21 December 2009

No Sheeples Here: Christmas: For This Is Still The Time That God Chooses

No Sheeples Here: Christmas: For This Is Still The Time That God Chooses

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you ever think about General George Washington's Christmas raid at Trenton, and his last, lonely winter camp and those cold and nearly frozen soldiers at Fort Niagara? Have you ever thought of the bitter cold of the Argonne, the Huertgen Forest and Bastogne, the Aleutians, the Chosin Reservoir, the Sava River, or Tora Bora?

Our real American heroes—not those bloated, pampered, over-indulged athletes or actors we hear so much about—are hardly given their due. They pass quietly among us, never seeking acknowledgement or fame for the difference they make every day.

On 14 December 2009, I received an email from someone who wrote, “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time and just wanted to let you know.”

I replied writing:
Major Givler, it is a distinct honor to know that you are a regular visitor to my blog. I hope that in some way, you are able to enjoy the blessings of this Yuletide Season. I want to personally thank you for your service and your sacrifice on our country's behalf. I am grateful to "know" a hero. By the way, every time I spot a service member I walk up to them and say, "May I shake the hand of a hero? Thank for you for your service. Our country appreciates all that you do. May Godspeed."

An undeniable warmth rises in us both and my day is made when I know that I brought a smile to the face of that service man or woman. Today, Major, may I symbolically shake your hand and thank you?

Godspeed Sir!

I have not asked for this hero’s permission to reprint his email response, but somehow I don’t think he’d mind.

Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 1:04 AM
Greetings from Riyadh

Dear Carol,

Thank you for your kind words. I honestly don’t know what to say when people thank me for my service; I count it a privilege to be able to work with the greatest young men and women in the world, and I have no doubt that I have gotten much more out of my years in uniform than I’ll ever be able to repay.

I will, however, pass along your thanks to my wife, Susan, and our kids, Zach (11) and Zoe (7) who, without a doubt, are the ones who sacrifice every day in order for me to be able to do what I do. I’m coming to the end of an 18 month assignment here in Riyadh, where, for security reasons families have not been allowed. In addition to this separation, there have been two deployments to Iraq, and a year in Korea, during which my wife bore all the responsibilities of keeping our house in order while homeschooling our kids. (No sheeples there.) If anyone deserves thanks (and a pension) it is my wife, who has served our country just as much as I. As she sometimes reminds me, I get to run around, see interesting places and practice my Arabic. She gets to stay home, fix bicycle tires, cook meals, and keep our house from falling down. I don’t know how she does it.

After I leave here in January, we will have a three year tour together as a family in Portugal. I’m hoping that will be somewhat of a reward for my family.

I return your handshake and your thanks. Nothing we accomplish overseas will be of any use without people like you at home; making sure the constitution we defend abroad is still honored in our republic. All the best of God’s blessings this season, and in the New Year.

Assistant Air Attaché
US EMBASSY Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Comm: 966.1.488.3800 ext 4429
DSN: (318) 252.4429
STE: (318)

Frontpage interviewed Major Steven Givler, a career intelligence officer in the United States Air Force on May 17, 2006. Having flown more than thirty combat and combat support sorties in surveillance aircraft in support of the war on terror, Major Givler has traveled the length and breadth of Iraq on the ground. He is the author of Notes of Joy and Sadness, Letters and Paintings from Operation Iraqi Freedom—a collection of his letters and paintings that detail his deployments to the Persian Gulf. Some paintings from his book can be seen here.

Let me encourage you, in the midst of Christmas preparations, not to forget our troops who are serving our country and facing danger every day—and their families who miss them.

And for the record, if Major Givler follows Stacy McCain’s blog, then can Barrett Brown and Charles Johnson’s demonization of him be credible? I’ll let you be the judge.

20 December 2009

HT Whispers in the Loggia-

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Signed, Sealed... Sainted

As expected, this morning the Pope approved 21 decrees advancing causes for beatification and canonization... and, suffice it to say, the slate is full of notable names.

Among others, B16 declared:
  • the martyrdom "in odium fidei" of Fr (now Blessed-to-be) Jerzy Popieluzsko, the chaplain to Poland's Solidarity movement who was killed by the Communist regime's secret police in 1984;
  • and, most prominently of all, the heroic virtues of not one, but two pontiffs: Karol Wojtyla, better known as John Paul II... and Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, whose cause has sparked a significant amount of protest among Jewish leaders, and dueling pressures on the Vatican, amid charges that the wartime Pope failed to do enough to avert the Holocaust. (While John Paul's heroic virtue was reportedly approved by a unanimous vote of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints last month, Pius' decree has been pending before Benedict since it, too, was endorsed without opposition by the dicastery's 30-odd cardinals in May 2007.) Both now become "Venerable," and their causes permitted to present a first miracle in order to progress to beatification -- which, in the case of John Paul, could come as soon as next year.
  • And lastly, with the Pope slated to visit the UK next fall, likewise advanced was the cause of now-Venerable Mary Ward (1585-1645), the English foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Inspired to start an Ignatian community for women in the spirit of the Jesuits -- one that, shockingly for its time, would be free from the obligations of the enclosure and a "specific" habit -- Ward's declaration, like MacKillop's, recognizes the sanctity of a life that endured ecclesiastical hardball; once jailed for two months by the Roman Inquisition (the historical antecedent of today's CDF), her community was suppressed in 1630, and only re-established sixty years after her death.
As far as timetables go, it bears noting that B16 has limited the canonization Masses to formally elevate groups of new saints to two each year: one in the spring, during the Easter Season, then again in the fall, usually in the first half of October. The dates for the respective canonizations will be fixed in consistories, the first of which should come in February.

Along these same lines, the pontiff has restored the traditional venue of the rites of beatification to the local church where the candidate(s) lived, with the ceremony usually performed there by a papal legate.

Papa Ratzinger is expected to break from said form, however, on the aforementioned (but still unconfirmed) trip to Britain, where he will reportedly lead the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the famed convert and apologist who was cleared for the penultimate step to sainthood in early July.

PHOTO: "The Communion of Saints"/John Nava, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

HT Gateway Pundit- Drill, Baby, Drill

Thursday, December 17, 2009, 5:36 AM
Jim Hoft
Already this year Democrats have scrapped oil and gas leases in Utah, permanently banned drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and nixed offshore drilling.

In fact, for decades Democrats have blocked efforts to responsibly develop this nation’s energy resources, transforming vast areas of opportunity into “The No Zone.”
This year as democrats continue their attacks on American energy producers and the economy, China has been gobbling up reserves in Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.
the Institute for Energy Research reported this news, via Energy Tomorrow blog:
Not only is China investing in places like Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Argentina, but it is in the U.S.’s backyard, looking towards usurping the U.S. supply of Canadian oil sands. China is a good customer for Canada, as Canada fears that the U.S. may introduce a low carbon fuel standard[ii] or other legislation that would restrict our purchases of oil sands from Canada[iii]. China is also looking at a possible purchase of leases in the Gulf of Mexico where Devon Energy is looking to sell its U.S. leases.[iv] The sale of these offshore leases requires the approval of the Mineral Management Service in the U.S. Department of Interior. China is willing and able to be at the forefront of any misstep other countries make to gain a foothold and secure oil and gas supplies, and the U.S. seems to be giving it elbow room.
China is also investing in oil and natural gas pipelines to ensure access to its investments and to divert some of its oil imports from the Middle East away from the Straits of Malacca. Oil pipelines are being built from Russia, Kazakhstan, and the coast of Myanmar. [v] A natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan should be operating in the near future, and several liquefied natural gas terminals are either operating or are expected to be operating shortly.[vi]
While the Bush Administration initiated steps to bring on new leases of oil and gas, both offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and on public lands that are endowed with billions of barrels of shale oil, the Obama Administration has slowed the progress by extending the comment periods and providing other obstacles. Examples include:
  • ** On February 4th, shortly after his Senate confirmation, Interior Secretary Salazar rescinded 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that could cost American taxpayers millions in lost lease bids, production royalties, new jobs, and the energy needed to offset rising imports of oil and gas.[xv]
    ** On February 10th, Secretary Salazar delayed for 6 months the development of the new 5-year leasing program for offshore drilling that would have set the framework for accessing newly available areas.[xvi]
    ** On February 25th, Secretary Salazar canceled a new round of commercial-scale oil shale research, demonstration, and development leases in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.[xvii]
    ** On February 26th, President Obama introduced a budget that contains page after page of taxes on oil and gas totaling more than $31 billion that will reduce our domestic energy production.[xviii]
    ** On March 30th, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act into law, prohibiting energy production on over 3 million acres of federal land.[xix]
    ** On October 8th, after rescinding 77 Utah oil and gas leases in February, Salazar announces he will lease 17 of them.[xx]
    ** On October 20th, after canceling a new round of commercial-scale oil shale research, demonstration, and development leases last February, Salazar issued a new oil shale leasing program that decreases lease acreage by 87 percent, demands unrealistic timelines for investment into cutting edge research, and leaves royalty rates at the whim of the Secretary or in new regulations. [xxi]
    Issues with the U.S. Renewable Strategy
The Obama Administration prefers that priority be given to offshore wind farms and wind and solar installations onshore.[xxii] (That currently produce less than 1% of US electricity consumption.) They tout that these sources of “green energy” will provide needed jobs in the U.S. However, studies[xxiii] have shown that highly-subsidized renewable energy cost consumers and taxpayers more than the alternative fossil technologies[xxiv], that their component parts are largely made in foreign countries, that the jobs are mainly for the actual site construction and thus are temporary, and that the economy would be spurred more by investments made elsewhere.
Further, most green technologies are dependent on the wind blowing or the sun shining, and thus provide a lower amount of usable energy than their fossil or nuclear counterparts. Hence, many more wind farms or solar installations will be needed to provide the same amount of energy as their fossil and nuclear counterparts. And, they will also require more land area.[xxv]
What China Knows and the U.S. Doesn’t Know
All sources are needed to ensure energy will be available for future economic growth and to reduce dependence on foreign imports. Trading foreign imports of oil for component parts of wind and solar technologies does not reach any goals to which the U.S. is aspiring. To reach reductions of greenhouse gas emissions required by H.R. 2454, or other similar legislation, either nuclear power or biomass generating technologies will be needed[xxvi], which provide greater amounts of energy than wind or solar power. That’s precisely the reason that China is investing in oil and gas resources abroad and in building power plants from hydrocarbon, nuclear, and renewable sources of energy without legal and government delays

HT Father Z- Senator Nelson sold his soul

Sen. Nelson sold himself

CATEGORY: Emanations from Penumbras, SESSIUNCULA — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 3:15 pm
Sen. Nelson (D-NE) gets from Pres. Obama and Sen. Reid (D-NV) federal money for Medicaid … for Nebraska… pretty much forever?

Sen. Nelson is apparently okay with other states paying for Nebraska’s free ride.

Sen. Nelson must be okay with letting states opt out of receiving federal money for abortion. 

Sen. Nelson must therefore okay with tax payers everywhere paying for abortions somewhere.

Sen. Nelson sold himself.  

There is a another term for that, but let’s just say it that way.

I bet Sen. Nelson will run for reelection claiming that he is pro-life. 

Sen. Nelson has accepted a compromise that the USCCB should not willing to accept. 

It looks like the Hyde Amendment is irrelevant.

Did you notice that the conscience protection has been removed?

What will the USCCB do now?

Will they issue a statement that the Conference opposes the bill?

If they don’t, then the American bishop will have been rolled.

This seems to be the beginning of federally funded abortion in the USA.



HT Gateway Pundit- Obamascare Vote tonight

Sunday, December 20, 2009, 2:29 PM
Jim Hoft
Obama’s Jokers are voting to nationalize health care tonight.
At 1:00AM Monday, December 21, the Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the Reid-Baucus-Dodd-Harkin amendment #2376.”

Hat Tip Al
We can’t stop them from passing their radical, unpopular, rationed health care legislation but we can promise them this:
We promise to actively and openly campaign against every democrat who votes for this bill no matter if you are a red state democrat or a blue state democrat.
We promise to donate to campaigns to defeat the democrats who vote for this radical expansion of the federal government.
We promise to make it known how you bought your votes with our taxpayer money to pass this bill.
We promise that we will never forget how your party leaders and your state-run media called Americans who opposed this lousy nationalized health care bill – mobsters, radicals, nazis and teabaggers.
We promise to  never forget that you voted to force taxpayers to fund abortion by voting for this bill and that your bill requires a monthly abortion fee.
We promise to never forget that your plan allows for government coverage of illegal aliens.
We promise to attend your town hall meetings and confront you about your vote to takeover one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Not even your SEIU and ACORN thugs will keep us away.
We promise to let Americans and seniors know that democrats just cut $470 billion from their Medicare.
We promise to let Americans know that you voted to ration their health care.
We promise to NEVER FORGET that you voted against the wishes of the people you represent.
We promise…

HT Father Z

• • • • • •

Anti-Catholic, anti-priest move by Celebrity Cruises

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULA, The Last Acceptable Prejudice — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 11:46 am
For the following, keep two points in mind.

Priests will tell you that they often hear some pretty amazing confessions when they visit a parish where they are not usually assigned, or even when they are traveling.  It is a common opinion among priests that this is because people are feel freed up by even greater anonymity.

We also know that anti-Catholicism is on the rise.

His dictis, a reliable and very well-known priest friend sent the following about the decision of a famous cruise line to severely curtail providing for priests on board their cruises, who say Mass, hear confessions and see to the spiritual needs of passengers and crews.

The note was sent out by the Apostleship of the Sea and it concerns Celebrity Cruises.

            I am a member of the Apostleship [of the Sea] even though the only time I have made use of this was to be chaplain [once]. It is a good group providing priests on board various cruise lines around the world. Personally, I have heard some very moving and deep confessions on board, probably due to the fact that faithful felt freer to pour out the hearts to someone they would never see again (another good reason for the grill, but I digress).
            This just came from them regarding a new policy from Celebrity Cruises which smacks of anti-Catholicism, or at least a profound misunderstanding of the role of the priest in the lives of the Catholic faithful verses that of ministers.

Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America
[NOTA BENE…] My thought is that if the Faithful themselves knew of this decision they might want to make other arrangements in the panning of the choices for cruises.   [In other words, don’t use Celebrity Cruises]
I have never been on any cruise and haven’t been inclined to this point.  But I must agree with my priest friend.  This is a really bad move.

Here is the message sent out about this, which was attached to my friends e-mail.

Dear Friends,

We have received word from Celebrity Cruises [File that name away… Celebrity Cruises which doesn’t want priests....] that a significant change will take place for the year 2010.

Celebrity Cruises will only require priests for Easter and Christmas sailings in the year 2010.  This does not include Ash Wednesday or Palm Sunday cruises. [Which are two huge days also for fallen away Catholics! And let’s not even talk here about people who want daily Mass.]

We know that many of your have already volunteered for and been assigned to many cruises for Celebrity for the year 2010.  However, only those assigned to Easter or Christmas sailings will now be sailing.

This is a great shock and disappointment to us, and we clearly know that this is a tremedous disappointment to each of you as well.

Please see the message from Celebrity [which doesn’t want priests…] below [This comes from Celebrity Cruises… which doesn’t want priests…]:

Celebrity Cruises values the relationship and partnership with the Apostleship of the Seas. It is with great confidence that we can use the services of the AOSUSA to ensure that all priests are properly vetted, supported, and are in good standing with their own church.

While we do meet the needs of many guests onboard by supplying a priest, we have recently encountered a great deal of negative feedback pertaining to the "selective" support of one particular religion/faith. While Celebrity Cruises is unable to provide one minister/religious leader of every faith onboard every sailing, we have had to make areduction in the number of Roman Catholic Priests placements onboard.

After many internal discussions, external research, and marketing investigations,
[of course!] Celebrity Cruises [which doesn’t want priests] will only place Roman Catholic Priests on sailings that take place over the Easter and Christmas holiday. This has not been an easy decision for the corporate office, and many hours of meetings, reviews, emails, discussions, and conversations took place.

This change will be effective upon the first sailing of each vessel in 2010.

I will be in touch with the dates of 2010 that will require a Roman Catholic Priest. Thank you for your understanding. Please let me know if there are any questions.

The note from the Apostleship of the Sea continues:

AOS USA regrets this decision by Celebrity Cruises
[which doesn’t want priests]. We have always enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with them.  We are thankful that they have chosen to stay onboard with our program to ensure valid priests in good standing for those cruises that they choose to place priests onboard.

We know that from time to time, there have been some negative comments from non-Catholic passengers, as Celebrity mentions in their note.
[How many members of other churches or religions have a practice of a daily service?] However, we also believe that some of the recent issues with improper conduct from some of our priests and/or their guests onboard, has unfavorably weighed in on this decision as well[Is this really the issue?  It sounds like an excuse.]

When we received this note last week, we initially requested that Celebrity
[which doesn’t want priests] allow those assigned to January thru March cruises to sail. We also requested continued placement of priests for Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday cruises. However, it was stated that the new policy authorizes priests only for Easter and Christmas.

We have requested further instruction from Celebrity
[which doesn’t want priests] regarding how airfare cancellations or revisions will be addressed. We have not received response to this as of this time.


[sic] of these sailings have already been filled.  So please do not apply for these.

We have asked Msgr Harriman and Fr. Dominic Hahn with Holland America Line to work with priests whose assignments are now cancelled, to see if we can transfer some of them to similar cruises where possible.  [So… Celebrity doesn’t want priests, as a matter of policy.  Holland American does.  I hope that helps you make any decisions about travel.] They have both kindly agreed to do so. I will give more information on how to proceed with this in another note.

We know your disappointment, as we share in it.  This will significantly impact the number of cruises we have for placement of priests in the year 2010.  We are currently renewing membership for 2010. If you choose not to renew at this time, we will certainly understand. 

We appreciate those of you who have been true representatives of Christ onboard, and hope that you will continue to pray for the ministry to the People of the Sea and those who serve them. Pray too that they year 2010 will bring more cruise lines onboard.

If you are planning any vacation involving cruises, remember that you won’t find a priest on Celebrity Cruises.

You probably will on any other cruise lines, but not Celebrity Cruises.  They aren’t interested enough in the needs of Catholics to provide for priests for their time aboard. 

HT Father Z- Fourth Sunday of Advent

WDTPRS: 4th Sunday of Advent - COLLECT (2002MR)

CATEGORY: ADVENT, SESSIUNCULA, WDTPRS — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 8:41 pm
The Collect for this Sunday is the Post-communion of the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) in the 1962MR. Most of you who recite the Angelus know this prayer. 

This time we also get the WDTPRS version since we want to know what the prayer really says. This is also the prayer said traditionally after the Alma Redemptoris Mater, sung following Compline during Advent.


Gratiam tuam, quaesumus Domine,
mentibus nostris infunde,
ut qui, Angelo nuntiante,
Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus,
per passionem eius et crucem
ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.

The last part, per passionem eius et crucem ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur has a wonderful flow to it with its alliteration and snappy cadence, followed as it is by the rhythmically gear changing conclusion, Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum…. Collects are often little masterpieces. They deserve great care in rendering them into a liturgically smooth, yet accurate version. In WDTPRS we are purposely being rather “slavish” in translating so you can see the raw text. Imagine how hard it is to work up good liturgical versions.
We never have to brush dust from our frequently exploited Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary. Therein we find that cognosco is, generally, “to become thoroughly acquainted with (by the senses or mentally), to learn by inquiring…”, but in the perfect tenses (cognovimus) it is “to know” in all periods of Latin. The verb infundo basically is “to pour in, upon, or into” but in the construction (which we see today – infundere alicui aliquid) “to pour out for, to administer to, present to, lay before”. Simply, it can mean, “communicate, impart”. The verb perduco “to lead or bring through”, is “guide a person or thing to a certain goal, to a certain period”. Interestingly, both infundo and perduco can have the overtone of to anoint, or smear with something.
ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
fill our hearts with your love,
and as you revealed to us by an angel
the coming of your Son as man,
so lead us through his suffering and death
to the glory of his resurrection
for he lives and reigns…

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, (through the same Christ our Lord).

Some people think that “Thee” and “Thou” are formal. Au contraire! These are familiar forms of pronouns for the second person singular used by a superior to an underling or between equals or friends. The “you” form (derived from “ye”) is the more formal! In traditional prayers (Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name…) we address God with a familiar, intimate form not so common today unless you are Amish or Quaker. You will raise an eyebrow or two at the bowling alley if you shift to “thou”: “Since it’s the tenth frame and thou hadst a strike, thrice canst thou bowl. Take up thy ball and bowl, already, ‘cause I gotta go home.”

Well… that last phrase shows some ICEL influence, but I think you get my drift.

I know the new translation is coming, and that it marks a huge improvement over the lame-duck massacre we are using now, but I often wish we could have had a version with all the "thees and thous".  A more archaic, stylized prayer could have cut across differences between, say, the English of Africa, Australia, and Asia. They say Americans and British are two peoples separated by a common language. But not when we read Shakespeare or we say the traditional Our Father!  The CDWDS document for the norms of translation, Liturgiam authenticam, says that the language of liturgy should be distinct from daily speech:
27. Even if expressions should be avoided which hinder comprehension because of their excessively unusual or awkward nature, the liturgical texts should be considered as the voice of the Church at prayer, rather than of only particular congregations or individuals; thus, they should be free of an overly servile adherence to prevailing modes of expression. If indeed, in the liturgical texts, words or expressions are sometimes employed which differ somewhat from usual and everyday speech, it is often enough by virtue of this very fact that the texts become truly memorable and capable of expressing heavenly realities. Indeed, it will be seen that the observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context.
Anyway, it couldn’t have hurt.  But that is not going to happen… unless…. unless…

Maybe we could have a petition.... "What if we just said ‘Thee’?" ...  How would be vote?

In an English translation of the Roman Missal what style would you prefer?
View Results


We beg You, O Lord,
pour Your grace into our minds and hearts,
so that we who came to know the incarnation of Christ Your Son
in the moment the Angel was heralding the news,
may be guided through His Passion and Cross
to the glory of the resurrection.

Angelo nuntiante is an ablative absolute, hard to render in English without using a paraphrase. The participle nuntiante is in the present tense, or better, in a tense “contemporary” with the time of the verb cognovimus having a past tense. Thus, in the very moment the Angel was heralding the good news, we (collectively in the shepherds) knew about how God the Son Eternal took our whole human nature perfectly into an indestructible bond with His divinity.

Good Advent shepherds, they rushed to the Coming of the Lord, to see the Word made flesh lying in the wooden manger. “Seeing is believing”, they say, but believing makes us want to see! “Crede ut intellegas! Believe that you may understand!” is a common theme for St. Augustine (e.g., s. 43,4.7; 118,1; Io. eu. tr. 29,6).

Today many people automatically oppose faith against reason, authority versus intellect, as if they were mutually exclusive. In fact, faith and authority are indispensable for a deeper rational, intellectual apprehension of anything. In all the deeper questions of human existence, we need the illumination from grace, we must believe and receive. Faith is the foundation of our hope which leads to love and communion with God, as Augustine might say (trin. 8,6).

The Angel heralded with authority. The shepherds believed. They rushed to Bethlehem. They saw the Infant. They understood the message. Then they worshiped the Word made flesh Who opened for them a new life.

How often do we hear about something or learn a new thing and then rush to know more, to have personal experience, to see?

Think about this.   If you had been told in the night by angels to go somewhere, do you think you would roll over and say "It can wait"?  Would you, strollSaunter

I think I would run until my lungs burst.

This is a paradigm for our life of faith. There is an interlocking cycle of hearing a proclamation (such as the Gospel at Mass, a homily, or a teaching of the Church) or observing the living testimony of a holy person’s life, and by this experience coming to know and then love the content of that proclamation or living testimony. The content is the Man God Jesus Christ. By knowing Him we come all the better to love Him and in loving Him we desire better to know Him.

An act of faith, acceptance of the authority of the content of what we receive, opens unto previously unknown territory, a vast depth otherwise closed to us. For the non-believer, on the other hand, a miracle is simply something inexplicable having nothing of the supernatural.

For a non-believer being nice or hard working can never ascend to true virtue or holiness. For him, the content of the Faith itself (both Jesus as well as what we learn and assent to) appears to be pleasant or interesting, but in the end remains naïve or foolish.
As we rush into Advent’s final days, that first candle we lit on our wreaths is now quite depleted.

From 17 December to Christmas Eve solemn days envelop us and the haunting “O Antiphons” of vespers one after another cloak us in our longing: “O come! O come!.. to teach us… redeem us… deliver us… ransom us… free us… enlighten us… save us… save us….”

We are deeply wrapped within our penitential holyday cheer because our celebration of the Lord in His First Coming is near to hand, but we do not forget that His Second Coming will bring our final judgment.

No Sheeples Here: Lance Hates Homo Sapiens And Steve Is An Intergalactic Dweeb

No Sheeples Here: Lance Hates Homo Sapiens And Steve Is An Intergalactic Dweeb

The Other McCain: Great Moments in Lefty Consistency

The Other McCain: Great Moments in Lefty Consistency

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Great Moments in Lefty Consistency

by Smitty

The first comment on the earlier "Profile in Cowardice" post bears promotion to a full post, in light of the diabolical nature of things.
[A Nebraskan Commenter] said...
'cuse me
I'm a Nebraskan and you need to know two things:
1. We know he's a Democrat. We voted for him and have been voting for him for years.
Indeed. Incumbency in the last century makes a Vasa of our ship of state. Emphasis mine here:
2. We don't appreciate outsiders tell us how to think or how our senators ought to vote.
Finally, why do republicans continue to flirt with him when you know he's a democrat?
This is where I achieve orbit. The system is broken. The practical point is that we've a small number of people wielding vast power over others. Tyranny. For now, the tyranny is disguised as 2k+ page bills that are rushed through, literally in the dead of night. As government grows, the rule of law will gradually be discarded, as was seen so blatantly last week with Sanders' amendment.

So, you have conscious people arguing against this decadence. The 10th Amendment, now merely an icon to chastity that is venerated as foreplay for new adventures in sodomy, ought to make this entire argument about health care moot. The Federal government has no business whatsoever, per the Constitution, dealing with individual citizens. Sure, interstate commerce regulation for medications. Fine, running an FDA: there are economies of scale to achieve, without violating privacy. And we're all going to get violated, one way or another.

Ah, but your Senator Nelson is telling us what we'll pay. Your Senator's vote is going to have direct impact on me, over here in VA. You sound downright conservative there, getting all puffy about your state's rights and stuff. But did you follow the Big Government link above, and see what your Senator is perpetrating on the rest of the country? Do you really think that, for all Nelson's whoredom, this special treatment isn't going to get thrown under the bus Real Soon Now?

Oh, and here is your sorry punchline:
He's betrayed no one. He acts for us - not you.
He, and both of my local pieces of work, Warner and Webb, have betrayed the whole lousy country. They act for themselves. If you think he's acting for you, or for Nebraska in any long-term useful way, then all I can say is that your glasses are a fetching shade of rose. "not" and "you" are the only accurate words in your entire reply, sir.

I don't think any of the whining from the left about the contents of the bill is meaningful. The precedent is set, once this is signed. Our brave new Orwellian version of Logan's Run beckons. Cue Young4Eyes to come in and call me paranoid. Of course it will be implemented over time: I'm giving you the decades-out view. But Chekov's Law is correct. The century-long project to demolish our country history nears completion. And we still have these silly squawks from Nebraska that we shouldn't tell their Senators how think, when those Senators are cheerfully dictating to us. You stay beautiful, lefties.

And, as I hate leaving a post on a down note, here is a parting shot:

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Rule 5 Sunday, Round 5

IN Honor of our Fearless Leader's American Spectator article and the 70th Anniversary of Gone Wtih the Wind, I present Clark Gable

19 December 2009

The Other McCain: Ben Nelson: Profile in Cowardice

The Other McCain: Ben Nelson: Profile in Cowardice
As Smitty mentioned, the Nebraska Democrat caved overnight:
Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, was prepared to announce to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.
"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to announce the deal. . . .
Michelle Malkin reports the morning press conference:
Nelson announces support at press conference. Says he is satisfied by abortion language. He reads a perfunctory statement praising Reid and White House, then says with the most passion in his voice: "I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes" made in conference.
UPDATE: Dan Riehl points out the most important consideration: "What's in it for Ben?" His vote was bought, which may be the first time the phrase "thirty pieces of silver" has appeared in federal legislation.

UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
Nelson caved on abortion and sold out for an extra year of federal Medicaid subsidies.
From his press conference speech:
Nelson compared the bill to the creation of Social Security and Medicare.
"I truly believe this legislation will stand the test of time," he said. "The lives of millions of Americans will be improved."
Those "millions"? Bureaucrats. Tell your kids to forget about a business career. Bureaucracy is the future!

UPDATE III: Philip Klein of the American Spectator walks it forward:
Next month, the House and Senate will reconcile their bills, which will then have to pass both chambers again before President Obama can sign it, which he hopes to do before his State of the Union address. At this point, the smart money would have to be on Democrats getting it done, but there are still obstacles to reaching a final agreement.
"Obstacles," indeed. Ben Nelson could realize how badly he has dishonored himself and commit seppuku. Unlikely, of course, but theoretically possible.

UPDATE IV: Readers who think I'm actually advocating that Nelson engage in ritual disembowelment are mistaken. Seppuku is an expression of the shogun's honorable acknowledgement of his own dishonor. Nelson obviously has no sense of honor. He's a Democrat.

Speaking of Democrats and dishonor, what about the progressive netroots? Total punks, says Moe Lane:
I've been involved with the political blogosphere since 2002 or so, and the next time I see the left side of its leadership stand up to entrenched Democratic party interests over something important will be the first. . . . [I]f they swallowed heavily and accepted being betrayed on FISA/rendition/same-sex marriage, they’ll accept whatever monstrosity that the current ruling party comes up with with regard to health care rationing.
Swallowing heavily, indeed.

UPDATE V: "Which is better, a whore or a slut?"

"If Nelson was really such a staunch pro-life advocate, why is he a member of the Democrat Party?"

No Sheeples Here: Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town Edition

No Sheeples Here: Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town Edition

19 December 2009

HT No Sheeples Here- a brutal blog assault!!!

No Sheeples Here is one of my favorite blogs, and its authoress is responsible for the Smitty and The Other McCain award artwork and design.  Can you imagine the shock and horror that I felt when confroted with the below image of lamb abuse?  While I do not insert myself into  football contests (after all the NY Giants are my favorite team, followed by the Redskins in honor of Dad), these two have been at loggerheads for some time.  But the inhumanity of this image!!!!  Well, in Carol's defense, I have launched the Dachsies With Moxie defense force against the lamb eating badger.  I have no doubt that Ginger and Chip will prevail in defense of Carol's honor!!!

Brutal Blog Assault

Carol of No Sheeples Here brutally and viciously attacks the venerable Lance without provocation. Lance is the most dignified proprietor of The TrogloPundit.

I wonder who might be next on Carol's list? Mother Teresa? Mr. Rogers? The Dali Lama? Barney the Dinosaur?

Nonetheless, the outcome is assured:

"Mmmmm... tastes like chicken."

The Other McCain: The best thing about my daughter being engaged to an Argentine?

 Yesterday, Our Fearless Leader announced the engagement of his lovely daughter Kennedy.  Her photos reveals her to be an absolutely beautiful young woman and a credit to her family.  God Bless the happy couple and their respective families

The Other McCain: The best thing about my daughter being engaged to an Argentine?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The best thing about my daughter
being engaged to an Argentine?

It's true. The other night, after an all-too-lengthy courtship -- she broke up with him for a few months earlier this year because he was, as the old song says, "courtin' too slow" -- he finally proposed.

My 20-year-old daughter Kennedy now has a big diamond ring on her finger, courtesy of the boy I call the Romeo of the Pampas, the Legendary Latin Lothario, Martin Nestares. (His name is pronounced "mar-TEEN," although I refuse to do that Spanish thing where his last name is rendered "Nestarrrrrrres.")

Honestly, he's a good kid, even if he is planning to go to law school. He's a Christian boy. Both his grandfathers are ministers. And he is muy respectful. In fact, it was our old-fashioned values -- almost as much as our daughter's lovely red hair and vivacious personality -- that made Kennedy so attractive to this chivalrous tango-dancing caballero.

Martin was captain of the soccer team at the Christian academy he and Kennedy attended, a school that she found online after becoming frustrated with her parents' inability to adequately assist her with her 9th-grade homeschool math curriculum. Next time somebody tells you that homeschoolers suffer from a lack of "socialization," remember that my daughter landed the most popular boy in school. (She also graduated with honors at age 16.)

So, other than the happy prospect of my daughter's nuptial bliss, what's the best part of this deal?
  • Future holiday dinner arguments provoked by my needling references to Britain's easy conquest of the Falkland Islands, complete with loud choruses of "Rule Brittania."
  • Son-in-law becomes fabulously wealthy corporate lawyer, so he can afford to fly me down to Argentina every winter and I'll lounge on the beach at Mar del Plata sipping umbrella drinks, watching bikini-clad Latinas stroll past.
  • The likelihood that, about 2029, the University of Alabama will offer a full-ride football scholarship to my soccer-style placekicker grandson, Beauregard Lee Nestares.
  • The irony of grandson Beau Lee checking the "Latino" box and qualifying for affirmative action.
No, as delightful as these scenarios are, none of them is the best thing about my daughter becoming engaged to the ardent Argentine.

The best thing? Another excuse for me to rattle the tip jar.

Roll Tide! And Rule Britannia!

UPDATE: One of the great tip-jar hitters of all time, Nathan Cossey congratulates me and asks:
My only wonder is if he has another daughter that's close in age to her.
Regret to inform you, Nathan, that her younger sister is only 7, which means that you would have to wait more than a decade. Unless we move to Alabama, in which case . . .

That is a joke! A joke! Just because marriage at 14 is legal in Alabama does not mean I'm endorsing it. Fireworks are also legal in Alabama, and I enthusiastically endorse fireworks, but that's different.

UPDATE II: Da Tech Guy also extends his congratulations. Perhaps you recall the opening scene of The Godfather, where ancient Sicilian custom requires that Don Corleone cannot deny any request on his daughter's wedding day?

We also have a custom in my family: Everyone must hit the tip jar when I announce my daughter's engagement. It's not an ancient custom but . . .

UPDATE III: Little Miss Attila gets misty-eyed with nostalgia for her youthful days roaming the pampas, IYKWIMAITYD. And Paleo Pat adds his congratulations . . . to the groom. IYKWIMAITYD.

Thanks to all.

18 December 2009

HT Father Z- The O Antiphons

The O Antiphons developed from an ancient custom in the Church going back  to the seventh or eighth century. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours, or Breviary, which clerics, some religious orders, and some lay people use for daily prayer.

The O Antiphons are short prayers recited before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary used during Vespers, evening prayer, beginning on December 17, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (December 24). The seventh and last antiphon is sung during Vespers of December 23. They are called the "O Antiphons" because they all begin with the letter-word "O" for they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles.  They are fervent prayers asking Him to come to us.

Remember that Advent is about the many ways in which the Lord comes.  He came at Bethlehem in the fullness of time and so, in the liturgical year, he comes to us sacramentally.  He will also come again at the end of the word, as Judge of the living and the dead.  Christ comes to us also in the consecration of bread and wine by the priest at Holy Mass and, in a special way, perhaps the most profound way, in a good Holy Communion.  He comes in the person of the priest, who is alter Christus, another Christ.  He also comes in the person of our neighbor, especially those who are in need of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  Christ comes in many ways and, during Advent, John the Baptist has been reminding us in the liturgy to "make straight His paths".

There is a little-known fact about the order of these ancient O Antiphons. This is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles and write them backwards, thus counting down the days of the feast: EROCRAS or "ero cras."    This means in Latin "I will be (here) tomorrow".

The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is simply a slightly modified sung version of the seven O Antiphons.

Robert Gain BLack, Sr

Today would have been my father's 81st birthday.  He died three months ago yesterday, on 17 September 2009, from kidney failure.  He is sorely missed.

HT American Papist-

The O Antiphons Begin

I love the tradition of the O Antiphons. It's also easy for me to remember them each year because they start on my half birthday.

Fr. William Saunders explains what they are :

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

... The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.





O Antiphons

detail from the Ghent Altarpiece, by Jan Van Eyck, 1420s

The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights."

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." Those titles for Christ are:
Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

These glorious titles in more detail:

Old Testament prophetic verses:
Isaias 11:2-3
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.

Isaias 28:29
This also is come forth from the Lord God of hosts, to make his counsel wonderful, and magnify justice.
Lord of Israel
Isaias 11:4-5
But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.

Isaias 33:22
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: he will save us.
Radix Jesse
Root of Jesse
Isaias 11:1
And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.

Isaias 11:10
In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

Micheas 5:1
Now shalt thou be laid waste, O daughter of the robber: they have laid siege against us, with a rod shall they strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.

Romans 15:8-13
For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to thy name. And again he saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and magnify him, all ye people. And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Apocalypse 5:1-5
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it. And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Clavis David
Key of David
Isaias 22:22
And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Isaias 9:6
For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.
Radiant Dawn, Dayspring
Isaias 9:2
The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.
Rex Gentium
King of all Nations, King of the Gentiles
Isaias 9:7
His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaias 2:4
And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war.
God with us
Isaias 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Below are the O Antiphons in both English and Latin. One is prayed each evening at Vespers time (around sunset), and families can make up their own ceremonies using the Antiphons, Scripture, by singing or listening to sacred music (especially "O Come, Emmanuel," see below), adding to their Jesse Trees, etc. Whatever you do, set the scene, as you should with all Catholic family devotions: burn incense, lower the lights, light candles, use sacred music at appropriate times, meaningful symbols, etc.

To pray the O Antiphons as they are prayed in the Divine Office, begin with the Antiphon, then pray the Magnificat (included below), then repeat the Antiphon.

It would be wonderful if perhaps one parent can chant, or at least read, the Antiphons in Latin, with the second parent reading them in the vernacular afterwards. To hear them chanted (MP3 files), 1 click the speaker icon; to see the musical notation, click the musical note.


December 17
Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

December 18
Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

December 19
Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

December 20
Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 21
Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ, et sol justitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 22
King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

December 23
Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.
My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord / Magnificat
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them that fear Him.

He hath shewed might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.

He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, Abraham and His seed forever.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum, et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo, quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.

Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est, et sanctum Nomen eius, et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies timentibus eum.

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, dispersit superbos mente cordi sui; deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles; esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes.

Suscepit Israel puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae, sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

The O Antiphons are the source of the lyrics of the Advent song "Veni, veni Emmanuel" ("Come, O come Emmanuel") which you can hear by clicking here. It would be beautiful for the family to sing this lovely Advent song at the conclusion of the O Antipons. For the lyrics, see the Lyrics and Melodies to Traditional Catholic Hymns page.

To download the O Antiphons and Magnificat, in both English and Latin, for use in your home, click here for a 2-page Microsoft Word document that has all you need.

1 The MP3 files come from Father Jim Tucker ("Don Jim"), of the blog "Dappled Things" (will open in new browser window).