Here & There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

Politics and World Affairs . . .

  • Stuart Buck on Darfur:

    This genocide will end in one of two ways: either the international community will begin to take its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur seriously and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure their survival or it will end when the Africans in Darfur have been completely eliminated.
  • “Was World War II Worth It?”, asks Pat “isolation above all else” Buchanan @ World Net Daily . . . and receives a sound and merited thrashing from Instapunk and VodkaPundit.
  • It seems Pat Buchanan isn’t the only one prone to utterly stupid comments about World War II — this week Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the U.N., called “the worst of several unnecessary, man-made global catastrophes that made the 20th century one of the most bitter that humanity has ever known.” According to Catholic World News:

    The archbishop acknowledged that under some circumstances warfare may be justified or even required — as he put it “a limited and strictly conditioned use of force could be inevitable.” However, he insisted, “the tragic and devastating nature of war” should prod all leaders to exhaust every peaceful means of resolving conflicts. Archbishop Migliore suggested steps to extend the UN’s peacekeeping abilities, by strengthening existing international legal agreements and expanding the role of the UN to include “an inter-governmental peace-building commission.”

    Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate notes the moral ambiguity in the Archbishop’s remarks:

    And just who, according to Archbishop Migliore, deserves the credit (or, rather, blame) for the “unnecessary, man-made … catastrophe” known as World War II? Does he place the blame squarely where it belongs – on Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, and last, but not least, Stalin (lest we forget the non-aggression pact and his simultaneous invasion of Eastern Europe as Hitler invaded Poland)? When he speaks of “exhaust[ing] every peaceful means of resolving conflicts”, does the Archbishop include sacrificing Austria and the Sudetenland to the likes of a madman like Hitler? Does he mean ignoring the Rape of Nanking? And what substantive suggestions – not platitudes – does the Vatican’s envoy to the UN offer for how the Allies were to have avoided going to war?
  • “More On God And The State” from Someguy @ Mystery Achievement, including a provocative quote from Avery Dulles on the “absolutist interpretation of the right to life” and the abolition of the death penalty in formerly Christian [European] countries.

    Michael Novak has a 3-part interview with Zenit News on “The Hunger for Liberty”, the title and theme of his latest book. Part I deals with The Need for Morality to Safeguard Freedom, Part two with “The Clash of Civilizations”; part three “On Europe’s Lost Desire for Freedom”:

    When the virtues proper to moral liberty weaken, so does the vitality of economic and political liberty. The cardinal virtues of honesty, courage, practical realism and self-control — temperance — are indispensable in democracy and a dynamic, creative economy.

    By moral liberty I mean the right to do what one ought to do, not what one pleases. The other animals can only obey their instincts. Humans have a right and a duty to discern among their instincts the way of reason, the law of God, and to exercise self-government in following that law down the pathways of liberty.

    I was listening to a discussion between George Weigel and William Kristol (Weekly Standard) this afternoon, in which Weigel pretty much said the same: that a nation and a culture whose conception of liberty has degenerated into the satisfaction of the ego and material desires has no hope of sustaining itself in the present war.

In religion . . .

  • Earl E. Appleby @ Times Against Humanity provides a roundup of news reports and reactions to the appointment of San Francisco Archbishop Levada to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  • Catholics in Congress – A special investigation and report by David of Catholics for President George W. Bush:

    I put together a report on how the 131 Catholics in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted/acted on the non-negotiable issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and torture. I looked at 14 different actions (votes, co-sponsorship status, co-signing of letters of support). An introduction and links to the report in Excel and HTML formats can be found here. (A Senate report is in the works.) I hope it generates discussion and thought. Of course, comments, complaints, etc. are welcome.
  • Bill Cork delivers a sound fisking to Commonweal — responding to the editors’ whining over the CDF’s disciplining of Fr. Reese of America:

    [Commonweal]: Does this mean that the zeal with which then-Cardinal Ratzinger harried theologians while head of the CDF will continue during his papacy?

    It means that this bishop will continue to preach and teach and defend the Catholic faith, as he was ordained to do.

    [Commonweal]: For those who had hoped that the pastoral challenges of his new office might broaden Benedict’s sympathies, this is a time of indignation, disappointment, and increased apprehension.

    For those Catholics who have cried, “How long, O Lord?” this is a time of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and increased wonder at the goodness of God.

    No intellectually honest person could possibly claim that Reese’s America has been in the business of undermining church teaching.

    No intellectually honest person could possibly claim that Reese’s America has been in the business of bolstering and defending church teaching.

  • In this week’s “Word from Rome” (National Catholic Reporter May 13, 2005), background details on the expulsion of Fr. Reese as editor of America:

    Based on conversations with senior Jesuit sources in Rome May 11, I can confirm that a letter was indeed sent by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the early months of 2005, before Ratzinger’s election as pope, to Kolvenbach. I have not seen the letter, and therefore I do not know if it contained a direct order to remove Reese, or if it was a more vague expression of a desire to see a change in direction at America. The Jesuit sources said, however, that the thrust of the letter was clear — that Reese’s position was no longer tenable.

    I also do not know if that letter was signed by Ratzinger. What I can report with certainty is that over the past five years, Ratzinger personally raised the concerns about America in his conversations with Kolvenbach. Like other religious superiors, Kolvenbach meets with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to discuss cases involving members of his order, and it was in the context of those routine conversations that America arose.

  • Dusty Canons” – Jamie Blosser (Ad Limina Apostolorum) on reading the Code of Canon Law:

    The laws of the Church lay out a vision of the Church and her members which is disciplined, well-ordered, ambitious, and efficient. Roles are assigned, duties are carried out, the disorderly are chastened, the sacraments are offered, the Gospel is preached, and the faithful grow in holiness and charity. Now, I’m hardly a doom-and-gloom type with regard to the state of the American church, but one has to wonder about the gaping chasm between Church law and Church life. . . .
  • Classical Music 101, an introduction by Mark Windsor (Be Not Afraid), in answer to the question: “I’d like to learn more about classical music but haven’t any idea how to go about it. What would you suggest?”
  • Dr. Blosser aka. The Pertinacious Papist weighs in on Jane Fonda’s Christianity.
  • Chris Burgwald @ Veritas relates his experiences with Communion & Liberation.
  • Byzantine-Rite Catholic Daniel Nichols (Caelum et Terra) on the offense of Padded Pews:

    And what, ultimately, is the message of the Padded Pew? That the Church does not intend, in any way, to disturb our comfort? But if the Church is the physician and we are the patients, shouldn’t its prescriptions be corrective?

    Perhaps instead of padding our pews churches should remove the padding from the kneelers, and hand out hair shirts at the door.

    In an age such as this the Church must counter not only spiritual sloth, the easy immorality of an increasingly godless society, but physical sloth, the laziness and love of ease of an increasingly spoiled society.

    Indeed, perhaps it is the love of ease, and not the love of sin, which is the greater danger to our souls. Or perhaps the two are the same.

    A provocative essay. Having been to a few pew-less (Orthodox) services myself, I can appreciate his position: There is definitely something about ‘standing at attention’ that concentrates the mind on the liturgy.

  • I’ve mentioned Canticle magazine before — this week I had the pleasure of discovering the blog by editor Genevieve Kineke: Feminine Genius, “exploring the richness of authentic femininity.” Welcome to St. Blog’s, Genevieve!

On a lighter note . . .

  • Chianca: Looking for a hipper pope, by Peter Chianca. May 6, 2005.Allston-Brighton TAB:

    For his part, Pope Benedict has said that he opposes abortion, birth control, euthanasia, priests marrying and the ordination of women. He has also decried homosexuality and called rock music “the vehicle of anti-religion.” But he admitted he said all that before he got a chance to study the latest focus group results.

    “I realize that American Catholics are a demanding constituency,” the new pontiff said this week. “I’ll be sure to listen to their concerns closely, and who knows? There might be some wiggle room in the whole homosexuals/birth control/rock music thing.”

    He then chuckled and said, “Those crazy Americans and their sexualized, culture-of-death society!”

    . . . Meanwhile, many American Catholics have told the new pope in no uncertain terms that he’d better snap to it.

    “All I know is, something better give,” said Mark Venkman, spokesman for Lighten Up, Catholics!, an organization of sort-of Catholic laypeople who have grown disenchanted with the church the more it gets on their case. “If they’re not careful, we’ll stop going to church.

    “Um … I mean, on Easter and Christmas Eve, too.”

  • The Comics Curmudgeon is updated daily (if all goes well) by Josh Fruhlinger, who posts strips from the Baltimore Sun funnies with his own witty commentary.
  • The Ordination Class of 2005 — the USCCB posts introductions to “a few of the men ordained this year to serve the Church and the people of God.” Among them is Dana Christensen, whom you might know better as author of the blog The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian. Congratulations!
  • Brewery Says New Pope Loves Its Beer – Stuttgart brewery “Stuttgarter Hofbreau” sent a beer truck to Rome this past weekend to deliver 700 liters, or 185 U.S. gallons of beer to Pope Benedict XVI, who is reported to be a fan. Via Saintly Salmagundi.

  • Ferid from Iraqi4Ever posts some great photos of the Iraqi softball team. “The Iraqi national baseball and softball federation was established after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Hussein considered baseball a product of U.S. imperialism. The Baghdad softball team has been invited to travel to the U.S. in July 2005.”

Incidentally, my habit of posting a roundup of my favorite posts was inspired by Lane Core Jr.’s “BlogWorthies”. Check him out every week at Blog from the Core.

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