Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Messe Et Motets Pour La Vierge Performed by Le Concert des Nations, Directed by Jordi Savall


Above, one-and-a-half hours of some of the greatest music ever composed with which to welcome Mary's Month of May.

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Mary and Her Muslim Children

"I would say Muslims have more veneration of Mary -- those who are believing Muslims -- than most Christians today," says Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, quoted in an article linked to by Daniel Nichols — Muslims and Mary. Citing "the decline of Marion [sic] veneration in Christianity," Mr. Moynihan continues, "She is not out of the picture, but she is not woven into the warp and woof of the faith. That shattered with the confrontation with the modern world."


In contrast, also quoted is a Muslim woman named Aynur Gunenc, who says, "For us, Mary is a symbol of purity and patience, honesty and believing 100 per cent in God, even when things are difficult. I am full of respect and love for her." (Above, a perfect image for Mary's Month of May: a still from an Iranian made-for-TV-movie called Saint Mary / Mary Mother of Jesus (as); it seems that Iran's TV programming after the Islamic Revolution is quite different from ours after the Sexual Revolution.)

The article suggests that "Mary is also a bridge between Islam and Christianity, something Pope Benedict XVI touched on in his recent trip to Turkey," in which he "pointed to her as an explicit link between Islam and Christianity, stressing that a common devotion to Mary can help bind the two faiths," bringing to mind Father 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.

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Their Beatitudes on Syria

"The movements and revolts that are shaking Syria worry the Churches and Christians," says Melkite Patriarch Grégoire III (Loutfi) Laham, pictured below, noting that "every revolt in the Middle East was followed by a large wave of Christian emigration to Europe, America or Australia" — Syria: Melkite Patriarch on fears of a future of chaos and fundamentalism.


"Some Muslim scholars also are concerned about a possible depletion of Christians in Syria," said His Beatitude, "and are demanding their presence be defended and safeguarded." Asked to "explain the West’s exaltation of the Syrian protests," His Beatitude responded, "There are political problems and pressures to shake up the balance of power in the Middle East: the alliance with Iran [and Syria-ed], Israel’s concern... In all things that happen in the Middle East, there is always a link with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, war, emigration."

That "link with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, war, emigration" is where Their Malatitudes, "[t]hree of the Senate’s most enthusiastic hawks, Sens. John McCain (R – AZ), Joe Lieberman (I – CT), and Lindsay Graham (R – SC)," come in, "hav[ing] issued a joint statement on Thursday demanding that President Obama publicly order Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign immediately" — Senate Hawks Push for Obama Move Against Syria. The article notes that Israel-firster "Sen. Lieberman... has been calling for a war in Syria since late last month, saying Libya set a precedent for such an attack." Taking into account the "life-style" choices of the other two, it's not surprising they are unconcerned about Christians, except domestic ones at election time.

Srđa Trifković concurred with the Patriarch: "The prospect of a fundamentalist victory strikes horror into the hearts of Alawites, Druze, Christians, and secularists of all hues, who provide the bulk of government cadres and a third of Syria’s population" — Syria: Nowhere Near Regime Change. He notes that the "present connection with Iran is neither natural nor inevitable," as Bashar al-Assad "is a secularist with Alawite roots."


Lest we think the Christians there are none of our concern, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, pictured above, extols: "Christians who come from the West must not simply help our Church; [t]hey should consider themselves a part of this Church, which is their Mother Church" — Outcome of "Arab Spring" Uncertain, Says Patriarch.

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In Defense of McCarthyism

Elena Maria Vidal remembers "Whittaker Chambers and his courage in exposing communist agents in the United States government, particularly the State Department official Alger Hiss" — History’s Witness. She writes:
    Every high school student—and Hollywood producer—knows about McCarthyism; those who were blacklisted are considered political martyrs. The House Un-American Activities Committee is popularly seen as a sort of Spanish Inquisition that sought to destroy innocent screenwriters. Yet the Hiss case has been frequently misrepresented, when it is remembered at all.
Justin Raimondo not long ago observed that "the collapse of the Soviet empire has meant the implosion of the liberal delusion that McCarthyism was a mean-spirited campaign of lies and smears based entirely on the ambition and alcohol-fueled paranoia of one flawed human being, whose name has become synonymous with witch-hunting" — Seeing Reds. He explained "the real history and nature of McCarthyism, which pointed to an internal enemy, rather than the alleged external military threat from the Soviet Union, as the main danger to America," continuing:
    This is why liberal anti-Communists, and the intellectual predecessors of today’s neoconservatives, recoiled at the sight of the populist McCarthy rallying millions of Americans against their own government and the elites who controlled it. This is why the postwar remnants of the old “isolationist” America First movement were such ardent McCarthyites—aside from the sheer joy of getting back at the leftists, like Dickstein, who had conducted an anti-rightist inquisition during the war years.

    If the main danger was at home, then we need not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. Such an ardent McCarthyite and Taft Republican as the novelist Louis Bromfield, in his forgotten classic A New Pattern for a Tired World (1954), referred to the Soviets’ “ramshackle empire,” and characterized the Marxist movement as an “international psychopathic cult,” which could not long survive without infusions of technology and aid from the West. The alleged “threat” posed by the Soviet Union was minor, he declared, compared to the threat to our old Republic represented by militarism, the arms race, and the distortion of our economic and political life by the rise of an American empire.

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In Praise of Oriental Organic Farming

    If the agricultural lands of the United States are ever called upon to feed even 1200 millions of people, a number proportionately less than one-half that being fed in Japan today, very different practices from those we are now following will have been adopted. We can believe they will require less human bodily effort and be more efficient. But the knowledge which can make them so is not yet in the possession of our farmers, much less the conviction that plant feeding and more persistent and better directed soil management are necessary to such yields as will then be required.
So wrote Franklin Hiram King, in his 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan), hailing the "intensive application of an important fundamental principle only recently understood and added to the science of agriculture, namely, the power of organic matter, decaying rapidly in contact with soil, to liberate from it soluble plant food."

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Final Solution For Autism?

Extending late-term abortion by just a year could see the end of the disorder — New Screening Test May Detect Autism In Kids As Young As One Year. At last count, 92% of cases of another condition that makes the able uncomfortable have been eliminated — Final Solution for Down Syndrome.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Francis Poulenc's Violon Performed by Patricia Petibon and Susan Manoff

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Why Literature Is Impossible in the Post-West

Mark T. Mitchell notes that "in no way are the differences between [Jane] Austen’s world and ours more manifest than in the area of sex" — Pride and Prejudice and Porn. He contrasts today's world in which "anonymous sex is not a scandal but, it would seem, the ideal," with Miss Austin's "comedy of manners, especially manners governing the relationships between men and women," continuing:
    [T]he cultural whiplash one feels when moving from the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy to our world of hook-ups and porn is disconcerting. Try, for instance, to imagine Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Lizzy and Fitz no doubt) hooking up. It is impossible. Given who they are and the value they place on propriety, constancy, amiability, and marriage, to imagine them participating in the hook-up culture is to debase them. It is to seriously damage their integrity as persons. How could it do anything less?

    We must, at the same time, acknowledge that sexual rogues were not invented in our day. Mr. Wickham lurks in the pages of the novel, yet social conventions weigh heavily upon him and while he seems quite willing to accept the sexual favors of the foolish Lydia, forces are quickly arrayed to compel them to marry. Mr. Collins, himself, is convinced that when a woman says no, she really means yes and therefore continues to ply is modest charms on Elizabeth who refuses him in the most strenuous terms. Yet Mr. Collins, to his credit, is appealing for Elizabeth’s hand and not attempting to intimidate her with the threat of sexual brutality as was clearly the case recently at Yale University where a group of frat boys gathered near the dorm where most of the freshmen women live and chanted “no means yes” and added an obscenity that would make the vilest of Austen’s characters look like choirboys by comparison.
I suffered the same "cultural whiplash" recently reading Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy's War and Peace, as I read with horror as the innocent and pure Natasha Rostova was duped by the blackguard Anatol Vasilyevich Kuragin into throwing away her engagement to Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky. Today, Prince Andrei would be the villain for expecting not only chastity (a given) but loyalty, the rake Anatol would be a hero and would not have had to resort to a sham wedding to seduce Natasha, who would be cheered as she explored her sexuality. Of course, she never did so in the novel, but the mere fact that she was almost duped into doing so ruined her in the eyes of society.

But of course, we have no society today. There are no norms than can be transgressed. We have no culture, and it goes without saying that we have no literature. (Attempting to read Don DeLillo's White Noise, considered a "classic," was for me one of the biggest wastes of time of the past fifteen years.) There was no literature in Brave New World, and there is none in ours.

There are places where society, culture, and norms still exist, though, and thus so does literature, where, as George Packer, explains, we can still find "the individual caught in an encompassing social web" — Dickens in Lagos. This explains why so many Indians have won the Man Booker Prize, and why the only good modern novels in English I've read were written in India or Africa.

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A Hard Left Nod to Ron Paul

Reminding us that "liberals, especially the pundit class, don't much care about dead foreigners," Charles Davis asks his fellow-travellers on the left a pointed question — Ron Paul: More Progressive Than Obama? An excerpt:
    [A]sk a good movement liberal or progressive about the two and you'll quickly be informed that yeah, Ron Paul's good on the war stuff -- yawn -- but otherwise he's a no-good right-wing reactionary of the worst order, a guy who'd kick your Aunt Beth off Medicare and force her to turn tricks for blood-pressure meds. By contrast, Obama, war crimes and all, provokes no such visceral distaste. He's more cosmopolitan, after all; less Texas-y. He's a Democrat. And gosh, even if he's made a few mistakes, he means well.

    Sure he's a murderer, in other words, but at least he's not a Republican!

    Put another, even less charitable way: Democratic partisans – liberals – are willing to trade the lives of a couple thousand poor Pakistani tribesman in exchange for a few liberal catnip-filled speeches and NPR tote bags for the underprivileged. The number of party-line progressives who would vote for Ron Paul over Barack Obama wouldn't be enough to fill Conference Room B at the local Sheraton, with even harshest left-leaning critics of the president, like Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, saying they'd prefer the mass-murdering sociopath to that kooky Constitution fetishist.

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Voices Against the War on Libya

  • "What have people done to deserve all this?" asks Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinell; "We cannot sleep and people are panicking" — This “war makes no sense”, the Italian govt should “resign”, Tripoli bishop says. "We can see women and children crying in the streets. Many Muslim women have come to church crying, asking the Pope to stop the conflict."

  • "Ambassador Gene Cretz’s estimate for a death toll in Libya today was 30,000," writes Jason Ditz, "which, if I’m remembering correctly, is about as much as the US was willing to cop to for the entire Iraq War until the WikiLeaks documents showed that to be a deliberate (and dramatic) undercount" — Libya Gaffe: US Death Toll Estimate Won’t Be Accurate ‘Until’ Ground Troops Arrive.

  • "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," said Senator Barack Obama in 2007, quoted here by a group quoted by Eric Garris — Veterans for Peace on Libya Intervention.

  • L. Reichard White notes that "consistent with the long U.S. tradition of mission creeps, the Obama Administration [has] authorized the use of killer Predator drones in Libya" — Predators — creeping into perpetual war?
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    A Producer Economy

    "In addition to the multiple-function, farm-gown crops used for food, fuel and building material, there is a large acreage devoted to the growing of textile and fiber products and enormous quantities of these are produced annually," notes Franklin Hiram King, in his 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan). He goes on to write:
      This marvelous heritage of economy, industry and thrift, bred of the stress of centuries, must not be permitted to lose virility through contact with western wasteful practices, now exalted to seeming virtues through the dazzling brilliancy of mechanical achievements. More and more must labor be dignified in all homes alike, and economy, industry and thrift become inherited impulses compelling and satisfying.

      Cheap, rapid, long distance transportation, already well started in these countries, will bring with it a fuller utilization of the large stores of coal and mineral wealth and of the enormous available water power, and as a result there will come some temporary lessening of the stress for fuel and with better forest management some relief along the lines of building materials. But the time is not a century distant when, throughout the world, a fuller, better development must take place along the lines of these most far-reaching and fundamental practices so long and so effectively followed by the Mongolian races in China, Korea and Japan. When the enormous water-power of these countries has been harnessed and brought into the foot-hills and down upon the margins of the valleys and plains in the form of electric current, let it, if possible, be in a large measure so distributed as to become available in the country village homes to lighten the burden and lessen the human drudgery and yet increase the efficiency of the human effort now so well bestowed upon subsidiary manufactures under the guidance and initiative of the home, where there may be room to breathe and for children to come up to manhood and womanhood in the best conditions possible, rather than in enormous congested factories.
    Noteworthy that a century ago, this prescient observer should praise these countries' "marvelous heritage of economy, industry and thrift," mention the danger of "western wasteful practices," and remark that "the time is not a century distant when, throughout the world, a fuller, better development must take place along the lines of these most far-reaching and fundamental practices so long and so effectively followed by the Mongolian races in China, Korea and Japan."

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    盤石

    It is not new to me that "both Kim Hyong-jik and Kang Ban-sok (Kim Il-sung’s father and mother) were not only Christian, but were also devout" — The family of Dictator Kim Il-sung were devout Christians. What is new to me is that "Ban-sok is actually the Korean name for Peter, which was also given to baby girls." The name Bansŏk (盤石) means "big stone."

    Such translation into Chinese is not used by today's Korean Catholics, much less Protestants, who would use their native script to render the Latin name to Petŭro (베드로). However, translations are used in honorific titles; for example, Saint John Chrysostom is known as Yohan Kŭmgu (요한 金口), literally "Gold Mouth," and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux as Teresa Sohwa (데레사 小花), literally "Little Flower."

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    "Traditionalists Against Benedict XVI"

    Sandro Magister reports, "The discussion is becoming heated over how to interpret the innovations of Vatican Council II, above all on freedom of religion" — Who's Betraying Tradition. The Grand Dispute. (Earlier installments on the dispute — High Up, Let Down by Pope Benedict and The Disappointed Have Spoken. The Vatican responds.) From the first report:
      In the memorable speech that Benedict XVI gave to the Roman curia on December 22 of 2005, on how to interpret Vatican Council II, there is a point that still continues to be a source of conflict today.

      It concerns the freedom of religion.

      On this point, the Council innovated in a decisive way. It affirmed what various popes had denied before: the freedom of every citizen to practice his own religion, even if it was "false."

      The 1864 encyclical "Quanta Cura" by Pius IX had explicitly condemned such freedom. Only the one true religion, the Catholic religion, deserved full right of citizenship in a state. The practice of other faiths could only be tolerated, within certain limits.

      Vatican Council II, however, put at the center of the duties of a state not the truth, but the person. And it affirmed that recognition must be granted to every person's right to practice his religion, whatever it might be.
    All due respect to Pio Nono, I find myself siding with the "extreme conservative arch-liberal" (as Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn described himself) Pope Ratzinger on this one. Helpful is this reminder from Casa Santa Lidia that the Church thinks in centuries — 100 years to recover from the aftermath of Vatican II.

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    Philippe Agostini and Raymond Leopold Bruckberger's Dialogue des Carmélites (1960)


    Above, in its entirety, Le dialogue des Carmélites (1960), to accompany another report on the staging of an opera of the same name — Poulenc’s opera on Seoul stage.

    "The French Revolution is the backdrop of the Korea National Opera’s production of 'Dialogues of the Carmelites,' a fictionalized retelling of the story of the Martyrs of Compiegne, 16 nuns who were guillotined amidst the political and religious strife in the country," the article reminds us. "The opera by Francis Poulenc is based on a screenplay by Georges Bernanos, which was itself based on the novella 'The Last on the Scaffold' by German writer Gertrud von Le Fort."

    The earlier post, with a scene from the opera — Francis Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmélites Finale Performed by l'Opéra National du Rhin

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    "DC Programming for Globalism"


    Reader Steven Cornett sends along the above image and this article by Comics Alliance's Laura Hudson — Superman Announces He’s A Globalist? Writes Mr. Cornett:
      And this after walking (not flying) across America. You'd think after doing that, you might be more for America, even if you are against Washington and its debt and wars.

      Because most "middle" Americans are too, whether they know it or not. Clearly, this is transnational Socialist (ie globalist) programming and the transvaluation of the US' best symbols.

      Once again, the media is programming us. And no, Clark, it ain't too small and too connected; it's too large to be run from a one-world state!
    As a kid, I was a Marvel Comics collector.

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    New to the Library


    Egypt and the Origin of Civilization: The British School of Culture Diffusion, 1890s-1940s (Volume 1) was sent to me by the author, who enjoyed my article, The Science Cartel vs. Immanuel Velikovsky. The British school of diffusionism "concluded that all aspects of civilizations, from technology to religion, originated in Egypt and diffused to other cultural areas."

    Henri-Marie Cardinal de Lubac's Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man I ordered based on the recommendation of Arturo "Reditus" Vasquez. Perennial philosophy, rightly or wrongly, comes to mind glancing at both works, which you are sure to read about more on these pages.

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    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Enkh Jargal Performs Höirr Öngo (Two Homes)


    He "plays Morin Khoor and sings Kharchira (Throat singing) and Xööni (vertone chanting)," which you've heard before on these pages, mixed with a bit of punk — Hanggai Perform Four Seasons, Batubagan, Borulai's Lullaby.

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    Steve Sailer on Barack Obama

    A must-read post concluding that "Obama's big dark secret is that he just didn't do much in his life other than self-promote himself as the guy who should be the first black President" — What's Obama hiding? — is followed by another must-read post concluding that "all else being equal, if he weren't able to self-identify as black, he would have carved out for himself a comfortable, respectable, and worthy life and made a positive social contribution," and "would certainly have ranked among the top few million people in America" — What if Lolo Soetoro were Obama's father?

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    Clone and Kill, Korea

    News of "the 3rd International Collaborative Symposium on Stem Cell Research" — ACT’s Robert Lanza to Speak at Stem Cell Symposium in Seoul on April 29 — and that "Korea becomes the second country after the United States to start clinical tests of the controversial therapy" — Pioneering stem cell research given green light.

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    Higher Education Bubble

    Reporting that "student loans [have] surpassed credit cards as the nation’s single largest source of debt, edging ever closer to $1 trillion," Malcolm Harris asks, "What kind of incentives motivate lenders to continue awarding six-figure sums to teenagers facing both the worst youth unemployment rate in decades and an increasingly competitive global workforce?" — Bad Education.

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    Spending Black Hole, Religious Void

    Thomas DiLorenzo reports that "the federal government (NASA) and the state of California" have "realiz[ed] that the taxpayers’ pockets are not bottomless after all" — Government Funding of Space Alien Detection Satellites Has Been Cut —and Mark Shea rightly observes, "What drives the interest in ET is, in large measure, a debased eschatology" — SETI Faces Budget Cuts.

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    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Antonín Dvořák's "Biblical Songs" Performed by Magdalena Kožená and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Directed by Christoph Eschenbach

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    Yes, We Have No Bananas...

    but, writes reader Steven Cornett, "the United States does, at present, meet the four definitions of a Banana Republic gleaned from the Wikipedia definition of such," as these articles argue — A Banana Republic With No Bananas and Has the U.S. Become a Banana Republic?

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    My Latest For Lew

    "Ending the permanent and entangling alliance with South Korea" has been a theme I have taken up several times in my LewRockwell.com articles; in this one, I question "whether our six-decade-old policy of war, sanctions, and animosity has brought any change to North Korea" — Peace, Commerce and Honest Friendship With... North Korea?

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    Sign of Soloviev's Apocalypse?

    News of a call to "common witness to the truth of God ... to profess peace, justice and love" — Patriarch Kirill, Easter in Moscow, with messages to the Pope and Protestants. This news brings to mind Soloviev's Apocalypse, in which "resistance [against the Antichrist] comes from Pope Peter II, John the Elder, leader of the Orthodox, and Professor Ernst Pauli, representing Protestantism," and under the "pressure of persecution the three churches in this eschatological situation at last unite."

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    Bishop Peter Li Hongye, Requiem Æternam...

    Jian Mei reports on a bishop who "died during the Easter Vigil, in his 67th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood," "as he blessed the water before baptisms" — Death of underground bishop of Luoyang. Decades under house arrest and hard labour.

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    Blonde Melanesians


    Gene Expression had two posts on the interesting subject a while back — Blondes of the ‘black islands’ and Blondism in Melanesia. There are a number of blonde kids (and, more surprisingly for me, Polynesian-looking kids) among these Solomon Islands kids singing "Mi Lovem You Jesus" — White River SDA Childrens Choir.

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    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Parahyangan Catholic University Choir, Directed by Paulus H. Yoedianto, Sings Exultate Deo by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina


    ... and Letztes Glück by Johannes Brahms, "Death on The Hills" by Edward Elgar, and Janger (Balinese Traditional Song) by Avip Priatna and Bambang Jusana.

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    Antoine Forqueray's Suite en Ré Mineur Performed by Petr Wagner & Přemysl Vacek

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    Realism About Democracy

    America's leading voice of foreign policy realism "argues that the leaders most likely to lie are precisely those in Western democracies, those whose traditions of democracy perversely push them to mislead the very public that elected them," and notes that "tend to lie to their own citizens more often than they lie to each other" — John J. Mearsheimer’s “Why Leaders Lie”.

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    "In the Beginning Is Reason"

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    Blond-Haired, Blue-Eyed Brazilian Calls Sunscreen "Poison"


    And, Dr. Joseph Mercola informs us, reportedly "refuses to use it on herself or her family because of the chemicals they contain" — How Supermodel Gisele Bundchen 'Infuriated Cancer Experts'... Coming from an ethnic German in the sub-tropics, it's hard not to believe her.

    Never mind the fact that she "made the comments at the launch of her own organic skin care range," why pass up an opportunity to post a picture of a supermodel? That said, with my thing for brunettes, Adriana Lima is more my type. I also have to say that of the dozen-and-a-half or so countries I've visited, Brazil tops the list for girl-watching, with every hue in God's creation represented.

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    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Dieterich Buxtehude's Alleluja Performed by the Ricercar Consort, Directed by Philippe Pierlot

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    Franz Joseph Haydn's "Creation," Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus, Janice Chandler-Eteme, Richard Clement, John Relyea, Gilbert Levine






    Something to accompany this story — Faith in God Begins With Creation, Says Pope:
      "Is it really important to speak also of creation during the Easter Vigil? Could we not begin with the events in which God calls man, forms a people for himself and creates his history with men upon the earth?"

      "The answer has to be no," he stated. "To omit the creation would be to misunderstand the very history of God with men, to diminish it, to lose sight of its true order of greatness."

      "The sweep of history established by God reaches back to the origins, back to creation," the Pontiff explained. "Our profession of faith begins with the words: 'We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.' If we omit the beginning of the Credo, the whole history of salvation becomes too limited and too small."

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    Francis Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmélites Finale Performed by l'Opéra National du Rhin


    News of the local premier of the XXth Century opera "based on historical events which took place at a monastery of Carmelite nuns in Compiegne during the French Revolution," which "depicts the executions of 14 nuns" in the above scene — ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’ gets Asian premiere in Seoul. Composer Francis Poulenc was described as "half monk, half delinquent."

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    Return of the Mohists

    "In ancient days, the Mohists criticized the Confucians for wasting too much time and money on elaborate funeral and mourning rites, but the Confucians countered that the funereal impulse is the root of all of our other moral impulses," reminds Carl Sensei, observing, "Same as it ever was" — NYTimes - As China's income gap grows, tombs are a target.

    We've blogged before about "Confucius' earliest philosophical enemy" who "despised Confucians with a passion, regarding them as uptight, egotistical, pretentious, upper class, and characterized by a mindless devotion to empty rituals" — Mo Tzu and More Mo Tzu.

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    Makkŏlli in the News


    A report that "research by the state-run Korea Food Research Institute found that potent anti-cancer agents in makgeolli are 10 to 25 times higher than beer and wine" — A run on makgeolli after cancer report published. It's probably a good idea to take state-sponsored research on a national product with a grain of salt, and a cup of my favorite local drink, which I am not alone in appreciating, as this article on a restaurateur, whence the above photo comes, suggests — Finn Who Fell in Love with Makgeolli.

    Also, it affords me just about the only chance to drink locally, act locally, live locally, with my favorite being this brand, produced with a strand of rice developed by the university that employs me, whose logo you'll find in the top left-hand corner, reported on in this story — 영일만친구 쌀막걸리 가맹점 판매․홍보:

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    The Founding of Severance Hospital

      Every city in America has more than one hospital. There should be at least one hospital in Seoul and it can be built with little cost. Your majesty will find pleasure in seeing people in agony be cured.
    So wrote American Presbyterian missionary Dr. Horace Newton Allen to Emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire in 1885 — The home of modern medicine in Korea.

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    BushCo to the Hague?

    'Twas suggested at this "lecture at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York" of all places — ElBaradei suggests war crimes probe of Bush team‎.

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    The Pope's Urbi et Orbi Message

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    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Heinrich Schütz's Alleluja! Lobet den Herren, Performed by La Chapelle Rhénane, Directed by Benoît Haller


    Happy Easter Sunday! Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia! Psalm 150 provides the text for the above:
      Alleluja!
      Lobet den Herren in seinem Heiligtum,
      lobet ihn in der Feste seiner Macht.
      Lobet ihn in seinen Taten,
      lobet ihn in seiner großen Herrlichkeit.
      Lobet ihn mit Posaunen,
      lobet ihn mit Psaltern und Harfen.
      Lobet ihn mit Pauken und Reigen,
      lobet ihn mit Saiten und Pfeifen.
      Lobet ihn mit hellen Cymbalen,
      lobet ihn mit wohl klingenden Cymbalen.
      Alles was Athem hat, lobe den Herrn. Alleluja!


      Alleluia!
      Praise the Lord!
      Praise God in His sanctuary;
      Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
      Praise Him for His mighty acts;
      Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
      Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
      Praise Him with the lute and harp!
      Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
      Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
      Praise Him with loud cymbals;
      Praise Him with crashing cymbals!
      Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
      Alleluia!
    Hardcore punk and jam bands were what I listened to back in the '80s, and the above rivals anything I heard back then in terms of power and intensity. Pump up the volume and enjoy. The sackbut section is especially tight.

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    主 참으로 復活하셨도다!

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    Servant of God Paul Hsu Kuang-ch'i


    Above, standing next to this blog's namesake, the "scientist, astronomer and mathematician" who is the subject of this story — Chinese Catholic on Path to Beatification. Wang Zhicheng reports on the situation four hundred years later — Church in China: Easter of suffering, but full of baptisms.

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    Eat Less Meat; When You Do, Eat Mostly Pork

    Another insightful passage from Franklin Hiram King's 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan):
      The small number of animal products which are included in the market list given should not be taken as indicating the proportion of animal to vegetable foods in the dietaries of these people. It is nevertheless true that they are vegetarians to a far higher degree than are most western nations, and the high maintenance efficiency of the agriculture of China, Korea and Japan is in great measure rendered possible by the adoption of a diet so largely vegetarian. Hopkins, in his Soil Fertility and Permanent Agriculture, page 234, makes this pointed statement of fact: "1000 bushels of grain has at least five times as much food value and will support five times as many people as will the meat or milk that can be made from it". He also calls attention to the results of many Rothamsted feeding experiments with growing and fattening cattle, sheep and swine, showing that the cattle destroyed outright, in every 100 pounds of dry substance eaten, 57.3 pounds, this passing off into the air, as does all of wood except the ashes, when burned in the stove; they left in the excrements 36.5 pounds, and stored as increase but 6.2 pounds of the 100. With sheep the corresponding figures were 60.1 pounds; 31.9 pounds and 8 pounds; and with swine they were 65.7 pounds; 16.7 pounds and 17.6 pounds. But less than two-thirds of the substance stored in the animal can become food for man and hence we get but four pounds in one hundred of the dry substances eaten by cattle in the form of human food; but five pounds from the sheep and eleven pounds from swine.

      In view of these relations, only recently established as scientific facts by rigid research, it is remarkable that these very ancient people came long ago to discard cattle as milk and meat producers; to use sheep more for their pelts and wool than for food; while swine are the one kind of the three classes which they did retain in the role of middleman as transformers of coarse substances into human food.
    "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," seven words that summarize Michael Pollan's 7 Rules for Eating.

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    A Tolstoyan Nod to the Celestial Emperor

    "Every sovereign, except the Chinese, wears a military uniform and bestows the greatest rewards on those who kill the most people," said Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy's Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky in War and Peace.

    "The military class is the most highly honored," says Prince Andrei at the beginning of his discourse. He is right to suggest that this was never the case in China, where the scholarly class was most highly honored. In fact, in China, the miliary class has been historically despised.

    The honor we afford the military class in the West seems to be one of the remaining vestiges of the Roman Empire, one that the Church, in her two-millennia tutelage, was unable to stamp out. Probably we Americans came the closest to having a proper attutude toward the military class with our Founders' opposition to standing armies. This ended, of course, like so much else, with Jacksonian democracy.

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    Tiger Mom and Tiger Daughters

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    Indian Power

    Hometown news that "[t]he Seneca Nation of Indians is building a broad group of supporters for its effort to win the right to run the hydropower project at the dam whose creation flooded the tribe's native lands a half-century ago" — Senecas line up allies for Kinzua bid.

    One wonders what the eco-left would say of their nobel savages? This blog supports the bid. Growing up in Western New York, I had the chance to attend a couple of Seneca pow-wows.

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    Philip K. Dick on the War Between the States

      The North adopted the Hegelian view of state as a real entity rather than an abstraction which has led to the massive centralized government as bad as the Soviet Union. The original model for the U.S. was modeled by Jefferson after the models of the American Indian Federations. There is no doubt that the founding fathers were designing a system of independent and allied states based on these Indian models. Jefferson would have been appalled by Lincoln’s contesting the supremacy of states rights.
    From this interview quoted by Daniel McCarthy — Philip K. Dick vs. Lincoln and Hegel.

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    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Antonio Vivaldi's Sinfonia al Santo Sepolcro Performed by Magogo Kamerorkest, Directed by Arjan Tien


    Today, we mark Holy Saturday, "the 'day of the entombed Christ', [which] is the Lord's day of rest, for on that day Christ's body lay in His tomb."

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    The First Papal Television Q & A


    Above, some excerpts, and following, some reports and transcripts — In historic TV Q&A, Pope Benedict speaks about suffering, comatose persons, persecution and In TV appearance, pope answers questions about faith, suffering, war. Below, the first question, from "from a 7-year-old Japanese girl who lost friends in the recent earthquake and tsunami and who asked: 'Why do I have to be so afraid? Why do children have to be so sad? I'm asking the pope, who speaks with God, to explain it to me'" (in Italian):

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    Julia Ching on Theodicy

    Siris links to this article by the late Julia Ching, "professor of religion, philosophy and East Asian studies at the University of Toronto" who "served as an Ursuline nun for two decades" — The Problem of Evil and a Possible Dialogue Between Christianity and Neo-Confucianism. The author's short and accesible book, Chinese Religions, is a great introduction to the topic.

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    Confucian Catholics

    Noting that "Confucian teachings can help people achieve holistic growth and be a useful person," Wang Rui argues that "Catholics must enhance their personal qualities and integrate themselves with the virtues of Chinese culture so as to foster the Church's evangelization" in her country — Learning local ways promotes religion.

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    Paul Mulshine on Ron Paul

    "In 2012, who will learn the lessons of Rep. Paul’s last presidential campaign?" asks the reporter, noting that "Paul knew something the pundits didn't: there's a strong strain of support in America for what traditional conservatives call 'noninterventionism' and neoconservatives call 'isolationism'" — Running Like Ron.

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    Green With Misanthropy

    "What most people are unaware of is the fascistic hatred of mankind that underlies the philosophic basis of environmentalism," Alan Caruba reminds us — What Greens Really Believe.

    "I doubt most people are wishing for a disaster and, when they occur such as the earthquakes in Haiti and in Japan," he continues, "the first instinct of decent people worldwide is to mobilize to help those affected. This is a very human reaction, but it is not a Green one.

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    Michelle Malkin Exposes a Corporate Welfare Queen

    "Don't be fooled by The Donald," writes the neoconservative, sounding like a paleolibertarian in this article — Donald Trump's Eminent-Domain Empire. She continues:
      Take it from one who knows: I'm a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trump's towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.

      America, it's time you wised up to Donald Trump's property redistribution racket, too.

      Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run -- first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, "high aptitude" and "bragadocious" deal-making abilities. But he's no more a standard-bearer of conservative values, limited government and constitutional principles than the cast of "Jersey Shore."

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    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Dieterich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri, Performed by La Venexiana, Directed by Claudio Cavina














    For Good Friday, Dieterich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri, "the first Lutheran oratorio," which "is divided into seven parts, each addressed to a different part of Christ's crucified body: feet, knees, hands, side, chest, heart, and head.

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    F.H. King on the Chinese Farmer and the Yellow River

    From yesterday's reading of Franklin Hiram King's 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan), two passages stand out.

    About the farmer, about whom "when one stops and studies the detail in such gardens he expects in its executor an orderly, careful, frugal and industrious man, getting not a little satisfaction out of his creations however arduous his task or prolonged his day," but, instead finding him "clad as the nature of his duties and compensation have determined," one "may be disappointed or feel arising an unkind judgment," he writes:
      Many were the times, during our walks in the fields and gardens among these old, much misunderstood, misrepresented and undervalued people, when the bond of common interest was recognized between us, that there showed through the face the spirit which put aside both dress and surroundings and the man stood forth who, with fortitude and rare wisdom, is feeding the millions and who has carried through centuries the terrible burden of taxes levied by dishonor and needless wars. Nay, more than this, the man stood forth who has kept alive the seeds of manhood and has nourished them into such sturdy stock as has held the stream of progress along the best interests of civilization in spite of the driftwood heaped upon it.
    About the river whose history "is one of disastrous floods and shiftings of its course," which carries "no less than 4,000 cubic yards of water per second, and three times this volume when running at flood," and is held back by only by levees, he asks:
      What must be said of the mental status of a people who for forty centuries have measured their strength against such a Titan racing past their homes above the level of their fields, confined only between walls of their own construction? While they have not always succeeded in controlling the river, they have never failed to try again. In 1877 this river broke its banks, inundating a vast. area, bringing death to a million people. Again, as late as 1898, fifteen hundred villages to the northeast of Tsinan and a much larger area to the southwest of the same city were devastated by it, and it is such events as these which have won for the river the names "China's Sorrow," "The Ungovernable" and "The Scourge of the Sons of Han."

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    Whence the Japanese?

    Jared Diamond tackles that question — "Koreans, Japanese Are Like Twin Brothers". Given that "the Japanese people are biologically undistinctive, being very similar in appearance and genes to other East Asians, especially to Koreans," he suggests that "you might expect the Japanese language to show close affinities to some mainland language, just as English is obviously closely related to other Germanic languages."

    This, however, is not the case, and the author later notes that "the similarities between Japanese and Korean are confined to general grammatical features and about 15 percent of their basic vocabularies, rather than the detailed shared features of grammar and vocabulary that link, say, French to Spanish; they are more different from each other than Russian is from English."

    Prof. Diamond thus asks, "How can we resolve this contradiction between Japan’s presumably ancient language and the evidence for recent origins?" His answer to that question:
      Modern Korean is derived from the language of the kingdom of Silla, the kingdom that emerged triumphant and unified Korea, but Silla was not the kingdom that had close contact with Japan in the preceding centuries. Early Korean chronicles tell us that the different kingdoms had different languages. While the languages of the kingdoms defeated by Silla are poorly known, the few preserved words of one of those kingdoms, Koguryo, are much more similar to the corresponding Old Japanese words than are the corresponding modern Korean words. Korean languages may have been even more diverse in 400 B.C., before political unification had reached the stage of three kingdoms. The Korean language that reached Japan in 400 B.C., and that evolved into modern Japanese, I suspect, was quite different from the Silla language that evolved into modern Korean. Hence we should not be surprised that modern Japanese and Korean people resemble each other far more in their appearance and genes than in their languages.

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    War Imagery



    "To understand the utter absurdity of America’s intervention in the Libyan civil war, I recommend a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York to see its new exhibition of German Expressionism," writes John R. MacArthur — Blindness Toward War Easy for Americans. Singled out is the artist whose work appears at the top of this post, Otto Dix, and that the "exhibition devotes an entire wall to 50 prints by Dix titled 'Der Krieg' ('The War')." Mr. MacArthur continues:
      These terrifying pictures — the hideously wounded, a skull invaded by worms, monstrously disfigured faces, the dead and the living dead — confront the viewer with the fact that war’s impact stretches far beyond physical damage to buildings and flesh. Dix’s genius is in depicting the destruction of the human spirit that results from decisions made by politicians who never experience the direct effects of war.
    Of course, just two days ago we lost "one of the great war photographers of his generation, covering wars around the globe," remembered here by Paul Likoudis and Kelley Vlahos, respectively, with examples of his work — RIP Chris Hondros and Dead photog left embed over this image.

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    Orestes Brownson on Legitimatism and Particularism

      Constitutions of states are not things that can be made to order, and imposed by authority, regardless of the habits, manners, customs, and traditions of the people who are to live under them. England, monarchical and aristocratic to the core, could not get on as a commonwealth, and when the dictator Cromwell died, and left no successor, she recalled the Stuarts, reestablished the throne, and restored her old constitution. France, after the example of England, made a revolution, beheaded her king, abolished royalty, abolished nobility, adopted as her motto, 'liberty, equality, and fraternity,' imposed on herself with much ceremony, fanfaronade, beating of drums, and sounding of trumpets, an entire new constitution, made after the most approved pattern; and not only one, but many new constitutions; yet, as Thomas Carlyle says, 'they wouldn't go,' though drawn up by one who boasted that 'politics is a science he had finished.' After a period of military despotism under Napoleon I., she was forced to recall her legitimate king, to reconstruct the throne she had demolished, and reconsecrate the altars she had profaned; and she is even now governed chiefly by military force. Mexico and the South American colonies of Spain asserted their independence of the mother country, adopted constitutions framed after the great Anglo-American model, and have been in a state of anarchy ever since.

      No, sir; constitutions cannot be made and imposed on a nation. Lord John Russell's numerous' experiments, under the most favorable circumstances, have proved that much. They must be born and developed with the nation ; generated, not made, as Count de Maister has amply proved. You may change a dynasty, or the magistracy of a nation, without destroying it, and sometimes with happy results; the constitution of a nation, never. Every true statesman knows this, and seeks always to administer the affairs of the state in accordance with its fundamental constitution. He accepts that constitution as his starting-point and his inflexible law, and labors only to correct- abuses that may creep in, to clear away anomalies that the vicissitudes of time or the course of events may create, and to do the best he can with it for the nation. The Church cannot do otherwise, however overwhelming may be her influence. The necessary conditions of such a constitution as that of the United States, have never been found in European society, and do not exist there even yet. Its principles may have been recognized and defended by both statesmen and churchmen, but it has never been possible to organize any European state in accordance with them.
    In 1868, Orestes Augustus Brownson put those words in the mouth of his priest in Conversations on Liberalism and the Church.

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    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Thomas Tallis' "The Lamentations of Jeremiah" Sung by I Fagiolini


    Thomas Tallis' Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet, "considered his finest work" according to Eric M. Johnson in Lenten Muisc, was composed for the Tenebræ service of Maundy Thursday, which we observe today.

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    Two Century-Old Western Accounts of Ancestor Worship


    Celebrating its centennial this year is Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan), a remarkably sympathetic account of the peoples of this region written by American agiculturalist Franklin Hiram King.

    His book is an appreciation of "a virile race of some five hundred millions of people who have an unimpaired inheritance moving with the momentum acquired through four thousand years; a people morally and intellectually strong, mechanically capable." From "these oldest farmers in the world," the author at the outset of his tome states his desire to learn "the ways and extent to which these nations for centuries have been and are conserving and utilizing their natural resources," and to offer to the West "a full and accurate account of all those conditions which have made it possible for such dense populations to be maintained so largely upon the products of Chinese, Korean and Japanese soils."

    But the author provides an account that goes far deeper than these Chinese, Korean and Japanese soils. Take, for instance, this remarkable account of the burial practices in the Orient, in which the author, in contrast to the missionaries he mentions (and who should really have known better), shows his understanding of the Confucian nature of the customs involved, and their social importance:
      The usual expense of a burial among the working people is said to be $100, Mexican, an enormous burden when the day's wage or the yearly earning of the family is considered and when there is added to this the yearly expense of ancestor worship. How such voluntary burdens are assumed by people under such circumstances is hard to understand. Missionaries assert it is fear of evil consequences in this life and of punishment and neglect in the hereafter that leads to assuming them. Is it not far more likely that such is the price these people are willing to pay for a good name among the living and because of their deep and lasting friendship for the departed? Nor does it seem at all strange that a kindly, warm-hearted people with strong filial affection should have reached, carry in their long history, a belief in one spirit of the departed which hovers about the home, one which hovers about the grave and another which wanders abroad, for surely there are associations with each of these conditions which must long and forcefully awaken memories of friends gone. If this view is possible may not such ancestral worship be an index of qualities of character strongly fixed and of the highest worth which, when improvements come that may relieve the heavy burdens now carried, will only shine more brightly and count more for right living as well as comfort?
    A far less sympathetic account of the peoples of this region, Korea and Her Neighbours: A Narrative of Travel, with an Account of the Recent Vicissitudes and Present Position of the Country, was written a few earlier by British lady-travel writer Isabella Bird. Of the same custom, she wrote:
      Ancestral worship, and a propitiation of daemons or spirits, the result of a timid and superstitious dread of the forces of Nature, are to the Korean in place of a religion. Both, I am inclined to believe, are the result of fear, the worship of ancestors being dictated far less by filial piety than by the dread that ancestral spirits may do harm to their descendants. This cult prevails from the King to the coolie. It inspires the costly splendors of the Kur-dong, as well as the spread of ancestral food in the humblest hovel on New Year's Eve.
    Of the countless blogs by foreigners who have taken it upon themselves to show these Orientals just how backward they are and how much they could learn from us enlightened Westerners, one of more literate ones, Gusts Of Popular Feeling, is dedicated to her. (Funny how these latter-day Western interlopers have dropped Christian message but maintain the same missionary zeal in spreading liberal "values.")

    I read Miss Bird's book more than a turn of the Chinese Zodiac when I was new to Korea, and confess to having enjoyed at the time her disdainful and disparaging tone. That was a long time ago. Like the Apostle, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child." [1st Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians Chapter 13.] Like the Sage, "At age fifteen I set my heart upon learning; at thirty I took my stand; at forty I became free of doubts; at fifty I understood the Heavenly Mandate; at sixty my ear was attuned; and at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the bounds of propriety." [Analects of Confucius Chapter 2.] I was in my twenties then, and am in my forties now. I wish I had had the wisdom of Mr. King upon my arrival here.

    [It should be noted that while this blog's namesake understood the nature of the ancestral back in the XVIth Century, it was not until "December 8, 1939, by which Chinese customs were considered superstitious no longer, but instead an honourable way of esteeming ones relatives and therefore permitted to Catholic Christians" — Pope Pius XII and China.]

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    Pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, Pray For Us


    Among the good people of Lübeck's "four native sons — three Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor — who were beheaded in quick succession on Nov. 10, 1943 by the Nazi regime," pictured on the far right with his companions is the one whom, for obvious reasons, will not be beatified — Beatification of Nazi Martyrs Divides Lutherans, Catholics. From the report:
      The commingled blood of Catholic priests Johannes Prassek, Hermann Lange, Eduard Mueller and Lutheran pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink spawned an ecumenical cooperation between the city’s majority Lutherans and minority Catholics that still lasts.

      But the Vatican’s decision to beatify the three priests on June 25 — but not Stellbrink — is testing that ecumenical spirit, and has some religious leaders worried that the event could drive a wedge between the two communities.

      “People worry that the priests who are beatified will be seen as higher than Stellbrink, and that the focus will be on the three, not the four,” said the Rev. Constanze Maase, pastor of Luther Church in Luebeck.

      “We recognize that beatification is an important part of the identity of the Catholic Church. But there is a sadness, because it makes the ecumenical work more complicated,” he said.
    The beatification process is different now from what it was in the Early Church, but let us remember that there are adherents of Arianism in the Roman Martyrology, i.e., Catholics venerate those who were non-Catholic during their earthy life. While the Church is not free to beatify anyone at will, as individuals, we Catholics are free to venerate those whom our consciences inform us are venerable, as I have done with the title of the post.

    UPDATE: Another report, by Gunther Simmermacher, whence comes the photo that graces this post, states that "Rev. Stellbrink will be honored in a special way that day as well" — Priests to be beatified were joyful as they awaited execution by Nazis. The article mentions "conservative local politician Hans-Lothar Fauth, a Catholic, who has said that all four have long been publicly acclaimed as saints, regardless of denomination, and therefore require no official recognition."

    The article also notes that "Rev. Stellbrink was the first Protestant cleric to be executed in Germany. Unlike his Catholic friends, he received no support from his church, which rehabilitated him only 50 years later, noting its 'pain and shame' at the disgraceful treatment of the heroic pastor."

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    Iroquois Roots of Anti-Federalism?

    Strike-The-Root today links to The Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. Gerald Murphy, in introducing the document "as best it can be reconstructed from legend and spoken history," reminds us that it "survives after some 500 or 600 years, and was originated by people that our ancestors mistakenly considered as 'savages'" He reminds us that we are speaking of a people "with a democratic government; with a form of religion that acknowledged a Creator [mentioned sixteen times] in heaven; with a strong sense of family which was based on, and controlled by, their women."

    Having grown up in Western New York, and being reminded that it was "about 1715 [that] the Tuscarora Nation, once part of the Iroquois peoples in a much earlier period of their history, moved up from North Carolina," and cannot help but ponder that it was these two states whence came the peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy that would later be the last holdouts of Anti-Federalism. Must be something in the water.

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    Maryknoll Centenary

    A report on "the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, [which] was established in 1911 by the bishops of the United States to recruit, train, send and support American missioners overseas" — Superior says Maryknoll order's commitment to mission remains strong. "Its flagship operation was in China" is mentioned, and it also has a strong presence here in Korea, and on this blog's sidebar, with Father Maryknoller in Korea's Catholic American Eyes in Korea.

    'Twas the society's publishing arm, Orbis Books, that first got me interested in Catholicism, nack during my "peace and justice" days. (I remain a part of what Bill Kauffman called "the peace-and-love left wing of paleoconservatism.") To the Maryknollers I owe and incredible debt, not only for this first introduction but to their work in Korea, where I would eventually be accepted into Holy Mother Church.

    About the society's commitment to social justice, Father Leo Shea, chairman of the Maryknoll centennial, said the following:
      We learned about situations of injustice that took place in various parts of the world. And when we came back here, we were very vocal about peace and justice and spoke openly about what we'd seen. That wasn't always an easy fit with the diocesan structures and led, in some cases, to church leadership saying we were no longer welcome, because we were too extreme.

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    "Water Cannon Man"


    I confess a certain pride in having come to live among the people who produced the man to top this list, who, "from his Superman-stance, to his contemptuous sneer, to his kickin' Cable-knit sweater ensemble -- is the very embodiment of defiance" — The 8 Most Ridiculously Badass Protesters Ever Photographed.

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    "More Bombs, Less Bombast"

    "That’s the Obama doctrine for you," says Matthew Rothschild, noting" that the president has "turned into a better salesman for war than his predecessor, and he’s running the empire more efficiently—and with less antagonism" — Obama, War President.

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    Triduum Reads (and a Listen)

  • "I decided to take my journalism and legal training (I was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune) and systematically investigate whether there was any credibility to Christianity," writes Lee Strobel, "now celebrating my 30th Easter as a Christian" — How Easter Killed My Faith in Atheism

  • "It’s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil" — Indifference to God brings indifference to evil, says Pope.

  • "An Indian artist has recreated the Way to Calvary all on canvas," informs this report on a "series by artist Philip V D’Mello titled 'Reflections' on the suffering of Christ is being exhibited at the Orchid Art Gallery in Mangalore during Holy Week" — Artist captures Passion of Christ.

  • "How are the rest of us meant to fill this bleak and seemingly endless day?" asks John Zmirak — Holy Day on Ice

  • Daniel Nichols has a sad reminder — Palestinian Christians Blocked from Holy Sites — and some incredibly beautiful music — For Great and Holy Thursday: Metropolitan Hilarion’s “Passion of St Matthew”.
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    From Darwin to Lincoln


    From Darwin to Hitler is a trajectory well-charted; that leading backwards, or rather sideways, between Darwin and Lincoln, has only been charted recently, and, lamentably, glowingly, as the story of two "prophets of liberal civilization" born on the same day who shared a belief in "a world without a present God but with providential purposes" — Orchids and Lilacs: Darwin, Lincoln and Slavery.

    In 1907, Henry Adams, America's greatest man of letters in 1907, a skeptical Yankee (the grandson and great-grandson of presidents) looking back four decades earlier to his own discovery of Darwinism (he was a self-described "Darwinist for fun" as well as a "conservative Christian anarchist) after his work as secretary for his father's mission in London on behalf of the Union wrote the following in The Education of Henry Adams:
      Natural Selection led back to Natural Evolution, and at last to Natural Uniformity. This was a vast stride. Unbroken Evolution under uniform conditions pleased every one--except curates and bishops; it was the very best substitute for religion; a safe, conservative practical, thoroughly Common-Law deity. Such a working system for the universe suited a young man who had just helped to waste five or ten thousand million dollars and a million lives, more or less, to enforce unity and uniformity on people who objected to it; the idea was only too seductive in its perfection; it had the charm of art. Unity and Uniformity were the whole motive of philosophy, and if Darwin, like a true Englishman, preferred to back into it--to reach God a posteriori--rather than start from it, like Spinoza, the difference of method taught only the moral that the best way of reaching unity was to unite. Any road was good that arrived.
    [Marking the sesquicentennial of the War of Northern Aggression, this is an edited repost of a post a year-and-a-day ago — Henry Adams on Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution and Abraham Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression.]

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    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Gregorio Allegri's Miserere Mei Deus Performed by The Sixteen, Directed by Harry Christophers


    I've broken with convention by already having posted some performances of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, which 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.

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    An Objectivist and a Thomist on Islamic Reformation

    "The call for an Islamic Reformation presumes that the theocratic rulers of Iran and Saudi Arabia—and the wannabe theocrats in al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood—are the counterparts of the medieval Catholic Church;" notes David Kelley, "and that reformers who oppose them are the contemporary equivalents of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Protestant reformers" — Does Islam Need a Reformation? "This is very nearly the exact opposite of the truth," he rightly argues, continuing:
      It is the Islamists who most resemble the early Protestants... They called for a return to the spirit and practices of the early Christian community, without the formal organization or intermediation of the Church—just as Islamists call for a return to the simple faith of Muhammad and the “rightly-guided caliphs” who followed him in the seventh century. Like the Protestant reformers of the 16th century, Islamists today are fundamentalists. The Protestants wanted to abandon the edifice of scholastic thought, the efforts by Catholic theologians and philosophers to make sense of the religion, and return to a literalist reading of the scriptures—just as Islamists want to bypass the edifice of learned interpretation in “the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists” in favor of reliance solely on the Qur’an. In philosophical terms, both the Protestants and the Islamists represent movements away from the values of reason, the pursuit of happiness in this world, and political freedom.
    Similarly, Edward Feser, back in 2003, argued that "if the problem with Islam is that it seems constantly to give rise to sects violently hostile to secular institutions, to reason, and to cultured sentiment; that the countries in which it predominates have a chronic tendency toward theocratic despotism; and that as a religion it exhibits no institutional structure that might finally impose some discipline on the chaotic and lawless spiritual impulses that it generates -- if all that is the problem (which it surely is), then it is absurd to hold that the solution is for Islam to find its Martin Luther" — Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope?

    "[Islam] has already had its Luther, not to mention its Calvin and its Henry VIII, all rolled into one: his name was Muhammad," he concluded. "What Islam needs is a Pope."

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    Wisdom From Our American Left

  • Chris Hedges stands before "a temple where greed and profit are the highest good, where self-worth is determined by the ability to amass wealth and power at the expense of others, where laws are manipulated, rewritten and broken, where the endless treadmill of consumption defines human progress, where fraud and crimes are the tools of business" — Throw Out the Money Changers. "Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 'Crime and Punishment' understood the radical evil behind the human yearning not to be ordinary but to be extraordinary, the desire that allows men and women to serve systems of self-glorification and naked greed," he later writes, then saying, "When Dante enters the 'city of woes' in the Inferno he hears the cries of 'those whose lives earned neither honor nor bad fame,' those rejected by Heaven and Hell, those who dedicated their lives solely to the pursuit of happiness."

  • Tom Engelhardt writes, "I don’t know what it felt like to be inside the Roman Empire in the long decades, even centuries, before it collapsed, or to experience the waning years of the Spanish empire, or the twilight of the Qing dynasty, or of Imperial Britain as the sun first began to set, or even of the Soviet Empire before the troops came slinking home from Afghanistan, but at some point it must have seemed at least a little like this -- truly strange, like watching a machine losing its parts" — Sleepwalking into the Imperial Dark. "It must have seemed as odd and unnerving as it does now to see a formerly mighty power enter a state of semi-paralysis at home even as it staggers on blindly with its war-making abroad."

  • "Henry David Thoreau, the iconoclastic, nineteenth century New England writer, has long been associated with simple living, solitude, independent thinking, environmental integrity, civil disobedience, nonviolence, and passive resistance," writes Thomas Naylor, "[b]ut few seem to have noticed that he was also a card-carrying secessionist" — Henry David Thoreau Versus the United States. "Best known for its influence on Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the Eastern European anti-communist movement in the 80s, Thoreau’s famous 1849 essay 'Civil Disobedience' reads like a secessionist's manifesto."

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    Antiwar Conservatism

  • Brian Doherty "discusses the evolution of right-wing non-interventionism through the 1930s and into the Cold War of the 1950s" and "addresses the possibility of a resurgent conservative antiwar sentiment in the Obama era" — The Forgotten History of the Antiwar Right.

  • Congressman Ron Paul, the living embodiment of that noble history, speaks — The Outrage of Imperialism and War.

  • Having "reminded readers of the requirements for a just war from the Catholic or Western tradition, from Augustine and Thomas Aquinas through Westphalia," David Warren argues that "while few wars meet all the requirements, this, if it is a war, meets none of them -- not even one" — Libyan Quagmire.
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    Education and Miseducation

  • "Mediaeval authors can offer a model of how true education works," Matthew J. Milliner argues — A steady hand for the tottering ideal of liberal education.

  • "Teachers at a British school went on strike earlier this month because their students were so unruly," Michael Kirke reports — Does teaching need to be this hard?

  • "If there is anything worse than doing nothing, it is doing nothing spiced with empty rhetoric about what behavior is 'unacceptable' -- while in fact accepting it," Thomas Sowell writes — Bull About Bullying
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    Dawkinsian Orthodoxy Challenged

    Creating quite a stink is E. O. Wilson's championing of what he describes as a "heresy," an "alternative theory [which] holds that the origins of altruism and teamwork have nothing to do with kinship or the degree of relatedness between individuals" — Where does good come from?

    Rather, "groups of cooperators can out-compete groups of non-cooperators, thereby ensuring that their genes — including the ones that predispose them to cooperation — are handed down to future generations." Author Leon Neyfakh notes, "Those who bristle at the notion that all altruistic behavior can be recast, via kin selection, as being indirectly self-interested — those who would like to think there’s room in nature for a more genuine form of altruism — may find it appealing."

    Some recent posts on mention scientific challenges to Darwinian orthodoxy — The Prophet George Jackson Mivart, A Paleobiologist Reviews What Darwin Got Wrong, Natural Selection Debunked?, What Darwin Got Wrong. The Argument from Conscience, of course, provides a deeper explanation as to how the phenomena play out in our species.

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    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Matthäus Passion, Performed by Kölner Philharmonie, Chor und Orchester des Collegium Vocale Gent, Phillippe Herreweghe

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.