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Friday, June 13, 2003
What's so bad about Pax Americana?

In discussing what it means for America to be an empire, unimagined by those imperialists like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the thoughts turned towards the British Empire (specifically from the defeat of Napoleon to 1914)

We don’t want to fight; but, by Jingo, if we do, We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too.

And the two lines which give a historical context:

We've fought the bear before And while we're Britons true The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

The attitude we call today "jingoism".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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UK Guardian: L.A. Cardinal Criticizes Panel Official
One of the most powerful Roman Catholic leaders in the nation said in an interview published Friday that he may ask fellow bishops to consider removing former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating as head of a national panel reviewing priest abuse allegations.

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony said he was outraged by a statement former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, the panel's chief overseer, made this week comparing some unnamed members of the church heirarchy to the Mafia.

``All I can say is, from the bishops I've listened to - and several called me this morning - this is the last straw,'' Mahony told the Los Angeles Times. ``To make statements such as these - I don't know how he can continue to have the support of the bishops. I don't know how you back up from this.'' Keating had told the Times earlier this week: ``I certainly have concluded that a number of serious officials in my faith have very clay feet. To act like La Cosa Nostra and hide and suppress, I think, is very unhealthy.''

Spokesman for La Cosa Nostra were also critical of Keating saying that the comparison of itself to admitted abusers of children and superiors who cover-up and lie about it was an outrage. "La Cosa Nostra is about making money from crime, not the destruction of innocence and sexual perversion."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, June 12, 2003
Separation of Church and State Watch

601 am: Happy Brooklyn/Queens Day (was June 9)

Says the Queens Library: "Brooklyn-Queens Day originated as a Protestant holiday celebrated in the City of Brooklyn in 1829. Back then it was known, and fondly remembered by some, as Anniversary Day. Anniversary Day is celebrated annually on the first Thursday in June, commemorating the founding of the First Sunday School on Long Island. The first parade was held in Brooklyn June 1829.
Schools in Brooklyn and Queens are closed.

A little history: politically "New York City" was simply Manhattan and then Greater New York was constructed from "New York", the Bronx, Staten Island, and the parts of Long Island: The City of Brooklyn corresponded to the county of Kings and kept the better-known name of Brooklyn. The County of Queens included the towns of Flushing, Jamaica, and Long Island City and became simply "Queens". So M,BX,SI,B and Q became the five boroughs of New York City. It had a sort of federal form of goverment which gave disproportionate representation to Staten Island and the Bronx. Under a "one man-one vote" lawsuit, this was abandoned in favor or making the mayor more powerful.

601 am is a good NYC blog.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:05 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CNS News: Psychiatric Association Debates Reclassifying Pedophilia
In a step critics charge could result in decriminalizing sexual contact between adults and children, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently sponsored a symposium in which participants discussed the removal of pedophilia from an upcoming edition of the psychiatric manual of mental disorders.

Psychiatrists attending an annual APA convention May 19 in San Francisco proposed removing several long-recognized categories of mental illness - including pedophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, transvestism, voyeurism and sadomasochism - from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

"Normalizing" pedophilia would have enormous implications, especially since civil laws closely follow the scientific community on social-moral matters, said Linda Ames Nicolosi, NARTH publications director.

"If pedophilia is deemed normal by psychiatrists, then how can it remain illegal?" Nicolosi asked. "It will be a tough fight to prove in the courts that it should still be against the law."

First they were unwilling to call it a sin, or a crime, merely an illness. Now they are going to make it impossible to call it an illness.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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National Review Michael Novak: Errors of Mass Destruction
The Bush administration has made two errors regarding weapons of mass destruction. First, it is now failing to make clear that prior to the war the administration did not have the burden of proving that there were, or were not, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That burden fell on Saddam Hussein. (This simple conclusion should have always been clear to all, since the U.N. inspectors never carried the burden of proof either.)

Since Iraq was known by U.N. inspectors to have had many such weapons until 1998, and since the disposition of these weapons after that time was not known, as by international obligation it ought to have been, the United States had no practical choice but to assume that they were still in existence.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a response to this. The conclusion that Saddam had WMD's was bipartisan by the way. It's just anti-Bush agitation.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Fast Moving News Can Overwhelm a Blog

I was tempted yesterday to blog the news account that Cardinal Egan (the silent invisible one) was going to be very, very quiet about the priests who were suspended but not indicted by the District Attorney.

"No comment" on whether or not the lay panel investigating that old allegations were going to return the priests to ministry, maintain the suspension, or seek laicization.

But that would be wrong. The always wrong-headed Jimmy Breslin rushed to his Underwood to pound this out: Newsday Jimmy Breslin: Royal Stench Of Arrogance

The affair was in the dining room with the wine cooler for 40 bottles of the best and a stove on which whole sides of beef could be cooked. The kitchen cost something like $220,000, the money for which came from such collections of the faithful in the parishes of the diocese as the Bishop's Appeal. "Send money to keep Mansion Murphy eating big thick roast beef!"

The affair was on a Saturday and the observer said he could see Egan wiping the sweat from his brow, which is common for him. He then took the handkerchief, or tissue - the observer could just see it was white - and dropped it either in the lap or in front of a Franciscan who was at the table. Egan then said something, which my observer couldn't hear, but which we both agreed was something haughty, which is Egan's only style.

And here again was Egan the other day, announcing that he would not disclose the result of Archdiocese investigations of priests accused of molesting minors. Now Egan says he won't give up the names of priests cleared by him.

But that was then and this is now

New York Times: Cardinal Says He Will Name Ousted Priests

Cardinal Edward M. Egan announced yesterday that he would make public the name of any priest permanently removed for sexually molesting children, a change from what his spokesman had said was the cardinal's position.

The spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, had said Tuesday that the cardinal would not make the names public, a position that angered many abuse victims and others hopeful that the church would be more open about misconduct by priests. Indeed, Cardinal Egan, according to records made by his personal secretary, had told priests at a meeting last month that his policy was not to disclose the outcome of a lay review board's investigations into 13 priests the New York Archdiocese had suspended.

Don't bother wondering if Breslin will find something else to complain about.

The only significant thing that's not in what I quoted above, is that if a priest is cleared, it will be the priest's option to request that the archdiocese name him as having been investigated and there is no reason to not have him return to ministry or just have no public comment.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Drudge tells you that Arnold Schwarzenegger

is sounding like a candidate.

extremeCatholic gives you a few links to his Austrian Catholic background:

Cranky Critic Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger on End of Days

CrankyCritic: Was your faith and religion part of the package?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think that, of me being a Catholic and Maria being Catholic, had nothing to do with me doing this film. I did this movie a) because I wanted to come back after two years with a big bang. It had all of the things that I needed to come back with. It had the supernatural in there. Second, I felt the timing was right. This is the only movie that dealt with the Millennium. Hollywood is such a town of copying. Normally, one starts a Millennium movie, they all start Millennium movies. That didn't happen. Three, it was important to do a big movie; to make a big splash when I come back. Four, it was important to show that I'm physically back, so that I have a chance to show the stunts, the craziness. And it was a great story.

Hold your horses, there. There's some bad news too in this ABC profile

Schwarzenegger describes himself as "very liberal" on social issues. He favors legalized abortion, some gun control measures and gay adoption. His wife, Kennedy cousin Maria Shriver, is a Democrat.

We have to wait and see if a better candidate emerges. It's becoming harder and harder to be elected pro-life in California at the state level as it is in New York.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Man Bites Dog Dept.

WINS 1010: Priest Sues Parishioners For Defamation

A Long Island priest is suing five members of his parish accusing them of defamation. The parishioners are upset that their church elementary school is being closed.

The lawsuit by Reverend Thomas Coby of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Riverhead claims the parishioners were sending malicious e-mails.

The lawsuit says the e-mails a accuse Coby of misleading them about school finances. They complained to the Rockville Centre Diocese and the Suffolk District Attorney.

The attorney representing the five parishioners says they are shocked they are being sued by their priest. Attorney Steven Eisman of Lake Success says Coby should have gotten a court order to remove the web site, rather than go after the people personally.

Do both. I don't know what the merits of the case are. Here's what the CCC has to say about defamation:

2497. By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating information. They should strive to respect, with equal care, the nature of the facts and the limits of critical judgment concerning individuals. They should not stoop to defamation.

In the United States, if the defendants are considered media and covered by the First Amendment under Freedom of the Press (see Wired for a story on this) -- then the very high standard has to be met.

Rev. Thomas Coby would have to prove that the charges were made in reckless disregard for the truth and the defendents had actual malice. Very, very few cases are successful in proving both of these.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I'll have a Pastrami on White with Mayo

Associated Press: Spam e-mail: New York liberal allied with Christian Coalition

(Washington-AP) -- Senator Charles Schumer, a New York liberal who supports gay and abortion rights, is teaming up with an unlikely ally as he takes on annoying spam e-mails the Christian Coalition.

For Schumer, the pragmatic alliance makes sense to tap the conservative group's formidable clout on Capitol Hill. For the Christian Coalition, it's a chance to broaden its appeal to the political mainstream.

The two are planning a joint effort, to be announced Thursday, that will push legislation to reduce the amount of junk e-mail called spam, especially pornographic come-ons that now clog so many e-mail accounts.

Roberta Combs, president of the 2 (M) million member group, has encouraged supporters to fight to end a filibuster led by Schumer to block the appointment of judicial nominee Miguel Estrada.

But Combs says Schumer's anti-spam bill falls in line with her group's pro-family image and makes it easy to work with him.

Schumer's legislation, which he introduced in April, is designed to curtail all types of spam.

The editor at WCBS radio gave it the URL "strange bedfellows". I think mine is more clever. Schumer has never taken any anti-porn positions so I suspect this for some other agenda.

Seven years ago the Christian Coalition launched a now-defunct affiliated group called the Catholic Alliance. The best explanation of what it was supposed to be about is in old First Things article

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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On the other hand, Pope Pius XII is not forgotten

(South Africa) Star: A Jesuit's defence of Pope Pius XII

Neat piles of paper stacked on the floor of the Rev Peter Gumpel's office testify to the 20 years he has spent researching the case for raising one of Roman Catholicism's most contested figures of the last century - Pope Pius XII - to sainthood.

A 79-year-old German Jesuit, Gumpel is hoping at last to finish a four-volume report on Pius' life and virtues later this year, moving the World War II-era pope one step closer to possible beatification.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Zenit: Cause begins for Pope John Paul I
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Congregation for Sainthood Causes has given its consent to begin the canonical process on the holiness of Pope John Paul I.

The news was announced Sunday by Bishop Vincenzo Savio of the Belluno-Feltre Diocese, which includes Forno de Canale (known today as Canale d'Agordo), where Albino Luciani was born in 1912.

The postulator of the cause is Salesian Father Pasquale Liberatore, and the vice postulator is the diocesan priest Monsignor Giorgio Lise, rector of the Pope Luciani Center.

"I am happy," said Edoardo Luciani, the late Pope's brother. "At my age, 86, I can only wait for the result with confidence. God's will be done."

Albino Luciani was named patriarch of Venice in 1969. He was elected Pope on Aug. 26, 1978. He died a month later, on Sept. 28.

I know what you are saying -- he was only Pope for 33 days -- was that sufficient? Well, I don't know much about Pope John Paul I -- other that to say that he's a favorite of conspiracy kooks who believe that he was murdered to keep silent about something.

This very slow loading web site is the official Pope John Paul I site

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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One Cheer For Democracy

Catholic World News: Democracy Can Be Manipulated, Pope Warns

Santiago, Jun. 10 (CWNews.com) - A democratic society can easily be manipulated if it is not built on the proper social foundation, Pope John Paul II has warned

The two most important building blocks for a stable democracy, the Pope argued, are a tradition of respectful debate and strong family life.

My list is a bit longer:
  • Natural law with rights derived from the Creator and not from the government. (i.e. a nation under God)
  • Liberty (i.e. explicit limitations on what the government can do)
  • Law and Order (i.e. property rights, free markets, equal protection under law)
  • Locality (or subsidiarity) (layers of government that deal with matters on a local, regional, or national level)
  • Meritocracy (effort and achievement rewarded, family and ethnic connections disregarded)

And the last two are very important for creating accountability and reducing corruption.

Where I am a loss to integrate my list with the Pope's is on the matter of whether strong family life is the fruit of a good society or whether the good society emerges from strong families.

In my own observation, the strongest families can be found in the strictest Muslim families where the father and mother are absolute in their control and demands upon children.

And if a tradition of respectful debate was important, then the world would be ruled from Irish pubs.

And what a world that would be!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, June 09, 2003
Ann Coulter on WMD's
SEETHING WITH RAGE and frustration at the success of the war in Iraq, liberals have started in with their female taunting about weapons of mass destruction. The way they carry on, you would think they had caught the Bush administration in some shocking mendacity. (You know how the left hates a liar.)

For the sake of their tiresome argument, let's stipulate that we will find no weapons of mass destruction – or, to be accurate, no more weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps Hussein was using the three trucks capable of assembling poison gases to sell ice cream under some heretofore undisclosed U.N. "Oil For Popsicles" program.

Same arguments we've been making already. This time with more fun and more bite.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Like having your movie open the same weekend as Star Wars

Rather than repeating the criticism of the the author of "Rewriting History" let me recommend a newly published book:

A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag : America Today

by Peggy Noonan

And if you click on this button below to get to Amazon something wonderful happens to me:

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Times: op-ed David Gibson, The Bishop and the Prosecutor
The bishop has been taken out of any oversight role," Mr. Romley said. "He becomes ceremonial in a lot of ways." This remarkable statement marks a small but significant shift in the balance of power between church and state — a battle that has existed since the Middle Ages, when popes and princes jousted with one another.

The famous turning point in the struggle came in 1076, when Pope Gregory VII excommunicated the Holy Roman emperor, Henry IV. The emperor had incurred the pontiff's wrath by asserting his own power to appoint bishops within his realm. Such was the pope's spiritual authority at the time that Henry IV eventually capitulated and received absolution — but not until he knelt in the snow for three days outside the pope's mountain castle at Canossa in January 1077 begging forgiveness.

This incident set the course of church-state relations — and the dynamic between clergy and laity — for the next 1,000 years. In the post-medieval world, church and state came to embody the parable of the elephant and the whale, each unchallenged in its own sphere but helpless in the other's. Yet even as revolutions pushed the secular world toward democracy, the papacy over the centuries increasingly asserted the rights of bishops to control every aspect of church life.

Catholic dioceses in many respects remain one of the last redoubts of absolute monarchy in the modern world, run by bishops who, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, preside "in place of God over the flock . . . as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing." This three-fold mission effectively gave each bishop, who is answerable only to the Roman pontiff, the last word on everything from liturgy to finances. Until this week.

David Gibson is author of the forthcoming ``The Coming Catholic Church.''

I'm not familiar with David Gibson but this is the echo of what I've been writing here for months. He is or was the Religion writer for the Newark Star-Ledger (I guess the Times didn't want to credit a New Jersey paper).

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, June 08, 2003
Associated Press: (Philippines) Roman Catholic bishop accused of sexual misconduct
One of the Philippines' most popular Roman Catholic bishops apologized and offered to resign Sunday after his secretary accused him of sexual misconduct -- the latest sex scandal to batter the country's dominant religion.

Bishop Teodoro Bacani, who helped lead the campaign against late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s, issued a statement apologizing to priests, followers and his secretary, who alleged in news reports that he had made sexual advances to her.

"I want to let you know that I am deeply sorry for the consequences of any inappropriate expression of affection to my secretary," he said.

Rev. Romulo Ranada, Bacani's spokesman, said that while Bacani may have expressed affection inappropriately, there was no malice in his actions and denied the gestures constituted sexual harassment.

Am I reading this right? He's apologizing for something that he wasn't accused of doing -- and he has (through his spokesman) denied what he has been accused of.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:05 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Know Thy Place

Catholic Hierarchy Catholic Hierarchy

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. This is the image of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that one would have seen to up around, say, 1968.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com