Saturday, May 16, 2009
JERUSALEM - MAY 15: Pope Benedict XVI (L) visits Patriarch Theophilos III (centre R) at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem on May 15, 2009 in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. The Pope is also due to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, during the final day of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. (Getty/Daylife)
Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Metropolitan Theophilos (R) at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem's Old City May 15,2009. Pope Benedict preached a message of hope for all mankind on Friday at one of the holiest sites in Christendom, telling his audience at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem that "love is stronger than death". (Reuters/Daylife)
JERUSALEM - MAY 15: Pope Benedict XVI (2nd R) listends while Patriarch Theophilos III (R) speaks at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem on May 15, 2009 in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. The Pope is also due to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, during the final day of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. (Getty/Daylife)
JERUSALEM - MAY 15: Pope Benedict XVI ( centre L) listens while greek orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III (centre R) speaks in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on May 15, 2009 in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. The Pope visited the Church, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, on the final day of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
JERUSALEM - MAY 15: Pope Benedict XVI (centre L) presents a book as a gift to Patriarch Theophilos III (centre R) while visiting the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem on May 15, 2009 in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. The Pope is also due to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, during the final day of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. (Getty/Daylife)
JERUSALEM - MAY 15: Pope Benedict XVI (L) presents a book as a gift to Patriarch Theophilos III (2nd R) while visiting the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem on May 15, 2009 in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. The Pope is also due to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, during the final day of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. (Getty/Daylife)
Prophets of an indefinite expansion of today's "information society" too often forget that information doesn't exist by itself; it requires a physical substrate, and if that goes away, so does the information. As the age of cheap energy comes to an end, relying on a substrate as energy-intensive as the internet may be a risky bet.
Something to think about:
Very few people realize just how extravagant the intake of resources to maintain the information economy actually is. The energy cost to run a home computer is modest enough that it’s easy to forget, for example, that the two big server farms that keep Yahoo’s family of web services online use more electricity between them than all the televisions on Earth put together. Multiply that out by the tens of thousands of server farms that keep today’s online economy going, and the hundreds of other energy-intensive activities that go into the internet, and it may start to become clear how much energy goes into putting these words onto the screen where you’re reading them.
PAPAL VISIT TO MONTECASSINO: VESPERS - LIVE (90 mins)
Pastoral visit to Montecassino, Italy. Pope Benedict XVI will visit the monastery to celebrate Vespers and he will also pray at the tomb of Saint Benedict for the world.
Sun 5/24/09 11:00 AM ET / 8 AM PT
Sun 5/24/09 3:00 PM ET / 12 PM PT
The Abbey of Montecassino - Home Page
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Abbey of Monte Cassino
"This Land Is Indeed a Fertile Ground for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue"
Pope's Words at Armenian Patriarchal Church [2009-05-15]
"Our Meeting Today "Is Another Step Along the Path Towards Unity"
Papal Address at the Holy Sepulcher [2009-05-15]
"Here the History of Humanity Was Decisively Changed"
Benedict XVI's Address at Ecumenical Meeting [2009-05-15]
"Bear United Witness to the Love of the Father"
Friday, May 15, 2009
Benedict XVI's Words at Shrine of the Annunciation [2009-05-14]
"It Is Essential that You Should Be United Among Yourselves"
Pope's Address at Nazareth Interreligious Meeting [2009-05-14]
"Peace Itself Is a Gift From God, Yet It Cannot Be Achieved Without Human Endeavor"
Papal Homily on Nazareth's Mount of Precipice [2009-05-14]
"Children Have a Special Role to Play in the Growth of Their Parents in Holiness"
Pope's Farewell Address to Palestinian Authority [2009-05-13]
"It Is Necessary to Remove the Walls That We Build Around our Hearts"
Benedict XVI's Address at Aida Refugee Camp [2009-05-13]
"I Renew My Plea for a Profound Commitment to Cultivate Peace and Non-Violence"
Pontiff's Address at Caritas Baby Hospital [2009-05-13]
"Innocent Children Deserve a Safe Haven"
Papal Greeting to Palestinian Authority President [2009-05-13]
"The Holy See Supports the Right of Your People to a Sovereign Palestinian Homeland"
Benedict XVI's Homily in Bethlehem's Manger Square [2009-05-13]
"Build up Your Local Churches, Making Them Workshops of Dialogue, Tolerance and Hope"
There's this photo of some explorer scouts practicing walking in a stack.
Think infowars is an extremist website making this up? How about the NYTimes? Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods.
Note the presence of a young woman in the back. (I've seen women serve on New York City's Emergency Services Unit. I think one was carrying a M4.)
Police departments may have their own Explorer program (for example, San Jose). Some defenders may also say that this is no different than having young men training for the militia. But isn't it? The functions of the militia and the ICE or Homeland Security are quite different. Anything that strengthens a nationalist identity among the youth should be discouraged, lest they think that the National Government is truly sovereign.
Paleolibertarians and others fear that these recruits may someday be deployed against "right-wing fringe groups" or "domestic terrorists," simple folk who defend the Constitution and seek to protect themselves against the encroachments of the National Government by raising awareness. Comparisons will inevitably be made to the Hitler Youth and other paramilitary organizations for the young. (Similarly some label SWAT teams and tactical units of the ATF and FBI "stormtroopers.")
Do the young need military training by local authorities? I think it could be beneficial. Should they be learning the tactics behind serving warrants or entering buildings under dangerous conditions? This seems to be more questionable. Paleolibertarians would have problems with them learning such skills in conjunction with local police departments, but I think that is less objectionable than learning it in conjunction with the National Government.
Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods
A Different Kind of Boy Scout: Armed and Fighting Terrorism
Law Enforcement Exploring
Boy Scouts of America: Law Enforcement Explorer Program Detail
Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
From 2003: Scouting for All - AAIC
Inside the NYPD: Emergency Service Unit
NYPD ESU on Flickr - Photo Sharing
PodNova Episode: Inside the NYPD Emergency Service Unit
Thursday, May 14, 2009
It is a no-brainer that the conflicts and tensions in the region, from Afghanistan to Lebanon, could not be resolved without close collaboration between the US and Iran. However, given that the Americans' push for spreading Western values seems an inseparable characteristic of its culture while the Iranian government and its conservative supporters interpret this cultural infiltration as nothing but a plot to softly topple the regime, how could such collaboration ever be shaped?
Although never discussed explicitly, this is one of the main - if not the main - obstacles that divides the two sides and makes peace difficult to attain. The question remains how the US in the President Barack Obama era can conceive assurances to alleviate the Iranian government's concerns that not only hard but soft toppling is also off the table.
Good news or bad news? It depends on the orthodoxy of the program and of its faculty...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I don't have a fully-formed opinion yet of his music; you can hear some samples below. (I didn't really like any of them.) Has he composed any polyphony?
BBC Philharmonic - James MacMillan
Intermusica / Artists / James MacMillan / Biography
Composer James MacMillan warns of liberal elite's 'ignorance-fueled hostility to religion'
YouTube - dePreview 29 november interview James MacMillan
'Kiss on Wood' by James MacMillan
VU-Kamerkoor: MacMillan - Te Deum (part 1 of 2)
VU-Kamerkoor: MacMillan - Te Deum (part 2 of 2)
Veni Veni Emmanuel: II. Heartbeats
Veni Veni Emmanuel: III. Dance - Hocket
Veni Veni Emmanuel: V. Gaude Gaude
Veni Veni Emmanuel: VII. & VIII. Dance - Chorale & Easter
The first problem in posing questions in terms of White People is that Whiteness is an abstraction. For example, many South Italians are comparatively dark, while Swedes are achingly White, but, although I have several Swedish and Swedish American friends, I am more comfortable in the company of Sicilians. There are African and partly-African Americans who are more “White” in the sense of being civilized and Christian than 95% of the Whites in Rockford. The second is that Whiteness tends to be a negative category, that is, it is defined in terms of not being black or brown rather than in terms of being something good. At this point in my life I am not much interested in making alliances with Meth freaks, child molesters, school shooters, neoconservatives, or wife swappers, simply because they have white skin and blue eyes. The Church is open to all human beings and so is the possibility of being civilized, while racialist and nationalist ideologies are not only close-minded but they are part of Jacobin leftism. If we could just go back to the good things our ancestors had, train our minds and cultivate a good life, we would not have to worry so much about skin tone or hair texture. White people per se did not create our civilization. Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Celts and the nations of Europe they spawned did.In his article he once again reiterates his belief that "nothing can be done on the national level to save this country from its people and the leaders they elect," so "the best you can do is to mind your own business in some place that has not yet been overrun." He ends with this thought, "Life can be good if you forget about changing the world and concentrate on brightening the corner where you are." My gloss: instead of being a busybody or an advocate (or a politician in the National Government!), one can practice the virtues (especially of charity) with respect to God and one's neighbors and do one's best to preserve some semblance of civilization and community.
Dr. Fleming does not advocate moving to another country, though he himself has considered that option:
I do not recommend any course of action to anyone. A Catholic Englishman in Tudor England could either 1) betray his and his ancestors’ religion and comply with the tyrants’ decrees, 2) stand up boldly for his faith and be martyred, 3) live in the shadows as an alien in his own land, or 4) go some place where he could practice his religion in peace. The choices one makes will depend on a man’s character and circumstances but also on his age.
There are two sets of traditions, the local (by which I include provincial and national) and the universal–though they are hardly that. One set makes us Charlestonians and Southerners, but another makes us Christian and heirs to classical antiquity. In anything like a decent country, one should be able to balance the two traditions, the two sets of loyalties. Some times it is more difficult. Our is a pagan country that makes it increasingly difficult to lead a Christian while carrying out our duty of loyalty to divinely appointed authority. To speak personally, I think I can be comparatively happy in remaining an American but spending a good part of the year away from my increasingly unlovely homeland. Others will make other choices. I do not at all envy the fate of emigrés and exiles, however comfortably fixed they are, but my fellow countrymen seem Hell-bent on living like swine on a commercial pig farm, getting fat on chemical slops, oblivious to the fate their masters have planned for them. But even if I had the answer, I doubt that I would state it. Some mistakes we have to make for ourselves.
He even refers to this song by The Clash:
I would like to meet him one day, just to listen to him talk.
But McChrystal’s background sends a very different message from the one claimed by Gates and the news media. His long specialisation in counter-terrorism operations suggests an officer who is likely to have more interest in targeted killings than in the kind of politically sensitive counterinsurgency programmes that the Obama administration has said it intends to carry out.
In announcing the extraordinary firing of Gen. David McKiernan and the nomination of McChrystal to replace him, Gates said that the mission in Afghanistan "requires new thinking and new approaches by our military leaders" and praised McChrystal for his "unique skill set in counterinsurgency".
Media reporting on the choice of McChrystal simply echoed the Pentagon’s line. The Washington Post said his selection "marks the continued ascendancy of officers who have pressed for the use of counterinsurgency tactics, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are markedly different from the Army's traditional doctrine".
The New York Times cited unnamed "Defense Department officials" in reporting, "His success in using intelligence and firepower to track and kill insurgents, and his training in unconventional warfare that emphasizes the need to protect the population, made him the best choice for the command in Afghanistan..."
The Wall Street Journal suggested that McChrystal was the kind of commander who would "fight the kind of complex counterinsurgency warfare" that Gates wants to see in Afghanistan, because his command of Special Operations forces in Iraq had involved "units that specialize in guerilla warfare, including the training of indigenous armies".
But these explanations for the choice of McChrystal equate his command of the Special Operations forces with expertise on counterinsurgency, despite the fact that McChrystal spent his last five years as a commander of Special Operations forces focusing overwhelmingly on counter-terrorism operations, not on counterinsurgency.
Whereas counterinsurgency operations are aimed primarily at influencing the population and are primarily non-military, counter-terrorism operations are exclusively military and focus on targeting the "enemy".
Will Gen. McChrystal be able to deal with 4GW? Can it be done by the military alone, or does policy have to originate with the White House? Can one general respond to 4GW if the White House is undermining him by its policies towards Afghanistan and Pakistan? How much control over the situation (that is, leadership and policy-making) does the military really have?
Counterinsurgency is supposed to be the task of Army Special Forces. Some have cast doubt as to whether the Pentagon understands counterinsurgency, given the current Army culture at the top, and regular Army does not seem to be trained for it. (Hence, the reliance upon those in the reserves or National Guard who serve as police officers in their civilian life to model policing and a different way of interacting with the people of Iraq.)
But again, I don't think the responsibility of waging 4GW can be laid at the feet of the military, or even primarily with the military -- it is the civilians in the National Government who are responsible for foreign policy, and pacifying regions under the control of the empire. The military is just one instrument.
File photo of soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr securing the area as a German liason monitoring team (LMT) walks into a village in Kunduz district, April 28, 2009. A German soldier was killed and four more injured in an ambush in Afghanistan, the German army said in a statement April 29, 2009. A patrol of German soldiers was shot at with small arms weapons and rocket propelled grenades in the early evening near Kunduz, said the statement. The attack came as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was visiting Afghanistan. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army snipers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) take up position on a shooting range in Kunduz, in this October 7, 2008 file picture. The German lower house of parliament Bundestag will vote October 16, 2008, on government plans to extend its Afghanistan mission and boost the number of soldiers it can send there. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army snipers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) take position on a shooting range in Kunduz October 7, 2008. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed on Tuesday to extend Germany's participation in a NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and raise the number of troops it can send there by 1,000, a government official said. (Reuters/Daylife)German Bundeswehr army snipers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) open fire on a shooting range in Kunduz October 7, 2008. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed on Tuesday to extend Germany's participation in a NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and raise the number of troops it can send there by 1,000, a government official said. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldier of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and an Afghan National army soldier monitor the area during a joint patrol in Feyzabad, north of Kabul, in this September 21, 2008 file picture. The German lower house of parliament Bundestag will vote October 16, 2008, on government plans to extend its Afghanistan mission and boost the number of soldiers it can send there. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the 4/452 military police battalion with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol at a roadblock during a mine sweeping mission in Kunduz October 6, 2008. Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, debates in a special meeting on Tuesday about raising the troop limit for the ISAF in Afghanistan. Picture taken October 6, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the 4/452 military police battalion with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) look at Afghans at a roadblock during a mine sweeping mission in Kunduz October 6, 2008. Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, debates in a special meeting on Tuesday about raising the troop limit for the ISAF in Afghanistan. Picture taken October 6, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the 4/452 military police battalion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) take up positions at a road block during a mine sweeping mission in Kunduz October 6, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
A German Bundeswehr army gunner of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) monitors the area from atop his Fuchs armoured personnel carrier during a mission in Taloqan, west of Kunduz October 5, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) pray during a catholic service in their base in Kunduz, October 5, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the 263rd paratroops unit of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walk in the camp before leaving for a night mission in Kunduz, October 2, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
A woman in burqa walks next to a German Bundeswehr army soldier of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) during a joint patrol with Belgian army soldiers in the bazaar of Taloqan, west of Kunduz, September 30, 2008. The first day of Eid al-Fitr festival starts, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Reuters/Daylife)
Belgian army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) distribute greetings card for the Eid al-Fitr festival as they patrol during a joint mission with German Bundeswehr army soldiers in Taloqan, west of Kunduz, September 30, 2008. The Eid al-Fitr festival marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol during a joint mission with Belgian army soldiers in the bazaar of Taloqan, west of Kunduz, September 30, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sit atop their vehicle as they leave their base for a mission during a heavy sandstorm in Kunduz September 29, 2008. (Reuters/Daylife)
bundeswehr.de: Startseite Bundeswehr
ISAF - International Security Assistance Force - Official Homepage
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In this photo provided by Fort Bragg, Brig. Gen. Michael S. Repass is shown. The Army's top special forces commander said on Monday, Nov. 3, 2008, that Green Berets should expect to be in Iraq for the long haul, even if troop levels decrease. Repass said Monday, Nov. 3, 2008 his teams will work with the Iraqis for as long as they need help. (AP/Daylife)
United States Army Special Forces Command Airborne
Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command
Army Special Operations Command
Will I have the opportunity to attend a Ranger School graduation?
The Offical Ranger School Website
Wisconsin Folksong Collection, 1937-1946
Wisconsin Historical Images Wisconsin Folk Music Project
MILWAUKEE FOLK DANCE COMMUNITY WEB PAGE
The Coffee House - Acoustic Music and Spoken Word
Madison Folk Music Society Home Page
Celtic Music Association of Madison, Wisconsin
Something I should read, a book by a good Jesuit:
Abandonment to Divine Providence
Abandonment to Divine Providence Catholic Treasury
Abandonment to Divine Providence
The feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus
THE SACRED HEART
From Women for Faith and Family.
Sacred Heart Litany
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I suppose I'll be re-posting some of this in a little over a month...
We intend to go on fighting this fight, not because we think we can defeat either wing of the Left but because it is one way of waking people up to the profound truth that man is neither a social insect nor a rogue elephant. We are creatures whose lives depend on the traditions and communities that form our character–the families that rear us, the language we speak, the books we read, the religion we practice. The government can and will raise our taxes, fight unjustifiable wars of aggression, and flood the country with immigrants, but it cannot, without our complicity, rob us of our identity and historical memory.
Since nothing can be done on the national level to save this country from its people and the leaders they elect, the best you can do is to mind your own business in some place that has not yet been overrun. Taking to the streets, like the members of the Golden Dawn, will not meet with the feeble response of the Greek police. Our President may be a sissy, but he has hired some mean “women” to work for him. Do not through [sic] your life away on futile causes or waste time hating people you will never know.
Archbishop Chaput, New Life in Christ: What it looks like, what it demands
I want to quote something Franz wrote in a letter to his godson. He wrote: “I can say from my own experience how painful life often is when one lives as a halfway Christian. It is more like vegetating than living.” Believers today are relentlessly tempted to accept a halfway Christianity, to lead a “double life”—to be one person when we’re in church or at prayer and somebody different when we’re with our friends or family, or at work, or when we talk about politics.
Capitalism and the free market are incompatible. History shows, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the growth of capitalism and the growth in government go hand-in-hand. Big capitalism and big government are not, as in the popular imagination and the economic treatises, things opposed; rather, the one grows on the back of the other, and the more you get of one, the more you will need of the other.
Trustees of the programs said Tuesday that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, one year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner.
Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year and will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year's report.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the head of the trustees group, said the new reports were a reminder that "the longer we wait to address the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the sooner those challenges will be upon us and the harder the options will be."
Latin Patriarch's Welcome Address to Benedict XVI [2009-05-12]
"You Stand Before a Small Flock that Is Shrinking"
Pontiff's Words at Latin Patriarchate Co-Cathedral [2009-05-12]
"I Give Thanks for "the Hidden Apostolate of the Contemplatives Who Are Present Here"
Homily of Benedict XVI at the Mount of Olives [2009-05-12]
"In the Holy Land There Is Room for Everyone"
Papal Address to Holy Land Ordinaries in Upper Room [2009-05-12]
"The Different Christian Churches Found Here Represent a Rich and Varied Spiritual Patrimony"
Benedict XVI's Visit to the Grand Rabbinate [2009-05-12]
"Our Two Communities Are Challenged to Engage People of Good Will at the Level of Reason"
Papal Address to Muslim Leaders in Jerusalem [2009-05-12]
"Here the Paths of the World's Three Great Monotheistic Religions Meet"
Giacomo Cardinal Biffi: Catholic Culture for True Humanism (EWTN copy)
Cardinal Biffi gives an explanation of culture, and how Catholics have their own distinctive culture:
First definition of culture
To give substance to these affirmations of principle and a useful articulation of the argument, we can briefly show how the principal understandings of "culture" in the idea of "Catholic culture" find response and plausibility.
The original meaning (still present today) comes from an image taken from the world of agriculture: "culture" is used to indicate the "cultivation of the human person" above all in his interior reality. Already Cicero spoke of the "development of the soul".
In turn, the disciples of Jesus never forgot that, aoccording to his teaching, the Father is the first and truest "cultivator of the human person" (cf. Jn 15,1) since every anthropology is genuine and enlightening to the extent that, at least objectively, even if not always intentionally, it refers to his plan in which the only Son made man, crucified and risen, is the "archetype" of all humanity. For this reason, the Second Vatican Council was able to assert in a universal way that "only in the mystery of the Word Incarnate is the mystery of the human person revealed" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 22).
In this perspective we can understand why within Christianity we find the highest and most motivated humanism. Already classic antiquity could proclaim: "Many things are wonderful in the world, but the human person surpasses them all" (Sophocles, Antigone, chorus of the first stasm). Christianity accepts and assmilates Greek humanism, and transfiguring it, transcends it to give it meaning, even in the case of the first and immediate finality of visible things, as we gather from what St Ambrose wrote: "The human person is the peak and the compendium of the universe, and the highest beauty of the whole of creation" (Exameron, IX, 75).
A recognizable and characteristic anthropology is an eminent and characteristic part of "Catholic culture". It is an anthropology that certainly can at least partially be in agreement with another humanist vision provided that it be sound and founded on real values - wherever they are found - of truth, justice, beauty which feed and adorn the human soul: with which we can say one "is cultivated" (as the classic world intuited). But it can never be identified or even assmilated to a vision of the human person that effectively contradicts or is removed from the "archetype" of humanity which is "the man Jesus Christ" (cf. I Tm 2,5).
The real existence of the "archetype" allows and imposes the duty to defend the person from every manipulation and from every enslavement, enrolls every believer in the fight to combat every attack on the living image of the Saviour of the universe in whom we have been predestined.
Obviously the "Christian cultivation of the human person", if it is not to remain just an abstract affirmation of principle, should have the means to achieve its own goals and particularly in the formation of the young generations. The Catholic involved in politics should never forget it.
Second definition of culture
During the 20th century, another and different conception of "culture" became widespread and prevalent. In it "culture" comes to mean a collective system for evaluating ideas, actions, events and therefore an ensemble of "models" of behaviour. Every "culture" understood this way presumes a "scale of values" proposed and accepted within a certain human group. For this reason we can speak of a "positivist culture", an "idealist culture", a "Marxist" or a "radical culture".
That there is a "Christian culture" in this understanding that for the believer is necessary and non-negotiable, could only be denied by someone who wants to reduce Christianity to an extrinsic folklore or to a pure fact of conscience without impact on the external witness or on life.
In this field the disciple of Jesus will be able to rejoice at times over unsuspected agreements with unbelievers, in the defence of an ethical principle or in a practical choice. Further, he will listen with respect and with sincere interest to the opinions of all because he does not forget that, as St Thomas repeated often, "Every truth by whomever it is said is from the Holy Spirit" (I-II, q. 109, a. 1 ad 1).
More often we have to register - especially when we deal with substantial problems that touch on the nature and dignity of the human person - disagreements and incompatibility. It is very difficult that they will agree on the same scale of values, who on the one hand, affirm and, on the other, deny the divine plan of the origin of the universe. The same is true of those who affirm and those who deny eternal life beyond the doorway of death, of those who affirm and deny the existence of an invisible world beyond the varied colourful and transient scene of what appears. The believer dedicated to public life will have to confront with open eyes, serenity and firm conviction the inevitable tensions between the different "cultures" that in fact coexist in a pluralist society.
Undoubtedly, living in a culturally multiform humanity and having to behave in public affairs according to the obligatory dictates of the democratic method, the believer will often be led to a will for mediation and to a quest for practical positions that can be shared by all; absolutely shared by the majority, hopefully in a way that will allow an effective practice. Politics, we are used to saying, is the art of the compromise. The Note of the Congregation offers careful reflections so that such "compromises" may be held acceptable by an upright conscience.
In every case, one must pay attention not to extend - in the effort to arrive more easily and quickly at practical solutions - the attitude of mediation (that can be admissible in the "political moment") even to the "cultural moment", for the expense of an identity that cannot ever be endangered.
Third definition of culture
There is a third meaning of "culture" that from the language of the ethnological disciplines spread throughout the second half of the 19th century. "Culture" is all that is expressed by a particular race and recognized as specific to it: its mentality, institutions, forms of existence and work, customs, inventions and creative genius. In this sense one can speak of an "African culture" or a "rural culture", etc.
In this understanding does a "Catholic culture" exist? It exists because a Catholic people exist and should exist despite the view of those who think that there is no longer any Christian society nor that there should be any. Today's Christian society may be a social minority, different from what was the case a century ago, but this is not a reason why it should be less alive and less clearly identifiable. And it will not be defined as a reallity that is devoid of continuity in time, without premises and without roots; nor as something that is purely intellectual, without any relevant social manifestations. What is not operative in the social order and cannot ever be present there, little by little loses its relevance in the consciousness of simple and ordinary persons and in the end dies out.
Moreover, the act of faith - by its intrinsic dynamism cries out to invest and transform the whole human person in all his dimensions, not only personal but also familial and social.
In the two thousand years of our history, many distinctive contributions to the elevation of the human person and many of the more noble and valuable fruits of the spirit in all fields (philosophy, literature, figurative arts, music, law, etc.) bear very clearly the signs of the Christian vision.
Among the tasks of the Catholic who is involved in politics is that of protecting, making known and appreciated, at the service of a true humanism, our immeasurable "family treasure".
Thoughts about teaching Latin today in a theological institute
by Andrei Gotia
Plus, an online copy of Veterum Sapientia.
Monday, May 11, 2009
It is not possible to isolate this drain of intellectual and social capital from the loss of economic capital (yet another reason why the dislocations of globalization are ruinous for local cultures and communities) from these regions of the country: poor states remain so because the most talented leave (indeed they are encouraged to leave and their ability to leave is celebrated), but these people leave because there are so few opportunities, and once-prosperous states begin to enter the same downward economic-demographic spiral as their local and regional economies are gutted in the name of efficiency and growth. Rather than a conservatism of place and stability, we have had the conservatism of meritocracy and opportunity, and partly as a result of this the places that have tended to produce conservative voters are dying off and their children are assimilating to the norms and adjusting to the realities of the megalopoleis. When people experience the effects of income inequality and social and economic stratification, they tend to be drawn to left-liberal politics and government remedies, and the conservative and neoliberal cry of solving these structural problems with more education and opportunity not only does not appeal to the megalopolitans, who see them as woefully lacking, but also adds insult to injury for those adversely affected by the upheaveals of rapid economic, technological and cultural change. More important than undermining the political prospects of the right, this pattern of upheaval and stratification is fundamentally unhealthy for the country and will create profound political instability and civil strife over the long term.
Edit. 5/12 His follow-up post: Localism And Cosmopolites
Papal Address to Interreligious Dialogue Organizers [2009-05-11]"We See the Possibility of a Unity Which Is Not Dependent Upon Uniformity"
Pope's Address at Yad Vashem [2009-05-11]"May the Names of These Victims Never Perish"
Papal Address to Israeli President [2009-05-11]"What Humane Political End Can Ever Be Served Through Conflict and Violence?"
Pope's Address Upon Arriving to Tel Aviv Airport [2009-05-11]"The Holy See and the State of Israel Have Many Shared Values"
Benedict XVI's Farewell Address to Jordan [2009-05-11]"It Is Principally as a Pilgrim and a Pastor That I Have Come"
Welcome Speech by Muslim Prince Ghazi [2009-05-10]"We Understand This Visit to Be a Deliberate Gesture of Goodwill"
FOB AIRBORNE, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 8: (FILE PHOTO) U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) and U.S. Army General David McKiernan, the top U.S. and NATO Commander in Afghanistan (R) listen to Afghan governors and local officials during their visit to Forward Operating Base Airborne May 8, 2009 in the mountains of Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Gates has decided to replace McKiernan less than a year after he took over the war effort in Afghanistan according to officials on May 11. (Getty/Daylife)
This undated US Army handout photo shows General David Rodriguez. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to replace the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, in a shake-up of the US military mission, a Pentagon official said on May 11, 2009. McChrystal is a three-star general and would likely be promoted to a four-star rank before taking over the post, the official said. The defense secretary planned to bolster the US mission in Afghanistan with another senior officer, General David Rodriguez, who would serve under McChrystal, the official said. (Getty/Daylife)
FILE - In this April 2, 2003 file photo, then-Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal takes part in a briefing at the Pentagon. McChrystal will replace Gen. David McKiernan as the top general in Afghanistan as President Barack Obama tries to turn around a stalemated war, defense officials said. (AP/Getty)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I can't stand this song. Why? Because of this part:
"I thank God for my life
For the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died
And the ones that gave their lives
So we don’t have to sacrifice
All the things we love
Like our chicken fried"
This is the reason why our fighting men have sacrificed so much? Doesn't it seem to lessen or trivialize their sacrifice? He may be saying that they are protecting the simple things in life, which are what really matter, and make up the best of life in America, but I think it comes out wrong. And I don't see how anyone can sing a song like this while the American military is overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq, and not feel ashamed. Shouldn't we be making more of a sacrifice, if the GWOT is so important?
the group's website
The American military denied using the incendiary in the battle in Farah province — which President Hamid Karzai has said killed 125 to 130 civilians — but left open the possibility that Taliban militants did. The U.S. says Taliban fighters have used white phosphorus, a spontaneously flammable material that leaves severe chemical burns on flesh, at least four times the last two years.
Where would the Taliban get white phosphorus? The opium trade does fund their activities, doesn't it? What sort of arms supplies are they using?
The incident in Farah drew the condemnation of Karzai, who called for an end to airstrikes. The U.S. has said militants kept villagers captive in hopes they would die in the fighting, creating a civilian casualties controversy.And so the new administration perpetuates the American lack of understanding with respect to 4GW.
However, President Barack Obama's national security adviser said Sunday the United States would not end airstrikes. Retired Gen. James Jones refused to rule out any action because "we can't fight with one hand tied behind our back."
The book Gruesome Harvest, should be on the mandatory highschool and college reading list for history and sociology. It is one of the few books that are available in English that address the murder of millions of non-combatant German civilians and German prisoners of war from 1944 to 1950 as a matter of deliberate allied policy not inefficient logistics as it is most often presented in school text books. It is important because this book was written as it was still happening and includes comments from eye witnesses in the same time period. The book is not politically correct and shocked me because it speaks in a such a predudicial fashion about persons of the black race. That however in this point makes it useful to sociologist and historians because it correctly reflects widely held opinion at the time within U.S. society. As to the correct observation that allied policy was to reduce the German population through murder in multiple forms, slave labor, and starvation, and destroy the fabric of the society through mass rape of the female population, other authors are critized for saying the same thing but only decades later. Fact is there is a great effort to keep this information from the public because it shows that the victors of WWII incorporated not only military strategy and tactics but also the NAZI ideology of racial hatred and a policy of extermination and discrimination for one people.
It is published by Liberty Bell Publications -- the same as the company mentioned in this wiki entry? Is the book suspect (neo-Nazi or anti-semitic?), or does it give evidence for its historical claims? What was done by the victors after the end of the Second World War?
Amazon recommends these other books:
A Terrible Revenge, Second Edition, Fully Revised and Updated: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas (Author)
Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950 by James Bacque (Author)
After the Reich by Giles MacDonogh
Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful during mass at Saint George Victorious Cathedral in Amman May 9, 2009. (Reuters/Daylife)
Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful during mass at Saint George Victorious Catherdral in Amman May 9, 2009 (Reuters/Daylife)
Actually, it was Vespers. And he was giving a blessing. Poor captions.
Nuns join Pope Benedict XVI during mass at Saint George Victorious Cathedral in Amman, May 9, 2009. (Reuters/Daylife)
IVE nuns. Again!
Nonetheless, I think I'll continue with the original plan, starting with that e-mail that I need to finish.
On Mary's Example of Womanly Virtue
"Bearers of Love, Teachers of Mercy and Artisans of Peace"
AMMAN, Jordan, MAY 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Regina Caeli, after having celebrated an open-air Mass at Amman International Stadium.
* * *
During the Mass I spoke about the prophetic charism of women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace. The supreme example of womanly virtue is the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace. As we turn to her now, let us seek her maternal intercession for all the families of these lands, that they may truly be schools of prayer and schools of love. Let us ask the Mother of the Church to look down in mercy upon all the Christians of these lands, and with the help of her prayers, may they be truly one in the faith they profess and the witness they bear. Let us ask her who responded so generously to the angel's call, and accepted her vocation to become the Mother of God, to give courage and strength to all young people today who are discerning their vocations, so that they too may generously dedicate themselves to carrying out the Lord's will.
In this season of Eastertide, it is with the title Regina Coeli that we call upon the Blessed Virgin. As a fruit of the Redemption won by her Son's death and resurrection, she too was raised to everlasting glory and crowned Queen of Heaven. With great confidence in the power of her intercession, with joy in our hearts and with love for our glorious ever-Virgin Mother, we turn to her now and ask for her prayers.
Also from Zenit: Papal Homily at Amman Stadium Mass
"Fidelity ... Demands of Each of You a Particular Kind of Courage"