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Friday, April 29, 2005
 
Shortly after the War in Iraq started, did Cardinal Ratzinger condemn it in language stronger than the Pope used?

Cardinal Ratzinger on the Abridged Version of Catechism : Compendium Expected Out in 2 Years : Zenit 2003-05-02

Q: Eminence, a topical question that in a certain sense is inherent to the Catechism: Does the Anglo-American war against Iraq fit the canons of a "just war"?

Cardinal Ratzinger: The Pope expressed his thought with great clarity, not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church. Of course, he did not impose this position as doctrine of the Church but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by faith.

The Holy Father's judgment is also convincing from the rational point of view: There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a "just war."

There are other quotes attributed to Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) which contain even stronger language but their attribution seems suspicious to me.

In May 2003, Saddam's organized army had formally surrendered, the insurgency had started, and the coalition forces was going through a deck of 52 cards and we were searching for Saddam and WMD's.

I think Pope Benedict XVI can avoid a head-on review of this position by simply saying that 2003 is the past, and that the remedy to the 2003 war is the restoration of peace and stability in Iraq with a return of constitutional self-government is well underway now.

The anti-war Catholic groups are all over this now, it will be interesting to see how George Wiegel and Michael Novak respond.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:27 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, April 28, 2005
 
White Smoke : A PBS mockumentary

Continuing my theme of time wasted by watching TV (I do it so I can reassure you that you missed nothing by avoiding it.) ...

You'd be better off by watching this with the sound off.

The only thing I learned is as Democrats use the word "bipartisan" to mean "agree with us", the term of art for the Church-in-Dissent of which James Carroll is faux-bishop is "collegiality" meaning "do what we want".


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Revelations: what a mess

Does anyone like this series? It is entirely too slow, too predictable, too derivative for me. Every movement of the plot is telegraphed.

It's clear that it's all revolving around the satanist character. In fact, you can visit neutral ground like NBC's Discussion Board on Revelations and see that the satanists are quite pleased with the progress of "Isaiah Haden" (played by Michael Massee).

The motivations of the characters (with the exception Isaiah) are so mixed and mixed up. What is driving Sister Josepha Montefiore. What's makes her tick? As a Catholic, if someone were to tell me that the world would end tomorrow, I'd say "Come, Lord".

The writing in Revelations shows ignorance of scripture, ignorance of the Vatican, and, I suspect, ignorance of the belief systems of actual satanists.

It's a cartoon that allows the ignorant self-described skeptics to call it purely psychological terrorism perpetrated by the Christian community on humanity.

Frankly, I think the depiction of the Vatican in Van Helsing comes closer to reality.

Only three more episodes to go, Thanks Be to God!


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Am I a prophet for predicting this?

Doomsayers say Pope Benedict fits world end prophecy : Reuters

Pope Benedict's ascent to the papacy took a conclave of 115 cardinals, four rounds of voting and followed a lifetime of service to the Vatican.

But ask Internet doomsayers eyeing a 12th century Catholic prophecy and they'll tell you it was all stitched up more than eight centuries ago and that judgment day is nigh.

The prophecy -- widely dismissed by scholars as a hoax -- is attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop recognised by members of the Church for his ability to read the future.

Benedict, believers say, fits the description of the second-to-last pope listed under the prophecy before the Last Judgement, when the bible says God separates the wicked from the righteous at the end of time.

"The Old Testament states: 'believe his prophets and you will prosper' -- so believe it. We are close to the return of the Judge of the nations. Christ is coming," wrote one Internet post by the Reverend Pat Reynolds.

"Thank God for the witness of St. Malachy."

St. Malachy was said to have had a vision during a trip to Rome around 1139 of the remaining 112 Popes. The new pope would be number 111 on that list, and is described in a text attributed to St. Malachy as the "Glory of the Olive".

To connect Benedict, a pale, bookish German, to anything olive takes some imagination. But Malachy-watchers point to the choice of the name Benedict -- an allusion to the Order of Saint Benedict, a branch of which is known as the Olivetans.

"When (he) chose the name Benedict XVI, this was seen as fulfilling the prophecy for this pope," wrote one entry on www.wikipedia.org.

wikipedia is full of anonymous cranks -- and Reuters uses them as a source for this. Oddly Enough


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:30 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Catholic Higher Education Dept.

Boston College pursues this distinctive mission by serving society in three ways:
  • by fostering the rigorous intellectual development and the religious, ethical and personal formation of its undergraduate, graduate and professional students in order to prepare them for citizenship, service and leadership in a global society;
  • by producing nationally and internationally significant research that advances insight and understanding, thereby both enriching culture and addressing important societal needs; and
  • by committing itself to advance the dialogue between religious belief and other formative elements of culture through the intellectual inquiry , teaching and learning, and the community life that form the University.
What part of the mission statement of Boston College does the following serve:

The Heights : The Independent Student Newspaper of Boston College

Fr. Showboat Hall: Well, I was getting really sick of the food in the mess hall ... so ... you know, I made myself a little ... Eucharist salad.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:18 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Pope Benedict's First Audience
The reference to Europe's Christian heritage is a theme Benedict is expected to take up frequently in a bid to combat religious apathy on the continent.

He said the founder of the Benedictine order is venerated in Germany and "in particular Bavaria, the land of my origin."

The pope touched on the issues he intends to tackle as he described how he chose his name, recalling Pope Benedict XV, who led the church during World War I.

"In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples," he said.

Benedict also recalled St. Benedict of Norcia, a patron saint of Europe, "whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life."


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Fr. Gordon MacRae's story Part II

A Priest's Story : Wall Street Journal (paid subs. reqd.)

About his own moral lapses -- grave violations of his vows -- Gordon MacRae required no clarifications. He was a priest who had failed twice to resist temptation, once, briefly, with a married woman who had declared her love and need for him -- a saga with elements of "The Thorn Birds" and, in larger part, farce. There was a one-night encounter, during his leave of absence from the parish, with Tony Bonacci, a highly intelligent 16-year male friend and a dependent of sorts. Tony had himself initiated the encounter -- never to be repeated, his entreaties notwithstanding -- he told Fr. MacRae's attorney. All irrelevant, Fr. MacRae says, today. "I was the adult."
In all, a lot of stuff to think about, it fairly screams "reasonable doubt".


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:26 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
 
Video captures police handcuffing 5-year-old Florida girl : AP
Friday April 22, 2005
An attorney says he plans legal action against Florida police officers who handcuffed an unruly five-year-old girl.

Police were called to the elementary school in St. Petersburg March 14th after the girl acted up in her kindergarten class. A video camera, which was rolling as part of a classroom exercise that day, captured images of the girl tearing papers off a bulletin board, climbing on a table and punching an assistant principal.

Then it shows the child appearing to calm down before three officers approach, pin her arms behind her back and put handcuffs on her as she screams, "No!"

After being placed in the back of a police cruiser, the girl was released to her mother.

A lawyer for the girl's mother says the officers went too far. He says "It's incomprehensible."

Police are investigating the incident.

The question was asked by Marian Wright Edelman

A 5-year-old girl in St. Petersburg, Fla., had her wrists and ankles shackled after a temper tantrum at school. Don't you think adults should be able to handle small children without such extreme measures?
I'm sorry for talking so long to blog on this. My background is that I've taught Religious Education for 12 years and raised three kids. My wife is a certified Montessori teacher.

To answer Edelman's question, it's not "adults" we are talking about, but "public school employees". Basically, they can not, should not, and will not touch students in order to "handle" them.

I think that overall the teachers handled it well. The presence of the videocamera is no accident. I think that scene we see on the camera had been played out over and over again - and Friday was determined to be day that if Ja'eisha Scott (Akins) would not going to comply with the classroom decorum, it would all be done by the book.

My wife pointed out that the teachers should have used something like a moving box of three adults to get the child out of the classroom and into a distraction-free area for a "timeout".

I think the girl is highly intelligent and had internalized the limits of what the teachers and staff could to her, and that there would be no consequences to herself from her mother by acting out. She controlled the situation -- in the classroom and later in the Assistant Principal's office.

Was the arrest neccessary? I believe so, because nothing short of physical force was going to deter that girl from being disruptive or even a danger to herself and others. The only authority, verbal authority, was ineffective as you can see from the videotape.

There's been criticism of the teachers for attempting to reason or negotiate with the girl. I think that's unfair, what deal or threat could these teachers make that would have creditiblity?

I think the lesson this girl had learned was that her actions had no unpleasant consequences for herself. She could do whatever she wanted in that classroom or in that office and nothing could be done about it.

Her lack of concern or even paying attention to what the adults were saying to her in the midst of the antics is quite a contrast to her realization that the police were going to cuff her. Now, she was paying attention and shouted "No!"

Rather than being a wakeup call to the mother that her child lacked the self-control and social skills for a classroom, the mother has hired a lawyer to see if the school or the police can be sued.

The girl was taken to the back of a patrol car and not taken to a police station or jail and was released to her mother.

Both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are making this a racial incident since the teaching staff and police were white and the girl was black. Ja'eisha Scott (Akins) was very well-behaved on the set of A Current Affair. It's a good thing the school made the tape.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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A Priest's Story : Dorothy Rabinowitz : Wall Street Journal (paid subs. reqd.)
Nine years after he had been convicted and sent to prison on charges of sexual assault against a teenaged boy, Father Gordon MacRae received a letter in July 2003 from Nixon Peabody LLP, a law firm representing the Diocese of Manchester, N.H. Under the circumstances -- he was a priest serving a life term -- and after all he had seen, the cordial-sounding inquiry should not perhaps have chilled him as much as it did.

I'm waiting for Part II. A contributor to Amy Welborn's blog entered the whole article.

I'm not sure if Dorothy Rabinowitz is arguing that's he innocent of all charges or if he was over-charged. As a investigative reporter 10 years ago she exposed fraud and abuse in the investigation of the Amirault's who ran a daycare center.

This report has a lot of facts that require a lot more explaining.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Queens Worshippers Celebrate Installation of Pope : NY1

This has the video link I was speaking of. As I mentioned in my interview with Cindi Avila that people should read what the new Pope has written in books available in English translation. This didn't fit the template.

  • A woman with a note of anger in the voice "We don't need a modern Pope"
  • A woman with her child in her First Holy Communion dress sorrowfully asking "When will women be allowed in the Church?"
  • A man asking for change like married priests.

Cindi Avila just started as a on-air reporter with NY1.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:14 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005
 
Not that's there's anything wrong with that Dept.

Gay Abe? : Philadelphia Daily News

But Percy, who is gay, is not a Lincoln specialist, though he has long campaigned for "outing" public officials in high positions accused of denying rights to homosexuals. He even co-authored a book in 1994 called "Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence" and has said he'll pay $10,000 to anyone who outs an American Catholic bishop or a top-ranked general.

I presume that he means a bishop who has not resigned for a grave reason before the expected retirement of 75, otherwise this challenge is too easy.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Defender of the Faith?

Report of threat leads to arrest : Troy Record

"I'm sick and tired of you bashing the (expletive) out the Catholic church. ... If you ever say to me what you said, John, you are going to be spending some time in (a) medical facility," Borden was heard saying on the answering machine provided by Aretakis.

"Shut your mouth, calm your rhetoric, or you are going to meet me or one of my friends, and it's going to be a very sad day for you," he added on the tape.

The two-minute tirade stems from an incident on Sunday when Borden allegedly showed up at the Franklin Plaza banquet hall where protesters were outside picketing against Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard's handling of clergy sex abuse cases.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:54 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tragic Deaths: the blame game

Passover Tragedy : New York Post

A Hasidic Brooklyn community's Passover celebration turned tragic yesterday when three boys died in an apartment fire sparked by a stovetop burner left on since Friday for religious reasons, sources said.
Blame the religion:
... Strict religious practices on the Sabbath and holidays like Passover, which began Saturday at sundown, forbid Orthodox Jews from kindling or extinguishing a fire
Blame the city:
Neighbors complained that only one panel of the side-to-side sliding windows can be opened.

"Those are New York City-regulated window guards, which are not allowed to be removable," said Stephen Kraus of Kraus Management, which has managed the eight-building complex for 30 years.

On the other hand, where window guards have not be installed, or were made removable, ten children have fallen out of windows.

Blame the family's neglect

One tenant said she heard no alarms. Firefighters say a smoke detector in the apartment had no batteries. WABC TV

Blame slow response from the fire department

Some question the firefighters response time.

Neighbor:"They definitely took a long time to come."

The average response time in the city is four minutes and 18 seconds. The fire department arrived at this fire in just three minutes and 50 seconds. Still, too late for the three boys. WABC TV

Abraham said the community was upset firefighters took almost four minutes to arrive at the scene. I can walk slowly from the firehouse to the scene of the fire and get there in under a minute and a half, Abraham said. AP

Blame the City II:

This neighborhood is in between two firehouses that the Bloomberg administration closed for budget reasons. Just last year, four people died in a fire not far from here. Residents ask whether some might have been saved if those firehouses were open. But the FDNY says firefighters reached this latest fire in 3 minutes, 50 seconds. NY1 with video link

Blame the Layout of the Community:

While the Fire Department arrived quickly, they had difficulty locating the exact location of the fire because of the maze layout of the appartment buildings. WCBS


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Monday, April 25, 2005
 
BBC Misses Opportunity to Host Election Abortion Debate : PR Newswire
...Earlier, C.A.G was encouraged when Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor spoke out publicly for the first time on abortion and thereby appeared to raise its current political profile.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is Archbishop of Westminster and he's 72. I guess it's better late than never to speak out against abortion.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:56 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, April 24, 2005
 
Interviewed by NY1

I was in the right place at the right time. A NY1 reporter showed up at the 10.30am Mass where I usher, after the Mass I was interviewed, I tried to add something about Pope Benedict that I haven't heard others day. I mentioned that he's written several books which have been translated into English which will give you an insight into how he thinks under the name Cardinal Ratzinger, of course.

I was asked about the hopes of some Catholics that he would liberalize the Church. I said that we need to ask if Jesus was around on the earth to preach would he encourage abortions or would he uphold the right to life. I hope I had the right message in the 30 seconds the Holy Spirit gave me. So if you are trying to decide what television news you want to watch tonight, try NY1 and (maybe) see the priests of St. Sebastian Parish and others like me giving their thoughts on the inaguration of Pope Benedict XVI.

Update: My interview didn't get into the segment that aired. You can imagine what opinions did get into the segment.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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