Monday, July 19, 2004

Points to Ponder:
(On West-East Ecumenical Relations From Our Favourite Academic Orientalist)

That intrepid Rome reporter John Allen recently sat down with Father Robert Taft of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, one of the foremost Vatican experts on East-West affairs. It seems that patience is wearing thin in some quarters. A big sticking point with the Moscow Patriarchate is that it refuses to recognize the millions of Greek Rite Catholics in Ukraine, those who are in communion with Rome. Allen asks whether we are ever going to persuade the Orthodox to change their minds. Taft: “No, and I don’t think we should even try. To hell with Moscow.” Would Fr. Taft care to say what he really thinks? Yes he would: “Basically, there are three groups in the Russian hierarchy. You’ve got a wacko kind of rightwing fringe. These are the ones who agree with calling Rasputin a saint and that kind of garbage. Then you’ve got people like Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, who are open and ecumenical and intelligent, because he’s got an education. Then you’ve got kind of a middle group that’s very conservative but not frothing at the mouth. Kirill’s group is a very small minority. The patriarch is a juggler trying to keep all these balls in the air.” So, Allen asks, Taft is recommending tough love? Taft: “Absolutely. That was one of the problems of the Secretariat of Christian Unity [in the past]. When the Orthodox would say something outrageous, the Vatican would make remonstrances privately, but never in public. You can’t do it that way. That makes them think they’re getting away with it. It’s got to be front page, in your face.” According to reliable sources, Fr. Taft is not looking for another job. I expect there are those in Rome who are glad that somebody said out loud what they have been thinking for some time. [Richard John Neuhaus: First Things circa May 2004]


I had to take some time today to enroll in an online society which seeks a moratorium on the music of Marty Haugan and David Haas. The thread can be found HERE. Apparently, I am not the first to enroll here from St. Blog's. As one who attends a parish where this kind of music is rare, my involvement is more for the purposes of solidarity with those who have to hear this kind of music on a regular basis. (As I used to before becoming part of Blessed Sacrament.) Nonetheless, this link is added to the side margin in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Miscellaneous Threads for Review:

Senate candidate says: U.S. out of U.N.

Tony Blair criticizes the "swinging'60s"

Three Cheers for the Coz (Part I)

Three Cheers for the Coz (Part II)

Will the West Survive?

Democrat Magicians

The Cos Again

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

In Remembrance of Who:

It is wise to have all animals in before you go to bed or when you leave the house -particularly if they are cats. Rarely have I controverted this principle but last night was an occasion where I left for the office with one cat (Dr. Who) still outside. Upon getting home, I tried the usually effective catnip bribe to get him to come in a few times but it did not work after three or more attempts. I figured he would be at the window wanting in come morning so I went to bed about four am. Upon waking around nine thirty, I walked the property calling for Doc and he was not to be found. Not to be found until I went around the front of the house to check the boulevard.

For upon doing that, I found him in the street dead. He was stretched as if trying to reach the side of the road. Having never seen him near the street in almost nine years (he was scared of loud noises), the last place I thought to look for him was there.

Though there have been many pets for which unique personalities made for unique memories, I have never had a pet so gentle as he was -gentle as well as strong.{1} (His paws were downright Paul Bunyan-like and when I would scratch his back, he would flex open and close his massive paws.) He was also very affectionate. More could be noted but that is all I will say at this time. I repeat: it is wise to have all animals in before you go to bed or when you leave the house. I did not do this and unlike the other times when this has happened, this time it was costly.

It is times like this where I wish I was a competent poet but apart from haikus I am not. Anyway, I have to finish my morning chai and prepare a proper grave for him -probably the same plot where I buried my dog Buddy about year and a half ago. (Whose death was followed a year to the day by my Uncle Mel Denny.) I honestly do not know how many more I can take my friends: the third family death this year and at least the fourteenth family death since March of 2000.{2} At some point there has to be a reasonable length of time between deaths one would would think...

Today would have been the 89th birthday of my maternal grandmother -one of those who died in the string going back to March of 2000. Please pray for the repose of the souls of Mary Haluk Kanski, Melvin Denny, and the others.{3} And also, if you do not mind, please offer up a prayer to St. Francis that Doc could have died as quickly and painlessly as possible. It has always been the case in my family since I was a child that our animals live to ripe old ages and we put them down on our terms. This time it did not happen and poor Doc ended up dying in the worst possible way: alone.

There will probably be a brief sabbatical from mainline blogging{4} as I need to sort this out so it does not affect my competency viz. running my business. However, I would be remiss in not thanking you in advance for your prayer generosity.


{1} Buddy my old dog was also very gentle. Most of my pets have been but Doc was a bit more gentle than the others. I do not know how else to describe it so that is all I will say on the matter.

{2} I know there are some others that I cannot readily recall at the moment -mainly because they are either distant relatives or distant friends.

{3} A simple "Shawn's other deceased relatives" followup would work since God know whom they all are.

{4} I will be working intermittently in the coming months on a long planned weblog with the working title Repose of Souls for the names of family and friends and maybe even pets -though with the latter the prayer would be for as painless of a death as possible: why not do this since we are the ones restricted in ti me right??? (I am thinking of setting up a St. Francis of Assisi shrine for them.) Anyway, when it is ready, I will let you know and (of course) if you have loved ones to list there let me know and I will do it.

[Update: The problem with a complete sabbatical is that it detracts from the importance of the upcoming election. If this was an off-election year, it would be much easier to justify a complete sabbatical. However, after thinking on the matter, I will to some degree continue blogging at least articles for readers to peruse on various subjects. But do not expect very much in the way of commentary for a while as that takes effort that I do not have in sufficient enough reserve at this time to do proper justice to. -ISM 7/19/04 3:52pm]

Doctor Who
The above picture was taken on May 17, 2004.

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