Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Maronite Monks of Adoration

I haven't had the opportunity to visit their community yet (or St. Joseph's Abbey, for that matter). Ah well... it would be interesting to see how Latinized the liturgy at the monastery is. Some photos.

their website
St. Charbel
Saint english site. (
St Sharbel Makhluf, priest

Saint Maron
Saint Maron
Saint John Maron

Related links:
Saint Charbel - Annaya
St Sharbel Annaya, Lebanon Urban and Architecture Photos
St Charbel Church Website - Home Page
Saint Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church - Warren, Michigan, USA
St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church - Roanoke
Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Diocese of Saint Maroun
History of the Maronites, St. Maron & Bet Moroon in Syria ...
Saint Maron Church Website
Welcome to St John Maron, Williamsville NY

Maronite Links

Maronite Sacred Music

American Gangster trailer

Yahoo Movies

American Gangster - Official Website - In Theaters November 2, 2007

Robert Baer on the war

via Lew Rockwell Blog.

He discusses the administration's evidence for the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection... When the administration first came out with this justification, I defended it as much as I could, in order to give the administration the benefit of the doubt. And also to rebut those who would assume that they would know more than the administration, based on their liberal sources, various columnists and websites. I would refer to the Weekly Standard, since it was one of the biggest defenders of the connection. (And of course they would knock the WS down as being unreliable and partisan.)

Does loyalty require that I defend the administration, when I do not have evidence that it is lying? Or should I doubt their case, even if I do not have anything to back up my doubt?

Even now I don't think my question of whether hostilities can be resumed if the terms of a cease-fire agreement are violated, or if just war theory needs to applied afresh, hasn't been answered, but I suspect that ceasefires that last too long may become some sort of de facto peace settlement.

I don't know if the war was unjust as a response to those violations; but I didn't think it was prudent either, since to undertake nation-building when one does not have the capacity to do so is folly. (Hence, for that reason the war fails to meet the criteria for just war, and it fails on other accounts as well...)

U.S. Department of Defense Official Website; the report (from; Curtis Bowman: Declassified Pentagon Report on Iraq and Al-Qaeda; Pentagon report debunks prewar Iraq-Al Qaeda connection ...

Bay Area Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group

here; the next meeting is on July 2

Petition to the UN regarding written Chinese

From the petition (against the adoption of simplified characters):

The Chinese language has many dialects spoken yet Mandarin has always been
the official language.

Not quite?

More info:
United Nations to Use Simplified Chinese Only Starting in 2008 - NAM
Pinyin news » Blog Archive » UN to drop traditional Chinese ...
EastSouthWestNorth: Traditional versus Simplified Chinese Characteri
Taipei Times - archives
Clearing up a complicated Chinese story - ShanghaiDaily's blog

Benedict: Christ is Source of Charity

Benedict XVI: Christ Is Source of Charity
Offers 2 Implications to Theological Truth

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2007 ( The Church's work of charity, both for individuals and for organizations, must always find its reference point in Christ, "the source of charity," Benedict XVI says.

The Pope said this today in an address to representatives of Caritas Internationalis, who are meeting in the Vatican this week for their general assembly.

The Holy Father said: "Charity has to be understood in the light of God who is caritas: God who loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. In this way we come to see that love finds its greatest fulfillment in the gift of self.

"This is what Caritas Internationalis seeks to accomplish in the world. The heart of Caritas is the sacrificial love of Christ, and every form of individual and organized charity in the Church must always find its point of reference in him, the source of charity."

Faith and society

Benedict XVI said this theological vision is translated into practical implications for the work of charitable organizations.

He highlighted two of them: "The first is that every act of charity should be inspired by a personal experience of faith, leading to the discovery that God is Love."

"Christian charity exceeds our natural capacity for love: It is a theological virtue.

"It therefore challenges the giver to situate humanitarian assistance in the context of a personal witness of faith, which then becomes a part of the gift offered to the poor. Only when charitable activity takes the form of Christ-like self-giving does it become a gesture truly worthy of the human person created in God’s image and likeness."

The Pope also drew attention to a second implication: "God's love is offered to everyone, hence the Church's charity is also universal in scope, and so it has to include a commitment to social justice."

However, he clarified, "changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person."

"Moreover, […] the task of politics 'is not the immediate competence of the Church,'" the Holy Father said. "Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person.

"For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation."

Father Cantalamessa on Memory

Father Cantalamessa on Memory
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings

ROME, JUNE 8, 2007 ( Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.

* * *

Do This in Memory of Me
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17

In the second reading of this feast, St. Paul presents us with the most ancient account we have of the institution of the Eucharist, written no more than about 20 years after the fact. Let us try to find something new in the Eucharistic mystery, using the concept of memorial: "Do this in memory of me."

Memory is one of the most mysterious and greatest powers of the human spirit. Everything seen, heard and done from early childhood is conserved in this immense womb, ready to reawaken and to dance into the light either by an external stimulus or by our own will.

Without memory we will cease to be ourselves, we will lose our identity. Those who are struck by total amnesia, wander lost on the streets, without knowing their own name or where they live.

A memory, once it has come to mind, has the power to catalyze our whole interior world and route everything toward its object, especially if this is not a thing or a fact, but a living person.

When a mother remembers her child, who was born a few days ago and is left at home, everything inside her flies toward her baby, a movement of tenderness rises from her maternal depths and perhaps brings tears to her eyes.

Not just the individual has memory; human groups -- family, tribe, nation -- also have a collective memory. The wealth of a people is not so much measured by the reserves of gold it holds in its vaults, but rather by how many memories it holds in its collective consciousness. It is the sharing of many memories that cements the unity of a group. To keep such memories alive, they are linked to a place, to a holiday.

Americans have Memorial Day, the day in which they remember those who fell in all the wars; the Indians have the Gandhi Memorial, a green park in New Delhi that is supposed to remind the nation who he was and what he did. We Italians also have our memorials: The civil holidays recall the most important events in our recent history, and streets, piazzas and airports are dedicated to our most eminent people.

This very rich human background in regard to memory should help us better understand what the Eucharist is for the Christian people. It is a memorial because it recalls the event to which all of humanity now owes its existence as redeemed humanity: the death of the Lord.

But the Eucharist has something that distinguishes it from every other memorial. It is memorial and presence together, even if hidden under the signs of bread and wine. Memorial Day cannot bring those who have fallen back to life; the Gandhi Memorial cannot make Gandhi alive again. In a sense, the Eucharistic memorial, however, according to the faith of Christians, does do this in regard to Christ.

But together with all the beautiful things that we have said about memory, we must mention a danger that is inherent to it. Memory can be easily transformed into sterile and paralyzing nostalgia. This happens when a person becomes the prisoner of his own memories and ends up living in the past.

Indeed, the Eucharistic memorial does not pertain to this type of memory. On the contrary, it projects us forward; after the consecration the people say: "We proclaim your death, O Lord, and confess your resurrection, until you come."

An antiphon attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas ("O sacrum convivium") defines the Eucharist as the sacred feast in which "Christ is received, the memory of his passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace, and we are given the pledge of future glory."

Photos: Hyori

Watcher's favorite tanned look. If he doesn't appreciate the New York Yankees gear, I know someone else who would haha.

Nickel Creek

They are going on a haitus for an indefinite period of time...

When in Rome

This Side


A Lighthouse's Tale

Jealous of the Moon

When You Come Back Down

Cover of Toxic


1, 2

Official Nickel Creek Website
Nickel Creek

Friday, June 08, 2007

Catastrophic Superempowerment

John Robb and TX Hammes

Phillip Botwinick, Stay in NYC?

Published on 8 Jun 2007 by Speaking Truth to Power. Archived on 8 Jun 2007.
Stay in NYC?
by Phillip Botwinick

[In 2006 Phillip Botwinick helped organize and coordinate the Local Energy Solutions Conference in New York City. His years of research on Peak Oil, climate change, and economic collapse, as well as his experience as an instructor of Permaculture, superbly qualify him to critique Plan NYC as a public relations pipedream disconnected from current reality.--CB]

Michael Shuman on Rebuilding Community

Via EB
Michael Shuman On Rebuilding Community: Local Economic Development
Global Public Media

Attorney and economist Michael Shuman is the Vice President for Enterprise Development for the Training and Development Corporation, based in Bucksport, Maine.

In Part 1 of this candid interview, Mr. Shuman talks about the paradigm of RE-building local communities in the face of a world of diminishing resources like oil and natural gas.

In Part 2 he discusses his own conceptions of our current economic development model and the problems small, local businesses face.

In Part 3, Mr. Shuman explores local (community-based) money and stock exchanges (something that was more of the norm a century ago) and helping small businesses reacquire a foothold in a world that's increasingly -- and unsustainably -- becoming over-globalized. Choose any of the three video interview segments by clicking the links below. The entire interview in mp3 format will be available soon!

Michael Shuman is author of five books including The Small Mart Revolution and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. He has written numerous articles on the relationship between community and international affairs. His work has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. (2 June 2007)

Erika Engelhaupt, Farming the deep blue sea

Farming the deep blue sea

Erika Engelhaupt, Environmental Science and Technology

Today, Sims runs a fish farm in Hawaii called Kona Blue, located in deep waters a half mile offshore. The farm raises a species of Hawaiian yellowtail, and Sims says the company strives for ecological sustainability. He thinks farming the oceans, instead of chasing down wild fish, is the only sustainable way to meet the world’s rising demand for seafood.

I'd like to see the input/output chart for such an enterprise...

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Via EB

Review: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
Jesse Lichtenstein, Book Forum
The Erosion of Civilizations
by David R. Montgomery

“Predictably-and understandably- more pressing problems than saving dirt usually carry the day,” writes David R. Montgomery. But as his new book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, details, we are losing the brown stuff far, far too quickly. Unlike maritime dead zones and radical climate change, cases in which we have little historical knowledge on which to draw, we do have some sense of what happens to civilizations that abuse and lose their dirt. The book’s conclusion takes little comfort in history: “Unless more immediate disasters do us in, how we address the twin problems of soil degradation and accelerated erosion will eventually determine the fate of modern civilization.” (Never mind the echoes of that useful old tip “If nothing else kills you, cancer will.”)

For terrestrial life forms, dirt is where it all begins. It is “the skin of the earth-the frontier between geology and biology,” a thin, fragile living blanket that covers a hard, rock planet. Early on, Montgomery, a professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington and author of King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon (2003), examines the organic and geologic processes that produce soil and cause it to erode. Given enough time, these competing tendencies tend to bring about an equilibrium in soil characteristics and soil type specific to a given place. Agriculture, of course, alters things.

With more thoroughness than narrative snap, much of Dirt is given over to an environmental history of civilizations, which wax and wane over hundreds and thousands of years as they plow up their topsoil, push their land to its limits in order to feed burgeoning populations, and watch the exposed dirt wash or blow away. It then becomes a matter of moving on to steeper, poorer land, importing food (as in the case of imperial Rome), melting away into the jungle, or slaughtering one another over rare arable land. This dirt’s-eye-view of history provides an interesting perspective on a vast range of topics, from the vanishing commons and the rise of private estates in Europe to the drive to colonize the Americas, from slavery and the Industrial Revolution to floods and famines in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century China. And no book on dirt can pass lightly over the Depression-era Dust Bowl or its lesser-known Soviet counterpart.

Montgomery decries the loss of soil husbandry, the intelligent and long-term stewardship that good dirt requires if we are continuously to extract food from it. Instead, factors such as population growth, a variety of economic ideologies, absentee land ownership, and the profit-driven imperatives of fossil-fuel, agrochemical, and machinery producers continue to press- worldwide-for maximum immediate yield, leading to erosion rates orders of magnitude higher than that at which soil is formed. What is needed, writes Montgomery, is agroecology in place of agrochemistry-a matching of practice to place, an intelligent mimicry of nature in place of genetic jiggering and the ever-less-effective application of ever-dwindling petrochemicals. Urban agriculture, efficient small-scale organic farms, and no-till methods on large-scale farms point a way forward. With the world losing an astonishing 1 percent of its arable land each year (that’s from a 1995 study, so say good-bye to 11 percent of it and add another billion mouths to feed), Montgomery warns that it is time to treat soil “as a valuable inheritance rather than a commodity-as something other than dirt.”
(June/July/August 2007)

UC Press

Photos: 대종상

2 from AICN

The return of ADV manga
coverage of the LA Galactica Event

St. Elias 30th Anniversary

previous post

I have no idea why these are labelled Gregorian

It's Eastern (not sure about the language). For details we are told to go to I haven't looked at the page yet.

Gregorian Chant for the Holy Thursday
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Antiph.
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Atiph.
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Introit
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Petrus 1
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Petrus 2
Gregorian Chant for The Holy Thursday - Petrus 3

The Jane Austen Handbook

Author's page for the book.

For a signed bookplate:

If you would like a signed bookplate (a label to place in your copy of The Jane Austen Handbook), send a stamped, self-addressed envelope (or an International Reply Coupon for anyone outside the U.S.), a note letting us know how you would like the bookplate signed (i.e., just a signature, to a particular name, with or without a message), and your e-mail address in case we have a question to:

Margaret C. Sullivan
PO Box 904
Glenside, PA 19038-0904

I will be at the JASNA AGM in Vancouver, BC this October. I have no formal book signing scheduled but I'll be delighted to sign the book if you find me there. Look for the loudmouthed bespectacled redhead wearing a Team Tilney shirt and tapping on a PDA; you can't miss me.

Quirk Books page for the book


And: Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners (Amazon); AustenBlog review

The latest from Sen. James Webb

Senator Webb's Statement on the Stalled Immigration Reform Bill

Washington, DC - The following is a statement from Senator Jim Webb regarding the stalled immigration reform bill:

"Tonight I voted with a majority of the Senate to shelve the immigration reform bill. I did so because significant improvements are still required in order to ensure the practicality and fairness of our immigration system.

"Our immigration policy desperately needs a fix. I regret that the Senate was unable to find a common sense middle ground that recognizes the contributions of immigrants to our society but also protects America's workers and respects the rule of law.

"I introduced exactly such an amendment this week which sought to create a fair and workable path to legalization for those who have truly put down roots in this country, while protecting the American workforce.

"As I've said many times on the Senate floor, I believe my amendment held the promise of uniting the extremes and finding a solid middle ground on which to base meaningful immigration reform.

"Until we succeed, I call on the President to vigorously enforce the laws that are on the books. This includes tough civil and criminal penalties for companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. We must also gain control over our porous borders by properly utilizing the assets and legal means now at our disposal. We have these laws and these means. The President needs to enforce them.

"Senator Reid has indicated that he plans to bring immigration legislation back to the Senate Floor for debate. I hope he does so. And when he does, I will work with him to make sure we find a fair and workable policy. For the good of this country, it is important that we do so."

More on his proposed amendment: Webb Amendment to Narrow Immigration Bill
Demonstrated Connections to Community Needed for Pathway to Legalization

June 7, 2007
Senator Webb on Lou Dobbs Tonight

Honor the Fallen by Taking Care of Those Currently Serving
Op-Ed, Richmond Times Dispatch

2 on the Housing Bubble

From Daily Reckoning:

No Safe Housing in a Bubble
Bill BonnerBy Bill Bonner "Homeowners were feeling rich and sassy. They wanted to borrow…and now they had something to borrow against. So, it was off to the races, with the biggest run-up in the housing market in 100 years."

Corridors of Power
Byron KingBy Byron King "Homeowners were feeling rich and sassy. They wanted to borrow…and now they had something to borrow against. So, it was off to the races, with the biggest run-up in the housing market in 100 years."

And the Mogambo Guru's Financial Toxic Waste Disposal

"But the glory has been the glory of pasteboard, and the wealth has been the wealth of tinsel." - Anthony Trollope

The world seems to be taking a form of financial steroids…and maybe taking too much of it.

Yes, dear reader, love for old-fashioned values seems to have given way to price boffing…and the romance of real business ventures has been supplanted by the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am of money-shuffling hustlers…

…Oh, dear, dear old reader…sigh…

But we pause this morning…to bring new dear readers into the conversation.

The Daily Reckoning began in the summer of 1999. We were convinced then that the tech bubble - centered in the U.S. NASDAQ market - was about to blow up.

Naturally, many readers were annoyed with us. They insisted that breakthroughs in communications technology were making us all smarter - for now we all had access to the worldwide web, and with it came an almost unlimited supply of INFORMATION.

Here at The Daily Reckoning we argued that more information was not necessarily a good thing. Like manure, information can be helpful. But pile too much of it up in one place, and it begins to stink.

"You just don't get it," they replied. To which we let the market respond. Six months later those who "got it" got it good and hard. The tech bubble collapsed…taking many earnest investors with it.

"You don't get what you expect from the investment markets," we remarked, with a superior air. "You get what you deserve."

The stock market was then going down…and the economy was going down too. But it was not much later that a tiny group of fanatics scored what must be history's most successful surprise attack: they brought down two of Manhattan's greatest buildings and twisted America's entire foreign policy - which had there-to-fore been clumsy, but not absurd - towards a preposterous 'War Against Terrorism.'

Under pressure from the delusionary threat of terrorists under every Arab head wrap, and a recession that looked as though it could go the way of Japan's then 12-year slump, the Feds responded with the biggest stimulus of cash and credit in history. Tax rates were cut. Spending was increased. The Fed's key lending rate went down to less than half the rate of inflation and stayed there for two years.

Now, it is time for others to have the last laugh. We didn't think it would work. Americans were already too far in debt, we said. You can't solve that problem by lending them more money at better rates.

Professors of moral philosophy surely approved of our logic. We hope they didn't bet money on it. Lower lending rates set off a new bubble - this one in residential real estate. Suddenly, houses were rising in price at the fastest rate ever. Homeowners were feeling rich and sassy. They wanted to borrow…and now they had something to borrow against. So, it was off to the races, with the biggest run-up in the housing market in 100 years (and the biggest increase in consumer debt, ever).

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration drew Tony Blair into its confidence and the two decided to attack Iraq. French president Jacques Chirac tried to warn them off their project; it was too risky, he said. We agreed with Chirac…and wrote a book, with Addison Wiggin, to describe what we saw as America's imperial over-reaching, entitled "Empire of Debt." In Paris at the time, U.S. readers responded by saying they hoped American bombers dropped a bomb or two on us, and Chirac too, on their way to blow up targets in Iraq.

The U.S. housing bubble began to lose air in 2006. Mortgage companies had lent billions to homebuyers who couldn't pay them back. Suddenly, the lenders were in trouble…and the U.S. housing market was, too.

Again, our logic was unassailable: The U.S. economy…and by extension the world economy…depends on American consumer spending. Americans depend on rising house prices to give them the money to spend (there has been no real increase in average wages in the United States in 30 years). Therefore, stagnation or, god forbid, a slump in housing would cause a recession.

Not so far. But a housing market correction takes time. Sellers are reluctant to cut prices; while buyers take each small cut as an opportunity. They are all convinced that the correction will be slight, and quickly put behind us. But in the first quarter of this year, U.S. GDP growth slid to just 0.6%, annualized. That is well below the rate of population growth in the United States, meaning that if the country continues to prosper at that rate, Americans will eventually be as rich as Bengalis or Zimbabweans.

But today, comes news that the National Association of Realtors has pushed their recovery forecasts back a bit, on unemployment rates, inflationary fears, and rising mortgage rates. Looks like their certainty in a 'soft landing' for housing is being shaken - and it's no wonder:

Primed for Disaster

It is a cold and windy day here in London. But all over the world, the financial markets are hot and bubbly. No one seems to care about the weakness of the U.S. consumer. Asset prices are soaring almost everywhere; buyouts at record prices are in the news. Private equity firms are on the prowl and public companies on the run, spinning-off their assets as fast as they can to avoid being gobbled up. Fund managers are getting record bonuses. Living 'artists' are getting paydays that Monet and Rembrandt couldn't have imagined. (More below…)

The rich are getting richer. And the poor? As Warren Buffett said when we interviewed him for the documentary, "As rising tide is lifting all boats…but it's lifting yachts faster."

It's a worldwide Super Bubble - enjoy it while it lasts. Restaurants and bars in central London are full to overflowing - and now the city is the capital of the biggest, most successful industry of our time - modern finance.

People all over the world have come to believe something extraordinary…something that can't be true, that they can all get rich without actually working or saving; instead they buy and sell financial assets.

Whom do they buy them from and sell them to, you ask? Why each other, of course! Then won't they end up, on average, no richer than they began - or will they end up actually poorer, when you take out all the fees paid to financial middlemen?

Yes, of course. But the longer this amazing Super Bubble goes on, the more people come to think it is normal…the more investment positions depend on it…and the more people suffer when it ends.

Tomorrow…we explain the current worldwide Super Bubble in greater detail.

Violence against student protest continues 18 years after Tiananmen

Violence against student protest continues 18 years after Tiananmen
A Sichuan paper publishes advert saluting the mothers of the June 4, 1989, victims in Tiananmen Square. Director and at least one journalist are suspended. In Henan more than a thousand students battle police after a female student is assaulted for selling clothes to pay for her studies.

Migrant workers held in factory in slave-like conditions

Migrant workers held in factory in slave-like conditions
In Shanxi, son of local Communist Party boss forces 32 migrant workers to work 20 years a day without pay, on a bread and water diet, without clean clothes, shoes or a chance to wash, guarded by men and dogs. One dies from injuries suffered because he was too slow at work. Police arrest wrongdoers.

PCR, Losing Iraq, Nuking Iran

Cheney's End Game?
Losing Iraq, Nuking Iran


Cardinal Bertone on Pius XII (Part 3)

Cardinal Bertone on Pius XII (Part 3)

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 7, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the final part of a speech given Tuesday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. He gave it at the presentation of a book by Andrea Tornielli, "Pio XII: Un Uomo Sul Trono di Pietro" (Pius XII: A Man on the Throne of Peter).

Parts 1 and 2 were published Tuesday and Wednesday.

* * *

6. "Action, Not Lamentation, is the Precept of the Hour"

Having said this, after having looked at the 11 volumes -- in 12 tomes -- of the "Actes et Documents du Saint Siège" that cover the Second World War, after having read dozens of folders with hundreds of documents on the thoughts and actions of the Apostolic See during that conflict, one gets a taste of the violent and biased polemics -- countless volumes, full of violent and false ideology.

I think that the "Actes," printed by order of Paul VI -- who served as undersecretary of state in the terrible period of 1939-1945, could be usefully completed by the documents that fall under the archival heading of "Ecclesiastical States," which include documents regarding the obligation of the Holy See and the Catholic Church to take charge of the duty of charity toward all.

It is an area of the archive that has not been sufficiently explored, given that we are dealing here with thousands of personal cases. The smallest state in the world, neutral in the absolute sense, listened to each one individually, acknowledging every voice that asked for help or an audience. Unfortunately, this documentation is unavailable because it is not organized.

It would be nice if, with the help of some charitable foundation, these documents conserved by the archives of the Holy See could be catalogued in a short period of time! The directive that Pope Pius XII gave in 1942 on the radio, in the press, and through diplomatic channels was clear. In the tragic year of 1942 he told everyone: "Action, not lamentation, is the precept of the hour."

The wisdom of this affirmation is testified to by a myriad of documents: diplomatic notes, urgent consistories, specific instructions -- to Cardinal Bertram, to Cardinal Schuster, etc., etc., etc. -- to do what was possible to save people, preserving the neutrality of the Holy See.

This neutrality allowed the Pope to save not only Europeans but other prisoners as well. I am thinking of the awful situation in Poland and the humanitarian interventions in Southeast Asia. Pius XII never signed circulars or proclamations. His instructions were given verbally. And bishops, priests, religious, and lay people all understood what had to be done. The countless audience papers with the comments of Cardinals Maglione and Tardini, among other things, were testimony to this. Then the protests or the rejections of the Holy See's humanitarian requests would arrive.

7. Denounce or Act?

Allow me to recount a little episode that took place in the Vatican in October 1943. At the time, besides the Papal Gendarmes -- about 150 persons -- and the Swiss Guard -- about 110 persons -- there was also the Palatine Guard. To protect the 300 or so people of the Vatican and its extraterritorial properties then, there were 575 Palatine Guards. Well, the secretary of state asked the occupying power if the Palatine Guard could enlist another 4,425 people. The Jewish ghetto was nearby …

The editors of "Actes et Documents" could not print all the thousands of personal cases. The Pope, at the time, had other priorities: He could not make his "wishes" known but wanted to act, within the limits imposed by the circumstances, according to his clear program.

For honest people some legitimate questions arise: When did Pius XII meet with Mussolini? He met him in 1932 as cardinal secretary of state but as Pope, never! When did Cardinal Pacelli meet with Hitler? Never! When did the Pope meet with Mussolini and Hitler together? Never! If that never happened, if two states did not consider talking with the Pope, what should the Pontiff himself do: denounce through declarations or act?

Pius XII chose the second course, which is testified to by many Jewish sources throughout Europe. Perhaps we should provide a copy of these abundant expressions of gratitude and esteem by Jews for the human and spiritual ministry of this great Pope. The book, which we can read today, adds another plug not only for the figure of a great Pontiff, but also for the whole silent but effective work of the Church during the life of a shepherd that passed through the storms of two world conflicts -- Pacelli was nuncio to Bavaria from 1917 -- and the tragic construction of the Iron Curtain, behind which millions of children of God lost their lives. Heir to the Church of the Apostles, the Church of Pius XII continued to work not only by means of a prophetic word but above all by means of daily prophetic action.

8. Concluding Note

In conclusion, I would like to thank Andrea Tornielli for this book, which contributes to a better understanding of the luminous apostolic action of the figure of the Servant of God Pius XII.

This is a useful service to the Church, a useful service of truth. It is right to discuss, delve into, debate, confront. But it is important that one guard oneself against the gravest error of the historian, that is, anachronism, judging the reality of that time with the eyes and mentality of today.

How profoundly unjust it is to judge the work of Pius XII during the war with the veil of prejudice, forgetting not only the historical context but also the enormous work of charity that the Pope promoted, opening the doors of seminaries and religious institutes, welcoming refugees and persecuted people, helping all.[Translation by ZENIT]

Cornel West and Robert George

Mere Comments has the link to the article detailing their collaboration.