Sunday, June 26, 2022

Russian Orthodox Church Revokes Ukranian Church's Independence

So, the Russian Orthodox Church has declared the claimed independence of the canonical Ukranian Orthodox Church (MP) illegal. No surprise there. But they then went on to revoke their status as a self governing church and place them under the direct control of the Moscow Patriarchate. The sound you hear, is the roughly 6 million members of the UOC (MP) laughing hysterically. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe v Wade Reversed

Though not unexpected, it is still the most significant SCOTUS decision in a generation. The vote was 5:3 with Justice Roberts concurring in part. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

SCOTUS Strikes Down Restrictive New York Gun Law

Private citizens have a constitutional right to carry firearms outside their home for personal protection and states may not refuse permission to do so without good cause. The ruling was 6-3.

Read the decision here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Debt and Credit

A City journal, advocating the passage of some sort of Loan or Treasury-Note Extension bill, naively remarks that it is "imperative that both parties in Congress should appreciate the importance of maintaining the Public Credit." Trite as this remark may seem, the course which our contemporary recommends does not appear to us to touch the root of the matter. The true way to maintain Public Credit is to evince a constant alacrity in extinguishing Public Debt. The Federal Finances are certainly this day in a worse plight by Forty Millions of Dollars than they were on the day of Mr. Buchannan's inauguration. That is, the Public Debt, on the 4th of March 1857, exceeded the cash in the Treasury by considerably less than Twenty Millions of Dollars; while the Public Debt of all sorts- including claims honestly due and payable- is now at least Seventy Millions, while the cash on hand is less than Ten Millions, and is likely to be nothing at all or thereabout at the close of the current month, or whenever the immediate payments under the new annual Appropriation bills shall have been made. In other words, the Tarriff and Mr. Buchannan's Administration have run the country in Debt at the rate of fully Ten Millions per annum. And the party unhappily in power insist that nothing shall be done, no step taken, toward the reduction of that debt. They give us no reason for believing that we shall do any better in the immediate future than in the immediate past, though they make a vague guess that we may, if the present Tarriff is maintained, begin to pay off our Debt some three or four years hence. That guess is directly in the teeth of all the facts bearing on the case.

We know there are time wherein Public Debt cannot be paid off- times of war, of pestilence, of general disaster by fire, frost, flood, or drouth, & etc. The rule, then, would seem imperative, that a Nation in debt should never allow a year of peace and thrift to pass without paying off some portion of that debt, or at least devising and adopting measures whereby a surplus of revenue to be devoted to such payment shall be speedily secured. And this is the only policy which can give to Public Credit the fullest moral support. Dexterity in manipulating public debt- skill in shifting debt from one shoulder to the other, so that it shall scarcely be felt- readiness to renew debts as they fall due- and all manner of ingenious devices of like nature- pale their ineffectual fires before the simple and solid method of increasing income or reducing outgoes so as to have a liberal surplus of revenue each year to be faithfully applied to paying off successive installments of the Public Debt. And this is the policy which the Republicans now urge and the Democrats persistently defeat.

Source (pg4 columns 3-4)

Sadly, today we no longer have a conservative political party.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Crypto Crashes (again)

* Bitcoin drops below $24k. 
* $200 Billion lost over the weekend.
* Tech executives label crypto "a con." 

Update: As of 9:40 pm (EDST) Bitcoin is down 23%.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

How San Francisco Became a Failed City

I'm not even going to try and excerpt this one. Rarely have I read such a damning indictment of the lunatic left, and coming from someone who is certainly left of center in their own right. Read it in its entirety here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) Sacked by Kyrill

By decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which met in Moscow today under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk no longer heads the Synodal Department for External Church Relations.

His Eminence will also no longer serve as a permanent member of the Holy Synod or as rector of the Church’s Sts. Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies program.

He has served as head of the DECR and permanent Synod member since 2009.

According to the Synodal resolutions, Met. Hilarion is being sent to administer the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary, a position he previously held from May 2003 to March 2009.

Met. Hilarion is replaced in the DECR and on the Holy Synod by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Korsun, the Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe. Archpriest Maxim Kozlov, Chairman of the Church’s Educational Committee, is appointed rector of the Sts. Cyril and Methodius program.

I had heard a few rumors that Hilarion was somewhat less than full throated in his support for the ROC's policy of acting as Putin's clerical bootlickers. But I honestly didn't see this coming. 

HT: Dr. Tighe.

UK cinema chain cancels screenings of ‘blasphemous’ film after protests

A UK cinema chain has cancelled all screenings of a “blasphemous” film about the daughter of the prophet Muhammad after branches were picketed by Muslim activists.

Cineworld said it took the decision to cancel all showings of The Lady of Heaven to “ensure the safety of our staff and customers”.

The cancellation was criticised by a House of Lords peer as being “disastrous for the arts, dangerous for free speech”.

The film’s producer defended the rights of the protesters to express their displeasure but said it was “silly” and against British values for the film to be pulled completely.

A video circulating online showed the manager of Sheffield Cineworld telling protesters that Sunday night’s screening had been cancelled, to cries of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).

5Pillars, a Muslim news site, tweeted a photo of what it said was “200 Muslims protesting against sectarian hate film Lady of Heaven outside Cineworld in Broad Street, Birmingham” on Sunday.

Lady of Heaven, released last Friday in the UK, claims to be the first film to put the “face” of the prophet Muhammad on screen.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Report: Vladimir Putin is seriously ill

Citing multiple sources, Newsweek is reporting that the US intelligence services are satisfied that long running rumors of ill health on the part of Russian President V. V. Putin are almost certainly true. The report also indicates that Putin may have survived a recent attempt on his life.

Read the story here.

Trooping the Colour

The traditional military parade begins the celebration of the Queen's 70th anniversary on the throne.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022


War changes many things, primarily people’s minds, but also the usual flow of time. What takes years or even decades in peacetime takes a few months, or sometimes even days, during war. 

On May 27, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the highest governing body of the church, after much debate, expressed its disagreement with Patriarch Kirill’s support for the war in Ukraine and adopted amendments to the Statute of the UOC, “Testifying to the full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

It is beyond the scope of this report to analyze in detail the decisions of the UOC Council—not all of the documents have been published, nor have there been official statements from the hierarchy. My aim is to explain the logic of Metropolitan Onufry’s actions, because I hope that this will allow me to put the decisions of the Council of the UOC into the appropriate context.

It is not surprising that, confronted with a lack of information, commentators are divided into two antagonistic camps. Some believe that the UOC is simply salvaging its reputation, that the distancing from Moscow is insincere and coordinated with the Moscow Patriarchate. Others believe that this is an important step towards the autocephaly of the Church and true independence from Moscow.

From the first days of the war, a number of UOC dioceses refused to commemorate Patriarch Kirill in protest of his anti-Ukrainian stance, and this decision received the tacit support of Metropolitan Onufry. A little later, there were efforts to hold a council to make a decision “about the future of the Church,” which many understood to be the groundwork for a complete separation from the Moscow Patriarchate. Metropolitan Onufry was slow to convene the council, and his inner circle, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) and the oligarch deacon Vadim Novinsky, took an openly pro-Moscow position. It is hard to assess how well Metropolitan Onufry understood the mood of the Ukrainian flock in the initial months of the war. Yet Onufry understood Patriarch Kirill’s position: while during the pandemic the Patriarch called him almost every week, he did not call him even once during the three months of the war. For Onufry, Kirill’s silence spoke volumes.

The situation changed dramatically on May 12. On that day there was a meeting of the Holy Synod of the UOC, whose documents were prepared as usual by Metropolitan Anthony, the Chancellor. There was not a single word about holding a council in these documents. Until that point, Moscow had made every effort to maintain the current status quo and did not approve the gathering of any council. The first surprise occurred during the gathering of bishops. Metropolitan Onufry demanded that the Synod’s decisions include a response to the calls of the clergy and that a meeting with clergy and laity be held. Thus, the Synod declared...

Read the rest here.
HT: Blog reader John L.

Note: The author of this piece is Fr. Sergei Chapnin. This piece is published by Public Orthodoxy, a website of which in the past, I and many others have been critical for their open promotion of heterodox beliefs. That said, I have no reason to doubt the factual details of this essay. 

Sacrilegious theft

A more than century-old church artifact worth $2 million was stolen from its New York City sanctuary, authorities said, in a brazen break-in that local Catholic leaders called a crime of "disrespect and hate."

A tabernacle made of 18-carat gold and decorated with jewels had been housed at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn before someone stole it at some point between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, officials said.

Police are "investigating a brazen crime of disrespect and hate," according to statement by the Brooklyn Diocese.

To remove the tabernacle, thieves had to cut through a metal protective casing. Statues of angels were left decapitated and destroyed from the heist.

St. Augustine was closed for construction at the time of the theft and camera recordings from the security system were also stolen, the church said. The stolen tabernacle dates back to the church’s opening in the 1890s.

There had been no arrests or other significant developments by Tuesday morning, an NYPD spokesperson said.

Erin Thompson, who teaches art crime at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, fears jewels from the stolen tabernacle have already been removed for sale and the rest of the artifact has been melted down for its gold.

"I would be very surprised if we ever see the tabernacle again," Thompson said Tuesday.

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Ukraine: The jurisdictional mess deepens

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) has taken steps towards ending its ties to the Russian Church. 


Friday, May 20, 2022

Archbishop Cordileone (SF) bars Nancy Pelosi from Communion

The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco has ordered priests in the archdiocese to deny House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the sacrament of communion because of the California Democrat’s support for abortion rights.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s move to bar Pelosi from receiving the Eucharist in churches in her home district comes as the Supreme Court is expected within weeks to overturn the constitutional right to abortion embodied in the 49-year-old court decision Roe v. Wade.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes abortion, considering it a “grave sin.”

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote in a tweet.

Most Catholic bishops have been loathe to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

Cordileone’s order applies only to priests in his diocese, not to priests elsewhere. Pelosi could still receive communion in a church outside San Francisco.

Read the rest here.

Did Rome Accept the Canons of Trullo?

This may be considered a myopic debate, but it pertains to the question whether or not the Church of Rome accepted the Canons of the Council of Trullo (i.e. the Quinisext Council). The ramifications of whether they did, or did not, will not be discussed in detail here. Rather, the history of whether they at one time were accepted will be.

Arguments In Favor of the Acceptance of Trullo’s Canons. The historical evidence that Rome accepted the Council of Trullo is extremely strong. Rome had one (questionable) legate (Basil of Gortyna, who also acted as a legate during Constantinople III; Price, The Canons of the Qunisext Council, p. 35) and 11 additional bishops in their jurisdiction attending (Sissius of Dyrrachion, Ibid., and 10 from East Illyricum, Ibid., p. 11). These aformentioned attendees signed onto the council. The preceding demonstrates that Rome had some element of participation in the council through representatives, even if it was relatively minimal.

The Liber Pontificalis (a source which was updated during the 8th century) notes that Pope Saint Gregory II appears to have accepted the Council. He went to Constantinople and questioned Emperor Justinian II (who had convened the Trullo) about the Council. After receiving “an excellent reply” from Justinian II, his earlier opposition to Trullo had vanished as the emperor “resolved every question.” (Ibid., p. 43; passage in question is dated to the 740s) This is corroborated by a letter between Gregory II and Patriarch Germanos I quoted during Nicea II. It explicitly quotes Canon 82 of Trullo as from “the assembly of the holy [fathers].” (Price, The Acts of the Second Council of Nicea, p. 330) It should be noted that Canon 82 forbade the depiction of Christ as a lamb (opting for the depiction of His incarnate hypostasis–i.e. as a human). Interestingly, this Canon was anti-Roman, as the Church of Rome had followed this practice. (cf Price, The Canons of the Qunisext Council, p. 23) The fact that Rome had actually ceased conducting this practice immediately after the Trullan Council, as evidenced by a fresco commissioned by Pope John VII (approx 706-707 AD) which deliberately avoided the lamb depiction in conformance with the aforementioned canon, additionally implies the acceptance of Trullo. (Ibid., p. 42)

The preceding may imply full acceptance of Trullo, but it is not explicit evidence of such. However, such explicit evidence soon makes itself apparent. During the Council of Nicea 2, Canon 1 explicitly accepts all “the divine canons…those composed by the holy apostles, the celebrated trumpets of the Spirit, those published by the six holy ecumenical councils and by the councils convened locally to issue such injunctions, and those of our holy fathers.” (Price, Nicea 2, p. 610) This canon of Nicea 2, accepted by the West, clearly affirms Trullo. First, the fifth and sixth councils did not have canons and so by invoking the canons of “the six holy ecumenical councils,” it would have to be referencing the introduction to the Trullan canons. In this introduction, it asserts it is providing the canons the fifth and sixth canons lacked. (Price, The Canons of the Quinisext Council, p. 73) Second, the criteria of Canon 1 of Nicea 2, in its affirmation of both local councils and “those of our fathers,” is clearly is a citation of Canon 2 of Trullo. Canon 2 explicitly lists exactly which local councils and fathers are at issue.

Why this canon alone does not solve the dispute of whether the West accepted the Trullan canons is a question that there is no good answer to. It is on the basis of this canon that Nedungatt (2010) observes, “Recent scholarship, however, has rescued it [Trullo] and placed it back in the canon of the ecumenical councils.” (“The Council in Trullo Revisited,” p. 661) He calls this a “scholarly consensus.” (Ibid., p. 662)

There is a good reason for this consensus on the basis of corroborating evidence surrounding Nicea 2. Pope Adrian I in two separate occasions had accepted the Trullan canons. In his Letter to Taurisius (JE 2449) it is stated that , “I also accept the work of the same holy sixth council with all the canons,” a statement found intact in both the Greek and Latin manuscripts. (cf Price, The Acts of the Second Council of Nicea, p. 176) On top of this, Adrian I in a letter directed to Charlemagne cites Canon 82 of Trullo and attributes it to the “holy sixth council.” (Price, The Canons of the Qunisext Council, p. 50)

The Latin tradition since Nicea 2 has affirmed that the Trullan canons were accepted by Rome. In so doing, this tradition in time reconciled its anti-Roman canons as disciplinary and only applicable to the local context in the East. While this is a questionable reconciliation, it is a plausible (re-)interpretation of the “excellent reply” given by Justinian II which was accepted by Gregory II. How so? Justinian II probably put forward a compromise that allowed both sides to save face by employing economia. This worked due to the Trullan canons having great leeway in their application, thanks to the 102nd canon. In effect, Rome would be able to canonically not apply canons they found objectionable. The Trullan canons, such as Canon 30, had already explicitly applied economia in contexts which would otherwise forbid Roman practices. (Ibid., p. 38-39)

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

'The New York Times' can't shake the cloud over a 90-year-old Pulitzer Prize

The New York Times is looking to add to its list of 132 Pulitzer Prizes — by far the most of any news organization — when the 2022 recipients for journalism are announced on Monday.

Yet the war in Ukraine has renewed questions of whether the Times should return a Pulitzer awarded 90 years ago for work by Walter Duranty, its charismatic chief correspondent in the Soviet Union.

"He is the personification of evil in journalism," says Oksana Piaseckyj, a Ukrainian-American activist who came to the U.S. as a child refugee in 1950. She is among the advocates for the return of the award. "We think he was like the originator of fake news."

A new voice now adds himself to the cause: former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller — himself a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1989 for his own reporting for the Times on the Soviet Union.

In the 1930s, as now, an autocrat's decrees led to mass deaths of Ukrainian civilians and relied on misinformation to try to cover it up. Reporters, including Duranty, were censored and threatened. (A U.S. diplomat once wrote that Duranty told him his reports had to reflect "the official opinion of the Soviet regime.") Yet in a time before social media and the internet, foreign journalists were among the only ones who could get news out to the rest of the world.

Duranty was The New York Times' man in Moscow, as the line went, with a cushy apartment in which to entertain expatriates and a reputation as a leading authority on the Soviet Union. Duranty had staked his name on the idea that Josef Stalin was the strong leader the communist country needed. He is often credited with coining the term "Stalinism."

Read the rest here.