VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Today I would like to entrust various intentions to your prayers. Firstly, recalling that yesterday, the liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we celebrated the Day for Consecrated Life, I invite you to pray for those whom Christ calls to follow him more closely with a special consecration. Our gratitude goes out to these brothers and sisters of ours who dedicate themselves to the total service of God and the Church with the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. May the Holy Virgin obtain many and holy vocations to the consecrated life, which constitutes inestimable riches for the Church and for the world.
Another prayer intention is offered by the Day for Life, which is celebrated today in Italy, and has “Serving Life” as its theme. I greet and salute those who have come here to St. Peter’s Square to bear witness to their commitment to the defense and promotion of life and to reaffirm that “a people’s civilization is measured by its capacity to serve life” [Message of the Italian Bishops’ Conference for the 30th National Day for Life].
Everyone, according to their own possibilities, profession and competence, always feels compelled to love and serve life, from its beginning to its natural end. It is, in fact, the duty of all to welcome human life as a gift to be respected, safeguarded and promoted, especially when it is fragile and in need of care, whether prior to birth or at its end. I join with the Italian bishops to encourage those who, with toil but with joy, without clamoring and with great dedication, help elderly or disabled family members, and those who regularly give part of their own time to help those persons of every age whose life is tried by many and different forms of poverty.
Let us pray also that the season of Lent, which will begin Wednesday with the Rite of the Ashes -- which I celebrate, as every year, at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine -- will be a time of authentic conversion for all Christians, called to an ever more authentic and courageous witness of their faith. We entrust these prayer intentions to the Madonna.
Beginning yesterday and continuing through Feb. 11, the memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes and the 150th anniversary of the apparitions, it is possible to receive a plenary indulgence, applicable to the dead, with the usual conditions -- confession, Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions -- by praying before a blessed image of Our Lady of Lourdes exposed for public veneration. For the elderly and the sick this is possible through the desire of the heart. Mary, Mother and Star of Hope, illuminate our path and make us always more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
[After the Angelus the Holy Father said the following in Italian:]
I invite you to unite yourselves with the brothers and sisters of Kenya -- some of whom are here present in St. Peter’s Square -- in prayer for reconciliation, justice and peace in their country. Assuring my nearness to all, I hope that the efforts at mediation presently being undertaken might have success and lead, through the goodwill and the cooperation of all, to a rapid solution to the conflict, which has already claimed too many victims.
Malevolence, with its burden of suffering, does not seem to know any limits in Iraq, as the very sad news of these days tells us. Again I raise up my voice on behalf of that sorely tried population and I ask the peace of God for them.
In my message for the recent World Day of Peace, I emphasized the fact that it is in the family that one learns the lexicon of civil common life and discovers human values. The festivities of the Lunar New Year will see the families of the various Asian countries gathered together in joy. I wish them every good and prosperity and I hope that they will know how to preserve and value these beautiful and fruitful traditions of family life, to the benefit of their respective nations and in those countries in which they presently find themselves living.
Today in the Diocese of Rome, the “Diocesan Week of Life and the Family” begins. It will culminate next Sunday, at the shrine of the Madonna of Divine Love, with the celebration of the “Diocesan Feast of the Family.” I encourage all parents to rediscover the grandeur and beauty of the educative mission. Indeed, education is very demanding but exciting! Make your children feel, from the most tender age, that nearness that testifies to love. Give yourselves, so that they in turn will open to others and to the world with serenity and generosity. The soul of education is always trust in God, who “gives hope to our future!"
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
[In Spanish, he said:]
I also raise ceaseless and fervent prayers to God for Colombia, where for some time, many sons and daughters of that beloved country are suffering the effects of extortion, kidnapping and the violent loss of their loved ones.
May such inhuman suffering come to a definitive end, and ways be found for reconciliation, mutual respect and genuine harmony, thus recreating fraternity and solidarity which are the solid foundations upon which to construct just progress and stable peace.
[In English, said:]
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. In a few days we will celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our annual Lenten journey towards Easter. May this season of spiritual renewal be for all Christians an occasion to draw nearer to the Lord in prayer, penance and the pursuit of holiness. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I don't think the Nome characters in Macross F and Macross Zero have any relation to each other... but if they do... that would be interesting.
Some stills from the first episode. Macross Frontier Image Page. Macross Frontier Manga Page.
Edit: I just skimmed through episode 5, and the scientists talk about the alien being the one who tinkered with genes to create the human race... so it does appear that the Bird-Human alien was a part of Protoculture.
So the humans have suspected that the Protoculture is still around, but in hiding? But that someday mankind would encounter them as they continued exploring the rest of the galaxy?
by Samir Khalil Samir, sj
Debate has been raised by the proposal of Rowan Williams, the Anglican primate, to insert parts of sharia into British legislation. To integrate Muslims into Europe, the practice of hospitality is better. Europeans appear to be abandoning the same humanist ideals that attract many, Muslims and non-Muslims.
The archbishop of Cantebury's speech
Spies, lies, and "conspiracy theories" – what's behind the Middle East internet outage
Using the Internet as a weapon
Commentary: Internet interruption in the Middle East looks fishy
John C. Dvorak, MarketWatch
仲間由紀恵 きれいなおねえさんシリーズ プラチナ篇
Glico: Panapp Commercial
Glico: Pocky Reverse Commercial
仲間由紀恵 日清チキンラーメン CM Yukie Nakama
Yukie Nakama - NISSIN CHIKIN RAMEN
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Nakama Yukie - Talk 2/3
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Tetsuko's Room guest Nakama Yukie 2007(1/3)
Tetsuko's Room guest Nakama Yukie 2007(2/3)
Tetsuko's Room guest Nakama Yukie 2007(3/3)
Eetomo talk guest Nakama Yukie October, 2007
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The Asians at the school are mostly Vietnamese, though there may be a few Chinese.
One of the 5th grad classes (6th grade?) sang "Vietnam Vietnam" in Vietnamese. (I don't know if they still play this song on Ch. 38 at the end of Vietnamese programming. To me, Vietnamese seems somewhat difficult to learn, even though some people claim Cantonese and Vietnamese sound very similar. It was a bit odd watching Hispanic and Anglo kids singing in Vietnamese... but they seemed to do it well.
I think the same class also sang "Gong Xi."
It was nice to see the Vietnamese students (and teachers) dressed up in ao dai. (Even if many were rather generic ao dai for children.) Some of the non-Vietnamese students (and again, teachers) were dressed in qi pao or Chinese tops.
I can see why those seeking to preserve Anglo culture and a national identity might complain about this. On the other hand, this is a school where most of the students are non-Anglo. It doesn't seem like the lunar calendar will ever be able to compete against the solar calendar in a Western country; besides the solar calendar is an international standard, and the lunar new year (in China at least) important only for marking certain holidays and picking fortuitous dates for weddings and so on.
But if a local identity is more important than a national identity, and the make-up of a community changes because of immigration and emigration, how can one really complain that the culture of the community is being lost (or more accurately, replaced)? Hence, one can understand the gripe of certain people that the Federal government is at fault for allowing so much (legal) immigration, to the detriment of local cultures and identities.
Yesterday I was asking some of my students the names of various things in Vietnamese. That was rather fun. The vowel sounds of Vietnamese do sound more complex than those of Cantonese...
So what's the harm in having children learn about other cultures? After all, they have to live with one another and therefore understand one another don't they? But do children really learn about culture differences in a public school, or do they get all of their learning from a textbook? And what of core values, and the customs that embody them? Should there be only one set? If children learn more than one, will they become confused, or worse, relativists?
I remember in high school we discussed the difference between ethics and etiquette, and people generally argued etiquette was not as "serious" as ethics, or did not have the same, well, ethical import. Nonetheless, is this really so? Some acts may seem neutral, such as using the right hand to hold the knife when cutting, but what about greeting one another? Isn't that tied to the virtue of friendliness?
And would it really be too much to expect that those who immigrate here should have more than a superficial knowledge of "American culture," beyond what is required on the citizenship test and what they may see on the television? How about a required etiquette course?
Friday, February 08, 2008
by Rep Roscoe Bartlett
Greek Orthodox Church Elects New Leader
Metropolitan Ieronymos Promoted Dialogue With Catholics
ATHENS, Greece, FEB. 8, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church elected Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes and Livadia to succeed Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who died last month.
The conclave, which lasted only 4-hours, was held Thursday at Athen's main cathedral. The new archbishop was elected in the second round of voting and received 45 votes out of a possible 75.
After the results were announced, the 20th archbishop elected to lead the Greek Church said, "I accept this high office and honor to uphold the holy traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church."
Archbishop Christodoulos, who was head of the see since 1998, died Jan. 27 after a 7-month battle with cancer. He was 69.
According to reports of the international agencies and local sources, Archbishop Ieronymos, 70, helped Archbishop Christodoulos in his steps of opening dialogue with the Catholic Church, which had its most decisive moment with the visit of Pope John Paul II to Athens in 2001.
The new archbishop also maintains a good relationship with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who has expressed his satisfaction and joy with this choice.
Archbishop Ieronymos will be enthroned Feb. 16.
Born Ioannis Liapis, the Greek native was a professor of philosophy and archaeology before entering the priesthood in 1967. He was enthroned as bishop of Thebes in 1981.
Satan Exists, and Christ Defeated Him
Gospel Commentary for 1st Sunday of Lent
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 8, 2008 (Zenit.org.- Demons, Satanism and other related phenomena are quite topical today, and they disturb a great part of our society.
Our technological and industrialized world is filled with magicians, wizards, occultism, spiritualism, fortune tellers, spell trafficking, amulets, as well as very real Satanic sects. Chased away from the door, the devil has come in through the window. Chased away by the faith, he has returned by way of superstition.
The episode of Jesus' temptations in the desert that is read on the First Sunday of Lent helps us to have some clarity on this subject. First of all, do demons exist? That is, does the word "demon" truly indicate some personal being with intelligence and will, or is it simply a symbol, a manner of speaking that refers to the sum of the world's moral evil, the collective unconscious, collective alienation, etc.?
Many intellectuals do not believe in demons in the first sense. But it must be noted that many great writers, such as Goethe and Dostoyevsky, took Satan's existence very seriously. Baudelaire, who was certainly no angel, said that "the demon's greatest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist."
The principal proof of the existence of demons in the Gospels is not the numerous healings of possessed people, since ancient beliefs about the origins of certain maladies may have had some influence on the interpretation of these happenings. The proof is Jesus' temptation by the demon in the desert. The many saints who in their lives battled against the prince of darkness are also proof. They are not like "Don Quixote," tilting at windmills. On the contrary, they were very down-to-earth, psychologically healthy people.
If many people find belief in demons absurd, it is because they take their beliefs from books, they pass their lives in libraries and at desks; but demons are not interested in books, they are interested in persons, especially, and precisely, saints.
How could a person know anything about Satan if he has never encountered the reality of Satan, but only the idea of Satan in cultural, religious and ethnological traditions? They treat this question with great certainty and a feeling of superiority, doing away with it all as so much "medieval obscurantism."
But it is a false certainty. It is like someone who brags about not being afraid of lions and proves this by pointing out that he has seen many paintings and pictures of lions and was never frightened by them. On the other hand, it is entirely normal and consistent for those who do not believe in God to not believe in the devil. It would be quite tragic for someone who did not believe in God to believe in the devil!
Yet the most important thing that the Christian faith has to tell us is not that demons exist, but that Christ has defeated them. For Christians, Christ and demons are not two equal, but rather contrary principles, as certain dualistic religions believe to be the case with good and evil. Jesus is the only Lord; Satan is only a creature "gone bad." If power over men is given to Satan, it is because men have the possibility of freely choosing sides and also to keep them from being too proud (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7), believing themselves to be self-sufficient and without need of any redeemer. "Old Satan is crazy," goes an African-American spiritual. "He shot me to destroy my soul, but missed and destroyed my sin instead."
With Christ we have nothing to fear. Nothing and no one can do us ill, unless we ourselves allow it. Satan, said an ancient Father of the Church, after Christ's coming, is like a dog chained up in the barnyard: He can bark and lunge as much as he wants, but if we don't go near him, he cannot harm us.
In the desert Jesus freed himself from Satan to free us! This is the joyous news with which we begin our Lenten journey toward Easter.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
* * *
Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11.
Well, today I found this review by Kevin Gutzman.
Lincoln's Constitution: an interview with Daniel Farber
Thursday, February 07, 2008
by Lindy Morgan
KK was telling me how hot David Tennant looks in glasses and Edwardian clothing + academic garb:
Here he is wearing a kilt:
John Barrowman sings Doctor Who theme
Photos of the Doctor with the season 4 companion Donna are now online.
I did drop by Jacko's to see if the girl was still working there--I didn't see her, but perhaps it's her night off...
Jen K. reports: An Evening With Ciarán Hinds
ciaran hinds online
Ciaranitis - for those smitten with Ciarán Hinds
HBO: Rome: Cast and Crew: Actor Bio: Ciarán Hinds
BBC - Drama - People Index Ciaran Hinds
From Amazing Grace:
Hooked on Growth (audio)
Jason Bradford, The Reality Report via Global Public Media
The Reality Report hosts David Gardner, President of Citizen-Powered Media and producer of the documentary Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity. We discuss what is it like to challenge a core belief of our society, and why is it more important than ever to do so.
Jason Bradford hosts The Reality Report, broadcast on KZYX&Z in Mendocino County, CA.
(6 February 2008)
The Way to a Woman's Heart Is Through Her Nose
Researcher Presents the Chemistry of Love
By Carrie Gress
ROME, FEB. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Little holds the attention of Catholic young adults more than a discussion about religion and sexuality.
Vicki Thorn, the founder of the post-abortion healing group Project Rachel, got the undivided attention of 60 young adults Wednesday as she explained to them the biology and chemistry behind Pope John Paul II's theology of the body.
Although Karol Wojtyla didn't have the advantage of the current research on the biology and chemistry of sexuality, Thorn says he looked into what was available in the 1960s and 70s, and drew from it for his own writings about love, sexuality and God.
The last month has seen a rush of articles about the science behind sexuality. Magazines including Time, Psychology Today and Scientific American all chimed in about the chemical forces at work when people select a mate, including what seems to be the not-so-insignificant role of how a person smells.
Rachel Herz, a researcher and psychologist, said in Psychology Today, "Body odor is an external manifestation of the immune system, and the smells we think are attractive come from the people who are most genetically compatible with us."
Thorn, who has been doing work on this topic for years, is taking many of these secular findings and considering them through a Catholic lens. One of the many topics Thorn covered was the connection between pheromones and chemical contraception. She pointed out yet another harmful effect of the pill because of the role pheromones play in mate selection.
When a woman is on the pill, explained Thorn, her physical chemistry changes as the body is duped into thinking it is pregnant. As a result, the type of man she is attracted to is one with pheromones that are similar to her own, like her father's or her brother's. Her body, through her nose, is trying to help her to surround herself with protection, safety, familiarity.
On the other hand, Thorn continued, a woman not using chemical contraception, will be attracted to a man that has a different genetic make up than her own, or her family's, since mates that are genetically too similar can cause difficulties in conceiving, or affect the health of the children.
"It makes sense that God would order our bodies this way." Thorn said, "But we have been tinkering with things we shouldn't be tinkering with."
Problems arise when a woman goes off chemical contraception. Her body will return to the pre-pill chemistry, and she may have difficulty with what she perceives as a different scent of her husband.
This may have something to do with why, as Herz said in Psychology Today: "One of the most common things women tell marriage counselors is, 'I can't stand his smell.'"
While Thorn is working on two books on the topic of the science behind sex, one for teens and another for engaged couples, she says she is not giving up her work with helping people to heal physically and spiritually from abortion. She added that her recent research has been encouraged by those she has helped in the past.
"I gave this information to the women I was counseling, and they made me promise to tell others," said Thorn. "'We have never heard this before,' they told me. 'We wish we had known it before.'"
To order Thorn's CDs and DVDs on the topic, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
wiki; from the external links: Whatever happened to Received Pronunciation? and Sounds Familiar?
BBC - h2g2 - RP - Received Pronunciation - A657560
BBC NEWS | Magazine | Plain speaking
AUE: The Audio Archive
On the Lenten Journey
"A Spiritual Retreat That Lasts 40 Days"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today on Ash Wednesday at the general audience in Paul VI Hall.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin again our Lenten journey as we do every year, with a more intense spirit of prayer and reflection, of penance and of fasting. We are entering into a very "intense" liturgical season that, while preparing us for the celebration of Easter -- the heart of the Church calendar and of our very existence -- invites us, or we could say provokes us, to push forward in our Christian lives.
Since our commitments and our worries keep us living the same routine, putting us at risk of forgetting just how extraordinary this adventure is that Christ has involved us in, we need to begin again each day with the demanding itinerary of evangelical life, retreating within ourselves through moments of reflection that regenerate our spirit. With the ancient ritual of the imposition of the ashes, the Church introduces Lent as a spiritual retreat that lasts 40 days.
In this way we enter into the atmosphere of Lent, which helps us rediscover the gift of faith received at baptism and which encourages us to approach the sacrament of reconciliation, placing our commitment to conversion under the symbol of divine mercy. Originally in the early Church, Lent was a privileged time given to those catechumens preparing for the sacrament of baptism and of the Eucharist, which were celebrated during the Easter Vigil. Lent was considered a time in which one became Christian, but this did not happen in a single moment. It is a long journey of conversion and renewal.
Those who had already been baptized joined with them in this journey remembering the sacrament they had received and prepared to join again with Christ in the joyous celebration of Easter. In this way, Easter had and still retains today the feeling and character of a baptism, in the sense that it keeps alive the understanding that being a Christian is never a journey's end that is behind us, but a path that constantly demands renewed effort.
Upon placing ashes on the faithful, the celebrant says: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" (cf. Genesis 3:19), or he repeats Jesus' exhortation: "Convert and believe in the Gospel" (cf. Mark 1:15). Both practices recall the truth of human existence: We are limited creatures, sinners constantly in need of penitence and conversion. How important it is in our day and age to listen and welcome such a call! When proclaiming his independence from God, the contemporary man becomes his own slave and often finds himself inconsolably alone. The invitation to convert is therefore a spur to return to the arms of God, caring and merciful Father, to trust him, to entrust oneself to him like adopted children, regenerated by his love.
Teaching with wisdom the Church reiterates that conversion is above all a grace, a gift that opens the heart to God's infinite love. Through his grace he anticipates our desire for conversion and supports our efforts toward full adherence to his saving will. To convert means to let Jesus win our hearts (cf. Philippians 3:12) and "to return" with him to the Father.
Conversion therefore means to give oneself to the teachings of Jesus and to obediently follow in his footprints. The words he uses to explain how to be his true disciples are enlightening. After affirming that "he who wants to save his own life will lose it; but he who will lose his own life for me and the Gospel will save it." He adds: "To what good can man earn the whole world, if he loses his own soul"? (Mark 8:35-36).
Attainment of success, longing for prestige and search for comfort: When these things absorb life entirely until they exclude God from one's own horizon, do they really lead to happiness? Can there be true happiness without God? Experience shows that we are not happy because we satisfy material expectations. In truth, the sole delight than fills a man's heart is the one that comes from God: We truly need this infinite joy. Neither the daily worries, nor the difficulty of life can cancel out the joy that comes from our friendship with God. At first Jesus' invitation to take up our cross and follow him can seem hard and against our wishes -- even mortifying because of our desire for personal success. But if we look closer we discover that it is not like that: The saints are proof that in the Cross of Christ, in the love that is given renouncing self-possession, we find a profound serenity that is the foundation of generous devotion to our brothers, especially the poor and the needy. This gives us joy.
The Lenten walk to conversion, that we undertake today with the whole Church, becomes the propitious occasion, "the favorable moment" (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2) to yield ourselves once again to the hands of God and to practice what Jesus continuously repeats to us: "If someone wants to follow me he must renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34), and thus take the path of love and true happiness.
During Lent the Church, in keeping with the Gospel, proposes certain specific duties which assist the faithful in this journey of inner renewal: prayer, fasting and charity. This year, in the message for Lent published a few days ago, I wanted to focus on "almsgiving, which represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods" (No.1).
We are unfortunately aware of how deeply the desire for material riches pervades modern society. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are taught not to idolize earthly goods, but to use them to live and to help those who are in need. In teaching us to be charitable, the Church teaches us to address the needs of our neighbor, imitating Christ as noted by St. Paul. He became poor to enrich us with his poverty (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9) "through his teaching -- I discuss this in more detail in the message for Lent -- we can learn to give our whole lives as a gift. By imitating him, we become disposed not so much to give what we possess, but to give of ourselves."
I continue: "Can we not summarize the whole Gospel in the single principle of charity? Giving to charity therefore with a deep spirit of faith becomes a way of understanding and of realizing our own Christian vocation. When a Christian freely offers himself, he shows that it is not material riches but love which dictate the laws of existence."
Dear brothers and sisters, we ask Mary, Mother of God and the Church, to walk with us on the Lenten journey, to make it a journey of true conversion. Let us be led by her and we will arrive -- profoundly renewed -- at the celebration of the great mystery of the Easter of Christ, the supreme revelation of God's merciful love.
A blessed Lent to all of you!
[Translation by Laura Leoncini]
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of our annual Lenten journey of prayer and penance. In the early Church, Lent was the time when catechumens prepared for Baptism, accompanied by the prayers of the whole Christian community. Today, too, the Lenten season is a privileged moment of conversion and spiritual renewal for the whole Church. The rite of the imposition of ashes is a summons to return to God and, in doing so, to discover authentic freedom and joy. Jesus reminds us that only by "losing" our life will we truly "find" it. Our ultimate fulfilment is found in God alone, who satisfies our deepest longings. By taking up our cross and following the Lord, we experience redemption, inner peace and loving solidarity with our brothers and sisters. During Lent, in addition to prayer and fasting, the Church invites us to practice almsgiving as an expression of our desire to imitate Christ's own self-giving and his generous concern for others. As we set out once again on this journey of spiritual renewal, may Mary, Mother of the Church, guide us to a fruitful celebration of Easter. A Blessed Lent to all of you!
This morning I am especially pleased to greet the delegation of government leaders from Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, and I offer my prayerful good wishes for their efforts to promote reconciliation, justice and peace in the region. My warm greeting and prayerful encouragement also goes to the participants in the Graduate School of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. I thank the choir for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from England and the United States, I cordially invoke God's blessings of joy and peace.
(c) Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Authentic Catholic teaching
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn on three-city tour to acquaint Californians with Austrian theological institute
And from this post, Cardinal Schönborn to present his new book at Berkeley:
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and main editor of the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, will discuss his views on creation and evolution when he officially presents his new book, Chance or Purpose? Creation, Evolution and a Rational Faith (Ignatius Press), at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, CA, on Friday, February 15 from 2:15 – 3:45 pm Pacific Time. Address: 2301 Vine Street, Berkeley, CA 94708 – Galleria. ...
Media who plan to attend the Feb. 15 presentation should register with Christine Valentine-Owsik (215-230-8095). Additional information about the book can be found at: http://www.chanceorpurpose.com/.
Even one of the bloggers have noted the current HK sex scandal, involving private photos taken by one actor and were "stolen" and uploaded. Supposedly as many as 10 female stars are in the photos. Well... if one thought HK "artists" were pure and clean, this should make him rethink. At least in the past traditional Chinese culture emphasized shame, so even if one did something wrong, one would be careful to conceal it from the rest of society. Now these were private photos, but why take the chance of having them discovered by someone else and made public?
Recently Asians have adopted "Western" standards of "beauty"--the piercing of parts other than the ear, such as the belly button and nose, and tattoos. Is it wrong to associate such tattoos and piercings with a more casual attitude towards sex? I remember the trailer from The Wedding Crashers--Vince Vaughn finds his pray at one wedding: "Tatto on the back--might as well be a bull's eye." On Leno I first heard of this tattoo being called a "tramp stamp." Does the audience laugh because it's ridiculous, or because there's truth to it? After a woman has become experienced sexually (and in an unsatisfying manner or in a relationship that has gone bad), is she more likely to get a tattoo or piercing, in order to take some sort of control or to assert herself? (Thus linking tattoos and piercings to self-esteem issues.) Or is this just rebellion? As things that were socially unacceptable in the past became mainstream, what will our youths do next in order to be "original"?
And what does one think of a woman who is willing to be photographed by her [casual] lover, someone who has not pledged himself to her and made a commitment? (Now perhaps the actor in question did promise himself, but I find it hard to believe, since the entertainment circle in HK is small, and his history of dating various women must be known to all involved.) Perhaps women don't mind being made an object by the man they think they "love" either on film or video--it is, like having sex with him, a way of pleasing him and holding on to him. But isn't it understandable for fans to be disappointed as a result, and to think less of them? I know my opinion of one actress/singer has gone down once again as a result of this.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
From City Journal:
The Lost Art of War
Hollywood’s anti-American war films don’t measure up to the glories of its patriotic era.
Here the typical neo-con line: America is a proposition nation, and Americans are willing to die for such an abstraction. No longer do they need to die for something concrete--sustaining the American proposition is sufficient in itself.
Antinationalism has a long pedigree in Western art and thought, so to track its development in Hollywood war movies, we now have to double back, before Vietnam and World II, to even earlier films.
Through much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with nationalism at its height in Europe, Western artists routinely depicted war as purifying and ennobling. With World War I, that idea became increasingly insupportable. A generation of young men had been wiped out for reasons that remain murky even today, slaughtered in their millions by a technology that seemed to eliminate any trace of martial sublimity.
The dominant artistic reaction was a rejection of nationalist sacrifice. It was best summed up by Wilfred Owen’s famous poem “Dulce et Decorum Est,” which sneers at “the old lie” that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. Between the world wars, Hollywood took up that antinationalist theme in one of its earliest talkies, 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front. The film won an Oscar for best picture and remains an extraordinary movie to this day. In this story of German soldiers in the trenches, based on Erich Maria Remarque’s fine novel, every father figure who fills young men with dreams of “some desperate glory,” to use Owen’s phrase, is a blustering fool, a militaristic buffoon, or a secret coward. The war is nothing but senseless death.
Key to this depiction is one scene that remains a staple of the war-movie genre: battle-weary soldiers sitting together and discussing the greater mission. These scenes almost invariably ring false—statements by the artists intruding on the art—but they’re telling nonetheless.
“How do they start a war?” one soldier asks in All Quiet.
“One country offends another,” a second says.
“Oh, well, if that’s it, I shouldn’t be here at all. I don’t feel offended.”
Here, the concerns of the individual—and, by extension, the concerns of the People—are different from, and even antithetical to, the concerns of the nation. In the wake of this devastating conflict, that pretty much became the left-wing line. Nationalism had caused the war; therefore cosmopolitanism, and a stateless commitment to the People, would end war altogether.
The trouble with cosmopolitanism, as George Orwell pointed out, is that no one is willing to fight and die for it. When warlike racial nationalism resurged in the thirties, only an answering “atavistic emotion of patriotism,” as Orwell wrote, could embolden people to stand against it.
Though European intellectuals and their left-wing American acolytes are loath to admit it, the U.S. had already provided an excellent new rationale for that emotion. Our Founding redefined nationhood along social-contract lines that Europeans can still only theorize about. Our love of nation at its best was ethical, not ethnic. Our patriotism was loyalty not to race, or even to tradition, but to ideals of individual liberty and republican self-governance.
But many World War II films emphasize what America stands for. The ceaseless Hollywood roll calls of Spinellis, O’Haras, Dombrowskis, and Steins highlight the e pluribus unum of it all: an ethnically diverse nation unified by democratic ideals....Is this generalization about World War II movies accurate? If it is, do those movies realistically portray the motivations of the American men who fought in that war? Was it really about protecting American democracy? We would undoubtedly see it in the propaganda of that time. But with the wars after World War II the cry to protect freedom and democracy became more universalized, as it was tied to the Cold War and the threat of the Soviet juggernaut. Looking back on it now, it seems difficult to believe that the actual enemies in the proxy wars that the U.S. fought represented any genuine danger to the "American way of life."
Most people love their homeland, but these movies understood that, for Americans, the democratic ethos constituted the substance of that land.
Should we praise those who show true courage in the face of death? It seems that our response would be an unquestionable yes. But shouldn't the cause for which men sacrifice themselves also be factored into our evaluation of their bravery, or of such films at least?
So what then of depictions of courage in wars that we would not agree with? Can we admire the bravery and obedience of the men who fought in those wars, while being critical of the war and of the leaders who are responsible for them? Or should we expect something more from the citizenry of a "republic"? How much discernment can we expect from the citizens of a large nation-state, where access to information is restricted (even if it claims to be a "free society")?
Dr Alcuin Reid on the Reform of the Good Friday Prayer
Roma locuta est: causa finita est. This traditional maxim of Catholic life needs to be remembered. It refers to the right of the Holy See – and most specifically of the Sovereign Pontiff – to decide on matters of discipline and governance of the Church. Once the arguments have been duly heard and the Supreme Authority decides, loyal Catholics obey: even if they personally disagree about the prudence or otherwise of a decision.
This is not true, of course, in matters of faith and morals, where there is little room for manoeuvre in prudential judgement. But in matters of policy, where the faith of the Church is not altered, yes, the Pope is our General-in-Chief and we follow his lead.
Pope Benedict XVI has decided to alter the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the Missal of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite. In the past six or so months we have all heard the noises made – from differing quarters, arising from varying motives – about this aspect of the Church’s liturgical tradition. So too has the Holy Father. And, as Peter, he has made an authoritative prudential decision: one which, whatever our preferences, we owe obedience and respect.
The new prayer does not detract from or attempt to change Catholic doctrine in respect of our fervent prayer for the conversion of the Jewish people. The principle of lex orandi, lex credendi is fully respected. Whilst the Holy Father has decided that phrases in the previous prayer are to be changed – and we are free to agree or not with his thinking on this – the change is not a substantial change to the Sacred Liturgy as handed on in tradition, nor is it in radical theological discontinuity with what has gone before. Indeed, it reasserts Catholic doctrine (perhaps rather cleverly) when some, if not many, would have had it denied by insisting that it is inappropriate in the modern day to pray for the conversion of the Jews at all. The Pope has rejected such a stance as inimical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yesterday, today, and forever.
In matters of prudence the Pope is entitled to govern so long as he remains faithful to Catholic doctrine. This, Pope Benedict XVI most certainly is. Obedientia et pax.
Dr Alcuin Reid is a liturgical scholar specialising in liturgical reform and is author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius, 2005) which carries a foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
Were there good reasons, prudentially, for the prayer to change? Perhaps. Do I think something has been lost with the change in the words? The scriptural allusions are no longer there? (Mk 3:5, Mt 17:16, Acts 14:2, 2 Cor 3:15-16. Apparently the new prayer does refer to Romans 11: 25 and 26.) But... perhaps the new prayer is even more explicit than the old prayer of the necessity of Christ for salvation, and the [sole] efficacy of the new covenant.
For Vocations, Life, Lent
"A People's Civilization Is Measured by Its Capacity to Serve"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Maggie Grace in Thriller “Taken” | Pictures and Article @ The ...
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Maggie Grace Online ___ the original and largest maggie grace fansite
Colombia as US Puppet State
Civil Wars North and South
By PAUL WOLF
Respect for the principle of self-determination of people, and the duty of states to develop self-government in their non-self-governing territories are basic tenets of the United Nations Charter. When self-rule is denied, the result can be violent revolution. This is the basic problem in Colombia, not terrorism.
The great coal rush (and why it will fail)
Richard Heinberg, Museletter / Global Public Media
The world appears poised for a headlong sprint toward greater dependence on coal. This book's purpose is to examine one crucial question that will shape this next great coal rush: How much is left?
published February 4, 2008.
Iran oil bourse scheduled
Staff, Energy Bulletin
Iran was scheduled to inaugurate its long-awaited oil bourse this coming week. However, communication cables have been cut three times, disrupting Web service to portions of the Middle East and Asia. This may impact the bourse. (Links and background)
published February 3, 2008.
Well, when you put it that way, doesn't the loss of communication cables sound suspicious?
The acorn tree syndrome strikes again
Gene Logsdon, Organic To Be
Is it not scary when so many people no longer know that potatoes grow underground? Can the nature-illiterate vote intelligently about food issues?
published February 4, 2008.
Yes, Romney, there
is a Sanity Clause
Despite his recent reminder that America's constitution prohibits a religious test, voters have every right to question presidential contender Mitt Romney's faith. Sure, Romney should be judged on his own merits, not on the dubious history of his church, but does he believe that he himself will become God, as Mormon doctrine preaches? (Feb 4, '08)
See the articles written by Fr. Brian Harrison for This Rock:
The Appeal of Mormonism
The Wacky World of Joseph Smith, And the un-Christianity of Mormon Theology
The Values of the Kingdom of Heaven
Gospel Commentary for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, FEB. 1, 2008 (Zenit.org).- This Sunday's Gospel is about the Eight Beatitudes and begins with the celebrated verse: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
This statement about "the poor in spirit" is often misunderstood today, or is read with an indulgent smile, as if it were something to be believed only by the ingenuous. And, in fact, Jesus never said simply, "Blessed are the poor in spirit!" He never dreamed of saying something like that.
The second part is important: He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This is something different. Jesus' thought is completely misunderstood and made banal when only half of his statement is cited. Woe to the separation of the beatitude from its reason.
To offer a grammatical example, it would be like someone pronouncing a protasis and not following it with an apodosis. Suppose someone said: "If today you sow," then said nothing further. What could this mean? Nothing!
But if you added: "Tomorrow you will reap," then everything would be clear. In the same way, if Jesus had merely said: "Blessed are the poor," the statement would sound absurd. But when he adds: "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven," everything makes sense.
But what is this blessed kingdom of heaven that brought about the "inversion of all values?" It is the wealth that is not lost, that thieves cannot steal, that cannot rust away. It is the wealth that does not have to be left to others at death, but that you take with you. It is the "hidden treasure" and the "precious pearl" for which, in order to possess it, the Gospel says it is worth it give away everything.
The coming of this kingdom caused a kind of "political crisis" of global import, a radical re-organization. It opened new horizons; a little like when, in the 1400s, a new world -- America -- was discovered, and the powers that had a monopoly on trade with the East -- Venice for example -- suddenly found themselves unprepared and entered into crisis. The old values of the world -- money, power, prestige -- were changed, relativized, even if they were not repudiated, on account of the coming of the kingdom.
What now of the rich man? A man puts aside an enormous sum of money and during the night the value of the currency drops 100%. In the morning he wakes up a proletarian, even if he does not yet know it. The poor, on the other hand, have an advantage with the coming of the kingdom of God, because, not having anything to lose, they are more ready to welcome the new state of affairs and are not afraid of the change. They can invest everything in the new currency. They are more ready to believe.
But we think differently. We believe that the changes that count are the visible and social ones, not those that happen in faith. But who is right? In the last century we experienced many revolutions of this type, but we also saw how easily, after a time, they ended up reproducing, with different protagonists, the same situation of injustice that they had said they wanted to eliminate.
There are levels and aspects of reality that are not perceived with the naked eye, but only with the help of a special light. Today, with satellites in space, infrared photographs are made of whole regions of the earth and how different they look in the light of these rays!
The Gospel, and in particular, our beatitude of the poor, gives us an image of the world bathed in a special light, in a kind of "infrared" light. It helps us to see what is beneath, or beyond, the facade. It allows us to distinguish that which remains from that which is passing.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
* * *
Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a.
And to be honest, no doubt the racialists would have something to say about the people.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
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Email: Sprinkle Publications
Ooops! Just found the website. Check out in particular the following section:
War Between the States Histories
Soldier Saints Series
Now in print!
Rorate Caeli has posted some excerpts from "Historical and Theological Argumentation
in Favour Of Anaphoras without Institution Narrative: A Critical Appraisal," by Ansgar Santogrossi OSB
But no questioning of how the results are quantified and quality is to be judged, or an account of the goals of primary and secondary education. Should citizens in a "modern nation-state" be able to read and write? Yes. But how about reasoning properly? And what should they be reading and how should they be writing? Are their methods properly proportioned to the students' mental and spiritual development?
I came across this while looking up definitions of relocalization and was browsing "Understanding Relocalization." Sustainable Bellingham has as one of its goals, "Implementation of the Earth Charter – a sustainable framework and progress measure."
Would it be incorrect to think that the charter shows the ties between Marxism and some forms of environmentalism? Maybe those who are associated with it are not "on the left." There is talk about responsibility and the common good, at least.
From the principles of the Earth Charter:
3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.Are democratic societies necessary for the flourishing of human beings? Are human beings owed democracy? What sort of fundamental freedoms is the charter talking about? As for promoting social and economic justice--what means are permitted?
a. Ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential.
b. Promote social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible.
III. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE9a is ok. Whose task is it to educate the people? The state? Or does the state merely protect the right of citizens to educate each other? Social security and safety nets... is this just more welfare statism?
9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
a. Guarantee the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.
b. Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.
c. Recognize the ignored, protect the vulnerable, serve those who suffer, and enable them to develop their capacities and to pursue their aspirations.
11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.Here we see the influence of radical Marxism/feminism that ignores sex differences and distinction between sex roles... but even if it is difficult to categorize the charter or give it a label, I think with respect to its understanding of politics it is fair to say that it is "modern."
a. Secure the human rights of women and girls and end all violence against them.
b. Promote the active participation of women in all aspects of economic, political, civil, social, and cultural life as full and equal partners, decision makers, leaders, and beneficiaries.
c. Strengthen families and ensure the safety and loving nurture of all family members.
The Earth Charter in Action
Saigon has become very popular, especially for lunch, but I still don't think the food there is that great. The shark fin's soup was a bit bland... but maybe my impression is colored by my first experience with shark fin's soup. Was that the real thing or did it have fake shark's fin? It wasn't better than the shark fin's at Dynasty Cupertino Square.
Mrs. C's daughter and her husband went to Argentina for their honeymoon--they chose Argentina specifically for Patagonia. iirc, he said they also went to Cape Horn. I talked a bit with him, but perhaps not as much as I should have. It was my first time really meeting him. At the wedding and at the reception, I hardly talked to him at all, except to ask him about which guests were coming, and to thank him for inviting us.
Mrs. C was telling us about the best posture for sitting in front of the computer (not with the back straight, but with the chin touching the chest almost?), and Mrs. C's daughter responded that her husband had a big [flat screen] monitor. She then asked, "Why do men like gadgets so much?" Apparently he has many, especially electronic ones. (Earlier she asked about the Palm she gave me, whether the adapter that was included was the right one or not.)
I thought about about her question... instruments are necessary for work, and work is rather necessary for the male identity. Boys are interested in things and what they can do with them, or imitating what men do. Now some may confuse the quality of their tools with the quality of the work they can do or their skills, thinking that just because they have a good tool they are therefore very skilled, but I think having a good tool is part of the pride one has in being a good worker. So in a way tools does reflect the user/owner. (Though some tools have fancy and unnecessary frills and features--is this the male version of vanity?)
I just took her Palm out to check the adapter... it has some stickers on it...
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