Sunday, October 15, 2017

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the International Consultation on Christian Persecution

Your Holiness, Your Excellencies and Eminences, Esteemed Church and Secular Leaders,

Welcome to Budapest. Today I do not wish to talk about the persecution of Christians in Europe. The persecution of Christians in Europe operates with sophisticated and refined methods of an intellectual nature. It is undoubtedly unfair, it is discriminatory, sometimes it is even painful; but although it has negative impacts, it is tolerable. It cannot be compared to the brutal physical persecution which our Christian brothers and sisters have to endure in Africa and the Middle East. Today I’d like to say a few words about this form of persecution of Christians. We have gathered here from all over the world in order to find responses to a crisis that for too long has been concealed. We have come from different countries, yet there’s something that links us – the leaders of Christian communities and Christian politicians. We call this the responsibility of the watchman. In the Book of Ezekiel we read that if a watchman sees the enemy approaching and does not sound the alarm, the Lord will hold that watchman accountable for the deaths of those killed as a result of his inaction.

Dear Guests,

A great many times over the course of our history we Hungarians have had to fight to remain Christian and Hungarian. For centuries we fought on our homeland’s southern borders, defending the whole of Christian Europe, while in the twentieth century we were the victims of the communist dictatorship’s persecution of Christians. Here, in this room, there are some people older than me who have experienced first-hand what it means to live as a devout Christian under a despotic regime. For us, therefore, it is today a cruel, absurd joke of fate for us to be once again living our lives as members of a community under siege. For wherever we may live around the world – whether we’re Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians or Copts – we are members of a common body, and of a single, diverse and large community. Our mission is to preserve and protect this community. This responsibility requires us, first of all, to liberate public discourse about the current state of affairs from the shackles of political correctness and human rights incantations which conflate everything with everything else. We are duty-bound to use straightforward language in describing the events that are taking place around us, and to identify the dangers that threaten us. The truth always begins with the statement of facts. Today it is a fact that Christianity is the world’s most persecuted religion. It is a fact that 215 million Christians in 108 countries around the world are suffering some form of persecution. It is a fact that four out of every five people oppressed due to their religion are Christians. It is a fact that in Iraq in 2015 a Christian was killed every five minutes because of their religious belief. It is a fact that we see little coverage of these events in the international press, and it is also a fact that one needs a magnifying glass to find political statements condemning the persecution of Christians. But the world’s attention needs to be drawn to the crimes that have been committed against Christians in recent years. The world should understand that in fact today’s persecutions of Christians foreshadow global processes. The world should understand that the forced expulsion of Christian communities and the tragedies of families and children living in some parts of the Middle East and Africa have a wider significance: in fact they threaten our European values. The world should understand that what is at stake today is nothing less than the future of the European way of life, and of our identity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must call the threats we’re facing by their proper names. The greatest danger we face today is the indifferent, apathetic silence of a Europe which denies its Christian roots. However unbelievable it may seem today, the fate of Christians in the Middle East should bring home to Europe that what is happening over there may also happen to us. Europe, however, is forcefully pursuing an immigration policy which results in letting extremists, dangerous extremists, into the territory of the European Union. A group of Europe’s intellectual and political leaders wishes to create a mixed society in Europe which, within just a few generations, will utterly transform the cultural and ethnic composition of our continent – and consequently its Christian identity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We Hungarians are a Central European people; there aren’t many of us, and we do not have a great many relatives. Our influence, territory, population and army are similarly not significant. We know our place in the ranking of the world’s nations. We are a medium-sized European state, and there are countries much bigger than us which should, as a matter of course, bear a great deal more responsibility than we do. Now, however, we Hungarians are taking a proactive role. There are good reasons for this. I can see – and I know through having met them personally – how many well-intentioned truly Christian politicians there are in Europe. They are not strong enough, however: they work in coalition governments; they are at the mercy of media industries with attitudes very different from theirs; and they have insufficient political strength to act according to their convictions. While Hungary is only a medium-sized European state, it is in a different situation. This is a stable country: the political formation now in office won two-thirds majorities in two consecutive elections; the country has an economic support base which is not enormous, but is stable; and the public’s general attitude is robust. This means that we are in a position to speak up for persecuted Christians. In other words, in such a stable situation, there could be no excuse for Hungarians not taking action and not honouring the obligation rooted in their Christian faith. This is how fate and God have compelled Hungary to take the initiative, regardless of its size. We are proud that for more than a thousand years we have belonged to the great family of Christian peoples. This, too, imposes an obligation on us.

Dear Guests,

For us, Europe is a Christian continent, and this is how we want to keep it. Even though we may not be able to keep all of it Christian, at least we can do so for the segment that God has entrusted to the Hungarian people. Taking this as our starting-point, we have decided to do all we can to help our Christian brothers and sisters outside Europe who are forced to live under persecution. What is interesting about this decision is not the fact that we are seeking to help, but the way we are seeking to help. The solution we settled on has been to take the help we are providing directly to the churches of persecuted Christians. We are not using the channels established earlier, which seek to assist the persecuted as best they can within the framework of international aid. Our view is that the best way to help is to channel resources directly to the churches of persecuted communities. In our view this is how to produce the best results, this is how resources can be used to the full, and this is how there can be a guarantee that such resources are indeed channelled to those who need them. And as we are Christians, we help Christian churches and channel these resources to them. I could also say that we are doing the very opposite of what is customary in Europe today: we declare that trouble should not be brought here, but assistance must be taken to where it is needed.

Dear Friends,

Our approach is that the right thing to do is to act virtuously, rather than just talk about doing so. In this way we avoid doing good things simply in order to burnish our reputation: we avoid doing good things out of calculation, as good deeds must come from the heart, and for the glory of God. Yet now it is my duty to talk about the facts of good deeds. My justification, the reason I am telling you all this, is to prove to us all that politics in Europe is not necessarily helpless in the face of the persecution of Christians. The reason I am talking about some good deeds is that they may serve as an example for others, and may induce others to also perform good deeds. So please consider everything that I say now in this light. In 2016 we set up the Deputy State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, which – in cooperation with churches, non-governmental organisations, the UN, The Hague and the European Parliament – liaises with and provides help for persecuted Christian communities. We listen to local Christian leaders and to what they believe is most important, and then do what we have to. From them I have learnt that the most important thing we can do is provide assistance for them to return home to resettle in their native lands. We Hungarians want Syrian, Iraqi and Nigerian Christians to be able to return as soon as possible to the lands where their ancestors lived for hundreds of years. This is what we call Hungarian solidarity – or, using the words you see behind me: “Hungary helps”. This is why we decided to help rebuild their homes and churches; and thanks to Hungarian Interchurch Aid, in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon we also build community centres. We have launched a special scholarship programme for young people raised in Christian families suffering persecution, and I am pleased to welcome some of those young people here today. I am sure that after their studies in Hungary, when they return to their communities, they will be active, core members of those communities. And we are also working in cooperation with the Pázmány Péter Catholic University on the establishment of a Hungarian-founded university. The Hungarian government has provided aid of 580 million forints for the rebuilding of damaged homes in the Iraqi town of Tesqopa, as a result to which we hope that hundreds of Iraqi Christian families who now live as internal refugees may be able to return to their homes. We likewise support the activities of the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church. I should also mention something which perhaps does not sound particularly special to a foreigner, but, believe me, here in Hungary is unprecedented, and I can’t even remember the last time something like it happened: all parties in the Hungarian National Assembly united to support adoption of a resolution which condemns the persecution of Christians, supports the Government in providing help, condemns the activities of the organisation called Islamic State, and calls upon the International Criminal Court to launch proceedings in response to the persecution, oppression and murder of Christians.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we support the return of persecuted Christians to their homelands, the Hungarian people is fulfilling a mission. In addition to what the Esteemed Bishop has outlined, our Fundamental Law constitutionally declares that we Hungarians recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood. And if we recognise this for ourselves, then we also recognise it for other nations; in other words, we want Christian communities returning to Syria, Iraq and Nigeria to become forces for the preservation of their own countries, just as for us Hungarians Christianity is a force for preservation. From here I also urge Europe’s politicians to cast aside politically correct modes of speech and cast aside human rights-induced caution. And I ask them and urge them to do everything within their power for persecuted Christians.

Soli Deo gloria!

Source.

Axios!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Killed outside Cairo, Egypt

CAIRO (Morning Star News) – A Coptic Orthodox bishop from Upper Egypt was slain outside Cairo, Egypt yesterday.

The assailant struck Bishop Samaan Shehata in the head, neck and torso with a machete in the El Salam area near El Marg District on the outskirts of Cairo, according to local reports. Shehata was born in 1972.

While a security spokesman said the suspect, Ahmed Saeed Ibrahim, was mentally ill, neighbors reportedly denied this, saying he was a Muslim who had been “radicalized” a year ago. Since then, they said, Ibrahim had begun praying in the street, shouting loudly and calling Christians infidels.

The suspect walked calmly out of the warehouse after killing Shehata, according to security camera footage. Captured by people on the street and now in custody, Ibrahim had reportedly approached Shehata wielding the large knife while the bishop was waiting for another clergyman in his car.

Visiting from his Church of St. Julius Akfazi in Ezbet Girgis village, in Beni Suef Governorate, Shehata was waiting for another priest, the Rev. Beimen Moftah, when Ibrahim accosted him and attacked him, eyewitnesses told local press. Reports conflicted on whether Moftah, of the Church of the Arch Angel Malak in Ezbet Francis, Mattay village, was injured, but he did reportedly confront the assailant.

Stabbed in the neck and torso near the Virgin and Bishop Shenouda El Daeiry church, the wounded Shehata fled on foot into the warehouse, according to security camera footage obtained by El Youm el Sabe News agency, which shows the assailant following with the machete.

Police said eyewitnesses reported that the assailant had seen Shehata in his car, forcibly stopped him, ordered him out and then started to stab him in the neck and torso. Shehata fled, and the attacker followed him into the warehouse and finished his attack there with several blows to the head, they said.

Shehata’s driver, identified as Gerges Kamel, reportedly said the bishop had gotten out of the car to retrieve his cell phone at the warehouse when the assailant stopped him and stabbed him in the side, neck and skull. Kamel said the assailant used the bishop’s blood to form a cross on his forehead, according to a local newspaper.

An ambulance didn’t arrive until 90 minutes after the assault, according to Kamel, who added that the bishop was alive for half an hour after being struck and could have been saved if the ambulance had arrived timely. He denied that the suspect was mentally ill.

Read the rest here.

Memory eternal!

Bishop Athanasius Yevtich: discusses Fr. George Florovsky's "The Limits of the Church"

It will be difficult for me to duly expound on the magnitude and importance of Fr. George Florovsky, the “ecumenical first-priest”, as he was referred to by his student, bishop Daniel (Krstich).[1] Nonetheless, with great love and gratitude to God and to Fr. George, I will always remember when as a Priestmonk I served Divine Liturgy with this great father, celebrant and theologian, in a 9th C Byzantine church, in the monastery of Saint Nicodemus in Athens, which later became known in the 19th C as the “Russian Church”. Afterwards, with the providence and grace of God, I had the honor to succeed him for three years (1970-1972) at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saints Sergius in Paris, as chair of Patristics, along with Fr. Andrew Fyrilla. Before I met him, however, and got acquainted with him on a personal level, Fr. Justin Popovich spoke frequently about Fr. George Florovsky, with whom he spent years together during the German invasion in Serbia, when they would meet and discuss. Fr. Justin Popovich would call Fr. George Florovsky an “icon on the iconostasis of orthodox theology of the modern age”.

The organizers of this present colloquium asked me to speak on the subject, “Fr. George Florovsky on the Boundaries of the Church”. It concerns a very difficult subject and I will try to speak as objectively as I can, with complete respect towards Fr. George Florovsky, but with a critical approach towards the position that he formulated in his article. In previous sessions, there were already some presentations about Fr. Florovsky’s ecclesiology, which happens to be rich and multi-dimensional. His article on the “Boundaries of the Church”2, in my opinion constitutes an early phase in Fr. George Florovsky’s evolution. It was written in Paris on the feast day of Saint Sergius in 1933. It was published in English, then in Russian, and even then, in French and Serbian. There exists a translation in Greek3. Without a doubt, the article of Fr. Florovsky is written within the framework of the ecumenical movement, which also is a leading subject for his time as well as in our own. This fact is highlighted by the author himself, as he refers to an article of his, “On the Reunification of Christians”, which was published in a volume collection in 1933 in Paris, just as another older article of his, “The Problems of Christian Unification”4.

We will not [sic] continue the exhaustive analysis of this article by Fr. George Florovsky. The author briefly mentions in the text the apostolic and patristic events concerning the unity of the Church, by giving special emphasis on Saint Cyprian of Carthage. He presents and exercises criticism on the positions of Cyprian, and then goes to Saint Augustine and the practice of the Church in relation to the acceptance of heretics. Subsequently, the author refers to modern Russian theologians. Thus, on the one hand there is a mention of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and of Archbishop Hilarion (Troitsky) who considered that the charismatic boundaries of the Church coincide with the canonical. On the other hand, he refers to (Aleksey) Khomyakov and Philaret (Drozdov), the Metropolitan of Moscow, who considered that the charismatic and canonical borders of the Church did not coincide. I also remember Fr. Justin Popovich, who would say that the more correct and theologically orthodox position was held by Metropolitan Anthony and Archbishop Hilarion, that in other words, the charismatic and canonical boundaries of the Church coincide. It is interesting that in the same year, of 1933, an article was published, written by bishop Sergius (Stragorodski), the later Patriarch of Russia, which Fr. George Florovsky most likely did not have a chance to consider. These two theologians [Metropolitan Anthony and Archbishop Hilarion], although they wrote independently from each other, almost echo the same views word for word, resulting in concurring opinions on the limits of the Church. Fr. George Florovsky elicits the Greek theologians, [Christos] Androutsos and [Konstantinos] Diovouniotis, – rather old and conservative theologians, and mostly refers to them in relation to a commentary of his concerning economy of the Church. We must note that this commentary in particular was also weak. Fr. Florovsky does not proceed to analyze the great Fathers of the Church, although in approximately the same period he writes some of his greatest and famous works on Patristics, such as, “The Eastern Fathers of the 4th C”5, and “The Byzantine Fathers of the 6th- 8th Cs”.6

Read the rest here.
See also Fr. George Florovsky's actual essay here.

Many thanks to Fr. Peter Heers for posting this excellent translation.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Papal adviser: We can no longer ‘judge people’ based on moral norms

BOSTON, Massachusetts, October 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Jesuit priest and papal confidant Father Anthony Spadaro said that Pope Francis holds that the Catholic Church can no longer set down general norms that apply to entire groups of people.

Spadaro, editor of the Italian magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, made the comment today at a conference at Boston College where liberal Cardinals met with dissident theologians to discuss strategies for implementing Pope Francis’ controversial teachings on marriage and family in dioceses across the United States.

The Jesuit priest told attendees that Amoris Laetitia, the Pope's 2016 teaching on marriage and family, recognizes that people living in "irregular" family situations, such as the divorced and remarried living in adultery, "can be living in God's grace, can love and can also grow in a life of grace."

"We must conclude that the Pope realizes that one can no longer speak of an abstract category of persons and ... [a] praxis of integration in a rule that is absolutely to be followed in every instance," he said, according to a report by National Catholic Reporter.

"Since the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases, the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same," he added.

"It is no longer possible to judge people on the basis of a norm that stands above all," he concluded.

Jesuit Fr. James Keenan, a dissident theologian at Boston College and one of the main organizers of the October 5-6 event, said the conference will “fortify and further the ongoing reception of Amoris in the U.S."

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Madness of Saint Woodrow: Or, What If the United States Had Stayed out of the Great War?

On April 2, 1917, Woodrow Wilson rose before a joint session of Congress to make the case for a declaration of war on Germany. Summoning his considerable eloquence, Wilson intoned: “the right is more precious than peace,” “make the world safe for democracy,” “a universal dominion of right by a concert of free peoples,” “America is privileged to spend her blood,” and, in a conscious echo of Martin Luther, “God helping her, she can do no other.”

But the sentence that really proclaimed a global crusade was this:
Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable where the peace of the world is involved and the freedom of its peoples, and the menace to that peace and freedom lies in the existence of autocratic governments backed by organized force which is controlled wholly by their will, not by the will of their people.

The Truman Doctrine would be moderate by comparison.
During the Senate’s cursory two-day debate, William J. Stone (D-Mo.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, warned that to enter this war would be “the greatest national blunder in history.” George W. Norris (R-Neb.) rejected Wilson’s rhetoric as moral gloss obscuring financial interests, declaring: “We are putting the dollar sign on the American flag.”

The noted Independent from  Wisconsin, Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette,  rebutted the President’s arguments in a tearful address to his colleagues that lasted four hours. If, as Wilson said, Germany was waging a war against all of humanity, how come the United States was the only neutral nation to object? If, as Wilson said, this was a war to make the world safe for democracy, how come the British refused it to the peoples of Ireland, India, Egypt? If, as Wilson said, the United States meant to wage war on a militaristic government and not on the German people, how come more Germans supported their Kaiser than Americans had voted for Wilson in 1916?
Nevertheless, the Congress, which had bowed to the White House on issues of war and peace ever since 1812, did so again. To be sure, the Senate voted 82 to 6 in favor of war on April 4, and the House, two days later, approved the war resolution 373 to 50, but British Ambassador Cecil Spring-Rice cabled back to London his judgment that the Americans had gone to war “with the greatest reluctance.”[1]

Read the rest here.
HT: Fr. David

Many Years!

To the Archpriest David Thatcher on the 20th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Putin to target Russia's abortion culture

MOSCOW — On a recent windy afternoon, members of a prominent Russian religious group were busy laying out 2,000 pairs of children’s shoes in the corner of a park — each representing an abortion performed on an average day in Russia.

Fighting the elements to keep the tiny slippers and rubber boots in place, the organizers from “For Life” took to loudspeakers to reel off the reasons why Russia should make abortion illegal. Simultaneously, two men unfurled a long red-and-white banner with a quote by President Vladimir Putin, reading: “Demography is a vital issue… Either we’ll continue to exist, or we won’t.”

“If we don’t illegalize abortion, we cannot grow our population, and how can Russia retain its strength and greatness without that?” asked Maria Studenikina, an organizer from the Moscow faction of “For Life.” The group’s shoe project, called “If Only They Could Go to School,” has been staged in recent months in 40 cities across Russia. The shoes are accompanied by blackboards, cheery children’s backpacks, and squishy fetus dolls.

Russia’s anti-abortion movement has gathered momentum in recent months, as activists — usually devout members of the influential Russian Orthodox Church — have started seizing on the country’s demographic crisis as an urgent reason for banning the practice. They have also started citing Russia’s newfound commitment to a more forward-leaning posture on the global stage, from the wars in Syria and Ukraine to the diplomatic crisis over North Korea.

Both reasons seem designed to appeal to Putin, who, despite a growing alliance with the church — which critics say he uses as an extension of his administration — has yet to speak out about the abortion debate gripping the country. But he may soon be obliged to take a stand.

In August, “For Life” announced they had collected 1 million signatures in favor of banning abortion, including from Patriarch Kirill, head of Russia’s Orthodox Church and Putin’s close ally. That permits them to present their petition to the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, and then, if it gains a majority there — which seems likely — to the upper house and eventually Putin himself. The group, which says it receives no financial backing from the church, helped draft a bill two years ago that aims to remove abortions from the free national health care system; it is still being reviewed by parliament.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A quick update and reminder

I am wrapping up my visit to the 1970's and will be returning to the modern world sometime in the next couple of weeks. Mom has more or less recovered from her surgery and I am no longer needed here. Also please remember that comment moderation will remain in place until I get home. Sorry for the inconvenience but in the past there have been attempts to post inappropriate comments so as long as I'm only popping in every few days this will have to continue. Once I am home and able to monitor things more regularly comment moderation will be limited to threads that are over ten days old.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A "Filial Correction" of Pope Francis is issued

A handful of laymen, academics and brave clergy have issued a formal correction to the Pope of Rome. I am saddened that the only bishop who has signed it (thus far) is Mgr. Fellay of the SSPX. That said, it is a beginning.

Read it here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Belgian Brothers of Charity defy Vatican over euthanasia

The Belgian Brothers of Charity have defied the Pope and announced they will continue offering euthanasia at their hospitals despite being ordered to stop.

The group said in a statement that it “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation” and that they “emphatically believe” the practice is compatible with Catholic teaching.

The group also claimed the decision had “come about starting from the Christian frame of thought” and that they “always take into account the shifts and evolutions within society”.

Last month, Pope Francis approved a Vatican demand that Brothers must stop offering euthanasia by the end of August.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Irma (Updated)

I am still up north helping with mom's recovery, which is going extremely well, but I live in the southwest corner of Florida. As you can probably guess, I am keeping one eye on the Weather Channel almost continuously. Because I flew up even my car is in the potential line of fire. Of course a lot of other people are in the same boat and some have already lost everything in the Caribbean.

Kyrie eleison.

(Update: 09-11-2017 1425 EDT)
No specific word on the house yet, but everything I am reading from local news sources suggests that Fort Myers pretty much dodged a bullet. It sounds like the much feared storm surge was pretty much a no show and the wind damage locally sounds like your typical nuisance stuff... downed power lines, lots of tree limbs, some debris here and there etc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Guardian is wondering...

Why is Colin Kaepernick still unsigned?

That's not hard to answer. He engaged in political grandstanding while on the job and wearing the uniform of his employers. That's not a legally protected form of freedom of speech. If you choose to do that sort of thing, there are likely to be consequences. I know that if I did something like that I would have been sacked on the spot and quite correctly. This has nothing to do with the correctness (or lack thereof) of the message he was trying to communicate. It has to do with respect for your employers and maintaining a professional deportment when you are on the clock and wearing the company uniform. If you want to protest something, you do it on your own time and in your own clothes.

Quick update

I'm still alive. Mom's surgery went well and to my surprise, I am rather enjoying my partial vacation from the internet. With luck I will be back home towards the end of September - early October.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Long Break Ahead

We are rapidly approaching the point where I will be temporarily relocating back to the year 1975 (mentioned here). As much as I hate doing it, during this period I will have to enable comment moderation. So if you are leaving comments it could be a while before I get a chance to approve them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci’s vulgar New Yorker interview is beyond words (PG-13)

I'm not going to excerpt this but I will confirm that it is completely over the top. This isn't a presidential administration. It's a political coup d'état executed by escapees from a lunatic asylum.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Technology



It is my heart-warmed and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.
~ Mark Twain, Christmas 1890

Friday, July 21, 2017

Conservative Anglicans are close to despair. Is the CofE about to split?

As an Anglican, I used to think theological liberalism was on the wane. Not any more

Anyone with a lick of sense can see that the Church of England is in serious trouble. Congregational decline, child abuse scandals, and financially desperate cathedrals are just the most obvious symptoms of a very broad disease. As an Anglican, I have been confident that the Church would manage to turn things around in a few decades. After the most recent meeting of General Synod, however, I am no longer so confident.

On the face it, the Synod’s changes were all fairly minor. For all the fuss, the proposal to write official liturgies affirming the new gender identity of transgender people may well be ignored even by Church’s own bishops; and the changes on regulation of vestments merely rubber-stamps what already takes places across swathes of the Church.

But the most significant thing about the Synod was the manner in which it was conducted. The bishops stayed largely silent as Synod did theology by endless anecdote. The only notable episcopal contributions came from the liberal northern prelates (especially Paul Bayes of Liverpool). An outburst of anti-capitalism from the Archbishop of York provided comedy value amongst the general dour air of neo-Puritanism. The monotonous drumbeat of socialism and sexual liberalism was only broken by the ecumenical contribution of Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who warned Synod that it’s bad for PR and the soul to spend so much time talking about sex. His plea fell on deaf ears.

Leading conservative Synod members seem to have left in a state of mind verging on despair. They have suffered no major defeats, but seem confident that it’s only a matter of time. The general consensus is that the “middle third” of Synod has no more appetite for gruelling fights or media uproar, and will quietly acquiesce to liberal demands for church blessings of same-sex marriage, to be shortly followed by same-sex marriage itself.

Read the rest here.

I feel badly for Mr. Sabisky. Not so much because he is right in his despair about the future of his religious confession, but rather because he does not grasp it's current state. The CofE is, and has been for quite some time, deeply and profoundly heretical by any metric of small "o" orthodox Christianity. Arguably it is simply apostate. That he, as a self professed "conservative" Anglican, does not grasp this pretty much says all that needs to be said about how bad things have gotten there.

Monday, July 17, 2017

RIP Martin Landau

Probably best remembered for his Oscar winning performance in Edward Wood where he brilliantly played the aging Bela Lugosi and also for his role in the 1960's TV series Mission Impossible. However, I  remember him for his role in the campy 1970's sci-fi series Space 1999. At the time I was a kid  and loved the show. Ok ok. So they were a little off in predicting that people in 1999 would all be wearing two tone uni-suits and platform shoes. I've no idea what became of it, but I remember getting a giant sized play model of one the show's space eagles for Christmas one year. I bet that thing would be worth a mint today. Anyways, thanks for the memories Mr. Landau. Memory eternal.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bastille Day

For a Frenchman to celebrate the Revolution is akin to celebrating the day your mother contracted cholera. All of the great calamities of the modern world are the fruit of the Revolution. The two world wars. Social violence and class warfare. Communism and Nazism, the two most murderous ideologies in the history of the world are the bastard children of the French Revolution. The history of the French Revolution is written in blood and it is still being written. Gravilo Princip, Lenin, Mussolini, Franco (and the Spanish Republicans- two sides of the same coin), Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, any of the various Kims, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, & etc. are the spiritual heirs of Robespierre. The true symbols of modern liberalism are not liberté, égalité, fraternité, they are the guillotine and the abortion clinic.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pope Francis is behaving like a Latin American dictator – but the liberal media aren’t interested

At the end of June, Pope Francis dismissed Cardinal Gerhard Müller from his position as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) – arguably the most important position in the Catholic Church after that of the Pope himself, since the CDF is in charge of doctrine.

Müller was given no notice that the Pope was breaking from tradition by not renewing his five-year mandate – and no explanation. A few days later, on July 4, he explained what had happened in a long phone call to his friend Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of four cardinals who had challenged Francis on the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Meisner was horrified to hear the details of Müller’s humiliation. And, that night, he died in his sleep at the age of 83.

Now Müller – who has always been careful never to question the Pope – has also broken with tradition. He has spoken angrily about the way he was treated – drawing attention to the fact that a pope who never misses an opportunity to uphold workers’ rights plays by very different rules inside the Vatican.

This is what Müller told the Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse...

Read the rest here.

The Church of Modern Lunacy

I have a passing interest in the Church of England and its American variation, the Episcopal Church. An old friend is in the church so I get some first hand descriptions of what it is like to be in a dying institution. That’s the only way to describe the Episcopal Church. Attendance declines every year as old members die off and new members never materialize. Go into an Episcopal service and you can’t help but notice that most everyone is a senior. The actuarial tables are the church’s greatest enemy.

Of course, church attendance has always skewed a little older. Young people tend not to be attracted to the faith, even if their parents regularly attend services. As people get older, have families and begin to sink roots, they get more involved in their faith and attend services regularly. That’s the trouble with the mainline Protestant religions. The young are not coming back once they start having families. That means their children are not raised in the faith. As a result, these churches are now in a death spiral.

The story is familiar to anyone who has been paying attention. These churches made the decision to chase the latest social fads in the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to make themselves more appealing to the young. The only thing they did was make themselves less attractive to people interested in being part of a traditional Christian sect. It was not just in the pews, but in the clergy as well. Those feeling the call found that the church in which they were raised was not interested in defending and maintaining the faith.

The result is the clergy slowly radicalized. First came the women and then the feminist women. Soon they invited in the homosexuals and the clergy started looking like the faculty of a liberal arts college. That’s when the pews started to empty out. Why bother going to church, when you can get the same liberal lecture from television? That’s what started the decline in church attendance. Instead of offering a shelter from the storm, they decided to chase an over-served market – radical Progressives.

Read the rest here.

Shroud of Turin bears blood of torture victim according to latest research

New atomic resolution research indicates that the mysterious Shroud of Turin does in fact contain the blood of a torture victim, thus undermining theories that the shroud was painted, reports Catholic News Agency.

“On the basis of the experimental evidences of our atomic resolution TEM studies, the man wrapped in the [Shroud of Turin] suffered a strong polytrauma,” reads the conclusion of the new study. The research was carried out by the Instituo Officia dei Materiali in Trieste and the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, both under Italy’s National Research Council, as well as the University of Padua’s Department of Industrial Engineering, with the results published in the article “New Biological Evidence from Atomic Resolution Studies on the Turin Shroud” in the multidisciplinary open access, peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE. 

Read the rest here.

Russian Orthodox Church Launches New Missionary Radio Channel In North America


Of course it's only in Russian... sigh.

More here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Turkey Takes Over 50 Churches, Monasteries

Close to 50 churches and monasteries were taken over by the Turkish government in Mardin, a city located in the southeastern part of the country, reported the news outlet Agos.

The move was made during the time that the villages that comprise the city were turned into an official municipality. As per legislation that established the city, a “liquidation committee” was established to distribute institutions of the city whose legal permits had expired.

“For years, minority foundations could not acquire property in Turkey,” explained Kuryakos Ergun, the chairman of Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation. “Then legislative amendments were introduced in 2002 upon which we engaged in a number of initiatives.” We were able to have some of the title deeds registered in the name of our foundation. And for others, the legal process was ongoing.

“It was not possible for us to follow-up on all the title deeds … we are (now) filing lawsuits to the extent possible. In places where we couldn’t follow up the situation, some monasteries and other property were given to the legal entity of the village.”

In the latest move, the liquidation committee gave ownership of the village’s churches, monasteries and cemeteries to the Treasury Department, which in turn transferred ownership to the Diyanet, the Religious Affairs Ministry.

Appeals have been filed but with no success to date.

Source

Cardinal Müller; the Head of the Vatican's Doctrinal Office is Sacked by Pope Francis

Multiple sources are reporting this though I believe it was Rorate Caeli that first broke the news. He was a moderate, but in the Bergoglian Vatican he might as well have been trying to revive the Inquisition.

According to Edward Pentin at NCR (the good one) the most likely candidates for the position are Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., Secretary to the CDF, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto. If I were still Catholic, I would be trembling.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

OK I Yield

Thanks to everyone who has posted such nice things about the blog. I appreciate the kind words. Also I am not ignoring the many messages posted in the preceding thread and sent to me privately asking that I reconsider my retirement. So I have decided to stick with it for a while longer. However I must caution that my posts may be less frequent. Also starting in August I am going to be stuck in a technological black hole, possibly for a couple of months. Mom is having surgery which will require my moving in to help out for between four and eight weeks. Her house is in small sheltered valley where even cell phones don't work. She does have satellite TV and a microwave oven. But otherwise it's like stepping into the 1960's. It's a twenty minute drive to the 21st century and internet access. So posting during that time frame will be very rare.

More to follow.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thanks for the memories

I hesitate to speak or write in absolutes, but after more than eleven years, I think it likely that this will be my last post. I've been thinking about folding the tent for a couple of years now, as my heart really isn't in it anymore and the state of the world grows more depressing by the day. That and I have other interests which are increasingly taking up my time. It seems to me that this is a good stopping point. Ten + years is a good run as blogs go.

In saying au revoir I would like to thank all of my regular and occasional readers. This blog was never anywhere near being in the top tier of the Orthodox/political blogosphere but we had some good conversations. And while I did not always agree with every comment, I rarely found them unreasonable and often walked away more enlightened for them. My intention is to leave the comments open for another couple of weeks after which I will turn the lights off.

Finally, I ask forgiveness for any injury or hurt I may have caused as a result of anything I posted here.

Goodbye and God bless each of you.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

What do with Illinois?

llinois is like Venezuela now, a fiscally broken state that has lost its will to live, although for the moment, we still have enough toilet paper.

But before we run out of the essentials, let's finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people's money.

Those "other people" include taxpayers who've abandoned the state. And now Illinois faces doomsday.

So as the politicians meet in Springfield this week for another round of posturing and gesturing and blaming, we need a plan.

And here it is:

Dissolve Illinois. Decommission the state, tear up the charter, whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo, just end the whole dang thing.

We just disappear. With no pain. That's right. You heard me.

The best thing to do is to break Illinois into pieces right now. Just wipe us off the map. Cut us out of America's heartland and let neighboring states carve us up and take the best chunks for themselves.

The group that will scream the loudest is the state's political class, who did this to us, and the big bond creditors, who are whispering talk of bankruptcy and asset forfeiture to save their own skins.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The USS Fitzgerald

 -- Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia -- Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego -- Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut -- Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas -- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California -- Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland -- Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which they have committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.

Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!

Many Years!

To HM The Queen on her (official) 91st birthday.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Baseball

It's not a good sign when an article on your team includes this line...

"At least Mr. Met hasn't flipped off anybody in a couple of weeks."

Friday, June 09, 2017

Contraception and the Orthodox Church: Contemporary Theology and the Sources of Tradition

 Introduction

The early twentieth century saw the rapid growth of technologies intended to help prevent the conception of children. As these became more widely available and more broadly accepted in the culture at large, questions began to arise among Christians as to the morality of these products. The problem of contraception in turn uncovered deeper questions about the nature of love, marriage, and the conjugal act. A substantial and satisfying response to these questions is found in the Tradition of the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). By the indwelling grace of the Spirit she not only preserves the truth, entrusted by the divine Savior to his apostles and maintained throughout the centuries by the holy Fathers, but her timeless mind remains accessible in every exigency. This applies to moral as well as theological questions, for her teaching is comprised of both dogmatic definitions and ethical standards.1 Part of the ascetic struggle of faith of every Christian is to assimilate these divine truths and live them. In this regard the flock of Christ relies on its pastors for guidance and looks to educated teachers and theologians for clarification. And this is precisely what many Orthodox Christians have done in the midst of an eruption of a contraceptive culture. Laity and clergy alike have turned to synodal statements and theological literature looking for the mind of the Church on this serious issue that touches the most intimate element of the married Christian life. Yet, to their detriment, the faithful have been deprived of the gold of Tradition on this issue and have instead been handed counterfeited accommodations to modern life that fall far short of the Church’s patrimony. The Fathers of the Church, and Orthodox theologians and writers as recently as the 1960s, were unanimous in their condemnation of artificial contraception. Yet in the past several decades a growing number of authors and authorities have departed from this inheritance and put forward a novel perspective on the issue, ranging from qualified permissibility to near endorsement. Today a majority of Orthodox Christians has seemingly accepted this newer teaching, so that in less than a century the Church has witnessed the dramatic reversal of a consensus that had lasted nearly two millennia—so strong is this cultural force we call contraception. But modern apologists for contraception do not represent the mind of the Church. When they are aware of the teaching of the Fathers they either misunderstand it or dismiss it, whether in principle or in particulars. Furthermore, their treatment of the issue has generally been superficial and lacking in philosophical and theological rigor. These flaws, combined with the extreme novelty of the new morality, allow for a straightforward analysis and critique of contemporary opinions about contraception.

*This essay is indebted to Dr. Timothy Patitsas, professor of Ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well as to Mother Nectaria McLees and John Taylor Carr. I am also grateful to Fr. Maximos Constas and William Goldin for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of the paper. Since this paper was first written, the author has learned of an earlier study on the issue: Fr. John Schroedel, “Orthodox Christianity and Contraception: Perspectives on the Contemporary Discussion” (M.Div. Thesis, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 2002). The present paper obviously covers much of the same ground.

This paper is intended to expose the fallaciousness of the new morality through comparison with the fountains of truth preserved in the Church and handed on to every generation.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

British Election Upset

Nothing official... yet. But exit polls indicate the Conservative Party may lose its majority in the House of Commons leaving the country with a hung parliament. If true this would cap an epic electoral collapse, given that as recently as last month there were expectations of a Tory landslide. Also if true, Mrs. May's days a PM may be numbered as there is certain to be serious finger pointing both within the government and among backbenchers. The Prime Minister has already been under sharp criticism for running what might charitably be described as a lackluster campaign. Less than charitable descriptions have labeled it as among the worst in modern British politics.

And of course this is going to give a huge bump in credibility to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a radical leftist and known terrorist sympathizer. In a perverted sort of way that might be the best news to come out of this. If the exit polls are accurate Corbyn is likely the only reason that Labour isn't going to win the election outright. He has alienated most of his party's more moderate supporters and if he retains the leadership, which now seems extremely probable, it is unlikely that Labour will be able to win an outright majority in any general election.

Again, working on the assumption that the exit polls are accurate, the question will be whether a coalition government similar to that fashioned by Mr. Cameron can be formed or if there will be a quick call for another election. Mr. Corbyn has already pledged "no deals" in the event of a hung parliament, a pledge made perhaps rashly when it looked like there was virtually no chance of the Tories bleeping this up. The real danger is if the SNP throws its support to Labour. Depending on the final composition of the Commons, it is not completely beyond the realm of possibility that Corbyn could end up in No. 10. But we shall see.

For now, expect chaos. Even if the Tories manage to hang on to a narrow majority I expect that the long knives will be coming out for Mrs. May and her job security is now very weak.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Those who reject transgenderism banned from adoption, working with children in Illinois

June 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has instituted sweeping changes to its policies and procedures in caring for children who experience gender dysphoria that essentially weed out all employees and volunteers who cannot in good conscience support and promote transgender ideology.   
Illinois now "requires that all LGBTQ children and youth be placed in an affirming safe housing, receive LGBTQ competent medical and mental health services, and have equal opportunity and access to care."

However, in order to assure consistent achievement of that goal, the new policy requires "any person who is involved with DCFS children/youth will complete mandatory training in LGBTQ competency." This will be an integral part of DCFS core training and will be a requirement to attaining a child-welfare license.  

Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

RIP: Zbigniew Brzezinski

A fierce anti-Communist in an administration that could never quite bring itself to see Communism as truly evil. Memory eternal.

P.S. I'd like to buy a vowel.

The Church of Scotland Formally Apostatizes

Details.

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Traveling

I will be on the road and out of town for the next week at least (see previous post). Expect little or no blogging until I get back.

Memory Eternal

My uncle Tom was a man with a great joie de vivre, characterized by a fondness for good food and drink (scotch whiskey single malt), gambling, an often irreverent sense of humor and social/political opinions that put him slightly to the right of Archie Bunker. When I was eleven on a family camping trip he pulled out a deck of cards and told me it was time I learned to play poker and acey duecy. I think I still owe him ten thousand or thereabouts. He met my aunt Cathy while working as a bouncer in a West Endicott bar that had a reputation as... well let's just say that calling it a dive would be giving it a dignity it did not deserve. Their long and happy marriage produced two great kids and a few grandchildren. He passed suddenly yesterday while on the golf course having fun with his friends.

May his memory be eternal!

P.S. He never tried to collect the ten grand. What a guy.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Relic from the Golden Age of Hollywood



The 1951 Cadillac Series 75 formal limousine (coachwork by Delmar) of the late Hollywood costume designer Edith Head. Over the course of her career she won eight(!) Academy Awards for costume design beginning in 1949 with The Heiress and ending in 1973 with The Sting (a personal favorite).

Is Humanae Vitae under threat?

In a recent missive Dr. Robert Moynihan notes that several sources that are usually well informed about the goings on within the Vatican believe that Pope Francis has appointed a secret committee to review Paul VI's famous and controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae. Adding fuel to this speculation is that the Vatican, given the opportunity to deny these reports, pointedly declined to do so. Hmm...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump

This administration is about one serious revelation away from a full blown crisis. If they (and in particular the President) can't get themselves under control this is not going to end well. The alarm is no longer confined to the lunatic left. Questions about basic competency and integrity are starting to be raised across the political spectrum. With a credible allegation that the President may have tried to interfere in an ongoing FBI investigation, the only reasonable recourse is to appoint an independent counsel. Assuming there is nothing to hide, this would  give the administration a chance to get back on an even keel and lower the political temperature a couple degrees by removing the various investigations from closely divided and highly partisan congressional committees.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Apostolic Succession

“Apostolic Succession is not merely a historical pedigree, but also requires Apostolic Faith. This is because Apostolic Succession is not the private possession of a bishop, but is the attribute of a local Church. A bishop who goes in schism or is cast out of office due to heresy does not take his Apostolic Succession with him as a private possession.”

-Fr. John Morris (AOANA)
From here. Via here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quote of the day...

"Fearing no insult, asking for no crown, receive with indifference both flattery and slander, and do not argue with a fool." - Aleksandr Pushkin

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Patriarch Kirill could visit US in near future

In Washington, DC for the May 10-13 World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, convened by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, told TASS on Thursday that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill could visit America sometime in the near future. 

“I really think the patriarch’s visit to the US is somewhere on the horizon,” the metropolitan stated, noting that the primate has already visited all of the autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches except for the Orthodox Church in America, currently under the leadership of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon. Such a trip would be Patriarch Kirill’s first to America, and would be especially noteworthy as it was the Moscow Patriarchate that granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970. 

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Anglican Holy Orders may not be invalid

Sigh. There is so much disturbing news coming out of Rome these days that I am consciously trying to ignore most of it. But I do think this is significant.

As I was saying...

Monday's post appears to have been remarkably prescient. A few quick observations. No, this is not Watergate v2.0. Most of the hysteria (and that's what it is) is being manufactured by the usual suspects, i.e. the Democrats and their mouthpieces in the msm. Nothing illegal was done here and if the truth is to be told bluntly, Comey was not up to the job. Further, until approximately 24hrs ago his name was an epithet among rank and file Democrats.

That said, this was politically stupid and yet further evidence that Trump is in way over his head. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he is utterly clueless about how Washington works and is ignorant of things that any graduate of an 11th grade US History/Civics class would be expected to know. That's bad enough. But where the hell is his staff? Is there no one who could explain how these things are handled? Namely you send a friend of a friend with a discreet and strictly verbal message to Comey giving them a polite tip that the President is not thrilled with their job performance and it would be best if they wrapped up their ongoing investigations as soon as practicable and consider an early retirement "for family reasons" sometime after the new year. If they don't take the hint then they can still be dismissed, but ONLY after the Russian investigation is resolved or shown to be going nowhere.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Trump's rough start is probably only going to get worse

There is a longish piece in the New Yorker discussing the Donald's problems and where they might lead, including quite possibly an early termination of his presidency. Some of the speculation is silly, including the idea that Congress might declare him mentally unfit under the 25th amendment.

But a lot of this is serious. Trump has deliberately chosen to walk into a legal minefield with his decision not to put his vast business empire into a blind trust. The number of lawsuits are already piling up and it is only a matter of time before he is compelled to answer questions under oath. For a man of his temperament and history of playing fast and loose with facts, that could be a moment of extreme peril.

His campaign is under investigation for potential collusion with a hostile foreign power. His former, and very short lived National Security Advisor could be facing a criminal indictment. And he has already stated he is prepared to give testimony if granted immunity. It seems unlikely that Flynn has any dirt on the president. If he did I suspect the FBI would have already given him immunity. But he could inflict incalculable damage on an administration that is already in disarray.

Whatever his support among a core group of people, his overall popularity is hovering around 40% and it's unlikely that he has anything even close to that degree of committed support in either house of Congress. That level of public support, or rather hostility, can be politically crippling.

Anyways, while it is far from perfect, the article is a good read and does demonstrate that Donald Trump is facing challenges that put him in an historical class of one.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Prince Philip Announces Retirement at 95

H.R.H. Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh has announced he is stepping back and will no longer perform any royal functions beginning in the fall. The prince is 95 and while generally believed to be in good overall health for a man of his age, he is still er... a man of his age.

Reporter: "What are the most important rules for being a successful prince consort?"

Prince Philip: "Always wear comfortable shoes and never pass a chance to step into the loo as you never know when your next one will come along."

Many (more) years!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Puerto Rico Seeks de-facto Bankruptcy Protection Under New Law

...Puerto Rico has roughly $120 billion of bond debt and unfunded pension obligations to restructure, which dwarfs the second-largest similar episode. When Detroit went bankrupt in 2013, it set the previous record, with about $18 billion of bond debt and retirement obligations.

The island’s case will not be formally called a bankruptcy, since Puerto Rico is barred from using Chapter 9, the bankruptcy route normally used by insolvent local governments. Instead, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, petitioned for relief under Title III of a new federal law for insolvent territorial governments, called Promesa. It contains some bankruptcy provisions and has never been used before, so there is no road map to follow.

Read the rest here.

This is going to send shock waves through the bond market, and that may be a good thing. Too many people have been placing too much confidence in paper I.O.U's. The basic law of economics still applies. If a debtor doesn't have the money to pay you back, it doesn't matter how many legal papers you wave under their nose, you're still not getting your money back.

People buying bonds issued by Greece, New Jersey, Illinois, the city of Chicago and a few other entities take note.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Quote of the day...


"It is more or less incontestable that the artistic production of mediaeval and renaissance Florence, with a population a seventh of contemporary Akron, Ohio, or a quarter of that of the Croydon, was of greater value than the whole of the western world, with a population 7000 times greater at the least, for the last seventy years."

-Theodore Dalrymple

Timothy Stanley: Trump is right about media bias

Two parties, two different Americas. On Saturday night, the press gathered for the annual White House correspondents' dinner in Washington where, traditionally, they would roast the president. But this year the punchline was in Pennsylvania, at a rally President Trump held to celebrate his first 100 days in office.

"I could not possibly be more thrilled," said Trump, "than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with ... much better people."

Thus are the battle lines drawn: the press vs. the president, liberal vs. conservative, Washington vs. the rest of the country.
It sounds compelling, but it's actually absurd. The press is not the white knight of democracy. The president is not the people's champion.

Let's start with the press. Trump is right: The correspondents' dinner is awful. It's an evening of self-congratulation, bad jokes and political bias, where Democrats go to get praised and Republicans to be lampooned. It was at this dinner where President Obama and "SNL's" Seth Myers famously roasted Trump in 2011. A few years later, the joke turned out to be on them.
What is the press? It's conservative, moderate, liberal; as objective as possible but sometimes not; struggling to survive in the age of the Internet.

Hard to define, in other words -- and yet in recent years it has developed a sense of itself, as if it had some unifying political purpose. Choosing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the men who exposed the Watergate scandal that toppled Richard Nixon, to address the correspondents' dinner sent a clear message: the press is not only here to hold presidents to account but to bring them down.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

After hard-left turn, Britain’s Labour Party on course for historic defeat

 LONDON — In 2015, Britain’s Labour Party tacked to the left, repudiating the middle-way philosophy that had won it three elections under Tony Blair. Voters responded by handing the party its worst defeat in three decades.

Rather than scramble back toward the center, Labour lurched further left. The party elected as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, a white-bearded baby boomer from the back benches who, like Bernie Sanders in the United States, ignited an improbable movement among young activists with his attacks on the rigged capitalist system and unquestioned fidelity to socialist ideals.

Now, with less than six weeks to go before Britain votes once more, the Corbyn-led Labour Party is on course for an electoral beatdown so broad and deep it would make the drubbing the party took in 2015 look like a triumph.

The ruling Conservative Party has a double-digit lead over Labour in pre-election polls, and Prime Minister Theresa May stands to win a parliamentary majority that would have been the envy of Margaret Thatcher.

The grim outlook for Labour has prompted insiders to preemptively concede defeat; one former party leader has despaired that at 75, he’s unlikely to see another Labour prime minister in his lifetime. There’s even a chance that the party could fall apart altogether.

Read the rest here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Queen to dress down for State Opening of Parliament

The Queen will undertake a dressed-down State Opening of Parliament for the first time in more than 40 years, as ceremonial plans suffer major disruption because of the general election.

The Queen will not wear her Imperial State Crown or robes for this year’s State Opening, with the annual service of the Order of the Garter also cancelled for the first time since 1984.

The changes to the Royal schedule, announced by Buckingham Palace today, will see the State Opening of Parliament take place on June 19, with the Order of the Garter service previously in the diary for the same day now cancelled.
 
Some observers were quick to note that the timing would allow the Queen to attend Royal Ascot, which runs from June 20th to 24th.

Sources said the 19th was the first suitable date after the election, with a quick turnaround of 11 days agreed to maintain continuity.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Portland rose parade canceled after ‘antifascists’ threaten GOP marchers

For 10 years, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association has kicked off the city of Portland’s annual Rose Festival with a family-friendly parade meant to attract crowds to its diverse neighborhood.

Set to march in the parade’s 67th spot this year was the Multnomah County Republican Party, a fact that so outraged two self-described antifascist groups in the deep blue Oregon city that they pledged to protest and disrupt the April 29 event.

Then came an anonymous and ominous email, according to parade organizers, that instructed them to cancel the GOP group’s registration — or else.

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, referring to the violent riots that hit Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. “This is nonnegotiable.”

The email said that 200 people would “rush into the parade” and “drag and push” those marching with the Republican Party.

“We will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward LGBT, immigrants, people of color or others,” it said.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In case you haven't read a good old fashioned anti-Orthodox screed lately... (updated)

One of the biggest complaints against Pulpit & Pen we get consistently is that we somehow don’t “have all our facts,” or are “misrepresenting” someone or something. I received countless emails claiming that I “misrepresented” Greek Orthodoxy in my recent posts regarding Hank Hanegraaff and that I should do more research. Well, what better way to research than to go straight to the source in person? Saturday, April 15, known as Holy Saturday in the Orthodox tradition, I along with a couple of friends went to visit St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC–the church that Hanegraaff was recently chrismated in. The service began at 11:30 pm, and was still going strong showing no signs of slowing down when we decided to leave at around 2:00 am. While we hoped to have the opportunity to confront Hanegraaff in person, being that we all had to get up early the next morning to worship the living God on Easter morning, we decided to call it a night early. However, there are quite a few things that we can take away from this experience in this church.
1.) I have sat through many Catholic masses. I was married in a Catholic church, and I can definitely say I’ve “been there done that.” But I’ve never sat through anything so long and tedious as the Greek Orthodox mass. Perhaps being a special Saturday night “resurrection service,” this wasn’t the norm, but it was excruciatingly long. 2 1/2 hours in and no sign of slowing down.
2.) The cliche, “bells and smells” is actually a true reality. The burning of incense and ringing of bells was a noxious combination. It reminded me of being in a college dorm smoking weed and blowing the smoke through toilet paper rolls stuffed with dryer sheets.
3.) The liturgy was vain and repetitious. Literally, the same ritualistic prayers and chanting were sung over and over. Every prayer included an invocation of Mary and the Saints.
4.) While there was actually quite a bit of Scripture reading, there was absolutely no teaching. In fact, the vast majority of Scripture reading was sung in the eerie Byzantine chant. You’d really have to pay attention and try to listen really hard to even understand what they were reading or reciting.

Read the rest here if you must.

It's been a really long time since I have read such ignorant tripe. I don't know what denomination this man affiliates with but if their idea of "Christian behavior" is going to another church for their Easter service for the purpose of trashing it and "confronting" one of its new members, you may color me unimpressed. 

Update: And now there is this "apology" from JD Hall.  Be sure to put down your coffee before reading this.

HT: Bill Tighe

Friday, April 21, 2017

Damian Thompson: Francis will retire- but only after appointing enough liberal cardinals

Allies of Pope Francis are saying that he’s planning to follow the example of Benedict XVI and retire. But he’ll only do so once he’s appointed enough liberal cardinals to make sure that the next conclave doesn’t elected a conservative who will interpret Catholic doctrine more strictly than he does.

This, at least, is what allies of the Pope have been telling colleagues – claiming that they’ve heard it from the pontiff himself. (Francis himself is a notorious chatterbox and so are some of the cardinals close to him.)

The Pope, now 80, apparently wants to hold three more consistories at which he will bestow the red hat on bishops who share his vision of reform (whatever that may be: the details are still sketchy, four years in).

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Met. Seraphim of Piraeus calls on Turkish President to abandon false religion of Islam and convert to Christianity

The staunchly traditional and outspoken Greek hierarch Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus has written an open letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which, among other things, he calls upon him to turn from the false religion of Islam and accept “Christ the Savior and Redeemer of the world,” even advising him who to take as his godfather, reports AgionOros.ru.

Beginning with an analysis of the crisis situation in the Middle East, the metropolitan writes that good relations between Turkey and Russia are “very important,” and stresses that they are what allows Turkish authorities to speak equally with the US and the European Union.

The prelate goes on to express his confidence that in the case of Turkey’s failed attempt to join the EU, the president has already for many years been preparing “Plan B”—the recreation of the bygone glory of the Ottoman Empire.

“Every state would like to have a political leader who respects and confesses the religion of the majority of its people,” Met. Seraphim stressed, calling Erdoğan the destroyer of Kemal Atatürk’s secularized Turkey, and the restorer of Islam in Turkey.

However, the choice of Islam as a consolidating factor is, in the Greek bishop’s view, of course a mistake.

The metropolitan then goes on to offer in his letter a number of historical and theological examples demonstrating the “fallacy of the Islamic religion,” arguing that “it is based on a number of illusions.”

As a conclusion to the many-paged religious and theological study, the hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church calls upon the Turkish president to denounce his “demagogic false religion,” and “for the sake of true benefit to [him]self and [his] family and [his] people… to repent, reject [his] delusions, and believe in the God-Man Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.” He advises him to undergo catechism and accept Orthodox Baptism, further advising him to “ask [his] current ally, the president of Russia Vladimir Putin to become [his] godfather, and the Patriarch of Constantinople himself to celebrate the Mystery.”

Source.

Christ is risen!

Wishing all a blessed feast!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

If the Titanic Sank Today




For the record...

Noted evangelical Hank Hanegraaf, aka "the Bible answers man," along with his wife and two of his twelve(!) children were received into the Church on Palm Sunday. Predictably the blogosphere has lit up with commentary on this event. And also predictably, much of that commentary has ranged from highly critical to scathing.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
-Mark 13:13

Many years!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Turkish President Erdoğan to read Muslim prayers in Agia Sophia on Great and Holy Friday

President Erdoğan of Turkey has announced that he will read Muslim prayers in Agia Sophia in Constantinople on April 14, Holy Friday, one of the holiest days of the year for the Christian faith—a move that has provoked the Greek and broader Orthodox world. 

Furthermore, he has claimed that Kemal Ataturk’s order to transform Agia Sophia from a mosque into a museum is a fake, reports AgionOros.ru

The Agia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom) church is one of the greatest and most important churches for Orthodox Christians, serving as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople from the time of its construction in 537 by Emperor St. Justinian, until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. Under the Ottomans it was converted into a mosque until 1931, being secularized and opened as a museum on February 1, 1935. The church is considered the apex of Byzantine architecture, and is home to many of the most famous mosaics in Christendom. 

Erdoğan is not the first to claim that the order to turn the building into a museum is a fake. Turkish historian and author Mustafa Armaga has also claimed that Ataturk’s signature under the act is a forgery, claiming the mosque became a museum due to “American machinations,” with American diplomats putting pressure on Turkish authorities. 

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold Muslim prayer on Friday, the eve of April 16, in Agia Sophia, together with all the government and leading officials,” stated a source within the Turkish government. The source also told Turkish media that the prayers “will be a performance against the Crusades,” and a symbolic act of transforming the museum back into a mosque...

Source

An unbelievable and obviously calculated provocation.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

100 Years Ago- The United States Declared War on the German Empire

One hundred years ago today, Congress voted to enter what was then the largest and bloodiest war in history. Four days earlier, President Woodrow Wilson had sought to unite a sharply divided populace with a stirring claim that the nation “is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured.” The war lasted only another year and a half, but in that time, an astounding 117,000 American soldiers were killed and 202,000 wounded.

Still, most Americans know little about why the United States fought in World War I, or why it mattered. The “Great War” that tore apart Europe and the Middle East and took the lives of over 17 million people worldwide lacks the high drama and moral gravity of the Civil War and World War II, in which the very survival of the nation seemed at stake.

World War I is less easy to explain. America intervened nearly three years after it began, and the “doughboys,” as our troops were called, engaged in serious combat for only a few months. More Americans in uniform died away from the battlefield — thousands from the Spanish flu — than with weapons in hand. After victory was achieved, Wilson’s audacious hope of making a peace that would advance democracy and national self-determination blew up in his face when the Senate refused to ratify the treaty he had signed at the Palace of Versailles.

But attention should be paid. America’s decision to join the Allies was a turning point in world history. It altered the fortunes of the war and the course of the 20th century — and not necessarily for the better. Its entry most likely foreclosed the possibility of a negotiated peace among belligerent powers that were exhausted from years mired in trench warfare.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

For the SSPX Bishop Williamson is like a bad cold that you just can't get rid of

A British Catholic priest who has been excommunicated twice by different popes is allegedly harbouring clergy accused of sexual abuse in his renegade religious order.

Richard Williamson, who was illicitly ordained as a bishop in 1988 by an ultra-conservative group, the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), and later convicted of Holocaust denial by a German court, is now head of the “SSPX Resistance”, based in Broadstairs, Kent.

Two Catholic SSPX priests who have been accused of sexual abuse have found a refuge in Williamson’s breakaway movement, according to an investigative documentary to be aired on Swedish television on Wednesday.

The Golden Jail, made by Ali Fegan, a Swedish journalist whose interview with Williamson about his Holocaust denial was broadcast in 2009, claims that the SSPX protected priests and failed to report claims of abuse to the police or civil authorities. Internal canonical trials of two men – one French, one English – were allegedly conducted with Vatican approval.

The English priest, referred to as Father S, left the SSPX before the conclusion of the trial to join the SSPX Resistance in 2014, going to live in Broadstairs. He declined to speak to the documentary team.

The French priest, Father P, was found guilty and banned from working with children. He joined the SSPX Resistance, and was filmed celebrating mass at a church in Bordeaux last November. He also refused to discuss allegations against him with the TV journalists.

Williamson’s movement, also known as Respice Stellam, describes itself as “a group of traditional Catholics who wish to practise their faith without compromise to liberalism or modernism”. It says reforms over recent decades have “contributed and are still contributing to the destruction of the church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the abolition of the sacrifice of the mass and of the sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life.”

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Former Queen's Chaplain Gavin Ashenden quits 'liberal' Church of England

A former Queen's chaplain has quit as a Church of England priest after a long-running objection to what he saw as the liberalising trend of the CofE.

Canon Gavin Ashenden made the unusual move of resigning his orders on Friday, Christian Today can reveal, leaving more than 35 years of ordained ministry.
 
Gavin Ashenden used to present the BBC's weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme and was a member of general synod for 20 years.
 
An ardent conservative on both sexuality and women priests, Rev Ashenden confirmed to Christian Today he had signed the 'deed of relinquishment' under the Clerical Disabilities Act 1870. This starts a six-month interim period before he officially leaves the Church.

He declined to comment on the move until his six-month waiting time is up.

It comes after the long-standing critic of the Church left his post as Queen's chaplain in January following a row over a Quran reading in Glasgow Cathedral. The Shropshire-based priest criticised the decision by Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, for inviting a reading from the Islamic holy book at the Epiphany service on January 6.

Read the rest here.