Saturday, January 26, 2019

A Critique of Old Calendarist Ecclesiology

Since its inception, the Old Calendarist movement has generated a substantial degree of debate. Although not all Old Calendarist groups share the same beliefs, the following three views are certainly among the most prevalent:

1) Ceasing commemoration of heretical hierarchs is obligatory (not optional)

2) Communion ought to be broken not only with erring clergymen, but also with those who, albeit Orthodox, maintain communion with them

3) Heretical clergy lose the grace of the mysteries even prior to synodal condemnations

The purpose of this paper is to critique these tenets using a range of examples from the history of the Church. Moreover, since several other matters relating to zealotry (such as the change in the Church’s Calendar) also remain highly misunderstood amongst both Old Calendarists and New Calendarists alike, they too shall be addressed..

Read the rest here.

Report: Orthodox Church of Cyprus to recognize schismatic Ukrainian church

The source is an anti-Russian news site, but they made some specific claims and quotes. I believe the report is credible. It's also not very surprising. I have generally expected that Cyprus and possibly the Greek and Romanian Churches would fall in line with Constantinople. Presumably Moscow will sever communion with Cyprus once this becomes official.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Ultrasound Unable To Detect Heartbeat In New York State Legislators

ALBANY, NY—After the New York State Legislature voted to greatly expand abortion rights all the way up until the point of birth Tuesday, doctors quickly ordered echocardiograms on every lawmaker who voted for the bill, but tragically, no heartbeats were found by any of the ultrasounds.

Physicians desperately searched the chest cavities of the legislators for any sign of a heartbeat but found only a black void where normal human beings have a heart.

"Not a single one of these legislators appears to have a heart," said one doctor gravely. "This is a known medical condition. When you try to justify the murder of infants, you slowly sear your conscience. As a side effect, your heart begins to harden. Finally, it becomes pure stone and eventually withers away into nothing, leaving you with a black void: a husk of a human."

"It's really the only way you could possibly cheer on something like the murder of babies," he added as he performed another cardiac ultrasound. "Nope, this one's coming up negative too: just blackness where normal people have a heart."

Doctors also ordered blood tests but found only cold hatred running through the veins of every legislator who voted to further oppress the unborn.

HT: Brian W.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Quote of the day... an indictment of American Conservatism

It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights, will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rôle of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position.”

-Rev. Robert L Danby (1820 – 1898)

HT: Bill Tighe

Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen): A Canonical Crisis in the Orthodox Church

 The actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (EP) in its process of granting a Tomos of autocephaly to the schismatic groups in Ukraine have created a canonical crisis. This point of “judgment” (the real meaning of “crisis”) is not so much about Ukraine, per se; but about the nature of the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and of primacy, indeed of episcopacy in the Orthodox Church. Thus, it affects every Orthodox Church and every Orthodox Christian. It has nothing to do with nationalism, though this has been a tool for manipulation of various parties involved; it has nothing to do with a rivalry between Moscow and Constantinople, though this is certainly exacerbated by the situation. It has nothing to do with Greeks versus Russians, or with Constantinople’s frustration with Moscow over the Cretan council. The roots of this crisis are a hundred years old, and its foundations date back to the Roman Empire.

It is a time of judgment for Orthodoxy, to make us deal with reality as it is, and not how we imagine it to be, not how we would like it to be. This means that to resolve this crisis we have to look at the history of the past several hundred years, and the current situation, and make some decisions as to how we are going to proceed as the Church. This brings up many corollary questions: What is the relationship between the Church and the world, the Church and secular governments, the Church and the nation-state? How does the Church engage in missionary outreach, and the nature of those missions? How do the Local Churches relate to one another, maintain communion with one another and support one another, in relation to the secular world?

The real issue is, what is the nature of the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Orthodoxy and how does it work in relation to the Synodal constitution of the Church?

There are two systems of presuppositions which have clashed in Ukraine. First, the conciliar vision of the Church which sees Local autocephalous Churches as having full authority over their defined territories, and missions, with full jurisdiction over juridical, canonical and disciplinary matters residing in the Synod of that Local Church. The Patriarch of Constantinople has primacy of honor as the first among equals, on the basis of the ancient canons. However each Synod has its own primate, and each functions independently as autocephalous. The second system has a set of presuppositions which vest final authority in the Ecumenical Patriarch over all canonical decisions, with a right of appeal and the right to overrule the other patriarchs, primates and their Synods, and whose decisions cannot be appealed. The conciliar/synodal model has been the operating principle of most of the Orthodox Churches for the past several hundred years. The Constantinopolitan model has been developing over the last century, on the basis of interpretations of the ancient canons, and has most recently been applied in Ukraine. It relativizes the autocephalies of the national Churches, and asserts not only primacy of honor but primacy of jurisdiction over all the Orthodox Churches, and sole jurisdiction outside of their national territories.

The specific conflict between these two visions of the Church manifested itself in Ukraine. While the interference of political powers and their financial ability to influence the leading actors, as well as the personal motivations of various actors involved, are important,they are side issues. The current conflict arose from the process of granting the Tomos of autocephaly to the schismatics in Ukraine, and especially, the validation of their schism. This was done despite the presence of the much larger canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an autonomous Church under the Moscow Patriarchate. There was no consultation nor agreement with the UOC-MP, and they did not request autocephaly. The process involved the petition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for autocephaly from the President of Ukraine, P. Poroshenko, on behalf of two groups that had long been in schism from the canonical Church in Ukraine. These bodies were led by former clerics who had been legitimately defrocked and anathematized by the Russian Orthodox Church, of which they had been members: the so called “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko and “Metropolitan” Makary. The excommunication and expulsion of Denisenko had been universally recognized as just, for abuse of power and corruption, and for schism; and supported, even by Patriarch Bartholomew, who had also affirmed the complete competence and jurisdiction of the Russian Church to deal with these issues. Poroshenko’s petition included an appeal to overrule the decisions and disciplines levied against these clerics by the Russian Synod. The EP appointed two Exarchs, bishops from North America, to work out the details of the relationship with Constantinople and bring the two groups together. By entering Ukraine on official Church business without the blessing of the canonical Metropolitan of Kiev, Metropolitan Onuphry, the Exarchs of Constantinople violated the canonical territory of the autonomos Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and of the Patriarchate of Moscow of which it is part. Interfering in the Church affairs of another Local Church, and invading their territory are major canonical infractions. As a result, Moscow resolved to cease commemorating the Patriarch Bartholomew. Constantinople then withdrew the 300-year-old document, ceding jurisdiction of Kiev to Moscow. The biggest canonical infractions came, however, when the EP validated these schismatic groups and declared them fully canonical, took them under his jurisdiction, and validated the priesthood and episcopacy of their clergy. Moscow had no choice but to break communion with Constantinople at this point. Constantinple later established them with a Tomos of Autocephaly. In addition, the EP has established a stavropegial diocese, under himself, on the territory of Ukraine. He is operating on the basis of his own presuppositions; but they are not shared by the rest of the Church. Rather, he is seen as operating unilaterally, without consultation or conciliar consensus with the other Orthodox Churches.

Perhaps the most significant act in this process has been the validation of the clergy of the schismatic groups, and the recognition of their organization as a legitimate church within the Patriarchate of Constantinople, albeit nominally autocephalous. None of the other actions of this process touch on the sacramental constitution of the Church; these, however, cut to the very nature of episcopacy and priesthood, and of the Church itself. Everything else, as offensive as it has been to the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Churches, is essentially administrative and juridical. Not that these are not important, but they do not have any implications for sacramental integrity of the Church or the continuity of the Tradition. If this schism was just administrative, the parties would eventually reconcile, even if grudgingly, as after Constantinople invaded and divided the Church in Estonia. There was a break in communion for a time, as there is now between Jerusalem and Antioch. But there was no issue that forced the rest of the Churches to take sides and go into schism with the others.

The schismatic clergy all had cut themselves off from the canonical Church. Some had been canonically ordained, most were uncanonically ordained by schismatic bishops, and some had never been ordained as bishops. In an unprecedented sweep of the pen, the Patriarch of Constantinople declared all these clergy valid and canonical, lifting the defrockings and anathemas, and placing them under his omophorion—figuratively. Then the EP demands that they commemorate the new primate as the head of a legitimate Orthodox Church, and serve with him and his clergy, and does so himself. So all the Churches, the primates and Synods, must choose: Will they serve with clergy from this new Ukrainian Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate? Those clergy and faithful will also go all over the world, to Jerusalem, Mt. Athos, Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, Romania. Will they be received to communion? Will they be allowed to serve? Will their Baptisms be recognized?

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Prayers please...

In your mercy please pray for the child of God Richie Bonillas who is gravely ill.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Anti-Catholic bigotry is alive in the U.S. Senate

Those who want to understand how Democrats manage to scare the hell out of vast sections of the country need look no further than the story of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and the Knights of Columbus.

In considering the confirmation of Brian Buescher to a federal judgeship last month, Harris and Hirono submitted written questions that raised alarms about his membership in “an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men.” “Were you aware,” Harris asked, “that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” And: “Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?” And: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”

For those who know the Knights of Columbus, this is a bit like accusing your Aunt Harriet’s knitting circle of being a Mexican drug cartel. In most of the country, the Knights of Columbus is a respected fraternal organization consisting of men who hand out coats to needy children, promote devotion to the Virgin Mary, support crisis pregnancy shelters and protest doggedly each year in the March for Life.

Hirono regards the traditional moral views of the Knights as “extreme positions.” The difficulty with this line of reasoning is that they are exactly the same positions of the Catholic Church itself. So why wouldn’t a judge’s membership in the Catholic Church — with its all-male clergy, opposition to abortion and belief in traditional marriage — be problematic as well?

The difficulty with a reductio ad absurdum comes when people no longer find it absurdum. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has made the argument bluntly. In raising concerns in 2017 about appeals court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith, Feinstein said, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.”

So is it fair to say that Harris, Hirono and Feinstein would want judicial nominees to quit religious organizations that hold “extreme positions” or recuse themselves from all matters of morality that the senators regard as tainted by religious dogma? That sounds like an exaggeration. But here is a question that Hirono asked both Buescher and Paul Matey, another appeals court nominee: “If confirmed, will you recuse yourself from all cases in which the Knights of Columbus has taken a position?”

This is not just a liberal excess; it is a liberal argument. Religious liberty, in this view, reaches to the limits of your cranium. You can believe any retrograde thing you want. But you can’t act on that belief in the public square. And you can’t be a member of organizations that hold backward views and still be trusted with government jobs upholding the secular, liberal political order.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

RIP: Jack Bogle

The father of the low cost index fund and a man often called the conscience of Wall Street, Jack Bogle has passed at 89. Warren Buffet said that Jack did more for the ordinary investor than any man he knew. I think that about sums it up.

Memory eternal.

Some Good News From the Other Side of the Tiber

In a moment in history where good news from the Roman Catholic Church is not altogether common...

The US Military Academy has witnessed its first solemn High Mass according to the old rite in at least 57 years.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Worse than you thought: inside the secret Fitzgerald probe the Navy doesn’t want you to read

A scathing internal Navy probe into the 2017 collision that drowned seven sailors on the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald details a far longer list of problems plaguing the vessel, its crew and superior commands than the service has publicly admitted.

Obtained by Navy Times, the “dual-purpose investigation” was overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort and submitted 41 days after the June 17, 2017, tragedy.

It was kept secret from the public in part because it was designed to prep the Navy for potential lawsuits in the aftermath of the accident.

Unsparingly, Fort and his team of investigators outlined critical lapses by bridge watchstanders on the night of the collision with the Philippine-flagged container vessel ACX Crystal in a bustling maritime corridor off the coast of Japan.

Their report documents the routine, almost casual, violations of standing orders on a Fitz bridge that often lacked skippers and executive officers, even during potentially dangerous voyages at night through busy waterways.

The probe exposes how personal distrust led the officer of the deck, Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock, to avoid communicating with the destroyer’s electronic nerve center — the combat information center, or CIC — while the Fitzgerald tried to cross a shipping superhighway.

When Fort walked into the trash-strewn CIC in the wake of the disaster, he was hit with the acrid smell of urine. He saw kettlebells on the floor and bottles filled with pee. Some radar controls didn’t work and he soon discovered crew members who didn’t know how to use them anyway.

Fort found a Voyage Management System that generated more “trouble calls” than any other key piece of electronic navigational equipment. Designed to help watchstanders navigate without paper charts, the VMS station in the skipper’s quarters was broken so sailors cannibalized it for parts to help keep the rickety system working.

Since 2015, the Fitz had lacked a quartermaster chief petty officer, a crucial leader who helps safely navigate a warship and trains its sailors — a shortcoming known to both the destroyer’s squadron and Navy officials in the United States, Fort wrote.

Fort determined that Fitz’s crew was plagued by low morale; overseen by a dysfunctional chiefs mess; and dogged by a bruising tempo of operations in the Japan-based 7th Fleet that left exhausted sailors with little time to train or complete critical certifications.

Read the rest here.

Full English Text of Tomos Granting Autocephaly to the Schismatic Church in Ukraine

For the record.

Brexit Deal Voted Down

Prime Minister Theresa May has just suffered the worst parliamentary defeat of any British government in modern political history. Her Brexit deal with the EU was voted down by a margin of 230 in the House of Commons. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a motion of no confidence in the government.

I am not aware of any government that upon sustaining a loss on their signature policy legislation in the Commons did not immediately resign and call for a general election.


Monday, January 14, 2019

A Moment in Time

It's a cold wet November day in Colchester Connecticut and three buddies are settling into a booth in Art's Sportsman's Tavern for a beer, a smoke and some friendly conversation. Maybe about the weather, the fishing or FDR's chances of winning a third term on election day.

And somebody snapped a picture.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

NY Governor Cuomo vows no budget unless abortion is made legal up to birth

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is refusing to sign the state’s budget unless the legislature passes a bill that makes abortion up until birth for any reason legal in the state. He is also calling on the legislature to enshrine abortion as a right guaranteed in the state constitution.

While delivering a pro-abortion speech at Barnard College in Manhattan with former first lady Hillary Clinton at his side, the 61-year-old Democrat vowed not to support the 2019-2020 state budget legislation until the state legislature approves the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Christ is born!

Reports: Vatican may be trying to rehabilitate McCarrick

This is deeply disturbing.


Merry Christmas from Ireland

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), the Republic of Ireland’s version of Planned Parenthood, will begin aborting babies January 7, reported the Irish Examiner. The legalization of the murderous procedure in the predominantly Catholic nation came after Ireland’s president signed legislation passed in December by Ireland’s parliament — which was responding to a referendum earlier in 2018 by which Ireland’s citizens voted by a two-to-one margin to repeal their constitution’s Eighth Amendment protecting the right to life of unborn children.


The People vs. Donald J. Trump: The case for impeachment

The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it.

He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves.

To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.

The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it?

The easy answer is to wait — to allow the various investigations of Trump to run their course and ask voters to deliver a verdict in 2020. That answer has one great advantage. It would avoid the national trauma of overturning an election result. Ultimately, however, waiting is too dangerous. The cost of removing a president from office is smaller than the cost of allowing this president to remain.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

For the record

The Ecumenical Patriarch has signed the tomos recognizing the schismatic Ukrainian church. I will be interested to see what's in the fine print. Beyond which, unless the local churches can be moved to take a stand, I see no end to this schism in the foreseeable future.

New Ukrainian Church and Greek Rite Catholics Pledge Cooperation

According to information published by the Ukrainian website RISU, “the primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniate) have already met and agreed to work out a roadmap, in order to deepen the relationships between the two Churches”.

In an interview with the Ukrainian TV channel Pryamyy, Metropolitan Epifaniy declared...

 “We have outlined a definite path for our future cooperation, and from now on, we will seek for points of convergence that will unite us, in the field of spiritual education and other areas of our lives. Ad hoc commissions will be created by our Orthodox Church and by the Greek Catholic Church, and we are developing the roadmap for our cooperation”.

He stressed that the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) have always had a common goal, namely to work for the development of the Ukrainian State. This is a permanent goal.

As reported, Patriarch Svyatoslav (Shevchuk), the head of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church contacted Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He wrote that, in the name of his Church, he was reaching out to Epifaniy and all the Orthodox brethren, offering them to journey together towards unity.



Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year

Louis Armstrong & Jimmy Durante sing Old Man Time

Sweden Isn't Socialist (mostly)

For years, I've heard American leftists say Sweden is proof that socialism works, that it doesn't have to turn out as badly as the Soviet Union or Cuba or Venezuela did.

But that's not what Swedish historian Johan Norberg says in a new documentary and Stossel TV video.

"Sweden is not socialist -- because the government doesn't own the means of production. To see that, you have to go to Venezuela or Cuba or North Korea," says Norberg.

"We did have a period in the 1970s and 1980s when we had something that resembled socialism: a big government that taxed and spent heavily. And that's the period in Swedish history when our economy was going south."

Per capita GDP fell. Sweden's growth fell behind other countries. Inflation increased.

Even socialistic Swedes complained about the high taxes.

Astrid Lindgren, author of the popular Pippi Longstocking children's books, discovered that she was losing money by being popular. She had to pay a tax of 102 percent on any new book she sold.

"She wrote this angry essay about a witch who was mean and vicious -- but not as vicious as the Swedish tax authorities," says Norberg.

Yet even those high taxes did not bring in enough money to fund Sweden's big welfare state.

"People couldn't get the pension that they thought they depended on for the future," recounts Norberg. "At that point the Swedish population just said, enough, we can't do this."

Sweden then reduced government's role.

They cut public spending, privatized the national rail network, abolished certain government monopolies, eliminated inheritance taxes and sold state-owned businesses like the maker of Absolut vodka.

Read the rest here.