Saturday, August 02, 2003
Massachusetts' own current presidential candidate, and junior US Senator John Forbes Heinz Kerry broke out on the subject of the Vatican and gay marriage Friday. His comments are so obviously intemperate, ill-considered, unprincipled, and self-serving that they deserve a good line-by-line dissection and criticism.
Obviously, it is more important for Kerry to curry favor with the powerful homosexual interests that can provide funds and bodies for presidential and US Senate campaigns than be a faithful Catholic.
As reported in this morning's Boston Herald, Kerry thinks the Vatican has "crossed a line" in its demand that Catholic politicians work against gay marriage, and that the Church is violating the separation of Church and state and the will of the founders.
"It is important not to have the Church instructing politicians."
Really? Tell that one to the hundreds of Congregationalist ministers who preached opposition to British tyranny in the 1760s and 1770s. Tell that to the ministers who preached abolition of slavery. In how many churches were civil rights preached in the 1950s and 1960s? And those are just the big issues.
Churches teach, preach, urge, and organize political action all the time. Every time a religious body takes a stand on a matter of public policy based on its moral teachings it is implicitly instructing officeholders, and voters.
Does Kerry think Black American churches ought to get out of the business of politics? No. They support Democrat-friendly positions.
Has Kerry ever raised his voice against the Roman Catholic priests who lay a great emphasis on social justice via government action (transfer payments, aka welfare) or against the death penalty? I thought not.
I don't recall him criticizing all those leftist priests and nuns who were supporting the Sandinistas in the 1980s. In fact, I seem to recall that he was an ally of theirs in fighting against President Reagan's successful campaign to roll back communist tyranny in Central America.
The Church only "crosses the line" when it teaches something Kerry does not want to hear, something that might be in conflict with a powerful constituency he must court.
"President Kennedy drew that line very clearly in 1960. And I believe we ought to stand up for that line today."
So the model to be followed is that of a grossly overrated President whose reputation was only saved by the circumstance of being murdered.
Yes, Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president. He was also, as we have learned since, a grossly unfaithful husband and, though I don't judge the state of the late president's soul, a very bad Catholic to all appearances. His family's rise to prominence has been marked by the most blatant corruption and lies ever seen in this country until the advent of the Clintons. With their father's money, they financed a cottage industry specializing the in the production of such amazing mendacity with regard to the character and policies of the members of the family that one looking at the image and the reality would be astonished at the contrast.
What was this line Kennedy drew? Essentially that line was, "Though I have a household pet known as Cardinal Cushing, and go to Mass whenever it is convenient, and can trot out the ancient prejudice against the Irish that old Boston had whenever it suits me, as well as appealing to all Catholics to support me because I am Catholic, I promise not to be a good Catholic, and to ignore the Vatican as thoroughly in public policy as I do whenever I happen to be in the presence of a willing young lady and a convenient flat surface."
That is the line Kerry means. Being Catholic can only be used to my benefit. It does not imply any sort of influence one's conscience might have on one's policies. Having your cake, and eating it, too.
What a convenient line! If I were Kerry, I'd want that to be the standard, too. Who needs bishops and popes on your back prating on about the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of innocent life when you are trying to become president? Certainly not a Democrat.
"Our founding fathers separated church and state in America. It is an important separation,'' he said. "It is part of what makes America different and special, and we need to honor that as we go forward and I'm going to fight to do that.''
Oh yeah, the separation of church and state line. The last refuge of a scoundrel.
Now if I recall, the entire Bill of Rights is a restriction on the powers of government. Assuming that the "wall of separation of church and state" in the pristine state that Kerry seems to believe in is really what the founders intended (it was not, and on that topic there is an indisputable host of historical and legal research) the separation is supposed to protect the religious groups from interference by the government. It is not supposed to insulate government from influence from religious beliefs. To the extent that it does protect government from religious influence, it does not protect individual office holders from being influenced on issues by the imperatives of their faith. More to the point. it has nothing to say on the subject of a relision telling its members who are officeholders that, unless they work against a certain pernicious policy, they are not members in good standing of theat religion.
Senator Kerry, the Church also teaches that, "Thou shalt not murder." Now are all in public office to be free from the influence of this "religious doctrine" in the framing of public policy? What a pretty bear garden society will become then!
And what about, "Whatever you do to these, the least of My brothers, so you do unto Me?" Gee, if public policy is to be completely divorced from the influence of the Church and her teachings, it may actually undercut some things you want to do. Except, I forgot about the astonishing hypocrisy of you and your fellow liberal Democrats. You will use what the Church says when it is convenient for you, and attack it when it is inconvenient.
Or is it that in the secular humanistic world you and your kind are striving to replace Christendom with, nice moral sentiments will continue, but divorced from all doctrinal content, and that restrictions on individual conduct based on morality are just not in the plan?
"This isn't a matter of political calculation, it's simply a matter of strong personal beliefs,'' Kerry said.
No candidate for the office of the presidency, except Bill Clinton, has done so much to identify oneself with the memory of John F. Kennedy than Kerry. Hairstyle, consciously-altered handwriting style, initials, service in small boats in the Navy, sexual promiscuity, wealth, and now distancing himself from the Church's teachings. John Kerry is all about turning himself into a JFK clone. This is an opportunity to remind the voters that you are, like Kennedy, a "Catholic" who does not give a fig about the moral teachings of the Church. This is nothing but calculation.
And on the Pryor nomination:
"This judge is not a good judge,'' Kerry said. ``He should not be appointed to the court, and many of us who are Catholic voted against him without regard to Catholicism.''
Pryor is an outstanding jurist, a former Attorney General of his state (and a Catholic who has flourished upholding the laws of Alabama). His sin is not that he is "not a good judge" (unless we are using the Democrat definition of a "good judge": someone who bends over and grabs his ankles every time a whiny liberal interest group brings a claim) but that he is good man and a good Catholic who upholds the law and does not agree with the liberal agenda.
Kerry is an amazing piece of work. He is a guy who let all of Massachusetts think he was half-Irish for 30 years, and then, when he started a presidential campaign and recalled the importance of the New York and Florida primaries, let it be known that he is actually half-Jewish, not half-Irish. And all those winks and nods over the years about being Irish? Just the mistakes of his staff (even when they came out of his own mouth). Anybody who would change his own signature to make it look more like JFK's is someone whose mental stability is suspect.
Of course he is a dangerous candidate. He has lots of money. He is half-Boston Forbes by birth, but without the endearing eccentricities of that tribe, though he does use the family island (Naushon). He married another fortune. Then he married a really big fortune after John Heinz died in a plane crash and left the bulk of his inherited money to his social-climbing wife. Anyone whose wife could throw $200-300 million into a campaign without missing it is a dangerous candidate.
At the same time, his philanthropy over the years has been about on the level of the Clintons (they donated used underwear and shower curtains to the poor, and claimed a tax deduction for it). In fact, for a lot of the time, the Clintons have been more generous than Kerry. There were years when Kerry, who I don't think could be classified as less than a millionaire even in his poorest days, contributed the donut.
Is Kerry a man at all? Well, in a sense, yes. There is ambition, and drive, and some intelligence. But something vital is missing in his make up. Is it spirituality? Is it that he has sacrificed a genuine vision of God's transcendence for a cold secular humanist utopia, but never dares give that vision voice? The image that comes to my mind when I think of him is Evelyn Waugh's description of Rex Mottram; not a complete human being at all, a shrivelled thing, an organ kept alive in a laboratory, only a tiny bit of a man, pretending to be a whole man.
No, I don't think it was Vietnam that did it to him. I think it was modern liberalism.
Rex Mottram for President? No.
I see that neighbor Domenico Bettinelli at Bettnet
Patrick Sweeney at ExtremeCatholic and
Chris at Maine Catholic and Beyond have addressed Kerry's remarks (or the general topic) as well.
Politicians who put on phony outrage over the the teachings of the Church when they go against them, but use them when they suit them, are not in a strong position. It is no surprise if people are pointing out that the emporer has no clothes. After all, the mainstream media never will.
His feast, I find, is now more widely celebrated on August 1st. Read in the link above this excellent short life of the saint who gave us the best Way of the Cross in 1761, as well as the Glories of Mary.
National Review's Victor Davis Hanson compares what is going on in Iraq to the summer of 1864.
My own response is that AS needs a lot of prayer for a genuine conversion, a change of heart and mind on matters of sexual morality.
But if he is going to continue rebuking the Church when She is right, the church would be better off without him.
Recorded a few weeks before his death at the end of June.
Friday, August 01, 2003
I am astonished that the one at Peabody's North Shore Shopping Center is staying open. You never see anyone shopping there (I cut through it to get to Barnes & Noble; you could fire a battery of cannon through the store and never hit a shopper). And there is a huge May-owned Filenes next door that does very well.
And experts are saying we are due for some major hurricanes in the northeast. Let's hope they are wrong.
If by "Catholic" you mean someone who actually takes to heart the teachings of the Church on abortion, gay rights, divorce, extra-marital sex, and works toward those goals in the public policy arena. That is exactly the opposite of what the Democrats stand for. They have, however, an infinitely open mind about "Catholics" who do not follow the clear teachings of the Church on these issues. But those folks are, increasingly, not Catholic.
Today at National Review On Line, Ramesh Ponnuru takes issue with collegue Byron York's assertion that the Senate Republicans are wrong to point this out.
A late inning grand slam cost the Sox a game last night.
The only thing the Vatican did not include was the absolute statement that "Catholic" politicians who support, or fail to work against, gay marriage face immediate excommunication.
Yet many of our lawmakers mistake their rights as Americans with their obligations as Catholics. Yes, as Americans they have the right to support gay marriage if they wish. But the price of that support is distancing yourself (to a degree not yet determined) from the teachings of the Church on a matter of faith and morals.
Our wayward pols have the right to call themselves whatever they wish. But it is The church, specifically Rome, that determines if you are, indeed, a Catholic in good standing. You can call yourself a Rotarian, if you want, but if you are not recognized as such by the Rotary Club, you are not one. The same holds true for religion, especially a body with highly defined beliefs like the Catholic Church. You have a right to self-identify, but it is the Church that determines if you are, in fact, part of it.
As to the argument that democratic legislators are responsible to their constitutents, let me remind them of what Edmund Burke said. "A representative owes the people not only his industry, but his judgment. He betrays their trust in him if he sacrifices his judgment to their opinion."
Part of the legislator's judgment is what your Church tells you about matters of faith and morals. Your constiutents elected you to represent them because they trusted you. They trusted your character and integrity. Almost never is a representative elected because of his platform, because of his specific stance on specific issues, except in a broad sense. Your character is the major factor. What does it say about your character if you betray the basic principles of your faith because 60% of your constituents say they favor that? If 60% favored legalizing bestiality, would you do it? If 60% wanted you to work towards remaking Massachusetts as an Islamic Republic, would you do that? Why, then, would you betray your own system of beliefs if 60% of your constiutents favor gay marriage?
Representing people does not just mean doing what they say they want you to do on specific issues. It means being a moral exemplar, a pillar of the community. It means abiding by one's own judgment on the tough calls, even if some of your constituents will not like it.
Archbishop Sean has shaken things up a bit in the Archdiocese. Bishop Walter Edyvean, formerly head of the Archdiocesan Curia, has been named regional bishop for Metro-west. Edyvean has been fairly tough in dealing with VOTF, and VOTF is based in Metro-west. Interesting. Hopefully this means Archbishop Sean's policy with regard to VOTF will be smiles and meetings in person, and putting stick about in private and not giving them anything they want but face time with him.
Bishop Richard Lennon, former Apolstolic Administrator and head of Saint John's Seminary, has been named head of the Archdiocesan Curia.
The Holy Father has accepted the resignation (on reaching the age of 75 late last year) of Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, NY. Bishop Daily, as an auxiliary bishop in Boston under Cardinals Medieros and Law, was one of the leading figures in covering up of the pervert priest crisis here.
One more scandal-tainted bishop has been quietly let go as quickly as it was decent to do so. Law, O'Brien, Daily, Weakland, O'Connell and Timlin have had their resignations accepted in the last year. Who says the Vatican does not clean house? Now if a way to dispense with McCormack and Mahony could be found, things would visibly improve. Parishioner confidence might begin to return to the Church. And the money might start flowing again.
Since this is the day to celebrate first fruits, why not share a few recipes for bread? After all, grains are the staff of life, and are basic to our culture, indeed to all human survival. And the Bible is full of references to bread and its liturgical significance. Our Lord decided upon bread as the form His Body would take for us.
And I must admit a terrific fondess for breads. Indeed, you might say that my body has never met a carbohydrate it did not take a serious liking to, and invite to stick around for life in a pleasant spot around my middle.
I'll give three recipes for bread today, all of which I am fond of. The first one is in the bread machine now (9:30 am), and should be ready for lunch.
I use a 11/2 pound bread machine for most of my breads. I'll give the proportions for the 11/2 pound loaf.
1 cup warm water
2 Tblspns molasses
11/2 Tblspns vegetable oil
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
11/2 tspns salt
21/2 cups bread flour (regular flour does just fine)
2 tspns active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
Use the Basic setting. I'd suggest a Medium or Light crust. It will take 3 hours for your bread machine to prepare this loaf. Pumpkin butter, a staple in this house, is great on this bread. Orange honey butter is also good on it.
Sally Lunn Bread
The name Sally Lunn has been the subject of much speculation. It may be that a lady named Sally Lunn sold this bread in the form of biscuits at Bath in the 18th Century. It may be that the name derives from the light-on-the-bottom, dark- on-top color of the biscuits, and is a derivative of the French words for sun and moon. Whatever the derivation, the bread is delicious.
The very best Sally Lunn I have ever had was at Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA (on a re-enactment weekend). With Game Pie and Scuppernog Punch, it was, perhaps, the tastiest meal I have ever had. And the droll fellow in the guise of a strolling minstrel and bard who "entertained" us there by singing The Old Soldiers of the King was a hoot. He pretended to be much perplexed at our appearance, since the Tavern is set for the period 1790, and and we were fully dressed in the uniform of 1775, and there would not be many British soldiers casually strolling into a tavern in Virginia 9+ years after Yorktown.
3/4 cup whole milk
11/2 Tblspns butter
3 Tblspns sugar
1 tspn salt
31/3 cups bread flour (regular flour works fine)
21/4 tspns active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
Use the Sweet cycle, and a Medium crust setting. Buttered and served with either sweet hot Earl Grey, or mint iced tea (in hotter weather), this is a snack to look forward to.
Cheddar Onion Bread
This one has a vaguely Alsatian hint to it. It is, I think, the combination of onion and cheese, which is typicalof Alsatian cooking. Cheddar, though, is Anglo-American.
1 cup + 2 Tblspns Whole Milk
11/2 Tblspns vegetable oil
1/4 cup grated onion
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
11/2 Tblspns sugar
11/2 tspns salt
1/4 tspn garlic salt
31/3 cups bread flour (regular flour is fine)
21/4 tspns active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
Use the Sweet cycle and a Medium crust setting. Great with soup. Makes a great sandwich with decent turkey and mayo (but not today, as it is Friday).
Today is Lammas Day, the Feast of Saint Peter Ad Vincula. In Europe, it was celebrated as the first fruits of the harvest. "Lammas" probably comes from "Loaf Mass", and a ritual blessing of loaves of bread made from the first grain harvested was part of the Lammas rite. Harvest queens would be crowned in villages, and harvest suppers would be held. The Scripture readings our Mass featured in last Sunday's Gospel and First Reading had a harvest theme, with the story of the loaves and fishes as the Gospel, and a similar story as the First Reading. These would have been the readings often used for Lammas, though the story of Peter's escape from the dungeon, the basis for the superimposed feast, would also be used.
The Feast of Saint Peter Ad Vincula is the Feast of Peter's Chains. Saint Peter, having been arrested, was held in custody, but miraculously was permitted to escape. Two links said to be from the chain that he was confined in are venerated at the church of Saint Peter Ad Vincula at Rome. The Feast of Saint Peter's Chains was superimposed over the pre-Christian harvest festivals (but with less success than with Christmas, Easter, and All Saints' Day). Though Lammas has lost much of its significance in the last hundred years, it has more cultural resonance than Saint Peter's Chains. Even my Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter Calendar simply lists today as a ferial day.
In Western Europe, the harvest is about 3 weeks earlier, on average, than in New England. We think of harvest time as September and October. But even in our own suburban gardens, aren't the first tomatoes ready about now? Raspberries and blackberries are a few days away. Sweet corn is about ready here. Apples will start ripening in a few weeks. Six weeks to fresh sweet cider! Just because we are no longer an agricultural society does not mean that we need to lose touch with the traditional seasonal tempo of life.
This was also the beginning of the Autumn fair season. One still hears an Irish folk song called "The Aulde Lammas Faire." Think about it-there are 7 or 8 weeks to the Topsfield Fair and other fairs start before that. King Richard's medieval faire starts Labor Day weekend. Many towns here on the North Shore have their August festivals, probably the equivalent of the medieval fair near Lammas. Salem has its Heritage Days starting next weekend. Beverly has Homecoming Week, and Newburyport has Yankee Homecoming this month. Many towns in medieval and early modern Europe held large fairs on Lammas that brought people from far and near to the closest thing Europe then had to a mall. In medieval Europe, those fairs took on a much greater commercial significance than their descendants do today. The fairs were mobile, spending a few days in a given location (like a modern carnival).
Lammas is the only resting point we have until the Feast of the Assumption in two weeks. It is our chance to assess how the summer is going, whether it will be an early autumn, or whether the heat will persist past Labor Day. This year, I think we are in for an early autumn, based on the weather of the last week. You don't need to be Haydn Pearson (the Countryman essayist in the New York Times 50 years ago) to notice that Autumn is on the way. Some sickly trees will start to change by the end of the month. In fact, we have seen one or two with some leaves turning yellow already. Although July was a little drier than average, it has not been the drought month it was last year, so lack of rain is not the cause for the trees changing early.
It may still be hot now and then (though today is quite cool and rainy, and temperatures have been in the 70s with low humidity this last week; better, cooler weather than we had in Anchorage) The "Dog Days" may hold sway until the middle of the month. But the cooler days will start to be noticed more, especially after the fifteenth. Autumn-themed decor started showing up in stores a few weeks ago. There were back-to-school displays (stacks of binders) in Walmart in June, two days after school ended!
Unfortunately, I and my fellow ragweed allergy sufferers will start to be miserable in about 10 days, and will stay that way until the first hard frost in October. It has not bothered me as much these last few years, as we live in a virtual sea of brick here in downtown Salem. Not much ragweed nearby to trouble me.
May the Lord bless this harvest and provide ample food for all His people. As a practical matter, your local food pantry does not want you to bake a loaf of bread for them. But today, as we celebrate the harvest, it would be great to write a $10.00 check to them, so they can buy bread for ten families for the week.
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Mark Sullivan at Irish Elk did some detective work on R. Cort Kirkwood's parish (see below). He came up with some not very pretty images from a LifeTeen Mass. If you have delicate sensibilties about the Mass, this is not the sort of thing you want to see after gorging on a loaf of Wilson Farms batard and a bottle of their root beer. Disgust, contempt, and cold fury work better on an empty stomach.
Perhaps the most frightening things he unearthed were the side profile photos of the deacon. If he put on fifty pounds around the middle (OK, maybe 70) , and dropped a couple of inches in height, he could almost pass as my identical twin. Scary stuff. There is someone out there (down there) who looks like me perpetuating this silly stuff.
The trading deadline is midnight, and it looks as if the Boston Red Sox have pulled off another impressive trade to shore up the pitching staff. You can't say that management is not willing to try to get us a title this year, based on this level of activity (after grossly over-estimating the effectiveness of the bullpen at the start of the season).
Give Theo Epstein and John Henry credit for trying. They are not standing pat in hopes of a miracle as the previous ownership did many, many times under the Yawkeys and their trust. They know they can't win the division without overtaking the Yankees, and that pitching has been the team's weak point. The trade does not materially harm our offense, and could do much to improve the pitching, both the rotation and the bullpen. The best part is, they are picking off prime players before the Yankees get their greasy pinstripped claws on them.
The deal is, according to a little blurb in a "breaking news" box in the Globe, that the Sox have picked up from the Pirates Jeff Suppan, a decent starting pitcher, and Brandon Lyon, a reliever, as well as minor league pitcher Anastacio Martinez for infielder Freddie Sanchez and minor league leftie Mike Gonzalez. I am guessing that the end of a contract or two had something to do with availability of these players. Sanchez was a very promising prospect.
Suppan was with the Sox before, and, I think, came up through our farm system. He is 10-7 currently. No Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, or Ron Guidry, but a useful arm to have in the rotation down the stretch. And the staf ERA has been horrific. We are only where we ae because the team can hit. Suppan at 3.57 might not bring the average down much, but at least he may be respectable. Lyon has a wing problem, so don't expect too much. This was clearly a "let's try to improve to win it this year" trade, not a "building for the future" deal.
The Yankees are not standing about idly. They made a trade to plug a hole at third base, and gave up prospects and money to do so.
You can tell the place is popular, because it is almost impossible to find a parking space at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon. Located on Routes 4&225 just after they diverge from Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington is a produce lover's heaven. We are not talking about a mere farm stand, with a couple of dozen ears of corn, a bushel basket of tomatoes, and an assortment of local jams and jellies, or some pumpkins in the fall. No. Wilson Farms is the promised land for those who like the choicest produce fresh as can be and presented wonderfully.
The Wilson Family has been running the farm since 1884. Their control of the place is not in any way nominal, even after, I think, four generations. On a shopping visit (I am almost tempted to say pilgrimage) you are very likely to bump into one or more members of the Wilson Family, though they employ dozens of outsiders just in the store. They are checking to make sure the store looks right and is well stocked. They are in the office, they are in the greenhouses, they are in the nursery section.
Actually, Wilson Farms is three farms. There is a significant amount of acreage in New Hampshire on which vegetables are grown. In Maine, there is a dairy farm. The Lexington property seems to have about 60 acres under cultivation. These are located just behind the store. What they don't have is a significant apple orchard of their own. The fresh cider, though wonderful, comes from another farm.
Once you settle into a parking space and leave your car, you will find, in clement weather, a significant outdoor market just outside the doors to the store proper, with cut flowers, plants, and fruits and vegetables. There are often samples available. Just walking a few minutes among the mums on an early September afternoon puts one in mind of fall. This place fully realizes the concept of abundance. The fruits, even outside, are available in such variety and quantity as to make the best supermarket produce department look like a pale, sickly thing.
Once you enter the store, you can see that at one time it was a barn. The varnished and highly polished wood floor has a covering of sawdust, to prevent slipping (as someone who wears shoes with leather soles, and has a long-established history of slipping on ice, I can appreciate this).
The first thing that you will see on coming in from the sunshine is the produce. Bins and bins of the healthiest, best-looking fruits and vegetables known to man are at your fingertips. Not all the produce is grown by the Wilsons. Some is imported from other states and countries. But whoever does the buying for the Wilsons deserves a raise, or even better, the title, "Produce Buyer of the World." He or she consistently picks the best of the best for Wilson Farms. And the people minding the store are careful to remove anything that is about to begin to become unpleasant, before it does, unlike many supermarkets. It is not merely that the apples are highly poished, and that the cherries would start anyone salivating. It is that the presentation does so consistently.
Along the wall on the left there is a dairy case with Wilson Farms milk, including their famous banana milk in glass bottles that you return. Eggs are there too. And butter. Further along the left wall are salad dressings, spices, condiments. We had almost despaired last year of finding Bovril liquid beef concentrate (for onion soup) in our local stores. Wilson Farms had it here. There is a case or two behind the produce depatment for cold cuts and meats, particularly chicken.
Then, at the back of the store, are two departments I cannot say enough about. The bakery is on the left. And what a bakery! The most wonderful variety of fresh-baked breads hot out of the oven every half hour or so is there for your picnic needs. There are cookies, cakes, pies and pastries to please any palate. We almost never go to Wilson Farms without a loaf or two of hot bread. The bread never survives the 30 minutes to Salem.
To the right of the bakery, there is a refrigerator case for drinkables. Here you will find the fresh cider, in season, from that other farm further west of Boston. You will also find a terrific root beer, bottled for Wilson Farms by the same company, I noticed, that bottles it for Hart's Turkey Farm, the justly famous restauraunt in Meredith, NH that we often visit during our Columbus Day leaf-peeping. So, they don't make it themselves, but it has their label, and is very good.
And to the right of the drinkables is the cheese department. Oh, what cheeses! More varieties of cheese than any four supermarkets can boast. And among the cheeses is what I consider the growning glory, pates. Oh, your grocery store may have a pate or two in the cheese section. But Wilson Farms features 5-6 different pates. And they are all from Les Trois Petit Cochons, which, in this pate-gobbler's opinion does as good a job with goose liver and truffles as anybody on this planet. The website tells me, I have never stopped to count, that there are 200 varieties of cheese. It is like the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch in reverse. They have everything, and it all looks great, and tastes great.
To the right of the cheeses is a refrigerator section featuring ready-to-serve selections. This has been a growing trend in supermarkets nationwide in the last decade or so. Most supermarkets around here have been behind their counterparts in other parts of the country in this regard. In Anchorage, we found Carrs' and Fred Meyer's new stores light years ahead of what is available for our local supermarkets, yes, even Stop & Shop Superstores. Well, Wilson Farms' ready-to-serve section surpasses what the big new Left Coast stores have.
Just in front of the ready-to-serve section is a fresh juice area. They squeeze your orange or pineapple juice to order, even by the glass. Wonderful! And then there is the frozen section. They have meat pies made locally, ice cream and frozen desserts, clam chowder and a variety of soups.
And let me say a word about prices. I look a t food prices rather carefully. I have found the Wilson Farms produce prices to be comparable to, or lower than supermarket produce prices, and for much better quality. You can buy their cookbook, a large trade paper thing of some 275 pages, for just $5.00.
And that is just the food section of the store. If you go back out the door you came in, and turn right, you will come to a nursery with section after section. It seems to go on and on, rather like this blog. The selection of plants and gardening supplies is beguiling, almost bewildering. Want bulbs to plant for spring flowers? This is the place to get them, not Lowe's or Home Depot. The number of varieties of tulip and daffodil available here is stunning. At Walmart's garden department, you might have two varieties of daff to pick from. At Wilson Farm you have a dozen or more.
The place is wonderful, and I am not the only person to think so. Without the slightest advertising on radio or television, the place is jammed whenever it is open. This is no place for quiet contemplation. For that there is Catholic Church across the street (but you won't be able to use it, since it is a "progressive" congregation and has ripped out the kneelers, according to a friend who was assigned there as a deacon recently). No. Wilson Farms is where you go when you want to be with other produce junkies, lots of other produce junkies. And often, as Lexington is centrally located for the toniest suburbs, produce junkies in BMWs, Jaguars, Range Rovers, and MGs.
If you want quiet, shop in the produce department of Stop & Shop at 7:30 in the morning. If you want great produce and lots of fantastic extras, shop at Wilson Farms. It is worth the trip. See the photos on the website? That is how the place actually looks all the time.
Well it is prescriptive, clear, and has the backing of authority. I agree with it wholeheartedly. Even if I were not a Catholic, I would agree with it.
But what will be the consequences when Catholic politicians work in favor of gay marriage, or fail to work against it? What will happen to them? As far as I can see, it is left to the discretion of the pastor and the bishop. Which, in all practicality means that, unless your bishop is Fabian Bruskewitz, there will be no consequences, except, perhaps, some criticism.
So opposition to gay marriage is now on a par with opposition to abortion in what is expected of the Catholic officeholder by the Church. The Church has done almost nothing to enforce its will regarding abortion and the Catholic officeholder. I'm afraid that is just where we are heading with this document. Gay marriage will be pushed down the throats of the nation with the active support of judges, legislators, and executives who call themselves Catholic, and nothing substantive will ever be done about it. Sometimes, you have to prove that you meant what you said. I'm afraid that the Vatican has allowed its bluff to be called once or twice too often to have much effect.
Probably, the number of American public servants whose votes will be changed by this can be numbered on the fingers of one hand. Will Cardinal Ratzinger or the Holy Father follow up Senator Kerry's and Senator Kennedy's inevitable votes against a Defense of Marriage Law or Amendment with a phone call to Archbishop Sean ordering excommunications? Pigs will fly, first, unless I am much mistaken.
Interesting is the document's use of the term "politician." In normal parlance, it applies to those seeking or holding elective office. But what about judges? In many places, they never seek office in the ordinary sense. They are appointed, and serve for life (or until a mandatory retirement age). Why "politician" rather than "people in public life with control over the determination of the issue?" It is the judges, in Massachusetts, Canada, Hawaii, and Vermont, who have done, or might do, the most damage on this issue.
So, yes, this document is absolutely right. It says just what nees to be said under the circumstances. But will it be enforced, or are we just piling up orders on paper that will be ignored where it counts?
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine have concluded investigations without bringing charges against the local Church hierarchy. The Diocese of Manchester came closest to being charged, and essentially had to admit to criminal acts to get a settlement with the state. If conduct like what went on between 1950 and 2000 should ever start up again, there are now laws on the books that will make it possible to prosecute.
Paul Howard, writing for National Review On Line, compares Harry Potter with X-Men, and finds that Harry wins, hands down.
I don't know about you, but I would rather be on the coast of Maine, say at Kennebunkport, in August than in Crawford, Texas. But I suppose he did decide to live there, and must maintain his ties to the state for his re-election. And maybe he likes the heat.
Archbishop Sean appointed Attorney Thomas Hannigan of Ropes & Gray head of the defense team in the pervert priest cases. Hannigan had been de facto head since the Archbishop's appointment, but the Archbishop made it official today.
Won't the Rogers Firm look really bad if Hannigan comes along and settles this case in a very business-like manner in the next 3 months?
Senators Kennedy and Kerry, both stalwarts of the pro-abortion movement who have the temerity to declare themselves Catholics, both of whom, as far as I can tell, support gay marriage, also both received Holy Communion at yesterday's Mass of Installation for Archbishop Sean.
R. Cort Kirkwood describes Mass at his home parish in terms that would make you rush to the nearest Indult Mass, even if it were 300 miles away.
From the huffing and puffing in the Globe, it seems to be all that we could wish.
It is only 12 pages long, so I will try to read it today, if someone eventually links to the full text. Is it just me, or is the Vatican Information Service tardy in keeping up with breaking news?
Odd. As RC said in the comments, the mother is being evaluated, and rightly so.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
And declined numerous offers to help. Apparently, it was a rather easy delivery. Authorities report mother and child are doing fine. Lord bless both mother and child.
In keeping with the Capuchin way, our new Archbishop would prefer to be known to the faithful (and others, I suppose) as Archbishop Sean. This does create something of a conundrum. I have never liked priests wanting to be called Father John (the priest who married us), or Father Dan (our pastor). It seems to me we are not giving the office the respect it deserves in doing that. I prefer the more formal Father Adams, or Father Flaherty.
I have dealt with monks before, of course. At Saint John's Prep in Danvers, I was educated by a good few terrific Xaverian Brothers. They were always addressed as Brother Comber (Latin), or Brother Daily (History), or Brother Puccio (English) , never as Brother Joseph, Brother Robert, or Brother Tom. How they were addressed by their fellow brothers, I have no idea.
But perhaps the Capuchins are more of a breed apart. This is somewhat disarming. It is hard to be angry with Archbishop Sean. It is much easier to be mad at Archbishop O'Malley. I suspect the media will have to ignore the request. I'll see what I can do to honor it, though it goes against my grain.
The issue is the information concerning Bishop McCormack's handling of the pervert priest crisis that was released as part of Attorney General Reilly's report.
McCormack has only said that he worked very hard, both in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire, to protect children, which is utter dung. The record shows he did no such thing, in fact he did the exact opposite, working to protect perverts even before he had any responsibility over the matter, when he was presented, as a supposedly honest broker, with facts concerning Father Birmingham's predations here in Salem in the 1960s.
So yes, on this day of joy and hope here in Boston, we can look 50 miles to the north and see one of the most villainous characters in the Scandal still running a diocese. That is a loose end that needs cutting off.
I've been watching the coverage of the installation Mass live. I am happy to say that the TV personnel were sensitive enough to not talk over the Mass, though they did, before the Mass, and during Communion ask a VOTF spokesman for his views.
It was a deeply moving thing to see so many gathered for the installation of the 6th Archbishop, and 9th bishop of Boston in our beautiful Cathedral of the Holy Cross. To see Archbishop O'Malley kiss the relic of the True Cross as he took up his cross of service here in Boston was also deeply moving.
There was a little too much of the multi-culti in the decision to have the First and Second Readings and most of the Prayers of the Faithful in foriegn languages. Archbishop O'Malley started out with a pastoral message, fortunately brief, in Spanish, Portugese, and Creole, and then got to the meat of his homily. I will see if the full text has been released so that I can link to it for you.
Yes, the protestors were out in force. I saw at least two "Ordain Women" signs, so VOTF was well represented.
But the day has been a wonderful thing for Boston Catholics. Archbishop O'Malley has an engaging personality, and is a moving and inspiring homilist. We have been sheep without a shepard for too long. Cardinal Law's leadership and moral authority collapsed more than a year ago. Bishop Lennon did his best, but the position and the circumstances made it impossible for him to be effective. We can thank God that the Holy Father has given us a new pastor, especially one so truly motivated by the spirit of the Gospels and the example of Saint Francis.
He has a tough job ahead.
The litigation must be justly settled. That means twisting the arms of the insurance companies, and earnestly trying to reach a reasonable agreement with the plaintiffs. That, by itself, proved to be more than Bishop Lennon was able to carry out. Even beyond agreeing on a dollar figure, something must be done to genuinely help the victims of abuse. Of course, their lawyers want the biggest dollar figure possible, since they get 1/3. But many of these people need counseling. Many may not have been whole, healthy men when they were molested. The molestations they suffered may have made many of them worse. The rule of law is that you take your plaintiff as you find him. If your action causes greater harm to him because of his pre-existing circumstances, you must do what you can to make him whole, not just to correct the damage you have done. The Church controls a network of hospitals. We have the resources to get these people effective counselling and therapy. We have an obligation to do so, and so do their lawyers.
Then there is the state of dissent in the Catholic community here. I doubt Archbishop O'Malley will be able to move on this front quickly. But something must be done about enforcing Ex Corde Ecclesia. The Boston Priests' Forum and its ringleaders need to be taken down a few notches. VOTF needs to be dealt with by creating an approved Catholic laity group, one more devoted to orthodox and traditional devotions than to agitating for structural change. There is a vast number of lay Catholics who need to be reconciled to the Church, and taught in order that they may embrace the Faith more fully.
It is a huge job. Archbishop O'Malley has a kind heart and a regard for the Gospel. He seems to have energy and will. The question is, does he have the vision and imagination to take steps that his predecessor did not want to deal with?
Some of what must be done will not be popular. But he has a choice: sell out to VOTF, etc. which would be the easy way and garner lots of immediate praise in the media and among the cultural elite, or hold Boston Catholics to the Church and her principles, which will earn him brickbats and scorn from almost every quarter except Rome.
If you find yourself in the area between now and Christmas, allow me to suggest a stop at Wilson Farms just off Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington, MA, for some of the loveliest produce I have ever seen, flowers for your home and garden, scrumptious baked goods, their own rootbeer, fresh-squeezed orange juice, banana milk, an incredible array of cheeses and pates. I think I just may have to do an Appreciating feature on Wilson Farm very soon.
There is nothing like a good sharp cheddar to set one up for the day.
K-Lo posted it in NRO's The Corner this morning.
I come to you--in the midst a great global conflict against evil--with a simple message: "Be Not Afraid."
I do not say this as a foreigner, cavalier in my estimation of the dangers that surround you.
Instead, I say it as an ally, in spite of the terrifying predators who threaten all free nations, especially Israel.
My country is not ignorant, nor are we indifferent to your struggle.
We know our victory in the war on terror depends on Israel's survival.
And we know Israel's survival depends on the willingness of free nations--especially our own--to stand by all endangered democracies in their time of need.
We hear your voice cry out in the desert, and we will never leave your side.
Because freedom and terrorism cannot coexist.
Terrorism cannot be negotiated away or pacified. Terrorism will either destroy free nations, or free nations will destroy it.
Freedom and terrorism will struggle--good and evil--until the battle is resolved.
These are the terms Providence has put before the United States, Israel, and the rest of the civilized world.
They are stark, and they are final.
I can't link to this because they are in the nature of graphics. But click on Boston.com, and you will find a detailed, illustrated description of the vestments Archbishop O'Malley will wear, a graphic describing his coat of arms as Archbishop of Boston, which incorporates personal, Capuchin, and Boston and Washington themes, and a program for the Mass of Installation, which begins with the meat and potatoes of the day at 11:00 am, and will continue for about 2 hours.
Update: The Globe seems to be rotating these features in and out. I just checked back and found new features, including a description of Holy Cross Cathedral, a Viewer's Guide To the Installation, and a Description of the procession, which well feature more than 1,000 participants. Check it several times in the next hour. I think it might be worthwhile.
In a bad year, we have given up genuine hope by now. But the Sox went into last night's game against the Texas Rangers only a game and a half behind the Yankees. They won last night, in a decisive 14-7 clobbering of the team from Arlington. And they pulled off a trade, picking up a genuine star-quality closer in Scott Williamson from the Reds (he has 21 saves already this year). They may now move Kim to the starting rotation, which he would prefer.
Skeptics (and we are all skeptics when it comes to the possibilities of the Red Sox) may say that the team has plenty of time to fold, that even if they win the division, or take the wild card, they still have to get past the Yankees to get to the World Series. And that is true.
Though the Sox as a franchise have an amazing ability to snatch disaster from the jaws of glorious victory, we should not be completely hopeless. They have won more than one World Series before (granted the last was 1918, before they sold Babe Ruth, et al., to the Yankees so the owner, the infamous and much-hated Harry Frazee, could finance a production of No, No Nanette).
But some element of hope remains in New England hearts, or why bother with baseball at all? Generations of Sox fans continue to secretly yearn (though they scarcely dare to say so in public anymore) for the day when Boston can hoist a "World Series Champions" banner in Fenway with a more recent provenance.
The thing is not impossible. Improbable, yes. But who would have thought that the New England Patriots, our almost-as-beloved Patsies, would have a Super Bowl Championship under their belts?
The basic Boston Globe coverage.
Highly selective responses from various common people about the new Archbishop.
A story on the nuts and bolts, or behind the scenes, of making the installation work smoothly.
The usual leftist snark from Eileen McNamara, the Globe's resident Anna Quindlen/Maureen Dowd wannabe.
The basic Boston Herald Coverage.
A look back at Archbishop-designate O'Malley's work in Fall River.
The inevitable protest angle.
The Globe wrote about the catering, the Herald writes about security.
A kind, welcoming editorial from the Herald.
A much more welcoming op-ed from the Herald's Joe Fitzgerald than the ungracious thing the Globe provided.
I think I may never have provided so many links in a single blog before.
O'Malleyed out yet?
I'll be watching (yes, watching on TV, undoubtably there will be live, uninterrupted coverage on our local network affiliates, and I can relax my rules about not watching broadcast TV for this) or listening on the radio. So undoubtably I will have more to say myself later.
But for now, all I will add is this :
Welcome to Boston Archbishop O'Malley. May the Holy Spirit guide your actions and may the Blessed Mother give you solace in the difficult moments to come. Our prayers will be with you as you try to bring this mess to a just conclusion and try to restore order, reverence, and Catholicity to the Archdiocese of Boston.
No, I have not seen the first Christmas decorations or merchandise in the stores yet, though I am sure that is only a few weeks away. Even better. I happened upon an airtight tub in which I had packed leftover slices of the fruitcake I baked for Christmas, 2001 (baked, therefore before Thanksgiving, 2000). For those not familiar with my fruitcake recipe (gave it just before last Thanksgiving), it has so much booze, sugar, and spices in it that, if stored carefully in an airtight container, it will keep almost forever, and improve continuously.
Let me tell you, this is one mellow fruitcake.
The candied fruit (lots and lots of fruit: cherries, citron, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica if you can find it, raisins and currants) is soaked for a few days in French brandy. Brandy and rum are among the ingredients of the cake itself. Then, once baked, it is carfully wrapped in cheesecloth thoroughly soaked in cream sherry (the cheesecloth re-soaked in more cream sherry, if it should dry out). The recipe is Martha Washington's recipe for what she called her "Great Cake," or cake for great occasions. One of these cakes weighs in at about 11 pounds.
What a neat thing to find in the pantry on a warm July evening when you want somthing sweet, are jaded with ice cream and Italian ice, and don't want to cook! Christmas in July, anyone?
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. They get my strong endorsement. I love Cardinal Ratzinger. Would that he were 15 years younger. He would be the ideal candidate for the next pope.
Blogger has been much better behaved lately with regard to my overhead ads. I haven't had a gay civil union site advertise there in a while, thank merciful Heaven!
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Father Antonio Vivaldi, the great violinist of the 18th century. There are few things I enjoy more than listening to Vivaldi's concerti (unless it is listening to Scarlatti's harpsichord works, or Bach's Goldberg Variations, or Mozart's string duos, trios, quartets, and quintets). Vivaldi died July 28th, 1741.
Intercepted communications and interrogations are leading to the conclusion that more hijacking attacks are being planned.
Time for another round-up of likely suspects here, more vigilance at borders, ports, airports, railroad stations, and to make room for a few hundred more prisoners at Gitmo. It is not clear, however, whether the attacks would be on domestic US targets, or on softer targets overseas.
Having just gone through airport security for the first time since before September 11th, I can see that measures could be stricter everywhere. Luggage should be not just X-rayed but searched. Individuals should all be patted down and wanded. And special attention has to be paid to individuals of Middle-Eastern appearance and on Americans with Moslem names, even if it is not politically correct to do so.
Sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany. She is the patroness of hostesses and hoteliers.
It is from www.chiesa, which is not a source I am familiar with. However, the presentation seems even-handed.
The fault seems to have been mutual. There was a lack of US transparency in describing the strategic impetus for the Iraqi campaign, both in public and in private. The underlaying reason for the campaign was September 11th (the sine qua non for the Iraqi campaign). Yet the Administration, for a variety of reasons, would not say so publicly to either to the American people or to foreign governments. I dare say that the next campaign (Iran? Syria? Libya?) will see just as tight-lipped a justification, and produce just as much tension, if not more.
On the Vatican's side, there was an exaggerated concern for Christian communities in Moslem countries, as well as new and more restrictive interpretations of the Just War Theory that have gained favor in Rome. There was also the influence of French church officials in Rome, echoing their own government's policy, and the lack of strong-willed American church figures who understand the reality of our foreign policy objectives and can explain and justify them in Rome. There was a lack of imagination in seeing the opportunities a liberal and tolerant Iraq would provide for Christians. And I dare say the gulf between the two remains unfilled, despite the best will on both sides to cooperate on essentials.
That brings some happiness in this sad time. Since his wife was born Catholic, Hope, like Judge Bork, was open to increasing Catholic influences throughout his life. In fact, Hope had a long tradition of contributing very generously to Catholic causes. To me, Bob Hope was an ordinary fellow with some extraordinary gifts. He was not a saint, but was one of us, a sinner in need of God's mercy. May God be merciful to him, and comfort his family.
A guy tries to steal under $300.00 in coins from a Scranton, PA church. He drops the coins and his wallet at the scene. Police tell someone in his house that his wallet has been found. And the idiot goes to the police station to claim his wallet, where he is promptly arrested.
General Barry McCaffrey, USA (ret), in a piece originally for the Wall Street Journal, that appears today at FrontPage Magazine, agrees with a position Recta Ratio has taken from the beginning: the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are in need of a wartime expansion to do all the things we need them to do in the war on terrorism. Strains on the reserve component in particular are begining to tell. If we have another major contingency pop up (Cuba, North Korea, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan) the current force structure is entirely inadequate.
Even bringing our conventional forces up to the level they were at in 1987 would do the trick. There is no question of a World War II-sized force of a hundred divisions and a hundred aircraft carriers. But 16 of each would do, even if some of the carriers built in the 1950s are detained in service for another decade, and even if two-four new divisions light on armor but technologically advanced are added to the Army's TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment).
I am guessing that three things are keeping the Administration from doing this.
The first is budgetary. An expansion of conventional forces would involve a large increase in defense spending. Given tight budgets, the Administration, and deficit hawks in Congress would prefer not to do this.
The second is that they fear that, by the time new divisions could be worked up to be combat-ready, new aircraft carrier battle groups have their planes, pilots, crews, escort ships, munitions,and communications worked up, the need for such a level of forces will have diminished.
Thirdly, asking for increased forces would be an admission that the Administration's initial intention of fighting the war on terrorism with off-the-shelf forces was mistaken from the beginning. That, probably, is the greatest single obstacle to getting the armed forces the wartime augmentation they really, really need.
Swallow it, guys. The war, all of it, must be won while President Bush is still in office.
We do not have the luxury of assuming that the American people will elect a responsible statesman who will prosecute the war effort as required in 2008. They may elect Hillary. Or John Kerry.
In fact, that may happen as soon as next year, if the economy does not significantly improve very, very soon. Look at what happened to the last really good, responsible commander-in-chief, President Bush's father. Tossed out of office without so much as a "by your leave" because the economy had sputtered and was not recovering fast enough. And then there was Churchill, dismissed from all further leadership of the affairs of the British people months after winning World War II.
So we are, or must assume that we are, where Lincoln was in the Spring of 1864. Faced with the possibility of electoral defeat, the war must be won before a feckless successor can take office and undo the prosecution of the war. The stakes are no less high now than they were then. This war is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Even if the electorate does not recognize it as such. And we are still a long way from victory.
We need the tools to complete the job. The faster we can get them, the better.
And with glacier-like speed, the Saudi government is acknowledging this.
Thanks to someone in The Corner, I came across this excellent analysis of the war on terrorism to date. I really urge everyone to study this analysis and take what it has to say about the war effort to heart. I think then, we will hear a lot less carping about not finding WMD in Iraq.
I have a few differences with the analysis (I tend to think that time is very much not on our side, and that action, against Iran in particular, will be necessary in the next 18 months, as soon as we have replaced the munitions expended in Iraq, if the Iranian people do not succesfully throw off the yoke of Islamo-fascism themselves, rather than in the next 20 years). And the situations in the Philippines, in Kashmir, and in Chechnya are not discussed to any great extent.
Also part of the equation is the status of North Korea and, ultimately, China. They are not themselves Islamic states, but it is pretty clear that they supply weapons to hostile Moslem states and terrorist groups. If that can be brought to a halt, all we will have to deal with from them are the regional threats they pose to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
But generally, the author or authors of this analysis see things pretty clearly. Our weakness, at least as perceived in the Arab world, led to 9/11. Our response to that attack continues to unfold. Afghanistan and Iraq were both part of that unfolding response. While we had to go through the motions regarding WMD, that was not why we attacked Iraq. We took over Iraq to get rid of a potential terrorist threat posed by Saddam himself, and to put pressure on Iran and Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
The next step may be taking out the Islamic government of Iran, or helping the Iranians do it from secure bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. It may be taking out Syria. It may be North Korea if that government is so foolish as to provoke a crisis.
In the meantime, we will continue law enforcement efforts to wipe out domestic cells, and continue to use foreign law enforcement and military resources to deal with cells we see in other countries. And when we find a Moslem terrorist training camp operational somewhere where we can get at it, we will quietly exterminate it using covert operations or special forces in suddden deadly strikes that, if posible, leave no survivors.
That is the war we are fighting, the war that was forced on us. We will continue to fight it, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. It is all one war effort. Each separate campaign in that war does not require its own justification under the Just War theory. We were attacked. We have identified the entities responsible in a fairly broad way. We are taking the war to them wherever we find them. We will do so at a pace that makes sense to us. Even if the periods of relative inaction are taken as peace, they really are just preparation for the next phase. We are in one of those phases now.
It is unfortunate that the war has to be fought in a piecemeal fashion, with one target neutralized, then the next identified and a slow build-up to the point where military operations can be conducted. The Administration has not done as good a job as it should in impressing on the American people, or anybody else, the unity of the undertaking. To the causal observer, it all looks like it is unrelated. All the person who does not think strategically sees linked is the Afghan operation, the law enforcement/intelligence/financial efforts against al Qaeda. The Administration has not emphasized as much as it should the "draining the swamp" aspect of the Iraqi operation, and of whatever will eventually be done about Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, and more subtly to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
The casus belli was September 11th. No more justification is needed, should we decide to take out Khadafy, or Kim Jong Il, or Assad, Jr., or the Iranian mullahs, or help the Philippines wipe out Moslem terrorist groups, or pursue bin Laden or his cronies to the suburbs of Paris or the darkest part of Africa, or exterminate 50 terrorists training in a camp in Algeria or in Pakistan. The war is against Moslem terrorism and those states which lend it support. It is not just bin Laden, or just al Qaeda, or just Saddam and his friends that are the enemy. It is the failure of most Moslem states to provide opportunity and justice for their people, and their consequent scapegoating of the US and Israel. It will be a hard fight, and it will take time (though hopefully not the 20-30 years the authors are talking about). But we can't not fight it. War is not a time for tender consciences. War is a time for hard measures and hardened minds.
Those inclined to question the justification for our military, intelligence, law enforcement, economic, or diplomatic actions should just remember the 3,000 dead in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, or contemplate that hole in the ground we now call Ground Zero. That is why we fight, to make it impossible for that to ever happen again.
According To Fox News.
The Globe today looks at the challenges faced by mostly inner-city parishes in adapting modes of worship and other forms to large new immigrant communities from places that have previously not had much of a presence in the Archdiocese of Boston.
The fact is that something better than 10% of the total number of Catholics in Eastern Massachusetts are recent immigrants. Only a tiny number of these new immigrants are coming from Ireland, Poland, Italy, Spain, France, or Austria, the countries that contributed the traditional immigrant populations of Catholics. Now Haiti, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and parts of Asia, are sending Catholics to live in Boston.
It is, in my opinion, still true, as Hilaire Belloc said, that "Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe," no matter what the demographics of modern-day Europe say, no matter that the Faith seems to be withering there at present, no matter that the EU decided not to include any reference to Christianity in its draft constitution, no matter that a vital Church exists in the US and elsewhere. The Faith is the link back to classical times. It is the essence of the civilization that became Europe (in all but geographic terms, the US is, for our purposes, part of Europe, an extra-continental European power, rather like Britain, but just a little more removed, and with a role in other areas as well).
The idea of Europe is intrinsically linked to the idea of Christianity. Christianizing the world is, by necessity, Europeanizing it, since bringing Christianity to the outlands of Asia and Africa is bringing the vital part of Europrean civilization to these places.
Yet the Church has always been able to adapt outward forms to serve new populations. We celebrate Christmas and Halloween/All Saints as we do because the Church laid a thick Christian veneer over seasonal pagan holidays. Lammas, this Friday, is another example of Christianizing something (the celebration of the first fruits of the harvest) that goes back a very long way. So we should not be surprised to see some modifications in ritual to suit the traditions of those communities we are now reaching. Perhaps, over time, some non-European modes will be adopted into the calendar and ritual of the Church as a whole.
But the point is that this can be overdone. Yes, the immigrant population of Boston Catholics is something like 10%. But they have a much smaller impact on the life of most parishes than that. There are a few parishes in the Archdiocese with almost-majority immigrant populations. In your average parish, however, you may see a few people of African descent. You may see a few Asians. You may see a few Hispanics. But the overwhelming majority of the 200 faces you see at Mass (160-180 of those 200 faces) in most parishes are descendants of Europeans. And aside from a few idealogically motivated liberals, that overwhelming majority is comfortable with its large (massive, in the case of my own parish) churches, built like European cathedrals, adorned with iconography that depicts Christ and the saints of His time on earth rather like Europeans, using traditional European modes of artistic expression, with rituals that are a direct carry-over from early 19th century Europe, filtered through the post Vatican II prism of translation and reform.
The vast majority of parishes do not need to adapt anything to the immigrant communities. Those communities will remain in the small number of parishes they currently worship in until they are assimilated ("Americanized" or "Europeanized"), and then they will blend seamlessly in with the Irish, Italian, Polish, Portugese, and other Catholic ethnics that make up the overwhelming majority of the Church in Boston. Oh, they might, as their numbers grow, take over an additional parish here or there. But the situation is more or less stable. Unless Boston becomes more of a destination of choice for these immigrant communities, and we are suddenly deluged with them, to the point that they reach 30% or more of Boston Catholics, we have made the adjustments we need to make where we have needed to make them.
The vast majority of Catholic parishes will have no need of adopting African music, or Asian iconography, or celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Once the immigrant groups are assimilated, in a generation or two, they will think nothing of crossing the doors of a "European" church, and worshipping in the "European" mode. It will be something they will seek out. Acceptance of "European/American" culture is part of the process of assimilation, which still works for many ethnic groups despite big disincentives from the government).
So, I say, let our new Catholic brothers and sisters worship in a manner familiar to them from their native cultures, for now. In time, they, or their children, or their grandchildren, will move past that, and join the rest of us in the suburban parishes, in our "European" churches with our "European" rituals. We will welcome them. But, for the present, it is very easy to overstate, as the Globe does, the impact they are having on the Church. The Church ought to serve them effectively. But it must not re-make itself around them, at least not around here. The 85-90% of us of European descent need to be served, too.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.
You have to love this reason for his conversion:
I found the evidence of the existence of God highly persuasive, as well as the arguments from design both at the macro level of the universe and the micro level of the cell.
I found the evidence of design overwhelming, and also the number of witnesses to the Resurrection compelling. The Resurrection is established as a solid historical fact.
Plus, there was the fact that the Church is the Church that Christ established, and while it’s always in trouble, despite its modern troubles it has stayed more orthodox than almost any church I know of. The mainline Protestant churches are having much more difficulty.
Christianity is objectively true and compelling, and the True Church is Roman. That sums it up pretty well.
When Judge Bork was nominated for the Supreme Court, I read everything he had written about constitutional law, and worked hard at the local level for the nomination's success (was in law school at the time). I had one misgiving though. Bork was, at the time in his 60s, and rather corpulent. I feared that, even if we won the battle, he wouldn't be able to serve on the Court long enough. From the photo, it looks as if he has slimmed down quite a bit. And his sharp mind is still very much intact. And his mother is still alive at 105!
Just think, we could have had a Supreme Court with Rehnquist, Scalia, Bork, and Thomas, and without Kennedy, for the last twelve years. What a terrific difference in American jurisprudence that would have been! The vicious campaign waged by Kennedy and the other socialists and social anarchists against Bork is a crime that can never be undone. The Republic and the society it governs is weaker for their success.
Pervert priest victims in Boston, angry over the lack of criminal charges from the state, are asking the US Attorney to file federal charges against the Archdiocese and its leaders.
Of course, if the issue of criminal charges is again raised, the insurance companies will stop, wait, and see, since they would like to wriggle out of their contractual obligation to pay the claims, and the prosecution of "illegal acts" by the insured is what they are looking for in order to use that escape clause. If the state said its laws were not violated, and does not prosecute, then the insurers would have a hard time getting off on the illegal acts limitation of liability clause either stated or implied in most insurance agreements. But since the can of worms may be opened again, watch for the insurers to back away from the table again fairly soon, unless it is clear that no federal criminal charges will be filed either, and made clear very soon, not months from now.
Guys, do you want your money, or do you want to bring the Archdiocese of Boston down in ruins?
If you want your money quickly, forget about criminal charges. As satisfying as it might be to see Cardinal Law and bishop McCormack exchange clericals for orange jump suits, it isn't going to happen. Raising the issue just gives the insurance company's claims assessment people a hope that they can get away with not paying for a while longer.
If you want the Archdiocese of Boston destroyed, go away, you'll get no sympathy here.
The only way to get a settlement without the closing of dozens more parishes and schools is to let the insurance companies pay the lions' share. They won't pay if they think they can get out of it because the Archdiocese or its leaders committed "illegal acts" in shuffling perverts around. As it stood, the lack of criminal charges from the state made it more likely that the insurance companies would determine that they had better settle. So now you are cutting your own throats by demanding that the feds file charges.
And what part of this simple dynamic did your lawyers not explain to you?
New York City is opening the first all-gay, lesbian, transgender high school that I have ever heard of.
Even if you had a child who thought he was gay, would you send him to such a school? The atmosphere will inevitably be that of a bath-house. Would you want to be responsible for the harm, both mental, emotional, and physical, that this type of educational environment (and curriculum, no doubt) will inflict on a child of yours? What about mainstreaming these kids? Most of them are not actually wired for homosexuality, but are confused, or experimenting, or lack proper parental role models, or whatever it is that inspires most people into that lifestyle choice. Why would any responsible parent want his children in such an environment?
The foolhardiness (and immorality) of this defies description. Another reason to intensely dislike Mayor Bloomberg.
Neighbor Domenico Bettinelli is reporting that his brother-in-law Pete Campbell is organizing the 3rd annual Catholic concert and Mass on Salem Common on August 9th, Noon-Evening.
We stopped by last year (we live just a few blocks from the Common). It was heartening to see so many people, especially younger people, come out for the Faith.
For ticket information, check the link Domenico provides.
Amy Welborn called our attention to a NYTimes article about Father John Perricone, a priest recently assigned as administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in a working-class area of Newark. He has adopted the Ad Oriens position during Mass, has done away with EEMs, has distributed the Eurcharist under only the Species of bread, and has the temerity to say, "Corpus Christi" to each communicant instead of "Body of Christ."
I would point out that everyting Father Perricone has done is within the rubrics of the Novus Ordo. Yet he has liberal parishioners picketing him, and writing nasty letters to the chancery. If they were to write to the Vatican, they would get no where. I doubt they would criticize Father Perricone, because he seems to have ben careful to stay within the letter of the canon law.
Father Perricone's methods, though perhaps they might have better been carried out one-at-a-time over a couple of years, contrast with those of the unfortunate Father Zigrang down in Texas, who was also fed up with the irreverence often seen in Novus Ordo Masses, and decided, without episcopal authority, to convert his parish to a Latin Mass parish, apparently without warning. Father Zigrang was called on the carpet by his bishop, perhaps justly so, and is now under threat of psychoanalysis for the crime of being conservative.
A slower application of reforms of the reforms allows two things to happen. Liberals who will not like the changes can scent them coming, and have time to scout for a more "progressive" parish that has a Mass they like. And conservatives from other nearby parishes, who have probably been gritting their teeth for a couple of decades enduring what the liberals at OLMC are now missing, would have the opportunity to hear about what Father Perricone is doing, and start attending his Masses.
I see these urban situations as essentially free market issues. When there is a parish every few miles (or even every few blocks, as here in downtown Salem), why not allow parishioners to pick the parish that pleases them. The days when dioceses tried to enforce the rules that only people within the geographic boundaries of the parish may register there are gone, at least here in Boston. While some are very attached to the parish they grew up in, especially in this area, where a large percentage of the population is not in the least bit mobile, others are more flexible and will parish-shop to get what they want. I have done it myself, leaving the parish of my youth after the appointment of a liberal pastor, for a more conservative Carmelite chapel, and then attending a Mass or two at each of Salem's parishes to decide which one suited our needs best.
Though my preference is always for the most traditional Mass, I see no reason why, in an urban area like Newark or Salem, where there are many parishes to pick from, one parish cannot hold very conservative Masses (or even, with approval, a Tridentine Rite) , as Father Perricone seems to be trying to do, and another parish very liberal Masses, complete with Haugen & Haas, EECs out the wazoo, guitars, and even liturgical dancing (Heaven help them!), as long as they are within the rubrics. Let the free market decide which parish will thrive, and which will wither. I think the traditional parishes will do OK in the long-run, if they are not ham-strung by higher authority.
So, to Father Perricone's detractors, get a life. Get in the car, and drive a few blocks to a parish that does what you want. Conservatives deserve a few parishes of thier own, too.
A very happy milestone for our fellow Catholics in Maine.
The Hoover Institute and National Review's Stanley Kurtz has an excellent article in the latest Weekly Standard on the problems legalizing gay marriage (and he favors it) will cause for society.
In the same issue, Maggie Gallagher has an excellent defense of the traditional structure and purpose of marriage.
On the same topic, neighbor Domenico Bettinelli and Amy Welborn are reporting that the Vatican will issue instructions on how to deal with the issue of gay marriage on Thursday. You can read more about the document here.
We have a second death to report today. Rosalyn Tureck, the famed pianist and harpsichordist, known as a splendid performer, and scholar, of the works of J.S. Bach, died July 17 at the age of 88. She did much to revive interest in Bach's music, including founding the International Bach Society. She was still giving performances, and was supposed to perform on the day she died. Requiescat in pace.
But details are not in yet. There is no link available.
Obviously, everyone has had their obituary for Hope written for years. The stories about how and when he died are just being written as we all learn the sad news.
This summer has truly been the passing of an era. Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Buddy Ebsen, Buddy Hackett, David Brinkley, Gregory Peck. It seems as though all the remaining stalwarts of the entertainment industry of the 1930s-1950s have died at once. Many had been on people's lists for a long time (and, in fact, there had been very few deaths of very famous celebrities for quite a while before June). One could say that the law of averages caught up with us, or that the Grim Reaper, after a vacation, got back to work with gusto.
About Hope himself, one will remember the long, and I hope happy, marriage with Delores. The Road movies with Bing Crosby, and the seasonal TV specials are part of the baggage of everyone my age and somewhat older. And for those who have served in the armed forces during the last 50 years, there may be the memory of the travelling shows Hope tirelessly and generously staged for our troops overseas in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Lebanon, and elsewhere. And them there were the golf tournaments.
Thanks, for the memories, Bob.
Requiescat in pace.
Take it with a cup of salt. The discussion features Jenkins' views, but then uses near-heretics like Garry Wills and James Carroll to "rebut" him. Yet, Jenkins himself is not a Catholic, or representative of conservative Catholic thought.
But the Globe is right about one thing. If the next pope is out of the Cardinal Arinze/Cardinal Ratzinger mold, it may very well be time for liberal Catholics to fish or cut bait, to decide whether that Unitarianism they have been moving towards for 80 years or more might not be better suited to them than the Catholic label.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe has a better profile of the Capuchins, though it is short on history of the order.
Today: his boyhood and education before joining the Capuchins.
This Sunday, we heard in the Gospel and the First Reading about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and a similar story from the Old Testament, involving the first fruits of the wheat harvest. Friday is Lammas, the feast of the first fruits, the beginning of the grain harvest, give or take a few days. It is nice to see the Gospels arranged in this way. Though we are largely no longer an agricultural society, it is good to remember seasonal milestones like this, as they are part of our cultural heritage. Our ancestors marked these dates. We should note them as well.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Boston's new archbishop will be installed Wednesday.