Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Name Day!
To myself, and all the other Andreases out there, and the peoples of Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Scotland, and Greece, as well as fish dealers, fish mongers, fishermen, maidens, old maids, singers, spinsters, unmarried women, women who wish to become mothers, and those suffering from sore throats and gout, I wish a very Holy and Happy...On this day three years ago, I was received into the Catholic Church, and put myself under the patronage of Saint Andrew the Apostle, as it was providentially the memorial of the Saint whom my Protestant parents honored in giving me my middle name. Deo gratia!

Today, let's take up our Saltires and follow him who was first called to follow Him.
"A good man is difficult to find" and "The good people of the campo"
TS links to a BabelFished post that is quite informative: Flannery in Spanish. The advice therein is very helpful for first-time readers of Miss O'Connor. Reading her stories chronologically, as I did, is not the best way to apporach her work if one hopes to get the full impact of her genius. I like the cover.

For those brave souls who'd rather attempt reading Flannery O'Connor's stories in the original English, here's a link:
Help Wanted: Executioner
Mr. Darshan Singh is out of a job: Singapore Fires Sole Hangman: As His Identity Is Revealed by Australian Media. Here's some background on the job he was scheduled to perform tomorrow: Prayer vigils for Van Nguyen.
Two from TCR
Stephen Hand's TCR News Focus is being updated more regularly of late, which is a good thing. Below are two choice articles from today.

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, in honor of a disease whose spread could be stopped today by practicing a little restraint: 'Pansexual culture' fuels increase in AIDS/HIV, says Vatican message. We need to care for those unfortunate victims of this disease, especially the children, and God knows no one is doing so like the Catholic Church, who cares for one out of four of the world's AIDS patients. At the same time, it is obscene that valuable medical resources and talent are being wasted in trying to find a vaccine for a disease that is 100% preventable, all the more so when diseases like Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Schistosomiasis still ravage the world.

"Napoleon massacred more than 100,000 Caribbean slaves and should be remembered as a genocidal dictator and inspiration for Hitler rather than a military genius and founder of modern France, a French historian said yesterday:" Napoleon the inspiration for Hitler, says historian.
Look to Eastasia for the Brave New World to Come
In the wake of the Korean cloning scandal, comes this local editorial: [OUTLOOK]Need to create Eastern ethics. Here's a particularly frightening excerpt:
    Equally, we need a shift in our thinking. The existing global ethical standards may be outmoded in this era of cloned human embryos. Rather than trying to align with an outdated standard, we should found new ethical guidelines and then persuade the world to follow them.

    The development of science and ethics, the two axes of human development, must be pursued simultaneously. That is why South Korean life sciences should communicate more deeply with liberal studies and, in particular, religious studies. We should stop following the West's limited ethical viewpoint on life, and creatively come up with a new global standard that is based on the East's thoughts on life. We've shocked the world with a storm of achievement in life science; we need to follow it up by adding in creative ethical standards of our own regarding life.
    [my emphasis]
Here's more: S. Korea to designate Hwang's stem cell work as 'core technology'.
Chicago Boyz in da House
Lexington Green, "a fellow Catholic and a rather vehement Anglospherist," has responded to my post Austria-Hungary and the Anglosphere.

Mr. Green blogs at Chicago Boyz, which, as the name suggests, deals primarily with economic issues. I first learned of the Chicago Boys and their school of economics as an exchange student in Chile in 1993. Economists from the University of Chicago had been invited to the country under the military government of General Augusto Pinochet and were largely responsible for the economic success of today's Chile.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Two from
Although it often seems like an Amen Corner for the Bush Administration, it does often have articles of value. Here are two:

First, Doug Bandow offers a reality check about the ROK-US alliance: Alliance with South Korea exposes Washington's Stockholm Syndrome.

Second, Erik Lokkesmoe interviews Makoto Fujimura: A Conservative Artist on Arts and Culture.
In MemoriamRobert Waldrop reminds us that today marks a quarter of a century since her passing and offers a liturgical prayer in remembrance: [Cet] The Memorial of Dorothy Day: November 29. 2005 -- 25 years since her passing into glory.
A Visit from an Anglospherist
James C. Bennett, author of The Anglosphere Challenge, has left these very thought-provoking comments to a post of mine entitled Austria-Hungary and the Anglosphere:
    Although I am not a Catholic and couldn't pretend to represent a Catholic viewpoint on this, a substantial number of Anglospherists are strong Catholics. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I hadn't particularly set out to write a book to appeal to Catholics or any other particular religion for that matter. However, one of the points the Anglosphere line of investigation has made is the continuity of English-speaking culture from well before the Industrial Revolution, and from well before the Reformation. In many ways the secret of the Anglosphere's successes has been the preservation and elaboration of the medieval constitutionalism that was wiped out by early modern authoritariansm on the Continent.

    The Anglospherist analysis is among other things a critique of previous attempts at explaining Anglosphere exceptionalism. Among the inadequate explanations is the "protestant ethic" theory, since there is a good argument that all of the critical elements of Anglosphere exceptionalism were in place well before the reformation.
Mr. Bennett is also the man behind Albion's Seedlings, one of the most fascinating places in the blogosphere. Anyone interesed in geopolitics or language, espeically Ye Olde Englyshe, should pay it a visit.
The "Paradox of Modernity"
Genome Known, but Meaning of Life Lost?
Beyond "No Blood for Oil"
If the Left is really serious (which it might not be) about seeing an end to Wilsonian adverturism, it needs to go beyong mere anti-American sloganeering. Reading this article might be a good place to start: Adam Smith's Economic Case Against Imperialism. The convincing arguments I hear against Mr. Bush's War invariably come from the Right.
and the Twilight of Conservatism
Korean Cloner's Research Now Questioned
First, there was controversy over how "The Pride of Korea" collected the ova for his clone-amd-kill research. Now, one of Dr. Hwang's team-members has claimed that his "results published by Science in 2004 were a collection of falsehoods:" MBC Team Charges Stem Cell Research 'a Sham'. From the article:
    The researcher maintains that Hwang's team fabricated data because in reality it failed to clone a somatic cell and instead used a frozen embryo from the hospital to make stem cells. The researcher says the team also lied about cloning a cow.
Still, the fundamental unethical nature of Embroyonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) remains largely unquestioned.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Dr. Hwang's scientific career is over. This does not mean, however, that he will not work privately in industry, which may prove even more dangerous.
A Prayer for the Family
From painter/poet Stephano Ha Samdu:
    하삼두 (가족을 위한 기도)

    그저 바라보기만 해도 마음을 압니다.
    가족은 다문 입으로도 충분합니다.
    성모님의 상본 가에
    쉼없이 뜨고 가라앉는 가족의 얼굴...
    다문 입으로
    끝내 위로의 말을 전하지 못하고 돌아가신
    부모님의 안타까움이
    성모님의 눈빛되어
    나를 보고 있습니다. 지금....
[image and text from 사랑의 씨튼 수녀회]
Abortion Survivors
Here is a story from the UK: Report finds 50 babies a year survive abortion. To "solve" this problem, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists "recommend that babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days should have their hearts stopped by a lethal injection before being delivered."

The story mention Gianna Jessen, 28, an abortion survivor and now professional musician. The attempt on her life left her with cerebral palsy. Here are some stories about her: Abortion survivor tells story and Testimony of Gianna Jessen.

Monday, November 28, 2005

NY Times Analysis
Pope Rules Quietly, Quietly, but Maybe Actively, Actively [Use to bypass registration.]
"Selling Christian Women into Whoredom"
The New Crusade informs us that that's precisely what Muslim Albanian gangs are doing in Europe: The plight of the cellar girls.

The sex slaves are from Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria. Their traffickers are from Albania and from Western Macedonia and Kosovo, both of which have mainly ethnic Albanian populations.
Cloner Hwang
I'm sorry, but "candlelight vigils," that staple of the Korean mobocracy since the accidental killing of two schoolgirls by a US military vehicle in 2002, make me sick*: Hwang’s Supporters Protest Against MBC.

"Only an insignificant number of people are opposed to human embryo cloning research," says the author of [Editorial] What's Truly Good for Professor Hwang, who also informs us that "[f]ew people have made the Korean people proud as much as Hwang has."

*Serge of A conservative blog for peace links to an article that helped me understand my aversion to the use of candles by mass crowds: Flickering symbols.
Three from TCR News Focus
Headlines like this are always a cause for joy: Pope Benedict Enforcing Traditional Rules and Orthodoxy.


"Holodomor," the fruit of collectivization: Ukraine demands 'genocide' marked.
Dhimmitude in Indonesia
From Poso bishop declares Catholics’ death sentence unjust:
    Mgr Suwatan has come out in defence of three men convicted of igniting clashes between Christians and Muslims in Poso in 2000; the bishop said the Catholics were victims and not instigators of the violence and that the death penalty was excessive. Manado Diocese is praying for that the sentence be overturned.
Let us pray for Fabianus Tibo, Marianus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva.
A Man and His Dog
Umberto D. (1952) is perhaps the greatest example of Italian Neorealism. It is the story of an elderly pensioner trying to maintain his dignity as he sinks into hopeless debt and looming homelessness. He is utterly alone, with only his dog Flike and his heartless landlady's pregnant maid looking out for him. The bond between man and dog is central to this film, as is man's struggle for simple dignity in the modern world. Despite its subject matter, the film is not in the least bit sentimental; rather, it is like a documentary, which makes it all the more sorrowful.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy First Sunday of Advent!
The Holy Father's message to us, quoted from Pope: Advent, “a time of hope and waiting”, gets under way:
    On this Sunday, Advent starts, a time of great religious suggestion, because it is flooded with hope and spiritual anticipation: every time the Christian community prepares to commemorate the birth of the Redeemer, it is alerted to a tremor of joy within, which it communicates, to some extent, to all society. In Advent, Christian people relive a twofold movement of the spirit: on the one hand, they directs their gaze to the final goal of their pilgrimage in history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other hand, recalling with emotion the birth in Bethlehem, they bow down before the Crib. The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but it remains firmly rooted in a past event. In the fullness of time, the Son of God was born to the Virgin Mary: "Born of a woman, born under the law", as the apostle Paul wrote (Gal 4:4).

    The Gospel invites us today to remain vigilant in anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Jesus says: "Keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come" (Mk 13:35-37). The short parable about the master who leaves for a trip and the servants charged with keeping watch, highlights the importance of being ready to welcome the Lord when, unexpectedly, he comes. The Christian community anxiously awaits his “manifestation” and the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, exhorts them to trust in God’s faithfulness and to live in such a way as to be found "faultless" (cfr 1 Cor 1:7-9) on the day of the Lord. Therefore, it is very opportune that the Liturgy should put the words of the Psalm on our lips at the beginning of Advent: "Show us Lord, your mercy, and give us your salvation" (Ps.84:8)

    We may say that Advent is the time in which Christians should reawaken in their heart the hope of being able, with God’s help, to renew the world. From this point of view, I want to call to mind, today too, the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Gaudium et Spes about the Church in the modern world: Christian hope is deeply pervasive in its text. I refer in particular to no. 39, entitled “New earth and new heaven”. Here we read: “We are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide (cfr 2 Cor 5:2; 2 Pt 3:13)… the expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one”. We will find the good fruits of our work again when Christ hands over his eternal and universal Kingdom to his Father. The most Holy Mary, Virgin of Advent, enables us to live this time of grace vigilant and hardworking as we wait on the Lord.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

From Malta With Love
The Maltese bishops have provided a very clear and succint statement in defense of marriage: Bishops speak out against same-sex marriages. There's nothing in the document that would be new to those familar with the issue, but it provides a good summary of the main points in the teaching.
William F. Buckley Jr. on Christians in China and North Korea
Despite my differences with the man, I am glad he is lending his influential voice in defense of the Persecuted Church in the East CHRISTIANS AFOOT.
The Truth About Mary
From Vittorio Messori and "The Mary Hypothesis":
    Everything that the Church has said and says about the Mother is, in fact, at the service of Christ, in defense of his humanity and at the same time of his divinity.

    Mariology is, in fact, Christology. Her dogmas are but the confirmation and bulwark of her Son's. Whenever Mary has been neglected, sooner or later Christ has also disappeared.
Dhimmitude in Malaysia
"Malaysia has launched an inquiry after a video emerged which apparently shows a police officer humiliating an ethnic Chinese woman:" Malaysia investigates abuse claim.

Here's what happened:
    The clip, thought to have been filmed on a mobile phone, appears to show the prisoner and a female police officer.

    The officer, who wears a Muslim headscarf, stands in front of the woman, who is forced to strip naked, grasp her ears and squat repeatedly.

    It is a punishment common in Malaysian schools and is designed to humiliate, says the BBC's Jonathan Kent in Kuala Lumpur.

    The pictures are accompanied by what appears to be a recording of verses from the Koran being recited, although it is unclear if the recording would have been audible to the woman.
Lest We Forget
The Lost Nomad reminds us of a sad anniversary: Soldiers gather to honor KATUSA killed at Korean JSA in 1984. From the article:
    Twenty-one years ago, Sgt. 1st Class Gary Ross helped save a defecting Soviet citizen fleeing armed North Korean soldiers here.

    Ross returned to the Joint Security Area on Wednesday to speak at a ceremony to honor Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army Cpl. Jang Myung-gee, who was killed in action in that effort on Nov. 23, 1984, in the United Nations Command section of the Joint Security Area.

    U.S. forces in the area reacted quickly to the raid, saving defector Vasily Matusak and killing three North Koreans before a cease-fire was negotiated and the North Koreans withdrew.

    Jang was killed in the fighting and a U.S. soldier, Pfc. Michael A. Burgoyne, was wounded.
Disgraced Korean Cloner
Now that he's acheived victim status, his star is rising: Public Rallies Behind Fallen Scientist.

Interestingly, apart from the Catholic Church, it is the Left, God bless them, who have been most critical of Dr. Hwang's research:
    MBC, a broadcasting corporation, and the Democratic Labor party have been bombarded with criticism for raising human egg trading allegations in its program “PD’s notebook” and for issuing a critical statement, respectively.
The on-line mob Koreans call "netizens" are out in full force to defend the "Pride of Korea:"
    As of November 25, more than 25,000 Koreans signed up for the renowned scientist’s fan club cafe called “I Love Hwang, Woo-suk” ( The managers of the site announced in a joint statement that they would stage a variety of campaigns, including collecting netizens’ signatures, boycotting commercials for PD’s Notebook, and boycotting MBC programs, including its news programs.
The article does not mention Catholics, but the Church in Korea has been the most vocal critic of Dr. Hwang's clone-and-kill research. The same cannot be said of other religions:
    In addition, a dozen Buddhist organizations, including the Budda Dongsan, the Buddhist human rights commission, the National Young Buddhists Association, and the Buddhism Bioethics Institute joined forces to create an association called “Korean Buddhists support Hwang Woo-suk.”
Another Weeping Vietnamese Virgin Mary
This time, the story comes from California: Diocese asked to look into alleged Sacramento miracle.

I've read that the phone call a bishop dreads most is one announcing a purported miracle. Bishop William Kenneth Weigand, may God bless you.

Here are my posts on last month's events in Vietnam: La Vierge Marie en l'ex-Saïgon and Our Lady Weeps in Sài Gòn.

Kính Mừng MARIA đầy ơn phúc, Đức Chúa Trời ở cùng Bà, Bà có phúc lạ hơn mọi người nữ, và GIÊSU Con lòng Bà gồm phúc lạ. Thánh MARIA Đức Mẹ Chúa Trời cầu cho chúng con là kẻ có tội, khi này và trong giờ lâm tử.
Olivia Hussey as the Saint of the Gutters
Last night, I rented Madre Teresa (2003) (TV), an English-language production made for Italian TV. All in all, it was a good film, but suffered from poor editing.

The movie was carried by its star, the lovely Olivia Hussey. From her earlier work in Romeo and Juliet (1968/I) and "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977), as the Blessed Virgin Mary, I had long been convinced that Miss Hussey was one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, actresses ever. Particularly as Juliet, her beauty is almost frightening. Miss Hussey so emersed herself in her role as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, that although her name was in the opening credits, it was not until about two-thrids of the way through the film that I realized she was playing the lead. I was waiting for Miss Hussey to appear as some wealthy heiress. Miss Hussey brought all of her beauty into her portrayal of one of God's most beautiful saints, a light in a very dark century. From all accounts, her work in this film was a labor of love for the Argentine-English actress, and was well recieved by the Missionaries Of Charity.

[This post is more about the actress than about the saint she played because, honestly, what could I say about Mother Teresa that hasn't already been said ?]

Friday, November 25, 2005

Kýrie, eléison
Bomb kills 34 outside Iraq hospital

UPDATE: The context in which this satanic act was carried out makes it all the more revolting: Bomber Bloodies U.S. Toy Giveaway*.

There is no need for us to demonize these despicable terrorists; they are doing an excellent job of it themselves. They are highlighting very real differences that exist between Christendom and Mohammedom. Yet, the inhumanity of this enemy does not justify a war that should have never been fought in the first place. Mr. Bush's War has thus far only served to turn a whole country into an anarchic breeding ground for terrorism. If the war did not create the terrorists, it did bring them out of the shadows and gave them a convenient front on which to wage their battle against humanity.

*Use to bypass registration.
An Example Early 20th Century Western Architecture in Korea
I caught part of a documentary on the above last night. Korea was of course annexed by the Japanese in 1910, so the architects I saw profiled were Japanese. One building that stood out was the central church of Chondogyo (천도교), the "Religion of the Heavenly Way," a native Korean religion that was born in the 20th Century and was influenced by Buddhist, Confucian, Daoist, and Christian beliefs.

[As fanciful as this religion may sound, it pales in comparison to Vietnam's Cao Dai (Cao Đài), officially known as Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ, which has as its saints Buddha, Laozi, Confucius, Jesus, Victor Hugo, and Sun Yat Sen.]

Here are some images of the Central Church of Chǒndogyo, designed by Nakamura Yosihei:Here's a site where many other examples of Korean buildings from 1880 to 1950 can be found: KOREAN MODERN BUILDING. Unfortunately, many of the images are no longer active, but those of some of Korea's most beautiful Catholic churches are.
Some Perspective on the Culture of Death
"'Let's do it.' With those last words, convicted killer Gary Gilmore ushered in the modern era of capital punishment in the United States, an age of busy death chambers that will likely see its 1,000th execution in the coming days:" U.S. Nears 1,000th Execution Since 1977.

If America's death chambers are "busy," her abortuaries are operating at a breakneck speed rivaling Nazi efficiency during the peak years of the Final Solution.

45,951,133 babies have been aborted since in the US 1973, according to this site: Abortion in the United States. With one abortion every 24 seconds, it takes 6 hrs. 40 min. for America's abortuaries to produce the number of corpses that America's death chambers have produced in 28 years. America's abortion industry is outperforming the judicial system by an average annual ratio of 40223:1!

Serge's thoughts On the death penalty and abortion are similar to my own:
    [The death penalty] should be exceedingly rare, the near-seamless garment position of this blog, different from pro-abortion cant — ‘safe, legal and rare’ — because there isn’t moral equivalence between an unrepentant murderer and an ‘inconvenient’ baby[.]
America's Comfort Women
Referring to the "the mass rape of female African-American slaves during the ante-bellum period," The Marmot's Hole today links to this thought-provoking article: In criticizing Japan's history textbooks, Americans should think twice.

Many were bought and sold in the "fancy-girl markets" described below, from The Economics of the Slave Trade:
    The establishment of what have been called "fancy-girl" markets is one example of this. Some big cities, like New Orleans and Louisville had special markets where "girls, young, shapely, and usually light in color, went as house servants with special services required." These slaves were officially sold as house servants, but both buyers and sellers understood that sexual motivation lay behind the purchase and the (forced or consentual) sexual service of female slaves was really being sold. These girls could be sold for as much as $5000 at the same time that skilled male laborers were valued at only half as much. The special nature of these sales made the "fancy girl" markets a very glaring example of how as the slave system expanded in the antebellum period, there was much more than a economic labor market involved in the trading of slaves.
Reverend Henry Ward Beecher's church bought a group of such girl destined for a "fancy-girl market" out of slavery and his famous sister took responsibilty for their education, as she details in this letter: Harriet Beecher Stowe to Mrs. Cowles, 4 August 1852.

Here is more [ignore the references to Marx and Freud]: "Cuffy," "Fancy Maids," and "One-Eyed Men": Rape, Commodification, and the Domestic Slave Trade in the United States.
A Gathering of Folks with Objective Disorders
Seoul host conference on sexual minorities
End of Autarky in Korea
From Assembly passes bill to open up rice market:
    Lawmakers clash before the vote on a bill to open the nation`s rice market wider at the National Assembly yesterday. [The Korea Herald]
The yangban with the beard and hanbok is Rep. Gang Gi-gap, of the ultra-leftist Democratic Labor Party. He is the former president of the Korean Catholic Farmers Association.

Yes, rice will be cheaper, but at what price? Is it a good idea for a small nation surrounded by giants to give up its agriculture?
Korean Cloner Resigns!
Here's a round-up of Korean English-language coverage of yesterday's resignation:Don't expect this to be the end of Dr. Hwang's clone-and-kill project. He has now acheived victim status, and will use it, I'm sure, to further his aims.
"Vegetable" Goes to Graduate School; Writes Book
Thank God they didn't euthanize her: ACU National student’s autobiography an inspiration.
2006: The Xavierian Year
Mark December 3rd on your calendars, folks:
    Vatican Christmas concert will highlight Church universality, honor east Asian missions
    Vatican City, Nov. 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that its annual Christmas concert, scheduled for December 3rd, will be dedicated this year to the support of Catholic missions in east Asia.

    The Vatican's traditional Christmas concert will be held in the Paul VI Hall at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. This year it will be dedicated to missions in the east.

    A Holy See communique, released earlier today, stated that the concert aims "to raise public awareness concerning the question of the Church's missionary vocation and to gather funds to support missions in east Asia."

    The Vatican noted that one reason for this particular theme is that “2006 has been proclaimed as the 'Xavierian Year' (in honor of the patron of missions St. Francis Xavier, on the fifth centenary of his birth), of which the concert will officially mark the opening."

    The concert, which will be held in the Paul VI Hall, will include various pieces from a new musical on the life of the saint called, "Xavier - dreaming of China."

    The Jesuit saint traveled to China on his last missionary journey but fell ill on the island of Sancian, 100 kilometers off the Chinese coast. He died there on December 3, 1552.

    A global range of artists will descend on Rome to take part in the concert which, according to today’s statement, symbolizes “the encounter between a diversity of countries, cultures, religions, life experiences, ideals, and musical genres and styles…in order to highlight once again the universality of the Church."
Mother India Calls on Holy Mother Church to Help Stop the Slaughter of Her Daughters
"The Indian government has publicly asked the Church for assistance in preventing abortions and reducing their number:" In India, Celebrations Are Back for the Birth of Girls: This, anyway, is the joint proposal of the government and the Church. But the reality is the opposite. Infanticide and selective abortion have eliminated 60 million women.

From the article:
    Everywhere in the world, the natural average for conception is 103-107 females for every 100 males. But when you go to count the births, there are significantly fewer girls in India.

    In 1981, there were 962 girls for every 1000 boys, under the age of 6. In 1991, there were 945. And in 2001, the year of the most recent census, there were 927.

    If you then look at where the decline has been the steepest, you find that the lowest ratio of girls is found in what are relatively the more affluent cities and states: Haryana, Gujarat, and Punjab. In these places, there is an average of 800 girls for every 1000 boys.

    In the capital, Delhi, there are 821 girls for every 1000 boys, under the age of 6. But the figures change dramatically if you separate them by religion. Among the Christians, the figure for girls is 988; among the Jains, 935; among the Sikhs, 829; among the Hindus, 817; and among the Muslims, 782.

    For India as a whole, among the Christians there are 964 girls for every 1000 boys; among the Muslims, 950; among the Buddhists, 942; among the Hindus, 925; among the Jains, 870; and among the Sikhs, 786.
More on Harbin, an excellent English-language Italian Catholic news agency focusing on the region, has extensive coverage of the unfolding environmental disaster: Three million people without water in Harbin, 80-kilometre slick of contaminated water reaches Harbin, and Officials (belatedly) apologise for lying about the Harbin disaster.

Just as with SARS, the Chinese people are learning first-hand how disastrous it is not having a free press. Will this disaster bode ill for the Chinese Communists, as did Chernobyl for the Soviets?

Next stop for the benzene slick: Khabarovsk.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pray for Harbin
The city, known for its Ice Festival, noodles, and tall women, is under seige: Toxic Slick Flows Into Major China City.

Our Lady of China

Ora Pro Nobis

Harbin is also famous among Catholics for the Lyceum St. Nicholas, a school run by Byzantine rite priests of the Marian Fathers and open to both Russian Catholic and Orthodox students. In addition to Russian, Japanese, Chinese, English, Latin, Greek, and Church Slavonic were taught. It was closed by the Reds in 1949.

On a personal note, my first ever student was an oncologist from Harbin. I was paired with him by Literacy Volunteers of America in 1994, after taking a brief TESL course with the agency.
BREAKING NEWS: New Korean Cardinal to be Named
From Korea to Have Two Cardinals:
    The Vatican plans to appoint a second cardinal to South Korea around February, a local broadcaster indirectly quoted a cardinal at the Holy See as saying.

    Within the Korean Catholic community, there are several names being discussed as candidates for the nation’s new cardinal. They include the Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, archbishop of Seoul; the Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, archbishop of Kwangju; the Rev. Paul Ri, Moun-hi, archbishop of Taegu; and the Rev. John Chang Yik, bishop of Chunchon.
This is great news! I would of course like to see my bishop, Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi of Archdiocese of Taegu elevated to the purple.
This is noteworthy: Dalai Lama urges Christians not to convert to Buddhism.

I wonder if His Holiness is speaking not only out of genuine goodwill, which I'm sure he is, but also out of practical concern for the integrity of his own religion. I've known enough Western ex-Christian self-proclaimed Buddhist converts to know that they seldom add much to their new religion, in the way that the recently converted Christian Asians and Africans have added so many saints and faithful to the Catholic Church. [In fact, if you want to find Christian orthodoxy in the modern world, look to Africa and Asia!] Most of the Western converts to Buddhism I have encountered, in contrast, seek belief without dogma, religion without demands, spirituality without discipline, enlightenment without effort. In other words, they are seeking something that does not exist. The Dalai Lama should tell then to watch Oprah instead.

I am not speaking of the genuine converts to Buddhism who think in the Enlightened One's teachings they have found the answers to life's questions. They do exist. [The Korean Buddhist television channel has recently discovered them; all I see on that channel these days are blue-eyed monks and nuns speaking of the dharma.] I am speaking of the Hollywood and New Age-types who have latched onto Buddhism without ever bothering to learn what it is.
Happy American Chuseok!
Many Koreans refer to Chuseok (秋夕) as Korean Thanksgiving Day, so I refer to Thanksgiving as American Chuseok. I usually celebrate this day with a big family meal, but this year my wife and kids are in the US, so the samgyetang served today at the school cafeteria will have to count for my Thanksgiving feast. It was quite good! Chicken stuffed with ginseng and garlic is pretty close to turkey and stuffing.

Here's a Thanksgiving read: The Psychology Behind Giving Thanks.

My Korean Protestant students ("Christians, not Catholics," as they say here) informed me that last Sunday was Thanksgiving Day. I've never heard of this day being celebrated by Korean Protestants outside of those connected in some way to the international community, but it now seems to be part of the Korean Protestant, or at least Presbyterian, liturgical calendar. I talked about this with an American friend, whose Korean wife attends a Protestant church. He shared my disturbance at this co-option of an American holiday. I told him that Thanksgiving Day had not been mentioned at my Catholic parish. He said, "Of course, the Catholic Church has a history!"

Why adopt a foreign holiday, when you have a similar one of your own? Why not just "baptize" Chuseok, as the Catholics have done. Korean Catholics have special masses said for the dead on Chuseok, as well as on All Souls' Day. Korean Catholics have by and large enculturated the Faith in a way that their Protestant compatriots have not.

Yet, paradoxically, it is among Korean Catholics that I have found the least amount of nationalism and xenophobia, something I became aware of long before I ever became a Catholic. For years, I noticed that particularly friendly and open Koreans tended to be Catholics. I have encountered both nationalism and xenophobia among Korean Protestants, equal or greater to that of the general population. And, even in a friendly situation, a foreigner never forgets that he is seen as the "other" by Korean Protestants. This might manifest itself in some special, deferential treatment at church or in requests to teach English at Sunday School.

It is quite different among Korean Catholics, from my experience. Mass is the one time in Korea that I forget I am a foreigner. Even after Mass, the parishioners tend to treat me as just another Catholic, no better, no worse, no different. In my first year in Korea, in 1997, six years before I joined the Church, I volunteered at a Catholic soup kitchen. The nun who ran the operation and the youth who worked it saw me primarily as just another dishwasher, which was all I wanted to be.

Perhaps the lesson here is that to appreciate the universal, one must first appreciate the particular, or, in the language of pop-psychology, "before you love others you must first love yourself." Korean Protestants tend to share a nationalism that results from an inferiority complex with the rest of their compatriots. Korean Catholics know that it was essentially Koreans themselves who brought the Faith here, that the blood of 10,000 martyrs in the 19th Century nourished the soil of this land, and that this blood was spilled by their own compatriots. They also remember the French priests who joined their flocks on the execution grounds. With this knowledge, they tend to be healthily patriotic, not blindly nationalistic.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am most thankful for having been called into the Universal Church.
Listen to the Defectors!
Descriptions of testimony before the House Committee on International Relations, from Tales of horror falling mostly on deaf ears:
    Kyeong-Sook Cha went to China with her younger daughter to look for her older daughter, who had disappeared. In the process, she witnessed widespread sexual slavery of North Korean women in China. Cha and her younger daughter were likewise kidnapped, sold as sex slaves, captured by Chinese police, repatriated to North Korea, abused by North Korean security agents, witnessed torture of pregnant women and babies, escaped to China and repeated the experience that would have broken most women the first time.

    Despite horrible suffering, Cha miraculously found her older daughter and finally escaped to freedom together.

    Soon-Hee Ma's oldest daughter also went to China when the food distribution ceased. Fearing reprisals for her daughter's defection, she and her two remaining daughters escaped North Korea to look for her eldest daughter. They were separated and sold off by human traffickers in China.

    Ma, too, was eventually reunited with her daughters. Ma's oldest daughter had been sold to a Chinese "husband," and was able to convince him to buy her family back. Before Chinese authorities could repatriate them to North Korea, they bluffed their way into a South Korean consulate and to safety.

    Unfortunately, no one from the mainstream media was present to bear witness to their moving testimony. Their misfortune was that the hearing took place on Oct. 27. The media in Washington, D.C., were in a feeding frenzy over the Harriet Miers withdrawal and the "Scooter" Libby indictments. Cha's and Ma's tragic stories were ignored.
Your Christmas Tree This Year May Very Well Be Korean!
Today, The Marmot's Hole informs us "that the Korean fir tree--the Abies koreana--is considered one of the world's most popular Christmas trees. The tree is indigenous to the mountains of southern Korea, namely, Mt. Halla, Mt. Deogyu and the Jiri Mountains, although the tree was taken to the United States and Europe in 1905, where it would be cultivated as a major money maker."

The picture to the left comes from a page describing the excellent characteristis of the Abies Koreana, the Korean fir. It is said to be "a vital species for the Christmas tree industry, ornamental and greens market," and is known to possess "[b]eautiful foliage- flash of white," "[g]ood needle retention," and to be "[s]elf shaping- requires very little shearing." It "[m]akes a beautiful wreath, swag and container decoration" and "[i]ts flash of white on the foliage makes any decoration attractive."
The Final Solution for Down's Syndrome
From Christianity Today Magazine's Weblog: Rethinking Fetal Anomalies:
    Doctors today would never suggest institutionalizing a baby with Down. Today's trend is to abort them. Since screening became a routine part of prenatal care in the early 1990s, 80 to 90 percent of babies considered likely to be born with Down syndrome (the tests are not perfect) have been eliminated.
The Progressivist volks who brought us this poster and the program it promoted would marvel at how efficient we have become in little more than half a century:
    "This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community of the People 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Comrade, that is your money, too. Read 'New People', the monthly Magazine of the political-race office of the Nazi party."
[link to article via open book; link to image and subtext via T-4 Euthanasia Program]
The Culture of the "Blasphemous Nihlistic Thrill"
Mark Shea takes on a particularly grotesque media stunt: When Antichrist Comes, He Will Have a Perky Spokeswoman Like Katie Couric. Man was made in the image of God; Mr. Shea is right to call this blasphemous.

Here's more on the revolting display, from Iron stomach needed for exhibition of Chinese bodies:
    But beside its visual shock, "Bodies" poses questions about the origin of the exhibits themselves. The bodies come from the Dalian Medical school in northern China, where human rights advocates in China have voiced concern.

    Harry Wu said that during the 19 years he was detained in a work camp in China, he frequently watched medical students help themselves to bodies from the prison cemetery.

    "These are real things not commodities. We have to know who are they," the executive director of the LaoGai Research Foundation told AFP.

    "Are they male or females? How old are they? Are they caucasian, blacks, Asian, Mongolians? I think it's reasonable to ask," said Wu, who has become a US citizen.
These bodies should be underground where they belong.
Austria-Hungary and the Anglosphere
E-quaintance Xavier Basora of Buscaraons has sent me a most interesting interview with historian Robert J.W. Evans, a professor of history at Oxford: The legacy of the Habsburg Empire through a historian's eyes. Professor Evans started his academic career as a linguist, and focuses on the role of language and nationalism in the history of Central Europe.

Also from Xavier have come links to posts from a blog that should be of interest to Anglophones the world over who take an interest in their mother tongue: Albion's Seedlings. Especially interesting are the posts under the title of "Anglosphere Historical Narrative."

I'm bit of an Anglophile, but as a Catholic, I cannot but help to be wary of the idea of Anglospherism, both historically and politically. The Brazilian traditionalist philosopher Olavo de Carvalho wrote a brilliant critique of the concept of the Anglosphere addressed to his British and American friends. I'm afraid the essay is no longer available on line, or I am unable to find it. His basic argument was that as Catholicism was essentially analogous with traditional Western thought, mainstream post-Reformation Anglo-Saxon thought, was a deviation from, not the culmination of, that tradition.
Thomas Fleming on the Bush Administration
Here's a view from the "Hard Right:" Iraq: They Know They Are Lying.
Nationalism Trumps Ethics in Korean Embryonic Stem Cell Debate
Chung Sye-kyun, floor leader of the ruling Uri Party, quoted from Koreans' support for stem cell scientist remains strong:
    For national interests, we need to consider how to maintain and enhance our country's most advanced biotechnology field.
Here's more analysis, from Korean Stem-Cell Researcher Under Fire:
    A mixture of sentiments seems to be fueling the domestic support.

    Just a week ago, Ahn Curie, a professor at Seoul National University who doubles as Hwang's spokeswoman, attributed the ethical controversy over obtaining the eggs as "different standards" between Koreans and foreigners. She has said that some medical practices that are accepted in Korea can be received sensitively by those abroad.

    Also, Koreans have shown that they take great pride that it leads in this promising area of bioscience. When the journal Science carried Hwang's work this May, Hwang received an enthusiastic welcome from the public and the government, calling him the "Pride of Korea."
Seasons Greetings from the Religion of Peace
"At least 3,000 Indonesians are ready to launch terrorist and suicide attacks in different parts of the archipelago, according to public security forces in Jakarta:" Indonesian Jihad veterans from Libya, Philippines and Afghanistan geared for suicide attacks. "The Indonesian forces of order have been on a state of alert since the discovery of a plan of terrorist attacks against churches and other public buildings in the Christmas period."
Special Education
I am of two minds on this issue, like the author of this Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty commentary: There has to be a Better Way. In discussing the recent Supreme Court case, she writes:
    I sympathize with both sides in this case. As a fiscal conservative, I understand the position of the Montgomery County School District. They are required by Federal law to provide individualized services for all disabled students. The Federal government provides some money to meet this requirement, but nowhere near the full cost. An Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, as required for disabled students, can be appealing to a smart parent with a difficult child. From the school’s perspective, every parent who pops up with a disabled kid is a net drain. If the Court had ruled that an "appropriate" education means whatever the parents say it means, the schools’ fiscal burden would be greatly increased.

    At the same time, I sympathize with the parents. I am a veteran of many years worth of IEP’s, going back to 1991, with the arrival of my first child. In the years since, I have also had several foster children go through the IEP process. I admire the anonymous wag who wrote a bit of doggerel in the style of Dr. Seuss, "I do not like these I-E-Ps. I do not like them, Geez-louise. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere."
She goes on to recommend vouchers as a win-win solution. I am not so sure about this, but it sounds like a step in the right direction.

Here is a "punny" look at the struggles of parents of special needs children, from Special Education Law Blog: Law and Disorders:
    As the parent of a child with special needs, I have experienced my son being given many labels and diagnoses by both the medical and educational community: physically challenged, seizure disorder, etc., while I, on the other hand, have been given just as many, if not more, labels, albeit unofficially, by everyone from doctors, school staff and relatives, to the nosey checkout lady in the grocery store. Here are just a few I’d like to share:

    Terrible Palsy - A condition in which onlookers and people in the community tell parents how terrible life must be raising a physically challenged child. This condition manifests itself through pity and audible sighing of those around you. Terrible Palsy can be deceiving because you can be asymptomatic for weeks, months, or even years, and then just when you and your family are feeling really good about your child, it can present itself in the form of a condescending pat on the head or a blessing from an anonymous busybody. Best known treatment is to carry a list of snappy comebacks in your pocket or a large bag of peanut M & Ms.

    Shlepilepsy - A compulsive condition in which parents feel the need to shlep from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist in order to seek help and find answers for their child with special needs. The only known effective drug for this illness is caffeine, primarily given to parents to keep them awake while driving to and from appointments.

    Oughtism - This condition strongly affects the guilt center of a parent’s brain. Oughtism is transmitted by doctors, professionals, and therapists who constantly and relentlessly tell parents “you ought to do ought to do that...” for your child. The only known treatment is to temporarily unplug your phone, gather information, and trust your own gut to do what’s best for your child.

    Oy Vay D D - This condition is usually diagnosed by mahjong-playing lady friends of your mother or mother-in-law upon hearing of your child’s disability. The best known treatment for this condition is to avoid economically priced restaurants between the early-bird hours of 4:00 and 6:30 pm.

    Nonverbal yearning disability - This condition affects many vulnerable parents with dreams for their children. It manifests through knowing what you desperately want for your child, but when no one acknowledges the possibilities, you question yourself as to whether or not you actually spoke your desires out loud. Suggested treatment is to tape record your school meetings and play the tapes back to an impartial witness.

    Pain in the Aspergers - This is a label usually given to parents like myself by school staff. It is often assigned to conscientious Moms and Dads who advocate strongly for their children with special needs. The most effective treatment - keep up the good work.

    OHI/Otherwise Heavily Intoxicated - A label given to parents so stressed by their child’s health issues that they seek to self-medicate. My own suggested treatment - substitute chocolate.
[link via the Christian Parents ~ Special Kid listserv]
Something for Galician Speakers
The language's first e-book has been put online: O noso primeiro e-libro en galego. Among the characters in Carlos G. Meixide's novel are "dos coreanas que hablan portugués." It seems the author has some interest in Asia: "Meixide también ha publicado un libro de cuentos infantiles, é como se fago un libro de aforismos para xaponeses, non coñezo ningún (xaponés, enténdase)."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It is Becoming Increasingly Apparent that the President Has a Lot to Answer For
Stories like this, Bush informed in 2001 of lack of Iraq-Qaeda ties, prompt me to the agree with opinions like this, We Must Hold the Scoundrels Accountable and Is Bush’s War on Terrorism in Iraq a War Crime?
Christian-Hippie Coalition
"Days after Hurricane Katrina hit, they began cooking together in a grocery store parking lot: evangelical Christians from Texas and Rainbow Family flower children from all over:" A Gospel and Granola Bond*.

If you've ever been to a Rainbow Family gathering, you'll know how strange, and at the same time natural, this alliance is. Such cooperation might bode well for the future of granola conservatism. Then again, it might not.

*Use to bypass registration.
Mass Comes First in Italy
Here's an amusing and instructive story:
    Fugitive hides in church, finds police praying
    ROME (Reuters) - A fugitive being chased by police in southern Italy Monday gave them the slip by running into a church -- only to find it occupied by police officers who let him join the service before taking him to jail.

    Gilberto Antonio Carnoale, 48, had been wanted for escaping from house arrest. Police were chasing him but he got away and dashed into a church, where other police were attending mass. They recognized him and arrested him, news agency Ansa said.

    But before taking him to jail, they honored his request to attend the rest of the mass in the church in the small southern town of Soverato.
Politics and Charity
This must-see was linked to by Serge of A conservative blog for peace today: Generosity Index and Voting Patterns. God bless Mississippi!
A Day in the Life of Kim Chol-soo
N. Korean Man Tells Prison Horror Story
Pray for the Unborn of Brazil
Let us join the Holy Father: Pope Makes Appeal as Brazil Weighs Abortion Legislation.

Ó Deus de misericórdia,
assim como a imagem da
Mãe de Deus ficou intata
no incêndio ocorrido na
igreja de santo Efrém,
em Nápoles, na Itália,
apagai o ímpeto de nossas
paixões e socorrei a nossa
fraqueza e concedei-nos
ressurgir de nossos pecados
pela intercessão de Maria,
cuja memória celebramos.
Por nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo,
vosso Filho, na unidade do
Espírito Santo. Amém.
"The Slaughter of Eve"
"There is a shortfall of some 200 million women in the world" largely due to "gender-related abortions and infanticides:" Many women victim of 'gendercide,' study finds.

[link via open book]
One More Reason to Like Spanish
It's a lot harder to be politically correct in the language, as Tracy Fennel of Nosce Te Ipsvm points out:
    Wal-Mart's slogan for the "holidays" is Home for the Holidays...yet posted directly beneath that here in bilingual country is "Navidad en familia". Hmmm.
Try also being gender neutral or inclusive in Spanish. Buen suerte, amig.
Buchanan on the Iraq War and the Two Parties that Supported It
Here's how Patrick J. Buchanan begins A Plague On Both Their Houses:
    Gen. William Odom has called the Iraq War the greatest strategic blunder in the history of the United States. Final returns are not yet in, but he may not be far off.

    In invading Iraq, we attacked and occupied a country of 25 million that had not attacked us, did not threaten us, did not want war with us—to strip it of weapons we now know it did not have.

    Even if, as most believed, Saddam had chemical or biological weapons, there was no evidence he intended the suicidal use of such weapons on U.S. troops in Kuwait, or to hand them over to al-Qaida to use on America, risking massive retaliation. Saddam was never a suicide bomber. He was always a survivor.

    After 9-11, we couldn’t take the chance, countered the War Party. Nonsense. We take the chance every day with Iran and North Korea, far more powerful nations, as we did every day of the Cold War against a nuclear-armed Russia and China. They had missiles and WMD. But, like Saddam, they were deterred.

    Yet President Bush, prodded by a cabal of neoconservatives who, for their own motives, had been plotting war on Iraq for years, invaded. History will hold him accountable for the consequences.
Why is it that the Rightist arguments against Mr. Bush's War are so forceful while those of the Leftists are so, well, namby-pamby?
The Holy Father, from Pope says humans amount to more than their DNA:
    The people of our time... sensitised by the terrible vicissitudes that have covered the 20th century and the very beginning of this one in mourning, are able to understand that man's dignity is not identified with his DNA genes and that it does not diminish with the eventual presence of physical differences or genetic defects....

    The principle of "non-discrimination" in virtue of physical or genetic factors has entered profoundly in consciences and is enunciated formally in the charters on the rights of man....

    This principle has its most authentic foundation in the very dignity of every human being by the fact of having been created in the image and likeness of God.
The Return of Concubinage
"Mistresses are again a status symbol in China. As scandal spreads, the government worries that they are a motive for public corruption:" 'Second Wives' Are Back*.

*Use to bypass registration.
Clone-and-Kill "Pioneer" Dr. Hwang Woo-suk
His ethics are under increased scrutiny:Once again, the ethics of his clone-and-kill research have not been called into question, just the methods by which he procured ova.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Κύριε, ελέησον
US troops kill Iraqi civilians
Baby Jesus in School
Here's some encouraging news: Two states tell schools to teach about Christmas. The states are Western Australia and Victoria.
The Gypsy Church
In this article, an American Methodist pastor meets a Gypsy Christian on a train in London: What kind of Christian? Here's an excerpt:
    Then he launched into a lengthy description of the Gypsy church—how even though other churches across Europe barely register a pulse, the Gypsy church is booming, growing, even if unnoticed. In Hungary, Spain, France, Italy and England, Gypsies are being converted and are joining thriving bodies of believers.

    Caleb explained that it isn't easy for Gypsies to become disciples of Jesus. "Do you know what the most common and best-paid profession is for Gypsies?" I harbored a guess or two but didn't reply. "Fortune-teller. And when you become a Christian, you can't be a fortune-teller any more. So people have to give up their livelihood and support of their families. It's asking a lot."

    I asked if the fortune-tellers couldn't just pretend to do their job, since fortune-telling isn't real. No, he insisted. Fortune-telling dabbles in the occult and claims for itself what is not true, so the new Christian who would be serious about his or her faith must immediately put an end to fortune-telling.

    An extended pause in our conversation ensued, during which I wondered about the professions that American Christians should forsake, the careers of "fortune-making" about which the church ventures no opinion. The Gypsy church is "asking a lot," and it is booming. In America, we ask for next to nothing.
I'm one-quarter Hungarian Gypsy by blood, although none of the culture was passed on to me. It's quite interesting to ponder that some of my ancestry lies in the warrior castes of Northern India. I'm happy to see that the "Gyspy church" is thriving. Gypsies have a legend that they were the ones who made the nails were used in the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and were thus cursed to wander about. More can be learned at the Home Page.
Some might see this as infiltration, but I see it as the above: Muslim Youth Find a Bridge In a U.S. Tradition: Scouting.* According to the article, "112 troops with 1,948 members are chartered through an Islamic school or mosque."

*Use to bypass registration.
Christian Dhimmitude
Christian couple shot at in Sulawesi: "The couple was leaving a religious function in Palu; they are now in hospital in critical condition. A policeman has been arrested, prime suspect in the machete killing of a 22-year-old girl on Friday, in the same area. According to national police, the spiraling violence is “orchestrated” by a “mafia” based either in Jakarta or in central Sulawesi."

Judicial inquiry into Sangla Hill anti-Christian attacks: "The visit of the Punjab governor to scenes of the aftermath of mass anti-Christian violence was followed by a pledge to take severe action against perpetrators and orders to repair damage done to places of worship. But Christian leaders are reiterating their call for a repeal of the blasphemy law first and foremost."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today is the...
Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.

Presentation of Mary

Eternal Father, we honor the holiness and
glory of the Virgin Mary. May her prayers
bring us the fullness of your life and love.
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.
Baby Kyoreh
"A South Korean activist gives birth while visiting Pyongyang for an anniversary event. Some in the South suspect the timing was contrived:" Unification Baby' Seen as Omen by N. Koreans*.

"We would be one country, but two governments," says one North Korean interviewed in the article. That is how both the North Koreans and their dupes in the South see unification, as it would guarantee the survival of the DPRK régime.

*Use to bypass registration.]
Vina, CA
Jeff Culbreath is taking a break from non-blogging and posts about a beautiful monastery I have visited and a meeting with a Christian named ANNE.
Nationalist Manga
From Asia Rivals' Ugly Images Best Sellers in Japan:
    In "Hating the Korean Wave," a young Japanese woman says, "It's not an exaggeration to say that Japan built the South Korea of today!" Photo Courtesy Sharin Yamano/Shinyusha
Here is one of many interesting points made in the article:
    [T]he comic book, perhaps inadvertently, also betrays Japan's conflicted identity, its longstanding feelings of superiority toward Asia and of inferiority toward the West. The Japanese characters in the book are drawn with big eyes, blond hair and Caucasian features; the Koreans are drawn with black hair, narrow eyes and very Asian features.
"Where have all the sinners gone?"
That is the question asked by this article, linked to by Seattle Catholic today: The Sin Box: Why have Catholics stopped lining up at the confessional?
Rejection of Christ's Kingship
That is essentially what secularism is, as the archbishop says here: Archbishop Vincent Nicols: 'The experiment of secular society has failed'
Islam's Bloody Borders
"Jihadists are being blamed for beheading of two Christian schoolgirls:" Machete killings fuel Indonesia's religious hatred. [link via TCR News Focus]
Bush in China
Yesterday, the President attended the state-sanctioned Gangwashi Church: Bush Attends Beijing Church, Promoting Religious Freedom*.

Yet, the day before, Red China was up to its usual tricks, as this article linked to by Seattle Catholic shows: China detains Catholic priest: group.

When I visited China in 1998, when I was still a Protestant, I went to an intenational church housed at a Japanese commercial center in Beijing. The authorities checked passports at the door, to make sure that Chinese nationals were denied entry. [I went with some Korean students I had met. The pastor was Australian and a group of African students performed the music for the service.] A week later, I stumbled into a venerable old Chinese Methodist church in Shanghai. It was as if the whole congregation turned to look at the strange visitor. An usher led me to a pew and a Chinese women shared her hymnal with me, a very kind but futile gesture, since I knew only a few Chinese characters. From what I've heard, Shanghai is much more liberal when it comes to matters of Faith, including the underground Catholic Church.

*Use to bypass registration.
I saw a great movie last night: Sayonara (1957), starring Marlon Brando at his best and the lovely Miiko Taka, is the story of two US servicemen during the Korean war who fall in love with and marry Japanese girls while on leave. At the time, in 1951, these men were unable to bring their wives back to the US, but, if the movie is correct, 10,000 servicemen married Japanese girls knowing this before the law was changed. The movie is a great love story, the kind Hollywood used to make.
This is the type of film some folks like to label as being "ahead of its times," as if history where marching forward to some yet-unattained utopia. Yet it is a very conservative movie. Laws against racial intermarriage were the result of false Progressivist ideas of race and nation that came about in the 19th Century and before, but were non-existent in earlier, better times. The men are fighting to conserve a freedom that had been taken away from them by an unjust law. I could even see some people using this movie as support for the wrong side in the current marriage debate, but that would be a mistake. Marriage is seen in this movie not so much as a right, but as an "obligation" (that word is even used), a duty that is essentially procreative.

All in all, this is a fantastic movie and has earned a place in my top 10 list.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Saturday, November 19, 2005

President Bush in Korea
Despite my opposition to his war, I do not hate the man. I do not think he is stupid, evil, nor worse than Hitler. Despite his mistakes and shortcomings, he has not made a mockery of his office, as did his predecessor.

He made what I thought the best case yet for the so-called War on Terror today in a speech at the Osan Air Base: Remarks by the President to the Troops. Still, I'm not buying.

Here's what the President had to say about Korea:
    The Republic of Korea is now a beacon of liberty that shines across the most heavily armed border in the world. It is a light reaching to a land shrouded in darkness. Together the United States and the Republic of Korea have shown that the future belongs to freedom and one day, all Koreans will enjoy the blessings of freedom.
Let us pray that he is right. Here's an image of the President wearing a durumagi, from Yahoo! News:
The durumagi and hanbok look much better without a necktie underneath. And CNN should make note that the durumagi is not a kimono.
Requiescat in Pace, Generalissimo
The New Crusade reminds us that tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of General Francisco Franco's passing: El Caudillo rides again? The anniversary of Franco's death.
Dresden's Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) has been reconsecrated, 60 years after The Fire-bombing of Dresden, the "crime against God and man*" committed by the Allies: Conductor Maazel Talks About Dresden's Frauenkirche, War Crimes.

[Leave it to Lutherans, God bless 'em, to dedicate a Protestant church to the Mother of God!]

Gegrüsst seist du, Maria, voll der Gnade; der Herr ist mit dir; du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen und gebenedeit ist die Frucht deines Leibes, Jesus. Heilige Maria Mutter Gottes, bitte für uns Sünder, jetzt und in der Stunde unseres Todes. Amen.

*See the Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph #2314. [If we are to hold our former enemies accountable for their war crimes, it is only reasonable that we hold ourselves to the same standard. Likewise, if we accuse our present-day enemies of moral relativism, let's avoid it ourselves.]
The Vatican Film List
Last night, I watched Thérèse (1986) [not the more recently released Thérèse: The Story of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux]. I doubt any actress could top Catherine Mouchet's portrayal of the sanctity and simplicity of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, not to mention her uncanny resemblance to "The Little Flower."

The film is among those chosen by the Vatican to be on its list of "Some Important Films," made on the 100th anniversary of cinema in 1995. Here are the ones I own, most of them bought here in Korea in bargain bins, or have seen, categorized as the Vatican did by "Religion," "Values," and "Art:"




Anglican Showdown
The Primates of Africa, Asia, and South America, led by the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola of Nigeria, have called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to address the "unrepented sexual immorality" in the church:The text of the letter can be found at Global South Anglican.

The Most Rev'd Dr Matthew Chul Bum Chung of Korea was not among the undersigned. The Anglican Church of Korea, in which I worshipped for more than five years, is theologically and liturgically conservative, but I assume very wary of the prospect of schism.
Restoration, not Modernization
Fr. James Murphy, rector of Sacramento's beautiful Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, on the church's recent restoration, quoted in A restoration of faith:
    The cathedral is a symbol in modern life of the sacred, a symbol of the transcendent. It's a reminder to people that there's more to life than money and stress.
[link via The New Crusade]
A Seoul Cityscape

정재호, 강북찬가 (Jung Jae-ho: Hymn for Gangbuk), 한지에 채색, 570 x 130cm, 2005

[from "Urban scenes" at Flying Net]