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Friday, April 27, 2007

Newman's Own?

The worthy WannabeNewbie Anglican alerts us to an extraordinary comment on Fr. Dan Martin's blog, Confessions of a Carioca by someone who calls himself, encouragingly, Invicta Veritas. In it is a plausible hypothesis Anglo-Catholic bishops in ECUSA are on the verge of leading their flocks out of ECUSA, possibly to Rome; just rumors but Veritas writes with the air and confidence of someone who has well-placed connections. Particularly interesting is a meeting that took place last September between Archbishop Myers of the RC Diocese of Newark (he is also "Ecclesiastical Delegate" for the Anglican Use!) and the Anglo-Catholic Bishops Ackerman, Iker, Schofield and the recently poped +Herzog. Veritas provides some amazing details and it is well worth reading the whole thing. We must remember these are indeed mere rumors, they could well be spun from whole cloth, but should they be true there may be some remarkable developments in the near future.

I wonder if the bishops have concluded "Anglo-Catholic" is oxymoronic: that you can be one or the other but not both without making fatal compromises. John Henry Newman made that realization and took the swim 162 years years ago. There has been a fairly steady flow of Anglicans following him to Rome ever since. Will our Anglo-Catholic bishops cause the flow to become a torrent?

Reading about these rumors I must confess to the guilty and wicked pleasure of picturing Katharine Jefforts Schori, sitting at her polished desk in 850 Second Avenue, churning out yet another dreary propaganda piece for the United Nations while at the same time her Anglo-Catholic colleagues surreptitiously plan the spiritual equivalent of the Dunkirk evacuation. I know, it's impossible, just the product of a fervid imagination. Still . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

He Who Watches over Israel will Neither Slumber nor Sleep

Last week, a young student, totally insane but nevertheless free to roam a college campus because authorities lacked the legal means lock him up, blew away thirty-two of his classmates. The reaction from liberal idiotarians has been the usual call for sacking the Second Amendment, ignoring the fact Virginia Tech was already a "gun-free zone." It was a policy, as it turns out, that was almost a brilliant success: only one student on the huge campus was carrying heat that morning. No one among the intellectual elite in the academy or at the New York Times dared consider instead of stripping the Second Amendment rights of all citizens, curtailing the "rights" of the criminally insane, just a smidgen mind you, and how it might be more beneficial to society than riding herd on the Constitution.

That is not to say, however, that bold decisive action was not taken in the wake of the tragedy. A stellar example took place at (and how proud my late pappy and my grand pappy would be of their alma mater) Yale University. Let us doff our hats and stand at attention in admiration of one Betty Trachtenberg, Dean of Student Affairs, who upon hearing the horrible news from Virginia Tech, immediately banned the use of stage weapons in theatrical productions on campus. Dean Betty later eased her harsh decree by permitting the use of "obviously fake weapons," thus showing her boldness is tempered by reason. Evidently Yale takes seriously its obligation in loco parentis and young Elis must surely sleep easier at night knowing Dean Betty is watching over them.

Real Men are Celibate

Via MCJ comes the depressing news fourteen African Anglican bishops, representing dioceses in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have affixed their names to a statement demanding the west remove economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, that pathetic relic of a once-prosperous country. While it comes as no surprise Kunonga, the bishop of Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe's spiritual lapdog, signed it, it is sad beyond all words that so many others would do so as well, no doubt in reflexive anti-west reaction. If western nations really want to rid the world of Mugabe, they should bribe him, as much as it takes, to embrace and endorse the policies of the Bush administration: an invading neighboring army, financed by Cuba, will be marching triumphantly in the streets of Harare within six months.

Meanwhile, the Anglican bishops' Catholic counterparts in Zimbabwe are showing some mettle, holding prayer meetings to protest Mugabe's brutality. While the Anglicans, safe behind their borders, stand up for Mugabe, the Catholics are risking their very lives denouncing him. It seems the only clerics with balls in central Africa are celibates.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's a Religion of Peace, Part III

From the BBC:

Three people have been killed at a publishing house in Turkey that produced bibles, in an apparent attack on the country's Christian minority.

The victims were discovered at the Zirve publishing house in the eastern city of Malatya.

They were bound hand and foot and their throats had been slit, officials said.

Look for Muslim organizations to warn against potential "backlash" from this incident.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


If you were wondering who buys the stupefyingly expensive wristwatches I wrote about below, Tom Wolfe trains his sights on "those people," hedge fund traders, here. If it were written by anyone else I would question the veracity the tales he relates but such is Wolfe's repute we must believe every horrifying detail. Here are a couple of them:

[T]he hedge fund founder desperate to get his son into one of Greenwich’s socially swell private schools who clips a six-figure check to the first page of the application, witlessly forcing the school to reject both his son and his check or lose all credibility—

The lone-wolf entrepreneur who keeps an old-money matron and charity fundraiser waiting outside his office in Greenwich for an hour, remains reared back in his chair with his feet propped up on top of his desk as she comes in, listens to her pitch with his feet on top of his desk, utters a sum total of two words, “Not interested,” with his feet up on top of his desk, and offers no farewell, not even a Godspeed tap-tap of the shoes on his feet up on top of the desk—

If you can stomach it, read it all. I grew up in that town; much different place in those days.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, New York Sun!

It's five years old today, despite many predictions of its quick demise. It is the best, the only, newspaper in New York and I've been reading it since day one. Yes, the New York Post is great fun but I would drop it in a minute were it not for the clever headlines and the Times of London crossword. The NewYork Times still shows atavistic flashes of its former greatness but the cancerous left-wing ideology of its spoiled brat, rich kid publisher/owner "Pinch" Sulzberger has metastasized throughout the the host (even the real estate, business and sports sections!) and simply is no longer worth the trouble.

It reminds me of another formerly great institution.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The bus I take every Sunday to the church where I worship also happens to pass by the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Lately I've noticed a great deal of activity on a large swath of its southern edge, suggesting a new building going up. Since the cathedral is still a long way from finished and is also looking decidedly run down these days, it didn't square with me the trustees would be adding yet another building to the considerable number already on the property. I checked the Cathedral website to see if there was an explanation. There was.

It seems the trustees are leasing out large portions of the property, the parcel I noticed on the south edge to a real estate investment trust and an even larger one on the north edge to Columbia University. There will be new buildings going up but they won't belong to the Cathedral and they'll have nothing to do with church. In short, the Cathedral is going broke and, in effect, the trustees are selling off the assets to pay the bills, something I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more of from ECUSA in the not-so-distant future.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Icons for the Self-Worshipper


Well, not exactly. The image above happens to be the likeness of the watch I wear on my wrist and for which I paid a cool $27 at Walmart. Until recently, I confess, I never paid it much mind, save when experiencing the mundane notion of wanting to know what time it is. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal's "Pursuits" section, however, has caused me to regard my little Timex with greatly increased respect.

The article was a lengthy spread on the latest whiz-bang watches emenating from Switzerland, along with a highly detailed index with recommendations to buy, hold or sell specific makes and models. The prices are most impressive, ranging from a paltry three grand for a couple of models, probably intended as stocking stuffers for the young progeny of hedge fund traders in Greenwich, all the way up to an $860,000 grown-up watch for daddy himself, the Blancpain 1775, which includes, among the many gadgets stuffed inside it, a "tourbillon," an essential feature that "counters the effects of gravity on a watch's accuracy." (That pesky gravity, glad someone's finally done something about it!)

Now, you may wonder, what does this gross excess have to do with my Timex watch? Just this: My humble little Timex, like any watch with a quartz movement, is a better timekeeper than any of the watches referred to above, which contain mechanical movements. What's more, all the bells, whistles and geegaws mechanical-movement watches contain not only raise their prices to stratospheric heights, but actually reduce their accuracy owing to the additional moving parts. Thus we're presented with a curious inverse proportion: the more a watch costs, the less accurate it is.

It is not so curious at all, however, when we consider the gazillionaires who lay out the bucks for these things are not buying timepieces at all, rather expensive jewelry, a male version of the diamond tiara, and meant to be seen and to impress. Not actually knowing anyone who owns one of these hideously expensive toys, I dare not attempt further characterization except to aver with a certain confidence they cannot possibly call themselves Christian: Nobody spending a half-million clams on a watch could possibly worship any entity other than himself.

Only $865,000 and nearly as accurate as a Timex!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quiet Entertainment for Holy Week

In this most solemn week if you still seek diversion and consider "The Sopranos" or "The Office" unsuitable, you could do far worse than the following:

Jesus of Nazareth: Franco Zefirelli, director.

This six-and-a-half hour, made-for-TV movie on the life of our Lord premiered to huge acclaim in 1977 and then pretty much disappeared. I watched that premier and for me there is no better cinematic retelling of the Gospels. Produced by Lew Grade, it has an unbelievable cast and was beautifully shot (it's Zefirelli, after all) on location. The only drawbacks are the DVD is made from an old and worn print with scratches and somewhat faded color. Also, while the sound quality is acceptable, it is only barely so. The virtues, however, far outweigh the flaws. Amazon has it, so does Netflix.

Bach: St. Matthew and St. John Passions; Phillippe Herreweghe, conductor.

There are zillions of recordings of the Bach Passions, many of them wonderful, but I think Herreweghe's are the best (he recorded the St. Matthew twice: they're both fine). Herreweghe is the only conductor I know who, while adhering to period performance practices, is not afraid to bend and shape a musical line like a romantic. It's as if Wilhelm Furtwängler were conducting an early music ensemble. This is some of the most glorious music ever written by the greatest composer of them all, whom God was kindly disposed to give to us, His beloved creatures.

Happy Easter.

Monday, April 02, 2007

To the Victor Go the Spoils

Surveying the opinions of the revisionists recently, I noticed along with the usual ferocious broadsides issued against the evil, hate-filled orthodox for sowing discord and schism in "their" church, even more venomous words are directed at the primatial carpetbaggers hailing from those notorious imperialist powers, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.

It is to be expected: Nothing enrages well-off white liberals more than differently-hued inferiors refusing to toe the line, stepping off the lefty plantation. This is an old story and transcends the current unpleasantness in the Episcopal Church. You have to wonder though if the revisionists are living in an alternate universe with their gleeful approbation of the House of Bishops' recent rejection of the "Primatial Vicar and Council" plan proposed by +Cantuar and the Primates. The purpose of this plan was to give conservative Episcopalians, disaffected by the increasing lunacy and apostasy of their church's leadership, a pointy hat of their own with whom they could talk. "No effing way," said the HOB (here's a typical pastoral letter; read one, you've read them all, boilerplate written by a committee of lawyers). To a number, the bishops justifying the rejection of the plan cite Holy Polity, which apparently is the ultimate authority in ECUSA and is, conveniently, ever-malleable for the nixing of distasteful proposals.

The revisionist bloggers are euphoric about the rejection, congratulating the bishops for the brave stance they've taken, for "pushing back" and refusing to let those mean old Negroes in Africa tell them what to do. Those of us in the orthodox camp saw the ABC's and Primates' plan as one last chance for ECUSA to pull back from the abyss lest she fall into it. The revisionists saw it as a devious colonialist cabal to yank their enlightened church back to the dark ways of its past and saw the bishops' rejection of it as a brilliant triumph. No wonder they're thrilled and it pretty much marks the end of the war for them, all that's left being the mopping up. The last remaining and dwefful diffy part comes this fall when "Uncle Rowan,"as one important progressive blogger refers to him, lets the cat out of the cellophane bag and announces ECUSA has officially walked apart from the Anglican Communion. ECUSA, with a delightfully playful sense of the paradoxical and absurd, will deny it of course and continue to play church, trotting out ever more new and improved WorshipProduct™ before her dwindling members, hoping to stem their declining number.

But it's over. ECUSA belongs to the progressives now and the orthodox are jumping ship. They cannot be stopped and the progressives' loving contempt for them will soon vanish. They will try to take away their property but even if they get the keys, the orthodox will leave. They will drag their bishops, priests and vestrymen into court but even with convictions or judgments, the orthodox will leave. They will shower them with invective, abuse, threats and damnation but even so and especially, the orthodox will leave. There is nothing the progressives can do to stop orthodox flight and going with them will be the young, the money, the commitment and the enthusiasm. The only growing churches in ECUSA these days are those leaving or soon to be. The progressives may rail about opportunistic African primates but are quite aware those bishops have only gone to where they have been invited. Their rants will fall on deaf ears. To the victor go the spoils but with ECUSA the spoils are spoliated. When the progressives make that nasty discovery, in the absence of orthodox scapegoats, they will turn on each other instead with a fury not yet seen in this sorry, but soon to be ending, saga.

Worship the Lord In the Beauty of Cheesiness

Adam at Anglo-Catholic Ruminations is holding a "Chintzy Chasuble Contest" and is inviting submissions. He's posted several already (passim, keep scrolling down), one of which will be familiar to readers of this blog. But there must be many more ugly chasubles out there, after all, the New Religionists have been peddling their worship-product™ for well over over thirty years. If, in your Internet travels, you've ever had to avert your glance at an image of taste-free vestments, by all means send a pic or link to Adam so that it may be shared with all.