We owe the Japanese an apology:
A spokesperson for the People's Republic of China's State Administration for Religious Affairs said on Wednesday that the Vatican's criticism of the recent National Congress of Chinese Catholics was "imprudent and ungrounded." The government run Congress, which met from Dec. 7 to 9, elected the heads and other senior members of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church (BCCC) in China.
On Dec. 17, the Vatican issued a communiqué condemning the Congress,
With profound sorrow, the Holy See laments the fact that from 7 to 9 December there was held in Beijing the Eighth Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives. This was imposed on numerous bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful. The manner in which it was convoked and its unfolding manifest a repressive attitude with regard to the exercise of religious liberty, which it was hoped had been consigned to the past in present-day China. The persistent desire to control the most intimate area of citizens' lives, namely their conscience, and to interfere in the internal life of the Catholic Church does no credit to China. On the contrary, it seems to be a sign of fear and weakness rather than of strength; of intransigent intolerance rather than of openness to freedom and to effective respect both of human dignity and of a correct distinction between the civil and religious spheres.
The Chinese spokesperson replied on Dec. 22,
The congress, which is held every five years to amend the CCPA and BCCCC's constitutions, elect a new leadership and set future agenda, does not deal with Catholic doctrines or violate the fundamental Catholic faith, and "there is no question of getting recognition by any foreign organization or state."
The spokesperson said China's religious freedom was protected by the Chinese Constitution, and it was a misinterpretation by the Vatican to declare the incompatibility of Catholic doctrine and the Chinese Catholic church's principle of independent self-governance.
China's Constitution grants Chinese citizens freedom of religious beliefs, but requires independence of religious organizations and affairs in China from foreign influence.
Members of the CCPA are forbidden to acknowledge the Pope as the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, as Beijing will not tolerate any loyalty to any entity for any reason outside China. Thus, there are millions of "underground Catholics" in China who worship outside the CCPA at great risk.
China is used to bossing others around. It's not easy to bully the Church the way it is, say, a Nobel prize winner. People are faithful to the Church out of love for Christ who instituted it. Chinese communists will never understand or accept this.
They will fail.
In other news, there is a Christmas party at Urakami Cathedral. There are Korean and Chinese language options for those who wish it.
Are you stuck for last minute gifts options? Are you in luck!
When you think about it, Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does the mere mention of her name send the cream of the political and media elites into spittle-flecked rage, but a cottage industry has arisen in the collectibles consumer category with Sarah Palin dolls and mementos.
From the Sarah Palin bobblehead doll ("all gussied up in her familiar red jacket and blue jeans") to the four versions of the Sarah Palin action figure and beyond, the collectible world has found a political figure that a significant segment of the nation loves...or loves to hate. Either way, it's a boon to the industry and an opportunity for those with blanks to fill on Christmas giving lists.
Liberals hate for her conservatism, her populism and her kung-fu grip.
Why doesn't this surprise me?
Documents from the State Department published by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration surrendered the missile shield previously planned by the Bush administration to Europe because of Russian demands, not because of any supposed intel reports.
The original missile defense scheme was devised by the Bush administration, which persuaded Poland and the Czech Republic to authorize missile defense systems (ten unarmed interceptors and a radar) to be deployed on their soil. In April 2008, Bush outmaneuvered Vladimir Putin by obtaining an endorsement of this scheme from all NATO allies before the Russian leader reached Bucharest for the NATO-Russia summit.
Russia has always opposed this scheme, putatively because the scheme would undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent (which it wouldn't -- ten unarmed interceptors can't undermine an arsenal of hundreds of ICBMs and SLBMs as well as 113 strategic bombers). Really, Russia is in the middle of selling a nuclear reactor and tons of nuclear fuel to Iran, and the Kremlin doesn't want the West to be able to defend itself against the incipient Iranian nuclear threat. Russia is also eager to claw Central Europe back into its sphere of influence.
Bush wisely chose not to succumb to Moscow, but he was replaced in 2009 by Barack Obama.
The leaked documents indicate that Obama's first eight months as president boiled over with Russian threats not to cooperate with the U.S. on any issue whatsoever (be it Iran, North Korea, space exploration, START negotiations, or anything else) barring cancelation of U.S. missile defense plans. During meetings with American officials, the Russians would repeatedly interrupt American diplomats who tried to discuss anything but missile defense.
The Kremlin's message was this: you must capitulate on missile defense (and strategic arms), or else we won't even discuss (let alone cooperate on) other issues. Eager to appease Russia, the Obama Administration naïvely surrendered missile defense plans on September 17, 2009.
Administration officials, including Obama and Bob Gates, are now falsely claiming that their surrender had nothing to do with Russia and was instead dictated by claimed new intel. Supposedly, Iran's priority is now the development of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles rather than IRBMs and ICBMs (against which the Bush missile shield was designed to be effective).
But the leaked documents, reproduced by the NYT, show that the Iranians still prioritize the development and acquisition of long-range ballistic missiles.
The documents say that before Obama made his decision, Iran acquired BM25 (Rodong) IRBMs from North Korea. These can reach Western Europe and Moscow. Other publicly available intel reports say that Iran aims by 2015 to acquire ICBMs meant to reach the U.S. Iran also has R-27 Zyb SLBMs bought from North Korea (with a range of 3,000 kilometers; Rodong missiles were derived from them) and is reportedly now developing Shahab-4 IRBMs and Koussar missiles that could fly as far as 5,000 kilometers. And Iran possesses missiles that can deliver satellites into the Earth's orbit -- missiles that can reach Europe just as easily. Iran's Fajr-3 and Sajjil missiles can fly as far as 2,500 kilometers. So the Iranian long-range-missile threat is growing, not declining.
Moreover, thanks to geography, long-range ballistic missiles are the only ones which could ever reach Western Europe. Iran is too far away from Western Europe for its SRBMs and MRBMs to reach the Old Continent, let alone the U.S. Its Shahab-3 MRBMs can fly no farther than 2,000 km, meaning it can reach only Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, etc.).
Whoever wants to protect Europe and the U.S. should first and foremost provide defenses against long-range ballistic missiles.
Eastern Europe was screwed over for a decrepit empire trying to re-live past glories. Dusty as it may be, Russia still pulls the strings when it wants. Obama's betrayal of eastern Europe should go down as the West's failure to safeguard it as it should have done when the Iron Curtain was still up.
If this isn't the limit, then I just don't know what is:
It's bad enough that we have yahoos attempting to ban Christmas for the most incredibly stupid reasons but this doesn't just take the cake; it steps on it and tells the children Santa Claus and his reindeer were shot down over Soviet airspace in 1983. This isn't a cultural misunderstanding. It's just evil. I guess one should expect that from morons whose idea of a good time is persecution and war-mongering. This isn't the first time it has come up, unfortunately.
Related: pure, bloody evil.
She does have a point:
It's the Christmas season, so godless liberals are citing the Bible to demand the redistribution of income by government force. Didn't Jesus say, "Blessed are the Health and Human Services bureaucrats, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"?
It's true. Look it up yourselves.
And now for something truly touching:
A German Shepherd puppy at the feet of Baby Jesus, the Good Shepherd.