Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dies Cinerum
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. As a sub-chief among sinners (calling myself chief would be an occasion of pride), I look forward to this opportunity for penance each year, but always end up more disappointed with myself, which might be what it's all about.
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Taking the lead from the late Gerard Serafin Bugge of A Catholic Blog for Lovers and blogfaster extraordinaire Jeff Culbreath of Hallowed Ground, I'll be blogfasting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the next forty days or so, in addition to more traditional fasting.

See you on Thursday.
Yesterday at my university bookstore, I took a look at the dozen or so imported titles in English. All were best-sellers, including those books about the teenage warlock, the one that suggests men and women are from different planets, and several by that Brazilian new-age novelist, in other words, none that would interest me.

Then there was one with a provocative question on its back: "Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?" [The former, of course.] The book was Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything:
I tend to avoid books published within the last 50 years or so, especially best-sellers, but this one looked interesting. It looked to be filled with trivia, something I love. I went on-line to look for some reviews, and decided to buy the book after reading Jimmy Akin's (Freakonomics), two from Lew Rockwell's site (Freakonomics: The Blinders of Conventionality by Bill Walker and Freakonomics by Doug French), and one from that Jezzie rag (Deconstructing Reality).

The book stirred some controversy by suggesting that legalized abortion has produced a drop in crime in the United States. I fail to understand why this or Bill Bennett's comments were controversial. Of couse abortion has reduced crime! Coupled with prenatal screening, it is also reducing Down's Syndrome. Infant euthanasia in Holland is reducing Spina Bifida. Oregon's euthanasia program is reducing the responsibilities children have for their parents, thus giving them more freedom to pursue their lifestyles. Hilter's euthanasia program got off to a good start in cleaning up the German gene-pool quite nicely. Mao and Pol Pot helped people experience country living. Suggested reading for believers in Transhumanism and all its Satanic manifestations: Brave New World.

Another book I'm in the midst of is Father Elijah: An Apocalypse:
I have to admit, I didn't take the book too seriously at first, although I found it quite entertaining. It reminded me a bit of the only Steven King book I ever read or will read, The Stand, which I remember thoroughly enjoying in high school. The book employs all the turns of phrase that orthodox Catholics use, so much so that I was almost put off; it seemed too strained. I feel more comfortable with Saint Flannery's groping and grotesque Protestants, I guess, or the agnostics of Waugh, Greene, and Percy.

As I read on, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse grows on me more and more. There is some serious theology and eschatology embedded in its pages. It's a great book, both edifying and entertaining. I highly recommend it.
An Ex-Army Interrogator Who Sarved at Abu Ghraib Speaks
"No slope is more slippery, I learned in Iraq, than the one that leads to torture," says Anthony Lagouranis, who served in Iraq (including Abu Ghraib) as an Army interrogator, in Tortured Logic*.

*Use to bypass registration.
"The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration"
This article explores, or rather pokes fun at, a potential consequence of female infanticide sex-selective abortion in Asia: Asia's Hormonic Convergence*. Here's the scenario in a nutshell: "Asia has too many boys. They can't find wives, but they just might find extreme nationalism instead."

Here's how the problem came about:
    The problem began 20 years ago, when ultrasound technology gave Asian women a cheap way to determine the sex of their unborn babies, writes Martin Walker, editor of United Press International. In China and other Asian nations, millions of women chose to abort female fetuses so they could instead give birth to boys. Consequently, those countries will soon have millions more men than women.

    The result, says Walker, will be "mass sexual frustration." By 2020, he writes, China alone could have "40 million frustrated bachelors."
There is historical precedent:
    Back in the 19th century, famine caused a rash of female infanticide in northern China, Walker writes, citing the work of Valerie Hudson, a Brigham Young University scholar. The result was unmarried guys forming "bandit gangs" and running amok in what came to be known as the Nien Rebellion.
This problem is not new and it also exists in Korea. We discussed the male-female imbalance in one of my first classes in Korea back in the 20th Century. When we started to talk about solutions, a rather grim 30-year-old bachelor stated bleakly, "We must have a war."

*Use to bypass registration.
A Korean Imam Speaks
I take issue with this statement by Imam Sulaiman Lee Haeng-lae, quoted in Spreading Islam's Message of Peace:
    [T]he prophet spread messages of peace and equality around 1,400 years ago when every ruler wielded their powers to kill people.
The Imam seems to be confusing the heresiarch for One who walked the earth 600 years ealier. The Imam begs to asked, "What Happened to the Jews of Medina?"
Korean Karaoke Rooms
From GNP Secretary General Sacked Over Fondling Scandal:
    The incident happened when the party moved on to a karaoke room at the same restaurant at around 10:10 p.m. after Park and the daily’s editor had left. Choi reportedly hugged the reporter, who was sitting next to him, from behind and fondled her breast. The reporter jumped up and protested before leaving the room. The other reporters complained to Choi, who was quoted as saying, “I’m sorry. I thought she was the owner” of the restaurant.
Sadly, if she had been the owner there would have been nothing wrong with the lecher's behavior, at least from a culturally relativist point of view.

One of my eye-opening experiences in Korea was going to a karaoke room with a member of the Anglican parish I was attending. He was a professor and I knew his wife and son. He got drunk quick, called a woman into the room, and began sloppily fondling her right there in front of me, the only other person in the room. I came to learn that such bevahvior was par for the course.

Another such incident occured last year, when a group of managers I was teaching took me to a karaoke room to celebrate the end of a course. Three girls who worked the establishment provided entertainment, which included singing and dancing. It came time for the eldest manager to demand the girls to stand in the front of the room, give a self-introduction and describe their first sexual experience. They were given the choice of either lifting their blouses or lowering their skirts. Among the managers was my son's godfather, my compadre. Providentially, I was engrossed in conversation with him when the girls' humiliation occured. Neither of is looked up and we were able to avoid mortal sin.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard Koreans boast of their conservative sexual mores vis-à-vis American degeneracy! Now, I'm not one to defend the cesspool that is American popular culture, but neither can it be said that lechery and humiliation of women are traditional values worthy of conserving.
Cardinal Cheong Gets Off to a Good Start
Here's some of what His Eminence said in Cardinal Demands NK Admit Priests:
    We have demanded several times Pyongyang accept Catholic priests of any nationality. However, North Korea kept saying it is not time yet....

    We have demanded several times Pyongyang accept Catholic priests of any nationality. However, North Korea kept saying it is not time yet....

    A rumor has it that there [sic] around some 1,000 to 3,000 North Korean Catholics. It needs confirming.
Pope John Paul the Great called them the Church of Silence.
The Church's Prophetic Stance in Vietnam
Protecting life against death culture: "This was the focus of three meetings organised in Ho Chi Minh City, where 74,264 abortions took place in the first nine months of 2005."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fat Tuesday's DVD Pick
Orfeu Negro (1959) is the ideal film to watch tomorrow. Not only is its background the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the movie is full of legitimate pleasures, filmed in glorious Eastmancolor, that we might do well to deny ourselves during Lent: a beautiful pagan myth, some of the best popular music ever recorded, and, yes, the exquisite loveliness of lead actress Marpessa Dawn.
Science -- the Natural Outgrowth of Christian Doctrine
Thus begins An old theology for modern times: A review of Rodney Stark's Victory of Reason:
    Contrary to the usual teaching of the Middle Ages as a Dark Age, cut off from the wonders of Roman architecture and technology, Dr. Stark shows that medieval Europeans were healthier, freer, and more prosperous than the average Roman. Freed from Roman imperial despotism, medieval Europeans developed and expanded technologies that the Romans never did, because Romans were content to use slave labor. Christian Europe eliminated slavery on the principle of the equality of man before God, developed local systems of mutual obligation and quickly made widespread application of new technologies.

    Victory of Reason brings a new and much needed perspective on the history of Western civilization. While the Greeks talked about reason, their religious beliefs kept them from applying it and achieving what Christian Europeans did. The universe, in the Greek view—like that of modern secularists—was eternal and uncreated, locked into an endless cycle of progress and decay. This idea promotes endless speculation but prevents the development of and search for immutable physical principles. Man was essentially a victim of the arbitrary and capricious gods he had made in his own image, yet could never understand. But the Christian God was a God of order and rationality, revealed in a written standard and immutable principles that man, by study and reason, could not only understand but applied to all aspects of life. The Christian view of reason made the so-called Dark Ages a period of profound enlightenment in both the material and intellectual spheres, which, when combined with Christian doctrines of moral equality, created a whole new world based on political, economic, and personal freedom.

    Countering contemporary secularists’ claim that Christianity inhibits science and progress, Dr. Stark says that Greek learning was a barrier to science, because it was based on fundamental assumptions that were antithetical to science, viewing the world as a huge, conscious, living organism having both intellect and soul. Science is the natural outgrowth of Christian doctrine, which held the unique conviction that progress was a God-given obligation, entailed in the gift of reason (One might also compare the fruit of Jimmy Carter’s inaugural vision that the American people can no longer expect progress as their birthright with the grand visions of Presidents Reagan and Bush).
I have to dispute that last bit of parenthetical silliness on the part of the reviewer Judith Niewiadomski, but the rest is spot-on. I remember as an elementary student reading the Black Legend about the Middle Ages and on the same page seeing the pictures of the Gothic Cathedrals, which surpassed in both technique and beauty anything antiquity, or our own age, could produce, and suspected something was amiss. I am now trying to dismiseducate myself: The Thirteenth, Greatest of Centuries.

Victory of Reason also delves into economics:
    Capitalism (the investment of wealth to increase productivity and wealth, rather than merely consuming it) requires free markets, unforced labor and secure property rights. Dr. Stark traces its development from self-sufficient medieval monastic estates to their expansion and specialization into centers of economic growth as they added schools, offices, workshops, and storehouses and reinvested their income in better technology and buying more land to farm.

    A wealthy Roman family required huge estates (worked by slaves) to live in style. In the Middle Ages, thanks to the monastic principles of simple living, hard work, and good management, capitalism brought immense wealth to orders having only modest flocks and fields. In non-Christian societies, the wealthy looked down upon work and commerce. Even Eastern holy men meditated and lived by charity, while Christian monks lived by their own labor, sustaining highly productive estates. Italian city-states were another example of medieval capitalism, the first instance of communities that lived entirely by trade.
The review goes on to show how the book explains the difference in wealth between the former British colonies in North America and those of Spain in Latin America, something that always troubled me as a Catholic:
    Of particular interest in these days of eminent domain debate are Dr. Stark’s insights on command economies and property rights. Despotic states produce universal avarice. When wealth is subject to devastating taxes and the constant threat of usurpation, the challenge is to keep one’s wealth, not to make it productive. But a capitalist economy maximizes productivity, since private property is secure and work is not coerced. Thus, people benefit directly from their productive efforts, which motivate them to produce more. Contrasting British colonies in North America with Spain’s in Latin America demonstrates the difference.

    The British colonies were founded on production, the Spanish colonies on extraction. England was a land of shopkeepers, i.e., small businessmen; Spain was a land of huge (feudal) estates and agricultural laborers only slightly above serfdom. Spanish colonies were settled by those who did not plan to stay but merely to sojourn in pursuit of sudden wealth, whereas British colonies were founded by those seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity, men and women alike, who committed themselves to a new life. British colonies enjoyed a high level of local political autonomy based on relatively democratic institutions. The Spanish colonies were ruled by oligarchies.
This gives evidence to somethng that an Anglospherist from Albion's Seedlings once pointed out in the comments to this blog, something that gave me much pause to think. The secret to the Anglosphere's success is not a Protestant work ethic but its preservation of "medieval constitutionalism." [See these posts: Danish "Democracy" and Anglosphere Liberty, Medieval Constitutionalism, Part Two, and Is the Anglosphere "Really" About Protestantism?]

This next bit suggests that Spain's economy, at least in its imperial holdings, was less Medieval than it was Roman:
    Spain’s economy, like Rome’s, was based not on what individuals produced but upon what it took from others, enriching a few while impoverishing others. Government’s limitations on business and production and high taxes suppressed production and investment. Not only did the immense wealth brought back to Spain bring no significant development to Spain, which remained an undeveloped, feudal nation, Spanish imperialism also destroyed capitalism in Italy and the Netherlands.
The idea is continued in the next sentence. I'm not sure if the author was aware of the pregnant warning it contains for both neoconservative empire-builders and free-traders who think that a country can survive as a "service economy" without producing anything:
    The costs of empire bled immense wealth from Spain, helping to preserve it as a nation of impoverished peasants dependent on imports not only for manufactured products, but even for sufficient food.
Judith Niewiadomski's review has a few modernistic faults, but the book itself looks well worth a read.
The LA Times takes a look at the practice: Catholics Not Wedded to Practice of Tithing: A study shows they give less than Protestants do. Experts attribute the difference to a lack of a feeling of ownership toward the church.*

Frankly, I don't really care what the "experts" say.

The Catholic Church in Korea suggests 3%. This offertory suggestion from St. Cyril of Jerusalem parish, quoted in the article, makes sense: "10% of take-home pay; 5% directly to the parish; 5% to the poor and other charities." Msgr. Carl Bell, pastor of that parish, noting that so many young couples in his parish were struggling to pay mortgages, was quoted with the following:
    It's awkward to talk about money... I am not a fundraiser.
Here's a confession. Tithing was the issue that indirectly brought about my decision to leave our Anglican parish. Rightly or wrongly, for a variety of reasons I was giving less than 10%. Our parish was small and rather poor, as it was attended mostly by housewives. Its pastor, in a homily, mentioned that someone in the congregation propably made a certain salary, he quoted a figure, and was only giving so much, quoting another figure. It was obvious that I was the one being described. I was put off by this parish for other personal, not doctrinal issues, and I stuck around for a year or so. When I was about ready to get confirmed, a new pastor again brought up money rather directly. Although the priest was right, I was put off, due to sinful pride, and sent a humble email to the Anglican bishop in Pusan that I was not ready for confirmation.

My wife and I began to look for a new church. I was not interested in Korean Presbyterianism, as I was at the time moving toward Anglo-Catholicism. The nearest Orthodox parish, my first choice, was about two hours away. My wife suggested the Catholic Church, into which her sister had married, and I reluctantly accepted her suggestion. I was put off at first by the liturgy, which was inferior in beauty to that of the Korean Anglicans, but stuck it out and read some Church history. We went for instruction a few months later. I was handed a rosary by a nun the first night and was hooked.

Thus, being a tightwad led me to the Catholic Church.

*Use to bypass registration.
"The Korean Wave"
An article on the "widespread popularity of Korean pop culture in East Asia:" Hallyu, Cultural Coexistence or Imperialism?
Korea's New Prince of the Church

    Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk cerebrates his first mass since being appointed cardinal last Wednesday at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on Sunday.
[image and text from Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition)]
"Psychoanalysts have no business acting like scientists:" A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Measure [use to bypass NY Times registration].

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Deprogramming the Cult of a Monster
This was sent to me by an old friend: Che: Revolutionary, movie star, killing machine.

The article quotes jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera, who castigated Carlos Santana with the following words for wearing the ubiquitous t-shirt with the image of the murderous antichrist:
    One of those Cubans [at La Cabaña] was my cousin Bebo, who was imprisoned there precisely for being a Christian. He recounts to me with infinite bitterness how he could hear from his cell in the early hours of dawn the executions, without trial or process of law, of the many who died shouting, 'Long live Christ the King!'
Guevera, it shall be remembered, was the comandant at La Cabaña gulag, and personally oversaw the executions of four to five hundred Cuban patriots.

Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, Patrona de Cuba, ora pro nobis.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Korea's Cardinals

    Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, right, Seoul's Roman Catholic archbishop, with Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan at Namcheon Cathedral in Busan yesterday for the consecration of Bishop Hwang Chul-soo of the Busan diocese.
[image and text from INSIDE JoongAng Daily]
Lord, Have Mercy on Us
I would be remiss to link to stories of Muslim atrocities against Christians and not do the same when the tables are turned: Nigerian Christians Burn Corpses*. Let me just say, I don't remember seeing the word "Muslims" in the headlines a few days ago when it was Christians and their churches being targeted**. That, of course, would be inflammatory.

Obviously, using the excuse that they attacked us first, while true, is not particularly Christian. Self-defense, yes. Revenge, no. But the last thing the longsuffering Christians of Nigeria need is a lecture in Gospel 101 from me.

Here is some background: Nigerian religious riots continue and Nigeria Counts 100 Deaths Over Danish Caricatures.

The troubles in Nigeria, like those in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, are at their root ethnic and not religious. The troubles in Northern Ireland are essentially a continuation of the same conflict that began 1500 years ago with the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the British Islands. As everyone knows, Nigeria is an artificial colonial amalgamation of various nations, among them Christian Igboland*** in the south and Muslim Hausaland in the north.

*Use to bypass registration.

**Skeptical? Compare the headlines from Yahoo! News Search Results for nigeria christians with those of Yahoo! News Search Results for nigeria muslims.

***Aka the Biafra Nation. This is one of the most interesting and informative sites I've come across in a long time. It takes while to load because of its beautiful music, with lyrics about Liberty and God, which is well worth the wait. The section entitled Jihad Toll is particularly noteworthy.

Here's an article from another Biafran source: Nigerian Government Wages War on the Catholic Church: Bishops, Priests, Laity Targeted. The article notes that "[a] highly reliable and authoritative ecclesiastical source accused the Obasanjo regime of still carrying a vendetta against the Catholic Church in Igboland for its pro-Biafra role during the Nigeria-Biafra War."
H5N1 in the ROK
Cases from as early as 2003 have been disclosed: Four Human Bird Flu Infections Confirmed. Better late than never, I suppose.

I guess these four weren't eating their kimchi. The kimchi air-conditioner will surely prevent any future cases: A Spicy Air Conditioner Seeks to Battle Bird Flu.
Crunchy Con Round-up
Mr. Jim Curley of Bethany provides links to the discussion on Rob Dreher's book in a post entitled Crunchy Cons-here, there, and everywhere, in which he makes this excellent point:
    [T]hose who think Rob Dreher is restating the obvious in some of his 'manifesto' points may need to take a look again at those on the national scene who call themselves conservatives and also on a personal level among those whom you know. Do they really practice the conservatism they preach or that people associate with convervatism? OR are these conservatives really only concerned financial prosperity and only give those "Permanent Things" lip-service?
A Good Article on Democracy...
by OhmyNews International's Bright Augustine Simons: Why Populism Is Not Democracy
Saint Flannery
Mr. William Luse offers an enlightening analysis of one of her most famous stories: A Good Man is Hard to Find - The Search for Meaning.
Persecution of Christ in Asia
The usual suspects are up to their old tricks: Two underground priests arrested in Hebei and Christian singer beaten in Islam conversion attempt.

Say a prayer for Fr. Lu Genjun, Fr. Guo Yanli, and A. Nayyar.

Friday, February 24, 2006

"The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith."
So observed Hilaire Belloc. Here are some stats on both, from Europe: Church Attendance High in Catholic Countries, Protestants Less Keen on Worship:
    Europeans are not the world’s most notorious churchgoers. But Catholic and Orthodox countries register relatively high attendance figures compared to predominantly Protestant nations. This is the result of a study by the research group World Views in Mastershausen, Germany, based on statistics of the European Union. According to the secular institute, Catholic Poland has the highest figures with 56.7 percent of the population going to mass on any given Sunday. Runner up is Portugal – also predominantly Catholic – with 30 percent, followed by Greece (Orthodox) with 24.5 percent. Worship figures in Protestant countries are significantly lower. Switzerland – mainly of the reformed Calvinist tradition – has the highest Protestant church attendance with 13 percent. In Germany, where Protestants and Catholics represent a third of the population each, the figure is 8.2 percent. At the bottom of the list are Scandinavian and Baltic countries: Sweden and Estonia (3.9 percent each) and Denmark (3.2).
[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

Always one to be reminded of something, I thought of this passage of dialogue from Father Elijah: An Apocalypse (review forthcoming):
    It is a fascinating phenomenon... that the fault-line of the northern Reformation corresponds more or less to the old frontiers of the Roman Empire. Civilization and Catholicism to the south; barbarians, and hence Protestantism, to the north.
Hwang Woo-suk's Partner in Crime Gerald Schatten
Phony research helped gain $16 million federal grant
DPRK Human Rights
Reverend Benjamin Yoon, founder of the Citizens' Alliance for North Korea Human Rights, quoted in Chrsitians lead Korea rights drive:
    Now, because of the [South Korean] government's engagement policy toward the North, speaking out against human rights abuses in the North is regarded as reactionary and rightist.
[link via From the Nakdong to the Yalu]
"Patriot, Soldier, and Statesman"
Stand Watie and the Confederate Indians
Rethinking Democracy
Two articles from the latest issue of The American Conservative do just that.

The first explores something that our president seems not to understand, that liberty cannot be imposed on a people: Democracy & Its Discontents: Voting doesn’t produce peace—much less desirable outcomes—in societies that lack the foundations of a liberal order. I'm reminded of the following passages about Edmund Burke (1729–1797) from Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind:
    Liberty, Burke knew, had risen through an elaborate and delicate process, and its perpetuation depended upon retaining those habits of thought and action which guided the savage in his slow and weary ascent to the state of civil and social man. All his life, Burke's chief concern had been for justice and liberty, which must stand or fall together-- liberty under law, a definite liberty, the limits of which were determined by prescription. He had defended the liberties of Englishmen against their king, and the liberties of Americans against king and parliament, and the liberties of Hindus against Europeans. He had defended those liberties not because they were innovations, discovered in the Age of Reason, but because they were ancient prerogatives, guaranteed by immemorial usage. Burke was liberal because he was conservative. And this cast of mind Tom Paine was wholly unable to appreciate. [emphasis mine]
The second examines postmodernist liberty as we know it without the "limits... determined by prescription" mentioned above: Don’t Democratize: Deterrence worked with the Soviets. Why not Iran? Here's a particularly rousing paragraph:
    The main difference between Woodrow Wilson and the neocons today is that the universalist ideology that they use to liquidate recalcitrant societies contains a double strychnine dose of one-world economic globalization plus the homogenized trash culture of MTV and its associated vices of drugs and sex. Western opponents of the “evil empire” were right when they calculated that the slab-faced old Commies sitting behind desks in Moscow would be no match for the pony-tailed new Commies who sang with John Lennon, “Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, No religion too.” Just as the walls of Jericho were brought down by trumpets, and just as General Noriega was flushed out of the Papal Nunciature in Managua in 1989 by blaring rock music, so what remained of social conservatism behind the Berlin Wall was instantly dissolved by the hideous cacophony of Western postmodernism.
Fighting the Culture of Death
A story from the world's largest democracy: Church in India Condemns Judge's Sterilization Order: Teachers, Public Servants and Village Leaders Forced to Fulfill a Quota.

Here's a masterful novel, one of the best I've read from India, which touches on the theme of forced sterilization:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fundamentalism of a Different Sort
Joseph Sobran asks,"Is Darwin Holy?"

Here are some excerpts I particularly enjoyed:
    I used to believe in evolution myself, but I took no joy in it. Who could? If atheism is true, then nothing really matters — not even atheism. Even as a kid I could see that. In my atheistic days I thought nothing quite as silly as the militant atheist. I loved the story of Jesus and the Catholic Church, I regretted losing my faith, and I couldn’t understand people who could be enthusiastic about living in a cold, godless universe. I tried to make art — especially Shakespeare and Beethoven — my consolation prizes for the religion I’d lost. At least they made me feel as if I had a soul, even if the cheerless dogma of Darwin said otherwise....

    Modern atheism, waving the banner of Science, has the emotional character of a perverted religion, taking a morbid pleasure in preaching and converting and, in its intolerance, demanding a privileged place in education. This isn’t just “separation of church and state” — two things that are separate by nature anyway. The glee with which Darwinists attack and insult Christianity tells you what they really want, and why the idea of evolution appeals to them.

    Like its nineteenth-century twin, Marxism, Darwinism demonstrates the profound truth of the adage that misery loves company. Spoiled souls always want to spoil other souls, as the drive for “sex education” also shows. If I can’t be innocent, neither can you! “Ye shall be as gods.” The Lord and the serpent both promise that the truth shall make us free, but one of them is lying.
[link via]

I'm reminded of something that Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) wrote in Democracy in America, quoted here as The Brutes Become Gods:
    The materialists are offensive to me in many respects; their doctrines I hold to be pernicious, and I am disgusted at their arrogance.

    If their system could be of any utility to man, it would seem to be by giving him a modest opinion of himself, but these reasoners show that it is not so; and when they think they have said enough to prove that they are brutes, they appear as proud as if they had demonstrated that they are gods.
Finally, also on the topic of Evolutionism is this article that makes me want to dig up my old Devo records: “Backward evolution” spawns ape-like people.
"Crunchy Conservatism"
A conservative blog for peace links to The New Counterculture, a WSJ article about Rod Dreher and his new book:
    [Rod Dreher] cites E.F. Schumacher's decentralist 1973 classic "Small Is Beautiful." He approvingly mentions Richard Weaver (1910-63), the author of "Ideas Have Consequences," and Wendell Berry, a contemporary agrarian poet and essayist. Above all, he extols Russell Kirk, the author of "The Conservative Mind" and a tireless defender of the Permanent Things. Mr. Dreher, in short, identifies himself with the venerable traditionalist school of conservatism that reaches back to Kirk, the Southern Agrarians and beyond: a communitarian conservatism profoundly disturbed not only by secular liberalism but also by the relentless dynamism of modern commercial life.
Anarchy in Somalia
"Somalia has done very well for itself in the 15 years since its government was eliminated," says Yumi Kim, in Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It.

I found the premise of the article rather idealistic, but nonetheless thought-provoking. In linking to the article,'s description of Somalia as having "peace and prosperity" overstates the case quite a bit it seems.
The Jesus Prayer in Arabic
    ربي يسوع المسيح،يا ابن الله،ارحمنا نحن الخطأة
    [ya rabi yasoo almassieh, ya ebne ellah, arhamana nahno el khata]
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
[courtesy of Memoirs of a Catechumen]
Korean Theater
From 'Les Miserables' of North Korea*:
    Perhaps not since Mel Brooks conceived "Springtime for Hitler" in the comedy "The Producers" has there been such an unlikely premise for a musical.

    Chorus lines of goose-stepping soldiers and emaciated political prisoners will prance across the stage when "Yoduk Story," a tear-jerker about a North Korean concentration camp whose name has the resonance of Auschwitz for some Koreans, opens here next month.

    Among the catchy tunes that South Korean theatergoers might soon be humming are "If I Could Walk Freely" and "All I Want Is Rice."
The author seems to be missing a point: just because the musical genre tends to be light-hearted in the US does not mean that it is in the rest of the world. The Korean musicals I have seen on television and the ones my father-in-law enjoys all seem to be tragedies.

*Use to bypass registration.
A Wake-up Call for Anglosphere Monoglots
This may bode well for my students: Global spread of English threatens US, UK: study. I will take this to the classroom, as many Korean students feel they are "forced" to learn English because of American imperialism.
SCOTUS on O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal
In Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, the first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court rightfully decided against the Attorney General: Court Backs Religious Right to Hallucinogenic Tea.
Korea's New Cardinal

South Korea to Have Another Cardinal

Congratulations to Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-Suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of P'yong-yang, and now Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-Suk, on being elevated to the purple: S. Korea's new cardinal supporter of humanitarian aid, bioethics.

His Eminence becomes the country's second cardinal, after Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan.

Archbishop of Seoul and Bioethical Debate is a report on the meeting between the subject of this post and the now-disgraced Korean cloner Hwang Woo-suk, a meeting that left at least one member of the Catholic blogosphere feeling uneasy: Shaking hands with a murderer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Politically correct and thus unclear reporting...
can be found in this article about a gang in France that calls itself "the Barbarians:" Anti-Semitism Is Alleged in French Torture-Killing*. The savages lived up to their chosen name: in his 24 days of captivity, victim Ilan Halimi, 23, was burned over 80% of his body, and his ears and fingers were cut off.

If Nazi skinheads had been reponsible, it would have been mentioned clearly in the first paragraph of the above article, if not in the headline itself, and rightfully so. Instead, to learn who the perpetrators were, the reader must act like a detective to piece together the details of this heinous crime. We learn that they "recited Koranic verses during telephone calls and e-mails" in paragraph seven. In paragraph nineteen, we are assured that there are "no ties between the suspects and the Islamic extremist networks active in France." Paragraph twenty-three tells us that in similar crimes "perpetrators are generally Muslim youths."

While pursuing my Master's Degree in the Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESOL) ten years ago, I learned that English expository writing tends to be "writer-responsible" and that of Asian languages "reader-responsible." This means that in English writing, it is the writer's responsibility to put forth his ideas as clearly and as straighforwardly as possible. ["Tell 'em what you'll say, say it, and then tell 'em what you said."] Nowhere should these be this truer than in journalism. Why then, when Muslims are responsible for some crime, do journalists tend to violate these standards of clear writing?

"The Barbarians," as they rightfully call themselves, should be expelled from Europe, after being guillotined. As for their co-religionists, Europe should consider the former for them. The late Mr. Halimi's people, in contrast, have lived in Europe for centuries and contributed greatly to her culture.

*Use to bypass registration.
Paul Craig Roberts writes about the Conservative Political Action Conference: Conservatives Endorse the Fuhrer Principle.

The only beef I have with the article is the use of the word "conservatives" its title. It seems that paleo-conservatives and paleo-libertarians are increasingly allowing the neo-conservatives to claim the title as their own.
Toby Dawson and Lost Children in Korea
This story, if true, is tragic: S Korean claims US skier his son. Here's the claim:
    Dawson, 27, was adopted by US parents in 1982, from an orphanage in Seoul who did not know who his parents were.

    Kim Jae-su, 52, said his lost son went missing during a shopping trip with his mother near a market in the South Korean city of Busan, in 1981.

    Dawson was found near the same market, South Korean's Yonhap news agency said.
One of the things I fail to understand here in Korea is how common it seems for children to be permanently separated from their parents after going missing during shopping trips. One hears about these cases on TV shows all the time and signs are seen posted on streets telling similar stories. Yes, the markets here are crowded and I can see how it would be very easy to lose a small child, but it seems that it should not be too difficult to reunite a lost child with his parents.

Perhaps the blame can be placed on Korea's rapid modernization and its destruction of community, societal, and even familial bonds. The cynic in me would say that with foreign adoption being such a lucrative business, it would not be in the financial interest of orphanages to help return a lost child to his parents.

Last week, a fellow K-blogger had an informative post On Orphanages.

UPDATE: This excerpt from Olympic Medalist Is My Lost Son, Busan Man Claims, sheds some light on the character of the man claiming to be Mr. Dawson's biological father:
    The Kims say they searched high and low for their lost son. "I didn't think reporting it to the police would be of any help, so I went around looking for him myself," Kim said. The couple covered most orphanages and markets in the city but could only search on their days off and got around on foot or by bus, so their progress was slow.

    Kim says the loss of their child was the cause of bitter fights between the parents and eventually led to their divorce. “The missing person’s report was never adequately filed, so seven or eight years ago we got his summons to present himself for physical examination for military duty." Now Kim says he can barely sleep in anticipation of seeing his first son again soon. He says he is willing to submit to a DNA test to confirm his paternity.
Sorry, but if my son or daughter went missing, I'd report it to the police or anyone else who'd listen, even if I thought it wouldn't be of any help. I'd cover all the orphanages and markets in the evenings or quit my job. I'd adequately file a missing peron's report sometime before eighteen years had passed by.
Freedom of Expression in Europe, or Lack Thereof
"Right-wing British historian David Irving pleaded guilty Monday to denying the Holocaust and was sentenced to three years in prison, even after conceding he wrongly said there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp:" Holocaust Denier Gets Three Years.

For the record, I have no interest in reading this kook's book. This book is more in line with my thinking:
Here also is an article by a Turkish Muslim: The Bloody Alliance Between Darwin and Hitler.
Argumentum ad Eichmannum
Down Under, Liberal opponents of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, have accused him of having an "Eichmann mentality" and complained to the Vatican about his tendency "to go back to the pre-Vatican II position of the Church" in regards to conscience: Pell accused of Catholic 'dictatorship'.

His Eminence is taking it all in stride:
    I think it's a bit of a hoot. I mean, people like Paul Collins, Veronica Brady and Max Charlesworth appealing for protection to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, it's…. the poacher's turned the gamekeeper. I think it's… life is full of surprises, but this is a splendid surprise....

    Everybody knows that we have to use our conscience, we have to… the point as issue is whether our conscience has primacy or is supreme and whether a Catholic can choose to reject central doctrines, central teachings of Jesus Christ and/or the Church and be regarded as a perfectly good Catholic. Now, there's a whole Alice in Wonderland dimension to this.
[link via Seattle Catholic]

Monday, February 20, 2006

"The Argumentum ad Hitlerum"
The War Party has brought it out against Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Churchill, Hitler, and Newt by Patrick J. Buchanan.
The Politically Incorrect Implications of the Cuddle Puddle
"The recent New York Times article on the Cuddle Puddle at Stuyvesant High School unwittingly undermines the legal strategy of the Gay Rights movement:" The Hetero-flexible Gene.
This should be sent to
My son received a sweat-shirt for his upcoming first birthday with the following caption:
    blessed are all who
    take refuge in him

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Presidents' Day Reading
George Washington's Farewell Address should be read in its entirity, but here's a snippet:
    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Sic Semper Tyrannis
A Presidents' Day reading picked up by A conservative blog for peace:
    The American Lenin

    by L. Neil Smith

    It's harder and harder these days to tell a liberal from a conservative -- given the former category's increasingly blatant hostility toward the First Amendment, and the latter's prissy new disdain for the Second Amendment -- but it's still easy to tell a liberal from a libertarian.

    Just ask about either Amendment.

    If what you get back is a spirited defense of the ideas of this country's Founding Fathers, what you've got is a libertarian. By shameful default, libertarians have become America's last and only reliable stewards of the Bill of Rights.

    But if -- and this usually seems a bit more difficult to most people -- you'd like to know whether an individual is a libertarian or a conservative, ask about Abraham Lincoln.

    Suppose a woman -- with plenty of personal faults herself, let that be stipulated -- desired to leave her husband: partly because he made a regular practice, in order to go out and get drunk, of stealing money she had earned herself by raising chickens or taking in laundry; and partly because he'd already demonstrated a proclivity for domestic violence the first time she'd complained about his stealing.

    Now, when he stood in the doorway and beat her to a bloody pulp to keep her home, would we memorialize him as a hero? Or would we treat him like a dangerous lunatic who should be locked up, if for no other reason, then for trying to maintain the appearance of a relationship where there wasn't a relationship any more? What value, we would ask, does he find in continuing to possess her in an involuntary association, when her heart and mind had left him long ago?

    History tells us that Lincoln was a politically ambitious lawyer who eagerly prostituted himself to northern industrialists who were unwilling to pay world prices for their raw materials and who, rather than practice real capitalism, enlisted brute government force -- "sell to us at our price or pay a fine that'll put you out of business" -- for dealing with uncooperative southern suppliers. That's what a tariff's all about. In support of this "noble principle", when southerners demonstrated what amounted to no more than token resistance, Lincoln permitted an internal war to begin that butchered more Americans than all of this country's foreign wars -- before or afterward -- rolled into one.

    Lincoln saw the introduction of total war on the American continent -- indiscriminate mass slaughter and destruction without regard to age, gender, or combat status of the victims -- and oversaw the systematic shelling and burning of entire cities for strategic and tactical purposes. For the same purposes, Lincoln declared, rather late in the war, that black slaves were now free in the south -- where he had no effective jurisdiction -- while declaring at the same time, somewhat more quietly but for the record nonetheless, that if maintaining slavery could have won his war for him, he'd have done that, instead.

    The fact is, Lincoln didn't abolish slavery at all, he nationalized it, imposing income taxation and military conscription upon what had been a free country before he took over -- income taxation and military conscription to which newly "freed" blacks soon found themselves subjected right alongside newly-enslaved whites. If the civil war was truly fought against slavery -- a dubious, "politically correct" assertion with no historical evidence to back it up -- then clearly, slavery won.

    Lincoln brought secret police to America, along with the traditional midnight "knock on the door", illegally suspending the Bill of Rights and, like the Latin America dictators he anticipated, "disappearing" thousands in the north whose only crime was that they disagreed with him. To finance his crimes against humanity, Lincoln allowed the printing of worthless paper money in unprecedented volumes, ultimately plunging America into a long, grim depression -- in the south, it lasted half a century -- he didn't have to live through, himself.

    In the end, Lincoln didn't unite this country -- that can't be done by force -- he divided it along lines of an unspeakably ugly hatred and resentment that continue to exist almost a century and a half after they were drawn. If Lincoln could have been put on trial in Nuremburg for war crimes, he'd have received the same sentence as the highest-ranking Nazis.

    If libertarians ran things, they'd melt all the Lincoln pennies, shred all the Lincoln fives, take a wrecking ball to the Lincoln Memorial, and consider erecting monuments to John Wilkes Booth. Libertarians know Lincoln as the worst President America has ever had to suffer, with Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson running a distant second, third, and fourth.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, adore Lincoln, publicly admire his methods, and revere him as the best President America ever had. One wonders: is this because they'd like to do, all over again, all of the things Lincoln did to the American people? Judging from their taste for executions as a substitute for individual self-defense, their penchant for putting people behind bars -- more than any other country in the world, per capita, no matter how poorly it works to reduce crime -- and the bitter distaste they display for Constitutional "technicalities" like the exclusionary rule, which are all that keep America from becoming the world's largest banana republic, one is well-justified in wondering.

    The troubling truth is that, more than anybody else's, Abraham Lincoln's career resembles and foreshadows that of V.I. Lenin, who, with somewhat better technology at his disposal, slaughtered millions of innocents -- rather than mere hundreds of thousands -- to enforce an impossibly stupid idea which, in the end, like forced association, was proven by history to be a resounding failure. Abraham Lincoln was America's Lenin, and when America has finally absorbed that painful but illuminating truth, it will finally have begun to recover from the War between the States.

    L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

    Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the author -- provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.

Ut Unum Sint
Seattle Catholic today links to this potentially great news: "The end of the schism" - Turning Point in Rome-FSSPX talks.
Vive la France!
Neocons love nothing better than to bash the French Republic for her refusal to buy into Mr. Bush's War. True, the country once known as the "Eldest Daughter of the Church" has been responsible for its share of tomfoolery since the Enlightenment, but this article picked up by Seattle Catholic shows that France has not yet gone completely over the edge into the abyss:Let us remember that France, or at least her capital, has been called "the nursery of saints and antichrists," according to Mr. Jeff Culbreath of Hallowed Ground.
A Tangential Post on the War Between the States
Dappled Things' Fr. Tucker today links to a very interesting article from Washington's Moonie newspaper, 5 ex-presidents had roles to play, about Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan.

This tidbit boosted my opinion of fellow Buffalonian Millard Fillmore:
    After Lincoln's assassination, a mob attacked his house because he neglected to drape it in black for mourning.
Franklin Pierce's opinion was closest to my own:
    Although Pierce was a Unionist and opposed secession, he viewed the South as a victim and felt that anti-slavery forces were to blame for bringing about the war.
A careful, critical read of the article shows that far from being the epic struggle of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil that our history books depict, the so-called Civil War was, like all other wars, quite complex. Nuanced positions were possible, like that of Orestes Brownson (1803–1876), the pro-Union, anti-abolitionist, anti-slaveholding journalist and author of the second best book about the United States, The American Republic: Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny.

Slavery, of course, was an abomination, but let's place blame where blame is due, as noted by Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), author of the best book about the United States, Democracy in America, from which comes the following, from a fascinating chapter entitled THE PRESENT AND PROBABLE FUTURE CONDITION OF THE THREE RACES THAT INHABIT THE TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES:
    When I see the order of nature overthrown, and when I hear the cry of humanity in its vain struggle against the laws, my indignation does not light upon the men of our own time who are the instruments of these outrages; but I reserve my execration for those who, after a thousand years of freedom, brought back slavery into the world once more.
Let us not forget that it was Catholicism, during the so-called Dark Ages, that ushered in that "thousand years of freedom."

This last point is elaborated upon in ABORTION AND THE GAY AGENDA: SECULARISM'S BIG GUNS, an article linked to by Seattle Catholic, which begins:
    For approximately one thousand years after the fall of Rome, European civilization comprised a religion (Roman Catholicism), a morality (based on the revealed word of God and the natural law implanted in man by his Creator), and a political hegemony (in which the Church was both a secular ruler and a moral and spiritual influence on other rulers.) This “Catholic Civilization” was not seriously threatened by numerous dissenters who, from time to time, sought to weaken the Church and obtain a greater freedom either for themselves or for one of the new Nation-States.

    The Protestant Revolution (to give it its accurate name) seriously weakened the authority and the influence of the Church. In the political sphere, it strengthened existing political powers and gave rise to new ones, many of which broke their ties with the Church in order to preserve their independence. The rulers of these kingdoms often solidified their political power by appropriating Church property and doling it out to their supporters. They also appropriated religious authority (Cuius regio, eius religio). In the moral sphere, even though the Protestant powers retained and continued to enforce the Judeo-Christian ethical system, the weakening of the Church and the Catholic Faith, and the strengthening of the secular state, laid the groundwork for the secularization of morality.
A Capitalist Critique of Capitalism
Conservatives run into trouble when they make Capitalism into a utopian ideology. Here is an article about an economist who "laments the excessive attention given to stock market prices, instead of the intrinsic values of corporations:" Capitalism in the Dock.

Reading it, a few famous quotes came to mind:
    The problem with capitalism is capitalists; the problem with socialism is socialism.
    -- Willi Schlamm

    The problem with capitalism is that there are not enough capitalists.
    -- G. K. Chesterton

    Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others.
    -- Winston Churchill
Panning Scientism
In The God Genome*, Leon Wieseltier offers a blistering review of 'Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon,' by Daniel C. Dennett. Here's how it begins
    Scientism, the view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical, is a superstition, one of the dominant superstitions of our day; and it is not an insult to science to say so. For a sorry instance of present-day scientism, it would be hard to improve on Daniel C. Dennett's book. "Breaking the Spell" is a work of considerable historical interest, because it is a merry anthology of contemporary superstitions.
*Use to bypass registration.
Danish Christians Attack Muslims and Burn Mosques, Killing 15
Now that would be news. Instead, it was a Muslim pogrom against Christians in Nigeria:The fact that these cartoons were published in the Arab world as far back as October 17, 2005, without raising so much as a peep (see Finally, those images of Muhammad!), leads one to conclude that this mob violence is being orchestrated.

Let us not forget that Muslims divide the world between the Dar al-Islam and the Dar al-harb (see Islam’s House of Islam and House of War). Tragically for her devout Christian population, reduced to Dhimmi-status in the north, Nigeria is a country that straddles that border.

Saint Patrick, Patron of Nigeria, ora pro nobis.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Reinstate the Aristocracy!
I find myself in agreement with Tsuneyasu Takeda, great-great grandson of Emperor Meiji: Expert Opposes Woman Monarch.

Rather than resorting to concubinage, Mr. Takeda's proposal to preserve the Chrysanthemum Throne is morally acceptable: he argues that "the aristocracy banned after World War II should be reinstated as a way of broadening the pool of candidates for the throne:"
    Aristocracy families have existed as a backup in case of succession crisis... We should study the past precedence and seek that possibility.
Gee, any connection between these pictures?
These images of the objectification and dehumanization of the human body, juxtaposed in positions four and five respectivley on today's Italian Yahoo's Foto e notizie più inviate, pretty much sum up what the planet pictures when it thinks of what America offers the world:

Sadly, aside from some laudable pockets of countercultural resistence, they offer a pretty accurate image.

And the modernist pagans responsible for the above outrages charge us Catholics with having a negative view of the body, the resurrection of which we profess in the Creeds!
Tradition vs. Modernity (and Post-modernity)
This is a must-read: The Enlightenment's Impact on the Mass. Here's a taste:
    We live in a world for which the language of traditional Christianity is a dead letter. The intellectual frame work, the images, and the moral teaching of the faith no longer color the ordinary consciousness as they once did.

    There are many different strands in the history of thought that have contributed to this condition. The difficulty for the Christian is that many of these strands contain valuable elements.

    There is the Enlightenment with its concern for justice, human rights and due process; or again "the rise of modern science" with its applications to health and technology; or the Romantic movement, with its historical, communitarian and imaginative preoccupations.

    All these in different ways have persuasive and desirable elements. Nonetheless the overall thrust that characterizes them is hostile to the Christian revelation. The efforts of various sorts of Christians to accommodate the Gospel in order to make it acceptable to the world had proved, not surprisingly, destructive of the Christian message.

    I think the attitudes and concepts that we associate with "postmodernism" is toward "liberation" -- especially liberation from the necessity of making judgments.

    Postmodernists are not required to reject or accept anything at all; they are at home with everything from the Nicene Creed to hard pornography, from kitsch to high culture.

    This, they believe, is their escape from what they regard as the harsh, scientific, masculine sort of thinking of modernism. The postmodernists seem to think that they are living beyond value, beyond right and wrong, beyond truth and falsehood.

    I think this attitude has fearful consequences for freedom, for sanity and for any serious version of the Catholic faith.

    Furthermore, I believe postmodernism is used by the self-anointed inheritors of the Enlightenment as one more tool to destroy the authority of tradition, and to wreck the partnership -- of which Edmund Burke wrote so eloquently -- between the dead, the living and yet unborn, and is the only real guarantee of a freedom not based on the whims of sociology departments and high court judges.

    Whether this is viable politics I do not really know; but I believe that something like Burke's attitude is necessary to Catholicism if the Church is to recover its liturgical worship.
The Sixteenth President
"We revisit Abraham Lincoln's statesmanship status, not just the man credited with preserving the Union, emancipating slaves and founding the Republican Party, but the man who presided over the most grievous constitutional contravention in American history:" The Lincoln Legacy Revisited.

Here is an excerpt:
    [H]ad Lincoln's actions been subjected to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention (the first being codified in 1864), he and his principal military commanders, Gen. William T. Sherman heading the list, would have been tried for war crimes. This included waging "total war" against not just combatants, but the entire civilian population. It is estimated that Sherman's march to the sea was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. (Continuing their legacy, after the war, Sherman and Gen. Philip Sheridan waged unprecedented genocide against Native Americans.)
"The Last Paradise"
La Gran Chiquitania, a beautiful site linked to by the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, is dedicated to promoting tourism to the "remote eastern plains of Bolivia's Santa Cruz Department." According to the site, "March 2006 marks the opening of the Lanzamiento Mundial de las Misiones Jesuitícas Chiquitos, when the Jesuit mission settlements will open to the world at large in all their glory." The site includes many fine examples of "mestizo-baroque" art.

I once heard from an Hispanist that all the women of this region resembled Raquel Welch.
Carnival of the Etymologies, a post linked to by Dappled Things' Fr. Tucker, gives the origin of the epithet:
    Gook sprang to life in 1899 as U.S. military slang for "Filipino" during the insurrection there, probably from a native word, or imitative of the babbling sound of their language to American ears. The term goo-goo eyes "soft, seductive eyes" was in vogue c.1900 and it may have contributed to this word somehow, too. But gook was extended over time to "Nicaraguan," "any Pacific Islander" (World War II), "Korean" (1950s), "Vietnamese" and "any Asian" (1960s).
The etymology I was familiar with had it that the word originated among GIs in the Korean War who heard the locals use the work "Mi Guk" [미국 - 美國], meaning "America" or "American," which sounded to them like "me gook."
The Beauties of the Gulags
Back in 2002, 2003, and 2005, North Korea scored a bizarre and rather disturbing propaganda coup by sending to the South an all-female squad of cheerleaders to the Asian Games in Pusan, the Summer Universiade in Taegu, and the Asian Athletics Championships in Inchon. They became the darlings of the useful idiots in the South Korean media.

From N. Korean Cheer Leaders [notice the reunification flags]:
From Asian Athletics Championships [notice the corporate sponsorship]:
Well, it turns out that 21 of these girls are paying dearly for having violated their oath not to tell anyone what they saw in South Korea:
    N.Korean Cheerleaders Banished to Camps

    Women who caught South Korea's attention with their charm and cheerleading antics when they accompanied the North Korean athletes to the Busan Asian Games have ended up in North Korean detention camps.

    Lee Myeong-ho, a former inmate of the Daeheung concentration camp in South Hamgyeong Province who recently escaped to China, said “21 beautiful women” were detained at the camp since the end of last year. “Later I found out that they were the cheerleading team that had gone to South Korea,” he said.

    Lee said since inmates are forbidden to talk to one another, he could not find out for sure what mistake they had made, but the rumor was that they had broken their promise to North Korean security services not to disclose what they had seen in South Korea.

    Another defector explained the cheerleaders are picked among university students, propaganda squad members and music school students from good families. Before they were sent to South Korea, they had to sign a pledge bearing their 10 fingerprints that says if they are going to an enemy country -- Pyongyang’s epithet for the South -- they must fight as soldiers of leader Kim Jong-il and never talk about what they have seen or heard in South Korea once they return. They agree to accept punishment if they break the promise.

    The defector said the Daeheung camp usually houses those convicted of economic crimes with a political dimension but has recently also become a camp for political dissidents. The camp, known as one of the worst in North Korea, is located in a mining area high in ragged mountains where there is hardly any vegetation.

    North Korea first sent 270 cheerleaders to the Busan Asian Games in September 2002. For the 2003 Summer Universiad in Daegu it was 306, and at the 2005 Asian Athletics Championship in Incheon there were 124.

    ( )
[link via From the Nakdong to the Yalu]

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday's Penitential Reading
    The Virtue of Penance

    Penance (poenitentia) designates (1) a virtue; (2) a sacrament of the New Law; (3) a canonical punishment inflicted according to the earlier discipline of the Church; (4) a work of satisfaction enjoined upon the recipient of the sacrament. These have as their common centre the truth that he who sins must repent and as far as possible make reparation to Divine justice. Repentance, i.e., heartfelt sorrow with the firm purpose of sinning no more, is thus the prime condition on which depends the value of whatever the sinner may do or suffer by way of expiation. The Sacrament of Penance will be treated in a separate article; here, we shall deal only with penance considered as a virtue.

    Penance here is a supernatural moral virtue whereby the sinner is disposed to hatred of his sin as an offence against God and to a firm purpose of amendment and satisfaction. The principal act in the exercise of this virtue is the detestation of sin, not of sin in general nor of that which others commit, but of one's own sin. The motive of this detestation is that sin offends God: to regret evil deeds on account of the mental or physical suffering the social loss, or the action of human justice which they entail, is natural; but such sorrow does not suffice for penance. On the other hand, the resolve to amend, while certainly necessary, is not sufficient of itself, i.e., without hatred for sin already committed; such a resolve, in fact, would be meaningless; it would profess obedience to God's law in the future while disregarding the claims of God's justice in the matter of past transgression. "Be converted, and do penance for all your iniquities. . . . Cast away from you all your transgressions . . . and make to yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit" (Ezekiel 18:30-31; cf. Joel, 2:12; Jeremiah 8:6). In the same spirit St. John the Baptist exhorts his hearers: "Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance" (Matthew 3:8). Such too is the teaching of Christ as expressed in the parables of the Prodigal Son and of the Publican; while the Magdalen who "washed out her sins with her tears" of sorrow, has been for all ages the type of the repentant sinner. Theologians, following the doctrine of St. Thomas (Summa, III, Q. lxxxv, a. 1), regard penance as truly a virtue, though they have disputed much regarding its place among the virtues. Some have classed it with the virtue of charity, others with the virtue of religion, others again as a part of justice. Cajetan seems to have considered it as belonging to all three; but most theologians agree with St. Thomas (ibid., a. 2) that penance is a distinct virtue (virtus specialis). The detestation of sin is a praiseworthy act, and in penance this detestation proceeds from a special motive, i. e., because sin offends God (cf. De Lugo, "De paenitentiae virtute"; Palmieri, "De paenitentia", Rome, 1879; theses I-VII.).


    The Council of Trent expressly declares (Sess. XIV, c.i) that penance was at all times necessary for the remission of grievous sin. Theologians have questioned whether this necessity obtains in virtue of the positive command of God or independently of such positive precept. The weight of authority is in favour of the latter opinion; moreover, theologians state that in the present order of Divine Providence God Himself cannot forgive sins, if there be no real repentance (St. Thomas, III:86:2; Cajetan, ibid.; Palmieri, op. cit., thesis VII). In the Old Law (Ezekiel 18:24) life is denied to the man who does iniquity; even "his justices which he has done, shall not be remembered"; and Christ restates the doctrine of the Old Testament, saying (Luke 13:5): "except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish." In the New Law, therefore, repentance is as necessary as it was in the Old, repentance that includes reformation of life, grief for sin, and willingness to perform satisfaction. In the Christian Dispensation this act of repentance has been subjected by Christ to the judgment and jurisdiction of His Church, whensoever there is question of sin committed after the reception of Baptism (Council of Trent, sess. XIV, c. i), and the Church acting in the name of Christ not only declares that sins are forgiven, but actually and judicially forgives them, if the sinner already repentant subjects his sins to the "power of the keys", and is willing to make fitting satisfaction for the wrong he has done.

    Transcribed by Donald J. Boon

Thursday, February 16, 2006

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Added yesterday to my library of film classics purchased at Korean supermarket bargain bins:
A stunning and exciting film, set against the backdrop of Monument Valley, about valor, duty, honor, service, family, patriotism (not nationalism), and all the others things folks used to hold dear.

I found particularly interesting an exchange between Capt. Nathan Brittles, played by John Wayne, and Chief Pony That Walks, in an amazing performance by Chief John Big Tree, who was a model for the Indian Head Nickel and was from my home state of New York. I enjoyed the scene not only for its anti-war (not pacifist) content, but also for its elaboration on the Good Life:
    Pony That Walks: Nathan! Nathan! I am a Christian. Hallelujah. Old friend me. Long time. Long time.

    Nathan Brittles: I come in peace, Pony That Walks.

    Pony That Walks: Take salt, Nathan. Take salt. Smoke pipe. Good, good.

    Nathan Brittles: Pony That Walks, my heart is sad at what I see. Your young men painted for war. Their scalp knives red. The medicine drums talking. It is a bad thing.

    Pony That Walks: A bad thing, Nathan. Many will die. My young men. Your young men. No good. No good.

    Nathan Brittles: We must stop this war.

    Pony That Walks: Too late, Nathan. Young men do not listen to me. They listen to big medicine. Yellow hair. Custer dead. Buffalo come back, great sign. Too late, Nathan. You will come with me. Hunt buffalo together. Smoke many pipes. We are too old for war.

    Nathan Brittles: Yes, we are too old for war... but old men must stop wars.

    Pony That Walks: Too late, too late. Many squaws will sing the death songs. Many lodges will be empty. You come with me. We hunt buffalo, get drunk together. Hallelujah, hallelujah!

    Nathan Brittles: No, old friend, I must go. I go far away.

    Pony That Walks: Then, Nathan, my brother... go in peace.
Friendship, smoking, drinking, hunting, and Christianity! It doesn't get much better than that!

The film also includes a few welcome nods to the C.S.A., like this one at the end when Capt. Brittles'receives word of his promotion from a Lt. Flint Cohill:
    Nathan Brittles: And will you look at these endorsements! Phil Sheridan. William Tecumseh Sherman. Ulysses Simpson Grant, President of the United States of America. There are three aces for you, boy.

    Flint Cohill: I kind of wish you had a full hand.

    Nathan Brittles: Full hand? What do you mean?

    Flint Cohill: Robert E. Lee, sir.
For what it's worth, director John Ford was a cradle Catholic; John Wayne was essentially a death-bed convert. [See The Religious Affiliation of Director John Ford and The Religious Affiliation of John Wayne.]
Themistocles Evangelakos reminds of us The Forgotten Byzantine Era.
Dappled Things' Fr. Tucker, living up to his promise to provide "all things counter, original, spare, strange," links today to some truly amazing Photos of the First Few Microseconds of an Atomic Blast.
Israel's Security Barrier
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is one man who recognizes its threat to Palestinian Christian communities, as Robert Novak notes in Menaced holy land Christians.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fashion Mistakes
Those of us living in Asia are quite familar with seeing atrocious English mistakes on t-shirts and other articles of clothing. Well, check out these hangul jacket designs spotted by Koreanist Antti Leppänen in Rome.
Truman the War Criminal
Below are some select quotes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff:
    [T]he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.
Major General J.F.C. Fuller, one of the century’s great military historians:
    Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified.
The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right:
    [The bombings were] the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law.
The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by
    the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust . . . pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Leo Szilard, the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project:
    If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.
Author Ralph Raico:
    The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.
The Hwang Affair
The LA Times has published some of the uglier details in South Korean Cloning Scandal Takes Toll on Whistle-Blowers*. Here are some excerpts:
    South Korea's MBC Television, which broke the story on the investigative program "PD Notebook," was beset by protests from viewers and advertisers outraged by the affront to a national hero. The broadcaster's stock price crashed, and the program was taken off the air for two weeks.

    It was nasty stuff. Enraged Hwang supporters distributed a photograph on the Internet of the program's producer, Han Hak Soo, his wife and their 4-year-old child.

    "Let's kill those three!" read one message accompanying the photograph.

    Concerned, MBC's management tried to send him to Europe for a three-month training program to place him out of harm's way. Then, when Han was preparing to leave, he was banned from leaving the country because of a lawsuit filed against him.

    "It was as though we had brought down a sacred cow in South Korea, and people were really angry," said Choi Seung Ho, an MBC executive producer....

    Although overwhelming evidence has emerged that Hwang fabricated his most acclaimed results, the scientist still has a core of believers.

    On Feb. 4, one crushed fan immolated himself in Seoul in front of a statue of Yi Sun Shin, a 16th century war hero to whom many South Koreans today are comparing Hwang. The man, in his 50s, had been seen scattering pamphlets calling on Hwang to continue his research. A few hours after the suicide, about 2,000 Hwang supporters marched nearby in frigid darkness carrying candles and waving South Korean flags.

    Some supporters argue that even if Hwang lied, the South Korean media shouldn't have exposed him because it will put the country at a disadvantage with the United States in the competitive biotech industry.

    "You're America's dog," fumed a Hwang loyalist in an angry posting on MBC's online bulletin board. "Those who buried the greatest scientist in the history of the Korean people will incur the wrath of the heavens."
*Use to bypass registration.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This post from the Blog Formerly Known as The Marmot's Hole provides a link to must-see photos of 1930s Korea: Old Korea through photographs.

Here's one interesting comment:
    I am very much displeased that my modern day neighborhood looks dirtier than many of these pictures, shame on modern Koreans!
I agree with Robert, the poster: "I think the problem is with modern man in general..."