Monday, October 20, 2003

I have officially moved to the new home of Kairos. Nothing that happens here will have anything to do with anything anymore. Buh bye blogger. I appreciate your freeness, but it's time to go someplace more sophisticated.

Friday, October 17, 2003

I'm so depressed, I'm never posting at blogger again. See you Monday at

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I recently finished "War in Heaven" by Charles Williams, the least known of "The Inklings." I enjoyed it, but I confess that I find the heroes of his novels too passive. In this one, the Archdeacon is obviously a holy and good man, but he seems to have a kind of stupefied "since I can't do anything without Christ, I can do whatever with him," that seems to me reliant less on God than on deus ex machina. He's like the guy in the joke about the flood who when he gets to Heaven asks God why He didn't save him. "Well, I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want??" God replies. It seems to me that reliance on Christ and abandonment to divine Providence don't mean passiveness in the face of evil, but I've been wrong before.

I also don't understand why in one chapter the heroes spend all night fighting the evil powers through prayer, then the next day hand the Graal over to those same powers. But that's more likely just me being obtuse.
I'm wondering about the form of prayers. My most typical style of prayer is to form an intention, then recite a rote prayer, offered up as it were on behalf of that intention. Now, formerly I would get very specific about the intention, forming actual words describing precisely what intercession is necessary, and sometimes carrying on a lengthy exposition. Presently, I usually manage to imagine the thing desired (for myself or more often another) without verbalizing it so much, and thenr ecite the prayer. Today, I even managed to pray for an intention without the lengthy exposition, but also managed to omit the crutch of rote prayers. It is interesting to undertake to grow one's prayer life without relying on any particular tools, such as books or spiritual direction. / Sports / Baseball / Red Sox / Down, of course, but never out "'This is exactly the kind of game we've won all year,' said starting pitcher John Burkett, with an air of self deprecation. 'John Burkett goes out, gives up the lead, and his guys come back to win it. I don't think we ever anticipate these things happening, but when you come feeling all bummed out, like I did, you can see that these guys are already regrouping.'"
My blog will be much more boring without Kathy the Carmelite in the comments boxes, but it sounds like a pretty good deal for her.
Queen raises fears over EU constitution

A dark shadow is falling once again across Europe, not this time the spectre of communism or fascism, but an ideology even emptier. For centuries, France and Germany have vied for control of the continent, and the quantities of blood shed in that contest made Europe the worst killing grounds in all the world. Now the relatively peaceful aberration of the past 60 years is giving way to a resumption of history.

France and Germany have united under the blue and gold flag of anti-Americanism, resenting Europe’s adolescent niece, hating her so much indeed that they will now make common cause with China, the one state on the planet with both the potential and the desire to enter into military conflict with the US. Too lazy and stupefied from 40 years of suckling at the socialist teat, Europe is not likely to engage in actual combat with the US—and it will be a generation before her troops could go anywhere without the services of the USAF in any case. The intellectual elite and the leadership will nevertheless stand and cheer at every and any bloodying of America, toasting themselves and rooting for our demise, foolishly unaware that the United States is now and has been for a century the only thing keeping the barbarians outside Europe’s gates.

The corruption of Europe’s institutions is staggering. Once synonymous with “Europe,” the word “Christendom” now cannot even be spoken with a straight face by anyone who wants to be taken seriously in Paris, Berlin, or Brussels. The materialism that has been delivered for 3 generations significantly because of money spent and provided by the American taxpayer will not soon enough grow hard to sustain, as exploitable markets in China and other parts of the developing world will for a while sustain enough growth to support it. The EU constitution will put power in the hands of corrupt and unelected bureaucrats, rather than in an elected legislative body. Meanwhile, the nations that gave the world Napoleon and Hitler will lecture the US for its “arrogance” in trying to force a fascist, militaristic country to be a democracy, even as the widows and orphans of Algeria send their own children to destroy Europe from within. DeGaulle’s corpse no doubt smiles.

The smaller nations collaborate, as they always do where German and French expansionism intrude. Anti-Americanism has been something of a lark for 35 years now, and it seems to be good for business. Belgium, by virtue of having been conquered more than any other country in Western Europe (and still only a few days’ march from the real centers of power), becomes the official capital of the new Europe, granting it importance out of all proportion to its size or wealth. Ireland goes along half-heartedly, desiring to do whatever irritates the English most, but never quite thoroughly committed to the latest Continental horror. The Netherlands, heroes of the last major military conflict, have returned to their mercantilist roots and will do whatever they believe is most profitable. Italy and Spain are not quite so eager to cast aside the US, but would rather be in Europe than merely of it. Great Britain continues to try to straddle an increasingly wide ocean, but will soon have to choose one side or the other. That choice is much less clear today than it seemed just a few months ago.

The nations of Eastern Europe do not share Franco-German hatred for the US, and indeed seem grateful to her still for their new freedom, but trapped between Russia and Europe, and noting the distraction of the United States, they look Westward as they have always done when given a choice. The historical reflex will not help them this time, sadly, and they show every sign of being corrupted and defeated. The Christianity and the sanity that 50 years of Totalitarian rule could not destroy will be wiped away in the New Prosperity that standing up to the US offers. Donald Rumsfeld was vilified for making a distinction between “The Old Europe” and the East, but he merely had the audacity to state explicitly what everyone in Washington and Brussels knows: the gravest threat to the existence of liberal democracy on the shores of the North Atlantic does not reside in Tehran or Mecca, but in Paris and Berlin. Nations are choosing up sides, more subtly than in 1945, and with less threat of military force, but that makes the choices no less real.

An anti-Jewish pogrom can once again become respectable, as Israel merely becomes a proxy for the US. Europe’s two centuries of colonial exploits and the League of Nations asinine Mandate System left the Middle East in disarray. Europe’s eager desire to be shot of the Jews caused enough Jews to want to be shot of Europe too that now a “shitty little country” (in the words of one French diplomat) can be hated more openly than good manners allow for any of its citizens.

The dark shadow may still pass. The citizenry haven’t all quite caught up to their rulers’ level of contempt, not yet. Britain may still pass on the EU constitution, and that may cause one or two other countries to do the same. France and Germany made their ambition a bit too naked last spring, and let their hatred of America peek out from under the face of concerned statesmanship. But whether or no it passes, it will grow darker still before the light returns. It would be well if more of us acknowledged that the light is fading in Europe.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Telegraph | News | Terrorists can have serious moral goals, says Williams: "Terrorists can have serious moral goals, says Williams
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 15/10/2003)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged America to recognise that terrorists can 'have serious moral goals'.
He said that while terrorism must always be condemned, it was wrong to assume its perpetrators were devoid of political rationality. 'It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable.'
He said that in ignoring this, in its criticism of al-Qa'eda, America 'loses the power of self-criticism and becomes trapped in a self-referential morality.'
Dr Williams made his comments in a lecture to the Royal Institute for International Affairs, in which he said he wanted to challenge violence 'as the tool of private interest or private redress'.
Dr Williams said that no government should act as its own judge on whether to launch military action against a rogue state.
'Violence is not to be undertaken by private persons,' he said. 'If a state or administration acts without due and visible attention to agreed international process, it acts in a way analogous to a private person. It purports to be judge of its own interest.'"

Interesting. I agree that terrorists can have serious moral goals--think of abortion clinic bombers. Their stated goal is the ending of abortion.

But several questions remain. First, rather than simply stating the possibility of serious (and I would add legitimate) goals, one has to ask if any specific terrorist or terrorists has such goals. Second, one has to consider how serious such terrorists goals are, and how seriously held. In the case of all the terrorist groups I can think of, the "goals" either long ago became subsumed in the violence (the IRA's goal of a "united Ireland" has long been overtaken by reality), or were adopted purely for marketing purposes. (Osama bin Laden cynically manipulates the Palestinian cause, just as most Arab governments do.)

A third difficulty arises as well. People who hold shared goals but repudiate wicked means for achieving them have to consider what responsibility they have for stopping the violent advocates of their goals. That obligation can be tentatively formulated this way: The more violent, and the more organized the violence, the greater the responsibility for self-policing.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

The ball was definitely fair.
Tony Kornheiser hasn't been this funny in a very long time. If you like pro football at all, you should read this column.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

My recent efforts to find shoes reminds me of a commonplace, but one worth recalling once in a while. Things are worthwhile in themselves only to the extent that they help and do not hinder our Salvation. Thus, wine, for instance, is a good thing insofar as the pleasure it gives increases the joy in our lives, and bad insofar as it becomes not a means to joy, but an end itself.

So it is with free trade. To the extent globalization and free trade improves the lives of people on each end of a transaction, it should be welcomed. To the extent it facilitates the exploitation of people at either end, it should be condemned. It has no moral worth in and of itself, but many conservatives and conservative Catholics seem to hold it is an article of literal faith (often more strongly than they hold things like the Immaculate Conception) that free trade is always and everywhere Good. Our shopping habits can have as much to do with Salvation as our sexual ones, but few people pause to ponder them.
The Spy Next Door (

"The Spy Next Door
Valerie Wilson, Ideal Mom, Was Also the Ideal Cover "

No matter what you think about women and mothers having careers (and, as you might have noticed from my stay-at-homeness, I'm fine with it), being an undercover CIA agent, using your parenthood as a cover, disqualifies you from being considered an "ideal mom." Anything that uses the children to advance the parent is, ipso facto, less than ideal, even if it turns out to be acceptable. And, from the limited stories I have seen, this particular situation falls pretty far short of that ideal.
What I love in this article is the phrase "Despite his lack of formal schooling" as though 1) homeschooling is a blow-off, and 2) It's typical of public school kids to do write best-selling novels at age 15 (registration required to read the article).

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

For Ailing Pope, Many Projects Remain Unfinished (

This is an interesting article, but there are more than a few questionable points raised:

"...his focus on the cult of the Virgin Mary..." ("Cult"??)

"...the pope has found his preaching for peace largely eclipsed by events, especially the United States' war on terror..." (Umm, hte Holy Father actually acknowledged the US' right to act in Afghanistan)

"Persistent talk of a war of civilizations -- Muslim and Western -- undermines one of his other pet projects: the effort to bridge centuries of misunderstanding among Christians, Muslims and Jews..." (Whose persistent talk exactly? I have never heard a US government official say that, and I have heard only extremists of left and right categorize it in those terms. Such talk hardly counts as "persistent." Further, what the hell do you mean by "pet projects"? Pet projects are little ideas that are most likely a waste of time and that only their proponent can see being a good idea. Are you suggesting that it's a BAD idea to facilitate understanding between the three great monotheistic religions of the world? I thought there was "persistent talk" of "a clash of civilizations" so I would have thought any effort to defuse that would be treated as a good thing, not dismissed as a "pet project.")

"...For any pope, such a usurpation of papal privileges is unacceptable..." (Right. It's just a "papal privilege" to appoint a FREAKIN BISHOP OF THE FREAKIN CHURCH, and the conflict over whether or not the ATHEIST COMMUNIST CHINESE GOVERNMENT can appoint a BISHOP OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is just a "rift" in need of "healing.")

Note to Washington Post: please don't assign any more articles on the Pope to someone who doesn't understand him, the Roman Catholic Church, or religion in general.
Brilliant Fox Sports Insight

During tonight's ALDS game:

Color Guy: When you get to the playoffs, it's a whole new ballgame!

Play by Play Guy: You got that right!

One of the best ALDS games in recent years, and this is the best Fox Sports can come up with? Jerry Remy and Curt Gowdy were unavailable? My goodness, Dick Vitale would have done a better job.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Memo to Fox Sports

Absolutely no one--and I've done a comprehensive survery--who lives here calls it "Beantown."

Sunday, October 05, 2003

A student just pointed out something I hadn't considered. In the possible but improbable event of a Cubs-Red Sox world Series, one of them absolutely has to win.
One of the great gifts of the campus job is the opportunity to practice charity by hospitality to students. It is a rare Sunday that doesn't see at least one or two students in for dinner and a football/baseball game, and other nights of the week have frequent guests too. Many are our RAs from this year and last, but we are gradually seeing more and more of the ordinary residents coming by too. We love to "keep a table" as the old saying puts it, and it is nice to be able to do it for kids who are lonely, stressed, tired, or missing family life. Tonight, half a dozen were in for dinner and/or dessert, and hung around for a long while.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Richard Cohen has worked himself into another frenzy. Oozing Hypocrisy Over a Leak contains a number of typically smarmy statements, which inspired me to email him a smarmy reply, to wit:


You wrote, in regards to a special prosecutor: "I suggest Bill Clinton."

Possibly, you are unaware, but Bill Clinton would be inelligible for such a posting, as he was disbarred by the US Supreme Court Bar Association, and "voluntarily" surrendered his law license. You may also be unaware that this occurred because he committed at least one federal crime, perjury, and was credibly accused of others.

I am, however, surprised you didn't know, as it was in all the papers. Even yours.

[The Kairos Guy]

I shouldn't oughta have done it, but once in a while I have to vent these things, or I start to listen to the voices that suggest it's time to clean the guns.

Maybe I should go all Popcak on him, and get you guys to fax the Post, and email the Post, and phonecall the Post, with identical copies of the letter. 13-16 letters, one from each of my dedicated readers, would surely do the trick, right?
Having nothing to do with the immediately prior entry, I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the appropriateness of offering a Mass intention for a person known not to be Catholic. I'm not asking for an opinion: only facts. Is it, or is it not, appropriate?
Please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Harold Chase, Mrs. K-G's paternal grandfather, who died peacefully last night. You might also include Mrs. K-G, who received the news after she had gone to California for a conference, and for whom, remarkably, this is the first loss of a grandparent.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I just thought of this line in an email to Alicia, and I wanted to share it with you, should you need to give a talk on this topic: "Chastity: the Best Sex You'll Never Have!"