Saturday, December 06, 2003
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:00 PM Permalink
Friday, December 05, 2003
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:27 PM Permalink
Newsday: 64 Die in Congo From Anti-Sorcery Potion
KINSHASA, Congo -- Congo health officials on Thursday were investigating the poison deaths of 64 people, allegedly from a potion used to ward off evil spirits.
This is a serious story and we pray for the souls of these people.
But I suspect this will just be more grist for the anti-Catholic mill.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:21 PM Permalink
Ann Coulter: Supreme Court Opinions Not Private Enough
THE FIRST killing of an abortion doctor by an anti-abortion activist happened in 1993. Since then, six more people have been killed in attacks on abortion clinics, which is fewer people who ended up dead by being in the vicinity of recently released Weatherman Kathy Boudin. Most of the abortionists were shot or, depending upon your point of view, had a procedure performed on them with a rifle. This brings the total to: seven abortion providers to 30 million fetuses dead, which is also a pretty good estimate of how the political battle is going.I told Santa that I want a talking Ann Coulter doll for Christmas.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:37 AM Permalink
Fox News: Mom Sues School to Allow Nativity Scene
If a Christmas tree can stand in a school's halls during the holidays, then a model of baby Jesus and his manger should also be welcomed, contends a Queens, N.Y., mother who is going to court to prove her point.
No action Thursday -- just a procedural meeting.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:27 AM Permalink
Commercialization of Christmas
Buzz on talk radio today (ABC) against the naked plugging that NBC did for their shows during the ceremony to light the Christmas Tree. One caller said that with all the music they played for 3 hours -- zero traditional Christmas hymns.
At least they have kept the name Christmas while they are at some pains to avoid mentioning the word itself.
The lighting used to be a strictly local deal with only the local WNBC talent and production staff participating. Now's its a big deal for NBC Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, and Telemundo all owned by GE.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 AM Permalink
Thursday, December 04, 2003
BBC: Scotland bans the videotaping of Nativity plays.
Edinburgh's director of education has defended a ban on photographic or video recordings of nativity plays and concerts without the unanimous agreement of all parents.
It's absurd and paranoid. What evidence is there that (a) such videos are being sold on the internet and (b) that paedophiles have any interest in them?
It's a chain of crazy suppositions -- starting with the idea the parents would do anything with the videos except to preserve them for memory.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:19 PM Permalink
What are they putting in the water over there?
A head teacher has warned that newspaper pictures of school children could lead to threats from paedophiles.
Kids around here get their pictures in the papers for sports, academic achievement, community service, and heroism. It's absurd and paranoid to take the honor and recognition from them and their parents for this [apparently bogus] fear.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:08 PM Permalink
Newsday: Arab Population on the Rise in the U.S.
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Raghdaa Ali, who immigrated from Iraq three years ago, has found it easy to adjust to life in this heavily Arab Detroit suburb.
Muslims are my neighbors in New York. And, contrary to the sterotype, many of them have college degrees and professional occupations.
In political debates, it's often asked "Where are the moderate Muslims?" The ones that can, immigrate to the United States.
This is a bit of a contradiction -- unlike Christians, where only access to a Christian Church is a priority, Muslims are obligated to live in a land where there is Muslim religion, culture, law, and state rather than side by side with non-Muslims. Ask a Muslim about that.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:01 PM Permalink
Al-Ahram: Palestinian Christians after Nazareth
"The textbooks basically equate the history of Palestine with the history of the Islamic conquest of Palestine," he says. "The Christian history of Palestine -- as occurred, say, during the Byzantine period -- is not celebrated in the same way. The result is that many Palestinians taking the curriculum will grow up believing that Palestine is historically Muslim with the only 'Christian' references being the Crusades and Napoleon. "I really don't see how this equips Palestinian Muslims to view their Christian compatriots as equals."
Since this was written in 1999 the Christian population of Nazareth has largely fled.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:55 PM Permalink
Modesto Bee: "he began to turn on her and assault her. It was a brutal beating."
This is the case of a police officer who didn't use sufficient force to subdue a suspect. The officer is lucky to be alive.
I wonder if this story will get the national attention that the other story did.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:19 AM Permalink
AP: Guardian: Schiavo Not Likely to Improve
An independent guardian concluded there is "no reasonable medical hope" that a severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die legal battle will improve, according to a report released Tuesday.
Let's pray for all connected with this case.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:14 AM Permalink
Turning the Other Cheek... again
From the time that the Church had Constantine's sword, the Biblical command to "turn the other cheek" has not applied to the obligation to defend others. CCC 2262 puts "turn the other cheek" in the context of anger, hatred, and vengeance. The very next paragraph CCC 2263 denies a sort of suicide-by-not-resisting your murderer with the legitimization of self-defense: personal and national.
While Jesus told the woman caught in adultery not to commit this sin, he praised the faith of a Roman centurion. If Jesus had a point to make about imperial power and military service, that was his opportunity to do so.
The heart of this discussion ought to be proportionality (ie nuking Hiroshsima or "Operation Downfall") not the idea that our Catholic faith requires us "turn the other cheek" -- presumably that would be to offer Al Qaeda Rockefeller Center ("the other cheek") after destroying the World Trade Center ("the cheek"). I find that idea both silly and repugnant.
Let me restate the point that others are alluding to: Catholics are obligated to fight and win this war in a proportional way before there is another successful terrorist attack which will drive the war hawks to a total war on Islam (ie "Crusades 2.0")
There is a danger in doing too little or too much.
I posted this into Mark Shea's comment boxes where it is likely not be archived.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:53 AM Permalink
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
The Immigration Debate
As the child of two immigrants from Ireland, I know there is a hypocritical position that some first- second- and third- generation immigrants have to deny all immigration into the United States. I still see a need for immigration for the good of the US. However, I do not favor open borders with a no questions asked instant citizenship as my bishop apparently does.
I have a problem with one of the open borders arguments: people born here have hit the Lotto or there's no reason to show any favoritism towards the native born -- it was an accident of birth.
My answer to that is what's stopping Mexico City from becoming more like New York?
Why can't any area or any culture adopt what makes New York offer opportunity to millions and apply it to themselves -- and not switch from soccer to baseball?
I lived in Africa in the 70's and traveled outside the US in the 80's and it seemed that when a person decided that they could try harder and move up the ladder there was always someone or something that stood in the way.
It might have been a lack of family (or tribal) connections, a lack of money to payoff a corrupt official, or protected competitor. The United States presents such people with not a democracy but a meritocracy: effort and performance are rewarded here like no where else in the world.
Of course, it always matters who you know as much as what you know -- but connections only open doors -- you have to make your own reputation.
There's prejudice in the United States, but people who are reading about this in India, Peru, or Nigeria are not changing their plans to immigrate to the United States. Not perfect, but better (and maybe the best on earth).
There are two effects: one is that the United States gets a lot of people searching for meritocracy but there's a talent drain from the countries of origin.
This isn't the whole story or even my whole opinion but it's a start.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 PM Permalink
One observation that I have to make is that when it comes to smut, Catholics have generally let the evangelical protestants carry the water. It is another sign that the bishops have lost moral authority. I blog the bishops of other nations who use their moral authority effectively. The Catholic communtity of bloggers has "episcopal spine alerts" which are so infrequent that each one is blog-worthy.
In fact, I'm afraid to do the math: have there been more criticisms of pornography from the Catholic Church or more disclosures of the posession of pornography by the Catholic clergy?
To the issue itself, the reaction that "It's no big deal" demonstrates how effective the idea of pushing the envelope is with respect to changing (or destroying) the idea of modesty as a virtue. It just gets harder to shock people.
To get some laughter from teens, try telling them that one of the early goals of feminism was to refine men: to make them not see women as sex objects.
As we all know, the exact opposite ocurred. The culture tide washed women with testosterone and corsened them.
One hopeful sign is that the Victoria's Secret show on CBS had poor ratings. On the other hand, it was suggested that it only had poor ratings because it was tame compared to the raw porn available on the internet. The internet as Dennis Miller remarked has as its greatest contribution to culture was to present free porn to teenagers.
Another reason for my bringing up the subject is that Rush Limbaugh mentioned that in his treatment center more people were being treated for sexual addiction than for drug abuse.
I found this Catholic website pornnomore which is an apostolate for pornography addiction.
Porn is a gateway to worse evils: patronizing strip clubs, promiscuity, adultery, prostitution, etc.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:34 AM Permalink
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Update: Fire Department Story
Agents are already going after the women for the book and film rights to this story.
The fire fighters union has a good point to make: prior to 9/11 the union would decide how to offer assistance and assign counselors or firefighters to the task of working with the widows and children. The city took this function over and firefighters were paid for this as assignment initially. Later, when told to go back home and stay away from the widow and her kids by their supervisors, there was no consequence for disobeying this order.
There probably be a law passed forbidding this policy in the future.
In Catholic moral teaching and common sense, you should avoid temptation.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:16 PM Permalink
In time for St. Juan Diego (Tuesday December 9) and Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Friday December 12)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:16 AM Permalink
Monday, December 01, 2003
(1) New York Post: Why Flames of Passion are Stoked
December 1, 2003 -- No one should be surprised that married firemen assigned to console 9/11 widows are actually falling in love with them, too - it's all part of their "rescue fantasies," top shrinks say.(2) New York Post: FDNY Wives Get Burned
December 1, 2003 -- EXCLUSIVE It's the FDNY's "dirty little secret." At least a dozen of New York's Bravest - some of them assigned to look after Sept. 11 widows - have left their wives for the spouses of their comrades killed in the terror attacks, sources told The Post.(3) New York Post: Hero Hubby 'Killed' His Marriage
December 1, 2003 -- On Sept. 12, 2001, firefighter Gerry Koenig and his wife, Mary, were slated to start a new life: They were to sign papers to buy a 14-acre spread upstate, and planned to build their dream home there.(4) New York Post: Kids lost Firefighter Dad
December 1, 2003 -- On a recent afternoon, Kristin Zazulka, 18, and her 8-year-old sister watched from the window as their father walked hand-in-hand with another young girl to their grandmother's house next door.Comment: All these stories do not use the word adultery. Since when did it become politically incorrect to do so? I had to blog this because it contains this wonderful 21st century capsule of the secular concept of marriage:
I didn't leave my family. I left my wife.Another facet of these stories, written by two female reporters of the New York Post, is there's no judgment on the widows -- it looked to me almost as if it was an entitlement of losing a firefighter husband, you get a new one.
The firefighters mentioned in the story: Gerry Koenig and John Zazulka declined to give their side of the story.
I didn't want to blog this as I think it was a cliche and hyped. I was surprised. This story dominated the television news and Mayor Bloomberg discussed it before the press: "This doesn't belong on the front page".
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:49 PM Permalink
Your CRS contribution pushing the invisible hand
By In-Sung Yoo, USA TODAY
If you are interested in buying this stuff go to Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Gourmet Coffee
I know first hand how free trade prices can impoverish third world farmers -- but I don't know how to improve conditions without becoming an efficient producer. Fair trade can only go against the flow of the market so far.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:23 PM Permalink
UPDATE: Medical Examiner: Newborn Found Dead at Brooklyn Church was Delivered Alive
By Lauren Glassberg
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 PM Permalink
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Newsday: Baby's Body Found in Brooklyn Church
The body of a lifeless newborn wrapped in a holiday shopping bag was found outside a Brooklyn church yesterday morning by an usher who was getting the parish ready for Mass.
Some earlier AP reports used the term "fetus", it's clear that this was a newborn or stillborn baby from the follow-up stories.l
Gerritsen Beach is one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest areas of Brooklyn.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:44 PM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:15 PM Permalink
You might be safer in Baghdad than in a Wal-Mart
A mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:54 AM Permalink