Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ray Dalio: Paradigm Shifts

This is a longish read and may be somewhat dry for those not interested in economics and or investing. However, I believe it worth the time.

Read it here.

Quote of the day...

An elderly Chicago lady recently claimed, “If Jesus Christ were alive today, he would be ordaining women.”

To which I replied, “Jesus Christ is alive today, and he is not doing it.”

-Fr. Pat Reardon (via email)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Definitive Response to the “Female Priests” Issue

Even though I am an Orthodox Christian and not a Roman Catholic, I was very disappointed when I read Meg Catanzarita’s assertion that Jesus Christ would desire there to be “women priests.” I believe that, through the Holy Apostles, Jesus Christ had the entirety of the Christian faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). So, I too “cannot ’not’ respond.”

Her boasting of being educated in Catholic institutions from grade school to college does not prove her point. We have countless clergyman and scholars with far more impressive pedigrees that disagree with her. That does not make them right either. We can all enlist people with “educations” in support of “our” side, but this does not get to the heart of the matter: “What would Jesus do?,” as she asks.

Thankfully, we know what Jesus would do, because He is God and still speaks to us today in the Scriptures and the Church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16). These Scriptures tell us that Church leaders must be able to hold “fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9). So, whatever the “correct” answer to the “women priests” question is, we cannot have one answer this year and another answer the next.

So, what is the answer? The Scriptures contain not a single example of a female priest. Instead, Saint Paul teaches that, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” within the Church (1 Tim 2:12). Whenever he gives requirements for priests and bishops, he is explicit that they must be men (1 Tim 3:1-2 and Tit 1:6-7). We know we are not misunderstanding Paul, because the entire ancient Church until recent times has always taught this, starting with Saint Clement of Rome. He is the Church’s third Pope and we still have a letter of his that reaffirms a male priesthood.

Those with novel new ideas like Catanzarita would have been condemned by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. He did not say vainly, “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8).

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Plan Is Almost Done ...

...And bondholders are going to get screwed.

For the benefit of those w/o a subscription here is a summary of where things look to be heading.

* Pensioners are being treated as having first claim on the territory's resources, ahead of bond holders. This appears to contradict PR's constitution and laws.
* Under the current proposals, 61 percent of the retirees would keep receiving their full pensions and none will receive less than 91.5%.
* Bond holders will receive no more than 64 cents on the dollar. Many will receive less.
* The board intends to declare bonds sold in 2012 and 2014 unconstitutional and effectively null and void.
* Bonds issued before 2012 will be honored at 64 cents on the dollar.
* Those issued in 2012 would be offered only 45 cents on the dollar. And those issued in 2014 only 35 cents on the dollar in a take it, or leave it and get nothing settlement offer.
* Lawsuits are expected to challenge the basis for the settlement. But many bondholders are expected to take what they can, given that the recent Detroit bankruptcy essentially followed the same pattern of putting pensions ahead of bondholders.

Thoughts: If this goes through and survives the court challenges it's going to send a signal that municipal bonds are nowhere near as safe as hitherto believed. It will almost certainly encourage states in serious fiscal trouble like Illinois to try the same thing. And my guess is the bond market is going to have to recalibrate it's risk reward ratio for municipal bonds. All of which means that municipal bonds at all but the highest credit ratings, could take a hit in their market valuation. And that hit will also be felt by those seeking to borrow money who are suddenly going to find that their legal guarantees are being viewed with skepticism by potential lenders demanding higher yields for their paper.

Thank you

I deeply appreciate the messages of condolence posted on the blog and sent privately. As the period of mourning winds down I will be resuming blogging.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Memory Eternal!

My step sister Jan died this afternoon following a brief illness. There will be no blogging before the second half of July.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Prayers please

My step sister Jan was recently diagnosed with a grave illness. Over the weekend she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Her condition has been deteriorating rapidly. Jan is a Roman Catholic by conversion. Your prayers are deeply appreciated.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Roy Moore wants to run again for the US Senate

The ONLY man in the entire state of Alabama who could lose a Senate seat to a pro-abortion Democrat is looking for a re-match. I am pretty sure that the only people hoping Roy will throw his hat in the ring are every Democrat in the entire country and the full run of late night television comedians. Did I just repeat myself?  Even Don Jr. (not the brightest bulb on the tree) thinks it's time for Roy to "ride off into the sunset."


Morgan Stanley says economy is on ‘recession watch’ as bond market flashes warning

Wouldn't be surprised. After roughly nine years of economic expansion and the longest running bull market for which we have records... we are due. That said, the future is not predictable. And if we do in fact go into a recession, it may not be as extreme as the 2007-09 one. Still, for those who are worried about their investments, the best advice is to remain diversified across multiple asset classes, index where possible and be wary of over-weighting specific investments or asset classes. Given the crazy run up in stock prices over the last decade, I'd take a deep breath if my portfolio was stock heavy and consider rebalancing into more conservative assets.


Fearing Supreme Court Loss, New York Tries to Make Gun Case Vanish

WASHINGTON — A couple of weeks ago, the New York Police Department held an unusual public hearing. Its purpose was to make a Supreme Court case disappear.

In January, the court agreed to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a New York City gun regulation. The city, fearing a loss that would endanger gun control laws across the nation, responded by moving to change the regulation. The idea was to make the case moot.

The move required seeking comments from the public, in writing and at the hearing. Gun rights advocates were not happy.

“This law should not be changed,” Hallet Bruestle wrote in a comment submitted before the hearing. “Not because it is a good law; it is blatantly unconstitutional. No, it should not be changed since this is a clear tactic to try to moot the Scotus case that is specifically looking into this law.”

David Enlow made a similar point. “This is a very transparent attempt,” he wrote, “to move the goal post in the recent Supreme Court case.”

The regulation allows residents with so-called premises licenses to take their guns to one of seven shooting ranges in the city. But it prohibits them from taking their guns to second homes and shooting ranges outside the city, even when the guns are unloaded and locked in containers separate from ammunition.

The city’s proposed changes, likely to take effect in a month or so, would remove those restrictions. Whether they would also end the case is another matter.

Until the Supreme Court agreed to hear the dispute, the city had defended the regulation vigorously and successfully, winning in two lower courts. In inviting public comments on the proposed changes, the Police Department said it continued to believe the regulation “furthers an important public-safety interest.”

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Liberal UMC Leaders: “We Cannot Affiliate” With Traditionalist United Methodists!

In a remarkably quick turn from the recent “unity, unity” rhetoric, a notable group of liberal United Methodists leaders, from Alaska to Florida to Germany, has declared in no uncertain terms that they “cannot” remain in the same church with Christians who support the traditional standards of the United Methodist Book of Discipline. And they are apparently not sure whether or not they can continue to tolerate the presence of Methodists who have not yet settled what they believe about matters related to homosexuality and transgenderism.

Read the rest here.

Francis urges Chinese Catholics to submit to state church (updated)

The Red Pope strikes again.

(Update) And then there is this. I am not a fan of Breitbart at all, but in this case I think they have done a much better job of noting the relevant message here than the mainstream press/media. Which once again, is studiously ignoring those occasions when the pope sounds like either a Unitarian Universalist, or just a babbling idiot.

Report: Greek Church released Archimandrite Epiphanius to schismatic Ukrainian Church

No official confirmation from the Greek church, but if true this would be a serious development. Allowing your clergy to be consecrated a bishop by another "church" would certainly be seen as a specie of formal recognition of that entity. To date no canonical Orthodox church, excepting the EP, has recognized the schismatic OCU.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

NPR Memo Instructs Writers How to Frame Abortion Debate

After reading a “guidance reminder” posted last week by NPR, it’s become even more obvious why those in favor of abortion and those opposed to it are increasingly at odds with one another.

Mark Memmott, supervising senior editor of standards and practices for NPR, put together the guide after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed into law the most stringently pro-life legislation in the country and not long after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill into law barring abortion after a heartbeat is detectable, which usually occurs around six weeks into pregnancy.

The style guide makes one thing abundantly, painstakingly clear: NPR writers are to go out of their way to make sure it never, ever sounds like the collection of cells inside a mother’s womb is a human life.

Perhaps the most absurd — and absurdly bias — rule in the NPR manual is the injunction against the word “unborn,” which journalists are to avoid like the plague, according to Memmott, because it “implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman.”

“They’re fetuses,” he lectured. “Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.” (Just FYI: Even the Mayo Clinic refers to fetuses who have, according to Memmott, not yet turned into humans as babies.)

The moratorium on the sinister words can only be lifted “when referring to the title of the bill.” The fact he used the word “strategy” only to refer to those opposed to abortion should be telling, as if there’s a clandestine plan by pro-lifers, but those who support abortion are just trying to protect some inalienable right.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fr. Theodore Zisis on the Greek Church and the Situation in Ukraine

 For the first time, the Constantinople Church has found itself isolated from the other autocephalous Churches, due to its anti-canonical and anti-conciliar actions in granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics.

Thus, it itself has placed under doubt its accepted coordinating role as a unifying factor and driven its hitherto proven and effective ecclesiastical politics into complete failure. It all began with the incomplete, truncated representation of the Body of Christ at the pseudo-council in Kolymvari, Crete.

In our previous articles we noted the unavoidable danger arising for the Grecophone leaders of many Local Churches (Alexandrian, Jerusalem, Cypriot, Greek, and Albanian) of falling into the temptation of following ethnophytelistic criteria, supporting the Greek first-throne Church. This would in fact mean falling into the heresy of ethnophyletism, which was condemned by the Local Synod of Constantinople in 1872 due to the Bulgarian ethnophyletistic demands of the time.

Unfortunately, such criteria dominate amongst a significant part of the Grecophone clergy, theologians, and specialists in canon law who place patriotism and ethnic origins higher than the national integration of all Orthodox into one body of the Church of Christ, Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11).1

Thus, it is clear as God’s day that the Constantinople Church’s interference in the Russian Orthodox Church’s jurisdictional territory, to which the Ukrainian Church has belonged for over three centuries since 1686 with total and uncontested recognition by all the Local Churches and even the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself (as scholarly research into the historical and sacred canonical aspect demonstrates), is anti-canonical.2 However, despite this fact, today we have a planned attempt by researchers to present a different picture that favors the supposedly existing jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch over the territory of Ukraine, and what is worse, a jurisdiction that supposedly allows it to independently grant autocephaly without the agreement of the entire body of the Church, expressed in a conciliar and pan-Orthodox manner.

This newly-proclaimed ecclesiology is trying to represent the Ecumenical Patriarch not as the “first among equals” (primus inter pares)—and thus expressing and accepting decisions on a par with others—but as the “first without equal” (primus sine paribus), ruling in the papal-monarchical manner. Its apotheosis is the Ecumenical Patriarch’s completely self-willed “restoration” of the Ukrainian schismatics without meeting the conditions stipulated by the sacred canons, namely public expression of repentance and their re-ordination or re-consecration.

In the case of the Ukrainian schismatics, even worse and unthinkable from the ecclesiological and pastoral point of view is that they are not returning to the bosom of the canonical Church that has existed for centuries, which is led by Metropolitan Onuphry, and from which they broke off. But Patriarch Bartholomew has instead created a parallel jurisdiction on the same territory and a new synod, and thus has become the initiator of a schism with painful consequences not only for Ukraine, but also for Universal Orthodoxy.

Read the rest here.


Kremlin Is Spending $43M to Renovate Imperial Mansion for Orthodox Patriarch, Media Reports

Friday, May 17, 2019

Disturbing reports from the Ecumenical Patriarchate

There have been rumors for years in the GOA (and the OCA). Unfortunately the attachment of some prominent clergy to certain vices, one in particular, now seems to have become the subject of open discussion and scandal within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

HT: Dr. Tighe

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jad Ganem reflects on Constantinople's appointment of the new Greek primate in N. America

This past Saturday, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople elected Metropolitan Elpidophoros of Bursa, abbot of the Monastery of Chalki, as archbishop of Constantinople's Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in America. This comes after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios, who had been elected to the position almost twenty years ago to succeed Archbishop Spiridon, who had been imposed on this archdiocese by Constantinople after the resignation of Archbishop Iakovos, and who resigned after disagreements and a crisis of trust between him and members of this archdiocese.

Metropolitan Elpidophoros' election confirms the information circulated by sources close to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in recent years, which indicated His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew's desire to see this metropolitan at the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople's largest and richest diocese.

What was noteworthy in this election, however, is the Synod of Constantinople's total inattention to the opinion of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, which requested in an official letter following its recent meeting, that Patriarch Bartholomew:...
Read the rest here.

RIP Tim Conway

Quote of the day...

The woke world is a world of snitches, informants, rats. Go to any space concerned with social justice and what will you find? Endless surveillance. Everybody is to be judged. Everyone is under suspicion. Everything you say is to be scoured, picked over, analyzed for any possible offense. Everyone’s a detective in the Division of Problematics, and they walk the beat 24/7. You search and search for someone Bad doing Bad Things, finding ways to indict writers and artists and ordinary people for something, anything. That movie that got popular? Give me a few hours and 800 words. I’ll get you your indictments. That’s what liberalism is, now — the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists, digging deeper and deeper to find out who’s Good and who’s Bad. I wonder why people run away from establishment progressivism in droves.
-Freddie deBoer quoted here. This is well worth a read in it's entirety.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Jonathan Turley: Democrats showing contempt by holding William Barr in contempt

The House Judiciary Committee is voting to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and to secure a vote of the entire House of Representatives in order to send the matter to federal court. The problem is that the contempt action against Barr is long on action and short on contempt. Indeed, with a superficial charge, the House could seriously undermine its credibility in the ongoing conflicts with the White House. Congress is right on a number of complaints against the White House, including possible cases of contempt, but this is not one of them.

As someone who has represented the House of Representatives, my concern is that this one violates a legal version of the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm.” This could do great harm, not to Barr, but to the House. It is the weakest possible case to bring against the administration, and likely to be an example of a bad case making bad law for the House.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) laid out the case for contempt. He raised three often repeated complaints against Barr in that he failed to release an unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller, allegedly lied twice to Congress, and refused to appear before the committee. Yet, notably, the only claim the committee seeks to put before a federal court is the redaction of the report. That seems rather curious since, if Barr lied or refused a subpoena as House leaders claim, it normally would be an easy case of contempt. The reason for this move is that House Democrats know both claims would not withstand even a cursory judicial review.

Read the rest here.

When local governments are run by greedy *bleeps*

The city of Dunedin, Florida, wants to foreclose on a private home because the owner, Jim Ficken, owes the city over $29,000 in fines. The crime for which he is threatened with home loss? Having his lawn grass be too tall (over 10 inches) for a period of eight weeks last summer. The city fined him $500 per day of violation, with no warning.

Ficken was out of town at the time, settling his mother's estate. Ficken hired a handyman to deal with his lawn while he tended to his dying mother and then to her estate, but in a cruel twist, the handyman also died during the Fickens' ordeal, leaving the lawn uncut.

Ficken is 69 years old and lives on a fixed income. He was unaware that he was racking up the daily fines, but cut his grass within two days of finally being informed by a city code inspector that there was a problem. In a sane world, Ficken's explanation for neglecting his lawn and the fact that he remedied the problem as soon as he learned of it, would seemingly resolve the issue. No harm, no fine.

But the Dunedin government is apparently not sane. Because Ficken was also cited for overly tall grass in 2015, the city—unbeknownst to Ficken—classified him as a "repeat violator." This classification doubled his daily fine from $250 to $500 and relieved the Code Enforcement Board of providing him notice. Because Ficken cannot afford the fines he didn't know he was accumulating, the city of Dunedin insists that it can now take his home to pay off his debt.

Read the rest here.

All of which reminds me of a stretch of old US Rt 301 that was a short cut for people driving south on I 95 and who wanted to cut over to I 75 heading towards south Florida. There were no less than four small towns that were infamous for their old fashioned speed traps. By which I am not referring to the honest cop parked on the side of the road with a radar gun looking for people going more than ten over the posted speed limit or driving like they were drunk. I am talking about towns with a population of maybe a thousand and a ten man police force solely dedicated to zero tolerance traffic enforcement on a stretch of highway, perhaps a couple of hundred feet, that happen to fall within their jurisdiction. People, especially those with out of state plates, were routinely pulled over for going 1 mph over the speed limit, which changed suddenly and without much warning.  It got so bad that AAA used to post giant billboard signs warning motorists of the danger ahead.

Eventually there was a formal investigation by a committee of the Florida state legislature over whether or not to strip these towns of their municipal charters. All of them were sanctioned and three were forced to disband their police departments.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

What's behind Trump's threat to reignite the Sino-American trade war?

The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.

The document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands, the sources told Reuters.

In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded in a tweet on Sunday vowing to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on Friday – timed to land in the middle of a scheduled visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He to Washington to continue trade talks.

The stripping of binding legal language from the draft struck directly at the highest priority of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - who views changes to Chinese laws as essential to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.

Lighthizer has pushed hard for an enforcement regime more like those used for punitive economic sanctions – such as those imposed on North Korea or Iran – than a typical trade deal.

“This undermines the core architecture of the deal,” said a Washington-based source with knowledge of the talks.

Read the rest here.

Although I have been a sharp critic of this president, his decision to take a hard line on trade with China has been one of the areas where I support him. China has been getting away with economic murder, not for years, but for decades. And successive administrations from both parties have allowed it to go on. Enough. No deal is better than another bad deal.

Drop the hammer Mr. President.

Administrative Hardball at the University of Tulsa

On April 11, the administration of the University of Tulsa shocked faculty, students, and alumni by announcing the elimination of 40 percent of the school’s academic programs. Undergraduate and graduate programs in theater, musical theater, dance, vocal and instrumental music, English, history, philosophy, religion, chemistry, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Latin, anthropology, mathematics, and many others were axed. The administration has eliminated all academic departments and dumped professors, now stripped of disciplinary protections and powers, into big new divisions, including one called “Humanities and Social Justice.”

Administrators at other colleges and universities have recently cut the liberal arts. But TU is the first top-100 research institution, and the first university with a ten-figure endowment—$1.1 billion, to be precise—to have done so. What is more, our administration did all this under a cloak of secrecy and without consulting faculty.

The restructuring appears, among other things, to be a hostile takeover of the university by some of Tulsa’s richest and most powerful corporate interests. The gory details, already well known to many who follow higher education, are available in my essay “Storm Clouds Over Tulsa” at City Journal. But what that essay doesn’t cover is the wholesale rejection of the ironically named “True Commitment” plan by faculty, students, and alumni, and the administration’s highly authoritarian countermeasures to this rejection.

After the restructuring bombshell exploded in a slick, highly orchestrated rollout on the morning of April 11, students and faculty moved to protest quickly and decisively. That evening, I wrote to about 50 faculty and 500 students and alumni inviting them to attend a meeting in the Department of Languages the following day, and I pasted into the email an unedited version of my City Journal article. When I arrived for the meeting, over 400 people were present. We moved into the old theater next door, and I found myself leading a meeting at which we formulated key strategies for resistance to the restructuring.

In the days that followed, students drafted a petition on (“Saving the Heart and Soul of the University of Tulsa”) that has 5,600 signatures to date, and formed a Facebook group with over 1,700 members that serves as a vital clearinghouse for information. The College of Law voted almost unanimously—but for one vote by the disgraced president of the Faculty Senate, who was forced to apologize when he said publicly that opponents of the restructuring can “go f*** themselves”—not to implement key features of the “True Commitment” plan next year. The College of Arts and Sciences voted 89-4 not to implement any part of it until it could be thoroughly reviewed by our faculty.

Alumni have papered the administration with heartfelt letters of protest, and produced a clear and concise summary of what is being done to TU, why it matters, and why we must stop it. Sixteen national scholarly societies signed a public statement urging the administration to “reconsider and rescind” the restructuring.

Read the rest here.

I don't know too much of the background to this, but it sounds pretty brutal.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

For History Enthusiasts

A good overview of the USSR's role in the war and modern historical revisionism, up to and including the revival of the cult of Stalin in modern Russia.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Archbishop Demetrios Has Resigned


There have been rumors for years of financial shenanigans in the GOA. The business with the church building project at the 9-11 memorial site has been  something of a black eye. And now the Archdiocese’s flagship seminary appears to be in danger of losing their accreditation. So while not exactly unexpected, it will be interesting to see if this leads to some transparency.

Monday, April 29, 2019

500 churches in C of E still ban female priests

Apparently there are still some 500 CofE parishes that do not allow female clergy. However there is evidence that tolerance for those unable and/or unwilling to burn incense before the altar of the zeitgeist may be coming to an end.

See here.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Christ is risen!

Father Gagged, Found Guilty Of ‘Family Violence’ For Calling His Trans Daughter A ‘She’

Last week, Justice Francesca Marzari of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, declared a father guilty of “family violence” against his 14-year-old daughter on the sole basis that he had engaged in “expressions of rejection of [her] gender identity.” These “expressions” revolved entirely around his polite refusal to refer to his daughter as a boy in private, and his steady choice to affirm that she is a girl in public.

As previously reported, the BC Supreme Court ordered in February that 14-year-old Maxine* receive testosterone injections without parental consent. Accordingly, Maxine began regular injections at British Columbia (BC) Children’s Hospital over the course of the last two months.

Her father, Clark*, strongly objects to this treatment and immediately sought to reverse the decision in the BC Court of Appeal. Hoping to raise awareness of his case, Clark gave a number of interviews to media outlets, including The Federalist. In these interviews, he repeatedly referred to his daughter as a girl, stating to The Federalist that “she is a girl.  Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do.”

While many might take this to be an honest statement of biological fact, Marzari quoted it as a prime example of Clark’s “family violence of a public denial of [Maxine’s] gender identity.” Marzari convicted Clark of this violence, and issued a “protection order” preventing him from speaking to journalists or the public about his case.

While the main thrust of Marzari’s ruling focused on Clark’s public statements, Marzari also ordered that Clark be enjoined from “exposing” Maxine to any materials that might “question whether [her] gender identity is real or the treatments [she] seeks are in [her] best interests.” This order arose from the fact that, in mid-March, Clark invited his daughter to watch a video of a small-time Canadian conservative commentator with him.

The video contained a section discussing Maxine’s case, which she quickly recognized. She told her father she “did not want to watch the video, and went to [her] room.” This incident, according to Marzari, was a clear case of an “attempt to persuade [Maxine] to abandon treatment,” and, hence, of family violence.

Read the rest here.
See also this from Rod Dreher.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Our God is a Consuming Fire. Homily for Holy Thursday, on Repentance Before Communion

O my beloved and greatly-desired brethren who have gathered in the Holy Church of God, in order to serve the Living God in holiness and righteousness, and, with fear, to partake of the holy, most-pure, and immortal, awesome Mysteries of Christ: Hearken unto me who am lowly and unworthy. For it is not I who am speaking to you and instructing you; rather the grace of the Most-holy and Life-giving Spirit; for I speak not from myself, but as I have been instructed by the divine canons, and the God-bearing Fathers, as the Church received instruction from the divine Apostles who received their wisdom from God, so do I myself speak, who am lowly and least of all. I know not your works; I consider not that which you have begun; and so, as one who fears God, I give counsel to everyone among you, whether man or woman, whether great or small, to anyone of you that may be guilty of sin, convicted by your own counsels, that first you must repent and confess your sins, that you may dare, considering yourself unworthy, to approach and touch the Divine Fire Itself. For our God is a consuming Fire, and they, therefore, who with faith and fear draw near to the God and King and Judge of us all, shall burn and scorch their sins; and It shall enlighten and sanctify their souls. But It shall burn and scorch with shame, the souls and bodies of them that draw near with unbelief. Therefore, many among you are ill and sleep in sickness, that is, many are dying unconfessed and unrepentant. And furthermore, my brethren, I beseech you, and I say: no one that swears oaths, nor a perjurer, nor a liar, nor one that finds fault with others, nor a fornicator, nor an adulterer, nor a homosexual, nor a thief, nor a drunkard, nor a blasphemer, nor one that envies his brother, nor a murderer, nor a sorcerer, nor a magician, nor a charmer, nor an enchanter, nor a robber, nor a Manichean, shall, unconfessed and unprepared, approach, touch, or draw near the dread Mysteries of Christ, for it is terrible to fall into the hands of the Living God. For the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the joints and marrow and bones, and thoughts and hearts. See, therefore, my brethren, that no one approach, unrepentant or unprepared or unworthily, to partake of His dread and most-pure Mysteries. For He Himself saith: I am He, and there is no god besides me; I kill, and I make alive; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand; for I, Myself, am King forever: to Whom is due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen.

- St. John Chrysostom

Monday, April 22, 2019

The left should resist the siren song of ‘modern monetary theory’

Over the past year, a new economic concept has moved to the center of the political debate, as economists, pundits and policymakers hold it up as the answer to our economic problems. Modern monetary theory, or MMT, supposedly explains how “We Can Pay for a Green New Deal,” as one of its leading advocates recently argued in HuffPost. “Here’s the good news,” wrote Stephanie Kelton, a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, along with two co-authors. “Anything that is technically feasible is financially affordable.”

While Democrats and Republicans ask the “same tired questions” about the affordability of projects, Kelton and her co-authors argue that we can just open the spigot of the money supply by “printing” new currency (done with computer keystrokes these days, not a mechanical press), and so we can abandon the “obsession with trying to ‘pay for’ everything with new revenue or spending cuts.” This is the kind of answer advocates and policymakers across Washington are eager to hear: If it’s too hard to persuade politicians to increase taxes, that’s okay. There’s a technical fix.

This is a huge departure from the assumptions that govern our budget. The United States, MMT advocates say, should decouple spending decisions from taxing decisions. And while there is merit to certain MMT proposals, it’s a distraction from tackling our biggest economic challenge: inequality.

It would not be an overstatement to say that MMT hasn’t been well-received among many economists — and not just conservatives. Former treasury secretary Larry Summers called it “voodoo economics” in The Washington Post, suggesting that it offered the false promise of a “free lunch.” In a recent poll of about 50 elite economists by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, not a single one agreed with a central MMT claim: “Countries that borrow in their own currency can finance as much real government spending as they want by creating money.” MMT proponents have responded that their views are misunderstood by mainstream economists.

Read the rest here.

We currently live in a country without a fiscally sane political party. Republicans and Democrats are in a bipartisan rush to bankrupt the United States.

The most dangerous person in the world is the well intentioned fool, with power.

The Pope's View on Women

Rome April 21- The Pope, addressing the Union of Italian Catholic Women today showed strong opposition to some of their ambitions.

"Those who wish to make the woman the equal of man in all things," said his holiness, "and give her the same rights are assuredly in error. Women mixed up in the agitations of public life would be the ruin of the family and society. Woman should be the companion of man, and at the same time accepting his authority, an authority mitigated by love and nothing more."


The Devil's Easter Press Conference

Lutheran Satire is at it again. (New England Patriots fans may want to skip this one.)

A Young Appreciation of the Old Right

Calvin Coolidge has become cool again. 

Two large factions now define conservative politics across American universities. There are the right-libertarian or “classical liberal” students, and there are the traditionalist conservative students. Joined in opposition to the leftist academia, these factions cooperate with some hesitation.

Many libertarian students favor social and cultural policies that are more commonly found in the mainstream of the American Left, such as same-sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization. In contrast, traditionalist students oppose drug legalization, open borders, the sexual revolution, and crony capitalism. These fault lines appear everywhere, from College Republican meetings to fraternity houses.

Divisions on the Right, especially among the young and passionate, are not news. Much more curious is the endurance of an at least nominal coalition between these two opposed groups. This improbable alliance is predicated on a shared intellectual tradition, often attributed to the Enlightenment and Edmund Burke.

Recently, however, a seemingly forgotten group of American statesmen and intellectuals have become new symbols of this supposed heritage. In my interactions with peers at conservative conferences, meetings, and social functions, I keep hearing familiar references to the “Old Right.” Both libertarians and traditionalist conservatives reminisce about it as a way to imbue their hopeful entente with some intellectual vigor.

Read the rest here.

FTR I have been a Coolidge fan since my high school days (a very long time ago).

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dallas Legalizes Theft

Dallas County's new district attorney announced his office will no longer prosecute "theft of necessary items" up to $750.

Read the rest here.

Notre Dame and my fears

As anyone who has not just arrived from another planet will be aware, the great Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was severely damaged in a fire yesterday. It appears that the fire brigade heroically managed to save most of the great treasures of art and holy relics as well as significant parts of the cathedral itself. Notably, the iconic bell towers were still standing this morning.

France is, understandably, in deep shock and mourning as is much of the world. I visited the cathedral in the 1980's while in the Navy and yesterday's events were so disturbing I had to turn off the TV. The fire is being described by some as the worst cultural disaster to hit France since the Nazi occupation.

Now comes the hard task of sorting out the damage and planning the restoration and rebuilding. Yes, the cathedral will be restored. President Macron's declaration to that effect was almost unnecessary. There was never any doubt.

Which brings me to my great fear. How will it be done? I am not worried about the money. I am worried about what will emerge from the smoke and ashes. Notre Dame has been through rough times before. It was redecorated by Louis XIV. After being sacked by anti-clerical mobs during the French Revolution it was left as a near ruin until restoration work began in the 1830's. But in each case the building was redecorated/restored, at least in part, to the tastes of those in charge of the project.

In the present day and age that could be disastrous.

If the Society of St. Pius X were given charge of the project, I would not fear for the end result. But the French Catholic Church might as well be on the list of endangered species. And what is left of it has, with a few notable exceptions, fallen into the grip of the most odious modernists.

If the Cathedral is rebuilt in the spirit of Vatican II... I tremble at the thought.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Game of Thrones

So, they started broadcasting the final season. As of right now I have seen exactly one episode... the first one of the first season. But I have read all the books... that are currently out. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I am only 52. So I should have at least a 50/50 shot at living long enough to read the next book. As for the projected last book... I may have to just cheat and watch the TV version. There's no way I will live long enough to see that in print.

Cardinal Pell’s accuser copied testimony from old Rolling Stone report, journalist claims

BALMAIN, New South Wales, Australia, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Australia’s top Catholic prelate was convicted of sexual abuse based on the testimony of his accuser, a testimony that bears a striking resemblance to a case published in Rolling Stone magazine, an Australian magazine editor has found.

Keith Windschuttle, an Australian historian and journalist, compared the sexual assault allegations first made against Cardinal Pell in 2015 to a description of assault allegations made against an American priest published in the September 2011 of the Rolling Stone magazine.

“What is the difference between this account of child sex abuse in a Catholic church in Philadelphia and the evidence given by the sole accuser in the Victorian court case that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing a 13-year-old choir boy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1996?” Windschuttle asked.

 “Not much,” he replied.

Read the rest here

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Quote of the day...

“If one does not believe in God, the only honest alternative is vulgar utilitarianism. The rest is rhetoric.” — Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Friday, April 12, 2019

Anglican Primate to lead spiritual retreat for South Sudan leaders in Vatican

By Vatican News

Pope Francis has approved the proposal presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby, to organize a spiritual retreat to take place in the Vatican, within the Domus Sanctae Marthae, from the 10-11 of this month of April, in which the highest civil and ecclesiastical authorities of South Sudan will participate.

Civil authorities

A statement released by Alessandro Gisotti, interim Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that representing the civil authorities in the event, are the members of the Presidency of the Republic of South Sudan, who, under the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, will assume positions of great national responsibility this coming 12 May: Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic, as well as four of the five designated Vice Presidents: Mr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, Mr. James Wani Igga, Mr. Taban Deng Gai and Ms. Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior.

Ecclesial authorities

Representing the ecclesiastical authorities of the country, eight members of the South Sudan Council of Church will take part in the retreat. His Excellency, Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu (Uganda), and the Reverend Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar, will provide the preaching during the retreat.

Occasion for encounter and reconciliation

This event, both ecumenical and diplomatic at the same time, was organized by mutual agreement between the Secretariat of State and the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the goal of offering on the part of the Church a propitious occasion for reflection and prayer, as well as an occasion for encounter and reconciliation, in a spirit of respect and trust, to those who in this moment have the mission and the responsibility to work for a future of peace and prosperity for the South Sudanese people.

Pope Francis to conclude the retreat

The conclusion of the retreat will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, the 11th, when, at 5:00pm, the Holy Father will pronounce His discourse. Following that, those participating in the retreat will be given a Bible, signed by His Holiness Pope Francis, by His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the Reverend John Chalmers, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, with the message “Seek that which unites. Overcome that which divides”. At the end, the leaders of South Sudan, who will take up the common task for peace, will receive the blessing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse

Read the whole thing here.

The National Catholic Register on the manner of receiving Orthodox converts to Catholicism

WASHINGTON — With every Lent, Catholic parishes enter into the final stretch of preparing people for full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil.

But parishes that have Orthodox preparing to become Catholic through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults need to make sure they do not end up invalidly re-baptizing and re-confirming fully initiated Christians, who only need to make a profession of the faith in order to become part of the Catholic communion.

“When they’re in RCIA, it’s problematic,” said Paulist Father Ron Roberson, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Father Roberson explained that the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of the sacraments of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Church of the East Christians. These Churches all confer the sacraments of initiation — baptism, chrismation (or confirmation) and first Eucharist — at the same time, even at infancy. Unlike Protestant Christians, Orthodox and Assyrian Church Christians are fully initiated and profess the same Creed as Catholics. Father Roberson said it would be “extremely inappropriate” for a Catholic parish to attempt to re-baptize or re-confirm them.

“They really don’t need to go through RCIA at all,” he said. However, he said Orthodox coming into communion with the Catholic Church might find RCIA beneficial as a vehicle for Catholic catechesis, depending on their level of education in the Catholic faith.

Father Roberson said the ecumenical dialogues between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Church have made substantial progress in coming to doctrinal agreement, but the “lynchpin of disagreements” is still the role and exercise of papal primacy.

Katherine Hayes, a member of St. Barbara’s Melkite Catholic mission in Houston, told the Register that she came into communion with the Catholic Church in 2003, her senior year of high school. Hayes came from the Antiochian Orthodox Church and transferred into the corresponding Melkite Greek Catholic Church, after a Latin Rite Catholic priest and canon lawyer informed her about the Eastern Catholic Churches, which are co-equal to the Latin Church and united by communion with the Pope. He showed Hayes that she could maintain her faithfulness to the Orthodox tradition and teaching “in communion with Rome and still have the Divine Liturgy.”

Because there was no Melkite Greek Catholic Church at the time in her area, Hayes said her formal reception into the Catholic Church took place at the local Latin Rite parish. Because she was already a fully initiated Christian (having received a valid baptism, chrismation and Eucharist as an infant) Hayes did not need to go through RCIA. Hayes came into Catholic communion on Holy Thursday 2003 by making a profession of the Catholic faith through reciting the Creed.

Read the rest here.

No incendiary comments please. We have our own guidelines for receiving Catholics into the Church.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Friday, April 05, 2019

This is what apostasy looks like

The Diocese of Västerås, a division of the Church of Sweden, is now giving away an LGBTQ guide for "Christian queer kids." Bible-believing Christians may be stunned to hear that this extreme guide describes Jesus as "queer" and Joseph as transvestite.

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Distressing News

Following up on my most recent update (which has fallen off the front page of the blog), Richie Bonillas condition is deteriorating. As I noted in my last update he has Acute Flaccid Myelitis. The family is distraught. Even if he lives, the boy's chances of anything resembling a normal life are poor.

On this day in history...

City of Washington April 4, 1841- An all-wise Providence having removed from this life, William Henry Harrison, late President of the United States, we have thought it our duty, in the recess of Congress, and in the absence of the Vice President from the Seat of Government, to make this afflicting bereavement known to the country, by this declaration, under our hands.

He died at the President's House, in this city, this fourth day of April, Anno Domini 1841, at thirty minutes before one o'clock in the morning.

The people of the United States, overwhelmed by an event so unexpected and so melancholy, will derive consolation from knowing that his death was calm and resigned, as his life has been patriotic, useful and distinguished; and that the last utterance of his lips expressed a fervent desire for the perpetuity of the Constitution, and the preservation of its true principals. In death, as in life, the happiness of his Country was uppermost in his thoughts.

Daniel Webster
Secretary of State

Thomas Ewwing
Secretary of the Treasury

John Bell
Secretary of War

JJ Crittenden
Attorney General

Francis Granger
Postmaster General


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Chastity, Purity and Integrity- Orthodox Anthropology in Secular Culture

A series of lectures by prominent Orthodox scholars held March 7th-9th, 2019 at Holy Trinity Monastery/Seminary. Many were recorded and the videos are available at the source page linked below.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Patriarch of Romania: If we continue with abortion, we will perish as a nation

During his homily on the Feast of the Annunciation, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel stressed that the Mother of God is the Protrectress of all mothers and warned that if abortions continue to take place in Romania ‘we will perish as a nation’.

‘If we, the Romanian people, continue with (performing) abortions, which sum up to millions from 1960 until present, we will perish as a nation. We are in a demographic decline,’ His Beatitude said Monday.

The Patriarch of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the Annunciation of the Theotokos at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.

Concelebrant for the Divine Liturgy was His Beatitude’s patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, chief secretary of the Holy Synod. March for Life

In his homily, the Patriarch referred to the March for Life, which ‘has become very popular’, being organized at the beginning of March for a few years.

‘Last Saturday we were very happy to see the March for Life taking place. The people taking part in this pro-life manifestation that shows support to pregnant women are mostly young people, but also old people.’

‘First of all the March for Life has a spiritual aspect, since abortion in Church canon law is called infanticide, but also has a social aspect, since fewer and fewer children are born,’ he said March 25. The Theotokos helps pro-life activists

Patriarch Daniel spoke about the help offered by the Mother of God to all those who give birth to children and bring them up.

‘The Mother of God is a Protectress of women who give birth to children, who become mothers, a Protectress of the children’s parents, and a Protectress of childless families who adopt and bring up children.’

Every child is a potential Saint, the Patriarch noted. Children are ‘not only citizens of their earthly homeland, but also of the heavenly homeland.’

The Patriarch offered the example of Saint Gregory Palamas, celebrated on the Second Sunday of Great Lent, who is considered ‘the theologian of uncreated and unfading light and glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.’

‘Few know that this Saint was born in a well-believing family, and therefore the Church included not only him among the Saints, but also his father, mother and two sisters.’

‘So, from a three-child family, all three children became Saints, as well as their parents who gave birth to them.’

Read the rest here.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Trump 1 Dems 0

The long awaited Special Councel's report cleared the Donald and his campaign of any collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign. And it did so in language that is going to make it hard for the Dems to keep gnawing on this particular bone, which is now starting to look like a left-wing conspiracy theory. The issue of obstruction of justice was left open. But with the SC citing insufficient evidence, I think impeachment is off the table at least for now.

All of which said, there are multiple other investigations still under way, at both the Federal and state level. So Trump is not out of the woods by any means. But this was the big one. This was the investigation that the left was almost salivating in anticipation of its findings. And to put it mildly, it was a big fat nothing burger. The state investigations are being run by nakedly partisan Democrats. So unless they uncover something absolutely damning and incontrovertible they will be open to charges of partisan prosecution.

All in all Trump dodged a bullet and while I am no fan, I can forgive him taking a little victory lap on Twitter and maybe enjoying one of those well done steaks he is so fond of for dinner.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

South African Court Invalidates Dutch Reformed Church's LGBT Policy

In South Africa, a 3-judge panel of the North Gauteng High Court set aside as unlawful and invalid a decision on same-sex relationships made by the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church during the Synod's November 2016 meeting. That decision reversed a 2015 policy that recognized same-sex civil unions and allowed the ordination of gays and lesbians.  In Gaum v. Van Rensburg, S.A. High Ct., March 8, 2019), the court said in part:

The Church denied that the 2016 decision prevents the participation of the LGBTQIA+ community in the church community, or that it impedes their private lives, or that the decision violates their constitutional rights.... On behalf of the Church it was submitted that the 2016 decision did not restrict Gaum’s right to freedom of association; Gaum is free to join another Church that interprets the Bible in the way that Gaum does....
The differentiation caused by the 2016 decision does inherently diminish the dignity of Gaum because same-sex relationships are tainted as being unworthy of mainstream church ceremonies and persons in a same-sex relationship cannot be a Minister in the Church....
There is an argument to be made that a Court cannot prescribe who must be appointed as a Minister in a Church. But, if a member of the Church is permitted to study to become a Minister in that Church, but disallowed to engage in his or her profession only due to the fact that he or she would be in same sex relationship there is an inherent contradiction in the conduct of the Church....
The threshold requirement in section 36 of the Constitution is that any limitation of a fundamental right must be “law of general application …” Where a church discriminates, it constitutes private discrimination, with the law of general application not likely to apply.
eNCA reports on the decision.


Monday, March 18, 2019


Brexit is dead. Parliament killed it when they voted against a no-deal option. All the remainers have to do now is to keep finding excuses to vote down whatever deal is put in front of them, which they will. As for the leave crowd, I kind of feel sorry for them. They have been cheated and don't realize it yet. It's a good thing that the right doesn't share the left's enthusiasm for a good riot. If they did, I think they might burn London to the ground.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Many Years

To my godson Basil who was tonsured yesterday to the rank of rassophore and has taken the monastic name of Sophronios.


Sunday, March 10, 2019

On the Eve of the Great Fast

Please forgive me for any injury or offense I have caused, especially through this blog.

[No blogging for the next week.]

Friday, March 08, 2019

Church of Norway apologizes for previous pro-life stance

March 4, 2019 (Live Action News) — In Norway, the largest Christian denomination is the Church of Norway, with an estimated 70% of Norwegians registered as members. Originally, the church was the official religion of Norway, with mandatory membership, but today, the church and the state have become separated. The church has likewise historically been pro-life, while Norway allows for legal abortion. However, the bishops of the Church of Norway recently released a statement actually apologizing for the church's pro-life stance and stunningly (and incorrectly) claiming that abortion "promotes women's health, safety and security."

"When the law of self-determined abortion was dealt with and adopted in the 1970s, the church was a clear opponent of the changes that were introduced," the statement began. "Priests and others were strong and clear in their criticism of the law for the purpose of protecting the unborn life. Today, we realize that the church's argumentation did not allow for a good dialogue. It's time to create a new conversation climate. We want to contribute to that."

The new conversation, evidently, means acknowledging that abortion needs to be legal, despite also arguing that preborn babies are, indeed, human beings deserving of protection. The statement read, stunningly:
A society with legal access to abortion is a better society than a society without such access. It prevents illegal abortions and promotes women's health, safety and security. It is not least evident in a global perspective. Internationally, we see that churches are still contributing to the burden of many pregnant women in vulnerable positions.
In Norway, abortion is legal through 12 weeks, and can be approved through 18 weeks if a woman files an application (most of which are approved). More bizarrely, the church still apologizes for not being committed enough to "women's liberation and rights."

Read the rest here.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Democrats are having an awful week — and Howard Schultz is having a good one

As an upbeat Howard Schultz tucked into lunch in Washington recently, he was having a good week because Democrats were having an awful one. The former Starbucks chief executive, who is contemplating a plunge into politics, knows that his narrow path to the presidency as an independent depends on the Democratic Party becoming as offensive as the Republican Party has become. So, because his political prospects depend on the Democratic Party making normal people wince, he cannot be displeased by:

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates embracing the Green New Deal in the nanosecond before it became a punchline. Various candidates telling 180 million Americans to have stiff upper lips about losing their private health insurance under Medicare-for-all. One candidate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), saying: There will be less paperwork when the government runs health care. Really. Another candidate, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), who is vegan, saying that eating meat threatens the planet. New York and Virginia Democrats, expanding “reproductive rights” to include infanticide, saying that infants who survive late-term abortions will be kept “comfortable” while they die of neglect. House Democrats swatting an anti-Semite in their caucus, but having to live with rising anti-Israel sentiment among their base. And remaining hostage to a ubiquitous colleague who became the face of (a) socialism and (b) freshman Democrats by capturing a safe seat after winning a primary with the grand total of 16,898 votes.

Democrats are spewing fury about Schultz, who they think might siphon off anti-Trump votes and become Ralph Nader redux. In 2000, when George W. Bush won the presidency by defeating Al Gore in Florida by 537 votes, Nader, running as the Green Party candidate, received 97,488 Florida votes, thereby probably defeating Gore.

Read the rest here.

At this point I don't even know if I will vote at all. I haven't voted in a general election since 2012 and with things in their current trajectory, there is a good chance that will continue. I am somewhat hopeful that John Kasich will challenge Trump for the GOP nomination, though I think it a long shot. The only thing I am certain of is that the next couple of years are going to be interesting... in the Chinese curse sort of way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Facing possible schism, Methodists reject liberal assualt on morals

Whatever they did, schism was and remains the all but certain result. But for a change it is the revisionists who failed in their attempt at a hostile takeover of one of the larger mainline Protestant denominations.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe votes against dissolution- considering where to go

The extraordinary General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe met in Paris yesterday to decide the fate of the Archdiocese after Constantinople suddenly and unexpected revoked the 1999 tomos that established it as an exarchate in late November.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople explained that the parishes of the Russian Exarchate were to simply move under the Patriarchate’s local Greek bishop, though this directive was received unfavorably by the Exarchate’s hierarch Archbishop John of Chariopoulis and the clergy who met on December 15 and resolved to hold the General Assembly in late February to decide on an official response.

The Archdiocese was largely in favor of staying together as a group, and it was reported that they were considering joining the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, or the Romanian Patriarchate, among other options.

As Orthodoxie reports, Abp. John opened the Assembly with a sobering word on the need for unity and canonicity:

Today, we need to choose between life and death. Choosing life will mean the continuity of our Archdiocese in its own space in communion with the Church. Another option might be to say, yes, we stay in our own space, but we remain in a kind of terra incognita, and I think this is not the right path. So today, we must keep unity, that’s the most important, and choose a path of life. Therefore, I urge you, let not this meeting be a split between us, rather, let it be a sign of unity and a strong ecclesial sign.
And reporting on the results, Orthodoxie states that of the 206 voters, 191 voted against the dissolution of the Archdiocese, with only 15 voting to remain within the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its main Western European dioceses.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Brief Reflection on Male Headship

If then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:1-2). 

I commend you because you remember me in everything, and you maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:2-3).

Male headship: “The head of a woman is her husband.” I suppose there’s nothing as infuriating to modern feminists as this concept. But I wonder if this ordering would be at least a little less infuriating if it were understood in all its sublime glory as another of the multitudinous patterns that the Creator God has wondrously and wonderfully woven into His glorious Creation, and which even reflects the very being and life of God Himself, as He exists forever in Holy Trinity. 

As we all are well aware, patterns of order exist everywhere in our Lord’s glorious Creation, from the paths of electrons and other subatomic particles, to the paths of planets, stars, and galaxies; from the ordering of the seasons to the planting, growing, and harvesting of crops; and in the growth and adulthood of all animate beings, from the insects and fish to the birds and mammals, from the moment of conception to their last breath on this earth. For the Church fathers, all these countless patterns of order all point to the existence of God, the Creator of all this order that is so essential to the peaceful ongoing existence of all things. 

Since human beings are also part of the created realm, we can scarcely be surprised that our own existence would also partake of patterns of order—which, when abided by, greatly contribute to our ongoing, peaceful existence while we live on this earth. This is self-evident, even with no reference to the Lord our Creator. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if there were no patterns of order—no directional signposts—for cars and trains and airplanes to be governed by. Or if one day every driver and train conductor and airplane pilot decided to disregard all the rules and regulations, and drive and direct the train and fly wherever he or she happened to want to! 

One such pattern of order in nature is male headship, whereby in marriage, the husband has the duty to be ultimately responsible for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of his family, along with having the ultimate responsibility for guiding the ongoing mutual decision-making processes that are necessary for this purpose. The man, generally being the physically stronger, taller, heavier, and deeper-voiced of the two, very naturally has been given this role. The Apostle Paul (1 Tim. 2:13) and the Church Fathers also see a certain preeminence in the authority and responsibility of the husband due to the fact that Adam was created first, and then the woman from his side. 

Of course, every husband, as the servant-head, should always be seeking the input of his wife in the decision-making processes, which should always be decidedly mutual, with decisions being reached virtually always by consensus. Similarly, the husband should also be steadily encouraging his wife to contribute greatly to the marital enterprise as a whole, with all her particular strengths and gifts as well. 

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 22, 2019

German [Catholic] bishop: female priests ‘will come’, tradition won’t stop it

February 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A German bishop has stated that it is no longer convincing to argue against female priests because tradition does not allow it, adding that it is only a matter of time before they will come.

Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg made these comments in a Feb. 12 interview with German news service Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA). He claimed about the female priesthood that “it is not convincing anymore to rigorously reject it and merely to argue with the help of tradition.” While Feige suggested that currently the female priesthood is still improbable due to resistances in the Church, he is convinced that “it will come, however.”

“Not too long ago, I could not have imagined it this way,” the prelate added. Here, Bishop Feige referred to Pope Francis, saying that one cannot preserve the Church's teaching as is, without allowing for some development. Much has been changed in the past, and not only in details, he explained.

“Could the Spirit of God not also today lead us to new insights and decisions,” Feige said.

Commenting on the question of celibacy, the Eastern German prelate — who grew up under Communism — said he could imagine that there will be more married priests in the future. Celibacy, he said, “can over time become a burden.” He added that celibacy “is not a Divine law.” Therefore, married priests “are well possible, and they do exist already, after all –  with the same dignity and sacramentality – in the Catholic Eastern rites.” The question, however, is how the Universal Church can come to a decision in this points, Feige explained.

For him, it is important that the profile of the priest will be changed, away from an “archaic-bourgeois” style and toward a “dynamic-alternative” one. In the face of high numbers of non-Christians in his surroundings in Magdeburg, Feige argued that it is important for priests “not to instruct anyone from a superior position or to discipline him, but really to serve.”

Bishop Feige is not the only German-speaking prelate in favor of female priests. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn published last year his idea that one day there would be female priests and bishops. On another occasion, he said that he hoped for the day when he would ordain female deacons.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The 1527 Sack of Rome

For history enthusiasts. On which note, IMO this is one of the better channels on YouTube.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

British Government Report Slams Facebook as "Digital Gangsters"

Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, according to a devastating parliamentary report denouncing the company and its executives as “digital gangsters”.
The final report of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.
“Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day,” warned the committee’s chairman, Damian Collins.
The report:
  • Accuses Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee’s questions.
  • Warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to interference by hostile foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government attempting to discredit democracy.
  • Calls on the British government to establish an independent investigation into “foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 general election.

    Read the rest here.

RIP- Bruno Ganz

He was perhaps the greatest actor that most English speaking people have never heard of. To the extent he is well known among anglophones it is for his masterful performance as Adolf Hitler in the German film Downfall (Der Untergang), which spawned scores of satirical YouTube parodies using clips from the movie showing some of the Fuhrer's infamous rants. For a good part of his life though, the Swiss native was recognized as one of the finest German speaking actors in the trade. In recognition of which he was the most recent holder of the famed Iffland-Ring for more than twenty years. Mr. Ganz has reposed at the age of 77.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Investigation finds no evidence of ‘racist or offensive statements’ by Covington Catholic students

An investigation released Wednesday into an encounter between Covington Catholic High School students and Native American activists at the Lincoln Memorial last month largely supports the students’ accounts of the incident, which prompted immediate and widespread condemnation of the boys after a video of the encounter went viral.

A short video clip showed Nathan Phillips, playing a traditional drum, in an apparent standoff with student Nick Sandmann, who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School, which arranged the trip, were among those who initially condemned the boys’ actions in the video.

The report, prepared by Greater Cincinnati Investigation, Inc. and dated Feb. 11, employed four licensed investigators for approximately 240 hours to take statements from students and chaperones, as well as to interview third-party witnesses and review about 50 hours of video. Investigators were not able to interview either Phillips or Sandmann in person and instead reviewed the student’s written account.

The investigators said they found no evidence that the students responded in an offensive manner to the black Hebrew Israelites or that they chanted “build the wall.” After asking chaperones, they performed a school cheer, according to the report, to drown out the black Hebrew Israelites.

Read the rest here.

I think there are more than a few people who owe these kids an apology. Not holding my breath though.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Catastrophic Flooding in Australia

Large tracts of rural Australia, primarily Queensland, have been stricken with flooding of biblical proportions after enduring a prolonged drought. There have been severe losses among wildlife and livestock.

Warning: The linked story has images that may be disturbing.

California abandons $77 billion high-speed rail plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday he’s abandoning a plan to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a project with an estimated cost that has ballooned to $77 billion.

“Let’s be real,” Newsom said in his first State of the State address. “The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”

The idea championed by Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown, is years behind schedule. The latest estimate for completion is 2033.

Newsom, though, said he wants to finish construction that’s already under way on a segment of the high-speed train from Bakersfield to Merced, through California’s Central Valley, arguing it will revitalize the economically depressed region.

He’s also replacing Brown’s head of the state board that oversees the project and pledged more accountability for contractors that run over on costs.

Read the rest here.