Saturday, October 02, 2004

Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Missouri published a most excellent and thorough pastoral letter On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good a couple days ago. Upon reading it, We at Rerum Novarum immediately thought that the USCCB should have delegated the drafting of their voters guide to Archbishop Burke and his ghostwriters (if he used any) instead of those who actually put their guide together. Nonetheless, his letter is worth reading for all people of good will who have an interest in promoting the common good of society. It is a good starting point from which to segue into what We have written on voting issues.

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Friday, October 01, 2004

Miscellaneous Notes and Notifications:

Though I posted a two part audio on divers subjects earlier today, I would be remiss to not inform the readers that Charles de Nunzio has added additional information on that editorial at his Annals of the IX Crusade weblog. Among the subject I touched on earlier in my two part audio post -located HERE and HERE is what I view is an important component that goes into any discussion on the war on terror. So if you have read Charles' editorial, then you will find those audio comments to be an amplification of a core theme contained in his material as well as the many threads I have blogged on the war subject these past two plus years at Rerum Novarum. And from there, I would recommend that you also consider additional clarifications from Charles on these subjects as well.

To show that I am if anything eminently fair about this, I want to notify you also that one of my friends who does not concur with Charles or myself on this subject will be weighing in on his weblog in the coming weeks. That would be our good friend SecretAgentMan who will be interacting with my August 15th post to him as well as perhaps other threads on this weblog dealing with the war theme. I requested this of him because I do not want this to be a case of me simply demolishing feeble arguments from those who oppose me.

For those who are honestly having problems in conscience with some (or all) of the stands I have taken (or Charles' position on the war which in many cases approximates my own), it is only proper to have the other side represented by good arguments; ergo the request of dialogue to SAM by your humble servant. There are too many people out there (some of whom I consider to be friends) who have opposed the war with the most specious of arguments and methodology. This issue is too important to leave in the hands of reactionary partisans of any stripe; ergo I will carry the links to those threads when SAM posts them and also (as I have time to do it) there will be interaction with what he has to say on these matters here at Rerum Novarum.

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Miscellaneous Musings on the Presidential Debate, the War on Terror, "Weisbach's Theorem", Etc --Part II

this is an audio post - click to play

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Miscellaneous Musings on the Presidential Debate, the War on Terror, "Weisbach's Theorem", Etc --Part I

this is an audio post - click to play

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

"Carthago Delenda Est" — What about Now?
(Guest Editorial by Charles M. de Nunzio)

Readers of this humble weblog are not unaware that your host likes to post some of the better email material he interacts with. (If not for lack of time, this feature would be used more readily than it is as I get good emails overall from the readers.) The posting of any reader material is usually done in a dialogue format; however it sometimes takes the form of post you are about to read. As there has not been an editorial of this sort for a while, it would be good to briefly re-explain the purpose of this weblog feature for the benefit of any new readers out there.

The Guest Editorial format is used rarer by your host's own admission -usually when a subject text would (in his judgment) not be done its best justice by using the dialogual format. For those the Guest Editorial format works well because your blog host can comment prior to and after the text while leaving the piece itself (posted between two rows of ### markers) alone. But enough on the format and onto what brought about the editorial you are about to read.

Back in May of this year, an American by the name of Nick Berg was beheaded by certain members of "the religion of peace." This was not the first such beheading of this nature -indeed two and a half plus years earlier another American named Daniel Pearl was murdered in this manner. However, I was not blogging at that time and indeed was on sabbatical from all cyberspace activity for reasons too numerous to note in brief here. By the time I finally began seeing flashes of my old capabilities around mid 2002, the story was old news. However, that was not to be the case with the Nick Berg incident from May of 2004.

I am never one to avoid expressing an opinion (and usually a well-informed one at that) on virtually any subject that I happen to find and interest in -though as a rule any critical postings tend to have a more irenic tone to them. But the murder of Nick Berg possessed this writer to pen a commentary on this weblog which admittedly was written when possessed of a degree of lividness that rarely affects me in my older years anymore. I was surprised to see that all the responses to that post were positive - for I was sure that the tonality would have offended beyond all limits even the least-sensitive of the readers here. And though I responded to most of those who emailed me, time as always did not allow for responses to everyone unfortunately.

I did intend to find the time to write a response to the email you will now read in the editorial. However, various and sundry circumstances prevented this from being done so I requested about two months ago from the sender permission to post it in this format. That permission was received along with the unexpected clearance to reveal the person's identity in past dialogues of ours posted confidentially to Rerum Novarum -something which I finally did HERE. But enough background and now onto the editorial itself.

I post it with only very minor adjustments to what was received in email on May 13, 2004. (The author of the piece can reveal what he chose to add to the letter before its publishing here if he is so inclined.) It is also important to note that what Charles notes in the text below can apply to subsequent events as well --the beheadings of Paul Johnson and others since that time including a Mr. Jack Hensley just last week along with 3 Kurdish hostages (may they all rest in peace). In other words, the letter below covers a very contemporary subject and for some time (i.e. as long as this war continues) it will remain so. Without further ado, let us get on with it.


Dear Mr. McElhinney:

I write in affirmation of the sentiments previously expressed in Rerum Novarum on the heinous murder of Mr. Berg, the subhuman quality thereof being particularly accentuated by the killers' documentary film of their crime, presented to the world, along with the image of the deceased's head, as a trophy of their orc-like barbarity.

You obviously recognize that there are times in world history when the threat from those who, while ontologically human, think and act so as to deserve the pejorative "subhuman," is so elemental that nothing less than their extermination will relieve the threat. The Romans of the Republican era so understood the Carthaginians, and from your readings of the Church Fathers and Doctors, you could certainly attest as to whether or not any of these considered the Carthaginian genocide a crime or an act of self-defense. (Somehow I suspect that, if they ever said anything about it, it was not to condemn what Rome did. Your readers might find it useful if you turn up writings of the Fathers and Doctors in support of the liquidation of Carthage.)

Like yourself, I fear that we now face an enemy for which"delenda est" is really the only long-term option that will remove their threat to our survival. We have the weapons to do it. But, as you know too well, the cultural will is not there at all. Merely two generations ago, our society believed in, and fought, a total war. (Yes, I suspect that we went over the line with Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, but I don't pretend to be the last word on that.) The internal perversion (in all dimensions of the word, not just the sexual) of our society since 1945 has not only robbed us of the will to face the present enemy the way it needs to be faced, but it is the very inspiration for this enemy to emerge and present its threat in the first place!

On the very day of the 11th of September 2001, when I first learned of the attacks on NY and DC that morning, one of my first thoughts was that whether we liked it or not, whether we wanted to recognize it for what it was or not, we had been drawn by force into a holy war against Islam, and from that very day, I did not — and given what's happened since, all the more I now do not! — like our prospects in this war. For the simple fact is: the Muslims called "extremists" by the American Right are none other than those who actually take their religion seriously, whereas the "moderates" of their number are just so much self-compromising milquetoast, in the same way that this can also be said of not a few Catholics.

For while there weren't any "Crusades" prior to the XIth Century, the spirit undergirding them can be found in all the Martyrs back to St. Stephen ... and that is the spirit now lacking in a culture that, while inherited from the Crusaders, has disowned them and everything they represented. Whether is is from stupidity or disingeniousness, Islamic propaganda continues to refer to us in the West as "crusaders," as if their present campaigns are nothing more than a resumption of the business interrupted in 1683. If only we in fact were Crusaders, I'd like our chances a hell of a lot better!...

For all the viscerality of the hatred of the pro-abortion marchers in DC last April, theirs is a discombobulated religion which, despite its enthronement of the Deity of the Self, contains also a complete disregard for any human instinct regarding the survival and continuity of civilization (starting, of course, with liberalism's denial of the natural essentiality of society to human existence), which therefore, in fact, endangers all the very conveniences and such that allow them their self-deifying illusions!

What this means, therefore: those who endanger our civilization do so on the basis of holy war, whereas we categorically reject the notion of "holy war" in our reponse to them. Oh, I know that Dr. John Rao and others contend that Iraq is but just another theater of a "holy war" of our own, the one to impose Pluralism and Democracy all over the world, and I do agree with him for the most part ... but interwoven into this cultural paradigm is a suicidal pacifism and softness that vitiates our response to enemies such as Mr. Berg's murderers.

Indeed, the strategy and propaganda of the Bush Administration leading up to, and in conduct of, the Iraq campaign has accommodated this "humanitarian" sensibility to such an extent (and any concession to this was already too much) that this is, to my eyes, the obvious reason why the occupation of that country is not going well, and far from diminishing the threat from our civilization's external enemies, has only augmented it. I have wondered before if this accommodation was on account of the President's concerns about his re-election, or something in his own personality, or both; clearly, there are here shades of the same spinelessness that characterizes his response to our internal enemies in what your friend, Mr. Shea, rightly calls the "Evil Party."

Yet now, a third explanation comes to my mind: the limitations imposed upon the President's options by a divided populace, and indeed, a strongly seditious element driving and intensifying that division. You can imagine too easily that should Mr. Bush initiate aggressive countermeasures in retaliation for such barbarism, the seditionists masquerading as "peace protestors" and their complicit media allies would bombard us all with condemnations of him for "escalating the cycle of violence," "putting our troops at even further risk," yada, yada, yada.

In point of fact, I would dare say that these murderous thugs indulge their subhuman inclinations and gloat over their deeds with a sense of impunity precisely because of their awareness of the subversive "peacenik" element in the Western countries, knowing full well that its vociferous presence ties Mr. Bush's hands and pressures the more linguini-spined European governments to comply with their extortions!

We are indeed accursed, if our only "choices" are indeed "more of the same" (Bush) or "even worse yet" (J. F'ing "Heinz" Kerry, a.k.a. "Sen. Sacrilege")! And that is why I say I don't much like our chances, even if, to be more precise, I think that internal forces will actually be what brings this civilization down, with our Islamist enemies playing the role of the barbarian tribes that pillaged and sacked the Roman Empire, i.e., adding insult to injury.

Submitted respectfully, Charles M. de Nunzio.


It should be noted in an epilogue that people such as Charles and myself (who are referred to as "conservatives" in the common political lexicon of today) are not alone in our viewing of this cause as we do. (While not completely agreeing with him, our views have substantial convergence.) Indeed, at this weblog since August I have posted more than once this article from the liberal Esquire columnist Tom Junod. For those who still cannot understand why Charles and I feel as strongly as we do on this (or why Mr. Junod is so uneasy about what his conscience tells him viz. this subject), maybe pictures of Nick Berg's beheading will do the trick. I only advise that you click on the above link with caution and that it is not for viewing by children.

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Briefly on the Vatican Diplomatic Corps and the War in Iraq:
(Aka "Where have you gone Santayana" Dept.)

It is probable that the article located HERE{1} is as good an article as you will find on explaining the Vatican's worldview viz. the war on terror in general and the war in Iraq in particular. Those who are naive enough to think that Vatican diplomats are a reliable barometer for this particular subject apparently are not aware of numerous historical examples where the diplomatic corps blundered as seriously as they are right now with the entire Iraq situation.

To save on making a lengthy list (as I do not have the time) it suffices to point out that in the 1920's and 1930's, virtually the entire Vatican diplomatic corps with one notable exception{2} fell for the schemes of the Duce Benito Mussolini in Italy.{3} Unfortunately, history is clearly repeating itself here for those with eyes to see. Hopefully our friends who are buying into it will realize this before it is again too late to do anything about it without seriously losing face but I digress.


{1} Thanks are in order to Isabel at St. Blogs' Parish Hall for bringing it to my attention.

{2} That exception was a certain monsignor in the Curia - a Fr. Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Pope Paul VI) who was one of the lone voices from the early 1920's on who kept telling his superiors that Mussolini was hoodwinking them. It was not until much later on that anyone actually bothered to listen to him on this -and by then it was too late to change course without some loss of face.

{3} Among those who fell for Mussolini's deceptions was a veritable "who's who" of the Vatican diplomatic corps at the time including Pope Pius XI, his Secretary of States --Cardinals Pietro Gasparri and Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli: the latter who was to succeed Pius XI as pope-- as well numerous lesser lights in the Vatican diplomatic corps.

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