Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Life is Good

Content with my wife on the computer, my five-and-a-half month old daughter napping, my dog asleep, I sat on the veranda of my eighth-floor apartment in Pohang, South Korea, smoking a Cuban cigar given to me by a Canadian colleague, drinking a glass, well, two, glasses of California red wine, pondering over the 29 pages of Fr. John Neuhaus' November 2003: The Public Square, until my wife called me in to help with Joy's bath, listening to Vivaldi's Beatus vir in C major as we did so.
B.C. Comic Islamophobic? You decide.

The situation:

A recent installment of the comic B.C., by Evangelical Christian Johnny Hart, has three panels each depicting and outhouse with the traditional crescent moon window in the door and a crescent moon in the sky. In the space between the first two panels, shaped like an "I," is the word "SLAM." In the final panel, a voice bubble has the words "Is is just me or does it stink in hear?"

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a complaint alleging that this comic is in reality a velied attack on Islam. Johnny Hart denied any intention of making a comment on Islam.

The comic in question:


Media analyses:

Johnny Hart & B.C.: Slam on Islam?
Civil Society: Some See Slur Against Islam in a 'B.C.' Outhouse Cartoon Strip
'B.C.' cartoon seen as slur of Islam: Muslims allege veteran artist Hart made cryptic attack
Menaced by polysemites

Most incisive comment (from the final link above):

...I agreed of course that Islamophobic cartooning was the most pressing issue of the week, in my usual shallow way I'd become distracted by some of the day's more trivial stories - the 11 Hindus burnt alive by a Muslim gang in Bangladesh, the 13 Christian churches torched by Muslim rioters in the Nigerian town of Kazaure, and the 27 Turks and Britons murdered by Muslim terrorists in Istanbul.

My analysis:

Yes, I believe that the comic was probably a commentary on Islam and that it was probably intentionial. It could have been unintentional, arising from Johnny Hart's subconcious feelings of hostility toward Islam, but that would require me to believe the post-modern theories of literary criticism that I was taught studying literature as an undergraduate student and which, though fascinating and intriguing, I am not prepared to fully accept.

If the cartoon is a comment on the current state of affairs in the Islamic religion, it is not offensive to the religion itself and it raises some important issues (see Identifying Muslim moderates) about a religion whose name has been invoked in dozens of terrorist atrocities over the past several years.

I have a great deal of respect for the Islamic religion and spent a year living in an Islamic country, Malaysia, where I learned a lot about the value of prayer and fasting from Muslims. Islamic nations are a natural ally of the Vatican on many family issues at the U.N. However, serious concerns about the state of that religion have come into clearer focus since September 11th, 2001. Blindly repeating that "Islam is the religion of peace" and reminiscing about the imagined glory days of Islamic Spain do nothing to address the issues raised.

Furthermore, if the comic were indeed an attack on Islam, it was incredibly mild and subtle compared to the anti-Catholic sentiments of many comics that appeared after the priestly abuse scandals of 2002, in which bishops and priests are called the "Axis of Evil," children are nailed to crosses, the Holy Father is depicted as a demon, etc. [For a comprehensive list, see the Catholic League's 2002 Annual Report on Anti-Catholicism.]

Friday, November 28, 2003

Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama


Dalai Lama's Visit "Exclusively Religious": Pope Has Audience With Buddhist Leader
Pope John Paul II Meets With Dalai Lama
Vatican Gives Dalai Lama Visit Low Profile

Quotes from the Dalai Lama:

My main sort of interest, or main purpose or goal is promotion of human values and promotion of religious harmony.

My main purpose (was) my expression of admiration and appreciation for what he (the pope) has done and his dream. In spite of his age and difficult physical condition he's really determined for peace and religious understanding.

U.S. Troops Out of Korea

The article S. Korea puts off US requests to buy arms, clearly states the current situation of the US-ROK alliance with its subtitle, "Nation slow to share burden; stakes mount for defense contractors" and its first sentence:

South Korea is resisting American requests that it buy new weaponry even as the United States is pouring billions of dollars into Korean security.

The best thing that could happen for this region would be for the US to realize that its troops are unwanted here, that South Korea can well afford to pay for its own defense and that it should begin to do so, that US troops are needlessly in harm's way in a region where vital American interests are no longer at stake and where China is effectively contained by its neighbors (the Koreas, Japan, the Phillippines, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan, and Russia (all hostile to China's territorial ambitions)) and pull the troops out!

For a similar point of view, read Patrick J. Buchanan's The Coming U.S. Retreat from Asia.

For once, I agree with North Korea (see Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from S. Korea Demanded).

A Hard Right Opposition Against the Federal Marriage Amendment

In DO WE NEED A FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT?, brought to my attention by A conservative blog for peace, author Thomas Fleming argues against a federal marriage amendment essentially by saying we should change the culture first and advising us to nolite confidere in principibus, "put not your trust in princes."

While I disagree with Fleming's argument, I was happy to see him include the church of my childhood and youth, the Missouri Synod Lutherans, icluded with Catholics, Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, Reformed Presbyterians, and Southern Baptists as the "Christian Churches that still exist."

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Closet Catholic

It appears that was what Andy Warhol was, as described in an article entitledTRANSUBSTANTIATING THE CULTURE: ANDY WARHOL'S SECRET, brought to my attention from one of my favorites, A conservative blog for peace.
A Union Hero on the Confederate Flag

From "Why Do the Neocons Hate Dixie So?" in The American Cause:

Late in life, Joshua Chamberlain, the Union hero who won the Medal of Honor for holding Little Round Top when Lee sent the Texans to turn Meade's flank on the second day at Gettysburg, said that whenever he saw that flag, it recalled to him the indomitable courage of the men who had fought under it.

Joshua Chamberlain, a hater of slavery, it seems, did not see the flag as a symbol of that hated institution, as we so often do today.
Persecuted Church

This story from India, Hindu Fundamentalists in Orissa Unleash Attacks Against Church, which reports the raping of nun, the burning of bibles, the vandalization of churches, the intimidation of converts, and asaults on Catholics and Protestants alike, should be a reminder to all of us on Thanksgiving Day that there are still places where being a Christian is a courageous act of defiance involving the risking of one's own life and wellbeing.

When Apathy is Good

The pro-North Korean student group in South Korea known as Hanchongnyeon is disappearing from South Korean university campuses due to a "lack of concern for political issues among students and a growing attention to their welfare and to seeking jobs" (see Hanchongnyeon Doomed to Break Up amid Election Defeats).
Violent Labor Protests

The evening news (on the moderate YTN not the radically leftist MBC) here in Korea has for some days been full of images of steel pipe-wielding, molotov cocktail-throwing, rioters attacking policemen, who are usually men in their early twenties performing their mandatory military service. Hundreds of policemen have been injured by "labor protestors." For an editorial on this sad situation, read Riot Police: 'Don't Hit Them In The Face'.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Slippery Slope

William F. Buckley, on the logical exetnsions of the gay "marriage" decision in Massachusetts, from DOES MARRIAGE MATTER?:

Dramatic revisions are coming up from the fever swamps of the anthropologists, who are saying: Why not just forget the institution of marriage? After all, 26 percent of Americans live alone, and about half of those who marry proceed to get divorced. So why not a market solution to the whole business? Let the parties who decide to cohabit for more merely than a night, or even a month, devise an agreement of sorts having to do with how property should be distributed if they break up. Oh yes, if there were children, how would custody be arranged? All the business about paying the bills and visiting rights -- couldn't a thoughtful arrangement be made here, suited to the different personalities of the participants?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Scientific Anti-Materialism

Here's an excellent anti-materialist argument, as quoted in Books in Review: Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, a review of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith by Stephen M. Barr in the FIRST THINGS November 2003:

Then there is Barr’s powerful argument against materialism as such: “If ideas are just patterns of nerve impulses, then how can one say that any idea (including the idea of materialism itself) is superior to any other? One pattern of nerve impulses cannot be truer or less true than another pattern, any more than a toothache can be truer or less true than another toothache.” In other words, human judgment and evaluation, which are necessary to determine truth and error (including the truth or error of materialism), presuppose a world of moral meaning that transcends the merely material. The very effort to demonstrate the truth of materialism thus refutes materialism.

This seems to me an expansion or scientific clarification of C.S. Lewis's use of conscience as a proof for the existence of God in Mere Christianity.

Both of the above arguments point to a transcendent Supreme Being of absolute morals, the God of Israel.
Classical Conservatism in a Nutshell

The Reverend Peter Robinson, quoted in A conservative blog for peace (an Eastern Orthodox site):

I am a completely unregenerate High Tory. I believe that wealth carries responsibilities towards the less fortunate, and believe firmly in old-fashioned paternalism with every community taking care of its own. I distrust both unfettered Capitalism and Socialism, or any other system that fails to take account of original sin.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Marriage in Crisis

From a The New York Times article entitled The Power of Marriage, by David Brooks:

Marriage is in crisis because marriage, which relies on a culture of fidelity, is now asked to survive in a culture of contingency. Today, individual choice is held up as the highest value: choice of lifestyles, choice of identities, choice of cellphone rate plans. Freedom is a wonderful thing, but the culture of contingency means that the marriage bond, which is supposed to be a sacred vow till death do us part, is now more likely to be seen as an easily canceled contract.

An excellent start, but the self-described conservative author goes on to conclude:

The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.

Sanctify? How can that which is inherently unholy be made holy?

Friday, November 21, 2003

When One Person Reaches Out With Love

This was from the English textbook I use with my Korean university students:

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, one of the most loved Russian poets, transmitted a notable description of a transforming moment. In 1944, Yevtushenko's mother took him from Siberia to Moscow. They were among those who witnessed a procession of twenty thousand German war prisoners marching through the streets of Moscow.

When One Person Reaches Out With Love
By Yevgeny Yevtushenko

The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police.

The crowd was mostly women - Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick and with thin, hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans.

They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear.

At last they saw it.

The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanor meant to show superiority over their plebeian victors.

"They smell of eau-de-cologne, the bastards," someone in the crowd said with hatred.

The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back.

All at once something happened to them.

They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing dirty, bloodstained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of their comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down.

The street became dead silent - the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

Then I saw an elderly woman in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman's shoulder, saying: "Let me through." There must have been something abut her that made him step aside.

She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a colored handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now suddenly from every side women were running towards the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had.

The soldiers were no longer enemies.

They were people.

A Completely Undeserved Honor

Our very own Katolik Shinja has been included in a list entitled Prominent Organizations Speak Out for Terri Schiavo.
The Pope and the Dalai Lama

"Both of us have experience with atheist and totalitarian regimes," The Dalai Lama on his upcoming meeting with the Pope (see Dalai Lama to meet pope).

In my journey from Lutheranism to Catholicism, I spent several years in the way station of Anglicanism. I learned much of value from that tradition. I remember reading somehere that Anglicanism was the one church whose aim was its own eventual disappearance, implying that its role was to be as via media between Catholicism and Protestantism and serve to unite the divided Body of Christ and, once that goal was acheived, vanish.

Well, it seems the Anglican Church, in Canada at least, is disappearing, but not in the way described above (see The Anglicans' fast track to oblivion).
A Persecuted Bishop

Pray for Bishop Su Zhumin (see Chinese bishop missing since 1997 spotted in hospital).

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Gay "Marriage"

I brought up this topic today in my class of Korean university students. Out of 25 students, 17 were in favor, 7 opposed, and 1 undecided.

The results of this admittedly unscientific poll at least indicate that Korea has come, or I should say gone, a long way from where it was when I arrived in 1997 and a commonly-held belief was that "gays" did not exist in conservative and Confucian Korea but were a Western phenomenon.

The Culture War, it seems, is not confined to the West.
PJB on Euthanasia

The concluding paragraphs from Culture War to the Death by Pat Buchanan:

And among this godless population [of the post-Christian West], for the young schooled in the utilitarian dogma of “the greatest good for the greatest number” and having embraced La Dolce Vita, a question will insistently arise: why work endlessly only to see half our wages go to keep alive, fed, and housed “useless eaters” whose lives are ending and who no longer contribute to society? Why should they not depart when they become ill, and cease to consume all our wealth?

If there is no God, no life after death, no higher law, and society may permit euthanasia, why can society not decide to make euthanasia mandatory for those who have begun to die? What is to stop the coming generation from kicking aged Baby Boomer and Gen Xers into their graves?

In 1938, the father of “Baby Knauer,” a retarded blind boy missing an arm and leg, appealed to Germany’s ruler to let his son die. Permission was granted. That leader was a father of the New Europe, and, as it now appears, a man ahead of his time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Two Views of North Korea and one of the South

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary, as quoted in Rumsfeld brands NKorea 'evil' for starving its people:

...[P]eople in the North, repressed people to be sure, watch their children waste away, eat (tree) bark, as that evil regime spends huge sums on weapons.... One nation below the Demilitarized Zone emerged into the light (after the Korean War) and went on to develop institutions and freedom and infrastructure needed for the information age. The other nation has dwelt in poverty and darkness for five decades.

Dae Sik Yoo, the student body president of Kyung Hee University, as quoted in Uncle Sam Is Losing the War for Students in South: Fine Young Communists:

Kim Jong Il is an outstanding leader. No other country can stand up to the U.S. Only North Korea can.... Kim is just another leader and not a despot or a dictator. If he really is a dictator, the North Koreans wouldn't have tolerated that and overthrown him. They're not that brainwashed. They must see something in the system that's right.

German Human rights activist Norbert Vollertsen, who spent 18 months in Pyongyang working for Doctors Without Borders and once famously demoted his own skin for a North Korean burn victim, as quoted in the article immediately above:

The [South Korean] youth are quite interested in human rights issues in Iraq, racism in America. They're eager to do something and make changes. But when it comes to North Korea, they are so ignorant and uninformed of human rights violations. When I do college tours, it's quite shocking because first of all they don't want to believe my stories. When I showed them pictures of children starving, they thought the pictures were from Dachau or Auschwitz. They didn't want to believe it was in North Korea. They kept challenging me and saying, 'Are you sure they're starving and dying? Are you sure you're a doctor?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Minjung Theology

This past weekend, I went on trip to two very different parts of South Korea. First, I visited the heavily militarized and poverty-stricken areas of Gangwon-do, the province directly south of the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. Second, I went to the prosperous and ultra-modern Incheon New City, built in the past year or so near the new International Airport, the cornerstone in the South Korean government's plan to make this country the "Hub of Asia."

The contrast was jaring: Gangwon-do's collapsing farming cottages and dusty unpaved roads compared to Incheon's high-rise apartments and wide avenues. The two images reminded me that this is truly a country where First World and Third coexist, which in turn reminded me of the cover of a book about Minjung Theology I had once seen for sale here in Korea.

The cover of the book showed a map of the world with a fish-eye lens focusing on the Korean peninsula, making it look roughly the size of North America. The entire world was either red or some other color, yellow I think. Red indicated the developing world and the rest the developed world. While all of North Korea was red, the South was speckled, giving the impression that it was the country in which the developing and developed worlds were colliding.

That map is a description of the essence of Minjung Theology, a product of Korean Christianity. Minjung is a Korean word of Chinese origin (as are 70% of Korean words) that means the "masses." It is akin to the more widely familar Liberation Theology, except that it is contextualized to the particular realities of the Korean situation of the 1970s when it developed. It's origins are Protestant, but it has many Catholic adherents. In fact, I would say a larger portion of Korean Catholics follow its ideas than do Protestants.

Fundamentally, Minjung Theology sees the world as being divided beween the "haves" and the "have-nots." It asserts that the latters' time is at hand. Minjung Theology maintains that Korea holds a special place and will play an essential role in this global battle of Armageddon that is to occur between the rich and the poor. God's attention, it asserts, is now focused on the Korean peninsula in a very special way.

Many of Minjung Theology's ideas seem to me to be dangerously close to heresy. It is, however, undeniably an interesting development in World Christianity. Here are some sites that explore Minjung Theology in more detail:

Christianity and the Minjung Imaginary by Paul Yunsik Chang
Barth and Newbigin’s Insight for Biblical Contextualization by Dae Ryeong Kim
Asian Theologies in Review by Philip L. Wickeri

Friday, November 14, 2003

Out of Africa

I instantly knew I would like the Vanguard newspaper from the title of this article, Gay bishop: How much more can Africa take?, and its first line:

On Sunday 2 November, one Gene Robinson, a sexual pervert, euphemistically called gay, was consecrated Anglican Bishop of New Hampshire, USA, in what was ironically described as "a colourful but controversial ceremony" attended by 4000 parishioners and 50 American bishops.

The article goes on to say:

Next, the white world will ask us to accept people who have sex with animals and child molesters!

Tell it like it is!
Heirs to the Apostles

Some excellent news today for all who follow the teachings of Holy Mother Church:

Bishops denounce same-sex unions, use of contraceptives

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Follwing are an editorial and an article about illegal aliens and foreign wokeres here in South Korea:

First, Robbing Foreigners to Get Rich tells how companies are holding back pay for illegal foreign wokers in anticipation of this upcoming Sunday's deportation of illegal aliens.

Second, Foreign Worker Faced with Deportation Commits Suicide tells the story of Chiran Tharaka, 31, from Sri Lanka, who killed himself due to worries that "he did not have enough money to go back home."
Politically Homeless

From "Faithful Citizenship," a statement recently put out by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as reported in Catholic bishops tackle politicians:

At this time, some Catholics may feel politically homeless, sensing that no political party and too few candidates share a consistent concern for human life and dignity. However, this is not a time for retreat or discouragement. We need more, not less engagement in political life by Catholics.

They hit they nail on the head with that phrase "politically homeless." On my desk is sitting a form sent to me by the board of elections from the last county I lived in in the U.S. The form asks me to declare a party, as the Right to Life Party for which I registered did not qualify to be a major party in my home state. I don't think, as many do, that the two major parties are one in the same, the "Republicrats." They have serious differences. That's the problem.

My Democrat grandmother indoctrinated me to the extent that I challenged my elementary school teacher when she stated that Lincoln had been a Republican. "She must be wrong," I thought. "How could this great man have been a Republican!" But my grandmother lived before the days her party had completely adopted the pro-abortion and pro-gay agendas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Korean Labor Demonstrations

Yesterday, I wrote about Korean labor demonstrations, which are world-famous for their violence (see S Korea braces for massive strike).

Why are Korean labor protests so violent? I've heard the Korean workforce described as one of the most "coddled" on Earth. I personally know a factory worker whose union routinely goes on strike until management agrees to give all workers a "bonus" of about $1000 to lure them back to the job.

It is well-known that these protests are fueled by soju and makkoli, two Korean liquors supplied to demonstrating workers in the front lines by their union leaders. Also, this is a time for workers to vent their frustration, which might be aimed at their job or society at large. Korean society, based on Confucianism, is a highly regimented one in which an age difference of only one year necessitates that the "junior" use honorific language and assume a servile position to the "senior." A common mental illness among middle-age Korean men is hwatbyeong, anger-disease, whose victims can be seen standing on street corners screaming at passersby. It is thought that this disease is caused by the lack of an outlet for legitimate anger.

There is much good to be retained from Confucianism. This was confirmed by Mateo Ricci and the other Catholic missionaries to China in the 16th and 17th Centuries who did honor to the philosophy by giving us the latinized names of Confucius and Mencius and early translations of their works. It provides for a stable social structure we in the West sorely lack. However, Confucianism, like all pagan philosophy, while holding kernals of truth that come from God's gift of Natural Law, is ultimately insufficient.

Korea's and Asia's (and the World's) best hope for a future of peace and harmony is in the healthy egalitarianism that respects leadership and hierarchy found in Christianity, specifically Catholic Christianity, and which is bulit upon the foundation of what is good and honorable in the traditional cultures and philosophies of the past.
An All-Too-Easy Explanation

This article was brought to my attention yesterday: What Fools These Earthlings Be. About religion, it has this to say:

At the root of the ill will between Israel, Iraq, and other neighboring lands is something called the humans call religion. While the people of this region have common ancestors, they can't agree on who tells the right story about an invisible yet all-powerful being that they think controls the cosmos. And so they kill each other.

Sadly, this secular humanist line of argumentation is all too popular today. These Brights, as atheists and agnostics now call themselves, claim that all the world's problems would be solved if we could just follow the advice of John Lennon (and V.I. Lenin) and "imagine" a world with "no religion," accept of course the religion of Universism, as secular humanism is now called.

The root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is land, not religion. The Zionist movement was founded by an atheist after all. Palestinian suicide bombers, as vile as they are, attack discos and restaurants, that is secular Israel. They do not atack the yeshivas or the synogogues. In fact, the ultra-orthodox Jews don't even recognize the State of Israel (see this photo).

Religion is also routinely blamed for the troubles of Northern Ireland, when in fact that situation is just a continuation of the struggle waged by the Celts for 1500 years from the time the Anglo-Saxons invaded the British Isles.

To be sure, in both of these conflicts religion plays a role. But that role is a secondary one. The participants use religion as a support for their position. The primary issue, as in almost all human conflict, is land.

Vivo sin vivir en mi,
y de tal manera espero,
que muero porque no muero.

San Juan de la Cruz
Traductor, Traidor: Two Spanish Mystics, Two Translations

I recently finished reading St. John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz): Alchemist of the Soul: His Life, His Poetry (Bilingual), His Prose edited and translated by Antonio T. de Nicolas and began The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila, translated by E. Allsion Peers.

The latter is by far the better translation, which is evident from its reassuring nihil obstat and imprimatur. The Way of Perfection offers particular difficulties for the translator in that it is really two texts: The Escorial version that was written for the Saint's sisters and the Valladolid version written for a wider audience. Its translator attempted "to do a little more for the reader who combined intelligence with devoutness that had been done already (23)" and continuously asked, "Would St. Teresa have included or omitted this id she had been making a fresh version for a world-wide public over a period of centuries? (24)"

The above canot be said of the former, whose title and lack of em>nihil obstat orimprimatur both serve as warnings. Its translator goes as far as "leave aside those portions of theology he was writing just to please the wishes of the inquisitors (6)." He never mentions who these "inquisitors" are or how he, the translator, knew which portions were written for them. The reader can only conclude that it is the translator himself who is acting as inquisitor. The translator criticizes those "who fail to see that it is San Juan de La Cruz who admits that if the Church willed it differently, he would express himself differently (6)." It is the translator who fails to see that this should be the opinion of any faithful Catholic writer submtting himself to the Church's authority.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Pornography on Televsion

On Tyranny And Television: The Mainstreaming Of Pornography, by Jameson Taylor and reproduced with permission by the The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Vice Province of Japan/Korea begins with this quotation:

"Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow.

"In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next,... And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception has grown too heavy..."

The original quote was written about the Third Reich but is applied in the article to the inroads made by pornography into mainstream culture via television.

As I visit the United States only once a year, I skip over many of "the hundreds of little [imperceptible] steps" and am shocked each time I visit by how far television has deteriorated from the days of "The Twighlight Zone" or even "M*A*S*H". I'm scheduled to visit this upcoming Christmas and need to brace myself for another onslaught. I'll try to limit my viewing as I did on my visit last year to only skipping through the channels to confirm that our culture is in serious, perhaps irreversible, decline.


Franco by Christopher Manion provides some rather interesting insights into the "long-standing leftist tradition of hatred of Catholic Spain."
Consistent Pro-life Ethic

Changing a society which has de-valued women and de-humanized the unborn correspondence with the Fellowship of Reconciliation on the issue of abortion is a page that details the correspondence between the Orthodox Peace Fellowship (OPF) and the Fellowship of Reconcialiation (FOR) over the issue of abortion.

In the end, OPF cut ties with FOR over this issue:

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship will be ending its formal association with the Fellowship of Reconciliation as soon we have a US account operating, which seems almost certain to occur by the end of the month.

This follows a decision made within OPF not to affiliate ourselves with organizations which do not promote a consistent pro-life ethic.

At one point in the correspondence, FOR states that it

deplore[s] killing of [sic] doctors and the threat of violence against abortion providers and their families and groups providing reproductive services

to which OPF responds that

the last two words are an inappropriate euphemism. In fact we're talking about abortion services, the opposite of reproductive services.
Labor Run Amok

If you've ever seen footage of a Korean labor demonstration, you will know that it will invariably include stick-fighting, sling-shots, molotov cocktails (petrol bombs), and even air-powered hunting guns. The recipients of these weapons are not even professional policemen, but rather young men in their late teens or early twenties serving their nation in their compulsory military service.

A recent editorial entitled Out to Ruin the Country? asks some important questions:

Why do young riot police have to be hit with your petrol bombs and become targets for your air-powered hunting guns? You say you want to make a "world with worker liberation from oppression and exploitation." But who is oppressing and exploiting labor?

How powerful would the confederation have to be for even the foreign press to note how the Korean government and business are at the mercy of hard-line unions and how the unions are the greatest source of instability for the Korean economy?

Of Piffles and Powdered Lactobacilli

From a the News From KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY of DPRK(Democratic People's Republic of Korea), that is North Korea, comes this article interesting only for its title:

Japan Urged to Apologize for Its Piffle

It's not often that the word "piffle" appears in newspaper headlines.

From the same source comes this news: New Powdered Lactobacilli for Kimchi.

Mmmm. Can't wait till that arrives in South of the DMZ!
Worse than North Korea?

According to a recent survey of Europeans, Israel is. [See Worse than North Korea?(registratiopn required).]

Never mind the facts, as detailed in the above editorial:

Over the past decade, the North Korean "people's" regime of Kim Jong-Il has starved an estimated three million of its citizens. A roughly equal number work in slave labor camps that dwarf Auschwitz in size and nearly in cruelty.

The regime has developed nuclear weapons, in violation of several agreements, and intends to sell those weapons to the highest bidder. It has lobbed ballistic missiles over Japan. It threatens a war of annihilation against its southern neighbor. It supports itself by dealing drugs and counterfeit currency. But at least it's not as bad as Israel.

The list of top "countries that threaten world pecae" are Israel, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United States.

A full 59 percent of those polled in 15 European nations ranked Israel as the top threat.

The editorial goes on to bemoan the "nihilism" and "profound intellectual and ideological malaise" that currently grips Europe.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Infanticide on North Korea

From North Korea's Gulags, detailing a recent report from the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea:

The report presents the grim individual stories of 30 defectors interviewed by Mr. Hawk in-depth, and culled from these, to further clarify the customs of the camps, is a long list of the tortures described. "Worst of all," as the report puts it, is a roster of stories detailing the routine murder of babies born to prisoners, as told by eight separate eyewitnesses. One common denominator is that when pregnant women are forcibly repatriated after fleeing to China, it is policy to murder their newborns, because they might have been fathered by Chinese men. One account describes babies tossed on the ground to die, with their mothers forced to watch. In another interview, a former prisoner, a 66-year-old grandmother, identified as "Detainee #24" to protect relatives still perhaps alive in North Korea, describes being assigned to help in the delivery of babies who were thrown immediately into a plastic-lined box to die in bulk lots. The report notes: "The interviewer had difficulty finding words to describe the sadness in this grandmother's eyes and the anguish on her face as she recounted her experience as a midwife at the detention center in South Sinuiju"--one of the sites shown in detail in the accompanying satellite photos.
The Tenth Commandment

The following editorial recently appeared in the Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition):

Living in Gangnam Not a Sin

Gangnam is the area in Seoul south of the Han River. It is considered to be the home of the wealthy elite and often comes under attack in the Korean media for the perceived extravagant ways of its inhabitants.

According to the above editorial, popular resentment of Gangnam has reached the point that...

[s]ome elementary schools and kindergartens in Seoul's Gangnam area have been receiving letters and phone calls threatening to kill students individually or poison school food. This means that the area is being looked at with increasing displeasure. It also means that there is a growing atmosphere in which those living in Gangnam are seen as the culprits in something.

Koreans have a saying that "one gets hungry upon hearing of another's good fortune." Koreans tend to be a highly competitive people. They also tend to become possessed with extreme jealousy of those who are seen to be more successful, be they neighbors who have bought a new television, fellow countrymen living in Gangnam, or advanced (I only use this term because Koreans use it so often) countries like the United States.

It seems to me it would be wise for Koreans to remember the oft forgotten Tenth Commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Saint Maria Goretti

The title of this article says it all:

Flasher pummelled by Catholic girls

Interestingly, the girls attend St. Maria Goretti School in Philadelphia, named after MARIA GORETTI, patroness of rape victims, whose biography follows:

Beautiful, pious farm girl, one of six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. In 1896 the family moved to Ferriere di Conca. Soon after, Maria's father died of malaria, and the family was forced to move onto the Serenelli farm to survive.

In 1902 at age twelve, Maria was attacked by 19-year-old farm-hand Alessandro Serenelli. He tried to rape the girl who fought, yelled that it was a sin, and that he would go to hell. He tried to choke her into submission, then stabbed her fourteen times. She survived in hospital for two days, forgave her attacker, asked God's forgiveness of him, and died holding a crucifix and medal of Our Lady. Counted as a martyr.

While in prison for his crime, Allessandro had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden where a young girl, dressed in white, gathered lilies. She smiled, came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As he took them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared. This vision of Maria led to Alessandro's conversion, and he later testified at her cause for beatification.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


This was written a long time ago, but I just came across it today.

From Flos Carmeli, one of my favorites, on August 20, 2003:

An interesting blog with a perspective from the East, Katolik Shinja. If I read aright, the blogger is not Korean himself, but lives in Korea or Corea (before they make this change, I would suggest that the hierarchy read about Huntington's Corea). It provides a breeze from the east and a perspective not often seen in our bloglands.

Koreans, when receiving praise, often respond by saying, "In the future, I'll try much harder (Apeuro deouk yeolshimi hagessseupnida) ."

I will.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Africa's Turn?

On Friday, August 08, 2003, in a post entitled Kairos and Africa, I speculated that Africa might take the lead in 21st Century Christendom. This idea is now supported by the leading role played by Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria in the fight in the Anglican Communion against the "consecreation" of the gay bishop Gene Robinson in the United States.

Phillip E. Johnson, writing in Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity in an article entitled The African Century?, agrees. He also has this to say:

It is already accurate to say that a majority of the world’s Christians, and the most faithful Christian witnesses, are to be found either in Africa and South America, or in Asian countries like China and Korea.

I was happy to see Korea accurately included.
Evil "White Boys"

From Gay consecration splits church:

One of those attending [the consecration of Gene Robinson] was Barbara Harris, the minister who 14 years ago was appointed the Episcopal Church's first woman bishop to similar threats of schism. Her appointment was controversial not only because she was a woman, but also black and divorced. Although some bishops refused to recognise or sit down with her, her consecration did not ultimately cause a split.

She told the Boston Globe: "This is a power struggle as to who is going to run the church, the white boys who have always run it, or some different kinds of people. White men see their church being changed and they don't like it."

Funny. It's the Africans who seem to be objecting most to seeing their church being changed. [See African Anglican Leaders Outraged Over Gay Bishop in U.S..]
Noah's Ark

From no less a source of "truth" than PRAVDA comes this interesting article about Noah's Ark:

Did Noah Go Through Flood in Wooden Submarine?

Monday, November 03, 2003

English Mass

Yesterday was All Souls' Day, which is no longer a holy day of obligation in Korea. My wife, daughter and I went to the Catholic Worker's Hall in Daegu (tel 053-253-1313 / fax 053-255-4861) for the celebration of the Holy Mass in English. The priest was an elderly Frenchman and almost of those in attendance were migrant laborers from the Phillippines. I was probably the only native-speaker of English. Most of the liturgy was in English, but several parts of it and many hymns were in Tagalog.

The experience was an excellent reminder of the universality and true international character of our Catholic Church.
Onward Christian Soldiers

The following article provides an excellent analysis of the prevelant view of Chrsitianity in the West today:

Christian soldiers must stand up