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Saturday, June 12, 2004
 
Wall Street Journal. Elizabeth Bernstein: Do-It-Yourself Religion (paid subs. reqd.)

Looking for a priest she could relate to, Cecilia Schulte had been church shopping since moving to Austin, Texas, a few years ago. But when the fifth parish she tried had an elderly priest and, in her view, not enough participation by women, the 43-year-old internist took a novel approach: She started her own worship group.

"It's as deep as anything I've experienced in the Catholic Church," Dr. Schulte says. "Dogma doesn't get in the way." Her prayer gathering of about 12 people meets every two weeks in her living room, incorporates readings from many sources and doesn't use a pastor. Dr. Schulte acknowledges that the approach is outside the bounds of Catholicism, but she says the group helps strengthen her spirituality.

In a move to deepen their spiritual lives, some Americans are tackling a new do-it-yourself project: religion. From Christian gatherings that emphasize postsermon discussions to small Jewish congregations that aren't centered around a synagogue, worshipers are crafting special-interest prayer groups to supplement or even replace services offered by their regular houses of worship.

Some say they are looking for a more creative approach to spirituality, such as the start-up church in Dallas that -- while it still uses the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and has a pastor -- asks members to write their sins in sand and brush them away. Others say they want to be more inclusive, such as the new Irvine, Calif., mosque that explicitly welcomes both Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

In some cases, the DIY approach is a backlash against churches' and synagogues' recent attempts to make religion more relevant and attract a younger generation. Instead of warming to innovations such as jazz Masses and video presentations on the pulpit, many worshipers say they prefer a smaller, more participatory experience. While megachurches are booming, some Christians have found the 2,000-member congregations too impersonal.

Also, intense divisions over such subjects as gay clergy and the war in Iraq have left a number of worshipers dissatisfied with existing religious leadership -- whether conservative or liberal -- and in search of a new spiritual forum shared by those with similar views.

The first example looks to me like a prayer group. We have seen these appear in my diocese as a place where Catholics want to gather, pray, read from Bible, and socialize. It is not a replacement for the Mass or the sacraments. If people come to believe it is, then that's a serious failure of the Church to teach because I believe that any Catholic who loves Jesus should love the Eucharist and that means participation in the sacrifice of the Mass.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:21 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Friday, June 11, 2004
 
A great Reagan line when he was accused of not working hard enough (compared to Carter who defined micro-management)
They say that hard work never killed anyone. But I say "Why take the chance?"

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Why zero tolerance has to remain and why zero should mean zero and not maybe zero.

It just didn't pop into the heads of the bishops "Gee, wouldn't zero tolerance be a nice idea." to which there was unanimous consent "Let's do it".

If the bishops didn't impose a zero tolerance policy there would be angry people with torches and pitchforks marching on the Episcopal mansions.

The tolerance of priests as sexual predators was exposed. The lies were exposed. The payoffs to the priests were exposed. The settlements with the victims were exposed. The "confidentiality agreements" were shredded like so much confetti.

There was no denying that there was a scandal and the bishops had placed the comfort and careers of priests above the safety and innocence of children.

The bishops had massively abused their discretion in handling these cases. As the transcripts show, bishops lied and were lied to. Bishops were being blackmailed and extorted. The faithful could no longer trust the bishops and moreover, the bishops no longer trusted each other.

That's the context into which "zero tolerance" became necessary.

"Zero tolerance" doesn't deny due process. As intended it is designed to lower the bar, the burden of evidence and testimony required to suspend a priest to a credible accusation.

In prior years, bishops were arbitrary in defining the burden of proof the accuser would have to bring, or the length of time to conduct an investigation internal to the Church.

In practice, this was a perversion of due process: the accuser was often given an impossible burden of proof, the internal investigations were performed in bad faith, incompetently, or even not at all. Yielding the result of a billion in settlements paid out prior to 2002, and many repeat priest offenders.

"Zero tolerance" itself has had its share of problems: some priests who have been accused of a sexual crime and a are risk to children have gotten around the policy by technicalities in many cases: the priest was found with child porn, not abusing a child, the priest was convicted of an "adult" sexual crime and not one involving a minor, the priest committed sexual abuse with a minor -- but it was before he was a priest.

As people were writing in 2002, their instincts were not to be the outraged fathers of these abused children -- no, they identified with the sexual predator brother priests. Bishop Joseph Imesch's "I have no children" response is the summary of this attitude.

Bishop O'Brien was convicted according to a juror because he lacked the human instinct to see if the object he hit with his car was injured and needed help.

A suspended priest whom the bishop declares has been removed from "any kind of pastoral ministry" might turn up to celebrate Mass or to be assigned to a nursing home. This isn't zero tolerance. So suspension doesn't mean suspension.

The released convicted men who are ex-priests by virtue of being laicized even have a retired bishop soliciting funds to make their lives more comfortable.

Bishops should not secretly undermine "Zero Tolerance" or vote to end it. It should be strengthened.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Call To Action and FutureChurch: an agenda for an agenda whose time has past. Details here.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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The title is "No beating about the bush" and I am not making this up.

Reuters: Porn or confession? Catholic priest tells all

A 77-year-old Roman Catholic priest in Argentina has published his memoirs recounting sex with women and a frustrated gay liaison, angering church officials.

The autobiography, No Beating About The Bush. The Life Of A Priest, tells of the life and loves of Father Jose Mariani in a posh parish in Cordoba, Argentina's third biggest city where he has been a priest for 53 years.

"I could hear my heart beat in ecstasy before the beauty of the body offered before me. I smothered the body with the sweat of my skin," Mariani wrote in the book about having sex with a woman.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Washington Post: Alfredo Gallegos Lara, an armed priest
Alfredo Gallegos Lara is 6 feet 4, sings country music and keeps a .9mm pistol tucked into his belt. No ordinary gunslinger, he may be Mexico's most unusual parish priest.

One recent afternoon, Gallegos, 52, pulled off his religious vestments behind the altar of the Catholic church in this sleepy town in central Mexico, revealing jeans, crocodile boots and a shiny black pistol. Mexico has strict laws forbidding private citizens to carry guns, but Gallegos said he has always informed police about them and the police haven't complained. After all, his pistols are why the unorthodox priest, with a growing following in Mexico and the United States, is called "Padre Pistolas."

I've been reading several items about this priest, some with the help of the Google translator.

Either he is a dangerous self-important maniac or a very good, very effective priest.

I can see how a bishop would see this as a threat in either case.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:05 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Another icon of righteous and religious modesty has fallen.
Reuters: Pop star wants sex romp pics back.
A top Croatian pop star has appealed to the public to return or destroy private pictures of her enjoying a lusty sex romp which appeared on the Internet this week.

Severina Vuckovic told local newspapers the pictures and an 11-minute video of her making love to an unidentified dark-haired man had been stolen from her private collection.

The pictures showed up on an internet site June 1, 2004 and immediately became the hottest news in the former Yugoslav republic, where 32 year-old Vuckovic had previously been an icon of righteous and religious modesty.

Croatian pop star Severina Vuckovic is seen performing at the Opera House in Rijeka in this undated file photo.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:32 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Bardot crusades for the French

AP: Brigitte Bardot convicted of inciting racial hatred
French movie legend Brigitte Bardot was convicted Thursday, June 10, 2004, of inciting racial hatred for portraying Muslims in a negative light in a book.

The Paris court said the former film star compared them to invaders, cruel and barbaric.

Bardot and her publishing house, Editions du Rocher, were fined $6,050 each, to be paid to two anti-racism groups that took them to court.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, June 10, 2004
 
An eloquent tribute to President Reagan from Ed Koch, former mayor of New York

NewsMax. Ed Koch: You are now everyone's hero.

Those of us who believe in God know that we will ultimately face our Maker. Some, who do not, expect to expire without hope of an afterlife. In the case of Ronald Reagan, we have an extraordinary figure whose afterlife can be seen right here on earth. He leaves behind a powerful, indeed unique, legacy of success.

Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States, will forever be remembered in the history of our country as one of our most effective presidents.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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I thought this was "History" already. AP: Cardinal [Dulles] : Bishops' Abuse Policy 'Extreme'
An influential U.S. Roman Catholic theologian says the discipline policy American bishops adopted in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis ignores priests' due-process rights and should be changed.

In an article in the June 21st edition of the Jesuit magazine America, Cardinal Avery Dulles said the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People violated Catholic belief in redemption.

First of all, I don't know how influential Cardinal Dulles is now. Certainly, he was never influential in the protection of children from crimial predator priests, nor in insuring that children obtained justice.

The reaction to this report will be one of outrage. I understand the outrage. The Cardinal's hearts bleeds for the lack of due process for the priests by their oppressor-bishops. Are there any real cases of this motivated by excess of zeal to protect children rather than arbitrary vindictiveness against priests by bishops? (i.e. the usual reason for suspending a priest).

I hold Cardinal Dulles in high regard and recently attended his lecture of the Rebirth of Apolgetics which became an article in First Things. To comment further I've got to get my hands on this new article in America


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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USA Today: Tears flow at the first of public farewells

Reagan's children grew up resenting, craving spotlight

Ronald Reagan's children grew up in his shadow and spent most of their lives trying to escape it.

Three of them, Maureen, Michael and Patti, wrote tell-all books in which they described their father, the man who made the term "family values" part of the political currency, as a loving but often distant parent.

One aspect of the differences between the public Ronald Reagan and the private man can be seen in his unhappy first marriage to Jane Wyman. He adopted Michael and their daughter Maureen died recently from cancer.

The children of the marriage to Nancy Davis (married March 1952) are Patti (born October 1952), and Ron (born May 1958).

Ok. Nancy was already pregnant at the time they were married. They did the right thing.

Michael and his wife have two children. Maureen and her husband adopted a child. As far as I know both Patti and Ron are married and childless.

Updated to correct typos


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Hedge Fund Managers Need Prayers Too

Reuters: Hedge funds seen running at least 5 pct of global assets

AUSANNE, June 8 (Reuters) - Hedge funds are expected to manage at least five percent of global financial assets by 2009 from around two percent now, delegates to an alternative investment conference said on Tuesday.

More than a third of delegates to the Global Alternative Investment Management Forum who voted in a poll arranged by the conference organisers said hedge funds would be managing 5-7 percent of global assets in five years time.

Hedge funds currently manage over $1 trillion worth of assets.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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My blog readers were reading about this --- as it happened not 36 hours later

NBC News: Britney Spears Injures Knee During Queens Video Shoot

Singer Hospitalized For Arthroscopic Surgery

NEW YORK -- Pop princess Britney Spears injured her knee during a video shoot in Queens and was hospitalized for arthroscopic surgery, her record label said Wednesday.

Spears, 22, was rushed to a hospital after hurting herself late Tuesday, Jive Records said in a statement. An MRI scan revealed floating cartilage in her knee.

The injury occurred after Spears completed scenes for the video of her new single, "Outrageous," with rapper Snoop Dogg under the L train line on Roosevelt Avenue. Spears was doing choreography when her knee gave out, Jive said.

"Outrageous" will be featured in the movie "Catwoman," due out next month.

Spears is scheduled to begin a North American tour June 22 in Hartford, Conn., according to her Web site. Her latest album, "In the Zone," was released in November.

Spears was forced to cancel two shows in March because of a knee injury.

I wonder if the Associated Press will run my correction that the injury was under the No. 7 train and not the letter L train.

I pray for her quick recovery.

You can also pray that she joins Mother Dolores Hart OSB at the Benedictine Abbey in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Details.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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This one pinned my BS detector at 10

Evanston Review: 'Third side' key to resolving conflict

Controversies are often portrayed as two-sided feuds between polarized extremes. Labor against management. Planned Parenthood vs. anti-abortion protesters. Ardent preservationists facing off against defenders of property owners' rights.

But there are "third sides" in most debates - more or less neutral parties who have a vested interest in a divisive issue and how it affects their community. The key to achieving neighborhood harmony and world stability depends on activating these often-silent voices and drawing them in to the debate, say proponents of a growing "third side" movement based on the work of negotiations guru William Ury (author of "Getting to Yes").

Rather than simply watching from the sidelines as foes slug it out, "third siders" can become effective arbiters, equalizers and referees to prevent destructive blowups and use conflict as a constructive tool to transform the community, they say.

On Saturday, about 75 Evanston residents met at St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church to learn "third side" principles and practice techniques on the divisive issue of constructing a marina in south Evanston.

I think Jesus has the right idea. Mt. 12.30

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, June 09, 2004
 
Some notes on the involvement of Jackie Kennedy in the funeral and burial of her first husband.

dc military.com: President John F. Kennedy remembered

At that time there was no burial plan for specifically President Kennedy, but there was a state funeral plan," said John C. Metzler Jr., son of John C. Metzler, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery during Kennedy's burial. "As best I can recall, the plan was very fluid. As each meeting unfolded between late Friday and Monday morning, as the requirements were changing from the White House and from [Jacqueline] Kennedy, they were modifying and changing the plans."

Since funerals are a daily event at Arlington, the only question was where to site the grave, said Metzler, the current superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery. "That was finalized on Saturday. The biggest change was the eternal flame, a requirement that came up rather quickly and the cemetery, in concert with the post engineer at Fort Myer, had to come up with an acceptable eternal flame to be lit Monday. The rest of the cemetery's part was fairly straightforward."

Media General: Death, Funeral Gave JFK Lasting Life
But it was the funeral that cemented the Kennedy legacy, and the funeral was Jackie's creation, said David Lubin, a Wake Forest University art professor, who wrote ``Shooting Kennedy, JFK and the Culture of Images.''

``In a way, Jackie was the greatest performance artist of the 20th century,'' Lubin said. ``On less than 48 hours notice, she choreographed one of the major historical events of our century.''

Much of it went according to the military rule book for funerals, he said, but she also dispatched researchers to the Library of Congress to check on the funerals of Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

As a student of art, Jackie was well-versed in the classical images of public mourning that had been passed down from the Romans and Greeks, Lubin said.

Criticism of the involvement of the details of the funeral by Nancy Reagan is unfair. This is a serious undertaking which will help form the memories that people will have for Ronald Reagan forever.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Why Democrats Lose Elections

The Democrats since the Watergate era have been marking their territory with finger-wagging: "The President has made mistakes." "What's wrong with America."

It's no accident that everyone alive during Watergate sees the echoes of that investigation in the 9/11 commission. We've even have Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Woodward as visual reminders.

But when it comes to accountability, the are miserable failures. President Carter's famous malaise speech might have even been superficially accurate -- making him a prophet, but he was not a savior.

There never was such a great contrast between Reagan/Carter in 1980 as there was since Roosevelt/Wilkie in 1940.

I still cling to to the hope that the Democratic party will shortly follow the Whigs of 1856 into history.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Details on the Reagan Funeral

State Funeral Steeped In Tradition

While tradition and protocol greatly influence a funeral for a former head of state, the exact sequence of events is determined by family desires. Despite the immediate family's personal loss, much of the funeral remains open to the public, which shares in the loss of a national leader. Foreign countries also mourn the loss of a former head of state and their participation generates its own protocol, says the United States Army Military District of Washington.

In keeping with the wishes of the family, President Nixon's funeral took place over a two-day period from April 26-27, 1994. However, most state funerals, including those for Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson have included the following events...

In my lifetime, the following presidents have died:

  • 1963 Kennedy
  • 1964 Hoover
  • 1969 Eisenhower
  • 1972 Truman
  • 1973 Johnson
  • 1994 Nixon
  • 2004 Reagan

AP: Reagan's State Funeral

Ronald Reagan will be the 10th president to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, a rite last observed for a national leader when Lyndon Johnson died in 1973.

The public viewing in the vast central room under the Capitol Dome after a funeral ceremony continues a tradition begun 152 years ago with Henry Clay and most recently carried out in 1998, when two Capitol policemen slain by a gunmen were memorialized in the Rotunda.

The funeral planned for Reagan fits in with the established protocol. The 1994 Nixon death and funeral was deliberately low-key because of his disgrace and resignation.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:26 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Crisis Magazine. Russell Shaw: An Open Letter to America’s Bishops
I live and work in a largely non-Catholic, even anti-Catholic, environment. In this setting I consider it my job to be an exemplary representative of the Church—a kind of living testimony to Catholic beliefs and values.

With all my faults, I work pretty hard at it, too. But time and again the authorities have pulled the rug out from under me. The sex-abuse scandal isn’t the whole of it, but it’s made things far worse. Really, I ask you—how can you put a good face on being a Catholic in the eyes of people who are at best suspicious of the Church when you’ve got something like that hanging over your head?

From a spiritual perspective, what’s at stake in the Kerry candidacy isn’t only an election—nothing you say or do will affect its outcome much either way—but your credibility as pastors and teachers. As during the weeks and months after Humanae Vitae, people now are watching to see what you will do, and they’ll draw their own conclusions from that. Are you serious when you say certain doctrines of faith and morals involve a binding obligation for Catholics, such that rejecting them severs communion with the Church? Unlike the people certain that excommunication is the answer, I don’t know exactly what you should do. But I do know that neither silence nor high-flown words without deeds will suffice.

Yup. That's me.

Excommunication is the answer.

The advocacy of abortion as public policy is sinful. The bishops have yet to make that statement with clarity. For creating a little theological and political drama of their own. They should declare it immediately to be sinful and give Catholics who have openly advocated abortion until the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to repent of this sin or be excommunicated.


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The Weather in New York in June is just about perfect

...So it must be a time for strikes. We've got two this week. The Home Health Care workers and Child Care Workers.

The New York State minimum wage is $5.15. These workers are paid an average of $7.00 and their two unions are seeking raises to $10.00.

The city claimed it lacked the money. That was then so this is now -- some of the unions are settling for a 3 year contract which phases in raises to $10.00.


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Zenit: How Brides Should Dress
ROME, JUNE 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.

Q: How should brides dress for a wedding Mass? What would not be appropriate? -- J.Z., Chicago

A: This is a tangled question. The Church has historically granted wide berth to local traditions in weddings and funerals so customs vary from place to place.

There are few universal norms regarding brides and, although white is the traditional color for weddings in the English- speaking world, it is not obligatory, and there is ample room in multiethnic societies for other traditions, such as Asian or East European.

Many dioceses and even parishes do have guidelines in order to respect Christian values such as modesty and a respect for the spirit of Christian poverty.

These guidelines are especially important today, when what is fashionable is inspired by media stars who are not exactly paradigms of Christian virtue.

With regard to dress, these guidelines should emphasize the specifically religious nature of a Christian wedding and positively present modesty within this context. And while they should generally avoid being a list of prohibitions, they do well to provide clear parameters of what is expected.

The guidelines may also deal with other aspects, since weddings are very special occasions and should be treated as such. At the same time excessive opulence should be avoided especially if motivated more from vanity than a desire to emphasize the importance of the sacrament.

I remember a few years ago an Italian bishop publicly scolded a couple for their extravagance when the bride arrived in an open convertible, followed by a pickup holding her train. It seems that the hapless couple were trying to enter the record books for the longest bridal veil when they caught the prelate's eye as he left the chancery.

This is just a singular example of what can happen when the social aspects of marriage predominate over the mystery of man and woman united sacramentally in the bond of Christ.


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Tuesday, June 08, 2004
 
Encountering Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg

Photo Credit: Jive Photo Credit: Patrick Sweeney Photo Credit: Los Angeles Police Dept.

I got a call from my wife to head over to Windmuller Park -- there were filming a Britney Spears video, just around the corner. I chatted with the security team and the police who appear to be the only other adults around besides the crew.

I estimate the crowd at between 200 and 300 with no prior publicity.

Britney kept her distance. She never waved to the crowd or even acknowledged the hundreds around her. A police car and van pulled up next to the tent inside the park and she ran out surrounded by her people so there was no photo op.

Snoop on the other hand waved to the crowd and walked with his posse right past where I was standing to his van on the street, which the crowd really appreciated after the snub from Britney.

No other paparazzi observed.

Look for the video Outrageous when it is released and you see a beautiful day in my neighborhood.


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Comment on the Vatican advisory of problems of Muslim-Christian intermarriage

Arutz Sheva. Linda Saada: A Different King of Warfare

Regretfully, there has been an ongoing problem that has plagued the Israeli people for quite some time; the plague of Jewish women intermarrying with Muslim men.

Before you label me a racist and conjure up images of a Jewish Juliet and a Palestinian Romeo, note the alarming quote by Rabbi Lipshitz, founder of a group geared to saving Jewish girls trapped in Arab villages:

"People must understand that the Jewish-Arab marriages are part of the greater conflict.... The girls are in distress [and] they are wandering the streets, [while] Arab men take advantage of them.

It is their ambition to marry the Jewess all the while [ensuring] that the children [born from these girls] aren't raised Jewish [as infidels].

This is their revenge against the Jewish people. We must fight this threat as well, it is a matter of national security."


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Abortion is Murder? How extreme. How rude.

Canada Votes

I've got to say that if anybody in my party made an extreme statement such as that, I would have spoken out immediately against that statement." - Prime Minister Paul Martin on Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, reported as saying there is no difference between abortion and the recent beheading of an American by Iraqi terrorists.

Is there a difference? Please explain that, Paul?


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Pope in gratitude: Te Deum Laudamus

Reuters: U.S.-Led Forces Rescue Italians, Pole Held in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S.-led special forces freed three Italians and a Pole held hostage in Iraq (news - web sites) and captured some of their abductors in a bloodless rescue mission in Iraq on Tuesday, coalition officials said.

"This was a happy ending to a story that could have been tragic," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on state television. He said the men were being flown by helicopter to Baghdad and were due to return to Italy Wednesday.

Four Italians working for a U.S. security firm were abducted on April 12 near Baghdad. One was killed after Italy refused to bow to demands to withdraw its 2,700 troops from Iraq. The Polish businessman was seized at his Baghdad office last week.

I hope some of the American soldiers are Catholic and are invited to a private audience with the Holy Father.

They have accomplished by their bravery what the Holy Father asked the world to pray for.


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Very faint praise. (De mortuus - nisi nihil bonum department)
I think we all remember his smile and his grace.
--Hillary Clinton


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Monday, June 07, 2004
 
You don't say?

New York Times: Communion Issue Creates Split Among U.S. Bishops

Six months after Archbishop Raymond L. Burke announced that he would deny communion to Roman Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, only a handful of bishops have said they agree and many more have made it clear that they think he went too far.

The Catholic Church owes John Kerry big time -- he's finally pushed the Church from intertia to action on the matter of advocacy of legal abortion.

My own position is for all the bishops, unanimously, to declare that political advocacy of legal abortion is objectively sinful, and with the usual conditions gravity, reflection, and consent, a mortal sin.

Currently it's a mire (not miter) of ambiguity.


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Catholic Analysis. Oswald Sobrino. has a insight into two presidents:
n my opinion, the most significant personal contrast between Kennedy and Reagan is in their very different reactions to the dysfunctions of their fathers. Kennedy's father, Joseph Kennedy, was severely dysfunctional in his own compulsive adulteries. Unfortunately, this dysfunction, and its accompanying damage to character and recklessness, flourished in President Kennedy.
The Kennedys all grew up as elites because of money and political connections. Reagan had the common touch -- something he shared with Bill Clinton.


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Tributes to Reagan that miss the point entirely (part I)

He gave a good speech in the aftermath of the Challenger accident. That wasn't the high point of his presidency.

The bombing of the Marines barracks in Lebanon was not the high point of his presidency.


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opinionjournal.com David Gelernter: Too Much, Too Late
Baby boomers heap insincere praise on the "greatest generation."

My political credo is simple and many people share it: I am against phonies. A cultural establishment that (on the whole) doesn't give a damn about World War II or its veterans thinks it can undo a half-century of indifference verging on contempt by repeating a silly phrase ("the greatest generation") like a magic spell while deploying fulsome praise like carpet bombing.

The campaign is especially intense among members of the 1960s generation who once chose to treat all present and former soldiers like dirt and are willing at long last to risk some friendly words about World War II veterans, now that most are safely underground and guaranteed not to talk back, enjoy their celebrity or start acting like they own the joint. A quick glance at the famous Hemingway B.S. detector shows the needle pegged at Maximum, where it's been all week, from Memorial Day through the D-Day anniversary run-up.

David is only a few years older than me.


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1982: Better Red than Dead -- How Reagan had work cut out for him.
...This does not mean we accept as inevitable the conquest of the world by a totalitarian system...

History goes on and political systems are subject to change. As long as life exists there is hope, hope that God's grace will enable suffering and oppressed peoples to endure.

Cardinal Krol conceding that a military defeat was the probable outcome from unilateral disarmament which he and many bishops were urging.

Even today, the idea of a deterrent military capability is still officially objected to by the USCCB.


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Prediction: Do it for the Gipper

I fully expect the pro-abortion folks to come forward and demand that for the sake of the memory of Ronald Reagan that the ban to embryonic stem research harvested from aborted babies be lifted.

At present, there is no remote benefit to all humankind in abortion. This is intended to provide some relief that even though this human baby is being killed, there's a small chance that his cells will improve grandpa's memory.

The truth is that mature and placenta stem cells are available in abundance and these are showing some positive results that would make the use of embryonic stem cells redundant.


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Tradition Clothing of the Basque Region

Someone suggested that Jenna could dress more modestly. These outfits are from the Basque region that the Camino de Santiago passes through.


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Reagan was more than that

It's almost as if they want to damn him with faint praise.

He was more than the one-liners: I paid for this microphone! and Tear down this wall!

He was more than Irish charm.

He was more than the great communicator

He reversed the downward spiral of America. He brought hope in a new way: restoring the idea that we did not need to depend on the government to solve all the problems in our life. He was the right man for the time. I think he fit into history the way Washington, Lincoln, and FDR did. I hope I live to see another president as great as he was.

What a combination he was: spiritually changing America, or rather making people believe that they could change America, and the achievements in the world stage and the economy.


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Sunday, June 06, 2004
 
Jenna Bush meet Roland of Roncesvalles
jenna-bush song-of-roland
Jenna Bush, the president's daughter in on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago (James Road).

What's connects Jenna to the Global War on Terror?

Part One: The Apostle James the Greater.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: Compostela & Saint James the Greater

According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world.

after Jerusalem and Rome.

At his death in the first century, the bones of James are in the Roman province of Hispania and Christians being persecuted at this point lose track of exactly where.

Part Two: Christian Visigothic Iberia is Conquered

The invasion starts in 711 and by 716, it's over. All of Iberia is under Muslim with the exception of some Basque territory. Call it Andalusia.

Part Three: Roland at Roncevaux (Roncesvalles)

The barrier to Muslim expansion throughout Europe is now the Frankish kingdom under Charlemagne.

The Catholic Encyclopedia describes a battle in 778 between the rear guard of the Franks led by Roland who is betrayed by Genelon and slaughtered to the last man by Basques.

At Tours, the Muslim threat to this part of Europe is stopped.

Part Four: Pelayo and the "Camp of Stars"

In the 813 or 838 a hermit has a vision that leads him to the bones of Saint James. The nobility of Austurias (the first kingdom of the Reconquista) come to see the hermit's discovery. King Alfonso IX builds the basilica and the pilgrimages begin. In 1120, it becomes a metropolitan see.

The pilgrims route from the Frankish kingdom to the shrine is on the border with Muslim Andalusia and goes to what the medieval mind calls "the end of the world".

Part Five: The Militarization of Saint James

Goggle this: "Santiago Matomoro" or "Saint James, the Moor-Slayer"

This Sacred Sites web site provides this explanation:

In addition to the story of the relics discovery there were also reports of Santiago Matomoro, or St. James the Moorslayer, appearing on a white horse in 844 AD to lead Christians into battle against the Moors. These two legends are interpreted by scholars of the Age of Medieval Pilgrimage as attempts by ecclesiastical authorities to gather popular support for the overthrow of the Arabs. Furthermore, it is known that officials of the Cathedral of Santiago actually hired storytellers to travel about the European countryside spreading 'news' of the miracles of St. James and his relics.
The Cathedral contains this sculpture, which I believe features a rider on a horse with a sword. Perhaps this is Gambino's Santiago Matomoro. I couldn't find a better image.

Part Six: 1492 Grenada Falls, Spain is again Christian.

Their Catholic majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella conquer the last Islamic kingdom. The Jews are expelled immediately. The remaining Muslims are expelled in 1608.

Part Seven: 2004 the Present Day

In 2001, 19 hijackers, all middle class, well-educated Muslim men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, caused the death of nearly 3,000 Americans. In 2004, terrorists who have not been identified with certainty bombed trains in Madrid causing the death of 190 and injuries to 1200.

In response, the Spanish people complied with the terrorists demands and removed their army from Iraq.

The Cathedral took its own action:

BBC: Church to remove Moor-slayer saint

A statue in a Spanish cathedral showing St James slicing the heads off Moorish invaders is to be removed to avoid causing offence to Muslims.

Cathedral authorities in the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela, on Spain's north west coast, plan to move the statue to the museum.

Among the reasons for the move is to avoid upsetting the "sensitivities of other ethnic groups".

The statue of St James "the Moor-slayer" is expected to be replaced by one depicting the calmer image of St James "the Pilgrim", by the same 18th century artist, Jose Gambino.

The Saracen-slaying image of St James, or Santiago in Spanish, is a symbol of the fight between Christianity and Islam and the reconquest of Spain from eight centuries of Moorish rule before 1492.

The saint is said to have appeared to Christian troops fighting Moorish army at the Battle of Clavijo in 844, the crusaders rallying to the cry of "Santiago y cierra Espana" - "St James, we will reconquer Spain".

Origins

Cathedral authorities insist the timing of the decision has nothing to do with the 11 March bombings in Madrid, which an Islamic group is alleged to have carried out.

Alejandro Barral, president of the cultural commission for the cathedral council, told BBC News Online: "This is not an opportunistic decision. This is not through fear of fanatics of any kind and nothing to do with 11 March or 11 September."

He said the decision was taken a few years ago, but simply had not yet been implemented.

Mr Barral said the idea was to try to take the image of the saint back to its origins - St James as the apostle or pilgrim who took the word of Jesus to the Iberian Peninsula.

The Baroque image of a sword-wielding St James cutting the heads off Moors is not a very sensitive or evangelical image that fits the teachings of Christ, he added.

The statue, when it is eventually moved from the chapel in the cathedral, is not likely to be hidden from the six million pilgrims and tourists who visit the city every year. It is due to take its place alongside dozens of other images of St James in the cathedral museum.

Here we complete the circle. This is all connected one long war: the clash of civilizations, the great Crusade, to that day in 711 AD (93 AH) when Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed from Africa into Europe.


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AP: Text Messages May Turn Up in Bryant Case
DENVER (AP) - A few hours after NBA star Kobe Bryant had sex with a Vail-area hotel worker last summer, the woman exchanged cell phone text messages with a former boyfriend and someone else. What's in those messages could help determine whether the sex was consensual or whether Bryant is guilty of rape as charged. The judge himself said the content may be "highly relevant" to the case.

That the judge could order the woman's cell phone company to produce the messages so long after they were sent shouldn't surprise anyone, analysts say. Texters beware. Like e-mail and Internet instant messages, text messages tend to be saved on servers.

"One of the false assumptions that people make is that when they hit the delete button, messages are gone forever, but nothing can be further from the truth," said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecommunications analyst in Atlanta.

The Bryant case appears to be the first high-profile U.S. criminal case in which cell phone text messages could be entered into the docket. In Europe and Asia, where texting is hugely popular, some criminal cases have hinged on them.

Anything you say can and will be used against you.


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AP: Kerry Suspends Campaigning
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Sunday that he was suspending "overtly political" campaigning in the coming days in observance of former President Reagan's death.

This is the picture the news editors at Road Runner placed with the above news story. If you are using Road Runner as an ISP you should be able to see the same thing. Update: on the AP site.


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Timeline of Ronald Reagan's Life

A special note on Ronald Regan's military career: He was drafted and wore the uniform as a soldier and not a civilian actor playing a soldier.

His nearsightedness kept him from the front.


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com