Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Doctrine of Limbo... Now in Limbo





Reason number 1,273 why I am an Orthodox Christian...

Pope set to abolish limbo
By Jill Rowbotham
01dec05
LIMBO, the resting place for the souls of unbaptised children, is being written out of Catholic teaching.

The concept, which developed during the Middle Ages, was never official doctrine and now Pope Benedict XVI will abolish it.

According to sources reported in London's The Times, the Vatican's International Theological Commission will recommend tomorrow that it be replaced by a more compassionate doctrine that children who die do so "in the hope of eternal salvation".

The Pope is expected to agree because, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he presided over the first sessions of the commission, which had been asked to examine the matter by the late pope John Paul II.

And as long ago as 1984 the then cardinal told Catholic author Vittorio Messori that limbo had "never been a definitive truth of the faith".

"Personally I would let it drop, since it has always been only a theological hypothesis," he said.

Australian Catholic University professor Neil Ormerod called the move a piece of "theological housekeeping".

"A lot of Catholics, especially those of an older generation, would have grown up with the notion of limbo in their catechism teaching but it was never an official teaching of the church," Professor Ormerod said. "It was a theological position."

The old catechism, adopted under the papacy of Pius V from 1903 to 1914, defined limbo as a place where the dead "do not have the joy of God but neither do they suffer ... they do not deserve Paradise, but neither do they deserve Hell or Purgatory".

It takes its name from the latin word limbus, meaning hem, edge or boundary.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Akathist of Thanksgiving






There is an Akathist of Thanksgiving that was composed by one of the New Martyrs of Russia, Protopresbyter Gregory Petrov, while in a Soviet prison camp, where he later died. You can read that text here.

You can purchase a recording of this akathist here.

Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered

Five questions non-Muslims would like answered
By Dennis Prager, Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website: www.dennisprager.com.


THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.

Here are five of them:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.

Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.

As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.

Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.

We await your response.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"...The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin..."





With Democrats announcing their strategy of surrender, it's nice to hearken back to another man, maligned as a war monger by many, until it was almost too late for him to save Britain from the mess made by the "Peace in our times" crowd:

Click here to listen to the conclusion of Winston Churchill's "Battle of Britain" Speech.

Here is the complete text:

I spoke the other day of the colossal military disaster which occurred when the French High Command failed to withdraw the northern Armies from Belgium at the moment when they knew that the French front was decisively broken at Sedan and on the Meuse. This delay entailed the loss of fifteen or sixteen French divisions and threw out of action for the critical period the whole of the British Expeditionary Force. Our Army and 120,000 French troops were indeed rescued by the British Navy from Dunkirk but only with the loss of their cannon, vehicles and modern equipment. This loss inevitably took some weeks to repair, and in the first two of those weeks the battle in France has been lost. When we consider the heroic resistance made by the French Army against heavy odds in this battle, the enormous losses inflicted upon the enemy and the evident exhaustion of the enemy, it may well be the thought that these 25 divisions of the best-trained and best-equipped troops might have turned the scale. However, General Weygand had to fight without them. Only three British divisions or their equivalent were able to stand in the line with their French comrades. They have suffered severely, but they have fought well. We sent every man we could to France as fast as we could re-equip and transport their formations.

I am not reciting these facts for the purpose of recrimination. That I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful. We cannot afford it. I recite them in order to explain why it was we did not have, as we could have had, between twelve and fourteen British divisions fighting in the line in this great battle instead of only three. Now I put all this aside. I put it on the shelf, from which the historians, when they have time, will select their documents to tell their stories. We have to think of the future and not of the past. This also applies in a small way to our own affairs at home. There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments--and of Parliaments, for they are in it, too--during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. There are too many in it. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine.

Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future. Therefore, I cannot accept the drawing of any distinctions between members of the present Government. It was formed at a moment of crisis in order to unite all the Parties and all sections of opinion. It has received the almost unanimous support of both Houses of Parliament. Its members are going to stand together, and, subject to the authority of the House of Commons, we are going to govern the country and fight the war. It is absolutely necessary at a time like this that every Minister who tries each day to do his duty shall be respected; and their subordinates must know that their chiefs are not threatened men, men who are here today and gone tomorrow, but that their directions must be punctually and faithfully obeyed. Without this concentrated power we cannot face what lies before us. I should not think it would be very advantageous for the House to prolong this debate this afternoon under conditions of public stress. Many facts are not clear that will be clear in a short time. We are to have a secret session on Thursday, and I should think that would be a better opportunity for the many earnest expressions of opinion which members will desire to make and for the House to discuss vital matters without having everything read the next morning by our dangerous foes.

The disastrous military events which have happened during the past fortnight have not come to me with any sense of surprise. Indeed, I indicated a fortnight ago as clearly as I could to the House that the worst possibilities were open; and I made it perfectly clear then that whatever happened in France would make no difference to the resolve of Britain and the British Empire to fight on, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

During the last few days we have successfully brought off the great majority of the troops we had on the line of communication in France; and seven-eighths of the troops we have sent to France since the beginning of the war--that is to say, about 350,000 out of 400,000 men--are safely back in this country. Others are still fighting with the French, and fighting with considerable success in their local encounters against the enemy. We have also brought back a great mass of stores, rifles and munitions of all kinds which had been accumulated in France during the last nine months.

We have, therefore, in this Island today a very large and powerful military force. This force comprises all our best-trained and our finest troops, including scores of thousands of those who have already measured their quality against the Germans and found themselves at no disadvantage. We have under arms at the present time in this Island over a million and a quarter men. Behind these we have the Local Defense Volunteers, numbering half a million, only a portion of whom, however, are yet armed with rifles or other firearms. We have incorporated into our Defense Forces every man for whom we have a weapon. We expect very large additions to our weapons in the near future, and in preparation for this we intend forthwith to call up, drill and train further large numbers. Those who are not called up, or else are employed during the vast business of munitions production in all its branches--and their ramifications are innumerable--will serve their country best by remaining at their ordinary work until they receive their summons. We have also over here Dominions armies. The Canadians had actually landed in France, but have now been safely withdrawn, much disappointed, but in perfect order, with all their artillery and equipment. And these very high-class forces from the Dominions will now take part in the defense of the Mother Country.

Lest the account which I have given of these large forces should raise the question: Why did they not take part in the great battle in France? I must make it clear that, apart from the divisions training and organizing at home, only twelve divisions were equipped to fight upon a scale which justified their being sent abroad. And this was fully up to the number which the French had been led to expect would be available in France at the ninth month of the war. The rest of our forces at home have a fighting value for home defense which will, of course, steadily increase every week that passes. Thus, the invasion of Great Britain would at this time require the transportation across the sea of hostile armies on a very large scale, and after they had been so transported they would have to be continually maintained with all the masses of munitions and supplies which are required for continuous battle--as continuous battle it will surely be.

Here is where we come to the Navy--and after all, we have a Navy. Some people seem to forget that we have a Navy. We must remind them. For the last thirty years I have been concerned in discussions about the possibilities of oversea invasion, and I took the responsibility on behalf of the Admiralty, at the beginning of the last war, of allowing all regular troops to be sent out of the country. That was a very serious step to take, because our Territorials had only just been called up and were quite untrained. Therefore, this Island was for several months particularly denuded of fighting troops. The Admiralty had confidence at that time in their ability to prevent a mass invasion even though at that time the Germans had a magnificent battle fleet in the proportion of 10 to 16, even though they were capable of fighting a general engagement every day and any day, whereas now they have only a couple of heavy ships worth speaking of--the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau. We are also told that the Italian Navy is to come out and gain sea superiority in these waters. If they seriously intend it, I shall only say that we shall be delighted to offer Signor Mussolini a free and safeguarded passage through the Strait of Gibraltar in order that he may play the part to which he aspires. There is a general curiosity in the British Fleet to find out whether the Italians are up to the level they were at in the last war or whether they have fallen off at all.

Therefore, it seems to me that as far as sea-borne invasion on a great scale is concerned, we are far more capable of meeting it today than we were at many periods in the last war and during the early months of this war, before our other troops were trained, and while the B.E.F. had proceeded abroad. Now, the Navy have never pretended to be able to prevent raids by bodies of 5,000 or 10,000 men flung suddenly across and thrown ashore at several points on the coast some dark night or foggy morning. The efficacy of sea power, especially under modern conditions, depends upon the invading force being of large size; It has to be of large size, in view of our military strength, to be of any use. If it is of large size, then the Navy have something they can find and meet and, as it were, bite on. Now, we must remember that even five divisions, however lightly equipped, would require 200 to 250 ships, and with modern air reconnaissance and photography it would not be easy to collect such an armada, marshal it, and conduct it across the sea without any powerful naval forces to escort it; and there would be very great possibilities, to put it mildly, that this armada would be intercepted long before it reached the coast, and all the men drowned in the sea or, at the worst blown to pieces with their equipment while they were trying to land. We also have a great system of minefields, recently strongly reinforced, through which we alone know the channels. If the enemy tries to sweep passages through these minefields, it will be the task of the Navy to destroy the mine-sweepers and any other forces employed to protect them. There should be no difficulty in this, owing to our great superiority at sea.

Those are the regular, well-tested, well-proved arguments on which we have relied during many years in peace and war. But the question is whether there are any new methods by which those solid assurances can be circumvented. Odd as it may seem, some attention has been given to this by the Admiralty, whose prime duty and responsibility is to destroy any large sea-borne expedition before it reaches, or at the moment when it reaches, these shores. It would not be a good thing for me to go into details of this. It might suggest ideas to other people which they have not thought of, and they would not be likely to give us any of their ideas in exchange. All I will say is that untiring vigilance and mind-searching must be devoted to the subject, because the enemy is crafty and cunning and full of novel treacheries and stratagems. The House may be assured that the utmost ingenuity is being displayed and imagination is being evoked from large numbers of competent officers, well-trained in tactics and thoroughly up to date, to measure and counterwork novel possibilities. Untiring vigilance and untiring searching of the mind is being, and must be, devoted to the subject, because, remember, the enemy is crafty and there is no dirty trick he will not do.

Some people will ask why, then, was it that the British Navy was not able to prevent the movement of a large army from Germany into Norway across the Skagerrak? But the conditions in the Channel and in the North Sea are in no way like those which prevail in the Skagerrak. In the Skagerrak, because of the distance, we could give no air support to our surface ships, and consequently, lying as we did close to the enemy's main air power, we were compelled to use only our submarines. We could not enforce the decisive blockade or interruption which is possible from surface vessels. Our submarines took a heavy toll but could not, by themselves, prevent the invasion of Norway. In the Channel and in the North Sea, on the other hand, our superior naval surface forces, aided by our submarines, will operate with close and effective air assistance.

This brings me, naturally, to the great question of invasion from the air, and of the impending struggle between the British and German Air Forces. It seems quite clear that no invasion on a scale beyond the capacity of our land forces to crush speedily is likely to take place from the air until our Air Force has been definitely overpowered. In the meantime, there may be raids by parachute troops and attempted descents of airborne soldiers. We should be able to give those gentry a warm reception both in the air and on the ground, if they reach it in any condition to continue the dispute. But the great question is: Can we break Hitler's air weapon? Now, of course, it is a very great pity that we have not got an Air Force at least equal to that of the most powerful enemy within striking distance of these shores. But we have a very powerful Air Force which has proved itself far superior in quality, both in men and in many types of machine, to what we have met so far in the numerous and fierce air battles which have been fought with the Germans. In France, where we were at a considerable disadvantage and lost many machines on the ground when they were standing round the aerodromes, we were accustomed to inflict in the air losses of as much as two and two-and-a-half to one. In the fighting over Dunkirk, which was a sort of no-man's-land, we undoubtedly beat the German Air Force, and gained the mastery of the local air, inflicting here a loss of three or four to one day after day. Anyone who looks at the photographs which were published a week or so ago of the re-embarkation, showing the masses of troops assembled on the beach and forming an ideal target for hours at a time, must realize that this re-embarkation would not have been possible unless the enemy had resigned all hope of recovering air superiority at that time and at that place.

In the defense of this Island the advantages to the defenders will be much greater than they were in the fighting around Dunkirk. We hope to improve on the rate of three or four to one which was realized at Dunkirk; and in addition all our injured machines and their crews which get down safely--and, surprisingly, a very great many injured machines and men do get down safely in modern air fighting--all of these will fall, in an attack upon these Islands, on friendly soil and live to fight another day; whereas all the injured enemy machines and their complements will be total losses as far as the war is concerned.

During the great battle in France, we gave very powerful and continuous aid to the French Army, both by fighters and bombers; but in spite of every kind of pressure we never would allow the entire metropolitan fighter strength of the Air Force to be consumed. This decision was painful, but it was also right, because the fortunes of the battle in France could not have been decisively affected even if we had thrown in our entire fighter force. That battle was lost by the unfortunate strategical opening, by the extraordinary and unforseen power of the armored columns, and by the great preponderance of the German Army in numbers. Our fighter Air Force might easily have been exhausted as a mere accident in that great struggle, and then we should have found ourselves at the present time in a very serious plight. But as it is, I am happy to inform the House that our fighter strength is stronger at the present time relatively to the Germans, who have suffered terrible losses, than it has ever been; and consequently we believe ourselves possessed of the capacity to continue the war in the air under better conditions than we have ever experienced before. I look forward confidently to the exploits of our fighter pilots--these splendid men, this brilliant youth--who will have the glory of saving their native land, their island home, and all they love, from the most deadly of all attacks.

There remains, of course, the danger of bombing attacks, which will certainly be made very soon upon us by the bomber forces of the enemy. It is true that the German bomber force is superior in numbers to ours; but we have a very large bomber force also, which we shall use to strike at military targets in Germany without intermission. I do not at all underrate the severity of the ordeal which lies before us; but I believe our countrymen will show themselves capable of standing up to it, like the brave men of Barcelona, and will be able to stand up to it, and carry on in spite of it, at least as well as any other people in the world. Much will depend upon this; every man and every woman will have the chance to show the finest qualities of their race, and render the highest service to their cause. For all of us, at this time, whatever our sphere, our station, our occupation or our duties, it will be a help to remember the famous lines:

He nothing common did or mean, Upon that memorable scene.

I have thought it right upon this occasion to give the House and the country some indication of the solid, practical grounds upon which we base our inflexible resolve to continue the war. There are a good many people who say, 'Never mind. Win or lose, sink or swim, better die than submit to tyranny--and such a tyranny.' And I do not dissociate myself from them. But I can assure them that our professional advisers of the three Services unitedly advise that we should carry on the war, and that there are good and reasonable hopes of final victory. We have fully informed and consulted all the self-governing Dominions, these great communities far beyond the oceans who have been built up on our laws and on our civilization, and who are absolutely free to choose their course, but are absolutely devoted to the ancient Motherland, and who feel themselves inspired by the same emotions which lead me to stake our all upon duty and honor. We have fully consulted them, and I have received from their Prime Ministers, Mr. Mackenzie King of Canada, Mr. Menzies of Australia, Mr. Fraser of New Zealand, and General Smuts of South Africa--that wonderful man, with his immense profound mind, and his eye watching from a distance the whole panorama of European affairs--I have received from all these eminent men, who all have Governments behind them elected on wide franchises, who are all there because they represent the will of their people, messages couched in the most moving terms in which they endorse our decision to fight on, and declare themselves ready to share our fortunes and to persevere to the end. That is what we are going to do.

We may now ask ourselves: In what way has our position worsened since the beginning of the war? It has worsened by the fact that the Germans have conquered a large part of the coast line of Western Europe, and many small countries have been overrun by them. This aggravates the possibilities of air attack and adds to our naval preoccupations. It in no way diminishes, but on the contrary definitely increases, the power of our long-distance blockade. Similarly, the entrance of Italy into the war increases the power of our long-distance blockade. We have stopped the worst leak by that. We do not know whether military resistance will come to an end in France or not, but should it do so, then of course the Germans will be able to concentrate their forces, both military and industrial, upon us. But for the reasons I have given to the House these will not be found so easy to apply. If invasion has become more imminent, as no doubt it has, we, being relieved from the task of maintaining a large army in France, have far larger and more efficient forces to meet it.

If Hitler can bring under his despotic control the industries of the countries he has conquered, this will add greatly to his already vast armament output. On the other hand, this will not happen immediately, and we are now assured of immense, continuous and increasing support in supplies and munitions of all kinds from the United States; and especially of aeroplanes and pilots from the Dominions and across the oceans coming from regions which are beyond the reach of enemy bombers.

I do not see how any of these factors can operate to our detriment on balance before the winter comes; and the winter will impose a strain upon the Nazi regime, with almost all Europe writhing and starving under its cruel heel, which, for all their ruthlessness, will run them very hard. We must not forget that from the moment when we declared war on the 3rd September it was always possible for Germany to turn all her Air Force upon this country, together with any other devices of invasion she might conceive, and that France could have done little or nothing to prevent her doing so. We have, therefore, lived under this danger, in principle and in a slightly modified form, during all these months. In the meanwhile, however, we have enormously improved our methods of defense, and we have learned what we had no right to assume at the beginning, namely, that the individual aircraft and the individual British pilot have a sure and definite superiority. Therefore, in casting up this dread balance sheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair.

During the first four years of the last war the Allies experienced nothing but disaster and disappointment. That was our constant fear: one blow after another, terrible losses, frightful dangers. Everything miscarried. And yet at the end of those four years the morale of the Allies was higher than that of the Germans, who had moved from one aggressive triumph to another, and who stood everywhere triumphant invaders of the lands into which they had broken. During that war we repeatedly asked ourselves the question: 'How are we going to win?' And no one was able ever to answer it with much precision, until at the end, quite suddenly, quite unexpectedly, our terrible foe collapsed before us, and we were so glutted with victory that in our folly we threw it away.

We do not yet know what will happen in France or whether the French resistance will be prolonged, both in France and in the French Empire overseas. The French Government will be throwing away great opportunities and casting adrift their future if they do not continue the war in accordance with their treaty obligations, from which we have not felt able to release them. The House will have read the historic declaration in which, at the desire of many Frenchmen--and of our own hearts--we have proclaimed our willingness at the darkest hour in French history to conclude a union of common citizenship in this struggle. However matters may go in France or with the French Government, or other French Governments, we in this Island and in the British Empire will never lose our sense of comradeship with the French people. If we are now called upon to endure what they have been suffering, we shall emulate their courage, and if final victory rewards our toils they shall share the gains, aye, and freedom shall be restored to all. We abate nothing of our just demands; not one jot or tittle do we recede. Czechs, Poles, Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians have joined their causes to our own. All these shall be restored.

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'


Winston Churchill - June 18, 1940

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mr. Hu, let the Chinese People Vote



Ronaldus Magnus, delivering his "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" speech in front of the Berlin Wall


It is also good to hear Bush speaking up about China. One major area of disagreement I have with the position of the last 3 presidents, is our trade policy with Communist China, and our pretending that they are an ally, when they are an emerging adversary, and a long standing evil in the world.

China is better now than it was in the 60's and 70's, but it is worse now than it was in the 80's... yet our policy towards them has been based on the assumption that they are continuing to open up and become more free. They are becoming more capitalistic, but not freer.

Now is Bush's chance to be truly Reaganesque, and just as Reagan stood in front of the Berlin Wall and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", Bush should begin calling for multi-party, free, and open elections. He should openly ask the Chinese government why it is afraid to allow their own people to determine their fate. He should say that re-union with Taiwan should come only when Communist China allows their people the same right to vote that the people in Taiwan now enjoy.

I believe that this would be the beginning of the end of one party rule in China.

Bush's Veterans Day Speech





Click here to listen to Bush's speech, along with some commentary from El Rushbo. Click here for more commentary from Rush. Click here for the complete text.

It's good to hear Bush taking off the gloves. He has tried to be nice too long, and he has gotten no credit at all for having done so.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Saint for Orthodox Pacifists to Ponder


St. Nestor of Thessalonica


Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy Martyr Nestor of Thessalonica, who is not nearly as well known as the saint he was associated with... St. Demetrius of Thessalonica. What should be noted is that St. Nestor took up arms to kill a man who was murdering innocent Christians, but he first asked for and received a blessing from St. Demetrius to do so.

St. Nestor would no doubt have been more than happy to turn his own other cheek, had the occassion called for it; but he could not turn the other cheek for those were helpless. Just as Scripture commands us to turn the other cheek, it also commands us to defend the helpless, and this is what he did.

The following is the entry for October 27 o.s. / November 9th n.s. from the Prologue of Ochrid, by St. Nikolai Velimirovich.

In the time of the suffering of St. Demetrius the Myrrh-gusher, there was a young man of Thessalonica, Nestor, who learned the Christian Faith from St. Demetrius himself. At that time Christ's enemy, Emperor Maximian, organized various games and amusements for the people. The emperor's favorite in these games was a Vandal by the name of Lyaeus, a man of Goliath-like size and strength. As the emperor's gladiator, Lyaeus challenged men every day to single combat and slew them. Thus, the bloodthirsty Lyaeus amused the bloodthirsty, idolatrous Maximian. The emperor built a special stage for Lyaeus's battles, similar to a threshing floor on pillars. Spears, points upward, were planted beneath this platform. When Lyaeus defeated someone in wrestling, he would throw him from the platform onto the forest of spears. The emperor and his pagan subjects cheered as some poor wretch writhed in torment on the spears until he died. Among Lyaeus's innocent victims were many Christians: when no one volunteered to duel with Lyaeus, by the emperor's orders Christians were arrested and forced to duel with him. Seeing this horrifying amusement of the pagan world, Nestor's heart was torn with pain, and he decided to come forward for a duel with the gigantic Lyaeus. But first, he went to prison to see St. Demetrius and sought a blessing from him to do this. St. Demetrius blessed him, signed him with the sign of the Cross on the forehead and on the chest and prophesied to him: ``You will defeat Lyaeus, but you will suffer for Christ.'' Thus, young Nestor went to duel with Lyaeus. Maximian was present with a multitude of people; everyone felt pity for the young Nestor, who would surely die, and tried to dissuade him from dueling with Lyaeus. Nestor crossed himself and said: ``O God of Demetrius, help me!'' and with God's help, he overcame Lyaeus, knocked him down, and threw him onto the sharp spears, where the heavy giant soon found death. Then all the people cried out: ``Great is the God of Demetrius!'' But the emperor, shamed before the people and sorrowing for his favorite Lyaeus, was greatly angered at Nestor and Demetrius, and commanded that Nestor be beheaded and Demetrius run through with lances. Thus, the Christian hero Nestor ended his earthly life and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of his Lord in the year 306.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Martyr Nestor


St. Nestor was outraged at evil
And was zealous for the Christian Faith.
The young disciple of St. Demetrius
Seemed young and weak against the terrible Lyaeus,
But he traced the sign of the Cross on himself
And impaled the powerful Lyaeus on a spear.
He had been given power from above,
Like David against Goliath.
``You will conquer, but you will be tortured,
And will lay down your life for Christ.''
Thus Demetrius prophesied to him,
And as he said, so it came to pass.
Nestor jubilantly went to torture,
And wonderfully magnified the wondrous Christ
With sweet words and sweet hymns,
And fervent prayers for the Church.
Great in spirit, small in years,
He did not grieve over his young life;
His blood strengthened the Church,
And Nestor was eternally glorified.



By the way, if you are interested in getting a copy of the Prologue, click here. It is a great way to read the lives of the saints for each day, and also to read other short but edifying comments from St Nikolai Velimirovich.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

French Scientists Conclude Peace Pipe Smoking is Hazardous to Your Health





They remain divided, however, on whether it is the frequency of smoking the peace pipe, or what you smoke in the peace pipe that is the cause of the hazard. But they are now in agreement that the practice is at least a fire hazard.

Partial Birth Abortion... Crushing a Baby's Head




As you read the following, remember that the Democrats cannot bring themselves to condemn this... even in the 9th month of pregnancy.

From Southern Appeal:

Abortionists must sleep real well at night. The following is from the transcript of one of the recent partial-birth abortion cases, as related by this illuminating article in The Human Life Review(pdf format):

Dr. Johnson testified from his own experience about performing dismemberment abortions, and gave his opinion about the partial-birth abortions he had observed. Dr. Johnson described observing how doctors who did partial- birth abortions “used a crushing instrument to deliver the head.”22 This provoked further questions from Judge Casey:

THE COURT: Can you explain to me what that means.

THE WITNESS: What they did was they delivered the fetus intact until the head was still trapped behind the cervix, and then they reached up and crushed the head in order to deliver it through the cervix.

THE COURT: What did they utilize to crush the head?

THE WITNESS: An instrument, a large pair of forceps that have a round, serrated edge at the end of it, so that they were able to bring them together and crush the head between the ends of the instrument.

THE COURT: Like the cracker they use to crack a lobster shell, serrated edge?

THE WITNESS: No.

THE COURT: Describe it for me.

THE WITNESS: It would be like the end of tongs that are combined that you use to pick up salad. So they would be articulated in the center and you could move one end, and there would be a branch at the center. The instruments are thick enough and heavy enough that you can actually grasp and crush with those instruments as if you were picking up salad or picking up anything with—

THE COURT: Except here you are crushing the head of a baby.

THE WITNESS: Correct.

(page 5 of 18)

See also: Doctor Kermit Gosnell found guilty of murdering infants in late-term abortions

The Truth about Planned Parenthood

Monday, November 07, 2005

French Intifada: A Prediction

I predict that in the next cycle of elections in Europe, the anti-immigration parties and nationalists will make huge gains. The only question is... will it be too late.

Charles Darwin's response to those who criticized Christian Missionaries





"They forget, or will not remember, that human sacrifices and the power of an idolatrous priesthood - a system of profligacy unparalleled in another part of the world - infanticide, a consequent of that system - bloody wars, where conquerors spared neither women nor children - that all these have been abolished; and that dishonesty, intemperance, and licentiousness have been greatly reduced by Christianity. In a voyager to forget these things is base ingratitude; for should he chance to be at the point of shipwreck on some unknown coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may have reached thus far."

"The lesson of the missionary is the enchanter's wand. The house has been built, the windows framed, the fields ploughed, and even the trees grafted by the New Zealander."

"The march of improvement, consequent on the introduction of true Christianity throughout the south Seas, probably stands by itself in the records of history." [Charles Darwin, `Journal of Researches', p. 414, 425, and 505.]

Communism killed 100 million people and all I got was this lousy t-shirt





Actually, the communists probably killed 100 million in China alone... but this is a cool t-shirt, any way.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

2 Million Muslims Baptized in Russia



The Baptism of Rus, in 988 A.D.


2005.11.01 Interfax:
01 November 2005, 12:05

2 million ethnic Muslims adopted baptism in Russia while only 2,5
thousand Russians converted to Islam - expert

Moscow, November 1, Interfax - The number of ethnic Muslims in Russia who adopted Christianity is 2 million, while the number of the Orthodox who have been converted to Islam is only 2,5 thousand, stated Roman Silantyev, executive secretary of the Inter-religious Council in Russia.

'Christianization happens not so much as a result of some purposeful missionary activity (in which only Protestants are engaged) as under the influence of Russian culture which has express Christian roots', Silantyev said in a interview published this week by the Itogi weekly.

According Silantyev, the converts are predominantly Muslims by birth, while 'those who really confess Islamic values and attend mosque on a regular basis rarely change their faith'.

'The assimilation of ethnic and religious minorities is an inevitable process in any society. In Russia it is accelerated due to extremist activities', the Islamic researcher believes.

For instance, he says, as a result of what happened in Beslan, the proportion of Muslims in North Ossetia has decreased at least by 30%, while in Beslan itself, where Muslims had comprised from 30 to 40% of the population, their number has decreased at least by half.

'As even Muslim sources confirm, after each terrorist action, thousands and may be even dozens of thousands of ethnic Muslims adopt baptism', Silantyev stated.

At the same time, the expert accounts for the small number of ethnic Orthodox people who have adopted Islam for the last 15 years, among other things, by the fact that 'for some reason Russians seem to be more willing to join sects than Islam'.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Religion of Peace in Paris



The fruits of a liberal immigration policy, that refuses to acknowlegde that all cultures or religions are not equal










Perhaps the French will take it out on school girls again, and pass more restrictions on head scarfs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Religion of Peace Strikes Again





Muslims killing Christian School girls? Who would have thought?

By Tomi Soetjipto and Telly Nathalia

JAKARTA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Men in black clothes and masks beheaded three teenage Christian girls on Saturday in eastern Indonesia as they walked to school near the Muslim town of Poso, officials said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the killings, which he described as "sadist and inhuman crimes", and called an emergency security meeting with his vice-president, as well as military officials and police.

National police spokesman Aryanto Budiharjo said up to six men in black clothes and masks attacked the students in Bukit Bambu village, on the eastern island of Sulawesi.

"The perpetrators wore black attire and veils and they used machetes to slash (the victims)," he told reporters in Jakarta.

The three headless bodies of the high school students, dressed in brown uniforms, were left at the site of the attack. Three heads were found at separate locations two hours later by residents.

Earlier, a police official in Poso gave a different account, saying two men wearing helmets on a motorcycle attacked the 16-year-old students.

He said the student who escaped said the attackers wore helmets and carried a two-way radio.

Poso, 1,500 km (900 miles) northeast of the capital Jakarta, is in an area where Muslim-Christian clashes killed 2,000 people until a peace deal was agreed in 2001.

Although religious fighting has largely subsided, tension is still high in the region following bombings in the neighbouring Christian town of Tentena which killed 22 people in May.

Security experts have said local Islamic radicals may have been responsible for the bombings in Tentena.

Budiharjo said around 400 policemen will be sent to reinforce security in Poso.

About 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal.

In Jakarta, president Yudhoyono also called for calm and pledged to hunt down the attackers.

"I want to tell all my brothers and sisters in Poso that such violence cannot be tolerated, and the police with the military will make sure that it will not happen again."

Until Then





A musical and slide-show tribute to our troops.