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Saturday, August 23, 2003
 
Reuters: Convicted Pedophile Priest Geoghan Dies in Prison
BOSTON (Reuters) - John Geoghan, a defrocked Boston-area priest and convicted child rapist who was a central figure in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, was killed in prison on Saturday, a Boston radio station reported.

According to the report on WBZ radio, prison officials said Geoghan was injured in a fight at the prison in Shirley, Massachusetts, and died a few hours later.

Geoghan, 67, was sent to prison last year after being found guilty of having molested a boy while the two swam together.

His death comes as the Catholic Church has offered to pay $65 million to settle hundreds of sexual abuse charges filed by young men and women against the church.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents many young men who say they were molested by Geoghan, said he was shocked and surprised to hear Geoghan had died in prison.

"My clients would rather have seen John Geoghan be punished in a way seen fit by society," he said. "They would have rather seen him endure the rigors of two more trials and endure the pain of more prison sentences."

Last year Geoghan received the maximum sentence of nine to 10 years in prison but was expected to serve only six as the balance of the term was suspended.

He didn't deserve to die. He was killed by another inmate, Joseph Druce, who is already convicted of murder and serving for it. Had the death penalty been available and applied to Druce, he wouldn't have been alive to kill Geoghan.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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This is a test of my Amazon Associates Bookstore. Mark Shea is too humble to keep promoting his own book, so I will recommend it here. Trimumph is an excellent history of the Catholic Church full of subtle humor and it is now available in paperback

Later on I hope to expand it to a full bookshelf.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:24 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Friday, August 22, 2003
 
Snopes: Nine months after the Great Blackout of 1965, the birth rate in New York City increased dramatically.

FALSE.

And, of course, everyone is on birth control now, so this makes it even more unlikely in 2003.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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lara our-lady Diocese claims relics stolen by former shrine worker
An attorney representing the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse on Thursday filed a theft complaint with La Crosse Police claiming that when an employee of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe left her position last year, she took 60 relics with her. According to the police complaint, filed by Attorney Jim Birnbaum on behalf of the diocese, the woman worked at the shrine at 5250 Justin Road, from July 1 to Aug. 8, 2002.

After her resignation, she "took 60 relics, religious artifacts usually from saints."


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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(to borrow the phrase from The Weekly Standard) THIS IS NOT A PARODY

UK Herald: Holy Smoke! Attending Catholic Mass may be hazardous to your health

For centuries it has played an important role in spiritual worship, or simply been used to create a relaxing atmosphere in the home.

But now fears have been raised that incense may pose a cancer threat to the altar boys and girls who regularly inhale it while serving at funerals.

Dr Jim McDaid, a minister of state in the Irish government's transport ministry, yesterday highlighted the health risk posed by its use

The Irish Roman Catholic Church said it would treat seriously the concerns of Dr McDaid, who claimed altar servers were at risk because they inhaled the carcinogenic substance when it is used at funeral masses.

However, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said that although it would keep an open mind on the issue there would need to be more evidence that using incense for short periods was hazardous before it considered halting its use.

Where to begin?
  • Where's the scientific evidence of this hazard?
  • Are cancer wards full of monks and nuns who have had long exposure to incense?
  • Off all the possible sources of atmospheric pollution hazards -- is this one at the top of the list now?
  • This doesn't rise to the level of junk science.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Yet another fire in my neighborhood!

NY1: Four-Alarm Blaze In Queens Injures Seventeen Firefighters

A nice Irish pub Bloom's with a James Joyce theme has burned down. review

Linked story also has a video clip. The subway line should look familiar to you. It's been in several movies, most recently Spiderman.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, August 21, 2003
 
Chile: Vatican flag burned in front of Cathedral

A Vatican flag is set on fire by gay activists during a protest against the Roman Catholic Church's rejection of same sex marriages, in front Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, Chile, Friday, Aug. 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin)
Today we're burning a flag. Tomorrow we're going to burn you. Subtle message, eh?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Ceremonial Deism: The First Amendment Reduced to the Absurd

Lynch v. Donnelly: Town is allowed to display Nativity Scene.

The Court found that the display, viewed in the context of the holiday season, was not a purposeful or surreptitious effort to advocate a particular religious message. The Court found that the display merely depicted the historical origins of the Holiday and had "legitimate secular purposes." The Court held that the symbols posed no danger of establishing a state church and that it was "far too late in the day to impose a crabbed reading of the [Establishment] Clause on the country."

In the dissent in this case William Brennan used the phrase "ceremonial deism". This strange phrase is an attempt to reconcile all the obvious references to God in public life -- like "In God We Trust" and the oath "...so help me God." which are tolerated as "ceremonial deism" -- and not the "establishment of a religion" like the allegation is made regarding the Ten Commandments monument.

Another phrase is "rote repetition" but both add up to the same thing: an otherwise prohibited expression of religion is toleration because it (apparently) lacks any religious meaning.

I think the controversy in Montgomery serves the purpose of waking up people who have been asleep to the realization that there is a unrelenting attack on the public expression of religion -- by groups who conceal their Agenda under some patriotic-sounding names.

Religious freedom is at risk. The only religion that will be allowed will be inside homes or churches, synogogues, or mosques.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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My first bleg

When did the common word "practical" get replaced with the awkward "praticable" and do they mean the same thing? I did a little google seaching of this and found they get used interchangably even within the same paragraph.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, August 20, 2003
 
Blog connections you could never imagine: "Catholic" and "Linux/SCO dispute"

IDG: Linux advocate: More SCO evidence flawed

The obfuscated sample, which contains networking software, could have been legitimately copied in the Linux source code, because it has been released under a BSD license, Perens said.

But the code was created from scratch and not copied from any version of Unix, according to the Linux developer who contributed it.

Jay Schulist, a senior software engineer with Pleasanton, California's Bivio Networks Inc. says he wrote the 500 lines of code in 1997 as part of a volunteer project for the Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools in Wisconsin. "I used it for helping a local school district in my home town to connect their old Apple Macintosh machines to the Internet," he said.

Schulist wrote the code, based on the publicly available specifications created by Lawrence Berkeley Labs, he said. He has never seen the AT&T source code, he added.

The Linux hacker expressed surprised that his contribution would be singled out by SCO. "I have no idea why they would even chose my code," he said. "If they had done any research at all, they would have realized that there was no other way to implement the actual filtering engine."

Catholic schools producing open source software -- yet another reason to financially support Catholic schools.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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New York Post: PHISH'S BASSIST IN A JAM
A member of the multi-platinum "jam band" Phish has been accused of endangering the welfare of a minor after he was caught taking "art photos" of a Hells Angel's 9-year-old daughter after a concert in Jones Beach, authorities said yesterday.

Bassist Mike Gordon, 38, was arrested Aug. 11 after friends of the girl's family found the two in a secluded boathouse in a dark backstage area of the open-air Jones Beach Theater.

The girl's mother and father - he is a member of the Hells Angels - became alarmed after she disappeared, and members of the motorcycle gang reportedly beat Gordon up and held him until police arrived.

I don't think that appeals to keep things quiet for the sake of the band, and a promise that Gordon would obtain some psychological help for his disease were well-received by the Hell's Angels father.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Local priests urge optional celibacy
Married men could ease shortage, 163 clerics say in letter

More than 160 priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have signed a letter to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urging that the priesthood be opened to married men, organizers said Monday.

I do think it's impressive because it's a risky thing, and any priest would think twice before signing his name. And the fact that that many did, it tells you that there is a groundswell of opinion. - Dean Hoge, sociologist at Catholic University of America

It is the first effort by priests anywhere in the country to bring up the topic in more than 25 years, church experts said, and it is bound to be controversial for some Catholics in the Milwaukee area.

I didn't see this discussed in my favorite blogs. I hope this ignites the topic in St. Blog's.

Celibacy for priests is a good thing. It is a discipline of the Church and therefore reformable. The link to MJS above links to the actual text of the letter -- but don't bother clicking. The reason for the letter is a guess on the part of the priests that if the requirement of celibacy was removed, there would be more candidates for the priesthood. This is an old and unpersuasive argument.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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NY1: Queens Warehouse Gutted By Three-Alarm Fire
Firefighters are trying to figure out what caused a three-alarm fire that gutted a warehouse in Woodside, Queens, Tuesday night.

A restaurant supply warehouse at 60th Street and Roosevelt Avenue caught fire at about 9 p.m. last night. It took firefighters hours to get the flames under control.

The owner says three restaurants were located in the back of the building.

A man who works in a store near the damaged building says the fire just kept growing.

“There were a lot of firefighters in here, and I thought after five minutes it was ok. But after one hour, two hour, there was more and more burning,” said the neighbor.

No serious injuries were reported in connection with the blaze, although several firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

The owner is wrong. There are no restaurants located at the back of the building. It's a mystery to me why he would say such an obvious lie as anyone familiar with the area knows the nearest thing to a restaurant is a SUBWAY sandwich restaurant over a block away which was undamaged.

Real Networks video link


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Yahoo/Retuers: Who Says They Cleaned Up Times Square?

Adult film actress Jenna Jameson is shown on a three-story billboard advertisement at the northern end of Times Square in New York, August 20, 2003. Times Square, once a notorious pornogrphy district, has in recent years been revived as a family friendly tourist destination. The billboard, which went up August 19, promotes Jameson's web site. REUTERS/Peter Morgan

In contrast to what is holy in Montgomery, Alabama we have this display overlooking Times Square -- which as anyone who has been to the area in the last 10 years knows -- is thoroughly transformed into a middle-america mall of stores, hotels, and theaters.

It got mentioned in the New York television and radio news cycles today.

UPDATE: My good friends at Gawker thought it blog-worthy


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Columbus GA WTVM: Busload arrested and led away from the Ten Commandments

Sean Hannity has called this "the last lap" for people opposed to religion in public life.

I don't think it is the apocalypse but I was surprised that neither appeal to the Federal Circuit Court or to the Supreme Court granted a stay to the order of U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has no other legal remedy. Thompson has the initiative now, either to hold Moore personally in contempt or the State of Alabama, -- by fine or imprisonment and (or) to to immediately enforce the order.

In terms of enforcment, it works pretty much like the civil rights days of the 1960's. Armed United States Marshalls would arrive and enforce the order of the court, or if met with resistance, Thomspon would have recourse to the National Guard and the regular Army.

The Attorney General of the State of Alabama issued a statement that he would obey a federal order to remove the Ten Commandments.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:56 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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A fire a block away from my house -- no injuries, thanks be to God

fire-crowd

The crowd gathers nearby

fire-interview

A interview of the owners of a burning building across the street from this Chinese Restaurant. (open for business)

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A reporter (Ti-Wah Chang) for WNBC New York ("Saints and Sinners" in the background)

fire-equipment

Lots of fire, police, and EMS equipment.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:22 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
Tolerance for Me but not for you

AP, News 5 Cleveland: Man Assaulted After Sermon Against Homosexuality

WESTLAKE, Ohio -- A church janitor suspects three men beat him because the pastor preached against homosexuality, according to police in this Cleveland suburb.

Richard Bilski, 49, of Sheffield Lake, told police that the unidentified men assaulted him Sunday morning outside the nondenominational Church on the Rise after demanding to know when Pastor Paul Endrei would arrive.

Bilski said the men then fled, one yelling, "This is a message for Pastor Paul."

Capt. Guy Turner said Monday that police had no way of knowing the motive. But Bilski and Endrei said they believe the men were retaliating for an Aug. 10 sermon in which the pastor called homosexuality a sin.

Endrei preached about the Rev. Gene Robinson, who became the first openly gay Episcopalian confirmed as a bishop.

"I told the congregation, 'The Gospel according to Gene Robinson is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ,"' he said. The point of his sermon was that "we love the homosexual, but we hate the sin."

Buck Harris, a former host of a gay-themed radio talk show, said such comments can fuel hate crimes. "If they don't preach tolerance, they are preaching violence," Harris said.

So according to Buck, it was a pre-emptive attack.

UPDATE

As I expected, no major news outlet picked it up.

More coverage in Christianity Today and WorldNetDaily


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Still milking the blackout story for a Catholic angle

This is from the very New York blog Gawker

We have a winner in Gawker's search for dirty blackout stories. A very special reader writes in with this little gem:
"Emboldened by blackout booze and the quickly fading rush of having been stuck on the roof earlier in the evening, my boyfriend and I climbed the stairs of a church near his apartment on the Upper West Side and boffed against the dungeon-like rectory door. Alas, we used protection, so there will be no blackout-baby Satan-spawn for us next May."

That's sweet. We'd like to double-date with the happy couple.

My first reaction is to pray for these people. No. I'm not outraged. I have to add this -- since more rectories -- including the midtown Manhattan St. Patrick's and St. Agnes have security cameras, I caution that this behavior should not be attempted when there is electrical power unless one was a permanent record of the event preserved.

It is the mortal sin of fornication, and the sacrilege of doing it in a holy place. It is as if they intended to commit as many sins as possible in one act.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:04 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Monday, August 18, 2003
 
While I'm on my monster movie focus...

The Manhattan exodus brought to mind three great SF films.

The Day the Earth Stood Still: In this film, the alien, Klaatu, not only shuts off the electric but interferes with anything working on the principles of electro-magnetism. It seemed fantastic in its day, but such a weapon exists in reality now, the EM-pulse bomb.

Godzilla: The original version and the remakes had scenes of a disorganized movement of masses of people through city streets -- fleeing in panic. Well, there wasn't panic on 8/15 but it was not a population following an evacuation plan -- because there is none.

Kronos: A power-hungry monster marches across the United States attacking all the sources of electrical and nuclear power.

My predictions about the ultimate cause:

  • Human error will be the root cause.
  • Some safety systems to prevent this type of event were disabled.
  • Many systems actually worked and isolated areas from the failure cascade.

A brief account: At the Albany steam generator


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, August 17, 2003
 
Mother and Grandfather.

Is the Frankenstein-like appearance of the model a coincidence? You be the judge.

gucci-with-baby frankenstein


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Images of a powerless New York

Reuters Slide Show: on the blackout.

And the following images as courtesy of Reuters and AFP:


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com