Sunday, April 30, 2006

From David’s Daily Diversions
History part of UK citizenship training gets facts wrong
From Huw Raphael
The burrito was invented in... the US
And recently at that. Like corned beef and cabbage isn’t really Irish nor chop suey* Chinese. All results of immigrant improvisation!

*Originally I wrote chow mein. My knowledge of Chinese takeaway is limited but Edward Yong, who is Chinese and from Singapore, gave me the facts. Xie xie! Thanks!
From Sacramentum Vitæ
Why mainstream RCs have few vocations to the priesthood
Dioceses run by frankly orthodox, old-fashioned bishops... are having no trouble attracting a good and healthy pool of seminarians. Traditionalist movements... have no trouble with that either. But dioceses not run by such bishops are having such trouble. Why?

Los Angeles is a good example of what I'm talking about. Cardinal Roger Mahony is counter-cultural about immigration and health care, but not about birth control, homosexuality, liturgy, and ascesis. ... He urges Catholics to bring their faith to public life, but opposes disciplining Catholic "pro-choice" politicians. Even as he's engaged in a running battle with government to keep the Archdiocese's sex-abuse files confidential, he refuses to acknowledge that homosexuality in the priesthood was the major contributing factor to the original scandal. Most of the altar servers in his and many other dioceses are girls. He welcomes Rainbow Sashers to communion but won't allow easy access in his diocese to the indult Tridentine Mass. Even his $194-million new cathedral has won good reviews mostly from those who haven't outgrown Bauhaus. Accordingly, the vision of Catholicism and of serving Christ presented by Mahony is doctrinally selective, sexually ambiguous, aesthetically impoverished, and not entirely honest. In other words, it well exemplifies the culture of 'progressive' Catholicism. As a result and regardless of intent, the message about priesthood conveyed by Mahony and like-minded bishops is that of an underpaid, sex-starved profession for effeminates, one that affords little opportunity to accomplish something valuable that couldn't just as well be accomplished in other, more gratifying ways. How could that be on young men's radar screens?
That agrees with what I remember from the 1980s and early 1990s.

But ‘putative’ (to use one of a former friend’s favourite words) ‘conservatives’ act like that as well except the ‘doctrinally selective’ part.

The Sarabite
The Wal-Mart approach to church doesn’t work

From The Remnant
I’d like to disagree with this cartoon
But, based on experience many years ago with these people, can’t
From the LRC blog
‘Democracy’ makes mass murder OK
The Church used to absolve sinners; today it has the gall to absolve sins.
- Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913-1994)

More accurately, some churchmen try to, which is horribly Protestant. Catholics, like anybody else, sin, but don’t expect the church to bend and say it’s OK.
RIP Bishop James Mote
Who died last night
On Mary
Outside the church Mary seemed gargantuan and monolithic, and an object of worship. Inside the church, behind the brilliance of the Eucharist, she seems almost neglected. Such is the effect of perspective.
- obpoet

The church is very cautious about Marian apparitions for example. They’re not really part of the faith but tolerated if they’re provably not fake and their messages are sound.

Also, the Gospel reading both at Mass in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Roman Rite and (partial) at the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite equivalent (Luke 11:27-28) is paradoxical, warning against fulsome or false devotion (as described by none other than extreme Marian St Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort for example, not to be confused with true devotion).
At that time: It came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
She was the first and is the greatest Christian. Her importance is entirely theological — we know next to nothing about her personally. Contra Nestorianism and its resurfacing in Protestantism, to be good Christians we are first good Marians. A consistent witness to the truth of the Incarnation.

On total Marian consecration: All can, some should, none must.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Eastern churches
Eastertide in the Orthodox tradition
Can be fun as shown by the water fight on Bright Monday at St Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church, Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

The high ceremonial, entirely unlatinised, is what Byzantine Catholic churches should be like but usually aren’t.
From CounterPunch
Operation Canned Meat and its derivatives
Of course the Nazis could have got the idea from the sinking of the Maine

Tony Swindell recalls "Butcher's Brigade" in ’69; says "gooks" have now become "ragheads", every adult male is an "insurgent" ... atrocities against Iraqi civilians are soon going to explode in America's face.
RIP Franklin Cover
This American actor who became semi-famous in the 1970s for playing a white man in an interracial marriage on the television comedy ‘The Jeffersons’ was in real life an Anglo-Catholic, a member of the Church of the Resurrection in New York, that Episcopal diocese’s last remaining Missal parish. He died on 5th February, aged 77, and a Requiem was sung there.
His son Bradford remembered his father very often leaving church after High Mass on Sundays in the early 1970s, and as they walked towards Lexington Avenue, his father crying out, “Bradford, I have a thirst for righteousness!” with a great smile. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
From Verbum ipsum
The case for abolishing nuclear weapons
April is the cruellest month
The deadliest so far for US soldiers in Iraq, it sparks a large anti-war protest in New York
US admits Iraq war is causing more terrorism

Thursday, April 27, 2006

From Ad Orientem
A natural affinity
Some words on the ideal relation between Western Catholic traditionalism and the Orthodox tradition (biretta tip to Huw Raphael):
If we want to earn the respect of the Orthodox, it will not be by using their customs as a justification to neglect our own customs, nor by showing a general peppy enthusiasm for iconography (while rejecting its most important principles).

If we want their respect (and if we want to do what is best for our Church, regardless of its œcumenical effect), we need to adopt a more Orthodox attitude - that is, to make a pious deference to tradition in all things, and to treasure the customs particular to our own rite.

Why is this? Because the Orthodox have a natural traditionalism - which is the normal means for the liturgy to be preserved. It is what preserved the Western liturgy for fifteen centuries. It is what is necessary for the Latin Church to regain.

Until we regain a natural traditionalism of the sort the Orthodox have, all the rubrics and instructions in the world will not fix our liturgy.

Imagine a Church that has a liturgy in natural continuity since the apostolic age, of the most extraordinary beauty and profundity, that is unquestionably deep in history; with a rich tradition of didactic iconography that lends great symbolic significance to every detail of Church building and ornamentation.

That is an idealized vision of the late Medieval Catholic Church. ... do everything possible to make sure that that Church and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same.
- Daniel Mitsui

Been saying this sort of thing for 20 years.
First and foremost, Orthodoxy is institutionally suspicious of change. If you're changing something the first question from an Orthodox will be "why?" "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" could be our motto. Orthodox (who have a clue about these things) can look at the rite of St Pius V* and see the pre-schism liturgies of Pope St Gregory the Great and of St Peter.... By contrast the reformed liturgy of Paul VI is a radical departure from the liturgical traditions of the past. Even in Orthodoxy some things change. But it's always a very slow gradual change.
*Actually a ‘use’ of the Roman Rite.
From The Gaelic Starover
‘Ahmadinejad is a lunatic who says mad and nasty things!’
I don't know something called International Principles. I vow that I'll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child's existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I've killed 750 Palestinians (in Rafah in 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian women is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do.
- Ariel Sharon, 1956
It’s not about democracy
Not a perfect article but the title is true
It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world...
What all this really means, of course, is ‘let’s conquer some weaker countries and turn them into US clones/satellites/protectorates/client states’ — just like present-day Germany and Japan.

I don’t seen any Captain America-like posturing/sabre-rattling towards ‘What’s an abortion or a few hundred thousand?’ Red China... because they can fight back.
The reality is that what the Bush administration calls a national security strategy is really a global security strategy... forcibly creating a better and safer world in America's image.
Wasn’t that the reason given for fighting World War II: that a chap called Hitler had similar ambitions for Germany?
But are we truly insecure because a military government exists in Burma? And there are at least 50 countries in the world that do not have democratically elected governments. Does that mean that there are 50 countries that are threats to the United States? Even so-called democratic countries – such as Egypt, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela – are democratic largely in name only.
And some among those 50 like Kazakhstan come in awfully handy for secret torture flights and prisons.

Race-hustling thug Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is a chamber of horrors (ask the white farmers he forced out and is now asking to come back as they ran the country’s only profitable businesses) but is no threat. As was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And Hussein once worked for the US, which turned on him. is not necessarily true that all future democracies will be friendly to the United States – especially democracies in Muslim countries. For example, if completely free and popular elections were held in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, the resulting governments would likely be anti-American.
Might that be because the US props up the state of Israel? Unlike Iran the US isn’t threatening to invade them if they don’t put down their nukes as King Abdullah says they should.
Even a supporter of President Bush's democratic nation-building policy...
Something he promised in 2000 he’d never do, unlike that scourge of the culture-warriors, that pot-smoking, draft-dodging (no, get a commission in the Air National Guard* and then weasel out of it like a real man and patriot), fellated Bill Clinton, functionally (because he was caged by a Republican Congress) a relatively better president and better conservative than the crew in power now**.

But, hey, ‘it’s a different world after 9/11’™, conveniently so as the Project for a New American Century had been planning this war for some time before that.
Decades of American support to Middle Eastern dictators helped create bin Ladenism.
Contrary to what Bush says and claims – that we hate freedom – let him tell us then, 'Why did we not attack Sweden?'
- Osama bin Laden
...there is also a "love/hate" relationship with America: many people love what we are, but they often hate what we do. That is, anti-American animosity is fueled more by our actions than by our existence, which has been confirmed by numerous Pew and Zogby polls, the Defense Science Board, and the 9/11 Commission.

In the final analysis, the threat to the United States is al-Qaeda and the radical Islamist ideology it represents and inspires, not the lack of democracy in the world.
No, rather, the US government is its own worst enemy and innocent people, from tens of thousands of anonymous Iraqis to New York office workers to Nick Berg, Tom Fox and Margaret Hassan, suffer because of it.

*The US Air Force’s version of the Territorial Army. ‘The draft’ = ‘national service’, that is, conscription.

**I haven’t forgotten that Lew Rockwell started his marvellous site to protest Mr Clinton’s bombing of Serbia.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From Mere Comments
On ‘terminating the drama’
A famous writer’s shocking story, blunted by a reporter being politically correct and hiding behind gobbledygook

Reminds me of the American reporters who don’t what to call many people from sub-Saharan Africa anymore since they’ve been brainwashed to say ‘African-American’ (like Charlize Theron?).
Eastern churches
A good word on the Orthodox tradition

Sir John Tavener apostasy rumour false

On being an ‘ethnoclub’
From a semi-private message board:
That perception comes from a few things:

Orthodoxy's decentralised nature (in this it resembles the Anglican Communion) - the independence of bishops and the notion of the whole church present in the local community - lends itself to people's or national churches... and state churches.

In the 1800s the Balkan Christian countries found in Orthodoxy a rallying-point for their independence from the Turks.

In America Orthodoxy became especially identified with ethnicities because after the Russian Revolution it was impossible for the Russian dioceses to trust what was coming from the bishops in the mother country, and in that vacuum the other immigrant ethnic groups - some Ukrainians, the Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Greeks, Albanians and Arabs - broke away from the Russian dioceses and sent away to their homelands for bishops of their own kind (language, culture). So functionally these domed churches were and largely still are ethnic lodges as well as churches. That has its good and bad sides. Good: the church as family (the
ethné is a big family after all with the king or tsar as papa). Bad: taking God's name in vain, or identifying secular political causes (like the row between Greece and Slavic Macedonia) with the church, and the uncanonical juridical mess in the States. All churches of whatever ethnicity in a city are supposed to be under one bishop per ancient canons. Instead every American is sitting simultaneously in about five Orthodox dioceses because the church scene has become so, erm, balkanised. Another spanner in the works stopping this being fixed is that a couple of patriarchs in the Old World depend on American church offerings to stay in business - otherwise they'd be hounded out of Istanbul (the Turks have almost eradicated the Greek presence in Asia Minor) and Damascus. Greeks are numerically the biggest Orthodox church in America and they're under the Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul) so he's not interested in correcting this situation. (His palace routinely gets pipe-bombed by the Turks.)
If I wanted elaborate ritual, I would join the Greek Orthodox Church.
- Gary North on shaving
From The Onion
Scholars discover 23 blank pages that may as well be lost Samuel Beckett play

Bush calls Cabinet meeting to get story straight
From Katolik Shinja
Prince Charles the distributist
From truthout
Teheran insider tells of US ‘black ops’
Well, why not? After all, look how well overthrowing the elected government and installing the Shah worked out.
From Huw Raphael
Discussing the connexion between the Mass and the social order
Too important to be abandoned to the Modernists
From The Inn at the End of the World
A good thing about really liberal liberals, as opposed to radicals and revisionists, is they really are cool and open-minded enough (or at least nice enough to be patronising) to support freedom of the truth to flourish

Nice church.
Cardinal Martini on abortion
• Of course he’s dead wrong.
• As he is on condoms and Aids.
He got his red hat from John Paul the Overrated. Draw your conclusions.
He laments the fact that the state cannot differentiate between punishable crimes and those which are not convenient to pursue with penal sanction.
Here he sounds rather libertarian (unenforceable laws are dumb laws) but his argument fails because it violates the harm principle (my freedom ends where somebody else’s harm begins) and I don’t think the cardinal wants to repeal all murder laws, which logically his position could be used for. (And, heading for a final frontier, legalised infanticide, a reversion to pagan Rome*, which ethicist Peter ‘Doing Animals Is OK Too’ Singer supports.)

I’ve speculated that like with usury the magisterium may have some room to boogie around in future regarding technologies that give life rather than take it — but not conceding on any of the sexual issues in ways people want to hear — but the church wisely stands against ‘sex without babies and babies without sex’ as a former friend has put it, against a future that sounds like dystopian science fiction. People forget that having children is not a right.

*They believed in ‘every child a wanted child’ and if the paterfamilias didn’t want you, hard cheese.
From Ship of Fools
The contraceptive society (more)
Even though life before the Pill wasn’t perfect (fallen human nature and all that), it’s pig heaven for certain men, marketed as freedom for women
From Slate
US: Republicans are screwed
And deserve it

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Nuclear nightmares
Black-and-white photos: Chernobyl 20 years on

Here are the story and links to photo galleries of the abandoned Soviet city of Pripyat’.
From The Gaelic Starover
Rice inspires riots in Athens
So let’s see... more than six years ago these people made real-conservative noises about independence from the UN (back when Clinton was bombing Serbia)... then ignored them to invade Iraq (world government is OK now that they’re it)... and now they’re playing ‘good internationalists’ to get ready to bomb Iran...

The Greeks have a word for that sort of thing: hypokrisis!
From LRC
Charity vs the state
Juan Ramón Rallo on Pope Benedict XVI, capitalism and classical liberalism
From CounterPunch
Mr Obama’s game
Not buying into the ‘spokesman for the black race*’ fallacy but part of the ‘nuke Iran’ crowd. Not a peace candidate.

Suppression of marijuana research

Dangerous times ahead

We haven’t heard the last from Mr Rove

*His father, who didn’t raise him, happened to be African.
New blog
Steve Barnes’ Empires Fall

Sunday, April 23, 2006

From the LRC blog
Country vs state
Or ‘my country, , my state, no
Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power... it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects...
- Randolph Bourne

Russian, for example, has different words to distinguish these. There’s народ (naród) for the people much like the Mr Bourne’s sense of ‘country’, наций (nátsiy) for the state and either отечество (otyéchestvo), fatherland (just like Germany)*, or, for the literal land itself, родина (rodína). There are also two adjectives for the different meanings: русский (rússkiy) is ‘Russian’ in the sense of belonging to the people (even if you’re a naturalised citizen somewhere else — you’ve simply got a different piece of paper in your pocket) but российский (rossíyskiy) means that in the sense of the state.

I was once told the story of Campbell’s Soup heir John Dorrance swopping his American citizenship for Irish to avoid the wicked inheritance tax in the US. He explained, essentially, that yes, he loved his country (the people, including his family whom he was defending in doing this) but to hell with the state.

It’s also why Robert E. Lee was heroic — he turned down command of the US Army because it would have meant turning his soldiers’ guns and bayonets on the people of Virginia (which the federal troops later in fact did). (By the way, he was paternalistic by our standards but not a racist and that war wasn’t really about slavery anyway but rather the raw naked power of the state.)

*As you can hear in the old Soviet anthem (‘Славься, Отечество...’) and the Russian name for World War II, Великая Отечественная Война (Velíkaya Otyéchestvennaya Voyná), often translated as the Great Patriotic War but really the Great Fatherland War.
From Heo Cwaeth
Ode to a spell-checker
Things like that keep me employed
From Brian Underwood
IMF wins new powers to police global economy

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Воскресение Христово видевше, поклонимся Святому Господу Иисусу, единому безгрешному. Кресту Твоему покланяемся, Христе, и святое Воскресение Твое поем и славим: Ты бо еси Бог наш, разве Тебе иного не знаем, имя Твое именуем. Приидите вси вернии, поклонимся Святому Христову Воскресению: се бо прииде крестом радость всему миру, всегда благословяще Господа, поем Воскресение Его: распятие бо претерпев, смертию смерть разруши.

Happy Easter to Byzantine Rite readers from A Conservative Blog for Peace

Click the icon to enlarge it.

From Huw Raphael
Some things never change
On top of the old Greek-vs-Armenian rivalry there’s a row among the Greeks nothing to do with religion and all about Palestine and doing business with the Zionist occupiers
I've been to the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) and it was a life-changing event for me. I had heard all the various complaints, "commercialism, church politics etc." and when I got there prepared for the worst was happily overwhelmed by the best. The shops, pedlars hawking their wares, the noisy squabbling, even the sectarian violence is exactly how it was in Jesus' day. The place has always been troubled. Yet because of its uniqueness, you can see why, in a twisted way, so many want to own it, would even kill to do so. There is an undefinable "something" about being in Jerusalem, particularly at dawn or dusk. It is really and truly a "holy" land.

So my thoughts are these: SS. Peter and Paul had words, and squabbling began with the apostles (with Jesus present among them!), the Early Christians' councils had to find there way through debate and counicils and upsets are often with us today. But despite the political ups and downs with Greeks, Armenians, Chalcedonian/non-Chalcedonian, Jews, Muslims, Christians and whatnot, the Holy Fire
STILL comes, ever year, no matter what.
- Fr Nicholas

I know somebody who’s seen the Holy Fire miracle.

The Easter sermon of St John Chrysostom
Where was this person two years ago?
He would have deserved votes
From Conjectural navel-gazing
US survey: Most don’t think church important
From a country that, compared to Europe, is still religious. Not surprising really, not only because of the advance of secularism and ‘post-modernism’ (you aren’t pressured socially or professionally to go to a certain kind or any kind of church anymore) but because it’s a logical terminus of Protestantism. As Mgr Ronald Knox (IIRC) observed ages ago, America is the happy hunting-ground of sectarianism, including its ultimate form, a sect of one!
Some more contrasts
With a tip of the biretta to Pugin for the title:

‘Catholic’ worship*

Catholic worship in the Armenian Apostolic Church (click to enlarge: also have a look at Easter in Iraq)

The old Mass and the new Mass are temperamentally unsuited to co-exist.
- Jim Coffey

P.S. Receive Communion worthily.

*No wonder only about 30 per cent of RCs today even know what the Sacrament is.
From Wide-eyed and laughing
Healthy sexuality, not causing your brother to stumble, avoiding occasions of sin and the rôle of individual responsibility: my lively conversation with an intelligent feminist on this. No, I don’t think Christians should dress frumpily or like the Amish all the time.
From Katolik Shinja
Joseph Sobran on immigration
I find it hard to see how any Christian can get indignant about poor men who leave home to take tough, low-paying jobs in order to feed their families. I can’t imagine Jesus standing on the border to turn them back. As for angry talk of an "invasion," it’s a pretty peaceful one, and the complaint comes oddly from Americans who believe their own country has the right to invade countries around the world, and not necessarily in a pacific manner.
An old joke
Short and sweet from the old National Lampoon:
Yeah, right.
- The earth on the day after Earth Day

Of course conservation as part of stewardship of God’s creation is good.

Government meddling probably isn’t.
That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, so that in due time we may enjoy them.

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Friday, April 21, 2006

From Deacon’s Blog
Legalise it
Fr Martin Fox argues for medicinal marijuana. In the UK small amounts for personal use are legal. The American laws are stupid and hypocritical like Prohibition — scrap them.
Neil Young slates Mr Bush in new album for peace
From LRC
When all else fails and you’ve become Nixon, Mk II
Nuke somebody and smirk
Of your charity pray
For Bishop James Mote of the Anglican Catholic Church, one of the original four Continuing bishops

Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From The Devout Life
What we might have been
I always imagined this might be a kind of suffering in hell but apparently you go through it in purgatory as well. Makes sense.
The Benedictine spirit in Anglicanism
Dom Robert Hale on the virtues of tolerance*, reasonableness** and Mass-and-office Catholicism

Of course for most of its history the English Church was Roman Catholic.

As I like to say only two good things came out of the English ‘Reformation’: services and the Bible in English and an attempt to make the daily offices available to everyman. (The rest was a mistake.) Fr Peter Robinson notes that although the ‘Reformers’ initially cut away a thick underbrush of private Masses and devotions that may have got in the way of the liturgical cycle, even they didn’t envisage a round of services different to the requirements of the mediæval church (though they erred about the nature of the Eucharist): Communion every Sunday and important holy day and the office every day. (Because the people clung to the mediæval habit of receiving once or four times a year, the Protestants eventually only had Communion quarterly.)

Also, Benedictinism is so old that it’s like Orthodox monasticism*** (which has no ‘orders’, just one brotherhood and sisterhood following the same general rule): there really is no Benedictine Order but rather each abbey is largely independent. Until the mid-Middle Ages with the advent of friars (halfway between monks and active-works ministry) there simply was monasticism.

Recommended: Speculum Benedictinum, the quarterly newsletter of the Abbey of Christ the King, a traditionalist one in Cullman, Alabama under Abbot Leonard Giardina. Not scholarly but not polemical either — simply bits of classic spirituality. And of course there’s Clear Creek.

*In the orthodox sense of charity in non-essentials, not ‘tolerance’ of heresy and apostasy.

**In the sense the Schoolmen understood it — submitting to reason as in objective reality, the natural law.

***In the icon at the top of the article page St Benedict is dressed in the habit of an Orthodox schemamonk (the strictest ones)!
From David’s Daily Diversions
Wishing HM the Queen a very happy birthday (her official photo*)
Here is a recent blog comment from me on her

Side note: It’s interesting how her speech, still marvellously cut-glass, has relaxed and become more natural today without going Estuary on us. In her own way she’s kept up with the times. In the 1950s she would have given one of her famously vicious corgis a ‘pet’ on the ‘hid’ but now gives them a ‘pat’ on the ‘head’ like we would. There’s an article on that somewhere online — Google and ye shall find.

Update: From Whitehall, a picture of the Queen at her 1953 coronation with +Ebor (later +Cantuar) Michael Ramsey. See the Anglicanism, now long on the wane, that introduced me to the Catholic faith.

*From Brian Underwood’s new blog.
Anonymous submission
Roman church sells out
That’s right! (Note the small c.) The Church of St Pantaleone* in Rome has rented out its façade to an advert for The Da Vinci Code.

The submitter writes: Una disgrazia!

The early Christians were threatened with literally being ripped to shreds by gladiators or animals or burnt to death in the Colosseum, or left on a frozen lake to die of exposure in the case of the Forty Martyrs.

What’s these people’s excuse?

Thirty pieces of silver/a few thousand euros?

One can say the same of Tom ‘Honey, Now I’m Greek Too’ Hanks.

*He’s wildly popular in the Orthodox world. A doctor who worked for free (‘unmercenary’), he’s known there by the original Greek form of his name, Panteleimon.
From the LRC blog
Sunset on the Anglos
• The American Southwest was stolen from Mexico to begin with.
• How the West was won: not just with guns! Once upon a time, Anglo-Americans were more prolific than the Hispanics.
• For some balance to the racist and anti-Hispanic cultural overtones of this kind of argument read Fred Reed on being a happy expat in laissez-faire Mexico and the story of the San Patricios.
So now, after being dominated by Anglo culture for a mere 150 years, the Hispanics will soon come up with the numbers they've long needed to control the Southwest, and return it ... to its much older Hispanic path. While the Hispanics are having children, the Anglos are too busy watching TiVo with their three golden retreivers to bother with sustaining their own civilization.
It’s natural religion (Hindu karma for example) reinforced by scripture (‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’, Hosea/Osee 8:7, a lesson repeated by God himself in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7): what goes around comes around.
And overall, the day of Anglo civilization is moving quickly to the grave. They'll be replaced in Northern Europe, and they'll be replaced in North America. The Anglos here should at least be happy they're being outnumbered by Christians and not by Muslims* interested in Sharia law. Soon, Anglo-Saxon civilization will be but a footnote in history.
And if that’s true, things ranging from common law, tolerant conservatism (search the blog) and the idiom of the old Prayer Book to Samuel Smith beers, the art of change-ringing and ironic humour will be lost. And that will be very sad indeed.
It was a good run, but the game is up.
Which is what’s happened to the Catholic Movement in the Anglican Communion, which around 1930 almost had a ‘Catholic moment’. (Imagine throngs of ordinary people on a bridge in London or in the Albert Hall singing, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’. It happened briefly.) Then that year the Church of England sold out on contraception and it’s all been downhill since**.

*The Mormons of Orthodoxy.

**Bumps on the long slide down include the Pike trial, the attempted ordination of women and the consecration of Gene Robinson, all of which were important. The worst IMO, cutting across all churchmanships that are still Christian (Catholic, Central and Low), was acquitting James Pike of heresy around 40 years ago, which meant from henceforth you could be an Anglican bishop and theologically not be a believing Christian! (Yes, Talleyrand was an atheist. The church didn’t tell him that was OK!) The other things are merely heretical like the ‘Reformation’ — Pike was an apostate.
Who controls the language?
Insidious newspeak, beloved of lower- and middle-class corporate types as Paul Fussell observed

On the devolution of hip slang
By the time somebody like me starts saying things like ‘diss’ and ‘24/7’ they aren’t cool (another example!) anymore
From The Degu Speaks
Double standard for baby-murder
I saw a story about some awful case in which a woman cut a baby's arms off. A doctor has said that she was out of her mind and does not know right from wrong.

Apparently this is considered a bigger story than the 4,000 other babies who were also butchered that day, done by (ostensibly) sane persons...
From history:
One death is a tragedy. Forty million is a statistic.
- Attributed to Hitler and others

P.S. Schizophrenia doesn’t mean ‘being of two minds on something’ or ‘having more than one personality’ (also an actual mental disorder) but ‘a shattering of the mind’ in which the person hears nonexistent voices and has other hallucinations.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tortured justice
Trying to right some of the wrongs committed in Iraq
From Mere Comments
Heretics are actually rather boring
...this year's major media choice for The New Insight That Knocks Down Christianity Forever, the Gospel of Judas
Which is:
• not news (it was discovered in the 1970s and known of thanks to St Irenæus)
• being publicised just in time for the mass-market paperback release and upcoming film of The Da Vinci Code. What a coinkydink! I think not.
From Verbum ipsum
Musings of a crunchy-con symp
• Not spiritually far from young fogeyhood
• Thanks to the Cold War* what many think is conservatism isn’t
• The problem isn’t the market as such

*Including CIA agent William F. Buckley Jnr, whose National Review undermined what was left of the real thing. Defeat your enemy by becoming him. No, thanks.
From Jeff Culbreath
Real traditionalism vs caricatures
People are understandably turned off by the latter (echoing Fulton Sheen on people hating what they think the church is)
...the average traditionalist... doesn't shun Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo, they don't have endless debates about the nuances of extra ecclesiam nulla salus*, they don't obsess over ecclesiastical politics, they pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy, and they even pray for their own departed non-Catholic relatives. They are unfailingly polite to everyone they meet - even if you happen to be wearing a ring in your nose. When some homeless or mentally ill person approaches them on the steps of the church and asks for prayers, these people do not snicker, but will remember that person's name in the evening rosary**. They attend the Latin Mass*** to become holy, not "holier than thou" - although sometimes that happens too and they will be the first to admit it. They are traditionalists not because they oppose the Church, but because they find in the Latin Mass a continuity with the Magisterium, whereas the new liturgy seems incongruous with their Catholic faith and their catechisms.

Feeling abandoned by their shepherds, some traditionalists are sort of floating around on their own trying to be their own theologians, giving selected teachings an emphasis and a tone that is foreign to the mind of the Church, often saying things that the
Magisterium either does not say or has clarified since the advent of our modern industrial economy.
A punto, signore.

I’ve known one quasi-traditionalist family who welcomed more than one unwed mother to their home for the holidays.

The caricatures range from taking on board rubbish from charismafundygelicalism like ‘no kissing before marriage’ (reinforcing Irish Jansenism) and promoting Counter-Reformation religious-order spirituality to the exclusion of everything else... to supporting the neocons and Protestant religious right on foreign and domestic policy****, none of which reflects the breadth and depth of real pre-conciliar Catholicism, which is not monolithic nor a cult in the modern sense*****. A reason this blog exists is to try to correct that — social-justice and peace issues, integral parts of a holistic faith (Catholic literally means embracing the wholeness), are too important to be abandoned to the liberals.

*It’s helpful to remember that the late Fr Leonard Feeney, who was excommunicated for disobedience and not directly because of his outrageous views on this matter (which are allowable as opinion), wasn’t particularly interested in liturgy. (And in fact said so in one of his old poems.) An acquaintance who knew him at the end of his life after he’d been reconciled with Rome attests to that.

**And/or office, or hours, etc. A corrective to the problems Jeff describes includes a return to Mass-and-office Catholicism like the German, Belgian, Polish, Byzantine Rite and indeed Anglo-Catholic modes. (Sunday Vespers, anyone?)

***That is, the Roman Mass — traditionalism isn’t primarily about Latin. Harping on that is a scare tactic of the other side.

****More a problem of the conservative Novus Ordo world than actual traditionalists. Men from Pat Buchanan to Bishop Richard Williamson agree with this blog on the war on Iraq. As does the OCA Orthodox bishop of San Francisco, Tikhon (Fitzgerald).

*****From Carthusians to Franciscans, from Francisco Franco to Dorothy Day... and men of the East like Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky). On non-essentials there’s definitely no lock-step here! The Catholic Church: here comes everybody.
From truthout
Rumsfeld linked to torture at Guantánamo
He’d like you to believe that somebody with the intellect of Lynndie England came up with the elaborate means used at Abu Ghraib

BTW, ‘Law & Order’ recently had a ‘sometimes torture is OK’* story line — the propaganda campaign is under way.

*Glorifying old-school police brutality like in Mulholland Falls and L.A. Confidential. The end justifies the means, doncha know.
Google: secular indeed
I see today that Joan Miró gets a cool modified banner in his honour — either he apparently outranks Buddha, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad... or he’s deemed inoffensive and non-controversial unlike religious figures

That Señor Miró’s ugly modern æsthetic* can be seen as an affront to that of Christendom (rather like Kandinsky or Chagall: eff-the-goyim art) could be a blog entry and discussion unto themselves.

*I may hate it but will defend people’s right to it — and mine not to have it around the house.
From Fr John Whiteford
Más sobre la cuestión de inmigración y obreros migrantes

I know the neocons and xenophobes will jump on this as an excuse to abuse Mexicans. How timely and conveeeeenient as Dana Carvey might say — the neoconnerie are appealing to their nativist and racist bases (the wet-back as the new bogeyman) to distract from Iraq for example, not to mention the price of fuel, now almost as insane as in the UK. (It’s pig heaven for the oil companies.) But point taken: Mexico is hypocritical on the issue.

Again in theory I won’t be 100 per cent for open immigration (what about fairness and charity to one’s own people, a state’s first obligation before helping others?) but in practice, if I lived a la frontera and were confronted with the reality of people in need, I hope I would try to help them — sod the government.
COME unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.
- St Matthew xi. 28.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From Working for Change
Red China is the biggest human-rights abuser... with US corporate help?
1984 meets Brave New World... even barmy Pat Robertson infamously made excuses for their abortions. Culture-warriors, wake up: the neocons are not your friends.
From Orthodoxy Today
Political correctness is doomed
A Maoist term adopted half-jokingly by the far left themselves when they had a sense of humour, it describes Christian behaviour knocked off its foundation
The ongoing war on truth in Iraq
From LRC
My government is not of this world
Jesus and the state, from Joseph Sobran

Hands off Iran

Getting the rape and race row in North Carolina wrong

It’s true that liberal insistence that such crimes should always be treated as crimes against a sex or a race* goes too far but what these boys are accused of doing is inexcusable

‘Sport builds character!’

*Yet the same dogmatic Marxist-based liberals excuse bad treatment of men by women or black-on-white crime. Historically oppressed groups get a free pass.
What I’m listening to
Joni Mitchell, ‘Blue’
From the album of the same name. A classic — leaves me speechless. What other women singer-songwriters including Sarah MacLachlan are trying to sound like and as great as the original black blueswomen.
From Huw Raphael
Rejecting Jesus then and now: a guide
Only the factions’ names have changed
From The Onion
Redundant features built into TV show to prevent failure
An engineering joke. Reminds me of a critic’s blurb on one of the Austin Powers films: he claimed that every joke was repeated literally four times! Most American sit-coms are that mind-numbingly stoopid except maybe ‘Scrubs’ (that and Sarah Chalke make it worth watching... it’s cool enough to lose the laugh-track, a naff cue left over from radio) and even that’s running out of steam now that the main characters aren’t students anymore. Shows in the UK have much shorter runs and fewer episodes per series, which would have been perfect for that story arc. That and they should have brought J.D. and Elliott together at the very end when they ‘graduated’ instead of turning the former into a berk of the first order by having him sleep with and then dump her.

Pope asks if it’s too late to change name

As a daycare provider, I sympathize with Rumsfeld. 2,500 kids die on your watch and suddenly you're not qualified to do your job?

If we don't protect freedom of speech, how will we know who the assholes are?
60 per cent of US students: quit Iraq!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Arigato gozaimasu!
To the person who recently bought so many Zen Buddhist books through the Amazon box on the right-hand side of this page. We are all God’s children. Peace.
From the LRC blog
Was the Lincoln assassination payback?
Not only for the war but for a plot by Lincoln to off his Confederate opposite number, Jefferson Davis?
Lincoln's assassination on Good Friday in 1865
In a theatre — the man had no use for religion personally but was learned enough to know how to use the rhetoric of the King James Bible, which permeated the culture anyway.
The sickening deification of Lincoln began almost immediately.
From Catholic Church Conservation
Holidaying at Rievaulx
Or ‘I would like that rockery in my garden’
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
I’ve been in those parts but not to Rievaulx — but have seen a ruined abbey, St Mary’s outside York.
From Cælum et terra
20 shillings in the pound
Or in the new money, ‘all you need is cash’, or have the neocons and New Labour reduced the special relationship to a kind of prostitution?
From Verbum ipsum
The resounding success that is the history of US intervention in the Middle East
Look familiar?
Singing the Exsultet during the Easter Vigil at S. Clement’s (again, wonderful use of Flash, gentlemen) — note the trident candle. In the Byzantine Rite, Galicians/Ukrainians and Ruthenians have a server hold one during the chanting of the gospel (the Russian Orthodox recension doesn’t do that). I wonder: did the Carpathian Slavs get that from the Roman Rite or is this simply a case of both rites having it?
From what’s left of Usenet
Did Google ignore Easter?
The website "Google" who at the slightest reason artistically changes the graphics of their website logo, today failed to acknowledge the world's largest celebrated Christian holiday.
They usually come up with fun graphics to customise their banner for all kinds of obscure historical events (things like Einstein’s birthday). Have they gone PC on this one? (Some places are re-branding it a ‘spring festival’, a reversion to paganism.)

And in the West Easter isn’t the No. 1 holiday. Christmas is. Only Christians, and increasingly only churchgoers, pay any attention to Easter (it liturgically commemorates what defines Christianity, proof by faith of Christ’s divinity) but loads of secular folk do Christmas (after all, they get presents out of it). The time of year when even hard-shell Protestants give up their iconoclasm and Nestorianism and acknowledge the Incarnation by putting up statues of Jesus and Mary. (And there are Jews who love the secular aspects of it and do them.)

For the ‘post-Christian’* masses Easter seems primarily a bunny festival with sweets for the kids. That’s the impression I got from a recent conversation. One man’s reason for not observing it was that his daughter had grown up!

Among churchgoing Orthodox Easter (usually on a later date) is No. 1.

*Madonn’, I hate that expression — makes it sound like Christianity was a big hoax like Dan Brown wants you to think. Like, well, the Easter Bunny, a bit of German folklore.
Atheist and agnostic message-boards suck too
It’s not just a problem among Christians!

Probably like Unitarian covered-dish suppers, etc. All of the banality and even nastiness of church with few if any of the virtues.

I imagine at least some on them are like the late ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry: back-handed believers (‘I know he exists but I hate him!’) who think atheism is a great way to annoy their parents and/or excuse to be rude, steal and screw around.

As I’ve mentioned before it seems that many kids on the autistic spectrum feel alienated from God because of their alienation from people and so it’s not a pose: they’re angry and in a science-geek way are agnostics or atheists. A lot are goths as well.

But some of the best scientists, from Copernicus and Pasteur to Stanley Jaki, have been believers. (C and J were/are clerics.) Perhaps because the best admit there are things they just can’t know.
From LRC
The boffins discover... common sense. Self-denial and delayed gratification can be... good for you! Hold the presses!

Seriously, in all this it’s good to remember what M. Scott Peck described as the difference between constructive and unconstructive suffering, or good guilt vs bad.
From blog member Lee Penn
US is now a ‘first-strike’ nation
‘Nukes in August, anyone? An inconceivable thing? No. We’ve done it once before to our everlasting shame.’
Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The truth about the insurgents
Top Iraq-war general vs Mr Rumsfeld

They’re neither Hussein holdouts nor foreign troublemakers (that’d be ‘the coalition’, folks): they’re Sunnis who understandably don’t want their Shi’ite enemy taking over the country.
From Slate
The bones of Jesus?
I thought this would be some hip denial of the Resurrection rather like ‘Yes, Virginia, what really matters is the story makes us feel good so we’re nicer’ but to her credit the Revd Chloe Breyer while veering close doesn’t fall into that

Looking back...

More Protestants keep Lent
Wonderful! (Discounting Modernist/Broad Church relativistic appropriation of religious things without taking on board their meanings, the beliefs they stand for, a mainline Protestant game.) Traditionally many used to fast including abstaining from meat on Fridays* and that’s made a comeback. Richard Foster’s books are good.
Though a few "high-church" denominations—Episcopalians, for example—remained partial to ashes and other staples of Catholic ritual.
Such ceremonial only reappeared among some Episcopalians about 100-125 years ago.

*So much for the jokey slur that the Pope invented that and ordered the eating of fish (not true) to prop up the Italian fishing industry.
Eastern churches
My favourite Orthodox-related prayer books
Besides the office books for the Hours

You can read or buy some of these through the first link above.

The Hapgood service book, the first Russian Orthodox book in English (with the imprimatur of St Tikhon) and still printed by the Antiochians in America, is deservedly a classic and uses Miles Coverdale’s psalms from the Book of Common Prayer.

The Jordanville book is the gold standard of Russian Orthodox prayer books in English and very good indeed: all the canons and akathists you need and the pre- and post-Communion offices in full. The English is native and good: an Englishman translated the original! Down side: flashes of what I call ‘Spite Rome!’ language like ‘Theotokos’ or ‘Birthgiver of God’ where ‘Mother of God’ is the idiomatic English and common Catholic translation. But, the boffins protest, ‘Богородица’ and ‘Богомати’ are different words. Please. I know the real reason why you’re doing it. On the other hand there are Ruthenian Catholic books that excise the word ‘orthodox’ for that reason in reverse. Some people are just into schism.

The Old Believer Prayer Book seems to suffer less from that, has much of the same material, better still can be used as a diurnal as it’s got most of the Hours in it, the English is enjoyable most of the time (except for a few clunky translations trying too hard to sound ye-olde) and it doubles your fun if you know Russian: enjoy the strange spellings and wording in the Slavonic on facing pages with the English. (Bonus info for you: the named sins censored on the English pages in the pre-Communion prayers are to do with masturbation and homosexuality.)

I like the ones from the old Russian Orthodox US metropolia (now the OCA) in the 1940s that have all Russian Orthodox devotions but good Tridentine Roman Catholic moral theology* (mortal vs venial sin) and catechism answers. (And even a retitled nihil obstat and imprimatur in the front pages. About 60 per cent of their people were and are Ruthenian — here’s more on them — and before about 1900 were Byzantine Catholic. Blame the Irish in America for that split.) The best of both. Down side: people seemingly not fluent in English trying to write in the style of the King James Bible.

The Ukrainian Catholic ones from 50-100 years ago, in Slavonic and/or Ukrainian, with RC devotions and their version of the Byzantine Liturgy (in Slavonic — they didn’t switch to modern Ukrainian until around the 1970s), fascinate me for historical reasons but the clash of the two traditions is grating. (This mix is not what Rome wanted!)

I think the classic one for Carpatho-Russian Diocese people is Chl’ib dušy (translation: The Bread of Heaven), from the 1930s right when the schism with Rome happened (again, blame the Irish — it was really nothing to do with religion), compiled in the 1800s by Fr Alexander Duchnovič**, a Byzantine Catholic priest in the old country (Ruthenia — actually they’re called ‘Greek Catholics’ there), and maybe even with the imprimatur of the saintly Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky), the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for nearly the first half of the 20th century (about 40 years). But I think it was printed by the Orthodox. Very like the Metropolia stuff I described.

I like the Ruthenian way of doing the Prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian (a Doctor of the Church) during Great Lent: for the 12 bows instead of simply ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’ as in the Russian books it’s been turned into four stanzas of three lines each:
O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy upon me.
O Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned without number.
Makes you slow down and think about what you’re doing so it doesn’t become mechanical.

You can ‘test-drive’ prayer in this rite here.

From Occidentalis
Икона Божьей Матери ‘Умягчение Злых Сердец’
• In the pre-1962 Roman Rite, Friday in Passion Week is one of two feasts of Our Lady of Sorrows, in this case Our Lady of Compassion
• Yes, the Russians copied part of the Seven Dolours devotion — from the Poles. Beautiful icon: Our Lady, Softener of Evil Hearts.

From Fr John Whiteford
Was Yuri Gagarin really Orthodox?
The space hero never mocked God; Khrushchev did when describing G’s flight in a speech

Possible fun fact
There may be more ethnic Ruthenians in the old American industrial ‘Rust Belt’ than in Ruthenia today

Patriarch Paul III of Serbia is in hospital
Of your charity pray — I understand he is a Christian gentleman who’s tried to stop the sectarian violence in his part of the world and he is of course orthodox

*Of all things Catholic, this is the one particularly Roman Catholic thing that has helped me most over more than two decades in my walk with God. Thank the Schoolmen who were before Trent, pointing the way to St Alphonsus and all who followed. Even if, heaven forbid, the Roman Mass disappeared for ever (or, far less important, Latin vanished), this won’t pass away — it’s simply the best explanation of the divine and natural laws. Anglicanism’s contributions besides baptising me and introducing me to the Catholic faith nearly 30 years ago are 1) the idiom of Coverdale, Cranmer and the King James Bible and 2) tolerant conservatism (search the blog). Anglicans introduced me to the concept of confession and absolution; old-school Rome showed me how to use it. The Orthodox tradition at its best is really an Oriental version of what I’ve believed in all along with a mystical ‘kick’ of its own. Why my interest in the Russian version and not Greek? Because the Russians are very European — they’re masters of incorporating Western Catholic things without becoming clumsy hybrids. (Rather like the way they took ballet and perfected it.) Very accessible to somebody from my background.

**Ruthenia has a national anthem, and a stirring one at that, written by him.
How not to ‘renew’ a parish (more*)
Believe it or not, I started to read about this with an open mind. Not every place has to be Gothic or Baroque or Byzantine. I wouldn’t want every church to be that way but I concede it’s possible to be a no-frills Catholic: witness the Tractarians (outwardly indistinguishable from other Anglicans), Prayer Book Catholics and conservative Novus Ordo people (regrettably the last often do want every church to be just like them — why didn’t Jesus save himself a lot of bother and be born upper-middle-class ethnic Irish?**).

That’s not what’s happening here.

Imagine a less cool Joel Osteen*** crossed with AmChurch. A heaping (steaming?) portion of ... narcissistic boomer granola, the sort of thing smart, cynical kids laugh at. (Like doing services with U2 music videos playing in the background****.) Mainline-Protestant wannabes.

I’ll pass.

P.S. This may surprise some but I like this sculpture as art. Liturgically and as a crucifix it doesn’t work as Amos explains in this thread.

*Note to the webmaster of this ‘happening parish community’: frames are several years behind the times, dawg.

**He could have looked like Conan O’Brien!

***Using the form of the megachurch and the idiom of US Southern evangelical culture to push self-esteem and prosperity, not really the gospel, but he’s got a point some of the time like just about any psychologist or motivational speaker (getting rid of self-defeating patterns) — search the blog for more on him.

****Like the Gospel of Judas (search the blog), not news: such types have been doing ‘rave Masses’ for about 10 years. Sad to say, this sort of condescension may have begun in England with the ‘Nine O’Clock Service’ in Sheffield.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

From Conversi ad Dominum

Happy Easter!

Slavic Easter customs
The blessed basket with the babka and candle, the pascha cheese and the red egg, as shown by Fr Thomas and Shelly Janikowski of Zion Episcopal Church in Illinois

The Polish custom (święconka) is for the priest to come round to your house and bless the basket, the Russian to gather at the church to do it.

At right is a pysanka (писанка, Ukrainian for ‘little written thing’), one of the famous Slavic decorated eggs.

Some English church bells
An example of the art of change-ringing

Eastern churches
Why is Orthodox Easter a week later this year?
This year the Jewish Passover ends the 20th April
Proper nuns in the news
From blog member John Boyden

Former Elvis co-star, now nun, returns to Hollywood
To help fight a crippling nerve disease she has
Eastern churches
Лазарева суббота
If Jesus is true God as well as true man, why did he weep when he came to Lazarus’ tomb since he knew what he was about and was going to revive him? (The shortest verse in the Bible: Jesus wept.) The answer from the Orthodox office for today is also why he prayed in fear sweating blood at Gethsemane and cried out on the cross ‘Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?’
Shedding tears of tender love, thou didst call to him in thy compassion.

As a man, thou didst ask where Lazarus was buried,
Though as God, thou knowest all things.

Thou didst stand in Bethany by the tomb of Lazarus,
Weeping for him, as is the way of mortal men,
Since thou didst assume the fulness of human weakness,
Jesu, my God.

Thou comest to the tomb of Lazarus in Bethany, O Lord,
and weepest according to the law of nature, O God our Saviour,
to establish our faith in the reality of thine incarnation.
The Mariavites
Did you know that they’re still around?

The Holy Father on ‘Mud Gorge’

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Royal Maundy
This takes the place of washing selected subjects’ feet! The Queen gives out specially minted coins to chosen pensioners.
From Verbum ipsum
RIP the Revd William Sloane Coffin (more)
He knew I spoke some Russian so he'd playfully use his--acquired during World War II when he entered a Russian language program in military intelligence. Because of his facility with languages, Coffin was made a liaison to the Russian army and, in 1946, he took part in operations to forcibly repatriate Soviet citizens who had been taken prisoner. He forever repented for this episode, writing in his memoir that it "left me a burden of guilt, I am sure to carry the rest of my life." That burden, he later said, influenced his decision to spend three years in the CIA opposing Stalin's regime. But Coffin was quick to tell you that while he was anti-Soviet he was also very "pro-Russian."
ABERNETHY: Are you a pacifist?

COFFIN: Fifty-one/forty-nine. I'm a nuclear pacifist, that's for sure. But there is an irremediable stubbornness about evil. We have to recognize it, including our own complicity in it. We have to constrain it, but I doubt we will ever eradicate it.

God is not too hard to believe in. God is too good to believe in, we being such strangers to such goodness. The love of God is to me absolutely overwhelming.

It's clear to me, two things: that almost every square inch of the Earth's surface is soaked with the tears and blood of the innocent, and it's not God's doing. It's our doing. That's human malpractice. Don't chalk it up to God. Every time people say, when they see the innocent suffering, every time they lift their eyes to heaven and say, "God, how could you let this happen?" it's well to remember that exactly at that moment God is asking exactly the same question of us: "How could you let this happen?" So you have to take responsibility.
From LRC
The quiet death of freedom

On bad writing

I can’t complain — it pays my bills. My secular calling is to stop it being printed!

Muzak isn’t what you think
It’s changed and not necessarily bad — its effect now as cool ‘foreground music’ (not Mantovani and sambas) is simply part of why so many including me love music! But the old objections are still partly true — it can be like ‘soft-sell’ visual advertising (what’s the hot girl or the smiling old couple in the advert to do with the computer or mortgage service being sold?), psy-ops manipulation to part you with your money. Abusus non tollit usum. Fun fact, which may reinforce the old, bad image of the company: they’re based in what used to be Jim Bakker’s Heritage USA.

As Fr Joseph Huneycutt notes:
With Internet services such as Haloscan, AOL, and MSN, one can't help but notice the continual barrage of unwanted images disguised as advertising. Recently I've even witnessed some dancing bikini-clad gal supposedly pushing mortgages. Haloscan and other services will often advertise diets and dating services using pics of females that have, it would seem, never needed either. Their come-hither looks would almost be comical were it not for their intrusion. It do get old.
From Traditional Anglo-Papist
Traditionalist vs conservative
A distinction friend Jeff Culbreath pointed out to me years ago and I described here


American vs British Anglo-Catholicism

From All Too Common
Michael Ramsey: last of the great ++Cantuars or the beginning of the end?
Of course one could mark Cranmer as the latter

From Philorthodox
On Reformed Episcopal* orders

P.S. AFAIK the Roman Mass is still unliberated, which should come as no surprise by now, but hopefully I could be wrong.

*The Free Church of England are a part of this IIRC.
From David’s Daily Diversions
The Dictatorship Bill
People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should by afraid of their people.
- V for Vendetta (search the blog), paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson