Monday, November 26, 2007

The Next 12 Days of Studio Life

Whether It Is Better to Draw In Company Or Alone:

I say and confirm that is is far better to draw in company than alone for many reasons: the first is that you will be ashamed to be seen among the draftsmen if you are unskillful, and this shame will cause you to study well. In the second place, a felling of emulation will goad you to try to rank among those who are praised more than yourself, for praise will spur you; a third reason is that you will learn from the methods of such as are abler than you, and if you are abler than the others you will profit by eschweing thier faults, and hearing yourself praised will increase your skill.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just when you think School is too complicated...

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Wisdom: as I will proclaim it at today's Mass....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Intellectual Limitations

One result of the stimulation of your intellectual life that takes place in college is usually a shrinking of the imaginative life. This sounds like a paradox, but I have often found it to be true. Students get so bound up with difficulties such as Buddhism, Mohmmedanism, etc., that they cease to look for God in other ways. Bridges once wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins and asked him to tell him how he, Bridges, could believe. He must have expected from Hopkins a long philosophical answer. Hopkins wrote back, "Give alms." He was trying to say to Bridges that God is to be experienced in Charity (in the sense of love for the divine image in human beings). Don't get so entangled with intellectual difficulties that you fail to look for God in this way.

The intellectual difficulties have to be met, however, and you will be meeting them for the rest of your life. When you get a reasonable hold on one, another will come to take its place. At one time, the clash of the different world relligions was a difficulty for me. Where you have absolute solutions, however, you have no need of faith. Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge. The reason this clash doesn't bother me any longer is because I have got, over the years, a sense of the immense sweep of creation, of the evolutionary process in everything, of how incomprehensible God must necessarily be to be the God of heaven and earth. You can't fit the Almighty into your intellectual categories.

~ Flannery O'Connor

Image: Josh Mitchell

Thursday, November 08, 2007

All Good Things Are One Thing

All good things are one thing. Sunsets, schools of philosophy, babies, constellations, cathedrals, operas, mountains, horses, poems — all these are merely disguises. One thing is always walking among us in fancy-dress, in the grey cloak of a church or the green cloak of a meadow. He is always behind, His form makes the folds fall so superbly. And that is what the savage old Hebrews, alone among the nations, guessed, and why their rude tribal god has been erected on the ruins of all polytheistic civilizations. For the Greeks and Norsemen and Romans saw the superficial wars of nature and made the sun one god, the sea another, the wind a third. They were not thrilled, as some rude Israelite was, one night in the wastes, alone, by the sudden blazing idea of all being the same God: an idea worthy of a detective story.

- Letter to Frances Blogg (later his wife) (1899).
Quoted in Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1943).

Image: Pierre Edouard Frere

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fall Break

"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Luke 12

image: Libra and her sparrow - Edward John Poynter

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Eyes

"It seems to me that the most fundamental need of our society is . . . to have men and women who together will create communities of welcome for those who are rejected, alone and lost ---and their number is legion. It is more than ever essential to rediscover the sense of home as a place of tenderness and welcome, where each one can find the deepest value of his or her being ---the heart with its capacity to receive and to give."

I just discovered Jean Vanier

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I just spent $200 on about a months worth of drafting supplies. To relieve my feelings at the injustice of the world and in particular of the commercial system (what is wrong with having wealthy patrons to supply these things for you, I ask???) I have searched out remenicences of an early time and examples to remind myself of what I'm trying to make anyway.

I love!!

It does help. But I'm still not opposed to being a little patronized...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn Is Here!


and Listen"

Enchanted Garden by Waterhouse, Music courtesy of Jordi Savall and friends

Monday, September 10, 2007

The View From Here

"In the last resort, becoming a believer always means the same thing: another reality looms before the man who was formerly enclosed in his own being, in his own world; before him, in him, or above him---however we may express it, it is another reality, belonging to another world, from above, from beyond. This reality, this 'beyond', becomes more concrete, grows in strength; its truth, goodness, and holiness become more definite and demand the allegiance of him who has been called. The decision to entrust one's own existence to the strange reality that surpasses it, the sacrifice of one's own self-sufficiency and of the independence of one's own world will be difficult. It will mean a rude shock and a gamble. Christ has said, "He who possesses his life, will lose it; but he who gives his life, will find it." Hence the soul must first lose itself by recognizing that there is a second goal, and then must recognize that beyond that lies the true goal."

Romano Guardini

Image, "Landscape with a Specific View" by David Ligare


"If we try to find what truth is by arguing, there will always be good arguments on both sides. At some point we must risk the dangerous decision for faith. And that means always standing on the side of the weak, always on the side of the poor, always on the side of the victims. As a rule that will make us unpopular."
-Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Art of Living

Images: Searching for the lost Coin, the second by Millais

Saturday, September 08, 2007

“Let us blow trumpets”

Ritualism will always attract much of healthy humanity, merely because ritualism is emphatically wearing your heart upon your sleeve; that excellent practice. It says in essence, “Wear your heart upon your sleeve; wear it blazoned in crimson and embroidered in gold. Break out into songs and colours as lovers do. Let others pretend to an inhuman delicacy and a quite sophisticated silence. Let us cry out as children do when they have really found something. Let us blow trumpets and light candles before the thing that we have, to show at least that we have it. And let them keep a decorous silence and a moderate behaviour, let them raise a wall of stone and draw a veil of mystery across something that they have not got at all.”

- The Illustrated London News, 28 July 1906.

More at Hebdomadal Chesterton

Wednesday, August 08, 2007



The soldier month, the bulwark of the year,
That never more shall hear such victories told;
He stands apparent with his heaven-high spear,
And helmeted of grand Etruscan gold.
Our harvest is the bounty he has won,
The loot his fiery temper takes by strength.
Oh! Paladin of the Imperial sun!
Oh! Crown of all the seasons come at length!
This is sheer manhood; this is Charlemagne,
When he with his wide host came conquering home
From vengeance under Roncesvalles ta'en.
Or when his bramble beard flaked red with foam
Of bivouac wine-cups on the Lombard plain,
What time he swept to grasp the world at Rome.


Not the usual door knob

Imagine if more buildings were this whimsical!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Holy Whapping Television Network (HWTN)
Schedule for Week of June 25-30, 2007

8:00 PM. Desperate Hapsburgs. Franz-Josef wonders why his no-good son Prince Rudolf has been hanging around that old dump in Mayerling so long. Franz-Ferdinand (the archduke, not the band) attempts to seduce Jessica Biel. Music by Franz-Ferdinand (the band, not the archduke.)
9:00 PM. Altar Boy Meets World. Eccentric next-door neighbor Fr. Feeney teaches Corey an important life-lesson revolving around extra ecclesia nullam sallus, like just about every other episode. (Warning: This series has been given a rating of TV-MA by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Say ten Hail Maries after viewing, or go poke a badger with a spoon.)
9:30 PM. Savina the Teenage Martyr. Emperor Diocletian contnues to find another way to kill the seemingly indestructible and of course absurdly beautiful St. Savina (Melissa Joan Hart). This week: Razor-edged bamboo splints and something disturbing involving uncooked spaghetti, a tea-cosy and a video-loop of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Let's say it all together, boys and girls: Ew.

8:00 PM. The Latin Grammys. Hosted by Vicar-General Schmitz, ICR, direct from Gricigliano. Musical guest: the entire monastery of Solesmes. Awards are expected for Best Indult Solemn High Mass of the Year, Best Sequence, Best Novus Ordo Celebrant, Best Cantilation in Tono Recto, Most Nasal Chanting by a Frenchman, Most Mangled Latin Phrases by a Catholic Blogger, and Quietest Low Mass.
12:00 Midnight. Vienna Roast “Feast of the Holy Name of Mary” Cappuccino Infomercial. Hosted by St. Marco d’Avellino and Jan Sobieski on behalf of Holy League Enterprises, Inc. (Dang Venetians, they commercialize everything.)

Don't thank me, thank Holy Whapping and be sure to read the rest of it!

Image: Immaculate Conception Church, Polish Hill, Pittsburgh

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Memorial versus Preservation at the Concentration Camps

An interesting article from the preservation movement point of view.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"With their slightly slanting eyes, their little nose in a round face and their unfinished features, trisomic children are more child-like than other children. All children have short hands and short fingers; theirs are shorter. Their entire anatomy is more rounded, without any asperities or stiffness. Their ligaments, their muscles, are so supple that it adds a tender languor to their way of being. And this sweetness extends to their character: they are communicative and affectionate, they have a special charm which is easier to cherish than to describe. This is not to say that Trisomy 21 is a desirable condition. It is an implacable disease which deprives the child of that most precious gift handed down to us through genetic heredity: the full power of rational thought. This combination of a tragic chromosomic error and a naturally endearing nature, immediately shows what medicine is all about: hatred of disease and love of the diseased."

Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the geneticist who discovered Trisomy 21, also known as Downs Syndrome. Click his name for more about his life and work!

Friday, June 01, 2007

More Summer Poetry: Visitation

through sinless hand the
purple veil of the atoning
temple. Listening in the
angel's voice to the wings
of the Holy Spirit. Who
in your chastity brings
to us the Savior.
Give me back my innocence:
wrapped in purple,
hot with blood and sighs
sweet, as the singing children
in Nebuchadnezzer's furnace.
I have torn
all the veils - temple- womb-
and heart. Lend
me then your mantle
that I may again be
woman. Hailed
as mystery
and love.
Hailed as you are
for your answering.

Image: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, Titian

Just in from Thompson


The windy trammel of her dress,
Her blown locks, took my soul in mesh.
God's breath they spake, with visibleness
That stirred the raiment of her flesh:

And sensible, as her blown locks were,
Beyond the precincts of her form
I felt the woman flow from her-
A calm of intempestuous storm.

I failed against the affluent tide;
Out of this abject earth of me
I was translated and enskied
Into the heavenly-regioned She.

Now of that vision I, I bereaven,
This knowledge keep, that may not dim:-
Short arm needs man to reach to Heaven,
So ready is Heaven to stoop to him;

Which sets, to measure of man's feet,
No alien Tree for trysting-place;
And who can read, may read the sweet
Direction in his Lady's face.

-Francis Thompson

Image: Autumn, by Goodward

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


My amazing housemate

Jenny Jean Love

Friday, May 11, 2007

I know, I know, but I treated myself to frivolity after a long exam...

You scored as Edward Ferrars. Your husband/boyfriend is like Edward Ferrars of Sense & Sensibility. He is quietly impulsive, with an understated hint of romance. But once you get to know him, he's very affectionate, caring, and faithful. The two of you enjoy a calm, joyful life.

Edward Ferrars




Col. Brandon


Edmund Bertram




Captain Wentworth




Who is Your Jane Austen Boyfriend/Husband?
created with

Which Classical Composer are YOU??

You scored as Hector Berlioz. You are Hector Berlioz! The son of a doctor, Berlioz dropped out of medical school to pursue music. He drew much of his inspiration from Shakespeare and his own life. Conductors and audiences alike found his music to sound quite outlandish at the time.

Hector Berlioz


J.S. Bach


Franz Liszt


Antonin Dvorak




Which Classical Music Composer are You?
created with

Monday, April 16, 2007

Arthur Rackham

Midsummer Nights Dream illustration

Click here for more

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Architectural History Class Applied

Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be an error. The German imagines even God singing songs.

Illustration: Valhalla, Regensberg, Leo von Klenze

Mark Twain
Wagner's music is better than it sounds.

Illustration: Easter, Fifth Avenue, New York in Black and White

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Women

2007-04-06 Good Friday sermon of Father Cantalamessa, St. Peter's Basilica

"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala" (Jn 19: 25). Just this once, let us not be thinking of Mary, his mother. Her presence on Calvary has no need of any explanation. She was "his mother", and this says it all; mothers don't abandon a son, even one condemned to death. But why were the other women there? Who, and how many, were they?

The gospels give us the names of some of them: Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joset, Salome, mother of Zebedee's sons, one called Johanna and a certain Susanna (Mk 15: 40; Lk 8: 2-3). They had followed Jesus from Galilee; they remained by his side, weeping, on the way to Calvary (Lk 23: 27-28), on Golgotha hill they stood watching "from a distance" (in other words, they were as close as they were allowed to be) and in a little while they would accompany him from there, downhearted and sorrowful, to the tomb, with Joseph of Arimathea (Lk 23: 55).

This fact is too well attested, and too much out of the ordinary, for us to pass it over and hurry on. With a certain male condescension we refer to them as the "pious women", but they are a great deal more than "pious women"; they are, rather, "Mothers of Courage"! They despised the danger of showing themselves so clearly in favour of one condemned to death. Jesus had said: "Happy the one who does not lose faith in me" (Lk 7: 23). These women were the only ones who did not lose faith in him.

For some time there have been lively discussions about who it was that wanted Jesus dead: was it the leaders of the Jews, or was it Pilate, or perhaps both. One thing, in any event, is quite certain: they were men, not women. No woman was involved, even indirectly, in his condemnation. Even a pagan woman – Pilate's wife – mentioned in the accounts, distanced herself from the sentence (Mt 27: 19). Certainly, Jesus died for women's sins too, but from the historical point of view they are the only ones who can truthfully say, "we are innocent of this man's blood" (see Mt 27: 24).

In this, we have one of the surest signs of the honesty and historical credibility of the gospels; the pitiful figure they portray of the authors of the gospels and of those who provided its details, and the wonderful picture they paint of the women. Who would have allowed the ignominious story of his own fear, flight, denial, made so much more shameful by the contrast to the very different behaviour of a few poor women, to be preserved, in imperishable memory – who, I say again, would have allowed this, if he were not constrained to remain faithful to the story of something that was seen to be infinitely greater than his own miserable behaviour?

* * * *

We have always asked how it was that the "pious women" were the first to see the Risen One and to be given the task of taking the news to the apostles. This was the surest way to make the resurrection hardly credible at all. The testimony of a woman carried no weight whatever in a judgment. Perhaps for this very reason no woman is mentioned in Paul's long list of those who had seen the Risen Christ (see 1 Cor 15: 5-8). The apostles themselves at first took the women's words as pure womanly "nonsense" and gave them no credence (Lk 24: 11).

Authors of antiquity thought they knew the answer to the question. The women, said Romanos Melodus, were the first to see Christ Risen because a woman, Eve, was the first to sin![1] But the true answer is quite different: the women were the first to see Jesus risen, because they were the last to leave him in his death, and even when he was dead they came to bring spices to the tomb (Mk 16: 1).

We need to ask ourselves why this was so: why did these women remain firm despite the scandal of the cross? Why did they remain close when all seemed to be over and even those who had been his most intimate disciples had abandoned Jesus and were getting ready to go home again?

It was Jesus himself who gave us the answer, in anticipation, when he replied to Simon, saying of the sinner who had bathed and kissed his feet, "she has shown great love!" (Lk 7: 47). The women followed Jesus for his own sake, out of gratitude for the good they had received from him, and not for any hope of making a career out of following him. No promise of "twelve thrones" was made to them, nor did any of them ask for seats on his right and his left in his kingdom. They followed, it is written, "to look after him; to provide for them out of their own resources" (Mt 27: 55; Lk 8: 3); they were the only ones, after Mary his mother, that truly made the spirit of the gospel their own. They followed for reasons of the heart, and these did not deceive them.

* * * *

Because of that, their presence at the side of the Crucified and the Risen One contains a lesson that is vital for us today. Our society, dominated by technology, needs a heart if humankind is to survive without becoming totally dehumanized. We need to give more room to "reasons of the heart" if, while the globe is physically warming, we do not want the planet to fall into an ice-age of the spirit. The big crisis of faith in our modern world is rooted in the fact that people don't listen to the reasons of the heart but only to the twisted reasons of the mind.

In this respect, quite differently from many others, technology has very little to offer that is helpful to us. For some time people have been working to develop a type of computer that can "think", and many are convinced that they will succeed. But so far no one has aimed to develop a computer that "loves", that can be moved, that can relate affectively to us, helping us to love, as computers have helped us calculate the distance between the stars, study the movement of atoms, and remember more and more data…..

The enhancement of intelligence and of humankind's cognitive powers has, unhappily, not been matched by any enhancement of our capacity for love. It seems, in fact, that this capacity for love counts for nothing, even though we know that to be happy or unhappy depends not so much on whether we know or don't know, as on whether we love or don't love, are loved or are not loved. It is easy to see why this is so: we are created "in the image of God", and God is love. Deus caritas est!

It is not difficult to see why we are so anxious to increase our knowledge and so unconcerned about increasing our capacity to love: knowledge automatically translates into power, but love into service.

One of the modern idolatries is the idolatry of the "IQ", the "intelligence quotient". We have found many ways to measure it. But who is there that has any concern for measuring the "quotient of the heart"? Yet it is love alone that can redeem and save, while science and the thirst for knowledge, on their own, can lead to damnation.

We see this in the closing words of Goethe's Faust, and hear it echoed in a recent film that shows, symbolically, the precious books of a library being nailed to the ground, while the leading actor cries out, "All the books in the world do not match the worth of a single caress"[2]. Long before either of these, Paul wrote, "'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor 8: 1 RSV).

After the many ages named after man (homo) – homo erectus, homo faber an era of the heart, of compassion, when the earth can finally cease to be "The little threshing floor that so incites our savagery"[3].

* * * *

On all sides the need is arising for us to give more scope to women. We don't believe that "the eternal feminine will save us"[4]. Everyday experience shows that woman can "lift us to the heights", but can also plunge us into the depths. Woman too needs to be saved by Christ. But it is clear that once she has been "set free", on the human level, of all the old subjections, she will be able to do much to save our society from certain inveterate evils that threaten us: violence, the will to power, spiritual aridity, the lack of regard for life…

We need only to avoid a repetition of the ancient Gnostic error according to which woman, to be saved, needs to cease to be woman and become man[5]. This prejudice is so rooted in our culture that even some women have ended by giving in to it. To affirm their dignity, some have believed it necessary at times to imitate men's behaviour or to minimize the sexual difference, reducing it to a mere product of culture. As one of their famous representatives said, "Woman is not born, she becomes"[6].

How grateful we ought to be to the "pious women"! On the way of the Cross, their sobbing was the only friendly sound to reach the ears of the Saviour; while he hung on the cross, their eyes were the only ones to rest on him with compassion and love.

The Byzantine liturgy honours the pious women, dedicating a Sunday in the liturgical year, the second after Easter, to them; it is known as "Sunday of the Perfume-Bearers". Jesus is happy to see them honoured in the Church, the women who loved him and who believed in him while he lived among them. About one of them, the woman who emptied a jar of perfumed oil on his head, he uttered this extraordinary prophecy, one that has proved true all down the ages: "I tell you solemnly, wherever in the world this Good News is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her" (Mt 26: 13).

* * * *

Yet the pious women are not only to be honoured and admired; they are also to be imitated. St Leo the Great said that "Christ's passion will continue to the end of the ages"[7], and Pascal wrote that "Christ will be in agony until the end of the world"[8]. The Passion is prolonged in the members of the body of Christ. The many women, religious and lay, who stand on the side of the poor, the sick, those afflicted by AIDS, the imprisoned, the many of every kind that society rejects, are heirs of the "pious women". To them – believers or not – Christ says again, "You did it to me" (Mt 25: 40).

It was not only the part they played in the Passion, but also the part they played in the Resurrection, that make the pious women an example for all Christians of today. Throughout the Bible, in chapter after chapter, we read the imperative, "Go!", spoken by God to those whom he sends. The word was spoken to Abraham, to Moses ("Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt's land!"), to the prophets, to the apostles: "Go into the whole world; preach the gospel to every creature".

Yet all of these calls were addressed to men. There is only one "Go!" spoken to women: the one Jesus spoke to the perfume-bearers on Easter morning: "Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there'" (Mt 28: 10). By these words he appointed them the first witnesses to the resurrection, "teachers of the teachers" as one of the ancient writers has called them[9].

It is a great pity that, because she has been mistakenly identified as the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus (Lk 7: 37), Mary Magdalene has ended up as fuel for an endless array of legends, ancient and modern, and has been taken up in art and piety almost exclusively as "the penitent", rather than in her primary role as witness to the resurrection, "apostle to the apostles" as St Thomas Aquinas called her[10].

* * * *

"Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples" (Mt 28: 8). Christian women all, keep on talking to the successors of the apostles, to us priests who are their helpers, telling them the joyful news, "the Master is alive! He is risen! He goes before you to Galilee – which is to say, he goes before you wherever you go! Do not be afraid!"

Keep alive the sublime exchange between the Church and Mary Magdalene in the Sequence for Easter: Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus regnat vivus – "Death with Life contended: combat strangely ended! Life's own champion, slain, yet lives to reign". Life has triumphed over death: it happened for Christ, it will happen one day for us too. Together with all women of good will, you are the hope of humankind.

To the first of the "pious women" and their incomparable model, the Mother of Jesus, let us pray once more the Church's ancient prayer: "Holy Mary, come to the help of the suffering, support the fearful, comfort the weak: pray for the people, assist all in ministry, intercede for all devout women": Ora pro populo, intervene pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu.[11]

[English transl. by Denis Barrett]

[1] Romanos Melodus, Hymns, 45, 6 (ed. a cura di G. Garib, Edizione Paoline 1981, p.406)
[2] In Ermanno Olmi's film "Cento chiodi".
[3] Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, 22, v.151 (Mandelbaum Transl.).
[4] W. Goethe, Faust, finale of part II: "Das ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan".
[5] See Coptic Gospel of Thomas, 114; Extracts from Theodotus, 21, 3.
[6] Simone de Beauvoir, The second Sex (1949).
[7] St Leo the Great, Sermo 70, 5 (PL 54, 383).
[8] B. Pascal, Pensées, n. 553.
[9] Gregory of Antioch, Homily on the Perfume-Bearers, 11 (PG 88, 1864 B).
[10] St Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of John, XX, 2519.
[11] Magnificat antiphon, Common of Virgins.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

If you only listen to 2 pieces of music this lent, they should be the Vierne "Kyrie" and the canticles from Tenebrae.

Deposition of Christ by Antonio Ciseri

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Virtual museum of education iconics

An interesting place to visit

Especially if you ever need to personify one of the liberal arts

This is "Music" from Notre Dame

Everything you ever wanted to know about


Monday, March 19, 2007

The girl child...

“The United States is dismayed to see that much of the language in the Agreed Conclusions is more attentive to the political preoccupations of international conference goers than to the needs of women and particularly of girls. For instance, the document mentions “sexual and reproductive health” several times and life-saving immunizations only once. Some delegations insisted that the document could not contain an explicit reference to the violent and discriminatory practice of aborting unborn baby girls for the sole reason that they are girls – and yet they insisted on multiple references to programs and activities to help girls “understand their sexuality”….However, we are happy that the document condemns female infanticide and “harmful practices of prenatal sex selection,” which is universally understood to include sex-selective abortion, even if some delegations insisted that this practice not be called by its real name.”

Ambassador Brister, addressing the Commission on the Status of Women

The United States had initiated a formal resolution at the CSW that would condemn the now widespread practice of aborting baby girls because of their sex. The US took the position that the issue deserved to be highlighted in its own resolution, like the other four stand-alone CSW resolutions on issues such as female genital mutilation, HIV/AIDS, forced marriage and the plight of Palestinian women. This was especially relevant since the theme of the CSW this year was "discrimination and violence against the girl child." More Here

Friday, March 16, 2007

To Keep a True Lent

Is this a Fast, to keep
The Larder lean?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?

Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill
The platter high with fish?

Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg'd go,
Or show
A down-cast look and sour?

No: 'tis a Fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
And meat
Unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife
And old debate,
And hate;
To circumcise thy life.

To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that's to keep thy Lent.

Robert Herrick, 1591-1674

Image: Icon of the Ressurection

Friday, February 02, 2007

Think on it

Imagine that it is you yourself who are erecting the edifice of human destiny with the aim of making men happy in the end, of giving them peace and contentment at last, but that to do that it is absolutely necessary, and indeed quite inevitable, to torture to death only one tiny creature, the little girl who beat her breast with her little fist, and to found the edifice on her unavenged tears—would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?

Feodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881), The Brothers Karamazov, bk. 5, ch. 4 trans. by D. Magarshak (1958).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Baptism Sunday...

Poem for a Godson

Elizabeth Nannestad

My thoughts form a silent circle around you, equally anxious
not to put weight on you, or to leave you too alone.
Already you object to our world and we fail to guess
what troubles you. Your mother would remove it if she knew. Not I.
I have hopes that you will be like her (but not entirely), a world-leaper,
and like your father -- his bright eyes, his mouth.

I hope that your cruelties will at least be blind
and you then open your eyes, able to live without denying them.
I hope you will know love from its stem in your heart
and allow nothing to prevent it growing naturally
beyond yourself. I hope that you will find beauty where it lives and is free
in plain things.

For now you are our hazelnut, sweet and grumpy.
I'll keep these hard hopes to myself, and be your plaything.