Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pope: New eugenics strikes developed world
That story on self-centred kids
Or ‘why so many people in their 20s and 30s aren’t very nice’. Charley Wingate first brought this to my attention. More unintended consequences. The answer of course is not to pull people apart (like army training or some other teaching methods) but the secular ‘self-esteem’ movement obviously is not the way to go either! IIRC C.S. Lewis warned specifically about ‘self-esteem’ using those words in Mere Christianity. Owen the Ochlophobist gets it.
Nature’s payback is a b*tch. The secular world finds it can’t dodge reality. Its solution? More dodges: instead of teaching kids to be responsible have the state give them shots so they can continue the behaviour that caused the problem.
Military men and women against the Iraq war (more)
Once again I believe if you signed up and can’t obey orders you have to pay the price but these people are heroes
Ship of Fools discusses libertarianism
As I understand it, anyway, a major element of the libertarian philosophy is the Golden Rule. You don't want the neighbors' sewage runoff on your property, obviously -- but you have an obligation to make certain that yours isn't ruining anyone else's life, either. You have a right to do what you want within reason, but without impinging on anyone else's rights.

...more acceptance of personal responsibility as a basic aspect of being a grown-up would, I think, benefit the country as a whole.
Terry Mattingly on bad media coverage of the Roman Mass and on different churchmanships among RCs
In their own way they’re as fragmented as Anglicans. From Huw Raphael.

In his books and articles Thomas Day has explained why many RCs in more than one faction are not high-church: Irish hatred of things seen as English with Modernism thrown in.

The bad reporting includes a condescending article from The Baltimore Sun. Adam from Anglo-Catholic Ruminations writes:
The Sun article ... contains numerous misconceptions/errors, such as that the Tridentine Rite was "established in the 16th century" and that the Novus Ordo ... Mass ... is a "translation." Example # 320,910,028 that the press/media don't understand religion.
Traditionalism is not about Latin.

I agree with the ‘they want an identity’ argument as far as it goes but more important the old rites (including the Roman) are Godward/reverent with better content (read the texts and learn the faith). Internalise their teachings, throw in some tolerant conservatism to practise them and Bob’s your uncle.

From Andy at All Too Common via Randall Foster:

The Roman Mass,
Benedictine Abbey of
Le Barroux, France
You scored as Traditional Catholic. You look at the great piety and holiness of the Church before the Second Vatican Council and the decay of belief and practice since then, and see that much of the decline is due to failed reforms based on the "Spirit of the Council". You regret the loss of vast numbers of religious and clergy and the widely diverging celebrations of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, which often don't even seem to be Catholic anymore. You are helping to rebuild this past culture in one of the many new Traditional Latin Mass communities or attend Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. You seek refuge from the world of pornography, recreational drugs, violence, and materialism. You are an articulate, confident, committed, and intelligent Catholic. But do you support legitimate reform of the Church, and are you willing to submit to the directives of the Second Vatican Council? Will you cooperate responsibly with others who are not part of the Traditional community?

Rome of the West

Traditional Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


New Catholic


Radical Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


Liberal Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

The quiz is biased — celibacy and the sex of the apostolic ministry don’t belong in the same question; they’re not equivalent — but entertaining. A traditional Catholic peace witness probably doesn’t register in ‘the mind of the quiz’ (as Beth describes these biases) and I imagine my pro-market answers, not at all neoconservative in themselves, explain the awfully high percentage I got for that label.

Like Andy, according to the evangelical quiz I am where many Anglo-Catholics today end up by default not by choice.

You scored as High Church Nomad. You were raised as some kind of evangelical, but you've started to appreciate other forms of Christian piety. Specifically, you're starting to think that Roman Catholics aren't as crazy as you once thought they were. You probably won't end up going home to Rome, but Canterbury has piqued your interest.

High Church Nomad


Moderate Evangelical




Presby - Old School


Conservative Evangelical


Reformed Baptist


Evangelical Presbyterian


Fightin' Fundy


What kind of evangelical are you?
created with

Based on other people’s results I’ve seen blogged anybody outside of fundygelicalism is labelled a High Church Nomad but I like the name anyway. :) If I live to be 50 I may trade in ‘The young fogey’ for that one.
The shoulder
The orthopædist is optimistic: he says the axillary nerve is probably stretched and should heal in six to eight months, the physical therapy is doing good so keep doing it and he’ll see me again in four months.

St Amalburga, pray for us

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

US agrees to talk to Iran and Syria about Iraq
True vs false charity on homosex
Fr Will Brown presents the Catholic position:
[Some churches by approving homosex have] abandoned our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, by telling them that the destructive patterns of behavior to which they are predisposed are in fact wholesome and conducive of spiritual health. This is a lie that puts souls in grave danger. The orthodox want nothing but for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to flourish. We want for them reconciliation, peace, and all that God has promised through Christ for his sons and daughters. We want for them that the sun of righteousness should rise with healing in its wings; that they should go forth leaping like calves from the stall (Malachi 4.2).

Saint Anthony the Great said in the third century: "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us'."

Indeed. Now is that time. Christ, have mercy.
With friends like these...
Foreign policy: the latest from Ron Paul the great. From via The Western Confucian.

Incidentally Michael Badnarik, whom I voted for in 2004, says Ron Paul should be US president. From the LRC blog.
Forces’ capability eroding, says US military supremo

Some US generals will quit if Bush orders aggression against Iran

Monday, February 26, 2007

Taki now has his own site
Thanks to the tragedy of September 11 — and a compliant and dim-witted president — these kids [in the ‘conservative’ movement] got the chance to play Risk with real soldiers, with American soldiers. Patriotic men and women are dying over in Iraq for a war that was never in America’s interests. And now these spitball gunners, these chicken hawks, want to attack Iran — which is no threat to the U.S. at all. One thing I can tell you for sure, there may well be some atheists in foxholes — but you’ll never find a neocon.
Many thanks to PuckPan.

More from Mr Theorodacopulos:

The world would have been better off if the Central Powers had won World War I
And Palestine had remained a sleepy Ottoman province. Here is an explanation from LRC’s Paul Gottfried.
Why a tomb found in 1980 is not that of Jesus
From the Revd Larry Kamphausen
A version of the Byzantine Rite hours/office in one volume?
Sounds marvellous but of course there are problems. From TNLM.
Ancient history: Thermopylæ

‘Nazi Pope’ myth a KGB plot says Romanian ex-agent

From LRC.

Dame Helen crowned best actress
For The Queen

On her Russian heritage
‘Lessons that the police state wants you to watch and absorb’
The writer is describing ‘CSI’ which I don’t watch but this also describes why I like ‘Law & Order’ less now. (That and the opening scenes, I understand like ‘CSI’, have been turned into music videos.) It’s like a middle-class version of ‘Cops’; watch the police push people around especially if the latter try to use their rights:
...federally empowered characters threatening recalcitrant individuals — if you ‘lawyer up’ these days on TV, it’s accepted as proof that you’re guilty, and if you mention the Constitution, you’re some kind of neofascistic cultist — with the Patriot Act, DHS and ‘Gitmo.’”
From Rational Review.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ron Paul to form presidential exploratory committee
From Samer al-Batal who sent and wrote all of the following: He gets to the point and offers his views.

Speech accent archive
Not a bad linguistics project, although perhaps incomplete: audio and phonetic transcriptions of the same few English sentences being read out by people hailing from countries and regions worldwide and from some of the different cities and areas of each. Whoever would like a taste of how the same lines might sound if spoken by a native (how accurately representative of the dialect and phonemes and general sound of the population each one is remains a posed question) of New York, Edinburgh, Tokyo, or Amman can look at this site. ‘Buh-leez broceed.’

A good introduction to the Octoechos for the ear
Antiochian Orthodox Subdeacon Kareem il-Faar’s fine website on Byzantine chant, which aims at promoting and providing visitors with lessons on Byzantine notation and Byzantine chant (what is heard in Greece and the Levant, not Slavic four-part harmony with which most people are probably more familiar), has an instructively helpful and practical page (there is also a main section with much more detail) to familiarise one with the eight tones of the Byzantine musical system. You can download from there several Arabic chants in mp3 form; most every prayer is available in all the Byzantine modes as eight files so that you can compare the different tones.
OLLOWING the tradition of our holy fathers, we paint the images of Christ and all the saints and with our lips, our heart and spirit we venerate these icons as we cry out: all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

HE honour and veneration of the icon truly pass over to the prototype, following the teachings of the holy theologians, and in faith we sing to Christ: all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

A fine little Catholic church made out of an army hut
By Italian PoWs in Orkney during World War II. From Ship of Fools.
It's just an ordinary WWII Nissen Hut outside, but transformed, as you see from the photograph, inside. A sort of acted parable of God's grace at work in the hearts of those faithful PoWs.

The inside is just painted plaster - those aren't blocks of stone or bricks, nor are the "windows" beside the altar recessed. It's all done by clever paintwork. The Highland Park distillery has a pure malt selected by the family of one of the artists named Capella in recognition of the place.

  GOD, who dost purify thy Church with the annual observance of Lent, grant unto thy household that what it strives to obtain from thee by abstinence it may secure with good works. 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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lessons of the past 35 years
Both historically and in his life (some folk wisdom) from LRC’s Gary North

Did you know this?
In 1972... the Nixon Administration authorized the Bryant Chucking Grinder Company to sell the USSR the unique ball bearing technology which made possible MIRVed nuclear missiles. That allowed the USSR to multiply ten-fold its nuclear attack capacity against the U.S. That decision made several million dollars for Bryant and cost the U.S. government probably an extra trillion dollars in defense. It was therefore great for the defense industries on both sides of the Iron Curtain. It was not so great for taxpayers.
I was brought to faith largely through the human agency and mentorship of holy priests, many of whom were of homosexual orientation but who had no inclination whatsoever to confuse their condition of fallenness with the agenda of social justice.

Quite the contrary.

They, poignantly enough, are among those utterly betrayed by the self-serving shibboleths of the kind of "inclusivity" that has no room for conversion or orthodoxy.
— Dean William Mckeachie

From a Fr J.A. Valencheck on the nascent Catholic restoration among the RCs:
We sold our gold for Tupperware and now we want the gold back.
On the mainstream media
...the tabloid formula of sex, soccer and celebs is probably the one way to sell newspapers today, for those who can't afford the Internet, where, if you look at any week's Technorati tags, you can see much the same kind of thing.
Notes from Underground

Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears are not news.
I’m wary of ‘O tempora!’ entries but think Owen the Ochlophobist knows what he’s talking about
‘When Dick Cheney says it’s a good thing, you know that you’ve probably got some big problems’

— Barack Obama

Friday, February 23, 2007

Canada rules indefinite detention wrong
The fall of modernity?
AmConMag on disastrous US foreign policy
In America’s case, our war narrative works against us...
Specifically, it seems, the myth of ‘the Good War’, US involvement in World War II.

Daniel Nichols writes:
There is a world of difference between the weekend sailor who observing the waves embarks with a map and a weather report and the seasoned mariner who knows the currents beneath the waves and can read in the winds and clouds the coming weather.

And a world away from either of them is the nearsighted novice who sets out in a leaky vessel and last year's week's weather report.

Which is about as apt an image of the architects of American foreign policy as I can conjure.
One Million Blogs for Peace project

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Recent history and my beliefs on it in brief
  • The drugs war is an immoral sham that has accomplished nothing more than enriching government officials and drugs dealers. Drugs should be decriminalised.
  • Abraham Lincoln waged war on the Confederacy for the purpose not of freeing the slaves but of preserving the Union.
  • US intervention in World War I constituted a horrible waste of American life. It did not accomplish its purported goal of making the world safe for democracy and ending all future wars and actually contributed to the rise of Lenin and Hitler.
  • Franklin Roosevelt intentionally lied to the American people when he said that he was doing his best to keep America out of World War II.
  • US officials during World War II intentionally delivered East Germany and Eastern Europe into the clutches of the Soviet communists.
  • Lyndon Johnson ... intentionally lied about the supposed attack on US forces in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • The US government’s interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East gave rise to the 9/11 attacks.
  • Given that Iraq never attacked the United States, Mr Bush’s minders’ war on Iraq constitutes a ‘war of aggression’, a type of war that was punished as a war crime by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.
From LRC.
Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission hears nine charges against Bush, Blair, Howard
From The Western Confucian
The case for impeaching Mr Cheney
From truthout
Jeffrey St Clair on Hillary Clinton and the other mainstream candidates
BASED ON the Clinton presidency, do Sen. Clinton or the other mainstream candidates represent a genuine alternative foreign policy?

ST. CLAIR: I THINK that they want a more competent management of the empire. In other words, they're imperialists.

Will they have a different approach? Yes. I think they can go back to finding intermediaries for imperial management, rather than committing U.S. troops--a lot of bombing campaigns, and then have NATO or the UN be the face of imperial management on the ground. That would be the major change, and that's right back to Clinton Time.

And it was very successful for them. What is the percentage of people in this country who understand that Iraq was being starved to death for the eight years of the Clinton presidency, or that it was being bombed once every three days? People don't know. Their war on Serbia was conducted essentially the same way. It was an air war. They weren't going to commit ground troops, even when it might have prevented ethnic slaughters on the ground in Kosovo.

So pull out, and put in UN and NATO troops instead--that's going to be their strategy. Really, in a lot of ways, that was the strategy of the Reagan years, too. You create your
contra armies, you fund the mujahadeen, you have them do the dirty work for you, and you try and minimize the blowback.
From CounterPunch.
More countries plan to quit Iraq
Denmark and Poland whilst South Korea and Lithuania consider it. Drops in the bucket but still a good thing.

The trouble is Britain isn’t really pulling out
The now-halved forces would stay for another five years


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

‘The sooner we get these lads out of this human meat-grinder and safely home the better’
Quotation from the father of the latest British soldier killed in Iraq
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, whose party opposed the war in Iraq, said the target should be the full withdrawal of British troops by the end of October.
The American national myth?

The anti-war rallying point

From Rational Review.
Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris
The Revd James Konicki on Lent

Fact: Carnival comes from the Latin ‘Carne, vale’: good-bye, meat!

Liberal, Kansas wins pancake race
Against Olney, Bucks

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Times writes misleading headline about Anglican reunion with Rome
Why it won’t happen right now (more)
The Episcopal row: perhaps the liberals didn’t win as much as had been thought
I suspect that the liberal/revisionist side wants to portray this debate as being about homosexuality (which it isn’t!) so that they can avoid having their feet held to the fire over the Authority of Scripture. The debate is really about the Authority of Scripture and the Interpretation of Scripture rather than any of the presenting symptoms — e.g. Ordination of Women, the over-relaxed attitude of TEC to divorce, etc.
Fr Peter Robinson

Of course the gay row is just another presenting symptom.

As I like to say it all really began with the ‘Reformation’ (some Eastern Orthodox would say it began with the Orthodox-Roman split) but more immediately with the acquittal of James Pike 40 years ago.
Libby defence ‘unbelievable’
US court: Gitmo detainees can’t challenge cases
This war is being fought for freedom :|
Mere Comments on libertarianism
I know people who call themselves libertarians and are Christian. They are libertarian in the sense of being skeptical of government rather than being radical individualists. I would call myself a libertarian using that definition.
Neither an almighty state nor an almighty self.
On Christians, war and nationalism
... there was my father, John Adams Dwyer, legally blind in one eye and legally deaf in one ear. He kept volunteering to go fight in World War II and getting rejected because of that bad eye, though he always tried to switch to the good eye during the eye exam, until one day the doctor evidently felt sorry for him and just let him on through. So my dad left the States at age nineteen with a barrel chest and a thick full head of curly blond hair and an Irish temper. Three years later, after Leyte and New Guinea and what all, U.S. Army Sergeant John Dwyer came back with hardly a hair left on his head. And he never said a word to my mother about The Good War, even to the morning his two-year-old son watched him die after he fell in the bathroom from what the doctors said was a heart attack and delayed stress something or other. Lot of that going around back in those days, they said.

I must tell you that there is an imposter among us in this day. It presents itself as a lovely and inspiring and even holy thing, but it is actually a pretender, an idol, a damnable heresy. It seeks to swell our hearts with pride and sentiment and certitude, but in the end it demands the right to anything of meaning we possess in this world – our property, our lives, the lives of our children, our faithfulness to the teachings of the gentle and humble Savior who is the Redeemer of our souls and the Captain of our salvation.

It births its crimes in a flag, baptizes them with the anthems of bands, and seals them with 21-gun salutes and the rantings of wealthy demagogues who have come no closer to a battlefield than a television camera or studio microphone.

This imposter is not patriotism, though it would pervert that too. The patriot says, "I love my country," works for its good, and defends it if necessary – against enemies within and without.
He strives and prays not primarily that God will bless his country, but that his country will bless God. The nationalist, meanwhile, says, "My country is better than yours."

Our national heritage is largely Christian, but not entirely. The Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment contributed to it as well. For all their brilliance and revelations, they bestowed ever more upon man – and the reason and ability of man – the measure of things, and framed God as an anachronistic obstacle to human progress and potentiality...

At this point, the government unleashed its practice of Total War...
From LRC.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Bible is not self-interpreting
For every John 3:16 or Psalm 23 there's something you either trip over or ignore — stomach-churning violence, bizarre rituals, the ground opening up and swallowing people...Where's the Precious Moments figurine sets for those scenes?
— Tompaul Wheeler

From Ship of Fools.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tony Campolo agrees with the Catholic faith on homosexuality
The faith is not fixated on the matter either as Dr C says many of his brother evangelicals are. From Tripp via Jorge.
The American way of war
Samer al-Batal’s latest pick from LRC’s Fred Reed
The steps limned ... will facilitate disaster without imposing the burden of reinventing it.
War and the ‘Enlightenment’
From Notes from Underground
State religion
In the eye of the rotunda of the US Capitol is a huge fresco of "The Apotheosis of Washington." This blasphemous 1865 schlock depicts the first George ascending to glory...
From the LRC blog.
The war on drugs is killing more people than the drugs
...what is it with Americans and declaring war on indefinite nouns?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Iraq invasion plan ‘delusional’
The David Hicks case
On the radio Mr Hicks’ father said the US embassy in Kabul has been closed for years
1m Iraqis may flee the country in 2007
The Episcopal row again
Looks like the liberals won for now

The BBC reported (The Guardian is similarly biased):
The conservative majority is fiercely opposed to those who believe the church should accept gay clergy members.
‘The mainstream media don’t get religion.’ It’s to do with practising homosexuality. (BTW ‘non-celibate’ means married.) Orientation for Catholics is like any other temptation: in itself a non-issue, not necessarily a bar to ordination.

Ruth Gledhill wrote:
Advances in post-war secular society have taken the criminality out of sexual orientation, while at the same time the churches have been determined to ensure the sin remains.
Apples’n’giraffes. Of course no-one has the right to arrest you for your orientation, as a libertarian I support decriminalising the acts as long as the harm principle (do what you want to yourself but don’t harm somebody else, a kind of tolerance old-school Anglicans understand) is followed (the faith rightly says the acts are wrong... but they’re none of the state’s business) and the church doesn’t decide what is or is not in itself a sin.

Meanwhile in the Episcopal Church the three remaining Catholic dioceses and four or five conservative ones on top of that are the ones the Russian Orthodox still talk to. An echo of the days when St Tikhon sat in choir for the consecration of Bishop Grafton’s cathedral and ROCOR Metropolitan Anastassy preached at St Paul’s. Relations with the national Episcopal Church understandably are over.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

RCs set to be leading UK church
Thanks to immigration
US: GOP opposition to Bush plan forms
Magical vs miraculous thinking, part II
Tripp picks up Jorge’s topic
Michael Liccione comes clean on hating Valentine’s Day
Shoulder update
The orthopædist had to reschedule owing to the weather, which is providential (thank St Amalburga?): more physical therapy should give him a better idea what to do
Julian-calendar Byzantine Rite feast-day: Meeting of the Lord (Candlemas)
 GOD-BEARING Simeon, come and raise up Christ to whom the Virgin gave birth.
Simeon the Elder receiveth in his arms the Maker of the Law and Master of all.
The aged Simeon doth not hold me but I uphold him, for he asketh me to let him depart.
O mystical Tongs, how dost thou carry the Coal? How dost thou nourish him who giveth food to all?
A few words on repentance from St Clement for the ’Gesimas
The latest from Paul Craig Roberts
Perhaps America could regain its reputation if General Pace would send a division of US Marines to arrest Bush, Cheney, the entire civilian contingent in the Pentagon, the neoconservative nazis, and the complicit members of Congress and send them off to The Hague to be tried for war crimes.

There is absolutely no doubt that Bush-Cheney and the neoconservative nazis are planning revenge against General Pace. We can only hope the general does not have a wife who works for the CIA.

Patriotism is loyalty to country and to the US Constitution, not loyalty to a criminal regime.

Bush and the congressional sheep say "support the troops," by which they mean, of course, "continue the war."

But Bush does not support the troops. On February 12 the Associated Press reported: "The Bush administration’s budget assumes cuts to funding for veterans’ health care two years from now – even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system."

Bush is an ignorant warmonger. He doesn’t care who pays the price as long as the American people let him sit in the Oval Office and play Napoleon.
Of course, just like the people in charge now, the left think the state is the solution:
MoveOn, an organization that, unlike the Bush Regime, has redeeming virtues, is making a terrible mistake in trying to collect half a million signatures in behalf of saving federal funding for NPR and PBS.

I cannot imagine a surer way of adding NPR and PBS to the Bush Regime’s ministry of propaganda.
From LRC.
Suicides up among US soldiers in Iraq
From John Boyden
Peace quotations from Hauerwas
From Hoosier Musings

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On the box
Men: be your true self! Buy our product and lie about your hair colour!
Reverend Ref and I actually agree on something :)

‘Brian/Mr Suki’
What struck me was ‘why assume the ethnic Asian is foreign?’
The slizzard
Shovelled most of the snow off the drive, steps and pavement yesterday at dusk thinking that (very pretty and I love being able to see so clearly at night, pink sky and all) was over but the joke was on me. Woke up to find some more and crusted with ice at that. At least I could get out of the drive, barely (lots of slush in the roads: slushy blizzard = slizzard), thanks to my otherwise Sisyphean labours.
Slip-slidin’ away
Slip-slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip-slidin’ away.
— Paul Simon
‘They hate our freedoms’ and ‘they hate our decadence’ are not the reasons
Echoing Charley Reese. Has anybody flown planes into buildings in Stockholm? From The Discalced Yooper.
So, we're backing a Shi'a-led government against Shi'a insurgents who are attacking the same Sunnis we ousted while at the same time fighting these same Sunnis and also confronting Shi'a neighbor Iran and 20,000 troops are all that is needed to transform Mesopotamia into a Jeffersonian democracy.
Why do they want Mesopotamia to be one when America is not? Oh, that’s right: democracy = American satellite. Freedom is slavery.

From The Western Confucian.
Ulster on the Euphrates
From LRC

St Amalburga
A patron for arm problems as I am seeing the orthopædist tomorrow
‘If we pull out there will be violence’
From the LRC blog
To read the discourse in [Roman] Catholic websites and periodicals, the hermeneutic of continuity means pretending that ruptures did not occur, even though they are plainly observable. This is not defending the faith; all it does is make the Church look ridiculous, like something that requires a willful obliviousness and doublethink to believe. The solution advanced by these apologists is essentially that all Catholics think like dialectical philosophers. But a continuity attained by employing an intellectual approach contrary to apostolic principles is no continuity at all; it is just another rupture.

A true recovery of the greatness of Roman Catholicism cannot rely on apologies that hide the ruptures under triumphalist bluster, or under a new ultramontanism that reduces the Catholic religion to a mere expression of magisterial power. For the recovery to succeed, Catholics must be allowed to believe in its necessity.
Daniel Mitsui via Arturo Vasquez

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A good look at modern Britain
From Andrew Cusack

England exists in the provinces, small towns and some villages. Having ruined our townscapes in the late sixties and early seventies in the name of progress, but now of course, the developers are busy putting up buildings that are copies of the buildings they so gleefully once pulled down.

England, though, is more of a sensibility — tolerance, reserve, good humour, a fear of extremism, love of gardening, dogs, high walls and hedges. We are also violent, over-sentimental and still think inside our heads that we run the world.
— Sue Townsend

From The Devout Life.
Goading Iran?
Wind chill
The weathermen trot out these arctic, pumped-down numbers to put an exclamation point on the banality of winter.

The gaudy negative numbers do more than describe the weather; they try to tell us how we experience it.
From LRC.
How to support the troops

Monday, February 12, 2007

Magical vs miraculous thinking
Magical: I can make God do what I want
Miraculous: God can do anything

From Jorge Sánchez.
Throwing away the past
A third of state schools in England are not teaching history past age 14. From David Holford.
Dorothy Day, anarcho-Catholic
From The Western Confucian
The founding fathers of Byzantine theology
Whose cultus is understandably prominent on the calendar of the Orthodox — today is the Julian-calendar feast-day of ‘the Three Saints’ — and who did include a foremother, St Macrina. Maybe there was something in the water in Cappadocia but apparently that part of the world (Turkey Asia Minor, ‘greater Greece’) produced some of this tradition’s most important thinkers (and IMO in St Basil’s case the writer of some of its most beautiful and profound prayers). From Clifton Healy.
US: Democrats wary of Iran claims
‘Fool me once...’ I can imagine a Tonkin Gulf or ‘Poland attacked Germany first’ fraud on the horizon. From Brian Underwood.
Discussion on ‘1 in 150 American kids are in the autistic spectrum’
Keble and Schultz understand

The country in the developed world with the most cases of spectrum disorders is... Japan.
Around ‘Fluffya’
Sestak: quit Iraq by December
Why I voted for him

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Putin describes US as ‘very dangerous’
There is no conflict between measurable, experimental science and Biblical Christianity. The conflict is between the atheistic philosophy of Darwinism versus true science and true religion.

What songs shall we sing to praise God for millions of generations of accidental mutation, death and struggle, and for the Darwinist philosophy which informed both Hitler and Marx?
Stephen Hayes

Friday, February 09, 2007

Judge declares mistrial in Watada case
On a technicality
Distinguishing between young fogeyhood and snobbery
Jeffrey Hart starts off well...
A ‘social conservative’ in my view is not a moral authoritarian Evangelical who wants to push people around, but an American gentleman...
From Eunomia.
Can brain scans read your mind?

1 in 150 American kids are in the autistic spectrum

The jump is probably because more people know how to diagnose it now, which is great: more people also know how to treat it with intensive early intervention. From Brian Underwood.
Identity: who/what is an Eastern Christian?
There are understandably different answers from me and from Alexis Tančibok, an independent-church clergyman, but he asks the good question ‘where do each big church’s minority rites fit in?’ Many on all sides except a high-church minority of Eastern Catholics say that ECs are RCs with some Eastern externals for example. And to be a Western Rite Orthodox, whilst retaining one’s Anglo-Catholic liturgical patrimony more or less (like the ECs self-latinised thinking it proved their allegiance, many such byzantinise throwing icons and brass fans up in their churches), is to accept a byzantinocentric view of one’s own history and everything else. I’m also reminded of the Mar Thoma Church, essentially Indian Anglicans formerly of the Syrian Church. (Protestantised — that’s why they left the Syrians — but with Eastern externals and, I’m told, conservative.) So what are they then? I know it’s a tough one: for example I think of Ben Andersen as Western and old acquaintance Stuart Koehl (now a Mere Comments com-box regular), a Byzantine Catholic, as one of that high-church minority is entirely a man of the Christian East!

It’s impossible at least for most people to live fully in more than one rite, which is why biritualism is supposed to be an exception for emergencies, so I’d say biritual RC priests are Westerners. Again the disclaimer: it depends on the person.

Besides what I wrote to Mr Tančibok I tend to use what I call the more-than-half rule: if you’re biritual for some reason but more than 50 per cent of your practice comes from one rite, which is probably as it should be, that’s what you are. Do what you like at home — as long as it’s Catholic and if the content is fine why not use things from Protestant sources? (sometimes I listen to gospel music) — but thou shalt not mix rites in church. (No icon screen in an AC church, no Sacred Heart statue in a Greek church.)
Failure to learn from history: Saigon, Baghdad and Kabul

What neocons and left-liberals have in common

In addition to being deluded by grand ideals and abstractions, both camps believe a problem can be solved if enough money is thrown at it.
YouTube: money, banking and the US Federal Reserve

A righteous IDF commander

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," said an anonymous IDF commander speaking of last summer's war on Lebanon, quoted in The Vishnu strategy.

The article notes that "[s]ince 1991, according to Handicap International, the United States and Britain have dropped over 13 million cluster munitions on Iraq and strewn the countryside with more than 500 tons of toxic depleted uranium ammunition."
From The Western Confucian, so named because American living in Korea Joshua Snyder says Korea’s is a more thoroughly Confucian culture than China’s, which he says is also why Presbyterianism has fitted in well there. Here is an article on Asia’s second most Christian country (about a third of the population, behind the Roman Catholic majority in the Philippines).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Orwellian Britain
The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working mother who used the car to take the kids to school paid £86 in one month.

On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked.
From Elizabeth at The Garden Window.
The self-destruction of two Democratic candidates
From Joe Biden’s gaffe to ‘right about peace, wrong on everything else’ John Edwards’ choice of proxy blogger. I imagine the secular mainstream is more offended by the former.
Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice
Samer al-Batal writes: The introduction to the new book that carries that title.
The destruction of lawfulness, especially if carried out in the name of morality, is a matter of the greatest concern to all of those who are interested in that precious jewel of Western civilisation, the rule of law. For, as Charles Stuart said as he was led to the gallows, ‘If power without law may make laws, I do not know what subject he is in England that can be sure of his life or any thing that he calls his own.’ The subsequent dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell proved him right. In our own day, the ‘war on terror’ has shown how an aggressive stance in foreign policy leads quickly to an attack on civil liberties at home.
Samer: Have been lately reading a book on the kings of England and Scotland. I have just finished with the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, I now have a clearer picture of the historical backdrop in the Cadfael mysteries, though considering both contenders could claim descent — though one of them only through the maternal line — to William the Conqueror, I still fail to see the Saxon/Norman divide that the series implied was represented in this contest for rule.

From LRC.
Government cannot create morality
Samer al-Batal writes: Found this by The Spectator but am not registered. It seems like a good look at a libertarian principle, however, so if you are registered with them, you might want to explore it further.
Since Oliver Cromwell, no other Government but Tony Blair's has seen itself as bringing about moral change; and yet the Government that began looking the most moral has ended up looking the least.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Iraq’s new imperial palace

Cluster bombs: a war’s perilous aftermath

‘The scope was extensive and unprecedented in any modern use of these types of cluster weapons’, compared to Kosovo in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003, says Chris Clark, the program manager for the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre of South Lebanon, in Tyre.
Samer al-Batal writes: Wickedly and gratuitously enough, most of these hit during the final days and hours of the campaign just before the ceasefire came into effect. The last Israeli attack on this country, though over, has yet to claim all its victims as unexploded ordnances still lie about.

Computer tips and privacy
From somebody who could be a distant cousin! Firefox seems to hog memory thanks to all my live bookmarks, and some pop-ups now get through, but it’s still better than IE. From LRC.
Both/and: on the sacrifice of the Mass
I’m the second commenter down. From Chris Tessone (hi, Tim).
How can man again connect the world with God? [...] The only real gift man should give to God is himself. As his religious awareness becomes more highly developed, so his awareness that any gift but himself is too little, in fact absurd, becomes more intense. Historically, this sense of inadequacy has been the source of grotesque and horrific forms of cult. The most extreme example is human sacrifice. Superficially, it seems to give the deity what is best, and yet more deeply it has to be seen as the most horrific evasion of the gift of self, the most horrific and therefore the most to be rejected.
Pope Benedict XVI

Yet Abraham obeyed when God tested him by ordering him to sacrifice Isaac. But of course the Pope is right: an angel intervened at the last second!
Prince of Wales mystery solved
Why did he go to a Presbyterian church when in Philadelphia? The church’s Welsh heritage was one reason but it turns out he didn’t choose that; people in Philadelphia who perhaps didn’t understand religion did.

BTW contra Wikipedia I don’t think it’s true that when the Queen or other royals go to Scotland they automatically switch from Anglican to Presby. She is the lay Supreme Governor of the Church of England (rather like the German-inspired lay Oberprokurator of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod from Peter the Great’s reign until 1918) but not of the Church of Scotland. Services at Balmoral would be Anglican or so I’ve been told.

There are several ongoing stories in the Episcopal row; AFAIK this is not one of them.

Though it would be nice if conservative including the remaining Catholic Episcopal churches were prayed for by name at the royal peculiars (churches canonically under the Sovereign not the bishop) I find it very unlikely — and easy to disprove! — as well as out of character for a royal to say anything that controversial.
On the US Senate impasse on escalation
Cut off funding! From Levellers.
Fun with spam: trying to take advantage of the lazy and clueless
Pleasant day,

would you like to work online from home, temporarily and get paid weekly? If yes. We are glad to offer you a job position in our company, Limco Fabric Material Cooperation Ltd. ... As part of our Multi Level Marketing Network ...
[which] was found in the year 1998 in China.
Xie-xie (‘shuh-shuh’, thanks — that and ‘Nee-ha-ma?’, ‘How do you do?’ are about the extent of my Chinese; these chaps’ English is about as good as my Russian) but no.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

20 US states introduce legislation protesting escalation in Iraq
Nice thought. From Brian Underwood.
‘Life unworthy of life’ alert
From Rod Dreher
Heroes: prisoners of conscience
Ehren Watada and, as LRC’s Fr Emmanuel McCarthy reminds us today, the recently departed Dale Noyd. Or ‘it’s not the Nuremberg defence when we do it’. Although of course I see his point, just like I hold that the Palestinians and at least some of the Iraqi insurgents are freedom fighters, I don’t think I can entirely sign off on his third sentence excusing the Communist North Vietnamese’ treatment of prisoners! (Any more than I can approve of the murders of Nick Berg and Margaret Hassan.)

Regular readers of this blog know my position on this conscience issue: I’m not a pacifist and realise the military has to have discipline to do its legitimate job of actually defending a people. (Like the Coast Guard, not even part of the US, Canadian or UK war departments: for the most part it actually guards the coast!) If you join, you temporarily (at least that’s how it’s supposed to work, without ‘stop-loss’) give up some of your rights, so if you have to disobey orders you have to pay the price. But those who do are heroes nonetheless.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Children of war: the generation traumatised by violence in Iraq
Neocons to Iraq: screw you
Justin Raimondo’s latest
Fun with music
Modern RC hymns work well in lounge-pop style. Thought they would.
‘Chant’ covers of Céline Dion (actually karaoke done in a churchy style, men singing with lots of reverb). Tee hee.
More state edumacation isn’t the answer
But of course it sells:
But parents will overwhelmingly enthuse over the prospect of getting someone else to fund their all-day child care a full year earlier, and the program will be adopted with much glee and celebration.
As a good friend once observed about Vacation Bible School people see the words but read ‘free day care’: ‘you could have a picture of Michael Jackson’ in the narthex of your church but people would still bring their kids. (One difference is this isn’t free: most people are taxed to pay for it.)
Did you know that in Sweden, a country legendary for its quality of life and a nation which beats American school performance in every academic category, a kid isn’t allowed to start school before the age of 7? ... Did you know that the entire Swedish school sequence is only 9 years long, a net 25 percent time and tax savings over our own 12-year sequence? ...
That’s right, liberal Sweden not only has more restrictive abortion laws than the US but less state schooling.
Did you know that Hong Kong, a country with a population the size of Norway’s, beats Japan in every scientific and mathematical category in which the two countries compete? Did you know that Hong Kong has a school year ten and one half weeks shorter than Japan’s? How on earth do they manage that if longer school years translate into higher performance? ...
And I imagine a lower suicide rate among schoolchildren than Japan’s.
Or did you know that in Flemish Belgium with the shortest school year in the developed world that the kids regularly finish in the top three nations in the world in academic competition? Is it the water in Belgium or what? Because it can’t be the passionate commitment to government forced schooling, which they don’t seem to possess....

If you trust journalism or the professional educational establishment to provide you with data you need to think for yourself in the increasingly fantastic socialist world of compulsory schooling, you are certainly the kind of citizen who would trade his cow for a handful of colored beans.
Reminds me of ‘unschooling’ as described by AKMA. (Groups of parents volunteering/bartering teaching in their fields of expertise — forming better, de facto schools — seems a good way to go too.) If you’ve got the skills and means go for it!

From LRC.
Many thanks
I don’t know how well Web rings work but a tip of the biretta to Anabaptist peace blogger Michael Westmoreland-White for including this blog in his:
A Conservative Blog for Peace is a group blog run by 5 men who are broadly Catholic (not necessarily Roman), traditional in theology, libertarian-leaning in economics (but anti-globalist), socially conservative, but dedicated to peacemaking. Although my own perspective is different on many matters, I am delighted with this blog because it is very good to see true conservatism (which includes the virtue of prudence and an antipathy to foreign military adventurism) articulated again in a strong and persuasive manner. Blog editor John Beeler says that peace issues are "too important to be left to liberals." This progressive agrees — they are too important to be left to ANYONE.
The empire strikes back?
Is New York losing its edge as a global financial centre to London? New York’s Mayor Bloomberg thinks so, claiming the British system is a freer market.

World’s oldest newspaper now online only
In Sweden. Not a bad thing: no more wasting trees.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A vicar writes a four-part series on being a priest in England today
From a liberal blog: it rings true and cuts across all theologies and churchmanships

P.S. Shifting to RC but still on matters ecclesiastical has the motu proprio/universal indult for the Roman Mass made it into Snopes yet?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

On people with same-sex attraction but in conventional marriages
To be clear I don’t believe in lying about one’s orientation, old psychological theories about causes (‘not conventionally masculine, weak relationship with father’... rubbish), coercive treatments to try to change it (cruel) nor living a lie by entering a loveless marriage with no attraction to one’s spouse! I think the approach described here best applies to people attracted to both sexes. You could have a perfectly good marriage; the only difference would be you’re tempted by twice as many people! One man puts it well:
This life is difficult, and my difficulty is just different from, not worse than, the ‘average’ next guy. That’s just the way it is.
People > their orientations or any other temptation to sin: the authentic Catholic position.
Same-sex attraction ... is not and has never been the real issue. The real issue has been and remains how we choose to live our lives.
And that doing whatever you want regardless of consequences is not good for you (isn’t that a lesson most still learn as children?) no matter who you’re attracted to.
‘Step back from the brink of war’
This war. From Huw Raphael.
Where the legend of American Groundhog Day came from
Yesterday, actually Candlemas. Apparently the part about the weather, like St Swithun’s Day, comes from mediæval Catholic folklore:
When the wind’s in the east on Candlemas Day
There it will stick till the 2nd of May...
So how did Pennsylvania’s famous rodent get into it?
Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.
In this part of Pennsylvania last night there was a beautiful snowfall (which didn’t stay on the ground) as a cold front moved in so today’s lovely but it’s only 25° (-4 in the new money) which means black ice on the pavement (oh, good: now my arms can match) and frozen car doors!

Like the groundhog sometimes you can spot and photograph the young fogey in his habitat.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

RIP Molly Ivins
Who was RFK?
Sincere or like JFK simply part of the Kennedy myth manufactured by his father?
Lite-Brite gone bad

Quoth Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley: "It had a very sinister appearance. It had a battery behind it, and wires." Horrors!
More common sense from Fr Mark Juchter.

The hollow conservative soul

From the LRC blog.
Hagel is not a peace candidate
Says Daniel Larison
Anarcho-Catholicism in a nutshell
From Dorothy Day via The Western Confucian
Did the ‘Reformation’ replace the Holy Spirit with the Bible?

Stairway to heaven The ladder of divine ascent
From divine offerific. Where are the angel and demon figures either guiding the little people or dragging them down? (Compare to this.)

The seven deadly sins
From GetReligion
America poised to strike at Iran’s nuclear sites from bases in Bulgaria and Romania

Russian admiral says American missile subs are in Persian Gulf

Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer. From Brian Underwood.
More on ‘liberal christianity’
Answers from the Revd Tripp Hudgins and Jorge Sánchez

Answering Jorge:

There’s some confusion here because the word liberal means different things in different contexts. Tripp and I have been talking via e-mail about the difference between classical and modern liberalisms. Though it stresses individual rights, classical liberalism is something I maintain is built on rule of law, on the truths learnt in the past (and thus tradition). One can be a Catholic and a classical liberal, no problem. (In the early 1900s, before the neo-conservatives muddled things, this liberalism had come to be known as conservatism.) Modern liberalism, from forms of Communism to political correctness, is a different kettle of fish. (This writer’s comparison of Mill and Kant shows some of the difference.)

There’s also liberal in the sense of liberality or charity. What I’m trying awkwardly to get at is liberality is not the property nor even a natural extension of theological modernism, another meaning of liberal and I think the sense that Fr Jonathan Tobias is using it.

Historical examples: Anglo-Catholicism is theologically conservative but often politically liberal historically. It largely began the anti-apartheid movement. The same was true of (Roman) Catholic Action in the 1930s, people like Dorothy Day, Catherine de Hueck and the young Thomas Merton. In one sense this is ‘liberal Christianity’ but not in the sense Fr Jonathan means.

From Tripp:
Oy. This is a sticky topic.
One thought — the problem is not with classical liberalism.
I get befuddled. I think one is so much the child of the other...
Politically they’re obviously not the same — the American old right is classically liberal.

But interestingly the Society of St Pius X (the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s group — monarchists in France) would agree with you! (The integrist position, criticised as ‘mediævalism’ or historical fantasy. I appreciate both sides so politically accept a via media, the English way, rule of law, religious liberty and tolerant conservatism, things that along with the Catholic faith inform my libertarianism.)

I’m obviously not so sure that English rule of law for example inevitably breaks down so that you end up with the modern left.
Interesting. I had not thought of it that way. I think that the English Law might not break down, just as you say, except that the culture around it has changed so much. If we tweak the law, as we have in this country, to make room for "the other" in our society, then the law seems to become more permeable, a reflection of a permeable society...except where fear reigns.

The old right is more liberal (
laissez-faire?) than the current leftward fundies. But the old guard right by definition allows for the loonies to exist and grants them the same right. Perhaps the failure is that they thought sanity would prevail. Heh.
Reminds me of the breakdown of the Episcopal Church. Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) once told me that in orthodoxy, in Catholicism, there is a kind of tension, and I think you can say that of tolerant conservatism. It’s a tightrope and I think I understand how many Anglicans fell leftwards from it.
American Protestant Christianity has always been heavily socially driven...

...the RCC and
[Orthodox] have both picked up on this cultural particular in the US. That cannot be a surprise.
I can see that.
...if Christianity is assumed, doctrinal chatter and musings become unimportant.
I think that might touch on a difference between the natural traditionalism of some Catholic countries and online polemics!

Why I don’t think classical liberalism dominoes into indifferentism