Saturday, October 31, 2009

Peter Kim's Korean Catholic Musical Notes

  • "Sacred polyphony and Gregorian chants could be, in most cases, heard only at concerts in the Catholic Church in Korea," he says of a concert to he held at 8pm on November 6, 2009 at the Catholic Church of Bundang — Gregorian Chant Concert: Hebdomada Prima Quadragesimae. "Hopefully, they could be sung at Mass more often in the future."


  • "Really good music for cocktail party with dance, but I wish I would never hear it at the Holy Mass," he says of another that was held at 8pm on October 31, 2009 at the Catholic Church of Wondong — Jazz Mass Concert.
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    Hanns Martin-Schneidt, Bach's Cantata, Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott


    The Feast of the Reformation, marking the anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses on the doors of All Saints' Church, Wittenberg, is observed today (celebrated by some, mourned by others, forgotten by most), so the above, composed for the day, seems à propos. (Full disclosure: the High Church Lutheranism in which I was raised was my gateway drug to full-blown Catholicism.)

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    Today's American Holiday

    Ryan McMaken celebrates "a magnificent American festival" — All Hail Halloween! He writes, "The smell of candles burning inside pumpkins, the sound of crunching leaves beneath our feet, and the chance to dress up and beg for free candy are all a recipe for childhood memories that easily rival the fun of even Christmas."

    "While the idea of the jack-o-lantern may come from an Irish version made from turnips, the modern jack-o-lantern, made from pumpkins, which are native to the Americas, is as American as they come." He continues, "And when we think of the elements of Halloween with its dark forests and headless horsemen and gothic freaks and menacing ravens, we are taking a page from the works of writers like Washington Irving and the inimitable Edgar Allen Poe who is the undisputed father of the American horror movie, the ghost story, and the American folklore behind haunted houses and masquerade balls."

    Mr. McMaken begins his essay mentioning "the second British writer just this year that [he's] noticed going on a tirade against this venerable American holiday." (Need I mention the American Catholics who do the same every year?) He recalls "the one Halloween [he] spent in Rome where tiny children wandered through the streets (all dressed in identical witch or ghost costumes) and begged shopkeepers and restaurateurs for some kind of treat that [he] couldn’t identify."

    "Europeans don’t know a good Halloween any more than they know a decent hot dog," he concludes. The same can be said of Koreans, on both counts. (This will give you an idea of just how wrong this country is on that second count — Korean French-fry coated hot dog.)

    I have not yet allowed my children to celebrate Halloween outside the home, not because of any lingering puritanism, but because here in Korea they would not be able to celebrate it properly. I live in university housing where almost everyone had lived in America, and Halloween is one custom the families with kids try to bring back.

    I'm sorry, but going from apartment building to apartment building, and taking the elevator to the apartments pre-designated by the mothers' committee as participating households is not trick-or-treating. Before I had kids of my own, the kids used to come to my door, knowing that I was an American, but I never had any candy, so instead stuck a flashlight under my chin to give the kids a good scare. They haven't been back in years.

    Now, we celebrate at home, with a jack-o-lantern (the Korean pumpkin, after centuries away from its native American soil, is either too small, too green, too flat, or too tough inside, and spoils too quickly for jack-o-lanternism, but it tastes good), homemade ghost costumes, and scary stories. I hope to give my kids a good American Halloween someday back home.

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    The Sunny Side of the Downturn

    Collapsitarians aside, "one in four people are glad the world's economy slumped like it did, because it helped them realize their priorities in life, according to a global survey" — Thank heavens for the downturn? Some people think so. An excerpt
      A quarter of all respondents led by Malaysians said they were glad the world had an economic crisis as it has helped them realize what's really important in their lives.

      Nearly 60 percent said they would try their best to keep a tight rein on their spending so that it doesn't go back to what it used to be before the downturn, and over two-thirds are more interested in boosting their savings than reducing their debt.

      "The credit crunch has been felt, and it has reinforced the family values of Malaysians, helping them to appreciate what they have rather than continually strive for more," said Steve Murphy managing director of Synovate in Malaysia, Steve Murphy.

      The majority of respondents -- over 80 percent -- believed their generation had a responsibility to leave their country better off for the younger generation, even if it involves dramatically altering their lifestyles.
    My American parents and especially my grandparents taught me that thrift was a virtue, not a paradox as it is in Keynesian Economics, and when it comes to thrift, my Korean wife makes Benjamin Franklin look like a spendthrift, but this crisis, even though it has yet to affect us directly, has caused us to tighten our belts a bit. Still, I fear it will get worse. The Collapse of ‘09 may yet come to pass. The songs of yesteryear might help us get through:

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    Smart Liberals, Dumb Conservatives

    Jason Richwine debunks the tired meme and reminds us that "people who subscribe to non-traditional ideas probably have above-average intellects, but that does not mean other smart people will like those ideas, ... a point often lost on liberals who work in universities or in the news media" — Are Liberals Smarter Than Conservatives?

    Of course, "liberal thought" has become as boring and conformist as "conservative thought" in America, as Stuff White People Like shows. Perhaps the really smart people are the Paleoconservatives and Paleolibertarians, "who subscribe to non-traditional ideas" by embracing forgotten political traditions.

    I'm also willing to concede that the average atheist might be smarter than the average religious believer, but the really smart people might be the religious traditionalists, who, like the abovementioned paleos, also "subscribe to non-traditional ideas," in their case vis-à-vis modernity itself. Said G. K. Chesterton, "The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

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    W. Somerset Maugham on Travel

    "It is much better to read books of travel than to travel oneself," wisely said the greatest of travel writers, quoted by Pico Ayer in his appreciation — The Perfect Traveler. His Collected Short Stories, Vol. 4 was essential reading for me thirteen years ago, living in what was once British Malaya, the setting for many of the tales.

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    Mr. Obama, Drop the White Man's Burden

    Ray McGovern asks us to remember "all those young people from our country’s inner cities and small towns who form the pool for the de facto poverty draft that provides the bulk of U.S. troops sent off to bear the present-day White Man’s Burden" — Kipling Haunts Obama’s Afghan WarKipling Haunts Obama’s Afghan War. Mr. McGovern concludes, "You may be in a position to help give the President the wherewithal to resist pressure to escalate the war in Afghanistan."

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    Korea's Matriarchal Island


    Haenyo, the Korean island of Jeju's female divers, "are representative of the matriarchal family structure," and this article shows were that leads — Jeju Women Run the Family and Dream of Divorce.

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    As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen

    The creepy title of the autobiography of a very creepy "conservative" whom Bill Berkowitz writes about in this article — New moons are rising.

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    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Philippe Jaroussky and Marie-Nicole Lemieux Sing Arias From Antonio Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus and Stabat Mater

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    Perfect Contrition

    Stephen Hand posts something that "will present enough reason for that perfect contrition for which we pray" — When We Cannot Get to Confession: Perfect Contrition in Theory and Practice. "And we shall need it; who can guarantee us the last rites?"

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    U.S.S.A.

    "I can’t remember who it was that, watching the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain, said never in his right mind did he expect that within just a decade Washington would be the chief propagator of worldwide revolution and the Kremlin would be a relatively conservative power, guarding jealously its local sphere of influence," writes Andrew Cusack — The World Turned Upside Down.

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    "Over the years I have heard the word 'Ki' or 'Chi' used in many different ways ," says Maryknoller in Korea, suggesting "a difference in the understanding of this concept by China and Japan distinct in certain aspects from the Korean" — The Korean 'Ki' and Religion.

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    French Advice to Korea on Demographics

    Robert Koehler reports on "a seminar on family policy hosted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social and Health Affairs" — Importing Third World, Out-of-Wedlock Births Key to Boosting Birth Rates. Great. My first piece of advice would be to scrap the idea of "family policy."

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    Pat Buchanan on America's Wars

    "While these two wars have cost 5,200 dead, a trillion dollars and a divided America facing an endless war, what have we won?" asks the 1992 peace candidate — Forever War "Looking back, how has all this fighting advanced U.S. national interests?"

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    Dylan Hales on Bill Kauffman

    The Left Conservative reviews the latest book by the man who "transformed [him] from a fire-breathing leftist into a decentralist 'Americanist'" — America's First Dr. No. More on the great author:
      For a political junkie, the collected works of Bill Kauffman are the gateway drug to all things off limits. Emphasizing the “character “ in “character sketch, “ the typical offering from Kauffman is filled with witticisms and quirks of history ignored or discarded by “consensus historians.” Kauffman’s books focus on a variety of causes lost to time, historical memory, or executive privilege. From the anti-internationalism of J. Bracken Lee to the eco-anarchism of Edward Abbey and every point in-between, nary an obscurity or eccentricity of our political (or cultural) landscape has been overlooked by the self-professed “placeist” Kauffman, patriot son of Batavia, New York.
    The three books that I have read by fellow Upsate New Yorker Bill Kauffman probably did more than any other to shape my political outlook:

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    Al-Qā‘idah vs. the Middle Kingdom

    Somehow I missed the news that "in July and again in October, spokesmen for al-Qā‘idah urged jihad against China in terms eerily reminiscent of earlier pronouncements against the West" — Empire’s Heir?

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    English Is Here to Stay

      Even if the world’s currencies are someday tied to the renmimbi, English’s head start as the lingua franca of popular culture, scholarship, and international discourse would ensure its linguistic dominance. To change this situation would require a great many centuries, certainly too long a span to figure meaningfully in our assessment of the place of English in world communications in our present moment.

      And notice how daunting the prospect of Chinese as a world language is, with a writing system that demands mastery of 2,000 characters in order to be able to read even a tabloid newspaper. For all of its association with Pepsi and the CIA, English is very user-friendly as the world’s 6,000 languages go.
    Thus spake John McWhorter — The Cosmopolitan Tongue: The Universality of English. I tell my students the same thing at the beginning of each new semester. I even take it a step further; if every last native speaker of English were to die, English would survive just as Latin did in the Middle Ages.

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    Thomas An Chunggŭn Pardoned

    "The Church has highlighted a Catholic Korean’s killing of a Japanese statesman 100 years ago as an act for peace in East Asia," begins the report — Church says patriot’s assassination act justified.

    The article suggests that "An’s actions were based on his Catholic faith" and reports that "when he was a resistance army general, An always carried a rosary and prayer book." The article reminds us that "the French bishop of Korea at that time, Bishop August Mutel, condemned the assassination and An was prevented from receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick."

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    Mo Tzu

    "A crucial part of his thinking focuses on fei gong, a theory commonly translated as against 'offensive war,'" writes Francesco Sisci — China no longer a law unto itself. "This is no trivial pacifism, but claims that small states must oppose aggressive wars of larger states."

    Mo Tzu (470-391 B.C.) "despised Confucians with a passion, regarding them as uptight, egotistical, pretentious, upper class, and characterized by a mindless devotion to empty rituals" and "did not shy away from talking about religion and heaven." More:
      At the heart of his thinking was the belief that all human beings were fundamentally equal in the eyes of heaven; differences between human beings, such as status, wealth, or position, were artificial and man-made distinctions. The equality of humans before heaven mandated an overriding ethical principle for people to live by: universal love, to love every human being equally. This universal love is not sentimental mush; love for Mo Tzu was a practical thing, closely related to Confucius's jen. To love people was to take care of them, to feed them when hungry, to clothe them when naked, to house them when they are homeless. Universal love also meant avoiding any activity that might hurt another person, such as war or profiteering; universal love also meant avoiding any activity that did not directly take care of someone–for this reason, Mo Tzu rejected all the music and rituals that the Confucians were so fond of. This moral obligation to take care of fellow human beings applied to all human beings; you are responsible not only for your family and your friends, you are equally responsible for people you don't even know, such as the homeless in Spokane. If you take care of only a few people that you are intimately related to, you are practicing partial love rather than universal love. It is partial love that is responsible for all the calamities that human beings suffer.
    Interesting where he's right and where he goes wrong.

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    Taliban Victory?

    M. K. Bhadrakumar reports that "alarm bells are ringing in Central Asian capitals over a possible spillover of the Afghan war" and that "regional leaders... are bracing for a Taliban victory" — Europe stoops to conquer the Uzbeks.

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    Not Ngô

    I had thought I had spotted in error in these titles by Michael Wallach and Justin Raimondo today — Hamid Karzai: Afghanistan's Diem and Karzai as Diem. But I was wrong.

    "According to Vietnamese custom," Wikipedia's page on Ngô Đình Diệm tells us, "this person should properly be referred to by the given name Diệm.

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    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Richard Yongjae O'Neill Plays Corelli's Violin Sonata No.2, La Folia

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    Three "Crunchy" Articles From the Los Angeles Times

  • News that "a loose coalition of wine bars and shop owners is trying to define natural wine based not on grapes but on yeast" — Wild yeast, natural wine. "Biodynamic agriculture follows the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who believed in looking at a farm as a holistic organism," W. Blake Gray informs us. "It involves many Earth-friendly techniques, but at its core it's an unproven spiritual practice with planting, harvesting and bottling timed by the phases of the moon."


  • A report on "the poster child of 'Slowness'" which is "lovely and fragrant but pretty much inedible unless transformed by peeling, coring and cooking" — There's a new taste for quince. "Since the days of Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, anecdotal and scientific reports have described dessert varieties of quince that are delicious to eat fresh," says David Karp, "but whenever I encountered such fruits they tasted more like furniture than food."


  • "Farming, which many city folk once associated primarily with children's books and distinctive if not entirely flattering tan lines, is suddenly in vogue," reports Meghan Daum — Suddenly, America digs farming. "Never mind that census data tell us that fewer than half of family-run farms show a positive net income (in other words, most farmers need day jobs)," she writes. "Even though farming no longer quite makes it as 'a way of life,' it's somehow become the next best thing (or maybe an even better thing): a lifestyle."
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    Congressman Ron Paul, Confucian Gentleman

    "The US House of Representatives filed a resolution (H. Res. 784) on September 29 honoring the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius," reports Sinologist Sam Crane — Confucius in Congress. Prof. Crane includes the "[f]ull text of the resolution here for your consideration," as do I:
      Honoring the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius and recognizing his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought.

      Whereas September 28, 551 B.C., is recognized as the date on which Confucius was born in the town of Qufu, in what is now the Shandong Province of China;

      Whereas Confucius, who is one of the greatest thinkers, teachers, and social philosophers in history, developed a philosophy that has deeply influenced, and continues to influence, the social and political thought of countries around the world, including China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam;

      Whereas Confucius counseled introspection, self-cultivation, sincerity, and the observance of respect within social relationships as a means of achieving justice and attaining morality in personal and public life, reflecting a moral fiber of the highest degree;

      Whereas the teaching of Confucius that `what one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others' is a model for ethical behavior and for the promotion of harmony among us;

      Whereas Confucius taught that an ideal government is founded upon loyalty, respect for elders, and recognition of the importance of family; and Whereas Confucius taught that politicians must be models of truthfulness and morality, which serves as a reminder to all of our duty to serve with the utmost honor and respect: Now, therefore, be it

      Resolved, That the House of Representatives honors the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius and recognizes his invaluable contributions to philosophy and social and political thought.
    Congressman Ron Paul is known as "Dr. No" because he is often the sole naysayer in votes condemning some foreign country's human rights record or honoring people like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta with the Congressional Gold Medal, because the former harm the cause of peace and the latter involve the spending of other people's money (he challenged his fellow congressmen to instead donate $100 each to honor the "Saint of the Gutters"), but he voted "yes" on the above measure. Why?

    The measure, at no cost to American taxpayers, supports the cause of peace with the Sinosphere, and in a small way counters the moral grandstanding Congress has been known for over the years when it comes to China. But his "yes" vote may say something more.

    When reading the words "introspection, self-cultivation, sincerity, and the observance of respect within social relationships as a means of achieving justice and attaining morality in personal and public life, reflecting a moral fiber of the highest degree," does any politician comes to mind before Dr. Ron Paul?

    The idea that "the teaching of Confucius that `what one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others' is a model for ethical behavior and for the promotion of harmony among us" pretty much sums up the good doctor's Paleolibertarianism.

    The idea that "Confucius taught that an ideal government is founded upon loyalty, respect for elders, and recognition of the importance of family; and... that politicians must be models of truthfulness and morality, which serves as a reminder to all of our duty to serve with the utmost honor and respect" pretty much sums up the good doctor's Paleoconservatism.

    A two-year-old article of mine on the theme — Ron Paul Tzu.

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    Islamo-Creationism

    A report on "another creationist movement whose influence is growing, and which is fueling challenges to science in countries where Christianity has little sway" — Islam’s Darwin problem. "Islamic creationism does have its own distinctive character," the article suggests:
      While Islamic creationists borrow from the literature of their Christian counterparts, their concerns are not always the same. Without a Book of Genesis to account for, for example, Muslim creationists have little interest in proving that the age of the Earth is measured in the thousands rather than the billions of years, nor do they show much interest in the problem of the dinosaurs. And the idea that animals might evolve into other animals also tends to be less controversial, in part because there are passages of the Koran that seem to support it.
    Also of note is the "theological rapprochement [that] explains why creationism has gained little purchase in Iran:"
      Unlike in Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Iran’s majority religion, has an established clerical hierarchy to interpret the Koran, making Shia’ism structurally similar to Catholicism. Iran’s clerics, like the Vatican, have decided that evolution needn’t conflict with Holy Scripture.
    That duly noted, it's hard to take issue with folks who see "a scientific dictatorship under the sway of Freemasonry."

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    "The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan"


    In the above video, the Afghan parliamentarian with the "US Out of Afghanistan Now" button says, "My country this eight years has under the banner of women's rights, human rights, and democracy been occupied, so as long as these occupation forces will be in Afghanistan the worse the civil war will be" — Malalai Joya and the Tale of 2 CNNs. Poster Eric Garris, constrasts the domestic network's interview in which she was "interrupted snidely" and "cut off" with the one above in which her "anti-occupation position was highlighted up front and the interviewer was polite and respectful."

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    Rumors in Afghanistan...

    ... "that Western forces are using helicopters to transport Taliban fighters from the volatile south to the north of the country" — Helicopter rumors refuse to die. "Dozens of people claim to have seen Taliban fighters disembark from foreign helicopters in several provinces," reports Ahmad Kawoosh. "The local talk is of the insurgency being consciously moved north, with international troops ferrying fighters in from the volatile south, to create mayhem in a new location."

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    The Western Confucian at the Vatican

    News of an "event is organised to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Jesuit missionary’s death" — Matteo Ricci exhibit opens in the Vatican. A brief bio of "the first Westerner to be received at Beijing’s Imperia Court:"
      He studied Chinese culture in depth, and provided the Chinese with Western knowledge in fields like geography, astronomy, physics and geometry.

      He also presented the Christian faith as the fulfillment of China’s own religious traditions and the rediscovery of a religious Confucianism that had been lost over the centuries.

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    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat and Leben


    On Wednesdays, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary has us call to mind the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the feast for which the Lutheran composed the above cantata.

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    Some Thoughts on That Music We Call "Classical"

    A post yesterday — Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen — prompted a kind reader to send along an article by "Joe Queenan on why he thinks new classical music is absolute torture" — Admit it, you're as bored as I am.

    "There is no denying that the people filling the great concert halls of the world are conservative, and in many cases reactionary," Mr. Queenen writes. "No one can deny that audiences are conservative, whether they be Parisians rioting at the première of the Rite of Spring in 1913 or punks lobbing bottles at the art-rock group Suicide when they went on tour with the Clash," agreed Philip Ball in his article about our "our natural conservatism and love of Mozart" linked to yesterday — Who’s afraid of the avant-garde?

    (Music, of course, was one of the main concerns of that "reactionary" Confucius, which is a rationale, if one is needed, for why it is taken it up daily on these pages.)

    Of the modernists, Mr. Queenan says, "It is not the composers' fault that they wrote uncompromising music that was a direct response to the violence and stupidity of the 20th century; but it is not my fault that I would rather listen to Bach." He continues, "That's my way of responding to the violence and stupidity of the 20th century, and the 21st century as well."

    However, he lamentably calls himself "no lover of Renaissance Muzak" and proudly confesses to "own[ing] tons of records by Berg, Varèse, Webern, Rihm, Schnittke, Adès, Wuorinen, Crumb, Carter, and Babbitt," composers this blogger proudly confesses to have hardly heard of. To each his own, I say.

    Other salient points in his essay are that "jazz, lacking the immense state funding to which classical music has access, is literally dying," and that "[d]iscordant visual art does not cause visceral pain, [but] discordant music does." After suggesting that "the American public seems most taken by anachronisms (Henryk Górecki, Arvo Pärt), infantilists (Glass), eclectics (Corigliano) and atmospheric neo-Brucknerites (John Adams)," he concludes, rightly I think, that "[e]ven when the public embraces the new, what it is really looking for is the old."

    Tom Service repsonds to Mr. Queenans piece — Why Joe Queenan is wrong about new classical music. "It's fine for Joe Queenan to dislike contemporary music," says Mr. Service. "But I wonder where he's been for the last 30 years."

    He makes a fairly valid point, posting a video by Steve Reich, whose music I came to know when he was released on SST Records, along with then-favorites the Bad Brains, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, and the Minutemen. But the Reich piece is merely listenable; like the punk rockers with whom he was relased, his music is not eternal. It is interesting, but it stands out largely for its non-atonality. "Big whip," as we used to say.

    If I were to choose a piece composed in the last thirty years, it would be the Sonic Youth-influenced Richard Einhorn's 1995 "Voices of Light" soundtrack, retro-fitted to Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer's masterpiece, La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928), the stunning finale of which I post below, and which really picks up about six minutes into the clip:


    But the accessibility of the above only proves Mr. Queenan's thesis that "[e]ven when the public embraces the new, what it is really looking for is the old."

    Dmitri Shostakovich, whom I first met in a college course, was my gateway drug to classical music, but his response "to the violence and stupidity of the 20th century" mentioned by Mr. Queenan was Neoclassicism, "a 20th century development, particularly popular in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers drew inspiration from music of the 18th century."

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whom I first dismissed as pretty, I have grown to at least enjoy, but not yet love. The "Renaissance Muzak" Mr. Queenan dismisses I love, but I'm Catholic, so the Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrinas and Girolamo Frescobaldis naturally appeal to me. But perhaps due to the High Church Lutheranism in which I was raised, it is Johann Sebastian Bach whom I see towering above all.

    David Hart was right that "Bach's music contains infinite possibility and could have ended (if he had been immortal) in any number of fashions" and "further demonstrates the Christian vision of reality in how it accounts for dissonance; the music makes room for it... without degenerating into mere discord" — An Orthodox Theologian on Lutheran Bach and Pagan Wagner. Also right was the protagonist of the Catholic novel Father Elijah: An Apocalypse, who suggested that having Bach and only Bach would really be sufficient.

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    Jews

  • Mark Shea on "the weird phenomenon of secular Jews whose sacred meal is the bagel not Passover, whose sacred text is the New York Times not Torah, and who sacred event is the Holocaust, not the Exodus" — Jews who drive real Jews crazy.


  • Steve Sailer notes that "on some tests of intelligence measures, Episcopalians outscore Jews" — Episcopalians v. Jews on IQ — but on that on another "the average IQ of Jewish youngsters is 111.3, and Episcopalians 110.3" — Jews v. Episcopalians on IQ.
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    Korea's Self-Genocide Continues

    Devastating news on the demographic front — Childbirths Fall for 18th Straight Month. The article reports some other grim statistics: "[t]he number of marriages fell 2.1 percent," "[t]he number of divorces filed surged 54.7," and "population mobility increased for the second consecutive month... up 4.3 percent."

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    The Good Doctor on the State of Emergency

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    My Home State's Conservative Party

  • "For Sarah Palin, party loyalty in New York’s 23rd congressional district asks too much," says Patrick J. Buchanan — Conservatives of the Heart. "Going rogue, Palin endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava."


  • "Those who have been crying out for a 3rd party alternative to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum can only chuckle at the prospect not of a Green Party White House victory, but that the Conservatives might accomplish in the U.S. what they've done in Canada, and be the first to successfully challenge the two-party system," laments Jayne Lyn Stahl, writing from the left on the news — Here Comes That Third Party.
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    W. James Antle III on Murray Rothbard

    A look at a man who "was the spiritual godfather of the Ron Paul movement, as well as instrumental in bringing about the paleoconservative/paleolibertarian coalition that supported Pat Buchanan in the 1990s," and his "lifelong interest in practical politics" — Anarchist's Playbook.

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    Matthew Hoh, Hero

  • "His experience convinced him that the U.S. occupation is turning Aghans against us and involving us in a no-win civil war," and so he "becomes the first U.S. official to resign in protest of the Afghan War" — What Are We Fighting For?


  • "Top civilian in Southern province argues we're exacerbating the problem we're supposedly there to solve," reports Glenn Greenwald — Former Marine Captain Resigns in Protest of Afghanistan War.
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    Legio Mariæ

    The week of my joining sees in another country the return of the lay apostolate "which died in the country in 1975 when the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government" — Vietnamese priest revives Legion of Mary in Laos.

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    Family Trouble in North Korea

  • "With the March of Tribulation as the clear starting point, a big shift in the attitude of women towards divorce has been taking place in North Korea," reports Kim So Yeol — Divorce Rate Rising in North Korea.


  • "In Daehongdan and Samjiyeon, agricultural regions of Yangkang Province which the North Korean authorities have laid claim to as the 'Utopia of the Military-first Period,' the number of discharged soldiers living a sorrowful single life because their wives have left them is increasing," reports Lee Sung Jin — Broken Families a Problem in Utopia.

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    Here's to Aristocracy!

    Good news for a change from Mother England — House of Lords rejects assisted suicide.

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    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Al Ayre Español Perform Tomás Luis de Victoria's Ne Timeas Maria

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    Real American Exceptionalism

    "Americans are harder workers, more philanthropic, individualistic, self-reliant, anti-government than people in most other countries," begins Walter Williams — American Idea.

    "What accounts for what some have called American exceptionalism?" he asks. "At the heart of the American idea is the deep distrust and suspicion the founders of our nation had for government, distrust and suspicion not shared as much by today’s Americans," he answers.

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    The Antiwar Right on Mr. Obama's War

  • Leon Hadar argues that "the choices facing the U.S. in Afghanistan are unlike the dilemmas the U.S. confronted during the Vietnam War, in the same way that the "loss" of South Vietnam wasn't akin to the destruction of Czechoslovakia by Hitler's Germany" — Afghanistan Is Not Vietnam.


  • Kelley B. Vlahos explains why "there will be no Afghan security forces strong enough to 'hold and build' even if coalition forces are able to 'clear' the Pashtun strongholds of Taliban in the near future" — Afghan Army MIA.


  • "Thinking people everywhere see our Afghanistan experience as a crash of 20th-century American empire on the 21st-century rocks of reality," suggests Karen Kwiatkowski in her article on the president's "small window of opportunity to declare victory and take a step towards retroactively earning his Nobel peace prize" — Afghanistan a Success – Time to Come Home!


  • "In re Afghanistan, why, you might ask, is the world’s hugest, expensivest, most begadgeted military unable to defeat a few thousand angry tribesmen armed with AKs and RPGs?" begins Fred Reed — Surprised by Disaster.
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    The Articles Were Better

      There were four main problems with the Articles of Confederation. First, it gave the new country no authority to establish an army. Second, it had no power to make treaties with foreign governments. Third, they were unable to print money. Finally, they could not raise and collect taxes.
    So said a park ranger at the old Pennsylvania State House talking about the Continental Congress, quoted by Tom White, quoted by Lew Rockwell — Why They Hated the Articles of Confederation.

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    Was an Innocent Man Executed in Texas?

    Defense attorney Michael Snedeker, who heads "an innocence campaign for people wrongly accused or convicted of crimes against children," thinks so — The Execution of Cameron Willingham. He writes:
      The botched investigation of Willingham’s suspected arson recalls the sex abuse scandals that began during the same period — the early 1980s to the early 1990s — and whose legacy endures to this day. People continue to be convicted of crimes that never happened, based on theories that experts called scientific but which later research has shown to be nonsensical, even medieval.

      As in the sexual allegations, purported crime victims in fatal, accidental home fires tend to be young children. The mere suspicion of “harm to minors” awakens deep-seated fears that stifle common sense. Willingham’s prosecutors suggested he was a member of a Satanist cult. The evidence: his heavy-metal rock posters. Day care prosecutions featured expert assertions that the accused were sociopaths and Satanists.

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    Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen

    The subtitle of a book reviewed by Philip Ball — Who’s afraid of the avant-garde? The reviewer explains that "it takes no more cognitive effort to 'see' a painting by Mark Rothko than it does to look at wallpaper," while "sound is structured into music not on paper, nor even in the mind of the composer, but in the mind of the listener."

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    North Korea, A Country of Meetings

    Recent defector Yoo Gwan Hee says that "it is not an exaggeration to say that there is at least one meeting every 24 hours" — Why Do North Koreans Like Crude Wit? He explains, "Every week contains studies, lectures, self-criticism and evaluation meetings in each work unit, and a further two or three meetings of People’s Units to boot." More:
      A worker goes to work in the morning, whereupon s/he has to take part in a morning meeting. Then there is an evaluation meeting after work. At every meeting, they have to criticize others’. Almost every North Korean is sick and tired of every kind of meeting, indeed after defecting they often say that the best thing about South Korea is living without meetings.
    Karen De Coster was on to something when she wrote about collectivism at work — I Hate Meetings.

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    Glenn Gould Plays William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons

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    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Messrs. Adams and Jefferson in Mother England

    A report on how the two "American patriots, co-framers of the Declaration of Independence, our second and third presidents," "[s]ometimes friends, sometimes rivals," "once went tooting around the English countryside together in a hired coach" "and liked what they saw" — Adams, Jefferson hit the road in England.

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    Samantha Gailey vs. Roman Polanski

    My gut reaction was sympathy to the director whose films I like, until reading his victim's testimony, recounted here — How a girl's stark words got lost in the Polanski spectacle.

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    The Practical Politics of Swine Flu

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary," observed H. L. Mencken, an aphorism that comes immediately to mind reading this report — Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency As His Approval Rating Plummets.

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    Khrist Bhaktas

    Arturo Vasquez on the "Indian devotees of Christ who are not baptized into the Church" — The myth of “interiority”. Click on the link to learn the identity of the churchman who, "working in the Lord’s vineyard in French-speaking west Africa, almost did the exact same thing with many of the Muslim and animist populations."

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    There'll Always Be England?

    Steve Sailer says it best — British government elects a new people. "Huge increases in immigration over the past decade were a deliberate attempt to engineer a more multicultural Britain, a former Government adviser said yesterday," begins the report to which he links.

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    Korean Church and Ecclesial Community Notes

  • Visual evidence of the first two Korean priests' fluency with the Roman alphabet — St. Andrew Kim Daegon's Penmanship and The Last Mission Report of Fr. Choi Yang-Up.


  • A disappointing (and surprising) affirmation that "Anglicanism has accepted women priests and acknowledges homosexual marriages" — Korean Anglican Reply to Rome's Initiative. I agree fully with Maryknoller in Korea's conclusion: "It is hard for me to understand the reasoning behind all of this and that is precisely why I am a Catholic and he remains an Anglican."


  • While reports of "the death of a teenage Korean-American girl" suggest that she "likely died during an exorcism performed by a mudang or Korean shaman," "the Korean-American media thinks it is rather associated with exorcism practices in some Korean Protestant ecclesial communities" — Shamanism and Korean Protestantism. "There is a practice, known as the anchal prayer, wherein the person being prayed over is also subjected to hitting."
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    Queering the Environment, Queering Ourselves

    News of "official research showing that two-year-old children are at risk from a bewildering array of gender-bending chemicals in such everyday items as waterproof clothes, rubber boots, bed linen, food, nappies, sunscreen lotion and moisturising cream" — Why boys are turning into girls.

    More: "Research at Rotterdam's Erasmus University found that boys whose mothers were exposed to PCBs and dioxins were more likely to play with dolls and tea sets and dress up in female clothes." More: "Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York discovered that boys born to women exposed to phthalates had smaller penises and other feminisation of the genitals."

    This is interesting:
      Yet gender-benders are largely exempt from new EU regulations controlling hazardous chemicals. Britain, then under Tony Blair's premiership, was largely responsible for this – restricting their inclusion in the first draft of the legislation, and then causing even what was included to be watered down.Confidential documents show that it did so after pressure from George W Bush's administration, which protested that US exports "could be impacted".

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    "The Mega Corporate Destruction of Capitalism and Democracy"

    The title of a recent speech by the man who got my vote last year, reported on by Tony Norman — Nader Deserves More Respect than He Gets. The title of the speech suggests that Old Right Nader may agree with the Austrian School that giant corporations, made giant because their ties to the state, are not capitalist.

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    The Great Warren G. Harding

    Bill Bonner on "the last American president to deal honestly with a major financial crisis" — Macro for Dummies. "Every president since has tried to scam his way out of it," says Mr. Bonner.

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    Feminist Interventionism

    "Honduran women... need the Obama administration to fully grasp the plight of Honduran women and their families and then act decisively on their behalf," writes Margaret Knapke — Coup's Impact on Honduran Women.

    Saber-rattling by feminists is nothing new, as this story a few weeks ago reminded us — Code Pink now suddenly pro-occupation in Afghanistan.

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    Two on Global Warming

  • "The destruction of the earth by man-made global warming hasn't happened yet, and there are plenty of highly qualified scientists ready to say that the whole idea is a case of too many of their colleagues relying on models provided by the same computers that can't even predict what will happen to the weather next week," says Clive James— In praise of scepticism.


  • "[L]et's just stop wasting breath on global warming, the science is of such poor a quality that it should be ignored," says George Giles — Global-Warming Crusade. "It is at its heart a mendacious attempt designed to strip prosperity from millions that have it and billions more that want it."
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    Dr. Frankenhwang Convincted

    "A South Korean court Monday convicted disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk in connection with his stem-cell research, according to The Associated Press" — Disgraced Cloning Scientist Convicted. (Why does a Korean newspaper rely on The Associated Press for local news?)

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    Today's Centenary



    Today marks "the 100th anniversary of the shooting of colonial Korea’s first resident general" — Koreans find new ways to honor Ahn. Some earlier posts on the assassin — Thomas An Chunggŭn and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thomas An Chunggŭn, Korea's Visionary Nationalist and Pan-Asianist, Korea's Catholic Freedom Fighter and Assassin.

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    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Dixit Dominus (Ps. CIX) From Monteverdi's Vespro Della Beata Vergine (1610) Performed by the Monteverdi Choir, et al.

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    Refuat Ha’nefesh Refuat Ha’guf

    "Heal the spirit and heal the body," reads the Hebrew prayer for healing, quoted by Jerome Groopman, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of experimental medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a leading researcher in the fields of cancer and AIDS — The Best Medicine. The good doctor continues:
      Some may think that the sequence of this prayer, which seeks healing for the spirit before healing of the body, might indicate that the mind/spirit must be addressed in order to cure the body. But I believe this is an overly simplistic, “New Age” interpretation. Rather, the prayer acknowledges a unique truth. We all want to heal the body, to treat a specific disease and restore the physical system to health. But the reality of human life is that there comes a time when the healing of the body is impossible.

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    Bob Marley and the Wailers Perform Trenchtown Rock (1977)


    "One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain," sings The Hon. Robert Nesta Marley, lines that come to mind reading this piece by Terry Teachout — The Mystery of Music. "What is it about music that is capable of swaying human emotions?" the author asks, noting that the question is one "the guys in the white coats" cannot answer.

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    Have Russia and America Traded Places?

    That is the first idea that comes to mind reading this news that "at recent United Nations meetings [Russia] has promoted pro-natalism rather than population control and resisted attempts to get 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' language embedded in human rights instruments" — Russia champions ‘traditional values’.

    Of course, no analogy is perfect, and everyone knows that "there is a lot wrong with Russia" as the author suggests, but just twenty years ago the superpower that espoused global revolution was bogged down in a Central Asian backwater and on the verge of collapse. Today, the surviving superpower, that had once championed traditional values, is, after having espoused global revolution, bogged down in the same Central Asian backwater and also on the verge of collapse.

    In a separate but related post, Stephen Hand mentions "a priest in Russia who claimed that we now, in the West, live in a Communist society," in a post about those who brought it about — The Frankfurt School: Conspiracy to corrupt.

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    Wa Shing Ton Tzu


    Above, "[a] reverse painting on glass, 1800-5, attributed to the Chinese artist Foeiqua, ... an unauthorized copy of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Washington" — The Many Faces of George Washington. The article informs us that at the time there was "a mania for Washingtoniana" and "a considerable demand for the Chinese Washington portraits."

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    Return to Washingtonianism

    "It’s high time we adopted the isolationist policy recommended by our founding fathers," begins Jeff Huber — Make the World Go Away. "It’s time to become that kinder, gentler nation and that shining city on the hill that Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush exhorted us to be," the author concludes.

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    The Confucian Way of Dealing With Homosexualism

    It works better than oppressive laws in maintaining a normal society — Social Ostracism Stifles Sexual Minorities. In Korea's "still highly conservative, Confucian society," we happily read, "there has been little direct change in public discourse on the issue of sexual minorities," despite the fact that "the legal system has become steadily more supportive of sexual minorities."

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    Doenjang, Gochujang, and Cheonggukjang


    News of "research [which] revealed that doenjang (soybean paste) was effective in removing visceral fat; gochujang (red pepper paste) in treating high cholesterol; and cheonggukjang (rich soybean paste) in increasing the amount of muscle and controlling diabetes" — Study Proves Benefits of Korean Fermented Paste.

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    Religious Conflict in India

    Catholics are sitting this one out — In southern India, Hindu radicals declare war on Muslims over Love Jihad. The article refers to "an alleged network of Muslim men bent on enticing non Muslim women to marry Muslim men and then forcing them to convert to Islam."

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    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Glenn Gould Performs J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5

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    "Islam Has Its Luthers, Too. But Reform Is Far Away"

    "It is indeed ironic that some Catholics now advise Muslims to produce ‘Luthers’ and ‘Lutheran-style’ approaches to the Qur’an," says Aref Ali Nayed, quoted by Sandro Magister responding to an article of the latter's of the above title — A Muslim Scholar Teaches Christians How to Read the Sacred Scriptures. Six weeks ago, I agreed the article was "strange coming from a Catholic" — Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam.

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    Korean Shamanism in Virginia


    The sign above, which I encountered recently on one of my trips thorugh this country, underscores the attitude Koreans feel toward their native religion; an attitide that will only intensify with this story — Fairfax teen may have died in Korean exorcism, police say. Some background:
      Exorcisms have a long history in Korean theology, experts said. Missionaries introduced various forms of Christianity in Korea beginning in the late 18th century, but the kut ritual long predates that, experts said.

      "Historically, the Korean culture has been very deeply shaped by shamanism," said Peter Cha, a professor of pastoral theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. In Korean shamanism, a woman is typically the shaman, or mudang, and communicates with gods or spirits not only to drive out evil but also to resolve financial problems or improve a person's health.

      Cha said some Koreans "believe in multiple spirits that are active and present. Whether an illness is physical or emotional, it is evil done by these spirits."

      [....]

      John Goulde, director of the Asian studies program at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., said he had watched a number of kuts in South Korea. He said they involve holding the person down while the evil spirits are pushed out of the stomach and forced out through the throat. In a 1996 case in California, a woman who died during a Korean exorcism had suffered 16 broken ribs and a crushed heart.

      The mudang typically enters an altered state of consciousness in which spirits enter her body during the ceremony and can transmit positive power, withhold their harmful presence or communicate important messages, author John A. Grim wrote in the book "Asian Folklore Studies." Money is usually involved as payment to the spirits, and spirit power must be "correctly solicited and purchased," Grim wrote.

      Goulde said some highly educated people use mudangs rather than more modern approaches. The shaman can sometimes be connected to a Pentecostal or charismatic church, and "it's a highly emotion-packed form of religion," Goulde said. "It's very cathartic. It makes them feel good and generates support."
    [link via The Marmot's Hole]

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    The Pope's Traditionalist Ecumenism

    "The entry of anti-modernist Anglican dioceses and parishes into the Catholic Church," says Sandro Magister, suggests that '[t]he ecumenism of Pope Ratzinger appears increasingly influenced by fidelity to tradition" — Knock, and It Shall Be Opened to You. As Long As It's According to Tradition.

    "Also traditionalist are the schismatic Lefebvrist communities that Benedict XVI is making increasing efforts to bring into obedience to Rome," the author notes. "And also attached to the grand tradition are the Orthodox Churches which seem to be having more productive encounters with the current pontiff." Mr. Magister's conclusion: "Today more than ever, with Joseph Ratzinger as pope, the ecumenical journey seems not a pursuit of modernity, but a return to the terrain of tradition."

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    Korea's Inculturated Office of the Dead


    My adventure in Korean Catholicism last night — Legio Mariae and a Korean Catholic Wake — prompted Peter Kim of Totus Tuus to post the above video of "a training course for 'the Office of the Dead' in Seoul, Korea" in which participants "are singing the psalm 129 (130)" in what "sounds [like] Confucians or Buddhists reading old scriptures [a]loud" — The Office of the Dead in Traditional Korean Tune.

    I had no training course and can barely read music, but after about twenty minutes, I started to get the hang of it. The Korean gentleman who invited me to join the Legion of Mary (twice in fact, over a space of seven years, the subject of a future post entitled "Our Lady Works in Mysterious Ways"), who was well versed in the chanting, said to me afterwards, "The Office of the Dead, is fun, isn't it?" It was.

    Inculturation's proper place is in liturgies like the Office of the Dead, not the Sacrifice of the Mass. The words, translated, would have been familiar to any Catholic in any age, while the chanting brought to mind the way Koreans have been sending off their dead for millennia.

    I had first heard it with the passing of Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan earlier this year and posted a video of it — Inculturated Korean Catholic Chant.


    A Korean broadcaster said that the tradition was quite old; I could see it as having developed in the persecutions of the XIXth Century, when Korean Catholics were cut off from the priesthood and the sacraments and only had prayers to sustain their faith.

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    Wynton Marsalis Plays Haydn's Trumpet Concerto

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    Paul Craig Roberts' State of the Nation

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    An Obamacon Assesses Obama's War

  • Military historian and anti-war conservative Andrew Bacevich, who supported Mr. Obama last year, says "the president is betting his presidency on a project that is quite likely to end in failure, and at a minimum, a project that will continue through his first term and probably through his second term, if there is one" — Obama's War.


  • "The U.S. follows the Soviet Union into Afghanistan," says Prof. Bacevich reminding us, "The misguided Afghan War sounded the death knell of the Soviet empire" — These Colors Run Red.


  • "History deals rudely with the pretensions of those who presume to determine its course," says the anti-war war historian — The war we can't win.
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    Religious Conflict in Korea

    Catholics are on the sidelines — Buddhist monks, nuns say conflict with Protestants 'serious'. More from the survey of the Korean Sangha: "when asked to name a religious leader from outside their faith whom they most respected, 124 responded with 63 naming the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul and 34 choosing Blessed Teresa of Kolkata."

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    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Legio Mariae and a Korean Catholic Wake

    I went to my first Legion of Mary meeting tonight, and immediately joined afterward in the Spiritual Works of Mercy, which is the group's mission, by attending the wake of a grandmother from our parish who had passed away.

    The Office of the Dead was prayed in what was the most enculturated expression of Korean Catholicism I have witnessed to date. The words to the prayers, psalms, and litanies were all familiar, but the chant was not Gregorian but Buddhistic. It was quite moving.

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    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Musica Sacra Perform William Byrd's Sing Joyfully Unto God


    I can think of no musical offering more à propos to celebrate this week's happy news than Sing Joyfully, performed above by the Musica Sacra Choir, Auckland, New Zealand, composed by a "devout Catholic [who] managed his life in Elizabethan England as a composer for the English church" — The Double Life of William Byrd.

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    The Associated Press on the Pope's Apostolic Constitution

    I know journalists are taught to use dramatic verbs in headlines, but surely not when they distort the meaning of the story, as Nicole Winfield does — Vatican seeks to lure disaffected Anglicans. Compare AP's headline to that of CNN — Vatican welcomes Anglicans into Catholic Church.

    The verb welcome means to "to receive with professions of kindness," while lure means to "provoke someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises or persuasion." The latter's most neutral synonym is "attract," but even that would be a misrepresentation of the Apostolic constitution's original intent.

    The Traditional Anglican Communion has been asking for this for years, as its primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, makes clear in his statement that the decision "more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago" — Anglican Archbishop: Our Prayers Have Been Answered.

    Francis Eugene Cardinal George explained that "this step by the Holy See is in response to a number of requests received in Rome from groups of Anglicans seeking corporate reunion" — U.S. Catholic and Episcopalian leaders respond to Vatican’s new Anglican provision.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Primate of the Anglican Communion, who stands the most to lose by this decision, said that "in the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression" — Anglican and Catholic archbishops say declaration won't change dialogue.

    So, in her report on the "decision... reached in secret by a small cadre of Vatican officials" (at least she didn't say "cabal"), Miss Winfield, a professional journalist, is erroneous and misleading, as this blogger has proven by merely quoting a few on-line sources. The question remains, is Miss Winfield guilty of invincible ignorance (entirely likely), or of willfully impugning the motives of not only the Western World's oldest institution but of the Vicar of Christ himself?

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    Nationalism Rears Its Ugly Head in Southeast Asia

    John M. Glionna reports on "neighboring nations... engaged in a tense struggle for superiority" — Indonesia vs. Malaysia: a cultural war. The story was taken up not long ago by Sara Schonhardt, who began her report on the "long-running spats over everything from territorial boundaries to cultural ownership of culinary dishes, dances, instruments and even Malaysia's national anthem" by saying, "Similarities in culture, language and religious customs should make Indonesia and Malaysia good neighbors" — Indonesia cut from a different cloth.

    In graduate school, I had several Indonesian classmates who were friends, and upon graduation I immediately went to work in Malaysia. I found more similarities than differences between the two groups, and found both my Indonesian classmates and my Malaysian students to be among the friendliest people I had ever met.

    The idea of a Malay race may be controversial (I can't see why), but the Malay language refers to "a group of languages closely related to each other to the point of mutual intelligibility... spoken in Brunei, Indonesia (where the national language, Indonesian, is a variety of it), Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and southern Thailand." Same language, same people, I say. (The Vietnameese use the word "tiếng" to refer not only to a language, but a people, wisely I think.)

    The problem between the two countries results from the imposition of the modernist idea of the nation-state on peoples that had long had local sultanates as their form of governance. Indonesians and Malaysians have been thinking of themselves as Indonesians and Malaysians only for a few decades, and the identities were imposed top-down.

    The answer is not to abandon their Indonesian and Malaysian identity and become "citizens of the world," an impossible and dangerous dream. Rather, they would do well to rediscover their local roots. This would even give the non-Malays living in that vast region more connectedness to the land, like my Indian Malaysian friend who was fiercely proud of her native Johor Sultanate, but ambiguous about her country.

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    "There Is No Recovery; It's a Cover-Up," Says Gerald Celente

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    The Obama Régime and Its Opposition

  • "Is all this due to Obama’s race?" asks Patrick J. Buchanan, noting that "the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived" — Alienated & Radicalized.


  • William Murchison says the administration's "use of political muscle certainly isn’t without precedent" but "in the present context, that of an administration that campaigned on bringing us together . . . it’s just kind of sleazy and distasteful" — Obama and his ‘Enemy’ Fetish.
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    Two From Traditional Catholic Reflections

  • James G. Bruen, Jr., on the "choice America gives its women" — 'Bitch, Slut, or Dyke'.


  • "In Western thought, sex is the means to an end; in secular thought, sex is an end, and the secular man will use any means to get to that end," begins Vic Biorseth on — How Do You Get Rid Of The Future? 'Sex and the Masturbation Industry'.
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    David Lindsay on Geert Wilders

    The Englishman accuses the Dutchman of being "in the Pim Fortuyn tradition of opposing Islam so that the Netherlands can remain a drug-addled, whore-mongering country where the age of consent is 12, contrary to the wishes of its general public either in the staunchly Protestant north or in the devoutly Catholic south" — Geert Wilders Comes To Town.

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    The Factory of the World

    James Fallows ponders "how much long-term damage foreigners do themselves in exchange for the experience and opportunity of China" — How I Survived China. I spent all of two weeks in the country and found myself asking "would smoky urban China start killing me for real."

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    "To Believe in Strunk and White Is to Believe That Truth Exists"

    So said Mark Garvey, author of the history of a book my grandmother gave me as a kid, reviewed here by Jennifer Balderama — Style and Alchemy.

    While The Elements of Style has been dismissed as "a little bow-tie-wearing book," Mr. Garvey "argues convincingly that critics who malign 'Elements' miss the point." Miss Balderama explains that "a humorless man wouldn’t write about radiant pigs and talking spiders, and a strident prescriptivist wouldn’t declare language 'perpetually in flux . . . a living stream.'"

    "I hate the guts of English grammar," said E. B. White, but his real hatred was held for the "outraged precisionists and comma snatchers." Stuff White People Like #99 Grammar comes to mind:
      White people love rules. It explains why so they get upset when people cut in line, why they tip so religiously and why they become lawyers. But without a doubt, the rule system that white people love the most is grammar. It is in their blood not only to use perfect grammar but also to spend significant portions of time pointing out the errors of others.

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    Afghan Whigs

    Whig history, which "presents the past as an inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment, culminating in modern forms of liberal democracy and constitutional monarchy," is made in Central Asia — New Afghan elections in 14 days.

    Or is it? Was the last election illegimate because of fraud, or was it illegimate because it was an election, liberal democracy being alien to the traditions of the peoples of that country, as it has been suggested? Loya jirga is the legitimate governing tradition of that country, is it not? This upcoming election, even if it is free of fraud, runs the risk of being seen as illegimate.

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    Some Korean News of Note

  • News that "a letter composed by German Emperor Wilhelm II to Emperor Gojong (1852-1919) supporting Korea’s independence has recently been discovered" — The kaiser’s letter.


  • An interview with "Chico Bouchiki, the co-founder of legendary World Music band The Gipsy Kings," whose "new band, Chico and The Gypsies took center stage at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival Saturday" — Fraternity keeps flamenco legend going.


  • An interview with the imam of the Daegu Islamic Center, Zia ul Haq — In Daegu, a meeting of the faiths.
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    Churchmen on the End of the Henrician Schism

  • "They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church," said William Joseph Cardinal Levada, quoted in this report — Pope approves special rules and structures to welcome Anglican clergy, including married priests. "For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion," His Eminence added.


  • "The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows," said His Eminence, quoted in another report — Pope Benedict approves structure for admitting large groups of Anglicans into Catholic Church. "Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.'"


  • Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster calls it "further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition" — Anglican and Catholic archbishops say declaration won't change dialogue. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said that "in the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression."


  • "The announcement of this apostolic constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church," said the two English churchmen — Prelates Give Joint Response to Provision for Anglicans. "It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the apostolic constitution."


  • Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion said he was "profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI" — Anglican Archbishop: Our Prayers Have Been Answered. "May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity."


  • "It has been the frequently expressed hope and fervent desire of Anglican Catholics to be enabled by some means to enter into full communion with the See of Peter whilst retaining in its integrity every aspect of their Anglican inheritance which is not at variance with the teaching of the Catholic Church," said the Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of FulhamForward in Faith bishops welcome Apostolic Constitution. "We rejoice that the Holy Father intends now to set up structures within the Church which respond to this heartfelt longing. Forward in Faith has always been committed to seeking unity in truth and so warmly welcomes these initiatives as a decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England. Ut unum sint!


  • In America, Francis Eugene Cardinal George "has said the provision will serve the unity of the Church" while "[a]n Episcopalian spokesman said the full implications of the action are still being studied and ecumenical dialogue will continue" — U.S. Catholic and Episcopalian leaders respond to Vatican’s new Anglican provision.


  • His Eminence further suggested the the decision, "at the service of the unity of the Church, calls us as well to join our voices to the priestly prayer of Jesus that 'all may be one' (John 17:21) as we seek a greater communion with all our brothers and sisters with whom we share Baptism" — US Prelates Ready to Welcome Anglicans.


  • "It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism," says one prominent convert from Anglicanism — Fr. Rutler discusses Vatican's Anglican provision.


  • "A text message sent Monday evening ensured that Vatican correspondents wouldn't miss today's announcement that Benedict XVI is facilitating the process for groups of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church" — Vatican's Anglican Announcement Unexpected. "This is the first time a press conference of this kind has been announced in such a seemingly hurried way."
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    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Taipei Chamber Singers Sing Thomas Tallis and William Byrd

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    BREAKING NEWS: The End of the Henrician Schism!

    "Pope Benedict XVI approved a new church provision that will allow Anglicans to convert while maintaining many of their distinctive spiritual and liturgical traditions, Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, told a news conference Tuesday" — Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans. The details:
      The new Catholic church structures, called Personal Ordinariates, will be units of faithful established within local Catholic Churches, headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual care for Anglicans who wish to be Catholic....

      "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church," Levada said. "At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey."

      The new canonical structure is a response to the many requests that have come to the Vatican over the years from Anglicans who have become increasingly disillusioned with the progressive bent of the Anglican Communion. Many have already left and consider themselves Catholic but have not found an official home in the Catholic Church.
    Full disclosure: I spent six years as a guest of the Anglican Communion, without ever joining, and I remain grateful for the rôle it served as a true via media between the High Church Lutheranism in which I was raised and the Catholicism I would later embrace. It was a week before being confirmed an Anglican that I decided to leave, and the reasons were frankly personal rather than theological, petty rather than high-minded. The issue was money, and my being singled out publicly as a non-tither.

    It was 2002, the year the Catholic gay priest scandal broke. A year later, the Anglican gay bishop scandal would break. (This was the subject of my first ever post as a blogger; in fact, it prompted me to start blogging, for better and worse — Some Thoughts on Recent Events in the Anglican Communion.) Looking back, those scandals were as different as night and day, the former being about personal, pastoral, and episcopal failings, the latter about doctrinal error.

    Today's news is a cause for rejoicing, fitting for the Dth anniversary of the ascension to the throne of Henry VIII, Fidei defensor. In fact, in celebration, I'll dust off my 1662 Book of Common Prayer for tonight's office.

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    Beware the Neocon Coöpting of the Tea Parties

    "Ross Perot tapped into a populist anger in the 1990s; Democrats may fall prey to those same forces," begins Jonah Goldberg — Perotistas on the march.

    "The tea-party protesters are in large part the heirs of Perotism," he notes, but "[l]iberal commentators are entirely deaf to the fact that the tea partyers have considerable antipathy to both political parties." Nevertheless, his concludes, "If the GOP can convincingly align with and exploit the growing Perotista discontent, it very well might ride to victory on a tsunami the Democrats can't even see."

    So it's all about riding whatever vehicle back to power? How Machievellian! How neocon! Remember, Ross Perot "vigorously opposed the United States involvement in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War" and after "unsuccessfully [having] urged Senators to vote against the war resolution, [he] began to consider his own Presidential run."

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    Paradoxes of Thrift, Indeed

  • "What do the record-high Wall Street bonuses have in common with the record-low yields for savers?" asks Allan Sloan, answering his question, "They show yet another way that prudent people, especially those living on fixed incomes, are being cheated by the government's bailout of the imprudent" — Uncle Sam's gift to the prudent saver: Less money. He explains, "The government is spending trillions to keep interest rates down to support the economy and prop up housing prices, and those low rates have inflicted collateral damage on savers' incomes." He notes that "until rates go up, Wall Street will be chowing down on essentially free money, while fixed-income people living off their investments will have to eat into their capital, take more risk or reduce their standard of living. A nice reward from their government for a lifetime of saving."


  • "The United States must reduce its budget deficit and Asian nations must encourage more consumption in order to prevent a recurrence of the global imbalances that contributed to the financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday," begins Neil Irwin — On America's spenders and Asia's savers. More from Martin Zimmerman and Don Lee — Fed chairman urges Americans to save, Asians to spend. I don't see Asians buying it.
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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.