Friday, February 27, 2009

The Pentagon is a money toilet
From Taki
From Hilary

Very scary, kids
If a city as literate as San Francisco can’t support a newspaper, what hope is there for the rest of us in the newspaper business?
Rod Dreher
List of 100 beautiful words
We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
— attributed to James D. Nicoll; got from Byrd

On that note... three beautiful things with an ugly reality: the Soviet anthem, the word aggiornamento and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.
Slippery slopes and boiling frogs
Apparently, the culture was sound enough that it took a couple of decades for the ratings firms to fall prey to the incentives.
From Steve Sailer.
From RR
  • Palestinians agree to form unity government.
  • The silence of the left. The smarty-pants tone and style of this administration is already beginning to grate on my nerves, as they pander to their base on the symbolic issues — like the coffin question — in hopes no one will notice as they backtrack on more important matters. They’ll still be torturing people, albeit not with their own hands in some instances. Has anyone noticed Obama’s vaunted 16-month withdrawal-from-Iraq plan has already stretched into 19 months — and the “residual force” he kept talking about during the campaign, as if it were a mere afterthought, turns out to be 50,000 strong?
  • Further adventures in the quantum-wrongness field. If printing up trillions of dollars to “stimulate spending” is going to save the economy, why do we ever put up with even the slightest recession? Just print that funky money, boys and girls! Give every citizen a high-speed color laser printer and require everyone to download the Official Dollar Jpeg Files and then print, print, PRINT those dollars nonstop, day and night! Every man, woman, and child would be a multi-billionaire, and economic activity would be red-hot forever!
How the US needlessly alienates Russia
Most Americans have forgotten the fact, but the first government to offer assistance to America after 9/11 was not Britain or France or Germany or even kindly Sweden. It was Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Moscow’s reward for this support has been to see its interests ignored at every turn. Slowly over the last seven years, relations with Moscow have been poisoned with a new push for NATO expansion, recognition of Kosovo’s independence, and the plan to deploy missile defense installations in central Europe. To the extent that Moscow is now engaging in Great Gamesmanship with Washington over influence in Central Asia, it is a function of a needless rivalry that Washington has stoked.
From Daniel Larison.
Five ways people are trying to save the world... that don’t work
From Cracked
From Taylor Marshall
Art-deco neon

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One of many reasons conservatism is now insane
On one hand are rationing and suchlike from the left and on the other... From Mark Shea.
‘God’ endorses Obama’s speech
Jim Wallis of Sojourners, who runs the “God’s Politics” blog, has enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s call to borrow trillions of dollars for nothing but consumption.
LRC’s Bill Anderson in the blog

The religious left at their best are like Rod Dreher and historically Dorothy Day, arguing against greed and gluttony with ‘live simply’ and ecologically etc. But they’re also in love with socialism and it seems with Keynes as well. Which will win?
Well, who can argue with Wallis? He speaks for God, so anyone on this blog who criticizes Obama for following the economic policies of Zimbabwe is going to have to deal directly with the Almighty!
A formation
My paper’s old vending boxes

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On race
Many whites, from university administrators and professors, to schoolteachers, to employers and public officials, accept behavior from black people that they wouldn’t begin to accept from whites.

They might actually be stupid enough to believe nonsense taught by some of their sociology and psychology professors that blacks can’t be racists because they don’t have power.

The attorney general’s flawed thinking is widespread whereby people think that an activity that is not racially integrated is therefore segregated.

The bottom line is that the civil-rights struggle is over and it is won. That does not mean that there are not major problems that confront a large segment of the black community, but they are not civil-rights problems nor can they be solved through a “conversation on race.”

Black illegitimacy stands at 70%.

Even though they’re just 13% of the population, blacks in 2005 committed over 52% of the nation’s homicides and were 46% of the homicide victims. Ninety-four percent of black homicide victims had a black person as their murderer.

Much of that pathology is precipitated by family breakdown and is entirely new among blacks. In 1940, black illegitimacy was 19%; in 1950, only 18% of black households were female-headed compared with today’s 70%. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

If black people continue to accept the corrupt blame-game agenda of liberal whites, black politicians and assorted hustlers, as opposed to accepting personal responsibility, the future for many black Americans will remain bleak.
From LRC.
For every child a way
My education article this week on a noble cause and a lovely person
Orthodoxy: radical or conservative?
Both? Neither? From Mere Catholicism.

Jeffrey Steenson is now a Roman Catholic priest
And will be the first to hold an endowed chair in patristics at the University of St Thomas. Ad multos annos, Dr S!
God’s way is an ascent
No time yet today for a real entry — deadline day at the newspaper. (I’ve not yet heard nor read Mr Obama’s latest speech as I was at the office until about 10 last night.) So for Ash Wednesday here’s something from Origen:
We might suppose a path pointed out by God would be a smooth and pleasant one, free of obstacles and requiring no effort from the traveler, but in fact God’s way is an ascent, a tortuous and rugged climb. There can be no downhill road to virtue — it is uphill all the way, and the path is narrow and arduous. Listen also to the Lord’s warning in the gospel: The way that leads to life, he says, is narrow and hard. Notice how close the agreement is between the gospel and the law. In the law the way of virtue is shown to be a tortuous climb; the gospels speak of the way that leads to life as narrow and hard. Is it not obvious then, even to the blind, that the law and the gospels were both written by one and the same Spirit?

And so the road they followed was a winding ascent, an ascent surmounted by a beacon. The ascent refers to works and the beacon to faith, so that we can see the great difficulty and laborious effort involved in both faith and works. Many are the temptations we shall meet and many the obstacles to faith that lie in store for us in our desire to pursue the things of God.
Image: a scene of Orthodox prayer (that Lent begins next Monday) from Fr Toles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You tell me that it’s evolution
Fr Mark, the late great Z the mammoth and me. A culture-wars issue I refuse to be gored by.
‘Jesus was not God’
Said a minister in a certain mainline denomination. Christopher Johnson’s and my remarks.
What is a vagante?
I’ll add that independent anglican (although they are not Anglican, which means being recognised as such by Lambeth) and small unofficial episcopal Lutheran churches are not necessarily vagantes (a phenomenon that’s been on the fringes of Anglicanism for about 150 years — opportunistic crossover with Anglo-Catholicism). You can argue that the real and respected Maronite Church (under Rome since the Middle Ages) started off as vagantes from the Syrian Church. If something has a consistent doctrine and practice, even if I don’t agree with them, and a real ministry (people actually going to church) I tend not to call it that.
The baptism of the state
Daniel Larison has a very provocative post on the claim, often made by the Religious Right (or the “theocrats” as their detractors call them), that “liberalism-in-the-first-sense” (think the Anglo-Saxon tradition, constitutionalism, limited government, free-markets etc.) is inextricably “Christian,” or else that such a system doesn’t function well without a Christian populace. The American Right often uses this idea (which is a half-truth at best) to combat “secular humanism” and “liberalism-in-the-second-sense.” But as Larison points out, it can just as easily work to grant the Left-liberal welfare state a religious aura that it does not deserve — and at a time when Christians should be criticizing and attacking the state not legitimizing it. We certainly got a taste of this with Pastor Rick Warren’s invocation at Obama’s inauguration.
From Taki.
Anglican headlines then and now
  • First from somebody on a message board a ride on the Wayback machine back to 1961, when the mainstream writers of Time were annoyed with Anglo-Catholics for getting in the way of pan-Protestant unity. By the time he died in 1980 Canon duBois saw the way things were going and was working on having Anglican Use RC parishes (which, though different, are national parishes like my idea for England) but didn’t live to see them.
  • Back to today: the Buddhist bishop. Now there have been unbelievers (not just doubters, and even atheists) in the clergy at least since the ‘Enlightenment’ (Talleyrand) but back then they paid lip service to orthodoxy. To be fair Buddhism isn’t necessarily a religion unlike the Sunni Islam the Revd Ann Redding joined. There’s some compatibility but I understand ultimately the beliefs are mutually exclusive as I’m sure a Tibetan (the Tibetan brand of Buddhism is a religion) would tell some liberal Protestant playing with his tradition. My head hurts.
Liberty Occidental and Oriental
Custom has often been invoked both in the East and in the West to oppose and limit the power of tyrants, and to defend or to secure civil or political liberty. Buddha and Confucius were both concerned mainly with individual freedom. Confucius’s theory of society, in particular, was very individualistic; he clearly formulated for the first time in recorded history that principle of ‘reciprocity’, the ‘golden rule’ for any liberal society.
From Joshua.

Monday, February 23, 2009

From Philadelphia Weekly
  • So your local newspapers have gone bankrupt. My parent company has done, just now, just like the local big-city daily-paper company not long after. But I’m not panicking. There’ll always be demand for our kind of paper. I understand pay-websites don’t work; what makes money is having adverts on a page that gets lots of hits (impressions).
  • A well-off pregnant teen tells her story. Rather like Bristol Palin. She does the right thing and doesn’t kill her daughter, her feckless boyfriend notwithstanding (an 18-year-old who works at Neato Burrito hasn’t earned the privilege of having sex). Grace, nature and common sense trump pro-abort conditioning (which she still gives lip service to — hard to unlearn all that indoctrination and class loyalty). All I can add to this fine girl’s story is what what Rod Dreher said (more).
  • We’ve all heard the cliché that sitcom characters are doomed to learn valuable life lessons only to forget them a week later. (They’re a lot like Technicolor goldfish.) Cousin Balki will never assimilate into America. Steve Urkel will never be cool. Sitcom characters don’t change and they don’t grow. The same goes for characters in procedural dramas like House. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are never going to put Dr. Gregory House back together again. No miracle or near-death experience will do the trick. No matter how much long-suffering oncologist Wilson suffers, he’ll always come back. Hot Chief of Hospital Administration Cuddy will always be groped. Foreman, a neurologist played by Omar Epps, will always be dull. The diagnosis will never, ever be lupus. But above all, Dr. House will always be a dick. The show hinges on it. His reformation — no matter how much we think we want it — would result in the series’ cancellation.

Sad news
Fr Jason Catania has announced on Facebook that ‘King of the Hill’ is being cancelled. Here is an appreciation (more). The (relatively) recent episodes in which unpretentious Hank naturally has more in common with his Mexican co-worker than the newly moved-in hipsters raising a fist and saying ‘¡Viva la Raza!’ at him and when Peggy nearly come to blows with Luanne’s snobby SWPL sister-in-law (today’s Hyacinth Buckets really) over how to bear and care for babies say it all. It was a celebration of common-sense conservatism: Mike Judge using gentle humour to explain the best and worst in American culture including class differences.
And the winners were...
Real conservatism vs counterfeits
What conservatism was trying to conserve: liberty, variety, hierarchy, order, beauty and dignity in general — and ecclesial Christianity and Western man in particular. No other mission is worth pursuing, and anyone who tells you different is, simply put, an enemy. The most dangerous enemy of all is not the Islamic interloper or the spiritually purblind Social Darwinist, nor even the flaccid and decadent suburban secularist. No... it’s the leftist Christian, who steals the stern and spiritual demands that nestle inside the true religion like a lump of uranium fuel — cherished and controlled behind thick walls of prudence and tradition — and uses them to poison the natural waters of love for life and kin. Absent such people and their degenerate descendants, the multiculturalists, our civilization could easily defend itself again, as it did for 1,500 years of Christendom, and make fair compromises with internal minorities [religious liberty including getting the state out of the marriage biz for example] and foreign enemies. [Trade with all and meddle with none, and people won’t crash planes into your skyscrapers.]
Other dead ends:
I might have followed my closest friends in college down the sterile, concrete ramp that is Ayn Rand, or some other variant of autistic individualism — convinced that I owed nothing to my ancestors, neighbors or descendants but a thumb of the nose and a well-thumbed copy of The Virtue of Selfishness.

On the other hand, it’s possible my hormones would have triumphed, and I would have learned to savvy the lingo of Nookie Feminism.

Worst of all, I could very well have followed the subtle cues, nods, winks and nudges delivered by a certain set of campus “conservatives” I met. Nowadays we’d clearly spot them as neocons, but back then that term referred to hard-working, numbers-crunching pragmatists who wrote for
Commentary, when that was still a magazine for the “reality-based” community. So I just thought of them as the Smoothies.

Slick and glib, alternately unctuous and condescending, the Smoothies made it clear that they were teaching me how to “make it” in the world — and avoid political pitfalls that would land me out in the unclubbable reaches of the “crazies.” That might leave me, they made it more than clear, in the same social class I’d come from, forever a denizen of Archiebunkerland.

So it was very, very important that the Party of the Right, in one of its debates, vote “Yea” on the resolution: “Israel is the Hope of the West.”
Very young fogeyhood:
Imagine a young Frasier Crane trapped on the set of ‘That ’70s Show’.
— John Zmirak at Taki
We may well be headed for the Waterloo of Keynesianism (both military and domestic) and that is a good thing
From the LRC blog
E.F. Schumacher
On consumption and ecological living:

I might have called it ‘Christian Economics’ but then no-one would have read it.
The faith behind his ideas
From 1977
I found that in England almost any old nonsense was being written and passed off as Christianity, even by bishops. And so I finally decided that the Catholic tradition was the one where I felt most at home, and where the essentials of Christianity were best preserved.
“Schumacher is a contemporary voice of what I call social Catholicism,” commented John Coleman, professor of religion and society at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and he had delivered a paper discussing some of the ethical implications of the approach. “By this I mean the stream of Catholic thought that built on Thomistic principles, as particularly reapplied in the work of Jacques Maritain. Its adherents stressed that human institutions ought to be manageable in size, respectful of the human scale, and sanely run so that they did not damage the people involved in them.”
Critics of a well-meant third way like distributism say it’s utopian (unworkable) whilst the maligned market delivers, and can point to the Salamanca school of thought as a foundation for classical liberalism as opposed to such as well as the religious left.

From Joshua.
From RR
From Cracked

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
From Rod Dreher
  • Christian philosophers need not apply. In other words, no Christian or other religious schools that live by their religion's teaching on human sexuality, and in particular homosexuality, are to have a place at the professional philosopher’s table, should this petition succeed. precisely what these gay activists and their fellow travelers seek: to destroy these schools and their Christian commitment. I understand what they’re after and why they’re after it, and I also understand why they have to use the language of liberalism to advance their illiberal goals. But what I don’t understand is why so many Christians seem unaware of and unconcerned with what’s happening here regarding the fast erosion of religious liberty in America.
  • Larison on patriotism and optimism. When making a cultural critique of private habits, the resistance becomes even more fierce. To call for America to come home suggests that she has gone astray, and so it means that we as a nation have gone astray, which is to do the worst thing possible in a political campaign: tell your audience the truth about them. More. Consumption habits like everything else politically fall under the harm principle (do what you want as long as you don’t harm others). I can see Dreher’s nanny/judgemental streak (a sort of orthodox Christian version of SWPL, itself Calvinism gone bad?) becoming as annoying and invasive as the left-liberals but regarding individual and national responsibility of course he’s spot-on.
From the LRC blog
An Orthodox thread on Rome
At Ad Orientem. Update: comment.
Molto buono

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Westerners using icons
My comment and what Fr Andrew has said. From Joshua.
Huw and Fr Andrew on Huw’s proposed ‘Eastern Rite Anglicanism’ and remembering Anglo-Catholicism
My comment
The Catholic religion and the mass media
Daniel Mitsui and Arturo Vásquez discuss this: substance and accidents or why pixels showing the Sacrament are not the Sacrament and other matters
Collapse anxiety
Rod Dreher, a newspaperman like me, writes:
At my office, we’ve been through so many rounds of layoffs in the past few years that the upcoming one doesn’t seem to be getting to people. I suspect this is a reflection of despair, of the recognition of the truth that this is entirely out of anybody’s hands. Maybe.

You know me: I cope with collapse anxiety by blogging incessantly about it, as if talking about it were some kind of ritual that kept it at bay.
At my place it turns out our superannuated receptionist was made redundant due in part to advancing technology: it costs less to eventually automate the phones completely and besides thanks to e-mail and computers in general newsrooms are now blessedly quiet much of the time; no more clackety-clack or ringing phones.
Fr Z fisks the ‘there is no Foca’ story
Time: ‘Oh, those Catholics!’

Acquaintance Mr A:
The consensus seemed to be that the aborts at Time are afraid, really afraid. But if all this attention is being placed on FOCA, the fault is Obama’s. He said signing it was the first thing he wanted to do as president. And he probably will, as soon as Congress gets around to passing it.
Fr S:
I did think it was a wonderful jaunt down the Catholic Bashing trail....
From Mark Shea
  • Liberal RC groups were/are fronts for Obama campaign/Democratic Party. The mirror of Fr Frank ‘Just Shut Up and Vote Republican’ Pavone. I imagine none of these operations made much of a difference; the well-meaning orthodox fell for the GOP again whilst the great muddled middle did as Oprah said and voted for the president.
  • Common sense on Asian alternative medicine. What needs to be established is a) do they involve us in pagan belief systems contrary to the teaching of the faith and/or b) are they quackery that don’t actually help people. If neither is true, then I have no problem. Whatever floats your boat. Mediæval people believed in astrology. So what? Not doctrine.
From LRC
  • Annoying words — the kind Paul Fussell describes and that I’ve dedicated much of my career to purging from print — and common knowledge (democracy good, mediæval bad). From Joe Sobran.
  • Race talk a red herring. Students clustered in groups of their own choosing are not terrified men and women fleeing dogs and police batons. The victims are black, brown and white. And they’re not where they are because we don’t talk enough about race in this country. They’re there because we don’t talk enough about the state.
  • The biggest Ponzi scheme.
From Damian Thompson

From Cracked

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chronicles’ Thomas Fleming on Pelosi and the Pope
The most basic error is to cover Christian truth with the tinsel trappings of Enlightenment universalism that makes everyone owe everyone else the same duties.
Sounds like a challenge to classical liberalism. Any takers?
If the Holy Father really wishes to clean up the Augean stables [he stole my line!] of the American [Roman] Church — as I sincerely believe he does — he might, after excommunicating Pelosi and Biden, move onto the people who claim to speak for him in the USA but have censored and misrepresented his predecessor and continue to defend the immoral war he has explicitly condemned.
From RR
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two from Facebook
Not only have it and blogging replaced message boards as a venue for deep conversations as I’ve been in with Arturo, BJA and others there, but the Revds Jane and Tripp have sent me some fun stuff as well
The Russian above (I got the gist but used a dictionary for only three words):
Cat: When I was young I was very like you: small, impudent, gluttonous.
Hamster: I hope you’ve changed for the better.
Was turned into:
Cat: My spirit is being crushed within the machinery of industrial society.
Hamster: Your failing is lack of hard work and diligence.
How to help and what not to tell somebody out of work
Even well-meaning bishops can get it wrong. From MCJ.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

17,000 soldiers to Afghanistan
Told you so. I like Dale Price’s idea better:
Abandon that pesthole and let it revert to its natural state, which is Mongolia without the amenities and cultural cohesion.

From RR
Horrific murder of Muslim wife in America
Allegedly by her husband who worked to improve the image of Islam! As regular readers know I don’t go in for anti-Muslim hysteria and at the same time agree with the Pope at Regensburg (God as imagined by Islam is a fraud because he’s not reasonable).

One needs only two words here: harm principle, politics’ negative restatement of the golden rule (do what you want as long as you don’t hurt somebody else). It works no matter which if any house of worship you go to.

So freedom of religion but no ‘honour killings’, the limit to Dr Williams’ perfectly good proposal in Britain for religious groups to police themselves (Muslims can use sharia).

From Joshua.
Magazines are going down too
From the LRC blog

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From RR
Bipartisan generational theft
McCain happened to be right on this when he was doing an impression of a conservative. From Taki.
Panarchy, anarchy and freedom
From LRC
From the LRC blog
  • The keepers of the flame are upset about opera being shown in movie theaters. If you can’t afford $150 a ticket, you don’t deserve opera! Movie-theater opera is a free-market way to save opera. And when opera lovers can spare the money for a live performance, there’s no doubt they (I) will still opt for the live performance. As a friend of the blog has said, he hates the way high culture is usually presented in America.
  • Last week I wrote that God had spoken on the “Stimulus,” and He was all for it, at least according to the “prophet” Jim Wallis. Well, this week we find out that it was the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that has been channeling God (or maybe advising God). Here is something that confuses me. Wallis always rails against consumption (or “consumerism,” as he calls it), yet here is a bill that borrows a trillion dollars, all of it to be spent on consumption goods. I hate to tell this to Wallis, but some of the money might even be spent at... Wal-Mart. One would think this fact alone would cause him to denounce this giveaway.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • Blogging ecumenism rocks. From an entry in the blog of Fr Dan Martins, an Episcopalian who doesn’t hate the other side in his denomination’s split and has explained how his church has broken its own rules trying to get restarted in his old home.
  • Another denominational row only this time not about essentials: the Russian Orthodox split in England. I detect the pong of anti-Russianism as if the immigrants and their clergy are Borises and Natashas (cartoon Cold War spies). The first Russian Orthodox service (the Saturday vigil) I ever went to (I’d been to Ukrainian Greek Catholic Liturgies before) was at Ennismore Gardens.
  • Another ex-CEC parish is joining the AWRV. More.
  • Judaism: Keep in mind that Rabbinical Judaism since Jamnia bears only a slight resemblance to the historical faith of the Old Testament and of Ancient Israel. Your shul, I’m afraid, is only a de-messianized version of Old Testament teaching and life, a form of “spiritualized Judaism” with no temple, no sacrifice and no Messiah. Before 3pm on Good Friday the head of the church was Caiaphas; afterwards it was St Peter. You can argue that most of Protestantism is a similarly edited-down Christianity: no temple, no altar on which to plead and make present the Sacrifice, no priest standing in for the High Priest in heaven (when we talk about ‘Fr X our priest’ we’re using shorthand like when we say the Mass is a sacrifice).
Every album ever (well, except the really good ones)
Warning: language. Another silly thing that advances in technology (ahem, the medium we’re in right now) is deservedly putting out of business (though I understand nostalgia for album-cover art). From Cracked.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do you ever wonder why the poor and the working classes, if they’re religious-minded, are almost always followers of the most conservative forms of religion?
I know enough about the charismatic churches to know that whatever they lack in theological depth and sophistication, they make up for in speaking directly and realistically to the struggles of those on the economic margins. Whatever the criticism I have of those churches and their theologies, I am grateful for them, because they’re reaching people who are drowning in this cultural tempest, and offering them a lifeline that these folks just aren’t finding at the more established churches.

“They want answers, not questions,” Breyer writes. “
[T]he more contradictions I point out in the Bible, the more the inmates decide there is no point in wasting their time with a religion that lacks answers.”

In other words, the people who have the most to lose from a life without moral boundaries are those who have the most attraction to strict religion. I know, I know, there are exceptions. But I believe it to be true that those who support a libertine cultural politics are those who either have not thought about the consequences of their politics on the broader society, or don’t have to think about it because they can’t imagine paying a material price for living by those principles.
Rod Dreher
Mark Shea on Gitmo
Remember the bullsh*t faux patriotism of the pro-torture cowards on the Rubber Hose Right who tried to claim that opposition to torture constituted “contempt for the troops”? (I still get hate mail from these clowns.)

The real contempt for our troops was demonstrated by men like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Yoo, who
forced them into the position of doing things their own training told them was wrong. That meant you either got traumatized guys like this private, or else creeps like Graner who loved their work. Either way, when they carried out the policy and got caught, who do you think suffered for it? Not the people who ordered the policy.

And then there is the proud legacy of “rape by instrumentality” as an official policy of the Bush White House. I remember, under Clinton, when rape was a
bad thing. But the Bushies (with the dogged and determined support and excuse-making, nuance, and finessing of ever so many Faithful Conservative Catholics right here in the blogosphere) inaugurated a Whole New America.
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • Arturo on how the church works. Specifically the papacy: an organic traditionalism of which the Pope is the defender or something over which he is master, a sort of caricature of the faith Arturo would say characterises the neocath project (‘defending tradition going back to 1970’)? Historically Western Catholicism and the Eastern churches have been one — Catholic — in practice on this; as one of this blog’s unofficial theological advisers Paul Goings puts it, no-one in the 1800s from the ultramontanes to liberals like Lord Acton ever envisaged the ordinary practice of the Catholic religion stopped in most of the West by fiat.
    • ‘I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition...’ What the 19th-century Popes upheld.
    • What happens when we credit leaders with more authority than they possess? Fr John Parsons examines the historical origins of just such a tendency among modern Catholics. Not at all the same as the objections of Western liberals who hate the Pope really because he’s Catholic. As the Episcopalians have shown in San Joaquin (summing up lots of boring canon law: of course they have the right to set up a new diocese but they did so by breaking their own rules, sacking what was left of the old standing committee that didn’t leave along with the diocese, doing so possibly because the old committee were too conservative — read ‘no gay weddings’) they’ve no problem with universal jurisdiction in principle!
      Eastern Orthodoxy can be charged with taking tradition as its operative norm, even to the obscuring of the present authority of the successor of Peter and to the loss of a centre of unity.
      Besides rabid anti-Westernism in some quarters, opinion not doctrine, about the only real problem EOxy has is the widespread adoption of modern Protestant teaching on contraception (a teaching starting in the 1930s and picking up steam mid-century) but at least it’s below the level of official definition of doctrine so the Orthodox still get the benefit of the doubt. This is a Catholic church with which corporate reunion is still possible if not for the insurmountable difference regarding the scope of the Pope: divinely instituted and applying the charism of infallibility or man-made rank of the episcopate for the church’s good order?
  • On that note, Fr Blake on personality cults via Tea at Trianon. A good sign: Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival in the Roman communion is not one of these but rather a spontaneous movement among the young.
  • Trying to rebut ‘misconceptions about the Episcopal Church’ in the late 1800s. Sorry, Charley, but as you know from our POV some of them are true. It was and still is snobbish and divided against itself. The trouble with stereotypes is not that they’re not true — they often are which is what makes them — but mistaking them for the whole truth. To balance this out here’s what Huw and Brother Stephen have said.
  • Fr T.E. Jones: The English Reformation created an extraordinary phenomenon, a Calvinist Church with a Catholic structure.
  • I am often told that people are very interested in ‘spirituality’... and I am sure that this is true. I think that such interest is very different to a desire for practice or conformity to an ascetic. My own impression (and I may well be very wrong) is that people, in the main, want a ‘spirituality module’ in their lives... I am not sure if, when we use the term ‘Christian spirituality’, we do not cause great confusion.
From Joshua
Catherine, I hardly knew thee
Hail and farewell: more job cuts. At the new job the ancient receptionist (legend has it she came with the building, which roughly dates from the 1930s) was let go. Lord, in thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From RR
Paul Fussell’s Class 25 years on
And might the depression bring SWPL back to reality? Good points from Sandra Tsing Loh via Rod Dreher but as Charley has pointed out to me when I praise that book, and I tend to agree, the bohemianish X-class described by Fussell hasn’t really opted out of the game. Can one? I don’t mean snobbery (which they obviously haven’t dropped and which of course is wrong) but though all are equally dear in the sight of God obviously everybody’s not the same and yes, some things and even cultures are better than others. Charley points out that the Xes are only slumming upper-middles (dressing down because you can without losing face, actually a show of power) including people who’ve become that. IOW SWPL really.
From LRC
Cracked on film
I was sure Death Ship would make the cut but alas, there are worse ones. Once on cable I saw an even stupider ripoff of Twister, imaginatively titled Tornado! (Note to hacks: tornadoes are not hurricanes.) I am surprised though that another one — a cheap 1950s film in which the monster was the shadow of a lobster! — was overlooked.

One from The Onion:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Saturday, February 14, 2009

From T1:9
From Mark Shea
  • Bottom line: Both parties are essentially about the acquisition and maintenance of power, and only secondarily about the common good. They are somewhat useful blunt instruments by which a Catholic, interested in the common good, can occasionally sting like a gadfly here or there and try to get the horse of the state moving in the right direction. But the notion that either party has in mind the interest of the ordinary person is sheer moonshine.
  • Never ascribe to malice what can be sufficiently explained by ignorance.
  • Tom Kreitzberg answers the religious challenge ‘these people aren’t smart enough to tell me how to live’: One of the keys to how the church understands herself: We don’t believe what the church teaches because church teachers are smart. Church teachers teach what was handed down to them by the apostles, and from all accounts the apostles were as sharp as a sack of wet mice.
  • There’s Darwinism and then there’s the Darwin Mythos. My target is always the latter. In other words, there is the proposition of natural selection, which is basically common sense. Then there are the various vast and unwarranted metaphysical deductions, many of them extremely evil, which poltroons, bullies, atheist materialists, Nazis, and village atheists have drawn in constructing the Darwin Mythos.
  • On the ‘stimulus’: from a sort of catechism? From Australia.

    Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
    A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

    Q. Where will the government get this money?
    A. From taxpayers.

    Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
    A. Only a smidgen.

    Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
    A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

    Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
    A. Shut up.