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Showing posts from February, 2011

Is Syria still the keystone?

I wonder if this might still hold true. Hilaire Belloc asks, What would have happened if the First Crusade had taken back Syria from the men of the desert? in his book, The Battleground. At the end of Chapter 14, he answers: ...With the French chivalry permanently established in Syria, Islam would have been cut in two . Its eastern half might have survived, its western would have been doomed. The Mediterranean and its islands, which had fallen into the power of Islam, would have been Roman and Christian again; there would have been done in a fruitful Christian time what is now being attempted in our own sterile time of Apostasy. Roman land would have been recovered in its entirety and Christendom would have become Christendom again. For Syria is the keystone. To hold Syria permanently, with sufficient recruitment and armament, is to cut the bridge between Asia, including the men of the desert, and North Africa. Syria strongly held makes the enemy hold over Egypt imp

How much time do we have?

Last week, on Monday, my husband attended the funeral of a woman we had both gotten to know from church. She had died the previous Thursday, and we only knew of her death when we saw her listed in the recently deceased section of the weekly bulletin. We'd noticed she hadn't been there for the last month or so, but the finality of her death was still a surprise. I'm going to miss her colourful, cheerful presence. Even though she was suffering from the cancer that she had been fighting, she still was able to uplift the people around her. Rest in Peace, Nomaza. Which had made me think, what a grace it is to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sure, it's a death sentence, so to speak. But at least you have time to arrange your affairs, say goodbye and clean your soul. Even offer up your suffering for the good of others. For sudden death, does not allow that. One moment everything is fine, and the next, you're dead. Such as for those in the recent earthquak

Friday Night Free For All

Friday evening is the one period of the week where I can slow down a little, check the blogs and catch up with the news of the week. Except whatever news there is seems trivial in the wake of Christchurch. The quake has certainly devastated the city and surrounds in so many ways, and there are aftershocks being felt all over the country. I'm not specifically talking about the seismic kind here, but I think people will get the drift of my thoughts. It's going to take a long time to recover from this, and things will never quite be the same again, especially for those directly affected. My heart goes out to every-one shaken and stirred and crushed by the quake. It looks bigger and meaner than the Napier/Hastings quake of '31. And I suspect many residents are thinking that these quakes are by no means over. What will that mean for Christchurch as a city? I have no idea at this stage, and even those thoughts need to wait until the rescue efforts are carried out as fa

Pope Benedict XVI asks for prayers for NZ quake victims

Rome, 23 Feb. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday offered prayers and condolences to the scores of people who perished in the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. His thoughts were also dedicated to the families of the dead. "At this time my thoughts turn especially to the people there who are being severely tested by this tragedy. Let us ask God to relieve their suffering and to support all who are involved in the rescue operations. " I also ask you to join me in praying for all who have lost their lives ," Benedict said during a general audience at the Vatican. Related links: Vatican: Pope prays for victims of New Zealand quake ~ adnkronos Pope calls for prayers for New Zealand quake victims ~ Montreal Gazette

A message from Pope Benedict for Christchurch and NZ

The Vatican's secretariat of state sent a message to Bishop Jones on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. "The Holy Father was saddened to learn of the sudden devastation and loss of life in the city of Christchurch due to the recent earthquake. He wishes to express his spiritual closeness to everyone who has been affected, and sends his condolences to the families of all who mourn the loss of loved ones. Commending the deceased to the merciful love of God, his Holiness assures the people of the city and the nation of his prayers for all those who are working urgently to rescue and assist the trapped and the injured, as well as for those labouring to restore essential services. Upon all the people of New Zealand, the Holy Father willingly invokes Almighty God's blessings of courage and strength. " Related link: Christchurch Catholic Cathedral partially destroyed in earthquake ~ NZ Catholic

A prayer for Christchurch

Karanga added to Waitangi Day Mass in Wellington

During the Consecration, some Maori words were added at the elevation of the Host. The karanga takes the place of the traditional ringing of the bells at consecration. The caller rises to proclaim the call: ‘Haere mai e Hehu e… ou tinana e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei taro e...’ The response spoken by the congregation is then: ‘Nau mai, haere mai’. The call translates: ‘Welcome Christ, your body concealed within this bread’. The priest then replies, followed by the caller then singing: ‘Haere mai e Hehu e. ou toto e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei waina e.’ (Welcome Christ, your blood concealed within this wine) and the congregation answers as before. My previous post: More liturgical abuses in Wellington Fr Z, of WDTPRS: QUAERITUR: New Zealand – a Maori chant instead of consecration bells

Hilaire Belloc - The Battleground - XV The Last Rally (The Crusades)

The Battleground: Syria and Palestine   by Hilaire Belloc Chapter XV The Last Rally OUR people, then, the West, Christendom, made a last rally of our race for the recovery of Syria from the men of the desert. It is called the "Crusades." That forlorn hope stands vividly in the European mind as a glorious episode of its past: half legendary. All men see the chivalric story on a scale larger than reality, and suffer the illusion that the victory might have been won. In truth under the conditions of that day the victory was impossible. Syria could not be recovered. It could be half-grasped by a sudden onrush from the West; but there was not then among us the organisation which would have made so distant a conquest permanent; even had the first strategy been as well ordered as it was, in fact, imperfect. Even had Damascus, the key of Syria, been taken at once, we could not have maintained ourselves there. Our numbers, recruitment and communications were all three insuf

Friday Night Free For All

Evening folks. I think I missed most of the news this week, I've just been too busy to look outside my little sphere of work. Yep, sometimes it seems I'm working 24/7 for the one pay packet. But my pay packet is very good, relative to the hard working folk that care for the disabled. So I figure you either get a healthy pay packet that accounts for the long hours and the trips away from family and the nights out of town which make me unable to read my son a story at bedtime (something I've always tried to do ever since my oldest was old enough to listen to stories), or you get a measley hourly wage and get it for every hour you are required to be away from your loved ones. So I generally support the wage claims of the care workers. Either create an overall healthy pay package, take a different approach to the work allocation, or cough up the minimum wage. Now there are all sorts of counters to this argument, and considerations to make, and if I get time I might go

Culture Of Vice

An excellent article by Robert R Reilly that explains why some seek to inflict their own moral disorders on society - why "everyone must accede to their rationalization" [bold emphasis mine] ---- Robert Reilly notes that a society can withstand any number of persons who try to advance their own moral disorders as public policy. But society cannot survive once it adopts the justifications for whose moral disorders as its own. This is what is at stake in the culture war. In  The Ethics  Aristotle wrote, "men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives." This is also true when revolutionary changes are cultural. What might these "private" reasons be, and why do they become public in the form of revolutionary changes? The answer to these questions lies in the intimate psychology of moral failure. For any individual, moral failure is hard to live with because of the rebuke of conscience. Habitual moral failure, what used to

Harvard History Professor Speaks Common Sense on Egypt

I love how after the host says she thinks the thing with Egypt went "pretty damn well",and this Professor sets her straight about Obama's non-existent foreign policy, his flip-flopping, the force of the Muslim Brotherhood, and not to get to happy-clappy yet. He's pretty clear he thinks (and thought even before Obama's election) that Obama didn't know enough about the job to be Commander-in-chief.

You can only shake your head in wonder

The prison guards knew exactly what he was going to do when he got out. But nobody in higher officialdom wanted to know, not even the then Justice Minister Phil Goff nor the then Police Minister Annette King. It was all too hard. He was released and what his keepers knew would happen happened .

Condemnation of Catholic iPhone app from usual suspects

When I noticed the headline, Catholic iPhone app condemned , I thought, oh good, there's an article on the misrepresentation of the app in the NZ media, where it was thought that the app itself could absolve a person from their sins rather than needing a priest. I was hoping to see some sort of article clarifying that the app only helps a person through what they need to be saying in Confession, in person to a priest. But no, even though that is the presumption in the article, the condemnation comes from another group. Among the questions users are asked is: "Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?" Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a group that campaigns on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, accused the app of "helping to create neurotic individuals who are ashamed of who they are". Dear Wayne, any sexual activity outside of true marriage is deeply sinful (ie mortal, leading to spiritual death, leading to

Gay 'Marriages' to be allowed in churches - UK

My folks spotted this on Teletext today - Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister, is expected shortly to outline firm plans to lift the current ban on civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship. In a political "win" for Nick Clegg and his party, the Coalition will also say that such ceremonies should for the first time be allowed to have a religious element, such as hymn-singing and readings from the Bible. They could, it is understood, also be carried out in the future out by priests or other religious figures. The landmark move will please equality campaigners but is likely to prompt a fierce backlash from mainstream Christian leaders, as well as some Right-leaning Tories. The Church of England has already pledged not to allow any of its buildings to be used for civil partnership ceremonies, while last year Pope Benedict said same-sex marriage was among the "most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good

In the hours of deepest darkness angels sing

Here's an interesting article from the Guardian of all places: Faith in the darkest of moments . It's by a psychologist who treats the victims of torture and her observation that in the darkest times after feeling alone and abandoned her patients felt the presence of God. I have heard reports of angels singing comfort, of Mary and/or Jesus whispering to them, of feeling the formless touch of the Divine, of a dream of a prophet or a saint that was real. I have even had multiple reports of literal, physical divine intervention at intense moments of need, in one case dramatically saving the life of my client. I believe that they are telling the truth. People who invent such stories tend to do so regularly as a result of their inability to distinguish internal and external reality or their compulsion to invent extreme stories, and hence would exhibit ongoing and multiple signs of psychosis and/or personality disorder. However, beyond displaying typical impacts of deep traum

'Born This Way'


Work and Income and Travel

Last week, Metiria Turei said this : My father was a peaceful, kind, decent man, just like the thousands of New Zealanders who now find themselves out of work. John Key's Government suggests they are bludgers, but New Zealanders use the support when they absolutely need it and move on when they can. That's what I tried to do, that's what my Dad tried to do and that's what New Zealanders are doing today; about three quarters of those on the dole are there for less than a year. And today we have a story on the front page about one of those bludgers who spent two years traveling the world , still receiving the benefit. That adds a new meaning to "moving on when he can". The article shows Mr Freedom saw this hand up as a hand out, that circumstances were such that he had been wronged and was owed the money. I can see the logic though. If the government are going to pay you a benefit without question for sitting on the couch for two years, why not keep c

Friday Night Free For All

What-ho, all (as Bertie Wooster used to say, before he gained an American accent and became House). Hope you all had a good week. I have the fan on full blast here. It's still very muggy and humid in Auckland. Feel free to chat...

1900 year old Roman road found in Britain

A raised Roman road, built about 1900 years ago has been found in Britain. Amazingly enough, it shows no signs of potholes. Though, considering it has lasted nearly two millennium, it looks like the builders new how to built a road. Or trucks never ran on it. What I found amusing is the number of times the article referred to the Romans as "invaders", considering that the invasion brought Britain into the civilised world. Related link: Motorway maximus: Unearthed, a stunning Roman super-highway built 1,900 years ago ~ Daily Mail

Absolution by IPhone?

According to TV3 yes . If you are a Catholic who's avoided confession for fear of admitting you have committed adultery or some other mortal sin, you are in luck - a solution for the modern age has been found. A new iPhone and iPad app has been developed that allows users to carry out their penance without having to go into the confessional, with a priest behind the curtain and reconcile Well technology is all well and good but robot confessors will never happen. And this app was never intended to replace the sacrament. As I understand it this app is to help you prepare for confession, not to hear it and it certainly can't grant absolution for your sins. Woefully ignorant and mischievous reporting by TV3.

Zen Tweeter

I decided to try out Twitter, so I've created a ZenTigerNZ twitter account and added a feed in the side bar. Given my workload, I've got more chance of tweeting than blogging, so I'll see how it goes. I've already got one follower, so that's pretty cool, even if it is #spam.


A Christian was sentenced to 5 years jail in Indonesia for distributing pamphlets that some accusers decided were blasphemous towards Islam. 5 Years jail for blasphemy. I know what you are thinking right now, that a sentence like that sounds a little light, doesn't it? I mean, why not the death sentence? Well, that's exactly what thousands of Muslims thought , and went on a rampage attacking another priest, and destroying several churches and other Christian related buildings. It was good of them to show some moderation, after all, it was Indonesia's interfaith harmony week . I think that's where Christians are told to try harder than usual to engage in peaceful dialog with a culture that pays lip service to rule of law and respect for human rights. These people have quickly been labelled "fanatics", and indeed they are. What needs to be remembered is that they number the thousands, and world-wide, in the millions. I think we should retaliate by r

English Granny shows how its done

More here

One big happy family

[Just to provide a different take on today's events] Well, in a stunning blow to the importance of whānau and demonstrating that blood is not thicker than water, Hone Harawira has been labelled the bad child and not just sent to the naughty box, but ostracised from the family. Turfed out. Rejected. Or in political terms, suspended from the Caucus . A joint statement issued today by Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said the party caucus no longer had any faith in Mr Harawira. This time, Turia and Sharples are not blaming Paheka, they've picked up Pakeha's messages of "personal responsibility" and laid it all at Hone's feet. The Māori Party leadership declare Hone is exactly where he is today because of HIS actions and not the environment he is required to work in, nor the Pakeha rules he is required to play. There is no whānau ora support program for Hone, he is gone. They are sounding more like National every day. Should

Baby Moas

Oh dear... Coming hard on the heels of the story of Elton John and 'husband' having a baby , it seems our own celeb Anika Moa and 'wife' (whom Moa first saw performing at a burlesque show) are expecting twins, according to the Herald On Sunday Not one, but two bundles of joy are on the way for songstress Anika Moa and her Australian wife Angela Fyfe. The couple had been attempting to conceive through anonymous sperm donation without success but are now thrilled because Fyfe is pregnant with twins, a close friend has told the Herald on Sunday. And who is the father sperm donor? Turns out it's probably Anika's brother. The donor is understood to be Moa's brother and the twins are due in August. Don't know what to say now; of course I will probably be called names for being critical of Moa and wife, but really it's sad and distressing to see morals being chipped away at and an "anything goes" mentality taking their place. It also seems th

A licence to have children

Michael Laws has written a piece for today's Sunday Star Times, titled Produce the licence or forget about reproducing . His grumble is that any person currently has a right to produce a child, but owning animals seems to far more restricted. For instance, a judge can order a person who has neglected animals to be banned from owning animals for a certain period of time, but no such ban can be applied to the creation of children. His solution is to test potential parents, I presume before the woman is pregnant. He writes: The reality is that having a child should require a test. A demonstration that the child has the real opportunity for a future, and the real chance to be a positive contributor. Instead we work on the opposite tangent: have as many kids as you like. But if you want that dog? Prove yourself. What Laws forgets, is that civilised society does have such tests. These tests are called marriage. Make a commitment to a person of the opposite sex for life and vow t

It's all Israel's Fault

From the DimPost , a throw away line summarising the problems of Israel's continued existence, and a criticism on National for supporting the nation: Given Israel’s habit of invading its neighbours roughly once every eighteen months – the main cause of instability in the region – why is support for Israel apparently such a key issue in National’s foreign policy? There's this theory going around that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Could it be possible that some actions might not be as visible as some reactions? Does that make them any less an action? I always thought the world section of our local paper, the DomPost, was a few pages short of a balanced edition. I think the DimPost might fall into that category on this occasion.

Putin puts one over on Obama and gets the US to betray the Brits secrets

All my life the US has had a special relationship with the Brits. Ronald Reagan helped Maggie Thatcher during the Falklands War - it was a given. And George W Bush had a bronze bust of Sir Winston Churchill, on loan from British Government in pride of place in the Oval Office. Obama was given the option of retaining it but pointedly sent it back . Anyway, thanks to wikileaks we now know that as part of Obama's much vaunted START treaty with Russia he has agreed to supply the Russians with details of Great Britain's trident missiles . Disgraceful!

Egyptians who want democracy also want death to apostates

ROME, February 3, 2011 – Much of the Egyptian population that in recent days has rebelled against the thirty-year regime of Hosni Mubarak says that it prefers democracy to any other form of government. At the same time, however, and in an overwhelming majority, they want those who commit adultery to be stoned, thieves to have their hands cut off, and those who abandon the Muslim religion to be put to death. How does democracy protect it's citizens when they are obviously mad - it doesn't. And although it is in the minority, support for suicide terrorists is growing. In Egypt, 20 percent justify this, while in 2009 15 percent did. Returning to the death penalty for those who abandon Islam, called for by 84 percent of Egyptians, it must be pointed out that those who want it are men and women, old and young, educated and uneducated, without distinction. In Jordan, the level of support for sentencing apostates to death rises all the way to 86 percent. It is only in Lebanon

John Key in a way that you don't want to see him

I got the above image from The Standard , which I generally never read. But the "come hither eyes" title that I noticed off the No Minister sidebar drew me in. Words fail me.

I don't hold much hope for Egypt

Sandro Magister has published an article where he gives the possibility of a "glimmer of light" in the revolt, an opening through which "reformist Muslims have made their voices heard." On January 24, on the website of the Egyptian magazine "Yawm al-Sâbi" (The Seventh Day), a text appeared entitled "Document for the renewal of religious discourse." By that night, the text had already been posted on more than 12,000 other Arab websites. Most of those websites were not supportive, to say the least. Its importance was pointed out beyond the Arab world by a Jesuit and Islamologist, Samir Khalil Samir, Egyptian by birth, greatly respected by Benedict XVI. He has translated and commented on the essential parts of the document in two articles published by the online agency "Asia News" of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. This document for renewal has been translated from Arabic by Fr Samir, who considers point 8 (separation of

It's a charming world we live in

Raped girl whipped to death A vile event that will pass with little comment. On the other hand Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, the Archbishop of Canterbury and New Zealand's Anglican Bishops have all taken an inordinate interest in the case of a Gay Activist murdered by a thief in Kampala which despite all evidence to the contrary has been labeled a hate crime. All we can do is pray for their souls and the souls of the countless others who die in dire circumstances unnoticed by the wider world.

Trap for young players

My daughter has moved to Australia today - to start her new career as nurse. I am proud, excited, glad and sad. (She is the second of my children to make this move). Anyway there were two old cars, one hers and one her sisters. Cars that were well past it and hadn't been used in some time. So off to the wreckers they went. Now here's the thing - not being used the registration on both had not been kept up. Here's the trap when deregistering a car unless you have applied for the registration to go on hold they sting you for the unpaid registration up until the day before you de-register the car. We just shelled out 7 months registration on a car that hasn't been driven in fourteen months and another two months for the other. Don't seem right to me but if you are taking a car off the road even temporarily go to the post shop and get it temporarily de-registered.

James Bond's Wallet?

From the 'more-money-than-I-know-what-to-do-with' file today . . . It's possible to buy from Dunhill , a "biometric" wallet, that only opens with your thumb print. Not only that, it has Bluetooth, so can be paired with your cellphone and sound an alarm if phone and wallet are separated more than 5 metres. The price? - A mere $825.00 (US presumably). Not that I mean to be critical, and I have nothing against technology used in creative ways, but sometimes it can be taken a bit far, no? And who carries money these days anyway?