... "Few senators have a worse voting record on civil rights than Trent Lott - but Bill Frist is one of them," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "Frist has voted against sex education, international family planning, emergency contraception [the morning-after pill], affirmative action, hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act." ... full story
And I'm not sure about this either:
... Conservatives expressed concern that Frist was not as ideologically pure as they would like.
"He's a moderate Republican at heart, who's not really pro-life," said Paul M. Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation. ... full story
in light of his voting record. Are we going to do better? Should we really work against him from the start?
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. RealMediaRealAudio
Isaiah (9:1) prophesied: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone." The one who frees us from captivity in darkness (see yesterday evening's antiphon; note the related themes on the 19th and 18th also) comes as the Dawn. Indeed, it is his light itself that frees us, because it is this light that burns away all that is evil and makes possible our victory over evil; so, he is the Sun of Justice (cf. Mal. 3:19-21). And more: the light that he makes present in the world (cf. Jn. 1:3-5, 9; 8:12) is the Father's light also (cf. Heb. 1:3), and making the him and the Father known to us, it gives us as the reward for our victory (cf. Rev. 21:7) the eternal day (cf. Rev. 22:5) that is eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:3).
"WASHINGTON — The Bush administration joined with its European, Russian and U.N. partners Friday in calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, and an end to terrorist attacks. ..." more
"WASHINGTON — During this holiday season, Americans must remember the families who lost loved ones to terrorists on Sept. 11, 2002 and must reach out to those less fortunate, President Bush said ..." more
"WASHINGTON — In a week of lightning-fast action in the Senate, three veteran Republicans were instrumental in getting a determined Trent Lott to relinquish his leadership post and clearing the way for Bill Frist to replace him ..." more
"WASHINGTON — Republicans wasted no time in anointing Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee as majority leader after leader-elect Trent Lott announced his resignation Friday. But ..." more
"NEW YORK, DEC. 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Chances are that many of the toys and clothes under the Christmas tree this year were made in Third World factories -- or sweatshops, according to those who criticize the substandard working conditions. ..." more
"CHICAGO, Dec 20, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - Proponents of in vitro fertilization (IVF) maintain that there is no higher risk of birth defects among test tube babies. ... But now, ... a study funded by the National Institutes of Health has found the opposite. ..." more (subscription required)
New Congregation for Divine Worship prefect on liturgy today
"VATICAN, Dec 20, 02 (CWNews.com) -- Cardinal Francis Arinze, the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has offered his first public comments on the state of the Catholic liturgy ..." more (subscription required)
"DUBLIN, Dec 20, 02 (CWNews.com) -- Church officials in Ireland shielded a priest from prosecution after he became involved in a terrorist bombing in 1972, according to a BBC news report. ..." more (subscription required)
"STRASBOURG, France, DEC. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Oswaldo Paya, president of the Christian Liberation Movement, has received the Sakharov award -- the most important human rights award given by the European Union. ..." more
"ROME, DEC. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- An American rabbi congratulated the Catholic Church for its steps to come closer to the Jewish people, and lamented that there has not been a similar effort by the Jews. ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- ... 'But, perhaps, the most important result obtained from speaking of virginity and celibacy in terms of a charism is to make the latent opposition between virginity and marriage disappear ...' ..." more
This evening's antiphon (background information below):
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom. RealMediaRealAudio
God spoke through Isaiah (22:22) of Eliakim, who was to replace the unfaithful Shebna as master of the royal palace (36:3): "I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder ..." This key is entrusted only to those who put their trust in God. Jesus Christ, the "faithful witness" who conquered death, speaks of himself as carrying this key by which we are freed from captivity in death's shadow and enabled to enter into the new Jerusalem, where life-giving water flows and the tree of life grows (Rev. 1:5, 18; 3:7; 22:1-2). Jesus is this key. His coming frees us even now, so that we can pray, "Even when I walk through a dark valley, the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage" (Ps. 23:4). If we walk with him, he will lead us into heaven.
But, uh-oh: "CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sen. Trent Lott isn't the only politico who has had a hard time holding his tongue when it comes to verbal snafus that could be portrayed as segregationist in nature. ..." more
And, thoughts from NRO: "We won't quite give him a NRO 'Thank you,' but Trent Lott belatedly did the right thing. ..." more
"The fact that Trent Lott's career-splattering comments came out at the 100th birthday of Strom Thurmond will be recognized by historians as profoundly symbolic. Here was an ancient living relic of a past nearly forgotten. ..." more
"With the open defections of John Warner (R, Va.) and Jim Inhofe, and the public declaration for the Senate Majority Leader job from Bill Frist (called 'the ideal choice' right here), Lott finally got the message. ..." more
"The Trent Lott affair was a profound test for the Republican party and the conservative movement. Both are susceptible to a blinding complacency on the one hand and a bitter defensiveness on the other. ..." more
"As a conservative, southern Republican who believes it's possible to oppose both affirmative action and the KKK, my Christmas wish was for Trent Lott to write himself out of the picture. ..." more
"One of the most promising developments on Election Day 2002 was the Republican surge in the south. Now that momentum may be halted. ..." more
"For Trent Lott, a proud man and an ambitious one, stepping down as Senate Majority Leader must be a particularly painful experience. ..." more
"Bartender, make mine the same as Jonah Goldberg’s. His column yesterday on which conservatives took the Lott affair seriously – and which did not – seemed to me exactly right. ..." more
"The Trent Lott affair has inspired many people to expound on their certain knowledge of whites, southerners, and Republicans. ..." more
"Peter Beinart of The New Republic wrote recently:
"National Review also seems to consider liberal criticism of Lott dishonest because liberals haven't been as critical of Democrats. In an article titled 'Selective Moral Outrage,' Mark R. Levin details Bill Clinton's praise for segregationist Arkansas Senator William Fulbright. But it's a dumb comparison. ...
"Actually, my contention has been that not only do liberals have selective moral outrage ... but that numerous conservatives are trying to avoid comparisons between Trent Lott's comment and segregationist (or neo-segregationist) Democrats ..." more
"Partly because of sheer luck, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and scientists from a private company have overcome a critical barrier to using pigs as a possible source of organs for transplantation into humans. ..." more
In an article appearing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, the eminent demographer Nicholas Eberstadt argues that within the next few decades Russia, China and India will have the world’s largest number of HIV/AIDS victims, an event that “threatens to derail the economic prospects of billions and alter the global military balance.” ... more
One hopes that the article does not propose condoms as the solution.
WTC site plan will be chosen Jan. 31; process criticized
"NEW YORK — A civic group concerned with rebuilding lower Manhattan said Thursday that while the new designs for the World Trade Center site were inspiring, the process for deciding what will be built there is flawed. ..." more
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. weapons inspectors put Iraq on notice that it must provide far more evidence about its weapons of mass destruction. But neither the inspectors nor other Security Council members joined the United States in declaring that Iraq has violated U.N. resolutions ...
But Secretary of State Colin Powell told a news conference in Washington that the Bush administration wasn't going to wait long for answers.
If Iraq's "deception" continues in the weeks ahead, Powell warned, "then we're not going to find a peaceful solution to this problem." ... more
"Silicone breast implants are coming back. That's good news for breast cancer survivors and other women who want implants. Blocking the way, though, are junk science-fueled, anti-implant activists and their personal injury lawyer-sponsors ..." more
LANSING, Michigan, Dec 19, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - The Catholic Medical Association has charged the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) with caving in to pressure from gay activists in its sudden decision to revoke Continuing Medical Education credits (CMEs) for a conference for health professionals ... more (subscription required)
"ALBANY, December 18, 2002 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Republican-controlled Senate of New York state voted this week to ban so-called 'discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation' and the bill was signed into law by the Republican governor. ..." more (subscription required)
"NEWARK, Dec 19, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - The New Jersey Senate on Monday passed the most radical bill seen to date allowing human cloning and research on embryonic humans. ..." more (subscription required)
"VATICAN, Dec 19, 02 (CWNews.com) -- The prestigious Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica has delivered a highly negative assessment on the status of religious freedom in Russia. ..." more (subscription required)
EU rejects large abortion funding increase, approves small one
"STRASBOURG, France, DEC. 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The European Parliament definitively rejected a 200% budget increase for population control and abortion funding in poor countries, but approved a smaller boost ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to the new united Europe not to disappoint the hopes of its young generations, especially at a time when the European Union is growing. ..." more
"WASHINGTON — Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott's political survival remained imperiled Thursday as aides to Sen. Bill Frist announced that the Tennessee Republican is weighing support for a challenge ..." more
O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. RealMediaRealAudio
God had promised David (2 Sam. 7:12-16) that his house and kingdom and throne would endure and stand firm forever, even if some of his descendents required chastisement. Subsequently, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel broke away from the Davidic kingdom, and after two centuries of infidelity, were conquered by Assyria and exiled; less than a century and a half later, the remainder of the kingdom, also corrupt, was exiled to Babylon. The warning of chastisement for unfaithful kings and people had not been in vain. But neither was the promise of an everlasting kingdom to be in vain. And so, at a time of danger shortly before the Assyrian conquest, Isaiah prophesied (11:1, 10): "But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. ... On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious." Even though the "tree of Jesse" would eventually be cut down, leaving but a stump, this would not be the end of Jesse's and David's line.
In fact, it would be greater than before. The Spirit of the Lord would be upon the new Davidic king; he would bring justice and peace (Is. 11:2ff), and he would restore the Lord's dwelling, in a manner prefigured by David's descendent Zerubbabel's restoration of the temple upon the return from the Babylonian exile (cf. Ezr. 3:2ff, 5:1-2ff; Zech. 3:8, 6:11-13).
We live in the new Davidic kingdom, inaugurated by Christ; but we also live "in this valley of tears," in "this exile," awaiting the fullness of the kingdom, awaiting the return of Christ, who by his resurrection made himself our restored temple, and who will take away all our tears as we worship the Father through him (cf. Jn. 2:19-21; Rev. 21:4, 22).
"WASHINGTON — A powerful senator in Washington is wondering what's taking the State Department so long to get off its haunches and fix its visa-processing system to boost the nation's security efforts. ..." more
"The Washington Post had a front-page story Wednesday that began, 'President Bush's ... advisers are split over whether to take a stand on the racially charged subject of affirmative action as the Supreme Court prepares to take up a landmark case ...' ..." more
"There isn’t a more inspiring political figure in America than Ward Connerly. ..." more
"Time magazine's premier race-baiter, Jack White, is using the Trent Lott controversy as a means of attacking Republicans across the board as a racist party. And above all he can't resist attacking Ronald Reagan. ..." more
"... I've argued that anybody who thinks Strom Thurmond would have made a great president is out-of-touch ... Such a person should not be Majority Leader. Nevertheless, many of the items in the official media/leftist litany against Lott are nonsense. ..." more
"The feeding-frenzy fallout from Trent Lott's now-infamous birthday-party gaffe could prove itself devasting to a party already vulnerable on race issues. But he most-serious direct casualty of all might be White House racial-preference policy. ..." more
Just one quibble with Pete, though. He suggests that all of Vatican II's teachings are infallible because an ecumenical council is intrinsically infallible, even if it doesn't explicitly invoke the infallibility of the extraordinary Magisterium, even if it does not (explicitly) "definitively" settle a matter. I think the premise about ecumenical councils is generally correct for the reasons Pete adduces, but I think there's a problem with its application to everything in Vatican II, because Vatican II seems to have expressly intended not to be doctrinal (but rather, pastoral), let alone infallible, on some points. I doubt that the bishops and pope can be infallible even if and when they intend not to be!
Of course, some of the Council's teachings are dogmatic and definitive and probably "extraordinarily" infallible. Two of the Council's four constitutions (on the Church and on Revelation) are "Dogmatic Constitutions." And not all that remains of the Conciliar documents are merely pastoral. Only one of the other two constitutions calls itself a "Pastoral Constitution" (though even it, in n. 1 of its Preface, says that it "rest[s] on doctrinal principles" and that "a doctrinal slant is present in the second part"). The "Declaration on Religious Freedom" explicitly intends (no. 1) "to develop ... doctrine." Thus, for example, the remaining Constitution (on the Liturgy) and the Declaration are, I would say, certainly documents that are intrinsically infallible by virtue of being true exercises of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
And of course, as Pete says, the (current) pope always has teaching authority and is the judge of Tradition. Clearly, this applies also to ecumenical councils. One has no right to dissent from Vatican II's teaching in any case. In matters of faith (and morals), we must be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and this means assenting to papal and conciliar teaching of every kind, as Vatican II itself teaches. Anything else amounts to fighting the Spirit.
"WASHINGTON — A government fact sheet that long promoted condoms as 'highly effective' in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases now offers a more neutral summary of the pros and cons of condom use. ..." more
NB: This is not "politics trumping science"; this is politics making way for science.
"NEW YORK — Thirteen years after the brutal rape and beating of the Central Park jogger, a Manhattan judge on Thursday vacated the convictions of all five men who served prison time after they were found guilty of the attack. ..." more
"UNITED NATIONS — There are glaring gaps and 'not much' new in Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs, Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said ..." more (See also below.)
"WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Colin Powell will formally respond to Iraq's weapons declaration Thursday, and his language could indicate if the U.S. is ready for war. ..." more (See also below.)
"LONDON — Gaps in Iraq's weapons declaration are not in themselves grounds for war, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Thursday, despite his assessment that the document was an 'obvious falsehood.' ..." more
Here is the NYT article (registration required), with better pictures/media (see the "Interactive Feature") and including a link to an "analysis" finding the designs unrealistic.
By the way, I haven't looked closely at the new designs, but my thought is, the more like the Twin Towers, the better (although I would like green space at the old towers' footprint containing a subdued memorial).
"WASHINGTON — The United States has its hands full dealing with Iraq and North Korea's pursuits of weapons of mass destruction, but the third member of President Bush's 'axis of evil' — Iran — has been able to avoid the spotlight — until now. ..." more
"CHICAGO — Two men convicted in a drug-related kidnapping and killing were released on bond Wednesday after prosecutors proclaimed their innocence and announced indictments against the gang members they contend were the real killers. ..." more
"LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of Iranian-Americans demonstrated at a federal building Wednesday to protest arrests of Middle Eastern immigrants who voluntarily registered with the Immigration and Naturalization Service ..." more
"OTTAWA, Dec 18, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - Dr. Dianne Irving, a PhD graduate of the first ever program in bioethics ... has delivered a stinging evaluation of proposed Canadian stem cell research legislation. ..." more
"CLEARWATER, Florida, Dec 18, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - Terri Schiavo, the woman whose estranged husband has been fighting to have her taken off life support, even though her family insists she could recover if therapy is resumed, has been given a reprieve. ..." more (subscription required)
These are among the most genuinely difficult medical-ethical questions these days, I think.
"VATICAN, Dec 18, 02 (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican will soon release a 'critical glossary' of terms that give rise to confused attitudes regarding sexuality and family life. ..." more (subscription required)
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Vatican approval of the U.S. bishop's revised norms dealing with clergy sex abuse demonstrates the importance of the communion between the Holy See and a country's episcopate ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Christmas is not just about remembering Jesus' birth; rather, it is understanding that our life is an awaiting for the final coming of Christ, says John Paul II. ..." more
The antiphon for the Magnificat at Evening Prayer today (see below for background) is:
O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. RealMediaRealAudio
The name "LORD" (Adonai) was usually used as a replacement for God's proper name, YHWH ("I AM"). The revelation of this sacred name was especially associated with the liberation from Egypt and the making of the covenant, which included the giving of the law (cf. Ex. 3:2ff, 6:3ff, 31:12ff). And "Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil. 2:11): This name is as proper to the Son as to the Father (Jn. 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 8), since the Son is one in being with the Father. Christ the Lord's birth into the world begins our ultimate liberation from bondage and the making of the new and everlasting covenant; his promised sending of the Holy Spirit gives us the new law by which we are able to live perfectly that liberation and covenant.
Stephen Schwartz, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror (Doubleday, 2002).
I have been reading articles by Schwartz since shortly after 9/11/01, and was looking forward to the promised publication of his book. It has not disappointed me. As mentioned below, Schwartz's reading of early and medieval Islam may gloss over some things. However, even on those topics, he offers some helpful clarifications. And the seven out of nine chapters that cover Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia are fascinating and ground-breaking.
Schwartz does show, I think, that the Saudi Wahhabi ideology is rooted in what was a minority position in earlier Islam, as well as in 18th-century apocalypticism (this ideology soon allied itself with the banditry of the House of Sa'ud), and he lays out in detail its nature today. He also points out that, tragically, its survival and coming to power were possible only with British protection and help - just as today, tragically, the US is a key Saudi patron. (Also, I was startled to learn that what I had thought was a universal and traditional Muslim rejection of the term "Muhammadans" is actually a novel Wahhabi phenomenon.)
Probably very insightful, and perhaps especially inspirational, though, are these words, from Schwartz's Preface:
In 1999, I ... went to live and work in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo. There I was honored by the opportunity to collaborate with Jews, Franciscans, scholars and Sufis of Sunni and Shi'a inspiration, and Serbian Orthodox religious leaders in efforts for interfaith cooperation - the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. From Balkan believers and mystics, I have learned much - about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - but above all, about Islamic spirituality. In Sarajevo, known as the "little Jerusalem of the Balkans," a city which has seen great evil, a solution to the "clash of civilizations" is to be found. A great tearing of the human fabric occurred in the former Yugoslavia, and it could be than an equally great healing could begin there as well. Religion can unite and heal as well as divide. There may be, then, only one solution to the present global crisis - a religious one, based on Abrahamic solidarity. ...
... Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani of the Naqshbandi Sufi order has called on President George W. Bush to support a global summit of traditional Muslim leaders, which would consult with Western intellectual and political figures in the beginning of a new Abrahamic dialogue. A "conversation of civilizations," rather than the much-heralded clash between them, could also contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. But it cannot be posed as a political or diplomatic project. It must rather encompass a mission of Abrahamic reconciliation, emphasizing the common legacy of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and a common responsibility for the future of humanity.
The United States must take an historic initiative to welcome traditional, pluralist, mainstream Islam into the common spiritual and intellectual discourse throughout the world. This cannot be done merely by embracing Muslims as another flavor in the multicultural buffet. A meaningful effort to conterpose traditional Islam to Wahhabi extremism must also be supported by the West ...
A shift in Islam away from the Wahhabi-Saudi promotion of terror to the mainstream Muslim commitment to mercy and compassion would not only ease tensions between the Western and Islamic worlds but could also make a "believers' peace" possible in Israel. This means taking the Middle East conundrum out of the hands of the politicians on both sides who have a vested interest in the conflict ... Instead, it means encouraging rabbis, imams, Christian clerics, Sufi shaykhs, and ayatollahs to enter upon a regional and global "faith-based initiative" for peace. ...
(Cullinan is a former senior foreign-policy adviser to the US Catholic bishops. See below for Part I.)
"How does international law regard possible U.S. military action against Iraq? ..." more
"How can the U.S. escape the procedural trap set by France and Russia? Similarly, how can the U.S. avoid the likelihood of fruitless and inconclusive weapons inspections — and endless Security Council negotiations ... ? ..." more
"Trent Lott's ill-judged remarks about Strom Thurmond have, among other things, pushed the 1948 presidential campaign into the public spotlight after more than half a century. But the most-important and dramatic issue in that election is being forgotten. ..." more
"Even down here on Trent Lott's Gulf Coast, a deep and profound conservatism need not imply any racist sentiments. ..." more
"A parody. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Trent Lott continued his quest to politically rehabilitate himself by appearing on Jesse Jackson's CNN television show and endorsing 'reparations for all African Americans to pay for the sins of slavery.' ..." more
"Senator Trent Lott told [BET] Monday night that his current troubles offer 'an opportunity for me to do something about years of misbehavior.' The Mississippi Republican inadvertently pinpointed why he cannot remain Senate GOP leader ..." more
(Yes, for the reasons explained below, I am dwelling on the Lott issue.)
This is a Byzantine hymn ("Kontakion"); it is probably one of my two favorite Byzantine hymns (the other one being the Easter Troparion, "Christ is risen from the dead ..."), and probably among my favorite hymns, period:
Today the Virgin is on her way
To the cave where she will give birth
To the eternal Word of God
In an ineffable manner.
Rejoice therefore O universe
When you hear this news,
And glorify with the angels and the shepherds
Him who shall appear as new child,
Being God from all eternity. midi
"PHOENIX — A federal judge has ordered the Arizona Department of Corrections to stop enforcing a policy prohibiting inmates from corresponding with, or appearing on, Web sites. ..." more
Memo to the judge: we're talking prisoners here. People convicted of crimes. People who have given up some of their freedom. Compare restrictions on gun ownership by convicts, even when they're not imprisoned. Does the 2nd Amendment prohibit these restrictions? Hardly. As long as only the inmates (not, say, the webmasters) are punished, the Arizona law is surely constitutional.
By the way, is "Novus Ordo" any kind of official term whatsoever for the current Roman rite, i.e., that promulgated in response to Vatican II by Paul VI? I suspect not; I haven't seen any evidence that it is; it sounds like a term some critic latched onto because it has sometimes had Enlightenment and/or Freemasonic connotations ("Novus ordo seclorum" and all that - see under the pyramid on the back of a $1 bill).
Might as well out myself too. Like HMS's Greg, I'm not into Tolkien; apparently we're both Philistines unworthy of the Church. Presumably Robert will now burn my writings as well. (Especially since I'm not into Star Trek either.)
Pace HMS's Emily, who contends "that behind NRO and every other conservative's 'outrage' is the gleeful knowledge that Lott has finally given us the rope with which to hang him" (see also her original post). Not because I wouldn't be glad to see a better Senate GOP leader in any case. But because I am horrified that he said what he said. I sincerely wish we didn't have this reason to replace him. So there's at least one conservative to whom her generalization doesn't apply.
"WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rick Santorum ... yesterday said he was convinced that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., would survive in that post. ..." more
I had actually thought Santorum would be an excellent replacement. And whether to keep Lott is, of course, a prudential judgment; and it might be better for good candidates to replace him not to appear to be "running." (Here are some other comments on the question of strategy.) This is troubling, though: "Santorum ... notes that he personally never viewed Thurmond ... as a segregationist." So what does Santorum think the '48 Dixiecrat ticket was about?
"UNITED NATIONS — New foot soldiers for Islam's holy war are streaming into Al Qaeda training camps that have been recently reactivated in eastern Afghanistan, a U.N. report on the terror group said ..." more
"NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) -- The University of Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies has launched a new Web site offering alternatives to war with Iraq. The Web page at www.nd.edu/~krocinst/media/iraq.html contains research and commentary ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- In his Message for the World Day of Peace, John Paul II says peace calls for four essential conditions ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II warned rich countries that, if they want peace, they must fulfill the commitments made in international conferences ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Middle East crisis shows the 'need for the correct use of political authority,' John Paul II says in his message for the World Day of Peace. ..." more
"VATICAN, Dec 17, 02 (CWNews.com) -- In his statement for the World Day of Peace, released by the Vatican on December 17, Pope John Paul II calls for 'a new constitutional organization of the human family, truly capable of ensuring peace and harmony ...'" more (subscription required)
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Disarmament is necessary to eradicate world hunger and to create conditions for peace, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. ..." more
"WASHINGTON — Despite Trent Lott's latest 30-minute apology on Black Entertainment Television, more and more Republicans say the scandal-tainted senator must give up his leadership post -- and the sooner, the better ..." more
Beginning this evening, continuing through December 23, the seven "O Antiphons" are used, one each day, with the Canticle of Mary (Magnificat) at Evening Prayer. Each addresses Christ with a different scriptural title corresponding to a different aspect of his mission in salvation history. Links to their Latin texts with notation, literal English translations, and sound files can be found on this Dominican page. I shall blog the ICEL translation (that generally used when praying the Office in English) of each evening's antiphon together with a few comments and direct links to its sound files (high and low bandwidth).
Today's antiphon is:
O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation. RealMediaRealAudio
The use of the figure of Wisdom in Old Testament books like Proverbs and Wisdom is commonly seen as a prefiguration of the New Testament revelation of the Son. So Paul calls Christ crucified "the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24). The title is closely related to the title "Word" (Jn. 1:1, 14). Like "Wisdom," "Word" indicates that the Son had a role in the ordering of creation, as in the Genesis 1 depiction of God creating through his word ("Let there be ...," etc.), and the Psalmist's (33:4) "By the LORD'S word the heavens were made." Thus the Divine Wisdom or Word is able to bring his creation healing and fulfillment - salvation.
"Nov. 22, 2002 (Washington) — Organ transplantation poses 'tough ethical problems' that have been greatly compounded by the growing trend toward transplants that use organs from living donors ..." more (registration required)
"Nov. 26, 2002 (Washington) — An aggressive public education program by the federal government and private agencies is beginning to boost the number of organ donations ..." more (registration required)
"Nov. 27, 2002 — ... In an educational debate in the Nov. 2 issue of the British Medical Journal, Jonathan I. Groner, MD, suggests that doctors should not be involved in executions. ... Medscape's Laurie Barclay interviews Dr. Groner ..." more (registration required)
"After months of debate, the Ohio State Board of Education unanimously adopted science standards on Dec. 10 that require Ohio students to know 'how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.' ..." more
"... On the subject of race relations in America, the Republican party has become like the Hospitallers who surrendered to Napoleon: Lacking a sense of their own proud history and traditions, they have lost the moral will to move. ..." more
"... But judging from his remarks on Black Entertainment Television Monday night, the first stop of his Repent with Trent tour, Lott is as clueless as ever. Lott mostly reprised his utterly unconvincing answers about the nature of his comments ..." more
"BANGKOK, Thailand — The United States lost a vote at an international conference Tuesday as Asia-Pacific countries rejected the Bush administration's stand against abortion and condom use among adolescents. ..." more
In the last seven days before Christmas Eve, the Church's liturgy begins to refer more directly to the events that prepared for and led to Christ's birth. So, for example, today's Mass readings predict the greatness of Judah's line, and recall the genealogy of Christ (beginning with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah). And as our awareness of Christ's coming intensifies, so does our longing for him, expressed especially in the "O Antiphons" of Evening Prayer on these seven days. More concerning them beginning this evening.
Can university fire tenured terrorist-tied professor?
"TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge on Monday threw out a University of South Florida lawsuit that sought court approval for a plan to fire a tenured Palestinian professor accused of having terrorist ties. ..." more
"... A new fortress mentality is being stoked by a media that dwells incessantly on every terrorist possibility, on every awful news story from anthrax to Catholic sex scandals. And so, we begin to view each stranger as a threat and each neighbor with suspicion ..." more
"VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Averting one's gaze from pornography and images that present people only as objects of sexual desire is one of the most important steps in protecting chastity and celibacy ..." more
"BETHLEHEM, West Bank, DEC. 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- While the military occupation of Bethlehem continues, the missionaries of the Caritas Baby Hospital made an urgent appeal for the world to remember the residents of this 'cage-city.' ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says the task of Christian volunteers is to make people experience their selfless dedication as an expression of 'the tenderness of the heavenly Father.' ..." more
"... As Cardinal Re explains in his letter, this second writing, proposed by a mixed commission of representatives of the Vatican and for the U.S. bishops, surmounts the problems of the norms first approved last June ..." more
"... Kinsey, conceived through highly technological assisted reproduction and raised by a lesbian couple, is now counting on another much-debated procedure to keep her alive. An aunt in Louisville is pregnant with Kinsey's biological sister ..." full story
"... South Dakota attorney general Mark Barnett on Friday denounced a National Review account of voting irregularities in his state as 'shoddy and irresponsible and sensationalistic and garbage.' ..." more
"On November 18, Federal Judge Myron Thompson ... ruled that Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama supreme court had 30 days to remove the ... monument of the Ten Commandments from the ... rotunda in the Alabama state courthouse. ..." more
"WASHINGTON — President Bush does not think that Sen. Trent Lott should resign his post, even as Republican senators debate whether to hold a meeting on the future of the incoming Senate majority leader ..." more
"BEIJING, China — A U.S. delegation was in Beijing for human rights talks Monday amid appeals by activists to press China to release political prisoners and rescind a death sentence imposed on a Tibetan activist. ..." more
"MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Youngsters in West Virginia's 4-H clubs will abandon some American Indian traditions that a panel deemed stereotypical, officials said Monday. Other rituals, deemed respectful to the Indian heritage, will continue. ..." more
"PALO ALTO, California, DEC. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Wide skepticism has greeted Stanford University's plans to produce stem cells for medical research by means of what it called somatic cell nuclear transfer. ..." more
"ROME, DEC. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Stanford University's plan to establish a research center for 'somatic cell nuclear transfer' prompted a world pioneer in biogenetics to assail the move as a violation of ethical principles. ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The European Union's acceptance of 10 new countries in 2004 means the continent 'has not missed the appointment with history,' says the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper. ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II presented Jesus' birth as a 'joyful announcement' in the face of 'the difficulties of life, the uncertainties and fears for the future.' ..." more
"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Christmas is above all a feast of the family, John Paul II said, as hundreds of children brought figurines of the Baby Jesus to St. Peter's Square for a traditional blessing. ..." more
Yesterday, the third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally known as Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, from Phil. 4:4-6: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God."
Advent is indeed a time of both penance and rejoicing. We rejoice not only because of the greatness of the object of our hope, but also because that hope itself is already a sign of God's presence, through Christ, in the Spirit. It is in the Spirit of the Lord that we pray longingly, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:17, 20; cf. Rom. 8:24-27, 1 Cor. 12:3). In our hope, "the Lord is near" indeed.
Our hope, then, is the beginning of its own fulfillment. If we if we hope for the life that that is now "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3) as our treasure, our hearts will then also be already with Christ in God (cf. Matt. 6:20, Lk. 12:34); we will already be living the life Christ shares with us (cf. Gal. 2:20).
This doesn't mean we should expect, or be disappointed if we don't experience, a Christmas "emotional high," or even always a spirit of consolation, though. But God promises that if we make him the object of our delight, we will receive our heart's desire (Ps. 37:4). Even if we don't think we are experiencing that fulfillment, we should give thanks to God for the opportunity times of desolation may provide to advance in our awareness of ourselves and our need for purification and for a deeper and stronger faith, hope, and love - and so attain a deeper and stronger union with him than we may attain in times of consolation. And during Advent, we should even open ourselves to the possibility of desolation, depriving ourselves of some of the things that (seem to) console us, so that we can advance in that awareness and union.
We should imitate the Mother of God, who "uttered [her] fiat in faith" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, no. 13; cf. Luke 1:38), putting all human anxieties aside, all human consolations at stake (cf. e.g. Matt. 1:19, to welcome her Son and Lord and show his love to all.
So in imitation of her, let us "have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make [our] requests known to God" for his presence in our lives, and let us welcome that presence by living it out through our kindness to all. If we make this our Advent and Christmas focus, the Lord will surely not disappoint us.
Bush admin on "reproductive services/rights" at UN
"WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 — Taking its fight against abortion overseas, the Bush administration opened a sharp debate over a landmark family-planning agreement during a United Nations conference ..." more (registration required)
"When workers cleared out several homeless encampments late last month, officials said they'd followed the protocol laid out by the city's Homeless Task Force: They notified people in advance ..." more
"Ron Spangler was with state and city crews clearing out the dwelling of a man and his dog along the Monongahela River last month ..." more
"The great debate is on. Americans are wondering what course of action their government should pursue toward the brutal regime of Sadaam Hussein. ..." more
"Poised on the cusp of possible war, we have become a people torn between legitimate questions of self-defense and the questionable justification of waging, unilaterally if necessary, a pre-emptive war. ..." more
"Leadership, says Travanti Fowler, 'is when someone doesn't let other people fall down.' ..." more
When near the end of the article I read about strategies for persuading people to spend yet more money on public schools - whose budgets have increased manyfold over the years, while outcomes have decreased - I get nervous about whether the people trying to improve public education - a worthy and necessary goal - really "get it."