Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Evolution of Divorce by W. BRADFORD WILCOX
John Robb recommends a new book by Daniel Suarez, NEW BOOK: FREEDOM.

Daemon & its sequel, FreedomTM - by Daniel Suarez

Interviews with the author:
Daniel Suarez: interview with the author of Daemon - Telegraph
InformIT: Show 035 - An Interview with Daniel Suarez
Interview With Daniel Suarez - The Dreamin' Demon
Episode 008 - Daniel Suarez on Mevio - Daniel Suarez - Daemon: Bot-Mediated Reality
Marié Digby - Bring Me Love (Backstage at Joe's Pub 12/1/09)
Feel - Marié Digby at Joe's Pub NYC 12/1/2009

Hayley Westenra Interview NZ Radio 2009

Hayley Westenra, A.J Moore and Tim Evans perform 'Never Saw Blue' live at St Albans Arena in October 2009.
OJOS GARÇOS HA LA NIÑA (Anónimo) - Cancionero de Uppsala (S. XVI)

Ave Maria, Pedro de Cristo

The Road is being shown over at Santana Row and not at any of the major multiplexes. I don't know how many screens nationwide are showing the movie, but it seems to be marketed to a small audience. Reviews generally say it is good, but few are claiming it is among the year's best. Invictus is getting a higher rating over at RT. I doubt anyone here would want to watch the movie other than me...

Cormac McCarthy’s "The Road" By Joan Frawley Desmond
This is pretty close to my ideal with respect to Church architecture -- The 10th (or 11th) Century Basilica of Sant'Elia. I like the small altar and the ciborium/baldachin.
Cistercian Publications

I've purchased some of their books in the past, but I don't know how orthodox the publisher is, though I think they concentrate mostly on works in monastic theology?

Save 30% off all titles with this code: CPDEC30.
Zenit: Father Cantalamessa Calls Priests to Be Servants

Two conservative responses to the troop increase

Obama's folly: Rather than trying to salvage Bush's policy in Afghanistan, the president should show real courage and just pull the plug. By Andrew J. Bacevich

William Lind, O = W
(links via the Western Confucian)
The Epicenter of Mendacity By DAVE LINDORFF
Obama's Illegal War on Afghanistan
Paul Craig Roberts, The Twin Frauds of Obama
Kelly McCann has his own website now...

Friday, December 04, 2009

My generation created the sexual revolution - and it has been wrecking the lives of women ever since (via Stephen Hand)

The caption reads: Dangerous: When Tom Cruise is stupid enough to permit his three-year-old to totter out in high heels, what hope is there for fans who see him as a role-model?

When I read the rumor that she was insisting that her daughter go to Catholic school, I thought Katie Holmes had some sense, but apparently she doesn't have enough of it.

Nowadays, parents (the ' grandchildren' of the sexual revolution) have no compunction about dressing their little girls as minihookers and taking them along to see sexually explicit acts like the Pussycat Dolls, where dancers mimic sex on stage.

Those girls grow up to post pictures of themselves posing like porn stars on the internet. Indeed, a third of teenage girls, we learnt this week, text sexually explicit pictures of themselves, too. And so it goes on.

How much of lesbian experimentation is due not only to female sensuality and curiosity, but a felt repugnance to men due to the culture and bad experiences?
Mark Hackard, The Cunning of Heresy

More on Christianity and the Enlightenment.
Zenit: A Silence That Contemplates and Adores

Thursday, December 03, 2009

My mother learned this week that the daughter of a friend has bladder cancer. Her operation is scheduled for Dec. 8, but "it doesn't look good." Please pray for the daughter and the mother as well, whose physical condition has worsened as a result of finding out about her daughter.

Our earthly lives are so fragile...

The funeral Mass for Mrs. O is tomorrow; I will attend if I am not working.

Do the accidents of history make the classics?

From an interview with Cormac McCarthy (thanks to Patrick Ford):

CM: Well, I don't know what of our culture is going to survive, or if we survive. If you look at the Greek plays, they're really good. And there's just a handful of them. Well, how good would they be if there were 2,500 of them? But that's the future looking back at us. Anything you can think of, there's going to be millions of them. Just the sheer number of things will devalue them. I don't care whether it's art, literature, poetry or drama, whatever. The sheer volume of it will wash it out. I mean, if you had thousands of Greek plays to read, would they be that good? I don't think so.

JH: No, you're absolutely right. Just as an example, the Toronto Film Festival is one of the biggest in film festivals. They have made it, for the first time ever, much more difficult to submit a film. They charge an entry fee and they still had 4,000 submissions just this year and they boiled that down to 300.

CM: This is just entry level to what's coming. Just the appalling volume of artifacts will erase all meaning that they could ever possibly have. But we probably won't get that far anyway.

How many good Greek plays have been lost to us? (How many inspired writings?) We have a good idea of some of Aristotle's works that are no longer extant.
Sandro Magister, China: One Bishop's About-Face Reignites the Dispute between Bertone and Zen
The people -vs- the CRU: Freedom of information, my okole… (link from the article in the previous post)

The Devil's Kitchen: CRUdGate - Why this can't be swept under the carpet

The Devil's Kitchen: CRUdGate - Why this can't be swept under the carpet
ONE MAN'S RESPONSE TO "THE DEATH OF MACHO" By Reihan Salam, A Rebuttal By Scott McGuire (the original article by Reihan Salam, with some additional notes here)

It seems that there is a mancession.

As women start to gain more of the social, economic, and political power they have long been denied, it will be nothing less than a full-scale revolution the likes of which human civilization has never experienced... This is not to say that women and men will fight each other across armed barricades. The conflict will take a subtler form, and the main battlefield will be hearts and minds.

For someone who wants to see the death of macho, this is some excessively petulant verbiage. In other words, dem's fightin' words! Who says hearts and minds are a battlefield? Are these the words that further the cause of partnership, cooperation and mutual endearment? Do they increase affection and care for one another? I just can't figure out what she wants!

There is, in fact, an historical precedent for the role men must now learn, or re-learn, to play in these times. Underneath the silliness about "consumption marriage" is an ancient archetype we might call the "producer marriage" where the family group engages in growing and creating things instead of buying them.

This is called Husbandry, and is the Office to which we all must Commute ourselves in the Rush Hour of Collapse. The husbanding, or taking care of, each other, our homes, our waters and our food supplies, is the terrain upon which we shall join or rend. How to be a Good Husband, however, is a question any useful education must now answer, because the answers apply to a far wider domain than the marriages of human beings. Our bonds to all creation have frayed.

The author of the response seems sympathetic to the radical egalitarian project, though he affirms some traditional male roles. It would seem that he and Mr. Salam are similar on that point.

Juan del Encina

I thoroughly enjoyed the program by the Stanford Early Music Singers last night, and it was a good opportunity to be introduced to some more Spanish composers, like Juan del Encina. (The vernacular compositions made me want to take up learning Spanish again.)

HOASM: Juan del Encina
Juan del Encina
AmCon: What Are Words Worth? by Peter W. Wood

Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, Mark Garvey, Touchstone, 240 pages
Staring Out Across The Fields
Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer

The fact that there are no crops to watch now does not mean than there is not plenty for farmer eyes to see. What in the world is “Tom” doing over there ? — oh, I see, he’s chiseling corn stubble for next year’s beans. And there’s “Mary” disking bean ground for next year’s corn. And, oh yes, we all know what “Harry” is doing. That liquid pig manure he’s spreading has a smell that will go for a mile or two with the right wind.


Scientists Believe Your Cell Phone Is a Death Trap (via Stephen Hand)
Andrew Cusack: The Sovereign Scotch Order of Whisky

The City of Man

Liber Sapientiae 2

Dixerunt enim cogitantes apud se non recte:
“ Exiguum et cum taedio est tempus vitae nostrae,
et non est refrigerium in fine hominis,
et non est agnitus, qui sit reversus ab inferis.
2 Quia ex tempore nati sumus
et post hoc erimus, tamquam non fuerimus,
quoniam fumus flatus est in naribus nostris,
et sermo scintilla in motu cordis nostri;
3 qua exstincta, cinis fiet corpus nostrum,
et spiritus diffundetur tamquam mollis aer.
4 Et nomen nostrum oblivioni tradetur per tempus,
et nemo memoriam habebit operum nostrorum;
et transibit vita nostra tamquam vestigium nubis,
et sicut nebula dissolvetur,
quae fugata est a radiis solis
et a calore illius aggravata.
5 Umbrae enim transitus est tempus nostrum,
et non est reversio finis nostri,
quoniam consignata est, et nemo revertitur.
6 Venite ergo, et fruamur bonis, quae sunt,
et utamur creatura tamquam in iuventute sollicite.
7 Vino pretioso et unguentis nos impleamus,
et non praetereat nos flos temporis verni;
8 coronemus nos calycibus rosarum, antequam marcescant,
9 nullum pratum exsors sit luxuriae nostrae;
ubique relinquamus signa laetitiae,
quoniam haec est pars nostra, et haec est sors.
10 Opprimamus pauperem iustum
et non parcamus viduae
nec veterani revereamur canos multi temporis.
11 Sit autem fortitudo nostra lex iustitiae;
quod enim infirmum est, inutile invenitur.
12 Circumveniamus ergo iustum, quoniam inutilis est nobis
et contrarius est operibus nostris
et improperat nobis peccata legis
et diffamat in nos peccata disciplinae nostrae.
13 Promittit se scientiam Dei habere
et filium Dei se nominat.
14 Factus est nobis in accusationem cogitationum nostrarum;
gravis est nobis etiam ad videndum,
15 quoniam dissimilis est aliis vita illius,
et immutatae sunt viae eius.
16 Tamquam scoria aestimati sumus ab illo,
et abstinet se a viis nostris tamquam ab immunditiis;
beata dicit novissima iustorum
et gloriatur patrem se habere Deum.
17 Videamus ergo, si sermones illius veri sint,
et tentemus, quae in exitu eius erunt:
18 si enim est verus filius Dei, suscipiet illum
et liberabit eum de manibus contrariorum.
19 Contumelia et tormento interrogemus eum,
ut sciamus modestiam eius
et probemus patientiam illius;
20 morte turpissima condemnemus eum:
erit enim ei visitatio ex sermonibus illius ”.
21 Haec cogitaverunt et erraverunt;
excaecavit enim illos malitia eorum,
22 et nescierunt sacramenta Dei
neque mercedem speraverunt sanctitatis
nec iudicaverunt honorem animarum immaculatarum.
23 Quoniam Deus creavit hominem in incorruptibilitate
et imaginem similitudinis suae fecit illum;
24 invidia autem Diaboli mors introivit in orbem terrarum;
experiuntur autem illam, qui sunt ex parte illius.

Douay-Rheims translation
KTVU News: Gun Owners Wear Weapons, Politics In Plain View
Afghanistan: the Roach Motel of Empires By ZOLTAN GROSSMAN

It seems fine, but then he writes this:

We should get out of Afghanistan and allows Afghanis to form a National Unity Government—not simply of the northern mujahedin warlords and the Pashtun Taliban (the men with the guns), but of all Afghan ethnic groups and civil society--including the women, youth and elders.

How is this going to be accomplished and preserved?
If we truly lived in a republic, would a teacher or doctor get more respect than a "normal" citizen? After all, isn't the work that a citizen engaged in more important than the work of a teacher or a doctor? (Though not as important as the work of a priest or bishop.) One should show respect to a teacher or medic for his learning, but is the [social] status of a teacher or medic necessarily higher than that of a true citizen? (Admittedly the social status of a teacher is rather low in the United States, unless he is a teacher at a university.)

Since we do not typically accord a citizen with more respect than a doctor, what does this say about our political form, or our understanding of citizenship and its responsibilities?

(It is the case that in certain polities where many are citizens, Aristotle says that their participation in government should be limited to selecting others for office. But would this imply that their work is not important, or less dignified than that of a teacher of grammar or a medic?)
Twitch: Chow Yun-Fat on the Set of 孔子 (Confucius)
Six Things We Know For Sure in the Wake of ‘Climate Gate’
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture

A few people have been in touch to ask whether, in the light of the recent illegal hacking into UEA's emails, and the proposition by climate deniers that some of the emails that have emerged prove climate change is a scam, Transition Network now intends to renounce the absurd notion of human-induced climate change. Of course not.


A more tentative acceptance would be better justified, I would think...

Edit. Popular Mechanics article, via Rod Dreher.
JMG, Lies and Statistics and Hagbard's Law
Dr. Fleming reveals why there is discord between him and Dr. Gottfried. If not for the sake of friends (or family), then what?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fr. Sherwin's brother has written a book about climate change and the energy crisis: Addicted to Energy. Does he offer sustainable solutions?
PCR, The Obama Puppet: The World's Least Powerful Man

The Fallacy Of Alternative Energy By Peter Goodchild (via Carolyn Baker)

Red Alert: The Second Wave Of The Financial Tsunami By Matthias Chang (via Carolyn Baker)
Grant Havers takes on Charles Taylor: A Heretical Contradiction.

Logic, unfortunately, is not his strong point. In an essay on multiculturalism and the “politics of recognition,” Taylor credits Christianity with advancing the separation of church and state in the modern West. Correctly in my view, Taylor spies an historic relation between this faith and the liberalism of the Enlightenment. Both traditions at their best teach a healthy suspicion of attempts to centralize power into the hands of frail and sinful human beings who are all too easily tempted to abuse their authority when it comes to regulating matters of the heart. He also teaches (again, correctly in my view) that Christianity is unique among faiths in insisting on this separation; in theological terms, the realm of Caesar must not become idolatrously confused with that of Christ. Yet this admirable defense of western Christianity’s historic particularity does not deter Taylor from calling on all peoples of the West to universalize tolerance, that is, to promote “recognition” of all peoples, Christian or not: “we [must] all recognize the equal value of different cultures; we [must] not only let them survive, but acknowledge their worth,” he intones. In practice, that means the enshrinement of group rights for anybody who doesn’t belong to the majority Christian culture. (These rights range from affirmative action to separate criminal justice systems all the way to self-government.)

It is beyond my mental powers to reconcile these two beliefs of Taylor. If Christianity alone is unique in teaching the separation of church and state, then is it wise to recognize the equal value of cultures that do not? Should tolerance extend to the intolerant?
The end of the political community is not the same as man's ultimate end, and thus the secular authority is not to be identified with the authority of Christ or of His representatives. But is one subordinate to the other? And is it permissible for this to be the status quo in Christian polities? What is meant by the "separation of Church and State" in an authentic Christian polity (where the authority of the Church is recognized, even if it is not "established") is unlike the current liberal dogma.

Is Mr. Havers's characterization of Lincoln correct, though?

This guilt-ridden theology would have astonished tough-minded Christian realists like St. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, or Lincoln, none of whom identified “charity for all” with either surrender or suicide.

That is a bit much, to lump Lincoln in with St. Augustine. As for Luther and Calvin, well, perhaps it is somewhat appropriate, if we consider their politics (Calvin believed in separation of Church and State?), but how much of a Christian was Lincoln, really?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Carlo Gesualdo, Miserere

Sung by the Hilliard Ensemble.
Just found this: Seneca's Moral Epistles.

On Facing Hardships:

Spite of all do you still chafe and complain, not understanding that, in all the evils to which you refer, there is really only one--the fact that you do chafe and complain? If you ask me, I think that for a man there is no misery unless there is something in the universe which he thinks miserable. I shall not endure myself on that day when I find anything unendurable.

I am ill; but that is a part of my lot. My slaves have fallen sick, my income has gone off, my house is rickety, I have been assailed by losses, accidents, toil, and fear; this is a common thing. Nay, that was an understatement; it was an inevitable thing. Such affairs come by order, and not by accident. If you will believe me, it is my inmost emotions that I am just now disclosing to you when everything seems to go hard and uphill, I have trained myself not merely to obey God, but to agree with His decisions. I follow Him because my soul wills it, and not because I must. Nothing will ever happen to me that I shall receive with ill humour or with a wry face. I shall pay up all my taxes willingly. Now all the things which cause us to groan or recoil are part of the tax of life--things, my dear Lucilius, which you should never hope and never seek to escape.

It was disease of the bladder that made you apprehensive; downcast letters came from you, you were continually getting worse; I will touch the truth more closely, and say that you feared for your life. But come, did you not know, when you prayed for long life, that this was what you were praying for? A long life that includes all these troubles, just as a long journey includes dust and mud and rain. "But," you cry, "I wished to live, and at the same time to be immune from all ills." Such a womanish cry does no credit to a man. Consider in what attitude you shall receive this prayer of mine (I offer it not only in a good, but in a noble spirit): "May gods and goddesses alike forbid that Fortune keep you in luxury!" Ask yourself voluntarily which you would choose if some god gave you the choice--life in a cafe or life in a camp.

And yet life, Lucilius, is really a battle. For this reason those who are tossed about at sea, who proceed uphill and downhill over toilsome crags and heights, who go on campaigns that bring the greatest danger, are heroes and front-rank fighters; but persons who live in rotten luxury and ease while others toil, are mere turtle-doves--safe only because men despise them. Farewell.

Latin Library
Hmm.. $10 to hear Marié Digby live in SF on December 9... but then there is the hassle of finding parking (or paying for it).

MARIEDIGBY.ORG | a fansite for marié digby | Marié Digby's #1 Fans
Hotel Utah Saloon

Asia News: Pockets of rot
Dubai World's collapse is not too surprising - unless you are an HSBC executive; its public excesses were only one early indicator of what would surely follow. But its failure raises the question of where else are such rotten, overblown economic fantasies waiting to disintegrate. We can start with China, then London ... Martin Hutchinson
Asia News: Seoul: Filipinas forced into sex trade with foreigners and US soldiers
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Women enter the country on ‘Arts and Performance’ visas but are soon turned into waitresses who have to sell their bodies if they cannot sell between 200 and 500 drinks a month. Human rights activists want the government to intervene.
Asia News: Fr. Samir: Islam in paralysis and war; the West without a memory
by Samir Khalil Samir
The situation in the Middle East is stagnant: a crisis of Islam drags everything into a fatal paralysis. The crisis also affects the West, oblivious to its Christian roots. Yet Islam and the West need each other. A study by our expert on Islam, in preparation for the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East.

Asia Times: Drywall can corrode US-China links
Evidence is growing that defects in Chinese-made drywall - a building material - used in the United States is heaping more misery on thousands of already financially beleaguered US homeowners. The scale of damage and costs is unfolding slowly, but the resulting disillusion could spread to corrode the international body politic. - Benjamin A Shobert
AmCon: Liberty and Order in the Slave Society

Conservatism and Southern Intellectuals, 1789-1861: Liberty, Tradition, and the Good Society, Adam L. Tate, University of Missouri Press, 402 pages
Zenit: Papal Letter to Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople
"Christianity Is Faced With Increasingly Complex Challenges"

Pope to Orthodox: History Impeding the Holy Spirit
Sends Message to Patriarch for Feast of St. Andrew


Is the popular notion of karma ultimately incompatible with Christian teaching on the nature of Divine Justice (and Love)? Does the Chinese notion of bo ying, revenge, originate in Buddhism, or does it predate the arrival of Buddhism in China? The Buddhist notion of karma does not seem to be identical to karma as it is popular understood. It seems that there is at least a separation between a theistic notion of karma and an atheistic one.

According to Christian teaching, God may permit others to do evil as a punishment for sin, both individual and collective. Often our acceptance of karma can be summed up in the wish, "May the evil that you do (to me) be returned to you (by someone else)." If we are injured we seek some manner of redress, though we sinners often forget that we ourselves have injured others as well. It doesn't have to be a big injury -- just a slight or small gesture of disrespect (or lack of acknowledgment or consideration, especially of our feelings) can trigger a desire for karma along with the appropriate emotional response. It is rather like the flip side of the "Golden Rule," whether it be expressed positively (as in Christianity) or negatively (as in Confucianism), though it goes beyond it, since it may not happen that evil will be revisited by a similar evil action.

That we sin knowingly and willingly is a sufficient punishment in itself, because by our sin we prevent ourselves from obtaining our ultimate end. And yet, there definitely is a place within Christian teaching for temporal punishments, committed by other agents, as well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

POF-USA, LWRC, Bushmaster -- looking for other companies that make a upper receiver for the M4 with a gas piston (similar to the HK416 or not)... there's also Osprey Defense and Bushmaster that make a conversion kits.

Edit. This article has some links -- Ruger SR-556 Gas Piston/Op-Rod AR-15 Carbine/Rifle: Ruger Enters the Piston-Driven AR Fray. Sarge you should read what the author says about gas piston/op-rod vs. DI. GAS -- what do you think? (This must be old: Colt M4 Carbine’s Future Uncertain: Dark Clouds Forming.)
SJ Mercury: Opinion: San Jose police don't deserve Mercury News' unfair criticism

(by former chief Joseph McNamara)

I wait for the day the Mercury goes out of business.
Spartan Cops: The OODA Loop: A simple concept for modern combat strategy (via John Robb's John Boyd Blog)

Another way of looking at practical reason at work. Are the habits of intellect and will required for combat different from the virtues? It would seem to be the case. The habits of judgment and reacting/responding to a given action seem to be more reflexive, requiring very less judgment and willing? Or are they just more sharply tuned to such situations?
John Robb, INCREDIBLE EDIBLE -- he gives a short profile of Incredible Edible and relates it to his concept of resilient communities.
From The New Atlantis:
The Climate E-mails and the Politics of Science

by Ivan Kenneally

The recently leaked e-mails from British climate scientists reveal a volatile combination of political ideology, unapologetic mendacity, and simmering contempt for dissent and disagreement. READ MORE

Other commentary from New Atlantis contributors:
Also on The World Over, from last Friday -- Fr. Thomas Williams, LC. "Fr. Thomas Williams, LC, ThD talks about his new book 'Can God Be Trusted? Finding Faith in Troubled Times'." Will any of the LC/RC critics be weighing in on what he says?

Google Books: Who is my neighbor?: personalism and the foundations of human rights
CBS Early Show Talks with Fr. Thomas Williams - Regnum Christi
The Foundations of the Free Society - The Acton Institute
Thomas D., LC Williams - Beyond Distributive Justice
I guess I'll be skipping The Prisoner remake: Imprisoned by David B. Hart. I'll just watch the original all the way through someday...

From the review:

Much of the program reflected both the intellectual stance and personality of its creator. Patrick McGoohan was a very likable but fairly flinty soul, by all accounts, with a gift for playing characters with a very sharp edge; he was also a believing Catholic with a deep streak of Christian humanism in his vision of reality, whose moral convictions were firm and non-negotiable. An old story says that he turned down the role of James Bond because he objected to the idea of a hero whose chief accomplishments were killing and copulating at random. His most famous character before Number 6 was John Drake (who, incidentally, may actually be the same character as Number 6), the protagonist of Danger Man (or, as it was called in this country, Secret Agent), far and away the most intelligent entry in the fanciful espionage genre of the 1960s; and it is remarkable now, when one reviews that program, that its central character—a handsome man in a dangerous line of work—is entirely devoid of any impulse towards brutality or promiscuity. And yet, for many of us who came of age watching him, McGoohan was the very quintessence of what it was to be cool.

An interview with Jim Caviezel on The World Over. I was looking forward to listening to the interview, but now I have some trepidation. What will he say in defense of his latest project?
Kinokuniya sells some Tenugui (traditional Japanese hand towel), along with traditional cloth gift/package wrappers. I was thinking of purchasing one, but they are expensive -- $13 to $15 each. Are they of better quality than the cheap cloths one can presumably get at WalMart? They do look better though. But would I put it to use? Perhaps, if someone would teach me how to tie it around my head.

(source of photo)

Jun Gifts
Tenugui (Hand Towel) - KENDO


Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy spending Thanksgiving with family, and this year with Sarge and his family friends. Still, why shouldn't I be reflective about this national holiday? It seems reasonable to find the source of various harvest/thanksgiving festivals in the Fall harvest, no? Thanksgiving, having agrarian roots, thus has an intimate connection to a place and its seasons (and climate).

I do not know if local Churches have ever set aside a day to specifically give thanks to our Lord for the harvest, or if this was just remembered during the day's liturgies.

Then what of the American holiday Thanksgiving? I was reminded that it was instituted by none other than Abraham Lincoln, but permanently recognized by Congress 75 years later. The pilgrims are not named in Lincoln's proclamation. How then did they assume such a prominent place in the the national myth of Thanksgiving? Is it because the Northeastern elites were able to assume national power?

Setting aside the question of how much of an orthodox Christian Lincoln really was (as opposed to someone who made use of Biblical language in his rhetoric in order to strengthen public support and resolve and to turn the War to Prevent Southern Independence into a crusade), we can ask whether celebrating a national holiday is consonant with localist aspirations.

Bill Kauffman writes in his The Grinch Who Moved Thanksgiving:
George Washington issued the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation on November 26, 1789, but the early presidents, disproportionately Virginian and of a states’ rights disposition, regarded such proclamations as excessively Yankee and Federalist. Even John Quincy Adams, the ultimate codfish President, was reluctant to be seen as “introducing New England manners” by a public acknowledgement of Thanksgiving.
Before the Civil War, Thanksgiving was a state holiday, the date of which was determined by the state. According to Bill Kauffman, this continued to be the case even after Lincoln set the precedent for a national holiday. Given the prominence and influence of the National Government, is it any surprise that the national holiday would eventually supplant the others, and become the only Thanksgiving holiday to be recognized by most people?

Given the lateness of the current holiday, and its almost complete separation from our dependence upon food and farms (it being more tied instead to the harvest of the pilgrims that saved them from starvation) and the increased secularization of the country, most of us do not celebrate Thanksgiving as a harvest feast. For example, most give thanks for all of the good things that have happened during the year, or since the last Thanksgiving, rather than for the fruits of the recent harvest. I suspect that less and less of us celebrate it as a religious feast, although some Catholics and Christians may try to bring religion back into it, and this can even be seen in the liturgical texts for the day. But read Fr. Kocik's Thanksgiving Day Mass? No, thanks.

In many ways Thanksgiving embodies what is currently wrong with America, more so than Commercialmas or Consumermas. It is inseparably linked to the rise of the National Government and the Yankee National Myth. There is very little public recognition of God, at least in the schools and government offices, even if certain leaders pay lip service to Him (but do not do His will in drafting laws). And last but not least, by accommodating to our disordered political economy and severing its links to the local harvest, it fails to make us aware of our need for farms to get food and ingrain within us a healthy respect for the agrarian foundation of an advanced (if not civilized) political community.

In response to Opuscula's Thanksgiving and Christ the King (the author appears to following the 20th century national glorification of Washington and Lincoln as the two greatest presidents), I would only say that if we owe God thanksgiving and worship, this should be done everyday (most suitably in the liturgy), not just on one day of the year that is specially set aside for it. What we should recover instead is an awareness of where our food comes from, and our natural limits -- the awareness of the farming cycle and of harvests from which we get our food then should be the occasion of a particular thanksgiving to God for meeting our needs for physical sustenance. And if we are serious about this, we should move the holiday towards a date when the local harvest has been completed, while promoting local food production.

Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln
Weekly Standard: Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving
Orbis Catholicus: Rev. Dr. Pierre Blet, S.J. (1918 - 2009): R.I.P.

Karen De Coster, Gun Owners: “Not Without a Fight”

Clayton E. Cramer, Armed America (his blog)

Interview with Charles Goyette

Link courtesy of Thomas Woods.
Fr. Z: My view of Benedict’s XVI’s sermon for 1st Vespers in this new liturgical year

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the First Vespers on the occasion of the first week of Advent in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 28, 2009. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during a Vespers Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. (AP/Daylife)

Sandro Magister: The Homilies of Benedict XVI: A Model for a Confused Church

This is interesting: Go Forth and Baptize. The Wager of the Argentine Church

Cardinal Bergoglio and other bishops are ordering that baptism not be withheld from those who are far removed from religious practice. Better a Church of the people than one only of the pure. Ratzinger also thinks this way

From the article:

What reemerges here is the ancient and still unresolved dispute between a Church of the elite, a pure, minority Church, and a Church of the masses, populated also by that immense sea of humanity for whom Christianity is made up of a few simple things.

In Italy, for example, the dispute came up again during the last major national conference of the Church, held in Verona in October of 2006. On that occasion, one position held by the "rigorists" was precisely that of withholding baptism and the other sacraments from those believed to be unfit because they are not practicing.

It is a dilemma that Joseph Ratzinger himself experienced personally as a young man, and finally resolved in the same direction indicated by Cardinal Bergoglio. This is what, as pope, Ratzinger himself said in replying to the question from a priest of Bressanone, in a public question-and-answer session with the clergy of the diocese on August 6, 2008.

The priest, named Paolo Rizzi, a pastor and professor of theology, asked Benedict XVI a question about baptism, confirmation, and first communion:

"Holy Father, 35 years ago I thought that we were beginning to be a little flock, a minority community, more or less everywhere in Europe; that we should therefore administer the sacraments only to those who are truly committed to Christian life. Then, partly because of the style of John Paul II's Pontificate, I thought things through again. If it is possible to make predictions for the future, what do you think? What pastoral approaches can you suggest to us?".

Pope Ratzinger responded:

"I must say that I took a similar route to yours. When I was younger I was rather severe. I said: the sacraments are sacraments of faith, and where faith does not exist, where the practice of faith does not exist, the Sacrament cannot be conferred either. And then I always used to talk to my parish priest when I was Archbishop of Munich: here too there were two factions, one severe and one broad-minded. Then I too, with time, came to realize that we must follow, rather, the example of the Lord, who was very open even with people on the margins of Israel of that time. He was a Lord of mercy, too open – according to many official authorities – with sinners, welcoming them or letting them invite him to their dinners, drawing them to him in his communion.

"Therefore I would say substantially that the sacraments are naturally sacraments of faith: when there is no element of faith, when First Communion is no more than a great lunch with beautiful clothes and beautiful gifts, it can no longer be a sacrament of faith. Yet, on the other hand, if we can still see a little flame of desire for communion in the faith, a desire even in these children who want to enter into communion with Jesus, it seems to me that it is right to be rather broad-minded.

"Naturally, of course, one purpose of our catechesis must be to make children understand that Communion, First Communion is not a 'fixed' event, but requires a continuity of friendship with Jesus, a journey with Jesus. I know that children often have the intention and desire to go to Sunday Mass but their parents do not make this desire possible. If we see that children want it, that they have the desire to go, this seems to me almost a sacrament of desire, the 'will' to participate in Sunday Mass. In this sense, we naturally must do our best in the context of preparation for the sacraments to reach the parents as well, and thus to – let us say – awaken in them too a sensitivity to the process in which their child is involved. They should help their children to follow their own desire to enter into friendship with Jesus, which is a form of life, of the future. If parents want their children to be able to make their First Communion, this somewhat social desire must be extended into a religious one, to make a journey with Jesus possible.

"I would say, therefore, that in the context of the catechesis of children, that work with parents is very important. And this is precisely one of the opportunities to meet with parents, making the life of faith also present to the adults, because, it seems to me, they themselves can relearn the faith from the children and understand that this great solemnity is only meaningful, true and authentic if it is celebrated in the context of a journey with Jesus, in the context of a life of faith. Thus, one should endeavour to convince parents, through their children, of the need for a preparatory journey that is expressed in participation in the mysteries and that begins to make these mysteries loved.

"I would say that this is definitely an inadequate answer, but the pedagogy of faith is always a journey and we must accept today's situations. Yet, we must also open them more to each person, so that the result is not only an external memory of things that endures but that their hearts that have truly been touched. The moment when we are convinced the heart is touched – it has felt a little of Jesus' love, it has felt a little the desire to move along these lines and in this direction, that is the moment when, it seems to me, we can say that we have made a true catechesis. The proper meaning of catechesis, in fact, must be this: to bring the flame of Jesus' love, even if it is a small one, to the hearts of children, and through the children to their parents, thus reopening the places of faith of our time."

Baptism requires responsibility on the part of the pastor or priest (and the godparents) to ensure that the children are properly raised as Catholic. But what if there is very little possibility of this happening? If the parents are not practicing but acknowledge that the children must be properly formed, and sincerely pledge themselves to see that this is done, then the children should be baptized. But if baptism is treated merely as a cultural event, or if the parents do not care to see that the children are raised properly? Or worse, what if the home situation is scandalous? The words of the Pope do not seem to me to support the claim that he is so "lax" regarding the giving of the sacraments.
Dr. Paul Gottfried responds to Dr. Fleming and Matthew Roberts: Christian Heresies.

What is the relationship between Christianity and liberalism/the Enlightenment. Is liberalism a Christian heresy? Dr. Gottfried isn't the only one to advance this claim, but is Dr. Fleming merely saying that "the Enlightenment and Christianity are clean different things"? Or is it more nuanced than that? Are the two writers really that opposed?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have never held the view that is ascribed to me. Two of my books, one on multiculturalism and the other on the post-Marxist Left, should make this clear. My writings present my perspective on the relation between Christianity and the Enlightenment and between both of these and our current neoconservative and multicultural afflictions. What I do not deny in my work is the obvious. There is, indeed, an egalitarian, universalist side to Christianity, unlike Judaism or Hinduism, and it can be found in the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. This remains the case, however much Fleming’s confession incorporated Roman hierarchical structures and distinctions and however much the Protestant Reformation became identified with European nationalist movements. Nor does the recognition of these anti-elitist elements signify the belief that Christianity is reducible to them. A specific divine revelation and the very unprogressive doctrine of Original Sin most emphatically distinguish Christianity from modern political dogmas, although here attention must be paid to the usability of the belief in inborn sinfulness in its transformed version as the doctrine of inherited social guilt. It is this transformed sense of individual and collective culpability that characterizes most current forms of Political Correctness.
But egalitarianism is not the same as universal love, which, in turn, is not the same as tolerance. How are human beings equal, according to Christianity? They are equal with respect to their nature, origin, and end, but not with respect to their endowments or the graces that they receive from God. Does Christianity require that rulers provide for equality of opportunity or condition, or of results? Not really. How much of the "egalitarianism" that is promoted by liberalism reducible to basic notions of justice and benevolence, as can be understood through the Natural Law? (And similarly, notions of hierarchy and distinction of respect?)

Dr. Gottfried writes:

But what seems to me undeniable is that some degree of connection does exist between Protestantism in its purest form and its current American liberal manifestations and between Christianity in general and the Enlightenment. Muslims or Jainists did not develop Enlightened or democratic ideas, except to the extent that they borrowed them from Western Christian cultures.

But what sort of egalitarianism is being borrowed, and from what source? Is egalitarianism just an empty slogan used by demogogic democrats to stir up the masses and give them support? How much of liberalism finds its source in debased republicanism and opposition to Christianity, rather than in debased teachings of Christianity?
It's Obama's War Now By GARY LEUPP
A "Necessary War" -- for a Gas Pipeline

2 on Dubai

Crisis in Dubai By MIKE WHITNEY

How can that kind of wastefulness not be a mortal sin?

Edit. One more, by Paul J. Cella: Dubai and the failure of the modern mind.
Zenit: On Christ, the Foundation of Hope
"He Is 'Flesh' Like Us, and Is 'Rock' Like God"
Wendell Berry on the Diane Rehm Show (via Patrick Deneen) -- ram, windows media.
Please pray for Mrs. O, who passed away this morning.

I had wanted to see her since her condition had gotten worse in the last half-year, but hadn't been able to do so because of work, and then there was the move. I was also told that her health also prevented her from receiving visitors often. But it would have been nice to see and talk to her again. Now I can only pray.
The Thinking Housewife: The Spiritual Alchemy of Oprah
NLM: Sunday and Festal Vespers from Norcia now Available Each Sunday and Feast Day

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm back in California... Thank you to Sarge for a great Thanksgiving break!