Saturday, July 29, 2017

Long Break Ahead

We are rapidly approaching the point where I will be temporarily relocating back to the year 1975 (mentioned here). As much as I hate doing it, during this period I will have to enable comment moderation. So if you are leaving comments it could be a while before I get a chance to approve them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci’s vulgar New Yorker interview is beyond words (PG-13)

I'm not going to excerpt this but I will confirm that it is completely over the top. This isn't a presidential administration. It's a political coup d'état executed by escapees from a lunatic asylum.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Technology



It is my heart-warmed and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.
~ Mark Twain, Christmas 1890

Friday, July 21, 2017

Conservative Anglicans are close to despair. Is the CofE about to split?

As an Anglican, I used to think theological liberalism was on the wane. Not any more

Anyone with a lick of sense can see that the Church of England is in serious trouble. Congregational decline, child abuse scandals, and financially desperate cathedrals are just the most obvious symptoms of a very broad disease. As an Anglican, I have been confident that the Church would manage to turn things around in a few decades. After the most recent meeting of General Synod, however, I am no longer so confident.

On the face it, the Synod’s changes were all fairly minor. For all the fuss, the proposal to write official liturgies affirming the new gender identity of transgender people may well be ignored even by Church’s own bishops; and the changes on regulation of vestments merely rubber-stamps what already takes places across swathes of the Church.

But the most significant thing about the Synod was the manner in which it was conducted. The bishops stayed largely silent as Synod did theology by endless anecdote. The only notable episcopal contributions came from the liberal northern prelates (especially Paul Bayes of Liverpool). An outburst of anti-capitalism from the Archbishop of York provided comedy value amongst the general dour air of neo-Puritanism. The monotonous drumbeat of socialism and sexual liberalism was only broken by the ecumenical contribution of Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who warned Synod that it’s bad for PR and the soul to spend so much time talking about sex. His plea fell on deaf ears.

Leading conservative Synod members seem to have left in a state of mind verging on despair. They have suffered no major defeats, but seem confident that it’s only a matter of time. The general consensus is that the “middle third” of Synod has no more appetite for gruelling fights or media uproar, and will quietly acquiesce to liberal demands for church blessings of same-sex marriage, to be shortly followed by same-sex marriage itself.

Read the rest here.

I feel badly for Mr. Sabisky. Not so much because he is right in his despair about the future of his religious confession, but rather because he does not grasp it's current state. The CofE is, and has been for quite some time, deeply and profoundly heretical by any metric of small "o" orthodox Christianity. Arguably it is simply apostate. That he, as a self professed "conservative" Anglican, does not grasp this pretty much says all that needs to be said about how bad things have gotten there.

Monday, July 17, 2017

RIP Martin Landau

Probably best remembered for his Oscar winning performance in Edward Wood where he brilliantly played the aging Bela Lugosi and also for his role in the 1960's TV series Mission Impossible. However, I  remember him for his role in the campy 1970's sci-fi series Space 1999. At the time I was a kid  and loved the show. Ok ok. So they were a little off in predicting that people in 1999 would all be wearing two tone uni-suits and platform shoes. I've no idea what became of it, but I remember getting a giant sized play model of one the show's space eagles for Christmas one year. I bet that thing would be worth a mint today. Anyways, thanks for the memories Mr. Landau. Memory eternal.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bastille Day

For a Frenchman to celebrate the Revolution is akin to celebrating the day your mother contracted cholera. All of the great calamities of the modern world are the fruit of the Revolution. The two world wars. Social violence and class warfare. Communism and Nazism, the two most murderous ideologies in the history of the world are the bastard children of the French Revolution. The history of the French Revolution is written in blood and it is still being written. Gravilo Princip, Lenin, Mussolini, Franco (and the Spanish Republicans- two sides of the same coin), Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, any of the various Kims, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, & etc. are the spiritual heirs of Robespierre. The true symbols of modern liberalism are not liberté, égalité, fraternité, they are the guillotine and the abortion clinic.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pope Francis is behaving like a Latin American dictator – but the liberal media aren’t interested

At the end of June, Pope Francis dismissed Cardinal Gerhard Müller from his position as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) – arguably the most important position in the Catholic Church after that of the Pope himself, since the CDF is in charge of doctrine.

Müller was given no notice that the Pope was breaking from tradition by not renewing his five-year mandate – and no explanation. A few days later, on July 4, he explained what had happened in a long phone call to his friend Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of four cardinals who had challenged Francis on the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Meisner was horrified to hear the details of Müller’s humiliation. And, that night, he died in his sleep at the age of 83.

Now Müller – who has always been careful never to question the Pope – has also broken with tradition. He has spoken angrily about the way he was treated – drawing attention to the fact that a pope who never misses an opportunity to uphold workers’ rights plays by very different rules inside the Vatican.

This is what Müller told the Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse...

Read the rest here.

The Church of Modern Lunacy

I have a passing interest in the Church of England and its American variation, the Episcopal Church. An old friend is in the church so I get some first hand descriptions of what it is like to be in a dying institution. That’s the only way to describe the Episcopal Church. Attendance declines every year as old members die off and new members never materialize. Go into an Episcopal service and you can’t help but notice that most everyone is a senior. The actuarial tables are the church’s greatest enemy.

Of course, church attendance has always skewed a little older. Young people tend not to be attracted to the faith, even if their parents regularly attend services. As people get older, have families and begin to sink roots, they get more involved in their faith and attend services regularly. That’s the trouble with the mainline Protestant religions. The young are not coming back once they start having families. That means their children are not raised in the faith. As a result, these churches are now in a death spiral.

The story is familiar to anyone who has been paying attention. These churches made the decision to chase the latest social fads in the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to make themselves more appealing to the young. The only thing they did was make themselves less attractive to people interested in being part of a traditional Christian sect. It was not just in the pews, but in the clergy as well. Those feeling the call found that the church in which they were raised was not interested in defending and maintaining the faith.

The result is the clergy slowly radicalized. First came the women and then the feminist women. Soon they invited in the homosexuals and the clergy started looking like the faculty of a liberal arts college. That’s when the pews started to empty out. Why bother going to church, when you can get the same liberal lecture from television? That’s what started the decline in church attendance. Instead of offering a shelter from the storm, they decided to chase an over-served market – radical Progressives.

Read the rest here.

Shroud of Turin bears blood of torture victim according to latest research

New atomic resolution research indicates that the mysterious Shroud of Turin does in fact contain the blood of a torture victim, thus undermining theories that the shroud was painted, reports Catholic News Agency.

“On the basis of the experimental evidences of our atomic resolution TEM studies, the man wrapped in the [Shroud of Turin] suffered a strong polytrauma,” reads the conclusion of the new study. The research was carried out by the Instituo Officia dei Materiali in Trieste and the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, both under Italy’s National Research Council, as well as the University of Padua’s Department of Industrial Engineering, with the results published in the article “New Biological Evidence from Atomic Resolution Studies on the Turin Shroud” in the multidisciplinary open access, peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE. 

Read the rest here.

Russian Orthodox Church Launches New Missionary Radio Channel In North America


Of course it's only in Russian... sigh.

More here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Turkey Takes Over 50 Churches, Monasteries

Close to 50 churches and monasteries were taken over by the Turkish government in Mardin, a city located in the southeastern part of the country, reported the news outlet Agos.

The move was made during the time that the villages that comprise the city were turned into an official municipality. As per legislation that established the city, a “liquidation committee” was established to distribute institutions of the city whose legal permits had expired.

“For years, minority foundations could not acquire property in Turkey,” explained Kuryakos Ergun, the chairman of Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation. “Then legislative amendments were introduced in 2002 upon which we engaged in a number of initiatives.” We were able to have some of the title deeds registered in the name of our foundation. And for others, the legal process was ongoing.

“It was not possible for us to follow-up on all the title deeds … we are (now) filing lawsuits to the extent possible. In places where we couldn’t follow up the situation, some monasteries and other property were given to the legal entity of the village.”

In the latest move, the liquidation committee gave ownership of the village’s churches, monasteries and cemeteries to the Treasury Department, which in turn transferred ownership to the Diyanet, the Religious Affairs Ministry.

Appeals have been filed but with no success to date.

Source

Cardinal Müller; the Head of the Vatican's Doctrinal Office is Sacked by Pope Francis

Multiple sources are reporting this though I believe it was Rorate Caeli that first broke the news. He was a moderate, but in the Bergoglian Vatican he might as well have been trying to revive the Inquisition.

According to Edward Pentin at NCR (the good one) the most likely candidates for the position are Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., Secretary to the CDF, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto. If I were still Catholic, I would be trembling.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

OK I Yield

Thanks to everyone who has posted such nice things about the blog. I appreciate the kind words. Also I am not ignoring the many messages posted in the preceding thread and sent to me privately asking that I reconsider my retirement. So I have decided to stick with it for a while longer. However I must caution that my posts may be less frequent. Also starting in August I am going to be stuck in a technological black hole, possibly for a couple of months. Mom is having surgery which will require my moving in to help out for between four and eight weeks. Her house is in small sheltered valley where even cell phones don't work. She does have satellite TV and a microwave oven. But otherwise it's like stepping into the 1960's. It's a twenty minute drive to the 21st century and internet access. So posting during that time frame will be very rare.

More to follow.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thanks for the memories

I hesitate to speak or write in absolutes, but after more than eleven years, I think it likely that this will be my last post. I've been thinking about folding the tent for a couple of years now, as my heart really isn't in it anymore and the state of the world grows more depressing by the day. That and I have other interests which are increasingly taking up my time. It seems to me that this is a good stopping point. Ten + years is a good run as blogs go.

In saying au revoir I would like to thank all of my regular and occasional readers. This blog was never anywhere near being in the top tier of the Orthodox/political blogosphere but we had some good conversations. And while I did not always agree with every comment, I rarely found them unreasonable and often walked away more enlightened for them. My intention is to leave the comments open for another couple of weeks after which I will turn the lights off.

Finally, I ask forgiveness for any injury or hurt I may have caused as a result of anything I posted here.

Goodbye and God bless each of you.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

What do with Illinois?

llinois is like Venezuela now, a fiscally broken state that has lost its will to live, although for the moment, we still have enough toilet paper.

But before we run out of the essentials, let's finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people's money.

Those "other people" include taxpayers who've abandoned the state. And now Illinois faces doomsday.

So as the politicians meet in Springfield this week for another round of posturing and gesturing and blaming, we need a plan.

And here it is:

Dissolve Illinois. Decommission the state, tear up the charter, whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo, just end the whole dang thing.

We just disappear. With no pain. That's right. You heard me.

The best thing to do is to break Illinois into pieces right now. Just wipe us off the map. Cut us out of America's heartland and let neighboring states carve us up and take the best chunks for themselves.

The group that will scream the loudest is the state's political class, who did this to us, and the big bond creditors, who are whispering talk of bankruptcy and asset forfeiture to save their own skins.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The USS Fitzgerald

 -- Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia -- Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego -- Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut -- Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas -- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California -- Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland -- Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.

Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!

Many Years!

To HM The Queen on her (official) 91st birthday.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Baseball

It's not a good sign when an article on your team includes this line...

"At least Mr. Met hasn't flipped off anybody in a couple of weeks."

Friday, June 09, 2017

Contraception and the Orthodox Church: Contemporary Theology and the Sources of Tradition

 Introduction

The early twentieth century saw the rapid growth of technologies intended to help prevent the conception of children. As these became more widely available and more broadly accepted in the culture at large, questions began to arise among Christians as to the morality of these products. The problem of contraception in turn uncovered deeper questions about the nature of love, marriage, and the conjugal act. A substantial and satisfying response to these questions is found in the Tradition of the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). By the indwelling grace of the Spirit she not only preserves the truth, entrusted by the divine Savior to his apostles and maintained throughout the centuries by the holy Fathers, but her timeless mind remains accessible in every exigency. This applies to moral as well as theological questions, for her teaching is comprised of both dogmatic definitions and ethical standards.1 Part of the ascetic struggle of faith of every Christian is to assimilate these divine truths and live them. In this regard the flock of Christ relies on its pastors for guidance and looks to educated teachers and theologians for clarification. And this is precisely what many Orthodox Christians have done in the midst of an eruption of a contraceptive culture. Laity and clergy alike have turned to synodal statements and theological literature looking for the mind of the Church on this serious issue that touches the most intimate element of the married Christian life. Yet, to their detriment, the faithful have been deprived of the gold of Tradition on this issue and have instead been handed counterfeited accommodations to modern life that fall far short of the Church’s patrimony. The Fathers of the Church, and Orthodox theologians and writers as recently as the 1960s, were unanimous in their condemnation of artificial contraception. Yet in the past several decades a growing number of authors and authorities have departed from this inheritance and put forward a novel perspective on the issue, ranging from qualified permissibility to near endorsement. Today a majority of Orthodox Christians has seemingly accepted this newer teaching, so that in less than a century the Church has witnessed the dramatic reversal of a consensus that had lasted nearly two millennia—so strong is this cultural force we call contraception. But modern apologists for contraception do not represent the mind of the Church. When they are aware of the teaching of the Fathers they either misunderstand it or dismiss it, whether in principle or in particulars. Furthermore, their treatment of the issue has generally been superficial and lacking in philosophical and theological rigor. These flaws, combined with the extreme novelty of the new morality, allow for a straightforward analysis and critique of contemporary opinions about contraception.

*This essay is indebted to Dr. Timothy Patitsas, professor of Ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well as to Mother Nectaria McLees and John Taylor Carr. I am also grateful to Fr. Maximos Constas and William Goldin for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of the paper. Since this paper was first written, the author has learned of an earlier study on the issue: Fr. John Schroedel, “Orthodox Christianity and Contraception: Perspectives on the Contemporary Discussion” (M.Div. Thesis, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 2002). The present paper obviously covers much of the same ground.

This paper is intended to expose the fallaciousness of the new morality through comparison with the fountains of truth preserved in the Church and handed on to every generation.

Read the rest here.