Saturday, October 11, 2003

US Catholics to Vatican Bureaucrats: "WAKE UP!!!!!"
If Blogger gave me the option of a larger type-size for that, I'd have used it.

The Rush Limbaugh Stuff Is Just So Depressing
I've listened to Rush for over 12 years now. He has been a constant in a sometimes tumultous sea. The news that he is addicted to pain killers, is checking into rehab, and may even face criminal prosecution for possession and use is too depressing for words. It is also sad that this is overshadowing (and probably depressing sales of) his brother's excellent book on secular suppression of Christianity.

There is no question that he and his family need a lot of help in the form of prayer.

Let me share with you a secret notion I have had for some time now. Rush is not a Catholic. In fact he comes from Midwestern Protestant stock. I don't know the guy personally. But I have always thought that, someday, he will cross the Tiber. Look at who he hangs out with: Tom Clancy, Bill Bennett, and Clarence Thomas, all Catholic. Other people whose thought seems to influence his: WFB, Russell Kirk, Paul Johnson, Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, all of whom are Catholic. His wife was Catholic (I doubt that she practices now, Rush being husband #whatever). Someday, I think, Rush will go to conservatism's natural home, the orthodox wing of the Roman Catholic Church.

Whether that happens now or later, let's pray that God succors him and his family in the very, very difficult times to come.

Icon Will Self-Distrubute The Passion In Europe
Gibson still does not have a deal with a US distributor on paper, despite assurances to the contrary from well-meaning folks who have seen rumors that a deal may be in the works, or is under consideration, and jump to the conclusion that US distribution is all set.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Pope Pius XII
On this date in 1958 Pope Pius XII died after a pontificate of nearly 20 years. In that time, he was a bulwark of orthodoxy, who authorized new universal translations of the Scriptures, and the work that became the 1962 Missal. He preserved the Church from the horror of Nazism, and directed his officials to help in saving the lives of over 750,000 Jews from the Nazi Holocaust. His officials also sheltered many hundreds of escaped Allied POWs. He then began the long confrontation with Soviet Communism, makig sure that the Church in Poland and Czechoslovakia did not become a mere prop of the Bolshevik regime.

Allow me to quote one of my favorite historians, Paul Johnson, on Pius XII:

Pius was a Tridentine pope. To him, the Greek Orthodox were simply schismatics, and the protestants heretics. There was nothing more to be said or discussed. He was not interested in the ecumenical movement. The Catholic Church already was ecumenical in itself. It could not change, because it was right and always had been right.

Pius' whole analysis of Christianity and the world implied a long period of waiting. It would take time before heretics and schismatics came to their senses, and Marxists abandoned their godless materialism. The Church could wait, as it had waited before. It would remain in its fortress, avoiding contact with the evils of compromise, and from time to time lifting its admonitory voice.

One might say that Pius, seeing his inability to create a perfect world, wanted a world which was frozen and immobile. Motion was dangerous: experience showed that it invariably led in the direction of evil. Change must therefore be resisted at all costs: God, in His infinite wisdom, had condemned His Church to fight a perpetual rearguard action, and every inch yielded must be bitterly contested. At the same time, while resisting change, the Church must never for an instant allow her claims to be obscured and diminished. On the contrary, they must be constantly asserted in all their plentitude.

Though Johnson, I think, is being mildly derogatory, I cite these views with approval, only objecting that the Church under Pius was much more pro-active than Johnson makes it seem. I still use the psalter he approved. If the Church has changed emphasis since then, it is to go on the offensive more. Thus John Paul II collaborated in the liberation of Eastern Europe from the communist tyranny, and has reached out to encourage more missionary activity in Asia and Africa. The difference, in political terms, is that between an Eisenhower policy of containment, and a Reagan Doctrine of liberation. Both are light years away from a Nixon/Carter policy of accommodation and detente (John XXIII, at least in part?).

This Is a Huge Story With Implications I Can't Even Begin To Imagine
From a Rod Dreher post this morning in National Review OnLine's The Corner:

Attendees at the gathering of conservative Episcopalians here in Dallas heard a surprise greeting sent to the convention Wednesday from none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official. It's buried in the ABC story I've linked to, but this is very big. It shows that at the highest levels, the Roman Catholic leadership is showing solidarity with the conservative Anglicans. It's a big ecumenical back of the hand to American Episcopal leaders who have ratified the ordination of the gay bishop. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is said to have politely been read the riot act by top Vatican officials last week, and told that if the consecration of Gene Robinson, the gay American bishop, is allowed to stand, relations between the Anglican Communion and Rome will be in trouble. The conservative Episcopalians here are on fire, and it's going to be amazing to see what happens in England next week when the Archbishop meets with Anglican prelates from around the world. The Africans and others have already told him they're having none of Bishop Robinson and the liberal American church that ratified his election.

Is Rome finally getting aggressive on the possibility of plucking off the conservative Anglicans and helping them across the Tiber? It is an extraordinary gesture to reach out to dissenting Episcoplians like this. And why not? Their current church is just a heresy (Or is it a schism? Or both?). Why not try to bring some back into the fold of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church? The more who come over, the easier the salvation of that many souls (since, even with our claims of exclusivity unwisely cast away, we still think rather vaguely, that we are the "best way to salvation"). Rowan Williams was politely read the riot act by the Vatican? I don't think Williams cares much about eventual reconciliation with Rome. His vision of the Anglican heresy is a continued march to the left, accomodating more and more sexual perversion and making the Church of England and its dependencies more and more a mirror of a depraved civil social order. I also doubt that he will act vigorously in terminating the episcopacy of Robinson, or acting to make sure this does not happen again. After all, he has ordained self-confessed homosexuals himself.

So it is good to see Cardinal Ratzinger (would that he could be the next Pope, even if only for a few years!) taking this step. It was a step that needed to be taken. I am only surprised that someone in the Vatican had the wit to think of this bold, moving, and possibly effective gesture.

Some Questions Naturally Arise
Domenico Bettinelli yesterday took up a story that sounds puzzling and troubling. A young man is murdered by another young man he met at a party. They had left the party together for a "more scenic" locale. One of the men ends up murdered. The other is accused. A local priest had employed the accused, a known sex offender, in the parish, and is decribed as a "friend" of the accused. The priest has been suspended by the Archdiocese pending the investigation.

This does raise a lot of questions. At the very least, I think it shows how far some priests are willing to defy the diocese in the implementation of the programs it must have in place to protect young men from homosexual predation. One has to ask why this priest was so anxious to protect this particular pervert. Domenico asks the ones that came to me when I first heard about the situation.

I doubt the priest had anything to do with the murder. But clearing him of involvement in that will not be enough. I have strong suspicions about what is involved here. As Father Brown might say, it is much worse than a murder. Murder is a grave sin, but it naturally happens. But do we have here a priest perverting his vows and endangering his parish for his own gratification, or to protect someone of the same sexual inclination? Is this a minor example of the way the Lavender Mafia works? Those things would be darker even than a local lout of questionable sexual orientation murdering another fellow. The greater sin is not the murder, but the perversion of the office of priest.

Maybe I've been reading too much Father Brown.

Unfortunately, the authorities investigating the crime only want to know if the priest was involved in the murder. When they know he was not, they will drop the matter, and he will be restored to his parish, "vindicated." But ought he be vindicated if he has not followed diocesan guidelines regarding hiring of likely sexual predators? If he is part of a network of homosexual priests looking out for the interests of other homosexuals and placing those interests above those of the Church or his own parish? If he has violated hs own vow of chastity by engaging in homosexual conduct?

What would "vindication" mean in circumstances like this?

A Victory Against the Yankees Is Sweet Indeed
Especially when it comes in the "House That Ruth Built." But it is a best-of-seven series. I'm sure the As were feeling pretty good about beating us in the first game of the last series.

And let me disagree somewhat with the comment of Chris down below. Just beating the Yankees isn't enough. We've beaten them before. I can remember a regular season weekend back in the heyday of Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson when we demolished them in a most embarrassing fashion. True, most of the time the Sox have taken the pennant, it has been an "off-year" for the New Yorkers. And there is still 1978 left unrevenged. But we have won pennants before, in 1946, 1967, 1975, 1986. We have been in the playoffs or gone into the last weekend of the season at least a theoretical possibility in other years. We do have a lot more going for us a a team with a history than the Cubs.

But the awful tragedy of the Red Sox is being so close so often and not bringing home the world championship. Another pennant added to those won at semi-regular intervals won't be satisfying enough for the Boston fan. It must be all or nothing this year. Even if we face the terribly victory-starved Cubs in a World Series, we must beat them, or the season will have been just so much more frustration for New England.

But first, of course, the team must finish off the Yankees. And that will not be easy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Tonight All The Cliches Will Be In Use
It will be the Red Sox versus the Yankees in Yankee Stadium playing for the American League pennant. There is a palpable frenzy in the popular culture of the Hub of the Universe over the possibility of breaking the Sox' long dry streak. It is all one hears about. If I had a nickel for every cliche about baseball, the Curse of the Bambino, and the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry I have heard in the last 36 hours, I would be a rich man indeed. It is almost enough to turn even die-hard fans off.

Go Red Sox! No fans on earth deserve a World Series win more.

California Has a New Governor This Morning
For better or for worse, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now Governor-elect of California, Davis having lost the recall 54/46, and Schwarzenegger having gained a solid plurality of 48% of the vote. McClintock took an additional 13%, so there was an obvious Republican mood in the electorate, fed up as it was with the huge increase in the auto excise tax..

The page from the Clinton/Gore playbook that Davis tried, the last-minute character assasination, did not work. For that, at least, we can be grateful.

In my view, any Republican is better than any Democrat, except for those odd occasions when the Democrat is provably more conservative than the Republican. That rarely happens. I always support the rightward-most viable candidate. My heart was with McLintock, but my head said Arnold would be no worse than Pete Wilson, and better in this one respect: he can never run for President on a liberal Republican line, as he is constitutionally barred from holding the office as an immigrant.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Chesterton's Lepanto
In honor of today's anniversary of the Battle That Saved Europe, below is the text of G.K. Chestron's poem, Lepanto:

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

October 7, 1571: The Day Europe Was Saved
The fleet of the Holy League (Spain, Venice, the Papal States, and various Italian states) under the command of Don John of Austria faced off against an Ottoman fleet commanded by Uluc Ali Pasha off the Greek island of Lepanto. Had the Ottomans won the battle, they probably would have dominated the Mediterranean, which would have meant further attacks on Italy, the South of France, and the coast of Spain.

Each side had about 200 galleys and 30,000 men. The Moslems lost all but 40 of their galleys. Some 10,000 Christian slaves were freed as a result of the victory. Both sides lost heavily, but the decisive Christian victory held Turkish naval power at bay for a time. The Turks had not quite reached the height of their power. That would come with the final Siege of Vienna in 1683, after which Europe would be free from pressure from the Ottomans, and the long, slow decline of that empire began.

Europe today is again under pressure from Moslem invasion, this time in the form of unchecked immigration, made more serious by low European birthrates. Will Europe this time quietly submit, or is there a reaction against this, in the form of stricter immigration laws, building? We shall be able to see more clearly in 30 years. But now, one has to ask, "Where is this generation's Don John? When will our Lepanto happen, and in what shape will it come?

And the Sunset Was Great, Too!
Well, well, well. The Sox pulled it off, beating the As in another exciting game and winning the series. Now they play the inevitable Yankees tomorrow.

I don't pray for the fate of the Red Sox. I have bigger fish to fry in the prayer department than sporting events. But you can feel free to do so. At Mass on Sunday, the priest, not exactly properly, in my opinion, included victory for the Patriots and Red Sox in the Prayers of the Faithful. So if he can do that, I'm sure you can pray privately for the end to the Red Sox' long dry spell in World Championships.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Anybody Notice A Similarity?
The year is 2000. The Race is Bush v. Gore. It is a week before Election Day. Polls show Bush solidly ahead by about 3 percent and beginning to take on momentum. Then, the Wednesday or Thursday before the last weekend of the campaign, the story about the drunk-driving arrest in 1975 is released. End of Bush momentum. Last-minute undecideds start to break for Gore. The result is the nightmare in Florida, and a race too close to call in many other places for a day or two.

Well, here we are in 2003. This time, it is the recall of the incompetent California Governor Grayout Doofus. The leading candidate to replace him is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now Arnold has a past that is ripe with all sorts of stuff (wild sex, nude photos for the arousal of gays, possibly drugs, certainly steriods, if nothing else). But the electorate knows about most of it. It is a week before the election. Polls show the recall succeeding by an almost 60/40 margin. Arnold is way ahead of any other possible replacement. Then the Wednesday or Thursday before the last weekend, the story about the groped women comes out.

We are seeing the deliberate recurrence of a pattern. Davis is taking a page out of the Gore/Clinton playbook. If things look bleak for you late in the campaign, use willing accomplices in the media to plant a personal attack on the other side, hoping that it will stop the momentum and make last-minute decison makers (about 20% of the electorate or more) break for you. In both cases, the charges have nothing to do with issues, but are the result of private investigation of the candidate. And since the media will do whatever the left wants since it is part and parcel of the left, it runs with the story and becomes the best negative campaigning strategy ever. Without spending any more than the fee of the PI who dug up the names of the women, the Davis campaign gets lots of anti-Arnold airtime.

If Bob Dole in 1996 had allowed out the various stories about Clinton's lurid sex life, the media would not have cooperated, but instead would have just charged the Dole campaign with "dirty tricks." We see here again the one-sided bias of the mainstream media.

Weekend Sports Wrap-Up
OK. You know about the Red Sox. The Patriots won, too, also in come-back fashion. Boston College had this weekend off, so no important college football was played.

The Cubs won their series. I think this is the first post-season series that the Cubs have won in 95 years. They were in worse shape than the Red Sox, who have won post-season playoff series in 1975 and 1986 (at least). The Yankees put the Twins away, so whoever wins tonight's Boston/Oakland game gets to face New York on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Sox Send It Back TO Oakland
The Red Sox, after digging a significant hole for themselves by losing the first two games of the best-of-five series, won the two games at Fenway this weekend. In both cases, the wins were dramatic and exciting.

Sox fans have something to celebrate this Sunday evening.

Isle of Innisfree
These are the lyrics to a song I have heard many times over the years on Boston's Irish music station (WROL).
I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say,
But sure a body's bound to be a dreamer
When all the things he loves are far away
And precious things are dreams unto an exile
They take him o'er the land across the sea
Especially when it happens he's an exile
From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops
Of this great city, wondrous tho' it be
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter
I'm once again back home in Innisfree

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops
Of this great city wondrous though it be
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter
I'm once again back home in Innisfree.
I wander o'er green hills through dreamy valleys
And find a peace no other land could know
I hear the birds make music fit for angels
And watch the rivers laugh as they flow.

But dreams don't last, though dreams are not forgotten
And soon I'm back to stern reality
But though they pave the footpaths here with gold-dust
I still would choose my Isle of Innsifree.

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