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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, December 20, 2003
charles-hapsburg AP: Vatican Paves Way for Austro-Hungary Saint: Emperor Charles
The Vatican on Saturday attributed a miracle to the last emperor of Austria-Hungary, paving the way for the eventual beatification and sainthood of Charles I.

Pope John Paul II presided over the ceremony, which was attended by some of Charles' heirs. Beatification requires evidence of a miracle after the person's death and is the last formal step before possible sainthood.

Charles' miracle reportedly came when a cloistered nun in Brazil prayed for his beatification in the 1970s and was cured of a deadly disease, the emperor's grandson George Hapsburg told the Hungarian Catholic monthly publication Uj Ember last year. The Vatican would not confirm that or discuss details of the miracle.

I must say this took me by surprise.

AD2000: Emperor Charles I backgrounder

full name Karl Franz Josef Ludwig Hubert Georg Maria von Habsburg

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I'm really skeptical of this one:

Translation of the Holy House of Loreto (celebrated Dec. 10)

The holy house of Nazareth — site of the birth of the Mother of God, of Her early education and of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel of the wondrous news of the Incarnation of the Son of God — had been found, transported miraculously, near Tersatz in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia) on May 10th of the year 1291.

If you have something to help my unbelief with this one, let me know.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:08 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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kid-tongue Caption to be provided later.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:47 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New Media: On the web, love winning over p*o#r'n
For the first time in the brief history of the internet, men are becoming more likely to pay to meet women online than to see them naked.

A big boost in spending since 2001 has lifted personals and dating sites near the top of the online content spending pyramid while spending on adult content, long one of the most lucrative segments on the web, is slowing down.

I'm a bit skeptical of this finding, but if other studies confirm this, it is a hopeful sign.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I read all these articles so you don't have to. This item screams out from the page:
Quad-City Times: Guest column: Healing can begin as diocese responds

If the Davenport Diocese sinned against these six young men that sin cries out for:

Begin not to expect deference from the laity, except in matters of theology, for today's laity is coming of age in the Body of Christ to understand that we are all called to the same holiness, each with a different role where we can work together to grow in holiness and help each other heal from the many abuses in life.

"Deference" -- Is that what Ed Burke thinks the power of to bind and to loose is all about?

"Deference" -- If that's the relationship that Bishop Franklin demands, or Ed Burke thinks the Bishop demands, then God help us all!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:51 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Stories you won't see in other Catholic blogs:

The Messenger: The rosary connection

Separated by thousands of miles and until Friday, complete strangers to each other , Jackie Schott and Army Reserve Maj. Mike Campbell have been linked for the past year by the twine of handmade rosaries.

Schott, a Fort Dodge resident, makes the rosaries. She gives them to Ron and Lois Campbell, of Fort Dodge, who mail them to their son, Mike. He sees that they are given to both Roman Catholic and Protestant soldiers in Iraq.

The Schott to Campbell connection has delivered more than 300 rosaries to troops.

Mike Campbell, who’s assigned to the 3rd Corps Support Command, went overseas in January. On Dec. 7, the Ankeny resident returned home on leave. He told his parents that he wanted to meet Schott.

The two came together for the first time Friday at Schott’s home.

‘‘You’re Mike,’’ Schott said as she opened her front door.

‘‘Yes, ma’am,’’ he replied.

He was quickly engulfed in an emotional embrace.

‘‘I’m just so thrilled to see you,’’ Schott said repeatedly.

‘‘You don’t know what this means to me,’’ she added. ‘‘It’s so moving that you would stop to see some old lady.’’

Mike Campbell told Schott that her rosaries are a hot commodity among the troops.

Alternate heading: No atheists in foxholes.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, December 19, 2003
Read the summary... buy the book...

Crisis Magazine: Five Myths About the Rapture By Carl E. Olson

Three years ago I mentioned to a Catholic friend that I was starting to work on a book critiquing the Left Behind novels. I explained that it would thoroughly examine premillennial dispensationalism, the unique apocalyptic belief system presented, in fictional format, within those books. Premillennial dispensationalism teaches that the “Rapture� and the Second Coming are two events separated by a time of tribulation and that there will be a future millennial reign of Christ on earth. “Why?� she asked, obviously bewildered. “No one really takes that stuff seriously.�
But Carl is right. They do that stuff seriously.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:55 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, December 18, 2003
Ocean County Register: A tactic the Nazis would admire
As December began, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center met with Pope John Paul II in Rome. Rabbi Hier was trying to convince the pope to declare suicide bombing "the crime of the 21st century," according to reports.

For a man of the pope's stature - a man who experienced the Nazis' brutal occupation of Poland and who lost friends to the Holocaust - even to be reminded along such lines is telling.

While the world wrings its hands over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and cries platitudes, it fails to acknowledge that the Palestinian campaign of suicide bombing is much more than terrorism.

It's genocide.

Blog contributor Joseph D'Hippolito has had this op-ed published in the Ocean Country Register.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:25 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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"Stories You Won't Read in Any Other Catholic Blog" Dept.

When Jack Woltz refused the polite request of Don Vito Corleone to cast Johnny Fontaine, Jack woke up in bed with the head of a his prized horse Khartoum. Read on...

The Kentucky Post: Kids fess up in horse head caper

It's a holiday to rejoice. Saddam is in a cell. Trista and Ryan are off TV. And the kids behind the Newport Central Catholic horse-head heist have come forward to give back to the hilltop high school what they took off. Unfortunately, that won't be the head they sawed off the school's life-sized, fiberglass horse mascot Nov. 21. But Newport police say the guilty group will pay for a whole new $1,000 fiberglass thoroughbred horse.

The identity of the perpetrators is being kept secret. It's a conspiracy.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Zenit: Struggles of Today's Converts to Catholicism
Father Charles Connor on the Special Role of the New Faithful

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, DEC. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- An expert in Church history greatly admires those who "thought their way to the truth" in the 19th century, but insists that modern day converts are even more remarkable.

Father Charles Connor recognizes that people who feel called to become Catholics today must chose to embrace a Church that is attacked by secularism even as it recovers from post-Second Vatican Council turmoil.

The author of "Classic Catholic Converts" (Ignatius) and host of an EWTN series on the topic, Father Connor shared with ZENIT what challenges the new faithful have faced and what gifts they have brought to the Church in recent centuries.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
I met Fr. Charles O'Connor at the Daughters of St. Paul today and he signed his new book for me: Defenders of the Faith in Word and Deed. He and I discussed EWTN and how Catholics evangelize in New York City. He wrote about the Catholic Evidence Guild in his book.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Who watches the watchers?

The Adventure of the Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes solved a crime by deducing a fact that the dog didn't bark meant that the dog was familiar with the intruder.

While we are (properly) concerned with the war on terror, the success in Iraq, and the matter of justice for Iraq's former leader, something else was going on that should have had the dogs barking at the Vatican.

France (or at least Chirac) believes it has a problem with the headscarves worn by some of the Muslim women.

To address this problem, France believes the it must end freedom of religion. Atheists are cheering this decision. No more public or even visible evidence of faith.

Most observers know that at its root, headscarves are political and not religious (as this New York Post op-ed by Amir Taheri demonstrates)

What France is witnessing is not a clash of civilization between Islam and the West. It is a clash between a new form of fascism and democracy. Islamism must be exposed and opposed politically. To give it any religious credentials is not only unjust but also bad politics.

There will be a ban on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim symbols. This is the spin from al jazeera.:

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights said on Wednesday a proposed new law which would ban Islamic headscarves and other religious insignia in schools would contravene the most basic human rights.

The stinging criticism came after French President Jacques Chirac backed the proposed law because he said France needed to safeguard its secular identity.

But the IHF said wearing the hijab is an essential part of a Muslim woman's religious identity, and the state cannot tell people how to dress unless others' human rights are being violated

It adds banning headscarves would not promote integration and combat "Islamic fundamentalism", but would instead alienate French Muslims.

Religious obligation

"For many Muslim women wearing a headscarf is a deeply personal choice and a sign of their religious conviction and has nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalism,' the IHF said in a statement.

"A headscarf ban would automatically but mistakenly stigmatize all Muslim women wearing the headscarf as fundamentalists."

The statement added: "Banning girls and women wearing the headscarf from schools... could lead to numerous girls and women staying out of schools."

Earlier in the day, Jacques Chirac backed last week's findings of France's secularity commission.

"The Islamic veil... the kippa and a cross that is of manifestly excessive dimensions - these have no place in the precincts of state schools. State schools will remain secular," he said.

"Secularism is one of the great conquests of the Republic. It is an element crucial to our social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken. We must work to reinforce it."

The headscarf issue has become the focus of a growing debate over how best to integrate France's five million-strong Muslim minority.

Ardent secularists fear the headscarf is an outward sign of a refusal to assimilate fully into French society.

However, many Muslims in France argue the hijab is a religious obligation which is perfectly compatible with France's secular principles.


Chirac says secularism is crucial to France's national cohesion He said the law should be in effect by the start of the next school year in September 2004.

So they are speaking out against this erosion of religious freedom in Helsinki, and some French Catholic bishops are speaking out as well but where is the Vatican?

Isn't this an abrogation of the concordats made between the French monarchy, Napoleon, and the various French Republic and the Vatican to safeguard the rights of Catholics? (sound of chirping cricket...)

There's apparently more solicitude for Saddam in the Vatican than there is for the right of French Catholics to display the cross or any Catholic symbol.

+ Lift high the cross, the love of God proclaim, till all the world adore his Sacred Name.

Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod, our King victorious, Christ the Son of God.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign, the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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From the topic that keeps on ticking...

Rush Limbaugh: Saddam Debased and Shamed Himself

Rush agrees with me. Links in that page to other commentary on Saddam's dignity.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Opinion Journal Peggy Noonan: "It is as it was" -- Thumbs up from the Pope on the Passion
Here's some happy news this Christmas season, an unexpected gift for those who have seen and admired Mel Gibson's controversial movie, "The Passion," and wish to support it. The film has a new admirer, and he is a person of some influence. He is in fact the head of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.
She heard so from it's co-producer Steve McEveety, who in turn heard it from Msgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Holy Father's secretary.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My friends over at Gawker celebrate their first blog-versary today too. They are the place to go for New York and media -- insights and a little bit of mild gossip.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:02 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NRO Michael Novak: Martino?
As for Cardinal Martino, he has made clear on many occasions how bitterly he feels toward the United States on many fronts, not only in the case of Iraq. He has not been altogether prudent. He does not seem to be aware of how oddly his behavior comports with the far more nuanced and modulated views of those around him with greater authority than his.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Communion Hygiene Nothing To Sneeze At
Reflecting the severity of this year's flu epidemic, Catholic church officials in parts of the San Francisco

Bay area have abandoned some of their normal Communion procedures -- such as sharing a chalice of wine and placing wafers on parishioners' tongues.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said people recognize that this might be the worst flu epidemic in 20 years.

The archbishop did not require the new procedures to be followed, but urged individual churches to do so based on "common sense."

At churches that adopted the new procedures, parishioners were told to take the communion wafer in their hands, which was already the practice in some churches.

Some churches also normally allow parishioners to sip from a chalice of wine during communion, but that practice too has been curtailed.

As part of the new guidelines, parishioners were also urged to refrain from shaking hands during the "sign of peace" and from holding hands during the Lord's Prayer.

"Wafer" and "Wine"? -- I guess it would be too much to expect that the reporter would use the words which I hope were used by the spokesman or the archbishop.

As for the fear that the flu could be spread this way, "common sense" is a good rule.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Franciscan Capuchins of the Province of St. Mary have honored Senator Charles Schumer. (pdf file)

Senator Charles Schumer is leading the effort to promote partial birth abortion and to oppose the judicial nominations of President Bush, specifically the Catholic judges for their religious belief which he calls "out of the mainstream".

He is the last person that should be honored by any Catholic-affiliated group.

The press release from Senator Schumer's site.

The Matthew 25:35 Award [given to Schumer] is named after the verse in the New Testament that says, "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Schumer was given the award after he gave the keynote address at the Capuchin's "Financial Tools for Estate & Trust Planning" seminar, which taught lawyers and financial planners how to construct trusts and wills for their clients that allow for assets to be transferred to charities. William M. Savino, managing partner of the law firm of Rifkin Railer, moderated the morning program.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: Man Decapitated In Rescue Attempt
A construction worker was decapitated when co-workers tried to dig him out of a collapsed ditch with an excavating machine, officials said.

The 39-year-old man, whose name was not released, became trapped in the ditch Monday afternoon at the intersection of Taylor Street and DeGroot Place on Staten Island. Colleagues tried to free him and another trapped worker with a backhoe, accidentally severing the first man's head.

People panicked. They started moving around the heavy equipment without protecting the exposed parts of the the workers' body who was killed in their haste to rescue the second completely buried worker. The second worker was rescued if that's any comfort to these men.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:20 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My opinion on how to treat Saddam

I don't believe Saddam should be tortured. This means physical pain, broken bones, mutilation. This would turn us into Saddam's secret police.

Some sort of mental disorientation, sleep deprivation, drugs which diminish the will to resist, etc. is what the CIA has been using for years.

Saddam so far appears to have behaved cowardly. He was betrayed by a family member.

I think he will disclose what we need to know in order to locate WMD's and leaders of the resistance to the reconstruction of Iraq effort.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:32 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The president of the Catholic League checks in

Dr. William Donohue spoke on WABC Radio today. Since Bill didn't post a transcript readers here will have the inadequacies of my summary:

  1. Cardinal Martino's comments were wrong and only reflect his opinion and not the Vatican's.
  2. Donohue's own opinions match that of the bishops on the ground in Iraq: the head of the serpent has been crushed.
  3. Many people are unaware that Martino is not the Vatican's spokesman and have reacted to the opinion as if it were an offical Vatican opinion or the Pope's opinion.
  4. There's a need to separate the comment on capital punishment and the comment on "beast" and "cow".
  5. The recent teaching of the Church on capital punishment creates a strong presumption against its use -- and that is the sentiment of the Pope. Make no mistake about that.
  6. Cardinal Martino has a record of making intemperate political comments. This is nothing new. He represents a sort of "Peace and Justice" wing in the Church -- always supporting the United Nations no matter what nonsense they vote on -- always condemning the United States.
  7. Expect no retraction of the comments from the Vatican. You might see that they will be more reluctant to allow him to appear the microphones of the world press.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:22 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My blog-versary

It was on December 17, 2002, that after a year or so of reading blogs I started one.

I've been on the Internet communicating the Catholic faith and my own opinion (and hopefully I know the difference) since 1984, and I feel like I've just started. Thanks be to God.

And thank you readers. I will remember you and pray for you before the Blessed Sacrament today.

If you want to meet me and live in or are now visiting the New York area, I will be at a (1) Holy Hour in the Bronx at Holy Rosary Parish (Fr. Robert Quarato), 1510 Adee Ave. 7:30 PM on Friday 12/19. (2) Afternoon of Reflection on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (with Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR) at Holy Innocents in Manhattan 1:30 PM Sunday 12/21. email me for more info.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:18 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Bill O'Reilly on Fox opened up with a discussion of the loss of the Saddam's dignity.

The common definition of dignity is the rank, honor, prestige given to a person. Dignity exists in a hierarchy and refers to a relationship which may be formal (as in the dignity given to a mayor) or informal (as in the dignity given to a person at work with more seniority or more achievement). A ceremony where one is shown a greater level of dignity is homage to use this feudal term.

The traditional ecclesial/ecclesiastical usage of dignity is denote a rank without an authority relationship. Priests have higher dignity than deacons who in turn have higher dignity than lay persons. The faithful in the state of grace have greater dignity than those not in the state of grace.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about from the Summa Theologica. of Thomas Aquinas.

By sin, man loses a twofold dignity, one in respect of God, the other in respect of the Church.

In respect of God he again loses a twofold dignity. one is his principal dignity, whereby he was counted among the children of God, and this he recovers by Penance, which is signified (Lk. 15) in the prodigal son, for when he repented, his father commanded that the first garment should be restored to him, together with a ring and shoes.

The other is his secondary dignity, viz. innocence, of which, as we read in the same chapter, the elder son boasted saying (Lk. 15:29): "Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandments": and this dignity the penitent cannot recover.

Nevertheless he recovers something greater sometimes; because as Gregory says (Hom. de centum Ovibus, 34 in Evang.), "those who acknowledge themselves to have strayed away from God, make up for their past losses, by subsequent gains: so that there is more joy in heaven on their account, even as in battle, the commanding officer thinks more of the soldier who, after running away, returns and bravely attacks the foe, than of one who has never turned his back, but has done nothing brave."

The contemporary ecclesial/ecclesiastical usage is closer to the idea of inherent dignity -- made in the image and likeness of God -- that raises us up above the animals. Dignity in this sense moves away from "rank" towards "humanity" -- from a relationship of superior to inferior to the relationship of one to one's neighbor.

There's no better expression of this than Dignitatis Humanae. The declaration of Vatican II on Religious Freedom.

A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man,(1) and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty.

Today, when the Church says "dignity" it simply means treating a human being the way a human being ought to be treated because they are not mere flesh and blood but are given from God an eternal soul.

"Dignity" retains in common usage a bit of the sense of rank. There's more "dignity" in going to the Opera than Webster Hall, Town Hall, or Hammerstein Ballroom. More "Dignity" in "Hamlet" than "Animal House". Dignity as we say in New York is "hoity-toity".

This brings us to the idea of "indignity". It's removing dignity but less that de-humanizing someone, and something greater than mere embarrassment.

The most common indignity that one in New York sees is the perp walk. The criminal in handcuffs with the optional baseball jacket pulled over his or her head or the raincoat over the hands and the handcuffs. This is a public indignity -- one that some celebrities such as Martha Stewart who was arrested without a perp walk.

A criminal prisoner is subjected to further indignities in jail. It continues through probation and their ex-offender status.

Prisoners of war on the other hand were given special status. This was done so there would be reciprocity between the belligerents. To a certain extent this worked for the British and American prisoners of the Nazis in World War II. As a group they had a very high survival rate, although the filming of POW's for propaganda purposes was very common by the Nazis, and again in Korea, North Vietnam, and Iraq.

Of course, one of the reasons that images for non-propaganda purposes is appreciated is that it confirms that identifiable prisoners are alive.

The much criticized videotape of the transfer of some of the Camp X-Ray prisoners was not for propaganda purposes but to demonstrate the their treatment was humane and their conditions similar to other detention facilities maintained by the American government.

The video of Saddam was not supplied to satisfy a "public curiosity" but to inform the world

When you look up that actual Geneva Convention text you see that the phrase that critics of the treatment of Saddam by American armed forces is "public curiosity". I think there's far too much being read into that phrase. The confirmation of the identity of the prisoner is not merely curiosity (desire for knowledge for the personal business of another to whom this should be private) but a matter of global importance. Twisting "curiosity" into the generic need to know means that anyone watching a newsreel in a movie theater in World War II to watching the war on TV was satisfying curiosity and not becoming informed.

The video of Saddam was not to humiliate him but to show him being given medical treatment and to show that he was not beaten or tortured.

Had no video of Saddam's capture been provided -- who would believe it? The cry would be "Show us Saddam! Give us Saddam!".

Many of the POW images of both living and dead serve direct propaganda purposes: to show your own side the enemy as defeated and to demoralize the enemy and weaken their will. The "enemy" in Iraq now is not a government or a movement or even operating with the cooperation of the local population. Is there even another "side" to the military operations? And what's so wrong about weakening their resolve to conduct ambush attacks against Americans and the citizens of Iraq cooperating in its reconstruction?

There's a principle of double effect here: to show that he was given prompt medical treatment and not beaten, one sees that he has not been given the grandeur (one sense of "dignity") of "head of state" as Madeline Albright called him on December 16. He was given the "dignity" of a prisoner of war although he was not wearing an identifiable uniform at the time of his capture, nor had the government of which he held power had any further authority or recognition -- but for the global interest in his status and not a the sideshow "geek".

He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up lowly

There's an important purpose in showing Saddam no longer in power and, frankly, in cowardice, unwilling to make the sacrifice personally that he urged so many others to do.

The loss of dignity, given his appearance, is attributable to his choice to stay in a grave-sized hole. He could have arranged at any time to surrender in a nice dress uniform in a ceremony similar to the dignified ceremonies that ended World War II.

I doubt that we will continue to see nightly images of Saddam. That would be just impertinent, even prurient curiosity removing dignity from Saddam. We'll see him on trial. I wonder if Cardinal Martino will conduct his own investigation of his tortures, mutilations, and executions -- perhaps he will satisfy his own curiosity about "the beast".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cardinal Martino chose the wrong hill to die on.

If Cardinal Martino had made a reputation for himself by being a fearless critic of the depradations of Sadam and all the outrages of Muslims committed against Christians, I could handle this criticism.

He's part of the axis of finger wagging to complain that this man who has emerged from a hole in the ground after months to get some free medical care -- and to be identified.

Don't trivialize the necessity of letting everyone be sure that this is the guy and not one of his doubles.

He's not been stripped of his dignity. Perhaps someone should ask Saddam if he minded. The finger waggers appear to be certain that he didn't want to be on global television.

And as for the loss of dignity -- spead the to blame the news producers who chose to air the video and the audience who wanted to see it.

Reality television.

Does Cardinal Martino want the army to return him to the hole from which he came? Install him in a palace?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Proper Concern

The proper concern for Saddam at this point should be for his life and health. That he should immediately be denied his liberty is what it means to be a prisoner.

The damage to his dignity is self-inflicted. You can lose a lot of dignity by hiding in a hole for months.

The primary intention of the filming of Saddam to demonstrate that he was captured.

The other effects: joy in the streets of Iraq, morale boost for the American armed forces, etc. were secondary.

What did people expect? That the 4th Infantry Division had a fresh uniform with the appropriate rank and ribbons attached?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:00 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: FDA Debates Sale of Morning-After Pill
WASHINGTON - The maker of a morning-after pill and the nation's largest gynecologists' group asked the government Tuesday to allow emergency contraception to sell without a prescription, saying easier access could slash unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

This currently is a prescription drug that they want to make an over-the-counter drug.

I blogged about the advertising campaign taking place in New York City's subway system: August 10 (pictures) and August 6 (detailed text)

The wide availabilty of over-the-counter abortion inducing drugs will lead to many surreptitious abortions, i.e. "boyfriends", husbands, family members, psychopaths, etc. poisioning the woman's unborn child with one of these drugs.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:46 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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More on Cardinal Martino's Comments

This became the main headline on Drudge. It's a big deal.

Bloggers and especially my readers know the names of the Axis of Finger Wagging by heart, but the rest of the world does not. As I wrote in the comments on the Catholic World News comment box, this is imprudent. The word "imprudent" almost lack the intensity of what I am feeling -- there is no emoticon for what I am feeling.

It makes the Vatican, by extension, the Catholic Church look foolish. People will ask is the Pope using Martino's comment as a trial balloon?

What wouldn't be the appropriate handling for Saddam? He was spared his Mussolini moment as I showed in my blog below. Every moment of life that he has, he should be on his knees praying to Allah for forgiveness. How brutal would the handling of Saddam have to constitute an injustice to him?

What wouldn't be a fair trial? How can it be that the Iraqi people lack competence or standing to try him? They only lack for the time being a constitution, but that's a requirement that only the United States would have the power to enforce it.

Any secrecy in the capture and identification process would have led people to believe that he really was not captured or it really was not Saddam. The television footage was necessary to establish that credibility. Even so, some Islamic media still deny he has been caught and there is a conspiracy to conceal the fact that he is still at large.

Update: Sean Hannity started off his nationally syndicated radio show with comments on the statement by Cardinal Martino.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Death Penalty for Saddam

My understanding of capital punishment is that it is not prohibited by natural law. The prohibition comes from a Christian understanding of the mercy of God and hope in his justice.

In fact, the use of the death penalty seems fitting with natural law:

  • to protect society by making the murderer incapable of murdering again.
  • to punish the murderer for the offense to the order of society
  • to deter others who would otherwise murder
  • to inform the public that justice is being done
  • to give the relatives of the victim a sense of proportional punishment

Iraq is not Christian, and it seems wrong to be selective about what aspects of our faith are imposed or even suggested for Iraqis to follow.

A legally constituted court of Iraqis can try Saddam and sentence him accordingly. Our concern should be for the fairness of the proceedings -- and let the sovereignty of the Iraqi people start with the trial of Saddam. Do not send Saddam to join the trial in perpetuity of Milsovec.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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First Vatican Comment on Saddam is Extraordinarily Stupid

AP: Vatican Opposes Death Penalty for Saddam

[Cardinal Renato] Martino said he felt "compassion" for Saddam, even if he was a dictator, after seeing images of "this destroyed man" being "treated like a beast, having his teeth checked" by an American military medic.

Being in the custody of the United States Fourth Infantry Division is being "destroyed"?

I wonder how Martino characterizes those who were in custody of Saddam's secret police?

As for having your teeth checked, there are three reasons for this:

  1. the obvious one, to see if Saddam had broken teeth, infected gums, etc. He's not had any medical care for the past few months.
  2. to match dental records or other information the could be obtained from his teeth that would help to identify the prisoner.
  3. to check for concealed poison capsules that Saddam could choose to use to kill himself.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, December 15, 2003
southofboston.com: Priest changes with changing Catholic Church
St. Margaret's church building will close by the end of the month because the exterior is crumbling and there are no funds to make the more than $1 million in repairs. The parish, unlike some others in the state, won't be closing and Masses will be held in the parish center. But, Conway said, the future of the parish, where some 1,400 people attend Mass each week, is still uncertain.
1,400 people attending Mass each week and there isn't enough money to keep the parish open and the church in good repair? Something doesn't add up here. Is Brockton a really poor area?

Answering my own question The income comparison shows Brockton having the same Median Houshold Income as Boston.

How many Catholic faithful attending Mass each week does one need to operate a Catholic parish? 2,000? 4,000?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Priest Robbed In Church Rectory
Police were searching Monday for a bandit who made off with at least $12,000 after robbing a Brooklyn priest at gunpoint.

The robber confronted the priest shortly before midnight Sunday inside the rectory at St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church in the Crown Heights section, police said. He forced the priest to open a safe at gunpoint.

A second priest interrupted the robbery, and briefly struggled with the bandit before he fled with the money.

No serious injuries were reported.

Thank God no one was hurt -- it was only money. I wonder if Lauryn Hill's criticism of the Church inspired the robber.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Christianity Today Weblog: Iraqi Christians Celebrate Saddam's Capture
In Chaldean communities near Detroit and San Diego news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread quickly. "I spoke with my sister in Iraq first thing, and she said the gunfire I heard in the background were coming from the people who are happy," Kinaya, a deacon at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan, told The Detroit Free Press. "The Iraqi people are a democratic people who are now celebrating their freedom."
I hope I'm reading this right -- that the gunfire was in Iraq and not in San Diego and Detroit.

I saw some video of those celebrations of AK-47 gunfire. They were rather careless with their aim and some of look like their had partaken of a beverage which is forbidden by the Koran. What were the civilian casualities from the celebration?

And what do they do in Iraq for mourning if random gunfire is for celebration?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My favorite Google Search

Can you imagine how much greater the news focus would be on Lauryn Hill's appearance had not the biggest story of the last six months broke on the same day?

It would have been the news lead.

Thank heaven for this small favor.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:24 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Missing a clue... Missing a verb...

AP: Bishop's attorneys claim to find second car in hit-and-run

"This is the first we've heard of it, and we'll follow up on it," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Lauri Williams. "But we still don't if that car was involved."

Context: Bishop Thomas O'Brien was arrested for leaving the scene of a fatal accident which killed a pedesrian Jim Reed on June 14. O'Brien's lead attorney Tom Henze discovered a report of a partial license plate for a second car from playing the police radio tapes.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:49 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Chicago Tribune: Catholics scrutinize enigmatic, strict Opus Dei
CHICAGO - (KRT) - Depending on the eye of the beholder, the teaching kitchens of Lexington College, bedecked with pots and pans, mark either a place where young people learn an employable skill in a Christian setting, or a clandestine battlefield in an intense struggle for the soul of the Catholic Church.

Lexington College, a school on Chicago's Near West Side that specializes in food-service management, is run by Opus Dei, a tiny religious movement brought to public attention by the best seller "The Da Vinci Code," a kind of ecclesiastical mystery novel featuring a Machiavellian Opus Dei operative who takes orders from a sinister, off-stage presence called "The Teacher."

Earlier, the group briefly made headlines when it was learned that Robert Hanssen, the FBI-agent-turned-Russian-spy, sent his children to a Washington-area private school run by Opus Dei - Latin for the "Work of God." Recently, the group opened a new multistory headquarters in the heart of Manhattan, a sign of its abundant financial resources. All of this has shone a spotlight on a group that has been something of a mystery, even to other U.S. Catholics. Yet it has tentacles of influence stretching all the way to the Holy See, where the pope's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, is a member.

Tentacles, eh?

And they say there's no media bias....

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reuters: Singer Lauryn Hill Blasts Church at Vatican Concert
American singer Lauryn Hill, from a stage used by the Pope, shocked Catholic officials at a concert by telling them to "repent" and alluding to sexual abuse of children by U.S. priests.

The broadside came during the recording Saturday night of a Christmas concert attended by top Vatican (news - web sites) cardinals, bishops and many elite of Italian society, witnesses said.

Hill made her comments when taking the microphone to sing at the concert, held in the same huge hall and stage Pope John Paul uses for his weekly general audiences and other events. The Pope was not present.

"I did not come here to celebrate the birth of Christ with you but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death inside this place," she said according to a transcript of her statement run by the Rome newspaper La Repubblica.

A spokesman for Prime Time Productions, the concert's organizers, said the newspaper's quotes were accurate.

"God has been a witness to the corruption of his leadership, of the exploitation and abuses ... by the clergy," she said.

This was an apparent reference to the scandal in the United States last year over the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Hill told the crowd to seek blessings "from God not men" and said she did "not believe in representatives of God on earth."

A few feet away in the front row sat five cardinals, including Edmund Szoka, American governor of Vatican City.

Hill, 28, did not sing the song listed on the program but instead sang a song about social injustice.

Organizers said Hill's outburst and performance would most probably be cut from the show when it is aired on Christmas Eve.

Hill shot to fame in the mid-1990s with band The Fugees, whose album "The Score" sold 17 million copies, to become one of the biggest hip-hop chart successes of all time.

She went on to win five Grammy awards for her debut solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." She has a son and daughter by Rohan Marley, the son of Reggae legend Bob Marley.

This is coming from the genre of music that glorifies murder, drug abuse, and prostitution. I wonder if this attack on the Church gives her career the same boost it gave to the one of Sinead O'Connor.

Talk about the log in your own eye (Michael Jackson, R. Kelly)...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:26 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, December 14, 2003
The Listening Post

Drudge of Drudge: If this continues, look for the Democrats to come in third behind Nader.

Peggy Noonan on Drudge: I woke up, watched with the sound off, and I thought that there was something very bad had happened. Then I turned the sound up and realized that they were communicating with their body language that the capture of Saddam was a bad thing to have happened.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Dark Lining in Every Silver Cloud

Why CNN put Joe Wilson on immediately after Bush's speech is obvious. CNN expected him to be critical but he declined.

But later criticisms came:

  • He didn't give up the locations of the WMD.
  • He didn't give up the details of the secret bank accounts.
  • He didn't immediately order all the terrorists to stand down.

Time will tell.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:10 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A Tyrant Captured
Saddam Hussein was fortunate to be captured by the United States Army and not local Iraqi people.

He was spared a "Mussolini Moment". For people who don't know what's that is, I was able to find this picture on the net earlier.

Hanging Corpses of Mussolini and His Mistress

The bodies of Benito Mussolini, the former Duce, and his mistress Claretta Petacci hang unceremoniously upside-down in Milan's Piazza Loreto on April 28, 1945. The two, disguised as German soldiers, were caught trying to cross the border between Italy and Germany and were summarily shot.

© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS Date Photographed: [1945] Location Information: Piazza Loreto, Milan, Italy

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com