Thursday, December 31, 2015

Is Charlie Sheen in Russia?

A man in Russia’s Far East woke up in the morgue after having been declared dead, local media report. Before the incident, he had been doing vodka rounds with friends – and after the “miraculous awakening,” he went back to the party
The man who was mistakenly taken for dead passed out after drinking too much, local Khasanskiye Vesti newspaper reported Wednesday. However, it is not clear when exactly the incident took place. Khasanky Region is a coastal area in Russia’s Far East, which is home to some 35,000 people scattered over the territory of 4,100 square kilometers.

His friends called an ambulance and medical staff hastily declared the man dead before taking him to the morgue, according to the daily. However, the man eventually came back to his senses (somewhat) – only to find himself in a mortuary freezer.

That night the local morgue was filled to its capacity, the bodies were not only on the shelves, but also on the floor of the freezer room, where our ‘dead’ hero was allocated,” Aleksey Stoyev, a police spokesman, told the newspaper.

“At some point, the man woke up, failing to understand where he was. It was very dark and cold. In addition his brain was foggy due to the influence of alcohol. In the darkness, he felt someone’s completely cold limbs and in fear rushed to the door. But it was locked.”

He started screaming for help and pounding on the door. His calls drew the attention of the morgue’s guard, who reported the situation to the doctors. The latter thought that the guard was imagining things, according to the local report. Nonetheless, out of cautiousness the doctors called police.

Opening the door police were met by the ‘resurrected’ man who in panic ran out of the room, according to the department of criminal investigations. Police questioned the man and released him.

Returning to the place of the party, he found his friends were still drinking, but this time commemorating him. The person who opened the door was so shocked that he fainted, Khasanskiye Vesti says. The commemoration ceremony was quickly revamped into a re-birthday party.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On this day in 1759...

Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per annum to the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin and began brewing beer. The rest is history.

The world's political and economic order is stronger than it looks

Stefan Zweig tells us in The World of Yesterday what it feels like when the wheels really do come off the global system

Readers have scolded me gently for too much optimism over the past year, wondering why I refuse to see that the world economy is in dire trouble and that the international order is coming apart at the seams.

So for Christmas reading I have retreated to the "World of Yesterday", the poignant account of Europe's civilisational suicide in the early 20th century by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig - the top-selling author of the inter-war years.
From there it is a natural progression to Zweig's equally poignant biography of Erasmus, who saw his own tolerant Latin civilization smothered by fanatics four centuries earlier.
Zweig's description of Europe in the years leading up to 1914 is intoxicating. Everything seemed to be getting better: wealth was spreading, people were healthier, women were breaking free.

 He could travel anywhere without a passport, received with open arms in Paris, Milan or Stockholm by a fraternity of writers and artists. It was a cheerful, peaceful world that seemed almost untainted by tribal animosities.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: "You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith. I start by saying - and this is the fundamental thing - that God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

"Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Limited Posting

As we enter the final week of the Nativity Fast there will be limited or no posting until after Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates Old Rite Liturgy at the Moscow Church of the Protecting Veil in Rubtsovo

On December 13, 2015, the 28th Sunday after Pentecost and the commemoration day of St. Andrew-the-First-Called, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) and chairman of the Commission on Old Believer parishes and cooperation with the Old Believer community, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Protecting Veil in Rubtsovo, at which the Patriarchal Center of the Old Russian Liturgical Tradition operates.

Concelebrating at the Liturgy according to the Old Rite were Archimandrite Irinarkh (Denisov), rector of the Common Faith church in the Mikhailovskaya Sloboda village, Moscow region; Igumen Kirill (Sakharov), rector of the St. Nicholas church on Bersenevka; Archpriest Georgy Krylov, rector of the church of the New Martyrs of Russia in Strogino and head of the Assumption deanery in Moscow; Archpriest Ioann Mirolyubov, head of the Patriarchal Center of the Old Russian Liturgical Tradition, a cleric of the church of the Protecting Veil in Rubtsovo and secretary of the Commission on Old Believer parishes and cooperation with the Old Believer community; Revd. Mikhail Zheltov, head of the chair of church practice sciences of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Post-Graduate Studies; Revd. Yevgeny Sarancha, a cleric of the Common Faith church in the Mikhailovskaya Sloboda village; Hieromonk Sergy (Gaponov), rector of the Common Faith church in the Maloye Murashkino village in the Nizhny Novgorod region; and clerics of the parish.

Attending the Liturgy were Vladimir Yakunin, a founder of the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation, and Leonid Sevastianov, executive director of the Foundation and member of the Supervisory Board of the Patriarchal Center of the Old Russian Liturgical Tradition.

After the Litany of Fervent Supplication Metropolitan Hilarion lifted up a prayer for peace in Ukraine and addressed the worshippers, telling them in detail about the life and ministry of St. Andrew-the-First-Called, including the story of his apostolic mission in our land. St. Andrew was "the first baptizer of the Russian people even before St. Vladimir. It was St. Andrew who sowed the seeds of Christian preaching that later bore abundant and blessed fruits," Metropolitan Hilarion said and congratulated all reverend fathers, brothers and sisters on the feast and wished them St. Andrew’s aid in their labors.



More craziness from the German Catholic Church.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Women in combat will put men at greater risk


This was the sound of the United States reacting to news this month that all military positions, including ground combat, will be opened to women.
It is axiomatic that the White House, and not just this one, makes controversial announcements when people are otherwise distracted. Usually, this means late Friday afternoons when there isn’t much time for the media to make trouble. This particular announcement came on a Thursday, the day after two vicious killers opened fire on a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif. 

Ever since, all eyes have been on the assault and aftermath, as well as the antics of Donald Trump, while the notion of women in combat faded from the nation’s peripheral vision.

Arguments against this move are many, some of which I touched upon in a previous column that focused on women’s unequal opportunity to survive because of various physical differences. This time, I submit another crucially important but politically incorrect proposition: Men’s lives will also be put at greater risk if women are in combat.

The reasoning should be obvious. Plainly put, men tend to like women quite a lot and either will be tempted to express their attraction, and/or will want to protect their female companions.

Scoff if you must, but blame Nature.

Any combat veteran will tell you that unit cohesion is everything in battle. Common sense tells us that putting young men and women in the prime of their sexual lives together in the field, where the possibility of death is potentially imminent, is a potential — and unnecessary — gamble on unit cohesion. There is, after all, nothing like a funeral to remind the living of their mortal imperative.

Sexual tension is a most delightful distraction in civilian life. But in close quarters, where men likely would vastly outnumber the few women who qualify for combat, other human emotions — envy, jealousy and resentment — enter into a fray that’s already complicated enough.

Read the rest here.

Catholic Priest Receives & Distributes Episcopal Communion

Details at One Peter 5.

GOP preparing for contested convention

Republican officials and leading figures in the party’s establishment are preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention as businessman Donald Trump continues to sit atop the polls in the GOP presidential race.

More than 20 of them convened Monday near the Capitol for a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and the prospect of Trump nearing next year’s nominating convention in Cleveland with a significant number of delegates dominated the discussion, according to five people familiar with the meeting.

Weighing in on that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said.

The development represents a major shift for veteran Republican strategists, who until this month had spoken of a brokered convention only in the most hypothetical terms — and had tried to encourage a drama-free nomination by limiting debates and setting an earlier convention date.

Now, those same leaders see a floor fight as a real possibility. And so does Trump, who said in an interview last week that he, too, is preparing.

Read the rest here.

See also "What happens if Republicans have a brokered convention?"

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Sandro Magister: The next synod will be on married priests

ROME, December 9, 2015 - While waiting for Pope Francis to rule on communion for the divorced and remarried, which two synods discussed and split over, there is already a glimpse of the theme of the next synodal session: married priests.

The selection of the theme is up to the pope, as happened with the past synods and will take place with the next, independently of what will be proposed by the fourteen cardinals and bishops of the council that acts as a bridge between one assembly and the next.

And that married priests will be the next topic of synodal discussion can be gathered from various indications.

Read the rest here.

Venezuela Ran out of Other People’s Money

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money to spend." -Margaret Thatcher
Venezuelans rejected socialism. They’ve run out of other people’s money; the long lines to buy basic food and toilet paper did not help either. The mainstream media has glossed over this massive defeat of President Nicolas Maduro’s socialism.  In a great St. Nick gift, his opposition took back control of the National Assembly in a landslide election on December 6, 2015

According to the National Electoral Council, the Democratic Unity coalition won 99 of the 167 seats in the National Assembly, a legislative majority, while the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 46 seats.  If the opposition wins 13 of the 22 remaining races, it will gain a two-thirds supermajority, possibly running a referendum to get rid of Maduro before his term expires in 2019. A simple majority could amnesty all political prisoners.
Of the 19 million registered voters, 74 percent showed up to cast their ballots, a huge turnout, a sign that people have grown weary and tired of sixteen years of Hugo Chavez style socialism that brought Venezuela to the brink of destruction.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Supreme Court Asks Who is to be Counted in 'One Man One Vote'

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a voting rights case that has the potential to shift political power from urban areas to rural ones, a move that would provide a big boost to Republican voters in many parts of the nation.

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, No. 14-940, will address a question many thought had been settled long ago: What is the meaning of the principle of “one person, one vote”?

The principle, rooted in cases from the 1960s that revolutionized democratic representation in the United States, applies to the entire American political system aside from the Senate, where voters from states with small populations have vastly more voting power than those with large ones. Everywhere else, voting districts must have very close to the same populations.

But the Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on who must be counted: all residents or just eligible voters?

The difference matters, because people who are not eligible to vote — children, immigrants here legally who are not citizens, unauthorized immigrants, people disenfranchised for committing felonies, prisoners — are not spread evenly across the country. With the exception of prisoners, they tend to be concentrated in urban areas.

Their presence amplifies the voting power of people eligible to vote in urban areas, usually helping Democrats. Rural areas that lean Republican, by contrast, usually have higher percentages of residents eligible to vote.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

150 Years Ago Today

Slavery in the United States is abolished following the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

Emory: Faculty Thoughtcrime Tribunals

A group of black student protesters at Emory University in Atlanta issued a hysterical list of strident “demands” — their word — to the university administration, and demanded that they respond by December 4, or else. You know the drill: race radicals say “jump,” university administrators say “how high?” I have posted the students’ entire list of demands below, as well as the university’s full response. Both are extraordinary documents that deserve full reading. The students’ demands are mostly a wish list written by spoiled brats, and the university’s response is a capitulation to them.

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

American universities have long been notorious for their liberal bias. But they are now rapidly evolving into bastions of radical left wing bigotry. Forget the free exchange of ideas, freedom of speech itself has been all but abolished on many campuses. Anyone failing to kowtow to the orthodoxy of the race/thought police can expect no quarter from the red guards of the modern day Cultural Revolution sweeping across the landscape of higher education.

Unconfirmed Reports: Two kidnapped bishops are dead.

I have long suspected it. If they were not, we would have gotten some kind of demand or evidence of their being alive.

HT: Blog reader JL

Friday, December 04, 2015

Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

From Optina Monastery.

Peter Hitchens: Reflection on the British war debate

Robert E. Lee probably didn’t say ‘It is well that war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it’. But his great opponent, William Tecumseh Sherman, almost certainly did say: ’I am tired and sick of fighting –its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers. It is only those who have never heard a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.’

And a few years afterwards, to graduates of Michigan military academy: ‘I’ve been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.

'Suppress it! You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!’

Sherman prosecuted war with merciless vigour and is nobody’s idea of a pacifist. I suspect him of believing (as Prussia’s elite military corps did) that the only mercy in war is a swift victory by one side or the other , an unpleasant truth especially hard to stomach if yours is the side that loses.

Almost all the people I have met who knew about war held opinions similar to Sherman’s.  As a small boy, rather in love with war and its alleged glory,  and as a callow youth, amoral about violence in what I thought was a good cause, I thought them soppy and foolish. And when, without meaning to , I blundered into the edges of a couple of war zones, and heard live firing for the first time, and saw corpses after bullets had passed through them, and dirty, overcrowded hospital wards full of wounded men, and buildings which had been hit by modern munitions,  I very much took that view myself.  I am not a pacifist. I believe war is sometimes necessary, mainly in self-defence - and I absolutely support the training and maintenance of strong and usable armed forces.

But if I by some chance I were an MP, and if I were asked to support a warlike policy, I would need to hear arguments far better than those advanced in Parliament yesterday.  I am amazed at the strange enthusiasm which war still seems to produce in so many adults. I think it immature and naive.  I suppose I must just be very lucky to have known the people I knew, and seen the things I have seen.

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

An excellent read.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Memory Eternal

The Archpriest Gabriel (Seamore) has reposed after a long struggle with various illnesses. I knew him as a deacon when he served at the parish through which I entered the Church. He was a good friend to myself and my Godfather William of blessed memory. Most recently he was pastor emeritus of St. George the Great Martyr parish in Hesperia CA. 

May his memory be eternal!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Archimandrite Cleopa (Ilie): The Veneration of the Theotokos According to the Bible

We Orthodox Christians honor the Theotokos Mary more than all the saints and angels of heaven for she was found worthy to give birth to Christ, the Savior of the world by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The honor we render to the Mother of the Lord is exceptional, most honorable and most revered, for she is not only "a friend of His,” as are the other saints, but she is Most Holy (Panagia) above all the saints and all the angels.

For this the angels as much as people venerate and honor her with prayers, hymns, church services and eulogies. Similarly the Archangel Gabriel greeted her at the annunciation (Luke 1:28-29) as well as Saint Elizabeth, the mother of Saint John the Baptist (Luke 1:40-43).

The Most Holy Virgin herself prophesied through the Holy Spirit For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for He that is mighty has done to me great things (Luke 1:48-49). From these words we understand that the exceptional honor accorded to the Mother of the Lord is intentional and appointed by God Himself. This exceptional honor that is accorded by the Orthodox Church to the Ever-Virgin Mary forms the veneration of the Mother of the Lord.

In the framework of the veneration of the Most Holy Theotokos, we must firstly mention the great feasts of the Mother of God, which are: The Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Entry, the Annunciation, and the Dormition of the Theotokos. Then the services celebrated in the churches and the monasteries in her honor, the salutations, the canons of supplications, the hagiographic icons decorated so beautifully, especially the miraculous ones, and many other prayers through which we ask the help of the Mother of the Lord every day of our lives.

We honor the Mother of God because she is the mother who gave birth to the Son of God and the first one who intercedes for the world in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity. She helps us much more in the conquest of salvation by her holy prayers.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Pope Francis calls for full communion wiith Orthodox

In a message to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope Francis wrote that “there is no longer any impediment to Eucharistic communion which cannot be overcome through prayer, the purification of hearts, dialogue and the affirmation of truth.”

The Pope’s message to the Ecumenical Patriarch was timed for November 30, the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Constantinople see. Each year the Holy See sends a delegation to celebrate that feast with the Ecumenical Patriarch, just as the Orthodox leader sends representatives to Rome for the patronal feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29. This year Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, led the Vatican delegation.

In his message Pope Francis took note of the 50th anniversary of a joint declaration signed by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I, which lifted the mutual excommunications that had been pronounced in 1054 and “consigned those painful memories to oblivion.” Church leaders today should draw inspiration from that anniversary, the Pope said.

Having restored fraternal ties, the Pope wrote, the Catholic and Orthodox churches should complete the restoration of full communion. He observed that “the symbol of the fraternal embrace finds its most profound truth in the embrace of peace exchanged in the Eucharistic celebration.”


Sunday, November 29, 2015

During the Nativity Fast

 The Nativity Fast continues...

The Fast is a time of cleansing the soul and body. It is considered, and quite rightly so, that for a Christian cleansing is necessary not only for its own sake, in general, but also so that one might worthily commune of the Holy Gifts of Christ. Therefore, people are right in saying that the Fast exists so that during the Fast one may become “worthy” to receive Communion. That is true because fasting, abstinence, and asceticism are good means toward repentance. This is something that should be emphasized: fasting is not the goal of religious life, but merely a means [toward it].

However, repentance is something more than a means. If repentance is not the life in Christ itself, it is its actual well-spring, something so involved in [the goal of life in Christ], that it is as it were an integral part [of that life].

Without repentance, there can be no faith in Christ. The Gospel sermon addressed to sinful people begins with the words of the Forerunner and of the Lord Himself: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). Repentance is the elemental, archetypal religious state that turns us toward Christ.

One who does not perceive the unworthiness, defectiveness, sinfulness and weaknesses with which he satisfies himself…does not see the need for God, and blindly believes that he can get along without Him.

However, one who perceives his own sinfulness, his impotency, his helplessness and limitations, one who is sorrowed by them and wants to be renewed and become the richer for it, one who turns to God and cries out as if from the depths of a pit, “Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord. Lord hear my voice. Hear me, for I am poor and in need!” (Ps. 129:1) – such a person is on a religious path; he is no longer self-contented, but wants to rise up out of himself and turn his attention beyond the bounds of his being. Thus, fasting is beneficial towards evoking in ourselves feelings of repentance. A sense of repentance can also appear in the absence of fasting. An example would be the thief on the cross who turned to Christ and in the blink of an eye, repented. You do not need a lot of time to repent. It is possible to repent in the blink of an eye! There were times when many martyrs would come to Christ without having fasted or made any other “preparation.” It may be possible through means other than fasting to be sanctified and “be made worthy” to commune of the Holy Gifts. But it is impossible to do so without repentance. It is impossible to come to Christ dressed in filthy garments. God said, “Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45). The morally unclean should not, and simply cannot, approach God and see Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Moreover, one cannot prepare for communion of His Holy Gifts without vesting the heart in “wedding” garments. 

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Christian 'naturism' advocate appointed Bishop of Sherborne

The Church of England has appointed as Bishop of Sherborne a leading advocate of Christian nudism. On 26 Nov 2015 the Prime Minister’s Office announced the The Queen had approved the nomination of the Ven Karen Gorham, the Archdeacon of Buckingham, to the Suffragan See of Sherborne in the diocese of Salisbury in succession to the Rt Rev. Graham Kings.

The new Bishop of Sherborne, who will be consecrated in February at Westminster Abbey, has urged churches to educate their members on naturism, or nudism. “There is need for much education and openness to talk about issues of sexuality, to remove false taboos which we tend to have about our own bodies, and to define the differences between what is impure and what is godly and properly natural to us,” she wrote in “Naturism and Christianity: Are they compatible?”

Read the rest here.

You just can't make this stuff up. I have never heard of a church that swallowed the women's ordination Kool Aid and didn't go into a rapid nose dive. Of course usually the trajectory is already there, but W/O always seems to accelerate the slide into apostasy and ecclesial irrelevance.

Inquiries Stall as White House Puts Leash on U.S. Watchdogs

WASHINGTON — Justice Department watchdogs ran into an unexpected roadblock last year when they began examining the role of federal drug agents in the fatal shootings of unarmed civilians during raids in Honduras.
From Our Advertisers

The Drug Enforcement Administration balked at turning over emails from senior officials tied to the raids, according to the department’s inspector general. It took nearly a year of wrangling before the D.E.A. was willing to turn over all its records in a case that the inspector general said raised “serious questions” about agents’ use of deadly force.

The continuing Honduran inquiry is one of at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs over the shrinking access of inspectors general to confidential records, according to records and interviews.
Continue reading the main story

The impasse has hampered investigations into an array of programs and abuse reports — from allegations of sexual assaults in the Peace Corps to the F.B.I.’s terrorism powers, officials said. And it has threatened to roll back more than three decades of policy giving the watchdogs unfettered access to “all records” in their investigations.

“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in an interview.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing a blessed feast to you and yours.

Europe's moral and spiritual vacuum invites acts of terrorism

...The decline of Christianity in the West has created a spiritual and moral vacuum of colossal proportions. It is this vacuum that gives Islamism momentum and nourishment.

The West simply no longer understands spirituality and has lost touch with its spiritual foundations by abandoning Christianity, now banished also from the EU Treaty. Several countries have removed Christian and all religious symbols from public spaces. By removing God they have created an empty space for evil to fill. This has been combined with morally bankrupt foreign policies that have accepted the slaughter and beheading of Christians, which is tantamount to a destruction of Europe’s own spiritual foundations to achieve geopolitical gains, the latest of which is regime change in Syria by removing the country’s democratically elected president.

The monster created by the rejection of Christianity is gaining power, as terrorism has grown from a de-christianized culture. Secularism and Islamism are two faces of the same destructive spirituality, two parasites nurturing each other. While justice and mercy combine in the virtues that spring from Christianity, the destructive justice of Islamism becomes glaringly demonic. There is no longer a spiritual counterweight of grace, forgiveness and charity, only a political counterpoint, which is clearly inadequate.

Secularism, relativism of values, materialism and democracy as a new religion (idolatry devoid of a deity) constantly prove their feeble inadequacy when facing Islamism. The post-Christian ideologies possess no core of spiritual strength - surveillance and military hardware is what they offer. It takes more to win a war. It takes moral strength. The West has lost its moral strength, amply evident in its approach to foreign policy by supporting so-called moderate terrorist groups that show little moderation when it comes to beheadings and literally eating the hearts of their victims.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

French Right Wing "National Front" Surges After Attacks

AMIENS, France — After years of shouting from the sidelines of French politics about the dangers of unchecked immigration, open borders and radical Islam, Marine Le Pen had a message this week for the French establishment: I told you so.

“We tried to warn them,” the far-right leader told a crowd of hundreds of cheering supporters in this northern French city, “but we were never heard.”

But after the Nov. 13 attacks that claimed at least 130 lives in Paris and stunned the nation, Le Pen, 47, and her formerly fringe party have found themselves being listened to as never before. Long scorned by the political mainstream as a band of racist xenophobes, the far right in France — and across Europe — is increasingly setting the terms of the post-attack debate.

Read the rest here.

Elite funds prepare for reflation and a bloodbath for bonds

One by one, the giant investment funds are quietly switching out of government bonds, the most overpriced assets on the planet.

Nobody wants to be caught flat-footed if the latest surge in the global money supply finally catches fire and ignites reflation, closing the chapter on our strange Lost Decade of secular stagnation.

The Norwegian Pension Fund, the world's top sovereign wealth fund, is rotating a chunk of its $860bn of assets into property in London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, New York, San Francisco and now Tokyo and East Asia. "Every real estate investment deal we do is funded by sales of government bonds," says Yngve Slyngstad, the chief executive.

It already owns part of the Quadrant 3 building on Regent Street, and bought the Pollen Estate - along with Saville Row - from the Church Commissioners last year. But this is just a nibble. The fund is eyeing a 15pc weighting in property, an inflation-hedge if ever there was one.

The Swiss bank UBS - an even bigger player with $2 trillion under management - has issued its own gentle warning on bonds as the US Federal Reserve prepares to kick off the first global tightening cycle since 2004. UBS expects five rate rises by the end of next year, 60 points more than futures contracts, and enough to rattle debt markets still priced for an Ice Age. 

Read the rest here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Scientology's Moscow branch to be dissolved

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has ordered the Church of Scientology in Moscow to be dissolved.

The Moscow City Court on Monday accepted arguments from the Justice Ministry that the term Scientology is trademarked and thus cannot be considered a religious organization covered by the constitution's freedom-of-religion clause.

Prosecutors also said the church carried out activities in St. Petersburg, though it was only authorized to operate in Moscow, according to the Tass news agency.

Several books by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard are banned in Russia for "extremist" content.

A church representative said the decision would be appealed, Russian news agencies reported.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald and 50 years of conspiracy nonsense

A Point of View: Has the Catholic Church really changed? (BBC)

...So let's, just for the hell of it, allow our imaginations to run riot. What might a reformed Catholic Church look like? Start with small steps - allowing communion to divorced or co-habiting couples, the Church not judging gay men in loving relationships (both positions Francis himself has espoused). From there we move to a greater acceptance of homosexuality in general, even to same-sex union and families. How long before we hit celibacy and women priests? At which point there are women in the faith who would want to widen the debate, to suggest that it is the whole notion of an elevated priesthood and hierarchy that needs addressing, encouraging more democracy and community as a way to get better shepherds for the flock. 

Enter a religion defined by God's mercy and inclusion, with a strong voice on issues like market excess and climate change and where men and women shared spiritual power. In a world under attack from testosterone-driven fundamentalism - I could have written exactly those same words before the events in Paris, but somehow they mean even more now - that is a religion even I might be tempted to join. Though how many Catholics I would find sitting next to me in the pews is a big question.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An appeal

I don't usually post solicitations on here, but I am making an exception in this case. Holy Trinity has been struggling for a number of years. So if by chance you have some extra cash, please consider making a donation. Even a small one would help.

Patriarch Younan: IS cannot be defeated with air raids, the West has betrayed Christians

The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Younan, accuses Western governments of perpetuating an "endless conflict in Syria" out of regional interests. The terrorists who use Islam as an excuse for violence “have already infiltrated Europe, supported by money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States under the supervision of Western governments." Pope Francis "true defender of justice, is deeply pained by what is happening in Syria and Iraq."

Read the rest here.
HT: A blog reader.

The Missionary Vision of the Martyred Fr. Daniel Sysoev

By all accounts, Fr. Daniel Sysoev was a powerful and effective missionary priest. According to his missionary companion and close friend, Prof. Yuri Maximov (now Priest Giorgy Maximov.—O.C.), Fr. Daniel turned “around 500 Protestants” to Orthodoxy and personally “baptized more than 80 Muslims” in his fourteen years of ordained ministry.1 He built a church community and mission center in an immigrant district in Moscow and had great success reaching persons of various ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and social classes.2 As a direct result of his efforts, and in accordance with his express desire and sense of calling, he crowned his ministry with martyrdom, being shot in the nave of his own church on the night of November 19, 2009...

...Fundamentally, Fr. Daniel’s missionary activity found its most basic principle in an extreme faith in the reality of eternal life and eternal judgment. When viewed from the perspective of an eternal destiny, actions in this present life gain a new significance; temporal life becomes “a school” where the human being is to prepare himself for “true life,” which “begins after the Final Judgment.”5 As such, it behooves every Christian to intentionally live a life that prepares him for eternity and to continually meditate on the transitoriness of earthly life and the inevitability of facing death and judgment.

 While Jesus has “earned paradise for us” by his death on the Cross and Orthodox Christians have “receive[d] salvation as a gift through baptism,” they still need to “assimilate” its reality to themselves by living a Christian life that is characterized by continual repentance, frequent Communion, and the performance of “good deeds”, which fulfill Christ’s commandments.7 If the Christian does not busy himself with repentance and thereby assimilate the salvation of baptism to himself, he runs the risk of his post-baptismal sin becoming a sort of “second nature” which would sever him from Christ and make him “incapable of entering into eternity.”8

Following a common interpretation of the writings of St. Cyprian of Carthage, Fr. Daniel taught that, “outside the Church there is no salvation,” and anyone who does not “come into the Orthodox Church will perish forever.”9 In his view, this included anyone who was outside of the formal boundaries of the Orthodox Church, including Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Old Ritualists.10 (Indeed, so strong was his view on this subject, that he claimed that “heresy” and “schism” were the only sins that a martyric death would not “wash... away.”11)

Read the rest here.

Islam and the Closing of the Secular Mind

The  "enlightened" Western mind can no longer think seriously or coherently about religion.

Given the decidedly strange response of the Obama Administration and much of the Western commentariat to the violence sweeping the Islamic world, one temptation is to view their reaction as simple incomprehension in the face of the severe unreason that leads some people to riot and kill in a religion's name. But while the Administration's response has plenty to do with trying to defend a foreign policy that has plainly gone south, it also reflects something far more problematic: the Western secular mind's increasing inability to think seriously and coherently about religion at all.

This problem manifests itself in several ways. The first is the manner in which many secular thinkers seem to regard all religions as "basically the same." By this, they often mean either equally irrational or as promoting essentially similar values.

A moment's reflection would indicate to even the most militant atheist that this simply isn't true. Islam and Christianity, for instance, have very different understandings of who Jesus Christ is. Christians believe that he is God, the second Person of the Trinity. Muslims do not. Ergo, Islam and Christianity are not effectively the same. At their respective cores are fundamentally irreconcilable theological positions. It's also very difficult to find robust affirmations of free will outside Judaism and Christianity (at least the orthodox varieties of these two faiths).

Likewise, as any informed Muslim will tell you, Islamic theology has no real equivalent of the Christian idea of the church. The Greek word for "church" (ekklesia) literally means to be "called out." That, alongside Christ's words about the limits to Caesar's power, had immense implications for how Christians think about the state and its relationship to religion. Among other things, it means Christianity has always maintained significant distinctions between the temporal and the spiritual realms that are far less perceptible -- again, as any pious Muslim will inform you -- in Islamic theology and history.

All this, however, is a little complicated for those secular intellectuals who simply regard religion as just another lifestyle-choice rather than being essentially about people's natural desire to (1) know the truth about the transcendent and (2) live their lives in accordance with such truths.

That's why the left talks so much today about "freedom of worship" (as if your faith-decisions are akin to choosing which mall you shop at) and are trying to peddle a version of religious liberty that basically confines religious freedom to what happens inside your church, synagogue, mosque or temple on your given holy-day of the week. The notion that religious liberty is all about creating space for people to live out their beliefs consistent with others' freedom to do the same and even permits us to peacefully argue -- gasp! -- about the truth of different religions' claims seems to be beyond their grasp.

Read the rest here.
HT: The Young Fogey
Via; Dr. Tighe

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Orthodox church in Halifax opens doors at former Saint Matthias Anglican Church

Fifteen years ago, Affaf El-Jakl remembers there was talk of building a new church to accommodate the growing congregation of Saint Antonios Orthodox Church.

And on Sunday, that hope finally became reality.

“We’re in awe,” El-Jakl, president of the parish council said Sunday morning, as hundreds of parishioners filed into the sanctuary, filling it to capacity until there was only standing room and the upper balcony left to sit.

"It's not everyday a new church is built and opened."

The crowd gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the new church with the first of what would be many Sunday masses to follow, sitting in pews that originally belonged to the building when it served as Saint Matthias Anglican Church.

Read the rest here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Andrew P. Napolitano: The President and the rule of law

Earlier this week, a federal appeals court in New Orleans upheld an injunction issued by a federal district court in Texas against the federal government, thereby preventing it from implementing President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Critics had argued and two federal courts have now agreed that the orders effectively circumvented federal law and were essentially unconstitutional.

Though the injunction on its face restrains officials in the Department of Homeland Security, it is really a restraint on the president himself. Here is the back story.

Read the rest here.

On the Nativity Fast - the preparation of the soul

A reflection on the role of the Nativity Fast, which might seem the opposite of Christmas joy, in preparing the human heart for the true joy of encountering Christ's incarnation.

The herald of the pending miracle begins. It is the Eve of the Nativity as these words are sung. The transformation of the world, the birth of God, is but hours away, and it is through such words that the faithful are called into attentiveness and anticipation. 'Make ready, O Bethlehem!' We can see the radiant lights of of the feast just beyond the horizon, we can taste the sweetness of the miracle that took place beneath a star; and through the words sung around and within us in the Church, the great eve of the birth of God is made a reality in our present experience. We make ready, and we wait.

But this is not the first moment of preparation for the Feast. For 'forty days', with the usual adjustments to that length for Sabbaths and Sundays causing it to begin on 15 November,{Footnote}According to the Church Calendar; 28th November on the civil calendar.{/footnote} the Church has been setting herself in readiness, drawing her attention to the mystery to come, waiting in expectation. She has made use of the great joy that will arrive on Christmas day as occasion to take up the task considered by so many as opposite to joy: fasting, with all its rigour, its harshness, its discomfort. These are the steps which, for Orthodox Christians throughout the world, lead to the radiant wonder of the Nativity of Christ.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris terror attacks an alarm bell for liberal, borderless Europe

The attack on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket last January proved that Islamic extremists regarded themselves as at war with France. It is now clear to everyone – including some French public figures who have resisted the idea – that, as President Hollande said on Saturday, France is now at war with Islamic extremists.

Because the enemy is already within – and the eight terrorists killed in the attacks in Paris are merely the tip of the iceberg – fighting this war will be unpleasant, difficult and controversial.

The website of Le Figaro, the conservative French newspaper, proclaimed that there was “war in the heart of Paris”. It is a mood widely shared by the French people, whose attitudes have themselves been radicalised by these terrible events...

... The political implications for France will be extensive. Next month the country has regional elections, which were already being regarded as a stiff and perhaps impossible test for the weak and unsuccessful socialist government of François Hollande.

The French press has for months been forecasting that Marine Le Pen’s Front National could win two or possibly even three of the 22 regions in metropolitan France, and warning that such a result would be an electoral earthquake for the country.

Although Mme Le Pen has cleaned up her party from the overtly racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic entity it was under her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen – from whom she is, as a result, estranged – she has been the only high-profile politician to warn consistently of the dangers of the large numbers of Muslims in France, and of their failure to integrate properly into French society.

Read the rest here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

On the coronation and anointing of French monarchs

Titled women of the French nobility (duchesses and countesses) could inherit land and titles from their fathers if they had no surviving male issue to succeed them, but from antiquity the throne and crown of France adhered to Salic Law, which permitted succession to the throne only through the male line and excluded all females. A central theological and ceremonial reason for why the French monarchy did not permit female succession was the highly sacramental nature of the coronation rites, in which the king exercised a quasi-sacerdotal role and held certain sacred instruments which, it was believed, women could not touch. While queens of France were customarily crowned and anointed at their husband’s accession, this was often done in a separate ceremony. While French kings were most often crowned at the Reims Cathedral. French queens were crowned most often at the St Denis Basilica.

Thus, due to the strict enforcement of Salic Law, France has never had a female monarch. Reflecting their crucial importance in dynastic marriages, however, several queens of France were the daughters of previous French kings or reigning provincial dukes whose fathers, lacking any surviving male issue, married them to the men who ultimately succeeded to the French throne as king. Numerous French queen mothers also governed as regents on behalf of their underage sons until they reached their majority.

Three examples of French queens who were themselves the daughters of French kings or powerful dukes were 1) Queen Anne de Bretagne (1477-1514), consort to King Charles VIII from 1491-98 and then after Charles’ death consort to King Louis XII from 1499 to her own death, reigned as Duchess of Brittany in her own right from 1488; Anne’s daughter Queen Claude (1499-1524), consort to Francois I (1515-24) and daughter of King Louis XII, reigned as Duchess of Brittany in her own right after her mother’s death in 1514; and Queen Marguerite (1553-1615), consort to France’s first Bourbon King Henri III de Navarre/ IV de France (1572-1599), sister to French kings Francois II, Charles IX, and Henri III, who was the daughter of King Henri II and (from 1559-89) the powerful Queen Mother and regent Catherine de Medicis.

Read the rest here.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic and St. Justin Popovic on Ecumenism

 St. Nikolai Velimirovic and St Justin Popovic share the position of the entire Orthodox Church on ecumenism. Our dialogue with non-Orthodox is the evangelical responsibility that is specific to the very nature, to the very essence of the Orthodox Church, which is the same Church that the Lord founded on Himself as eternal stone (1 Corinthians 3:11). It is our duty to bear witness to the Risen Lord to the end of the world. This mission was entrusted to the Apostles, and the Orthodox Christians do not have the right today, after two thousand years, to withdraw from it.

However, a profound interest and involvement in the ecumenical movement implies questioning and criticism of it? We should not stand silently by without pointing out the problems that arise within the ecumenical movement when, represented by certain organizations, it begins to meddle in political and national issues while the essential question—the unity of the Christian world—remains in the shadows. How can the Orthodox Church (and indeed other churches) participate in a movement which could ultimately destroy the very foundations of the Christian faith and morals?

As we have concluded that on the one hand, we do not have the right to withdraw from efforts toward ecumenical dialogue, and that on the other, we have ever rising discontent with the development of the broader ecumenical movement, the question is whether it is time to design a new model, a new formula of ecumenism which would allow us to interact with each other and collaborate in a more positive way? This does not mean that we need to, or should, abandon and forget all the important work that has already been done: convergence, better knowledge and understanding of each other impregnated with love, but having in mind and heart to make a step forward. For this new model of dialogue and collaboration we have an inexhaustible source in the works of Nikolai Velimirovic and Justin Popovic, and especially by using their severe criticism of the consideration of ecumenism as an ideology. 

Read the rest here.


I am back on the right coast and settling in. With some luck I will have a regular internet connection and the various other essentials  up and running in a few days.

Monday, November 02, 2015

On the road again

My somewhat nomadic existence continues. After ten years on the left coast, I have finally had enough. For various reasons, including some family issues, I am moving back East and will be on the road within a couple of days. During the move period, which basically begins today (final packing), I won't be online much. Expect little or no posting until sometime late next week.

Kansas City Royals Win the World Series

Very depressing, but I congratulate the Royals. In truth they consistently outplayed the Mets. The better team won.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Surprise! Science Says Your Cat Wants To Kill You

The ancient Egyptians and everyone on the internet may worship cats, but the feeling is less than mutual. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh worked with the Bronx Zoo on a study comparing the behavioral patterns of house cats with their much larger cousins. By rating them in the “Big Five” personality traits — Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/Introversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism — researchers uncovered quite a bit about your “devoted” companions.

With this feline Meyers Briggs test, they found that your fuzzy roommates had basically the same personalities as African lions, being dominant, impulsive and neurotic. Sure, they’re also playful, clever and inquisitive, but their findings show that the only thing keeping them from murdering in you in your sleep is their size. Cats are no dummies, so as long as you’re ten times bigger than them, you’re probably ok.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wow what a game!

Royals 5 Mets 4 in 14 innings. We lost but it was an incredible game.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov is Consecrated as a Bishop

The well known abbot of Moscow's Sretensky Monastery, and author of "Everyday Saints and Other Stories" has been consecrated as a vicar bishop for Moscow. Having read the English translation of the book, I cannot recommend it too highly.

Read Patriarch Kirill's sermon here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ben Carson Likens Abortion to Slavery

Ben Carson argued Sunday that abortion should be outlawed in almost all cases, and he likened women who terminate their pregnancies to "slave owners." 

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether a woman should have the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, Carson, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, acknowledged upfront that the choice of words would be controversial. 

“During slavery — and I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said: 'You know, I don't believe in slavery. I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do'? Where would we be?"

Read the rest here.

I have been making this argument for years. Abortion is the great moral issue of our age in the way slavery was in the 19th century. And both are built on the same foundation. One group of people trying to strip another group of people of their basic humanity in order to reduce them to the status of property. Property that can be disposed of however the "owners" see fit.

I do not self identify as pro-life. I am an abolitionist.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Damian Thompson: The Vatican Synod on the Family is over and the conservatives have won

This afternoon the Vatican Synod on the Family amended and approved the final document summing up three weeks of chaotic and sometimes poisonous debate – much of it focussing on whether divorced and remarried people should be allowed to receive communion. 

The majority view of the Synod Fathers is that they don’t want the rules changed. They especially don’t want one rule to apply in, say, Germany and another in Tanzania. Pope Francis has just given a cautiously worded (but also, alas, rather waffly) address in which he acknowledges as much:

Read the rest here.

OCA Deposes Archbishop Seraphim

During their annual fall session in Detroit, MI October 19-23, 2015, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America canonically deposed the retired Archbishop Seraphim from the status and all sacred functions of the episcopacy, removed him from the ranks of the clergy, and returned him to the status of a lay monk.

Read the rest here.

Catholic bishops at synod call for a more welcoming church

VATICAN CITY — Catholic bishops called Saturday for a more welcoming church for cohabitating couples, gays and Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried, endorsing Pope Francis’ call for a more merciful and less judgmental church. 

Bishops from around the world adopted a final document at the end of a divisive, three-week synod on providing better pastoral care for Catholic families. It emphasizes the role of discernment and individual conscience in dealing with difficult family situations, in a win for liberal bishops. 

Conservatives had resisted offering any wiggle room in determining, for example, whether civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion since church teaching forbids it. While the document doesn’t chart any specific path to receiving the sacraments as originally sought by the liberals, the document opens the door to case-by-case exceptions to church teaching by citing the role of discernment and conscience. 

The three paragraphs dealing with the issue barely reached the two-thirds majority needed to pass, but conservatives couldn’t muster enough votes to shoot them down. That will give Francis the maneuvering he needs if he wants to push the issue further in a future document of his own.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Met. Hilarion's Address to the Roman Catholic Synod

Your Holiness!
Your Beatitudes, Eminences and Excellencies!

On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus I extend fraternal greetings to you on the occasion of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church on the theme of the family.

In our restless and disturbing world the human person needs a firm and unshakeable foundation upon which he can rest and upon which he can build his life with confidence. At the same time, secular society, aimed primarily at the gratification of individual needs, is incapable of giving the human person clear moral direction. The crisis of traditional values which we see in the consumer society leads to a contradiction between various preferences, including those in the realm of family relationships. Thus, feminism views motherhood as an obstacle to a woman’s self-realization, while by contrast having a baby is more often proclaimed as a right to be attained by all means possible. More often the family is viewed as a union of persons irrespective of their gender, and the human person can ‘choose’ his or her gender according to personal taste.

On the other hand, new problems are arising which have a direct impact on traditional family foundations. Armed conflicts in the contemporary world have brought about a mass exodus from areas gripped by war to more prosperous countries. Emigration often leads to a disruption of family ties, creating at the same time a new social environment in which unions of an inter-ethnic and inter-religious nature arise.

These challenges and threats are common to all the Christian Churches which seek out answers to them, proceeding from the mission that Christ has placed upon them – to bring humanity to salvation. Unfortunately, in the Christian milieu too we often hear voices calling for the ‘modernization’ of our ecclesial consciousness, for the rejection of the supposedly obsolete doctrine of the family. However, we ought never to forget the words of St. Paul addressed to the Christians of Rome: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ (Rom. 12: 2).

The Church is called to be a luminary and beacon in the darkness of this age, and Christians to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light to the world’. We all ought to recall the Saviour’s warning: ‘If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men’ (Matt. 5: 13-14). The salt which has lost its savour are those Protestant communities which call themselves Christian, but which preach moral ideals incompatible with Christianity. If in this type of community a rite of blessing of same-sex unions is introduced, or a lesbian so called ‘bishop’ calls for the replacement of crosses from the churches with the Muslim crescent, can we speak of this community as a ‘church’? We are witnessing the betrayal of Christianity by those who are prepared to accommodate themselves to a secular, godless and churchless world.

The authorities of some European countries and America, in spite of numerous protests, including those by Catholics, continue to advocate policies aimed at the destruction of the very concept of the family. They not only on the legislative level equate of the status of the same-sex unions to that of marriage but also criminally persecute those who out of their Christian convictions refuse to register such unions. Immediately after the departure of Pope Francis from the USA, President Barack Obama openly declared that gay rights are more important than religious freedom. This clearly testifies to the intention of the secular authorities to continue their assault on those healthy forces in society which defend traditional family values. Catholics here are found at the forefront of the struggle, and it is against the Catholic Church that a campaign of discrediting and lies is waged. Therefore courage in vindicating Christian beliefs and fidelity to Church tradition are particularly necessary in our times.

Today, when the world ever more resembles that foolish man ‘which built his house on the sand’ (Matt. 7: 26) it is the Church’s duty to remind the society of its firm foundation of the family as a union between a man and woman created with the purpose of giving birth to and bringing up children. Only this type of family, as ordained by the Lord when he created the world, can forestall or at least halt temporarily modern-day society’s further descent into the abyss of moral relativism.

The Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, has always in her teaching followed Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition in asserting the principle of the sanctity of marriage founded on the Saviour’s own words (Matt. 19: 6; Mk. 10: 9). In our time this position should be ever more strengthened and unanimous. We should defend it jointly both within the framework of dialogue with the legislative and executive branches of power of various countries, as well as in the forums of international organizations such as the UN and the Council of Europe. We ought not to confine ourselves to well-intentioned appeals but should by all means possible ensure that the family is legally protected.

Solidarity among the Churches and all people of good will is essential for guarding the family from the challenges of the secular world and thereby protecting our future. I hope that one of the fruits of the Assembly of the Synod will be the further development of Orthodox-Catholic co-operation in this direction.

I wish you peace, God’s blessing and success in your labours.

From here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Goodbye Sweden

This is the last post on this blog. I am leaving Sweden for good shortly, and will no longer be following its descent from what was once the third most prosperous country in the world. Frankly, it’s just too damn depressing...

...Having said that, what Sweden is doing is something completely different. The once homogenous population has been forever altered by a rapid and massive addition of people from vastly different cultures and value-systems. 26,8% of the population is now foreign-born or with at least one foreign-born parent, and the national census bureau estimates that some 150 000 per year will arrive to the country of just 9,8 million residents.

There simply is no possible way to absorb and assimilate such volumes of people, period. Then you are merely creating ethnic enclaves, which due to incompatible language, culture and job skills become ghettos, which in turns brews crime, misery and extremism. Once the inflow has exceeded the capacity for absorbtion, further immigration only makes the problem worse.

Read the rest here.

RIP: Irwin Schiff

A very intelligent man who ultimately over indulged in the  libertarian Kool-Aid. His son Peter has followed in his footsteps. They are both heroes to the anarcho-libertarian wingnuts. I however, do not view him in that light.To my mind he was a political crank who got a lot of people in serious trouble peddling the legal equivalent to snake oil.

My sympathies to those who no doubt loved and cared for the man. But I will pass on the political canonization. Thanks anyway.

The Finns Again

March 10, 2015 (Source:

Met. Ambrosius of the autonomous Finnish Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate is well-known as a very liberal bishop, even among the other liberal bishops of the very liberal Finnish Church of the liberal Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Recently, Met. Ambrosius, who has been noted as a supported of ‘gay rights’, and ‘inclusion of women in ordination’, etc, invited a Finnish Lutheran female bishop into the altar during an ordination he was performing; he even commanded his deacons to commemorate the Lutheran bishopress.  Complete with an organization such as the “Orthodox Rainbow Society” and their report encouraging ‘discussion’ and ‘re-evaluation’ of traditional dogmas, the recent report and conference held on marriage is not surprising.

The American Greek Archimandrite John Paneleimon Manoussakis stated that “when the rule about priestly celibacy was overruled with the reformation, it was the first step towards the goal, that we are now about to give marital status also to homosexual couples.”

The “Marriage Seminar” was hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Diocese of Helsiniki.

Met. Ambrosius has made additional statements encouraging more ecumenism with the Finnish Lutherans and other groups.

The teachings of Met. Ambrosius, the Finnish group under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on these issues of morality as well as their embrace of modernistic and ecumenistic theology is rejected by True Orthodox Christian clergy and laity, who refuse to have any communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate or any group in union with it.

From NFTU. (Some additional links can be found on the source page.)
HT: Dr. Tighe

HUGE CAVEAT: NFTU is a schismatic website and anything posted there needs to be taken with a large dose of salt. Or, to put in Wikipedia language, it is not a reliable source. That said, there is just no denying that the Finnish Church went off the rails some years ago. They represent the closest thing we have to an "Episcopalian" style Orthodoxy. The Russian Church has very chilly relations with them.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Failed Attempt to Rewrite History: Against the Myth of the Byzantine Gay Marriage Rite

Writing the history of a religious institution involves understanding concepts and language within their historical and cultural context. Yale professor John Boswell's book purports to find precedents for homosexual marriage, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy during the late Byzantine period. His main contention is that the Byzantines regarded the rite of adelphopoiesis, a Greek term translated as "same-sex union" by Boswell, as a form of marriage contracted between two males and blessed by the Church.

It is beyond dispute that there are rites for adelphopoiesis contained in Byzantine manuscripts dating from the ninth to the 15th century. The ceremony was conducted by a priest for two males in church, and contained symbols common to Byzantine marriage rites including holding candles, joining hands, receiving Communion, and processing three times around a table used in the celebration. Prayers used for the sacerdotal blessing referred to God establishing "spiritual broth­ers" (pneumatikous adelphous) and contained references to sainted pairs, including most no­tably SS Sergius and Bacchus, who were famous for their friend­ship. The order of the service var­ied, but appeared to possess a simple structure, usually includ­ing petitions followed by the cen­tral prayer(s) of benediction and a dismissal.

In order to evaluate whether this service was equivalent to a marriage ceremony, it is necessary to understand how marital unions were formed in late Byzantium, and then to compare the rites. Our concern in this analysis will not be to examine the content of the prayers involved in the rites, as has already been accomplished in sev­eral reviews of Boswell's work, but to focus on the context in which the rites were used and described in late Byzantine society.

Read the rest here.

HT: Pravoslavie

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Latest From Puerto Rico

Officials in the Treasury Department are discussing a radical and aggressive response to the fiscal chaos engulfing Puerto Rico that could involve a broad debt exchange assisted by the federal government.

The proposal calls for the federal government to help Puerto Rico collect and account for local tax revenues from the island’s businesses and residents, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the proposal. An inability to collect all the taxes owed is widely seen as contributing to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

The tax proceeds would be placed in a “lockbox” overseen by the Treasury and eventually paid out by the Treasury to the holders of the new bonds that Puerto Rico would issue in the proposed exchange. Since the Treasury would effectively become the paying agent for the new bonds, they would be more attractive than the bonds that creditors now hold.

That would make it easier for Puerto Rico to exchange the new debt with creditors who hold bonds that have been devastated in value since the island warned this summer that it could not pay its debts.

Read the rest here.

Did Pope Pius XII Actively Plot Against Hitler?

Yes, according to this fascinating book excerpt. I may have to add this to my reading list.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Go Mets!

The Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, on Thursday night in Game 5 of their division series to advance to the National League Championship Series.

In a much-ballyhooed pitching matchup between the young Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom and the Dodgers ace Zack Greinke, deGrom pitched through a great deal of adversity and hung on for a gritty six innings to earn the victory. He gave up six hits and three walks, but struck out seven and allowed only two earned runs.

Read the rest here.

Good thing I don't have high blood pressure. That game was a nail biter.

A Note on the Catholic Synod

Yes, I am aware that the Roman Catholics are having a big meeting in Rome. Yes, I realize it is controversial. No, I am not ignoring it. Thus far nothing substantive has occurred. There is a great deal of hyperventilating going on both in Rome and on the blogosphere. Lots of rumors and speculation and good old fashioned gossip. But nothing official has come out of the Synod... yet.

Once something actually happens, I will post it and maybe comment.

Argentina’s Ruling Party Eyes Bigger Banknotes amid Soaring Prices

For the first time in years, lawmakers from Argentina’s ruling Front for Victory coalition have proposed upping the size of the country’s largest denomination banknote to AR$200.

Congressman Carlos Kunkel, author of the initiative, claims the measure has nothing to do with inflation, which runs at 25-35 percent annually, according to private estimates.

Instead, the larger bill — US$12.50 at the black-market rate — would “reduce the cost of printing and circulating money,” Kunkel told a local radio station on October 8. “It will be more convenient for the people.”

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Methodist, Episcopalian Clergy ‘Bless’ Cleveland Abortion Clinic in Prayer Service

CLEVELAND, OH, October 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- More than a dozen religious leaders from a variety of denominations gathered last week to support abortion and "bless" a Cleveland abortion facility.

The "blessing" of the Preterm facility was initiated and coordinated by Rev. Laura Young, a Methodist priestess and the executive director of The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice's (RCRC) Ohio chapter. 

"Bless this building," prayed Rev. Tracey Lind, Dean of Cleveland's Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, at the abortion facility. "May its walls stand strong against the onslaught of shame thrown at it. May it be a beacon of hope for those who need its services."

Read the rest here.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cubs win NL Division Series beat Cardinals 6-4 in Game 4

Their first ever post season series win at Wrigley Field. Could this be their year?


The 2015 Cubs win the World Series from Back to the Future II (an otherwise highly forgettable film).

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chase Utley and Ruben Tejada

That wasn’t a slide into a 2nd base (unless Utley mistakenly thought 2nd base was somewhere in the outfield). It was a missile aimed at Tejada with the objective of taking him out by any means necessary. Mission accomplished with the added benefit of a broken leg. Even worse was the way the play was called. Utley never touched the damn base before or after the slide. He never came close to it. It was the worst blown call I’ve seen since the umpire robbed Armando Gallaraga of a perfect game back in 2010.

Gabriel Sanchez takes on Trad Catholics and Orthodoxy

Four Uncontroversial Paragraphs for Saturday

I have haven't always agreed with Gabriel's commentary on the Orthodox Church, but this one seems pretty fair and balanced (apologies to Faux News).

HT: Bill Tighe

Saturday, October 10, 2015

RIP: Jerry Parr - Bodyguard who helped save Reagan

Jerry S. Parr, the Secret Service agent credited with saving President Ronald Reagan’s life during an assassination attempt in 1981, died Friday at a hospice near his home in Washington. He was 85.

The death was confirmed by Mr. Parr’s wife, Carolyn, who said he died of congestive heart failure.

Mr. Parr was just feet away from Mr. Reagan when John W. Hinckley Jr. opened fire on the president outside the Washington Hilton hotel on March 30, 1981.

“When he was about probably six or seven feet from the car, I heard these shots,” Mr. Parr said in a 2013 interview promoting the memoir he wrote with his wife. “I sort of knew what they were, and I’d been waiting for them all of my career, in a way. That’s what every agent waits for, is that.”

Read the rest here.

Memory eternal!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Quote of the day...

"The goal of human freedom is not in freedom itself, nor it is in man, but in God. By giving man freedom, God has yielded to man a piece of His Divine authority, but with the intention that man himself would voluntarily bring it as a sacrifice to God, a most perfect offering. "

- St. Theophan the Recluse

SS United States in Imminent Danger of Scrapping

Marilyn Monroe, JFK and the Mona Lisa all enjoyed the luxurious Atlantic crossing provided by the Titanic-sized SS United States.

But the famed liner, which still holds the record for a crossing between the US and Britain by a passenger ship, now faces its final journey - to the scrapyard.

The SS United States Conservancy organisation can no longer afford the $60,000 a month it costs to dock the ship on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, where it rests, empty and rusting.

he group had planned to turn the ship, which is nicknamed the Big U, into a real estate development for New York's waterfront, which was once the ship's home, but no investors have yet come forward.

Unless that changes by the end of this month, the group said, “we will have no choice but to negotiate the sale of the ship to a responsible recycler”.

Susan Gibbs, executive director of SS United States Conservancy, told the New York Times that the decision to seek bids from scrapyards was "excruciating".

Read the rest here.

$3 trillion corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of reckoning, says IMF

Governments and central banks risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned, as it called time on a corporate debt binge in the developing world.

Emerging market companies have "over-borrowed" by $3 trillion in the last decade, reflecting a quadrupling of private sector debt between 2004 and 2014, found the IMF's Global Financial Stability Report.

This dangerous over-leveraging now threatens to unleash a wave of defaults that will imperil an already weak global economy, said stark findings from the IMF's twice yearly report.

The Fund warned there was no margin for error for policymakers navigating these hazardous risks.

The slightest miscalculation, they said, could collapse into a "failed normalisation" of interest rates and market conditions, wiping 3pc from the world's economic output over the next two years. 

Read the rest here.

Britain's New Labour Leader Snubs The Queen (link fixed)

Jeremy Corbyn has snubbed the Queen by refusing to be sworn into the Privy Council on Thursday, as it emerged he could use a loophole to join the advisory body without ever meeting Her Majesty.

The Labour leader, a lifelong republican, is known to have reservations about kneeling in front of the Queen and kissing her hand as he swears an oath of allegiance to her, which is the normal process when a new Privy Councillor is sworn in.

And having refused to sing the National Anthem at a Battle of Britain 75th anniversary service last month, Mr Corbyn tried to dodge the issue by saying
io he could not attend tomorrow’s meeting due to unspecified “prr engagements”. 

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Statement by the Russian Orthodox Church on the mass murder of Christians in Oregon

The Russian Orthodox Church is deeply grieved to learn about the terrible terrorist action in a college in the state of Oregon in the United States, in which peaceful people were killed. What makes the tragedy even graver is that the killer consciously chose to victimize young people who confess Christianity. This glaring inhuman act confirms once again that Christianity has become the most persecuted religion in the world. Extremists in various parts of the world increasingly seek to provoke hatred and enmity among religions and nations, for which they are ready to commit the most inhuman evil deeds.

The Moscow Patriarchate again and again calls the world community to pay attention to the importance of protecting Christians against terror. We keep reminding the powers that be and religious and public leaders of the responsibility lying on their shoulders for the peaceful co-existence between people of different religions, ethnoses and cultures. At the same time, we believe that the terrorist actions committed in the recent time in various countries of the world were provoked by the political and social chaos created by external forces in a number of countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The Russian Orthodox Church is grieving together with the American people for those who were killed and praying for the recovery of the injured and for the consolation of the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist action. We hope that the authorities of the United States of America will take measures to prevent such tragedies and ensure a peaceful and safe life for Christians and people of other traditional religions.