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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Just in Time for the Fall Elections

The Supreme Court ruled today, 5-4, that contrary to the view of gun control advocates, the Second Amendment does grant individuals the right to bear arms and overturned a D.C. law prohibiting it. This is bad news for the Democrats in an election year because it places at the forefront an issue, gun control, they would just as soon avoid, their advocacy of it testing so poorly in the polls. Today's court decision should provide a fine showcase for Barack Obama to display his terpsichorean skills dealing with an unpopular position espoused by his party.

Update: Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, thinks the court's ruling removes gun control as a political issue. I disagree. Not only was it a split decision from a panel with members getting on in years and in need of replacement, gun control, along with abortion, is one of precious darlings of the angry left. That is why Obama will have his work cut out for him, appeasing his lefty core furious at the court's ruling while avoiding the alienation of those agree with it.

Update 2: He's already twirling across the ballroom floor!

The Hermeneutics of "Today"

Fr. Neuhaus dispatches a less than spectacular breakthrough made by N. T. Wright, the Bishop of Durham:
Closer to the gravamen of his new book, Wright debunks traditional ideas of heaven by noting that Jesus could not have been referring to heaven when he said that the good thief would be with him today in paradise because Jesus still had to descend to hell and be resurrected and therefore was not himself in heaven on that day. Gotcha. Now why didn’t Thomas Aquinas and all those other smart theologians think of that? Here and elsewhere, N.T. Wright is as literalistic as the staunchest of fundamentalists.
(Thanks to William Tighe.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bless Me Father for I Will Sin

A tip o' the hat to Christopher Johnson of the MCJ for this item, from the Living Church, on the latest travesty of the late, great Episcopal Church.
Last Sunday, in an article titled “New Blood: Violent Gang Life is Passed Down from Parent to Child,” the New York Daily News reported the Rev. Luis Barrios, priest associate at St. Mary’s Church, Harlem, had performed the rite of “blessing” for about 300 children as part of an initiation into the Latin Kings gang.

“It’s a street organization with the capacity to bring together young people in search of power, collective identity … [and] belonging in the society that’s rejecting them,” Fr. Barrios said, as reported by the Daily News.

How lovely. Lest there be any triumphal clucking, however, let us be mindful the deplorable practice of the Holy Catholic Church over the years administering the sacraments to known mafiosi via cowed or indifferent clergy (although, gratifyingly, she has been cracking down on it recently). That said, I will wager most of those clergy, if called to account, would not actually brag about it, nor use PoMo jargon like "bring together young people in search of power, collective identity" to justify it. They might even express remorse (especially if they're placed in the Witness Protection Program).

Couldn't Agree with You More

Ramesh Ponnuru, in the Corner (quoted in its entirety):
Apropos of Nothing

Any time I see somebody described in the papers as "devoutly Catholic," my mental reaction is: Oh. I didn't know he was pro-choice.

Tyranny and the Times

Pajamas Media has just posted a well-written abstract by Bruce Bawer of the pathological condition afflicting the editors of the New York Times these many, many years: the willful ignorance of tyranny. Two paragraphs stand out:
Indeed, it can seem that for the Times, when it comes to the very biggest and most disturbing stories, the “news that’s fit to print” was, and is, often the news that best fits the paper’s pre-existing picture of the world. In this sense, the Times is not a liberal newspaper at all, but deeply conservative, determined above all to provide its largely comfortable and affluent readers with a consistent, predictable picture of the world that doesn’t challenge their own worldview in any significant way or make them feel obliged to deal with things they’d prefer not to deal with.
[]
Indeed, to read Duranty, Matthews, Schanberg, and the Times’ Holocaust-era European correspondents is to be struck by how much alike they all sound. Whether they were in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Castro’s Cuba, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, these reporters evinced the selfsame fascination with tyrants and offered the selfsame justifications for tyranny.

The posting is essential reading because the point of Bawer's sordid history of the Times' rationalization of evil is to serve as illustration how it is does so yet again; this time in its coverage of Islam in Europe, with an array of apologist reporters turning a blind eye to Sharia and intolerance among Muslims, disingenuously claiming the underlying problem is not radical Islam but racism among white Europeans.

That sort of pseudo-Marxist drivel would be would be laughable were it only appearing, as it is constantly but largely ignored, in college newspapers, the Nation or the dailykos.com. The Times, however, despite its recent falling fortunes, is still hugely influential among policy makers (you will see little if any difference between positions held by Times editorialists and the leadership and candidates of the Democratic party). Lamentably, more than a few politicians in Washington take their stand on issues based on what they have read in the New York Times so its whitewashing of the gravest threat to Europe in over two generations should be viewed with great concern by the rest of us.

Given its shameful history, e.g. Walter Duranty filing reports (and winning a Pulitzer prize) denying Stalin's intentional starvation of the Kulaks (estimated deaths, seven-to-ten million), the New York Times can be creditably accused of accessory to murder. What a shame if it were to get away with it again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Will Get Your Guests' Attention



As a former Anglican, recently received into Holy Mother Church, sometimes embracing the Faith require a leap of faith. A case in point (shown above) is taken from a site called Catholic Cuisine:
Appetizer for Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is May 30. Here is a fairly simple idea for an appetizer which could be served on this date or during the month of June which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The recipe (if you must) is found on the Catholic Cuisine website but suffice it to say, Jesus' Heart is cream cheese crafted with a heart-shape mold and His Most Precious Blood taco sauce poured over. Christ have mercy and bon appetit!

(Thanks, I think, to Slane Hill.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obama: I Will Prosecute the War (But Only in a Courtroom)

From an interview with Barack Obama by Jake Tapper of ABC:
What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, “Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.”

So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.
We also know many of those involved with the first bombing of the Trade Center got away with it because arresting them would not have been "consistent with our laws." We also know one full year passed between the arrests and convictions of those we could nab; that those who got away, the ones we couldn't arrest, rather than occupy themselves praying to Allah the jury would find for their chums, instead threw themselves into the work of ensuring the job would be done right the next time.

What we don't know, only Obama does, is given now the preference of Muslim terrorists to blow themselves to bits when doing same to the rest of us, how they are best arrested and tried should they be successful. And I wonder if Barack Obama knows that a memorial erected to the memory of the six people killed in the first Trade Center attack was destroyed in the second attack.

What a foolish and dangerous man.

(h/t Andrew C. McCarthy at the Corner.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!

Al Gore has endorsed Barack Obama! He says the "U.S. needs new vision."








Uh, hello?





Hello?





Hellooooooo?





Anybody out there?





Hello?

Monday, June 16, 2008

No First Amendement in the Vatican, Deo Gratias

From the Telegraph:
The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons, the latest book from Da Vinci Code bestseller Dan Brown to be turned into a movie, from entering the Holy See and any church in Rome.

[snip] The scene will now be shot on a soundstage after the diocese of Rome closed its doors against the producers. Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman, said: "Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn't necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough."

Adding insult to injury, Franco Zeffirelli (bless his heart) joins the fray: "Dan Brown is a rapscallion. The Vicariate has done well to deny them access."

The East is Green

Further bolstering my claim if you scratch an environmentalist you'll find a socialist is Mary Anastasia O' Grady's column today in the Wall Street Journal, where she makes the not-so-surprising observation environmentalists only oppose drilling for oil by the private sector. The Brazilian government-controlled oil company Petrobas has lately been drilling up a storm offshore that country and there has been nary a squeak of protest from the greens.

Likewise the other government-controlled oil companies in South and Central America and the Cubans, via the Chinese government, have been drilling just sixty miles off the coast of Florida, hoping to tap the same 4.6 billion to 9.3 billion barrels in reserves that are off-limits to American oil companies. You won't see or hear of demonstrations opposed to that drilling in Havana, of course, it wouldn't be allowed, but neither will you anywhere else, at Cuban embassies or the United Nations. The reason, you see, is drilling for oil only threatens the environment when there is a possibility private corporations (especially American) and shareholders might make a profit from it.

(h/t the Instapundit)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Planting the Seed

The warmness of relations between Pope Benedict XVI and President George Bush is leading to speculation the president may, at the conclusion of his presidency, follow Tony Blair over to Rome. That doesn't seem likely to your Bloviator. The president is a devout, evangelical protestant (Methodist) and the likely reason he and the Pope get along so well is that there are so few world leaders today of similar moral outlook; the two may simply be starved for friendship.

Just the same, it is thrilling to imagine our president becoming a Catholic and should, within the next few months, an invitation be extended to Fr. Michael Seed to visit the White House, your Bloviator will have to reconsider his doubts that ever happening.

Fr. Seed

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Raison d'être

A high school senior comments on her graduation ceremony:
The survivor from the plane crash in the Andes was going to speak at our graduation, but instead we got a monk who basically talked about how abortion was bad. I was pissed that we were supposed to have this cool guy and got a crappy one.
Deplorable and even more so because the girl had just been handed a diploma from the Woodside Priory School, an elite, by the look of it ($28,850 for tuition alone), Catholic school in the well-to-do community of Palo Alto, California. And while that girl's comment is appalling and probably not typical of her classmates, you can be reasonably sure her sentiment was widely shared by them (read the whole sad business on the excellent blog On Dover Beach).

The mission of Catholic Schools is to give pupils a sound education from the Catholic point of view, even to those who are not Catholic. If a Catholic school does not instill in its young charges Catholic teachings and morals, e.g. the evils of abortion, then it has lost that mission, its reason for being, and should cease to exist.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

In this existence, anyway.



It's really rather sad. The poor women are so deluded they don't realize they're just getting their heads massaged.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Missing Spine Alert

Many of us were relieved last week when Francis Cardinal George of Chicago appeared to have steeled himself and, at long last, dispatched the Archdiocese's crazy uncle in attic, Fr. Michael Pfleger; "temporarily removing [him] as pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side." Unfortunately, "temporarily" was the operative word: Fr. Pfleger is already back at his post and under "no restrictions" so it looks as if the clown masses will continue on the South Side.

(Thanks to Viator Catholicus.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Looming Question

Your Bloviator has been following with interest the saga of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway group of beleaguered Anglicans who would dearly love to come over to Rome. I last wrote of them:
Last year, one of the many breakaway "alphabet soup" Anglican organizations, the Traditional Anglican Communion, petitioned the Pope to be admitted, en masse, into the Holy Catholic Church. The Church has a tradition of moving glacially slow on requests of that sort but I suspect the TAC may receive a reply soon and that it will be positive.

There are now buzzings Rome may at last be turning down the sheets and fluffing up the pillows for those weary souls in the TAC. Comes this report from the National Catholic Register, via the website Clerical Whispers, that

discussions at the Vatican on devising a possible structure for the Traditional Anglican Communion to come into communion with Rome are understood to be nearing completion.

And that

during his May 5 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, [Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan] Williams asked that any potential announcement be delayed until after the Lambert Conference.

Veteran observers of the Anglicans’ continuing identity crisis are not optimistic that it can be resolved, given the wide gulf that exists between liberal-minded Anglican hierarchies in Western countries and more orthodox bishops in the developing world.
Further:
Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, author of Anglican Orders: Null and Void?, believes that in the absence of a magisterium and under the less-than-decisive leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there is “no chance whatsoever that the Lambeth Conference will settle the question of what — if anything — the Anglican Communion believes.”

If the TAC is brought into communion with Rome, that "possible structure" will likely take the shape of the Pastoral Provision and "Anglican Use," a creation of the Holy See in 1980 to permit disaffected Episcopalian priests (even when married) and parishes to be received into the Catholic Church but to continue worshipping in an Anglican manor, using an appropriately modified Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal. Despite being in existence for twenty-eight years, however, there are but six Catholic parishes in the entire country created under the Pastoral Provision, it having no fans among liberal Catholic bishops who would rather chew glass than see large contingents of conservative, traditionalist (and possibly troublesome) Anglo-Catholics coming into their fold. That could all change should the Vatican decide for the TAC and it could prove to be deliverance for traditional Anglo-Catholics in America, heretofore trapped in the apostate Episcopal Church, and, eventually, for Anglo-Catholics everywhere, also trapped, in the increasing number of apostate provinces within the Anglican Communion.

Should Rome decide favorably on the Traditional Anglican Communion's request for communion, the very day that decision is announced Anglo-Catholics in the United States and the rest of the world will be forced to ask themselves, respectively, what possible benefit is obtained by remaining loyal to to the utterly corrupt Episcopal Church and to the increasingly corrupt Anglican Communion; whether having a Pope, Magisterium and undisputed Sacraments is really such a bad thing after all.

(h/t those Shriners at Holy Whapping)

A Modest Suggestion Toward the Revival of Parochialism

The Catholic News Agency has an excellent piece by Hugh J. McNichol on the value of parochialism; the vital part it plays in the preservation of Catholic identity and, as a result, the upholding of the Faith. Growing up in the Gray's Ferry neighborhood of Philadelphia, which at the time was a thriving Irish-Catholic neighborhood, McNichol gives us a colorful description of an urban Catholic neighborhood of a bygone era.
Expressions of Catholic identity were everywhere, when people walked past the front of the Church, they sometimes genuflected or blessed themselves, grade school boys and girls wore the Rosary on the belts of their pants and school uniforms, Marian statues poked their images of the Mother of God through lace curtains and immaculately clean front windows. Perhaps a lot of this recollection is nostalgia for a Catholic existence that is no longer around…

It is no longer around, alas. McNichol rightly laments this and suggests that "the evolution from a neighborhood parochial system to the sprawling suburban parish complex is part of the blame for the erosion of visible Catholic identity over the past 50 years." Certainly that may have played a part in the erosion but I wonder if some blame may also be be laid at the feet of the radical post-Vatican II reformers, whose innovations gave rise in the Catholic Church to the Protestant notion of "church shopping;" people willing to travel great distances in order to avoid worship à la Kumbaya.

Whatever the reasons for parochialism's decline, it would be good if it were revived. McNichol writes:

As part of Catholic renewal and evangelization in the 21st century let’s impart a bit of South Philly Catholicism to all of our children and neighbors and show them clearly that being Catholic is a proud theological tradition that deserves emulation and modern participation. Don’t be afraid to show your Catholicity, order the fish on Fridays, go to Mass on a daily basis, vote in elections with Catholic morality in mind...

It was with the above in mind your Bloviator, only recently received into Holy Mother Church, registered with the local parish church, resisting the temptation to do so in a downtown parish with better music and liturgy. Recently, I hoofed it from the quasi-swanky part of my neighborhood in northern Manhattan to the decidedly less swanky part of it where the parish church is located; where the music and liturgy, sadly, leaves much to be desired. In the parish office I explained to a friendly receptionist why I was there. She handed me a spiral-bound notebook of lined paper, instructed me to put down my name and address, which I did, and told me pledge envelopes would soon be mailed to me. I was now a parishioner. The envelopes did indeed arrive few weeks later but I will confess to feeling just a little let down.

In my Episcopal days changing parishes was more involved. When joining a new parish you had to fill out a form stating date of birth, baptism and confirmation. The new rector would send a request for a "letter of transfer" to the previous rector seeking confirmation you had been a member of his parish. Only when the letter had been received by the new rector could you then consider yourself a member of that parish. I remember going through this process many years ago at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, one of the few remaining "orthodox" Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of New York and, unlike most Episcopal Churches, having a very large number of parishioners. Despite that, after the paperwork had been accomplished, the rector, the Rev'd John Andrew, insisted on an interview and took me out to lunch afterwards.

While I realize Catholic priests have vastly many more souls entrusted to their care than most Protestant clergy (as well vastly smaller salaries), I can't imagine it would bust the budgets of most Catholic Churches to host the occasional modest do where a couple of bottles of plonk are unscrewed and new parishioners are introduced to their fellow fisheaters. It would go a long way, I think, to increasing that old parochial pride and that would be all to the good.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

When the Music's Over, Turn Out the Lights


Cynthia Sheehan (remember her?) campaigning for Congress in front of City Hall in San Francisco yesterday: Poor thing, she never realized all that love and adulation showered upon her by the left was entirely contingent on her continuing utility. Now she's soooo 2006.

(From the San Francisco Citizen , via the Instapundit.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Now That's More Like it

CBS 2 News has learned that Francis Cardinal George is temporarily removing Father Michael Pfleger from his position as pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the move comes after several days of deliberation and consultation by the Cardinal, who first learned about Pfleger's racially charged comments about Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity Unity Church of Christ last Thursday night (From CBS2@Chicago.com)

You almost get the silly notion His Eminence reads this blog!

(Thanks to Banished Child of Eve.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Will They Ask for a Refund or a Store Credit?

When children are regarded as a commodity rather than a gift of God, you get stories like the following.
A British couple abandoned their newborn twin girls, conceived by in vitro fertilization, at a hospital — because they wanted boys.

The 59-year-old mother and 72-year-old father conceived in India with fertility treatment and returned to England for the birth.

They told horrified hospital workers they did not want the “wrong sex” babies immediately after the Caesarean section at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, England.

The husband then asked how soon it would be before his wife could try IVF again in the hope of getting a boy to continue the family name. (From Fox News.)

There will be more stories like this.

Independent Thinking in Manhattan

An odd trait of lefties (maybe not so odd, considering their herd mentality) is the propensity to plaster their cars with bumper stickers proclaiming support for liberal causes like “peace,” gun-control, abortion etc. or, especially in Manhattan, opposition to conservatives and their causes. Manhattan is rotten with these four-wheeled billboards, we few conservatives are long used to them and pay them little mind.

There is, however, a vehicle in your Bloviator’s neighborhood that has commanded his attention. It is a big, gas-guzzling 4-wheel drive van that for several year has sported the following bumper sticker.



There appear to be inconsistencies with the message, “Republicans=Always war, all the time,” with the iconography alongside: a swastika, cross and dollar sign. After all, the United States went to war against the Nazis, most Americans who fought that war were Christian and U. S. dollars paid for it. Furthermore, it was a Democratic president who asked for and received from a Democratic congress a declaration of war…but never mind: we get the gist of this sticker, sort of, if we squint our brains.

A while back, a new sticker appeared below the original one.



Here, while the graphic is a tad confusing and the spelling poor, the message is clear enough although it should be pointed out those evil Republicans still haven't rep(p)ressed the owner of the van nor his bumper stickers.

Just a few days ago a third sticker appeared below the other two.



The cumulative message: “Dare to think for yourself: two examples above," an obvious manifestation of the left's intellectual superiority.