Ut Unum Sint!

January 29, 2009

Incredible good news from The Record, a weekly publication of the Western Australian Catholic Church:

History may be in the making. It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church, writes Anthony Barich. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practising homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

Full article here.

To paraphrase Churchill, this development does not mark the end of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement. It is not the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning. Indeed, it is not hyperbole on the Record’s part to say that, God willing, this development “will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.”

The Record further reports that an announcement is expected sometime after Easter this year, and that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in this cause, is determined to achieve this joyous and long-sought reunion in this, the year of St. Paul, the Church’s greatest missionary.

In his quiet humble manner, Pope Benedict XVI has paved the way for 400,000 faithful orthodox and long-suffering Anglicans to be reunited with “all [their] own ancestors, all [their] ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter,” in St. Edmund Campion’s immortal words. Once this is a fait accompli, we can expect the floodgates will open and thousands more demoralized Anglicans will likely follow their brothers and sisters on the journey home.

The Record article also mentions that the TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth has informed the Holy See that he would like to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman. Newman’s beatification has not been announced, but seems likely to many and would be especially fitting on this glorious occasion, as this is Cardinal Newman’s victory as well as ours.

It is also the victory and vindication of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement and of the great 20th Century Anglican converts, Msgrs. Ronald Knox and Robert Benson, who rejoice with us this day. It recalls the suffering and sacrifice of St. Thomas More, Chancellor of England, and St. John Fisher, Cardinal of England, who were among the first beheaded for the faith, and of all the English martyrs, battered and beaten en route to the gallows at Tyburn.

“The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.”

Thus boasted Edmund Campion in his famous Brag on his clandestine mission to the persecuted Catholics of England, hunted and harried and hounded for his efforts until his forseeable capture at Lyford Grange near Wantage in Berkshireon on 17 July, 1581.

Indeed today’s glad tidings represent Edmund’s Campion’s victory as well, a victory dearly bought with blood spilled at Tyburn, a few drops of which fell on the cloak of one Henry Walpole, who promptly took up Campion’s cause and cross, and crossed the channel to be ordained, and returned to his country where he too was martyred for the Faith.

Thus St. Peter’s barque, which once nearly sank in the Lake of Gennesaret after a huge catch of fish, will soon overflow with a much greater catch of souls, but her nets remain strong because God who is Love preserves her, and Love never fails.

Hat tip to my friend Steve Lawrence who forwarded this story from The American Catholic


A Postmodern Conflict

January 5, 2009

Iran’s Postmodern Beast in Gaza

Outstanding analysis from Robert D. Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security:

How do you fight unconventional, sub-state armies empowered by ideas? You undermine them subtly over time, or you crush them utterly, brutally. Israel, unable to tolerate continued rocket attacks on its people, has decided on the latter course. Our own diplomacy with Iran now rests on whether or not Israel succeeds. We need to create leverage before we can negotiate with the clerical regime, and that leverage can only come from an Israeli moral victory—one that leaves Hamas sufficiently reeling to scare even the pro-Iranian Syrians from coming to its aid. In defense of its own territorial integrity, Israel has, in effect, launched the war on the Iranian empire that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, in particular, can only have contemplated.

Dr. Kaplan correctly notes that, despite Gaza’s history as Egyptian occupied territory prior to the 1967 Six Day War, Israel’s attack on Gaza represents a strike at the western fringe of the Iranian empire. The difficulty for Israel is that it no longer engages in conventional warfare against corrupt and incompetent Arab state dictatorships, which tiny Israel nimbly outclassed, much as young David vanquished the giant Philistine warrior Goliath.

Instead, Israel’s postmodern struggles involve a poisonous yet popular fanatical ideology that operates beneath the radar of state action, yet transcends conventional national and sectarian ties. Islamist jihadists not only think globally, act locally, but they are difficult to fight. One minute they’re the Arab Street’s beloved bad-ass rocket launchers and suicide bombers. But as soon as the IDF or the mainstream media show up, as if on cue, they seamlessly morph into the inconsolable (and often uninjured) “victims” of Israel’s “disproportionate” reponse.

In my view, the Gaza attacks represent a bold decision by the Israeli government to rectify their mistakes during the unsuccessful 2006 Hezbollah offensive. In effect, they are taking a mulligan on 2006 and looking to change the result with a more aggressive approach to a similar conflict.

Of course the timing of Israel’s response to Hamas’ incessant bombings since Israel withdrew from Gaza is in large part dictated by the calendar. In addition to justifiable fears that their chances to respond to Iran’s and Hamas’ terror tactics will be circumscribed by a potentially hostile Obama Administration, given the current collapse of petroleum prices, this may be the last best chance to de-fang the Iranian beast. Once oil prices stabilize, finishing the job will be much harder.


Awry the Beloved Country

January 5, 2009

Jan Collmer has an interesting article in the Intellectual Conservative on why the economy tanked in 2008 and why prospects are dismal for recovery anytime soon.

Highlights:

In the early summer of 2008 the world’s oil markets careened out of control, and an incredible price bubble developed fueled by Wall Street savants, the media and the many who claimed a massive supply shortfall in the face of worldwide acceleration of consumption. It is true that consumption has accelerated in the last few years, especially in Asia, but the world is awash in petroleum and shortages are due to either delivery, refining capacity or problems associated with geo-politics. . .

That is not to say that there was no problem; but the problem was rooted in unregulated speculation in the petroleum markets, a fact overlooked by the MSM. During the eight-year reign of Bill Clinton, Enron Corp convinced Clinton to pressure the regulators to open up the futures markets in petroleum to a large variety of investors, not necessarily those in the business who had traditionally operated a futures market to ensure stabilized pricing. Up to that time an investor in futures had to be a producer or a consumer of crude oil or natural gas. Once the entry barrier was lowered it wasn’t long before 95% of the futures trades were not by users or producers but by speculators. Speculation was the primary driving force to create the bubble. Leverage was extremely high with just a 10% margin required on a trade, much like the stock market of the late 20s. Once prices broke, the market plunged from a high of $147 per barrel at the peak to less than $40 in December 2008. High leverage cuts both ways; win big or lose big. . .

There is still extreme leverage throughout the financial arena worldwide and the game is far from over. Derivatives in the form of credit default swaps and thousands of other clever financial gambles are ravaging the world. While many of these instruments have sound uses as hedges for crops, oil, industrial commodities and materials, most are just pure speculation. In any derivative transaction, there is a winner and a loser but if the loser can’t pay, there are two losers. When the loser is a major Wall Street firm or an insurer like AIG and the numbers are in eleven or twelve figures, the situation becomes dire indeed. . .

It is reported that the total face value of derivatives worldwide is around $700 trillion. The entire Gross World Product is only about $50 trillion, $15 trillion of which is the US output. Most of the massive derivative action has been created in the US, making America the world’s biggest casino. It will take a few years for all of these chickens to come home to roost, to paraphrase the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. . .

The seeds of our destruction were planted in the 60s and have grown and metastasized ever since. . .

The road ahead looks very, very rough. Recovery is not in sight. Bailouts seem to be the order of the day but where does the several trillion dollars (rumored to exceed $8 trillion already) needed for bailouts and liquidity come from?

There are just three sources of new government money: new taxes, increased borrowing and the printing press. . .

Expect to see double-digit inflation within a year or two. First, there will likely be a period of deflation or what was called stagflation in the 70s. Stagflation is a combination of inflation and recession. But, the inflation engine is running and it is in high gear and it will prevail. The dollar will sink in the sunset as Reagan’s “Shining city on a hill” goes up in financial flames. . .

Still the American financial hole is deep too and some folks, notably your Democratic Congress, are still digging. The Bear Market is in absolute total control of Wall Street for the foreseeable future and rallies will be brief and each one will be followed by deeper slides. The DJIA will likely lose 60-70% from its peak value of about 14,000 points, down to 4000-6000 points by the end of 2009. . .

Our children and grandchildren will grow up in an America that is very different than the one we enjoyed.

Full article here.

Hat tip: Sam C.

A bleak assessment of our dire predicament. Yet there’s reason to hope. We endured similarly bleak times in the late 1970′s under Jimmy Carter — whose record still stands as the only President to have once been attacked by a rabbit. As Ronald Reagan famously quipped: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

Indeed. Carter’s policies bequeathed gas lines and double-digit inflation at home, and a humiliating year-long Iranian hostage crisis and a belligerent Soviet adversary abroad. How Reagan handled these crises and launched the biggest economic expansion in U.S. history is a story that deserves to be remembered and retold. My own poor effort in this regard is documented here.

In a related story, the Sunday Times UK reported yesterday that “a model housing estate funded by Hollywood celebrities and hand-built by Jimmy Carter” and his Habitat for Humanity volunteers is “falling apart”.

[Insert joke here]


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