Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Monday, January 31, 2005

Terrorists Sink to New Lows

From Child Said Used in Iraq Suicide Attack:
    Iraq's interior minister said Monday that insurgents used a handicapped child as one of the suicide bombers who launched attacks on election day....

    He gave no other details about the attack, but police at the scene of one the Baghdad blasts said the bomber appeared to have Down's Syndrome.
Another Way to Pray the Rosary

Some time ago, I heard about a German way to pray the The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in which a reminder of each mystery is inserted into the middle of every Hail Mary prayer. This method also highlights the Christocentrcity of the Rosary and the Hail Mary.

Here is the method, from The Rosary of Our Lady by Romano Guardini:

On the first group of three beads, after the name "Jesus," insert the following phrases for each of the three Theological Virtues:
    [Faith] "...Whom we ask to increase our faith."

    [Hope] "...Whom we ask to strengthen our hope."

    [Charity] "...Whom we ask to enkindle our charity."

Thus, the first of these would be prayed as follows:
    "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, Whom we ask to increase our faith. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

After praying the next two in the same way, the following phrases can be inserted in each Hail Mary of every decade, as follows:
    The Joyful Mysteries

    [The Annunciation] "...Whom thou, O Virgin, didst conceive of the Holy Spirit."

    [The Visitation] "...Whom thou, O Virgin, didst bear with thee to Elizabeth."

    [The Nativity] "...Whom was born to thee, O Virgin."

    [The Presentation] "...Whom thou, O Virgin, didst offer in the Temple."

    [The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple] "...Whom thou, O Virgin, didst find in the Temple."

    The Sorrowful Mysteries

    [The Agony in the Garden] "...Who sweat blood for us."

    [The Scourging of Our Lord] "...Who was scourged for us."

    [The Crowning with Thorns] "...Who was crowned with thorns for us."

    [The Carrying of the Cross] "...Who carried the heavy cross for us."

    [The Crucifixion] "...Who was crucified for us."

    The Glorious Mysteries

    [The Resurrection] "...Who arose from the dead."

    [The Ascencion] "...Who ascended into heaven."

    [The Descent of the Holy Spirit] "...Who hath sent us the Holy Spirit."

    [The Assumption] "...Who hath assumed thee, O Virgin, into Heaven."

    [The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin in Heaven] "...Who hath crowned thee, O Virgin, in Heaven."

The author also offers a suggestion from Josef Wieger to substitute the following two mysteries for the last two Glorious Mysteries:
    [The Second Coming of Christ] "...Who will return to us in Glory."

    [The Kingdom of God] "...Whose Kingdom will have no end."

The book was first published in 1955, so there is nothing about the Luminous Mysteries. If anyone knows a similar method for them, I would appreciate it if you left some comments here.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Another Great American Cultural Export

Earlier this evening, I was flipping through the channels at my in-laws' trying to find CNN. I came across some American reality show whose premise seemed to be having a woman date several men and determine the homosexual(s) among them.

That's the image my country is exporting to the world.
J.R.R. Tolkien on the Mass I Attended Last Night away from my Home Parish

From Gazing Upon Everlasting Day:
    Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Globalization of Korean Tertiary Education

Nobel laureate Robert B. Laughlin became the first foreigner in recent memory to be president of a Korean university. He's now trying to privatize the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a rival of the place I work for, and running into a lot of resistance.

Here is some coverage:
Another Tough Winter for the North Korean People

Despite 'reforms,' food crisis hits N. Korea
A Parka, Hiking Boots, and a Ski Cap

This might seem trivial, but it is not: Cheney Criticized for Attire at Auschwitz Ceremony.

The Vice-president would have been wise to read this: How To Dress Like a Man.
A Killer Quits

From Planned Parenthood President Resigns:

    President of Planned Parenthood Gloria Feldt

Here's some of the "reproductive justice" Ms. Feldt brought about during her eight-year term:

The above photos are from, where you can also learn The Truth About Margaret Sanger, the racist and eugenicist foundress of Ms. Feldt's organization.

For more about this inspiration of Adolf Hitler, see The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Plan for Black Americans and Margaret Sanger, Sterilization, and the Swastika.

For anyone who questions my use of the above photos, I offer this from Anne Shirley's Ruminations today, originally from The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform:

Friday, January 28, 2005

Classroom Abortion Debate

As a final activity in my "Advanced English Speech Communication" course, I have my students form groups and choose a topic for a formal debate. Today's group choose as its proposition "Should Abortion be legalized?"

Although abortion is illegal in South Korea, according to both groups between 1.5 and 2 million babies are aborted each year here. Compare that with the 1.3 million that are aborted annually in the United States, a country with six times the population and where abortion is legal, and you can get a picture of the extent of abortion in this country. It was also reported that 90% of small hospitals' income comes from these illegal abortion.

The arguments used by both sides would be familiar to anyone who has given any thought to the issue. The con team argued from a Natural Law and Personalist prespective, while the pro team argued that defintions of life are relative, that happiness and freedom are the utmost values, or that abortion is a necessary evil.

My mind wandered during the hour-long debate. I found myself praying "Come, Lord Jesus" as I thought about the 35,000,000 souls killed in the US since 1973 and the 4000+ killed each day in South Korea. I also thought about Korea's recent social problems, and about Osama bin Laden, 9/11, and the Islamification of Europe, wondering if perhaps the chickens are coming home to roost.
Still a Radical at Heart

You scored as alternative. You're partially respected for being an individual in a conformist world yet others take you as a radical. You have no place in society because you choose not to belong there - you're the luckiest of them all, even if your parents are completely ashamed of you. Just don't take drugs ok?



Middle Class


Upper middle Class


Luxurious Upper Class


Lower Class


What Social Status are you?
created with

[link via In principio erat Verbum - Εν αρχη ην ο Λογος ]
Sister Caritas, Requiéscat in pace

German nun endured N.Korea camps, taught deaf-mutes [link via Open Book]
Why Muslims Justifiably Think We're Godless Perverts

From AP: Gitmo Soldier Details Sexual Tactics:
    Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account....

    The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.

    The detainee looked up and spat in her face, the manuscript recounts.

    The interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she could break the prisoner's reliance on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn't wash.

Kýrie eléison

UPDATE: Serge, of A conservative blog for peace, commenting on the same story, ironically notes that this is "[t]he latest from the administration that stands for morality and faith in God," to which I comment:
    It's really scandalous what this administration is doing to the name of Christianity in the Islamic World and beyond.

Reconciliation in NE Asia

From Seoul Rings in Korea-Japan Friendship Year:

Thursday, January 27, 2005

O Tempore Coreæ! O Mores Coreæ!

Please excuse the Latin above, which is probably grammatically incorrect, but many Koreans are echoing Cicero by lamenting what is seen as a "total loss of morality in Korea today."

One particularly shocking case, in which a married mother of two teenaged children hired three men to kill a young mother and steal her baby, all so that she could deceive another man into marrying her, has left many Koreans in shock.

Here are two editorials on the above theme:

It goes with out saying that Korea is not alone in facing a "Dehumanized Society."
Thoughts on the Novus Ordo Missae

Lately, I have been reading a lot of posts by respected brother bloggers about the deficiencies of the New Rite of Mass, or Novus Ordo Missae, as compared to the Traditional Latin Mass according to the Tridentine Rite. One commenter went as far to say that "the Novus Ordo is never an option."

However, for me and the three million other Catholics living in South Korea, there is no other option. The only Tridentine mass in the country is at the headquaters of the schismatic SSPX Korea on the fourth floor of a bank in Seoul seven hours away, hardly a viable option. There's an Eastern Orthodox parish two hours away in Busan, but I have no desire to leave the Roman Catholic Church.

And really the Novus Ordo Missae as celebrated at my parish is pretty devout. It's in Korean, of course. The Rosary is usually prayed before the Mass and the Angelus after. There are no liturgical abuses. There are no altar girls, but even they wouldn't be reason to leave. There are no extraordinary eucharistic ministers; we have two priests to offer the Eucharist. We occasionally sing the much maligned "I am the Bread of Life" by Susan Toolan, which is not so bad in Korean (the tune is actually nice), but we are more likely to sing one of my favorite hymns, "Holy God We Praise Thy Name."

I've also witnesses the Novus Ordo Missae celebrated in a devout way in many other parishes throughout the world, especially when copious amounts of Latin is incorporated. EWTN's Daily Mass comes to mind.

I have read nothing better on the Novus Ordo Missae than what Father Hugh Thwaites, S.J. wrote in Thoughts on the New Rite of Mass*, the conclusion of which follows:
    There is nothing wrong with the new rite. Rome cannot feed her children with poison. But the new rite of Mass does not give us what we need. Michael Davies' analogy is helpful here. If a doctor tells a couple that their child need milk every day, and they give the child only water, the child may not live. There is nothing wrong with water. But if the child needs milk, water may not be enough.

    There is no heresy in the new rite. Rome cannot authorise heresy. But the new rite, it would seem, does not give us enough Catholic doctrine to prevent Catholics from unwittingly becoming Protestant in their thinking. As Fulton Sheen put it, "If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave." The new rite of Mass is capable of being carried out in a Protestant manner. Given the chronic tendency of our fallen human nature to go for what is easier, our liturgy, in the hands of the ill-instructed, will always tend to a Protestant interpretation. And Catholic liturgy carried out in a Protestant manner will lead the worshippers to Protestantism.

    "Where will it all end?" So far as I am concerned, it has ended by my being resolved to offer Mass, as much as possible, in the traditional rite of the Church. This rite exactly expresses my eucharistic faith. The new rite does not. Neither does it nourish my faith. The traditional rite of Mass has nourished the faith of countless Catholics in the years past. Please God it will do the same for me, and for many others, in the years to come.

In the meantime, I'll join Father Thwaites in his prayer, happily receive the Real Presence of Our Lord at the Novus Ordo Missae in my parish, and at home do my best to prevent myself from "unwittingly becoming Protestant" by reading and self-catechesis, listening to Palestrina, Monteverdi, and other great Catholic composers, and incorporating as much traditional Catholic prayer, devotion, and piety in my daily life as possible.

Finally, you won't see me disparaging the Novus Ordo Missae for the simple reason that the non-Catholic readers of this blog get enough bad press about the Catholic Church as it is from the secular media. They don't need any more from a Catholic blogger.

* Link via El Camino Real
President Roh

I agree with The Party Pooper's Thoughts on Roh posted today, the basic gist of which is the following:
    I don't think Roh is all that great for Korea, but I don't think he is that bad either. True, he has fits of Korean "progressivism" that make us all wonder just how far he will go to appease North Korea, but when you think about it, it's mostly talk.

I was almost ready to pack my bags and leave the peninsula when he was elected two years ago, but the disaster I feared has thankfully not materialized.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

President Park's Controversial Legacy

From A sign of change at Gwanghwamun?:

    The current "Gwanghwamun" sign (above)
    penned in Korean letters by late President
    Park Chung-hee and a new sign written in
    Chinese characters compiled from the
    handwriting of Joseon Dynasty King Jeongjo
Politically Incorrect, i.e. Accurate, History of Aztec and Maya Brutality

From Evidence backs Spaniards' tales of human sacrifice:
    Victims had their hearts cut out or were decapitated, shot full of arrows, clawed, sliced to death, stoned, crushed, skinned, buried alive or tossed from the tops of temples. Children were said to be frequent victims, in part because they were considered pure and unspoiled.

That almost made me forget that all cultures are equal (except Western Culture, of course, which is evil).

Thomas Merton, an icon of the religious left, described the Mayan temples as "evil stones, soaked in the blood that once poured out in libation to the devils by forgotten generations of Indians" (The Seven Storey Mountain, pg 309).

I visited those pyramids in 1991 and 2000 and would have to agree. Teotihuacán and Chichén Itzá are without a doubt impressive testimonies to advanced civilizations, but they also attest to an undeniably sinister religion. La Catedral de Santa Prisca in Taxco, Mexico's most beautiful church, is a testimony to the true religion that the Aztecs and Mayas readily accepted after the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531.

[link to article via the Seattle Catholic]
An Exposé of Anti-Religious Lies

From The History and the Pseudo-History of Science:
    [T]he common, popular version of the history of science, in which unselfish, heroic scientists do battle with the backward forces of religion, is a fairy tale, spun mostly by Voltaire and his followers, in order to discredit the religious belief that they despised. The real history of the Scientific Revolution is much more complex and nuanced than the simplistic morality play they made it out to be. If we are truly interested in understanding the roles that religion and science have played in creating our civilization, we should put aside the myth and attend to the reality.
Maternal Love

Rita Fedrizzi's story, told in Vatican Hails Woman Who Refused Abortion, is similar to those of Gabriele Helms and Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, both of whom also gave up their lives for their unborn children, which I posted about here: A Mother's Love.

Requiéscat in pace.

[link to article via The Catholic Spectator.]

Re: B.C. lesbians fight to hold wedding reception in Catholic hall

The above article shows the hypocrisy of the gay movement when it comes to that cardinal virtue of the politically correct, "tolerance": society at large is expected to not only tolerate but to endorse and embrace its values and life-styles, while it in turn has no tolerance whatsoever for those of a different set of values.

[link via the Seattle Catholic]
Catholics and Evolution

The Catholic Church has no official position on the Theory of Evolution, recognizing that it's up to scientists to decide about scientific truth.

Here's an article about a practicing Catholic and evolutionist:

[link via The Catholic Spectator]

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Sign of Our Sick Times

Re: Pope begs Dutch authorities to rethink mercy killing of babies

Come, Lord Jesus.
I Like Ike...

and so does Pat Buchanan, who contrasts President Eisenhower and the current occupant of the Oval Office in An American Who Can't Say No.
The Inimitable Cho Se-hyon on the Middle Kingdom

China: a giant with a pygmy mentality
Preemie Fights the UK's Culture of Death

From Baby Charlotte's survival sparks new legal battle:
    A PREMATURE baby that the High Court ruled should be left to die by hospital doctors has survived against the odds. So remarkable is the little girl’s progress that lawyers for her parents will this week go to court and ask for the ruling to be lifted.

    Charlotte Wyatt, who weighed just 1lb when she was born prematurely, was given only months to live after a hospital won the legal right last autumn not to resuscitate her if she stopped breathing. Doctors secured the ruling, against the wishes of Charlotte’s parents, on the grounds that she was brain-damaged and it was in the baby’s own interests not to be resuscitated since it would prolong her suffering and would be “purposeless”.

    Doctors expected that Charlotte, now 15 months old, would succumb to an infection that would prove fatal without emergency intervention. However, she has survived 3½ winter months since the ruling; there is also evidence that her breathing is becoming stronger and she is less dependent on an oxygen supply — an improvement confirmed by hospital sources. The family claims she has some sight and can hear clapping.

[Click on the link to read the rest.]

Keep on fighting, Baby Charlotte, against the doctors who don't want you to live. May God preserve you from these workers of iniquity.

As for your doctors, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." They are the blind unthinking products of an age that sees no higher good than the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain. They serve as a reminder of these words from C.S. Lewis:
    The greatest evil is not done in those sordid dens of evil that Dickens loved to paint but is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clear, carpeted, warmed, well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.

O tempora! O mores!

Yesterday, I met a beautiful and inspiring little four-year-old "miracle baby" who had been born at 29 weeks weighing just a pound-and-a-half (700 g.). She learned to walk just a year ago and has mild cerebral palsy, but she has a fighting spirit and is as bright as could be, unlike a lot of the adult mopers I've known (and been myself).

[link via Seattle Catholic]
we should send ALL FOREIGN GUYS AWAY and have OUR GIRLS back to OURSELVES

From artbrut의 블로그:

For context, see this interview with the artist, Jooyoung Lee: Art From Outsider's Point of View. It seems her purpose is to expose, rather than promote, Korean xenophobia.

[links via Hunjangûi karûch'im]

Monday, January 24, 2005

Korean Museum-goers Break Salvador Dalí Statue by Not Heeding "Do Not Touch" Signs

From Newton's Apple Drops:
    Misfortune has befallen a priceless sculpture by Spanish artist Salvador Dali paying homage to the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton. An apple suspended in mid-air in Dali's "Homage to Newton," currently on display in Busan, has dropped.

    An official with the Dali centenary exhibition at Busan's BEXCO said the sculpture depicted the apple, suspended on a wire, in mid-drop, but on Friday morning the apple had fallen to the ground. The exhibitors said the wire was weak, so the sculpture was given special attention by officials, but too many spectators must have touched it so the apple dropped.

    The sculpture, whose market value is estimated at around W1 billion, was the only one of about 400 pieces on display during "2004 - The Centenary of Salvador Dali’s Birth" to have a "Do Not Touch" sign affixed to it.

    An official with exhibition sponsor MyArtLink said the sculpture would continue to be displayed in its damaged condition in order to raise awareness among visitors.

[link via GI Korea]
Charity or Syncretism?

Re: Caritas distributes Muslim prayer kits for Eid Adha festival

Some hardcore traditionalists might view the distribution of Muslim prayer kits by a Catholic aid agency as an act of syncretism. I view it as a pragmatic act of charity. After all, it is highly unlikely that Acehnese Muslims would convert to Christianity, or that Caritas would be allowed to operate if large numbers were doing so. Given the circumstances, even though it is God's desire that we all embrace the Catholic faith, it is better to have these Muslims praying to the Creator in their natural religion than not doing so at all.
Chung Myung-whun

Re: Chung Becomes Prominent `Next' for Seoul Philharmonic

Chung Myung-whun is a fine conductor. He conducted the Orchestra e coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome's Cathedral of Sopra Miverva for the Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias: The Home Video (2000).

Franz Schubert's Ave Maria, in Italian, from the above concert, can be seen here:
Men's Purses

Re: Metrosexual Revolution Leads to Boom in Men's Bags

The above article seems to imply that this is a new trend, but I've noticed Korean dandies* carrying purses since I arrived in 1997. A Canadian man I know received a purse as a gift from a group of women he was teaching in that same year. His reaction was, "Gee, thanks... a purse... just what I needed."

* It should be noted that such foppishness exists only among a certain Korean youth culture known as the 꽃미남 (ggotminam). I can think of no better translation for this term than my student's rendering of it as "flower boys." These proto-metrosexuals have been dying and moussing their hair, using make-up, and wearing jewelry and very feminine clothes for years. Most Korean young men and the entire older generation, in contrast, are about as masculine as you can get.
"Leftist Revisionism" in South Korean Textbooks

Here are some of the findings of a "panel tasked with rectifying errors and prejudice in modern and contemporary history textbooks for high schools" quoted in Prejudice Warps Current History Textbooks:
    Cliquish and sentimental nationalism on the part of the authors has resulted in a leftist propensity in modern history textbooks.

    The writers, based on their ideological positions and preconceptions, provide highly subjective judgments and explanations.

    A tendency to look at everything negatively, in particular, appears to deny or disparage the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea

One thing to note about the Korean Left is that, unlike its counterparts in other nations, it is fiercely nationalistic to the point of being reactionary. It views the Korean nation as the world's greatest, but the ROK as essentially a puppet government of the US.
A Korean Reaction to President Bush's Inaugral Address

Bush's 'Feigned Idealism' and Korean Peninsula
Unrest at Seoul Station

From Homeless clash with police at Seoul Station:
    More than a hundred homeless people clashed with police inside Seoul Station Saturday night, throwing furniture, breaking windows and prompting passersby to flee the city's busiest train station.

    The incident was apparently sparked by the deaths Saturday, within hours of each other, of two homeless people in the same Seoul Station restroom. The rioters blamed security guards for the deaths.

[link via TCR News Headlines]
Remember the Pueblo!

Thirty-seven years ago yesterday, the USS Pueblo and its crew was captured by North Korea. [See USS Pueblo still a captive: Erosion in relations means ship unlikely to return soon.]

Notice the fingers of the captured sailors undergoing Nork interrogation (from the official USS PUEBLO (AGER-2) website:

Easter Island: Cautionary Tale

From Rapa Nui:
    The island's tragic story of habitat destruction, resource depletion and consequent social collapse, has broader significance in our world, beset with similar environmental problems.
Miryam and Isa

From Revered Figures in Islam: "Virgin Mary" & "Jesus Christ":
    Two of the most revered, loved and respected figures in the heart of every Muslim are Virgin Mary peace be upon her and her blessed son Jesus Christ peace be upon him. In fact, no individual can be a Muslim unless he/she believes in Jesus peace be upon him and in his miraculous birth from the purest of all women, and that he is the Word of God and a Spirit from Him and that he is the Messiah to the people of Israel.

Although Muslims reject as blasphemy our Catholic assertions that the Blesed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos) and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it can be seen from the above that Muslims are scadalously closer to Catholics in belief about Mary and Jesus than are many Liberal Protestants, some of whom discount as superstition the Virgin Birth and see Christ as merely a teacher, like Buddha or Socrates.
A New Portal

This blog has been added to a new excellent portal named Connect Korea, "[a]n online Korean media source connecting foreigners to Korea." I'll add it to my sidebar.
A Fellow Former Missouri Synod Lutheran on Communion

Father Richard Neuhaus on the Eucharist

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Saint Gregory the Illuminator

From Pope John Paul II attends the unveiling of a statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator prior to his general audience at the Vatican:

    Pope John Paul II attends the unveiling of a statue of St. Gregory the
    Illuminator prior to his general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday,
    Jan. 19, 2005. The almost 18-feet-high statue, weighting 26 tons was
    sculptured by Khacig Kazandjian from Armenia. In his audience the
    pontiff expressed his commitment for closer relations among all Christian
    denominations as he launched a week of prayer for Christian unity.

Saint Gregory the Illuminator (257-332) was the Apostle to Armenia, the world's first Christian nation.

As an aside, the Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, Singapore, a.k.a. the "Armenian Church," is the oldest church in that city, built in 1835. Here's a photo:
"This world is not heaven."

Peggy Noonan, on President Bush's call to end tyranny in the world in his inaugral address, from Way Too Much God: Was the president's speech a case of "mission inebriation"?:
    Ending tyranny in the world? Well that's an ambition, and if you're going to have an ambition it might as well be a big one. But this declaration, which is not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn't expect we're going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, it's earth....

    One wonders if they shouldn't ease up, calm down, breathe deep, get more securely grounded. The most moving speeches summon us to the cause of what is actually possible. Perfection in the life of man on earth is not.

Catholic truths the neocons would be wise to learn.

[link to article via TCR News Headlines]
¡Viva Laura Bush!

Opposing Thoughts on Drink

From a recent exchange on the Caelum et Terra Discussion Group:
    We should all follow Belloc's advice and not drink any spirits invented after the Reformation.


    Bah! Humbug! There are too many good ones invented after the Reformation. Moderation is the key (it applies to the reading of Belloc and, ahem, Chesterton, as well).

    The martini is a perfectly Catholic drink, hence the Catholic name.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Corporal Act of Mercy

Parish to bury ashes of fetuses [link via The Catholic Spectator]
Linguistic Fun

Jimmy Akin of Defensor Fidei links to this on-line novel:

Here's how the novel begins:
    If youth, throughout all history, had had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don’t know anything." A child’s brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adult's act, and figuring out its purport.

I heard about a French novel that did this same thing. Amazingly, the English translation also avoided the letter "e."
A New Link

Yesterday's CathNews email offered a link to the Jesus Radicals. Today, it goes to the other end of the spectrum and provides a link to The Latin Mass magazine, whose mission is
    To make known the treasures of Catholicism within the context of a Western culture that is in the process of rejecting the Faith responsible for its greatness.

    To offer an antidote to the universal phenomenon of an accelerating secularism that is hostile to the One True Church and the salvific charge given to it by our Lord.

    To disseminate through a variety of disciplines the fullness of Catholic culture and fight against the corrupting influence of the compartmentalization of knowledge.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A New Blog

El Camino Real's Jeff Culbreath today posted a link to this new blog with an old name:

The blog comes from the publishers of the now-defunct Caelum Et Terra Journal, which I came across only after it was long gone.

Here is what the blogmaster, a self-described Catholic hippy, says of the project:
    Let me just free-associate for a moment: our vision was (and is) mystical, contemplative, distributist, agrarian, sacramental, ecumenical, aesthetic, traditionalist, and progressive. Note the last two: there are significant political differences among us, but we all believe that the Catholic faith is simultaneously the most conservative and the most revolutionary force on earth. And we agree that there really is a culture of death growing in the world, and that Christianity naturally tends toward the development of a culture of life.

Living on the eight floor of a high rise apartment, I am unable to even remotely live out my distributist, agrarian, and Chestertonian aspirations, but making our own yoghurt and growing our own herbs is at least a start.
Buchanan on Bush and Wilson

Does Wilson's Fate Await Bush?
Jane Roe

High Court Asked to Overturn Roe V. Wade
    The woman once known as "Jane Roe" has asked the Supreme Court to overturn its landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion 32 years ago.

[Click on the link to read the rest.]
Contrary to what you may have heard...

Spain bishops deny condom rethink. It seems the secular media got it wrong about the Church, again.

Here's more, from Spanish bishops' spokesman says science also supports abstinence:
    Despite media reports around the world that the bishops of Spain have thrown their support behind condoms as a means of preventing AIDS, the statements by the General Secretary of the Bishops Conference of Spain, which are the source of the reports, reiterate the Catholic position that abstinence and fidelity must be promoted in order to stop AIDS.
Christian Anarchists

Here's a site that was linked to in today's CathNews email:

I would have been a fervent member of this group about fifteen years ago. It makes some good points, but goes astray a bit.

Here is a description from their homepage:
    Jesus Radicals is a source of discipleship for the church at large. We do not pretend to be anything more or less than a resource. However, this resource is designed for Christians who know something is wrong with the church. It is a place for those of us who are tired of playing power games practiced in the name of Jesus—for those of us who are tired of violence and the lording of it over others.

There is something wrong in the Church, but it is not the exercise of too much authority. Quite the opposite is true. I'm all for as little government as possible outside the Church. Within it, now that's a different story. As the great Catholic Anarchist Dorothy Day said, "I am inclined to be sympathetic to the left, but when it comes to the Catholic Church, then I am far to the right" (From Dorothy Day's Lessons for Labor).

Here's more from the site:
    God has saved a remnant of His people who have not bowed down to capitalism, the state, money, the military or any other idol that plagues the world today. On this site, you'll find an online library, essays written by our readers, sermon ideas, links to helpful sites and much more.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"The Religion of Peace"

El Camino Real's Jeff Culbreath links today to an important blog, Jihad Watch, which in turn is affiliated with another important blog, Dhimmi Watch.

I have lived in an Islamic nation, known many Muslims, and can even say that I became a better Christian by admiringly witnessing Muslim prayer, fasting, and devotion. In a sense, Muslims are our brothers as fellow spiritual children of Abraham, worshippers of the Creator, and believers in the Day of Judgment.

Still, it is prudent to be wary of a religion that divides the world into "The House of Islam" (Dar-el-Islam) and the "House of War" (Dar-el-Harb).

According to this website, Islâm,
    "[I]t was the traditional duty of Islâmic rulers to extend the House of Islâm into the House of War. This was the Jihâd, the Holy War."

[See also ISLAM AND THE CHURCH - FOURTEEN CENTURIES OF JIHAD, or, on the lighter side, this board game: Dar-el-Harb (House of War).]
Muslims and Mary

Here is an article written by a Muslim defending the Virgin Birth against two heretical "Catholic" writers who deny it:

[link via the comments to the DOWN WITH ISLAM! post at El Camino Real]
More on Murder of Christian Egyptian Family in New Jersey

'ISLAMIC HATE' EYED IN SLAYS [link via Seattle Catholic]

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Syrian Catholic Church

The Syrian Catholic Church is in the news today because of today's heinous kidnapping of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa (scroll down for more).

This article from the Beeb, Iraqi bishop kidnap sparks anger, offers some background on the church:
    Observes the Liturgy of St James, performed in Syriac, though certain readings are in Arabic

    Practised mostly in Iraq and Lebanon

    In communion with Roman Catholic church since the 17th century

[For more, see Iraqi Christians' long history.]
Be Careful What You Say

From Harvard President Criticized for Remarks:
    The president of Harvard University prompted criticism for suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers.

The wonderful and complementary differences between the sexes are obvious to anyone with any observation ability. Progressivist dogma holds that differences between "male bodied" and "female bodied" people are not innate, but are determined by socialization. At the same time, it is heretical, i.e. politically incorrect, to think that homosexuality is anything but innate!

Strange indeed!
Egyptian Christians (Copts) Murdered in New Jersey

Hossam Armanious, 47; his wife, Amal Garas, 37; and their two children, Sylvia Armanious, 15; and Monica Armanious, 9 were found murdered last week. Hossam had been a staunch defender of Christianity against its Islamic detractors on on-line discussion boards. Nothing was stolen from their house.

Requiescat in pace.

Here are some news stories and commentaries about the incident, which bears all the marks of Islamic terror, that I found linked to from various Catholic bloggers:

FAMILY SLAIN: Parents, 2 kids found in home, bound and their throats slashed



Here's a photo of the funeral*, from Slain Jersey City family buried:

* A man at the funeral shouted, "Islam is not a religion!"
DPRK Dissent!

From Activist: Video Shows Dissent in Communist N.Korea:
    A South Korean group said on Monday it had obtained what it said was the first visual evidence of dissent in communist North Korea that indicated an organized attempt at a movement against its leader, Kim Jong-il.

    A 35-minute video clip viewed by Reuters showed a portrait of Kim taken inside a factory building and defaced by writing that demanded freedom and democracy.

[Click on the link to read the rest.]

UDPATE: Here's an image, from the Digital Chosun Ilbo (English Edition):

    A North Korean group calling itself the Freedom Youth Club scribbled anti-
    regime slogans on an image of leader Kim Jong-il. This picture, publicized
    online by, was reportedly taken at a factory in Hoiryung,
    Hamgyeong province

UPDATE 2: Here's a link to the original article linking to the video, via
Societal Collapse and the Genuine Order

Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, quoted in Culture Cardinal lays down challenge facing a "collapsing" society:
    Given a society that is collapsing, it is urgent to find the spiritual as opposed to spiritualism, tradition as opposed to traditionalism, faith as opposed to fideism, morality as opposed to moralism — in a word, the genuine order as opposed to the established disorder!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Emmanuel Mounier

Here's an interesting story:

I have a copy of Mounier's Personalism on my shelf, currently on the "to-read" list. I know that his philosophy is one of the main inspirations of Pope John Paul II, himself a trained philosopher.
A Royal Quiz

Take the quiz: "What Monarch Are You?"

Richard I
You're a great explorer and you're very brave. Sometimes, you're so caught up in exploring and doing your own thing that you neglect the people around you and the things around you. Pay more attention to those parts of your life, like your family and friends. The day will come when you wil need more than just your own spirit and drive.

[link via Catholc Ragemonkey]

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Mother's Love

Re: Vancouver Woman Chooses Life for Her Baby just before Dying of Breast Cancer

Réquiem aéternam dona ei, Dómine.
Et lux perpétua lúceat ei.
Requiéscat in pace.

The story of Gabriele Helms, may God grant His eternal rest to her noble soul, is strikingly similar to that of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, whose image and prayer are presented below:

    O Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, make me only know Your Will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls, and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms, I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy Will, the grace to confide in You, the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.

[link to article via Seattle Catholic, image from Saints proclaimed during the Pontificate of John Paul II]
The Corea of Yesteryear

From Looking for Vestiges of the Gisaeng:

    A postcard used by a French
    missionary in 1910. The caption
    reads, "A Corean Singer & Maid"
This is Truly Perverse!

From Air Force proposal sought gay sex weapon:
    The Pentagon briefly looked into making a weapon that would render enemy troops sexually attracted to one another, according to an official document uncovered by a watchdog group that monitors research into biological and chemical weapons.
Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII has been the victim of character assassination by enemies of the Church who labeled him "Hitler's Pope" in a vicious smear campaign.

In reality, however, Hitler threatened to kidnap this saintly man for being a "friend of the Jews" and "an obstacle to his plans for global domination and... to eventually abolish Christianity and impose National Socialism as a sort of new global religion."

For more, see:

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Invaluable Resource

I was directed to this veritable clearinghouse of the Faith by Jason Choi of Musings of an orthodox Korean Catholic...:

Thank you, Jason!
Abortion is Not the Only Pro-life Issue

Terri’s ‘Exit Protocol’, "a slow and painful death by starvation and dehydration"

Kýrie eléison

[link via TCR News Headlines]
The Church's Newest Mission Territory

Enthusiasm drives the Church in Mongolia
Good News for the Year of the Eucharist

The Pope grants Plenary Indulgence "to all the faithful who attend a mass or take part in acts of worship to the Most Holy Sacrament or other similar  acts of devotion such as a procession."

[For more details, see New Plenary Indulgence to Mark Year of the Eucharist. For more on this often misunderstood doctrine, see Indulgences.]
What's Wrong with this Picture?

From North, South Boxers Set to Share Card:
"Darwinian Fundamentalists and the Big Wave"

Why the giant waves were acts of a benevolent God [link via]
The Right Decision in a Horrendous Case

From Chilean Health Minister rules out abortion for nine year-old girl:
    [Pedro Garcia] clarified that a human being does not deserve to have his or her life terminated when “he or she was not responsible” for the factors which led to conception....

    The girl is seven months pregnant.

Kýrie eléison

[The post below this one links to a description of the cruelty of lethal injection. Opposed as I am to the death penalty in principle, I wouldn't shed a tear if this girl's rapist were drawn and quartered. Call me a hypocrite.]

Friday, January 14, 2005

Lethal Injection

Cruel and unusual?... You bet.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Hometown Humor

I'm from a suburb of Buffalo, NY. If you're from Western New York, you'll find this forwarded message from my parents quite funny:
    If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Western New York.

    If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you might live in Western New York.

    If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the year, you might live in Western New York.

    If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, you might live in Western New York.

    If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you might live in Western New York.

    If your town has more bars than churches*, you might live in Western New York.


    You measure distance in hours.

    You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.

    You often switch from heat to A/C in the same day and back again.

    You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.

    You see people wearing camouflage at social events (including weddings).

    You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

    You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend/wife knows how to use them.

    You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

    Driving is better in the winter because the potholesare filled with snow.

    You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, road construction.

    Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.

    Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new shed.

    You go out for a fish fry every Friday**.

    Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

    You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

    You find 10 degrees a little chilly.

* Less a comment on the number of churches than on the number of bars

** Lots of Catholics in Western New York
Abu Ghraib

Re: Inmates tell of Abu Ghraib abuse & Iraqi Victim Says U.S. Torture Worse That Saddam

Pro dolorosa Eius passione, miserere nobis et totius mundi.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

[links via TCR News Headlines]

Re: India’s Parsis are disappearing

One of the great English-language novels of recent years is A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry, a member of India's Parsi community.
Royal News

Re: S.Korea Would Welcome Visit by Japan Emperor

This bodes well for the often icy relationship between the North-east Asian neighbors. It would be a kind of home-coming, seeing that His Imperial Majesty Akihito (明仁), the current occupant of the Chrysanthemum Throne, is partly of Korean descent.

[See The emperor's new roots.]

UPDATE: Here's a royal drawing, from Japanese Illustration of Last Korean Queen Discovered:
"A Liberal Fantasy"

Re: The Fear of "Theocracy"

What we take for granted as government now is far more intrusive.
Catholic Teaching on Salvation is Scriptural

This comes from today's readings, taken from The Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews (The Douay-Rheims Bible):
    3:12. Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God.

    3:13. But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called to day, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

    3:14. For we are made partakers of Christ: yet so, if we hold the beginning of his substance firm unto the end.

How very Catholic the Apostle's words! And how different from the evangelical or fundamentalist notion of assurance of salvation coming through being "born again." The Apostle suggests that "accepting Christ as one's personal Lord and Savior" is not enough to guarantee salvation, as he is writing to Christians who have already done so. Baptism, by which we are made children of God, is a necessary start, but it's not the end of the story. The difficult and exciting part, perseverance in the Faith, follows.

[From more, read Assurance of Salvation?.]

Thursday, January 13, 2005

St Anthony's Church, Mullaittivu, Sri Lanka

Look at that church! It's beautiful. Never mind the fact that it survived the tsunami relatively intact, it's an example of very positive Inculturation. The building is clearly a Christian church, yet it contains architectural elements of a Hindu temple, or a mosque.

An example of inculturation I experienced first-hand were the Indian Christians in Malaysia who took off their shoes upon entering a church, just as Hindus, Muslims, or Buddhists would do in their places of worship.

In a sense, however, it is ridiculous to speak of inculturation in the Indian subcontinent, which was evangelized by Saint Thomas the Apostle! (Yes, "Doubting" Thomas.) Thus, the evangelization of India predates that of much of Europe by several hundred years.

[For more on the 2000-year history of Christianity in India, see Indian Christianity and Indian Catholic.]

[image from Priest says stoic town is fighting on]
Economics and Religion

I have to admit to knowing next to nothing about economics; only recently has the "dismal science" begun to interest me. Both Marxist and Keynesian ecomomics are hogwash, so I'm divided between The Austrian School and Distributism, a.k.a. Distributivism*.

The Capitalist Response is an article that does an excellent job defending Capitalism against Distributivism from a Catholic point of view. [The Church, of course, has not officially endorsed any economic system, although Catholic teaching can be said to inform both schools.] I disagree, however, with's characterization of the article as follows: "The Communism of the Conservatives: John Clark on distributivism vs. the pro-capitalist Catholic Church."

Distributivism is not "the communism of the conservatives," however communitarian it might be. G.K. Chesterton, a founder of Distributivism, said, "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."

[For more, see Distributivism and Catholic Social Teaching and "What's Wrong with Distributivism?". Here's another interesting article: G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day on Economics:Neither Socialism nor Capitalism.]
The Right to a Child?

Here are two excellent analyses of the recent US Supreme Court refusal* to hear a case challenging Florida's blanket policy of prohibiting gays from adopting children:

The second article wisely notes the following:
    There is no "right" to a child. No right to have a child, no right to adopt a child. Children are not objects to which other people have rights: children are human persons with rights of their own.

* See Justices spurn challenge by gays.
Winds of Change in the DPRK?

From Perils in the Workers' Paradise:
    All is not well in the Workers' Paradise. This has been said many times before about North Korea, and the regime has endured, but this time the problems may be getting dramatically worse. Accounts say European policymakers are preparing for abrupt change in the country. Japanese intelligence sees growing signs of social disorder and warns of feud or confrontation arising from a succession struggle. Economic reforms exacerbate divisions and nasty posters and leaflets are increasingly appearing.

[Click on the link to read the rest.]
Robert Nesta Marley, O.M.

Re: Marley's Wife Plans to Exhume Remains

Why? To bury him in his "spiritual resting place": Ethiopia.

What is not mentioned in the article is that Bob Marley was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, at the behest of his wife Rita (notice the Ethiopian cross she's wearing), and given the name Berhane Selassie*. Thus, Bob Marley left this world not as a Rastafarian, but as a Christian.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church rejects "the heresy of emperor worship" and the "herbal sorcery" of the Rastafarian cult. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I himself was the one who established the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica.

[For more about this, see The Ethiopian Orthodox Church & Bob Marley's Baptism And The Church. For an interesting appraisal of Rastafarianism vis-à-vis the Roman Catholic Church, see Contradictions of Rastafarianism, which notes that the Rt. Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaican Black Nationalist and "prophet" of Rastafarianism, "converted to Roman Catholicism, and remained an active practising Catholic until his death."]

* Selassie is Amharic for "Trinity"
A Lamentable Decision

SKorea approves cloning research
Why the Tsunami, God?

The Marmot's Hole today reports on a Korean Methodist* pastor who, in a sermon, asserted that God killed tsunami victims because they were heathens. The Rev. Kim Hong-do went into a bit more detail than that, saying the following:
    In Aceh, Indonesia, where 65,000 people were killed, two thirds of the people are Muslim, and many Christians have been killed by rebels. Massacred. In Chennai, India, where 30,000~40,000 were killed, Hindus had gone on the rampage, killing many Christians and burning chapels.

    Phuket, Thailand is a place used by many Europeans to engage in hedonism, lechery, drugs and commit sins. Think about it. You’re most joyous holiday is Christmas, and you consider the Sabbath important. You believe in Jesus, so would you skip church and go to such a place to engage in lechery and debauchery?

The fact of the matter is that we don't why God allowed this to happen. The Catholic admits that human reason is limited and cannot understand the mind of God. Rev. Kim might be right. He might be wrong. Whatever the reason, we need to do what we can to help the suffering:

I'm reminded of a story I read recently that had been related by Elie Wiesel. Three Rabbis in Auschwitz or some other concentration camp decided to put God on trial for crimes against humanity. At the end of the third day of the trial, they found God guilty as charged. Immediately after they had reached their decision, one of the Rabbis said, "Now, it's time for evening prayers."

* Methodists and Presbyterians in Korea are closer in theology and worship to Southern Baptists or Pentacostals than their co-denominationalists in the US.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

ประวัติบุญราศรี คุณพ่อ นิโคลาส บุญเกิด กฤษบำรุง

The above is the rendering in the beautiful Thai script of the name of one of today's blesseds, Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung.
    One of six children. His parents were converts, and he was raised as a Christian. Entered the Hang Xan Minor Seminary at age 13, and the Penang Major Seminary, Malaysia in 1920. Ordained in Bangkok, Thailand in 1926. Pastor at Bang Nok Khneuk and Phitsanulok. Missionary to northern Vietnam from 1930 to 1937, working to bring back Catholics who had fallen from their practice due to poverty.

    When war broke out between France and Indochina, Nicholas was accused of spying for the French. In 1941 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. There he contracted tuberculosis which, with the hardships of prison, eventually killed him, but not before he spent two years bringing the faith to his fellow prisoners, baptizing at least 68. Thailand's first martyr priest.

[Thai script from the Nakorn Rachisima Catholic Diocese; information from the Patron Saints Index]
よøぎㅎビλĦㅎコ_¤ 읍ㅎF_しち흐ロっㅉヴ”_≥∇≤☆

The gibberish above is an example of the destruction the Internet hath wrought on the Korean language, from What on Earth Does This Mean? Here are two others:


[Opinion] Alien Language, an article on the same theme, provides this English example:
    c u in ur office 4 aftnoon mtg, tx.
Tradition in the Face of Crisis

From Islamic laws suspended because of Tsunami emergency:
    Ulemas Council agrees to mass burial and accelerated purification rites for the dead. All emergency food is declared in principle 'halal', i.e. permissible.
Saint Thomas, Apostle of India

How Tsunami Waves Did Not Touch Santhome Cathedral [link via BarbariansAtBay]
Lifetime Detention without Trial

Killing Snakes and Other Parables, or "One Day in the Life of Mohammed Denisovich"
Korean Life Science

Korea seems to be positioning itself at the forefront of life science, for good and for evil. An example of the latter is Prof. Hwang Woo-seok's cloning of human embryos. Examples of former are recent Korean experiments using umbilical cord blood stem cells and this story: Korean study suggests diabetes-cancer link.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Catholics Mel and Michael

From Odd Couple Gibson, Moore Exchange Praise:
    I saw the film. I liked it," Gibson told AP Radio Sunday at the 31st Annual People's Choice Awards, countering the contention that "Fahrenheit 9/11" fans and "The Passion of the Christ" enthusiasts are mutually exclusive groups....

    "I feel a kind of strange kinship with Michael," Gibson said. I mean, they're trying to pit us against each other in the press, but this is all just a hologram, you know. They've really got nothing to do with one another. They were used as some kind of divisive left-right thing."

    Moore said he saw Gibson's film twice, and even took his father to see it.

    "I thought it was a powerful piece of filmmaking," Moore told AP Radio Sunday. "I'm a practicing Catholic, and you know I think Mel and I may be from different wings of the Catholic Church. My film might have been called 'The Compassion of the Christ.'

[link via Open Book]
Life, Food, Peace, Freedom

Here are some of the Holy Father's words on the above issues, quoted from John Paul II Highlights Humanity's 4 Challenges:

    The Church's position, supported by reason and science, is clear. The human embryo is a subject identical to the human being which will be born at the term of its development. Consequently, whatever violates the integrity and the dignity of the embryo is ethically inadmissible.

    Any form of scientific research which treats the embryo merely as a laboratory specimen is unworthy of man.

    Scientific research in the field of genetics needs to be encouraged and promoted, but, like every other human activity, it can never be exempt from moral imperatives; research using adult stem cells, moreover, offers the promise of considerable success.

And continuing about the issue of homosexual "marriage" and its relation to the Culture of Death, His Holiness had this to say:
    In some countries the family is also threatened by legislation which -- at times directly -- challenges its natural structure, which is and must necessarily be that of union between a man and a woman founded on marriage.

    The family, as a fruitful source of life and a fundamental and irreplaceable condition for the happiness of the individual spouses, for the raising of children and for the well-being of society, and indeed for the material prosperity of the nation, must never be undermined by laws based on a narrow and unnatural vision of man.

    An adequate response to this need, which is growing in scale and urgency, calls for a vast mobilization of public opinion; the same applies all the more to political leaders, especially in those countries enjoying a sufficient or even prosperous standard of living.

    [However,] the principle of the universal destination of the earth's goods cannot be used to justify collectivist forms of economic policy [but] should serve to advance a radical commitment to justice and a more attentive and determined display of solidarity. This is the good which can overcome the evil of hunger and unjust poverty.

    How many wars and armed conflicts continue to take place -- between states, ethnic groups, peoples and groups living in the same territory. [sic] From one end of the world to the other, they are claiming countless innocent victims and spawning so many other evils....

    In addition to these tragic evils there is the brutal, inhuman phenomenon of terrorism, a scourge which has taken on a global dimension unknown to previous generations.

    How can the great challenge of building peace overcome such evils? I shall continue... pointing out the paths of peace and urging that they be followed with courage and patience. The arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good.

    Bringing about an authentic and lasting peace in this violence-filled world calls for a power of peace that does not shrink before difficulties. It is a power that human beings on their own cannot obtain or preserve: It is a gift from God

    There need be no fear that legitimate religious freedom would limit other freedoms or be injurious to the life of civil society. On the contrary: together with religious freedom, all other freedoms develop and thrive, inasmuch as freedom is an indivisible good, the prerogative of the human person and his dignity.

    Neither should there be a fear that religious freedom, once granted to the Catholic Church, would intrude upon the realm of political freedom and the competencies proper to the state.

    The Church is able carefully to distinguish, as she must, what belongs to Caesar from what belongs to God. She asks only for freedom, so that she can effectively cooperate with all public and private institutions concerned with the good of mankind.

We are truly blessed with a great shepherd in the personage of His Holiness Pope John Paul II!

Viva il papa!

The Much-maligned Hojuje (戶主制)

[Note: Even if you are not interested in Korean society, read the extensive quote at the bottom of the post and the article that it's from. It's a must-read about the issue of authority and tradition.]

Re: Individual Registry System as an Alternative to Family System?

Hojuje is the sytem by which South Koreans register officially as memers of a household, not as individuals. Each household has a head (hoju), usually the father. Thus, it is patriarchal. (Since I am not a Korean citizen, my wife is the legal hoju of our household.)

The system is under attack by feminists and others, including members of the "Our Open Party" (열인우리당) of President Roh Moo-hyun (think Lula without the charm or Zapatero without the creepiness). The hojuje poses some problems when it comes to the family name of children whose parents divorce and enter into another civil marriage. The hojuje draws the ire of many Westerners living in Korea, who see it as incomprehensibly backward and as an example of Korean obtuseness.

The hojuje is a manifestation of Confucianism, the social philosophy that provided East Asia with 2500 years of relative stability without recourse to Revealed Truth, allowing the region to become second only to the West in terms of material, cultural, artistic, and scientific development. The hojuje should not be thrown out because it causes some inconvenience to some moderns in their pursuit of individual autonomy.

Perhaps the hojuje could be modified to reflect changes in modern society. That does not mean throwing it out altogther, however, as its enemies have suggested.

Here are some words in defense of tradition by Edward Feser, echoing social theorist Friedrich A. Hayek, in Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope? (a must-read article):
    [T]he hoary and impersonal products of tradition, though they may seem superficially to be less rational than the novel insights of individual intellectuals, poets, and artists, are in fact far more rational, for, reflecting as they do the experience of millions of individuals over many generations, and having survived the winnowing forces of cultural evolution, they embody far more information about the concrete details of human life than any individual theorist can hope to acquire. Traditional practices and institutions must, then, get the benefit of the doubt. If they are ever to be altered -- and Hayek doesn't deny that they sometimes can and must be -- the burden of proof must always be on the innovator rather than the conserver of tradition, and (especially where the institution or practice is very ancient and widespread) the change can never be more than piecemeal, a tinkering around the edges that leaves the core of the practice or institution intact.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Music Shuffle Challenge

Here's an idea that I read about from Serge at A conservative blog for peace, who in turn got it from from Edward Yong of In principio erat Verbum - Εν αρχη ην ο Λογος:

1. Open up the music player on your computer.
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty.
5. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
6. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurances. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

Below are my results. It must be kept in mind that I do not use my computer music player that often anymore. I usually listen to CDs. These results reflect what I was searching for about two years ago when I was really into file-sharing. I'm not sure if the titles are correct, as file-sharers often have no idea what they're sharing. Here are my ten songs:

1. Conditor Alme performed by the Benedictine Monks of St. Michael
These monks have put together a great album of Gregorian Chants, which I own. I think it's every bit as good as the one put out by the Monks of Santo Domingo de Silas.

2. Jose (?) composed by Michael Praetorius and performed by Chanticleer
I'm suspicious of this title, but Chanticleer is great, as is Praetorius.

3. String Quartet No. 4, 1 composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
Loyal commie or not (and the debate is still out), Shostakovich is still my favorite Twentieth Century composer.

4. Little Boy, Little Boy Who Mad performed by the Reverend Gary Davis
This blind street preacher is my favorite blues guitarist, alongside Mississippi John Hurt.

5. The Star-Spangled Banner performed by Sergei Rachmaninoff
This is a very moving rendition of the national anthem by the Russian émigrée.

6. The Old Laughing Lady performed by Neil Young
I saw Neil Young a couple of times in the 1980s. A show in which he was backed by Crazy Horse was probably the best rock concert I've ever been to.

7. The Water Song performed by Hot Tuna
I saw (Acoustic) Hot Tuna about a year ago, the last time I was in the US, in Paradise, California. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen was a student of the Reverend Gary Davis, mentioned above. He and bassist Jack Cassidy were members of Jefferson Airplane. The duo concentrates now on folk and blues. Joining Jorma and Jack was an intellectual-looking Jewish fellow, Barry something-or-other, who played every type of American folk instrument you could imagine. He stole the show. It was the first time I smelled marijuana in a long time.

8. The Internationale performed by Billy Bragg
I saw this flaming socialist in the early nineties. I really like the way he plays folk-guitar on an electric guitar.

9. Sangue de Beirona performed by Cesaria Evora
If you're not listening to music from Cape Verde, you should be. There's nothing hotter.

10. What a Friend We Have in Jesus performed by Doc and Merle Watson
What more needs to be said?