Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Darwin's Divisions," by Martin Hilbert

Darwin’s Divisions

The Pope, the Cardinal, the Jesuit & the Evolving Debate About Origins

by Martin Hilbert

Intelligent Project

"Da Vinci Code's" Devilish Gaffes

Code: ZE06060724

Date: 2006-06-07

"Da Vinci Code's" Devilish Gaffes

Interview With Father Manfred Hauke

LUGANO, Switzerland, JUNE 7, 2006 ( Dan Brown's best seller "The Da Vinci Code" says the Church demonized the symbol of Venus and killed millions of women accused of witchcraft.

Not so, says Father Manfred Hauke, a professor of dogmatic theology and president of the German Mariological Society, who responds to those accusations in this interview.

Q: Is it true that the Church has demonized the pentacle, a five-pointed star inscribed in a circle, symbol of Venus?

Father Hauke: This is a typical example of the novel's lack of historical credibility. Suffice it to consult the appropriate dictionaries to verify that even the basic data in no way agrees with what he upholds on the pentacle.

It does not seem that the origin of the sign is known with exactitude, though historical evidence has existed in Egypt since 2000 B.C. An astronomic connection with the planet Venus does not seem evident.

The Pythagoreans used the pentacle as a salvific sign, which they related to health itself. Beginning with this tradition, since the 16th century the pentacle became a symbol of doctors and was related by Cornelii a Lapide to the five wounds of Christ.

In the Byzantine army, vanguard combatants carried small shields with the "pentalpha," a tricolored pentacle, as a sign of salvation. If the ancient Church of the first centuries had made the pentacle a demonic symbol, such use would not have been possible.

Moreover, the pentacle appears no less than as a magic and apotropaic [designed to avert evil] sign in ancient Gnosis and in the Jewish Kabala of the Middle Ages. Its relationship with modern occultism goes back to this context.

Therefore, the idea upheld by Brown that the Church altered, with calculated malice, the symbol of the goddess Venus into the sign of the devil has no foundation.

Q: More serious, however, seems the accusation against the Church of the witch hunt.

Father Hauke: Indeed, this is the only point that has some historical basis. Recalling the "Malleus Maleficarum," the character Langdon maintains: In 300 years of witch hunts, the Church burnt at the stake the astonishing figure of 5 million women. The guilt of the witch hunt is therefore entirely attributed to the Church -- the Catholic Church -- which thus sought to destroy "freethinking women."

There is a smidgen of truth in these affirmations, but peppered with enormous and incorrect fundamental exaggerations. To approach the phenomenon in an appropriate manner, one must begin from the dark reality of magic that tries to obtain superhuman effects through recourse to occult powers, linked with the intervention of demons.

This practice, sadly, again rather widespread at present, is the object of an explicit and severe condemnation already in the Old Testament, where capital punishment is provided for witchcraft….

This punishment, moreover, is one of those established by the Code of Hammurabi, toward 2000 B.C. in ancient Babylon. Whoever follows recent research on the phenomenon and knows the experiences of exorcists, cannot deny that witchcraft exists today with all its pernicious effects, which can be effectively combated by the spiritual means of the Church.

Of course, one must be careful not to confuse real interventions of the evil one with people's superstition and credulity, who see the devil's tail where in fact it doesn't exist.

The deplored "witch hunt" was not caused simply by belief in witchcraft, but by a collective hysteria unleashed at the beginning of the modern era, and by absolutely unacceptable methods used to detect men and women witches.

Torture in fact led to "confessions" of invented offenses, suggested by the accusers themselves. The direct responsibility for sending alleged evil ones to be burned at the stake is that of the state authority. The collective hysteria, which culminated in the years 1550-1650, spread above all through the Germanic and Slavic countries and much less so in the Mediterranean ambit.

Recent research has made it possible to revise the figures relative to the persons executed as witches. According to Danish scholar Gustav Henningsen, in the course of four centuries, when active persecution of witchcraft was practiced, some 50,000 people were killed -- and not 5 million as Brown maintains -- of whom close to 20% were men.

The figure in general was lower in Catholic countries, which were not undermined by the Protestant Reformation.

In Spain, Italy and Portugal of the mid-16th century to the end of the 18th century, there were 12,000 prosecutions against alleged female and male witches; only 36 people in these thousands of trials, were subjected to capital punishment.

In Rome, fewer than 100 people died for the offense of witchcraft. The first case of which we have knowledge was in 1426 and the last in 1572. The vast majority of the trials of the Roman Inquisition concluded for lack of evidence.

During the prosecutions against female witches, tremendous errors were committed, but this does not justify, on the historical plane, the spread of a black legend, as Brown has done, which sees "the Church" as the only one responsible.

Q: In what sense does Dan Brown follow the feminist currents?

Father Hauke: In radical feminism, we find different currents, often opposed. There is a view that minimizes the difference between man and woman, propounding an androgynous ideal: It is equalitarian feminism.

The other tendency exasperates the distinction between the sexes, declaring the woman superior. In the religious ambit, this gynocentric feminism is manifested in the veneration of a "goddess."

Also in this case, Brown presents a strange and untenable mixture between two currents. On one hand, he praises the androgynous model and, on the other, defends a preponderance of the "goddess," placing a matriarchy at the origin of human history.

Both feminisms are not in accord with a healthy anthropology: Equalitarian feminism does not respect the difference between man and woman, even though claiming their equal dignity, while gynocentric feminism denies precisely the equal value of the sexes, while still exalting their difference. The aspect that is deficient in both views is the concomitance between equal dignity and complementarity, typical of Christian anthropology.

Q: But don't you think that in the Church there have also been unjust discriminations of women?

Father Hauke: The relationship between man and woman is based on creation, which is a good thing, but it is continually threatened by the consequences of sin. For this reason, also in the Church there has been, and at times still are, unjust discrimination in respect to women.

John Paul II spoke of this in his "Letter to Women": "Unfortunately, we are heirs to a history which has conditioned us to a remarkable extent. In every time and place, this conditioning has been an obstacle to the progress of women. Women's dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity. …"

Q: Do you not have the impression that the biblical image of God continues to be represented preferably with "masculine" symbols?

Father Hauke: I would say yes, though one also finds "feminine" features when, for example, God's action is compared to the tenderness of a mother. See Isaiah 49:15 -- "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you."

The "masculine" accent given to the image of God is based, for Christianity, on the revelation of Jesus who speaks of our "Father in heaven" -- and not of "our Mother on earth."

The Son of God was incarnated in the masculine sex, a fact destined to endure also in the transfigured corporeal nature. The Holy Spirit instead bears in himself some features that, from the symbolic point of view, could be approximated to feminine aspects, though these aspects cannot be exaggerated in a "feminine" representation, remote from the Holy Spirit.

Of interest, from Ignatius Insight

Interview with Michael O'Brien
Two Chinese Churches? Or One?
Urban II: The Pope of the First Crusade

Saint Philip Neri, May 26

Ugh! Forgot to post something for him. One of my favorite saints.

EWTN article. Article by Louis Bouyer. Ignatius Press recently published an English translation of The Life of Saint Philip Neri by Antonio Gallonio.

NTG interviews various Thomists


includes interviews with Ralph M. McInerny, Mark F. Johnson , Enrique Alarcón, Th. F. Weinandy OFM Cap, Aidan Nichols OP, and Jude P. Dougherty.

Interview with Fr. Cessario

Interview with Prof. Dr. Romanus Cessario OP

22.07. 2004

1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Father Romanus Cessario, O.P. Since 1995, I have taught theology at Saint John’s Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts. This archdiocesan seminary belongs to a larger consortium of Catholic and other theological schools located in the Boston area. Because of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), students from these schools are able to enroll in my courses. Prior to coming to Boston, I taught at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.

2. What research are you doing at this moment and what courses are you teaching?

My major areas of teaching include courses in sacramental and moral theology. In addition, I teach special courses (seminars) in the moral and theological virtues, on the metaphysics of the Incarnation and on the mysteries of Christ’s life, and on creation, providence, and sin as well as the treatise on divine grace and freedom. I recently began research for a book on the seven sacraments, with special emphasis on the Thomist teaching about “physical” causality. I also continue to work on the companion volume to my 1996, CHRISTIAN FAITH AND THE THEOLOGICAL LIFE (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press) that will treat extensively the theological virtues of hope and charity.

3. What is the most important thing you learned from Aquinas?

This is a difficult question to answer. In brief, I would probably respond that his conception of theology as a science is “the most important thing” that I have learned from Aquinas. It is very useful, especially for contemporary theologians, to realize that theology is capable of surrendering conclusions to questions that arise in the human mind when man is confronted with the wonderful truths of divine revelation. Aquinas stays a steady course between rationalism and aesthetical or descriptive theology. In other words, he avoids the temptation both to constrain theology within self-explanatory human categories and to produce edifying discourse that, although it enlarges on divine revelation, does not help the reader to penetrate what God has communicated through his Son Jesus Christ to our world. I could also reply that the most important things that Aquinas teaches our generation are those elements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that reference his authority or the authority of those who have studied the writings of the Common Doctor, such as the Fathers of the Council of Trent. These multiple numbers in the Catechism confirm the contemporaneity of Aquinas’s title as the Church’s “Common Doctor.” Adverting to certain recent encyclicals of Pope John Paul II, namely, Veritatis splendor and Ecclesia de Eucharistia could develop another reply, narrower than the previous ones. I think that Aquinas’s instruction in moral theology and on the sacraments, especially the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, ranks among his most outstanding contributions to the new evangelization. My INTRODUCTION TO MORAL THEOLOGY (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 2001) aims to exhibit this feature of Veritatis splendor. There are many other things that Saint Thomas has taught me, but it would require writing a special book to enumerate them all. Before leaving this question, I should mention, however, the example of the saint’s life. Aquinas dedicated himself to all things Dominican. Once I had the opportunity to visit Capua. On the facade of the Dominican Church in that city there was a plaque which commemorated the fact that Aquinas himself had come to this ancient cathedral town (which is near Naples) to examine the site for a church that he then suggested should be dedicated to the founder of the Dominicans, Saint Dominic de Guzman.

4. In which way were you introduced to the thought of Thomas and whom do you consider to be your teacher in Aquinas.

I first learned about Saint Thomas Aquinas from my early teachers in Catholic schools, who presented us with his life along with those of other saints. In high school, I did read some authors of the neo-scholastic period. However, my real introduction to the thought of Aquinas came after I became associated with the Dominicans. We first used popular introductions into Thomist theology and philosophy, and then we were exposed to the figures of the Thomist tradition by our seminary professors, both at the now defunct Saint Stephen’s College in Dover, Massachusetts (near Boston) and at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. The students of my period were fortunate inasmuch as our professors had not abandoned the Thomist tradition in the wake of the Second Vatican Council’s call for renewal of theology. Instead they made an effort to show that Aquinas remained a prime interpreter of what the Council had taught. I especially remember our professor of New Testament, Father Alan Smith, O.P. He was well known in biblical circles of his day, and is said to have reviewed privately some of the best known biblical scholars of the immediate post-conciliar period. He began his lectures on Saint Paul, especially on Galatians and Romans, by acknowledging that the best way to learn what these New Testament writings teach is to study what Aquinas has to say about justification and transformation in grace. His instruction made an impression on me. Earlier, I was privileged to study under Father Thomas Dominic Rover, O.P., who in his day was one of the best interpreters of Aquinas’s aesthetics and poetics, in addition to his successes in writing plays for Broadway and poetry for publication. Finally, I should mention Father William Augustine Wallace, O.P., whose work on Galileo has won him international notice, and who deserves much credit for the way that the Dominicans resisted trends that had become quite fashionable within American theological circles during the early 70s, and which now, I should note, have been more or less completely discarded. Father Wallace’s efforts ensured that classical Thomism remained a feature of Dominican intellectual life in the Province of Saint Joseph long after other schools in the United States, even Dominican ones, had abandoned classical Thomism. He is still teaching at the University of Maryland. These men communicated a sense of the perennial value that Aquinas possesses. In this task, they prefigured what Pope John Paul II has acknowledged, especially in his encyclical letter Fides et Ratio. Before leaving the seminary, I knew and studied under other teachers devoted to Saint Thomas, including Father William J. Hill, O.P., who later taught at The Catholic University of America. After my priestly ordination, I met the Dominicans who were teaching during the mid-1970s at the ALBERTINUM in Fribourg, Switzerland. These good priests included Thomists of international acclaim, who taught in the several branches both of philosophy, such as the Flemish Dominican, Father Norbert Luyten, and of theology, such as the French Dominican, Father Jean-Hervé Nicolas. My own Doctor-Father was the Irish Dominican, Eugene Colman O’Neill, to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. As a sign of my recognition, I re-edited two of his works on the sacraments, which still are available and merit reading, Meeting Christ in the Sacraments (Long Island, NY: Alba House, 1991) and Sacramental Realism (Chicago, IL: Midwest Theological Forum). I wrote my dissertation on Christian satisfaction in Aquinas, and a revised version of the text is now available from Fordham University Press (Bronx, NY) under the title THE GODLY IMAGE: CHRIST AND SALVATION IN CATHOLIC THOUGHT FROM ANSELM TO AQUINAS, originally published in a collection at St Bede's Press. Finally, I should mention the witness and friendship of Father Benedict Ashley, O.P., a chief representative of the River Forest School (Chicago) of Thomism, who continues to help me see things through Thomist eyes, especially since I began my own teaching in the 1980s.

5. What is the importance of Aquinas for our times?

There are three things that Aquinas can teach theologians at the beginning of the third millennium, and throughout the course of what Pope John Paul II has called the new evangelization. First, that theology remains at the service of the Church and therefore is subject to the pleasure of the Roman Pontiff. In other words, the last thing that Aquinas would have considered himself is a freewheeling university professor. Granted that he did his theology in university settings (among others), Aquinas remains an ecclesial theologian. He wants his philosophical and theological work to serve the good of Christ’s Gospel and the good of Christ’s members, both clergy and lay. This happens only within the Church of Christ. Second, that the Christian thinker must interest himself in both nature and grace, faith and reason, Church and State. The Reform of the 16th century and other developments in the modern period have made it difficult to sustain the kind of harmonious, though subordinated, view that Aquinas presented of heaven and earth. Contemporary Thomists should make an effort to retrieve this important feature of Aquinas’s thought. I would like to mention the witness of Professor Steven A. Long, whose work on the obediential potency and related issues, illustrates the differentiation of finalities that Aquinas recognizes in the human person. Third and finally, that the Christian thinker himself must live a holy life. To live a holy life does not mean to live a sinless life. Saint Thomas, we are told, went to confession very frequently, as was the custom of his day, especially before celebrating the Holy Mass. To live a holy life in the Thomist sense is to observe the rhythms of sin and forgiveness, of sacramental mediation and the personal renewal that it ensures, and to keep one’s eye on the mystery of God’s love which always exceeds our expectations and our imaginations. Aquinas lived his own life according to the adage that God loves us not because we are good but because He alone is good. The creature can only participate in this goodness, which for angelic and human persons includes the possibility of elevation to divine friendship through grace.

6. How would you describe the current status of Thomism in the USA ?

In many respects, Thomism in the United States is not what it was fifty years ago. But it would be unprofitable to attempt to review the reasons for this apparent reversal. In any event, the main reason for the decline of Thomist studies in the United States would be the same as for its decline in Europe. There are in the United States several bright spots, however. First, I would mention Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, and its school of advanced theology under the leadership of Father Matthew Lamb. Within this new initiative, we discover working one of the most promising of young Thomists, Professor Matthew Levering. His articles and books (some in collaboration with Professor Michael Dauphinais) are well known and available on the Internet. Special mention is owed to Professor Levering’s initiative with the English edition of Nova et Vetera, which is rapidly becoming one of the premier Thomist journals in the English-speaking world. Second, I would mention the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Father John Corbett has assumed the teaching of moral theology, and thus brings to the United States a direct and personal link with the work of Dominican Father Servais Pinckaers, under whom Father Corbett wrote his thesis. Other younger professors are also learning the métier. Many are being trained at Fribourg, such as Professor Peter Augustine Judd, O.P. The editorial offices of THE THOMIST, the best-known American journal for Thomists, are located at the Dominican House of Studies. Thirdly, I would mention the work of Thomists who are still active, such as Fathers Wallace and Ashley. The Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington, DC., recently inaugurated the Ashley Institute that is dedicated to expounding the rich and detailed studies that Father Benedict Ashley has accomplished over a period of almost sixty years of advanced scholarship. Lastly, mention should be made of Thomas Aquinas College in California and Christendom College in Virginia. Their faculties supply instruction in the works of Aquinas and his commentators.

7. Which publications of yourself do you consider to be the most important for Aquinas' researchers to read?

In addition to the titles already mentioned, I would recommend among my book publications the following: the recently published A SHORT HISTORY OF THOMISM available from Catholic University of America Press and the earlier THE MORAL VIRTUES AND THEOLOGICAL ETHICS at University of Notre Dame Press. For connoisseurs of as well as beginners in the study of the tradition that extends from Aquinas, I would recommend the edition that Professor Kevin White and I produced in 2001 of John Capreolus’s treatise on the virtues, entitled THE VIRTUES, which is available from the Catholic University of America Press. There is also my own presentation of the virtues of the Christian life, which exists in Italian, Spanish, and English in the AMATECA series.


Walks at night

Is tonight a full moon? It was rather big and bright... I've been taking walks with my mom since I've returned to California... a good way to reconnect with her and to do some exercise, it's a peaceful way to pass time as well, since there is very little on television worth watching. (Dae Jang Geum is playing on ch. 32, and there is some Chinese historical drama playing on ch. 26 at 9 p.m., but not much else of interest. On Sunday night there is the NHK drama Komyo ga Tsuji with Nakama Yukie which seems to be all right, but I'm mostly interested in it because of Nakama Yukie. Unfortunately I can't find any pictures of her from the drama.)

My mom loves her granddaughter... sometimes when she calls me from my sister's and the niece is awake, I ask her to put Kylee on the phone. Kylee can recognize her name, and so when I say it, she makes her gurgling noise. Very endearing! Evidently my mom and Kylee have lots of fun laughing together. That's great... nothing like family to keep one grounded in what's important. Kylee is very strong, and stands in her crib a lot.

We walk all over the neighborhood, in all four directions (though this time around we haven't walked towards Home Depot...) Cupertino is very quiet and subdued at night, though on weekends one can see the Asians going to the new cafe that opened up on Blaney and Stevens Creek. The air is cool and fresh, and it's very easy to walk for a long time, 1.5 hours or even more, if my mom were up to it. If I get married, I would like to marry someone who enjoys taking walks at night and chatting... as much as I hate suburbia, at least the streets of Cupertino are safe at night.

Elizabeth Bennet likes walks...

I think I'll try to take more walks at night once I'm back in Boston, especially if the day has been rather hot... with the heat remaining in the house because of poor insulation, it might be the only option to stay cool and active.

On Thursday afternoon I drove up to Oakland to visit my friend in the Dominicans, Br. B. It was good to see him again, and we caught up on life. We want to Juan's over in Oakland for dinner; the Mexican food there was pretty good, and the guacamole was fresh. After that we went to Foster's, he got a soft-serve ice cream cone, I got a shake. The Dominicans seem to be improving; apparently there are several grads from TAC in formation as well. I'm more optimistic about the Dominicans than the Jesuits, though I wonder if Oakland/Berkeley is the ideal place for them. Perhaps with time the DSPT will gain pontifical faculties, but it would be nice if the Dominicans could operate some sort of school in San Francisco as well? Anyways, Oakland/Berkeley is very different from the medieval city, and I wonder if Dominican resources are being fully utilized in accordance with their charism in such a setting (even though they are kept busy). Still, the sort of obstacles the modern megapolis presents to evangelization are not limited solely to the Order of Preachers.

Brother Bernhard was telling me about Fribourg and how it is perhaps the best place for systematic theology from a Thomistic perspective, especially because it has Fr. Giles Emery and Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole (for sacramental theology). I'm guessing it's even better than the Angelicum? May God preserve Fribourg!

If the Legionaries do continue with their university project in Sacramento, I hope they get enough good people to create a more integrated liberal curriculum witha proper emphasis on philosophy and theology. I don't know of many big-name LC philosophers and theologians, though there is one who has written on moral philosophy and served as a commentator for one of the networks during the coverage of last year's conclave and papal election (Thomas D. Williams, who has written Who is My Neighbor? for CUA press).

I found out that someone from Christendom (JC from New Braunfels) is getting married to someone else from Christendom (the first International Man of Leisure)--it's a rather surprising match; I imagine MPJ is still a traditionalist, but JC does love polyphony. Will they agree on philosophical issues? I think it is more likely than not. The wedding will be at the Christendom chapel, I have not heard if the reception will be on campus. It would be nice to attend, I think Sarge and I should go as wedding crashers and try to find some single Catholic women... not for one-night stands of course... haha

I haven't heard from JC for a long time, but apparently she is doing well and happy, and if they both focus on family and becoming holy together, that is all that matters. I hope there is some coverage in the Grapevine--it would be nice to see what she looks like in her wedding dress... I always liked her eyes, they fit well with her pretty face. Perhaps the Fossil Music Man will be in attendance with his wife, I should send him an e-mail.

Tonight I went to Happy Buffet in Milpitas with the Optometrist and xiao Jimmy. The food there was slightly better than Supper Buffet and Crazy Buffet, but in general I dislike buffets... in case any one wonders... even if it seems I like eating at buffets because I take advantage of what is offered... it's slightly compulsive behavior. The beef shortribs were ok, but the marinade was no good, as expected. The broccoli and string beans were cooked well, though it doesn't really take that much work to do that right. The roast beef... was dry. The sushi there was good--the fish tasted fresh at least.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Srdja Trifkovic with the British National Party chairman

Nick Griffin's Long March
by Srdja Trifkovic

Chronicles' foreign-affairs editor Srdja Trifkovic provides this exclusive interview with British National Party chairman Nick Griffin.

A. Greenspan on oil dependence

Greenspan testifies on oil dependence and economic risk

Video / PDF /
Introduction page

Some coverage. Greenspan Testifies on Oil Dependence, and Few Pay Attention (Washington Post)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Review of Welcome to Dongmakgol

Welcome to Dongmakgol is a bit uneven in tone; the beginning of the movie deals with the horrors of war in a 'realistic' manner, common to contemporary movies dealing with the same subject matter--explicit portrayal of what bullets can do to the human body, etc. The village of Dongmakgol, on the other hand, is an isolated refuge located high in the mountains, almost pre-lapsarian in that it has somehow been preserved in a state of relative innocence, despite the various wars of the 20th century affecting Korea. The violence that is present in the first 15 minutes disappears for most of the film, but returns for the last 20 minutes or so.

First the American pilot Smith, flying a recon mission for the U.S. Navy, is mysteriously brought down (by insects, iirc). Two separate groups of soldiers, one from the North, one from the South, are escorted to Dongmakgol by villagers, where they decide to have a truce in order to help the villagers gather food, after a mishap destroys the village stores. They gradually get used to the simple peaceful life in the village. The secret of the village elder's ability to lead? He keeps the villagers fed, with corn and potatos.

Since this is a Korean movie, there is no happy ending. I suppose no happy ending can be possible in movies dealing with the divide between North and South, until the two are reunited. While the typical propaganda and rhetoric are mouthed by both sides, there is no thorough examination of which side is in the right and which in the wrong, just as in JSA and Taegukgi. Every attempt is made to humanize those who fight for the North; those who are thoroughly committed to bringing Communism to the South (as opposed to driving out the imperalist Western forces) are rather few. Does this reflect the attitude among certain people in government and S. Korean society that one must not alienate the North, at any cost? Surely one can recognize that the motives of those who fought for the North varied, and that some might even be relatively blameless, and yet still be critical of Communism and the Korean Communist Party.

Is the movie anti-American? It is not clear, though the Americans are intent on destroying whatever brought the recon mission and other planes done, guessing that there is an enemy antiaircraft position in the area. They send a commando mission to retrieve Smith and to destroy the enemy base; there are some fanatical Korean soldiers who are part of the rescue mission, along with Americans -- I think the team is dividedly evenly in half between the two. Smith is definitely a sympathetic character, who wants to protect the village from destruction and even helps the Koreans in their plan to divert the planned bombing raid.

Of course the movie asks us to accept certain things. It also doesn't answer some questions, such as why the villagers don't eat meat? This is never explained. The movie does not attempt a deeper explanation of why the villagers live as they do--simply because the 20th century has passed them by, and they are merely doing what they've learned? Or is there some greater wisdom involved? Still, as an obvious attempt to evoke some emotion regarding the divide, it works.

I liked the simplicity of village life, and the traditional clothing. I wouldn't mind wearing clothes like that, if I could get away with it...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

History Attests to Korean Stars' All-Natural Looks

"The Mislabeled Child," by Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide

Clint Eastwood's Iwo Jima - Clint Eastwood plans two films on Iwo Jima
AICN's report on Anime Boston

The Sinking of Japan trailers: 1, 2, 3
Exercise Midnight Trail (91), Pt 1, 2 by Roger Charles
Delta Force, home-based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, arrived to recover the stolen nuke and, if possible, the captured local NEST people. (In cases where a nuclear weapon is concerned, the clear priority is to secure the weapon. The safety of the hostages is a much lower priority.) To no one's surprise, the Delta Force was successful.
Rick Huck --The Unluckiest General in the Marine Corps
But, on June 23, Rick's bad luck hit, and hit hard. A convoy carrying female security screeners was attacked while on a "milk run" from their security & screening work site back to base. Three US female troopers were killed and 11 wounded in the suicide-vehicle-bomb attack. (Two male Marines also died in the attack.) For days, the headlines and cable talk shows were full of just what the price can be for GI Jane on the mean streets of today's Iraq. Little attention was paid to the tactical soundness of repetitively using the same route, at the same time, for what was known to be a HVT - high value target -- American female troops.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Found this ad in the June 2006 issue of San Francisco Faith:

An Annoucement of Ordination and Invitation to the Solemn High Mass of Father Joseph Lee

By the grace of Almight God, Deacon Joseph Lee, of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, will be ordained, according to the liturgical books of 1962, to the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 3, 2006, by the Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

With the gracious permission of the Most Reverend Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop of San Jose, California and the Jesuit community of Santa Clara University, Father Joseph Lee will offer a Solemn High Sung Mass according to the liturgical books of 1962, at the historic Mission Santa Clara on Sunday June 18, 2006 at 12:30 p.m. on the campus of the University of Santa Clara.

On this occasion of great joy, you and your family are warmly invited and most welcome to attend this Solemn High Mass to beg the blessings of Almighty God for Father Lee as he begins his priesthood. Immediately following the Mass, Father Joseph Lee will give his first blessings as a newly ordained priest.

For further information, feel free to write
Deacon Joseph Lee, FSSP
7880 West Denton Road, P.O. Box 147, Denton, NE 68339
or call (402) 570-2707

Article from the Valley Catholic.

Interesting! Bishop McGrath has given permission for a nuptial Mass to be celebrated according to the 1962 Missal. I wonder where Fr. Lee will be assigned. I have not found any pictures of him at either FSSP website, though it is said in the Valley Catholic article that Fr. Lee is a graduate of TAC (and Korean!).
No More Christian Nice Guy
Author Paul Coughlin broke out of a passive lifestyle and wants to help the men in your life do the same.
by Camerin Courtney

Paul Coughlin, author, Christian radio talk-show host, and married father of three, describes himself as a "former Christian nice guy." Raised in an abusive home and brought up with a warped, wimpy picture of Jesus, Paul, 39, looked around at his life six years ago and realized he was a frustrated man. "When I brought the fear-based passivity of my youth, combined with the false ideal of Mild Jesus into my marriage, fireworks exploded," Paul explains. "Providing for my family was tough because I was no match for coworkers and bosses who knew they could bowl me over. And I feared passing my emotional void onto my children."

When Paul shared his experiences and observations about passive men, people responded enthusiastically, thanking him for discussing a dynamic that so negatively affected their relationships. Paul also found validation from respected Christian leaders, such as Chuck Swindoll, who wrote: "The passive husband continues to be one of the most common complaints I hear from troubled homes."

Paul realized passivity was impacting countless other families as well. So he staged his own No More Mr. Nice Guy Revolution, waging a fight against passionless living via his website and his book No More Christian Nice Guy (Bethany House) last year. TCW recently caught up with Paul to find out how wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and friends can help the Nice Christian Guys in their lives.

So what's wrong with being nice?
If by "nice" you mean a person who's gentle and patient, then there's nothing wrong with that. Those attributes are fruits of the Spirit. But oftentimes when someone is described as a "nice guy," it's not as it appears. Nice people are often passive; they're hiding behind that "niceness." Nice Guys figure, If I live small, my troubles will be few. They often go with the flow—not because they agree with you, but because they're afraid of conflict.

But as followers of Christ, we're supposed to be honest with others. We're supposed to be salt and light to those who don't know Jesus (Matthew 5:13-16). It's difficult to be salt and light when you think you've got to be agreeable all the time.

If nice is bad, what's the better alternative?
Being a Good Guy. A Good Guy is willing to enter into conflict to be a redemptive force for good. He has a strong will. He takes chances on occasion. He's protective of those in his care. He stands up to injustice. Where a Nice Guy is pretty emotionless, a Good Guy is passionate about life. His way of living looks a lot more like the "abundant life" Jesus talks about in John 10:10.

Where does the Christian Nice Guy phenomenon come from?
Much of it stems from an inaccurate picture of Jesus. Contrary to the common fiction many churches promote of "gentle Jesus, meek and mild," Jesus was both amazingly compassionate and assertive. In the Gospel of Mark alone we see Jesus confronting people, healing people, yelling at people, calling people names. We have the notion Jesus was endlessly patient, yet he turned to his disciples, seemingly exasperated, and said, "O unbelieving and perverse generation … How long shall I put up with you?" (Matthew 17:17).

When we look at how Jesus behaves—he's more passionate, more adamant, more strong-willed than those around him—that should encourage his followers to shake off their passivity.

When did you realize you were too passive?
It wasn't a one-time epiphany, but a series of events that clued me in. One was studying the Gospel of Mark and realizing that along with his amazing acts of love, Jesus also did some really confrontational things. I realized if I'm supposed to be like Jesus, I need to be more like the real Jesus.

I also watched my male friends who seemed to be more honest with their emotions. They were able to cry, and I just couldn't. I wasn't emotional even when my children were born. The shortest verse in the Bible is also one of the most profound: "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). As Christ-followers, we should be the most alive people out there. But I wasn't, and I knew it. And I feared I was instilling the same lack of emotion in my children.

I saw a counselor to help me deal with the emotional and physical abuse I suffered from my mother, which had a profound affect on my desire to live small and not be noticed. It's common for Nice Guys to have some sort of dysfunction in their upbringing that encourages passivity. My counselor helped me see what fear and passivity were doing to my emotional life, and she helped me face my anxiety.

How did your passivity affect your marriage?
My wife, Sandy, would express deep love to me, and I'd think, Oh, that's nice, because deep emotions scared me. Sometimes when I came home from work, I'd rub my wife's shoulders as a way of saying, I'm going to show you some affection now; you show me some later on when the kids are asleep. But when she didn't read my cues right, I'd get angry or pout. I didn't feel it was safe to be honest with my desires and disappointments. As a result, my wife lived on eggshells.

I deliberately avoided social contact because group settings made me uncomfortable. Over time, this frustrated my wife. Nice Guys often marry vivacious, outgoing women. My wife, Sandy, easily could teach assertiveness training. While she initially liked that I was funny and laid back, about three months into our marriage, our opposite qualities created big problems. This is a common pattern for Nice Guys.

How did your passivity affect your spiritual life?
I thought God was always out to get me. Like a lot of Christian Nice Guys, I thought I could charm him with "good" behavior. I knew about God's love and grace, but fear wouldn't let me experience them fully.

Passivity also drew me into particular sins, such as half-truths, manipulation, resentment, and bitterness. Christian Nice Guys struggle with bitterness and resentment more so than others because they let people walk all over them.

What can a woman who's married to a Nice Guy do?
Tell him how it feels when his passivity affects your life. For example, when a subcontractor overcharges for work around the house and your husband fails to get on the phone and confront him, you probably don't feel protected and secure. Be honest about that. But in the process, avoid shaming or belittling your husband. These will only send him further underground.

Try to help him see what fear is doing to his life, and encourage him to get help from a counselor if necessary. Once fear is out of the driver's seat, your husband will become a new person. His real personality finally will come forward.

Perhaps offer to study the Gospel of Mark or Jesus' life with him, taking special care to point out all of Jesus' attributes. This would help both of you become more Christlike.

What's different about your life now as a Good Guy?
I'm more proactive. I'm not as likely to be sucked into other people's agendas as I was before. Now I follow God's path for my life instead of worry about pleasing others.

I'm more protective, too. Recently a boy picked on my daughter while she was walking home from school. So I joined them the next day, put my arm around him, and said, "Hey, I'm Abby's father. Nice to meet you. Hey, listen. My daughter says you're picking on her. And by picking on my daughter, you're picking on me. So I need you to stop this. Now." He left my daughter alone after that. I never would have dreamed of doing something like that before. So now my kids are more secure.

My wife knows she's now arm-in-arm with an imperfect leader, and she doesn't have to treat me with kid gloves all the time. She knows I'm not going to be as fragile as I was before. She's happier and more relaxed.

Jesus exhibited love when he invited children into his presence and when he chased the money-changers out of the temple. Since Jesus modeled both types of love—tender and tough—that gives me, as a man and as a Christ-follower, the freedom to do the same.

How can women avoid raising Nice Guys?
Passive boys fear standing up for themselves and disagreeing with peers. So one of the best things a mom can do is allow her son to have an opinion—even if it's wrong at first. I'm not saying let bad or sinful ideas go without correction. But do so in such a way that lets your son know having an opinion isn't bad. If he isn't allowed to express his opinions when he's young, he's less likely to do so when he's older.

Without shaming or belittling your son, point out how his passive behaviors or attitudes are affecting his life. Help your child come to terms with his fears, the underlying motivator for passivity. Look at a specific fear, and then two weeks later talk about the fact his fear never came to pass. Also talk about the fact that if his fear did come to pass, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Talk about how he'd handle that situation.

Is there such as thing as a passive Christian woman?
Yes. Unfortunately fear and passivity are equal-opportunity destroyers. It's probably a bit more noticeable in men since we're supposed to be competitive and tough. But this behavior can be just as maddening for husbands of passive Christian women. The good news is, typically women are more willing to seek help and better able to talk about their emotions and issues.

Regardless of gender, it's amazing what happens once we get this debilitating fear and deception out in the open. They lose their power over us. And, with God's help, we're able to walk into a better, freer, more abundant life in him.

For more information on Paul Coughlin and his ministry, go to, and watch for Paul's next book: Married But Not Engaged: Why Men Check Out and What You Can Do to Recapture Intimacy (due out in July with Bethany House).

Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian Woman magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Today's Christian Woman.

March/April 2006, Vol. 28, No. 2, Page 38

Dr. Laura blurb.

Death of US Engineering

The Death of US Engineering


Some interesting things from Mere Comments.

"Principles of Marriage" -- mentions the Princeton Statement on Marriage
"Sexual Predation on Campus" -- Rolling Stone article on Duke University and the hookup culture there and elsewhere

Red Robin

Last night for dinner I decided to try Red Robin over at El Paseo Saratoga; my brother-in-law apparently loves their hamburgers, and my second sister recommended it. I tried the peach milkshake and the monster burger; we also had their equivalent of buffalo wings. They offer bottomless steak fries and fountain drinks; the fries were nothing beyond the ordinary, and I didn't get any more since I was full after everything else. What to say about burgers? If they are well-done part of the trade-off is that they get rather dry, unless one prepares the patties in a special way to add some moistness to them. The peach shake was all right, though not thick enough for my tastes. As for the burger itself... I can't really say if it was really that much better than In and Out... I probably wouldn't go back to Red Robin, especially since there is an In and Out nearby... too bad I&O doesn't offer coupons...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Where I normally go for liturgy while I am home...

Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara. Also called "Our Lady of the Highway" since the statue of the Blessed Mother is visible from 101. The founder of the parish, Msgr. John J. Sweeney, passed away recently--he was a very good priest, quiet and humble. He also wore a cassock! If only we had more priests like him in the diocese of San Jose. Supposedly there are two Legionary priests working in the diocese, since there is a new school operated by people affiliated with the Legion and Regnum Christi. I have not met them yet, but my guess is that they are rather young. (No idea if the news about Fr. Maciel as had any impact locally yet, though I did hear something but I won't repeat it here...) I did know about this school being affiliated with the LC, but I didn't know there were priests in the area. (The LC is also operating in Sacramento--they are trying to start an university there. The Fraternity has an indult parish in Sacramento, which I have not yet visited. LC photos from a recent audience with Benedict XVI.)

I should take a picture of the statue with the digital camera when I get a chance...

Our home parish: Saint Joseph of Cupertino
We prefer the liturgies over at Our Lady of Peace... The church looks good on the outside, but there was some renovation inside. I usually try to picture what the interior of a Latin church would look like if it were redone as a Byzantine church, with iconostasis, no pews, and so on... what an improvement! The large stained glass window above the main doors is relatively new; I can't remember what was there before. It's a modern window and the pattern is somewhat boring--not enough symbols. A rose window might be nice.

One of these days I will have to go to the Sunday Liturgy at the local Byzantine Catholic parish, which is located in Los Gatos... The priest at St. Basil is Fr. Anthony, whom my mother met over at Our Lady of Peace, since he teaches some classes there. My mother claims she learned how to sing their chants (in English of course) for Vespers and the like... haha

Thomistic Institute

Looks like I will be going to the Thomistic Institute at Notre Dame at the end of July--I received a confirmed itinerary this afternoon. Fr. Flannery will be there, and I think Fr. Elders is going as well, along with Fr. Michael Sherwin, and Fr. Stephen Brock. Nice! (I didn't know Dr. Brock was a priest but I think I read that fact somewhere recently...)

My first sister and my brother-in-law returned toSan Luis Obispo yesterday with my niece. She is very cute, although she certainly prefers to be with her mother or father, and will cry if she is not being held by then and they are around. But she is very cute, and is starting to make noises. (She's also teething.) I think when I see her again she will be walking and be able to pronounce something specific. I'll try to teach her how to say "kau fu" (uncle on the mother's side) then. I should have taken a picture of her eating a banana at lunch yesterday. That would have been a nice monkey pic. haha. (We had dim sum at New Saigon just off of Lawrence Expressway, in Sunnyvale? The food there is good.)

ok, I created a new blog

For papal homilies, addresses, etc. that are of particular interest, along with writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church... plus stuff by saints...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jet Li returns in Fearless

He plays Huo Yuanjia, a famed Chinese martial artist. Initially Huo is intent on being #1, challenging other masters to duels and defeating those who would challenge him. As his string of wins continues, he picks up quite a following, as many seek him out to be his disciple. He kills one master, whose adopted son takes revenge and kills Huo's mother and daughter. Of course Huo kills him, but stops short of killing the master's wife and daughter. He runs away, and is discovered floating in a river by some people. (Not sure what ethnicity they are supposed to represent--they didn't look Han.) There he makes peace with himself, learns the value of life, etc.

Perhaps the philosophical underpinnings of his moral conversion merit a second look, but I may have to wait until I find a edition of the movie with English subtitles, as my Chinese is not so good.

Anyways, he returns home, and decides to put his skills to use challenging foreigners, defending national pride against those who would call the Chinese "the sick man of Asia." He's given up dueling for the sake of enhancing his reputation; but is fighting others for the sake of China that much better? Is this patriotism or nationalism? It seems like it is patriotism, insofar as he respects his opponents, and some learn to respect him; there is no sort of chauvinism here, with Chinese being superior to Westerners and Japanese simply because they are Chinese.

The movie is directed by Ronny Yu and the choreography is by Yuen Wo-Ping. The action sequences are good, though I might prefer something more realistic, especially seeing Huo go against a Gracie. The use of wires isn't so pronounced in this movie, like it is for Once Upon a Time in China, but still obvious. Would UFC or Pride or shoot-fighting be realistic enough? Bob Charron enjoys the UFC fights and thinks they are pretty good. Sammy Franco and others, they would probably disagree. What's the state of unarmed combatative skills in the U.S. military? Hm...

Costuming and set design for the movie are first-rate; not sure what technical details or practices set this movie apart from something like Fong Sai Yuk, but the colors of the film are very attractive, comparable to Crouching Tiger, if not better.

MonkeyPeaches page for the movie. Movie website.

Jet Li's next project? A movie with Jason Statham called Rogue. An interview with Mr. Statham. IGN interview with Mr. Li. His official website.