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."

Details.

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.

Details.

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.

Details.

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.

Ugghh

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