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Friday, October 01, 2004
 
Another baseball story

Going with my one of my sons to Shea Stadium Friday night. I expect there to be only around 5,000 or there -- to say goodbye to this terrible season for the New York Mets and to say goodbye forever to the Montreal Expos.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:59 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Peggy Noonan's impression and one more from me.

She mentioned that John Kerry came off as the prosecutor, presenting the case against Bush -- looking an sounding like an elitist. The President made his connection to ordinary people.

I'm thinking undecideds -- did Kerry do anything beyond asserting that he'd make some different choices? He didn't present a compelling reason for voting for here.

Some of the spin was "Kerry was good because he sounded smart without giving the specifics." The spinners are admiring his ability to avoid being pinned down. Does that help Kerry with undecideds?

Speaking of being pinned down -- most of Lehrer's questions to both of them were implicitly critical of Bush. It was like 2 against 1 at times.

Did Lehrer have any questions with an implicit criticsm of Kerry?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:41 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, September 30, 2004
 
My own notes

(1) As any reader of spy novels knows, the KGB headquarters is at Lubyanka Square, not Treblinka Square.

(2) Kim Jong Il mentioned several times but not the Mohammed Khatami. I wonder if he feels left out.

(3) Biggest joint "duck". Darfur. I thought that Bush could have made a good slam against the sort of drawn out vague inconclusive process that the UN and Africa regional organizations are now undertaking.

(4) In terms of style everyone played to their strengths. Kerry was the classic college debater with facts as his fingertips. Bush is the man of the simple message.

(5) Bush's biggest missed opportunity: not to hammer how different the post 9/11 world is.

(6) Kerry's biggest missed opportunity: not to provide some real detail to his plan how to "win the peace" -- he didn't use the time to get beyond merely asserting it.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:00 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Debate 1: A draw in my opinion

But I'm going to listen to the spin now.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
 
I don't have a dog in this fight

This is not about Deal Hudson but the explosion of attention being given Deal Hudson in the blogs.

If you are not up to date on this. What's a matter of record at this point is that the National Catholic Reporter made public a matter that was covered by a confidentiality agreement. My own guess is that this was payback for the firing of Ono Ekeh.

The second wave is more recent. The Board of Directors forced DH's resigation. This is the story which appeared in the Washington Times last Tuesday (September 21).

The mysterious line from this story is

“This was not about one incident 10 years ago,” [one scholar] said. “It's surprising it was held down as long as it was. I haven't gone out of my way to track Deal Hudson's improprieties — I could be doing nothing else. But you began to wonder after a while if they are true.”

The motive for making the story public the NCR story according to editor Tom Roberts:

[It] showed a clear abuse of his authority as a teacher involved with an 18-year-old freshman girl in one of his classes and is certainly relevant to the story of someone whose political and public mission relies heavily on public moralizing, often about personal sexual ethics.
Oh! Now I get it. Ordinary people like Tom Roberts and Joe Feuerherd would be entitled to privacy in their private life but public moralizing Deal Hudson is not.

To me this seems like a threat to chill public moralizing.

What has made public moralizing, often about personal sexual ethics a thing worse than immorality itself and sexual sin itself as defined by the doctrines of the Catholic Church? A editorial decision at NCR?

Mark Shea's interest is in how we go about forgiving.

Dismissing the mystery "improprieties" from the above article, and assuming that he's repented, reconciled to the Church, and made a settlement with the person offended, I don't see a practical or moral reason to force the resignation of Deal Hudson as publisher. If I were his employer I'd seek a specific promise not to drink with employees or date them because of the risk of back-sliding.

What other consequences of this sin from ten years ago have to be manifest now or in the future?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Blogger Priorities

Contrary to what you may think from my many politically oriented posts I have no connection to the campaign for Bush/Cheney in New York. The last pro-life local politician around here was Democratic Congressman Thomas Manton who retired in 1998.

I teach a class on Wednesday evening of baptized children 11 and 12 years old who have had no prior religious education and on Sunday adults in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (RCIA)

I'm taking a course on the Old Testament and organizing events for the Catholic Evidence Guild.

I also have a project in Catholic evangelization going on now that I'll be able to talk about more in a week or two.

Everyone else in St. Blogs has been talking about what else they do. This blog is only cutting into my time for TV and videogames.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
 
Kerry supporters get it exactly wrong.

Kerry and his supporters think we can just wish ourselves into the 9/10 world.

Kerry's criticism of George Bush's leadership in the global war on terror isn't that he would do a better job. Kerry claims that this is a job that does not need to be done, not one that he could do better.

The wrong war at the wrong time.

After the disaster of the attempt to appease Hitler at Munich, Chamberlain announced that "We have peace in our time." in 1938.

After the war started, and Churchill became Prime Minister, Chamberlain was not talking about diplomacy in the middle of a war.

Kerry lacks the common sense that Chamberlain had.

A better example is the 1864 Presidential "peace candidate", George B. McClellan who ran against Lincoln on the platform of diplomacy rather than victory over the rebellious South.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Capital 9 News: Dupre's indictment can't be used to bolster civil suit
A grand jury indictment of Springfield's former bishop can't be used as ammunition in a civil lawsuit filed against the former head of the diocese.

An indictment unsealed this week charges Bishop Thomas Dupre with two counts of child rape dating back to the 1970s.

But just a few hours later, Hampden District Attorney William Bennett said he couldn't prosecute because the statute of limitations has run out.

A lawyer for the two men who said they were raped by Dupre said the findings of the grand jury investigation can't be used to bolster their lawsuit. That's because the indictment didn't result in a guilty plea or conviction.

However, some information, such as witness lists compiled by the DA's office for the probe, can be used in the civil case.

Legal experts said the charges may not be enough for out-of-state and federal authorities to prosecute Dupre.

Bishop Dupre, his story, his diocese, his legacy is the norm of the Catholic Church in the United States, except he got caught.

The thorough top-to-bottom reform of the process of selecting bishops, seminary admissions, formation, etc. has not happened nor is it likely to.

Dozens of bishops should have resigned on their own initiative rather than the handful who have been caught and forced to resign. The so-called "good" bishops have utterly failed to take action against the "bad".

There has not been an acknowledgement that homosexuality is the core of the sexual abuse crisis.

The last word on the scandal was from Bishop Gregory who called it history. We’re still decades away from calling this history.

Regarding the claims made in the story above. I disagree. The publicity is devastating to Dupre -- ask yourself, if it doesn't matter -- would Dupre be indifferent to the public announcment of the indictment?

The district attorney has done much of the homework that would otherwise be duplicated by the plantiff's attorneys.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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What Baseball Taught Me About Presidential Politics
Yogi Berra If you are about my age and followed baseball in the 1960's and listened to people who saw Ruth and Gehrig play when they were younger, this will make sense. If not, you'll have to read some baseball lore.

Yogi Berra might be a model of who we want as president. In his baseball career he was someone who could lead in both good times and bad - support a team that is achieving excellence keep spirits high and offer optimism when the times are bad. He had the common touch and people have always said that in private he's the same as his public persona.

Ted Williams on the hand had a terrible rapport with fans and said that he wanted to judged only by his play on the field. So the hatred of him by the sportswriters and fans was mutual. One writer called him "mercurial". I don't know if he meant it as a compliment.

Yogi Berra was a misunderestimated player, coach, and manager. His analog is President George Bush.

Senator John Kerry has a match in Hall of Fame player Ted Williams.

I can't claim to be the originator of this parallel, but I thought of enough of it to get the pictures and explain it here.

Ted Williams

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Reuters: 'Miraculous' Christ Washes Up in Texas Rio Grande
A fiberglass statue of Christ that washed up on a sandbar in the Rio Grande three weeks ago is attracting scores of devout pilgrims to a police department lost-and-found and being hailed as a miracle.

Police in Eagle Pass, Texas, said up to 40 people a day are coming to pay homage to the five-foot-tall figurine, known as "The Christ of the Undocumented," which was found by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the river.

"Some come to pray, and some come and just touch it," police lieutenant Daniel Morales said by telephone on Monday. "We have never experienced anything like this before, and interest is growing by the day."

The border city, which lies opposite Piedras Negras in northern Mexico, has a large Mexican community. Many arrived illegally by way of the river, and most are devout Roman Catholics.

Morales said the life-like statuette, which turned up without a crucifix base, would probably be given to a church in the border city if no-one came forward to claim it within 90 days.

Local Catholic Church authorities called the figure's arrival "miraculous" and said they wanted to place it in a specially dedicated chapel in the city.

"Jesus Christ manifests himself in many places, but he showed himself here in the way of an undocumented migrant," said Marta Ramirez, a spokeswoman for the city's Our Lady of Refuge Church.

"We think it's appropriate to place it in a special chapel."

Think of the confusion at the ACLU: Do we welcome this statue because of its undoucumented status, or do we sue this statue because it is an establishment of religion?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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We know Mrs. Tony Blair, Cherie Booth is a Catholic, but is Tony Blair as well?

UK Guardian: Regular at mass, communion from Pope. So why is Blair evasive about his faith?

The Blairs and their Court by Francis Beckett and David Hencke Buy The Blairs and their Court at the Guardian bookshop

Just as Cherie Booth brought her husband to Labour politics, so also she brought him to the Catholic church.

Tony Blair today is effectively a Roman Catholic, though he has not yet, to our knowledge, been formally received into the church.

The odd thing is not that he has embraced the Catholic church, but that he chooses to hide it. When asked directly, he replies evasively: "Surely being a Christian is what is important?"

Many British practice no religion but anti-Catholicism. Being a Catholic openly will subject Blair to the routine ridicule that all prominent Catholics have experience since the time of Titus Oates and the Popish Plot


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Monday, September 27, 2004
 
Daily News: Rev. fights Egan order to resign
A controvesial Westchester County priest who has defied Edward Cardinal Egan's order to leave his post is preparing to take the battle to both ecclesiastical and civil courts.

The Rev. Anthony Giuliano has been at the center of a roiling dispute over his parish's school, with its dwindling enrollment and rising costs, since his appointment as pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne in July 2000.

Of the 2,300 families in the parish, only 48 send children to the school, Giuliano said. Students also come from 40 families from outside the parish, he said.

Tuition is a little more than $3,000 per student, he said, while the actual cost per student of running the school is more than twice that. Even before Giuliano arrived on the scene, some parish officials had proposed sharing students and costs with Holy Name of Jesus School, a mile and a half away in Valhalla.

But some Holy Rosary School parents resisted and protested in writing to Egan, attacking Giuliano's leadership of the parish.

Finally, in March, Egan asked Giuliano to resign, and when Giuliano failed to do so, asked him again last month.

The pastor's supporters, on the other hand, have asked Egan to meet with them so they can plead his cause. Now, they say they are planning a trip to Rome to lobby for him.

Last week, Giuliano said he has retained both a canon lawyer and a civil lawyer to assist him in fighting to keep his pastorate.

"It all depends on the line that the ecclesiastical court might take," he said. "If slander and deliberate lying take place, the civil court would come into play against slander and defamation of character."

Egan's spokesman Joseph Zwilling said last week the archdiocese has been trying to resolve the situation but did not specify how.

Originally published on September 26, 2004

Something is not adding up here. Declining enrollment in a parish elementary school is not something the Archdiocese has never seen before -- nor the usual conflict between parishioners who want to end the school subsidy and the non-resident and resident parents who want it kept.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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AP: Former Massachusetts Bishop Is Indicted in Church Scandal Prosecutor Won't Seek Child Rape Charges
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Hampden District Attorney William Bennett said Monday he will not prosecute former Springfield Bishop Thomas Dupre for child rape charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

In a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday, Mr. Dupre was charged with molesting two boys in the 1970s, becoming the first Roman Catholic prelate to face criminal charges in the sex abuse scandal in the American church.

The grand jury returned indictments only related directly to child abuse, and not to other possible related charges, such as witness tampering and obstruction of justice -- an omission that Mr. Bennett said precluded him from pursuing the case because the statute of limitations in force at the time was limited to six years.

This is the first bishop to be indicted.

Maybe now, there will be a condemnation for a bishop rather than a "circle the wagons" again.

It this the same scandal that Bishop Gregory called "history"?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wall Stret Journal: Iraq Sees Christian Exodus (paid subs. required)
Moderate Minority's Fearful Flight Augurs More-Extremist Politics

By YOCHI J. DREAZEN Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- For decades, Iraqi Christian Salim Hasan Michael outran his country's tortured and bloody history, raising three children and enjoying mild prosperity as a television-news producer.

Today, he fears history is beginning to catch up to him. When a massive car bomb outside a nearby police station shattered the windows of his house early this year, Mr. Hasan decided Iraq was too dangerous for his two older sons and sent them to Syria. When four young Christians were gunned down as they waited for a ride to work earlier this summer, he and his wife began talking of joining them abroad. And when militants chased a young Christian girl into her garden a few weeks ago and shot her to death, Mr. Hasan and his wife decided to leave the country as soon as they could.

In a demographic change with enormous political and cultural repercussions, Iraq's Christian community is steadily dissipating, driven out by a campaign of violence and intimidation targeting their homes, offices and places of worship. Precise numbers aren't available, but Iraqi government and church officials estimate as many as 30,000 Christians have left Iraq since a string of church bombings in August, with hundreds more families leaving every week. Iraq's Christian population is estimated at about 850,000, a sharp drop from the one million it numbered before the war and the 1.4 million recorded in a 1987 census.

The mass exodus, the largest of its kind since Iraq's Jewish community fled the country in the 1950s and 1960s, is robbing Iraq of a politically moderate, socially liberal, and largely pro-Western population at a crucial juncture: With elections just months away, the diminution of the Christian community raises the risk that Iraq's next government will be dominated by fundamentalist political parties that support policies -- from the imposition of Islamic law to the continued existence of well-armed sectarian militias -- that could be a recipe for further violence and political instability.

"There are two competing visions in Iraq, and Christians are on the side that believes in equality regardless of ethnic or religious background and laws that are as secular as they are in any other country," says William Wardu, a senior official in the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the country's largest Christian political organization. "There's another group that doesn't want to see any of that, and they're trying to drive us out so they can pull Iraq back to a darker age."

The campaign to uproot the country's Christians has ranged from car bombings and grenade attacks targeting the country's churches to smaller-scale -- but far more routine -- violence such as the killings of dozens of Christian beauty-shop, liquor-store and video-store owners or their relatives. Mr. Wardu has a cluttered folder on his desk full of photographs of many attacks, including a gruesome series of pictures taken just moments after gunmen burst into the home of a Christian family and shot 14-year-old Raneen Azzo and her five-year-old brother, Aziz, in the head at close range because their father sold alcohol.

Other Christians complain of daily harassment designed to intimidate them into fleeing. The backsides of the prescription slips issued by a prominent Muslim optometrist in the upscale Mansur district, for instance, deride Jesus as an alcoholic and encourage Christians to convert or leave Iraq. Many Christian families say they have had letters slipped under their doors threatening to kill them if they remain in the country.

The August church bombings quickly were condemned by most mainstream Iraqi clerics and groups -- the country's most revered Shiite Muslim leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called them "criminal" -- but the clerics and political groups largely have refused to criticize the killings of Christians who work for the U.S. or sell alcohol.

Many ordinary Muslims say they hope the Christians remain in Iraq because they see them as an integral part of the country. But they often add that the Christians bear some responsibility for the unrest because of their vocal support for the occupation and willingness to work for the U.S. in large numbers.

The drive against Iraq's Christians is having its desired effect. During a recent meeting at the U.S. Embassy, a delegation of Catholic priests told American officials that emigration poses a significant threat to the community's future in the country. Father Peter Hadad, the prelate of the Our Lady of the Rosary church in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, says his Sunday services attract fewer than 100 worshipers, down from 500 before the August bombings. He points to a framed picture on his mantle of the church's choir, which he recently had to disband because members were too afraid to come to practice.

But the departures also could have a far-reaching impact on Iraq's political and cultural future, because their absence vastly could complicate the U.S. effort to build a Western-style democracy that isn't dominated by Islamic parties and clerics.

During the formal American occupation that ended in June, the sole Christian member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, Yonadam Kanna, battled to expand women's political power and ensure that the laws of the new Iraq had a strict separation of mosque and state. When the council passed a controversial measure replacing long-held women's rights in marriage and divorce with Islamic law, Christian political parties and women's organizations helped lead a successful public campaign to overturn it.

Since the handover of sovereignty, Christian parties have pushed for the formation of a government free of sectarian divisions and willing to enshrine a raft of Western freedoms into the country's permanent constitution. Christian politicians and clerics also have denounced the violence against Americans and the country's interim government, lauded the prospect of a democratic state in a region run by authoritarian Arab rulers, and warned that a theocratic Iraq ultimately would repress both its Muslim and Christian citizens.

"Fundamentalism is very dangerous for everybody in Iraq, including the Muslims, because it takes away people's freedom to choose how to live their lives and instead says that everything must be decided by religion," says Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, the senior Catholic prelate in Iraq.

Mr. Sleiman says he encourages his parishioners to remain in the country, but has been powerless to stop many from leaving. Early last month, gunmen shot up the house of a fellow prelate, the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, and left fliers at the scene promising to kill him if he didn't convert or leave Iraq.

Indeed, many Christians increasingly spend their free time trying to navigate past the bureaucratic roadblocks barring them from leaving the country. Mr. Hasan, for instance, spent a recent sweltering morning shuttling between four government offices in search of a passport and visa, but ultimately realized they would be difficult to obtain legally. An employee at one office quietly told him he could provide the documents in exchange for a large bribe, and Mr. Hasan is scrambling to find the money to pay it.

"We have a proverb, 'After Saturday comes Sunday,' which means that countries that kick out their Jews eventually come after their Christians, too," he says. "I worry that Iraq's Sunday has already begun."


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, September 26, 2004
 
NY Times. David Brooks. Another Triumph for the U.N.
And so we went the multilateral route.

Confronted with the murder of 50,000 in Sudan, we eschewed all that nasty old unilateralism, all that hegemonic, imperialist, go-it-alone, neocon, empire, coalition-of-the-coerced stuff. Our response to this crisis would be so exquisitely multilateral, meticulously consultative, collegially cooperative and ally-friendly that it would make John Kerry swoon and a million editorialists nod in sage approval.

And so we Americans mustered our outrage at the massacres in Darfur and went to the United Nations. And calls were issued and exhortations were made and platitudes spread like béarnaise. The great hum of diplomacy signaled that the global community was whirring into action.

Meanwhile helicopter gunships were strafing children in Darfur.

This is the UN that the Vatican puts so much faith in.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:30 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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If it bleeds, it leads

is a truism of mainstream media.

In New York, if they have a videotape of a crime scene, fire, or train wreck, they will use it in the Nightly News.

Since I live here I know that there's no outbreak of crime, fires, or train wrecks. I know their normal frequency and more importantly I know how they can affect my life.

In Iraq, if there's a pipeline explosion it will be on the 24-hour cable networks.

CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News Now, Headline News.

The ordinary life in Iraq is not newsworthy, but the videotape of those six saboteurs around the damaged pipeline is the top story. The story feeds the 24-hour cable news monster. It doesn't matter if that pipeline can be rerouted or repaired in 12 hours.

It will shape the minds of Americans in How well is the war going?.

That band of saboteurs and the other terrorists are resources to the Kerry campaign. I wonder if they are required to file with the Federal Elections Commission.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com