Saturday, October 4, 2008

Apophis - Asteroid

And in the "News I Don't Think I'll Be Around to See" category, here's a note of bad cheer: Deadly date with a dark god:
It’s only a speck, in comparative terms smaller than a dust mote in the vast expanse of sky all around us, but it’s got the scientists worried. The worries grow by the day, as the speck looms larger on their radar.

Astronomers call it 99942 Apophis (the Greek name of the ancient enemy of the Egyptian sun god Ra) or Asteroid 2004 MN4 and it’s hurtling towards planet Earth at some 20,000kph. It could result in the mother of all collisions in 2036.Seen through a powerful telescope, it’s just a white dot in the night sky, but Apophis is a 20-million-tonne asteroid. That’s a lot of real estate, and if it hits, it’ll make the most powerful nuclear explosion look like a child’s firecrackers.
Apophis’ date with Earth is tentatively estimated at April 13, 2036.The chances of a consummation have been rated at 1 in 45,000, somewhere in the Pacific, off the North American coast. If that happens, the disaster will be planet-wide, dwarfing anything in known history, whether it is the destruction of Krakatoa (1883), the Tunguska explosion (1908) that felled more than 80 million trees in an 830-square-mile region of Siberia, or the much milder 2004 tsunami.

NYT - Liars

Nice try, pagans dissemblers.

Cantalamessa - Vineyard Then and Now

Gospel Commentary for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, OCT. 3, 2008 ( The immediate context of the parable of the murderous tenants of the vineyard is the relationship between God and the people of Israel. It is to Israel that God first sent the prophets and then his own Son.

But similar to all of Jesus’ parables, this story has a certain openness. In the relationship between God and Israel the history of God’s relationship with the whole of humanity is traced. Jesus takes up and continues God’s lament in Isaiah, which we heard in the first reading. It is there that we find the key to the parable and its tone. Why did God “plant a vineyard” and what are the "fruits" that are expected, which God will come to look for?

Here the parable does not correspond to reality. Human beings do not plant vineyards and dedicate themselves to its care for the love of the vines but for their own benefit. God is different. He creates man and enters into a covenant with him, not for his own benefit, but for man’s benefit, out of pure love. The fruits that are expected from man are love of God and justice toward the oppressed: all things that are for the good of man, not God.

This parable of Jesus is terribly relevant to our Europe, and in general to the Christian world. In this context, too, we must say that Jesus has been “cast out of the vineyard,” thrown out of a culture that proclaims itself post-Christian, or even anti-Christian. The words of the vineyard tenants resound, if not in the words at least in the deeds, of our secularized society: “Let us kill the heir and the inheritance will be ours!”

Read all …

Friday, October 3, 2008

"It's About Real Babies"

Amy Welborn reminds us of what we wish was obvious in this season of straw men: Remember: it’s about real babies. [ht: New Advent]

Pope Praises Faithful in Post-Communist Lands

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, recently acclaimed the faithful in post-communist lands.
In addresses in Italian and Russian, the Holy Father invited the bishops to be grateful that communist repression had not extinguished the faith of their peoples, thanks to the "zealous sacrifices of priests, religious and laypeople." He was addressing prelates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

He went on to acknowledge that the prelates generally minister to very small Catholic communities. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, 2004 statistics showed only 500 Catholics in the apostolic administration. The "sui iuris" mission of Turkmenistan reported only 50 Catholics that same year.

Thus, the Pontiff called on the prelates to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to draw from their past experiences.

"Continue to educate everyone in listening to the word of God and foster Marian devotion and love for the Eucharist, especially in the young," he said. "Encourage families to pray the rosary. Patiently and courageously seek new ways and methods of apostolate, making it your concern to modernize them according to today's demands, bearing in mind the language and culture of the faithful entrusted to you care." Read all here.
In the West, we may be facing not so much communist repression as socialist in the coming decades; a kind of 'battle of the pagans,' if you will allow. But just as the Orthodox priests and babushkas kept alive the faith till repression lifted, may our faithful Shepherd, Benedict, our bishops, priests, and religious continue to lead us in these darkening days.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pilgrims and Searchers Welcome

Drexel University's tony literary website, The Smart Set, features a nice piece on what continues to be a destination of pilgrims from every walk of life for 1,300 years. Literally.

Perhaps, just perhaps, they will learn a lesson from the origins of Christendom.

Whose Got Your Back

Today is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Our Lord says in the Gospel,
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Have you thanked your Guardian Angel today?

Constant Vigilence

A prophet once sat in the stillness of an hot, arid day and saw in a brilliant blue sky a single cloud, "no larger than a man's hand." It prompted him, inspired by the Spirit of the LORD, to prophesy important matters to the people Israel.

Too, from very small stones falling can avalanches begin. Like this story.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Islamists began demolishing an old Roman Catholic church in southern Somalia on Tuesday to replace it with a mosque, and vowed to do the same with all other non-Muslim places of worship they find in the area.

Gunmen killed Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian nun, in Mogadishu in 2006. She was buried in Kenya.

Gunmen killed Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian nun, in Mogadishu in 2006. She was buried in Kenya.

The act -- and the threat -- were the latest show of strength by the growing Islamic insurgency in and around the southern port of Kismayo. Somalia's third-largest city has been in the control of al-Shabab, a powerful Islamist faction, since August.

Sheik Hassan Yakob Ali, a spokesman for al-Shabab, said the city's residents had knocked down a wall of the century-old Italian church, which has not been used for at least 18 years. No one was hurt in the demolition, Ali said.

He said the city administration will finish the demolition job over the next few days and replace the building with a mosque.

"We have demolished a Christian church," Ali told The Associated Press. "And we'll replace it with an Islamic mosque. We will demolish all similar Christian cathedrals and other places of worship for Christians, Buddhists and other religions."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Foreign Money to Big O Campaign

Can someone tell me why why this isn’t reported by the MSM and dealt with swiftly, if it is true? [ht: Karen Hall]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux - October 1

"I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." These are the words of Theresa of the Child Jesus, a Carmelite nun called the "Little Flower," who lived a cloistered life of obscurity in the convent of Lisieux, France. [In French-speaking areas, she is known as Thérèse of Lisieux.] And her preference for hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Few saints of God are more popular than this young nun. Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, is read and loved throughout the world. Thérèse Martin entered the convent at the age of 15 and died in 1897 at the age of 24.

Life in a Carmelite convent is indeed uneventful and consists mainly of prayer and hard domestic work. But Thérèse possessed that holy insight that redeems the time, however dull that time may be. She saw in quiet suffering redemptive suffering, suffering that was indeed her apostolate. Thérèse said she came to the Carmel convent "to save souls and pray for priests." And shortly before she died, she wrote: "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Is this how the Jungsturm got started? UPDATE: Youtube pulled the video of children singing the praises of the mighty O. Fancy that.
[ht: Drudge Report]

Saint Jerome (345-420)

Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is remembered too frequently for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

In order to be able to do such work, Jerome prepared himself well. He was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, trying always to find the very best teachers.

After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Michael, Gabriel and Raphael - Archangels

St. Michael, archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
"This prayer was known by every Catholic and prayed after every Mass—until the 60s. Exactly when Leo’s Church was struck with the incomparably swift disaster, which we have not yet named, but which future historians must: The disaster that has taken away half of our priests, three-quarters of our nuns, and nine-tenths of our children’s theological knowledge by turning the Faith of Our Fathers into the doubts of our dissenters in a miraculous reversal of Christ’s first miracle at Cana, turning the wine of the gospel into the water of psychobabble. An anti-miracle by the anti-Christ.

"The restoration of the Church, and thus the world, might well begin with the restoration of the Lion’s prayer and the Lion’s vision. Because this is the vision of all the saints, all the apostles, and Our Lord Himself—the vision of a real Satan, a real hell, and a real spiritual warfare."
- Peter Kreeft

Kreeft - How to Win the Culture War

Kudos to Mark Shea for this find: a transcription of Peter Kreeft's How to Win the Culture War lecture:
To win any war and any kind of war, I think the three most necessary things we must know are:

that we are at war;
who our enemy is; and
what weapons or strategies can defeat him.
We cannot win a war: first, if we are blissfully sewing peace banners on the battlefield; or second, if we are too busy fighting civil wars against our allies; or, third, if we are using the wrong weapons. For instance, we must fight fire with water—not fire.

So this talk is a very basic, elementary three-point checklist to be sure we all know this minimum at least.

I assume you wouldn’t be coming to a talk entitled “How to Win the Culture War” if you thought all was well. If you are surprised to be told that our entire civilization is in crisis, I welcome you back from your nice vacation on the moon.
Read all … By the way - you may be surprised to know who exactly it is who we are fighting ... If so, join me in a a forehead-slap and a hearty, "Of course! How foolish of me."

'Bella' Actor Rips Big O

.- The movie star Eduardo Verástegui has recorded a special video message to encourage Hispanic voters in the U.S. to put an end to abortion and to expose the radical abortion position of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Verástegui, who is perhaps best known in the U.S. for his pro-life film "Bella," presents his challenge to Latino voters by calling attention to the fact that most abortion clinics are located in Hispanic neighborhoods and that the Spanish media is saturated with pro-abortion advertising.

“Abortion is not only a lucrative industry; it is also used by people who are racist as a means to eliminate our people, since they consider us to be a threat to democracy in this country,” Verástegui asserts.

After noting that more than 3,000 babies are aborted each day in the U.S. and that 650 of those babies are Hispanic, the actor states that abortion is legal “because there are not enough men and women who raise their voice against abortion.”

Read all here. [ht: Annunciations]

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Teaching Earth Science makes one keenly aware of topics about space in the blogsphere. One that has caught my eye is this: Sunspots have all but vanished in recent years.

I avoid the superheated debate about climate change if at all possible, but regardless of CO2 build up, "hockey-sticks", and other bones of contention, one might be advised to do what Russian solar scientist, Oleg Sorokhtin, suggests: "Stock up on fur coats."

Millais - PRB

Return of the Dove to the Ark (1851) - John Everett Millais

1,000th Post

...through his Resurrection he was confirmed by God as the true Promised One and beyond that as God's final self-manifestation and self-giving to the world. What is manifest fulfillment in the Risen One remains an "earnest" for Christians...
- Hans Urs von Balthasar

To celebrate the 1,000th blog post here at Chronicles of Atlantis, I chose this double exposure I took over 20 years ago. It was taken on a Nikon FM2 and was a total mistake - or at least unintentional shot. The mosaic of the Risen Lord comes from the Resurrection Chapel of the National Cathedral Church of Sts Peter and Paul. The sunrise was looking east from my backyard in Winchester, Virginia.

I was astonished to see it when I got back the pictures after developing. It still amazes me today.

von Balthasar

The core of Christianity is simply history. God not only spoke into this history but embodied himself in a human destiny. The outlook to the end of history is lifted into a completely new hope: the hope for the salvation of mankind and the cosmos as a whole on the basis of God's free entering into all the darkness of the world's destiny. This is incomparable as an offer and a chance. If one falls out of it, one sinks back into Jewish messianisms and pagan paths of flight from the world.
-Hans Urs von Balthasar


I first heard the following quotation in a talk given by friend and mentor Gil Bailie. Later, I bought the slim volume written by Father Romano Guardini from which it came:
As unbelievers deny Revelation more decisively, as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies. He must learn to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through Him; he will have to learn to experience what this honesty means. Nietzsche has already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern World had no realization of what it truly meant to be without Christ. The last decades have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning.
- The End of the Modern World (1957)

Mighty O's Mad World

Just a reminder:
Creative Minority Report on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the sole presidential candidate who opposes it. (WARNING: Brief graphic image of a voiceless victim.) Moloch worship, crowd contagion, a false prophet, and demographic winter never looked so bad.

JUST A QUESTION: Do these people realize how ungrateful they are to their forebears - not to mention ungrateful to God - for the gift of new life?