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Saturday, April 12, 2003
CWNews: To Be a Church Requires the Eucharist, Jesuit Journal Says
Vatican, Apr. 04 (CWNews.com) - The authoritative Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica has drawn a careful distinction between the Catholic Church and other religious bodies, observing that only a community that celebrates the Eucharist can be accurately described as a "church."

The editorial in Civilta Cattolica draws on the Vatican document Dominus Iesus, which was published in September 2000 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Dominus Iesus affirmed the unique central role of the Catholic Church in the work of salvation.

Civilta Cattolica-- whose articles carry special weight in Rome, because they are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State-- advanced the argument that in order to qualify as a "church" in the proper sense, a Christian community must have a valid celebration of the Eucharist, and maintain apostolic succession.

The Church, the Jesuit journal explained, is governed by the college of bishops, who trace their authority in a direct unbroken line to Jesus Christ, who commissioned the original apostles. That direct link to Christ, the apostolic succession, is an indispensable element of the Church's authenticity.

Along with the Catholic Church, Civilta Cattolica observes, the Orthodox Church has also preserved this apostolic succession. Thus, although the Orthodox bodies are not "in full communion with Peter's successor," they remain true churches, with valid sacraments. The magazine argued that even if Orthodox leaders do not recognize the primacy of the Pope, they remain "ontologically within the college of bishops."

Regarding the necessity of a valid Eucharistic sacrifice, Civilta Cattolica points out: "In the Acts of the Apostles, the breaking of the bread is already depicted as one of the characteristic elements of the young Church." The magazine goes on to say, "not only does the Church make the Eucharist, but one might equally say that the Eucharist makes the Church."

When a Christian community lacks one of these two essential elements-- as with the Protestant denominations-- it should be termed an "ecclesial community" rather than a church, the magazine says. That expression was introduced during the discussions of Vatican II, as a means of accurately identifying the Christian groups that grew out of the Reformation, Civilta Cattolica notes.

The editorial in Civilta Cattolica echoes a statement made by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in October 2000, shortly after the release of Dominus Iesus. At the time, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith remarked Protestant groups have a different understanding of what it means to be a church. "We should not offend anyone," Cardinal Ratzinger said, "by saying that these evangelical organizations are not churches, in the sense that the Catholic Church wishes to be-- since that is not what they want to be."

Since I thought it was always like this, I'm surpised to see it make the news.

Gee, isn't it swell that Cardinal Ratzinger says the we should not offend anyone. But that's a triple negative in that last sentence, and I am struggling to figure it out. I guess silence on the whole subject is the best way to insure that I do not give offense.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CWNews: Archbishop Orders Pastor to Fly US Flag
San Antonio, Texas, Apr. 11 (CWNews.com) - The archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, has ordered one of his pastors who removed a US flag from his parish to protest the war in Iraq to return the flag to its place immediately.

Archbishop Patrick Flores told Father John Mannion to put the flag back up after members of Our Lady of Grace parish complained. Parishioners said Father Mannion often criticized America during his homilies and kept the flag at half-staff and that he finally removed the flag last week.

"I have advised Father Mannion that the American flag must be restored at full height to its usual place of honor immediately," Archbishop Flores said Thursday. "While I respect Father Mannion's passion for the dignity of all life and his right to his personal position on the war, nothing is accomplished by using the flag to force that view on those who are suffering the pain and uncertainty of knowing that America's men and women of the armed forces are in harm's way."

In other war-related moves, the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, fired the director of the peace and justice center after he was repeatedly warned to tone down his anti-war activism. While the archdiocese said Frank Fromherz was laid off due to budget cuts, Fromherz said archdiocesan officials told him he was fired from the position he had held for 12 years because he had violated his role as representative of Archbishop John Vlazny.

Fromherz said he has clashed several times with the archbishop of over the war. For example, Fromherz sent an e-mail to hundreds of people that encouraged anti-war protests and called on "the international criminal court to indict and prosecute our own President (Bush) as a war criminal." Archbishop Vlazny, meanwhile, has called for Catholics to emphasize prayer as an answer to war, saying "divisiveness is not at all helpful."

Archbishop Flores is correct. The removal of the flag was an affront to the parishioners. There may be parishes where no one would object or no one cares, but evidently this parish is not one of them.

I'm afraid that the American Church's bureaucracy is full of Frank Fromherz's who believe that their agenda -is- the Church's agenda or it -ought-to-be.

Yes, it is the same Mr. Fromherz who is mentioned two items below.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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San Antonio Express-News: Debating the changes to San Fernando Cathedral
"We don't worship the tabernacle," [Father Jake Empereur, associate rector of the Cathedral] said. "And the primary function of the church is congregational worship, not private devotions."

An insulting remark. No one worships the tabernacle. We worship Jesus Christ who is really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

Congregational worship? We call it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The article is quite balanced, the critics of the rennovation have been given a voice.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Your Contribution Envelopes at Work Dept.

WorldNetDaily: Catholic leader wants Bush to be tried Says international court should prosecute president as war criminal

The director of a U.S. Catholic archdiocese ministry wants to put President George W. Bush on trial for war crimes because of his Iraq policy.

In his most recent newsletter, Frank Fromherz, of the Peace and Justice Commission for the Portland Archdiocese in Oregon urged like-minded Catholics to back an ecumenical group's request that "the International Criminal Court indict and prosecute our own president as a war criminal."

Well, what does the Archbishop think?

Maybe I could open a "Not In My Name" Department" for pastors and bishops.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:46 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Silent killers: Vatican wants equal time for world's simmering wars

By John Thavis Catholic News Service 4.11.2003

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Unprecedented news coverage has brought the war in Iraq into living rooms around the globe. Now the Vatican wants equal time for many of the "off-screen" wars simmering in more than 30 other countries.

The Vatican wants? That sounds a bit arrogrant. If the Vatican wanted to bring these off-screen wars into "living rooms around the globe", then it ought to buy a few satellites and transmitters.

It's not that the Vatican thinks the Iraqi hostilities are being overcovered, but that many Third World conflicts are being ignored.
I'm not ignoring them. There are many people not ignoring them. I'm praying for an end to violence especially in West Africa where I used to live.
Since the Iraqi war began, Pope John Paul II has made numerous appeals for peace. But on each occasion, he's also made a point of praying for an end to bloodshed in other parts of the world.

In early April, the Vatican missionary news agency, Fides, published a 22-page dossier to draw attention to the "silent wars" around the globe. The agency complained that, judging by newspaper headlines and running TV coverage, Iraq was the only war worth reporting -- or worth protesting.

Again a criticism of the media. What is worth reporting? What is worth protesting? We might want to ask what mission of the Church would be served by showing a hour or two of the aftermatch of massacres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC? Or having a bit of the A.N.S.W.E.R. men and women return to the corner of First Avenue and East 48th Street. -- but who would they protest? the Kinshasa govenment or the Rebels, and if the rebels, then which ones? Adolphe Onusumba, of the Congolese Rally for Democracy or Jean-Pierre Bemba, of the Congolese Liberation Movement or Thomas Lubanga Union of Congolese Patriots.

"They don't even merit a few lines in a newspaper," it said.
Not even in L'Osservatore Romano?
The pope has reminded people that as Baghdad, Iraq, burns, the Holy Land is still being devastated by continual violence between Palestinians and Israeli occupation troops.
Did the pope use the phase "Palestinians and Israeli occupation troops" -- no, you will only find this phrase in media that has a political agenda of denial of Palestinian terrorism.

Since Rosh Hashanah 2000, Palestinian terrorists and militants have killed more than 600 people in Israel. The victims have ranged in age from less than a year to more than 80.

They have been Israeli, American, Arab, Chinese, Thai and more. They have included soldiers, tourists, students, grandmothers, and members of the same family. The Israelis ranged from new immigrants to fifth-generation Jerusalemites.

The deaths have occurred at a bat mitzvah party, a Pesach seder, a pizzeria, a college campus, a discotheque, a café, a home, an Army outpost and on the street. Their deaths have occurred in virtually all parts of Israel, from big cities to lonely rural areas, from bus stops to the buses themselves.

Why do I focus on the deaths of Israelis? Because Arafat refused to make peace and he is indisputably behind the terrorism. When offered exactly the terms he asked for, including giving East Jersusalem to the Palestinian Authority by Barak and Clinton, he turned it down. Why do I focus on the death of Israelis? It is because Palestinian terrorists deliberately target non-combatants.

Does the Vatican see itself as a promoter of "media attention" to these wars? To what purpose then? What does the awareness of a crucifixion in Sudan do to a person sitting in their living room in Peoria or Genoa or Strasbourg? (Amnestry International documented the crucifixion, not me)

Call for help at the United Nations?

The United Nations is corrupt. While voting for sanctions and a "Oil for Food" program for Iraq, France, Germany, Russia, and China shipped weapons to Iraq that allowed the regime to kill Iraqis as well as American and British troops.

In a sign of the times, even as the Iraqi war was in full swing, the U.S. government was proposing steps that would open the door for new weapons sales to Iraq by U.S. defense firms once the current fighting was over, according to a report by The Boston Globe.
"In a sign of the times" is a sneer at the United States. The new Iraq will have hostile neighbors in the form of Syria and Iran. The new Iraq will not be abandoned and so arm sales for its own defense as part of the reconstruction. It will not be immoral to arm Iraq. In fact, today the people of Iraq asked for a new police force to be formed to restore order in the country. Defense, law, and order require weapons.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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National Review, Victor Davis Hanson: The Ironies of War What we have witnessed is unprecedented in military history.
The Marines just rolled by the battlefield of Cunaxa, where in 401 B.C. 10,000 Greek mercenaries suffered one wounded in their collision with the imperial troops of Artaxerxes. On the northern front Americans passed near Gaugamela where Alexander the Great’s shock troops destroyed the enormous army of Darius III at a loss of a hundred or so dead before descending on Babylon. Ours may be the richest and most educated generation in history, but some things never seem to change: The West still fights — and wins — in the East, in the same old places.

This is a wonderful perspective of what's just happenned.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, April 11, 2003
April 11, 2003 -- The 21-year-old son of a city firefighter was arrested in Brooklyn yesterday for spray-painting a Catholic Church with a slew of sickening sexual images, swastikas and obscenities on a Jewish holiday last year, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force said. Michael Kirk, who lives with his grandfather on Avenue R in Marine Park, was picked up at home and charged with the Sept. 16 desecration of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church.

"I was hoping it wasn't anti-Catholic or Jewish and that he was just crazy," said Monsignor Thomas Brady.

"It will be good for the parishioners and the community to know the police have him in custody and it won't happen again."

Last year on Yom Kippur, Kirk allegedly spray-painted most of Good Shepherd's walls, as well as a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Two swastikas were emblazoned across the doors and bizarre messages were scrawled helter-skelter along the stained glass.

Kirk, who has a prior conviction for assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon, became the prime suspect after police learned he had been arrested in January for defacing a neighborhood private security van with a swastika.

Police hauled in Kirk to compare his writing with that of anonymous letters and graffiti from the church desecration, and said they got a match on the handwriting. Kirk's grandfather, who did not give his name, said, "Everything gets twisted. It's all a mistake."

Good police work.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Seattle Catholic: The "War of Liberation": An Unmitigated Catholic Defeat by Dr. John C. Rao
How does the fallout from the latest of the modern world's innumerable "wars of liberation" make itself felt? One would be better advised to ask the question how it does not show its effects. With the most recent carnage of Catholic Christendom lying all around us, let me limit myself here to a ten-point Syllabus of Collateral Damage. This, admittedly, will need further elaboration to put the full horror of the present debacle into proper focus. I have no doubt that occasions for doing so will offer themselves unceasingly in the years to come. Nevertheless, an initially rather spartan statement of the perimeters of the problem serves a useful purpose as an introduction to a nightmare which is really just beginning.

I thought I'd post this now because I may not get a chance to completely comment on it. After reading the article, I'm led to believe that some sort of very good Constantine-Charlmagne who would impose the Catholic faith on his world imperium is the only form of government that Dr. Rao would not consider a Catholic defeat.

Blogger Credit: Andrew Sullivan

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wall Street Journal: What Moral Legitimacy?
The United Nations lost its chance on Iraq. (April 11, 2003)

So now they want in. True, Kofi Annan did have the wit to refute a Kremlin announcement that he would be joining the coalition of the unwilling--France, Germany and Russia--at this weekend's confab in St. Petersburg. Yet even in the face of footage from Baghdad that conjures up images of Paris 1944 or Berlin 1989, we're still asked to believe that an America spilling its blood and treasure to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein has less moral credibility than a U.N. that helped prop him up for 12 years.

As the Vatican was ceaselss in its criticism of the United States and in its support of the UN since 1441 was passed, some of this accusation, I'm afraid rubs off on the Vatican.

At least the talk of equal moral standing of the American and Iraqi positions has ceased.

I would be greatly relieved to see an acknowledge, not that the Vatican was wrong, but at least that the United States wasn't: wrong, immoral, criminal, etc., and the United Nations failed.

I wonder what the tipping point is going to be. So far we have:

  • the discovery of torture chambers.
  • children held in jails
  • bio-weapon trucks
  • underground nuclear labs
  • drums of chemicals and chemical warfare apparatus, both offensive and defensive
  • prohibited weapons and technology imported from France, Germany, Russia, and China
  • terrorist training camps including a airline fuselage for hijacking simulations.

The United States has moral legitimacy because it acted to end this tyranny. It doesn't need to be given it by the Vatican.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Head of U.S. bishops' office says extent of child abuse unknown
(New York-AP) -- The extent of sex abuse cases among Roman Catholic clergy in America is still unknown, according to a top aide to the U.S. bishops.

Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, works in an office created last year in response to the nationwide clerical sex abuse crisis. She spoke at a conference of about 100 civil attorneys, prosecutors and molestation victims at the Cardozo School of Law.

More details in the linked article.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:06 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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You Don't Say: The war could have gone differently.


(AGI) - Vatican City, April 10 - "The war could have gone differently. Today's arms can destroy many people, as has already happened", said Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. On one side, the cardinal expressed "relief because the outcome was better than one might have imagined", therefore "we thank God it ended up this way". On the other hand, Ratzinger said that to "protest the war and the threat of destruction was that right thing to do".

Taking part yesterday in meeting on Catholics in Politics promoted by the Pontifical Academy Santa Croce, cardinal Ratzinger answered questions posed by journalists on the fall of Baghdad, being the first representative of the Holy See to comment on the happenings of this past day and especially the seemingly definitive fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

"We are happy - said cardinal Ratzinger - that it ended up this way. Before we were unable to see the road ahead of us, and with chemical arms involves anything was possible. Now, we can start over".

On his own behalf, cardinal Ratzinger decided to express his feelings: "the reconstruction - he hoped - should not be up to one power alone, but many nations. It is a common responsibility towards this tormented nations".

Until now, the Vatican has not made official comments on the latest developments of the war in Iraq. But just yesterday the United States made a step towards mending the gap with the Holy See with hopes of also involving the catholic Church, at least on the humanitarian level and in the reconstruction of the country. Post war Iraq, with particular attention paid to humanitarian problems and the role the UN will carry out along with the Israeli- Palestinian Peace process were at the center of Vatican meetings yesterday with U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton. (AGI)

Cardinal Ratzinger thanks God the for American-British-Australian victory in Iraq (i.e. "this way")

I know it's a translation from the Italian, but if the protest of the war was "right" and the coalition victory was "better than one might have imagined", you've might think about having some regret for the protest -- and thinking twice about when similiar circumstances arise in the future to protest a just war, or at least a just war in the view of Novak, Weigel, Schall, Neuhaus.

What role beyond humanitarian would the Catholic Church seek in Iraq?

If the Vatican believes "mending the gap" means apologizing for war -- I think that's more than I can imagine.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, April 10, 2003
Judge To Church: Reinstate Principal

A Queens judge [State Supreme Court Justice Duane Alphonse Hart] Wednesday ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to reinstate the parochial-school principal placed on leave last year after she reported her pastor's [Fr. John Thompson] misdeeds.

The ruling -- which includes back pay -- ends the banishment of St. Elizabeth School principal Barbara Samide from her Ozone Park school last September.

This was a particularly bad case for the diocese to persue for a lot of reasons:
  • Thompson pled guilty to the theft of $95,000, and probably stole much more.
  • Samide worked entirely in the system and heroically: Thompson learned of the accusation and made her life a living hell since he was allowed to continue during the investigation into his crimes.
  • The reasons given to Samide and to the Court was unconscionable -- a stupid legal trick to put her on unpaid leave -- when she complained of Thompson's harassment.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cardinal Lehmann tells us who the real enemy is

Reuters: Bush Mix of God and War Grates on Many Europeans

(Friday, April 4, 2003; 9:12 AM)

"I believe George Bush's religious views are genuine," Cardinal Karl Lehmann, head of the German Bishop's Conference, told the Catholic weekly Rheinischer Merkur in an interview on Thursday. "But this careless way of using religious language is not acceptable anymore in today's world."
Sorry I didn't pick up on this six days ago. My only comment now is "God Bless America".

Blogger Credit: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Vatican Coin AP: Scuffles Break Out for Vatican Euro Coins
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Scuffles broke out Thursday as coin enthusiasts lined up at dawn to buy a special series of Vatican euro coins marking the 25th year of Pope John Paul II's papacy.

Police moved in to stop the pushing and shoving in a crowd of more than 1,000 people, who began lining up at 5:30 a.m. outside the Vatican gates.

The eight coins bearing the pope's profile went on sale for 15 euros, or $15.90, a set.

Vatican coins have been highly prized since the Vatican joined the European currency.

The anti-Catholic Catholic-Whore-of-Babylon crowd will have a field day with this:
Matthew 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"

"Have they made the Pope Caesar" they will be asking.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:48 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Religious Toleration Watch

AP: Haiti Officially Sanctions Voodoo


Haiti's government has officially sanctioned voodoo as a religion, allowing practitioners to begin performing ceremonies from baptisms to marriages with legal authority.

Many who practice voodoo praised the move, but said much remains to be done to make up for centuries of ridicule and persecution in the Caribbean country and abroad.

Voodoo priest Philippe Castera said he hopes the government's decree is more than an effort to win popularity amid economic and political troubles.

"In spite of our contribution to Haitian culture, we are still misunderstood and despised," said Castera, 48.

In an executive decree issued last week, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide invited voodoo adherents and organizations to register with the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

After swearing an oath before a civil judge, practitioners will be able to legally conduct ceremonies such as marriages and baptisms, the decree said.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, has said he recognizes voodoo as a religion like any other, and a voodoo priestess bestowed a presidential sash on him at his first inauguration in 1991. "An ancestral religion, voodoo is an essential part of national identity," and its institutions "represent a considerable portion" of Haiti's 8.3 million people, Aristide said in the decree.

Voodoo practitioners believe in a supreme God and spirits who link the human with the divine. The spirits are summoned by offerings that include everything from rum to roosters.

Though permitted by Haiti's 1987 constitution, which recognizes religious equality, many books and films have sensationalized voodoo as black magic based on animal and human sacrifices to summon zombies and evil spirits.

"It will take more than a government decree to undo all that malevolence," Castera said, and suggested that construction of a central voodoo temple would "turn good words into a good deed."

There are no reliable statistics on the number of adherents, but millions in Haiti place faith in voodoo. The religion evolved from West African beliefs and developed further among slaves in the Caribbean who adopted elements of Catholicism.

Voodoo is an inseparable part of Haitian art, literature, music and film. Hymns are played on the radio and voodoo ceremonies are broadcast on television along with Christian services.

But for centuries voodoo has been looked down upon as little more than superstition, and at times has been the victim of ferocious persecution. A campaign led by the Catholic church in the 1940s led to the destruction of temples and sacred objects.

In 1986, following the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier's dictatorship, hundreds of voodoo practitioners were killed on the pretext that they had been accomplices to Duvalier's abuses.

President Aristide is a former priest of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), the Salesians.

Haiti is pretty much a single party banana republic now, and Aristide just another in a long line of dictators.

an article on the real Aristide.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:23 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reuters: Wanted: Four Nuns on the Run After Car Crash
ROME (Reuters) - Italian police said on Wednesday they were scouring the countryside for four nuns after a hit-and-run accident near the northern city of Bergamo.

The nuns, behind the wheel of a Citroen, ignored a stop sign at a crossroads and plowed into a Mercedes driven by a 63-year-old man, who escaped uninjured.

Instead of stopping as Italian law requires, the nuns sped off before anyone could even get a glimpse of their car registration.

"This is the first time I've ever heard of such a thing happening in all my years in the police. It's extremely strange," Enzo Fiocchi, the police chief heading the search, told Reuters by telephone from the village of Albano Sant'Alessandro.

How could he tell they were nuns? In the United States, most people wearing the traditional habit in big cities are non-nuns wearing it as some sort of costume.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Sex, God And Writing: Four Catholic thinkers who sinned their way to faith

They are: Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.

The book is Paul Elie's The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 555 pages), and it is reviewed in Time Magazine.

I've read works written by Merton and Percy. I've had trouble finding O'Connor in the library and I didn't know that Day wrote more than essays for the Catholic Worker.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CNS: Conventual Franciscans sue Los Angeles Archdiocese
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The church's sexual abuse scandal took a new twist in early April when the Los Angeles Times reported that a Midwest province of Conventual Franciscans has filed a cross-complaint against the Los Angeles Archdiocese in a clergy sexual abuse case. The complaint says that former Conventual Franciscan Father Bertrand W. Horvath, accused of having sexually abused an altar boy in the early 1970s, was on loan to the Los Angeles Archdiocese at the time, making the archdiocese responsible for his actions. It says any damages that may be awarded in a lawsuit against the order and the archdiocese should be the responsibility of the archdiocese alone.

Some people have to be asking now how can the Church be a source of reconciliation when it seems that everyone is suing everyone now to avoid paying damages to the victims of priests who are sexual abusers.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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For "military force" and against "war"

The Pope is not reflexively anti-use-of-military-force. I blogged earlier his call to arms and condemnation of inaction when it came to the massacres in Kosovo of mostly Muslims by mostly Orthodox Serbians. The Pope changed from pro-military-force to "anti-war" when Clinton's domestic political agenda required bombing Belgrade. However, that step did bring about a quicker peace in Kosovo.

The problem I see for the Pope and his multitude of prelates and clergy who speak for the Vatican is the equivocation of support of something good called "military action" when it has the effect of "ending massacres and summary executions" and condemnation of something bad called "war" when it has the effect of "ending massacres and summary executions". Whether it's Kosovo, Iraq, or the Congo, sometimes the evil people need to be killed to stop the evil.

On Iraq, having painted itself into a corner on the immorality of the war, the Vatican cannot immediately admit it was a great success in terms of liberation and shows the utter failure of the appeasement programs of the last 12 years: huge stores of medical supplies and food hidden in tunnels for example.

CNS: Pope on the Congo

"I address a heartfelt appeal to political leaders as well as to all people of good will so that they commit themselves to stopping the violence and abuses."
Nothing else says "Stop the Violence" quite like M1-A2 Abrams Tanks, A-10 Warhogs, and Special Ops Teams.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Hong Kong Catholic Church Wants Less Contact Due To SARS

HONG KONG (AP)--The Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong has ordered priests to wear masks when they give Holy Communion and to stop serving wine or place wafers in the mouths of the faithful as the territory fights to contain a deadly mystery disease.

Priests will instead hand the wafers to Catholics, under the new guidelines.

Catholics who traditionally shake hands during Mass as a sign of peace have been asked to bow their heads, thus minimizing contact.

People attending services are also asked to wear masks. During confessions, both priest and penitent must be masked as well.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, has killed at least 16 in Hong Kong and forced emergency measures such as the establishment of quarantine centers for people who may have been infected. Updated April 2, 2003 9:05 a.m.

Wafers? Wine? Aren't there any knowledgeable Catholic editors over at the AP?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:55 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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General Absolution for Singapore!

AP: Singapore Catholic Church Alters Policies,Helps Stem SARS

SINGAPORE (AP)--The Catholic Church in Singapore has temporarily banned priests from hearing confessions to help stem the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, local media reported Wednesday.

Catholic churches across the city-state have banned the practice, which puts adherents in a booth with a priest so they can confess their sins, the Straits Times reported.

Many Catholics usually make confessions in the days before the Easter holiday, which starts this year on Apr. 18.

The island's 150,000 Catholics are being instructed to instead "ask for forgiveness in their hearts" and priests are following services with a general absolution of silently confessed sins, the paper said.

Churches here have also advised their members not to hold each other's hands during services, and communion wafers are being placed in parishioners' palms rather than on their tongues, the paper said.

Eight people have died in Singapore from SARS and 118 cases of the illness have been reported.

Updated April 9, 2003 2:52 a.m.

Of course, holding hands is not part of the Mass, but something that people do during the Our Father. I assume that sharing the Precious Blood is out of the question.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Ananova: Russian denies Saddam in Embassy
Russia has denied reports that Saddam Hussein has been given refuge at the Russian Embassy in Baghdad. A spokesman said the report "absolutely does not correspond with reality". "Such statements absolutely do not and cannot correspond with reality," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said. "This is an attempt yet another time to place the Russian Embassy in Baghdad under threat."

General Manuel Noriega surrendered to the United States military on January 3, 1990 after leaving the Nunciature in Panama. A Nunciature is the residence of a nuncio who is the representative of the Holy See to a country with which the Vatican has full diplomatic relations. In international law it has the same status as an embassy.

For three days and three nights, the military played loud rock music at the nunciature to the delight of 15,000 angry Panamanians who surrounded it.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wired: Warblogger admits to plagarism
The only problem: Much of his material was plagiarized -- lifted word-for-word from a paid news service put out by Austin, Texas, commercial intelligence company Stratfor.

I think if he linked to Stratfor they might not have objected if some percentage of the readers weho followed the link became paid subscribers of Stratfor.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tales of My City

New York Times: A Disgusting Practice Vanishes With the Token

But off in a corner, hidden in the shadows where things begin to smell bad, at least a few observers will notice and care quite a lot. They belong to a sad and desperate breed of criminal that has been in decline for a long time, one that will soon become as irrelevant as bootleggers and horse thieves.

As Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR says, if you don't believe in Hell, please come to New York.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:44 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Fox News-AP: Esther Mok - A super-spreader of SARS - 100 cases

SINGAPORE — Esther Mok went to Hong Kong to shop but came home carrying a deadly flu-like virus that has since spread to more than 100 people in Singapore and killed both of her parents and her pastor. Miraculously, she has survived.
This is what I feared. A person who is able to move around and infect many, many others without being isolated first.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:06 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, April 08, 2003
The Pope should speak to the people who brought both war and peace to Iraq:

Italian Press Agency: The message of the Pope now is "the need to shorten the Iraqi population's suffering"I understand the message -- but why on earth discuss it with the backers of Saddam Hussein, the French? It should be clear that the French were part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Not one blogger made note of the Pope's appeal on April 6 is already answered, courtesy of the British and American armed forces, that is to bring a swift end to the conflict. No one is quite prepared to schedule V-I day but that day can not be far off.

Iraq is the textbook example: Peace is not the absence of war. Iraq before 3/19 was not at peace but in the midst of a brutal dictatorship denying truth and justice to its people.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Picking Bishops: Always a challenge

Irish-Examiner: Our media is letting us down with its misunderstanding of religion


When covering the appointment of bishops, the focus is all on power-play, unholy rivalries and liberal versus conservative. Very little attention is given to faith, holiness, pastoral ability and the other characteristics a bishop needs in order to run his diocese well these aren't newsworthy.

My Irish brothers and sisters share the problem we have.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Two Young Women

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:21 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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France seeing the Treaty of Versailles as a model for post-SH Iraq

No link for this but this is an interesting point made on WABC Batchelor and Alexander: the French after nearly losing World War I obtained the biggest concessions from the defeated Germany Empire. France was given the Saar -- an industrial region rich in coal and timber for 15 years.

The suspicion is that "peace talks" in Iraq will yield generous financial concessions to the French for zero investment and risk on the part of the France. What a triumph of diplomacy that would be for the French!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:00 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, April 07, 2003
National Review Online, Michael Novak: Tone Deaf
Our pacifist theologians are always speaking of "peace," but the tone in which they write, especially of those who disagree with them, is bombastic, fiery and murderously polemical. They are not content to disagree civilly. They describe their opponents as evil, venal, and brainless. They calumniate.

I was disappointed to read the article you sent me by the renowned and holy monk Enzo Bianchi. It is written in a tone of denunciation and invective that is unworthy of him. Actually, he does not offer any arguments. He merely heaps scorn on those who hold different views.

I'd go further, it seems that all the arguments from Vatican-connected sources that I've been able to find since 3/19 share the same conspiracy theory foundations.

I agree with Novak, President Bush is the most "Catholic" president to come along in a long time in supporting in both word and deed Catholic public policy positions.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:27 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, April 06, 2003
Women's Ordination Dept.

Running Off At The Keyboard, the weblog of Carrie Tomko is an excellent read.

This is the story from the Catholic Herald.

photo of Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg presiding at prayer service for women's ordination
OFFERING PRAYERS -- Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg presides at a World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination prayer service at St. Matthias Parish, Milwaukee on March 25. The day was marked at several sites in the United States and one in Europe, but according to Dahlberg, the gathering at St. Matthias was the only one in a Roman Catholic church. (Submitted photo by David Gawlik)

photo caption OFFERING PRAYERS -- Ginny Kiernan Dahlberg presides at a World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination prayer service at St. Matthias Parish, Milwaukee on March 25. The day was marked at several sites in the United States and one in Europe, but according to Dahlberg, the gathering at St. Matthias was the only one in a Roman Catholic church. (Submitted photo by David Gawlik)

Fr. David Cooper is the pastor. Archbishop Timothy Dolan is the bishop.

Cooper said "I regret the issue seems to be so upsetting to some people and I regret if this causes any embarrassment to the archbishop because that was not my intention.".

The subtext is that people should not be upset and the archbishop should not be embarassed.

Coverage of this story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel as well.

I wonder what Archbishop Timothy Dolan is going to do now that it happened. What he did before the "gathering" is not at all encouraging.

Barbara Anne Cusack, archdiocesan chancellor, said she contacted Cooper before the prayer service the day it took place. Dolan simply asked her to contact the pastor to find out how it had occurred that this event was scheduled at a Catholic parish. She said she did that.
Hmm.. I guess from the chancellor's point of view -- it's only Code Blue at St. Matthaias.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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American Conservative, Eric Margolis: The Greater Threat, Korea
In February, as North Korea was threatening to “burn” South Korea and its American defenders, Japan, and Okinawa with weapons of mass destruction, the Bush administration rushed Patriot anti-missile batteries manned by U.S. Army personnel to Israel, which already had operational its own U.S.-financed $2.4 billion Arrow anti-missile system.
A good article, full of details and a context for the understanding Korea's threat.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:33 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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National Review, Victor Davis Hanson: The Train is Leaving the Station.

Many Americans are now dead in part because a NATO ally Turkey not merely refused its support, but did so in such a long and drawn out fashion that it is impossible to believe that it was not preordained to hamper U.S. military operations. And, of course, Turkey’s last-minute refusals to allow transit of U.S. divisions did exactly that by delaying the critical rerouting of troops and supplies to the Gulf.

I see a pattern emerging among political observers now: one group believes that this war changes the post-World War II alliances fundamentally, another group believes the old order can be restored i.e. the United States ignores the last six months.

I count myself in the first group. The past is the past but what does it say about the future? I think it says that we cannot rely on the political or military support when it counts from anyone but the UK, Australia, "new" Europe, and Israel.

If the Vatican continues to broadcast a "foreign policy" then the United States will have to consider its relations with the Vatican on the merits of its proposed "foreign policy" and how it affects American interests.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis on C-SPAN.

Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis will be our In Depth guest on Sunday, April 6th, beginning at Noon ET. Mr. Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University. His books include: list is too long to include here, my favorite is What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East

Lewis is an awesome writer. Blogger credit to Little Green Footballs

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:59 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com