Deborah Gyapong: July 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fr. Robert Sirico on the Church as the Bride of Caesar

I have a problem with the narrative that reining in spending and getting the deficit under control is going to hurt the poor. If we do not rein in spending everyone will be poor! Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute introduces some fresh thinking on these issues, via Father Z, who supplies the emphases:

To listen to them talk, it is as if a prudent interest in reining in deficits and limiting government waste, fraud, and bloat would leave America’s poor on the brink of starvation. It is as if bureaucratic solutions, despite the overwhelming evidence of the welfare state’s pernicious effects on the family, are the only ones available to faith communities. This is even stranger for a group of people who are called to “love the neighbor” first and last with a personal commitment.

Although the Circle of Protection has been endorsed by a few Catholic bishops, the predictably left-leaning social justice groups, and Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Church in America has long moved beyond the heady (and increasingly-distant) days of the 1980s when knee-jerk opposition to any reduction in government spending was the norm. That still holds, even if some of the staff and a few of the bishops at the Bishops’ Conference still imbibe such nostalgia.

The actions of Wallis and the co-signers of the Circle of Protection are only understandable in light of political, not primarily religious, aims. Wallis, after all, has been serving as self-appointed chaplain to the Democratic National Committee and recently met with administration officials to help them craft faith-friendly talking points for the 2012 election. And when Wallis emerged from that White House meeting, he crowed that “almost every pulpit in America is linked to the Circle of Protection … so it would be a powerful thing if our pulpits could be linked to the bully pulpit here.”

Think about that for a moment. Imagine if a pastor had emerged from a meeting with President George W. Bush and made the same statement. I can just imagine the howls of “Theocracy!” and “Christian dominionism!” that would echo from the mobs of Birkenstock-shod, tie-dyed, and graying church activists who would immediately assemble at the White House fence to protest such a blurring of Church and State.

Are the sacraments enough?

I was speaking with one of my devout Catholic friends the other day and found I needed to stress to this individual the holiness and presence of Christ among Christians who are outside the Catholic Church.

But . . but . . . they don't have the sacraments! They have no real Eucharist!

I was reminded of an interview I did recently with a Catholic priest who became a Christian through the testimony of his evangelical roommate. He told me it was amazing the faith and holy life this man and other evangelicals he met had even without the sacraments. All the more amazing they were able to have this without the graces that flow through the Eucharist.

It's true.

Then I came across this post at Leon J. Podles blog:

I just read Pierre Hagy’s Wake Up Lazarus! On Catholic Renewal. In the first part of the book he documents the decline of the Catholic Church in the United States and the comparative success of evangelical Protestant churches. The Catholic Church, like the Episcopal Church, has lost a third of its members in the past generation; the loss in concealed in the Catholic Church by Hispanic immigration.


In the Protestant church 80% of the members tithe, although tithing is not required. In the Catholic parish, parishioners give only 1% of their income, on line with national Catholic giving. The Protestant church has a large number of converts and an international missionary effort; the Catholic parish has about 10 adult converts per year and no missionary effort.

Hegy’s main point is that church involvement does not produce a growth in spirituality, but a growth in spirituality produces church involvement. Successful evangelical churches are constantly leading their members into a deeper life of prayer and a relationship with Christ, and the core 5% of their membership lead a life of spiritual disciple comparable to a Catholic secular institute.

Hegy also says that the Tridentine church’s emphasis on rules does not work, but a cultivate of moral habits does work in forming Christians. In the U. S. A larger percentage of Protestants than Catholics attend church. Other statistics I have seen indicate that evangelical Protestants are stricter in sexual morality than Catholics are.

Hegy sees the renewed emphasis on rules in the Catholic Church as doomed to failure. Instead the Church should encourage all its members to cultivate spiritual growth and discipline, encouraging its members to move up from minimal involvement to the beginning of spiritual disciple to serious discipline to complete commitment to Christ. It is not necessary to enforce attendance in mass under pain of mortal sin if Catholics wanted to come to mass to thank God for Jesus.The Catholic Church focuses on the church; the evangelical churches focus on Christ.

I have been asked whether what I have learned about sexual abuse among Catholic clergy has not destroyed my faith in the Catholic Church. The answer is no, but it has made me realize that simple reception of the sacraments does not produce virtue. With a lively faith and habits of payer the sacraments are fruitful. Without faith and prayer the sacraments have little or no effect. Priests said daily mass and raped children on the same altar.

Very interesting. My devout Catholic friend belongs to a lay movement that encourages a deepened and well-formed faith. Catholics who have both---the faith, the lively relationship with Jesus Christ and all the sacraments have it all.

But those who focus on the Church as an institution and the sacraments but have lost the heart of the faith---that it is all about a living Lord, Jesus Christ, God the Son who died for us and rose again---well, I would spiritually starve among people like that even with a valid Eucharist.

I thank God for the movements within the Catholic Church that encourage deeper faith formation and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Purgatory for bloggers

Hmmmm. Larry D at Acts of Apostasy starts musing about what kind of purgatory bloggers might endure and the Curt Jester picks up:

But it all sounds so same ol’, same ol’, y’know? Maybe Catholic bloggers will have to endure sufferings that are a bit more…I don’t know, personal. Custom-fit.

For instance – and I’m just imagining here -

* LarryD - transcribe every issue of the National Catholic Reporter onto strips of bark using a piece of charcoal.
* Fr Z - drink instant coffee while blogging on a 386…with a dial-up connection.
* Mark Shea - chained at the ankle with Michael Voris (that could work both ways, I suppose).
* The writers at The American Catholic – recite every Vox Nova post in Shakespearean prose.

My blogging purgatory might have something to do with the 39 Articles.

Some thoughts on Michael Voris

When I listen to Michael Voris videos from time to time, I enjoy the feeling that my hair has been singed. To use another metaphor, listening to him reminds me of what it's like to eat sushi with a nice dollop of wasabi, that potent green horseradish that clears your sinuses and makes your eyes water. Sushi without wasabi would be mighty bland.

I like hearing his "take no prisoners" approach to preaching the Gospel and the hard teachings of the Catholic Church in areas of sexual morality such as contraception. It's bracing. It wakes me up. I can even confess I find him entertaining. Some of his criticisms of the Church hierarchy, however, make me cringe. His criticisms seem way too broad, as if he is taking a machine gun approach that is over-the-top.

On the good side, there is a definite need for his straightforward, never-mind-the-consequences approach in apologetics. The fact that he has attracted a following is a sign of the hunger out there for clear, definitive teaching offering sizzling steak instead of milkshakes.

Maybe I'm wrong about this---I'm no Voris expert and I'm not about to do a definitive study of him---but he seems to criticize everyone who is not taking the exact same blunt teaching approach as he has is missing the mark or worse, being cowards or traitors. He seems to make blanket criticisms of bishops and clergy, of those who work in the mainstream Catholic press or other bloggers who may focus on other aspects of the Church other than his style of apologetics. His criticisms don't upset me---I simply disagree with him. I think there is a need for what he is doing, but there is also a need for what others are doing. Not everyone is called to do the same thing in the Body of Christ. Not everyone is going to be a pointing finger, in other words. Sometimes there is a need for a finger pointing---but let it be specific, let it be accurate, let it be spoken with an intention to encourage correction with care that it does not become blanket condemnation.

It's interesting because many of the Voris critics jump on him because they don't like his tactics or his tone. They find him divisive. They think his manner will drive people away, foment division and create factions. They may agree with his doctrine, just not his method.

Others want to have a more positive, welcoming inviting side of the Catholic faith presented---a Church that says "Yes!" to life, marriage and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that, as Cardinal Ouellet once told young people at Salt and Light TV, --I paraphrase---Focus on Jesus and the morality will follow. They might see those who stress the moral strictures of the Catholic faith as talking about the "No"s of the faith.

I tend more towards the latter camp---that would more characterize my style, but I recognize the importance of a more direct Voris type approach, too. It's similar to the debate in pro-life circles about the use of graphic images. I don't like that tactic. I would probably never employ it myself. But I can respect the fact that others are called differently in this area and that these images can be used appropriately to break through the euphemisms and denials that surround abortion. I am glad most people in the pro-life movement do not use them. I am glad that some in the pro-life movement are focusing on providing homes for women in crisis pregnancies. We need a whole array of tactics and tacticians in the many fronts of this battle.

I generally like what Voris says when he's talking about the faith but I don't think he gets it entirely right all the time. I would not look to him as an authority. He's a well-educated Catholic layman. On doctrine, he's worth listening to but I would not take only his word for things. The Church needs people with his brand of courage and outspokenness. But he is not perfect---and I'm sure he would be the first person to admit that he isn't! But some of his followers are just a little too adamant about him and that concerns me.

One of the potential downsides of Voris' ministry is the way followers can parrot his rather black and white assertions as if by citing the correct doctrinal propositions they have the true faith. Some of the way they stick up for him reminds me of the way folks are still sticking up for Fr. Corapi even though there are many indications the man may not have been walking the talk and is actively disobedient to his superiors right now. Another downside is that his criticisms do further undermine the authority of the bishops when in our western society that authority is already rock bottom.

No, I am not ducking into mushy nuance here, but we are called to put on Christ, so that He lives in us, so He is our Truth, our patience, our hope, our life and we love with His love.

Also, I thank God that He provided me with teachers along the way who provided a gentler, more seeker-friendly approach as He drew me to closer to Him. A Voris "you must believe this or you are going to hell" type would have repelled me when I was brand new in the faith. I like what he says now on the teaching front because I have come to see the truth of those hard sayings he stresses. But there was a time when I wasn't ready for that, and thankfully there are those in the Body of Christ who have a different calling and different style of ministry for folks like I was. In other words, I was a bruised reed and I fear a Voris would have tread me into the ground. One thing he might want to consider is that a bishop is the bishop of all, including the bruised reed and the smoking flax people in his diocese.

Voris appeals to a constituency in the Church that feels angry, even betrayed by what they perceive as lukewarm teaching, or worse silence not only in the public square but in the pulpit, and a seeming accommodation with the world. It is tempting to release one's inner Michael Voris when one looks at the Church with critical glasses on. But it is a temptation I urge you to prayerfully resist. I am exhorting myself in this area, too.

I would caution against falling sway to anger. Anger is blinding. It can so easily become self-righteousness. Yes, there is a calling for some to deliver prophetic rebukes and correction. Michael Voris may very well have this calling. Others may have it as well. I don't find him angry though he might come across that way to those who disagree with his approach. But what he says can inflame anger in others who are less mature and inspire disrespect for their bishops and that is not good.

Tears, sorrow, the sacrifice of much prayer, and great humility should precede rebuke and correction of others. It is so easy to just give way to venting---Lord knows I am guilty of that myself. Voris himself may personally be a prayerful man who has great humility. I don't know him. The problem for those of us on the sidelines is this: those who are truly following a prophetic calling often provoke even without intending to a huge negative response in people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Could that kind of shooting spree have happened in Israel?

Most interesting article, h/t FFoF

With all this solidarity, why did nobody try to stop the killer, despite the island being crowded with 600 boys and girls in the same age category of the average Israeli who starts military service in the IDF? Is it possible that the Norwegian pacifist and tolerant utopia devitalized its population from the ability to fight back darkness and terrorism?

The article lists several examples of ordinary Israeli citizens who gave their own lives to save others by throwing themselves on a suicide bomber or running to take out a gunman shooting defenseless people and taking him out before he kills more.

Kathy Shaidle writes:

Some will put down the passive, pleading response to “herd mentality.”

But a group of 600 isn’t a herd.

It’s a pack.

Or should be.

The same leftists forever warning that imaginary right wingers are just about to form angry, violent mobs always dismiss with disgust the very notion that under extreme duress, people can and sometimes should form angry, violent mobs in real life.

Do you have a plan asks Father Z

He writes:

Since a very large solar flare can create an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) which could strike the earth, and since strong EMPs can fry electronics, would you be ready? Would you know what to do for yourself and your loved ones?

It is prudent to think about such things and to have plans. I am mindful of the poor people in Joplin, MO, and Tuscaloosa, AL and many other places where people suffer suddenly from natural or man-made disasters. If tornadoes, however, are bad for a relatively small group of people, a massive earthquake, such as that which produced the tsunami that struck Japan, or QUOD DEUS AVERTAT, an EMP, either from the Sun or from the detonation in the wrong place of a nuclear weapon, … these could catastrophically change life on the entire planet. What would happen if, suddenly, all the electronics of a whole region, hemisphere, the whole world, suddenly became useless. Think about how life would change.

At any time we could encounter something really bad, even devastating. We have to think about these things, not obsess, but consider, and have a plan.

That plan has to include – and this gets me to my deeper point – frequent confession.

Go read the rest. Excellent points. The holiest Christians I know avail themselves of frequent confession. It's a habit I am striving to establish in my life.

Sharia zones in British cities?

This news of the establishment of Sharia zones in British cities by Islamic extremists tempts Suzanne, a modest Catholic mom:

This kind of thing makes me want to go in their area and break as many sharia laws as I can. I would sport tank top and bike shorts, wear my hair long and uncovered and maybe start street preaching about Jesus Christ being the Saviour of the world. To men.
I like the preaching about Jesus Christ part.

That would be preferable to swigging a bottle of beer and munching on pork sausages while accompanied by a well-trained guard dog pulling a little trailer with a public address system playing Lady GaGa.

Somehow Romans 7 comes to mind.

7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

Not that Sharia is God's law, but its strictures do engender a desire to rebel. Yet because those who enforce it are willing to use violence, so the establishment of Sharia zones also produces a stronger desire---though perhaps unconscious via the Stockholm syndrome---for people, even westerners who are non-religious to conform and then displace their fear of Islam onto those who write about the dangers of Islamism or onto Christian "fundamentalists."

Dr. Sanity defines displacement:

Displacement - separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ann Coulter goes into a den of single moms

Creative Minority Report has an amazing video of Ann Coulter on the set with a talk show priest and a studio audience of proud single mothers.

He writes:

Fr. Albert taking the easy way once again, agreeing with everyone in the room for his show rather than facing a hard truth. And Ann Coulter, in her always kind manner, dropping the "Who's the Christian here?" on him. Oof.

Go on over, play the video. I gotta say, Ann Coulter has amazing courage and while she is clearly annoyed, it does not stop her from winning the argument. I wish there were more men with that kind of fortitude.

Fr. Anthony is going sailing for Aid to the Church in Need

Fr. Anthony Chadwick is going soon on his summer holiday and it will include some sailing with a group of Catholic priests in France:

It is a busy week as I finish up my translation orders and prepare for our annual holidays. There are many things to prepare as my wife and I will be camping near Carnac and La Trinité sur Mer in south Brittany – that “Mecca” of sailors and people who like “messing about in boats”.

We will be arriving on Saturday, and the tent will need to go up, plus a second tent for the mother-in-law (who has always been very kind with me, not at all the stereotype “dragon” mothers-in-law can sometimes be!). Our little plot will be quite crowded with two tents, two vehicles, a trailer and my little sailing dinghy for after the regatta.

For the regatta, I am to sail with an event organised by priests and seminarians of various dioceses and communities in the Catholic Church in France. When I first applied to be in a crew, telling them I was from the Traditional Anglican Communion and as yet far from being in communion with Rome, I didn’t even expect a reply. Far from it, they did reply and I am to be on a beautiful 34 footer with a highly experienced skipper who is a priest of the Diocese of Luçon. We will be six aboard, and will be sailing from Monday until Thursday next week.

The event – Naviclerus – is sponsored by various organisations for the benefit of a number of humanitarian agencies. Our team will sail for Aid to the Church in Need founded just after World War II by the Belgian Praemonstratensian canon Fr Werenfried van Straaten, the so-called Bacon Priest, because he bred pigs at his abbey to send pork to starving people in Germany along with truck chapels to take them Mass and the Sacraments. His work then spread to helping other distressed, war-torn and persecuted Christians behind the Iron Curtain and other parts of the world. Today, much is done to help Christians of the Middle East who are being stamped out by extremist Islam. I feel very privileged to help in my own way by taking part in this regatta and doing something I love doing – sailing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mark Shea vs. Michael Voris

I've been meaning to write about Michael Voris. But it won't be today.

But I have meant to post a link to this little dust up.

Recently, blogger Mark Shea has taken Voris apart for a video he did criticizing Amazing Grace as a Protestant hymn. Shea writes:

In this video, our Real Catholic elects to tell us that most of his brother and sister Catholics are half-breed Protestants who, among their many sins, wear "Protestant clothes." (What? No mention of Protestant hair, Michael?) [ouch! ]The point of this little litany is not so much to make sense as to establish, via a sort of hypnotic chant, that there are "Real Catholics" (Voris and his nucleus of Pharisees) and Everybody Else: the great unwashed who are unworthy to be called Catholic.

Then we go to work on today's specific task: arraigning Catholics who like "Amazing Grace" as protestantized dimwits who are letting the Pure Catholic Faith be corrupted by the base metal of an "anti-Catholic hymn".

I love Amazing Grace and one does not have to be a five point Calvinist who believes in total depravity to know what it is to be a wretch. I know.

H/t Creative Minority Report, who writes:

Did Voris miss the mark on this one? I think so. Guess what, I miss the mark on some of my commentary occasionally and I think that Mark would admit that he blows it sometimes too. It is the nature of the beast. And I will freely admit that when Mark writes something I disagree with I like to give him a hard time, but I still like the guy and I hope that Mark still likes me. But I don't get why Voris drives so many people crazy, I mean neck-vein-bulging crazy.

Even if we disagree and even if we completely blow it sometimes, can't we all just get along?

(Actually, I am kidding. I really like the fighting. I just want to seem like I am reasonable. But then again, I am really just a protestant ;-)

Yeah, I don't know why Voris drives so many people crazy. And I'm totally with the Rodney King "can't we all just get along" approach. Which is not to say to Voris to stop being outspoken---that just might be his calling---and it might be that of others to be outspoken in return, telling him, well, Michael, you missed the mark here or there and maybe this is how you can hone your prophetic gifting to get more of the Lord and less of you in there.

And, as I said in Pittsburgh on the blogging panel, conflict is what drives readership on blogs, so I gotta admit, I like the fighting, too.

But hey, I still have a dark protestant heart.

Dear Cardinal Levada . . . Your Eminence . . .

Damian Thompson is trying to get your attention. In today's blog he writes. My comments in red and my emphases:

I think the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is in charge of the setting Linkup of Ordinariates worldwide, needs to ask some tough questions.

Why is it taking so long to provide the Ordinariate with a suitably imposing church to serve as its permanent headquarters?

Are Ordinariate priests being used to plug gaps in dioceses rather than being helped to establish permanent communities of their own?

Are some diocesan bishops treating Ordinariate priests as “their” priests, just because they ordained them? That is not how the Apostolic Constitution works. [Are some diocesan bishops holding up the ordination of former Anglicans to the priesthood?]

Do some bishops see the Ordinariate as a half-way house to full diocesan integration for the new faithful? Again, that is not the purpose of this new structure, whose Anglican patrimony is supposed to be a lasting gift to the Church.

I’ll leave it there for now. But Cardinal Levada should be advised that, in this as in other areas, he must not assume that the Bishops of England and Wales will implement the Holy Father’s plans with any particular urgency or imagination.

And Davidaslindsay says the following in the comments section (go read the whole comment there as it is lengthy. My comments in red and my emphases:

First, there is, so to speak, the matter of who is therefore acceding to the Ordinariate. Time after time, I was howled down in various fora by cradle Catholics with no idea what they were talking about who had attended Evensong in some cathedral or some Oxbridge college and who imagined that that had ever been typical of anything other than itself. I told them then, and I stand entirely vindicated, not only that even Book of Common Prayer Evensongs were not and are not like that in parish churches, but that it bore absolutely no resemblance to the liturgy anywhere that might take any interest in the Ordinariate. [Except for those in the Traditional Anglican Communion in the United Kingdom]


The Ordinariate has been given permission to pioneer the new, accurate translation of the Mass, but that puts them only a couple of months ahead of the rest of us. And, again, it has nothing to do with any "Anglican patrimony".


Exactly as I predicted, not a single entire, or anything like entire, parish community has signed up. Fifty per cent figures are very occasionally approached, but even those are altogether exceptional. In many places, there is profound disquiet that incumbents, churchwardens and others have been able to clear off without making any transitional arrangements whatever. Note that clergy then filling in proceed to conduct those parishes' first services out of Anglican books in living memory, or possibly ever.

Exactly as I predicted, the number of clergy - fully 61 - is roughly one eighth of the extravagant figures proclaimed in the period immediately after the Apostolic Constitution. A million pounds for what, precisely? Exactly as I predicted, the Traditional Anglican Communion, which actually sought and negotiated the Apostolic Constitution, and which might genuinely have brought benefit through it, has been written out of the script.[I really hope this is not true --but we have gone a long time with silence and waiting and that's discouraging] And exactly as I predicted, there is a heavy concentration in the South East, where Anglo-Catholicism has, to put it politely, a certain ambiance, rather accounting for the attitude of the Ordinariate's noisiest media enthusiast. The decidedly more wholesome manifestations in parts further North and West are strikingly conspicuous by their absence.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

James Lewis at American Thinker on the Norway "barbarian"

He writes:

The Land of the Fjords has now turned into another paradise of PC perversity. But no PC idiocy can justify the regression to barbarism we saw last week, a crime that was supposedly done in the name of fighting the weird orthodoxies of PC. A crime is a crime is a crime. Terrorism against innocents is a crime. This was mass terrorism as surely as 9/11. It deserves a suitable punishment.

But Norway has no death penalty. Norwegian law can't even keep this murderous thug in jail for more than 21 years. Since the killer apparently dreams of starting a Knights Templar war against Islam and cultural Marxism, Norway's PC justice system will give him 21 years to write his manifesto while recruiting alienated skinheads for his cause. PC Norway may do itself in before it harms civilization much more.

Cultural Marxism is holding hands with the most malignant elements of radical Islam. What we saw last week was pure barbarism. I don't care how much this ruthless maniac claims to stand for European civilization, his actions make him a barbarian.

Yup. And he, though his actions, is hastening the demise of European civilization.
Horrible. He concludes:

Millions of ordinary Europeans keep wondering what the hell is wrong with their ruling class, which has insulated itself against voter control. They are locked into power, just like Obama is trying to lock in Leftist power in the United States.

But the answer to Politically Correct barbarism is not more barbarism.

The answer is a return to civilized laws and values.

Leon Podles on the Norway killer

Interesting comments from a German psychoanalyst on Leon J Podles site:

In working in my new book, Meek or Macho? Men and Religion, I have been reviewing all the many, many ways that masculine development can go wrong. Link

Wolfgang Schmidbauer a German psychoanalyst, wrote a book, The Psychology of Terror: Why Young Men Become Assassins. He has these comments on Breivik:

Fanatical criminals like the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, according to the insights of the psychoanalyst Wolfgang Schmidbauer, mostly want to go down in history as heroes. “Hero-myths have always exercised a great power of attraction on young men,” said Schmidbauer.

He referred to the fact that Breivik explained his act in a detailed ideological pamphlet and did not shoot himself after the attack.

To the question, why such perpetrators obviously show no compassion, Schmidbauer said : I think they dissociate.” According to all appearances the perpetrator during the crime finds himself in a trance-like condition. ”In that condition he plays the role of the heroic killer,” said Schmidbauer….

Bruce Bawer on the Oslo terror attacks

Bruce Bawer is a gay American who has lived in Oslo with his partner for more than a decade. He says the last several days have been the worst circumstances in his life. He writes:

During those hours when we all thought this was a jihadist attack, one thought that crossed my mind was that this would change the political map of Norway. For years, the Progress Party, which is the second largest of Norway’s seven or eight major parties, has led the way in calling for more responsible policies on the immigration and integration of people from Muslim countries — and has been demonized as a bunch of right-wing extremist xenophobes who hate Muslims. I assumed that after this attack, Norwegians would vote in a Progress Party-led government in the next elections. Now it appears that the man who committed all these murders is a former member of the Progress Party and is, indeed, a right-wing extremist xenophobe who harbors (according to Dagbladet) a “violent hatred for Muslims” and multiculturalism, and who targeted the Labor Party youth camp because he blames the ruling Labor Party for the Islamization of Norway. Norway’s political future looks very different now, in short, than it did 24 hours ago.

It gets worse.


It is chilling to read my own name in postings by this mass murderer. And it is deeply depressing to see this evil, twisted creature become the face of Islam criticism in Norway. Norwegian television journalists who in the first hours of the crisis were palpably uncomfortable about the prospect of having to talk about Islamic terrorism are now eagerly discussing the dangers of “Islamophobia” and “conservative ideology” and are drawing connections between the madness and fanaticism of Breivik and the platform of the Progress Party. Yesterday’s events, then, represent a double tragedy for Norway. Not only has it lost almost one hundred people, including dozens of young people, in a senseless rampage of violence. But I fear that legitimate criticism of Islam, which remains a very real threat to freedom in Norway and the West, has been profoundly discredited, in the eyes of many Norwegians, by association with this murderous lunatic.

Victor Davis Hanson on Obama as our nemesis

Great post by Classicist Victor Davis Hanson on Obama at Pajamas Media.

So we have what we have always had—the most partisan and the least experienced man in the U.S. Senate as president, elected by a perfect storm of events (e.g. the 2008 meltdown, the media adulation, the anemic McCain candidacy, the furor over Bush and the Iraq war, the orphaned election without a single incumbent, etc.), in which no one was allowed to ask “Who is this stranger?” and “What has he ever Linkdone?”, in which the media finally gave up its last shred of impartiality and became a megaphone, as we were assured that Mr. Obama’s most intimate associates were really total strangers, his once praised avid church-going was merely sporadic, his most partisan voting record was in truth bipartisan, and his bad habits of saying disturbing things were simply a symptom of racialist, raise-the-bar nit-picking on behalf of his Neanderthal critics.

In short, Obama came into office with all the Cartesque assumptions how to take over a private-sector economy and outsource foreign policy to international bodies. He now finds to his utter amazement—as Carter discovered in 1979 after Teheran, Afghanistan, and Central America—that in the real world none of what worked in word worked in deed. Those who assured Obama that his Harvard lounge fantasies were real have either quit, are now offering new advice, or criticizing him for once taking them at their word.


Obama, you see, is our nemesis. He is a totem, the logical manifestation of a warped media, the reification of some crazy—and arrogant—ideas about politics, the economy, and cultural and social life that permeated American life the last forty years. He is the president with a 1,000 faces that we have all seen at work, on TV, throughout American life, and at some point the odds determined that we had to have a rendezvous with him—a catharsis to teach us the bitter wages of Keynesian debt, of a social policy contrary to human nature, of all-powerful, all-growing unaccountable government, of the now hip ambiguity about American protocols and history. Obama is the exaggeration of all the dubious ideas that arose since the 1960s—brought to fruition on his watch, delivered by mellifluous cadences by an untouchable persona.

In fact, a Barack Obama was long overdue. Had he not appeared out of nowhere in 2008, we would have had to invent him.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ann Althouse asks: What would Machiavelli post on Facebook?

Uh huh. Good question about the Norway bomber/shooter

Adjust your stereotypes accordingly.
A Facebook page matching his name and the photo given out by the police was set up just a few days ago. It listed his religion as Christian and his politics as conservative. It said he enjoys hunting, the video games World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, and books including Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and George Orwell’s “1984.”
So, this is the information he wanted you to find. Assuming he set up this page and he is the murderer, these statement could either be precisely true, deliberate misinformation, or something in between.

The man knows about Machiavelli. What would Machiavelli post on Facebook before embarking on a massacre?

Oswald Chamber's second part on sanctification

The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He “became for [me] . . . sanctification . . . .” Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life.

The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you . . .” (Colossians 1:27). It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His Word?

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “. . . kept by the power of God . . .” (1 Peter 1:5).

Michael Coren nails it on what does not add up about the Norway killer

He writes (my bolds):

Nothing adds up about the Norway slaughter. This man is described as a Christian fundamentalist and a freemason. What? That’s like saying he’s black and a Klansman. Freemasonry is despised within Christian fundamentalism. Then there is a rumour that he is said to be of the far right and a Zionist! Again, massive contradiction, and simply not possible. I will say this again to those who are too frightened and foolish to have listened the first time. Islamic groups have promised and still promise terror to Norway; Islamic groups have launched terror attacks all over Europe, including Stockholm, and attacked individuals in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. Islamic groups initially claimed responsibility for this horror; and Islamic groups have launched several attacks in the last 24 hours in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Since 9/11 there have been 16,000 terror attacks by jihadists. The shock will not be if it is Islamic terror, but if it isn’t.


  1. vuyo says:

    Michael, are you saying that this fellows twitter account which lists him as a christian conservative is a ruse or diversion? Or are you saying that the media is too weak-kneed to identifying as radical muslim?
    I do not believe he is a Christian. That would be shocking indeed.

  2. michael.coren says:


    I don’t think it’s a diversion, but all of the evidence now points to him being insane. His posed photograph has him dressed as a freemason. As you may know – but we live in an ignorant world I’m afraid, so most journalists seem unaware of this – fundamentalist Christianity is effectively at war with freemasonry. He also quote Mills, an anti-Christian. Then we are told he hated Muslims; so why attack non-Muslims, when there are so many Islamic targets? Doesn’t make any sense. He is not a Christian, because Christianity is opposed to senseless violence. Can this be said of Islam? Not according to millions of Muslims and countless Islamic leaders, who give their blessing to slaughter on a daily basis.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I can't tell you how much this speaks to me

Oswald Chamber's devotional for today from My Utmost for His Highest.
Text Color
This is the will of God, your sanctification. . . —1 Thessalonians 4:3

The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Sanctification requires our coming to the place of death, but many of us spend so much time there that we become morbid. There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized— something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate . . . his own life . . . he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself, and that is the place of death. Am I willing to be myself and nothing more? Am I willing to have no friends, no father, no brother, and no self-interest— simply to be ready for death? That is the condition required for sanctification. No wonder Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us falter. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ on this point. We say, “But this is so strict. Surely He does not require that of me.” Our Lord is strict, and He does require that of us.

Am I willing to reduce myself down to simply “me”? Am I determined enough to strip myself of all that my friends think of me, and all that I think of myself? Am I willing and determined to hand over my simple naked self to God? Once I am, He will immediately sanctify me completely, and my life will be free from being determined and persistent toward anything except God (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

When I pray, “Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,” He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me— it is Himself in me (see 1 Corinthians 1:30).

That bomb blast in Norway . . .

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile -- hoping it will eat him last." Winston Churchill

Norway, which has a sordid history of feeding the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel beast, woke up this morning to the shock of the Islamist beast feeding on Norwegian blood.

Norwegian police have now confirmed that a bomb by an Al Qaeda-linked group caused an explosion at the government headquarters in Oslo, and reports are now coming in of a simultaneous attack at a youth camp. The body count is not yet in, but most of Norway must be asking "Why us? Haven't we been sufficiently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel?"


Norway's notorious boycott is not only of Israeli products but of any thoughts which might be deemed pro-Israel. Alan Dershowitz came face to face with the anti-Israel blockade when he was denied permission to speak at three major Norwegian universities, which had warmly welcomed professors who had demonized Israel.

Dershowitz points out that the boycott against cultural pro-Israeli academics assumes that "all Jews are presumed to be pro-Israel unless they have a long track record of anti-Israel rhetoric" and that "every single inch of Israel is occupied Palestinian land."


Norwegians eagerness to appease their Muslim countrymen and the entire Islamic world has poured fire on the fuel of anti-Semitism. Life has become more difficult for the tiny population (about 2,000) of Jews in Oslo. Jewish children have been advised not to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes to avoid attacks. Kosher butchering is illegal. On two nights in January 2009, Norway's Jews experienced a new "Kristallnacht" (Nazi night of broken glass) when hundreds of violent Muslims vandalized block after block while police stood by pathetically weak.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy news on the Canadian front

I am also overjoyed by the appointments of two new auxiliary bishops for Montreal. I recently posted my profile of Bishop-elect Thomas Dowd. You can find it here at B.C. Catholic.

Now B.C. Catholic has posted the profile I did of Bishop-elect Christian Lepine:

OTTAWA (CCN)--Montreal auxiliary Bishop-elect Christian Lépine never envisioned becoming a bishop, or even a priest, though his “life as a child was a life in faith.”

Growing up in 1950s Quebec, when the whole province was steeped in the Catholic faith, Father Lépine recalls kneeling at the age of five with his French-Canadian family every evening and reciting the Rosary “like all of Quebec.” He recalls reading the lives of the saints when he was age eight. “I was not thinking so much of being a priest, but I was thinking about being a saint,” he joked.

The oldest of four brothers and one sister, Father Lépine remained certain he would marry. When he was 15, he decided fidelity to the woman he would marry “begins now.”

“All those years I was faithful to my wife to be even without knowing her,” he said, speaking of marriage as a “deep ideal” in his heart.

He thought about pursuing a career in the world. After attending the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, he pursued an engineering degree at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. After a year working at an engineering firm, he returned to school to study economics and politics.

When he was 25 years old during the Christmas season in 1976, Father Lépine sat in his favorite rocking chair at home, wondering what he was searching for and not finding.

Then the thought of becoming a priest came to him. “What am I thinking about?”

He decided to wait for a couple of months to see if the desire remained strong. He then went on a trip to Africa for a couple of months.

During Easter week, the desire to offer his life as a priest “came back with so much divine love” that he was “overwhelmed by the love of God.”

“At the same time, I was realistic enough to know, there were many sufferings in peoples’ lives,” he said. After discovering the love of God, he felt “people have to know that, I can’t keep it to myself, it’s too incredible, too important.”

I hope I was able to capture the way this man conveys such congruence, such humble transparency in simple words that in the mouth of another might sound too good to be true.

Both these men are wonderful.

Archbishop Chaput wants "a clear embrace of the Gospel, without compromise, in all circumstances and at all times. "

Archbishop Chaput gives exclusive interview to John Allen Jr. To which I say, Amen! Amen! Amen!

I'd like to lead the church in the same direction St. Francis indicated by his life and preaching in the 13th century, which is back to a clear embrace of the Gospel, without compromise, in all circumstances and at all times.

Where I go to discover that is the teachings and traditions of the church, including the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, which is the most clear and important expression of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church in my lifetime. I want to embrace the council in all its details, enthusiastically and faithfully. Because I'm a Catholic, I also want to follow the lead and direction of the Holy Father, who is the successor of St. Peter and the head of the College of Bishops. At the same time, I do believe that the bishops are part of a college, and we have the duty and responsibility of sharing our insights and our experiences with the Holy Father as he makes important judgments for the church.

When you say you want to lead the church back to a clear embrace of the Gospel, it implies there's a lack of clarity somewhere. Where do you see it?

In my own personal life, first of all. I'm not always faithful to what the Gospel tells me to do. I'm a sinner, like everyone. If that's true about me and about other individuals, it's also true about our communal life. In some sense, the church is always going back to the teachings of Jesus. It's not that we're going backwards, but we're going to our foundations and sources, which are the gospels and the traditions of the church.

When I say 'go back,' I don't mean there's some pristine time we should try to recapture. I mean that we always depart from our sources, and then try to embody them in the context of contemporary society. There's nothing about the Gospel that I'm ashamed of, or that I think we are free to discard. We have to embrace all of it.

I love this. These words---and the fact that he shows he means them by his courage to proclaim them in the public square-- set my heart on fire.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Simcha Fisher's comments section

Once my 8 year old nephew and 3, 4 & 5 year old sons were playing a game where they involved taking their sister’s baby dolls and throwing them across the room. My husband wouldn’t allow it. He gave the boys a lecture on how men protect and care for babies etc and that they could not play this game. (I think at that time we were regularly praying outside an abortion clinic, so he was extra sensitive to protecting children.) The boys then created a “game” where they became fathers on safari and for some reason their babies had to come with them. So all these little boys would attach a baby to their back using a scarf, load up on bottles and diapers and guns and then hunt the enemy (“bad guy” or crazy animal). They would stop and make a camp for the babies and take turns watching the babies while the other guys were in danger. They played this game for years.

Read more:

Simcha Fisher on a new doll that "breast feeds"

Heh heh heh. Wonderful post, as usual for Simcha. Read the whole thing.

Oh, me oh my. As a mother of eight who breastfed them all, here are my thoughts:

—If we had this doll, we’d lose the shirt part within 24 hours, and Baby Glutton would have to take his chances along with all the other dozens of hungry dolls we own.

—I don’t like baby dolls that are too realistic, because they also teach you that you can take the batteries out and the thing will stop crying—or that you can chuck it under your bed with a clean conscience. I prefer dolls that are very clearly toys.

Read more:

Oh yeah, she adds this:

While it’s true that children learn from play, it’s also important to watch how our actual children actually play. In my experience, children play with toys according to who they, the children, are, and what their lives and families are like—not according to what kind of toy it is.

Some kids use toy guns to rob and torture their imaginary victims; some use them to vanquish bad guys and defend the innocent. Some kids are already prone to obsessing about clothing and bust size and boyfriends, and probably should be steered away from Barbie; but some kids immediately turn the little strumpet into a wholesome Hausfrau who just wants to marry Luke Skywalker and settle into a comfortable pattern of cooking and reading to the kids (who happen to be dinosaurs).

In other words, it’s not the toy, it’s the kid.

This gal writes beautifully. She is funny and wise. Go on over and please read the whole thing.

Read more:

Shaved pigs ? Great coming of age story

Thanks to Kathy Shaidle, a most interesting coming of age story by Penelope Trunk about a young boy's 4-H project.

That first rule is huge for my son. He has Asperger’s and his eye contact is naturally limited. For someone with Asperger’s, eye contact is awkward, overwhelming, and extremely tiring.

The Farmer understands this problem very well, because when the Farmer is having a difficult discussion with me, I cover my eyes. So he focused especially on teaching our son to make eye contact with the judge.

The day of the fair, my son was dressed up. Well, for a farmer. He had on a collared shirt and clean jeans. He had all the accoutrements of a great pig showman, including the brush you use in case the pig gets dirty in the ring. (You brush off the dirt when the judge is not looking – another tricky rule that no city person could glean.) He stood by the pen, watching his pigs, all cleaned up and ready to go for nearly an hour.

Of course, Kathy zeros in on this:

It turns out that the Farmer was not quite up to date on showing pigs. For one thing, people shave their pigs now and we didn't know that. So we had the only hairy pig.

Oh well. Read the article. It is lovely.

Cremation vs. burial

An interesting post on cremation and the Catholic Church, as A Reluctant Sinner ponders the cremation of a Catholic bishop and the practice becomes ever more widespread:

As far as I know, since the publication of a decree in 1963 there is nothing to stop a Catholic from being cremated, even if the Code of Canon Law (1983) "earnestly recommends the pious custom of burial be retained" (n. 1176). The Church also usually requires that the body must be present for the public Requiem Mass - so that the temple which housed the Living God may be properly reverenced. Since 1997, though, the Holy See has allowed some Bishops' Conferences to permit cremation before the funeral, as long as the urn is placed on a stand next Linkto the paschal candle during the Mass. After cremation, the Church teaches that the ashes must be kept in an urn for burial or deposition in a place such as a Columbarium - as far as I know, the scattering of ashes is still forbidden. Also, of course, the Catholic Church teaches that cremation should not be used to "demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body" (CCC n. 2301).

Right from its earliest days, and rooted to its Judaic heritage, the Church taught that cremation was an abhorrent practice - both a denial of the resurrection of the body and a desecration of the work of God's hands. According to Fr John Dietzen, though, in his book Questions and Answers (quoted in a Catholic Culture article), "the first general legislation banning the burning of bodies as a funeral rite came from the Vatican's Holy Office in May 1886, noting the anti-religious and Masonic motivation behind the movement. The 1918 Code of Canon Law continued that ban because cremation was still considered a flagrant rejection of the Christian belief in immortality and the resurrection." To this day, though, even though it normally lacks any anti-religious motivation, many traditional Catholics remain opposed to the notion of cremation, and the practice is still banned in the Orthodox Church - in which those who normally choose to be cremated, unless it is for some "good cause", are usually denied an ecclesiastical funeral or the Church's official prayers for the dead.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another great Archbishop Chaput interview

The process is the punishment

Even when a human rights commission comes out with the right decision, the process still cost this law firm a huge pile of money.

“I think it was a very long process, and we were glad to see it over,” Elia tells Law Times. “It’s been terrible. I think having your name associated with something like this is not a good thing.

Our reputation is impacted. It just feels humiliating after you’ve spent your life really working for justice and equality to be called this, so it was actually kind of sweet, the decision.”

Visic couldn’t be reached before press time, and her lawyer David Cousins declined to discuss the case.

Elia says the whole process has cost the firm close to $100,000 after factoring in the cost of her own time and others at Elia Associates, hiring counsel, preparing for the eight-day hearing, and law society investigations into the situation. It has put her off the idea of acting as an articling principal again, she notes.

“We are never going to have another articling student again. It’s not worth it. No articling student is an asset out of the gate.

You basically take on the burden of training them only to get sued or have your name dragged through the mud and then pay to defend yourself. What’s the upside for any law firm to do that? I think you have to become jaded after something like this.”

Elia adds she was particularly upset to face a human rights complaint because her firm prides itself on its accommodation practices.

She and her husband, who had both previously practised on Bay Street, wanted to have a family-friendly firm offering flexibility in billable-hour targets and accommodation for parents.

“I know there can be systemic discrimination for a lot of women and I’m a visible minority woman who has practised on Bay Street, so I’ve worked really hard to overcome a lot of that,” she says.

“So for me, I personally found it offensive that somebody would actually use human rights to be vindictive because that’s what it was to me.”

Blogging priest to become blogging bishop

OTTAWA — When Bishop-elect Thomas Dowd is ordained to the episcopacy on Sept. 10 as auxiliary bishop of Montreal, he will be the youngest bishop in Canada and the second youngest in the world.

And Dowd, being of a wired, media-savvy generation, posted the July 11 official announcement on Facebook. He was thrilled to see that within five seconds somebody “liked” it.

Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the future bishop's media savvy goes. He is also a bloggist, and has been for some time. He plans to continue blogging, a hobby he has pursued as a priest at since 2003. He began the blog because people in the parish he served only saw him on Sundays and wondered what he did during the other days of the week.

“So many amazing things happen as a priest,” he said. “Honestly, it’s a great life. If a person wants to lead a boring life don’t go into the priesthood.

“Here I am experiencing all these blessings. People like to know about them, so I’ll use the blog as a medium,” he said.
He planned on one post per day on something that happened that day to open to readers “the mysterious world of what priests do and what a priest’s life is like.” So far, response has been “phenomenal.” Dowd described the blog as a “tool to build communion and bring parishioners closer to him.”

The mysteries of gaydar and the gay accent or gay voice

Surfing around this morning, based on the bullying towards Michelle Bachman's husband who, according to some, has a gay accent and sets peoples' "gaydar" off. June Thomas at Slate writesLink:

Dan Savage begins each of his “Savage Love Cast” podcasts with a rip-roaring rant—a sword of invective aimed at homophobic school boards that won’t let lesbians attend their high-school prom, hypocritical politicians, and generally despicable people. It’s a rousing start to 45 minutes of sex advice, and it’s usually right on and empowering.

This week, though, the podcast started with an attack on Marcus Bachmann’s masculinity. After a short preamble about the accuracy of gaydar (with a scientific citation, no less), Savage—whom I respect tremendously—played a tape of Michele’s* husband’s speaking voice. Bachmann has a tiny bit of a lisp—though it’s barely perceptible—and he slurs his words slightly. To Savage’s ears, it was a gay accent. Savage played the tape over and over, and reprised it several times throughout the podcast. He even did his own Bachmann impression, exaggerating the lisp and camping it up.

In other words, the man who launched the “It Gets Better Project,” an effort to stop the bullying of gay teens, was acting like a big bully. As Savage always notes, the kind of smear-the-queer taunts that can cause so much pain to young people aren’t aimed only at kids who are gay, they’re often aimed at boys who don’t live up to some mythical standard of masculinity and girls who just aren’t girly enough. I can only imagine how listeners who happen to have the kind of lisping, effeminate speech and affect that Savage was ridiculing felt upon hearing the attack.

Mark Shea picks up on what Kathy Shaidle's been writing about concerning the bullying of gay activists:

Don't believe it? Here is Savage, fresh from bullying Bachmann's husband about his lisp, fantasizing about inflicting rape (pardon me: "hate sex" which is totally different) on his political enemies to the applause of the sort of apes who populate the audience of "Real Time".

This is a militant crusading intolerant and deeply hypocritical faith that does not hesitate for a second to deploy against its perceived enemies everything it pretends to decry. Hate sex Rape is openly bruited and applauded. The most miserable schoolyard bullying is just part of the toolkit for these phony apostles of compassion.

So, what is a gay accent? What is gaydar? Some interesting stuff. Here's an acting coach talking about it:

Details: So I understand that you sometimes work with actors who feel compelled to sound "less gay."

Bob Corff: Well, often they are sent by a manager or a teacher—it's so interesting, because I can tell what it is. Sometimes they come in and it takes them a lesson or two before they finally admit why they're here. Which I knew the first second that they talked. But sometimes they'll just come right in and say, "Somebody said I sound gay." And sometimes they are married and straight but they sound gay, and that's not gonna work for being a leading man in Hollywood at this time.

Details: And so the manager will send them your way, in a sense, to "fix" that?
Bob Corff: Yeah, they say, "I think that's what's holding you back; I don't think that is serving you in getting the parts that you want to get."

Details: What are you hearing that sends off that signal?
Bob Corff: Okay, well, let me start by telling you what it is that sounds "straight." Straight actually turns out to be the perfect word to describe what straight guys do. It's very straight—it has no curlicues, it has no frills or any kind of melodic turns. So they say, "Hi. How are you?" It's simple, and the lines are very straight, instead of "Hi, how are yOOuu?" You know, women are much more melodic—their voices go up and they go down, and they even move their mouths more. There's a lot more animation. A straight guy just goes, "Hey—this is as much energy and animation as I'm putting out for this thing."

Details: So it's a monotone?
Bob Corff: If you're monotone, in either case, you're going to be boring. You don't have to be monotone. It's more about—you can do that straight sound, but you can't keep on starting in the same place. So if I say, "This is what I want you to do: I want you to go down the street. And then I want you to turn left," even though my voice kept going down in this very straight, direct way, I wasn't starting in the same place and ending in the same place on the scale.

Details: Then there's a narrow bandwidth of notes in a straight accent?
Bob Corff: Right. Even in the face—the mouth is very simple, the lips stay close to the teeth, and the jaw just drops down.

Details: And the gay accent?
Bob Corff: There's many levels of this. With some people there's just this little thing that's happening, and it's not much, but it's just this little tiny melody and inflection that tells you maybe there's something there. And then there's some people who are just [Slips into Charles Nelson Reilly mode] com-PLEEEET-ly doing THIIIIS, and you go, "Well, clearly, they're not even attempting to . . . " And listen, I make no judgment. I mean, I've been in show business—I did the leads in three Broadway musicals, so I've been around this all my life, and it makes no difference to me. And I don't think it should to anybody, because it's none of our business what you do in the bedroom.

Details: Of course.
Bob Corff: It's how you deliver doing your job, whatever that is.

Details: And whatever the actor's orientation, he's going to want access to a variety of roles.
Bob Corff: Exactly. See, to me, the gay sound is just like an accent. Because if somebody has an accent, there's nothing wrong with that accent, but if you come from the South or you come from New York, it limits you in the kind of roles you can play, because you can't play the brother of somebody who doesn't have that accent. So often I'll say to people, whether it's an accent from a different country or an accent from this country or having this "gay" thing, I'll say, "This is the question for you: Are you an actor, or are you English?" And then they have to answer. If being English is more important to them than being an actor, then they don't need to do it.

Details: What are some other elements associated with the gay sound?
Bob Corff: Well, a lot of times—not always—but a lot of times there is a sibilant s. I work on that with people, too. You can be a girl, you can be a guy, you can be straight or gay—what it is is that your tongue is too close to the back of your top teeth, so the air has no place to get dispersed. It just bounces into your teeth. [Lisps slightly] Can you hear it on the phone?

Details: Yes.
Bob Corff: So this is the sibilant s, and that [Slips into an accent in which each syllable sounds like a tiny snake hissing], along with the melody of going up and dowwwn, and having these little curlicues—it's more decorative, it has more colors and stuff like that.

Read More

And, some cognitive psychologists did a research experiment to see whether "gaydar" had any ability to detect sexual orientation:

Cognitive psychologists from Ohio State University have completed a study that suggests people’s sexual orientation can be determined by the way in which they form vowels when they speak, reports Health Day. The study findings, which will be presented May 23 at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in Seattle, indicate that a majority of test subjects could identify which speakers were homosexual based on sound samples via telephone alone.

A phonetical devotion to gaydar

Lead study author Dr. Erik Tracy has seen the results, but he admitted to not fully understanding them.

“I’m not sure what exactly the listeners are responding to in the vowel,” he said in a news release. “Whatever this difference is, it seems that listeners are using it to make this sexual orientation decision.”

Tracy believes that the analysis of vowel sounds is part of the unconscious judging process almost everyone goes through when they first come into contact with a person whom they’ve never met. Gender, age, race and sexual orientation are all part of the daily screening process. Such colloquialisms as “gay voice” and “gay lisp” may very well be recognized by the equally colloquial sense referred to as “gaydar.”

“We are constantly speaking with people we don’t know on our phones, and just from this conversation, we might be able to identify personal characteristics about that person,” he said.

Putting a finger on gaydar

Guessing someone’s sexual orientation isn’t as simple as detecting a lisp or a higher-pitched voice. Study organizers had seven gay and seven heterosexual males record one-syllable words like “mass,” “food” and “sell,” then played the recordings for listeners. Recordings of lesbians were also included. After listening to only the first letter sound of each spoken word, participants weren’t able to determine the sexual orientation of the speakers with accuracy. However, when the first two letters were heard, listeners’ “gaydar” was accurate 75 percent of the time. As the only data used to make the determination was acoustic – and multiple trials produced similarly accurate results – luck was eliminated from the equation.

Interesting, but I would take it all with a grain of salt.

Archbishop Chaput interview

Thomas Peters did this interview during the last U.S. presidential election campaign. You can gain a measure of Archbishop Chaput's clarity and manner.

Woo hoo! Archbishop Chaput to Philly!!!!

I see in the comments section that a number of National Catholic Reporter readers think this is terrible for Philadelphia. But the present Denver archbishop is one of the clearest Catholic apologists---ranking right up there with Cardinal Pell---on the episcopal scene.
Here's an excerpt of John Allen Jr.'s story at NCR.

Archbishop Charles Chaput (CNS)
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DENVER -- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, widely perceived both as a leader of the church's conservative wing and a tough administrator with a strong work ethic, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as the new archbishop of Philadelphia.

Sources confirmed the appointment to NCR, which is scheduled to be announced by the Vatican tomorrow. Chaput replaces Cardinal Justin Rigali, 76, who has led the Philadelphia archdiocese since 2003.

Chaput, 66, steps into an archdiocese in turmoil as a result of the sexual abuse crisis.

In February, a grand jury report asserted that 37 Philadelphia priests facing credible charges of sexual abuse remained in ministry in Philadelphia, despite pledges by the U.S. bishops of "zero tolerance." Rigali immediately suspended three of those priests, then later suspended an additional 21. Rigali also commissioned a former child abuse prosecutor to conduct an investigation, which is on-going.

Also as a result of the grand jury report, a former official of the archdiocese, Monsignor William Lynn, now faces criminal charges -- the first instance in the United States of a Catholic official indicted not for committing abuse, but for failing to stop it.

As Philadelphia Catholics get to know their new leader, the overall contrast with Rigali -- known as a behind-the-scenes power-broker, who prefers to keep a fairly low public profile -- could be jarring.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Multicultural yoga twisting on the mosqueteria

Kathy Shaidle writes:

Who are the appointed “menstruation inspectors”? The teachers? The imams? The boys who’d formerly played hooky?

Belligerent Muslims come as no surprise. It’s their infidel enablers and defenders that have me confused (again). After all, they’ve spent the last 50 years somberly instructing the rest of us that:

• “Separate but equal” is no kind of “equality” at all.

• Children from different groups should be integrated by force (in, say, the city of Boston) against their parents’ wishes.

• Women who refuse to “sit at the back” of anything (like, for instance, buses owned by private companies in Montgomery, Alabama) are national heroes—and those who enforce longstanding regional or cultural segregationist habits are villains.

I must admit: Watching Canadian progressives twist themselves into advanced hot yoga positions trying to square “tolerance” and “multiculturalism” with “sexism” and “segregation” has been a rare treat.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hilary White reports on her friends

When I was fifteen, I took a bus from the arctic where I had been living with my mother and stepfather, back to Victoria. My father picked me up at the bus station. I stayed with him a week and then he told me we had an appointment with the family court. We went into a court room and my father told the judge that he didn't want to care for me and that I should be made a ward of the court. The papers were signed and I was taken from there to the first of a series of foster homes. I was a ward of the state until I was 19, then a social worker told me I had to get a job. I never heard from my father again.

I can imagine what you are thinking, having read this, and I'm right there with you (I can also hear a few of you saying, "It answers so many questions..."). But you might be surprised to hear that it did not occur to me until I was in my 30s that anything untoward had happened. It wasn't until I told it to a priest, who had been trained in psychology, and saw his reaction that I started to understand how appalling it was. At the time, I just accepted it and got on with surviving, which might have had something to do with my already well-developed familiarity with my father's character.

In the years since then, I have to admit that I have developed a set of emotional and psychological barriers to other people, that have shaped who I am and that would be very difficult to overcome. I can't assume that they are all bad, but there are ways in which they have hardened me.

All of which leads me back to the cancer crisis. This is really the first time that I've faced something with which I am actually not capable of dealing alone. This has, naturally, set up a kind of war between my ears. When the cancer thing started, my friends and helpers, co-workers and colleagues, readers and supporters, and a whole bunch of other people I've never met or heard of, all dove into the breach to help. Often without being asked. Despite this, my Evil Brain continues to insist that depending on another human being, particularly a group of humans, is at the very least, extremely unwise. It's a funny thing about habits of thought, as I'm sure any confessor will tell you, they powerfully resist the evidence of our senses.

I hardly know what to say at this stage. Everything I need to deal with this is in place. I suppose that my Evil Brain is more or less unkillable and I will continue to be "astounded" by people helping me.

Simcha Fisher awakes at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep

What a writer:

What I’m trying to tell you is that last night, I stuffed my third load of laundry in the dryer, set up the coffee, brushed my teeth, and fell into bed around 11:30. There I slept until 3, which is the traditional hour at which pregnant women lumber off to the bathroom. I then returned to bed for a rollicking sport called Unbridled Panic.

It’s so entertaining: my brain unbuckles itself entirely from reality, and starts off in six directions at once, straining with equal intensity after problems that I can easily solve (“Rats, I forgot to order more checks”), imaginary problems that I can’t solve because they’re imaginary (“My feet itch! I must have picked up bedbugs when I was looking at that rug at the Goodwill!”), actual problems that I can’t solve because it’s 3 a.m. (“What are we going to do about school, and money?”), and completely bogus problems (“Oh lord, there’s so much rhubarb”).

This goes on until the robins start to sing and the sun peeps through the towel I tacked in the window because my rotten kids keep wrecking the curtain rods. I drift away long enough to have a few nightmares about a dark hotel full of wolves and rubber bands (shut up, it was terrifying), and then it’s time to get up.

One kid can’t find her bathing suit and it’s almost time for day camp; the other needs help nailing bits of wood to a clementine box. The two-year-old, who looks as well-rested as I do, asks (and this is an exact quote), “Mama, can I have graham crackers dipped in spaghetti? Does that sound nice? Maybe not. Can I have the last plum I ever seen


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