Friday, September 21, 2018

Roman Catholic Archbishop Publishes Attack on Vatican Document

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has published a wide-ranging criticism of the Instrumentum Laboris (a kind of introduction or preamble) for the upcoming Synod on the Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

In an introductory paragraph, Chaput explains that the analysis was “received from a respected North American theologian”. The article, which appears in First Things, warns that the Instrumentum veers dangerously close to heresy – specifically the heresies of naturalism, Lutheranism, and relativism.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Scenes from the land of long ago

Paris during the Belle Époque. Conceding an exception for modern medicine and personal hygiene... I really hate the modern world.

And now for a little trivia...

How is it that the tenth President of the United States (b 1790) has two living grandsons in 2018?


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Moscow Suspends Commemoration of Pat. Bartholomew- Calls for Urgent Meeting of Heads of Local Churches

...In this critical situation, when Constantinople has practically refused to resolve the matter by means of dialogue, the Moscow Patriarchate is forced to suspend the liturgical prayerful commemoration of the Patriarch of Constantinople and with profound regret to suspend the concelebration with hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as to break off the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Episcopal Assemblies and in the theological dialogues, multilateral commissions and any other structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In the event that the Patriarchate of Constantinople will continue to carry out its uncanonical activities in the territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we will be compelled to completely break off the Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. All the responsibility for the tragic consequences of this division will lie personally with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the hierarchs supporting him.
Being aware that the current situation puts in jeopardy the whole world Orthodoxy, we at this hour of hardship ask the Local Autocephalous Churches for support and call upon the Primates of the Churches to fully realize our shared responsibility for the fate of the world Orthodoxy and initiate a fraternal pan-Orthodox discussion on the church situation in Ukraine.

We call upon the plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church to pray ardently for the preservation of the unity of the Holy Orthodoxy.


This is not a formal severance of communion. But it is a step in that direction.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


It's no secret that precious metals have been in a bear market for around the last seven years. Lately silver has been taking a beating that in another age would have been associated with the parlor rug. Since peaking in 2011 at just a tick under $50.00 oz silver has been in a steady downward decline that has reached the point where the spot price closed today at $14.22 oz. Even more interesting is its relationship to gold. The silver/gold price ratio (the number of ounces of silver needed to equal 1 oz of gold) has fluctuated, at times dramatically, over the last 45 years or so since gold was demonetized. But the average has been in the range of 50:1 give or take.

Currently it is within spitting distance of 85:1.

No, that's not a record. See these historical charts from Kitco. But it is the highest it's been in a quarter century. And on the rare occasions when the ratio has gotten over 80:1 it has been a signal that silver, at least relative to gold, has become over sold and is cheap.


[Full disclaimer: I have recently added some silver to my precious metals holdings on a speculative basis. Nothing posted on this blog should be considered investing advice. The above is purely for informational purposes and readers should do their own due diligence before making any financial investments.]

Monday, September 10, 2018

5/3 Bank

In the unlikely event anyone reading this blog is employed by 5/3 Bank I just wanted to post a short note to let you know why I will shortly be closing my account.

I just spent most of the afternoon trying to rent a safe deposit box. For those unfamiliar with the process, it should be neither complicated nor time consuming. I have done this on multiple occasions in the past at different banks and cannot recall any instance where it took much more than 15 minutes.

When I arrived at the bank somewhere between 1300-1330 I was informed there were a number of walk in customers ahead of me. So I waited patiently and was eventually informed that it would be at least an hour and half before I would be seen. It was suggested I make an appointment to which I agreed. An appointment was made for 1600. When I arrived back at the bank at appx 1545 I was told that the personal services banker was with another customer which did not overly concern me since I was a few minutes early and had an appointment. But within five minutes I was told that my appointment would be pushed back because the walk in customer was taking up more time than expected.

That's when I gave up and left. Clearly this is a bank that is not interested in my business which is just as well. If they can't manage something as simple as renting a safe deposit box in the course of several hours I cannot imagine how long I might have had to wait if I actually had one and needed to access it.

So, within the next few days I will close my account and look for a bank that is capable of handling in a timely manner the simpler bread and butter activities typically associated with that profession.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Spanish flu: the killer that still stalks us, 100 years on

One hundred years ago this month, just as the first world war was drawing to a fitful close, an influenza virus unlike any before or since swept across the British Isles, felling soldiers and civilians alike. One of the first casualties was the British prime minister and war leader, David Lloyd George.

On 11 September 1918, Lloyd George, riding high on news of recent Allied successes, arrived in Manchester to be presented with the keys to the city. Female munitions workers and soldiers home on furlough cheered his passage from Piccadilly train station to Albert Square. But later that evening, he developed a sore throat and fever and collapsed.

He spent the next 10 days confined to a sickbed in Manchester town hall, too ill to move and with a respirator to aid his breathing. Newspapers, including the Manchester Guardian, underplayed the severity of his condition for fear of presenting the Germans with a propaganda coup. But, according to his valet, it had been “touch and go”.

Lloyd George, then aged 55, survived, but others were not so lucky. In an era before antibiotics and vaccines, the “Spanish influenza” – so-called because neutral Spain was one of the few countries in 1918 where correspondents were free to report on the outbreak – claimed the lives of nearly 250,000 Britons. Cruelly for a nation that had seen the flower of British male youth mown down by German guns, the majority were adults aged 20 to 40. The mortality was the inverse of most flu seasons, when deaths fall most heavily on the elderly and the under-fives.

The global death toll was inconceivable: according to the most recent estimates, between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide perished in the three pandemic waves between the spring of 1918 and the winter of 1919. Adjusting for population growth, that is equivalent to between 200 million and 425 million today.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Ukraine: It's Official

Bart is going to do it.
The Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced on 7 September 2018 that within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed as its Exarchs in Kiev His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada, both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


Lord have mercy!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Good news!

As some of you will be aware I was wondering what had happened to the Midwest Conservative Journal, one of those blogs that was on my check everyday list. I am very happy to report that I just got an email from Christopher J who has started blogging again. The new address is I will be adding it to the sidebar directly.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Coming Schism (maybe)

No, this is not about the Roman Catholic Church. It is about the Orthodox. Sadly, evidence is rapidly accumulating that the Ecumenical Patriarch intends to take actions in the ongoing schism within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that are all but guaranteed to provoke a major crisis within the Church. I am still praying that this will not happen but reports are mounting daily, without any denial from the EP or those closely connected to him, that he intends to issue a tomos of autocephaly to the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate.

It is inconceivable that the Russian Church will not respond by breaking communion.

The question is, how far will the schism spread?

I think it quite possible that the Serbians and Bulgarians will side with Moscow. We can assume the ethnically Greek local churches will side with Constantinople. I am including here the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem. The latter is of course composed of 99% Arabs, but the hierarchy is 99% Greek.

As for the rest... The Romanians I honestly have no idea. There is not a lot of love for Russia there but I just don't have any feel for how they will go. The Church of Georgia is close to Moscow. Would that be enough to provoke their taking sides in the schism? Then there is the Church of Antioch. They are already out of communion with Jerusalem over that church's intrusion on Antioch's canonical territory and they are none too thrilled by Constantinople's refusal to come to their aid. And lastly there are what may be called the micro churches... Albania, the Czech Lands, Poland and the OCA.


Sunday, September 02, 2018


Brazil's National Museum housed in the former imperial palace has been virtually destroyed by fire. The exact extent of the loss is not yet known but is likely to be of staggering proportions. The museum housed one of the most important collections in the Western Hemisphere. This is a cultural calamity likely to be felt around the world.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Ukrainian Autocephapy (updated)

Rumors and reports from sources of unknown reliability are circulating to the effect that the Ecumenical Patriarch may be about to do something very dangerous to the unity of the Church.

Update: The latest from the Russian Church's website seems to throw cold water on some of the alarmist rumors circulating this morning.

Poll: Trump takes a hit

 I would take this with a very large grain of salt as it seems an outlier and is inconsistent with other recent polls. That said, a newly published ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Trump taking a fairly big hit. According to the poll his support level has dropped into the mid 30% range and his negatives have jumped to around 60%. Worse, approximately half of those polled support impeachment proceedings. As this is only a single poll I would wait to see if it is backed by others. But if it is, that would be really bad news for Trump. Washington is populated by people who won't answer the call of nature without first taking a poll and Trump's very strong and sustained support among Republican voters has been a major factor in keeping the rank and file GOP Congress Critters (most of whom privately detest Trump) in line. If they think that GOP support for Trump is starting to crack two months out from a general election where the president is the issue, things could get ugly quick.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Pope Takes the 5th

In response to the direct accusations leveled by Archbishop Carlo Viganò, former Papal Nuncio to the United States, in an eleven page indictment alleging moral corruption in the Vatican including the Pope himself, Francis had this to say...

“I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment, I will not say a single word on this.”


See also Rod Dreher's blog for the latest details.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ex-Papal Nuncio Accuses Pope of Complicity in McCarrick Coverup- Calls on Francis to Resign

A report that is being described as a bombshell is out in the National Catholic Register (the non-heretical NCR). Unfortunately the death of Senator McCain is likely to give an excuse to the mainstream (read "pro-Francis) press/media to bury this story.

Read the report here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Memory Eternal

The last Republican presidential candidate that I voted for. He was imperfect, and his interventionist foreign policy tendencies were dreadful. But he was the last of the old breed of Washington pols who had tremendous bipartisan stature and who was not afraid to buck his own party, or president, when he felt obliged to do so.