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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, January 24, 2004
France: The World's Canary?

I like the concept of the world having a canary and I give Amber Pawlik full credit for suggesting the idea.

On the matter of France and headscarves, I'm on the side of religious freedom.

I think to the Church's shame they accepted restrictions on religious freedom in France as a means to buy peace at the start of the 20th century. The French model started as anticlericalism -- to limit the power of bishops and priests in ordinary life -- and became anti-Catholicism and then strangely enough anti-French.

So let there be headscarves, and let there be real religious liberty in France.

It also obvious, if you want to Islamicize something part of the industrialized West, start with France.

Part of the argument for the headscarf is hypocritical. To make their case appeal to ACLU-types, the headscarf is presented as the choice of an individual, against the prevailing culture which would ban the headscarf.

Sound appealing, eh? Just try to find such individual choice expressed by women in Mecca or Medina who would choose not to wear a headscarf.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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People who are piling on now that Mel Gibson, Peggy Noonan, etc. have been thrown to the wolves

Sisyphus Shrugged

Riba Rambles complains that Alan Nierob hasn't made his emails public

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Call it Chutzpah/Quote/Gate

What would you do if you woke up and read in the New York Times that you were being called a liar -- and the people making the accusation are the Pope's spokesman and the Pope's personal secretary, an Archbishop?

You'd think you were in a Twilight Zone, or at least a rejected plot from a Dan Brown novel.

As the story circulates you get told a number of extraordinary things:

  • You're a mere journalist, and your reputation doesn't matter.
  • Just forgive your accusers at the Vatican, and let the lies pass you by.
  • The papal spokesman and secretary have more important things to do than to be concerned about the reputation of the filmmakers and journalists.
  • You should take a bullet for the Pope -- the quote creates a problem for him as The Passion of The Christ is being labeled an anti-Semitic film. It would be far better for all to pretend that the quote was never said, much less confirmed.
  • Why bother? You weren't trusted before when you reported on the Church and fewer people will believe your defense now.
  • The truth is secondary to the esteem in which Jews hold the Pope.
  • (The most cynical) You fool -- you trusted the Vatican -- that's where you screwed up.


The UK Guardian calls it a mystery.

Publicly Dr Navarro-Valls is sticking to the official line, that the message was "not authentic". But investigation showed that the email address was his, and that it had been sent from a Vatican server.

Dr Navarro-Valls's first public statement on Thursday confirmed that the Pope had seen the film, and described it as "a cinematographic transposition of the historical event of the passion of Jesus Christ according to the accounts of the Gospel", which is more or less what the Pope is supposed to have said.

But he added: "It is a common practice of the Holy Father not to express public opinions on artistic works," leaving open the possibility that the Pope had acted unusually. He neither confirmed nor denied the papal remark.

It is rather late for ambiguity, given that the Vatican source to the Catholic News Service had unambiguously denied the quote which led to the Chutzpah accusation last week made by Frank Rich.

Washington Post: Jewish Groups Protest Film

On Tuesday, Pope John Paul II's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, denied that the pope endorsed the film, which portrays the last 12 hours of Jesus's life.
Make that read the Pope's secretary unambiguously denied the quote.

What's next are they going to deny the denial?

This summary is from The Sacramento Bee

Although "The Passion of the Christ" doesn't open until Feb. 25 - Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent - it already has been the subject of numerous editorials, claims and counter-claims. Perhaps the most unusual development occurred last week when a high-ranking Vatican official denied the producer's statement that the pope had given his endorsement to the film.

"The Holy Father told no one of his opinion of this film," said Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, Pope John Paul II's longtime personal secretary, in an interview with the Catholic News Service. "He does not make judgments on art of this kind; he leaves that to others, to experts."

For weeks, the movie's producers had been promoting a comment the pope reportedly had made after viewing the film: "It is as it was." They even ran stories about the endorsement on the movie's official Web site (www.passionofthechrist.com). As if things couldn't get more bizarre, the producer's reaction to the Vatican denial was to deny it. A Gibson representative said the pope did approve of the film.

"That is not true," Dziwisz said to Catholic News Service. "I said clearly to (producer Steve) McEveety and (assistant director Jan) Michelini that the Holy Father made no declaration."

I recommend bringing a tape recorder to any meeting you have with Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

In Newsmax Deal Hudson asks two important questions:

"There are two questions that should be raised. First, what pressure was brought to bear and by who to bring about this reversal?" he said.

The second, he said, deals with why the Vatican ever gave its permission in the first place. Hudson said that "this is why heads of state don't do book and film recommendations, because this is exactly the kind of tar baby that can be created. They probably never should have given any blurb to this film in the first place, but once permission was given they should have stuck by it."

I'll add another question:

Why would anyone think they could get away denying they sent email?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, January 23, 2004
The mystery woman wearing a cross is Patricia Heaton as most of you guessed. As one of you pointed out to me, she's Christian but not Catholic. I got it wrong from reading in her bio that she was raised in a Catholic family (alas, so was Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna).

I'll continue to look for images of people who make their Christianity known in a public way.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NCR; John Allen: Update on 'Passion'
The developments this week began with a scoop on the part of Cindy Wooden, a veteran Vatican writer for the Catholic News Service. On Jan. 19, she filed a story based on exclusive comments from Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope’s private secretary, denying that the pope had made the lapidary comment ascribed to him by Vatican sources in NCR and elsewhere: “It is as it was.”
Allen's anonymous source is sticking to his story. Allen doesn't like being called a liar or naive.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Los Angeles Times: Fallout over ‘Passion’ deepens
After screenings, Jewish groups cite fears that Gibson’s film could stoke anti-Semitism.

By Lorenza Muñoz and Larry B. Stammer Times Staff Writers

The controversy over Mel Gibson’s upcoming film “The Passion of the Christ” deepened Thursday as two Jewish organizations announced that members had gained admittance to early screenings of the movie and found it painful, offensive and capable of stoking anti-Semitism.

On Thursday, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he had sneaked into a screening Wednesday at the Beyond All Limits Conference, a pastors’ gathering in Orlando, Fla. Foxman said he regretted the “stealth” of the maneuver but said it was necessary because Gibson had refused his requests to see the film.

Foxman said he paid a $295 registration fee and did not sign a confidentiality statement, which was a condition for seeing the film during the conference. On the screening guest list, Foxman listed himself as a member of the “church of truth,” a spokesman for Gibson said.

Foxman said in a statement that his group was “saddened and pained to find that ‘The Passion of the Christ’ continues its unambiguous portrayal of Jews as being responsible for the death of Jesus.” The statement also said, “Will the film trigger pogroms against Jews? Our answer is probably not. Our concern is that ‘The Passion of the Christ’ could fuel latent anti- Semitism that exists in the hearts of those people who hold Jews responsible for the death of Jesus.”

In an interview about the film, Foxman added, “[Gibson is] hawking it on a commercial crusade to the churches of this country. That’s what makes it dangerous.”

Gibson’s spokesman, Alan Nierob, said the film’s makers stand by its depiction of the Passion as told in the Bible. Nierob, who is Jewish, says his client sees the film as a lesson in tolerance and love, not a film that will fuel anti-Semitic fervor.

“We respect the right to freedom of expression and expect the same in return,” said Nierob.

The Anti-Defamation League was not the only organization taking issue with the film after early screenings. “The film reasserts offensive stereotypes about Jews that Catholic and Protestant leaders have overwhelmingly rejected,” said David Elcott, the American Jewish Committee’s U.S. director of interreligious affairs, who viewed the film by invitation in Chicago.

The biggest concern is the inclusion of Matthew 27:25, which blames Jews for Jesus’ death and which was reinterpreted by Vatican II in 1965, according to the statement. The deicide charge was not present in an earlier version of the film, viewed by Rabbi James Rudin, AJC’s senior interreligious advisor. The organization urged Gibson to reconsider this addition before the movie is released on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25.

“The presentation of alleged culpability of Jews — and their ‘primary responsibility’ for the crucifixion of Jesus — has been the core problem of all Passion Plays since their inception during the Middle Ages,” said Rudin in a statement.

During the historic Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Vatican issued a landmark statement, which absolved Jews as a people for the death of Jesus.

More recently, the Vatican issued a new catechism stressing that Jews were not responsible for the crucifixion. Moreover, Pope John Paul II established diplomatic relations with Israel, and became the first modern pope to visit a synagogue.

The Jewish leaders’ statements on the film, to be released next month in at least 2,000 screens across the U.S. and Canada, come as the Vatican is scrambling to clarify whether Pope John Paul II endorsed the film, as reported by some news organizations in December.

Last month, the ailing pontiff was quoted as having said after a private screening of the film that “it is as it was.” Asked Dec. 19 whether the quote was reliable, Vatican press secretary Joaquín Navarro-Valls told The Times, “I think you can consider that quote as accurate.” This week, the pope’s personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, told the Catholic News Service that “the Holy Father told no one his opinion of the [Gibson] film.”

On Thursday, the Vatican, which has been in the midst of talks on anti-Semitism, issued a statement that the pope “does not make public judgments on artistic works.”

Since December, Gibson’s camp has been in contact with Vatican representatives who continue to confirm that what the pope said was accurate, according to a statement from Gibson’s production company, Icon Entertainment.

“We have had and continue to have friendly and open communication with the Vatican. Both Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and Joaquín Navarro-Valls have been very supportive of this project,” read the statement. “We received written permission to publicize the pope’s comment on the film, ‘It is as it was.’ Unless we receive an official indication to the contrary, we will continue to stand by the statement.”

Gibson, whose film reflects his “traditionalist” non-mainstream Catholic views, has invested $25 million of his own money in the film. He predicted on Wednesday before an audience of 4,500 evangelical Christians in Orlando that the controversy over the film would only grow once it is released. “I anticipate the worst is yet to come,” he told the audience. “I hope I’m wrong, I hope I’m wrong.”

Also on Thursday, PAX-TV announced it will broadcast a one-hour Icon special about “The Passion of the Christ” on Feb. 22.

In response to the ADL’s concerns, PAX-TV Chairman Bud Paxson said Thursday, “I don’t agree with them. This film has nothing to do with persecuting anybody. I saw it with a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest, we discussed it for an hour afterward, and we found nothing wrong with the film.”

Times staff writer Greg Braxton contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed.

I put in boldface, the fact that the LA Times confirmed the IIAIW quote.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, January 22, 2004
mystery-woman-with-cross Come back tomorrow, I'll reveal the identity of the mystery woman wearing this cross.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New York Daily News: Bite night on the 7 train
A crazed straphanger bit off the thumb of a 71-year-old Queens man and chewed his grandson's face during a wild attack in a packed rush-hour subway car, police said yesterday.

The nightmare on the Flushing-bound 7 train began at 5 p.m. Monday when a disheveled and drunken man jumped 18-year-old Jose Velez, ripped off his own shirt and screamed, "I'm bad. You're nothing. I'm a bada--."

This is my station and it happened about 500 feet from my house. Monday was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day and I didn't ride the subway so I had no idea this was going on.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Advocate: Belgian cardinal says most gays are perverts
A Belgian cardinal and close friend of the pope believes that only 5% to 10% of homosexuals are actually gay and the rest are "sexual perverts," according to a report by Agence France-Presse. "I am willing to write in my own blood that of those who call themselves gay or lesbian, at most 5% or 10% are actually gay or lesbian," Cardinal Gustaaf Joos told the Belgian weekly P-Magazine. "All the rest are sexual perverts," said the 80-year-old, who was made a cardinal by his lifelong friend Pope John Paul II in October. "Don't hesitate to write that down," he added. "They can come protesting at my door, I don't care. I won't open the door. True homosexuals don't run in the streets dressed in an extrovert way. True gays have a serious problem. We must help these people. They're either perverts, or they're sick".

The Advocate is the National Review of the politically active homosexual community. The emphasis was added by me.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Guest Blog from Rod Dreher

"Minor matters"?

Is it a minor matter if you and your work are under attack for being an anti-Semite, and the words of the Pope in defense of your work were given to you by the papal spokesman to use in your defense ... until they were disavowed by the Vatican, leaving you to look like the kind of creep who would make up words and attribute them to the Pope for your own benefit?

Is it a minor matter that the people the world trusts to tell us what the Pope did or did not say and think are so little concerned about telling the truth that they play this kind of game, at the expense of the reputation of others of good faith?

Here's the lesson of this: don't believe what the Vatican tells you, because if the going gets tough for them, they'll deny they ever said it, and leave you out there to be devoured by the wolves.


Let me make a request: before writing to me privately or blogging here with your denunciation of me, would you trouble yourself to understand the nature of the controversy? If I have to read one more e-mail with someone telling me that Mel Gibson and Peggy Noonan had no right to tell the world what John Paul whispered in their ears, I'll lose my mind. This controversy is chiefly about what a film producer and a journalist reported publicly about the Pope's words re: a film, based on what the papal spokesman told them was true and fair to say.

If you can't be troubled to deal with the actual issue here, instead of what you imagine the issue to be based on facts you've invented, then there's no basis for discussion.

This appeared in Open Book comment box.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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We can say this now with certainty: Dick Gephardt's presidential campaign was a "miserable failure"

But for a look at Google bombing and how grown-ups with time on their hands waste it, read New York Times: The Google Prank on "Miserable Failure" Exposed

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:10 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Los Angeles Times: Passions are swirling anew (free reg reqd.)
A good Hollywood publicity campaign does not stumble over technicalities — like the truth.

Still, it takes a particular sort of chutzpah to put a phony quote in the mouth of Pope John Paul II. But according to the pontiff's longtime secretary and confidant, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwicz, that is precisely what filmmaker Mel Gibson and his company have done as part of the run-up to next month's Ash Wednesday release of "The Passion of the Christ."

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Catholic Church now has its own version of the Robert Novak leak of Joe Wilson's wife working for the CIA

Peggy Noonan in Opinion Journal

'Passion' and Intrigue: The story of the Vatican and Mel Gibson's film gets curiouser.

On the matter of the pope, "The Passion" and the famous papal quote, you are perhaps perplexed. You are not alone. This is a story marked by, among other things, a certain amount of intrigue, and some of it is like something out of "The DaVinci Code." My Dec. 17 column reported that Pope John Paul II had seen Mel Gibson's movie on the crucifixion of Christ, "The Passion," and had offered a judgment on it: "It is as it was." The quote came from the film's producer, Steve McEveety, who told me that it was given to him by the pope's longtime private secretary, Archbishop Stanislau Dziwisz.

She doesn't quite say it (so I will say it) : "Someone's lying here." -- but it's implied.

E-mail can be faked. But if you have received both legitimate and faked mail from one source one can tell the difference between the two.

Peggy passed along here information over a month ago (globally in the WSJ, not a silly little blog like mine) -- so what happened between then and now for this denial to emerge?


Several Catholic journalists have been accused of lying. The accusers are Joaquin Navarro-Valls and Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

These accusations are being repeated by several others with an anti-Passion or anti-Catholic or simply an anti-Noonan, an anti-Allen or anti-Dreher agenda.

Then the fallback position was that these journalists were given faked email. The quote was reported over a month ago. The time to deny the quote was the day after it appeared in print globally -- December 18. No one has explained the delay in the denial.

Emails can be faked -- but given that the people involved received both genuine and allegedly faked emails -- evidence of their true origin is going to be there in the email headers.

If the accusation that Steve McEveety made it up and Peggy Noonan and all the others did not confirm the Pope's words with Dziwisz is not withdrawn then going forward, all these journalists will be painted with a Jayson Blair brush as Richard McBrien just did. That's a big deal. Someone is lying.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:44 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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National Catholic Reporter : The American Catholic church in Neverland

It's nice to check up on what the "Discard the Faith, Change the Church" have to spin on current events:

It's time to praise John Zogby of the Zogby Poll, who asked "Catholics" and got this answer:

Fifty-eight percent of American Catholics say the church must become "more democratic."

You can read the article but it's nothing new. It's all about money and power in the Church: less for the bishops and more for me.

I read these things to find out if they mention things that matter:

  • fidelity to Catholic teaching especially on matters of respect for life.
  • the encouragement of prayer, devotion, and holiness
  • and the inclusion rather than the exclusion of candidates for the priesthood who practice prayer, devotion, and holiness.
  • Over 90 percent of the abuse cases involve males over the age of 12 (ie the question of homosexual attraction rather than heterosexual attraction)

I can't let this bizarre comment pass

"If the church were a brand of cereal, we could find our grandchildren eating Unitarian Krispies as they get older."

Around here, the Unitarian outposts closed and became McDonalds or mosques.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
I'm not the only Catholic who admired the President's State of the Union Address

There's criticism in the blogs on the President's State of the Union.

However, some of us liked the speech:

The Catholic Telegraph (Cincinnatti) had this column sourced from CNS Catholic News Service:

Catholic reaction to President Bush’s Jan. 28 State of the Union address showed support for Bush’s requests to Congress to pass a faith-based funding initiative as well as bans on partial-birth abortion and cloning.

Catholic groups, though, stayed silent on the subject of the potential for war with Iraq, which dominated the latter part of Bush’s address.

One of the guests listening to the address from first lady Laura Bush’s box was Sister Maria Fest, a Sister of Divine Providence who founded and directs Catholic Nuns in Service, a family support services center in Pittsburgh. The program offers intervention and counseling to families suffering from domestic abuse, experiencing illness or participating in the welfare system.

The time will come for a message focused on Catholics:

  • He championed the partial birth abortion law.
  • He has nominated pro-life judges.
  • He made the recess appointment of Pickering.
  • He championed a ban on cloning.
  • He stands behind faith-based initiatives in social concerns.

My main complaint is that he added the "if necessary" to the discussion of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Dear President Bush, it is now necessary.

Cynically, I think he thinks FMA is like the Mars project -- he'll be out of office when it comes to being fulfilled.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Editor's Note

I have updated the blogroll on the left column taking care of the blogs that have moved or have been inactive for over a month.

I'll start picking up a few new blogs to maintain the length of the blogroll.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I've had it up to here with the seamless garment

The seamless garment is a condom created to provide political cover for pro-abortion Democrats to ignore the lives of the unborn in order to have them tax the middle and upper classes to fund their social cause du jour of the bishops when the Republicans wouldn't.

(my second attempt to express the idea) If the answer is "Seamless Garment", what was the question?

"How does a Catholic politician give himself political cover from the criticism that he or she has denied the Catholic faith by supporting abortion?"

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Making Dan Brown's Day

There is a Barnes & Noble at Rockefeller Center near St. Patrick's Cathedral and my office. It is the second largest BN in the city.

It now features in its major display as one enters all the Dan Brown books ever written. With a full shelf of the The Da Vinci Code you can't mistake the theme: There's books on Jesus, but their Jesus, not ours, like Elaine Pagels Secret Teachings of Jesus.

There's the Gospel of Mary Magdelene and the plenty of books on the Grail, the Templars, etc. One stop shopping for all you Gnostic needs.

I shall return with a camera and make of record of this.

As a footnote, in the basement, way... way in the back they do sell Bibles.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Georgetown is hacked -- and I discover it?

In attempting to get the date of death of Peter Hebblethwaite, I crossed over to Georgetown's web site and found this hacked page with the following Latin text:

Quam ex ipsa statim tituli fronte vestram esse considerans, tanto ardentius eam cepi legere quanto scriptorem ipsum karius amplector, ut cuius rem perdidi verbis saltem tanquam eius quadam imagine recreer.
It reads to me something like "Don't believe your own good press", but the phrase rem perdidi verbis saltem makes no sense in context (thing, destroyed, words, jump)

The unhacked version of the page is still in Google's cache if you want to read some 1960's revisionism.

The encyclical Pacem in Terris was most likely conceived during the late night hours of October 23-24, 1962. It was at the very still point, the eye of the hurricane, of the Cuban missile crisis. The world was on the brink of nuclear war, a war that Robert McNamara later said would have killed two-and-half million people in its opening salvo. It was during this night that Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, whom Catholics now call Blessed, passed back and forth between his desk and his private chapel. He was composing a message, according to his secretary, that would help to bring Kennedy and Khrushchev into agreement and prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction far beyond any that we confront today.


The page has been restored on Georgetown's site. That's OK because I downloaded the whole hacked page as evidence.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:14 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Let's have your people talk to my people

The pope's secretary has already appeared in extremeCatholic with this observation on the media:

Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz notes -- in his words -- "many journalists who in the past have written about the pope's health are already in heaven."

He may have been speaking of Peter Hebblethwaite who wrote The Next Pope and died in 1994.

It is no suprise to me that he denies that the Pope has said that the Holy Father approves of The Passion of the Christ.

My personal favorite of the denials is Mediadrome: Pope Pal Pooh-Poohs 'Passion' Plug

It's the genuine Hollywood-style alliterative headline.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:33 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Martha Stewart is Guilty

I know this is going to be as bad a blog war as the application of Just War doctrine to Iraq was last year, but let me say it again. Martha Stewart is guilty. Let the record show she was born Martha Helen Kostyra in Jersey City, a Polish-American Catholic. She is 62. (Yes, the same town as Fr. Benedict Groeschel who's 70).

Martha Talks is her defense web site.

I know this will put me at odd with other Catholic bloggers such as Relapsed Catholic, so though the heavens fall let justice be done.

Stewart faces five counts, including obstruction of justice and securities fraud. The charges carry a total prison term of 30 years and a $2 million fine, but Stewart would likely get far less if convicted.

Stewart's current predicament was entirely avoidable. She could have taken a no jail-time plea deal, but she insisted on declaring her innocence. We'll see.

She has, as Ricky Ricardo said, lots of 'splaining to do.

Here is the New York Times Timeline

(For full disclosure purposes let me mention that I'm employed in a job where the securites laws apply to me in a direct way.)

When she was told that Waksal and family were selling out, she knew that she had just be given information not known to the public. She acted on that non-public information and that's a crime. It was a crime for Peter Bacanovic (who is also indicted) to tell Stewart as well.

Jury selection is going on now. There's still time for Stewart to plea bargain.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:25 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Heathen Clergy Training

It's not a myth to them, it's faith.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A Short Response to Islam Needs a Cromwell

Anyone who knows Islam or Cromwell knows that Islam has already had its Cromwell -- he was Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. He was born in 1703 and wanted to return Islam to its purity of the 7th century. The Saudis and bin Laden promote this form of Islam today. In "Two Faces of Islam" in the chapter introducing the Wahabbis, Stephen Schwartz makes their connection with English Puritans explicit -- "haters of song".

I just posted this is in Amy Welborn's Open Book

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Philadelphia Inquirer: Victims assess how church is helping
By David O'Reilly Inquirer Staff Writer

Two victims say the Archdiocese of Philadelphia frustrated their efforts to identify the priests who sexually abused them as children years ago.

Another says it was "healing" when the archdiocese last year arranged for her to visit the rectory where she was raped decades ago.

A fourth describes his dealings with the archdiocese as both "good and not-so-good." The archdiocese has paid more than $200,000 for his psychotherapy, but he is angry that it now wants some reimbursement from Medicare.

"Compassionate," "uncooperative" and "penny-pinching" are just a few of the words these four used in interviews to describe the archdiocese's response to their requests since it appointed two victim-assistance coordinators in April 2002.

The story is interesting in its depth of the process that people are going through. The only thing that bothers me is the reluctance to allow victims to see pictures of priests who have been accused by others, only to look at pictures of all priests. That's a process that would hinder identification. Police include non-criminals in its 'mug shot' books as a control on picking a suspect at random.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Atlantic Monthly: America's Catholic Bishops
Short of the Pope himself, there is no one who can challenge the Catholic bishop for leadership or power in the American church today...

The curious thing is that the bishops don't really seem to care. They appear remarkably content to remain quiet, benign figureheads among those they are supposed to guide and inspire, saving their major energies for administrative work well away from the public eye.

I discovered this perspective from April 1967 on the power of bishops. If you are like me (under-50) and want to know where the notion of bishops being "liberal" and "conservative" comes from, this is a great place to start. The timeframe is after Vatican II but before Humannae Vitae and open rebellion.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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As an American...

One of the problems with being an American is that the assertion that I am an American is so empty of meaning.

For some it's the right to raise the flag (but please, only after checking local homeowners codes) and the right to burn the flag (your own, not someone else's).

It's American to exclude one religion from school on the basis of the first amendment's establishment clause and invite another in on the basis of the unwritten diversity amendment.

About the only thing that being an American is good for is that they don't deport you when you mess up -- that's about to change. Non-Americans won't be deported.

Too much of the definition is wrapped up in anarchy (hostility to order) and nilhilism (rejection of moral values). Is it any wonder to the reader that my three examples are tied to the arbitrary laws by decree of the Supreme Court.

This point is demonstrated by the defense given by Catholic pro-abortion politicians who have taken the time to defend their positions.

What their defenses have in common is the assertion of their individualism which is a false front: what they have done is chosen their god. The idolatry of political power. Their god commands them to reject the true God.

Why do I call this their "god" -- because it is the highest power, the source ultimate value in their lives, and what transcends immediate concerns.

There might be more honesty if they could make the claim that through a private revelation Jesus Christ himself said that it was OK to vote "no" on S. 3 (partial birth abortion ban).

If these men and women are sincere in their claims to believe and profess the Catholic faith, then they acknowledge that at the end of this life they face neither a poll nor the Supreme Court but another judge.

The contradiction goes all the way back to Jack Kennedy who tragically got it wrong:

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source

So what is pulling Jack's strings?

Whatever issue may come before me as President--on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject--I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.
Could there ever be a conflict, say, between the financial contributors to the Democratic party and your conscience?
But if the time should ever come--and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible--when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same

Since there hasn't been any resignations for any conscience reasons in Congress or the Presidency -- it seems to me that politician's conscience seems remarkably unconflicted with the prevailing political winds. Who knew that this challenge laid down in 1960 would never be met?

Jack, are you giving up the Catholic Church then?

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith--nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.

The big Church/State issue in 1960 was the state support of Catholic schools. The political pressure was to deny aid to pupils going to parochial schools (i.e. books, buses, etc.) even if these same expenses would be incurred if the children attended public schools. Kennedy caved to this pressure. I think not because he was passionate about it, but it supported a public image of independence from the Church.

In a reverse pressure move, Kennedy asked Cardinal Cushing to intercede in Puerto Rico to stop bishops and priests from advocating from the pulpit that Catholics not vote for candidates who supporting the availability of contraceptives.

Today, bishops fearing for the loss of their tax exemption are good at self-censorship for the most part.

On the other hand, the politicians are bringing this issue upon themselves by making references to their faith in God or in Jesus. I think this is a cynical ploy by the way but they are doing it because it works for them.

How different it would be if Kennedy said back in 1960 that he would answer to the American people for his votes and policies but to God for his conscience.

That would be both Catholic and American.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:24 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: Not Necessarily the News
Who's got juice?

And, second question: What exactly is "juice?"

It's not the liquid on the second shelf of your refrigerator or the stuff that lights bulbs. Juice is that indefinable, absolutely indispensable condition that every TV and radio pundit, producer, reporter and anchor strives for in a presidential election year. It is that essential something that says this person just might make a difference in that national exercise to select the planet's most powerful person.

In plain English: influence.

Who's got juice? Hint: It's not just Tom, Dan and Peter anymore. As the Iowa Caucuses get under way today, the question is tricky because the answer cannot be cornered simply by applying the usual yardsticks, like Nielsen or Arbitron ratings. Political influence is also a moving target that's often here today gone tomorrow because its close relatives, Hype and Buzz, are sometimes conjoined to it.

Influence can be shaped by new technology (blogging) or old (Rush Limbaugh's dittoheads). It can rise with the sun ("Today") or set after dark ("Tonight"). It can get out the votes (Tom Joyner) or effectively convince people why voting is an exercise in utter futility (Jon Stewart). It skews young or old, black or white, Hispanic or Anglo, male or female, rich or poor.

My own nominee is Raymond Arroyo of EWTN.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NewYorkish: Tattoos Are, Like, Totally Boring

That's not a rubber mask over the skin, but an implant under the skin.

It's extreme to choose to look like a medieval illustration of Satan.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, January 19, 2004
WCBS TV News sent a crew and this is what they found

One protester.

Bishop William Murphy caved to a demand in a letter from 52 priests to have a meeting on the subject of clerical sexual abuse. This diocese, Rockville Center Long Island was found in compliance with the Dallas Norms.

One big problem is that Voice of the Faithful isn't being allowed to meet on diocesan property.

They don't like that one bit.

The priests wished they have a less-tainted and less autocratic bishop that Bishop Murphy, a priest and auxilliary from Boston.

The only thing I can accuse Murphy of being is not understanding how the press works. One of his first official acts in 2001 was to authorize the purchase of a new residence, earning him the name "Mansions Murphy".

The first message of Voice of the Faithful was Murphy must resign. The Catholic League came to the bishop's support.

As for me, I don't think he's done anything wrong, certainly not enough to require his resignation.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:03 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, January 18, 2004
Terry Jones Medieval Lives has been on the History Channel.

He pretty much totally slammed the Church during the episode called "The Monk". But unexpectedly, the Church comes off pretty positively in other episodes. He was rather delighted to debunk that 18th-19th century view that the Church in the Middle Ages and renaissance was an enemy of science and the advancement of knowledge. He correctly pointed out the "Moon Shot" of the Middle Ages was the construction of cathedrals.

By the way, Jones and the BBC screwed up themselves. The companion book is not yet available in the UK or US. Jones became famous as part of Monty Python. He did a totally biased history of the Crusades, which I own on DVD.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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As Heard on WABC Radio

WABC News Talk Radio has a new sponsor it is Torah True Jews. In their radio commercial they state that Jews who follow the Torah would not found a Jewish state, that the Jews who founded Israel should be known as Zionists, and Jews in the world are loyal to the country in which they reside.

Their web site Torah True Jews is aliased to Jews Against Zionism

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Washington Blade: A Gender-Ambiguous Interpretation of the Psalms
Critics say the Bible is mostly written, and often interpreted, from a decidedly male and heterosexual point of view. But one local egalitarian Jewish synagogue is hoping its new Scholar in Residence program will offer gay Jewish people and their supporters more insight into the Good Book.

"I am hoping to explore with the congregation the extent to which the Psalms might reflect what I call homosocial tendencies in the Bible," Kamionkowski says, "what it means for male writers to be addressing God in very, very intimate terms and what that may reflect about male intimacy in the biblical experience."

Gimme a break. Is this anything more than creating a Monty-Python-esque ambiguity ("Wink-wink nudge-nudge") around the language where one desires "to know" God more?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Keeping the Christmas Spirit going a little longer

If you are a gamer and a conspiricist (as I am both) then you might like this diccovery, the Santanomicon by Andy Collins.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:01 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com