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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Friday, July 18, 2003
See you at Steubenville!

I will be at the Defending the Faith Conference at the Franciscan University from Friday to Sunday. Say hello to me there.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:21 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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666 and all that!

I work at the famous address 666 Fifth Avenue. (Yes the indoor waterfall was preserved and it's in the public area of the building.)

But 666 as an address or route number is endangered.

This Ananova news item says Morris County Route 666 is being renamed.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, July 17, 2003
Court to Rule on Diocese [of Brooklyn] 'Shell Game'
Bishop Thomas Daily presides over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, a job with perks - a staff, first-class travel and the use of a mansion. Yet lawyers for Daily claim he is not paid as an officer or director of the diocese and, therefore, can't be sued.
Judges in state appellate court in Brooklyn will take up that argument today, after a lower court judge in Queens, Justice Duane Alphonse Hart, last month accused the diocese's lawyers of running a "shell game" and ordered them to turn over all of Daily's financial records.
The fight over Daily's legal liability is the latest tack in a lawsuit by the former principal of St. Elizabeth School in Ozone Park. Principal Barbara Samide last year accused the parish's then-pastor, the Rev. John Thompson, of sexually abusing her. Her $5-million lawsuit also names the diocese, Daily and several of his deputies.

Thompson has denied the abuse allegations, but he pleaded guilty to stealing $95,000 in parish funds. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to make restitution.

In claiming Daily can't be sued, the diocese is relying on a state law designed to protect unpaid officers of non-profit organizations from legal action. Samide's lawyer, Michael Dowd, argues that it shouldn't apply to the bishop.

Hart appeared to agree.

"I think it is disingenuous for the Diocese of Brooklyn to play what I view as a shell game," he said in last month's hearing. "Corporate hats. No paperwork. We are not responsible for this, even though we run the show. We are not responsible for that, even though we as the hierarchy of the church run that. When they get sued, well, we are not getting paid for this. We are not getting paid for that."

Hart ordered the diocese to prove its claim by producing financial records for Daily and three aides. The order includes tax returns, travel records, entertainment records, clothing allowances and records of any stipends.

"I'll give the appellate division a chance to reverse me, as they have done on occasion," said Hart, a Roman Catholic, as diocesan lawyer Richard Cea strenuously objected to the ruling.

In an appeal, Cea accused Hart of becoming "an active litigant rather than the impartial arbitrator required by both the letter and spirit of the law."

The issue is before the appellate division, second department, in Brooklyn.

Barara Samide is a real hero. Thompson was a sexual predator and a thief of more that $500,000, he admitted to a much smaller amount in a plea deal. He threatened to kill Samide and terrorized her for months while the DA was building the case.

Incredibly Daily closed ranks and destroyed Samides career and slandered her for cooperating in investigation of Thompson. Daily turned 75 on 9/23/2002 so he's overdue for replacement. I hope his successor quickly settles this disgraceful case.

Thompson boasted that he had several gay lovers and had an 18-year-old living in the rectory with him. He apparently had also been successful in financial corrupting parish and school employees by giving them some of the stolen money: to look the other way and to also make sure that if Thompson was falling down, he would take all of them with him.

[Thompson] participated in an Internet chat room where his nickname was Papi Chulo, a Spanish slang term with sexual overtones, and his profile listed his interests as "men, music and the beach."

But in late 2000 and early 2001, Mrs. Samide said, the pastor's conduct became almost absurdly provocative. He made no effort to hide that he was living and sleeping with a young man in the rectory. The pastor told her to find work for the young man at the school, Mrs. Samide said.

The young man, Jonathan, told her that he was 18, a dancer from upstate New York who had been on the West Village streets since he was 13. Mrs. Samide sent him to work with the custodian.

By mid-January, Father Thompson was taking the young man on vacations to resorts in Florida, including the Blue Dolphin in Fort Lauderdale, which advertises its clothing-optional pool area, Mrs. Samide said. She said the trips were ultimately paid for out of school money over which Father Thompson had asserted nearly complete control.

So defending the negligence of the diocese in this case, is the last act of Bishop Daily.

If Bishop Daily is not the "paid officer" of the RCD of Brooklyn, who is?

This is so bizarre, if only Rod Dreher were still here in New York, I'm sure he'd point out that this is the same dodge (Rev.) Al Sharpton had attempted but ultimately failed to maintain in court: he was peniless and unable to pay part of the damages to Steven Pagones, the Assistant District Attorney because he had no income from his National Action Network Sharpton had maintained for years that Pagones was part of a conspiracy to abduct, rape, and mutilate Tawana Brawley.

If Archbishop of Cantebury Thomas Beckett had this legal theory, how different history would have been!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Yahoo/Reuters: Family Suing Over Hell Prediction at Funeral
SANTA FE, N.M (Reuters) - A New Mexico family is suing their local Catholic church over a funeral Mass in which they claim a priest said their relative was only a middling Catholic and going straight to hell.

Lawyers for the family of Ben Martinez said on Tuesday they had filed a lawsuit in June against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe and one of its priests.

Court papers filed last month say that Rev. Scott Mansfield said at Martinez's funeral last year that the deceased was "living in sin," "lukewarm in his faith" and that "the Lord vomited people like Ben out of his mouth to hell."

If you are Catholic and a representative of your church says your father is going to hell, that's perhaps the most devastating thing someone can say to you."

Hey! It might be true! And wouldn't that be devastating.

I want my own funeral to focus on Purgatory and on the Resurrection of the Body (that dead body in the box is going to be replaced with something better.) Assume I'm not going to heaven and pray for me as a poor (but not lost) soul in Purgatory as I now pray for the souls in Purgatory.

A dead person (or their estate) can not sue for slander, so that these people suing are claiming they were giving severe emotional and physical suffering. (Did the priest physically attack them?)

The priest and the diocese deny what was alleged to have to be said was said.

(However, if it was said) This may have been imprudent and non-pastoral and judgmental but that doesn't constitute a cause of action in civil court. So, change parishes or don't put a buck in the collection basket.

Ben Martinez has been judged by higher court already.

Blogger credit: Domenico Bettinelli

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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USA Today: Deacons Soar in Numbers
How many ordained deacons are there in the Catholic church today? In 1967, Pope Paul VI reinstated the position of deacon, in part to help overworked priests. These men are ordained ministers who do many things priests do, but do not want to be priests.(Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate/By Marisa Navarro and David Neil, USA TODAY)

Where to begin? The only kind of deacon of course, is an ordained deacon. An unordained deacon is an oxymoron. In 1967, I don't believe, as prophetic as Pope Paul was, he was looking ahead to a vast shortage of priests. I believe the authorization for permanent deacons was to increse of the participation of non-priests in parish ministry. Of course, deacons are clergy so this is not an increse in lay participation in parish ministry.

I'm not a deacon because I know I wouldn't be able to balance all the demands on my time. I genuinely admire the deacons who can divide their time between a non-ministerial career, a family, and their obligations as a deacon.

Also, I liked the fact that graphic used the incense smoke coming out of the thurible.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:54 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Newsmax: New York Times' New Editor an Anti-Catholic Lefty
William Keller, the newly annointed executive editor of the scandal-ridden New York Times, is a viciously anti-Catholic leftist, writes the American Spectator's George Neumayr in frontpagemag.com.
Well, George said it, not me.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Associated Press: Tourists Clash With Vatican Dress Rules
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- With temperatures soaring, tempers are flaring as the Vatican's dress police turn back tourists in shorts and bare shoulders trying to get into St. Peter's Basilica.

Vendors are doing a brisk business selling paper pants and shirts - turning St. Peter's Square into an open-air changing room.

A photo to show you what not to wear.

There's a velvet rope and a bouncer to turn you away from dance clubs in New York as well.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, July 15, 2003
The pub around the corner from me.

Restaurant Review: You'll love the Saints and hate the Sinners.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cops: Church Attacked Because of Drought
The Associated Press Tuesday, July 15, 2003; 11:13 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - About 12 police officers were guarding a church in Cambodia on Tuesday after villagers ransacked it, believing its presence was the cause of a three-year drought, police said.

Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist but local superstitions still play a large part in people's beliefs.

Dozens of villagers attacked the building on Sunday, smashing windows, lights, fans and tables, the police chief, Sort Nady, in Svay Rieng province said.

"They were angry with the church. They said the presence of the church has caused continuous droughts that have prevented them from growing rice," he said.

Sort Nady said officials had met with the disgruntled villagers to give them "education" about religious rights.

"They have been told it was unlawful to do such a thing," he said.

An official at the church, 70 miles east of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, declined to comment on the incident. The church's denomination was not known.

I wonder if there had been a larger than normal rice harvest, would they have attributed that to the Church?

All of the blame -- none of the thanks?

Someone should explain to these Buddists that the poor rice harvest is because of their own bad karma -- but not me I don't want to die at the hands of yet another religion of peace.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Bevilacqua Retires. Rigali from St. Louis to Philadelphia
ROME (AP)--Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation for reason of age of Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua and named St. Louis Archbishop Justin F. Rigali as his successor.

Bevilacqua, who turned 80 in June, had led the Philadelphia archdiocese since 1988.

Rigali, who had worked at the Vatican under John Paul II, has been serving in St. Louis since 1994.

Rigali, 68, was born in Los Angeles, California. He held a number of Vatican positions, as well as working in its diplomatic corps. He headed the Vatican diplomatic academy.

Philadelphia is the seventh-largest diocese in the U.S., with some 1.5 million Catholics . Rumors had been circulating for months that the pope planned to name Bevilacqua's successor by the end of the year and Rigali was considered the front runner.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Catholic man says prayers for soldiers should end
The Catechism says that we can only fight a war that is just," [Joel Gonzalez] said. "So far, no one has been able to tell me that this is a just war. By asking us to pray for soldiers, we are saying we support what they are doing. We hear all this talk about how they are heroes, but we never mention that they are over there killing people."

[Cynthia] Gonzalez said that when her son was recruited to West Point on a football scholarship his senior year at Moody High School and even after his graduation from the top military school in 2001, the farthest thing from both their minds was the possibility that he would ever have to go off to war.

Where to begin? The thing almost speaks for itself.

The war is just but you or I don't decide. Who decides? "the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." In the United States in which you are a citizen, this is the President and Congress.

You're entitled a private opinion on the war, but you can't claim the authority of the Catechism on this point.

Who and what does the Church pray for?

Every week in my Church we say a prayer for peace and for the members of the armed services.

We don't pray that they kill more, we pray that the efforts to secure a just and lasting peace are successful. It is still clear that major combat operations are over in Iraq. Perhaps no one will die from a shot fired in anger today in Iraq. I know yesterday in New York, there were at least two homicides. It's a violent world.

What's going on in Kosovo, Afganistan, and Iraq is something in between war and peace.

United States Military Academy (West Point)

Your son was just given a first-class four-year college education a commission with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. What did you think his duty and obligation to the United States was, if it was not to go off to war under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, July 14, 2003
Susan Gibbs, the archdiocese's [Washington DC] communications director, called it "a very weird situation."

Say no more! say no more! This is definite blog meat for extreme catholic -- Catholic and weird? It's here.

Details at U.S. Newswire.com

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Daily News (AP) : Cemetery: 9/11 victim's kin can't erect WTC tombstone
"I need to do this. We want to be able to say to him, 'These towers are not going to hurt you'"

RAMSEY, N.J. — The family of a man who died in the terrorist attacks has challenged a cemetery’s decision that prevents them from erecting a small, granite likeness of Twin Towers at his grave.

Gregory Wachtler, 25, was living in New York City when he was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The Ramsey native was then buried in a family plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greenwich, Conn., which is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

The diocese has barred Wachtler’s parents, Paul and Nassima, from erecting the monument, saying it would violate a long-standing rule of one monument per plot. The couple, who still live in Ramsey, said the policy is just another stab at a gaping wound that will never heal.

The couple has written without success to several New Jersey and Connecticut legislators, and they are now hoping that someone will help them persuade the church to change its rule. They said the mini-towers would each be 4.4 inches wide and 29 inches tall and sit on the headstone’s base, which would need to be extended by about an inch.

"I need to do this. We want to be able to say to him, 'These towers are not going to hurt you,'" Nassima Wachtler said of her son, who worked at the World Trade Center as a research analyst for the Fred Alger Management Co. His paternal grandparents are also buried at the plot.

The diocese says it sympathizes with the Wachtlers, but that it has turned down many requests in the past for additional monuments and cannot change its policy now. Officials said the rule is meant to preserve the “sacredness of the space,” but the Wachtlers say several other plots violate the one monument rule.

“Even in the wake of such a terrible tragedy, it would upset other families that have been denied a similar request,” Joseph McAleer, a diocesan spokesman, told The Record of Bergen County for Monday’s editions. “It may appear to be insensitive, but by no means is it intended. We certainly mean no disrespect.”

The Wachtlers’ said the project, including cemetery fees, would cost them about $6,000. The diocese has suggested other ways the couple could honor their son, such as sandblasting an image of the towers onto the headstone, but they do not want to disturb the stone.

I think there's a subtext here: it's about money. A new and customized monument conforming to the diocese policy would probably cost a great deal more than the "add-on".

What's the point, anyway, of bringing your private dispute with the Diocese to the newspapers and television?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:05 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Are you a retro-Catholic?

I wish I could recall which blog/comment box I saw this mentioned in today, I'd give him or her credit.

Update:Blogger credit to Diogenes of Catholic World News

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Personal development:

One thing I've done over time is increase my respect for the people who came before us.

(The cultural analog to Mark Twain's observation: "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.")

At the root of the Church's current scandal is not insufficient innovation, novelty, etc. but the rejection among the hierarchy and lay faithful of what worked in the past (i.e. encouraged prayer, virtue, conversion, etc.)

A lot of my life has been spent mastering skills for computers that I have to discard after a few years because they are obsolete. I've made the journey from Fortran, PDP-8 and BAL/360 to Java, C#, and XML.

The same year I read the Gallic Wars in Latin, I started to program in BASIC (1968).

I went from rejecting the Latin and popular expressions of piety to understanding what they were all about. I didn't become a traditionalist in the sense of rejecting all that followed Vatican II but I came to believe that in many ways the Church had lost its way, following the worst cultural trends rather than leading the faithful back to Christ.

Prosperity for Catholics and birth control were an explosion that blew up the Catholic community (some called it a ghetto). It's hard to explain the sort of solidarity that existed -- folks older than I am have a hard time explaining it. Catholic identity with its regular attendence at Mass, frequent confession, and heeding the admonitions to virtue from the pulpit was virtually taken for granted.

Part of what this blog is about is a Catholic cultural autobiography, especially when I find some elements of humor in it. I think that the the sophisticates of the 21st Century mock the idea of "relics" as they are divided into first, second, and third classes.

But let the clothing of Marilyn Monroe, Princess Di or Jackie O go on the auction block. Watch these wealthy relic collectors go to work.

If you ever wanted to walk in Jackie Kennedy's shoes or slip into a pair of JFK's boxer shorts, here's your chance. An amazingly intimate collection of personal items once owned by John F. Kennedy and the first lady will be auctioned off this Saturday in New Jersey.

They include Jackie's lingerie, dresses, skirts, bathing suits, gloves and toiletries - and if that's not personal enough, there's even her pantyhose.

Technology becomes disposable. That doesn't mean that every generation needs to discard all the experience and wisdom of the past. We can take a look at a piece of this pancho without guilt.

You'll find me switching between EWTN, Fox News, History Channel, and Tech TV.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:32 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Mayor Sparks New Beer Vs. Wine Debate
Bloomberg defended what critics say is a two-tiered policy by saying enforcement of public drinking laws is at the discretion of individual police officers — and that his neighbors in the park were "behaving."
Now this is something I can relate to, and make a connection to the scandal in the Catholic Church where bishops reassigned men who admitted to or were known to be sexual predators.

The key word is discretion. Discretion is what the Dallas norms attempted to remove and failed (why? because oversight of the actions of the bishops to follow the norms has been thoroughly compromised)

Discretion is what people in authority to "make up the rules as we go along".

Discretion prompts outrage: why in case to lenient (giving a murderer a sentence of 1 year) and why in another case so strict (the above case where beer-drinkers were arrested but not the wine-drinkers).

I think there are some cases where discretion makes a lot of sense like who to promote among a pool of equally-qualified candidates. But in the cases here of the bishops and priests, discretion, exposed to public scrutiny looks only like favoritism and elitism.

The backstory on the beer vs. wine debate:

Bloomberg put a cop as commander into a beach precinct who doesn't want to be there. He's had terrible relations with local community leaders and when the "Annual Event" to gather and have a picnic among the victims of 9/11 he saw it not as community event, but as a ticketing opportunity (parking and public drinking of alcoholic beverages)

Unfortunately, this is not just any neighborhood, it is one of the parts of the city with a high concentration of police officers and fire fighters who perished and were injured on 9/11. It is the neighborhood where a jet liner crashed a few weeks after 9/11 under mysterious circumstances, killing all on board and several on the ground.

Bloomberg imprudently rushed to the microphones and said "I support the police having discretion".

The press went to work and discovered at none of the elite events (i.e. wine drinking) were the police using their discretion to ticket and arrest, while at many of the working-class events (i.e. beer drinking) the police were busy ticketing and arresting.

An exception was another beer-blast on the beach, this one though was the "Annual Event" for the city council. So one got a ticket at that one.

On New York talk radio and my favorite newspapers The New York Sun and The New York Post, this is a every day topic, now that the KerryKennedyCuomo story dried up.

Often heard: one set of rules for them, and another set of rules for us.

Revolutions are born from such thoughts!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:09 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, July 13, 2003
Crusades MSNBC AP: Freed Buddhist Monk Crusades For Human Rights In Vietnam
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (AP)--Vietnam's most celebrated Buddhist monk has spent a lifetime in and out of jail and house arrest for promoting religious freedom and democracy. Freed again two weeks ago, Thich Quang Do remains as feisty and outspoken as ever.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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St Joseph Foundation: Is Homosexuality an Impediment to Holy Orders?
In short, our answers to these questions are "no" and "yes" respectively. However, in canon law, things are not that simple.

Is the inclination itself an impediment?

We can begin by looking at what is required of candidates for ordination rather than those things that would disqualify them. Canon 1029 goes to the heart of the matter.

Been reading some more on this topic since it was introduced by Mark Shea last week. This is interesting but lacks the perspective of being written during the present crisis - having been written in 2000.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:06 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com