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Updated: 2017-09-03T06:50:49.157-05:00

 



Merry Christmas!

2006-12-19T11:19:08.450-05:00

Yes I know, I'm a few days early. However, as any reader of this blog knows, lately I've been extremely busy with other affairs. I'll admit this year in general has not been a pleasant one for me. But enough about that.

Yes indeed, it's Christmas time again, and who isn't busy this time of year? Seriously, instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas, we now have the Twelve Pains of Christmas.

Then there's the annual War on Christmas. Thanks to political Correctness, we Christians have to celebrates every other holiday except ours. I particularly like Russ Wills' take on all this, especially: "I’m a Christian. I celebrate Christmas. So have a happy Hanukkah. Have a wonderful Kwanzaa. If you’re an atheist, have a good day. I’m a Christian – will someone please wish me a merry Christmas, dammit?!"

Then there's always Mr. Garrison's particular manner of wishing a Merry Christmas to non-Christians. ROTFL!



Fr. Greeley “patronizes” Third World, oh no!

2006-12-19T10:53:33.593-05:00

This is would almost be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic. Apparently Naomi Schaefer Riley of the Wall Street Journal is extremely upset over some remarks Fr. Andrew Greeley recently made during the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion. Apparently a woman asked Greeley the now all too common question concerning the growing numbers of Christians in the Third World and how this might effect the future nature of the faith. Greeley’s response was, "We will depend on them for vitality…But they will continue to depend on us for the ideas."Riley and others are appalled at such a remark, claiming that it’s "patronizing" towards Third World Christians (what a surprise they didn’t use the old "racist" charge).Although how exactly these remarks were "patronizing" is not clearly explained, especially since Riley makes describes how Greeley had plenty of praise for many aspects of Christianity from this part of the world, even admitting that “[w]e have much to learn from them." The simple truth is that Greeley admitted a basic fact that often gets ignored in most sensationalist talk about the future of Christianity; that even though much of current growth is taking place within the Third World, Europe and North America still remain the major intellectual centers of the faith, and will probably remain so well into the future. Of course, to openly admit this simple fact goes against the current media fad that seeks to over glamorize the growth of the faith within this part of the world. All of a sudden, according to some, the Third World is the only place in the world where Christianity is really being practiced. Only they can save Christendom. Forget Europe and North America, they're a lost cause. In fact the only way these regions can be reconverted is through the massive importation of immigrants from the Third World (one especially hears this in regards to Hispanic immigration into the US). Or as Philip Jenkins remarked, soon the term "white Christian" will become nothing more than a "curious oxymoron" ("A New Christendom").It seems that's what really made Riley and others so upset over those remarks, the fact that Fr. Greeley had to courage to challenge this all too common media cliché. Even more asinine is when one of Greeley’s critics, Timothy Shah, admits that "much of the wealth and many of the educational institutions within the major churches are located in Europe and North America."Which only serves to beg the question, what exactly is the problem here? Did it ever occur to these people that maybe Europe and North America might still continue to play important roles within the universal Christendom? Apparently not! Riley continues on with her charade right to the end, charging that Greeley is not being true to himself: "Father Greeley isn't exactly known as a defender of orthodoxy, of course. But he is ostensibly a believer in the multiculturalist ethic -- hearing "people the church doesn't want to hear." Well, up to a point." That’s complete utter nonsense. If anything, Greeley did exactly as he set out to do. As noted above, the media has an almost excessive obsession with reporting the rise of Christianity within the Third World, and at the same proclaiming the death of the faith within Europe and North America. Many of these sentiments were openly expressed in the aftermath of the death of John Paul II. Commentators across the spectrum were shouting about how the next pope would (or rather should) be from the Third World. The very idea of another European pope (with the partial exception of an Italian) was never heard. Perhaps it should be mentioned that Fr. Greeley was himself in favor of the election of a pope from this area of the world. Whatever relations there’ll be between the Third World and us will be one-sided; i.e. the Third World will be the ones doing all the teaching (after all, they’re the only true Christians left in the world), and we should just do our best and obey their every command. Talk about patronizing! Yet any kind of criticism[...]



I'm still alive!

2006-11-19T14:29:28.723-05:00

I know I know, I've been posting here rather erratically lately. What can I say, real life is constantly distracting me from blogging. I wish I could blog on a more consistent basis, but for the foreseeable future that may not be possible. And what a shame, there's so much I wish to comment on.



The fraud that are modern universities!

2006-09-01T11:45:55.790-05:00

Another sarcastic but insightful rant by Fred Reed on why universities should be abolished!

Now why should they be abolished? For one thing, to attend one is absurdly expensive and places you and your family in debt for decades to come (possibly for the rest of your life). This alone makes them an incredible scam!

Also you don't really get that much of an education anyways; you're better off just going to the local library and reading up on various topics for yourself. Interesting Fred makes mention of Mark Twain, who himself once stated "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." That pretty much is the philosophy I've followed in the several years of enduring school.

Don't even get me started about all the political correctness and cultural Marxism that prevails on most campuses these days.

Plus, you're constantly surrounded by spoiled brats who basically just want to base their life around getting drunk and having sex. Yes, there's a time and place for those things, but surely there's more to life than that. Not to mention the irresponsible manner in which university students often "party" gives off the impression that they're nothing more than overgrown kindergartners (which is in fact exactly what they are).

So yes, there are plenty of reasons why universities are complete frauds and need to be abolished. Or at the very least one should avoid attending one.

If you really wish to attend college, try going to a community college, since there are several advantages to doing so.

If you must attend a major university, then try hooking up with TFP's Student Action, which is dedicated to bringing together Traditionalist-minded students together for a common cause.



Benedict XVI on Europe's role in the future of Christianity

2006-09-01T10:59:37.536-05:00

These are some inspiring exceprts from a two-part interview the Pope did with various TV channels. You can read part one along with part two of the interview at Zenit.org.

Within the course of the interview, Pope Benedict made clear his thoughts about the important role Europe will continue to have within the mission of the universal church:

Q: Holy Father, Christianity has spread around the world starting from Europe. Now many people think that the future of the Church is to be found in other continents. Is that true? Or, in other words, what is the future of Christianity in Europe, where it looks like it's being reduced to the private affair of a minority?

Benedict XVI: I'd like to introduce a few subtleties. It's true, as we know, that Christianity began in the Near East. And for a long time, its main development continued there. Then it spread in Asia, much more than what we think today after the changes brought about by Islam. Precisely for this reason its axis moved noticeably toward the West and Europe. Europe -- we're proud and pleased to say so -- further developed Christianity in its broader intellectual and cultural dimensions.

...Europe definitely became the center of Christianity and its missionary movement. Today, other continents and other cultures play with equal importance in the concert of world history. In this way the number of voices in the Church grows, and this is a good thing.

It's good that different temperaments can express themselves -- the special gifts of Africa, Asia and America, Latin America in particular. Of course, they are all touched not only by the word of Christianity, but by the secular message of this world that carries to other continents the disruptive forces we have already experienced.

All the bishops from different parts of the world say: We still need Europe, even if Europe is only a part of a greater whole. We still carry the responsibility that comes from our experiences, from the science and technology that was developed here, from our liturgical experience, to our traditions, the ecumenical experiences we have accumulated: All this is very important for the other continents too.

So it's important that today we don't give up, feeling sorry for ourselves and saying: "Look at us, we are just a minority; let's at least try and preserve our small number!" We have to keep our dynamism alive, open relationships of exchange, so that new strength for us comes from there.
So yes, even with the growth of the faith in the Third World and elsewhere, Europe will still maintain an important place within the universal church. Even today Europe is still recognized as the intellectual leader of the Christian world.

Must a blow to those circles that insist that all our attention should be focused on the Third World, even at the expense of losing Europe.

And it seems that the man who started this whole charade, Philip Jenkins, is up to his old tricks with his newly released book The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. According to the link, Jenkin's book about "Europe's coming religious struggle is scheduled for late 2007". Gee, I can hardly wait!



What Katrina really exposed

2006-09-01T10:40:12.413-05:00

Well it's the one year anniversary of the Katrina disaster, and it's all over the media. Great, as if all the attention given towards the annual anniversary of September 11th wasn't enough. Not that we shouldn't remember such events, far from it, but the manner in which people nowadays try to honour such events gets tedious and asinine at times. For one thing, did September 11th really need to become a holiday (Patriot Day of all possible names)? I don't recall December 7th being a holiday, even though that's the day when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Will Bush push forward a proposal to make today "National Disaster Rememberance Day" or something along those lines? I certainly hope not, but I guess anything is possible. Of course Liberals will probably try to use this anniversary as another excuse to bash down on Bush and show how his incompetence help brought about this disaster. While there is some truth to that, it must be remembered that fault for the Katrina disaster goes well beyond Bush - it extends to whole segments of federal, state, and local authorities as well. That was the argument put forth by Kara Hopkins' article "Fire and Rain", written in the October 10, 2005 issue of The American Conservative. Basically the whole welfare state system that had governed in Louisana and New Orleans not only proved to be too incompetent to organize an effective evacacuation of the city.; but for generations promoted social values that would've made such an evacuation possible to begin with. And course that's not just all, but more on that later. Yet Hopkins also addresses one issue that was most certainly overlooked by the mainstream media and still is - the issue of race. Let's face the facts, the vast majority of looters in New Orleans were Black. Of course many will try to excuse that by claiming that Blacks have been victims of racism and poverty. Hopkins of course dismisses this as nonsense, stating:"Lawlessness didn’t rule because the looters had spent lifetimes deprived of DVD players. They were out to get something for nothing—an ethic bred by years of guilty generosity prefaced on the assumption that the standard rules of social advancement don’t venture into the ghetto." Not only DVDs, but also Heineken beer as well. Nevetheless, it cannot be denied that issues of race came to the forefront in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster - if only because Blacks themselves chose to make it an issue. Many of sought to blame racism for the slow response to the disaster. As New Orleans evacuee Patricia Thompson stated: "No one is going to tell me it wasn’t a race issue...Yes, it was an issue of race. Because of one thing: when the city had pretty much been evacuated, the people that were left there mostly was black." Not only that, a certain rap music video seeks to prove that George Bush Don't Like Black People. Then who could forget Louis Farrakhan's remarks about how Bush blew up the levies to deliberately drown the Black residents of New Orleans. Oh yeah and to top it all off, Mayor Ray Nagin's remarks about New Orleans being a "Chocolate City".Of course some might want to dismiss these incidents as merely the extreme rantings of a random few. While these remarks might have been the extreme, they did expose the seemingly deep-seated sense of anti-white bigotry that appears to prevail within significant portions of the black community. Michelle Malkin, for one thing, even exposed the open support Farrakhan enjoys among many prominent black celebrities and leaders, as was demonstrated by their widespread turnout to the Millions More gathering last October. And the names she lists are quoted directly from the official website for the gathering. Amazing! Yet it takes little imagination to wonder what would happen if any prominent white leader or celebrity decided to openly endorse such overt racist bigotry. So clearly a double-standard is in place here, in more ways than[...]



Pope Benedict on St. Bernard of Clairvaux

2006-08-21T12:31:49.556-05:00

(image) Yesterday was the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the Medieval period. He remains one of my personal favorite saints and his writings have had a profound influence on my spiritual growth.

On the occasion of his feast day, Pope Benedict XVI gave his own thoughts on the importance of St. Bernard to Catholic spirituality in the modern age. Here are some excerpts:
"Among the saints of the day, the calendar mentions today St. Bernard of Clairvaux, great doctor of the Church, who lived between the 11th and 12th centuries (1091-1153). His example and teachings appear particularly useful also in our time.
////
The wealth and value of his theology are not owed only to his opening new avenues, but rather on his having succeeded in proposing the truths of faith with a clear and incisive style, able to fascinate those who hear him and to dispose the spirit to recollection and prayer.

In each of his writings the echo is perceived of a rich interior experience, which he succeeded in communicating to others with an amazing capacity of persuasion.

For him, love is the greatest force of the spiritual life. God, who is love, creates man out of love and out of love rescues him. The salvation of all human beings, mortally wounded by original sin and burdened with personal sins, consists in adhering firmly to divine charity, which was fully revealed to us in Christ crucified and risen.

In his love, God heals our will and sick intelligence, raising them to the highest level of union with him, namely, to holiness and mystical union.

St. Bernard speaks of this among other things in his brief but consistent "Liber de diligendo Deo" (Book on the Love of God). He has another writing that I would like to point out, the "De Consideratione," a brief document addressed to Pope Eugene III. The dominant theme of this book, extremely personal, is the importance of interior recollection -- and he said this to a Pope -- an essential element of piety.

It is necessary to pay attention to the dangers of excessive activity, regardless of one's condition and occupation, observes the saint, because -- as he said to the Pope of that time, and to all Popes and to all of us -- numerous occupations often lead to "hardness of heart," "they are no more than suffering for the spirit, loss of intelligence and dispersion of grace" (II, 3).

This admonition is valid for all kinds of occupations, including those inherent to the governance of the Church. The message that, in this connection, Bernard addresses to the Pontiff, who had been his disciple at Clairvaux, is provocative: "See where these accursed occupations can lead you, if you continue to lose yourself in them -- without leaving anything of yourself for yourself" (ibid).

How useful for us also is this call to the primacy of prayer! May St. Bernard, who was able to harmonize the monk's aspiration for solitude and the tranquility of the cloister with the urgency of important and complex missions in the service of the Church, help us to concretize it in our lives, in our circumstances and possibilities."

You can read St. Bernard's famous treatise On Loving God online at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.



Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Image

2006-08-21T11:47:35.003-05:00

Well actually yesterday's but oh well, it's never too late to appreciate the aesthetic traditions of European Christendom!

Thank you Recta Ratio for such a beautiful picture of our Lady.



The freedoms we enjoyed back in 1253

2006-08-21T11:24:36.900-05:00

An excellent post from Traditio in Radice explaining much of the freedoms people enjoyed during the Medieval period as opposed to what we in the modern era have to face. Here's a small list of some the freedoms we would've enjoyed:

  • There were no written medical, financial or family records for the government or anyone else to snoop into.

  • Security would be a matter of closing your door.

  • Every major feast day on the Church calendar would be a day of prayer, celebration, and abstention/exemption from servile labour.

  • Most goods purchased would have been made locally by one of your neighbours or a craftsman from the nearest city.

  • Government welfare would not exist; begging for alms or relying on the charity of the Church would be a humbling experience, not a government entitlement.

  • Neighbors would not be encouraged by the government to snitch on one another.

  • Neighbours would actually know each other and attend Mass together.

  • Personal responsibility, cause and effect, and consequences of bad decisions would not be replaced by terms such as genetic defects or the results of a dysfunctional family.

  • The borders would be there for a reason other than to make lines on maps.

  • Citizens would have the right (duty) to protect their lives, families and property without fear of being prosecuted for doing so.

  • Most people would have their own plot of land and could not be forced off of it.

  • No one would pay income or property tax. Farmers would work their lord's land one or two days a week. They would have to pay tolls on major roads, but these would be travelled but rarely.

  • The media would consist of travelling pilgrims, peddlars, and troubadours.

Well thank God we no longer live in "the Dark Ages" anymore.

BTW, I addressed some of these issues in my post "the Myth of Medieval Totalitarianism".



The enemy within British society

2006-08-21T11:05:53.640-05:00

As you may know from watching the news lately, British authorities were able to successfully prevent what might have been the most devastating terrorist attack since 9/11. Yet the recent arrests have also exposed what a major issue that for the most part British leaders and the mainstream media deny even exists, the fact that Britain(or even Europe in general) has what Srdja Trifkovic correctly terms a "Jihadist Fifth Column" within its midsts.

Of course, Blair and the media would insist, is simply the work of a small fanatical minority. Maybe so, but there are some significant pieces to the puzzle. The fact that many of the suspects arrested not just in this case, but those also involved in the bombing of London last year, were British-born Muslims(maybe second- or even third-generation) certainly hoists severe doubts about the possibility of assimilating these people to European society.

As I stated in relation to Blair's weak response to the London bombings: "You cannot possibly expect European Christians and Arab Muslims to coexist in the same society, considering that the two faiths and cultures have been at each other's throats for so many centuries. One has to be incredibly naive to believe that they can coexist without any significant conflict."

And I'm not the first person to raise such concerns. The British writer Roger Scruton raised these exact same concerns in his book The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat. In contrasting European and Islamic values Scruton notes: "The West has consisted of territorial nations, each defined by language and a legal system. Islam, however, is universal (hence, "the rest"--and more), bound together by the Arabic of the Koran and Islamic law. The West's religion, Christianity, discriminates sacred and secular realms of authority; Islam doesn't, regarding secular arrangements as conveniences, at best, and ultimately accepting no territorial state. Westerners' loyalties historically have been national-territorial; Muslim loyalty is nonterritorial--to Islam."

The late Adrian Hastings also contrasted Christian and Islamic attitudes towards nationhood in his treatise The Construction of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism, noting that while Christianity is largely supportive of national aspirations, Islam is not.

Let's pray that now Europe's leaders will finally get the message!



Look out I'm back!

2006-08-21T10:38:33.623-05:00

Yes it's been a while since I've been blogging here for some time. I apologize to the readers of this blog for my long absence, however I'm sure you understand that as of lately many issues have come up to distract me from updating this blog.



Let's stay out of Israel's war!

2006-07-24T13:26:21.226-05:00

Concerning the recent violent clashes between the state of Israel and the Hezbollah militia stationed in Lebanon, what role(if any) should the United States play within the current conflict? My opinion is the same as Pat Buchanan's in flat out stating that "No, this is not 'our war'". It's Israel's war plain and simple. Hezbollah has attacked Israel, not America. America has absolutely no vital interests at stake within the region (unless you consider cheap oil a vital interest), so we should stay out. We already have problems in concern to Iraq, we don't need any more. Quite frankly, I feel America should not get involved in the Middle East period! It's caused us far too many unnecessary geo-political headaches.

One thing I find particularly ironic is how just a year ago, George W. Bush was praising Lebanon as a true beacon for democracy in the Middle East.



Switzerland - A Folkish model state

2006-07-12T17:26:56.896-05:00

As a Christian who believes in original sin and the fallen nature of man, I cannot believe in any form of utopia (at least one created by man himself). However, if one country in the world today represents my own socio-political idyll, that country would have to be Switzerland. Why is this so? Several reasons really...

The Swiss model of government for one thing is based upon decentralized control (in full compliance with the principle of subsidiarity outlined in Catholic Social Doctrine); which of course means that much of the power is concentrated at the local level, which helps limit the potential of the abuse of such powers. So the Swiss certainly do not have to deal with the nonsense of 'big government' that other Western democracies have to.

Also unlike other Western societies, the Swiss system of democracy works because it is built upon organic communities which are of course small and local-based. This only helps to promote a genuine sense of patriotism among the Swiss people; a sense of patriotism that is quite different from the fraud of statist nationalism, which has plagued the world for too long.

This is quite the contrast with other Western societies (especially American society), which have basically destroyed any and all organic communities on the local level through several social programs, such as suburbanization. The destruction of these natural communities has only served to further any sense of genuine patriotism and national pride within Western societies; which has opened the door to the crisis of mass-immigration and multiculturalism that plague us today.

Not only that, the Swiss military, which is based upon an armed citizenry, avoids the two statist extremes of having a professional military or conscription. Not to mention, the Swiss army altogether kicks butt!

John Zmirak, whose website I just recent added to my links, wrote an astonishing article which provides us with a very good picture of how the Swiss system operates and what lessons we Traditionalists and other folkish-minded people can learn from its example. Zmirak also makes mention of how the social and economic philosopher Wilhelm Ropke(whose ideas I've only recently became interested in) upheld Switzerland as a model of how any true free society should organize andconducty itself.

My only problem with Zmirak's article is his constant praise for "middle-class" capitalism, but I'll have to articulate that in another post.



Pope prefers Medieval music for mass

2006-07-06T18:53:17.950-05:00

[I can't say how much this makes me smile! This has to be one of the best things Pope Benedict has done for the Church so far in his pontificate. Maybe now we shall see a return to Catholicism in its true form.]

Silence modern music in church, says Pope
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
(Filed: 27/06/2006)

The Pope has demanded an end to electric guitars and modern music in church and a return to traditional choirs.

The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people. The recital of Mass set to guitars has grown in popularity in Italy; in Spain it has been set to flamenco music; and in the United States the Electric Prunes produced a "psychedelic" album called Mass in F Minor.

However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irritated the Pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernise holy music," the Pope said, at a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."

Read more here: Telegraph News



Many young students are choosing to stay virgins

2006-07-06T18:45:19.060-05:00

[This is certainly good news to read, apparently there's a strong minority of Christian students who are choosing to follow the path of sexual purity over against the laxed morals of today's society. Certainly they are following Pope Benedict's calls for Christians to be the 'creative minority' to help revive society as a whole.]

Students make case for virginity
A confident minority choose chastity, going against the grain of popular culture.

By Mary Beth McCauley | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

You won't find Cristina Barba's shorts advertising "JUICY" across the backside. Nor will her necklines plunge or her belly button make an appearance. And when she dates, the 22-year-old Penn State grad may part with a simple kiss. But that's it. She's saving herself for marriage and doing whatever it takes to hold true to her intentions.

Ms. Barba is an alien, it seems, in a culture draped in ever more aggressive layers of sexuality. By many accounts, the random hookup has become this generation's peck on the cheek.

According to Nichole Murray-Swank, an assistant professor at Loyola College in Maryland, general surveys as well as her own research indicate that 70 percent of 19-year-olds have had sexual intercourse. Just last month, a study in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) even called into question an earlier statistical link between virginity pledges, first popularized by Christian groups, and a delay in teen sex.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Virgins seem to have gotten lost in the numbers. But a confident minority do still choose virginity, their decisionmaking seemingly impervious to statistical expectations or the imprimatur of popular culture.

Many of them are motivated by religious beliefs. Ms. Murray-Swank, who tracks spirituality, religion, and sexuality in adolescents and adults, has found that those who regularly worship, pray, and consider themselves religious see sexuality as part of a broad faith journey. Their views are often shaped since childhood by church and home. "Most major world religions do tend to encourage abstinence," Ms. Murray-Swank says, and the more religiously conservative the believer, the less the likelihood of sex before marriage. The correlation between abstinence and strong religious belief is "robust, persistent, and consistent over time," she says.

Paul Wiegner, like many young people, seeks to live a service-oriented life, an outlook that influences his personal relationships and his sexual activity. A student at Eastern University, a Christian liberal arts school in suburban Philadelphia, Mr. Wiegner was raised by missionary parents in Bolivia and Costa Rica, and belongs to both Baptist and Mennonite congregations. Wiegner says his pacifist, Mennonite side frames his moral decisionmaking. When asked by an 11th-grade Spanish teacher to write a personal statement, he recalls, he included the intention to save sex for marriage. "When I'm in a relationship, it's always in the back of my mind," he says.

The call to chastity is an offshoot of his attempt to model his life on Jesus, adds Wiegner, who aims to work in mediation or conflict resolution. "I've tried to center my life around serving others and serving God, and being a virgin fits into that," he says. "I don't see it as a bunch of rules to follow, but a lifestyle to lead."


Read more here: Christian Science Monitor



This blog is back!

2006-07-06T18:30:01.230-05:00

Hey, after my long absence I have returned to blogging. I must say these past few weeks have been very trying. Basically I've been going through a long bout of mental burnout. Among the most tragic events to happen recently was the sudden death of a friend I knew in childhood.

So yes, I have returned.



Catholic influence remains strong in Poland

2006-06-13T13:19:57.806-05:00

[It's very nice to see that the Polish nation refuses to forget its own rich heritage, which is strongly linked to the Catholic faith. May they be an inspiration for the rest of the European continent!]Poland's leaders lean to the rightCatholic influence large, in contrast to rest of EuropeBY TOM HUNDLEYCHICAGO TRIBUNEJune 11, 2006WARSAW, Poland -- Poland could be Europe's first red state.The 25 members of the European Union do not think of themselves in terms of blue states and red states, at least not yet. If they did, the map of Europe would have a decidedly blue hue. Even countries with conservative governments, such as France and Germany, are blue when it comes to the values debate.But Poland cuts against the grain. Lech Kaczynski, winner of last October's presidential election, opposes abortion and gay marriage. He has told his education chief to come up with guidelines for the "proper upbringing of children." And lately, he has been spending a lot of time cozying up to conservative Christian groups.While Christianity appears to be in a steep decline across most of Europe, in Poland the faith still burns brightly. The question is whether Poland is a quirky throwback to another era, or whether it is a harbinger of Europe's coming culture war.Catholic valuesPoland's churches are packed. Its seminaries still are churning out healthy numbers of priests. According to census data, 96% of the population identify themselves as Catholic; 57% say they attend mass every Sunday. There now seem to be as many statues of Pope John Paul II as there once were of V.I. Lenin.Two week ago, Pope Benedict XVI paid homage to his predecessor with a visit to Poland, and Poles responded by modestly covering up some of the racier lingerie ads along the processional route. The pope's stops included Warsaw, the Auschwitz death camp and Wadowice, John Paul's hometown.It was the late pope's fervent hope that the intense spirituality of his native Poland would spark a "new evangelization" of Western Europe. During most of his papacy, there was scant sign of that happening. But more recently Poland has emerged at the fore of a fledgling movement to restore Christian values to Europe."What's new in Poland is that political parties want to express their Catholicism," said Pawel Spiewak, a Polish sociologist and expert on right-wing politics."A few years ago, a typical Pole was Catholic in his private life. Now he's expressing it openly and wants to express it as public policy. It's atypical for Europe."Beginning in 2003, the Polish government led the push -- ultimately unsuccessful -- to include some reference to Christianity in the new EU constitution.Aleksander Kwasniewski, the reformed communist who was Poland's president at the time, told a British newspaper that "there is no excuse for making references to ancient Greece and Rome, and to the Enlightenment, without making reference to the Christian values which are so important to the development of Europe."An unusual argument coming from a self-professed atheist, but Kwasniewski always has grasped the importance of religion in Polish political life.Last year, the Polish delegation to the European Parliament made waves by setting up a display against abortion in the corridors of the parliament's headquarters in Strasbourg, France. A scuffle ensued when guards attempted to remove it."We follow the teachings of the church and the advice of the bishops," said Piotr Slusarczyk, a spokesman for the League of Polish Families, a conservative Catholic party that was behind the display.Slusarczyk said the league opposes gay rights and euthanasia. It also favors large families[...]



Why Children need to be taught manners!

2006-06-13T13:02:00.540-05:00

[Excellent article from Tradition, Family, and Property concerning the great importance of teaching children proper manners. Of course this goes against modern-day "wisdom", which teaches that manners are just a mere personal preference. Thank god my parents had the common sense to teach me manners and how to act like a gentleman.]

The Educational Importance of Manners
By John Horvat II

At first glance it might seem rather forced to make a connection between education and manners. In our secular society, manners like morals seem to be optional in the formation of youth.

It is something relegated to parents to teach children at the dinner table if and when they eat together. Manners are a feel good thing, a way to be nice to people, or maybe even a “social lubricant” that helps one get ahead but hardly an essential part of education.

If we accept the premise that education is the mere imparting of knowledge to children, then manners are indeed superfluous and really serve no purpose

However, if we believe that education involves the formation of the whole character in addition to imparting knowledge, then we must enthusiastically endorse manners as something that has an enormous educational importance.

Indeed, when we say in Spanish that a person is “educado,” or literally “educated,” it is not to say he is a Ph. D. candidate. Rather it means he is well mannered. Similar distinctions were made in the Portuguese and Italian languages which show how these traditional societies definitely made the connection. The teaching of manners was a very important part of the whole education of a child.

And so manners and education definitely do mix.

However, it would be quite premature to recommend a mandated Manners 101 course in public schools or turn an edition of Manners for Dummies into a standard textbook.

This is because manners cannot be seen as a kind of a feel-good set of rules for being nice-to-everyone or a politically correct framework for tolerating just about anything. There are those who are all too ready to spin manners into, for example, “evolution's solution to easing the stresses of communal living.”

If manners are to be taught, it must be within their proper framework. We must go beyond the rules of etiquette and into the very nature of manners themselves.

Read the rest of the article at Tradition, Family, and Property



Learning a Second Language

2006-06-13T12:42:10.760-05:00

Sorry for my relative lack of posting here, despite my promise to do so once June came around. However, have no fear, I have not given up on this blog and will continue to post more commentaries here.

For one thing, I've just recently decided to once again pick up on my personal studies of a second language. I have always been interested in learning another language, in particular Slavic languages along with possibly French. However, as an American, there are several difficulties.

Within American society there are very little opportunities to practice whatever language it is you're studying. Unless of course you're studying Spanish, in that case you have little to fear with all the Hispanic immigrants in this country. Sad but true.

Not only that, the manner in which most foreign languages are taught within American schools are not helpful for the most part. They largely focus on memorizing long lists of vocabulary and rules of grammar. It gives the appearance that learning a language is nothing but boring and methodical work.

Also, let's not forget that English is the international language of communication nowadays, which operates twofold in hindering the abilities of native English speakers in learning another language. For one, it makes it seem that learning another language is largely pointless from the English-speaking perspective. Yet on the other hand, it also means that non-native speakers are also far more determined to practice their English rather than help others learn their language. I've certainly have noticed this myself during my travels abroad or talking to people from abroad.

So yes, the odds are certainly stacked against any American trying to study a foreign language. Yet, ironically, many of these disadvantages can be helpful. Since Americans often have such difficulties in studying other languages, programs designed specifically for teaching Americans are among the best in the world!

I have heard quite a lot of praise for the Pimsleur language program. I myself have not tried it yet(too expensive at the moment) but this is what I have heard.

One website I particularly find useful is How-to-learn-any-language.com, which offers practical advice and great insights into learning several languages. I particularly found interesting(both as somebody trying to learning another language and as a Catholic) the biography of Cardinal Joseph Caspar Mezzofanti, who managed to become fluent in 38 languages without ever leaving his native land of Italy!



The Death of Statist Nationalism

2006-06-05T12:25:53.030-05:00

"The nation-state is dying. Men have begun to transfer their allegiance, loyalty and love from the older nations both upward to the new transnational regimes that are arising and downward to the sub-nations whence they came, the true nations, united by blood and soil, language, literature, history, faith, tradition and memory." These are the words Pat Buchanan wrote in one of his most recent articles titled "The death of the nation-state". Despite some problems with the semantics Buchanan uses("older nations" vs. "true nations"), he is for the most part correct. However, does this necessarily mean the end of nations as a whole or even the concept of a nationally-based state? No, rather it means the demise of the one form of such that has long dominated the conscience of modern political thinking. Nations, ethnicities, tribes and other communities based upon kinship have existed since the beginning of time. There is nothing incredibly modern about such forms of social organization. Almost any sincere sociologist and/or anthropologist would concur. Although Modernist-inclined scholars(who believe nations and nationalism are constructs of the modern age) will staunchly deny this, neither is the concept of a ethnically-based state. For example, Steven Grosby has argued that the basic notion of an ethnic-based state could be found throughout the Ancient Near East in places like Egypt, Babylon, and especially Biblical Israel(which later became the major model for European concepts of nationhood). Even during the Medieval period similar concepts forged the basis for political organization. According to Medieval scholar Susan Reynolds the basic concept behind the kingdom of the time was that it "comprised and corresponded to a 'people'(gens, natio, populus), which was assumed to be a natural, inherited community of tradition, custom, law, and descent."( Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300, page 250). The late Adrian Hastings also argued that the roots of modern nationhood originated during the Medieval period. So clearly the notion of a state being organized around an ethnic community is not new. However, all the scholars above will admit that the ancient or Medieval concept of such is remarkably different from the nation-state that we see in the modern era. So how are they different? The differences depend upon distinct theories of how governments should rule and interact with society at large. Few people today would deny the fact that Medieval governments operated on a different basis than a modern state would. Most people imagine that Medieval governments operated on the basis of all power being centralized into the hands of the monarch, whereas the modern state operates on the principle of a division of powers between central and local authorities. John P. McCarthy has written much on how this viewpoint is quite contrary to the historical reality. Medieval governments actually operated on a basis of decentralization, whereas modern governments operates on the basis of centralizing power as much as possible. Now what does that have to do with nations? Well, under the Medieval system of decentralization, each subdivision of the nation(regions, tribes, etc.) was given a relative amount of political self-rule; which also implied a certain amount of cultural self-expression as well. So while there was a strong sense of national unity, it did not necessarily mean a strong sense of national uniformity. This also applied to any national or ethnic minorities that resided within the borders of a particular k[...]



Legacy of the Knight-Monks

2006-06-04T13:00:21.130-05:00

As we continue our struggle for the soul of society in what is commonly called "the culture war", it is very refreshing to note that John Hellman may have in fact provided us traditionalists with an inspiring historical model to follow in his book The Knight-Monks of Vichy France: Uriage, 1940-1945. Within its pages, Hellman takes us into the Ecole Nationale des Cadre, an elite academy set up following the French defeat of 1940 by the Vichy Regime. It's intent was to train a new generation of Frenchmen to be "the linchpin of a spiritual revolution that would restore the Catholic Church's prestige, neutralize the poison of permissive liberalism and usher in a "new Middle Ages," a communitarian, hierarchical France." The man who headed this elite institution was a man by the name of Pierre Dunoyer de Segonzac, who was a dashing young cavalry officer. Since he came from a traditional Catholic upbringing, de Segonzac was also a man deeply interested in restoring the spiritual and cultural vitality of French society from its current decadence. In response to such a challenge, he developed the ideal of the "Knight-Monk". As the label suggests, the ideal of the "Knight-Monk" was to combine the devout piety of the monk with the chivalry and heroism of the knight; and would go out into the lions' den and convert the secularist modern world head on. Yet de Segonzac's ideas were hardly created out of thin air. They originated with the Catholic intellectual renaissance of the early twentieth century, represented by writers like Charles Peguy, Georges Bernanos, Leon Bloy, and Emmanuel Mounier. The ideals of these men were a great influence on the community at Uriage (especially Mounier, who himself was an instructor at the academy). The ideals promoted by the Uriage community were also based on the example of the many Catholic social and political movements that emerged throughout France and many parts of Europe during the first half of the 20th century. From labour unions to scouting movements to lay ecclesial organizations; they all sought to create newer, purer, and more heroic communities that were not spoiled by the immorality of the day. These movements also sought to restore a more authentic way of life: with great emphasis placed on tradition, the primacy of spirituality, organic/folkish communities, and Christian heroism. Hellman goes into more details about these other movements in his book The Communitarian Third Way, which is a wonderful source on 20th century Catholic philosophy along with the political and social movements motivated by such. Eventually in 1943, the Uriage academy was closed down by the Vichy government, and its members eventually joined the resistance. Despite its short life, however, its ideals are far from dead. With the continual degradation of our culture, the decline in moral standards, and the erosion of traditional communities and cultures through globalization; it can be argued that the ideals of the Knight-Monks are more relevant today than ever before. Interesting enough, they still are with us in a way and continue to influence the wider Catholic community. Hellman doesn't mention this, but the ideals promoted by Opus Dei correspond very closely to those of the "Knight-Monks" of Uriage. In fact St. Josemaria Escriva founded Opus Dei around the same time that many of the Catholic social movements mentioned above were in their heyday. So the spirit of the Knight-Monks is still with us, and hopefully it will continue to grow. So brave Catholics of the [...]



Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as models for the modern "family"

2006-05-31T19:11:14.993-05:00

[Personally I've never cared much to follow all the gossip and tabloid stories concerning famous celebrities. I for one don't even consider Angelina Jolie even that attractive, so I fail to understand all the hype that's been built around her. However, this is an interesting rant about how the current relationship between the two celebrities represent the degenerate state of the family in modern society.]

Barforama


The unwed union of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has now become a perfect microcosm of the New World Order. They had previously adopted—adoption now being routinely allowed for unmarried couples and single persons—a boy from Cambodia and a girl from Ethiopia, and now Jolie has given birth to a child she conceived with Pitt in their unceasingly publicized and celebrated affair, which destroyed Pitt’s marriage with Jennifer Aniston. So this unmarried couple now have a “family” consisting of three totally unrelated children representing each of the major races of mankind: an African black child (though actually Ethiopians are of a distinct race from the main Negro race), a Southeast Asian child, and a white child. We thus have the self-indulgent and socially approved destruction of marriage, and of the normal human kinship ties and normal societies that organically proceed from marriage, combined with the artificial construction of a new society consisting of the color-coordinated diversity of the whole human race. To top it off, the baby was born in Namibia, Africa, where Jolie is serving as good will ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 28, 2006 02:57 PM
Source: View From The Right



Christians shaped European history

2006-05-31T18:59:42.080-05:00

"So far as Europe is concerned, [Christians] did more to shape its history than anyother single identifiable group of men and women. To find something which has an impact comparable to that of Christianity we have to look not to single events but to big processes like industrialization, or the great forces of prehistoric times like climate which set the stage for history."
-- J.M. Roberts, The Penguin History of Europe, pg. 61



Hey Democrats, how about thinking about the white working class for once?

2006-05-23T11:30:27.133-05:00

That's what Ruy Teixeira is arguing. In fact, for a long time he's been arguing this. The fact the Democrats keep ignoring what he correctly terms "the forgotten majority", the Democrats are losing their traditional support base and thus why they've been doing so poorly in recent elections. Will the Democratic leadership listen? Probably not.

As we all know, the Democratic Party still remains entrenched with its obsession with minorities and other fringe elements. They most certainly are "the coalition of the whining" as Stephen Colbert once hilariously described them during the '04 election.

Probably one of the most disgraceful incidents exposing this trend is when Howard Dean denounced the Republicans as nothing more than a "white Christian party".

I'll be the first to admit that the Republicans are hardly any better. They screw over the American people as much as the Democrats. However, they at least have the common sense to appear supportive of the needs and concerns of the "forgotten majority". Although even the Republicans in recent years have been going through their own obsession with minority voters, especially Hispanics (nevermind they still overwhelmingly vote for the Democrats). So yes, in the end, the "forgotten majority" is definately being screwed over by both major parties.

Perhaps if the Democrats wish to defeat the Republicans in the elections this year, they might wish to change all this. But we might as well spit into the wind.



Immigration is not social justice

2006-05-23T10:00:48.113-05:00

Immigration is not social justice, no matter what Cardinal Mahony saysI have been stewing about the Church's response to the sham immigration "reform" bills percolating in the Senate. This response has been led by Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, who has never been noted for any political activism that didn't involve running interference for liberal Democrats. The cardinal's position boils to this: the United States should abandon its southern border and let everyone in. In Mexico alone, according to a recent survey, something like a quarter of the population would move to the U.S. if given the chance. That means about 28 million people, in addition to the 11 million illegals already here. This is not a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. It has little to do with the Gospel. It is the cardinal's personal opinion. Let's go to the Catechism: The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens. How can immigration possibly be a "natural right" in the same sense as the right to life, if it is subject to "various juridical conditions" -- and thus can be denied if the civil authority sees fit? The answer must be that it is a conditional right, based on dire circumstance. Like the classic hypothetical situation where a man takes bread from a store to feed his family, the Catechism presumably means that a person has the right to leave his homeland if the alternative is death (which is the literal reading of "livelihood.") Mexico is a Third World country, but they are well-off by Third World standards. They have a trillion-dollar economy, which works out to over $10,000 per capita. Compared to regional neighbors Guatemala ($5,200), El Salvador ($5,100), Honduras ($2,800), and Nicaragua ($2,400), Mexico is quite wealthy. Its citizens aren't fleeing north because they are starving, they are trying to improve their economic prospects. Big difference. The Mexican government wants to keep exporting its poor, mainly so it won't have to undertake necessary social and economic reforms to solve its internal problems. I cannot recall the good cardinal, or any other prelate, calling on Mexico to institute "social justice" measures -- for instance, to insist on honest judges or property rights for all classes, which would help their economy immeasurably. What about the effect on black people? They are Americans who helped build this country, contributed sons to fight and die in its wars, and have contributed heavily to the cultural life of the nation. Two-thirds of blacks are middle class or richer, but one-third aren't. They deserve prior consideration in any social decision regarding mass low-skill immigration, and their interests should be protected. Same thing with poor whites, or poor H[...]