August 19, 2008


I would love to live in a world where the media provided more space for arguing about the actual truth claims of religion — where op-ed columnists and bloggers and essayists spent less time on meta debates about the politics and sociology of religion, and more time arguing about whether Christianity or Islam or Judaism is true. These kind of arguments still take place, obviously, but they take place in books rather than in the popular press — and I’d like to live in a world in which the pope’s book about Jesus of Nazareth sparked a lively intellectual debate about Christianity’s truth claims in, say, the Times Book Review and the Post op-ed page, instead of being largely ignored. - Ross Douthat on "Get Religion"

Demolition has begun on old Tiger (formerly Briggs) Stadium in my hometown, Detroit. I remember attending many games there when I was growing up, including Detroit Lions football games in the fall. I saw Mantle and Maris play, Whitey Ford pitch along with the stars of one of the Tiger's best seasons, 1961. That would be Stormin' Norman Cash, Al Kaline and the rest. If there is baseball tradition in Detroit, it lives in Tiger Stadium. It was a beautiful old park and its a shame to see it go. Another suprising thing to me is that, looking at the web sites of the major Detroit papers, there seems to be relatively little interest in the loss of the old place; the demolition is not receiving major coverage. One aspect that is receiving coverage is the apparently failing attempt by a private group to save part of the stadium from destruction. The papers seem to almost be gloating over the failure to raise sufficient funds to prevent total demolition...I also wonder if the papers' lack of enthusiasm for saving Tiger Stadium is an indication of the current day disdain for anything that smacks of tradition: out with the old, in with the new, whether or not the new is an improvment. This current disdain is most graphically displayed in the unfathomable rush by a major political party in this country to nominate a man for President who has no discernable qualifications for the job, other than an expressed desire for "change." - The Seven Habitus

“Wake up and smell the incense!” This is one of my ripostes to those who downplay Pope Benedict’s plan to revitalize Holy Church, especially through derestricting the Traditional Latin Mass. Incense is one of those marks of solemn liturgy which, we hope, will return to more frequent use in our Latin Rite parishes. Apparently, that fragrant smoke wafting upward does far more than mark with solemnity our prayers rising on high to God. It also fulfills the goals of homemade progressivist liturgy: It makes you feel good about yourself! Here’s the science! Please rush to your local library and read a paper in a recent number of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology entitled, “ Incensole Acetate, an Incense Component, Elicits Psychoactivity by Activating TRPV3 Channels in the Brain.” Zzzzzzz. . . .Not so! It seems that frankincense acts on the brain to lower anxiety and diminish depression. Research was done at Johns Hopkins University and Hebrew University. They administered incensole acetate, a component of frankincense, to lab mice. This great- smelling stuff affects the part of the brain controlling emotion, including anxiety and depression. In other words, incense makes you feel good about yourself. That in itself should help even the progressivist liturgy types get on board with Pope Benedict and his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum! - Fr. Z via the "Inn at the End of the World"

The Bolsheviks regularly killed in a few minutes more people than the Romanovs managed in a century, giving pre-revolutionary Russian history the retrospective luster of decency, wisdom, and compassion that it did not in the least deserve. For Voinovich—and the distinguished historian of Russia Richard Pipes—Leninism had its roots in the Russian tradition as well as the Marxist one. This meant that Solzhenitsyn, while absolutely right in his uncompromising attitude to Marxist-Leninism and all its works, belonged in the category of Dostoevsky: a brilliant seer who would nevertheless have made a very bad guide. - Theodore Dalyrmple, via Eric Scheske

Say for example somebody asked me: "Do you think science has contributed to humanity? What about science's role in developing medicine, technology, and helping us to come to a greater understanding of the universe?" "No, people made those contributions to Western Civilization." I would deserve a good slap to my head for such an answer. - Jeff of "Curt Jester", on reluctance of many to credit religion with anything good

Dissenting with wit and fighting when nobody else cares — that’s what the GOP does best! So it’s back to being eager Young Republicans who refuse to be oppressed, for our eager Congresscritters. Dawn Eden, intrepid blogger, has an extensive report on her day in the midst of all this fun, which is free and open to the public. You too can go on the floor of the chamber! Apparently, there’s also a blogger in the House: “….Texas Rep. John Culberson, who makes it clear right off that he is a techie. The rep has found ways to beat the media’s near-blackout by posting video updates on and short blog items on” - Maureen of "Aliens in this World"

A Jewish convert once said that Jews think of converting to Christianity the way Italians would think of converting to Irishness. To them, they would not be leaving a "mere" religion, but an ancient race and a virtual nation spread over the world…[St. Paul's] declaration that "everything is lawful for me" may sound like a boast, but it is actually a lament. A Jew without the Law is like a fish which has found it safe to breathe air. So much of Jewish law was about prohibitions; at its heart was the belief that the Jewish race was set apart from the Gentiles. Suddenly he was no longer set apart. Not quite an exile, he still did not have a country. His vocation to be the Apostle to the Gentiles was a cross--the greatest cross God could have handpicked for a patriotic and zealous Jew. - Sancta Sanctis

there's always the threat that a crowd of converts will bump the thermostat off the lukewarm setting. - Terrence of "The Provincial Emails", on how some worry about a high influx of High Anglicans "more papist than the Pope"

Hello, cross.
You’re ugly as sin,
But lovely, since Christ’s
Body broke you in.
The battlesteed
He rode to save the world –
His dead limbs gleamed against you
Just like pearls.

Have you waited here
Since those days of old?
I come to you now
Exultantly, and bold.
Before He mounted you,
You made us fear.
Now we see only
All His love left here. - Maureen of "Aliens in this World"

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. - George Best

We are saved by the New Covenant, not the New Haggle. We are judged, not by weighing our good deeds against our sins, but by weighing Christ's sacrifice against our sins. - Tom of Disputations

Speaking of Linda Hirshman, her Slate piece crowing over the absence of the "safe, legal and rare" formulation from the Dems' platform language on abortion ought to provide some clarity for pro-lifers hopeful that an Obamafied Democratic Party might provide any kind of an opening for advancing anything resembling a pro-life agenda... The Democratic Party's rigidly pro-choice stance is one of the more unyielding positions in contemporary American politics, and at least for the foreseeable future, pro-lifers who vote Democratic will always be casting votes that cut against their convictions on abortion, rather than with them. - Ross Douthat of "The Atlantic"

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