Saturday, February 28, 2009

Off to see the nieces and nephew...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cecilia Cheung interviews

張柏芝cen獨家專訪【上集】1/3 27.2.09

張柏芝cen獨家專訪【上集】2/3 27.2.09

張柏芝cen獨家專訪【上集】3/3 27.2.09

2009.01.27娛樂百分百~我家也有大明星精華版(4/5) (parts 3 and 4 for Cecilia)

2009.01.28娛樂百分百 ~我家也有大明星精華版(1/5 )

lilylovesjiro and fannyshowbb
Jane Austen's World (link via Tea at Trianon)
Fr. Z: QUAERITUR: Indulgence for Stations of the Cross
Local Courage apostolates (via California Catholic Daily):

Statewide - Courage, for those struggling with same-sex attraction, is a Vatican-approved apostolate and has chapters in the following areas of California: East Palo Alto, Fr. Lawrence Goode, 650-322-2152. Fallbrook, St. Peter’s Church, 760-728-7034. Los Angeles, Fr. Harrigan, 323-664-4723. Santa Ana, Fr. Enrique Sera, 714-751-5335. San Diego, Fr. Richard Huston, 858-271-0207. Escondido, Palm Springs, Indio, San Diego areas (prison ministry), Deacon Ken Finn, P.O. Box 2129, Escondido, CA 92033, e-mail: San Francisco, Fr. Emmerich Vogt, 510-596-1800; Fr. Angel Jose de Heredia, 650-871-8944; Fr. Mark Taheny, 650-588-1455; confidential Courage hotline 650-450-2286. San Jose, George, 650-450-2286 or e-mail Santa Rosa, John Collins, 707-566-3363. Confidentiality strictly maintained.

Bishop Williamson apologizes

Rorate Caeli
PCED: Declaration by SSPX Bp. Williamson: “regret… apologise”
Zenit: Bishop Richard Williamson Apology

Fraternité Sacerdotale Saint Pie X



I haven't looked at the official website for Dae Jang Geum 대장금 (大長今) in a while... I think it should still be up.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twitch: Trailers for Dante Lam’s action thriller ‘Sniper’ starring Edison Chen
Paul Gottfried on those rankings of U.S. presidents: National Bankruptcy. He has an oppinion about Lincoln as a rhetorician different from Fleming, Wilson, and Bradford:

This, mind you, is not an attempt to run down Lincoln. As a public speaker rather than as someone who steered this country into the bloodbath of the Civil War, out of what might have been a miscalculation about the costs of suppressing the Southern secession, Lincoln is a figure of Shakespearean proportions. I admire Lincoln as a speaker and as a tragic historic figure, but I doubt my affinity for to him is related to his present glorification.

Hanbok links

More photos from Min Sin Hong hanboks.

Yoon Hanbok

Some of the hanbok (한복) links I've visited in the past are dead, but I found this one today... 대장금 숙현한복. (Found this link at the Seoul Essence Wedding Fair site.) And so, I went on and did a search for more links. Hrm, I can't find the blog post with the hanbok links... maybe I never put one up. Oh well, here are some:
Hanbok Guide
어서오세요, 이성자한복 입니다!
한복의 명가 예당한복에 오신걸 환영합니다!
한복을 참 잘 만드는집! 박술녀 한복입니다!
MJ Hanbok
한지희 한복
Kim Ye Jin
Han Young Mi
Lee Sun Young
Lee In Young
Kim Hye Soon
Han Soon Rye
Ye Ji Won
Lee Yoo Jin
Kim Yeon Ok
Park Kyung Ja
Kang Eun Suk
Lee Hwa Jin
Hanbok Arts
Green Hanbok
Ami Hanbok
한복의 美
마음으로 옷을 짓는 조은이 한복입니다
우리옷 베틀한복
이하은한복에 오신 것을 환영합니다.
한땀한땀의 정성이 담긴 - 윤희재 한복
고려 한복학원에 오신 것을 환영합니다
강종순 한복연구실
Gae Po Hanbok
Hanbok Club
Rosa Hanbok
Hanbok Academy (alt)
JM Hanbok
Doong Ji Hanbok
MS Hanbok
Lee Ga Hanbok
Welcome to 한복.com
2008 한복사랑 Festival
최고의 아동한복을 찾으셨나요? ihb 해밀아이한복입니다.
단아한 한복
예당주단한복대여 홈페이지 방문을 환영합니다.
Happy Day Hanbok (alt?)
Hanbok Study
기민형 한복
Nice Hanbok
황진이한복 - 선이 아름다운 우리의 한복
한복 - 혼례한복 사이트 - 웨딩플래너 웨딩스 -
박미정의 한복이야기
이윤순 우리한복:
Hanbok House
GB Hanbok
Gung Hanbok
Ilsan Hanbok
Soon Hanbok
KJ Hanbok
Hanbok Sarang
Dae Jang Geum song + marriage proposal to Yeonie

I hadn't seen this before until now...

I don't really get it either. Her website.

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 25: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the Bent On Learning Charity event at Stephen Weiss Studio on February 25, 2009 in New York City. (Getty)
Fabius Maximus: Have we built an American Foreign Legion?
Asia News: Beijing: police covering up news about three people setting themselves on fire
The identity of the three people is being withheld to avoid suggestions about possible motives, like an extreme attempt to protest against rights violations. Yesterday in Shenzhen worker set himself on fire after he was sacked without severance pay. The life of imprisoned human rights Wang Guilan is danger because prison authorities are denying her medical care.
Rod Dreher asks the question, "Let California Go Bankrupt?"
關淑怡 童安格 - 明天你是否依然愛我

Washing Dishes at EntropyPawsed
Bonnie Gifford, EntropyPawsed
At EntropyPawsed, we have a hand pump well. This reminds us at least daily of our water usage. This daily reminder encouraged us to develop our current system of dish washing in which we use about one gallon of water to wash the dishes.


Fr. Z: Benedict XVI’s Message for Lent and Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori (voice and with chant)
The investment delusion by John Michael Greer (original)

Thus the only investment advice I can offer is to get out of investments altogether, and put your money into something that will actually be useful: training in practical skills that will make you employable in a deindustrializing economy, for example, or extra insulation so you can keep your home livable with less energy. At this point in history, the belief that it's possible to have your money make your living for you is basically a delusion; it's likely to be a fairly persistent one, but those who can shake themselves free of it and adjust to life in a radically different economic reality are likely to do better than those who keep on chasing the prospects of an age that is ending around us.
Harlan Hubbard - painter, writer, agrarian homesteader
Gene Logsdon,
I found Harland Hubbard in an article in the National Geographic in the early 1960s. He and his wife, Anna, were what was called at that time modern homesteaders...They raised all their food, or caught it from the river, or traded for it with neighbors...Their life was both rigorous and elegant.

Han Hye Jin in Las Vegas

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

I guess the first 5 parts were deleted or never uploaded.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama's economic agenda: a timely review by Richard K. Moore (via Carolyn Baker)
Off-grid systems 2.0 – water
Thomas Christiansen, Energy Bulletin
How viable is it to be 'off-grid’ with water? There are low-tech solutions which are a throwback to the way many of our great-grandparents must have lived. But consider instead Singapore's “Four Taps” water strategy to decrease reliance on water imports.
Twitch: First Look at Zhao Wei as MULAN
Kelley Vlahos, Twittering While Rome Burns

President Obama's State of the Nation address

The White House - Press Office - Remarks of President Barack Obama
Transcript: President Obama’s “State of the Nation” Speech
Transcript of Gov. Jindal's GOP Response to Obama Address

I don't really have the heart to fisk the address. As for the 3 major areas of reform: energy, health care, and education--I don't know enough about health care reform to say much about it. The President's rhetoric concerning energy and education is just ridiculous. The jobs in the fastest-growing sectors of the economy require a college education? Of course they do--they're jobs in government and health care! And how about ignoring the fact that jobs in the service industry are growing as well? Obama continues to tout alternate fuels, but he ignores how serious the problem of peak oil is. He's doing no one any favors.

Obama's Non-Withdrawal Withdrawal Plan

Edit. You can watch it online here.
From NLM: Dr. Alcuin Reid at the Toronto Oratory and Critiquing the critics

Zenit brings two addresses by Archbishop Chaput

Archbishop Chaput on Character and Circumstance
"People Make History; Not the Other Way Around"

Denver Prelate on the Catholic Political Vocation
"Tolerance Is Not a Christian Virtue"

Archdiocese of Denver
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. - Archbishop of Denver

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Deliberate Agrarian: How To Properly Scald A Chicken(My Never-Fail Technique)
Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner--An interview with Clara Jeffrey (via EB)

Edit. Mother Jones: Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner (Extended Interview) [the condensed version]

VDare links to this article in the Christian Science Monitor: Drug violence tarnishes Mexico's international image

William Lind, On War #293: The Price of Bad Tactics

There are three basic reasons why the U.S. military continues to employ bad infantry tactics when superior alternatives lie ready to hand. The first is the unfortunate combination of hubris and intellectual sloth which characterizes most of the American officer corps - and infantry officers in particular. Most read nothing about their profession. Of those who do read, most confine their study to doctrinal manuals — the U.S. Army’s are wretched rehashed French stuff, the Marine Corp’s somewhat better — or histories of American victories. The number who really study tactics, learning about infiltration tactics, Jaeger tactics, the infantry tactics of oriental militaries etc. through reading, is tiny.

This ignorance is buttressed by hubris, false pride. The American military spends a great deal of time and effort telling itself how wonderful it is. Gorged on its own baloney, it thinks, “How could we possibly learn anything from anyone else? After all, we’re the greatest.” So there is no need for any study beyond study of ourselves. Hubris justifies the closed system ignorance creates.
It reminds me of tonight's post at Stony Creek Digest about the State of the Nation speech and the response by Gov. Jindal: “Americans can do anything.”

What else does American hubris affect? It seems to be linked to American optimism, belief in progress and uniqueness, American exceptionalism and the proposition nation. (See Daniel Larison, Patriotism And Optimism.)

Han Hye Jin 한혜진

Her official website. She is currently starring in Terroir 떼루아.

Han Hye Jin @ Terroir press conference

Han Hye JIn in San Francisco part 1-1

Han Hye Jin in San Francisco part 1-2

Han Hye Jin in San Francisco part1-3

Han Hye Jin in San Francisco part1-4

Han Hye Jin in San Francisco part1-5

News on Han Hye Jin New 2009 Cosmetic CF Shooting

Han Hye Jin as ambassador for World Vision Korea

Han Hye Jin Sports Chosun Photoshoot

Han Hye Jin - NBGI HOMES CF (Making)


Han Hye Jin interview on CTS Christian channel

Not the same as this model:
It Girl Han Hye Jin - Catwalk In New York - Part 1
It Girl Han Hye Jin - Catwalk In New York - Part 2
It Girl Han Hye Jin - Catwalk In New York - Part 3
It Girl Han Hye Jin - Catwalk In New York - Part 4
Han Hye Jin 한혜진 AW07 Compilation

Ok, I have to include this too:
She's Olive: Ara in Tokyo

Yahoo Korea
Korea wiki
Asian Fanatics Gallery
Han Hye Jin (한혜진)' Magazine Photos
The State of the Nation address is full of promises that cannot be fulfilled. And yet there are plenty of people who lap it up, and not all of them are young.

It should not be too difficult to avoid political discussions during Lent.

I've been in a bad mood the past few days, but I do think that this time I will walk away from certain things.
Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Toward an Ars Celebrandi in Liturgy (via NLM)
If Catholic parents believe their daughter has a vocation to marriage, should they be doing more to prepare her for it, instead of leaving her to follow the typical path of her non-believing peers? School may be necessary to get some sort of employment, but it should not be a substitute for a lack of direction (or lack of suitors). Parents need to start early if they are to become part of a network in which matches can be made. (And this requires that they be committed to living in one place and seeking out other faithful Catholics.)
Tom Piatak, More on Fr. Damien and Robert Louis Stevenson

Father Damien to become a saint Oct 11, Vatican says

English translation of Nicola Giampietro's book coming

via Fr. Z:

CWN has posted that Archbp. Ranjith wrote a forward to a book by Nicola Giampietro, a CDW staffer, about the personal papers of the late Ferdinando Card. Antonelli, OFM, one time Secretary of a previous incarnation of the CDW, the Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments (1965-69). Antonelli was no fan of Bugnini’s Consilium or what it did. The book will be published in English by Roman Catholic Books next September under the title True Development of the Liturgy.
More on the Forward: Archbishop Ranjith promotes reform of the reform
Clear Words of Msgr Ranjith on the Flaws of the Postconciliar Liturgical Reforms and the Need for a Reform of the Reform
Michael Shedlock, 14-year Commercial Real Estate Supply In China (Beijing, specifically...)

Hilaire Belloc, An Examination of Socialism

An Examination of Socialism Part I
An Examination of Socialism Part II
An Examination of Socialism Part III

A. J. Penty, How the Guilds May Be Restored
Paul Craig Roberts, How the Economy was Lost

America’s 20th century economic success was based on two things. Free trade was not one of them. America’s economic success was based on protectionism, which was ensured by the union victory in the Civil War, and on British indebtedness, which destroyed the British pound as world reserve currency. Following World War II, the US dollar took the role as reserve currency, a privilege that allows the US to pay its international bills in its own currency.

World War II and socialism together ensured that the US economy dominated the world at the mid 20th century. The economies of the rest of the world had been destroyed by war or were stifled by socialism [in terms of the priorities of the capitalist growth model. Editors.]

The ascendant position of the US economy caused the US government to be relaxed about giving away American industries, such as textiles, as bribes to other countries for cooperating with America’s cold war and foreign policies. For example, Turkey’s US textile quotas were increased in exchange for over-flight rights in the Gulf War, making lost US textile jobs an off-budget war expense.

In contrast, countries such as Japan and Germany used industrial policy to plot their comebacks. By the late 1970s, Japanese auto makers had the once dominant American auto industry on the ropes. The first economic act of the “free market” Reagan administration in 1981 was to put quotas on the import of Japanese cars in order to protect Detroit and the United Auto Workers.

Eamonn Fingleton, Pat Choate, and others have described how negligence in Washington DC aided and abetted the erosion of America’s economic position. What we didn’t give away, the United States let be taken away while preaching a “free trade” doctrine at which the rest of the world scoffed.
Mr. Roberts continues with the history of offshoring and its impact. What is the evidence for and against there being a significant amount of offshoring? Do we need any more? Or would a trip into Target or Walmart suffice?

1 *The Twilight of Neo-Liberalism? by Frank Lee (pdf)
Just watched Season 7: Ep 10 (5:00 PM - 6:00 PM) of 24 --in the last 5 minutes or so you can watch a "growling" contest between Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida. Does that sort of masculinity still attract women?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thomas Fleming, Clueless Catholic

Dr. Fleming does not have a high opinion of certain aspects of neo-Thomist moral philosophy/theology:

Mr. Weigel is one of many victims of modern Catholic education and the Neo-Thomist ideology that has more to do with Hegelian rationalism than with the traditional teachings of the Church. Obviously, the pre-Christian world included large numbers of morally serious people who believed in god or gods but did not entirely condemn either abortion or infanticide. The argument, then, that all seriously moral people would oppose abortion cannot be true. It is a little like saying anyone remotely interested in science would agree with Newton or Einstein. Obviously, something happened to change the discourse: the Incarnation. A self-described Catholic is supposed to know these things.
What is it to be "seriously moral"? To inquire about ethics and right human action? Is that enough? Or should one possess some degree of virtue? Was Aristotle virtuous? Cicero? Or that some were ignorant of certain precepts of the Natural Law, but were not culpable for this ignorance? Or certain precepts are more difficult for natural reason to discover than others? And how did the Incarnation change the discourse? That the fullness of Divine Revelation was given to mankind in Christ?

Now, there is an element of truth in the argument, which is that just as we do not wish to be killed unjustly, we should not kill unjustly. But what if abortion is not unjust? What if we regard it as, in some cases, a necessity or at least a preferable option? After all, just because we do not wish to be executed does not mean that we necessarily oppose the death penalty. We might even say that were we to commit a cold-blooded murder, we should deserve killing. Thus, if we think life is not worth living without an IQ above 75 or without a reasonably healthy body or without loving parents, we might say that abortion in such cases is reasonable and just and might even, honestly or not, say that we would apply the same criteria to ourselves.
Is abortion unjust? That depends on the status of the conceptum--is it a individual human being, a person, and therefore has a claim to equality? Capital punishment is not the same as euthanasia or some other form of "mercy killing" is it? Justice is the rationale for the former, but not for the latter. Is 'passive' suicide (in which one wills to die, but by the hand of another) unjust? It is unjust towards society and God. It is also counter to charity. Being resigned to death as the result of certain natural processes is not the same as actively bringing it about.

From the beginning Christian women did not kill their babies. This is one of the things we can learn from the early Apostolic Fathers. Christians did not practice either infanticide or sodomy. For both prohibitions, there is ample justification in natural law, as that phrase was understood by Aristotle, Cicero, and St. Thomas. We were not made sexual beings to violate each others’ anuses or to enjoy ourselves while disposing of the fruits of our coition. Mothers, in this tradition, do not have a universal obligation to prevent abortion but a specific obligation not just not to kill their children but to nurture and cherish them. This is not like some corollary deduced from a basic logic axiom: It is a specific duty that arises both from the nature that God created and from God’s love for us.
Actually, would not St. Thomas say that the obligation to not kill children is derived some way for the first principle of practical reason? And from the commandment to love God and neighbor? Is Dr. Fleming displaying a skepticism that we can have a knowledge of certain precepts of the natural law? It seems not. But to say that "it is a specific duty that arises both from the nature that God created and from God's love for us"... can we not say that the duty is derived by reason from these principles? Is reasoning not involved? Could not neo-Thomists agree with what he says here? It would appear that he mistakenly attributes to neo-Thomists and proponents of the New Natural Law Theory a faulty understanding of the Natural Law and how its precepts are derived--they attempt to derive said precepts from a "from a basic logic axiom" in the same way that certain modern philosophers attempted to build up a systematic ethics (Spinoza? Kant?). How would Dr. Fleming account for the derivation of Natural Law precepts? (And what is his understanding of the Natural Law?)

The most basic error is to cover Christian truth with the tinsel trappings of Enlightenment universalism that makes everyone owe everyone else the same duties. Thus, we hear sweeping claims, expressed in a Kantian idiom, that it is everyone’s duty to prevent a nonChristian female from killing her child, whether she lives in China or Peru. Their arguments frequently rely on misused or misunderstood Scriptural citations, which, if refuted, might unsettle the convictions of a poor Fundamentalist. Among the worst are the utilitarian arguments that tell us we may be losing countless Beethovens and Shakespeares, to say nothing of millions of taxpayers who will pay my Social Security. But what if if turns out that in economic terms, abortion is a net gain, in preventing the birth of millions of welfare-dependent blacks and Mexicans? Would that make abortion a civic duty? Live by bad arguments, die by bad arguments. The cumulative effect of much of the professional pro-life ideology is to distort and deflect the question, away from the really important thing, which is how to convert nonbelievers, who will then be far less likely to kill their babies, toward comparatively trivial legislative policies and judicial agendas.

If everyone is rational enough to understand that abortion is wrong, why is it that so few defenders of the unborn are capable either of entering into a rational discourse or studying history?
Dr. Fleming takes the opportunity to criticize the Theocons for their support of the Iraq War,
authority to pontiifcate on such moral issues. But he is also opposed to certain Enlightenment conceptions of morality and ethical reasoning, and a form of "busibodiness" that leads one to ignore one's own primary duties in favor of advocacy. Are the proponents of the New Natural Law Theory or neo-Thomists wrong in thinking that the prohibition against abortion cannot be discovered by natural reason? But this is not the same as saying that everyone owes the same duties to everyone else, no more, no less.

Another point that could be made in response is this: advocacy, pushing for political and legal reform, praying for the conversion of others, helping unborn children and their parents through almsgiving, adoption and so on is not necessarily wrong -- Dr. Fleming is correct if these actions are done to the neglect of more fundamental duties. But determining what is to be done involves prudence, and a broad condemnation of all such actions in the concrete cannot be made.

In a comment, he elaborates a bit more:
It is not that there is no rational or scientific basis for opposing abortion. From a sociobiological point of view, the purpose of existence–though they would not like the word purpose–is reproductive success, which makes abortion and contraception undesirable. But this would not justify a prohibition, for example, on destroying a child who could not reproduce or was certain to be homosexual, or would be feeble-minded and thus be a drag on the family’s resources. There is a convergence of science and moral theology, but, as my friend Sam Francis warned me years ago after reading my first book, a gap remains between is and ought. (I might add that Hume’s argument has been distorted and misrepresented, as Stephen R.L.Clark argued some years ago in an excellent article)

While it is true, as St. Alphonsus says, summing up a long tradition, that people who perform or procure abortions should be regarded as excommunicate, this in no way relieves the Church of the responsibility of publicly denouncing such people and their advocates. I should add that, while students of theology are free to make general statements on what the Church teaches, it is not up to a layman to make these judgments in any particular case; indeed, it is a grave error to do so.

Not being a fan of Leon Kass and having failed to learn from him anything I did not know already, I do not see that he has a great deal to contribute to this discussion. Aristotle, who is a formidable figure, regarded abortion as a reasonable way of limiting family size. If the creator of systematic logic did not see a problem–though he too would have deplored the abortions for frivolous causes that are the overwhelming majority of American abortions– as unnatural and counter-productive, we can hardly say that acceptance of abortion is inconsistent with reason.
But Dr. Fleming should know that the acquisition of moral science and right practical reasoning is not dependent upon correct reasoning (the use of logic) alone. There is also the question of right appetite. Aristotle may have thought that 'abortion' was no different from contraception, because of an error in his natural science. Did he think that all forms of contraception were morally permissible? How could he differentiate between contracepting for the sake of pleasure and contracepting for the sake of not having children? It seems impossible that both the man and the woman have sex for the sake of duty alone, while believing that they could not raise a child that might result from sex--one must be seeking pleasure in order for the other to consent to the act out of duty.

Begun on February 22.

A response from Maximos at WWWTW: Liberalism, Abortion, and Community - a Note

Some have stated on Facebook that they will be check FB less regularly for Lent. Others will give up blogging... hmm.
Twitch: First Footage From Ritchie’s SHERLOCK HOLMES and Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES! and Amenabar’s Epic AGORA In Trailer Form! (I can't tell who the attackers are--intolerant Christians?)

Edit. The second link has been updated with a better quality trailer.
Franklin Spinney, Obama Steps on the Pentagon Escalator
Micael Hudson, The Language of Looting
What "Nationalize the Banks" and the "Free Market" Really Mean in Today's Looking-Glass World
Creating a cottage garden
Rosalind Creasy, Dave Smith,
The early Puritans left their mark on us in a number of ways, some of which make life a series of joyless tasks. Sometimes I think their devotees must write garden books. The tone of many of the how-to books reeks of rules, admonitions, and dicta. How about a garden that is programmed to give you joy, to take care of you?

Sandro Magister, Secularism in Danger. Two Cardinals Are Running to its Defense (h/t: Fr. Z)
Fr. Z: QUAERITUR: removing holy water during Lent

From the response by the Congregation for Divine Worship:
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).
iirc, I have read similar reasons given by representatives of the Eastern churches for why celebration of the Divine Liturgy (and communion as well?) are curtailed during Lent. Is this the rationale that is given by Orthodox bishops?
The American Papist: Update: Legion of Christ to respond to scandal on Tuesday

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thomas Storck, What Is Distributism?
Please pray for a friend's sister, who passed away last week, and for her family. Thanks.

Norbertine chant

(See the post at the American Papist.)

more videos
St. Michael's Abbey
Christmas at St. Michael's Abbey

Farnborough Abbey (Benedictine)

B16: On the Primacy of the Chair of Peter

On the Primacy of the Chair of Peter

"Called to Perform a Special Service"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Gospel passage that today's Sunday liturgy offers for our meditation is the one in which the paralytic is forgiven and healed (Mark 2:1-12). While Jesus was preaching, among the many sick people who were brought to him, a paralytic was brought to him on a mat. Seeing him, the Lord said: "Son, your sins are forgiven you" (Mark 2:5). And because some of those present were scandalized on hearing these words, he added: "'So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth' -- he said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home'" (Mark 2:10-11). And the paralytic went away healed. This Gospel episode shows that Jesus has the power not only to heal the sick body but also to forgive sins; and indeed, the physical healing is a sign of the spiritual healing that his forgiveness produces. In effect, sin is a kind of paralysis of the spirit, from which only the power of the merciful love of God can liberate us, allowing us to pick ourselves up and set out again along the path of goodness.

This Sunday is also the feast of the Chair of Peter, an important liturgical feast that highlights the office of the successor of the Prince of the Apostles. The chair of Peter symbolizes the authority of the Bishop of Rome, who is called to perform a special service for the whole People of God. Immediately after the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, the primacy of the Church of Rome in the Catholic community was recognized. This role was already attested to in the 2nd century by St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Romans, Pref.: Funk, I, 252) and by St. Irenaeus of Lyons (Contra Haereses, III, 3, 2-3). This singular and specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome was stressed again by the Second Vatican Council. "Moreover, within the Church," we read in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, "particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Pref.) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it" (Lumen Gentium, 13).

Dear brothers and sister, this feast provides me with the occasion to ask you to accompany me with your prayers, so that I may faithfully carry out this great task, entrusted to me by Providence, as successor to the Apostle Peter. We invoke the Virgin Mary, whom we celebrated yesterday, here in Rome, under the title of Our Lady of Confidence. We ask her to help us to enter into the Lenten season -- which will begin on Wednesday with the evocative Rite of Ashes -- with devout dispositions of soul. May Mary open our hearts to conversion and to a docile listening to the Word of God.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[The Pope then greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims gathered for this Angelus. In today's liturgy, we witness Jesus healing the paralytic lowered to him through the roof because of a large crowd. This passage reminds us that the Lord has power to forgive sins, and that nothing stands in the way of his mercy when we seek him with pure and contrite hearts! Let us never hesitate to ask his pardon - especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation - so that we may become better instruments of his love for others. God bless you all!

© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Alan Jacobs reviews 3 books on the New Monasticism.

Other links:
the simple way
The New Monasticism Christianity Today
Community Habit
MPR: New Monasticism
Dietrich Bonhoeffer On New Monasticism
The unexpected monks - The Boston Globe
The Christian Century
Wipf and Stock Publishers
New Habits for a New Era? Exploring New Monasticism
Reihan Salam, Color Prejudice and São Paulo Fashion Week