Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas
[Note to readers: This blog will be shutting down operations for about a month. I'm leaving tomorrow for the United States to be reunited with my wife and children. All the best...]
¡Feliz Navidad!
"The fight over the greeting 'Merry Christmas' vs. 'Happy Holidays' may only be solved by speaking Spanish," says Julia Golin in Backstory: The Christmas complex has spread to other faiths:
    Perhaps we should take a page from a culture that doesn't seem to suffer from such complexes. Latin Americans, for example, aren't about to alter the greeting "Feliz Navidad." Like the song says, "Feliz Navidad! Feliz Navidad! I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas...." It doesn't say, "Feliz Día de Fiesta! Feliz Día de Fiesta!" In fact, the Yahoo! dictionary doesn't even have a translation for "holiday" in Spanish....

    Interestingly, the ACLU and the rest of the no-godniks who try to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God We Trust" from currency, and tiny crosses from official county seals likewise don't suffer from this complex when things are in Spanish. As Boston Globe columnist Cathy Young points out, the county from whose seal the cross was removed from is called "Los Angeles" ("the Angels"), just as Santa Fe means "Holy Faith," and Corpus Christi "Body of Christ." So since God doesn't offend when he's Spanish, perhaps we could change the Pledge to "one nation, baja Dios."
Srdja Trifkovic on the Iranian President...
and a genocidal hatred dating back to Muhammed's mass murder and mass rape of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah in 627 A.D.: Ahmadinejad and Islamic Judeophobia.
America's Scandalous Penitentiary System
"There is an influential school of thought among armchair penologists that considers prison rape to be an unofficial part of punishment. It occurred to me that this school needs to be shut down:" Against Prison Rape by Dmitry Chernikov.
Is This Korea?
Eight years ago, when I came to Korea, it was a commonly held belief that there were no gays in Korea. Well, how times have changed: Judge Calls for Legalization of Gay Marriage.

As Serge of A conservative blog for peace reminded us a few days ago, "Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt." As an example of this, once, back in the 20th Century, when I was accosted by two males who were dancing in each other's arms at a night club, a male Korean professor I was with argued that the men, as Koreans, ipso facto could not be gay. A young female Korean instructor with us the time, however, gave the deviants a piece of her mind and almost started a fight. The club's owner asked us to leave.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Straight Talk from a Great American Actor
    I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history....

    I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.
    --from Freeman Criticizes Black History Month
When I was filling out some citizenship papers for my newborn son, I decided not to answer the question about race, which was labelled "optional." The form was returned to me and some government functionary had checked the box and had decided upon a race for my son, much to my dismay.

My extended family, for what its worth, has descendants from Shem, Ham and Japheth, and various combinations thereof.
Our Catholic Western Heritage
"[T]he Catholic origins of everyday objects, words, practices, and institutions in our life, in entertainment, manners, food, music, sports, flowers, science, technology, law, and language:" I Believe in Ghosts by Jeffrey A. Tucker
Pride Goeth Before the Fall
I must confess to feeling a certain amount of very un-Christian Schadenfreude over this story: Scientist Faked Stem Cell Study, Associate Says*. Not only was Dr. Hwang's research unethical, it turns out that it was fake!

The news broke last night while I was at the campus bar of the science and technology university for which I work. The students were watching with rapt attention as the story unfolded. Dr. Hwang was a hero to many of the younger students. There was a mythic story of how the young Hwang and his friends made a pact never to sleep in a bed as high school students, but rather fall alseep at their desks while studying late into the night. Graduate students who knew a bit more about science tended to have many doubts about the viability, if not the ethics, of Dr. Hwang's research.

The mindless nationalistic fervor that shut down a TV show that dared question Dr. Hwang's research and promted death threats to reporters who did the same was one of the ugliest episodes I have witnessed in eight years of living in Korea. Korea's conservative dailies attacked anyone opposed to Dr. Hwang. Most of the criticism of Dr. Hwang came from the Left.

The K-bloggers, as one might expect, are all over this story: NEWS FLASH!! Hwang faked the stem cells, BREAKING NEWS: Hwang faked stem cells, Korean Scientists Admits to Faking Stem Cell Research, and I guess the Nobel Prize is out for sure.

[Image from Yahoo! News Photo]

*Use to bypass registration.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Therapeutic Cloning"
The Lost Nomad today links to this very informative article: What California can learn from Korean cloning scandal. I encourage everyone to read the article in its entirity, but will highlight certain key points.

Without even thinking about the ethics of human cloning, the issue of women's heath arises:
    When apologists for "therapeutic cloning" speak airily of hopes of cures, not only are they guilty of hype, they fail to disclose that every single cloning effort requires eggs. These eggs are not laid by chickens. They must be extracted, after more than a week of powerful, daily hormone injections, by inserting a needle into a woman's ovary -- an unpleasant procedure leading sometimes to serious long-term health problems from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. There are complaints from thousands of women who have taken these hormones. There is also no conclusive research putting to rest speculation connecting the drugs to ovarian cancer.

    The threat to women's health, especially poor women, is so great that it helped bring together pro-choice and pro-life advocates in a common effort to ban human cloning. While the United States still has no federal law prohibiting cloning, other nations including Canada, France, Germany, Norway and Australia, have made human cloning for any purpose a serious crime (meriting five years of jail time in socially liberal Canada and seven in secular France). Additionally, the U.N. General Assembly recently passed the U.N. Declaration on Human Cloning, which (by a vote of nearly 3 to 1) calls on all nations to prohibit all forms of human cloning. The declaration voiced concern that biotechnology developments could exploit women. It has not taken long to be proved right.
This section says more about the Korean character than about cloning:
    South Korea supports human embryo cloning for research. South Koreans have lionized Hwang. There is talk of a Nobel Prize nomination. More than 1,000 Korean women have already signed up to give him their eggs -- on a Web site ("grotesque and bizarre" is the verdict from a Korean women's group). The Web site includes a telling comment from a man saying he "fought" with his wife because she refused to sign up. The site deems those who do sign on as "angels" in the "patriotic army"; an entire high school class of 33 girls has signed up. Conversely, there have been death threats against journalists critical of the effort.

    Even after Hwang apologized and resigned, the government tried to defend him from "Western" values. But this isn't East or West -- it's ethics. When Hwang was short of eggs, two junior researchers "donated" theirs. Such is the position of those at the low end of a research team that a commonly acknowledged international ethical guideline to avoid exploitation stipulates that subordinates must never be allowed to take personal risks to conduct research.
On the same theme, Pro-Life News links to this revealing article: Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies to Cure Disease is “Pure Folly”, Says MIT Prof: Reveals Some Scientists Don’t Oppose Embryonic Research Out of Fear of Reprisals.

Dr. James Sherley notes the difficulties of ESCR:
    Embryonic stem cells cannot be used directly [because] they form tumours when transplanted into mature tissues....

    It is pure scientific folly to place such emphasis on embryonic stem cells research to the exclusion of support for adult stem cell research. No matter what the hurdles are for success with adult stem cell-based therapy development, embryonic stem cell research faces the same hurdles and more.
The good professor goes on to give the scientific definition of life:
    Despite the confusion that some like to create on the questions of 'are embryos human beings?' and 'when does a human life begin?', both scientists and physicians know very well that human embryos are alive and human... A human life begins when a diploid complement of human DNA is initiated to begin human development. Therefore, a life can be initiated by the fusion of sperm and egg or by the introduction of a diploid nucleus into an enucleated egg (ie, 'cloning').

    Given that embryos are human beings, they have a right to self and a right to life... Exploiting their parts (ie, cells) or killing them for research is moral trespass that society should not allow. Even if the research might, and let’s be clear, might benefit others, this trespass is not justified.
This is something that just dawned on me this morning. The Catholic position that life begins at conception, in addition to being spiritual, is the only possible position for a materialist. An embryo, upon conception, has a unique and complete set of DNA. Any other definition of life is non-materialist in nature.
Crypto-Catholic Catechetical Carol?
Or urban myth: The legend of 'The 12 Days of Christmas'
    Libertarian - You believe that the main use for
    government is for some people to lord it over
    others at their expense. You maintain that the
    government should be as small as possible, and
    that civil liberties, "victimless
    crimes", and gun ownership should be basic
    rights. You probably are OK with capitalism.
    Your historical role model is Thomas Jefferson.

    Which political sterotype are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla
Among the choices (Fascist, Communist, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Anarcho-Syndicalist), this would be the closest.

[link via Dappled Things]
A Few from Lew has some good articles and links today.

First, we have a powerful pro-life statement from by Butler Shaffer: The Deaths of Children. We must defend children not only from abortion but also total war.

Here's something for Mac-users: The five rules of cool. This blog is brought to you without any help from Bill Gates.

Finally, this is not for the politically correct: How Christianity (and Capitalism) Led to Science. Here's how it begins:
    When Europeans first began to explore the globe, their greatest surprise was not the existence of the Western Hemisphere, but the extent of their own technological superiority over the rest of the world. Not only were the proud Maya, Aztec, and Inca nations helpless in the face of European intruders, so were the fabled civilizations of the East: China, India, and Islamic nations were "backward" by comparison with 15th-century Europe. How had that happened? Why was it that, although many civilizations had pursued alchemy, the study led to chemistry only in Europe? Why was it that, for centuries, Europeans were the only ones possessed of eyeglasses, chimneys, reliable clocks, heavy cavalry, or a system of music notation? How had the nations that had arisen from the rubble of Rome so greatly surpassed the rest of the world?
The author debunks The Protestant Ethic myth and notes that "[i]t was during the so-called Dark Ages that European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world."
Church vs. State
New legislation promoted by the Jacobinical Uri Party in South Korea would place government directors on the boards of private schools. The Roman Catholic Church has announced it will not comply with the law: Bishops call for a veto of new private school law. Protestants and Buddhists are following suit: Religious leaders oppose school bill.
Being one-quarter Romani, I always find these stories interesting: Church calls on Catholics to reach out to Gypsies and Travellers.
Hope for the Latin Mass and SSPX Reconciliation
A few days ago, I posted on the appointment of Sri Lankan Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith as the new secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, saying that it might be a sign of inculturation. Well, this appointment may mean much more than that: "Apparently the archbishop, when he was bishop of a diocese in Sri Lanka, was very favorably inclined toward the Tridentine Mass, and even met with Bernard Fellay, leader of the Society of St. Pius X in 2001," says Domenico Bettinelli, in a post entitled A sign from Pope Benedict on the liturgy?.

Here's what the archbishop was said to have told Fellay:
    I agree 200% with you that there really is a problem in the Church with the liturgy and the priesthood, and both go together. We must work on this, and there is no doubt that the Pope has to set free the true Catholic Mass for everyone I am going now to Rome where I will have my private chapel. I have just taken care to get a Missal of St. Pius V to celebrate Mass as it should be.
Let the reform of the reform begin!

[link via Seattle Catholic]
Muslims Burn Churches Down Under!
"Lebanese Muslims are believed to have turned on Lebanese Christians:" Sydney church attacks spark fears.

This shows that the troubles in Australia are not a race issue; they're about culture and religion. Arab Christans can easily assimilate in a Western country; Muslims of whatever ethnicity cannot.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

On the Tube
I'm about half-way through the ten hours of Krzysztof Kieślowski's "Dekalog" (1989), considered by many to be one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. Really ten separate but interrelated short films, they were produced for Polish television in the last days of Communism. The films are an examination of the Ten Commandments in our lives, and could have only been produced in a Catholic cultural context. With sin as their topic, they are not cheery pieces, but rather glimpses into dark nights of the soul.

The first one, for example, is the story of a professor father and his boy genius son. The boy's Catholic aunt explains that her brother lost faith in God when he realized as a young man that some things could be measured, and took that to mean that all things could be measured. Father and son later use a computer to calculate that a nearby lake would be frozen solidly enough to skate upon. The feature ends with a seemingly weeping image of Our Lady of Czestochowa in a church under construction.

There is little moralizing in the films; the viewer is instead drawn to meditate on sin. It is clear that we are all sinners. None of the protagonists are simple black-and-white characterizations. A false oath is sworn, for example, to save a baby from an abortion, but neither the blashpemer nor the baby's adulterous mother are portrayed as unambiguously good or evil. In another episode, we come to empathize with another adulterous woman when we learn how much she has suffered for her sin.

There is a recurring character in each of the films, billed as "The Young Man." He has no lines, and appears at key moments when some moral choice is being made. He is usually a worker of some sort, carrying something heavy, and looks on with sadness.
Here in Korea, I was able to purchase the boxed set for about a quarter of the price listed above. The only drawback is that there are a multitude of mistakes in the English subtitles, so much so that it is necessary at times to stop the frame to make sense of the dialogue.
My Parish

There were some problems with the previously posted photo of our dog, who passed away last Friday. Here's another, taken from a few summers ago:

Ddori (또리)
October 14, 1992 - December 09, 2005

I miss you, buddy.

The Snyders of Pohang has some photos of Ddori's Last Walks.
Against Torture
In THE TORTURE DEBATE, Maggie Gallagher takes the morally correct stand:
    I have found few things more distressing than discovering so many of my fellow citizens support not just harsh interrogation techniques, but outright torture....

    The Wall Street Journal opines: "A strange code of morality would allow the killing of (a known terrorist) but not his stressful questioning to prevent further murders he might plan against innocent civilians. "

    Let me tell you about that strange code. It used to be called "Christianity." For centuries it chiefly justified deadly force only in self-defense, or the proper defense of another. When a terrorist is out there trying to kill you, you may be justified in using deadly force. But once you capture him, then different moral rules apply. Others once referred to this strange moral code as "civilization." Its veneer over the human heart is razor-thin. Under threat, most of us revert to the primitive ethic: Hurt the bad guy.
According to an article entitled MAJORITY SUPPORT TORTURE, to which I linked yesterday, "90 percent of South Koreans... support the use of torture." This really doesn't surprise me, as the East has always placed the community above the individual. The same article notes that "61 percent of Americans... support the use of torture," which doesn't really surprise me either.

For more on this topic, see these articles:
My Thoughts Exactly
    Another year, another Christmas. And what would the holiday season be without the Christmas Wars? On one side, we have the ACLU, who seem to freak out at the slightest public display of devotion (PDD?); on the other, we have the Catholic League and the American Family Association, who dropped their boycotts of Target and Sears after the stores agreed to officially recognize one of our religion's holiest days in their advertising campaigns.
"Long Live the Second Vermont Republic!"
"The Green Mountain State’s secession movement brings together hippie greens and libertarian gun owners:" Free Vermont: Green Mountain boys ponder secession.

The article is full of interesting information, for example:
    Montpelier is the only McDonald’s-less state capital in the land....

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who in bidding farewell to his neighbors in Cavendish, Vermont, where he had lived in exile for 17 years, praised “the sensible and sure process of grassroots democracy, in which the local population solves most of its problems on its own, not waiting for the decisions of higher authorities.”
I hitchhiked to Vermont in the late '80s for a Rainbow Family Gathering and found the state's people quite unique. The country-folk didn't seemed phased at all by the arrival of hundreds of hippies into their state. It seems to be a bastion of granola conservatism. The state boasts a Vermont Latin Mass Group.

The Green Mountain State is on my short-list of places to consider for resettlement upon my return to the United States in a few years. Its climate and landscapes are similar to my native Upstate New York, another of my options. HALLOWED GROUND country in Northern California is also on that list. My parents have conveniently retired in that region. Still, it's hard for me to imagine my kids growing up with snowless winters. I guess the Sierra Nevadas are close enough. My wife and I fell in love with Northern New Mexico, another candidate, on a visit there a few years ago. Southern Oregon was also beautiful. Ideally, I'd like to find a rural area with enough hippie-types to allow a Thai restaurant.
Bad Science
The allegations that the Korean clone-and-kill pioneer's research was fabricated are becoming more credible by the day: U.S. Scientist Withdraws Name From Hwang Paper. Sadly, the fact that his research was unethical to begin with seems to be lost on most people.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Scandalous Doctrine of Islam
Here's more evidence of the falsity of Mohammedanism, by one Sayyid Mujtaba Busavi Lari: Temporary Marriages - Light of Islam.

Illegal under Saddam, the licentious custom is resurfacing courtesy of Mr. Bush's War: 'Pleasure marriages' regain popularity in Iraq.

From this latter article come some of the more shocking details of the barbarous practice:
    The contracts, lasting anywhere from one hour to 10 years, generally stipulate that the man will pay the woman in exchange for sexual intimacy....

    A woman who unintentionally gets pregnant can have an abortion but must then pay a fine to a cleric.
On the Sydney Riots
From Is Islam the problem? Let's have the debate:
    Australia does not have a race relations problem. We have a clash of cultures and that's a big difference -- and maybe the problem is certain forms of Islam.

    Of course, the marauding boneheads who rampaged through Cronulla on Sunday don't make this distinction. If they did, perhaps they would realise that when they screech "Lebs out" they are also referring to the majority of Lebanese Australians who are Maronite Christians, in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Crowds Weigh in on Torture
    61 percent of Americans, 90 percent of South Koreans, and over 50 percent of citizens from France and Britain support the use of torture. On the other hand, the majority of people from Spain and Italy said that there were no circumstances that would justify such acts.
Under the new ethics, in which morality is not absolute but simply a social construct, I guess we would have to say that torture is alright in some countries but not in others to avoid being "judgmental."
Impending Execution
Jovan-Marya Weismiller says, "let justice be done," but also reminds us to Pray For Tookie Williams.
Tim Jones notes at least one Progessivist is beginning to realize the absurdity of their own arguments and acknowledge that "all objections to the idea of a man having the right to terminate his child in utero (or at least legally terminate his parental responsibilities) also apply to women:" Equal Choice.
South Korea's Baby Bust
South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Government programs to solve this crisis are failing, as one might expect: Childbirth Incentives Prove Stillborn. I see no solution outside of a mass conversion to traditional Catholicism or a similar cultural or social renaissance.
Bernadette Mimura
She followed in the blessed footsteps of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla: Mother sacrifices self for unborn baby.

[link via Seattle Catholic]

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today, the Memorial of...

Patrona de México
y Emperatriz de las Américas

Twice I visited her shrine in Mexico City, both times as a pre-Catholic. It was she who led me to her Son and to the Catholic Faith and it was under her maternal care I placed my daughter during a time of great need. Thus, I have a special devotion to her. I look forward to my third visit to her shrine, as a pilgrim not a tourist.

    Madre Santísima de Guadalupe. Madre de Jesús,
    condúcenos hacia tu Divino Hijo por el camino del Evangelio,
    para que nuestra vida sea el cumplimiento generoso
    de la voluntad de Dios
    Condúcenos a Jesús,
    que se nos manifiesta y se nos da en la Palabra revelada
    y en el Pan de la Eucaristía
    Danos una fe firme,
    una esperanza sobrenatural
    una caridad ardiente
    y una fidelidad viva
    a nuestra vocación de bautizados.
    ayúdanos a ser agradecidos a Dios,
    exigentes con nosotros mismos y llenos de amor
    para con nuestros hermanos.
The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR)
South Korea, being both an ESCR "pioneer" and a multireligious country, provides a unique opportunity to observe how religious traditions face this crucial issue for our times. This article does just that: Religious Groups Divided Over Hwang’s Research.

Here's a brief summary:
    Catholics, Protestants and Confucians chose to denounce Hwang’s research, while Buddhism, the nation’s biggest religion*, is carrying out a lonesome campaign for what it calls a ``life-saving’’ science.
This is what is behind the "lonesome campaign" of the followers of the Enlightened One:
    Buddhist organizations seem to deny a definite dividing line between living and nonliving existence, thus justifying stem cell research as long as the technique contributes to humanity.
[This statement goes far in explaining why Buddhism has been embraced by many Westerners living under the "Dictatorship of relativism".]

Here is the Catholic position:
    Out of the religions, the Korean Catholic Church is the most adamant and unflinching on this controversial issue. This church’s stance follows a series of directives prepared by the Vatican, which has kept a careful eye on the development of cloning technology....

    With the guidance of the Vatican, Korean Catholics have stood firmly against Hwang’s embryonic stem cell research, a gap which Hwang attempted to bridge with a visit in June to the Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, archbishop of Seoul. The church, however, has not changed its stance. On Sunday, Cheong reaffirmed the church’s position that ``research should be on the adult stem cell, not embryonic stem cell’’ at a mass held at Myeong Dong Catholic Cathedral.

    The Rev. Lemigio Lee Dong-ik, who is in charge of the church’s perspective on biological issues, recently even demanded that the government stop financial support for Hwang’s research.

    To further their cause, the Church’s Seoul Archdiocese in October announced that it would hand out 10 billion won ($10 million) to prop up adult stem cell research.
Protestants in Korea, as elsewhere, are divided among between conservative and liberal denominations:
    Protestants do not have a unified organization or policymaking process, which makes impossible for them to have a unanimous, collective voice like the Catholics. However, its major blocks have been gradually tilting against Hwang’s research.

    The Christian Council of Korea, comprising 61 divisions and 20 related organizations, clarified its objection in October, settling controversies within the conservative umbrella body. The council’s head Choi Sung-kyu said, ``they (researchers) end up scrapping or killing embryos in the process of the research, which appears to be murder.’’ The council suggested that the research be centered on the adult stem cell.

    On the other hand, the National Council of Churches in Korea, better known as KNCC, a progressive Christian umbrella group, remains cautious on the issue, but is more supportive of Hwang’s research than other conservative Protestants. In July, the body announced it ``credits to Hwang’s team with the sublime intention to solve incurable diseases.’’ However, it warned that the research should be stopped if any ``impure’’ motives were to be found.
Confucianists are a welcome ally in the struggle for human dignity:
    Choi Gun-duk, head of Sung Kyun Kwan, the headquarters of Korean Confucianism, said in a meeting in June that embryonic stem cell research goes against Confucian ethics. ``I oppose Hwang’s research using the human embryo, which breaks natural law,’’ Choi said at that time.

    Since then, Confucian groups have not yet issued any official statement on the subject. An official at the headquarters said that following Choi’s remarks, supporters of Hwang flooded the groups’ Web sites with messages of protest.

    Choi, however, clarified the traditional religion’s opposition in a telephone interview with The Korea Times. ``They should pursue their goal with adult stem cells, not with embryonic stem cells,’’ he said. ``Unchecked, the research could progress like a riderless horse,’’ Choi said.
* I dispute this claim that Buddhism is the county's biggest religion. South Korea's religious statistics are notoriously unreliable, as evidenced by the - Religion by Location page on the country. Regarding Buddhism, a fascinating paper entitled LOOKING FOR GOD IN THE STREETS OF SEOUL: THE RESURGENCE OF RELIGION IN 20TH CENTURY KOREA has this to say:
    [A] substantial percentage of people who tell Gallup or their government that they are Buddhists rarely if ever engage in organized Buddhist religious activity. For example, more than half of those who called themselves Buddhist confessed to Gallup pollsters that they had never read any Buddhist sutras. Moreover, almost one out of every four self-proclaimed Buddhists admitted that they had not attended any Buddhist rituals in at least a year. And one out of three Buddhists told Gallup that they never prayed to Buddhas or Boddhisatvas.
I regularly collect religious data from my students at the beginning of each semester and rarely find more than one student in a class of 20 who claims to be a Buddhist.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments
This is potentially good news for those who favor inculturation: Sri Lankan Is New Secretary of Congregation for Worship.

I'm of two minds on the subject of inculturation. When it comes to art and architecture, I'm all for it. When it comes to the Mass, extreme caution is needed.
The Holy Father says it better than I could: Pope: Xmas festivities 'polluted' by consumerism.

[And no, the use of the "X" does not bother me, it being the Greek letter chi, which has stood for "Christ" for the better part of two millenia.]
La Révolution Française
Here's a concise article on why it, and not that of the Americans, whose aim it was "to retain what was rightfully theirs to begin with," became the model for Marx and the bloody Third World revolutions of the 20th Century: The impact of the French Revolution.
Vive la France!
Thousands of lives and billions of dollars (see could have been spared had America only heeded the advice her oldest ally: French Told CIA of Bogus Intelligence: The foreign spy service warned the U.S. various times before the war that there was no proof Iraq sought uranium from Niger, ex-officials say.*

*Use to bypass registration.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Visit to an Orthodox Church in Ulsan
KoreanCatholic's Jason Choi and I visited St. Dionisios Orthodox Church in Ulsan today. There, we experienced The Divine Liturgy in Korean and met Father Theophan, a Korean-Russian from Sakhalin Island. The parishioners were Koreans, Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, and Romanians. Here are some photos:

We went to evening mass at my parish in Pohang.
Christmas Tragedy in Nigeria
The plane was filled with children, students of the Loyola Jesuit School in Abuja, who were returning home for Christmas: Nigerian Jet Crash Kills at Least 103.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

At least she's honest...I believe in a state; I'm no anarchist. Some form of government, it seems, has been providentially ordained. However, following The Principle of Subsidiarity, which "holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization," any government we agree upon should be as limited as possible.

When the State takes on the role of local communities, those communities cease to meaningfully exist. When the State takes on the role of Toquevillean voluntary associations, citizens become radical individualists. When the Nanny State takes on the role of the family, the family too withers away.

Let us pray for Catholic Chile.

*Use to bypass registration.
On Dogs
Having just lost Ddori yesterday, I went back to the late Gerard Serafin Bugge's blog, A Catholic Blog for Lovers, for his thoughts on man's best friend. Mr. Bugge, may he rest in peace, lost Onion, his beloved Peke, just a few months before his own passing.

On that sad occasion, Mr. Bugge posted a link to this page that he himself had made: Baron von Hugel and his beloved dogs. Dogs, to the Baron's mind, "stand in regard to their masters in a way analogous to that in which man stands to God."

I thank God that I did not have to end Ddori's misery, as both Mr. Bugge and the Baron had to do. I had prayed for several days that Ddori would go peacefully, at home, with me next to him. This prayer was answered. Deo gratia.
Possible Massacre in Red China
"Armed with guns and shields, hundreds of riot police sealed off a southern Chinese village after fatally shooting as many as 20 demonstrators and were searching for the protest organizers, according to villagers and a newspaper report Saturday:" China Town Sealed After Protesters Slain.
The Fall of Communism in Europe
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and The Promise of Freedom
The Beautiful Game
The first round looks very promising for Korea in the 2006 World Cup in Germany: S. Korea drawn in Group G with France for 2006 World Cup. They'll also face Togo and Switzerland.

The same cannot be said for the Americans, I'm afraid to say, who'll face Italy, Ghana, and the Czech Republic, all teams they have never beaten: U.S. to Face Strong Group at '06 World Cup.

I watched the drawing with my brother-in-law at 5:00 AM. He was quite happy. Before the draw, Colombian singer Juanes performed a very catchy Cumbia-intinged song intitled La camisa negra. Here's the video: Juanes - La Camisa Negra.

From 한국, 토고와 6월 13일 프랑크푸르트에서 첫 경기-1보, here's a graphic that will help Korean-readers or vexillologists with the results of the draw:
The Party Pooper provides us with these odds:
    11-4 Brazil 13-2 England 7-1 Germany 8-1 Argentina, Italy 10-1 France 12-1 Spain 14-1 Netherland 18-1 Portugal 20-1 Czech Republic 28-1 Sweden 40-1 Mexico 50-1 Croatia, Ukraine 66-1 Ivory Coast, Poland 80-1 Switzerland 100-1 Serbia&Montenegro, U.S. 125-1 Australia, Ecuador 150-1 Japan, Paraguay 250-1 Ghana 300-1 South Korea, Tunisia 400-1 Angola, Togo 500-1 Costa Rica, Iran 750-1 Saudi Arabia 1,000 Trinidad&Tobago
My money's on Deutschland. With a compatriot sitting on The Throne of Saint Peter, who's to stop the hosts?
The Peaceful Nation Shrine
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers offers a defense of the Yasukuni Shrine.
"The bishops of Arizona are calling on Catholics to welcome immigrants into their parishes, whether documented or undocumented, and to work to reform the U.S. immigration laws in an effort to facilitate immigration and stem the growing number of migrant deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border:" Arizona bishops release dramatic letter on immigration.

Appropriately, the document is to be released on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of all the Americas.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Ddori (또리)
October 14, 1992 - December 09, 2005

I just returned from burying our dog Ddori, who passed away peacefully at home about four hours ago. I was holding him when he went.

When my wife Hyunae was a highschool girl, Ddori came to live with her and her family in Ulsan. He was the first member of my wife's family whom I met. We went on a picnic in May, 1999. After Hyunae and I were married the following year, Ddori came to live with us in Pohang.

I taught him that there was more to life than being an apartment dog, and walks in the neighborhood, the hills, and the parks became part of our daily routine. On his first walk in a park, he mistook a bush for a sofa, but after once failing to jump up onto it never did so again.

Ddori liked, among other things, straight rum, black beer, beef (but not LA kalbi), salmon, and broccoli. He also seemed to like the nocturnes of Frédéric François Chopin. He hated birthday cakes and candles, the sight of which would send him to the next room, because Korean birthday cakes come with noisy party poppers. He also hated fireworks.

Ddori was not that impressed with the two babies, Joy and Joel, whom we brought home in 2003 and this year respectively, but he warmed up to them quickly. Ddori was a fine family dog and fine example of his proud breed, the Yorkshire Terrier.

Less than two weeks ago, Ddori was diagnosed with having a tumor. I brought him back to Pohang from Ulsan, where he had been staying since August. Knowing Ddori to be a people dog, we thought he would do well temporarily in Ulsan while my wife and children were in the United States. My apartment is warmer than that of my parents-in-law, so we agreed Ddori would benefit from some warmth and I happily took him back. I enjoyed his companionship and wish I had done so earlier. In Pohang, Ddori and I took what would be our last walks along his favorite local trails.

In the last couple of days, Ddori needed a lot of help. The mighty Ddori had been humbled by his illness. Fortunately, with my schedule I was able to give it to him. After my class finished today at 12:15, I came home, helped him drink some water, and lay down beside him for a nap with my hand on his head. Less than an an hour later, when I awoke he stirred, looked up at me, and took what I immediateley knew was his last breath.

I took him to Ulsan with his favorite toys, a medal of Saint Francis of of Assisi from my wife and a Holy Card of the same saint that had sat beside his sick-bed.

I met my parents-in-law on a country road and we drove up to some land they own in the mountains. Following Korean custom, they brought along some food and snacks for him to take to the next world. My father-in-law and I dug a grave and buried a special dog who had meant a lot to a lot of people.

Ddori, I hope to see you again...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    December 8

    On this and the following eight days the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men. The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times. Pope Pius IX, forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally, on 8 December 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin. It is, therefore, now no longer, as fomerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith, that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

    In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. I will extol thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me." Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be, world without end. Amen.


    We beseech Thee, O Lord, to bestow on Thy servants the gift of heavenly grace, that, for those to whom the Blessed Virgin's maternity was the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her immaculate conception may procure increase of peace. Through Christ our Lord, etc. Amen.

    Epistle: Proverbs 8:22-35

    The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and My delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear Me: Blessed are they that keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth Me, and that watcheth daily at My gates, and waiteth at the posts of My doors. He that shall find Me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.


    This lesson is, in the literal sense, a eulogy on the divine and uncreated wisdom, which before all things was in God; through which all things were made, disposed, and preserved; which rejoices in its works, and calls upon all its creatures, especially on men, to render to it love and obedience. Most of what is here said is also to be applied to Mary, of whom it may with truth be said that, as the holiest and most admirable of all creatures, she occupies the first place in the heart of God. Therefore the Church also refers to her those words of the wise man: "I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first born of all creatures."

    Gospel: Luke 1:26-28

    And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.

    Goffine's Devout Instructions

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

[No more blogging on today's Holy Day.]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Holy Father has granted Plenary Indulgences for tomorrow's Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

For more on how to go about getting one for you or someone in Purgatory, see Impending Plenary Indulgence Opportunity by Mr. Jimmy Akin or Clarification on Plenary Indulgence for December 8th by Fr. Stephen Hamilton.

Of local interest is the The Grotto of Our Lady in Daegu, South KoreaSomething else to look forward to tomorrow: Benedict XVI Is To Reinterpret the Second Vatican Council. This Is the Preface
Ethical, i.e. Adult, Stem Cell Therapy
Let it again be said that we Catholics are not opposed to all stem cell therapy, only embryonic stem cell procedures that involve creating life only to be destroyed, the ultimate instrumentalization of life. This, we applaud: Don Ho Recovering From Stem Cell Procedure.
A Buddhist Perspective on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Rev. Ji Kwan, executive director of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, quoted in Rev. Ji Kwan backs Hwang:
    Buddha taught us to give everything to the sick, whether it costs an arm and a leg. If we say nothing for Hwang, our Buddhism is dead....

    In a wider perspective, the earth, nonliving things, empty space and sentient beings are all parts of Buddha and therefore have vitality... It is nonsensical for some to insist that only the embryonic stem cell, (not the adult stem cell), is living.
From a biological and ethical standpoint, it is as nonsensical not to note the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells as it is not to note the difference between a man and his finger.

It is becoming clearer to me that Buddhism, in denying the permanence of individual souls, is a philosophy every bit as antiethitical to the rights and dignity of the human person as Utilitarianism.
Against the Fundamentalist Secularists!
Jews, Muslims Join Fight for Christian Christmas
Park Geunhye
Oranckay has some photos of South Korea's loveliest politician: ‘girl tuesday’.
If Robert Frost Had Been a Blogger
    Stopping by a Blog on a Frosty Evening
    Whose blog this is, a neo-con,
    His book is available on Amazon.
    He will not see me lurking here;
    My comments all will be anon.

    My online friends won't think it queer
    If I blog while drinking a six-pack of beer
    Between dinner and the ten o'clock news;
    It fills my comments with good cheer.

    My wife has the spouse-of-a-blogger blues
    And asks me if I've noticed her cues.
    The only other sound's the click
    Of mouse and key as I peruse

    This blog and the next one till I'm sick
    Of beating a dead horse with a stick
    And another evening's burned its wick,
    And another evening's burned its wick.
    (Jonathan Potter - Korrektiv)
[from Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor]
A Biothethics Blog
Author Wesley J. Smith is the man behind Secondhand Smoke, which "considers issues involving assisted suicide/euthanasia, bioethics, human cloning, biotechnology, and the dangers of animal rights/liberation" from the standpoint that "the philosophy of human exceptionalism is the bedrock of universal human rights."

[link via open book]
The Vocation of Fatherhood
Jeff Culbreath has some excellent thoughts on what it prevents: BECAUSE I AM A FATHER.
President Bush's Theocracy
It's got the Christians fleeing the country: How Bush Created a Theocracy in Iraq.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Murdering Disabled Babies in the Low Countries
The Nazi occupation of the Netherworldlands never ended: Dutch commission to set rules on baby euthanasia.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]
Two from Lew links to some good articles today, as always, icluding the ones below.

Murray N. Rothbard writes about the politics of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu: The Ancient Chinese Libertarian Tradition. I used to be an especially big fan of the latter philosopher, but I now find that Confucius and Mencius have more to say in practical politics. Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu give us a lot of good advice on how to lead our personal lives.

"The secret reformist history of the Ku Klux Klan" is exposed by Jesse Walker in Hooded Progressivism. A defining moment for me was realizing that Nazism, Racism, and Nationalism are Leftist tendencies, not Rightist ones as the state schools taught me.
Vatican News
With the only complaints about the late Holy Father from the folks in the wing of the Church where I sit being that he was too Leftist, it is often easy to forget that the much of the world sees him as a rabid Rightist: Dissident theologians call upon Catholics to oppose canonization for late pontiff. I agree with what I read on some Right-wing source that if Pope John Paul II was a liberal, he was the best kind of liberal: a Classical Liberal.

This looks like good news: Analyst says Pope to propose new reading of Vatican Council. I've been meaning to read the VATICAN II DOCUMENTS, and, not having done so as of yet, I am not qualified to comment on the Council. My impression is that those on the Left, acting "in the spirit" of the Council, have distorted its teachings, if there even were any, and folks on the Right have often responded not to the Council itself, but to said distortion thereof.
“Want to be un-pregnant?”
Visit The Abortion Capital of America. Late-term? No problem, as this article, whose title is an incredible insult to the victims of slavery, indicates: The New Underground Railroad.

[link to both articles via Seattle Catholic]
Communist China
This is revolting: China Admits to Sale of Organs from Prisoners. Earlier this year, it was admitted that skin from prisoners was used to make lampshades cosmetics.

[link via Seattle Catholic]
Doktor Hwang, Harvest our Ova für das Vaterland!
This is profoundly disturbing:
    Supporters of celebrity geneticist Hwang Woo-suk cheering Dr. Hwang's research team yesterday at the veterinary college of Seoul National University. Around 100 women rallied to deliver 1,000 women's intentions to donate their eggs for the team's stem-cell research.
[from [Photo]Offering ova]
"Water Boarding"
According to the CIA, this is not torture:
    Water Boarding: the prisoner is bound to a board with feet raised, and cellophane wrapped round his head. Water is poured onto his face and is said to produce a fear of drowning which leads to a rapid demand for the suffering to end.
    [from The defining of torture in a new world war]
Once again, when moral relativists like those in the Bush Administration or those on the Left seek to redefine terms, the words of that Classical Liberal Confucius come to mind: "When words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty."

[link to artilce via TCR News Focus]

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Today, the Memorial of...

Saint Nicholas of Myra
Muriel Degauque
The NY Times examines her tragic life: Raised as Catholic in Belgium, She Died as a Muslim Bomber*.

*Use to bypass registration.
Movie Trivia
Baptist blogger AndyinKorea informs us that [the Traditionalist Catholic director of The Passion of the Christ (2004)] "Mel Gibson insisted in filming HIS OWN hand hammering the nail into Jesus' hand (well...the actor's anyway) to show that EACH OF US (in our own sins against God) IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NAILING OF CHRIST TO THE CROSS."
Some Good News, Perhaps, for Korea's Future
From More Students Become Conservative:
    Sixty-six percent of Korean college students do not support socialist ideas and advocate a market-oriented economy, according to a survey....

    [I]in the past, pro-North Korean student activists led students’ movement, but nowadays many students concentrate on studying on the subjects related to job applications instead of joining the ideological activities.
Eurasians in Korea
[from Rise of Multiethnic TV Stars]
Korea's Most Celebrated Victim
From Cloning Pioneer 'Just Wanted to Leave It All Behind':
    The familiar voice sounded faint over the cell phone on Monday morning, with a ring of weariness from too much happening too fast. But Prof. Hwang Woo-suk has been through much in recent weeks: he has been hounded by investigative reporters, apologized for ethical lapses as he pushed ahead with ground-breaking research, and quit all his official posts. It has now been 11 days since he told his inner circle, "I hate the world,” and left the city for the respite of a secluded country home.
    [Click on the link to read the rest.]
Unpersonhood in Hawai'i
From Meth mother's conviction overturned:
    In a precedent-setting decision, the Hawai'i Supreme Court ruled yesterday that women cannot be prosecuted for the death of their children caused by detrimental conduct while pregnant.

    The ruling reversed a manslaughter conviction for a 32-year-old Kane'ohe woman whose newborn infant died because she smoked crystal methamphetamine during her pregnancy.

    The high court ruled that the homicide prosecution of Tayshea Aiwohi did not fall under state law because her unborn child was not a "person" when she smoked the drug.
    [Click on the link to read the rest.]
Anyone else see the parallels here to Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857?

[article via The Catholic Report]
Can't we sit down at the same table?
No, we can't: Catholics demand pro-abortion mayor disinvited from Christmas dinner.

The other day, I heard some pundit longing for the days when Americans of different political persuassions could sit down and talk to each other. Yes, those were the good ole days. Then, we might disagree about certain issues, but we were in basic agreement about the fundamentals of life and the family. The miniscule minority who disagreed lived in Greenwich Village. From the 1960s on, those days have been over. I could have a civil discussion with someone who disagreed with me on Mr. Bush's War or a number of other issues, but when it comes to life and the family, there is no common ground.

To paraphrase something Mr. Jeff Culbreath said during his pre-HALLOWED GROUND days, "It's time to choose sides and start building those fences."
Dhimmitude in Asia
Muslim extremists want to eliminate Christians from Sangla Hill: "In Friday prayers calls are made for the hanging of Yousaf Masih, a Christian accused of blasphemy. The archbishop of Lahore writes to the governor Punjab describing an increasing tense situation as Christmas approaches."

Government officials behind 2001 inter-faith clashes in Poso: "The charge was levelled by three Catholics condemned to death for their alleged role in the clashes: we are risking our lives and those who are truly responsible are still at large. The 16 names revealed include members of the local administration. The police have ordered fresh investigations; the convicts had made the same charges at the beginning of the trial but no one listened to them then".

For more on the plight of non-Muslims in Mohammedom, see Dhimmi Watch and Dhimmis and Dhimmitude: The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities Under Islamic Rule.

Monday, December 05, 2005

East Meets West for Christmastime
I wonder of this sounded as good as it looks:
    Ewha Womans University’s Korean classical music orchestra plays a carol at the university in Seoul on Thursday.
The fusion of Eastern and Western classical music traditions can be harmonious, like a version of Johann Pachelbel's Canon I once heard played on the Korean zither known as the gayageum.

[image from Culture - Dec. 2, 2005]
Quantity, not Quality
This is the 4000th post since August of 2003, when this blog was begun. Κύριε, ελέησον.
Family Photos
More have just been sent from the United States and have been posted at The Snyders of Pohang.
Local Mass Reports
Last night, I did something I rarely do: I went to my parish's 8:00 PM evening Mass. By chance, I ran into an exceptional former student of mine whom I did not know was Catholic. With my wife and children in the United States, it was very pleasant not to attend Mass alone. In the congregation, I recognized many current and former students, undergraduates, graduates, and researchers with families. Usually, I met one or two, but last night there must have been a dozen! I felt a real sense of Catholic community when meeting them, even briefly, after Mass.

Our parish, built only two-and-a-half years ago, has been remodeled. Funding ran out when it was initially constructed, and it ended up looking more like a meeting hall than a church. Now it looks like a Catholic church! There are some photos, which do not do it justice, at my parish's website:
Also, about two weeks ago, at daily Mass at a parish dowtown, a grandmother informed me that the convent at the nearby Catholic hospital has daily Mass at 6:10 AM. I went there for the second time this morning. It is a Novus Ordo of true beauty, replete with chanting and piety. A mass assisted by over 100 nuns in habits is quite a Godward way to start the day!
There was not a flake here in Pohang, but the rest of Korea has seen its first snow-storm of the year:
As a native Buffalonian, I say, "Bring it on!" Let me find an empty parking lot in which to do donuts. Much of Korea, however, is never prepared for snow. A light dusting is enough to shut down Pohang. Traffic comes to a standstill in condintions in which a Buffalonian would be driving 65 MPH with one hand on the wheel. I have to say, though, the guy on the scooter in the photo above impresses me.

[image from '폭설' 호남 눈 피해 8억원]
Wagging the Dog
Don't believe the hype: Bird Flu Hype Infecting Biotech Industry.
"Patrimony of Humanity"
The Holy Father defends the family: Children Deserve Married Parents, Says Pope.

His Holiness also has some words that Dr. Hwang Woo-suk might well listen to, from the above article:
    "Truly, children are the greatest wealth and most appreciated good of the family," the Pope continued. "That is why it is necessary to help all persons to become aware of the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion that, in attempting against a human life in its beginning, is also an aggression against society itself."

    The Church reminds "politicians and lawmakers, as servants of the social good," of their duty "to defend the fundamental right to life, fruit of the love of God," he added.

    When this is forgotten, Benedict XVI continued, "the elimination of the embryo or its arbitrary use" is facilitated "in the interest of the progress of science," which without ethics "becomes a threat to the human being himself, being reduced to an object or a mere instrument."

    "When these levels are reached," he added, "society itself is offended and its foundations are shaken with all sorts of risks."
    [my emphasis]
Smoke of Satan Alarm
The words of the late Holy Father come to mind: Relativism Seen Creeping Into Catholic Theology.

*"Through some fissue the smoke of Satan entered into the temple of God." - Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972
What Will Protestants Think of Next?
From the land of Luther comes the Erotic Bible Calendar: Nude Eve offers apple. Is this really that far from replacing the liturgy with a rock band?

A note to "youth" pastors and ministers: perhaps young people, and others, come to church for something the secular world does not offer them.
Against Torture
A victim of it himself, McCain Won't Compromise on Torture Ban.
Worse than Buchanan?
James, the 15th president, that is: IS GEORGE BUSH THE WORST PRESIDENT -- EVER?

"Worse than Buchanan" is at least more accurate than "Worse than Hitler." More interesting is the take of Father Jim Tucker, who might say "Not Worse than Lincoln." "I'm no fan of President Bush," says the good padre in Abe Lincoln and Wartime Liberties, "but if the only alternative is President Lincoln, I'd take Bush any day of the week."
More from the man who said that Pope John Paul the Great was responsible "for more deaths than Hitler:" Scientist says AIDS pandemic is Vatican's fault.

Let's take a look at pro-condom Thailand and the pro-abstinence Phillipines, from Family Values Versus Safe Sex:
    In Thailand and in the Philippines, the first HIV/AIDS cases were reported in 1984; by 1987, Thailand had 112 cases, while the Philippines had more, with 135 cases. Today, in the year 2003, there are around 750,000 cases in Thailand, where the 100% Condom Use Program had relatively great success. On the other hand, there are only 1,935 cases in the Philippines — and this, considering that the Philippines’ population is around 30% greater than Thailand’s! Relatively low rates of condom use by the people in general, and staunch opposition from the Church and a good number of government leaders against the condom program and sexual promiscuity, are well-known facts in the Philippines.
Even if this were not the case, the Catholic teaching against contraception and fornication would be correct.
The Strange Case of Dr. Hwang
The devout Buddhist, famous for his clone-and-kill project and unethical harvesting of ova, has gone into seclusion: Prof. Hwang Cancels Press Conference: Hwang Avoids Media Contact, Stays in Remote Temple.

The Korean public's reaction to Dr. Hwang's fall from grace has by and large been less than reflective: Hwang Cloning Scandal Invokes Nationalism: Is reaction to Hwang's shame acceptable?

Andy Jackson, blogging at the Marmot in The strange, strange world of Hwang Woo-suk, has an excellent round-up and commentary, including this: "There is a reason that the world's scientific community has been harsh on Hwang; if they don't regulate themselves, governments will."

The NY Times also analyzes the story, noting that "[t]he Koreans should not be surprised if their next scientific breakthrough is greeted with extreme caution:" South Korea's Cloning Crisis*.

*Use to bypass registration.
In Defense of Life
    Seoul Diocese of the Roman Catholic church held a Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul yesterday to honor life, designating Dec. 4 as Life Day. Archbishop Cheong Jin-suk said, "[We] oppose stem-cell research that use embryonic cloning instead of adult stem cells because of ethical problems." Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, third from right, and Archbishop Cheong, fourth from right, wearing life bracelets after the Mass.
[from [Photo]Let there be life]

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

"...for they shall be called sons of God"
Insurgents say they will kill Christian peacemakers
Kill 'Em Before They Cross the Rio Grande

When William Bennett makes a "modest proposal" that such thinking is reprehensible, the media crucify him. When Planned Parenthood, Inc., founded by a racist eugenicist, suggests in serious the same "final solution," it is lauded.
"Back to Basics"
The United Kingdom is returning to Phonics: Teaching reading set for overhaul.

Imagine this, from the article:
    This very traditional method involves children learning letter sounds first and then gradually blending sounds to form words.

    Phonics was the main way reading was taught for many years until the 1960s when other systems were introduced, including teaching children to remember whole words.

    Recent trials in Scotland found children taught to read using synthetic phonics were three years ahead of their peers who were taught with other methods by the age of 11.
Dare they suggest that it is not effective to teach English as if it were an ideographic language like Chinese, as the Whole Language Ideology would have it? Say it ain't so!

Some lady professors tried to indoctrinate us into this sinister ideology during my M.Ed. course. Based largely on the theories of Soviet psychologist* Lev Vygotsky, it was clearly nonsense. These lady professors were either extremely naïve, or they were sincere Cultural Communists, whose goal was and is the destruction of America.

Let's pray that America follows suit. Either way, it won't affect my children, who will never set foot in a state school. As a citizen of the Unites States, however, I can be unmoved as yet another functionally illiterate generation is set loose on society.

*These two words together should strike fear into any thinking person.
"Unbiblical, Unnatural and Definitely UnAfrican"
South Africa has joined the Low Countries, Spain, Canada, and Massachusetts in rejecting Natural Law: South African Court Affirms Gay Marriage.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was right when, speaking to the first conference of African Anglican bishops one year ago, he "slammed same sex marriage and homosexuality as 'unbiblical, unnatural and definitely unAfrican'" (from Obasanjo chides same sex marriage, homosexuality).

Here's another example of much-needed orthodoxy on the African continent: Malawi rejects 'pro-gay' bishop.
A New Blog Link
To my sidebar I've added KoreanAmerican, run by a gentleman who goes by nom-de-blog "baduk." He's one blogger who's not afraid to tell it like it is or call 'em as he sees 'em. His commentary on Dr. Hwang's ethical violations is particularly good: A Korean Liar and We gotcha, you lying SOB. He also calls "Dolly" a hoax, perhaps rightly.
Neither Dogma nor Doctrine
The heathen are raging about this story: You're dead right, limbo's gone.

Yet "[limbo] never rose above theological speculation," notes TSO, in a post entitled Easy Targets, going on to say "[w]hatever you think of the concept of Limbo, it seemed a good faith effort on the part of theologians to grapple with Christ's words that Baptism was essential for salvation" and "there's nothing easier than we hip moderns taking cheap shots at dead truth-seekers."
Granola Conservatism
Amy Welborn of open book posts a link to this article by the publisher announcing a new book: Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher.

From the article:
    A Country Con Manifesto

    1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

    2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

    3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

    4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

    5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

    6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

    7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

    8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

    9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”
Here's an article by the author: Birkenstocked Burkeans: Confessions of a granola conservative.

I was granola before I realized I was conservative. In 1989, my first full-time job was at The Lexington Real Foods Community Co-op. While I shared a lot of the beliefs of my Leftist co-workers and customers, I never really understood how abortion and sexual deviancy fit in with the holistic/natural/organic worldview, just as I cannot understand now how suburban sprawl and pre-emtive wars fit in with the Christian/conservative worldview. I still remember the little old lady from The John Birch Society who used to shop there just about every morning. The co-op was really part of the community.
In a post entitled The End, Singaporean Eastern Orthodox blogger Constantine quotes from a letter written by convicted drug smuggler Nguyen Tuong Vân, who was hanged yesterday:
    Amidst these score of painful revelations an unspoken truth was exposed. I found myself in deep sorrow for the true victims; the families of those whom suffer as a result of losing a loved one to drugs. This truth has put many things in perspective for me.
Requiem æternam..
A Few from Lew
Below please find some choice articles from

"When the history of the loss of the Iraq war is written by the losing side – ours – Congressman John Murtha's public opposition to the war will be highlighted as the turning point," writes Gary North in John Murtha: The Turning Point.

Here's a look at one of my favorite directors: The Heart of an Anarchist: Elia Kazan, the Artist as Outsider.

"Left Behind, the bestselling series of paranoid, pro-Israel end-time thrillers, may sound kooky, but America's right-wing leaders really believe this stuff:" Fundamentally unsound. [N.B.: President Bush & Co. are not right-wingers, nor are Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.]
Girl-Next-Door Turned Muslim Suicide Bomber
"I can only imagine the uproar in the Muslim world if a Christian had persuaded a Muslim woman to convert and then kill herself," says The Catholic Report's Dave Hartline, linking to the disturbing story of Belgium's girl-next-door turned Muslim suicide bomber: Local Tie to Baghdad Blast Shocks Belgium*.

The above story is one more reason why our bishops are right here: Catholics should not marry Muslims, say Italian bishops [link via Seattle Catholic].

*Use to bypass registration.
Today's Memorial

Saint Francis Xavier

Apostle to the Far East

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

Friday, December 02, 2005

An Antiwar War Movie
    This story is neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war...
So reads the title card of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), a timeless and powerful statement about the absurdity of war, and of the collectivist mass-mind that produces it.
Here is an exchange between two soldiers during a lull in the fighting:
    Well, how do they start a war?

    Well, one country offends another...

    How could one country offend another? You mean there's a mountain in Germany gets mad at a field over in France?

    Well, stupid, one people offends another.

    Oh, if that's it, I shouldn't be here at all. I don't feel offended.
The film, based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, is exceptional not only for its message and story, but also for its technical achievements. Its battle-scenes are every bit as horrific and convincing as those of Saving Private Ryan (1998) or We Were Soldiers (2002), perhaps even more so, but without the now requisite blood-on-the-camera-lens gore.

At the beginning of the film, a German professor urges his students to fight for their fatherland with this line from anicent Rome: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. "You still think it's beautiful to die for your country," says the main character meeting his professor years later. "The first bombardment taught us better. When it comes to dying for country, it's better not to die at all."

The English apparently used this line to rouse their boys to the War to End All Wars as well, as evidenced by this poem by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), who died seven days before the Armistice:

    Dulce Et Decorum Est
    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

    GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.
Below is a must-listen from the above site of Owens Poetry:
    Click this sound icon to hear an extract from a letter written in July 1918 by Wilfred Owen to Sir Osbert Sitwell. In the letter he reflects on his duties as an officer and compares his soldiers to Christ as he prepares them for battle.