Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?

As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.

At the breath of God they are destroyed;
at the blast of his anger they perish.

The lions may roar and growl,
yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.

The lion perishes for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness are scattered."

-Job 4:7-11

Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?

In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.

The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, "There is no God."

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.

He says to himself, "I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity."

His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the hiding places he kills the innocent;
His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.

He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair;
He lurks to catch the afflicted;
He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.

He crouches, he bows down,
And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.

He says to himself, "God has forgotten;
He has hidden His face; He will never see it."

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand.
Do not forget the afflicted.

Why has the wicked spurned God?
He has said to himself, "You will not require it."

You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan.

Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer,
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

The LORD is King forever and ever;
Nations have perished from His land.

O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear

To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

-Psalm 10

Today kinda snuck up on me: intellectually, I knew what today would be; but it only hit me when I got into work this morning what today was. I have nothing terribly insightful to say, except these:

I do not now, and will not for the foreseeable future, trust any modern Democrat to try to the limits of Executive power to stop another September 11th from happening again. Roosevelt? Truman? Kennedy (John)? Scoop Jackson? The last of those men died or became Republican years ago. I vote Republican, generally, because of abortion and taxes. But even if the two parties reconciled unfavorably on those issues, I'd still vote Republican, because alone among our political parties -- Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Whatever -- I can trust Republicans to do what must be done to stop vicious men from slaughtering my family in their sleep.

Necessarily, when bad men are trying to kill you, you must sometimes kill them to stop them from killing you. Sometimes, they will admit no other argument.

I could care less about sixteen words. A vicious man who would certainly have destroyed us given a chance holds power no more. That is enough.

The Left is proof that good intentions can lead inexorably to evil.

As an otherwise fairly dense fellow once said, we're still coming for you, you bastards.

UPDATE: Wanted to note Senator Cornyn's clarion words of today:

"The passengers on Flight 93 were everyday Americans, men and women with jobs, with families, with dreams. Like all of us, they made promises to their loved ones before they boarded that plane: promises of vacations and baseball games, of presents and anniversaries, small promises and big ones. Some promises don't come cheap; some cost us nothing; others require that we risk all, even our very lives.

The crash site of Flight 93, nestled in the quiet hills of Pennsylvania, is filled with memories of the promises those heroes made and will never keep."
As the Senator notes, we now have a duty to keep the promise they made that day.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Reading comprehension is a condition precedent to textual critique, Mr. Sullivan.


Sullivan: "Anything to distract from the real scandal, I guess. Dulles' proposals for reform of the Church amount entirely to greater obedience to Rome, subservience to ecclesiastical authority, maintenance of the existing structures, and penance from the laity. I.e. more power for him. Funny how that happens, doesn't it?"

Dulles: "Some of the alienation between different groups may result from mechanisms introduced in the wake of Vatican II. The Council exalted the episcopacy to an unprecedented peak of power and responsibility. No normal individual is capable of being at once the chief teacher, the leading mystagogue, and the principal administrator for millions of Catholics, responsible for a huge array of parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, and charitable organizations. Bishops are also expected to be in constant consultation with pastoral councils and senates of priests. Within the diocese the bishop holds the fullness of legislative, judicial, and executive power.

In addition to their tasks within their respective dioceses, bishops are regularly engaged in the deliberations and decisions of the national episcopal conference to which they belong and in some cases have assignments from one or more of its multiple committees. A number of them are also involved in the government of the universal Church. They occasionally serve on congregations of the Holy See, and take part in synods of bishops. No wonder that there are failures in the handling of certain assignments of priests and other personnel.

According to the job description in the official documents, the bishop ought to be a man of high culture, firm in faith, solid in orthodoxy, a paragon of holiness, graciously winning in personality, able to assess the talents and weaknesses of others, skilled at managing large corporations and conducting fiscal policy, eloquent in the pulpit, fearless under criticism, indefatigable, and always self-possessed. Do we have in the United States a sufficient supply of priests with all these qualities?
Many of the candidates being elevated to the episcopate, it would seem, are men of ordinary abilities, kind and hardworking, but incapable of measuring up to the almost superhuman responsibilities of the office. They run the risk of being morally, psychologically, and spiritually crushed under the burdens. As a prime structural problem, therefore, I would single out for special attention the episcopal office. What can be done to restore the priestly and pastoral ministry of bishops to its position of primacy?

In this context the relationship between clergy and laity may need some reconsideration. The distinction of roles, clearly spelled out by the Second Vatican Council, can be overstepped from both sides. Bishops, in their zeal to give explicit pastoral direction on every question and to control everything that goes on in their diocese, sometimes infringe on the proper competence of the laity, whose responsibility it is to apply the gospel to the circumstances of the marketplace, the professions, and political life. But the laity should understand that doctrinal teaching, pastoral governance, and liturgical leadership are tasks ordinarily reserved to persons in holy orders, especially the pope and bishops." (Emphasis added.)

We can't be reading the same document.
Ha! Take that!

And that!

Monday, September 08, 2003

On a happier note, Ramesh Ponnuru works over Nick Gillespie (you have no idea how much fun it is to write that) here:

Gillespie's comment about Section 215 of Patriot makes sense only as part of his weaselly attempt to shift ground. Yes, it's true that this section of the law "allows the government to delve into personal records, including Web use, of people who may or may not be charged with a crime." So does every other surveillance law, both before and after Patriot. Neither the Fourth Amendment, the criminal surveillance laws, nor the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has ever exempted personal records from surveillance just because the person in question was not going to be charged with a crime. In the Fourth Amendment and criminal-surveillance contexts, the question is always where the evidence might be. If evidence relevant to a criminal investigation is in your house, your house can be searched — even if you're not suspected of anything.

More Ponnurus -- which is to say, more non-lawyers who know the law better than most lawyers -- show up, and I'm out of a damned job.

I personally think he left out the standing point as a sign of magnaminity.
Institutions of men never ever do wrong, and when they do, the whole thing is rotten to the core, or, Why I Don't Read Anything Andrew Sullivan Says About the Catholic Church. He has some usual screed about how some truly evil men did horrible things to their fellow humans in the name of Christ. (No link; he's wandering into Josh Marshall territory.)

No, seriously? That happens? Can a Church really claim to be doing right when some of its members do ill?

Grow up, friend. The Church is the Bride of Christ, the Pilgrim People of God, and, yes, an institution of human beings. We're all touched by Original Sin. We are all tainted. The sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are given to doing terrible things to each other at times; when they have power, they are more tempted to do so. Otherwise, how do you think they Kennedys get such warm receptions out of the priests, bishops, and Cardinals with whom they consort? (Fascists then socialists and now baby murderers -- not the best Christians ever, y'know?) The miracle of the Church is that frequently, through Christ's intervention, men do really good things more often than not.

I'm sorry that Christianity stigmatizes sodomy. I'm sorry that God spoke so. I'm sorry that life is horribly unfair.

Rules of the game, friend. No one's forcing you to stick around.