out in scripture.

I’m actually moderate about the Marian cultus and those of the saints — a Catholic is required to believe certain things but not required to practise the devotions about them (but does have to accept them in principle). Everything about Our Lady ultimately comes down to one theological point as defined at the Council of Ephesus, that as Jesus is true God and true man and Mary gave birth to the whole Christ, not just ‘the human part’ (he is fully human, not just part), she is the Mother of God, a dramatic expression fun for scaring Protestants that happens to be logical and true.

That she is immaculate and was assumed into heaven are beliefs that are part of the common Catholic patrimony (as is the belief that she is ever-virgin, as alluded to in Ezekiel) and in fact the second belief first came from the Christian East!

Benjamin Andersen agrees with my assessment of this agreement:

Well, if as Griswold said in his congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI, "truth has many faces", then why not talk Immaculate Conception and Assumption to RCs, and talk about other stuff to Baptists, Unitarians and pagans? Fifty or sixty years ago this would have been ground-breaking. Now, it's just sort of sad.
A punto: 50 or 60 years ago such an agreement from churchmen, who mostly were gentlemen and thus honest, would have meant actual acceptance of the Catholic position. I’ve more respect for the Low Churchmen who are wrong about the doctrines but at least have principles. It seems that the Prots are wrong for the right reasons and the ARCIC types right for the wrong ones!

P.S. Not only were Fr North and I in college at the same time but we had a tutorial together on scripture in which he comported himself Catholicly. He’s moved on to better things, having the job that Fr Alfred Hope-Patten created.