Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bishop D'Arcy criticizes the Vagina Monologues

once again?

Insight Scoop has the link.

Some more thoughts about clothing

North Face fleeces and jackets are a common sight in Boston; many college students and young professionals wear them. There is a North Face store on Newbury Street-- I was surprised at first to see such a store in an upscale shopping district, but then I saw the prices for North Face clothing. The store, not surprisingly, is popular with young people, but you will also see middle-aged people shopping there with their children. When Sarge use to visit Boston, we would often drop by REI and Eastern Mountain Sports and check out various items being sold there, including the clothing. Now admittedly in Boston, there is a use for such clothing since it is very cold during the winter. But there is a recent post over at Stuff White People Like mocking the fashion trend and the intentions of those who wear outdoor clothing everywhere.

Why are such clothes popular? For most, is wearing brands like North Face just a way to be both trendy and casual? Or do they perahsp wear them for the specific reasons mentioned at the blog:

The main reason why white people like these clothes is that it allows them to believe that at any moment they could find themselves with a Thule rack on top of their car headed to a national park. It could be 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday when they might get a call “hey man, you know what we need to do? Kayak then camping, right now. I’m on my way to get you, there is no time to change clothes.”

Though it is unlikely that they will receive this call, White people hate the idea of missing an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities because they weren’t wearing the right clothes.

In that way having outdoor clothing is like having a SUV--it reinforces the illusion that one is not
a neutered office drone, but rather an independent American, whose real identity consists in living the rugged, active, athletic lifestyle, or having the semblance of that.

Indeed, go to a mall like Valley Fair and you will see how often they are found together. North Face clothing especially is popular not only among 'white' people, but with Asians as well, at least here in the Bay Area.

Or it may be that people truly like the appearance as well as the comfort of such clothing. A combination of both aesthetic appeal and utility.

The Denali is a best-seller, though one commentor on the blog, while acknowledging its popularity and profitability, claims, "The local North Face rep says that as a company they 'hate the denali jacket and wish it would 'go away'."

extreme sports

I must admit that I do like the fleeces and vests that are sold at stores like REI. They do provide warmth and usually have plenty of pockets. I do like the ones that have pockets on the inside, though this requires that one opens the jacket or vest in order to gain access to them, and thus exposing one's self to the cold and losing warmth. No wonder it is not a common feature for outdoor clothing. But if they are worn indoors...

As price of heating goes up, it is conceivable that the use of indoor heating will lessen and people will need to find other ways to stay warm indoors during the winter. It's the most economical way of coping with rising energy costs, putting on my layers of clothing, or wearing clothing that is more effective in retaining body heat. Will the 'traditional' suit coat (and the business suit itself, since even thick slacks do not insulate heat well enough) become obsolete in colder climates? Or will they be modified, become thicker somehow? Or would their replacement by sportcoats be sufficient? Will sweaters and hoodies become acceptable attire even in business offices on the East Coast?

I suppose in times of great need or emergencies, no one will be checking with traditional mores regarding clothing before doing what is most practical in ensuring their survival.

In the past did farmers and artisans need to worry about court fashion and the trends there? Or were they encouraged rather to be humble and content with their state in life, and not 'over-dressing'? Do we really have a right to think that our station in life is higher than that of our ancestors, merely because we are admittedly wealthier? How much of our society's wealth has been gained through immoral means, and how much through access to easy energy?

On the East Coast, the dress code for work requires that men should always dress in a shirt, tie, suit, and heavy overcoat during the Winter. What makes the men's jacket and coat more suitable than something from North Face? Not simply the cost, as North Face items are not cheap; a jacket can cost as much as a cheap suit or sports coat, if not more. Rather, it is solely because such attire has been accepted as the 'uniform' or what is appropriate to the dignity of someone working in such an environment. (I do not accept the judgment that the modern men's coat is necessarily better looking than a fleece, though the zippers and the rings attached to the zippers could be eliminated or replaced.)

According to the wikipedia article:
Before 1940 (and again in the 1970s) men preferred snugly-tailored coats and waistcoats, however, since then, the mainstream trend has been for looseness. The waistcoat (vest) was worn until World War II when it disappeared because of cloth rationing, returning in the post-war time.
Are coats that adhere to the body more closely better at retaining heat? If so, would that function not be more important than the fashion of a loose-fitting coat? Protection and decoration are both functions of clothing, but I think the former is more important than the latter. (I include the conveyance of "religious, cultural and social meaning," as put forth by the wiki entry on clothing, under decoration.)

Of course the weakness of a jacket or a fleece is the shortness of the length, but these are short for a reason--to provide greater mobility for the lower body. One has to warm the lower body through other articles of clothing. But if the current political economy is on the way to destroying itself, we'll need less clerks and office works, and more people working with their hands.

As with all mass-produced clothing, I would complain more about their mass production than with their appearance or design or class associations, and the standardized sizes that result in a lack of a proper fit for body types varying too much from the 'norm.' And then there is the prominent display of the corporate name and logo. Do we really need this kind of branding? Isn't our society saturated with enough advertising as it is?

If only our political economy would support the tailoring of clothing for individuals--either within the household or by local tailors in the town.

Beyond the articles of clothing themselves, we should examine the costs involved in their production. And are these being made overseas under just working conditions? If not, it would seem that we should not patronize the companies that exploit human beings in such a way. Or we should at least protest their practices.

But if there such concerns were not present, would it be right otherwise to wear such clothing? We return again to the question of what's been traditionally accepted and required by society, or those who have power over others and trend-setters.

There is also the question of whether having unisex clothing is appropriate. It seems that the same design for North Face jackets and vests is employed for both men and women? The only difference may be the colors that are available for each sex. If there were a strict demarcation by color that might be sufficient, but certain colors, such as black, are used for both sexes. What distinguishes them, then?

Why is it important to distinguish women and men? Doesn't a 'practical mentality,' which I seem to extol above, justify the unisex design? If a fleece keeps you warm, then why shouldn't both men and women wear it? But does a piece of clothing have to have the same appearance in order to maintain its functionality? I do not think this is the case. And while clothing does hide the body, it also should reveal something about the one wearing it. It covers the female body, and yet somehow conveys the femininity of the wearer.

Women lose out when they replace their femininity with a distorted masculinity, distorted in the sense that they cannot be men, but only imitate poorly, and also because the ideal of masculinity that they are encouraged to imitate may in itself be wrong. It is no surprise that cultural conservatives, like Cardinal Siri, have seen the emergence of unisex clothing as an attack on femininity and a form of misogny, rather than a herald of egalitarianism as its supporters would suggest.

One may wish to dispute whether women should have the same sort of 'active' lifestyle as men, even to the extent of embracing the same 'extreme' sports or outdoor activities. (And hence whether there is a need for them to have the same kinds of outerwear.) Certainly one can separate sports such as running and cross-country skiing and mountain climbing from leisurely activities like walking or hiking, where parity of physical activity between the sexes is more readily achieved. But if we are to return to a home economy, it seems that women laboring at home will need clothing that fulfills the function of protection to the same extent as the clothing worn by men laboring at home, as all will be working indoors and outdoors. Again, what is needed is a harmony between protection and decoration.

Women often wear outerwear like North Face fleeces with jeans or khaki pants, or worse, in the opinion of Pete Takeshi and others, capris. As far as I know, North Face and the other companies are not the creators of the unisex trend, but they are certainly following and reinforcing it. Given the youth of the company, the original owners and designers probably never even considered designing distinctive clothing for men and women--that probably was not part of the cultural thinking of the time.

With the distinction between the sexes as revealed in some forms of clothing being lost, is our clothing evidence of our barbarism, despite our advanced material and technical culture?

On hats and coats:

Hmmm... Bonnie Blue Cap for sale... I definitely prefer canvas baseball caps (or those made out of some sturdy fabric) to the ones made of mesh (the stereotypical trucker cap)? There's Prince Harry's "We do bad things to bad people" hat, by Tactical Tailor. Still, while baseball caps are often associated with members of the military (and paramilitary), they are also worn by young uncultured males today (Wimps and Barbarians), both indoors and outdoors, backwards and off to the side.

How is it different, say from a kepi? Are the differences in perception due more to the culture and its associations? I read somewhere that the kepi was looked down upon, but was nonetheless popular. Was it the "baseball cap" of its time? I don't think it was forbidden. (See the wiki entry for kepi on why it may have been looked down upon.)

What about wear a cricket cap everywhere? It is associated with schoolboy uniforms in the U.K. How cheap is the material out of which a typical cricket cap is made? This brings up a question--what should be considered refined clothing? Is it based primarily on the value of material used to make it? The scarcity of the raw materials (for example, silk for a long time was rather expensive)? Or the labor that is required to produce it? Or the quality and desirability of the material itself? (Desirability is usually related to the value, but there is not always a direct relation?)

Hrm... more about hats... what were the quality of foraging caps like in the 1860s? And of today's replicas? Are they comparable? Or are today's replicas actually better than the kepis of the 1860s in that regard? Confederate kepi.

What about an adult's cricket hat?

As for coats... the New Scot likes wool pea coats. KK got one too last year. What is the kind of coat, with the straight (tooth-shaped) buttons called? KK must know what I'm talking about.

Edit: I found out that she doesn't... I'll have to keep an eye out for the coat next time I'm shopping at Burlington Coat Factory so I can find out the name. Or maybe the wiki entry on coats can help. HAHA -- it's the duffle coat. Great!

Hah... Started this one on March 15. I didn't actually finish it until near the end of May.

SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J. resigns

Santa Clara University - Office of the President - Father ...
Santa Clara University - Office of the President - Paul L ...

He is going to Rome to coordinate all of the universities run by the Jesuits. What exactly does that entail? Will he have any sort of influence on how the identity of Jesuit universities develop?

Santa Clara University President Paul Locatelli, S.J. Announces ...
Santa Clara University President Locatelli resigning - San Jose ...
Santa Clara University President Steps Down For Rome - News Story ...
Santa Clara University President Steps Down For Rome - News Story ...
Palo Alto Daily News

Friday, March 14, 2008

Zenit: 4th Lenten Sermon of Father Cantalamessa

4th Lenten Sermon of Father Cantalamessa

"Scripture Breathes Forth God"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the Lenten meditation delivered today by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, to Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia, titled "The Letter Kills, the Spirit Gives Life: The Spiritual Reading of the Bible."

This is the fourth in a series of Lenten meditations titled "The Word of God Is Living and Effective."
* * *

1. Divinely inspired Scripture

The Second Letter to Timothy contains the celebrated affirmation according to which "all Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). The expression that gets translated as "inspired by God" or "divinely inspired," is a single word in the original Greek: "theopneustos." This word contains the two nouns "God" ("Theos") and "Spirit" ("Pneuma"). Such a word has two basic meanings: One is well-known and the other is usually neglected, even though it is no less important than the first.

The meaning that is more known is the passive one, highlighted by all of the modern translations: Scripture is "inspired by God." Another passage in the New Testament explains this meaning thus: "Moved by the Holy Spirit [the prophets] spoke on behalf of God" (2 Peter 1:21). This is, in sum, the classical doctrine of the divine inspiration of Scripture, that which we proclaim as an article of faith in the Creed, when we say of the Holy Spirit that "he has spoken through the prophets."

We can represent with human images this event of divine inspiration, which is in itself so mysterious: God "touches" with his divine finger -- that is, with his living energy which is the Holy Spirit -- that recondite point where the human spirit opens to the infinite and from there that touch -- in itself as simple and instantaneous as God who produces it -- spreads like a sonorous vibration through all of man's faculties -- will, intelligence, imagination, heart -- translating itself into concepts, images, words.

The effect that is brought about in such a way is a theandric reality, that is, fully divine and fully human: both elements intimately fused even if not "confused." The Church's magisterium -- the encyclicals "Providentissimus Deus" of Leo XIII and "Divino afflante Spiritu" of Pius XIl -- tell us that the two sides, divine and human, remain intact. God is the principal author of Scripture because he takes responsibility for what is written, determining the content with the action of his Spirit; nevertheless, the sacred writer is also the author, in the full sense of the word because he has intrinsically cooperated with this action, through a normal human activity, which God has used as an instrument. God -- the Fathers said -- is like the musician who, touching the lyre strings, makes them vibrate; the sound is entirely the work of the musician, but it would not exist without the lyre's strings.

Of this marvelous work of God there is often only one effect that is focused on: biblical inerrancy, that is, the fact that the Bible does not contain any error, if we understand "error" rightly as the absence of a humanly possible truth, in a determinate cultural context, taking account of the literary genre employed, and, therefore, due to the writer. But biblical inspiration supplies much more than the simple inerrancy of the word of God (which is something negative); it positively supplies its inexhaustibility, its divine power and vitality and that which Augustine called the "mira profonditas," the "marvelous profundity."[1]

In this way we are now prepared to discover the other meaning of biblical inspiration. In itself, grammatically, the participle "theopneustos" is active, not passive. The tradition itself knew how, in certain moments, to pick out this active meaning. Scripture, St. Ambrose said, is "theopneustos" not only because it is "inspired by God," but because it "spirates God," it breathes forth God![2]

Speaking about creation, St. Augustine says that God did not make things and then go away, but that things "came from him and remain in him."[3] This is how it is with the words of God: They came from God, and they remain in him and he in them. After having dictated the Scripture, the Holy Spirit is in a way contained within it; he ceaselessly inhabits it and animates it with his divine breath. Heidegger said that "language is the house of Being"; we can say that the word is the house of the Spirit.

The Vatican II constitution "Dei Verbum" also takes up this thread of tradition when it says that sacred Scriptures "inspired by God (passive inspiration!) and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and apostles (active inspiration!)."[4]

2. Biblical Docetism and Ebionism

But now we must deal with the most delicate problem: How do we approach the Scriptures in a way that they truly "free" the Spirit that they contain? I said that Scripture is a theandric reality, that is, divine-human. Now the law of every theandric reality (as are, for example, Christ and the Church) is that the divine cannot be discovered without passing through the human. One cannot discover the divinity in Christ if not through his concrete humanity.

Those who, in antiquity, tried to go about it differently fell into Docetism. Dismissing Christ's body and other human traits as mere "appearances" ("dokein"), they also lost hold of his deeper reality and, in the place of the living God become man, they came up with their own distorted idea of God. In the same way, in Scripture, the Spirit cannot be discovered if not by passing through the letter, that is, through the concrete human vesture that the word of God assumed in the different books and inspired authors. In them the divine meaning cannot be discovered, if not by beginning from the human meaning, the one intended by the human author, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Luke, Paul, etc. It is in this that we find the complete justification of the immense effort in study and research that surrounds the book of Scripture.

But this is not the only risk that biblical exegesis runs. In regard to the person of Jesus there was not only the danger of Docetism, that is, of neglecting the human; there was also the danger of stopping there, of only seeing the human in him and of not seeing the divine dimension of the Son of God. There was, in sum, the danger of Ebionism. For the Ebionites (who were Judeo-Christians), Jesus was, to be sure, a great prophet, the greatest prophet, if you will, but nothing more. The Fathers called them "Ebionites" (from "ebionim," "the poor") to say that they were poor in faith.

This also happens with Scripture. There is a biblical Ebionism, that is, the tendency to stop at the letter, considering the Bible an excellent book, the most excellent of human books, if you will, but only a human book. Unfortunately we run the risk of reducing Scripture to a single dimension. The upsetting of the balance today is not in the direction of Docetism, but toward Ebionism.

The Bible is intentionally explained by many scholars with the historical-critical method. I do not speak of the non-believing scholars for whom this is normal, but of scholars who profess to be believers. The secularization of the sacred is nowhere more acute than in the secularization of the sacred Book. Now, pretending to understand the Scripture, studying it only with the apparatus of historical-philological analysis is like pretending to discover the mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, basing oneself on a chemical analysis of the consecrated host! The historical-critical analysis even when it is pushed to the maximum of perfection, represents, in reality just the first step in the knowledge of the Bible, that regarding the letter.

Jesus solemnly states in the Gospel that Abraham "saw his day" (cf. John 8:56), that Moses had "written about him" (cf. John 5:46), that Isaiah "saw his glory and spoke of him" (cf. John 12:41), that the prophets and the Psalms and all of the Scriptures speak of him (cf. Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39), but today a certain scientific exegesis hesitates to speak of Jesus, it practically does not see him in any part of the Old Testament, or, at least it is afraid to say that it sees him, because it is afraid to disqualify itself "scientifically."

The most serious problem of a certain solely scientific exegesis is that it completely changes the relationship between the exegete and the word of God. The Bible becomes an object of study that the professor must "master" and before which, as is fitting for every man of science, he must remain "neutral." But in this unique case it is not permissible to be "neutral" and it is not a given that one must "master" the material; one must rather be mastered by it. To say of a Scripture scholar that he "masters" the word of God, if one thinks about it, is almost to utter a blasphemy.

The consequence of all of this is that Scripture closes itself and "folds back" on itself; it returns to being a "sealed" book, a "veiled" book. That veil is "eliminated in Christ," St. Paul says, when there is "conversion to the Lord," that is, when one recognizes Christ in the pages of Scripture (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:15-16). What happens to the Bible is what happens to certain very sensitive plants whose leaves close up as soon as they are touched by foreign bodies, or with certain sea shells that close up to protect the pearl they have inside. The pearl of Scripture is Christ.

The crises of faith of so many Bible scholars cannot be explained in any other way. When one asks about the spiritual poverty and aridity that reign in some seminaries and places of formation, one quickly finds that one of the principal causes is the way in which Scripture is taught there. The Church has lived and lives by the spiritual reading of the Bible; if this channel is cut off that nourishes the life of piety, zeal, faith, then everything withers and languishes. The liturgy, which is entirely built on the spiritual reading of Scripture, is no longer understood, or rather it is experienced as a moment that is detached from true personal formation and contradicted by that which was learned on the first day of class.

4. The Spirit gives life

A great sign of hope is that the demand for a spiritual reading of Scripture and one guided by faith is now beginning to be felt by some eminent exegetes. One of them has written: "It is urgent that those who study and interpret Scripture interest themselves again in the exegesis of the Fathers, to rediscover, beyond their methods, the spirit that animated them, the deep soul that inspired their exegesis; at their school we must learn to interpret Scripture, not only from the historical and critical perspective, but equally in the Church and for the Church" (Ignace de la Potterie). Father Henri de Lubac, in his monumental history of medieval exegesis, has brought to light the coherence, the solidity and the extraordinary fruitfulness of the spiritual exegesis practiced by the ancient Fathers and the medievals.

But it must be said that the Fathers do nothing in this field but apply (with the imperfect tools that they had at their disposal) the pure and simple teaching of the New Testament; they are not, in other words, the initiators, but the continuers of a tradition that had John, Paul and Jesus himself as its founders. Not only did they practice a spiritual reading of the Scriptures all the while, that is, a reading in reference to Christ, but they also gave the justification of such a reading, declaring that all of the Scriptures speak of Christ (cf. John 5:39), that "the Spirit of Christ" was already in them at work in and expressing himself though the prophets (cf. 1 Peter 1:11), that everything, in the Old Testament, is said "allegorically," that is, in reference to the Church (cf. Galatians 4:24), or "for our admonishment" (1 Corinthians 10:11).

So, to speak of the "spiritual" reading of the Bible is not to speak of an edifying, mystical, subjective, or worse still, imaginative, reading, in opposition to the scientific reading, which would be objective. On the contrary, it is the most objective reading that there is because it is based on the Spirit of God, not on the spirit of man. The subjective reading of Scripture spread precisely when the spiritual reading of it was abandoned and there where such a reading has been most clearly abandoned.

Spiritual reading is therefore something that is quite precise and objective; it is the reading that is done under the guidance of, or in the light of, the Holy Spirit that inspired Scripture. It is based on a historical event, namely, the redemptive act of Christ which, with his death and resurrection, accomplishes the plan of salvation and realizes all of the figures and the prophecies, it reveals all of the hidden mysteries and offers the true key for reading the Bible. The Book of Revelation expresses all this with the image of the slain Lamb who takes the book in hand and breaks the seven seals (cf. Revelation 5:1ff.)

After him, he who wants to continue to read Scripture prescinding from this act, would be like one who continues to read a musical score in the key of "F," after the composer has introduced the key of "G" into the passage: From that point on every single note would sound as a false and off-key note. Now, the New Testament calls the new key "the Spirit," while it defines the old key as "the letter," saying that the letter kills, but only the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Opposing "letter" and "Spirit" to each other does not mean opposing the Old and the New Testament, as if the former only represented the letter and the latter only the Spirit. It means to oppose to each other two different ways of reading both the Old and the New Testament: the way that prescinds from Christ and the way that, instead, judges everything in the light of Christ. For this reason, the Church values both Testaments, because both speak of Christ.

5. What the Spirit says to the Church

Spiritual reading does not only regard the Old Testament; in a different sense it also regards the New Testament; it too must be read spiritually. Reading the New Testament spiritually means reading it in the light of the Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost to lead the Church to all truth, that is, to the complete understanding and actualization of the Gospel.

Jesus explained beforehand the relationship between his word and the Spirit that he would send (even if we do not necessarily need to think that he did so in the precise terms that John's Gospel uses in this regard). The Spirit -- one reads in John -- "will teach and bring to mind" everything that Jesus said (cf. John 14:25f.), that is, he will make it completely understood, in all of its implications. He "will not speak from himself," that is, he will not say new things in respect to those things that Jesus said, but -- as Jesus himself says -- he will take what is mine and will reveal it (cf. John 16:13-15).

In this one sees how spiritual reading integrates and surpasses scientific reading. Scientific reading knows only one direction, which is that of history; it explains, in fact, that which comes after in light of that which comes before; it explains the New Testament in the light of the Old which precedes it, and it explains the Church in the light of the New Testament. A good part of the critical effort in regard to Scripture consists in illustrating the doctrines of the Gospel in light of the Old Testament traditions, of the rabbinical exegesis, etc.; it consists, in sum, in the research on sources (Kittel and many other biblical aids are based on this).

Spiritual reading fully recognizes the validity of this direction of research, but it adds an inverse direction to it. This consists in explaining that which comes before in the light of that which comes after, prophecy in the light of its realization, the Old Testament in the light of the New and in the New in the light of the tradition of the Church. In this the spiritual reading of the Bible finds a singular confirmation in the Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutic principle of "history of effects" ("Wirkungsgeschichte"), according to which a text is understood by taking account of the effects that it has produced in history, by inserting oneself in this history and dialoguing with it.[5]

Only after God has realized his plan, is one able to fully understand the meaning of that which prepared and prefigured. If every tree, as Jesus says, is known by its fruit, then the word of God cannot be fully understood unless the fruits it produces are seen. Studying Scripture in the light of the Tradition is a little like knowing the tree by its fruits. For this reason Origen says that "the spiritual sense is that which the Spirit gives to the Church."[6] The Spirit identifies itself with the ecclesial reading or, indeed, Tradition itself, if by "Tradition" we understand not only the solemn declarations of the magisterium (which, after all, only touch on very few biblical texts), but also the experience of doctrine and sanctity in which the word of God is in a way newly incarnated and "explained" over the course of centuries, by the working of the Holy Spirit.

That which is necessary is not therefore a spiritual reading that would take the place of current scientific exegesis, with a mechanical return to the exegesis of the Fathers; it is rather a new spiritual reading corresponding to the enormous progress recorded by the study of "letter." It is a reading, in sum, that has the breath and faith of the Fathers and, at the same time, the consistency and seriousness of current biblical science.

6. The Spirit that blows from the four winds

On the plain strewn with dry bones the prophet Ezekiel heard the question: "Can these bones be brought back to life?" (Ezekiel 37:3). We pose ourselves the same question today: Can exegesis, withered from the excess of philologism, again find the élan and the life that it had at other times in the history of the Church? Father de Lubac, after having studied the long history of Christian exegesis, concludes rather sadly, saying that we moderns lack the conditions to be able to revive a spiritual reading like that of the Fathers; we lack that spirited faith, that sense of fullness and unity that they had, and because of this, wanting to imitate their audacity today would almost be to expose it to profanation, lacking as we do the spirit from which those things proceeded.[7]

Nevertheless, he does not shut the door completely on hope and says that "if one wants to find again what in the early centuries of the Church was the spiritual interpretation of Scripture, it is necessary first of all to reproduce a spiritual movement"[8]. Looking back at these words after some decades and with Vatican II between us, it seems to me that they are prophetic. That "spiritual movement" and that "élan" have begun to resurface, but not because men have programmed or foreseen them, but because from the four winds the Spirit has begun unexpectedly to blow again upon the dried up bones. Contemporaneously with the reappearance of the gifts, we also witness the reappearance of the spiritual reading of the Bible and this too is a fruit -- one of the more exquisite -- of the Spirit.

Participating in Bible and prayer groups, I am stupefied in hearing, at times, reflections on God's word that are analogous to those offered by Origen, Augustine or Gregory the Great in their time, even if it is in a more simple language. The words about the temple, the "tent of David," about Jerusalem destroyed and rebuilt after the exile, are applied, in all simplicity, to the Church, to Mary, to one's own community and personal life. That which is told about people in the Old Testament brings one to think, by analogy or antithesis, of Jesus and what is said of Jesus is applied and actualized in reference to the Church and to the individual believer.

Many perplexities with respect to the spiritual reading of the Bible are caused by not keeping to the distinction between explanation and application. In spiritual reading, beyond trying to explain the text, attributing an intention to it that is foreign to the sacred author, it is in general a matter of applying and actualizing the text. We already see this happening in the New Testament in regard to the words of Jesus. Sometimes we see that the same parable of Christ gets applied in different ways in the Synoptics, according to the needs and problems of the community for which each author is writing.

The Fathers' applications of Scripture and those of today are obviously not of the same canonical character as the original applications, but the process that leads to them is the same and it is based on the fact that the words of God are not dead words, " to be conserved with oil," Péguy would say; they are "living" and "active" words, capable of revealing hidden meanings and possibilities in response to new questions and situations. It is a consequence of what I have called the "active inspiration" of Scripture, that is, of the fact that it is not only "inspired by the Spirit," but "breathes forth" the Spirit too and it does so continually if it is read with faith. "Scripture," St. Gregory the Great said, "‘cum legentibus crescit'" -- it "grows with those who read it"[9]. Growing, it remains intact.

Let us conclude with a prayer that I once heard a woman pray after she was read the episode in which Elijah, ascending up to heaven, leaves Elisha two-thirds of his spirit. It is an example of spiritual reading in the sense I have just explained: "Thank you, Jesus, that ascending to heaven, you do not only leave us two-thirds of your Spirit, but all of your Spirit! Thank you that you did not give your Spirit to just one disciple, but to all men!"

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

--- --- ---

[1] Texts in Henri de Lubac, "Histoire de l'exégése médiévale," I,1, Paris,Aubier 1959, pp. 119 ff.
[2] St. Ambrose, "De Spiritu Sancto," III, 112.
[3] St. Augustine, "Confessions," IV, 12, 18.

[4] "Dei Verbum," 21.
[5] cf. H.G. Gadamer, "Wahrheit und Methode," Thbingen 1960.
[6] Origen, In Lev. hom. V, 5.

[7] Henri de Lubac, "Exégèse médiévale," II, 2, p. 79.
[8] Henri de Lubac, "Storia e spirito," Roma 1971, p. 587.
[9] St. Gregory the Great, Moral Commentary on the Book of Job, 20,1 (CC 143A, p. 1003).

Fabius Maximus, A solution to 4GW — the introduction

A solution to 4GW — the introduction

Also in this series:

Carolyn Baker, Food, Fuel, and Fascism: Their Election or Your Life?

@ Speaking Truth to Power, also @ Vermont Commons blog

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mike Ruppert, The CIA's Interest in Peak Oil

Was knowledge of peak oil used to topple the Soviet Union?

The new FTW blog.

"So, You Want to Be a Farmer?"

via EB

So, You Want to Be a Farmer?
(text and audio)
Jon Steinman, Global Public Media
Recorded at the 2008 annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia, we hear segments from a workshop titled "Starting Your Organic Farm". Also featured is a short segment from a recent event titled, "Write to a Farmer Who Inspires You".
(11 March 2008)

The Flight of the Red Balloon trailer

@ Yahoo

Some Allan Carlson stuff

via Fumare:

The first is the text of a lecture delivered to the North American College at the Vatican, "Third Ways, Middle Ways and the Family Way."

The Second is an audio lecture, "Russell Kirk, Northern Agrarian"

The Third is another audio lecture, "
A Radical Economics?: Capitalism and State in Quest for Community"

Candice Watters, When to Settle

When to Settle
by Candice Watters

Why I'm At Home
by Heather Koerner

And from Boundless Line:
Let's Talk About Dating, Part 3: The Harm in Hanging Out

Photos: Prince Harry

I bet Sarge wishes the US Army had the same sort of grooming standards. Heh.

Prince Harry eats a breakfast of biscuits mixed with jam and butter in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan on February 19. There are increasing claims that media coverage of Harry's 10-week tour in Afghanistan had been "propaganda" and overlooked a failed military strategy there.

(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

Prince Harry sits in his Spartan armoured vehicle in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan, on February 19. There were increasing claims on Monday that media coverage of Prince Harry's 10-week tour in Afghanistan had been "propaganda" and overlooked a failed military strategy there.

(AFP/Pool/John Stillwell)

Prince Harry wears a baseball cap with the message "We do bad things to bad people", in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan on February 19. Prince Harry on Sunday spent his first full day back in Britain after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, amid claims that media coverage had been "propaganda" and overlooked a failed military strategy.

(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

In this photo made available Sunday, March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry is seen at work in the Fire Planning Cell at JTAC Hill, close to Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2008. Prince Harry's secret tour of duty, due to last until April, was abruptly ended after a magazine and Web sites disclosed details of his whereabouts. Prince Harry, home from his abandoned military mission to Afghanistan, says he hopes to return to combat zones as soon as possible.

(AP Photo/PA, John Stillwell)

In this photo made available Sunday March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry, centre back, standing with other soldiers in his battle group as they pose for a photograph Feb.19, 2008, in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. Back row, from left, Lance Corporal Frankie O'Leary, Corporal of Horse Paul Carrington, Prince Harry, Lance Corporal of Horse Chris 'Dougie' Douglass, Lance Corporal Steve 'Geri' Halliwell. Front, drivers GV and Max. Prince Harry returned to Britain Saturday March 1, after news reports revealed details about his 10-week active military service in Afghanistan, and it was deemed too dangerous for him and other troops who would become a target if he remained.

(AP Photo / John Stillwell, PA)

In this photo made available Sunday March 2, 2008, Prince Harry, fifth right, standing with other soldiers in his battle group as they pose for a photograph Feb. 19, 2008, while on active duty in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. Prince Harry returned to Britain Saturday March 1, after news reports revealed details about his 10-week active military service in Afghanistan, and it was deemed too dangerous for him and other troops who would become a target if he remained.
(AP Photo / John Stillwell, PA)

n this photo made available Sunday, March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry, right, and Major Mark Milford, center, are seen sitting in an observation post near Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2008. Prince Harry's secret tour of duty, due to last until April, was abruptly ended after a magazine and Web sites disclosed details of his whereabouts. Prince Harry, home from his abandoned military mission to Afghanistan, says he hopes to return to combat zones as soon as possible. (AP Photo/PA, John Stillwell)

In this photo made available Sunday, March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry is seen eating a meal in the desert in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Feb. 19, 2008. Prince Harry's secret tour of duty, due to last until April, was abruptly ended after a magazine and Web sites disclosed details of his whereabouts. Prince Harry, home from his abandoned military mission to Afghanistan, says he hopes to return to combat zones as soon as possible.

(AP Photo/PA, John Stillwell)

In this photo made available Sunday March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry, right, on patrol through the deserted town of Garmisir Jan. 2, 2008, close to FOB (forward operating base) Delhi, where he was posted in Helmand province Southern Afghanistan. Prince Harry returned to Britain Saturday March 1, after news reports revealed details about his 10-week active military service in Afghanistan, and it was deemed too dangerous for him and other troops who would become a target if he remained.

(AP Photo / John Stillwell, PA)

In this photo made available Sunday March 2, 2008, Britain's Prince Harry, right, poses with unidentified Gurkha soldiers while at the observation post on JTAC Hill, close to FOB Delhi (forward operating base), on active duty in Helmand province Southern Afghanistan. Prince Harry returned to Britain Saturday March 1, after news reports revealed details about his 10-week active military service in Afghanistan, and it was deemed too dangerous for him and other troops who would become a target if he remained.

(AP Photo / John Stillwell, PA)

Britain's Prince Harry smiles during an TV news interview on February 19, in the desert of Helmand province Southern Afghanistan where he was posted. Prince Harry, pulled out of a 10-week tour of duty in Afghanistan for security reasons, wants a swift return to the frontline, he said an interview published on March 2, insisting he is not a hero.

(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

Britain's Prince Harry stands in his Spartan armoured vehicle in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan February 20, 2008. Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, returned home from Afghanistan on Saturday after news leaked out on the Internet that he had been secretly fighting the Taliban for 10 weeks. Photo taken February 20, 2008.

A photograph made available on February 28 shows Prince Harry as he sits on his camp bed in Helmand province in January 2008. Harry has arrived back in Britain after a 10-week tour of duty in Afghanistan fighting Taliban militants with the British Army.

(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

Prince Harry (L) arrives at the RAF Brize Norton in Oxforshire. Harry has returned to Britain from Afghanistan after a 10-week tour fighting the Taliban, to be reunited with his father Prince Charles and elder brother Prince William.

(AFP/Shaun Curry)

Britain's Prince Harry (L), his brother William, and father Prince Charles (R) leave RAF (Royal Air Force) Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, southern England March 1, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A photograph made available on February 28 shows Britain's Prince Harry on a Spartan armoured vehicle in the desert in Helmand province on February 18. Harry flew out of Afghanistan after news of his 10-week deployment was leaked by foreign media, British news outlets reported on Friday.

(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

Britain's Prince Harry is seen holding his SA80 rifle as he prepares to patrol through the deserted town of Garmisir close to FOB Delhi (forward operating base), in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, in this January 2, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Pool/Files

Britain's Prince Harry carries a pistol and wears body armour in the desert in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, February 18, 2008. Prince Harry is being withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, the Defence Ministry said on February 29, 2008, after news leaked on the Internet that he had been secretly fighting on the front lines for 10 weeks. Photograph taken February 18, 2008.

Britain's Prince Harry tries to start an abandoned motorcycle in the desert in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, February 21, 2008. Prince Harry is being withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, the Defence Ministry said on February 29, 2008, after news leaked on the Internet that he had been secretly fighting on the front lines for 10 weeks. Photograph taken February 21, 2008.

Britain's Prince Harry on patrol in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan on January 2, 2008. The White House on Friday declined comment on the British military's decision to pull Harry out of Afghanistan after news of his deployment leaked out on a US website.
(AFP/Pool/File/John Stillwell)

Britain's Prince Harry mans a 50 calibre machine gun on the observation post at JTAC Hill, close to FOB Delhi (forward operating base), in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan January 2, 2008. The government is reviewing Prince Harry's presence in Afghanistan, where he has been deployed with the army for 2-1/2 months, following leaks in the international media that he was deployed there, the Defence Ministry said on February 28, 2008. Photograph taken January 2, 2008.

A photograph made available on February 28 shows Britain's Prince Harry on patrol through the deserted town of Garmisir in Helmand province in January 2008. The British army had to decide whether to pull Harry out of active service in Afghanistan after the media blackout on his secret two-month deployment fighting the Taliban was broken.
(AFP/POOL/File/John Stillwell)

Britain's Prince Harry (R) sits with Lance Corporal Chris Douglass atop a Spartan armoured vehicle in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan February 18, 2008. The government is reviewing Prince Harry's presence in Afghanistan, where he has been deployed with the army for 2-1/2 months, following leaks in the international media that he was deployed there, the Defence Ministry said on February 28, 2008. Photograph taken February 18, 2008.

Britain's Prince Harry patrols through the deserted town of Garmisir close to FOB Delhi (forward operating base), in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. The government is reviewing Prince Harry's presence in Afghanistan, where he has been deployed with the army for 2-1/2 months, following leaks in the international media that he was deployed there, the Defence Ministry said on February 28, 2008. Photograph taken January 2, 2008.

Prince Harry takes his gear off upon his arrival at RAF Brize Norton in Oxforshire.Harry returned to Britain on Saturday from Afghanistan after a 10-week tour fighting the Taliban, and was reunited with his father Prince Charles and elder brother William.
(AFP/Shaun Curry)

Pope Benedict's 3rd encyclical

Fr. Z has a summary of an article by Marco Tosatti (plus the Italian original).

There may be a call for greater austerity of life style.
I hope so!

The second volume of Jesus of Nazareth is expected to be done and published (in Italian?) by the end of Summer.

Sen. Webb has a new book coming out in May

A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America --BN

What we he say about the current political-economic order in this country and how it should be changed?

His book website. (Official Senate website & Born Fighting PAC.)

Born Fighting:
James Webb’s Fight Against Political Correctness by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Review of James Webb’s Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish ...
The Richmond Democrat: Required Reading: James Webb's ...
Q&A: James Webb; former Secretary of the Navy | The San Diego ...
NPR: 'Born Fighting': Scotch-Irish and the American Character
Virginia Senator James Webb: Washington's Most Unlikely ...

Charlize Theron UNCOMFORTABLE and Nick Stahl

The Philosopher will like this.

Rebecca Solnit, One Nation Under Elvis

One Nation Under Elvis
An environmentalism for us all
by Rebecca Solnit
Photographs by Larry Mills

Ms. Solnit talks about country music, the South, and bridging the left-right divide.

Review of World Made by Hand in Orion

Review by John Galvin

Henry CK Liu on the War to Prevent Southern Independence

A rich free-market legacy - for some
By Henry C K Liu

Some snippets:

Both Democrats and Whigs in US political history championed republican principles, but the two parties held conflicting assumptions about the nature of government authority, the correct path to economic development, and true meaning of individual rights. These conflicting assumptions form the ideological struggle behind the sectional conflict that eventually led to the Civil War.

The emphasis on popular democracy by historical populism, with its programs of monetary, financial and political reforms, was resisted by big finance and big business as counterintuitive to the natural needs of modern economic systems and the national security requirement of modern states, let alone the aspiration of a young nation to become a major world power and eventually a superpower.


The Civil War and big business
Prior to the Civil War which began in July 1861, big business had not enjoyed such clear-cut favoritism from government. The agrarian leaders who controlled the Federal government during 1801 and 1861 had regarded individual property in land as more deserving of government protection than corporate property.

The logic for this belief is that a corporation, by virtue of its nature as an exclusive collection of real persons, is more powerful than any single real person. By granting such an exclusionary collection of select individuals the same protection the Constitution granted to each and every real individual citizen is a distortion of democratic principles of equal protection. It is particularly inequitable when the rights of exclusionary collectivism are protected as the expense of the rights of communal collectivism.

Moreover, the basic raison d'etre of government is its role of protecting the weak, those who could not otherwise protect themselves. Giving powerful corporations the same government protection intended for each powerless private individual separately amounts to a perversion of individual rights as well as the principle of equally before the law, and constitutes a direct threat to the principles of democracy.

After 1835, with Roger Taney (in office 1835-64) appointed by Andrew Jackson (in office 1829-37) to succeed John Marshall as Chief Justice (in office 1801-35), the Supreme Court took a different position to rein in Federalist centralization. Whereas Marshall had extended the "implied power" of the Federal government over the states, Taney ruled to protect those powers of the states that the Constitution had not specifically granted the Federal government, upholding state rights to regulate commerce within their borders and to adopt and enforce economic policies of their own to suit local conditions and traditions for the benefit of citizens within their separate jurisdictions. Whereas Marshal has ruled religiously to uphold the sanctity of contracts and the right of private property, Taney ruled for the right of states to regulate private property rights to promote common welfare.

In 1837, the Charles River Bridge Company, chartered in 1786 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, having made enormous profits from tolls on a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, claimed that the terms of its charter forbade the construction of a competitive bridge. The people of Massachusetts authorized a second bridge to relieve traffic congestion and to abolish tolls as the cost of the first bridge had been more than paid for the by its monopolistic tolls. The shareholders of the monopoly brought suit to stop the second bridge.

Taney ruled in an epoch-making decision, declaring that the public interest was more important than the alleged property rights of the private bridge corporation. In his ruling, Taney wrote: "While the rights of private property are sacredly guarded, we must not forget that the community also has rights, and that the happiness and well-being of every citizen depends on their faithful preservation."

Taney died in 1864, the year the Civil War ended, and was replaced by Salmon P Chase, former Treasury Secretary under Lincoln and former leader of the Free Soil Party, which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories.

War saved the Union, destroyed democracy
The Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, saved the United States from being partitioned by secession, a fact conveniently overlooked by those in Washington who now support secessionist movements around the world, the latest being the secession of Kosovo from Bosnia.

Still, the Civil War was not followed, as Lincoln had hoped, by fraternal love, mutual forgiveness and reconciliation. Most Southerners at the end of the fighting in 1865 were resigned to the need to accept the supremacy of the Federal government and the abolition of the institution of slavery and to move on to the urgent task of rebuilding their war-torn home region where all the fighting had taken place.

But not withstanding Lincoln's inspiring words of "with malice towards none; with charity toward all", Southern sentiments of reconciliation were not reciprocated by a hostile North, where an attitude to treat the South as a conquered territory, the root institutions of which required wholesale reconstruction, lasted more than a decade after war ended. It was not until 1877 that the Union was finally restored along a path towards terms that would be both fair and acceptable to the South.

After Appomattox, where Robert E Lee surrendered to Ulysses S Grant on April 9, 1865, with Lincoln assassinated five days later on April 15, the returning Confederate soldiers found their home country in an indescribable state of ruin and disorganization. The communication and transportation infrastructure was totally destroyed by the vengeful armies of Sherman and Sheridan. The final phases of the war had degenerated from a patriotic undertaking on the part of the North to subdue the South's will to secede, to a frenzied orgy of savage destruction.

The war debt accumulated by the Confederate government that had absorbed all the savings of the South became worthless in defeat and all Southern banks and insurance companies that held such debt instruments were left insolvent.

The devastation of the Southern economy did not end with the war. The Federal Treasury confiscated all properties of the Confederate government. Federal agents, many of whom were dishonest, exploited the confiscation order to loot the Southern agricultural economy to enrich themselves personally while they transferred wealth northward to support the costly transition of the war economy of the North in peace time. With the defeat of the South went the defeat of popular democracy and the triumph of big business corporatism.

Long-term effects of the Civil War
By Henry C K Liu

Final defeat of Southern agrarianism
Civil War era legislative commitments laid the groundwork for rapid economic expansion of the US economy via the private sector in the later decades of the 19th century. By attempting to secede from the Union to preserve its agrarian economy, the agricultural South brought about the final defeat of the agrarian principles she sought to protect and assured the final victory of industrialism based on the centralized ideals of Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) and the economic nationalism of Henry Clay (1777-1853), reigning triumphant over the popular democracy of Thomas Jefferson (president 1801-09) and the populist politics of Andrew Jackson (president 1829-37).

The post-war South came under the rule of the "Bourbons", the mercantile elite of the Confederacy who shared more affinity with Northern moneyed interests than with the plantation aristocracy of the old South. The pejorative term was analogous to the restored bourgeois French monarchists after the fall of Napoleon. The Southern Bourbons adopted a laissez faire economic policy, reduce taxes and cut public spending on education and social welfare. Their ill-considered policies revived the collapsed Southern economy minimally in the short term but condemned the South to the fate of an underdeveloped region for more than a century.

After the war, with the abolition of slavery, cotton production in the South increased dramatically, doubling the size of the pre-war crop and doubling again by 1914. This historical fact is often ignored by neo-liberal economists who insist that high wages depress growth. New plantations worked by small tenant farmers were established in Arkansas and Texas while the worn-out soil from single crop planting in Georgia and South Carolina was revived with fertilizers. The average white tenant farm had 84 acres while the average newly-freed former slave tenant farm was less than half in size.

Still, the expansion of cotton growing did not bring prosperity to the small tenant growers, black or white, as they were perpetually in debt to cotton merchants in the North, who would charge interest at rates up to 40%. The merchants in turn were exploited by large wholesale houses linked to British capital. The debt economy not only drained wealth from the South to the North, it also prevented the development of a diversified agriculture in the South. Creditors in the North insisted on cotton as the only exportable cash crop and the surplus of low-wage Southern labor prevented any market incentive for industrialization.

Many Southerners realized the need to develop industry but the South had to depend for capital on the North, which preferred to keep industry up there and to use the South as a source of raw material. As a result, even the profit from industrialization of raw material production did not stay in the South.

Moreover, typical of conditions of the early phases of industrialization, wages stayed low, working hours were long and working conditions were unbearable in both the South and the North. Workers, often all members of a family, including women and children, were required to routinely work 75-hour weeks at below living wages. Children under 16 constituted over 30% of the work force. Even though corporate profit remained consistently high, wages and benefits stayed low and working condition inhumane, justified by the need to compete with more advanced foreign factories. Nothing was done to correct the situation until the Great Depression, which brought into being progressive New Deal legislation of the 1930s.

Reposting Get Karl mvs

I was able to skim through the drama--UJH is really cute in this... (although when she talks at times she is starting to sound like the typical Korean ajuma...)






AN: The archbishop of Mosul is dead

The archbishop of Mosul is dead
Bishop of Arbil: "A heavy Cross for our Church, ahead of Easter".
Mosul (AsiaNews) - The Chaldean archbishop of Mosul is dead. Archbishop Faraj Rahho was kidnapped last February 29 after the Stations of the Cross. His kidnappers have given word of his death, indicating to the mediators where they could recover the body of the 67-year-old prelate. "It is a heavy Cross for our Church, ahead of Easter", Rabban al Qas, bishop of Arbil, tells AsiaNews in response to the...


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A review of World Made by Hand plus AR's latest

Review: Kunstler's World Made by Hand
James Kunstler's vision of life post-peak gives even the most thoughtful doomers new things to think about and new ways to think about them.

Pieces of the puzzle
Too much discussion about responding to peak oil has focused on finding a single solution to the complex predicament we face. Start with the recognition that we don't have any models for a sustainable technic society to work from, and a more flexible (and arguably more successful) strategy comes within reach.
(original--there's a reference to Communities Magazine in the comments section)

Dance Flurry 2007 - English Playford Party

Dance Flurry
Contra Dancing at Dance Flurry 07

John Playford - Sarabande in F Major

ARTE VOCAL - Lux Aurumque (Eric Whitacre)

Arte Vocal

Arte Vocal - O Magnum Mysterium (M. Lauridsen)

Rimini Int. Choral Workshop with Peter Phillips

Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Rimini International Choral Workshop

Sunday Sunday

We didn't go to the Korean parish, but to Sacred Heart Church in Dunn instead for the extraordinary form (celebrated every Sunday at 12 P.M.). Sarge says that sometimes it is sung Mass, but yesterday it was low Mass with some singing by the choir. (Much like Holy Trinity in Boston.) There are a lot of young families there with children--more than one sees at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Mission Chapel. Still, I think I would prefer the sung ordinary form liturgy at St. Thomas Aquinas. It's too bad St. Dominic's is so far away. I'd go there, especially if it had the traditional Dominican-rite liturgy for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or the Easter vigil. (Dominican chant books on the web. Ash Wednesday.) I still haven't found a parish to call home yet, nor have I visited St. Basil's. With the price of gas going up, attending a well-celebrated liturgy regularly at St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Basil may require too much of a sacrifice. No signs yet of a "Benedictine reform" taking a foothold in the diocese of San Jose.

If only Roman-rite churches would get rid of pews (in addition to the other needed reforms). If I ever visit Front Royal or that part of Virginia again, I'll have to visit Holy Transfiguration. Does Archimandrite Fr. Constantine-Paul Belisarius still celebrate Byzantine-rite liturgy in Front Royal? Maybe someday Fr. Christopher will be posted over here in California. But I don't think that will happen--his family lives on the East Coast. Which reminds me... I found a reference to Archimandrite Zacharias... was it over at the Crunchy Con blog or one of the Orthodox blogs? Can't remember.

From NLM: Announcement of Professor Laszlo Dobszay’s forthcoming publication

The Restoration and Development of the Roman Rite
Edited and with a foreword by Laurence Paul Hemming
T&T Clark London , July 2009, 240pp, app. £25.00
ISBN 9780567033864
Other volumes in the T&T Clark Fundamental Studies in Liturgy include The Collects of the Roman Missal by Lauren Pristas (September 2009) and Being Liturgical. The Subject of Worship by Laurence Paul Hemming (November 2009). If the economy crashes, may the press survive to publish these important books.

Links for Archimandrite Zacharias, Elder Sophrony, and Silouan the Athonite:
ORTHODIXIE ... Southern, Orthodox, Convert, Etc.: Archimandrite ...
KEEP THY MIND IN HELL AND DESPAIR NOT: A Word of God for Our Generation
North Texas Orthodox Missions: Archimandrite Zacharias CD & DVD
Youtube: Archimandrite Zacharias at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Monastery
Spiritual son of the Elder Sophrony visits Diocese of the South

Archimandrite Zacharias is the author of two recent books published by Mt. Tabor Publishing, The Enlargement of the Heart and The Hidden Man of the Heart. Both books are an outgrowth of the life long experiences of the Elder Zacharias who is the spiritual son of the Elder Sophrony (1896-1993) the founder of the St. John the Baptist Monastery in Essex. The Elder Sophrony was the disciple of St. Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938). Thus his teachings are part of an unbroken chain of spiritual teachers of two great Fathers of the Church.

Sophrony (Sakharov) - OrthodoxWiki
Photos of Fr. Sophrony Sakharov
On Prayer; His Life is Mine
Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist (Maldon ...
St John the Baptist Monastery, Essex - Discussion ...
MOUNT THABOR PUBLISHING - Books by Elder Sophrony
If You Would Celebrate Pentecost - Love Your Enemies « Glory to ...
In the Presence of God - Elder Sophrony « Glory to God for All Things

Silouan the Athonite - OrthodoxWiki
Photos of St. Silouan the Athonite
CyberDesert - Philokalia Webzine -St. Silouan the Athonite
Silouan the Athonite
Home - St. Silouan the Athonite Orthodox Christian Mission

Also from SVS Press: Greek East and Latin West by Andrew Louth and Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy by Aristeides Papadakis

After Mass, Sarge and I went to lunch at the Carino's near the Raleigh-Durham Airport. I was surprised to see a group of 7 or 8 Korean teenagers there. I don't think I heard any Korean--just English. The exterior design of the chain's restaurants reminds me of Macaroni Grill, but I don't know if they are owned by the same company. I still have to go to Firehouse Subs some time, see how it compares to Togo's or Jimmy John's. I suggested it, but Sarge had a hankering for Italian. (As usual.) I ordered the chicken milano, which was good, but I think I'd have to agree with Sarge--Pierro's is probably better. (Though the bread that is given by Carino's is quite good.) I didn't really like his five cheese tortellini dish, and I was reminded why I don't like many Italian dishes, the ones that use a lot of cream for the sauce. They're just too creamy and my stomach doesn't like that.

On Thursday, after the graduation I did see a Korean--she is the wife of one of the grads, and was, as Watcher says, quite "fobby." A lot of Koreans live in the area, being associated with the military in one way or the other, though Sarge jokes that the new ACUs will put many of them out of work, since the ACU makes a lot of use of velcro for patches and such so there will be no need for them to sew them on. (Though I suppose they can still do alterations.)

Anyway... since I was with Sarge for 4 days, there was some discussion of potential spouses, and I was thinking once again about what is necessary for compatability and what isn't. I don't think I could live with someone who wasn't familiar with and interested in Latin and Western culture, or the Catholic intellectual tradition. (I can make some allowances with respect to Anglo-Celtic-Latin culture, since I'm still learning about it myself.) At the very least if she weren't familiar with these, she should be a good Catholic who recognizes the importance of these and defers to them. (And of course, obeys the Church and lives out the Church's teachings.)

I can't get along with cheerleaders for either party, though my aversion to most in the Democratic party is still stronger than it is to the Republicans. At this point it is better to just avoid talking about politics with the true believers who fall in the mainstream of either party--it's not a retreat to the ghetto, but acknowledging that it is unlikely that people will be persuaded, even if you can lead them back to their first principles and fight on that territory. It just isn't worth the exasperation. I suppose I would have the same wariness with respect to those who take Faux News too seriously.

Now it might seem that "political differences" shouldn't get in the way of a good marriage, but maybe that is tied to a rather "thin" view of what political participation is. It shouldn't be just voting, though that is what the system considers to be citizenship. We should be working for a certain kind of change, and how many of those who think the welfare state is the solution (who can and do have good intentions) would really be willing to consider a radical alternative, one that is truly just and allows people to take responsibility for their own lives, while allowing that government does have a role to play, particularly with fostering economic freedom? What can we put in practice at home to influence the community? I don't know if I want to say the domestic sphere is private, as if it is completely cut off from the "public" sphere. Rather, the political begins at home.

I joke that I am a hobbit, but it does seem to me that finding a hobbit wife is necessary for the sake of harmony within the home.

From Boundless Line:
Let's Talk About Dating, Part 1: Be Realistic
Let's Talk About Dating, Part 2: Holding Out

American Conservative: What is Left? What is Right? Does it Matter?

Hmm... the TAC Alumni website is still up.

CNN coverage of the presidential campaign was being televised at the airport, since it was the day after the Texas primary (among others). I haven't watched many of the Obama and Clinton ads, but while I was looking at some blogs over at Sarge's apartment, I did come across references to the Obama ads done by celebs... I played two for JB, who actually likes the "Yes We Can" video. I hope Sarge's nephew has forgotten the Obama chant. (I was repeating the chant for JB, and the nephew picked up on it.)

At this point is there much to be said about Dr. Paul's campaign? Daniel Larison offers Some Thoughts on the Paul Campaign. While some of his supporters at Lew Rockwell may have thought he had a chance, I wasn't as "optimistic." Still, it is somewhat of a letdown to see things coming to a close this way, though Dr. Paul has said he will continue to fight for the ideas that have helped him get so much support, and ensure they get some attention until the convention (and at the convention itself?). A restatement from Dr. Paul while being interviewed with Neil Cavuto.

The homeschooling controversy did lead me to think about these struggles with various authorities and others who oppose the Law. They may seem minor, but is there a possibility that they will lead to something more serious in the future? A new persecution of Christians in the name of promoting tolerance and the values of secular humanism?

Whose side is God on? It is a staple line in some movies that if armed conflict does happen between two religious/sectarian groups, we should "let God sort it out" and judge who is right, in the name of some sort of neutrality, sometimes implying that neither side has the support of God. Does God offer grace to everyone so that they may be saved? Yes. Does He offer them the grace to act in accordance with His law and justice? Yes. Is it possible for someone to contravene God's Law or to advocate such actions with a "good" (that is, sanctified or holy) will? At times I doubt it.

If disagreements about what is owed to God and society cannot be resolved peacefully or through separation (secession), then what other alternative is left? Assuming that armed resistance can be successful, is it therefore an option? (I think it is, contra those Christians who are absolute pacificists. Christians would be fighting not to impose their religion on others, but to protect their communities from being destroyed by pernicious influences or a government hostile to the divine order.) Unfortunately, if the South couldn't succeed, what chance do small groups of right-thinking and acting Americans have?

If such resistance cannot be successful, must one submit to the regime? Or is leaving for a different political community then an acceptable choice? While it is necessary for happiness for man to live in community with others, it does not seem necessary for him to live in a specific community. If the community is disordered and impedes his fulfilling higher obligations or obligations to his family and dependents, or threatens their spiritual well-being, then it seems that they should leave for somewhere else, even if in justice they may be required to render something back to the community for what it has given to them. The higher obligations override the lower. Charity may dictate that we do the good that we can do for our neighbor, but prudence and wisdom should enable us to recognize when our efforts will be limited and outweighed by the dangers that we risk to ourselves and our families? We should have a "thick" view of what "living well with others" means and requires, not a thin view that of course comports to the American way of life as it exists now in most places (especially the suburbs). While living with others in friendship is a good in itself, it must be open to the transcendent--the political order is not a separate sphere unto itself, as if it could be a source of complete happiness to man, because only God is man's ultimate end.

Living well with others requires justice, but justice is further ordered to friendship. Here Aristotle's account of friendship, given in the Nicomachean Ethics, can possibly be improved. Just as Aristotle did not know of the supernatural end to which man is called, he did not know that the best and highest friendships are rooted in the same supernatural end. The private good of man is not his ultimate end and as it is private, by definition it cannot be shared. Friends must have something else in common, and for Aristotle, the highest friendships were founded upon having virtue (or the pursuit of virtue) in common. This was the basis of the friends' life together. But virtue that is separate from charity is imperfect virtue--for virtue to be perfect it must be ordered to God through charity. So not only are we called to union with God, but also our friendships with others are ordered towards Him.

If one cannot leave, then one must pray for the grace and the heroic virtue to endure the persecution that will come.

The Roman Martyrology - Contents

Speaking of friendship... all in all, it was a good trip to North Carolina--Sarge was very hospitable and generous, and I enjoyed meeting his family and spending time with them. Thank you very much Sarge! I will have to try to write you a real thank-you when I can. I don't think he will be moving to California. That's too bad. I did appreciate the time spent at Bragg and around things military. While I do respect those who are serve in the military, especially the quiet professionals, there are things to be lamented about the state of the U.S. military. I heard some complaints from one of Sarge's friends, through Sarge, about SF being squandered and misused, and not being properly trained but going through finger drills instead. Apparently the Regular Army mentality has seeped into SF and even CAG (if the second-hand complaints are true).


Needless to say, one can respect the grunts and POGs in the U.S. Army (and those in the other branches) without endorsing the National Government that makes use of them. Now back to states' rights and true American republicanism... some articles for LRC by David Dieteman:

Of Contracts and Constitutions
Three Views of the Constitution
Contra Claremont

Joseph Stromberg archive--gis "The Neo-Unionists’ Rope of Sand" and The Trouble with the Constitution

Is this enough to lure Sarge away from Milwaukee back to PR? I can't but help think of a certain blonde schoolteacher here in California... she was rather cute (and girly) when she asked me to sub for her class. I don't really know anything about her, if she is a Democrat like so many others at her school or if she has a boyfriend. Ha. I don't think there is much of a chance happening. Maybe I can go to PR with Sarge's mother and she can introduce me to a Puerto Ricana. Boricua!

The MD and her family are supposed to be coming up next weekend. Maybe I'll have the opportunity to take the niece to the park so she can go on the slide. (She continues to mention it whenever she talks to me on the phone.) And today is KCC's birthday--Happy Birthday! I haven't gotten a hold of her on the phone yet. Is she celebrating over at Fiddler's Hearth tonight?

(Turns out she was in Chicago having dinner with her husband, who is in Chicago for a business trip. They had dinner at the Brazilian bbq restaurant.)