Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jury Nullification

Like it or loathe it, jury nullification still pops up in our country's legal system from time to time. And tonight a jury in Oregon just gave the Bronx salute to the United States Government.

Heaven Forbid

Heaven Forbid over at Gabriel Sanchez's blog is a good read. It contains some pointed criticisms of Orthodoxy, especially American Orthodoxy, with which I really can't disagree. At least not very strongly. Orthodoxy is balkanized with all sorts of confusion on various, usually pastoral, issues. In too many cases it still has the unfortunate odor of being an ethnic social club. But on the upside, blatant heresy is not commonly preached in its churches. This is sadly not the case in the Roman Catholic Church.

From time to time I get emails from people thinking of swimming the Bosporus in the hopes of escaping the crisis (is there anyone who can seriously deny the existence of a major crisis?) in the Roman Catholic Church. My advice is to take a deep breath. Too many are looking for some mythical slightly Byzantine version of the pre-Vatican II RCC with great liturgy but without a Communist and almost certainly heretical Pope. That is not what we are.

We have many of the same problems that Catholics do, and a few that are kinda unique to us. Corrupt clergy, poisonous church politics, in some cases an unwillingness by clergy to preach an uncompromising position on some of the hot button issues of the modern age, and the pervasive issue of ethnophyletism. But as Gabriel noted, overt heresy is not (usually) on the menu, though I have been seeing a few worrying signs.

All of which brings us back to the great aphorism that the grass is always greener over the septic tank.

Does this mean I don't want Catholics (or anyone else) to convert? No! I want EVERYONE to become Orthodox. But I want them to do it for the right reasons and with their eyes wide open. It took me 25 years before I finally took the plunge. In my ten years in the Church I have made a few observations about converts. Only about half are still Orthodox after three years. And that is a serious problem because apostasy is much worse than schism or heresy. It is far better that you stay outside the Church than join, only to leave later on.

Beyond which, see this post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Justice Stevens (ret.) On Growing Up a Chicago Cubs Fan

...Stevens first visited Wrigley Field as a nine-year-old during the 1929 World Series pitting the Cubs against the Philadelphia Athletics.

“I had listened to the Cubs games all summer on the radio,” Stevens said. “There was Hal Totten for WMAQ, and Pat Flanagan for WBBM. He broadcast the out-of-town games, pretending he was an actual spectator.”

A young Ronald Reagan took a similar approach as a broadcaster in Iowa, as it was common during that era for announcers to take play-by-play developments off a ticker tape and relate them as if they were present.

At that first game of the 1929 series, Stevens and his father sat behind home plate, where the future justice was thrilled to see Cubs greats such as Hack Wilson and Charlie Grimm. And when Philadelphia manager Connie Mack started a veteran pitcher, Howard Ehmke, instead of his younger, fastball aces, Stevens thought the Cubs would have an easy game. Instead, Ehmke struck out 13 straight Cubs and the A’s won the game, 3-1.

“That was a tragedy for a young fan,” Stevens said. (It should really go without saying that the Cubs lost that series, four games to one.)

Stevens never tires of discussing his most famous brush with baseball—the 1932 World Series between the Cubs and the New York Yankees, when Yankees great Babe Ruth hit his much-debated “called shot.” The short version is that during the fifth inning of Game 3, Ruth pointed to center field, then hit the next pitch out of the park.

As Stevens has explained, Ruth was jawing with a pitcher in the Cubs dugout, Guy Bush, evidently over the Cubs’ decision not to give a full World Series bonus share to Mark Koenig, a former Yankee teammate of Ruth’s who was with the Cubs in 1932. Stevens once told an interviewer that he clearly remembered Ruth and Bush engaging in a “colloquy” on the issue (“colloquy” not being a common term for trash talking on the baseball diamond).

Describing the events to me, Stevens said, “You probably remember, they were in an argument as to whether Mark Koenig was entitled to a full share for the World Series.” (I’m pretty sure he meant that I recall the historical accounts, not that I was also there in 1932.)

“What was Ruth’s motive, no one knows for sure,” said Stevens, who was a 12-year-old sitting behind the Cubs dugout on the third-base line during that game. “He did point at the scoreboard, and then hit the ball out of the park the next pitch. But I think he was in an argument with Guy Bush at the time. And I didn’t know if he wanted to hit the pitch there or he wanted to hit Guy Bush.”

Stevens kept a scorecard from that 1932 game at Wrigley Field in his chambers, among other Cubs memorabilia. He was still serving in the U.S. Navy as a codebreaker in 1945 when the Cubs last appeared in a World Series.

Read the rest here.

I recall watching a show on Prohibition where Justice Stevens was being interviewed and he told some very colorful stories about growing up in Chicago during the Roaring 20's and the Depression.

Jennifer Rubin: It's time for sane Republicans to leave the GOP

Read it here.

I am pretty much done with the GOP. (For the record I haven't been a registered Republican since 2012.) Unfortunately there is not much out there that fits my own views. At one time I took a hard look at the Modern Whig Party, but they are too wishy washy on some important issues for my comfort. That, and any party with the word "Whig" in its name tends to trigger my gag reflex.

I guess the best that I can say is that it is looking like a good year to be a monarchist. Maybe I should just refuse to vote in the future as a matter of principle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos we magnify you!

Jack Chick is dead

He passed over at the age of 92.
Kyrie eleison.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten horns and the harlot squatting atop it. As I see it, these Catholics belong to four groups.

The Persecutor
First are the Persecutors. These people hate the Church, and that is why they remain ostensible members of it. They desire from within to punish the Church for what they perceive to be her sins, which these days have nothing to do with her teachings on the Trinity or the nature of Christ, but with sex—so tawdry are our heresies. O Arius, Arius, would that we had such as you for our enemy! The Persecutor has unbridled contempt for Pope John Paul II, the too-lenient father whom the Persecutor, like a spoiled brat, portrays as a tyrant, and for Benedict XVI, whose broad-ranging and penetrating intellect makes the Persecutor feel puny by comparison.

In all conflicts between the State and the Church, the Persecutor will not only side with the State; he will be glad to lead the charge. He will, to give one recent example from Connecticut, push a bill designed to subject the governance of Catholic parishes to state oversight. He will, to give a current example from New York, attempt to compel Catholic crisis pregnancy centers to refer women to the nearest abortorium. He will be eager to threaten Catholic schools with loss of government funds if they remain Catholic—if, for instance, they think it is not a good idea to sponsor groups committed to Sodom, and let them massage the minds of children. But why do I use the generic masculine pronoun here? Sheshe will want to compel Catholic interns to assist in abortions, or even to perform one; she will want to compel Catholic parishes to allow their grounds and their halls to be used for the celebration of pseudogamy. Religious freedom? The Persecutor respects neither God nor the conscience of man...

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

I have received word via Bill Tighe's email group that the author, Tony Esolen, has been getting a lot of abuse over this at the school where he works. Liberals are of course the most illiberal and intolerant people around. Prayers would be appreciated.

The Chicago Cubs Are Going to the World Series

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel (Bunge) on Monasticism and Relations with the Roman Catholic Church

The outstanding Swiss theologian and patrologist Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel (Bunge) has met with the brethren of the Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra. The meeting took place on October 18 as part of Archimandrite Gabriel’s pilgrimage to the Holy places of Ukraine, reports

The distinguished guest was introduced by Archimandrite Amvrosy (Makar), rector of the Church of St. Ambrose of Milan in the Italian city of Milan. The priest told the brethren about the life of Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel, his thirty-six years of ascetic life in the mountains of Switzerland and that today he is abbot of the Monastery of the Exaltation of the Cross in Lugano (southern Switzerland), and author of a number of books on monasticism, and pastor to many spiritual children.

The talk began with questions on Fr. Gabriel’s life in the mountains. The schema-archimandrite related how he got acquainted with the Orthodox tradition and Orthodox monasticism.

“My first contact with Orthodoxy was in 1961 in Greece. By that time I had already joined a Benedictine monastery and nearly half our brethren followed the Eastern liturgical tradition. That monastery wanted to become a bridge between the East and the West. I studied a great deal and read the writings of the holy fathers. With the blessing of my confessor I became a hermit in the ‘80s and I still live in a skete which is located 900 meters (c. 2952.76 feet) above sea level. I tried to imitate the fathers of olden times in my life. I wrote and published books to inspire Western people—all of us need to return to our roots. From the very beginning I realized that the West was separated from the East. Even many hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church referred to the teachings of the fathers of the Eastern Church, but, nevertheless, the Roman Church went its own way,” said Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel.

In 2010 Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) was received into the Orthodox Church, but, according to him, in spirit he had always been Orthodox before and had always wanted to partake in the holy sacraments of the Orthodox Church.

“I stood with one foot in the East, the other in the West. For many years I longed to visit the Kiev Caves Lavra, and to venerate the Kiev Caves fathers, and to pray to them. Once in some antique shop I bought a cross with particles of relics of twelve Kiev Caves saints in it. Their names were written there. The cross dated back to 1791. It is a mystery how that cross ended up in the West, but the relics which it contained were of no particular value for the shop staff. Now that cross stands on my table and I pray to the Kiev Caves fathers every day. And today I am very happy and delighted to have this opportunity to visit the Kiev Caves Lavra,” he continued.

Answering the question on the prospects of the reunification of the Eastern and Western Churches, Fr. Gabriel emphasized that “there is no theological sense in the dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics must return back to the Church. My teacher and professor who later became Pope Benedict XVI understood many things but did nothing. The Orthodox Church has preserved the Liturgy and the monastic tradition, while the Roman Catholic Church is currently moving towards Protestantism rather than returning to Orthodoxy. The real problem of this division is not in the differences—it is in the incompatibility. The Greek and Roman cultures in the first millennium were different yet compatible with each other.”

The theologian also drew the brethren’s attention to the vital topic of the place of monasticism in the modern world: “Modern people want monks to answer their spiritual questions, not national and political ones. Monks are separated from this world and they live their own lives which are different from the life in the world. Such life enables them to gain wisdom which is not of this world—and this is precisely what people are waiting for. Many come to me too and expect me to answer their questions. And I have to tell them what they need to do and what not to do.”

Speaking on whether modern monasticism should take the anchoretic or cenobitic path, Schema-Archimandrite Gabriel explained: “Monasticism began not with the cenobitic tradition. The first monks were anchorites, but they always had a teacher. Both paths are good. It all depends on the calling from God in each case. The Church has a place for everybody! And the Lord saves us not individually, but all together!”

At the end of the meeting assistant abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra Archimandrite Anthony thanked Fr. Gabriel for his visit and for answering the topical questions and conveyed to him greetings from the monastery’s abbot, Metropolitan Paul. After that a general picture was taken to remember the meeting.


Pope in Sweden could break ground on inter-communion, bishop says

The English bishop William Kenney is a key figure in the official Catholic-Lutheran dialogue, and will be with Pope Francis in Sweden at the end of the month. He believes unity is a matter of decades away, and it's possible that Francis may use the trip to make a gesture on inter-communion.

To describe English bishop William Kenney as an “auxiliary of Birmingham” doesn’t capture the depth and range of his longstanding roles in pan-European church bodies - for two terms, for example, he was president of Caritas Europe, and he played a key role in organizing relief efforts for former Soviet countries following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Next week he will be part of a small, inner core at the joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation for which Francis will be going to Sweden. It’s the first visit by any pope to Scandinavia since John Paul II’s 1989 visit, which Kenney, incidentally, coordinated.

A fluent Swedish-speaker who spent 37 years in Sweden, Kenney  - who also speaks good German -  has long been involved with ecumenical dialogues at the inter-Nordic level, especially in the formal dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans. In 2013 he was appointed by the Holy See as co-chair of the international dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Recently he sat down with Crux in London to talk through the background to the event, the dialogue that’s expected to take place, and what Pope Francis might do or say to take it to a new level...

Read the rest here.

Hiking in Bear Country

You are gonna want to click on and enlarge this to read the sign.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Latest Electoral Map

Click on image to expand view.

For those who will be watching the elections returns, keep an eye on Georgia. This is a culturally and politically conservative state that in any normal election year would be a safe state for the GOP. While the odds still suggest it will fall into the Republican column, it is not a given. If Georgia turns into a surprise win for Clinton it could be an early indicator that Trump is not just going to lose (all but certain), but that he is gong to lose badly. It would mean a lot of Republicans are staying home or at least not supporting the top of the ticket. That could spell serious trouble down ticket and endanger the GOP's control of Congress.

'EU is Impossible to do Deals With'- Canada Gives Up After 7 Years of Negotiations

The EU is "impossible" to do deals with, the Canadian government said as a major trade agreement appeared to be on the brink of collapse.

In a sign of how difficult Britain's Brexit negotiations will be, the Canadians walked out of talks on Friday after a major trade deal was put on hold because of a tiny region in Belgium.

The region of Wallonia, population 3.5 million, is blocking the Canada-EU trade deal, which was due to be signed next week after seven years of talks.

Under the Belgian political system, major international deals need to be signed off by regional parliaments.

Wallonian farmers are opposed to the deal because they fear that the country will be flooded with cheap agricultural imports.

It raises the prospect of a tiny region like Wallonia attempting to block whatever deal Britain emerges with during Brexit talks.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's international trade minister, said: "It's become evident for me, for Canada, that the European Union isn't capable now to have an international treaty even with a country that has very European values like Canada. And even with a country so nice, with a lot of patience like Canada."

She added: "I've worked very, very hard, but I think it's impossible. "We have decided to return home. I am very sad. It is emotional for me."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

‘Lions Hunting Zebras’: Wells Fargo Bankers Preying on their Customers

Mexican immigrants who speak little English. Older adults with memory problems. College students opening their first bank accounts. Small-business owners with several lines of credit.
These were some of the customers whom bankers at Wells Fargo, trying to meet steep sales goals and avoid being fired, targeted for unauthorized or unnecessary accounts, according to legal filings and statements from former bank employees.

“The analogy I use was that it was like lions hunting zebras,” said Kevin Pham, a former Wells Fargo employee in San Jose, Calif., who saw it happening at the branch where he worked. “They would look for the weakest, the ones that would put up the least resistance.”

Read the rest here

Banks are the enemy. The big ones need to be broken up under the various anti-trust laws and the people running them need to be jailed if it can be proven that this kind of behavior occurred under their watch. And it is way past time to put the Glass Steagall Act back on the books. Enough is enough!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chicago’s new cardinal embodies the Pope Francis idea of a bishop

Poor Chicago. You would think they have enough problems and that sooner or later they might catch a break. Apparently not.

Read the story here.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Second Waltz (Shostakovich)

Demetrios Tselengidis: On the Surpassing Value of the Spiritual Unity of the Church, Its Brutal Abuse in Crete and the Identification of the Church with its Administration

The well-known and respected Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Demetrios Tselengidis, has issued an important and timely three part analysis of the Cretan Council and the ecclesiological problems and issues surrounding it. The letter was sent to all of the hierarchs of the Church of Greece at the end of August and has been included in the recent publication dedicated to the "Council" of Crete, which we mentioned in an earlier post...

Read the letter here.

Archbishop Chaput: About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics

Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver.  They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social justice issues.  They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party.  And they hoped my brother bishops and I would resist identifying the Church with single-issue and partisan (read: abortion) politics.

It was an interesting experience.  Both men were obvious flacks for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party — creatures of a political machine, not men of the Church; less concerned with Catholic teaching than with its influence.  And presumably (for them) bishops were dumb enough to be used as tools, or at least prevented from helping the other side.  Yet these two young men not only equaled but surpassed their Republican cousins in the talents of servile partisan hustling.  Thanks to their work, and activists like them, American Catholics helped to elect an administration that has been the most stubbornly unfriendly to religious believers, institutions, concerns and liberty in generations.

I never saw either young man again.  The cultural damage done by the current White House has – apparently — made courting America’s bishops unnecessary.

But bad can always get worse.  I’m thinking, of course, of the contemptuously anti-Catholic emails exchanged among members of the Clinton Democratic presidential campaign team and released this week by WikiLeaks. A sample:  Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, emailed John Podesta, now the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask about whether “the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage” could be the tinder for a revolution. “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages [sic] dictatorship,” Newman writes.

Of course, Newman added, “this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance.” Still, he wondered, how would one “plant the seeds of a revolution”? John Podesta replied that “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this . . . likewise Catholics United” (emphasis added).

Another Clinton-related email, from John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, mocks Catholics in the so-called conservative movement, especially converts: “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” In a follow-up, he adds “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what . . . they’re talking about.”

On the evening these WikiLeaks emails were released, I received the following angry email myself, this one from a nationally respected (non-Catholic) attorney experienced in Church-state affairs:
“I was deeply offended by the [Clinton team] emails, which are some of the worst bigotry by a political machine I have seen.  [A] Church has an absolute right to protect itself when under attack as a faith and Church by civil political forces. That certainly applies here . . .

 “Over the last eight years there has been strong evidence that the current administration, with which these people share values, has been very hostile to religious organizations.  Now there is clear proof that this approach is deliberate and will accelerate if these actors have any continuing, let alone louder, say in government. 

 “These bigots are actively strategizing how to shape Catholicism not to be Catholic or consistent with Jesus’ teachings, but to be the ‘religion’ they want.  They are, at the very core, trying to turn religion to their secular view of right and wrong consistent with their politics.  This is fundamentally why the Founders left England and demanded that government not have any voice in religion.  Look where we are now.  We have political actors trying to orchestrate a coup to destroy Catholic values, and they even analogize their takeover to a coup in the Middle East, which amplifies their bigotry and hatred of the Church.  I had hoped I would never see this day — a day like so many dark days in Eastern Europe that led to the death of my [Protestant minister] great grandfather at the hands of communists who also hated and wanted to destroy religion.”
Of course it would be wonderful for the Clinton campaign to repudiate the content of these ugly WikiLeaks emails. All of us backward-thinking Catholics who actually believe what Scripture and the Church teach would be so very grateful.

In the meantime, a friend describes the choice facing voters in November this way: A vulgar, boorish lout and disrespecter of women, with a serious impulse control problem; or a scheming, robotic liar with a lifelong appetite for power and an entourage riddled with anti-Catholic bigots.

In a nation where “choice” is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small.

Source (Reposted in its entirety with permission)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Concerning Burning

The burning of books is objectionable on principle. Indeed, whenever I hear of books being burnt, I always think of the famous quote by Heinrich Heine, who was born a Jew but converted to Christianity, and who died 1856. He said, “Where they burn books, in the end they will burn people.” (There is a fine irony in his far-sighted wisdom, since his books were among the many consigned to the flames by the Nazis in the 1930s.) The reason that book-burning is objectionable is that consigning something to the flames means not just its destruction, but in many circumstances its renunciation, and asserts its total lack of value. And pretty much all books have value—even the books the contents of which we disagree with. We may disagree with the ideas some books contain, but the idea of a book itself—that is, offering ideas from one person to another—is valuable and good, for all books involve sharing and dialogue, and all human dialogue has value.

In the same way that burning books is bad, burning people is bad also. Put another way, cremation is not a part of our Christian Tradition. Asserting this flies in the face of much modern North American culture, where cremation is rapidly becoming the preferred method of dealing with the bodies of the dead, but Orthodoxy continues to make this assertion nonetheless. As far as the historic practice of the Church is concerned, cremation involves the burning of people.

Modern secular culture denies this. It says that people—human persons—are to be sharply differentiated from their bodies, so that cremation burns not the person, but the body of the person. The person—the real person—is identified with the soul, and this soul resides in the body in the same sort of way that a letter resides in an envelope. In the case of letters and envelopes, the envelope has no real and lasting function apart from the safe delivery of the letter, and after the letter is received, the envelope may be thrown away. After all, it is the letter which is of value, and it is the letter which we keep. In the same way, modern secularism holds that the soul is the real person, and the body only the temporary container or vehicle for the soul. When the soul departs from the body at death, the body has no more lasting value than the envelope has after the letter is removed. Both may be thrown away, or burned.

Read the rest here.

Amazing Color Home Movies of New York During the 1940's

Elliot Abrams on the scandalous UN vote denying Jewish (and Christian) connections to Jerusalem

There is little to be added to the scorn rightfully shown in the United States and in Israel (which has cut all ties to UNESCO) toward the UNESCO vote this week that in essence wipes out Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem by referring to it only in Muslim terminology.

UNESCO’s own director general, Irina Bokova, criticized the vote, saying, “Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site.”

Read the rest here.

In case there was any doubt

The Episcopalians are still wallowing in pagan apostasy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Quick Note

I apologize for the silence but I have been somewhat busy lately. On top of that I am fighting a cold that has been trying to turn into the flu. I realize that I have a backlog of emails but I just groan every time I even look at my computer these days. Hopefully I will get caught up by the end of the week.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

On TV Tonight

So I have just been told over on another blog that Turner Classic Movies is broadcasting Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) at about the same time that every other channel will be showing the 2016 version. I believe I will watch the fictional one.

The other may give me nightmares.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Dodging a Bullet

So I'm sitting here in the southwest corner of the Sunshine State under overcast skies with a stiff breeze pondering what might have been, and how very lucky we have been (so far). My part of the state was never in the projected danger zone so the worst I have had to deal with has been a sharp uptick in traffic and large crowds of temporary evacuees from the other side of the state. To whom I say welcome and enjoy your stay.

But all of this brings to mind those who proudly declared they would not evacuate despite being told they were potentially in the path of a category 4 hurricane. I'm going to hazard an educated guess that most of these morons have never been in anything close to a major hurricane in their lives. No rational person with a clue about the real danger of something as powerful as Matthew was when I went to bed last night (sustained winds of 140 mph) would deliberately put themselves in front of one. It's rather akin to being told there is a Great White Shark swimming just off the beach and going in for a dip anyways. Maybe the hurricane will miss you. And maybe the shark has moved on or isn't hungry.

Okay, I will concede an exception for those seeking a novel method for self murder. Suicide by hurricane would provide an interesting topic for gossip among neighbors and relatives.

But I doubt that was the intent here. In many cases this was just for bragging rights.  My guess is that a lot of these folks will be found in their favorite watering hole this weekend telling everyone within earshot about how they rode out Hurricane Matthew and that it was no big deal.

Except they didn't.

That's because Hurricane Matthew has thus far not hit land in the United States (Deo gratias). If it had hit land as a cat 4, anyone in it's immediate path along the coast would would have been fortunate to survive. And if they did, my guess is that whatever tales they told would have begun with something along the lines of "what a  bleeping idiot I was!" (I don't think they would use the word bleeping.)

The worst thing is that this dodged bullet is likely to reinforce the bone crushing stupidity exhibited by these people and encourage others to do the same the next time we have a dangerous storm rolling in our direction. And there will be a next time. Florida is geographically pretty much a natural bulls-eye for hurricanes. That we have not had a big hit in more than a decade is a small miracle that I fear has also given a false sense of security to many. More than two million have moved here since the last hurricane (including yours truly) and most probably lack an appreciation for just how devastating a bad one can be. Last night Matthew was more or less the same size and power as the Great Hurricane of 1900.

There are times I think everyone who wants to live within ten miles of the Atlantic coast south of Cape Hatteras, or anywhere at all along the Gulf of Mexico should be required to watch this or something similar.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Pope in Georgia: Showing Respect Without Ecumenical Compromise

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 Pope Francis visited the ancient Orthodox nation of Georgia, celebrating Mass in a Tbilisi stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1 for the capital’s small Catholic population.
Hierarchs of the Georgian Orthodox Church were noticeably absent.

As it should be.

The media is variously reporting the absence of any official Georgian Orthodox delegation as a “shun,” a “snub,” and that the Pope was met “with disregard.” That such headlines are false and inflammatory is obvious in that the pope visited the nation by the invitation of the president and His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II himself, who greeted him at the airport and met with him in an official capacity.

Moreover, the pope was welcomed to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta where he exchanged speeches with His Holiness in the presence of a number of hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful.
What we see is that, in fact, the pope was met with the same respect given to any visiting dignitary. The pope himself, upon his departure, expressed his gratitude at being so warmly received. But His Holiness Ilia II also respectfully maintained his own integrity and that of the Orthodox faith and Church, given to us by Christ through His Apostles.

At Saturday’s Mass, Pope Francis declared: ““We should work together. We should respect each other and pray together. This is ecumenism.”

It is precisely this ecumenism that the Georgian Orthodox Church understands, and rightfully rejects, not out of any hatred or chauvinism, but the righteous desire to preserve intact the deposit of faith entrusted to the hierarchs and all the faithful.

The Church and its faithful are guided by the dictum “lex orandi, lex credendi”—the rule of prayer is the rule of faith—that is, the Church believes what it prays, and prays what it believes, and therefore, unity of faith is an obvious and necessary presupposition for unity in prayer.

The absence of unity of faith between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic confession is obvious, and so should be the absence of unity in prayer. Mutual respect is not enough to bind us together in Christ, for respect that disregards truth is no respect at all, and it certainly is not love.

In his Oct. 1 speech at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the pope invoked the holy Apostle Paul, saying, “Those baptized in Christ, as Saint Paul teaches, have been clothed in Christ. Thus… we are called to be 'one in Christ Jesus' and to avoid putting first disharmony and divisions between the baptized, because what unites us is much more than what divides us.”

In the eyes of the media, the Georgian Orthodox Church’s seeming rejection of the ideal of unity and harmony is a “shun” and a “snub,” but what Pope Francis failed to mention, and which, naturally, the secular media fails to understand, but which those of an Orthodox consciousness can never forget, is that St. Paul spoke not merely of unity in baptism, but rather of One Lord, one faith, one baptism, which bind us together in one body, and one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4, 5). Baptisms not of one faith are indeed not one baptism. Baptism is unto union with the Body of Christ, and therefore, naturally, cannot happen outside of that Body of Christ.
In a statement on the Georgian Patriarchate’s website, the Church reminded the faithful that: “As long as there are dogmatic differences between our churches, Orthodox believers will not participate in their prayers,” which is entirely in keeping with the God-breathed universal canonical Tradition of the Church.

Canon 10 of the Holy Apostles reads: “If one who is not in communion prays together, even at home, let him be excommunicated,” and Canon 45: “A Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon that only prays together with heretics, should be excommunicated; if he has permitted them to perform anything as Clergymen, let him be defrocked.” Thus, we can see that His Holiness preserved his own good standing in the Church and the resilient witness of the Orthodox faith. Many later canons confirm and expound upon the norms laid down here.

For his part, the Catholic pontiff overlooked the vital dogmatic differences, insisting at his Tbilisi Papal Mass that Catholics ought never to proselytize the Orthodox, which would be “a grave sin against ecumenism,” in light of his belief that Orthodox and Catholics are brothers and sisters in the faith.

For the Orthodox, it would be precisely the notion that we must never seek to bring Catholics into the saving enclosure of the Orthodox Church that would be a sin, and a grave one at that, wholly lacking in love.

The Pope was met with respect and dignity, but not as a right-believing bishop of the true Church. He was neither invited to homilize during any Orthodox divine service, nor to bless the Orthodox faithful, nor was he seated upon any episcopal throne, nor was the liturgical Kiss of Peace exchanged—actions which would only wound the Orthodox conscience of the faithful, causing confusion and anger.

As a wise and discerning shepherd, Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II maintained a balance between respect for his guest and respect for his own flock and Church, and his own ordination, with all its ensuing responsibilities, setting an example for Orthodox-Catholic interactions, and giving voice to the Orthodox truth in his own speech at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral:

“True faith, humbleness and our traditions—these are the ancient treasures that we preserve and will continue to do so in future. We greet you again and confess that our unity is in the true faith. Only true faith and love will open the path towards our communion.”

-Jesse Dominick


Is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Orthodox?

Go here and discuss.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Hungarian Referendum on EU Refugee Quotas: "No!" in a landslide

Hungary has voted emphatically against accepting EU migrant quotas, exit polls suggest, in a cry of defiance against Brussels that is likely to cement the country’s status as the leader of a “counter-revolution” against the bloc’s central powers.

As many as 95 per cent of voters voted “No” to the quotas in Sunday’s referendum, though there were fears last night the result could be declared invalid due to a low turnout.

One opinion poll by the Nézőpont Institute put turnout at just 42%, while a Hungarian government source it was unlikely to have been higher than 45%.

The referendum was the brainchild of Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, who cast the “No” vote as being in defence of the country’s sovereignty and independence.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Pope Presses Orthodox Agenda in Georgia Despite Resistance

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Pope Francis' efforts to improve relations with the Georgian Orthodox Church suffered a setback Saturday after the patriarchate decided at the last minute not to send an official delegation to his Mass and reminded the Orthodox faithful they cannot participate in Catholic services.

Francis still pressed on with his agenda, insisting that Catholics must never try to convert Orthodox and bowing in prayer alongside the Orthodox patriarch after they both lit a candle in the Orthodox cathedral.

Francis called for the historical divisions that have "lacerated" Christianity to be healed through patience, trust and dialogue.

"We are called to be one in Jesus Christ and to avoid putting disharmony and divisions between the baptized first, because what unites us is much more than what divides us," he told Patriarch Ilia, amid the Aramaic chants and hypnotic bells tolling at the cathedral in the spiritual capital of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Saturday's developments on the second and final day of Francis' visit to Georgia reflected the "one step forward, two steps back" progress that often accompanies the Vatican's outreach to the Orthodox Church, which split from the Catholic Church [cough cough A/O] over 1,000 years ago over issues including the primacy of the pope.

Read the rest here.

Britain Prepares First Steps in BREXIT

Theresa May will on Sunday announce she will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act in a move that will formally begin the process of making Britain’s Parliament sovereign once again.

Addressing the Conservative Party Conference for the first time as leader, Mrs May will declare that her government will begin work to end the legislation that gives European Union law supremacy in Britain.

In its place, a new “Great Repeal Bill” will be introduced in Parliament as  early as next year to put power for the nation’s laws back into the hands of MPs and peers.

The announcement is Mrs May’s first firm commitment on Brexit since becoming Prime Minister in July and marks a major step on the road to ending the country’s EU membership.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Enough already!

Can I be court-martialed for urging mutiny 20 years after I got out? I loathe this president. I despise the political hacks he has put in charge of our country's military. I spit on the knaves ramming their politically correct idiocy down the throats of our servicemen and women.





And now this

To hell with you Barack Obama, you and your Communist fellow travelers!

Enough is enough!

Georgian Church reassures believers—Pope's visit not to cross into ecumenism

 In response to some strong reactions among the clergy and faithful to the Pope's upcoming visit to the country of Georgia, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, which will include meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II, the Patriarchate has released a statement aimed at reassuring those concerned.

"We note that prayerful-sacramental communion between us and the Catholic church of Rome has been severed since medieval times and as long as there are dogmatic differences between us, according to Church law, Orthodox believers do not take part in their services," the statement reads.

The release notes that Pope Francis' visit to Georgia is by invitation of President Margvelashvili and Patriarcha Ilia and aimed at strengthening multilateral relations towards peacekeeping in the region.

Referring to some excited public statements of clergy and laity, the statement calls upon all to remain calm, stating that "It is obvious that the Pope will serve Mass only for Catholics, which means it can’t be considered proselytism, as some people claim."

It should be noted that Pope John Paul II also visited Georgia in November 1999, meeting with Patriarcha Ilia, although no ecumenical prayers took place. The Georgian Church has taken a strict stance on matters of ecumenism, ceasing activity in the World Council of Churches in 1983 and abstaining from the recent pan-Orthodox gathering on Crete, offering critiques of its documents as well as the joint statement stemming from the recent Orthodox-Catholic meeting in Chieti, Italy.