Saturday, February 23, 2008

Liturgia Latina


Photos: Hayley Westenra

From Haley Westenra International:

Are some auto shops more honest than others?

So today I took my car in to get the valve cover gasket replaced--everything seems ok with the car, but I was informed that the engine cover(?) was missing some bolts. The guy who owns the shop offered to get some bolts for me--he ended up taking one from a minivan in the parking lot. I thought perhaps that was some vehicle they were rebuilding to sell, but what if it was another customer's vehicle, being repaired? I don't know. It does seem a bit sketchy, doesn't it? I suppose that is why the former owner of the car avoided going to certain auto shops to have the routine maintenance done, preferring to go to other more "reputable" auto shops, even if they do cost more money. Does ethnicity play a factor? Can one generalize and say that auto shops operated by ----- can have some questionable practices? It's hard to say...

Labor was $140... for how many hours of work? Should a sub teacher working for 7-8 hours get less than that?

Michael Shedlock, Credit Card Reform Is Coming

Credit Card Reform Is Coming

More on this:
Congress Targets Credit Card Companies For Reform
Credit Card Reform
frontline: secret history of the credit card: watch online | PBS
Consumer groups back credit card reform bill


Via Twitch: A Little Bit PATLABOR And A Little Bit ROBOCOP, Here Comes MORAV

official site

Trailers for Destiny

starring Kwon Sang-woo and Song Seung-Heon, @ TwitchPublish Post

Kfccinema forum thread

More parroting from the niece?

"There is only one God."

"God made everything. God made fish. God made Daddy and Mommy. God made K-----."

PCR picks Obama over the other two?

The other two choices being McCain and Clinton?

Can He Deliver?
Obama and Global Trade


Unique among the contenders for the presidential nominations, Barack Obama has raised the issue of US job loss from US corporations moving operations abroad in order to lower their labor costs and, thereby, boost profits. As reported by the Financial Times, Obama proposed a lower tax rate for US companies that maintain or increase their US workforce relative to their overseas workforce.

Economists, who have crawled out on a limb in defense of jobs offshoring, quickly denounced Obama's plan. As the US economy continues to lose relative ground, economists hold more tightly to their misconception that a country benefits by moving high value-added, high income jobs abroad and replacing them at home with low value- added, low income jobs. This view, which places the rights of capital far above the rights of labor and the duties of citizenship, is economically nonsensical as well. Whatever the defects of Obama's plan, it shows more serious thought than can be found among Washington policymakers and the economics profession.

Obama's concern is shared by Ralph Gomory, one of America's most distinguished mathematicians and co-author with William Baumol, past president of the American Economics Association, of the most important book on trade theory in 200 years, Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests. Gomory has pointed out that corporations break the link between their interests and America's interest when they offshore their production for US markets. By producing abroad, they raise foreign GDP and lower US GDP. By producing abroad, they raise the productivity of foreign labor and lower the productivity of US labor. By producing abroad, they increase the productivity capabilities and trade position of other countries at America's expense.

What can be done? Gomory suggests that one solution would be to replace the US corporate income tax with a tax based on the value-added of a corporation's US employees. The higher the value-added of a corporation's US work force compared to its industry, the lower the tax rate. Such a tax system would encourage corporations to keep high productivity, high-value added jobs in the US and to increase them.

The aim would be to set the tax to counteract the advantage to the corporations of producing with less expensive labor abroad. Large under-utilized labor forces in China and India permit US corporations to hire abundant labor at wages substantially less than the workers' contributions to profits, resulting in a shift of high value-added jobs abroad. Gomory's scheme would provide an incentive for corporations to increase the value- added component from the US work force instead of capitalizing on cheap foreign labor.

Gomory's idea deserves thought. In the meantime, we are faced with pressures from a massive trade deficit that cannot be closed as long as US corporations are moving their production offshore. Offshored products for US markets reenter the US as imports, thus widening the trade deficit, already a world record. The continual widening of the trade deficit will eventually erode away the dollar's value and its role as world reserve currency. Currently we are covering our trade deficit by giving up the ownership of our existing assets.

Another smart man, Warren Buffet, has proposed a way to bring US trade into balance. Exporters would be awarded import certificates in the dollar value of their exports. The certificates would be sold in a market to importers, who could import goods in the dollar amount of the certificates. This way imports cannot exceed exports. Moreover, as the certificates would be profit to exporters, it encourages more exports. Free trade theory never intended for economies to be in permanent trade disequilibrium. The US experience of a worsening disequilibrium over a quarter century is outside the bounds of trade theory.

The US has serious economic problems and cannot afford to continue to pile up debts and to sell off its assets to pay its bills. David Walker, head of the US Government Accountability Office, has put the unfunded liabilities of the US government (principally Social Security and Medicare benefits) at between $50 and $60 trillion. Official statistics show no growth in real median family incomes in many years. The dollar's value has declined dramatically in relation to other traded currencies. The United States simply cannot afford to stand by blindly while its corporations shift US GDP growth to China, India, and elsewhere abroad.

The unfunded liabilities of the US government amount to $500,000 per American household. As no more than one or two percent of American households can come up with this kind of cash, the US government is essentially bankrupt. The bankruptcy will worsen as offshoring moves more US GDP abroad while simultaneously raising the trade deficit and indebtedness of the country.

American hubris produces gigantic delusion not only among the people and the politicians but also among the economists. President Obama and his Secretary of the Treasury, Ralph Gomery, are our last best hopes.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He can be reached at:

Friday, February 22, 2008

The latest from Kevin Gutzman

Neocons vs. the Real Constitution

As to Franck’s calling me a "neo-Confederate," says, "Ad hominem attacks on one's opponent are a tried-and-true strategy for people who have a case that is weak." Apparently this explains Mr. Franck’s characterization of me as a "neo-Confederate." According to, "The term ‘neo-Confederate’ describes a political and/or cultural movement based mainly in the U.S. Southern states that is characterized by a celebration of the history of the Confederate States of America (CSA) and support for the CSA's aims. Neo-Confederate issues may include states[’] rights, such as nullification (in which state laws override federal laws), and a pro-Confederate view of history, particularly regarding the American Civil War and the role of slavery in that war."

I am not a neo-Confederate. I have never celebrated the Confederacy, nor do I downplay the role of slavery in the sectional crisis of the 1850s and ’60s. I do not support the CSA’s aims. There is nothing in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution along those lines.

A calling to the permanent diaconate?

Some I know have considered becoming a permanent deacon, believing that they do not have a vocation to the priesthood, but have sought other ways to serve the Church. What are some good resources for learning about how deacons served the early Church? Is it the case that most permanent deacons only serve in that capacity on weekends, catechizing and serving at liturgy? Is it possible to be a "full-time" deacon?

The Dress and Address of Deacons
Deacon's Place
Vocations: Permanent Deacons

From Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 1

[Deacon Giuseppe Corona:]

Holy Father, I would like first of all to express my gratitude and that of my brother deacons for the ministry that the Church so providentially has taken up again with the [Second Vatican] Council, a ministry that allows us to fully express our vocation. We are committed in a great variety of works that we carry out in vastly different environments: family, work, parish, society, also the missions of Africa and Latin America -- areas that you indicated for us in the audience you granted us on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the diaconate of the Diocese of Rome.

Now our numbers have grown -- there are 108 of us. And we would like for you to indicate a pastoral initiative that could become a sign of a more incisive presence of the permanent diaconate in the city of Rome, as it happened in the first centuries of the Roman Church. In fact, sharing a significant, common objective, on one hand increases the cohesion of diaconal fraternity and on the other, would give greater visibility to our service in this city. We present you, Holy Father, the desire that you indicate to us an initiative that we can share in the way and the manner that you wish to specify. In the name of all the deacons, I greet you, Holy Father, with filial affection.

[Benedict XVI:]

Thank you for this testimony as one of the more than 100 deacons of Rome. I would like to also express my joy and my gratitude for the Council, because it revived this important ministry in the universal Church. I should say that when I was archbishop of Munich, I didn't find perhaps more than three or four deacons, and I very much favored this ministry because it seemed to me to belong to the richness of the sacramental ministry in the Church. At the same time, it can equally be the link between the lay world, the professional world, and the world of the priestly ministry -- given that many deacons continue carrying out their professions and maintain their positions -- important or those of a simple life -- while on Saturday and Sunday they work in the Church. In this way, you give witness in the world of today, as well as in the working world, of the presence of faith, of the sacramental ministry and the diaconal dimension of the sacrament of Orders. This seems very important to me: the visibility of the diaconal dimension.

Naturally as well, every priest continues being a deacon, and should always think of this dimension, because the Lord himself made himself our minister, our deacon. We can think of the gesture of the washing of the feet, with which he explicitly shows that the master, the Lord, acts as a deacon and wants those who follow him to be deacons, that they fulfill this role for humanity, to the point that they also help to wash the dirtied feet of the men entrusted to us. This dimension seems very important to me.

On this occasion, I bring to mind -- though it is perhaps not immediately inherent to the theme -- a simple experience that Paul VI noted. Each day of the Council, the Gospel was enthroned. And the Pontiff told those in charge of the ceremony that he would like one time to be the one who enthrones the Gospel. They told him no, this is the job of the deacons, not of the Pope. He wrote in his diary: But I am also a deacon, I continue being a deacon, and I would like to also exercise this ministry of the diaconate placing the word of God on its throne. Thus, this concerns all of us. Priests continue being deacons, and the deacons make explicit in the Church and in the world this diaconal dimension of our ministry. This liturgical enthroning of the word of God each day during the Council was always for us a gesture of great importance: It told us who was the true Lord of that assembly; it told us that the word of God was on the throne and that we exercise our ministry to listen and to interpret, to offer to the others this word. It is broadly significant for all that we do: enthroning in the world the word of God, the living word, Christ. May it really be him who governs our personal life and our life in the parishes.

Now, you have asked me a question that, I must say, goes a bit beyond my strengths: What would be the tasks proper to the deacons of Rome. I know that the cardinal vicar knows much better than I the real situations of the city and the diocesan community of Rome. I think that one characteristic of the ministry of the deacons is precisely the multiplicity of the diaconate's applications. In the International Theological Commission, a few years ago, we studied at length the diaconate in the history and also the present of the Church. And we discovered just that: There is not just one profile. What they should do varies, depending on the preparation of the persons and the situations in which they find themselves. There can be applications and activities that are very different, always in communion with the bishop and with the parish, naturally. In the various situations, various possibilities arise, also depending on the professional preparation that these deacons could have. They could be committed in the cultural sector, which is so important today, or they could have a voice and an important post in the educational realm. We are thinking this year precisely of the problem of education as central to our future, and the future of humanity.

Certainly the sector of charity was in Rome the original sector, because those called presbyters and deacons were centers of Christian charity. This was from the beginning in the city of Rome a fundamental area. In my encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," I showed that not just preaching and the liturgy are essential for the Church and for the ministry of the Church, but rather equally important is the service of caritas -- in its multiple dimensions -- for the poor, the needy. Thus, I hope that all the time, in the whole diocese, even if in distinct situations, this continues being a fundamental dimension, and also a priority for the commitment of the deacons, even if not the only one, as is also shown in the early Church, where the seven deacons were chosen precisely to permit the apostles to dedicate themselves to prayer, liturgy and preaching. Also afterward, Stephen found himself in the situation of having to preach to the Greeks, to the Jews who spoke Greek, and thus the field of preaching was amplified. He is conditioned, we could say, by the cultural situation, where he has a voice to make present in that sector the word of God. In that way, he makes more possible the universality of the Christian testimony, opening the doors to St. Paul who witnessed his stoning, and later, in a certain sense, was his successor in the universalization of the word of God.

I.O.U.S.A. official site

Here; Jan. 2008 interview with David Walker, who recently resigned. (I.O.U.S.A. has this link to a more recent interview: AUDIO INTERVIEW: Walker Speaks about Resigning GAO Post.)

Zenit: Pontiff to Jesuits: Church Needs People of Solid Faith

Pontiff to Jesuits: Church Needs People of Solid Faith

New Superior Congratulates Pope for Feast of Chair of St. Peter

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2008 ( Benedict XVI encouraged Jesuits to continue their God-given mission "in full fidelity to the original charism," within the ecclesial and social context of today.

The Pope made this recommendation today when he received in audience the participants of the Jesuit general congregation, accompanied by their newly elected superior general, Father Adolfo Nicolás. The general congregation has been meeting in Rome since Jan. 7.

"The Church," the Holy Father said, "urgently needs persons of solid and deep faith, of serious culture, and of genuine human and social sensitivity; [it needs] priests and religious who dedicate their lives to living at the margins in order to bear witness and help further the understanding that there is a profound harmony between faith and reason, between evangelical spirit and a thirst for justice and dedication to peace."

The Pontiff encouraged the Society of Jesus, "faithful to its best tradition," to "continue forming its members with great attention to the sciences and to virtue, without conforming to mediocrity, because the task of confrontation and dialogue in very diverse social and cultural situations with the different mentalities of today’s world is one of the most difficult and costly there is."

"In the attempt to build bridges of understanding and dialogue with those who do not belong to the Church or who have difficulty in accepting its positions and messages," he said, "you must loyally take charge of the Church’s fundamental right to remain faithful to its mandate and adhere completely to the Word of God as well as to the magisterium’s charge of conserving the truth and unity of Catholic doctrine in its entirety."


Benedict XVI added that “this holds true not only for the vow of each Jesuit."

And he explained: "As you work as members of an apostolic body, you have to also remain attentive that your works and institutions always maintain a clear and explicit identity so that the goal of your apostolic activity is neither ambiguous nor obscure and so that many others might share your ideals and might effectively and enthusiastically join with you, collaborating in your vow of service to God and as human beings.

"The themes that are debated and questioned today, such as the salvation of all in Christ, sexual morality, and marriage and the family, should be considered in the context of contemporary reality, maintaining, however, that harmony with the magisterium that avoids the provocation of confusion and uncertainty in the people of God."

The Holy Father encouraged the Jesuits to “continue and to renew” their mission among and with the poor. “For us," he said, “the option for the poor is not ideological but rather is born of the Gospel."

Besides making the “effort to understand and fight the structural causes” of injustice and poverty, he added, “it is necessary to fight the deep roots of evil in the very heart of the human being, the sin that separates us from God, without forgetting to care for the most urgent needs of others in Christ’s spirit of charity."

Finally, referring to the spiritual exercises, “which from its origins have characterized your Society," the Pope asked that the priests “continue making them a precious and effective instrument for the spiritual growth of souls. [...] The spiritual exercises represent a particularly precious journey and method for seeking and encountering the face of God in and around us and in all things, for coming to know his will and putting it into practice."

Seeking service

Before Benedict XVI's discourse to the members of the Society of Jesus, the congregation's new leader, Father Nicolás, addressed the Pope.

"Our general congregation, to which Your Holiness has given your paternal encouragement, is looking, in prayer and in discernment, for the ways through which the Society can renew its commitment to the service of the Church and of humanity," Father Nicolás said. "What inspires and impels us is the Gospel and the Spirit of Christ: If the Lord Jesus was not at the center of our life, we would have no sense of our apostolic activity, we would have no reason for our existence."

The superior-general continued: "In communion with the Church and guided by the magisterium, we seek to dedicate ourselves to profound service, to discernment, to research.

"The generosity with which so many Jesuits work for the kingdom of God, even to giving their very lives for the Church, does not mitigate the sense of responsibility that the Society feels it has in the Church. […] Alongside the sense of responsibility, must go humility, recognizing that the mystery of God and of man is much greater than our capacity for understanding."

Father Nicolás said that "it saddens us, Holy Father, when the inevitable deficiencies and superficialities of some among us are at times used to dramatize and represent as conflicts and clashes what are often only manifestations of limits and human imperfections, or inevitable tensions of everyday life."

"But," he continued, "all this does not discourage us, nor quell our passion, not only to serve the Church, but also, with a deeper sense of our roots, according to the spirit of the Ignatian tradition, to love the hierarchical Church and the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ.

The Jesuit superior said the members of the Society considered it a "happy and significant circumstance" that their meeting today with the Pope occurred on the eve of Friday's feast of the Chair of St. Peter, "a day of prayer and of union with the Pope and his highest service of universal teaching authority."

"For this," he concluded, "we offer you our good wishes."

Oil Independent Oakland report is released

Oil Independent Oakland report is released
David Room, A View from the Peak
Inspired by Sweden's landmark national action plan that articulates programs and policy measures expected to reduce Sweden's oil consumption by 40-50% by 2020, Oakland (Calif.) hopes to provide a similar model for cities in the U.S. which are facing an absence of state and federal leadership on sustainable energy policy.published February 21, 2008.

3 by Donald Livingston

Founder of the Abbeville Institute, and member of the faculty at Emory University.
Donald W. Livingston, Emory Philosophy Department

Donald Livingston: Diseconomies of Scale - Dismembering Leviathan
Donald Livingston: What is "Secession"? - Vermont Commons
Republicanism and Size

The characterization of the mass modern unitary state as a “republic,” one that appeared with the French Revolution, was the greatest open air swindle in modern history. Tocqueville immediately understood this. What was evil in monarchy, he said, was not so much an hereditary executive, as the disposition to build a centralized unitary state. The French Revolution and the mass democracy it spawned did not weaken this disposition to centralize power at the expense of smaller independent social authorities but increased it a hundred fold. In Tocqueville's view the so called “French Republic” was more of a monarchy, and potentially more despotic, than that managed by Louis XVI.

Do we see the same trends in the other countries of Europe? What about the United Kingdom? And if English self-governance and political liberty was so important, then what is the history of the decline?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism

The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism by Marshall L. Derosa

Google Books

Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism
by Mark E. Neely Jr.

Has anyone sympathetic to the Confederacy reviewed this book, or addressed it?

Based on the one example that is given in the blurb advertising the book, I would say this: Isn't there a difference between arresting/jailing someone because he may reveal military secrets and (has threatened to do so in the name of journalism?) and arresting someone simply because he opposes a war? If the author wishes to show that the two regimes were equivalent in their respect for civil liberties, he had better show their actions are morally equivalent.

Some associated with the LRC (Thomas Woods: here and here, Thomas DiLorenzo) have defended themselves from the charge of supporting the Confederacy, Mr. Woods especially by stating that he opposes the statism of the Confederacy and its actions (conscription, etc.) as much as those of Lincoln. Does his "anti-statism" go too far?

Of course there are the online self-appointed neo-Confederate watchdogs who warn us that anyone supporting secession or the South or the Confederacy is a racist, a kook, or both. They never address the Constitutional questions involved, especially whether it falls under the competence of the Federal government to address moral questions or if that is proper only to the states. Is chattel slavery wrong? Yes--but is the solution to usurp the power of the states and impose abolition through the use of armed force? (And this was not even Lincoln's rationale.) Or do we leave a solution to the individual states to find? It is easier to ban certain external actions than it is to uproot prejudice and bigotry from the heart, and might it be that the aftermath of the Civil War, Reconstruction and everything else, made such a conversion of heart more difficult than less?

There are plenty of fallacies to be found at such websites; when secession is frowned upon without any basis except for a nationalist sentiment, is it any surprise the response is an ad hominem fallacy or guilt by association?

I hope this post doesn't put Eunomia on the radar screen of the SPLC or any of these other watchdogs.

The University Bookman


The Reserved Powers of the Tenth Amendment
Capitalism, Socialism, and Beyond (January 2008) a review by the Editors

Kevin Gutzman responds to the West Coast Straussians

Recovering the Actual Constitution. His opinion of James Madison:

Madison is perhaps the best example of an early American politician whose influence is exaggerated in popular and academic history. Because of the existence of an expensive, government-sponsored Madison papers project, and because of the fact that he helped author The Federalist, it is very convenient to study his writings. For scholars uninterested in digging into the context of Madison’s work, the ease of teasing out his opinions poses a fatal temptation to equate Madison’s ideas with those of "the Founders."

But how representative of the Philadelphia Convention was Madison, really? He was the chief author of the Virginia Plan, which would have created a national, in the place of the old federal, government. In other words, where the states’ role had been primary from 1775 to 1787, Madison wanted to reduce them to a secondary status and make the central government primary.

To that end, he proposed in the Virginia Plan to give Congress general legislative authority and to empower the national judiciary to hear any case that might cause friction among the states, to give the Congress a veto over state laws, to empower the national government to use the military against the states, and to eliminate the states’ accustomed role in selecting members of Congress.

and Mr. Franck, Meet Mr. Randolph

New Fatal Move trailer

@ Twitch

Even more violent than Rambo 4. Hmmm...

Cardinal Schoenborn on CSPAN's Book TV

Via Mark Shea:

How Could I not Blog This When the President of the DSPT is my Old Pastor?

C-SPAN's BOOK TV will broadcast a presentation of Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn's new book CHANCE OR PURPOSE? CREATION, EVOLUTION AND A RATIONAL FAITH. This event took place on Friday, February 15, at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and was co-sponsored by Ignatius Press.

Here is the program link on C-SPAN's website.

If you do not have access to Cable TV or to Satellite TV, C-SPAN can be accessed via the internet. I believe that Book TV is available on C-SPAN 2, which can be accessed for Windows Media here and for Real Media here.

Here is Book TV's summary of the program: "Cardinal Schönborn argues that science and religion are not incompatible and that dogmatism on either side is unsupportable. He spoke at an event hosted by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California."

The schedule for the broadcast is as follows:

Sunday, February 24, 10:30 AM ET, 9:30 AM CT, and 7:30 AM PT
Sunday, February 24, 10:30 PM ET, 9:30 PM CT, and 7:30 PM PT
Monday, February 25, 4 AM ET, 3 AM CT, 1 AM PT

You can learn more about the book at

Also via Mark Shea: Gary's Sistine Chapel

Dr. Lee Cheek's website

here-- he is the author of Calhoun And Popular Rule: The Political Theory Of The Disquisition And Discourse and editor of the St. Augustine Press edition of A Disquisition on Government

Amazon profile

His lectures include:

"Declaration of Independence" - Available Online - Download here

Part I - Part II - Part III

"The Articles of Confederation" - Available Online - Download here

Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV

Plus, an interview: Dr. Cheek's South Carolina Public Radio Interview, July 2006

Thomas More news on Beyond Capitalism and Socialism

Thomas More College Faculty Contribute to Book on Catholic Economics

Upcoming lecture at TMC:
February 29, 2008
"Philosophers Turned Green: the Art of Environmental Stewardship," lecture by Matthew Cuddeback, Ph.D.

Something more recent:
Noted Oriental Liturgist Speaks to Thomas More College Community

On January 25, 2008, as part of the College’s Children of Abraham lecture series, the Thomas More College community was treated to a talk by world-renowned theologian and liturgist, the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Robert F. Taft, S.J.

The event was held at Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire, the home parish of a number of Thomas More students, faculty and staff, and was attended by sundry members of the New England clergy—including one Russian Orthodox priest who drove almost two hours to hear Father Taft speak.

Father Taft’s lecture, “The Catholic Church, the Society of Jesus, and the Challenges of Dialogue with the Orthodox Sister Churches: Perceptions, Realities, Reflections,” offered a sweeping overview of current relations between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Father Taft candidly explored the sometimes hostile relationship between these communities, and cataloged some of the misdeeds committed by Catholics against Orthodox—and Orthodox against Catholics—which still rankle today. For instance, Father Taft admitted that it is “undeniably true that, at various times in history, especially during the Crusades, the Catholic Church interrupted the life and patrimony of the Christian East.” However, he said, “It is equally true that Orthodox authorities oversaw the oppression and later suppression of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine in the 1940s.” Only an honest appraisal of history and the willingness to ask (and to offer) forgiveness can lay the groundwork for unity, Father Taft argued.

While he has belonged to the Society of Jesus for nearly 60 years, Father Taft was willing to offer some critiques of his own order's role in the Christian East. While the Jesuits have done great scholarly and pastoral work to revitalize the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church in Slavic countries, in other places the Jesuits promoted an aggressive westernization of existing Christian churches that alienated their flocks from Rome. For instance, Father Taft noted, when Portuguese Jesuits made contact with the long-isolated Christian community in Ethiopia, they ended up imposing a series of Latin hierarchs, the Gregorian calendar, Western liturgical practices, and European fasting laws on a native church which dated back to the fourth century. Such an imposition, said Taft, would be analogous to “President George Bush getting Billy Graham to appoint a Southern Baptist to head up the Assyrian Church in Iraq.”

Father Taft echoed the heartfelt wish of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI that union between East and West be advanced. He noted the fact the Vatican has long recognized the validity of Orthodox orders and sacraments, and suggested a number of moves which the Holy See could make unilaterally to foster closer ties between the churches:

  • immediate recognition of all Orthodox saints, old and new;
  • limitation in the exercise of papal administrative power over local churches, especially in the East, where many Eastern Catholic Churches are led by their own patriarchs;
  • an end to Magisterial declarations elevating the celibate over the married priesthood;
  • direct permission to Catholic priests to give Holy Communion to members of any Apostolic church (such as Armenian, Greek, or Russian Orthodox).

Father Taft’s lecture offered much food for thought, and invited questions from students and community members, both during the formal Q & A session, and later during the reception that followed the formal portion of the evening’s program.

ECD in Arlington Heights, MA

Weekly English country dancing, Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, Mass

Where are the young people? Don't answer that--sigh. (There are a couple...)


I'd like to see Bare Necessities live.

Christianity Today article on Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is inspiring a new generation of Christians to care for the land.

Zenit: Jesuit Superior's Greeting to Benedict XVI

Jesuit Superior's Greeting to Benedict XVI

"What Inspires and Impels Us Is the Gospel and the Spirit of Christ"

ROME, FEB. 21, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the greeting Father Adolfo Nicolás addressed to Benedict XVI on behalf of the members of the order's 35th General Congregation, who were received in audience by the Pope today.

The General Congregation has been meeting in Rome since Jan. 7.

* * *

Most Holy Father,

I would like my first word to be, in my name and in the name of all present, a heartfelt "thank you" to Your Holiness for kindly receiving today the members of the General Congregation meeting in Rome, after having already bestowed on us the precious gift of a Letter which by way of its rich content and its positive tone, encouraging and affectionate, has most surely been appreciated by the whole Society of Jesus.

Gratitude, indeed, and a strong sense of communion in feeling confirmed in our mission to work at the frontiers where faith and science, faith and justice, and faith and knowledge, confront each other, and in the challenging field of serious reflection and responsible theological research. We are grateful to Your Holiness to have been once more encouraged to follow our Ignatian tradition of service right where the Gospel and the Church suffer the greatest challenges, a service which at times also lends itself to the risk of disturbing a peaceful lifestyle, reputation and security. For us it is a cause of great consolation to note that Your Holiness is more than aware of the dangers that such a commitment exposes to us.

Holy Father, I would like to return once again to the kind and generous Letter that you sent to my predecessor Fr. Kolvenbach and through him to all of us. We have received it with an open heart, meditated on it, reflected on it, we have exchanged our reflections, and we are determined to carry its message and its unconditional words of welcome and acceptance to the whole Society of Jesus.

We wish moreover to convey the spirit of such a message to all our formation structures and to create -- taking the message as our starting point -- opportunities for reflection and discussion which will enable us to assist our confrères engaged in research and in service.

Our General Congregation, to which Your Holiness has given Your paternal encouragement, is looking, in prayer and in discernment, for the ways through which the Society can renew its commitment to the service of the Church and of humanity.
What inspires and impels us is the Gospel and the Spirit of Christ: if the Lord Jesus was not at the centre of our life we would have no sense of our apostolic activity, we would have no reason for our existence. It is from the Lord Jesus we learn to be near to the poor and suffering, to those who are excluded in this world.

The spirituality of the Society of Jesus has as its source the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. And it is in the light of the Spiritual Exercises -- which in their turn inspired the Constitutions of the Society -- that the General Congregation is in these days tackling the subjects of our identity and of our mission. The Spiritual Exercises, before becoming a precious tool for the apostolate, are for the Jesuit the touchstone by which to judge our own spiritual maturity.

In communion with the Church and guided by the Magisterium, we seek to dedicate ourselves to profound service, to discernment, to research. The generosity with which so many Jesuits work for the Kingdom of God, even to giving their very lives for the Church, does not mitigate the sense of responsibility that the Society feels it has in the Church. Responsibility that Your Holiness confirms in Your Letter, when You affirm: "The evangelizing work of the Church therefore relies a lot on the formative responsibility that the Society has in the fields of theology, spirituality and mission."

Alongside the sense of responsibility, must go humility, recognizing that the mystery of God and of man is much greater than our capacity for understanding.

It saddens us, Holy Father, when the inevitable deficiencies and superficialities of some among us are at times used to dramatize and represent as conflicts and clashes what are often only manifestations of limits and human imperfections, or inevitable tensions of everyday life. But all this does not discourage us, nor quell our passion, not only to serve the Church, but also, with a deeper sense of our roots, according to the spirit of the Ignatian tradition, to love the hierarchical Church and the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ.

"En todo amar y servir." This represents a portrait of who Ignatius is. This is the identity card of a true Jesuit.

And so we consider it a happy and significant circumstance that our meeting with You occurs on this particular day, the vigil of the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, a day of prayer and of union with the Pope and His highest service of universal teaching authority. For this we offer You our good wishes. And now, Holy Father, we are ready and willing, to listen and attend to what You have to say to us.

[Translation of the Italian original provided by the Jesuits' General Curia]

Gene Logsdon, A farmer goes to a rock concert

A farmer goes to a rock concert
It seemed inconceivable that the music of Ted Nugent, the Motor City Madman, and his rock group, “Damn Yankees,” could have cultural connections to old mother agriculture.
published February 21, 2008.

The Abbeville Institute Summer School Lecture Series

here--2006 and 2005 lectures now available for listening, including:

"The Greek and Roman Agrarian Tradition," Dr. Thomas Fleming, The Rockford Institute
"The Agrarianism of Wendell Berry," Professor Tobias Lanz, Government & International Studies, University of South Carolina

The theme of the 2006 lectures is "The Southern Agrarian Tradition."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Inflation targeting
By Henry C K Liu

(See also PART 1: Fed helpless in its own crisis)
PART 2: A failure of central banking)

Photos: Ha Ji Won

하지원 밀라노서 패셔니스타 위용 빛났다

하지원, 이태리 명품 '모스키노 칩 앤 시크 2008 A/W '서 관심 집중!

하지원 명품 미모, 이태리에서도 인정받아

하지원, 이태리서 동양미 뽐내다!

하지원, 이태리에서도 빛난 외모

패션스타 하지원, 이태리를 매료시켰다

So I have been subbing for this third-grade class long enough to witness one friendship between two girls come apart... I don't know what happened, but it seems to have started last week, when E came up to me and told me that C didn't want to be her friend anymore, and that whenever C hung around A she would ignore E. Before the three had been constantly together, recess, rehearsal, and in class too, if possible. Today E tattled on C and her friend M (apparently C is not friends with A any more), telling me that they were doing something other than work. I didn't really have time to sort through the mess--if I did, I'd talk to E about tattling and how it's not good to hold a grudge or seek to get revenge by getting other people in trouble. But she's continued being crazy this week, and I had other students to deal with...

Besides what can a teacher (much less a sub) really do except referee and make sure no one gets physically hurt? I suppose one could see if there is a problem at the root of this, but perhaps they just no longer like one another... (for one reason or another)

Today one of the other students asked me for whom I would be voting, Clinton or Obama, and I said neither, and that puzzled her. Her. I also told her that a president didn't have to be good in order to be voted for a second term and that stumped her as well...

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 9

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 9
On the Christian Identity [2008-02-20]

Get Karl Oh Soo Jung MV

Hayley Westenra/岡本知高 -Ave Maria

Hayley Westenra-Amazing Grace

Photos: Hayley Westenra

She seems like she lost some weight in the last video, but maybe it's a bad capture. I hope she doesn't feel the pressure to be thin. From her Treasure 2007 photoshoot:

Yeah, I picked those two because of the clothes' Chinese influence.

Hayley Westenra & Dave Dobbyn - Hine e Hine (Live)

Hayley Westenra & Dave Dobbyn - Down To the River (Live)

Hayley Westenra -- Down to the River to Pray

Hayley Westenra - God Defend New Zealand

Hayley Westenra - I Hope I Never

That Kiwi accent.... ;)

I don't see any tour dates in the U.S. for this year...

Pokarekare Ana / Russell Watson & Hayley Westenra

Video : Fraternité St. Vincent-Ferrier


official site

Looks like the Community of St. John in Princeville is building a conference center/guest house.

Edit: According to Fr. E in the comments:
The Community of Saint John was founded by a Dominican (who remained a Dominican to his death). Their rule is a hybrid between the Rules of Saint Augustine and Saint Benedict. Their intellectual formation is based on St. Thomas Aquinas.
And there's this from Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.:
My thanks to those who have above extended good wishes on my creation as S.T.M. If any readers plan to be in the Bay Area on November 15, 2008, they may consider themselves invited to the investiture with ring and biretta, which will be at 10:30 a.m. that day (a Saturday) at St. Albert the Great Priory in Oakland CA. Readers will probably be interested to know that the ceremony has not changed since 1690. I will try to put up a posting on it when the time comes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

KunstlerCast: Drugstores

@ Global Public Media: KunstlerCast: Drugstores (mp3)

The Trilogy of Renzo di Lorenzo

What to make of this? Website of a reader of Fr. Z's blog.

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Parts 7 and 8

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 8

On Large Celebrations of the Mass [2008-02-19]

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 7
On Sharing the Gift of the Gospel [2008-02-18]

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

Is today just another day off for federal employees and those fortunate to have an employer observing this holiday?

A day to honor Lincoln... at this point of my education it doesn't seem to me to be proper. What do I think of George Washington? First president of the United States under the Constitution, general, Virginian? In the past I had been a bit hostile to the American Revolution, accepting a critique of the American Revolution advanced by certain people who saw it as being tied to the Enlightenment. (Or worse, an example of unjustified disobedience and rebellion.) Others accepted this link with Enlightenment ideals but tried to make this a positive. Only recently have I started to reconsider it as a continuation of traditional English ideals about limited government and political liberty/rights, going back to the Magna Carta and being prominent during the 17th century. Now some Catholic political theorists may reject talk about rights and liberty as being antithetical to traditional Catholic political thought and the Natural Law, but I find myself disagreeing with this position more and more. Which is not to say that all notions of political liberty and rights are correct. But it does not seem to me a problem for a given society to use law to limit the possibility of legislators making unjust laws. (Though one would probably wrong to think that all such laws are universally applicable to all communities.)

1. What is the nature of society? (Is the social compact theory universally false? Or is it applicable to alliances and more "substantial" associations between political communities, but not to a political community itself?)
2. What is political authority?
3. Are there limits to political authority? What is the function of government?
4. What can be done to protect the members of a community from the misuse of political authority and tyranny?

If I could be doing anything right now, I'd be reading more about the Constitution and traditional Southern conservatism or republicanism, although that might seem pointless as well, since it does not appear we will be returning to a proper understanding of the Constitution and states' rights any time soon.

However if we are going to bring about relocalization and sustainability, it seems that we must focus our efforts in changing our states, rather than looking to the Federal government for direction.

From Kevin Gutzmann, Myths of the 4th of July:

  1. The 4th of July is a non-partisan holiday dedicated to recalling the legacy of the American Revolution.
  2. In the Founders’ day, the 4th of July was a partisan holiday. It was celebrated in the 1790s and 1800s by Jeffersonian Republicans desirous of showing their devotion to Jeffersonian, rather than Hamiltonian, political philosophy. If you were a Federalist in the 1790s, you likely would celebrate Washington’s Birthday instead of the 4th of July. If you believed in the inherent power of the Executive in formulating foreign policy, in the power of Congress to charter a bank despite the absence of express constitutional authorization to do so, and in the power of the federal government to punish people who criticized the president or Congress, you would not celebrate the 4th. The 4th was the holiday of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, those great states’-rights blasts at federal lawlessness. It was the anti-Hamilton, anti-Washington, anti-nationalist holiday.

Theodore Dalrymple, The Marriage of Reason and Nightmare

The Marriage of Reason and Nightmare

A look at J.G. Ballard, author of Empire of the Sun.

Ballardian: the World of J.G. Ballard
JG Ballard: 20th Century Chronicler
Scriptorium - J. G. Ballard
Ballard, JG | Authors | Guardian Unlimited Books
J.G. Ballard - BBC Profile

Youtube: J.G. Ballard 2001 interview (Imprint, Writer in Profile)
J.G. Ballard - South Bank Show (Part 1/3)
J.G. Ballard - South Bank Show (Part 2/3)
J.G. Ballard - South Bank Show (Part 3/3)

Handle Me With Care

via Twitch

A romantic comedy about a man with two left arms?

The actress is cute...

(Doesn't Thailand have priorities other than making the use of the internet and cell phones possible?)

official site

Footage from The Good, The Bad, and the Weird
The Good the Bad and the Weird (2008) Movie | Movie News, Reviews ...

Donald Vandergriff's website


via DNI blog

Zenit: B16--On Being Transfigured

On Being Transfigured

"To Enter Into Life It Is Necessary to Listen to Jesus"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 17, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday, the spiritual exercises concluded here in the apostolic palace. As happens every year this retreat saw the Pope and his co-workers in the Roman Curia united in prayer and meditation. I thank those who were near to us spiritually: May the Lord give them recompense for their generosity.

Today, the Second Sunday of Lent, continuing along the way of penitence, the liturgy, after having presented the Gospel of Jesus' temptations in the desert last Sunday, invites us to reflect on the extraordinary event of the transfiguration on the mountain. Considered together, both episodes anticipate the paschal mystery: Jesus' struggle with the tempter is the prelude to the great final duel of the passion, while the light of his transfigured body anticipates the glory of the resurrection.

On the one hand we see Jesus fully man: He even shares temptation with us. On the other hand, we contemplate the Son of God: He divinizes our humanity. In this way we can say that these two Sundays act as pillars upon which rest the whole edifice of Lent right up to Easter, and, indeed, the whole structure of Christian life, which essentially consists in the paschal dynamism -- from death to life.

Mountains -- like Tabor and Sinai -- are the place of nearness to God. In relation to daily existence, the mountain is the elevated space where the pure air of creation is breathed. It is the place of prayer, where one is in the presence of the Lord, as were Moses and Elijah, who appeared alongside the transfigured Jesus and spoke to him of the "exodus" that awaited him in Jerusalem, that is, his Passover.

The transfiguration is an event of prayer: Praying, Jesus is immersed in God, he is united intimately to him, he adheres with his human will to the Father's will of love, and in this way light invades him and the truth of his being appears visibly: He is God, light from light. Even his robes become white and luminous. This makes one think of baptism, of the white robes worn by the neophytes. Those who are reborn in baptism are clothed in light, anticipating heavenly existence, which the Book of Revelation represents with the symbol of white robes (cf. Revelation 7:9,13).

This is the crucial point: The Transfiguration is an anticipation of the Resurrection, but this presupposes death. Jesus manifests his glory to the apostles so that they have the strength to face the scandal of the cross and understand that it is necessary to pass through many tribulations to reach the kingdom of God. The voice of the Father, which resounds from on high, proclaims Jesus as his beloved Son, as in the baptism in the Jordan, adding: "Listen to him" (Matthew 17:5). To enter into life it is necessary to listen to Jesus, to follow him along the way of the cross, carrying, like him, the hope of the resurrection in our heart. "Spe salvi," saved in hope. Today we can say: "Transfigured in hope."

Turning now in prayer to Mary, we recognize in her the human creature interiorly transfigured by the grace of Christ, and we entrust ourselves to her guidance to continue in the journey of Lent with faith.

[After the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following in Italian:]

I am following with concern the persistent manifestations of tension in Lebanon. For almost three months the country has not been able to appoint a head of state. The efforts to calm the crisis and the support offered by numerous high-profile members of the international community, even if they have not yet achieved anything, demonstrate the intention to identify a president who will be a president for all Lebanese and in this way create a basis for overcoming the existing divisions. Unfortunately, reasons for worry are not lacking, above all because of the strange verbal violence and because of those who put their trust in force of arms and in the physical elimination of adversaries.

Together with the Maronite patriarch and all the Lebanese bishops, I ask you to join with my supplication of Our Lady of Lebanon, that she encourage the citizens of that dear nation, and the politicians in particular, to work without ceasing for reconciliation, for a truly sincere dialogue, for peaceful co-existence and for the good of a homeland deeply felt as common.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[The Holy Father said in English:]

I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Angelus, especially the group of pilgrims from Saint Ansgar's Cathedral in Copenhagen. I pray that your visit to Rome may strengthen your faith and deepen your love for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. In this Sunday's Gospel, we hear how Jesus was transfigured in the presence of his three closest followers, Peter, James and John. They were granted a glimpse of Christ in glory, and they heard the voice of the Father urging them to listen to his beloved Son. As we continue our Lenten journey, we renew our resolve to listen attentively to the Son of God, and we draw comfort and hope from the revelation of his glory. Upon all of you here today, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God's abundant blessings.

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 6

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 6
On Finding Silence and Space [2008-02-17]

Paul Gottfried, The Revolution and the Right

The Revolution and the Right

Kevin Gutzman, The U.S. Constitution is Not Democratic!

The U.S. Constitution is Not Democratic! (and why that’s a good thing)
Kevin Gutzman

Edit: Well, it was a good article, one that helped my process of re-thinking the Constitution and the nature of the Federal Government. Unfortunately it appears to have disappeared from the website.

Still, even if the Federal government was meant to be inefficient as a way of checking its power and protecting that of the states, if the Federal government is limited in its function, does inefficiency hurt more than help? On the other hand, does the Constitution contains loopholes that allowed the Federal government to become the leviathan that it is, or were these changes tacked onto the original document?

Found the cached version at Google:

The U.S. Constitution is Not Democratic! (and why that’s a good thing)
Posted by Kevin Gutzman on February 18, 2008

A Review of Sanford Levinson, Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It). Oxford University Press, 2006.

Sanford Levinson is very upset. As he sees it, the United States Constitution fails to uphold the principles of the American nation, and something needs to be done about it. Our Undemocratic Constitution is his case for a national referendum on calling a new constitutional convention to revise the Constitution to bring it into the 21st century.

What are the principles the national Constitution is supposed to further? They include those of the Preamble, asserts Levinson. Insofar as it does not conduce to the achievement of “a more perfect union,” say, “promote the general welfare,” or “secure the blessings of liberty,” then, the Constitution needs to be changed.

Those are not the only principles Levinson identifies as fundamental. Also fundamental are equality and democracy. Levinson knows that these are fundamental, and the Constitution does not serve them, so it needs to be amended to allow them to be followed, too.

Levinson points to several provisions of the Constitution as contrary to principles such as equality and democracy. He is especially exercised about the structure of the U.S. Senate and of the Electoral College, each of which skews outcomes in favor of less populous states. This is undemocratic, says Levinson, and cannot be tolerated.

Why not? Well, because the small states are … small, because their populations are whiter than the country at large, and because they are less economically heterogeneous than the country at large. Levinson provides numerous examples of ways that the equal representation of states in the Senate affects federal allocation of expenditures and the shape of federal policies, and for him, this is a Bad Thing.

Why does Levinson consider this to be so terrible? Because of the obstacles it puts in the way of the population’s preferred policies. He does not say why more consistent adoption of the numerical majority’s preferred policies would be better, but merely takes it for granted. One must imagine that he has some reason, for he betrays a certain inconsistency in this regard.

Thus, for example, Levinson repeatedly expresses support for the de facto system of constitutional amendment by judges under which Americans have groaned for generations now, even as they were assured that the judges were actually obeying, and not simply ignoring, the Constitution. In fact, he says that what frustrates him about the structures of the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College is that no obvious way to have judges “correct” them (as they “corrected” the analogous structures of state senates in the 1960s) comes to mind.

In fact, Levinson’s entire case against the federal Constitution actually comes to this: we liberal legal academics, in tandem with federal judges, have succeeded in rewriting much of the federal Constitution to our liking through “interpretation,” but there are some elements of the document that the people ratified in the 1780s of which we cannot rid ourselves in that way, so now we need to adopt more radical measures.

It was not the people in the ratification process who opted for a national, rather than a federal, constitution. That was given them by such as Sanford Levinson. It was not the people who made the Preamble a statement of national principles instead of a statement of the purposes of a federal Constitution. That is being done for them by such as Sanford Levinson.

Or perhaps I give Levinson too much credit. Really, he does seem to be ignorant of much of the history I set out in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. Then, what could one expect, as knowing the actual history of the Constitution is not a law professor’s stock-in-trade? Levinson does not deny this; in fact, he is the professor I mentioned in that book as having told one of his students that the reason his introductory class in constitutional law would not be reading any of The Federalist was that that book had nothing to do with constitutional law.

Yet, his disinterest in constitutional history impedes Levinson’s effort to make his case. Thus, for example, he opens the book with an extended passage from Thomas Jefferson lamenting people’s tendency to look to the Constitution’s framers as having had some special wisdom. Levinson refers to this passage later in the book, too. The reader can be forgiven for not knowing that the constitution Jefferson actually was campaigning to revise was not the U.S. Constitution, but the Virginia Constitution of 1776, because Levinson evidently does not know. There are other such historical errors in Levinson’s book, as well.

Levinson repeatedly describes his participation in constitutional conferences with senators and other eminences. One wonders why such people inquire of law professors concerning such matters, when legal training does not provide them with any special constitutional expertise, with any knowledge of the history of the writing and ratification of that document — only with mastery of a raft of (generally historically unfounded) judicial opinions.

The reason why the U.S. Constitution is not structured in the way that a national constitution would be is that it was not intended to create a national government. Majority rule is impeded throughout the system precisely because the states wanted the federal government to be inefficient; they feared that an efficient (national) government would strip them of their reserved powers. Silly fear, right?

As Levinson and his ilk have given the federal government the powers of a national one, it is they who have introduced distortions into the system. The method of selecting a truly federal chief executive, for example, or solely judicial judges, would not be a matter of much concern. It is because Levinson and Company agree that presidents must have untrammeled authority in foreign affairs and federal judges rightly may legislate that the methods of selecting them established by the Constitution seem inappropriate — to Levinson and Company.

Levinson would resolve this problem by going the whole way, by converting the federal government at last into a perfectly national one. He would begin via an unconstitutional referendum. Take note, you who do not worry over the tendency toward increasing judicial legislation: this is the impulse from which judicial legislation springs. Its urge is to have its way, and restraints on authority be damned!

Levinson does have one big point right: the current federal system is theoretically incoherent. One could correct for this fact by confining the federal legislature, the Congress, to the powers listed in the Constitution, chiefly in Article I, Section 8, as the Federalists said they would in the ratification debates in Virginia, New York, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and New York, and as the Tenth Amendment commands.

If apportionment of the Senate is a problem, one could correct for it by subdividing each of the mega-states, such as California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, into numerous smaller states. Not only would this provide more senators to the people who live there, but it also would make it easier for average citizens to affect state-level policy in the smaller states that would be the result. Significantly, this reform also would be perfectly constitutional.

Which helps to explain why Sanford Levinson will not endorse it.

Kevin R. C. Gutzman is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776-1840, and, with Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush (forthcoming).

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My friend the OD invited me to come to his church on Saturday. His church is a member of True Jesus Church. I had visited his church before, once or twice in high school, and been to several other events. I don't think I had been to his church since then, except for the rehearsal for his wedding and the actual wedding. This was the first time I had been to his church since it moved to a new building in Milpitas. OD's sister and her husband were there; his parents were down in LA to look at some land...

As you might be able to tell by the name, it's a Protestant church; I'm not sure how influenced it is by Pentacostalism, but the church does teach that there are two types of prayer: the prayer of understanding--praying in a language we can understand--and... spiritual prayer. Or praying in tongues. And since they think this is what the Bible demands of Christians, they literally keep the sabbath, having praise service on Saturday instead of Sunday.

As the OD's wife was leading Bible study after lunch, I decided to stay. It was, unsurprisingly, a Protestant reading of the Bible. We looked at the miraculous feeding of the multitude, as it was given in the Gospel of St. John (chapter 6); they understood the food that Christ offers to us as "spiritual" food [bread]. Catholics (and the Orthodox) see this as a reference to the Holy Eucharist. I wonder what their understanding of grace is. While I was sitting there listening to their talk about spiritual nourishment, I wonder if what they said is compatible with a Pelagian view of salvation. Prayer is important for the spiritual life, but we are always dependent upon God's grace--while it seems true that God will give us grace if we ask for it for the right reasons and motives, would He leave us in conditions of famine? Or is it more fitting that He be generous in His love? Are not the sacraments an outpouring of His love for us, sensible signs of His grace that perfect us in our love of Him? Perhaps they are too good to be true. But they are not mere Rominist superstition, as if apostolic Christians arbitrarily elevated some creature to the level of divine. What would the point of that be, since by we cannot fashion a creature which can elevate us to friendship with God and prefect us in that friendship? Are apostolic Christians that dumb? No, the dialogue needs to be brought back to the question of how God is present with us, and what He has done for us--we need to understand the Church, Tradition, the Sacraments in their divine origin. If we can impress upon Protestants the true extent of God's wisdom and His mercy, and what He has done for us, perhaps they will reconsider what the Church teaches about ecclesiology and the Sacraments and see how the teachings are "reasonable" in the light of Christ's mission.

His church is rather small, but there is a sense of fellowship. I have to admit though, I was uncomfortable being present while they were "praying" in tongues, and it does not seem like there is a point for me to visit frequently...

OD dropped by the park near the house afterwards with the two kids, while his wife was at choir practice, so I visited with them for a while. Then he took us to Smash City in Milpitas. OD still plays badminton; I don't know if I could get back into playing... learning some groundfighting skills on the other hand...

Today St. Joseph of Cupertino Church had a Mass for Chinese New Year and a special lunch afterwards. Bishop McGrath was in attendance during the liturgy; he also stayed for a part of the reception as well, but had to leave in order to celebrate a New Year liturgy for the San Jose Chinese Catholic Community. (Which has not had any vocations to the priesthood, not for the diocese, as far as I know, unlike the Korean and Vietnamese communities.)

KK's husband attended as well, having flew in yesterday, and we ate with Mr. and Mrs. C, who were also there.

veneration of one's ancestor rites, with offerings

Modern History Sourcebook: The Chinese Rites Controversy
“ The Chinese Rites Controversy: ”

St. Ambrose was against the offering of food at the graves of one's ancestors, and once St. Augustine told St. Monica about this, she stopped the practice, though she didn't mean anything pagan by it. The Chinese have a similar practice during the Winter, and also when it is time to sweep the graves of one's relatives. I don't think St. Ambrose's reasoning is applicable only for Latins.

I can't find the actual text put out by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 1939, just the summary offered by Wiki; it appears that the offering of food is not sanctioned (but not explicitly forbidden either).

How grownups do marriage


From "Grow Up! How Taking Responsiblity Can Make You a Happy Adult"
Golden Books/1998

Kurt Cobb, The lure of the city

The lure of the city

by Kurt Cobb

Yet the forces which have made all of this migration possible seem like they are coming to an end. The fabulous advances in food production of the last century are slowing. We are having a harder time keeping up with population growth. This is partly the result of a self-reinforcing loop in which more urban growth means more land for housing and infrastructure and the consequent destruction of fertile farmland needed to feed this growing population. The result of this and other factors has been that per capita grain yields which peaked in 1984 have actually declined. Yes, there is overall more food available; but the key figure--as anyone who has gone hungry can tell you--is food per person. Naturally, people eat things other than cereal grains. But for most of the world, cereal grains are the central source of food calories; some 80 percent of all calories eaten are in the form of grain products and the products of livestock fed on grains.

We face a litany of other problems as well: the overuse of underground and surface waters, the collapse of fisheries, climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, toxic pollution, and the depletion of strategic minerals. In addition, the growth in world oil production appears to be stalling out. Yet, against this backdrop, waves of humanity keep washing into the world's cities.

It is like the momentum of the tides which take water further up onto the beach even as the gravitational force which brought that water there is waning. People continue to come into the cities despite all the challenges of doing so because the whole system--even as it frays at the edges--practically forces them to.

Those who are concerned about sustainability talk about making cities more sustainable. But that is an oxymoron. Cities have never been sustainable. They have always needed more from the land than the land under them could give. But the issue is more nuanced than that. On the one hand, living more densely in an energy-constrained world makes sense. It reduces travel for all purposes, economic and social. And, in the past people did live in walkable villages and towns. Some still do. But today, at least in North America, only those living in large cities can really do without a car.

I'd like to see a sustainability study of medieval cities--Mr. Cobb is criticizing all cities everywhere and all times. What is the minimum size that an association must have in order to be considered a city?

Michael Pollan: The omnivore's next dilemma

via EB

Michael Pollan: The omnivore's next dilemma (video)
Michael Pollan, TED
About this Talk
What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game, the ultimate prize of which is world domination? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see things from a plant's-eye view -- to consider the possibility that nature isn't opposed to culture, that biochemistry rivals intellect as a survival tool. By merely shifting our perspective, he argues, we can heal the Earth. Who's the more sophisticated species now?

About Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore¢s Dilemma, in which he explains how our food not only affects our health but has far-reaching political, economic, and environmental implications. His new book is In Defense of Food.
(February 2008)

Citizenship: Ius soli or ius sanguinis

ius soli (wiki)
ius sanguinis (wiki)

John Médaille criticizes Ron Paul's latest ad: Ron Paul: Selling His Birthright

via the Western Confucian

On the other side: The case against birthright citizenship by Howard Sutherland

Should citizenship be something recognized by the states only, and not the Federal government? iirc, even back in the day of states' rights, a citizen of the U.S. was automatically recognized as such anywhere and could freely move to another state and still keep his citizenship. Isn't it difficult to maintain the state as a sovereign entity if citizenship was gained so freely? What incentive is there to stay in a state if one could move somewhere else and remain a citizen?

The underlying question is whether there should be any restrictions on citizenship (participation in governing/political office) as opposed to membership in a polity. What these restrictions are serve to distinguish monarchies, aristocracies, and polities from one another.