Friday, March 31, 2006

Lancashire speaks truth to power
Asperger syndrome
Comparing brains
If I were a computer, I would have a huge hard drive that could hold 10 times as much information as an ordinary computer but my processor chip would be small. To use 1999 computer terminology, I have a 1,000-gigabyte hard drive and a little 286 processor. Normal people may have only 10 gigabytes of disc space on their hard drive and a Pentium for a processor.
- Temple Grandin

Thursday, March 30, 2006

LRC picks
‘Conservative’ thought and talk: government is bad... no, good... no, bad again...

Iraq: cui bono?
By Eric Margolis
Muslim extremists, the Israeli government, Osama bin Laden... and Halliburton
From y-intercept
Crunchy granola conservatism isn’t new
It’s simply a return:
The modern politically active conservation movement was born by Conservatives fighting big government projects like the TVA, Lake Powell and the like.

The sixties and seventies saw the transformation of the enviroment from something to be conserved to something that we should worship. The liberals hijacked conservation with the message that big government could save the environment.
Rather like alt-country and folk are often simply authentic country music, which can be very good.

Stewardship of God’s creation is authentic conservatism as is being anti-war.

From Verbum ipsum
On our care of animals

O Lord, how manifold are thy works : in wisdom hast thou made them all

But things go wrong:

Egyptian baby born with extra head dies a year after surgery
Requiescat in pace Manar Maged

Fœtus in fœto (more)

The first case is a tough one: when is the second head another person? Slate tried to crack wise about it calling it ‘pro-life gridlock’. Ha ha. Not really. Maybe she (the second head) had emotions like animals but wasn’t a person. But if she was sentient it was the taking of a life but not a murder because of double effect, to save the head that could live independently otherwise both would die.
From Brian Underwood
Ihre Papieren, bitte!

MPs keep pushing for identity cards, national ID database. A deal with the Lords may make it happen.

‘UK Theme’ pulled from Radio 4
Listeners are angry
From Daithí Mac Lochlainn
Pope may visit Russia

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From TV News Lies
Iraq’s missing billions
...lynching - an activity (according to some sources) invented during the American revolution to terrorize those patriotic colonists who refused to join the foreign-backed extremist insurgency.
From Fr James Tucker
Orthopraxis inseparable from orthodoxy
Contra Karen Armstrong
Two more years of ‘The Simpsons’

Well, she is rather pretty

And so say all of us

Congratulations, Wales’ own Sir Tom Jones! The man can sing. And he’s a monarchist.
From truthout
US soldiers who flee to Canada
I had spoken to many soldiers who had been in Iraq and who told me about innocent civilians being killed and about bombing civilian neighbourhoods.
From The Rockall Times
Claiming Rockall for Ireland
From The Onion
Illegal Mexican wrestlers take smackdowns American wrestlers don’t want
From TomDispatch
Bush succeeds where Che Guevara failed
Uniting a continent! Of course Latin America has had a reason to hate the gringos since Teddy Roosevelt.
From Deacon’s Blog
US propaganda lie from World War II
One of the ways that FDR sold the war while really siding with the USSR and giving away half of Catholic Europe
A quick check on the lead-up to Poland’s involvement in Iraq has the Bush administration touting the statement “For Your Freedom and Ours” in many speeches.
Anglican doings
All Too Common
How the Anglican Communion is collapsing
And how the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada will disappear. If the current decline continues the latter will die out in about 50 years.

Reformed Episcomethopresbylutheranism.
Eastern churches*

The Ukraine’s biggest nationalist schism accuses Orthodox brotherhood, Protestant church of interfering in elections
Which may be true as such seems part of the culture. But ISTM the Kyiv Patriarchate are simply continuing to hitch their waggon to the US and EU through Mr Yushchenko’s government, posturing against the pro-Russian братсво.

*Now with sharper graphics.
From PuckPan — Dancing with Sprites
The Israel lobby and US foreign policy

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From The American Conservative via The Gaelic Starover
Hillary the hawk
By Justin Raimondo
The Democrats’ Athena only differs from Bush on the details
Corrupted code
Specifically special characters, caused by one’s browser or relying on an online HTML editor. It’s better to do one’s coding in Word or something else that saves your characters the way you want them, then paste that into your editor. (Making sure of course you have the character code you need in your meta tags.)

But things go wrong of course. Mine recently turned into evil-looking eight-digit stuff with the numerals on all of them beginning with a 6. As you can imagine and have come to expect this young fogey is unflappable about it. See for yourself.
From Working for Change
Hawks callously disregard working-class troops
How Lukashenko won
Orwellian language lesson:
• Most of the country wants the US to get out: terrorism
• Small minority backs US-favoured candidate: democracy
LRC pick
Warmongering vs libertarianism
Answering well-meaning Catholics

Monday, March 27, 2006

Reasons to see V for Vendetta
• The cinema is outrageously expensive but the big screen is about worth it. Better still, find an IMAX place!
• Worth buying the DVD when it comes out so you can hear the dialogue again.
• The novel’s author may not like the rewrite updating it from Thatcherite Britain but the story needs to be told today. One hopes that the anti-state lesson, also in Revenge of the Sith (search the blog) and something that fans of this genre devoured in ‘The X-Files’, isn’t quickly forgotten this time.
• That said it weaves divers elements well: it isn’t wholly nicked from 1984 or the latest headlines.
• Good balance between intellectual content and good summer-film fare (choreographed fights, blowing sh*t up).
• It’s violent. This isn’t a pacifist blog.
• It’s always good to see Stephen Fry. Anybody who quotes the Prayer Book for the title of his autobiography earns points. He and his character are non-believers but I can easily imagine either as high-church!
• A work doesn’t have to agree entirely with me or the faith to be good art or make a valid point. There’s homosexuality but it’s not gratuitous or overplayed.
• I was amused that the corrupt Church of England bishop was straight! That and the gaggle of priests walking around wearing black stoles for no reason.
• Natalie Portman here resembles the likewise but differently lovely Renée Zellweger: accent coaches, real-life Henry Higginses, do amazing work (listening to an actor’s real voice and then figuring out mechanically how to teach one to move one’s mouth to copy the phonemes, bits of sound, of the ‘target’ accent for a good imitation) but you can tell she isn’t English.
• Recommended related works: read 1984 and see Sir Ian McKellen’s 1930s-themed Richard III.
• Spoiler (have fun):

.yrots eht devres ti tuB .tnemailraP fo sesouH (cilohtaC ylticilpmi) cihtoG suollevram s’niguP dna s’yrraB ot neppah taht gniees ekil t’ndiD
From Verbum ipsum
Rosanne Cash on her peace-loving dad
‘The Man in Black’
From AKMA’s Random Thoughts
Sport builds character
LRC blog pick
Bush’s war is anti-Christian

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Roman Mass
Lest we forget
15 years ago yesterday (more)
O GOD, who didst cause thy servant Marcel to enjoy the dignity of a Bishop in the apostolic Priesthood: grant, we beseech thee, that he may evermore be joined unto the fellowship of the same. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord: who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
• His main differences with Vatican II were to do with religious liberty and ecumenism, fearing indifferentism: not the liturgy and not Latin as popularly misrepresented.
• He promoted having more African clergy.
• He proposed a new catechism!
• He wasn’t the first cleric to try to save the Roman Mass: that was Fr Gommar De Pauw who died last year. (Fr De Pauw initially had the support of a bishop, Blaise Kurz, but not his bishop.) But as a bishop and founder of a seminary and religious order he could do more.

Here is his 1974 declaration.
From Fostering Free Thought
‘Spiritual but not religious’
Ugh. The most overused cliché about religion today. Of course organised religion and organic religion aren’t necessarily or even often mutually exclusive; add revelation and you’ve got Catholicism.
From The York Forum
Activist dissenting RCs are old
In other news, sun rises in east
From wide-eyed and laughing
Gender balance
A dialogue with an Episcopal ordinand
Eastern churches
From Fr John Whiteford

Fr Moses Berry
American priest reaches out to other blacks and runs black-history museum in Missouri

Всегда Бог благ. God is good all the time.

From Andrej Škoviera
Remembering the Russicum’s first rector
Fr Vendelín Javorka, S.J., who died 40 years ago last Friday

Veneration of the Cross
O LORD, save thy people and bless thine inheritance. Grant unto orthodox Christians victory over their enemies, and by the power of thy cross preserve thy commonwealth.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What has America wrought?
By Justin Raimondo
More blowback?

I understand that Afghanistan may weasel out of its law requiring the killing of Christian convert Abdul Rahman by declaring him insane. Thanks?
LRC picks
Some common bad arguments for invading and occupying Iraq

Our little Nero

1903 speech to the New England Anti-Imperialist League

Restiveness in Airstrip One

The Soviets and the Americans couldn’t win in Afghanistan; what makes Britain think it can?
Bond. James Bond.
Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto

More from Richard Doney.

Liturgical texts from Huw Raphael.
From truthout
Volunteers for endless war
By Cindy Sheehan

Why doesn’t Bush admit why he wanted war?

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

An American Indian tribe’s president is in PC outrage over a new, entirely fair South Dakotan law and so will open an abortuary on the reservation

The logic here: A bunch of white men said it’s wrong to kill babies for no good reason so to assert her Oglalaness she wants to open a centre to kill little Oglala. That’ll show ’em.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Worth seeing!

Here and here are more
Isn’t it racist to think that all members of a race in an area should vote alike?
Apparently believers in Marxist identity politics don’t think so
Head of Mosul’s Dominican convent denounces US occupation
LRC blog pick
Blessed are the peaceniks
By Joseph Sobran, from The Wanderer
One of the baneful side effects of the Cold War was to make 'peace' sound like a left-wing cause and to identify conservatism with war.

...unconstitutional government... always thrives on war. Our real enemies ... not in Baghdad, but in Washington.

I have gradually broken my ties with the conservative movement and rediscovered an older conservatism of peace.

...war is the opposite of conservative. It destroys. I got one of the shocks of my life in 1981 when I visited Berlin and walked among some of the preserved buildings, where German civilians had once lived, that had been hit by American bombers.

If I can excite even a little horror of war in my fellow conservatives, I will feel that my long career has not been entirely wasted.

To this day, I find it impossible to look back on World War II with pride or pleasure, let alone admiration for the men who wanted it. I do venerate the two great Popes, Pius XI and Pius XII, who saw it coming and pled for peace. They are the true war heroes.
From blog member John Boyden
Defector from North Korea says disabled newborns are killed
A wretched place as Katolik Shinja often reports

Elaborate American air bases worry Iraqis
From Verbum ipsum
Who would Jesus waterboard?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

From truthout
Murtha: end the occupation
From The Onion
Rumsfeld: Iraq now capable of conducting war without US help
Americans don’t live here anymore
There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people even seem to notice. …
Because they’re not the ones being sent away. If conscription comes back watch that attitude change...
Readers tell me that Americans don't live here any more. They ask what responsible American citizenry would put up with the trashing of the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers, with wars based on deception, and with pathological liars in control of their government?
LRC pick
More on the great college swindle
Paul Fussell’s right: in the States it’s mostly a rite of passage for middle- and upper-middle-class kids, social promotion, and a ripoff for working-class and other people who can’t get into real universities. Only about 14 per cent of kids really go to university, just like around 1940, and they’re the ones who still benefit from it.

Going for the reason Pieter Friedrich describes — job training, not education in the classical sense — is legitimate but don’t call it college. It is, as Fr George Rutler (a proponent of great-books classical liberal education) calls it, trade school. In some parts of Europe that track gets the support and respect it deserves: Swiss bankers don’t come from uni but specialised schools for their business.
This history course was intended to cover American history from the discovery to the beginning of the War Between the States.

From the beginning, our white professor, Andrew Raposa, clearly had an agenda, which was to convince us that African slavery was the single defining issue of American history.
A look here can disabuse one of the popular notion of the cause of that war.
Professor Raposa's secondary agenda was to undermine Christianity, particularly Reformed Christianity.
Calvinism deserves a bad rap. If you buy its premises (five points, TULIP) it’s a brilliant, logical system but if you’re deemed not one of the elect abandon all hope; an evil system really. Its followers invented apartheid (‘the whites are prosperous as a sign of God’s favour so obviously they’re among the elect’); the Catholic-minded in South Africa started the anti- movement.
One problem was that although he obviously despised it, Raposa was completely uninformed about Christianity.
Sounds like.
Our brief contextual discussion of the Reformation included the professor's contention that the major difference between John Calvin and Martin Luther was that Luther rejected the idea of predestination. Not exactly. Martin Luther said, "All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned." Now that's an affirmation of predestination if I ever saw one.
There’s predestination (God who is above time knows what will happen to all of us) that is Catholic (and retained by Luther) and then there’s the double predestination of the Calvinists (you have no choice in the matter: God may well hate you from the start).
Additionally, Raposa taught that Calvin and Luther believed in "works salvation," where if you lived a good life you could earn your salvation. My suggestion that the Reformation was actually primarily motivated by Sola Fide and rejected the Romanist notion of earned salvation elicited a blank stare from the professor.
Mr Friedrich’s Protestant kind of ignorance is showing. This isn’t the Catholic position either.

Fact: as a truncheon with which to beat Christianity, the real Salem witch-trials aren’t that useful. Only 19 people were killed.

And to be fair to 1600s English Calvinists, I understand they weren’t necessarily puritanical in the modern colloquial sense. They were only theologically strange.
Thinking the unthinkable about 9/11
Loose Change
I won’t rule it out

From The Gaelic Starover
By Daithí Mac Lochlainn, who was there

Actor Charlie Sheen
September 11 wasn't the Zapruder film, it was the Zapruder film festival.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

From Wikipedia
The Jack Abramoff saga
If you support the Republicans, you’ve been played
From Slate
How to be ignored
Western Sahara vs US-backed Morocco
Abu Ghraib dog-handler takes blame for torture
A conviction
LRC pick
An open letter to the young man with the petition
An economics lesson
From Working for Change
Police-state files
Cracking down on dissent in the name of ‘anti-terrorism’

And the West doesn’t like Alexander Lukashenko because... ?
Mainline Protestant endgame
From Mere Comments
Ebenezer Lutheran Church
Feminist misandry becomes idolatry, which unsurprisingly is a kind of narcissism

Actually Pastor Boorn and the old German table-talker have got more in common that it seems. The latter was still Christian but Pr B has taken his private judgement (‘Jesus, yes! The church, no!’ to take up a Protestant-like refrain of dissenting RCs) to a logical end.

It’s also pandering born of desperation: white flight empties mainline places in the city so they try to cater to the upper-middle-class whites who still live there. Voilà: ‘affirming’ Episcopalians and ‘reconciling’ Lutherans and Methodists.

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Jonathan Edwards’ sixth-great-granddaughter officiates at gay wedding
Calvinism inevitably shatters into Unitarianism as Archbishop Robert Morse says: from ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ to this.

BTW, of course this is insulting to American Indians. The elder Edwards was authentically Christian about race; Ms Edwards is equating that to behaviour.
From Mark Fiore
Thank you, NeoConMen!
From Fr James Tucker
Alberto Gonzales’ Clintonesque spinning of torture, kidnapping and indefinite detention
By Nat Hentoff
As I like to say, this administration makes Nixon’s attempted election-fixing look quaint

Monday, March 20, 2006

The myth of US prosperity during World War II
PC humbug watch
Is Whole Foods really wholesome?
Reminds me of the libertarian argument against well-meant fair-trade coffee
Let's say you live in New York City and want to buy a pound of tomatoes in season. Say you can choose between conventionally grown New Jersey tomatoes or organic ones grown in Chile. Of course, the New Jersey tomatoes will be cheaper. They will also almost certainly be fresher, having traveled a fraction of the distance. But which is the more eco-conscious choice? In terms of energy savings, there's no contest: Just think of the fossil fuels expended getting those organic tomatoes from Chile.

Almost all the organic food in this country comes out of California. And five or six big Californian farms dominate the whole industry.

After all, a multinational chain can't promote a "buy local" philosophy without being self-defeating.

Charges of elitism — media wags, in otherwise flattering profiles, have called Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck" and "wholesome, healthy for the wholesome, wealthy" — are the only criticism of Whole Foods that seems to have stuck.
As I said looking at price signs at a health-food shop, I’m not willing to pay that much to feel that effing sensitive.

By accident (or Adam Smith’s invisible hand?) an uncharitable, un-PC big company may end up doing more to help people.
It's likely that neither Wal-Mart nor Whole Foods will do much to encourage local agriculture or small farming, but in an odd twist, Wal-Mart, with its simple "More for Less" credo, might do far more to democratize the nation's food supply than Whole Foods. The organic-food movement is in danger of exacerbating the growing gap between rich and poor in this country by contributing to a two-tiered national food supply, with healthy food for the rich. Could Wal-Mart's populist strategy prove to be more "sustainable" than Whole Foods? Stranger things have happened.
Even back-to-the-land old friend Jeff Culbreath has acknowledged that the romance of small farming is often unworkable.
Three years ago today
Remembering Stacy
Trying to stay above the political fray, a grieving father tells the world that post-abortion depression is real. Guess who doesn’t want to hear that?
What Catholic ecumenism should be?
In Russian — here is a translation

The superior (the Russian text says he’s an archimandrite, a mitred abbot) of a Redemptorist house in Scotland affiliated to the SSPX visits a Russian Orthodox archbishop and has a dialogue. No liberal platitudes here!

What a pleasant surprise as I thought these groups didn’t want to talk to the Orthodox.

I’ve written about the Transalpine Redemptorists and their affiliates before — they mean well but ignore St Pius X himself on the Christian East (nec plus, nec minus, nec aliter compared to Orthodox practice).

Archbishop Augustine has the Russian Orthodox see of L’vov in old Polish Galicia, the home of the Ukrainian Catholic Church that 80 per cent of the people belong to. You can argue that the Orthodox presence there is a leftover Soviet transplant but I imagine his little congregations are made up of sincere people. I’ve read that many of the few Orthodox there have instead joined one of the nationalist schisms, such as the Kyiv Patriarchate that President Viktor Yushchenko belongs to, perhaps to get away from the stigma of the ROC’s Communist past. That and Galicians of any kind aren’t Russians. (Galicia is the home of Ukrainianism.)

The Russian article describes the SSPX-related groups as a ‘Catholic Old Believer church’. Not to be confused with the few Russian Old Believers circa 1905 who ended up in the new Russian Catholic Church: ‘the enemy (the Pope) of my enemy (the Tsar and his church) is my friend’ is what I imagine these historic xenophobes thought.

In other news from that part of the world
Is the EU interfering in the Byelorussian election by pressuring Russia?
Messrs Putin and Lukashenko may not be saints but these are sovereign countries

Patriarch of Moscow supports shutting down gay-pride parade
Saying homosexuality is ‘a vicious deviation from God-given human nature’. That is of course correct, but regarding the first issue, how does one balance freedom with the common good? (There is of course the do-no-harm principle of libertarianism.) In a free society people have the right to be wrong and that freedom of course enables the church to tell the truth that something’s wrong.

Promoting behaviour that’s a public health hazard seems a valid reason to shut something down.
From Pontifications
I decamped to the Byzantine Rite years ago, and when I attend an ordinary run-of-the-mill [new] “Roman” Rite Mass nowadays I cannot usually avoid the thought of “ichabod.”
- William Tighe

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Catholic faith
On death, free will and a reverse purgatory
• One can hope that there are no humans in hell but has to believe in the terrifying possibility of going there
• The notion of praying somebody out of hell sounds nice but that would violate free will — God lets you say no to him, which is also why apocatastasis (ultimate salvation of all), which likewise sounds nice, is heresy. (Some church fathers believed in it but they of course could be wrong, proved so by defined doctrine and Catholic consensus.)
The Revd James Konicki writes:
I specifically remember a dialog on the possibility of losing salvation once you have attained heaven. If the beatific vision precludes using free will to choose other than God, then why Lucifer? If it does not, are people changing their option as it were? I remember, at the time, the thought scared me....
AFAIK once people are in, they get to stay and of course wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
You may also recall a recent on-line conversation about perditory – a sort of purgatory that burns away any remaining good before one reaches hell.
I’d not heard of that before. Have you?

I agree with Fr Tucker that as speculation it’s orthodox as is the idea from the church fathers (St Isaac the Syrian) that heaven and hell may be people’s different reactions to the Light of God.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At least 14,000 march in London against Iraq war
Which officially began three years ago this coming Monday
LRC picks
Dirty habit
Brokeback foreign policy: Uncle Sam to Death (the hooded guy with the scythe), ‘I just cain’t quit you!’

The meaning of free speech

Still more from Charley Reese, from
Consequences of a war state
We bombed Libya in a reprisal raid for a terrorist attack in Germany. Reprisals, in World War II, were considered war crimes.

The now-late Slobodan Milosevic was only trying to do what Abraham Lincoln did – prevent the secession of states from Yugoslavia.

Only God and George Bush know why we attacked Iraq. That was clearly a war of aggression, no different from the German invasion of Poland in the 1930s.
I’d amend that to say ‘George Bush’s minders’. I believe in the possibility that he tells untruths but isn’t lying: he believes in good armies and bad armies and what he’s told as he admits he doesn’t read the papers.
...war, except in self-defense, is a total waste.

Wars also destroy truth and trust with their secrecy and propaganda.
The Roman Mass
Priestly vestments matching quiz
By jingo?
Slavic messianism comes in several flavours; this is one of them

Parallels American manifest destiny, the city on the hill, doesn’t it?

Where does pride, in the good sense, in a blessed Christian society end... and emperor-worship and phyletism or even racism begin?

They say you can go to hell by imitating the faults of the saints.
From Ward Sutton
On the perversity of what used to be called yuppies
When the rich and fertile insist on babies without sex and sex without babies

Friday, March 17, 2006

"Plastic Paddy"

‘Plastic Paddy’ by Eric Bogle, from I Wrote This Wee Song:
He’s just a Plastic Paddy, singin’ Plastic Paddy songs
in a Plastic Paddy pub that they call The Blarney Stone
There’s plastic shamrocks everywhere, there’s Guinness and green beer
And a sign in Gaelic above the bar which says ‘God Bless All Here’.

His guitar sounds like a wardrobe, and it’s out of tune at that
His singin’ voice it ranges from a sharp to a flat
He’s just desecrated ‘The Holy Ground’, ripped apart ‘Black Velvet Band’
Sang some nights drunk and now he’s sunk ‘The Irish Rover’ with all hands...

The publican’s a proddy Scot by the name of McIntyre
Who does not allow collections for the men behind the wire
I interrupt this delicious satire to say that while I’m no apologist for John Knox, arguably this can be counted unto Mr McIntyre for righteousness as many in ‘the cause’ seemed Marxists, not really Catholics, otherwise they wouldn’t have shot and bombed innocent civilians.
He's just thrashed his way through ‘Galway Bay’ and ‘My Wild Irish Rose’
and if he starts singing ‘Danny Boy’, I’m gonna punch him in the nose!

There’s Aer Lingus posters everywhere showing pretty Irish scenes
all peaceful and idyllic, and very bloody green!
It’s nothing to do with Ireland, which is really commemorating the saint today — in church (at least those who still go). It’s about Irish immigrants and their descendents making it in America.

I understand this sort of thing, like Plastic Paddy songs such as ‘My Wild Irish Rose’, is as unknown in Ireland as Lucky Charms cereal.

Thus saith Slate:
Irish immigrants first celebrated it in Boston in 1737 and first paraded in New York in 1762. By the late 19th century, the St. Patrick's Day parade had become a way for Irish-Americans to flaunt their numerical and political might. It retains this role today.
I like the Irish from Ireland I meet. Over there at least until recently they would stop in the streets to pray the Angelus and it would be broadcast on the TV (RTÉ?).

Some Irish-Americans, as Thomas Day* explains, made a lot of the the liturgical and other messes in RC churches, and the problem goes back long before Vatican II, which only aggravated/metastasised it.

In short:
• They’d turned Jansenist (puritanical), as over-dramatised in the film The Magdalene Sisters.
• They were persecuted at home so they couldn’t do high church even if they wanted to.
• They developed class hatred/envy that associated nice church architecture, music, language and even ceremonial with the English. (ICEL and the pseudo-folk guitar Mass are relatively new ways for them to flip the bird at that culture. Like the way many Jews go in for ugly art like Marc Chagall.)
• ‘The office?! That’s for priests and nuns! Our people do devotions!

When the ethnic Irish ‘made it’ in the 1950s there could have been a ‘Catholic moment’ in America thanks to that (the success of Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and Spencer Tracy movies the decade before showed that the mainstream finally accepted the church socially) but IMO both the real JFK and Vatican II squandered it.

A friend once described the brand of RC traditionalism that looks back to the 1950s as partly nostalgia for that ‘arrival’: ‘We’ve got the house in the suburbs and a car in the garage and isn’t life grand?

In Ireland today is a holy of obligation so Catholics are in church, not the pubs. Fr Peter Robinson, who lived there, writes that the Protestant Irish (Presbyterians like Barry Fitzgerald) ignore this day religiously — they’re in the pub.

Fr Robinson continues:
Irish Anglicans such as Douglas Hyde, W. B. Yeats, Liam Cosgrave and Sir Roger Casement were very prominent in the Nationalist Movement. Paradoxically the Roman Catholic Church was often more hostile to Nationalism than the Church of Ireland.
The Yanks can keep ‘V(-Sign) for Villanova’, the green beer and ‘On Turkey’s Eagle’s Wings’ — if you’re after getting some religion look in places like this**.

From Slate
Explaining the fake-Irish-pub revolution
Better than plastic shamrocks and Bud Light but still...

One can see it as a good example of the free market, though. Thanks to it, if one wants to make money from Irish culture, one must do things well (buildings and staff actually from Ireland, etc.).
The concept is not properly served by joke names like McSwiggins or Filthy McNasty’s
There’s a Tipsy McStagger’s near here.

Cultural cliché that AFAIK is true: The folk music is very good and there’s lots of it, in just about every pub there, so much that the Irish are rather sick of it.

This craic is wack

From the real Ireland

From local barman Fergie, who is from there (and says there are parades but agrees there isn’t drunkenness there today): Beannachtai na Feile Padraig do mo chairde go leir. The blessings of St Patrick to all my friends.

Hymn: ‘I bind unto myself today’
I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity.
The Lorica (breastplate) prayer
Of the real St Patrick (who wasn’t Irish)

While I’m on this ethnic theme:

From Deacon’s Blog
Collect for St Patrick... in Polish

From Katolik Shinja
Parallels between the Irish and the Koreans
Here’s another: a visible minority of them are Presbyterians
Drink a round to Ireland, boys, I’m home again
Drink a round to Jesus Christ, who died for Irish men.
P.S. Pop quiz: What’s today’s liturgical colour?

*Search the blog and/or the Amazon link on the right side of this page.

**St Bartholomew’s, Dublin is actually Anglican, and dressed-up Broad Church (Modernist) at that, but architecturally they had the right idea.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Flash bastards!
LOL. S. Clement’s now has a tasteful use of Flash on its site.
From TCR News
Melkite archbishop: conflict between West and Islam both sides’ fault
...their view of the West not so much as a Christian society, but as materialistic, corrupt and immoral.
Now where (?) would they get an idea like that?
Rice deservedly heckled
How many of you have children in this illegal and immoral war? The blood is on your hands...
The Queen in Australia: a long goodbye?
The monarchists (more) usually don’t appeal to identification with Britain but rather argue in libertarian fashion that HM Dominions are freer with a weak head of state who lives far away than with a native president. But some ex-dominions like India have a parliamentary president whose job is the same as the governor-general — a figurehead — except he or she doesn’t represent the Crown.
Feingold says censure Bush
Why is a daily paper not printing photos of soldiers killed in Iraq?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From Mere Comments
The implicitly Christian Dickens and his Russian fans (including Dostoevsky). I admit I don’t understand a lot of Dostoevsky but can recognise the Christianity in him.

Many forget that A Christmas Carol isn’t explicitly Christian at all, but then again I call a favourite modern film like it, The Family Man, Catholic for the same reasons. As blog member John Boyden has quoted, throwing church or a religious practice into a story doesn’t make it so.
Perhaps from the position of, as an Orthodox commenter puts it at Pontifications, "in Orthodox theology there is no sin nature or sinful nature. Our nature is good, there is no dialectical opposition here between nature and grace."
Crikey, I wouldn’t want to go near trying to unpack the first quoted sentence! It’s often claimed but hard to explain without sounding Pelagian. Best to leave that to the Schoolmen and others who’ve done the required reading. The second point is generally Christian and specifically Catholic, not peculiar to the East.
‘Bush-Mush’ satire a hit in Pakistan
From The Onion
Bush increasingly focused on how revisionist history will see him
Fun with spam
Got this randomly generated word in a subject line, a fitting description of arrivistes or the nouveau, a subculture well described by Paul Fussell
From Katolik Shinja and Fr James Tucker
The geopolitics of sexual frustration (more)
What year is this? Is it really 2006 because we are still having guys die in mines and the government is tapping our phone lines. I guess we didn’t totally destroy the Soviet Union. Our government brought a little souvenir home.
- Christopher Titus
From truthout
Iraq as permanent US colony
Iraqisation is fake, says ex-soldier Stan Goff
Eastern churches
Some good news, some bad and some information:

Russian Church bishop ordains Church Abroad deacon
So for all intents and purposes the Soviet-era split is over

An incorruptible?

Russian Church weasels out of apology for stealing Ukrainian Catholic churches
And helping the Communists persecute the people in them

I don’t like the self-latinisation of the Ukrainian Catholics either but this, well, sucks.

As this seems to
So where did all the 9/11 relief money go? You know, the $285,000 collected from retired steelworkers and former miners in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio?

A Byzantine Rite sampler
Icons, prayers and, if you want, music

Why do the Orthodox touch the floor?
When prostrations aren’t allowed, such as on Sundays

Monday, March 13, 2006

Was Serbia a practice run for Iraq?
Remember, Lew Rockwell started LRC to protest Mr Clinton’s war on the former. At the time I thought it was a proving-ground for the powers that be to see if they could destroy national sovereignty and get away with it.
Criticising the Roman Mass in practice
From Fr Anthony Chadwick and Cacœthes Scribendi

• One need not be a Novus Ordo neocon to agree that apeing the dead-silent Irish piety of the 1950s or trying to dig up dead rites and uses isn’t the way
• Those neocons are rather like those trying to make something Catholic out of the Tudor communion service! (Except Cranmer’s English is better and even more orthodox, with deferential expressions literally translated from or based on the Latin that show a Godward worldview.)
‘Mass started with singing of a good, old-fashioned hymn, played from a pipe organ located in the loft above our heads.’ It may be German or Polish influence but chances are one can thank Anglican and Lutheran influence and the old, legitimate liturgical movement for that: as Thomas Day will tell you it wasn’t standard ’50s ethnic-Irish RC fare.
Traditionalism isn’t about Latin but liturgical language is a natural religious instinct, as Protestant use of the King James Bible shows and indeed the English-speaking world prays the Our Father in the idiom of that period. The Eastern churches often use archaic forms of their languages liturgically.
• Most people in the Western Rite Orthodox experiment don’t try to dig up pre-C11 Western usage and don’t pretend to
• Those among them who know better agree that byzantinising the Roman Canon with a descending epiklesis is as unhistorical, unnecessary and offensive as sticking statues in an Eastern Orthodox church. Chances are that canon is older than the Byzantine Rite ones being imitated.
‘Spikey’: I resemble that remark
From Katolik Shinja
SAS soldier quits army because of Iraq, accuses US of illegal tactics

From truthout
Ex-US Navy man sends back pilot’s wings
LRC picks
The Wicked Bible and the wicked war
An historical anecdote that explains, among other things, my job

Is HIV really a PC snow-job?
Some recent articles and entries suggest that Aids really is a gay-men’s (its original name is Grids) and intravenous drug-user’s disease but one isn’t allowed to say that

The lie: ‘Ignorance causes Aids!’ so it’s not a natural consequence of certain behaviour.
From Carson Daniel Lauffer
Did the ‘Enlightenment’ KO Christianity?

My Lenten reading
Firmly I believe and truly
By Graham Leonard

A mini-Mere Christianity by a Catholic

Why the secular world’s big non serviam?
Largely, I think, because for man to accept that there are mysteries beyond his grasp he has to accept that he is not master of the universe. It means accepting that he is dependent upon God, dependent upon his neighbour and dependent upon creation. It means learning to trust God and trust his fellow men. As far as the physical world is concerned, it means accepting that it has a pattern and structure with with he is free to cooperate but which wich he exploits for his own ends at his own peril.
From Padre Complex
John Cleese on Jesus

Saturday, March 11, 2006

LRC pick
More from Murray on movies
A reason why I didn’t see the gay-cowboy movie:
To the average Academy moron, the only movie deserving an award is that reeking with pretension: slow, ponderous, boring and therefore inevitably pregnant with what the "Saturday Night Live" comic calls "Deep Thoughts." In recent decades, as Hollywood culture has gone sharply leftward, this has also meant a blend of leftish nihilism and what used to be called "social significance."

Since the eligible movies are those that emerge at any point during the calendar year, and since the producers fully understand the minuscule attention span of the typical Academy dimwit... the Pretentious Pictures
[tend to] come out in late December...
I saw four first-run films over the past 12 months, some as edgy as the Big Pictures, but 1) one, The Woodsman, ran early in the year, proving Rothbard’s point and 2) pædos (again TW), unlike gays and Jews, aren’t a privileged class (yet?). (No, the groups aren’t equivalent and no, I’m not advocating any pogroms.)

Another good example of what he was talking about was The English Patient. It had its moments. But. One. Felt. Every. Second. Go. By. Unlike a really good film you lose yourself in and so forget to look at your watch.
Schindler's List is a movie which has become not only Politically Incorrect but even taboo to be less than worshipful about, since it purports to enable us, for the umpteenth time, to Learn About The Holocaust.
I’m eagerly awaiting the historically fair, equal-time dramatisation of Stalin’s atrocities, which dwarfed Hitler’s. (Or on what the Palestinians have gone through.) But ordinary Russians, let alone pious Russian Orthodox, aren’t a privileged class and are therefore invisible, historical non-persons, or, if visible, ‘the enemy’, making the MSM look like Pasternakian moderate Communists (which has gone on for a long time, considering the New York Times’ Pulitzer-winning lies about the Soviet Union).
The idea that watching Schindler's List should be treated as a religious experience
Which Jerry Seinfeld seemed to make fun of in his nasty eponymous sitcom but really agreed with.

Why I didn’t see Good Night, and Good Luck. or Munich:
...anyone who tries to Learn About History by going to a Hollywood movie deserves to have his head examined.
Remembering the entertaining Michael Collins (except Julia Roberts badly trying on an Irish accent, in one of only two of her films I’ve seen*), in which a British tank rolls onto an Irish football pitch and starts mowing down spectators. That never happened. I heard Mel Gibson did something similar in The Patriot.

(Then there was 1960’s propaganda piece Exodus, or ‘terrorism is cool if you’re a good-looking white guy like Paul Newman or Sal Mineo’.)

Rothbard’s account of the clash of two privileged classes at the cinema is worth reading.

I disagree with him on something: Holly Hunter’s not unattractive. Chacun a son gout.

*The other was the train-wreck fascinating Notting Hill, a very American movie that happened to be set in Britain with a mostly British cast.
Slobodan Milosevic

John Profumo


Peace activist Tom Fox
He died for the neocons’ sins
Iraq summed up
Vietnam will seem like Grenada before this plays out.
Three kinds of loyalty to the Pope
‘Democracy’ = US rule
So the Shah of Iran was democratic but the elected government the US and UK overthrew to re-instal him wasn’t
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.’
- Through the Looking Glass
From Huw Raphael
On the space programme

Friday, March 10, 2006

LRC blog pick
Hating Islam
Welcome to the Two Minutes’ Hate, or the government’s need for bogeymen (remember all the racist World War II propaganda about the ‘Japs’?)
From Fr James Tucker
Taking God’s name in vain
In Nazi Germany. Somewhere out there a Bushite is reading that and thinking ‘now that’s neat’.
Anglican doings
Singing a Protestant Toon*
Or why ‘realignment’/the Network/digging up the Elizabethan settlement won’t work

It’s an old song:

From Pontifications
Jewel was not cool
Protestant and Erastian, deconstructing the Fathers centuries before Derrida to deny an infallible church and the necessity of bishops

Not the Jewel of the epic novel Sarum, who comes across like a high-Central Churchman.

*Works with the American sound of tune.
LRC pick
Mafia movies
Murray Rothbard loved ’em, which is understandable

But what he wrote is only partially true historically. Regarding Prohibition, which essentially brought the Mafia to America, he’s spot-on. John Weldon Hardenbrook has written about that in Missing From Action: puritanical Protestants (not to be confused with Anglicans, who are famous for civilised enjoyment of drink) like that nutter Carry Nation demonised alcohol, banning it, and thanks to them there’s the blowback of organised crime to this day (though, fractured and turned on themselves, the last seem on the wane). The same thing’s happening now with drugs. And of course the libertarian view of prostitution fits in with all this: consumers want a service that, if money weren’t involved, would be completely legal. The church says it’s wrong of course but that’s not the state’s concern.

Like the true story in Blow (a pro-business epic I enjoyed very much as well as being a cautionary tale), some of the magic of these classic films is from showing a slightly off version of the American dream.

Rothbard’s description seems to fit the Philadelphian mob until the 1980s: loan-sharking (which one can’t explain away like booze) and other activity in which people usually weren’t killed, led by ‘docile don’ Angelo Bruno. You left them in peace; they left you in peace. But after Bruno was murdered and, like Rothbard says, the members got into the drugs trade, things fell apart.

A good counter-balance to this is the description of real present-day Mafiosi in a book by the real-life FBI agent who posed as ‘Donnie Brasco’ to infiltrate the mob.

While it’s true that real members are annoyed by wannabes who kill for no reason (which simply gets the real Mafia in trouble), this (good)fellow points out that no, Mafia soldiers aren’t nice guys, beating somebody up for the slightest perceived insult.

Maybe GoodFellas (I’ve not seen it) shows what the mob has become.

As for religion, I’m a little amused by the situation today as described to me: tough sons of capos and dons going to religious order-run tony prep schools (like their version of the public schools like Eton, parallelling Ampleforth in England*) and sitting and standing silently while having soppy, fruity Marty Haugen songs sung at them.

As for the staff trying to put the moves on these lads... ‘You talkin’ to me?!’ LOL.

Old World Mediterranean honour and revenge would stop that right quick.

The old school were hypocritical but knew it: Catholics sin but don’t try to bend the church to excuse it. And the rituals commanded respect. Not so guitars and Haugen.

There’s a similar movie romance about con men and jewel thieves: the (anti-)heroes in those old films didn’t con or rob somebody who couldn’t afford it. They were like Robin Hood. Sure.

Same with Westerns: a lot of those movie conventions about gunfights were really from duelling. They shot each other in the back!

Linguistic note: in Italian and Spanish it’s don Paul, not don Cicero. Like don Juan! The first Godfather got that wrong.

Here is a site on the real Mafia in New Jersey.

*There a prep school is where one prepares to go to places like Eton, Harrow or Ampleforth. BTW, Eton is mediæval and thus was Catholic: the King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, which I think is still its official name. Its original mission was to teach poor boys! In the States a prep school is equivalent to Eton: places like Andover where the Bushes went.
From Brian Underwood
The end of the Internet?
Roe vs Wade for men
This whole decades-long ‘revolution’ has been described as pig heaven for men cleverly marketed as empowerment for women anyway
Eastern churches*
Roadblocks to corporate reunion
Which professional church types will deny but are obvious:
I didn't realize how far the [Roman] Catholic Church [in practice] has gone until I visited a "modern" one, which wasn't even very liberal according to my friend. When all I knew of the Church was the way it used to be and Gregorian сhant and the solemn, regal stuff I saw at the big cathedral downtown, I thought there must be a way to reunite and fix things. How could I reject all that, when it seemed to be really the "Orthodoxy of the West?"

Every parish is different, but to see how close Catholicism has
[seems to have] come in many ways to the Protestantism I left, at least in form, I have much less hope in the idea of "reunion" than before. We have diverged too far apart. You can only reunite two estranged churches. What I saw sure didn't seem like church anymore.

I visited an RC church this past summer and came away with the same feeling. My sister's evangelical Presbyterian church is more formal and dignified than that service was (and why do RC churches always have bad choirs?)
The honest from Michael Davies and Thomas Day (go to the Amazon box on the right-hand side of this page to buy their books) to Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) have pointed out out that the changes are a move away from, not towards (as the official spokesmen have been saying for 40 years), the Christian East, decorative misuse of icons, tacked-on epiklesis and token deacons notwithstanding: ‘a harsh and even offensive condemnation’ of Eastern practices (Davies) leaving the two churches looking like different and contradictory religions (Day).

Here from Edward Yong is the archimandrite on liberals who complain about liturgics. And here is my response.

And here, from the third page of postings, is my apologia pro ‘the Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons’... Tract XC written for Orthodox readers.

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
The Prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian
Господи и владыко живота моего, дух праздности, уныния, любоначалия и празднословия не даждь ми.

Дух же целомудрия, смиреномудрия, терпения и любве даруй рабу твоему.

Ей, Господи царю, даждь ми зрети моя согрешения и не осуждати брата моего, яко свят еси во веки веков. Аминь.

Боже, очисти мя грешнаго.
On fasting
It’s a learning aid, not the learning, as M. Scott Peck once said
Eastern Orthodox fasting is paradoxical and maybe hypocritical on the surface when looked at in Western terms but it really isn't.

Cheesefare Week is when one is allowed to eat dairy products even on Wednesdays and Fridays when they're usually not allowed (they're normally fast days year-round), giving one a chance to fortify oneself for the big fast ahead. The week before the preceding Sunday, Meatfare Sunday, there is no fasting at all - same idea.

Cheesefare is part of the scheme leading up to Great Lent. It is to rid your pantry of items that would go bad during the 40 days. (Which is why the Russians have the festival of Масленица, their ‘Mardi Gras’.) Much like the Western world has Shrove Tuesday, to rid the cupboard of eggs and milk by making pancakes on Tuesday.

The week after the holidays ending fasts are fast-free so people can recover!

The full fast, done by most monks and nuns, means no meat of any kind (including eggs), fish (except shellfish), dairy, oil or wine.

On some days, like feasts that fall during fast periods, one is allowed wine and oil.


That said, the best of the lot say these rules aren't supposed to be legalistic - a stick to beat people with, a pharisaical matter of pride, etc.

The scripture readings before Great Lent make that clear as does the practice of the Desert Fathers, going out to cells alone so one wouldn’t know and thus judge how one’s brethren kept the fast, and the Easter sermon of St John Chrysostom: even if you come in at the 11th hour, God loves you.

So you have the paradox of impossibly high standards but the understanding that few people actually do them all... and that's OK. (Part of the Eastern concept of 'economy': leniency, somewhat like a dispensation.) One is expected to do
something. (Our Lord said: some demons can only be expelled through fasting. St Seraphim of Sarov IIRC said: if one doesn't fast one isn't a Christian!)

So fasting often isn't presented as 'under pain of sin' (but some Orthodox places and people do present it that way).

An example: if one is Orthodox and invited to somebody's house for dinner during Lent and is served meat, one isn't supposed to make a scene (essentially bragging about one's fasting) but in charity eat what one is served.

Converts at least sometimes seem not to understand that. As the convert boomlet is largely Protestant, it seems that many go from no-drinking, no-dancing hardshell fundygelicalism (which interestingly says it’s against ‘works-righteousness’, brother) to the same mindset in this tradition, which, again, is not supposed to be legalistic (unlike the demonised West).

The best of the lot also take into consideration that often today fasting meals are costlier than non: for example, a lobster dinner follows the rules but tinned tuna doesn't. Which is more in line with the original intent, which was not only to practise self-control but to save money and use it for alms?

Ethnics of course have their native cultures' fasting recipes but at the same time are usually understanding and lenient about the practice.
As a second writer attests from his own experience:
As to eating shellfish, while fish with backbones are not allowed, it goes back to times when shellfish was an inexpensive food for the masses along the coast. It was not the luxury item it is today. That is why I can buy shrimp tonight and boil them tomorrow for dinner. But no sea trout!

Wednesdays and Fridays are fast days the year round, except for the Easter season. In my in-laws' house, it was only observed on Friday. Many Orthodox obey the fast only on Wednesday and Friday, even during Lent. The rule is fine for monks and nuns. But it really isn't doable for those who work 10-12 hours a day, as is required in many industries these days. In Czarist Russia, many farm owners and landlords complained about the peasants fasting and then fighting a lot more during Lent because they were hungry and irritable. One bishop's answer was they were irritable because the boss wouldn't give the workers more time off for holy worship. The fact was, they worked hard and needed food. And the work needed to be done.

Scripture tells us to fast and pray. Not fast and bale hay! The fact is the Orthodox Great Fast has never been workable except for those in Holy Orders and those not performing much physical work. Most bishops these days admit to the problem.
Fasting isn’t about atoning for your sins — only God can do that — but rather self-discipline by temporarily giving up something lawful so you’ll be tough enough to resist temptation to real sin. Once you’ve been given the light of sanctifying grace, it’s to keep that light burning. It also helps undo the psychic and spiritual damage your sins cause.

Ukrainian Catholic head addresses Orthodox on latter’s past collaboration with Communists
Namely in persecuting the Ukrainian Catholic Church!

From Forum 18
Orthodox bishop freed in Macedonia
In Macedonia, ex-Yugoslavia there are the real Orthodox and then there are the ‘Macedonian Orthodox’, a nationalist schism started by the government in 1967

From Catholic Church Conservation
Redundant churches aren’t just a C of E issue (more)
Ah, the New Pentecost, the New Springtime! Can’t you just smell the ... something?