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Saturday, January 17, 2004
New York Post photo (no web link available) black outfit with the round white collar.

Not just for priests anymore (or is it)?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, January 16, 2004
NewsMax: Bush Installs Pickering on Appeals Court
WASHINGTON -- President Bush bypassed Congress and installed Charles Pickering on the federal appeals court Friday, opening an election-year fight with Democrats who had stalled the nomination for more than two years.

Bush installed Pickering by a recess appointment, which avoids the confirmation process. Such appointments are valid until the next Congress takes office, in this case in January 2005.

This hapenned earlier and hasn't appeared in the ABC Radio news roll. I thought this would be a big news item. And yes, this is a good thing for Catholics and conservatives.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NRO Corner: Tim Graham gets it
Ramesh, I would first suggest that the social-conservative critiques of NR should also be seen as lobbying. Writers don't just mean to protest emptily, but to provoke you into more socially conservative articles, to provoke you into more engagement with the social issues. NR occupies a special place in the conservative pantheon, and they want its name and strength in the thick of the battle. They fear it becoming part of the sentence "Even National Review thinks...(surrender now to the historical inevitability of so-called gay marriage or whatever)." We've seen that NR can be used to define what conservatism is, so you can see why conservatives would want to shape that definition, and to expect you to match a 100-percent-ACU-rating type of firm line

I'll add even among the libs, the NR or NRO appearance carries an Imprimatur.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Mark Shea vs. National Review

Gee, this is like watching your two older brothers getting into a fight between themselves. The only thing you are praying for is for it to be over soon with no one hurt in the process. I'm not a neutral here.

On the other hand, what is being fought over is signficant.

As a public service let me go over the story of the National Review outcasts: Joe Sobran, Patrick Buchanan, and Ann Coulter.

It's really about how big the tent called "mainstream conservatism" is. The proxy for that is whether you can get into the National Review. NR didn't declare this, and some people disagree with this label but I think there's a consensus that NR has a profound impact on communicating conservative thought not approached by any other periodical.

I have general observations to make:

  1. NR claims their exclusion was more a matter of how they expressed an idea (ie offensively) than the substance of the idea.
  2. The subjects Sobran and Buchanan chose (Israel's influence in American policies) and Coulter chose (tolerating Jihadism) are third-rail issues. Basically you touch them and you get burned.
  3. I think it's also a matter of personalities and Sobran, Buchannan, and Coulter were just irritating the editors at the time.

My characterization of Mark Shea's point is that natural law's big three:

  • the unborn child is a human being made in the image of God and his or her right to life comes from God.
  • that marriage is the union of one man and one woman
  • that the right to life extends to natural death and there is no "right to die".
these and others ought to be part of that third rail.

Joseph Sobran, NR 1972-1993

In February 1985, Michael Deaver (Reagan White House Deputy Chief of Staff) made the planning trip for the 40th anniversary of V-E day (May 8, 1945) -- President Reagan would lay a wreath at a German military cemetary called Bitburg . Being February, snow covered the headstones. The lightning bolts of the Waffen SS were on 45 of thousands there.

Reporters sought out this cemetary in April when the itinerary was announced and, by then snow had melted. Pressure to change the venue erupted -- but it seemed that every cemetary that contained German soliders would also contain SS graves.

Sobran defended Reagan's decision to go forward and attacked the critics such as Elie Wiesel for accusing Reagan of giving honor to these dead soldiers who were unworthy of honor.

Unable to continue to attack Reagan because of his popularity, they switched the attack on revisionism to Sobran who began to present some facts and opinions developed by revisionists in his columns. (i.e. exaggeration of the holocaust)

This drew out pro-Reagan FOB's (friends of Bill Buckley), one of them, Midge Dicter, called Sobran a "crude and naked anti-Semite". Sobran also discussed the influence of Jews in forming American policies towards Israel and the pressure on NR was simply too much to bear. Buckley sealed the deal by labeling Sobran an anti-semite.

Patrick Buchanan

This 1996 Nizor item captures all the quotes and many wisecracks that Buchanan made regarding Israel's influence in the United States. Buchanan was in the White House and was a strong supporter of staying the course on Bitburg.

But I think it was his defense of John Demjanjuk that drove people crazy.

Add to that his presidential campaigns ("Go, Pat, Go") 1992 (against Bush-41), 1996 (against Dole), 2000 (against Bush-43 in the Reform Party) and you have a very much disliked person.

It wasn't as if Buchanan was fired from NR, it was the public label of anti-semite that was at issue.

Ann Coulter NR 2001

Jonah Goldberg called it badly needed editing.

She wouldn't tone down an article which ... well let me reproduce the final 3 paragraphs here:

The airport kabuki theater of magnetometers, asinine questions about whether passengers "packed their own bags," and the hostile, lumpen mesomorphs ripping open our luggage somehow allowed over a dozen armed hijackers to board four American planes almost simultaneously on Bloody Tuesday. (Did those fabulous security procedures stop a single hijacker anyplace in America that day?)

Airports scrupulously apply the same laughably ineffective airport harassment to Suzy Chapstick as to Muslim hijackers. It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now.

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

This isn't my secret stash -- this is from Town Hall and dated 9/14/2001.

I didn't get it then and I don't get it now: Coulter's piece was from the heart and, of course, we did go to war over it.

As for Coulter lacking writing skills -- Slander and Treason are bestsellers, outselling Legacy.

But Isn't This About Mark Shea? The bottom line is I think Deroy Murdock's column didn't belong in NRO

It would be far easier to take these claims seriously if gay-marriage critics spent as much energy denouncing irresponsible heterosexuals whose behavior undermines traditional marriage. Among prominent Americans, such misdeeds are increasingly ubiquitous

I have read dozens of similar stupid arguments all over the liberal media. It's the rhetorical exaggeration of making the imperfect the enemy of the perfect. Ramesh Ponnuru apologizes for its appearance. We've seen this before.

It's also false: irresponsible heterosexuals are not challenging the definition of marriage and laying down a foundation for attacking the Catholic Church for its moral teaching.

Just maybe NR will begin to think of challenges to natural law as unfit to print. Let Playboy print them.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, January 15, 2004
New York Times; World Briefing: Americas
BRAZIL: PILOT FINED IN FINGERPRINT DISPUTE An American Airlines pilot who was jailed in São Paulo on Wednesday after he protested the fingerprinting and photographing of incoming Americans by making what the police described as an obscene gesture, paid a fine of $12,750 and was released. A prosecutor said the pilot, Dale Hersh, "is now free to go wherever he wants, but I would imagine he would want to return to the United States." His crew members on the flight from Miami returned Wednesday. A police spokesman said that through Wednesday, 6,500 Americans had been fingerprinted. (AP)

I wonder what the tit for tat will be for Varig's pilots (the national airline of Brazil) as they enter the United States.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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National Review: The Mayflower Gasbag Disaster of 2004
Senator Edward Kennedy narrowly escaped a lightning bolt Wednesday when he gave a speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Okay, I don't know that he dodged a lightning bolt. Maybe God couldn't get a good one through the ceiling of the Mayflower without hurting innocent people. Or maybe Kennedy makes the interns stand on the roof with lightning rods so he can speak freely. All I know is that if I'd been in the room when Ted Kennedy had the untrammeled chutzpah to give that speech Wednesday, I would have leapt for cover for fear that the Almighty had finally decided to 86 that guy.

Goldberg has put together a very funny piece on the fool that Kennedy is.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A way in which politics looks like sports playoffs in their dishonest timing

Although it didn't originate in 1992, I can recall the well-timed indictment of Reagan-era Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger -- 4 days before the Bush-41/Clinton election. The document dump that accompanied the indictment was raw meat for the ravenous anti-Bush/pro-Clinton media -- the Bush campaign was shut out by the coverage of speculation over the "new news" from Iran-Contra, events which were even then 10 or 12 years in the past. This was the true "October Surprise", October 30th to be exact.

The media held onto allegations damaging to Arnold Schwartzenegger for six weeks and timed it so as to prevent a complete response from the Schwartzenegger campaign. The scheme of the Los Angeles Times may have backfired because of the weakness of these allegations, some of which were decades old.

In sports, especially hockey, so many teams enter the playoffs that the regular season seems almost irrelevant.

So many stories are being released now -- it has to have been strategically timed: First to make sure it is retained in the minds of IA and NH voters and secondly to play the clock to limit the time for the targeted candidates to respond.

You can almost ignore the press coverage until 5 days before a caucus, election, or primary because the media is retaining the good stuff until the magic moment.

The evil genius of Dick Morris.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:21 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: Mepham Update; Sentences are handed down
Each kid received his own sentence, like a gift package wrapped especially for him: One will go to boot camp for a minimum of 4 months. One will go to a detention center for the same time. One gets probation.

After six months of closed hearings, yesterday's sentencing in a Pennsylvania juvenile court offered the first, if indirect, public differentiation of the three nameless Mepham High School athletes who sexually abused three others in August at a football training camp.

One, it seems, did worse things than the next one, who did worse than the third. If it were up to the juvenile court, that is all we would know today.

From sealed documents that have emerged over the last five months, however, we also know that for these three boys yesterday's sentences were true gifts.

What they did at Camp Wayne in Preston Park, Pa., from Aug. 22 to 27 was straight from the textbook of "Lord of the Flies."

What they faced, had they been tried as adults, was years in prison for multiple felony crimes.

I would have preferred 5 to 10 years but that possibility was eliminated before any evidence was presented to the judge by his declaration that the defendants would be not be tried as adults.

I don't think sentences this light are going to deter future violent hazers.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Associated Press: Kiddie Porn Ring Busted In New Jersey
NEWARK (AP) Federal officials on Thursday announced they had cracked an international child pornography ring with arrests in Belarus, France and Spain, as well as New Jersey.

The cases stem from an Internet processor of Web site subscriptions in Minsk, Belarus, which collected fees for memberships to child pornography Web sites that brought in millions of dollars, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

An executive with a Florida company has pleaded guilty in the case.

If only the people of Belarus, France, Spain, and New Jersey were allowed to marry, tragedies such as this would not happen. One of those arrested was a minister according to the article. No word yet on whether his or her denominated requires celibacy.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Just out of curiousity I was listening to NPR and heard the argument that Exodus 21:22 is the slam-dunk argument that the unborn child lacks personhood according to the Torah.

Daniel McGuire is an ex-Catholic priest and now professor of ethics who argues that Judaism and Christianity really do not consider abortion as sinful.

I'm not leaving the item without a good rebuttal: a web site I just discovered Stand To Reason has a concise one.

As far as I can tell, Brian Lehrer had no one on before or after McGuire to present the pro-life position.

The next segment was "balanced" with two anti-Bush talking heads. One talking about corruption in Mexico and one talking about corruption in the United States (you know -- the stuff that started from nothing in January 2001 in Washington)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:43 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Some problems with the RSS feed have been fixed

My Blogmatrix RSS feed is once again being scraped.

With a little HTML editing your blog can be picked up by RSS readers.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Turn the Other Cheek Dept.

deepika global: Roman Catholic church attacked in Sri Lanka

Colombo Jan 15 (DPA) A Roman Catholic church was attacked by an unidentified gang on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital, raising already tense inter-religious relations over alleged unethical religious conversions, police said today.

An unidentified gang broke into the church situated at Katuwana, 30 kilometres southeast of the capital, destroyed statues and set fire to part of the building early today.

Police said there were no injuries during the attack as there were no priests inside the church.

Earlier, Buddhist monks had called on the church, claiming the Catholic's were involved in converting Buddhists to their religion.

Wouldn't a better response be to attempt to convert Catholics to Buddhism?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Brave New World

Cell phones are going to get small enough to be the size of a earphone with the dialer being worn as a wristwatch. GPS will be part of all phones as well.

RFID or tags which uniquely identify purchases will be so common, everyone will not pay attention.

Current ideas of privacy will seem quaint as tracking technology improves.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:51 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Orlando Sentinel: Author-priest hit by car still critical
A nationally known Roman Catholic author and TV personality remained in critical condition Tuesday after being struck by a car while crossing Semoran Boulevard on Sunday night.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan priest and psychologist based in New York, was hit while crossing State Road 436 at Hazeltine National Drive, north of Orlando International Airport, according to a police report released Tuesday.

Groeschel was returning to his hotel about 9:45 p.m. after picking up takeout at Chili's restaurant. The Associated Press said he apparently stepped out from in front of a bus and wasn't seen by the driver of the approaching car. There is no traffic light at the intersection, and the driver of the car that struck the priest has not been charged, said Detective Norris Butler of the Orlando Police Department.

Groeschel, 70, was in Central Florida to speak at San Pedro Retreat Center near Winter Park. He lapsed in and out of consciousness just after being hit, Butler said, and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

More details in the linked story.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004
WINS: Woman Accused of Killing Her Newborn
A Long Island woman was facing arraignment on second-degree murder charges after giving birth to a full-term baby boy and then allegedly stashing the infant in a bucket under her sink for at least a day, police said Wednesday.

Ana Rodriguez, 34, a grocery store clerk, was taken to Southside Hospital last Saturday at about 6 a.m., suffering from bleeding and in severe pain, said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk County Police homicide squad.

An examination revealed that the woman had recently given birth and medical personnel at the hospital contacted police, who began a search of the woman's home.

The infant was found in a bucket under a sink and an autopsy determined it had been there "a little more than a day, perhaps two days," Fitzpatrick said.

Rodriguez has three other children -- all younger than 14 -- and shares the house with a common-law husband, the detective said. She was arrested Wednesday after being released from the hospital.

"This is certainly a sad case in that she had other options," Fitzpatrick said. "She could have dropped the baby off at a hospital or done something. This is really senseless."

It's the abortion mentality that sadly allows these women to believe that they have the power of life and death over these innocent children.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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UK Guardian: Cardinal backs use of condoms
A Belgian cardinal who is among the leading candidates to succeed Pope John Paul yesterday broke the Roman Catholic church's taboo on the use of condoms, declaring that, in certain circumstances, they should be used to prevent the spread of Aids.

Godfried Danneels, one of the few moderate cardinals in the church after more than a quarter of a century of conservative rule by the current pontiff, was careful to say he preferred abstinence as a means of prevention.

But he added that if someone who was HIV-positive did have sex, failing to use a condom would be sinful - a contravention of the sixth commandment: thou shalt not kill.

Why not say--as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved. (Romans 3.8)

So the Guardian labels the advocacy of the use of condoms as "moderate". Acting in accord with the constant teaching of the Church is "conservative".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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CNN: New study shatters Internet 'geek' image
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- The typical Internet user -- far from being a geek -- shuns television and actively socializes with friends, a study on surfing habits said on Wednesday.

Not much of a surprise to me. The person who is watching television hour after hour is passive. They are "watchers".

Internet people are called "users". That's a difference.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:27 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wall Street Journal: You Don't Have to Be Jewish To Want a Bar Mitzvah Party
After going to a dozen bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs last year, Laura Jean Stargardt told her parents she wanted one of her own. She said she found the singing inspiring and offered to learn Hebrew. She also said she wanted a big party.

Her parents thought the request was unusual since the family is Methodist. But they co-hosted a lavish party for her and two of her friends last month that looked like a bat mitzvah, without the religion. They booked a country club in Dallas and a disk jockey, invited 125 friends, and hired a professional dancer that Laura had seen at her friends' bar mitzvah parties...

In Malibu, Calif., Danielle Davis, who is Catholic, asked her parents for a bat mitzvah after attending several of her friends'. They explained to her the true meaning of the ceremony as a Jewish coming-of-age rite. "She said, 'Some of those things apply to me. I'm growing up and becoming a teenager. I should have a party to celebrate,' " recalls her mother, Rebecca Walls.

Part of me says "huh?" -- Most parishes around me confirm young people at age 12 or 13, and the parents have parties. To the extent that the party overwhelms the sacred aspect of the sacrament, it's a scandal. Is it possible that these kids who are Catholics are not getting any religious education or that the parents no longer care to have the kids confirmed?

But why specifically a party in the style of a bar/bat mitzvah?

I would have expected a middle of the WSJ front page article on the Quinceanera becoming common in the United States for non-Mexican girls when they turn 15 (if you don't know, a quinceanera is a fancy-dress formal birthday party.) One web site said that there was a ritual blessing given by a priest for a quinceanera in church. I don't know if that's a informal unofficial local practice or something that's part of the Book of Blessings. I guess that's homework for me.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Weekly Standard: Beyond Terri's Law
What we can learn from the Schiavo case. by Wesley J. Smith

IT IS THE CALM before the storm in the Terri Schiavo case. The Florida woman, who was in the throes of a court-ordered death by dehydration last October when Florida's legislature and Governor Jeb Bush intervened, continues to receive tube-supplied food and water. But this good news may not last. In December, as her family and many supporters celebrated her 40th birthday, their joy was tempered by the knowledge that powerful cultural forces are adamant that Terri Schiavo not live to see age 41.

  • The Myth of 19 judges
  • Missing Guardians ad litem
  • The Lack of a Presumption for Life.

Required reading for those of us following this tragic story. There's so much I'd like to quote here from the article, I'd post all three pages.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:10 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Washington Times: Diocese's antiabuse program rejected
The Arlington Catholic diocese's efforts to prevent sexual abuse of children in Catholic schools and religious programs backfired Monday night when angry parents filled a Manassas church to demand that a proposed "Good Touch, Bad Touch" program be canceled.

"At one point, the crowd began chanting the rosary to drown out Catherine Nolan" -- it's a prayer *and* a civil disobedience demonstration.

I must have missed the part where you are told the threat to children originates in their innocence and is countered by taking their innocence away.

via Catholic World News (paid sub. reqd., but it is worth it)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:58 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic Citizens of Illinois: Open Letter to 23 Chicago Priests
n a time of crisis in the Catholic Church it is truly counter-productive to heap scorn on the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and even the Pope himself, as he reiterates that age-old teaching. For Catholic priests to be the heapers is a grave scandal.

Let?s be frank. If the Church?s moral teaching on homosexuality had been fostered, embraced and followed by the criminal priests who preyed on Catholic children, and if those priests had accepted the need to struggle heroically to preserve chastity, 90% of those crimes never would have occurred. Moreover, if the Church?s teaching on chastity in general were fostered, actively preached, and practiced, none of the crimes would have occurred at all.

A lay response to the letter from priests dissenting from Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Crisis Magazine: An Inside Look at Voice of the Faithful By Danny DeBruin
As I pulled into the high school parking lot of the affluent Long Island suburb of Manhasset one July evening, I passed a BMW with a Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) window decal. Clearly, this was the place. I entered the building, passing a number of elderly people standing behind tables covered with pamphlets. A very pleasant grandmother handed me four or five leaflets, including a printout of the Nicene Creed, a flier for the group’s September “Faith Convention,” and some other VOTF reading material.

An excellent article from someone on the inside of VOTF.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, January 12, 2004
EWTN: Fr. Groeschel Injured

Fr. Groeschel was hit by a car at Orlando Airport and was taken to a hospital.

I'll try to add more details here. There was nothing on the AP wire or in news.google.com.

UPDATE: Official news will be reported on the CFR Web Site

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:14 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My point

I know that this blog has from the start hasn't been 100% serious. I was a blog reader for over a year before I became a blog author, and liked to read the blogs that were a little unpredicatbale. So I'm trying to follow a Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge model mixing it up a bit, just hoping that you know when I'm serious and when I'm just trying to entertain. Most of my items are in the category of "Hey! I found this interesting -- maybe you will too."

The comments on pregnant celebrities straddle a line between celebrity gossip and significant cultural indicator. It's a positive thing to note that women in their 20's, 30's, and 40's are making the choice to become mothers. I think every picture of a woman who is pregnant is sending a message that the unborn child is being valued. That's a very good thing.

A reader here dismissed this as a fashion accessory and I think this is a trend that goes way back at least to John Crawford, Bing Crosby, "Sonny and Cher", so I pray that these kids are not screwed up and that the celebrity mother grows to love their children.

For balance, let me note that Curtis Sliwa of WABC Radio who turns 50 in April became a father for the first time, a son, Anthony Chester, who was born to Mary, his third wife. Curtis and I went to high school together. I first became a father at 28.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:32 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Globe and Mail: Montreal seminary to test priest applicants for HIV starting this fall
Montreal — The Grand Seminary of Montreal will require HIV tests for applicants starting this fall.

If the virus was contracted through a gay relationship, the seminary "will try to see what the person's calling really is," Rev. Marcel Demers, the seminary's rector, said.

Demers said homosexuals aren't automatically refused admittance to the institution.

However, he acknowledged their chances of being accepted are slim.

A major reason for the test is because the church believes homosexuals find it more difficult to remain chaste than heterosexual men.

Thanks to a reader for giving me the link to this item.

Doesn't it appear to be Rev. Demers saying "well, I'm not homophobic, but the archbishop who is, is making me do this."

On the other hand, the Dominican order in the United States accepted a homosexual activist, Patrick Baikauskas, who is at best ambiguous regarding the repudiation of his sinful past according to published press accounts. Diocese Report has some more details.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:59 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, January 11, 2004

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I was writing earlier in the week about celebrities declaring their pregnancies. (The family values thing) and Gawker gives the same story their own treatment:

Gawker; Blind Item: I'll Take Pregnant Blondes for $1000, Alex

Which famously dim-witted blonde singer and star of her own reality TV show said on January 7th that "I don't think I am going to get pregnant. I am trying not to," but quite possibly may know that she's already pregnant?

I know, blind items are hard. I get stumped too! Here's a hint: Her new husband's name starts with "N" and ends in "-ick."

Please reply here if you know the answer. There is no prize.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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On the other hand...

I'm really happy not to be part of this story...

UK Guardian : Racist war of the loyalist street gangs

Orchestrated attacks on minorities raise fears of ethnic cleansing

Not far from the red, white and blue paving stones, the Ku Klux Klan graffiti and the "Chinks out" notices scratched outside south Belfast Chinese takeaways, Hua Long Lin was at home watching television when a man burst in and smashed a brick into his face. His wife, also in the room, was eight months pregnant. The couple had moved into the terrace two weeks before.

...happy my Irish parents legally immigrated to the United States in the 1940's.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The intersections of big stories
  • Immigration is a big story -- President Bush has proposed amnesty lite President Bush will be visiting vicinity Fox.
  • The sexual abuse crisis is still a big story in the Catholic Church with new reports being issued this month.
By misspelling the word "examination" as "exmaination" -- google took led me stories of the Legion of Christ and its critics. The LC's founder was Marcial Maciel who was accused of drug abuse (shades of Rush Limbaugh) in the 1950's and then sexual abuse (shades of Michael Jackson) which took place in the 1950's but the accusations were made in the 1990's. There were also accusations that the medieval practice of self-mortification, flagellation, continues to this day.

The denials of the LC's in their web site were credible to me so I'm not going to link to the accusers.

This item makes the connection between the Legion of Christ and President of Mexico Vincente Fox:

Newsweek International: Rise of the Catholic Right

None of this has dimmed the legion's influence. If anything, it looks set to grow under the country's center-right president, Vicente Fox. The former Coca-Cola executive's triumph in the 2000 election toppled the Institutional Revolutionary Party-and seemed to threaten many of the overtly anticlerical laws and policies adopted by the party during its 71-year reign. In Fox, the country's first openly devout Catholic president in nearly 100 years, many conservative Mexicans see their best hope yet for restoring the church to its rightful place of social authority.

Maybe this is the start of a new conspiracy to put the United States under the control of the Pope in Rome: today, Mexico City, tomorrow Washington DC.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Morality of Contrition

The admission of an act is only the start of reconciliation. In the items I have blogged some of the other elements are missing. I'm making a very rough parallel between a public figure seeking some sort of reconciliation or restoration of his or her reputation or office and our Catholic sacrament of Reconciliation.

Contrition starts with in interior recognition. This is the examination of conscience.

Next comes what might be called a self-convinction or a conversion. Honestly recognizing the evil dones.

It's more than the generic "I have sinned." but to admit -- technically to recite our sins according to kind and number.

The penitent also expresses sorrow and regret for the offense of the sin to God and to the person who has been sinned aganist. In words, this is done in the "Act of Contrition". In public this would be three declarations:

  • I did it.
  • It was wrong.
  • I'm sorry I did it.

"Satisfaction" is a term that refers to the attempt to repair the harm done by the sin. In my cases, such as restoring the good name of one who has been libeled, or murder , this is impossible.

Penance was once the name for the whole sacrament. I can't improve upon the Catechism in par. 1460 where it provides this definition:

The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent's personal situation and must seek his spiritual good. It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed. It can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear. Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, "provided we suffer with him.

That concludes the acts of the penitent, the Confessor then absolves -- forgives in the name of Jesus Christ. Typically the final words are "The Lord has freed you from sin. May he bring you safely to his kingdom in heaven. Glory to him forever."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:35 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Post: They Lied and Wiped Up Blood
Firefighters rushed to cover up evidence in the brutal New Year's Eve firehouse attack on Staten Island that left one smoke-eater critically injured, sources told The Post yesterday.

"They wiped up the blood and they tampered with the [firehouse] log," said a law-enforcement source.

They also lied to cops and doctors about what happened and possibly removed holiday booze from the station, the sources said.

Details of the alleged cover-up came as firefighter Michael Silvestri, 41, was arraigned on charges he whacked colleague Bob Walsh, 40, with a metal-and-blue-plastic cafeteria chair in the kitchen of Engine Co. 151 on Amboy Road in Tottenville.

Walsh, whose face was horribly disfigured and who may lose an eye, last night remained in critical but stable condition and in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling on his brain.

The violence erupted at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday as five firefighters, including Silvestri, Walsh and Capt. Terrence Sweeney, sat around a table talking and joking in a kitchen area.

At some point, Walsh made a joking remark that infuriated Silvestri, who picked up the chair and raised it as if to hit the other firefighter.

Other firefighters didn't react because they thought Silvestri was joking.

But in a terrifying instant, Silvestri savagely struck the 6-foot-8 Walsh in the face with the chair, sending him to the floor in a pool of blood.

Critically injured, Walsh was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital by two fellow firefighters, who told doctors the victim was injured falling down stairs.

But the severity of Walsh's injuries - including a broken nose, cheekbones and jaw - and their flip-flopping about how those injuries occurred made doctors suspicious, and they called FDNY officials.

"First, he fell down the stairs, then he bumped himself, then he was hit by accident with a chair," the doctors were quoted as saying about the constantly changing story.

Cops believe several firefighters - supervised by Sweeney - immediately began "cleaning up" the crime scene.

"Log books were [falsified], and the whole crime scene was cleaned up," said a police official.

A top-ranking FDNY official acknowledged that an entry was made in the log book indicating that Walsh had been hurt by falling down the stairs.

While no alcohol was found at the scene, a senior police official said the firefighters were likely celebrating the New Year when simple horseplay between Walsh and Silvestri turned violent.

Police were not notified until a fire marshal walked into the 123rd Precinct station house at about 2:30 a.m. and reported that an incident had occurred at Engine Co. 151.

Silvestri's fiancée, Heather Rasmussen, said the suspect is "beside himself."

"He's very concerned about [Walsh's] condition," Rasmussen told The Post from the front door of the couple's Staten Island home.

FDNY Captain Terrence Sweeney (no relation) lied. He'll pay a price for it: losing his job and pension, maybe even criminal charges.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:31 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Boston Globe: Rash of confessions reveals truth about lying
Fessing up to falsehoods was all the rage this week, with enough mea culpas coughed up to inspire a book titled (with apologies to Al Franken) "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Recant Them."

Pete Rose, in an admission that caused few jaws to drop and seemed driven primarily by Rose's bid for baseball's Hall of Fame, acknowledged he'd been lying when he claimed for 14 years that he never gambled on the game. Connecticut Governor John Rowland admitted he had lied when he denied receiving thousands of dollars in freebies from people doing business with the state. A Cleveland woman conceded she had not, as she had previously reported to the police, lost a lottery ticket worth $162 million.

And I swear I didn't plagarize Don Aucoin's article in my blogging these liars.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:22 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Washington Times: Low-fat doughnuts are an oxymoron
CHICAGO, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A Chicago health-food executive began serving a 15-month prison sentence for repackaging 25-cent bakery doughnuts and reselling them for $1 each as low-fat.

Robert Ligon, 68, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in September admitting he mislabeled doughnuts and cinnamon rolls. The Food and Drug Administration began investigating in 1997 when he sold a "carob coated" doughnut with a label claiming three grams of fat and 135 calories per serving.

The confection was a full-fat chocolate glazed doughnut bought from Cloverhill Bakery that had 18 grams of fat and 530 calories.

A lie for which the man is going to jail.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Hatford-Courant: More Calls [for Governor John Rowland] To Resign
The bad news got even worse for Gov. John G. Rowland Friday. One day after Democratic legislators made a historic call to investigate the governor for ethical violations, Republicans in the House of Representatives called for a similar special committee with subpoena powers to probe wrongdoing and, if necessary, call for impeachment.
Here is the text of his statement from Wednesday Jan. 7.

You be the judge if it is a confession or an apology.

The problem for me is that the facts which he previously denied point both to a crime and to serious ethical lapses that merit impeachment and removal from office.

Prior to this admission, he not only denied these allegations, but attacked the character of the people making the allegations and those raising questions about an investigation of it. His wife Patrica Rowland went so far as a read a parody poem based on the Night Before Christmas. The video is viewable, at least for now.

Rowland says, in effect, "I've apologized, so get off my back. There are no other consequences, the matter is now closed." I don't think he should be the judge if that closes the matter. He, too, is a liar.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:12 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com