"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Being attacked by the Saracens, Pope Leo IV showed himself, by his defence of Rome, worthy to rule there as a sovereign. He had employed the wealth of the Church in repairing the walls, building towers, and stretching chains across the Tiber. He armed the militia at his own expense, engaged the inhabitants of Gaeta and Naples to defend the shores and the port of Ostia, but did not neglect the prudent precaution of taking hostages from them, well knowing that those who are powerful enough to aid us are also powerful enough to injure us. He personally visited all the posts, and met the Saracens on their descent, not in warlike array, like Gozlin, Bishop of Paris, under circumstances still more urgent, but as a pontiff exhorting a Christian people, and as a king watching over the safety of his subjects. He was a Roman; in him the courage of the primitive ages of the republic was revived, in a time of cowardice and corruption, like some beautiful monument of ancient Rome that is sometimes found amidst the ruins of the new Rome. The Saracens were valorously met on their descent, and a tempest having scattered half their vessels, a portion of the invaders, who had escaped shipwreck, were captured and made to work in chains. Thus the pope utilized his victory by employing upon the defences and adornment of Rome the very hands which were to have destroyed her.
Fee fi fo fum: Sand in the holy water font may be the Lenten rage among the liturgically correct, but these dour and pouting missalette troglodytes at the Orlando diocesan website appear ready to grind the bones of Englishmen to make their bread.
Iraqis welcome US Marines in Shatra:Hundreds of Iraqis shouting "Welcome to Iraq" greeted U.S. Marines who entered the town of Shatra on Monday after storming it with planes, tanks and helicopter gunships.More
From the Arab News, hardly a pro-US propaganda organ, these reports based on interviews with Iraqis:
Where did Michael Moore get the idea for his Oscar-night rant? At Sunday Mass. #
Pope makes fresh appeal for end to Iraq war
Pope John Paul said on Sunday the conflict is undermining humanity's hope for a better future. The Holy Father asked for prayers for peace during his weekly address to pilgrims and tourists in St Peter's Square. Speaking from his window overlooking the square, the pope said "painful armed conflicts are ensnaring the hope of humanity for a better future".
It says here a better argument could be made that the conflict is bolstering humanity's hope for the future.
The Pope also warned against religious hatred.
Pope John Paul II urged the faithful Saturday not to allow the Iraq conflict to stir up hatred between Christians and Muslims, saying that would transform the war into a "religious catastrophe." "War must never be allowed to divide world religions," he said.
Are there any circumstances under which murderous zealots of another faith might be criticized and, daresay, even confronted and defeated, notwithstanding the risk to ecumenical relations? Would the Hindu Thuggees of old have been likely candidates for opposition? Or must the world await a miraculous conversion, as of the human-sacrificing Aztecs post-Guadalupe?
"By ditching its ancient Latin Mass -- the Mass of Bach, Beethoven and Palestrina -- in favour of a participatory vernacular service of praise and thanksgiving, Rome committed an act of vandalism just as surely as it would if it had ordered the destruction of all the great cathedrals of Europe."
The renovated San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio debuts this weekend. The new retablo looks very promising -- but note it will hang on the back wall, in what used to be the sanctuary. The new altar table is placed amidst the congregation, in the Milwaukee theater-in-the-round style. The new altar "space" looks well suited to the jazz concerts touted at the renovated cathedral. So in the retablo, you have an altar screen with no connection to the altar.
See graphics of the restoration, a collection of images from the local paper, and the official cathedral website.
A local group opposed to the renovation has a site showing what the church once looked like, an article on a proposed high altar that was never built, and a dossier on the renovation consultant, the dreaded Vosko. (Enough said.)
British writer Moyra Doorly has launched a one-woman campaign, Outcry against Ugly Churches, or for short, Ouch!
She writes: Contemporary architectural and liturgical forms are earth-bound and inward-looking. Implicit in these forms is a denial of the transcendent and of the concept of sacred space. The spirit of relativism has emptied churches across the world. The first step in turning the tide is the ending of the unprecedented practice of Mass facing the people.
Mass facing the people is a result of the paradox of living in a relativist universe. In the modern search for unlimited freedom, space has been liberated from all constraints and this has emptied the universe of meaning, leaving no direction to turn other than inwards. The ending of the practice of Mass facing the people is the first and crucial step towards reclaiming both the transcendent vision, which turns the gaze outwards, and the concept of sacred space, which gives meaning and direction to what is out there and beyond. These have all but been eradicated from the contemporary universe and from the modern church building.
The Ouch! campaign can therefore be summed up in three words -- turn again, Father!
For inspiration as the NCAA college hockey playoffs begin, give a listen to the celebrated cowbell cheer that got its start at Cornell. Now, my alma mater has had a storied rivalry with Cornell, which enters the tournament with the top-ranked team in the country, but their page of cheers -- including this one -- does convey well the flavor of college hockey. So does this indispensable site, US College Hockey Online.
A remarkable American, and one of my favorite all-time politicians: Here's a review from the Asia Times of Godfrey Hodgson's biography of Moynihan, a critical assessment in the New York Times that argues he didn't live up to his great promise, and a taped radio interview with biographer Hodgson. UPDATE: The NYT obit carries a good photo from his days at the UN, and this description:
Erudite, opinionated and favoring, in season, tweed or seersucker, Mr. Moynihan conveyed an academic personality through a chirpy manner of speech, with occasional pauses between syllables. More than most senators, he could get colleagues to listen to his speeches, though not necessarily to follow his recommendations. He had a knack for the striking phrase, but unease at the controversy it often caused. When other senators used August recesses to travel or raise money for re-election, he spent most of them in an 1854 schoolhouse on his farm in Pindars Corners in Delaware County, about 65 miles west of Albany. He was writing books, 9 as a senator, 18 in all. #
"God bless Castro"
"We are certainly not Marxist socialists nor do we believe in violent revolution. Yet we do believe that it is better to revolt, to fight, as Castro did with his handful of men, he worked in the fields with the cane workers and thus gained them to his army--than to do nothing.
We are on the side of the revolution. We believe there must be new concepts of property, which is proper to man, and that the new concept is not so new. There is a Christian communism and a Christian capitalism as Peter Maurin pointed out. We believe in farming communes and cooperatives and will be happy to see how they work out in Cuba. We are in correspondence with friends in Cuba who will send us word as to what is happening in religious circles and in the schools. We have been invited to visit by a young woman who works in the National Library in Havana and we hope some time we will be able to go. We are happy to hear that all the young people who belong to the sodality of our Lady in the U. S. are praying for Cuba and we too join in prayer that the pruning of the mystical vine will enable it to bear much fruit. God Bless the priests and people of Cuba. God bless Castro and all those who are seeing Christ in the poor. God bless all those who are seeking the brotherhood of man because in loving their brothers they love God even though they deny Him."
Who wrote this? Well, she can not be named under the new ground rules of this site. But her followers are known by the sanctimonious air of martyrdom with which they vandalize US military installations.
A line jumps out:
Yet we do believe that it is better to revolt, to fight, as Castro did...than to do nothing.
So it is better to fight than to do nothing -- as long as the cause is radical utopianism.
Say, what are the headlines out of Cuba these days?
Wonder how these play with the Radical Philosophy Association, which plans a June conference on the island "in solidarity with the Cuban people, respectful of their social project as an independent nation."
A question for the radical philosophers: What of Cuban people who dissent from the 'social project' in which they are engaged?
The nice thing about being a radical philosopher in America is you're free to come and go and protest as you please.
In Cuba, you're not allowed to leave. If you're a dissident, you have the option of prison, or trying to escape by makeshift raft through shark-infested waters.
Not that this matters to the Radical Philosophy Association. Though you do have to question the commitment to free inquiry of an organization whose guiding light, one Cliff DuRand, is a Marxist apparatchik thoroughly in the tank of the Castro government. (Check out this report by Brian Becker of the Workers World Party and International ANSWER of a world Communist confab in Cuba that DuRand attended with fellow US delegate Stokely Carmichael.)
One marvels at the Stalinist brio of a supposed lover of truth who could deliver with a straight face a resolution like this:"We express our solidarity with the socialist revolution, the anti-imperialist struggle, and the self-determination of the Cuban people, especially during the present hardships of the Special Period."
On the recent 50th anniversary of the Soviet dictator's death, Johann Hari wrote in The Independent of the remarkable staying power on the Left of Stalin's legacy:
For evidence of this, we only have to look at the most popular Stalinist nation on earth: Cuba. Every time I write about this, I am inundated with letters from enraged (and no doubt perfectly nice) hippies explaining that Cuban communism is all about being nice to children and cuddling small puppies who resemble Lassie.
Yet Fidel Castro recently, for the billionth time, explained his beliefs, and they are not so benevolent. Stalin "showed great wisdom", explains the billionaire leader of a bitingly poor nation. He continues: "Stalin established unity in the Soviet Union [by suppressing ruthlessly all the surrounding nations, and, for example, deporting the entire population of Chechnya to Siberia, as Fidel doesn't add]. He consolidated what Lenin had begun: party unity [by butchering all his opponents]. He gave the international revolutionary movement a new impetus. The USSR's industrialisation [through forced labour] was one of Stalin's wisest actions."
Fidel runs his country on precisely the same lines as his hero. Amnesty International's latest reports detail the plight of the "prisoners of conscience" (otherwise known as democrats) and notes than even now, the number of people harassed "directly by the state", including "political dissidents, independent journalists and other activists", is increasing. It is worth remembering the name of just one victim of Fidel, plucked from among many: Bernardo Arevalo Padron has been festering in prison since 1997 because he called Fidel Castro "a liar" for failing (as ever) to stick to agreements on relaxing his authoritarian rule.
Yet still Tony Benn brags about the standards of the Cuban health-care system which, preposterously, he says are "better than America's". (If you are ever taken ill on a flight across the Atlantic, Tony, I suggest you test this by insisting on being flown to Havana rather than New York.) Still John Pilger describes the Cuban revolution as "a crucial model for challenging power". (For a man obsessed with hidden agendas, he very rarely discloses this agenda of his own.)
But the best remembrance of Uncle Joe on the anniversary of his passing came from The Onion, with this mock headline from 50 years ago: "Soviets mourn death of Stalin - 'Who will crush our spirits and destroy our lives now?' ask distraught citizens."
See also the latest magnificent obit from the Telegraph, this one for Daphne Lady Acton:
After Aldenham was sold and the Actons moved to Southern Rhodesia, their farm at M'bebi became a popular staging post for aristocrats and Catholic notables travelling in sub-Saharan Africa. Guests included Lady Acton's cousin "Bobbety" (the 5th Marquis of Salisbury and a leading Tory politician); David Stirling, founder of the SAS; and Evelyn Waugh, who paid two extended visits.
In a letter written to Ann Fleming in 1958, Waugh described life at M'bebi: "Children were everywhere, no semblance of a nursery or a nanny, the spectacle at meals gruesome, a party-line telephone ringing all day, dreadful food . . . ants in the bed, totally untrained black servants (all converted by Daphne to Christianity, taught to serve Mass but not to empty ashtrays). In fact, everything that normally makes Hell, but Daphne's serene sanctity radiating supernatural peace. She is the most remarkable woman I know."
Thanks to Mallon's Media Watch for the link. This fellow Lepanto Group member has been posting a good bit of late on the war. You might want to pay a visit. Of interest is a 1999 interview John Mallon did with the Vatican's ambassador to the UN, Archbishop Renato Martino, entitled "We Will Stand Alone": Apparently, bucking the consensus of the United Nations is acceptable on abortion, but not in the defense of Western Civilization.
What he did believe in was the right, or the duty rather, of self-defense and the defense of others.
Chesterton was also a vigorous enemy of militarism. Both ideas, he argued, were really a single idea – that the strong must not be resisted. The militarist, he said, uses this idea aggressively as a conqueror, as a bully. The pacifist uses the idea passively by acquiescing to the conqueror and permitting himself and others around him to be bullied…
"The horror of war," Chesterton wrote, "is the sentiment of a Christian and even of a saint." But in refusing to strike any blow, pacifists announce their readiness to surrender the higher ideals of "liberty, self-government, justice, and religion."
This site is hereby declared a Dorothy Day-free zone.
Want to ladle soup to the poor? More power to you!
A website devoted to McGonagall describes him as a poet and tragedian of Dundee…widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language.
A self-educated handloom weaver from Dundee, he discovered his discordant muse in 1877 and embarked upon a 25 year career as a working poet, delighting and appalling audiences across Scotland and beyond.
A public recitation of the above poem in 1888 met with a raucous response, according to a contemporary account:
An appeal to hear a recitation from the "renowned guest" was successful, and the "poet", bracing himself up, and striking a dramatic attitude, with one hand on his breast and the other on his sword, at once launched into the recital of a wonderful "poem" entitled "Tel-el-Kebir". Up to this point he had miraculously escaped the fierce fusilade that greeted his entrance; but his face, that had been liberally rouged in the dressing-room , now began to be streaked with white, and his tartan robes were bespattered with the yolks of eggs, and here and there pieces of shell clung to them. The first few lines of the "poems" were listened to, but when the "poet" raised his voice to a hoarse shout the gravity of his hearers gave way, and derisive cheers broke forth from all quarters, accompanied by another shower of flour, eggs and bread. Ignoring this byplay, the "poet" held bravely on, but a red herring for a second or two broke the continuity of his recitation. Wiping his face ruefully, he proceeeded to relate how :-
"Arabi's army were about 70,000 in all,
And virtually speaking, it was not very small."
This information invoked uproarious laughter, and brought forth another dozen or so eggs. One hit the "poet" on the shoulder, and the result he for a moment gingerly surveyed with puckered brows. The climax having now been reached, the McGonagal unsheathed his sword, an furiously slashed the air for a short time. The recitation ultimately being concluded, the "poet" waved his sword triumphantly, and strode with a majestic mein from the ring., accompanied by a parting volley of eggs. A storm of applause followed and after a rather lengthy "wait" the "poet" reappeared, and, bowing, rapidly retreated. The unusually quick movements of the "poet" rather took the spectators aback, and he had almost reached the exit of the arena before he was caught in a shower of missiles. An encore was enthuaiastically demanded, but the "poet" declined to comply…
...We are witnessing a triumph of activism over fatalism. Victory will remind the world that faith and effort trump ennui and despair. It will demonstrate to the civilized world that the good do not have to see themselves as at the inevitable mercy of barbarians. It will demonstrate that we are not part of a long and unstoppable slide, that we can move forward and win progress...
...The United States is showing to the world, to its friends and foes, that it will pay a high price to make the world better. We will put it all on the line. This country is, still, the place that will take responsibility when no one else will. In this our entire country is like the firemen of 9/11 who looked up, saw the burning towers and charged. In the past few days, weeks and months, America charged.
THE Pope has endorsed the cult of a 17th-century "flying monk," declaring St Joseph of Copertino to be "a model for our times."
In a message marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of St Joseph, the Pope said that the Franciscan friar, who was said to amaze congregations by levitating and flying through the air, was spiritually close to our times. He is the patron saint of aviators and students.
The son of a carpenter, St Joseph was born in 1603, allegedly in a stable, at Copertino near Lecce, and was ordained in 1628 despite being so illiterate and simple- minded, according to contemporaries, that he walked around with his mouth open all the time, earning him the nickname "the Gaper."
His reputation for flying brought Vatican disapproval and he was forbidden to say Mass. But he found refuge in monasteries and churches in Naples, Assisi, Pesaro and Fossombrone and became famous for his "flights."
Witnesses record that after falling into an ecstatic trance, St Joseph would utter a loud cry and soar into the air, sometimes flying down the nave and sometimes flying out of the church and across the hills for several miles.
He was put on trial by the Inquisition, but when he flew over the heads of his inquisitors, the judges referred the case directly to the Pope, Urban VIII. The Pope dropped the case after apparently witnessing an "ecstatic flight."
A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
The Pope decries US action in Iraq without UN approval. But the 1991 Gulf War had UN approval, and he opposed that, too. Had we listened to the Pope a dozen years ago, Saddam would now stand astride much of the world's oil supply, in all likelihood backed by a nuclear arsenal.
It is easier for the Roman Catholic Right to shrug off Rome because, as it happens, Rome is being shifty. During his mission to Washington, Cardinal Laghi declared: "We have always insisted on the framework of the United Nations. Without it, I'd say war is illegal." But Americans have not forgotten their first bout of warfare with Iraq, in 1991. That conflict had fervent UN approval; Providence had apparently crafted it to meet Aquinas' standards for a just war; yet it was still condemned by the Pope and Vatican. People also remember that the UN sanctions designed since then to contain Saddam and enforce inspections have also been steadily damned by Rome.
Thus John Paul, despite his approval of forcible intervention in East Timor and Bosnia, is widely perceived as a pacifist, and therefore not a serious commentator. "It's the Pope's job to shake his head over the wicked way of the world," I was told by another white-haired, loyal worshipper at another parish, forthright and cheerful in sensible shoes and medal of Lourdes. "And it's our job to do something about it." (Via Andrew Sullivan)
Much is made at St. Blog's of thinking with tradition. Well, Catholics have a longstanding tradition of nodding deferentially toward the Church without taking too seriously what it says. That tradition will continue.
President Bush has, I think, shown himself to be a remarkable statesman. Tony Blair has been a powerful figure of much greater stature than anyone might have anticipated. This phase of the war is to free Iraq. Many have wrung their hands and anticipated all sorts of risings and evils in order to justify inaction. The purpose of political prudence is to judge and decide when something has to be done and the measured ways to do it. It is of especial interest that it has been the politician who has been able to do this analysis better than anyone else. By this, I do not deny that previous politicians, in their failure to procure military and intelligence power, and judge accurately what was the issue, caused much of the difficulty. In any case, these are sober, noble days, not against the Iraqi people but for them. Beyond that, the war still seeks to prevent the terrorist warriors from any illusion that it can succeed against us. We do not, as the President said, want to see our cities go up in smoke. And we will not, hopefully, if we remain tough, prudent, and wise. Peace is not just lack of hostilities, but it is the presence of order.MORE
Fr Murnane believed the protest had been effective and that he and Mr Drake had got their message across. "I think so, very deeply," he said. "He is in a difficult position for any human being, supporting a nation doing what it is doing without United Nations agreement."
CNN has had its reporters kicked out of Baghdad, so during the bombing this past Friday the network was taking an on-the-scene report from a hired freelancer, one May Ying Welsh, a radical journalist whose material normally is carried here, and whose previous portfolio includes a video ode to the 17th Congress of the Cuban Workers Federation, here approvingly reviewed by the ANSWER gang, the Workers World Party. She also shot and edited Blockade 1994: The Silent War Against Iraq for Ramsey Clark's International Action Center.
The title accorded Ms. Ying Welsh by CNN: Journalist. That's all: Just "journalist."
A few men and boys ventured out, putting makeshift white flags on their pickup trucks or waving white T-shirts out truck windows.
"Americans very good," Ali Khemy said. "Iraq wants to be free."
Some chanted, "Ameriki! Ameriki!"
Many others in the starving town just patted their stomachs and raised their hands, begging for food.
A man identifying himself only as Abdullah welcomed the arrival of the U.S. troops: "Saddam Hussein is no good. Saddam Hussein a butcher."
An old woman shrouded in black — one of the very few women outside — knelt toward the feet of Americans, embracing an American woman. A younger man with her pulled her away, giving her a warning sign by sliding his finger across his throat.
In 1991, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died after prematurely celebrating what they believed was their liberation from Saddam after the Gulf War. Some even pulled down a few pictures of Saddam then — only to be killed by Iraqi forces.
Gurfein playfully traded pats with a disabled man and turned down a dinner invitation from townspeople.
"Friend, friend," he told them in Arabic learned in the first Gulf War.
"We stopped in Kuwait that time," he said. "We were all ready to come up there then, and we never did."
The townspeople seemed grateful this time.
"No Saddam Hussein!" one young man in headscarf told Gurfein. "Bush!"
Like it or not, war forces people to choose sides. If the vomiting protesters had had their way the United States would never have bombed Saddam's bunker. If they had their way, U.S. tanks would be turned around right now and we would apologize to Iraq, to France, and to the world for daring to shatter that glorious peace that allowed Saddam Hussein to keep the professional rapists' guild working overtime and the people of Safwan patting their empty bellies.
If the war goes well and the people of Iraq are saved, let the useful idiots cheer the liberation if they like. Let them applaud the alleviation of famine and disease should they feel so inclined. Indeed, let them claim all they like that they wanted all of these good things too. But don't let them forget that they never believed these things would be worth it if the price was letting America have its way.
Try the pope and the Catholic Church. It has forgotten its mistaken warnings about the first Gulf War. Had we followed the pope's advice of nonintervention then, Iraq would now be sitting on half of the world's oil reserves, armed with nuclear weapons, and unrepentant about the killings of thousands of Kuwaitis.
Recent history is just as depressing. Take the silence about the takeover and desecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Palestinian gangsters; the hospitality and sightseeing offered to the odious criminal Tariq Aziz in Rome; the seeming indifference to the thousands of Kurds and Iraqis slaughtered by Saddam Hussein. Americans liberating enslaved Iraqis should be the least of his worries.
Vatican newspaper calls start of war 'sad and painful day' for world:L'Osservatore Romano carried reports about the first U.S. strikes on Iraq under the banner headline, "The folly of war." (CNS) The message was lost on these Iraqi kids. #
Not the Peace Abbots, though: At the Sherborn yogis' homepage, news of their arrests while picketing the Natick Labs shares space with a campaign to raise $4,000 to treat Emily, their cancer-stricken cow. Hamburger apparently is not an option at the Appeasement Abbey. The Dixie Chicks would feel right at home.
Odes to Spring, patriotic photos, Joyce Kilmer and more at E.L. Core's. #
Thursday, March 20, 2003 Jesuits by the Tigris
Rev. Joseph MacDonnell, SJ, recalls the New England Jesuits' other BC, the old Baghdad College.
A Roman Catholic chaplain gives the holy blessing to U.S.
Marines in a desert base in northern Kuwait, March 19, 2003
after what may be the last Mass the men will hear before
they go into combat.More. (Thanks to Tony C)
And those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts;
And if he doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping.
Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the people of Iraq, and our servicemen and -women, including St. Blog's own Eric Johnson of Catholic Light; Air Force chaplain Col. H. Bryant Wilbourne, brother of Karen Hall; the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and all the rest whose courage and sacrifice over there protect our freedom and safety over here.
"This farrago of sanctimony and weak sophistry." The moral idiocy of Bishop Botean and Cardinal Martino is given a sound and well-deserved fisking by David Mills at Touchstone.
I wonder if these men, speaking as they do, realize what they are doing not only to their own authority but to the authority of the Church herself. (I write as a Catholic, but anyone in the mainline and Orthodox churches will have the same problem.) They are staking their authority -- their practical authority, I mean, their power to influence and guide their people and the trust their people have in them -- on political judgments the Catechism itself gives to the state.
And not only that, but they are staking their authority using arguments and claims that are just not...terribly...bright, that make specific judgments with the cloudiest of arguments and the least bit of evidence, that show almost no real engagement with the questions to be answered, and that often come with slanderous and mean-spirited descriptions of Americans and American interests (but rarely with equally critical descriptions of Hussein and his interests). They are simply begging their own people to blow them off.
To read more, go to March 18 and scroll down to 4:35 p.m.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003 See men shredded, then say you don't back war
"There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food . . . on one occasion, I saw Qusay [President Saddam Hussein's youngest son] personally supervise these murders."
This is one of the many witness statements that were taken by researchers from Indict -- the organisation I chair -- to provide evidence for legal cases against specific Iraqi individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This account was taken in the past two weeks...
The Vatican said countries that decide to wage war on Iraq without a global consensus must take responsibility before God. "Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
A historian who is a columnist for L'Osservatore Romano speculated as to the great lesson John Paul II took from his experiences in occupied Poland in the Second World War -- appeasement works!
The Saddam apologists in the Communion and Liberation movement trotted out Ratzinger and Martinoet al to make the case that the defense of the United States and the Free World must rest with the United Nations.
Monday, March 17, 2003 E-mail encouragement to the USS Theodore Roosevelt
Crew in dress whites spell out the ship's nickname
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its battle group are currently on deployment in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in preparation for a possible strike on Iraq.
The Theodore Roosevelt Association suggests sending an e-mail of support and encouragement to the crew. Linda Milano, assistant director of the TRA, writes:
Here is something we can all do – make sure that the young men and women on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt know how much we all support them.
Send an e-mail to email@example.com - it goes to the Public Affairs Office, will be printed in the daily newspaper on board ship, and generally lets the men and women on board know they are appreciated.
From a cached copy of a review by Gertrude Himmelfarb in The New Republic in November 2001:
We have had occasion recently to recall the past--Churchill's past as well as our own--and to find in it intimations of our present and future. Among other things that we are rediscovering in the past is the idea of greatness--great individuals, great causes, great civilizations. It is no accident that Churchill has re-emerged now, at a time when the West is again under assault. And it is no small comfort to be reminded of the spirit that triumphed over far greater odds in a far more perilous time.
In previous years, such Third World mischief had met with only pro forma reproofs from American diplomats fearful of antagonizing the non-aligned states. But the new U.N. ambassador, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, deplored the State Department's customary go-along, get-along style as a kind of appeasement. Indeed, the previous March, after stepping down as ambassador to India, he had published a controversial article in Commentary titled "The United States in Opposition."
The piece argued that the United States, chastened by the Vietnam War and other misbegotten adventures, had too long tolerated Third World attacks on America, the West, and liberal democracy. Such passivity encouraged the worst instincts of these regimes—most of which were authoritarian in nature—and confined America to a defensive posture in multilateral arenas. Moynihan called on American leaders not to withdraw from international challenges but rather to speak out against the "tyranny of the U.N.'s 'new majority' " of post-colonial states.
Pat Moynihan: On many fronts, a man ahead of his time.
"A commonly used form of torture is to bring in detainee's female relative, preferably his wife, daughter or mother, and gang rape her in front him. How many men can bear to subject their female relatives to such brutality? Iraqis in exile receive videotapes of their female relatives in Iraq being raped. Is it any surprise that Iraqi scientists refuse to speak to weapons inspectors?
"Women who criticize or merely offend Saddam are accused of being prostitutes and regularly beheaded in public. Saddam's son Uday often leads these beheadings; they occur in Baghdad as well as in smaller villages throughout Iraq. The heads of the executed women are hung on the doors of their houses for all to see."MORE
Truth serum:Captured al Qaeda suspects and other terrorists should be subjected to very intensive chemically assisted interrogation. So-called "truth serums" are not foolproof, and do not guarantee success. But chemically assisted interrogation can significantly increase the interrogator's chance to get the facts without descending into barbarism. More from Jed Babbin at NRO. #
St Patrick's Day not about St Patrick, says Dublin parade organizer
The chief executive of the St Patrick's Festival has said that the St Patrick's Day Parade is not about St Patrick. Maria Moynihan told The Irish Catholic that the March 17 parade is about "Irish identity".
When asked about the lack of participation of religious communities and parish groups in the St Patrick's Day parade, Ms Moynihan said that "it celebrates Irishness, Ireland, our national cultural heritage. It is not a celebration of Saint Patrick."
There will be no religious presence in the parade again this year.MORE
Blair received blessing from Pope, not Communion, according to this report. #
Vatican official: US/UK solo attack on Iraq would 'smash U.N.' Good.
Bishop calls participation in war with Iraq 'matter of mortal sin.' An Ohio bishop has told Catholics in his Eastern-rite diocese that "any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin." (Fifth item) #
John Paul vs. George W: Conservative Catholics in a Bind? Can faithful Catholics support President Bush's position on Iraq? Yes – especially given Rome's woolly thinking on the war, writes the American Spectator's Tom Bethell. #
Word is made flesh as God reveals himself... as a fish:An obscure Jewish sect in New York has been gripped in awe by what it believes to be a mystical visitation by a 20lb carp that was heard shouting in Hebrew, in what many Jews worldwide are hailing as a modern miracle.MORE #
Friday, March 14, 2003 Happy St. Patrick's Day Weekend
Former Conservative leader William Hague, writing in The Spectator, offers a stirring testimonial to Anglo-American friendship.
I have been lucky enough to travel across most of the states of America. I have sat with old men on their porches in Tennessee, and ridden with young wranglers in Montana in the mountains of the Great Divide. As a politician, I have visited schools in New York, retirement homes in Florida and technology firms in San Diego. And I have to say that it would be hard to come across a nation of people less imperialist by culture, temperament and inclination. America was forged in the first place by the families of Protestant settlers who had a work ethic, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a hostility to governmental power and royal authority. They went to a new land in order to be away from wars, taxes and kings. Their attitudes, reinforced by the waves of dispossessed people who have joined them in succeeding centuries, remain the central characteristics of America today. Americans are still by nature disrespectful of authority, deeply democratic by instinct, very conscious of their freedom, and particularly happy to live in a vast and beautiful land which is free from external threats.
Such people are difficult to rouse to war. If Americans are insular – and many of them are – they cannot be imperialist at the same time. In British and French eyes, their sin over much of the last century has been isolationism: ‘too proud to fight’, as Woodrow Wilson said. Americans have always hated joining in other people’s conflicts. Only unrestricted submarine attacks off their west coast brought them into the first world war, and only a direct attack on American soil in Pearl Harbor brought them into the second, even Churchill’s brilliant eloquence having made little progress with them until then. Once roused, however, they have responded with a mixture of determination, loyalty and generosity that no other nation has ever matched. Without America, France would have lived in a dark age of dictatorship for decades. Without America, Germans could not have rescued themselves from a racist ideology. And without America, Europe’s only alternative to Nazi tyranny would have been communist tyranny. American troops left behind them an independent and democratic Japan, and brought Europe the Marshall Plan – both supreme acts of enlightenment in foreign policy. They share with Britain, but not with other European powers, the distinction of leaving democracy and freedom in their wake wherever they can.MORE
Pope Leo X had a beloved white elephant named Hanno
The remarkable story of pleasure-loving pontiff and pachyderm is told in the book The Pope's Elephant.
When the pope made an appearance, it would genuflect, make loud noises, and even cry…It seems that Hanno would spontaneously kneel down and cry "Bar, bar, bar" upon seeing the pope.*
Hanno had made a less-than-impeccable first impression. On presentation, the elephant followed instructions to kneel at Leo's feet, but spying a stoup of holy water, dipped in her trunk and sprayed the pope and everyone else in range.
Latin Mass online: The indult Tridentine Mass at St. Martin of Tours Church in Louisville is broadcast live via webcam each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and most Holy Days at 5:30 p.m. Here's another page for the Webcam.
Oriana Fallaci writes in a compelling piece in today's Opinion Journal: I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.
Bill Cork asked for and received a copy of the e-mail sent recently by the Jesuit provincial in California.
The message regarding the possibility of war contained some suggestions on "Community actions for peace and justice" from Jesuit ethicist Rev. John Coleman, SJ, professor of social values at Loyola Marymount. Some excerpts:
When I lived in the Netherlands, I shared a community with a Jesuit named Jan Ruypert who was the spiritual father for scholastics. He told me the story of his own early period in philosophy at Nijmegen the day the German tanks rolled over the border and started World War II for the Dutch. He said that that day the Dean of the Philosophate told them there would be classes and daily order as usual since "ordinary business continues." With a laugh, he said: "But I knew in my bones that no ordinary business would be the same. My whole life was going to be different from that moment."
Many of us Jesuits think that a war with Iraq would be an unjust war. In any unjust war, our souls are at stake; we cannot just go on as if it is "business as usual." For those of us who think this is an unjust war, the "faith that does justice" is just an empty slogan if we stand by doing nothing. An unjust war rudely knocks on our door, and we cannot ignore it.
Fr. Coleman draws a parallel between Hitler's tanks rolling into Holland and US forces poised to strike against Hitler's pupil in Iraq. As I believe William F. Buckley said of the moral distinctions to be made in the Cold War: Mr. A and Mr. B both may be shoving an old lady, but it makes a difference that one is pushing her in front of an oncoming truck, and the other pulling her away.
There are some among us who judge that this war is justified. But even just warriors know they need to lament any war's tragic necessity. A just warrior who is a Christian remains under an obligation of faith in Jesus to pray for, and even love, his or her enemies and to work to mitigate any suffering of the innocent. If a war begins in Iraq, the U.N. is estimating something on the order of a million refugees and hundreds of thousands dead with countless more dead in the wake of war.
This suggests the Iraqi people are seen as the enemy, rather than Saddam, and will be targeted by US military action, rather than liberated. One is reminded of the Samantha Smith-style "people to people" exchanges the Left was always promoting during the Cold War, as if the Russian people and their Soviet oppressors were one and the same. The Left raised the same specter of civilian casualties to oppose US action in Afghanistan, as if the Afghan people were the targets, not the Taliban. But you didn't hear the citizenry of Kabul complain when the Taliban was routed, courtesy of US bombing. They were too busy removing their veils, playing music again, and going about their lives free of fear -- ordinary pleasures they would still be denied had the course urged by their pacifist "advocates" on the Left been followed.
Even those generally supportive of the war, the just warriors, have to confront certain questions before, during, and after a war:
(1) Before a war: Is there really a just cause? Is it a last resort? Is it without real alternatives? Is it declared by a legitimate authority?
Well, the United States government is a legitimate civil authority. And there is something to be said for pre-emptive action against an Iraq: The Israelis were criticized for a pre-emptive strike on Saddam's nuclear reactor in the early '80s. Thank heaven they did: Imagine if they had not.
But it should be noted military action against Iraq in this case would not be pre-emptive. Saddam has not lived up to his end of the 1991 Gulf War truce by disarming. This would be ending an old war, not starting a new one.
(2) During a war: Is there really an attempt to spare innocent civilians? It would seem that any use of nuclear weapons should disturb any just warrior pace the Bishops' Peace Pastoral of the 1980's. In this war, a key issue would be: Can the allies actually show that they found real weapons of mass destruction - their proposed reason for going to war?
The US and allies again are painted the aggressors, and Saddam is given the benefit of the doubt.
(3) After a war: A just war presupposes sincere plans for a just peace. Many nations - and critics of recent American policy list us as conspicuous villains in this type of action - win a war and then walk away to let the people simply pick up whatever pieces they can.
Has he never heard of the Marshall Plan? Has he never watched a Japanese television set or driven in a Japanese car?
Can anybody guess how many cemeteries of Allied soldiers there are in Italy? More than sixty. And the largest, the most crowded, are the American ones. At Nettuno, 10,950 graves. At Falciani, near Florence, 5,811. Each time I pass in front of it and see that lake of crosses, I shiver with grief and gratitude.
Back to Fr. Coleman:
Our communities should be doing something concrete to bear witness to justice and peace before, during, and after this war. I would like to make some modest suggestions for the consideration of Jesuit communities of the California Province for over the next six months.
(1) Continued and crafted prayer times for peace and justice - even in the event of a war and its aftermath: Perhaps once a week special prayers, e.g., the prayer of St. Francis, a prayer for peace from the Koran, could be said at the end of mass…
(6) Some have suggested a sort of general strike to protest the war; that is probably unrealistic. We might, however, declare a one-day strike when we enter into war. On this day, business will not be "as usual" and we will not teach our classes, say our masses, or hold our spiritual direction conferences. For some, such a one-day "cease-fire" action may be too bold, but it is an option for communities to consider.
We are busy people with many items, good and apostolic, on our agenda. There are classes to teach, masses to say, and retreats to organize. But war is always a tragic evil. It should disrupt our lives and force us to reflect on sin and the power of Christ's peace to transform lives. We do not need in 2003 a latter-day Dean of the Philosophate at Nijmegen who will claim that "business as usual" will go on as war begins.
War is always tragic, but sometimes it is a necessary evil. Ask the Jews of Warsaw, or the Resistance fighters who battled the Nazis and the Communists, or the once-captive nations of Central Europe whose leaders now support the US on Iraq.
Fr. Coleman has argued "even an appeal to self-defense might not justify war." (Andrew Sullivan suggests the rules of engagement have to be considered in the post-9.11 age of the suitcase nuke.)
Fr. Coleman is listed with Hans Kung, Phil Berrigan and Bishop Gumbleton among the endorsers of a group called Priests for Equality, which has posted an Action Alert asking members to write the Nigerian government in protest of a stoning sentence imposed on a woman by a Shari'ah court.
One wonders what it would take to get Fr. Coleman as upset over the similar horrors visited every day by the Iraqi government on its people, or the potential dangers posed to the American people by fanatics with bio-toxins or suicide bomb belts?
Ethicist and professor of social values Fr. Coleman seems unable or unwilling to discern between the forces of good and evil in world affairs. The same can be said at present of the Vatican.
"The logical consequence of a society that revolves around not offending anyone is that the bullies will win," says Peter Kreeft. "Moral relativism has a reputation for being compassionate, caring and humane, but it is an extremely useful philosophy for tyrants."
[This picture] engraved in the 1570s, shows a complete church interior converted for the new, Protestant, worship. A baptism is taking place at the upper right. At the front of the building a preacher is holding forth. Most of the congregation are standing, the men with their hats on. A number of them are discussing the sermon vigorously. After the sermon, there may be a communion service. Two flagons of wine stand ready for use at the back of the church. The communion table is again away from the wall, ready for the communicants to gather round.
Forty years earlier, this same building, these same people, even the same priest, would have been holding a very different type of communion service.
Here, at high mass in a large church, the priest stands at a stone altar at the east end of the chancel, facing east, elevating the host high for all to see. The language of the service is Latin. To his left the subdeacon holds up a torch; to his right the deacon swings a censer. These pictures emphasise how much the chancels of parish churches needed to be changed to cope with the new theology introduced at the Reformation.
When thousands of parish ministers from across the LA Archdiocese convened in Anaheim recently for their annual Religious Education Congress, Cardinal Mahony's paper, The Tidings, was there to record the highlights. It perhaps should be enough to know that the conference was highlighted by a peace prayer led by Martin Sheen, and was provided with a "spirit-filled climax" by a "joyous celebration of the multicultural church." But here are some photos, anyway.
What is the native bearer doing? Preparing a smoky escape via duck and roll?
Fr. Neuhaus: Disarming Saddam is just cause: "Religious leaders should bring more to the public discussion than their fears," the First Things editor tells Zenit. "Nervous hand-wringing is not a moral argument."
Nun compis mentis: An Iraqi nun peace-activist blames the suffering of her people on -- yep -- US-backed sanctions. It's the embargo that makes Saddam act the way he does, so of course Iraqis see Americans as the cause of their suffering.
You know, I don't recall the Left opposing sanctions on apartheid-era South Africa because they would hurt South African blacks and lead them to blame America for their hardship.
And aren't those UN sanctions on Iraq? Isn't the UN supposed to be the arbiter and purveyor of all that is good and just?
I must say I like Midwest Conservative Journal's idea: Pull the US out of the UN, send the UN packing from New York, and turn the General Assembly building into a synagogue.
While the Jesuit provincial in California reportedly has proposed a one-day strike on offering Mass should war commence in Iraq, not all Jesuits in years past have taken a similar view that earthly suffering should be met with a refusal to dispense the sacraments.
Rev. William Doyle, SJ, chaplain of the 16th Irish Division of the British Army in the First World War, killed at Ypres in 1917 after having run "all day hither and thither over the battlefield like an angel of mercy," is paid moving tribute at this site, which features excerpts from his battlefield diary.
By cutting a piece out of the side of the trench, I was just able to stand in front of my tiny altar, a biscuit tin supported by two German bayonets. God's angels, no doubt, were hovering overhead, but so were the shells, hundreds of them, and I was a little afraid that when the earth shook with the crash of the guns, the chalice might be overturned. Round about me on every side was the biggest congregation I ever had: behind the altar, on either side, and in front, row after row, sometimes crowding one upon the other, but all quiet and silent, as if they were straining their ears to catch every syllable of that tremendous act of Sacrifice - but every man was dead! Some had lain there for a week and were foul and horrible to look at, with faces black and green. Others had only just fallen, and seemed rather sleeping than dead, but there they lay, for none had time to bury them, brave fellows, every one, friend and foe alike, while I held in my unworthy hands the God of Battles, their Creator and their Judge, and prayed to Him to give rest to their souls. Surely that Mass for the Dead, in the midst of, and surrounded by the dead, was an experience not easily to be forgotten. Fr Doyle's diary: 11 October 1916 at the Somme
An attempt was made to advance Fr. Doyle's cause for canonization, but it did not last more than a generation or two, according to the site. From the accounts of his courage, his sacrifice for others, and his unfailing faith and kindness in the face of unspeakable horrors, it would seem a strong case could be made. (A note to any canon lawyers reading: How does one go about re-introducing a cause for sainthood?)
For conspicious gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in every-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts despite the searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death to return their stricken ship to port.
The late Rev. William Leonard, SJ, left the Boston College faculty to serve three years as an Army chaplain in the jungles of New Guinea and in the Philippines during the Second World War. He wrote an account of his service in the 1995 book Where Thousands Fell.A reviewer writes:
While serving six months in New Guinea, Father Leonard undertakes the building of a chapel with an altar. The Finschhafen altar was made of materials found at hand and donated by soldiers of all faiths. The materials included a Jeep piston for the incense burner, missile and shell casings for candle holders and the legs of the altar and a cross carved from mahogany, a native wood of New Guinea. He wanted to represent three things: a Catholic altar, the ordnance battalion and the hardships the soldiers faced in the tropics.
After the war, the altar was transported back to Boston, and then found a home in the U.S. Army Chaplain Museum.
Father Leonard leaves Finschhafen to participate in the beachhead invasion of Lingayen in the Philippines. Armed only with a bola knife to dig foxholes, he accompanies the soldiers inland where they endure Japanese bombs and shelling.
Through the words of Father Leonard, Where Thousands Fell pays tribute to all the chaplains who serve and die offering spiritual comfort to soldiers in war or peace.
Sunday, March 09, 2003 From the Jimmy Carter Files: When Rabbits Attack
While boating on a small pond near Plains, Ga., on April 21, 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter uses an oar to splash water at a rabbit which swam near his boat. The President was later kidded about the "killer rabbit" episode. (AP Photo)