Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Friday, October 31, 2003

Apostolic Succession?

Gene Robinson, in Gay Bishop Ceremony to Include Dissenters, says this about his upcoming consecration as the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop:

"(The) hands that will be laid on me on Nov. 2 — those folks had hands laid on them all the way back to the Apostles themselves. That's an unbroken line all the way back to Peter. That's a pretty overwhelming kind of a thought."

1. He's right about his description of the doctrine of Apostolic Succesion.

2. He's wrong that the Anglican/Episcopalians have it. [It was lost not when Henry VII broke away, but decades later under a process of Protestantization that altered the understanding of holy orders. The Eastern Orthodox broke away and still have Apostolic Succession.]

3. He's right that Apostolic Succession is "a pretty overwhelming kind of a thought."
I'm sure the Apostles themselves would think the same thing about his consecration.
Post-War Iraq

This exchange, from an interview with Archbishop Jean Sleiman, a native of Lebanon and the Latin-rite leader in Bagdad:

Bishop Andraos Abouna, an auxiliary bishop of Baghdad in the Chaldean Church, stated that the media are presenting a distorted coverage of Iraq to discredit the progress made by the American-led coalition. What are your thoughts regarding this?
I think he's right. The coalition is making positive steps, but it was late. And you still have the anarchy and insecurity. The formation of the Temporary Council of Government is a very positive step, and I think for many people the outcome has improved. But you still have a majority of society who is suffering, especially from the lack of security and financial problems.

From Hope and Pain: How Life Really is in Iraq.

A story about "Sister Michaella Santiago... a 71-year old nun from the Philippines who runs the Bethlehem Agabang in northern Seoul, a shelter for children brought here by Southeast Asian women escaping violent or turbulent marriages with Koreans":

46 Years of Selflessness, and She's Still Going

The story contains this bit of historical irony:

She left the Philippines in 1957 when it was still a rich country in Asian terms and went to the poor country Korea to offer her services. Now, she is far from her poor mother country, helping the people who have come to "rich" Korea. “History repeats itself,” she says.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Pope's Health

From As Ever, Pope's Body Language Speaks Volumes:

"He is telling people something he has believed his entire life: Suffering is part of the human condition. He embodies a basic teaching and he's doing it by not being ashamed of his illnesses," said George Weigel, an American biographer of the pope.

"There is no question this is preaching done with the body," said Vittorio Messori, an Italian writer who interviewed the pontiff for a book on his teachings. "Death is not something to flee. He forces us to look at it right in the face."
Culture of Death in Korea

Last night, on the Korean investigative television program Geugeoseul Algoshipda (I want to know that), the murder of a baby was shown on broadcast television. The show was focusing on the crisis of care for premature infants in Korea.

The murderer was a father who did not want to pay for the care of keeping his prematurely-born baby in an incubator. Viewers witnessed the removal of the tiny struggling baby from its life-support systems. Dying, it was then wrapped up in a towel and given to its father to take home.

Sadly, this is a routine practice here in Korea, where premature babies have no legal right to care.

It turned my stomach to witness this on television. It made me think about the Culture of Death. The Culture of Death is not a Western phenomenon; it is a post-Western, or more accurately, a post-Christian phenomenon. [Christianity is not Western but Western Culture is, or was, Christian.] In the case of Korea or other Asian societies, I would say the Culture of Death is a non- or, more hopefully, a pre-Christian phenomenon.

Of course, the Natural Law written on all of our hearts, Christian, Buddhist, or atheist alike, is enough to lead us to a Culture of Life in which the dignity of life is upheld. It is clear from history, however, that Christianity is best able to lead us to that Culture of Life.

My hope for Korea is that the Christianization which has been so successful over the last 100 years (about 35% of Koreans are Christians, either Protestant or Catholic) continues and that a cultural renewal flourishes.
Democrats on "Gay Marriage"

From Gay Marriage Looms as Issue , here's how the Democrat candidates stanbd on the issue of "gay marriage" and civil unions:

Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), and retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark all support the concept of civil unions, according to their campaigns.

Howard Dean, who as Vermont governor signed the nation's first civil unions bill, supports civil unions or whatever other concepts states choose to ensure equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, his campaign said.

Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) and John Edwards (N.C.) oppose gay marriage and think the issue of civil unions should be left to the states, according to their campaigns. The only supporters of gay marriage are Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio), Al Sharpton and former senator Carol Moseley Braun (Ill.).

Reverend Al? C'mon!

And our president:

Bush has been restrained in his comments on the issue. After the Supreme Court's sodomy ruling in June, Bush said about an amendment: "I don't know if it's necessary yet. Let's let the lawyers look at the full ramifications of the recent Supreme Court hearing. What I do support is the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman."

Dostoevsky on Fornication

From Notes from Underground:

"...I realized with utmost clarity the whole absurdity, as loathsome as a spider, of fornication, which rudely and shamelessly, without love, begins directly with that which consummates true love."

Part Two, V

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Poverty vs. Destitution

Dorothy Day on Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy, Voluntary Poverty & More....

A clear contrast of the difference between poverty and destitution and a discussion the great Russian writers as well

Friday, October 24, 2003


Madame Chiang Kai-Shek Dies in NYC at 105

May Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, a great patriot and a devout Christian, rest in peace.
What About the "Secular Left"?

Thank God that Terri Schiavo's life was spared.

Now, be prepared for the media assault (see Victory in Florida Feeding Case Emboldens the Religious Right).

Why is the term "religious right" thrown around without being questioned? I did an admittedly unscientific search on Yahoo! News for "religious right" and "secular left", which resulted in 231 hits for the former and only three for the latter.

Characteristic of the above article was this sentence:

The religious right was out in force in the days leading up to the vote...

Can you imagine the NY Times writing about pro-gay marriage demonstrators saying, "the secular left was out in force in the days leading up to the vote"?

Probably not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Marriage in the U.S.

From Same-Sex Marriage and Its Relation With Contraception: Janet E. Smith Links Rejection of "Humanae Vitae" to Acceptance of Homosexuality, came this scathing indictment of contemporary marriage practices in the U.S.:

The pattern of marriages in the United States is often something like this: multiple sexual partners before marriage; a two- or three-year period of cohabitation, all the while contracepting; two or three years of contracepted sex after marriage; suspending with contraception for a short period of time in order to conceive the first child; return to contraception; suspending contraception to conceive the second child; then the wife or husband gets sterilized; then they get divorced.

Monday, October 20, 2003


More on Terri's plight from Lessons learned from the impending death of a Florida woman, including this:

"Tragically, denial of basic sustenance to people with disabilities is neither unusual nor new in our country," the National Right to Life Committee said in an Oct. 15 statement. "For about two decades, the law in virtually every state has decreed that 'surrogates' may authorize denial of treatment to those who cannot speak for themselves. Consequently, vulnerable people with impaired consciousness have routinely been denied life-saving treatment, food and fluids until they die."

Gandhi a Racist?

While I always have, and still do, admire Mohandas K. Gandhi, I've often wondered why he never took up the cause of the native Black Africans during his time in South Africa. This article, Gandhi branded racist as Johannesburg honours freedom fighter, provides some answers.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Culture of Death on the March

Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube has been removed without her consent, is described in several media reports, including Bush Asks Legal Team To Intervene In Schiavo Case, as "comatose." I'm not a doctor, but mt dictionary defines comatose as being "deeply unconscious."

Can a woman who can smile, look around, and mumble words be described "deeply unconscious"?

Look at this photo or these video downloads and you will see that Terri Schiavo is not "deeply unconcious." Nothing less than murder by starvation is taking place as we speak.
Pray for Terri

Theresa "Terri" Marie Schindler Schiavo is not in a coma. She can breathe on her own. She can smile, laugh, cry, and react to those around her.

Terri can't feed herself, though, and for this she has been sentenced to death by starvation.

Read more about her plight here:

Appeals Court Rejects Last-Ditch Legal Motions by Terri Schiavo's Parents
Terri Schiavo wants to live: Secret therapy given to disabled woman who starts judge-ordered starvation today
Federal judge says Terri Schiavo must die: Rejects plea by parents to allow disabled woman to live
Order signed for starvation of disabled woman: Judge sets Oct. 15 date to remove feeding tube from Terri Schiavo
The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation
Pray for Terri

Please pray for Terri and her parents in their hour of need.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

A Good Sign

From the article More Believe In God Than Heaven:

[B]elief in the devil has increased slightly over the last few years — from 63 percent in 1997 to 71 percent today.
25 Years

For an excellent assessment of Pope John Paul II's papacy, read JOHN PAUL II MARKS ANNIVERSARY WITH INSIGHTFUL LOOK AT FAITH by Maggie Gallagher.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Anti-Americanism in South Korean Cinema

An article describing how the Americans have replaced North Koreans as the bad guys in recent South Korean movies, When American Villains Thwart Lovesick Koreans, begins with this interesting statistic:

Gallup Korea, a polling firm, found that 75 percent of South Koreans in their 20's had a negative view of the United States, compared with only 26 percent of Koreans over 50, the generation that lived through the Korean War.

The article ends with some quotes from Mr. Shin Sang Ok, a South Korean director who with his wife was kidnapped by the North and forced to make movies there in the 70's and 80's. This from a man who knows the North first hand:

In each movie, there has to be a minimum of three appearances of praise of Kim Il Sung. here cannot be love themes in the film, because love is only with Kim Il Sung, not between a man and a woman. Film is considered the ultimate political tool in the North, because behavior and consciousness can be moved by film.

I want to make the `Schindler's List' of North Korea. People there are suffering like the Jews in Auschwitz. The entire country is a gulag. I want to make a hit with such a movie feature. Then the world will know that North Korea is a land without human rights.

Bigger Than the Nobel

From David Brook's editorial, Bigger Than the Nobel:

[W]hen history looks back on our era, Pope John Paul II will be recognized as the giant of the age, as the one individual who did the most to place democracy and freedom at the service of the highest human goals.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Friday, October 10, 2003

Divorce in Chile

Chile remains the only country in the Western hemisphere with no legal divorce. It seems inevitable that that will change soon.

The article Couples Face Tough Choice describes a potential compromise that will allow Catholics to keep their traditional understanding of marriage. C.S. Lewis, in an opinion I don't agree with, argued for the same thing when England first allowed divorce.
The Catholic Church and Condoms

The Church is coming under attack for its indisputable observation that only abstinence can truly prevent the spread of AIDS. (see Catholic Churches Say Condoms Don't Stop AIDS – BBC).

An interesting case is Senegal, whose 1% AIDS rate (compared to over 25% for some sub-Saharan African countries), can be directly attributed to its “conservative cultural norms regarding sex.”

Senegal is 90% Muslim. We from “Christian” countries have to admit that we have much to learn from Muslims.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Western "Buddhists"

It is not an uncommon experience to meet a Westerner, here in Asia or in the West, who claims to be a Buddhist. Usually, when pressed, it has been my experience that the espoused Buddhist knows very little about the religion but is instead attracted to some vague concept of Buddhism as a relativistic, tolerant, non-judgmental, non-imposing belief system that might have as its motto, “live and let live.” In other words, these disaffected Westerners see Buddhism to be everything that they perceive Christianity,particularly Catholic Christianity, not to be.

With no disrespect whatsoever intended toward the Buddhist faith or its sincere followers in the West, I would suggest that those who profess to be Buddhists read this article, written by none other than the Dalai Lama:

Dalai Lama Asks West Not to Turn Buddhism Into a "Fashion": Says Beliefs Cannot Be Unified With Christianity

In it, the Dalai Lama expresses these important truths:

"People from different traditions should keep their own, rather than change. However, some Tibetan may prefer Islam, so he can follow it. Some Spanish prefer Buddhism; so follow it. But think about it carefully. Don't do it for fashion. Some people start Christian, follow Islam, then Buddhism, then nothing.

"In the United States I have seen people who embrace Buddhism and change their clothes. Like the New Age. They take something Hindu, something Buddhist, something, something... That is not healthy...

"For individual practitioners, having one truth, one religion, is very important. Several truths, several religions, is contradictory.

"I am Buddhist. Therefore, Buddhism is the only truth for me, the only religion. To my Christian friend, Christianity is the only truth, the only religion. To my Muslim friend, Mohammedanism is the only truth, the only religion. In the meantime, I respect and admire my Christian friend and my Muslim friend. If by unifying you mean mixing, that is impossible, useless." [my emhases]

On his previous meetings with Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama had this to say:

"I had a very pleasant meeting with him right at the beginning. As he is also a Communist opponent, we share this background, of having no freedom. Me too, since 1951. We had very close feelings for each other. I admire his energy, and also his feelings for humanity, and his effort to get closer at Assisi with other traditions and religions."

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Thoughts on the Rosary

Yesterday was the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the End of the Year of the Rosary. My first class in the Korean version of RCIA was an explanation pof the Rosary. I fell in love with it at first sight and have been praying it ever since. I came into the Church during the Year of the Rosary and feel especially personally drawn to the Luminous Myesteries, proclaimed by the Pope last year.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Sunshine Policy

This article, Cardinal Kim Questions Sunshine Policy, is a bit out of date (from August 27, 2003), but it shows that at least the top level of the Catholic Church in Korea has not fallen hopelessly into the abyss of moral relativism regarding the North.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Episcopalians of Note

In this post-Gene Robinson era, it has not been so easy to find much good within Anglicanism/Episcopalianism. In the past two days, however, I have found two excellent authors who reminded me of the excellence in that tradition.

The first is Canon Bernard Iddings Bell, author of Crowd Culture, written in 1952. This book offers a truly prophetic vision of all that was, and still is, wrong in American culture. Bell takes both school and church to task for what is essentially a failed democracy. He also offers a solution, which is not that different from the "modern monastic movement" proposed by Morris Berman in his Twilight of American Culture.

The second and more contemporary is R.R. Reno, whose recent article "Fighting the Noonday Devil" from FIRST THINGS August/September 2003 explores the great danger of acedia, spiritual sloth, in its many hidden forms.

These two Episcopalians (it might be better to call them Anglo-Catholics) are of C.S. Lewis-like stature and remind me of all the good in their tradition. Although I never was an Anglican (they never required me to officially join), I spent six years worshipping at Anglican churches. Anglicanism served as a literal via media for me from Lutheranism to Catholicism. As a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I grew up steeped in a liturgy whose importance I did not realize until I worshipped in various Protestant demoninations. Living overseas and not being able to find a truly liturgical Protestant church, I found myself worshipping in Anglican churches. From the Anglican Communion, I learned the Doctrine of the Apostolic Succession, the Athanasian Creed, and the Vincentian Canon, all of which helped to me eventually cross the Tiber.

My reading of Bell and Reno comes at the time when the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury are meeting in Rome (see Pope, Anglican Archbishop Discuss Rift ). Recent developments in the Anglican Communion have made that rift deeper and wider, but their is always hope.

Friday, October 03, 2003


Russia Priests Head to N.Korea on Mission from God

Kim Jong-il, it seems, has invited some Russian Orthodox priests to open an Orthodox church in Pyeongyang, to join the one existing "Catholic" church and two Protestant churches. He also chose four North Korean academics to go to Moscow to study for the Orthodox priesthood. I can't help but wonder how Orthodox they will be.

A writer quoted in the article says,

I think Kim knows there is not just an economic crisis in his country but a spiritual one. He also knows that Russian patriotism today is very closely linked to the church. Maybe he would like the same in his country.

I'd like to think this might indicate Kim Jong-il possible conversion, something I pray for, but I can't say I'm very hopeful. Still, with God, all is possible.

For more information about religion in North Korea, read this article:

Asia Times: PYONGYANG WATCH: Some of that old-time religion

A Vatican Insider's Welcome Comments

First, let us remember to pray for His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

These comments came from an unnamed Vatican "insider" in an article entitled Analysis: 'Detoxified' pope:

[The cardinals] are exasperated with the mess especially in the American Church. They are disgusted with the inflation of marriage annulments, and the moral relativism of U.S. and Western European Catholics.


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Signs of the Times

A rock group appropriately named Hell on Earth planned to stage a suicide as a part of its concert in the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, which wisely rushed to pass a law prohibiting public suicide, according to an article entitled City Tries to Block Concert Suicide Plan.

Can we go any lower?