Archive for January, 2012

The “Debates”

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About Sheldon Adelson, who has contributed $10 million to Gingrich’s candidacy, all through Super PACs:

“So what is Adelson’s agenda?

He and his allies have been campaigning for war with Iran for years, not only here but in the Middle East. Adelson is a major financial backer of Israel’s ultra-nationalist Likud party, which calls in its platform for a “Greater Israel,” and he has backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the hilt. The 16th richest man in the world, with his casino empire stretching from Macao to Las Vegas, he thought nothing of giving $60 million to Israel’s anniversary celebration. He is also a major backer of AIPAC, the most important pro-Israel lobbying organization – but downsized his contribution when the group signed on to the two-state solution advanced by both Republican and Democratic presidents – on the grounds that the plan means Israel is “committing suicide.” He supports the extremist – and increasingly violent – “settler” movement, and is the money-bags behind the “Clarion Fund,” which is responsible for flooding the US with anti-Arab propaganda.”

More, from Justin Raimondo: http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/01/24/adelson-gingrich-and-the-selling-of-america/

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The Return of Zita

Our friend Ben Hatke has released the cover to the Zita the Spacegirl sequel, which is slated for a September publication:


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Cloud Cult: Chain Reaction

(Thanks to the Pittsford Perennialist)

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It is a truism that converts tend to be more observant than those born into a faith. This is particularly true among the Orthodox. For example, my friends who are converts to Orthodoxy observe the fasts with great strictness, abstaining from meat, dairy and fish during the times of abstinence. On the other hand, the local paper lists several Orthodox churches in the area who have fish fries during Lent, and a couple that serve macaroni and cheese as a side dish. To generalize, ethnic Orthodox Christians have a more relaxed, if homey,  attitude toward their faith, while the converts are more zealous, with all the good and bad that implies.

 These contrasting attitudes have often led to conflict between the ethic Orthodox and the newcomers, and not too infrequently among the converts themselves, mostly former evangelicals. Indeed, every person I know who has converted to Orthodoxy has been traumatized by strife and division.

Byzantine Catholics have more or less escaped the trauma, though it is true that “converts”- most often Latin Catholics who have gone east, and therefore not technically converts- tend to embrace the Eastern way while ethnic Byzantine Catholics often mix east and west freely (the Melkites in general are the exception and have always been the least latinized of the Byzantine communions). This has not led to conflict because the situation is different among Byzantine Catholics. For one thing I have never heard of a Byzantine Catholic parish where former Latin Catholics are the majority, while there are whole parishes in Orthodoxy composed completely of converts from Protestantism (with a few former Catholics thrown in). Indeed, there is one communion- the Orthodox Church in America- where the majority of bishops  are former Protestants (and yes, it is a mess). Thus, those of us who have traveled the road to the Catholic east tend to keep things quiet, to not disturb the waters. But conflict or no, the phenomenon exists.

But rather than leading to division, those in the Byzantine churches who desire a more faithful adherence to tradition work quietly to encourage a more pure praxis.

And that begins with education. My own parish has contributed immensely to informing both eastern and western Christians on the contrast and harmony of east and west with a recent presentation at the parish, ” About East and West”, by Archimandrite Damon Geiger,which has gained widespread interest on the internet; it can be viewed in its entirety here:



Reflecting on this, Ric Ballard of the Eastern Catholic Spiritual Renewal blog talks about the different spiritualities behind the rosary and the Jesus prayer, so externally similar with their beads and repetition:


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Our World

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Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of illhealth; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

 Moreover, man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name. He has a right to freedom in investigating the truth, and—within the limits of the moral order and the common good—to freedom of speech and publication, and to freedom to pursue whatever profession he may choose. He has the right, also, to be accurately informed about public events.

 He has the natural right to share in the benefits of culture, and hence to receive a good general education, and a technical or professional training consistent with the degree of educational development in his own country. Furthermore, a system must be devised for affording gifted members of society the opportunity of engaging in more advanced studies, with a view to their occupying, as far as possible, positions of responsibility in society in keeping with their natural talent and acquired skill.

  Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public. According to the clear teaching of Lactantius, “this is the very condition of our birth, that we render to the God who made us that just homage which is His due; that we acknowledge Him alone as God, and follow Him. It is from this ligature of piety, which binds us and joins us to God, that religion derives its name.”

Blessed John XXIII, Pacem in Terris

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Family Values, Newt Style

(Shamelessly stolen from Mark Shea)

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