Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reading Rat March 2007

Also of interest:
Who Is Harry Sylvester? by Philip Jenkins, First Things, March 2007

Not bound by anything: Now that books are being digitised, how will people read? The Economist, March 22, 2007

Catholic Central teacher takes instruction from God

Each week the Archdiocese of Milwaukee picks for its web site a featured article from the archdiocesan newspaper. This week, it's an article by Karen Mahoney, Special to our Catholic Herald, on Jane Robinson. It's part of the "People of Faith" series. Robinson teaches at Catholic Central High School in Burlington and the Herald interviewed its principal, Ralph Lynch.
"Jane is a deeply religious person. She lost her husband some time ago to illness. After his death, she dedicated herself to teaching and missionary work," he said. "Her students like her and enjoy the fact that Jane attends as many extracurricular activities as possible to cheer them on. She is dedicated to the entire child and tutors three to four students most days right after school."

Lynch is impressed with her dedication to children all over the world, and while she is not Roman Catholic, she lives her faith every day.

Just in case you thought a series called "People of Faith" in a newspaper called "The Catholic Herald" would be about people of the Catholic Faith. Maybe one of these weeks they'll interview Prince Charles.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why do we no longer kneel during the Eucharistic prayers during Ordinary time?

AJ asked this question of Father Charles Schramm on the "Ask the Pastor" page of the web site of St. Mary's Church in Hales Corners. It's a good question, given that section 43 of the GIRM [131 pp. pdf] says
In the dioceses of the United States of America, they [the Faithful] should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. ...

Fr. Schramm, however, responds
Dear AJ

This is a complex issue. In the earliest Church the posture during the Eucharistic Prayer was standing since it was considered THE posture of respect. At one of the early Councils it was decreed that "standing would be the appropriate posture from this time forward." In addition to being divinely founded the Church is also a human institution and the choice between kneeling and standing has gone back and forth. Since standing was adopted here at St. Mary's especially during the Easter Season it was decided to be consistent and continue this posture throughout the year.

If you were to worship in the Eastern Rite churches--including those in union with Rome you would find that they have retained standing as the appropriate posture during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Please note that since kneeling is a penitential posture we do incorporate it during the Penitential Rite during Lent which is considered THE penitential season of the Church year.

Hope this is helpful!

Fr. Chuck

It certainly is, though perhaps not in the way Fr. Chuck intended.

Ralph Ellison

Recommended reading:
by Ralph Ellison at Reading Rat


Featured Author: Ralph Ellison; With News and Reviews From the Archives of The New York Times

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

The Invisible Manuscript by Wil Haygood, The Washington Post, August 19, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Artist as Hero: Ralph Ellison, indivisible man by Joseph Epstein, review of Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad, The Weekly Standard, June 18, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Review by David Luhrssen of Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad, and Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism and African American Literature by Patrice D. Rankine, Shepherd Express, July 5, 2007

The Impulse to Exclude by Phyllis Rose, The American Scholar, Spring 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

A Tribe of His Own by Matthew Price, review of Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersand, BookForum, April/May 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Ennobled by Jazz: Ralph Ellison and the music of American possibility, by Lucas E. Morel, Books and Culture, May/June 2002

Tracking the Invisible Man: A Walk Through Ralph Ellison's New York, by David Taylor, The Village Voice, July 17-23, 2002

Comment from the Editor, by William Phillips, Partisan Review, 2000 No. 1

The achievement of Ralph Ellison, by James W. Tuttleton, on The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison, The New Criterion, December 1995

Man Underground by Saul Bellow, review of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Commentary, June 1952

The Deep Pit by Lloyd Brown, review of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Masses & Mainstream, June 1952

Review by Irving Howe of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Nation May 10, 1952

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Archbishop names Fr. Hying rector of Saint Francis Seminary

Brian T. Olszewski reports in our Catholic Herald that Archbishop Dolan has appointed Father Donald J. Hying to a six-year term as rector of Saint Francis Seminary. I looked for but did not see the union label. The article notes he was made pastor at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in 1999. It's history says that among developments after he arrived,
Eucharistic adoration began on Wednesdays as did a daily 5:30PM Mass and weekly Reconciliation.

Wonder when the parish had Reconciliation before then. As for his plans now,
"Recruitment is important. I want to be pro-active in getting other dioceses to send their seminarians here," he said, noting that he will collaborate with the vocations office in that undertaking.

The article says the seminary engages in "human formation"; Fr. Hying might want to consider jettisoning jargon like that, along with "pro-active".
He said a "key issue" will be building financial security for the seminary, and that he also wanted to "make our formation better."

That's a refreshing change, that giving more money would be to get better results.
As he begins the six-year appointment as rector, Fr. Hying said he wants to let the "people in the pews" know that the seminary is open and that great things are happening.

A priest in favor of communication in practice; rarer than you might suppose.
"Working with our vocations office, I hope to go to different parishes on weekends and talk about the seminary, letting people know what we are doing," he said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MU professor's work stirs doctrine debate

Megan Twohey reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Cardinal Newman Society sent a letter to Fr. Robert Wild, president of Marquette University, questioning Daniel Maguire's position on the Theology faculty despite the recent "Public correction" from the Doctrine Committee of the U.S. Bishops.

In the Rhetorical Question Box, Prof. Maguire's response to a critical statement from Marquette University.
"Who is this 'Marquette University' that is making a public theological judgment on my teachings?"

Maguire is President of The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Population, which says he
teaches Moral Theology and Ethics at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

That's the only credential listed. Maguire's the one vouching for MU's judgment of him as a theologian.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Last week's St. Al's bulletin had as an insert this March 1, 2007 Newsletter [2 pp. pdf] from the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Notice there's much about detecting and preventing bullying, but not explicitly about actually stopping it, or about adverse consequences for the bully.

Someone told me that was exactly their experience. Their child was being bullied by a another student, and they reported this. There were meetings and suggestions, including bringing in a mediator to work out the issues between the bully and the bullied. But the bully wasn't disciplined, and the bully's parents weren't informed. Since it was one of the consolidated Catholic schools, the pastor disclaimed any authority over the situation. Last I heard, the bullied child's parents were fed up and planned to move their kid to a different school next year.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Straddling Liberalism and Conservatism

Abby Gruen in The New York Times profiles Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel.
In his book From Scandal to Hope, about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, he calls the coverage in The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle anti-Catholic and unfair. ...

Father Groeschel was particularly incensed by criticism leveled at Pope John Paul II, whose strict faith inspired Father Groeschel and seven colleagues to break away from the Capuchin order of friars and form a new religious order in 1987. The order, the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal, now has 135 members, who dedicate their lives to serving the poor.

Frijole Days of Obligation 2007

With our parish mission trip to Guatemala fast approaching, I noted this by Richard John Neuhaus on the upcoming meeting of the Latin American bishops and the continuing growth of evangelical and pentecostal congregations.
Frequently, Catholics who have never been catechized, on joining these communities, engage in Bible study, stop drinking, gambling, and abusing their wives, and often develop the elementary disciplines of regular work and micro-economic entrepreneurial activity. It is surely time for the Church in Latin America to candidly acknowledge its failures in evangelization, catechesis, and pastoral care; failures that result in millions of people finding in these other groups an encounter with the living Christ and a community of discipleship such as they did not know when they were nominally Catholic. Catholics, along with evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, should be listening carefully to how these questions are addressed at the meeting of CELAM in May.

At least his use of "how" assumes these questions will be addressed.

Charles Darwin

Unlike any other epochal work of science, On the Origin of Species was written for a mass audience. Instead of being acquired only by elite intellectuals and libraries, it was bought by popular-science readers within the Victorian bourgeoisie. Among rare books, this makes the Origin a further rarity: the people’s scientific blockbuster, if you will --Peter Dizikes, Digging for Darwin, The New York Times, May 15, 2009

On the recommended works by this author:

in a funny way we remember them most because of what they wrote. If you think about it, if Darwin had not written a book like The Origin of Species, and The Descent of Man, which are masterpieces of English prose, and of reasoning, he would be part of the history of science, not part of the living consciousness of contemporary people. And similarly, we remember Lincoln for his words—for the speeches that he made. Had he been the same man, doing the same things, but an awkward or ineloquent speaker, he would not register in our heads in anything like the same way. --Adam Gopnik The Evolution of Darwin and Lincoln, interview in The Daily Beast, February 3, 2009, on his book Angels and Ages

It is often said that Darwin cannot be held accountable for these excesses, but their seeds are obvious in his works, most notably The Descent of Man (1871), in which he finally explained what his evolutionary theory meant for humankind. The book echoes the concerns of Galton and others about overbreeding in "the reckless, degraded and often vicious members of society", such as the "squalid, unaspiring Irishman" who "multiplies like rabbits". There is a clear natural order of class, rank and race and only Darwin's insistence on a moral duty to help the weak partly redeems him. --Philip Ball, On the evolution of Darwin, The Observer, January 25, 2009, review of Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins, by Adrian Desmond (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The corollary to this is the idea that with appropriate education, indoctrination, social conditioning or what have you, people can be made to behave in almost any way imaginable. The evidence, however, is that they cannot. The room for shaping their behaviour is actually quite limited. Unless that is realised, and the underlying biology of the behaviour to be shaped is properly understood, attempts to manipulate it are likely to fail. Unfortunately, even as the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s masterwork, On The Origin of Species, approaches (it was published in 1859) that fact has not been properly accepted. --The Economist, Why we are, as we are , December 18, 2008

Evolution myths by Jim Endersby, review of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (Variorum Text), edited by Morse Peckham, and The Correspondence of Charles Darwin Volume 14: 1866, edited by Frederick Burkhardt and Duncan Porter, The Times (London), March 14, 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Darwin's voyage commemorated, by Maev Kenned, Guardian, December 2, 2002

The origin of The Origin of Species: Janet Browne carves out a unique place in the history of science for Charles Darwin in the second volume of her magisterial biography of the great naturalist, by Robin McKie, Observer, November 10, 2002

Data Guy, review by Andrew Berry of Almost like a Whale: 'The Origin of Species' Updated by Steve Jones, London Review of Books, February 3, 2000

Darwin's Descent of Man, review by Orestes A. Brownson, Brownson’s Quarterly Review, July, 1873

On this author:

Not only was Darwin correct on the central premises of his theory, but in several other still open issues his views also seem quite likely to prevail. His idea of how new species form was long eclipsed by Ernst Mayr’s view that a reproductive barrier like a mountain forces a species to split. But a number of biologists are now returning to Darwin’s idea that speciation occurs most often through competition in open spaces... --Nicholas Sage, Darwin, Ahead of His Time, Is Still Influential, The New York Times, February 9, 2009

In the flashcard version of history, Darwin is the bewhiskered Victorian guy who said everybody evolved from monkeys and stole the credit for creation from God. Lincoln is the stoic symbol of American righteousness that wrote tablet-ready speeches and freed the slaves, only to be shot and killed by a crazed Shakespearean actor. --Geoff Pevere, Lincoln and Darwin: Separated at birth? Toronto Star, February 1, 2009, review of Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik (via Arts & Letters Daily)

But what if Darwin’s evidence had led to conclusions that did not support his belief in the unitary origins of mankind? Would he have fudged the data? ... One is left with the impression that Darwin was amazingly lucky that his benevolent preconceptions turned out to fit the facts. --Christopher Benfry, Charles Darwin, Abolitionist, The New York Times, January 29, 2009, review of Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution, by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, and Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik

Evolution thus removed the need for divine explanations of diversity and, along with evidence emerging at that time of the extreme age of the Earth, it further suggested that the wider universe might also owe nothing to divine intervention and everything to natural laws. Darwin understood all of this and was greatly troubled. --The Economist, Unfinished business: Charles Darwin’s ideas have spread widely, but his revolution is not yet complete, February 5, 2009

He was a compulsively inquisitive child. He was also fearful. In part, he feared himself and his roving intellect. His inability to believe in the Christian god put him at odds with his beloved wife, Emma, and made him feel as if he lived set apart in some cold, far galaxy of the mind. --The Economist, A life in poems, February 5, 2009, review of Darwin: A Life in Poems, by Ruth Padel

Both were born on Feb. 12, 1809. A writer, William Thayer, later proposed an international holiday to commemorate the heroes, respectively, of Justice and Truth. --Richard Eder, Angels and Ages, Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009, review of Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Contrary to the first myth, natural selection is a description of a process, not a force. No one is “selecting” organisms for survival in the benign sense of pigeon breeders selecting for desirable traits in show breeds or for extinction in the malignant sense of Nazis selecting prisoners at death camps. Natural selection is nonprescient—it cannot look forward to anticipate what changes are going to be needed for survival. ...

Natural selection simply means that those individuals with variations better suited to their environment leave behind more offspring than individuals that are less well adapted. This outcome is known as “differential reproductive success.” It may be, as the second myth holds, that organisms that are bigger, stronger, faster and brutishly competitive will reproduce more successfully, but it is just as likely that organisms that are smaller, weaker, slower and socially cooperative will do so as well. --Michael Shermer , A Skeptic's Take on the Public Misunderstanding of Darwin, Scientific American, February, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The Deistic Darwinians state their position thus: “We know of old that God was so wise that he could make all things; but behold he is so much wiser than even that, that he can make all things make themselves.” To which the atheists and the Biblical literalists reply: “Well, I just don’t see it.” --by Debby Applegate, Intellectual Selection, The New York Times, January 29, 2009, review of Banquet at Delmonico's: Great Minds, the Gilded Age, and the Triumph of Evolution in America, by Barry Werth

Social Darwinists grafted Darwin's basic ideas about biological evolution to human society and economy. To them, progress could only be made by eliminating imperfections from humanity, and this was best done by competition. That competition, neatly summarized by Herbert Spencer's term "survival of the fittest," was taken to mean the competition between individuals. --Charles Sullivan and Cameron Mcpherson Smith, Getting the Monkey off Darwin's Back: Four Common Myths About Evolution, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, May 2005

Richard Dawkins - Beware the Believers, by Random Slice, You Tube, March 28, 2008 (via Pertinacious Papist)

Darwinism at AEI, by Tom Bethell, American Spectator July/August 2007

Darwin's Ghost: Can Evolution & Christianity Be Reconciled? by Peter James Causton, Commonweal, October 6, 2006

Darwinist Conservatism, review by Benjamin Wiker of The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy, by Carson Holloway, Crisis, June 2006

Darwin and Darwinism: reviews, Human Nature Review

Darwin's Blind Spot: Biotech Merger, review by Mark Ridley of Evolution Beyond Natural Selection, by Frank Ryan, The New York Times Book Review, March 23, 2003, and
Letter to The New York Times by Frank P. Ryan Re: Mark Ridley's review of Darwin's Blind Spot

Religion Red in Tooth and Claw, review by Ronald L. Numbers and Karen Steudel Numbers of Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, by David Sloan Wilson, American Scientist, March-April 2003

An early flowering of genetics by Richard Dawkins, Guardian, February 8, 2003

The Reality of Race by Sally Lehrman, Scientific American, February 2003

Darwin's web by A. S. Byatt, review of The Power of Place by Janet Browne, Guardian, January 4, 2003

Stick insect forces evolutionary rethink by Nicola Jones, New Scientist, January 15, 2003

The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View: A conversation with David Sloan Wilson, by Natalie Angier, New York Times, December 24, 2002

New Thoughts on Evolution Arise from U.H. Yeast Study: Novel Method of Creating New Species Observed in Laboratory Yeast; University of Houston news release, December 2, 2002

Documentary Redraws Humans' Family Tree, by Hillary Mayell, National Geographic News, January 21, 2003

Creationist Museum Acquires 5,000-Year-Old T. Rex Skeleton, The Onion, January 15, 2003

Laying Bare Darwin’s Secrets, review by Keith Stewart Thomson of Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, by Janet Browne, American Scientist, January, 2003

How the Monkey Got His Tail, by William A. Dembski, Books & Culture, November/December 2002

Survival of the Slickest: How anti-evolutionists are mutating their message, by Chris Mooney, American Prospect, December 2, 2002

Sociobiology and You, by Steven Johnson, Nation, November 18, 2002

Putting Darwin in His Place by Richard Milner, Scientific American, September 16, 2002

The origin of Darwin's genius, by Anthony Daniels, Telegraph August 12, 2002

No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence by William A. Dembski, reviewed by H. Allen Orr, Boston Review, Summer 2002

Darwin and the Descent of Morality, by Benjamin Wiker, First Things, November 2001

Conservatives, Darwin & Design: An Exchange; Larry Arnhart, Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski, First Things, November 2000

Singer in the Rain, review by Nancy Pearcey of A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation, by Peter Singer, First Things, October 2000

Science and Design, by William A. Dembski, First Things, October 1998

The Gorbachev of Darwinism by Phillip E. Johnson, First Things, January 1998

The Monkey Trial: The first 'trial of the century' revealed a great divide separating American Christians, by David Goetz, Christian History, Summer 1997

Theories of Evolution: Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996, by John Paul II, First Things, March 1997

The Storyteller and the Scientist by Phillip E. Johnson, First Things, October 1996

Daniel Dennett’s dangerous idea, by Phillip E. Johnson, The New Criterion, October 1995

After Darwin, by John J. Reilly, First Things, June/July 1995

Domesticating Darwin, by Phillip E. Johnson, First Things, May 1993

Times Topics

Darwin Correspondence Project, Cambridge University

Conrad Martens Sketchbooks I and III, Cambridge University Library (via Milt's File)

The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

On other works by this author:

All his life, Darwin had taken notes on the facial expression of emotions in both animals and humans; for cross-cultural data, he asked correspondents around the world to describe indigenous people showing happiness, anger, and other basic emotions, and to ask the subjects what feeling was being expressed. From this research, he concluded that the expression of emotions was identical in primates, and must have a biological basis apart from culture and society. --Mark Czarnecki, The Other Darwin, review of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), by Charles Darwin, The Walrus, September 2008

Darwin's doubts revealed in his letters to friends by Anthony Barnes, on the Darwin Correspondence Project, The Independent, April 8, 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

How far down the dusky bosom? by Eric Korn, review of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, by Charles Darwin, edited by Paul Ekman, London Review of Books, November 26, 1998

For Clinton and Obama, a Common Ideological Touchstone

Peter Slevin reported in the Washington Post, March 25, 2007
Today, as Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton face off for the Democratic presidential nomination, their common connection to [Saul D.] Alinsky is one of the striking aspects of their biographies. Obama embraced many of Alinsky's tactics and recently said his years as an organizer gave him the best education of his life. Clinton's interest was more intellectual -- she turned down the job offer -- and she has said little about Alinsky since their association became a favorite subject of conservative critics during her husband's presidency.

...Neither candidate would agree to be interviewed about Alinsky.

(via Milt's File)

Saturday, March 24, 2007


My Republican vote [Nixon 1972] produced little shock waves in the New York intellectual community. It didn't take long--a year or two--for the socialist writer Michael Harrington to come up with the term "neoconservative" to describe a renegade liberal like myself. The the chagrin of some of my friends, I decided to accept that term; there was no point in calling myself a liberal when no one else did. ...

I had no patience with the old conservatism that confronted the tides of history by shouting "Stop!"

--Irving Kristol, Forty Good Years", The Public Interest, Spring 2005, pp. 8, 9

Recall that the original definition of the neoconservatives was that they fully embraced the reforms of the New Deal, and indeed the major programs of Johnson's Great Society. Skepticism was only evoked by the more speculative and theoretical extensions into "social engineering", as in the community participation effort in the War on Poverty, or the movement from civil rights to affirmative action in job and college and university admissions (which, of course, dates more to the Nixon than the Johnson administration). Had we not defended the major social programs, from Social Security to Medicare, there would have been no need for the "neo" before "conservatism".
--Nathan Glazer, "Neoconservative from the start", The Public Interest, Spring 2005, p. 15

(see Neoliberalism)

Update: Who Named the Neocons? by Benjamin Ross, Dissent, Summer 2007

Update 2: Neocon Nation: Neoconservatism, c. 1776, by Robert Kagan, review of The Assassin's Gate, by George Packer, World Affairs, Spring 2008
(via Arts & Letters Daily)


Parishes' invitation: 'Come Home'

Karen Mahoney reported special to our Catholic Herald on this Sunday's Come Home conference for District 16 parishes. The article starts with the story of a revert who personifies this statistic.
In many ways, [Ted] Fischer-Toerpe is typical of an estimated two-thirds of Catholics in the United States who stop practicing their faith for a portion of their lives, according to a 2005 report of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and sixty-seven of them go astray, will he not eventually have a conference to address the issue?
Designed for inactive Catholics who may wish to return to the church, the conference will include a keynote address from Fr. Bryan Massingale, associate professor of theology at Marquette University, who will speak on "Why be Catholic today?"

More specifically, Why be Catholic if it's a Church in hospice?

Sr. Cal Leopold, pastoral associate of St. Rita Church in West Allis said the organizers don't take credit.
"God is the real inviter, but God uses us to be part of the Body of Christ and that is the whole part of this."

God the "inviter" is quite a tribute to the influence of President Bush.
While the "Come Home" team hopes to draw at least 250 participants in the conference, they are mailing 60,000 invitations to households within the zip codes of District 16.

That's a pretty big effort relative to the potential results, but maybe better than nothing.
two parishes within the district — St. Mary, Hales Corners and St. Alphonsus, Greendale — opted not to participate

Why not? Doesn't say. What are they doing instead? Doesn't say. I've seen indications St. Al's has a subcommittee discussing evangelization. Maybe it'll come out in favor. If it's an incentive in favor, among the parishes involved in the conference was
St. Mary Help of Christians, which closed Feb. 18

Sigrid Undset

A Long Loneliness, review by Kim Daniels of The Unknown Sigrid Undset: Jenny and Other Works, edited by Tim Page, translated by Tiina Nunnally, Crisis, December 2001

Reading Sigrid Undset Today by Cynthia Grenier, Crisis, February 1999, republished at Catholic Education
(via Open Book)

Adolf Hitler

The failure to dominate the East was what doomed Hitler’s empire; but the myth of Lebensraum is what made him what he was. It was also his solution to the conundrum of a nationalist empire: the racist elevation of one nation so far above all others that mass extermination seems obviously permissible. --Timothy Snyder, Nazism's dialectic of death, The Times Literary Supplement, August 13, 2008, review of Hitler's Empire: Nazi rule in Occupied Europe, by Mark Mazower (via Arts & Letters Daily)

On the recommended works by this author:

Review by Lila Azam Zanganeh of 'Mein Kampf': The Italian Edition, New York Times, November 7, 2004

On this author:

he adhered unswervingly, from the end of World War I until his final days in the Berlin bunker, to nationalism and radical anti-Semitism. In short, Hitler’s brooding over texts seems far more likely to have confirmed rather than created his virulent hatreds. --Jacob Heilbrunn, The Reader, The New York Times, January 2, 2009, review of Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life, by Timothy W. Ryback

Hitler never imagined Germany as one sovereign state among others, but rather as the center of an empire, extending across Europe and including the resource-rich colonies of central Africa. The heart of this empire was the territory on Germany’s eastern frontier; some would be annexed to the Reich, the rest settled by German colonists, its Slavic population enslaved, its Jews and other inferior races exterminated. --James J. Sheehan, Lebensraum, The New York Times, September 19, 2008, review of Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe, by Mark Mazower

Perfume Fail, FailBlog, February 8, 2009 at 10:00 am

Will Smith, Hitler, and the perils of benevolence by Roger Kimball, Roger's Rules, December 25, 2007 7:28 AM

Extreme entities by Philip Marchand, Toronto Star, March 17, 2007
(via Milt's File)

Honoring Adolf by Khue Pham, Spiegel, March 16, 2007

Hitler May Be Stripped of German Citizenship by Per Hinrichs, Spiegel, March 12, 2007

Hitler and Stalin together, review by Jane Caplan of The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, by Richard Overy, Times Literary Supplement, October 21, 2004

The Terrible Beauty of Nazi Aesthetics: Acknowledging the Role of Art in a Spectacular Act of Barbarism, review by James Young of Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics, by Frederic Spotts, Forward, April 25, 2003

A question of upbringing, review by Philip Hensher of Hitler and Churchill, by Andrew Roberts, The Spectator, February 8, 2003

Historian sketches portrait of Hitler the artist gone mad, review by Jules Wagman of Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics, by Frederic Spotts, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 5, 2003

The Meaning of Hitler, review by Walter Sundberg of Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis, by Ian Kershaw, First Things, March 2001

Portrait of Der Führer as a Young Man: Filmmaker Menno Meyjes Defends 'Max,' the Film That Spielberg Wouldn't Make, by Max Gross, Forward, December 20, 2002

The fantasies of a failure, by Rupert Christiansen, Spectator, 28 September 2002

The Fine Art of Genocide? by Lee Rosenbaum, Opinion Journal, August 15, 2002

Hitler as Artist: How Vienna inspired the Fuhrer's Dreams, by Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker, August 19 and 26, 2002

Hating Hitler, by Walter Sundberg, First Things, February 1999

On other works by this author:

Hitler's Further Thoughts, in a New English Translation, review by Dinitia Smith, The New York Times, June 17, 2003

Friday, March 23, 2007

Disney version

In the motion picture adaptation of Pollyanna the title character, played by Hayley Mills, asserts that no one can own a church.
One difficulty the entire [Anglican] church is having to come to terms with, though, is that if the US is expelled, the whole edifice could crumble. It is cash from the Episcopal Church that keeps the show on the road.
--Ruth Gledhill

(via Get Religion)

(see NPR at prayer, Charism)


March 29, The Church and Its Mission:

In Good Times and Bad

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., is the second of the three speakers in the 2007 Pallium Lecture Series.
Lectures are free, open to the public, and begin with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. in the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center, 3501 S. Lake Dr., St. Francis. A reception follows all lectures.

The remaining lecture is June 12: "Faith and Reason: Why We Do Good", by Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

Bishops black-flag Maguire

Diogenes at Off the Record notes that the U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine has issued a Statement Concerning Two Pamphlets. The two pamphlets are by Prof. Daniel Maguire of Marquette University. The committee's statement says of the pamphlets
Such mistaken views should not be confused with the faith and moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

Diogenes' close reading of Marquette's statement to The New York Times leaves one unsure if MU affirms the truth, rather than just the existence, of Church teaching.

Captain America, 89; defender of freedom

Obituary by Bryant Jordan in Navy Times of Steve Rogers, a casualty of the Civil War story line in Marvel Comics which
broke out when one group of heroes led by Rogers refused to comply with a new law mandating they register their identities with the federal government. Tony Stark, the billionaire arms manufacturer, led the pro-registration forces as the super hero Iron Man.

Among those interviewed was Arnold T. Blumberg, "who has written extensively on comic books and teaches a course in comic book literature at the University of Maryland Baltimore County".
He believes that Captain America's surrender and subsequent assassination indicates which way Marvel leans right now — toward the government over civil liberties.

"I thought it shocking the way it ended. It vindicates Iron Man," he said.

Satirist John Breneman concurred.
"Iron Man testified that Captain America once told him he wanted to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery," Breneman wrote. "However, that is considered unlikely because he refused to submit to a Bush administration policy requiring mandatory federal registration of all superheroes."

(via Stefan Beck at Arma Virumque)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Excerpted from Fr. Dave's Brother’s Eulogy

My post on Fr. Meinholz's funeral included a mention of something from his older brother's eulogy that's now quoted on page four of a recent St. Al's Sunday bulletin [5 pp. pdf]
So What?

Dave had a lot of plans for St. Alphonsus... his number one job was nurturing the St Alphonsus community... being part of a Christian Community is not simply attending Mass and filling out your envelope. It's giving of yourself for the community, to the community and to the communities concerns. It's sacrificing yourself for the greater good. Involve yourself in your Christian Community, Invest work for the greater good of the St Al's community, the Milwaukee Archdiocese, the Nation, the Catholic Church and the greater honor and glory of God. Let's continue to build our Christian community here into what it can and should be.

To put it another way, it's necessary to attend Sunday Mass and contribute money to support the parish, but not sufficient. The problem at St. Al's, though, is the parish continues to ask more from the declining number of parishioners who do something, rather than dealing with the problem of the growing percentage of parishioners who do nothing.

The parish Status Animarum [pdf] shows total parishioners increasing from 7,792 in 1995 to 8,817 in 2005. In that same period, Sunday Mass attendance fell from 2,950 (38%) to 2,344 (27%). While the report does not say how many parishioners put anything in the weekly envelope, the same page of the bulletin indicates giving is still below the budgeted amount. That budgeted amount for 2006-07 looks to be less than the $1,367,759 in the collections in 2001-02. Despite declining participation and flat contributions, the parish increased the financial burden with a multi-million dollar building expansion in 2001-2002. So even as a declining number of active parishioners have been taking on these increased burdens, the focus is on them doing more, not the declining numbers.

Damage blamed on frustration

Meg Jones and Don Behm reported in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on arrests of anti-war protesters who had vandalized an Army recruiting office on the east side.
Peace Action Wisconsin does not condone violence, said the group's project organizer Julie Enslow,

Or rationalize it?
but some anti-war protesters might feel the need to be violent to get their point across.

"We do not use those tactics ourselves,

Because a principle is at stake?
but the movement is very broad, and as this war continues, the anti-war movement is going to take many forms - not all of which everyone feels comfortable with," Enslow said.


"Yes, This Is the Man of My People!"

What happened in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago was repeated here. The first to believe were not the rich, not the wise, not the powerful, but the humble.

For almost always the rich, the wise and the powerful are hedged in by egoism and selfishness.

On the other hand, the poor, as at Bethlehem, live and sleep in the open air, and the windows of their simple souls are almost always open to out-of-the-ordinary things.

That is why they saw and believed. They also saw that a man was risking all for them.

--Eva Peron, My Mission In Life (1953) Ch. 7

So watch out for egoism.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today's Headlines (from the KausFiles sidebar)

Gen. Tommy Franks Quits Army To Pursue Solo Bombing Projects
--The Onion

House War Bill Includes Funding for Pet Projects
--The Washington Post

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

It was actually Nietzsche who warned against the leveling effects of Christian slave morality. It was likewise Nietzsche who in the introduction to Der Wille zur Macht describes “nihilism” as the portentous “history of the Western world for the next two hundred years.” Nietzsche claimed to be composing a “fragment out of the history of a post-Christian epoch,” as someone who could draw on both Greek fatalism and intimations of a post-nihilistic future. One may not agree with such claims but they have nothing to do with moral relativism. In fact Nietzsche would have been the first to recognize the character of moral relativism, as a dishonest form of slave morality. --Paul Gottfried, Understanding Nietzsche, First Principles, February 2, 2009

Papal preacher exalts non-violence, connects Nietzsche to Holocaust, by John L. Allen, Jr., NCRCafe, Posted on Mar 16, 2007 06:21am CST
(via Open Book)

The Still North by Drew Lerman, The Dartmouth, November 7, 2006
(via Arma Virumque)

Bugs in the belfry by Joshua Glenn, Boston Globe, November 28, 2004

Malignant Genius, review by Algis Valiunas of Nietzsche and Music, by Georges Liebert, and Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, by Roger Scruton, First Things, November 2004

It wasn't him, it was her, review by Jenny Diski of Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power: A Biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche by Carol Diethe, London Review of Books, September 25, 2003

Nietzsche on the Cross: The Defence of Personal Freedom in The Birth of Tragedy, by Wayne A. Borody, Humanitas 2003 No. 2 [18 pp. pdf]

Review by John Gray of Friedrich Nietzsche, by Curtis Cate Hutchinson, New Statesman

Nietzsche 2000: An introduction, by H. James Birx, Philosophy Now, October/November 2000

Nietzsche’s Truth by Damon Linker, First Things, August/September 2002

Is There a Gay Basis to Nietzsche's Ideas? By Edward Rothstein, New York Times, July 6, 2002

Superman and the Little Pastor by A. C. Grayling, Guardian, June 8, 2002

The Domesticated Nietzsche, by Werner J. Dannhauser, First Things, February 1996

Nietzsche Dreams of Detroit, review by Denis Dutton of My Sister and I, Philosophy and Literature 16 (1992)

The Nietzsche Family Circus, at Losanjealous
(via Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Nietzsche (1912), by Paul Elmer More

The Nietzsche Channel

Monday, March 19, 2007

As a child, Obama crossed a cultural divide in Indonesia

Are you now or have you ever been?

Paul Watson reported in the Los Angeles Times
"To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago," Gibbs' [his chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs'] Jan. 24 statement said.

It's sort of like John Roberts and the Federalist Society.
In a statement to The Times on Wednesday, the campaign offered slightly different wording, saying: "Obama has never been a practicing Muslim." The statement added that as a child, Obama had spent time in the neighborhood's Islamic center.

(via Douglas LeBlanc at Get Religion)

Milwaukee County: Are the best of the times in the past?

Bob Dohnal in Wisconsin Conservative Digest asks
Has Milwaukee seen it’s heyday? Is the best behind us ...

Yes, about a half-century behind us.


Diogenes at Off the Record
Younger Catholics, I find, either accept the world-view of the 1970s liberals (in which case they drop the institutional-religion-thing altogether) or else they reject the programmatic cynicism and -- by employing a severe ex opere operato theology -- make use of "massing priests" to confect the sacraments (for lack of an alternative) while directing their spiritual attention elsewhere.

That is, they either see no reason to pay any spiritual attention at all, or, if they do, see no reason to pay spiritual attention to anything particular to their parish. Many of us older folks have gone one or the other of these two ways, as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Double standard

He [Trotsky] maintains a double standard throughout his diary, using one set of values for his side and another for the enemy. ...

... Trotsky not only takes the trouble to record Lenin's complicity in Ekaterinburg but also goes on to justify it: "The decision was not only expedient but necessary. The severity of this summary justice showed the world that we would continue to fight on mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Czar's family was needed not only to frighten, horrify, and dishearten the enemy, but also in order to shake up our own ranks, to show them there was no turning back, that ahead lay either complete victory or complete ruin." ... This entry is sandwiched in between entries revealing Trotsky's anxiety about the fate of his son Seryozha, a nonpolitical engineer who had been arrested by Stalin simply because Trotsky was his father. Trotsky thinks this is barbarous, which it was, and refers to Seryozha as "an innocent bystander," which he was, but it doesn't occur to him that the late Czar might have considered his fourteen-year-old son another innocent bystander, not to mention his four young daughters and the family servants.

--Dwight Macdonald, "Trotsky, Orwell, and Socialism", The New Yorker March 28, 1959


Lewis Carroll

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Summary of Particle Physics

with a Particle Physics Timeline at The Particle Adventure; among the links is The Fireworks of Elementary Particle Physics.

I find the trend toward terms like charm quark makes physics cuter but harder to understand.

Edmund Burke

The genius of the Federalist Papers was to devise a constitution for the new republic which made the United States the most enduring and most successful republic in modernity. The genius of the Reflections was to provide a philosophical critique of that other revolution, so different from the American, which produced another republic, ill-conceived and ill-fated. “You chose to act,” Burke told the French, “as if you had never been molded into civil society, and had everything to begin anew.” The Americans never made that mistake. --Gertrude Himmelfarb, Reflections on Burke's 'Reflections': Revisiting the lasting, provocative wisdom of Edmund Burke, The New Criterion, February 2009

Burke maintained that although individual Englishmen could make poor choices, as a whole and over time the English people would not. [footnote omitted] Thus, popular government could work. It is a simple but nonetheless sophisticated notion. --Clifford W. Taylor, Merit Selection: Choosing Judges Based On Their Politics Under The Veil Of A Disarming Name, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Volume 32, Number 1 , Winter 2009, p. 97, at p. 99

...there is more to Burke’s philosophy than a simple celebration of the established social order. Not least, it is suffused with a thoroughgoing scepticism about the character and capabilities of human beings, which led him to reject the Enlightenment view that reason can be readily employed to the betterment of mankind. --Jeremy Stangroom, Edmund Burke: The great conservative, March 17, 2009

For the first time I ever cast my eyes on anything of Burke's (which was an extract from his Letter to a Noble Lord in a three-times-a-week paper, the St. James's Chronicle, in 1796), I said to myself, "this is true eloquence: this is a man pouring out his mind on paper." All other style seemed to me pedantic and impertinent. ... I did not care for his doctrines. I was then and am still, proof against their contagion; but I admired the author, and was considered as not a very staunch partisan of the opposite side, though I thought myself that an abstract proposition was one thing -- a masterly transition, a brilliant metaphor, another. I conceived, too, that he might be wrong in his main argument, and yet deliver fifty truths in arriving at a false conclusion. --William Hazlitt, On Reading Old Books (1821), Essays: Picked by Blupete (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)
See recommended reading by William Hazlitt at Reading Rat

See Burke's Conservatism

Edmund Burke: not for neocons by Jonathan Clark, review of Edmund Burke, Volume Two, 1784–1797 by F. P. Lock, Times (London), March 7, 2007
(via Milt's File)

Burkesday? Ireland should celebrate another great son, by Anthony Paletta, National Review Online, posted June 16, 2005, 7:42 a.m.

The Bluto-Burke Connection — Revealed! Animal House and the philosophy of the Right, by Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, January 22, 2001 5:10 p.m.

Burke's Mansions, by Daniel Ritchie, First Things, April 1998, review of Edmund Burke: A Life in Caricature, by Nicholas K. Robinson, Edmund Burke and India, by Frederick G. Whelan, The Literary Genres of Edmund Burke, by Frans de Bruyn, and Intertextual War: Edmund Burke and the French Revolution in the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Paine, and James Mackintosh, by Steven Blakemore

The Liberalism/Conservatism Of Edmund Burke and F. A. Hayek: A Critical Comparison, by Linda C. Raeder, Humanitas, 1997 No. 1

Burke, Kant and the Sublime, by Gur Hirshberg, Philosophy Now, Winter 1994/1995

Was Burke a Conservative? by Mark C. Henrie, First Things, November 1993

A Note on Burke’s 'Vindication of Natural Society' by Murray N. Rothbard, Journal of the History of Ideas, January 1958


The word "neoliberalism," at least in its domestic context, was coined by The Washington Monthly's Charles Peters in 1978. (It didn't start, as David Brooks declared, with a Kinsley tax editorial [4 pp. pdf] in 1981).
--Mickey Kaus (March 12, 2007 4:48 P.M.)

Maybe that's neo-neoliberalism.
In March 1946, with a number of distinguished associates, Leonard E. Read established the Read Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. ...

The principal function which the Foundation for Economic Education served in those years, in short, was to facilitate the recovery of a tradition and the dissemination of ideas. ...

The Foundation for Economic Education in these years was extending its version of classical liberalism from the few to the many, one by one.

As FEE went about its work, another organization founded in 1947 thousands of miles away was also contributing substantially to the growing self-consciousness and interrelatedness of what some were calling the neo-liberal movement in the United States and Western Europe. The earliest stimulus for this aspect of the revival emanated from the United States in 1937, when Walter Lippmann published The Good Society. Among those quick to perceive its importance was Friedrich Hayek, who considered it a "brilliant restatement of the fundamental ideals of classic liberalism." [Hayek, Studies p. 199n]

--George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America: Since 1945 (1976) pp. 24-25


Do the Irish Still Drink Whiskey?

Cormac Mac Connell at Malt Advocate
Remember its true name; where it springs from. The Gaelic word--uisce beath--the water of life.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Parish Council Pastor Replacement Consultation

Last Sunday's St. Al's bulletin [5 pp. pdf] had this item on the calendar (p. 3).
Mar. 13 ... Parish Council Pastor Replacement Consultation 6:30PM, Community Room

This didn't explictitly invite parishioners; on the other hand, the Community Room venue sounded like they were prepared for a crowd. I decided to drop in to compare the process to what I saw and heard two years ago.

In attendance were the Parish Council, some committee chairs, much of the pastoral staff (see bulletin p. 1), Fr. Brian Mason, of the Priest Placement Board, Catherine O'Neill, Archdiocesan Parish Consultant (filling in for Mark Peters), and one other parishioner.

Ms. O'Neill distributed what appeared to be the standard form "Prayer in the Times of Pastoral Transition". On the back were a set of instructions, "Occasions and Ideas for Prayer". Prayer proceeded per the handout.

Fr. Mason then had everyone around the table introduce themselves, though saying he did not expect to remember our names. He reviewed the priest placement process. An outline of the process was also distributed, along with St. Al's Status Animarum Report (1993-2005), and the Parish Profile dated March 12, 2007.

Forty-five minutes had now passed. Next we were to count off into four groups, each of which would get a handout with six questions about how we saw the parish, what we'd like to see in a new pastor, etc.. This was to take a half hour, which would allow five minutes for each question.

At one of the Archdiocesan listening sessions on parish planning back in the late 1990s, I asked Bishop Sklba why we weren't provided in advance with the materials we were supposed to consider and the questions we were supposed to answer. He seemed taken aback, and said no one else had ever questioned this procedure before. And apparently no one has questioned it since.

Based on the Status Animarum, Parish Profile, and the answers to the six questions, and whatever else they know or have heard, priests up for appointment as pastors rank parishes in which they'd like to serve based. Fr. Mason also had said, though, that two years ago St. Alphonsus was not Fr. Meinholz's first choice, and maybe not among his choices at all. He said some thought him too young or not stable enough for the job. Since he got the job, it leaves the impression no priest listed St. Al's among his choices.

I didn't stay to discuss the questions.

Update: Later I heard that last time St. Al's was the first choice of at least one other priest.


V. S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul as a Trinidadian trickster, playing the fool while getting others to pick up his expensive bills, having his fun by enraging Western liberals with opinions that mimic the prejudices of the old colonial masters: it is an interesting and I think plausible take on the public figure. --, The Lessons of the Master, by Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books, November 20, 2008, review of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul, by Patrick French (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Recommended reading:
by V. S. Naipaul at Reading Rat

Other works online:

The long way round, by V. S. Naipaul, The Guardian, March 10, 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

On Being a Writer by V. S. Naipaul, The New York Review of Books, April 23, 1987

Reference: Times Topics, The New York Times

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Naked ambition, The Economist, April 3, 2008, review of The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul, by Patrick French

Where Does He Come From? by Sanjay Subrahmanyam, review of A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling by V.S. Naipaul, London Review of Books, November 1, 2007

V S Naipaul: the great offender by Bryan Appleyard, The Sunday Times, August 26, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The Photographer and the Philosopher: V.S. Naipaul and Jan Morris: two archetypal travellers and their journeys in the world, review by Pico Iyer of Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, by Jan Morris, The World: Travels 1950-2000, by Jan Morris, The Writer and the World, by V.S. Naipaul, and Conundrum, by Jan Morris, Walrus, October 2004

A home for Mr Naipaul, Tim Adams, Observer, September 12, 2004

Fragments from a universal visionary, by Robert McCrum, review of Literary Occasions, by V.S. Naipaul, Observer, January 18, 2004

Borrowed Culture: V. S. Naipaul out-Englishes the English, by Hilton Als, The New Yorker, March 3, 2003

Civilization and V. S. Naipaul, by Bruce Bawer, Hudson Review, Autumn 2002

Suffering, Elemental as Night by Daphne Merkin, review of The Writer and the World: The Blunt Opinions of a Professional Provocateur, The New York Times, September 1, 2002

An Opinionated Traveler Drawn to the Developing World, by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, August 13, 2002

A burst of clarity: on the awarding of the Nobel Prize in literature to V. S. Naipaul, The New Criterion, November 2001

Amit Chaudhuri on V. S. Naipaul's 'Half a Life', Tehelka, October 12, 2001

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001

Father knows best, review by Joseph Epstein, of Between father and son: Family Letters by V. S. Naipaul, The New Criterion, March 2000

Manager of Stories, by Michael Gilsenan, review of Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, by V. S. Naipaul, London Review of Books, September 3, 1998

The American religion

is gnostic -- the believer searches for occult experience of his innermost self, standing in aweful solitude with God. It is not ecclesial. "God in you responds to God without," wrote Emerson, America’s sage. It is therapeutic, sold and bought for results, like tooth-whitener. American Protestants, Episcopalians, Catholics and even Jews are spiritually closer to each other than to their global co-religionists. This spiritual divide is cracking Anglicanism. It is even more worrying for Catholics, who have centralised authority. Rome is necessarily pained by deviancy. Back in 1899 Leo XIII, pope and prophet, condemned the American Religion in his encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, "A Witness to Our Good Will". Leo didn’t insist that anyone had yet fallen into those "views ... called by some 'Americanism' ", but he warned that the heresy was, as it were, out there on the prairie, waiting to gobble up American souls.

Leo deplored "that there are among you some who would have the Church in America different from what it is in the rest of the world". A century on, and the Church in America is different from what it is in the rest of the world.
--Richard Major

(via Open Book)


Thursday, March 15, 2007

About Our Minister

Reverend Dr. Kendra Vaughan Hovey is the founding Elder High Priestess and Metaphysician of the First Church of Wicca [Duxbury, MA]. Starting as a Solitary Practitioner at the age of 11, she joined an Eclectic Coven while attaining her first college degree in Rhode Island.

Was it so long ago that a little girl wanting an eclectic coven would be an Emily Litella bit?

(via Diogenes at Off the Record)

Archbishop Dolan on "Fulton J. Sheen: Catholic Evangelizer" March 21, 2007

From the Inbox
The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and his success in using the media to communicate Catholic teachings will be discussed by Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan at the Peter Favre Forum Wednesday, March 21 at The University Club, 924 E. Wells St.

The presentation, "Fulton J. Sheen: Catholic Evangelizer" will begin at 7:30 a.m. Cost of the Forum program, which includes breakfast, is $25. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (414) 747-6443, or by email. Archbishop Dolan will explore Archbishop Sheen's contributions to increase the visibility and discussion of Catholicism to a historically suspicious American culture.

Archbishop Sheen, born in El Paso, Ill., authored more than 90 books during his lifetime and is considered the first American television preacher of note. In 1930 he began a Sunday night radio broadcast, "The Catholic Hour," which aired well into the 1950s, attracting a weekly audience of four million people. During the 1950s Archbishop Sheen conducted the first religious service broadcast on the new medium of television, putting in motion a new avenue for his religious pursuits. While serving as Auxiliary Bishop of New York from 1951 to 1965, he started the television program, "Life is Worth Living," which aired Tuesday nights. The program featured Archbishop Sheen simply speaking in front of a live audience on the theology of current topics. The show, which ran until 1957, attracted nearly 30 million people weekly. He won an Emmy Award for the show in 1952.

From 1961 to 1968 Archbishop Sheen hosted the nationally-syndicated series, "The Fulton Sheen Program," a series following the format of his earlier show. Reruns of his programs currently air on the Eternal World Television Network.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Abraham Lincoln

Relying heavily on Article I, § 8 of the U.S. Constitution (which enumerates Congressional powers and prohibits the suspension of habeas corpus “unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it”), [Chief Justice Roger] Taney issued an opinion declaring that only Congress, not the president, was empowered to suspend habeas. [Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1861)]

Lincoln ignored Taney’s decision. In a subsequent message to Congress Lincoln tacitly acknowledged that Congress, not the president, had primary power over habeas but he made a powerful appeal to the laws of necessity and interpreted his presidential oath (which also is prescribed by the Constitution) to require him to preserve the government at all costs. --Joseph A. Ranney, Inter Arma Silent Leges: Wisconsin Law in Wartime, Wisconsin Lawyer, February 2009

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is often described as the greatest of American political speeches; but how many of our fellow countrymen remember that the Second Inaugural was a sharp reminder to the entire nation that our common life stands under judgment and that getting the Big Questions wrong can have terrible costs? --George Weigel, A Campaign of Narratives, First Things, March 2009

We see in the Lyceum Speech and Lincoln's love of Shakespeare the assumption that tyranny cannot be resisted without a sympathetic appreciation of the genius-tyrant's power to seduce a free people, and perhaps himself, with measures that subvert a self-governing republic. What better examples of this phenomenon in Shakespeare than Richard Duke of Gloucester's successful wooing of his suspicious yet fatally naïve victims; Claudius's secret yearning to confess his murder while conspiring to keep Gertrude and kill Hamlet; Macbeth's falling back before his bloody dagger yet doing the deed anyway and then acting the part of a savior king visiting judgment on the unfaithful? --John C. Briggs, Steeped in Shakespeare, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008

As fate would have it, the last time these two American friends saw each other was on the occasion of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. Douglass listened to the speech with the crowd and thought it contained some "brave good words." Afterward, he went to the Executive Mansion to attend the reception, but was not allowed to enter. When he sent word to Lincoln that he was being detained, the president ordered that he be admitted. Douglass found Lincoln in the elegant East Room, standing "like a mountain his grand simplicity, and home-like beauty." Lincoln said, "Here comes my friend," and took Douglass by the hand. "I am glad to see you," said the president. Then he asked Douglass how he liked his address, for "there is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours." Douglass famously said, in words that aptly sum up the work to which their lives had been devoted, "Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort." --Peter W. Schramm, Douglass and Lincoln, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008, review of 'Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln', by John Stauffer, and 'Frederick Douglass: Race and the Rebirth of American Liberalism', by Peter C. Meyers

As the code's Confederate critics noticed immediately, the laws of war Lincoln announced in 1863 were far tougher than the humanitarian rules McClellan had demanded a year earlier. The code allowed for the destruction of civilian property, the bombardment of civilians in besieged cities, the starving of noncombatants, and the emancipation of civilians' slaves. It permitted executing prisoners in cases of necessity or as retaliation. It condoned the summary executions of enemy guerillas. And in its most open-ended provision, the code authorized any measure necessary to secure the ends of war and defend the country. "To save the country," the code declared, "is paramount to all other considerations." --John Fabian Witt, Lincoln's Laws of War: How he built the code that Bush attempted to destroy, Slate, February 11, 2009 (via Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy)

In the flashcard version of history, Darwin is the bewhiskered Victorian guy who said everybody evolved from monkeys and stole the credit for creation from God. Lincoln is the stoic symbol of American righteousness that wrote tablet-ready speeches and freed the slaves, only to be shot and killed by a crazed Shakespearean actor. --Geoff Pevere, Lincoln and Darwin: Separated at birth? Toronto Star, February 1, 2009, review of Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik (via Arts & Letters Daily)

If the hottest political question in this bicentennial week is “what would Lincoln do?”, then the first answer is surely try a lot harder to repair America’s faltering commitment to meritocracy. --The Economist, The war over Lincoln: America is throwing a big birthday party for its 16th president, and everyone wants a share, February 12th 2009

For two long years into our national fratricide, he repeatedly disavowed emancipation as his goal because that divisive issue might defeat his overriding purpose: to establish the principle of majority rule in the world’s most daring experiment in self-government by insisting that the whole country abide by the results of its national election. --William Safire, Lincoln Monuments, The New York Times, February 6, 2009

Both were born on Feb. 12, 1809. A writer, William Thayer, later proposed an international holiday to commemorate the heroes, respectively, of Justice and Truth. --Richard Eder, Angels and Ages, Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009, review of Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, by Adam Gopnik (via Arts & Letters Daily)

A man who defined his time as much as he was defined by it, Lincoln had little education, few social graces, and not much in the way of looks. What he did have was a brilliant, inquisitive mind and the ability to grasp complicated situations from all sides and find the best course toward resolution. In addition, he was one of the great political writers and speakers of his day. --Zack Handlen, A.V. Club, January 22, 2009, review of A. Lincoln, by Ronald C. White, Jr.

In the mid-1960s, the Guinness Book of Records claimed that more had been written on Abraham Lincoln than on any other figure in world history - Napoleon was a distant second. --Allen Barra, Lincoln's many faces: 200 years after his birth, there's more to know, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 17, 2009, review of Abraham Lincoln, by James M. McPherson, Abraham Lincoln, by George McGovern, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, by Fred Kaplan, and The Lincoln Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 to Now, edited by Harold Holzer

Lincoln was self-deprecating and funny in a way that will ring true for the Jon Stewart generation. Just as Mr Obama managed to call himself a black and white “mutt” on national television, so Lincoln good-humouredly adjusted to the consensus description of himself as one of the ungainliest men in politics. --The Economist, Honest Abe, reborn, January 15, 2009, review of A. Lincoln: A Biography, by Ronald C. White

Today, Lincoln is revered for his combination of faith and epistemological modesty, a skeptical believer who sought to do God’s will without ever claiming to know it—a view that requires one to overlook the fierce and relentless way he conducted the war that defined his presidency. --Wilfred W. McClay, Lincoln the Great: Though He Didn’t Look That Way at the Time, Humanities, January/February 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

There is a measure of contrarian charm in some of the conservative criticisms of Lincoln. There is no doubt that we still live with his dramatic expansion of the power of the federal government, and some of the speculations about how the Civil War could have been prevented are of more than passing, if only academic, interest. But Abraham Lincoln is alone among American presidents, and almost alone among the leaders of nations, in evincing a gravity and wisdom born of life’s bittersweetness and reaching toward what can only be described as moral and spiritual grandeur. --Richard John Neuhaus, While We’re At It, First Things, January 2009

he was not just a genius and humanitarian. He was more than that. He was one hell of a lobbyist, lawyer and manipulator. Of course he never sold a senate seat but he damn sure took care of his friends who took care of him. --Tom Roeser, Former Railroad Lobbyist Lincoln Might Twitch in His Grave but Not Turn Over—Completely: Hasn’t Stirred in Oak Ridge Yet, December 11, 2008 (via Dad29)

Lincoln was entering uncharted waters as he confronted a rebellion "too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings." --Mackubin Thomas Owens, Commander-in-Chief, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008, discussing Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, by James M. McPherson, Lincoln's War: The Untold Story of America's Greatest President as Commander in Chief, by Geoffrey Perret, Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime, by Eliot A. Cohen, and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, by Allen C. Guelzo

Speaking of chugging locomotives, there are plenty of them in another TV series about the Lincoln marriage, the 360-minute documentary, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, which aired on PBS in February 2001. There are also plenty of spinning carriage wheels, pounding hooves, falling raindrops, lighted windows, and hands doing everything from splitting rails to playing harpsichords, stitching velvet to signing historic documents. There's also a lot of mood music, two actors (David Morse and Holly Hunter) reciting passages from the Lincolns' papers, and finally (it almost goes without saying) the steady cadence of David McCullough's voice stroking its serene way through the narrative. --Martha Bayles, Unfinished Work, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2008, discussing Abraham Lincoln, directed by D.W. Griffith, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, directed by John Cromwell, Young Mr. Lincoln, directed by John Ford, Gore Vidal's Lincoln, directed by Lamont Johnson, and Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, directed by David Grubin. (See Hobo Matters)

One of Lincoln’s most brilliant insights was that great social movements, once launched, often spill beyond their original borders: that the Civil War would trigger an equal-rights revolution that would not be limited to black Americans. --Joseph A. Ranney, Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy to Wisconsin Law, Part 1: A New Birth of Freedom: Civil Rights Law in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lawyer, December 2008

Not until the president discovered Ulysses S. Grant, and not until Grant came to Washington as general in chief in early 1864, did Lincoln have a leader ready to end the rebellion by destroying the Confederacy’s ability to resist. --Jean Edward Smith, Crisis Manager, The New York Times, October 17, 2008, review of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, by James M. McPherson

Lincoln may have been dead for four-score-and-seven years when Brown v. Board of Education (1954) inaugurated the "second Reconstruction," but many conservatives who were dubious about the second Reconstruction's use of federal power—especially federal judicial power—as the principal lever for bringing down Jim Crow could hardly help suspecting that the template for federal intervention in the 1950s had been copied from Lincoln's in the "first Reconstruction." --Thomas L. Krannawitter, Washing Mud from Marble, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2008, review of Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the Politics of Our Greatest President, by Allen C. Guelzo

When Lincoln and Douglas went at it, each contest took three hours: one hour for the opening speaker (they alternated), an hour-and-a-half for his opponent, and then a half-hour's rebuttal. Even more amazing, to modern sensibilities, is that the entire discussion was devoted to a single subject—the expansion of slavery into the western territories. There were no newsmen preening for the cameras and lobbing self-serving questions. They were taking notes. --Charles R. Kesler, A Righteous Wind, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2008

Owing to this apparent singleness of heart and purpose, a biography of Lincoln is the less indispensable to the forming of a true estimate of his character; yet, when a man entirely unheard of beyond the limits of his native state, becomes in less than four years, not a household name only, but almost a household face amongst a friendly indeed, but at the some time rather a critical and unsympathetic people like ourselves,— when, amongst many conflicting opinions as to the wisdom of his aims and of his measures, we find but one as to their loftiness and disinterested patriotism,—when we consider that no statesman has ever, in so short a time and under such adverse circumstances, rooted himself so deeply in the esteem and even in the affections not alone of his own countrymen but of foreign nations,—we cannot but wish to see if a confidence so unbounded, a regard so sincere and so widely spread, is justified by a nearer and more searching investigation into the character of its object. --The Economist, Review, July 29th 1865, of The Life and Administration of Abraham Lincoln: Presenting his Early History, Political Career, Speeches, Messages, Proclamations, Letters, &c., by G. W. Bacon truth, the gain is incalculable. Whatever compromises Mr Lincoln may concede to the South with respect to the limits and the right use of the Congressional or Presidential power, he stands irrevocably pledged to the principle that slavery is wrong, and that the national power, so far as it can be fairly used at all, must be used to limit, to repress, to promote its extinction. --The Economist, The Republican President's Creed, November 24th 1860

Lincoln's Black History, by Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009, review of Lincoln on Race and Slavery, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., coedited by Donald Yacovone

Looking For Lincoln: A Conversation with Andrew Ferguson, by Bruce Cole, Humanities, November 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Our Inner Abes by Florence King, review of Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America by Andrew Ferguson, The Wilson Quarterly, Posted August 5th, 2007 at Review-a-Day

What Did He Really Think About Race? by James M. McPherson, review of The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics by James Oakes, The New York Review of Books, March 29, 2007

The Gay Emancipator? What's wrong with The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, by David Greenberg, Slate, January 14, 2005, at 2:36 PM PT

Honest, Abe? A dishonest book claims Lincoln as the first log cabin Republican, review by Philip Nobile of The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, by C.A. Tripp, Weekly Standard, January 17, 2005

Was Lincoln Gay? by Richard Brookhiser, New York Times, January 9, 2005

The Americanization of God, review by Christopher D. Levenick of Jonathan Edwards: A Life, by George M. Marsden, America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, by Mark A. Noll, and Lincoln by Richard J. Carwardine, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2004

Lincoln for Liberals, review by Tom Krannawitter of Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever, by Mario M. Cuomo, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2004

A Democrat's Republican, review by Alan Wolfe of Why Lincoln Matters: Today More than Ever, by Mario M. Cuomo, Commonweal, September 10, 2004

One Nation Under God, by Glen Thurow, review of Abraham Lincoln's Political Faith by Joseph R. Fornieri, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2004

One Last Card to Play, by Peter W. Schramm, review of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, by Allen C. Guelzo, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2004

Lincoln on Judicial Despotism, by Robert P. George, First Things, February 2003

Honest, Abe book has its moments, review by Tim Cuprisin of Abraham Lincoln: A Penguin Life, by Thomas Keneally, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 5, 2003

Lincoln’s Great Rejections, review by John C. Chalberg of Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography, by William Lee Miller, Crisis, December 2002

Lincoln’s Prudence, review by Allen C. Guelzo of Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography, by William Lee Miller, First Things, October 2002

Irving Babbitt on Lincoln and Unionism, by James Seaton, Humanitas 2002 No. 1 [10 pp. pdf]

The Problem of Lincoln in Babbitt’s Thought, by Richard M. Gamble, Humanitas 2002 No. 1 [12 pp. pdf]

The Heritage of Lincoln, by James Seaton, Humanitas 2002 No. 1 [5 pp. pdf]

Dishonest About Abe, by Tom Krannawitter, review of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, by Thomas DiLorenzo, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2002

The God He Barely Knew, review by George McKenna of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, by Allen C. Guelzo, First Things, August/September 2000

Abraham Lincoln & the Last Best Hope, by Jean Bethke Elshtain, First Things, November 1999

Lincoln, 'Macbeth,' and the Moral Imagination, by Michael Knox Beran, Humanitas, 1998, No. 2

The great authority attached by law to the President's office reverts to Mr Johnson, but the far greater moral authority belonging to Mr Lincoln disappears. --The Economist, The Assassination of Mr Lincoln, April 29th 1865

What can really be done to fix Milwaukee Public Schools?

Kenya Evans in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tries valiantly to make MPS look better than hopeless. Failing that, she tries a different approach.
New charter schools are announced on billboards and opened in abandoned buildings like jack-in-the-boxes. What started off as a great implementation to redefine education is backsliding into a moneymaking machine with students as a byproduct.

Students as a byproduct still sounds better than dropouts as a product.


one of the biggest problems that Democrats faced 1992-2005 was their inability to get outside of their media cocoon – CNN/NYT/PBS, etc. It was an echo chamber! Democrats would spend a cozy two years locked in a hazy liberal bliss, then get socked in midterms or the Presidential election.

Isn’t Fox News – and its surrounding Conservative Blogosphere -- the exact same thing? And isn’t it leading to the exact same problems? Republican activist types never have to read the hated New York Times, or watch CNN, or do anything that would expose them to the larger world. And in the last midterms, the talking heads they were used to seeing on Fox and friends confidently predicted a Republican victory. Consequentially, there were no Republican vote-catching initiatives, no sense of urgency, just the same complacent cocoon we’re used to seeing on the Dem side.

--Kevin, at Bajillion

(via KausFiles)

P.S. In the final (Spring 2005) issue of the neoconservative domestic policy quarterly The Public Interest Nathan Glazer reflected on editorial and political developments after the 1980s.
Liberal students of public policy did not disappear from the pages of The Public Interest. ... But there can be no question where the main drift ran.

I see that as a failing on our part. ... It was our special issues that helped us to reach out and shape the debate. In their absence, one was too dependent on what came in over the transom, and these submissions reflected the increasing energy of conservative think tanks and foundations. Many of these conservative ideas were indeed powerful. But, as they began to dominate the debate over policy, we should have done more to examine them critically.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bush visito las ruinas mayas de Iximche, que seran limpiadas de malos espiritus

President, on visit to Guatemala, unpopular with some of the local pagans

Branding Milwaukee: Working with what you have

Richard Thieme in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on why efforts to market the Milwaukee area have been and look likely to continue to be disappointing.
If we look only at how we might resemble other cities, we're missing the point. To be one more city with financial services, restaurants and coffee shops does not let us compete.

All cities have that.

When we moved here from Hawaii 20 years ago, we told friends where we were going.

"Milwaukee!" cried a biker. "Harley!"

"Milwaukee!" cried a porky pal. "Cheese and sauerbraten!"

"Milwaukee!" cried a drinking buddy. "Beer!"

In short, since there's no escaping LaVerne and Shirley, we need to embrace it. Having missed the chance to have Kenneth Schermerhorn and Carol Neblett in a nationally televised celebrity pro-am bowling tournament, we need to search out today's equivalent.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis

Dated tomorrow, so as of this moment all it says is


© Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

(via Disputations)

Update: now with text, at new URL.

Update 2: Just looking here and there, I note
I reaffirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God, and I therefore confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition. [24]

it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms [footnote omitted]. These values are not negotiable. [83]

and (some might say on the other hand)
We cannot remain passive before certain processes of globalization which not infrequently increase the gap between the rich and the poor worldwide. We must denounce those who squander the earth's riches, provoking inequalities that cry out to heaven (cf. Jas 5:4). [90]

Once again, too bad these documents lack internal links to sections, or even internal anchors so we could fashion our own links.

Update 3: At Open Book, Here ya go and New post.

Update 4: Short comments at Musings of an Pertinacious Papist.


the restrictions necessitated by social domination. This is distinguished from (basic) repression: the "modifications" of the instincts necessary for the perpetuation of the human race in civilization.
--Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (1966) p. 35


Future saint?

Mary C. Uhler reports in Madison's Catholic Herald on the cause of Venerable Samuel Mazzuchelli, O.P., a missionary priest who served in southwestern Wisconsin in the mid-1800s.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Building a Downtown From the Ground Up

The Shepherd Express reports on the Fountains of Franklin, which started as a proposed retail development but which is now being billed as a downtown.
The plan originally called for a 70,000-square-foot project, but it was greatly expanded when Sendik's Food Market decided to locate a 62,000-square-foot store at the site and the Franklin Cultural Arts Center decided to build a performing-arts facility at the location. That center would be home to community and school theatrical performances as well as other exhibits, said Don Dorsan, president of the non-profit center.

The project will also include a 60,000-square-foot professional/medical office facility, multiple restaurants, retail stores, a bank and a 24-pump gas station.

If the police station, library, post office, and now the new high school, could have been added in, maybe that would be a downtown. Every business or public institution has a constituency for its building projects, but there's none for a downtown.

Three weeks without griping?

Tom Heinen reported in Thursday's Milwuakee Journal Sentinel on A Complaint Free World, brainchild of The Rev. Will Bowen's Christ Church Unity in Kansas City. The church gives away purple rubber wristbands for participants. When one goes 21 days without complaining about anyone or anything, one switches the band to the other wrist. Rev. Brown reports that took him four months.

Under a sub-head "No snap judgments"
Milwaukeean Peter Isely, Midwest regional director and national board chairman of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, learned of the campaign a week ago and took up the challenge for Lent.

The article says people started asking him if he was all right. Sort of like the old joke that no one knew so-and-so was an alcoholic until one day he showed up sober.

Rev. Bowen was inspired by hearing that it takes about 21 days to make or break a habit. He was asked if his movement would interfere with the obligation to speak up.
"Somebody e-mailed me and said, 'The great things in our country were changed by people who complained. Look at Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King.' So I went back and read the Declaration of Independence and the writings of King. They were not complainers. They were people who painted a brilliant vista of what life can be like.
He's mistaken that they didn't complain; but he could cite their writings to show they weren't complaining out of habit.


To the Whitehouse

Dwight Macdonald (1906-1982) reviews The Politics of Hope by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (1917-2007) in The New York Review of Books, Volume 1, Number 1, February 1, 1963.
I cannot let pass, however, a sentence on page 17: "While the Executive should wield all his powers under the constitution with energy, he should not be able to abrogate the constitution except in face of war, revolution or economic chaos." True that the sainted Lincoln did suspend habeas corpus and when the Chief Justice of the United States freed a Southern sympathizer on the ground he had been illegally arrested, kept the prisoner in jail nonetheless, observing, "Justice Tawney [sic] has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it"--an aside all too reminiscent of Stalin's famous query as to how many divisions the Pope commanded. Also true that Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt cut a few corners in wartime--and why is it always the great liberal presidents who do these things? Maybe because they have good consciences, supplied by intellectuals like Mr. Schlesinger. But even a liberal Northern Democrat might be given pause by the above formulation; he might think these wartime abrogations of the constitution were shameful and against his principles; he might remember that, except for Lincoln, no president, even in wartime, has openly "abrogated the constitution," although our author takes it as a matter of course; and he might also remember that no president so far has abrogated the constitution on the plea of "economic chaos," and wonder why Schlesinger should give away in advance, nay even suggest, such an invasion of our constitutional rights. In fact, he might have disturbing thoughts about Heroic Leadership and about the part played by liberalistic ideologues like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in justifying such illiberal, not to say unconstitutional, tactics even before the Heroic Leaders themselves have attempted them.

Why '24' isn't on Sunday

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Moral Intelligence

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser ran in our Catholic Herald. Relying on the work of James Hillman, Fr. Rolheiser asserts that "moral intelligence" or depth of character comes from our inferiorities, failures, and humiliations.
Indeed, Jesus' struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane, his asking God three times to spare him from the pain and humiliation of being crucified, was precisely his own reluctance to accept that a certain kind of depth can only be arrived at by journeying through a certain kind of humiliation.

More conventionally this reluctance was attributed to the Lord's human nature rather than to a lack of depth of character.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

A Stranger in Camelot by Edward Hirsch, review of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage, The New York Times, December 16, 2007

Who has the gall? by Frank Kermode, review of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Bernard O’Donoghue, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Simon Armitage, London Review of Books, March 8, 2007

The Sport of Easter, by Peter J. Leithart, First Things, April 2003

The Poem as Green Girdle: Commercium in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by R. Allen Shoaf (1984)

He's defender of faith-based efforts

Tom Heinen interviews James Towey,
former director of President Bush's faith-based initiative, ... . [He] was in Milwaukee to speak on "God and Government: Helping the Poor Without Hurting the Constitution" at the Cousins Center in St. Francis as part of the Milwaukee Archdiocese's Pallium lecture series.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Back from boarding

Taking advantage of what might be the last good day for winter sports, we took off yesterday afternoon to go to Alpine Valley. My wife took a break from skiing to video me demonstrating that my skill level is, at least, one step up from standing on a snowboard.

Sorry, your browser doesn't support the embedding of multimedia.

Pioneer Malone put her heart into her headcheese

Amy Rabideau Silvers in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the death of local sausage entrepeneur Glorious Malone.


Thursday, March 8, 2007


the numbers of people willing to get out of bed on a Sunday morning to attend a Church that defines its charism as "facilitating the conversation" are probably rather small.
--Jim Naughton

(via Midwest Conservative Journal)

(see NPR at prayer)


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Robert Frost

Recommended reading:
by Robert Frost at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Andrew Smith, Stopping by a Church on a Snowy Evening, by Christopher S. Johnson, Posted on 3/8/2008 4:50:41 AM, Midwest Conservative Journal

Inside the cluttered mind of a genius by Robert Fulford, National Post, August 14, 2007 (via Poetry News)

He only made it look easy by Meghan O'Rourke, review of The Notebooks of Robert Frost edited by Robert Faggen, Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The other other Frost, by William Logan, The New Criterion, June 1995

Robert Frost: 1875-1963 by Robert Lowell, The New York Review of Books, February 1, 1963

Russia capable of hitting US missile shield: general

I thought this AFP report would say our anti-missile missiles might be vulnerable to Russian anti anti-missile-missile missiles, but instead,
Russia's bomber force would have no trouble destroying planned US missile defense sites in Europe, its head said Monday as the country's security council warned of new policies to counter NATO.

(Drudge Report)

Veiled ambitions

The Economist reviews Nuns: A History of Convent Life by Silvia Evangelisti. The book focuses on 16th and 17th century Europe.
Noble girls were sent there because it was cheaper and easier than finding a husband for them: the dowry due was sometimes as little as one-tenth of the average marriage-portion in a wealthy house. The girls trooped in in crowds. In Florence, between 1500 and 1800, almost half of the female elite lived in convents; in Milan, three-quarters of the daughters of the aristocracy could be found with rosaries and wimples, piously enclosed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Catholic guilt

for some Catholics, lapsed Catholics and even non-Catholics, the term is used to express a sense of "liberation" from what they see as a misguided, outdated, or misinterpreted moralism; for others, it connotes a dismissive or belittling attitude toward traditional Catholic moral teachings, or an attempt to "psychologize" or "secularize" what they see as authentic spirituality.


Emile M. Cioran

He was the greatest genius of aphorism in the history of philosophy, and he was the greatest monster of despair. --Joseph Bottum, Words of Nectar and Cyanide, First Things, May 2009

The trouble with being Cioran, by Sam Munson, The National, April 30, 2009, review of Searching for Cioran, by Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): Portrait of the Philosopher as a Young Man, review by Zbigniew Janowski, of An Infamous Past: E.M. Cioran and the Rise of Fascism in Romania, First Things, February 2006

Planet Cioran: Life and Works, by Jan Van Biervliet

The model candidate

It is far better to confront critics than to avoid them.

In Britain, during the Margaret Thatcher era, the conservative prime minister's Cabinet members did interviews even with the publication Marxism Today. They were willing to confront their critics. They enjoyed the clash of ideas. They relished the opportunity to prove that they were without fear, and they dared their critics to distort their words.

That's the sort of swashbuckling politics that Obama and the other men and women who would be president owe the United States.

--The Capital Times (Feb. 27, 2007)

They knew Bob LaFollette; Bob LaFollette was a friend of theirs; but Bob LaFollette was no Margaret Thatcher.

Churches must take leadership on the streets

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan writes in this "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald on what the Church can do to help the City of Milwaukee with its many problems, including,
I want us as a church to strengthen what we already do well. It’s not that the church has abandoned the city. You know better: our soup kitchens, shelters, counseling services, job placement centers, housing, parishes, schools, adult education programs, youth outreach, child care centers, health clinics and hospitals, services to elders, our volunteers, twinning between parishes, and prison ministries are excellent, respected, and valued. We’re not starting from scratch.

No, but we're starting from a lot farther back. Here's Archbishop Weakland in the "Herald of Hope" November 22, 2001.
We consolidated many churches in the Central City and I have no regrets about having to do so. It was not psychologically and spiritually good to have fewer people worrying about the upkeep of so many buildings constructed for a Catholic neighborhood population that was quadruple the number now living there.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Darwin's God

Robin Marantz Henig had this article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine on the relationship between science and religion. I got to read it that morning and teach my tenth grade Sunday School class that night. Henig wrote,
In 1997, Stephen Jay Gould wrote an essay in Natural History that called for a truce between religion and science. "The net of science covers the empirical universe," he wrote. "The net of religion extends over questions of moral meaning and value." Gould was emphatic about keeping the domains separate, urging "respectful discourse" and "mutual humility." He called the demarcation "nonoverlapping magisteria" from the Latin magister, meaning "canon."

My Sunday School textbook informs us that
The "canon" of the scriptures comes from the Greek word kanon meaning "measuring rod" or "norm". (p. 76)

and, in the Glossary,
Magisterium - The teaching office of the Church. ... (p.230)

This latter term coming from the Latin magister, meaning "teacher". There might be circumstances where a teacher or schoolmaster would be referred to as a Canon, but Henig's use of it here obscures Gould's point.


John Calvin

The depraved genius of John Calvin: ‘Calvinist’ has become a dirty word, used to describe especially dour people. We have forgotten that John Calvin was not only a severe Christian but also a key figure in the intellectual making of the modern world, by Dolan Cummings, The Spiked Review of Books, July 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

because we are so convinced of the all-pervasive character of human sinfulness, we have made it one of our special Calvinist callings to keep reminding other Christians that there is no dimension of our created life that does not afford a real—and often deceptively subtle—opportunity for rebellion against the will of God. In particular, then, while we have no problem admitting that the erotic aspect of our lives was a part of the creation that God originally called good, we also want to point to the real danger that under sinful conditions the erotic can also become a staging area for a violation of the Creator’s purposes. --Richard J. Mouw, Surprised by Calvin, First Things, March 2009

Theology Geek joke by Deacon Scott Dodge (via Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Rushdoony's Critique of Calvin's Geneva, Chalcedon

Humanist Reformer, review by T. M. Moore of Calvin: A Biography, by Bernard Cottret, First Things, April 2001

Calvin and the Christian Calling, by Alister McGrath, First Things June/July 1999

New condo tower brings height you won't hate

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel architecture critic Whitney Gould in her "Spaces" column today says
almost anytime someone here proposes a tall building outside the central business district - even a building that by big-city standards isn't terribly tall - the old not-in-my-backyard hackles go up.

What do those hackles say?
Out of character, out of scale, we're not Chicago, there goes the neighborhood - well, you know the litany.

So you might assume she will now show how "a tall building outside the central business district" refutes that criticism.
Case in point: The new University Club Tower, 825 N. Prospect Ave., a 36-story condo spire just south of E. Kilbourn Ave.

Later she explains that the building is white because of "the white icons nearby" including "the U.S. Bank Building". Which is the tallest building in Wisconsin. Discussing the high price of condo units in the new building, she says
(...That Milwaukee can support such pricey pads testifies to the vigor of the downtown renewal.)

So this is a tall building inside the central business district, irrelevant to answering the "litany" of criticisms.

Was Repressed Memory a 19th-Century Creation

This Washington Post article by Shankar Vedantam ran in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
when researchers recently mounted an exhaustive effort to find examples of trauma-related amnesia in literary works before the 19th century, they drew a blank. If repressed memories are one way the brain deals with painful memories, why would there be no literary examples of the phenomenon that are more than 200 years old?

Earth's Crust Missing In Mid-Atlantic

Scientists have discovered a large area thousands of square kilometres in extent in the middle of the Atlantic where the Earth’s crust appears to be missing. Instead, the mantle - the deep interior of the Earth, normally covered by crust many kilometres thick - is exposed on the seafloor, 3000m below the surface.

Vindicating the cancellation of Project Mohole.

(via Drudge Report)

Archdiocese won’t contest judge's order to release records

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in our Catholic Herald on her telephone interview of Kathleen Hohl, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, about the documents from the settled California cases. The building that their respective offices were in is being sold to pay part of the settlement, but otherwise all is well.


What made fascism different from earlier dictatorships was the presence of a mass party that monopolized power through its security services and the army and that eliminated all other parties, using considerable violence in the process. The new style of party was headed by a leader who had virtually unlimited power, was adulated by his followers, and was the focus of a quasi-religious cult. The party's doctrine became an obligatory article of faith for not only its members but for all other citizens and was constantly projected by means of a powerful propaganda machinery.
--Walter Laquer, Fascism: Past, Present, Future (1996) p. 14

Update: What is fascism? by Jon at Exurban League,
By the way, here is Goldberg’s definition [Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism]: “Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy.”


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Ramp it up, CEOs tell Milwaukee 7

Part of Milwaukee's culture is the perennial cry that some something needs to be done to get Milwaukee moving in the right direction. Perhaps the local history museum could have "through the decades" exhibits: Recent Shocking Murders Show Something Needs To Be Done! Dropout Rates Show Something Needs To Be Done! Loss Of Businesses Shows Something Needs To Be Done! With your paid admission you'd get a replica Milwaukee! Talk It Up! button.

This article by John Schmid in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells of a likely future item for the business climate exhibit, the recent meeting of the Milwaukee 7 (M-7), a committee set up to encourage business development in the metropolitan area.
In the middle of a quarterly M-7 meeting, amid a plastic-fork breakfast, Zore [Edward Zore, chief executive of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.] spoke graciously about the region's quality of life before making a more chilling point: that his company, the area's largest private employer, would bypass Milwaukee today if it were choosing to relocate from elsewhere.

Might make a nice diorama. They can be wearing "Milwaukee! Ramp It Up!" buttons.

P.S. Is this a Milwaukee promo, or do you have to be born here to appreciate it?

P.P.S. Now that businesses will be pouring in, they should have their employees look carefully when deciding where to live. For example,
"Legally, a homeowner cannot even change a faucet without a permit, because you are exposing yourself to the water system, or touch the wires for a new light fixture," says Todd Weiler, public information and training coordinator for the City of Milwaukee's Department of Neighborhood Services.

"Democrats Will Do For America What the UAW Has Done for Chrysler, GM and Ford"

Mickey Kaus (March 3, 2007 3:36 P.M.) wonders
Do Democrats really want to campaign in 2008 on eliminating the secret ballot in union elections? Luckily, they'll probably be saved by Mitch McConnell. ... P.S.: Only 7% of private sector workers are now unionized. Is that a) because of all that employer foul play (what Dems tell each other inside the cocoon) or b) because the ponderous legalistic and adversarial structure of the Wagner Act--advancement by seniority, due process, work rules, labor-management negotiation--is especially unsuited to competing in a tumultuous, innovating economy that prizes flexibility and adaptability over predictability and job security? ...

For an example of the Democrats' "cocoon" he links to Daily Kos but dotCommonweal would serve as well.

Update: More from Kaus

This divorce attorney promotes marriage

Maryangela Layman Roman interviews Kelly Dodd as another of the "People of Faith" series in our Catholic Herald.
"In the hundreds of divorces I’ve done, I’ve probably seen one that would be morally justified," she said ...

"Most of the divorces I see boil down to one single, common denominator, and it is selfishness usually bred from an unrealistic expectation of marriage which leads to an unrealistic expectation of divorce," she added.

Fr. Thomas Suriano disputed this in a letter published in the March 1, 2007 issue (print only).
Simply put, that is nowhere near my experience in these situations in my 42 years as a busy priest.

My experience is usually something like this: a spouse or spouses who try and try and try again--often against all hope and with plenty of prayer and counseling included--to make the marriage work and who do so unselfishly and at great personal cost. Frequently others close to them recognize before they do that this marriage cannot last. Finally, amid great pain, feelings of failure, and profound sadness, one of them files for divorce.

Important: some of those individuals have felt new trauma to read their heart-breaking efforts described in the manner quoted above.

Let's call in a tie-breaker, perhaps You, Sir.
Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Fr. Suriano's parish is St. Patrick's in Whitewater. He's got me wondering how many more unstated exceptions there are when its Mission Statement says its people "represent Christ to the world" and "proclaim the word".


As in "illegal alien"
I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children. An alien to me is someone from out of [sic] space.
--Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami

(via Michelle Malkin)


Prince Valiant February 4, 2007

Look quick, this strip is featured only for the month of March. Prince Valiant is still done in a style based on that of Hal Foster, a style admired not only by readers but by fellow artists.
Even the great Disney artist, Carl Barks once said that he kept Foster's water scenes as reference because he was the only one who could get it right.

It struck me that this particular Prince Valiant strip might, in turn, be paying tribute to Barks' Scrooge McDuck in his money bin.

Tennessee Williams

Authors' Calendar, by Petri Liukkonen

'I am such a snivelling coward' by Phillip Hensher, review of Notebooks by Tennessee Williams, The Telegraph, February 25, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Tennessee Williams, The Mississippi Writers Page

Tennessee Williams, American Masters, PBS

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Gumbleton: Nothing but the truth

Sister Joan Chittister in her "From Where I Stand" column in National Catholic Reporter decried the "The resignation/removal/whatever of Bishop Gumbleton" as auxiliary bishop of Detroit.
First, bishops are required to tender their resignation to the Roman pontiff at the age of 75. There's nothing wrong with that. ...

And so she continues on the assumption that Bishop Gumbleton had promptly tendered his resignation. As you might recall, he did not.

Jet Jaguar Music Video

This takes me back to when the family would gather in front of the television on Saturday evening to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. One episode featured Godzilla v. Megalon, with the robot "Jet Jaguar". At the end of the show, Joel, Crow and Tom Servo provided this subtitled version of the movie's closing song.

When I first saw it, it was one of the times I've laughed until it hurt.

Web Site Documents a Crisis

Chuck Colbert reports in National Catholic Reporter on the work of Terence McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle, and they republished the article at their Bishop Accountability organization.

Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses

Bishop Richard J. Sklba writes in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald on the episcopal bureaucracy and the parish fantasy.
When the newspaper reports, therefore, that the bishops voted one way or another, it might be helpful to know that every action comes from a committee and each committee has its own circle of experts and consultants. Obviously the challenge is to make sure that any group of advisors contains adequate representation from each of the legitimate diverse viewpoints. It might be smoother if all are always of one mind or represent a single school of thought, but such single-minded advice may not always be the most helpful in the long run. That is certainly true of local parish councils, too.

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Feeling of pleasure from watching a television commercial you can't stand.

See hathos.
Hathos is the attraction to something you really can't stand; it's the compulsion of revulsion. I feel that way about Bill O'Reilly.
--Andrew Sullivan

(via Althouse)


Friday, March 2, 2007

Great Fire Wall of China

Claims to be able to
Test any website and see real-time if it's censored in China!

My URL is blocked, they say.

Journal Sentinel going newsletter?

The paper seems to be getting thinner. I noticed that Monday's could be folded up to fit in a standard business envelope.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel February 26, 2007
Okay, it's still a little too big to fit. But if making it smaller is part of changing to serve us better, it can't be too long before it's improved enough that it will fit.

Sex and the City

saga of (improbably) well-off, catty and over-the-hill sluts in the big city.
--Russell Wardlow

(via Relapsed Catholic)


The Ninety-Nine and the One

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser appeared in our Catholic Herald. He gets letters, and takes up a particular criticism.
So why do I write the way I do? Why, as my critics put it, "the invariable bent toward the secular"?

My answer: Because I am trying to be a missionary and missionaries have been asked, by Jesus himself, to leave the ninety-nine and go after the one.

Yet his web site says his column
appears in more than 65 Catholic newspapers worldwide, reaching a million and a half readers each week.

John Henry Newman

Economics in Newman’s University, Part II, by Gabriel X. Martinez, First Principles, June 3, 2009

Economics in Newman’s University, by Gabriel X. Martinez, First Principles, June 1, 2009

John Henry Cardinal Newman to be beatified, Catholic News Agency
(via Nathaniel Peters at First Things)

See Beatification of Rosmini: wonders never cease, December 12, 2007

Cardinal Newman for Ash Wednesday by Edward T. Oakes, S.J., On the Square, February 21, 2007, 10:35 AM

A Literary Revolution, by Gerald J. Russello, review of The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845-1961: Newman, Hopkins, Belloc, Chesterton, Greene, Waugh, by Ian Ker, Crisis, April 2004

'Questions of Truth and Falsehood Never Entered His Imagination!': The Double Irony of Frank Turner's John Henry Newman, review by Joshua P. Hochschild, New Pantagruel, Winter 2004

Newman's Liberal Problem, by Edward T. Oakes, First Things, April 2003

Newman on the Personal, by John F. Crosby, First Things, August/September 2002

Apologia pro Newman, a review by Paul Dean of The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman, edited by Frank M. Turner, The New Criterion, June 1996

The Prudence of John Henry Newman, by M. D. Aeschliman, First Things, August/September 1994

Meditation on Newman's Grammar of Assent, by Stanley L. Jaki, Faith and Reason, Spring 1989

The Attack of Orestes A. Brownson on Newman’s Development Theory, by Germain Swisshelm,, Essays on United States Church History, December 1959

Society for the Study of Cardinal Newman (via Cathleen Kaveny at dotCommonweal)

Newman Reader: Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

The Cardinal Newman Society

Thursday, March 1, 2007

L'Eggo My Lego

Maureen Martin at TCS Daily notes an article in Rethinking Schools [print only] about Seattle teachers who temporarily banned Legos from the classroom.
The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

The ban was lifted, conditionally.
At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes."

All and all you're just another little plastic brick in the wall.

(via Sykes Writes)

March 6, God and Government:

Helping the Poor without Hurting the Constitution
Jim Towey, former White House assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, 2002-2006

is the first of the three speakers in the 2007 Pallium Lecture Series.
Lectures are free, open to the public, and begin with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. in the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center, 3501 S. Lake Dr., St. Francis. A reception follows all lectures.

The other lectures are:

March 29: "The Church and Its Mission: In Good Times and Bad", Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.

June 12: "Faith and Reason: Why We Do Good", Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

Creative Destruction

The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from new consumers' goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates. ...

...mutation--if I may use that biological term--that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.
--Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (3rd ed. 1950) Ch. VII

Update: Heavy Thinker, review by Robert M. Solow of Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction by Thomas K. McCraw, from The New Republic Online, July 12, 2007