Saturday, September 07, 2002

In the spirit of the "just war" topic, I wanted to focus for a moment on some events from a war that most people today would claim was a "just war": WW II. Since lyrics often can provide a colouring that average words cannot, here are the words to a song written by one of my favourite songwriters Roger Waters. (Who turned 59 yesterday.) The subject is the events at Anzio, Italy in 1944. May this serve as a reminder of what even "just wars" can do to people:

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black forty-four
When the Forward Commander was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks
Held back the enemy tanks for a while
And the Anzio bridgehead was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that Father was gone
It was I recall, in the form of a scroll
With gold leaf and all
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs
Hidden away
And my eyes still grow damp
To remember His Majesty
Signed with his own rubber stamp

It was dark all around
There was frost on the ground
When the tigers broke free
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C
They were all left behind
Most of them dead
The rest of them dying
And that's how the High Command took my Daddy from me ['When the Tigers Broke Free' (c. 1979)]

Ponder this the next time you hear someone jumping too quickly at the prospects of going to war. I suppose I could post the lyrics to another Waters sone from 1992 which was a commentary on the Gulf War. The title of that tune: 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range'. Funny how those the furthest out of range of the war weapons are often the most vociferous about going to war.

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Prayers have been requested by Fr. Rob Johansen as his bishop has expressed a desire to look into the controversy between Fr. Rob and Michael Rose. Your blog host commends Fr. Rob for this stance and exhorts Mr. Rose (if he should read this) to submit his words and statements to his local ordinary for due process also.

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In case anyone reading is interested, the host of this humble blog has been sparring a bit against the evil of those who defend disobedience to the magisterium of the Church to advance antisemitic behaviour at the following part of Mark Shea's Blog: For the record... Check the linked to comments box if interested.

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Friday, September 06, 2002

Go Gary Go... LINK. Which reminds me...Gary Hoge has put up a message board at his site. You can check it out HERE


Three small "nuggets" from Stephen Hand's "This-is-not-a-blog" Weblog starting with a criticism of him from one of his detractors:

On the "fame" of 'neo-conservatism' (falsely so-called) from an email sent to TCR about Stephen:

"[He] came to the realization, as had so many neo-conservatives before him, that there was no money, fame or social acceptability in being a traditionalist".

One could say this about anyone who undergoes a paradigm shift. Heck, maybe Rabbi Zolli in becoming a Catholic in 1945 did it "for the money and fame". That is what many Jewish leaders claimed after the rabbi's baptism. Maybe this can be said about Scott Hahn doing it "for the money and fame". That is what many Protestant controversialists said about Dr. Hahn's conversion to the Catholic faith. What about Gerry Matatics??? Maybe he went the way he has gone in recent years because "of the money and the fame" - or at least the desire to be a cult icon of sorts. He apparently was not making much before his drifting into "sedevacantville" where a man of his prodigious talents sticks out like a sore thumb. Done for "money-reasons"???

The latter comment "doing it for the money" is one of the most pathetic excuses around people. It is always resorted to by the people from whose camp a person is departing from because it cannot *possibly* be that the person's conscience told them (rightly or wrongly) to alter their frame of reference.

I will tell you why Mr. Hand is no longer a pseudo-traditionalist: because:

1) The position has more intellectual holes in it than Swiss Cheese.

2) Those who adhere to this paradigm cannot maintain it when challenged without becoming bereft of the theological virtue of charity.

3) It is a position of near-defacto heresy in reality and of schism (generally mixed as opposed to pure schism).

4) It is a road to perdition for those who culpably adhere to it because it places one outside the Church where there is no salvation.

Need I list more reasons???

On Stephen's Aversion to "Blogs":

"They remove the discipline and screening that comes from writing an essay, and replaces it with cocktail party chatter. Formal writing creates the right distance that allows ideas, not personality, to take center stage."

A few thoughts:

1) There is a much greater problem that undisciplined meanderings: that is not thinking about issues at all. (I will take the former over the latter any day of the week and twice on Sundays.)

2) Many people think better when they can jot their thoughts down and a blog allows for this.

3) Such jotted thoughts can provide ideas for writing formal essays or other smaller pieces.

4) A blog has more control by the individual and one is free to be themselves - quirks and all - and not appear all sanitized and solely 'theological' if you will.

I started in late 1999 saving most of my major web dialogues in Word format. (Initially this was primarily because I got tired of losing posts.) Before losing my harddrive back in May I had over 800 of them spanning from August of 1999 to November of 2001. This might sound innocuous until I point out that every web writing I have ever produced had ideas or subjects that came from that source as it gave me the opportunity to work out arguments in the arena and find out which ones worked and which ones did not. I am sure many others can say the same thing about this value of a message board.)

"[O]ften the most popular blogs are the very worst. They tend to run on the fumes of the thought of others rather than any serious thought of their own and are mostly reactive, reactionary."

To some extent everyone runs on the fumes of the thought of others Stephen. Nobody can credibly claim that their outlooks were (or are) formed in a vacuum. Some people this applies to more than others but to some extent it applies to us all.

On TCR's 'Letters/Musings' Section:

Q&A Re: Blogs & Cocktail Party Chatter:
(condensed from various emails)
Q: Is this a "blog"? Nope.

I have claimed for a long time that I am not an apologist. Several of my friends - most noteably Dave Armstrong - have told me I am full of it for making such an assertion.

I prefer the term "evangelist" for many reasons. But at bottom all evangelists also engage in faith defenses to some extent so they all are (at some level) apologists. Likewise in this situation.

For a blog is a web journal of sorts where material of interest to the 'host' of the journal is posted along with commentary by the 'host' on the material or on other issues that interest them. (Or feedback on others that comment on the material posted there, etc.) TCR's "letters/musings" section can be accurately classified as a web journal of sorts where material of interest to the 'host' of the journal is posted along with commentary by the 'host' on the material or on other issues that interest them. (Or feedback on others that comment on the material posted there, etc.) No offense intended my friend but I must say:

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it almost certainly *is* a duck.

Of course the next time my friend Dave tells me that I am "full of it" for my position on refusing to be labelled an "apologist", I suppose I will have to remember this posting...or perhaps Dave will remind me... :)

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Thursday, September 05, 2002

I recently added the link to Fr. Richard Janowicz' Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church for several reasons:

1) I have been very impressed with Fr. Richard's sense of balance in the dialogues I have read of his at the converts board. (Many times an Eastern Catholic in a predominently Western Catholic atmosphere can come across as overly apologetic or as having a chip on their shoulder - and sometimes not unjustified I might add.) Fr. Richard's outlook is balanced and fair and most important: charitable.

2) I have more Ukrainian in me than Irish and my maternal grandmothers clan were all Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox. (I also have a Ukrainian first name.)

3) I sensed that my blog needed a bit more weight on the side of the Eastern Catholics. (Other than the three essays "which all Catholics must read" - two of which were written by an academic orientalist and one by a former Anglican and current Eastern Catholic - all my links were western related if you will. I have also been told that some of my writings have an "eastern feel" to them - this was if the case admittedly serendipitous on my part.)

4) Fr. Richard accepted my request to act as a consultant on an essay I hope to write this fall on the different outlooks of westerns and easterns. (Which I greatly appreciate.)

5) It is my blog and I can do what I want ;-)

Anyway, those are my reasons and I hope all who surf this humble blog read those three essays and visit Fr. Richard's website. This way we can better understand our eastern brethren. (As enough ignorance on both sides exists to fill in the Grand Canyon.) And maybe knowing a bit more about one of my roots in the Great Tradition will shed some light on why I approach subjects in the manner that I do.

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A good piece to ponder if you will is this entry from my good friend Pete Vere on his CLOG. The subject: Do prenuptual agreements violate canon law (and are they impediments to a lawfully contracted marriage)??? As usual Pete's take on matters canonical is an interesting read. But one question comes to mind. That is: when will they come out with a canon law superhero. (Imagine Pete Vere in a red costume w/ cape as "Canonical Man".) And if they *did* come out with such a superhero, would his action-figure have "kung fu grip"??? ;-)

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An excellent editorial from The Wanderer on the historically vapid outlooks of the Remnant crowd (and other 'traditionalists' falsely so-called) dated September 5, 2002 is worth a read. Here is a brief sampling:

If Vatican II and Pope Paul’s New Mass are to be judged failures after a mere 35-40 years, for consistency’s sake, shouldn’t Woods judge the Council of Trent and Pius V’s new Mass failures? Trent was followed by 200 years of civil wars, massive disaffections from the Church, and topped off by the French Revolution. Didn’t Trent work?

And speaking of the French Revolution, why didn’t any of a number of Popes ever excommunicate Archbishop Talleyrand, a scoundrel of the basest sort, who had a daughter before he married, and remained a Catholic archbishop after he married, plotted incessantly against the Church and the Holy Father, and caused Napoleon and Pope Pius VII endless grief?

We are dealing here with the mystery of evil in the world.

And, Messrs. Woods and Ferrara, if the Mass of Pius V could work such miracles, why did Sweden, Denmark, England, northern Germany, and half of France reject it? Why did so many Catholics formed by the Mass of Pius V become leading Marxist revolutionaries, such as the architect of Quebec’s "Quiet Revolution," Fr. George Henri Levesque, O.P., and his disciple, Pierre Trudeau?

To blame the Popes, the Second Vatican Council, and the Mass for the Church’s present scandals is to take a very unhistorical view of the past 150 years or so.

To read the rest of the article please see this link. In the meantime, your humble servant plans to kick back in his hammock with a bottle of water, a double carona hecho a mano, and contemplate the manifold mysteries of the universe before hitting the hay...

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Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Something is Rotten in 'Rosemark'

I cannot recall whose blog first made me aware of Fr. Rob Johansen's Blog but I have been following the Michael Rose/Fr. Rob situation with interest. However, as one who gave Mr. Rose a kind of "blank check" in accepting him as credible with little corroberating evidence (basically because Traditional charity compelled me to in light of evidences to the contrary) I am not liking what appears to be Mr. Rose's governing methodology.

Indeed it appears that Michael Rose cannot handle constructive criticism very well. Fr. Rob goes over the recent turn of events where Mr. Rose has threatened Fr. Rob with legal action on the basis of a critical review that Fr. Rob wrote for Culture Wars magazine. (A magazine I used to subscribe to and intend to subscribe to again in the near future.) As Mr. Rose will undoubtedly milk his media connections to put his side of the story across, your blog host will utilize this humble blog to give voice to Fr. Rob's side of the story.

For in light of what Mr. Rose is doing, I have a strong suspicion that Fr. Rob has caught him with his hand in the cookie jar here. The above link has the most recent information. The following links cover Fr. Rob's Culture Wars review of Michael Rose's book and earlier information to assist in putting out the other side of the story:

Fr. Rob's Review of Michael Rose's Book 'Goodbye Good Men

Fr. Rob's Blog Archive

Hopefully Mr. Rose will think twice about his actions here - they do not bode well for his credibility on this matter.

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Gaudium et Spes vs. the Unlearned and Unstable -Part II:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Before reading this part it would behoove you to read Part I of this piece to follow the thread of the argument. And rather than scroll all the way down all you need to do is click here to read part I.

Okay, assuming you have read part one it is now time for lesson two in proper theological interpretation. I will have recourse to a earlier passage of Gaudium et Spes (GS) to help in the interpretation of GS 24. (Since that passage also uses the phrase "love of God and neighbour" - this is called "having recourse to parallel texts in the document btw.) That text would be GS 16 which reads as follows:

16. In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.(9) Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.(10) In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor.(11) In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin.

We see the phrase "love of God and neighbour" again manifested. Now we will have recourse to the footnotes of the text. They read as follows:

9. Cf. Rom. 2:15-16. 10. Cf. Pius XII, radio address on the correct formation of a Christian conscience in the young, March 23, 1952: AAS (1952), p. 271. 11. Cf. Matt. 22:37-40; Gal. 5:14.

Okay, we see the Council in referring to "love of God and neighbour" referring to the term as a paraphrase of Matt. 22:37-40 and Galatians 5:14. Let us now look at those texts:

Matt. 22:
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, " 'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself.' 40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

Galatians 5:
14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Rather than lambaste Gaudium et Spes, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council who voted for the text, and Pope Paul VI who solemnly promulgated it, does our little "intrepid inquisitor" have the same cajones in lambasting the "ignorant" St. John and the "foolish Pharisee" St. Paul??? Let us paraphrase him now:

"Dear reader, I must ask you: What kind of [an Apostle are] these that can't even get the Greatest Commandment right?!"

Utter foolishness though is not uncommon amongst the unlearned and unstable so let us now sum up what we have covered thus far:

(1) The document in question refers to using the norms of theological interpretation.

(2) It manifests the intention of developing doctrine in the first section (GS §1-46).

(3) It also speaks of a "pastoral slant" meaning that it deals with the application of the Gospel to everyday living.

In everyday life there is no separation between love of God and love of neighbour. St. Paul noted this in Romans 13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14 and St. John in 1 John 4:20 even more explicitly. Our Lord was not speaking in this same manner to the Pharisees when he was being "tested" on what constituted the great commandment. (Any answer other than the one He gave would have failed to silence the Pharisees who thought they by obeying the Law in its letter were obeying it when in reality - as they lacked charity and love of neighbour - they were in violation of the Law.)

But if one reads Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6:17ff they will see the same principles manifested by Our Lord as were enunciated by St. Paul, St. John, and the Constitution Gaudium et Spes. Was Our Lord also "foolish" for pointing out that authentic charity is the benchmark for a favourable judgment??? In speaking of the judgment, He would be in a similar frame of mind as the Apostles who (apparently by the criteria of our little "intrepid inquisitor") are unfit to interpret the manifest mind of the Lord of Hosts. Let us now see what Our Lord said about how we shall be judged:

Matthew 25:
31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' 41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' 44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' 45 "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Rev. 22:
12 "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

It is as clear as crystal that the Lord sees love of Him and love of our neighbour as inseparable - going as far as to equate doing good for our neighbour as doing good for Him and neglecting our neighbour as neglecting Him. Gaudium et Spes therefore stands vindicated as it clearly sought to explain the application of the Gospel in the world. The Lord Himself made the same equation as St. Paul and St. John when speaking of judgment. (As did St. James in James 2:14-26.) It would not be an exaggeration to say that we have just delivered a "piledriver" to the assertions of this "nattering nabob of negativism" (cf. S.T. Agnew) that there is incongruity between GS §24 and the Gospel as enunciated by Our Lord when it comes to the rubber meeting the road (i.e. judgment).

By lumping the First Commandment, the love of God, together with the Second Greatest Commandment, the love of neighbor and self, the Second Vatican Council has once again betrayed its underlying desire, or at least the underlying desire of some very influential theologians at the Council, to elevate man way beyond his humble state of a lowly creature, this time putting him on a par with God! What utter blasphemy!

No Junior, what is blasphemy is your continual crime of seeking to slander an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church in order to justify your clear and manifest schism. You are ignorant and unstable and should observe reverent silence over mysteries that you are apparently ill-equipped to comprehend. "Refreshingly traditional"??? This person is not even close...

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Gaudium et Spes vs. the Unlearned and Unstable -Part I:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I remember a certain monk and I having a discussion by email where he asked me if I could reconcile a passage of Gaudium et Spes (GS) which he equated as either "heresy" or "theological error". We never did finish our conversations - primarily because I brought up the norms of theological interpretation and pointed out that this individual was making presumptions that were not congruent with them. (For some reason that made him very testy and unwilling to continue the discussion.) Where is all of this going you ask??? Patience my friends, I am getting there :)

Anyway, I stumbled upon a writing of this same monk on the web on the subject of Gaudium et Spes §24. I did not plan to deal with it initially but have changed my mind. You see, I *also* stumbled across a certain theological neophyte who parroted this same argument. And rather than take the caution and deference that the monk did (who phrased his part in the form of genteel inquiry), this neophyte has taken the question to the point that it seems a good idea at this time to lay the smack down on the argument. (For what the monk opined in theory has been brashly accepted as "fact" by someone considered "refreshingly traditional" - hence my "pseudotradometer" just went off.) First I quote the argument:

"Love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment." Yes, those words were actually sanctioned by Paul VI. Did he write it? Whoever did, they have vastly misled the faithful with such a statement because the Scriptures teach: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (St. Matthew 12:36-39).

Brief intejection: that is Matthew 22:36-39. Pretty sloppy exegesis for someone who wants to be a critic.

Dear reader, I must ask you: What kind of a council is this that can't even get the Greatest Commandment right?!

We will deal with this accusation in time. However, first we need to do a little execution of the norms of theological interpretation. First step of the process is to retrieve the document in question from the web. (How can we interpret it if we do not have it in front of us to read???) Since this person made a big production about using the Vatican's own copy to launch their complaints (this was one among many) I will use that document also. Notice that they used but one line of text (typical for Protestants and Integrists to do as they are joined at the head). Your humble servant will take some time to fill in for their educational shortcomings and supply the sitz im leben.

Now then, the first rule of theological interpretation is to read what the document itself has to say about its purpose:

The Pastoral Constitution "De Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis" is made up of two parts; yet it constitutes an organic unity. By way of explanation: the constitution is called "pastoral" because, while resting on doctrinal principles, it seeks to express the relation of the Church to the world and modern mankind. The result is that, on the one hand, a pastoral slant is present in the first part, and, on the other hand, a doctrinal slant is present in the second part. In the first part, the Church develops her teaching on man, on the world which is the enveloping context of man's existence, and on man's relations to his fellow men. In part two, the Church gives closer consideration to various aspects of modern life and human society; special consideration is given to those questions and problems which, in this general area, seem to have a greater urgency in our day. As a result in part two the subject matter which is viewed in the light of doctrinal principles is made up of diverse elements. Some elements have a permanent value; others, only a transitory one. Consequently, the constitution must be interpreted according to the general norms of theological interpretation. Interpreters must bear in mind-especially in part two-the changeable circumstances which the subject matter, by its very nature, involves. [Gaudium et Spes - first footnote of the preface]

Those who wonder why I harp on the general norms of theological interpretation so much, I do so because in order to think with the Church one must follow certain norms. And therefore, those who raise criticisms of the documents who refuse to utilize these norms can be dismissed as the ignorant and unstable individuals that they are (cf 2 Pet. 3:16-17). Having gotten that out of the way, here is what GS says in section 24:

24. God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. For having been created in the image of God, Who "from one man has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.

For this reason, love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment. Sacred Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: "If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.... Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law" (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 Joh 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance.

Since the Council cites Scripture for support, let us take a look at the passages in question:

Romans 13
9 For this, "you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet", and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Okay, it seems to me that our little "intrepid inquisitor" may be slightly right. He tries to postulate a whole truckload of errors but I will concede that Gaudium et Spes appears to have an error here. But the "error" as I see it is leaving out the verse that precedes Romans 13:9-10. Consider the passage with verse 8 preceding it:

Romans 13
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, "you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet", and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

If (1) the Law directs man to God and (2) love is the fulfillment of the Law, then logically (3) love of God and neighbour cannot be separated. Now consider the reference to 1 John 4:20:

1 John 4:
20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Again we see that love of God and neighbour are bound together firmly. Far from "vastly misleading the faithful" the reality of the Gospel is presented by GS as elucidated by the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John. I realize that a Gospel-centric position would place the citing of Our Lord above any of the Apostles (as Our Lord's words carry a primacy of sorts) so let us see in the next installment what more Our Lord has to say on the subject - let alone GS in parallel parts of the text. (Yes, having recourse to parallel texts is something that *real* theologians do in these instances.) But for the moment it is worth noting that GS *does* have Scriptural support for the notion that love of God and neighbour are inseparable. The notion therefore cannot be dismissed so lightly - and those who would make a brash presumption of heresy are *WAY* out of line.

To be continued...

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"So many albums to critique, so little time" thinketh I as Albert 'the Iceman' Collins tears up his Telecaster on the tune "The Dream" from the Grammy winning album "Showdown". (Where he teams up with Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray: Cray sings this song while Collins plays soulful lead and a chilling solo.) Collins, Copeland, and Cray all sing and solo throughout an album where the banter of instruments and vocals is a very pleasing experience to listen to.

Speaking of the 'Iceman', I just finished a review for Amazon on one of his albums. (My second music review for Amazon and the first in nearly a year.) Here is the text of how it will read when I send it off to Amazon before nightcap time:

What separates a good player from a master is the little things. Albert Collins was a true master of the blues whose piercing playing could send chills down the spine. One of the few players who could rival the intensity of Albert King, Collins like King (who cited Collins as his favourite player) forged his own unique style that countless guitarists have tried to emulate (including yours truly) but none have successfully duplicated it.

Of course that was the idea as Albert saw it - create your own means of expressing yourself through the instrument. This album captured Collins in excellent form covering a retrospective of songs spanning thirty odd years of his career. Guests on the album include the great BB King (on one of Albert's signature instrumentals 'Frosty'), Gary Moore (on the slow burning 'Time is Money'), and old Tonight Show band frontman Branford Marsalis trades licks with Albert on 'Honey Hush'. Without prejudicing the other tracks on this album, some of the standouts to me include (other than the ones already listed) 'Tired Man' (a slow shuffle blues with harmonica accompanyment), 'The Moon is Full' (Albert's solid backing band is particularly funky on this one), Mastercharge (a funny song with possibly my favourite Collins guitar solo on this album), and 'Collins Mix': a musical mosaic of how to let one's guitar do the talking - few could compare to Collins in this area. I know some of the reviewers have personal album favourites of theirs but in my opinion this is the best Collins album because it is a solid retrospective. And unlike a lot of "greatest hits" compilations, this one lives up to its billing and showcases a legend who never received the degree of acclaim that he should have. For lovers of good music, 'Collins Mix' belongs on your music rack.

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Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Briefly to Dale Price:

I know I am a few days late on this but I cannot resist...

Celebrate Michigan's "victory" all you want but I find it hard to believe someone could get so excited over a game that Michigan "won" by default. In truth Washington lost the game because they accidentally sent twelve men on the field. (Hence the fifteen yard penalty that put the ball within field goal range for the Wolverines.) The word "fluke" comes to mind here since without that penalty your kicker would have had to attempt a fifty-nine yarder which he definitely would have missed. Hopefully a rematch at the Rosebowl can take place and the Huskies can show the Wolverines how to "bow down to Washington" :)

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An interesting idea by one of the promoters of Ecclesia Dei about the formation of Ecclesia Dei into a kind of sui iuris (basically a self-governing Church akin to the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome) is commented upon by my good friend and resident canonical wizard Pete Vere at the following link: Pete's CLOG

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Monday, September 02, 2002

Courtesy of my friend Lane Core, Jr. I came across an essay by Leila Miller titled "I was Robbed". Here is just a sampling:

The culture we live in is merciless when it comes into contact with a poorly catechized Catholic. American society today is designed to destroy one's faith, as objective truth and moral absolutes are rejected concepts. When modern, "enlightened" catechesis echoes the messages of the culture, and when those charged with informing the Catholic conscience and transmitting the Faith take an "experiential" rather than informative approach, what can you expect? You can expect exactly what was taught.You can expect young Catholics who believe "conscience" means "opinion" and you can expect subjective feelings and personal experience to supplant objective truth. In fact, the prevailing philosophy of my peers is that there is no one "truth" -- truth is whatever we want it to be. You have your truth, I have mine. (Kind of puts the lie to Christ's definitive statement, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" doesn't it? It also doesn't sound like anything worth dying for -- those silly martyrs!)

Very well stated indeed. To read the rest of the piece click on the following link: LINK

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A brief comment on Art's editorial:

I am not unfamiliar with the kind of mentality Art outlines as I come from the standpoint of having Byzantine roots. The Latin attitudes towards the Byzantines in many periods of history was one not seeking communion but instead of a form of "Latinizing" when structural reintegration was intended rather than a peaceful communion where authentic catholicity was practiced as well as professed. It is precisely these tendencies - along with some incidents from history where the Jews were sought for "conversion" by coercion against their conscience to become Catholic - which are what is truly relevant in this discussion. And virtually no Catholic commentator cares to discuss them. Again it it probably the erroneous presumption that "Catholic" is synonymous with "Latin rite". But back to the Jewish issue for a moment. Here is a link which highlights exactly what Art was referring to:

The 500th Anniversary of the Forced Conversion of the Portuguese Jews

The sad truth is, *this* is what "conversion" means to the Jews and they have ample historical precedents to be fearful of such things. The document says that they will not be sought for conversion (meaning it in the Jewish sense), they will not be coerced into violating their consciences, and their religious freedom will be respected.

Oh and before opening a can of worms with the religious liberty topic with many self-styled "traditionalists" I will note only in brief here that "religious freedom" as defined by the Catholic Church (in the Declaration Dignatatis Humanae) is "freedom from coercion in civil society" (DH §1).

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The following is a "guest editorial" if you will about the USCCB situation. As I was unable to find my own comments on a message board which were substantially similar, I asked my good friend Dr. Art Sippo if I could use these comments of his from an email list that he and I are both on. As he agreed I made only minor modifications to the text and will present it between two sets of ### strips.


I am afraid that it is typical of the Integrist headliners to rant and rave at every new document on ecumenism that has been produced by the Pope and the Catholic Hierarchy since Vatican II. Visions of Mortalium Animos dance in their heads as they take umbrage anytime the Catholic Church *officially* says that all non-Catholics are not necessarily perfidious, vile, hell-bent, masonic dupes, or communist sympathizers.

This latest document is a real crowd pleaser because it caters to the anti-Semitic proclivities of the far right. Hey! They're just Jews! They don't count. They're Christ-killers, right? They're not even baptized. And look about what they say about US! The ingrates pick on poor old Pio Dodeci just because he followed Our Lord's advice and did not let his right hand know what his left hand was doing as he struggled with the fascist juggernaut. Heck, if they are not with us they are against us, aren't they? Who cares about them? God? He abandoned them 2 millennia ago didn't he? They are all damned because of that, right? We've been beating up on Jews for centuries. Why stop now? Isn't that what Jesus wants?

Not quite, people. This is what Jesus said about Judaism:

Matthew 5:

17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Read Romans 11. St Paul specifically said that the Jewish covenant was *not* revoked. He further said that the Jews would have a share in the world to come. He prophesied that they would come to Christ as a people, and that this would be an eschatological sign.

So the Scriptures tell us that the Jews are not going away. They will be here until Christ returns and their conversion as a people will be one sign that the end is near.

Now lets read the document *carefully*. Its subtitle is:

"Targeting Jews for Conversion Not Acceptable"

Now I know [most people] are hardly Judeophiles so [they do not] understand what that means. Jews are very touchy about people trying to convert them. They have had a bad historical experience with forced conversions in the past. They are very concerned now that attempts to convert them are aimed at exterminating the Jewish people by assimilation. The Bishops are saying that they do not want to make Jews into Goyim. They respect the Jewish people as a people.

To "convert" a Jew is to make him lose his ethnic heritage. It is not the same as a Methodist or a Baptist changing from one denomination to another. A Jew loses his identity and his family when he converts to another religion.

What the document *didn't* say was that we could not EVANGELIZE the Jews. In fact the final paragraphs of the Bishops' contribution needs to be read carefully:

"Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God. The Catholic Church must always evangelize and will always witness to its faith in the presence of God's kingdom in Jesus Christ to Jews and to all other people. In so doing, the Catholic Church respects fully the principles of religious freedom and freedom of conscience, so that sincere individual converts from any tradition or people, including the Jewish people, will be welcomed and accepted. "

So get over it! The Catholic Church has *finally* admitted that Jews are also the people of God and have a mandate from God to exist in their own right. Their covenant is still on-going and they have a mission in the world that has yet to be fulfilled. In doing so, the Church is admitting what St. Paul taught in Romans 11. To respect this, the Catholic Church has no *specific* plans to assimilate the Jews and thus eliminate them as a people. But she will accept converts from among the Jews who are moved by God's grace to seek baptism. [Of course.]

Personally, I think we need a Hebrew Rite so that Jews who wish to enter the Church can still be "bar & bat mitzvah" while accepting Christ. Until then, the missions of the Church and the Synagogue will of necessity be separate.

Dr. Art Sippo MD, MPH

Omnes semper - ad Jesum, per Mariam, cum Petro.


Go HERE for a brief commentary on this editorial.


Sunday, September 01, 2002

As I have had many of these same thoughts percolate through my mind over the past two and a half years it is always nice to see someone else add some structure to them - and even expand upon and include additional thoughts on the matter. Particularly when my good friend Dave Armstrong is the composer. Here are the links:

Interacting with Sophists: Debating Anti-Catholics

Reasons to not Debate Anti-Catholics

They are a bit lengthy but well worth the effort I assure you...

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A "Grandmaster of the Obvious" Moment:

When Greg Krehbiel noted recently that he was withdrawing from active participation on his message board, I sent him a note and suggested he should get a blog. Well, upon scanning his site a bit more carefully, I see that he already has one. So today I debut on Rerum Novarum Greg Krehbiel's Weblog.

This has been a "Grandmaster of the Obvious" moment...

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Your humble servant is in need of a certain canonist who can translate French to help decipher the gist of this article: LINK