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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, May 29, 2004
 
A Lesson from Our History -- 139 Years Ago

Headquarters, Cavalry Forces, Military Division of West Mississippi

New Orleans, La., June 4, 1865.

...The country is filled with bands of armed marauders, composed mostly of deserters from the late rebel armies, who have returned to find their families suffering from the neglect and persecution of the wealthy leaders, at whose instigation they joined the rebel ranks.

The poor people, including the returned Confederate private soldiers, are, as a general thing, now loyal; but the far greater portion of the wealthy classes are still very bitter in their sentiments against the Government, and clutch on to slavery with a lingering hope to save at least a relic of their favorite yet barbarous institution for the future.

The former class I most earnestly commend to the forbearance and generosity of the Government, but the spirit of resistance still manifest in the latter should by some means be entirely broken down, and the false pride built upon the institution of slavery must be completely humbled before they can become a truly peaceful and contented people.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Benjamin H. Grierson Brevet Major-General, USA


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:30 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Friday, May 28, 2004
 
Cardinal Keeler Washes His Hands

Baltimore Sun: Cardinal Keeler calls for keeping politics out of Communion Issue is between Catholic and conscience, he says

Addressing a national controversy for the first time, Baltimore's Cardinal William H. Keeler said he opposes an attempt by some bishops to politicize Communion and deny the sacrament to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.

Keeler said in an interview this week that it was not the business of bishops to choose who receives Communion. Instead, he said he supports church policy that individual Catholics should determine whether they are in a state of grace with the church before partaking in the Eucharist, the heart of Catholic worship.

"Our position is ... Catholics have a responsibility to examine their own conscience and see if they are in a state that is appropriate for the reception of the sacrament," he said. "We don't need bishops to get into the act."

I wrote the following on Amy Welborn's Open Book right after I checked my business email.

The Cardinal is wrong.

It is now and has been the role of the Bishop. This is supported by sacred scripture, sacred tradition, canon law, councils, and papal documents.

The consciences of so many Americans have become defective that it is time for the bishops "to get into the act" as Keeler describes his duty to God.

It's time to save these souls.

Some more observations:

Who was given the power to bind and to loose? Who was given the power to forgive sins in the name of Jesus Lord and Savior? The bishops.

This is a de facto abdication of a grave responsibility to publicly address the unrepentant sinner who boldly announces My conscience is clear.

At this point, Keeler seems unwilling to hold the public political conviction that the there is a legal right to abortion is a sin.

As Canon 915 states: [those] who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion

The Action Plan:

  • To declare that such a public political conviction is sinful.
  • And if the matter is grave, and there has been sufficient reflection, and that consent is given.
  • Finally to identify such politicians.

I truly believe that it is a scandal in itself to agree with these politicians that a person's conscience has integrity regardless of defect or contradiction to the clear teaching of the Church. A malformed conscience is a dangerous thing to have. This is the essence of moral relativism. The bishop's apparent acquiescence to this is regrettable.

CCC 1783. Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:29 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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AP: Pope Worries About 'Soulless' U.S. Life
Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops Friday that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a "soulless vision of life."

To fight this, the pontiff argued, the U.S. church must study contemporary culture to find a way to appeal to youths. He made his remarks to bishops from Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee who were making a periodic visit to the Vatican (news - web sites).

The American church "is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world," John Paul said.

"Taking up this challenge, however, will require a realistic and comprehensive reading of the 'signs of the times,' in order to develop a persuasive presentation of the Catholic faith and prepare young people especially to dialogue with their contemporaries about the Christian message and its relevance to the building of a more just, humane and peaceful world."

John Paul added: "An effective proclamation of the Gospel in contemporary Western society will need to confront directly the widespread spirit of agnosticism and relativism which has cast doubt on reason's ability to know the truth, which alone satisfies the human heart's restless quest for meaning."

All bishops must visit the Vatican every five years. This year is the Americans' turn, and several regional delegations already have met with the pope.

I'm trying to meet the challenge with my own kids, my students, my blog readers.

I wonder if the Pope needed to say this because of his observation of the United States per se or moreover because he believes the bishops need to told that they have neglected this.

Also, I'm a bit of a broken record on this point: Today, the problem isn't moral relativism. We're so beyond that. It's really an indifference to matters spiritual and moral -- in favor of the material and expedient.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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New York Times: Cardinal Law Given Post at Vatican
Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who was forced to resign as leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston after a long and painful sexual abuse scandal involving clergy members, was chosen by Pope John Paul II on Thursday to head a basilica in Rome.
I neglected to get this story in my own blog yesterday as the story grew and grew in Amy Welborn's Open Book. I'll enter my first comment from there here:

"Respect" is a code word here for avoidance of condemnation. Law deserves to be condemned not honored for what he has done.

Law did evil. By his own admission he knew what the the world didn't know -- these priests had molested children and he placed them in a position to molest others.

Whatever disrespect or dishonor is given to him he has brought upon himself by his own actions.

Law is the victim of nothing except his own arrogance. Law is the perpertrator-enabler par excellance.

If Law has any human decency left he should decline the assignment as an undeserved honor.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:22 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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NY1: Dead Fetus Found Behind Manhattan Elementary School
The remains of a fetus were found behind a Manhattan elementary school Thursday morning.

The discovery was made just before 6 a.m. on a walkway behind P.S. 140. The school is located at 123 Ridge Street on the Lower East Side.

Police have not revealed the sex of the fetus, or the cause of death.

So far, no arrests have been made, and a police investigation is underway.

Please pray for this child, the parents, the person who found the child, the police and emergency workers. We hope that in death this child receives the dignity which he was not given in life and trust in God's mercy.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, May 27, 2004
 
When voting, think of the big picture

In 1986 pro-choice Ed Zschau defeated pro-life Bruce Hershensohn in the Republican primary US Senate in California. Many of the pro-lifers stayed home on election day to give Senator Alan Cranston his last Senate term in a 51-49 victory, the smallest margin of victory since then by the way. Cranston went on to architect the rejection of Regan's nominee to the Supreme Court Robert Bork in 1987 and then retire in disgrace in 1991. Anthony Kennedy was appointed in Bork's place. Look at the big picture: We need every vote in the Senate to get the a pro-life majority on the Court. Bush reversed every pro-abortion executive order from the Clinton era. Bush signed the partial birth abortion bill into law. Bush is committed to appoint to the Supreme Court nominees with the the temperment of Scalia and Thomas.

Vote for the candidates who will give Bush the votes to get a prolife majority on the court.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Turner Classic Movies:

The Singing Nun

98 mins.

Debbie Reynolds in a story inspired by the Belgian nun who turned "Dominique" into a hit record. Greer Garson, Chad Everett, Agnes Moorehead, Ricardo Montalban. Nicole: Katharine Ross. Sister Mary: Juanita Moore. Dominic: Ricky Cordell. Arlien: Michael Pate. Fitzpatrick: Tom Drake. Marauder: Charles Robinson. Henry Koster directed.

Whatever happened to the Singing Nun? read here. and see pictures here.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Galway Advertiser: Too many treating Spanish Arch as public toilet says McNelis
If the Spanish Arch is the much loved international symbol of Galway city, then why are its own young citizens treating it like a public urinal and a beer garden?

This is the question from Fine Gael's North and East Ward candidate Neil McNelis who has hit out at the litter and lager louts he says congregate in the area on fine days.

Over the past week Mr McNelis says the amount of litter being thrown around in the area, and the numbers of people involved in public drinking has mushroomed due to the fine weather. "The Spanish Arch is turning into Buckfast Plaza," he told the Galway Advertiser, "with litter being strewn everywhere and young men urinating against the wall of the Civic Museum."

Perhaps this is material for a great new coming-of-age-in-Galway autobiography or novel.

What must Frank, Malachy, Michael and Alphie McCourt be thinking if they hear of this.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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My understanding of Communion

My understanding of Communion is that we believe the same things about essentials. What we disagree with is not essential.

If someone claims to be Catholic and denies the dignity of the unborn, I'm not in communion with him or her.

If someone claims to be Catholic and asserts that a marriage is possible between persons of the same sex then I am not in communion with him or her.

Furthermore, if a person is in communion with them then they might agree with me on the above points, but don't agree with me that it is essential to the Catholic faith that we agree on the dignity of the unborn and the nature of marriage.

Denying that these are essential to being Catholic and believing as a Catholic breaks Communion.

Looking around the United States with the Rainbow Sash people (RSM press release)-- symbolic of dissent from Church teaching -- I think that some bishops will declare their Communion with heretics this Pentecost by permitting them to receive Holy Communion and break communion with the people who assert the Church's teaching on the nature of marriage to be essential.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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The Big Picture

I think it all started with the failure of the economic system in 1929 and the 30's to provide for the people. The social contract basically failed.

FDR started the United States on the slippery slope by changing the relationship of the government to people in fundamental ways. The only checks the government used to write in the past were to its direct employees, to its suppliers, and to its bondholders.

Now everyone is looking for Where's mine?

Taxes began to climb, and materialism set in -- prompted by 60 hours per week of television.

There's a puritanical streak to sterile sex, and contraception both as a activity on the fringe of society and then on the mainstream in the NorthEast United States, fueled by a whipped-up fear of a population explosion.

More cars, less kids. Lots of kids is positively downmarket.

With only one or two kids to care for, Mom could out-source child care.

Johnson created the Great Society in the midst of the Vietnam War. And we're in it so deep now, that no sane politician could think of unwinding it.

Conservatives only disagree among themselves with the tactics to slow the growth of it.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:31 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
 
Closing Parishes: Nationwide

One of the phenomenon that's not often mentioned in these closing parishes: some of them may have a huge number of Catholics who have the most tenuous connections to the Church. Let me explain: A Catholic is obligated to attend Mass on Sunday and contribute to the maintenance of the parish (and typically this is done by a weekly contribution made in an envelope).

There may be but a handful of those Catholics and the parish may have a school, a sports program, outreach to the poor, hundreds of kids in sacramental preparation (whose parents don't attend Mass), etc. In other words, a parish that's lost its way or has a minimal liturgical participation.

The usual reasons apply, of course: a shortage of priests, a Catholic population that's moved away and not replaced, and the need of the diocese to raise cash for the payment of the claims of clergy sexual abuse.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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How the scandal touched my parish
Queens Chronicle: New Bishop Inducted As Diocese Faces Yet More Claims Of Abuse

...Another defendant, Father James Frost, allegedly abused a plaintiff over a period of 10 years, beginning when the alleged victim was 10 years old and continuing through three reassignments, including St. Sebastian's in Woodside...

I didn't want to mention this priests name because I couldn't find an online reference. This turned up when I was looking for something else.

I speculate the the pastor at the time of Fr. Frost's assignment was not told of the accusation and that much later he came to be aware of it, and it poisoned the relationship between the bishop and pastor. Considering our parish is the largest in Queens and perhaps the largest in the diocese, it seemed strange to me (in the 90's) that for several years the bishop visited often, and then we never saw him again in the parish, only one of the auxiliaries.

Now it appears that Fr. Frost is no longer in the diocese. Wherever he is, he should be suspended according to the Dallas norms. The pastor was reassigned and the bishop has retired. I have no other information than this article.

In January 2003, we had another sexual abuse scandal. Details are here in The Times NewsWeekly I don't know the disposition of the case.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thomas More Law Center v. National Right to Life Committee

Pro-Life Leader's Blistering Attack on the National Right to Life Committee

ANN ARBOR, MI — A “barnacle on the pro-life ship of state,” “frequent embarrassment to the pro-life cause,” and an organization that “has rarely met a compromise it didn’t like,” were some of the words used to describe the National Right to Life Committee by Notre Dame Law Professor Emeritus and respected national pro-life leader, Charles E Rice.

Rice’s unflattering descriptions of NRLC were part of a recent commentary published by The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly focusing on the behind the scenes efforts by NRLC to defeat South Dakota legislation intended to ban abortion and challenge the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The legislation, HB 1191, was introduced earlier this year, falling one vote shy of passing after representatives of the National Right to Life Committee and its state affiliate advocated its defeat by arguing that the time is not right.

“Contrary to NRLC, HB 1191 was not futile exercise,” said Rice. The legislation “would have presented to the Supreme Court a two part question it has not yet resolved: Is the unborn child in fact a living human being? May a state so find as a matter of state law and extend to that human being the protections of its state constitution so as to protect that unborn person’s life to a greater extent than the protections afforded to it by the 14th Amendment?”

In his April 29th commentary, Rice explained, “HB 1191 was consistent with Catholic teaching on abortion, including the principle of double effect.” Rice noted however that immediately after the bill was announced, NRLC spokespersons and officers of their state affiliate opposed passage of the bill as not being the right time.

The legislation, making abortion a crime with no exceptions, was passed by the South Dakota House of Representatives 54-14, only to be upended in a series of political maneuvers in the Senate by NRLC Board Member and South Dakota State Senator Jay Duenwald, who urged legislators to abandon the ban on abortion arguing that the time was not right to challenge Roe v. Wade.

Rice explains, “NRLC, as an organization has rarely met a compromise it did not like. In this case, the South Dakota affiliate of NRLC actively derailed the useful and sound, no compromise bill as passed by the House of Representatives.”

In closing, Rice noted, “The NRLC is too frequently an embarrassment to the pro-life cause. “The Thomas More Law Center is a fighting force, “ continued Rice. “The future of the pro-life movement belongs to warriors like these.”

Rice’s full commentary can be read here.

A full report on the South Dakota abortion ban legislation and NRLC’s efforts to defeat it can be found here.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:08 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Stop the presses, I agree with Don Hewitt.

Jim Leher Newshour: Interview with Don Hewitt

I am horrified that everybody else seems to be doing nothing other than using their news to promote reality television, quiz shows. I find that shocking. But, hell, come on, it's their network. If that's what they want, I'm in no position to do anything about it, except to make sure that they don't use 60 Minutes for that.

I sit in front on the TV with the web site of a good news radio station in front of me, the New York Post, and maybe Neswday or the Daily News -- I can't believe they can't fill a 30 mins. or 60 mins. long news program with material from the news.

The lastest phony news from Survivor, The Apprentice, American Idol can take 15 minutes after the headlines and before the weather and sports.

Come on -- this is New York and there's always something happening here.

Let them buy commericals like everyone else.

I switch the channel or turn the TV off on the first segment they do to promote some reality TV show.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

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Monday, May 24, 2004
 
I think they all forgot how to fight

If it would help I would send biographies of some warrior bishops: Bishop Carroll, Archbishop "Dagger" John Hughes, Archbishop Sheen, and even Father Charles Coughlin or Father Daniel Berrigan S.J. to some of these weak bishops how it's done.

Leave aside the fact that you are bishops, and they are politicians. There's a a process called debate and you use debate to change the hearts and minds of people on moral questions.

Is it really enough to have a committee prepare of a kitchen sink statement like Faithful Citizenship and say Mission Accomplished?

With all the dicussion focused on the reception of Holy Communion, let's not lose sight of the millions of souls at risk.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:30 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Did you like Manhattan? Did you like Pac-man? Then you will love them together.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:02 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, May 23, 2004
 
Touchstone Magazine: Praying and Staying Together.
Many Christians despair at the prospect of raising children in a culture that seems hell-bent. Is there any realistic hope that we can build Christian families when so much in the popular culture undermines our faith? The messages about life, love, sex, “values,” and virtue promoted through television, film, advertisements, the weekly magazines and the daily newspaper, even teachers in our children’s classrooms, are not only powerful and pervasive—they tempt and seduce even Christians who want to resist them.

A got a direct mail piece from Touchstone Magazine and looked inside. It's a conference on October 21–23, 2004 at The Conference Center at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.

Speakers include Thomas Howard whom I've heard speak several times. He's excellent. And Rod Dreher whom I corresponded with several times but have never met.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sign of the Cross

AFP Photo

Thai knot : A US Marine sporting a tattoo on his back prepares for his first traditional Thai kickboxing fight at the 2004 Cobra Gold war games headquarters in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province. (AFP/Saeed Khan)


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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"What are you going to do, go down to every rectory at midnight and check to see if the priests are alone? Or if there are little boys around?"
That would be a good start.

Albany Times-Union: Abuses hard to prevent, ex-bishop says

The former bishop of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese insists there was little he could have done to prevent the clergy sexual abuse that plagued the diocese in the 1970s and continues to haunt church leaders today.

"In those days, we had 550 priests," the Rev. Edwin B. Broderick said. "What are you going to do, go down to every rectory at midnight and check to see if the priests are alone? Or if there are little boys around? They all take a vow of celibacy."

The remarks by Broderick, who headed the diocese for eight years before Bishop Howard Hubbard took over in 1977, are his most extensive since the scandal erupted in 2002. Nearly 80 percent of the abuse documented by the diocese dates from the 1970s or earlier, with some cases occurring on Broderick's watch even though came to light long after he left Albany.

Nineteen priests have been removed from the ministry since 1950 and nearly $4 million has been paid out in settlements and services to victims.

The 87-year-old Broderick, who is retired and living on Park Avenue in New York City, spoke to a Times Union reporter after he presided over confirmation ceremonies Wednesday at Holy Spirit Church in East Greenbush. Broderick still travels north several times a year to assist Hubbard in dispensing sacraments to the 400,000-member diocese.

Broderick was originally a priest of the New York Archdiocese and at age 50, auxilliary bishop under Cardinal Spellman. Serving 7 years as bishop of Albany, he retired in 1976 at age 59. This is his 28th year in retirement.

Why do I think he's closer to 28th Street than 128th Street?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tampering in God's Domain Dept.
AP: China Faces `Major Threat' From Gender Imbalance - Xinhua China faces a "major threat" from a growing gender imbalance that could leave millions of men without wives, state media said Monday, highlighting official concern about the impact of a one-child birth policy that has led to rampant female infanticide.

China has about 117 boys for every 100 girls, with nearly 13 million more boys than girls under age 9, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing Zhang Weiqing, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

If that trend continues, by 2020, China could have as many as 40 million men who can't find a spouse, Xinhua quoted an official of a key government advisory body as saying.

"Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation's population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution," said Li Weixiong, deputy chairman of the family planning committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Zhang called for unspecified "resolute measures" to curb the growing imbalance, Xinhua said.

Limited to one child, many couples abort or kill baby girls in hopes of trying again to have a boy, valued by Chinese culture as a way to carry on the family name and look after them in old age.

The report Monday didn't mention abortion or infanticide, but other reports by state media occasionally discuss those issues and appeal to Chinese parents to value baby girls.

China has limited most couples to one child since the 1980s in order to curb the growth of its population - currently 1.3 billion people - and ease pressure on farmland and other resources.

Some areas have eased restrictions by allowing second children to divorcees who remarry and some other couples. But authorities say they don't have plans to scrap the single-birth rules for most people.

The government has banned the use of ultrasound examinations to learn the sex of a fetus and tries to discourage couples from killing baby girls by publicizing penalties imposed on those caught doing it.

The government says the restrictions have resulted in 300 million fewer births over the last decade.

Nevertheless, the population is expected to soar to nearly 1.6 billion by 2043, Xinhua said.

The government has announced that estimates in the past, and the Xinhua report said population growth was expected to fall to nearly zero after reaching that point.

The rapid aging of Chinese society brought on by the smaller size of younger generations will impose a severe burden on retirement and social welfare programs that the government is still trying to create, Zhang was quoted as saying.

By the mid-21st century, 25% of the population will be aged 65 and over, he said.

"The aging problem is much more severe in the country's rural areas than in urban areas, which challenges the establishment of a health insurance system and social security system for the elderly," Zhang was quoted as saying.

When it comes to the abortion holocaust, China is the canary in the coalmine. Similar shifts in attitiudes towards children and the elderly are coming globally.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Still Holy?

Now that the United States Army 1st AD and Iraqi police occupy Karbala. Does it still have status as a "holy city". Will it be a sacrilege to fire on our troops there as it was to fire on the al Sadr militia when it occupied the "holy city".


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:01 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com