Saturday, January 04, 2003
What part of "don't discuss your deliberations with anyone" don't you understand?
The New York Times reports that jurors disregarded the instructions given to them and which they were under oath to obey.
In the end, the four men were convicted of conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the 1998 attacks, which left 224 dead, but the two men who faced the death penalty had their lives spared when the jury twice deadlocked on the question of execution. It was, then, an enormous if still incomplete victory for the government in its effort before Sept. 11, 2001, to try terrorists in civilian courts.
The question I ask is -- why didn't the pastors inform them that the discussion itself was improper? Doesn't anyone courtroom dramas?
If I find out if the denomination, I'll update this article.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:25 PM Permalink
The Washington Post just filed this story that the Mummers have scrapped a parade that is a parody of priests and nuns.
It took leadership in the form of Cardinal Bevilacqua to get this done.
I hope you are as fascinated as I am with the following comment in the Washington Post:
There was no priest scandal in Philadelphia
I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find out why.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:59 PM Permalink
The justifiable use of deadly force
You may have been reading about the use of weapons by police to shot at suspects nere in New York City.
I will give you a summary and my commentary of the four cases.
The first case is the one that is easiest to understand and it was blogged today by Rod Dreher at NRO The setup is that when this guy calls up and orders a pizza from Wimpy's he uses the same address and says bring change for a $50 or a $100. The deliveryman goes out and gets robbed.
The police want to catch this guy so when the MO gets repeated, an undercover cop delivers the pizza. The bad guy sees the "deliveryman" who shouts "Don't shoot me; don't shoot me". The alerts the backup cop that the bad guy has a gun. It turns out it is a realistic pellet gun pointed at the "deliveryman's" left eye. He loses his footing and the backup cop believes that his partner is about to be shot, so he shoots first.
The second case is a group of men shooting their guns in celebration of New Year's. Confronted by cops, they refuse to drop their weapons, they shoot. The cops shoot back.
The third case is men seen shooting guns. They are confronted by cops and shoot at them. The cops shoot back.
The fourth case is a stolen minivan, the cops surround the vehicle in traffic. The driver attempts to escape by driving away -- since the cops are all around the vehicle -- they are in danger, so the cops shoot at the driver.
Commissioner Ray Kelly said that this may have been accidental rather than intentional.
I believe that if we expect these men and women to confront people with guns, then they have to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to justifying their use of force.
Some callers to talk radio are saying that this is just the cops being judge, jury, and executioner. I would say that if these people just threw down their guns and surrendered, they would face a regular judge, jury, and they would not be facing an executioner.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:41 PM Permalink
Midwest News reports that Archbishop Elden Curtis of Omaha, Nebraska answered reporters questions:
There are two aspects of the "The bishops don't get it" here: The first is saying "All of us" as if to say that anyone could and would have refused to suspend a priest accused of a sexual crime. The second is medicalizing a problem that has at its root grave sin done to children. Now is the time to start asking for forgiveness for neglect, not looking to shift the blame.
Oh! How far we have come. I have a long memory. If you don't look at this article from the York News-Times:
'You should be ashamed of yourself!'' Curtiss wrote to [Jeanne Bast, an 80-year-old mother of 11 from west Omaha] a retired Catholic grade-school teacher. The archbishop called [Frank Ayers, 58] ''a disgrace to the church'' for criticizing church leadership. In his letters, the archbishop instructed Bast and Ayers to say one ''Hail Mary'' as penance.
In fact, these letters in March 2002 were the turning point for me in the Church scandal. From that point I realized that faithful Catholics, who love the Pope and the Bishops, need to be imitators of Mrs. Bast and Mr. Ayers.
What we don't need is to change the Church, we need to get bishops who can clean their own house of criminals and protect children, not bishops who are passively waiting for victims to clean out the bank accounts of the Church.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:49 PM Permalink
Why the scandal is not going away
I keep looking for some sign that bishops, and priests in supervision of priests, are understanding how they need to deal with the crisis of criminal sexual abuse committed by priests.
I am disappointed often. Here I present another example.
Stories filed on December 30, 2002 in New Britain Herald and Middletown Press. This is my summary: An accusation has been made by an unidentified 17-year-old parishioner that she was raped by Fr. Roman Kramek. This took place between Nov. 25 when the Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hatford CT gave permission to Kramek to act as a priest in the parish of Sacred Heart and Dec. 24 when he was arrested.
Note one of the stories carries the implication that Kramek has already admitted to sexual intercourse but that it was consensual. The sins are rape and fornication, of course, but there are two crimes here: first, as the victim was 17, this would be the rape (second-degree sexual assault), but also it is illegal in Connecticut for a person engaged in counseling to have consenual sexual contact with a patient. The Hatford Courant account of the arrest has more detail.
So far, it reads like a standard story. This is the part that shows they don't get "it"
The pastor, Fr. Paul Wosocki, took Fr. Kramek into his parish without knowing his background.
Fr. Paul Wosocki called the victim a "tramp". (There's even an implication that Kramek is a victim of a seducation, calculated to obtain a monetary gain for the girl.) To his credit, the Archbishop was critical of the pastor's statement.
You can almost see a servant bringing a bowl of water up to Archbishop Cronin for washing his hands of this matter.
[Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman for the Archbishop] said the Archdiocese is not conducting an official investigation into the allegations involving the Rev. Roman Kramek, 40, of the Archdiocese of Warsaw, who is accused of coercing the 17-year-old victim, who Kramek was counseling for a previous sexual assault, to engage in sexual intercourse on Dec. 18.
There is plenty that is within the right and obligation of the Archbishop to investigate and speak to:
Why couldn't they simply say -- the processes where a priest visits and acts as a priest in the Archdiocese of Hartford will be reviewed, the supervision that such priests receive while they are here will be increased.
That at least could have been said without making an admission of negligence.
One can see in this case that the instincts to protect the Church, protect the reputations of clergy, minimize the damge caused are all evident here. They don't get it yet.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:27 AM Permalink
Friday, January 03, 2003
...might be misconstrued...
AP via Kansas City Star reports
The state's archbishop [Archbishop James Patrick Keleher] has suggested that Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius move an interfaith service for her inauguration from a Catholic church because of her support for abortion rights...
The resolution of this, in my opinion, is for the archbishop to excommunicate her, and make her reconciliation to the Church contingent on her acceptance of Catholic teaching on abortion.
The cave-in here will be that this pro-abortion governor-elect's enthronement will be celebrated in a Catholic Church.
Surely, Satan laughs at that.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:56 PM Permalink
Something a bit funnier now
Some Wall Street terminology decoded. This is from Valley of the Geeks:
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:44 PM Permalink
The AP reports that the Pope has accepted the resignation of 77-year-old Bishop William Houck of Jackson, Miss. Bishop Houck has been accused of covering-up after allegation of sexual abuse were presented to him.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:58 PM Permalink
The Lost Souls Report (cont.)
The Internet Movie DataBase reports
Movie star Salma Hayek has turned her back on Catholicism because she disagrees with the church's stance on homosexuals...
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:03 PM Permalink
Long Island Newsday reports this accusation:
Seeking to protect a popular monsignor [Msgr. Charles "Bud" Ribaudo] in a wealthy Oyster Bay parish, a top church official [Msgr. Francis Caldwell, head of priest personnel] pressured the Rev. Michael Hands, a Catholic priest who has admitted to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy, into keeping quiet about his allegations that the monsignor had abused him as a teen, according to a sworn statement obtained by Newsday.
and has the sworn statement of Fr. Hands
My own opinion is that this is a blackmail trigger being pulled -- to maximize the damage to moral authority and financial pain to the Catholic Church.
The way out of this crisis is to get ahead of these stories and immediately begin a process to laicize the priests who have committed these crimes and for the bishops and staff responsible who covered it all up to resign or become humble parish priests without responsiblity for the supervision of other priests.
Waiting for each disclosure is only going to prolong this crisis for another decade.
I wonder if Msgr. Ribaudo will come forth that he was abused as a boy by a priest -- in which case we have an abomination unto the fourth generation.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:31 PM Permalink
Holy Matrimony, Batman!
Extreme social criticism from Christine Stolba at NRO
Straightforward decisions about clothing, music, food, and flowers become elaborate rituals overseen by the high priestesses of the industry — the bridal magazines. These hefty glossies woo brides with mellifluously worded wedding dress descriptions. Perusing tulle confections called "Melissa Sweet," "Guzzo," "Champagne," "Mon Cheri," and "Moonlight," one can't help wondering why the dress styles sound more like a list of exotic dancers than chaste commitment attire.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:17 PM Permalink
One man's rescue is another man's sabotage
The Rocky Mountain News explains that a mechanic, Corydon Van Dyke Cochran, believed a Frontier Airlines aircraft was unsafe and threw a wheel chock into the engine on 1/1 at Denver International Airport.
(1) We used to call this a career-limiting move. You get to pull this sort of stunt.
(2) But where was this guy when the Challenger blew up?
(3) Hero or fool? You decide this one.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:39 AM Permalink
If you like inside media stories...
Stephen Bennett is a ex-gay minister and is using the excerpts of the interview in his own materials which he sells.
I used to give O'Reilly the benefit of the doubt -- but after he was caught in a lie by Matt Drudge over planning a talk radio show during the period of Rush Limbaugh's deafness -- his stock went down with me.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:29 AM Permalink
I followed this link on the NRO Corner to NewsMax where Dr. Jack Wheeler has nailed what needs to be done about North Korea
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:46 AM Permalink
Everyone is linking to this banished words list
I'm lucky to have started my blog in 2002 as Extreme is on the list.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:14 AM Permalink
Isn't this "N.C." supposed to be "V.C"?
The Charlotte Observer informs us that --
Four units at Pope Air Force Base have received deployment orders to southwest Asia, but it's unclear whether the orders are for the troop buildup for a possible war in Iraq.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:07 AM Permalink
Thursday, January 02, 2003
How many layers of betrayal are there here?
The Boston globe reports a guilty plea by priest to three counts of child rape. Apparently he has not be laicized, however, he was given a serverance package of $79,200 while suspened.
OK, you are asking yourself, "Extreme, why is this case different". Glad you asked. Fr. Ronald Paquin's "career" spans from 1973 to 2000 -- an extraordinary length of time for an active pedophile and according to his lawyer
Newman, whose law firm represents about 300 of the additional alleged victims, said he expects Paquin to be a ''key player'' in providing information about the archdiocese's practice of transferring abusive priests. Paquin's defense attorney, Kevin Reddington, confirmed that Paquin ''will be available to testify'' in pending civil cases ''against the almighty Roman Catholic Church.''
I hope that this only exposes the truth and doesn't result in any false allegations. I assume Fr. Paquin is doing this to get a few years reduction in his sentence.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:00 PM Permalink
CNN reports the rejection of a Salvation Army contribution
Maj. Cleo Damon, head of the Salvation Army office in Naples, Florida refused the lottery prize given by David L. Rush, 71 who won $14.3 million in a Florida lottery because, in her opinion, one of the causes of their being homeless in Florida is gambling.
I'm willing to call playing the lottery gambling. It is spending money to have an unearned larger sum of money returned. It's not a pure charity. In fact, state lotteries may not be charities at all, but that's another topic.
Here's what the Church has to say about gambling: Cathechism CCC 2413
CCC 2413 "Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for GAMBLING risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.
Also about financial support for the Church:
CCC 2043 "...The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities"
The issue here I think is that the Salvation Army doesn't want to give the appearance of allowing this person to buy their way into heaven with great wealth.
In the Catholic Church, I simply know of no case where money with no strings attached was refused. The idea being that giving up money to the Church that was either unearned or even obtained through sin would be a form a atonement and expiation if the donor has the proper attitude of repentance. Which is also to say, no quid pro quo. You can't bribe God.
What's a repentant drug dealer going to do with his or her money anyway? Or a 71-year-old lottery winner. God bless them all.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:56 PM Permalink
Fr. José Nickse, who I discussed earlier, died of a heart attack. (Reported in the South Floria Sun-Sentinel
May his soul, and all the souls of the faithfully departed, rest in peace. Amen.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:10 AM Permalink
Click here to Exit
Jeffrey Zaslow in the Wall Street Journal today (paid subscription site)
Al Gore turned to his family. Trent Lott finally accepted the advice of clear-eyed colleagues who said he had no choice. Henry Kissinger saw storm clouds, and trusted instincts he'd honed in decades of diplomacy. Bernard Law consulted the highest authority short of God -- the pope.
It's an interesting article but it lacks a spiritual dimension even though he profiles a pastor. "Knowing when to quit" or its equivalent of "Knowing when to start" is really a a discernment of of God's unique plan for us.
Praying "Thy will be done" (or fiat voluntatis tua) is to go to the source of career advice, or as I once wrote when I was in an charitable mood It's grace, stupid.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:01 AM Permalink
Pardon me, could you pass the Grey Poupon?
Hollywood has the answer for those of you who simply are no longer going to Confession to get absolved of your sins. Read about Sin Eater on Yahoo. Here's a taste:
The title refers to an ancient order of rogue priests who would eat food off a corpse, taking unforgiven sins upon themselves and absolving the deceased. In the Heath Ledger (news) starrer, a sin eater resurfaces in modern-day Rome, and begins to allow great evil to go unpunished
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:08 AM Permalink
Wednesday, January 01, 2003
At the Nativity Scene in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
The sisters and friars and the members of the Catholic Evidence Guild explain the religious meaning and the history of the nativity scene to tourists as they pass in front of it.
I volunteered to do this for a few hours on 12/28 and 12/29. If you were there, you saw me. I hope to be there next year.
The Nativity scene will be on display until 1/12 the Baptism of the Lord, the end of the liturgical season of Christmas.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:57 PM Permalink
NY Times: A Catholic Crisis, Bestowed From Above Ex-priest Paul Dinter has some bitter memories to share with us. Read them and you get an insight into the minds of priests and ex-priests for whom service to God's Church was not enough.
He makes the points we've all heard before on clericalism. (They've been told before with humor not with contempt.)
But here he has it exactly wrong:
The seeds of the present crisis were really sown in 1968, the year of the papal encyclical known as Humane Vitae, which began the undoing of Vatican II.
The idea that the word of God in Scripture and Tradition, the teaching of the Church, would take a backseat to conscience is a dangerous idea. Dinter writes that this was spirit of Vatican II. He's wrong.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:22 PM Permalink
The expulsion of Catholics from the six counties.
This story, if it were a pitch from a writer of political thrillers, woulld be dismissed as too incredible.
But it is true. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland planned to expel its 200,000 Catholic subjects into the Republic of Ireland or enclaves in the six counties. CBS has the story and this is the Google search for other versions of it.
This is treachery on historical scale. I can only assume that the contemporaneous release of this plan would have started a revolution.
The historical parallel is the effort of the Nazis to make the part of Europe they occupied to be Judenfrei or Jew-free and the confinement of Japanese-Americans and Italian-Americans to camps during World War II in the United States.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:37 PM Permalink
A CAUTION Do not be extreme in everything you do.
There's a web site that I visit The Smoking Gun that has the actual arrest report of 58-year-old singer Diana Ross for Extreme DUI. She was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.22 (Arizona has a legal limit of 0.08). Permanent damage comes at 0.30, and the possibility of death of 0.40.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:57 PM Permalink
Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church -- H.W. Crocker III
This is a great book for people who have read histories of the Catholic Church already, and, of course, for the people who haven't. It is rich in detail and full of witty phrases, and connections to the present time.
Here is the Amazon Link and rather than praise the book let me give you a peek (this is from page 247)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:14 PM Permalink
Warren Christopher in the New York Times
Contrast this with Iraq. Not only is North Korea much further along than Iraq in building nuclear weapons but, by virtue of its longer-range missiles, it has a greater delivery capability.Anyone who has been paying attention to the news knows that. The conclusion that we should abandom the effort to disarm Iraq now is foolish.
First of all, let question Mr. Christopher's motives. (It's my blog and I can do it.) Does he think this is helpful to the United States, or does he want to embarass President Bush, and thereby get Democrats elected in 2004? No, I think he's a cranky dude who's seen what historians are writing and will write about the Clinton-Christopher-Albright foreign policy and it's a big F for failure. From that awareness springs such misery and envy.
I'm sure the idea of indecision and ping-ponging 300,000 of our armed forces around globally would delight our enemies and confuse our allies.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:46 AM Permalink
It was an Internet New Year's Eve / New Year's Day as the kids scamble to their IM sessions and I update the blog. Happy New Year. And God Bless.
My last prayer of the year was the Act of Contrition, just in case.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:11 AM Permalink
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
The Brownsville Herald reports the Brownsville Diocese is one of several not releasing names of the members of its review boards investigating allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
Could someone explain to these misguided people that when you are in the middle of a scandal, you are supposed to reestablish trust, and you don't get there by saying "Trust Us". You get there only by doing the things that create trust.
What a suprise! Marty is shocked, shocked that there are media inquires!
I think the bishops need to choose tough people for these panels who can deal with the media spotlight -- Not lightweights.
That very horrible thing, of course, is the sexual abuse of children by priests, and certainly a lot of information will be needed to be kept confidential in the process.
Here's the specific problem -- in keeping the names secret, one wonders if the board members are:
In fact, it's the proper role of a free press to find that out. This is not voyeurism but demanding accountability. If these diocesan communications directors had a clue, they would know that it will become a cat and mouse game, and certainly the idenities of the board members will be disclosed to the attorneys involved and they in turn will disclose it to the press if they think that a board member has an issue like the one I listed above (or one I haven't thought of).
For a religion that recalls the death of the its first martyr the day after the birth of the Savior, it seems wimpy and gutless not to be public in every way appropriate to the process of investigating these allegations. If I were an ex-cop or psychiatrist (and therefore somewhat qualified) and nominated to be on one of these boards. I'd take the media pressure. Bring it on.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:52 AM Permalink
Killed for "AIY": being American in Yemen
Some bloggers are quite ready to blame the victims here for disregarding the State Department warnings.
This reprehensible garbage is from the Financial Times (UK)
Growing anti-American sentiment was blamed for the fatal shooting in Yemen yesterday of three US medical missionaries, which government officials blamed on a Muslim extremist.
Terrorism is to blame. If you think otherwise, you are on the terrorists side of this war.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:26 AM Permalink
Tim Blair, another blogger , discusses the volunteer human shields.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:18 AM Permalink
Monday, December 30, 2002
Human Shields -- this time they are volunteers
Canadian Christianity They say they were inspired by the Catholic Berrigan brothers. They are going to position themselves at anti-aircraft missile batteries inside Iraq I presume.
Like many of the 3,000 victims of 9/11, when they perish, there may not be identifiable remains to send back to Canada.
In the first Gulf War, the human shields were hostages of Sadam Hussein. This time he has volunteers.
I expect Jonah Goldberg of National Review will have something to say about it.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:47 PM Permalink
There was a previously undisclosed accusation
against His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan,
Archbishop of New York
which has been declared
totally without merit
by civil authorities in Chicago
where the cardinal was a priest.
I blog several sources here:
I add that it's now clear that Cardinal Egan has been under tremendous pressure. Had this be leaked to the press before he was cleared, under the Dallas guidelines, some would have demanded that he be suspended or resign on the basis of that (false) accusation.
Of course, as more false accusations are made, it makes it all the more difficult to decide upon the correct course of action to take between the time of an accusation and the conclusion of an investigation.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 PM Permalink
The Palm Beach Post has a news story on the Raelians which discusses their contact with the Catholic Church in Canada.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:06 AM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:47 AM Permalink
Sunday, December 29, 2002
Kitty Genovese -- the accepted story is wrong
I have seen some fragments during the years since Kitty Genovese died about the circumstances of her murder. I can remember this story vividly, I was 9 at the time and my youngest son is 9 now.
Why is this story in the news now? USA Today reported the trend at the start of the year and as the year ends others news outlets are talking about 1958 or 1963 for a comparable murder rate.
The Old Kew Gardens Web Site has done a great job of compiling the facts that contradict the accepted story that 38 witnesses ignored the cries of Kitty Genovese and did not call the police.
The reality may be that her cries were not ignored and the police were called.
In any case, it's too late to changed the perception that, in 1964, 38 witnesses did nothing. Thanks to the web, you can read other opinions and other facts about it.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:06 PM Permalink
A situation, not a crisis Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to NBC's Meet the Press. This story is from CNN:
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that North Korea is "playing with the fool's gold of nuclear weapons" but said that the situation is "not a crisis."
I make the connection to the Cardinal Law and the news breaking about 11 months ago in the case of Fr. John Geoghan. The Chancery must have thought it was only a situation and not a crisis.
I've not been to Iraq, but I've been to both Iran and South Korea. I believe that North Korea is pushing for a crisis -- an armed conflict -- and they will get one.
The timing is clear, they believe that the United States lacks the resources to fight both a war in Iraq and a war in Korea. They think that by making threats, they can obtain all sorts of concessions.
George Bush is no Neville Chamberlin and no Bill Clinton, the window of opportunity for getting concessions with threats is closed. I hope all Americans and people of good will see this as a call for appeasement. God save us all.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:21 PM Permalink
Keeping Ringing Cellphones out of Churches
As an usher, I've got the job of letting people know that the priests, and in fact, everyone in the Church, disapprove of their forgetting to turn the cellphone off -- this after an sign at each entrance and an announcement from the cantor at the start of Mass.
Humor, I find, adds just the right sting of embarassment.
Don't bother to answer it -- It's God calling and he wants you to go to Confession.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:35 AM Permalink
Keeping Christ out of Christmas
Charisma News has this story of the ban of Christ and Christmas from the Pattison Elementary School in Katy, Texas.
Parents say students were forbidden to take to school any items that included the words "Christmas," "Christ," "Jesus" or "St. Nicholas," or showed Christmas scenes. However, the children were given worksheets on other religions, and taught songs and symbolic rituals of those faiths.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:57 AM Permalink