Friday, November 30, 2007

New Encyclical

Today, the Vatican released Pope Benedict's second encyclical, Spe Salvi. Here's an excerpt and a link:
As far as the two great themes of “reason” and “freedom” are concerned, here we can only touch upon the issues connected with them. Yes indeed, reason is God's great gift to man, and the victory of reason over unreason is also a goal of the Christian life. But when does reason truly triumph? When it is detached from God? When it has become blind to God? Is the reason behind action and capacity for action the whole of reason? If progress, in order to be progress, needs moral growth on the part of humanity, then the reason behind action and capacity for action is likewise urgently in need of integration through reason's openness to the saving forces of faith, to the differentiation between good and evil. Only thus does reason become truly human. It becomes human only if it is capable of directing the will along the right path, and it is capable of this only if it looks beyond itself. Otherwise, man's situation, in view of the imbalance between his material capacity and the lack of judgement in his heart, becomes a threat for him and for creation.

November 30, Feast of Saint Andrew

Caravaggio depicts the martyrdom of St. Andrew

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
From what we know of the Apostles generally, we can, of course, supplement somewhat these few details. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.

When the Apostles went forth to preach to the Nations, Andrew seems to have taken an important part, but unfortunately we have no certainty as to the extent or place of his labours. Eusebius (H.E. III:1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; while St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. 33) mentions Epirus; St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia; and Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. Probably these various accounts are correct, for Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast.

St. Andrew's relics were translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.

Saint Andrew Enthroned

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Abortion and Fetal Homicide Laws

From the AP:
APPLETON, Wis. — A married man has been charged with murder for slipping his girlfriend a drug that authorities say caused her to miscarry twice.

Manishkumar M. Patel, 34, of Appleton, was charged Thursday afternoon with first-degree murder of an unborn child, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, placing foreign objects in edibles, possession with intent to deliver prescriptions, stalking, burglary, possession of burglary tools, and two counts of violating a restraining order...

Wisconsin is one of 36 states with a "fetal homicide" law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the 1998 law, anyone who attacks a pregnant woman and injures or kills her fetus could face life in prison.

The law was passed after Tracy Scheide of Milwaukee accused her husband, Glenndale Black, of beating her in 1992 when she was nine months pregnant. Her baby was stillborn.

I'm relieved that such a law exists. It discloses a general consensus regarding the identity and personhood of the unborn child. But why is it that if the mother so chooses to have an abortion, then the act of terminating the life of the unborn child is defended as a constitutional right?

Reasons for Optimism

President Bush met recently with conservative journalists. Many came away struck by the President's upbeat, positive outlook. He must not watch the mainstream media. Here's the link to Reading Bush:

Strong Economy

Despite the housing market and plummeting US dollar on the global market, our economy is at it strongest point in four years.

The nation's economy had its best gains in four years this summer and early fall, according to the government's latest reading released Thursday, as the problems in the credit and housing markets during the period couldn't derail growth elsewhere.

The gross domestic product, the broad measure of the nation's economic activity, grew at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the three months ending Sept. 30. That's up from the 3.9 percent growth rate in the government's initial estimate for the period released a month earlier, as the revision matched the consensus forecast of economists surveyed by

The growth was the best rate since the same period of 2003, and is the second best performance since early 2000, at the tail end of the 1990's technology boom.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Liberalism and JFK

A friend working at the American Enterprise Institute send me this blurb about a speaking event there in the near future. It's a thought provoking thesis, to say the very least.

Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism

James Piereson's provocative new book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter, 2007) argues that liberalism lost its political dominance and intellectual coherence when it proved too brittle to confront the awkward truth of John F. Kennedy's assassination at the hands of an ideological Communist. "The assassination of a popular president by a Communist should have generated a revulsion against everything associated with left wing doctrines," Pierson writes. "Yet something close to the opposite happened. In the aftermath of the assassination, left-wing ideas and revolutionary leaders, Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Castro foremost among them, enjoyed a greater vogue in the United States than at any time in our history."

Piereson's discerning eye draws out a debilitating consequence of this development: the liberal movement abandoned the idea that the United States was fundamentally decent and could be fixed via incremental improvement and instead adopted the theme that America is a basically sick society. This has made the left today the home of paranoid conspiracy theories, once the exclusive province of the far right. Kennedy's killing should have led to an "intellectual reconstruction" on the left, and its failure to come to grips with this problem continues to hobble liberalism today.

Piereson will be joined by Michael Barone, a resident fellow at AEI and senior writer for U.S. News & World Report, and David S. Brown, associate professor of history at Elizabethtown College. Steven F. Hayward, AEI's F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, will moderate.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Good News From Iraq

Newsweek has a major story on the return of thousands of Iraqi refugees to their homeland. Returning home to Iraq? I wonder why that could be. Listening to the luminaries in the media and the Democratic candidates, one would have concluded long ago that Iraq was irreparably lost. Perhaps things are getting better there.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sacred Music Makes a Comeback

From the Telegraph:
The Pope is considering a dramatic overhaul of the Vatican in order to force a return to traditional sacred music. The Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music. After reintroducing the Latin Tridentine Mass, the Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music.

In an address to the bishops and priests of St Peter's Basilica, he said that there needed to be "continuity with tradition" in their prayers and music. He referred pointedly to "the time of St Gregory the Great", the pope who gave his name to Gregorian chant.
Gregorian chant has been reinstituted as the primary form of singing by the new choir director of St Peter's, Father Pierre Paul.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Babies and Puppies

Here's an excerpt from an AP story reporting on the ubiquitous pet massacres going down in sunny Puerto Rico.


TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico - Back roads, gorges and garbage dumps on this tropical island are littered with the decaying carcasses of dogs and cats. An Associated Press investigation reveals why: possibly thousands of unwanted animals have been tossed off bridges, buried alive and otherwise inhumanely disposed of by taxpayer-financed animal control programs.


Now, I think it's pretty reprehensible to jilt little Fido, tossing him from a car, over the bridge and into the most convenient river. But the glaring omission and silence on the part of the mainstream media regarding the treatment of unborn children, themselves often tossed into garbage cans after having been torn apart in the womb, is worthy of note. As much as I'd like to, it's hard for me to file a formal complaint over mistreated animals so long as a nation sanctions the butchering of defenseless children. In a society that deifies the absolutized notion of "choice" it's strange that the macabre act of the pet owners isn't being defended as their "right to choose."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Noonan on the Clinton/Thatcher Analogy

Peggy Noonan does a nice job juxtaposing the Iron Lady with Mrs. Clinton.

Al-Qaeda Driven Out of Baghdad

Here's a piece that has been under-reported, buried in the news. You really have to dig to find this story. I wonder why...
I watched the news last night and ne'er was it even mentioned in brief.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Vive la France!

Here are some excerpts from French President Nicolas Sarkozy's address to Congess today. Hopefully, his words will echo throughout all Europe. He, a Frenchman, understands better than most what makes America great.

"To the millions of men and women who came from every country of the world and who -- with their own hands, their intelligence, and their hearts -- built the greatest nation in the world, America did not say, "Come, and everything will be given to you." Rather, she said, "Come, and the only limits to what you will be able to achieve will be those of your own courage, your boldness, and your talent."

"The America that we love throughout the world impedes this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance, another chance, because, in America, failure is never the last word. There is always another chance. Here -- in your country, on this soil -- both the humblest and the most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That is what constitutes the moral value of America."

"America liberated us, and this is an eternal debt we owe America. Every time, whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world, I think of what the American army did for France. I think of them -- and I am sad as one is saddened to lose a member of one's family."

"We need France to be stronger. I am determined to carry through with the reforms that my country has put off for all too long. I will not turn back. I will implement all of them, because France has turned back for all too long. I have come to present to you today a France that comes out to meet America, to renew the covenant of friendship and alliance that Washington and Lafayette sealed in Yorktown. "

"Together, let us be true to their memories. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I say this to you on behalf of the French people: Long live the United States of America. Long live France. Long live French-American friendship!"

I must say, those last few lines sounded much better in French.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Say What?

This actually comes from John Edwards' campaign, who of course, I don't support, but this one is pretty good, about 1.5 minutes. I enjoy watching the other Democrats attempting to take out Hillary. If she performed this badly during a Democrat-debate, imagine when she faces a Republican.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." -Alexander Hamilton

Hillary Runs on (or from) Her Real Record

Hillary Clinton is taking heat for her reluctance to fully disclose papers dating from her years as First Lady. What is she hiding? Sensing that Hillary stumbled into a serious pratfall during the recent debate, when she equivocated ad nauseam about the intricacies involved in making her papers public, her Democratic opponents are piling on the attacks questioning her sincerity. Imagine that! Here's a nice piece on the topic.

Doom and Boom

I've been catching bits and pieces of Nightly News on NBC over the past several months and I'm surprised if there isn't some story on every broadcast lamenting how badly things are going in the nation. Or, if things are going well on Wall Street, the struggles of Main Street are always inserted in the report. The sub-prime mortgage crisis has been receiving much foofaraw of late and has eclipsed any other bright spots on the US economy. But there are many to report. Larry Kudlow has a nice piece aptly entitled, If Things Are So Bad, Why Are They So Good. It's well worth a read.