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Stark Contrasts

McCain vs. McCain vs. Obama. For and against the Filioque clause. Plus more.

10.31.08

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DOWN THE HATCH
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Who Will Protect America?:

Congratulations, Mr. Tyrrell, Stalwart Always!

I would only add that as stories of teenaged Obama sharing whiskey from a jar with marxist Franklin Marshall Davis and his own grandfather, Stanley Dunham, in Hawaii have emerged, Evan Thomas told a marvelous story at the end of his epic WWII work Sea of Thunder. It is 1953 and an aging Admiral Halsey was attending a memorial to the Stonewall Jackson of his carrier fleet, Adm. John S. McCain, who died a week after the surrender. The teary-eyed old warhorse walks up to young John McCain and demands he join in him a "salute" to his magnificent grandfather. Young John at first demurs, but Bull Halsey insists and he drinks his first spirits with the most legendary Admiral in U.S. history. Could the comparison of these two candidates for our Presidency be more stark?
-- Timothy P. O'Neill
Pompano Beach, Florida


McCain is a trained military man, right? Trained to take aim, hit the target etc.? You like this part of him. You praise this part of his life, offer it up as a demonstration of fine leadership skills.
 
Yet, when it comes to using Obama's relationships as evidence of his views, McCain leaves Wright out of the picture, along with some other characters.

Where is the kill shot here? Honor? McCain says he thrives on being the underdog. PTSD vets learn about the "rush," the "thrill" in reliving those moments that combat created.
 
I don't like Obama. I do like Palin, respect McCain, but don't think he walks as straight as you think. Biden just likes being one of the powerful guys in a select club.
 
Anyone who has worked the flight deck knows that when trouble hits you move faster than ever to control it, if possible. McCain should have put down Obama up front and directly. He didn't and we are paying for this error.
-- R. Philips
New Mexico

Although it may be difficult for you, if you would listen to the very factual and careful interview segment dealing with Afghanistan on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC that she had with Senator Obama, and compare it with anything Senator McCain has said about that conflict, you would understand that Obama fully understands the nuances of the very bad situation and has a clear vision of what needs to be done to fix it. In calm, clear language he lays out how bad it is and what he would do about it. I hasten to add that this isn't posturing for the interview or for votes; it isn't slogans or politicking; it would win the respect, and probably does win the respect, of the military. I urge you to listen to that segment and then re-think your piece here. No histrionics, no easy solutions, no vote-getting here, nothing but the laying out what we must do if we aren't to be engulfed.
-- Lawrence M. Light
Mission Viejo, California


WHERE'S THE FIGHT?
Re: Quin Hillyer's McCain's Best Argument:

Yeah OK, we know, Quin, we know. I'd like to believe Johnny Mac is learning some valuable lessons on this right about now, and hopefully, not too late. Frankly, I'm kinda missing Rudy, Mr. Political Pugilist. At least we wouldn't have to be putting up with that "my friend" chamber etiquette crap which McCain wears like a sophomore pledge. C'mon John, you're a senior, now, time to realize you're not running for Senator. Patriotic and exceptional he may be, but poor fellow, he is 72, and he sounds out of wind. When I listen to him speak, I think of how the words would sound if Reagan were delivering them. They wouldn't sound like he was giving a speech to a bunch of lame Senate colleagues, that's for sure. Yet, maybe we can push McCain over the finish line, anyway. Then what? More bipartisanship? A veto-proof Congress? Anyway this goes down, it looks like "we the people" will lose unless McCain truly gets the message loud and clear that "we're mad as Hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!" When I see him carrying a pitchfork with him on the occasion of his first State of the Union, then I'll know he's for real. Maybe.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas


Thank you.

You may not like him but you understand what he believes in  as do I. We have to get back to basics and clean Washington up  not try something new that is proven around the world in every generation not to work
-- P.D.A. Brooksville

Mr. Hillyer is dead on. Senator McCain is the best man in the race. And that is truly a scary thought.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York


TONY HILLERMAN, RIP
Re: Larry Thornberry's Read His Books:

Though not a fan of mystery -- I consider Conan Doyle to be literature -- with hesitation I read Falling Man, since it featured mysterious Shiprock. When I looked up from the page, I discovered that I had read all 18 of his Leaphorn and Chee novels.

The timeless Desert Southwest, the ancient Navajo culture, gratuitous murder…What’s not to like.

So, here I sit, awaiting the next Leaphorn and Chee novel I know will never be published. At least I can pretend.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

Damn! We just lost a great on – RIP Tony.
-- M.J. Casey
North Miami Beach, Florida

UP FROM OPACITY
Re: Mike Dooley's letter (under "East vs. West, Dooley vs. Koehl") in Reader Mail's Barry for Barry:

Mike Dooley wrote:

"Personally, I am not convinced this guiding concept of 'substantial equivalence' actually works here on the ground; but it is clear Pope Benedict believes it does. The Pope has confessed the Nicene Creed minus the "filioque” along side the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I in a special Mass at the Vatican; but I wouldn't count on the Western Church actually dropping the "filioque” anytime soon."

I understand Mr. Dooley's frustration trying to penetrate the opacity of numerous Vatican ecumenical declarations, but in regard to this one particular issue, there is nothing opaque at all. Both Pope Benedict, like his predecessor places the highest importance on reconciliation with the ancient Churches of the East. Aside from the matter of Papal perquisites, the Filioque is the only substantive issue involved, because it affects Eastern Christians in the area they consider the most important--the liturgical life of the Church. For the Orthodox, as for Eastern Catholics generally, the insertion of the Filioque distorts the balanced theological understanding in the Creed and creates opportunities for misunderstanding and error, even if (as Maximos Confessor noted) the meaning of the phrase is consistent with that used by the Greeks. The presence of the Filioque in the Creed as used by the Latin Church is a persistent irritant and reminder of this, both to the Orthodox and to many Eastern Catholics (who, by the way, don't use the Filioque), so the issuance of the Clarification was intended both as an explanation and a remedy. As I quoted from that document, the uninterpolated Greek text is considered "the only ecumenically-binding symbol of faith." And not only did Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI omit it when celebrating Mass in the presence of Eastern Christian audiences (both Catholic and Orthodox), both of them omit it in any Pontifical documents intended for Eastern Christian audiences: in one instance, a document was submitted to the Vatican printer, and the editor put the Filioque back in, assuming it had been omitted; John Paul II sent it back with the offending clause redlined. This is not a matter of substantial equivalence, but of a return to the doctrinal sources of the Church.

As someone who has been involved in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue since 1996, through the organization of the Orientale Lumen Conferences (held annually in Washington, D.C., as well as in San Diego, Melbourne, Oxford and Istanbul), I have had ample opportunity to discuss this matter with leading theologians and Church officials on both sides. I have been briefed on the initiative of the USCCB to remove the Filioque clause from the Creed when recited in the vernacular in the United States. This has been justified, as I noted, "in order to bring liturgical usage into line with Church teaching." It doesn't get more clear or explicit than that.
-- Stuart Koehl


THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING NEW
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's 'Stand Up and Fight':

The 2012 presidential race begins next week. I can hardly wait.

Who are the frontrunners?

What do the polls say?

Where can I donate?

What do the foreign media have to say?

Blah, blah, blah…
 
Insanity beckons.
-- David Govett
Davis, California


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