Friday, February 27, 2009


are odious, or so someone said. Still it's interesting to see how vigourously the Vatican chastises a schismatic bishop. He has only a remote chance of ever getting into full communion with the Pope. Yet powerful leaders proclaim their faux Catholicism by promoting legal abortion and expect to receive communion publicly. Still I think the times are changing.

Father Z covers the SSPX side of the issue:

What’s sauce for the goose-step…:

Will Catholic pro-abortion politicians be required to issue apologies, as unambiguous as that which they require from Williamson… heck any apology at all…. for voting for abortion rights?

I’m just askin’

Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I missed the deciding game of the match. Thanks to Dennis Monokroussos we can look at it at our leisure:

Topalov Wins Game 7, Wins Match 4.5-2.5:

The final game of the Topalov-Kamsky Candidates Match wasn't pretty, but it was very exciting.

Read the whole thing.

(Via The Chess Mind.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Something to Worry About

So it isn't just me that perceives a slow slide into servitude:

How Democracies Become Tyrannies:

The American Thinker asks, "Can a free people willingly choose servitude?"

The prophet Chesterton replies that it is usually a free people who choose tyranny, something we see from the Roman Republic to Weimar. Against Wells' notion that primitive man was a tyrant who ruled by force and fear and that democracy is a late development in our onward and upward march of Progress, he writes in The Everlasting Man:

Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Speak of Self-Indulgence

I've been thinking about buying a portable computer for the trip (Sorry!), so I could compose blog entries and e-mails off-line. Since the desktop (an iMac DV) is overdue for replacement, I decided to endure the expensive computer time on-board and wait for the hoped-for quad-core iMac.

Then the wife's cousin shows me his netbook and touts this as a compromise solution; a small, less expensive portable. And while I'm cruising the Internet considering the possibilities, a new netbook is released that just might do the job. The question is, will it be here in time for me?

Ash Wednesday

So today begins our Lenten observance. Given my corpulent figure, fasting of some sort seems a logical course. Then I remember that half of my Lent will be spent cruising. (Oh, didn't I mention that?) Well, if we get a priest for the cruise, I'll go to daily mass on board. I'm too much of a Scotsman to push prematurely away from the table I paid for.

On a less selfish note here is a nice piece on Lent and fasting:

Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself:

An "oldie but goodie" from the vaults:

Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself | Brother Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B. |

We still ask ourselves as Ash Wednesday approaches, "What am I doing
for Lent? What am I giving up for Lent?" We can be grateful that the customs
of giving up something for Lent and abstaining from meat on Fridays during
Lent have survived in our secular society. But, unfortunately, it is doubtful
that many practice them with understanding. Many perform them in good faith
and with a vague sense of their value, and this is commendable. But if these
acts of self-denial were better understood, they could be practiced with
greater profit. Otherwise, they run the risk of falling out of use.

A greater understanding of the practice of self-denial would naturally benefit
those who customarily exercise it during Lent. Better comprehension of self-denial
would also positively affect the way Christians live throughout the
year. The importance of self-denial can be seen if we look specifically
at fasting and use it as an example of self-denial in general. Indeed, fasting,
for those who can practice it, is a crucial part of voluntary self-denial.

But since we live in a consumerist society, where self-indulgence rather
than self-denial is the rule, any suggestion to fast will sound strange
to many ears. It is bound to arouse the questions: Why is fasting important?
Why must a Christian practice it? Using these questions as a framework,
we can construct one explanation, among many possible ones, of the importance
of self-denial.

To answer the question "Why must the Christian fast?" we should first note
that fasting, in itself, is neither good nor bad, but is morally neutral.
But fasting is good insofar as it achieves a good end. Its value lies in
it being an effective means for attaining greater virtue. And because it
is a means for gaining virtue– and every Christian ought to be striving
to grow in virtue–there is good reason to fast.

Some people point out that fasting is not the most important thing and,
therefore, they do not need to worry about it. Such reasoning displays a
misunderstanding of our situation. But, since the excuse is common enough,
some comments to refute it are worthwhile.

Read the entire article...

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Economics 100

One of my many deficits is in Economics. The basic courses were always on my Gee-If-Only-I-Could list, never quite making it into whatever working plan I had at the time. Indeed, my oldest is taking the Microeconomics introductory course now. So are the ten propositions almost all Economists agree on prepared for in these intro courses?

RealClearMarkets - 10 Things Economists Believe:

10 Things Economists Believe

Read the whole thing.

(Via Campaign Standard.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

World's Most Effective Speed Bump

World's Most Effective Speed Bump:

World's most effective speed bump. Made in Germany, of course! 

Translation: Voice: What are you doing Gisela? The camera is already running. Come here. I will show it to this guy! He won't drive through here any more. Gisela, don't film the flowers, come here! He's coming. Let me hold the camera. Boy oh boy!!!! Great !!!

(Via Catholic & Enjoying It.)


(You just know I'm supposed to be doing something right now, thus all the posts.) I've been a Union member for over thirty-five years now. I was a Shop Steward for twenty and held a couple of Local Offices. I'm no right-to-work type. But the politicization of the Unions and their focus on left wing causes, regardless of the dues-paying memberships beliefs and sensitivities is self-destructive:

BIG BLUE WAVE: Lefty vs. lefty:

In response to CUPE's decision to boycott Israeli universities, Warren Kinsella writes:

First, actively seek to decertify the union, as it has arguably violated its own charter and organized labour charters to which it is a signatory.

Read the whole thing.

(Via .)

NYT, Part Two

Here's another nail in the coffin:

Ever Heard of Dhimmitude?:

The New York Times sends an ambassador to visit a Potemkin synagogue in Esfahan and, surprise, he finds some Jews willing to say they are as appalled by Israel as he is. Does he stop to wonder whether it could be their dhimmitude speaking? Nah. That's not a language Times columnists are required to know, even the Jewish ones.

(Via Campaign Standard.)

The Oscars

I ignored them yesterday, by and large. We were at a friend's house admired his net book. He's advising me to consider this for travel blogging. (Oh, did I mention the trip to Rome? Again?). Oscar night used to be a big deal way back in the day. But two things have lessened the lustre: the endless multiplication of awards shows and the preaching. I'll put up with the pastor and his assistant on Sundays (and the occasional weekday), But Sean Penn, yech!

But for those who are interested here are some thoughts and an invitation to dialogue:

Some Random Thoughts on the Oscars:

Last night much, some, a few Americans stayed up for three hours to watch the Oscars. I confess the Oscars mean something to me because movies mean much to me, but movies mean much to me because it’s point of commonality with friends of rather uncommon characteristics. So, each year a buddy throws a rather big party, we play some movie-trivia games and watch the Oscars. So, here are my thoughts:

Read the whole thing.

(Via Southern Appeal.)

The New York Times

Many people still rely on The Grey Lady for their news. I have a login and password for seeing their articles, but never go there directly. One of Father Neuhaus's last writings was about how he had finally dropped his subscription to the NYT. (It was he who said 'For the New York Times, "the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic."') He was making comments about the Times' falling standards over the last few years.

Here's more evidence of the limitations of the paper that claims to print all the news that fit to read:

The New York Times on Archbishop Dolan:

I generally have low expectations whenever the New York Times reports on religion and, more specifically, Catholicism.  But this article on Archbishop Timothy Dolan—the current archbishop of Milwaukee and the newly-appointed archbishop of New York—is bad by any measure.

The article soberly warns us that, “[o]n matters of doctrine, the archbishop 59, adheres to the line laid down by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, including firm opposition to abortion, birth control, divorce, gay marriage and any crack in the wall of priestly celibacy.”  You see, opposition to abortion, birth control, etc. are merely the personal preferences of two old men in Rome; they have nothing to do with the 2,000 year old teaching tradition of the Church.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Southern Appeal.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Faux Catholics

I've been following with some interest the goings on of politicians down south who simultaneously claim a "Catholic" identity for the purpose of helping potential voters decide to vote for them, while simultaneously embracing the culture of death, especially abortion. So the Speaker of the House provides interesting moments every so often in this regard, as does George, Neiderauer, her archbishop .

His grace corrected Madame Speaker publicly during last year's campaign, after several other bishops had already done so. And he asked her for a meeting to discuss her erroneous and unacceptable views. Now there's some confusion as to whether or not they have, in fact, met. She's says yes "privately". His Spokesman says no. More fun and games in San Francisco.

At least we can be clear on what should have happened at that meeting, whether or not it happened. She should have had basic Moral Philosophy and Church History explained to her. Then she should have been advised to cease receiving Communion until she reforms her words and actions. The good news is that the Holy Father has started the project for the archbishop:

Team Nancy and the Vicar of Christ:

Earlier this week at NRO, George Weigel offered some commonsense commentary on Nancy Pelosi’s Wednesday meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Commonsense commentary about what should be commonsense morality:

. . . Whatever the source of her confusion, Pelosi has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Things.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Difficult Times Ahead

First Things is running a retrospective series of The Public Square in memory of Father Neuhaus. The current one has a lovely, Chestertonian quote:
I’ll presume to call it Neuhaus’ Law, or at least one of his several laws: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.

Read the whole thing, if you can.

My simpler and less eloquent explanation is that there is only orthodoxy and the periods between orthodoxies. When toleration for orthodoxy is the policy it means that the new orthodoxy is preparing to turn and seek the eradication of the old.

The new orthodoxies in politics and religion are seeking to suppress the old. Pro-lifers are arrested for peacefully protesting abortion or seeking to talk to women going into abortuaries. A new orthodoxy seeks to intimidate adherents of the old into silence. A new "orthodoxy" is fighting a rear-guard action against a re-surgent old orthodoxy. There are troubles ahead. Batten down the hatches.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Not Really Good

to have your negative opinions repeatedly confirmed. The utter inability of the MSM to even simulate objectivity is depressing all by itself. But at least you get the occasional dress-down that's worth reading:

What I learned today from The NY and LA Times:

Of course, having the L.A. Times say the Pope's actions "border on arrogance" is like having a Victoria Secret model chastise the Holy Father for wearing immodest vestments. The editors of the L.A. Times and Victoria Secret models, in fact, have very similar ways of peddling their wares: lots of pouting and posing, combined with large doses of self-absorption.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Monday, February 16, 2009


I stopped supporting AI a few years ago because of their strong ideological stands. This is just more evidence that they're unwilling to support human rights if it conflicts with the zeitgeist:

Amnesty International - Off The Deep End:

In case you've been reserving judgement, waiting for further proof that Amnesty International has joined the ranks of the 'Culture of Death Squad', here they are demanding that doctors in Mexico be FORCED to perform abortions! LifeSiteNews: Amnesty International, a "human rights" organization that opposes the right to life of unborn children, is now demanding that Mexico force doctors to do

Read the whole thing.

(Via island breezes.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eternal Rome

I recently told my daughters, in a brief mood of maudlin sentimentality, that my idea of heaven would be to wander around Rome with my wife. Our nine-day stay there in 2005 left quite an impression obviously. And now we're going again, this time for only six days.

The eighteen day cruise preceding it is what's exciting her. I'm a little cruised out, though. But planning the stay in Rome is helping me get over my usual pre-vacation jitters. We got a Scavi tour booked early on. That will take us to the burial place of St. Peter far beneath the main altar. Now, thanks to Joan Lewis, we're also requesting a tour of the Vatican Gardens. Wish us luck on that.

Other must-sees include the Santa Croce, Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Boromini, and a return to the Borghese Gallery. And then there's the high point of the stay: celebrating Palm Sunday with the Pope.

We deliberately cut the trip there so we could celebrate the Triduum at home with our family. Now I have to get ready for work. This pilgrimage has to be paid for...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Wisdom of GKC

continues to impress me. He correctly identifies the erroneous thinking that was only beginning to disturb the world a hundred years ago:

The Not-So-New Scientist:

In the latest issue of New Scientist, Michael Brooks tries to explain religious belief away with evolutionary theory:

While many institutions collapsed during the Great Depression that began in 1929, one kind did rather well. During this leanest of times, the strictest, most authoritarian churches saw a surge in attendance.

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Things.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Everybody Supports Choice

on Abortion is the mantra we pro-lifers have encountered often enough over the last three and a half decades. But the reality is that most people don't oppose the current legal situation on abortion because they don't actually know what it is. The slow build-up of opposition to Roe v. Wade south of the border exactly parallels the slow dawning on the electorate that Roe v. Wade legalizes all abortions, the legal smokescreen about semesters notwithstanding. The same ignorance is still holding up here though:

So if Canada is without an abortion law....doesn't that mean that all abortions are permitted?:

Stand Your Ground:

Apart from the "court has spoken" mantra, Ms. Arthur is clearly running out of arguments. She refers to the recent poll findings that 92% of the respondents are simply unaware...

Read the whole thing.