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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Followup on Bishop Carlson / Senator Daschle: The Bishop marks the matter PRIVATE.

I have to take back that "spine" award to Bishop Carlson. He neither confirms nor denies the letter. He believes the "would never break off dialogue or a pastoral relationship with anyone". Are we supposed to understand from that it is impossible in the diocese to "break off"?

The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) reports the both the bishop and the senator refuse to confirm or deny the letter.

Weekly Standard update: the letter was supposed to be private.

Howard Kurtz: Washington Post

"Tom Daschle may no longer call himself a Catholic. The Senate minority leader and the highest ranking Democrat in Washington has been sent a letter by his home diocese of Sioux Falls, sources in South Dakota have told The Weekly Standard, directing him to remove from his congressional biography and campaign documents all references to his standing as a member of the Catholic Church.

"This isn't exactly excommunication--which is unnecessary, in any case, since Daschle made himself ineligible for communion almost 20 years ago with his divorce and remarriage to a Washington lobbyist. The directive from Sioux Falls' Bishop Robert Carlson is rather something less than excommunication--and, at the same time, something more: a declaration that Tom Daschle's religious identification constitutes, in technical Catholic vocabulary, a grave public scandal. He was brought up as a Catholic, and he may still be in some sort of genuine mental and spiritual relation to the Church. Who besides his confessor could say? But Daschle's consistent political opposition to Catholic teachings on moral issues--abortion, in particular--has made him such a problem for ordinary churchgoers that the Church must deny him the use of the word 'Catholic.'"

Our reaction: Where does the church get off trying to police the senator's political views?

My answer to Kurtz: as long as Daschle identifies himself as a Catholic -- anyone can "police" his views. As J. Bottum put it to be "morally coherent". The Bishop has the authority in the Catholic Church to make public statements regarding the conformity

Rush Limbaugh has some mocking comments

As I written before I don't make any claim to have credentials in Canon Law but I've discovered that in 1977 the United States Catholic conference removed the penalty of excommunication for divorce and remarriage. Divorce by itself may or may not be a sin depending on circumstances. Divorce and Remarriage is a grave sin regardless of circumstances.

Can. 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

I think some bishops have disgracefully refused to state whether they are aware of grave sin on the part of politicians who in the case of the Kennedys (Edward, Patrick, Joseph, etc.) who have divorced and remarried without an anullment, and in the case of Tom Daschle -- apparently he's not even attended Mass for years.

These public figures want to call themselves Catholics -- some such as Mario Cuomo went even further and called themselves "good Catholics". I guess if the bishops don't have a problem with that -- then I shouldn't.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, April 17, 2003
"You don't say" Dept.:

Pope says Mass is Catholic rite

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Weekly Standard: Tom Daschle's Duty to Be Morally Coherent
A Weekly Standard Exclusive: The Senate minority leader is ordered to stop calling himself a Catholic. by J. Bottum 04/17/2003 12:00:00 PM

J. Bottum, Books & Arts editor

TOM DASCHLE may no longer call himself a Catholic. The Senate minority leader and the highest ranking Democrat in Washington has been sent a letter by his home diocese of Sioux Falls, sources in South Dakota have told The Weekly Standard, directing him to remove from his congressional biography and campaign documents all references to his standing as a member of the Catholic Church

This isn't exactly excommunication--which is unnecessary, in any case, since Daschle made himself ineligible for communion almost 20 years ago with his divorce and remarriage to a Washington lobbyist. The directive from Sioux Falls' Bishop Robert Carlson is rather something less than excommunication--and, at the same time, something more: a declaration that Tom Daschle's religious identification constitutes, in technical Catholic vocabulary, a grave public scandal. He was brought up as a Catholic, and he may still be in some sort of genuine mental and spiritual relation to the Church. Who besides his confessor could say? But Daschle's consistent political opposition to Catholic teachings on moral issues--abortion, in particular--has made him such a problem for ordinary churchgoers that the Church must deny him the use of the word "Catholic."

What a showing of spine on the part of Bishop Robert Carlson. It's a start -- if we could get a few hundred of these Carlson letters out to the politicians and others in the public eye who are faux Catholics, we'd have a real start on the scandal of hypocrisy in the false claims that one is Catholic.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic News Service: By shaving their heads, they hope to raise money to fight cancer
MILWAUKEE (CNS) -- When two Wisconsin men recently shaved their heads for the sake of a young woman, it was not a modern re-enactment of Samson and Delilah, but a fund-raiser for children with cancer -- specifically for 5-year-old Katie Gapinski of Green Bay. Katie's uncle, Matt Parlier, was joined by Marquette University chemistry professor Charles Wilkie during St. Baldrick's Day. It is an international fund-raiser, held in March, for which men and women gather sponsors and have their heads shaved in pubs, restaurants and barber shops.

Bizarre. I suspect this will be in various weird news aggregations soon.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:09 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic News Service: Man sentenced for rape of two nuns, murder of one
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (CNS) -- A 33-year-old man who beat and raped two traditionalist nuns on a public path outside their motel in Klamath Falls, killing one, was sentenced to life in prison without parole April 8. Maximilano Selario Esparza, was sentenced for the Sept. 1 murder of Sister Helen Lynn Chaska, 53, of Bellevue, Wash. He got another 10 years for the attempted murder of the surviving nun, Sister Helena Maria, and received 15 years for raping the women. He pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death sentence. Both nuns are members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a small order in Bellevue not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The order describes itself as Orthodox Catholic.
The Associated Press account is the crime is too gruesome to post here.

Even though the crime took place in September 2002, the reason we have a sentence given so quickly was that there was a plea bargain. The only reason such a plea bargain for a life without parole sentence was possible was because the threat of a more extreme penalty existed.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:03 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Business Week: Demographic Time Bombs (subscription reqd)

They may be off the radar screen for the moment, but global population trends pose increasing challenges for industrial economies, contends economist Martin H. Barnes of BCA Research, a Montreal-based investment advisory firm. In a recent report, he explores three developments he deems especially ominous.

The first is a projected accelerating decline in the working-age populations of Europe and Japan, due to extremely low fertility rates. According to the U.N., the ranks of 15- to 64-year-olds in Japan, Germany, Italy, and Russia will decline 10% to 20% by 2025, with even greater declines in later decades.

I've blogged on this from pro-life sites, but it is better to have something from a source outside of the contraception/abortion debate as, of course, Business Week is. The article notes that compared to the other developed countries, the United States has net growth from fertility and from immigration.

It's important to know how to present the statistics like this. Done carelessly it comes off as "More of us. Less of them."

To me it's evidence of the following:

  • failure to embrace the culture of life -- that is the at its heart a optimistic view of the future -- our children will see a better world.
  • ignorance of the the fact that there isn't a population explosion in the developed world.
  • a profound selfishness that raising children is going to take away from ones own leisure time -- whether it is clubbing or couch potato or internet addiction.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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USA TODAY: A season for new faiths By Cathy Lynn Grossman
This is salvation season, when Christians and Jews retell and rejoice in the stories central to their religions. And this year, thousands will celebrate under a new flag of faith — as converts.

For all you dour pessimists out there, here's a positive story about the Catholic Church.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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April 1865 the month that changed everything, was dramtized on the History Channel

I thought I knew a great deal about the Civil War, the one annecdote from after the Civil War cements in my mind the greatness of Robert E. Lee

from National Geographic:

Through victory an entirely new social order was to be established that would alter the relationship between the races forever. Unlike so many other Southerners, Lee embraced the new order. After peace had been achieved through unconditional surrender, the South became a vast, heavily occupied military zone with black Union soldiers seemingly everywhere.

One Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, a well-dressed, lone black man, whom no one in the community—white or black—had ever seen before, had attended the service, sitting unnoticed in the last pew.

Just before communion was to be distributed, he rose and proudly walked down the center aisle through the middle of the church where all could see him and approached the communion rail, where he knelt. The priest and the congregation were completely aghast and in total shock.

No one knew what to do…except General Lee. He went to the communion rail and knelt beside the black man and they received communion together—and then a steady flow of other church members followed the example he had set.

After the service was over, the black man was never to be seen in Richmond again. It was as if he had been sent down from a higher place purposefully for that particular occasion.

Today, and deservingly so, Lee is honored throughout the country. Only Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln exceed him in monuments and memorials.

Unfortunately there are many Southerners who claim to cherish Lee and revere the flag for which he so nobly fought but still harbor rabidly racist sentiments towards blacks and their long delayed social progress. Such people do not honor Lee, instead they disgrace him.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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SF Chronicle: Reinstated Priest Splits Parish
To the outrage of many parishioners and clergy abuse survivors, the San Francisco Archdiocese has taken the highly unusual step of reinstating a Roman Catholic pastor to his Belmont flock despite a pending civil suit alleging child sexual abuse.

(Blogger credit: Catholic World News) Some fascinating details of the legal and political mechanics of priests who put up a defense and the parishes who must take him back before the legal process is completed.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:46 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: 34 Sue Diocese for Priest Sex Abuse

Asking diocese for hundreds of millions for betrayed trust

Claiming the Diocese of Rockville Centre failed to protect children in Catholic churches and schools from predatory priests and then deliberately concealed the problem, 34 men filed lawsuits in State Supreme Court in Mineola Monday asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages because they said they were sexually abused.
Hundreds of millions -- 20 or 25 million per victim -- sounds about right to me.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:33 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003
National Catholic Register: Priest Fought for Saddam - Now He Roots for America
by ANDREW WALTHER Register Correspondent

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Like many Iraqis living in the United States, Father Noel Gorgis is following the war in his homeland with special interest.

And he is watching it from a very different vantage point than the last time the United States fought Iraq.

Father Gorgis, a priest at St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, had to serve with the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Japan Today: Sony withdraws trademark registration of 'shock and awe'
TOKYO — Sony Corp said Tuesday it will withdraw its application with the U.S. patent office to register "shock and awe" — a catch phrase used by the U.S. forces in their initial air campaign in Iraq — as title for a PlayStation video game.

I wonder if they will balance the play of the Iraq simulation game to allow Saddam to win?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tech Central Station: Greatest Cultural Disaster
Into that vacuum rushed a small fraction of the city's population. Many were the bitterly poor, disenfranchised and disregarded by Saddam Hussein and his Baathist bullyboys. Many were simply citizens venting their rage against the fallen government. Some were criminal gangs and some were the usual gaggle of main-chancing, target-of-opportunity thugs who follow in the train of any chaos.

Indeed, the building had been closed for much of the past decade and there were rumors that Saddam and his cronies had "borrowed" some of its artifacts for private display in their palaces. Maybe there would have been less popular rage if the public was allowed to see the artifacts.

I'll add that private collectors are desparate to get to Baghdad now so the can pick up the artifacts at bargain prices and resell them back in Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Tokyo, and New York. The "borrowed" pieces were replaced with phony replicas in this closed to the public museum. Some very valuable pieces are going to be fenced and transferred several times, and then we will see them again.

I think that there's so much rage in Iraq now, that this is sort of a cultural suicide.

Washington Post

The doors of the vaults were opened or smashed, and everything was taken, museum workers said. That lead one museum employee to suspect that others familiar with the museum may have participated in the theft.

"The fact that the vaults were opened suggests that employees of the museum may have been involved," said the employee, who declined to be identified. "To ordinarily people, these are just stones. Only the educated know the value of these pieces."

If it was an inside job American troops could not have prevented the looting of the museum.

Frontpage: Theives of Time

Locked vaults in the museum were opened, and archeological photos and cataloguing data of no value to ordinary thieves were destroyed. Some curators suspect that much of this pillage was done with the help of insiders who knew where the choicest items were hidden and how to make them harder to trace.

The analysis of Rush Limbaugh

Perhaps he was going to report that U.S. soldiers stood by while the looting happened. But can you imagine the reaction to a picture of a Marine arresting Iraqis? Besides, they're not there to "arrest" people. They're there to kill people and break things. I don't buy this "great treasures of Iraqi culture," anyway. Saddam ruined their culture. He drained the marshes in the south, turning the Garden of Eden into a wasteland. Besides, he had weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques. Who knows what he might've hidden in that museum.

It's also possible that the media simply seeks to find fault in anything the government does - that is, when Republicans are in power. (No one in the media grilled any Clinton administration officials about the at least 1 million Rwandans slaughtered with the question, "How did we let this happen?") Notice how no one in the press asked how we could let Saddam torture his people. As I told many of you e-mailers who objected to my statement that Iraq has no culture: it was looted and destroyed by Saddam these past 30 years. The ancient culture of Mesopotamia didn't have a chance under that monster. Only now will it rise again.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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It looks like my comment system host BackBlog is back. Updated I had the time to update the template just now.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:48 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, April 14, 2003
I'm on a (blog)roll today

Bloggin' Muslims

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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But it looks like my comment system host BackBlog has bit the dust. I don't know if this is temporary or permanent.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Jim Lieleks Bleat: On the toppling of Saddam's statue
You hope Saddam’s alive to see this, to see the hailstorm of footwear, the burly men taking sledgehammers to his statue’s polished podium, to see the American flag draped over his cruel empty mug. That last point was one of the more remarkable moments today - the soldier put the flag over Saddam’s iron face, then removed it and replaced it with the old Iraqi flag. It’s a potent message. A show of power, then a show of respect. Our flag first; your flag for ever after. Don’t forget how the latter was made possible by the former.
What's a economy of words to explain the full meaning of that action.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:56 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Mobile chem-bio labs found

I hope this ends the "Where are the WMD's" debate.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Boston Globe: US edges closer in search for arms -- Adviser's surrender may help bolster case against Iraq
''Things were mobile, things were underground, things were in tunnels, things were hidden, things were dispersed,'' Rumsfeld said. ''Now, are we going to find that? No. It's a big country. What we're going to do is we're going to find the people who will tell us that, and we're going to find ways to encourage them to tell us that.''

Many Iraqis have already come forward with information about weapons caches and regime leaders, said US Army Brigadier General Vincent Brooks. But US forces are sweetening the deal financially in part to provide an incentive for people who might otherwise be tempted to sell weapons on the black market.

A question was put to me (or rather the pro-war side) in Amy Welborn's blog that the original war justification has not been made. As indicated above, the answers are not going to be instanteous.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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What I do not get about the anti-war advocates is the moral fervor. I can understand people who oppose the war out of prudence: We cannot be general liberators of the world, and what will happen in the Mideast once we oust the deadly (and perhaps now dead?) dictator of Baghdad? But how could any decent person not feel, at the very least, morally queasy at the idea of leaving the Iraqi people in the murderous hands of Saddam Hussein

Have a bookmark to this one when the issue of "moral authority" is raised.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:55 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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For fans of Rod Dreher, now at the Dallas News

web: His Column Archive

email: rdreher@dallasnews.com

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: War News From the Mother of All Web Loggers
Guess who's running of one of the hottest Web logs about the war in Iraq, updated constantly with TV, radio and newspaper reports.

A policy wonk sitting in Washington? A techno-geek in a converted Silicon Alley garage?

Would you believe Michele Catalano, a Long Island mother of two?

An amateur Web logger, she's a secretary in a Nassau County district court, and she just happens to be the moving force behind the hottest new Web log, The Command Post (www.command-post.org).

Congratulations, Michele.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Titanic Song Hits Church Iceberg Rule

A LOVE song from the hit film Titanic has been sunk as far as some Irish weddings are concerned.

The My Heart Will Go On theme is one of a number of pop standards that are being barred from marriage ceremonies in the Kerry diocese of the Roman Catholic church.

Also jettisoned are songs such as Lady in Red and The Wind Beneath my Wings.

Happy couples in the affected part of south-west Ireland will from now on have to be content with more traditional music, such as Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus.

The message has been spelled out to them in a new set of guidelines from the Kerry Catholic authorities.

I suspect this story will get wider distribution than Ireland. No word yet on eulogies being forbidden.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A summary of what's going on with the UN and abortion.

  • The pro-abortion lobby was influential in separating family-planning/population control by spinning off the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) from the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • UNFPA claims not to fund abortions.
  • But the UNFPA acts as the banker for the national abortion providers. The UNFA winks at the practice of coerced abortions in China. This was reported in Catholic World News and the Population Research Institute.
  • So because UNFPA denies it is providing abortions but in reality does -- it gets funded by the usual pro-abortion foundations -- and the Vatican winks at it.
  • Therefore the Vatican doesn't accept the claims of critics that the UN is promoting abortion in the world.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:54 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I see progress in the texts used for teaching the Catholic faith at the elementary school level

With the publication of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church in 1995 and the Bishops' Review Committee for Catholic textbooks used in religious education much progress has been made towards orthodoxy and completeness in these books. If I had the option of using the 1962 text over the 2003 text, I'd pick the 2003 text -- now if you asked me that question when I got stated in teaching in 1992 -- maybe the answer would be different.

It's not perfect: I don't know how a survey of the Bible in sixth grade can leave out Elijah, for example.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:44 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, April 13, 2003
Victory ends the debate

Mark of Minute Particulars remarked on Monday April 7.

I've marveled at those who were and continue to be so confident and adamant that war with Iraq was our only option within just-war principles.
This is the familiar argument by condescension.

As the United States and the United Kingdom can be magnanimous to the losing side, so can we.

Wouldn't you want people with the responsibility for going to war to be confident that it was just? If you start with the premise that one can never have the confidence that a war is just, then there can never be a just war.

Just war was not the only option but the better option over allowing Saddam to continue to build up his cache of weapons of mass destruction and funding and supplying terrorists. The option of inaction, allowing Saddam to carry on as he had for the last 12 years, we can never be confident of what that outcome would be.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Ban on smoking in bars has a body count

AP: Bouncer Fatally Stabbed in Brawl Over New York City Smoking Ban

A bouncer at a Manhattan nightclub died Sunday after he was stabbed in a brawl that police said began when he tried to enforce the city's new ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

Dana Blake, 32, died about 11 hours after the late-night fight in an East Village nightclub.

Two suspects have been arrested.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Dr. Rao's condemnation of the "War of Liberation"

I now can reply to an item I blogged earlier.

First of all, if the straw man of "Subjection to a Global Insistence Upon American Pluralism" really existed, I'd be against it. So the core of my argument is to address what the United States is really doing and why it is not evil (or fitting Dr. Rao's definition of an evil imperium.)

To start with the reality, we need to consider what the United States did after it was deliberately, without warning or provocation attacked on September 11, 2001. The war on terrorism is a necessary and just war. The first battles of which were fought and won in Afganistan. There can be no doubt from the testimony of the Afgan people and the non-Afghan workers that the Taliban government was evil and the interim government Hamid Karzai, while not perfect, is leading to genuine democracy, liberty, and the rule of law.

Many Catholics that I know are disappointed as the Muslim fundamentalists fled, the workers of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) came to Kabul with money not to promote the health of all Afghans, but to promote abortion. What many Catholics do not know is that Bush has paid attention to critics of UNFPA and has refused to use fund them. I'm a Catholic who can accept small victories along the way.

Both the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq served the national interest of the United States -- defense of the United States from terrorist attacks and the suppliers of their weapons, funding, and training camps. The liberation of these people from dictatorship was a collateral benefit.

The United States wants to establish an environment that will lead to self-government -- not to establish an empire along the lines of the Roman, British, or Nazis. It is actually along realistic lines of the ethnic and national identity -- government with the consent of the governed. The leaps of faith are the following: a democracy that permits regular, orderly, changes in leadership and policies is better than the alternatives, a country with markets buying and selling freely with the rest of the world, and not accumulating the military capability for conquest. Internally, respect for human rights.

What I've described is critcized by others as "crony-capitalism" .

I can't hold this out as perfect -- some Islamic states (Algeria, Turkey) have significant Muslim fundamentalist leaders who with Hitler-like political savy are attempting to move from democracy to an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship. On the other hand, the United States can't dictate to these democracies whom to elect.

To Dr. Rao's and the Catholic Monarchists -- tolerance is a problem. I'd say that tolerance was a problem until 313 AD. Christianity became tolerated along with non-Christianity. Later on non-Christianity became persecuted by Christian rulers. For the 1917 perspective, nothing beats the Catholic Encyclopedia on the principle and history of Religious Tolerance -- Jonathan Swift is quoted: "In religion many have just enough to make them hate one another, not enough to make them love one another" -- which seems more relevant to our century than ever.

Vatican II Dignitatis Humanae wrote:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
So the liberated people of Afganistan and Iraq are free to embrace Islam. We can hope, we Catholics can produce another St. Francis Assisi who can be more successful. It's a battle for hearts and minds -- not conversions to the Catholic faith at the point of the sword.

So I write War of Liberation without scare quotes.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The inspiration for "This is your brain on drugs"

This is from Father McGuire's Baltimore Cathechism No. 1 published by Benziger Brothers, Inc. in 1942. It is my personal copy which I was using in 1963.

The inspiration for this scan comes from a blog called De Fidei Oboedientia

Jeanetta wrote On the up-side, my soul looks like a fresh milk bottle! Being a current college student, I would think it unlikely that she has come across the illustration.

If you have a favorite image from the Baltimore Catechisms of the 1960's let me know, I'll try to scan it in.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:53 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Weekend Update: Saturday Night Live

Used the item on token sucking I blogged earlier.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com