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Friday, February 07, 2003
Hartford Courant updates the story of Fr. Roman Kramek a visiting priest from Poland accused of raping a teenage girl. He claims innocence. This contradicts a published police account that he admitted to the rape.

A Polish-language-only website Polish Brotherly Help is collecting funds for his bail and defense.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, February 06, 2003
Descent into Limbo Yahoo: Descent into Limbo

Old Master painting 'Descent into Limbo,' painted circa 1492 by Andrea Mantegna, sold at auction Jan. 23, 2003 to an anonymous telephone bidder for $28,568,000 by Sotheby's auction house in New York. The most paid for a Mantegna at auction prior to this sale was $10.4 million for his 'Adoration of the Magi' in 1985. (AP Photo/Sotheby's)

This is a cool picture which I never saw before.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ, Angels Fence Mary The Blessed Virgin Mary appears in the strangest places

Yahoo/Reuters has this image which someone claimed appears to look like the Blessed Virgin Mary. It's extreme. You can be judge.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:06 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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UPI reports on the Museum of Terror in Budapest, Hungary
One enters the museum through a doorway embroidered with the similar insignia of both totalitarianisms, walks past a Russian tank (symbol of Hungary's long occupation), and ascends in an elevator with a view of the dank grey courtyard where once dissidents were dragged in for interrogation. Then, to the sound of solemn music interrupted occasionally by the clang of a prison door or the ranting of some demagogue, one walks from the top of the building, through the last 60 years of Hungarian history, each floor illustrating some aspect of oppression -- the fascist murder of Jews, the communist show trial of Cardinal Josef Mindzenty, the starvation of the peasantry, the sudden liberating eruption of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, its suppression, the systematic round-up and punishment of the revolutionaries (including the execution of children), and the long banality of "goulash communism" under Janos Kadar's cynical dictatorship -- until one reaches the lowest level of all.

Were the Nazis and Communists evil? Places like this will provide an answer.

Cardinal Mindzenty (or Mindszenty) was first a prisioner of the Nazis and then imprisioned by the Soviets from 1948 to 1971. He was tortured and they demanded that he deny the Catholic faith. He died in 1975 at the age of 83.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Canonization cause opened for Rose Hawthorne in New York Archdiocese

NEW YORK (Catholic News Service) -- Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York opened the canonization cause for Rose Hawthorne, founder of the Dominican Sisters, Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer, in a ceremony Feb. 4 at the New York Catholic Center. The daughter of U.S. author Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rose Hawthorne was a wife, mother, widow and convert to Catholicism. She began caring for poor people suffering from cancer in the slums of Manhattan in the 1890s and established the congregation in 1900. Known in religious life as Mother Alphonsa, she established two homes where the sisters cared for the poor without charge, St. Rose's in Manhattan and Rosary Hill in Hawthorne, the motherhouse, where she died in 1926. Both homes are still in operation, along with four others, in Philadelphia and Atlanta; St. Paul, Minn.; and Parma, Ohio.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:35 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NY Post: Regrets being a Good Samaritan

Background: a guy in from Long Island high on heroin was speeding through Brooklyn. He killed two mothers, one of their babies, and the other baby is critically injured. He fled but he crashed his SUV about half a mile away. He was injured and rescued. The story from the NY Post:

Alex Rodriguez and four others helped pull Zappulla out of the wrecked SUV. Rodriguez said the driver's injuries were so severe, he looked "totally destroyed, totally lost."

Sources said that despite his condition, he got violent with cops who arrested him.

After learning the entire story, Rodriguez regretted playing good Samaritan.

"If we had known that he had run down people, that he had killed these people, I would never have helped him," he said.

Random acts of kindness, regretted.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:46 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Let Saddam Build weapons of Mass Destruction Department gave an interview with Reuters

He said the war would unleash terrorism. As if the killing of 3,000 Americans reflects "leashed terrorism". And there's even more recent arrests of terrorists in various countries around the globe. Terrorism is already unleashed and the goal is to stop it by the death or imprisonment of the terrorists. The passage of time only increases the abilities of the terrorists.

He called the latest evidence by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell unconvincing and vague. If actual tapes and photographs are unconvincing and vague, then what would be convincing and specific?

The interview never gets around to the question of disarmament and U.N. resolutions. Martino is content is insult the readers intelligence with quips like "I wonder why those who want to make war do not take into account the serious consequences.

As if no one in the miliary and political planning is thinking about the consequences. Not only is the United States accused of being wrong, but also unthinking.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I'll be the judge of that Department

CNN reports:

Iraq has refuted Powell's terrorist allegations, allegations about moving possible weapons of mass destruction to prevent inspectors from finding them. Every single allegation has been refuted.

What makes this bloggable is that the above statement doesn't come from the Iraqi government, but from CNN's "reporter" in Iraq.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:49 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Demographic Re-conquest of Upper California

Tri-Valley Herald (Alameda CA) (AP) reports that a majority of births in California are to Latinos.

In 2030 or 2040 or so, expect California to seek independence from the United States as a new nation or part of Mexico.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:32 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Swiss Bishops are looking for a debate

GENEVA, FEB. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The presidency of the Swiss Episcopal Conference warns that the debate on the ethics of an attack on Iraq has disappeared from the media.

"For several days now, in all the media, there is no longer a question about the advisability of a war against Iraq, but of the date of the start of hostilities," a statement from the conference says today. "Worse yet: some are already speaking about the postwar."

"We are alarmed by this kind of talk and we wish to recall with firmness our opposition to a war whose principal victims will be the civilian populations," the bishops add.

"For years, the Iraqi people, most especially the children, have suffered atrociously from the consequences of the international embargo against that country," they say. "Let us not martyr them still more, while all the ways of dialogue have not been exhausted and the danger that the Iraqi dictator poses has not been proved."

"Moreover, we must be aware that a war against Iraq would 'wound' many Muslims and would certainly produce the contrary of the hoped-for effect, namely, a strong rise of the terrorist menace on the part of Muslim fanatics," the bishops warn.

"We appeal to all believers of our country to redouble their prayers so that war will not break out and that common sense will triumph," the Swiss bishops conclude.

Let's understand what's wrong with this statement:

  • Iraq can stop the discussion of the start of the war by complying with United Nations resolution 1441.
  • There's nothing worse about speaking about a post-Saddam Iraq?? It's a form of pressure for Saddam to leave on his own or for others around him to push him out of power. The United States wants to support democracy in Iraq not install a viceroy.
  • Civilian populations are the intended victims according to Iraqi political and military doctrine. It's designed to give moral qualms to enemy military planners (like us) who seeks to avoid casualties to civilian populations. If Saddam really cared he'd isolate his military bases from civilian areas.
  • The embargo does not prevent humanitarian aid, but this aid when it arrives is being diverted from poor areas of the country by its dictator to military use or for resale.
  • I find the use of the term martyr in this political context to be offensive. The people of Iraq are not dying for their faith, unless you arer prepare to deify Saddam Hussein. The people of Iraq are properly called victims, and have been made so by Saddam Hussein.
  • Dialog has been exhausted. More talk means more time for Iraq to amass more weapons of mass destruction. Dialog has not led to disarmament, only to increasing the threat that Saddam can make to his neighbors and to the world.
  • The voice recordings and photographs revealed by Secretary Powell constitute proof. You either believe Powell or you believe Iraq's response that all the evidence was all faked (and that Washington DC has been able to keep that a secret.)
  • The bishops's last point is the most pathetic of all: We can't force the disarmament of Iraq becuase it will increase the terrorist menace. You mean, like, they might get so mad they will fly into office towers in New York and government buildings in Washingon and kill thousands at once? That terrorist menace? To not disarm Iraq is appeasement.
  • We are all praying for this war to be avoided. It's a war now to avoid a war where Iraq has abundant WMD's later. It's a cheap debating trick to label your position as common sense. A peace where we allow Iraq to supply terrrorists with chemical, biological, and radiological weapons is not common sense.
  • Victory in Iraq will put fear and resignation into Muslim fanactics, not menace.

This will be a just war and once the truth about what has been going on in Iraq is revealed -- including commerce with Swiss corporations and banks, the moral authority of the Swiss bishops will be diminished.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cheaper Staplers in the United States, Cheaper Bread in Mexico

Z Mag Book Review on the Selling of Free Trade:

[John] MacArthur humanizes the effects of the abstract economic arrangement known as NAFTA by focusing on Swingline, the stapler manufacturer whose parent company, ACCO (formerly known in previous incarnations as American Brands and Fortune Brands) also happens to own Master Lock. He presents a highly detailed account of how Swingline, started by a Russian immigrant and eventually employing over 1,200 workers in Long Island City, was bought by ACCO and moved to a modern Nogales, Mexico facility large enough to contain both Swingline and hundreds of the Master Lock jobs shifted from Milwaukee.

In Nogales, workers typically make roughly $1 an hour for 48-hour weeks and live in shacks that provide little protection from the elements.

As for Swingline’s Long Island plant, it has fittingly been converted into a juvenile detention facility. “The house that Jack Linsky with his immigrant’s pluck, the building where so many immigrants had followed to make their way in the New World, was to become a starter jail,” MacArthur bitterly observes.

South of the Border

Mexico City Catholic News Service -- Miguel Garcia Bautista's family has been farming wheat on a 10-acre plot in the Mexican state of Zacatecas since Garcia's grandfather purchased the land in 1937. But now Garcia, a burly 37-year-old with four children, said he might have to sell his family's farm and look for work elsewhere as competition from inexpensive U.S. wheat is forcing him out of business. "I love to work the land, I love my home. But when I can't feed my kids, I think about going to the other side (the United States) to make a living," he said. The case of Garcia and millions of other Mexican campesinos, or peasant farmers, has been taken up by church officials who have joined in a campaign to save the Mexican countryside. On Jan. 29, the social commission of the Mexican bishops' conference released a lengthy statement calling on the Mexican government to do everything in its power to rescue the ailing rural sector. The situation has been heating up since Jan. 1, when tariffs on most agricultural products imported from the United States were eliminated under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:53 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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VATICAN CITY (Catholic News Service) -- The Vatican confirmed that Pope John Paul II would meet with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz at the Vatican Feb. 14.

In a brief statement Feb. 5, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Aziz had requested the meeting. The meeting will take place the same day top U.N. weapons inspectors are next scheduled to report on their progress to the U.N. Security Council. Aziz announced the papal meeting in an interview published Feb. 5 in the French newspaper Le Figaro. Aziz, a Chaldean Catholic, last met the pope in May 1998, when he asked for the Vatican's help in convincing Western nations to lift a U.N. embargo against his country.

Perhaps Mr. Aziz is going to seek asylum at the Vatican, or maybe have his confession heard.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:46 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: the mayor of Hammond, Ind. Duane Dedelow Jr. is attempting to stop the sale of WJOB-AM there to Starboard Communications of Green Bay which will broadcast EWTN Eternal Word Television Network Also attempted from being sold to SC is WGLB in the Milwaukee area.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A few hundred of you are reading extremeCatholic, millions are reading Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher of National Review Online has written that, in the past, officials did not prosecute, but showed deference to the Catholic Church. They were, essentially, co-enablers of sexual abuse, as we now understand the bishops to have been.

Because of the skepticism that greeted Dreher's claim, I add this link from the Boston Globe

O'Leary's case is at least the fourth in which once-secret archdiocesan files show law enforcement authorities deferring to the church over matters of clergy sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Edward T. Kelley was allowed to continue in ministry after Nahant police found him in a state of undress with a 19-year-old man in his car in 1977. Instead of arresting Kelly, police called Bishop Thomas V. Daily, a chancery official.

Bishop Daily was a auxilliary in Boston at the time. He is the present Bishop of Brooklyn -- the diocese where Nelson was just convicted and Udegbulem is on trial.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Some Catholic Clergy Abuse Notes

Newsday reports As expected Fr. Michael Hands pleaded guilty to sodomy and sexual abuse of a minor. The sentence will be 2 years in jail, 5 years of probation. He's 36, and was ordained in 1993. He's applied for laicization.

Newsday reports: Fr. Francis X. Nelson was found guily of fondling a 12-year-old girl in May 1999 during a sick call. Fr. Nelson was ordained in India and was studying in the United States. The Diocese of Brooklyn was accused of concealing his address from the District Attorney. The typical sentence for this crime is 3 years.

The trial of Father Cyriacus Udegbulem in the rape and sodomy of a adult female parishioner in a Brooklyn rectory has started. This was alledged in have taken place on January 1, 2000. Background: Africa Online and NewsMax. Just as in the previous case, the Diocese of Brooklyn was accused of concealing his address from the District Attorney.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports because of a apparent FBI error (and you've got to read the article to see how trivial and inconsequential this error is) Fr. John P. Hess avoids a conviction for child pornography and gets one for obscene materials.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:55 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic Church, Johnnie Cochran, A Brain-Damaged 8 month-old girl.

This story appeared in the New York Sun 2/5/2003, no link available. Johnnie Cochran, represented the family of Antonia Phillips, intends to sue the City of New York and the Catholic Home Bureau for $500 million. The city's Administration for Children's Services removed Antonia from her parents Antonio Phillips and Gertal Green for alledged neglect. According to Cochran, the child was evaluated and given a clean bill of health. The child was placed in the home of foster parents affiliated with the Catholic Home Bureau. Those foster parents brought the child to Bronx Lebanon Hospital two days later with injuries: bruises, two broken arms, and a swelling of the brain that required half her skull to be removed according to the Mr. Cochran and Derek Sells. Of course, there's an investigation to determine who caused these injuries and how they came about.

In 2001, more than 7,000 children were removed from their families and placed in foster care, with each caseworker handling 23 to 25 cases.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Don't like the message, but I like the honesty of the messenger.

MSNBC reports

Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian political analyst and former parliament member [said] “Jordan will continue to deny any involvement, any support, any assistance to American forces attacking Iraq,” he said. “The American media can publish the truth, but it’s the duty of the Jordanian government to deny it.”

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:46 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, February 04, 2003
The Real Disaster: Room Reservations Dishonored

Philadelphia Daily News reports:

Ashleigh Banfield, a well-recognized reporter from MSNBC, berated a desk clerk at a downtown hotel as every room in the region was being rented.

"I have five rooms on the executive floor," she steamed. "I want my reservation honored."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newmax: Staking your claim to American History

Not everyone who is finding the wreckage of Columbia is turning it in. Finders Keepers

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reporting on Something I haven't found

I been looking for a recognition in the anti-war opinions given by Catholic bishops that they understand that the United Nations is not debating resolution 1441, but has already approved the use of military force to accommplish the disarmament in an involuntary manner.

What part of "final" don't they understand?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:10 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Geography of Popular Culture

Morning News explains why New York, or places that look like New York appear to be at the center of the universe.
via via Gawker

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:06 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Miracles: Episode 2

A jet passes through a dimension warp and exits two minutes later. One person is burned to death, one person who was brain-damaged has her full health restored. A girl knows in detail every event of the remainder of her life. A flight attendant is speaking rapid fire Aramaic and revealing the secrets of the universe.

This is the Twilight Zone/X-Files drill. It's an interesting setup can the rest of the cast pull it off? Only Skeet Ulrich is properly cast. He's curious, compassionate, etc. I'm sorry but Angus Macfadyen is not making a connection with me. He's wooden and humorless. He's no David Duchovny. Poor Marisa Ramirez has a role that's so insignificant that you gotta wonder what the writers intend to do with her character. The writing is still full of pretentiousness.

It is worth seeing the episode: the affected crew and passengers on the plane were just great (worthy of an X-Files).

I wonder when the great event arrives, what side I will be on.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:45 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, February 03, 2003
Cybercast News Service: Demonstrations against American Catholics Affirming Church Teaching on Homosexuality

A visit by two American Catholics who argue that homosexuality can be treated has caused a stir in Australia, with activists questioning their ideas and the support given by top national bishops.

Small groups of protesters demonstrated outside public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne against the views of psychologist Dr. Peter Rudegeair of the Catholic Medical Association and Fr. John Harvey, who heads a Catholic lay organization called Courage.

The report prompted reader responses, including one that called Rudegeair a "trader in ancient stereotypes" and another that railed against "so-called Christians peddling hate against poofs."

"How dare these b******s tell us that we are a 'condition' that can be cured," another reader wrote. "Years of sexual abuse in the church, and they insist we have the problem!"

The Church has a problem and homosexuals have a problem. Let's pray for a solution.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Warsaw Voice: Nyet for the Catholic Church

An English-language summary of the difficulties facing the Catholic Church in Russia.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic critics of the war are avoiding the facts

I've been reading over a dozen articles that offer free advice to the President of the United States from Catholic sources: Don't go to war and looking for the articles that specifically deal with the question of disarmament. Here are two:

But I have not been able to find any that are as honest as Hans Blix is in his assessment of the current inspections: They have failed to accomplish what the United Nations resolutions call for: proof the Iraq has disarmed their WMD's. Mr. Blix said he had decided not to ask directly for more time for inspections, as he not seen a "change of attitude on the part of Iraq" towards providing a better account of what happened to its stockpiles of WMD's.

A common thread in these articles is that:

  • The inspections are working because Iraq has not kicked them out and they have found no WMD's.
  • Bush has the burden of proof to show that Saddam has WMD's.

Here's the real story:

  • The inspections would be successful if, and only if, they discovered the WMD's which we logged by the inspections of the 1990's and verified they were destroyed.
  • At the current rate of discovery, all the missing WMD's will be identified in 300 years by the inspection teams.
  • Iraq has the burden of proof to show that this disarmament has taken place.
  • Iraq, internally, promises a war that will use WMD's to stop the United States.
  • Iraq, externally, denies that any WMD's exist, and those which did exist were already destroyed.

It will take a war to disarm Iraq.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:22 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NRO: Islamic Encounters by Bat Yeor

An article that lays out relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Read it all. Here's a sentence to give you a taste:

Christian authorities have apologized for antisemitism and for the persecutions they inflicted on Jews. Since Vatican II (1962-65), the Catholic Church has completely reformed the traditional teaching concerning the Jews and all incitement to hate has been suppressed.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Vatican (Zenit): A Thumbs up for Harry Potter.

Father Peter Fleetwood of the secretariat of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) answered a reporter's questions, saying that for a Catholic, "Harry Potter does not represent a problem."

And here is a version of the story from Salon (AP)

I wonder what the rad-trads will have to say about that.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Times: It's bizarre to perfer the USA over France

The antipathy toward the French, brewing under the surface for years as a residue of more than 100 years of colonial rule, may have been sudden and violent, but more bizarre than the rabid Francophobia on display here has been the intense pro-American sentiment.

Earlier this week, government loyalists here rallied in front of the United States Embassy, very near the French Embassy, which they had tried to torch. They waved American flags and tried to mouth the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner." Angry young men surrounded an American reporter and gleefully shouted the only words of English they knew, one of them chanting repeatedly, "Yes, very yes."

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa 1974/1975 and back then Togolese hated the French and loved the Americans. Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power there in a military coup in 1967 and held on to it ever since, 36 years and still going. He's 65 years old and the longest-in-power dictator in Africa. He wanted to help mediate in the Ivory Coast.

A story like the one anbove tells you more about the politics of the New York Times than the street in the Ivory Coast.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Goodbye from St. Blog's

In my blogroll in the left margin you wil see In Between Naps - Amy Welborn. She is ending her blog today, so go over and take a look before it is off the net.

I'm a newcomer to the scene and Amy has been blogging I believe for over a 18 months.

I got into blogging from Mark Shea and Rod Dreher and I began to enter into Amy's comment boxes in the last few months as well. I wish her success in her writing projects.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Civilization is threatened by terrorism, and this is what we should worry about?

Reuters reports:

...Earlier this week, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano told reporters the United States should not attack Iraq because it would "irritate" a billion Muslims. He also said Americans apparently had not learned anything from Vietnam....

You could just as well remove Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano and substitute Iraq's Representative to the United Nations Mohammed Aldouri and the statement would make as much sense and carry the same moral and theological message.

Frankly speaking, the American cardinals should contact Cardinal Sodando and tell him to Put a lid on it because (a) it is not going have any influence on American policy and (b) it serves to margininalize any other message coming from a Cardinal, especially when he insults the intelligence of the American public.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:49 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com