Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Leaving for the airport in less than an hour

I'll try to update while I'm back in CA.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The American Scene is back

Mr. Daniel Larison is now a member of the revamped American Scene. I discovered the group blog only after it had been shut down, so I don't know much about its quality, but the new version should be promising. Where does Mr. Larison find time to do his own blog and contribute to two others?

Scorcese and De Niro together again for Frankie Machine

Details at IGN; I'm waiting to see De Niro and Pacino in Righteous Kill.

Chuck Butler, Housing Continues to Slow

06/26/2007 - Housing Continues to Slow
"The Fed policy makers continue to be more sanguine on the outlook for housing and the economy. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said earlier this month that restrictions on the availability of mortgage credit will slow housing demand."

Roger Morris, The Gates Inheritance, pt 3

The world that Bob made

The new US secretary of defense travels the American world, to Kabul and Baghdad in particular, where he frets about Tehran - only to find himself confronting the consequences of the misdeeds of his younger self. In the first two parts of this three-part series, Roger Morris covered the world and spy agency that "made Bob". Now, he turns to the world that Bob made. It's a tale of terror bombs and secret plots, of internecine warfare within the CIA and in the Hindu Kush.

Part 1: The tortured world of US intelligence

Part 2: Great games and famous victories

Luddism in the New Millennium: An Interview with Kirkpatrick Sale

Luddism in the New Millennium: An Interview with Kirkpatrick Sale
by David Kupfer

See also: Economics of Scale vs. the Scale of Economics - Towards Basic Principles of a Bioregional Economy by Kirkpatrick Sale

Mother of All:An Introduction to Bioregionalism
by Kirkpatrick Sale

Resurgence Issue 233 - STOP SHOPPING! by Kirkpatrick Sale

Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale's Writings Second Vermont Republic
The E. F. Schumacher Society • Publications • Kirkpatrick Sale

The Middlebury Insititute
Middlebury Institute
Kirkpatrick Sale and Thomas Naylor: The Middlebury Declaration
Kirkpatrick Sale: The Middlebury Institute-The Logic of American ...
Middlebury Institute: A New Secession Think Tank Launched ...
The Middlebury Institute Announces the Second North American ...

Robert T. Miller on the ITC document on Limbo

via Rorate Caeli:

Limbo and the Gospel Out of Season
By Robert T. Miller
Thursday, June 21, 2007, 6:28 AM


At the ISN conference dinner, someone tried to put a positive spin on the Cardinal's actions with regards to the seminary. However, I just read the letter Fr. Farren, O.P. wrote in response to the proposal to sell property to BC, and his concerns seem to be very legitimate. So what is happening in the archdiocese of Boston?

Tom Philpoot, AG policy as if people mattered

via EB

Ag policy as if people mattered
Tom Philpott, Gristmill
The terms of debate around the 2007 farm bill's controversial commodity title have gotten rather narrow.

On the one hand, you've got the House subcommittee on ag commodities, which essentially cut and pasted commodity language from the subsidy-heavy 2002 farm bill into the 2007 version now being drafted.

On the other hand, you've got a chorus of critics, ranging from Oxfam to the Cato Institute to the Environmental Working Group, demanding an end to ag subsidies. This group would like to see an unfettered market work its magic on agriculture.

Straddling in between we find the Bush administration, which chastised the House subcommittee for failing to reform subsidies. Last winter, USDA chief Mike Johanns floated his proposal, which wouldn't abolish subsidies but rather tweak the program a bit to give it a "more market-oriented approach." Language in the proposal hinted strongly that subsidies would eventually be phased out.

Forced to choose, the Oxfams, Catos, and EWGs of the world throw their lot with the Bush Administration. If they can't get the subsidy-free bill they want, they'll take the Bushies' slow-motion reforms.

In last week's Victual Reality, I weighed in on the debate by rebuking the Oxfam/Cato/EWG aproach. I argued that "abandoning farmers to the clutches of a highly consolidated food-processing market ... won't solve our enormous social, public-health, and environmental troubles related to food."

I acknowledged that the subsidy system was a mess, but was vague about what I would put in its place. Several people asked me what kind of farm bill I'd like to see. Given the alternatives on the table, answering that question is a purely theoretical exercise. But here goes.
(24 June 2007)

Peter Pogany, Global efforts to substitute for oil: Learning by doing ourselves in

Global efforts to substitute for oil: Learning by doing ourselves in
by Peter Pogany

Contemporary discourse concerning the potentially enormous problem of dealing with peak oil overlooks the “own demand” of substitution. It takes a lot of oil to substitute for oil. A closer look reveals that the structural gyration of historical proportions associated with the process is up to its chin in the stuff.

Bill Kauffman, Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire

I got my monthly update from Orion, but I see that the Western Confucian has already linked to this article:

Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire
Or, the sweet smell of secession
by Bill Kauffman

Includes a discussion of the goings-on in Vermont.

Yankees threatened to leave the Union in 1803 when Jefferson doubled the American realm with his constitutionally dubious Louisiana Purchase, and the cries of separation once again rang through the Northeast in 1814, when New Englanders, appalled by the War of 1812, met at the Hartford Convention to discuss going their own way. The Massachusetts Federalist Timothy Pickering heard “no magic in the sound of Union. If the great objects of union are utterly abandoned . . . let the union be severed. Such a severance presents no Terrors for me.” The subject of an amicable divorce was raised in the 1840s during the debates over the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War. In each instance New England had a strong moral case for secession—and a practical one, too: the country had gotten too damn big to govern from a swamp on the Potomac. Daniel Webster, the God-like Daniel (on his good days), argued in 1846 that “there must be some limit to the extent of our territory, if we are to make our institutions permanent. The Government is very likely to be endangered . . . by a further enlargement of its already vast territorial surface.”

Lost Lambs video of the ICRSS ordinations

links over at NLM

Sarge, I took a quick look at the vid--I knew Fr. Talarico back when he was a student at St. Greg's. iirc, he had expressed an interest in the ICRSS back then, it's good to see that he persevered. Deo Gratias!

You can find coverage of the ordinations over at NLM.
Saint Louis Catholic: Images from the ICRSP Ordinations
Kansas City Catholic: Archbishop Burke of Saint Louis, MO, Ordains Two ICRSS Priests, June 15, 2007
A few more ICRSS ordination pictures
Final ICRSS ordination post

Here are some other links:
Please Pray for These Men
Photos of the Ordinations of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, 2007
Archbishop Burke of Saint Louis, MO, Ordains Two ICRSS Priests, June 15, 2007
Institute Ordinations
2 New Priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
more links

Bishop Peter J. Elliott

Lind, Legitimacy, Toujours Legitimacy

Legitimacy, Toujours Legitimacy
By William S. Lind

PS: A reader, Markus Gruber, wrote to ask, "Could you recommend a book(s) on Light Infantry Warfare as per your latest FMFM1-A?" Far and away the best work on present-day light infantry is Steven Canby's Classic Light Infantry and New Technology, which was published in 1982 as a monograph done under DOD contract (and subsequently ignored by DOD). It should be posted sometime this summer on the U.S. Marine Corps' Expeditionary Warfare School website, which will also carry some of the work on 4GW done by the students in the school's Advanced Warfighting Seminar.

EWS website?

Philip Bess, Why Architecture Matters, Part III: Urban Formal Order and Natural Law

pretty good stuff, though controversial:

It is the thesis of what follows that, given this understanding and characterization of both natural law and the Rural-to-Urban Transect, the proposition

Human beings should make mixed-use walkable settlements

is generally valid for all human beings in all times and places---and therefore constitutes a natural law precept. If this is true, such a precept would be binding in conscience for---and acted upon with prudential judgment by---all persons who act in accordance with right (practical) reason; and most especially for and by persons who understand themselves to be a part of the Aristotelian-Thomist intellectual tradition.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A bad choice for advertising a movie

Bruce Willis was on Letterman tonight, and they of course showed a clip from Live Free or Die Hard. Now I don't understand why they chose this clip--I'm not sure if Mr. Willis was expecting it either, it seemed as if he was thinking of a different one, a scene where he and Maggie Q (playing the villain) are fighting it out. Now in the clip they showed he and Maggie Q are trapped in a van, which had crashed into an elevator shaft--they show John McClane escaping the van before it falls, while the villan is stuck in the van. The baddie meets his demise in the first three Die Hard movies, so this shouldn't be a surprise (even though when Mr. Willis had expressed a desire to make a Die Hard 5, he said he hoped Maggie Q would be back--maybe he was being sarcastic). Still... it is close to the end of the movie, so what is the studio thinking?

14 days to go?

Papal Vacation Set for July 9-27

We'll see if the rumor that the motu proprio would be released before the Holy Father goes on vacation turns out to be true or not.

the latest rumor, via Father Z.

Benedict XVI Notes 3 Issues That Need Study

Benedict XVI Notes 3 Issues That Need Study
Addresses Representatives of Higher Education

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2007 ( Benedict XVI says the crisis of modernity arises from an attempt to separate the human person from his "full truth," which includes his "transcendent vocation."

The Pope said this Saturday when he received in audience in Paul VI Hall the participants in the European Meeting of University Professors.

Their four-day meeting, which ended Sunday, was dedicated to the theme "A New Humanism for Europe. The Role of the Universities."

The Holy Father invited the participants to consider three concrete themes of reflection, which he called "foundational issues."

He first encouraged "a comprehensive study of the crisis of modernity."

He said this crisis "has less to do with modernity's insistence on the centrality of man and his concerns, than with the problems raised by a 'humanism' that claims to build a ' regnum hominis' detached from its necessary ontological foundation."

The Pontiff continued: "A false dichotomy between theism and authentic humanism, taken to the extreme of positing an irreconcilable conflict between divine law and human freedom, has led to a situation in which humanity, for all its economic and technical advances, feels deeply threatened.

"As my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, stated, we need to ask 'whether in the context of all this progress, man, as man, is becoming truly better, that is to say, more mature spiritually, more aware of the dignity of his humanity, more responsible and more open to others.'"

Benedict XVI encouraged consideration of the entirety of the human person: "The anthropocentrism which characterizes modernity can never be detached from an acknowledgment of the full truth about man, which includes his transcendent vocation."


The Pope also called for a "broadening of our understanding of rationality."

He said that responding to the challenges of contemporary culture means taking a critical approach toward "narrow and ultimately irrational attempts to limit the scope of reason."

The Holy Father affirmed: "The concept of reason needs instead to be 'broadened' in order to be able to explore and embrace those aspects of reality which go beyond the purely empirical. This will allow for a more fruitful, complementary approach to the relationship between faith and reason."

Christian humanism

Benedict XVI further encouraged investigation on the "contribution which Christianity can make to the humanism of the future."

He said: "The question of man, and thus of modernity, challenges the Church to devise effective ways of proclaiming to contemporary culture the 'realism' of her faith in the saving work of Christ. Christianity must not be relegated to the world of myth and emotion, but respected for its claim to shed light on the truth about man, to be able to transform men and women spiritually, and thus to enable them to carry out their vocation in history."

The Pope referred to a speech he made in his recent apostolic journey to Brazil. "I voiced my conviction that 'unless we do know God in and with Christ, all of reality becomes an indecipherable enigma.'"

He added: "Knowledge can never be limited to the purely intellectual realm; it also includes a renewed ability to look at things in a way free of prejudices and preconceptions, and to allow ourselves to be 'amazed' by reality, whose truth can be discovered by uniting understanding with love.

"Only the God who has a human face, revealed in Jesus Christ, can prevent us from truncating reality at the very moment when it demands ever new and more complex levels of understanding. The Church is conscious of her responsibility to offer this contribution to contemporary culture."

I forgot to make the point earlier that if Pope John Paul II, in his encyclicals, turned his attention to the question of man, and then focused his attention on the answer, Christ (something which Pope Benedict XVI appears to be continuing), can we not say that this is just a return to Christian fundamentals?

Yes, modern ideologies and philosophies are poisonous, but we are not dealing solely with intellectual error, and addressing the problems if they were just intellectual errors would be wrong-headed. We are dealing primarily with a moral and spiritual illness, with sin. There's nothing new under the sin, and the solution is the same one given to us two millenia ago.

Are universities the same sort of intellectual powerhouses that they were a century or two ago? Do they have the same sort of cultural impact? Are we past the age of the friar giving a response to the secular academics, and in an age where we must rely upon the quiet witness of the monk?

(I say friar, but I do not mean to exclude younger religious orders that have an apostolate in education.)

Pope's Address to European Professors"A New Humanism for Europe. The Role of the Universities" [2007-06-24]

The New Atlantis, Spring 2007 issue

The Spring 2007 issue of The New Atlantis is now available online.

by Leon R. Kass
America’s political and moral vocabularies are so dominated by “rights talk” that we lack the language to discuss the deeper human goods at stake in debates over biotechnology—most notably the notoriously vague idea of human dignity. But perhaps by better understanding the origins of the modern doctrine of rights, we can learn just how dignity and rights are tied together. Leon R. Kass finds guidance in the pages of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan.

What’s Ailing Health Care? (pdf)
James C. Capretta

by Matthew B. Crawford
Social scientists would be well served by more often grounding their abstract theories in practical observations of real life. Matthew B. Crawford explains why political science is not physics.

Mr. Crawford reviews The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences by Ian Shapiro.

"Shapiro might be said to have renewed Kant’s project of defending practical life, including politics, from the presumptuousness of theoretical reason (an aspect of Kant’s thought forgotten by today’s Kantians in political theory)."

Perhaps this could be better explained. Is practical reason separate from speculative reason? Or only in a certain respect?

His most damning arguments are directed against those disciplines that, following economics, have “modeled themselves on physics—or at any rate on a stylized version of what is often said to go on in physics.” Here we find “a perverse sense of rigor, where the dread of being thought insufficiently scientific spawns a fear of not flying among young scholars.” The perversity of this sense of rigor lies in the fact that it is measured not by genuine sensitivity to human experience, but rather by how far one goes in developing a “model” that allows for the display of mathematical prowess.

Such methods generally require fateful simplification. For example, if one assumes that human beings are interested solely in maximizing their own selfish utility, then one can import the quantitative methods of microeconomics into disciplines that concern themselves with realms traditionally regarded as non-economic, such as political science, sociology, and law. This approach goes by the name of “rational choice theory.” Of course, many have criticized the unrealistic picture of human beings, indeed of rationality, on which this approach depends. Shapiro’s contribution is to argue that, even taken on its own terms, the rational choice approach fails miserably in political science; it has “degenerated into elaborate exercises geared toward saving ... theory from discordant encounters with reality.” What it “explains” too often involves merely “stylized facts that turn out on close inspection not to bear much relationship to any political reality.” It specifies theories “so vaguely that they turn out to be compatible with all empirical outcomes”; its failures include “scouring the political landscape for confirming illustrations of the preferred theory while ignoring the rest of the data”; even the alleged confirmations often as not depend on “tendentious descriptions of the political world.”

Yale > Political Science > Ian Shapiro
Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory by Donald Green and Ian Shapiro

On rational choice theory:
Rational choice theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rational Choice Theory
Rational Choice Theory
Who's who and what's what in the history of rational choice theory
Rational Choice Theory
Rational Choice Theory and the Humanities
Who’s Afraid of “Rational Choice Theory”? (pdf)
Rational Choice Theory (RCT)

Rational choice theory (criminology) - Wikipedia, the free ...
Rational Choice and Deterrence Theory

Roger Morris, Great games and famous victories

Great games and famous victories
The Central Intelligence Agency's White Russian version of the Soviet Union becomes globalized into a kind of "Orientalism" that blinkers the agency's policymakers and operatives to the major developments of the Arab world (and Iran). In this second part of Roger Morris ' three-part profile of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and American intelligence, Gates' world of inside-the-Beltway bureaucracy is shown as experiencing some of the bitterest covert struggles of all. (Jun 25, '07)

Part 1: The tortured world of US intelligence

The Apostles

Pope Benedict XVI's lectures on the apostles given at the Wednesday general audiences have been collected and printed by Our Sunday Visitor. The Apostles: Books: Pope Benedict XVI

Lee Rogers interviews Ron Paul

Pt 1

Pt 2

Pt 3

Pt 4

The Age of Strict Construction

New from CUA Press.

The Age of Strict Construction: A History of the Growth of Federal Power, 1789-1861 by Peter Zavodnyik (October, cloth $59.95, 978-0-8132-1504-4)

The book focuses on the dispute over the spending power of Congress, the Supreme Court's expansion fo the Contract Clause, and the centralizing effects of the Jacksonian spoils system. The book also surveys the conflict over constitutional interpretation--originalism v. textualism--that has divided Americans from the time of the dispute over the first Bank of the United States until the present day.

The standard interpretation of American history holds that the federal government remained a weak and passive creature until the New Deal. The Age of Strict Construction argues that this interpretation is not valid--if measured against the original understanding of the powers of Congress and the Supreme Court, federal authority grew rapidly during the antebellum period. The most stunning aspect of centralization occured with the rise of a party system heavily dependent on federal largesse for patronage.

The book also details how the federal government quickly came to play an unexpectedly prominent role in the lives of citizens, as its policies in areas such as land sales and tariffs had a huge effect on the fortunes of individual Americans. It also explains how the Founders' classical ideas of a rural electorate immune to pecuniary considerations quickly succumbed to the changes brought on by the arrival of a market economy and the growth of cities.

The relationship between centralization and the sectional crisis of the 1850s is also explored. The book turns the long-running argument over the cause of secession--slave v. the growth of federal power--on its head by revealing how the two combined to cause southern states to leave the Union.
I would definitely like to compare this with The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Constitution and with what other Constitution scholars and historians have to say about the matter.

Clyde Wilson, Signs of Empire

Signs of Empire
by Clyde N. Wilson

compare with the links given here

What is to be considered infallible?

Unfortunately, the archives for Pontifications appear to have been lost for good (though one can still find this or that page archived at Google and other places). (The new website for Pontifications.) If I find some of the links that were given at the old site touching upon this topic, I will add them here. I won't be attempting a post in response to the question given above, not yet.

It is unfortunate that such an Internet resource has been lost--the posts by the contributors to the old Pontifications, along with most of the comments given there, were an invaluable aid for those seeking to understand [Catholic] Christianity better. It is quite humbling and sobering, recognizing that the results of the efforts one has put into a website can disappear so easily. Considering the few original posts that I have written, I don't think I would miss the website so much if it were to disappear, though I admit that I am attached to some of them because of the points I was trying to make. Xanga Premium offers one the option of downloading one's files so one can archive them on one's personal computer. I don't know if any of the higher-end blog providers do this as well. So the lesson is this: if one thinks there is anything worth saving for future use, it's best to make a hard copy and an e-copy somewhere. Not many of my posts here could be directly turned into articles, but the subjects of reflection do pertain to one part of philosophy or another.

Doctrinal development and how to understand pronuncements in the light of Tradition--these are debated topics in the Catholic blogosphere and do warrant some attention; both are related to the teaching authority of the Magisterium (and infallibility). How can what is constant be nonetheless open to "change"? (Not contradiction, but a better exposition and formulation.) Even for some claiming to be orthodox, the "hermeneutic of rupture" replaces the "hermeneutic of continuity" when they focus excessively on the writings of one particular pontiff while disregarding or downgrading what has come before. If that is what distinguishes "neoCaths" from "traditional Catholics" then I'm more sympathetic to the "traditional Catholics."

Often Catholics project the liberalism (and other modern ideologies) they have imbibed through their culture and societies back onto Catholicism and interpret the Tradition accordingly. Critiques have been written about this, one example would be Romano Amerio's Iota Unum. One could make the argument that Pope John Paul II was trying to appropriate the language of modernity and to replace the intellectual underpinnings of that language with that of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Whether he was successful or instead added to the confusion of some is a question that will have to be revisited when sufficient time has passed. ( Jaroslaw Kupczak O.P. argues that he was a Thomist more than anything else in Destined for Liberty:
The Human Person in the Philosophy of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II
. Russell Hittinger attempts to show that the project to confront the modern nation-state and delineate a Catholic social doctrine [at least that part clarifying the relationship between Church and state] was already complete by the time John Paul II became pope; his contribution, according to Hittinger, was to recognize that this was no longer the pressing issue of the day, but rather the question of "What is man?" The problems of the 20th century were the result of the Western world forgetting what human nature is. To this I would respond with 2 points: (1) Catholic social doctrine is not yet complete if we understand it as requiring an elaboration by political theology, and the notion of the common good an instrumental good needs to be explicitly complemented with the notion of the common good as a substantive good. While it is addressed to particulars, what is needed is a practical science that will show how its recommendations and prescriptions are tied to "fundamental goods." Granted there are texts discussing general principles and goods in The Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, as a whole the book does treat them in a systematic manner as a text covering political theory would. Still, much of what seems to be generalities is actually tied up with addressing the concerns and conrete situations of contemporary societies. Political theology, or political philosophy, should aim to show what the ideal arrangement should be, what is possible in most cases, and what we should be striving to implement. To take as an example: distributivism or solidarism would be a part of politics (as modern "economics" belongs properly to politics), and while distributivism may not be possible in the United States, having a grasp of its aims and their rationale behind would enable us better understand what we should be working for in the here and now. (Especially when it comes to legislating with an eye towards relocalization.) (2) Though I cannot show that this is true of John Paul II, I think it has been recognized for a while (even if it is not totally reflected by statements of the pope, members of the Curia, and bishops) that the struggle between Church and state has been lost by the Church, in as much as there are no longer any Christian confessional states or Christian princes, and the absolutism of such confessional states, itself a deviation from the proper understanding of the relation of Church and state and the limits of temporal authority, needs no longer to be address, having been replaced by the absolutism of secular nation-states, with the rulers of which little appeal can be made to Christian principles. What is needed is a new Evangelization, a (re-)conversion of peoples, so that true Christian states can be developed. As for whether this can be done with modern "democracies"--though the ideology supporting such politeia may not in themselves be hostile to Christianity, they are afflicted by the problem of size, just as their confessional predecessors had been. Consequently, they are not real democracies, except in an extended sense, and those who have real power may indeed be hostile to Christianity and exploit the political system accordingly. While it may be the case that some popes have praised contemporary forms of democracy, I think such statements need to be taken in a qualified manner.)

As for the debate between the New Theologians and the neo-scholastics/neo-Thomists, which some would claim that the New Theologians have won... the best among the neo-Thomists and neo-scholastics would not deny that one should return to the Church Fathers, or use their writings as a beginning of reflection and inquiry. What they want to uphold is the method of St. Thomas, his views on the nature of theology as both a science and form of wisdom, and the relationship between faith and reason, philosophy [especially metaphysics] and theology. While the New Theologians and their successors may have made important contributions to explicating and clarifying certain points of the Faith, it is also apparent that many of them do suffer from a lack of a good training in philosophy, especially natural philosophy. This is a weakness that handicaps many Thomists as well. And everyone would do well to take an intensive course in Aristotelian logic, which would be helpful in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. So often equivocal usages of words are unacknowledged by those attempting a refutation.

If one has the gifts and the calling to present the Faith to others and to make it more intelligible, then after asking for help from the Holy Spirit, he should do so. But if one is still a learner, rather than taking upon the burden of teaching others (even if it is in the informal manner of writing a blog entry), his time would be better spent becoming better acquainted with philosophy and theology. For one to acquire wisdom, there must first be silence.

Let us also remember what Christ says: "I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:33) Time used for blogging might be better spent on repentance.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ...

(Adoremus [library]; Catholic Culture)

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archbishop emeritus of Vercelli
Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

something on the Magsterium (printed in Si Si, No No, a publication of the SSPX, which doens't mean that it is automatically wrong on all points) (alt)

While the SSPX are known for their attachment to the "old" missal, this is not their only concern--they are fighting against the hermeutic of rupture with respect to the Second Vatican Council, although some of their writings and polemics leave much to be desired.

Hrm, CE on theological censures; Ite ad Thomam on notae theologicae. A DISCUSSION OF INFALLIBILITY.

Interview with Fr. Jonathan Robinson

author of The Mass and Modernity

at IgnatiusInsight (via Insight Scoop)

I haven't read the book yet, but it appears that he offers a critique similar to Fr. Aidan Nichols in Looking at the Liturgy. I don't know if I would blame the Enlightenment to the same extent; I prefer the account given by Fr. Bouyer in Liturgical Piety.

Nuns to pray for Pope’s letter on China and full religious freedom

Nuns to pray for Pope’s letter on China and full religious freedom
A letter signed by Cardinal Dias and the secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union call on monasteries to dedicate at least a week of prayer so that the letter is well received and bears fruit. The prelate talks about the persecution and fidelity of the Church in China. For Fr Ciro Biondi, the Pope’s letter “will become a milestone in the history of the third millennium.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – More than 600 female monasteries are praying “so that the Holy Father’s letter is well-received, China opens up to the Gospels and give unrestricted religious freedom to all believers.” This initiative is the brain-child of Card Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and Fr Ciro Biondi, PIME, secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PUM), one of the Pontifical Missionary Works connected to Propaganda Fide. Their action comes as the publication date of the Pope’s “Letter to Catholics in China,” which the Pope signed on May 27, solemnity of Pentecost, approaches.

In a letter sent to 610 enclosed female monasteries, Cardinal Dias said that Benedict XVI wrote the letter “to express his paternal closeness and offer them some orientation about the life of the Church and the work of evangelisation in that huge country.”

The prelate calls on them to “say special prayers so that the Letter of the Holy Father is well received, China opens up to the Gospels and give unrestricted religious freedom to all believers.”

Cardinal Dias said that “the Catholic Church [in China] is split in two groups in relation to the government: an official Church recognised by government authorities and an “underground” Church. This creates a lot of problems and confusion among the clergy and the faithful.”

”All Catholics , , , are united in professing the one faith in their fearless loyalty to the Successor of Peter. For this reason many of them have experienced terrible persecution and died for the cause of Christ and the Church.”

Citing Tertullian, one of the early Fathers of the Church who said that the “blood of martyrs is the seed of the church,” the prefect of Propaganda Fide noted that “it is comforting to realise that the Church in China, despite the harsh persecution that has lasted five decades, is undergoing a strong numerical growth. Almost everyone of the hundred or so bishops in that territory are in communion with the Holy See, vocations to the priestly and religious life abound, the faithful attend holy mass in great numbers and are very devoted to the Most Holy Mary, Help of Christians and Queen of China.”

In the message to the enclosed nuns, Fr Ciro Biondi calls the Pope’s letter “a very important and much expected event that will become a milestone in the history of the third millennium.”

The PUM’s secretary calls on the nuns to “dedicated a week of prayers so that the message of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, can bear fruit which He and all the Church hope for.”

He also calls on every nun to spread the word of the initiative to every monastery in the world.

More than 53,000 enslaved workers used in brick kilns

More than 53,000 enslaved workers used in brick kilns
Involvement of officials and policemen in the slave trade is increasingly evident. To repair the damage, China's legislature will likely pass a new labour law in the next few days. The parents of 400 missing children launch a new internet appeal.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Brick kilns and mines at the centre of a slave labour scandal used more than 53,000 illegal migrant workers, a Xinhua reported today. Fan Duixiang, a senior member of the Shanxi provincial congress, said investigations found that 2,036 of the 3,347 firms it had raided were operating without the necessary licences and illegally using 53,036 migrant workers.

Xinhua said added that lawmakers of the People’s National Congress were likely to pass a new labour law in the next few days to try and prevent a repeat of the scandal.

The top legislative body wants to stop the waves of criticism and accusations at government officials considered part of the slave labour network. In the last few days involvement by local officials and police in covering up and taking advantage of the network become more evident.

The Linfen city government in Shanxi province has prohibited all officials from going abroad until the end of the year, fearing culprits may try to flee the country.

So far nearly 600 people, including dozens of under-aged children, have been released from slavery in Shanxi and Henan province.

The rescue was sparked by an internet petition posted by concerned parents in early June that said up to 1,000 children were languishing in the brickyards and small mines, triggering widespread attention.

In the past two weeks thousands of policemen have raided more than 8,000 brickyards and small coal mines in the two provinces in an effort to end the slave labour.

Still, the parents of 400 missing children last week launched a fresh internet appeal, saying their children had still not turned up and expressing fears that the youths could have been hidden by brickyard bosses.

Tom Whipple, Peak oil crisis: approaching the cliff


Published on 21 Jun 2007 by Falls Church News-Press. Archived on 21 Jun 2007.
Peak oil crisis: approaching the cliff
by Tom Whipple

Many of the just-barely-in-the-majority Democrats, especially in the Senate, are on the right track, with proposals to improve average gasoline consumption, and to increase the use of renewable energy. Scattered here and there are conservation measures and R&D money for more efficient something or others, but from the perspective of imminent oil depletion, the proposals are too little, too late. Setting efficiency goals for 10 or 15 years from now is absurd when the problems to solve may be upon us in 15 or 20 months, or, if the real alarmists are right, in 15 or 20 weeks.

However inadequate the Democrats’ proposals may be, they pale in comparison to the absurdity of the opposition to energy legislation forming on Capitol Hill. Detroit, in conspiracy with the coal and electric industries, is mounting a full court press to see that little gets through this Congress to upset the status quo – mild efficiency standards, no greenhouse gas regulation, no renewable energy mandates. From the opposition’s point of view, if Congress wants to do anything, then it might be OK for them to bankroll the R&D so we can convert good old American coal into our gasoline; don’t even think about taxing energy, but a few more subsidies might be nice.

With crucial Senate votes scheduled for later this week, it is still too early to judge what the final legislation will look like, but it is starting to look as if we are going to arrive at the precipice of oil depletion without Congress having done much of anything to mitigate the situation. The American automobile industry is clearly on its way to committing suicide; the coal industry does not seem to realize its days are numbered; and the electric industry seems to have no notion that, within a lifetime, fossil fuels and perhaps even some forms of nuclear energy are going to have to be replaced.

As a civilization, we are all to blame. Most Americans are showing little inclination to cut back on driving. In study after study we tell interviewers we are willing to spend our last nickel, mortgage the farm, and deprive our grandchildren before we will give up driving. We are all heading towards the cliff together.

2 on peak coal

via EB

Science Panel Finds Fault With Estimates of Coal Supply
Matthew L. Wald, NY Times
The United States may not have nearly as much coal as is popularly believed, and mining the remaining resources may be more dangerous for workers and the environment than current operations, the National Academy of Sciences said in a report Wednesday.

Richard Heinberg: Peak Oil, Peak Coal and Beyond (Audio and Video)
Peak Moment, Global Public Media
Hot topics from Richard Heinberg: record-high U.S. fuel prices; the ethanol big-business boondoggle; coal projected to peak about a hundred years early (around 2020); what the climate change discussion is missing; and enjoying ourselves as we "go local." Episode 63.Janaia Donaldson hosts Peak Moment, a television series emphasizing positive responses to energy decline and climate change through local community action. How can we thrive, build stronger communities, and help one another in the transition from a fossil fuel-based lifestyle?(9 June 2007)

Phil Maymin interviews Ron Paul

posted by Lew Rockwell at his blog:

A Small Newspaper Interviews Ron Paul
Posted by Lew Rockwell at 06:07 PM
Phil Maymin in the Fairfield County Weekly. (Thanks to Brinck Slattery.)

Daniel Howden, The fight for the world's food

posted at EB

Published on 23 Jun 2007 by The Independent (UK). Archived on 23 Jun 2007.
The fight for the world's food
by Daniel Howden

Then there is corn. While relatively little corn is eaten directly it is of pivotal importance to the food economy as so much of it is consumed indirectly. The milk, eggs, cheese, butter, chicken, beef, ice cream and yoghurt in the average fridge is all produced using corn and the price of every one of these is influenced by the price of corn. In effect, our fridges are full of corn.

In the past 12 months the global corn price has doubled. The constant aim of agriculture is to produce enough food to carry us over to the next harvest. In six of the past seven years, we have used more grain worldwide than we have produced. As a result world grain reserves - or carryover stocks - have dwindled to 57 days. This is the lowest level of grain reserves in 34 years.

The reason for the price surge is the wholesale diversion of grain crops into the production of ethanol. Thirty per cent of next year's grain harvest in the US will go straight to an ethanol distillery. As the US supplies more than two-thirds of the world's grain imports this unprecedented move will affect food prices everywhere. In Europe farmers are switching en masse to fuel crops to meet the EU requirement that bio-fuels account for 20 per cent of the energy mix.

Ethanol is almost universally popular with politicians as it allows them to tell voters to keep on motoring, while bio-fuels will fix the problem of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. But bio-fuels are not a green panacea, as the influential economist Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute explained in a briefing to the US Senate last week. He said: "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's 2 billion poorest people."

Already there are signs that the food economy is merging with the fuel economy. The ethanol boom has seen sugar prices track oil prices and now the same is set to happen with grain, Mr Brown argues. "As the price of oil climbs so will the price of food," he says. "If oil jumps from $60 a barrel to $80, you can bet that your supermarket bills will also go up."

In the developed world this could mean a change of lifestyle. Elsewhere it could cost lives. Soaring food prices have already sparked riots in poor countries that depend on grain imports. More will follow. After decades of decline in the number of starving people worldwide the numbers are starting to rise. The UN lists 34 countries as needing food aid. Since feeding programmes tend to have fixed budgets, a doubling in the price of grain halves food aid.

Anger boiled over this week as Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the US and EU of "total hypocrisy" for promoting ethanol production in order to reduce their dependence on imported oil. He said producing ethanol instead of food would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to death from hunger.

JHK, Peak Suburbia

the post

It is not an accident that the housing bubble coincided with the phenomenon of Peak Oil. First of all, the housing bubble should more properly be called the suburban bubble, because most of the activity came in the form of "greenfield" housing subdivisions, and included all the additional crap-o-la accessories required by them -- strip malls, power centers, Outback steak houses, car washes, et cetera. The suburban expansion has been based entirely on cheap-and-abundant supplies of oil. Similarly, it was not an accident that the suburban project faltered briefly in the 1970s, when America's oil production entered its long decline, OPEC seized the moment, and oil prices shot up. Notice that the final suburban blowout occurred after 1990, when the North Sea and Prudhoe Bay oil strikes came into full production, disabling OPEC, and a world oil glut finally drove prices as low as ten dollars a barrel in 1999. That ushered in the climactic phase of suburbia, as represented by things like the standard 4000-square-foot Toll Brother's McMansion and the heyday of the super-gigantic SUV to go with it.

The American public has no idea how over all that is. The bottom is falling out under not only the housing market (as in houses up for sale) but on the whole apparatus for delivering future houses, and the car-oriented crap associated with it. The production home-builders, such as Toll Brothers, Hovanian, Pulte, et cetera are going down and they will not be coming back. There will be a great deal of wishing that they might come back, but they won't. Likewise, the commercial builders of all the various forms of suburban retail will be waiting to "turn the corner." But they will discover that the wall they have hit has no corner. It's just a wall. For anyone who wonders how much we do not need anymore retail space in America, have a look at this chart showing the comparative amount of retail square-footage allotted for citizens of each nation:

Those of you considering the purchase of more WalMart stock, take note.

Some years back, when those watching the oil scene began to coalesce in their recognition that a worldwide production peak was imminent and hugely significant, the concept developed that this peak would take the form of a "bumpy plateau," meaning that supply-and-demand would teeter in an uncomfortable relationship for a period of time as markets and economies adjusted to the new reality by oscillating from higher prices to "demand destruction" to recession to recovery to higher prices, and so forth. This was expected to go on for quite a while before the world really headed into a slow permanent decline.

The latest statistical work by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown over at The Oil, suggests that something else is happening, something that was not anticipated: an imminent oil export crisis. This Export Land Theory states that exporting nations will have far less oil available for export than was previously assumed under older models. (Story here.) The theory states that export rates will drop by a far greater percentage than net production decline rates in any given exporting country. For example, The UK's portion of the North Sea oil fields may be showing a nine percent annual decline for the past couple of years. But it's export capacity has declined 60 percent. Something similar is in store for Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela -- in short, the whole cast of characters in the export world. They are all producing less and they are all using more of their own oil, and have less to send elsewhere.

Brown's math suggests that world oil exports will drop by 50 percent within the next five years, certainly enough to trigger a systemic breakdown in market allocation, meaning serious supply shortages among the importing nations. That's us. We import two-thirds of all the oil we use.

The implication in all this is that the activities that have become "normal" for us during the post World War Two era will very shortly become untenable. An economy based on suburban expansion and incessant motoring is on the top of the list of supposedly "normal" activities that will not be able to continue. I would maintain that even if we had 20 years, no combination of bio-fuels and other alternatives would enable us to keep suburbia running. But this latest work indicates that we have much less time to adjust.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pope's Address to Rome Diocesan Convention

Pope's Address to Rome Diocesan Convention
"There Is Talk of a Great 'Educational Emergency'"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI gave to Rome's diocesan convention on June 11 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

* * *

Basilica of Saint John Lateran
Monday, 11 June 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the third consecutive year our diocesan Convention gives me the possibility of meeting and speaking to you all, addressing the theme on which the Church of Rome will be focusing in the coming pastoral year, in close continuity with the work carried out in the year now drawing to a close.

I greet with affection each one of you, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, lay people who generously take part in the Church's mission. I thank the Cardinal Vicar in particular for the words he has addressed to me on behalf of you all.

The theme of the Convention is "Jesus is Lord: educating in the faith, in the "sequela', in witnessing": a theme that concerns us all because every disciple professes that Jesus is Lord and is called to grow in adherence to him, giving and receiving help from the great company of brothers and sisters in the faith.

Nevertheless, the verb "to educate", as part of the title of the Convention, suggests special attention to children, boys and girls and young people, and highlights the duty proper first of all to the family: thus, we are continuing the programme that has been a feature of the pastoral work of our Diocese in recent years.

It is important to start by reflecting on the first affirmation, which gives our Convention its tone and meaning: "Jesus is Lord". We find it in the solemn declaration that concludes Peter's discourse at Pentecost, in which the head of the Apostles said: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:36). The conclusion of the great hymn to Christ contained in Paul's Letter to the Philippians is similar: "every tongue [should] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (2: 11).

Again, in the final salutation of his First Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul exclaimed: "If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranà tha: Our Lord, come!" (I Corinthians 16:22), thereby handing on to us the very ancient Aramaic invocation of Jesus as Lord.

Various other citations could be added: I am thinking of the 12th chapter of the same Letter to the Corinthians in which St Paul says: "No one can say "Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (I Corinthians 12:3).

Thus, the Apostle declares that this is the fundamental confession of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. We might think also of the 10th chapter of the Letter to the Romans where the Apostle says, "if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord" (Romans 10:9), thus reminding the Christians of Rome that these words, "Jesus is Lord", form the common confession of the Church, the sure foundation of the Church's entire life.

The whole confession of the Apostolic Creed, of the Nicene Creed, developed from these words. St Paul also says in another passage of his First Letter to the Corinthians: "Although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth..." -- and we know that today too there are many so-called "gods" on earth -- for us there is only "one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist" (I Corinthians 8: 5-6).

Thus, from the outset the disciples recognized the Risen Jesus as the One who is our brother in humanity but is also one with God; the One who, with his coming into the world and throughout his life, in his death and in his Resurrection, brought us God and in a new and unique way made God present in the world: the One, therefore, who gives meaning and hope to our life; in fact, it is in him that we encounter the true Face of God that we find what we really need in order to live.

Educating in the faith, in the sequela, and in witnessing means helping our brothers and sisters, or rather, helping one another to enter into a living relationship with Christ and with the Father. This has been from the start the fundamental task of the Church as the community of believers, disciples and friends of Jesus. The Church, the Body of Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit, is that dependable company within which we have been brought forth and educated to become, in Christ, sons and heirs of God.

In the Church, we receive the Spirit through whom "we cry, "Abba! Father!'" (cf. Romans 8:14-17). We have just heard in St Augustine's homily that God is not remote, that he has become the "Way" and the "Way" himself has come to us. He said: "Stand up, you idler, and start walking!". Starting to walk means moving along the path that is Christ himself, in the company of believers; it means while walking, helping one another to become truly friends of Jesus Christ and children of God.

Daily experience tells us -- as we all know -- that precisely in our day educating in the faith is no easy undertaking. Today, in fact, every educational task seems more and more arduous and precarious. Consequently, there is talk of a great "educational emergency", of the increasing difficulty encountered in transmitting the basic values of life and correct behaviour to the new generations, a difficulty that involves both schools and families and, one might say, any other body with educational aims.

We may add that this is an inevitable emergency: in a society, in a culture, which all too often make relativism its creed -- relativism has become a sort of dogma -- in such a society the light of truth is missing; indeed, it is considered dangerous and "authoritarian" to speak of truth, and the end result is doubt about the goodness of life -- is it good to be a person? is it good to be alive? -- and in the validity of the relationships and commitments in which it consists.

So how would it be possible to suggest to children and to pass on from generation to generation something sound and dependable, rules of life, an authentic meaning and convincing objectives for human existence both as an individual and as a community?

For this reason, education tends to be broadly reduced to the transmission of specific abilities or capacities for doing, while people endeavour to satisfy the desire for happiness of the new generations by showering them with consumer goods and transitory gratification. Thus, both parents and teachers are easily tempted to abdicate their educational duties and even no longer to understand what their role, or rather, the mission entrusted to them, is.

Yet, in this way we are not offering to young people, to the young generations, what it is our duty to pass on to them. Moreover, we owe them the true values which give life a foundation.

However, this situation obviously fails to satisfy; it cannot satisfy because it ignores the essential aim of education which is the formation of a person to enable him or her to live to the full and to make his or her own contribution to the common good. However, on many sides the demand for authentic education and the rediscovery of the need for educators who are truly such is increasing.

Parents, concerned and often worried about their children's future, are asking for it, many teachers who are going through the sad experience of the deterioration of their schools are asking for it, society overall is asking for it, in Italy as in many other nations, because it sees the educational crisis cast doubt on the very foundations of coexistence.

In a similar context, the Church's commitment to providing education in the faith, in discipleship and in witnessing to the Lord Jesus is more than ever acquiring the value of a contribution to extracting the society in which we live from the educational crisis that afflicts it, clamping down on distrust and on that strange "self hatred" that seems to have become a hallmark of our civilization.

However, none of this diminishes the difficulties we encounter in leading children, adolescents and young people to meet Jesus Christ and to establish a lasting and profound relationship with him. Yet precisely this is the crucial challenge for the future of the faith, of the Church and of Christianity, and it is therefore an essential priority of our pastoral work: to bring close to Christ and to the Father the new generation that lives in a world largely distant from God.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must always be aware that we cannot carry out such a task with our own strength but only with the power of the Spirit. We need enlightenment and grace that come from God and act within hearts and consciences. For education and Christian formation, therefore, it is above all prayer and our personal friendship with Jesus that are crucial: only those who know and love Jesus Christ can introduce their brothers and sisters into a living relationship with him. Indeed, moved by this need, I thought: it would be helpful to write a book on Jesus to make him known.

Let us never forget the words of Jesus: "I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (John 15:15-16).

Our communities will thus be able to work fruitfully and to teach the faith and discipleship of Christ while being in themselves authentic "schools" of prayer (cf. Apostolic Letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," n. 33), where the primacy of God is lived.

Furthermore, it is education and especially Christian education which shapes life based on God who is love (cf. I John 4:8,16), and has need of that closeness which is proper to love. Especially today, when isolation and loneliness are a widespread condition to which noise and group conformity is no real remedy, personal guidance becomes essential, giving those who are growing up the assurance that they are loved, understood and listened to.

In practice, this guidance must make tangible the fact that our faith is not something of the past, that it can be lived today and that in living it we really find our good. Thus, boys and girls and young people may be helped to free themselves from common prejudices and will realize that the Christian way of life is possible and reasonable, indeed, is by far the most reasonable.

The entire Christian community, with all its many branches and components, is challenged by the important task of leading the new generations to the encounter with Christ: on this terrain, therefore, we must express and manifest particularly clearly our communion with the Lord and with one another, as well as our willingness and readiness to work together to "build a network", to achieve with an open and sincere mind every useful form of synergy, starting with the precious contribution of those women and men who have consecrated their lives to adoring God and interceding for their brethren.

However, it is very obvious that in educating and forming people in the faith the family has its own fundamental role and primary responsibility. Parents, in fact, are those through whom the child at the start of life has the first and crucial experience of love, of a love which is actually not only human but also a reflection of God's love for him.

Therefore, the Christian family, the small "domestic Church", and the larger family of the Church must take care to develop the closest collaboration, especially with regard to the education of children (cf. "Lumen Gentium," n. 11).

Everything that has matured in the three years in which our diocesan pastoral ministry has devoted special attention to the family should not only be implemented but also further increased.

For example, the attempts to involve parents and even godparents more closely, before and after Baptism, in order to help them understand and put into practice their mission as educators in the faith have already produced appreciable results and deserve to be continued and to become the common heritage of each parish. The same applies for the participation of families in catechesis and in the entire process of the Christian initiation of children and adolescents.

Of course, many families are unprepared for this task and there is no lack of families which -- if they are not actually opposed to it -- do not seem to be interested in the Christian education of their own children: the consequences of the crisis in so many marriages are making themselves felt here.

Yet, it is rare to meet parents who are wholly indifferent to the human and moral formation of their children and consequently unwilling to be assisted in an educational task which they perceive as ever more difficult.

Therefore, an area of commitment and service opens up for our parishes, oratories, youth communities and above all for Christian families themselves, called to be near other families to encourage and assist them in raising their children, thereby helping them to find the meaning and purpose of life as a married couple.

Let us now move on to other subjects concerning education in the faith.

As children gradually grow up, their inner desire for personal autonomy naturally increases. Especially in adolescence, this can easily lead to them taking a critical distance from their family. Here, the closeness which can be guaranteed by the priest, Religious, catechist or other educators capable of making the friendly Face of the Church and love of Christ concrete for the young person, becomes particularly important.

If it is to produce positive effects that endure in time, our closeness must take into account that the education offered is a free encounter and that Christian education itself is formation in true freedom. Indeed, there is no real educational proposal, however respectful and loving it may be, which is not an incentive to making a decision, and the proposal of Christianity itself calls freedom profoundly into question, calling it to faith and conversion.

As I said at the Ecclesial Convention in Verona: "A true education must awaken the courage to make definitive decisions, which today are considered a mortifying bind to our freedom. In reality, they are indispensable for growth and in order to achieve something great in life, in particular, to cause love to mature in all its beauty: therefore, to give consistency and meaning to freedom itself" (Address, 19 October 2006; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 25 October 2006, p. 9).

When they feel that their freedom is respected and taken seriously, adolescents and young people, despite their changeability and frailty, are not in fact unwilling to let themselves be challenged by demanding proposals: indeed, they often feel attracted and fascinated by them.

They also wish to show their generosity in adhering to the great, perennial values that constitute life's foundations. The authentic educator likewise takes seriously the intellectual curiosity which already exists in children and, as the years pass, is more consciously cultivated. Constantly exposed to, and often confused by, the multiplicity of information, and by the contrasting ideas and interpretations presented to them, young people today nevertheless still have a great inner need for truth. They are consequently open to Jesus Christ who, as Tertullian reminds us, "called himself truth, not custom" ("De virginibus velandis," I, 1).

It is up to us to seek to respond to the question of truth, fearlessly juxtaposing the proposal of faith with the reason of our time. In this way we will help young people to broaden the horizons of their intelligence, to open themselves to the mystery of God, in whom is found life's meaning and direction, and to overcome the conditioning of a rationality which trusts only what can be the object of experiment and calculation. Thus, it is very important to develop what last year we called "the pastoral care of intelligence".

The task of education passes through freedom but also requires authority. Therefore, especially when it is a matter of educating in faith, the figure of the witness and the role of witnessing is central. A witness of Christ does not merely transmit information but is personally involved with the truth Christ proposes and, through the coherency of his own life, becomes a dependable reference point.

However, he does not refer to himself, but to Someone who is infinitely greater than he is, in whom he has trusted and whose trustworthy goodness he has experienced. The authentic Christian educator is therefore a witness who finds his model in Jesus Christ, the witness of the Father who said nothing about himself but spoke as the Father had taught him (cf. John 8:28). This relationship with Christ and with the Father is for each one of us, dear brothers and sisters, the fundamental condition for being effective educators in the faith.

Our Convention very rightly speaks of education not only in faith and discipleship but also in witnessing to the Lord Jesus. Bearing an active witness to Christ does not, therefore, concern only priests, women religious and lay people who as formation teachers have tasks in our communities, but children and young people themselves, and all who are educated in the faith.

Therefore, the awareness of being called to become witnesses of Christ is not a corollary, a consequence somehow external to Christian formation, such as, unfortunately, has often been thought and today too people continue to think. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic and essential dimension of education in the faith and discipleship, just as the Church is missionary by her very nature (cf. "Ad Gentes," n. 2).

If children, through a gradual process from the beginning of their formation, are to achieve permanent formation as Christian adults, the desire to be and the conviction of being sharers in the Church's missionary vocation in all the situations and circumstances of life must take root in the believers' soul. Indeed, we cannot keep to ourselves the joy of the faith. We must spread it and pass it on, and thereby also strengthen it in our own hearts.

If faith is truly the joy of having discovered truth and love, we inevitably feel the desire to transmit it, to communicate it to others. The new evangelization to which our beloved Pope John Paul II called us passes mainly through this process.

A concrete experience that will increase in the youth of the parishes and of the various ecclesial groups the desire to witness to their own faith is the "Young People's Mission" which you are planning, after the success of the great "City Mission".

By educating in the faith, a very important task is entrusted to Catholic schools. Indeed, they must carry out their mission on the basis of an educational project which places the Gospel at the centre and keeps it as a decisive reference point for the person's formation and for the entire cultural programme.

In convinced synergy with families and with the Ecclesial Community, Catholic schools should therefore seek to foster that unity between faith, culture and life which is the fundamental goal of Christian education. State schools too can be sustained in their educational task in various ways by the presence of teachers who are believers -- in the first place, but not exclusively, teachers of Catholic religion -- and of students with a Christian formation, as well as by the collaboration of many families and of the Christian community itself.

The healthy secularism of schools, like that of the other State institutions, does not in fact imply closure to Transcendence or a false neutrality with regard to those moral values which form the basis of an authentic formation of the person. A similar discourse naturally applies for universities and it is truly a good omen that university ministry in Rome has been able to develop in all the Athenaeums, among teachers as much as students, and that a fruitful collaboration has developed between the civil and Pontifical academic institutions.

Today, more than in the past, the education and formation of the person are influenced by the messages and general climate spread by the great means of communication and which are inspired by a mindset and culture marked by relativism, consumerism and a false and destructive exaltation, or rather, profanation, of the body and of sexuality.

Therefore, precisely because of the great "yes" that as believers in Christ we say to the man loved by God, we certainly cannot fail to take interest in the overall orientation of the society to which we belong, in the trends that motivate it and in the positive or negative influence that it exercises on the formation of the new generations.

The very presence of the community of believers, its educational and cultural commitment, the message of faith, trust and love it bears are in fact an invaluable service to the common good and especially to the children and youth who are being trained and prepared for life.

Dear brothers and sisters, there is one last point to which I would like to draw your attention: it is supremely important for the Church's mission and requires our commitment and first of all our prayer. I am referring to vocations to follow the Lord Jesus more closely in the ministerial priesthood and in the consecrated life.

In recent decades, the Diocese of Rome has been gladdened by the gift of many priestly ordinations which have made it possible to bridge the gap in the previous period, and also to meet the requests of many Sister Churches in need of clergy; but the most recent indications seem less favourable and prompt the whole of our diocesan community to renew to the Lord, with humility and trust, its request for labourers for his harvest (cf. Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2).

With delicacy and respect we must address a special but clear and courageous invitation to follow Jesus to those young men and women who appear to be the most attracted and fascinated by friendship with him. In this perspective, the Diocese will designate several new priests specifically to the care of vocations, but we know well that prayer and the overall quality of our Christian witness, the example of life set by priests and consecrated souls, the generosity of the people called and of the families they come from, are crucial in this area.

Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust to you these reflections as a contribution to the dialogue of these evenings, and to the work of the next pastoral year. May the Lord always give us the joy of believing in him, of growing in his friendship, of following him in the journey of life and of bearing witness to him in every situation, so that we may be able to pass on to those who will come after us the immense riches and beauty of faith in Jesus Christ. May my affection and my blessing accompany you in your work. Thank you for your attention!

© Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Navy SEALs slideshow


The Book on Paul: Presidential candidate Ron Paul is the conscience of the Republican Party

The Book on Paul: Presidential candidate Ron Paul is the conscience of the Republican Party
Wed, 06/20/2007 - 18:27 — Phil Maymin

via Lew Rockwell blog

Photos: 김규리

Photos: 전혜빈

More enka vids

津輕のふるさと - 美空ひばり

Natsuko Godai, 香西かおり 越後獅子の唄

蘇州夜曲 - 島津悅子

Ishikawa Sayuri-Amagi Goe 天城越え (woot!)

Ishikawa Sayuri- Sagirino Yado 狭霧の宿

Hibari - Aishuu Defune 哀愁出船

Misora Hibari - Kanashii sake

Hibari-KanashiiSake 悲しい酒
Tagawa Toshimi - Yukiga Furu 雪が降る (!!!)

水森かおり Mizumori Kaori sings Tsugaru no Furusato

Takigawa Maiko-Onna Hitori 女ひとり

Takigawa Maiko-Shuutou Kamome 秋冬カモメ

Sakamoto Fuyumi-Medley 羅生門・夜桜お七

Plus a Mandarin oldie:
Ueto Aya - EiRaiShan 夜来香

And the song, as sung by Teresa Teng (but in Japanese):

When shall you return 何日君再来

12 girls band - irara

Benn Steil, The End of National Currency

article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs

via Lew Rockwell blog

Vietnam appreciates Toronto ban on former South Vietnam flag


Vietnam appreciates Toronto ban on former South Vietnam flag

A Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman hailed Wednesday the decision by Toronto, Canada, to disallow the flying of the former Sai Gon regime’s three-striped flag.

Replying to correspondents, spokesman Le Dzung said, “Vietnam welcomes the decision by Toronto authorities to disallow the flying of a flag that represents a regime that has not existed for 32 years.”

The gold-starred red flag was the sole symbol of the independent and united Vietnamese State, and it had been recognized and respected by the international community.

The decision was in line with the development of friendly ties between Vietnam and Canada, and especially between Ho Chi Minh City and Toronto as sister cities.

He hoped that Vietnamese residing in Canada would support the decision of the Toronto court and authorities.

Source: VNA

Ministry of Foreign Affair - Vietnam welcomes the decision of ...

Vietnamese Flag

So the ruling applies only to Toronto's city hall? If they are flying the flag of a foreign country, they should use the official one. However, why they would fly the flag of a foreign country in front of city hall is really beyond me. On the other hand, if it is to represent the people who have immigrated from different countries but are now living in Toronto, perhaps the city government should use the flag that they want to represent themselves with.

According to this, they fly the flag on a certain day in recognition of veterans of the Vietnam war. If that is the case... shouldn't they fly the flag of the side Canada supported? But this article makes it seem like they fly it more frequently than that (everyday, perhaps): Green Left - Setback for right-wing Vietnamese and their flag (Can you believe that propaganda coming from the successors to the Communists?)

Still, I bet if the same people were in charge of the South there would be no more Confederate flags.

Flags of the Confederate States of America - Wikipedia, the free ...
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Military Order of the Stars and Bars