Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Happy Name Day!

Today, the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, is my name day. My Protestant parents gave me the middle name of Andrew when I was born, and I took that name upon being received into the Catholic Church, with my wife, on this day two years ago.

Here's a brief profile of Saint Andrew:
    "The first Apostle. Fisherman. Brother of Simon Peter. Follower of John the Baptist. Went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. Missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. Martyred on an saltire (x-shaped) cross, he is said to have preached for two days from it."

He is the patron of Greece, Germany, Russia, and Scotland.

Here's a holy card image from St. Andrew, Apostle:

Here's an icon from

Saint Andrew, pray for us.

Here are various flags incorporating the Cross of Saint Andrew, from St. Andrew's Cross (a article), which contains a discussion of each one.

    The Scottish National Flag

    The Burger Flag (Transvaal, South Africa)

    The Voortrekker Flag (South African Republic)

    The Ensign of the Russian Imperial Navy

    The Russian Imperial Navy Jack

    The Cross of Burgundy (Spain)

    The Flag of Alabama

    The Flag of Florida

    The Confederate Battle Flag

    The Confederate Navy Jack
South Korean Apathy and North Korea Atrocities

Andrei Lankov, writing in Remembering Victims of North Korean Political Camps:
    "Younger generations of Koreans want to see a whitewashed image of the North that should be presented as a country of tragically misunderstood brethren, not as a brutal and murderous dictatorship.

    "And, frankly, people do not care. The North is an alien country, of which South Koreans do not know much. Their lives are more closely connected to events in New York and Osaka than to the developments just a hundred miles away."

Monday, November 29, 2004

A British Cemetery in Korea

Yahoo! UK & Ireland News - BRITISH CEMETERY:

    A British cemetery made in the 19th century in Komundo, south of
    Seoul is seen in this picture taken in April 2002. A craggy island
    cluster off the tip of the Korean peninsula seems an unlikely place
    to have held much strategic value for feuding European colonial
    powers in the 19th century.

For background information about Komundo (a.k.a. Port Hamilton), read Julian Coy's dissertation, The British Occupation of Komundo 1885-1887.

Imagine! Korea could have had its own Hong Kong.

The beginning of Revolting Elites by Taki:
    "Babbittry is the idea that the average Joe lives within the passionless routine of marriage, the tyranny of consumerism, and the regimentation of small-town civic life. Babbittry judges Joe to live in a benighted, blinkered spiritual state, a gay-bashing, beer-drinking redneck whose Taliban tendencies want to ban dancing, rock-and-roll, and R-rated movies. People who don’t live in New York, Hollywood, or divide their time between Virginia, Hyannis Port, or Nantucket estates and their Georgetown mansions view the rest of us as Babbitts."
A Very Good Anti-Statist Read

Re: The Real Significance of the 'Civil War'

I find myself becoming more and more of a Libertarian (and a Monarchist -- the two are not mutually exclusive) as time goes by.
Islamofacism... nothing but an empty propaganda term. Read Words in Wartime and find out why.
Christianity in China

From Chinese Christians Are a Force, But What Kind? (Washington Post reg. req'd.):

    Faith as a new foundation? In the year 2000, Hu
    Saiwang returned home early to celebrate Christmas
    in the little church he and his fellow Christians
    built in Zhong Village as an alternate to the
    "patriotic," state-run church. He found a pile of
    rubble instead.

Re: Chile passes law to allow divorce for the first time

That leaves Malta and the Philippines as the only two countries without divorce.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

American Eugenics

Re: Book Review: War Against the Weak by By Edwin Black

The author of the review, Greek Orthodox priest Father Johannes L. Jacobse, is correct to assert that "Planned Parenthood preserves the eugenic ideal more visibly than any other American organization today" and that "[g]enetic data banks, designer babies, and plans for massive social engineering projects are run by a new league of eugenicists that threaten the weak on a scale about which early eugenicists could only dream."

Here is a link to the book's official website:
Ut Unum Sint

From Pope bids to heal Orthodox rift: The spiritual heads of Christianity's two largest churches, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, have taken part in a solemn ceremony at the Vatican.:

    The bones, in white reliquaries,
    were blessed by the two leaders

And from Vatican Returns Saints' Relics to Orthodox Church:

    Pope John Paul II (R) and Orthodox Christian leader Bartholomew I
    lead a special celebration in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
    November 27, 2004. The Pope, attempting to mend relations with
    Orthodox Christians, returned the remains of two of their most
    prominent saints 800 years after Crusaders snatched sacred
    relics from Constantinople
Umbilical Cord Blood, not Embryonic, Stem Cells

Re: Stem cells help woman walk again

This is absolutely great news, not only because a woman bedridden for 20 years is now taking her first steps, nor because this took place in my adopted home of South Korea, but because stem cells from umbilical cord blood, not embryos, were used.

It might be argued that embryonic stem cells are easier to use, but that does not make their use ethical, just as medical experiments on humans could never be ethical regardless of their efficacy. The ends do not justify the means.

From the above article:
    "A SOUTH Korean woman paralysed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

    "Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.

    "Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy.

    "They said it was the world's first published case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries had been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

    "Though they cautioned that more research was needed and verification from international experts was required, the South Korean researchers said Hwang's case could signal a leap forward in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

    "The use of stem cells from cord blood could also point to a way to side-step the ethical dispute over the controversial use of embryos in embryonic stem-cell research."

[Click on the link above to read the rest.]

UPDATE -- Here's a photo from Korean Scientists Succeed in Stem Cell Therapy:

    A patient unable to walk for the past 19
    years due to a spinal injury takes steps
    after receiving stem cell therapy at the
    Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Thursday.

In this article, Professor Kang Kyung-sun, one of the researchers, describes one advantage of umbilical cord blood stem cells over embryonic stem cells:
    "Embryonic stem cells are omni-potent in that they can divide into any thing even including a tumor cell. But cord blood stem cells are developed enough not to cause such troubles while retaining as powerful a differentiation capacity at the same time."
Happy New Year!

    Advent begins Sunday, Nov. 28. It is a
    joyful period during which Christians
    prepare for the commemoration of Christ's
    birth. The Advent wreath is a main symbol
    of the season with a new candle lit each
    Sunday prior to Christmas.

    (from Catholic News Service)

Today, the first Sunday of advent, marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. This is an ideal time to consider perfoming Saint Philip's Fast, a tradition among Eastern Christians. Here's a brief description, from Philipovka or Philip's Fast:
    "During this fast no particular penitential acts are required by law, but the faithful are encouraged to keep this season holy. By tradition Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are especially observed by abstinence from certain foods.

    "Even if we find it very difficult to keep such an abstinence, the spirit of the fast is recommended, that we abstain from foods that are extremely pleasing to the taste and from excessive eating. A period of penance, of course, means more than just abstaining from food. More time should be allowed for prayer, attending pre-Christmas services, and for acts of charity to others."

This is my favorite time of the year. I especially enjoy the music. Here are two of my favorite hymns, with lyrics and audio: LO, HOW A ROSE E’ER BLOOMING (auf Deutsch: ES IST EIN ROS’) and O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL (in Latinum: VENI EMMANUEL).

    Toegye Lee Hwang

Re: The Quiet Lives of Confucian Scholars

Confucian scholars, much like certain Roman pagans, were interested in living the "Good Life" to the extent that their natural morality would allow. It is no wonder that the early Catholic missionaries to China readliy recognized much good in the works of Confucius and Mencius.
Cho Young-nam on the "Love-hate Relationship between Korea and Japan"

Japanese try to reach out. Why can't the Koreans?
Stem Cells

Stem cells are a big issue here in Korea, with Dr. Hwang Woo Suk's "therapuetic" cloning of human embryos a few months back. Today, the utra-leftist Hankyoreh newspaper took the ethical high road on the issue.

From [Editorial] Adult Stem Cells Need More Attention:
    "The production of stem cells using embryos carries ethical problems, however, in that it uses embryos that would grow to be human beings, and in addition much work remains until it becomes applicable. The use of umbilical cord blood creates no ethical problems, however, and research has progressed a great deal already. Indeed, adult stem cells are already used to produce blood vessels, bones, and nerves, and to treat myocardial infarction. Adult stem cells do have their limits for being aged compared to embryo stem cells, but it seems clear that it would be worth pursuing the research further."

It bears repeating that the Church is not opposed to stem cell research, only embryonic stem cell research.
Kim Jong-il

North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, quoted in N. Korea Denounces Removal of Kim Portrait:
    "Any plot to defame our supreme leadership is nothing more than a foolish attempt to take the sun down from the sky."

Friday, November 26, 2004

Gerard Bugge, R.I.P.

Bishop Seraphim Sigrist has written a nice memorial of the late Gerard Seraphin, of A Catholic Blog for Lovers fame. Here it is:

[link via Father Jim Tucker of Dappled Things]
Sandro Magister on Spain

Re: Spain: The Zapatero "Revolución" Cracks the Whip over the Bishops

Be sure to scroll down for the excellent interview with Fernando Sebastián, bishop of Pamplona, entitled "This Is not Reformism; It Is Nihilism."

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

From USCCB - NAB - Psalms 100: 1-4:
    1 A psalm of thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;

    2 worship the LORD with cries of gladness; come before him with joyful song.

    3 Know that the LORD is God, our maker to whom we belong, whosepeople we are, God's well-tended flock.

    4 Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving. Give thanks to God, bless his name;
St. Francis Xavier

From Devotees flock to see saint's body in Goa:

    Devotees pray next to the coffin of the 16th-century saint,
    Francis Xavier, at Se Cathedral during the opening of a 43
    day-long exposition of the remains in Goa November 21, 2004.

Here's some background on the Apostle to the Far East, from Saint Francis Xavier:
    "Nobleman from the Basque reqion. Studied and taught philosophy at the University of Paris, and planned a career as a professor. Friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola who convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel. One of the founding Jesuits, and the first Jesuit missionary. Priest.

    "In Goa, while waiting to take ship, India, he preached in the street, worked with the sick, and taught children their catechism. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies. Said to have converted the entire city.

    "He scolded his patron, King John of Portugal, over the slave trade: "You have no right to spread the Catholic faith while you take away all the country's riches. It upsets me to know that at the hour of your death you may be ordered out of paradise."

    "Tremendously successful missionary for ten years in India, the East Indies, and Japan, baptizing more than 40,000. His epic finds him dining with head hunters, washing sores of lepers in Venice, teaching catechism to Indian children, baptizing 10,000 in a single month. He tolerated the most appalling conditions on long sea voyages, enduring extremes of heat and cold. Wherever he went he would seek out and help the poor and forgotten. He traveled thousands of miles, most on his bare feet, and he saw the greater part of the Far East. Had the gift of tongues. Miracle worker. Raised people from the dead. Calmed storms. Prophet. Healer."

From the above site comes this Prayer by Saint Francis Xavier:
    "Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that You alone has created the souls of unbelievers, which You have made according to Your Image and Likeness. Behold, O Lord, how to Your dishonor many of them are falling into Hell. Remember, O Lord, Your Son Jesus Christ, Who so generously shed His Blood and suffered for them. Do not permit that Your Son, Our Lord, remain unknown by unbelievers, but, with the help of Your Saints and the Church, the Bride of Your Son, remember Your mercy, forget their idolatry and infidelity, and make them know Him, Who You have sent, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who is our salvation, our life, and our resurrection, through Whom we have been saved and redeemed, and to Whom is due glory forever. Amen."
ROK Silence about DPRK Atrocities

From Activist: Gov't Knew about NK's Experiments on Political Prisoners:
    "The South Korean government has been reluctant to raise divisive issues with the North that could jeopardize already-strained relations across the border."
Pseudoscience and Science in South Korea

This is follow-up on an idea I discussed a day or two ago:

Blood Type: "Unrelated to Personality, But Closely Related to Disease"
The Vatican - "One of Biotechnology's Best Friends"

A passage from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, quoted in 11/25 - Thankful For Moral Leadership:
    "The Christian vision of creation makes a positive judgment on the acceptability of human intervention in nature. ... Nature is not a sacred of divine reality that man must leave alone. ... The human person does not commit an illicit act when ... he intervenes by modifying some of their characteristics or properties."
North Korean Amorality

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, quoted in N. Korean prisoners gassed in experiments:
    "The attitude of the scientists ... was these were political prisoners, they were as good as dead anyway, and therefore, utilizing them for experiments held really no moral implications whatsoever."
The Cost of Not Having an Abortion in Red China

Fired and tortured for having a second child

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Compay Segundo & World Music

Re: Cuba Pays Tribute to Compay Segundo's 97th anniversary

I wasn't all that impressed by the film Buena Vista Social Club (1999). I thought it was grossly overated. Perhaps it was the directorial style (I've never been a Wim Wenders fan). A much better Latin music documentary is the phenomenal Calle 54 (2000), directed by Spaniard Fernando Trueba.

That said, I've become a huge fan of Compay Segundo and the other members of the Buena Vista Social Club, due to a stunning 5-CD compilation I picked up here in Korea, entitled "The Great Members of Cuban Music," which also includes Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Elíades Ochoa, and Omara Portuondo.

I like my World Music straight, and don't need a Ry Cooder to act as an intermediary, although, to his credit, he doesn't interfere too much with Compay and company on stage in the film. Paul Simon, on the other hand, should have left the great Ladysmith Black Mambazo alone on stage. And Sting's forays into world music seem to be nothing more than an extension of his ego.

Trey Anastasio and Dave Matthews at least had the sense to be extremely nervous and humble when performing with the legendary Orchestra Baobab in Dakar, Senegal (see NPR : Review: 'Trey and Dave Go to Africa'). Peter Gabriel, to his credit, presents world music in its original form in his WOMAD festivals. And David Byrne's Brazil Classics (Series) is an absolute must-own for any World Music lover, from which I came to learn of such indispensible singers as Chico Buarque de Hollanda, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, and Jorge Ben Jor.
Thanksgiving in Religio-phobic America

From Schools are distorting Thanksgiving:
    "Religious faith has guided the development of our democracy and imbues our leaders still with a belief in the worth of every man, woman and child. When we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts, we should remember and thank God for that."

From Grace, gratitude and God:
    "Once an unabashedly pious land, we have been transformed into a nation of historically clueless ingrates -- embarrassed about our heritage, afraid of offending all newcomers, and more committed to inculcating a sense of entitlement over a culture of gratitude."
Death Penalty Debate in South Korea

Re: [Opinion] Capital Punishment

Here is the Church's teaching on the Death Penalty, from The Death Penalty and the Catechism:
    2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

    2266 "The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

    2267 "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm--without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself--the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity 'are rare, if not practically non-existent.'
Kim Jong-il's Real Victims - The North Koreans

Hunger in the shadow of N Korea's nukes
Today's Memorial

The Martyrs of Vietnam

From Điện Văn Của Đức Hồng Y Casaroli:

    Cảnh các Thánh Phêrô Khoan
    Pherô Hiếu, Gian B. Thành bị xử trảm

[See also St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his 116 companions, (d. 1745-1862).]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

What's Going on in North Korea?

The Marmot's Hole today provides excellent coverage of the mystery surrounding North Korea and Kim Jong-il, including rumors of a Chinese-backed military coup, in a post entitled NYT on fissures in North Korea - reader beware.
Literacy in Korea

Re: [Opinion] Semi-illiterate

South Koreans are rightly proud of their high literacy rate (98-99%) and their remarkable alphabet, Hangeul, which is truly one of mankind's greatest intellectual acheivements. This heathy pride, however, sometimes degenerates into an ugly arrogance among Koreans with an inferiority complex. I've had people tell me that my country, the United States, has literacy rate of 50% (that figure must be out there on the Korean Internet somewhere), while gloating that their country's is 100%.

The article above is a helpful reminder that "the deciphering of letters" is important, but "being able to read is not necessarily equal to being able to understand the writing."
Pseudoscience and Superstition

Re: B L O O D T Y P E A N D P E R S O N A L I T Y

There's been a lot of talk in Korea these days about the alleged link between blood type and personality.This talk in not new. When I arrived in Korea seven years ago, many people asked me blood type. I couldn't answer; I didn't know. I called my mother, a nurse. Surely she would know. She didn't. I had my blood tested about two years ago, just to find out my blood type. It was Type A.

My wife told me yesterday that a certain Korean insurance company is now only considering applicants with Type B or Type O blood. This prompted me to try to verify if there was any truth to what seemed an outrageous claim. There wasn't.

This comes from the above article:
    "The idea of a correlation between blood type and personality was first noted in the 1930s during Japan's invasion of eastern Asia. Military leaders commissioned a study on how blood type influences personality in an effort to breed better soldiers."

Strange that Koreans, with their less than fond memories of Japanese militarism and eugenics, would so readily adopt an idea whose origin is in the Japanese Imperial Army.

I pray this "false knowledge" disappears soon.

[As an aside, the cultural chauvinist in me was tempted to assign this superstition to some cultural deficiency in the as-yet pre-scientific Oriental mind. My better angels triumphed, however, and I turned my attention to my beloved Occidental civilization, whose mind has for a century been dominated by much more sinister pseudosciences like Freudianism and Marxism. Christianity experienced remarkable growth in Korea during the 20th Century, supplanting shamanism and other folk beliefs. Christianity has experienced nothing but decline in Europe over the same period, as it is replaced by superstitious New Age mysticism. Who now has the better mind?]
Secularism in Europe

Philosopher Jürgen Habermas, quoted in Atheist supports Ratzinger crusade against secularism:
    "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilisation."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Machiavellian Evil

Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! provides a link to this National Review Online article, which he rightly describes as "evil":

I imagine this article was printed in response to the possible war crime which occured in Fallujah last week, although it is not mentioned. [See Arabs Enraged at U.S. Soldier Shooting Wounded Iraqi.]

The article relates the story of Henry Tandey, a British infantryman who spared the life of a wounded German corporal he found in a trench in WWI. The corporal was Adolf Hitler.

The author argues that Tandey would have been right to have killed Hilter. The author is wrong; it would have been murder. The Hitler in the trench that day in 1918 was not the Hitler with the blood of millions on his hands in 1944. To deny that fact would be to deny Hitler's Free Will, and ours.

The satirical film The Last Supper (1995) deals with this theme. In it, a group of liberal graduate students accidentally kill a right-wing dinner guest. They justify the killing ex post facto by saying they made the world a better place by eliminating a potential threat to humanity, arguing that if someone had killed Hitler when he had been an art student, the Holocaust and WWII could have been avoided.

So impressed are they by their idea, they proceed to invite several politically incorrect members of their community to dinner, only to serve them poisoned wine, hence the title of the film. Their victims include, among many others, a "homophobic" priest, a Nation of Islam type, and, finally, a highschool girl leading a campaign against sex education in her school.

"Progressives" like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao also eliminated their potential enemies before they became threats. It's sad to see an American "conservative" magazine like NRO advocating the same amoral reasoning. The secular Right is every bit as prone toward Evil as is the secular Left.

When in moral doubt, follow the Prince of Peace, not The Prince.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Fifth Columnist Jihadi Rappers

Here are some sample lyrics quoted in Jihadi Rap:
    “Dirty Kuffar*” by Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew
    The Ronald Reagan was a dirty kuffar
    The Mr. Tony Blair is a dirty kuffar
    The one Mr. Bush is a dirty kuffar …
    Throw them in the fire

    *the Arabic term for non-believers

    Untitled by Mujahideen Team
    There is only one way to come home from a war zone
    With your enemy’s head or without your own
    And if I die in war I’ll die as a martyr
    Tell my little sons not to cry for their father
    Tell them my last words I pronounce dah shahada*
    Tell ’em I squeezed the trigger ’til I met death with honor

    *the Islamic profession of faith, translated into English as "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His prophet"

    “Revolution” by Sons of Hagar
    The revolution’s gonna shine
    Shine its light on Palestine
    Armageddon round the corner kid I’m cockin’ my nine
    Israelis fightin’ coz they think it’s theirs
    I'm fightin' coz I know it's mine
    I’mma kill Sharon, that devil’s mine

The groups above are not from the Middle East, but from the United Kingdom or the United States: Sheikh Terra and the Soul Salah Crew are British; Mujahideen Team consists of Puerto Rican (¡Dios Mio Santíssimo!) converts to Islam from Boston and Brooklyn; Sons of Hagar are based in Des Moines, Washington.

[link via Nosce Te Ipsvm]
Ut Unum Sint

Russian Orthodox priest Father Alexander Gumanovsky, quoted in The Rosary and Orthodoxy:
    "I forgot to give you a piece of advice vital for salvation. Say the '0 Hail, Mother of God and Virgin' one hundred and fifty times, and this prayer will lead you on the way to salvation. This rule was given by the Mother of God herself in about the eighth century, and at one time all Christians fulfilled it. We Orthodox have forgotten about it, and St. Seraphim has reminded me of this Rule. In my hands I have a hand-written book from the cell of St. Seraphim, containing a description of the many miracles which took place through praying to the Mother of God and especially through saying one hundred and fifty times the 'O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin.' If, being unaccustomed to it, it is difficult to master one hundred and fifty repetitions daily, say it fifty times at first. After every ten repetitions say the 'Our Father' once and 'Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness' Whomever he spoke to about this miracle-working Rule remained grateful to him…"

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
The Passion

From Gibson taking Oscar high road for 'The Passion':
    "Mel Gibson has sworn off using paid advertisements to seek Oscars for his blockbuster, 'The Passion of the Christ,' and instead is putting his faith in the merits of the work as it vies for the film industry's top honors."

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
"Spiritual Vacuity"

Cardinal Adrianis Simonis of Utrecht, quoted in Dutch Cardinal: Moral Breakdown Has Left Holland Open to Islamic Takeover:
    "Nowadays political leaders ask whether the Muslims will accept our values. I ask, 'What values are those? Gay marriage? Euthanasia?'"

Amen. Or should I say, amin.

[link via TCR News Headlines]
Thai Nuns

Re: Carmelite nuns pray surrounded by Bangkok’s hectic urban life

Although not mentioned in the article, there is a very vibrant Thai Catholic community in the neighborhood near Bangkok's Santa Cruz Catholic Church (pictured below), which was built by the Portuguese. This Catholic parish in a Buddhist country shows us what a church should be: the center of community. The church itself is entirely Occidental in appearance, except for some small Oriental dragon motifs that adorn its roof.

My wife and I got lost in this neighborhood in 2001, after visiting Santa Cruz Church, where there was a rehearsal for a wedding going on. A nice shop-keeper helped us find our way in halting English. He asked if we were Catholics and lit up when I answered in the affirmative. [I was worshipping with Anglicans at the time (that week at CHRIST CHURCH BANGKOK, where we witnessed the baptism of a Chinese national), but considered myself an Anglo-Catholic.]

From Along Chao Phraya Sightseeing Guide [PART II]:

    Santa Cruz Catholic Church,
    Bangkok, Thailand
Mosul's Star Blogger

With the fighting in Mosul these days, it's a good time to read A star from Mosul, a blog by a sixteen-year-old highschool girl in that city.

May God protect her.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Korean Madonna and Child

From the Virgin Mary Art Gallery:
A Book Review

From Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South:
    "In Wood’s inspired book on Flannery O’Connor, he avers that the gospel-haunted South remains the best hope for our nation’s religious redemption."
Catholic Hospitals and Abortion

Re: An Appalling Tragedy: Catholic Hospitals and Late-Term Abortion

The above story is from San Francisco. My wife was hospitalized with asthma when we first learned that she was pregnant with our first child. The doctor took a look at me, a foreigner, and asked my wife, "Do you want to keep the baby?" It was a Catholic hospital.
Infanticide Advocate

From Euthanasia advocate Prof. Peter Singer visits neonatal facility with ethics students:
    "[Princeton University Bioethics professor Peter Singer] says societies throughout history have used selective infanticide for the greater good. Singer also refuses to equate killing newborns with killing adults, saying newborns are not self-aware and therefore different from adult humans and animals worthy of protection." (emphasis added)

What kind of commentary is it on the state of our civilization that people like Peter Singer are teaching at our most prestigious universities?
Very Sad News

Gerard Serafin of A Catholic Blog for Lovers has passed away from heart failure peacefully in his home. His was one of the first blogs I ever read, and one I came back to almost daily. His kind, loving, and devout voice will be sorely missed.

For those of you not familar with his blog, please give it a read. He always presented the essence of Catholicism in a way this blog never has nor could.

Requiescat in pace.

[news via A conservative blog for peace]
The Nguyen Dynasty

The nation of Vietnam has always held a special place in my heart. I was honored to make many friends in the Vietnamese community of Buffalo's West Side in the early 1990s. I had an opportunity to visit Saigon and its surroundings in 1997. I have encountered no finer people than the Vietnamese.

Here are some interesting links I came across today from Otto-da-Fe:

THE IMPERIAL NGUYEN DYNASTY: The Vietnamese Constitutional Monarchist League

The Role of Christianity and the Nguyen Imperial Monarchy of Vietnam

And from Prayers for Christian Monarchists Loyal to the Nguyen Dynasty:

    Our Lady of Lavang

Thursday, November 18, 2004


The photo below is from Japan, but the cosmos flower is also ubiquitous in Korea.

From AFP Top Photos:

    Field of flowers: Some girls and a boy walk through in a field of
    cosmos at a park in Saito, Miyazaki prefecture.
English Education in South Korea

English Camps Reflect S. Korean Ambitions: Youth Pushed to Master 'Global Language' (Washington Post reg. req'd.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Examination Hell

Re: 610,000 Students Take Korean SAT

I wondered why it was so quiet walking to work today, until I realized today was the date of the Korean SAT. While the exam is in progress, the nation's flights are cancelled and traffic comes to a near halt so as not to disturb the examinees. The results of this test will determine a student's future. Acceptance into a university is based almost solely on the results of this exam, and once accepted into a university, graduation is all but guaranteed.

The weeks before the exam are the one time of year when the Buddhist temples are full. Mothers who have not entered the grounds of a temple for years pray and make offerings to the Enlighted One on behalf of their high-school-aged children.

This evening, there undoubtably will be, and probably already have been, several suicides of students unhappy with their performance on the exam. More suicides will come in a few weeks when the results are made available.
Band Aid's Ignorance

Re: Does Band Aid betray West's ignorance?

"Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Yes, they probably do.

As stated in the article above:
    "The 1984 Band Aid hit raised more than 10 million pounds for famine relief in Ethiopia, where the majority of people were Christian at the time and where Christianity dates back to the fourth century A.D."

Ethiopia, as far as I know, was the second country to embrace Christianity after Armenia. Islam has now sadly replaced Christianity as the dominant religion of Ethiopia.

Still, it was a nice 1980s song for a worthy cause, much better in my opinion than "We are the World." I'm not sure how the remake will turn out.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Tiger Woods in Korea

From Three Days in Jeju with a Modest Golf King :
    "Even when he encountered situations hard to accept for many Americans, he accepted them with ease. When one of the participants offered a tangerine, he didn't coldly refuse, but took one with a polite, 'Thank you.'"

Perhaps I've lived in Korea too long, but I don't think being offered a tangerine qualifies as a situation "hard to accept for many Americans."

Koreans all too often resort to the simplest and crudest of stereotypes when trying to understand Westerners.

[link via Cathartidae]
Pat Buchanan on Koreatown

Jeff Culbreath, of El Camino Real, links today to what he rightly calls "arguably the greatest American political speech of the century": the 1992 Republican National Convention Speech by Patrick Buchanan. It was in this speech that the "Culture War" was defined for most Americans.

Like Mr. Culbreath, I, too, "have soured on Pat Buchanan, primarily because of his frequently irresponsible rhetoric on the subject of immigration." America does not face the same crisis of immigration as does Europe, whose immigrants come largely from Islamic lands. Our immigrants are mostly from Christian and Western Latin America. Hispanics are the only demographic group that is not attempting to abort, contracept, or sterilize itself out of existence in the US. Their presence will make us a better country.

The strong family values of Asians are also benefical to America. Mr. Buchanan singled out Korean-Americans, 70% of whom are Christian, in his 1992 speech:
    "And there were the brave people of Koreatown who took the worst of the LA riots, but still live the family values we treasure, and who still believe deeply in the American dream. "
Gang Gi-gap: Korea's Best-Dressed Politician

From 한복에 고무신 신고 대정부질문:

Rep. Gang is a member of the ultra-leftist and econonic nationalist Democratic Labor Party. He used to be head of the Korean Catholic Farmers' Association, and once dreamed of becoming a priest. He is the only member of the Korean National Assembly to wear the traditional Korean hanbok and sport a traditional Korean beard.
The Ever-Elusive Korean Image

What's the image of Korea?
¡Ay España!

Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco of Madrid, quoted in Spain traveling quickly down Socialist path:
    "Some people wish to place us in the year 711. It seems as if we are meant to wipe ourselves out of history."
Straight Answers from Peter Kreeft

What is "Church Authority"?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Re: Bono and band of young Brit rockers revive Christmas charity song

It's hard to believe it's been two decades!
One of the Greats

Essential Graham Greene
Looks Like a Good Read

Tom Wolfe's latest novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, tackles the moral decline at the American university. Here's an excerpt of a NY Times review ('Moral Suicide,' à la Wolfe):
    "Wolfe describes a society in which we still have vague notions about good and bad, virtue and vice, but the moral substructure that fits all those concepts together has been washed away. Everybody is left swirling about in a chaotic rush of desire and action, without a coherent code to make sense of it all."
Beatles Release

From Rediscovering the Americanized Fab Four:

    The first four Beatles albums released by Capitol in the United States, all
    in 1964, appear Tuesday on CD for the first time; earlier CD's featured
    British versions of the band's early releases.
Possible War Crime in Falluja

From U.S. Military Probes Shooting of Iraqi in Falluja:

    A video grab by television pool shot by U.S. Network NBC shows a
    U.S. Marine pointing his assault rifle at a wounded insurgent inside a
    mosque just before gunfire was heard in Falluja, November 13, 2004.
    A television pool report by NBC said on Monday that a U.S. Marine
    had shot dead an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in the mosque.
Iris Chang

Re: Author's Suicide Raises Question of History's Toll

The late author's masterpiece, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, cannot be recommended highly enough.
A Paradox, not a Contradiction

Re: Anarcho-Monarchism by Wayne John Sturgeon

I linked to the above article below, but it deserves a post of its own. This idea, held by both Salvador Dalí and J.R.R. Tolkien, deserves a wider audience.

Re: One Fifth of S. Koreans Say Seoul Should Align with North in Clash with U.S.

I'm suprised, and encouraged, that it is only one-fifth.

[link via The Marmot's Hole and Budaechigae]
Blogs to Watch Out For

A conservative blog for peace today links to Orthodox Okie, where a link is provided to this intriguing article: Anarcho-Monarchism.

Ruminations provides a link to the Redneck Infidel, who in turn links to several Iraqi Blogs.
Canadian in Korea Makes a Self-Discovery

From [Seeker's Journal] Reactions to a Western Seeker:
    "What if I were not truly a spiritual seeker, but rather a spiritual sensation-seeker? What if I were a worshipper of the novel and the exotic, not the profound and the true?"
Determinists Have an Answer for Everything

Religious fanatic? Blame it on 'god gene'
Kim Jong-il's Useful South Korean Idiots (or Fifth Columnists)

From Defector challenges North Korean brutalities:
    "Yong Kim defected. Escaping the torture and starvation he endured in a North Korean prison camp, he settled below the 38th parallel -- the buffer zone between North and South Korea -- full of hope.

    "But in this new life, he saw South Koreans rally for unification under North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the very leader that imprisoned Kim in a death camp for much of his life."

[Click on the link to read the rest.]
Those "Progressive" Anglicans

Re: Pope says Anglican decisions over homosexuality are barrier to unity
    "Anyone who is so 'progressive' as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son." (3 John 2:9 NAB)
Cold Warriors

Re: Roles of Pope and Reagan in the collapse of Communism explored

Let us not forget Lady Thatcher!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Traditional Korean Beauty

From 한국 최초 얼짱(?):
Resisters against the Culture of Death

Re Thinkers Behind the Culture of Death (Part 3): Donald DeMarco on the False Messiahs' Enduring Appeal [Parts 1 & 2 can be found at the bottom of the article or in my previous post: "Architects of the Culture of Death".]

In addition to the 23 "Architects of the Culture of Death" the author identifies in his work, in this article he mentions some people who recognized the evil we face, among them some of my favorite writers and thinkers: Albert Camus, José Ortega y Gasset, John Keats, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
More Disasters of War

From Top Stories Photos - Reuters:

    An Iraqi nurse treats 2-year-old child Mustafa Adnan, at a
    Baghdad hospital, who lost a leg when his house in
    Falluja's Jolan district was shelled during fighting between
    U.S. forces and insurgents in the war-torn city November 1
    4, 2004.

Dómine, miserére nobis.
A Sobering Thought

From On 'Moral Values,' It's Blue in a Landslide [NY Times reg. req'd]:
    "Everything about the election results - and about American culture itself - confirms an inescapable reality: John Kerry's defeat notwithstanding, it's blue America, not red, that is inexorably winning the culture war, and by a landslide."
A Good Intro to World Cinema

What Is a Foreign Movie Now? [NY Times reg. req'd.]

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Something You Won't Find in Parochial Schools:

I Should've Known!

[link via the Shrine of the Holy Whapping]
Mass in Haiti

From the Catholic News Service Home Page:

    Girls attend Mass at St. Therese Catholic Church
    in the small village of Boileau in Haiti earlier this fall.

Re: Japan’s ancient religion struggles to adapt

Shinto is my answer to those who assert that all religions are equal.
"Beautiful Family, Beautiful World"

From News of Catholic Church in Korea: Communication on November 12:
    "On the occasion of the 37th Laity Sunday on November 14, 2004, the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (President: Mr. John Bosco Son Byeong-du, Spiritual Director: Rev. Francis Cheong Wol-gi) distributed to parishes a material for homily and asked the lay faithful to positively participate in the 'Beautiful Family, Beautiful World' Movement to build the culture of life.

    "The material, titled 'Let's Make the Family and Society Beautiful!', stressed the importance of lay apostolate, saying that 'we the laity have the duty to bear witness to the Lord and proclaim the Gospel according to our own 'talent' at the very front line of evangelization.'

    "It continued that, 'In our time, we have many challenges to overcome, including anti-Christian culture, the culture of death and the negative aspects of post-modern religious pluralism,' and urged the faithful to face these challenges courageously by reliving the spirit of martyrdom of our ancestors of faith.

    "The Council also said that, 'When the family is beautiful and healthy, our society also becomes beautiful.' and asked the laity to 'make the family the school of love,' calling on them for prayer and practice for the sanctification of the family and the culture of life.'"
De-Christianization in the UK

Britain's Royal Navy last month extended official recognition to the practice of Satanism, according to The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, an article that mentions several other disturbing trends in the UK, among them:
    "[A]mong those who professed their Christianity, when asked what they considered important to their identity, religion was cited by only 17% of white Christians, after other factors such as family, work, age, education, gender, income and social class. By contrast, among black people, 70% of whom say they are Christian, religion was third on the list, and Asians placed it second, behind family.

    "The survey also showed a weak Christianity among youth. Just 18% of Christians aged 16 to 24 considered their religion as important. Religion was more important for young people in other groups: 74% of Muslims; 63% of Sikhs; and 62% of Hindus."

Who ever said Christians have nothing to learn from non-Christians?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

World Music Sampler

Stories like the following are why I love NPR:

From 'World 2004': A Global Music Tour with Charlie Gillett:

My favorite track was by Markscheider Kunst, "a Russian band with a German name that plays music that sounds like the African tropics."
Anti-Zionist Jews

While I don't make the error that many American Evangelicals make of identifying the modern State of Israel with the People Israel of the Old Testament, I do support the right of Israel, and of Palestine, to exist. Still, folks like these have always inrigued me:

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Bulit-in Obselence

Re: Self-Destructing DVDS to Reach More People

Bulit-in obselence is one of the things I hate most about consumerism.
A Victory for the Personhood of the Unborn

Re: Calif. Jury Finds Peterson Guilty of Double Murder

Unborn Connor was recognized as a person by the jury when it handed down its guilty verdict.

May God rest the souls of Laci and Connor Peterson.
"Architects of the Culture of Death"

Author Donald DeMarco identifies fifteen, from Part I below:
    "Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand give so much prominence to the will that there was little left over for reason. Historians have referred to this triad as 'irrational vitalists.'

    "Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Elisabeth Badinter absolutize freedom to the point where there is nothing left over for responsibility, especially communal responsibility.

    "The utopianism of Karl Marx, Auguste Comte and Judith Jarvis Thomson is an escape into fantasy.

    "Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich and Helen Gurley Brown make pleasure, and not love, central in the lives of human beings.

    "Finally, Jack Kevorkian, Derek Humphry and Peter Singer completely lose sight of human dignity and the sanctity of life." [emphasis mine]

[For more, see Thinkers Behind the Culture of Death (Part 1) and Thinkers Behind the Culture of Death (Part 2). Part 3 appears tomorrow.]
Culture of Death in the UK

    Ten-month-old Luke Winston-Jones

Below is the beginning of the most horrifying article I've read in a very long time.

From Right-to-life case baby dies:
    "The family of a terminally-ill baby whose life-saving treatment was withheld by order of the courts have demanded an inquiry into medical care he received in his final hours." [emphasis mine]

May God rest little Luke's soul and grant comfort to his family.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A Review of The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

From UK Novelist Takes on Ghosts of Korean Past:

The above review is written by Brother Anthony of Taize / An Sonjae, a translator and literature professor at Sogang University, Korea's Jesuit university. You'll find more about Buddhism than Catholicism on his homepage.
Rev. Choo Ki-cheul (1897-1944), Pastor and Patriot

From Bilingual book recounts Rev. Choo's life:
Secular Media Finally Notices Plight of Iraqi Christians

Some Iraqi Christians Feel Threatened
Sectarian Violence in Secular Holland

Re: Holland in Flames: Religious violence and terror arrests stun the Netherlands in the aftermath of filmmaker Theo van Gogh's murder.

The above article provides a link to the film that earned Theo van Gogh his death sentence: Submission. I found it pretty mediocre.
Ultra-Orthodox means Anti-Zionist

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi Moshe Hirsch, quoted in The rabbi who mourned Arafat:
    "I am praying for him because Arafat was a man who devoted his entire life to his people... I’m very sad as he was a great leader who always differentiated between the Jewish people and Zionism....

    "We first made contact with Arafat about 30 years ago when he was living abroad, following a string of Palestinian attacks that claimed victims in the Orthodox community... We asked him to spare a community that had dissociated itself from the Zionist project, and he promised to do so."

I don't share the rabbi's opinion, but find it quite interesting.
A Warning from Down Under

Pell says Islam could be the new communism
Raphael in London

From The Raphael of Sweet Piety and Decorum (NY Times reg. req'd.):

    "St. Michael'' (1503-4) from "Raphael: From Urbino to Rome,''
    a major exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
The Most Disturbing 32 Minutes on Film

As I've mentioned before, Korean discount stores offer classic DVD's at an amazingly low price. My local branch of W------ is selling them by the pair for 5.900 won (US$5.36). Today, I bought the excellent East of Eden (1955), which was paired with a film I was not familar with: Nuit et brouillard (1955).

This 32-minute philosophical documentary about the Holocaust was called "the greatest film ever made" by François Truffaut. It was made only ten years after the camps were liberated, and intersperses peaceful contemporary color images of the camps with horrific black-and-white archive footage from the Nazis and the liberating Allies. The image that sticks with me is the seemingly never-ending pile of women's hair. Yet, the film never ventures into emotional manipulation. The deadpan narration of the stark, cold, and often bitter text written by Jean Cayrol, himself a survivor of the camps, asks some very difficult questions.

Here is the film's final warning, from Night and Fog (via Simply Scripts):
    "The crematorium is no longer in use. The devices of the Nazis are out of date. Nine million dead haunt this landscape. Who is on the lookout from this strange tower to warn us of the coming of new executioners? Are their faces really different from our own. Somewhere among us, there are lucky Kapos, reinstated officers, and unknown informers. There are those who refused to believe this, or believed it only from time to time. And there are those of us who sincerely look upon the ruins today, as if the old concentration camp monster were dead and buried beneath them. Those who pretend to take hope again as the image fades, as though there were a cure for the plague of these camps. Those of us who pretend to believe that all this happened only once, at a certain time and in a certain place, and those who refuse to see, who do not hear the cry to the end of time."

[By the way, I still have an extra all-region copy of The Song of Bernadette (1943), the inspirational story of Saint Berndette of Lourdes. I'll send it free-of-charge anywhere in the world to the first person who leaves a comment to this post. Include an email address, so I can get in touch privately, or, send me an email at jsny1998 at yahoo dot com.]