Battering Rams: Estimating the energy of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed Bohol’s churches

“Little Boy” atomic bomb

According to Philippine Star, Dr. Renato Solidum of Phivolcs reported that “a magnitude 7 earthquake has an energy equivalent to around 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs”.   I verified his estimate in Earthquake Energy Calculator and constructed the following table:

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit: Battering Rams: Estimating the energy of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed Bohol’s churches

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Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

This class is boring. Can we study astronomy, charms, dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions, and transfiguration?

Questions from a Harry Potter Fan (Harry Potter flows in my blood–Facebook page)

This class is boring. Can we learn about astronomy, charms, dark arts, defense against the dark arts, flying, herbology, history of magic, potions and transfiguration?

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit

Monk’s Hobbit posts for August 2013

Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit

The Mission and Vision of Monk’s Hobbit is to strengthen the Catholic Faith of Filipinos worldwide. The blog posts are limited to the following labels: Business, Economics, Films, History, Literature, Liturgy, Music, News, Politics, Science, and Theology. These labels appear on the tabs at the top. Click on each tab and all posts with that label will appear. Click on the Monk’s Hobbit Title Banner and you’ll go to the home page to see all articles.

Memories of Mar Girgis Church in Egypt before the Great Burning

About a train ride from Helwan University is Girgis station. It is named after St. George the Dragon Slayer. In this place is the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis which was recently burned by supporters of Muslim Brotherhood. There were already 64 churches burned in Egypt in a single day. Unbelievable. Such wanton hate which reminds me of the burning of Minas Tirith.

Latin Mass at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola on 17 August 2013, 8:30 am

The Ateneo Latin Mass Society cordially invites you to a Latin Mass in Extraordinary Form in honor of St. Hyacinth, confessor with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and st. Lawrence on Saturday, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila University. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ shall celebrate the mass.

Ateneo Latin Mass 17 August 2013: Some pictures

Here are some pictures of the Latin Mass that was held today, 17 August 2013, 8:30 am at the Oratory of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila. The mass was celebrated in honor of St. Hyacinth with the Octave of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Lawrence. Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ celebrated the mass. The Mass was sponsored by the Ateneo Latin Mass Society. Other pictures can be found in my Google Plus album.

Raise the Shire! Hobbits to gather in Luneta against Pork Barrel

There is a new Facebook page: “Million people march to Luneta August 26 sa araw ng mga bayani. Protesta ng bayan!” Below are the aims of the organizers of the march: “We, the taxpayers, want: the pork barrel scrapped, the senators and congressmen in the pork barrel fund scam investigated and charged accordingly, with full media coverage for the people to see.

Janet Napoles and Shelob the Great

Shelob is the giant spider-like creature that lived in Morgul Vale, guarding the secret path to Sauron’s realm in Mordor: “There agelong she had dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, even such as once of old had lived in the Land of the Elves in the West that is now under the Sea, such as Beren fought in the Mountains of Terror in Doriath, and so came to Luthien upon the green sward amid the hemlocks in the moonlight long ago.”

Gandalf and Christ: Setting fire on earth and hearts

In today’s Gospel, Christ said: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Lk 12:49). During Pentecost, Christ fulfilled His wish

Ang Kapatiran Party starts signature campaign vs Pork Barrel System in change.org

This 21 August 2012, the National Holiday in commemoration of the death of Ninoy Aquino, Ang Kapatiran Party (Kapatiran sa Pangkalahatang Kabutihan or The Alliance for the Common Good) is making a signature campaign to abolish the Pork Barrel in Change.org: Pangulong Benigno Aquino III: Wakasan na ang Pork Barrel System/PDAF. Please visit this site and sign the petition as I did. The petition is in Filipino. Here’s my translation.

Birth Control: Always winter, but never Christmas

In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2), a White Witch ruled Narnia for a hundred years, making it “always winter, but never Christmas.” In this post, I would like to reflect on the phrase “always winter, but never Christmas” in the context of the demographic winter and the Birth Control.

Book Review of Ricardo Semler’s “Maverick”: The glory of a company is man fully alive

I finished reading Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. I noticed that the principles that Semler used to run Brazil’s SEMCO are based on Gospel values, though he may not consciously do so. The overarching principle of Semler’s company management that we can deduce from his book is this: The glory of the company is man fully alive.

Vilma Santos’s Extra in Cinemalaya 2013: Mystery of the Face

Extra (The Bit Player) starring Vilma Santos is a movie entry to the Cinemalaya 2013. The extras are the hobbits in the movie industry governed by wizards (movie directors) and powerful lords (producers). Extra is a movie about the life of these little people that makes movies happen. As Loida (Vilma) said, it is the crowd that define the setting, for what is a restaurant without ordinary people eating or a street without people walking by? “I used to be part of the crowd, too, ” Loida told a young girl. “But look at me now, I am a still part of the crowd.” She laughed.

Crowd estimate of Anti-Pork Barrel Rally at Luneta last 26 Aug 2013

A friend in Filipinos for Life asked me to make make a crowd estimate of the Luneta Rally last 26 Aug 2013. She sent me an aerial photograph of the crowd by Architect Paulo Alcazaren in Inquirer, which I used it as the basis of my crowd estimate, assuming there are no other persons outside the picture. There is also another excellent photo by Alcazaren in GMA Network.

SLSSG: Traditional Latin Mass Schedule for September 2013

Societas Liturgiae Sacrae Sancti Gregorii is an apostolate dedicated to the celebration, promotion and propagation of the Traditional Latin Mass of St. Gregory the Great, implementing the Motu Proprio, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM as envisioned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Is the viability of a fertilized ovum a condition for its humanity as claimed by Lagman?

Let’s state Lagman’s definitions, though we may disagree with him. For him, conception is different from fertilization. Fertilization is the meeting of the egg (ovum) and the sperm. Conception is the implantation of this fertilized ovum on the woman’s uterus.

Prayer Rally on Aug 4 at EDSA against RH Bill: What would St. Ignatius do?

From Ateneo Latin Mass Society

Prayer Power Rally against RH Bill on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012

Prayer Power Rally against RH Bill on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012

Dear ALMS members and friends,

The Catholic Church hierarchy has called us to join the Prayer Power Rally at EDSA Shrine on Aug. 4 against the RH Bill. Some of us may still be undecided regarding the RH Bill. But as faithful sons of St. Ignatius, it may be worth pondering on his Rules for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Churchas stated in his Spiritual Exercises:

Rule 1. With all judgment of our own put aside, we ought to keep our minds disposed and ready to be obedient in everything to the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.

Rule 13. To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, his Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord of ours who gave the ten commandments that our holy Mother Church is guided and governed.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius asks us to meditate on the Two Standards. Now before us are two standards: the Standard of Christ and of His Church against the RH Bill and the Standard of the Pro-RH groups. The battle lines are clear. There is no middle ground. To waver is to fall. Let us join the standard of Christ and of His Church.

This is a historic moment.

Across the Pacific in US, Obamacare is currently being implemented, which requires to institutions to include contraception coverage to their employees.  Those who don’t get health insurance coverage will be penalized with tax.  The Catholic Church is against this law because Catholics cannot promote contraception.  Though the Catholic Church itself is exempted, Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities are not.  Business run by faithful Catholics have to fight their way in court to be granted exemption.  Hercules Industries won the fight vs. Obamacare.  And there are still other business and institutions who have to fight their own battles.  The US Bishops have been divided on so many issues, but not this one: they are all against the Obamacare.

And the same story is replayed in the Philippines.  The Philippine president and some lawmakers wishes to promote the Reproductive Health Bill which would require government to buy contraceptives and give it freely, so that we can lower our population, which the government thinks is the reason why we are poor.  The bishops are against this bill because it would make Filipino Catholics accomplice to the sin, because the government will use taxes to buy these contraceptives.  The Catholic Church promotes Natural Family Planning which respects the reproductive cycles of the woman’s body.  Contraceptives only makes a woman’s body a tool to be used for the sexual gratification of the man, and the proliferation of contraceptives will promote fornication and adultery to the destruction of the Filipino family.  Pope Paul VI, in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, have prophesied all these long before in 1968:

Consequences of Artificial Methods

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola

The Reproductive Health Bill is supported and funded by international groups: Planned Parenthood (the world’s largest abortion provider), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Marie Stopes International, the Packard Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  As St. Paul says,

“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

All these groups seek to depopulate the Philippines and make it another wasteland like Europe whose birthrates have plummeted close to one child per woman, resulting to a graying work force that drains the government’s coffers due to more pension costs and lesser sources of taxable incomes.  If this cultural suicide of not having babies does not end, Western Europe as we know it would soon be gone.  And if US also falls, the West would plunge to a new Dark Age of Faith, and the Philippines would become the last bastion of Judaeo-Graeco-Roman Civilization.  Let us defeat the RH Bill once and for all–a defeat so definitive that  none can foresee its arising ever again.  This may be our last stand before Congress decides to terminate the debates on August 7 and decide the fate of the Philippines.  As Aragorn said before the march of the Western armies to the Black Gates of Sauron:

If this be jest, then it is too bitter for laughter.  Nay, it is the last move in a great jeopardy, and for one side or the other it will bring the end of the game.  (The Return of the King, p. 164)

Tomorrow, August 4, is a First Saturday, a day of battle which we shall dedicate to Our Lady.  She is The Woman Clothed with the Sun who accomplished the bloodless revolution in EDSA in 1986.  She is The Woman Who Crushed the Head of the Serpent who destroyed the Berlin Wall in 1991.  And tomorrow, She will be known once again as Our Lady of EDSA–Our Lady of the Epiphany of the Saints:

Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops? (Song of Songs 6:10)

So tomorrow, August 4, please come to EDSA and bring your rosaries. As Our Lady said to St. Dominic whose feast we celebrate tomorrow:

Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?… I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament.  Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter. (St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, p. 21)

Our Lady’s Psalter is the Hail Mary. And a string of Hail Mary’s is the Holy Rosary:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

I hope to see you there at EDSA tomorrow afternoon.  We can meet at 12:00-1:00 p.m. at Loyola House of Studies and join the  Loyola School of Theology delegationconsisting of Jesuit priests, brothers, and lay people.  Wear red for martyrdom.  Those who wish to join the convoy are asked to bring their cars.  Those who wish to join me–we’ll take the train  If there are only few who will come and EDSA is not filled to the brim, let us fear not but  bravely stand and weather the storm.  As Aragorn said:

Stand, Men of the West!  Stand and wait!  This is the hour of doom.

For this is not just our war.  Heaven is fighting with us.  And may God open our eyes as he did to Elisha’s servant, and see the hosts of angels in fiery chariots and horses surrounding EDSA (c.f. 2 Kgs 6:17)

Lex orandi, lex credendi.  May we who are faithful to the rubrics of the Latin Mass may also be obedient to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

AMDG

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.

Coordinator
Ateneo Latin Mass Society

Skyline movie review: Christian rapture and the war for human brains

My father and I watched the movie Skyline few Sundays ago. We came about 15 minutes late, but we made it to the Day One of the Alien Invasion. The film ran for about an hour and a half. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 14% rating, i.e. bad movie. But I disagree.

First, there are no movie stars like Tom Cruise. I think this is a positive aspect of the movie. The characters are plain and boring–just like you and me. They represent many of people we know who spend the night away in parties and orgies. A casual sex made a girl pregnant and the man is not ready to be a father. The setting is a condominium and there is no family to speak of. An old man lives alone with a dog.

And second, the story was not well told because it has a hanging ending. When the movie ended and the cast of characters went up, the people still remained in their seats, wondering if the movie has really ended. I felt cheated that the movie did not end properly unlike Independence Day–a virus was delivered and the spaceships were destroyed. Or in Transformers: the Autobots defeated the Decepticons. A glorious morning shines after a terrible storm. But this is not how it ended in Skyline: in the face of an alien invasion, the humans–with all their jet fighters and nuclear missiles–are powerless. And the thought of powerlessness lingered long hours or days for me after watching the film.

Let us turn to some theological elements in the film:

1. Captivating Light and Beatific Vision

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, as quoted by Wikipedia, beatific vision is defined as follows:

The immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven. It is called “vision” to distinguish it from the mediate knowledge of God which the human mind may attain in the present life. And since in beholding God face to face the created intelligence finds perfect happiness, the vision is termed “beatific.”

The light seen by the human characters in the movie may also be called beatific in the superficial sense, because they find it wonderful to see.  Such a wonderful light pulls them towards the heavens, similar to what St. Paul described during the coming of Christ:

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thes 4:17)

But in the movie there was no heaven to speak of, but a deep pit of dark slime where humans are piled on top of each other.  This is Sheol, the abode of the dead.

Such an alien light reminds me of the shining darkness of sin (e.g. pornography): it captivates your vision, drawing you closer to read or see more, until your soul is plunged in the darkness of sin.  Not to look is difficult for the will, unless another person immediately pulls you out from the captivating light.  This reminds me of the palantir of Orthanc that Pippin looked into and the Dark Lord Sauron caught hold of his mind; Pippin only recovered when he confessed his sin to Gandalf.

2.  War for the human brain

The alien creatures may be classified as octopi and behemoths.  Octopi creatures capable of flight.  No, they do not scan for electromagnetic radiation like that in the Matrix and zoom in for the kill.  Instead, they seek human and draws them out either by lure or by force.  Behemoths, on the other, have nothing else to do but to crush everything in its path.  

These alien creatures remind me of the modern-day headhunters: multinationals, governments, and non-government organizations.  They get the best minds to join them and the persons they get became imbued with the organization’s culture and values.  I am thinking countries like China, companies like Planned Parenthood, and the many organizations which promote the homosexual lobby.  What the movie’s ending may be saying is that it is possible to be part of these organizations while keeping your own mind.  Tyranny is terrified by the human free will and tyrants will try to keep human mind in control either by brainwashing the adults in universities or by sucking the brains of infants in partial birth abortion.

The movie ends with utter hopelessness: no US nuke missiles can destroy the alien ships. The US tried all their military hardware and software against Vietnam; US lost the war.  The US also tried their military might against Iraq; the US is now recalling back its forces.  The US has not learned its lesson well: a war of the mind cannot be fought with guns and nukes.  The religion of peace called Islam can only be converted by the peace of Christ, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah.  The Great Red Dragon that is communist Russia and China can only be defeated by the Woman Clothed With the Sun, Our Lady of Fatima.  And the multi-tentacled behemoth that is Planned Parenthood can only be destroyed by She Who Crushed the Head of the Serpent, Tequaxalupeaux, Our Lady of Guadalupe whose feast we now celebrate.  In the end, this is what we can be sure: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary shall triumph.

Back to the Future in 1968: Rahner on Humanae Vitae and the Present Ateneo Dissent

In September 1968 issue of the America magazine, Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. summarized the views of his fellow Jesuit, Karl Rahner S.J., published in Stimmen der Zeit, on the then recently published encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae.  The summary is long, but two points struck me:

In the first place, Rahner points out that Human Life cannot reasonably be considered irreformable doctrine. But this does not mean that it may be ignored. Since Catholics believe that the magisterium ordinarily operates under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presumption should be in favor of the Pope’s declaration. Any such presumption, however, must also allow of the possibility that a Catholic can arrive at a carefully formed and critically tested conviction that in a given case the fallible magisterium has in fact erred. Nobody today denies that there are cases in which official, reformable teaching of the Holy See has in fact been erroneous. As examples, Rahner cites the views of Gregory XVI and Pius IX on liberal democracy, and various statements about the Bible issued in the aftermath of the Modernist crisis. It cannot therefore be assumed that a Catholic who conscientiously opposes the non-infallible doctrine of the magisterium, as it stands at a given moment, is necessarily disloyal. (In this connection an American Catholic might think of the long struggle of John Courtney Murray to obtain revision of certain papal pronouncements on Church-State relations.)

In the present case, Rahner continues, the complexity of the issue is such that no one opposed to the encyclical can claim absolute certainty for his own stand. But it is normal and inevitable that some should be unable to accept the pope’s doctrine. The encyclical, although it claims to be an interpretation of the natural law, does not in fact give very persuasive intrinsic arguments. The encyclical seems to look on human nature as something static and closed–not open to modification by free and responsible human decision. But for some time many moral theologians have been teaching that what is distinctive to human nature, as distinct from plant and animal life, is precisely man’s power to modify his own nature according to the demands of a higher good. The pope, in fact, seems to allow for a measure of rational manipulation of human fertility in permitting the practice of rhythm and the use of the “pill” to regularize the menstrual cycle. Undoubtedly this differs somewhat from the use of the pill for directly contraceptive purposes, but in some instances the distinction is so subtle that many will regard it as hair-splitting. Since a notable majority of the Papal Commission is known to have come out against the position later taken in the encyclical, one can hardly expect the majority of Catholics to find the reasoning of Human Life convincing.

Rahner’s arguments are echoed weeks ago when 69 (ominous number) professors of Ateneo de Manila University signed a petition in support of the Reproductive Health Bill, in defiance to the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines who insist on fidelity to Humanae Vitae:

As Catholic educators, Racelis said it was incumbent upon them to teach their students that the RH bill was not “immoral” as the Church claims.

“We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception. In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three [35.6 percent] married Filipino women who, in their most secret core and sanctuary or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception,” they said. (Manila Standard Today, 29 Oct 2008)

See the similarities? After 40 years, the seeds of dissent Rahner sowed in 1968 reaped 69-fold .  That is,

  1. Papal encyclicals are fallible documents.
  2. Catholics can disobey them without being disloyal.

Infallibility is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows:

  1. Infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error;
  2. It does not require holiness of life, much less imply impeccability in its organs; sinful and wicked men may be God’s agents in defining infallibly;
  3. The validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.

Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia continued, in Session IV, cap. 4 of Vatican Council I, it is defined that the Roman pontiff when he teaches ex cathedra “enjoys, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith and morals”.

Was Pope Paul VI making a definitive statement as Vicar of Christ when he declares the evil nature of contraception? Let us listen to Pope Paul VI’s words in Humanae Vitae:

The Magisterium’s Reply

6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.

Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.

So as Aragorn said in the Last Debate before the assault on the Black Gates of Mordor:

We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall. Let none now reject the counsels of Gandalf, whose long labors against Sauron come at last to their test.

Let us heed then the counsel of Pope Paul VI and reject the melodious music of Rahner the Wise.  Let us reject contraception.  Let us reject the Reproductive Health Bill.

If it is the Pill they clamor for, then a Pill must be given–the Pill that brought many souls back to the Catholic Faith, the Pill that sent the Roman Emperor Theodosius begging for pardon before the doors of the Church of Milan under St. Ambrose: Anathema Sit. If they do not wish to listen to the Church, then they must be excluded from the Church, and sent outside in the darkness where they will wail and gnash their teeth until they repent and pay the last penny.