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Saturday, January 15, 2005
I thought the point of justice was to put the bad guys in jail

no it's not: show me the money!

Three men dismiss abuse lawsuits against individual priests: AP

Davenport IA: Three men who settled lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests in the Davenport Catholic Diocese have decided to drop their cases against the individual priests.

Their attorney says the three men want to try to move on with their lives instead of pursuing the lawsuits.

He says the men did not think that the mental distress to them in continuing the litigation would be worth the benefit of proceeding to a trial.

All three men are from Fort Madison but identified in court papers only as John Does.

The dismissals were part of court filings that dismissed the diocese, but not the priests, from lawsuits after a 9 (m) million-dollar settlement reached with 37 people who claimed abuse.

Civil lawsuits against four priests continue. The priests have denied the allegations.

Yes, I know its a story, you've see a million times before. The diocese handed over the money and it is relieved of any further disclosures, depositions, and discovery

Where's the justice in dropping the criminal charges?

It looks to me like the plantiff's attorney didn't money in the criminal case -- so let's drop that and let the civil cases continue. Let's move on with our lives, but only after we get another opportunity to obtain more money in civil cases.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, January 14, 2005
From the Dallas Morning News Blog

Rod Dreher asked "Is Iraqi democracy possible?"

Introducing this question, he quotes Spengler (opinion writer for the Asia Times)

I do not oppose democratization in principle, but I doubt that it will occur in Iraq. Democracy requires that each citizen trust in the fairness of a remote legislature, whose decisions will be binding upon him, his family, his tribe and his region...

I wrote in answer to Rod's question:

Give Democracy a chance

It’s not just limited to the United States or the English-speaking world. Democracy took root in the defeated axis countries: Italy, Germany, and Japan. It’s healthy in places as diverse as South America and Asia.

I think people opposed to the war want to set the bar for success impossibly high, that the leaders of Iraq resemble our own Washington, Adams, Jefferson, etc. Recall that even Washington with all his popularity has his own insurgency to deal with: the Whiskey Rebellion.

A "good enough" result is fine for me; it might not be for everyone in the US. But it's their country and I won’t call the liberation of Iraq a failure if it retains a distinctly Islamic attitude hostile to American cultural values but becomes a functional democracy (government by consent, the rule of law, minorities retain rights, etc.)

My answer along with several others got into the blog.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:34 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Dawn Eden: Planned Parenthood Warns Parents Over Video Games

Among all the hypocrisy that Dawn uncovers in the Culture of Death, she's discovered that Planned Parenthood has a sperm-killing videogame.

The graphics in the game Birthcontroids are just too strange to comment on. See it for yourself.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:25 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Former altar boy accuses church officials of recklessness: AP
A former altar boy who says he was molested by a priest is accusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport of recklessness, citing new evidence obtained as his lawsuit heads to trial.

New York Cardinal Edward Egan, who will testify in a deposition in the case later this month, is likely to provide further support for the new reckless claim, according to the attorney for the former altar boy. Egan is scheduled testify on Jan. 27, just days before the trial starts.

"Plaintiff has just learned of critical evidence that now supports a recklessness claim against the diocese," lawyer Paul Slager wrote in court documents.

The plaintiff, known in court documents as John Doe, claims he was molested by the Rev. John Castaldo in the early 1990s when Castaldo was a priest at St. Teresa Church in Trumbull.

The recklessness accusation, which is in addition to allegations of negligence, does not provide details of the new evidence but said it comes from recent depositions of three priests and a new witness. One of the priests dismissed Castaldo from the seminary.

The evidence shows the diocese knew the risk of sexual abuse posed by some priests, including Castaldo, Slager argues.

Joseph McAleer, spokesman for the diocese, declined to comment.

Slager says Egan, when he was the Bridgeport bishop, ignored disturbing psychological reports on Castaldo. Egan also knew that Castaldo had been dismissed from the seminary "for erratic and rebellious behavior," according to court papers.

Castaldo gave a deposition in which he said he was dismissed from the seminary because of his complaints that as many as 15 seminarians engaged in "sordid behavior," including homosexual acts, court papers state.

Attorneys for the diocese have said the psychological reports should not be admitted as evidence during the trial, arguing the information is not related to potential sexual abuse of minors.

"There was no indication whatsoever that this priest was engaging in any kind of inappropriate behavior," Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said earlier this week.

Castaldo was a spiritual adviser to Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford and a priest at St. Maurice Parish in Stamford in the late 1990s. He was removed from both posts in May 2001 after he was arrested on charges of engaging in a sexually explicit online chat with someone he believed was a 14-year-old boy.

Castaldo pleaded guilty in 2001 to a felony charge of attempted dissemination of indecent material to a minor and was sentenced to one weekend in jail and five years of probation.

When it comes to arguing that these psychological reports are not related, I'd say that's a matter for a judge and a jury to decide.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:03 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, January 13, 2005
Men Just Want Mommy: Maureen Dowd
A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."

I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with the young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.

Thrice-divorced just-turned-53 Rush Limbaugh commented on this columnist whom I avoid. I read the column and realized that Rush had missed it. The key to understanding this column.

Dowd who according to her online biographies is silent on whether she's ever been married. In a column like this, you're a human being and a woman, talking about human relationships, what's is her own opinion on this? She doesn't say. She generalizes that men want mommies, but what do women want? What does she want?

I'm MoDo's age, and I'll generalize here: I've met women our age who likely parallel her own experience - unmarried or married for a short time and childless.

Some regret they didn't spend more time finding a husband. Some are resigned to the fact that there wasn't a man good enough for them or children good enough for them. It's a type of objectification - a term of art for which we have feminists to thank. The extreme version of this is reflected in fatherless mothers by choice like Elizabeth Hurley. Women who love children but don't understand or don't accept that children need fathers.

Isn't there a tone of pride in asking why the very beautiful actress can't get what "personal assistants or P.R. women" get? Doesn't appearance and money entitle you to anything that makes you happy?

Read The Immutable Laws of Maureen Dowd by Josh Chafetz from 10/2002.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Abortion, baseball bats, hypocrites: Doug Patton
So much ado about nothing. I refer to the case of the two Michigan teenagers who did exactly what society and their parents have taught them to do.

When their hormones raged, society told them to follow their passions and indulge in sexual experimentation.

When that led to pregnancy, these two 16-year-olds once again followed the logical steps prescribed by society.

They destroyed the baby.

The fact that they chose to do it themselves with a baseball bat hardly seems relevant to the issue, but apparently, it is. The boy has been charged with a crime under Michigan law. It seems that such activity is illegal in Michigan.

Of course, in this case, the girl willingly conspired to having her womb beaten with the bat by her boyfriend over a period of weeks in order to do what a doctor could have done without penalty of anything.

But she cannot be charged with a crime, because to do so would be to admit that a woman can, in fact, be held accountable for destroying her unborn baby, and we can’t have that, now can we?

The grandfather of the unborn baby defends the actions of his son, the child's killer as well as the mother's father.

"These kids are very good kids ... in their minds, there was complete hopelessness," the boy's father said. "I don't believe it should be a stepping-stone for a new prosecutor, by any means. I think the charges here are wrong. They should be helping the kids, educating the public and maybe changing the law to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The girl's father added: "This is a very tragic situation. Two very good children thought the one thing they couldn't come to us with was this pregnancy.

The headline from the Detroit News is disgusting. Dads blast prosecutor in fetus case Yeah, everything would be just fine if the prosecutor just pretended this didn't happen.

Helping the kids? How can you help them anymore than to give them free - no questions asked - we don't tell anyone - abortions.

None of the stories from the families contain a hint that something evil happened here. It's kind of chilling. Even in the Brian Peterson/Amy Grossberg newborn murder from the 1990's the families were full of regret.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I knew Nazis, and Prince Harry, you're no Nazi
A copy picture of the front page of The Sun newspaper on January 13, 2005 shows a photograph of Britain's Prince Harry wearing a red and black swastika armband and an army shirt with Nazi regalia at a friend's party at an unidentified location which he attended on January 8, 2005. Prince Harry apologized on Thursday after he wore a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party two weeks before Queen Elizabeth is due to lead the country's holocaust memorial events I suggest that at the next costume party Prince Harry come dressed as concentration camp survivor.
In other news, Winston Churchill's body was observed spinning in his grave.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:48 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Praising EWTN

Running this week with excellent coverage of the tsunami aftermath.

A great series on Pope Pius XII has started.

But why do they use a female announcer with a phony upper-class British accent to introduce programs and prayers? Is she, like Madonna, from Detroit and wants to sound impressive to us colonists?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:47 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Lay Members Help Ease a Crisis in Catholic Orders: New York Times. This is a reblog from Amy Welborn . Normally, I'd enter comments there but I think my comments would stir things up there and I'm reluctant to increase her load for comment moderation.

A variant of a medieval tradition of third orders, associates generally go through some of the education and prayer requirements of fully vowed members and contribute to the order's mission, like education or charitable works, in a serious but scaled-down fashion. They do it all, however, from the outside: remaining in their own station in life, often married, owning a home and working for a living in the secular world.

Associate programs began showing up in a meaningful way more than three decades ago, after the Second Vatican Council called for less formality in the church and a greater role for lay members.

People involved with these programs sometimes use their affiliation with these orders as an excuse to not get involved in parish and diocesean work done in cooperation with priests and religious in their own neighborhood. It's sort of a spiritual opt-out. Now, I'm sure hundreds or thousands of miles away the Abbott/Abbess General/Master wants their associates/oblates/third order members to be cathechists, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, school volunteers, etc. but my annectdotal evidence is that some have used this affiliation to turn their back on local needs.

The comments on the blog are instructive. This comment from Fr Matthew K struck a nerve:

The rapid growth of associates/oblates/third orders is inversely proportionate to the demands it makes. In other words, there's a lotta wannabes out there. And a lotta folks who like to buy products made by monks or nuns. But not so many who will make the actual vow.
This opinion, obviously true at least me, was later called disparagment. Others insisted that Catholic female religious could be called "monks". Entering Catholic female monk in Google took me to the innocent-sounding Prayer Foundation I could call it feminist nonsense, but that would be unfair to true feminists.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Parents drop harassment complaint against nun: Asbury Park Press
The father of a former sixth-grader at St. Cecelia's School in Iselin who accused a nun of threatening his son dropped the complaint against her yesterday in Woodbridge Municipal Court.

Sister Catherine Iacouzze, 69, walked out of the court and into the arms of supporters after the brief morning hearing.

She issued a terse statement to reporters: "Being a woman of faith, I firmly believed that in the end truth would triumph over treachery."

In November, Louis Faccone, father of the 11-year-old boy, filed a citizen's complaint against Sister Iacouzze, alleging that she told the boy he would "have no teeth left in his mouth if he had an attitude with her again."

The complaint alleges the incident occurred at the school Nov. 11 during school hours. Sister Iacouzze was accused of harassment, a disorderly persons offense.

She was dismissed from her job as math teacher, disciplinarian, guidance counselor and assistant principal Dec. 7 after the Diocese of Metuchen investigated the allegations, said Joanne Ward, spokeswoman for the diocese.

It will be interesting to see if she takes legal action against the school for her firing, or if this is the end of the story.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Inserted a list of recently updated blogs here.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Devil of a beating for Queens Satanist: New York Post
A proud Church of Satan member got a hellish beating during an alleged bias attack in Queens, authorities said yesterday.

This happened less that a mile from where I live.

The attack is wrong and the attackers should be prosecuted. There's no justification for violence like this. My condemnation of this attack is total and unequivocal and it would be so regardless of the religious affiliations of the attackers and victim.

But there's some strange things about this story: what's the connection between the victim (Romano) and his two alleged attackers (Rotandi and Scarpinito)? Why would Romano be in a position to boast to Rotandi and Scarpinito the following:

he was a devil worshipper and belonged to the Church of Satan
One attacker comes from Howard Beach and another from Ridgewood -- neither neighborhood is on the boundary of Middle Village. Howard Beach is 5 1/2 miles away.

It will be interesting to learn if the alleged attackers will claim a justification for their beating of Romano.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:58 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Follow-up on the comments of Pio Laghi

Mystery Achievement shows how these anti-Bush/anti-US comments point to the Euro-centric nature of the Vatican.

Damian in E-nough! reveals how the quotations of the Pope are incomplete. They omit his condemnation of terrorism.

...[AP reported] Mr. D'Emilio has not reported the Pope's sentiments but his own hobbyhorse. But whereas the Pope is a recognized moral authority, Mr. D'Emilio, well, he is an AP reporter, which puts him somewhere at the opposite end of the spectrum...

Before the war, I caught a newspaper running a story under a "New York Times Service" byline which had run a story word-for-word identical to the story which the Times itself ran except for three words: they changed the source of a quotation from Archbishop Renato Martino to the Holy Father to give extra authority to a condemnation of the United States.

For debate on this see Amy Welborn's Open Book I'm sorry I don't have time to get into middle of the fray now.

The Catholic World News Service has covered this as well.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:41 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Now Reading

Steven Dubner, a Catholic, decided to convert to Judaism and approached Cardinal O'Connor to help his parents understand his decision.

Turbulent Souls is the story of his family.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:36 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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New Blog Annoucements

Catholic Church Conservation has interesting bits on information on the the status of former Catholic Churches and their furnishings.

St. Blog's Prayer Network a place to see prayer requests from Catholic bloggers and to share prayer intentions.

A frequently asked question in email is How do I join the St. Blogs Web-Ring? Go to The St. Blogs Webring join page. and enter your information.

Why should I join the St. Blog's Webring? You will be joining about 400 web sites that have identified themselves as Catholic blogs. If you join, you will get traffic and if you update your blog often, you will get a lot of traffic.

Is Patrick Sweeney the administrator? No, Kathryn Lively is.

What is Patrick Sweeney's connection? I have written some applications that look at the HTML blogs and produce a list of what's been updated recently. You are welcome to link to that page from your own blog. I also have several XML lists of blogs.

For blogs that have RSS feeds I have lists that are ready to plug into RSS Aggregators.

So if you are a blog/XML/RSS/news syndication geek and you want some St. Blogs information, email me. Read What is RSS on XML.com for an introduction.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, January 10, 2005
Cardinal Says Bush Broke Iraq "Promise" : AP
The Italian cardinal sent by Pope John Paul II last year to try to dissuade President Bush from invading Iraq said Monday the president promised that the U.S. operation would be "quick."

Cardinal Pio Laghi visited [President] Bush at the White House on March 5, 2003, to relay the pope's position that dialogue, not arms, should be used to resolve the crisis over Iraq, which the United States accused of harboring weapons of mass destruction.

"When I went to Washington as the pope's envoy just before the outbreak of the war in Iraq, he (Bush) told me: `Don't worry, your eminence. We'll be quick and do well in Iraq,"' Laghi told Italian Catholic TV station Telepace, which was broadcasting the pontiff's annual address to diplomats.

Here's a diplomat who violates a cardinal rule of diplomacy, to keep private conversations private.

How are we to judge this "Don't worry" statement, anyway? It doesn't match any of the public statements of the President or the members of the administration who said that there could be a prolonged war.

What is this "promise"? How is Cardinal Laghi in the position to accept a "promise" from the President of the United States, exactly what is this "promise" being exchanged for?

Would the Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli want to compare the broken promises of Saddam Hussein given to the United Nations to the broken promises of President Bush?

Dialog accomplished nothing in Iraq except increasing the wealth of particpants in the "Oil for Weapons, Palaces, and Corruption" program.

Now dialog is accomplishing nothing in Iran which continues to develop nuclear weapons, nuclear material for them, and missile technology to deliver the weapons.

And speaking of promises, what's been exchanged between Father Jean-Marie Benjamin and Tariq Aziz (or as he was born and baptized Michael Yuhanna)?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:56 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, January 09, 2005
Cardinal regrets remarks comparing abortion with holocaust: Deutsche Welle
A German cardinal on Saturday said he regretted comparing abortion to the genocides carried out by Hitler and Stalin, which sparked a public outcry here, and claimed to have been misunderstood.

"I regret that it has got to this pitch," the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, said, stressing that he would never have made such a comparison if he had thought it could have been open to misinterpretation.

During a sermon in the city's cathedral on Thursday, the cardinal declared: "First there was Herod, who ordered the children of Bethlehem to be killed, then there was Hitler and Stalin among others, and today unborn children are being killed in their millions."

On Friday, the co-president of the Greens party, which is in coalition with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats, demanded an apology from Meisner.

"He must apologize to those he has offended," said Claudia Roth.

My first impression is that I'm disappointed that the Cardinal didn't stand by his remarks and there's no evidence of a pro-life movement behind the Cardinal in Germany.

Abortion is the murder of unborn children and when a Cardinal says it (which is a surprise in itself), he's pressured by the pro-aborts to recant.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:05 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Shaken, not stirred: A Catholic bishop on the Tsunami

When Faith is Tested: Wall Street Journal (WSJ is paid subs. only, this link is the Naples News which had free reg. reqd.)

The aid worker wanted an explanation for the death and destruction he was witnessing, and the bishop was speechless.

"How can a loving God allow this to happen?" asked Alex Balasanthiran. Since the deadly tsunami hit that killed nearly 30,000 Sri Lankans the day after Christmas, Mr. Balasanthiran has been arranging food, water and shelter for communities across his native island country. In the northeastern Sri Lankan city of Batticaloa, where 2,600 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were left homeless, he had come to the home of the Most Rev. Joseph Kingsley Swampillai in search of an answer. "The disaster has shaken my faith ," the 60-year-old Roman Catholic said.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:54 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Amber Alert for God: continued

New York Observer: Disaster Ignites Debate: ‘Was God In the Tsunami?’

“Was God in the Tsunami?” I woke up to that question in my Yahoo inbox four days after the waves struck, a posting from Beliefnet, a popular discussion list I subscribe to. It was the morning when the death-toll estimates had gone into six figures for the first time. It would be interesting to calculate the number of deaths from a catastrophe that trigger the moment when people start asking "Where was God?" questions. But it seemed to me that morning marked the beginning. It was a week that would end with the Archbishop of Canterbury himself declaring that he had doubts about God.

As surely as the tsunami followed the earthquake, the questions–the perennial, never–satisfactorily–resolved questions–of theodicy followed the tsunami. Theodicy, of course, is the subdiscipline of theology devoted to the attempt to reconcile the idea of an all-powerful, just and loving God who intervenes in history—the God most Western religions believe in—with the recurrence of catastrophic slaughter from "natural" causes such as tsunamis and man-made evils such as genocides.

The same morning “Was God in the Tsunami?” arrived in my inbox, I checked on my favorite Web site, Arts and Letters Daily (aldaily.com), which links to the most notable essays and reviews of the day, and found a box that linked to no less than four articles with headlines such as "Faiths Ask of Quake: ‘Why Did You Do This, God?’" and "To God, An Age Old Question." It was just the beginning.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com