Saturday, December 01, 2007

More Indy 4 photos

at IGN Movies

Is Harrison Ford too old?

Julianne Hough photos

In this image released by ABC, 'Dancing with the Stars' contestants Julianne Hough, left, and Helio Castroneves compete on the Nov. 12, 2007, episode in Los Angeles. Hough and Castroneves won the season finale on Tuesday, Nov. 27. (AP Photo/ABC, Carol Kaelson)

In this image released by ABC, 'Dancing with the Stars' contestants Julianne Hough and Helio Castroneves react to their scores by the judges in the Monday, Nov. 26, 2007, episode. Hough and Castroneves are finalists, competing against Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy in the season finale on Tuesday, Nov. 27. (AP Photo/ABC, Carol Kaelson)

"Dancing with the Stars" television reality show contestants Brazilian race car driver Helio Castroneves (L) and professional dancer Julianne Hough pose as they arrive for the premiere of the film "Enchanted" in Hollywood, California November 17, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

"Dancing with the Stars" television reality show contestant professional dancer Julianne Hough poses as she arrives for the premiere of the "Enchanted" in Hollywood, California November 17, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

This image provided by ABC shows the two-time Indianapolis 500 Champion Helio Castroneves, right, and his professional partner Julianne Hough who were crowned champions on the fifth season of 'Dancing with the Stars,' during the two-part finale on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007. (AP Photo/ABC, Carol Kaelson)

Plus Jennie Garth:

In this photo provided by ABC, actress Jennie Garth and dance partner Derek Hough perform on week nine of 'Dancing with the Stars,' on Monday, Nov. 19, 2007. Garth, who played Kelly Taylor on 'Beverly Hills, 90210' from 1990 to 2000, was eliminated from ABC's No. 1-rated show Tuesday night, Nov. 20, 2007. (AP Photo/ABC, CAROL KAELSON)


Actress Jennie Garth arrives at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Actress Jennie Garth and her husband, actor Peter Facinelli arrive at the 2007 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 18, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)

Song Hye Kyo - Nintendo DS CF

Saawariya trailer


I'll admit it--the trailer got me interested in watching the movie.

NYC Peak Oil


Defense and National Interest blog


Papal Encyclical Spe Salvi


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Robert Costanza, The Real Economy

The Real Economy by Dr. Robert Costanza

Stories about the economy typically focus on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), jobs, stock prices, interest rates, retail sales, consumer confidence, housing starts, taxes, and assorted other indicators. We hear things like “GDP grew at a 3% rate in the fourth quarter, indicating a recovering, healthy economy, but with room for further improvement.” Or, “The Fed raised short-term interest rates again to head off inflation.”

But do these reports, and the indicators they cite, really tell us how the economy is doing? What is the economy anyway? And what is this economy for?

Conventional reports on these questions are rather narrow. The “economy” we usually hear about refers only to the market economy – the value of those goods and services that are exchanged for money. Its purpose is usually taken to be to maximize the value of these goods and services– with the assumption that the more activity, the better off we are. Thus, the more GDP (which measures aggregate activity in the market economy), the better. Likewise the more contributors to GDP (such as retail sales and salaries paid to employees), the better. Predictors of more GDP in the future (such as housing starts and consumer confidence) are also important pieces of information from this perspective. Declining or even stable GDP is seen as a disaster. Growth in GDP is assumed to be government’s primary policy goal and also something that is sustainable indefinitely.

But is this what the economy is all about? Or more accurately, is this all that the economy is about? Or, is this what the economy shouldbe about? The answer to all of these is an emphatic no. Here’s why.

Let’s start with purpose. The purpose of the economy should be to provide for the sustainable well-being of people. That goal encompasses material well-being, certainly -- but also anything else that affects well being and its sustainability. This seems obvious and non-controversial. The problem comes in determining what things actually affect well-being and in what ways.

Go here for the rest.

Uhm Jung Hwa, Jinusean Mal Hae Jo Perf

ATimes columns on the current economic mess

'No regrets'
Commentary and weekly review by Doug Noland

Spirals of death
By Martin Hutchinson

Economic hell to pay
By The Mogambo Guru

Pope's Response to Muslim Scholars' Letter

Pope's Response to Muslim Scholars' Letter

"We Can and Therefore Should Look to What Unites Us"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2007 ( Here is Benedict XVI's response to the open letter that 138 Muslims scholars addressed to the Holy Father and Christian leaders on Oct. 13. The response was released by the Vatican press office today, and signed Nov. 19 on the Pontiff's behalf by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state.

* * *

His Royal Highness
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal
The Royal Palace

From the Vatican, November 19, 2007

Your Royal Highness,

On 13 October 2007 an open letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to other Christian leaders was signed by one hundred and thirty-eight Muslim religious leaders, including Your Royal Highness. You, in turn, were kind enough to present it to Bishop Salim Sayegh, Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in Jordan, with the request that it be forwarded to His Holiness.

The Pope has asked me to convey his gratitude to Your Royal Highness and to all who signed the letter. He also wishes to express his deep appreciation for this gesture, for the positive spirit which inspired the text and for the call for a common commitment to promoting peace in the world.

Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions. We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and to obey his sacred will.
Mindful of the content of his Encyclical Letter "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love), His Holiness was particularly impressed by the attention given in the letter to the twofold commandment to love God and one’s neighbour.

As you may know, at the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values" (Address to Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, 20 August 2005). Such common ground allows us to base dialogue on effective respect for the dignity of every human person, on objective knowledge of the religion of the other, on the sharing of religious experience and, finally, on common commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation. The Pope is confident that, once this is achieved, it will be possible to cooperate in a productive way in the areas of culture and society, and for the promotion of justice and peace in society and throughout the world.

With a view to encouraging your praiseworthy initiative, I am pleased to communicate that His Holiness would be most willing to receive Your Royal Highness and a restricted group of signatories of the open letter, chosen by you. At the same time, a working meeting could be organized between your delegation and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with the cooperation of some specialized Pontifical Institutes (such as the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Gregorian University). The precise details of these meetings could be decided later, should this proposal prove acceptable to you in principle.

I avail myself of the occasion to renew to Your Royal Highness the assurance of my highest consideration.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

[Original text: English]

a copy of that letter can be found here
other coverage at Sandro Magister's website:


How the Church of Rome Is Responding to the Letter of the 138 Muslims


Why Benedict XVI Is So Cautious with the Letter of the 138 Muslims

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Something for the former Lady Downstairs

From AICN: Billie Piper Set For Three More WHOs!!

Edit: Do we really need more drama for Doctor Who? Me, I don't really care to see a lovelorn Doctor find some happiness or at least closure--perhaps RTD thinks that a more "human" Doctor is a better Doctor, but give me the old celibate Doctor any time of the day. (Some may want to quibble about Romana and the time she spent with the Doctor, or imagine some sort of erotic tension between the Doctor and some of his female companions, lurking under the surface of things... but this is how I see classic Who.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Next Republican debate

tomorrow, sponsored by YouTube and CNN, 8 PM EST

Papal Address to University Federation

Papal Address to University Federation

"Whoever Wants to Be a Disciple of Christ Is Called to Go Against the Tide"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 27, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of Benedict XVI's Nov. 9 address to the members of the Italian Catholic University Federation.

* * *

Clementine Hall

Friday, 9 November 2007

Dear Young Friends of FUCI,

This visit you are making at the conclusion of the 110th anniversary celebrations of the birth of your Association, FUCI, the Italian Catholic University Federation, is particularly welcome. I address to each one of you my cordial greeting, beginning with the National Presidents and the Prime Ecclesial Assistants, and I thank them for the words they addressed to me in your name. I greet Bishop Giuseppe Betori, General Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference, and Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina and Assistant General Chaplain of the Italian Catholic Action, who have accompanied you to this Audience and whose presence witnesses to how strongly FUCI is rooted in the Church in Italy. I greet the diocesan Chaplains and the members of the FUCI Foundation. To each one of you I renew the Church's appreciation for the work your Association does in the university world at the service of the Gospel.

FUCI is celebrating its 110 years: a fitting occasion to review the ground covered and its future prospects. Safeguarding the historic memory is valuable because, by considering the validity and consistency of its own roots, it is more enthusiastic in continuing the itinerary begun. On this joyful occasion, I willingly take up the words that approximately 10 years ago my Venerable and beloved Predecessor John Paul II addressed to you on the occasion of your centenary: "The history of the past 100 years", he said, "actually confirms that the FUCI experience is a significant chapter of the Church's life in Italy, especially of that vast and multiform lay movement which found in Catholic Action its main support" (Discourse, 29 April 1996; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 22 May, n. 3, p. 4).

How can one fail to recognize that FUCI has contributed to the formation of entire generations of exemplary Christians, who have been able to transform the Gospel into life and with life, committing themselves on the cultural, civil, social and ecclesial levels? I am thinking in the first place of the young Blesseds Piergiorgio Frassati and Alberto Marvelli. I recall illustrious personalities like Aldo Moro and Vittorio Bachelet, both barbarously assassinated. Nor can I forget my Venerable Predecessor Paul VI, who was an attentive and courageous General Ecclesial Chaplain of FUCI in the difficult years of Fascism, and also Bishop Emilio Guano and Bishop Franco Costa. Moreover, the recent 10 years have been characterized by FUCI's decisive commitment to rediscover its true university dimension. After several debates and heated discussions, Italy began during the mid-'90s a radical reform of its academic system, which now presents a new profile, rich in promising perspectives, combined, however, with elements that raise legitimate concern. And you, both at the recent Congresses and on the pages of the Ricerca journal, are constantly concerned with the new configuration of academic studies, the relative legislative modifications, the topic of student participation and the ways in which the global dynamics of communication affect formation and the transmission of knowledge.

It is precisely in this environment that FUCI can fully express even today its original and ever-current charism: the convinced witness of the "possible friendship" between intelligence and faith, which implies the ceaseless effort to unite maturation in faith with growth in studies and the acquisition of scientific knowledge. In this context the expression so dear to you, "To believe in study" is meaningful. In effect, why should one who holds the faith renounce the freedom to seek the truth, and why should one who freely seeks the truth renounce the faith? Instead, it is possible, precisely during the university years and thanks to them, to realize an authentic human, scientific and spiritual maturation. "To believe in study" means to recognize that study and research - especially during the university years - have an intrinsic power to widen the horizons of human intelligence, as long as academic study remains demanding, rigorous, serious, methodical and progressive. Indeed, on these conditions, it represents an advantage for the global formation of the human person, as Bl. Giuseppe Tovini used to say, observing that with study young people would never have been poor, while without study they would never have been rich.

At the same time, study constitutes a providential opportunity to advance on the journey of faith, because a well-cultivated intelligence opens the heart of man to listen to the voice of God, emphasizing the importance of discernment and humility. I referred precisely to the value of humility at the recent Agorà [meeting] at Loreto, when I exhorted Italian youth not to follow the dictates of pride, but rather, the realistic sense of life open to the transcendent dimension. Today, as in the past, whoever wants to be a disciple of Christ is called to go against the tide, not to be attracted by the interesting and persuasive appeals which come from various platforms that propagandize behaviour marked by arrogance and violence, presumption and gaining success by every means. Contemporary society is marked by such an unbridled race for appearances and possessions and unfortunately to the detriment of being, and the Church, expert in humanity, does not tire to exhort especially the young generations to which you belong, to remain vigilant and not to be afraid to choose "alternative" ways that only Christ can indicate.

Yes, dear friends, Jesus summons all his friends to characterize their existence by a sober, solidary way of life, to weave sincere and free emotional relationships with others. He asks you, dear young students, to commit yourselves honestly to study, cultivating a mature sense of responsibility and a shared interest in the common good. The university years are therefore a training ground for convinced and courageous Gospel witness. To accomplish your mission, seek to cultivate an intimate friendship with the divine Teacher, placing yourself at the school of Mary, Seat of Wisdom. I entrust you to her maternal intercession and, while I assure you of my remembrance in prayer, I warmly impart to all with affection a special Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to your families and loved ones.

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Zenit: Orthodox Bishop's Oratorio to Premiere in U.S.

Orthodox Bishop's Oratorio to Premiere in U.S.

Washington Boys Choir to Join Russian Musicians

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 27, 2007 ( The world premiere of Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev’s newest musical work is set for the U.S. capital in December.

The premiere of "Christmas Oratorio" is set for Dec. 17 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It will be performed by the Russian Defense Ministry Symphony Orchestra together with the Choir of the Tretyakov Gallery and the Youth Choir of the Musical College by the Moscow Conservatory. The Washington Boys Choir will join the Russian musicians at the finale of the “Oratorio."

“At the heart of this composition lies the Gospel narrative of the birth and early days of Jesus Christ’s life on earth,” Bishop Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria said. “The dramatization is essentially one of movement from darkness to light, from the Old Testament to the New, from the painful expectation of the Messiah to the triumphant joy of mankind’s salvation by God incarnate.”

Hilarion Alfeyev, 41, studied violin, piano and composition before entering monastic life at age 20. He was consecrated bishop at age 35.

He is the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the European Union in Brussels and a member of the Mixed Commission for the Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Bishop Alfeyev recently premiered his "The Passion According to St. Matthew" both in Moscow and in Rome, and later in Australia.
Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev)
Епископ Иларион (Алфеев)
Russian Orthodox Church's Representation in Brussels
Byzantine Catholic Church in America - Search

A note on Dr. Laura

While I may agree with most of her advice regarding relationships, whether it be between spouses or family or friends (the exceptions being mostly with regards to sexual morality), I do think that she should probably avoid discussing political questions and matters pertaining to political science. (Especially when it comes to vocational advice... I would not be so definitive. While it is important to make a living in order to support one's self and one's family, that is not the only consideration.)

As for her guidelines regarding how close one should live to one's parents and so on... I leave that for another post.


UPDATED!! See...Indy With A Gun & Whip!! See...Greasy-Haired Shia!! See...KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL Pics!!
Ledger's Joker: Empire Cover Boy!!
A Mammoth Amount Of BTS Footage From John Woo's RED CLIFF!! It Could Be Super-Gargantuan & Cool!!
Check out the trailer for Stephen Chow's sci-fi adventure CJ7!!!

Continued light blogging, as I head out to a conference at ND tomorrow. If the Lady Downstairs is reading this, she should look at the schedule--one of her professors is also presenting at the same session. I may catch up on some uncompleted posts while I'm away... who knows. I'll be back in CA on Sunday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django

Something for Pete Takeshi:

Sony Pictures website

trailer at
wiki; Variety review; Midnight Eye review; Twitch review

@ CD Japan

Dancing with the Stars, week 9

Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough
on Ellen (alt)

Julianne Hough singing Will You Dance With Me

Dancing with the Stars 9th Wk - Helio Castroneves - Fox Trot

Dancing with the Stars 9th Wk - Helio Castroneves - Cha Cha

Insider with Helio, Julianne & Marie, 11-19-07

EXTENDED Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough THE LOOK OF LOVE

Jennie Garth and Derek Hough Waltz
Dancing with the Stars 9th Week - Jennie Garth - Tango

Dancing with the Stars 9th Week - Jennie Garth - Cha Cha

DWTS Week 9 - Result Show - Intro & Encore

Alas, she and her partner were eliminated last week.

Dancing with the Stars Results Week 9

DWTS Week 9 - Result Show - RESULTS

Their appearance on Ellen:

Mario Lopez Interviews DWTS & Judges- Part 1
Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

ET on Dancing with the Stars 11-14-07

ET on DWTS, Helio, Mel B, Jennie & Osmonds 11-15...
ET with ALL Dancing with the Stars 11-19-07
Insider with ALL of Dancing with the Stars, 11-19-07
ET with ALL Dancing with the Stars 11-20-07
Insider with ALL of Dancing with the Stars, 11-21-07
ET with ALL DWTS - Helio & Julianne segment 11-21-07
ET with Past & Present Dancing with the Stars 11-22-07

Some stuff with Alan Carlson

A Conversation with Andrea... interview (announcement at this blog)

(see also her interview with Carol Liebeau, author of Prude)

Press announcement for Third Ways.

The Family Journal (?)

Plus: Libertarianism and the Old Right (an interview with Lew Rockwell, Jr.)

Gene Logsdon on Pasture Farming

The lovely, life-saving virtue of laziness
The work ethic, before which our culture bows down in adoration, can result in failure perhaps as often as it does success. I came to that conclusion after many years of trying to follow an ecologically-sustainable lifestyle out on the ramparts of society.

All Flesh is Grass - Ohio University Press & Swallow Press
REVIEW: All Flesh is Grass

The Crunchy Con on Peak Oil

Reaching our peak oil supply
It is time, however, for discerning people – not only decision-makers, but every one of us – to start talking about and urgently planning for a peak-oil future. It may come sooner, it may come later, but it's coming. (One of best articles to appear yet in the MSM.)
published November 26, 2007.

original article available here

Also from EB:

Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari passes away
Dr. Bakhtiari was well known throughout the Peak Oil community, but was of particular importance because he was one of the few members who came from an OPEC country, Iran. Before his recent retirement, he had worked as a senior expert for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) since 1971.
published November 26, 2007.

Adaptive responses to peak oil
Many of the proposals made so far to deal with the crisis of industrial society have centered on massive programs with huge price tags and few options in case of failure. A look at more flexible approaches may be in order.
published November 26, 2007.

Getting More Butts in Your House
Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book

CI: Yeosu Wins World Expo Bid

Yeosu Wins World Expo Bid

Posting it not for the article but for the accompanying photo:


Photos from Sense and Sensibility 08

here, via AustenBlog

Zenit article on Mont-St.-Michel

Making Pilgrims Out of Tourists

Ministering to Millions at Mont-Saint-Michel

Article also mentions the Fraternity of Jerusalem, which has custody of the monastery.

Site officiel de l’office de tourisme du mont saint michel
Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel - Centre des monuments nationaux
Le Mont-Saint-Michel: shrine town of France

Zenit: Papal Homily at the Consistory

Papal Homily at the Consistory

"The Lord Asks of You and Gives to You the Service of Love"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the homily that Benedict XVI gave during Saturday’s ordinary public consistory in which he elevated 23 new cardinals.

* * *

Lord Cardinals,
Venerable Brothers of the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Dear brothers and sisters!

Today -- in this Vatican basilica, heart of the Christian world -- is renewed a significant and solemn ecclesial event: the ordinary public consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals with the imposition of the biretta and the conferral of the title. It is an event that every time awakens a special emotion, and not only in those who with these rites are admitted to the College of Cardinals, but in the whole Church, joyful over this eloquent sign of Catholic unity.

The ceremony itself in its structure discloses the value of the task that the new cardinals are called to perform, closely cooperating with the Successor of Peter, and it invites the people of God to pray that in their service, these brothers of ours always remain faithful to Christ, even unto the sacrifice of life if it is necessary, and let themselves be guided by his Gospel. For this we gather around them with faith and raise up to God, first of all, our prayerful thanksgiving.

In this climate of joy and intense spirituality I offer with affection my greeting to each one of you, brothers, who from this day forward are members of the College of Cardinals, chosen to be, according to an ancient institution, the closest counselors and co-workers of the Successor of Peter in guiding the Church.

I greet and thank Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who, in your name addressed courteous and devout sentiments to me, emphasizing at the same time the significance and importance of the ecclesial event we are experiencing. I desire, furthermore, to address a dutiful thought to Bishop Ignacy Jez, whom we mourn, whom the God of every grace called to himself, just before his nomination, to offer him a very different crown: that of the glory of Christ. My cordial greeting then goes to the lord cardinals who are present and also to those who were not able to be with us physically, but who are spiritually united with us. The celebration of the consistory is always a providential occasion to offer “urbi et orbi” -- to the city of Rome and to the whole world -- witness to that singular unity that binds the cardinals to the Pope, Bishop of Rome. In such solemn circumstances it is also dear to me to address a respectful and deferential greeting to government representatives and leaders who have gathered here from every part of the world, and to the relatives, friends, priests, religious, and faithful of the particular local Churches from which the new cardinals come. Finally, I greet all those who have come here to pay their respects to the new cardinals and to express in festive joy their esteem and affection for them.

With today’s celebration, you, dear brothers, are with full rights inserted into the venerable Church of Rome, whose shepherd is the Successor of Peter. Thus in the College of Cardinals is revived the ancient “presbyterium” of the Bishop of Rome, whose members, while they carried out their pastoral and liturgical functions in the various churches, did not neglect their precious work in the fulfillment of those tasks connected with assisting the Pope in his universal apostolic office. The times have changed and today the great family of Christ’s disciples is spread across every continent to the most remote corners of the earth. It speaks nearly all the languages of the world and to it belong people of every culture. The diversity of the College of Cardinals, which is accounted for by geographical and cultural provenance, manifests this providential growth and at the same time demonstrates the changed pastoral needs to which the Pope must respond. Because of this, the universality, the catholicity, of the Church, is well reflected in the composition of the College of Cardinals: Many are pastors of diocesan communities, others are in direct service of the Apostolic See, and others have rendered meritorious service in specific pastoral sectors.

Each one of you, dear and venerable newly created cardinals, therefore represents a portion of the articulated Mystical Body of Christ that is the Church everywhere diffused. I know what effort and sacrifice is necessary today for the care of souls, but I know the generosity that sustains your daily apostolic activity. For this reason, in the circumstances in which we live, it is dear to me to confirm to you my sincere appreciation of the service you have faithfully given in many years of work in different spheres of ecclesial ministry, service which now, with this elevation to the cardinalate, you are called to accomplish with greater responsibility, in the closest communion with the Bishop of Rome.

I now think with affection of the communities entrusted to your care and, in a special way, of those that are most tried by suffering, by challenges and difficulties of different sorts. Among these, how can I not turn my gaze with apprehension and affection, in this moment of joy, to the dear Christian communities of Iraq? These brothers and sisters of ours in the faith are experiencing in their own flesh the dramatic consequences of a long conflict and are living in an ever more fragile and delicate political situation. Calling the patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals, I intended to express in a concrete way my spiritual nearness and my affection for those populations. We would like, dear and venerable brothers, together to reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and to invite and to implore from the merciful God, for all peoples involved, the longed-for coming of reconciliation and peace.

A short while ago we heard the Word of God that helps us better to understand the solemn moment we are now experiencing. In the Gospel passage, Jesus had just recalled for the third time the fate that awaits him in Jerusalem, but the ambition of the disciples gets the upper hand on the fear that for a moment assailed them. After Peter’s confession at Caesarea and the discussion along the way about who was greatest, ambition drives the sons of Zebedee to claim for themselves the best positions in the messianic kingdom at the end of time. In the race for privileges, the two know well what they want, just as the other 10 do, despite their “righteous” indignation. In truth, however, they do not know what they are asking for. It is Jesus who makes them understand, speaking in very different terms of the “service” that awaits them. He corrects the coarse conception of merit that they have, according to which man can acquire rights before God.

The Evangelist Mark reminds us, dear and venerable brothers, that every true disciple of Christ can aspire for one thing only: to share in his passion without claiming recompense. The Christian is called to assume the condition of “servant,” following in the footsteps of Jesus, spending his life for others in a gratuitous and disinterested way. It is not the quest for power and success but the humble gift of self for the good of the Church that should characterize each gesture and each word of ours. True Christian greatness, in fact, does not consist in dominating but in serving. Today Jesus repeats to each of us that he “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life for the many” (Mark 10:45). This is the ideal that must orient your service. Dear brothers, in entering the College of Cardinals, the Lord asks of you and gives to you the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, love for our brothers, with a total and unconditional dedication, “usque ad sanguinis effusionem” [even to the shedding of blood], as is said in the formula for the imposition of the biretta and as is shown in the garments that you will put on.

Be apostles of God, who is love, and witnesses of evangelical hope: The Christian people expects this of you. Today’s ceremony highlights the great responsibility that weighs on each of you, venerable and dear brothers, and which finds confirmation in the words of the Apostle Peter that we have just heard: “Adore the Lord, Christ, in your hearts, always ready to answer whoever asks you the reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Such a responsibility does not exempt you from risks, rather, as St. Peter adds, “It is better, if God wills it, to suffer for doing the good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17). Christ asks you to confess his truth before men, to embrace and share his cause; and to accomplish all of this “with sweetness and respect, with a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:1-16), that is, with that interior humility that is a fruit of cooperation with the grace of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, in this same basilica, I will have the joy of celebrating the Eucharist of Christ the King of the Universe, together with the new cardinals, and I will give them the ring. It will be a very important and opportune occasion to reaffirm our unity in Christ and to renew our common will to serve him with total generosity. Accompany them with your prayer, so that they will respond to the gift given with complete and constant dedication. To Mary, Queen of the Apostles, we turn our confidence. May her spiritual presence today in this singular cenacle be a pledge for the new cardinals and for all of us a constant effusion of the Holy Spirit that guides the Church on her way in history. Amen!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Still no sound

As soon as I get a regular connection and speakers set up to the computer, I'll have to take a look at this: Contemporary Korean Traditional Music