Friday, February 27, 2009

Prendergast on sins that need atoning for

What he said at the Senate Committee hearing, (that some of you might remember) is still up there with the worst personal betrayals I have ever experienced, and I will not now or ever forgive him for it,

but I thought this is pretty good,

This year marks the fortieth year since the introduction into legislation in our country of the 1969 Omnibus Bill, which effectively led to opening the door to abortion on demand in Canada. What a tragic loss it has been to our country of the hundreds of thousands, the millions of souls who have never been given the chance to see the light of day! Now some might be tempted to see in these spiritual activities an attempt to justify ourselves and somehow, by our individual efforts, to bring about the goal we seek. And that is why the text of St. Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians is our guide in terms of how to understand what we are about. We recall that God has already effected our reconciliation; God has already in his sovereign will made peace with all of sinful humanity. Our task is merely to say “yes” to this and to let ourselves be caught up in God’s saving dynamic. What Paul is saying is that herein lies God’s message: “Just let yourselves be reconciled to me: let what I have done for you in my Son Jesus’ death and resurrection become effective in your lives.” know, for a Canadian bishop.

Doctors don't like abortion

There was a time when abortionists were considered the lowest form of bottom-feeding life in the medical world. Physicians knew that what these people did was horrifying and evil and they did whatever they could to stop the practice, if for no other reason than that it brought the entire medical profession into disrepute.

Despite the deadening moral effects of our horrible times, it is still clear that abortion is not popular among physicians.

Dr. Jeffrey Nisker is one of the few secular IVF specialists and ethicists that I have any respect for. He has more than a glimmering of conscience and thinks deeply, as deeply as his post-modern intellectual blockages will allow, about this stuff. He comes to the wrong conclusions, but they are not always completely wildly wrong. Sometimes they're close to the truth that

"you can't kill people to solve your problems", even if those people are very small.

So we went into pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, whereas we were hoping to have been able to avoid the trauma of a mid-trimester genetic abortion. This is the worst procedure in medicine. It is something that certainly, when I witnessed it as a trainee, sent me to the bathroom. The nausea was overwhelming, seeing the suffering these women went through. Often the babies were born alive at 20 weeks. This is clearly something that is a horrible procedure for Canadian women and something that we should have improved upon.

So we became one of the world's leaders in the science and investigation, using a mouse model as a way that we could test an embryo at the eight-cell stage, so women who are carrying a severe genetic disease—for example, Tay-Sachs syndrome, where the child is born without cognition and dies within a year of life—would have the amniocentesis halfway through their pregnancy and basically have what is called a genetic abortion halfway through their pregnancy. The child would sometimes be born alive. It was horrible.

With friends like these...

Forgive me but isn't it kind of a bad sign when wicked heathens praise you and reward you for work well done?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No more stiff upper lip

Abortion-State Britain Wallows in Orgy of Hippocritical Sentimentality over the Death of "Little Ivan"

The keywords "Cameron" and "Ivan" glean no fewer than 950 hits on Google News.

I was going to write an editorial on it, but I just became so choked with disgust I couldn't be sure I wouldn't go over the top...

Here's what I came up with:

A country that, since the death of Princess Diana, has been prone to massive spasmodic public displays of goopy sentimentality, has this week embraced “Little Ivan”, the recently deceased disabled son of Tory leader David Cameron.

Britain has become a lugubrious swamp of moaning middle aged, teddy bear-clutching, reality TV-watching, chicken tikka masala-champing, WAGS, chavs and illiterate teenaged mothers, one hand brushing away a crocodile tear while shoving the other out for "compensation" for imaginary slights.

We deserved to lose the empire.

Meanwhile, "foetal anomalies" continues to top the charts for reasons given for a "termination" request. With Mr. Cameron's full backing. After all, it's not everyone who has the chops to love a useless eater like Little Ivan. It takes a saint...

Well done you!

"The thing with the hole..."

I normally advise waiting until there's no one else around before I would look at this website.

The thing with the hole"

One doesn't want to disturb those around with your convulsions of laughter - including possible unladylike snorting.

I don't know. It seems like a lot of money only for bleak coffee. One rather prefers to be cheered up in the mornings.

More at

Fight! Fight!

So, the Post says, "No no! It's not like that at all!

Those crazy anti-choice extremists have got it all wrong! It's all about giving the mother a chance to hold her precious infant for five minutes before it expires. But you know what these nutjobs are like, why, they're even against euthanasia for heaven sake!

Eugenic abortion! why do they always have to use such nasty words?!

Why, there simply can't be anything wrong with it. We have a bishop and an ethics expert telling us it's fine...

Juuuuuust fine."

Yah. Tell it to this woman.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Potion

A friend had a bad cold over the weekend and I recommended something that John Muggeridge used to make for me when I was sick. He tried it and it worked so well, he has given us a poem about it.

To water, boiled and simmered with a slice
Of lemon grown in hot Sicilia
(Its juice squeezed in, and flesh scraped in by shreds)
Spoon in smooth honey, dealt in liberal scoops
And stirred until dissolved. A tot of rum,
Shipped to these shelves from Caribbean shores,
Measured and poured, expended in the mix,
Precedes two spoons of sugar, tropic, brown,
To give the potent dose its final kick,
To clear the stoppered caverns of the nose,
To soothe the raw throat and to warm the brain,
Unbinding spirits shackled by the cold,
Clearing packed matter, and allowing passage
To breathe again, humane, and light, and free.

Really. I can't recommend it enough. Especially effective when consumed in front of a roaring fire.

100 Billion Earths

Way back in June last year I wrote about the discovery that there may be a lot more earth-type planets out there than we had originally thought.

There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets."

He made the prediction based on the number of "super-Earths" -- planets several times the mass of the Earth, but smaller than gas giants like Jupiter -- discovered so far circling stars outside the solar system.

Boss said that if any of the billions of Earth-like worlds he believes exist in the Milky Way have liquid water, they are likely to be home to some type of life.

"Now that's not saying that they're all going to be crawling with intelligent human beings or even dinosaurs," he said.

"But I would suspect that the great majority of them at least will have some sort of primitive life, like bacteria or some of the multicellular creatures that populated our Earth for the first 3 billion years of its existence."

Cool huh?


Astronomy was something I never aspired to. I just held astronomers in awe. I read a lot of Arthur C. Clarke when I was younger and I thought that astronomers just walked around all the time in a parallel universe, slightly out of phase with ours, in which we could see them, and they could see us, but no communication was possible.

I wish I could be like them. Living up there in their cloud-city, wearing their shimmery clothes, looking through their fabulous star-watching machines...Oh well...back to the Zenite mine.

And if we discover any new planets that we want to give names, this still goes:

I'm also heavily against any attempt to name any celestial bodies after non-Greek mythical persons. So, can we just hold the political correctness thing for a while? Can we just give a pass to names from the Inuit/Borneo/Pygmy legends? When you can show me that a society has established a system of thought, literature and governance that lasts five thousand years and forms the foundation of the greatest civilization the world has ever seen, you can name asteroids after their myths, m-kay? Or maybe just show me that they've mastered the intricacies of weaving cloth and making wheels.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”

Well well, religion according to journalism.

Pope Benedict XVI is calling for Catholics to fast during Lent as a way of opening their hearts to God and seeing how the poor live.

Fasting to "see how the poor live"...

ah yes. The Catholic teaching on fasting as seen through the pink-tinted lenses of secular journalism.

I suppose the early Fathers and Doctors also said I should also start loading up on microwavable pizza pops and frozen curries. Or perhaps, to develop solidarity with The Poor, I need to quit my job, go on welfare, have six children by seven different men and start getting a chip on my hard-done-by shoulder about how the government owes me rent money and a plasma screen TV.

Is it possible that there is something less...errr...political we might have heard from the Holy Father about the value of fasting? Something in a religious vein perhaps?

Could it be that he had some spiritual improvement in mind?

Since all of us are weighed down by sin and its consequences, fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God. Such was the case with Ezra, who, in preparation for the journey from exile back to the Promised Land, calls upon the assembled people to fast so that “we might humble ourselves before our God” (8,21). The Almighty heard their prayer and assured them of His favor and protection. In the same way, the people of Nineveh, responding to Jonah’s call to repentance, proclaimed a fast, as a sign of their sincerity, saying: “Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” . In this instance, too, God saw their works and spared them.

The Church Fathers, too, speak of the force of fasting to bridle sin, especially the lusts of the “old Adam,” and open in the heart of the believer a path to God...


The faithful practice of fasting contributes, moreover, to conferring unity to the whole person, body and soul, helping to avoid sin and grow in intimacy with the Lord. Saint Augustine, who knew all too well his own negative impulses, defining them as “twisted and tangled knottiness” (Confessions, II, 10.18), writes: “I will certainly impose privation, but it is so that he will forgive me, to be pleasing in his eyes, that I may enjoy his delightfulness” (Sermo 400, 3, 3: PL 40, 708).

Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word.

No way


National Post lies then re-edits and misrepresents response to attack piece.

Ah, yes. Journalists, as Kathy says: "Our moral and intellectual superiors".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

It's Shrove Tuesday.

Fr. Blake has given a brief and interesting little reflection on the use of the term in English-speaking lands.

For the devout Catholic English, for the people who are collectively "Mary's Dowry",
The name demonstrates something of the difference Carnivale – Farewell to Meat, Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday, has very different implications to “Shrove Tuesday”.

Wiktionary gives us a little etymology:
Old English scrīfan, from West Germanic skrīban, from Latin scrībō (“‘write’”). Cognate from Germanic with Dutch schrijven, German schreiben; and from Latin with French écrire, Spanish escribir.

he also talks about Pancake Tuesday:

I am sure the pre-Reformation Pancake was more like a Spanish omelette, full of good things, like fat, eggs and meat that wouldn’t be eaten at all in Lent, rather than a thin French crepe with a slice of lemon. Its present anorexia is indicative of the effect of Protestantism on a Catholic custom.

I was just this morning talking about the English custom of eating (and racing down the street with) pancakes on this day. The tradition of pancake races survives in rural areas. At least it did in the village I lived in last year. It is sad, though, because it is just one more reminder of England's status as a stolen country, denuded of its own past. People race with a pancake, but I'm not sure anyone remembers why.

Another little gem from Fr. Blake explores the Gospel passage in which the crippled man is lowered down to Christ on his bed, reminding his readers the reason it is still, sometimes called "Shrove Tuesday":

...When he is let down through the roof and lands in the presence of the Lord.

Jesus merely says, "Your sins are forgiven, you".

Nothing visible at all happens the paralytic continues to lie on his stretcher. That is it!

God has forgiven this man's sins, and he is just lying there not even a smile on his face, he continues to be paralysed, he feels nothing different. Christ has come and saved the man and everybody can go home now.

Except, there is a second part, the muttering scribes bring this about, "Who can forgive sins but God", they say. Their statement is one of disbelief, if he is forgiven they want a sign, they are not concerned with the deep goings on in the depths of soul. Mark exploits this to show who Jesus is, for it is indeed God himself who has forgiven. God is there amongst mankind forgiving.

Jesus tells the man to get up and walk, and he does, he walks away, proving Jesus is God, proving Jesus has the power to forgive.

We can forget that what takes place in Confession is really about God's relationship with us in the depths of our soul. Feelings or other outward signs might be nice but they are not of the essence of the sacrament nor of essence of forgiveness.

The rain has stopped, and I'm going to St. Pete's to see if the queue for the metal detector is short.

Without so much as a whimper...

A couple of years ago I read the PD James novel The Children of Men in preparation for writing a review of the movie that was (very) loosely based on it. The novel explores the possibility that the world will end with neither a bang nor a whimper when human beings suddenly and inexplicably simply stop being fertile. No bangs or whimpers...just the empty sound of wind across the unpopulated, untended and weed-choked fields.

The train I take every day to Rome goes past many acres of farm land and (literally) through what was once the Etruscan hills. There are a couple of little bits of Etruscan stuff in Santa Marinella, left sitting there unregarded for many centuries before anyone thought to preserve them as precious relics of a vanished civilization. The Etruscans may have gone, but the people who remembered them are still there, how many centuries down the road. But these people, these good Italians, have a demographic chart that looks like a pyramid on its head. A great, broad base supported by a tiny point. The Italian birth rate is one of the lowest in Europe.

Population: 58,145,320 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.6% (male 4,086,951/female 3,842,765)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 19,534,247/female 19,024,776)
65 years and over: 20% (male 4,864,189/female 6,792,393) (2008 est.)

Median age:
total: 42.9 years
male: 41.4 years
female: 44.4 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.019% (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.3 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Who is going to be left to remember them?

It seems to be true that nearly everyone who uses the internet lives in a city and I think that my year in a little rural English village, given the short bus and train hops that would bring one to Liverpool or Manchester, could not really be considered an example of what I am thinking of today. But I have lived in the real Big Empty, in the North West Territories where it is advisable to take a gun and survival gear with you in the truck if you are going to go to the next town to buy something. And in a place like that, the absolute necessity, for simple survival, of having other people around comes home to you.

I think the de-population people mostly live in cities too. They probably take crowded commuter trains to work in their internet-equipped offices every day. They probably get a coffee at a crowded coffee bar and have to dodge busy traffic to get a paper. Most of us are used to this kind of thing. It would not surprise me to hear that the entire staff of a group like the Optimum Population Trust live in central London. And certainly, living cheek-by-jowl with two or five or eleven million people can really put one off the idea of more people.

But go out into the country and things are different. You realise very quickly how much you need others. In city life, other people are a burden, something to be escaped as often and for as long as one can. But I can well imagine what it must have been like to have lived in the middle ages in some country village, in winter, with the wolves in the woods and the real and immediate possibility of starvation held off only by the combined labour of your own family and those of your neighbours.

The problem of how one lives without a village or a family or at least a parish church, alone and dependent upon one's own resources, can only become real when one is faced with finding enough food and fuel to keep a belly full and hands warm for another day. I've done it a bit, and I can vouchsafe that a hell of a lot of work goes into making a fire and heating a cottage, boiling a pot of water, work that one doesn't necessarily feel like doing immediately upon waking.

I used to wonder what it must have been like when my little country cottage was first built in the late 1790s. What would you have done if you were a single person, perhaps a widow, and you woke up sick with the flu and really didn't have the strength to cut wood or haul in coal from the shed. The answer, was that you had a village of people to help. Connexions who would miss you at Matins and be seriously worried by Evensong. Who would call upon you and help you. You had a family. You had neighbours. And even if you didn't, you had the Church.

Other people.

I would be very interested to know more about rural demographics and I'm sure there is someone out there doing the footwork, counting people and poking into records offices. I think I might just do a little poking about myself.

...and I feel fine...

Had an interesting conversation today on the train on the way into the City. I was told that the wolf population of the rural north-eastern United States is dramatically increasing. I wondered if it was a food-chain-related thing. Perhaps a number of good summer growing seasons had caused an increase in the number of deer which would attract wolves. My interlocutor agreed that of course this had something to do with it, but said that the main reason is the plummeting population of the rural US. Country folk went along with the trend of the late 20th century and stopped having a lot of kids, you see.

The ones they did have followed the general trend and moved to the city and as their parents die off, farms, villages and whole towns are being abandoned. A rural country drained of humans and their guns has attracted the wolves who have come over the border from the huge open and equally empty-of-humans wild spaces of Quebec and Ontario.

I commented that something similar had happened in Europe after the Black Plague. For quite a while starting in the second half of the 14th century, there were more wolves in Europe than men.

I would be very interested in having a close look at the demographics, county-by-county of these states. New York state, for example, probably has a fairly high birth rate overall, just because there are a lot of people in New York city, but the real information would be discerned in looking at the birth rates of individual counties outside the urban areas. I don't have any numbers to quote, but it is a very intriguing idea.

Of course the consequences of our self-extinction project are still under-noticed and the early signs are happening in places where even demographers tend not to bother looking. But I think we will see more of this kind of thing as our western, European-originated world continues to fade away.

Fun with Taxonomy: Oxalis pes-caprae

Tried some today while waiting for the train, and it was pretty tasty actually. Might go nicely in a salad to add a lemony flavour.

Monday, February 23, 2009

If you ____, then you're a racist,

and an eeeeeevil, BNP-supporting fascist too.

At a more profound and altogether more explosive level, however, is the fact that all three parties not only refuse to address the issues that concern the public most deeply and emotionally, but also demonise those who express such anxieties as racists or fascists.

In particular, they have colluded in a refusal to acknowledge that nationalism - or attachment to one's own country and its values - is a perfectly respectable, even admirable, sentiment.

Instead, anyone who maintains that British culture and identity are rooted in the history, language, literature, religion and laws of this country - and must be defended as such against erosion, undermining or outright attack - is vilified as a racist or xenophobe.

This effectively presents such people with a choice - between being demonised as racists and standing silently by as their culture evaporates.

Yep. That about summs it up.

Some good news from Rome...

for a change.

Now this is something I'm going to be glad to be in Rome for:

A 19th-century Belgian priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii, and died of the disease, will be declared a saint this year at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Rev. Damien de Veuster's canonization date of Oct. 11 was set Saturday.

Born Joseph de Veuster in 1840, he took the name Damien and went to Hawaii in 1864 to join other missionaries of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Nine years later, he began ministering to leprosy patients on the remote Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai island, where some 8,000 people had been banished amid an epidemic in Hawaii in the 1850s.

The priest eventually contracted the disease, also known as Hansen's disease, and died in 1889 at age 49.

At last!

Now, all we have to do is revive devotion to St...I mean Bl. Margaret of Castello and we're good.

Dolan: he ain't no Fulton Sheen

The ever-reliable New York Times calls him:

"A Genial Enforcer of Rome’s Conservative Line"


Hee hee...

"Enforcer". It brings up images of Steven Segal movies...which when you meet Dolan in person, makes one start to giggle.

It was 2003, and the priest had opined to a reporter that women should be ordained. Faraway bishops rumbled about censure. Then he picked up the telephone and heard the baritone of Milwaukee’s archbishop, Timothy Michael Dolan. Father Cooper immediately offered to resign.

No, no, the archbishop replied, we just need to repair the damage.

“He was very pastoral and caring,” Father Cooper recalled.

I'm sure he was.

Yep. This is the New York Times' idea of a "conservative enforcer".

"When talking with parishioners, he places his hand on their shoulders, sidles in close and, out of the corner of his mouth, cracks a joke."

But he ticks all the boxes of the NYT's style-guide list of Catholic doctrines:
On matters of doctrine, the archbishop 59, adheres to the line laid down by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, including firm opposition to abortion, birth control, divorce, gay marriage and any crack in the wall of priestly celibacy.

'cause you know, the "line laid down" by JPII and Ratzi is all the Church is about. Yep. Yepper...

Soooooo, bishop Dolan,

how about that old Social Reign of Christ the King huh? Catholic Confessional State?



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gustavus Adolphus' Wedding Suit and the Draining of the World

When I was younger I was obsessed with clothes. Not the clothes of our own time, but those of the past. It was a pretty girly obsession of course, but there was something real in it too. There was something in those silk and velvet gowns, slash and puff doublets, hanging sleeves, bombasted and cartridge pleated and befarthingaled, that said something about the societies of the past that I think we no longer want to say about our own.

There was a confidence and determination in the people who could wear clothes like that that we do not have. That we, in fact, cannot even imagine.

There was substance to these men and women, that makes us half-born men look like wraiths, like shades.

Are there any men around now whose shoulders could hold up a coat like this?

It was from this obsession that I learned the names of the great painters of that terrible time of disaster in the world but the Golden Age of portraiture, the late Renaissance.

It was especially the Holbein portraits of the English royal family, cardinals, chancellors and nobility held my gaze as if I were under a spell. I learned the names of every part of them, how they were constructed, where the heavy cloth was manufactured and how one got into and out of them.

Life was indeed, in this time perhaps more than many others, nasty brutish and short, but at least for them, human life was no ephemeral whisp of a thing. It was real and a man's life was remembered.

Today I can walk through the city of Rome, one of the least ephemeral whispy things we have left, and I look down the length of the Imperial Forum, or up at the Flavian Amphitheatre, or at the delicate Temple of Vesta, or stand in the shadow of the Colonnade of St. Peter's, or sit at Mass in front of the altar of the chair, and somehow it all seems to be fading away, as if it were all a watercolour of itself that has been left too long in a sunny window. The reality, the substance of the world has nearly drained away.

Gustavus Adolphus, Gustav the Great, King of Sweden, was a warrior king. One of the last of this species:

In the era, which was characterized by nearly endless warfare, he led his armies as King of Sweden—from 1611, as a seventeen year old, until his death in battle while leading a charge during 1632 in the bloody Thirty Years' war—as Sweden rose from the status as a mere regional power and run-of-the-mill kingdom to one of the great powers of Europe and a model of early modern era government.

He was also a married man and we have his wedding suit. It is magnificent, in pearly silk, pinked all over with little slices to show the lining. It must be in some museum now, I can't remember. I saw a photo of it once in the course of my obsession and remember the odd sense of dread I felt when I read that it is no longer displayed. It is too fragile and the museum conservators are taking pains to try to give it a few more years of life.

But a three hundred year-old silk suit, no matter the magnitude of renown of the person who once owned it, cannot hold out much longer. No matter what they do, it is going to disintegrate soon. And then there will be one less piece of the real man that wore it left in the world. One more hook by which we latter men remain attached to the real world of our ancestors will have let go.

Today I looked at one of the ancient monuments of Rome. A little arch, mostly unregarded, tucked away in a corner of the ghetto. It's columns are crumbling and are held up crudely with rusting iron braces. It won't last much longer either.

It just reminds me even as I look out the window at the great Dome of St. Peter's that all of this that remains is going to be gone some day. And somehow it seems, looking down a tunnel of centuries at these more real and substantial people, as if it is already half vanished.

Something else that's hard to keep score on...

The other day someone asked, 'Can you please explain to me just what it is with this show?'

Well, actually, no. I can't

But this might help.

and now this

I think I've watched everything up to about the 11th episode of Season 4 and truth to tell, I'm hopelessly muddled.

Have to watch it on DVD all over again.

Sunny Sunday Morning in Trastevere

Trastevere is the oldest neighbourhood in Rome, where one is most likely to meet people who are descended from the original inhabitants of the ancient city. The Trastevere dialect of Italian is the one, I am told, that is closest to Latin, and it can still be heard if you know what you are listening for.

It is also the home of one of the largest flea markets in Europe, the Porta Portese market, open on Sunday mornings.

Shoes..ten euro.

The actual "Porta" of the Porta Portese.

Built, no doubt, by one of those eeeevil old Renaissance popes who did nothing but wallow in money and mistresses all day long in between bouts of persecuting Jews and innocent heretics theological investigators.

Posh neighbours. This is the home of the Knights of Malta on the other side of the Tiber.

No leaves on the plane trees yet, but sunny and lovely today. Very springy. (So, how's February where you are?)

A wrecked houseboat from the flooding of the Tiber in the autumn. You can see the level to which the water rose by the plastic bags and garbage hanging from the trees lining the river. Rome: where squalor and magnificence live together.

This little church was built to preach the Good News to the Jews of Rome, whose

synagogue is across the street. The largest surviving one in Europe, thanks to Pius XII.

Ancient stuff in the entrance to the Jewish Ghetto.

This house is built on columns because in the old days, the Tiber used to flood into the City and the houses near it had to be all on stilts. When the banks were built, the lower portion of the houses between the columns was filled in to live in.

A medieval house, built on ancient columns, filled in with modern living quarters on the ground floor.

Ancient stuff, medieval stuff, baroque stuff...all jammed in together. Often in the same building. That's Rome.

Book Bleg

Rome has a lot of very good bookstores both new and second hand and antiquarian, and quite a lot of outdoor book stalls where you can sometimes find very interesting stuff. Went to the Porta Portese market this morning and there were quite a few book stalls, both new and used. Some beautiful 18th century, calf-skin bound volumes of St. Alphonsus Liguori's moral theology in there. Didn't buy, but am keeping all in mind. (What I really wanted to spend a hundred Euros on was the portable Victrola).

I mention this only in passing because I am no longer in the market for books. It is an odd thing for me because treasure hunting in second hand book shops has been a pass-time for me all my adult life. The problem, of course, is that for the first time I am living in a country where the dominant language is not one I know well enough to read comfortably. Now you will say that the solution is to get off one's duff and learn the language. Lots to recommend that solution, I admit, and I am working on it. But I'm still at the Fun with Dick and Jane stage (or, more precisely, "uno di tè caldo e un cornetti di cioccolato, per favore...") and it will be a while.

I brought with me about twenty boxes of English language books and am going through a Jane Austen phase. I figure I've got to the end of my English books to learn enough Italian to start buying new ones.

But I would really like to revisit Dante. Of course, like everyone else, I read Inferno as a teenager. But that was rather a while ago, and Dante is a great part of the culture here, so it is time to go and have another look. And this time, the whole thing.

I've been told many times that the one to start with is the Dorothy Sayers translation. It has the best poetry and the best notes. Especially about the notes.

Then, once I've become more familiar with it, I thought I'd have a go at the Italian. One. Canto. At. A. Time.

It's not just any Italian I want to learn, it's good Italian. So I figured Dante would be a good place to start. Like starting English with Shakespeare (or more properly, Chaucer). Why not? Got to do something with myself when I've not got the internet at home.

The trouble with this brilliant plan is that I can't find a copy of the Penguin edition of the Sayers translation of Dante anywhere in the English language section of the Rome bookstores. There's lots of Dante, but no Sayers. There's this new guy, Mark Musa. Don't trust him. He sounds Newfangled. I like Sayers.


Anyone out there got a spare copy they want to post to Rome?

Ooo I love these

Goody: another "If you're _____, then you're a racist" list.

If you note that women and men are different, you’re misogynistic.
If you denounce the destruction of marriage in black communities, you’re racist or moralistic.
If you call for the defense of America against the world-wide Islamist menace, you’re a bigoted warmonger.

here's another one.

* ~ * ~ *

I thought the comment thread at "Kathy Shaidle is a Racist" blog was very interesting and instructive. Early on some of the commenters started a theme: "Kathy set this up so she could get Section 13 complaints made so she could sell more books and get more Paypal donations, so don't send in a complaint because it's just what she wants...the evil devious racist!"

Yeah...Kathy's in it all for the money. That must be it.

The seriousness with which this thesis was presented and received gave me a small insight into the liberal "mind". I have noted before how rare among liberals is a grasp of the concept of irony. Sarcasm they can do, in spades, but actual irony ...not so much.

is a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is an incongruity or discordance between what one says or does and what one means or what is generally understood. Irony is a mode of expression that calls attention to the character's knowledge and that of the audience.

So, when Kathy yells "Come and get me you fairies!" they think it is to get more famous and make money. And then they fail to see why all the conservatives in the room fall off their chairs laughing at them. They don't get the joke because it is at their own expense.

Not having any themselves, they can't grasp the idea that someone might be fighting for a principle. Might be willing to allow herself to look bad, to risk having a bad reputation (albeit amongst those whose opinion matters not at all), to put herself in the way of danger, calumny, threats, insults and opprobrium ...oh yeah, and lawsuits... for a principle - for something that is more important than one's own immediate, or even long-term discomfort - to be willing to suffer for a cause.

This little suggestion in the comment thread, along with the profanity and ad hominem insults, certainly gives us a clear window into their withered minds and impoverished imaginations.

What is the only thing they are able to imagine anyone willingly suffering for?

Certainly not to bring out into the open and into the searing light of day a wriggling mass of putrefying injustice that has been going on for decades at taxpayer expense.


Just money.

So hard to keep score

The Steyn writes:

the lunchtime poll at Toronto's CITY-TV thought was the big issue arising from Aqsa Parvez's murder:

Do you think society discriminates against women who wear a hijab?

Gotcha. It's our fault.

So, let me see if I've got this right.

Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her family because society discriminates against Muslims?

OK, I think I get it.

Y'see, Aqsa wanted to blend in with her high-school friends and have what in Western countries we call a "normal life" as a Toronto teenager. But this was only because her high school friends, the high school itself and Toronto/Western civilization only present one kind of lifestyle choice as acceptable. This meant Aqsa didn't want to wear a hijab or do any of the other things that Muslim girls are supposed to do. The reason she didn't want to wear one is because we white (Christian...sort of...) Westerners are bigots who have created a heteronormative...oh, wait, wrong guilt trip racist environment in which only behaving like a white (Christian...sort of...) Westerner is acceptable. Thus putting Aqsa in an insoluble dilemma of choice which her family helpfully solved for her.



Got it cleared up.

* ~ * ~ *
The Montreal Gazette...
"Of any faith or none"...

Muhammed Parvez might have been fighting a losing battle trying to make Aqsa wear a hijab, but that hardly sets him apart. Few are the fathers, of any faith or none, who have not clashed with their adolescent daughters over something...

Sooo...can we take it then that the helpful Montreal Gazette is helpfully recommending Mr. Parvez's method - described by helpful Lloyd as "compressing" her neck "to the point she couldn't breathe" - to fathers of "other faiths or none"? Or is this just OK for the Islams?

Wait wait...

I'm still trying to figure this out.

It's OK for the Islams because their religion says it is. Got it. And we have to let them do it because we have to respect the diversity that makes Canada great. Right. Good.

What I want to know is, does that mean that followers of other religions (or none) can't compress their teenage daughters necks to the point where they can't breathe? What if there's something about teenage neck-compressing in the holy writ of other religions (or none)?

What if I want to compress someone's neck who isn't related to me within one or two degrees of consanguinity?

What if we start a new religion that allows the compressing of the necks of other people? Journalists, say.

Is there some sub-section of the Department of Canadian Heritage where you get your new Holy Writ notarized before you can commence neck-compressing?

Is there a stamp you have to get or something?

Friday, February 20, 2009


Slow to no blogging in the next couple of days. I've had a week of v. busy work-related stuff and back-to-back conferences that will go into the weekend and won't be around on Mon.

Come back later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

So, you want to donate your liver then?

"They all go to saving lives, madam".

I spent the day at the Brain Death conference today, listening to all the gruesome details of the dozens of different criteria by which they can declare you dead-but-still-alive so they can have your bits.

The world is no fun when Monty Python's weirdest routines are no longer satirical.

More later.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope Nancy

Well, she had the meeting. It was private. There is no text of the remarks except for a rather thin press release from the Vatican. But there was no Mass, and no photos, so at least she didn't receive Holy Communion from the Pope in front of the world's cameras.

Pope Nancy on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist:
"Communion is the body of the people of the church coming together," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference after returning from the mass. "I feel very much a part of that."

So glad for you dear.


Picked up one of my all-time favourite films on DVD.

Ah HAH!: it's Oxalis pes-caprae

Oxalis pes-caprae, also called Bermuda buttercup, native to South Africa and with edible leaves.

The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency.

OK, back to Nancy Pelosi and the Pope.


Italian Wildflowers: fun with taxonomy

(also known as "weeds")

I looked and the yellow flowers on the long stalks are definitely the flowers belonging to the little trifoliate shrubby things. But I noticed that both the flowers and the leaves fold up at night, which is the same thing that wood sorrel does. Wood sorrel also has trifoliate leaf groupings with big flowers (though white and not on stalks) so maybe it isn't a type of clover.

Checked in both English language and Italian bookshops today for a Wildflowers of Italy book but no go.

I see that wood sorrel does have leaves that look a lot more like our little Italian mystery plant than clover.

and I see that the flowers are indeed on stalks.

So, I bet it's an Oxalis, not a Trifolium after all.

And this,

Oxalis arborea, looks almost exactly like it, only white, including the flower clusters on long stalks.

Thought I was kidding didntcha?

Preparing the holy flames...

Today's selection: "Ecumenism", with a nice sauce of Religious Indifferentism on the side.

...and for dolce...

A few seconds of smoking...

and POOF! there it goes.

After some excellent American style hotdogs and burgers,

an appropriate end.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Off to the book burning.

Well, hasn't it been a fun-filled day for us reactionaries!

Anyone wishing to leave a death threat and/or Section 13 complaint in the commbox is welcome, but I've got to run.

Just received the following charming invitation:

Celebrate the feast of the Holy Combustion of Giordano Bruno - book-burning at our house 8 pm. Feel free to bring a drink and/or something to grill. We have some books, but any contributions are welcome. See you tonight.

Giordano Bruno, b. at Nola in Campania, in the Kingdom of Naples, in 1548; d. at Rome, 1600. At the age of eleven he went to Naples, to study "humanity, logic, and dialectic", and, four years later, he entered the Order of St. Dominic, giving up his worldly name of Filippo and taking that of Giordano. He made his novitiate at Naples and continued to study there. In 1572 he was ordained priest...It seems, however, that, even as a novice, he attracted attention by the originality of his views and by his outspoken criticism of accepted theological doctrines. After his ordination things reached such a pass that, in 1576, formal accusation of heresy was brought against him. Thereupon he went to Rome, but, apparently, did not mend his manner of speaking of the mysteries of faith; for the accusations were renewed against him at the convent of the Minerva. Within a few months of his arrival he fled the city and cast off all allegiance to his order...

he was excommunicated by the Calvinist Council on account of his disrespectful attitude towards the heads of that Church...

in February, 1593, Bruno was sent to Rome, and for six years was kept in the prison of the Inquisition. Historians have striven in vain to discover the explanation of this long delay on the part of the Roman authorities.

In the spring of 1599, the trial was begun before a commission of the Roman Inquisition, and, after the accused had been granted several terms of respite in which to retract his errors, he was finally condemned (January, 1600), handed over to the secular power (8 February), and burned at the stake in the Campo dei Fiori in Rome (17 February).

Bruno was not condemned for his defence of the Copernican system of astronomy, nor for his doctrine of the plurality of inhabited worlds, but for his theological errors, among which were the following: that Christ was not God but merely an unusually skilful magician, that the Holy Ghost is the soul of the world, that the Devil will be saved, etc.

I'll have to get a picture for you of the statue, marking the spot where he was burned, in the Campo De Fiori some time. It was erected by Rome's anti-Clericals, who are still, by-the-by, alive and kicking (and spitting on nuns) in the old Urbs. The Campo De. F. is the only piazza in Rome, I am told, that does not have a church in it.

The fun in Rome never ends.

I'll take the camera with me. Pics tomorrow...promise.

Welcome Shaidlettes

Thanks for the link Kathy.

Now I want everyone to go over to Shaidle is a Racist and post a comment.

Update: Man I haven't had a commbox dustup in ages! Forgot how fun it is to shoot fish in a barrel. Almost as fun as tripping blind people and kicking Gypsy beggars.


WooHoo! Watch that sitemeter FLY!

"In tatters"

Obviously the SSPX hasn't got the memo that the "project is in tatters" yet either.

Clearly the Austrian bishops are right in saying that the Vatican has to improve their communications channels. Don't they read Amerika?

Monseigneur Bernard Fellay, at what date will you return to the Vatican?

No date has been set. After the storm that has taken place, we all need to pull ourselves together.

And the discussions which you accept to have from now on with Rome, are they for soon?

Still for that, no date... but, yes, they will begin.

Congratulations Kathy !!

Kathy hits paydirt.

Some years ago now, I was working in the Toronto head office of Campaign Life Coalition and a colleague and friend of mine came dashing into my office grinning as wide as a Yonge street crack addict who'd just rolled an old lady on pension day.

"What? what? Did you win something?"

"Got my first death threat."

Ghah! It's not FAIR! I've been blogging and making snippy comments for years and never, ever had even one teeny little death threat.

Now this.

She even gets a whole website (ok, it's just a blogspot blog, but still...) all about how she's an eeeeevil racist.


Obviously time to post a photo of my BNP membership card.

A commenter at BCL is threatening to file a Section 13 complaint against me.


I've been TRYING to get a "hate speech" complaint for years now, by purposefully saying politically incorrect things about every ethnic group, including my own, on this blog.

(I'm old enough to remember George Carlin -- who, incidentally, made up the idea that there were "Seven Words You Couldn't Say on the Radio" [the FCC had no such rule until he gave them the idea] and Lenny Bruce doing that with "swear words"; I'm just doing it with the new "unspeakables".)

After all, such a complaint would be great publicity for me and would help me get a lot of donations and sell a ton of books.

Plus I plan to ignore it completely, other than writing GO SCREW YOURSELF on the official complaint and faxing it back to the HRC office.

People are always asking me:

Why doesn't somebody, for once, just ignore one of these complaints, refuse to recognize the HRC's "authority" over them, and see what happens?

You may be about to find out.

Well, it's not quite the same thing, but along the same lines. A well-known journalist friend of mine in Canada once had some Islamonutter try to lodge a complaint against him with something like the Canadian Journalists Association (or whatever it is). The forms were duly filled out and of course, it being Canada, he was sent a form of his own to fill out to say what his response was.

He wrote, neatly and in the little box provided:

"Fuck off".

Wildflowers of Italy

Well, I've been looking, and I figure it's got to be a trifolium of some sort, with the three leaves "with stipules adnate to the leaf-stalk".

And I know that some clovers have yellow flowers, but I've never seen any with clusters of such big trumpet-shaped flowers on tall stalks like this. They're usually the little "heads or dense spikes of small red, purple, white, or yellow flowers". Like this. The flowers in the photo are still closed, but they open quite wide on the ends and when fully open, the diameter of the flowers are sometimes more than an inch across.

I'm coming up with nothing on Google searches for "trifolium Italy" or "Italian wildflowers". And all my wildflower books are for the British Isles or norther Europe only.

Any of our sciencey people got an idea?

Julian? You still listening?

Studies show...

90% of Americans polled agree with the statements:

"Ocean very wet".

"Sky quite big."

Lemme guess...this was paid for by tax funding, right?

So, how's February where you are?

Taken this morning at the train station in Santa Marinella.

I think it's a variety of clover. Anyway, it's been blooming since November and carpets all the ground. The geckoes live in it and can be heard scurrying around when the sun is warm.

Cranky Trad Rant 101

What he said.

"Alphonsus" responds to Damian's assertion that we're better off without those "nasty" conservatives in Linz.

Right. "No more conciliatory gestures to extremists or nutjobs."

Just great heretics like Karl Rahner, Richard Sparks, Richard McBrien,
Walter Kasper, Roger Mahoney, and the rest of the New Agers, ecumaniacs,
extra-terrestrial (or was that extraordinary?) ministers, Americanists,
"Catholic" Zionists, personalists, Neo-Arians, neo-Pelagians, neo-Judaizers
, neo-Nestorians, Teilhardians, aborting Catholics, contracepting Catholics,
deniers of the True Presence, wiccan nuns, women's ordination coven,
nobody-in-hell heretics, and those celebrating sodomy as a gift from

Definitely, let's make the Church in man's image, not God's---and then
celebrate the whole monstrosity in PRIDE... in the nude (or clown costumes)
waving pots of incense,kissing Korans, defining politically-correct
historical dogmas, and blathering in tongues or shamanistic/Voodoo
incantations that "have the seeds of truth" while droning inane nursery
rhymes, "Here I am Lord," and ignoring genocide as long as "Elder Brothers"
teach it and perpetrate it.

God forbid that anyone should try to worship and believe and behave
as the Church has taught for nearly 2,000 years. "We are so much smarter
and more sophisticated. We have evolved beyond all that," coaches the

February 15, 2009
10:32 PM GMT

Don't hold back now. Tell us what you really think.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shariah drift

The difference a year can make
On the anniversary of the interview in which Dr Rowan Williams said it "seems inevitable" that some parts of sharia would be enshrined in this country's legal code, he claimed "a number of fairly senior people" now take the same view.

He added that there is a "drift of understanding" towards what he was saying.

Politics for the Logic-Impaired

Baron Ahmed sees no justification in "freedom of speech" for bringing Geert Wilders into the UK.

Because, you see, he called for the banning of the Koran.

So he had to be banned...

because of freedom of see...


Is Nazir Ahmed a shill for

a) The Guardian

b) the Islamo-fascists

c) the Labour Party

* ~ * ~ *

And the Guardian is all about freedom of speech I see. Shut the comments down after 216 people wrote in to tell him what an idiot he was being.

From our "all Trads are Nazis" file

Archbishop Lefebvre's father Rene was a monarchist and a member of the French resistance. He was arrested in April of 1941 by the Gestapo. He was in Nazi jails in France and Belgium and finally died of the brutal treatment he received in the Sonnenberg concentration camp, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, in 1944.

Tx, John.

Can't have "nasty" in sur!

Damian's "not sorry". Well, good for Damian.

Because the guy, apparently, said that Hurricane Catrina was a punishment from God.

Mgr Gerhard Wagner has stood aside. I can't say I'm sorry: I thought it was a fantastically stupid thing to say – and nasty, too. I know some traddies were excited about his promotion, but not me.

Well, OK. Whatever. You're probably quite right, Damian. We really don't need bishops in the Church who are loyal to the Pope, who believe what the Church teaches and want to spread and defend the Faith but who say nasty things.

Yep. Nasty. Can't have that.

Please, no more conciliatory gestures to extremists or nutjobs;

But all the rear-end smooching you can muster to the poofters and pinkos who have been dividing the spoils of Christendom between them for the last forty years.

* * *

So, we'll be expecting the resignations of the rest of the pack of baby-buggering thieves, protestants, communists, heretics and apostates in the episcopate any day now, right?

(...sound of crickets chirping...)

aaaannnny day now...

In my reality there's no such thing as objective truth

“I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

* ~ * ~ *

The Young Fogey has nailed it in a commbox somewhere:
So… in the theology of the overclass there’s no objective truth because essentially the Mormons are right (but not on THAT, Lord, no!) that God’s revelation is progressive and contradicts past revelations...

They're Mormons! Now I get the attraction. Good Anglicans like Vicky Gene have been promised their own planet.

Cool! Where do I sign up?

Then I remembered that I have already written about how the Anglicans invented political correctness.

The problem, as always is that you can't both be in the room and not in the room at the same time.

Anglicanism invented political correctness.

Here's how it happened.

The nation's leaders abandoned the Faith when they repudiated the Church.


Having been torn from its foundations, the Faith slowly leaked away until it died out completely.

But nature abhors a vacuum and the devil can't resist an empty house, and moved right on in, animating the corpse which, somewhat gruesomely, continues to wear the ecclesiastical clothes and occupy the buildings, gambolling lewdly around, flopping its limp and rotting appendages in a grotesque parody of Christian worship.


This carried on until, about the beginning of the 20th century, that colossal slap-in-the-face epoch in which no one could maintain any delusions any more. Life without religion was tried, but found impossible, and we have ended up with what we have now, sex and personal gratification, nihilism and crushing indifference and the sudden exponential growth of the occult.

Oh, and pretty big rates of suicide, divorce, abortion, crime and spiritual emptiness.

That's because of what the headshrinkers like to call "cognitive dissonance"...Taken as a lifestyle choice, the refutation of the Logical Principle of Non Contradiction makes you go crazy. The dissonance builds up in the mind and the soul until it becomes like being permanently locked in a noisy room.

It makes you go crazy enough to think...really really...that you're going to get to rule your own planet.


Amerika says that the Pope's project to bring the SSPX back and to make the Church more Trad-friendly is "in tatters", and handsomely offers to analyze what went wrong...

Two weeks later, however, the project seemed to lie in tatters. Catholics and non-Catholics alike have expressed confusion and outrage. What went wrong, and what can be learned from the affair?

I wonder if the Holy Father has been informed that he can no longer go forward in his discussions and that he is now required, by the full consensus of the lived experience of the People of God, to re-impose the excommunications. Perhaps someone would be good enough to send him an email.

Ezra explains it in small words

Uh, if all it took was a law to end hate, we would have passed the "Love Each Other Act" a long time ago.There is no magic spell like that. And laws, like section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, that seek to criminalize "hatred and contempt" actually breed more hatred and contempt, for they compound the feelings of grievance felt by those who are targeted by the law, because the implementation of the law is by necessity so politically biased...

I mean, if a government cared so little for real human rights -- right to life, right to self-defence, mobility rights, property rights, etc. -- why would it suddenly stop to care so deeply for fake human rights, like the right not to have your feelings hurt?

He didn't have an answer, and nor did the other dreamers in the crowd, who are clearly looking for some silver bullet to stop the anti-Semitic hate in the world. They didn't take kindly to being reminded that Weimar Germany had anti-hate speech laws...

Two steps back...

Pope's man in Linz does the weasel:
The...the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner made the decision because of the controversy surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's promotion of him in Linz, Austria's second largest city.

The promotion of the conservative pastor sparked an outcry among Catholics who warned it could prompt people to leave the church.

and now we hear
15-02-2009 23:00
Pope accepts withdrawal ultraconservatore Austrian prelate

(ANSA) - VIENNA, FEB 15 - The prelate ultraconservatore Maria Gerhard Wagner asked the Pope to withdraw his recent appointment as auxiliary bishop of Linz. And the Vatican has accepted his request. The appointment of Wagner, commissioned by Pope January 31, and 'was highly contentious'...the bishop drew attention to whether he 'accused of' Satanism 'the Harry Potter books and said that Hurricane Katrina was a sort of divine punishment for 'immorality' of New Orleans.

On the other hand, it's probably good to find out now rather than later how easily he could be intimidated by the left.

(and once again...kudos to Ansa for keeping it strictly to the facts and not letting any kind of editorialising into this very short missive.)

Ground floor fascista opportunity

Binky gives us our daily early morning yell of horror and despair:
Back in the day, we were beaten up and beat others up at school; got detentions, punishments, and the rest; snow-ball fights, roughhousing, spankings at home...We turned out (most of us) not simply despite but because of the reality and consequences.
For the last 20 years, it’s become all about diversity-training, sensitivity, bully-free zones, friendly-words, peer mediation, expulsion for snowballs or name-calling: and so
we have spoiled junior tinpot fascists by the time they get to College? What the heck? Is that what our society has taught such kids? That if we are going to have a soft-fascist system, get in on it while the getting’s good?

But of course, the disease is not confined to Canuckistan; it's everywhere and probably much worse in Europe, though I must say, mostly in the colder, more heavily protestantized parts. One of the things one notices instantly upon arriving in Italy is how much less of that particular creeping morbidity there is here than, say, in Britain...where Logres is no more.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What day is it tomorrow?

I bet you only think you know.

St. Valentine, priest and martyr, baptizing St. Lucille

Pop Catholic calendar quiz:

1) What day is tomorrow?

2) How do you know?

Easy right?

1) Everyone knows it's St. Valentine's day.
2) It's in the shops.

Catholic Encyclopedia:
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

Roman Breviary:
The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. Augustine the Bishop

The illustrious day whereon the blessed Martyr Valentine conquered,
doth this day come round to us again : and as the Church doth rejoice
with him in his glory, so doth she set before us his footsteps to be
followed. For if we suffer, we shall also reign with him. In his
glorious battle we have two things chiefly to consider : the hardened
cruelty of the tormentor, and the unconquered patience of the Martyr :
the cruelty of the tormentor, that we may abhor it ; the patience of
the Martyr, that we may imitate it. Hear what the Psalmist saith,
complaining against sin : Fret not thyself because of the ungodly, for
they shall soon be cut down like the grass. But touching the patience
which is to be shewn against the ungodly, hear the word wherewith the
Apostle moveth us : Ye have need of patience, that ye may receive the

V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

But because of the GloriousNewSpringTimeofWonderfulness that we are all currently enduring in NewChurch,

you're wrong.

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Liturgical Year B, Cycle I
Today's Mass
Saint Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop - Memorial
Readings for Mass
From the Common of pastors [for missionaries]
From the Common of holy men and women
From the Proper of the Season
(Saturday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time)
First Reading: Genesis 3:9-24
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 90:2, 3-4, 5-6, 12-13
Gospel: Mark 8:1-10
Today's Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries


Are you speaking infallibly on that?

"Abortion is not an infallible teaching. It never has been proclaimed infallibly," he said. "This attempt to put everything that the Church teaches in this one set of categories, it seems to me, is not a proper Catholic position, not according to the history of our church," he added.

Nope. Not infallible.

Warning: may contain hidden bias

A brief lesson in how media bias works. As Orwell taught us so well, it's not about saying things, it's about taking great care about what not to say.

Today's New York Times tells us the story of "A Birth Control Pill That Promised Too Much." Or rather the Times tells us part of the story. There's something missing.


Regulators say the ads overstated the drug’s ability to improve women’s moods and clear up acne, while playing down its potential health risks.

Fasten your attention on those last two words: "health risks." It isn't often that a major American media outlet writes about the health risks of contraceptives,...Go ahead; read the entire Times article if you like. You won't find another mention of "health risks" in the entire piece.

Go Benny!

This little offering of mine seems to be making the rounds.


The other day, a friend and I were discussing the incredible shrieks of the leftist harpies attacking Benedict lately. We thought it would be fun to get some "Benny Buttons" and make our friends wear them.

I really can't imagine why anyone is worried about all this. It seems to me like the best possible news. The bad guys hate him. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? Every time I hear about an Angela Merkel calling him up and chastising him for doing his job, I start to grin and giggle with delight.

Bring in the Trads. Bring the Anglos back. Force the poisonous snakes in your own curia to out themselves.

Go Benny Go Benny Go Benny!

Or, as Fr. Blake put it:
Who would have believed it?
Ecumaniacs are now shouting, "Shut that door, keep them out!"

Trendy Liberals scrawl on walls, "Don't lift the excommunications!"

Sandalistas with their dying breath wheeze, "Keep it the same, no change here!"

And wrinkled white bearded hippies gaze into their navels and remember fondly the days of their youth, hating the present day.

The snake has been struck with a stick and rises and hisses.

But for those who are worried:

The Confraternity of the FSSP has suggested a novena for the Pope, starting Feb 14.

Pater Noster x 3, Ave Maria, Gloria Patri...

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivicet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et no tradat um in animam inimicorum eius.

V. Tu es Petrus.

R. Et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.

Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, miserere famulo tuo Pontifici nostro Benedcito: et dirige eum secundum tuam clementiam in viam salutis aeternae: ut, te donante, tibi placita cupiat, et tota virtute perficiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen.

Mater Ecclesiae, ora pro nobis. Sancte Petre, ora pro nobis.


C of E Clergy Banned from Joining Pro-Abortion Labour Party by Synod.



just kidding.

Good for them

Ireland tries to get kicked out of the EU on grounds of moral turpitude:

Ireland's New Adoption Bill Says Adoption Only to Married Heterosexual Couples

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blog request

Message for the readers:

We're looking for someone.

If anyone knows Dr. Agnes T. Berki, formerly of New Jersey, a PhD chemist in pharmaceutical sciences,

could she be asked to post a comment on the blog or send me an email. A priest friend in Rome is trying to contact her.



a conversation between me and my editor:

Hilary says:
we have done a thing on the upcoming Vatican conference on Darwin, right?

John-Henry says:

Hilary says:

Hilary says:
can't find

Hilary says:
got a link?

John-Henry says:

Hilary says:

John-Henry says:
perhaps we didn't do it

John-Henry says:
thought it was by you actually

Hilary says:
I was sure we did

Hilary says:
can't remember

Hilary says:
maybe we thought about doing it and then didn't

John-Henry says:

Hilary says:
we must be dumb

Hilary says:

Hilary says:
it's hard being dumb

John-Henry says:
yup, I know all about it,

or at least I think I do

Politically Savvy, Me

Remember when I said,

The most efficacious way that the Deathmongers have used around the world to bring in legalised passive euthanasia is to have food and hydration defined in law as "medical treatment" that can be legally refused by a patient (through the proxy of guardians/physicians, of course, in the cases of incapacitated patients) cases like this, where there has been a celebrity victim, it should be all the easier to put the idea into people's heads that the whole mess can be avoided in future just by saying that food and water are medicine.

Well, hey, guess who's being politically prescient?

Napolitano has stressed repeatedly that the way to deal with cases such as Eluana's is through parliament passing a law on living wills, which allow people to stipulate what medical treatment they want in the event they later become unable to make a decision themselves.

Yes indeedy. The solution to all this mess...

Well, I have to admit that I got a heads-up about it some time ago:

The issue revolves around the definition of “medical treatment” under the Constitution, and whether it includes the provision of food and water. Silvestri explained that under Article 32 of the Italian Constitution, a patient has the right to accept or refuse medical therapies. But this has always been interpreted as specifically excluding food and water, which are not medical treatment, but the ordinary means of sustaining human life. Until the Englaro decision, he said, Italian law did not recognise in any way a “right” for a patient to decide to end his or her own life..

Silvestri warned, however, that while there is great interest in Parliament in the case and in closing this loophole, divisions within and between parties exist. This is particularly the case in regards to an upcoming “living wills” law, in which there is division on whether to include a “food and hydration” clause.


Eluana is currently at a private clinic called 'La Quiete' in the northeastern Italian town of Udine, where she arrived on Tuesday. Doctors then said her feeding tubes would be removed on Friday and she would be sedated to avoid her feeling any pain.

But she's in a coma right? She's "effectively already dead" right? She's a "vegetable" right? Dehydration is a lovely, peaceful, painless, graceful and dignified death...


First I've heard about it.

Hearing a lot about a "Vatican Campaign" to stop Eluana's killing. The leftists in Parliament are accusing Berlusconi of being a shill for the Vatican.

Left-wing commentators accused Mr Berlusconi of succumbing to Vatican pressure to intervene at the 11th hour, and fuelling the debate over Vatican "interference" in Italian affairs on issues from euthanasia to gay marriage and contraception.

I work next door to the Pope in a pro-life office that has been active in this case, and this is the first I've heard of a "Vatican campaign". If there was going to be a Vatican campaign, you would have thought we would have heard about it.

Maybe a nice start to the "campaign" would have been for the Pope to have mentioned her name.

Just once.

Why did she die so quickly?

"The physical condition is excellent, Eluana is a healthy woman,"
A statement by her doctor at the Quietus clinic.

and another damn thing...

Ooo ooo I know her! I know her! I'm vicariously cool!

Wendy, Kathy and Denyse in Tranna doing cool fun Mark Steyn-related things. I wish I were there.

The Committee broke at noon for lunch and I hooked up with Kathy Shaidle and the other Cool Kids like Dr Roy and Rick McGinnis. We retired to the basement cafeteria, where I dropped Mark a note on where to join us. He later did, and held court to a passel of his adoring public. Those of us who were in the morning session briefed him about who he would be dealing with inside.

We went upstairs in time for the afternoon session, where Mark was due to speak. This much you already know from my BlackBerry blogging (which is a pain in the ass, by the way, and not recommended except in cases of dire Steynian emergency). Here’s the link to his transcript, thanks to Denyse.

When his part of the hearing was over, Steyn and his Steynettes (us aforementioned Cool Kids) headed out into the hall where he did a small media scrum.

Wow! Yeah, heh. Just hanging with our buddy Mark (may-he-be-forever-in-print) Steyn. Yah.

A little collection

I know, I harp on about this a lot, but it really gets under my skin. The Death People at least are up front about what they want. But the media pretense of objectivity really gets me. So here I am just going to make a little sampling, for fun. (No quiz for this one and no marks will be awarded but feel free to translate into plain English for practice.)
"Her family wish her to be allowed to die..."

"An emergency decree to stop the family of Eluana from assisting her death was approved..."

"...a landmark ruling last November by Italy's top appeals court allowing Eluana the right to die..."

"Silvio Berlusconi, has further stoked the flames over a right-to-die case...

Ansa was particularly helpful:
"...scrambled to prepare a draft emergency decree to stop doctors carrying out a landmark right-to-die court ruling..."

"Eluana, who has been in a permanent vegetative state for 17 years, was transferred on Wednesday to a clinic in Udine that has offered to help her die."

"Beppino Englaro has been fighting for more than a decade for a dignified end to his daughter's life in accordance with what he says would have been her wishes."

"If the decree is passed, it will be the second time since November's court ruling that the government has blocked a clinic from helping Eluana end her life."

* ~ * ~ *

Tony Bland
Tracy Latimer
Terri Schiavo
Eluana Englaro

None of these people were "dying".

Now it's time for a law

Everyone seems to be asking the same question: Why did she die so fast?

A nice peaceful death by dehydration takes at least ten days. Terri Schaivo took about two weeks to peacefully pass away. Early reports say that her food and water were being replaced with sedatives, so I'll be very interested to know the outcome of the autopsy. There's this thing, you see, called "terminal sedation" and I have heard that the Italian government is going to be asking some sharp questions of the La Quieta clinic. Euthanasia is still, for now, illegal in this country.


The political question is now the most important one, though. The most efficacious way that the Deathmongers have used around the world to bring in legalised passive euthanasia is to have food and hydration defined in law as "medical treatment" that can be legally refused by a patient (through the proxy of guardians/physicians, of course, in the cases of incapacitated patients). This is the case in Canada where there has been no Terri Schiavo-like test case. But in cases like this, where there has been a celebrity victim, it should be all the easier to put the idea into people's heads that the whole mess can be avoided in future just by saying that food and water are medicine.

Once you've got the right to just quietly stop feeding and watering someone, there is no further need, really, to push for legalising active euthanasia. It is why, I believe, the movement has been so quiet in Canada since the killing of Tracy Latimer. Daddy Robert was such an obvious ne'er do well that he made a very poor poster-child for the movement. The focus now, is just on getting old and disabled people out of the way by dehydration. Cheaper too, especially when you start factoring in the potential costs of lawyers.

How much easier a time of it would we all have if only Tracy could have been denied food and fluid for a week or so after her last surgery on the advice of a qualified medical doctor who could sign off on his opinion that her future quality of life would not support further feeding.

In Italy, the food and water issue is still undefined, so, we will have to wait and see how things play out. I'm enough of a cynic to more or less agree, however, with the assessment of the head of the Italian Exit group:

Silvio Viale, a doctor and manager of the Luca Coscioni and Exit-Italia, a member of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies, said the bill is “still a step forward, and a victory for Eluana, regardless of whether it is a bad or prohibitionist law, because it breaks the taboo and the hypocrisy” of the “right to life” movement.

The bill “opens the way for future discussions ... for future changes to the law” in favor of legalizing euthanasia, he said.

Yep. That's what my thought was too.

Tony Felsenblair

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a private gathering of senior British and French politicians that Sarkozy intends to promote Tony Blair for the yet-to-be-established job of President of Europe.

Nick and Tony seem pretty close.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Appreciation was expressed"

A phone rings...


"Tarcisio! Come va?"

"Va bene. Molto Bene! So, how are a things inna da Quirinal?"

"Ah you know. Same-a merda, a different day, capito?"


"So, how a things with-a thatta whole Eluana business?"

"Ah, you-a know, Tarcisio! Sometimes tha politica get you down."

"Well, da Holy Father, wanta-a you to know he appreciate what-a you do."

"Mille Grazie,"

I knew you'd understand.


VATICAN CITY, 8 FEB 2009 (VIS) - "Yesterday a cordial telephone conversation took place between Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.", says a Holy See Press Office communique released today.

"During the conversation attention turned to the case of Eluana Englaro, and to other matters of mutual interest.

"Concerning the Englaro case, appreciation was expressed for the acceleration given by parliament to the approval of the projected law".

Allowed to Die...Gradually

A friend and I were discussing the issue of the Quietus Clinic today and wondering why they are bothering with this whole "gradually" removing her food and water business.

What are they afraid of? Don't they think that what they are doing is right?

If she's unconscious, why not just pull the tube?

In fact, as my friend said, why not just put a pillow over her face? A pillow would take about five minutes or less, be inexpensive and would enable the corpse to be used as an organ donor source. Dehydrated kidneys are no good to anyone.

And what the heck is with this?

Inspectors on Monday visited an Italian clinic that has stopped feeding a comatose woman to check whether it is qualified to allow her to die in line with a court ruling.

What do you really need for a place to be "qualified" to dehydrate someone to death? Were they checking to see if there are bars on the windows?

Peace n' Luv

Roma: Conferita Cittadinanza Onoraria a Dalai Lama

Well well,

I hope that our friends at Arcigay won't fail to go and protest.

A nice gentle death by dehydration:

Wesley Smith comments on media bias and euthanasia:

A clinic in Udine on Thursday said it may be ready to help a woman trapped in a vegetative state for 17 years end her life

Media just can't use accurate language on these issues, it seems. Eluana isn't trying to end her own life. If she is PVS, she is unaware of what is happening. Moreover, before the media call dehydration a "dignified death," they should talk to Terri Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler--who, as his sister's death was imminent, told the world that Terri's tissues had become so dry blood was pooling in her eyes.