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Saturday, February 15, 2003
The French demand more evidence that the Nazis are a threat. The evidence has arrived.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:57 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Weekly Standard: Anti-French Sentiment in the American Street

And why are French streets tree-lined? So the Germans can march in the shade.

How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? No one knows. It's never been tried.

What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands up? The army.

How many gears does a French tank have? Five, four in reverse and one forward (in case of attack from behind).

FOR SALE: French rifles . . . never fired, only dropped once

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Yoda Idol
Yahoo News (United Kingdom)

Thursday February 13, 05:17 PM

A passerby walks by a 15-foot-high figure of Jedi master "Yoda" June 14, 2000. ver 390,000 people wrote "Jedi" on their 2001 census form, more than those who registered their faith as Jewish, Buddhist or Sikh in the optional question on religion, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Thursday. REYTERS/Ray Stubblebine

And let the force be with you...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Remember July 4th, 1187, that is... templar Here's how I will appear at tomorrow's demonstrations in New York City. Chain mail, white tunic, red Templar cross. Deus Vult!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, February 14, 2003
Reuters: Meeting Report on the Pope and Aziz

The sound bite for me is concrete commitments.

Aziz came with the old lies: we don't have WMD's and we have, do now, and will always obey UN resolutions.

The Reuters account repeats the utter nonsense regarding the UN role in inspections -- it is not Iraq hides and UNMOVIC seeks. Rather the inspections are to review the evidence to be presented by the Iraquis of how all those WMD's were destroyed between 1998 and 2003. Their failure to provide that evidence is, of course, the smoking gun.

I'd be as happy the Pope to learn that the WMD's were destroyed, but think it a near impossibility that they have been.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A new focus in the Vatican

Watching the Vatican statements for weeks I've been blogging I've been asking -- when are they going to start to focus on Iraq's defiance of UN resolutions to disarm?

Today the wait is over. I think that the signal the Vatican is giving is the ball is in Iraq's court -- they must disarm.

I'm trying to extract from the various press accounts what Vatican's new position is with respect to Iraq Is it?

(1) Disarm or face serious consequences

or (2) Disarm or listen to us ask you to disarm (again and again...)

The clock for the surrender of the WMD's in Iraq started on the day of the cease-fire -- March 3, 1991.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:27 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Let me add that I intended to post a link to my piece below on Mark Shea's blog, but his commenting system HaloScan is down as I write this.

This is intended to respond to Kevin Miller's blog De Virtutibus and his comments on Just War

I have also added on my site some links which advocate that the policy of the United States as conforming to Catholic Just War doctrine.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:33 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Just War to bring about Justice in Iraq

First of all I think it prejudical to the topic to talk of a "preventive war". This semantically loaded term is the corked bat of a discussion of the Iraq War. Does this mean we have to accept another Perl Harbor or 9/11 before self-defense is possible? It's seems that nothing short of that is going to be satisfactory.

Facts are not helping the advocates of this being a unjust war. Saddam is preparing the oil fields for destruction and a even greater ecological arson than 1991. Missile batteries are being brought to the perimeter of Mosques. Saddam is evil and his army must be disarmed. A long-range rocket was discovered. What's coming next? Resolution 1441 demands that Iraq disarm or face serious consequences.


"the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain"

The threat is directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.

And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.

(the above are slighly edited remarks from President Bush)

The capusle version of my position and Just war thinking starts with a “presumption for justice,” not a “presumption against violence.”

Pacificism, specifically in the case of Iraq, is a call to inaction. Inaction serves to allow Saddam's cache of weapons of mass destruction to grow and become more deadly.

Does anyone expect if all the American armed forces withdraw from the region that Saddam will increase his cooperation with UNMOVIC to the extent that the items listed above will all be surrendered for destruction?  Pacifism now is simply support for regime continuity.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:23 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, February 13, 2003
AP Yahoo: Human Shields Gather

As they lie down next to the air defense radar and missile installations, I wonder if they will get naked and spell out "No War". This is suicide by stupidity.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:00 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Timing of the war: Abraham the Patriarch is responsble

I live next door to a Muslim. He's a religion teacher and so am I. We ask each other questions, so today was my turn: "Why is this the special week for the Haj to Mecca?"

As we celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday on the pseudo-holiday of President's Day, Muslims are now celebrating an event, most unlikely to have ocurred in history -- Abraham's visit to Mecca -- where he prayed and offered Ishamel to God.

My friend was unaware that as Christians (and Jews) have the story -- Abraham went to Egypt and Jerusalem.

I'll probably put together a web page on the Catholic view of who Abraham was and what Abraham did, and we'll exchange ideas.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Update on Cardinal Etchegaray

The pope sent peace envoy Cardinal Roger Etchegaray this week to Baghdad, where he held talks Wednesday with top Iraqi officials, including Aziz. Asked if it was still possible to avoid war, Etchegaray said, "Until the end, you must always hope, always. We're in the hands of God."

Italy's Berlusconi has been a strong supporter of President Bush's policies. In an interview in Thursday's Corriere della Sera, a Milan daily, Aziz expressed dismay over the Italian premier's backing of Bush, whom Aziz branded "the new Hitler."

"What have we done to the Italians?" Aziz said.

A number of articles call the Cardinal a "negotiator" -- which is false -- rather he is a messenger and a symbol of the Holy Father's intentions for peace.

In fact, a lot of people are suggested as negotiators Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan, Hosni Mubarak, etc. but that misses the point. Saddam has had plenty of warning of serious consequences should he fail to disarm. Really, at this point, the only thing that I think is possible to stop the war would be to just invite in the armed forces of the United States to roam freely through the country and destroy the weapsons, and agree to leave in 90 days, and leave Saddam intact.

The so-called survivor Saddam has overplayed his hand, and Iraq will be disarmed -- as early as 2/15 or whenever Blix reports back to the United Nations. I don't think the United States is going to support any "second resolution" and will just go in on the basis of 1441.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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WCBS Radio: Bishop Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Center has a public statement

He should resign. Rather than getting this information before the public -- as the public has a right to know -- regardless of the statute of limitations -- he concealed it. He's been caught, and he's sorry he's been caught.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:49 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CathNews: Reversing Baptism

Upon request, priests in Italy must note alongside baptism information the will of adults to leave the Church. Bowing to pressure from lobby groups who call the act 'unchristening,' the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) recently outlined the procedure.

I think this is terrible precedent. It's a cooperation with a process that undermines the theology of the sacrament.

Thanks to Relapsed Catholic for this.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Times (UK) reports on what's next:

Opponents accuse Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister of having blood on his hands. The Vatican is rolling out the red carpet for Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, as part of a last-ditch attempt by the Pope to avert an “unjustified war”.

The newspaper Corriere della Sera said that Mr Aziz would be “treated like a media star” when he arrives today for a five-day visit to Rome and Assisi. He will be staying in a luxury hotel on the Via Veneto with his own staff and bodyguards.

The Vatican is hoping to engineer a meeting between Mr Aziz and Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, who arrives in Rome on Monday February 17. We might be at war by then.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:27 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic World News

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday, February 11, telling waiting journalists that he would urge Saddam Hussein "to cooperate with the UN on the basis of peace and international law."

Disappointed that there's no news on this as of early Thursday.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: on the Duct Tape Crisis

How I responded: while America was buying Duct Tape, Wall Street was buying the stock of companies that manufacture the stuff.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

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Rod Dreher of NRO found an article that makes the connection between the so-called anti-war movement and the hate Israel/blame America first.

The Nation

Lerner's crime: he had dared to criticize ANSWER, an outfit run by members of the Workers World Party, for using antiwar demonstrations to put forward what he considers to be anti-Israel propaganda. That ANSWER objected to Lerner is not surprising. The WWPers in control of ANSWER are socialists who call for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, who support Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il, who oppose UN inspections in Iraq (claiming they are part of the planning for an invasion aimed at gaining control of Iraq's oil fields), and who urge smashing Zionism. Last month, referring to an upcoming ANSWER demonstration, Lerner wrote, "In my view, the organizers of this demonstration have allowed far too many speakers who believe that this war is being done because Israel wants the war, far too few who share my view that this war is not in the best interests of either Israel or of the United States." Yet Lerner didn't let his differences with ANSWER trump his opposition to the war; he encouraged people to attend the rally. After that protest, he told The New York Times, "There are good reasons to oppose the war and Saddam. Still, it feels that we are being manipulated when subjected to mindless speeches and slogans whose knee-jerk anti-imperialism rarely articulates the deep reasons we should oppose corporate globalization."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cleveland Scene has a great cartoon: The Muslim World - An average American's View

Blogger credit to Disordered Affections for the link.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A Protector or A Predator?

By Carol Eisenberg Staff Writer

February 11, 2003

He is a priest and a civil attorney who boasted of his national renown as an expert on priest sexual abuse.

But Msgr. Alan Placa, former vice chancellor of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, emerges from the pages of the Suffolk grand jury report as a master of deception: He held himself out as a protector of children even though he too had been repeatedly accused of making sexual advances to adolescent boys. The report cites sworn testimony of three men who accused Placa of numerous sexual advances while they were adolescents 25 years ago.

Later, as the diocese's chief contact with victims, Placa pursued "aggressive legal strategies” to defeat and discourage litigation or publicity about priest sex abuse. Those strategies included gathering information that might be used if necessary to impeach a victim's credibility -- even in cases involving allegations of priest rape and sodomy that he and others knew were credible, the report said.

While the report does not identify Placa by name, it provides sufficient details about his career to make him identifiable as "Priest F” -- a parish priest who became a teacher at a boy's high school and later a civil attorney who went on to write the diocese's policy on sexual abuse.

"This is a person who was directly involved in the so-called policy of the church to protect children when in fact he was one of the abusers,” Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said Monday, declining to identify the official except as "Priest F.” "That speaks volumes for what this diocese's real intention was. Although their stated purpose was to protect children, that certainly was not their practice.”

Placa, who did not testify before the grand jury, did not respond to calls at his residence at St. Aloysius in Great Neck or at the office of Giuliani Partners, where he has worked for former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a childhood friend. A spokeswoman for Giuliani said the former mayor stood by the priest, whom he described as "one of the kindest, most caring and smartest people I know.”

Placa resigned as vice chancellor last April, a week after being confronted with allegations of abuse by Newsday. In June, following the publication of a story detailing those allegations, the diocese suspended his faculties as a priest pending its own investigation. Diocesan officials said last week that that probe is ongoing.

The grand jury report cites the claims of four alleged victims -- three of whom testified -- dating to Placa's first parish assignment in St. Patrick's in Glen Cove and continuing after he became a teacher and a dean at the now-defunct St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale.

"Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims” at the school, the report says. "He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office. Always, his actions were hidden by a poster, newspaper or a book ... ”

One alleged victim testified how he was fondled behind a banner made for a march protesting the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, the report said.

"Once, Priest F approached one of the boys behind the school stage. He grabbed his crotch. The boy reacted violently, pushing Priest F away and warning him never to touch him again.”

Another alleged victim, a former altar boy from Glen Cove, described what the report called "feeble attempts” at abuse, in which the priest put his hand on the boy's thigh "and crept up towards the boy's genital area” on two occasions.

The report's most stinging criticism is directed at Placa's work on the diocese's so-called "intervention team” that handled allegations of sexual abuse until the system was overhauled last spring by Bishop William Murphy.

Placa was often the first contact with victims and they rarely knew he was a civil attorney who represented the bishop and, as such, was gathering material that might be used to defend the diocese.

"Please do not identify me as an attorney [to complainants],” he wrote to top officials of the diocese in a confidential memo quoted in the report. "In fact, in these cases, I am functioning in an administrative capacity. ... My legal training is very useful in helping to gather and analyze facts, and in helping us to avoid some obvious pitfalls, but we must avoid ‘frightening' people: I have had several people refuse to see me without having an attorney of their own present, because they are afraid that ‘the church lawyer' will somehow do them harm.”

The grand jury wrote that "the fears of these victims were justified.”

Routinely, the report said, Placa dragged out cases to make legal redress difficult. Victims were often "ignored, belittled and revictimized. In some cases, the grand jury finds that the diocese procrastinated for the sole purpose of making sure that the civil and criminal statutes of limitation were no longer applicable.”

In one case involving the Rev. Brian McKeon, Placa reportedly told a nun who had brought together victims and their families that the meeting was a waste of time because the statute of limitations had expired.

"Her response was heartfelt,” the report said. "She said, ‘You bastard. These people are hurting. Why do you care about the statute of limitations? That's not why we are here.'”

In that same case, a newspaper clipping recounting a drunken driving accident in which an intoxicated driver caused the death of the driver's sister was placed in McKeon's file. The driver was a witness to one of the acts of sexual abuse, according to the report.

"The grand jury finds,” the report said, "that a fair interpretation of the reason for the dissemination of this article was so that the victim's arrest for driving while intoxicated, the accident and related death of his sister could be used against him should his allegations of priest misconduct ever become public.”

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:23 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Glen Reynolds on MSNBC (a/k/a InstaPundit) has a real insight into what's going on with the perception in the world of the United States. What if... the United States acted like the imperial power it is accused of being? Excerpt: What about the “Arab street?” The answer would be machine guns, labor camps, and bulldozed mosques.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Times: Long Island Diocese Tricked Victims of Sexual Abuse

Joanne C. Novarro, a spokeswoman for the Rockville Centre Diocese, called the grand jury report unfair and insisted that the diocese had taken all cases of sexual abuse by priests seriously and had improved its methods of handling such cases under Bishop William Murphy, who took over the diocese last year.

I don't know what "seriously" means. It certainly doesn't mean reporting criminal sexual abuse to the police as this was not done in any of the cases. Zero

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:56 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Miracles: Episode 3 The Patient

4/4 stars. The setup: a disease they made up called "Sadowsky's Disease" which to me looks a lot like cerebral palsy. Our trio shows up because Alva (the dull one) thinks that there's paranormal associated with some people afflicted with this disease. Paul falls in love. Plenty of twists and turns. I really like the spooky music. More paranormal than your average show. So may little details, I'll stop the synopsis here so I don't spoil the surprise.

See it, because Clarence Williams III gives a really good performance as the tortured doctor. In fact, all of the actors appearing for their roles in this one episode really did a good job -- even the guy in the wheelchair who reminded me of Captain Pike from Star Trek: TheOriginal Series.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:40 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, February 10, 2003
Parent Alleges Harassment for Exposing 'Fistgate'

Mark Shea started discussing this in his blog. I picked up a more recent story.

Parents Rights Coalition has its own web site

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Three more links on Al Sharpton appearing at a Catholic Church

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The most I could find about Al Sharpton

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post a journalist for journalism comments on Sharpton's appearance in a Catholic Church.

First person accounts:

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I thought the Simpson's was funny without being hateful towards religion This summary from Simpson's FAQ

When Flanders wins a half-time money shot during a WNBA game, Homer decides his neighbour's secret to success is praying. Homer starts praying to get his way with everything...and it works. He even prays himself into an injury lawsuit against the Church and is awarded with the deed to the property. Homer promptly moves the family in, while Helen and the Reverend have been relocated to the Flanders and reduced to preaching at the Bowl-a-rama. It can only take a miracle to make Homer see the error of his ways

I thought it was funny how while everyone believes in God, they have different ideas of how He answer prayers. Marge has a great line when she compares Homer's idea of God to a conceierge.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:31 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday got the Grand Jury report on the Diocese moving around priests who were accused of, or admitted to sexual abuse before the public disclosure

You probably forgot about the document dump that was demanded by Suffolk county (Long Island, New York), I didn't. It's out now. I think it will have a big impact locally, but it's not going to be a national story. Later on, I'll post an excerpt and some comment.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:48 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, February 09, 2003
The Religion of Peace offers the world this memorial

Via Yahoo WTC-lighter It's a cigarette lighter. Smoke, if you got 'em.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Hindustan Times presents The One Truth

In my 36 years of teaching and research in Theology, the one truth that I have learnt is that there is no monopoly of Truth," Fr Jacques Dupuis SJ, Professor Emiritus of Theology at the Gregorian University, Rome, told a gathering priests, nuns and seminarians in Kolkata on Saturday.

(No, you're not reading Mark Shea's blog...) ...then 36 years wasn't enough to learn that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Back to The Book, Pere Jacques.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Editor's Note

Does this mean that Cardinal Etchegaray will be flying EAST and the same time Tarik Aziz is flying WEST? Like ships passing in the night.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CNN reports POPE SENDS ENVOY: Pope John Paul II is sending a special envoy to Baghdad, a Vatican spokesman said Sunday. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray will travel to Iraq on Monday with the goal of helping Iraqi authorities consider the situation that faces them, cooperate toward peace and secure the best resolution for the Iraqi people, the spokesman said. The pope has repeatedly voiced his opposition to war against Iraq and his support for a diplomatic solution to the standoff.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Has one of my prayers been answered?

News Agency of Agentina: The Vatican has its foreign policy, and it would be "inappropriate" for a government member, who has no responsibility in foreign policy to comment on its policies. This was the response given by Defence Minister Antonio Martino to those asking him for a comment concerning the upcoming visit to the Pope by Tarek Aziz.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Zenit: Where is God?

The Vatican took notice that the so-called Constitution of Europe doesn't mention God, or acknowledge the juridical status of Churches

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth (Luke 18:7-8 RSV)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Common Ancestry

In preparing a new talk on the Church (its foundation, its mission, its identity, the necessity of being in it) I came across the following theory: if we all share a common ancestry, then it does make sense that we are created in some way equal, but we could all be equally created in darkness and without freedom. It's what we are created as, that makes a difference. There's something more to solidarity than commonality. It's awareness of that commonality that creates solidarity. The consequences of awareness and the thoughts and solidary that give it a visible dimension. This is why signs and symbols are so powerful to communicate that solidarity.

For centuries, millions were unaware of the commonality of ancestry from Ghenghis Kahn. But UPI makes us aware

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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There was no blogging yesterdate (pick the reason):
  • I was too busy.
  • There was no new news.
  • It was my birthday.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:29 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com