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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, February 28, 2004
Haiti imitates Scotland?
mel gibson in braveheart

The caption for the photo on the left is "Chaos in Haiti".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I am not seeing the Passion...

Today... I'm babysitting some kids to allow their parents to see the film.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The new look for 2004 is ... Peter Lorre

Click on the above images for links to the source images.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, February 27, 2004
Catholic Challenge Question

I haven't done this in some time. I've got a real tough one. No simple google search is going to give you the answer.

There's a definition of the term occult possession that does not refer to spirits, demons, the devil, etc. In fact it doesn't refer to a psychological state.

What's the definition?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Just wondering...

(1) Will Aristide seek refuge in the American embassy or in the Nunciature?

(2) Will Aristide want to get his old job back as a priest in the order of the Salesians of Saint John Bosco (SDB), or incardinated as a diocesan priest? As far as I have been able to find out, he was never laicized, although being married with children will hinder his return to a regular status.

(3) What's the size of his numbered Swiss bank account?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:09 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, February 26, 2004
Jewsweek: Passion is about internalized anti-Semitism
It is just like Jewish organizations to attack Gibson for the potential effects of his artsy, foreign-language film. It is just like Jewish media to jump on the bandwagon, getting themselves hot and bothered over issues like Holocaust denial and -- gasp -- a lack of artistic integrity. Similarly, the misguided attempts by cultural "experts", such as The New York Times film critic Frank Rich to battle the ancient anti-Jewish demons embedded in traditional Christianity is likewise predictable. In their nervous outrage against Gibson's movie, Jewish cultural figures expose their own fragile sense of self and ironically reveal that like Gibson himself, they find themselves in a moment of spiritual crisis.

"... In their nervous outrage against Gibson's movie, Jewish cultural figures expose their own fragile sense of self and ironically reveal that like Gibson himself, they find themselves in a moment of spiritual crisis ..."

In their quixotic efforts to shush fundamentalist Christian elements in this country, Foxman and company reveal just how out-of-touch they are with the religious pulse of the postmodern era. They fail to see how hungry Americans are for the religious passion they perceive in the Islamic world, how disappointed many are in a popular culture saturated with mindless sex and pleasure-seeking and how lost so many people feel in a culture where civil concepts of love, kindness, and family have been replaced with the cut-throat rhythms of the mad dash for money and fame, enshrined so perfectly in the national obsession with reality television programming.

Gibson offers the postmodern Christian just what he needs: absolution.

A treasure of Jewish perspectives on the Passion at Jewsweek.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:31 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Pope receives ashes from Cardinal Sodano

Pope John Paul II receives ash from Cardinal Angelo Sodano as he leads a solemn celebration is Saint Peter's Basilica for Ash Wednesday, at the Vatican February 25, 2004. The Pope urged Catholics on the first day of Lent to reflect on the protection of children, speaking at a time when the problem of sexual abuse of minors overshadows the church itself in the United States. REUTERS PHOTO

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Where's Cardinal Egan, and Bishops DiMarzio and Murphy?

(Archdiocese of New York, Dioceses of Brooklyn, and Rockville Center)

I found that Cardinal Egan made a pro-forma statement against anti-Semitism.

Lay Catholics like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and Mel Gibson are carrying the ball. It is as if lay movements are becoming the public face of the Church.

With spokesmen for the various dioceses dealing with suspicious deaths, accusations, indictments, leaves of absence, etc. it not difficult to see that they don't have the time for the two big things right now:

  • The teachable moment represented by Lent and The Passion of the Christ.
  • The definition and nature of marriage itself under assault.

The anticipation is building now for the document dump on the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Howard Stern or Mel Gibson

Who are the media elites defending?

The envelope is being pushed by Gibson -- but it's the wrong envelope and the wrong direction.

The thing that kept Stern immune was his high ratings -- if millions and millions of people listen to him that in itself defines the moral standards of the community -- his broad appeal.

The idea of decency in public communications -- championed by Rudy Giuliani -- was mocked on two years ago. a Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission which was immediately killed by the new mayor, Mike Bloomberg. Some names you might recognize from the decency commission: Herb London, Raoul Felder, and Curtis Sliwa.

The tide is turning.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reasons for FMA: (continued)
  • To make sure that Rosie O'Donell loses her next court case

AP: Rosie O'Donnell to marry in San Francisco

We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record," O'Donnell said.

Rush Limbaugh said that Rosie O'Donnell has registered by Snap-On Tools.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:30 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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2004, the social counter-revolution continues.

Howard Stern has been removed from six Clear Channel stations.

It their stations, they can do what they want. If other stations in the markets want to carry him, then let them try.

This Bloomberg News account in the New York Times is as good as any of the numerous accounts.

Still, it is anything goes on videotape, DVD, premium cable channels (HBO, Showtime), and satellite

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Locke v. Davey

Justice Scalia has an outstanding dissent.

When the State makes a public benefit generally available, that benefit becomes part of the baseline against which burdens on religion are measured; and when the State withholds that benefit from some individuals solely on the basis of religion, it violates the Free Exercise Clause no less than if it had imposed a special tax. That is precisely what the State of Washington has done here. It has created a generally available public benefit, whose receipt is conditioned only on academic performance, income, and attendance at an accredited school. It has then carved out a solitary course of study for exclusion: theology.
text of the Supreme Court decision.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thou are dust...

Senator John Kerry with Ashes

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:18 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004
It didn't take long to find this anti-Semitic "pay attention to me"-church

WorldNetDaily: Church marquee: 'Jews Killed Jesus'

Pastor won't remove message timed for release of Gibson film

Coinciding with the release of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" today, a Denver church unveiled a message on its marquee that reinforces some Jewish groups' worst fears about the controversial film.

"Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" – "I Thess. 2:14, 15" – "Settled!" says the sign in front of Lovingway United Pentecostal Church, reports Denver's ABC television affiliate KMGH.

After a complaint from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, the church only has amended the sign, replacing "settled" with "Holy Scripture."

Rather than discussing the potential of anti-Semitism -- the flame fanners have this "Lovingway Church" example to point to.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:06 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Hunt is on...

Thousands searching the globe looking for outbreaks of anti-Semitism that can be attributed to The Passion of the Christ

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Give ups

What are you giving up for Lent?

For me it will be anything alcoholic: beer, wine, whiskey, etc.

And that includes St. Patrick's Day!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Mystery solved: Meat-eaters were responsible for Christ's death

townhall.com: PETA to Use Movie About Christ's Death for Vegetarian Pitch

(CNSNews.com) - America's most aggressive animal rights organization plans to use Wednesday's premier of the Mel Gibson-produced The Passion of the Christ to urge movie-goers to stop eating meat.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) will stage its own mini-dramas outside movie theaters in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Stamford, Conn., and Lynchburg, Va. Wednesday, complete with characters imitating Jesus and urging people to try vegetarian or vegan diets.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee Calls for Protection of Marriage (9/10/2003)
[W]e strongly oppose any legislative and judicial attempts, both at state and federal levels, to grant same-sex unions the equivalent status and rights of marriage --by naming them marriage, civil unions or by other means.
Just a reminder. The position of the Catholic Church remains the same: opposed to both "gay" marriage and civil unions for same-sex unions.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:53 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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1010 WINS: Catholic Conference Opposes New York State Gambling
The state's Catholic Conference says the state shouldn't be in the business of promoting addictive behavior that destroys lives.

The meeting was over quickly as many of the bishops and priests had Bingo Nights, Vegas Nights, and raffle drawings to attend to.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:26 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Religious Ritual Goes Horribly Wrong

NY1: Bronx Woman Dies After Catching Fire In Ritual

A Bronx woman died Tuesday after catching fire in what is being described as a cleansing ritual that went horribly wrong.

Police say the 41-year old woman was in the midst of a ritual involving oil and candles in an apartment in University Heights when she caught fire.

New York Daily News: She dies in ritual

A 41-year-old Bronx woman died yesterday when she caught fire during a Santeria cleansing ritual at a friend's apartment, police and neighbors said.

There's a video link in the first story. The television accounts of this story emphasized the religious aspect of this. Santeria.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Word of mouth about the Passion -- no negative callers so far...

A great caller to WABC (I wish I good take credit for the points he made)

  • The people calling the movie anti-Semitic are only fanning the flames which have yet to ignite - of hatred of Jews by Christians.
  • Romans not Jews are doing the flogging and crucifixion.
  • This is not 100 years ago, Christians and especially Catholics since Vatican II have reflected on the past of Christian-Jewish relations and are opposed to anti-Semitism.

You've got to wonder what agenda is being served by the shouted anticipation of a pogrom. Some Jews have become comfortable with a hostility towards Christians. A rationalization of that hatred is challenged as Christians can both embrace an accurate depictiion of the Gospel accounts and at the same time not translate that experience into a hatred of Jews.

The denial of the historical truth New Testament shouldn't be the price of respect and solidarity with the Jewish people.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:37 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Recommended reading for Lent (1)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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WABC/Good Morning America Joel Siegel on the Passion
Yes, you have read about it and heard about it but yes, I have seen it. And, I have to confess, I was surprised -- this is a very good movie.

Violent? Yes.

Anti-Semitic? Not at all.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Visit Haiti -- Mardi Gras -- 2004

Haiti became independent in 1804. The 200th anniversay Mardi Gras celebration is spoiled by the anarchy.

Ten years ago I wrote this little note on Aristide

Once it's on the Internet, it's there forever.

Kind of strange to do some Google research and discover you are the source. Time warps.

The United States have sent in the Marines and not Julia Roberts or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NY Times op-ed: Do You Recognize This Jesus?
Watching "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's new movie, I kept thinking the following: it is Christians, not Jews, who should be shocked by this film.

Mr. Gibson's raw images invade our religious comfort zone, which has long since been cleansed of the Gospels' harsher edges. Most Americans worship in churches where the bloodied body of Jesus is absent from sanctuary crosses or else styled in ways so abstract that there is no hint of suffering. In sermons, too, the emphasis all too often is on the smoothly therapeutic: what Jesus can do for me.

Kenneth Woodward has written a lot of good stuff on the faith. This is worth a read as well.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:13 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Employees sue Salvation Army
Longtime current and former Salvation Army employees sued the organization famous for its red Christmas kettles Tuesday, charging the government-funded group preached religious and sexual intolerance to its staff.

The workers accused the Salvation Army of creating a hostile work environment for about 600 employees who provide social services for more than 2,000 children in New York state.

The charitable organization required current and future job holders to pledge to preach the gospel, to identify their church affiliation and to authorize their religious leaders to reveal private information to the Salvation Army, according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union's New York chapter

First they came for the Boy Scouts, then they came for the Salvation Army...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:56 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Babies to pray for

New York Post: Two Babies Found in Bags

Two babies stuffed inside bags and abandoned were found alive within 14 hours in Manhattan and Brooklyn, officials said today.

Social workers at a Harlem clinic were stunned yesterday when they opened a lost pocketbook - inside was a newborn baby boy.

Katrina Gray, a program assistant at the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, noticed the large leather bag on the floor of the West 127th Street clinic at about 10 a.m. and tried to find its owner.

"It felt like I was carrying a bag of oranges," she said. "We opened it, and all we saw were blankets. We assumed it was someone's baby bag."

There was a third abandoned baby reported on the news tonight. No link available.

All three babies are in satisfactory condition.

UPDATE: The New York Times has a story on the third baby.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:46 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Capital News 9: Local attorney reaches out to Pope
Ken Goldfarb, director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, said, "Bishop Hubbard and the diocese will, as always, be guided by the decisions of the Holy See. That Mr. Aretakis sent his [i.e Fr. Minkler's] letter to the local news media and the Vatican at the same time, tells you everything you need to know about his real agenda."

...and would that be protection of children and adolescents from sex crimes committed by priests?

No word yet from the Albany County Coroner as of Feb. 24 for the cause of death death of Fr. Minkler on Feb. 14/15.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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continuing my thoughts on 2004 as the year of the social counter-revolution.

This year we've got the collision or intersection of these events:

  • A presidential election that really shows the divisions between competing visions of America. I think Kerry's pick up of Dean's tap into the anger is backward-looking and when it comes to debating Kerry's anti-war record and his voting record the How dare you... response is not going to suffice until November. Kerry is unlikable.
  • The Federal Marriage Amendment and the end of de facto judicial tyranny.
  • The cultural earthquake that is The Passion of the Christ. A religious revival, a great awakening, focused on the person of Christ and no on a evangelical leader like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell.

A escalation of the culture wars.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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NBC30 Connecticut: Sisters on Skis in the Snow

and I bet you thought that all the sisters were in nursing homes now.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reactions start.

The reporter, Linda Schmidt was personally moved. She cried.

One person interviewed found it blamed the Jews too much. I noticed that he spoke in a soft, almost feminine voice. He was identified as a Jesuit on the staff America magazine.

Abe Foxman predicted for the zillionth time that Jewish blood will be running in the streets as Christians blame the Jews for the death of Christ.

I'm beginning to think that Abe is going to be disappointed if he doesn't get his bloodbath.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:16 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, February 23, 2004
Newsday: Apology makes some Catholics 'feel better'
There were those who did not read the 11-page apology that Bishop William Murphy released last week, his most extensive accounting yet for the abuse of 132 children by 66 priests and brothers on Long Island.

There were those who gave it a glance but said they didn't want to think about it anymore, who said they were just trying to keep the scandal separate from their personal worship.

And there was one - only one among about 30 or so churchgoing Long Island Catholics interviewed this weekend - who rejected Murphy's letter outright as "insulting".

Of course, Newsday goes on to quote the people with the greatest hatred of the bishop last where it will have the greatest impact. Murphy was installed in 2001.

Let the Catholics of Long Island see first if he can reverse the "see no evil" administrations of McGann (1976-2000) and McHugh (co-adjutor 1998-2000, ordinary 2000) before demanding his resignation.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, February 22, 2004
French cardinal has misgivings on The Passion

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger has expressed serious misgivings about Mel Gibson's film, The Passion-- for reasons unrelated to the widespread charges of anti-Semitism.

OK. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even if one hasn't seen the movie, you're entitled to an opinion.

Speaking to reporters in Rome, where he is making his ad limina visit, Cardinal Lustiger said that he had "extreme reservations about the theatrical performance of the Passion, and even more so about electronic and film versions."
Extreme, eh? Has His Eminence been reading this blog?

What theatrical performance are we talking about -- or is it the idea of a theatrical performance in general? Ditto for the question on electronic and film versions?

Cardinal Lustiger, who pointed out that he had not seen Gibson's film, made it clear that his reservations were a matter of principle.

The principle is that the we can't evangelize using the medium of film.

The cardinal-- who is a convert from Judaism, and whose mother died at Auschwitz-- made no mention of the criticisms raised by American Jewish leaders, claiming that Gibson's movie is likely to incite anti-Semitic feelings and actions.

Quite so -- the Cardinal knows what anti-semitism is: old and new. The new anti-semitism is found in France when Muslims are spreading it.

"The Passion of Christ is not a spectacle to be watched," the cardinal said.
As a general proposition why not? The Passion of Christ as a historical event was watched - by Roman soldiers and the people of Jerusalem.

He cautioned that any film based on the suffering of Jesus entails serious risks. "This type of film touches the sensitivities and the imagination," he said, "and can be very ambiguous."

Sensitivities: of course, we turn away from suffering. Imagination: any depiction of Christ engages the imagination. Ambiguous: in what sense. Is there any moral ambiguity as to whether the suffering of Christ was deserved? What's ambiguous?

He explained that any film involves the director's interpretation of events, and although he said that he had been "very moved" by Pasolini's film on the Passion,
That's fine, by how about picking a film that is actually an instance of the principle you want to articulate.
he remained suspicious of the genre, because "the camera does not tell the truth."

We know that the camera involves an artistic interpretation.

Cardinal Lustiger pointed out that traditional Catholic devotions that focus on the Passion are very different from a film.
I find this a puzzling statement -- both traditional Catholic devotions and the film are expressions of the scriptural account with some pious legends added in.

"The pious practice of the Stations of the Cross is different," he observed, "because the faithful follow the Stations on foot; they are not sitting in an armchair."

This is obvious. What's the point? When one is reading scripture one may be sitting. When one is meditating on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, one may be sitting. What does the Cardinal have against sitting?

The cardinal also expressed a strong preference for more traditional Christian artistic renderings of Jesus,

You have to evangelize where the people are. If they are standing under traditional Christian artistic renderings of Jesus in a Catholic Cathedral like St. Patrick's in New York, then they are evangelized. (There might be one or two traditional Christian artistic renderings of Jesus in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles). The unsaved are not in museums or the churches now.

and added that the sacraments-- especially the Eucharist-- take precedence over any artwork.

And the film is a gateway to the sacraments. The purpose of this film (unlike, for example, The Last Temptation of Christ) is to bring the view closer to Christ. It will convert hearts that have been hardened against Christ.

"I prefer the icon to a photo of an actor playing Christ," said the French prelate. "And I prefer the Blessed Sacrament to any icon."

You speak from the position of privilege -- knowing that the Blessed Sacrament is the Body of Our Lord.

Faith is what gives you that preference. The goal of evangelization is not to sanctify -- the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of the Church accomplish that -- but to spread the good news of salvation.

To dismiss sight unseen The Passion of the Christ without acknowledging its power to communicate to millions of people the same Gospel we believe and preach gives me misgivings about the hierarchy understanding the Christian call to spread the Gospel.

(if you are new to blogging, this is a form of criticism called a 'fisking')

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Slams on The Passion of the Christ

They come in three varieties:

  1. The film promotes the allegation made by anti-semites and some passion play productions -- that the Jews past, present, and future were responsible for the death of Christ. (Abe Foxman)
  2. The film is too violent. People will see the violence and just react to that rather than to the Gospel message. No "context" for the Passion is presented. (John Dominic Crossan)
  3. The film is calculated to promote the traditionalist movement of the Catholic Church. Like Mel the film opposes Vatican II and is a wedge to increase divisions within the Church. (National Catholic Reporter)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I interpret the constitution

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore interpreted the consitution and he was removed.

What would happen, I image, if a Mayor of New York City said, as I interpret the Second Amendment, everyone should have the right to bear arms. Come to my office and pick up your "concealed carry permit"?

Here's the text of the Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So let mayors and county executives declare as they interpret the constition that "a power was not delegated to the United States" is reserved.

I thought we fought a civil war over whether state's rights took precedence over the federal government.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:08 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Views of the Priesthoold in a nutsell
Troy Record: A church divided: Conservatives, liberals vie for changes

As the sexual abuse scandal continues to rock the Catholic Church, there is another crisis that has been simmering for decades.

...What defines liberal and conservative in the Catholic Church is not a clear. In addition to the issues that are applicable just to the church - like demanding celibacy of priests and the ordination of women and/or homosexuals - there are also societal issues like abortion, contraception, marriage, divorce and sexual orientation.

The movement to eliminate celibacy has been in motion for some time, said Rev. Raymond Schroth, a Jesuit editor of the National Catholic Reporter, published at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J. He said most polls show the Catholic faithful to be in favor of making celibacy optional for diocesan priests and allowing the ordination of women.

He said diocesan priests do not take a vow of celibacy like they do in the different religious orders, such as the Jesuits, the Benedictines and the Franciscans. Rather, he said, celibacy is a law or rule that diocesan priests must follow. Unlike the priests, those in the orders take three vows - poverty, chastity and obedience - which create a lifestyle, and others that live the same lifestyle can provide moral and emotional support, he said.

Priests, he said, live different lifestyles, and celibacy could "prohibit the individual from becoming emotionally mature" and hinder the quality of service a priest can provide to the congregation and hinder a priest's own personal development. By allowing priests to marry, he said, it would also help alleviate the severe shortage of priests.

Rev. Joseph Wilson, of Queens, in a letter to The Wanderer, said that the practical considerations of marriage and raising a family - like choosing schools, possibly moving because of a spouse's job and the potential for divorce - would not fit in well with the priesthood.

"I think we'd lose something very precious, we would end up 'professionalizing' the priesthood, to our great loss," he wrote. "The priesthood is not a profession. It cannot be lived as a profession. It is a state of life."

The remainder of the article tries to tie this all into the death of Fr. Minkler and Bishop Hubbard.

As I wrote on the day I started this blog, I utterly reject the labels liberal and conservative as far as its application to Catholics.

The rule and discipline of celibacy works well with faithful men. Celibacy when it is dedicated to God is greater than marriage since it is giving up something good for God.

If other Christian denominations which have married clergy didn't have their own problems, this might be a good idea -- but there's plenty of evidence that married Christian clergy have different issues with marital fidelity, divorce, income, etc.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:02 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com