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Friday, March 26, 2004
UK Guardian: Christ, you know it ain't easy
Traditional screenplay format dictates that the audience be introduced to the central theme of a film during its first 10 minutes. Very much a traditionalist, Mel Gibson quickly introduces the theme of The Passion Of The Christ - those nasty Jews killed My Sweet Lord - then settles into the trademark mayhem that made Braveheart and The Patriot so appealing to fans of disembowellings, impalings, beheadings and general depravity.
Another negative and very unfair review of The Passion of the Christ to make your blood boil.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Holy Father looks excellent in this 3.26.2004 Reuters photograph. Photographs from a few months ago showed a much more distressed looking man.

I know it would be open me to more charges of blasphemy, but Pope John Paul II is coming to look more and more like the French actor Maurice Chevalier.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Uncovering a Richard Clarke annecdote

Frontline: A Chronology of John O'Neil's Life and FBI career.

[John O'Neil was appointed to Chief of Counterterrorism Section, FBI Headquarters in 1995]

Anxious to start his new job, O'Neill shows up at his office on his first day in Washington -- a Sunday morning. It's the same morning Richard Clarke, head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, discovers that Ramzi Yousef [planner of the 1993 WTC bombing] has been located in Pakistan. Clarke calls the FBI Counterterrorism Section on the off chance someone would be there.

When Clarke asks who's answering the phone, O'Neill replies, "Well, who the hell are you? I'm John O'Neill." O'Neill spends the next few days working around the clock on Yousef's successful capture by FBI, DEA, and State Department agents.

John O'Neil was too aggressive in counter-terrorism. He clashed with the US Ambassador to Yemen in the investigation of the USS Cole attacks.

He got his legs cut off when Amb. Barbara Bodine refused to let him go back to Yemen to continue the investigation and the FBI Dir. Freeh didn't stick up for him and his investigation.

So he leaves the FBI to become security director for the Wall Trade Center. His first day on that job was 9/11/2001. He died in the collapse of the towers after coordinating part of the evacuation.

UPDATE: Hammer News has a little more detail and concludes that if O'Neill was allowed to do his job, he would have been able to catch the 9/11 terrorists.

Both Pickard and Bodine are out of government service now.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A recent article on Muslim Explosion/European Implosion

WSJ: The Moor's Last Laugh (via Democracy in Iran)

Wall Street Journal - By Fouad Ajami 3.22.2004

...Yet Boabdil's revenge came. It stole upon Europe. Demography -- the aging of Europe on the one hand and, on the other, a vast bloat of people in the Middle East and North Africa -- did Boabdil's job for him. Spurred by economic growth in the '60s, which created the need for foreign laborers, a Muslim migration to Europe began. Today, 15 million Muslims make their home in the European Union...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:24 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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AP: Berlusconi Allies Call For Referendums On Mosque Building (via Beliefnet)
Allies of Premier Silvio Berlusconi are pushing for a law that would require referendums on requests to build mosques in Italy, contending that Islamic culture is "historically antithetical" to Italian culture.

This is going to very, very hard in officially secular Italy. 20 years ago they wrote out references to Christianity and to the Catholic faith from the Constitution and Treaty with the Vatican.

Muslim Europe? Get used to it.

In Italy today, it's mosques. In the not too distant future it will be Shaira (Islamic/Arabic law) courts for the Muslim population of Italy.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:10 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Sins of John Kerry, vol 404

WSJ: Skiing As News: Is John Kerry Overexposed? (paid subs. reqd.)

...You know you're overexposed when the media reports that you showed up at Sunday Mass 15 minutes late -- "wearing ski clothes." At least he went. And if Mr. Kerry was wearing designer ski clothes, as we must assume, he was much better dressed than the average suburban Catholic nowadays at many Masses, where people unblushingly attend the Lord's table in soccer shorts, sweatshirts or whatever they woke up in.

What I want to see is the cameras when he goes to Church on Saturday at 3PM for Confession.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:04 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Guest blog entry from Joseph D'Hippolito
I want to repent publically of abusing and misusing God's name when I said that God would laugh at the eternal plight of Mark Shea and other "collaborators" and that the angels would sell popcorn to this allegedly public spectacle in a vile rant during the week of March 15. My feelings about Shea do not justify such manipulative rhetoric. I do not, nor could I ever, speak for God in such a manner, either on His behalf or my own.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:57 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Finally, a treaty that G.K. Chesterton would love

Chesterton's economic theories were in opposition to capitalism-plus-welfare-state. He proposed a system of widely distributed property ("Distributism")

Cato Institute: Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty

This redistributionist bent is reflected in the treaty's call for financial transfers to developing states and even "peoples who have not attained full independence or other self-governing status"-code for groups such as the PLO. Whatever changes the treaty has undergone, a constant has been Third World pressure for financial transfers. Three voluntary trust funds were established to aid developing countries. Alas, few donors have come forward to subsidize the participation of, say, sub-Saharan African states in the development of ocean mining. Thus, the Authority has had to dip into its own budget to pay into the funds.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:25 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, March 25, 2004
Keywords: (Catholic, bingo, bathroom, excommunication)

Tampa Bay Online: Diocese Sued By Devout Catholic

CLEARWATER - A 72-year-old woman who describes herself as a lifelong, devout Catholic is alleging in a lawsuit that she was threatened with excommunication after being injured at a parish bingo game.

This is the of Diocese of St. Petersburg.

"It was the strangest thing I ever heard,'' [her attorney] said.

I agree with that!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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jesus-bobbleghead Tickles.com presents the bobblehead Jesus.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A comment I sent in to a talk show host on the Pledge

Here's an email that I sent in the middle of a call to Mark Simone who is substituting for Curtis and Kuby this week on WABC:

A caller said "Courts make laws legal"

This is a profound misunderstanding of our government. Laws are legal when signed by the President.

The courts are not supposed to be a second chance legislature that one guy with a grudge can manipulate.

The "Pledge" could be changed by a law passed in Congress -- but Newdow couldn't win there.

The reality is that the last grasp the liberals have on government is the judiciary and need to exploit that advantage with unaccountable life tenure judges.

The "Federalist Papers" argued that the Judiciary needed to be weak and without enforcement powers because it was so unaccountable to popular will. Essentially there's a judical tyranny being conducted now - bending to the will of angry extremists with access to the courts and liberal judges who want to legislate from the bench.

To the specifics of Newdow's case -- saying "under God" doesn't establish a religion. I hope the Supreme Court slams the Ninth Circuit for not dismissing this as a nuisance lawsuit.

No big deal but I did get a reply from Mark Simone: "Good point on the law!" Perhaps he will mention it tomorrow.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Guest Item from my daughter.

My daughter witnessed the planes striking the World Trade Center from her high school less than a mile away on 9/11. She is now attending Fashion Institute of Technology now, by the way.

One of the 9/11 widows spoke to a reporter (Channel 5 News) We had no idea that the World Trade Center was a terrorist target

My daughter spoke before I could: 1993 -- (February 26) a car bomb exploded in the basement of Tower One. It was planted by terrorists later identified as al Qaeda. Six people died, over 100 were injured. In the end, four terrorists were convicted and are now in prison.

Everyone knew that the World Trade Center was and would continue to be a terrorist target.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:43 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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UK Evening Standard: Why were there [British] Soldiers in Mexico?
The saga of the British soldiers trapped in a cave in Mexico threatened to blow up today into a major diplomatic row.

As British divers arrived at the mountain town of Cuetzalan to assist with rescue operations, Mexican president Vicente Fox demanded to know why the foreign military expedition was in his country at all.

I wonder if Tom Nash (the promoter of "One's Man Hero") has an opinion on this.

Mr. Nash reproduced an online debate we had on Traitors or Heroes?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Will Rush use this email from me today?
I think the White House could work out a deal:

For every minute that Rice is grilled under oath in public on her performance by a legislative branch panel -- let an executive branch panel grill under oath and in public Daschel, Rockefeller, and Leahy on their performance.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:08 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Speculation on Politics

Senator John McCain wants to be the Secretary of Defense in a Kerry administration. (Rich Lowry of NRO has the same idea.)

I believe that former Senator Bob Kerrey could be drafted as a Kerry VP. He's showing genuine insights and toughness in the hearings. ( Deborah Orin of the New Post has the same idea).

Laura Ingraham remarked that the wrong Kerr(e)y is running for President. One could believe that he would continue to wage the war on terrorism that Kerry would surrender on.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:09 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Speculation on the Mid-East

I think there's a secret deal to hand over either the administration of Gaza to Egypt or to hand over actual sovereignty to Egypt. The only thing that stands in the way of doing that is the terrorist networks in Gaza which have to be supressed to avoid a fight in the streets between Muslim Egyptians and Muslim Palestinans.

What's in it for Egypt? (1) All the money coming in for Palestinian relief which is being used for corruption and terrorism against Israel. (2) The diplomatic prestige of actually doing something to solve the problem.

Something like this would have happened long ago to restore Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan if it were not for the tenacity and violence of the PLO.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:56 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic and Enjoying It: The Spirit of Vatican II is the Zeitgeist, not the Holy Spirit

Mark Shea is on a only-on-Sunday Lenten blogfast. The above item is particularly on target. He applies this distorted view of Vatican II to The Passsion of the Christ. Buried in the comment boxes there, I added:

One of the interesting things as Mark and I and others who have read much of the Jewish reaction to TPOTC is the detailed and mostly accurate knowledge which Jewish critics have of medieval and rennaisance anti-Semitism and their ignorance of the New Testatment and the situtation on the ground in Judea in 33 AD.

Their criticism is focused on Gibson's TPOTC as a recreation of a medieval Passion play which incited anti-Semitic violence as opposed to a realistic interpretation of the Gospel account of the Passion.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Catholic League: Dress-up Jesus pulled after protest
...On January 13, [Catholic League president William Donohue] wrote to Richard A. Hayne, chairman of Urban Outfitters, Inc., commending him for pulling an offensive shirt that the Anti-Defamation League had protested. The shirt read, ‘EVERYONE LOVES A JEWISH GIRL,’ and was surrounded by dollar signs.

But I also requested that his company discontinue several items that are offensive to Christians, including those that featured Jesus.

It sure took him long enough to do so, but at least he got the message and has now decided to pull this item. Perhaps my blasting the company on the MSNBC TV show, ‘Scarborough Country,’ had something to do with the decision.

Items like this are important to recall when someone expresses skepticism to you regarding a double standard applied to Christians and other religions.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Newsday: Newborn baby found in plastic bag in Staten Island
NEW YORK (AP) _ A newborn baby was found dead inside a plastic bag on Staten Island, police said.

The baby, a girl, was found at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday behind 12 Rosewood Place, police said.

The infant was found in a plastic bag in a laundry basket next to the trash, according to Police Officer Jennara Everleth, a department spokeswoman.

WABC TV: Dead Infant Found In Plastic Bag
Stapleton-WABC, March 24, 2004) — A Staten Island mother is being questioned as police await autopsy results on the body of a newborn baby.

The 19-year-old mother is inside the 120th precinct. She is from Peru and lives in the home where the dead infant was discovered. The baby was found outside of the home. Depending on what she tells police, it could mean a difference between probation and a trip to jail.

Neighbors are reacting to a chilling find made around 7:30 p.m. last night in the Stapleton section of Staten Island. This is where an infant girl was found dead outside the back of a house.

Salvatore Chinnic, Neighbor: "I heard it's an eight pound baby. It is a full grown baby."

Neighbors called 911 shortly after 7:00 p.m., reporting an infant was unconscious at 12 Rosewood Place. When police and EMS arrived on the scene, they found a two-day old baby girl dead, in a plastic bag inside a laundry basket. The baby was outside in the cold with its umbilical cord still attached.

Police are questioning the family living inside the house and neighbors but have not released any details so far. The medical examiner is still determining the cause of death.

Wanda Campbell, Neighbor: "I have lived here for 26 years, and nothing like this ever happened."

The cause of death is very important in this case. If the medical examiner determines that the baby was stillborn, the mother could face illegal dumping charges. However, if the baby was alive when it was born, that could mean murder charges.

Please pray for this baby girl and her mother and for a change in the hearts of all women who might kill their innocent children, born and unborn.

Domenico Bettinelli reminds us that today is the feast of the Annunciation, where the unborn living Savior took on human flesh in the body of His and Our Blessed Mother.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:00 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004
More on Ahmed Yassin

These links via Catholic World News (paid subs. reqd.)

The media allows religious leaders to self-identify. In that sense Al Sharpton becomes a "spiritual leader".

It serves the agenda that all religions are superstitious nonsense for them to call violent people or nutty people "religious" or "spiritual".

In a domain where Sharpton and Yassin are called leaders -- in different senses both are a little bit violent and a bit nutty) -- by the media, it's easier to lower the stature of a person like Pope John Paul II or Mother Teresa.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:26 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Hamas Covenant (via Yale University)

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

The condemnation for the killed expressed by the Vatican for killing of Yassin was summarized by the Catholic News Service:

The Vatican immediately condemned yesterday's killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, saying that such assassinations are "unjustifiable in any state of law".

Yassin was killed by an Israeli rocket, launched from a helicopter, as he left a mosque in the Gaza Strip on yesterday morning.

In a statement released shortly after the killing, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls repeated Pope John Paul II's 12 January insistence that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could not be settled by violence.

Is there any terrorist on Earth that can be killed without the Vatican condeming it?

When is the condemnation coming from the Vatican for the 8-year-old by who was being used as a unwitting "mule" to carry a bomb into Israel. It was to be remotely detonated by a brave terrorist. See the discussion at Command Post.

See the discussion at Command Post. of the Hammas Covenant.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Before you see The Passion for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th.... time: Brush up on your Latin

A great article that appeared a few months before its time:

Economist: Roman Rebound

So you thought that irksome language was dead?

TO SCARY music, a furtive Jewish nationalist of the first century paints on a wall the words Romanes Eunt Domus. A centurion enters:

Centurion: What's this, then? ? ‘People called Romanes they go the house?’ Nationalist: It—it says, ‘Romans, go home’. Centurion: No, it doesn't. ‘Go home’? This is motion towards. Isn't it, boy? Nationalist (being savagely beaten): Ah. Ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the...accusative! Domum, sir! Ah! Oooh! Ah! Centurion: Except that takes the...? Nationalist: The locative, sir!

The scene, from “Monty Python's Life of Brian”, marked the apotheosis of Latin in film—until last March. At that point Mel Gibson, star-turned-director, announced that his new film “The Passion”, about the last hours of Christ, would be made entirely in Latin and Aramaic. At first, the hero of “Thunderdome” and “Lethal Weapon” did not even want subtitles. When he realised that audiences needed to know, just roughly, what the characters were saying, he reluctantly backed down.

I wish there was a site with the Latin dialog from The Passion so I could review it. I'll look for it later.

More from The Life of Brian:

Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Attendee: Brought peace?

Reg: Oh, peace -- shut up!

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Why we need "Under God" in the Pledge (even if you are not a Monotheist)

I can't recall where I read this. I hope to have the time to research and credit the source for the idea.

"Under God" is a statement that the goverment is not over us all, or that the popular will is over us all. What is "Over us" and who we, the people, are under is God.

The statement that God is supreme is important because if we are not under God, then who or what are we under? Is the popular will or the will of its leaders what we are under?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Just back from an RCIA Class with Fr. John Harvey, OSFS

RCIA is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This was at the Church of Our Savior in Manhattan where Fr. George Rutler is the pastor. The RCIA class is about 20. The average age of the catechumen is 25.

OSFS is the acronym of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales.

Courage is the name of the organization founded by Fr. Harvey.

Courage assists people with same sex attraction to develop a life of chastity.

The following five goals of Courage were created by the members themselves when Courage was founded. The goals are read at the start of each meeting and practiced by every member in daily life.
  1. Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)
  2. Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)
  3. Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)
  4. Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)
  5. Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example)

This invites controversy as others argue that the correct pastoral approach is acceptance of that same sex attraction.

The work of Courage is distinct from the defense of marriage and public policy advocacy. Courage is concerned with the individual person.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Yassin now faces his judge and our judge

It's clear that the deceased leader of Hamas was a terrorist killer and a legitimate military target.

It's been widely reported that Sharon once promised Bush that he wouldn't kill Arafat, so General Arafat is in a different category.

I think there two interesting observations to make:

  • Who is willing/unwilling to call him a terrorist.
  • Whether he is followed by another extremist who will be killed in due course, or by a new generation of leaders that might be willing to end the terrorism in exchange for concessions.

As much as the Vatican deplores terrorism, it never condemned Hamas by name. (I've looked as far back as 1996 on this point.)

Of course, the Vatican condemns Israel by name often. Most recently for this targeted attack on the Hamas leader and for the security fence/wall.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:48 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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We're all friends here

I've put a acceptable comments policy online here and added a permanent left-margin link to it.

The Haloscan comments are limited to 3,000 characters. This is a big increase.

The HTML tags allowed are:

  • <a> use this for linking
  • <b> use this for bold text
  • <i> use this for italics
  • <br> use this for forcing a line break

To get "smileys" menu click on the "?" next to Comments

To get an idea of Trackback works -- see this entry on Otto da Fe

I've made a trackball to Otto's blog. Bloggers with a "Trackback" can link to me.

Trackbacks on from another blog to my blog can be deleted by me if they are not valid.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, March 22, 2004
AP: Arafat: Passion of the Christ 'impressive'
Yasser Arafat watched Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ on Saturday, and afterward a top aide compared Jesus' pain during crucifixion to the suffering of Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.

One positive review that Mel Gibson probably wasn't seeking for the film.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:26 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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How biographers deal with the problem: "together"

Have you ever wondered how to record in a capsule biography when a couple started living as if they were married but put off being married for several years?

This is how they did it for Sting (born Gordon Sumner) at All Movie Portal:

Trudie Styler (actress, producer; born on January 6, 1955; together since 1982; married on August 20, 1992), Frances Tomelty (actress; born in 1956; married on May 1, 1976; divorced in March 1984)

Between his two wives, he has six kids. I wonder how often the interviewers bring that up?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:51 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com