Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Honorable Ron Paul on the Koreas

Bookmark and Share

On the CCth Anniversary of the Death of Joseph Haydn

Damian Thompson says the composer "wrote more works of sublime craftsmanship than any composer except J. S. Bach" and "only Bach, Mozart and Beethoven surpassed his inspiration, which [he] would put on a par with Schubert's," but whose "art conceals itself in a way that no other great composer's does" — Haydn: a composer for grown-ups.

A re-posting of the composer's "Mass for Troubled Times" seems à propos for both the day and the times:

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Justice Pierce Butler

Alexander Cockburn informs us that the Catholic Supreme Court justice's was "the sole dissenting vote" in the "decision to sterilize the unfit in Buck v. Bell," which by which "the United States became the first eugenic nation" — Sotomayor and the Last of the WASPs. Also, "he was one of the 'Four Horsemen' on the Court in the 1930s, fanatical opponents of New Deal legislation."


Pierce Butler's Conservapedia page tells us that this "conservative Democrat picked by a Republican.... proved to be perhaps the best Supreme Court Justice ever."

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 29, 2009

Maybe He Hates Us For Our Freedoms

"... I saw [name withheld] who was wearing a military uniform, putting his [male appendage] into the little kid's [anus] ... and the female soldier was taking pictures" — Again, May God Forgive Us.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Paper Money

A video clip of the "dynamic duo of death" discuss whether hyperinflation is 100% or a little less so — Peter Schiff and Mark Faber on the Beck Show — and a blast from the past — Ron Paul was calling out the Fed in 1983.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

An Old Rightist Attacks White Nationalism

Justin Raimondo brilliantly takes apart a "movement [that] has zero to do with legitimate issues, such as the injustice of affirmative action" — Nationalists Without a Nation. An excerpt:
    There is a good reason to avoid the Taylorites, and their even cruder brothers-in-spirit in the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi netherworld, and it has to do with maintaining the intellectual and spiritual integrity of the American Right. I agree with Pat Buchanan, who, in pointing out the disparity between his own ideas and those of David Duke, averred: “We come from different traditions.” Indeed we do. Taylor’s is the legacy of Lothrop Stoddard, Madison Grant, the Count de Gobineau, and that failed portrait painter from Vienna: ours is the legacy of Christianity, which recognized the centrality of the individual soul, and rejects collectivism, including racial collectivism, as inimical to freedom, reason, and just relations among men.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Opposition to the Obama Régime

  • "With Democrats like him, who needs dictators?" asks Ted Rall — An Early Call for Obama's Resignation. "He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power."


  • "If the Obama regime does not hold the Bush regime accountable for violating US and international law, then the Obama regime is complicit in the Bush regime’s crimes," says Paul Craig Roberts — Torture and the American Conscience.


  • "A Redneck View of Obamarama" offered by Joe Bageant — Plain Truths From Appalachia.
  • Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Linguistic Tyranny

    The dominance of the effeminate accent of the capital now has the force of law — Court Upholds Seoul Dialect as Standard Korean.

    I'm proud that my children are native speakers of the Gyeongsang dialect, which is marked by its "highly pronounced intonation," and which, we learn, is a "direct descendant of the Silla language" and "maintains a trace of Middle Age Korean."

    This is also interesting: "During the military dictatorship (1960-1992) the Gyeongsang dialect had an informal supremacy over other dialects as all of the presidents were natives of Gyeongsang province. This bias towards the dialect ended with the democratization of South Korea."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sanguis Martyrum Semen Christianorum

    Tertullian of Carthage (c. 160 - 225) was right, "behavioral evolutionists" have discovered — Religions owe their success to suffering martyrs.

    It's easy to laugh when scientists "discover" the obvious, but it is potentially useful that there is now "scientific" evidence that "churches that liberalise their behavioural codes may be sabotaging themselves by reducing their followers' commitment."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    Shin Youngok Performs J.B. Bach and C. Gounod's Ave Maria

    Bookmark and Share

    Seoul Guitar Quartet Performs Astor Piazzolla's Libertango

    Bookmark and Share

    Live-Blogging From a War Zone

    That is what I will be doing now that the North Koreans have stated that "the American imperialists and Lee Myung Bak traitor factions have driven the Chosun Peninsula situation into a state of war" — KCNA: Korean Peninsula in State of War — and that the South Korean president has urged his American counterpart to take the bait — Lee Asks Obama to Pressure North Korea.

    When I'm not at the door defending my family with my balisong, the only weapon the South Korean government will allow me, I'll try to sneak in a post or two. I think I'll need to stop shaving, stop buttoning my top button, and effect an Australian accent to fully assume my new war correspondent persona.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Hope?

    Could the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court turn out to be a stealth justice just like the one she's replacing — Abortion rights groups concerned about Sotomayor's stance?

    There is "no evidence that she supports upholding Roe vs. Wade" and "in her only abortion-related decision," she "rejected a challenge to President George W. Bush's so-called Mexico City policy, which required foreign groups receiving U.S. funds to pledge that they would not support or promote abortion."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Don't Ask; Don't Tell; Don't Dare Show the Photos...

    ... because they show "a male translator* raping a male detainee" and "sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube" — Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'. To be fair, "one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner." (Why haven't the guilty been tried and executed for these documented war crimes?)

    Barry Goldwater's speechwriter Karl Hess, after his boss's defeat, said, "Vietnam should remind all conservatives that whenever you put your faith in big government, for any reason, sooner or later you wind up an apologist for mass murder." I say, "Abu Ghraib should remind all conservatives that whenever you put your faith in big government, for any reason, sooner or later you wind up an apologist for mass sodomite rape."

    This is especially true of you so-called so-cons, neo-cons, and even theo-cons, who expended much ink (rightly) denouncing sodomite "marriage" in the States, but who lacked the testicular fortitude to raise your voice against the sodomite rape of religious Muslims committed in your name with your tax dollars by your federal employees overseas in an illegal, immoral war for which you shilled.

    Shame on you! You effeminately put your State before your God. You limp-wristed "'conservatives' who melt at the sight of a man in uniform" (to borrow Bill Kauffman's phrase) trash not only the term "conservative" but also the name "America." And you probably call those of us man enough to call you out "anti-American."

    *Remember the left-liberal outrage over this story — Army fires gay Arab linguists? How many other outrages at Abu Ghraib were prevented by the Army with these firings?

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Camerata Antiqua Seoul Performs J.S. Bach's Air on a G String

    Bookmark and Share

    John Michael Greer on Ernst Friedrich Schumacher

    A look at a man whose "insights have not lost any of their force with the passing years" and who "was decades ahead of his time in recognizing the imminence of peak oil and sketching the outlines of an economics that could make sense of a world facing the twilight of the age of cheap abundant energy" — A guide for the perplexed.

    Most importantly, "Schumacher pointed out that the failures of contemporary economics could not be solved by improved mathematical models or more detailed statistics, because they were hardwired into the assumptions underlying economics itself."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Chinese Constantine?

    Father Francesco Sisci says the "exponential growth of Christianity in China would not have been possible without the forbearance and tacit encouragement of the regime" and that "the Chinese government has shifted from persecution of Christians to subtle—and sometimes even open—encouragement of Christianity" — China's Catholic Moment.

    He goes as far as to suggest that "it is not an exaggeration to say we are near a Constantinian moment for the Chinese Empire, as the government looks to Christianity—particularly Catholicism—for an instrument of social cohesion." Noting "Beijing’s special interest in Catholicism as a potential unifying force," the author says:
      On the face of it, the loosely organized and geographically dispersed Protestant churches may seem less of a threat to party rule than does the international organization and unity of the Catholic Church. But the Catholic Church remains of far greater interest to the authorities than the amorphous and sometimes ephemeral denominations that comprise the “house churches.”

      That is partly because China’s Catholics have shown no interest in politics, despite decades of repression: During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, for example, Bishop Joseph Zen of Hong Kong ordered priests and congregants to keep out of the demonstrations. But the Communist party’s attitude has much to do as well with their worries about the unstable combination of traditional elements among the endlessly diverse Chinese Protestants.

      Beijing views the Catholic Church as an unambiguously Western embodiment of Christianity, untainted by syncretic confusion and therefore indispensable to the Westernization of China. The Chinese government wants to deal with a Christian Church that preaches values compatible with modernization, preferably one that has a transparent and coherent organization. Although its public stance is positive toward Christianity in general, in practice the government’s efforts to develop relations with Christians have been concentrated on the Catholic Church. Chinese diplomacy has devoted a disproportionate amount of attention to the revival of relations between Beijing and the Vatican.
    A fascinating, informative and controversial read, tolle, legge. Most controversial is the claim that "parts of the underground church—notionally the Chinese Catholic Church, which is currently most obedient to Rome—are locked into improvisations of liturgy and doctrine that are hard to suppress and potentially embarrassing."

    [link via The New Beginning]

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    韓屋

    Below, a picture from an article reminding us that "[t]he downside to progress... is quite often the loss of heritage and tradition, and in Korea, a case in point has been the wholesale disappearance of hanok, the traditional Korean house" — Hanok homes beckon:


    South Jeolla Provincial Governor Park Jun-young is quoted as saying, "Our ancestors created a type of housing that fits most with our environment, using years of experience living in these locales." He continued, "Hanok is not only good for your health, but also matches well with the scenery of our farming and fishing villages." Lee Seung-ok, director of the Happy Hanok Village division of South Jeolla’s provincial government, added, "You need a lot of workers to build a hanok, which translates into jobs and a boost to the regional economy."

    One is reminded of the anecdote offered by Caleb Stegall from 1947, when "Ludwig von Mises and Wilhelm Röpke, met in Röpke’s home of Geneva" and the former saw "the small garden allotments outside the city for growing vegtables" as "[a] very inefficient way of producing foodstuffs," whereas the latter countered they were "a very efficient way of producing human happiness" — Price, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Two Roads to Heaven

  • "Individualism" can be overcome with "a true sense of belonging to the Church" — Holy Father says Church offers solution to society's ‘loss of belonging’.


  • "We must not depend on property, we must learn to do without, we must learn simplicity, austerity, sobriety" is the lesson garnered from the life of "a Byzantine monk from the eighth century" — Follow St. Theodore's example to escape poverty and selfishness, Pope advises.
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Two Roads to Hell

  • One paved with the good intention of ending poverty — The Tyranny of the Obvious. Hunter Baker reminds us that those behind the War on Poverty "had no inkling that these good-hearted strategies would lead to enduring cycles of poverty and family disintegration that threatened to consume entire generations" and that "[w]ishing for good outcomes resulted in disaster."


  • The other paved with the evil intention of culling the world of much of its human population — Humanitarians: please spare us humans. Bill Muehlenberg exposes the "energetic people... hatching grandiose schemes" and who claim to "have the good of humanity at heart." He asks, "What will emerge from a secret meeting of American billionaires about reducing population in the Third World?"
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Bach Collegium Japan in Seoul's Myŏngdong Cathedral

    Bookmark and Share

    Ignore North Korea

    South Korea's leftist organ blames the latest replay of the fifteen-year-old crisis on the fact that "the [Obama] administration had decided to not engage with North Korea further, and to wait until either North Korea steps forward with a rational attitude or China twists its arm to act rationally" — N. Korea challenges U.S.’s “benign neglect” policy with second nuclear test.

    Old Rightist Justin Raimondo phrases the title of his latest in the form of a question — Is North Korea About to Blow Up the World?. "No – but maybe a little corner of it, if we aren't careful." He has nothing kind to say about "the most secretive, repressive, and downright loopy neo-Stalinist regime on earth" that "is popping up like a grotesque jack-in-the-box, every few months, with a new outrage against international order," but injects some realism into the conversation:
      Now, every regime, no matter how tyrannical, depends to a large extent on the consent of the people. What prevents them from rising up and overthrowing their oppressors is the conviction that they’re being protected from a much greater danger, and, in North Korea’s case, it’s the bugaboo of foreign occupation. Draconian economic sanctions imposed by the West reinforce this general impression and give the regime’s insistence that the Americans and South Koreans are about to invade enough credibility to increase the public’s tolerance of Kim Jong-il’s antics.

      This is what gives President Barack Obama’s recent comments on the latest crisis a darkly humorous tone. He said that the world has got to "stand up to North Korea." The truth, however, from a North Korean perspective, is precisely the opposite: in their view, it is North Korea that is standing up to the world. So much of the Western commentary on the North Korean issue notes that the nuclear test generated firepower equivalent to the blasts that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – acts carried out by the United States against a prostrate Japan. It is certainly not lost on the North Koreans that the U.S. could just as easily rationalize a similar attack on yet another nation of yellow-skinned people.
    "The only rational policy is to avoid provocations at all costs," Mr. Raimondo suggests. "The West, however, holds a trump card that requires no action on their part, and that is the inherent instability of the regime." He concludes, "The best we can do is wait and let nature – in the form of a natural human resistance to intolerable conditions of privation and repression – take its course."

    Benign neglect, for the record, is what this blogger has been advocating for at least eight months — Benign Neglect Toward North Korea / North Korean Headline of the Week / Do the Norks Read Donald Kirk? / The Future Secretary of State Speaks / North Korea's Eminent Preemptive Attack / The Foreign Entanglement That Is the Korean Peninsula / Should the U.S. Bomb North Korea? / I'm So Bo-o-ored With the D.P.R.K. / North Korean Refugees Look at the American Election / History Repeats Itself.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Confucianism and Liberty

    Hats off to Sam Crane for correcting the assertion made by one Jiang Rong that "Confucianism wants people to become sheep" and that it is "autocratic, totalitarian and dictatorial" — Confucianism doesn't make people sheep, Legalism does. Professor Crane explains:
      Confucianism, especially in its Mencian guise, creates a moral standard, Humanity, that stands apart from imperial power and should be used to judge the actions of the Emperor. Those in power should not, from a Confucian point of view, rule in a manner that contradicts Humanity. And if they do rule inhumanely, then junzi (those people who work to cultivate and reproduce Humanity) are duty-bound to point out the ruler's flaws.

      Confucianism thus creates a moral framework that inspires political critique. Good Confucians do not sheepishly follow bad rulers; rather, they speak out against inhumanity.

      Mindless obedience to law and power is, of course, a product of Legalism. Harsh punishments ruthlessly inflicted upon the populace creates a fearful acceptance of political authority. And that's what the institutionalization of Legalism produced over the centuries in China. Indeed, it is no coincidence that Mao, the grand orchestrator of the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, also saw himself as a modern-day Qin. The Cultural Revolution was deeply anti-Confucian. Mao's politics were much more Legalist, precisely in the manner that Jiang stipulates: "autocratic, totalitarian and dictatorial."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America

    George C. Leef reviews the book chronicling "the long, noble history of anti-war conservatism and middle-American anti-imperialism" — America’s Anti-Militarist Heritage. Living where I do, I was happy to be reminded that "old Herbert Hoover... declared that Truman had violated the Constitution by involving the country in the Korean War without a declaration of war by Congress."

    The three books by Bill Kauffman that I have read cannot be recommended highly enough, and were instrumental in forming my views:

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Leaving Left-Liberalism

    "Franco's death in November 1975, at 82, was the only reason my brother and I did not succumb to scurvy," writes Jan Fleischhauer of "his childhood in a typical West German liberal family, with parents who wouldn't let him eat oranges because they were grown in countries ruled by dictators" — How To Become an Accidental Conservative.

    It is unfortunate that in Germany, too, that watching garbage from Disney or eating it from McDonald's is considered "conservative," but the article is quite informative and humorous. This bit identifying what is sometimes right about the left stood out:
      There is nothing wrong with growing up in a household in which the national origins of fast food are turned into a political issue, one that sheds light on correct awareness. From an early age, one is trained to be on the lookout for moral snares. In our family, as in all good leftist families, seemingly ordinary, everyday decisions were imbued with a momentousness difficult to comprehend for anyone but the politically initiated. Every item purchased at the supermarket was subjected to an assessment of not only its freshness and flavor, but also its moral quality. Organic oatmeal was clearly superior to industrial muesli, even if it tasted like bran, because we were always suspicious of major brands and supported small cooperatives.
    This also stands out:
      The liberal family has many clans competing sharply with one another, but in the end it remains a family, and it sees itself as a family. The left, with which I have dealt throughout my life, is a milieu that could be described as the leftist bourgeoisie. In English-speaking countries, terms like "chattering class" or "creative class" have taken hold. Middle-class socialism or leftist chic are other attempts at description, but they all mean the same thing. This milieu is inhabited by a type of person easily recognized by his consumption and cultural habits (even if he prides himself on his nonconformity), and who is characterized by a pronounced elite awareness, even though the word elite is much as a taboo for leftists as words like nation, homeland or ethnic group.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Rondeau des Indes Galantes de Jean-Philippe Rameau


    "[I]nterprété par Magali Léger et Laurent Naouri, les Musiciens du Louvres sous la direction de Marc Minkowski en version de concert."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The De-Christianization of Iraq

    The not-new story that "Iraq has lost more than half the Christians who once called it home, mostly since the war began, and few who fled have plans to return," makes the news — Christians flee Iraq's violence.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Sage of Defiance

    William Diehl, who "lives and works in Defiance, Ohio," calls retirement a "government snare and delusion" that's "bad for your mind and body" — I'll Never Retire. The author, "someone on a payroll until the age of 79, and now employed on a non-compensated basis," admits to being "regarded as something of a freak."

    Mr. Diehl notes the "sense of self-worth that comes from working to a purpose that is essential to well-being." He also nots how "the government has created a large new class of dependents who see no necessity to save or to accept responsibility for themselves, their offspring, or their parents." He says the decision "to continue to be productive" may require "a change in occupation" and "giving up benefits and accepting a lower wage, or no wage at all." However, "a reason for living, and a retention of identity, are surely sufficient remuneration."

    My father was never unhappier than after he retired. My father-in-law is on the verge of forced retirement and is quite unhappy about it. I can't see myself working for the same organization indefintely, but I don't see myself giving up work.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Honorable Ron Paul on Waterboarding

    The Good Doctor reminds us that "we hanged Japanese officers for war crimes in 1945 for waterboarding" and thus "[i]ts status as torture has already been decided by our own courts under this precedent" — Hold the Torturers Accountable. And yet Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. remain at large.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Long Term

    Michael Federici takes on "the assumption[s] that the more activist a president is, the better the nation fares," "that public policy is the appropriate response to virtually any economic, cultural, or political problem," and "that government action is better than inaction and that quick action is better than a slower more deliberate response to political, social, and economic ills" — The 100 Years vs. The 100 Days Standard.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Ignorant "Conservatives," Bone-headed "Liberals"

    Author Rich Shenkman revisits a year-old book he wrote — Just how stupid are American voters? "After Barack Obama's election friends emailed me wondering if I still believed the voters are uninformed," he writes. "Didn't Obama's election mean they were pretty smart?"

    "Alas," he sighs, "the answer is no." It's not that "American voters are not any smarter for having voted for Obama." The author implies that Obama voters are a smart lot. In fact, he says he has "hope that for the vast majority of Americans information remains a vital consideration in the formation of opinion." What irks him is those who were taken up in "controversies over Obama's bowling score, his middle name Hussein, and Hillary's crying."

    Irksome or not (I've never heard anything about his bowling score, but the other two could be valid points), his "five-part test" designed to "determine whether a mistake is just a mistake or whether it's a sign of rank stupidity" has some value:
      •First, is sheer ignorance: Ignorance of critical facts about important events in the news, and ignorance of how our government functions and who’s in charge.
      •Second, is negligence: The disinclination to seek reliable sources of information about important news events.
      •Third, is wooden-headedness, as the historian Barbara Tuchman defined it: The inclination to believe what we want to believe regardless of the facts.
      •Fourth, is shortsightedness: The support of public policies that are mutually exclusive, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests.
      •Fifth, and finally, is a broad category I call bone-headedness, for want of a better name: The susceptibility to meaningless phrases, stereotypes, irrational biases, and simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears.
    It is regrettable but not surprising that the author fails to see how all of these categories, but most damningly that of "bone-headedness," apply to the President's supporters. Indeed, these are at least as "bone-headed" if not much more so than are his opponents.

    Was there ever a more "meaningless phrase" uttered in American political history than "Yes We Can?" Did not candidate Obama resort to "stereotypes" and "irrational biases" when talking about the rural Americans who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them?" What were both "Hope" and "Change" if not "simplistic diagnoses and solutions that play on our hopes and fears?"

    And what do you say of those who continue to support a man who has reneged on every significant promise he made to those who voted for him and whose régime is essentially the same as the one it replaced? How would these same supporters have acted had his opponent won, and enacted the same extension of the imperial Bush Doctrine overseas and invited Wall Street insiders to take over the management the economy?

    The terms "conservative" and "liberal" are placed in quotations because they have not only lost almost all of their original meanings but are now utterly useless in describing American political tendencies. In fact, they are no longer even political terms. What we have now in America is nothing but "identity politics." People liked President Bush because they saw him as one of their own, just as those who like President Obama see him as one of their own. A liberal friend supported Hillary because "her biography was the same as [his] mother's."

    So, we have two allegedly divided camps of people whose political prescriptions on the big issues are essentially the same and vote for candidates whom they'd like to spend time with. This politics of identity leads to politics as usual, which means no end to the un-American Empire and the Corporatism that feeds it.

    It's not difficult to be charitable toward the ignorant; to the willfully boneheaded who pride themselves on the superiority, however, one is reminded that Someone once said, "And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye?"

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Flannery and Evelyn

    "Flannery O’Connor’s Catholicism made her the writer she was," says Chilton Williamson Jr. in his essay — A Good Woman Found — and R.J. Stove begins his by saying, "Evelyn Waugh died in 1966 and spent most of his last two decades wishing he had died in 1946—or better still in 1446" — Casualties of Waugh.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop and the 124 Martyrs

    Bishop Michael Park Jeong-il has declared his investigations on their cause closed and sent his findings to the Vaticans — Tribunal investigations on martyrs' beatification cause concluded. More on the priest:

      Father Choe, often referred as the "Martyr of Sweat," was the second Korean priest ordained in 1849 in Shanghai, China. The first was Saint Father Andrew Kim Tae-gon who was martyred in 1846.

      Father Choe, after returning to Korea in 1849, started pastoral work by visiting mission stations in the country.

      The priest walked an average of 2,800 kilometers a year to visit Catholics in remote villages and heard 4,000 confessions, according to the Korean Catholic Encyclopedia. He died of typhoid in 1861, at the age of 40.

      Father Choe is being promoted as a confessor, the term used for a non-martyr saint. "Father Choe is not a martyr, but the brilliant pastor deserves to be recognized as a saint," said Father Yoo.

      He added that because Father Choe is not a martyr, his beatification process would require a separate investigation for signs of a miracle. This is presently ongoing in the local Church.

      "I hope the faithful will pray to him for his intercession, and report any miracles to our committee," he said.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Morally Objectionable" and "Scientifically Obsolete"

    A reminder that "that the stem cell debate is not a matter of religious belief" — Bishops Weigh in on US Stem Cell Proposal.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Reactions to the Nork Nuke

  • Compare these two, one hysterical, one rational — Obama Blasts Nuke Test as ‘Reckless Challenge’ / Market Shrugs Off Test.


  • Tim Swanson's reaction is phrased in the form of a question — If North Korea is bad… "for detonating a nuclear bomb comparable to the one dropped at Hiroshima, then what about Truman and the crew of the Enola Gay?"
  • Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Two Martyrs of the Henrician Schism




    Above, for your edification and mine, the martyrdoms of Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More, as depicted in "The Tudors" (2007).

    [link via Vox Nova]

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Need for the Separation of Gays and State

    "Same-sex marriage does make a difference to wider society, especially when the force of the state is behind it," explains Patrick Thompson — What’s the difference?

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Caleb Stegall's Commencement Address

    A call "to live in love with the frailty and limits of one’s existence, suffering the places, customs, rites, joys, and sorrows of the people who are in close relation to you by family, friendship, and community" — Commencement Address.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Look to Switzerland

    Looking to the country, Daniel Larison reminds us that "there is no absolute contradiction between favoring a relatively large military and a neutral foreign policy," even if "in the American context we have rarely seen the two combined" — The Swiss Option.

    He quotes one Conor Friedersdorf noting that "it is nevertheless demonstrable that the strategy redounded to the benefit of the Swiss, and the fact that they’ve prospered for 500 years, despite being adjacent to great powers that warred incessantly, suggests that isolationism can work far better than its critics imagine."

    Steve Sailer quotes the same Conor Friedersdorf quoting John McPhee that "[i]n every part of Switzerland, there are streets and plazas and equestrian statues—there are busts on plinths overhung with banners and flags—doing honor to the general of an army that did not fight" — Questions.

    "For seven hundred years, freedom has been the fundamental story of Switzerland, and we are not prepared to give it up now," we read following the link — The Porcupine Principle. "We want to defend ourselves, which is not the same as fighting abroad. We want peace, but not under someone else’s condition."

    It is well known that the Swiss Confederation looked to our young Republic as a model of Federalism. We would do well to look back across the Atlantic for a model not only of that aspect of our constitution that we have lost, but also of the noble United States non-interventionism we have lost as well.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Women of the Henrician Schism

    For almost two decades, I have almost always been disappointed by any recently-released movie I saw; that was not the case with The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). The film was not well-reviewed, probably because it was, in addition to being an historical drama, a morality play, in which the wages of sin get their just reward. The trailer:


    "When was it that people stopped thinking of ambition as a sin, and started thinking of it as a virtue?" asks the mother of the two Boleyn girls of their father's revolting eagerness to sacrifice his daughters' purity for the material benefit of the family. The three heroines of the film are the aforementioned Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, the maltreated but dignified Catherine of Aragon, and the title-character, Mary Boleyn, who, despite her fall, is redeemed. Knee-jerk reactionaries might be outraged at what they might see as the film's "feminist" theme, but more thoughtful reactionaries will quickly recognize the more important themes centering on abuse of power, tyranny, and sin.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Never a Dull Moment on the Korean Peninsula

    About two hours ago — 'North Korea conducted 2nd nuclear test'.

    On second thought, I take back that title. Who cares? I don't, and neither should the American government. Prof. Michael C. Desch's argument that "[t]he logic of nuclear deterrence applies as much to Iran as it did to the Soviet Union" works just as well for North Korea — Apocalypse Not.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    World Day of Prayer for the Church in China and Our Lady of Sheshan

    It was yesterday, which is still today in some parts of the world — From the land of St Benedict my thoughts go to the people of China and it’s Catholics, says Pope / Pope approves Compendium of his Letter to the Catholics of China. Regardless of what day it is, we can participate, since St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) figured out that "God exists outside of time in the 'eternal present.'"

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    Ralph Vaughan Williams' Mass in G Minor

    Bookmark and Share

    The Real President Barack Hussein Obama

  • Giving some advice to the president, Patrick J. Buchanan warns, "The crowd manipulating him into war with Iran has in mind, first, obliterating Iran; second, getting rid of him" — Did Bibi Box Obama In?


  • Matt Barganier posts a brilliant video of Rachel Maddow "explain[ing] how President Obama, principled opponent of prosecuting or even investigating past crimes, plans to lock people up for future crimes. Forever" — Face It, Progs: Obama’s a Dud.


  • "How long does it take a mild-mannered, antiwar, black professor of constitutional law, trained as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, to become an enthusiastic sponsor of targeted assassinations, 'decapitation' strategies and remote-control bombing of mud houses at the far end of the globe?" asks Alexander Cockburn — How Long It Took.
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Belarus, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine

    South Korea shares "an average of 1.2 babies per woman of reproductive age based on 2007 figures" with the above countries — S.Korea's Birthrate Remains Lowest in the World.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Former President of South Korea Roh Moo-hyun Commits Suicide


    The man who left office just last year jumped to his death from a mountain nearby his home a few hours ago — Former President Roh Dies. He was "under investigation of the alleged bribery involving his family members and long-time supporter."

    I was never a supporter of the leftist ex-president, but my life as a foreigner improved under his régime, and at the behest of my father-in-law, I visited his residence after he left office. From a year-old post of mine — Roh Moo-hyun, My Daughter, My Father-in-Law, And Me — a picture of the latter three from the ex-president's website:


    Baptised a Catholic in 1986, his faith was lapsed and he claimed to have no religion. His baptismal name was Justo. Let us pray for his soul. Suicide is a grave evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following:
      2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

      2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

      2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

      2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Il Giardino Armonico Performs Tarquinio Merula's Ciaconna

    Bookmark and Share

    Ambassador Kagefumi Ueno on Pope John Paul II and President Bush

      It is well known that the previous pope, John Paul II, voiced his objections to President Bush before the latter decided to attack Iraq in 2003. At that time, the pope's advice was not heeded by the U.S., but that does not mar the value of the pope's words and actions. On the contrary, the fact that the pope made a suggestion the U.S. did not want to listen to demonstrates the important role of the Vatican. I do believe that the international community is in need of a moral guardian like him or the secretary general of the UN. No one else could replace his role. In that sense, the pope should be deemed an international public goods or property. Irreplaceable. Not because he is the head of the Catholic Church, but just because he is capable of extending humanitarian, moral messages everywhere.
    The above comes from Sandro Magister's coverage of the address by the Japanese ambassador to the Vatican, a Buddhist-Shintoist scholar, to his fellow Asian ambassdors — All Roads Lead to Rome. Even from Asia.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    International Conscientious Objection Day and South Korea

    "Maryknoller in Korea" informs us that "[t]his year the International Conference on Conscientious Objection had as its focus the South Korean conscientious objectors' (CO) poor human rights situation" — Conscientious Objection in Korea.

    "The Catholic Church is very much on the side of conscientious objectors for those whose consciences have difficulty serving in the military," the good father notes. Acknowledging local circumstances, he continues, "The Church here in Korea has made it clear where she stands but she is also very circumspect in what she says in this area." Calling to mind one of our heroes of the faith, Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, he says, "The example of Franz will bring the subject more prominence and hopefully Korea will join the many other countries that acknowledge the right of those whose consciences do not allow them to serve in the military."

    "The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service," said a man quoted by Lew Rockwell today — Einstein Was Right.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Right Decision in Kim Ok-kyung's "Death With Dignity" Case

    News of "a landmark ruling" from South Korea's Supreme Court yesterday — Comatose Grandma Allowed to Die. The decision "allow[s] a family to remove life-support equipment from a comatose patient with no chance of recovery."

    Another report clarifies that the ruling states that "a patient should have the 'right to die with dignity' if he or she can breathe only with the help of a respirator, has no possibility of recovery, and has explicitly asked for a stop to all treatment" — Supreme Court Upholds Terminal Patient`s Right to Die. This report quotes a statement from the Protestant Severance Hospital, founded by American missionaries: "Immediately after the ruling is officially announced, we’ll decide to stop life support for the patient after reflecting the opinions of her family and the hospital`s ethics committee."

    Another report quotes a statement from the family, reading, "This was a lawsuit about the right to choose medical care, not to actively demand the right to die" — Top court upholds ‘die with dignity’ right. The same article quotes the family's lawyer as saying, "The ruling is very meaningful because it showed that a patient can be the main decision maker for the medical treatment that he or she is receiving."

    This story has appeared on the pages before — Kim Ok-kyung Is Not a Korean Terri Schiavo / Kim Ok-kyung and Catholic Teaching on Euthanasia / Korean Protestants on Euthanasia, and Catholic Teaching on the Same / An Update on the Korean "Euthanasia" Case. From the last post:
      According to local Catholic bioethics experts, the lower court's ruling is not contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

      Father Remigio Lee Dong-ik explained to UCA News Dec. 3 that if a medical procedure falls short of expectations, stopping such a procedure "with a patient's consent" can be considered "an acceptance of the human condition," as noted in Declaration on Euthanasia, a document the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued on May 5, 1980.

      Chapter IV of the Vatican document states: "When inevitable death is imminent in spite of the means used, it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted."
    The Ordinary/Extraordinary Means distinction is all-important here; feeding is an ordinary means, and can neither be rejected nor denied, while artificial ventilation is an extraordinary means, and its withdrawal must be judged on a case by case basis.

    May God rest Kim Ok-kyung's soul.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    City of Life and Death

    John M. Glionna on a film of that title — Film on Nanjing massacre shows Japanese soldiers in new light. Chinese director Lu Chuan "has been criticized by some for not portraying Japanese soldiers as monsters" and "for suggesting that some were deeply conflicted over World War II atrocities."

    The portrayal of "mass rapes, point-blank executions, public beheadings and victims buried alive" is said to be "brutal," but just "as disturbing to many filmgoers" is the portrayal of "Japanese soldiers as real people, with human flaws, some deeply conflicted over the murder and mayhem they inflict." The article reports that "a public uproar has ensued, with some viewers walking out, a few questioning the theater manager's patriotism.... Lu has even received death threats."

    "Accustomed to Japanese soldiers being demonized as mindless murderers, many were unprepared for a more balanced rendering of human frailty," suggests Mr. Glionna. But some viewers seem were prepared. A local writer said, "The atrocities were incredibly brutal, but the Japanese were still human." A 21-year-old is quoted as saying, "Governments declare wars, ordinary people fight them."

    The director "told reporters that many of the film's Japanese actors who had initially disagreed about the scope of the Imperial Army's crimes in Nanjing later found the filming difficult." He said, "They cried and asked to leave because the atrocities in the massacre, like raping and killing, drove them crazy." The director himself said of the filming, "My heart was in pain and darkness... It was like in hell."

    The director's words bring to mind the late Iris Chang, who took her own life after researching The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.

    A trailer for City of Life and Death (2009) (notice the cathedral and what appears to be an allusion to the Fall of Baghdad in 2003):


    War is truly disgusting.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "The Theology of the Church Building"

    "No more barren concrete bunkers, please!" cries Fr. Giles Dimock, OP, Professor of Theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio — Why We Need Beautiful Churches.

    Questions asked: "Why are so many modern church buildings so barren? Why have so many lovely old Irish Victorian church edifices, neo-basilican or neo-classical structures, been stripped and whitewashed away?" Questions raised and thoroughly answered: "Are beautiful sacred buildings needed? Can't we, the Body of Christ, worship anywhere?"

    Short answer: "[W]e do need beautiful sacred buildings after all, because they correspond to the needs of our religious psychology, because God used sacred places in manifesting his presence in history, because Christ dwells in his Church, and because our edifices are a sign of that indwelling, both in us and in the Eucharist which is our consolation and joy."

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Dr. Rand Paul, the Next United States Senator From Kentucky

    "In January, 1962, Carol bore Ron a son who would forever bear the mark of this fertile period of his father's intellectual development," I concluded in my chapter of Ron Paul: A Life of Ideas; it turns out I was wrong, as this video linked to by the LewRockwell.com Blog explains — Rand Paul on Ayn Rand and his name.

    The Good Doctor's son, a good doctor himself, could soon join his father is Washington — Dr. Rand Paul Considers Senate Run. Visit his Campaign HQ to learn more. It turns out he's from the town eulogized in this song:

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Cheney-Obama Ticket

    The ruse — Obama, Cheney plan dueling speeches — and the reality, explained by Paul Craig Roberts — Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney.

    Even the former article admits that "Obama’s speech is also intended to quiet the ire aimed at him from the political left." Mr. Cheney is doing his part in helping win over to Mr. Obama those "furious over his recent decisions on continuing military commissions rather than civilian trials for suspected terrorists, and his about-face in deciding to fight a court order releasing photos of detainees undergoing abuse." This, coupled by the "frequent charges from Cheney that Obama is leaving the country more vulnerable to attack," will leave both Democrats and Republicans and convinced that there is an iota of difference between the two parties when it comes to foreign policy.

    Dr. Roberts, who served as Assisstant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, reminds us that "Obama has deserted the people for the interests" and "is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway." In short, "Obama... is committed to covering up the Bush regime’s crimes and to ensuring that his own regime can continue to operate in the same illegal and unconstitutional ways." Dr. Roberts concludes, "The world, or much of it, seems to be content with the soft words that now drape Dick Cheney’s policies in pursuit of executive supremacy and U.S. hegemony."

    The fact that Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are cousins perhaps hints at just how incestuous Washington is.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Viol Pieces by Szászvárosi Sándor, Regős Júlia, and Ölveti Mátyás

    Bookmark and Share

    Fœderalism

    The Rev. Larry L. Beane II, a Lutheran Latinist, offers a lesson in language, government, and American history — The Founders Knew Latin. An excerpt:
      The founders of the American Republic knew their Latin.

      That is why they carefully chose the word "federal." In James Madison's original draft of a proposed new Constitution (the "Virginia Plan"), the word "national" was used to describe the proposed new Union. However, this word was explicitly rejected by the Constitutional Convention, specifically because the founders did not see the United States as a "nation" but rather as a "federation." Their vision was for the United States to be a union of sovereign states as opposed to a consolidation of the states into "one nation, indivisible" – and this reality is embedded in the very word "federal."

      The Latin motto "e pluribus unum" also captures the plural nature of the Union. It was never meant to be collapsed and rolled into into "one nation." This is even evident in common grammatical usage, for while the architects of the Union were still living, the singular verb "is" was not paired up with the plural subject "United States."
    "Deo gratias that the founders knew their Latin," the good pastor concludes. "And even more so, thank God they knew the danger of centralized power, leading them to establish a federation and to reject a nation."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Egalitarianianism vs. Confucianism (and My Family)

    Fellow anti-egalitarians might be interested in reading Mike Yates's account of how three foreign English teachers here are attempting to make things difficult for folks like us who have married into the culture — The ATEK Panel: Anti-ATEK.

    First, some background: Due to a large number of foreign English "teachers" here who were accused of using drugs and committing lewd acts, South Korea decided to perform drug and HIV tests on E-2 (conversation teacher) visa holders in the country, and criminal background checks on those applying for the visas. None of these checks are required of F-series visa holders (the "F" is for "family"), for reasons that should be obvious to anyone except ideological egalitarians.

    The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) issued a call ssuggesting that "[t]here is no reasonable basis to exempt Korean citizen teachers, ethnic Korean non-citizen teachers (F-4 visa holders), or non-citizen teachers married to Koreans (F-2 visa holders) from any precautionary measures that have been applied to E2 visa holders" — Equal Checks for All!

    No reasonable basis? Being married into the culture implies a certain level of commitment, and it implies both obligations and rights. You treat a son- or daughter-in-law better in your home than you treat someone hired to fix your toilet.

    Mr. Yates, "an F-2 visa holder" who is "married to a Korean and ha[s] a 10 month old baby," notes that the group was "cited as an organisation ‘for the 20,000 foreign teachers’ in South Korea, yet they had only three members" and "had managed to get appointed as the representative body for English teachers in South Korea without actually being appointed." When the "equal checks" call was issued, they were still "three guys and a website," but had made somehow it into the domestic and international press.

    Mr. Yates says that rather than "ask[ing] for ‘equal checks’ by employment type, thus bringing Korean teachers, and their unions, into the debate," the group "chose to make it an immigration issue, sacrificing the F-Visa holders." He concludes, "Whatever the reason for this, the three people who were ATEK chose to fight me. They chose to threaten my family."

    (An ATEK-operative accused me of being "a sad, sad man" for daring to call the group into question in an earlier post — Don't Victimize Me!)

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Maria Hsia Chang on Those Given Wholly to Evil

    "Many readers will find this article, a study of the nature of evil, difficult to read," she warns, noting that "our instinctive reaction to evil is revulsion" — Perfect Possession. The body of her essays begins:
      Thanks to Hollywood movies such as The Exorcist, most people know something about demonic possession, although many no doubt dismiss it as superstitious hocus pocus. Few, however, including Catholics, are aware that cases of possession that come to the attention of exorcists are only of the partial or incomplete variety. There is something worse -- total or perfect possession -- which is rarely spoken of even by the Catholic Church.
    One can't help but wonder if this might help explain these recent headlines — California Father Accused of Biting Son's Eye, Eating It and Richard McTear Charged With Throwing 3-Month Boy Out Car Window On I-275. Saying that the beasts responsible for these crimes were "perfectly possessed" would not excuse them; Prof. Chang notes that "no one can become possessed without some degree of consent," elaborating:
      It is not just the occult that poses a danger. Any activity that impairs our mind and will is a threat to the integrity of our selfhood. The activity can be engaging the occult, abusing alcohol and drugs, or indulging in "malogens." The latter is a word coined by former public defender Jay Gaskill to refer to malevolent ideas, images, and themes in popular culture that are "as dangerous to the developing mind as biological pathogens are to the developing body." Transmitted through pornography, death-obsessed music, violent movies and television, and macabre role-playing computer games, malogens celebrate violent, even homicidal imagery, and a nihilist, anti-life ethos. Teen subcultures are especially vulnerable because they are among the most under-protected targets in American society.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pope Benedict XVI's Message to Catholic Bloggers

    He asks us to promote "culture of respect, dialogue and authentic friendship where the values of truth, harmony and understanding can flourish" — Pope calls for Internet evangelists. His Holiness said:
      I am inviting all those who make use of the new technologies of communication, especially the young, to utilize them in a positive way and to realize the great potential of these means to build up bonds of friendship and solidarity that can contribute to a better world. Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world! Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    How the Life of Thomas More Kim Dae-jung Was Saved

    A Dec. 11, 1980 papal letter to South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan has been made public — John Paul II saved life of Korean President Kim Dae-jung. Kim, then leader of the democracy movement, had been sentenced to death a week earlier. After becoming president two decades later, Kim would commute the death sentence handed down on Chun.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    뿌에리 깐또레스


    Above, young singers from my diocese take Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina back to the capital of the world — Pueri Cantores of Daegu sing "Adoramus Te Christe" at Rome's Pontificium Collegium Coreanum.

    An American Catholic in Rome who saw the performace writes of being "on the verge of tears," "overcome with emotion," and "in utter astonishment" upon hearing what "was like nothing [he] ha[d] ever heard in all of his sad life" and reflecting on "the beauty, but also the loss" — Pueri Cantores of Daegu: glory from the Orient! "They ought to be world famous and sing for the Pope in private audience," he says.

    To think, these kids visited my parish a few months ago and, busy fool that I am, I did not attend. I'm sure the chance to hear them will come soon.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "I Believe in One Condom for the Prevention of A.I.D.S."

    The French First "Lady" shows that she has uncritically given assent the above article of the secularist creed with her "scathing attack on Pope Benedict XVI saying that she has allowed her Catholic faith to lapse because of his approach to contraception in Africa" — Carla Bruni criticises Pope Benedict XVI. Should we be surprised that a mistress turns out to be a sex Jacobin?

    First, saying that she "has allowed her Catholic faith" is a lie used to dramatize her rather trivial remarks, as she says very clearly, "I was born Catholic, I was baptised, but in my life I feel profoundly secular." She suggests that "the Church should evolve on this issue," saying, "It presents the condom as a contraceptive which, incidentally, it forbids, although it is the only existing protection."

    While the article doesn't examine her claim (this post will momentarily), it does mention her "depart[ure] from her post's traditional religious neutrality" and quotes a constitutional historian's opinion that "there is a certain obligation to keep counsel when one is the wife of a head of state, such comments are not opportune." Now, onto her claims.

    An article published today sheds much light — Condom Worshippers & Their Perennial Bogeymen. The article notes that "condoms are, at most hopeful estimates, only 90 percent effective against the transmission of the HIV virus." It also cites a study that found "the use of condoms resulted in a 24 percent failure rate." Average those out and we get odds slightly better than Russian roulette. The article continues:
      With a false sense of security many African men and women engage in unsafe sex practices precisely because they believe they are protected against the disease by the use of condoms. Statistics bear this out. In fact, according to statistics examined over the previous decade, the nations with the highest rate of condom availability -- South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe -- have the highest rates of HIV infection.

      By the same token, Uganda, the country with the lowest rate of condom availability has by far the lowest incidence of AIDS in the region. Uganda once had the highest rate of AIDS in the world. Starting in the late 1980s, however, the Ugandan government chose to follow a different approach to the disease than that of other African nations. Instead of handing out condoms and encouraging HIV/AIDS patients to use them, Uganda promoted abstinence before marriage and fidelity during marriage. In this country that chose the path recommended by the Catholic Church, from 1991 to 2001 the incidence of AIDS in the population dropped from 15 percent to 5 percent. Compare this to the countries that focused on condom distribution: Botswana rose to 38 percent and Zimbabwe to 32 percent by 2001; both have risen even higher since then. Though very few people seem to realize it, it's obvious that the Church, and especially the Pope, has been set up as the perennial bogeyman in this affair.
    (Here in Asia, the same trend was recently documented by the Catholic Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia (ACIM-Asia) — Tell truth about the dangers of condoms, Catholic health workers say; the group's secretary reminded us that "about 10 years after the implementation of the World Health Organization's (WHO) '100 percent condom use program' in Thailand," "Thailand had the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in Asia with 570,000 sufferers compared to 9,000 in the Philippines.")

    The article reminds the reader of the papal comments "that drove the frenzy: 'One cannot overcome the problem [of AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.'" Immediately before these words, the Vicar of Christ said, "The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids" — Pope rejects condoms for Africa. These are affirmed by the facts detailed above.

    They are also affirmed by Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, a self-described liberal and "condom heretic," who said of the Pope's comments, "Yet, in truth, current empirical evidence supports him" — The Pope May Be Right. He went on to say that "what has worked in Africa" is, "in plain language, faithful mutual monogamy or at least reduction in numbers of partners, especially concurrent ones."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    The New York Philharmonic Performs "Arirang" in P'yŏngyang

    Bookmark and Share

    The Reactionary Nature of Streetcar

    Watching A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) again the other night, I couldn't help but think that even though it was written by a gay dude, it was a profoundly reactionary work, a compliment in these quaters. Abandonment of chivalric codes was one of its main themes.

    Blanche DuBois and her sister, Stella Kowalski (née DuBois), are of the old aristocratic order of the American South, fallen tragically into terminal decline. The villain, wife-beating rapist lumpen proletarian Stanley Kowalski, in his decidely Yankee accent, claims he's "not a Pollack" but "one hundred percent American.... born and raised in the greatest country on this earth and... proud of it." Yet, he's obvioulsy rootless, as are his friends of various ethnicities.

    In the one, brief, fleeting moment of hope the viewer is offered, Blanche says, "Sometimes—there's God—so quickly!" Later, on hearing the tolling of the bells from St. Louis Cathedral, she says, "Those cathedral bells — they're the only clean thing in the Quarter." It's a horror to watch her lose the last bits of dignity on to which she holds.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Eurabia or Brave New World?

    Sandro Magister offers "[a]n extensive report from the most Islamized city in Europe" — Eurabia Has A Capital: Rotterdam. We learn that "entire neighborhoods look like the Middle East, women walk around veiled, the mayor is a Muslim, sharia law is applied in the courts and the theaters." This in a "country in which individual license is the most extensive – to the point of permitting euthanasia on children."

    Invoked is the memory of the murdered Pim Fortuyn, "the homosexual, Catholic, ex-Marxist professor who had formed his own party to save the country from Islamization." We are introduced to Bart Jan Spruyt, described as "a robust young Protestant intellectual [and] founder of the Edmund Burke Society," who says, "Pim was truly Catholic, more than we think, in his books he spoke out against modern society without fathers, without values, empty, nihilist." We are also introduced to Chris Ripke, "a well-known artist in the city," who notes that "the Muslims brought religion back to the center of social life, [a]ided by the anti-Christian elite."

    All is not well in my ancestral homeland; glad again I'm American. That said, it would be far better to live under Sharia than the T4 Euthanasia Program.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Woodrow Wilson, Republic-Wrecker

    J.K. Baltzersen of Wilson Revolution Unplugged reminds us that one of the Republic's most odious pieces of legislation was signed into law four score and a dozen years ago yesterday — Selective Service Act. Mr. Baltzersen posts this contemporary anti-family propaganda poster:


    ("America, here's my boy" was never the sentiment of my mother, and neither was it of her mother, my beloved Mississippian Yellow Dog Democrat granny, who wore a P.O.W. bracelet, and when I was at a very young age, advised me, rather commanded me, never, ever, to join the United States military. Nope, she didn't want her grandson ending up owned by the State and dead in some imperial war. Bill Kauffman, author of Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism, would recognize her.)

    I find it hard to believe how Americans were ever convinced that being involuntarily sent to Europe to die in what amounted to a personal crusade against Blessed Charles of Austria was a good idea. (If the Republic actually had been threatened, by enemies foreign rather than domestic, that would have been a different story.) As John Zmirak has noted, "Woodrow Wilson set as one of the primary war aims of the U.S. as she entered (thanks to his careful maneuvering) World War I the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy" — An Inconvenient Miracle. "As a multi-ethnic state based not on 19th century nationalism but ancient dynastic loyalty cemented by a majority Catholic faith, it offended his modern notions of what should constitute a country—and as a good Princeton academic, who was in addition convinced that he personally embodied the Will of God, Wilson knew that he could do better."

    Of course, the bête noire of Mr. Baltzersen's blog only succeeded by disappearing peace-loving folk like Eugene V. Debs with the very un-American midnight-knock-on-the-door. And how interesting it is to note that he also signed these un-American travesties into law — the Federal Reserve Act and the Revenue Act of 1913, and the Sedition Act of 1918. Contemplating the legacy of the 28th president, the words of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) come to mind: "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An Appreciation of Wilhelm Röpke

    Bart Fuller on "a man whose life and work we all should be familiar with during these days of economic turmoil," whose "observations still ring true" and who "provides wisdom for the challenges of the day" — Evangelist for Freedom.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Burke was liberal because he was conservative."

    My favorite line from Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind comes to mind reading David Bromwich's suggestion that "Burkean conservatism must be as much about civil liberties as property rights" — Right Reflections.

    The author calls it "an odd fact of American society in the past 60 years that a section of the party of improvers—the improvers of wars—have so often called themselves conservatives... It is no less strange—except that one saw it also in the 1950s—that property libertarians have so often failed to live up to their duties as civil libertarians."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Gay" Is Not the New Black

    A hometown report on some genuine community organizers who "have long opposed the march toward legal same-sex marriages" and are "also challenging the growing efforts of gay-marriage supporters to frame the issue as a civil rights cause" — Black clergy opposing gay marriage resent civil rights comparision.

    "We feel the terminology, the definition itself, has really been hijacked," said the Rev. William Gillison of Mount Olive Baptist Church, calling it "another ploy to garner more support from people who may not understand what the civil rights struggle was all about."

    "As an African-American, I don’t have a choice in the color of my skin," said Bishop Michael A. Badger of Bethesda World Harvest International Church. "I have a choice in whether I’m abstinent or not,” Badger said. “I don’t think you can compare the two."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pope Benedict XVI on the Western Confucian

    The original one, that is — Pope: Matteo Ricci, a model of evangelisation for China. The Pontiff highlighted the "harmony between the noble and millennial Chinese civilisation and the novelty of Christianity" achieved by the Jesuit missionary, whom he said was "gifted with profound faith and extraordinary cultural and academic genius."

    Noting that he "dedicated long years of his life to weaving a profound dialogue between West and East, at the same time working incisively to root the Gospel in the culture of the great people of China," the Pope suggested that "his example remains as a model of fruitful encounter between European and Chinese civilisation." The pontifical statement:
      In considering his intense academic and spiritual activity, we cannot but remain favourably impressed by the innovative and unusual skill with which he, with full respect, approached Chinese cultural and spiritual traditions. It was, in fact, this approach that characterised his mission, which aimed to seek possible harmony between the noble and millennial Chinese civilisation and the novelty of Christianity, which is for all societies a ferment of liberation and of true renewal from within, because the Gospel, universal message of salvation, is destined for all men and women whatever the cultural and religious context to which they belong.

      What made his apostolate original and, we could say, prophetic, was the profound sympathy he nourished for the Chinese, for their cultures and religious traditions. We only need to recall his Treaty on Friendship (De amicitia – Jiaoyoulun), which met with great success from its earliest edition in Nanchino in 1595. A model of dialogue and respect for other beliefs this son of your region, made friendship the guiding style of his apostolate which lasted 28 years in China. The friendship that he offered was returned in kind by the local populations thanks to the climate of respect and esteem that he sought to cultivate, concerning himself to gain an increasingly better knowledge of the traditions of the China of the time. Despite the difficulties and lack of understanding that he encountered Father Ricci remained faithful till his death, to this style of evangelisation, giving birth, we could say, to a scientific methodology and a pastoral strategy based upon, on the one hand, respect for the healthy local traditions that Chinese neophytes did not have to abandon when they embraced the Christian faith and on the other, based on the awareness that the Revelation would only further enrich and complete this. And it was from these very convictions that he, as the Fathers of the Church did before him in the encounter between the Gospel and the Greek-Roman culture, set out on his farsighted work of the inculturisation of Christianity in China, establishing a solid bond with the learned of that Nation.

      In following his example, may our communities, within which people of different cultures and religions live, grow in a spirit of welcome and reciprocal respect.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    "Now Is the Month of Maying"


    Above, the Taipei Chamber Singers perform the madrigal by Thomas Morley:
      Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing! Fa la la la la!
      Each with his bonny lass, upon the greeny grass, fa la la la la!

      The Spring, clad all in gladness, doth laugh at Winter's sadness! Fa la la la la!
      And to the bagpipes’ sound, the nymphs tread out the ground! Fa la la la la!

      Fie! Then why sit we musing, youth’s sweet delight refusing? Fa la la la la!
      Say, dainty nymphs and speak! Shall we play barley break? Fa la la la la!

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Distributivism in Korea?

    News of a South Korea political party's call for "harmony between growth and distribution, the free market and an efficient government" — Democrats unveil 'Third Way' vision.

    Not unexpectedly, "left-leaning members criticized it for diluting its ideological purity," suggesting "the new program was ambivalent and much too cautious in asserting its liberal values." (Let us remember that "conservatism is the negation of ideology" — Ten Conservative Principles by Russell Kirk.)

    I have little hope for the project; when talk of a "third way" comes from the left, it usually means something along the lines of Bill Clinton or Tony Blair, not Wilhelm Röpke.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Questioning the Blackness of Barack Hussein Obama

    "The inescapable but deliberately ignored irony about Barack Obama being installed as this nation’s first so-called black president is that being Black in ‘America’ has in reality always meant so much more than mere color pigmentation," begins — To Be Black & Head of the U.S Empire: A Contradiction in Terms.

    Says the author, "Those who choose to wrap themselves in the security blanket of the supposed wonderfulness of Obama’s so-called Blackness while ignoring the ongoing horrors that this person supports, are deeply complicitous in perpetrating the misery that this empire is heaping upon Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples both inside and outside of its physical borders." (And inside and outside the womb, I might add.)

    (As noted earlier on these pages, the woman who was "by far the leading black figure on the libertarian old right" was also actively opposed to "the idea that the only notable difference was skin color" — Zora Neale Hurston, Segregationist.")

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Church in Asia in the News

  • The priest after whom this blog was named, who "who promoted Christianity in China while introducing the country's culture to the West," and was also "a prolific writer, a Sinologist, linguist and an accomplished scientist" is being remembered as we approach four centuries after his death — Church forum discusses Father Matteo Ricci's work in China.


  • A report on the the Scola Cantorum of Saint Joseph College of Colombo — Church trains choirs in Latin hymns on growing demand. One young member rightly called it "a way to store the old traditions in the archives of young minds." "True, missionaries imposed western culture here but they came from distant lands, learned our language, underwent hardship, sacrificed their careers, died and their bones were laid to rest in our soil," said another. "Let us sing for them."


  • "If we are promoting truthful public information then tell the people that using condoms is dangerous," reads a statement issued by the Catholic Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia — Tell truth about the dangers of condoms, Catholic health workers say
    . The group's secretary reminds us that "about 10 years after the implementation of the World Health Organization's (WHO) '100 percent condom use program' in Thailand," "Thailand had the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in Asia with 570,000 sufferers compared to 9,000 in the Philippines."
  • Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    More Richard Yongjae O'Neill and Alte Musik Köln






    A follow-up to an earlier post of mine — Richard Yongjae O'Neill and Alte Musik Köln Play Baroque — with more from the same Arirang TV perfomance and the same album — Mysterioso.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saint Thomas More, Paterfamilias

    Elena Maria Vidal posts excerpts of a review of a new hagiography that hightlights the saint's "progressive educational program for all his children, including his daughters, uncommon at the time, with the highest standards of contemporary humanism," as well as the fact that he "had completely integrated the sacred and the secular in his way of life and yet steadfastly kept the public and the private aspects of his life separate" — A Daughter's Love.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    Rabbi Jacob Neusner

      Lives there a man who actually deplores Jesus' Sermon on the Mount? Yes, there does. His name is Jacob Neusner, and he is a highly esteemed and scholarly orthodox rabbi and professor, with more than 900 books to his credit, including several that take Jesus to task for His teachings.
    So begins Hurd Baruch's piece casting doubt whether "there can be an honest dialogue between the Church and representatives of Judaism about theology, as opposed to social-welfare projects" — Pope & Rabbi Square Off Over the Teachings of Jesus. The rabbi is at least right that "the conception of a Judeo-Christian tradition that Judaism and Christianity share is simply a myth in the bad old sense: a lie."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Conscience Is Innate

    "Alison Gopnik describes new experiments in developmental psychology that show everything we think we know about babies is wrong" — To Be a Baby. She explains an experiment "that’s been around for quite awhile but hasn’t been fully appreciated:"
      Two-and-a-half-year-olds already recognize the difference between moral principles and conventional principles. You can ask them if it would be okay to hit someone at daycare if everyone said it would be okay, versus asking them whether it would be okay to not hang up your coat in the cubby if everyone said it would be okay. These children say it’s never okay to hit someone, but whether or not you have to put your clothes in the cubby could change from daycare to daycare. They already seem to appreciate the difference between the kinds of morality that comes from empathy and the kind that comes from our conventional rules. From the time they are two, they recognize both are important but in different ways. That’s pretty amazing.
    Now read Peter Kreeft's explanation of "one of the only two arguments for the existence of God alluded to in Scripture, the other being the argument from design (both in Romans)" — The Argument from Conscience. You might also be interested in some of these Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God.

    [link to article via Arts & Letters Daily]

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.