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Friday, August 15, 2003
 
Neighborhood

Matthew 25:34-36

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Senator Hillary Clinton's political cheapshot
Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y., fired back at Sen. Hillary Clinton today, saying that her repeated attacks on President Bush as New York City slipped into darkness during last night's blackout could have provoked civil unrest.

In an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity, Rep. King called Sen. Clinton's attempts to blame Bush for the blackout during several appearances on radio and TV "absolutely disgraceful."

Senator Clinton could have done many things, like returning to New York City area where she lives and show some solidarity with the people who elected her, and stand up next to Bloomberg and Pataki. But no. Her contribution was an attempt to get New Yorkers angry at Bush, angry at Pataki, and angry at Bloomberg pouring gas on a fire. As if riots would help her get elected in 04 or 08...


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Glory Be To God

My computer screen blinked for a second and kept running. I was unaffected.

Where I work, I'm considered "critical" -- I didn't know that. Others discovered their computers were being shutoff to conserve our battery backup power.

I had a radio and began to listen and knew that it was time to join the evacuation? exodus? Since I work near St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center, I saw many, many confused tourists. You will have interesting stories to tell when you get home.

No traffic lights. Almost total gridlock. Had there been a need for a fire engine or ambulance to move through Manhattan it would have been impossible.

My path took me across Manhattan to 59th Street and 2nd Avenue which was wall to wall with people. It was rather strange as traffic was still entering Manhattan. Whenever people who moving slowly even hobbled -- I noticed the 4 inch heels, you look taller but when the phones begin to work again you will need to make an appointment with a podiatrist. A flood of people, happy to be on their way home.

People started to walk along the route they were familiar with Queens Boulevard, also locally known as the Highway of Death for the frequency of its fatal pedestrian accidents. The subways and cars go along this route. Wide is that leads to perdition. The shorter, narrow road is Skillman Ave.

So I found myself on road empty of cars and people. I bought a coke and passed by many people who just put their lawn chairs on the sidewalk and were talking. It was like the summers of my youth (the 1960's) where because everything on TV was a repeat, people would start talking to their neighbors.

As I entered back into a more populated area I saw people with signs of exhaustion. I saw Fr. Kevin who was telling a handful of people that there would be no vigil Mass of the Assumption. l live about 200 feet from the subway so many people were following the subway line on foot being unfamiliar with the geography of West Queens.

When I got home, I gathered up all the plastic cups and filled some two liter bottles and did what the folks who organize a marathon do -- I handed out 6 oz. cups of cold water.

The reactions were "I don't believe it -- you mean it's free?", "God Bless You", and "Thank you". Some of my neighbors spontaneously joined me with their own liter bottles of water and plastic cups. I had no trouble giving it all away.

I listerned to the president and I looked up at the stars. Even though it was pretty close to a full moon, more than the usual number of stars were visible on this clear night.

I walked with my family to the Church and there were others sitting on the steps -- there still was a parade of people leaving Manhattan and moving west towards Long Island. There we prayed Rosary -- Luminous Mysteries (Baptism of Jesus, etc.)

Thoughts: New York City is a wonderful place. Many compared this ability to work together and helping each other without counting the cost [to 9/11/2001] When my cable system started to work the very first program I saw was RAI -- Italian Television -- showing the black and white newsreels of the 1965 blackout/power failure in New York with the narration in Italian. It was the one and only station available on cable.

The 1977 blackout with its riots and deaths are forgotten now. It's a bad dream. In 2001 and now 2003 we are a city that's learned to live with itself. 26 years, times change, people change.

Dependency. We depend on the technology. People need a reminder of this dependence, likewise we need to be reminded of our dependence on God. We take the power for granted. We take God for granted.

0550 AM: power is restored. Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Critical or not. The subway is still not running so I'm not going to work.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, August 14, 2003
 
Prelates with too much time on their hands Dept.

You may wonder what the "Blame America First"-crowd moved onto after the United States liberated Iraq, brought peace, order, and justice to this part of the world that did not know it -- and our brave armed forces are taking bullets every day in the name of maintaining this peace.

After demanding more American boots on the ground in Liberia, they are onto something new:

Guardian (UK): Vatican backing sparks GM row

GM is genetically modified food. Row is "debate".

An Italian archbishop, Renato Martino, is the prelate behind the pro-GM lobby and the equivalent of a minister in the Pope's government. His department, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which deals with ethical issues, is preparing to publish a report on the use of biotechnology in agriculture which, the archbishop has already hinted, will give a favourable verdict.

Around the world, some bishops have objected to GMF and, don't believe the Vatican should interfere in their local decisions regarding it.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
New Sins that Cry Out to Heaven Dept.

Washington Post: Cloning Yields Human-Rabbit Hybrid Embryo

Scientists in China have, for the first time, used cloning techniques to create hybrid embryos that contain a mix of DNA from both humans and rabbits, according to a report in a scientific journal that has reignited the smoldering ethics debate over cloning research.

Even so, said Douglas Melton, a Harvard University cell biologist and cloning expert, the work is a big advance because it offers a new system for exploring the mechanisms by which egg cells get adult cells to act in embryonic ways. That could provide deep insights into human development, wound healing and tissue regeneration.

He noted that although this is the first creation of a human "chimeric" embryo -- a reference to the fabulous chimera of Greek mythology, which had a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail -- it is not the first time scientists have blended human cells into lab animals. Some mice, for example, have been endowed with human brain cells or portions of the human immune system for research.

The Chinese work, Melton said, is "extremely interesting, and I hope they pursue it."

R. Alta Charo, an associate dean of law and professor of bioethics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, noted that the work passed muster with Chinese ethics authorities, which had demanded, among other things, that the embryos not be allowed to grow more than 14 days.

"Short of putting one of these embryos into a woman's body for development to term, I don't think this work harms anyone alive," Charo said.

She said the experiments should force opponents of cloning research to identify more clearly than they have until now exactly where they would draw the line against human embryo cloning -- in effect: How human does an embryo have to be to have the moral standing these advocates confer on embryos?

Richard Doerflinger, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he felt certain that the human-rabbit embryos were human enough to deserve protections.

"I think because all the nuclear DNA is human," Doerflinger said, "we'd consider this an organism of the human species."

Required reading: Brave New World

This is so totally evil -- to create human life only to destroy it.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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The Weekly Standard: The Catholic Test, Part 2
Big media has been avoiding the new Democratic religion test, but the blogosphere has answered the bell.

by Hugh Hewitt

08/07/2003 12:00:00 AM

CHARLES CHAPUT, the Archbishop of Denver, issued a stinging rebuke to Catholic senator Richard Durbin and concluded that "a new kind of religious discrimination is very welcome at the Capitol, even among elected officials who claim to be Catholic," and the national news media barely took note. A single Washington Times story cited Chaput's column on the William Pryor nomination, and the sole mention in the Washington Post was contained in a letter to the editor from C. Boyden Gray, who is leading an effort to break the Democratic filibuster of the Catholic Pryor.

The blogosphere did better. Discussions of Chaput's charge broke out at Powerline, The Brothers Judd, The Inn at the End of the World, and InfiniteMonkeys, among others. But the big blogs stayed away from the Chaput statement and from the Pryor controversy generally, touching on them--if at all--in a glancing fashion. Joshua Micah Marshall was the most disingenuous of all, refusing to reference Chaput's statement in either his blog or his column in the Hill, even after we had specifically discussed it on air and off. Instead of attempting to respond to Chaput in an intellectually honest fashion, Marshall quotes me without naming me, describing me as a "fulminating right-wing commentator." Marshall's bad form is the best indicator yet that the hard-left senses that anti-Catholic bigotry is a disastrous tactic.

The blogs that Hewitt mentions are the legal/political blogs not the blogs of Catholic orthodoxy and pro-life topics, but I'll take any tip of the hat from old media to new media.

This story as we pseudo-journalists has legs. Even today in the New York Post Eric Fettman in making the case the Charles "Chuck" Schumer is not anti-Catholic only to wind up proving he is anti-Catholic. Fettman's test basically is "if Schumer says he's not anti-Catholic, then he's not anti-Catholic".

Fettman accuses the Democrats of hypocrisy but not bigotry. Fettman is missing the game Schumer is playing: Schumer wants to deny appointments to the federal judiciary not on a policy basis but because a faithful Catholic is "too far left or too far right". It's the equation of "Catholic" with "extreme right" that's bigoted.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 
Plan B is ready. It's Zyklon B for unborn children

plan-b This is the photo I promised earlier. The advertisment appears on the walls of the New York City subway system. This is the 45th Road station in Queens.

"Plan B" is an emergency contraceptive which has the potency to induce an abortion, that is to expell a fertilized egg after conception has ocurred.

Levonorgestrel is the formal drug name. It is, in theory, only available by prescription, but there are plenty of web sites that will sell it to you without a prescription.

Look at the woman. What emotion is that? fear, anxiety? Look at the guy. What emotion is that in his face. Or is it just a blank expression?

plan-b


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:10 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Reuters/Yahoo Deutschland finds a Flashmob in New York City.

(Narration is in German) You don't find coverage of this in New York City. I leave it to you to figure out why.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:00 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Monday, August 11, 2003
 
BBspot: SCO Group to Shoot Babies

It's a satire about the UNIX/Linux/SCO battles. Nothing to do with the Catholic faith.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Phil Lawler in Catholic World News found an interesting story in the Washington Post (tedious reg. reqd.) on why Archbishop Sean O'Malley OFM Cap cannot be made a cardinal.

Parts of Catholic World News are subscriber-only. You should become a subscriber. Besides being a professional news service that you can trust to report on all things Catholic with honesty and fidelity, it has blog-like features: candid opinions from intelligent and witty Catholics, links to extrernal news sites, comment boxes, and links to great Catholic blogs. (like this one!)

I've been a member of Catholic World News since they launched.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Worth reading: in National Review Corner history of Catholic teaching on slavery refuting Andrew Sullivan.

Thank you, Mark Shea


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wall Street Journal: Gospel of Inclusion? (subscription required)
By KATHERINE KERSTEN

This week, the Episcopal Church's triennial Convention was the site of a media frenzy. On Tuesday, church leaders meeting here took the unprecedented step of approving as bishop a practicing homosexual, the Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. At press time, they seemed poised to give local communities permission to bless same-sex unions.

At first glance, the Episcopal Church seems an unlikely battleground in America's culture wars. Strolling through the exhibits here, one encounters all the trappings of traditional piety: elaborate vestments, elegant chalices, magnificent stained-glass windows.

Yet this church has just tossed aside 2,000 years of bedrock Christian teaching about marriage, the family and sexuality. It has rejected beliefs fundamental not only to Christianity, but to Judaism and Islam. Episcopalians' inability to defend core doctrine suggests that mainline American churches are losing their theological moorings, and increasingly falling prey to the prevailing winds of secular culture.

Testimony in the convention's hearing rooms seemed to bear this out. Speakers who urged approval of homosexual unions did not use the vocabulary or categories of thought of the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer. Instead, they appeared to embrace a new gospel, heavily influenced by America's secular, therapeutic culture. This gospel has two watchwords: inclusion and affirmation. Its message? Jesus came to make us feel good about ourselves.

Adherents of the gospel of inclusion offered arguments like this: "The church should bless same-sex partnerships so everyone feels included." "People will want to join this church if they see others being welcomed." "God is love. He doesn't care about the gender of the people we love."

This week's events in Minneapolis suggest that, in 2003, the three historic bulwarks of Episcopal Church doctrine -- Scripture, tradition and reason -- are crumbling in the face of the gospel of inclusion and affirmation.

To be sure, the new gospel's disciples do not generally jettison Scripture outright. Instead, they radically reinterpret it, using techniques imported from America's post-modern universities. Walter Brueggemann, a theologian quoted in a pro-same-sex-union Episcopal publication, put it like this: Scripture is "the chief authority when imaginatively construed in a certain interpretive trajectory." Approached this way, inconvenient passages can be dismissed as inconsistent with "Jesus' self-giving love."

Tradition fares no better at the hands of the gospel of inclusion. The Episcopal Church has always regarded marriage as the sacrament that sanctifies the "one flesh" union of man and woman. But the new gospel expands the notion of sacrament to include anything that "mediates" the grace or blessing of God and causes us to give thanks. As a result, the Rev. Gene Robinson can describe his relationship with his male partner as sacramental, because "in his unfailing and unquestioning love of me, I experience just a little bit of the kind of never-ending, never-failing love that God has for me."

The new gospel subordinates thinking to "feelings." As a result, its adherents show little concern that approval of homosexual acts renders the church's doctrine on marriage and sexuality largely incoherent. (The Rev. Kendall Harmon of South Carolina has described same-sex unions as "relationships in search of a theology.") Inclusion's disciples have little interest in doctrinal consistency. They are content to proclaim vaguely that "God is doing something new," and to urge other Christians to have faith, because the Holy Spirit is leading the charge.

Is the homosexual question a side issue, largely extraneous to the church's mission? Adherents of the gospel of inclusion insist that it is. In fact, however, this issue goes to the very heart of the Christian mission.

The gospel of inclusion preaches a reconstructed, therapeutic Jesus, who accepts us exactly as we are. Traditional Christianity, however, holds that Jesus calls us to repentance of sins, and to transformation through a new life lived in accordance with God's will.

The gospel of inclusion has little place for repentance or transformation. Thus, it has little place for the central feature of Christianity: Christ's Cross, which brings redemption through suffering. This new gospel may be appealing, for it permits its adherents to "divinize" their own, largely secular agenda. But in a Christian church, it cannot easily coexist with the Gospel of Christ.

Ms. Kersten is a fellow at Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis.

This is another great comment on the Episcopal Church. Google "Katherine Kersten" and read more of her stuff. I was not able to find her religious affiliation.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Opinion Journal: The Way We Live Now
"Sodomy is an abomination before God": These days, it almost sounds silly.

BY MELIK KAYLAN

Most of the "slippery slope" warnings of the last decades have proved tragically accurate despite the mockery that silenced them. From the domino theory, to drugs, divorce, to permissive sexuality, who can deny the devastation wrought by each--broken homes, addictions, AIDS? These are all now viewed as impersonal evolutionary forces, historical breezes with incidental Darwinian byproducts. But they had a beginning, a moral cause to their effect; only the worriers and warners were dismissed as fulminating cranks, indeed as caricatures of Old-Testament fire-breathers. Even now, anyone who tries to connect the dots retroactively is oft-dismissed in the same terms.

Excellent and concise explanation of how this social revolution is unfolding before our eyes.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Town Hall: Robert Novak: Religious Code Words
The Senate was in its August recess last week, but the Knights of Columbus were meeting in Washington. The world's largest Catholic fraternal organization Thursday passed a resolution condemning opposition to federal judicial nominees because of "deeply held beliefs" stemming from their Catholic faith. That follows intense debate on the Senate floor just before the Senate recessed.

On the evening of July 30, the usually circumspect senators engaged in a rare confrontation over religion. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, third-ranking in the Republican leadership and a daily Catholic communicant, accused colleagues of establishing a prohibition for the federal judiciary of anybody with "deep faith in Catholicism, having to subscribe to the church's teaching on abortion."

On May 1 in a Senate Judiciary Committee session, Schumer raised religious questions in connection with the nomination of lawyer J. Leon Holmes as district judge from Arkansas. Holmes has the support of his state's two Democratic senators, but not Chuck Schumer. The New Yorker argued that the conservative religious views of Holmes, a devout Catholic, disqualified him because of disagreements interpreting the separation of church and state. Schumer contended that "religious beliefs cannot dictate government policy, even though they can infuse our values."

That was preparation for Schumer's opposition to Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor for the appellate bench, another conservative Catholic who is the most recent of the filibustered Bush nominees. In the Judiciary Committee June 11, Schumer said Pryor's beliefs "are so well known, so deeply held that it's very hard to believe that they're not going to influence" him on the bench. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, another Judiciary member, also has cited the "deeply held beliefs" standard.

Carl Anderson, chief executive officer of the Knights of Columbus, protested the "deeply held beliefs" description in a July 30 letter to the Judiciary Committee. His organization's resolution passed last Thursday suggested using those words pose a prohibited religious test.

I'm generally not of fan of Robert Novak. I think he's just too close to the establishment Republicans to be a good pundit and he's too much into the "game of politics" (seeing everything as a horse race) but here he is on target and it's nice to see more than just the National Review (who many dismiss as a Catholic cabal) call attention to this.

What a semantic sleight of hand Scuhmer make: God cannot dictate government policy but he can infuse our values.

To that I reply: "Go tell Pharaoh: Let my people go".


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:06 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, August 10, 2003
 
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Photo Credit:Bauer-Griffin.com, New York Post (8/10/2003 page 11). Sorry, no on-line link

Jennifer Lopez walking in Los Angeles

Is she giving witness here to the Gospel? Or is this a fashion accessory?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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(AP Photo) Mel Gibson directing the "Passion" and speaking to James Cavizel. The "double" is on the left.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:05 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com