Tuesday, February 28, 2006

One year anniversary for my blog!

Yes, one year this day was when I started posting this blog. If you wish, you can the first post here. Originally it was this blog was titled Third Positionist Review, until recently I changed it to its current name and address.

What a year it has been. I have commented on a wide range of topics, some of which you might not have even expected to find on a Catholic-based blog. The reputation of this blog has spread far and wide within many different circles, which is certainly good.

So what's so great about this blog, and why do so many people read it? Well I let my fans tell us in the comments section, since I hate self-promotion of ones blog.

I will say that one possible reason is the fact that one tends to find well thought out posts on topics that are not often addressed elsewhere. This was especially true with my post Europe and the Popes, in which I countered many arguments over the supposed need for a Third World pope and that future popes can and should be European. Honestly, where else could one find such arguments? Other than an occasional argument for an Italian pope, nowhere that I'm aware.

Also my recent post concerning ethnic-based churches, which is another issue not often addressed within Catholic circles.

Also I often give links to well-thought out commentaries that go against the mainstream of current opinion(which is incredibly shallow). And so on.

As usual, I'm short on words. But if any readers of this blog wish to give their own personal assessment of my job here, feel free to do so.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What Liberals like to call "Tolerance"

"Contemporary liberalism honors diversity and tolerance above all, but what it calls by those names is different from what has been so called in the past. Its diversity denigrates and excludes ordinary people, and its tolerance requires speech codes, quotas, and compulsory training in correct opinions and attitudes. Nor do current liberal totems and tabus have a clear connection with letting people live as they wish. Prohibitions, both grand and petty, multiply. To outsiders the rules often seem simply arbitrary: prayer is forbidden while instruction in the use of condoms is required; smoking and furs are outrages, abortion and sodomy fundamental rights."
-- Jim Kalb "Liberal Tolerance"

Rosary Crusade to save the soul of Europe!

Excellent idea from College Catholic. Help save European Christendom!

"The rosary is my weapon." "Our Lady has never refused me a grace through the recitation of the rosary." "Love the Blessed Mother and make her loved. Always recite the rosary."
--St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The racism of Liberalism

Lawrence Auster offers us a really insightful look into the evolution of modern Liberalism and its connection to racism. Of course the real irony is that Liberals are the ones always obsessed with screaming about "racism" all the time. In a previous post I even helped exposed the whole absurdity of many of these accusations.

However the truth remains that it is Liberalism that has always been racist in orientation; it's just a matter of whom they've been racist against. As Auster explains:
While some late 19th and early 20th century leftists saw Third-World peoples and cultures as obstacles to liberal Western progress that had to be eliminated, leftists after 1960 began to see white Western civilization itself as the main obstacle to liberal progress that had to be eliminated.
So all that's really changed in the last forty years or so is the fact that Liberals have turned 180 degrees and uphold racist attitudes against peoples of European descent (aka "white" people).

So yeah, next time you hear a Liberal talk about "racism", you'll know for sure that he is full of it.

Be proud of your heritage and don't let anyone denigrate it. Your heritage is an important part of who you are!

Has Le Pen betrayed France?

I would certainly hope not, but there have been some discussion about that over at View From The Right. It appears now that Le Pen is trying to placate to France's Muslim population. Considering the recent mess Muslims made throughout France, this makes little if any sense. Not only that, it is a betrayal to France's Catholic heritage and it's status as being " the Eldest Daughter of the Church". On a related note, it is reported that traditionalist Catholics make up 50% of Le Pen's support base, so these recent actions may cause some headaches for him.

I used to admire Le Pen very much, I felt he was a true French patriot. However it seems I'll probably have to place more faith in Philippe de Villiers.

Here are links to the discussions at hand:

Has Le Pen Surrendered To Islamization?

French Nationalists Who Consider Le Pen A Sellout

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Is the NSA really watching you?

There has been much concern over the recent revelations about the Bush administration allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens. Many people seem to be extremely afraid that the government is listening in on their word. Hopefully this information will help shed some light on this:

"[The NSA] does routinely collect vast amounts of data and that it is capable of targeting an individual telephone line or computer terminal on the other side of the planet. But, Hersh cautioned, 'active and retired NSA officials have repeatedly told me that the agency does not have the software to make sense out of more than a tiny fraction of the huge array random communications that are collected'...James Bamford agreed that speculation about the 'NSA being able to eavesdrop everywhere, anytime, everyone is completely not the case.' He broke down the winnowing process...If a single station gathers one million intercepts every half hour, Bamford said all but '6,500 are filtered out through these electronic filters.' Most of that 6,500 still do not meet what the agencies call 'forwarding criteria', so they will be thrown out too, leaving one thousand. 'Out of a million now you're down to about a thousand messages in this half hour. Those are the ones that actually get looked at a little more closely', Bamford explained. 'Sometimes it's just looking at it very quickly to see if it looks interesting, you know, just quickly going through it. Out of a thousand, they normally would get 10 that they find interesting, and out of that ten, there will usually be only one report that will come out."
-- Patrick Radden Keefe, Chatter : Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, pp. 113-114, 199-200

In other words, the chances of the NSA even wanting to spy on you are very slim indeed.

This does not mean that I endorse what Bush is doing, far from it. I certainly agree with Paul Craig Roberts when he denounces Bush's "criminal administration", although I feel he goes a little over-board in speculating that Bush has blackmailed the Democrats with information obtained by the NSA, hence why they've been putting up such weak and ineffective resistance to his policies. More likely the case of why the Democrats have put up such weak opposition to Bush is because they're incompetent!

The major point I'm trying to make is don't get overly paranoid. This is especially true in the case of Richard M. Smith, who offers some steps one can do to see whether or not "Big Brother" is really spying on you. Long story short: You set up separate e-mail accounts, one on an American server, the other on a foreign server. Then send an e-mail from one to the other and track the people watching it.

Concerning the e-mails you send between the two servers, I especially like the advice Smith gives us: "Send messages between the two accounts which might be interesting to the NSA." I don't know about you, but this sounds like something one would do if they deliberately wanted to attract the attention of the NSA. Not exactly the best advice.

So anyways, I hope I've helped calm some peoples' fears.

Why American "news" is pathetic!

"Journalists around the world are being targeted by suicide bombers, threatened with "hate crimes" prosecutions and thrown in jail for defending a free press from crazed Islamists.

You wouldn't know it from the circus-show antics of the American media...Yet, here we are, as embassies blaze and editors cower in fear and radical imams ululate against the West, watching our esteemed media go Looney Tunes over an isolated hunting accident.

Who do you think will have the last laugh?"
-- Michelle Malkin, "American clown journalism 101"

I usually don't care for Michelle Malkin, who in my opinion comes off as your all too typical Neo-Con loud-mouth. Nevertheless, she offers a very insightful commentary on the all too common idiocy of American "news". If Pakistan launched a nuclear attack against India, I'd sincerely doubt we'd hear about it if secret sex tapes involving Laura Bush (God help us if such tapes actually existed) were released to the public at the same time. Yet, as Malkin explains, this occurs in a nation that likes to pride itself on having a free press that gets to the bottom of any story. Well that's certainly true, it's just a matter of whether or not that story really matters!

In fact, I've noticed very little if any mention of the violence occurring around the world as a result of the Danish cartoons in American media outlets. Yet this is not new, it occurs with almost every major event around the world. This was especially true with the inept coverage of the riots in France done by American newspapers. Hence why I personally usually trust foreign media sources, like BBC, for my news.

At least BBC will spend at least a few minutes covering a certain story, as opposed to just 30 seconds or less as in American news. And ironically, I've usually much more insightful coverage and commentary from British news on even events occurring within the United States! This was especially true with Operation Iraqi Freedom and the '04 election.

So all in all, if you truly want to know what's really going on in the world, the last place to turn to for information is American news!

Something is not right in Denmark

Fidei Defensor offers us a two-part articulated analysis about the events surrounding the Danish cartoons and it relates to the state of Danish culture in general. He particularly concentrates on the relative decline of the state Lutheran Church, and how Catholicism is possibly the only force that can save Denmark from the Islamists.

Truly worth a read!

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Parts One and Two

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A clash of civilisations leading to a struggle for survival?

To all our readers, I repropose a letter of mine published today on The Times of Malta on the subject of the Muhammad cartoon controversies.

[Source: TimesofMalta.com]

Cartoons and double standards (1)

Edric Micallef Figallo, Nadur.

In relation to the Muhammad cartoon controversies, which were puerile and unwarranted, although not as much as the deplorable and disproportionate reaction which leaves many expressing doubts as to the actual motives behind it (especially considering the fact that the cartoons were published last October and not recently), I would like to quote Professor Luciano Amaral of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa who exclaimed:

"Christians in the West are forced to put up with incredible insults every day: Christ depicted as a homosexual, Mary as a prostitute, etc. And if they show the slightest indignation, they are subjected to a hailstorm of criticism from those who invoke the sacrosanct principle of free speech...all it takes is for a Danish newspaper to publish a few mediocre cartoons of Muhammad and you have half the intellectuals in the Western world discovering the religious sensitivity of Islam, doing penance, excusing the acts of violence by Muslims and reminding us how important it is to try to understand them, they who are taking a direct hit from the West's arrogance...

"The hatred that certain Western intellectuals harbour towards their own culture is one of the most fascinating phenomena of the contemporary world. If a civilization is no longer even capable of arousing the instincts necessary for its own survival, perhaps it no longer deserves to live."

The above is food for thought.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Slavic Apostles

Today is also the feast day for Ss. Cyril and Methodius, also known as "the Apostles to the Slavs". These two saints hold a special significance to Slavic Christians like myself. Not only did they bring the faith of Christ to our ancestors, they also made immeasurable contributions to the development of Slavic culture. This is especially true in the area of literature, where their work of translating the Bible and liturgy into Church Slavonic, along with developing the Cyrillic alphabet, laid the foundation for the great works of Slavic writers like Leo Tolstoy, Fydor Dostoevsky, Taras Shevchenko, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and many more.

It also comes as no surprise that the first organization to advocate the greater between all the Slavic nations was named in honour of these two saints!

Pope John Paul II (the first Slavic pope), has always paid homage to these two saints. This was especially true in his 1985 letter Slavorum Apostoli (The Apostles of the Slavs). Even in his last book, Memory and Identity, the late Pope explains the important impact Ss. Cyril and Methodius had not only on the Slavic peoples, but also on the universal Catholic Church, along with the shaping of European civilization. He explained that it was no accident that these two saints are the patron saints of Europe, along with St. Benedict.

So all Catholics should join their Slavic brethren in honoring these two great missionaries of Christ. After all, you do it anyways with the Irish when concerning St. Patrick!

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Well today is the day we honour the life of St. Valentine, whose life teaches us the meaning of true love. Catholic Cavemen give an intereting take on this holiday and how it has been perverted.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The mysterious ways of Muslims!

"Muslims seem to be outraged that their prophet, a symbol of peace, would be insinuated to be violet at his very core. So help me out on this one... the way to express your anger at such an insinuation and the way to show this to be inaccurate is to what? violently riot, threaten newspapers, government leaders, and civilians across the globe?"
-- Mark Jahnke, The Cruel Irony of Muslim Cartoon-Riots - Democracy of the Dead blog

Give them hell Philippe!

French politician Philippe de Villiers has recently decried "the progressive Islamisation of French society", and making his bid known for the upcoming presidential race in 2007.

Philippe de Villiers is the leader of the Movement for France (MPF), which believes in building a staunchly patriotic and Catholic France. It's also a movement that calls for strict restrictions on immigration, and is opposed to the E.U.(which is inaccurately described as "anti-European").

Another interesting point made is how de Villiers is apparently now ahead of Jean-Marie Le Pen in opinion polls. I certainly have nothing against Le Pen, but it does seem that de Villiers is more staunchly Catholic in his views.

So give them hell Philippe!

Magazine desecrates Our Lady of Czestochowa!

This infuriates me to no end! The magazine Machina decides to desecrate the most venerated of Polish icons by printing an image of none other than pop singer Madonna's face imposed over that of our Holy Mother, and the face of one of her children over that of the infant Christ.

Thank god, the Polish people are not taking this lightly. How dare they trash the rich religious and cultural heritage of Poland like that!

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa holds a special place in the hearts of all Polish people. Tradition even has it that it was St. Luke the Evangelist who created this wonderful image. Not to mention many miracles have been attributed to it.

I urge all Catholics to stand by their Polish brothers and sisters in protesting this outrageous act. And by protest, of course, I mean in constructive ways; for any potential smart-arses who might accuse me of being a hypocrite with my post "Why can't Muslims take a joke?".

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Stuck in the middle with you!

"As Christians and especially as Catholics, we are caught in between two powerful and destructive forces in the world. On the one hand there is the fanatical and radical Islam that is currently fueling riots throughout the world...On the other hand, we have the corrupt forces of a globalized decadent Western culture of pornography and materialism passing itself off as entertainment and commercial advertising. Between these two destructive forces, the Christian witness stands alone as the sane, viable alternative."
-- Oswald Sobrino, "Caught in Between" - Catholics in the Public Square blog

Globalists to the left of me, Jihadists to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Ethnic Churches Are Better

I must confess my general preference for ethnic-based churches over more cosmopolitan ones. Whenever I wish to attend a religious service, I always try to attend it at an ethnic-based church. Why is that you might ask? Well I have two basic reasons that to go to the heart of my world-view: 1) I am a staunch Catholic who takes my faith seriously and 2) I staunchly believe in the importance of upholding one's heritage. Now how on earth are those two related?

Well long-time readers of this blog may remember my post back in August which explained the relationship between religious devotion and national loyalty. I even typed a follow-up post the next day that further articulated my arguments. For the record I will repost the quote I posted in the follow-up:
"It may be futile and unrealistic to separate religion and ethnic identity. Many individuals behave as if their ethnic affiliation and professed religion are one and the same: to be born Croatian is to be born Catholic...There are few multireligious ethnic groups and their relative scarcity suggests that religion is the root of ethnic differentiations or that religious distinctiveness is a key to ethnic saliency."
-- Cynthia Enloe "Religion and Ethnicity"; Ethnicity edited by John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, pp. 199-200; 201
Well there you are. It's quite clear that many ethnic identities have been forged out of religious devotion as well. However, my previous posts discussing the strong links between ethnicity and religion seem to explain it from the perspective of how religion enriches the ethnic group. This post will seek to explain the same question from the opposite perspective, how the ethnicity enriches the religion.

There is no question that Catholicism is indeed a universal faith, but that does not mean it has to be a uniform faith. This perspective is especially found among us Eastern Catholics, who are well-known for mixing ethnic traditions with universal Catholic doctrine. As this website explains:
All the rites of the Catholic Church also hold the same dogmas; they are unequivocally united in faith and moral teachings, for they are all part of one Holy Mother Church. Yet their policies and practices often differ according to custom. This is a good and healthy thing; it shows that the One Truth of God can be celebrated in many different ways by various cultures.

I couldn't have said better myself. So ethnic traditions help show us Catholic the variety of ways in which we can express our faith. This is certainly a much more authentic form of religious "diversity" or "plurality" than that espoused by multi-culturalists nowadays; since their version usually means degrading age-old customs and traditions (more on that later).

The mixing of a peoples' particular traditions with the universal truths of the Christian faith is as old as the faith itself. Jesus himself identified closely with his own ethnic roots several times in the Gospels, especially in the Gospel of Matthew. When the question of whether or not non-Hebrew converts to the faith should obey Hebrew customs(like circumcision or obeying certain dietary laws), the Apostles determined that no they should not; they should be able to celebrate the faith within their own cultural traditions.

And from that day on, Christianity has spread to the far corners of the world by adapting itself to local customs. As this Orthodox-based article explains:"Roman, Greek, Syriac, Slavic, Indian, and other forms of Christianity came about as a result of a cultural fusion with the message of Jesus Christ." This process of adapting Church doctrines to local customs often goes by the term inculturation.

So how does inculturation help enrich the universal faith? Well, as mentioned above, it helps create a rich and authentic diversity within the universal Church. However, it's not restricted to just that. By merging ethnic and local traditions with the Church, you create a strong bond between man's two most deepest loyalties: loyalty to ones faith and loyalty to ones community. By serving your community you also serve your faith, and vice versa. There are too many examples of what happens when these two loyalties merge; but they all usually share the same characteristic: both loyalties complement and strengthen each other.

Interesting enough this is one reason why Steve Sailer believes the United States is more religious than many European countries, because "church services give Americans a rare opportunity to indulge in ethnic solidarity." Sailer sets this argument up against Fr. Andrew Greeley's argument that the reason is because American churches don't suffer from the same "inefficient and unmotivated government monopoly" as their European counterparts. To be fair, however, Sailer is not completely rejecting Greeley's argument, nor has Greeley completely ignored Sailer's.

In his book The Catholic Imagination, Greeley takes a sociological look at Catholic culture in America. The fourth chapter of the book deals exclusively with the Catholic concept of community. Greeley makes it clear that Catholicism is "a religion of community" and has always strived to be at the heart of community life. In particular, he points out the case of the Irish community in America; and how the Catholic Church played an immeasurable role in fostering their sense of ethnic pride. Yet at the same time, the Irish sense of themselves as an ethnic community also helped foster their devotion to the Church, especially since the Church was the major institution through which they could express their ethnic heritage.

However, since America lacked any official religious institutions, this strong link between religion and ones ethnic identity took on a more spontaneous form than what could often be seen in Europe. In Europe, there was often an official church and belonging to it was a matter of law. Not belonging to the official would've be interpreted as an act of treason. Although the church was often at the heart of a nation's identity, it was so in a more legalistic fashion. This was not the case with ethnic churches in America; one belonged to a church because they genuinely wanted to belong to that church, and not because they were forced to belong.

So it's quite clear that Greeley understands Sailer's argument perfectly well.

It was not only the Irish who intimately linked ethnicity with religious devotion in America. The same could be said of numerous other ethnicities: the Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, Rusyns, and even Orthodox peoples like Russians and Greeks. Of course even this is just a small list!

With the surrounding American culture pressuring these people lose their particular identities and be absorbed into the great "melting pot", these ethnicities often had no other institution to turn to than the Church, which also often the only significant link they had with the old country. So was within these circumstances that the strong link between ethnic identity and religion emerged within the American context.

So in many ways the arguments of Greeley and Sailer are both correct. It also helps explain the closer linkage between religion and ethnic identity found among ethnic diasporas in American then among many people back home in Europe. For example, the notion of a secular Polish identity would unthinkable to many Polish-Americans, yet many people in Poland might find that notion more reasonable. Again, going back to the issue of an official church; in Poland the Catholic Church has a more official position than it does in America. Although, it should be noted that First Things did an article showing the close relationship between the Polish national identity and Catholicism.

So I'm not arguing that a strong linkage between ethnicity and religion is completely lacking in Europe, far from it. Nor am I trying to argue anything about the relationship between church and state in this post. What I am saying is that for the most part, the linkage between ethnic pride and religious devotion has been more spontaneous in America than in Europe due to the lack of official religious institutions. Now when the major religious institutions of Europe started to come under assault from secularist forces, a more spontaneous link between the two forces did indeed emerge. This was especially true for the Catholic Church in France during the Revolution, and also with the churches under Communist rule. So this post is largely advocating the necessity of a strong link between religion and ethnic identity on a spontaneous level.

Anyways, getting back to topic. Since the church was the one major link between a community and its traditions, this also helped forge a general preference for more traditional forms of religious devotion. This remains very much true to this day, and one particular reason why I generally prefer ethnic churches. It also goes to the heart of why many churches have declined in recent generations.

For the most part, ethnic-based churches and communities were quite widespread within American society. If you were of Irish descent, chances are you grew up in an Irish neighborhood and attended services at a church with an distinctly Irish character. Not surprisingly, this was also a high-point for the Church.

It was not until World War II that this began to change. After the war, American society became much more mobile and as a result you would see people from different backgrounds moving into the same area. As a result, American society became much more cosmopolitan in nature; a society without roots. One could argue that it was this severing of peoples roots that made the social turnovers of the 1960's possible. Identifying oneself by your heritage became out of fashion, seen as being held hostage by the past.

Sadly, not only did this effect negatively upon ethnic identities, but also within the churches themselves. Inspired by "the spirit of Vatican II", rejecting age-old traditions within the faith became the order of the day. This was helped by the massive de-ethnization of many American communities, since as mentioned before upholding ethnic traditions was a major reason often for preferring more traditional rituals. In the new cosmopolitan society there was no need to uphold any traditions, ethnic or religious. It's ironic that it was done in the name of Vatican II, since inculturation was a major component of its doctrines.

As mentioned before, to this day, ethnic-based churches often perform more traditional forms of liturgy than in many non-ethnic churches. Although they still perform the Novous Ordo mass of Vatican II, nevertheless the services they do perform at least have some significant reverence towards age-old traditions and practices. On the other hand, many of the most outrageous spectacles passing off as religious services usually occur in parishes and communities that are much more cosmopolitan in nature.

Many Christians like to blame much of the religious decline in the modern era purely on secularism. While that certainly is true, however they seem to forget the other half of the story; the rise of cosmopolitanism within modern society. These two have too often been linked to each other to really overlook this.

The first great moment for secularism was during the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. The major proponents of the age argued for the rejection of all religious traditions, which held back human knowledge for countless generations (at least in their minds). Well secularism was not the only thing the philosophes (the intellectual leaders of the Enlightenment) advocated. They also advocated, with the exception of Rousseau, a more cosmopolitan outlook on the world. Not only should man reject religious traditions, he should also reject "narrow loyalties"; like those concerning community, ethnicity, nation, etc. Instead man should inspire towards a more universal human consciousness.

Yet this connection between secularism and cosmopolitanism has been seen ever since. The atheist Communists who saw religion as "the opium of the masses" also declared that the "workers have no country"; that ethnic identities hinder the international unity of the proletariat. And of course today the biggest advocates for secularism are also those who push for the elimination of ethnic/national identities through globalization and multi-culturalism. This close connection often goes unrecognized by many Christians, sadly because it's "politically incorrect" to point this obvious truth out. To openly advocate that people should congregate with people of a similar background will often get you slandered as a "racist" or "intolerant". Of course that's non-sense.

An ethnic church is largely one that expresses the Catholic faith through the traditions and culture of that particular ethnicity. That does not mean it's exclusively for that ethnic group. The Catholic Church is still a universal church and Catholics are welcomed in any parish. A non-Irishman can still attend an Irish-based church, but he must respect the fact that it is a church centered in traditions of the Irish people.

Nor does that mean that the traditions of a particular ethnic tradition cannot enrich and be embraced by the whole Catholic community. Getting back to the Irish(since they're the most famous ethno-religious community in America), their traditions have pretty much shaped the character of the Catholic Church in America. Also there's been growing interest in the phenomena of Celtic Christianity.

I have noted in numerous posts on this blog, this notion that Christianity is really just nothing more than a religious form of globalization is so widespread within the churches, despite the fact it goes against traditional church teaching and practice. Yet this is merely a reflection of the cosmopolization/de-ethnization of society as a whole.

Yet, Cynthia Enloe (from whose article I quoted above) notes the very difficulty of trying to replace ethnicity with religion. Many studies have shown that there is a difference of opinion on many issues among American Catholics that correspond to ethnicity. Italian-American Catholics are more willing to support certain positions that Irish-American Catholics very often are completely opposed to. So again, as she noted, it's almost futile to separate ethnicity from religion.

So in conclusion, why are ethnic churches better? Because they usually are more traditional in both teaching and liturgy than their more cosmopolitan counter-parts. This stems from the fact that an ethnic church is seeking to express the faith through the time-honored traditions and culture of a particular people, which adds a strong sense of community within the parish. Not to mention these time-honored ethnic traditions have added a genuine sense of diversity within the universal Catholic church that respects church doctrine rather than disregard it.

So yes, that is why I prefer ethnic churches!

Italian judge throws out absurd Jesus case

Thank God some sense of sanity reigns in Italy!

Read about the story at BBC News.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Your short guide to debunking the Da Vinci Code

Massimo Introvigne has provided a very short but effective piece that completely debunks many of the claims made by Dan Brown's novel. So for those of us who are too busy or possibly too lazy to read up on the several books on there that accomplish the same thing (but of course with more articulation), this link is for you.

I like how Introvigne answers this all too often claim:
The Da Vinci Code is just a novel: why criticize it as if it were a history book?

People who ask this question usually have not read the page of The Da Vinci Code titled Fact, where the author, Dan Brown, asserts that «all descriptions of [..]documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate» and are based specifically on the fact that «in 1975 Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments, known as Les Dossiers Secrets» which reveal the story of the Priory of Sion.
Of course Introvigne goes further in debunking the nonsense concerning the Priory of Sion and so on. For those who want a more detailed account about the truth behind this "secret organization", you can read Introvinge's " Beyond The Da Vinci Code: History and Myth of the Priory of Sion".

BTW, my personal favorite book that debunks Brown's book is The Da Vinci Hoax by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel.

10 Myths about Priests and Pedophilia

Deal Hudson, whose the chief editor of Crisis Magazine, debunks the 10 most common myths about the priest and pedophilia.

I especially like the first myth he debunks:

Myth #1 - Catholic priests are more likely to be pedophiles than other groups of men.

This is just plain false. There's absolutely no evidence that priests are more likely to abuse children than are other groups of men. The use and abuse of children as objects for the sexual gratification of adults is epidemic in all classes, professions, religions, and ethnic communities across the globe, as figures on child pornography, incest, and child prostitution make abundantly clear. Pedophilia (the sexual abuse of a prepubescent child) among priests is extremely rare, affecting only 0.3% of the entire population of clergy. This figure, cited in the book Pedophiles and Priests by non-Catholic scholar, Philip Jenkins, is from the most comprehensive study to date, which found that only one out of 2,252 priests considered over a thirty-year period was afflicted with pedophilia. In the recent Boston scandal, only four of the more than eighty priests labeled by the media as "pedophiles" are actually guilty of molesting young children.

Pedophilia is a particular type of compulsive sexual disorder in which an adult (man or woman) abuses prepubescent children. The vast majority of the clerical sex-abuse scandals now coming to light do not involve pedophilia. Rather, they involve ephebophilia -- homosexual attraction to adolescent boys. While the total number of sexual abusers in the priesthood is much higher than those guilty of pedophilia, it still amounts to less than 2 percent -- comparable to the rate among married men (Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests).

In the wake of the current crisis in the Church, other religious denominations and non-religious institutions have admitted to having similar problems with both pedophilia and ephebophilia among the ranks of their clergy. There's no evidence that Catholic prelates are more likely to be pedophiles than Protestant ministers, Jewish leaders, physicians, or any other institution in which adults are in a position of authority and power over children.
I've always had a love-hate relationship with Crisis Magazine. They often post wonderully insightful articles, and yet at other times I've had to expose their Neo-Con agendas as well.

Oh well!

Links are organized finally!

You may now notice that I finally have my links nicely organzied into different sub-sections. This has long been overdue!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Debunking future warfare

Carlton Meyer gives a wonderful critique of the nonsense governing the U.S. military's "Future Combat systems". Namely that the military leadership is wasting billions of dollars on a concept that hasn't been proven to be effective, and that there are much more effective alternatives.

For those who don't know, the Future Combat Systems(FCS), is a project in the works that is designed to "modernize" America's armed forces with the technology it will need to fight wars of the future. The concept lacks any real achievable goals, and simply revolves around developing extremely complex and super-high tech weaponry. Meyer argues against this approach, instead advocating that simple and more low-tech upgrades are more than enough to sustain the military's future capabilities. He explains how such an approach has been successfully adopted by the Swedish military.

I myself have previously commented on the Pentagon's obsession with high technology. However, many defenders of the FCS and other high-tech projects usually try to deflect critics by labeling them of a "Luddite" persuation. Yet this is a strawman.

The argument is not that technology doesn't have a place on the battlefield, but that it must be used within reasonable limits. Not to mention that there's much debate about whether or not the military actually needs all these high-tech gadgets on the battlefield.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, president of the Army War College, probably explained it best in his testimony to the House Armed Services Committee:
Technology is useful...But machines alone will never be decisive. … The tools most useful in this new war are low-tech and manpower-intensive … night raids, ambushes, roving patrols mounted and dismounted, as well as reconstruction, civic action, and medial contact teams. The enemy will be located not by satellites and [drones] but by patient intelligence work, back alley payoffs, collected information from captured documents, and threats of one-way vacations to Cuba. … Buried in an avalanche of information, commanders still confront the problem of trying to understand the enemy's intention and his will to fight.
In other words, wars of the future will still have to follow the same common sense that governed wars of the past. The notion that new technologies are going to make decisive "breakthroughs" in the nature of warfare is nothing but hogwash!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Why can't Muslims take a joke?

That's the question Spengler(obviously not the famous Oswald Spengler) addresses in his latest piece. Although I disagree with some of his jabs at tradition and religion in general, he makes some interesting points. Namely that Muslims, if they seek to get by in the modern world, need to have to develop a real sense of humour.

For those who are unaware, once again angry Muslims are on the rampage all across the world; looting, rioting, and even vandalizing embassies(like in Beirut and Damascus). And what on earth has so infuriated the Muslim world that would cause them to do all this? Believe it or not, this whole issue centers around cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper. Yes, that's right, newspaper cartoons that apparently mock the Prophet Muhammad.

Hence Spengler's argument that Muslims really do need to learn how to take a joke. Christian traditions have been openly mocked for several generations now in society, yet Christians voice their outrage in more effective ways. If a Danish newspaper printed cartoons mocking Jesus Christ, Christians would more likely do several things; usually organize a boycott of that newspaper and send letters of protest to the editors of that newspaper and if possible to the person who drew those cartoons in the first place. Christians would most certainly not be rioting, looting, or vandalizing Danish embassies. Why? Perhaps because Christians usually aim at being constructive members of society.

It's about time that Muslims realize that they have a serious problem among their religious flock; a strong tendency to think that violent and destructive acts is the major way to solving problems. Since September 11th, there has been much debate how much Islam actually is a religion of peace. James A. Beverley (along with others) have tried to argue that Islam does indeed have a peaceful side, and there is struggle today for the soul of Islam. How much of that is true is up for debate, but quite frankly if this is indeed true then the voices calling for a more peaceful Islam need to wake up and start having their voices heard!

Because clearly these continuous incidents of irresponsible and violent behavior on the part of Muslims around the world is damaging the image of their religion to the rest of the world. This blog already commented about the growing hatred of Islam in Europe and this was almost a year before either this incident or the Paris riots! Now Europe has more reason to despise its Muslim populations.

If Muslims are offended by these cartoons, well fine, that's certainly understandable. But that doesn't give them the right to behave like they are. Rather they should pull themselves together and engage in more constructive forms of protest. If Muslims honestly feel they are unwelcome in Europe and their traditions are being trashed by European society, well why not go back home and live among your own religious kin, which ironically is exactly what one Islamic cleric suggested. Have Muslims honestly taken either one of these suggestions into consideration?

My sincere apologies!

You may remember my previous post where I laid out my nominations for the Catholic Blog awards. Sadly, right when I was about to enter the nominations at the website, my computer crashed and I was not able to do so. And later on in the week I had little time to do so either because of my work schedule.

So I apologize if I gave anybody false hope. It's the thought that counts! ;)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

An apparently excellent book titled: How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization


Stroke of luck, Divine Providence, coincidence, term it what you like but if I was a Roman pagan I would say that the deity Fortuna has smiled towards me. As a Catholic I believe God might have helped me tonight in order to please him, an atheistic rationalist would surmise the question to coincidence. What the cause of my happiness was, I'll leave it to the discretion of the readers.

I'm writing about an apparently excellent book by Thomas E. Woods Jr entitled How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization. It seems to be an excellent and awesome book countering the centuries long enduring battle to demolish the Roman Catholic Church through the denigration of its activities for Western Civilization and secular progress throughout history.

The book is next in line in my book-purchasing list, I can't wait to have it in my hands in order to read it. From the looks of user comments, I suggest it to all Catholics and to history enthusiasts and professional historians alike.

Pro Christus Rex et Sancta Mater Ecclesia,
Pro Traditio, Religio et Patria,
L'Ardito Nazionalista.

P.S. I'm not sure, but I believe Perun had mentioned this book to me before.

My Introduction


With pleasure I hope to be able to post in the blog of my intelligent and truly enlightened friend, the Catholic named like a pagan god ;), Perun.

First of all, introducing myself would only amount to courtesy towards the readers of this excellent blog. I, L'Ardito Nazionalista, am Maltese. For those that do not know it, the Maltese are not a mere breed of dogs, but like the dogs whose name originates from the name of the island back in Ancient Roman times, the Maltese are the people of the Maltese islands.

These islands constitute a small archipelago located around 90 kilometres south of Sicily, right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Malta, the main island, was converted to Catholicism/Christianity by Saint Paul the Apostle himself around 60AD on his voyage towards martyrdom in pagan Rome. Malta is in fact mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

I am 24 years old, and I'm a University student reading Law & Theology at the University of Malta.

Now, concerning my beliefs I can only say that my nome de plume respects my beliefs perfectly. What does L'Ardito Nazionalista mean?

Ardito is an Italian word which basically refers to someone that is intransigent, in the meaning I prescribe to the word. This refers to my spirit yearning to fight, fight for my beliefs, being an active militant in all means possible according to my circumstances. Ardito is also someone controversial, who is not scared to offend and who actually offends. I do offend, in particular on matters of principle where honesty and truth are paramount virtues.

Nazionalista is another Italian word, which obviously means nationalist. However, in what sense am I a Nazionalista? I am such, in the traditionalist sense in relation to the Maltese nationalist tradition.

I'm of the opinion that nationalism is peculiar and particularist to each nation, even though amor patrio is something that is intrinsic to our very own human nature. This has been asserted by the late Pope John Paul II himself in his book Memory & Identity, which deals appropriately with the notion of patria (fatherland) and patriotism.

That being said, the definitions for patriotism and nationalism used by Pope John Paul II, and I notice many other Catholic promotors of patriotism plus apologetical writers in relation to patriotism, do not find my approval. I say so due to the fact that according to Maltese tradition, nationalism is neither militaristic, hateful, isolationist and other negative appellatives that should not be the attributes of any nationalist in the proper sense.

According to Maltese nomenclature in relation to nazzjonaliżmu (nationalism) and patrijottiżmu (patriotism), the former is a political expression of the latter, with the latter being a spirit of love for the patria expressible in practically all aspects of national life. It is AMOR PATRIO.

The latter expression is totally in line with the generic Catholic definition of the term, it is when contrasted with nationalism that a problem, exclusively in linguistic terms, arises. This being said, the Maltese traditionalist notion of nazzjonaliżmu is totally in line with Traditionalist Roman Catholic Social Doctrine on patriotism. This being no surprise since orthodox, or true, Maltese nationalists are in point of fact Roman Catholic.

This ties in with the notion of the Maltese traditionalist nationalist motto, being Religio et Patria.

The Maltese prided themselves in calling our nation Cattolicissima (sort of very very Catholic). Even though I sense great generic apostasy and rising anti-clericalism, secularism, materialism and atheism, the Maltese are relatively more Catholic than the rest of Europe. Pope John Paul II, in his 2001 visit to the islands, exhorted the Maltese to show their Faith to Europe back when Malta was still negotiating European Union accession.

Quite contemporary is the question of selecting a face for the Maltese version of the Euro. Popular consultation has up till now provided the best Number 1 available, the Baptism of Christ statue in St. John's Co-Cathedral in La Valletta, our capital and World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO. (Click on links to view images)

With pride, joy, happiness and most importantly hope, I will pray for it to be selected, thus pushing the image of Christ our Lord into the European Union through Malta. My views on the European Union will be made manifest in due time.

Of important notice, is that divorce is not sanctioned by Maltese Courts of Law even though divorces recognised by foreign courts are legally recognised in Malta. This is nowadays, even in formerly staunch Catholic countries, a unicum I believe. Abortion is a criminal offence if carried in Maltese territory.

As a traditionalist Maltese nationalist, nationalism/patriotism and Roman Catholicism are not only exclusive to each other but they cannot be separated. The anti-Catholic notion that patriotism is incompatible with Catholicism is blatantly false, and the notion is only passed by liberal and leftist political forces (main promotors of immigrationism) unfortunately aided by liberal-modernist clergy that are wittingly or not causing vast damages to the Church and promoting through their notions and actions widespread apostasy.

Relating to language, and this is a paramount notion in Maltese nationalism, if you search material on Malta and the Maltese, you'll find that the national language of Malta is Maltese, described as a semitic language. Well, I can't help but advice that a bunch of rubbish and half-truths are written on Maltese history and the Maltese nation itself either by ignorant Maltese or by propagators of lies. The Maltese language, does in fact have semitic origins through Arabic, but the vast majority of the Maltese vocabulary is in point of fact derivated from the Sicilian dialect and the Italian language. Pratically all Maltese, in one way or the other will find some Sicilian or Italian blood in their veins and they won't know it without researching their own person and family. As a point of fact I definitely have Sicilian and Ligurian (northern Italian region) blood in my veins, even though I am perfectly Maltese and in my family no one speaks of Siculo-Italian ethnic heritage even though it is there!

You'd ask: But why is that?

The answer is simple, the Maltese have been the victims of vast and profound cultural manipulation at the hands of British Imperialists. Malta was in point of fact a British Colony de facto from around 1800 up to 1964. Needless to say, the Maltese Latin national identity was demolished, the Maltese language had to be totally Arabised to sever linguistic ties with our Siculo-Italian brothers to the north, while the Italian language was denied its official language status dictatorially in 1936 after it was an official administrative and cultural language in Malta even before it gained institutional status on the Italian peninsula itself!

Malta nowadays, is bereft of its proper national identity. As a point of fact, my national languages are Maltese and Italian, although the latter does not receive institutional recognition up till to day since that dreadful year of 1936. As my father would say "peccato" (sin in Italian).

I can write a lot more about my beloved Patria and our valorous Nazionalisti, however I do not think it is appropriate to do so on this blog even though I have still to grasp accordingly what is expected of me here.

I salute you all.

Pro Christus Rex et Sancta Mater Ecclesia,
Pro Traditio, Religio et Patria,
L'Ardito Nazionalista.

2006 Catholic Blog awards

Via College Catholic, it's come to my attention that the 2006 Catholic Blog Awards and nominations will end by Feburary 3rd.

I'm honoured that Fidei Defensor(who runs College Catholic) was kind enough to nominate this blog for the awards, even though he's confused as to which category to place us in. I have to admit that's my fault, since this blog doesn't really fit the typical patterns of other Catholic blogs.

There are several categories to be nominated in, and here's my list. I can't say I have a nomination for each category, but here goes nothing:

Best blog by a man - College Catholic.

Most insightful blog - Liberty, Order, and Tradition

Most theological blog - la nouvelle théologie

Most intellectual blog - Cahiers Peguy

Best political analysis - without a doubt The New Crusade

And that's really about it that I can say. If I didn't mention your blog, don't despair because my opinion on such issue don't matter anyways. Not only that, there are probably other issues involved as well.

Welcome L'Ardito Nazionalista!

I've recently just added L'Ardito Nazionalista as a contributor to this blog. We share very similar political and religious beliefs. He's especially well versed in official Catholic teachings on several issues. So he'll be a great addition to this blog.

Long-time readers readers of the blog may well know, I've been trying to find other contributors for this blog for some time now. Not that I hate blogging, but rather to keep things alive here whenever I'm not able to post.

So we await L'Ardito Nazionalista's first post here (and we've discussed what it may possibly be about). So enjoy!