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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Friday, November 28, 2003
William F. Buckley: Does Marriage Matter?
The swirl of opinion that came in after the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court tells its own story, which is that the judicial arm has achieved a moral standing not even dreamed of by Cotton Mather, or mere popes and rabbinical councils. Witness the failure of the two major political parties to take corporate positions on gay marriage.
This op-ed is a disappointment. In fact, its just run-on sentence of obvious bits of news. There's no analysis here, no insight, and no opinion.

So it would appear that Buckley has no opinion on the matter.

Thank heaven that we don't have to depend on him to change the hearts and minds of people. We have Maggie.

Maggie Gallager: Massachusetts Decision Ignores Fate of Children

If same-sex marriage is a culture war issue at all, it's a weird one that cuts across the usual political and ideological lines.

The Weekly Standard, Maggie Gallagher: Massachusetts vs. Marriage

THE PLACE TO START is with the phrase the "benefits of marriage." When marriage advocates and same-sex marriage advocates use these words, they mean two different things, reflecting two different conceptions of what marriage is and how the law helps sustain it.

When family scholars and marriage advocates speak of the benefits of marriage for men and women, for children, and for society, we are talking about the good things that happen when husbands and wives are joined in permanent, public, sexual, emotional, financial, and parenting unions. Most notably, there is now a consensus across ideological lines, based on 20 years' worth of social science research, that children do better when their mother and father are married and stay married.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Another lapsed Catholic and proudly so

UK Guardian: The habit of a lifetime

Germaine Greer looks back fondly on her strange, sex-obsessed school days as a convent girl

I think it is important to separate Catholicism from conventism. To be a Catholic is one thing. To be a convent girl is another. I am still a Catholic, I just don't believe in God. I am an atheist Catholic - there are a lot of them around. One thing lapsed Catholics do not do is go in for an "inferior" religion with less in the way of tradition and intellectual content. So, when the vicar comes round and tries to enlist my aid for the building fund of the Protestant church in the village, I say: "I'm a Catholic."

To quote the Saturday Night Live character, the Church Lady, "Isn't that special?"

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Media manipulated to call terrorist attacks "revenge"

CAMERA: In Their Own Words: Hamas Leaders

Palestinian attacks have been regularly characterized by many in the media as “revenge” or “retaliation.” Such references reverse cause and effect, and wrongly suggest Hamas attacks are merely reactive. In fact, Hamas needs no provocation to attack, since it considers Israel’s very existence provocation enough. The preamble to the Hamas charter makes this abundantly clear. It states “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

Yet, the Associated Press has gone so far as to adopt the deceptive term “revenge bombing” to describe Hamas terrorist attacks. For example, on September 16, 2003, the AP reported:

Israeli troops killed an Islamic fugitive militant in an arrest raid, witnesses and military officials said. Such raids have triggered revenge bombings. [emphasis added]

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:35 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Religious Persecution: Great and Small.

Fr. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly remains in jail. (Amnesty USA bio)

I became aware of the case of Fr. Thadeus (also spelled Thaddeus) from the Amnesty International petition that I signed in Grand Central Terminal. I know little more than what you can read about by following the links.

The Catholic faith came to Vietnam mostly from the French imperialists who established the colony of Indo-China during the 19th century. So it's wrapped up with the long-standing hatred of the French.

Relatives of Fr. Thadeus who were seeking his release were arrested and, thankfully, recently released.

BBC: Vietnam dissidents win freedom

Brothers Nguyen Vu Viet and Nguyen Truc Cuong, who were imprisoned for five and four years respectively in September, had their terms cut by the Ho Chi Minh City People's Supreme Court to 32 months on appeal, a court clerk said.

They will both be released within the next week.

Their sister, Nguyen Thi Hoa, had her three-year sentence cut to four months and six days, and was released from custody.

They were accused of providing information by email and telephone to overseas Vietnamese organisations about the situation of their uncle, long-term government critic Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest.

The story made more headlines than usual because the Internet was used to communicate information about the case in and out of Vietnam.

What's important to me is that Catholics and indeed all Christians need to be aware that their brothers and sisters in Christ are in prison and being killed for the faith in many parts of the world. Martyrdom did not end with the Edict of Milan. This is a reality.

In our own country with this lie that keeps getting repeated about there being a separation of Church and State, we are moving towards a suppression of the expression of faith in public. The challenges to Christianity come in two directions: one from the secularists who claim to be offended by the mention of God -- it establishes religion. The other direction is subtle: the advancement of the symbols of other faiths in the name of diversity and the marginalization of Christianity. Some of the accomodations made for Muslims, Jews, and neo-pagans are not permitted for Christians.

Things are being pushed against Christians all the time: We are again in courts all over the United States to get nativity scenes in public space where you find menorahs and crescents.

This ABC News story is about a person who lost his college scholarship because he chose to study theology.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Conspiracy Watch

Here's a rather straightforward story of a double murder and the testimony of the accused told in court on Ananova and the BBC

In light of these admissions from the accused, it's strange that this fellow keeps these pages up Who really murdered Holly Wells?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:57 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Hilary traveled to Afghanistan but Bush traveled to Iraq.

Let's look at how someone spins it: Australia: The Advertiser

The trip will help erase the embarrassment caused by the premature flight to aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 for the infamous "mission accomplished" stunt. Yesterday's visit was an admission of "mission ongoing". It will completely upstage today's visit to Iraq by the Republicans' bete noir, former first lady and Democrat Senator Hilary Clinton, who will travel there from Afghanistan where she spent Thanksgiving.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, November 27, 2003
UK Telegraph: Bush visits Iraq

Very cool thing to do. I'm sure the troops appreciated the visit.

Weather in New York was excellent. With my family I gave thanks to Almighty God.

Since the financial markets are open tomorrow, I'll be working.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, November 26, 2003
CNS: Daniel Pipes: Identifying Muslim Moderates
I often argue that if militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution, but that begs the question -- how does one differentiate between these two forms of Islam?

It's a tough question, especially as concerns Muslims who live in Western countries. To understand just how tough it is, consider the case of Abdurahman Alamoudi, a prominent American figure associated with some sixteen Muslim organizations.

He does more than ask the question, he answers it.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Yahoo: Rumsfeld: Arab TV worked with insurgents
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his top military adviser said Tuesday they have evidence the Arab television news organizations Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya cooperated with Iraqi insurgents to witness and videotape attacks on American troops.
The bad guys tips off the friendly media and they show up to take pictures of (hopefully) Americans or allied troops being killed.

It's a propaganda war.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:30 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: New Jersey rejects proposal for anti-abortion license plate
The state has rejected an anti-abortion group's bid to produce special license plates featuring the slogan "Choose Life" and a drawing of two smiling children.

The reason given is that the bureaucracy thought that "Choose Life" was a political slogan.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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harvey-fierstein New York Times: You Better Watch Out By Harvey Fierstein
According to legend, New York lore and two major Hollywood flicks, Macy's Santa is the real deal. And tomorrow, to the delight of millions of little children (not to mention the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court), the Santa in New York's great parade will be half of a same-sex couple.

And guess who the other half will be? Me! Harvey Fierstein, nice Jewish boy from Bensonhurst, dressed in holiday finery portraying the one and only Mrs. Claus.

...Remind yourself, too, of the Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the fire department chaplain who was killed on September 11. There was hardly a religious leader in our city who did not glorify his name and hold him up as someone to emulate. But remind them that he was a proud and openly gay man and those same moralists will turn their backs in denial.

Talk radio hosts are trying to reach the CEO of Macy's (the parade's sponsor), the CEO of General Electric (the parade's broadcaster), the parade's staff and the Daily News (another sponsor) and not getting any calls returned.

When I was listening there was a string of gay callers who said this was a bad idea for the gay movement as it presented the flamboyant and radical agenda in an "in your face" way -- better to let the 180-day calendar in Massachusetts run down without waking up Middle America to this. (It's 172 days now, by the way.)

Why bring up Fr. Judge OFM? Several of his friends, and Fierstein was not one of them, deny that he was a homosexual, even a celibate one. I guess that if gets repeated enough people will eventually believe it.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003
New York Times: Lawyer for Church Says He Hid His Own Sexual Abuse by Priest
For five years, Robert P. Scamardo defended the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston against lawsuits by people who claimed to have been sexually abused by priests.

As general counsel, he vigorously resisted accusers, he said, fending off their lawsuits and collaborating with church officials to send them away quietly, with as little money as possible.

He said he felt good about his job until one negotiating session with a gray-haired woman who said, through tears, that the molesting she suffered long ago was still causing her depression, marital strife and sexual problems. "You can't possibly understand," she insisted.

Mr. Scamardo said he desperately wanted to tell her, "Yes, I do."

Of the thousands of people who have fought the church over sexual abuse charges, Mr. Scamardo is the only one known to have fought from both sides.

While representing the church as a trusted insider, Mr. Scamardo said, he was secretly struggling to cope with his own sexual abuse as a teenager by a priest and a lay youth minister. The conflict between his inner and outer selves brought anguish, thoughts of suicide and finally a confrontation with the diocese. When he sought compensation from the church as an abuse victim this year, he came up against a bishop and lawyers aggressively guarding church assets.

I know that this represents a very strong evidence that nothing has changed since 2/2002 but I'm shocked twice:

  • On the front end, why would Scamardo take the assignment of defending the Church knowing that the potential for having a conflict because of his personal experience?
  • On the back end, why does Scamardo reveal the internal lawyer-client discussions which he had. I thought this was always unethical behavior for a lawyer to do.

The Times really needs to get a clue: there needs to be a balance between giving no defense at all to these allegations and scortched earth

A lot of these cases have little to do with justice and a lot to do with going after the deep pockets of the Catholic Church.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Orson Scott Card: Fanatic Terrorism from the Past
Our current war against terrorism is not the first time that western civilization has faced a widespread terrorist threat.

A century ago, there were bombings and assassinations all over Europe and America. Followers of a radical, utopian ideology (and the wackos who used that ideology as an excuse for murder) murdered a Tsar of Russia, a President of the United States, a President of France, a Premier of Spain, an Empress of Austria, a King of Italy, and various lesser officials.

They also, occasionally, attacked random innocent civilians. The man who killed one person and injured twenty others with a bomb he placed in the Café Terminus in Paris said he chose that site because there came "all those who are satisfied with the established order, all the accomplices and employees of Property and the State, ... all that mass of good little bourgeois who make 300 to 500 francs a month, who are more reactionary than their masters, who hate the poor and range themselves on the side of the strong." (Quoted in Barbara W. Tuchman, The Proud Tower, p. 93.)

Card is a science-fiction author whom I like and I have read several of his books. The article compares the terrorists of today with the anarchists of 1900. It's a good article if you want to read something other than "Bush lied, people died" polemics.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:56 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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World Trade Center Memorial: 8 Finalists

They can be viewed physically in the lobby of the World Financial Center where I worked about 10 years ago.

Black Table has a review of the entrants.

PATH train service from lower Manhattan to New Jersey restarted this week.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:09 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Cat in the Hat...

I didn't see it because the reviews were sh**. But the reviews of this movie are funny in a vulgar sort of way: Gawker

Vulgar langauge warning, but it's funny coming from people who are quite comfortable with vulgar language

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:45 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, November 24, 2003
Broken News: Catholic Church Confers Sainthood Upon Michael Jackson

a rather lame parody.

(Warning: the linked site mocks the Catholic Church)

It's an example of thread anti-Catholic running through the culture that wants to connect all pedophilia to priests of the Catholic Church. In Jackson's case, it is especially odd, given that press account avoid the use of that word in connection to the accusations.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Undoing the damage

I've seen a lot of surrender speeches on the Internet regarding the Massachusetts SC decision along these lines:

All they needed to win was one case in one state court, and they have won it. Game Over. We regret it. Game Over. The next battle will be to defend religious groups from charges of discrimination in failing to recognize gay marriage.

Legal recognition of gay marriage is on a 180 day auto-pilot. This is wonderful for politicians who now have political cover and can claim:

I am opposed to gay marriage, but we have the rule of law, and the courts have spoken, the matter is finished.

Of course, they were cynical enough not to preempt the courts by saying that legislation or a constitutional amendment was not necessary.

Here's an exchange between Sen. Rick Santorum and Chris Matthews from Thursday November 20. Isn't this pessimistic? Does anyone see a fire is Santorum to get the US constitutional amendment passed? Or does he concede that our position was out-maneuvered?

(on camera): So the question is, is the recognition of same-sex marriage inevitable or is it a legal battle that gay rights activists will lose?

IÂ’m David Shuster for HARDBALL in Washington.


MATTHEWS: Senator Rick Santorum is a Republican from Pennsylvania. Senator Santorum, whatÂ’s the right answer to that question? Will this stop in Massachusetts with a court-ordered action by the state assembly or will this seep over into other states?

SEN. RICK SANTORUM PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think itÂ’s pretty clear that it will seep over into other states and that there needs to be something done to try to address this issue. I think this is an issue that the people have a right to have a say on it, that we should not let courts, many of them unelected, make this decision for the American public.

And so what weÂ’re asking for is that there be something passed here in the Congress to let the Congress speak and let the people across America speak on this issue.

MATTHEWS: As you understand it, following 180 days, the Massachusetts legislate is required to take action to basically effectuate the existence of gay marriage licenses for the first time in this country. Suppose a gay couple drives from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh up to Massachusetts, gets a marriage license, and heads back to Philadelphia and demands that the courts give them recognition for their marriage? What will happen then, as you see it, Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, you have the-you have the issue of whatÂ’s called the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, which is that the states have to respect the laws of other states. And they will sue under that. They will sue under, as the reporter said, under the Equal Protection Clause.

The Lawrence vs. Texas case now took the conduct, homosexual conduct, and now it is a constitutionally protected right to engage in homosexual activity. TheyÂ’re going to say, well, look we have a constitutional right to do this. You canÂ’t discriminate against us when it comes to these privileges that we have the right to practice, and privilege being marriage.

So I would just say that, under both scenarios, theyÂ’re going to attacking every state court in the country. And the question is, are we going to judges who are not elected decide this issue or are we going to let the people decide this issue?

MATTHEWS: Do you have any doubts that Judge Scalia and his company up there, Rehnquist, a very conservative court, would, in any situation, require gay marriages nationwide?

SANTORUM: Well, I donÂ’t think Justice Scalia would. But I think Justice Kennedy...

MATTHEWS: Rehnquist?

SANTORUM: I think Justice Kennedy might, Justice Breyer, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Souter, and Justice Stevens. ThatÂ’s five. You only need five. And theyÂ’re the five that decided the Lawrence vs. Texas case. And I think thereÂ’s a chance that-they said, well, we didnÂ’t mean marriage.

Well, yes, they didnÂ’t mean marriage. But if you look at the Massachusetts decision, guess what case they cited? Lawrence vs. Texas, which was the sodomy case that was just decided by the United States Supreme Court. Justice Scalia had it right in that decision, which is, theyÂ’ve opened the door for this to happen, for the state courts to then hold that now this is a constitutionally protected act. They canÂ’t discriminate against people when it come to marriage.

And so the courts, unelected as they are, are going to again decide another great moral issue of our time, this one really at the heart of the American family. And, again, I respect people on both sides of the issue, but it is really an issue the people should decide, not the judges.

MATTHEWS: OK, letÂ’s talk about that. Excuse, Senator.


MATTHEWS: Let me talk about that with you.

What are the chances of you getting a fairly lickety-split U.S. constitutional amendment which basically limits marriage to traditional marriages between a man and a woman?

SANTORUM: Yes, I think it is going to be a difficult thing to do. I mean...



SANTORUM: Well, first off, you have to pass both houses of Congress by a constitutional majority, which is 67 percent of members. ThatÂ’s hard to do, particularly in this very divided Congress.

MATTHEWS: But the Defense of Marriage Act got 85 senators, didnÂ’t it?

SANTORUM: Well, but now we have court cases that have given people rights. And, as always is the case, people will say, well, you know, who are we in the Congress to take away those rights? I would make the argument, who are the courts to give those rights that have never been given before?

ThereÂ’s a process to change constitutional rights in this country. It is called constitutional amendment, not courts.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:25 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Times David Brooks: The Power of Marriage
Anybody who has several sexual partners in a year is committing spiritual suicide. He or she is ripping the veil from all that is private and delicate in oneself, and pulverizing it in an assembly line of selfish sensations.

But marriage is the opposite. Marriage joins two people in a sacred bond. It demands that they make an exclusive commitment to each other and thereby takes two discrete individuals and turns them into kin.

This is, of course, an appeal to conservatives that they can be true to principles like the stability of society and restraint of passions.

It's attractive as a via media: the idea that marriage will civilize promiscuous homosexual relationships. This is a point that Andrew Sullivan makes as well.

The legalization of marriage for homosexual couples is not the end point. The end point is the marginalization of marriage, its mockery, and its trivialization.

Brooks is right promiscuity is a spiritual suicide. We're informed so from:

  • the lessons of history that cultures that deprecated marriage and family rapidly declined
  • common sense that we need to protect and nuture children and the family is the place to do it.
  • revelation from God. This isn't a call to make America a theocracy, but to remind citizens that we answer to a higher authority than our own selfish interests.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:01 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, November 23, 2003
Boston Globe: New assignment for Law anticipated
Cardinal Bernard F. Law met yesterday in Rome with Pope John Paul II, nearly a year after Law stepped down as archbishop of Boston and as some church-watchers say they expect Law to get a new assignment from the church.
via On Religion et per Relapsed Catholic

Perhaps a job involving honest manual labor.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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peggy-noonan Peggy Noonan on NBC

As the media savvy as I think myself to be, I'm always humbled and humiliated by discovering stuff that I should have known of months ago:

The very articulate and very knowledgable Peggy Noonan is on NBC and MSNBC. I just saw her on Chris Matthew's Sunday show. I'm beginning to rank Chris ahead of another Irish-American I admire Bill O'Reilly.

Today on the matter of the the Massachusetts SC decision, she reminded us why we don't and shouldn't like 4 out 7 men in black robes that the people don't elect or hold accountable have really not only legislated but tried to impose a view of society that touches the soul.

Peggy might want to get that picture of herself changed. This is the look that a teenager gets when he or she comes home after curfew.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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also died on November 22, 1963

CS Lewis a great author and teacher of Christianity. I think of him as a person whose couldn't isolate himself from his times and cultural prejudices to see the truth of the Catholic Church. How surprised he would be to learn how much in esteem he is held by Catholics an Evangelicals today. Few of the trends that were to remove orthodox teaching from the Anglican Church were apparent then. They have abandoned Mere Christianity.

Aldous Huxley who wrote Brave New World is the prophet of our own time. If you have not read it you need too.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com