Friday, February 28, 2003
Catholic World News: Priest rebuked on the seal of the confession (sub. reqd.)
No comment for now. A priest revealed that a missing person was, in fact, dead.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:10 AM Permalink
Why Iraq is the flavor of the day
The goal which President Bush has dedicated the United States to is to achieve a decisive victory over terrorism.
As the President has said many times, this will take years perhaps decades, but this is a war the United States must wage of face permanent vulnerability to terrorist attacks like 9/11.
The process is a combination of efforts such as improvements in homeland security, and identification of terrorist cells, but the greatest effort will come in confronting states which support terrorism.
Without an alternate strategy, the strategy of the President is criticized for Iraq first and not Saudi Arabia first. Citing, of course, the Saudi nationality of Osama bin Laden and 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers -- suggesting that Saudi Arabia ought to be the primary target of a war on terrorism.
This ignores all of important differences between the two countries. Iraq has the weapons of mass destruction and seeks to develop nuclear weapons. Iraq has protected terrorists within its borders. Iraq wages war against the Kurds and Shiia.
The credibility of the United States increased when its armed forces defeated the Taliban and Al Queda forces in Afghanistan. The world pays attention to military victory in a way that no diplomatic note can ever do. The United States didn't slaughter the people of Afghanistan, in fact, we're rebuilding the infrastructure of that country. The Saudis can't shrug off a second American liberation of a Muslim state.
What Iraq and Saudi Arabia share is Islamofascism: the absence of political freedom, human rights (torture, imprisonment without trial, etc.), and concentration of power in an unelected elite
In a strange turn of events, the Saudis would prefer to see an American military government rule Iraq for years and not introduce a Hamid Karzai who would signal to all of Iraqs neighbors (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran) that Iraq is the second Islamic state to become democratic and free.
I know that the "Saudis-first" crowd lack an understanding of what the threat from the Kingdom is. The threat is their funding of local violent extreme Muslim groups from Florida to the Philippines.
Success in Iraq will reduce the number of sheltering countries by one. As I mentioned earlier this war is going to take decades, even if the Iraq's armed forces are reduced in days.
Success in Iraq will secure the opening for a constitutional monarchy that will provide some measure of human rights and respect for law.
Finally, whatever economic leverage the Saudis have in controlling their own oil output (the so-called "oil weapon") will be ineffective when the United States occupies the oil fields of Iraq.
Regime change or at least significant reform can come to Saudi Arabia without firing a shot.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:14 AM Permalink
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame. Tonight it is the Republic of San Mario
Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, is responsible for explaining the Holy See's position to the representatives of the 177 countries accredited to the Vatican.
According to the newspaper Avvenire, the meeting was requested by Giovanni Galassi, representative of the Republic of San Marino and dean of the diplomatic corps.
The meeting will be held behind closed doors Thursday and likely include the presence of the U.S. and Iraqi ambassadors.
That same day, the U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss the position of the United States, Great Britain and Spain, which support a U.N. resolution stating that Saddam Hussein has lost the last chance to disarm and avoid war.
Security Council members Germany, France and Russia are opposed to this resolution and propose the continuance of U.N. inspectors' work to seek and eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
Also on Thursday, John Paul II will receive Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Vatican, as well as Sayyed Mohammed Reza Khatami, vice president of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, who is traveling to Rome as the personal envoy of his brother, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami.
Up next Liechtenstein to be followed by Andorra, and Monaco. What an impressive voting bloc they make in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:09 PM Permalink
Reuters: Pope opens door to Spain, Iran on Iraq crisis
Vatican officials concede that the pope alone is not going to prevent a U.S.-led attack, but they say that at the very least his anti-war stance shows the Muslim world that a strike against Iraq is not some kind of a Christian Crusade.
So, strictly off the record the Vatican's Foreign Ministry is telling us that their anti-war stance is strictly for show(??)
If I read this right, the disarmament of Iraq is held hostage to the effectiveness for Wahabbi propaganda that the United States is leading a Christian-Jewish crusade. So lies triumph. Well, nothing quite speaks "truth" like freedom that will come when the Americans arrive.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:46 AM Permalink
New York Times: Libeskind Design (i.e. the open pit) is chosen for the WTC rebuild
I don't like it. It's the most depressing and least uplifting design proposed. It will only make people think of death when they see it or are in it.
Also, there's no way what will be built will resemble the architect's plan. The only certainty here is that they will keep the pit.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:02 AM Permalink
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 PM Permalink
Answering the questions of Amy Welborn.
In Amy Welborn's blog Time for a Nap a Pope John Paul II of straw is created, I presume to parody the position that the announced policy of the United States is contrary of the just war doctrine of the Catholic Church.
"...to bless the American troops."
Tony Blair wasn't seeking a blessing. Neither he nor I nor the cluster of Catholics who believe the policy conforms to the just war doctrine expect one. However, we're being condemned for committing a "crime against peace" by Archbishop Tauran (the so-called Foreign Minister of the Holy See) and Cardinal Etchegaray is toasting Saddam Hussein -- we are not dealing in parodies here but realities.
"The longer this goes on..."
By "this", let's frame that as defiance of United Nations resolution 1441 (Saddam's 18th and "final" chance to disarm). Yes, Saddam grows stronger in the eyes the enemies of the United States. He gets more opportunities to defy the United Nations. He gets to boast to Dan Rather that he won the 1991 war. He's free to distribute sarin gas, anthrax, or a crude uranium bomb to terrorists who can target Israel, Bali, or New York. He gets to finish work on a fission bomb. That's what happens the longer this goes on.
"Why Hussein? Why Now?"
There are many dictators in this world. You can rank their evil on a 1 to 10 scale. At 1 or 2 you have Gnassingbe (Etienne "Steve") Eyadema, a President for Life. In the two years I was in Peace Corps, he was in charge. He still is, 27 years later. And we can keep climbing up the scale -- you can choose where you want to put Castro, Kim Jong Il, King Fahd al-Saud -- but you have to rank Hussein at the top of the list for the crimes against humanity that's he been proven to have committed. He invaded Iran, he invaded Kuwait, he waged war against his own citizens, the Kurds, and the Shi'ite. He's killed more Muslims than anyone in history.
We have bin Laden to answer the question "Why Now?" Al Queda demonstrated, and the activities of Sami al-Arian that the large oceans the protected the United States in the World Wars and the Cold War don't work with attacks that involve a small number of highly motivated terrorists. Fifth Avenue might as well be Jerusalem's Jaffa Street in terms of vulnerability. Hussein is a leader of state sponsored terrorism. That makes him almost unique.
What makes Saddam unique is that he possesses an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and he sponsors terrorism, basing, funding, and arming terrorist groups. No one other than he is doing it.
The conditions in China are unique. There's good reasons for not going to war with them. Do have I to go into them now? The possibility exists for the United States to assist the people of China to grow their standard of living, increase economic freedom, and political freedom.
As for Haiti -- the military task of the United States was accomplished in without firing a shot in anger against the Haitian armed forces. The credible threat of force did the job. We may want to debate that Aristide may not be a saint, but he was elected in generally free elections, which is more than General Cedras could ever claim.
What about the Saudis?
The Saudis cannot help but pay attention to what the United States can and will do in Iraq. Under direct American control, the oil revenues will be used to rebuild Iraq. The free flow of oil will lower oil prices, and the Saudis do care about that. If as I suspect, the Saudis do nothing but pump oil in 20 or 30 years when there's a developed hydrogen economy, they will be a functioning democracy with something else to export or they will be irrelevant. In the mean time there's plenty of ways to influence Saudis without the use of or threat of armed forces.
"The Rubber Stamp"
I reject this characterization of the position of the United States:
Many, many people, including the United States government are extremely disappointed in the Vatican’s refusal to rubber stamp a possible war with Iraq, a disappointment which I find very puzzling.
"Rubber stamp" is an absurd term to use here. The message from the Vatican is correct: We're all against war.
The only "rubber stamp" that I can see is a lack of recognition that Saddam Hussein is a moral actor in this conflict and has chosen to defy international demands that he disarm.
Another repeated and unfair criticism is that we are not "listening to the Pope" or more emphatically "Shutup and listen to the Pope".
The Pope lacks the responsibility and competence to judge if Al Samoud 2 missiles are an imminent threat. Just as Pope Pius XII lacked the responsibility and competence to judge if the presence of the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu, the Hiryu, the Zuikaku, and the Shokaku 300 miles from Hawaii on the vigil of the feast of the Immaculate Conception were an imminent threat.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
We see this principle clericalized by an axis of finger wagging (Cardinal Sodano, Archbishop Tauran, Cardinal Etchegaray, Bishop Gregory).
They will not answer to God or to the American people if Saddam uses those weapons of mass destruction.
Here's my version of the long view:
The progress of secular civilization is not given a guarantee. Only the Church was given that.
By avoiding war as appeasement to dictators we risk the loss of freedom and justice. For Poland to be free, two wars had to be fought. One from 1939 to 1945, and another from 1945 to 1990. So the long view is not peace, first, last, and always, but the long view is pragmatic -- that war is not sought as a first resort but as as unavoidable last resort.
By prudential judgment we mean that people of good will and proper intent looking at the same circumstances will come to different conclusions to the best actions to be taken consistent with morality.
In this grave matter, I trust the judgment of President George Bush.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:55 PM Permalink
New York Times: Supreme Court rules in favor of abortion protesters
Operation Rescue, Joseph Scheidler, and others were sued by the National Organization of Women and abortion providers under RICO. The Supreme Court has ruled that the abortion protesters were not extorting or taking property from the abortion providers.
In a strange bedfellows moment, many other protest groups like PETA and anti-war types were on the side the abortion protesters since RICO penalities could likewise be applied to them in the future.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 PM Permalink
Reuters: Photo of Blair with the Pope
Didn't see wide circulation of this photo, so I thumbnailed it here.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:48 AM Permalink
Why aren't pro-abortion politicians excommunicated?
I have always felt that this was the greatest missed opportunity to take on the cross of Christ: The bishops of the United States had and have the power to excommunicate the men and women who voted for the killing of the unborn starting with the first state laws permitting abortion in the 1960's.
I know the precedent was set and that only the doctors and mothers were to be excommunicated and its tough to go against that precedent now.
I believe I have another reason. Excommunication would actually cut both ways. No longer would the Catholic governor and Catholic mayor be able to shake hands and pat the Cardinal on the back. The Cardinal and by extension all the clergy would become outcasts of the circles of political power.
If I can judge the local bishops by who they want to be photographed with, they love being photographed with politicians at big events -- The Al Smith Dinner and the Saint Patrick's Day Parade
Excommunications would be the end of that. In fact, the politicians would probably marginalize and make the bishops pariahs in the political domain.
Suffolk Life Newspapers has an interesting example of this -- one hands washes the other relationship
I found this statement by the despicable Mario Cuomo. He should have been excommunicated for it:
There are many people, including some Catholic theologians, who do not accept the assumption, who do not believe the fetus is a person from the moment of conception, and who therefore find nothing immoral in aborting a fetus, or at least, find abortion a morally defensible act in many circumstances.
(Msgr: George Kelly: Inside My Father's House p. 371 quotes NY Times 2/5/1984)
Of course, back in 1984 there was less euphenisms in talking about the killing of the unborn.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:26 AM Permalink
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Disputations thinks this is a stupid question
John's commenting system is offline so I'm left to reply here.
Yes, John, there is a war in Iraq and in the United States and we are in it.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:51 PM Permalink
UK Telegraph: The Pope's disapproval worries Blair more than marchers
It used to be the solemn practice of medieval crusaders to seek the indulgence of the Pope before they rode off on their steeds to the Holy Land. Some wrote impassioned letters to the Pontiff for the good of their souls, but many made the pilgrimage to Rome in person.
A very thoughtful article. Of course, the current war has a greater moral justification than the Crusades did, since 9/11 struck at my own city, Washington, and Somerset, Pa. and Iraq supports terrorists and is capable of bringing another attack to New York even before we take the war to Baghdad.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:45 PM Permalink
Catholic World News: Someone in the Vatican addresses Saddam (!)
The director of Vatican Radio has harshly criticized Saddam Hussein, and demanded an immediate disarmament in Iraq.
I guess everyone wants to get into act now...
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:19 PM Permalink
Catholic World News: Vatican Condemnation for "War of Aggression" (subs. reqd.)
With this, Tauran has gone over the top. His peace is the "peace to appease Saddam and protect the oil contracts of French corporations" He's simply described as the "Vatican's Foreign Minister" (but wouldn't that be to "hell", as that is the only place outside of the Church's domain, by I digress...) He is "Secretary for the Relations with States of the Secretariat of State" -- so you can see why they call him a "Foreign Minister".
In his view, military action against Iraq would be "a crime" if it were undertaken unilaterally, by "one or several states," without UN approval. The United Nations does not have an independent military force. So ultimate responsbility for the defense of the United States falls on the United States. The involvement of the United Nations is really to give the UN a chance to become relevant not only to world peace but to the enforcement of its own resolutions.
Tauran nods saying "disarmament is an imperative necessity (??)" but that we can let Saddam play inspection games for an indefinite period. Hey, We're being played
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:38 PM Permalink
NY Sun: Dell Dude -- Ben Curtis -- interview
He lost his Dell contract because of that drug bust. Now he has to continue his life.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:15 PM Permalink
The importance of framing the question
Applying what I learned from Msgr. William Smith last night at Theology on Tap (New York City branch), I know the correct way to frame the question is not: Are you for or against war but Do you believe that Saddam Hussein will voluntarily submit his WMD's for inspection and destruction?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:47 PM Permalink
NY Post: Seventh Commandment Watch:
I use stories like this to tell the kids I teach that even when you appear to have it all (in this case, merely fame, wealth, and beauty) you always want more. You always must want more than your neighbor
So from Bridget Hall's evil, I have a teachable moment.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:41 PM Permalink
Monday, February 24, 2003
Stuff like this makes me so happy to be Catholic
Ever say a prayer for Osama bin Laden?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:05 PM Permalink
What's missing from the output from the Vatican
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:44 PM Permalink
Quoting my blog-brother Rod Dreher
FASTING: Pope John Paul II is calling on all Catholics to fast on Ash Wednesday (March 5) against war in Iraq. With all due respect to the Holy Father, I shall be fasting that day for victory over the tyrant, for the protection of our soldiers, and for the successful defense of the United States and its allies against Arab/Islamic terrorism.
This is my comment on it in Mark Shea's blog
30 replies later: No one wants to discuss disarmament
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:26 PM Permalink
Sunday, February 23, 2003
UK Guardian: No war can be holy warns the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
Here's a rejection of not only the Just War doctrine of the Church but common sense as well.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:51 PM Permalink
UK Times: Case for war is undermined by the Pope (2/21)
The Pope made a new plea for peace yesterday, undermining Tony Blair’s attempt to make a moral case for war with Iraq.Also UK Guardian: Blair in 'prickly' meeting at the Vatican
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:32 PM Permalink
Pray, Pay, Obey Dept., An old joke that I've not heard in a while:
A priest was addressing his congregation: I have good new regarding the building project, we have the money. The bad news is that most of it is still in your pocket.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:26 PM Permalink
Experiencing God's Judgment Against New York
The last day the weather in New York was tolerable was Saturday February 15. The date of the anti-war protests. Perhaps they had God on their side. Perhaps the weather is God's wrath.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:21 PM Permalink