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Friday, January 28, 2011

They Dare Not Mention It

Those hankering, for whatever reasons, to learn what passes for theology these days in the Episcopal Church (and to a large extent, alas, Canterbury itself) can do a lot worse than read the inchoate gnostic babbling of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to the Paulist Fathers at their 40th annual Hecker lecture. Or (and a lot more fun) read the exegetical fisking of said lecture, expertly performed by the inimitable Christopher Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal; I dare not compete with the master and besides, Ms. Schori is the Episcopalians' problem, not mine. By now virtually all Episcopalians who might have taken exception to heterodox ramblings like hers have moved on or are in the process of doing so.

What I do feel free objecting to, however, is the Paulist Fathers inviting the titular head of a protestant denomination that enthusiastically supports abortion rights to speak at a distinguished lecture series named for their founder. One searches in vain in the article covering Ms. Schori's speech on the society's website for even a passing smidgen of regret over her and her church's stand on a hideous act so fundamentally opposed to Catholic teaching. Father Hecker would be dismayed.

We Aren't Far Behind

It looks as if the brain drain of England is a fait accomplis.
[Gatwick] Airport bans toy soldier's three-inch rifle from plane... because it's a safety threat

The plastic Royal Signaller was bought by tourist Julie Lloyd as a present to take home to her husband Ken, a recently retired policeman in Toronto, Canada.

Mrs Lloyd, 59, who regularly visits Britain to see her mother, said: ‘I took it to the airport still in its wrapping, but they discovered the little gun when it was scanned.

‘It is only about three inches long and there are no moving parts. There isn’t even a trigger.
‘But they wouldn’t let me take it with me. I had it in my

hand luggage. I just didn’t think it would cause a problem. They said rules were rules. There was no flexibility or common sense.’

Brain drain is accelerated when morons are given badges.

Thanks to John Beeler

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Calendar Notes

Distinguished Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank announces after writing 42 pieces on Sarah Palin he's tired of all this talk about Sarah Palin and will not write a single word about Sarah Palin for the whole month of February (the shortest month). Milbank invites his fellow journos
to join me in this pledge of a Palin-free February. With enough support, I believe we may even be able to extend the moratorium beyond one month, but we are up against a powerful compulsion, and we must take this struggle day by day.
Milbank also reminds his colleagues the next meeting of the I Hate Mommy Club takes place February 14th, after school, in the clubhouse under the big oak tree in Rock Creek Park. Ezra Klein is guest speaker.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Deserts

Manhattan College, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, like so many Catholic colleges and universities these days, is embarrassed by its Catholic past and does its best to eschew it. Employees are not required to be remotely religious or even believe in God. Little instruction in Catholicism is required of students, who may spend their entire tenure at the college without ever setting foot into the chapel. The faculty, formerly staffed by the Christian Brothers, was long ago laicized and the college website makes only slight and passing reference to the institution's Catholic heritage (an on-campus shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes is quaintly referred to as a "religious symbol") and stresses the college's "independence." To put it pithily, Manhattan College "used to be Catholic" (to quote the Preppy Handbook on Georgetown University).

Unfortunately for Manhattan College, however, its proud secularization may now cost it dearly. Adjunct professors, the navvies of academe, have waged a long and bitter campaign to be permitted union elections, an effort strongly resisted by the college administration, which insists the college is a religious institution within the Holy Catholic Church and is thus exempt, unlike its non-religious counterparts, from allowing union elections; indeed, the administration has used a slew of legal tactics to forestall them. Last week the National Labor Relations Board ruled against the college administration and ordered the elections to take place, virtually guaranteeing in the future the administration will have to engage in collective bargaining with the odious American Federation of Teachers, which represents the adjuncts.

I should state I have little sympathy for adjunct professors. They are, almost to a number, hard-core lefty graduate students and if their working conditions are miserable (low pay, no benefits and no respect) that is only a function of free markets, which have determined there is either little demand for instructors of feminist post-structural analyses of "The Flintstones" or there are simply too damned many of them; take your pick. As Governor Christie of New Jersey explained recently to an angry public school teacher: "You don't have to do it."

That said, however, I have even less sympathy for Catholic college administrators who, while loudly proclaiming their institutions' autonomy from Holy Church, her teachings and influence (in order to establish bona-fides with left-wing faculties, including the adjuncts), scurry behind the First Amendment for protection when their immensely profitable workhorses demand a greater piece of the action. The NLRB saw right through this ruse and in its decision states so clearly.
[T]he evidence establishes that the purpose of the College is secular and not the "propagation of a religious faith." Id. In the College's own words, "the mission of the College within the Church is strikingly different from that of parochial schools and Catholic high schools where indoctrination in the faith and insistence on religious observance is seen as part of their mission." Unlike parochial schools, the College asserts that its has "no intention" of imposing "Church affiliation and religious observance as a condition for hiring or admission, to set quotas based on religious affiliation, to require loyalty oaths, attendance at religious services, or courses in Catholic theology."
The NLRB also takes issue with a "religious" institution that has virtually no religious on its staff.
In the Sponsorship Covenant, while the College affirms its commitment to a continued relationship with the Christian Brothers, this affirmation is tempered by the statement that the College also "affirms its commitment to academic freedom and responsibility, and to institutional autonomy." Not only is there no evidence in the record that the Church or the Christian Brothers wield any control over the College, but the College's public statements assert the lack of such control. The Trustees Report, distributed to all prospective hires, states that forty years ago "the Board of Trustees eliminated any structures of control by authorities of the Church or the Institute [of the Christian Brothers]." Such facts stand in stark contrast to the power of religious orders wielded over educational institutions where the Board has declined to exercise jurisdiction. See, e.g., St. Joseph's College, supra at p. 68 (bishop authorized to fire faculty whose conduct was deemed unharmonious with Church).
I believe this decision could have major ramifications, well beyond labor relations, for those numerous Catholic colleges and universities that long ago forsook their missions in the name of secular humanism and multi-culturalism; and while the trustees of Manhattan College have vowed to appeal the decision, which could likely end up in the Supreme Court, I am sure administrators at Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College et al. are already regarding this turn of events with great alarm. They should be.

Thanks to the Riverdale Review.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ne impediatur populus orare

Father Hunwicke attends an Ordinariate Mass:
If Fr Aidan's homily was characteristic, so was Bishop Andrew's liturgy. Fine music (Byrd; Morales); Latin from the Sursum corda until the Communion. We had examples of what the American blogosphere now calls Common Sense and Mutual Enrichment. Sanctus covered the (silent) first half of the Canon Romanus and Benedictus the second half; we were spared those horrid 'Acclamations' after the Consecration. At the Invitation to Communion, Bishop Andrew continued his custom of using the New ICEL translation of Ecce Agnus Dei.
Read it all. It seems to me what Father Hunwicke witnessed bears greater verisimilitude to the "spirit of Vatican II " than wretched Novus Ordo (and the even wretcheder English translation), along with the other horrid excesses and vandalism committed by the post-Vatican II "reformers" who invoked the "spirit of Vatican II" with each fresh assault on liturgy, music and ritual. It makes me proud to have been an Anglican.

Thanks to William Tighe.

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Too Many Trips to the Well

Long-time readers of this blog may recall a posting heaping encomiums on Yale Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg for her bold action banning stage weapons in student productions following the massacre of thirty-two Virgina Tech students by a fellow student, of whom all too many seemed aware was a dangerously deranged lunatic but were unwilling or unable to do anything about. Now Dean Betty's idiocy has been trumped, not surprisingly by a member of Congress, in the aftermath of the recent massacre in Tuscon, Arizona, also committed by nutjob who should have been locked up, that left six people dead and a congresswoman critically injured.
Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania told The Caucus he plans to introduce a bill that would ban symbols like that now-infamous campaign cross-hair map.

"You can't threaten the president with a bull's-eye or a cross hair," Mr. Brady, a Democrat, said, and his measure would make it a crime to do so to a member of Congress or federal employee, as well.
Congressman Brady, a Democrat, is referring to this stupidly infamous campaign ad of a year ago, sponsored by the left's all-time favorite bogeyperson Sarah Palin. In fact, the Democrats and their media allies have turned their demagoguing machine up to 11 in the wake of the recent shooting, attempting to establish culpability with not only Ms. Palin but with a host of other villains: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, etc. etc. And while this has been a effective ploy for the Dems in in the past, I do not think it will work this time. Their cynical hysteria is losing currency and serves to remind us of their own rich legacy of virulent and lurid attacks on the opposition. I do not they will get away with it. People are on to them and they will end up shooting themselves in the foot (if you will pardon the violent metaphor--please don't go blowing people away after reading this).