Saturday, October 31, 2009
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.)
Today's American Holiday
"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.
The Sunny Side of the Downturn
- 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.
Smart Liberals, Dumb 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."
W. Somerset Maugham on Travel
Mr. Obama, Drop the White Man's Burden
Korea's Matriarchal Island
As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen
Friday, October 30, 2009
Philippe Jaroussky and Marie-Nicole Lemieux Sing Arias From Antonio Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus and Stabat Mater
Labels: The Catholic Faith
French Advice to Korea on Demographics
Pat Buchanan on America's Wars
Dylan Hales on Bill Kauffman
- 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.
Al-Qā‘idah vs. the Middle Kingdom
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.
Thomas An Chunggŭn Pardoned
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."
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.
"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.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Three "Crunchy" Articles From the Los Angeles Times
Congressman Ron Paul, Confucian Gentleman
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
"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."
Rumors in Afghanistan...
The Western Confucian at the Vatican
- 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.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat and Leben
Some Thoughts on That Music We Call "Classical"
"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.
Labels: Classical Music, Confucianism, Conservatism, Early Music, Eastern Orthodoxy, Jazz, Modernist Tomfoolery, Paleoconservatism, Punk Rock, Separated Brethren, The Arts, The Catholic Faith, The Written Word
Korea's Self-Genocide Continues
The Good Doctor on the State of Emergency
My Home State's Conservative Party
W. James Antle III on Murray Rothbard
Matthew Hoh, Hero
Family Trouble in North Korea
Here's to Aristocracy!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Al Ayre Español Perform Tomás Luis de Victoria's Ne Timeas Maria
Real American Exceptionalism
"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.
The Antiwar Right on Mr. Obama's War
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.
Was an Innocent Man Executed in Texas?
- 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.
Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen
North Korea, A Country of Meetings
- 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.
Glenn Gould Plays William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons
Monday, October 26, 2009
Messrs. Adams and Jefferson in Mother England
Samantha Gailey vs. Roman Polanski
The Practical Politics of Swine Flu
There'll Always Be England?
Korean Church and Ecclesial Community Notes
Queering the Environment, Queering Ourselves
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".
"The Mega Corporate Destruction of Capitalism and Democracy"
The Great Warren G. Harding
Saber-rattling by feminists is nothing new, as this story a few weeks ago reminded us — Code Pink now suddenly pro-occupation in Afghanistan.
Two on Global Warming
Dr. Frankenhwang Convincted
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.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Dixit Dominus (Ps. CIX) From Monteverdi's Vespro Della Beata Vergine (1610) Performed by the Monteverdi Choir, et al.
Refuat Ha’nefesh Refuat Ha’guf
- 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.
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.
Have Russia and America Traded Places?
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.
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."
Return to Washingtonianism
The Confucian Way of Dealing With Homosexualism
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.
Religious Conflict in India
Friday, October 23, 2009
Glenn Gould Performs J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5
"Islam Has Its Luthers, Too. But Reform Is Far Away"
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."
The Pope's Traditionalist Ecumenism
"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."
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.
Wynton Marsalis Plays Haydn's Trumpet Concerto
Paul Craig Roberts' State of the Nation
An Obamacon Assesses Obama's War
Religious Conflict in Korea
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Legio Mariae and a Korean Catholic Wake
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.
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.
The Associated Press on the Pope's Apostolic Constitution
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?
Nationalism Rears Its Ugly Head in Southeast Asia
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.
"There Is No Recovery; It's a Cover-Up," Says Gerald Celente
The Obama Régime and Its Opposition
Two From Traditional Catholic Reflections
David Lindsay on Geert Wilders
The Factory of the World
"To Believe in Strunk and White Is to Believe That Truth Exists"
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.
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.
Some Korean News of Note
Churchmen on the End of the Henrician Schism
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Taipei Chamber Singers Sing Thomas Tallis and William Byrd
BREAKING NEWS: The End of the Henrician Schism!
- 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.
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.
Beware the Neocon Coöpting of the Tea Parties
"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."