Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Friday, December 31, 2004

The Economy, Tsunamis, and the Broken Window Fallacy

An article linked to from asks:

"Yes," say the Keynesians.

"No," say the Austrians, with whom I have more sympathy, and the above article.
Another Tsunami Relief Blog

Re: Help Sri Lanka!

The above blog lists a lot of aid organizations that are accepting donations. Please prayerfully consider donating to one of them, or one of the ones I posted below (see Tsunami Relief Blog and Catholic Response to Tsunami Disaster). Also, if you are a blogger, please consider providing links on your blog.
Just One of an Appalingly Incomprehensible Number of Deaths

From [Photo]Funeral for a tsunami victim:

    Lee Hye-jeong was on her honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand, when she was killed in the
    tsunami. Her funeral was held at a Thai temple Wednesday with her parents and
    parents-in-law in attendance. Her husband is still missing.

From the Korea Time Photo Salon:

    Mother of the late Lee Hye-jung, 25, one of the victims of Tsunami, cries
    holding her daughter’s coffin during the funeral service held in a temple
    in Phuket, Thailand, Wednesday.
Where was God?

Serge, of A conservative blog for peace, posts an Eastern Orthodox chaplain's answer to this most difficult question:

Like Serge, I "wouldn’t want to go near this question with a barge-pole."

Here, however, is an article that gives answers to the above question from a variety of religious and non-religious standpoints (no Catholic answer was provided):

Of those quoted in the above article, my thoughts are closest to those of Rabbi Daniel Isaak, of Congregation Neveh Shalom, in Portland, Oregon and Greek Orthodox Theologian Costas Kyriakides of Cyprus.

First the rabbi:
    This is not something that God has done. God hasn't picked out a certain group of people in a certain area of the world and said: "I am going to punish them."

    The world has certain imperfections built into the natural order, and we have to live with them. The issue isn't "Why did God do this to us?" but "How do we human beings care for one another?"

I would just add that the "imperfections built into the natural order" came about as a result of the Fall.

Next, the theologian:
    I personally don't attach any theological significance to this -- I listen to what the scientists say. God is always the fall guy. We incriminate Him completely unjustly.

UPDATE: An at-times-not-so-pretty discussion is ensuing on this topic on Open Book, Amy Welborn's blog:
The Rising Korean Divorce Rate

From [EDITORIALS]Society built on solid marriages:
    If couples split, families will weaken and if families crumble, society is bound to collapse.
A Very Important Question

Did President Bush Order Torture?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

From the Marian Shrine of Vailankanni

India's tsunami victims turn to God
North Korea

Kim Ki-ho, the subject of this article, South Korean defects to the North, left because he "could no longer stand South Korean society, where national dignity and human rights are infringed on by the US."

The régime Mr. Kim left for may be on the verge of collapse, should the rumors described in this article be true: Talk Swirling of North Korean Regime Collapse (LA Times reg. req'd.).

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Catholic Response to Tsunami Disaster

Your Catholic Voice Foundation Emergency Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund Online Donation Form

Your Catholic Voice Foundation
Emergency Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Fund
PO Box 11236
Bakersfield, CA 93389

Catholic Relief Services Emergency Appeal - Asia Tsunami Emergency

Catholic Relief Services
209 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-3443
1-800-HELP-CRS (435-7277)


Parish priest in Phuket: "A tragedy, worst hit are the poor"

Indian Bishops: "The Church is at everyone's service, no matter their religion"

Parishes and convents in Tamil Nadu are sheltering homeless in the wake of Sunday's disaster

Pope appeals for aid for millions affected by Indian Ocean disasters

UPDATE: South Jersey Church Adopts Village Destroyed By Tsunami [link via A conservative blog for peace]
The EU's Next Member State?

Mission Impossible: Building a Church in Turkey by Sandro Magister

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


The above is the CIA euphemism for "flying captured terrorist suspects from one country to another for detention and interrogation" (i.e., torture), as described in this chilling article, Jet Is an Open Secret in Terror War, which begins as follows:
    The airplane is a Gulfstream V turbojet, the sort favored by CEOs and celebrities. But since 2001 it has been seen at military airports from Pakistan to Indonesia to Jordan, sometimes being boarded by hooded and handcuffed passengers. [Click on the link to the article to read the rest.]
Tsumani Struck Marian Shrine of Velankanni, India

Re: Hundreds of pilgrims killed by tsunami in India

Here's the official site of the "Lourdes of the East," where this part of the wider tsunami tragedy occured: Welcome to Vailankanni (Velankanni).

Our Lady of Vailankanni,
pray for these pilgrims
and all the victims
of this tragedy.
The Laughingstock that is the DPRK

The Marmot's Hole has a great post entitled Even the Soviets thought North Korea was strange, linking to an article by a Russian about the comedic affect North Korean propaganda had on Soviet citizens.

It would be sobering for the North Korean régime, and its apologists and fifth columnists here in the South, to realize that most of the world sees it not so much as a threat, but as a joke.
An Observation by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe's new novel details sexual decadence on the American university campus. In this article, Tom Wolfe, Way Cool Under the Collar ( reg. req'd.), the author makes this simple but far-reaching observation:
    We have now raised a generation minus religion.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Personal Accounts of the Tsunami

With such a staggering death-tool, it is not easy envision this tragedy. These individual narratives offer some idea of the horror involved:
Anti-Abortion Photos

A short while back, the webmaster of Directorium Anglicanum left these comments on A conservative blog for peace:
    As something of a professional propagandist, I have frequently argued with friends in the pro-life movement against the use of bloody baby and fetus photos. If you want to convince people that abortion is wrong, I say show them a photo of a healthy, happy baby and tell them that this is what abortion is about. I think that fetus photos most often only move those who already believe that they are looking at a human being.

I'm not sure if I agree, but I get the point, and with it in mind, present these photos:

From "제가 468g으로 태어났던 엄지공주, 현재의 지원이랍니다":

From World's Tiniest Baby Doing Well in Chicago:

Let us pray that the medical technology that helped these little ones survive continues to develop and is made more available.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Androgyny on the Rise in South Korea

Re: Korean Gender Roles Collapsing

The above survey, which reports that "between the ages of 17 and 39, 66.7 percent of men and 57.3 percent of women were categorized as "androgynous'", seems a bit flawed. Nevertheless, I cannot really disagree with the results, at least when it comes to fashion and hair-style. I started teaching Korean university students in 1996. Then, every male Korean student, to a man, had short, neat, natural black hair. Today, the majority dye, tease, or perm their hair. Some even wear hair-bands!
"[T]he quake even disturbed the Earth´s rotation."

Re: Tidal Waves Kill More Than 3,300 in Asia & Death Toll in Quake, Tsunami Reportedly Tops 6,300

Here is the message of the Holy Father in response to this terrible disaster, quoted from Pope calls for prayers and help for the victims of the earthquake in Asia:
    The Christmas holiday has been saddened by news coming from South-East Asia that a strong earthquake has hit Indonesia with a ripple effect in other countries like Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives.

    We are praying for the victims of this immense tragedy and express our solidarity to all those who are suffering, whilst calling on the international community to act swiftly to bring help to the populations invloved.

Lord, in Thy mercy, hear our prayer.

Orestes Brownson (1803-1876)

Here is an all-too-brief article about the fascinating and little-known 19th Century thinker: What would Orestes Brownson do?

I have a recently purchased copy of Orestes Brownson's The American Republic sitting on the shelf behind me.

Brownson's spiritual journey lead him from Presbyterianism to Universalism, Unitarianism, Transcendentalism, and finally Catholicism. Conversion to the Catholic Church was a lot more radical in the 19th Century than it is today, and his fellow Transcendentalists, who never really accepted him due to reasons of social class, completely rejected him after his conversion.

Orestes Brownson was an anti-war, anti-capiltalist, anti-slavery, political and religious conservative.
A Quiz for Current or Former D&D Buffs

What is your Alignment?

Here are my results:

You scored as Neutral Good. A Neutral Good person tries to do the 'goodest' thing possible. These people are willing to work with the law to accomplish their goal, but if the law is corrupt they are just as willing to tear it down. To these people, doing what's right is the most important thing, regardless of rules, customs, or laws.

Neutral Good


Lawful Good


Chaotic Good


Lawful Neutral


Lawful Evil


Chaotic Neutral


True Neutral


Neutral Evil


Chaotic Evil


What is your Alignment?
created with

[link via]

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Tomorrow is the...

Feast of the Holy Family
P.O.D. Korean Midnight Mass

From the Korea Times Photo Salon:

    Christmas prayer: Worshippers pray in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ during
    Christmas Eve mass in Myongdong Cathedral, central Seoul, Friday.
The Christian Witness of Korean Lepers

Christmas on Sorokdo Island - a place of hope for outcasts
The Pope Blessing Two Korean Kids

From Pope Prays for Peace in Christmas Message:
Blogfast Ended

Here is some news that caught my attention while I was away:

Keep your eyes on North Korea. According to this article, Tremors that may signal political earthquake in North Korea, "European policymakers have been advised to prepare for 'sudden change' in North Korea amid growing speculation among diplomats and observers that Kim Jong-il is losing his grip on power." That would be great news, indeed.

Here is some very bad news from South Korea, however: South Korea to allow cloning of human cells. This decision has drawn not only the ire of Catholics and other religious folks, but also leftists, like the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy.

This is a very moving story: Tiny Alaskan mission parish memorializes ship workers lost at sea. The Malaysian ship was en route from Seattle to China. Six men were lost. Catholic shipmates requested and received a memorial at remote Unalaska Island's St. Christopher by the Sea Mission Parish.

It's good to see that common sense still survives. Star Parker reminds us that The answer to AIDS is values. Larry Elder, in Children having children, reminds us of the devastating effect fatherlessness is having on our society.

Here is some follow-up to a story I linked to earlier: Jesus back in Christmas carols: Malaysia’s Culture Minister denies banning carols with references to Jesus; instead, he invites “everyone” to be part of the festivities.

A gun-owning (and sometimes -toting) friend of mine living in San Franicisco sent me this article: EDITORIAL: Gun ban. There is talk about a complete ban on guns in San Francisco. Here's the first sentence: "The only major American city that prohibits private citizens from owning guns is Washington, D.C. -- and we all know our nation's capital has a reputation for being a pastoral, crime-free paradise." Any ban on guns would only take them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens and keep them in the hands of criminals.

Finally, this is the best anti-euthansia article I've read yet: Ten myths about assisted suicide. It's from the UK, and uses no religious arguments. It's a must-read.
Today is also...

the Memorial of Saint Anastasia, my daughter Joy's patroness.

    Saint Anastasia,
    pray for Joy
    and for all of us.
Our Christmas

Hyunae, Joy and I had a nice Christmas. Joy woke us up at 8:00. We gave her some milk and then started opening presents.

I wanted to watch the Midnight Mass from St. Peter's Cathedral, a tradition my non-Catholic father passed on to me, but at the time of the Mass, CNN was showing some thinly-veiled attack on Christian orthodoxy in the form of a "documentary" about the Blessed Virgin Mary ("A 1st Century feminist?") and Saint Mary Magdalene ("The wife of Jesus?"). [In the past, the enemies of Holy Mother Church sought to "prove" that Christ and the Saints of the New Testament never existed. Now that that tactic has failed miserably, they are seeking to demonstrate that Our Lord and the Saints were not whom they've been known to be for 2000 years. This tactic, too, will fail.] I did get to see part of the Midnight Mass on South Korea's YTN news network.

Due to Joy's sleeping and eating schedule, we were not able to attend the 10:30 Mass and instead went to the 5:00 Mass. We spent the time before that playing with Joy and her new toys and listening to Christmas music. After Mass, we were going to go out for Chinese, a Christmas tradition my parents started when I was a kid. Instead, we ordered Chinese food for delivery.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Blogfast*

I'm going to take a few days off from blogging to spend more time with my wife and daughter, photos of whom can be seen at The Snyders of Pohang. But before that, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very...

[Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas]

* Whenever I go on a blogfast, I feel I must give credit to Mr. Jeff Culbreath of El Camino Real, from whom I got the idea. His HOLIDAY GREETING TERMS AND CONDITIONS should not be missed! The late Mr. Gerard Serafin of A Catholic Blog for Lovers, who passed away a little more than a month ago, also blogfasted during the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent. I pray he is enjoying the Beatific Vision this Christmas.

UPDATE: Not to be missed is Sister Ann Shield’s appearance on the December 20th episode of CATHOLIC ANSWERS LIVE, entitled “And the Word Became Flesh..." At the beginning of the show, she reads a chilling but very inspiring account from Servant of God Catherine Doherty about the reign of terror following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and a Christmas season without the Eucharist.

UPDATE 2: Also not to be missed are these two one-hour-long concerts from NPR:

Monday, December 20, 2004

POD* ROK Marine Mass

Here's a scan of a card I picked up after Mass at a different parish yesterday:

* pious and overly devout
My New Suit

My wife bought me a new suit for Christmas. One of my old suits developed a hole a few days ago. My father-in-law suggested a store named Cambridge Members, which he had heard offered high quaility off-the-rack suits at an affordable price. My sister-in-law, who seems to know a lot about these things, seconded her father's opinion.

Boy, were they right! It was by far the best suit-buying experience that I have had thus far in Korea (I've bought at least six suits here). The store was not staffed by clueless shop-girls or moussed-up pretty-boys, but by middle-aged gentlemen who knew their business. I've always been impressed by people who know their profession and carry it out well.

(One of the things I love about Korea is that it is still normal to wear a suit. No one asks you, "Got a job interview?" or "Who died?")

Cambridge Members is a chain with branches throughout Korea. It was founded in Seoul in 1966. They are currently having a 70% sale. I highly recommend the store to anyone living in Korea in need of a suit.

Here's a very useful article: How To Dress Like a Man. [Note: I'm very lucky in the shoe department: my brother-in-law is an ex-ROK Marine who gets me free marine dress shoes!]

And no, I was not paid by Cambridge Members for this post. It is a public service announcement, encouraging readers in Korea to, in the words of the author of the above article, "do [their] part to save civilization."
The Battle over General Douglas A. MacArthur

Some anti-American groups want his statue removed from a park in Incheon, the site of his famous invasion. [See Where best to honor an 'old soldier?']

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Pro-life, Pro-choice*

Many Catholics and other pro-lifers are well aware of The Apple Argument Against Abortion by Boston College Professor Peter Kreeft. The crux of the argument is that a true skeptic, who acknowledges that the fetus might be a person, could never argue in favor of abortion, as it might mean killing a person, a chance no moral person would take. Thus, a moral case for abortion can only be made from a dogmatic and absolutist position that the fetus is a nonperson. The irony lies in the fact that pro-choicers by and large, as relativists, refuse to admit they are dogmatic or absolutists.

Of course the Catholic, who is neither a skeptic nor a relativist, does not need Prof. Kreeft's argument to convince him that abortion is wrong. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta so famously put it, "If abortion is not wrong, nothing is wrong." Prof. Kreeft's argument is aimed at pro-choicers.

I sent the above link to fellow-expat-in-Korea Gordon Sellar, in response to a post on his blog entitled Peter Kreeft's Between Heaven & Hell. Mr. Sellar, writing on his second blog, has posted A Refutation of the Apple Argument Against Abortion. I won't color anyone's opinion of this piece by offering any commentary here, but encourage all to follow the link and give it a read.

* I find the terms "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion" to be clearer and more direct, but use "pro-life" and "pro-choice" because those are the terms each group uses for itself. I am, of course, 100% anti-abortion.
Augusto Pinochet

Re: Stroke Hospitalizes Ex-Dictator Pinochet

I spent a year in Chile. It was after General Pinochet reliquished power, although he was still head of the military. I saw him in person once, at an Independence Day celebration.

Most of the Chilean students who were my friends hated the Pinochet. They called him Pinocho, the Spanish transliteration of Pinocchio. Some of the older folks I knew, including my devoutly Catholic homestay mother, were Pinochetistas.

I'll refrain from commenting on the man and just offer this Prayer for the Sick:
    Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant, Augusto, for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with his bodily health restored, he may give thanks to Thee in Thy church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here is a site with photos of His Holiness Pope John Paul II's 1987 visit to Chile: THE PINOCHET GALLERY.

Interestingly, democratic elections were held the next year, if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps the Holy Father had something to do with that. After all, the Chilean Catholic Church was one of Pinochet's greatest critics. Pinochet, himself a devout Catholic, responded to this criticism by allowing Evangelical sects to enter Chile with greater ease. As a result, Chile now is about 15% Evangelical. Pinochet saw himself as a lynchpin in the global fight against International Communism, and thus an ally of the Pope. He felt betrayed by the local church. I'm sure a lot happenend in those closed-door meetings.
The Pope Speaks

The Holy Father, also speaking of abortion, artificial procreation, and equal status for cohabiting couples, quoted in Pope Condemns Same Sex Union as Attack on Society:
    These things that are presented as civilized progress or scientific conquests, in many cases are in fact a defeat for the dignity of human life and for society.
Kýrie Eléison

Re: Father United with Baby Cut from Slain Mother

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, Requiescat in pace.
Uganda's Example

From More African countries adopt Uganda policies against AIDS:
    A Spanish magazine focusing on African issues, “Mundo Negro” (“Black World”) is reporting that other African countries, especially Ivory Coast, are adopting the anti-AIDS policies of the Ugandan government, which are based on abstinence. [Click on the link to read the rest of the article.]

Absintence worked for the Philippines; why not Africa? [See Telling the Truth: AIDS Rates for Thailand and the Philippines and An Amazing Success Story: Operation AIDS-Free Philippines.]

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Papal Gift

Re: Pope kick-starts AIDS foundation with 100,000 euro Christmas gift

This is a significant gift, given that the Vatican's budget, contrary to popular opinion, is rather modest, comparable to that of a mid-sized American Catholic university. [See Top Five Vatican Myths By John Allen.]

Re: Revolution in architecture opens in Curitiba, Brazil

Ten years ago, I passed through Curitiba (pronounced "Curichiba") on a 56-hour bus-ride from Santiago to São Paulo. The city is famous for its eco-friendly urban planning. I couldn't see much, but it looked very futuristic (in a good way) and livable.

Here are two sites, in Brasiliero, a.k.a. Portuguese: Prefeiture Municipal de Curitiba and Guia Geográfico Curitiba.

Here's a description of the city, in English: Wikipedia: Curitiba.
"Xmas" is Okay

Dappled Things' Fr. Jim Tucker, from his post entitled Xmas:
    The "X" in question is not, in fact, the usual Latin letter, but rather the Greek letter "chi." This is the same chi that you see in church joined to a "P" -- which is, of course, not a "P," but rather the Greek letter "rho." The chi, usually together with the rho, is an ancient monogram for Christ, inasmuch as these are the two letters that begin the word Christ -- Messiah -- in Greek. You find it in digs from Christian antiquity, you see it used in mediaeval religious manuscripts, and you find it in the modern "Xmas."
Left, Right, and the Catholic Faith

Serge at A conservative blog for peace has posted twice recently on the above theme: How the religious left and religious right respectively and together get it wrong and Personal holiness and social justice aren’t mutually exclusive.

One of the great things about the Catholic Faith is that it is beyond secular definitions of left and right. It's not really centrist (radically centrist perhaps), but completely outside the political spectrum as it is.

Non-Catholic commenters on this blog have labeled me both as a rightist and a leftist.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Christmas in Choson
Sandro Magister's Politically Incorrect Latest

Europe and Islam: Identities Lost

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hilaire Belloc's Europe and the Faith

Nosce Te Ipsvm's Tracy Fennel has posted a link to The Project Gutenberg EBook of Europe and the Faith, by Hilaire Belloc.
Women in Combat

El Camino Real's Jeff Culbreath is justifiably troubled by this trend: Women Warriors and the American Empire. Mr. Culbreath, as always, minces no words: "The day they come for my daughters is the day the U.S. military becomes my enemy."

I share Mr. Culbreath's opinion about women in combat and that of General Eoin O'Duffy, leader of Irish volunteers who fought on the right side in the Spanish Civil War, Franco's Nationalists, "mainly motivated by a desire to defend the Catholic Church in Spain." O'Duffy was appalled when faced with fighting against the women "soldiers" the Republicans had sent to the front lines; he saw it as the ultimate sign of the Republicans' moral degradation.
Kwanzaa and Swahili

Here's a funny parody of "T'was the Night before Christmas": Kwanza Komedy.

The one thing I've always wondered about the made-up holiday called Kwanzaa is addressed in this parody by these lines: "Who cares if Swahili's not our mother tongue?" Why are the names of Kwanzaa's days in Swahili, an East African language? The ancestors of our Black American fellow citizens came from West Africa.

I make this observation as a former student of Kiswahili (Hujambo bwana, habari gani?), having studied the language two semesters at the university level under the tutelage of my esteemed mwalimu, Erastus Namulala.

Here's the Our Father in Kiswahili, from Pater Noster:

Here's the Hail Mary from the same site:
    Salamu, Maria, umejaa neema,
    Bwana yu nawe,
    umebarikiwa kuliko wanawake wote,
    na Yesu, mzao wa tumbo lako amebarikiwa.

    Maria mtakatifu, Mama wa Mungu,
    utuombee sisi wakosefu,
    sasa na saa ya kufa kwetu.

Kiswahili is considered to have the most regular grammar of any modern language. As might be seen in the above examples, Kiswahili is essentially a Bantu-Arabic creole. Like Tok Pisin (Talk Pidgin) in Papua New Guinea, Jamaican Creole, or Haitian Créyol, it developed as a trade language between two linguistic groups. A pidgin is a simplified form of communication used between two linguistic groups, usually containing elements from both languages. A pidgin has no native speakers. A creole is a "pidgin that grows up," to borrow a phrase from one of my professors, meaning a creole is a pidgin that is passed onto a second generation, who thereby become its first native speakers. They, in turn, pass it on to their children. The creole then develops as any other language would.

Our beloved English tongue can be considered a creole in many ways, as the Anglo-Saxons who brought the language to the British Isles were later conquered by Danes and Normans, who, especially the latter, added so much to our language.

[link to original article via A conservative blog for peace]

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Canadian Defenders of Marriage

Re: Cabinet minister might quit over same-sex bill, Klein continues to turn up heat on same-sex issue, and Harper says he'll protect traditional marriage

John Efford, Ralph Klein, and Stephen Harper, keep fighting the good fight!
Where does the Bible come from?

Mark Shea answers that essential question, in How Tradition Gave Us the Bible.
X-mas in M'sia

From Christmas without Jesus in Malaysia:
    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Malaysian government has decided that the public celebration of Christmas on December 25 in the presence of King Syed Sirajuddin and Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi will be done without any reference to Jesus in order to “protect Muslim sensibilities”: no biblical reference will be allowed, nor will any representation of the Nativity scene. For O.C. Lim, an outspoken Kuala Lumpur priest, it “is outrageous, scandalous and sacrilegious”.

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Death Penalty

Re: Jury: Scott Peterson Deserves to Die & South Korean serial killer gets death sentence

While, like the Pope, I am opposed the Death Penalty in almost all cases, I'll leave it to souls better than me to hold candle-light vigils for Scott Peterson and Yoo Young-Chul.
Today's DVD Purchase

My wife and I went to new maternity hospital today and she took a test for diabetes (negative, Deo gratia). She was given something to drink and we were told to come back in an hour. We took a stroll around the neighborhood, and walked into a small supermarket, where I found the DVD pictured above, for the amazing price of 5,900 won, or US$5.58!

George Jones has been described as "the greatest vocal interpreter that the world of country music has ever known." The concert above includes "the number one country music song of all time," He Stopped Loving Her Today. My personal George Jones favorite is the refreshingly anti-progressive Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?, which reminds me of Russell Kirk's observation "that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants" (from Ten Conservative Principles).

Below are that song's lyrics:
    Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

    You know this old world is full of singers,
    but just a few are chosen,
    to tear your heart out when they sing.
    Imagine life without them,
    all your radio heroes,
    like the outlaw that walks through Jesse's dream.

    No, there will never be another
    red-headed stranger,
    a Man in Black and "Folsom Prison Blues,"
    the Okie from Muskogee,
    or "Hello Darling."
    Lord, I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes?

    Who's gonna fill their shoes?
    Who's gonna stand that tall?
    Who's gonna play the Opry?
    And the Walbash Cannonball?
    Who's gonna give their heart and soul,
    to get to me and you?
    Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes?

    God bless the boys from Memphis,
    "Blue Suede Shoes" and Elvis.
    Much too soon he left his world in tears.
    They tore up the 50s,
    Old Jerry Lee and Charlie,
    and old Gold Cat Gole still echoes through the years.

    You know the heart of country music,
    still beats in Luke the Drifter.
    You can tell when he sings "I Saw the Light."
    Old Marty, Hank and Lefty,
    why, I can feel them right here with me,
    on this silver eagle rolling through the night.

    Who's gonna fill their shoes?
    Who's gonna stand that tall?
    Who's gonna play the Opry?
    And the Walbash Cannonball?
    Who's gonna give their heart and soul,
    to get to me and you?
    Lord, I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes?
    Yes, I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes?

Lyrics and guitar chords can be found here:
A Quiz

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

[link via Dappled Things]
The Culture of Death and Britain's Leading Medical "Ethics" Expert

Better for old to kill themselves than be a burden, says Warnock
Santa Marian Kamalen (Our Lady of Camarin)

Guam Catholics have special devotion to Immaculate Conception

Monday, December 13, 2004

Abstinence in Uganda

Choice quotes from Virgins Rally to Promote Abstinence:

Alex Mumale, age 23:
    If you don't have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, they say you are crazy, don't they? Well, we say we are crazy. We are crazy about Jesus, because he is our redeemer and our shield.

First Lady Janet Museveni, speaking to the rally:
    You are all created in the image of God, and God has endowed you with the ability of self-control. We are here to guide you to a safer way of life.

Pastor Martin Sempa:
    You can sense the cynicism and animosity. We are promoting abstinence because Uganda is under attack from an agenda driven by homosexuals and Western experts who are out of touch with how the AIDS epidemic is driven in Africa.

Sadly, this story was filed under "Oddly Enough."

Still think condoms prevent AIDS? Read these articles:

Let us pray that Uganda and the nations of Africa follow the Philippines and not Thailand.
Required Reading for Husbands

Marine Chooses Wedding Ring Over Finger
Christmas in Korea

From Front - Dec. 13, 2004:

    A group of 180 Christians sing as they form
    a 10.6-meter-tall Christmas tree at the "Living
    Christmas Tree Event" hosted by a church in
    Suwon at the Suwon Indoor Stadium on
    Saturday afternoon.
Saint Barbara — Patron Saint of Artillery

From 2nd ID soldiers pause to celebrate patron saint of artillery:
    RODRIGUEZ RANGE, South Korea — Artillerymen from the 2nd Infantry Division are preparing to celebrate their patroness, Saint Barbara, whose name can be invoked to guard against explosions, lightning and sudden death.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The only hope for the Democratic Party is to return to...

The liberalism of 1947.
Our Lady of Guadalupe — Pop Icon

From Virgin of Guadalupe Is in Fashion, to Many of the Faithful's Dismay:
    A beacon of hope for the downtrodden, a legendary figure who has long bonded Mexicans to the Catholic Church, the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas has also emerged in the last decade as a lucrative pop culture icon, much like Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara — and even Mickey Mouse.
Today's Feast

God of power and mercy, you blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our heats, may your peace reign in the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For more information, see Our Lady Of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
Victor Jara

Victor Jara was a Chilean communist folk-singer tortured and murdered shotly after the September 11, 1973 coup d'état (Chile's 911) that brought General Agosto Pinochet to power. It is said that the soldiers crushed and burned his hands, gave him a guitar and demanded he play before machine-gunning him to death.

I laid a flower on his niche-grave when I was an exchange student in Santiago. In one of my classes there, I wrote an essay about him, which brought tears to my professor's eyes; she had been a friend of Victor Jara.

His music, regardless of its politics, is absolutely beautiful. It helped me to learn Spanish. Here is a site that offers many of his songs for free, as they are no longer available on commercial releases: Victor Jara rarities in MP3. Start with Te recuerdo Amanda, a song of working-class love.

He was again in the news today:

Colonel charged over Jara killing
Day Nine

From Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
    O God, You have been pleased to bestow upon us unceasing favors by having placed us under the special protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Grant us, your humble servants, who rejoice in honoring her today upon earth, the happiness of seeing her face to face in Heaven.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

From Novena en Honor de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:
    Oh Santísima Virgen de Guadalupe! Que cosa habrá imposible para tí, cuando multiplicando los prodigios, ni la tosquedad ni la grosería del ayate le sirven de embarazo para formar tan primoroso tu retrato, ni la voracidad del tiempo en mas de cuatro siglos ha sido capaz de destrozarle ni borrarle?

    Que motivo tan fuerte es este para alentar mi confianza y suplicarte que abriendo el seno de tus piedades, acordándote del amplio poder que te dió la Divina Omnipotencia del Señor, para favorecer a los mortales, te dignes estampar en mi alma la imagen del Altísimo que han borrado mis culpas!

    No embarco a tu piedad la grosería de mis perversas costumbres, dígnate solo mirarme, y ya con esto alentaré mis esperanzas; porque yo no puedo creer que si me miras no se conmuevan tus entrañas sobre el miserable de mí. Mi unica esperanza, después de Jesús, eres tú, Sagrada Virgen María. Amén.

    Hágase la petición...
    Un Padrenuestro, un Ave María y un Gloria.
Abundant Life

Re: Happiness is Christianity, believe it or not

"I am come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly." John X:10 (Douay-Rheims)
Margaret Hassan

Re: British Hostage Hassan Mourned in London Mass

Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen

Saturday, December 11, 2004

"The Yellow Christ" by Paul Gaugain

Today, my thoughts returned to the painting below, which I have had the opportunity to see first-hand many times, as it is kept at my hometown's Albright-Knox Art Gallery:

The editorial below describes the appaling mishandling of a particluarly heinous crime in the news these days in Korea.

From [Editorial] Rape Demands Proper Punishment:
    Citizens are feeling rage at police handling of a major rape case in Miryang. Approximately 40 high school boys took turns raping five middle school girls over the course of a year, and that was shocking enough. The next shock came and turned into rage for the families of the victims and the general public when the police applied for arrest warrants on only three of the boys and "dismissed with caution" (hunbang) the rest.
Thomas Merton

Robert Waldrop, in an email from the The Caelum Et Terra Email Discussion list, reminded me that yesterday was the 36th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton. Mr. Waldrop titled his message "Thomas Merton and my journey to Catholicism."

Thomas Merton was also instrumental in my journey to Catholicism. My first encounter with Thomas Merton was his Zen and the Birds of Appetite, which I read as a high school student when, disillusioned with my Lutheran church, I thought I might be interested in Buddhism. I wasn't, and I never finished the book.

Later, when I was working in a non-profit organization (El Buen Amigo) and doing volunteer work with refugees and my focus was more on orthopraxy than orthodoxy, Thomas Merton's No Man Is an Island gave me a deeper appreciation of the truth of Catholic Social Teaching.

Finally, his spiritual autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain, one of the last books I read before deciding to become Catholic, was, with the works of Karl Adam and John Henry Cardinal Newman listed on my sidebar, one of the books that convinced me of the truth of the Catholic Church.
Orthodoxy and the Death Penalty

Tamara Chikunova, an Uzbek Orthodox Christian, founder of ‘Mothers against the Death Penalty and Torture,’ quoted in Life is God’s gift, says Orthodox Christian woman fighting the death penalty:
    I am a believer. I am an Orthodox Christian and I help those who are on death row because life is God’s most important gift to us. The state has no right to decide who lies and who dies; only God can.

Historical tidbit: Far from being the despotic and draconian state often depicted by the pravoslavophobic West, Tsarist Russia abolished the death penalty during the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1741-1761).
Archbiship Chaput Defiantly Wishes You a "Merry Christmas"

Denver archbishop: ‘scrub’ words ‘Happy Holidays’ from Catholic vocabulary
Chinese Glamour

From Glamour Lives, in Chinese Films (NY Times reg. req'd.):

    From left, Shu Qi, Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li. The actresses have helped restore a sense of glamour to the movie.

    ONCE upon a time in Hollywood, the stars shone with a radiant glamour; in Chinese film they still do. In movies from Beijing to Hong Kong, actresses like Zhang Ziyi and actors like Tony Leung Chiu-wai fill the screen with heart-skipping beauty and charm....

    These days no one does glamour better than Chinese filmmakers... Much as it was in old Hollywood, glamour in contemporary Chinese film is a device and a disguise, but it's also a luminous end in itself....

    American screens are now awash in interchangeable blonds with hungry mouths and empty eyes, but in the 1930's and 1940's movie stars were divine, agleam with enchantment. By the end of the 1950's, glamour was as eroded as the studio system. No-holds-barred rock 'n' roll and foreign-language cinema did their part to kill glamour, as did Dr. Kinsey, by taking the mystery out of sex and leaving less and less to the imagination. By the time Marilyn Monroe laid down her peroxide head for good in 1962, glamour was a goner.

KS readers will know that I'm a bit of a film buff. This came about as a result of sharing an apartment with a bunch of film majors as an undergraduate. KS readers will also know that I'm no fan of the Red Chinese government. I am, however, a big fan of Chinese culture and of Chinese film. My attraction to the latter came about as a result of seeing Zhang Yimou's Da hong deng long gao gao gua (1991), aka "Raise the Red Lantern," in Buffalo's historic North Park Theatre in the early 1990's. Few films have left a stronger impression on me.

It's good to see that glamour* lives. While it defintely has potential to promote emptiness and vanity, at its best, glamour is a celebration of beauty, class, and culture. As a Catholic, I'm no Puritan Calvinist and beauty does not repulse me.

I don't watch many current Hollywood films these days, but it seems that glamour is dead and buried. The current crop of actors and actresses seems crass and vile, as evidenced by the "clothes" that many of them wear to award ceremonies. They don't realize that not revealing is much more alluring than baring all for the public. A few stand out, though. Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Denzel Washington, and George Clooney are four that come to mind as having something of the old Hollywood in them.

* The word "glamour" has a "Konglish" (English loanwords used incorrectly in Korean) meaning: big-breasted. This is, of course, not what I'm writing about.
Day Eight

From Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
    With my heart full of the most sincere veneration, I prostrate myself before you, O Mother, to ask you to obtain for me the grace to fulfill the duties of my state in life with faithfulness and constancy.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

From Novena en Honor de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:
    Oh Santísima Virgen de Guadalupe! Qué misteriosa y que acertada estuvo la mano del Artífice Supremo, bordando tu vestido con esa orla de oro finísimo que le sirve de guarnición.

    Aludió sin duda a aquél finísimo oro de la caridad y amor de Dios con que fueron enriquecidas tus acciones. Y quién duda, Señora, que esa tu encendida caridad y amor de Dios estuvo siempre acompañada del amor al prójimo y que no, por verte triunfante en la patria celestial, te has olvidado de nosotros?

    Abre el seno de tus piedades a quien es tan miserable; dale la mano a quien caído te invoca para levantarse; traete la gloria de haber encontrado en mí una miseria proporcionada, mas que todas, a tu compasión y misericordia. Amén.

    Un Padrenuestro, un Ave María y un Gloria.
How Happy Are You?

From South Korea 49th in Happiness Ranking:
I am a Race-Traitor

At least it appears that Sam Francis would think so. Writing in an article entitled MORALITY NOT THE ONLY TARGET OF MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL AD, about the Nicolette Sheridan-Terrell Owens ad scandal, Mr. Francis says the following:
    But the ad's message also was that interracial sex is normal and legitimate....

    Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family, and ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself.

I couldn't disagree more with this kind of hogwash.

Our word "culture" comes from the Latin colere, meaning to inhabit, to cultivate, to protect, to honor with worship. It is especially this last meaning that is most important.

My wife and I might be of different "races" and have different customs, but we hold the same Catholic Faith and are ultimately citizens of the same Universal Church. Thus, we will pass the same culture to our children. Being Catholic precedes being American or being Korean.

Nationalism and ethnocentrism, of the type Mr. Francis espouses in his article, are both rather recent developments. They are not traditionalist or conservative ideas. They were the destruction of Christendom. The community of nation and language is a gift that shoud not be denied, but there are greater things.

Blessed Charles I, the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor, saw his empire not as a collection of various nations, but as a Christian family. The Church sees the Kindgom of God in much the same way.
A Positive Sign in Mainline Protestantism

Re: From 'liberal' pews, a rising thirst for personal moral code

Culturally, but not theologically, I feel closer to Mainline Protestants than to Evangelicals. My parents belong to a very respectable Mainline congregation. I'm happy to see the changes the above article describes.
Liturgical Abuses

Musings of an orthodox Korean Catholic... has been documenting liturgical abuses, here, here, and here.

Keep up the good work!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Korea and the Immaculate Conception

From Both North and South consecrated to the Immaculate Virgin, says Bishop of Seoul:
    In his homily, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong said that Pope Gregory XVI dedicated the Korean Catholic Church to the Immaculate Virgin in 1841 before the dogma was proclaimed. The entire nation owes much to Mary. The liberation of Korea from Japanese rule and the founding of the Republic took place on 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption, in 1945 and 1948 respectively....

    The Archbishop then invited the faithful to ask the Immaculate Virgin for help “to anticipate as soon as possible the day when our faithful and our people in the North may live a more humane life while their own fundamental human rights are respected and to adequately accomplish our mission to bring the light of Christ to all people of our time.”
Today's Memorial

Juan Diego Cuautlatoatzin was the visionary to whom the Virgin Mary appeared at Guadalupe on 9 December 1531.
Day Seven

From Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
    O Lady of Guadalupe, we beg you that parents live a holy life and educate their children in a true Christian manner; that children obey and follow the directions of their parents; that all members of the family will pray and worship together. This I humbly ask of you, O Blessed Mother.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

From Novena en Honor de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:
    Oh Santísima Virgen María de Guadalupe! Nada, nada veo en este hermosísimo retrato que no me lleve a conocer las altas perfecciones de que dotó el Señor a tu alma inocentísima.

    Ese lienzo grosero y despreciable; ese pobre pero feliz ayate en que se ve estampada tu singular belleza, dan claro a conocer la profundísima humildad que le sirvió de cabeza y fundamento a tu asombrosa santidad.

    No te desdeñaste de tomar la pobre tilma de Juan Diego, para que en ella estampase tu rostro, que es encanto de los ángeles, maravilla de los hombres y admiración de todo el universo. Pues, cómo no he de esperar yo de tu benignidad , que la miseria y pobreza de mi alma no sean embarazo para que estampes en ella tu imagen graciosísima?

    Yo te ofrezco las telas de mi corazón. Tómalo, Señora, en tus manos y no lo dejéis jamás, pues mi deseo es que no se emplee en otra cosa que en amarte y amar a Dios. Amén.

    Un Padrenuestro, un Ave María y un Gloria.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Newly Discovered Work by El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) — My Favorite Painter

From "Le baptême du Christ", du Greco:

    Une toile du Greco découverte par hasard en Espagne dans
    une vieille enveloppe a été acquise aux enchères mercredi
    à Londres pour près de 800.000 livres (environ 1,1 million
    d'euros) par la mairie d'Héraklion, la ville natale de l'artiste,
    en Crète.

[For full story, see Une toile du Greco découverte par hasard vendue plus d'un million d'euros.]
A Cleveland Paper Reviews a Korean Movie

From Brothers in Arms: Two Koreans go to war in the masterful epic Tae Guk Gi:
    One hopes that Jerry Bruckheimer will attend and take copious notes -- foreign films often feature intellectual alternatives to homegrown cinema, but rare is the foreign blockbuster that can go toe-to-toe with the big American-studio action-franchise flicks and clobber them on their own terms.

    Kang Je-gyu's epic stands
    up to Hollywood's best.
Churches Destroyed in Mosul

From the Catholic News Service Homepage:

    Nuns survey damage at an Armenian-
    Catholic church Dec. 8 after it and a
    bishop's residence came under attack
    by gunmen in the northern Iraqi city of
    Mosul. The attacks fueled fears of
    sectarian unrest. Numerous Christian
    sites, especially churches, have been
    targets of bombings in Iraq. (Reuters)

[See also Pope expresses concern for Iraqi Christians after two terror attacks.]
John Lennon

Don't miss the comments of fellow Beatles-fan Serge of A conservative blog for peace on yesterday's anniversary of the murder of John Lennon: Who the secular world is commemorating today.

I was so caught up with trying to find out whether or not the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a Holy Day of Obligation (not to mention an 8:00 AM to 8:45 PM workday) that I forgot the secular significance of December 8th. I still remember that day as a ten-year-old when I learned the news from my mother before breakfast. I was already a Beatles fan, thanks largely to my parents' albums. The news stunned me.

Back to Serge's post: I agree with his insights, especially that the song "Imagine" was "an antichrist anthem whose truths were ripped off Christianity." Serge also notes that "the trouble with the 'Ballad of John and Yoko' is they were married to other people at the time." I've always found the glorification of cheap, selfish adultery, as if it were something beautiful and noble, whether in song or in movies like The English Patient, to be base and disgusting.

Still, John Lennon was a very talented singer and song-writer, one of the best of the Twentieth Century. His songs will be played and sung for decades, if not centuries, to come.
A Great Korean Movie

    A scene from "A Tale of Two Sisters"

Here's a review of a Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003), aka "A Tale of Two Sisters": 'Two Sisters' scares Western critics.

The movie is along the lines of The Others (2001) or The Sixth Sense (1999), except that the viewer (or at least this viewer) never fully figures out exactly what is going on. If you don't mind movies that leave some questions unanswered, you might enjoy this film. It opened world-wide last weekend.

For more information, read this list of 112 (and counting) External reviews for Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003). Or, for a preview of the film's eerieness, check out its official Korean website, 장화,홍련, or its American website by clicking on the poster below:

Red Chinese Misinformation

Here is some of the misinformation found in Red Chinese high school textbooks, from Distortion of Historical Facts: China Makes Itself a Laughing Stock of the World:
    1. The Korean War was triggered by the South's invasion of the North, an ally of China.

    2. Japan was defeated in World War II largely as a result of Chinese resistance, not by the United States.

    3. China has fought wars only in self-defense, never aggressively or in conquest.
You Know You're a Liberal* When...

A friend sent me an email with the above title a few days ago. Here are the ones I found most interesting:
    You believe the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of funding.

    You are against capital punishment**, but for abortion on demand, in short you support protecting the guilty and killing the innocent.

    You believe that the same public school teacher who can't teach 4th graders how to read is qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

    You believe that gender roles are artificial but being gay is natural.

    You believe there was no art before federal funding.

    You believe that conservatives are racists, but that black people couldn't make it without your help.

    You believe the only reason socialism hasn't worked properly anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

    You believe that posting the "Ten Commandments" in schools will hurt the children, but putting "Heather Has Two Mommies" or "Ask Alice" (on the internet) won't.

    You called Vietnam Veterans "baby killers" but think that allowing a woman to suck her baby into a sink is a constitutionally protected right.

    You think trees have feelings, animals can conceptualize and the fetus is a blob of protoplasm.

    You consider the Catholic bishops noble and idealistic when they oppose capital punishment and welfare cuts but dangerous fanatics trying to legislate their theology when they defend the right to life.

* I try not to use the word "liberal" because I find it too vague. Also, I reject the way it is used by the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters of the world. In fact, there are many positive things associated with historic Liberalism. I also try to avoid the word "conservative" as used by the aforementioned pundits, who are really not conservative in my estimation. I prefer the word "progressive" to describe the kind of philosophy I oppose, because it carries with it the connotations of the positivism, exemplified by Marx, that sees humanity as "evolving" toward some future utopian paradise on earth.

** I part with many "conservatives" in being opposed to the death penalty in almost all cases. The death penalty, however, can never be equated with abortion in terms of heinousness.
Day Six

From Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
    Mary, Mother of Vocations, multiply priestly vocations and fill the earth with religious houses which will be light and warmth for the world, safety in stormy nights. Beg your Son to send us many Holy priests and religious. This I humbly ask of you, O Mother.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

From Novena en Honor de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:
    Oh Santísima Virgen María de Guadalupe! Que bien dice a tu soberanía ese tapete que la luna forma a tus sagradas plantas!

    Hollaste con invicta planta las vanidades del mundo, y quedando superior a todo lo creado jamás padeciste el menguante de la mas ligera imperfección: antes de tu primer instante estuviste llena de gracia.

    Miserable de mí, Señora, que no sabiéndome mantener en los propósitos que hago, no tengo estabilidad en la virtud y solo soy constante en mis viciosas costumbres.

    Duélete de mí, Madre amorosa y tierna; ya que soy como la luna en mi inconstancia, sea como la luna que está a tus pies, esto es, firme siempre en tu devoción y amor, para no padecer los menguantes de la culpa. Haz que esté yo siempre a tus plantas por el amor y la devoción, y ya no temeré los menguantes del pecado sino que procuraré darme de lleno a mis obligaciones, detestando de corazón todo lo que es ofensa de mi Dios. Amén.

    Un Padrenuestro, un Ave María y un Gloria.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


From Advocates for Abandoned Babies Win Lottery:
    CALIMESA, Calif. -- A couple who provide funerals for abandoned infants and helped inspire a California law to save unwanted newborns won a $27 million lottery jackpot -- and plan to use the money for their advocacy work.

God bless this couple! Burying the dead is one of the corporal acts of mercy, as listed below (from Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy):
    * To feed the hungry;
    * To give drink to the thirsty;
    * To clothe the naked;
    * To harbour the harbourless;
    * To visit the sick;
    * To ransom the captive;
    * To bury the dead.

[link to article via Ruminations]
The Glory that Was Rome

From Ancient Roman Rest Stop Discovered:
    Underneath a German bus terminal, archaeologists have found the remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman roadside rest stop that included a chariot service station, gourmet restaurant and hotel with central heating.
Happy Chanukah!

Today is the first day of Chanukah. Here's a good read to learn what the holiday's about: What is Chanukah?
Hometown Soldier Killed in Iraq

Re: Orchard Park Soldier Laid To Rest

David Roustum was from my hometown and graduated from the same high school that I did. If we were Korean, not only would we have the hometown-bond but he'd also be my hubae (후배 後輩), often translated as "junior." The relationship might be similar to two people who were members of the same fraternity at different times but who've never met.

More importantly, David Roustum was a Catholic (like 80% of people from the Buffalo area). Thus, he's my brother in the Faith. I'll pray for him and his family.

David Roustum, Requiescat in Pace
Today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Re: Church celebrating today´s 150th anniversary of Marian dogma

Here's a photo of a Marian Shrine dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in my diocese of Daegu, from 성모당:

More information about this shrine can be found at this site: The Grotto of Our Lady in Daegu, South Korea, which is part of The Mary Page.

From this same source comes an excellent history of a dogma difficult* for Catholics and non-Catholics alike: Immaculate Conception Dogma.

* Here it is helpful to remember the words of John Henry Cardinal Newman: "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt."

UPDATE: Reader Jason reminded me that today is a Holy Day of Obligation (shame on me for forgetting), so if you're Catholic, go to Mass.

SECOND UPDATE: Today is not a Holy Day of Obligation here in Korea, although it is in most other places. In Korea, there are four Holy Days of Obligation: Mary, Mother of God (January 1st), Easter Sunday (moveable), the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven (August 15th), and Christmas (December 25th). Thus, on these days, and every Sunday, A Catholic is required to attend Mass unless unable to do so. Still, it's a good idea to go to Mass today, although I am unable to do so.
Burn, Baby, Burn

[Photo]Security law fracas:

    Demonstrations broke out yesterday at the National Assembly to protest the Uri Party's effort
    to abolish the National Security Law. Debate on the law has been postponed.

UPDATE: From 김정일 국방위원장 사진 불태우는 보수단체:

    【서울=로이터/뉴시스】4일 서울시청 광장에서 보수단체인 반핵반김
    국민협의회가 김정일 국방위원장 사진을 불태우며 ''4대 악법 저지
    범국민 궐기대회''를 열고 있다. 이들은 국가보안법 폐지와 사립학교법
    개정에 반대하며 시위를 벌였다.
Anti-Christian Violence in Iraq

From the Catholic News Agency's daily email:
    Radical Muslims destroy two Christian Churches in Mosul

    MOSUL, Iraq – The most important historic and artistic church of the Chaldean Catholic’s, the See of the Chaldean Bishop, was completley razed to the ground today by armed Muslim gunmen in Mosul, as was an Armenian Catholic church. Worshippers were evacuated by the gunmen before they bombed the churches. There were no casualties, Reuters reports.

    Many of Iraq’s 750,000 strong Christian population live in Mosul, whose total population 1.2 million.

    Christians, who make up 3% of Iraq’a population have been attacked several times in the past few months.

    This is not the first time that churches have been targeted. Five Baghdad churches had been bombed on Oct. 16 at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and two Christians were killed in the bombings of two churches in Baghdad on Nov. 8.

    Many of Iraq’a Christians, mostly Chaldean Catholics have fled Iraq for neighbouring Jordan and Syria in recent months owing to the systematic violence perpetrated against them from Mulsim extremists.

    Muslim leaders have condemned the violence, trying to quell Christian fears that they are being routed from the country.
Day Five

From Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe:
    O most holy Mother, I beg you to obtain for me pardon of all my sins, abundant graces to serve your Son more faithfully from now on, and lastly, the grace to praise Him with you forever in heaven.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

From Novena en Honor de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe:
    Oh Santísima Virgen María de Guadalupe! Qué otro vestido le correspondía a quien es un cielo por su hermosura, sino uno todo lleno de estrellas?

    Con qué podía adornarse una belleza toda celestial, sino con los brillos de unas virtudes tan lucidas y tan resplandecientes como las tuyas?

    Bendita mil veces la mano de aquel Dios que supo unir en tí hermosura tan peregrina con pureza tan realzada, y gala tan brillante y rica con humildad tan apacible. Yo quedo, Señora, absorto de hermosura tan amable, y quisiera que mis ojos se fijaran siempre en tí para que mi corazón no se dejara arrastrar en otro afecto que no sea el amor tuyo.

    No podré lograr este deseo si esos resplandecientes astros con que estás adornada no infunden una ardiente y fervorosa caridad, para que ame de todo corazón y con todas mis fuerzas a mi Dios, y después de mi Dios a Tí, como objeto digno de que lo amemos todos. Amén.

    Un Padrenuestro, un Ave María y un Gloria.

George Neumayr writes excellent article about the Dutch program to euthanize babies deemed defective: In Service to Inhumanity. In it, he describes what euthanasia really is:
    Euthanasia isn't letting a patient die but killing a patient who isn't dying. It is an act of annoyance at a patient who isn't dying on the timetable those who want the patient to die would prefer.

The first three paragraphs of The New Red-Diaper Babies (NY Times reg. req'.d):
    There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is "natalism."

    All across the industrialized world, birthrates are falling - in Western Europe, in Canada and in many regions of the United States. People are marrying later and having fewer kids. But spread around this country, and concentrated in certain areas, the natalists defy these trends.

    They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling.

This trend is occuring in red states, while blue states continue to have falling birth rates. Natalists are not your classic Republican voters, however:
    Politicians will try to pander to this group. They should know this is a spiritual movement, not a political one. The people who are having big families are explicitly rejecting materialistic incentives and hyperindividualism. It costs a middle-class family upward of $200,000 to raise a child. These people are saying money and ambition will not be their gods.

    Natalists resist the declining fertility trends not because of income, education or other socioeconomic characteristics. It's attitudes. People with larger families tend to attend religious services more often, and tend to have more traditional gender roles.