Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Answer to Fidei Defensor

Fidei Defensor of the blog College Catholic(which is listed in my links) recently made a post countering the issue of Catholicism and immigration. Fidei Defensor was countering certain remarks made by MSNBC commentator Tucker Carlson on the issue. You can read the link to see Fidei Defensor's full post, but I wish to answer him on a few things. Don't get me wrong, I like him and enjoy reading his posts; but I respectfully disargee with his approach to this issue.

When countering Carlon's argument that most American Catholics actually oppose illegal immigration, Fidei Defensor answered:
"I am sick of pundits using polls of "American Catholics" to prove something. Not just on this issue but any, the media will say 'oh but 70% of Catholics support contraception, why can't the church be a democracy and go with that?' Then they will say that 'the Pope is stuck in the past and that the end of the Catholic Church is imminent.' Ironic considering the Church is the oldest instituion on earth and has basicaly outlasted every challange."
That's an interesting argument but ultimately it's a non sequitur. The Church's opposition to contraception is based on basic Catholic doctrine. The same cannot be said for issues like illegal immigration. Although many people like Cardinal Mahony try to twist around Catholic teachings to claim that supporting illegal immigrants is somehow the moral thing to do.

In fact this is exactly what the Archdiocese of Santa Fe had to say on this issue:
"Church teaching supports the rights of sovereign nations to protect their borders...We do not support or encourage illegal immigration because it is contrary to federal law and because those living outside the legal structures are open to abuse, exploitation, and death in the desert...The U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops supports the Senate Bill, under the name "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" (S.1033)."
I pointed out similar views in a previous post. So this notion that Catholics are obligated to support illegal immigration is simply not true. As Richard Neuhaus commented in the February of 2001 issue of First Things Magazine: "Can moral arguments backed by Catholic social doctrine be mustered in support of limiting or even cutting back on immigration? Certainly." However, Neuhaus then goes on to lament that making such arguments is "like spitting in the wind."

Moving on. Fidei Defensor went on to say this:
"By the way Tucker, illegal immigrants are American Catholics, if such a distinction can even be made, the Church doesn't divide itself by nationality, like the Swedish Lutheran Church, the Church of England, the Russian Orthodox Church, or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America."
First off, illegal immigrants are not Americans. One can say that both legally and culturally speaking. Illegal immigrants are of course not American citizens, so legally speaking they're not Americans. Culturally speaking, they're not Americans either since America has traditionally been an Anglo-Saxon based culture. Of course non-Anglo Saxon cultures have existed here as well, but by and large that element has come to dominate American society. Just like how they're are many non-Slavic cultures that exist within the boundaries of the Russian Federation, but by and large the Slavic element is the dominant culture.

Previously, I even posted Charles De Gaulle's position concerning French nationhood. And as I stated then: "Every nation has had its basic ethnic core, and it is wise for that nation to protect that core. Otherwise that nation will lose its identity and become something entirely different." That doesn't necessarily equate to advocating complete ethnic homogeneity(which in most cases is impossible anyways), but it does mean preserving the basic character of a nation over several generations. K.M Gibson of Facing the Sun even posted this quote from John Jay's Federalist Paper #2 concerning America's destiny as a nation:
"Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people - a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs... This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties."
So clearly this notion of nationhood was not unheard of in American society.

But what about Fidei Defensor's argument that "the Church doesn't divide itself by nationality"? Well yes and no. Theologicallylly speaking, the Church is one and universal. However, it should also be noted that universal does not imply uniform. Quite the contrary. In fact this is what Regino of Prum wrote in his Chronicon around the year 900 A.D.:
"Just as different peoples(diversae nations populorum) differ between themselves in descent, manners, language and laws(genere, moribus, lingua, legibus) so the holy and universal church throughout the world, although joined in the unity of the faith nevertheless varies its ecclesiastical customs among them."
So yes, the Holy Catholic Church is indeed one, but in a pluralistic way. The Catholic Church has always adapted the universal truths of its doctrine to the particular customs of different nations and cultures. I urge Fidei to read my post concerning the issue of ethnic-based churches, in which I go into more details about this.

Well that's basically all I had to say about this. A reminder: although I disagree with Fidei Defensor, this does not to imply he's a bad person. In fact most of the time we're largely in agreement on the issue. Same can be said for Catholicam Speluncam Masculum, even though we had an unnecessarily heated discussion concerning the Marine Corps. I was actually going through a bad bout of depression at the time and wasn't in the best of moods for such a discussion.

Oh well.

Ukrainian nation remembers Chernobyl

Ukrainians today are marking the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl incident, which amounted to the greatest nuclear disaster in history.

May we never forget this horrible tragedy that had fallen on the Ukrainian nation!

Monday, April 24, 2006

New Blog exposing Neocon Catholics

Just recently came across this interesting blog that's dedicated to exposing the Neocon frauds that have infiltrated into the Catholic Church. Although I don't agree with everything they say, it's still a valuable source. I've added them to my links.

Hopefully within a week or two things will die down a bit and I'll be able to blog here more often.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christian revival in Germany as well?

I just got done posting about the Christian revival going on in France, well it seems that a similar phenomea is taking place in Germany, France's neighbor to the east, according to Hartwig Bouillon.

More on the Christian revival in France!

Matthew W. Maguire argues that France is in the middle of a strong religious revival in his recent article written for Touchstone Magazine. I especially like how Maquire takes aim at the common misconception that most American Christians have about the state Christianity in Europe. They seem to think that European Christianity has all but died. Not entirely so, and that's exactly what I argued back in my December 13 post concerning the matter. Ironically in that exact same post, I took aim at another Touchstone contributor William Murchinson for his overly pessimistic portrait of European Christianity.

Interesting enough Maguire directly repeats my argument that although everything is not necessarily good when concerning the state of Christianity in Europe, on the other hand all is not lost. European Christianity still has a lot of spirit left in it. And the current Pope's call for Christians to be Europe's "creative minority" is certainly being well heard and is adding to this potentially positive development.

My only contention with this article is what Maguire tries to make of the fact that French Catholics are becoming less likely to vote for Le Pen and support his National Front. The argument is that French Catholics are somehow becoming less nationalistic. This is not the case. Rather French Catholics are now beginning to support men like Philippe de Villiers(who is now suppose to be ahead of Le Pen in the polls). The fact that Le Pen is losing support among many French Catholics maybe a direct result of his attempts to court Muslim voters.

So keep up the good work France!

Other posts where I have dealt with the state of Catholicism in France and Europe in general:

Polls show the Catholic Church is still strong in Europe of April 2

Rifkin's European Dream of May 9, 2005

Europe and the Popes of April 20, 2005 (a real classic!)

Stop trivalizing national identities!

That's the message K. M. Gibson(who recently posted a comment here) had to say at his blog The Observer.

Rest assured, I've added the blog to my links.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hilaire Belloc - forefather of the modern blog?

Verlyn Klinkenborg has made a very interesting argument that Hilaire Belloc was the forefather of the modern blogsphere. With his many theories about "the Free Press" that would in time come to challenge the monopoly of the mainstream media, Belloc foretold the current revolution that is taking place within modern journalism almost a century before it happened.

Just what exactly is this "Free Press" that Belloc described? Oh, you know, nothing more than a "horde of small, highly opinionated, sometimes propagandistic papers" that pop out all sorts of "cranky" but unconventional viewpoints on all sorts of topics. Although imperfect, they certainly play their role in making the truth known to the wider world.

Although Belloc was largely speaking about the printing press, nevertheless his basic arguments can easily be applied to the current blogsphere. As Klinkenborg concludes, Hilaire Belloc was pretty much a "blogger of his own time."

Note:The Project Gutenberg actually hosts Belloc's book The Free Press, for those interested in reading it.

Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac - a true Catholic patriot!

Josip Stilinovic wrote an excellent article concerning the life of the Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac titled "A Patriot, Not a Nationalist". Concerning the semantics of the title, L'Ardito Nazionalista dealt brilliantly with the issue of patriotism vs. Nationalism in his introductory post. Long story short, there's no significant difference between the two concepts.

Anyways, the article gives good details about the life and character of Cardinal Stepinac. Two major themes constantly dominated his worldview: an intense devotion to Christ Our Lord and the Catholic Church along with a staunch loyalty to his Croatian ethnic kin. To him, the two were not opposites but were actually inseparable; one could not be a good Christian without also being a good patriot, and vice versa.

This attitude carried the Cardinal through the many struggles he had to face within his lifetime: from dealing with the pro-Nazi Ustashe regime during World War II(and condemning its many violent excesses and racist ideology) to his heroic resistance to the atheistic Communists which eventually cost him his own life. Stepinac was never afraid to speak the truth and condemn any and all forms of injustice.

Stilinovic cites a very insightful quote made by the Cardinal in March 1938 to a group university student. Although spoken within the context of condemning the racist ideologies that were prevailing throughout many parts of Europe at the time, it nevertheless outlines the basic Catholic position towards loyalty to ones ethnicity and nation:
"Modern racism blames the Church for not falling on her knees in front of its idols. But is ethnicity the highest human value? It is not, because it would otherwise have to be able to fulfill all human strivings and to make man blessed on earth. And that cannot happen; that should be obvious. And eventually, at death, all racial differences disappear. Therefore, man will not be justified in God's judgment by belonging to this or that race, but by honest life and good deeds. So if love toward a nation crosses the borders of sound reason, then it is no longer love, but passion, and passion is neither of use, nor lasting. . . . That is why the Church, in the matters of ethnicity, also puts forward this principle: what you do not want to have done to yourself, do not do to others! Love for a man's own nation must not make a man into a wild animal, which tears down and provokes revenge; it must make him more noble, so that he can gain the respect and love of other nations for his nation. Therefore love toward your own nation is not contradictory to love for the whole of mankind; they complement each other. All of the nations are children of God."
One can read more of Stepinac's statements concerning the relationship between Catholicism and nationalism in his monumental "Three Sermons Against Racism". It truly is great reading material!

Cardinal Stepinac is most certainly a model for all Catholics, and specifically to patriotic Catholics everywhere. I certainly hope one day he will be canonized a saint, since he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

God Bless You Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac!

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Catholic alternative to MTV hedonism for young people today

"Faithful to the mission she has fulfilled for two millennia, however, the Church still holds out a moral alternative to young people immersed in a culture that relentlessly teaches them to pursue immediate gratification. The Church recalls the great men of Christendom - like Charlamenge, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Francis Xavier, to name a few - and holds them up as models for how true men live. Its message? Essentially this: you can aspire to be one of these men - a builder of civilization, a great genius, a servant of God and men, or a heroic missionary - or you can be a self-absorbed nobody fixated on gratifying your appetites. Our society does everything in its power to ensure that you wind up on the latter path. Be your own person. Rise above the herd, declare your independence from a culture that thinks so little of you, and proclaim that you intend to live not as a beast but as a man."
-- Thomas E. Woods How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, pg. 214-15

Benedict XVI's manifesto on Europe

The edition of First Things magazine for last January features Pope Benedict XVI's all inspiring piece "Europe and its Discontents", which as the title suggests puts forth the current Pope's views concerning Europe's identity and its hopeful destiny.

Benedict begins by growing through a basic history of the concept of Europe, from its traditional foundation within Greco-Roman civilization, to the Carolingian Empire of the early Medieval period, to the renaissance, to the age of colonialism, all through to the present day.

When dealing with Europe's current situation, old Benedict is far from impressed and laments the many problems that plague the continent. Although on the surface Europe appears to be at its "finest hour", yet Benedict knows full well that in reality its soul is "hollow". The collapse of Europe's spiritual strength has lead to the possible eventual collapse of its traditional ethnic heritages, upon which European civilization(and even spirituality) was built.

However, Benedict cautions against falling into Spenglerian pessimism which dictates that the final collapse of Europe is inevitable and nothing can be done to save it. In response, Benedict throws his support behind Toynbee's concept that a civilization will only collapse when it stops believing in itself; and what is often needed in such times of crisis are "creative minorities" to help give that civilization a new sense of vitality. Applying Toynbee's concept to his message, Benedict is calling for us Christians to be that "creative minority" to help resurrect Europe from its possible doom.

I have already commented on Benedict XVI's views concerning Europe before on this blog, but I would like to once again bring attention to this aspect of the world-view of our current Holy Father.

As a Christian who is of European descent and proud of my heritage, I just can't help but be amazed at the fact that we have a Pope who shares my grave concerns for the survival of Christendom's heartland. Especially when the European heritage is attacked at an unprecedented rate.

God bless you Benedict XVI!

Discussions about immigration at CCF

It seems that several heated discussions about illegal immigration have come up over at Catholic Community Forum. If you wish to read them, here are the links:

Taking to the Streets

Why Does Mahony Support illegal immigrants?

An Easter Reminder to Roger, Cardinal Mahony—Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

It's almost comical some of the arguments I've had to dealt with in these discussions.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Christ is Risen!

Well not yet exactly. Today is Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday(in which we remember Christ's passion and death on the Cross) and Easter Sunday (which is tomorrow). However, as with many holidays, I'm going to be too busy tomorrow to blog. I'll be attending midnight mass tonight as well.

Easter is the day we Catholics(and even Christians in general) celebrate the day our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death itself and in turn granted for mankind everlasting life!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why does Mahony support illegal immigrants?

"So, why does a figure like Cardinal Mahoney support amnesty? Because he’s a powerful man who moves in powerful circles. He can look out across the Los Angeles Basin and pity the poor immigrant, but the bulk of his flock - working class, English-speaking Americans named Smith and Jones - are transparent to him. He has enormous empathy for the Mexican illegal in need of a job, but is completely inattentive to the man whose job is taken by that illegal. It’s the same way with nearly everyone pushing amnesty. If Mexican members of the professional classes were swarming the borders and taking university professorships, legal clients, boardroom promotions and physician referrals away from the well-to-do in this country, the border would snap shut like a crocodile’s jaw at feeding time. But the American professional class isn’t threatened. To many of them, rather, illegal immigration represents an opportunity: cheap labor and even cheaper moral gratification.

The irony for Catholics is that at one time the Church was the backbone of the American working class, and Catholics were the iron core of the labor movement. Now, American Catholic workers not only see their jobs being exported to Mexico, the Phillipines and Korea, but they must suffer the indignity of their own bishops encouraging illegal immigrants to cross the border and take what few jobs still remain. I don’t think the bishops are craven. I just think that their position in this debate is another manifestation of an episcopacy that is detached, worldly, and focused more on the wealthy than on average Americans."
--Mark Gordon, "Illegal Immigration and Class", Suicide of the West blog
Yes, how nice that the Church hierarchy is protraying the needs and concerns of working class Catholics in this country. Jesus would be so proud of them!

ABC sure did massacre the Ten Commandments

I'll make myself clear, this film was TERRIBLE! The acting was absolutely pathetic! I'm not even wasting my time giving a full review of this film, it was that bad!

I particularly like how David DiCerto tries to put a positive spin on the film claiming that it portrays "a more human, conflicted Moses than Charlton Heston's larger-than-life patriarch". In other words, Moses is a sissy, which is most certainly how he was portrayed.

I don't even know where DiCerto gets his argument that "[i]t's hard to imagine Heston ordering the slaughter of fellow Hebrews (women and children included) -- as recorded in the Book of Exodus -- for breaking the covenant" in contrast to how it's portrayed in this version. HELLO!; Heston's Moses actually throws down the tablets proclaiming in a loud angry voice that those who refuse to obey the Lord shall die! Then soon afterwards we see lighting bolts striking several people.

Then DiCerto goes on to explain that comparisons between this film and the 1956 version are "unfair". Well booohooo, go cry me me a river! This version is terrible and makes a mockery not only of the 1956 version but the Exodus story itself!

I'm not even bothering to watch Part II tonight. Rather, I'll just wait until April 15, when ABC will show the real version of The Ten Commandments.

Monday, April 10, 2006

ABC's remake of 'The Ten Commandments'

Well tonight, ABC is going to show it's remake of the 1956 classic epic 'The Ten Commandments'. Check out the website for airing times, or check your local listings.

Many readers of this blog maybe interested in my post "Moses the Archetypical Nationalist", which I actually wrote last Easter, which is a commentary on both the original movie and the Exodus story in general. I especially talk about the many nationalist themes that are found within the Biblical accounts, and what influence those themes had on history. Not only that, I explain how these exact themes play themselves out within the movie itself.

Towards the end of my post, I made mention of the fact that a remake of this classic film were in the works. I also voiced my skepticism about the numerous possible ways in which "Hollywood political correctness will ruin not only the legacy of a great movie, but the legacy of a great story from antiquity as well."

I have a bad feeling that I'm not going to proven wrong tonight. However, I will try to watch it, and possibly write a review of the film on this blog. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong

Here's the website dedicated to Christopher A. Ferrara's new book EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong. The basic argument of this book is that the Catholic-based network that was originally founded by Mother Angelica has over recent times been hijacked by Neo-Catholics(many of whom are ex-Protestants) who have intentionally mixed traditional and orthodox Catholic elements with more modernist and other heretical-based beliefs.

I have not read the book (although I hope to obtain a copy of it), only the excerpts that are available at the website. And I became a viewer of EWTN only a few years after Mother Angelica relinquished control over the network. And I've not watched many of Mother Angelica's old programs. So overall I cannot comment much of how EWTN has degraded over the years or how much of a great figure Mother Angelica was for the network. I also cannot comment much on the theological errors promoted by EWTN either. For that information, you'll have to read the book or at least the excerpts at the website.

Nevertheless, in a general sense, I can comment on the many things that are wrong with EWTN. And like Ferrara, I make these criticism as somebody who is generally a great fan of the network and much of its programming.

I particularly agree with Ferrara's negative take on the show Life on the Rock, which is a youth-based show that features Franciscan monks trying to act "cool", by trying to mix Catholicism with rock music. Ok...that's not Catholicism by a long shot.

I also agree with the argument that ETWN seems to promote an attitude of "quasi-idolatry" towards the Pope(especially Pope John Paul II). You seriously wonder who on earth these people are really worshipping, John Paul II or Jesus Christ?

Also, I get the general impression that the form of Catholicism being promoted by many EWTN commentators is of a rather effeminate quality. Ferrara (at least to my knowledge) does not make this argument, but it's something I along with others have noticed. I see very little of the masculine and heroic sense of Catholicism that for example motivated chivalrous knights to do battle in the Crusades or the Reconquista. Nope, just a touchy-overly sensitive feelings sense of spirituality.

This book certainly has caused some controversy, especially those who are associated with EWTN. For example: Fr. John Trigilio, the co-host of the EWTN show Web of Faith, even gave his own commentary on the book, to which Ferrara gave a response.

Hopefully EWTN will return to the integrity it once had, but only time will tell!

Suburbs = White Ghettos

Star Parker has a new book out titled White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay which makes the argument about how "[t]he sexual chaos, values disorientation, and social turmoil we see in our inner just a magnified reflection of the moral collapse happening all over America: in our schools, our churches, our homes."

Many of her conclusions seem to back up much of what I argued about the rampant decadence in suburbia in a previous post here. Just like my arguments about European popes and religious faith in Europe, it appears my arguments have been once again vindicated.

I particularly enjoyed the author's remarks about the degraded nature of pop culture that many suburbanites enjoy. Everything from TV shows like Sex and the City(it wasn't the inner cities that made this show popular) to overly sexualized and vulgar music found on MTV(which suburban teens watch 24/7). And the quality of religious faith found within suburbia is extremely low, basically it's just a religious version of the degraded secularist pop culture.

As I argued both then and now, the notion that suburbia is somehow a haven for virtue is largely a delusion that suburbanites like to constantly promote about themselves. It has little basis in reality and largely rests on nostalgic images of how suburbs were back in the 1950's(or rather how it was portrayed on shows like Leave it to Beaver). Suburbs are indeed nothing more than "white ghettos".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Polls show the Catholic Church is still strong in Europe

Recent polls seem to show that the Catholic Church is on the rise in France and Germany. And Germany and France are often considered the two most secularist nations in Europe!

Well it appears I've been vindicated in my skepticism towards the supposed decline of the faith in Europe. For those who remember, I wrote an entire post dedicated to debunking the mainstream media's portrayal of the state of religious faith in Europe. I even quoted Richard John Neuhaus, who noted that small but dynamic movements of Christian revival are brewing in these countries.

Apparently this new found strength of the Church within Europe is attributed to the so-called “Benedict XVI effect”. I guess this would also vindicate my argument about the continuousus need for European popes.

One argument that was constantly being repeated in favor of a non-European pope was that the faith was in decline in Europe but growing in the Third World. I refuted that by first voicing skepticism about Europe's religious decline, along with a second look at why Europe's faith appears in decline as opposed to the Third World. Then I argued that if anything, a European pope is needed more than ever to revive the faith in Christendom's traditional heartland.

Not only that, may I ask the simple (but politically incorrect) question, what is so special about the Third World? Seriously, why is so much attention given to this part of the world? Why is it that people are obsessed with this notion that the Third World is going to save the Catholic Church(or Christianity in general), as people like Philip Jenkins insist? Why must we sacrifice Europe(Christendom's traditional heartland) for the sake of the Third World? I'd like to hear some honest answers to these questions.

As I stated last year: "To lose Europe is to loose an important aspect of the Catholic heritage. The conversion of the Third World (however wonderful it maybe) will not replace what is lost!"

Then again, as I even argued then, the people who scream loudest for a Third World pope(or place such a special emphasis on the Third World church) are usually people who don't care one iota for Catholic traditions at all!

Maybe that's probably why Pope Benedict XVI has so much love and concern for the fate of Europe, for the fate of the Catholic Church is closely tied to it. As Hilaire Belloc noted: "Europe will return to the Faith, or she will perish. The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith."

Benedict probably also realizes that a true sense of Catholicism is the only thing that can revive the faith in Europe. I already pointed to the fact that more traditionalist services are generally well attended in Europe, while the watered-down services of more mainstream churches are next to empty. Indeed, how can one possibly be inspired by the nonsense that passes off as Catholicism these days? Europe needs the Catholic faith in its true essence, not some half-ass version of it!

It seems that Robert Spencer was correct when he wrote(upon Benedict's election as Pope): "In choosing Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has cast a vote for the survival of Europe and the West."

Remembering John Paul II

Today is the day the world remembers the death of Pope John Paul II, which occurred one year ago this day.

I myself paid my respects to the late Pontiff on the occasion of his death. I noted that despite my many disagreements with his policies and teachings, nevertheless I had a genuine love and admiration for him as well.

Also being a Slavic Catholic myself, I was proud and pleased to have a member of my race sit on the throne of St. Peter.

And may God continue to guide his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, into the future!

In honour of this occasion(plus personal issues as well), I will not be posting here for some time. So any comments and responses made here I will have to attend to at another time(note: Catholicam Speluncam Masculum).

Thank you.