Friday, September 27, 2002
Stanley Kurtz, in National Review On Line's The Corner blogs that the US does not have enough troops to do all the jobs we are committed to, as well as invading and possibly occupying Iraq. Rumsfeld may have guts and brains, but his force level and composition ideas are too much influenced by McNamara-type green eyeshade considerations. I don't think we need a draft. With a smaller populaton, we maintained a larger force level during the Reagan Administration. But pay and benefits for both the active component and the reserves need to be increased substantially to get there. It really is worth the price.
Today is of course the traditional feast of Saints Cosmas & Damian. They were nudged over a day to make room for St. Vincent de Paul, when he was moved from July 19th. We noted their feast on its new date yesterday.
Today, the reformed calendar of the saints' feasts celebrates Saint Vincent de Paul. His traditional feast was July 19th. He was born of peasant stock in the Landes in 1580. His father sold two oxen to pay for his studies at the University of Toulouse. Vincent was ordained in 1600, but his first years were unsettled. He opened a school, failed to gain a substantial benefice, was captured by Moslem pirates and taken to Tunis, but escaped. On his return, he carried a secret dispatch from the Pope to the King of France, and found some measure of royal favor. He made Paris his home. He founded the Lazarists in 1625 to evangelize the poor of the countryside. In 1634, he founded the Sisters of Charity. His ministry was directed to the poor, the sick, and to children. His name has become a byword for charity. He died in 1660.
Paul Likoudis, editorializes in The Wanderer , reprinted in TCR, on the homosexual networks infesting the Church today and the deepening Scandal. This one, like Likoudis' book, AmChurch Comes Out, is worth reading.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
I don't know if I will have time to address this issue at length over the weekend, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to offer my sympathy and prayers for Gerard Serafin. May all of those falsely accused of this horrible act be quickly exonerated. Check out what Mark Shea has to say about this matter here and here.
Update: But who knows what the real story is, other than Gerard and the other party? I think we should all look at what evidence is made public carefully, and weigh any response accordingly. I am not exactly sure what my reaction will be if the allegations have a substantial basis in fact. It does depend on whether the minor was male or female and what exactly happened. A 17 year-old female? Defrock (check) and move on. A 17 year-old male? Defrock (check) and what actually happened dictates how I respond to it intellectually. A double standard? Not really, since homosexual acts are contrary to the normal order and the teachings of the Church, they carry with them greater opprobrium and more lasting conseqences both for the victim and for how we think of the perpetrator. If the activity in question is less than sexual contact, how I analyze it depends on whether there is more than one allegation. If we are talking about an inappropriate touch, all the punishment that need ever be inflicted has been already, especially if there is only one case. If there is more than one case of inappropriate touching, if it is actual sexual contact, or if this is a case of attempted seduction, then some lingering sense of skepticism and disapprobation is appropriate, within the context of Christian foregiveness. Forgiveness does not wipe the slate entirely clean. We are commanded to forgive, but not necessarily to forget.
Just a few minutes to get in a quick recommendation. Read Ann "The Human Uzi" Coulter's latest at FrontPage Magazine. She's dead right.
I am reposting my response to Rod Dreher's original column on Granola Conservatism. I see that it has been re-vamped as a cover for NR On Dead Tree. The topic also seems to have become hot in the blogosphere again. I really have nothing more to add to what I said back in July on the topic. And with in-laws a few hours from touching down, today's work to finish, and a house to try to redeem from chaos before the white-glove inspection, this is the best I can do.
I guess you would call me a paleo-conservative, though Buchananites (who have, in reality left conservatism behind as they don't stand for American interests abroad, or the free market at home) have recently tried to usurp that title. Back when I was in college, "paleo-con" usually applied to Russell Kirk conservatives, and just differentiated us from neo-cons, who were almost all ex-liberals like Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol.
Be that as it may, here are my reactions to the concept of "Crunchy Conservatives."
Rod Dreher has spurred a lot of discussion both at National Review and in the blogosphere with his essay on "Birkenstocked Burkeans". I must admit, the concept seems odd to me. I guess I'm just a Catholic paleolithic-conservative type. Here is my reaction to the attributes of the "crunchy."
Sandals on men? Always struck me as vaguely effeminate. Summer clothing for me is polos or madras with Bermudas and white sneakers or Sperry top-siders (no socks).
I've never used marijuana or any stronger drugs. I discovered 18-year old Glenlivet and Dunhill cigars in college, and use them infrequently. If you are going to have a vice, make it expensive enough that you can very rarely indulge in it.
When people go on about the scenic environment, I'm reminded of Johnson's response to Boswell praising the scenic prospects of Scotland, "The finest prospect a Scot ever sees is the high road to England."
Rachel Carson? No. Jim Watt? Si.
I have no interest in reading the "other side", except to criticize. I am well past the point of being pliable in my thoughts or open to persuasion on political matters. I know liberals are wrong and all their works destructive. Besides, I haven't read all of the works of all of the authors on my own side. There are still insights from Fisher Ames, Michael Oakeshott, and Cardinal Ratzinger that I haven't absorbed yet.
Starbucks has no appeal to me. A men's club with old leather chairs, mahogony bookshelves and an exclusive and like-minded membership would be my choice of a place to pass time away from home.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Birkenstocks, or cargo pants from the GAP? Hell no! Brooks Brothers (they have been getting a little too trendy lately, but still make the best shirts this side of a bespoke tailor), J. Press (where good clothing lives), LaCoste polos (have you noticed that the alligator is available again after a long absence?), some L.L. Bean? Yes.
Piercings, tatooes, or weird "dos"? No way. Even a beard or moustache is too outre for me.
Organic veggies from a co-op? I don't think so. Produce from a farm stand is quite nice, if you have to eat that stuff rabbits graze on. There is a great place in Lexington called Wilson Farms. If you are in the Boston area, it is worth the trip- even if just for their baguettes and root beer.
I don't want a motorcycle. I want a Jaguar. What I really want is a quiet and reliable driver who comes with a Bentley.
Bauhaus and Frank Lloyd Wright? No. Palladio, Wren, McIntire, and Bulfinch forever, preferably surrounded by acres of gardens and lawn and secreted from the road by a thick cordon of trees.
The natural foods section of the supermarket gets a pass. I head straight for the butcher's counter for some nice red meat which I invariably eat medium rare.
Ethnic music (meaning non-European), blue grass, or country music? Give me a break. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi, Teleman, Locatelli, Scarlatti with a little English/Irish/Scottish traditional thrown in is the cultural heritage I want to conserve. I'll listen to the stuff I grew up with- AM top 40 from the '70s and '80s (but not very often anymore).
Work in the arts? Nah. I want to retire to the life of a gentleman-farmer and worry about my holly and my apple crop, and nothing else.
Homeschooling I like, but not just to keep the kids away from social pathologies. More importantly, homeschooling keeps them away from the watered-down religious education available in parochial schools (public schools are not even an option). Teaching the kids at home allows us to use the Baltimore Catechism and McGuffey's Readers and thereby produce knowledgeable, obedient, disciplined, faithfully Catholic children.
Trail Mix? No. My preferred mix consists of Junior Mints, Planter's salted peanuts, and chocolate-covered raisins. Nothing better to snack on during a Shakespeare play, or a Jane Austen adaptation.
Granola? Isn't it made of oats? It just reminds me of what Johnson (Samuel, not Paul) said about the stuff: "A grain fed to horses. But in Scotland, the people eat it." I prefer to snack on pound cake with lemon curd, or just plain good dark chocolate.
I guess no one would consider me a "granola conservative." Fine with me. Always thought that sort of thing was oddly inconsistent. Don't forget the English concept of having "bottom"- being stable, reliable, predictable, and being blessed with vast amounts of phlegm, stick-to-itivness, bull-dog determination, seriousness of purpose. Seems this kind of "granola-ness" lacks bottom. Its not the thing.
On this date in 1888, T.S. Eliot was born. He was one of the great figures of 20th century literature (it is striking how many of the great figures of Anglo-American literature in the 20th century were of the right, either philosophically or politically). But The Waste Land may not have been his greatest achievement. His social and literary criticism, especially The Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture established him as a conservative thinker of the first order. He warned that we were "destroying our ancient edifices to make ready the ground upon which the barbarian nomads of the future will encamp their mechanized caravans." Eliot was not just talking about preserving old buildings, but the whole structure of society and the legacy of Western Civilization.
"Conservatism is too often conservation of the wrong things, liberalism a relaxation of discipline; revolution a denial of the permanent things." We are free to speculate on why so much effort is expended by the current Administration in defending "Affirmative Action", the Kennedy-inspired Immigration Act, the New Deal and the Great Society, bilingual education, even Bill Clinton's Americorps.
He pointed out that modern life creates, "Bodies of men and women -of all classes- detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion: in other words, a mob. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." Can anyone doubt this when they examine the corporate leadership of Sam Adams Beer, so recently seen cheering on various couples having sex in public, including a couple in Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
He urged an unremitting struggle for the permanent things, "If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors' victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that it will triumph." Remember what I blogged yesterday concerning the decline of classical learning. We should keep fighting for it, even if society labels it a lost cause.
The Christian Faith was at the core of Eliot's world view. he reminded those who sought to minimize the role of religion in society that, "If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin." It, too, is one of the permanent things continually under seige, never more so than in the last 60 years, both from within and without the Church.
In Murder In the Cathedral, he wrote,
"Those who put their faith in worldly order
Not controlled by the order of God,
In confident ignorance, but arrest disorder
Make it fast, breed fatal disease,
Degrade what they exalt."
The reformed calendar makes today the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian. Their traditional feast day is tomorrow, but the reformers stuck St. Vincent de Paul on tomorrow's date, so they moved Cosmas & Damian to today. Really, aside from moving a few saints to the verified dates of their deaths (and of what real importance was that?) the reformers showed about as much sensitivity to popular piety as the French revolutionaries, and from some of the same sensibilities and motivations, too.
These early 4th century physicians served the poor of Syria without fee for the glory of Christ. They also preached, and won many converts to the Faith. During the persecution of Diocletian, they were brought to the magistrate, who demanded that they renounce Christ. They refused, and were tortured and beheaded. They were buried at Cyr. Later, when the Emporer Justinian was ill, he was cured through the intercession of Cosmas & Damian. He promoted their cult, so that they are remembered in the canon of the Mass today.
We know him better as Johnny Appleseed. He was a real person, and was born on this date in 1774.
We have in-laws coming in from the Left Coast today, so blogging today, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday will be light and sporadic. I may get a chance to post a few items here and there. But a full schedule of blogging won't be on until Monday.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
I have been hearing radio ads for a week or so sponsored by one or more Jewish groups advertising that in the near future, local Jews will come together to study Hebrew. The program is called Read Across America, and its jingle is Be A Part Of It. This is a great idea. Few American Jews know much Hebrew, yet Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament, the Talmud, and most Jewish prayers. It is a vital part of the religious heritage of Jews the world over, and part of the religious and cultural heritage of the West.
Now I have no illusions that this program will create a renaissance of Hebrew studies, or that it will produce Hebrew scholars by the bushel. But I still think it is a good thing to bring Jews together to study their heritage. I want to see Hebraic Studies advanced, as a deeper understanding of Hebrew available to scholars enhances our knowledge of the part of Sacred Scripture in that language and of the historical context of the time in which the foundation of the Faith was laid.
Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing, also if Catholic people came together at night to study Latin? If groups just learned the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei, the Salve Regina, the Ave Maria, the Gloria, and the Sanctus it would go some way toward stimulating interest in the heritage of the Latin West and the traditional liturgy. The sad thing is, the concept smacks of an Irish "hedge school", where scholars passed on a limited curriculum in secret in the face of official persecution.
Classical learning has fallen upon hard times in the West. When I was in school, Latin was enjoying a small comeback. That has waned. Greek is virtually non-existent below the college level. With the decline of the study of Latin has come, of course, a reduction in reading of classical authors, even in translation. Where are young people translating Cicero, Caesar, Vergil, Ovid, Plutarch, Livy, and Horace today, let alone the Greek classics? Even in my school days, all we did was translate little snippets. It took almost an entire year to work through Book I of the Gallic War. We did the Aeneid in small, scattered parts. We spent the better part of a semester in college translating Nepos' Life of Atticus. We never touched Ovid, Horace, Livy, Juvenal, or Plutarch in any serious way. We didn't get nearly as much familiarity with Latin as students 50 years before us got. Still it is so much more than students today get.
Translating ancient texts in ancient languages is intellectually challenging. Therefore, it has lost favor among students. They take Spanish as their foreign language, presumably so that they can converse with their dustman and their landscaper's employees. Lack of intellectual curiosity and discipline, combined with the left's ongoing battle to destroy the legacy of Western Civilization have made high school Latin scholars as scarce as Shakers. Classical scholars are fast becoming not a remnant, but a memory.
We as a society need to recognize that we are only part of a long tradition of Western Christendom, which has roots in the Latin and Greek and Jewish civilizations of ancient times. Let us imitate our Jewish friends, and start by taking up the study of Latin.
Please no reminders about "Verus" Ratio, which I get every time I mention classical learning. I know it should be "Recta Ratio", or "Vera Ratio", but Verus Ratio is the URL now, and I can't change it without discombobulating everyone who links to me. It was going to be Recta Ratio, which is not only grammatically correct, but wonderfully alliterative also. But at the very last minute, keeping in mind the subject matter of the Scandal, about which I often write, I decided that recta was too close to rectum to preserve us from mockery. So I looked up a synonym for recta, and found verus, and went with it forgetting about noun-adjective agreement in Latin, and not noticing that ratio is feminine. Sin in haste, repent at leisure, as they say. Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, especially to Brother Joe Comber, CFX. Give me a C for Latin grammar, but a B+ for common sense.
Since we are in the middle of rendering freshly picked apples into all sorts of more durable forms, I couldn't resist linking to this Boston Globe piece on seasonal apple choices, even though it is a weekday.
French troops reached the missionary school in the Ivory Coast and secured the campus, which had been entered by rebels forces. They are beginning the evacuation of the students and will be joined by US troops as soon as they can reach Bouake. France used to rule the Ivory Coast, and still has something of a military infrastructure in the area, where the US does not. Still, Thanks are in order. This will be credited to France's account in next July 14th's Bastille Day blog.
Moslem gunmen entered a Christian welfare organization in Karachi, Pakistan, tied up workers at the office, and executed them.. Seven Pakistani Christians were murdered by the savages. The Washington Times has more details here.
Former US Senator Malcolm Wallop writes today for TownHall on why trial lawyers are a sore trial for Western democracy. That's why I got out of the business.
Patches and backing sewn onto the Shroud of Turin 470 years ago have been removed, which the caretakers of the Shroud believe will make it easier to see the image of the crucified man on it. Severino Cardinal Poletto of Turin, the Shroud's custodian, indicated that he hopes that in the next year, the Holy Father and the Russian Orthodx Patriarch Alexy II will pray together before the Shroud, which may be the burial cloth of the Lord.
The Archdiocese of Boston will announce Friday that the Presbyteral Council will take up the issue of due process for priests suspended from duty on the grounds of sex abuse. It is unlikely that time limits will be placed on the suspensions, as the Archdiocese needs to be sure that the charges are thoroughly investigated before dismissing them. But the level of proof sufficient to lead to a suspension is likely to be addressed, as is the issue of accused priests bringing canon and civil lawyers with them when they are summoned to the chancery. Twenty-three active priests are under suspension from ministry (and more than 100 from the last 40 years have been named to prosecutors). The Globe has more details here.
US troops have been dispatched to the Ivory Coast in order to rescue 100 American school children caught in the crossfire of a coup there. Four US aircraft operating from Ghana will be extricating the schoolchildren, and other Americans from rebel-held Bouake, the second-largest city in the Ivory Coast. A coup in that West African nation on Thursday failed to displace the government, but left parts of the country in rebel hands. About 200 US troops will be involved in the mission. French troops are also positioning themselves to extricate Western nationals from Bouake, and other locations. According to Fox News, there has been fighting within the grounds of the school housing the American students, and the fighting may intensify as government forces attempt to re-take the city.
Three more sex abuse suits were filed Tuesday against the Springfield Dioceses' Father Richard LaVigne, who has been convicted on criminal charges of sex abuse, and has served his sentence. There are now 15 civil suits for abuse pre-dating his conviction pending in the courts of the Commonwealth. LaVigne has been suspended from exercising the priestly function, but has not been defrocked. Bishop Thomas Dupre of Springfield, who was Vicar General at the time LaVigne was on the loose, was named in one of the new suits as a co-defendant because of negligent supervision. The Boston Globe has more details here.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Can someone in the Vatican arrange to have Brazilian bishops meet with the Holy Father weekly? For the third consecutive week, the Holy Father has meet with Brazilian bishops on their visits to Rome, and for the third time, the Holy Father has warned of serious dangers confronting the Church. This time, according to TCR, the danger being warned of is "clericalization of the laity." This one has long been a crotchet of mine. Lay participation in the Mass is not, the Holy Father reminded us, an invitation to laymen delivering homilies, parts of the congregation joining in the Eucharistic Prayer (I have heard this many times, always from women who, of course are doubly prohibited from reciting it), or LAYPEOPLE DISTRIBUTING COMMUNION. The Pope said "These grave abuses often originated in doctrinal errors, especially in regard to the nature of the liturgy, of the common priesthood of Christians, of the vocation and mission of the laity, but also in regard to the ordained ministry of priests."
Way to go Holy Father! Now if there could only be a mechanism to "make it so," throughout all the parishes in Catholic Christendom. The Holy Father is saying so much right-on stuff lately that one is just tempted to add Michael Ledeen's "Faster, please," after accounts of his meetings.
Armed men invaded a Hindu temple in Western India filled with some 500 worshippers and began firing indiscriminately, killing some 23 including women and children. The news story does not say it, but is there any doubt that these are Moslem terrorists? Does anyone else do things like this in this day and age? "Islam" can be translated as peace, but if you don't "submit" to it (a better translation) the only peace is the grave's.
News sources have been quoting it all day. It was presented to the House of Commons. From Fox News, you can read the dossier. It is a 55-page pdf. You need Abode Acrobat to read it. I think it puts Al Gore back in his playpen.
His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, etc., was right years ago when he decried modern architecture. More recently, he dressed down his youngest brother Prince Edward when Edward's production company interfered with the privacy arrangements Charles had negotiated for Prince William at school. Reportedly, the only printable expression he used in the five-minute phone conversation was, "Idiot." Some of his father's bluntness has survived the relentless effort his educators made to drain him of all non-politically-correct thought and expression. Now he is on-target again with respect to fox hunting.
Apparently, he has written a vigorous letter protesting in no uncertain terms the Labor Government's plans to ban the sport. There are reports that he would settle elsewhere if the sport were to be banned. He quoted another fox hunter who rightly claimed that fox hunters would not be persecuted if they were racial or religious minorities (the same argument smokers in the US have been using for years).
Charles may not be the brightest product of English society in the last two hundred years. But from time to time, on some issues, he is quite solid. He has a much better record for sound public pronouncments than, say, Ben Affleck, or Alec Baldwin, or Jane Fonda, or Susan Sarandon, or Robert Redford, or Barbra Streisand, or Paul Newman, or Oprah. It is nice to see that the next King sometimes has some backbone.
TownHall carries Mona Charen's lament over the unfathomable political correctness of US homeland security policy with "Underperformin' Norman Mineta at the helm of the DOT.
The Washington Times has an interesting piece on the cooling of separatist passions in Quebec. It seems that the separatists' effort has lost much of its steam of ten years ago (elections next year will tell us more). With that, the long-term prospects of the US absorbing Canada piecemeal also decline. Everyone had assumed that, once Quebec marched off in a huff, the maritime provinces would petition for statehood. Within a decade or two, the rest of English-speaking Canada would have followed suit. Then, the isolated French-speaking enclave would not have long resisted statehood. But if Quebec remains part of Canada, Canada will likely continue to fulfill whatever national purposes Canada has. The Sick Man of North America has become a little better.
FrontPage Magazine is good this morning on the internal threat facing the US (thanks in large part to the astonishingly tolerant US immigration policies documented by Michelle Malkin in Invasion). Patrick J. McDonnell details the efforts to set up al Qaeda training facilities in Oregon. Josh Meyer points out that there are 70,000 suspected terrorists currently on watch lists, some of whom have been able to get into the US.
Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Shannon O'Brien will square off tonight in the first of three debates before the November 5th election to pick the next Governor of Massachusetts.
Former Vice President Al Gore, the only human being to overcome Dutch Elm Disease, is highly critical of the Bush Administration for its handling of terrorism and the coming Iraqi campaign. He thinks we should not move on to the next phase of the war until we dig up bin Laden's putrid rotting corpse. He is very worried about what the Europeans think.
It is time for a national reminder. For 8 years, Al Gore and his Perpetrator-In-Chief Bill Clinton allowed the United States to endure attack after attack. American troops deployed on a humanitarian mission to Somalia were refused needed support by Clinton, so that some of them were forced to fight against heavy odds with personal weapons, resulting in the bodies of some of our brave troops being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. The World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, very likely with Iraqi help. The barracks housing US troops in Saudi Arabia was bombed by al Qaeda, killing many servicemen. Two US embassies in Africa were destroyed by al Qaeda. The USS Cole was damaged by an al Qaeda terrorist bomb, killing some 17 sailors.
Iraq challenged and fired at US and British pilots enforcing the no-fly zones, impeded UN weapons inspectors, and tried to wipe out the Kurds. It has been busy attempting to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and missiles that can deploy them accurately over a great distance. It has provided a refuge to various Islamo-Fascist terrorist groups, including Abu Nidal who may have been behind the destruction of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, and is currently harboring al Qaeda units in northern Iraq, where they are helping Saddam against the Kurds. It has provided funds and intelligence support to terrorists, including the September 11th hijackers. It is even now recruiting suicide attackers against the US.
Israel was pressured by the US to undertake an unwise dialogue with Palestinian barbarians intent only on the destruction of Israel, so that Clinton could win a legacy-establishing Nobel Peace Prize. Immigrants, many from the Moslem world, were allowed to flood over our borders, in the hope that new immigrants would swell the voting base of the Democrat Party. Osama bin Laden's head was offered to Clinton on a platter three times, only to be refused because Clinton was too busy getting blow-jobs from his intern and groping anything in a skirt to focus on the threat.
Our military was cut back to a dangerously low force level. Needed improvements were denied the armed forces for budgetary considerations. Morale in our military was allowed to drop to immediate-aftermath-of-Vietnam levels (perhaps even lower). The nation's terrible swift sword was blunted by unwise social experiments designed to placate feminists and homosexuals. Our intelligence services were emasculated in the name of good government and human rights. Our ability to infiltrate groups like al Qaeda so that we could really understand what was going on was forestalled by Clinton and Gore and their appointees and Democrat congressional allies.
What did we do about this rise of Islamo-Fascism under Clinton and Gore? We lobbed a few cruise missiles at Iraq, and took out some radar sites as they presented themselves. We bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan to teach al Qaeda a lesson. We certainly taught them a lesson. We showed them how weak and diffident we were, how unwilling to take risks to defend ourselves, how unwilling we were to focus on the task at hand and meet violence against our nation with an adequate response. Gore and Clinton taught the Arab Street that the US was a paper tiger with no will to fight back. The lesson was duly noted. We have paid the price for teaching that lesson, and will likely pay more as a bitter cup is proffered to us again and again over the next decade.
Gore wants the US to focus on producing bin Laden's corpse, when his boss was offered bin Laden in chains three times and refused it. Gore wants us to pay attention to the bed-wetting Euroweenies and leave Iraq alone (well, why not: that is just what the Clinton/Gore Administration did). He wants the US Robocop to waste time rounding up a most unwilling posse of weak sisters to deal with Saddam Hussein, when we are able to do it now ourselves.
Gore's advice is to do just what the Clinton/Gore Administration did: nothing. The Clinton/Gore years were a tremendous strategic opportunity for the US that was wasted in frivolity. In the phrase of Winston Churchill, they were years for the locusts to eat. The approach that Gore now advocates was tried for 8 lost years. The approach and the man have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Gore has nothing to offer America now; not leadership, not insight, not wisdom, and not useful experience (we have no need to shake down Buddhist monks for contributions at the moment, Al).
Gore should go back to worrying about the internal combustion engine, the SUV, and the flush toilet, as he does best, and leave us alone. We don't need clownish incompetents and do-nothings now. We are too busy with the task at hand to bother with havering politicians "sensitive" to world pacifist opinion. We are embarked on a course that is clear enough and sound enough. We have to next drain the Iraqi marshes of an international swamp in which dangerous homocidal fanatics were allowed to fester by Gore and Clinton's inaction. We have the means to do so. I think the will is being mustered successfully. Let's Roll!
Ad Orientem's Mark Sullivan discusses a "liturgist's" efforts to re-educate his poor benighted parishioners into the New Catholic Person. This person justifies just about everything wrong with modern church design. Mark's commentary is utterly devastating. Sad to say, there are thousands of these misguided "Liturgists" floating around the American Church, and thousands more of their first cousins, educationoids: Catholic educators taken in by fallacious modern methodologies and theories to the detriment of their true job- passing on the Faith. In both cases, we are dealing with liberals, so who the enemy is, as always, is clear.
Today, the Church honors the Blessed Mother under her title, Our Lady of Mercy. That title is inextricably linked to the effort to ransom Christian captives held by the Moslems. In and after 710, Moslem invaders conquered the Iberian Peninsula. The West was 600 years in driving them out. Throughout that period, captives were continually taken by the Moslems and sold into slavery unless they converted (submitted, which is the real translation of Islam). In 1218, St. Peter Nolasco, with the help of Raymond of Penafort and King James of Aragon founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy, dedicated to the redemption of captives. The order's members took the additional vow to offer themselves into captivity if necessary in order to free others. Many thousands of captives were released from Moslem slavery due to the efforts of this order over the centuries.
This feast serves as a reminder of the continuous, and ongoing struggle between Western Christendom and the Moslem world. Since the founding of that heresy (see Hilaire Belloc's chapter on Islam in The Great Heresies), Christianity has always been under assault by Islam. Sometimes, Islam has been dormant for centuries. Now, with Moslem immigrants pouring into a Europe unwilling to maintain a high birth rate, the invasions have simply taken a new form. Where is our time's Charles Martel? When will come our Lepanto?
Monday, September 23, 2002
The Diocese of Worcester is backing off its subpoena for lists of names of victims compiled by SNAP. Bishop Reilly says he only found out about the subpoena when he read about it in the newspapers. That is theoretically possible. But the diocese's lawyers should be sensitive enough to inform the client when they are doing something that might generate a negative public reaction. Nevertheless, we have example #1856 on how fast American bishops cave in the face of public disapproval.
Here is a prayer to obtain the Lord's favor through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Major favors granted may help in the effort to canonize Archbishop Sheen, which seems to me to be a worthy cause.
Vatican officials are dropping hints today that the US bishops sex abuse policy may be approved on an experimental basis. This would contradict the stories long in circulation that various parts of the policy violate canon law and cannot stand. We shall see soon.
Rod Dreher in National Review On Line reviews Robert Spencer's thought-provoking new book, Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith. Can anyone honestly say that Spencer is wrong, point-by-point? We see evidence daily that Islam cannot grow into a tolerant force for civilization. Like Dreher, I would like to see a convincing refutation of Spencer's points. But I doubt one that can overcome the daily outpouring of anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish bile and violence from throughout the Moslem world is forthcoming. Thoughtful observers won't be convinced by platitudes.
National Review On Line's S. T. Karnick reviews a new version of The Four Feathers. This sounds like it could be the best version yet. This classic story of cowardice redeemed is almost always worth checking out, no matter what version you happen across.
TownHall carries Debra Saunders on why the US lacks credibility with the Arab Street. She is correct in asking, not why do they hate us, but why don't they fear us. The answer is our own fecklessness and lack of consistent resolve.
A group of at least 4 Moslem extremists was going to perpetrate a grenade attack on the US Embassy in Indonesia. The grenade went off in the car on the way to the attack, killing one of the savages. Indonesian police caught one of the savages, but two more got away.
The Autumnal Equinox was just before 1:00 am. We have been losing daylight since June, but it is about to become very noticeable. Here in Salem, fall came in with soupy humidity and rain. Time for a little Vivaldi, I think.
This past weekend, London was brought to a standstill by 400,000 people participating in the largest civil rights march in 15 years. The cause this time was the likely ban on fox hunting. For generations, people all over the British Isles have ridden to hounds in pursuit of the verminous fox. Fox hunting seems pleasant recreation, and a needed social opportunity which brings together all classes. At the same time, it provides a useful service to rural society, the elimination of marauding foxes. It is not cruel to the dogs, who love the activity, or the horses. It is a little rough on the fox, but the fox is also a little rough on poultry kept by small farmers. Now the animal rights Nazis of the UK are pressuring the Labor government to ban the sport. And Labor is on record in favor of the ban.
Is society to be left with no traditions and roots? Are we to be stripped of all the pleasing ornaments of life and left in a socialist Brave New World? The House of Lords has been undermined and the monarchy is in danger. Taxation has destroyed the great families. Multiculturalism is wrecking the Britain we have known. The right to bear arms has been virtually taken away. There is even talk of an "Islamic Republic of Great Britain" from fanatic Moslem immigrants. Let us draw the line now, before fox hunting is banned. Let us hope our cousins find the bottom to just say no forever to going any further. Let them tell the leftists to talk to the hand forever more.
Four years ago today, my mother died. Kathryn Ann was 75, and having suffered from dementia for a few years, had entered a nursing home once she could no longer be cared for at home. A hernia required surgery, but during the operation she aspirated a great deal of medication. She was able to "converse" despite the tubes, via blinks and nods during visits with my brother and with me. After 4 surgeries in 3 weeks, she succumbed to respiratory failure.
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Requiescat in pace.
If it seems that the Archdiocese of Boston can do no right, you must be reading the Boston Globe. The Globe is now taking the Archdiocese to task for being quick to suspend accused priests, but slow to investigate the charges. Maybe they are just being careful, given that a career and reputation are at stake, as well as the safety of untold numbers of Catholic families.
According to the spokeswoman for the USCCB, the idea of a plenary council on the role of homosexuality and dissent in the Scandal will not be voted on in the November meeting of the bishops. Given the views of the bishops and their staffs (both the bishops' individual and collective staffs, that is) it is probably for the best that the plenary council not come up. I don't think a plenary council with these bishops on that issue would do any good, and fear it could do a great deal of harm by institutionalizing dissent and homosexuality in the priesthood.
FrontPage Magazine carries Chrales Krauthammer on the oddity of Democrat foreign policy, and its reluctance to undertake military action when it is justified by US national interest, but its enthusiasm when justified by international humanitarianism.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
The Patriots won in over-time 41-38, making them 3-0. BC lost to Miami (though it was close at the half). And the Red Sox have faded beyond even the wildest hope. "Wait 'til next year," is being heard on Yawkey Way for the 84th consecutive year.
Seems as though Regnery is on quite a hot streak, with Breakdown, Bias, Absolute Power, and At Any Cost. But it has also published God and Man at Yale, Witness, and The Conservative Mind. WFB's next novel is being published by them. And Regnery was able to do a much better job with Goodbye, Good Men, than its original publisher. Regnery has a sizable niche in the publishing market. Long may Regnery reign.
The Vatican should rule on the US bishops' sex abuse policy next month, according to Vatican sources quoted by the Associated Press. There is currently no comment on the story that the policy will be, at least in part, rejected.
But the gospel reading dealing with the landowner and the laborers is highly appropriate for this time of the year. The organist at the parish we attended today (not our own; we needed air conditioning) opened with Come, Ye Thankful People, which I had to learn for a Thanksgiving show in grammar school, and have rarely heard since then. We think of it as a Thanksgiving hymn, but in Europe, it appropriately played now. Here is a link with the words. It plays the music in midi format, so turn up your volume to hear it. The tune is, I think, used for another hymn, one which I think has to do with Lent or Good Friday.
Today, Mrs. Fitzpatrick and I were indeed laborers, though in an apple orchard, not a vineyard. We picked about a bushel of Macs. We will need more (as a rule we need 1/2 bushel for drying, 1/2 for pies, 1/2 for apple sauce, 1/2 for apple butter, 1/2 for mincemeat and 1/2 for preserves), but there was a limit to what we could carry around the orchards. The fruit seems to be plentiful, and larger than usual. We also picked up apple cider, and cider donuts, as well as a few odds and ends.
If you are in the greater Boston area in the next few weeks leaf-peeping, I suggest a visit to Wilson Farms in Lexington (2 miles east of the Battle Green just off Mass. Ave. near Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Follen Road for wonderful produce and baked goods. But if it is pick-your-own apples and terrific cider you want, Brooksby Farm on Felton Street in Peabody (ten miles northeast of Lexington on Route 128) is the place. The harvest is indeed home, and there is much work to do so that it does not go to waste.