Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"The Canadian Church"
A majority of its religious, it seems, are in open revolt: Bishops bowing to Rome, members of religious orders say.

Bishops loyal to Rome! How can that be in this day and age? Can't they feel the spirit of Vatican II? Don't they know that all that stuff about sin and guilt is old hat?

It's high time to pull out The Oath Against Modernism. May God bless the Bishops of Canada and the flocks they shepherd and sustain them in their orthodoxy.

[link to article via Seattle Catholic]
The Jacksonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, and Hamiltonian Schools
This is a fascinating article on the four schools of American foreign-policy thought, focusing on the one the President's base espouses: The Age of Jackson.

Here's what the Jacksonians are all about:
    The Jacksonian American, as Mead describes him both in Special Providence and in his 1999 essay "The Jacksonian Tradition and American Foreign Policy," fits the profile of the conservative Bush voter – and now Bush critic – to a proverbial tee. By their own lights, Jacksonians are populists (and "profoundly suspicious of elites," according to Mead); unselfconsciously patriotic or nationalistic; and deeply religious, with a tendency toward fundamentalism and its emphasis on the individual’s relationship with God. Country music is their quintessential cultural expression.

    They admire self-sufficiency, but unlike Jeffersonian libertarians, Jacksonians are not averse to finding a positive role for government as long as it fights on the right side of the cultural divide. "Jacksonians believe that government should do everything in its power to promote the well-being – political, moral, economic – of the folk community," Mead writes. The military is part of that community: "When it comes to Big Government, Jeffersonians worry more about the military than about anything else. But for Jacksonians, spending money on the military is one of the best things governments do."

    Moreover, "while Jeffersonians espouse a minimalist realism under which the United States seeks to define its interests as narrowly as possible and defend those interests with an absolute minimum of force, Jacksonians approach foreign policy in a very different spirit – one in which honor, concern for reputation, and faith in military institutions play a much greater role." This honor, Mead notes, "in the Jacksonian imagination is not simply what one feels oneself to be on the inside; it is also a question of the respect and dignity one commands in the world at large."

    The trait that most sets Jacksonians apart is their attitude toward war. They are fierce, brave, and, all too often, bloodthirsty. As they see it, "Our diplomacy must be cunning, forceful and no more scrupulous than anybody else’s. At times, we must fight pre-emptive wars. [Mead wrote this in 1999.] There is absolutely nothing wrong with subverting foreign governments or assassinating foreign leaders whose bad intentions are clear. Thus, Jacksonians are more likely to tax political leaders with a failure to employ vigorous measures than to worry about the niceties of international law."

    Jacksonians made Bush’s administration – providing both his hawkish national-security voters and his fundamentalist values-voters, as well as much of the country-music loving Republican base – and they can break it. Jacksonians helped turn out of office Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and arguably George H.W. Bush for failing to fight hard enough; in any conflict, Mead warns, "once engaged, politicians cannot safely end the war except on Jacksonian terms." John Moser of Ashland University reiterated the point two years ago – "Having been convinced that the occupation of Iraq was a necessary component of the War on Terror, [Jacksonians] will hold Bush accountable if they feel the war is not being fought in earnest." That’s just what they’re doing.

    Jacksonians have little patience with the rules of war; to them, as Mead writes, "the use of limited force is deeply repugnant." Up to a point, their nationalistic zeal and military prowess are of great use to Wilsonians. But Jacksonians want total war – their heroes are men like Curtis LeMay and William Tecumseh Sherman, though the fact that so many Jacksonians are Southerners suppresses their enthusiasm for him somewhat.
I guess this blogger would be an Adamsian-Jeffersonian.
Non-story of the Day
But it comes with a great image for Lent:Here's the essential argument:
    "The evidence available demonstrates that people were crucified in different postures and affixed to crosses using a variety of means," said one of the authors, Piers Mitchell of Imperial College London.

    "Victims were not necessarily positioned head up and nailed through the feet from front to back, as is the imagery in Christian churches."
Then again, the iconic image of the Crucifixion may be right. Without any conclusive evidence telling us exactly in what position Our Lord was crucified, why not rely on Tradition?

The argument Britain's Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) uses reminds me of those put forth by the 19th Century anti-prophets of Positivism, whose essential assertion was: no conclusive evidence that Christ existed can be found; ergo, He could not have possibly existed.
Il Poverello and the Caliph
St. Francis and Christian-Muslim Relations
Abdul Rahman and Democracy*
Well, the good news is that the man ready to die for his faith is safe: Italy Welcomes Man Who Fled Afghanistan. Still, the case highlights some tough questions for the current US Administration's Wilsonian foreign policy.

"What is 'democracy'?" asks Pat Buchanan, noting that
    Christianity does not seem to be faring much better in that other new democracy, Iraq. Under Saddam, Christians practiced their faith in peace and security. But, three years after liberation, their churches are being bombed, and Christian families are being threatened with massacres. They are fleeing to Syria, the new Christian sanctuary.

    Our neoconservatives are, of course, anxious to "liberate" and "democratize" Syria, too. If they succeed, God help the Christians there. No one else will.
* * *

"Is Anything Worth Dying For?" asks Paul Hein, citing the only character worthy of praise in this whole drama:
    So far, the only person whose behavior in this matter has been consistent and straightforward is Rahman himself. He declared himself a Christian, and as far as he’s concerned, that’s that. What the government did was up to the government, which, being headed by a Bush stooge, was caught on the horns of a dilemma. What IS important, anyway?

    For Rahman, the question was simple: He is a Christian, and intends to remain one. If that results in his death, so be it. For the state, it’s not so simple. Sure, the laws of the state, based upon Muslim law, require punishment for Muslim converting to Christianity. That’s almost open-and-shut. On the other hand, there was the need to curry the favor of the United States and other powerful governments, which didn’t want to see Rahman executed.
* * *

Finally, Becky Akers gives us Rahman in Retrospect, reminding us that Islam is much more than a religion; it is a political system as well (in short, it is a theocracy):
    Mr. Rahman is the Christian convicted of converting from Islam in Afghanistan. This "crime" hurts the state rather than his fellow man and therefore carries the death penalty. However, thanks to international pressure, Mr. Rahman will likely escape execution, though he has courageously confessed both his creed and his crime throughout his ordeal: "I believe in the [H]oly [S]pirit. I believe in Christ. And I am a Christian." Given that joyous proclamation and the lessons in democracy America has been teaching, the Islamic Leviathan assumes it has every right to kill him: after all, as the prosecutor persecuting him explained, "He is known as a microbe in society, and he should be cut off and removed from the rest of Muslim society and should be killed." "The people," democratic theory's highest authority, agree. One of the guards at the jail where Mr. Rahman was imprisoned wants to "cut him into little pieces."

    But then there's the money. Lots of American money. Leviathan calls it "foreign aid."
Vox populi, vox Dei, indeed. Such theocracy or Cæsaropapism is unheard of in the Catholic West (but not the north where the princes opted for Protestantism). Even the Papal States (aka the States of the Church), whom the Popes agreed to rescue from anarchy, were never theocratic, as temporal power was clearly divided from eternal, so much so that the Popes recognized the right of neighboring Catholic states to wage war in good faith against him as head of state not head of Church.

Essential reading on this issue is Does Islam Need a Luther or a Pope?

*See Democracy: The God That Failed
John Allen's facts. vs. Dan Brown's libel fiction: Analyst dispels Opus Dei myths.
Mark Shea on Wafa Sultan
From The Hopes of the Secular Post-Christian West Encapsulated:
    The hope of the secular post-Christian West is that there will rise up from the Islamosphere a whole lot of Wafa Sultans: people who are culturally and religiously indistinguishable from the editorial board of the NY Times but dressed in Arab skin. These mythic legions will then, it is hoped, make Bronze Age Fanatics go away by arguing them down on Larry King.

    The West suffers from a fundamental failure to grasp that a diseased and inflamed spirituality can only be confronted by a healthy spirituality, not another diseased spirituality like Western post-Christian secularism and New Age drivel.
As I've said before, I'd take a Muslim hell-bent on Dhimmitizing what's left of Christendom over a seemingly milquetoast secularist hell-bent on marginalizing religion any day of the week.
Burn, Baby, Burn!
See what Treasach O'Fionnghail is setting alight: Fahrenheit 451.
ZPG and Immigration
There are, perhaps, good reasons to limit immigration. Malthusian population-control is not one of them, as Linda Chavez notes in Fixing immigration:
    I wonder how many conservatives who embrace the anti-immigrant message know that their fellow travelers' roots are in the pro-abortion, population-control movement.

    Dr. John Tanton, who was the brainchild behind many of the most prominent restrictionist groups, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies and Numbers USA, is a past president of Zero Population Growth. These groups often cite demographer Leon Bouvier's work to support their arguments. In his book "How Many Americans?: Population, Immigration and the Environment," Bouvier and co-author Lindsey Grant advocated reducing the American population to 150 million by the end of this century -- that's almost half the current population. Although they're guarded in suggesting any draconian measures to achieve this goal, averring that "Deliberate reductions in life expectancy to reduce population are, of course, out of the question," their prescriptions are nonetheless chilling.

    "To begin with," they say, "it would be pointless to assume that American women will altruistically decide to have but one child for the good of the society." So they favor government policies that will achieve that end. "All proposed legislation, regardless of specific intent, should be evaluated as to its possible impact on fertility," they argue. And, of course, they support additional government-funded research for more effective contraceptives and better access to abortion. The book was written during the Clinton years, which accounts for this gem: "[T]here is hope that with the end of the Reagan-Bush era, a more enlightened executive will see the advantages of at least limiting, if not stopping, population growth."

    Make no mistake, these folks are after immigrants now, but they want into the bedrooms of American citizens next. Unlike some racist elements in the anti-immigrant movement (they exist, as I can attest from the racist diatribes I receive every time I write on this issue), these people object to virtually all immigrants, but dislike Hispanic immigrants more because they have higher fertility rates.
Disasters of War
"Vietnam War veterans from the United States, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam gathered on Tuesday to call for more help for the victims of the Agent Orange defoliant used by the U.S. military:" Agent Orange victims gather to seek justice.
Adwaitya*, an Aldabran tortoise born in the same year as Mozart, died last Wednesday in a Calcutta zoo.

*Use to bypass registration.
Santo Subito!
From South America, the United States, China and elsewhere: Advocate of Pope John Paul II Sainthood Cites 'Dozens' of Miracles.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fast and Pray for Peace in Iraq
A message from His Excellency Archbishop Emmanuel III (Emmanuel-Karim) Delly, Patriarch of Babylon, quoted in 2 Days of Fasting and Prayer Urged for Iraq:
    We have estranged ourselves from God by our deeds... [W]e do not obey his will, and we have moved away from piety and virtue, from forgiveness, and because of this the blood of so many brothers has been shed and so many children have remained orphans....

    [W]e must return, repentant to God's house to do the will of our sovereign God.

    To achieve this sublime objective... we invite all Iraqis, in and outside of Iraq, and all believers and people of good will, to prayer and fasting this coming Monday the 3rd and Tuesday the 4th of April, so that the Lord will restore peace, tranquility and security to Iraq, country of our beloved Abraham.
Fasting and prayer in time of war are not alien to Protestant America, as this story from three years ago today illustrates: US Congress recommends fasting, prayer in wars on Iraq, terror.
"I hate the Americans and what they've done to Iraq."
That was the rationale for the mass murder of Iraqis by one of their countrymen. In an effort to be a more equal-opportunity critic of the War in Iraq, I present this horrifying confession from Dr. Luay Omar Taie, quoted in Iraqi Doctor Says He Killed Patients*:
    I injected more than 35 policemen and soldiers, including officers and some who were slightly injured... I used to stop the breathing machines or cut the electricity in the operations room or reopen the wounds.
"[T]he doctor said he was paid up to $100 for each act he committed."

*Use to bypass registration.
"That's Sicilian."
This is too funny not to print in its entirety:
    Justice Scalia flips the finger in church

    BOSTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

    A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

    "You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

    The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

    "Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.

    He was attending a special mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, and afterward was the keynote speaker at the Catholic Lawyers' Guild luncheon.
I might criticize the Honorable Justice's gesture, but that would violate the norms of cultural relativism.
A Jazzman's Conversion Story
From Notre Dame honors Dave Brubeck:
    Brubeck has said in interviews that he joined the Roman Catholic Church after writing the Mass “To Hope! A Celebration” in 1979. A priest who heard it asked him why he left out “Our Father.” Brubeck said he wasn’t told to include it, so he didn’t add the prayer to the piece.

    But he went on vacation with his family and on the second night he dreamed the “Our Father” prayer, and decided to add it to the Mass. After that, he converted to Catholicism.

    “I joined the Catholic Church, because I felt, somebody’s trying to tell me something,” he said.
Many people, myself among them, have read their way into the Church; Venerable John Henry Newman was said to have written his way into the Church*; Mr. Brubeck composed his way into the Church!

*With An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine

[link to article via The Catholic Report]
Nazi Resurgence in Europe
Seattle Catholic links to a story on the above today: Nothing to Apologize for on Dutch/Nazi Euthanasia Comments says Italian Minister. May God bless Carlo Giovanardi for speaking the hard truth in confused times.

Here are the comments by Italy’s Minister of Parliamentary Affairs that prompted Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to demand an apology:
    Nazi legislation and Hitler’s ideas are re-emerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children.
Here is Christian Democrat Signore Giovanardi's rebuff:
    I have nothing to apologize for, because I am against murders of ill people... It is the Dutch, who are to explain to Europe their homicidal practices. In the Netherlands it is allowed to put to death gravely ill children starting from the age of 12.
With the teaser "Hitler Continues His Conquest of Holland," Mark Shea of Catholic and Enjoying It! links to a story that provides the background, Dutch Consider Legalizing Infanticide, which begins thusly:
    Infanticide used to be taboo in the Western world. But the government of the Netherlands is currently considering what many consider to be unthinkable – the creation of legal standards for pediatric euthanasia.

    According to the London Times, a committee will soon be set up to regulate the practice, which doctors have quietly been performing for years in the Netherlands. Shockingly, Dutch politicians have not faced the wrath of many domestic or foreign critics.
Click on the link to read the rest.
Catholic Schoolgirls and Other Lesbians
[Welcome to anyone who arrived here using the above search terms. Pornography, like all Sin, gets pretty damn boring after a while. It'd be a pity to be damned for something so boring. Try the ultimate adventure: Catholicism.]

Below are two stories linked to by Seattle Catholic.

The first comes from my hometown: Gay student hits snag over date to Villa prom. This is the last prom of an 87-year-old Catholic girls' high school that is closing this year. What a shame that a student has to raise such a stink over false ideas of "fairness."

The second comes from South Africa: Lesbian couple found guilty of boy's murder. "A four-year-old boy died after he was brutally assaulted when he refused to call his mother's lesbian lover 'Daddy.'" It's not surprsing that a four-year-old should be aware of Natural Law. "Out of the mouths of babes...," or in this case "Not out of the mouths of babes..." May God rest his innocent soul.
From Catholic News Service:

    Protesters gather around a statue of Mary in front of City Hall in Los Angeles during a March 25 pro-immigrant rally where thousands expressed opposition to pending immigration legislation.
In immigration law, distinctions of 'legal,' 'illegal' fairly recent
Civil Libertarians should be alarmed: Issue at stake in gay-adoption fracas is religious freedom.
Black America's Marriage Crisis
'Marriage Is for White People'*. So says a twelve-year-old student in the author's class. The author cites this startling fact: "A black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today." [Link via Dappled Things]

Reversing this situation is key in resolving the generational poverty faced by our Black fellow citizens: Marriage: A social justice issue. The article quotes the founder of the Seymour Institute for Advanced Christian Studie, Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III, a black Pentecostal minister:
    The impact of the decay of marriage among black people has been enormous, resulting in higher poverty rates among black families, school failure among children, and the intergenerational transmission of high teen pregnancy rates and female-headed households. Sociological research has implicated fatherlessness in violence, drug use and criminal behavior, especially among young black males.
*Use to bypass registration.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tomorrow, the Latin Church remembers...Interesting that the "Doctor of Christian Art," the great defender of icons, should have lived in Damascus under the ultimate iconoclasts, the Muslims. [Notice the splendid Arabic calligraphy on the icon.]

John Chrysorrhoas ("golden-stream") was the author of, among more important works, Barlaam and Ioasaph, "a retelling of the Buddha Legend from within a Christian context, with the singular difference that the 'Buddha' in this tale reaches enlightenment through the love of Jesus Christ."
Four from the Gray Lady
I received four interesting articles in my inbox today from The New York Times [Use to bypass registration.]

First, we have a story about Dracunculiasis, or Guinea worm: Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease. Infectious diseases have long interested me, and this one is particularly gruesome:
    Ogi is one of the last areas of Nigeria infested with Guinea worm, a plague so ancient that it is found in Egyptian mummies and is thought to be the "fiery serpent" described in the Old Testament as torturing the Israelites in the desert.

    For untold generations here, yardlong, spaghetti-thin worms erupted from the legs or feet — or even eye sockets — of victims, forcing their way out by exuding acid under the skin until it bubbled and burst. The searing pain drove them to plunge the blisters into the nearest pool of water, whereupon the worm would squirt out a milky cloud of larvae, starting the cycle anew.
* * *

"Are search engines making today's students dumber?" asks the author of Searching for Dummies, who argument focuses mainly on the demise of Boolean Searching:
    Google modestly declares its mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." But convenience may be part of the problem. In the Web's early days, the most serious search engine was AltaVista. To use it well, a searcher had to learn how to construct a search statement, like, say, "Engelbert Humperdinck and not Las Vegas" for the opera composer rather than the contemporary singer. It took practice to produce usable results. Now, thanks to brilliant programming, a simple query usually produces a first page that's at least adequate — "satisficing," as the economist Herbert Simon called it.

    The efficiency of today's search engines arises from their ability to analyze links among Web sites. Google led in ranking sites by how often they are linked to other highly ranked sites. It did so using an elaborate variation of a concept familiar in natural science, citation analysis. Instead of looking at which papers are cited most often in the most influential journals, it measures how often Web pages are linked to highly ranked sites — ranked by links to themselves.
* * *

"Why do we ignore the culture behind young blacks' plight?" asks the author of A Poverty of the Mind. Conservatives, knowing that culture is much more fundamental than economy or politics, would agree with this:
    The main cause for this shortcoming is a deep-seated dogma that has prevailed in social science and policy circles since the mid-1960's: the rejection of any explanation that invokes a group's cultural attributes — its distinctive attitudes, values and predispositions, and the resulting behavior of its members — and the relentless preference for relying on structural factors like low incomes, joblessness, poor schools and bad housing.
* * *

Finally, a review of the latest book by America's most famous ex-neoconservative: Neo No More. The reviewer concludes on a note that echoes to a certain extent the theme of the previous article:
    Fukuyama describes the Hegelianism of "The End of History" as a version of "modernization" theory, bringing his optimistic vision of progress into the world of modern social science. But the problem with modernization theory was always a tendency to concentrate most of its attention on the steadily progressing phases of history, as determined by the predictable workings of sociology or economics or psychology — and to relegate the free play of unpredictable ideas and ideologies to the margins of world events.

    And yet, what dominated the 20th century, what drowned the century in oceans of blood, was precisely the free play of ideas and ideologies, which could never be relegated entirely to the workings of sociology, economics, psychology or any of the other categories of social science. In my view, we are seeing the continuing strength of 20th-century-style ideologies right now — the ideologies that have motivated Baathists and the more radical Islamists to slaughter millions of their fellow Muslims in the last 25 years, together with a few thousand people who were not Muslims. Fukuyama is always worth reading, and his new book contains ideas that I hope the non-neoconservatives of America will adopt. But neither his old arguments nor his new ones offer much insight into this, the most important problem of all — the problem of murderous ideologies and how to combat them.
* * *

The last two articles seem to call into question one of the 20th Century's worst ideas: Scientism, the attempt by the Humanities and so-called Social Sciences to ape the methodology of the pure sciences.

After all, the "structural factors" mentioned in the first article and "the predictable workings of sociology or economics or psychology" mentioned in the second are much easier to quantify than culture or "the free play of unpredictable ideas and ideologies." The attempt to quantify everything is doomed to fail because human beings, God bless us, whether as individuals or groups, lie far beyond what mathematician John Allen Paulos termed "the complexity horizon."
Film Discovery
The oldest surviving Korean movie discovered yet was found recently in a Chinese archive:It was filmed, of course, during the Japanese colonial period. The film has something to say to those interested in modernization's obliteration of the traditional, according to Yi Hyo-in, director of the Korean Film Archive:
    'Mimong' is a metaphor that suggests how Koreans accepted 'forced modernization'....

    Japan completely obliterated artists' resistance from the early 1930s on, and Korean movies lapsed into love stories. This movie is riding on such a tide, but alongside the cultural suppression, it deeply absorbed modern thinking.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Wake Up!
From Sleep Deprivation: The Great American Myth:
    People who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep. —From a six-year study of more than a million adults.

    Many Americans are sleep-deprived zombies, and a quarter of us now use some form of sleeping pill or aid at night.

    Wake up, says psychiatry professor Daniel Kripke of the University of California, San Diego. The pill-taking is real but the refrain that Americans are sleep deprived originates largely from people funded by the drug industry or with financial interests in sleep research clinics.
Click on the link to read the rest.
"U.S. Imperialistic Reactionary Music”
Prof. Kim Chul-woong, welcome to the Free World: N. Korean pianist defects to S. Korea to play jazz.
Korean, Catholic, Gun-owner
From Beijing ordered removal of Ahn Jung-geun statue in Harbin:
    The Dong-A Ilbo reports that Chinese authorities ordered the removal of a statue of Korean independence activist (or terrorist, depending on your point of view) Ahn Jung-geun 10 days after it was erected near Harbin Station. Harbin Station, of course, is where Ahn, also known by his Catholic name of Thomas, popped a cap into former Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi in 1909.
The Digital Era Takes Its Toll on Chinese Naming
From Now parents must use set menu to pick baby's name:
    The Ministry of Public Security has drawn up new rules and babies’ names must in future be drawn from a database that excludes thousands of rare Chinese characters. Out go indecipherable names. With the introduction of electronic identity cards, the authorities will register only names that they decide to include on their database.

    Bao Suixian, a deputy director at the ministry, said: “We cannot handwrite rare characters on the cards like we did before.” About 60 million of China’s 1.3 billion people have at least one rare character in their name, making it difficult for them to open a bank account or to buy an aircraft ticket.
A sad story. The rich Chinese written language is one of the world's great patrimonies. I cannot see this kind of thing happening in Free China, but maybe I'm wrong.

[link via Memoirs of a Catechumen]
Why I Don't Eat Dog
From "Korea Should Stop Eating Man's Best Friends":
    Before dogs are killed for meat, they are often strung up by their legs and beaten. Dog butchers extol the virtues of their product, linking the adrenaline rush dogs experience as they are bludgeoned to death to enhanced male virility.
I've witnessed the hanging of a dog from a tree and its bludgeoning by some old men. It was not a pretty sight.

The concept of "animal rights" is absurd, but animals, as a part of Creation, have a certain dignity that we are called to uphold as the stewards of Creation. As I've noted before, these ideas are explored in depth by former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully.
Please Pray for Jeremy Hand
He's the son of Traditional Catholic Reflections editor Stephan Hand, an equaintance of mine. The situation is being followed here: URGENT PRAYER REQUEST (very serious health / ethical situation).
Was Milosevic Suicided?
Srdja Trifkovic ponders A Mysterious Death at The Hague.
Distrust of the School System in Korea
More Parents Choose Home School Option
Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin
Korea's first and only foreign university president: At KAIST, rebellion boils over president.
Nicholas Breakspear
The first and only English pope: Pope Adrian IV.
Caring for Filipinos, Brazilians, Alcoholics, Burakumin, and Other Outcasts
Church at the margins – Tenacious Catholic Church in Japan speaks for voiceless beyond its numbers
Forget the Bird Flu Hype
There are More than 60,000 TB deaths a year in Pakistan alone and this description of the Resurgence of Tuberculosis is harrowing:
    According to a statistics, nearly one-third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis, which kills almost 2 million people each year. Tuberculosis causes more deaths than any other infectious disease in the world. Though widely considered to be a curable disease thanks to the effective medicines, tuberculosis still remains the leading cause of death.
Compare that with this, from Selling 'pandemic flu' through a language of fear:
    According to the World Health Organization, the first "outbreak" of the H5N1 virus, also known as avian flu, killed six people in 1997 in Hong Kong. Since then, H5N1 has allegedly killed 97 more worldwide, the majority of whom lived in poor, rural areas and had direct contact with dead or sick birds often kept in unsanitary conditions.
Qui bono? Pharmaceutical companies cannot extort money from public coffers as easily with an old scourge like TB. Governments also have a chance to gain in prestige, as noted by H.L. Mencken decades ago:
    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
[from Fearmongering quotes]
Korea's "neo-Cardinal" on the Holy Father's Vision for Asia
From Card. Cheong: “Pope’s vision for Asia re-launches evangelization there":
    I think... that by including me and the Hong Kong and Manila bishops in the College of Cardinals, our Pope intended to give a signal to the world, even the non-Catholic one. We are a team and we will work together. Ideally, the appointments could be seen as a wedge penetrating Asia: Hong Kong represents the point, the Korean Church has the middle role of reconciliation and cooperation, while the Philippines is the solid base.
Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero
"God always forgives when there is true repentance and a desire to make amends," correctly states Alvaro Saravia, quoted in Ex-Salvadoran military officer admits role in archbishop's murder.
"We Are Not Evil"
So says online radio station Magnatune. And they are right; they are very, very good, especially their selection of Classical before the year 1800. Click on the link to listen to the whole program or go to specific artists. Among my favorites are:The Viol music is particularly beautiful. "What is a Viol?" you might ask. The Viola da Gamba Society of America can answer that question.
North Korea, the Vanguard of Humanity
From Doctor says disabled newborns are killed in North Korea:
    Pro-life activists in the West fear that the prevalence of abortion in the Western world will eventually lead Western countries down the slippery slope toward this practice as well.
We're already been there for a while, folks: Dutch Euthanize Sick Newborns.
Soloviev's Apocalypse
From Vladimir Sergeevich Soloviev on the Antichrist:
    The Antichrist will blur the edges of the apocalyptic rift between morality and the cross, between cultural progress and the resurrection of the dead. He will permit Christianity to merge into this synthesis as one positive element. 'Christ divided men in terms of good and evil; I shall unite them through the benefits of salvation, which are necessary to good and evil alike. Christ brought the sword, but I bring peace. He threatened the earth with a terrible Last judgment; but I shall be the last judge, and my judgment is one of grace.'

    Satan fills his son with his spirit; his soul is filled with a glacial abundance of enormous power, courage and effortless skill. He composes a manifesto, The Open Path to World Peace and Welfare, an all-embracing programme that unites all contradictions in itself--the highest degree of freedom of thought and a comprehension of every mystical system, unrestricted individualism and a glowing devotion to the general good.

    He establishes a European union of states, then a world monarchy, satisfies the needs of all the poor without perceptibly affecting the rich and founds an inter-confessional institute for free biblical research. He seeks to be elected by the general assembly of the churches as head of the Church (from now on ecumenically united), and receives the approval of the majority.

    But resistance comes from Pope Peter II, John the Elder, leader of the Orthodox and Professor Ernst Pauli, representing Protestantism: under the pressure of persecution the three churches in this eschatological situation at last unite. Peter's primacy is recognized, and the Pauline and Johannine churches come into the Roman fold. The spokesmen of Christianity are persecuted and killed, but they rise again; the last Christians journey to the wilderness, the Jews raise a revolt and the Christians join with them. They are slaughtered; but then Christ appears, robed in the imperial purple, his hands outspread with the marks of the nails upon them, to rule for a thousand years with those who are his own.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pacifists Rescued in Special Forces Operation
It's hard to ignore the irony in this story: Three Christian Activists Rescued in Iraq.

Of course, I rejoice that they are free and alive, a fate that sadly did not await their colleague Tom Fox. I even applaud to a certain extent what they were trying to do in Iraq. But I can't help but think of The Religious Society of Friends in early Pennsylvannia and elsewhere who lived out their pacifist dreams while standing armies protected their farms and families from Indian raids*.

GI Korea, himself a veteran of Mr. Bush's War, posted some very enlightening Comments about the situation in Iraq to a post of mine about Tom Fox entitled The Death of a Peacemaker. He said,
    Mr. Fox may have had good intentions but people like him only threaten the lives of US soldiers who must protect them in certain situations in Iraq and are responsible for trying to rescue them if they are captured.
While the Catholic Dorothy Day and the Hindu Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi may have been two of the great souls of The Hemoclysm that was Twentieth Century, what of their absolute pacifism? It was as utopian as Godless Communism.

Echoing Orestes Augustus Brownson, the Civil War era pro-Union, anti-slaveholding, anti-abolitionist writer, this blogger is pro-American, anti-war and anti-pacifist.

*My hometown of Orchard Park was such a settlement. It was founded by Quakers in 1803. I once gave some thought to joining them.
Chinese Girls
I pray that these 55,000 girls adjust well and don't end up as members of Transracial Abductees [vulgarity warning]: Adopted in China, Seeking Identity in America*.

China's loss could be America's gain. The future does not bode well demographically for societies that hate girls.

*Use to bypass registration.
Chile Bus Tragedy
The trip that ended in tragedy for these folks was one of the most impressive tourist experiences I ever had: Chile Bus Crash Kills 12 American Tourists.

Parque Nacional Lauca must be one of the most beautiful corners of God's Creation. At 13,000 ft. above sea level, our guide gave us the opportunity to buy coca leaves from a Bolivian Indian woman. He reassured the reluctant among us (I was not one of them) by saying that the Pope himself had chewed on them while visiting Bolivia. [If it's good enough for the Vicar of Christ...] An elderly Bristish man who would have nothing of that, I do say, vomited from altitude sickness. As a long-time fan of the Andean Camelids (cf. Camelidæ), I was quite happy to see plenty of llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos. There were also pink flamingos and snow-capped volcanoes. It was utterly otherworldly.

The nearby city of Arica has to be one of the pleasantest small cities I've ever visited. I believe it has only rained there once in the past century. The city's Cathedral San Marcos, designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, is, if I'm not mistaken, the only church in the world made entirely of steel. And, as the picture in the link proves, it's not a monstrosity as one might expect! I took refuge in this church from some Gypsy (Romany) women who were trying to place a curse on me for refusing to buy an amulet.
"The Browning of America"
Or the Americanizing of the Brown: Hispanic immigrants becoming Americans.
What do North Korea and the Netherlands have in common?
With their Singerian Views on Life and Death, both are very progressive states at the forefront of humanity: N.Korean defector says disabled newborns are killed.
Pre-emptive Arrests
This disturbing story comes from the home state of the president who led us into our first pre-emptive war: Texas arresting people in bars for being drunk.
Abdul Rahman
That is the name of the unfortunate subject of this story: Afghan man could face death for becoming Christian.

In Punishing Apostasy, Patrick J. Buchanan brings some perspective to the story, with comments like these:
    Devout Muslims believe that apostates to Islam, the greatest gift they have, should get the same treatment patriotic Americans in 1950 thought should be meted out to Soviet spies and communist traitors.

    To devout Muslims, Islam is worth dying for, and killing for. This is a belief that the secularist mind, which regards religion as anything from an addiction of the feeble-minded to a substitute for Valium, cannot fathom. But that is a deficiency of modernity. For we all have, or have had, causes for which we, too, would kill.
Pray for Abdul Rahman.
Pro-North South Koreans
From Korean Protests Baffle Belgians:

    Students and civic activists on an ‘Expedition for Peace on the Korean Peninsula’ perform in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon to protest against an international conference on North Korean human rights there.
The Dear Leader's useful idiots?
Three Years
Juan Cole lists the Top Ten Catastrophes in Iraq.
From In new state of matter, echoes of an old symbol:
    Borromean rings. The symbol of the medieval Borromeo family, these rings were so intertwined that removing any one caused the entire structure to fall apart. Physicists use the term to describe some atomic nuclei, because if any one constituent is removed, the rest of the nucleus disintegrates. In a new state of matter, atoms themselves form into structures of this nature.
Saint Charles Borromeo, ora pro nobis.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Girl Tuesday
Keisha Castle-Hughes, from Maori star to play Virgin Mary.

Miss Castle-Hughes turns sweet sixteen this Friday, and is thus probably quite close to the age at which the Blessed Virgin gave her fiat and conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ex Cathedra Petri
I vow to follow the Holy Father on this one: Pope says don't work too hard.

[Such a statement is, of course, not ex cathedra petri, as the criteria for Papal Infallibility are not met.]
Hugo Chávez - Fascista
So says Carlos Fuentes, in Latin American Leftists Redefine Politics:
    [T]he old labels are increasingly misleading in Latin America -- a point made recently by Carlos Fuentes, a famed Mexican novelist, moderate leftist and frequent critic of U.S. policies.

    Fuentes wrote that while [Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel] Lopez Obrador has been unfairly "demonized" as a populist demagogue, Chavez is a "tropical Mussolini" trying to pass himself off as a leftist. His recommendation: Latin leftists should follow the Chilean socialist model, a real genre-bender that mixes free-market economics and fiscal restraint with poverty-reduction programs.
I take issue only with Señor Fuente's choice of words. Chávez, and Mussolini and Hitler before him, are and were leftists. It's just that they are and were not Liberals in the classical sense of the word.
A Korean Film Director On Modern Korea
I'm a fan of the films of Ki-duk Kim. They're grotesque in the Flannery O'Connor sense of the word. His movies are largely misunderstood and underappreciated at home. The NY Times profiles his vision in Lost Seoul*.

Here's a taste:
    Kim questions the foreign values that have challenged Korea’s millenniums-old culture, altering what had been to hard-working South Koreans ‘‘our way of life.’’ But he readily admits that not all South Koreans share his pejorative view of Westernization and rapid change, certainly not those in the entertainment industry of which he is a part. Today, Seoul is Asia’s pop-culture capital, with teenagers and hip adults emulating stylish South Korean singers and movie stars throughout Asia, whether at nightclubs, karaoke bars or plastic surgeons’ offices. Kim describes a current generation gap in which parents lead traditional, family-oriented lives starkly different from those of their children — adoring fans of ‘‘Friends’’ and ‘‘Sex and the City’’ who pursue cash-rich careers and live alone in brand-new studio apartments,eating pizza and sandwiches, which require far fewer utensils and are less of a hassle to prepare.
*Use to bypass registration.
Two from Dappled Things
Fr. Tucker again, and as always, delivers on his promise to provide "all things counter, original, spare, strange."

First, here is a cause for optimism: The Return of Patriarchy. The nutshell version:
    Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. It’s more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next generation will be born into families who believe that father knows best.
Secong, although I was never a big fan of the subject of this story, I welcome his return to Holy Mother Church: Papal attraction. Again, the nutshell:
    Thrilled by word of a new album, Morrissey fan and celebrated author Douglas Coupland flies halfway around the world to meet the singer in Rome. But does the real Morrissey reveal himself? And can Coupland ever hope to understand a man who 'defines eccentricity'?
"If the torture victim doesn't bleed, suffer organ failure, or die you're in the clear."
Mark Shea contrasts the rules for prisoner treatment in Vietnam and Iraq: More Ugliness as We Get a Better View of How the Administration Corrupted Our Military by the Creation of Special Torture Units.

"Shameful. Utterly shameful."
The Institution of Marriage in Trouble in South Korea
"Korea’s rapidly growing divorce rate is eroding any stigma attached to tying the knot for a second or third time, and an entire industry is making a living on the proceeds:" Remarriage Industry Sees Rapid Growth.
Christianized Korean Philosophy
From Waiting, an article about Yoo Young-mo and Hahm Seok-hun:
    Yoo represents a Korean philosophy that internalized Christian philosophy into Korean philosophy. He interpreted the relationship between God and Jesus in terms of the Confucian "Bujayuchin" relationship, or affection between father and son, and the "Doh," a Chinese character meaning way, as in "the way to heaven."

    In addition, Yoo considered Hangul, the Korean alphabet, as God's revelation to the Korean people sent through King Sejong, and gave new meanings to Korean words. For example, he described God in Korean as "the one being without being," saying that God transcended being and was not a being.

    The Korean word "ohneul," or today, was translated into "Oh! Neul," which literally means "Oh, forever," insinuating that that the present day lasts forever....

    Hahm is described as a "waiting theologian" that does everything he can and waits for a decision from heaven.

    What is the theology of waiting? Hahm perceived the historical theme of the 5,000-year history of the Korean people as a history of hardship. In his view, Japanese colonial rule and the division of Korea were Korea's crown of thorns, and the work of God was still waiting to be done. That is why he asked the people of this land to: "Learn to toil and wait through endless achievements and continuous pursuit."
You're Fired!
"Seoul National University on Monday decided to sack the disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk without benefits:" Hwang Sacked as Probe Exonerates Team Members.
The Civil War
I'm somthing of a Civil War buff, the Spanish Civil War, that is. There should be Spanish Civil War reenacters: the Republicans could pretend to dig up the graves of nuns and dance with their corpses, while the Nationalists could reenact the making of the Blessed Virgin Mary a general, an act that prompted Hitler to vow never to visit Spain.

The Beeb has an article, however grossly biased in favor of the Republicans, about the Irish volunteers on both sides of that conflict: Spanish Civil War veterans look back.

[link via The Catholic Report]
Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva, and Marinus Riwu: Pope blesses three Catholics condemned to death.
Anti-Americanism in South Korea, or Relative Lack Thereof
"According to a survey, the United States was considered South Korea's best ally. China is the biggest threat while Japan is second and North Korea, technically still at war with Seoul, is third:" South Koreans see China, not North Korea, as threat for national security.

I feel the same way. Living in the South, I'm not very worried by North Korea, repressive, grotesque, and insane as its régime may me. If I were Korean, however, I'd be very worried for my country's future with China next door.

These statistics surprised me:
    The United States, which has about 30,000 troops in South Korea to support the country's 690,000 troops, was considered South Korea's best ally by 81.7 percent of respondents. China was a distant second at 6.1 percent.
"Work is a means to an end, not an end in itself, says Benedict XVI:" Work Should Not Rule Man, Warns Pope.
Defending the (Classical) Liberal Curriculum
"The great works that once were essential to define the educated man are barely tolerated in our great universities:" Rediscovering the Renaissance.
A Stigmatic Down Under
"Fr Finbarr Walsh of the Perth parish of Rockingham says that a 50-year-old father of three is displaying stigmata on his hands and feet.... visions of and messages from the Virgin Mary:" Perth priest claims miracle.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

El Clásico Mundial de Béisbol
Not a happy day here in the RoK: Japanese rip Koreans to reach World Baseball Classic final. Japan faces Cuba in the final.
Empire Building
"Hundreds of elderly farmers face forcible eviction from their land to allow the expansion of a U.S. military base near Seoul, according to the human rights group Amnesty International:" S. Korean Farmers Eviction Raises Concerns.
Race Suicide
Japan's continues: Aging Japan builds robot to look after elderly.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sex Liberals
Say what you will about the Bushista neoconnerie of, its social criticism is usually spot on, as in this case with these two articles below.

"Liberals hate sex. No, not that— the other kind," begins Nathanael Blake in Male, female, or other: can I check all three? "While they support sexual acts in all possible permutations, the male/female distinction drives them round the bend."

He goes on to take Sex Liberals and "LGBTQQIA" people to task with some tough questions:
    How... can they believe, for example, that masculinity and femininity are social constructs with no relation to the biological differences between the sexes, while also holding that homosexuality is inherent? Or that gender is unimportant, except when someone insists that he or she is stuck in a body of the wrong gender?
How, indeed?

"We live in interesting times when the Catholic Church has to defend its doctrinal beliefs regarding the adoption of children against those who insist that the church adjust its policies to reflect the preferences of gays and lesbians," writes Kathleen Parker in Bringing the church to its knees.

I'm beginning to agree with the author that the decision in Boston will come to be seen as a very evil precedent:
    If the church can be forced to adhere to state laws regarding adoption in spite of prohibitive doctrine, can the church also be forced in other areas, perhaps to conduct same-sex marriages? Gay activists have always insisted not, but the adoption case demonstrates that the lines separating church and state are not always so clear.

    Theoretically, isn't the church discriminating against gays by refusing to marry them? In time, no doubt, a well-placed lawsuit will tell.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with gay family adoptions isn't the issue here, and it's important to articulate this clearly.
Adiós, freedom of religion.
Pure Land Buddhism and Protestantism's Sola Fide
Although written about 15th Century Japan, this observation from page 42 of The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci might explain in part the phenomenal growth of Protestantism in Korea:
    [S]ince many Japanese believed that by invoking the name of Amida Buddha they would be saved, one had to confront the melancholy that "their views of justification resembled those of the Lutherans." Thus, tepid congregations led by poorly trained priests might lead to a situation in which Protestantism would begin to flourish.
Korean Cityscapes

    Kim Bo-min: Han'gang. India ink (?) on ramie canvas, 55×190cm, 2006.
Finnish Koreanologist Antti Leppäsen can always be counted on to post Korean cityscapes like the one above on his blog, as he does in this post: "Scenes - City Dialogue" exhibition.
Los pepenadores
Saying Mass with the trash pickers: Mexico City priest brings dignity to an off-limits flock.

Father Roberto Guevara is actually doing something for the poor, unlike that other Guevara whose economics only brought poverty and misery to an even greater number of people.
A Singlish Definition of Singlish
From Singaporean Constantine's reminder to Speak Good English:
    Singlish - is a kind of English lah, but got many feature which are local. Nearly always, we never follow the grammar one. For example, John can say, "Lisa have ever went my home before, but until now ah, she no hope one, she cannot remember my address." Or Swee Keng can ask her friend, "Eh, last night you got see television or not? The show so funny. Aiyoh, I laugh until my stomach painful."
Click on the link to read the rest. It reminds me of my days in Kuala Lumpur and the Manglish I heard, and tried to learn-lah, from my Malaysian-Chinese friends.
"Crunchy Cons" Again
Maclin Horton, himself a subject of Rod Dreher's new book, offers some links to some insightful criticism of the work and the very idea behind it: Dreher: Learning from Critics and CC Misapprehensions.

Mr. Horton analyzes the critiques thusly:
    Sometimes it seems almost willful, but I think at least part of the reason is that it really is easy to get the mistaken impression that Dreher is advocating only superficial changes (Birkenstocks, granola, etc.). Both the title and subtitle of the book tend to give that impression.
I eat organic food, granola, home-made yoghurt, and home-grown spouts, drink microbrews, enjoy listening to bluegrass and Cuban son, own a pair of Tatami sandals (a subsidiary of Birkenstock), prefer Victorians to McMansions, etc. However, I prefer the term Traditionalist Conservatism.
Wilsonian, Trotskyite, Jacobinical
All of the above adjectives have been employed to describe the current US Administration's foreign policy, which is anything but conservative.

In American Megalomania: Our 'national security strategy' is crazed nonsense, author Justin Raimondo alerts the reader that the State Department has created a Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Conservatives stand for limited government. The current Administration cannot seem to remain limited to the affairs of its own government.
Why are hair-cutters licensed?
In State 'Barberism', Andrew S. Fischer speculates on some possible answers.
"The Third Way"
Clintonism and Blairism have come to the Land of the Morning Calm: Suggesting a Third Way for Korea.

Might I suggest a real third way? Distributivism.
An Appeal
"Please remember the Catholics on Tristan da Cunha in your prayers as they continue to pray for a resident Catholic priest:" Catholics in Tristan da Cunha appeal for resident priest.

I've always been attracted to remote islands, Tristan da Cunha among them. Another at the top of my list is Pitcairn Island. Years ago, I was very tempted by an ELT (English Language Teaching) position advertised at the College of the Marshall Islands.
Endangering Children
Seattle Catholic links to a must-read article from Boston: Kids take back seat to gay agenda.

Readers of this blog will know that I am not in favor of international adoption, although in no way do I find any fault those parents who want to give kids a decent, loving home. In fact, I have the utmost respect for such parents.

But one thing I saw on my most recent trip to California shocked and appalled me: at a playground, two beautiful little girls, perhaps from Guatemala or another Latin American country, each with a pair of two lily-white mommies. What kind of society allows this? What do our neighbors to the South think of us?

I remember being profoundly saddened by the sight of kids as young as three fending for themselves on the streets of Quetzaltenango, but taking such kids from a material nightmare to a moral one is not a solution.
Dr. Frankenhwang
I know it's Lent, but it's hard not to feel a certain amount of Schadenfreude over this: “Cloning pioneer” stripped of his research license.

I will instead think of the poor souls spared the fate of being created only to be destroyed and utilized in the service of others.
Liberalism and Religion
From Liberalism's Dilemma:
    With regard to conservative religion in America, such liberals have no problem — it is simply a bad thing, deserving no respect. Terms like “theocracy” and “narrow-mindedness” are thrown around as a substitute for reasoned discussion. But Islam presents a problem because it is foreign, which causes the liberal respect for “diversity” to kick in. No matter how much they disapprove, good liberals cannot help but feel guilty about criticizing something from another culture, since liberal self-identity is bound up with the need to be more “open” to other cultures.
[link via The Catholic Report]
Catholicism and Science
Remembering "the father of modern genetics:" Paris Mass for life remembers Christian scientist, Jerome Lejeune.
An important distinction...
is made by Russel Shaw in Lay Ministry Isn't Lay Apostolate.

For more on this theme, and to order Mr. Shaw's book, visit the Bethune Catholic's other blog: Catholic Laity.
The Conversion of the Jews
The Holy Father has not shied away from calling for it, as Sandro Magister notes in “Credo Apostolicam Ecclesiam”: Wednesdays in Saint Peter’s Square.
A conservative blog for peace links to this story: Soldiers Made Game of Scaring Prisoners.

It is, I think, a testimony to our military that the soldiers resposible are on trial and could face up to a quarter of a century behind bars.
Western Decadence
JIMMY AKIN.ORG links recently to two stories about the above.

The first, not surprisingly, comes from the Netherlands: Holland launches the immigrant quiz. Here's what would-be immigrants to Holland will be forced to undergo:
    TWO MEN kissing in a park and a topless woman bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands.

    The reactions of applicants — including Muslims — will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the country’s liberal attitudes.
At least they're being honest, which brings us to the next story, from "the Netherland with nukes," the United States. The story needs no explanation beyond its headline: The New Monogamy: Until death do us part—except every other Friday.

Back in my college days, I had a friend who was an advocate of the "new morality." His reasoning was that as long as you're "honest" with yourself and others, everything is a-ok. If it feels good, do it; just be up-front about it. Like the heretical Christian sects that emphasize one Theological or Christological truth at the expense of all the others, the "new morality" emphasizes "honesty" at the expense of all of virtues. Denying human nature, however, is anything but "honest." It is the ultimate lie. We are made in the image of God. In a sense, we are icons of the Most High.

My thoughts echo the ones below from Orthodoxy by Gilbert K. Chesterton, Chapter 4:
    I could never mix in the common murmur of that rising generation against monogamy, because no restriction on sex seemed so odd and unexpected as sex itself. To be allowed, like Endymion, to make love to the moon and then to complain that Jupiter kept his own moons in a harem seemed to me (bred on fairy tales like Endymion's) a vulgar anti-climax. Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman. To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it is like a man plucking five pears in mere absence of mind.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Wearing o' the Green in the Ireland o' the East
In honor o' Saint Patrick and me Irish grandpappy, this blog'll wear the green 'til Saturday morn.

Here are some similarities between Ireland and Korea, from a slightly modified two-year-old post entitled "The Irish of Asia":
    1. Both countries are divided between the north and the south.

    2. Both countries have been dominated by an imperial island nation to the east, populated by people known for their etiquette and restraint.

    3. Both oppressor nations (England and Japan) tried to eradicate the language and culture of the dominated peoples.

    4. Both the Irish and Koreans tend to be down-to-earth, emotional, and can sometimes be perceived to be rude.

    5. Both peoples have an elaborate clan system.

    6. Both peoples love song, dance, and liquor.

    7. And finally, as an inside joke for those who know some Korean; Korea (Hanguk - 韓國) is the country of han (恨), or the "Land of Ire."
Other essential reading for the day is The Irish Soldiers of Mexico, the story of the San Patricios, an Irish battalion that deserted to the Mexican side in Mr. Polk's War in order to defend Catholicism.
War and Peace

The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci explains that the above Chinese character for "war" can be divided into 戈 (spear) and 止 (stop) -- "a tradition among Chinese scholars reaching back almost two millenia, a tradition that allowed one to see, buried inside the word for war, the possibilties, however frail, of peace."
Catholic Philippines
A "birthday gift" to Archbishop Paciano Aniceto: Arroyo Says: No Divorce, Abortion Laws.
The Late Holy Father's Forbearance
This article provides some edifying details of how he bore his sufferings: Pope John Paul shunned medical treatment: book.
Mohammedom and Christendom
Xavier of Buscaraons has brought to my attention this article about the situation in Zambia, "a country that is Christian according to its constitution:" Foreign Investment Fuels Islam in Zambia.
Carlie Brucia, Requiescat in Pace
I won't be holding a candlelight vigil or shedding any tears over this: Fla. Girl's Killer Gets Death Sentence.

Christian charity, however, compels us to at least offer a prayer for the soul of Miss Brucia's killer, especially if this act of contrition the article reports is genuine:
    I take responsibility of my crimes. I don't understand how this could have happened. ... Every day I think about what I did and beg God for forgiveness.
His use of the active rather than the passive voice in the second sentence can be charitably considered as symptomatic of our times, but the first and last sentences might bode well for his soul.
It's the Demographics, Stupid
Treasach O'Fionnghail reports: Red states 11% more fertile. Here are some revealing stats:
    Seattle, a trendy progressive city, has more dogs than kids, while Salt Lake City, home of Mormon conservatism, has more kids than dogs. Likewise comparing Utah with Vermont. Utah women have 92 kids for every 1000 women, while Vermont (first state to allow gay marriage) has a low of 51 kids per 1000 "womym".
The Genocide That Wasn't
Justin Raimondo remembers "old Slobo" and the yellow journalism employed against him in Slobodan Milosevic, RIP, from which comes this:
    As it turned out, however, the "genocide" was greatly exaggerated: indeed, it was almost entirely the product of war propaganda, as John Laughland and others revealed to an indifferent world in the war's aftermath. We started out hearing of as many as 100,000 victims of Milosevic's "ethnic cleansing," as CNN (then popularly known as the Clinton News Network) assured us. Then, somehow, they decided to pare down the number to around 50,000: however, as the war ended, and the number of bodies seemed hardly in accordance with this estimate, they reduced it to 10,000. But where, critics still wondered, were the bodies? Apparently nowhere to be found. In the end, the truth came out, as it usually does, albeit far too late to prevent an immoral and precedent-setting war: what happened in Kosovo was not an ethnic cleansing, but a civil war, in which the body count showed a nearly equal number of deaths on both sides. The total number of victims, including Kosovars, Serbs, Roma, and others, was under 10,000.
The New Spain
Srdja Trifkovic, in Iberia Delenda:
    Welcome to the new Spain. Miguel de Unamuno and Jose Ortega y Gasset wouldn’t recognize it, but Susan Sontag and John Lennon would feel right at home.
Los Reyes Católicos and Francisco Franco Bahamonde are turning over in their graves.
Medical Ethics
Let us not forget that Dr. Hwang's fabricated research was unethical to begin with: ‘Hwang Cloned Stem Cells’.
The Jurchens
I believe that is the ethnic group the author of this article is refering to: The Jushin. According to Professor Kim Un-hoi of Dongyang University, "This unfamiliar ethnicity is apparently a common forefather to Northeast Asian countries, such as Korea, Japan and China."
Jordan Ballor takes on growing public support for this ultimate expression of "radical personal autonomy:" Give Me Liberty and Give Me Death: The Right to Die, the Duty to Live.

The piece states that:
    The National Platform of the Libertarian Party adopted at the May 2004 Convention in Atlanta speaks of "the right to commit suicide" as an application of "the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life."
Such silly talk of "rights" is but one reason why, however influenced I may be by certain strains of paleolibertarian thought, I do not consider myself a libertarian.
Beating Us at Our Own Game
Hats off to South Korea for her victory over the US in the World Baseball Classic: Baseball Is a Smash in Korea After Win Over the U.S.*

I remember in the Syndey Olympics, when an American beat a Korean to take home the gold in Taekwondo, a Korean announcer graciously said that rather than feeling disappointment, Koreans should be proud that a sport from their homeland had achieved such international popularity that a non-Korean could excel at it.

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but many of my favorite countries belong to the baseballosphere.

*Use to bypass registration.
Abortion is not Libertarian
The Honorable Ron Paul, quoted in a Blog post entitled Eugenics: Past, Future, and Present:
    A libertarian's support for abortion is not merely a minor misapplication of principle, as if one held an incorrect belief about the Austrian theory of the business cycle. The issue of abortion is fundamental, and therefore an incorrect view of the issue strikes at the very foundations of all beliefs.

    Libertarians believe, along with the Founding Fathers, that every individual has inalienable rights, among which are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Neither the State, nor any other person, can violate those rights without committing an injustice. But, just as important as the power claimed by the State to decide what rights we have, is the power to decide which of us has rights.

    Today, we are seeing a piecemeal destruction of individual freedom. And in abortion, the statists have found a most effective method of obliterating freedom: obliterating the individual. Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State. Unlike Nazi Germany, which forcibly sent millions to the gas chambers (as well as forcing abortion and sterilization upon many more), the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder.

    We must promote a consistent vision of liberty because freedom is whole and cannot be alienated, although it can be abridged by the unjust action of the State or those who are powerful enough to obtain their own demands. Our lives, also, are a whole from the beginning at fertilization until death. To deny any part of liberty, or to deny liberty to any particular class of individuals, diminishes the freedom of all. For libertarians to support such an abridgement of the right to live free is unconscionable.
[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Episcopal Gloves
Fr. Tucker takes note of the ones worn by Archbishop Nicholas Cheong of Seoul in the following post:
    Gauntlets in Seoul -- Thanks to the reader who sent along this image of Archbishop Nicholas Cheong of Seoul, Korea, one of the men to receive the Red Hat in the upcoming consistory. The photo is interesting because it shows the Archbishop wearing episcopal gloves during the (Novus Ordo) Mass. Although gloves used to be required of bishops celebrating a Solemn Mass, all mention of them was dropped when the New Mass was introduced during the reign of Paul VI. Kudos to the soon-to-be-Cardinal for making use of them.
I'm not surprised by His Excellency's donning of the gauntlets. Korean Catholics, God bless them, have kept in tact many vestiges of the preconciliar Church, even though the Novus Ordo is universal. For example, in a given Sunday Mass, 90% of the women are veiled, there is copious use of "smells and bells" on holy days, and the Holy Rosary is prayed before Mass and the Angelus after.
Traveling Christs
Here's an article about various heterodox ideas about Christ's globetrotting travels after the Crucifiction: Jesus Christ – in Japan, England, Kashmir and the Americas. Most interesting was a Shinto-Christian group that believes that
    the Saviour "escaped" from Palestine and travelled, via the former Soviet Union, to northern Japan. Here Christ married a Japanese woman and lived to the age of 102. In a small town in Aomori prefecture, there are two burial mounds said to be the graves of Jesus Christ and his Japanese wife.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Today, we remember Saint Matilda
    Daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark; she was raised by her grandmother, abbess of the Eufurt. In 913, Matilda left the abbey, and married King Henry the Fowler of Saxony (Henry I), who had received an annulment from a previous marriage. Queen of Germany. Mother of Otto, Holy Roman Emporer; Henry the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria; Saint Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, wife of King Louis IV of France; Hedwig, mother of Hugh Capet. Founded several Benedictine abbeys. Well known throughout the realm for her generosity, she taught the ignorant, comforted the sick, and visited prisoners. Betrayed by Otto after Henry's death when he falsely accused her of financial mismanagement.