Saturday, February 07, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
Is it necessarily Kantian to speak of duty? No. But it seems undeniable that a Thomistic understanding of duty (and its relation to virtue) is different from the account of duty given by Kant.
Several students have told me that they are moving away from San Jose, because their parents cannot afford housing there. One is moving to Modesto. Another student's father lost his job recently, and her mother is now making and selling piñatas.
Edit. After the Red Team lost, Chef Ji volunteered herself for elimination, as she had sprained her ankle, and did not think she could do her part for the rest of the team. (Even though in that episode she was much better than the two who were put up for elimination.) Will she make a return to Hell's Kitchen someday? I doubt it; though it would be 'nice' if she could get a position at a restaurant with her strong performance and Chef Ramsay's recommendation. She was one of the stronger contenders, and it is unfortunate that she had to leave. I hope her father is impressed by what she showed on television. She has her own website.
NorthJersey.com: Local chef on "Hell's Kitchen" tonight
Hell's Kitchen: Chef Ji's Sparkling Scarlet Sangria
Hell's Kitchen Chef Serves Up Some New Year's Evil
Community” is often dismissed as a romantic notion, “harking back a golden age
that never existed”. Traditional rural communities tended to be held together by
the absence of choice: you were your mother’s daughter or your father’s son, and
the range of possible futures – opportunities for travel, education, and
employment- were limited.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Olga Bonfiglio, Energy Bulletin
Community-based agriculture has the potential for creating jobs, developing small business entrepreneurship and keeping precious dollars in the community.
More on the Slow Food movement. I wonder if Slow Food SF has any jobs available...
Since Paul VI on, the secretariat of state has been the apex and the engine of the curia machine. It has direct access to the pope, and governs the implementation of every one of his decisions. It entrusts this to the competent offices, and coordinates their work.I recall an anecdote about who would become elected pope, and someone made the comment that if a Chinese were ever elected, the screws would finally be tightened on the Curia. (I think this may have been in one of Malachi Martin's books.) Do the Chinese really have such a talent for managing bureaucracy? (The reputation of the Chinese Imperial system notwithstanding.) Is the problem that there is too much "government at the center"?
So then, throughout the entire affair of the lifting of the excommunications for the Lefebvrist bishops, the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, despite his highly active and outspoken nature, distinguished himself by his absence.
His first public comment on the question came on January 28, during a conference in Rome at which he was speaking.
But more than words, what were lacking from him were actions equal to the gravity of the situation. Before, during, and after the issuing of the decree.
Benedict XVI was left practically alone, and the curia was abandoned to disorder.
The fact that Benedict XVI has given up on reforming the curia is now before the eyes of all. But it is conjectured that he compensated for this non-decision by entrusting the leadership of the offices to a tough, dynamic secretary of state, Bertone.
Now this conjecture has also been shown to be lacking. With Bertone, the curia seems even more disorganized than before, perhaps in part because he has never completely dedicated himself to fixing its problems. Bertone does most of his work not inside the walls of the Vatican, but on the outside, in an endless round of conferences, celebrations, inaugurations. His visits abroad are as frequents and as packed with meetings and speeches as those of a John Paul II in vigorous health: he was in Mexico from January 15-19, and is now visiting Spain. As a result, all of the work that the offices of the secretariat of state dedicate to his external activities leaves that much less work available for the pope. Or sometimes, it is a wasted double effort: for example, when Bertone gives a speech on the same topic and to the same audience to which the pope will speak a short time later, with journalists on the lookout for differences between the two.
Bertone's personal devotion to Benedict XVI is beyond all doubt. Not so that of the other curia officials, who continue to have free rein. It is possible that some of them deliberately oppose this pontificate. It is certain that most of them simply do not understand it, do not measure up to it.
1) What Frum shows — what almost all people who make this kind of argument show — is that literature is a minority taste: Look at how many more hits there are for the Sopranos than for Kafka! But literature has always been a minority taste. If you want to argue that that minority is shrinking, you going to have to acquire some comparative data. You’ll need to define literature, and you need to gather as much information as you can about literacy rates, book sales relative to population, library use, and so on. You’ll need to figure out what time frame you’re talking about: the past thirty years? Seventy-five? Two hundred? You’ll need to get as much historical context as possible, and context from other societies, by reading historians of reading like Robert Darnton and Jonathan Rose. Once you’ve done all that work, you will be entitled to draw some tentative conclusions about whether the reading of literature is declining or not, and, if there is a decline, whether it’s from a well-established norm or from a unique high point.
2) Yes, a lot of crap gets taught because of “political correctness.” But a great deal of major literature has been discovered as a result of paying attention to cultures beyond the West. Harold Pinter never wrote a play worthy to be compared with Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. I would give up the complete works of John Updike and Philip Roth for Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day, Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, and a handful of the gently brilliant comic novels of R. K. Narayan. And yes, I’m serious.
3) I don’t know what Frum means by “comic books,” but there are graphic novels that are significant works of art, that need to be reckoned with. Books like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: the Smartest Kid on Earth, and David B.’s Epileptic defy condescension — and indeed, I might give up a good chunk of Updike and Roth for them too.
Here is what I wrote over at the Crunchy Con:
1. Are those books being taught in a lower division course or upper? If in an upper division elective, fine. If in a lower division course, then I would ask, "What happened to the notion of a core curriculum that has as one of its purpose the passing on of Western civilization?"
2. We should not be looking only at individual entertainment or satisfaction, but preserving a culture that binds a people together, through the transmission of common stories. There are many things working against that ideal (TV and mass entertainment, the loss of community, and so on), but this purpose should at least be acknowledged, even if impossible to attain. (We need to know what we should be aiming for, in order to know what needs to be improved. If it cannot be improved, then we should realize how bad things are, instead of pretending that any sort of guerilla or holding action we may undertake sets everything aright.)
3. Literature being a minority taste? Perhaps--but even those who are part of the intellectual elite should have texts in common, since it is incumbent upon them to preserve the less accessible works of Western civilization. Perhaps we cannot turn back the loss of an oral culture and its replacement by a written culture in our schools--still we should ask the question of whether higher education is serving the good of the local community, or adding to its fragmentation.
4. Finally, as a part of a liberal education, the study of literature plays an ancillary role, not a primary one.
Here I would add that in a classical education (as it is given by the Jesuit tradition, but probably recommended by Renaissance writers as well), there was much emphasis on memorization and modelling one's rhetoric, both in speech and in writing, upon the great orators [and writers] of the past. (And should the writing of poetry not also be a skill that the truly educated should have to some degree? The Chinese certainly thought so.)
The replacement of poetry, epics, and plays by novels and short stories should be examined, both in society at large and in the university. (Was the introduction of literature courses a contributor to the decline of the Western university? Or just contemporaneous with it? While it is possible to teach a literature course so that the students can grasp eternal truths, still, it is no substitute for a scientific approach [in the Aristotelian sense] to knowledge and wisdom.)
Moreover, while texts from other cultures may address larger moral questions, such as those pertaining to justice, which all of mankind must find answers to, still, when their study is promoted at an institute dedicated to multiculturalism, how can a student not be left with the impression that one's own local particular culture is being denigrated? Is it possible that the study of another society's literature may even promote relativism with respect to 'secondary' customs? While it is true that some customs are not important as others (for example, bowing versus handshakes, as opposed to not killing one's neighbor), we should nonetheless foster a measure of devotion and respect to our customs, instead of a careless atittude about them, as if they were rendered trivial or inconsequential by different customs in other societies.
Literature may provide a springboard for inquiry and reflection, but it also serves a different didactic purpose--the offering of characters with whom we can identify and emulate. Earlier societies, with their oral culture, had a treasury of common stories and heroes, their epic poems and sagas.
It must be said that the medieval scholastics, who developed the university, were not without the study of 'literature,' but perhaps modern academics would not recognize it as such. They were supposed to be familiar with Sacred Scripture above all, and the writings of the Church Fathers and other authorities. How extensive was their knowledge of Greek plays and such? The use of fiction to add to philosophical and theological arguments seems to be minimal, if non-existent.
The university does have some role to play as a bearer of culture, as do other social institutions, most of which are failing miserably in the United States, as people continue to live their lives as 'individuals' without ties to place. Man is ordered not only to the knowledge of truth, but towards living with others well, and a university education is not necessarily concerned with only speculative knowledge. If a university claims that the education it offers has a moral component as well, then we are not concerned solely with what is of benefit to the individual as individual; we must also take the individual as a member of a community also into consideration, and educate him accordingly.
Someone wrote in response to my post over at Crunchy Con:
I actually think television and mass media have done a much better job of creating a widely shared body of common stories, characters and ideas than just about anything else.
A possible counter-argument--commercial television (cable television as well) and movies generally work against against mental discipline and reflection. The problem with replacing our imagination with the images that are presented on screen is over-saturation. Reading or listening to a story is more abstract--the imagination is used as tool to make the words intelligible, but it does not dominate.
Eventually I think we will come to have a lot less respect for mediated experience in general.
I think this is unlikely, unless some calamity that causes us to lose access to our electronic media happens, and reality becomes so harsh that we cannot avoid it. The draw of fantasy is very powerful. (Just look at the popularity of video gaming and pornography among young males.) We'll simply continue to see a shift to other forms of mediated experience, as the amount of reading done by adults continues to go down. (It's not a shift from lower appetites to higher appetites, but the reverse--this is why we believe we are in a state of decline. People are not abandoning mediated experience, for a more simpler way of life, like monks or other ascetics.)
So what should Christians do? Become even more familiar with Sacred Scripture, especially in its original languages? What traditional culture should Christians preserve in their communities? Classical learning? Which stories?
Response begung on 1/2.
(Is the first further evidence of anarcho-tyranny in the UK?)
It does look like a breakdown in leadership--what one might expect on the battlefield, retreat in the face of a numerically superior enemy. So... were the police really just 'leading' the demonstrators somewhere else?
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Food, Finance and Democracy in Crisis
by Raj Patel (edited and introduced by Ethan Genauer), Energy Bulletin
The 2009 29th annual Ecological Farming Conference kicked off on January 21 in beautiful, rainy Pacific Grove, CA with a provocative, pointed, timely, and at-times hilarious keynote address on "Food, Financial Stability and Democracy in Crisis" by Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, a new critically acclaimed book about the causes and consequences of global food inequity.
The same adaptation Keira Knightley is doing?
The Shakespeare Post » Keira Knightley to Play Cordelia
Links: Articles by Stratford Caldecott
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
"Fasting Is a Great Help to Avoid Sin and All That Leads to It"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is Benedict XVI's Lenten message for 2009, dated Dec. 11 and released today. The theme of the letter is "He Fasted for Forty Days and Forty Nights, and Afterward He Was Hungry."
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition -- prayer, almsgiving, fasting -- to prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God's power that, as we shall hear in the Paschal Vigil, "dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride" (Paschal Præconium). For this year's Lenten Message, I wish to focus my reflections especially on the value and meaning of fasting. Indeed, Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord's fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public ministry. We read in the Gospel: "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry" (Mt 4,1-2). Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34,28) and Elijah's fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings 19,8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter.
We might wonder what value and meaning there is for us Christians in depriving ourselves of something that in itself is good and useful for our bodily sustenance. The Sacred Scriptures and the entire Christian tradition teach that fasting is a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it. For this reason, the history of salvation is replete with occasions that invite fasting. In the very first pages of Sacred Scripture, the Lord commands man to abstain from partaking of the prohibited fruit: "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gn 2, 16-17). Commenting on the divine injunction, Saint Basil observes that "fasting was ordained in Paradise," and "the first commandment in this sense was delivered to Adam." He thus concludes: "'You shall not eat' is a law of fasting and abstinence" (cf. Sermo de jejunio: PG 31, 163, 98). Since all of us are weighed down by sin and its consequences, fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God. Such was the case with Ezra, who, in preparation for the journey from exile back to the Promised Land, calls upon the assembled people to fast so that "we might humble ourselves before our God" (8,21). The Almighty heard their prayer and assured them of His favor and protection. In the same way, the people of Nineveh, responding to Jonah's call to repentance, proclaimed a fast, as a sign of their sincerity, saying: "Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?" (3,9). In this instance, too, God saw their works and spared them.
In the New Testament, Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting, condemning the attitude of the Pharisees, who scrupulously observed the prescriptions of the law, but whose hearts were far from God. True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father, who "sees in secret, and will reward you" (Mt 6,18). He Himself sets the example, answering Satan, at the end of the forty days spent in the desert that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt 4,4). The true fast is thus directed to eating the "true food," which is to do the Father's will (cf. Jn 4,34). If, therefore, Adam disobeyed the Lord's command "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat," the believer, through fasting, intends to submit himself humbly to God, trusting in His goodness and mercy.
The practice of fasting is very present in the first Christian community (cf. Acts 13,3; 14,22; 27,21; 2 Cor 6,5). The Church Fathers, too, speak of the force of fasting to bridle sin, especially the lusts of the "old Adam," and open in the heart of the believer a path to God. Moreover, fasting is a practice that is encountered frequently and recommended by the saints of every age. Saint Peter Chrysologus writes: "Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God's ear to yourself" (Sermo 43: PL 52, 320. 322).
In our own day, fasting seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning, and has taken on, in a culture characterized by the search for material well-being, a therapeutic value for the care of one's body. Fasting certainly bring benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a "therapy" to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God. In the Apostolic Constitution Pænitemini of 1966, the Servant of God Paul VI saw the need to present fasting within the call of every Christian to "no longer live for himself, but for Him who loves him and gave himself for him, he will also have to live for his brethren" (cf. Ch. I). Lent could be a propitious time to present again the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution, so that the authentic and perennial significance of this long held practice may be rediscovered, and thus assist us to mortify our egoism and open our heart to love of God and neighbor, the first and greatest Commandment of the new Law and compendium of the entire Gospel (cf. Mt 22, 34-40).
The faithful practice of fasting contributes, moreover, to conferring unity to the whole person, body and soul, helping to avoid sin and grow in intimacy with the Lord. Saint Augustine, who knew all too well his own negative impulses, defining them as "twisted and tangled knottiness" (Confessions, II, 10.18), writes: "I will certainly impose privation, but it is so that he will forgive me, to be pleasing in his eyes, that I may enjoy his delightfulness" (Sermo 400, 3, 3: PL 40, 708). Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God.
At the same time, fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live. In his First Letter, Saint John admonishes: "If anyone has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, yet shuts up his bowels of compassion from him -- how does the love of God abide in him?" (3,17). Voluntary fasting enables us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends low and goes to the help of his suffering brother (cf. Encyclical Deus caritas est, 15). By freely embracing an act of self-denial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger. It is precisely to keep alive this welcoming and attentive attitude towards our brothers and sisters that I encourage the parishes and every other community to intensify in Lent the custom of private and communal fasts, joined to the reading of the Word of God, prayer and almsgiving. From the beginning, this has been the hallmark of the Christian community, in which special collections were taken up (cf. 2 Cor 8-9; Rm 15, 25-27), the faithful being invited to give to the poor what had been set aside from their fast (Didascalia Ap., V, 20,18). This practice needs to be rediscovered and encouraged again in our day, especially during the liturgical season of Lent.
From what I have said thus far, it seems abundantly clear that fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person. Quite opportunely, an ancient hymn of the Lenten liturgy exhorts: "Utamur ergo parcius, / verbis cibis et potibus, / somno, iocis et arctius / perstemus in custodia" (Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses).
Dear brothers and sisters, it is good to see how the ultimate goal of fasting is to help each one of us, as the Servant of God Pope John Paul II wrote, to make the complete gift of self to God (cf. Encyclical "Veritatis splendor," 21). May every family and Christian community use well this time of Lent, therefore, in order to cast aside all that distracts the spirit and grow in whatever nourishes the soul, moving it to love of God and neighbor. I am thinking especially of a greater commitment to prayer, lectio divina, recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and active participation in the Eucharist, especially the Holy Sunday Mass. With this interior disposition, let us enter the penitential spirit of Lent. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Causa nostrae laetitiae," accompany and support us in the effort to free our heart from slavery to sin, making it evermore a "living tabernacle of God." With these wishes, while assuring every believer and ecclesial community of my prayer for a fruitful Lenten journey, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 11 December 2008
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
They say that the banks have stopped calling in their loans on the commercial real estate, even though the owners of the malls and strip malls have arrived firmly in default. Calling in the loans would only pin another horrifying liability on the banks' balance sheets. So all parties join in a game of "pretend," that nothing has really happened to the fundamental equations of business life. Something similar goes on at the next level down, where the tenants of the malls and strip malls sink deeper into rent arrears every month, and the eviction process is simply postponed, while the stores themselves put off paying their vendors and suppliers – as the whole system, the whole way of life, enters upon a circle-jerk of mutual denial in a last desperate effort to forestall the mandates of reality.
How long will these games go on? This is the primary question that haunts the republic as we wait for new TARPS, and "bad banks," economic stimulus packages, infrastructure renewal roll-outs, and other policy life-lines thrown out in guarded hopefulness to haul America out of a ditch.
Why would the party of Lincoln adopt a political and economic decentralist platform? For those complaining about the failure of people like Daniel Larison to offer solutions to the Republican party, I would ask: do you recognize the same problems that we do? And if you do, do you think the Republican Party has it within itself to change its 'nature'? (Look at its track record for the past century.)
Monday, February 02, 2009
But it looks like I may be taking CatholicMatch.com more seriously once I get a real job...
He links to this article in the Washington Post, A Not-So-Simple Life. Website for the community: A Simple House.
Following the footsteps of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement? Catholic Worker Home Page
Dorothy Day documentary
Dorothy Day Documentary: Don't Call Me a Saint
Sunday, February 01, 2009
I am involuntarily ceasing all blogging activities. This last post is in direct violation of the very circumstances that have contrived to make this reality clear and present in my life - yet post this last piece I shall.
I have said in the past that I do not believe in large conspiracies behind the many wrongs we see in our world. I have operated under the assumption that our wrong direction and bad actions were simply a combination of an uninformed/stupid/selfish electorate combined with selfish/greedy/misguided politicians. This assumption often flew in the face of facts to the contrary - that is that these were merely the enabling factors behind something more organized and nefarious. Yet I have tried to believe that no such organized effort really existed.
I was wrong. I do not know how much of the truth the "conspiracy nuts" have as facts, how large or organized the effort at globalism, socialism and eventual tyranny is but I was wrong in denying that it existed. For me seeing was believing, I am a Doubting Thomas no more.
There is a deeper, darker truth out there than most comfortable men will ever want to know - yet it is the sort of impending catastrophe that all men of principle and conscience should know and stand against.
I pray that God in his infinite plan finds among us enough righteous men to spare us from the shackle and yoke. Pray for me that I might someday rejoin the world of ideas as a man empowered once again to speak his mind and soul in my own meager way.
Uh oh. It does make one wonder if it is wise to blog, does it not?
On the Messiah
"Suffering Is an Integral Part of His Mission"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
This year, at Sunday Mass, the liturgy proposes the Gospel of St. Mark for our meditation. A special characteristic of this Gospel is the so-called “messianic secret,” the fact that, for the moment, Jesus does not want anyone outside the restricted group of his disciples to know that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is why he often admonishes the apostles and the sick people whom he heals to not reveal his identity to anyone.
For example, the Gospel passage this Sunday (Mark 1:21-28) tells of a man possessed by a demon, who suddenly cries out: “What do you want with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the holy one of God!” Jesus answers him: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” And immediately, the evangelist notes, the evil spirit came out of the man with a loud cry. Not only does Jesus chase demons out of people, freeing them from the worst slavery, but he prohibits the demons themselves from revealing his identity. And he insists on this “secret” because the fulfillment of his mission is at stake, on which our salvation depends.
He knows in fact that to liberate humanity from the dominion of sin he must be sacrificed on the cross as the true paschal lamb. The devil, for his part, tries to divert his attention and direct it instead toward a human logic of a powerful and successful messiah. The cross of Christ will be the demon’s ruin, and this is why Jesus does not cease to teach his disciples that in order to enter into his glory he must suffer much, be rejected, condemned and crucified (cf. Luke 24:26). Suffering is an integral part of his mission.
Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for love. When we consider this, we see that it is in this way that he gave meaning to our suffering, a meaning that many men and women of every age understood and made their own, experiencing profound serenity even in the bitterness of difficult physical and moral trials.
Indeed, “the strength of life in suffering” is the theme that the Italian bishops have chosen for their customary message for today’s Day for Life. I wholeheartedly join in their message in which we see the love of pastors for their people, and the courage to proclaim the truth, the courage to state with clarity, for example, that euthanasia is a false solution to the drama of suffering, a solution unworthy of man. The true answer cannot be putting someone to death, however “kindly,” but to bear witness to the love that helps us to face pain and agony in a human way. We are certain: No tear, whether it be of those who suffer or those who stand by them, goes unnoticed before God.
The Virgin Mary carried in her mother’s heart the Son’s secret, she shared in the painful moments of the passion and crucifixion, sustained by the hope of the resurrection. To her we entrust those who suffer and those who dedicate themselves to supporting them each day, serving life in all its phases: parents, health care workers, priests, religious, researchers, volunteers, and many others. We pray for all of them.
[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]
Tomorrow we celebrate the liturgical feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph brought him to Jerusalem, following the prescriptions of the Law of Moses. Every first born, in fact, according to the Scriptures, belonged to the Lord, and so had to be ransomed by a sacrifice. In this event Jesus’ consecration to God the Father is manifested and, linked to it, that of the Virgin Mary. For this reason my beloved predecessor, John Paul II, desired that this feast, in which many consecrated persons take or renew their vows, be the Day of Consecrated Life. So, tomorrow afternoon, at the end of Holy Mass, at which the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will preside, I will meet with the consecrated men and women who are present in Rome in St. Peter’s Basilica. I invite everyone to thank the Lord for the precious gift of these brothers and sisters, and to ask him, through the intercession of the Madonna, for many new vocations, in the variety of charisms with which the Church is rich.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
[In English, he said:]
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. In today's Gospel, Jesus reveals his divine authority in his teaching and his work of healing. Let us ask the Lord to open our minds ever more fully to his saving truth, and our hearts to his merciful and gracious love. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God's blessings of joy and peace!
© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Papal Address to Catholic-Orthodox Commission
"The World Needs a Visible Sign of the Mystery of Unity"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI gave today upon receiving in audience members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
* * *
Dear brothers in Christ,
I extend a warm welcome to you, the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. At the end of this week of dedicated work we can give thanks together to the Lord for your steadfast commitment to the search for reconciliation and communion in the Body of Christ which is the Church.
Indeed, each of you brings to this task not only the richness of your own tradition, but also the commitment of the Churches involved in this dialogue to overcome the divisions of the past and to strengthen the united witness of Christians in the face of the enormous challenges facing believers today.
The world needs a visible sign of the mystery of unity that binds the three divine Persons and, that two thousand years ago, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, was revealed to us. The tangibility of the Gospel message is conveyed perfectly by John, when he declares his intention to express what he has heard and his eyes have seen and his hands have touched, so that all may have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:1-4). Our communion through the grace of the Holy Spirit in the life that unites the Father and the Son has a perceptible dimension within the Church, the Body of Christ, "the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Eph 1:23), and we all have a duty to work for the manifestation of that essential dimension of the Church to the world.
Your sixth meeting has taken important steps precisely in the study of the Church as communion. The very fact that the dialogue has continued over time and is hosted each year by one of the several Churches you represent is itself a sign of hope and encouragement. We need only cast our minds to the Middle East -- from where many of you come -- to see that true seeds of hope are urgently needed in a world wounded by the tragedy of division, conflict and immense human suffering.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has just concluded with the ceremony in the Basilica dedicated to the great apostle Paul, at which many of you were present. Paul was the first great champion and theologian of the Church's unity. His efforts and struggles were inspired by the enduring aspiration to maintain a visible, not merely external, but real and full communion among the Lord's disciples. Therefore, through Paul's intercession, I ask for God's blessings on you all, and on the Churches and the peoples you represent.
© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill attends a ceremony in Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow on February 1, 2009. The Russian Orthodox Church on February 1 enthroned its first new leader of post-Soviet times, Patriarch Kirill, in a ceremony attended by political leaders, including President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. (Getty)
Russian Orthodox Church newly installed Patriarch Kirill, center holding candles, conducts the enthronement service in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009. The new patriarch was enthroned to the Russian Orthodox Church Sunday, becoming the first leader of the world's largest Orthodox church to take office after the fall of the Soviet Union. Patriarch Kirill, a veteran church diplomat and cautious advocate of change, became the 16th to bear the title in a solemn ceremony at Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow's most opulent church and itself a symbol of the rebirth of the Orthodox faith. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
New Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (R) takes part in the ceremony of crowning as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, February 1, 2009. The Russian Orthodox Church enthroned Kirill, seen as an outspoken moderniser, as the leader of its 160-million flock on Sunday, amid hopes he might lead a rapprochement with other Christian Churches. (Reuters)
The new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, center, conducts a service in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009. A new patriarch took charge of the Russian Orthodox Church in a ceremony Sunday to become the first leader of the world's largest Orthodox church to take office after the fall of the Soviet Union. Patriarch Kirill, a veteran church diplomat and cautious advocate of change, became the 16th person to bear the title in a solemn ceremony at Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow's most opulent church and itself a symbol of the rebirth of the Orthodox faith. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
New Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, puts on his comcockle during the enthronement service in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009. Patriarch Kirill was enthroned to the Russian Orthodox Church Sunday, becoming the first leader of the world's largest Orthodox church to take office after the fall of the Soviet Union. Patriarch Kirill, a veteran church diplomat and cautious advocate of change, became the 16th to bear the title in a solemn ceremony at Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow's most opulent church and itself a symbol of the rebirth of the Orthodox faith. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
New Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, raises the cross during the enthronement service in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, February 1, 2009. Patriarch Kirill, the new leader of the world's 160 million Russian Orthodox, pledged at his enthronement on Sunday to keep his church united, recruit the young and open up to dialogue with "sister churches". (Reuters)
Aaron Wissner, Local Future
A new set of high definition videos are now online: Richard Heinberg on peak oil, Thaddeus Owen on permaculture, Ellen Brown on financial collapse, Tim Husdon on the four futures, and Kim Hill on the auto industry crisis, and more.
The article: Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool.
There was the Dominion War in Deep Space 9--but that was really just a big melee involving two massive fleets. Perhaps there wasn't enough money in the budget to put something more detailed on the television screen, but I think it has been a weakness of the franchise. The battle between the Enterprise and Kahn's Reliant in Wrath of Kahn was ok, but the battle with General Chang in Undiscovered Country was rather lacking. (I have read that the filmmakers wanted to do more, but weren't able to because of budget limitations.)
Chris Pine's Kirk is still too young.
Fans would like to think that B5 was more realistic than Trek--but what about the Minbari ships and the Minbari-designed ships of the Rangers?
*I find the depiction of spaceship combat in Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series to be rather realistic, and he tries to adhere to a contemporary understanding of physical laws.
From the fourteenth until the twentieth century, almost all important global advances in mathematics were European. I would be tempted to say that European leadership was stronger in mathematics than in almost any other scholarly discipline. Perhaps the simplest explanation for why the Scientific Revolution happened in Europe is because the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics, as Galileo once famously stated, and Europeans did more than any other civilization to develop or discover the vocabulary of this language.
If Newton's mechanics was dependent upon his development of calculus, and if Chinese mathematics had not advanced to that point, then the development of Newtonian physics in China was lacking a necessary condition in order to occur. But we should not also neglect to look at Chinese physical theory and compare it to the state of physics in Europe up to the point of Newton. Chinese astronomy existed, but what explanations did the Chinese give to explain the movement of celestial bodies?
I find the arguments for eliminating the apostrophe rather week. Even if they are no longer the possession of the monarch or some other individual, the maintenance of the apostrophe serves as a reminder of the history of the place. Otherwise, instead of eliminating the apostrophe, the people should just rename the place. (Even if it's more costly, at least it would make more sense. But there would probably be greater opposition on the part of those who are attached to the place name.)
What is wrong with the U.K.?
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