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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, December 13, 2003
Newsday: Fetus Found in Stapleton
A baby fetus found in a bag near Bay Street in Stapleton in Staten Island had police scrambling late Friday.

A woman walking on Bay Street called 911 after she found the bag and its grisly contents. Officers from the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit and police dogs were called to the scene.

Investigators say the fetus is a young white or Hispanic male. Officials say the fetus appears to be full-term, but they say the Medical Examiner's office will have to determine the age and exact cause of death.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

It is always very sad to read this and pray that we (all of heaven and earth) can change the hearts and minds of all mothers not to kill their own children

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:05 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: French panel favors school ban on scarves, skullcaps, crosses
PARIS -- A presidential commission yesterday backed a ban on Islamic headscarves in public schools -- stepping into the wrenching debate over how to preserve the country's secular identity while integrating France's Muslim population, the largest in Western Europe.

If it becomes law, the measure would also bar other conspicuous religious symbols, including Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses. The commission spent six months studying the issue and held 120 hearings, collecting testimony from experts across Europe.

I wonder how large large is? 1 inch? 3 cm?

This is clearly an infringement on religious freedom and all of the religious leaders in France have raised objections.

It will be interesting to track this as it is an issue that involves Muslims operating in a democratic country on a matter unconnected to international affairs or terrorism.

What exactly is a secular identity anyway? Is it defined only by the absence of a religious identity or the affirmation of atheism, or hostility to religion, or some combination of them all.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:42 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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StandUpGirl.com is worth looking at

Oregon Right To Life presents a very visual site oriented to teenage girls.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, December 12, 2003
Is it too late?

I'm looking at a lot a pessimistic blogs when it comes to the recent McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld the McCain-Feingold law's prohibitions on certain forms of political speech. As Justice Scalia wrote:

This is a sad day for the freedom of speech.

Who could have imagined that the same court which, within the past four years, has sternly disapproved of restrictions upon such inconsequential forms of expression as virtual child pornography, tobacco advertising, dissemination of illegally intercepted communications, and sexually explicit cable programming, would smile with favor upon a law that cuts to the heart of what the 1st Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government.

People pick different decisions to decide when judicial tyranny began.

Some reach as far back as the Marbury v. Madison (1803) in which the Court asserted its power to nullify a law. I believe it was Lochner v. New York (1905) -- this created a doctrine called "substantive due process" -- that allowed the Court to look outside the law itself to create rights -- but everyone acknowledges that it was here by Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) that invalidated laws restricting contraceptives on the basis that the legislature had violated a right to privacy which was implied in the Constitution in the view of the court's majority.

Unless we're prepared to amend the Constitution over and over again, we've got to replace the 5 who voted in the McConnell majority.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is necessary because of the Lawrence v. Texas and the Massachusetts court but it's only a band-aid on a huge wound to the rule of law that's been created by judge-made law.

Focus on the Family has a page on judicial tyranny

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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If Islam needs a Pope, what does it seem that Islam is getting?

I may be the last to blog this very good article in Tech Central Station (a great web site with a terrible name) entitled "Does Islam Need a Pope?" by Edward Feser. I read the article earlier but didn't comment here. I was reminded of the article at Whispers in the Wasteland which I have just added to my blogroll.

This article harkens back to the excellent article by Jonah Goldberg at NRO Islamic Rites.

My own understanding of the Reformation comes mostly from Hilaire Belloc's works on the topic and for Islam, it is several books written by Bernard Lewis -- not exclusively but mostly.

The wrong understanding of the Reformation mentioned by by both Goldberg and Feser is that it broke the connection between Church and State that the Church imposed. In fact, in the end, it made the Church the servant of the State -- and no where is this more evident in Henry VIII's England in his declaration that he was the Supreme Head of the Church in England.

My understanding of the Reformation is that the Church needed Reform and this could have been achieved under other circumstances without starting the schism that never ends, however, starting with the German princes, the wealth and power of the Church was there for the taking. The Church, I imagine, never thought that it would be a sitting duck when the "revolution" came -- and it did.

Once the Catholic Counter-Reformation had run its course, the religious positions were so hardened by political divisions that reconciliation became impossible.

Today, reconciliation has become impossible in a corporate sense as many Churches of the Reformation have abandoned the historical faith, while the centuries older East/West schism might be healed.

Semper Reformanda The difference is the visible authority of the Bishop of Rome. Under certain defined circumstances the pope can define doctrine in an infallible way. He is not omnipotent. Many people miss that distinction.

The Pope is not subject to a veto and people confuse that with omnipotence. The Catholic faith is not limited to faith and morals but its authority to teach is focused on that. There are many areas of earthly life that the Church has no tradition of involvement in.

The Catholic faith spreading so rapidly in the first three centuries was truly trans-cultural. Local adaptation was the rule from the start, with uniformity of creed, rite, and moral law devloping over time. The faith spread without the distraction of raising armies and imposing a new government upon the people (although Christian armies would certainly come later)

The reach of Islam beyond religion into state and culture was there from the start. There's no parallel to that in any Christian community. Even the missions to the Aztecs which ultimately ended the worship of their pagan gods took centuries to complete.

I've come to think that it is shattering to core beliefs of Muslims who are living in the non-Muslim majority world that we accomodate more harmoniously various Islamic groups (Sunni, Shia, etc.). We're in the "Realm of War", the dar al-harb in their theology. Contradictions are multiplying.

In the midst of chaos, people look to a strong leader. Isn't bin Laden projecting strength? Only his group was able to attack the great Satan and its great symbols in New York and Washington.

If a Muslim leader were to emerge, would he emerge from persecution as Karol Wojtyla did? Or would he appear more like Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab (c.1703–1791) who wanted to reform Islam by returning it to 10th century roots.

The Wahhabi's have since waged a shooting and an ideological war against the rest of Islam. This war took on new significance with three events: the triumph of the Saud family in Arabia (over the Ottoman Empire, Lawrence of Arabia, etc.), the economic importance of oil, and the foundation of Israel.

The unearned wealth of Islam means that a few leaders can have lives of awesome material wealth and power -- which itself is a corrupting itself.

I've come to believe that the drive behind Islam now is not for greater holiness or accomodation with modernity and more like looking for a Muslim Hitler.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Why Newt is criticizing the administration

I entered this into the Sean Hannity Fourm

I don't know if I heard this from Rush, Sean, Mark, Laura, Monica, or Steve: but Newt has to stray a little bit from the Bush line -- to get attention. Recall that Rush was told he'd have space in the New York Times only if he wrote an anti-Republican op-ed. Conservatives only get airtime when they can bash Bush.

Realizing that he wouldn't get appointed to the cabinet in a first or second Bush term, he's got little to lose by doing what he's doing. Use google and discover that he's been out of the news in 2002 and 2003 only to break into the news by criticizing the Patriot Act on 11/11/2003 (to the joy of liberatarians and Bush-bashers)

He has emerged to get back into the public eye for one reason: Zell Miller (D-GA.) is retiring and his term ends in 2004, and Newt wants to enter the Senate.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:44 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CNET: Virginia files felony spam charges
Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore announced Thursday that his office had made its first felony indictment under the state's antispam law.

The charges were filed against North Carolina resident Jeremy Jaynes, also known under the pseudonym "Gaven Stubberfield," for allegedly using fraudulent means to transmit unsolicited bulk e-mail. Jaynes was arrested Thursday morning in Raleigh, N.C., and will be extradited to Virginia, Kilgore's office said.

I am genuinely surprised that this was a considered a priority for law enforcement. I hope that this arrest and prosecution send a message to the spammers.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Rod Dreher: Fair Weather Friends: A Fable (Dallas Morning News: free reg. reqd.)

A very nice translation of current events into the world of kids fables. Rod Dreher and Mark Shea were the inspiration for me to launch this blog.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:48 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, December 11, 2003
CNN: Prosecution to seek death penalty in Rudolph case
Federal prosecutors in Alabama announced Thursday they will seek the death penalty against accused bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, saying he intentionally and maliciously killed a Birmingham police officer and wounded a nurse in the 1998 bombing of a family planning clinic.

Until now I thought that there was no Catholic connection in his case. Paul Hill who was executed on September 3 this year had no Catholic connection. While James C. Kopp who was convicted this year maintained his innocence and this was featured in Catholic magazines and web sites. At the time of his capture he admitted to the crimes. He was convicted under New York's maximum sentence of 25 years to life. The death penalty exists on a theoretical basis in New York State, but few DA's seek it, and none of the death row inmates have been executed.

The Catholic connection for Eric Rudolph is that his mother was a former novice in a Catholic convent. This story is from philly.com I don't know the order.

I am grateful to reader Marty for pointing out my confusing Hill with Kopp.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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More reports via the police on the shooting death of two alleged robbers:

(1) Ivan Blume, the store owner, (you can use his name for a google search) did not use his own unlicensed gun. In previous incidents like this, the police typically arrest the owner on a charge of illegal weapons possession. (However, Ivan may have known this and simply said that the gun belonged to Michael Live or Hector Perez from whom police recovered one gun from each.

(2) Blume and another employee were being taken into the back room and as most New Yorkers know this is a prelude to an execution. Five employees at a Wendy's were killed in this manner in 2000 and many other cases since then have followed this pattern. Blume may have acted in desperation.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003
WINS: Brooklyn Pet Shop Owner Guns Down Robbers
(1010 WINS) (NEW YORK) Two men were shot and killed when they tried to rob a pet store in Brooklyn. New York city Police say the store owner struggled with the robbers and both robbers were shot dead. Police say the robbery began at eight last night at a pet store on Stillwell Avenue.

Several questions remained unanswered early today, including whether the shots were fired by the owner or another store employee, and whether the shooter used the robbers' gun or another weapon. No one had been arrested as of early Wednesday.

The names of the robbers, who were both in their 20s, were not immediately released.

The pet store sells purebred dogs for between 600 and 12-hundred dollars. Neighbors say the store is robbed a couple of times a year.

Here is another take on the multi-blog examination of the use of force, just war, etc.

Was the owner of this store justified is struggling with the robbers?

Should he have done, as he did several times before, turn the other cheek and allow his pets to be stolen?

It should be pointed out that in many cases in New York City, the witnesses to a robbery are sometimes killed in order to prevent the identification of the murder. For a person who has been convicted of a felony before, the typical prison sentence served for armed robbery is about the same same as a murder.

I think this was self-defense.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP:Priest Charged With Making Obscene Calls
Daytona Beach FL: A part-time priest was charged with making obscene phone calls to a 70-year-old Ormond Beach woman.

Stanley Staniszewski, 60, who worked as a "helper" priest at several Catholic churches in the Diocese of Orlando, said he was unaware of any charges and that the calls were made as "a joke" and that he was "under the influence of medication."

The woman, who requested her name not be released, said the Nov. 1 and 2 calls were enough to "scare the heck" out of her.

Staniszewski said he still considered himself able to function as a priest.

"I have done nothing to her. It was on the phone," Staniszewski said Tuesday. "I apologize if I used bad language."

Diocese spokeswoman Carol Brinati said Staniszewski's "faculties" were removed Nov. 11 by Orlando Bishop Norbert Dorsey, and that he was asked to leave the diocese by Nov. 14, but "we can't make him leave."

Unhappy that the diocese had no plans to get Staniszewski help or prevent him from working as a priest elsewhere, the woman called the Volusia County Sheriff's office to press charges.

The complaint affidavit was forwarded to the State Attorney's Office, which would decide whether to prosecute the misdemeanor charges, deputies said.

Where to begin?

  1. Why target a 70-year-old woman? Obviously because he believed that she would be helpless and either not knowing or not willing to complain.
  2. A 60-year-old priest who's not a pastor? That's a big red flag.
  3. If he's part-time, what does he do with the rest of his time?
  4. He spoke to the press. He admitted to making phone calls. He called them a "joke". Let's see what a jury thinks. "Under the influence of medication". That's right -- everytime I take an Advil, I'm under a compulsion to make obscene phone calls, er, "jokes". This denial of personal responsibility for ones actions is the sine qua none of the sexual abuse scandal.
  5. "...still function as a priest..." Is Fr. Staniszewski aware that his faculties have been withdrawn?
  6. His "apology" is contradictory: I have done nothing to her.
  7. ...he was asked to leave the diocese by Nov. 14, but "we can't make him leave." Is "we" Carol and Norbert? This is how you make him leave: You get a court order banning him from the diocesan property (except for attending Mass) and where he goes becomes his problem.
  8. According to the text of the article a complaint has been filed (presumably under oath) and he has not yet been charged -- so I have a problem with the AP headline.
  9. Perhaps because of the brevity of the article it was edited out, but there's no concern expressed for the faithful who may still come in contact with Fr. Staniszewski while he is still at large and "under the influence of medication".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The Onion: New Alternate Reality Series Puts 12 Strangers on Island Where South Won Civil War
LOS ANGELES�CBS executives announced Monday that they have begun filming Antebellum Island, a new "alternate reality" series in which 12 strangers compete for $1 million while isolated on an island still under Confederate rule.

"Set to air in the spring of 2004, Antebellum Island gives us the unique opportunity to play with both social dynamics and recorded history," CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves said. "The contestants on Antebellum Island will spend 60 days braving the elements, each other, and the unfamiliar customs and practices of a 21st-century Confederate States of America�all for a chance to win a cool million."

Added Moonves: "That's one million in Union dollars, of course!"

My favorite fiction genre is Alternate History What if...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:03 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Get introduced to Cthulhu in the format of a Jack Chick comic.

The book below can give you an idea of what this whole Cthulhu thing is about.

Google author search for Jack Chick
The book below has a thorough analysis of the anti-Catholic aspects of the Chick comics:

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Boston Globe: Diocese to mortgage seminary, cathedral

So it has come to this. Who still thinks this is a media created crisis?

I hope the evil Mr. Potter (of It's a Wonderful Life and not of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) does not hold the mortage

Mr. Potter: Why, the whole town knows you've been giving money to Violet Bick.
Otherwise Archbishop O'Malley will be soon be saying Mass in the hedgerows if the people in pews do not pray, pay, and obey.

(I know the quote makes little sense, but hey it was 1946, and it wasn't Vincent Bick)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Not Really Indian

shares my observation about melting pot of American immigration with a new metahpor:

It is an interesting little phenom, for it leads me to believe that we are entering the age of “mocha flavor.”

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:58 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Gawker: Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly Shuts Down?
A shocking death; Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly may be no more.

A source says: "I work on the A&F Quarterly and as of yesterday it was announced to us that it will no longer be continued. It is no longer a rumor that it has been pulled from the shelves for good. In fact the issue we are currently working on will not be continued. Several employees here in New York were fired by A&F because they will no longer be needed. Regardless of what the media will say this is not as a result of the Ohio Conservative groups trying to stop the quarterly. It is because there have been many recent creative differences on the past few Quarterlies and Mike Jeffries wants to stop now before the Quarterly becomes uncool." [Insert my obligatory "too late" comment here.]

Too early to tell, but perhaps one day looking backwards this will be seen as the high water mark of the indecency movement.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:51 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Caller from car on talk radio crashes.

Today's new talk radio topic: Is calling a talk radio show from your car dangerous? (corrected typos -- lesson: don't blog too early in the morning.)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:47 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, December 08, 2003
"I'm God, kill me!"

New York Post: Bloody Sword Slaying

A naked maniac hacked his wife to death with a sword in their Bronx apartment yesterday and then lunged at cops howling, "I'm God, kill me!" before an officer shot him and accidentally hit her own partner, too, police said.

This is not a story for the squeemish. I blog it here to show that there's some limit to the ability to prevent crime. I don't know if this was demonic posssession or simply insanity. It is a tragic story.

I suspect that he wanted to be killed by the police officers when they entered the apartment.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Post: Girl Takes Off on the Wrong Foot
December 5, 2003 -- A 15-year-old Queens girl driving a stolen car rammed into cops who had been chasing her, running over the toes of an NYPD officer, officials said yesterday.

Channy Singh-Gomez was charged with attempted murder, assault, grand larceny, reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of stolen property.

Police responded to a LoJack signal set off by a stolen 1998 Lexus at around 4 a.m. yesterday, cops said.

They followed the car to a parking lot outside Goldfingers strip club in Rego Park and surrounded it.

Singh-Gomez then tried to flee, ramming into at least one cruiser before running over an officer's foot, cops said.

Police fired at least one round, but nobody was hit. Three officers were treated for minor injuries.

Singh-Gomez - who was involved in a Queens carjacking last month, police say - may have worked as a prostitute in the strip club's parking lot, sources said.

She will be tried as an adult, police said.

No hesitation in revealing the girl's name in spite of the fact she's 15.

Evidence of the melting pot: a name like Singh-Gomez.

Perhaps she lives in this neighborhood Daily News: Little India in Jackson Heights

These neighborhoods: Rego Park and Jackson Heights are about a mile away from me. Goldfingers I believe is in Queen of Martyrs parish.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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MichNews.com: Bishop Raymond Burke's Strange Nemesis
But archbishop-elect Burke has had his share of crosses, like any other orthodox bishop. One of them is a man by the name of Ryan Scott. "Father" Ryan Scott. Or, as he is currently known, Father Ryan St. Anne, O.S.B. You see, Fr. Scott/St. Anne is an independent priest. In Church-speak, he is schismatic - not in communion with Rome. And whether he is a validly ordained priest is, well, debatable.

But Fr. Scott/St. Anne has made some very serious allegations against archbishop-elect Burke. At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) November 2002 meeting, during the height of the clergy sex-abuse scandal, Fr. Scott/St. Anne gave a presentation at a press conference held by The Linkup organization for survivors of clergy abuse (www.thelinkup.org). The following are excerpts:

"On Saturday, October 26, 2002 I stood before Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s Listening Panel for Victims of Sexual Abuse by members of the Catholic Clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. As I did so, one of the thoughts that ran through my mind was: "Why am I here - begging you for help?" I wondered if I had sunk so low as to finally seek help from those who abuse and cover-up. My answer was clear - No. I am here because I have hope!

My favorite quote:

...the Diocese we have learned one important lesson regarding all of this: have as little to do as possible with Scott. It is best not to engage him in any way, shape or form. All will be quickly distorted and used against you...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sierra Times: How South Park Can Save America By Anthony C. LoBaido
I have become increasingly worried about the direction of our nation and our world. I feel powerless to stop it but people continue to ask me to speak out. I will do so only because, quite frankly, so few others seem to have the understanding of America�s axis/allies issues, the courage, world vision, experience overseas and love of truth and country to say what needs to be said. Fortunately we have South Park to save us. (I�m serious and I came to realize this at 11:59 am on December 7th, 2003 on a big anniversary of Pearl Harbor.)

Make no mistake. Feelings will be hurt. Dream worlds will have their bubbles burst. That is too bad. Better LoBaido and South Park than North Korean ICBM�s to wake up dreamy America. We are a nation that hates and fears the truth.

We are not the nation that won World War II. (Won =�s Soviets ruling Eastern Europe and Mao put in power by The Dixie Mission-oriented U.S. State Department.) We are the nation of Bill Clinton and the 1960�s Woodstock pieces of filth which are controlling the levers of power in our nation. We are the nation of the debased kids in gang clothes hanging out at the mall. We are the nation of Mark Barton, O.J., Susan Smith, Snoop Dog, (remember Snoopy?) and other such entities like Monica and Hillary.

A little difficult to read nonetheless a quirky reminder of how bad things were only a few years ago.

Mark Barton was a 90's serial killer. I had to look that up.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Advocate: Judge rules antigay views protected by constitution
A federal judge has ruled that Ann Arbor public schools violated a former student's constitutional rights when she wasn't allowed to express her antigay Catholic views in a panel discussion about gays and religion. U.S. district judge Gerald Rosen said in a 70-page opinion issued Friday that school officials violated her right to free speech and equal protection. He also said officials violated the establishment clause when they allowed a panel of clergy to present only one religious viewpoint on homosexuality.

Rosen ordered the school district to pay damages, attorney fees, and costs to the Thomas More Law Center, the Ann Arbor firm that represented Elizabeth Hansen. Robert Muise, the center attorney who argued the case, said the costs and fees could reach $100,000. Liz Margolis, Ann Arbor public schools spokeswoman, said district officials wouldn't immediately comment on Rosen's opinion because they hadn't read it.

Hadn't read the opinion? Gee, I guess today everyone was busy cleaning the erasers or distributing condoms.

Just to let you know how the gay press handled their defeat.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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World Net Daily: 36-foot Jesus

While a 36-foot promotional poster of Jesus sporting a CD halo and a price tag on his head was meant to remind shopper of the true meaning of Christmas, the commercial additions to the image have sparked protest.

Not quite what I expected from a campaign to put Christ back in Christmas, but this is something we could work with.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:56 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sol Invictus and the accusations of paganism: the other attack on the meaning of Christmas

There is a wonderful story on how the date of the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was fixed, and it may have been told many times before. I hope to retell it.

The untold story is how the Catholic Church and indeed all faith communities that honor Jesus on the date of December 25 have come to be attacked for embracing paganism in choosing this date or, in fact, any such date all over the web.

It starts with a question I was asked in Grand Central Terminal: "What's up with calling December 25 Christmas?"

Or does the entire authority of the Catholic Church (and Christian groups connected to it) hinge on the sincerity of the Conversion of Constantine?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, December 07, 2003

The blog that got me to start blogging was Catholic and Enjoying It!. Last week there were hundreds of replies in comment boxes on topics related to self-defense and conduct in war.

I was surprised to see that there were numerous replies supporting the idea that Christ taught that "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5.39 & Luke 6.29) was applicable in all areas of human violence including war. Attacked? You are not allowed to return the attack?

The context is important: this new teaching that we should love our enemies is not a contradiction of Mosaic Law but a strengthening of the law. The original "eye for eye" (Ex 21.24) itself is a limitation on vengeance - prohibiting excessive retaliation. If both sides suffer identical losses, then there may not be justification for further violence. If vengeance is unlimited, then there is a cycle of ever-increasing violence.

If someone has destroyed the Wall Trade Center, do you offer them Rockefeller Center as well?

I wrote that last week. It's a rhetorical question to show how absurd the application of "turn the other cheek" is.

Self-defense of nations is covered by the just war theory. Personal self-defense is mentioned in the Catechism:

2263 "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor.... The one is intended, the other is not."

2264 "Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow."

2265 "Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others."

The prohibition on killing an innocent:

2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous." The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.

My point of departure with Mark Shea is in framing the question: Given that the deliberate murder of an innocent person is objectively evil. How does one apply "deliberate" and "innocent" in the cases of recent war, the current war, and future war.

I part company with the absolutists: "Anything goes in war. There are no rules."

So while I don't condemn the fire bombing of Dresden, Tokyo, and other cities in World War II and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I'm open to debate that reasonable people can disagree on (a) military necessity and (b) proportionality (c) culpability of non-combatants.

(I am writing this on the 62nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the way)

I'll lay it out in degrees:

  1. War is always wrong, because the unintentional death of civilians is inevitable.
  2. War becomes wrong when the death of civilians in a specific case is foreseeable but not avoided.
  3. War becomes wrong when the death of civilians is balanced against military objectives.
  4. War becomes wrong when there is an indifference to the death of civilians.
  5. War becomes wrong when the death of civilians is intentional concurrently with a military objective.
  6. War becomes wrong when the death of civilians is intentional without a military objective.
  7. War is never wrong.

I'll position that Church teaching is in 2,3, or 4. 1,5,6,7 are propositions outside of Catholic teaching.

I think people who hold to the Catholic faith and obedient to the magisterium can then decide where the line needs to be drawn according to circumstances. My own choice is 4 or perhaps 3.5 -- and I believe that 4 was the thinking World War II and the United States policy has been moving towards 3.

Another aspect of World War II to comment on is the degree to which civilian populations lost their moral claim of innocence in keeping the farms and factories running and thereby supplying the combatants. Armies in the Middle Ages was lived off the land and used the local population as forced labor. Armies after Napoleon began to prepare war and establish long supply lines. In the Soul of Battle below Victor Davis Hanson describes how Sherman wanted to destroy the productive property of the Southerners to utterly crush their will to fight.

In his writings on the present war on terror, Hanson emphasizes not only the need to win battles, capture the enemy troops, and conquer territory, but to impress on the enemy the utter hopelessness of their cause.

The Jihadists are in a shooting war as well as a propaganda war to convince us of the utter hopelessness of our victory over them.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com