The WQ (weirdness quotient) of Buenos Aires is very high. Note what is holding back the stone curtains
Buenos Aires prides itself on being the Paris of Latin America. It has wide boulevards and French style-architecture in the older sections. The style is not accidental, but is closely connected with the founding of Argentina.
San Martin the liberator of Argentina from Spanish rule (such as it was) was a Freemason, and spent the last part of his life in France.
Independence from Spain also meant independence from Spanish culture and Spanish religion. Freemasonry was the enlightened religion of enlightened Frenchmen, who were the most enlightened citizens of Europe – or so San Marin thought.
Church and State are closely united in Argentina. Until recently the president had to be a Catholic, and Carlos Menem, a Moslem, had to be sprinkled with water to make him capable of leading the country.
The Argentine state wanted San Martin buried in the National Cathedral, but the Church was unhappy about honoring a Freemason. The compromise was to build a room off the cathedral to house the sepulcher. The room is devoid of religious symbols.
The antique shops of Buenos Aires are also full of French antiques, more than I ever saw in Montreal. Our hotel room at the Alvear Palace Hotel was more French than anything I have experienced in France. I think that housekeeping used Hermes to wash the carpets. It was like living inside a gateau Sainte Honore.
Marcial Maciel has died, some reports say here in Naples, Florida, others in Houston.
He has been accused by scores of people of sexual abuse. Pope Benedict to all appearances thought him guilty, but because of his age did not have a formal trial.
The administrative acts of the popes are not infallible. The Legionaries, of whom Maciel was the founder, maintain his innocence (they could scarcely do otherwise), and say that he will be exonerated some day. Even if there had been a formal trial and declaration of guilt, such a declaration would not have been infallible and the Legionaries could still claim that Maciel, like Joan of Arc, was a victim of a conspiracy and will someday be canonized.
I think that Maciel was guilty, for reasons I explain in my book But I have no doubt that the Legion much good in the Church and will continue to do much good. I also think that Maciel’s memory will be venerated, despite the accusations against him. The Legion is flourishing, unlike great segments of the Church; Maciel if nothing else was a genius at organization and fundraising.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his essay on Francis Bacon, a bad man but a genius, explains this universal phenomenon:
There is scarcely any other delusion which has a better claim to be indulgently treated than that under the influence of which man ascribes every moral excellence t those who have left imperishable monuments of their genius. The causes of this error lie deep in the inmost recesses of human nature. We are all inclined to judge of others as we find them. Our estimate of a character always depends much on the manner in which that character affects our own interests and passions. We find it difficult to think well of those by whom we are thwarted or depressed; and we are ready to admit every excuse for the vices of those who are useful or agreeable to us. This is, we believe, one of those illusions to which the whole human race is subject, and which experience and reflection can only partly remove. It is, in the phraseology of Bacon, one of the idola tribus. Hence it is that the moral character of a man eminent in letters or in the fine arts is treated, often by contemporaries, almost always by posterity, with extraordinary tenderness. The world derives pleasure and advantage from the performances of such a man. The number of those who suffer by his personal vices is small, even in his own time, when compared with the number of those to whom his talents are a source of gratification. In a few years all those whom he has injured disappear. But his works remain, and are a source of delight to millions.
A few score boys and young men were hurt grievously by Maciel. The Legion benefits hundreds of thousands. In the absence of irrefutable proof of his guilt, the Legion will maintain Maciel’s innocence, and almost everyone will be of that opinion.
The judgment of history is often mistaken, and the true facts of the case will come out at the Great Assizes, when every heart will be revealed.
Every Thursday in front of the Casa Rosada, the main government building in Buenos Aries, march mothers wearing white scarves. By now the mothers are in their 70s and 80s. Some of them are discovering they are grandmothers.
Their children disappeared during the military dictatorship in the 1970s. The military arrested those suspected of leftist sympathies, or whose property they wanted, or high school students protesting bus fare rises, or children of arrestees, and they were never seen again. Thousands disappeared. They were murdered, some by being handcuffed and pushed out of helicopters over the Rio de la Plata.
When an arrestee was a woman and pregnant, the military let her deliver her baby, and then killed her. A military family then adopted the baby.
After they lost the Falkland War in 1982, the military destroyed almost all the records of these murders.
With DNA testing, hundreds of people in their 30s are learning that their parents, who raised them and loved them, were also the murderers of their mothers.
Some of the adoptees do not want to know. Others want to know the truth, no matter what the emotional cost.
No one has been brought to justice for the murders, although prosecutions have begun.
Human rights activists are trying to identify the victims and the criminals. Most documents have been destroyed but some remain. One website has some documents, under the heading Nunca Mas – Never Again- “Learn what happened. Only by knowing what took place, can we prevent it from happening again.”
Another small pleasure of life (in addition to menu translations) is people who live up to their national stereotype. When we flew to Buenos Aires recently, the gate at the airport was total and cheerful chaos: but everyone got on, and we left on time. It was a foretaste.
To many, Argentina equals tango.<o:p>Argentina is enjoying a boom in tourism, and, according to the article “Argentina sees comeback of tango, for tourists” in The Buenos Aires Herald (February 3, 2008), fully 10 % of tourism income comes from tango. About 85% of tourists go to a tango show.. Tourists flock from all over the world to go to tango palaces, to tango bars (milongas), take tango lessons, etc. There is a 24 hour tango cable tv channel.
Tango started in the brothels of the port, and was considered scandalous by proper Argentines. But Europe took it up around 1910, and then it was acceptable in Argentina.
In the 1930s the tango star was the lounge lizard Carlos Gardel, who was shot by an irate husband. When he died in 1935 several women committed suicide because they could not imagine life without him.In the 50s and 60s tango was replaced by pop and rock groups. But when the military government of the 1970s forced many Argentines to take refuge in Europe, the refugees would listen to tango songs, which are like the blues: “I am out of luck, my girl has left me, I lost my job,” etc). The Europeans liked this music, and after the military government fell, Europeans flocked to Argentina expecting the tango.The Argentines, a little bemused, provided it. There are now tango tours of Argentina. In our hotel at breakfast we saw a group of Americans being shepherded by a young woman dressed in a tango outfit (no doubt to her embarrassment). Throughout the city there are pictures and statues of Carlos Gardel. Tango resounds in every shop. The street puppets sing and dance the tango.The effect is hallucinatory. Argentines dine at 10 or 11 PM, but they get up at 6 or 7 and do not take a siesta. We asked our guide when Argentines sleep. She said she had concluded they sleep less than other nations. I think they suffer from national sleep deprivation, and Argentine magic realism, the dreamlike state in which anything can happen, is the result. The anything includes
Serving as a world language has its disadvantages. The English translations of Spanish menu items in Buenos Aires were interesting, but in Patagonia the menus were challenging. At a café in a national park, we were presented with the following choices.
Soup of Gourd
Caesar Salad: mix of vegetables, cheese chicken, grudges, cream of anchovies and capers.Tibia de Vegetables
Vegetable Tibia: peppers and carrots in Julian, tomatos roasted, asparagus, champignones skipped in soybean sauce on mix of green, with grudges of cheese and Popes bolangere.
Steak of Garlic Sausage to the Cheese, on pure enceballado to the screw, rustic sauce of red wine and Popes.
By careful comparison with the Spanish menu we decided that the Popes were potatoes (papas), but some items (to the screw? grudges?) remained shrouded in darkest gloom.
I ordered minestrone.
Our guide was going to tell the restaurant that it needed to employ the services of an expert translator (his girlfriend) to work on its menu, but we Americans all cried him down, as someone who wanted to ruin one of the simple pleasures of life.
After the Revolution France developed a militant secularism, la laïcité, which insisted that the state was lay, that is clerics and religion had no role in any state activity or public life. In part this was a reaction to integrisme, the strain of Catholic thought that insisted that the state must be Catholic and that clerics should direct the affairs of state, directly or indirectly.
Francehas need of Catholics,” he affirmed, after having insisted on “the essentially Christian roots of France” and criticized a laicity that had tried “to cut off from its Christian roots.” France
When he was in
the equal importance that he accorded to the believers of different religions, to freemasons, and to atheists.
Freemasons and others are not happy with Sarkozy. The grand master of the Freemasons in
M. Sarkozy puts at the heart of society a religious dimension which we do not share. These remarks risk radicalizing positions and reviving a form of anticlericalism.
Although Father Richard Neuhaus of First Things does not like my book (he does not like my tone), he and I agree in our dislike of clericalism and our strong suspicion that it was a major cause of the abuse. In commenting on a survey of Catholic attitudes Neuhaus writes in the February First Things:
As for the impact of the sex-abuse scandals, 7 percent say it has decreased their commitment to the Church, 11 percent say it has increased their commitment, and 80 percent say it has had no effect on their commitment. Catholics are not Donatists. They do not believe that the truth of the faith or the efficacy of the sacraments depends on the impeccability or, for that matter, the moral probity of the Church’s ministry. On the other hand, it may be that those who increased their commitment were rallying to the support of respected priests who they believed had been unfairly smeared by association with the highly publicized delinquencies of a relatively small number of their fellows.
Possible explanations abound. A less edifying explanation is that the old habits of a deeply entrenched clericalism kicked in once again. The Church is identified with the clergy and therefore to be defended no matter what. Clericalism is the shadowed side of Catholicism’s high view of Christian ministry. It confuses the priest’s sacramentally acting in persona Christi with priestly prerogative and immunity from criticism. It is the shadowed side that largely explains the patterns of denial, deceit, and evasion that produced the sex-abuse crisis in the first place, including the pattern of bishops who say, and in many cases may sincerely believe, that their “ministry of unity” takes priority over living in the truth.
Some older Catholics continue to idolize priests – it really is a form of idolatry – they want something divine they can touch – but most Catholics are aware that priests sin. Catholics just don’t care; it is too much trouble to insist that the clergy behave in a moral and honorable fashion, so they accept that some priest are corrupt and hope that the corruption won’t touch their families. No one likes someone who disturbs comfortable and convenient illusions, so those who point out the crimes of priests and the toleration of these crimes by the hierarchy are considered “shrill.”
President Bush wondered and why the Allies did not bomb the Nazi extermination camps. Der Spiegel discusses this in an article Why the Allies Did Not Bomb Auschwitz.
The allies of course knew the Nazis were anti-Semitic, but first heard of the plans for the Holocaust in August 1942, In November 1942 a Polish officer, Jan Karski, was smuggled out of
But the dreadful news that he brought surpassed the possibilities of imagination of those who heard him. “Do you think that I am lying,” Karski was supposed to have asked the incredulous Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter,. “I didn’t say that you are lying,” Frankfurters answer was supposed to have been. “I said, I can’t believe you.”
Under Louis XIV the
La Reyne, at first very skeptical, looked into this, and to his horror discovered an underground in
La Reynie realized that for the criminals the very “the enormity of their crimes proved their safeguard.” No one wanted to believe that a civilized Christian society could have such crimes.Most Holocaust skeptics are anti-Semites, but some, like Judge Brack at the end of Hedda Gabler, think “Good God!–people don’t do such things.”Some people have reacted to my book Sacrilege in that way, although I have left out some of the more bizarre stories of diabolism. People find themselves unable to believe that priests and maybe bishops perpetrated diabolic rites of sexual abuse- but what a brilliant safeguard for the criminals. If they make their crimes unbelievably bizarre, no one will believe the stories of the victims. The Allies decided, by the way, that it would do no good to bomb the camps and that the best way to help the Jews would be to end the war as quickly as possible.
The majority of Austrians (63%) fear the consequences of the low birth rate in their country, according to Kath.net.
Consequently, the number of children born in
I think this is for real, unless Sascha Baron Cohen has a new persona.
TAZ: Herr Taigashkaeb, what goes on in Kok-Boru?
Ruslan Taigashkaeb: Two teams with four players mounted on houses ride against each other. The goal is to bring a dead sheep over the goal line of the opposing team.
Why do you have to use a dead sheep?
Taigashkaeb: Every foreigner asks me that. But the animal is killed before the game.
However you could use a ball.
Taigashkaeb: It’s a tradition, that the winning team gets the animal to eat it. What would the players do with a ball?
Do the horses suffer under the violence of the game?
Taigashkaeb: During the contest the horses don’t think of what they are doing. But after their team has won, they feel they are part of the team.
When Europeans observe the game, they have pity on the animals and don’t see the appeal. >Taigashkaeb: The game has an unbelievable tradition. When did football start? Kok-Boru goes back a thousand years. All our ancestors, who for centuries lived as nomads in the mountains, played it. When
Kyrgyzstanbelonged to the Soviet Union, banned Kok-Boru. However we played the game secretly in the villages. Moscow
Has the national sport changed?
Taigashkaeb: Yes. Previously a game could last a week long and whole villages joined in. The games were hard, and many times people lost their lives. For ten years we have had good rules. A game lasts three times twenty minutes with ten minute pauses. And its become safer.
What does “safer” mean?
Taigashkaeb: Previously there were many cases of death, because everything was allowed to get to the sheep. Even spectators lost their lies. Today the rules are stricter, and you may not deliberately injure an opponent.
Urmat Musaev: We wear a uniform, the arms and legs protected from blows and kicks, and a mask for the face. I have no fear.
You have a scar on your neck and weals on your arms.
Musaev: Yes, there are things that happen in the enthusiasm of the contest. The horses often injure us without noticing it. And I first notice it when the game is over.
Taigashkaeb: It happens that a player breaks an arm or leg. Bur we have medics at the edge of the playing field.
And, as you may have suspected, there is a Borat connection:
have the best Kok-Boru players? Kyrgyzstan
Musaev: Last year I played with a national team at a tourney in Astana.
Taigashkaeb: Next year we’ll get the cup back. About
it’s a question of prestige. Kazakhstan
At one scout camp I was at, a boy with a minor eye problem was patiently learning how to shoot a rifle. I overheard him explaining to the instructor that he hoped to overcome his eye problem so he could enlist in the army and protect his country.
The president of the
was saved from assassination Tuesday when a boy scout grabbed the knife of an attacker who had jumped out of a crowd greeting the leader, an official said. Maldives
This fellow in the crowd with a knife in his hand attempted to stab the president in his stomach,” Shareef said by telephone from Male, the capital. “But a 15-year-old boy came in the way, and grabbed the knife. One brave boy saved the president’s life.”The scout was identified as Mohamed Jaisham Ibrahim, who had lined up to welcome Gayoom, according to the president’s Web site.The boy was injured in the hand by the knife. “His wound was stitched but later he complained that he could not move some of his fingers, so he was flown by a sea plane to Male,” Shareef said.“There was blood on the president’s shirt, but it was not his but the boy’s. Still we got a physician to examine him,” Shareef said.
When a boy is willing to shed his blood to protect you, you can put up with a lot of difficult adolescent behavior.
Msgr. Bernard prince is being tried in
Msgr. Prince, who is Polish, was a close friend of John Paul II
and was highly placed in the
His career included posts at the
as the secretary general of the Pontifical Work for the Propagation of Faith until his retirement more than three years ago. He had lived in Vatican since 1991. Italy
He had also worked at parishes in Arnprior and Pembroke before he took a posting at the Apostolic Nunciature in
He later worked at the Canadian Conference of Bishops in
Ottawaand taught at Saint Paul Universityon Main Streetbefore moving to Torontoas director of ‘s Pontifical Mission Society. Canada
As I discovered in researching my book, several abusers were in charge of the mission societies in their dioceses. I am not sure it is a pattern or coincidence, but mission work provides an ideal environment for abuse. An abuser has international contacts and can be quickly transferred to mission work anywhere in the world. If he abuses in a mission country, the local police are unlikely to come after him.Msgr. Prince’s high position in the
Cardinal Hummes has asked the bishops of the world to form groups to pray for the victims of sexual abuse; According to Reuters
Vaticanofficial has proposed creating prayer groups to pray for victims of sexual abuse by priests, in an effort to help heal wounds from recent abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Claudio Hummes, head of the Congregation for the Clergy which oversees the world’s 400,000 Catholic priests, told the
‘s official newspaper that he had already written to bishops urging them to promote such groups in which priests and the faithful gather to pray together. Vatican
Prayer, of course, does not replace the elemental justice that victims are owed, or the necessity of abusers and bishops to do penance for the harm they have done the victims.
The Vatican still is circulating a false statistic, Philip Jenkins in his somewhat outdated book Priests and pedophiles cited a statistic that only 1% of the priests in one study were accused of abusing pre-pubertal children, that is pedophilia strictly speaking. Cardinal Hummes has this figure stuck in his mind.
Obviously it must be remembered that only a minimal part of the clergy is involved in serious situations,” Hummes said.
“Not even 1 percent has anything to do with problems of moral and sexual conduct. The biggest majority has nothing to do with things of this nature.”
Most of the victims were adolescent boys. The John Jay study that the bishops of the
A Canadian woman declared dead eight hours earlier, her organs ready to be harvested and donated, suddenly opened her eyes after Filipino priest Fr. Fernando Suarez prayed over her.
In his ministry, Suarez has a quiet approach:
Suarez goes about it gently, in his own soothing way, touching, praying over people, pleading for healing. And because he wants everything centered in the Eucharist, he always begins with a Holy Mass.
Businessman Greg Monteclaro of Couples for Christ-Gawad Kalinga has seen it all. “Except the raising of the dead,” he says. “But the deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk — all that is told in the Bible — I have seen it happen.”
“All that is told in the Bible” – seems to hold much more sway in the Third World than in the