Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa

Past Posts of Note
Substantative, in chronological order
The Sunday obligation and illness: question, research & my answer

Denial of personhood: Dei Filius & Terri Schiavo

On Modesty 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Differing with Dulles 1 & 2 on pro-abort politicians

Mad About Manuals 1 & 2

Absinthe recherches early, required reading, 2, 3, 4.

First time at an abortuary

The Maundy

TPOTC impact & analysis and more

Contraception reflections 1, 2

Meiwes, propheta, übermensch

Headship Loggerheads 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Matrix: Revolutions

Matrix: Reloaded
1, 2 & 3

Terrorist Attack Preparations, and follow-ups 1 & 2 & 3


Casuistry of Drinking

Review of Auto Focus

Parish Review 1

The Power of Shame

Biblical Hermeneutics

Ayoob on Guns

Against the Ordination of Women

Two Cents on Braveheart


Thematic Meditations

E-mail Me
oldoligarch @yahoo.com

Who Knows?
I Might Respond!

E-mail Policy
Any e-mail I receive is fair game for publication, with comments, unless you explicitly say so beforehand.

Gabriel Possenti

The WeatherPixie
Weather at Dulles Airport

Powered by Blogger

My Atom Site Feed
"Antiquity teaches us that laymen are in a high degree hostile to the clergy, a fact which is also made clear by the experiences of the present times; in as much as, not content within their own bounds, they strive after what is forbidden and loose the reins in pursuit of what is unlawful."
    -- Boniface VIII, Clericis laicos, 25 Feb. 1296.
        (The same pope who authored Unam Sanctam.)

Also, Lauren finds a cool icon in a church in Spoleto. My comments on her blog.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/30/2004 03:21:00 AM | link

Domesticity, Part CLXI
Zorak: I'm smarter than you are, and we both know it, so you should just agree with me.

O.O.: That's it; I'm blogging you on that one.

Zorak: Go ahead. Everybody will write in and tell you that I'm smarter than you are, and you should just agree with me.

(N.B., the subject of the disagreement is irrelevant to the nature of this exchange.)

A little later:

Zorak: You know what I've learned over the past five years of being married to you?

O.O.: What?

Zorak: You lack the ability to know when you are being annoying.

And you thought she'd say something sweet. Oh wait...no you didn't. (And I was being annoying. I know. I just don't care.) With regard to the former observation, I add: Women are like quantum-mechanical particles: Any observation of their state automatically changes the system unpredictably, forever renewing the gap of uncertainty between observer and observed.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/28/2004 05:14:00 PM | link

Welcome to my 100,000th visitor!

He arrived today at Sep 28 2004, 5:28:09 pm, from no referring URL, so I assume he is a "regular." He surfed in from UUNET Technologies (64.212.4.*), which gives me a suspicion that the reader knows me from other circles.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/28/2004 05:14:00 PM | link

80% Less Performance Art! Jetzt!
Further data toward my hypothesis that an 80% across-the-board-cut in theatrical arts is a good step towards restoring manliness in this country. The banner I encountered today:

Next, a picture of the "artist" (read, catamite) whom we are supposed to be ashamed not to know:

I didn't even need to look at the bio -- the picture says it all -- but what the hell, all you need is one glance: self-absorbed tempestuous boy-lover of the stars, dying of AIDS, unable to cope with his loss of youth and vigor, but, like every other temptestous, self-absorbed homosexual, the deny-your-mortality self-help group will forgive all past injuries, no matter how obnoxious you have been, and give you a final standing ovation before you shuffle off to die and have some medical clinic named after you. Oh yeah, and he could dance. I mean, really dance.

Sorry, folks; I'd rather my 5-year-old know about a hockey player from the Maple Leafs than a gay man prancing around in tights until he died of AIDS. Neither is great, but the former is probably a better role model 9 times out of 10. Furthermore, I reject the cultural assertion that I, as an adult and cultured human being, must defend the ballet as civilized art. The leisure pursuits of the aristocracy have given us many worthwhile artforms, but also a lot of petulant nonsense. Certain bourgeoise who uncritically affirm and perpetuate any aesthetic byproduct of erstwhile high society are particularly to blame for keeping this artform alive, IMHO.

I don't want to hear all the standard schlock: Yes, it takes intense training. So does the circus. You don't see the metropolitan elite fawning over some carnie.... And so does boxing (=barbaric sport). Moreover, just because it requires intense dedication doesn't mean it isn't stupid nonetheless.

Just so I'm not misunderstood: My dander wouldn't be raised if this was merely an aesthetic argument. If people want to patronize this art in the private sector, fine. (Then, my dander would only be slightly raised. There is still room for objective argument in asthetics.) But when people attempt to shame others publicly for not having this frilly nonsense in the public school system, and bilking taxpayers to fund it, they better have a damn good defense about why this is more important than a dozen other pressing issues. (To pick one at random: why so many kids are becoming undisciplined, self-indulgent illiterates.) And part of that argument must involve: (a) what the art does for character formation in the student (i.e. role models, emulation of concrete greatness in field) and (b) what the art is intended to convey. Yes, it has to have a message. With respect to both (a) and (b), ballet comes in pretty low on my priority list, in mortal combat with synchronized swimming.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/28/2004 04:18:00 PM | link

Eclectic thoughts ahead.

Never doubt the potential scope of your audience on the internet.
In the mailbag, I find a response to this post. The respondent writes: "during my days as a collegiate biochemistry lab rat, I used to purchase sphingolipids from Avanti on occasion...." and then goes on to describe his conversion from agnosticism!

Always a Latinist in the woodwork
One careful reader points out the numerous possible flaws in this article's Latin quotations. I have not had time to review them myself:

"Populis nunquam itu tranferi potestatem suam in regem quin dom sibi in
habitu retineat"


"Ut in certis casibus etiam sciu recipere possit"

I would say that it has been much garbled, but I can only guess how since I do not have access to the original. Some speculation:

Populis <= Populus
Itu <= ita
Transferi <= transfert
Dom <= non
Sciu <= What could this be? Scin?

Certainly the garbled extracts reported in this article hardly refute Prof. Schaff's argument. We can only hope that Rev. Rager has accurately translated them.

Cahill on Abortion
More than one letter arrived with kind words for the previous post. Thank you, all.

Deuteronomistic View of Hurricane Jeanne
I know there are many reasons for natural disasters, but when the this fourth storm did a prompt about-face and hurled itself into Florida, the Deuteronomist in me thought: God is trying to destroy Florida because of its treatment of Terry Schiavo. Repent, Floridians, repent.

(Interesting points about collective responsibility and Biblical justice aside, I don't want anyone who lost a home to get steaming mad and think I'm being perfectly serious here. Calm down. The Schiavo case is a black mark on the state, however, which should be bitterly protested.)

Bad Back = Thin Blog
My back has gone out. Again. First time in many months, but it is painful. I've got to restrict my computer time because I have a long drive to work, I can't afford to call in sick, and sitting is about the worst position for a low back injury. It usually straightens out in a few days, however, if I'm really good and lay flat on a hard surface for hours at a time. TTYL.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/27/2004 03:30:00 AM | link

A non-Catholic friend sent me the following article which is typical of a certain kind of "distraction tactic" amongst liberal Catholics angling for Democratic voters during an election year. It is also typical of the schlock that flows out of magazines like America and the rot that has infected so many Catholic universities. Whenever I see such authors with the title "Professor of Moral Theology," I cringe, and I remember the parable of the millstone, which I take very seriously as a Catholic teacher.

First, the article; then, following it, my refutation. There are more criticisms of the article that can be made, but I had to be brief. I copy the article in full because it is not available online, and no one should give America a dime.

By Lisa Sowle Cahill
America Magazine 9.13.04 (vol 191 n6)

If asked to name the most prominent item on the Catholic bioethics agenda, most people in the United States, including Catholics themselves, would no doubt name abortion, closely followed by biomedical uses of embryos, such as stem cell research and cloning. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church prohibits all of the above because of the sanctity of life from conception, and everyone expects Catholic voters and Catholic public figures to respect and follow the church’s leadership on these issues.

For instance, in its 1987 instruction on reproductive technologies, Donum Vitae, the Vatican invoked the “inviolability of the person” to assert that embryos have a right to life from conception. During a visit to the Vatican in July 2001, President George W. Bush was exhorted by Pope John Paul II to resist “proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process.”

In the spring of 2004, the U.S. Catholic leadership debated whether to forbid Catholics from supporting candidates who did not conform to what the press called the litmus test issues of abortion and stem cell research. Some even proposed the excommunication of the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, who had voted against a bill making it a crime to harm a fetus during an assault on its mother.

Catholics and others are rightly concerned about the prevalence of ill-considered, immature or desperate abortion choices, especially when these reflect a lack of other alternatives and support for pregnant women and girls. We should also be concerned about the treatment of early life simply as research material, especially when prospects of patents and profits drive advocacy for increasingly permissive policies and more ample funding. But protection of prenatal life is only one part of Catholic bioethics. Catholics also have a responsibility to stress the importance of a more just distribution of health care resources because they are essential to the common good, nationally and worldwide.

Pope John Paul II’s warnings to President Bush about stem cell research were widely reported in the U.S. media. How many people, however, read or recall the papal words that preceded the remarks on the right to life? The pope exhorted Mr. Bush to a greater sense of responsibility for the effects of globalization, deploring a tragic fault line between those who benefit from new opportunities and those who are cut off from them: “Respect for human dignity and belief in the equal dignity of all the members of the human family demand policies aimed at enabling all peoples to have access to the means required to improve their lives....”

This certainly includes basic health care—as well as food, shelter, clean water and safety from violence, all of which are essential constituents of human health. The previous year, the pope had addressed a meeting of Catholic doctors in Rome, where he made this connection even more explicit: “As we enter the third millennium, men and women, especially in the poorest countries, are unfortunately still deprived of access to health services and the essential medicines for their treatment. Many of our brothers and sisters die each day of malaria, leprosy and AIDS, sometimes in the midst of the general indifference of those who could or should offer them support.”

In his 2004 Lenten message, John Paul II focused on the condition of children worldwide. Mentioning the suffering caused by war, lack of food and water, forced immigration and “other forms of injustice,” he asked, “What too of the tragedy of AIDS and its devastating consequences in Africa? It is said that millions of persons are now afflicted by this scourge, many of whom were infected from birth. Humanity cannot close its eyes in the face of so appalling a tragedy!” At an accompanying press conference, Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Vatican’s charitable organization Cor Unum, elaborated on the pope’s words. He accused international pharmaceutical companies of allowing millions of poor children to die by denying them life-saving drugs in order to protect patent rights. “There should be public pressure to convince drug companies to lower the prices of drugs to treat the victims of AIDS,” he said.

In coordination with the Lenten message, the Vatican issued a special postage stamp, the proceeds from which will go to support a clinic and orphanage for children with AIDS, in Nairobi, Kenya. The director of the orphanage, Angelo D’Agostino, S.J., said that although 400 people die of AIDS every day in Kenya alone, it is no longer an immediately fatal disease in Europe and North America. “Why the difference?” he asked. “It is the genocidal action of the pharmaceutical cartels, who refuse to make the drugs affordable in Africa even after they reported a $517 billion profit in 2003.”

Have any bishops considered denying Communion to Catholic C.E.O.’s and boards of drug corporations, or to government officials who advocate for tighter patent protections, or who obstruct larger U.S. donations to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria? This fund was established in 2001 with the support of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the participation of the World Health Organization. Its aim is to solicit, receive and distribute public and private donations to ameliorate the global disease burden of the poor, and especially to facilitate the purchase by poor countries of lower-cost generic medicines instead of expensive brand-name ones. The fund needs a minimum of $3 billion a year. The United States, with a national income of $10,000 billion, has refused to commit more than $200 million a year, because the fund is a multilateral agency over which the United States does not have control.

According to the W.H.O.’s World Health Report 2003, H.I.V./AIDS has cut life expectancy by as much as 20 years for millions in sub-Saharan Africa. Only 5 percent of those who require antiretroviral treatment receive it. In developing countries, communicable diseases still represent seven out of the ten major causes of child deaths. In Africa, malaria is the number one killer of children under five. The leading causes of death for adults, besides AIDS, are respiratory infections, diarrhea and malaria. Some 500 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America are infected by malaria each year, which causes more than 1.2 million deaths. The risk of dying in childbirth is 250 times greater for women in poor countries than in rich ones, amounting to more than 500,000 maternal deaths a year.

There is no doubt that these statistics should cause as much concern to Catholics as abortion rates, methods of researching stem cell potential in this country and keeping comatose persons alive indefinitely. The global common good, including participation in the good of health care, is an indispensable moral criterion for evaluating policies and politics, as well as for our personal investments of votes, dollars and time.

A first defining characteristic of the tradition of Catholic social teaching, then, is that it provides a moral framework to balance individual needs and rights with the solidarity of all in the common good, difficult though this may be to accomplish in the concrete. A second characteristic, equally important, is that Catholic social tradition is activist, interventionist and hopeful. Countercultural separatism, despairing of the power of religious commitment and moral values to right social wrongs, is not the Catholic way. The very raison d’etre of the modern papal social encyclicals is to make a difference in the real world. In the words of Pope Leo XIII, author of the first of these encyclicals, “all agree, and there can be no question whatever, that some remedy must be found, and quickly found, for the misery and wretchedness which press so heavily at this moment on the large majority of the very poor” (Rerum Novarum, 1891, No. 2).

There is surely reason to observe, well over a century later, that the amelioration of world poverty has not been as quick as Pope Leo may have hoped. Yet there is also evidence that emerging international practices of democracy, human rights, women’s rights, basic education, vaccines and antibiotics—and even communications technologies and other aspects of globalization—have helped relieve the plight of the poorest of the poor.

The real enemy of Catholic bioethics and social ethics is not internal Catholic dissent, religious pluralism among cultures or modern secularism as such. It is, rather, the stance of what might be called moral and political realism. Political realism is the view that world affairs are governed primarily by self-interest, that the interests of the powerful always result in the domination of the weak, and that nothing can be done to change this situation on any significant scale. To the contrary, Catholic bioethics must attack health care inequities at home and abroad with energy and confidence, always concerned about individual rights and the dignity of persons, but equally conscious that the common good requires more equitable sharing of benefits. But is this in fact a realistic goal? And how can it be achieved?

The practical optimism of Catholic bioethics requires appreciation of a third characteristic: on-the-ground embodiment of the Catholic vision through a multitude of national, international and transnational institutions. Catholic bioethics has always had a strong institutional presence in civil society through the church’s care ministries. In the United States alone, the Catholic Church operates almost 15 percent of community hospitals, and hundreds of clinics and nursing homes are run under Catholic auspices. The historic mission of Catholic health care providers has been to the poor and underserved, even when it threatens their own financial viability. More than simply a provider of charity care, however, Catholic health care often partners with non-Catholic medical facilities and local and federal operations and agencies to enhance access for the underserved. Catholic health care providers also seek out ways to bring about state and federal policy changes, mobilizing broad-based social action. The Catholic Health Association, for example, an independent professional organization for health care systems and facilities, sponsors a Web site with an “eAdvocacy” option for concerted grass-roots action on issues like proposed Medicaid cuts.

Catholic bioethics also has an international and transnational presence through institutions like Catholic Charities, Caritas International, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (commonly known as Cafod), the Jesuit African AIDS Network and the All-Africa Conference: Sister-to-Sister. The latter is a new collaborative project between the Sisters of Mercy and African women’s religious congregations, aimed at developing responses to the AIDS crisis as it affects women. Men’s and women’s religious orders also provide health care through clinics in the so-called two-thirds world—the two-thirds of the world’s population that does not enjoy most of the benefits of the globalized market economy. The international Catholic university system provides another network through which to educate and engage on behalf of health justice.

The universality of Catholicism is usually envisioned institutionally, as the ecclesial structures linking local bishops and their dioceses to the pontiff in Rome. Not only the pope, but also local bishops’ conferences can be influential voices. For instance, the U.S. bishops issued an important statement on universal health coverage in 1993 (A Framework for Comprehensive Health Care Reform), and the African bishops produced a position paper in 2003 on AIDS. Dioceses and parishes sponsor programs through which members can invest time and resources that reflect their commitments in such areas. Yet beyond the formal ecclesial structure, other flexible and overlapping institutions are
just as essential in constituting Catholicism as a global presence and in making possible what it can accomplish.

Catholics in Boston, San Antonio, Omaha or San Diego may feel too distant from people dying of malaria to make a difference. Lamentably, we may even feel that uninsured immigrants in our own hometowns live outside the world our actions touch. Catholic bioethics as social ethics makes the connection clear. The humanity of such persons calls us to recognize their dignity. The concept of the common good alerts us to the structural changes required to make that dignity meaningful. Confident hope that change is possible inspires us to action. Catholic links among local and global realities provide vital institutional means to bring our ideals to reality.

Lisa Sowle Cahill is a professor of theology at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.


Dear X....,

Thank you for the article. I can't write a long refutation now. But let's start here in remembering why the voluntary execution of millions of completely innocent babies for the sake of parental convenience far outweighs the failure of American corporations and government agencies to support the United Nations' latest multi-lateral agency program.

First, the author is pseudo-Catholic who does not believe that abortion is the worst form of murder. She probably writes what she writes because her globalist, social-democratic liberalism is tired of being inconvenienced by the Church's adamant refusal to allow Catholics to be complicit in America's ongoing attempt to legitimate its 30-year slaughter of the unborn. All such articles share the same logic: Distract, pay token adherence to some attenuated pro-life position, and substitute some other social concern. That the author does not share the Church's position on abortion is evident by her limp attempt to pay lip-service to the idea that abortion is somehow unfortunate. Indeed, she won't even say immoral. She writes: "Catholics and others are rightly concerned about the prevalence of ill-considered, immature or desperate abortion choices, especially when these reflect a lack of other alternatives and support for pregnant women and girls."

No, sorry, it's not about "desperate" abortion choices, it's about ALL abortion choices. Moreover, while a full pro-life position should recommend that private charities support crisis pregnancies, even if they don't, the mother does not have a license to murder.

Second: Death from abortion occurs solely because of the voluntary action of individuals. Death from disease often does not.

Thus, death from disease is far more difficult to prevent than the voluntary execution that is abortion. No technological advance is necessary to avoid the situation where a woman holds her fetus before a butcher who puts a scalpel through the infant's head. No global coordination of resources, no inculturation, and no multi-billion dollar program. The approximately one million people per annum who have died in the US alone from abortion were easily preventable deaths.

Third, preventing disease is a noble and Christian pursuit. But note, commitment to this ideal doesn't automatically translate into a *governmental program.* Nor does the latter automatically translate into support for a UN multilateral program. There are legitimate reasons to be skeptical of the agenda, execution and efficacy of these programs. Their mere existence, while comforting to some, is not so unquestionable as to command everyone's moral support. Before copying more claptrap from BC and America, check out how frequently UN multilaterals bring abortion, sterilization (and if that doesn't concern you, "Westernization" read "democratic social liberalism") to cultures which certainly don't benefit from the first two (none do) and may not benefit from the latter either. (Of course, many democrats and neo-cons can see no other possibly legitimate political philosophy than the one we've cooked up here since the 19th century).

Lastly, support for all hospitaller work is voluntary. Christian societies are called to charity; but which charity, how they ought participate and where it is conducted are not things which should be mandated for each person in law. Not murdering someone, however, is a categorical legal and moral obligation that falls upon every man simpliciter.

In short: there are several areas of moral and political concern that attach to the question of whether American Catholics should commit themselves more ardently to global disease relief. Perhaps they still ought. But a Catholic's commitment to abortion is clear and simple. No smokescreen of alternative causes -- no matter how legitimate they might be in themselves -- should detract from the issue.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/26/2004 02:32:00 AM | link

Exousia, authority, theosis: why ecclesiology needs ontology.

Hans Urs von Balthasar enlightens the etymologically difficult NT word for "authority" or "power," exousia. (HUvB believes it is correctly rendered by Jerome using potestas.) The roots are obvious: eks- (from) and ousia (being). The following passages are the most elegant expression of the meaning of the combination of these roots in exousia that I have read to date. Von Balthasar begins by remarking about the Donatist tendency in ecclesiology and then in the subsequent passage, he enlightens exousia.

The context: Recognizing the ex officio nature of pastoral authority, as distinct from any personal quality of the holder of the office, was a key moment in ecclesiology.

"To speak in terms of Church history, this is the decisive step beyond Donatism that Augustine dared to take. As desireable as it would be that the holder of supreme Church authority be a spirit-filled saint, it is neither Peter nor Judas who baptizes but Christ. This holds not only for sacramental acts but also, within the office given to Peter, for jurisdiction, as 'binding and loosing' and 'the keys' clearly symbolize. The flock follows simply because Peter commands or goes ahead."

"The New Testament Christian is a born Donatist: he immediately calls for personal crendentials from anyone who comes with demands that are not absolutely self-evident. How great a triumph it is, then, to be able to point to the scandal-filled history of the papacy, which seems to nullify a priori any demand that it might make today. Should not the papacy do penance for a thousand years or two before daring to present any new demands in the name of Christ?"

-- The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church, (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1986), 62-63.

Next, the etymological light goes on, when he begins to lay down a Scriptural view of primacy and collegiality later in the book:

"In forming the Twelve to be the core of a wider circle of disciples, Jesus assiduously seeks to make them comprehend him in his essential Being -- not only by teachings in which He proclaims Himself and deeds that can and are to be imitated -- just as it is the primary vocation of theTwelve 'that they abide in him.' They are to share His mind, His mandate, His authority, His zeal and dedication and, finally, in the upper room, His flesh and blood and, in His farewell address, His Trinitarian love."

-- Ibid, 141.

There it is: They have authority because they are made alter Christus, configured to Christ permanently through the sacrament of orders. They have exousia because they share in Christ's ousia through an intense form of communion which cannot but entail theosis.

HUvB doesn't connect it, but perhaps this lends ontological depth to the obscure Pauline statement: "Do you not know that we are to judge angels?" (1 Cor 6:3.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/25/2004 01:47:00 AM | link

Breaking Vows: When Faithful Catholics Divorce, by Godspy Magazine. It makes several good points, including:

1) Doctrinal precision and fidelity does not automatically translate into marital harmony, mutual self-sacrifice, good communication and relationship self-awareness, all of which are essential to a stable Catholic marriage too.

2) "There's always hope. Until someone calls a lawyer." Amen.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/25/2004 01:07:00 AM | link

An advertisement you will only see when reading a biophysics paper:

If you click it, you'll see an unusually courageous statement of faith on Avanti's main page.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/24/2004 09:45:00 PM | link

Oans, Zwoa, Drei, g'suffa!

Oktoberfest is underway!

Tradition at work

(Yes, that's the top of an enormous trophy stein he's drinking out of.)

Some stats from last year courtesy Munich's tourist office:

Beer Consumed: more than 6 million litres.
Chickens eaten: half million
Pork sausages snacked upon: 200,000 pair of links.
Pork knuckles: 56,036 knuckles. (Yum...What about pickled eggs?)
Beer consumption hit an all-time high during the millennium, at 6.6M liters.

Get your Bavarian dialect dictionary handy.


Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/20/2004 07:02:00 PM | link

EWTN Question and Answer Forum:

Fr. Echert calls a footnote in the New American Bible "heretical" and "lies"!

Bravo, Father, bravo. Let us swing the hammer and strike blows against that mass of modernist, agnostic commentary which presently enjoys the recommendation of the USCCB and is sold as "the" modern Catholic Bible in so many bookstores. Some aspects of the apparatus are great, but others are toxic waste, plain and simple, and deserve to be relegated to the dungpile history as a grave methodological mistake.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/20/2004 01:53:00 AM | link

Tonight we had the pleasure of hosting Fr. Rob Johansen for dinner. It is always great to meet bloggers in person. He regaled us with several stories of his undergrad and graduate days, and the nutty liberals he had encountered there. (The amorous arborist is a particularly hard-to-banish image!) He also had some very heartening perspectives on the reform of major seminaries around the country. Afterwards, he returned for cocktails at our apartment, shared with us some port, and sanctified the house not only metaphorically with the odor of a fine cigar ("a most sweet savor...") but also literally by blessing our household icons. Thanks for a enjoyable evening, Father.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/20/2004 01:53:00 AM | link

Ave Maria = Disaster Area

The latest awfulness indicating the level of fractiousness amongst the faculty and between school administrators and Monaghan has been nothing but rising.

Dean sues to prevent relocation of Ave Maria to Florida.

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — The academic dean of Ave Maria College has filed a lawsuit trying to prevent the school and its Board of Trustees members from following through on a plan to move to Florida.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/19/2004 04:17:00 PM | link

The poli sci and theology dept. at my school are always at war. I throw this bone to the traditionalists like a chicken into a wolf pit. Let the ripping and tearing begin! (Not curious enough? It is a defense of the Declaration of Independence based on Thomas and Bellarmine. There. I knew ya'd click.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/19/2004 02:42:00 PM | link

Please pray for my uncle, a dying man. I expect to learn of his passing soon. Although he is in his eighties, he is dying young for his routinely centenarian stock and it is hard on my mother to watch him go.

I am comforted however, that despite the religiously eclectic and lapsed make-up of his family, my aunt had sense enough to call for the priest before he began to slip away mentally, sparing me a difficult intervention on his behalf.

You priests who read this blog: please never forget what a powerful ministry you have in ministering to the dying -- both for the living and the soon to be deceased. I remember every priest who has been called to the bedside of a family member. I pray I will have one someday. When Death stands in the room, and makes plain his cruel power in bereaving us of all, you appear as alter Christus, full of His mercy, bearing the blessed assurance that seals faith with peace. You are why we pray so often, et in hora mortis nostrae. When the phone rings in the middle of the night, or your busy afternoon is disrupted by yet another hospital call, that is the hour of heroic witness, and it often leaves an indelible impression on all who see it, even if you are a total stranger.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/18/2004 11:59:00 PM | link

Progesterone and I: Our Burgeoning Friendship

Zorak has been a new woman over the past month, and that goes well beyond carrying our baby. I thought this might be a more stressful time in our lives, but she's been an absolute sweetheart to live with; it's really quite amazing. At the risk of being mushy online, I have to tell the world about all the nice things she has done.

Several things are virtually unattested in our past five years of marriage and preceding courtship. For example, I arrived home yesterday to a fully cooked meal, with salad appetizer, completely prepared, ready to eat, with utensils, on the table. I was dumbfounded. I think this was the first time ever. But before that crescendo, she's been cooking for about a month now, regularly!

She's been extremely helpful in knocking out many small tasks that fill my day and helping me read more for exams, despite the fact she is still working. She has also been cleaning and clearing parts of the house we've left upside down for months. Perhaps this counts as "nesting."

And -- dare I say it? -- on rare occasions, she even waxes a little emotional in a feminine way. While I don't mind the normally spartan disposition of my wife, the occasional change is refreshing.

Thank you, Zorak, for a wonderful past few months.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/17/2004 10:31:00 PM | link

Otto has proposed an appropriate name for my nameless drink: the Henrietta Maria. And I thought my wife was the only one who called herself, "Her She-Majesty, Generalissima." You learn something new every day!

Three other very weird things:

I am the only hit ("Busca-whack"?) for fotos Casuistry: The art of killing a cat, referred from a Brazilian search engine.

The six degrees of separation principle at work: I discovered today that I am two steps away from Jessica Lynch, because I know a ranger who rescued her. (He never mentioned this to me at the time. Humble guy.)

Run your car on used vegetable oil: Greasecar.com. Many people apparently get their fuel for free from discarded restaurant fryolator oil. (And if you're a hippie, you can pick up some hair products at the same time.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/17/2004 02:02:00 PM | link

O.O. to Zorak: "I am surprised this text doesn't use Yeat's "Second Coming" as an example."

Zorak: ?

O.O. begins to recite "The Second Coming" from memory. Continues about two-thirds of the way through, until Zorak's eyes widen in disbelief.

Zorak: Who are you, and what have you done to my husband?

O.O.: What? You're surprised I memorized a poem?

Zorak (imitating O.O. from a few days ago, ranting): "Where are my post-it notes? Where the hell did I put them?!"

O.O.: That's mean. I've memorized several poems.

Zorak: So you're telling me that the reason why you can't find your post-it notes, or your pen, or this or that piece of paper is because your head is crammed with Yeats?

(We both start laughing.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/15/2004 05:15:00 PM | link

More Modest Swimwear Sites:


Stitchin Times

Note also, apropos of one aspect of the earlier debate, that swimmodest.com also provides swim shirts for boys and men. Frankly -- being an occasion of sin aside -- I would feel more comfortable in a light mesh top. But I don't often swim, so the question in moot.

These sites courtesy of one reader who writes:

"I wanted to thank you for the ongoing links to articles on modesty and submission. The most recent batch was quite inspiring. I have dug out my chapel veil and am going to figure out how to make it stay on my head even when the baby is tugging at it. I still contend that Wholesomewear's swimsuits are an unattractive, if earnest, attempt at modest swimwear. A bit of web research yielded a couple of offerings that I think are
equally modest and infinitely more lovely: http://www.swimmodest.com/, http://www.stitchintimes.com/swimsuits.htm. I am glad that you brave the storms of criticism to offer sane commentary and helpful links for Christian womanhood."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/15/2004 01:59:00 AM | link

C A T O   I N S T I T U T E
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
8:00 am (Luncheon to follow)
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Creating a True Marketplace in Education

The free market offers almost limitless choices in everything from what we eat, to the books we read, to the vehicles we drive. It's constantly at work, providing ever broadening opportunities for us to increase our happiness and realize our dreams. Yet, when it comes to American elementary and secondary education, there is no free market; government dictates where children will go to school, when they will go, what they will learn, and how much money will be spent. It's a lifeless system that produces poor academic achievement and widespread disaffection rather than a diverse array of effective educational options. So how do we go from the status quo to an alternative that thrives on the dynamism of the market? What are the essential requirements for such a system? Where can we find market-based education already at work? These and other questions will be tackled in a half-day conference that examines the potential, and track record, of improving education by using the power of the free market.

In the words of Strongbad: Don't nobody say I ain't never done nothing for da peoples.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/15/2004 01:52:00 AM | link

As Otto struggles to create the "tweed avalanche", I find a more Joycean spirit has guided my recent swizzling, blending cultures and fine liquors from all over Europe. Otto has a name but no drink; I have a drink with no name. Suggestions?

Quanities are approximate. I never measure any more.

2 shots Amaretto
1 shot Cointreu
0.5 shot Glen Garioch scotch
Several dashes Absinthe.

Over rocks in rocks glass. Stir well. You want the ice to melt a lot before drinking.

If you like very sweet, yet very complex, this drink's for you. Also N.B.: no non-alcoholic components. (You want this. Thank prohibition-era mixing for it.) You basically want the scotch to dry out the amaretto; to be there, but never to rise to become dominant, only an accent. Absinthe, like in the Sazerac, serves only as a bitters, but what a bitters it is! Yes, I have the audacity to mix with single malt. Like breaking out of meter in a poem, sometimes it's justified; you just have to be good at it.

Experience suggests an orange twist (to get the rind oils) would further enhance and complement the Absinthe, but until I get a manservant (=never) I'm not going out to buy an orange (who buys fruit for food?), delicately peel it, and master the oil-releasing twist that still produces suitably gaily-decorative rind, all for the sake of one drink. I'll just try to re-enter the matrix which was my once frighteningly-calculative theoretical palette which could "pre-taste" outcomes with great accuracy, sadly in abeyance from its undergraduate days. If you master this skill of proleptic mixology, retain it, my friend, retain it.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/15/2004 01:52:00 AM | link

Googlely weirdness:

Hebrew immodesty leopard (ranked 3)

Coming in at #1 for most bizarre incoming link this month:

Someone came here looking for "Tom Newman's old traditional marriage board" from Google in France. Sounded normal, so I punched it up. Up comes Taken In Hand. While it contains no visual or verbal obscenity, it's a sick fusion of dominance fetishes with traditional language about "headship" and "submission." Just as the Moonies carnalize the role of God, and priest, as our spiritual father, turning it into deeply deviant unchastity, so too these people with the leaderly role of the husband within marriage.

An excerpt should be enough: "One question has emerged in private and public conversation: after many decades of marriage, why do I still find it necessary to spank my wife?"

Answer: Because you're a pervert. You don't wear a dog collar around your neck, but it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 06:18:00 PM | link

The world would be a dimmer place without Mr. Otto Hiss, who provided a link to this extensive Pickelhauben guide. Thank you, Otto, for helping me to identify mine. It appears I have an Imperial German Feldgrau Ersatz Model 1895 Preußen Felt Pioneer.

Why not help Otto with his drink challenge, to devise the "tweed avalanche"?

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 03:13:00 PM | link

Preliminary Verte de Fougerolles 72 tasting notes.

It's here! Liqueurs de France was incredibly fast, as promised. The bottles arrived in a Styrofoam bottle-holding mold, inside cardboard. The package (as it typical for Northern Virginia) took a few good bangs on its way here, and parts of the Styrofoam were destroyed, so I was nervous, but the bottles were intact.

Overall impression: very well balanced, strong yet sexy, nice nose; somewhat too anisy.

Disclaimer: I'm not great at identifying various herbs, so I may get some of this wrong. I feel inarticulate compared to tasting scotches.

Color and overall appearance: Light olive green. Perfectly clear. Comes in a wine bottle, with replaceable cork, and notch.

The label warned that there might be slight sedimentation on the bottom of the bottle (from the colorating process where the spirit is infused through a plant maceration to instill the chlorophyll), but I saw no evidence of this. The package having been recently disturbed by shipping, however, there was no good way to know, and I am not bothered by this. I wondered whether the notched bottle was there to encourage you to rotate.

Nose to bottle: Nice bouquet, dominated by sharper notes: anise, fennel. Something else spicy / peppery I can't put my finger on against a light floral background.

Trying it neat: About halfway through, I remembered that this baby is 144 proof straight out of the bottle. I used to drink Bombay Sapphire neat at 104 proof, but it's been a little while since those days. There's a fair bit of alcoholic heat but in no way unpleasant. Very nice mouthfeel -- neither syrupy or astringent, the perfect mean. Very smooth. The finish is astringent at that proof, but that's unavoidable. After a few sips, however, I worried about flattening my palate as my tongue was feeling a bit withered by the alcohol.

While there is no added sugar (as should be the case with a fine spirit), it was nonetheless pleasantly sweet. Anise and fennel (I think) dominate, with something else light and sweet and honeylike or coriandery permeating throughout. The finish was awesome for 144 proof. You could get hammered quite unexpectedly drinking this neat.

Dilution: I prepared it in the traditional method: slotted absinthe spoon, single sugar cube, ice cold water slowly dripped. 1:1 with water shows nothing. Still translucent, hints of sugar dissolving into the spirit. 1:2 and we begin to see some magic. 1:3, and she louches powerfully. Very distinct louche, a lot of opacity. Unlike Pernod, she does not turn bright yellow, but becomes just a few shades more yellowy, but still light olive green.

Subsequent dilution of another portion using room temperature water and no sugar reveals that the louching is significantly attenuated. If you want good louche, ice cold water is the way to go. Since I don't have a fountain, I pour chilled, filtered water into a pyrex measuring cup, and swirled it with ice until melting greatly slows. [You physicists will recall making an "icebath." That's how you know you've hit 32 degrees.] Then I dripped it slowly. It's hard to do without a fountain and petcock, but the sugar cube holds a fair amount of liquid, so I just touch the lip of the pyrex to the sugarcube, and I let it do the dripping for me.

I decide to drink at 1:3, or 36 proof. I realize one nice thing about starting with such a high proof is that after dilution, you still have something moderately alcoholic to drink. Complex flavors must be supported by a reasonably alcoholic base. Water just won't do it.

[N.B. novice drinkers: That's why alcoholic drinks have such a great range of flavors. Probably has something to do with the power of alcohol combined with water as a solvent. Dunno.]

Drinking it prepared: As one would expect, water opens up the herbal character to better examination. I would characterize the added notes as more earthy than floral. The bitter wormwood is detectable briefly at the sip, and pops up prominently about halfway through for a moment, and then takes backstage to the other herbs. It returns on the swallow, and lingers nicely with anise at the back of the palette.

Having had about one-third a bottle of Absinthe King of Spirits, four months ago, when I was unlettered in the field of good absinthe -- I was expecting a hard wormwood punch. You might say I was flinching from bitter experience of previous blows. Not so with the lovely Verte de Fougerolles. The bitterness is present, but very gentle.

Verte de Fougerolles makes the stark limitations of whatever else you may have had the occasion to sample beforehand quite apparent. In contrast to the very uneven, and very bitter King of Spirits, Verte de Fougerolles tasted great with only a single sugar cube and is OK with just cold water IMHO. Perhaps the one advantage of my sampling King of Spirits first is that I was more aware of individual herbal tastes which are untempered and unmarried in that varietal. The Belgian variety I had whose name I forget managed to get away with being simultaneously more bitter and more sweet. I would be fine with a notch or two higher on the bitter finish.

Overall, if you've only had Pernod, I'd say this: Verte de Fougerolles will be in line with your expectations if you imagine real absinthe being:

(a) Less sweet -- Pernod is really quite sweet; fine in its own way, but not absinthe. And where Verte de Fougerolles is sweet, it's not straight-up sugary sweet, its honey / coriandery sweet.

(b) More herbal. While anise -- like a dominant child who always wants attention -- tends to stand in front of the other herbal notes in Verte de Fougerolles, you could definitely savor a real herbal complexity that Pernod and cheap absinthes don't give you.

(c) Smoother. Verte de Fougerolles is smooth like Chartreuse is smooth. (But Chartreuse is syrupy.) One could imagine favorable results from a little mild aging.

Also, from what I've read, I suspect that the major hangover I experienced was probably due to impurities in King of Spirits from cheap distilling techniques and mash ingredients, since cheap vodka will do that to me too.

Since it is 11:45am, and I've just gotten up, and I have a full day of work ahead of me, I can't really comment on the effects of vigorous consumption or secondaries.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 11:56:00 AM | link

Finally, some reference for this pattern I often observe in NT, but I'm sure Gus didn't originate it:

"The tradition speaks of our 'adoptive participation' in the life of the Trinity through Christ: the one who is Son by nature makes it possible for us to be sons and daughters by adoption. This work of the Blessed Trinity in us can be said to "reverse" the order of the processions: whereas in the inner life of the Trinity, the Father loves the Son and gives rise to the Spirit, in the saving work of the Trinity, the Spirit remakes us in the image of the Son so that we may be embraced in the love of the Father."

J. Augustine DiNoia, OP, "Ecumenism and the New Evangelization in Ut Unum Sint," in Braaten & Jenson, eds., Church Unity and the Papal Office, 163.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 04:53:00 AM | link

Assault weapons ban expires today

Someone had the wisdom to make the law die automatically in 10 years, knowing no senator or congressman would want to go on record as voting to overturn it, wimps which they are.

Get your full autos while you can. Guns specifically banned but now legal include:

"the Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models), the Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil, Beretta Ar70 (SC-70), the Colt AR- 15, the Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC, the SWD M-10 M-11 M-11/9 and M-12, the Steyr AUG, the INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9, AND TEC- 22 and revolving cylinder shotguns such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12."

News article.

For your viewing pleasure, pay Oleg Volk's "A Human Right" a visit.

What I am going to buy? Probably a couple of large capacity magazines. The Clinton ban did nothing except to make such mags collectors items, selling on eBay for $75+ when they initially cost less than half as much.

Check out this gunshop bumpersticker (click on it for link):

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 02:15:00 AM | link

Zenit highlights an old article on a perennial question: Why is pro multis translated as "for all" in English?

Article on Zenit site, via Squach @ Ecce Homo.

I'm too busy to comment, except to add:

1) Zerwick is a formidible NT authority on word usage. The man wrote a gloss which gives grammatical analysis of every word in the New Testament.

2) I'm usually a bit skeptical of recoveries of the "original Aramaic sense" of words since this is often reverse-engineering or more speculative comparative etymology than hard lexicography.

On with the article:

I was wrong! Zenit follows.

Code: ZE04090722

Date: 2004-09-07

Why "For All" in the Words of Consecration?

And More on the Preparation of the Gifts

ROME, SEPT. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

Q: A very conservative friend of mine says she cannot attend Mass in English because the translation of the consecration renders the words "pro multis" (for many) as "for all." She says this is a heresy. Is she right? -- J.S., Washington, D.C.

A: Here I will supply the answer which the Holy See gave to a similar question 34 years ago. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments first gave a brief official reply in January 1970 and later commissioned a brief but dense article on the subject by noted Jesuit scholar M. Zerwick, published in the May 1970 edition of Notitiae, the congregation's official organ (pages 138-140).

The translations from the Latin and Italian were done for personal reasons by a priest friend of mine several years ago. They are an accurate translation but, as is obvious, cannot be considered official.

The official January reply (slightly adapted here) is typically brief and uses the usual form of a succinct query and reply.

The query states:

"In some vernacular versions the words of the formula for the consecration of the wine 'pro multis' are translated in the following way: in English 'for all men'; in Spanish 'por todos' and in Italian 'per tutti.'

"The following is asked:

"a) Is there a good reason, and if there is, what is it, for deciding on such a variation?

"b) Whether the doctrine regarding this matter handed down through the 'Roman Catechism ordered by Decree of the Council of Trent and edited by St. Pius V' is to be held outdated?

"c) Whether the versions of the above-mentioned biblical text are to be held less appropriate?

"d) Whether in the approval given to this vernacular variation in the liturgical text something less correct crept in, and which now requires correction or amending?

"Response: The above variation is fully justified:

"a) According to exegetes, the Aramaic word which in Latin is translated 'pro multis,' means 'pro omnibus': the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. St. Augustine will help recall this: 'You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations? They are very ungrateful for their price, or very proud, who say that the price is so small that it bought the Africans only; or that they are so great, as that it was given for them alone.' (Enarr. In Ps. 95, n. 5)

"b) In no way is the doctrine of the 'Roman Catechism' to be held outdated: the distinction that the death of Christ was sufficient for all, efficacious only for many, still holds its value.

"c) In the approval given to this vernacular variation in the liturgical text, nothing less than correct has crept in, which would require correction or amendment."

Since the debate continued unabated, the Vatican congregation weighed in with Father Zerwick's May article entitled "Pro vobis et pro multis effundetur" which expounded the biblical justifications for the change from "many" to "all." The following text, while sometimes a trifle technical, is sufficiently clear:

"A response was already given in Notitiae, n. 50 (January 1970), pp. 39-40, to the difficulty that in the vernacular interpretations of the words of the consecration of the wine 'pro omnibus' was used in place of 'pro multis.' Since, however, some uneasiness seems to persist, it seemed that the matter should be addressed again a little more extensively from an exegetical point of view.

"In that response, one reads: 'According to exegetes the Aramaic word, which in Latin is translated "pro multis," means "pro omnibus."' This assertion should be expressed a little more cautiously. To be exact: In the Hebrew (Aramaic) language there is one word for 'omnes' and another for 'multi.' The word 'multi' then, strictly speaking, does not mean 'omnes.'

"But because the word 'multi' in different ways in our Western languages does not exclude the whole, it can and does in fact connote it, where the context or subject matter suggests or requires it. It is not easy to offer clear examples of this phenomenon. Here are some:

"In 3 Esdras [Ezra] 8:3 we read: 'Many have been created, but only a few shall be saved.' It is clear that all have been created. But here the interest is not in the whole, but in the opposite of 'few.' Hence, 'many' is used, when it truth it means 'all.'

"In the Qumram text Hodayot IV, 28, 29, both words 'many' and 'all' are found in a synonymous parallel (two parallel verses in which the same thing is said twice): 'You have worked wonders among the many on account of your glory that you might make known to all your great works.'

"Moreover, in Qumram 'many' (with or without the article) came to be a technical term (almost a name) for the community of all the full-fledged members, and thus just in the 'rule' of the sect it occurs in around 30 places.

"We come now to the texts of the New Testament with which we are particularly concerned: Romans 5:12,15. Here the comparative argumentation from the minor premise to the major is set up between the universality of Adam's sin and the universality of Christ's grace: 'Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned (after the insertion of verses 13 and 14, the comparison continues) 'But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.' Let us note: 'all' those of the first part become the 'many' (with an article) of the second part. Just as sin affects all, or rather much more, so also grace is destined for all.

"Mark 10:45 = Matthew 20:28 has Jesus' words: 'the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.' That 'for many' ambiguous in itself, in fact is to be understood as 'for all,' proven by what we read in 1 Timothy 2:6: 'Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all.'

"But even if we didn't have this authoritative interpretation, that 'for many' nonetheless should certainly be understood as 'for all' because the coming of Jesus ('he came in order to give ...') is explicitly carried out for the purpose which can abundantly be shown to have as its object the whole world, i.e. the human race as a whole.

"John 1:29: 'Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin (singular!) of the world!'

"John 3:16,17: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him ... may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'

"1 John 2:2: 'he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.'

"1 John 4:14: 'And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.'

"1 Timothy 4:10: '... we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.'"

"These texts, however, have the Eucharist itself in view:

"John 6:33: 'For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'

"John 6:51: 'the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.'

"Given all this, it can indeed rightly be asked, not so much what the words 'pro multis' in the consecration mean, but rather given all this evidence, why 'pro omnibus' is not explicitly said.

"In response, it seems that

"1) in the primitive Palestinian Church, considering both their soteriology and their Semitic mind-set, there was no misunderstanding that had to be avoided by employing the formula 'pro omnibus.' They could freely keep the traditional 'pro multis' because those Christians sensed and marveled at the beauty of that original formula 'pro multis.'

"2) 'pro multis' seems to have been used by Jesus himself, because evoking the memory of Chapter 53 of Isaiah about the Servant of Yahweh who sacrifices himself, it is suggested that Jesus would fulfill what was predicted about the Servant of Yahweh. The main text is Isaiah 53:11b- 12: 'The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death ...; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.'

"Therefore the formula 'pro multis' instead of 'pro omnibus' in our texts (Mark 10:45 = Matthew 20:28; Mark 14:24 = Matthew 26:28) seems to be due to the desired allusion to the Servant of Yahweh whose work Jesus carried out by his death.

"This brings us now to another question: Why therefore in our liturgical version this venerable original 'pro multis' should yield to the phrase 'pro omnibus'? I respond: because of a certain accidental but true inconvenience: the phrase 'for many' -- as it is said -- in our minds (not forewarned) excludes that universality of the redemptive work which for the Semitic mind could be and certainly was connoted in that phrase because of the theological context. However, the allusion to the theology of the Servant of Yahweh, however eloquent for the ancients, among us is clear only to the experts.

"But if on the other hand it is said that the phrase 'for all' also has its own inconvenience, because for some it might suggest that all will actually be saved, the danger of such an erroneous understanding is estimated to hardly exist among Catholics.

"Besides, the change which the words of the consecration underwent was not unique nor the first. For the traditional Latin text already combines the Lucan text 'pro vobis' with the phrase of Mark and Matthew 'pro multis.' And that is not the first change. For already the liturgy of the early Church (Mark-Matthew) seems to have adjusted the saying over the chalice to the formula pronounced over the bread. For originally that formula of the chalice according to Paul (1 Corinthians 11:25) and Luke (22:20) was: 'This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.' -- a formula which was excellent perhaps in depth, but not really in clarity.

"It is clear how the Church of the Apostles was not interested in preserving the very voice of the Lord even in the words of the consecration, certainly cited for the first time as such by Jesus himself."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/13/2004 01:35:00 AM | link

September 11th, 2001:

Remember Muslim Treachery and Pray For Those Who Died

Islam's Vision for America.

The religion founded by a false prophet and warlord, promising a heaven of carnal delights, will not rest until it definitively levels what remains of Christendom.

St. James the Greater, Moorslayer, by Tiepolo.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/11/2004 11:06:00 AM | link

Will you stop and blog me? Call my name, don't walk on by
Blogs keep scrolling, blogs keep scolling, down, down....

(Simple Minds has been stuck in my head for three days now.)

Somewhere between Durham and Fayetteville, in Dunn, NC, the Tridentine Mass springs eternal. Note the ineradicable verbal tick: "...celebrates Mass using the Tridentine rite, which involves turning his back to members of the congregation..." Can someone please find the chip in their brains which triggers this tag-line?

When we find that chip, can we substitute any of the following? "...the Tridentine Rite, which promotes awareness of God and unity between the celebrant and his congregation by making them all face God rather than each other." Or, "which reduces the self-indulgent and showman-like tendency of the priest by constantly reminding them that they are performing for, not to, the congregation." Or, "which was celebrated by Catholics for 400 years before Vatican II..."

See also Fr. Jim Tucker's Tips for those attending the Tridentine Rite for the first time. I take exception to item number 5. Sorry, Novus Ordo just isn't as beautiful as the Divine Liturgy or the Trid Rite. I also generallly advise people to transcend the use of the missal at Mass as soon as they feel comfortable, but this is more appropriate for the Novus Ordo, when it is completely unnecessary to be following along in a book except perhaps for children or recent converts.

From Credo ut intelligam, the fruit that will end the vocation crisis. (Pun and irony both intended.) Source here.

From El Camino Real: Work at Home Consulting, a service for women who want to work at home, which was linked from:

Also Ladies Against Feminism and its entire section on modesty. Also, an article which makes the Inner German in me rejoice. Don't let the long (but important) prolegomenon on headship distract you from what are the Categorical Imperatives of cleaning: A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place. Simple is Better! More is Less! Think 15 Minutes at a Time.

From Trav: Man Sentenced To 6 Months For Swinging Alligator At Girlfriend. The assailant pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and possession of an alligator.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/10/2004 01:52:00 PM | link

The author of Oxygenee has written and informed me of his most excellent website on absinthe and absinthiana. An amazing resource, I did not want merely to append it to the previous entry.

His Absinthe FAQ (in three parts) contains even more information on the subjects of absinthe history, chemical analysis and aesthetics.

He also offers for sale an extensive line of Belle Epoque collectibles, or, at more modest cost, functional modern replicas. Should you care to own real absinthes from the fin de siecle, he has a limited number of period absinthes. Amazing.

This voluminous resource and those mentioned below are true testaments to the internet's ability to gather the acumen of scattered absintheurs and unite them into a community in a way impossible ten years ago. I leave you with what looks like the absinthe equivalent of something from oxyrhynchus:

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/10/2004 01:52:00 PM | link

L'Heure Verte

Raffaelli, The Absinthe Drinkers

The time is right for an ardent mixologist to produce a dissertation on absinthe. I am not that man -- at least not today. (I have a real dissertation to write.) But six years of continued U.S. interest in the banned, elusive, almost mythical distillate of wormwood have lead to some amazing discoveries and a great renaissance in its production.

First, some great resources for extended reads:

La Fee Verte and

Next, careful re-invention of original pre-ban recipes combined with scientific research into very limited finds of un-opened pre-ban absinthes of the past century have overturned conventional wisdom about absinthe's effects on the constitution. Read this article on chemical analysis of absinthe for more information.

In fine, the article maintains:

Cirrhosis and tremens were likely due to poor distillation techniques in cheaper absinthes which increasingly populated the market as absinthe became both very popular and increasingly restricted by the government immediately preceding the ban. Worse still were post-ban bathtub absinthes. In other words, black market absinthe and cheap absinthe for poor people were like moonshine: deleterous because of methanol and other impurities from improper distillation that hurt people, not because of wormwood itself.

Thujone -- the psychoactive product of wormwood -- now no longer seems to be related to THC, for those who care. Thujone levels in fin de siecle absinthes also seem to have been overestimated by poor 19th-century techniques of chemical analysis. If you eat a fish dish with a heavy thyme glace, you'll probably ingest more thujone than what's found in a glass of good absinthe.

Like the gin & tonic, bitters, and so many other concoctions of the twentieth century, modern medical science seems to have substantiated real but modest medical benefits. (Gin & tonic evolved from the ritual of taking quinine against malaria. Wormwood is vermifugal -- thus the name -- and its distilled essence was taken by French soldiers in Algiers as a medicinal remedy against parasitical worms. And you thought only puppies got worms...) A recent medical paper even established that absinthe may have hepatoprotective effects -- i.e., good for your liver.

Lastly, some truly ghastly cut-rate attempts at producing a green color introduced all sorts of nasty chemicals into cheap absinthes. Howabout a nice glassful of cupric acetate or antimony trichloride? But look how green it is. If the French had better food coloring, the ban may have never been an issue. The real green of authentic absinthe? Chlorophyll, instilled by a unique maceration and infusion process subsequent to initial distillation, and preserved only at high proof.

Moving on to the modern state of the field:

La Fee Verte's Buyer's Guide is a magnificent compendium of existing absinthes, and how to trascend the ubiquitous Czech "swill" (that is the word most commonly used by reviewers).

From the guide: "When the La Fée Verte website was started sometime in mid 1997, there were only three things most interested parties knew about absinthe. That it was anisey, it was bitter, and it was illegal. Six years later the picture has becoming gloriously more complicated. We now know that absinthe should not have an overpoweringly anise flavor. Absinthe, despite popular modern mythology (and I stress "modern") is not actually very bitter. And now, thanks to the European Union, there are more countries where absinthe is legal than not. Even France has sneaked around the ban with a few carefully worded phrases placed on the bottle."

Absinthe.se is another trove of high-quality information. Then as now, charlatans producing awful concoctions to cash in on the revived rage for the drink continue to dominate the popular market. Absinthe.se allows you to rise above the uninformed welter.

As a lover of complex spirits, I am fascinated by some of the descriptions: intense floral bouquets, lingering essential oils, complex interactions of fennel, hyssop, melissa, wormwood and the grape-based alcohol (not unlike grappa) used as a base. I should have tasting notes for a Verte de Fougerolles 72 soon, an anniversary gift from Zorak:

Lastly, I want to point out the dogged work of one man, an American, Ted Breux of New Orleans. A chemist by profession and an historian of absinthe by avocation, he is a regular commentator and heavyweight on many review sites, such as absinthe.se. His great love for vintage alcohol and technofascist disposition inspired him to engage the wealth of technology available to the 21st century mixologist to achieve the resurrection of the finest of pre-ban absinthes, that of C.F. Berger.

His chemical exactitude, his meticulous care in selecting herbs, and his ability to acquire original absinthe alembic stills from Pernod Fils all await you at Vintage Absinthe. The Jade Liqueurs Verte Suisse 65 seems to be both state of the art and king of the field. All may be purchased and shipped to the US via Liqueurs de France.

Une Tradition Renee

Original Pernod Fils alembics:

History meets technology at Jade Liqueurs Vintage Absinthe

[Edited: Apparently the legality of importing absinthe is still contested. Many sites now de facto ship to the US without any problem, but de juris it is another matter. Ted Breux -- who would know, having launched his aforementioned vintage -- comments here. Against this, eabsinthe.com says: "We ship daily to the US with no problems. The regulations regarding shipping from the UK are complicated to say the least. We currently believe that it is legal to possess, drink and import absinthe for personal consumption." Ask Erowid tries to establish similar wiggle-room, but I don't trust sites dedicated to the wide world of unlimited drug use for accurate information. The Absinthe Law Vault, linked from the foregoing, claims the law is more restrictive.

Thanks to the commentors at La Fee Verte, who stumbled onto this blog post rather quickly, and who (pointedly) pointed this out. I thought it was OK to import absinthe for personal consumption based on the information on several websites, but perhaps such sites conveniently depict the legal situation as more permissive than it really is for the sake of profit.

Bottom line: I care far less about the laywers' tedious debates than I do about debates concerning the merits of a vintage absinthe. The moral dimension of the legal debate is completely evacuated by scientific argument overturning the reasons for the initial ban. Yet I did believe I was acting with respect for the law when I ordered. Or, more honestly, I believed I was circumventing the spirit of the law within the bounds of its letter, which should be unreproachable conduct according to the canons of judgment used by many lawyers themselves. Beyond that, may the lawyers eat each other!]

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/08/2004 10:33:00 PM | link

The blog Nosce Te Ipsvm has claimed your blog Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa as its parent.

Those make my day. Try Blog Tree. It's free. It's fun.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/08/2004 10:15:00 PM | link

Some contemporary advice to bishops concerning priests who preach:

"Venerable Brethren, We desire that hereafter severe judgment be passed on these two points: on the character, namely, and learning of those who seek to obtain authority to preach, just as is done on the character and learning of those priests, who would hear confessions. Whoever, therefore, is found defective in either regard must without any consideration whatever be debarred from a function for which he is not qualified. Your dignity demands this, since, as We have said, the preachers are your substitutes. The good of Holy Church demands it, for surely if any one should be the "salt of the earth and the light of the world," [Matt. v: 13, 14], it is the man who is engaged in the ministry of the Word."

-- Pope Benedict XV (Encyclical Letter, Humani Generis Redemptionem, 1917).

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/08/2004 09:18:00 PM | link

William Powell, author of the Anarchist Cookbook, recants his work and expresses his desire that its publication cease. Check out his testimony on amazon.com.

Bloggin' has been thin lately because work has been thick.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/08/2004 01:57:00 AM | link

Careerist women
Those who deny male headship

A trio, according to Pope Pius XI, who condemns them all as three aspects of the modern deception called "the emancipation of women." I found this chapter looking through Denzinger (DS 2247 et seq.) but it is from Casti Connubii, 74-77, copied below.

I mention this in connection with the headship debates of yore. Moreover, I also observe, that the Holy Father is amenable to reasonable changes in the social and economic role of women but asserts that certain moral and familial obligations are unchanging, and to these, all ambitions must be submitted. [Thus, for example, a young women who works outside the home today is not subject to the same kind of censure as the conscientiously counter-cultural feminists of 70 years ago.]

From Casti Connubii, bold emphasis mine:

74. The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation in their ideas must be threefold, in the ruling of the domestic society, in the administration of family affairs and in the rearing of the children. It must be social, economic, physiological: - physiological, that is to say, the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother (We have already said that this is not an emancipation but a crime); social, inasmuch as the wife being freed from the cares of children and family, should, to the neglect of these, be able to follow her own bent and devote herself to business and even public affairs; finally economic, whereby the woman even without the knowledge and against the wish of her husband may be at liberty to conduct and administer her own affairs, giving her attention chiefly to these rather than to children, husband and family.

75. This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian. More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself, for if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man.

76. This equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted, must indeed be recognized in those rights which belong to the dignity of the human soul and which are proper to the marriage contract and inseparably bound up with wedlock. In such things undoubtedly both parties enjoy the same rights and are bound by the same obligations; in other things there must be a certain inequality and due accommodation, which is demanded by the good of the family and the right ordering and unity and stability of home life.

77. As, however, the social and economic conditions of the married woman must in some way be altered on account of the changes in social intercourse, it is part of the office of the public authority to adapt the civil rights of the wife to modern needs and requirements, keeping in view what the natural disposition and temperament of the female sex, good morality, and the welfare of the family demands, and provided always that the essential order of the domestic society remain intact, founded as it is on something higher than human authority and wisdom, namely on the authority and wisdom of God, and so not changeable by public laws or at the pleasure of private individuals.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/04/2004 07:51:00 PM | link

Great post on Catholic doublespeak on El Camino Real. Est. Est. Est.

These words flag, with amazing accuracy, what will usually be a miserable parish experience shortly to take place. One could do a similar list of architectural clues, too. Zorak used think I was a bit -- shall we say edgy -- when I would walk into a place, and freak out like a cat before an earthquake. But really, the language of symbol is used as well by traditionalists as it is pervertedly by liberals: Something about the puce shag rug in the narthex. Or the baptismal font awkwardly perched on the multi-level, irregularly-shaped altar dias. Or entering the church from the sides or front. All of which say to me: "Leave now, before you are beet-red and ready to smack somebody by the sign of peace."

Dyspeptic mutterings adds his own.

I too, take exception to "universal call to holiness" -- NOT because it is a good phrase in its initial usage; many phrases are coopted -- but rather because I see sound, orthodox churches and media (EWTN) use this phrase just as often with real and positive pastoral effect.

A few commentors have complained that some of these phrases should not be mocked / considered signs of ecclesiastical deviancy because they have noble origins. Such as "full, conscious and active participation" (Sacrosanctum Concilium) or "abundant life" (John 4). But that's the POINT. Liberal colonization of language is effective because it distorts something undeniably good -- like "mercy" in mercy killing. You couldn't be against mercy, now could you? You want our parish to be a community, don't you?

Sometimes Catholic doublespeak leads to great crossed-wire conversations with non-Catholic Christians. Example:

At the March for Life, I notice a small evangelical Protestant denomination from a church right up the road from my home.

Me: Hello there. Glad to see you. I live just two blocks away from your church.

Pastor: Nice to meet you. Where do you fellowship?

** I am momentarily confused by the noun used as a verb. I translate. **

Me: I don't. (Err.) I mean, I go to Our Lady of...

Pastor: Oh, you are Catholic... (Conversation devolves into niceties).

What I wanted to say was: I don't fellowship. I go to parish X. I arrive alone. I worship God. I leave. I usually like it like that.

That said, I've been to our present parish's breakfasts a few times, and mix and mingle there once I'm sure the water is fine.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 9/03/2004 01:45:00 AM | link


Friends Outside the
Prophetes Viatoresque:
(but still worth reading)

Recently Read

In my MP3 Player