Saturday, July 01, 2006

Some news about the soundtrack for Miami Vice

Apparently a cover of Phil Collin's song "In the Air Tonight" will be used for the movie (coming in July).

The original Phil Collins song appeared near the end of the pilot episode of
Miami Vice as newly partnered narcs Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs raced
through nighttime Miami in their Ferrari for a climatic gunfight. It set the
tone of the show for the rest of the series and epitomized the "MTV
Cops" idea that Vice had been pitched as.

Will the DVD have any additional scenes that have been cut from the theatrical version? And will there be a possibility of a sequel?

Other items of interest from IGN:
Images from The Devil Wears Prada.

Another thriller featuring a secret service agent is in the works -- Vantage Point starring Matthew Fox (from Lost and Party of Five). I hope it's better than The Sentinel. A possible recasting of Jack Ryan to resuscitate the franchise? Why bother. They should have just kept Harrison Ford and done the novels where Jack Ryan becomes president. They should devote resources to developing Rainbow Six; could they bring Willem Dafoe back as John Clark?

I still think Eric Bana should get some sort of action franchise, but something more realistic. Splinter Cell? Something dealing with CAG, after his turn in Black Hawk Down, would be nice.

Pierce Brosnan returning to Bond for a rival studio? If the project goes through, it would be just another confirmation that the studios have too much money at their disposal.

I didn't know Winona Ryder was in A Scanner Darkly until this week--I don't think her presence is enough to entice me to watch the movie though. I'll post some pics of her from a recent event when I get a chance. Mischa Barton is in The Oh in Ohio; her character was killed at the end of this past season of The O.C. She's too skinny, and I don't think she has much acting skill. Neither does Anne Hathaway, but both may be 'rising stars.'

Andre Kim

Article from Some photos:

(Andre Kim)

Honolulu Advertiser story.

Kim Tae Hee wearing Andre Kim:

Choi Ji Woo:

Chosun Ilbo story.
KBS profile of Andre Kim

The Devil Wears Prada

The novel The Devil Wears Prada was written by Lauren Weisberger, and published in 2003. It is, as Fujian gal says, a "chick book." We went to see the movie this afternoon, as I figured it would be more humorous than The Breakup and might even have something constructive to say. It begins with Andrea getting a job with Runway magazine, under editor Miranda Priestly.

The positive moral message might be that work at the expense of personal relationships isn't worth it. Andrea learns this, both with respect to her own life, and observing the private life of Miranda Priestly, who obviously believes the rationalization that 'it's not quantity that matters, but the quality' of time spent with one's children, and can't keep her marriages together; at the end of the movie her latest husband decides to divorce her.

What is the stance of the film towards the fashion industry and our culture's preoccupation with the trend-setters? That is not so clear. Does Andrea change her mind about fashion; does she convert and come to like being stylish, embracing the glamorous life? At the beginning, I think it is Stanley Tucci's character, Nigel, who mocks Andrea for thinking that inner beauty is what really matters. When venting with her boyfriend, Andrea initially rejects the obsession with clothing and trend-following, responding that there are more important things in life. But after being criticized by Miranda for both her performance and her appearance (she's evidently fat), Andrea seeks help from Nigel, who gives her a complete fashion and beauty make-over and educates her in fashion sense. At the end of the movie she does not return to her plain Target look, and opts for a compromise. (Or so it seems from my limited acquaintance with contemporary Western fashion.)

Masswyrm thinks that Miranda Priestly is "the Devil" because of the way she can tempt people to adopt her outlook and behave accordingly, and not because she is the ultimate b*tch boss. I don't know if this is the point the book makes, not having read it.

Looking good isn't the problem--one can wear modest clothing and still look good--it's the overemphasis on novelty that is the problem, a principle of aesthetic that has wide-ranging economic and socio-cultural implications. "Image is everything." Not quite. Should one wear ill-fitted clothing, even if the only drawback to wearing them is the aesthetics? If clothing affects comfort and functionality negatively, then they are not "good" clothing. But I think there is something to be said for wearing clothes that fit one's body type well and flatter at the same time. The problem is, who can afford tailored clothing, besides the well-off? Off-the-rack clothing cannot fit all body types (modified by individual differences) well. The most economical and beneficial solution is to have a household that produces its own clothing, but how many people want to form such a household? The households people want to form, as Wendell Berry points out, are completely devoid of any economic function--they are merely units of consumption.

So what must be sacrificed in order for us to look good? Is this goal something we can achieve within reason?

"Traditional" sexual morality is ignored--cohabitation is ok, and so are one-night stands. Andrea sleeps with the writer she admires, Christian Thompson, while she is in Paris, having broken up with her boyfriend before leaving for Paris. Is there some attraction between the two? Initially, since he is a 'good writer' by her estimation, and he helps her obtain a manuscript of the unpublished Harry Potter novel. But, her sleeping with him was a poor decision that she made while under the influence of alcohol. At the end, she returns to her boyfriend. No sign that she regrets sleeping with CT; maybe she doesn't. One gets the impression that her character would not regret casual sex per se, just casual sex with the wrong man.

Gisele Bundchen makes a cameo in this movie, and so does Heidi Klum and a bunch of designers (I don't know most of them... whom can I recognize, besides Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Andre Kim, Vera Wang, Tommy Hilfger, maybe Donna Karan, Gianni Versace?)

Here's a picture of Mr. Giorgio Armani:

Looks good for someone his age? No doubt he has his admirers, both female and male. Andre Kim has some interesting designs, a sort of fairy-tale look. I'll try to find some photos to post.

Review by Massawyrm over at AICN.

The movie's website. The novel's official site. Various reviews of the novel. Salon interview with Lauren Weisberger. interview. Miss Weisberger's website.

Heh, the NY Times Bugmenot.)

We didn't see many good trailers; there were a couple of movies that might be humorous. Luke Wilson is in a movie with Uma Thurman, My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Apple). [It will be interesting to see what the radical feminist response is to this movie--a super heroine who is a basketcase when it comes to personal relationships.] Then there was John Tucker Must Die, with Britney Snow. And then there was Snakes on a Plane... Fujian gal didn't like most of the movies; I thought some might be funny but probably not worth the price of matinee admission.

We also saw the trailer for The Guardian--is this a heroic enough movie? I'm not sure. I can't take Ashton Kutcher seriously, he just has too much of the pretty-boy image. Kevin Costner is manly enough, but will he be overshadowed by his costar, who is popular with teens and young women (for whatever reason)? AK just has no credibility as a man.

Fujian gal wants to see World Trade Center, with Nicholas Cage. I'm not sure if I would want to watch any 9/11 movies--I'm rather uncomfortable with any depiction of that tragic day. It's also easy to exploit the story of Port Authority cops who manage to survive for some sort of sentimental message that doesn't give proper attention to the mysteries of Divine Providence. I'd rather see an honest movie that wails against the perceived indifference of God to evil and suffering than a movie that ignores him altogether and substitutes some sort of idol. Now I don't know if this is what World Trade Center will turn out to be like; however Oliver Stone is the director, and though it isn't really normal for him to praise heroism, family, and the American way of life (or at least America), I don't think the movie will go beyond this, without delving into the deeper theological questions. Maybe it's not necessary, to put things in greater perspective. After all, isn't that what Michael Moore is for?

Also found at Yahoo Movies: Edmond was written by David Mamet, and it stars William Macy--this might be interesting. Same with Gabrielle.

Chosun Ilbo: Korean Horror Moves to New Haunted Territory

Korean Horror Moves to New Haunted Territory
There is something afoot in Korean horror movies. From ¡°Arang,¡± to be released on June 28, via ¡°Apartment,¡± out in July, to ¡°To Sir With Love,¡± ¡°Cinderella¡± and ¡°Untold Story- The Red Forest¡± all to be released in August, indigenous horror movies have evolved to a higher level. In an effort to wash away the cheap shocker taint, the budgets are growing and the casts are becoming stellar. This summer, even moviegoers with sophisticated tastes are bound to find one good enough for them.

Scenes from horror movies ¡°Apartment,¡± ¡°Arang,¡± ¡°Untold Story - The Red Forest¡± and ¡°Cinderella.¡± (clockwise from left)

(click on link to read the rest of the article)

Chosun Ilbo: Today in Photos -- July 1, 2006

Chosun Ilbo: Today in Photos -- July 1, 2006
Policewomen ball their fist during an event celebrating 60 years since women first joined the police at the National Police Agency in Seoul on Friday.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd

Now the Lady Downstairs has said that I find only older women (much older, at that) attractive, but I think it would be difficult to deny that Jaclyn Smith is still quite attractive. Now, did she have to use a lot of products and procedures? I think she claimed that it was natural.

Jaclyn Smith's website. Cheryl Ladd's. Cheryl Ladd has a daughter Jordan who is also a model/actress.

The decline of a civilization recorded

[This post was started on May 29, but finished today.]

in the mass media, both on television and in the talkies. I'm not referring to documentaries, but to how human beings are depicted in fiction, as evidenced by the way they act. Charlie's Angels 2 was on last Thursday night [2006 May 25] on ABC. Watch the old series and the movies, and compare the new angels with the TV angels--the TV angels possessed poise and composure, possibly because many had modelling backgrounds. Perhaps learning how to model and act emphasized a certain comportment, and that this has been lost. The new angels, on the other hand... are symbols of the girl power movement--arrested at a certain stage of emotional and character development, defeminized and not lady-like.

The new angels, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu:

The old angels, Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson:

After Farah Fawcett left, she was replaced by Cheryl Ladd. Kate Jackson,Jaclyn Smith, Cheryl Ladd:

(Kate Jackson left, her place was filled by Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts. Not sure who was the first replacement and who was the second; I'm getting all of the pictures from this website, and probably it has additional information about the actresses. also, Aaron Spelling died last Friday, 23 June 2006, following a stroke.)

70s fashion -- it's always interesting (and amusing) to see American trends adopted in Asian countries--70s fashion in HK, Japan, Korea, Taiwan... Was 80s fashion that much better?

At least the Powerpuff Girls have an excuse for their mentality--they are girls after all, and haven't grown up yet.

[It's been a while since I've seen an episode of Powerpuff Girls--it can be quite funny, especially when the episode has Mojo Jojo.]

Yes, I watched too much TV as a child. Too much of PBS's children programming especially. Even though the TV Charlie's Angels was mindless fluff, at least the characters resembled young ladies. Sure, I found them attractive, even at that age. Now it is true that I have not watched any of the episodes for a long time, perhaps my evaluation of the actresses and their characters would change. But I suspect that the evaluation would not change very much.

Which brings me to Frederica Mathewes-Green's superb essay on movies, maturity, and the cult of youth...

Against Eternal Youth
Frederica Mathewes-Green
Copyright (c) 2005 First Things 155 (August/September 2005): 9-11.

I’m a fan of old movies, the black-and-whites from the 1930s and 1940s, in part because of what they reveal about how American culture has changed. The adults in these films carry themselves differently. They don’t walk and speak the way we do. It’s often hard to figure out how old the characters are supposed to be—as though they were portraying a phase of the human life-cycle that we don’t have any more.

Take the 1934 film Imitation of Life. Here Claudette Colbert portrays a young widow who builds a successful business. (Selling pancakes, actually. Well, it’s more believable if you see the whole movie.) She’s poised and elegant, with the lustrous voice and magnificent cheekbones that made her a star. But how old is she supposed to be? In terms of the story, she can’t be much more than thirty, but she moves like a queen. Today even people much older don’t have that
kind of presence—and Colbert was thirty-one when the movie came out.

How about Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, smoldering away in Red Dust? They projected the kind of sexiness that used to be called “knowing,” a quality that suggested experienced confidence. When the film came out Gable was thirty-one and Harlow ten years younger. Or picture the leads of The Philadelphia Story. When it was released in 1940, Katharine Hepburn was thirty-three, Cary Grant thirty-six, and Jimmy Stewart thirty-two. Yet don’t they all look more grownup than actors do nowadays?

Characters in these older movies appear to be an age nobody ever gets
to be today. This isn’t an observation about the actors themselves (who may have behaved in very juvenile ways privately); rather, it is about the way audiences expected grownups to act. A certain manner demonstrated adulthood, and it was different from the manner of children, or even of adolescents such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Today actors preserve an unformed, hesitant, childish quality well into middle age. Compare the poised and debonair Cary Grant with Hugh Grant, who portrayed a boyish, floppy-haired ditherer till he was forty. Compare Bette Davis’ strong and smoky voice with Renée Zellweger’s nervous twitter. Zellweger is adorable, but she’s thirty-five. When will she grow up?

In a review in the Village Voice of the film The Aviator, Michael
Atkinson dubbed our current crop of childish male actors “toddler-men.” “The conscious contrast between baby-faced, teen-voiced toddler-men movie actors and the golden age’s grownups is unavoidable,” he wrote. “Though DiCaprio is the same age here as Hughes was in 1934, he may not be convincing as a thirty-year-old until he’s fifty.” Nobody has that old-style confident authority
any more. We’ve forgotten how to act like grownups.

Maybe “forgotten” isn’t the right word, for the Baby Boomers fought
adulthood every step of the way. About the time we should have been taking on grownup responsibilities we made a fetish of resisting the Establishment. We turned blue jeans and t-shirts into the generational uniform. We stopped remembering the names of world political leaders and started remembering the names of movie stars’ ex-boyfriends. We stopped participating in fraternal service organizations and started playing video games. We Boomers identified so strongly with being “the younger generation” that now, paunchy and gray, we’re bewildered. We have no idea how to be the older generation. We’ll just have to go on being a cranky, creaky appendix to the younger one.

Picture the World War II generation, returning home after seeing too much agony and bloodshed. The world had felt like a dangerous place for a long time. Their own parents had vivid memories of World War I, and their childhood years had included the starvation and misery of the Great Depression. And now here they were after the war, newly married and living in the new, quiet suburbs. As they looked at their tiny newborn babies, these brave young survivors felt a powerful surge of protection. They wanted their little ones never to experience the things they had, never to see such awful sights. Above all, they wanted to protect their children’s innocence.

In the days when large families lived together in very small houses, when paralyzed or senile family members were cared for at home, when families bred and slaughtered their own livestock, even the youngest child knew a lot about the facts of life. Until very recently, it was not possible to protect children from knowing such things. Nor was it thought desirable: Life was hard and dangerous, and the sooner you learned how to handle things, the better. But in the 1950s and 1960s there was a stretch of time in which parents could keep their children separated from the hard adult world until they were well into their teens.

That separation ended with the advent of cable television and the Internet. Now parents have to learn all over again how to deal with a world in which children can get at all the information adults can. The silver lining is that the generation gap has disappeared; today’s teens and twenty-somethings watch the same movies and listen to the same music their parents do. Less silvery is the fact that so much of this material is coarse and obscene, and even children’s entertainment is littered with potty jokes.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to stop this, but if it’s any comfort to you, it was probably the same in the time of Chaucer. Once again, as through most of human history, we’re not able to protect children’s “innocence” about the facts of adult life. We’ll have to figure out how to equip children to deal with these facts, as previous generations did. That will require parents to be more directive, more authoritative and “parental,” than Boomers have ever felt comfortable being.

The well-meaning parents of the 1950s confused vulnerability with moral innocence. They failed to understand that children who were always encouraged to be childish would jump at the chance and turn childishness into a lifelong project. These parents were unprepared to respond when their children acquired the bodies of young adults and behaved with selfishness, defiance, and hedonism.

The World War II generation envisioned a sharp contrast between childhood and adulthood: Childhood was all gaiety, while adulthood was burdened with misery and toil. The resulting impulse was to place children in a hermetically sealed playroom. Childhood, once understood as a transitional stage, was now almost a physical place—a toy-filled nursery where children could linger all the golden afternoon. Parents looked on wistfully, wishing their dear children could
stay young forever.

As they say: Be careful what you wish for. When conservatives get nostalgic for the Ozzie-and-Harriett parenting of the 1950s, they should remember how the experiment turned out. The children got older, but they never grew up. They continued to show the same self-centered and demanding behavior that had fit so well with their parents’ desire to pamper and protect. They continued to expect that life would be arranged to please them, as it had been in the playroom. They ridiculed their parents’ values, slept around, and trashed all forms of authority.

Of course, when all the authorities have been trashed, the world doesn’t feel very secure. Anxiety hangs over a culture when adults act like children. The Baby Boomers rejected not just grownup life but grownups. They rejected the parents who had worried so much over them. If something looked like what grownups would do, Boomers wanted no part of it.

The most serious loss here is the project of education as it has been understood through most of human history. In earlier cultures, a child was at his parents’ side throughout the day, learning how to do things that were not just make-work chores but important contributions to the needs of the household. Childhood was going to be over very quickly.

By the time a child was twelve or thirteen, he would be thought capable of making binding life-long spiritual commitments—this was the traditional age for sacramental confirmation or Bar Mitzvah. By the time his body was fully formed, he would be expected to do a full day’s work. He could expect to enter the ranks of full-fledged grownups soon after and marry in his late teens. Childhood was a swift passageway to adulthood, and adulthood was a much-desired
state of authority and respect.

The Boomers preserved their parents’ nightmare vision of adulthood as horrid and constricting. They communicated to their own children an urgent admonition to avoid this fate: “Be free,” they said. “Follow your dreams.” Be creative. Children were encouraged to see themselves primarily as creative artists, drawing on their rich inner resources to produce beautiful, if not entirely practical, works. The stories they heard reinforced the idea that the person to admire is the one who endures challenge and struggle in order to obey the muse.

Think for a moment of that 1946 Christmastime favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life. The message here is the exact opposite. George Bailey has dreams of being an explorer and traveling the world, but he keeps nobly setting these aside in order to care for his family. Nobody would make this movie today. In today’s version, George Bailey would have a screaming fight with his father, storm out of the house, hop on a steamer, circle the world, have dangerous and exciting adventures, and return home to a big celebration. His dad would then tell him, with tears in his eyes, “You were right all along, son.”

That kind of triumph doesn’t happen very often. If anything, despite their exhortations to risk all for your dreams, Boomers have raised their children to be cautious and risk-averse. Gen-Xers spend their first few decades, through graduate school, being closely observed by kind people who helpfully affirm or critique their every effort. They reciprocate with fondness and affection. Rather than rebelling, they often seem to wish they could be closer to their parents. A Time magazine article in January 2005 revealed that 48 percent of twenty-somethings phone or email their parents every day. They may feel insecurity about their place in the lives of those self-absorbed, carefully non-directive Boomers.

These years of extended schooling constitute a sweet life, but it changes abruptly when the graduate hits the sidewalk. Suddenly the child who has been raised on endless flexibility is faced with having to get to work on time, dress as expected, take breaks only at appointed times, and get up the next day to do it all over again. Life after school turns out to have a lot of inflexible rules, and children who’ve been raised on unlimited flexibility hit it like a brick wall.

In their 2001 book The Quarterlife Crisis, Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner describe how confounding this surprise is. They cite one young woman who wrapped up her academic career with a Master’s in flute performance and then discovered that it wasn’t a very employable skill. You can imagine how many professors and advisors over the years listened to her with shining eyes, and repeatedly told her she could do anything she wanted. It’s not her fault that she believed them. Boomers have been preparing their children for a life that doesn’t exist.

The Boomers as parents managed to go their own parents one better, extending the golden playroom all the way through graduate school. But the emphasis on unlimited possibilities turns out to be a new kind of prison. Many twenty-somethings find themselves immobilized by too much praise. They dare not commit to any one career, because it means giving up others, and they’ve never before had to close off any options. They dare not commit to a single career because they’re expected to excel at it, and they’re afraid they may only be ordinary. A lifetime of go-get-’em cheering presumes that one day you’ll march out and take the world by storm. But what if the world doesn’t notice? What if the field is too crowded, or the skills too difficult, or the child just not all that talented? It’s a sad but unalterable fact that most people are average.

Parents’ eager expectations can freeze children in their tracks. Even the command “follow your dreams” can be immobilizing if you’re not sure what your dreams are and nothing that comes to mind seems very urgent. It’s no wonder that today’s twenty-somethings feel unfocused, indecisive, and terrified of making mistakes. They may move back home after college and drift from job to job. They can be stuck there, feeling paralyzed for years, even a decade.

So what should we do? How can we recover a positive view of adult life and prepare future generations to move into it? The problem has many parts. The one I’m most interested in is the increasingly late date of marriage. The average first marriage now involves a twenty-five-year-old bride and a twenty-seven-year-old groom. I’m intrigued by how patently unnatural that is. God designed our bodies to desire to mate much earlier, and through most of history cultures have accommodated that desire by enabling people to wed by their late teens or early twenties. People would postpone marriage till their late twenties only in cases of economic disaster or famine—times when people had to save up in order to be able to marry.

Young people are not too immature to marry, unless we tell them they are. Fifty years ago, when the average bride was twenty, the divorce rate was half what it is now, because the culture encouraged and sustained marriage. But if we communicate to young people that we think they’re naturally incapable of making a marriage work, they will surely meet our expectation. In fact, I have a theory that late marriage contributes to an increased divorce rate. During those lingering years of unmarried adulthood, young people may not be getting married, but they’re still falling in love. They fall in love, and break up, and undergo terrible pain, but find that with time they get over it. This is true even if they remain chaste. By the time these young people marry, they may have had many opportunities to learn how to walk away from a promise. They’ve been training for divorce.

Late marriage means fighting the design of our bodies, and that’s never a fight we can win. In the Oscar-nominated movie Sideways, a small-time television actor in his early forties is about to get married. He embarks on a week-long pre-wedding debauch with his friend Miles—and he quickly sinks to depths that take even Miles by surprise. As Jack defends a particularly despicable act, he says, “I know you disapprove of what I’m doing. And I can respect that. But you just don’t understand my plight.”

Future historians will have to sort out our plight—how a whole generation could forget to grow up, while still attempting to raise a younger generation and lead the most powerful nation in the world through times of war and terror. The skills of adulthood are not ones we know how to use. Being kittenish, or obscene, or adorably perplexed—we can do that. But gathering the gravity and confidence that signals full maturity is beyond our capabilities. It’s not youth that passed us by, but adulthood.

Frederica Mathewes-Green writes and lectures on faith and culture. Her website is and her most recent book is The Open Door: Entering the Sanctuary of Icons and Prayer (Paraclete).

Pope's Address to Constantinople Patriarch

Code: ZE06063004

Date: 2006-06-30

Pope's Address to Constantinople Patriarch

On Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2006 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered Thursday to members of a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas of Pergamum, who came to Rome on the occasion of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

* * *

Dear Brothers in Christ,

With great joy and sincere affection in the Lord, I welcome today your eminence, Metropolitan Ioannis, and the other members of the delegation that his holiness Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of the ecumenical patriarchate have graciously sent for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the Church of Rome.

To each of you I offer my cordial greetings. It gives me pleasure to welcome you in the words of the Apostle Peter: "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:1-2).

These words call to mind our common faith and the mystery of the salvation we have received, a gift which we must pass on to the men and women of our day. The fact that the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is celebrated on the same day by both Catholics and Orthodox evokes our shared apostolic succession and ecclesial fraternity.

I am pleased to recall here how Byzantine hymnography attributes to St. Peter a title charged with meaning, that of "protocoryphaeus," the first in the choir who has the task of maintaining the harmony of the voices, for the glory of God and the service of his people.

I am therefore grateful to you who have come to unite your prayer to ours, prompted by our common commitment to continue the journey that leads us step by step to eliminate all dissonance from the choir of the one Church of Christ.

In the future there will be important opportunities for encounter and fraternal dialogue. Your presence, your eminence, as co-president of the Mixed International Commission for theological dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics, brings to my mind the plenary session of the said commission which is to take place in Belgrade in September, thanks to the welcome extended by the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate.

Dialogue thus resumes its path and enters a new phase. Spontaneously we find ourselves wanting to pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten and inflame our hearts, strengthening our common will to respond, insofar as it depends on us, to the Lord's ardent prayer: "Ut unum sint"; in this way, may the disciples of Christ, united in faith, together proclaim his Gospel to the whole world, so that, believing in him, all will be saved.

Furthermore, responding to the invitation extended by the government, the patriarchate and the local Catholic community, I hope to be able to undertake an apostolic pilgrimage to Turkey, a country of ancient and rich culture, a noble country where many holy fathers of our ecclesial, theological and spiritual tradition spent their lives.

This will allow me to take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, brother of St. Peter.

As I repeat the gesture of my predecessors of blessed memory, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of their visits to Phanar, it will be a joy for me to meet his holiness Bartholomew I, thereby reciprocating the welcome visits that he has been good enough to pay here in Rome. I am certain that this mutual exchange will strengthen our ecclesial fraternity and facilitate collaboration in our common initiatives.

May the Lord help us to move forward with renewed confidence toward the day when we will be able to celebrate together the holy Eucharist of the Lord, as a sign of full communion.

With these cordial sentiments, I ask you, your eminence, and those accompanying you, to convey my fraternal greetings to Patriarch Bartholomew I and to the Holy Synod, while I give thanks to the Lord who has granted us to accomplish a new step in the implementation of his will for unity and peace.

[Original text: English]

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]

"The Martyr's Cup"

The Martyr's Cup by Mike Aquilina

Favorite Pics of the Niece

Some of my favorite pictures:

Taken with my sister's camera?

Being in a Jerome mood

St. Jerome is said to have been rather cantankerous, with misanthropic tendencies. I have not read the exchange of letters between him and St. Augustine, so I don't know if they were as heated as they say it was. A master classicist with 'some familiarity' of Cicero, he also translated manuscripts of Sacred Scripture into Latin, forming the Vulgate. You can read more about him here.

It is also said, perhaps as an exaggeration, that his only friend was a lion.
The story of St. Jerome and the lion. (Something in Middle English.) Some paintings of Jerome with the lion.

After all, Jerome was friends with St. Gregory Naziansus. Life in life he joined a monastic community in Bethlehem. Whatever his natural disposition or temperament may have been like, since he is a saint one can be assured that he lived his life in conformance to charity. (Some are burdened with a more sour disposition than others, and therefore have greater obstacles to overcome in dealing with others.)

Well, I am in a Jerome mood once again--the vanity of the world's loves is on my mind. Maybe this will spur me on to concentrating on the thesis and getting it done...

An aside:
Other Middle English texts. (Rochester) More on ME itself. Another link.

Pics from St. Peter's for the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul

Missed EWTN coverage of the Mass...

Pope Benedict XVI holds his pastoral as he leads a solemn mass to celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 29, 2006. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)

Pope Benedict XVI bestowes the pallium, or a woolen shawl, on Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington DC, during a mass inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, June 29, 2006. The Pope bestowed the pallium on 27 metropolitan archbishops from around the world, to symbolize their bond with the Vatican. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI bestowes the pallium, or a woolen shawl, on George Hugh Niederauer, Arhbishop of San Francisco, CA, during a mass inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Thursday, June 29, 2006. The Pope bestowed the pallium on 27 metropolitan archbishops from around the world, to symbolize their bond with the Vatican. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI (L) is presented with a new Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle at the Vatican June 28, 2006. EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/HO/Volvo (VATICAN)

Why does everyone want to give the pope a car? One doesn't want to refuse gifts because of charity, but on the other hand, perhaps Rome should be taking a strong stance on fossil fuel dependence. Now it might not seem to be such a great evil, but it props up industrial and post-industrial economies which stifle the family and the proper use of freedom; the combustion of carbon probably contributes to global warming as well.

Newly elevated Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from Genoa, waves after attending a Cardinal meeting at the Vatican, in this Oct. 17, 2003 file photo. Pope Benedict XVI has decided to appoint longtime aide Bertone as the Vatican's No. 2 official, Italian news agencies said Thursday June 22, 2006. As the Vatican's secretary of state, he would replace another Italian, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who has held the post for 15 years and at 78 is three years past the normal Vatican retirement age. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
Will he be able to aid Benedict XVI in reforming the Curia? Some have said that his appointment is part of Benedict's plan to restore the CDF to being the most important of the curial offices, with a renewed emphasis on doctrine and pastoral work.