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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, January 25, 2003
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights reports the the seal of the confessional in under attack in New Hampshire. A Voice of the Faithful member Anne Coughlin is responsible for a bill that will remove the exemption granted for confession to a priest.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Vatican writes Everything you wanted to know about sex

Washington Times reports Vatican writes 'glossary' on sex terminology

The Vatican wants to prevent cultural manipulation of the family in no uncertain terms. Terms, in fact, are at the very heart of it.

The Holy See will soon publish a new glossary of 90 words related to sexual and family issues, according to Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, director of the Pontifical Council for the Family. This "critical glossary" is close to 1,000 pages long and includes input from about 50 anthropologists, sociologists, physicians, psychologists and non-Catholics.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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What I look for the perfect extremeCatholic story -- it's always on the fringe. The West Australian has this one:

Crying statue dries its oily tears By Ben Harvey

A STATUE of the Virgin Mary which appeared to weep stopped shedding its oily residue about the same time as a scientific investigation into the phenomenon was completed.

The statue, which is housed at weekends at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Rockingham, stopped apparently weeping on January 10.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Clash on!

Asia Times: Clash of the Super-Systems by Ken Sanes is an interesting view of Christianity as a "super-system". (The others are Islam and Capitalism) Ken's analysis is clueless because he lacks any insight into the history of Christianity and Islam. However, since so many share that ignorance, his views are worth reading because I think his point of view is shared.

When I find a link like this after a semi-random Google search, I look and see if anyone else picked it up. Daniel Pipes references it in his essay Europe vs. America and the political weblog . Little Green Footballs which is a good place to go to get info on Islamofascism.

Neither Pipes nor lgf mentions that the title "Clash of the Super-Systems" is a takeoff on "Clash of Civilizations" by Samuel P. Huntington, a truly great book. Which I don't think is a takeoff on Clash of the Titans, a 1981 movie on the myth of Perseus.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Personal Testimony

A great source of hope for me for the future is my teaching the Catholic faith to sixth graders (12-14 year olds). I will have these kids before me for about 26 hours in the course of a year and, with the grace of God, I hope to convert them from indifference and ignorance into knowledgeable and faithful Catholics. I hope to see them all again in heaven.

Some of the high school kids who assist the teachers were writing on the board silly things in the faculty area. I wrote this on the board: Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules!

At that, the adult teachers were asking, Pat, did you make that up?

No. It's an ancient hymn of the Church. It was sung to defy pagan Rome. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat. Even though it looks likes we're losing, we're on the winning team if we are on Christ's team.

It's a refrain that I can imagine was part of the defiance of the Christians who were being led to the lions and gladiators.

For another story on this, see George Weigel

Another thing I often repeat to the students: Jesus must increase, I must decrease (John the Baptist said that in John 3:30)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, January 24, 2003
No link, just a thought: Who would Jesus vote for?
  • an anti-death penalty advocate of abortion rights, open borders, living wage, more social services, health care, and other social concerns.
  • an anti-abortion advocate of the death penalty for murder and treason, immigration reform, tax reduction.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Amazon is selling a book that exposes a homosexual conspiracy in the Swiss Guard of the Vatican. City of Secrets: The Truth Behind the Murders at the Vatican by John Follain

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Venura County Star reports that a College affiliated with the seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will close.

The reason, of course, is financial. Perhaps the rector is being quoted inaccurately, but his attitude seems to be flippant about the whole thing.

After you read the article, you might ask yourself what, if anything, is growing in the Archdiocese, or as the rectory puts it, is it all dying?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:03 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Times on the drop in enrollment in Catholic Schools.

We need choice in education. Now.

This Feminist blog is taking notice of this development.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:51 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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For Fast, Fast, Fast Healing, Don't Sue the Church

I know it sounds kinda dumb, but it just, might work. Oops.

From the Boston Globe Lawyer insists church not contact his clients

By Michael Paulson, 1/24/2003

A Boston lawyer has asked the Archdiocese of Boston not to contact his clients because of his irritation over the church's decision to depose therapists who counsel victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Carmen L. Durso yesterday sent a letter to Barbara Thorp, director of the Archdiocese of Boston's Office of Healing and Assistance, asking her to cease all contact with his clients. Durso said he was particularly irate about a letter Thorp sent to abuse victims saying that litigation was prolonging the healing process. He called her letter ''a most outrageous interference in the attorney-client relationship.''

''You do the mental health profession a great disservice when you use your position to propagandize injured people, and try to make them feel guilty for asserting their legal rights,'' he said.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey said the church will continue to reach out to victims.

''Barbara Thorp works very hard to provide outreach to victim-survivors, and it would be unfortunate if her efforts to reach out were hampered in any way,'' Morrissey said. ''She's clearly in a difficult position because of ongoing litigation, but she is committed to providing resources to victim-survivors.''

Also yesterday, Kathleen L. McChesney, the former FBI agent who is heading the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, arrived in Boston at the invitation of archdiocesan administrator Bishop Richard G. Lennon. McChesney met with Lennon and Thorp, among others. She also observed a training session at which Catholic schoolteachers were shown a new curriculum to help children protect themselves.

McChesney is expected to hold a news conference this morning.

This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 1/24/2003. © Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

If these people feel betrayed by the Archdiocese, I think the Archdiocese is not helping with these offers of help.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Action by the bishops is welcome, even if 30 years late

Background: the coincidence of the delcaration from the Vatican on the obligation of Catholic politicians ans the 30th anniversary of Roe has turned up the heat on pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

WorldNetDaily (via Mark Shea) and also at Newsmax.

Governor Davis is reportedly not backing down either. Spokesman Russ Lopez deflected the challenge from the bishop and criticized Weigand for "telling the faithful how to practice their faith." He then predicted Weigand's comments would alienate California Catholics.

"There are a lot of Catholics who are pro-choice. Does the bishop want all Catholics to stop receiving Holy Communion?" he asked. "Who's going to be left in church?"

This is a silly as someone saying "Governor Davis should stop telling citizens of California what the government is doing". There's a small truth in the prediction that insisting that it's a choice between Communion with the Church and Abortion -- and this "[will] alienate California Catholics" -- I think it is time for all pro-abortion Catholics to be alienated.

Who's going to be left in Church? I would say that Catholics who love God and his Creation.

Is excommunication the answer? What is the question? Is the soul of the excommunicate helped by this act? Is it a wakeup call to him or her? Is the Church helped by the excommunication? Are souls protected from evil influence?

I think each case needs to be looked at indiviudally. In the case of a man who I think was a great cardinal, Cardinal O'Connor never got past a single threat made to pro-abortion Mario Cuomo. That threat was that his soul was at risk, was in the headlines for a day and then ignored. I've learned that behind the scenes many clergy and lay people were begging the Cardinal to excommunicate him.

Where did the alienation of Catholic politicians from the Catholic Church start? On 9/12/1960 in this address by Senator John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association

Whatever issue may come before me as President--on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject--I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.
At this point in history, the Kennedy's are pro-birth control and anti-abortion. Only a small handful of commentators at the time recognized this for danger it represents. The passive acceptance of this attitude gave all the cover that Catholic politicians needed to continue to "respect and reject" Church teaching.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Is Christianity Tolerated in America Dept.

Philadelphia Inquirer (via Matt Drudge) Here are a few sentences from the story...

During grave-site flag presentations to next of kin, Cubbage regularly said, "God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America," after the the standard lines of the presentation.

An evangelical Christian, Cubbage said that he gave the blessing only if the family had had a chapel service or a clergy person at the grave and that he knew of no family that had complained.

But in mid-October, a supervisor told him the blessing was to be used only when formally requested by the deceased's family.

Cubbage said he was fired Oct. 31 after he offered the blessing at a funeral. The son of a veteran about to be buried told him the family would welcome the blessing.

Elsewhere in the article it is mentioned that the Rutherford Institute is looking into defending Cubbage.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:18 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, January 23, 2003
The tiny Republic of Malta is one of the most completely Catholic places in the world. Formerly held by the Knights of Malta (1530-1798), France (1798-1800), and the UK (1800-1964). Because of its history, the bishops perhaps have more influence over public life than in other parts of the world.

I blogged this because of the great distance between myself and the issues. I can see the forest. On Malta they can see the trees. The appeal to "conscience" is a form of special pleading: my argument carries extra weight because I say it's a matter of "conscience". Then when you read what Mary wrote, it's clear that "conscience" is not at the heart of it at all.

She plays the "conscience" card to what she thinks is the bishops "magisterium" card. I think the bishops statement is a boilerplate one: find out what the issues are and vote. There's nothing opposed to conscience in that.

So when I read "my conscience" I tend to read "my way" or "my will". One does not have to be a moral theologian to see where that way of thinking leads.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Norwich (CT) Bulletin: Woman says diocese neglected her demon possession

The story explains that a woman is making a public spectacle of herself by demanding and then being refused to be exorcised in the Catholic rite. She has been given an exorcism by Missionary and Alliance Seminary, which it appears from Google, to be a Pentacostal denomination.

This woman is nuts, not merely silly. You should visit the link just to look at the picture. She gives people with legitimate grieveances against their bishops a bad name.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Are you looking for the link that will take you to the document that discusses how Catholics should participate in public life. I was looking for it when I blogged the "Respect and Reject" attitude of Catholic politicians towards Catholic moral teaching. Zenit has it:

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life. (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:30 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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In The Arlington Catholic Herald Fr. William P. Saunders has an answer to this question:
Sometimes I have met Catholics — especially where I work — who say, "I am personally against abortion, but I am pro-choice." To me, that makes no sense, but how can I argue with them? — A reader in Alexandria

If you have a friend or relative who would ask this question, please pass the answer onto them.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:22 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Gaudi Hotel Design The New Times discusses this design for a replacement for the World Trade Center

The architect is Antoni Gaudí, the Barcelona visionary who was the greatest Spanish exponent of the Art Nouveau style. And the plan, for a New York hotel, was conceived in 1908.

I recently visited the designs proposed for the replacement of the buildings which are only display in New York at the Wintergaden which is located in 3 World Financial Center where I worked from 1993-1994. The displays are there until February 3, 2003. If you can't see them in person there are on the web at renewnyc and imagineny. Note that one of the architect fims in the group, SOM, has dropped out.

My personal 9/11 story is this: I worked in 22 Cortlandt Street until six weeks before 9/11. When I was there I was passing through the World Trade Center every day. 22 Cortlandt Street had the distinction of being the closest building to WTC that did not suffer structural damage even though the building was only 100 feet across Church Street.

I saw the entire event from a new office just across the Hudson River. In April 2002, my firm moved my job back to lower Manhattan over looking the site. During that time with so few building in the area re-occupied and there being so many tourists and vendors, it was disquieting to go downstairs and get lunch.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:30 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Much to say about Al Sharpton and little time now to say it

I may be the only one of the inhabitants of St. Blog's to have actually met Al Sharpton. I join other pundits who say that Al is no fool and has a skill in public speaking.

On the day of the anti-Bush/anti-US demonstrations January 18. I heard him make a full speech. It was really good in a technical sense. He wove together themes of Dr. Martin Luther King and the plight of the ordinary Iraqi people and the demonstrators before him. I admire that ability even while disagreeing with everything he says.

One of the very rare things we have on television and radio is a the coverage of a political speech from start to finish. There's only "sound bites". I know a lot of speeches are over-long and padded -- and that goes for both Republicans and Democrats.

The ability to speak and make political points in an entertaining way is a great skill.

Al Sharpton shouldn't seek to be George Bush, he should seek to be Rush Limbaugh.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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We won't be hearing that the deceased is surely already in heaven

WINS 1010 Radio reports Newark Archbishop Bars Eulogies At Funerals

Jan 22, 2003 6:57 am US/Eastern NEWARK, N.J. Roman Catholic Archbishop John J. Myers has barred family members and friends from delivering eulogies at funerals, saying the tributes ''are getting out of hand'' and can create a distraction from the true purpose of the Mass.

In a directive sent to priests in the Newark archdiocese last week, Myers said they could still talk about the deceased in the homily they deliver at the funeral Mass. However, he said any tributes from families and friends should be read before or after the Mass, preferably in a side chapel or at graveside, and should be delivered by one person.

Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the archdiocese that covers churches in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Union counties, said problems were occurring because several people wanted to speak during funerals.

''We have been getting more and more requests for eulogies, and this is not something that has been traditionally a part of Catholic funeral rites,'' Goodness told The Record of Bergen County for Wednesday's editions.

The decree, which was passed on to many parishioners during Sunday services, also stipulated that the funeral homily ''should be more than a mere eulogy'' and it should focus on the message of Jesus.

The decision has angered many families, who said they did not learn of the changes until they were making funeral arrangements.

''We felt it really wasn't asking a lot for family members to speak,'' said Mary Jo Dervos of Glen Rock, whose family was not allowed to deliver eulogies during her grandmother's funeral Mass on Monday. ''My grandmother was so devoted to the church. She was in the rosary society for 50 years. We believed the Mass was the most appropriate place.''

Dervos said the priest suggested family members and friends read their elegies at the wake, but the family rejected that suggestion because people would be coming and going as the tributes were delivered. Instead, the elegies were read at a luncheon after the funeral. (© MMII Infinity Broadcasting Corp)

I've given instructions that unless I die a martyr for the faith, please consider me surely in purgatory, and always pray for the souls there.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:06 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Culture of Death Watch & a fitting way to observe the 30th Anniv of Roe V. Wade

WINS 1010 Radio reports Fetus Found at Yonkers Treatment Plant

YONKERS, N.Y. -- A female fetus, apparently stillborn, was found amid sewage at a wastewater treatment plant, police said.

It was the second such discovery at the North Yonkers Pump Plant in two years. An aborted male fetus was found in February 2001.

An employee found the 12-inch fetus, its umbilical cord attached, while cleaning equipment Sunday night, police said. They are investigating how it got there and who is responsible.

The Westchester County medical examiner's office listed the cause of death as stillbirth, pending further investigation.

Last year, fetuses were found at wastewater plants in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wedding Ceremony.org
has the perfect solution for a couple who want the appearance without the reality of a Catholic wedding.

Our priests are all validly ordained by bishops with apostolic succession, and they witness the sacrament of marriage on behalf of the Catholic Church. Please remember that the "Catholic Church" is the people of God, the community of the faithful and the Body of Christ ... not just the "hierarchy" (reference Vatican Council II's Constitution on the Church). Moreover, Catholic theology has always held that the bride and groom are the "ministers" of this sacrament to each other.

Many of our priests are members of the Association for Contemporary Catholic Life (www.ContemporaryCatholic.org), a progressive group of Catholics (see "Who We Are" below). Many are former "canonical" Roman Catholic priests. Many come from other non-Roman Catholic churches, all of which have apostolic succession and valid sacraments. (Most current Roman Catholic priests and priests from some other Catholic rites have strict rules which greatly restrict what they can do, while our priests’ do not have such stringent restrictions.) We also have other Christian ministers, and will refer whichever you want, if you have a preference.

The rules within the Catholic Church have changed radically and dramatically over the centuries, and so we profess recognition of freedom of conscience, which Christ practiced. We do not judge you for whatever you do, as Christ also never did. For every single human being, life is filled with blessings and difficulties, good choices and bad, and all lead us to becoming our better selves.

God never abandons us, and never loves us less, no matter what we do or who we are. For example, if God is love (as the gospels clearly state), then love of people who have been divorced is a gift from God ... and who would we be to think that we had to validate this free gift of God? We do not have or require "annulments." Over the years, the practices of many churches have become hardened, and no longer reflect the flexibility we think is gospel-based and very needed in our time. We believe that God cares less about which church file cabinet your papers are in (i.e., "Divorced With Annulment" or "Divorced Without Annulment"), and more about the love you have and are working to express in your daily life. Another example: if God is love, and you love one another, aren’t you supposed to show it? Sex is "sinful" if it does not enrich us but is used selfishly; it cannot be sinful if it expresses love, which is God. If you live together, you will never find us telling you that is sinful. We simply will not "judge!"

If there's something out there that is a worse example of an explanation of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, then I haven't seen it. Scare quotes around "Catholic Church", "hierarchy", "ministers", and "canonical" -- well, you can't get better than that.

I didn't go looking for this I was doing some research on apostolic succession.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:01 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Suit Charges Seminary With Pro-Gay Teachings
By Carol Eisenberg

January 21, 2003

A former seminary student has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop William Murphy and top officials of its seminary, charging they promoted what he called "pro-homosexual" teachings in contradiction to authentic Roman Catholic doctrine.

William Downey, a 57-year-old retired Manhasset businessman, said he was expelled from the master's in theology program for lay men and women at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington after threatening to publicize his complaints that the seminary was teaching now-discredited moral ideas. He also complained that professors distributed what he described as "lewd and pro-homosexual materials," including a pamphlet advertising books that affirmed gay and lesbian Christians.

"For our seminary to teach notions that run contrary to authentic Catholic theology, in fact to teach a condemned heresy that permits one who molests children to sleep at night, has created the conditions under which the sex scandal is a natural byproduct," Downey said yesterday in the office of his attorney, John Picciano of Garden City. The suit, which alleges fraud and breach of contract, was filed Friday in State Supreme Court in Mineola.

Diocesan spokeswoman Joanne Novarro said yesterday she could not comment on the lawsuit's allegations because she had not seen the papers. But she defended the seminary, saying it was given a high rating last year after an inspection by a team from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. "We stand behind the seminary," Novarro said. "It's a fine place."

Downey's allegations give legal voice to an increasingly popular conservative critique of the sex abuse scandal as a byproduct of the social upheaval of the 1960s, which fostered a culture of dissent in American seminaries. The Vatican, too, pressed that link with American prelates when they met with the pope last April. The pope ordered an inspection of all American seminaries with an eye toward the proper moral formation of seminarians.

But even advocates of the conservative viewpoint suggested that it was highly unlikely Downey would get a hearing in a civil court. "If he's right that that's what was taught, then I might agree with his argument, but I don't think you're going to have a court prying into the interstices of a rather complicated theological discussion," said the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus of Manhattan, a prominent conservative Catholic writer who edits the Catholic journal, First Things.

But a liberal theologian, the Rev. Richard McBrien at the University of Notre Dame, said he found Downey's arguments lacking in credibility.

"The fact that it's taught doesn't mean the program was in violation of church teachings," McBrien said. "Based on my experience, when a student complains about being thrown out because of his orthodox views, it's almost always for other reasons."

Liberals in general believe the origin of the sex abuse scandal lies in the church's repressive attitude towards sexuality, including the requirement that priests be celibate, as well as a closed clerical culture.

Downey, who described himself as having been a B-plus student, said he brought his lawsuit reluctantly, after he was unsuccessful for 18 months in getting anyone at the seminary or the diocesan chancery to discuss the curriculum. He wrote Murphy several times, but was unable to get a meeting with him. "They're teaching something that's obviously wrong and they won't fix it, and then they threw me out because I kept bringing it up," he said.

Novarro denied that he was expelled for his complaints, or for threatening to go public with them.

Downey does acknowledge that he complained regularly about the teaching of the doctrine of Fundamental Option, developed by a European theologian in the 1960s, which held that an isolated behavior might not be a mortal sin if a person led an otherwise exemplary life. Even though that doctrine was subsequently condemned by Pope John Paul II in a 1993 encyclical, Downey said that Msgr. Dennis Regan taught it as Catholic doctrine, with no reference to the pope's criticisms.

The pope's condemnation "was not on his reading list, and the words were never uttered from his mouth," Downey said. "The only person to bring it up was me."

Downey said that some priests have used such teachings to rationalize the consequences of breaking their vows of celibacy. Neither Regan, nor seminary rector Msgr. Frank Schneider, could be reached yesterday for comment.

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

I wonder if this is going to be considered consumer fraud

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, January 19, 2003
The Statue Vandal is Caught

Jan 19, 2003 9:34 pm US/Eastern (1010 WINS) (NEWARK) A man was arrested Sunday in connection with a vandalism spree involving religious and historical statues in the city.

Jamil Gadsen, 20, of Newark, is accused of damaging religious statues at 32 Ludlow Street on Dec. 24, according to Detective Todd McClendon of the Newark Police Department.

Authorities also removed several items from Gadsen's home. Police would not elaborate on what was found, citing the ongoing investigation.

Police began investigating the vandalism in December, when a 2-ton limestone eagle in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse complex was decapitated and the head stolen.

Since then, about two-dozen statues at Roman Catholic churches and a city park have been vandalized. Most recently, the head was cut off a downtown sculpture of an American eagle at PSE&G Plaza on Thursday.

Each incident was being investigated as bias crime, McClendon said.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:24 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com