Deborah Gyapong: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mark Steyn at the Ezra Levant Tribute Dinner

Deborah Gyapong!

Welcome Blazing Cat Fur readers..(more pictures over there).and thanks for the picture, Arnie! I couldn't get into St. Peter's Basilica with the sleeveless look though. We were so packed into that hotel ballroom, I had to dispense with my jacket.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Studies---a great new conservative think tank based in Ottawa--sponsored a sold-out fundraising dinner paying tribute to Ezra Levant and his battle to restore freedom of expression in Canada. Mark Steyn, another great champion of our inherent, God-given rights and freedoms, gave the keynote address.

Ezra's battle began when he was among the only North American publishers to reprint the Danish cartoons. Then he faced complaints from a Calgary Imam at the Alberta Human Rights Commission. He did not start out with any grand principles in mind.

"I was just mad," he said. "I was just trying to run a little magazine."

Mark Steyn spoke of the advice he had received from a lawyer friend who told him, after he and Maclean's Magazine faced human rights complaints, to just be quiet and let the process work its way through. Then he spoke to Ezra who told him to "go nuclear."

"It took Ezra going all Magna Carta on Jennifer Lynch's Medieval ass," he said.

Anyway, it was a great reunion of many friends and bloggers who have been in the trenches in this ongoing battle. Among the bloggers present were Five Feet of Fury, Blazing Cat Fur (the latest one to face a law suit), Free Dominion, Stephen Taylor, Gay and Right, Dr. Roy, and VladTepesBlog. Barrel Strength has a report here.

Joseph Ben-Ami,
the executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, assured everyone that he was not leading a conspiracy by the Christian right to take over the Canadian government, Marci McDonald's book notwithstanding. Joseph is an Orthodox Jew, btw.

Spotted at least two MPs present, some Conservative staffers, the lovely Andrea Mrozek of She also works as a communications and research director for the excellent Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC). IMFC executive director Dave Quist and his wife Mary-Ann were there and sat with me and my friend Dr. Barbara Powell who has also started blogging at Celiac Brain, for those of us who are gluten intolerant. Dr. Barb also has a more general blog for interesting information you may not find anywhere else.

Here are some photos. You know who you are!

Oh yeah, Sun Media was there in force---they bought a whole table. My friend Brian Lilley was there with his lovely wife Barbara. Also author Brian Lee Crowley and his lovely wife.

Fr. Raymond de Souza spoke of how he first met Ezra back in high school when they competed against each other in an essay contest. He said some kind of phrase that I can't recall, but it was similar to "I'll be darned if I was going to let him win."

"That was before I became a priest."

He did win the contest, so he needled Ezra about being a better writer.

It was interesting to see what a wide-ranging coalition of small-c conservatives were present, including Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, gays and non-religious folks who are of a more libertarian bent.

More over at The English Catholic.

Dr. Roy has more pictures here.

Mark Steyn has more links. He writes

~Tomorrow's the big night in London, Ontario: I'll be at Centennial Hall for an evening of non-municipally approved fun and frolics with "a lot of surprises":

Mark Steyn Live In London!
Head For The Hills: Why Everything In Your World Is Doomed
Monday evening November 1st 2010
Centennial Hall, London, Ontario

More details here. In the latest offering from The London Free Press, Vasco Castela says "Steyn's rhetoric is not good for anyone." Meanwhile, Mohammeds Against Steyn comes out against the "merciless fate" of hosting the hatemonger, while Sun Media's Brian Lilley suggests that my getting bounced from the London Convention Centre is the equivalent of a pop record getting banned by the BBC. You can see me talking with Rosemary Barton on CBC News about the London gig, the Conrad Black appeals verdict, the US midterm elections and various other matters here - Rosie and I start gabbing about an hour in, or you can cut to the chase and see me here (I like the way I'm billed: "Mark Steyn's Canada Tour will also hit London, Ont & Calgary" - like a particularly destructive hurricane, or terrorist atrocity).

I'm thrilled to hear that people are coming from as far afield as Cleveland and even California, and I'll do my best to make it worth your while. If being in favor of free speech now gets you marked down as having "controversial personal views", you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb - or, indeed, for the full herd of sacred cows. So I promise to feast on them all. I believe there'll also be industrial-scale book-signing at Centennial Hall, courtesy of Indigo/Chapters. (I do hope my old pal Heather Reisman assigns the shift to this particular store clerk.) And Alexander of Hollywood will be there selling his exclusive Head For The Hills T-shirt. Canadian Islamic Congress members in attendances may find the whole thing charmingly reminiscent of a bazaar in Jalalabad.

Astonishing candid interview by Whitehouse insider

I'm not surprised. Sorry. I never drank the Obama Kool-Aid.

I had such great hopes for President Obama. Those hopes have been crushed. It wasn’t an easy thing to see. On the campaign, the guy was so good. Brilliant. I told you that already, I know – repeating myself now. But…I get emotional thinking back to 2008 and how much fun that was. Then I think to how fast it all went wrong, how soon we all started to see that there was so little to the man. We got caught up in the moment, and forgot to consider the consequences of electing someone who was simply not prepared to be President. We screwed up.


More interview segments posted over at Atlas Shrugs:

That is a very strong statement – anything recent that causes you to now say you will not support Obama in 2012? (Long pause – question is repeated) There is much I have been told, some I know, some more that will probably develop in the coming weeks and months. But you want specifics, right? I understand that…I’ll give you an example of why President Obama is not right for America. He sure as hell has not been right for the party. Not long ago, the president took a meeting. He’s late, which apparently is becoming more and more common with him. The meeting was almost cancelled. In strolls the president, joking with an aide. He plops down on a sofa, leans over and claps another guy on the back asking how he’s been. Apologizes for being late, says he was “held up”. He laughs some more. The meeting begins. After just ten minutes, during which time the president appears to almost totally withdraw into himself, an aide walks in and whispers something to the president, who then nods and quickly stands up, shakes a few hands and tells another aide to update him later on the rest of the meeting. As the president is walking out he is laughing at something yet again. He asked no questions of those at the meeting – not one. He left after just ten minutes, coming in laughing and leaving laughing. His behavior during that brief time he was there was described as “borderline manic”.

From Part I:

"Now I sincerely fear for my country"

Ok, you have already stated previously that the president doesn’t show much interest in the day to day business of being president – why is this example so bad, or different? Care to know what that particular meeting was about on that day?

Certainly. Afghanistan. That meeting was an update on Afghanistan, and the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, could give a -expletive-.

Were you actually there to witness this? No, I was long gone from the White House by then. It was told to me though by someone who was. They were there. First hand. They were also left to apologize to the ones left in the room after the president left. Some of these were military. They were not happy. No…that is not accurate. They were pissed. They didn’t say much at the time, but word got back. They were in shock at the president’s behavior. The country had just lost a number of soldiers the week prior, the public opinion on the war was falling…and the president didn’t seem to care. He arrives late, leaves early, appears to emotionally shut down during the actual discussion, and to then start laughing once again as he is leaving…how does someone reconcile with that kind of behavior? I can’t. It turns my stomach. I didn’t want to believe what I was being told, but I had seen similar kinds of behavior from the president myself, and I can’t dispute the credibility of the source. They have no reason to lie.

So is that one example the real tipping point for you in no longer being willing to support Obama in 2012? Or do you have any others you wish to share? Oh, I have others, though I cannot share all of them at this point because they involve some still in range of potential White House retribution. Then again, I suppose I am still in range of such retribution myself.

Read more here

I do not know if the country can survive another four years of Barack Obama, and frankly, I want nothing to do with helping us find out. The man is an incompetent. The man is a tool of the extreme far left that has utterly corrupted the Democratic Party. The man and those now closest to him in the administration appear to abhor America’s history. They detest anyone who does not fully subscribe to their positions. They are corrupt, they are increasingly paranoid, and they are taking this country down a path by which we may never recover.

Sorry for the light blogging! But I was busy

I have many pictures to upload from the amazing International Pro-Life Conference held here in Ottawa from Thursday until Saturday. I participated on a panel on the media with editor John-Henry Weston. The president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the world's oldest pro-life organization, John Smeaton mentions our panel on his blog:

John-Henry Westen, co-founder and first editor of Lifesite news, is pictured here on the conference platform in Ottawa with Deborah Gyapong, a TV, radio and print journalist for over 20 years. John-Henry has become one of the world’s leading pro-life witnesses. Earlier this month at the World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome he spoke powerfully about his conversion experience to life and to family values, inspired by the example of his father (who, John-Henry tells me, was, in his turn, inspired by the leadership of Jim Hughes). John-Henry’s Lifesite news articles now appear in hundreds of publications worldwide. He and Dianne, his wife, have seven children.
Deborah Gyapong belongs to the traditional Anglican communion and she now reports on religion and politics principally for Roman Catholic and evangelical newspapers. In 2005, the manuscript for her suspense novel The Defilers won the Best New Canadian Christian Fiction Award. The prize included publication. The Defilers was released in May 2006.

I gave John a copy of The Defilers to read on the plane on the way back to the U.K. I hope he enjoys it. I certainly enjoyed meeting him.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Converting to Islam through a boyfriend

Most interesting article.

For a significant amount of women, their first contact with Islam comes from ­dating a Muslim boyfriend. Lynne Ali, 31, from Dagenham in Essex, freely admits to having been ‘a typical white hard-partying teenager’.

She says: ‘I would go out and get drunk with friends, wear tight and revealing clothing and date boys.

‘I also worked part-time as a DJ, so I was really into the club scene. I used to pray a bit as a Christian, but I used God as a sort of doctor, to fix things in my life. If anyone asked, I would’ve said that, generally, I was happy living life in the fast lane.’

But when she met her boyfriend, Zahid, at university, something dramatic happened.

She says: ‘His sister started talking to me about Islam, and it was as if ­everything in my life fitted into place. I think, underneath it all, I must have been searching for something, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my hard-drinking party lifestyle.’

Liberating: Kristiane Backer says being a Muslim makes her life  purer

Liberating: Kristiane Backer says being a Muslim makes her life purer

Lynne converted aged 19. ‘From that day, I started wearing the hijab,’ she explains, ‘and I now never show my hair in public. At home, I’ll dress in normal Western clothes in front of my husband, but never out of the house.’

With a recent YouGov survey ­concluding that more than half the ­British public believe Islam to be a negative influence that encourages extremism, the repression of women and inequality, one might ask why any of them would choose such a direction for themselves.

Yet statistics suggest Islamic conversion is not a mere flash in the pan but a significant development. Islam is, after all, the world’s fastest growing religion, and white adopters are an important part of that story.

‘Evidence suggests that the ratio of Western women converts to male could be as high as 2:1,’ says Kevin Brice.

Read more:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blazing Cat Fur is being sued

For linking to Mark Steyn. But it is really about suppressing freedom of expression and using lawsuits to do so.

Details here:

and here:

We know that times are worse than hard for most of us. But all we can do is ask you to read the details of this SLAPP suit and consider helping us out in some tiny way.

These suits are designed to shut down conservative bloggers, and prevent public discussion of the censorship, bullying and bureaucratic abuses being carried out in your name, with your tax dollars.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hilary White goes all Hilary White on a certain venerable newspaper

My girl, Hilary!

ROME, October 20, 2010 ( - When I discovered the internet hullabalooo over that silly article, the latest in a string of silliness from L'Osservatore Romano, telling the world that Homer Simpson is a "real" Catholic, I just sighed. It was just one more little bit of cringeworthy sophomoric nonsense from a paper that seems to be struggling with a humiliating mid-life crisis.

The Daily Telegraph in England broke the "story" to the Anglosphere, and pretty much called it:

Once a staid and sober paper of record, L'Osservatore Romano has ventured into popular culture in the last three years under a new editor, commenting on everything from The Beatles and The Blues Brothers to the blockbuster film Avatar and the Harry Potter books and films.

"Yep," I thought, "that about sums it up. L'Osservatore Romano is an old person trying to be hip and cool. And there is nothing more excruciatingly, exquisitely embarrassing..."

The Telegraph noted that the whole business started with the appointment of the new editor, Gian Maria Vian. LSN has noted several occasions during Vian's tenure at the paper that have caused a lot of cringing around the grown-up world. And with this latest, the mainstream media is again enjoying a laugh at the Church's expense, producing headlines like "Doubting Homer Proclaimed a Catholic by Vatican Newspaper."

The Vatican paper article tells us that Homer is a crypto Catholic, a "real" Catholic because he "recites prayers before meals and, in [his] own peculiar way, believes in the life thereafter." It even quotes a Jesuit - so you know it must be true.

And the Simpsons seems to be L'Osservtore Roman's favourite show. A 2009 article, "The Virtue of Aristotle and the Doughnut of Homer" by the same staff writer, Luca Possati, holds the show up as a model of the new, post-1960s Catholic standards of virtue. The Simpsons, he says, is a "tender, irreverent, scandalous, and ironic, ramshackle and profound, philosophical and at times even theological synthesis of crazy pop culture and warm and nihilistic American middle class."

Now, I'll break it to the world: I like the Simpsons. On the few occasions when I've watched it, I've found it to be pretty funny. Their little ironic commentaries and critiques of the insanity of modern life appeal to me. I can think of a lot of shows that are worthy of outright condemnation, but the Simpsons isn't on that list.

The Simpsons is one of TV's longest running shows, and, like nearly everything else the post-Christian western world has to offer, it's got its good and bad. But there is something I'd like to say about it to the editor of L'Osservatore Romano. (As well as to those people confused by the headlines, asking, "Is Homer Simpson really a Catholic?")

You ready for my analysis?

It's just a TV show! Homer is just a cartoon character.

A theology of the ordinariates

Great post by Fr. Anthony Chadwick over at The English Catholic, the TAC blog, on the theology of the ordinariates. Go read the whole thing as there are some great longish quotations as well:

In the Catholic Church, there is unity of faith, as there is only one truth, but communion in the one Church does not mean military uniformity. The Holy Father and Cardinal Levada have used an analogy of musical harmony and orchestration to describe the communion and unity of the Church. The first violin doesn’t do the same thing as the bassoon, but both instruments play the same symphony under the direction of the Conductor and Leader of the Orchestra.

This theme of unity and diversity runs through all the teaching and thought of Benedict XVI – unity around the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the standard of doctrine, and not merely assent to difficult points like the Filioque for the Orthodox, the teaching on religious liberty in Vatican II for the SSPX or Papal Infallibility for Anglicans. The Catechism is a much more mature summary of the Faith than some of the rather more minimalist and dry formularies of the past few centuries.

Some expected a return to the old days of anathemas and defined dogmas on the breakfast table. It didn’t happen, and I would say – rightly so. Dissidents will always be with us, whether they are extreme traditionalists or people campaigning for women’s ordination. Condemning them would have no credibility in today’s world. Let the Church’s Tradition prove itself through its beauty and intrinsic truth!

This is the very antithesis of the old liberals who were (and are) intolerant of the enemies of their conception of freedom. We have the demanding unity of the Faith giving freedom to different expressions in the Eastern and Western Churches in matters like culture, liturgical traditions, spirituality, scholarship and much more. True, authority is of vital importance in the Church, but even more so is the role of beauty and intrinsic truth.

May this new freedom in truth be an inspiration for the future of the Church, and that New Spring so hoped and desired for so long. Will the dream come true, or must we wait again for a time long beyond our lifetimes? If the dream is true in practice and reality, as Fr Blake said: I think the Ordinariate is going to be the most exciting thing in the life of the Catholic Church in this country since the restoration of the Hierarchy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A report from the TAC body in England

Fr Ian Westby has kindly sent us this lovely article of his Harvest Thanksgiving Service up in Yorkshire.

* * *

The photo is showing from left to right, Fr Christopher Stephenson (Scarborough), Fr Peter Adamson (Darlington), Bishop Robert Mercer CR (Bishop Emeritus of the ACCC), Canon Ian Westby (Aske Chapel), Fr David Cummins (Northumberland and Tyne).

* * *

For a second time this year, I found myself standing on platform four of the North bound line at Darlington Railway Station, waiting to greet Bishop Robert Mercer CR on his second visit to our church community in North Yorkshire. Whilst waiting for his train to arrive from Kings Cross. London, I cast my mind back to the days when Stephenson’s Rocket first drew steam, beginning the passenger railways as we know them today. As I stood looking down at the railway lines, I marvelled at the thought, that from these railway tracks, I can go by train, all the way to China – and it all began just down the road here in the North East of England. Just then the high speed train from London arrived with the bishop on board, right on the minute it was due.

Those of you who know Bishop Robert, know that one has to observe protocol, so it was straight to Cooper’s ( a rather nice establishment), for ‘tea and cake with ‘pouring cream’, to boot! It was then on to his accommodation (which I am unable to expand upon, for fear of being hung, drawn and quartered). Here, I left him to enjoy a pleasant evening in the most agreeable of company, until the morning when we met at Aske Chapel for Mass, and following the service he brought people up to date on the state of play as he knew it, with regard to the Apostolic Constitution – Anglicanorum Coetibus. He was well received and his pastoral skills helped people to begin a process of thought about their future, and in which direction they may feel they are being led. It is by no means certain that they will follow their Priest, in walking the bridge over the Tiber, though we are doing our best to help them decide their path, whatever it may be.

As usual, our beloved Bishop Robert Mercer shows his dismay at having his photo taken.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Confirmations in Ottawa

Bishop Reid asks the candidates for confirmation to stand
Bishop Reid asks the candidates for confirmation to stand

Today in Ottawa, another joyous day in the life of our parish as Bishop Carl Reid confirmed four people this morning--three from our parish and one from our daughter parish in Spencerville, Ontario.

For a while I have been laboring under an idea that I am casting off as false. It is this: that until we are received into the Catholic Church, we are stalled, we cannot grow, we are in a holding pattern.

I have been thinking that while we're not Catholic we lack a certain legitimacy or something. But not being actual physical members of the Catholic Church has not stopped evangelicals and charismatics from preaching the Gospel and making converts of the unchurched or the under-churched. We can and should do that too.

So while we wait, we can and will continue to preach the Gospel, to baptize and confirm, to anoint the sick, to teach and to disciple new Christians. It feels so much better being unstuck! Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!

True, the many people who are already in the Catholic Church who would like to join us cannot do so now. So we can't grow in numbers through an infusion of Anglicans who have already converted to Rome.

But we can and will continue to preach the Gospel, to baptize and confirm, to anoint the sick, to teach and to disciple those who might then want to continue on with us into the Catholic Church. It feels so much better being unstuck! Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!

Our small building was packed. We had visitors, too. Lutherans, evangelicals, and a Catholic convert from Anglicanism.

For some it was also their first Holy Communion

Anointing with oil

The laying on of hands
First gifts, then cake in the parish hall

I know it's Sunday but I can't resist posting this

From Mark Steyn's site. BTW, is it me or does the dominatrix in the picture look strangely like Ann Coulter?:


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fr. Chadwick on the Primate's upcoming pastoral letter

Archbishop Hepworth is visiting with Fr. Anthony Chadwick in France:

In particular, our Archbishop is working on a pastoral letter to all the clergy and faithful of the TAC on the theology of Anglicanorum coetibus. In all the discussions about practical implementation and interpretations, it is easy to neglect the profound theological and biblical issues need to be discussed. In particular, we need to reflect on the teaching found in the major documents of Vatican II: ecumenism, ecclesiology based on community and communion. We need to make that much more effort to understand the mind of the Holy Father as described, for example, by Tracey Rowland’s Ratzinger’s Faith, published just a couple of years ago.

As he thinks out the new pastoral letter, Archbishop Hepworth will be bringing out the essential notions of the nature of communities and corporate life in the Catholic Church and in communities that are still separated in terms of canon law. Certainly, we are asked for conversion, but conversion comes in different “grades” and kinds, between people with no religion, of non-Christian religions, monotheistic, polytheistic or pantheistic. Missionaries always made huge distinctions when evangelising in different places and cultures. Pope Benedict XVI understands these matters very profoundly, but that understanding is not always shared by bishops and priests in the Church. It is also frequently forgotten that conversion is not simply a one-off decision to embrace Christ or make a transition from one institutional religion to another, rejecting the first totally and embracing the second as the one true way outside of which there is believed to be no salvation. The Saints often tell us that conversion is a task facing each of us every day, every time we repent of our sins, make our confessions and turn back to Christ. It is continuous.

Family pictures--lots to be thankful for

Some notes from my daughter-in-law Marlene about my new granddaughter and some pix. And Happy Birthday, Sam!

Benjamin LOVES his baby sister. We thought the novelty might wear off after the 1st few days but he still thinks she is amazing. He wants her around all the time (watching him play, dress, brush his teeth, bath, eat, etc) and he is always wanting to take care of her - sticking her 'geegee' (pacifier, but he calls it geegee) in her mouth whether she wants it or not, running to get me a diaper if I need one, wanting to give her a bottle (he's not impressed that currently only 'mommy' can feed her), holding her for story time, helping with her bath, singing her songs, etc. He really is an amazing big brother.

Already we can tell she is SO different then Benjamin - this girl SLEEPS!!!! She sleeps through the dog, ben, nursing...I keep waiting for it to end (yes I'm pessimistic) but I am currently LOVING it!

Arrests of the Carleton Five--not great publicity for Carleton


Friday, October 22, 2010

Interesting post on Catholic teaching and wealth

Please read the whole thing over at Mundabor's blog.

The booklet, probably written towards the end of the Victorian era (no year of publication) reads at the start like Dickens on a very bad day, tough we must make allowances for the times. Still, slowly a more equilibrated and realistic picture of modern societies (and of every Christian society of every age) appears and when the author moves on to the serious business, he does it admirably.

The first part of the booklet summarises the Catholic teaching on wealth. I will resume this doctrine as follows:

1) Wealth is not evil per se. Wealth must not be forcibly redistributed and it must not be taken away from the rich to be given to the poor. This is a harsh lesson for Labour Catholics I know, but it is really time that they learn it.

2) Wealth is potentially dangerous. Like sex and wine (and clearly wealth helps to get both) wealth can easily monopolise a person’s consciousness. It can gnaw at him, it can eat him alive. Satan will use wealth to try to carry the rich man’s soul with the same cunning with which he uses sex or passions of other sorts, like…. the envy of the rich. Jesus’ famously harsh words about the rich refer to this kind of person, to the person blinded by his own wealth to the point of making of it the focal point of his existence, the man who has chosen Mammon and forgotten humanity and Christian charity in the process. I’d dare a comparison with Whiskey. Delicious if properly enjoyed; but take heed…..

3) Wealth is to be used properly, and here the author introduces the well-known concept of stewardship.
Charity is not charity if it is coerced by the state.

Dr. Sanity diagnosis the Juan Williams firing

I am so glad the good psychiatrist is blogging again. She writes:

Remember the definition of psychological denial : the refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. Williams committed a psychological no-no that threatened the pervasive and all consuming psychological denial that the political progressive left is committed to--i.e., he showed some psychological insight.

At the center of all psychological denial is a hidden agenda. That agenda is usually not completely conscious--meaning that the denier has not thought through the issues surrounding his denial; and may not even be aware of what his motivation is in asserting something is true when it isn't; or false when it isn't.

Denial need not be absolute and completely cut off from reality. Even among alcoholics and drug users there is a varying level of awareness of their problem. Some accept that they are in jail or sick because of their substance use, but yet are still not willing to do anything about it. Some may recognize some facts about their drinking (like that they get put in jail), but completely deny the impact of those facts on themselves or their families; or the future implications of continued drinking or drug use (e.g., that they are killing themselves and will die).

The hidden agenda or underlying motivation behind the denial is very frequently related to the potential adverse consequences that could ensue if the denial were eliminated and reality acknowledged. That is where the unnacceptable feelings, needs, and thoughts come in. The denier (or part of him) has made an unconscious decision that awareness of certain feelings, needs, or thoughts is more threatening to his sense of self than the act of denial.

Hence the left's incredible refusal to face the failure of their ideology, despite the enormous amount of evidence before their very eyes. They will denounce anyone who attempts to pierce the veil of delusion (e.g., Juan Williams); they will always blame anyone else (see here, how the White House completely understands the voter's Bush!!)--by the way, this is another psychological defense that exists in order to shore up the denial of reality and it is called displacement, or the separation of affect from the threatening object or reality onto a less threatening object; they will never blame themselves.

What we are witnessing is a psycholgoical defensive maneuver that has become perhaps, the most common response to the worldwide threat of Islamofascism. It is a very specific kind of psychological denial, known as displacement.

Fr. Z has a point

Dissidents, and you can make your own list, will tear at the Church’s cult, code and creed very often with impunity in schools, parishes and in dioceses. Meanwhile, people who want nothing more than to uphold the tradition we have received from our forebears regarding cult, code and creed are often identified by duly appointed pastors as being the dangerous ones, they who must be repressed, they who are making trouble. Sometimes they bring this on themselves by being jerks, but that is an issue for a different entry.

This comment is in a long post about SSPX, about which I know little. But I think he has a point about how dissidents are treated with impunity but those who hold to tradition are treated as troublemakers. Yes, some do bring this on themselves by being jerks. No doubt about it. But sadly, that is not always the case.

The Steynapalooza coming to London

Mark Steyn responds (watch out for picture on his site. Not safe for work or Catholic families but the kind of thing on display at the London sexapalooza):

A disturbing number of readers have suggested I combine my speech with some of the livelier stunts from municipally-approved Sexapalooza. Steynapalooza? I'm not sure we can afford the rubber-suit budget, but I'll certainly consider it.

Gateway Pundit on the Juan Williams firing

Juan Williams was a guest on Good Morning America today. Williams talked about NPR firing him and attacking him. The leftiist commentator told the GMA hosts,

“Now, all of the sudden I’m a bigot? …This is one of the things in my life that is just so shocking. I grew up basically on the left, I grew up here in New York City. And I always thought the right wing were the ones that were inflexible, intolerant.”

Guess not. Huh, Juan?

CBS reported on his GMA interview:

Juan Williams said comments that chief executive of National Public Radio made after his firing amount to a personal attack, and said NPR’s “current crew was really getting vicious” in its antagonism towards him for appearing as an analyst on Fox News.

Pray for us in our time of political correctness run amok

Says Father Z:

Today is the Feast of Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, martyrs! Hurray!

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us in our time of political correctness run amok. Intercede for us in this time of fear and tension. Ask God to grant us courage and perspicacity in our daily lives when confronted with conflicts about the burning issues of our time.

Saints Nunilo and Alodia were 9th c. virgin martyrs in Huesca, Spain. They were born to a Muslim father and Christian mother. However, they chose their mother’s Christianity.

And so during the Emirate of Abd ar-Rahman II it came to pass that these little girls were first put in a brothel and then were executed as apostates according to Sharia law.

Sexapalooza! but no Mark Steyn

Ugh. The London Convention Centre will host a Sexapalooza but not allow Mark Steyn to speak.

How can a room full of people listening to a guy making a speech be any more disturbing than, say, an Amway rally or ‘Sexapalooza – The FUN show for Adults‘ which the LCC hosted in February 2009?

“The LCC can host all types of events, including yours. No matter what size you have in mind, we’re nothing if not accommodating. Wedding, meeting, tradeshow, gala or, convention, we have the experience and the expertise to make any function run smoothly. If you require special decorating, entertainment or audiovisual services, we’re able to match just about every request. And though not often requested, we even have the capability of putting a semi-trailer truck on the second floor! Whatever your request, you can rest assured that your event will be a success.”

H/t Blazing Cat Fur

From the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East

.- The need for more interfaith dialogue and greater Christian-Muslim understanding has been a key theme in the month-long meeting of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the Middle East.

The special Synod for Bishops for the Middle East is winding down. It will conclude with a celebration of Mass by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 24.

Participants seem increasingly concerned about the growth of extremist forms of “political Islam” in the region.

Bishops and other experts to address the synod have sought to draw a sharp distinction between "moderate" Muslims and “extremists” who support a radical and political version of Islam.

But for Christians on the ground in Muslim-run countries, such distinctions are often hard to maintain.

Jordanian Father Raymond Moussalli, Protosyncellus of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans said the Church in his country, Iraq, is under attack.

“There is a deliberate campaign to drive Christians out of the country.”

Father Mousalli said the agenda is not limited to Iraq. There is evidence of this strategy in all parts of the region.

“There are satanic plans by fundamentalist extremist groups that are not only against Iraqi Christians in Iraq, but Christians throughout the Middle East."

Marco Impagliazzo, a history professor at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy and president of the Community of Sant'Egidio said Christians are essential to preserving authentic Arabic culture.

Without Christians there will be little support for moderate elements within Islam. “Without then,” he explained, "Islam would be more alone and fundamentalist. Christians present a form of resistance to an Islamisizing 'totalitarianism'. Their permanence in the Middle East is in the general interest of the societies and of Islam."

Impagliazzo said that Muslim majorities in the Middle East must begin to respect the rights of Christians and other religious minorities. In addition, Muslims must demonstrate in more concrete ways “a social and cultural consensus that expresses the will to live all together."

In his Oct. 18 report on the progress of the synod, Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria of the Copts warned of the “real threat” of an increasingly confident "political Islam."

Summarizing many of the remarks made by synod delegates, he said there is increasing pressure throughout the region from extremist groups who want to “to impose an Islamic way of life on all citizens, sometimes by violence.”

He said that there are basic elements in the Muslim community in the Middle East. The “fundamentalists” or extremists are the minority, he said. Those he described as “peaceful traditionalists” make up the majority. These Muslims, he said, see their Islamic faith as “the supreme standard and have no problem living serenely with non-Muslims.” There is also an “elite” in Muslim society who are “moderates open to others,” he said.

The patriarch urged more grassroots leadership in building cooperation and ties with Muslims of good will. "A primary place needs to be given to the dialogue of life, which gives an eloquent, silent testimony and is sometimes the only means to proclaim the Kingdom of God,” he said.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crucial look at Islamism in the Middle East

Another great piece in Zenit:

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2010 ( The role of the civic state in stressing values such as citizenship is key in keeping a place for Christians in the Middle East, says Jesuit Father Samir Khalil.

Christians in the Middle East are not victims of a systematic persecution, but they are subjected to a discrimination that is slowly extinguishing their presence in that region.

The Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which is under way through Sunday, has a crucial responsibility in proposing a remedy to this phenomenon that the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, Archbishop Louis Sako, called "the hemorrhage of Middle Eastern Christians."

In this interview with ZENIT, Father Khalil, an expert in Islam and the history of the Middle East, gives an historical-religious picture of the present situation in that region, analyzing the most urgent challenges and suggesting some solutions.

Part 2 of this interview will be published Friday.

ZENIT: Although it is not the only argument treated by the Synodal Fathers, we note, however, the great importance given to the geopolitical aspect of the Christian presence in the Middle East and in particular their relationship with Islam. Is this perhaps the most important and truly decisive aspect of their existence and permanence in the Middle East?

Father Khalil: There is no doubt that being a minority that does not exceed 10% of the population of the Middle East -- whereas the vast majority is of the Muslim religion -- our existence depends on the consent of this majority, above all because Islam is conceived as state and religion.

And as for more than 30 years now the majority of the Middle Eastern states have adopted an Islamist approach to the state reality, where religion decides all the particulars of daily social and political life.

It goes without saying that in these conditions our situation depends on the good will of Muslims and of the Islamic system. It's not surprising therefore, that the issue has been given much importance, as you rightly noted.
Read the whole interview. Quite profound.

Great story on Zenit about priestly vocations

From the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, a great piece by Jesus Colina of Zenit:

Synod Debating Priestly Formation, Not Celibacy

Consensus That Seminarians Need Better Support

By Jesús Colina

ROME, OCT. 21, 2010 ( Given that the synod on the Middle East brings together the Eastern Churches, in which the priestly ordination of married men is common, a debate on priestly celibacy was expected.

To the surprise of journalists, however, the topic has been given less attention than in any other synod. In the working document prepared after consultation with the local Churches, which serves as the basis for synodal discussion, the issue did not appear.

None of the synod fathers, auditors, nor the ecumenical delegates of other Churches have addressed the topic of celibacy directly. In fact, the word has not been mentioned in the written interventions presented in the synod hall.

The only person who has made public statements on celibacy has been Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, the synod's general-relator.

On Wednesday, in response to journalists, the future cardinal and pastor of the Catholic Coptic Church said that admitting married priests "will not resolve the problem of vocations, and it will not resolve the good or bad behavior of a priest."

What matters, he said, is to live one's vocation with coherence and fidelity.

Formation is the key

Both the synod fathers of the Latin Church as well as those of the Eastern Churches have frequently agreed in stressing that the great challenge facing the Churches is an adequate formation of seminarians and priests (whether Latin or Eastern).

Among the solutions to the lack of consecrated vocations, Patriarchal Vicar Mikael Mouradian of the Patriarchal Clergy Institute of Bzommar, Lebanon, suggested "ensuring good discernment of vocations, giving priority to quality and not quantity; being careful about giving good spiritual direction to vocations and offering an initial and ongoing adequate formation."

Archbishop Michel Abrass, auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites of Syria, explained in reference to the situation in the Middle East that "in regard to the formation of seminarians, in the first place is the problem of their selection."

"It cannot be denied that at present the greater part chooses the ecclesiastical 'career' and not the vocation, and this to achieve a socially eminent position or for economic considerations," he stated.

So Mary won't go all Oswald Chambers on me

A favorite from my evangelical days

John Wimber wrote it. He once said, "I'm a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?"

We used to sing this at Kanata Baptist, a church I love and am very thankful for.

Freespeech bloggers manning the battle stations

BREAKING: Conference facility caves to pressure from Islamic groups, bans Mark Steyn from speaking

“On Tuesday, I received a phone call from the LCC telling us that our venue had been pulled, and that Mark Steyn would not be permitted to speak there. The reason offered by the LCC was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation.”

Sarah Palin comes out for Juan Williams

I wonder how many of his left-leaning friends will. From GatewayPundit:

Once again, Sarah Palin nails it.
The Mama Grizzly says, “We’ve found a good candidate for defunding.”
From her Facebook Page:

At a time when our country is dangerously in debt and looking for areas of federal spending to cut, I think we’ve found a good candidate for defunding. National Public Radio is a public institution that directly or indirectly exists because the taxpayers fund it. And what do we, the taxpayers, get for this? We get to witness Juan Williams being fired from NPR for merely speaking frankly about the very real threat this country faces from radical Islam.

We have to have an honest discussion about the jihadist threat. Are we not allowed to say that Muslim terrorists have killed thousands of Americans and continue to plot the deaths of thousands more? Are we not allowed to say that there are Muslim states that aid and abet these fanatics? Are we not allowed to even debate the role that radical Islam plays in inciting this violence?

I don’t expect Juan Williams to support me (he’s said some tough things about me in the past) – but I will always support his right and the right of all Americans to speak honestly about the threats this country faces. And for Juan, speaking honestly about these issues isn’t just his right, it’s his job. Up until yesterday, he was doing that job at NPR. Firing him is their loss.

If NPR is unable to tolerate an honest debate about an issue as important as Islamic terrorism, then it’s time for “National Public Radio” to become “National Private Radio.” It’s time for Congress to defund this organization.

NPR says its mission is “to create a more informed public,” but by stifling debate on these issues, NPR is doing exactly the opposite. President Obama should make clear his commitment to free and honest discussion of the jihadist threat in our public debates – and Congress should make clear that unless NPR provides that public service, not one more dime.

Mr. President, what say you?

The blogosphere goes nuts over NPR's firing of Juan Williams

I used to book Juan Williams for CBC Newsworld television appearances back in the 1990s. Now NPR fires him for making a personal observation that has been deemed Islamophobic. Would the publicly-funded CBC also declare him persona non grata? Williams, who is both black and liberal, is going to get his consciousness raised big time about his "friends" on the left.

Best round up of links here at Pajamas Media.

Best and most important line? Michelle Malkin: Political correctness is the handmaiden of terror.

Trust me---Crystal Lewis

Oswald Chambers on holiness in the daily grind

We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.

This is so beautiful--I wish I had been there

Yesterday was one of those days. I ran some errands, planning to go out to the Archbishop's annual benefit dinner. I was also double-booked, having registered for the Centre for Cultural Renewal's annual Hill lecture.

But I got home late. I had some cooking to do. And I just felt like a whole bunch of smaller griefs had piled up too heavily and decided to stay home.

I called my friend Mary and told her, half joking, that I was feeling sorry for myself. "Don't feel sorry for yourself, or I will go all Oswald Chambers on you!" she warned.

Thankfully, Archbishop Prendergast has a blog and he posted what he said last night. I hope he doesn't mind if I repost it here. But go on over because he has a lot more pictures. We are very blessed to have him in Ottawa.


Ignatius Loyola was ordained a priest on June 24, 1537 in Venice. Yet despite his love for the Eucharist, he did not celebrate his first Mass until a year and a half later.

The reason for the delay was profound: the future saint and Jesuit founder wanted to travel from Venice to the Holy Land so that he could celebrate Mass in Bethlehem where the Word of God had been born in the flesh.

To his disappointment, military conflicts thwarted this plan to honour the Prince of Peace. Unable to travel by sea, he offered his first Mass on Christmas Eve 1538 in the church of St. Mary Major in Rome. He celebrated at an altar above what is believed to be the manger in which the Christ Child had been placed, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

On an earlier pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Ignatius had no doubt seen the inscription in the Church of the Nativity, hic ex Maria virgine Jesus Christus natus est (“here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary”).

Ignatius was obviously moved by a profound devotion to the Christ Child, born in poverty in a stable, born to a Virgin under stressful circumstances, born, as Ignatius was wont to say “out of love for me” and “for my sins.” But at the same time he was affirming the dignity of every child born or ready to be born into our world.

In a sense, this sixteenth century knight turned soldier of Christ espoused the culture of life that has brought us here tonight in support of three centres in our archdiocese that help those facing an unexpected pregnancy to “choose life”.

* * *

In April, I had the exceptional privilege of seeing the Shroud of Turin when it was displayed in honour of the Year of the Priest. It was a very moving experience, and remains a point of reference for my spiritual life.

Before lining up to pass before the Shroud, I gazed at it from the back of the Church and tried to sort out what I saw. But I needed some help to interpret it. This came by means of a special DVD presentation shown in the antechamber to the exhibition and which helped us to “read” the Shroud.

Moments later, we were confronted directly by the brutality behind the blood stains and other marks of torture. We were challenged to go back, in spirit, to Calvary; to go back two thousand years in order to picture the sufferings endured by a man tortured to death, which could leave such traces of man’s inhumanity to man.

The face of the One who suffered that brutality seems nonetheless, in the sleep of death, at once resolute, peaceful, solemn, indeed, filled with pity and goodness. We can see in his image the depths of the misery of the human condition, and thereby open our hearts to the merciful compassion of the Father who sent His Son into our world to show us how to live and, yes, how to die.

Etched onto the linen winding sheet I saw the drama of the human condition—of everyone who suffers on a hospital bed, or languishes in prison, struggles as a refugee or strains as a victim of war—and, as well, God’s answer to this pain, the word of life pronounced by the Risen One, the Lord of History, God our Saviour.

On the face of that suffering Man, we see the rebuttal to calls for assisted suicide in our day; we see acceptance. It is not a face that looked on death as a mere “exit,” as the euthanasia advocates like to call it.

Just before travelling to Turin, I had gone to Montreal to say farewell to a lifelong friend, Father David Fitzpatrick, as he prepared for a good death in the palliative care centre where, ministering in his retirement, he had visited others and helped them to die well. We shed tears and said our goodbyes, turning over in our memories and in very few words, all that our lives had meant to each other.

This tenderly human farewell got repeated many times over with some of those whose personal histories had become woven into the fabric of this lovely priest’s ministry and life. For many people, such final moments are, with good pain management, times to seek reconciliation with estranged family members, to pray together, to laugh at human foibles, to reminisce, and to experience death both as the summation and closure of a life lived well or, in the end, made well. Here is the true culture of life, indeed the culture of true life.

* * *

And what are we to make of the period in between conception and natural death? Between birth and one’s last breath?

There are many things that can be said about developing a culture of life, but tonight I would like to use the example of our newest Canadian saint, St. André of Montreal, God’s doorkeeper, one of the gatekeepers of Heaven.

According to the priest who presented his cause to the Holy See for canonization, three things that characterized Brother André were his unconditional acceptance of people, his compassion for them, and his trust in God.

From his earliest days as porter at the Holy Cross College of Notre Dame he welcomed visitors and the parents of students. People were important for Brother Andre: you see, he became expert at opening himself to others just as, from childhood, he had opened himself to God in simplicity and humility.

Brother Andre avoided falling into the habit of closing himself off from others and being interested only in isolating himself with God, something he might have been prompted to do by the many trials he endured from his frail health, lack of learning, the death of his parents at a young age, and having to go off to work in another country.

And so Brother Andre truly learned the message of the gospel of life, namely that one cannot truly love God without loving God who is present in one’s neighbour. Nor can we love others without somehow, implicitly even, recognizing God in them. Welcome, compassion and openness to others thus became central traits of his personality.

These qualities of a spirit of welcome, of compassion—and of listening ears joined to helpful hands—are also found in the three centres we focus on tonight. The beneficiaries of tonight’s fundraising banquet will help women faced with an unintended or unwanted pregnancy, their families and the men in their lives, as they seek out ways to affirm the new life that has come to them.

Brother Andre was not just a builder of structures made of wood and stone, but helped to create a vibrant community of Christian faith. He contributed to a culture of life, even if that phrase was not current in his time. May we be such builders ourselves in our time, not counting the cost but confident in the gifts we have received to assist with the great tasks ahead.

And may our newest saint intercede for us, inspire us to trust in the intercession of St. Joseph, and assist us in building a culture of life.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archbishop Chaput on religious freedom

A prophet for our age:

Canadian and American Christians often have trouble understanding the brutality of anti-religious repression or serious religious discrimination. It's not part of our national heritage. But many millions of Christians are now being persecuted or harassed for their faith around the world. We need to pray for them. And we also need to pray for ourselves. Because we're not as securely free as we might like to think.

For decades now, we've been witnessing in our two countries -- and throughout the democratic nations of the West -- a campaign against Christian beliefs. The process clothes itself in the language of progress and secularization. But it has little to do with humanity's moral development. It has a lot to do with kicking Christianity out of the public square.

In an open society, religion can be smothered simply by creating a climate in which religious believers are portrayed as buffoons and hypocrites, or as dangerous eccentrics. Or by setting ground rules of public debate that privilege a supposedly "scientific" outlook, and treat religious beliefs as irrelevant.

Inside the media cocoon of a modern society, popular opinion can be shaped in countless little ways until people come to think of their faith as something they should keep to themselves; and that it's bad manners to interject their beliefs into the political process. They might also come to think that certain basic Christian teachings are in fact hateful, intolerant and repressive of other people's freedoms.

And then one morning they find that their faith has compromised itself into apostasy -- and they're living in a society where people act as though God no longer exists.

Immigration---seeing people not problems

Great piece by Arturo Vasquez

With apologies to Christine O'Donnell, I am not you.
I didn't grow up in places where Mexicans were a distant if ominous threat. I can't say that I came of age only speaking English, that I feel totally grounded in this country (even though I was born here), or that I never helped anyone who wasn't supposed to be here. I can't take a cold, hard look at the facts concerning illegal immigration and see only numbers. I am not you. I am the result of your worst-case scenario.

That may sound melodramatic, but it would be true for at least some readers. My mother was an "anchor baby" back before the border meant what it means today. She came to this country from Mexico at the age of nine with birth certificate in hand, showing that she had been born in a border town in Texas where her parents were picking in the fields. My father's mother, meanwhile, was born in Corpus Christi but spoke little to no English to the end of her days. His family had been riding the border for generations without anyone mentioning that they were illegal. On my father's side, I am a fourth-generation American, but back then (in the early 20th century), that still didn't mean anything. I had uncles who sneaked across the border and lived under the same roof as I did. My grandmother had a few little houses out back that she rented to undocumented immigrants. I would hang out with them as a kid, and they would show me all sorts of interesting things, like how to eat clams from a can or play the guitar.

In short, I don't think occasionally about the complexity of immigration and the border; it literally flows through my veins. It is a reality I have had to live with. And I know how negative that reality can be: My first car was totaled by an undocumented Mexican immigrant, as was one of my mother's. Of course, neither of those drivers had licenses or insurance, and one of these accidents was a hit and run where my baby sister could have been very badly injured. So when people speak of the undocumented harming our society, I can honestly say that I have experienced that harm first-hand.

I have had to deal with the sometimes arrogant and myopic views of my relatives who would drag me back to my mother's village every year as a child and try to convince me that it was paradise on earth. (Really, if that two-bit village with no running water and electricity for only part of the day was so nice, why did they leave?) I went to college with militant La Raza types, and I can attest that they are a bunch of charlatans who never saw a European custom or Catholic belief they didn't like. There are definitely "radical" elements in the Mexican-American community who need to stop protesting and be grateful that this country took them in. My father fought in Vietnam and is proud of it, and he would be the first to agree with me. So if you want to bring up dirty laundry, I can show you dirty laundry.

In spite of all of that, when I think of the immigration issue, I think of people before I think of numbers, laws, or ideas. I think of those guys who peddle popsicles in the street and have to sleep in the freezers where they are kept at night. Or the fellows who would come to the door unable to find work, asking only for a little something to eat. Or my former co-workers who came here as children, just like my mother, and learned English by watching cartoons. Or the guys who stand outside the corner supermarket in my hometown, dressed in their best on a Sunday afternoon, staring at each other and thinking of home. Call me soft, sentimental, or naïve, but when you have seen all of that, it is very hard to regard these people as "a problem."

Fr. Longenecker muses about ex-Catholics

He writes:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ex Catholics and Protestants

Larry at Acts of the Apostasy blogs here about the curious fact that Catholics who bail out still refer to themselves as Catholics. He gives a list of what they call themselves: ex-Catholics, liberated Catholics, thinking Catholics, free Catholics etc etc. Why do they have to cling to the name Catholic I wonder? Have you ever met anyone who trumpeted the fact that he was an 'ex Anglican' or a 'Post Presbyterian' or a 'Liberated Lutheran'? I'm sometimes called an 'ex Anglican', but I wouldn't call myself that.

It's a sad thing when anyone has to define their spiritual status in terms of a denial rather than an affirmation. Every convert to Catholicism that I've known has praised their Protestant background and affirmed it. They've simply moved on to something bigger and fuller. It's not so much a case of rejecting what they had before, but a case of finding and embracing 'More Christianity'. This is a positive and ultimately joyful process.

On the other hand, when you listen to the 'ex Catholics' more often than not all you get is a stream of anger, rage, frustration and bitterness against the Catholic Church. Sometimes it is understandable. Some people have been genuinely wounded by the hypocrisy, sin and scandal of Catholic Church leaders. Others have been let down spiritually by poor catechesis, awful liturgy, bad administration and general incompetence. Some have left because they really didn't find what they needed in the Catholic Church and this is a failure of Catholicism. However, all these things don't account for all the ex Catholics. There are more who have left through their own sin, their own lack of faith, courage and perseverance.

What is unfortunate is that so many of them ultimately define their spiritual status as a negative. They're defined by something they're not instead of something they are. This is the empty heart of all of Protestantism as well. Although there are so many strengths within the Protestant churches, there is still an empty place--a kind of sore point or open wound, and it is their underlying anti Catholicism. Even when they are outwardly tolerant and positive towards Catholics there is still this deep antipathy, a profound knowledge that 'the Catholics can't possibly be right'.

There's a lot more. Interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Michael Gerson on "Obama the snob"

Ouch! But this is what liberals of a postmodern stripe do. The only arguments in their arsenal are ad hominems because they think their worldview is self-evident.

After a series of ineffective public messages -- leaving the political landscape dotted with dry rhetorical wells -- President Obama has hit upon a closing argument.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now," he recently told a group of Democratic donors in Massachusetts, "and facts and science and argument [do] not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country is scared."

Let's unpack these remarks.

Obama clearly believes that his brand of politics represents "facts and science and argument." His opponents, in disturbing contrast, are using the more fearful, primitive portion of their brains. Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender, not just of the stimulus package and health-care reform but also of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.

Though there is plenty of competition, these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president.

The neocortical presidency destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind. Instead of engaging in debate, Obama resorts to reductionism, explaining his opponents away.

It is ironic that the great defender of "science" should be in the thrall of pseudoscience. Human beings under stress are not hard-wired for stupidity, which would be a distinct evolutionary disadvantage. The calculation of risk and a preference for proven practices are the conservative contributions to the survival of the species. Whatever neuroscience may explain about political behavior, it does not mean that the fears of massive debt and intrusive government are irrational.

The devil is in the details---Br. Stephen Treat, O. Cist.

I have a new friend via The Anglo-Catholic website, a Cistercian monk and former Anglican, who has a wonderful post this morning that is exactly what I needed to read this morning:

Who will be a priest? Who will be the ordinary? How will property issues be settled? What book will we pray from? What is the CDF saying to the episcopal delegates? Who had a secret meeting about what with whom last Tuesday? The questions multiply and their intensity grows as we enter what seems to be the final leg of the journey before the erection of the first Ordinariates.

It is perhaps a good time to reflect on the old phrase, “The Devil is in the details,” because he is in the details and all of the opportunity for doubt and dissension that they create. Focusing on and arguing about various scenarios becomes a place for discord and the diabolic to take root and flower.

There are many details that are as yet unclear, but most of us can do little to effect those. It is a time for prudence and prayer and to remember that, ultimately, the faith to make this journey does not rest in current leaders, beloved though they might be; in national episcopal conferences; or even in the Holy See. The Anglican Ordinariates are not finally a structural arrangement between institutions but an avenue to draw closer to the God whom we believe to be “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

-snip-(But please go and read it all!)

If Anglicanorum Coetibus is the will of God, men may delay and stymie it a bit, but they cannot frustrate it. In turn, we must keep our eyes on the prize, which is not Holy Orders, the Authorized Version, or a particular Ordinary. The prize is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, which Paul speaks of in Philippians 3, which may be another good passage to reflect upon when we are tempted to despair:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Please read the whole thing!