Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chivalry on the Hudson

Chivalry proved to be very much alive on the flight, full of business executives from Bank of America, Wachovia and TIAA-Cref.

"Women and children first!" the men shouted as 85-year-old Lucille Palmer, on her way to celebrate her great-grandson's birthday, was helped to the front.

Sanderson hung back and helped a woman with a 6-month-old baby through the door. She stood on the wing with the child in her arms while people in the rafts yelled to her.

"Just throw the baby to me," one woman urged. She reluctantly dropped the infant down and was then helped into the raft.

Most people readily abandoned their coats and carry-on luggage - grabbing yellow life vests and seat cushions instead as they headed for the exits.

One woman wouldn't get off without her luggage and had to be shoved through the door, Sanderson said. He went back and retrieved her purse to calm her.

Sanderson said he was the last passenger off the plane. He ditched when a rescue boat bumped the disabled jet, sending more water cascading inside.

'God put me on that plane'

"God put me in there for a reason," he said at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, N.J., where he was being treated for exposure.

"I was supposed to take the later flight, and God put me on that plane."

Read more here.

Living and Loving in the Old West

In the present barometric atmosphere, displaying oneself to be a Christian in social settings of educated classes - not merely an ethnic Christian or one who cherishes memories of being taken to church long ago, but a practicing Christian - is reaching, if you will pardon the cliché, a tipping point. But, in my opinion, a good tipping point.

Not so long ago, even among the WaPo and NYT crowds, being a practicing Christian and saying so was similar to saying, "Of course NASA staged the moon landings in a hanger." But now, being a Christian - a steady-eyed, Ten Commandment practicing, Magisterium affirming, treat others the way you want to be treated Christian - is becoming something not of social opprobrium, but of curiosity and interest, at least here in the United States.

We have seen that Pope Benedict is correct: from Wall Street to Main Street, from the halls of our schools to the streets and highways, the vacuity of faith and morals has created a society-wide vortex of self-centered, bestial unconcern for the common good. The so-called smartest guys in the room were just the beginning; the bottom of the maelstrom is not yet even visible.

The worship of instincts and desire, too, continues its downward spiral with growing legal clout and arm-twisting enforcement of despising future generations of human life. The Christian faith and moral teachings about lifelong, faithful marriage between husband and wife, family as "domestic church" in which children are born and raised in love to become loving husband and wives and parents themselves seems under siege and under attack from every side.

Just as Christian life and teachings are two or three generations away from supposed viability, with many a sidelong glance, they are becoming something not stupid and outdated, but an alternative at least to be looked at once again.

So, when you go to Mass, follow the Golden Rule, work hard and well for your employer, practice chivalry, know that you are probably going to seem as quaint and old-timey as an Amish family strolling in Times Square. But know too that you are becoming an absolutely necessary witness for hurting and lost souls who are beginning to realize that fact about themselves.

We aren't here to be triumphalist. We're here to live and love in the ruins of the West as members of Christ's Body, the Church. And maybe, just maybe, help a few back to civility, sanity, and, yes, even salvation.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Mona Charen writes,
Regarding the plight of Gaza, remember this: Between 1948, when Israel was created, and 1967, when Israel captured Gaza in a defensive war, the Gaza Strip was administered by Egypt. During those 19 years, the Egyptians never offered citizenship to the Palestinians living in Gaza, nor did they permit them free transit from the Strip into Egypt proper. They did nothing to encourage the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. In fact, in 1958, Egypt’s President Nasser formally annulled the “All Palestine Government”—a remnant of the Palestinian state the Arabs had rejected in 1948. Egypt, like all of the other Arab states and, importantly, the U.N., chose to keep the Palestinians bereft and stateless—a permanent and growing dagger aimed at Israel.

When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Gaza’s residents had a golden opportunity to begin to build the sort of state they had claimed to desire. The Israelis even left behind the infrastructure to give the Palestinians a start: roads, houses, swimming pools, fish farms, nurseries, orchards, and factories. The Palestinians chose to kill one another (see Jonathan Schanzer’s new book, Hamas vs. Fatah) and to fire missiles across the border at Israel instead. Apologists like Columbia’s Rashid Khalidi protest that Israel continued to control sea lanes, borders, and air space around Gaza and cut off aid after the Palestinians elected Hamas. Well, Hamas didn’t seem to have any trouble importing longer- and longer-range Iranian missiles despite Israel’s blockade. And in any case, despite the advice of some hardliners in Israel, the Israeli government continued to permit humanitarian supplies to come through.

Since the start of 2007, 16,000 civilians have been killed in fighting. Not in Gaza, so you may have missed it. It was in Somalia, where an Islamist movement is fighting Ethiopian troops. This is the 18th year of civil strife in that country.

In Sri Lanka, some 70,000 people have perished in a civil war that has flared on and off since 1983. The regime in Burma has killed thousands and forced an estimated 800,000 into involuntary servitude.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), 45,000 people are dying every month. Nearly 5.5 million have died since 1998 in a conflict that grew out of the violence in Rwanda and spread. Half of those deaths were of children under the age of five, according to the International Rescue Committee. The violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused more human devastation than any conflict since World War II.

In Darfur, Sudan, more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made homeless by violence.

To cite these sad data is not to suggest that suffering is tolerable in any particular case—but merely to observe that the world is strangely blinkered in choosing the tragedies to which it responds ...
Read all of Camera-Ready Victims - Hamas practices human sacrifice; the world shrugs. [ht: Dawn Eden]

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Maunder Minimum

It looks like a Little Ice Age again.

Aristotle and Who?

Aristotle and Phyllis (courtesy: Daniel Mitsui)

Once upon a time, the rumor was spread that Alexander was kept from his nightly drinking sessions with his friends, his best bud, Hephaistion, and even excercising his legendary horse, Bucephalas, by his wife, Phyllis, who was thought to be a woman of great beauty and infinite female wiles.

Hearing this, his tutor, Aristotle, he of great learning, came to investigate, thinking that he might talk reason to this hussy.

But when Aristotle got there, he found, not a brainless-looking sexpot, but a serious-looking young woman, with her hair in a bun, reading a scroll.

"Madam, I am Aristotle, your husband's tutor. I'm here to talk about these rumors that you've been keeping him from carrying out his affairs."

"Yes, I've been looking forward to talking to you about that. What, specifically, is the problem?"

"Well, for starters, you've been keeping him away from his army buddies. They haven't seen him at the tavern of late, and suspect that you might be um, coercing him into staying home."

"I do not know what you mean by "coercion", but I have a good reason for what I do. He drinks, sir, often to excess. He stays up all night with these men, and I'm afraid that it might be affecting his ability to run the Empire. He should be home, reading reports and doing his work, not carousing and wasting time in empty amusements."

"I didn't know that was the case. But surely, his best friend, Hephaistion Amyntoros, is a worthy companion. You couldn't keep them apart in good conscience."

"Perhaps you think so. I happen to know something about their relationship ... I've been told that these Greek men often make lovers of their friends, when they're young, and sometimes these friendships outlast youth. That may be, but I should think that his wife and family duties should take precedence over such childish games. If he spends all his... time with Hephaiston, there's little left for us. A father and husband should take interest in his household, and so, I've persuaded him to remain with me."

"That may be so, but I've even heard that you are keeping him from excercising Bucephalas. That, you must agree, is going too far."

"His horse." She paused and frowned. "Now, I suppose I'll have to tell you about his horse."

Aristotle recoiled in horror. "What -- what does he do with his horse?" he asked very quietly at last.

"I -- I can't really tell you...." she replied, hanging her head and sighing.

"Perhaps...perhaps you could -- show me?"

"I suppose I could." She looked around. "But we would need to be somewhere private."

"Lead me into the inner courtyard. We'll be safe there."

Aristotle walked to the rack where saddles and tack were kept.

"Now pretend I'm the horse, and do everything that Alexander does, and perhaps I'll understand." Aristotle said, getting on all fours.

"Well, sir, he saddles the horse, like this...and he puts the bridle on, like this... and he mounts the horse, like this...Perhaps if you could move a few paces, over to that clear area..."

Aristotle obediently began to shuffle forward, Phyllis on his back, holding the reins. Some servants, watching, began to smile behind their hands.

At that moment, Alexander came walking by.

Aristotle looked up in alarm."It's not the way it looks...experiment..."he protested.

Taking in the scene, Alexander shouted:

"OH, NO, she's gotten to YOU, too?"

...rim shot.... [ht: Everything]

Not Worthy of Being Foundation for Law

This is an opportunity for you to dip into the immense wisdom of the Church regarding a super-heated theme today, gay marriage (sic.). Take the time to ponder deeply Cardinal Ennio Antonelli's statement; you will only get sound byte snatches from the MSM.

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 15, 2009 ( Here is a translation of a press statement released today by Monsignor Carlos Simón Vazquez, subsecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

* * *

Various interpretations have been made regarding the reference Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, made in his words at the opening of the Theological-Pastoral Congress of Mexico. The cardinal wanted to underline three important aspects:

1. Homosexuality is not a necessary component of society, as is the family. Society is organized around the relationship of the couple that is formed by a man and a woman. They find each other in conjugal life and in family life. In this sense, the couple and the family enter into the sphere of social life, and because of this, of civil law. The relationship between two persons of the same sex is not the same as the relationship of a couple that is based on the sexual difference. These two situations depend on structures that are not of the same nature...
Read all of Desire Cannot Be the Foundation for the Law.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In a State of Grace

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2008 ( There is no reason to fear anyone or anything, if we stay united to Christ, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in which he continued his reflections on St. Paul. Today, he looked at the "twin" letters of Colossians and Ephesians, concentrating particularly on a title given to Jesus in these epistles: Christ as head.

The Holy Father noted how this title is given to Christ in two senses: He is head of the Church and he is head of the cosmos.

He explained that Paul presents Christ as "the governor, the director, the one in charge who guides the Christian community as its leader and lord." In this role as head of the Church, he is also the one who "raises and vivifies all the members of the body of which he is head. [...] That is, he is not just one who directs, but one who is organically connected to us, from whom comes also the strength to act in an upright way."

Read all…

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The Knight of the Holy Grail ( 1912) - Frederick Judd Waugh

Singing Priests

Lady Athos gave me the CD of these singing priests for Christmas. I highly recommend it for your daily commute. Think of it as a multi-vitamin of truth, goodness, and beauty for the soul. Go here for some of their thoughts and reflections.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Much is a Trillion

Jill Fallon at Business of Life quotes Thomas Sowell:
One way to get some idea of the magnitude of a trillion is to ask: How long ago was a trillion seconds?

A trillion seconds ago, no one on this planet could read and write. Neither the Roman Empire nor the ancient Chinese dynasties had yet come into existence. None of the founders of the world's great religions today had yet been born.

That's what a trillion means. Put a dollar sign in front of it and that's what the current bailout may cost ...
How much is a trillion?

'Beware, we are coming!'

Thanks for the heads up. I needed to order more shells anyway.

After all, this has always been the historic means of 'evangelization' for the Scimitar.

Vietnam - Devotion to Our Lady

Asia News reports that Regimes change, but Vietnamese devotion to Mary remains firm.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Vietnam has had to face war since the country was first founded. The population was governed for a thousand years by China, for a century by the French, and for 50 years it was divided into two parts, the south and the north. But in every age and under every regime, Vietnamese Catholics have had a special devotion to their Mother Mary.

It is the same today. "When I find myself in difficulty," says Ngoc, a high school English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, "I always go to the image of the Virgin Mary in my parish. Also when I have problems in my family. I pray to Our Lady of Graces. The image of Mary is present in all families and parishes. Time passes quickly, but the Lady of peace is always standing in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady, or the Mother of Perpetual Help at the Redemptorists. In every town, village, and area where there are poor laborers, the people go to Mary and pray with and for each another."

One young woman, Thu, talks about her experience with her prayer group: "in my family, we pray together every evening, and also on the anniversary of the death of our relatives. We get together and recite the rosary. When I go to Mary, I feel peace in my heart, and this helps me to live and to demonstrate Christian charity in society. The Virgin has helped, sustained, and strengthened our faith in God."

In effect, the Vietnamese pray together as a family: whole towns and villages demonstrate their devotion to Mary. They pray, their songs resound, and the people of other religions get the idea that Catholics are good people, which brings their own children to the faith. Their children are not involved in drugs or crime and stealing, and they reduce the social problems in the area. The education of their families improves coexistence and development in society.

In many parishes, after the Mass, the faithful sing hymns to the Virgin before returning home. On the occasion of the month of the rosary, to honor Our Lady, in May and October, flowers are offered in the parishes, together with the recitation of the rosary and the singing of hymns. Vietnamese Catholics have eight centuries of devotion to Our Lady: with feudalism, capitalism, and socialism.

"Vietnam," a former professor in Hanoi explains to AsiaNews, "has many important remnants of devotion to Our Lady. These are closely connected to the country's history, and to every development of our Church. Mary is always present, she protects and helps the faithful, the Church, and all good-hearted people." He recalls that the Immaculate was brought in 1861 to the province of Nam Dinh, in the diocese of Bui Chu, at the time of King Tu Duc, who persecuted the Church and had many Catholics killed. In 1895, the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary was built in the province of Ninh Binh, in the diocese of Phat Diem. In 1991, John Paul II inaugurated a holy year there.

Then there is the national shrine in La Vang, in the province of Quan Tri, archdiocese of Hue. The history books and the volume on the Holy Land by La Vang say that this was also the location of the village of Co Vuu, the ancient name of an area of the parish of Dih Cat. The parish was instituted in 1777, at the time of King Canh Tinh. After this, there was the regime of Tay Son. Back then, in the province of Quango Tri (one of the poorest provinces, and the most harshly tried by war), the Catholics lived in peace and helped each other, but Nguyen Quang Toan of the regime of Tay Son had them arrested and cruelly killed. When King Tu Duc died,the movement of Can Vuong rose up in arms and became the movement Binh Tay Sat Ta, which means "they defeated the French and killed Catholics."

So the Church in Vietnam has spent a great deal of time under feudal kings and dictators of capitalism and socialism. But Our Lady is always present, she protects helps us, now as in the past. As the lunar new year approaches in Vietnam, we trust in God and in our Church. The good news has come among us. And now the major penitentiary, Cardinal Francis James Stafford, in the name of the Holy See has granted a year of plenary indulgence for all of the faithful of Vietnam who participate with devotion at the Mass and in other ceremonies for Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the parish of Thai Ha in Hanoi, from January 31 of this year to May 5, 2010, under the normal conditions of going to confession, receiving communion, and praying according to the intentions of the Holy Father.

Through this event, the Church and the faithful have unity, community, they pray, love, and help one another in the love of Jesus.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Sad Retreat

Robert Spencer posts a video of London Scimitar representatives following (chasing?) police during a street protest.

Is it a matter of perception? The protesters clearly use graphic f-bomb language, mocking the police shouting "Allahu akbar," throwing traffic cones and sticks and taunting them, calling them cowards and "kuffar".

Do the police think they are merely clearing a path, keeping the peace? At 5:50 they whack a head or two, but then the trotting and mocking continues.

If this is what happens when the street mobs of the Scimitar meet 9-1-1 today, what will happen when the numbers of the former grow even larger? Does the Christian remnant in the ruins of the West have anything other than a depleted emergency response network, crumbling courts, and a ghostly memory of a noble Christendom?

Poor Old England II

A young secular Jew in England, Francesca Segal, writes,
In August 2001, I turned 21 and my parents gave me a Star of David necklace. Then a month later, the world changed and my mother, with remarkable foresight, began her campaign to rescind the gift, begging me to take it off because she was frightened it would make me a target in the wake of mounting evidence that fanatical Islamism was tightening its grip on the country. My argument was always the same - when I am no longer safe being identifiably Jewish on the tube, I don't want to live in England ...

There has been a sea change in Europe and it's terrifying.
Read all …

Why No Knightly Presence Here?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Are we on the brink of a new Ice Age? Pravda reports it may be so. (They're also predicting the collapse of the United States soon as well.)

In Celebration of Naves

An awe inspiring tour of the highest naves in the world here.


Theodore Dalrymple writes,

Where does the fear in modern art of such qualities as beauty and tenderness towards the world come from? (I am talking here of art that achieves public notice and notoriety: there may be hundreds or thousands of excellent artists who fear neither beauty nor tenderness, but whose work goes unremarked.)

I think it has something to do also with our inflamed egotism, that requires that we should be entirely self-sufficient and autonomous, philosophically, morally, intellectually and economically.

Beauty is a fragile and vulnerable quality, and moreover one that is difficult to achieve; ugliness, by contrast, is unbreakable and invulnerable, and very easy to achieve. (How easy it is to look bad, how difficult to look good!) By espousing the ugly, we make ourselves invulnerable too; for when we espouse the ugly, we are telling others that ‘You can’t shock, depress, intimidate, blackmail, or browbeat me.’

We use the ugly as a kind of armour-plating, to establish our complete autonomy in the world; for he who says that ‘I find this beautiful,’ or ‘This moves me deeply,’ reveals something very important about himself that makes him vulnerable to others. Do we ever feel more contempt than for someone who finds something beautiful, or is deeply moved by, what we find banal, trivial or in bad taste? Best, then, to keep silent about beauty: then no one can mock or deride us for our weakness, and our ego remains unbruised. And in the modern world, ego is all.

Read all of Beauty and the Best.