Sunday, November 30, 2003

Don’t Tell the Pope

"Just this month, Catholics for a Free Choice and 20 other Catholic organizations called on bishops to accept condoms as a way to fight AIDS."

Just in case you didn't think Kristof was a raving anti-Catholic. Nota bene: CFFC is actually one of the world's leading anti-Catholic organizations, calling for the end of the Church hierarchy and the worship of Greek goddesses in Church. Yeah, real reformers. If this is what Kristof wants for the Catholic church, I'd like to see him get down on his knees and sacrifice a child first. Oh wait. He already did.

Malediction -- A song

The judges sat outside the law
and in their pride no evil saw
In setting teeth to Satan's jaw
And feeding him our children

A curse a curse the law it cries
A curse a curse on mankind's pride
A curse on him who would deny
God's image in mankind

When viewed in terms of cost and ease
An unborn child is a disease
A holocaust seen fit to please
Our own convenience

Torn from out their mother's womb
Denied the sky, denied a tomb
Conceived in lust to their own ruin
A sacrifice to pleasure

A curse a curse their blood cries out
A curse a curse the heavens shout
A curse on him who dares to flout
God's image in mankind

The doctors with their blood red hands
who love their money more than man
With greed their god they lay their plans
The butchers of mankind

Oh rid us of this evil Lord
And turn our hearts by cross or sword
Our nation cannot long afford
to live beneath your anger

A curse a curse upon their heads
O, save them Lord or slay them dead
And fill our country with your dread
And turn away your anger
Lord turn away your anger

The New York Review of Books: The Vanishing Case for War

An intriguing look at intelligence-gathering mishaps and chaos that passes for government these days. Quite interesting.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Thérèse -- The Story of Saint Therese of Lisieux

This movie looks to be excellent. But they need visitors to the site and some publicity! Go check it out.

In a like vein, I heard both good and bad things about "The Gospel of John." The movie that is. Nothing but good things about the book it's based on. But yeah if anyone knows more about it let me know. I mean, I know the translation behind it is substandard, but apparently the theology comes across amazingly well.


Dear Friends,

My wife and I watched the movie "Joshua" a couple of weeks
ago (which, by the way, I recommend highly). I was envious of
the way the main character was able to interact with most of
the other characters in such a non-threatening way. That's
when I decided I'm going to resign from my political party.

We are really stuck in the United States. For a large number
of people who belong to either political party, any members
of the other party are automatically perceived as a personal
threat. The perception is not "I disagree with you, and
here's why," but rather "If it weren't for you and your
political party, life would be perfect." Both groups beleive
that all reasonable people side with them and all of
the "idiots" side with the other party. We are well practiced
at entrenchment, ready to defend our positions (whether we
have ever thought critically about them or not) from a vile
and wiley enemy. There is little honesty, little discussion,
and little chance for persuasion, only a lobbing of insults
and sound bites over the walls we have built to protect our
most cherished prejudices. The measure of truth has been
traded for one of cleverness and stinging retort.

Doctors Groups Say Partial-Birth Abortion Unnecessary, Hurts Women

"Dayton, Ohio abortionist Martin Haskell, who has reportedly performed more than 1,000 partial-birth abortions, told an abortion conference in the early 1990s that the method was easier for the abortionist. The alternative, dismemberment, requires the abortionist to pull the arms and legs from the unborn child-a more labor-intensive practice.
Haskell also told American Medical News that 20 percent of his partial-birth abortions involved babies with handicaps, while 80 percent were, in his words, 'purely elective.'"

Hum Ho . . .

Daniel and Preterism

Daniel and Preterism

A fascinating look at the prophecies of Daniel. Holding goes w/ Rashi's viewpoint at identifying the fourth beast as the Roman empire, and gets in to the first of the two little horns. All those horns and beasts always confused me. He also gives a mini-overview of the tendency to identify Greece as the fourth beast, which seems quite unsatisfactory.

The Gospel according to John: Anti-semetic?

A romp through the readings and misreadings of John's Gospel. I still say it all depends on how you go in, that is to say, the Gospels won't do much to change your attitude. I managed to read all the Gospels and the Epistles without picking up any anti-semetic vibes, and people had to lead me back to point it out to me. So I have my doubts about it being in the plain meaning of the text.

Of course, I am a little odd.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Crisis Magazine -- The Inquisition

"Following the most progressive law codes of the day, the Church in the 13th century formed inquisitorial tribunals answerable to Rome rather than local bishops. To ensure fairness and uniformity, manuals were written for inquisitorial officials. Bernard Gui, best known today as the fanatical and evil inquisitor in The Name of the Rose, wrote a particularly influential manual. There is no reason to believe that Gui was anything like his fictional portrayal."

One more go-around at the Inquisition of the late middle ages as the premier judicial institution of the day. Or as the article puts it, much better the Inquisition than getting lynched by a mob that couldn't even spell heretic. I thought it was also a good idea to bring up the point that Inquisitions accountable to Rome generally didn't do anything mean. It was only the ones run by secular authorities that were a little on the crazy side, witness Spain. Like usual, the Church being abused by secular authorities looks a lot worse than the Church running it's own show.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics

A book published out of a debate in First Things that I hope to read soon. The whole thing is guided by Fr. Neuhaus, and looks to be excellent.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Parenting Bible-style

"For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.
But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert."

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: One and the Same

An interesting take on what marriage is, looking at it from the persepective benefits and from what a right is. You know, we hold these truths to be self-evident kind of stuff.

Or, as it goes, we either have rights or we are given rights. If we have them, the government can refuse to recognize them but not make them. If we're given them, the government can give them but take them away.

Nicias was “a man who, of all the Hellenes in my time, least deserved to come to so miserable an end, since the whole of his life had been devoted to the study and the practice of vitrue”(Thucydides VII.86).

Virtue and Reason, it seems, can be mortal enemies. Which is more important?

"I can't see the problem with 'almah' - it is a broader term than
'parthenos' but it does not exclude it in any way. Part of the problem is
that modern exegetes cannot conceive of an 'almah' being a 'parthenos.' O
tempora, o mores!

Every kind wish,
Canon Michael Lewis"

Vero sic!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Oh, that Thou, the most mighty God of Israel, the zealous lover of faithful souls, wouldst behold the labor and sorrow of Thy servant, and stand by me in all my undertakings. Strengthen me with heavenly fortitude, lest the old man, the miserable flesh, not fully subject to the spirit, prevail and get the upper hand, against which we must fight as long as we breathe in this most wretched life.

(Reading: "Imitation of Christ," Book III, Chapter 20, Section 3)

Curiosity and pride are, according to the Encyclical 'Pascendi', two remote causes. Nothing is truer; but, apart from offering an explanation common to all heretical obstinacy, we ask ourselves here why this pride has taken the shape of modernism. We proceed to consider this question. In modernism we find, first of all, the echo of many tendencies of the mentality of the present generation. Inclined to doubt, and distrustful of what is affirmed, men's minds tend of their own accord to minimize the value of dogmatic definitions. Men are struck by the diversity of the religions which exist on the face of the earth."

Modernism. Know it. Eat it. Maybe even smell it. Sworn enemy of religion. Most popular philosophy in the Northeast.

This is a good introduction I think. I don't trust the Catholic Encyclopedia for serious info any more than I trust Encyclopedia Brittanica for serious info, but they're usually on the level. And I think a cursory review would be helpful to the mindsets of all.

Also recommended: The Everlasting Man, The Abolition of Man, and Fatherless America. I think they all address the subject.

Jews for Judaism

Classic anti-missionary site. The forums are HILARIOUS. It's like abbot and costello or something. I'm glad I'm not an internet apologist. They tend to be a little short on info and a little long on attack. And usually not Catholic which screws things up . . . well for me anyway . . . yeah it's a good site. Plus probably more Jews read this than those of other persuasions, so maybe I can get some brownie points there. Or some comments? anyone?

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Pawlikowski leaves Pax Christi

Fr. Pawlikowski left PC after they issued a statement with profound points like this:

"The full Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, and the dismantling of all settlements as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 as well as the right to protection against (further) annexation of Occupied Territories and forced changes in the demographic composition of Jerusalem is foundational to building a lasting peace."

Of course, the territories were occupied after the Arab nations fought a war to drive the Israelis into the sea. In recorded history there has never been a Palestinian political entity. Before Israel there was Jordan and Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, the Crusader Levant, the Byzantine Empire, the Roman Empire, the Greeks, the kingdom of Judah, the kingdom of Israel, Babylonians, Caananites . . . no Palestinians. Yet they have gained a "right" to the land.

What is a right?

[n] an abstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature.

We seem to be fond of manufacturing "rights" out of nothing in this country. Perhaps some of these are not quite as proper as they seem.

Ed Foster's Gripelog || Into the DMCA Groove: "On this issue, copyright law is crystal clear, because there's this thing called the First Sale doctrine. The Copyright act (Section 109) states, 'the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title ... is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.' Sticking a 'Promo Only' label on a CD holds no more legal water than a 'Not for Resale' sticker on a book."

The DCMA seems like an unconstitutional law if there ever was one. Where's the federal judiciary when you need it?

Inno Pontificio

Quite a beautiful song. Apparently it used to be the "national anthem" of the Papal States. Check it out.

Saint Kateri
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is praying for you! To
learn more about this Native American maiden go
to the Patron Saint Index at

Which Saint Would You Be?
brought to you by Quizilla

I'm all for Native Americans getting the land back. Stupid US government. And now they want to tax them too.

Doctor Who Performed Late-term Abortion May Go to Jail: "Abortions are illegal in New York state after the 24th week of pregnancy unless necessary to save the mother's life. When an abortion is performed after the 20th week of pregnancy, a second physician must attend to provide medical attention to any live birth."

I donno, it seems kind of strange to me that you need a physician to potentially provide medical services to this kid while another physician tries to kill him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Who's a terrorist?: "Post columnist Eric Fettman recently asserted that the media's take on terrorism is a pretense that suggested 'terrorism doesn't really exist and that words aren't important. They are, and using the word 'terrorist' is not unfairly taking sides — it's acknowledging the reality of a genuine and dangerous ongoing threat.'"

Yeah, so the papers are a little sketchy when it comes to consistant, or even pretend-objective, descriptions.

Thomas Sowell on the Constitution

Question: How many federal judges have actually read the Constitution?

This reminds me of an interesting fact that I heard. Apparently only 40% of Anglican priests in England can name the Ten Commandments. The percentage drops lower if you want them in order. Thanks to Fr. Bob for that one.

Howard Stern's Comment on Marriage:

Marriage is over already. Who cares. Get rid of it.


All of a sudden we have a responsible media?

Hmm . . . the New York Times seems to be playing with a stacked deck. Not like you needed an article to know that.

All that stands between the Jews and another Holocaust is the United States of America: "Hatred of the Jews has been the most durable political idea of the last 2,000 years. Jews have been hated by Christians and Muslims, by fascists and communists, by Europeans and Arabs and Africans and Asians. Jews are hated by illiterate peasants and by college professors. Jews are hated by people who think they are better than Jews, and by people who fear they are inferior to them. Jews have been hated for maintaining their identity in the societies in which they live, and for trying to assimilate into them. Jews were hated when they had no state, and because they now have one.

It's hard to understand why. Hitler wasn't Jewish. Neither was Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or Idi Amin. Saddam Hussein isn't Jewish. Neither is Osama bin Laden or Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro. Attila the Hun wasn't Jewish. Neither were Caligula or Genghis Khan or Ivan the Terrible. There have been a lot of mass murderers in the last 2,000 years. None have been Jewish."

An interesting article. Questions why everyone loves Palestinians, who have more rights in Israel than they would if they were in Saudi Arabia, and no one gives a damn about the Kurds, who are actually ethnically different than the people surrounding them. Good times.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"Today as I write about this incident, I am amazed by how honest people were in 1966. On that train who would know if they lied about their family background and class status? Most of them were traveling alone. There was no way for us to verify what they said. And we did not even intend to. We simply took their word for it. Yet so many people told us the truth, and we punished them for it. Ten years down the road such an incident would be unthinkable. By that time, almost all Chinese had learned to tell a few lies. We could lie with confidence. We could lie with passion. At first it was to protect ourselves. Then we got used to it. Today millions of people in China are cheating one another, telling big and small lies without blushing, to gain something, to brag, or just to make fools of others. Who is to blame for this degeneration of out moral character? The Chinese Communist Party? The Western influence? But what about us? What about me? It pains me to think about what I have done to the younger generation who cannot believe that once upon a time people had been so foolishly honest in China . . ."
from Spider Eaters, p.134 ch 14, Red Guards Had No Sex, by Rae Yang.

This from a diary of a participant in the Cultural Revolution of China. A group of Red Guards boarded a train and beat the crap out of any bourgeoisie on the train, throwing them off at the next station. How did they tell class status? They asked.

It reminded me of something that someone else said once. Something about people trustworthy in small matters being good for the big stuff too, and vice versa. And they say there are no honest people left.

The Onion | Mom Finds Out About Blog

Be careful what you write about. Hehe.

Viewing fat as the new alcohol

Thesis: Fat and fatty foods are like alcohol, people sometimes need help to avoid them, and plenty of peer pressure to keep things under control. Kind of like those friends don't let friends drive drunk things. If we look at eating too much as a potential disease, then doctors and insurance companies could help people out before they get diabetic and need serious treatment.

Now I'm not saying that there are some people that just need to stop being pigs. I mean, I'm probably one of those. But people are on both sides of that line, it would seem, and recognizing that's a good thing.

Human Life Review on college campus pro-life activities

Quote in point:
"Feminists for Life president Serrin Foster corroborates Openshaw’s argument, using one Ivy League college as an example: “Yale covers three abortions in health care in three years, but they provide no housing for families or child care. They simply say, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and offer women a ride to a clinic. Other campuses have given women money or loans for abortions, but they don’t offer financial assistance for a live birth. No housing, no child care, no maternity coverage.” And, says Foster, if pregnant women are seen on campus, “they are stared at like exotic creatures.”"

I recently contacted my state assembly about this problem, they didn't seem to care very much, even when I phrased it in their language. It's not a choice if your college tells you to do it or else you get your ass kicked out of housing. The article later goes on to discuss how both sides of the Weslyan
community got together to demand a change in their similar policy. Now that's productive and something most people should be able to agree on.

Quote 2:
"Beyond the personal attacks by peers and faculty lie other, more formidable challenges: monolithic academic environments that demand ideological orthodoxy, suppress factual instruction and honest debate, and, in the pursuit of medical discovery, routinely and consistently advance the culture of death. "

At least it's not just me. It makes it a little better knowing it's not personal.

Double Effect - Principle Of

I've been talking about the Principle of Double Effect so long it's a good thing I finally read an article about it. After all, if it's the basis of my actions I should be able to do it more than intuitively. Oft attacked, but never refuted, it also ties into Catholic teaching on war, something oft misunderstood in an oversimplifying world.

Also, I'd like to thank the Georgetown University student association for expressing disgust that a Cardinal was allowed to mention Catholic doctrine at graduation. Truly the future looks bright for Jesuit higher education. Perhaps they should do some reading, for

Dixit: "Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam"

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The Bible A Dangerous Moral Guide, Refuted by JP Holding

I don't know if you're familiar with JP Holding, but, in my rather limited worldview at least, he's one of the world's leading Protestant apologists, and one of the smartest people I've never met. Check out his site sometime, there's always plenty of goodies around.

Got an email from his website this morning telling me about a freethinker's assault on biblical morals, and how he eats it alive. You know, why you can't point to a line and say, well, I don't think the ancients followed this, what a bunch of bums. It's very cute. All Tanakh-centred, as far as I can tell, except for some salvational potshots at the end, so I recommend it for all.

Of course, I recommend taking the subway during the midnight to 6 am timeslot, so you might not want to go by my recommendations.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Food for thought

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 14:07:00 EST
Subject: Re: Convert from Orthodox Background

In a message dated 11/11/2003 01:59:08 GMT Standard Time, writes:

> The reason I want to discuss this all with someone orthodox, is
> because orthodoxy is to me the genuine Jewish expression of faith, so I
> want to know how Catholicism fits.

'Orthodoxy' was until the growth of the Reform simply the ordinary,
normative Judaism. Although grossly over-simplifying, Reform,
Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, and Reconstructionist Jews are all
either a break away from that normative Jewish tradition or a 'break away
from a break away.' The core of Orthodoxy is a belief that God revealed
the Torah at Sinai, and that the Torah is to be found in written and
oral form. (It also can have the sense of the whole of tradition).

Catholicism is simply ordinary, normative Christianity. The various
Protestant groups that broke away at the time of the Reformation were like
the Karaites who rejected the oral Torah, saying that only the written
Torah is valid. The Karaites at least initially were like the Lutherans
in believing in 'sola scriptura' (scripture alone'. Without tradition,
various Reformers came up with their own interpretations. Thus thousands
of sub-groups were born, especially in America, apart from the major ones
such as Lutherans and Presbyterians, etc.

The Catholic finds the word of God in Scripture and Tradition. Scripture
is the inspired word of God but it is only by Tradition that we are able
to both discern what is Scripture and to interpret authentically. There
is the Magisterium - the teaching authority of the Church. A Catholic
believes that Christ gave the Apostles and their successors (the bishops)
the authority to teach and recognise the authentic Torah of Christ. Just
as the sages of the Talmud have a special status within Judaism, so the
early Christian writers known as Fathers of the Church have a special
status. The Pope is today what Peter was then - Head of the Apostles.

I have left much out but write simply to make the point that the Orthodox
Jew is much closer to Catholicism than to Protestantism (Christian
Karaitism if you will.)

For me, the root of anti-semitism is the hatred of evil people for the
people to whom God gave the Torah. The Torah reveals God's truth and
will. Since the Torah condemns them, the evil hate those to whom the
revelation was made. With the coming of the Messiah, the evil hate the
Jewish people because the Messiah is a Jew born of a Jewess.

Some one once said that the wicked do not hate the Jews because they
believe that they killed Our Lord, but because they gave birth to Our
Lord. Down the ages, that hatred has taken many forms. It has sought
many false reasons to try to justify its poison but ultimately it is the
hatred of the evil for God, darkness hating the true Light. Again, all of
this is very much a sweeping generalisation. But we have to go deep to
find the ultimate reason for anti-semitism. Of course, there are numerous
historical considerations going back to the Graeco-Roman world but
ultimately it is a question of the hatred of evil for good. If a people
is called to be holy, the world will hate them. The Torah held up a
mirror to the world and the world sought to smash the mirror and those who
held it.

Hope that this helps in some small way,

God bless,

Fr. Michael Lewis

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Chinese Restaurant Directory and Finder by "ChildBook's Chinese Restaurant Finder and Directory solves the problem of finding good Chinese Restaurants, and avoiding the bad ones. "

The brilliance of this website cannot be understated. Truly it is a divine gift. However, they need more restaurants to be reviewed and more reviews for those that they have. So put in your two cents!

In other news, I'd like to thank Justine for taking me up on my request to comment on what I wrote. Fascinating stuff, exchange of ideas is always fruitful. Think, people, even if you disagree.

If you're looking for the truth, and what you believe is true, you'll never find anyway to disprove it, and if it turns out it's not true, then you're still better off b/c you were looking for the truth to start with and now you know something which isn't the truth. Helpful, long run.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Telegraph | News | Bishop's anti-gay comments spark legal investigation

It's official. You can now be accused of a hate crime for holding orthodox Christian beliefs. [Anglican] Bishop Foster's anti-gay comment: He suggested that reorientation was possible and should be sought if the person wished it. The response: This man is speaking evil. Never mind that Courage has a fair number of people with same-sex attractions who would agree with the reverend. Never mind that he was speaking of the results of his research. If the research you do doesn't conform to the majority opinion, the message seems to be that you should just ignore your research.

There was a similar article in the Columbia paper recently where a researcher found that people who freely sought out reorientation were usually able to accomplish it over the course of several years. The response of the LGBT group on campus was that those people must never have been homosexual to start with, otherwise it would have been impossible. It seems to me as if the data is being sheared to fit the preconception here.

I mean, do whatever you want, but don't arrest people that disagree with you. That's dangerous. Hmm. I only hope they don't come after me next. Though I suppose Catholicism started out as an illegal religion, still is an illegal religion in many places, and will be a more illegal religion in the future. Might be a good thing.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Common Matrix Reloaded Misconceptions

This'll get the second movie fresh into your mind and explain some things that will hopefully make the third movie make more sense. No spoilers unless you haven't seen the second one yet.

I still don't really understand the Merovingian though. If you have any ideas email them to me. I want to write someting about him, but my brain is empty.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Watching Different Films

This is an article about the everpopular The Passion of Christ that I think deals rather fairly with everything and tries to keep everyone honest, presenting many views. Quote in point:

"Just as Jews are responding to centuries of Christian anti-Semitism (virtually all of it in Europe), many Christians are responding to decades of Christian-bashing — films and art mocking Christian symbols, a war on virtually any public Christian expression (from the death of the Christmas party to the moral identification of fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims)."

Nitpick: The term fundamentalist is properly applied to certain people who use a collection of books entitled "The Fundamentals of the Faith" as their rule, so to speak. It's improper to apply the term generally to other groups whose only similarity is orthodoxy, and it's application to Muslims I'm still trying to understand, seeing as the Muslims whom it's applied to don't even believe in the divinity of Christ.

Summary: He's not happy about the movie, but he doesn't think that it will be a problem, and it's perhaps an opportunity for growth. I certainly hope so. Understanding is sorely needed.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Book Review from Butler

Just read part of a book called "The Catholic Left" back from before Hans Kung got the hatchet. There were some valid issues brought up, mostly with regards to social issues. The Church is doing a rather good job for a mostly unfunded organization, I think, but there's about a billion people that need more food to survive, so something's not quite right. Most of it was, however, the same old stuff. Calls for contraception, etc. Reasoning, emotions above logic. Emotions certainly have their place. I often have to fight to keep them out, and they always sneek back in, to logical arguments. But in matters such as these, you have to keep in mind that a good tree bears good fruit, and a bad tree bears bad fruit.

The harvest hasn't been very good lately.

Catholic and Enjoying It! on the Iraq war

Mark Shea calls it like it is again. I just wish I knew where I stood in the whole process. But hey, no one ever said decision-making was easy.

Note for the curious: No, the Vatican didn't say that the war was wrong, they said that the process was deeply flawed. No pacifism involved. If you need confirmation of that, check out the Carthars. What Carthars, you say? Exactly.

Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa

I have to say, when I saw The Matrix Revolutions last night I thought it really sucked. Like, a lot. After reading this article, which contains spoilers (BEWARE), I liked the philosophy/theology a lot more. Mostly because I understood it coming from this guy, and not in the theater. It resolves a lot of questions, gets into the Christology of Neo a bit. Good stuff.

Recommend reading some of his other articles, esp. about playboy.

Alrighty there folks. I decided to get a blog. This will not be one of those livejournal diaryland things. This is for serious discussion of serious topics by serious people. No fun allowed!

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