Monday, April 30, 2007

The Church in China and Chinese "Cultural Christians"

One of the greatest stories of this or any other age is told by Sandro Magister in seven biographical sketches─Seven Bishops Tell the Story of the Church in China. One of the many interesting elements in the tale are the “'cultural Christians,' the Chinese intellectual circles that despite being made up of non-Christians cultivate the study of Christianity, toward which they display respect and admiration."

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RP in NH

WMUR-TV in New Hampshire interviews the next president of the United States─Join 'Conversation' With Ron Paul. Here is his answer to the question of why he is running:
    My main goal to run for president is the same goal I have for all my activities in politics, and that is always to shrink the size and scope of government and to maximize individual liberty. And the trends in the last several years, if not decades, is to expand the size and scope of government and to minimize individual liberty. So, there's a lot of room for improvement.
WMUR is to be commended in that it is allowing the candidate to express his ideas, not limiting him sound-bytes like the national media outlets or smarmily misrepresenting his ideas as in the travesty that was Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) on Real Time with Bill Maher.

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Paglia, Habermas, Fallaci

Dave of All Things Considered gives some worthy consideration to these "intelligent people who have rejected God [but] have not been able to throw off Christianity"─Christian Atheists.

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Vitamin D and the Cancer Industry

Bill Sardi on "the first direct scientific evidence that cancer can be defeated in a major way"─Dropping 'D' Bomb On Cancer. A quotation from the Globe & Mail:
    A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking vitamin D pills had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large – twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking – it almost looks like a typographical error.

    And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day.

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The Insurrection Act

"America is headed for a military dictatorship – and recent legislation makes this all but inevitable," begins Justin Raimondo in his latest, Blueprint for Dictatorship, from which this excerpt comes:
    This use of the military to enforce domestic order is a new development in American history, one that augurs a turning point not only in terms of law, but also in our evolving political culture. Such a measure would once have provoked an outcry – on both sides of the aisle. When the measure passed, there was hardly a ripple of protest: the Senate approved it unanimously, and there were only thirty-something dissenting votes in the House.
I'm tempted to say it can't happen here─or there in my case─but we know where that kind of thinking leads, and this is exactly the type of development the Founding Fathers warned us about.

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Gothic Korea, Part Four

Robert Koehler visits "one of Seoul’s hidden treasures" in the latest of series─Wonhyoro Catholic Church and Yongsan Seminary. Perhaps I should have titled this post "Gothic and Georgian Korea."

Click on the link for some fine photos of the church and seminary, built by the French in the early part of the last century. Here's an inculturated Madonna and Child from the parish:

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The Future of the Family

That is the title of a book by David Blankenhorn, who is the subject of this interview─For the sake of the children─in which he "explains why he - reluctantly - had to write about what is wrong with same sex marriage." Here are his arguments:
    Firstly, the primary purpose of marriage as an institution in all cultures where it exists -- and that is almost everywhere -- is to ensure, insofar as possible, that the man and woman who make the child through sexual intercourse are there for the child, as social parents, and are there for each other.

    Secondly, every child raised by a same-sex couple will by definition be missing either their mother or their father.

    Thirdly, it is therefore not possible, or at least extremely hard, to believe both in gay marriage and in the importance of this essential cross-cultural purpose of marriage. The two goods are in conflict; we as a society must choose which we think is more important.

    Finally, changing the meaning of marriage and normative parenthood to accommodate same-sex couples changes marriage and parenthood overall -- not just for the children in same-sex couple households, but for all children.
The book is reported on by Father John Flynn in this article─Defining Marriage Down─from which this excerpt comes:
    Legalizing homosexual unions is, the cardinal continued, also contrary to this same natural law. Moreover, such a move undermines the very nature of marriage and the family. By weakening marriage the well-being of society is also damaged, he warned.

    Proponents of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples often dismiss such arguments as the imposition of Church morality on secular society. This is not true, explains a book published in March by David Blankenhorn, president of the New York-based Institute for American Values.

    In his book, "The Future of Marriage," Blankenhorn explains that it is mistaken to conceive of marriage as a merely private matter between two people. Marriage significantly influences individual and social well-being.

    "Marriage is the first and most important of society's institutions," he argues. This is acknowledged even by secular thinkers. It was John Locke, for example, who called marriage the "first society."

    Therefore, contemporary efforts to redefine marriage as being principally a private emotionally constituted relationship ignore a large part of what its nature really is. Marriage is, in addition to a personal relationship, a social institution -- an institution with vital functions to carry out, not the least of which is ensuring that children are raised with the assistance of both a mother and a father.

    Unfortunately, Blankenhorn observes, heterosexuals have been responsible for weakening the connection between marriage, procreation and child-rearing, due to the widespread practices of premarital sexual relations, divorce and single-parent homes. The tendency in recent times to conceive of marriage as being primarily about the private needs and feelings of the spouses has made it a lot easier to argue that the institution should be opened to same-sex couples.
Also, a reminder from Dawn Stefanowicz, who "was raised in an unconventional household," that future is not only here but has been with us for a long time─The sad side of gay parenting. Her forthcoming book is titled Out From Under: Getting Clear of the Wreckage of a Sexually Disordered Home.

Finally, a reminder of the price that dissent from the agenda might carry─Italian bishop threatened with bullet.

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Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Servant of God, on Down's People

From an article on the French doctor whose cause has been opened this month,─Saintly scientists: Hate the disease, love the diseased─this quote:
    With their slightly slanting eyes, their little nose in a round face and their unfinished features, trisomic children are more child-like than other children. All children have short hands and short fingers; theirs are shorter. Their entire anatomy is more rounded, without any asperities or stiffness. Their ligaments, their muscles, are so supple that it adds a tender languor to their way of being. And this sweetness extends to their character: they are communicative and affectionate, they have a special charm which is easier to cherish than to describe. This is not to say that Trisomy 21 is a desirable condition. It is an implacable disease which deprives the child of that most precious gift handed down to us through genetic heredity: the full power of rational thought. This combination of a tragic chromosomic error and a naturally endearing nature, immediately shows what medicine is all about: hatred of disease and love of the diseased.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Some American Music

Watch Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest and tell me television─and the culture it represents─wasn't better four decades ago:






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The Crimes of Kissinger

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The New Urbanism at The New Beginning

The New Beginning has several posts today on the theme─The New Urbanism:From Aristotle and God to Baseball, Civic Art and the City of God: Traditional Urban Design and Christian Evangelism, The City and the Good Life, Charter of the New Urbanism , and New Urbanism and Transit Oriented Development.

There's really little "new" about the movement; it simply advocates returning to the tried and true ways cities functioned before the invention of Suburbia. Think of it as the counterpart to Agrarianism for city folk.

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The End of America

That is the title of Naomi Wolf's new book, from which this excerpt comes─Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps. In it, the authoress outlines the "things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism" and "argues that all of them are present in America today."

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Why I Am Not a Moderate Catholic

My reasons are remarkably similar to those given by Asma Khalid─Why I Am Not a Moderate Muslim.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Reactionary Renaissance in China?

It is good news that philosophies once termed "reactionary" by the Commies are making a comeback─Confucius resurfaces in new China and How Now Tao?

Is this a top-down attempt to hold on to power by the non-communist Communist Party? Or is this a bottom-up recognition of forces beyond the Party's control? It's probably a little of both. Whatever the case, China will be very interesting to watch in the next years.

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Jesuits in China

A book review of a history of the above─Claiming Converts─begins with brief biographies of the three priests pictured at the top of this blog:
    Most people find few aspects of Jesuit history more fascinating than the mission of the Jesuits to China. Matteo Ricci, invariably depicted wearing Mandarin dress, has assumed legendary status as a precocious herald of cultural accommodation. He was succeeded by such other Jesuits of heroic stature as Johann Adam Schall von Bell and Ferdinand Verbiest, both of whom became directors of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau in Peking. The negative decision of the Holy See on the Chinese Rites controversy—which included the Jesuits’ stance that certain Confucian rituals of ancestor veneration were not idolatrous but essentially civic and social in nature—not only spelled the tragic end of the mission, though Jesuit presence in China dragged on for another half-century, but was used by enemies of the Jesuits in their successful campaign for the suppression of the order itself.
Venerable Pope Pius XII relaxed the restriction of Confucian rituals in 1939, which is why Chinese and Korean Catholics today perform ancestral veneration. I venerate my wife's ancestors at least twice a year.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Colony Collapse Comes to Asia

From The New Beginning, this news─Taiwan stung by millions of missing bees. The article notes that this is a global phenomenon:
    Billions of bees have fled hives in the United States since late 2006, instead of helping pollinate $15-billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees also have been reported in Europe and Brazil.
Whle the article mentions "disease, pesticide poisoning and unusual weather" as possible reasons, I read some speculation recently that cell phones might be to blame.

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Gangsta Rappers─Latter Day Stepin Fetchits

Paris, the independant rapper not the Hilton, asks soe pinted questions, begining with the one the rapper chose to title his essay ─Are You a Hip Hop Apologist? Here are some more:
    What I want to know is, when did the worst in us become normal and accepted? When did it become par for the corporate course that "black man as thug" and "black woman as slut" be business as usual?
The white supremecists in my high school loved gansta rap; it confirmed all their stereptypes.

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Nowhere Man, Please Listen

David Ignatius on "[t]he disconnect that is destroying what's left of the Bush presidency"─Truth-telling time for Bush. An excerpt:
    I spoke with a half-dozen prominent GOP operatives this past week, most of them high-level officials in the Reagan and Bush I and Bush II administrations, and I heard the same devastating critique: This White House is isolated and ineffective; the country has stopped listening to President Bush, just as it once tuned out the hapless Jimmy Carter; the president's misplaced sense of personal loyalty is hurting his party and the nation.
Well, perhaps Mr. Bush can go on to be a respected ex-president, like Mr. Carter. Or... perhaps not.

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"The Science Delusion"

That is the title of a lecture by IVF pioneer and prominent public scientist Lord Winston, reported on in this article─The God disunion: there is a place for faith in science, insists Winston. An excerpt:
    Lord Winston condemned Prof Dawkins for what he called his "patronising" and "insulting" attitude to religious faith, and argued that he and others like him were in danger of damaging the public's trust in science. He particularly objected to Prof Dawkins' latest book, The God Delusion, which is an outright attack on religion.

    "I find the title of 'The God Delusion' rather insulting," said Lord Winston, "I have a huge respect for Richard Dawkins but I think it is very patronising to call a serious book about other peoples' views of the universe and everything a delusion. I don't think that is helpful and I think it portrays science in a bad light."

    [....]

    "The reason I've called it the Science Delusion is because I think there is a body of scientific opinion from my scientific colleagues who seem to believe that science is the absolute truth and that religious and spiritual values are to be discounted," said Lord Winston. "Some people, both scientists and religious people, deal with uncertainty by being certain. That is dangerous in the fundamentalists and it is dangerous in the fundamentalist scientists."

    Lord Winston, who is a practising Jew, said the tone adopted by Prof Dawkins and others was counterproductive. "Unfortunately the neo-Darwinists, and I don't just mean Dawkins, I mean [the philosopher] Daniel Dennett in particular and [neuroscientist] Steven Pinker are extremely arrogant. I think scientific arrogance really does give a great degree of distrust. I think people begin to think that scientists like to believe that they can run the universe.

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The Green Pope

From EnergyBulletin.net, an article that is certainly bound to ruffle some feathers─Protect God's creation: Vatican issues new green message for world's Catholics. An excerpt:
    At a Vatican conference on climate change, Pope Benedict urged bishops, scientists and politicians - including UK environment secretary David Miliband - to "respect creation" while "focusing on the needs of sustainable development."

    The Pope's message follows a series of increasingly strong statements about climate change and the environment, including a warning earlier this year that "disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa".

    Observers said yesterday that the Catholic church is no longer split between those who advocate development and those who say the environment is the priority. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, head of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, said: "For environment ... read Creation. The mastery of man over Creation must not be despotic or senseless. Man must cultivate and safeguard God's Creation."
First, there was the Pontiff's criticism of pre-emptive war. Then, he spoke of "the cruelty of capitalism." Now, he's taken up the environment! It almost seems this pontificate is dedicated to making so-called conservatives in America ask themseves some uncomfortable questions. Viva il papa!

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Justice in Japan

Donald Kirk reports on the sordid story of a British father who accepted more than US$840,000 from a Korean-Japanese businessman who allegedly raped and killed the former's bar hostess daughter─Blood money: A tragedy in Japan. It's a tale of evil, greed, and cross-cultural misunderstanding. Here's a paragraph on how the legal system operates in Japan (and also Korea):
    Anyone who has covered court cases in Japan knows that the prosecution wins virtually all its cases in Japan. There is no such thing as a jury trial, and judges assume prosecutors would not bring a case to trial if they hadn't gotten all the facts and gotten them right.
Such a system may be well-suited to peoples over here, but I'm partial to the Rights of Englishmen and the system of law described by Sir William Blackstone.

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Added to my sidebar...

is a link to a fine blog by a reader and commenter to this one─Potpourri for Sixteen Hundred. Pay a visit for "a smorgasbord of interesting trivia."

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Breathtaking Vista of the Day

Take a look the remotest part of Korea─Jukdo & the Peaks of Ulleungdo. How blessed is the family that farms that isle!

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Why I Raise My Kids Vnye Kollektiva

"Don't you know the schools are no longer teaching? Get your kids out!" cries Jack Taylor, the Town Engineer of Front Royal, Virginia, in a very powerful indictment of the modern school system─Home-Schooling for Survival. He provides many horror stories, which any of us who survived public schools know to be true, and this testimony:
    Andrie Navrozov, a Russian immigrant and writer whose parents schooled him at home in the U.S.S.R. at great risk to protect him from Soviet ideology, now home-schools his own son. In a 1999 essay in Chronicles, he said the reasons for bringing up your children "vnye kollektiva" ("outside the collective") are now the same in the West as they were in the Soviet Union of his childhood -- "School is at best a waste of time and at worst a highly politicized mechanism for alienating and subverting the affections and loyalties of the very young." Nobody has said it better.

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Japanese Trot

Today, The New Beginning posts a fine collection of Some enka vids that fans of the Japanese country music genre will be sure to enjoy. I'll take this stuff over J-Pop any day of the week, just as I'll take Teuroteu over K-Pop.

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Joseph Sobran on Obama, Bush, and Honor

"The Reactionary Utopian" has some suggestions about What Obama Can Do. For example, he could ask the "aging Überfrau" these questions:
    “Mrs. Clinton, if elected president, would you return at least some of the White House furniture you and your husband made off with?”

    “Mrs. Clinton, you are known as a feminist leader. What steps would you as president take to protect female White House interns from harassment in the workplace?”

    “Mrs. Clinton, it has been said that if you win the presidency, we will have a known sexual predator back in the White House. Care to comment?”
More importantly, he can call on President Bush to resign from office:
    In other societies, honor has imposed much sterner penalties on disgraced rulers: suicide, beheading, hara-kiri. Obama wouldn’t be asking Bush to fall on his sword; he’d merely be urging him to behave honorably for the sake of the country. Is a single act of honor too great a sacrifice to demand of a man who has sent so many others to die?

    Nor could Obama be easily accused of partisan motives. At this point Bush has become a burden to the Republicans and an asset to the Democrats. If he stepped down, it would help his own party more than their opponents. And most patriots would be relieved.

    Last fall’s elections amounted to a national no-confidence vote on this president. If he were a prime minister under a parliamentary system, he would already be gone.

    We can assume that Bush, being Bush, would not resign. In today’s politics, the very idea of honor is, as they say, outside the box. But by asking for his resignation in the name of honor, Obama would set a new standard for politics, in the sense that everything old is new again.

    Such a gesture would have deep resonance and inspire serious discussion. Bush could hardly ignore it. And it would earn Obama great respect. Honest Republicans might join him, agreeing that Bush’s presidency can no longer be salvaged.

    The shadow of dishonor would fall across the remainder of Bush’s term. As it should.

    But the decks would be cleared for a new Republican presidential candidate in 2008, one who had kept his distance from Bush. The big loser would be John McCain, who not only supports the Iraq war but, as 60 Minutes has just shown, lies about it even more brazenly and preposterously than Bush does.

    Obama has the chance to win the gratitude even of Americans who have given up on voting.

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Impeach the Veep

So says my favorite Democrat─Kucinich Files Articles of Impeachment Against Cheney. Now, only if Mr. Kucinich would return to his pro-life record and roots, I might support Catholic for Kucinich for President in 2008.

As much as I love Dr. Ron Paul, the prospect of casting a vote for a Republican causes me some distress, since my grandmother raised me to believe that the party of Lincoln was evil. Perhaps the author of this piece was on to something─America needs a Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich "unity ticket".

On a related note, here's a rhetorical question whose answer is obvious─Will Ron Paul Be the Candidate of the Christian Right? by Laurence M. Vance.

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Happy Vesakh!

To my Buddhist readers, I relay this message for your holy day─Vatican Message to Buddhists.

"We, Catholics and Buddhists, enjoy a good relationship and our contacts, collaboration and implementation of diverse programmes have helped to deepen our understanding of each other," says His Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

That is especially true here in Korea. One of my Catholic students, a post-doc, explained to me that the Catholic Chuch here has a better relationship with Buddhism than she does with Protestantism. I think this has less to do with Indifferentism among Catholics than it does with certain peculiarities of Korean Protestantism. Also, both Buddhism and Catholicism have a shared experience of persecution under Neo-Confucianism.

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The Faith and the Post-Peak World

Grand Archdruid John Michael Greer argues that "our current predicament has its roots in a religious crisis"─Religion and Peak Oil: The City of Progress. No, this is no neo-pagan anti-Christian screed. In fact, he goes as far as to make the following conclusion, which I think readers of this blog will find true:
    To the extent that anything like the medieval Christianity Augustine played so large a role in founding survives in today’s Christian churches, it might conceivably become a significant social as well as religious resource as industrial civilization slides down the slope into its own dark ages.

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Cho Seung-hui Fallout

In the fallout of the Virginia Tech massacre, the Korean media and parents have discovered Asperger’s Syndrome.

Also, some are beginning to question "[p]arents who blindly push their children to educational achievement at an early age." They are even making the startling conclusion that Children Have to Learn to Get Along With Others.

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Burn Your Missals!

Or at least leave them at home. Elizabeth Harrington explores the religious implications of research that "the human brain processes and retains more information if it is digested in either its verbal or written form, but not both at the same time"─Giving God’s Word full attention.

To my students of presentation skills, I've been citing the same study, which the author quotes in summary:
    "It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form.

    “But it is not effective to read the same words that are being said, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."
"Liturgy is also a dialogue between God and the people of God assembled for worship," concludes the author. "Books or pieces of paper get in the way of this conversation."

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The End of Manchu

Less than a century after the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the language of its rulers today has fewer than 100 native speakers, all of them over seventy─Lament for a dying language.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Relocalization, Not Globalization

A simple question is asked and answered by Gail E. Tverberg─Our world is finite: Is this a problem? Be sure to read how she reaches her conclusion, which I exceprt below:
    We cannot know exactly what the future will hold, if technology is not able to overcome the many issues associated with a finite world, including declining oil and natural gas supply, decreasing fresh water supply, and climate change. Whatever changes occur are likely to differ from location to location, as the world activity becomes more localized.

    We tend to think of governments as fairly stable, but these too may change. Countries may subdivide into smaller units. Some have even suggested that groups of states may break away from the United States.

    Educational institutions will most likely change. Fewer students will probably attend colleges and universities, and the subjects of interest will likely change. The sciences and agriculture or permaculture are likely to be topics of interest. More students may want to live on campus, if transportation is a problem. Adult education may become more important, as people seek to develop skills for a changing world.

    Businesses will also change. Local businesses will become more important, while multinational companies recede in importance. Manufacturing will become less important, and recycling will become more important. Providing necessities will get top priority, while nice-to-have items will not sell well. Barter, or a new monetary system that substitutes for barter, may be the way business is done.

    People may choose to live closer to work, or may work at home, so as to minimize costs associated with commuting. Some people may choose to live with relatives or friends, so as to save on utility costs. Eventually, many homes in undesirable locations may be left empty, and the parts of these unoccupied homes that can be used elsewhere will be recycled.

    The next 50 years will certainly be interesting ones. Perhaps, with technological advances, some of the potential problems can be avoided. But we will need to work hard, starting now, to develop ways to work around the problems which seem to be ahead.

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The Decline of the Family and Suicide in Korea

Some analysis, from Korea Has World's Highest Suicide Rate:
    Experts blame the increase on the culture of fierce competition in Korean society. "Research shows that 80 percent of people who kill themselves suffer from psychiatric problems like depression. The biggest factor is stress," said Yoon Se-chang, a professor of neuropsychiatry at Samsung Medical Center. "High competition since elementary school explains the high suicide rate in Korea."

    [....]

    "The increasing suicide rate is related to the rapid socioeconomic decline such as the increasing rates of unemployment and divorce since the financial crisis of 1997," said Lee Hong-shik, the president of the Korean Association for Suicide Prevention. "In the past, families served to ease such shocks. But these days, without the family protection, people feel more despair and more impulse to kill themselves."

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Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, Servant of God

His biography, from Cardinal Van Thuân's Cause to Begin:
    Nguyen Van Thuân was ordained a priest in 1953 and appointed bishop of Nha Trang in 1967.

    In 1975, Pope Paul VI named him coadjutor archbishop of Saigon (today's Ho Chi Minh City).

    After the defeat of South Vietnam, he was detained for 13 years in a Communist re-education camp. Nine of those years he spent in solitary confinement.

    In 1988 he was liberated and forced into exile. Pope John Paul II welcomed him to Vatican City and entrusted him with responsibilities in the Roman Curia, naming him president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

    In March 2000, Archbishop Van Thuân preached the spiritual exercises attended by John Paul II and the Roman Curia, sharing many of his spiritual experiences in prison. "The Testimony of Hope" was published as a collection of his meditations.

    He was made cardinal in February 2001 and died the following year at the age of 74.

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Shifting of the Political Landscape

Justin Raimondo examines it─Goldbergism and the Decline of the Right.

As does Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.─Neither Conservative Nor Progressive.

It never fails that when I start to feel common ground with the Left, I come across revolting fare like this─So Girls, Did You Notice You Were Raped Last Week? and Need a Safe Abortion? Go to Mexico City.

I'm beginning to agree with my friend Jeff Culbreath, that "the cultural divide is so great that conversation is no longer possible in many cases"─Is conversation possible?

Perhaps it is time to listen to the advice of the Sage, recorded on this blog's sidebar:
    If there is justice in the world, you should partake in it. If there is none, you should live in isolation.

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Gothic Korea, Part Three

The Marmot's Hole's Robert Koehler continues his stunning photoessay of Korea's Catholic churches, these dating from 1891 and 1896 respectively─Yakhyeon Catholic Church and Gamgok Parish Church.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Appreciation of America's Emotional Maturity

South Korea's main leftist organ, in Looking at America’s response to tragedy, notes what was missing in America:
    [T]here were no gatherings to express resentment toward Koreans and no bereaved families crying out loudly, "Bring my child back to life." It was impressive to see people mourn quietly and recall favorable memories about the deceased.... There was no joint funeral held nor press conference requested by the victims’ families to wage a protest about the tragedy. Mourning ceremonies were held quietly, scattered throughout the world. Funerals were calmly, sorrowfully attended by victims’ friends and families.
A descendant of a prominent American Protestant missionary family to Korea explains:
    Dr. Stephen Linton, president of the Eugene Bell Foundation, who knows well both South Korean and American cultures, pointed out the different views of the two nations about the shooting spree. According to Linton, Koreans tend to judge the tragedy from an ethnic point of view and react as a group, while Americans do so from a completely individualistic point of view. Regarding the Americans’ calm, non-racialized response to the massacre, Linton explained that since World War II, Americans have identified nationalism with Nazism, and that middle and high school students in the United States are educated to understand the anger and frustration felt by ethnic minority groups. He also said that the Christian atmosphere of the so-called "Bible Belt" spanning across the southern U.S., including Virginia, has played a role in the promotion of forgiveness and reconciliation in the wake of the tragedy.

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Quit Iraq!

The next president of the United States offers an exit strategy─We Just Marched In (So We Can Just March Out) by Rep. Ron Paul.

The Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration explains the alternative─The War Goes Ever On by Paul Craig Roberts

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Free At Last!

Good news from Bavaria─German Homeschooler Melissa Busekros Home with Family after 3 Month Ordeal. She had been "seized from her family home in a dramatic police raid for the crime of home schooling – illegal since 1937 by edict of Nazi Chancellor Adolf Hitler – and placed with a foster home in a location unknown to her family."

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The De-Christianization of Iraq

Can we agree that the country was better off under Saddam?─Bishop of Kurdistan: “the Church in Iraq is in great danger”.

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McGovern Strikes Back

And takes no prisoners─George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me, wrong about war. It's a must-read, and─not to steal his thunder─I will simply excerpt his stinging conclusion:
    [I]nstead of listening to the foolishness of the neoconservative ideologues, the Cheney-Bush team might better heed the words of a real conservative, Edmund Burke: "A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."
For more an appreciation of the man, read Come Home, America, written by Bill Kauffman for The American Conservative.

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Was Itcho Itoh Assassinated for His Anti-nuke Stance?

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Pope Benedict XVI, Distributivist

TCRNews Musings links to an article about the pontiff "criticizing the 'cruelty' of capitalism's exploitation of the poor but also decrying the absence of God in Marxism" ─Pope's New Book Criticizes Capitalism. From the article:
    "After the experiences of totalitarian regimes, after the brutal way in which they trampled on men, mocked, enslaved and beat the weak, we understand anew those who hunger and thirst for justice," Benedict writes.

    "Confronted with the abuse of economic power, with the cruelty of capitalism that degrades man into merchandise, we have begun to see more clearly the dangers of wealth and we understand in a new way what Jesus intended in warning us about wealth."

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Vermont Votes to Impeach

From Brattleboro, a report that "the Vermont Senate voted 16-9 to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney"─Leading by Example. What authority does a state senate have, you ask? A lot, according to Jefferson's Manual, which holds that impeachment may initiated, among other means, "by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State or territory or from a grand jury."

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Memories of Boris Yeltsin and Belize

This is something we were expecting back in the nineties: Former Russian President Yeltsin dies. When Mr. Yeltsin stood on the tank in August 1991, I found myself in the indescribably charming village of San Antonio, Belize (Cayo), which I couldn't for the life of me leave. I watched the events in Moscow with the Creole-speaking Mayan family who owned the little hotel I was staying at. It was weird to find Mayan Indians who spoke English like Jamaicans, and I decided to spend about two weeks there on my Buffalo-to-Guatemala-and-back-by-land trip.

That little town, with a population of little over two thousand souls, was one of the most fascinating places I've ever been. On the way into the town, I met a very loquacious German Old Order Mennonite, whose family had immigrated down from Canada by way of Mexico. In the town, I met up with a Black Rastafarian, with whom I may or may not have participated in the sacrament of his religion, which I may or may not have inhaled. I went to a dance club and observed the Black and Maya youth girating to Dancehall Reggae, Punta, and Merengue. I had the best salad of my life at a Sri Lankan Restaurant. I also found at least two good Chinese restaurants. I ate a delicious meal of fried plaintains over rice and beans at a restaurant owned by an ex-British solder and his local wife. I met a very drunk enlisted British soldier whose Cockney I could not undertstand and who broke down in tears remembering some fallen comrades in Belfast. I met a family who had fled the U.S. to open a yoghurt business and whose mother was proud her White son was fluent in Creole.

I spent a lot of time just walking around. There was no traffic to speak of. I spent some time alone at a Mayan ruin just outside of town. I remember a Mormon church outside of town on a hill and a Catholic one at its very center. What a nice place, probably as perfect as I have ever encountered. How much more I would appreciate it now! I'd love to go back.

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The End of Bhutan

Appaling news from the isolated Buddhist kingdom─Bhutan Practices for First Elections. "Under the plan, which comes into effect after the 2008 elections, the king would become head of state, but parliament would have the power to impeach him by a two-thirds vote."

Here is what Bhutan─and the world─stands to lose:
    For decades, Bhutan's monarchs tried to shield the country─sandwiched between India and China─from the outside world. International media were allowed into the country only in 1974 and television only arrived in 1999.

    Only 6,000 foreign tourists are allowed to visit a year, restricted to carefully supervised tours to protect Bhutan's unique environment and culture.

    Smoking is forbidden, and mountain-climbing is banned in order to preserve the pristine forests that cover most of the country.

    Even the size of the country's population is unknown─estimates put it anywhere between 700,000 and 2.2 million people.

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Enough Already!

This is one of the last ways the Church needs to be finding new priests: Manga-style cartoons used in new vocations drive.

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Motu Proprio Soon!

Now that John L. Allen, Jr. is reporting it, it seems that it is finally coming─Hold your breath for the next media frenzy: The Latin Mass document is coming.

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Cinema─European and Indian

Krzysztof Zanussi on the former─Why can't films ask the big questions? Trent Thomas on the latter─Hooray for Bollywood.

It's been decades since Europe─or Hollywood for that matter─has made a film that has done anything for me. I stick mostly to classics.Maybe I should give Bollywood a try.

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Peak Oil in Science

"The world's production of oil will peak, everyone agrees," begins Richard A. Kerr, taking up the story in the venerable journal─The looming oil crisis could arrive uncomfortably soon.

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Last Friday Was "Disabled Persons' Day" in South Korea

Here's some old news, but nonetheless a reminder of how different things are up north: Disabled Persons Ousted From the Revolutionary Capital of Pyongyang.

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Spengler Reviews Tolkien

The pseudonymous Asia Times Online columnist, an evangelical, reviews a previously unpublished tale, The Children of Húrin, by "the most Christian of 20th-century writers," a Catholic─Tolkien's Christianity and the pagan tragedy. An excerpt:
    Tolkien is a writer of greater theological depth than his Oxford colleague C S Lewis, in my judgment. Lewis is a felicitous writer and a diligent apologist, but mere allegory along the lines of the Narnia series can do no more than restate Christian doctrine; it cannot really expand our experience of it. Tolkien takes us to the dark frontier of a world that is not yet Christian, and therefore is tragic, but has the capacity to become Christian. It is the world of the Dark Ages, in which barbarians first encounter the light. It is not fantasy, but rather a distillation of the spiritual history of the West. Whereas C S Lewis tries to make us comfortable in what we already believe by dressing up the story as a children's masquerade, Tolkien makes us profoundly uncomfortable. Our people, our culture, our language, our toehold upon this shifting and uncertain Earth are no more secure than those of a thousand extinct tribes of the Dark Ages; and a greater hope than that of the work of our hands and the hone of our swords must avail us.

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A Critic of "Fundamentalist Ecumenism" Rehabilitated

Sandro Magister on "the most authoritative and erudite representative of criticism of the Church in the name of Tradition"─“La Civiltà Cattolica” Breaks the Silence – On Romano Amerio.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gothic Korea, Part Two

Expat Korea's blogger extraordinaire, Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole, begins a very promising photoessay series with this post, Korea’s Catholic Churches: Gupodong Catholic Church. Among many stunning photos, below is the "Altar and background carved in 1925 by Won Je-dong, who studied carpentry at Deogwon Monastery":


Mr. Koehler─God bless him─promises more in the days to come...

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What Possessed Cho Seung Hui?

The Crunchy Con links to some speculation that it may have been The spirit of evil. I did notice that his voice seemed otherwoldly, and he did seem like a character straight out of Dostoevski's Devils.

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I'm No Heretic

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant

100%

Pelagianism

67%

Apollanarian

33%

Monophysitism

33%

Docetism

0%

Arianism

0%

Monarchianism

0%

Adoptionist

0%

Donatism

0%

Gnosticism

0%

Nestorianism

0%

Albigensianism

0%

Modalism

0%

Socinianism

0%

Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

[link via Crunchy Con]

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Status in Korea

The paragraph from The Lim Ji-soon Model, about the winner of “Korea’s Best Scientist and Engineer Prize” from the Ministry of Science and Technology, is an example of its all-importance:
    “If I look successful, younger scientists will have vision for their future, thinking, ‘I can be like him too, if I work hard.’”

    He recently exchanged his car for a more expensive one. He wanted to show that a scientist can drive an expensive car. He also flies in business class on purpose. He believes that it is not good for scientists to look poor in an era when the younger generation tends to shun studying science and engineering. That is because lower social perception is a reason for that tendency. He thinks that teenagers would want to be scientists or engineers when the life of such professions looks good.

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Patriotic Association Bishop of Beijing is Dead

The death of a man "adored by the regime, disliked by his flock"─Fu Tieshan, "tragic" figure of the Chinese Patriotic Church, dies and State funeral for Beijing’s Patriotic bishop, party “property”. "Despite the request made by the Patriotic Association, there will be no Vatican representative at the burial."

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Why Bear Arms?

With yesterday's anniversary of The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, it seems appropriate to give a link and support to "America's Most Aggressive Defender of Firearms Ownership"─Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

[link via The Distributist Review]

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Two from Lew

An informative interview with the man himself─Rockwell on Libertarianism by Jedrzej Kuskowski.

The Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration on the paradoxes of the poltical left and right─The State or the People by Paul Craig Roberts.

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Ruth Ginsberg, Abortion Jacobinism, and the Revolt Against Biology

Thus far the best─and only─argument for voting Rebublican is the issue of justices, as evidenced by this Clinton appointee's dissent, "which attempts, for the first time in the court's history, to justify the right to abortion squarely in terms of women's equality rather than privacy"─Ginsburg's dissent may yet prevail.

Ginsberg's dissent has already prevailed, culturally. At least the hideous woman is being honest about what this is all about. Men can't get pregnant, so women have a right to kill their babies. It's only fair.

How many millions have died in the name of égalité from the French Revolution to the Soviet Gulags to Pol Pot's Killing Fields? Close to 50,000,000 have died in America in its name since 1973.

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Gothic Korea

For a needed respite from all the ugliness, take a look at Robert Koehler's collection of stunning photos of Korea's Catholic Churches.

Not included is the mother church of my archdiocese, at which I assisted at mass last Sunday:



[image from CYBER TOUR & CULTURE IN DAEGU CITY]

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Anti-Jeffersonian Democrats Block State-Level Impeachment Efforts

This excerpt from Dave Lindorff's latest, Betraying Thomas Jefferson, instills immense respect for the genius of the "incredibly prescient philosopher of government" and revulsion and contempt toward those "craven and cowardly" members today of the party he founded:
    Jefferson understood that a monomaniacal and unprincipled president, particularly in time of war or national crisis, could intimidate members of Congress-particularly a weak Congress riven by political rivalries-and prevent that body from going forward with impeachment. He understood that members of Congress themselves, remote geographically and politically from their constituents, could eventually become so isolated they would fail to act in accordance with the wishes of the voters who sent them to Washington. That's why Jefferson came up with an alternative way of initiating impeachment proceedings, in addition to the standard Constitutionally-prescribed method of having a House member submit an impeachment bill. His solution, laid out in his Manual of the Rules of the House, was to allow a joint resolution by any state's legislature calling for impeachment to also require the House to initiate impeachment.

    Over the past year, there have been grassroots campaigns underway in at least 10 states to get such resolutions passed.

    Unfortunately, the Democratic leaders of a number of state legislatures, working in collusion with, or at the direction of even more craven Democratic Party leaders in Washington, are undermining Jefferson, and are sabotaging his carefully crafted mechanism for defending and protecting the Constitution and ensuring the survival of democratic freedoms.

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Support the Local Team

Bill Henderson calls for the The relocalization of sport. I'm not a big fan of bread and circuses professional sports, and one of the reasons is that a player for any given team of any given sport in any given city could come from any given place on Earth. This is one reason that I prefer international and amateur sports.

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Korean Catholics Pray for the Souls of the Virginia Tech Victims

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Why Are Koreans Afraid of a Backlash?

Because there was one here in 2002, and it was very ugly, reminds Koreanologist Michael Breen in Fears of Backlash Are Misplaced:
    That’s because that’s how it is here.

    Consider: in 2002, when a US military vehicle ran over two girls in a street, Koreans came out en masse to hold candles in protest outside the American embassy. Activists displayed pictures of the bodies to stir up passions. It went on for weeks. This was for a traffic accident. Instead of saying what idiots they were, presidential candidates with the notable exception of the eventual winner, Roh Moo-hyun, posed for pictures with them.

    When the vehicle’s two operators, both Americans, were found not guilty by an American military tribunal, of intentional manslaughter, one of my Korean colleagues, an otherwise sensible man, was so angry, he said that they should have been handed over to Korean courts and jailed even if they were innocent to assuage the ``feelings of the people.’’

    The scary thing is that politicians, bureaucrats, prosecutors, and tax officials in this country are driven to make decisions for precisely this kind of reason. What else is the entire Lone Star witch-hunt about if it’s not a civic group-lawmaker-prosecutor chain reaction? Watch how this case unfolds and, whatever deal is reached, note the absence of real evidence.
Some of the happenings that I remember that year were mass rallies in which American flags were torn to shreds, businesses posting signs banning Americans, and an elementary shool teacher who had his students write "Korea One, America Mongrel" on oriental fans, in their own blood!

That said, the incident in America, while deliberate, was at the hands of a deranged indivual. The incident in Korea, while accidental, was at the hands of a foreign state's military.

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Some Korean English-Language Press Reaction to Virginia Tech

The conservative Digital Chosunilbo offers A Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young Man, about his first eight years, and reports on the presidential reaction─Roh Reiterates Grief Over Virginia Tech Massacre.

The Dong-A Ilbo, also conservative, reports on the Marxian angle─Package Delivered Indicated “Antipathy Toward the Rich”─and offers an op-ed piece praising "the universal values of Americans and all mankind, which thinks and makes decisions based upon humanism and rationality in whatever cases"─A Letter from Virginia Tech.

The conservative JoongAng Daily reports on the prime ministerail reaction─Han expresses Korea’s ‘mourning mindset’.

The Hankyoreh, South Korea's main progressive organ, offers several reports─A shattered sense of identity shared by all of us, Koreans who come to U.S. as children face language, cultural barriers, A Korean student at Virginia Tech speaks about tragedy, and A family comes close to the ‘American dream,’ then finds tragedy.

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Some Korean Thoughts on America's Second Amendment

The vast majority of Koreans I know share the opinion of this student quoted in Donald Kirk's latest, Virginia Tech shakes Korean campuses:
    "We hear it's not prohibited to buy a gun in the US," said Hwang In-yeol, a 25-year-old fourth-year student. "I think the company that makes guns has the strongest lobby in the US."

    The ease with which Cho bought two pistols is incredible to students like Kim and Hwang. They both served more than two years in the Korean army - the reason why they and other young men in their last two years in college are slightly older than students in other countries - and they have had fairly wide experience firing rifles while on training exercises.

    They are sure, however, that America would be a much safer place if guns were banned. "If the US prohibits selling guns," said Hwang, "gangs will no longer have them."
    [emphasis mine]
Here's one professor, at least, who gets it:
    An assistant professor of peace studies, Oh Young-dahl.... noted that "the US constitution allows American citizens to bear firearms" and "it has a lot to do with the background of the US".

    He even offered a defense of sorts. "The freedom to carry guns places a balance against a dictator," he said. "The US is a huge country. We don't know what will happen if people cannot have guns."
    [emphases mine]
Profesor Oh's point is one that I have been trying to make to my students all week.

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The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Snapped

It speaks volumes that is Commonweal that is breaking this story, Vengeance Time, subtitled "When Abuse Victims Squander Their Moral Authority." From The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692 to The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials of 1987 to 1990, we Americans have been known to give ourselves over to mass hysteria from time to time. I am convinced that such was the case with The Myth of the Pedophile Priest.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Seoul Libertarians

Andy Jackson's More fun for politically active American expats lead to the The Seoul Libertarian Party Meetup Group. I'm not a member of the party and have no desire to be one, but its philosophy is much closer to mine than either wing of The War Party.

Paleoconservatism and Paleolibertarianism pull me in somewhat opposite directions, perhaps making me close to the Reactionary Radicals. As readers will know, I support Dr. Ron Paul, the next president of the United States.

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Cho and Me

This LA Times* article was disappointing: When ethnicity brings an unwelcome focus. Notes the author, "Korean Americans are praised and criticized for blaming themselves in shooting." I would have liked to see more about the criticism, which I think is valid, but that's material for another post. What struck me was the video included in the article, where I heard for the first time the killer's voice.

It provoked in me both pity and a strange sense of identification. After all, when I was a college kid, I wouldn't have given the time of day to anyone who did not decry the "debaucheries" and "hedonistic needs" of those who made up the majority of my classmates in the decade when Greed was Good. Fortunately for me, and perhaps for my classmates, instead of guns, I found, however heretical it is, The Kingdom of God Is Within You by graf Leo Tolstoy.

May God have mercy on the soul of Cho Seung Hui.

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Breaking News: The Pope Is Catholic!

Another useless article from the secular press: After 2 years, pope turns right. The following are, apparently right-wing, not Catholic, positions:
    He has rebuffed calls, including by bishops in his native Germany, to let divorced Catholics who remarry participate fully in the church.

    He has warned Catholic politicians who must decide on such issues as abortion, euthanasia and marriage that the faith's values are "not negotiable." And he has closed the door on any relaxation of the celibacy requirement for priests.

    Benedict's persistent defense of the "traditional family" based on marriage between a man and a woman has emboldened Italy's bishops, who are waging a fierce battle against the government's proposal to extend some rights to unmarried couples, including same-sex unions.

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No Partial Birth Abortion, but Dilation and Extraction Still Okay

Something told me this was nothing about which to get overly happy: U.S. Supreme Court upholds partial-birth abortion ban. M.Z. Forrest explains why in his brief post on the PBA Ruling.

I won't be venerating "Our Lady of the Republican Party" anytime soon.

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"Peacenik Prophets"

An excerpt from John Zmirak's latest: Just War, Jeremiah, and Jeremiah Weed:
    The prophets whom God sent to His people carried a two-fold message, which can be boiled down to this: “Go to Temple—and don’t provoke the goyim!” Again and again, the prophets of Israel countered the claims of ambitious kings and zealous nationalists (think of them as the first neocons), whose plans for national greatness entailed risky and needless wars. In fact, the Hebrew prophets were the precursors of the Christian critique of conquest. While the Church has never advocated outright pacifism, beginning with St. Augustine it has developed increasingly strict criteria by which to judge the causes and conduct of war. The Just War tradition specified that Christians should only take part in a war if it is

    • In a good cause, i.e., to repel aggression or protect the innocent. (No, “revenge,” “a presidential sex scandal” or “an upcoming election” don’t count.)
    • Waged by legitimate authorities.
    • Reasonably likely to succeed.
    • Unlikely, proportionately, to cause more harm than good.
    • The last resort after attempted negotiations.
    • Waged with the minimum force necessary, making every attempt to protect civilians.

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America's Antiwar Elders

    Forty-eight percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old said the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, while 45 percent said the United States should have stayed out. That is in sharp contrast to the opinions of those 65 and older, who have lived through many other wars. Twenty eight percent of that age group said the United States did the right thing, while 67 percent said the United States should have stayed out.
─quoted from the NY Times by Daniel Larison in The Young And The Jingo

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The Virginia Tech Massacre Was Not a Tragedy

Dr. Thomas Fleming, a man for whom words still have meaning, has much to say in his latest column, Sense and Sensibility, from which I excerpt the second paragraph:
    The president of the university, fumbling for the right cliché, described this as a tragedy of monumental proportions. Setting aside the misleading metaphorical use of “monumental,” it would be interesting to learn what he thought he was saying other than “This is really bad.” These incidents are inevitably called tragedies, but that is precisely what they are not. In a tragedy like Oedipus or Macbeth, a basically great man, trusting in his own abilities, deludes himself into making self-destructive decisions. Flaws in his character lead him first to arrogance and then down the path of folly and ruin. Tragedies make sense of the human world, while these pointless murders seem to reveal a world that makes no sense. In calling them tragedies, we are essentially saying that human existence is pointless.

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Cho and Che



Continuing with the Marxism theme started two posts down, I say that between the Virginia Tech killer and the idolized monster Ernesto "Che" Guevara the difference is one of degree and "success" and little more.

Witness this written before his one-man waging of class warfare: Cho's rant: 'Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ'... "to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."

This passage of Che's differs from Cho's ravings only that it's nominally better written, quoted from 180 DOCUMENTED VICTIMS OF CHÉ GUEVARA IN CUBA:
    Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!
And for just one example of the Revolutionist's bloodthirst, witness this first-hand account of the execution of a child in a Cuban gulag: Che at the Oscars by Humberto Fontova.

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Cardinal Cheong After Mass Said for Souls of Virginia Tech Victims

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Very Catholic Beauty Pagent Dress



A description of the above, from Miss Mexico's dress isn't disarming enough:
    The floor-length dress is accented with crosses, scapulars and a sketch of a man facing a firing squad.... The dress depicts scenes from the 1926-29 Cristero war, an uprising by Roman Catholic rebels against Mexico's secular government. Tens of thousands of people died.
Notice on the front of the dress, very prominently is displayed Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas.

For some background about the resistance to one of the 20th Century's most repressive and anti-Catholic governments, see these pages: Cristero War and Saints of the Cristero War.

Or, better yet, try reading The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.

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Steve Sailor's Must-Read Speculation About Cho Seung Hui, And Mine

The "evolutionary conservative" and film critic shares his thoughts in a post about Virginia Tech:
    In general, I don't really like pontificating off unique and/or extreme events. (For example, Koreans have extremely low murder rates, so this mass murder isn't at all representative of a general pattern for them. Cho may well have doubled the Korean murder rate in America for the year, or even decade.) The sample size for these type of events is too small to determine a previously unobserved trend.

    Nonetheless, let me toss out a bit of wholly unwarranted speculation about the influence of recent South Korean pop culture. South Korean movies and music (e.g., hip hop by returning Korean Americans rappers with street cred in Asia because they grew up on the mean streets of San Marino or wherever) are super cool now in Japan. The trendier Korean movies are, I hear, awfully violent. I made it through about ten minutes before fleeing of the popular South Korean film "Oldboy," which makes Quentin Tarantino's movies look like Erich Rohmer's. It's part of a series with "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," which I managed to avoid completely. (Not all South Korean films are quite so carnage-filled.) I have no idea if the shooter was a fan of pop culture developments in the country he left when he was about ten, but it's a possibility.

    A more likely connection to pre-existing social patterns is between this loner who first shot a coed whom he considered his girlfriend (while the poor girl seemed to disagree), and the frustrations caused by the Dating Disparity.

    Or then again, he may have just been plumb crazy, so speculating won't get us anywhere. We shall see...

    A Taiwanese-American reader adds:

    "On Virginia Tech, I don't think the media has really examined why the gunman majored in English and his working-class parents let him pursue a major that has very little job prospects and therefore prospects for good relationships with women. Most students of his social circle are urged to find a good major for a good job such as accounting, medicine, law, pharmacy, engineering etc. I recently had a conversation with an older Chinese gentlemen and he said, in his days in Taiwan, if a young man majored in in the humanities, it was impossible for him to find a wife."
Mr. Sailor is right that recent Korean pop cultural products are as violent and decadent as America's, but I am not sure if they had any effect on the killer. He arrived in the United States at the age of eight. I assume he was more American than Korean, and, not to excuse him, he probably had some difficulty in balancing an ultra-conversative home-life and ultra-lax school life. I'd say the Korean angle won't help us understand Cho, but the Korean-American one might. I'm afraid that that is a subject about which I know very little.

The Taiwanese reader hits on something I've been pondering, especially after learning that Cho's elder sister graduated from Princeton. Losers major in English, especially at science and tech schools. [My Vietnamese friends during my college days couldn't for the life of them understand why I majored in a foreign language and not in engineering─I seemed smart after all, why would I make such a stupid choice?]

This article suggests that the killer may have picked up some of the Marxist politics of envy and hatred that English departments are so famous for: Cho Seung-Hui Complained About 'Rich Kids'. Was the Virginia Tech massacre a one-man class war?

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Crazy Teenagers

"One of the 20th Century's Many Calamitous Stupid Ideas was the Glorification of the Teenager," suggests Mark Shea, in linking to Creators, destroyers, consumers, a review of Teenage: The Creation Of Youth 1875 - 1945.

On the same theme, The New Beginning links to to book that might provide the antidote to the above, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen.

I've heard the thesis that moderns invented childhood, which is plain nonsense to anyone familar with the ancients or even prehistoric folks. Moderns invented teenagers.

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Exposing the Trotskycons

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South Korean Reaction to Mass Murderer Cho Seung-hui

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Papal Condolences

From Virginia Tech massacre "senseless tragedy" - Pope:
    Pope Benedict believes the U.S. university shooting that left 33 people dead was a "senseless tragedy" and is praying for the victims and their families, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

    The Pope expressed his condolences in a telegram sent in his name to Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia.

    "Deeply saddened by news of the shooting at Virginia Tech, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community," said the telegram, sent by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone.

    "In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love," it said.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Breaking News: Virginia Tech Shooter a Korean

Korean media has reported it, according to my wife. I'll update as news comes in.

UPDATE: The Marmot's Hole reports that the Gray Lady has a name, Cho Seung-hui: Virginia Tech shooter a Korean student: report.

UPDATE 2: From ABC News: Gunman Identified as Massacre at Virginia Tech Enters Second Day:
    Seung Hui Cho, a permanent resident of the United States, a Korean national and a Virginia Tech student has been identified as the gunman in the shootings that left 33 people dead on the Virginia Tech campus Monday, ABC News has learned.
UPDATE 3: Speculation that the massacre was a crime of passion resulting from a tri-racial love triangle: Jealous lover who killed 32 in college massacre named.

UPDATE 4: It appears the above speculation was grossly inaccurate; the shooter was a stalker who killed his victim, and the second man a hero.

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What's Behind Colony Collapse?

The New Beginning links to a report that "radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees": Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

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Malawi, Fifteen Years Ago

TCR NewsMusings links to a report by John Allen on "one of the most remarkable, if largely untold, political interventions of the Catholic church in the 20th century": Anniversary of a Catholic victory over a dictator.

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Paleoconservatism and Catholicism

Scott P. Richert answers What Kind of Man Reads Chronicles? As Mr. Richert reads this blog, that places me at two degrees of separation from the Vicar of Christ!

Matthew Rarey answers what kind of men assist the nine o’clock Tridentine Rite at Old St. Mary’s in Chinatown in Washington, D.C.: Mass with Pat Buchanan and the King of Rwanda.

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"Nightmare Scenarios for the Bush Administration"

Dilip Hiro outlines several of them in Sadr’s Rising Star to Eclipse Bush’s Surge?

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Some Heavyweights Weigh in on the Neocons

Patrick J. Buchanan on a rival to "the dumbest guy on the planet": Wolfie's Piggy Bank.

Paul Craig Roberts on the party that "has made itself so unattractive that Democrats believe that it is now possible for a woman or a black to win the presidency": The Party of Brownshirts.

Gore Vidal on "our weird little emperor": Hail and Farewell: The End of the American Empire.

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Guns in Schools

More of them might have prevented the tragedy at Virginia Tech, argues Virginian Matthew Clarke in Gun Laws Cause Crime. An execerpt:
    Schools are one of the best places to commit murder with a gun because guns are not allowed in schools. Criminals with the intention of killing in a school know they will be unmolested until the police are called and the criminal eventually shot. This allows ample time to invoke tragedy on countless families, just as the horrific events this morning in Blacksburg.
One of my thoughts after the Blacksburg massacre was that I have never heard of such an incident in, say, South Central Los Angeles. Sure, rival gangbangers kill each other, but how long would a homicidal maniac intent on shooting at crowds of people in broad daylight last before he was gunned own?

Paul Craig Roberts also weighs in on the issue: Ban People – They Kill. Notes the author, "Guns have been around for a long time, but these crazy shootings are a new development that point to a failure of culture to produce people with a sense of responsibility and self-control."

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Arthur Miller's The Crucible in Korean


The above image alone makes me want to see the production. From a review, Play Survives Test of Time, here's the story behind the production:
    When veteran director Yun Ho-jin first tried to put on stage Arthur Miller’s ``The Crucible’’ in 1979, his intention was to bring the military regime of the day into the spotlight through theatrical performance, just as Miller had attempted to satirize McCarthyism in 1953.

    But Yun failed to do so under the political turmoil in which former President Park Chung-hee was assassinated, followed by the military coup by former general-turned-president Chun Doo-hwan.

    Twenty-eight years later, his abortive production has finally borne fruit. Yun chose ``The Crucible’’ to return to the play form after 15 years of directing musicals including the famous blockbuster musical ``The Last Empress.’’

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Fr. Gerald Hammond


A profile of the man who leads the South Korean Catholic Church’s aid work for North Korea: An American Priest Among the North Koreans.

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A Confucian Papal Birthday Greeting from China's Undergorund Church

Ad multos annos! An excerpt from Birthday greetings for the Pope from China and around Asia:
    A 25-year-old Catholic from the underground Chinese Church in Hebei sent an enthusiastic message. Citing ancient Chinese poets and drawing on his country’s old similes, the young man called Pontiff the Elder man, which is a token of honour in the Confucian tradition, wishing the Pope the longevity of a stork. He also mentioned the many priests and lay people who have “shed blood” to remain loyal to the Pope and the Holy See, saying that every Catholic in China is waiting in prayer for the letter that Benedict XVI promised to address to the Chinese Church. Here is his message (translated from the Italian by AsiaNews):

    April 16 is the birthday of our Holy Father, Benedict XVI. The poet Du Fung, who lived at the time of the Tang dynasty, melancholically wrote that “from ancient times it has been rare to reach 70,” but 80 years mean 80 years of storms and trials, 80 years of lifetime struggles. The marks of time have appeared, numerous, on the Holy Father’s head, imperceptibly whitening the hair of the elderly Pope. The hearts of Chinese Catholics go out to our elderly Pope as does mine.

    Chinese Catholics are waiting for the Holy Father’s pastoral letter. For some time he has urged Chinese Catholics to accept sacrifices, read the Bible more, and recite the Rosary in order to prepare for the his letter. Let us invoke the Spirit of the Lord to protect our Father and make him an effective sign of the faith’s unity so as to strengthen the faith of Chinese Catholics.

    In the last 50 years, many priests and lay people have shed their blood to remain loyal to the Holy Father, maintaining the Catholic tradition alive in China. I and my contemporaries are the Church’s new generation in China. We, too, want to reinforce the unity with the Pope. We want to be in communion with the universal Church and no external force can prevent us from doing so.

    “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path,” (Ps, 119: 105). Holy Father, your words are imprinted in our hearts and we shall never forget them. When I was a teenager I recited from memory the “Ode to the Great Pope”. We still often sing it today. Great Holy Father we love you; dear Holy Father we back and support you. You are Christ’s representative, the sun of the truth that educates the people of God and leads to the Kingdom of god!”

    Holy, elderly Pope, let me offer you my congratulations. Happy birthday! May the Lord always bless you; may the grace of the Holy Spirit always be with you. Like the stork, may you always remain young, never age. Always renewing your venerable experience of life, may you always be happy.

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A Soviet Jet-Powered Train Engine


Tested in the 1970s, it had a top speed of 180 mph.

[image from 비행기 제트 엔진으로 가는 초고속 기차?]

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An American Buddhist's Faux Pas

You'd think a practitioner of an Indic religion might have more sensiblity toward the culture and mores of the sub-continent: Protestors in India burn Gere effigies.

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Questions Arising from the Virgina Tech Massacre

Our prayers our with the victims of this tragedy and their families: Gunman kills 32 in Virginia Tech rampage. Some questions come to mind.

First, are coed dormitories a good idea? It is easy to see how a crime of passion─if that is how this started─could arise under such circumstances.

Second, had more students been exercising their second amendment rights and had been carrying guns instead of cell phones, how much sooner might this tragedy have ended and with how much less bloodshed?

Third, had the authorities used more traditional methods of alerting students of the danger─town, or rather, campus criers instead of email messages─how many more students would have stayed away from classes that day? It seems authorities were too trusting of technological innovation.

Fourth, in addressing the nation, was this not the first time the president has seen presidential in a long time? This is precisely the type of role a president should play, rather than micromanaging the economy, education, or the affairs of foreign nations.

Fifth, if Korean media reports that the shooter was Asian turn out to be true, how soon will we hear that American racism is the real culprit here?

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Ron Paul Thinks Small

And that's a good thing. The first paragraph of a report from Iowa, Libertarian streak intact as Paul seeks GOP nod:
    Texas Congressman Ron Paul sounds like a liberal when he bemoans the growth of the military-industrial complex. And he sounds like a conservative when he puts down bureaucrats and big government.

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2,130,001 Behind Bars

Prema Polit reviews Sasha Abramsky's American Furies in Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment. Why America has 2.13 million people incarcerated is a question anyone who cherishes freedom should ask. Mr. Abramsky speaks of "very simplistic laws like "three strikes and you're out'" that "sound good in 15-second sound-bytes, [but are] lousy public policy."

I learned today that my brother-in-law─about the mellowist, most non-violent guy I've ever come across─is heading to Kalifornia's prison system. The Nanny State that already took away his kids is now taking away his freedom. Sure, he's not the most responsible fellow I've ever come across, but his "crime" was absolutely non-violent. Now, he is about to be placed into one of the most violent environments imaginable, and environment where the authorities often turn a blind eye to rape and even encourage it. Pray for him.

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Œdipus Rex as the Greeks Saw It

I was expecting to see Edipo re (1967), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of my favorite homosexuals. He also directed Il vangelo secondo Matteo, which was a profound influence on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004). However, I bought the DVD for about four bucks in a Korean bargain bin, and on the disk was recorded an enitrely different film from what the package indicated.

What I saw was Oedipus Rex (1957), directed by the Anglo-Irish Sir Tyrone Guthrie, using the W.B. Yeats translation.

The film's main claim to fame is that William Shatner was a member of the chorus, but you wouldn't know, because all the characters are wearing elaborate masks as did the ancients. I was quite impressed by how much emotion could be expressed by the actors resorting only to voice. The facial expressions carved onto the masks indicated the inevitable fate of each character as surely as did Fate in Sophocles' tale.

There was an interesting introduction to the film that gave as an analogy of the play The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Such a sacramental understanding of theater and the arts is not blasphemous to the Catholic. As theater is meant to be seen and not read, I highly recommend seeking out this version.

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Vietnamese Vocations

This story has been around for some time─usually with the same headline─but here it is picked up by the LA Times*: Among Catholic priests, Vietnamese are the new Irish.

Here in Korea, too, there is no shortage of vocations. Most parishes seem to have at least two priests.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Pohang Massacre

I have called Pohang home for seven years. Both of my children were born here. I had no idea about this: 'Forgotten war' yields another secret. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that beaches I have walked on with my family were the scene of a massacre of civilians by my country's military. The full story:
    POHANG, South Korea - A half-century on, the cold, matter-of-fact words leap from the typewritten page of a U.S. warship's journal: "DeHaven received orders from the SFCP to open fire on a large group of refugee personnel located on the beach."

    The destroyer's officers questioned the order, then complied. What happened next is frozen forever in the minds of those who were there.

    "The sea was a pool of blood," said Choi Il-chool, 75. "Dead bodies lay all over the place." Witnesses say 100 to 200 civilians were killed in the Navy shelling.

    For seven years, since going public with their private grief, the survivors of that day, Sept. 1, 1950, have demanded an investigation of what they say was an unprovoked U.S. attack on refugee families huddled on a Pohang beach early in the Korean War. The Seoul government said in February it would launch such an inquiry, armed now with firsthand evidence — the declassified U.S. Navy journal — to back up what the victims say.

    Since 1999, when the large-scale No Gun Ri shootings were confirmed, South Koreans have reported to their government more than 60 such episodes of alleged refugee killings by the U.S. military in 1950-51.

    Last May, The Associated Press reported the discovery of a declassified July 1950 document in which the U.S. ambassador in
    South Korea informed Washington the U.S. military had adopted a policy of shooting approaching refugees, to guard against North Korean infiltrators. A subsequent series of such U.S. Army orders, once secret, has been found in the U.S. National Archives.

    About 2,000 South Korean refugees had gathered on the Pohang beach, 230 miles southeast of Seoul, after North Korean troops took over their villages in an August 1950 offensive.

    They believed they'd be safe because warships of their U.S. allies were just offshore, said Bang Il-jo, 68. He said he'd been there about 10 days with his parents, a sister and a brother.

    But at 2:08 p.m. on Sept. 1, the USS DeHaven received the order from its Shore Fire Control Party to open fire, according to the ship's declassified war diary, found at the National Archives by the South Korean newspaper Busan Ilbo and authenticated by the AP.

    The Navy crew questioned the order and was told U.S. Army intelligence said enemy troops were among the refugees and "the army desired that group be fired upon."

    Within minutes, the DeHaven's 5-inch guns turned the unsuspecting refugee encampment, backed up against a steep hill, into a scene of carnage.

    Survivor Choi said his older brother and sister-in-law were killed, his brother's body found with head, arms and legs blown off.

    "This place was reddish-colored," Choi said, pointing to the curved gravel beach and wiping his eyes with a handkerchief.

    "Some were swept away by waves," said Bang, leader of a survivors' group. He said his wounded father died of loss of blood, and his 7-year-old brother of severe abdominal wounds.

    The diary noted 15 rounds fired over 11 minutes. The DeHaven ceased fire after hearing from an air spotter that "personnel consisted almost entirely of old men, women and children," the shipboard report said. Refugees had been desperately waving white undershirts at the plane.

    "They knew we were refugees," Bang said. "There were no (North Korean) People's Army soldiers among us. How could they do that to us?"

    Survivors speculated that an earlier observer plane may have seen the refugees scrambling under a sudden rain shower and viewed this as suspicious.

    Without giving specifics, the ship's diary asserted there were "very light casualties ... due to fire having been directed to scatter and chase personnel."

    Survivor Bang said most shells did fall just offshore, but their shrapnel cut through the throngs of refugees at the water's edge. He said the Americans offered no medical aid.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a fact-finding panel whose conclusions have no direct legal effect, will conduct the South Korean investigation, still in the planning stages.

    Survivors say they seek compensation — from Washington or Seoul — to at least build a memorial. "We're just leaving it to their (U.S.) conscience," Bang said. "Nothing can fully compensate for the suffering that we've gone through."
Pro dolorosa Eius passione, miserere nobis et totius mundi.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.