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Saturday, January 08, 2005
Edward Peters Canon Law Blog on the admission the children of gay parents

echoes my comments: "Where do Catholic parents go when they want their children to be taught the fullness of Roman Catholic doctrine?"

...The issues raised by admitting into Catholic grade schools children from same-sex households are much deeper than implied by the statements offered so far in favor of or in opposition to such admission. Catholic schools are dogged by the impression that they are basically refuges for the rich fleeing failed public education.

I think that view is unfair, but when parental contempt for the fundamental goals of Catholic education is so flagrant, how do Church officials escape the charge that one’s willingness to pay tuition is more important than one’s own willingness to live by and cooperate in the transmission of the vital values being taught?

More updates on this story: as you know that the child and parents have not been identified, I've been looking for an indication that the parents themselves are Catholic. Please reply if you've seen it mentioned in the stories on this.

And William Donohue is not used to getting praise from the homosexual communuity, he has it won it on this issue siding against Catholic parents and with the unidentified gay couple. Here is his opinion in a Catholic League press release and here is his kiss from the Gay City News

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:22 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, January 07, 2005
Shock and Awe for Manhattan's Catholics

I must decrease, Trump must increase

Archdiocese Eyes a Large Sell-Off of N.Y. Property : New York Sun

Officials of the Archdiocese of New York, one of the city's largest property owners, expect to sell off a significant number of church buildings, schools, and charitable facilities in the next year, to compensate for shifts in Catholic population concentrations, a church spokesman said yesterday.

"We are going through a process of realignment that will very probably result in the sale of property in Manhattan, the Bronx, and possibly Staten Island," the communications director for the archdiocese, Joseph Zwilling, told The New York Sun. "We will also look to add parishes in Rockland, Dutchess, and Orange counties where the Catholic communities have expanded."

The timetable includes deciding which parishes and facilities will be closed or merged with existing parishes within the next three to 12 months, followed by several weeks or months of transition before the real estate will be put on the market, Mr. Zwilling said.

"Once the announcements are made, there will be a transition period for the plans to go into effect," he said.

This is a bit odd because piecemeal parish closings have been going on for some time now already.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, January 06, 2005
Christian Crisis: NRO
Iaq's Christian minority is being driven out of its ancestral homeland by a wave of persecution as devastating as any tsunami. In less than four weeks, a pivotal election will take place in Iraq that represents this community's best hope for finding a secure home there, yet they find themselves marginalized and pushed aside in the electoral process — not only by their tormentors but, perhaps inadvertently, by the U.S. government.

These Christians, who are both pro-Western and pro-democracy, need our help so that they can build a future in their native land with a modicum of security and freedom. Without it, they will leave, and U.S. Iraq policy will be dealt a setback so severe it may never recover.

If Iraq is to have democracy, then Iraq is going to need to be free to make Iraq as inhospitable or as hospitable to the ChaldoAssyrians as the Islamic majority provides for. So yes, send money to the Assyrian American National Federation so they can have a nice media buy or whatever money buys you in the Iraqi elections, and get some ChaldoAssyrians elected.

ChaldoAssyrians may have a hard reality to accept, whatever pragmatic forces which existed to hold back the jihad from them ? when the Muslims killed or exiled the Christians of Armenia and later the same to the Jews of Iraq ? these forces may not be held back in Iraq's Islamic democracy.

Pray for a miracle: that when it comes to limiting government and establishing minority rights there's more Jefferson than Jihad in the recipe.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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On the Media Watch: Beauty and the Beast


Ever since Esquire declared that "fat guys and their hot wives" is TV's "Least Believable Trend" back in September 2004, the Fat Men/Hot Wives meme has been spreading like... well, like those fat guys.


In two decades of TV acting, Courtney Thorne-Smith has never stopped looking like a cheerleader. She has the kind of large, startled eyes that suggest school spirit (this look of bug-eyed alacrity grew to almost supernatural intensity during her starvation years on Ally McBeal) and a sturdy jaw that appears custom-tooled for the cheerleader's main task of spelling out inspirational words very, very loudly.

I'm happy I don't watch any of this nonsense. It's mostly EWTN, History Channel, and Fox News at my place.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Silver Stolen From Church On Staten Island: NY1
Police are searching for a burglar who took silver from a Staten Island church, including religious artifacts more than a century old.

The break-in at St. Paul's Church, in Stapleton, happened on December 30. Police say the burglar or burglars forced their way in through a back door.

Among the missing pieces are silver chalices dating back to 1870 and an engraved plate.

The man who discovered the break-in, Daniel Lugo, says it's a sign of how heartless some thieves have become.

“ It's sad that they would stoop that low to break into a church to steal the silver and chalices,” he said. “Things happen, but when I was a a child — I grew up on Staten Island — things like that are unheard of.”

This was much more common during the period where much crime was driven by drug addiction. It will be interesting to see if the thieves ripped open everything or just the places where the chalices were kept, indicating this was an "inside job".

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:52 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Archbishop threatens to withhold sacraments : St Lous Times-Dispatch
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has threatened to withhold the sacraments of the Roman Catholic church, including Communion, from board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in a dispute over control of the church.

"I warn you that your refusal to comply with the legitimate directives of the Holy See and me, your Archbishop, carries with it, the punishment of 'interdict or other just penalties,'" wrote Burke in a letter to the board members. The archbishop set a date of Feb. 4 for the board to comply with his directives.

As I learned more details about this controversy I moved from my initial position supporting the parish board to supporting Abp Burke.

Supporters of the board have mentioned the by-laws of their corporation were signed by Apb Kenrick and that it's the Church that is attempting to renegotiate the "deal" in bad faith.

I learned that what had happened was the board in 1978, 2001, and 2004 had revised the by-laws since the diocese did not have a "rule" that specifically prohibited the board from removing the authority the diocese had over the parish since 1891. It was, in my opinion, a stupid lawyer trick. This isn't a cultural center or hospital but a parish where the connection to the hierarchy of the Church is intrinsic and essential.

The board appealed to the Vatican, was denied the appeal, and then the board ignored the Vatican's authority. This was also bad faith negotiation, as they would have demanded that Apb Burke would comply with the Vatican's order if the appeal had been held in their favor.

This is a St Louis Dispatch article shortly before Christmas:

In a cover letter to the decree itself, the congregation's secretary, Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, addressed the board, writing, "Through careful and premeditated revisions of the By-Laws of the civil corporation, you have attempted to make the role of the pastor impotent, attempted to wrest control from (Burke), and attempted to transform St. Stanislaus Parish into an entity which has no resemblance to a parish as envisioned by either the tradition or current law of the Roman Catholic Church."

The board is saying in effect, that it had from 1891, the right to separate itself from the Catholic Church -- and in 2005 will do so -- from the by-laws changed to make this possible.

I mentioned elsewhere that by failing to act in a timely way when they by-laws were changed and by continuing to assign a priest to the parish that it took on the appearance of being a settled matter: that the diocese had no authority over the parish.

This is a mess but we can't turn the clock back.

I'm not sure suggesting that there will be a decree of an interdict is the prudent, pastoral thing to do, but this the archbishop's call to make.

What's an interdict anyway?

It's like and in some non-technical ways indistinguishable from an excommunication.

Catholic Encyclopedia:

no liturgical acts, no sacraments, no funerals.


The word interdict usually refers to an ecclesiastical penalty in the Roman Catholic Church. The most common usage is a penalty which suspends all public worship and withdraws the church's sacraments in a territory or country. An interdict issued against a country was to it the equivalent of issuance of excommunication against an individual. An interdict would cause all the churches to be closed, and almost all the sacraments not to be allowed (i.e. preventing marriage, confession, extreme unction, the eucharist).

An interdict can also be a penalty against a specific individual. It is like excommunication in that the person is barred from receiving the sacraments and participating in public worship, but it does not bar the person from continuing to hold and exercise ecclesistical office. Thus, for a lay member of the church, it is basically equivalent to excommunication.

An appeal of this interdict to the Holy See would be an interesting event, but at this point I don't think the board members will be doing that -- nor will there be a civil action to compel Archbishop Burke to lift the interdict.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:08 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
This is going to sound harsh, but I look at it as a waste of money

Deadline set in archdiocese [Portland OR] abuse lawsuits: AP

Those intending to file a sexual abuse claim against the Archdiocese of Portland must do so by April 29.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris approved the deadline in a court order issued Monday.

Faced with a $135 million jury trial set to begin July 6, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, becoming the nation's first diocese to do so. The archdiocese faces $534 million in pending claims from 72 individual plaintiffs, according to a bankruptcy court filing.

The archdiocese will conduct a $300,000 notification program to alert potential claimants to the deadline, said Bud Bunce, spokesman for the archdiocese...

A support group of clergy sex-abuse survivors criticized the program. "This is going to sound harsh, but I look at it as a waste of money," said Bill Crane, regional director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Crane opposes any deadline for claims.

Check out the photo of Portland OR Archbishop John G. Vlazny. The circulation of this photo in conjunction with stories like this cannot be good for the image.

If the Archdiocese didn't follow the letter of the law with respect to the "Notice of Deadline", there'd be more problems down the road. In this respect, it's not a waste of money. It's all part of the consequences of deciding to go bankrupt. A great deal of money goes to the lawyers and others that is not directly intended.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
(Rant mode on) Get over it

What's with the media obsession with the first four hours of the president's public response to the tsunami?

Why do talk radio hosts think this merits more debate with the anti-Bush partisans?

I'm turning the radio off when this subject comes up again. ugh... Ingraham, Hannity, Limbaugh...

We're doing the right thing now. Find something else to talk about. (Rant mode off)

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Churches Move Around and Around
Church for Sale: WSJ (paid subs. reqd.)

The congregation of Washington Square United Methodist Church is selling its church and an attached four-story townhouse in New York's Greenwich Village, its home for the last 144 years.

The asking price: $13 million, or a little more than $810 a square foot.

The church building, constructed in 1860 of marble, and the attached 6,000- square-foot brownstone townhouse, which was built in 1879, together take up more than 80 feet of frontage along West 4th Street, less than a block from Washington Square Park. The church building contains a 5,000-square-foot basement and a 5,000-square-foot worship hall with a 40-foot-high ceiling and stained-glass windows.

"This is a unique offering" given that few properties of this size are up for sale in the area, says James Nelson, a partner at Massey Knakal Realty Services, who is marketing the property on behalf of the church. Because the property is located within a historic district, any changes to the facade of the buildings must be approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which can be a plus for the property, he says. "There's prestige in being in this district, as well as tax benefits for those who preserve the facade of the property," he says.

The Washington Square church is among the latest in a line of religious groups putting their properties on the sale block due to shrinking congregations and the cost of maintaining older buildings. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has been looking to sell off some of its surplus real estate to help solve its money troubles, including legal costs stemming from charges of sexual abuse by its priests.

For the Washington Square church, "the endless parade" of maintenance and repairs needed "were hugely problematic for this size congregation," which has shrunk over the years to about 60 parishioners, says Bryan Hooper, the church's pastor. Instead of putting a bigger chunk of the church's $200,000-a-year budget toward such costs, "the congregation chose to sell the property and use the funds from the sale to begin a new life," he says.

Even before the property officially went on the market, Rev. Hooper received offers ranging from $2 million to $12 million from theater groups, dance companies, arts groups, church groups, condo and retail developers, and even a nightclub owner. "We're interested in getting the best price we can, but would like to see the building utilized in a way that the community sees as respectful," he says.

Rev. Hooper says "we'd like to avoid" the fate of another church in a nearby neighborhood that was sold in the 1980s and converted into a popular dance club called Limelight.

(The Limelight was formerly the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion.)

The above story leaves out an important detail -- where are they going. On their Washington Square United Methodist Chuch website, they inform us that they are moving to the Catholic Center of New York University. It's own Washington Square Park South chapel has been locked up for some time as the campus ministry merged with the local territorial parsh, St. Joseph.

The term used in the article is "rent", but we can be fairly certain that the number of priests and students desiring to attend Catholic Mass will not increase in the near future, so this is likely to make permanent the loss of the this chapel to the Catholic community.

It is not a big loss in my book, although, had I known, I would have photographed the Lego® Jesus and some of the ugly art inside. I assume that it's all be removed already.

Fr. Maguire, O.P. and the lay staff of New York University Catholic Center are terrific Catholics and Mass is celebrated with reverance at St. Joseph's every day. So it is possible to attend NYU and keep the faith.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:57 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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To understand what's going on in Iraq you need to understand that the Sunnis are only 15% of the population

The Yipping of a Small Dog : Mac Johnson : Human Events

Although the Western media generically calls the men who do such things “Iraqi” insurgents, there are precious few involved who are not Sunni Arabs. The Sunni Arab tribes have ruled Iraq since its inception and they see themselves as Iraq’s natural aristocracy, blessed by heaven to rule over the ignorant Shiites and the barbarous Kurds. They were the primary beneficiaries of Saddam’s nepotistic thugarchy. And they seek, with this uprising, to put their hands back on the levers of national power. The only problem with their plan is that they are just 15% of the population of Iraq. The Arab Shiites constitute an overwhelming majority of the country (60%), while the non-Arab Kurds comprise another 20%.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:14 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Married Minister applies to be Catholic Priest: Express-Times
A Bethlehem native has applied to become a married Roman Catholic priest in a Pennsylvania diocese.

The Rev. Eric Bergman has resigned as pastor of an Episcopal church in Scranton, and he will become a priest in the Scranton Catholic Diocese if the Vatican approves.

This process (and I don't know if it has a special name) isn't automatic. Eric Bergman can be received into the Catholic Church, but his ordination in the Episcopal Church is to quote a papal bull on the subject "utterly null and void."

Married priests, as such, are not given an assignent to parishes, I believe the reason given is that it confuses the faithful regarding the requirement of celibacy. I think the real reason is that it would engender jealously on the part celibate cradle-Catholic priests that the ability to be married and serve as a Catholic priests is a bonus given only to non-Catholic priests.

Perhaps the pressure in Scranton is so great that the will fast-track all the Protestant clergy who come to the Catholic Church.

Excellent work in this area is being by the The Coming Home Network

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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More on parents demand that parents live by Catholic doctrine to enroll their students

Los Angeles Times

I like this part of the letter:

"This is not a radical or mean-spirited approach to Catholic education," read the letter. "It is a straightforward assurance to any prospective parent that their child will be taught the fullness of Roman Catholic doctrine."
But Father Martin Benzoni, "released a new policy stating that a child's education comes first and that a family's background ‘does not constitute an absolute obstacle to enrollment in the school.’"

So Father Benzoni, where do parents go when they want their children to be taught the fullness of Roman Catholic doctrine?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:23 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, January 03, 2005
Knowing what to say and when.

The definition I've given my kids of the difference between "smart" and being "wise" is that a smart person knows what to say and he says it, and a wise person knows when to shut up a listen.

There are two things that are circulating now in the old media and the new. You've heard them.

  • The United States is stingy. The value-added of the United Nations is to point this out. Ian Egeland and the United Nations are a few blocks away from my office. I've seen the UN secretariat building on my Number 7 train since I started riding the train to high school in 1967, and I've never seen the UN create goods and services for the world, pay taxes, and protect the freedom on the world.

    The United Nations is an angry, arrogant pan handler -- who shakes a cup and sneers it's for the children.

  • Where was God? The smart person announces "This was a consequence of the disharmony of nature brought about by the sin of Adam and Eve". True, but what a stupid thing to say. Understanding why God allows the good to suffer and the wicked to thrive is not a comfort to the afflicted. People need water and medicine now and not a theology lesson. David Hart writing in Opinion Journal has some insight. Blogger Credit: Amy Welborn

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Sepent Spits Its Venom: Mona Charen
In Rome, the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, accused Israel of refusing to help flood victims in Sri Lanka. The paper scolded that it was time for a radical and dramatic change of perspective among people who are too often preoccupied with making war. Israel, the paper continued, should transcend the "small-minded approach that restricts their horizons" in what "should be a time for unconditional solidarity." The Vatican newspaper was misinformed. In fact, Israel had immediately dispatched a Health Ministry contingent to Thailand, and search and recovery teams to other stricken nations.

Ouch! The CWN retraction/apology didn't catch up with Mona Charen.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Dentists office opens in former Catholic Church: AP
MERNA, Neb. -- Admitting that "nobody likes to go to the dentist," a Nebraska doctor has turned to a church for help.

Dr. Stacy Solomon and her husband have opened a practice in an old Catholic Church in Merna. And those going to get some work done are greeted by the original stained glass windows and angels painted on the walls. There are even pews in the reception area.

Solomon said they chose the place for its size, but didn't want to hide the fact the building recently was a church. In fact, they say people in town even still refer to the building as "the church."

One major change is its new hours. The building isn't open on Sundays.

As last it wasn't sold to be a nightclub.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:59 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Early Contender for the Slippery Slope Award for 2005

Parents Angry That Children Of Gay Couple Admitted To School: AP

Superintendent Says If Boys Barred, Other Students Would Be Too

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- A group of parents and parishioners are accusing the Orange County diocese of violating church doctrine by allowing a gay couple to enroll their children in a Catholic school.

The group has demanded that Saint John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa accept only families that pledge to abide by Catholic teachings. That would likely bar the men's two adopted boys from attending the school's kindergarten because of church opposition to relationships and adoption by same-sex couples.

School officials have rejected the group's demands and issued a new policy stating that a family's background "does not constitute an absolute obstacle to enrollment in the school."

The Rev. Gerald M. Horan, superintendent of diocese schools, said that if Catholic beliefs were strictly adhered to, then children whose parents divorced, used birth control or married outside the church would also have to be banned.

"This is the quagmire that the parents' position represents," he said. "It's a slippery slope to go down."

Some parents backed the school's position, according to the Monterey Herald.

''Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,'' said Katie Flores, whose daughter is a classmate of the boys.

The Herald reported that the group of parents planned to continue pressing their demands.

''We're taking a stand for the faith,'' said parent Ken Stashik. ''This is much larger than what's going on in a small Catholic school in a small town.''

Rev. Gerald M. Horan is too clever by half. I don't know if there's an existing policy in place to admit only students whose parents "pledge to abide by Catholic teachings", but it would be a good one to have. He blends in a lot: divorce (which he should know is not itself sinful), "birth control" which is a sin but is not manifest, or being "married outside the Church" which may be sinful or not depending on circumstances. But what makes the story blogworthy is the appeal to the slippery slope, saying, in effect, perhaps I could stop the child related to these homosexual men from being enrolled, but for the sake of consistency I would have to do x.

Recently this consistency argument was made to block The Salvation Army from making its solicitation in front of Target. Here there's a slippery slope that's inverted: by insisting on pledge to following Catholic moral teaching, we'd be going "down" not up.

He's lost his sense of direction.

As readers of the news (and especially this blog) know that there's an agenda here we can anticipate: the child (or children) will either be teased by the other children and become a victim, or when presented in class with the Church teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman then sparks will fly -- as incidentally they do in any class -- where marriage is presented as ending in death and not divorce or that abortion is a great moral evil and a mortal sin.

Homosexuality and eligibility of homosexuals to adopt children can't be all that bad if they let these kids attend St. John the Baptist.

I wonder if kindergarden pupil parent Katie Flores read the Gospel beyond Let he who is without sin cast the first stone to read the admonition of Jesus Go, and sin no more.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, January 02, 2005
Back from my road trip to return my son to Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh.

and maybe I will have time to blog later.

Happy New Year 2005.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:42 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com