Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gregorio Allegri's Miserere Performed by the Tallis Scholars


Gregorio Allegri's Miserere was "composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week" and was found to be so beautiful that, "at some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was only allowed to be performed at those particular services, adding to the mystery surrounding it." A documentary on the piece — Sacred Music: The Storyof Allegri's Miserere / The Sixteen.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

"Forget Dawkins and Hitchens"

"Listen to Josephus and Tacitus," says Michael Coren — Historic evidence for Christ. "Easter approaches and that means, of course chocolate bunnies, cream eggs and the usual new atheists explaining why it's all nonsense," Mr. Corens begins. "The new atheists are, however, actually just like the old atheists but not as intelligent or persuasive."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Remember Phoebe Prince

Elena Maria Vidal notes "the cruelty of her peers led to the destruction of the young girl's morale" — Bullying — and Rod Dreher suggests that her death "should remind us all that it is in our social nature to stand by with our hands in our pockets while the powerful exploit the weak, and even hound them to death" — The lonesome death of Phoebe Prince.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Glenn Beck Calls Dorothy Day a "Marxist" and Compares Her to Stalin

"I've never heard of her," he admits, just before calling her "the Marxist Dorothy Day" — Beck links Wallis and "Marxist Dorothy Day" in plot to pervert the Gospel and "rot us from the inside". On his show, Mr. Beck played an audio clip and offered commentary. In the clip, Rev. Wallis describes being "in the parlor of the Catholic Worker - and in walks the great lady."

Rev. Wallis continues, "Dorothy wrote a book about her life called 'Love is the Measure.' But she wasn't ever soft. Very tough." (Mr. Beck quips, "So was Stalin.") Mr. Wallis then relates what she said to him, "So you're a radical student like me, right? You're a Marxist like me, right? Yes." What Miss Day actually said was, "So you were a radical student like me, right? You were a Marxist like me, right?" The past tense is clearly heard in the full audio below, provided by Rev. Wallis himself — What Glenn Beck Doesn’t Understand About Biblical Social Justice:


Rev. Wallis recounts what Mr. Beck cut from the audio: "'And now, you’re a Catholic?' Dorothy Day asked me. 'Well, now I’m a Christian,' I said. 'You’re not a Catholic?' she chided. I lamely responded that 'some of my best friends' were Catholic, and Dorothy smiled." Robert Ellsberg, on the same website, mounts spirited a defense of "the great lady," as if she needed one — Dorothy Day: Unapologetic Radical, but no Marxist.

Now, while I've heard of Rev. Wallis, I know very little about him and suspect that my views on healthcare are closer to Beck's, if he really has any, than Wallis's. I also suspect that Servant of God Dorothy Day's are quite far from those of Wallis, who works for the Obama Régime, as this quote of hers from an old post of mine — Anarcho-Catholicism in a Nutshell — suggests:
    We believe also that the government has no right to legislate as to who can or who are to perform the Works of Mercy. Only accredited agencies have the status of tax-exempt institutions. After their application has been filed, and after investigation and long delays, clarifications, intercession, and urgings by lawyers - often an expensive and long-drawn-out procedure - this tax-exempt status is granted.

    As personalists, as an unincorporated group, we will not apply for this "privilege." We have explained to our donors many times that they risk being taxed on the gifts they send us, and a few (I can only think of two right now) have turned away from us. God raises up for us many a Habakkuk to bring his pottage to us when we are in the lion's den, or about to be, like Daniel of old.
[story via Sarah's comments on Tea Parties and the "Racist" Canard]

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Public Enemy Number One

The Ministry of Fear has identified him — Arrested Michigan Militia Leader Was A Ron Paul Fanatic. That's not the only violence the seemingly mild-mannered former obstetrician has incited: "Several other people who have engaged in anti-government violence have also been big supporters of Ron Paul, including Holocaust Museum shooter, James Von Brunn, Pittsburgh cop killer, Richard Paplowski and Pentagon shooter, John Patrick Bedell."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

How America Lost the Cold War

Michael Lind takes on "a Cold War system under which the U.S. gives away its industries while wasting taxes and the lives of its soldiers," suggesting that both "America's deepening war in Afghanistan" and "the American trade deficit... are the results of Cold War policies that made sense at one time but are now harmful to the United States" — Cold War Without End.

The author concludes, "America's out-of-touch foreign policy establishment continues to favor the policy of expanding America's geopolitical frontiers while allowing our self-interested industrial rivals to hollow out the American economy."

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tea Parties and the "Racist" Canard

  • "Liberals, who cannot understand or will not understand the interests of white America, instead resort to flinging accusations of racism," reads The American Conservative's blurb introducing David Paul Kuhn's article — The Racist Hubbub. "Gratuitous charges of racism... capture an enduring mistake of modern liberalism," a "mistake [that] disserves liberals most."

  • Patrick J. Buchanan reminds us that "neither audio nor video of this alleged incident has been produced, though TV cameras and voice recorders were everywhere on the Hill," and suggests that "exploiting these real, imaginary or hoked-up slurs to... smear opponents as racists and bigots... is the politics of desperation" — The Real Anti-Americans.

  • Daniel McCarthy of @TAC introduces us to a liberal who "doesn’t completely buy into the Left’s stereotype of the Tea Parties as racist" — Naomi Wolf: Tea Parties Fight Fascism. "Even though I’m appalled when racism surfaces," says Miss Wolf, "and I personally don’t agree with certain policy solutions and a lot of what they believe in, as someone who is very concerned about reinvigorating democracy the Tea Parties are an answer to what I asked for."
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Education of Joshua Snyder

    I'm currently reading number one on this list compiled by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), first published last year — The Fifty Best Books. "Pessimism and nostalgia at the bright dawn of the twentieth century must have seemed bizarre to contemporaries. After a century of war, mass murder, and fanaticism, we know that [the author's] insight was keen indeed."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Don't Expect a Higgs Boson Particle

    Next week, "the world's largest, most expensive physics project to date" will "to reproduce conditions that were present less than a billionth of a second after the Big Bang that created the universe, yielding particles including the elusive Higgs boson" — At Large Hadron Collider, scientists await highest-energy proton beam collision. Ain't gonna happen.

    Physicists Holger Bech Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya explained the many delays and problems with the project and suggested that it is ultimately doomed to fail, referenced in these earlier posts of mine — God vs. God Particle, Nature Abhors a Higgs Boson Particle, Time on that Time-Traveling Bird. Whatever happens, the world is not destined to end this way — Man-made Blackholes and Other Doomsday Scenarios.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Passion of Our Pope

    Pope Ratzinger is "now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus," says Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York — Pope Benedict being 'scourged at the pillar,' says New York archbishop.

    "No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI," said His Excellency. "The dramatic progress that the Catholic Church in the United States has made – documented again just last week by the report made by independent forensic auditors – could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Conversion Story Like No Other From Japan

    Ito Miyuki, 38, and her daughter, Kotone, 5, will be baptized into the Catholic faith tomorrow — Shinto Priest's Wife, Daughter Becoming Catholic. On a trip to Mother India, Mrs. Ito had been given a rosary by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, whose visage later appeared to her after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, which later disappeared.

    So much for the glorious part; now for the possibly scandalous part:
      With only a few days left before her baptism, Miyuki continues to play sacred music during her husband's ceremonies. After her baptism, she plans to continue to do so.... For some time Miyuki considered the possibility of abandoning her functions in the shrine, but she was dissuaded by a priest of the parish and the team of laymen that support her.
    Her husband's words, however, lessen the scandal a bit, at least in this blogger's mind:
      Considering my position, I can’t be baptized myself... But for my own part, I do wish I could. This area has a shrinking population, but despite this, all the residents continue to support Shinto festivals with monetary offerings. I feel I must do what I can to meet the needs of those who do so much to protect this shrine.
    The country has been notoriously impenetrable to the Gospel, at least after Japan's "Christian Century" (1549-1639). Her rural areas, like Korea's, are dying from depopulation. Only elderly farmers are left, probably not the most fertile ground for evangelization. Could this Shintō priest be delaying his own baptism that he might offer his elderly "parishioners" the only opportunity some contact, however imperfect, with the divine?

    UPDATE: Peter Kim of Totus Tuus has a post that, while not related to the story above, sheds some light on it, reminding us that the "Shinto worship of Japan was... allowed as a cultural event rather than as a religion by the Holy See" — Catholic Church and Shinto Worphip.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Happy (Belated) Persian New Year

    "Over the weekend," reports Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, "Iran hosted the presidents of Iraq, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to celebrate Nowruz, the ancient Persian new year marking the first day of spring that is celebrated by some 300 million people around the world who together form an important cultural bloc" — Iran rediscovers value of Persian roots. The author suggests that "this represents a cultural evolution in contemporary post-revolutionary Iran dominated by the Islamist discourse," saying:
      Over the past 31 years, in the complex interplay of Iran's dualistic, part Islamic, part pre-Islamic culture, the government has prioritized the Islamic and, yet, increasingly has discovered the trans-Iran potential of the pre-Islamic, particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rediscovery of cultural roots connected to Persian culture and language in certain parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus, above all Tajikstan.

      To some extent, the origin of this new "cultural offensive" by Iran should be traced to a former president, Mohammad Khatami, and his promotion of a "dialogue among civilizations", which inevitably implicated the Islamist political system in a discrete re-embrace of pre-Islamic civilization, although without ever losing the priority given to Islam.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pasana Pasyon


    Above, a video to accompany Santosh Digal's report on "a chant that tells of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus and was composed in the seventeenth century by Spanish missionaries, adapting the European biblical tradition to the oral and melodic traditions of the indigenous Filipinos" — Ancient chant reminds Filipinos of the example of Christ on the Cross.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    John Dowland's Flow My Tears Performed by Cheng-Ying Chuang and Chiao-Han Liao

    Bookmark and Share

    School-homing

    The Onion, one of the few realiable sources of news in America, reports on a new trend in which "American parents are choosing to have their children raised at school rather than at home" — Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed. An excerpt:
      Deputy Education Secretary Anthony W. Miller said that many parents who school-home find U.S. households to be frightening, overwhelming environments for their children, and feel that they are just not conducive to producing well-rounded members of society.

      Thousands of mothers and fathers polled in the study also believe that those running American homes cannot be trusted to keep their kids safe.

      "Every year more parents are finding that their homes are not equipped to instill the right values in their children," Miller said. "When it comes to important life skills such as proper nutrition, safe sex, and even basic socialization, a growing number of mothers and fathers think it's better to rely on educators to guide and nurture their kids."
    These American parents are at the forefront of implementing their Dear Leader's proposals on the subject — Barack Obama wants to emulate South Korea’s education system with “longer school days, school weeks and school years”. This country is, after all, the pioneer in school-homing, although highschool kids are at home between 1:00 AM and 7:00 AM for sleep. (It takes time to build a Brave New World.) Never mind the fact that "Obama's remarks came as a surprise to many South Koreans as the country's education system has been under constant public criticism due to its lack of creativity and heavy dependence on private tutoring" — Obama Wants To Turn U.S. Into South Korea. Just repeat, "Yes we can! Yes we can!"

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Post-Confucian Korea and Media Commodification

    Writing about the media's use of figure-skater Yuna Kim, Benson Kamary, a Kenyan graduate school student at Kosin University's Department of Christian Education, suggests that "Koreans see the world from an economic point of view powered by capitalistic materialism, which replaced Confucianism decades ago" — Wonderful but 'Commodified', "As for the role of the media in shaping the worldview," he writes, "one must understand that mass media is liturgical in nature and disseminates values that can form, manipulate and blur the way one lives."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Plato on the Reforms of Vatican II

    "The ways of poetry and music are not changed anywhere without change in the most important laws of the city," wrote the author of The Republic (4.424c), 2345 years before the Second Vatican Council.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Women and Empire

    David Swanson reviews "a detailed look at several parts of the world, starting with Latin America and the Caribbean, where the U.S. government's driving mission is the maintenance and expansion of bases, and where communism has been replaced as an excuse by drugs as much as by terrorism" — The Bases of Empire. This observation stands out:
      In the chapter on Okinawa and elsewhere in the book, and certainly in my own experience in Italy, we see the anti-bases movement being led by women. This book suggests that a woman's perspective is more strongly opposed to militarism than a man's. Sadly, this seems to be true only in nations that have been less militarized and where women have been more severely suppressed. Where militarism is fully accepted, and where women's rights include the right to join in the killing, women seem to do so. Certainly women in the United States Congress are happy to fund the empire and its wars.
    Mr. Swanson writes from the Left, with all the preconceptions that that entails. I would argue that the women he writes about, in Italy and Japan, are not "severely suppressed" but rather much freer than the ones whose "rights include the right to join in the killing."

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Ain't My Americanism

    "US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa," reports John Pilger — Have a Nice World War, Folks. An important point he makes: "Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the antiwar instincts of their own citizens." More:
      Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a "pre-fascist era". Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. "Fascism" is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is "more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent."

      This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar.
    Of course, "the antiwar instincts of their own citizens" have been pointed out many times on these pages, under the influence of Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism, but of course, it is anti-American to do so.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pope-Hating Media Jumps the Shark

    "The Pope committed genocide in Rwanda, apparently," reports David Lindsay — The Next Phase. On the bright side, he observes, "It is good to know that people have woken up to the real story in recent days, namely the baseless media vilification of the Pope and the Church because of opposition to abortion and to the neoconservative war agenda."

    And don't tell me the timing was a coincident — Pope under pressure in Holy Week. And if you thought giving Sinéad O'Connor a soapbox was ridiculous, get a load of this — Pope gunman urges Benedict to quit.

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Tristis Est Anima Mea Performed by Le Parlement de Musique

    Bookmark and Share

    Questioning the Long War Doctrine

    "Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an 'arc of instability' caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years," begins Tom Hayden — The 'Long War' quagmire. "An 80-year undeclared war would entangle 20 future presidential terms stretching far into the future of voters not yet born."

    A half-century ago, we were warned: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" — Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation). Ike continued:
      The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    America's Permanent Entangling Alliance with South Korea

    The planned "handover of full control of South Korean troops to Seoul in 2012" is running into some difficulties, with suggestions that Seoul might not want full control over its own troops after all — Delaying Troop Control Handover 'Sends Wrong Message'.

    What Doug Bandow said of Japan the other day holds true for Korea as well — Okinawa and the Problem of Empire: "Like most of Washington's military relationships, the security treaty really isn't an alliance. The treaty's terms are simple. The U.S. agrees to defend Japan. In return, Tokyo agrees to be defended."

    What the Father of Our Country said two-hundred and fourteen years ago holds true as well: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world" — George Washington's Farewell Address. "The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible," he went on to say. Five years later our third president called for "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none" — Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Cardinal Nicholas Cheong on Patriot Thomas An

    "Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, South Korea's highest-ranking catholic priest, created controversy with his remark that seemingly supported the Catholic church's posture 100 years ago in its ambiguous relationship with Ahn Jung-geun, a devout Catholic and a Korean independence fighter who gunned down Hirobumi Ito, a Japanese government official who played a prime role in Japan's advance to colonize Korea," begins this report — Cardinal’s Remark on Ahn Creates Controversy. "In his sermon this week, which marks the 100th anniversary of Ahn's patriotic act, Cheong said the church's decision 'to suspend the priesthood of a Western priest for three months for his sympathetic involvement in Ahn's final days before the latter's execution was a 'best decision' to protect the priest.'"

    Odd that such a small detail should arouse controversy, given that the overall message of the homily was, in His Eminence's words, regret that "the Korean Catholic Church hadn’t recognized An as a good Catholic," according to this report — Cardinal says ‘Patriot An’ a devoted Catholic

    [link to first article via 還淵]

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Mr. Mangjul

    "Mangjul Ilrang has one of the rarest surnames in South Korea, one that might even be considered hazardous in this country, where anti-Japanese sentiment still runs deep," begins Choe Sang-hun's very interesting article on "one man’s struggle to salvage an identity amid the turmoil that engulfed the two nations for much of the last century" — In One Surname, the Turmoil of Two Nations.

    [link via ROK Drop]

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    End Birthright Citizenship

    George Will calls for "bring[ing] the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration" — A Birthright? Maybe Not.

    My neighborhood in Pohang is crawling with little "Americans" born while their parents were studying in American graduate schools. Most of these parents did not bother to register their children as Korean citizens. (My children have dual nationality and, under Korean law, will have to renounce one of their citizenships at age 18.) These little "Americans" have zero identity with or loyalty to the land of their birth, yet will enjoy all the benefits its citzenship offers. Also, although they are Korean in language and culture, they will avoid the duties of Korean citizenship, most importantly, for males, military service.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Orlande de Lassus' Adoramus te, Christe Performed by the Dresdner Kapellknaben

    Bookmark and Share

    Are the Attacks on the Pope a Prelude to Attacks on Iran?

    I had begun to think there might be something serious in the recent allegations from the manufacturers of public opinion, until they jumped the shark by giving a has-been celebrity an authoritative voice not only in the WaPoTo Sinead O'Connor, Pope Benedict's apology for church sex abuse rings hollow — but also on CNN as well — Video: Sinead O'Connor on the Catholic Church abuse scandal. (Full disclosure: I was among the 1000 or so attendees at her first American concert at Buffalo State College in 1987 before she hit it big, and had myself a grand old time.)

    Yes, she's Irish and thinks herself a member of the clergy, but come on. The Spoof says it best — Sinead O'Connor Calls Pope a Criminal . . . Again. That first publicity stunt, back in 1992, ironically, as it will be seen, was done during her rendition of The Hon. Robert Nesta Marley's song War. She "chang[ed] one of Marley's lines so that it referred to 'sexual abuse' instead of 'racial injustice'" and "produced a copy of a photograph of Pope John Paul II, which she ripped into pieces" — Sinead O'Connor Rips It Up. (So, the stories were already old by the time they broke a decade later, in 2002, in the U.S., and 18 years later in Ireland.) Five years after her act of defiance, "she asked the Holy Father to forgive her," confessing "a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel," which she did "because I was in rebellion against the faith, but I was still within the faith."

    Enough about that fool Irishwoman; the Grey Lady has jumped into the fray — NYTimes vs. Pope Benedict: Paper Seeks to Implicate Pope in Abuse Cases. This is the "Paper of Record," so never mind that the "coverage included no new information that has not already been soundly refuted, and, in another, that the paper had unfairly targeted the pope and the Vatican for having declined to defrock a priest whose alleged crimes had occurred over two decades previous, and who was dying at the time the Vatican was informed about his misdeeds."

    The last such feeding frenzy, like this one with decades-old allegations that have suddenly, mysteriously come to light, was in 2002, just in time to lessen the sting, among Americans at least, from this inevitable story, and to make it all the easier to flush down the Orwellian memory hole — Pope condemns war in Iraq. The future pope, horrible right-wing Nazi that he was and is, was of a like mind — Cardinal Ratzinger Says U.S. Attack on Iraq Not Morally Justifiable.

    Fast forward to a little more than two years ago, and it was reported that "Iranian officials [were] quietly laying the groundwork necessary to turn to Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican diplomats for mediation if the showdown with the United States should escalate toward a military intervention" — Iran's Secret Weapon: The Pope. Iraq saw and Iran sees in the Vatican a voice crying out in the wilderness of interventionism and aggressive warfare; that voice was and will be effectively silenced by the manufacturers of public opinion.

    No, this post hasn't proven anything, but perhaps you'll remember it when the bombs start falling on Persia. The crucial question remains: Cui bono? As Black Sabbath sang in War Pigs, "Satan laughing spreads his wings."

    Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    America's Entangling "Alliance" With Japan

      Like most of Washington's military relationships, the security treaty really isn't an alliance. The treaty's terms are simple. The U.S. agrees to defend Japan. In return, Tokyo agrees to be defended. Japan long has enjoyed the benefits of the world's second largest economy while devoting a far smaller proportion of its resources than America to defense.
    So writes Doug Bandow — Okinawa and the Problem of Empire.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Plague o' Both Your Houses

    "Republicans were for President Barack Obama's requirement that Americans get health insurance before they were against it," begins this report, only novel in that it comes from the APObama's health insurance rule — it was a GOP idea.

    "The healthcare debate is as boring and stupid as every other debate in the United States," said one of our worthies back in August of last year — Thomas Fleming Weighs in on the Healthcare Debate.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thomas Tallis' Salvator Mundi Sung By the Herning Kirkes Drengekor


    Above, something for Palm Sunday, tomorrow.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    New Math and Korean Math

    "With the Boomer Revolution came the reinvention of everything we used to take for granted," begins Gavin McInnes, noting, "The first old guard institution they decided to shut down was, 'Doing the math'" — The Death of Math.

    Just this week my daughter had her first-ever test, a first-grade math placement test. (Sorry folks, I don't homeschool full-time, only after class and on weekends; I'm able to send my daughter to an excellent private school gratis.) I was surprised that the test included word problems, like, "If Minsu and Minji have 16 cookies altogether and Minsu has two more than Minji, how many do each of them have?" My daughter, after having been coached by her mother for a few days, got placed into the higher group.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Quibbles With First Principles' "Fifty Worst Books" List

    First Principles looks back at the XXthThe Fifty Worst Books. Interesting that the only two on the list I've read were Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice and The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley.

    The former is clearly the more problematic, even if Mr. Cleaver's suggestion that "rape was an insurrectionary act" was repudiated in the same book. Years later, after exile in Algeria and North Korea, Mr. Cleaver became a conservative Republican and was associated with Charles Colson's ministry. Bill Kauffman, in Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals, writes of his 1985 interview with the man: "Cleaver's Berkeley apartment, by the way, was easy to find: 'twas the only one flying an American flag."

    FP dismisses Malcolm X with this quip: "'By any means necessary'? No, violence was not, and is not, the answer." X was talking about self defense, and, as a true conservative, he always preached self-reliance and community, rather than government.

    At the same time, FP says that The Pentagon Papers "did nothing but undermine the new president’s—Nixon’s—statesmanlike efforts to salvage the mess in Vietnam bequeathed to him by JFK and LBJ." Daniel Ellsberg leak "demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates." One would hope that FP would recognize the value of a free press exposing the "unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents" rather than worship state power.

    Another quibble: FP says Profiles in Courage "[s]hould have been called, Profiles in Ghost-Writing." Does the authorship of a book that praises Robert Taft make it one of the worst books of the century?

    Quibbles aside, First Principles' list is pretty good. One need not have read most of the books to know the horrible damage they have wrought. Still, the errors on the list highlight the limited of vision of the journal and Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) conservatism.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Korean Church vs. "Green New Deal"

    A report on "the first time the [C]hurch has participated in a broad social movement in over 20 years" — Catholic churches initiate nationwide Four Rivers opposition campaign. From the report: "At about 200 Seoul churches, placards with the slogans 'Stop the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project Immediately, Which Goes Against the Order of Creation!' and 'In Every Place Through Which this River Passes are Living Things' have been hung under the name of the Seoul Diocese Committee for Priests of the Environment."

    The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project is said to "to provide water security, flood control and ecosystem vitality" and "was first announced as part of the 'Green New Deal' policy launched in January 2009" and "later included in Korea’s five-year national plan released in July 2009."

    While I happen to agree, I think this matter is outside the Church's purview. It is the place of laypeople to take up such causes. I'm disappointed that there has never been such a widespread movement among priests against abortion or contraception.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Does Quantum Physics Make Deism’s God Obsolete?"

    One of the questions asked to the "eminent particle physicist" who "helped make... the discovery of the quark" and who "in 1979, ... surprised many with the announcement that he planned to become an Anglican priest" — John Polkinghorne's Unseen Realities. His answer:
      Quantum physics shows, I think, that physics has not proved the closure of the world in terms of its own laws and equations. Physics can’t tell us that the exchange of energy between bits and pieces is the only thing that is going on in the world. Quantum theory, and in a different way chaos theory, have a more subtle picture of the world. If the world were simply mechanical, as people thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, it would just be a gigantic piece of cosmic clockwork, and its creator would be an unseen cosmic clockmaker. That’s the creator who just makes the clock and lets it tick away. Quantum theory is something more subtle than that. We can believe a world in which we ourselves interact — we’re not clockwork at all — and we can believe in a world in which God interacts. We can believe in a God who doesn’t just sit and wait for it to happen but is involved in the unfolding of creation.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Holy See vs. Grey Lady

    Exposing "the rather obvious and ignoble intention of attacking Benedict XVI and his closest collaborators at all costs" — Osservatore Romano and Vatican Press Office respond to charges by New York Times.

    Back when I hung with the Left, I used to read Lies of Our Times; she lies both ways, as do most in charge of manufacturing public opinion. It has been suggested that the such scandal was manufactured in 2002 to discredit the pope's inevitable condemnation of an unjust war of aggression planned against Iraq; could this be part of the preparation to an unjust war of aggression planned against Iran?

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Act of War?

    A report on what some are seeing as "a provocation by North Korea to start a new war on the peninsula" — South Korean ship hit in a possible torpedo attack. Yawn.

    UPDATE: This appears far worse than the normal Nork shenanigans — 40 feared missing after South Korea warship sinks—Yonhap. Pray for those conscripts; those waters would normally be unbearably cold this time of year, and it has been unseasonable cold this past month.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Bob Dylan Performs "Man of Constant Sorrow" in 1963


    Two years before the event that marks as well as any other the final death knell of Western Civilization — Dylan goes electric.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Go With the Tao

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow, an idea "so against what psychology was teaching, which was you are motivated by rewards that you can consume or use," has ancient origins, according to Todd Wright — Modern Concept of "Flow" Has its Roots in Taoism.

    "Workers are far more motivated by a matching of personal skill with the challenge that the work provides," according to Dr. Csíkszentmihályi. "Flow is what people feel when they get so involved in something that they forget time," he explains. "They don't notice how they feel – hungry, sleepy, whatever." How he came across the idea:
      The idea that would become "Flow" came to him while studying the work of artists. He noticed that they tended to fully immerse themselves in what they were doing. But when they were done, they would put it aside and begin working on the next project, seldom to revisit their prior creations.
    Mr. Wright concludes that "the basis for Csikszentmihalyi's Flow" lies in the Tao Te Ching: "If you want to accord with the Tao, just do you job, then let go."

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "The Beginning of the End of Good Friday"

    Word used by a "jubilant David Hickey, one of the Limerick pub owners who successfully sued the state for the right to do business" — End of an Irish Catholic era: Limerick pubs to open Good Friday, defy nation's 'dry' holy day.

    "This will be the first time in the history of the Republic of Ireland that pubs anywhere in the country will open on Good Friday." Why? "[B]ecause the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens of thousands of visitors."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Catholic Colbert Counters Mormon Beck

    "In response to Glenn Beck’s attacks on ’social justice’, Stephen Colbert invites James Martin, S.J. for a chat," posted by Nate Wildermuth — Running from Social Justice.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Here's to the Great State of Kerala

    Punam Dwivedi's denounces a practice that "speaks of a whole system gone corrupt, a whole society involved in conspiracy against women, against destruction of half the population of society, at the hands of monstrous practices becoming more and more rampant in a society fast losing its secular, social, and humanistic fabric" — Women Denied Right to Be Born in India. She offers some statistics:
      It is pertinent to note that the figure shows the fall in the juvenile sex ratio is much higher in the economically developed States in India. There is steep fall in sex ratio in States like, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, along with the Union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh. In Punjab there are only 874 females per 1,000 males. The situation in Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra is also similar - the females are 861, 921 and 922 respectively per 1,000 males. Kerala is the only State were females are 1,058 per 1,000 males.
    Wikipedia's page on Kerala tells us that "56 percent of Kerala residents are Hindus, 24 percent are Muslims, 19 percent are Christians" and "[i]n comparison with the rest of India, Kerala experiences relatively little sectarianism." Importantly, "Christianity reached the shores of Kerala in 52 CE with the arrival of St Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ."

    We also learn that "Kerala's society is less patriarchal than the rest of the Third World" and that "[o]wing to the former matrilineal system, women in Kerala enjoy a high social status." The state's "human development indices— primary level education, health care and elimination of poverty—are among the best in India," partly attributed to "efforts begun in the late 19th century by the kingdoms of Cochin and Travancore to boost social welfare."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Rashid Masih, Suicide?

    In posting this story a few days ago, I mentioned my reluctance because "such stories are often twisted, even in the Catholic press" — Martha and Arshad Masih. Well, the local Church's "version of events contradicted reports in the secular Italian media and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily, which said the man had been burnt to death by a Muslim" — Catholic’s suicide case sparks three-day protest.

    It would be scandalous for a a father of four to kill himself, even if he was "in despair after his wife was allegedly tortured by police." (There was no mention of rape, much less rape in front of her children, in this updated report.) Sadly, Pakistani Catholics were given an even more scandalous precedent twelve years ago — Pakistani bishop's suicide protest.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    M.A. Charpentier's Magnificat Performed by Gérard Lesne, Bernard Loonen, François Fauché & Les Arts Florissants Conducted by William Christie


    Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Magnificat, "a piece that is irresistibly advancing for about nine minutes," for today's Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    American Samoa's Congressman Questions the Empire

    "China poses certain 'challenges' but isn't a 'threat,'" said a Pentagon official testifying before the House — Velvet Imperialists. In his report, John Feffer reports what happened next:
      But if China's no threat and the Cold War has been over for a couple decades, chairman of the Asia-Pacific subcommittee Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) asked, why does the United States need so many troops stationed in Japan? Faleomavaega also wanted to know why the United States has to maintain over 700 bases around the world and tops the list of global arms exporters.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Paul Craig Roberts Signs Off

      There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

      Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

      Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

      Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

      Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

      Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.
    So begins the former editor of the Wall Street Journal and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, concluding, "The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course" — Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It. "As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Edmund Burke on Media Coverage of the Catholic Church

    "It is not with much credulity I listen to any when they speak evil of those whom they are going to plunder," he said in 1790, quoted here — Clerical abuse reports being exploited to discredit Catholics, Elizabeth Lev charges. "I rather suspect that vices are feigned or exaggerated when profit is looked for in their punishment," he said as French revolutionaries set about to destroy the Church.

    "It doesn't take the political acumen of an Edmund Burke to wonder why the Catholic Church has been singled out for this treatment," commented Ms. Lev. (Another report — The Press and the Pope's Letter on Sex Abuse.)

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Charles Carroll of Carrollton

    A review of the new biography of the Catholic Founding Father who "was equally influenced by the great Coxe and Blackstone (pillars of British juridical science), by the great Jesuits Bellarmine and Suarez, by Burke (whom he knew personally), by Addison, by David Hume’s historical/political writings, and by those of the great proto-conservative Bolingbroke" — Cicero in Rome and in Early America.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    South Korea's Self-Genocide Continues

    Bookmark and Share

    Cheju Island, Particularism and Nationalism

    "Northeast Asian nations struggling to incorporate peripheral societies in the transition from a Confucian system to a nation-state system could look at South Korea's culturally unique Jeju Island," argues Andray Abrahamian — South Korea’s Jeju, a peripheral success. "Jeju, culturally different from the rest of Korea, has long been on the fringe of central society," the author reminds us of the "'special autonomous province', which will celebrate its fourth anniversary this July."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Today's Feast of the Annunciation Is a National Holiday in Lebanon

    Thanks in part to "one of its most vigorous promoters... a Muslim" — Lebanese sheik helped get Annunciation recognized as national holiday. Sheik Mohammed Nokkari said the holiday commemorates "the best woman ever, here (on earth) and in eternity. She's above all women."

    "I felt something in my heart telling me that Mary is the one who is going to unite us," said the sheik. "God gave us Eve, as the mother of humanity. He also gave us another mother, a tender and uniting mother who is our Mother Mary." The article concludes by noting that former Polish President Lech Walesa, who "has a deep devotion to Mary," was in Lebanon for the holiday as guest speaker for the "Together Around Our Lady Mary" gathering.

    For reference, here's an article on "what is common to Islam and Christianity" — What does the Qur'an say about Mary, the mother of Jesus? (And some Protestant panic, for good measure, which at least reminds us that "the very doctrine certain liberal Christians reject--the perpetual virginity of Mary--is accepted by Muslims" — Mary-worship unites Catholicism and Islam.) Also not be missed is Fr. Ladis Cizik's "look at Islam, the Koran and Mary´s role in bringing about peace in troubled times" — Our Lady and Islam: Heaven´s Peace Plan. (She did it in Mexico — In 1531, Mary Intervened to Prevent a Clash of Civilizations.)

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Necessity of Conservatism

    "Every nation needs an intelligent and constructive form of conservatism," begins liberal columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., who confesses "respect and some real affection for conservatism and its writers and thinkers" — Three points for conservatives.

    Mr. Dionne suggests "that conservatism challenges the progressive worldview in at least three indispensable ways." Specifically, he reminds us that "conservatives are suspicious of innovation and therefore subject all grand plans to merciless interrogation" and that "conservatives respect old things and old habits." Finally, he says that "the third great contribution of conservatism [is] a suspicion of human nature and a belief that humans cannot be remolded like plastic."

    This reminder is also welcome: "It's worth remembering that not only did Hitler's staunch opponents include the German left, but also, as the historian John Lukacs has insisted, conservative traditionalists horrified by the ways in which the Nazis were ripping apart German society and how they were treating other human beings."

    With references to Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk, names rarely mentioned by most "conservatives" these days, his article concludes by suggesting that "our current forms of conservatism seem thoroughly un-conservative or, as Peter Viereck put it in the 1950s, 'pseudo-conservative,' which is an ally of pseudo-populism."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Perennialism and Freedom

    "It is only through the common efforts of all the traditional religions in the world that we can defend the value of faith for people's private and public life," read a joint declaration issued by Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Kirill and Patriarch Karekin II of Armenian Apostolic Church, reported on in this article — Hindus laud Russian and Armenian church leaders for efforts at interreligious relations.

    "Dialogue helps us to see interconnections and interdependencies between religions and even similarities in doctrines," the article quotes Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, as saying. "Religions should at least work together on common religious concerns like peace-making and peace-keeping, social and economic development, freedom and human rights."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Our Liberal Pope, Our Liberal Church

    The Guardian's John Hooper has penned an objective and interesting article on "the apparent contradiction of the current papacy – that a man as mild as Benedict should have upset more people than perhaps any pope in history" — Is the pope a reactionary or a prophet? "Benedict was once regarded as a liberal, even a radical," Mr. Hooper reminds us, going on to state that "Benedict's supporters (and even some of his detractors) argue that to see him purely as a conservative is to do him an injustice."

    "This is a pope who accepts the language of liberalism, in the original sense of the word, and wants to engage with all those who use that language, Mr. Hooper quotes Italian senator Marcello Pera, who collaborated with the pontiff on a 2004, as saying. "This is a pope who quotes Kant – a rationalist and Protestant, one of whose books was on the Index."

    Mr. Hooper closes by reminding us that "one of the key ideas in Benedict's intellectual make-up [is] that many of the most treasured (and progressive) 'western' values are inextricably bound up with Christianity and threatened by its decline." Mr. Hooper goes as far to suggest "that today's Catholic church – hostile to abortion and contraception, antipathetic to homosexuality and dismissive of the idea of women priests – might be a bastion of enlightened values."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Clerical Sexual "Abuse" and the Age of Consent

    "Most cases branded 'pedophila' are actually 'euphebophila,'" Father Dwight Longnecker recently reminded us, referring to "attraction to teenagers" — The Myth of Pedophile Priests. "Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature," the good father states, "however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality."

    Homosexualist Andrew Sullivan recently had a field day learning of "the age of sexual consent in Vatican City" — Red Hot Catholic Love - At Twelve Years' Old. To be fair, he quoted an Italian offical as noting that "Vatican State has its own criminal system based on the former Italian criminal code" and that "when there is a relationship of dependence (like teacher/student/ etc.) the age of consent is 15 years." Mr. Sullivan also pointed "[t]he only other countries with an age as low as 12 are Angola, Mexico, Philippines, and Zimbabwe" and that "[t]he lowest age in the US is 14 (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa)." In South Korea, it is 13.

    I, for one, am not the lest bit scandalized by such low age of consent laws, although personally I am inclined toward the laws in many Islamic countries in which all premarital and extramarital sex is illegal. Low age of consent laws at least recognize young adults as young adults, rather than as infants. One has to wonder how many "victims" of sexual "abuse" were consenting young adults, who should go to the confessional rather than the courts of law.

    Far be it from the Vatican to dictate other countries' age of consent laws. Priests found guilty of violating local laws should be punished. And regardless of local laws, such priests should be punished under the Code of Canon Law as well. But let's not lose our heads, or our souls, over this whole matter.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    John Donne's Annunciation, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's

      Salvation to all that will is nigh;

      That All, which always is all everywhere,

      Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,

      Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,

      Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie

      In prison, in thy womb; and though He there

      Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,

      Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.

      Ere by the spheres time was created, thou

      Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;

      Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now

      Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;

      Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,

      Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Henry Adams on the Blessed Virgin Mary

    "[T]he Virgin still remained and remains the most intensely and the most widely and the most personally felt, of all characters, divine or human or imaginary, that ever existed among men."

    So wrote America's greatest man of letters, born in 1838 "with Heaven knew how many Puritans and Patriots behind him," the grandson and great-grandson of presidents whose religion was heretical Unitarianism, in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams. Mr. Adams had much more to say of the piety of the Age of Faith:
      Men were, after all, not wholly inconsequent; their attachment to Mary rested on an instinct of self-preservation. They knew their own peril. If there was to be a future life, Mary was their only hope. She alone represented Love. The Trinity were, or was, One, and could, by the nature of its essence, administer justice alone. Only childlike illusion could expect a personal favour from Christ. Turn the dogma as one would, to this it must logically come. Call the three Godheads by what names one liked, still they must remain One; must administer one justice; must admit only one law. In that law, no human weakness or error could exist; by its essence it was infinite, eternal, immutable. There was no crack and no cranny in the system, through which human frailty could hope for escape. One was forced from corner to corner by a remorseless logic until one fell helpless at Mary's feet.

      Without Mary, man had no hope except in atheism, and for atheism the world was not ready. Hemmed back on that side, men rushed like sheep to escape the butcher, and were driven to Mary; only too happy in finding protection and hope in a being who could understand the language they talked, and the excuses they had to offer.
    One can imagine the Protestant convert devotee of this or that apologetics guru being scandalized by the above passage, but the non-Catholic self-described "conservative Christian anarchist" was writing psychology, not theology. For those of us well aware of our own peril, and interested more in saving our own souls than in theology, the passage makes perfect sense.

    Mr. Adams quotes Saint Bernard of Clairvaux: "After the Trinity, you are our ONLY hope... you are placed there as our advocate; all of us who fear the wrath of the Judge, fly to the Judge's mother, who is logically compelled to sue for us, and stands in the place of a mother to the guilty." The author describes "Mary as the ONLY court in equity capable of overruling strict law."

    Mr. Adams goes on to rebuke one Gaston Paris, a cheerless contemporary, who whines about "the infantile piety of the Middle Ages," expressions of which "have revolted the most rational piety, as well as the philosophy of modern times." Our American hero dismisses "the professor's elementary morality" with these words:
      Clearly, M. Paris, the highest academic authority in the world, thought that the Virgin could hardly, in his time, say the year 1900, be received into good society in the Latin Quarter. Our own English ancestors, known as Puritans, held the same opinion, and excluded her from their society some four hundred years earlier, for the same reasons which affected M. Gaston Paris. These reasons were just, and showed the respectability of the citizens who held them. In no well-regulated community, under a proper system of police, could the Virgin feel at home, and the same thing may be said of most other saints as well as sinners.
    "In no well-regulated community, under a proper system of police, could the Virgin feel at home, and the same thing may be said of most other saints as well as sinners."

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

    Of the Virgin, Mr. Adams says, "She was imposed unanimously by all classes, because what man wanted most in the Middle Ages was not merely law or equity, but also and particularly favour." He gives us many examples of miracles in which the "general rule of favour, apart from law, or the reverse of law, was the mark of Mary's activity in human affairs." He even explains "an entire class of her miracles, applying to the discipline of the Church!" He conlcudes, "The people loved Mary because she trampled on conventions; not merely because she could do it, but because she liked to do what shocked every well-regulated authority."

    Mr. Adams details her scandalous advocacy on behalf of "an ignorant and corrupt priest" who "had taken the precaution to make himself Mary's MAN" and a "good-for-nothing clerk, vicious, proud, vain, rude, and altogether worthless, but devoted to the Virgin." Says the author, "Mary would not have been a true queen unless she had protected her own. The whole morality of the Middle Ages stood in the obligation of every master to protect his dependent." In both cases, "her order was instantly obeyed." However, we are reminded, "She was a queen, and never for an instant forgot it, but she took little thought about her divine rights."

    Mr. Adams says, "Mary filled heaven with a sort of persons little to the taste of any respectable middle-class society, which has trouble enough in making this world decent and pay its bills, without having to continue the effort in another." Of the tradition of his forebears, which lead either to Unitarianism or, perhaps uniquely with Orestes Brownson, and almost with Mr. Adams himself, back to Catholicism, the author writes:
      Mary's treatment of respectable and law-abiding people who had no favours to ask, and were reasonably confident of getting to heaven by the regular judgment, without expense, rankled so deeply that three hundred years later the Puritan reformers were not satisfied with abolishing her, but sought to abolish the woman altogether as the cause of all evil in heaven and on earth. The Puritans abandoned the New Testament and the Virgin in order to go back to the beginning, and renew the quarrel with Eve.
    [Edited version of a two-year-old post — The Blessed Virgin Mary, Anarcho-Monarchist]

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Claudio Monteverdi's Ave Maris Stella from His "Vespers of 1610" Performed by La Fenice Under the Direction of Jean Tubéry


    Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610, "the most ambitious work of religious music before Bach," and particularly its Ave Maris Stella, "a plainsong Vespers hymn to the Virgin Mary," seem appropriate with today being the eve of that greatest of Marian solemnities, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    One can view all ninety minutes of the four-century-old masterpiece, composed for the same Faith and in the same year that Servant of God Matteo Ricci, S.J. died in China, on OedipusColoneus's Channel, along with hours upon hours of the greatest music the world has ever known.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Martha and Arshad Masih

    This horrible story has been in the news for several days, but as such stories are often twisted, even in the Catholic press, it is best to leave it the locals at the Pakistan Christian Post to tell the story — Rape of Martha and burning of her husband Arshad Masih is worst shape of enforced conversion to Islam in Pakistan.

    "Arshad Masih is fighting for life with 80% burns in Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi after his employer set him on fire on refusing to convert to Islam," the article reports, but he has since passed away. The "[r]ape of Martha Bibi [took place] before her children by Muslim police officials." The author concludes, "I appeal Christians to Hoist Banners with Prayers to Jesus Christ instead of inviting SCP, Punjab government and Federal government because no one is ready to ensure justice to us in Pakistan." Oremus...

    It has to be said, the "Christian" President Obama's bombings of Pakistan do little to help Christians living tenuously among the Muslims there.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sex Liberals and the Koran Agree...

    that "the uncompromising observance of celibacy throughout life is ultimately detrimental to the individual and the society" — Qur'an explains remedy for Catholic sexual abuse scandal. (They disagree in "that Islam only prescribes celibacy up to a point, i.e. marriage;" in contrast, sex liberalism proscribes it.) Author Qasim Rashid quotes the Koran:
      "We gave [Jesus] the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who accepted him compassion and mercy. But monasticism which they invented for themselves — We did not prescribe it for them — for the seeking of Allah’s pleasure; but they did not observe it with due observance" (57:28).
    Mr. Rashid notes that in the above, "God makes several points," first and foremost "that He did indeed reveal the Gospel to Jesus, verifying the truth of Christ." So far, so good. However, he errs in suggesting that "God juxtaposes those who accepted Jesus and received compassion and mercy with those who invented monasticism for themselves" and that "Jesus never taught monasticism, while those who invented it for themselves did so out of a lack of compassion and mercy." (For the truth on this matter, I point readers to the Gospel itself, or to The Catholic Encyclopedia's articles on Monasticism and Celibacy of the Clergy.)

    Mr. Rashid's conclusion is that reached by the sex liberal: "The child sexual abuse debacle in the Catholic Church exemplifies what happens when human nature is ignored and stifled," he writes. "If the Pope wants to save his legacy, and more importantly spare future children from suffering through this horrendous torture, he must allow Catholic Priests to marry." That claim is as easily refuted as it is oft repeated.

    "Is a priest or indeed any man prone to abuse male children likely to be cured of this evil inclination through marrying an adult woman?" asked Bess Twiston-Davies — Will abolishing celibacy end abuse scandals in the Church? "Logic aside, surely the bigger question is plainly one of right and wrong." Dr. Aquilino Polaino Lorente, a physician and psychiatrist who teaches courses on psychopathology at the University of St. Paul in Madrid, says that celibacy "blends very well with what is the realistic anthropological structure of the human condition" and that instead "sexuality today is a very confused function, [and] it is a faculty about which there are more errors than points of agreement with what human nature is" — Is Priestly Celibacy Psychologically Dangerous?

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Portions at the Last Supper

    Unlike the usual slew of anti-Catholic "journalism" this time of year, offering new "research" to disprove the Shroud of Turin or Resurrection of Jesus Christ (the latter essential to the Faith, the former inconsequential), here's a mainstream media story that actually enlightening — Super-Sizing the Last Supper.

    The article cites a International Journal of Obesity report that "look[s] at nearly a thousand years’ worth of paintings depicting that biblical meal, and concludes that the sizes of portions, plates and bread have 'increased dramatically' over that time span." The author quotes co-author Craig Wansink, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College and Presbyterian pastor as suggesting "it was a coincidence that the journal article was published in advance of the Easter holiday" and saying, "However, I’m enough of a minister to say that if the net result is that people pay more attention to Holy Thursday, fantastic."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Abortion in South Korea

    Some good news — Stricter Enforcement Of South Korean Abortion Laws Limits Access For Many Women. Specifically, "a hotline for citizens to report physicians who perform abortions and women who seek the procedure" has been set up and "abortion providers face a $2,000 fine, two years in prison and loss of their medical license, while women face a $2,000 fine and one year in prison after three convictions." Not mentioned is the fact that, as readers of this blog know, the initiative was started by ob-gyns themselves to clean up their profession.

    "South Korea now has the world's lowest birth rate -- 1.15 children per woman in 2009," the author reminds us. "The government," however, "denies a connection between the increased enforcement of antiabortion laws and the country's low birth rate." The article quites Rhee Won-hee, chief of the health ministry's Family Support Division, as saying, "The comprehensive plan is to fight rampant disrespect for the sanctity of life."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Demographics Is Destiny, In China, Too

    Dong-a Ilbo editorialist Kim Sun-deok discusses "the possible revocation of China’s one-child policy" given the economic nightmare scenario that "China is feared to start seeing an aging population in 2020 before it becomes advanced" — China’s One-Child Policy.

    Reminding us of the tragedy that "[w]ith the development of ultrasound, the abortion of female fetuses spread," Mr. Kim reports that "[t]he girl-boy ratio in China has soared from 100:108 in 1989 to 100:123 this year." He quotes the Chinese Academy of Social Science as starkly predicting, "Ten years from now, one in five boys will have no chance to find a spouse."

    "More voices in the Middle Kingdom are warning of social and political unrest, including higher incidence of kidnapping, rape and violence, resulting from frustrated bachelors who cannot find wives," reports Mr. Kim. He also suggests that as "families with sons are scrambling to increase savings to give their sons a better chance at marriage, a situation that could suppress consumption and cause an economic slump" might occur. [The Austrian School disagrees with this facile analysis.]

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Obamacare Is Corporatist, Not Socialist

    Reader Walt takes us from my comment that "this is a disaster, except that it is not so much a socialist disaster as it is a corporatist one," noting that "former Nat'l Review writer David Frum and former Clinton admininistration economist Brad Delong both have pieces this week pointing out that this bill is filled with mainly old GOP "free market" counter proposals to Hillary Care from the early nineties" and posting a link to an informative 2002 article by Robert Locke — What is American Corporatism? An excerpt:
      Unlike socialism, corporatism understands that direct government ownership of the means of production does not work, except in the limiting case of infrastructure.1 ...Corporatism blends socialism and capitalism not by giving each control of different parts of the economy, but by combining socialism's promise of a government-guaranteed flow of material goods with capitalism's private ownership and management.

      What makes corporatism so politically irresistible is that it is attractive not just to the mass electorate, but to the economic elite as well. Big business, whatever its casuists at the Wall Street Journal editorial page may pretend, likes big government, except when big government gets greedy and tries to renegotiate the division of spoils. Although big business was an historic adversary of the introduction of the corporatist state, it eventually found common ground with it.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Fryderyk Chopin's Mazurka in C Sharp Minor and Waltz in A Minor Performed by Emanuel Ax in Oświęcim


    Above, a clip from Holocaust - A music memorial film from Auschwitz to commemorate both the CCth anniversary of the composer's birth and this news of a new position for the pianist — Emanuel Ax begins L.A. Philharmonic residency.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    茶山


    Hoanyeon (還淵) has a post about the above-pictured "Confucian scholar of the Shilhak (實學, 실학), 'pragmatic learning' movement, which tried to recapture earlier original form of Confucianism, having grown disillusioned with the strict and burdensome Neo-Confucianism" — Jeong Yakyong (丁若鏞), aka Dasan (茶山).

    "Like many within this movement, he converted to Catholicism," notes Hoanyeon, "but because of the unfortunate condemnation of Chinese Rites by Rome he reverted." Hoanyeon continues, "Despite his reversion, Catholicism left a mark on him, and he had very liberal ideas -- compared to other Confucian literati at that time -- concerning God, or Sangje (上帝, 상제), and believed Him to be a benevolent and intervening." Included in the post is a translation from Classical Chinese of one of his poems, incidentally about one of the first places I fell in love with in Korea.

    I first encountered the philosopher shortly after arriving in Korea, in the last chapter of Confucian philosophy in Korea, which made a deep impression on me. Author Kim Sunghae wrote this passage, which should resound with any Catholic, conservative, classical liberal, or particularist:
      Tasan valued human culture as the concrete road to follow the way of Heaven. Culture is not just an accumulation of artificial decorations, but the very expression of the endowment given by Heaven to a community. Just as there are varietied of endowment, there are bound to be various cultures, each of which has to be respected in its own right. Tasan carefully distinguished Confucian teaching from Chinese culture, for while the former is a norm for truth, the latter can be corrupted with secular customs. He appreciated Korean culture as something equal to Chinese culture. Each culture embodies its spirit into the rites which are typified in the ritual act of sacrifice.
    Later, I would read Mark Setton's remarkable book Chong Yagyong: Korea's Challenge to Orthodox Neo-Confucianism. My reading of that book inspired a post on his religious beliefs — Confucian Monotheism — and a LewRockwell.com about his political philosophy — Tasan, Nineteenth Century Korea's Paleo-Confucian Classical Liberal.

    The philosopher and his nephew Saint Paul Chong Hasang were the protagonists of Catholic authoress Hahn Moo-Sook's excellent novel Encounter, which mentions not only that his initial conversion was brought about by his reading of The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven by Servant of God Matteo Ricci, S.J., but also that an early French history of the Church in Korea reported that he returned to the Faith before his death.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An American Maryknoll priest in Korea looks at the "regret and sorrow when our desires are not satisfied--a state of mind that Koreans call 'han'" — A Visit With The Korean 'Han'. The good padre writes:
      Whenever desires are not satisfied, it is believed that there is a build up of han, which results in a tense and anxious condition, and confused feelings that sometimes cause us to do what we know we should not do. With deep-seated han the heart is said to become heavy as if one has been sentenced to death on trumped up charges.

      This han is considered something uniquely Korean and the "soul of Korean literature," and yet it's a complex feeling difficult to describe precisely--at least 22 definitions have been attempted. Park Kyong-ni, one of Korea's most respected contemporary writers, describes it as being a feeling "both of sadness and hope at the same time," as if living at "the core of life," with its many difficulties and dualities. Sadness comes, she says, when we realize and accept that difficulties are an unavoidable part of life. Hope comes from the will to overcome the difficulties, no matter how impossible this may seem.

      Christians deal with the han by getting closer to our Lord by living the Paschal mystery. We die daily to be born again. The sorrows and failures we experience are a birth to even something better following the example of our Lord.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Ethical Stem Cells

  • News of a first-time ever procedure called "embarrassingly simple" by the doctor who performed it — Ten Year-Old Boy Receives New Trachea from his Own Stem Cells.

  • Potentially good news for sufferers of "Sickle Cell Anemia, inherited error of metabolism, Aplastic anemia, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Anoxia, Diabetes, heart diseases, Peripheral vascular diseases" — Umbilical Cord Blood: Panacea for All Diseases.
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An Igtheist's Near-Death Experience

    "A.J. Ayer was... the atheist as far as millions of Britons were concerned, ... arguing that the very idea of 'God' was devoid of meaning, a position known in theology as igtheism" — An Atheist Meets the Masters of the Universe. Things changed for him in 1988 after he had "been clinically dead for four minutes."

    His doctor reports him saying, "I saw a Divine Being. I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise all my various books and opinions." His mother-in-law said, "He became so much nicer after he died. He was not nearly so boastful. He took an interest in other people." Most interestingly, he "began spending a great deal of time with Father Frederick Copleston," the opponent of "his famous 1949 BBC radio debate about the existence or otherwise of god [sic]" and "Britain’s most formidable modern Catholic philosopher."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    South Korea's Three Religions

    "Compared with the results of the general census of 2005, which the government makes every ten years, Catholics have grown by 74% against an 18% increase in Buddhists and a 16% decrease in Protestants," according to this report by Theresa Kim Hwa-young — Church growing stronger in Korea. "Unity and hierarchical organization," under which the "Church functions as an organic body," is cited as of "the reasons for the success of Catholic evangelization in Korea." "Tolerance towards ancestral rites" is another:
      In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV prohibited devotion to ancestral rites condemning them as superstition, thus providing China and Korea an excuse to persecute Christians. But in 1939 pope Pius XI decided to allow the Confucian ancestral rite under the condition all superstitious elements were removed.
    Servant of God Matteo Ricci, S.J. (利瑪竇) held that the rite was not religious in nature, but his learned opinion did not prevent what came to be known as the Chinese Rites Controversy, and the proponents of Jansenism who took the wrong side, from blicking missionary work in the Confucian East for two centuries.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Henry Dumont's Motet Converte Oculos Tuos Performed by Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d'Astrée

    Bookmark and Share

    "The Second Vatican Catastrophe" and Clerical Abuse

      How could clergy transgress so gravely against the doctrines of the Church? What doctrines? These offences took place in the wake of Vatican II, when doctrines were being thrown out like so much lumber. These offenders were the children of Paul VI and “aggiornamento”. Once you have debauched the Mystical Body of Christ, defiling altar boys comes easily.

      The “neglected” sacraments and devotional practices that the Pope says could have prevented this did not just wither on the vine: they were actively discouraged by bishops and priests. In the period when this abuse was rampant, there was just one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: daring to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass. A priest raping altar boys would be moved to another parish; as for a priest who had the temerity to celebrate the Old Mass – his feet would not touch the ground.
    So writes Gerald Warner — Catholic sex abuse scandal: time to sack trendy bishops and restore the faith. This paragraph also stands out:
      The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites. “I am so shocked by the abuse scandal I am leaving the Church.” Right. So, the fact that some degenerates who should never have been ordained violated young people – in itself a deplorable sin – means that the Son of God did not come down to earth, redeem mankind on the cross and found the Church? This appalling scandal no more compromises the truths of the Faith than the career of Alexander VI or any other corrupt Renaissance Pope.
    Mr. Warner concludes, "Benedict XVI should take advantage of a popular wave of revulsion against the failed episcopate to sack every 1960s flared-trousered hippy who is obstructing Summorum Pontificum" and "to proclaim again the immutable truths of the One True Church that, in the glory of the Resurrection, can have no legitimate posture other than triumphalism."

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pedophilia or Euphebophilia?

    Paraphrasing "Penn State professor Philip Jenkins (who is not a Catholic)," Father Dwight Longnecker says "justice and truth demand an objective analysis of the facts" — The Myth of Pedophile Priests. After reminding us that "[s]tatistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend" and that "[a]mong clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend," Father makes these important distinctions:
    • Pedophilia and Euphebophilia are different problems. The former is sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. The latter is attraction to teenagers. Most cases branded 'pedophila' are actually 'euphebophila.'
    • Most of the cases of euphebophilia are homosexual in nature, however the politically correct do not want this problem to be associated with homosexuality.
    Having seminaries that felt no reason to expel homosexuals within an anti-Catholic society that makes "young adults" into "children" has turned out to be a recipe for disaster.

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Exporting the Korean Development Model

    "The objective of the U.S.' Peace Corps was to disseminate the values of American democracy, and Japan's goal was to improve its post-war image and to gain economic benefits," says an official of the organization reported on in this story — Korea's Overseas Volunteer Corps 3rd Largest in World. "But Korea focused on transferring the Korean model of economic development."

    Now, I don't mean to take away anything from Korean Stakhanovism's rôle in this country's rapid development. I, too, was here when the garbage trucks still blasted songs at 5:00 AM extolling people to wake up and work hard for their country. But their are other key factors that will much harder to export.

    Key to the Korean (and Japanese) development model is finding a superpower to cover your defense for decades, enabling you to divert state funds into the private corporate sector. Also key is for that ally to open its markets to your products while allowing you to close yours to hers.

    With the current economic ruin in the America, it is unlikely that she will agree to enter into many more such arrangements in the developing world. That leaves China. But something tells me that with their 5000 years of experience, the Chinese are not that stupid. After all, they never entered into such an agreement with the Northern part of this peninsula, bankrupted, not that unlike America, from its "military first" policy. Even with their "teeth and lips" closeness with North Korea, the Chinese have since the Korean War put their own interests first and foremost.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    What's in a Korean Name?

    Enough that "some 850,000 people... [have] applied to change their names" — One in 60 Koreans Want to Change Their Names. "In the past, many people wanted to change names that sounded old-fashioned or unpleasant," the article informs us, "but now an increasing number of people do so for superstitious reasons such as choosing names believed to bring prosperity."

    I know of child with cerebral palsy whose parents changed his name because it was believed his original name was in part to blame for his condition. I also know of graduate students at one of Asia's top science and technology research institutions who have changed their names because their original ones were seen as an impediment to marriage.

    I'm reminded of what Boris Yeltsin once said about the old communist leadership in the Soviet Union. He said that while an outsider might think that because they were "dialectical materialists" they would be free from superstitions, but in reality, they read everything as an omen or portent.

    Koreans are not dialectical materialists, in the South at least, but as a Marxist-leaning South Korean professor once told me, using his own mother as an example, traditionally Koreans tend to be what he called "practical materialists." One can see how in such an environment, superstitious beliefs could flourish.

    "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything," quipped G. K. Chesterton. Only Catholicism fully allows the freeing of the mind from the petty superstitions that have plagued mankind from pre-history.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.