Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pope Encourages Catholics To Have Large Families

Boethius, guest blogging at FUMARE, notes that the Holy Father has given Catholics - the married ones, that is - the green light to, as Boethius puts it, "multiply".

Here are a couple of stories on the Pope's words of encouragement:
Pope tells Catholics to multiply

Pope Encourages Catholics to Have Large Families, Citing “Demographic Deficit”

Just Wondering ...

... why I received a hit from a site with the following url:
On second thought, I don't think I want to know.

C-Span Host: Religious Southerners = Terrorists

(Hat tip: Laura Ingraham)

Hosting C-Span's "Afterwords" program, in which she interviewed former University of Pennsylvania President Sheldon Hackney, Janet Cohen [wife of former Senator and Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen (RINO-Maine)], said:
"I'm seeing parallels between what's going on now as we look at life and our world after 9/11. You talk about an overly religious group, you talk about people who resist modernity, and have a desire to oppress other people... I'm not accusing the South of being terrorists, although that culture has terrorized a race of people historically... How do we reconcile the very enemy we're fighting whose traits are very similar to our own."
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Another northeastern RINO (or at least the wife of one) who still can't get over the fact that the yacht club (a.k.a. the Republican Party before Reagan) has been overrun by Southern yahoos in jon boats.

I've updated the title so that it is clear that the views expressed therein belong to the elitist C-Span host and not to yours truly.

Bishop Wuerl: Bishops Should Consult One Another Before Speaking On National Issues Like Kerry And Communion

(Hat tip: Catholic World News)

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Concerned about open divisiveness, Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh has proposed that his fellow U.S. Catholic bishops consult one another before speaking out on divisive national issues -- particularly whether prominent Catholic politicians who support legal abortion should be denied communion.

Though couched in polite, theological language, Wuerl's proposal is an attempt to muffle loose cannons in the hierarchy. The proposal appeared in the Pittsburgh Catholic and was carried nationally through Catholic News Service.

"The issue of a national politician's reception of Holy Communion and public stance on moral issues is a concern that affects not just the local church wherein the politician lives, but also considerably affects the church throughout the nation, as was evidenced in last year's election and the controversy surrounding Sen. John Kerry," Wuerl wrote.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
"Muffle loose cannons in the hierarchy"? Are these Bishop Wuerl's words, or do they belong to the author of this piece?

Is "loose cannon" the new code phrase for "orthodox bishops doing the job the successors to the apostles are supposed to be doing"? Does "loose cannon" apply only to bishops like Archbishop Burke who seek to uphold the Church's teachings, or is it equally applicable to the likes of Cardinal Mahony?

Maybe Bishop Wuerl needs to stop worrying about the "loose cannons" and start worrying about how loosely the bishops follow this canon:

Courtesy of Zach Brissett at In Toon With The World. I've been using quite a bit of his work lately on this blog. Thanks to Zach for his willingness to make his fine cartoons available to other bloggers.

(ht: Amy Welborn)

Bishop Wuerl in his own words, writing in the Pittsburgh Catholic. I note that he doesn't use the words "loose cannon", but I still wonder whether those words were used in "speaking on background" to the author of the piece linked above.

At any rate, Bishop Wuerl's piece is quite lengthy and full of "bishop-speak" of the AmChurch variety, so feel free to just substitute "Blah-blah-blah". To read what a bishop should be saying, go back and read this post on Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix.

(also posted in Comments at Unam Sanctum)

Don't forget that the Kerrys have a home in Pittsburgh (actually, it's Tah-ray-zah's primary residence).

So, Wuerl may have an ulterior motive here to protect himself against having to make the decision regarding Communion on his own - especially if Kerry decides to seek the presidency again.

It's All Bush's (and Barbour's) Fault

Hurricane Katrina may not be some plot hatched by Karl Rove to distract attention away from Iraq and the Sheehan protest, as some have [tongue-in-cheek] suggested, but it is all President Bush's and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's fault, at least according to some German socialist nobody ever heard of and some American socialist living off his daddy's name.

Rule of thumb: whatever is wrong in the world, it's always "Bush's fault".

UPDATE (9/1/2005):
Hey liberals, give the politics a rest - at least for a few days. This should be a time for coming together in aid of the victims of this disaster. There'll be plenty of time for the blame game and political recriminations later.

I view those on the right or the left who would, at this point in time, seek to use this catastrophe to score partisan political points or to push an agenda as little better than those who are using this catastrophe as an opportunity to "score" a TV gratis from Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Horrific Humor"

Apparently, The Catholic Conservative likes "The Swimmer" pic that I have posted here occasionally (actually, that I have posted anytime I blog anything about Teddy "the Swimmer" Kennedy, which is about once a week).

Eh, what the heck ... let's post it again!

Poll: Fewer See Dems As Religion-Friendly

From the Associated Press via Yahoo:

WASHINGTON - Democrats' efforts to improve their image with religious voters after the 2004 presidential election appear to be getting off to a bumpy start.

Fewer people see Democrats as friendly to religion now than felt that way a year ago, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

That number has dropped from 40 percent in August 2004 who thought the Democrats were friendly to religion to 29 percent now.

"The change is seen across all groups," said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, which conducted the poll for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Other than attempts at "marketing" themselves as religion-friendly, what has changed with respect to the Democrats' attitude toward religion? Just look at how they continue to try to make an issue of the religious beliefs of judicial nominees.

People can see through the B.S. the Dems are trying to peddle under the guise of "religious talk", especially in light of the continued overt hostility toward people of faith in the public arena.


Please PRAY for the people and city of New Orleans. Apparently, the situation there is worsening.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, patroness of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans, pray for those who have placed themselves under your protection and patronage in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. AMEN.

Too Much Religion On NPR?

The Curt Jester reports on a rather ironic turn of events at NPR: NPR's admittedly increased coverage of things religious and its listeners objections thereto.

The mail from listeners complaining about the religion coverage is filled with irony, which will be easily recognizable to anyone who has listened to NPR and noticed [i.e. been slapped across the face with] its cultural bias against people of faith.

Pro-Life Former Senator Helms Slams Pro-Abort Former Governor Weld In Memoirs

(Hat tip: FreeRepublic)

From the Boston Herald:
Conservative former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms in his newly published memoir boasts of slapping down former Bay State Gov. William F. Weld's Mexico ambassadorship and accuses him of abandoning his Massachusetts duties.

Weld "resigned the position to which the people of Massachusetts elected him and took up a public-relations war centered on attacking me – as if no one had done that before,'' the North Carolina Republican writes in "Here's Where I Stand.''

Helms, whose memoir hits bookstores today, delights in his single-handed denial of the Weld ambassadorship in 1997 – and in outwitting Weld, now running for New York governor.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Okay, so the article has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. But the fact remains that Jesse Helms of North Carolina was one of the most solidly Pro-Life Senators in the history of the United States Senate.

And I remember clearly the media showboating and political grandstanding of then-Massachusetts Governor William Weld at the 1996 Republican National Convention, as he and other Northeastern RINOs like Christie Todd Whitman et al tried to remove the Pro-Life planks from the Republican Platform.

So, I'm glad to see that ol' Jesse gave RINO Weld his political come-uppance by denying him his coveted ambassadorship to Mexico. To paraphrase what one poster on FreeRepublic said: William Weld ain't nuthin' but a Northeastern pro-abortion blue-blood RINO who got a good-old-fashioned backcountry @$$-whippin' from country boy Jesse Helms.

Catholic Judges, the U.S. Constitution and Natural Law

(Hat tip: Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice)

Zenit News Service has posted an interview conducted with Pepperdine University law professor Douglas Kmiec regarding the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court:
MALIBU, California, AUG. 29, 2005 ( The nomination of Judge John Roberts, a Catholic, to the U.S. Supreme Court has turned the spotlight on the question of the interplay between religion and the law.

Douglas Kmiec, the Caruso Family chair and professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University of Law and co-author of "The American Constitutional Order: History, Cases and Philosophy" (LexisNexis), shared with ZENIT the appropriateness of the U.S. bishops' involvement in the confirmation process, as well as the importance of the natural law tradition for prospective Supreme Court justices.

Q: What role should a judge's faith and moral beliefs play in his or her role as a nonpartisan adjudicator?

Kmiec: The Constitution puts religious belief off-limits for selection or qualification. It states in Article VI: "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Religious belief is necessarily off-limits in adjudication.

Q: Can a Catholic judge in good conscience strike down laws restricting abortion that he or she believes are unconstitutional? What about applying unjust laws? What should a judge do in the case of a moral conflict?

Kmiec: As a matter of formal logic, it must be readily admitted that no person in or out of office can set himself or herself above the divine law. Yet, repeatedly and circumspectly, the Church's teaching is directed at "elected officials" or those casting "a legislative vote."

So neither John Kerry nor Ted Kennedy, for example, should feign surprise when they are called upon by the Church to use their persuasive gifts to legislatively reduce the incidence of abortion, and certainly not to be its propagandists.

So, too, it was entirely appropriate for Bishop Skylstad to write President Bush, an elected official, to urge policies that coincide with not only Catholic belief, but also -- when one examines the policies discussed in his letter -- truly universal manifestations of love of neighbor.

Nowhere, however, does the Church formally instruct judges to act outside the bounds of their judicial office to legislate from the bench. The Church exhibits great respect for the separation of powers, even as the justices themselves have been less than faithfully observant of this constitutional building-block.

Here, the Church is following in the instruction of St. Thomas Aquinas, who argued "that all should have some part in the government; for in this way peace is preserved among the people, and all are pleased with such a disposition of things and maintain it."

Of course, for over 30 years there has been great displeasure over Roe v. Wade for, among other reasons, its dishonoring of the democratic choices of the people.

So, while Church leaders are well within their rights as citizens to point out in public statement or amicus brief how they believe that a proper understanding of law does not support abortion on demand, a Catholic judge may be part of a judicial system that includes Roe.

In ruling on such matters, a judge does not become morally complicit in the underlying act or share in its intent. If the question is: Does John Roberts have a specific Catholic duty on the bench to restrain abortion? -- Justice Scalia has given the apt answer: "A judge ... bears no moral guilt for the laws society has failed to enact."

In actuality, given its dubious legal origin, the advocates of abortion on demand may be more concerned if the day is nearing when the Supreme Court will return to the separation of powers and follow the law of the Constitution as written -- an obligation binding upon all judges, Catholic or not.

[Full interview]

Kelo Ruling Has Unexpected Effect - It Stalls Projects

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In the fight to save her home from a bulldozer, Kathy Tripp suffered what looked like a major blow in June.

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cities can condemn people's houses for private development. It seemed that a shopping center soon would replace Tripp's Sunset Hills home.

Her loss was supposed to be a gain in Florissant. There, a plan to revive some less-than-holy property near the historic St. Ferdinand Shrine hinged on some extra government muscle to buy land. It got some from the Supreme Court.

But in just two months, the tables quickly have turned. Fueled by a backlash, the Florissant plan was killed - at least for now. Tripp, meanwhile, says her battle has found new life.

Across St. Louis and the nation, the court's controversial June 23 decision initially was viewed as a win for developers and cities - and a crushing blow for small property owners. So far, it hasn't worked out that way.

Instead of running rampant, the use of condemnation has stalled. Two such projects in the St. Louis area have failed. In Sunset Hills and other places, opponents of eminent domain are finding new ammunition and support.

"The Supreme Court did us a tremendous favor," said Tripp, who has lived 22 years in Sunset Hills. "Before the (court) ruling, this kind of thing went on, but nobody knew about it. Now, people are starting to listen to us, thanks to the Supreme Court."

[Full story]
My Comments:
"The Supreme Court did us a tremendous favor ..."

So the Kelo majority of Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg are now actually "heroes" of the property rights movement?

Prosecutors: New Law Could Mean Death Penalty For Abortionists

From the Houston Chronicle:
New law could mean death penalty for doctors
Legislators say that wasn't their intent with the abortion measure


Associated Press

AUSTIN - Texas doctors who perform abortions without parental approval or after the third trimester could face capital murder charges because of a new law that takes effect this week, a prosecutors group says.

The Texas District and County Attorneys Association has outlined that scenario in its new book updating the Texas penal code and in public presentations around the state. The group says such charges could occur under the new law because of the 2003 fetal protection law.

Key legislators said Monday that wasn't their intent.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Sounds to me like this "prosecutors group" is engaging in a little political mischief.

Spokane Diocese To Appeal Bankruptcy Court Decision That Parishes Are Assets

From Catholic News Service:
Diocese to appeal bankruptcy court decision that parishes are assets

By Catholic News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. (CNS) -- Citing the "national consequences," Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane said he will appeal a federal bankruptcy court's ruling that parish properties must be included in the Spokane diocesan assets used to settle millions of dollars in clergy sex abuse claims.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams of Spokane ruled Aug. 26 that civil property laws prevail in a bankruptcy proceeding despite any internal church laws that might bar a bishop from full control over parish assets. Diocesan lawyers had argued that in church law parish assets belong to the parish itself, not to its pastor or to the bishop. They said that, while the diocesan bishop was nominally the owner in civil law, even in civil law he only held those properties in trust for the parishes themselves.

[Full story]
My Comments:
See also my post from last night regarding the Catholic League's response to the bankruptcy court decision.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Catholic League: "Catholic Church Needs To Play Hardball"

Today, the Catholic League issued the following press release:
August 29, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on two developments: a) an article in the September edition of San Francisco magazine attacking former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada and b) a ruling by a federal bankruptcy judge on August 26 that says all church assets belonging to the Spokane diocese are eligible for liquidation in claims made by the victims of sexual abuse. Donohue’s remarks are as follows:

“The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is no longer about the alleged victims—they have had their day in court—it is about the victimization of the Catholic Church. The time has come for the Catholic Church to put the vultures in their place.

“Jason Berry’s savage attack on the former San Francisco Archbishop includes the vicious allegation that Levada ‘worked tirelessly throughout his career to protect sexual predator priests.’ Now if this were true, then Berry—who has made a career out of writing about this subject—would have blown the whistle on Levada long ago. So why didn’t he? Could it be because Levada is a much juicier subject these days (he is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)? What makes this so ugly is the fact that when Levada was auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles in 1985, he was one of the first bishops in the nation to seriously address this issue! In short, what Berry has done is yellow journalism.

“The situation in Spokane is even more outrageous. At a minimum, separation of church and state means that sitting judges have no right to make determinations regarding the organizational chart of the Catholic Church. But that is exactly what’s being done. By declaring all diocesan assets fair game for every steeple-chasing lawyer, a green light has been given to plunder the resources of the Catholic Church. This has gone too far. Bishops would do well not to listen to those who always want to settle and start playing hardball. It’s time to countersue.

“No amount of wrongdoing by some priests can ever justify attempts to subvert the Catholic Church, whether by the media or by the courts.”
My Comments:
"At a minimum, separation of church and state means that sitting judges have no right to make determinations regarding the organizational chart of the Catholic Church. But that is exactly what’s being done. By declaring all diocesan assets fair game for every steeple-chasing lawyer, a green light has been given to plunder the resources of the Catholic Church."

On the one hand, I agree with Donohue that the bankruptcy judge in the Spokane case came to the wrong conclusion in making parish assets and diocesan schools subject to liquidation in order to pay the claims of abuse victims.

On the other hand, it's rather hypocritical to argue that the issue is governed by "separation of church and state" when it was the Catholic Diocese of Spokane that sought out the "interference" of the state in the first place by placing itself within the jurisdiction of the bankrupcty court.

Changes At Fumare

Go check out the changes at Fumare. They've completely redesigned the page layout, as well as added some pictures of famous people engaging in one of my favorite pasttimes - smoking a pipe (like the one of the Gipper, right). Not sure what I think about the change in design, as I really liked the old one. But the new design is one that is likely to grow on me.

Also word from Boethius that he is growing weary of full-time blogging at the excellent Thoughts From Right, but has been invited to begin guest-blogging at Fumare. Best of luck to all involved in the changes taking place on both of these fine blogs.

New Masthead Image: "More Family Portrait"

You may have noticed that I have updated my masthead by including an image of St. Thomas More and his family painted by Hans Holbein. I found this portrait at the Center for Thomas More Studies website.

I have included this portrait not only to add a little color to this blog, but also because, given St. Thomas More's devotion to his Church, his family, and his civic responsibilities, I think it particularly appropriate for a blog titled Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate.

Bishop Thomas Olmstead: "Church Must Defend Its Basic Beliefs Against All"

From The Arizona Republic:
... The right to life is indeed an inalienable one. To stand up for the dignity of every person, then, and to speak out against intrinsic evils such as abortion, euthanasia, racism and sexual acts outside of marriage is a service that God requires of us on behalf of all persons, not only members of our own faith.

To do this by actions as well as by words underlines the seriousness of these teachings and the depths of our convictions. One such action is to prohibit the giving of honors or the provision of a platform in Catholic institutions for those who support actions contrary to these core moral principles.

I trust that this position is not that difficult to understand. Why would we honor or give a platform to someone who radically disagrees with our fundamental teachings? We should instead be criticized if we allowed such things to happen.

This does not mean that we will cease praying for public officials or end our efforts to be in conversation with them and others about these and similar matters.

In fact, the continuity of such conversations is vitally important, precisely because of the serious ramifications of them. There are a variety of appropriate forums for this dialogue to occur, beyond public events at church facilities.

For the Catholic Church to back up its teaching through actions directed at public officials is not something new.

I think for example of the time in 1962 in New Orleans, when Archbishop Joseph Rummel excommunicated Judge Leander Perez when the judge tried to block the desegregation of the Catholic school system.

Was this bishop imposing his sectarian views on a public official? Was he meddling in politics or impeding freedom? Or was he defending the human dignity of all children, no matter the color of their skin?


Catholics In Public Office: Keeping Nominees' Faith In Perspective

From Catholic News Service:
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Both supporters and detractors of Judge John Roberts' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court have walked a delicate line that seems to surface only when a nominee -- whether for the judiciary, a political post or high elected office -- is Catholic.

The line lies between when it is and isn't OK to bring up someone's religion in the context of their suitability for service at high levels of the government. The line shifts, depending on who is raising the subject and why.

Identifying a nominee as a Catholic is sometimes a way of signaling certain assumptions about his or her positions on issues including abortion. Others emphasize the religion of Catholic nominees or politicians as a way of drawing attention to what some people see as a failure to live up to church teachings.

[Full story]

Is Stare Decisis A Sufficient Reason For A Catholic Supreme Court Justice To Uphold Roe v. Wade?

Head over to Mirror of Justice to read the discussion between Thomas Berg and Rick Garnett regarding whether John Roberts, as a Supreme Court Justice, "might well face a conflict between his judgment about Roe/Casey as stare decisis versus his Catholic conscience."

Very interesting.

For my part, I think stare decisis is an insufficient basis for a Catholic Supreme Court Justice to vote to uphold decisions as clearly immoral (not to mention extra-Constitutional) as Roe v. Wade and its progeny.

The basis for my opinion, however, is NOT a Natural Law one, but rather is premised on the fact that the Constitution of the United States clearly DOES NOT mandate that abortion be legal. Stare decisis is more of a "prudential" rule of judicial construction rather than a mandatory one - voting to uphold a decision out of respect for precedent is not required, especially where the precedent was wrongly decided under the Constitution. But, for Judge Roberts as a Catholic, not only was Roe v. Wade wrongly decided under the Constitution, he has to deal with the additional issue of that decision being a clearly immoral one.

Were Judge Roberts to vote, solely out of a "respect for precedent", to uphold a decision that he knows is not mandated by the Constitution, and that he also knows to be out of step with the teachings of his Church, that would, in my view, constitute a formal cooperation with a grave evil.

One Reason I No Longer Practice Law: Quality Family Time

Thanks to Zach Brissett at In Toon With The World

Friday, August 26, 2005

Walking Across America To Save The Unborn

Thanks to a reader for providing me with the following link:
Crossroads - Taking steps to save lives.

Blue State Hypocrisy

Gregory Popcak at Heart, Mind and Strength makes an excellent point:
Back when cultural conservatives were fighting for Terri Schiavo's life, lifestyle liberals were livid, accusing the right of "politicizing a family's private anguish."

I've been wondering when I would start hearing the criticism in the MSM that the left is politicizing the Sheehan family's private anguish. I've been waiting.

And I suspect that I shall continue waiting a very long time.

One more example of blue state hypocrisy.

Iraq Reassures Vatican On Religious Freedom

From Catholic World News:
Rome, Aug. 26 ( - Iraq needs help from the Holy See in establishing a new democratic system of government, the country's foreign minister told Church officials during a visit to the Vatican on August 25. The Iraqi official also sought to ease the concerns of Church leaders about prospects for religious freedom under the proposed new constitution.

At a news conference in Rome following his meetings with Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Hoshyar Zebari said that the conversations had revolved around issues of religious freedom and the protection of Christian communities in Iraq. He said that he also discussed the need to ensure respectful dialogue across religious lines, and to discourage extremism and terrorism

During this visit, Zebari reported, the discussions had centered on the draft constitution that has been submitted to the Iraqi national assembly. The Pope, he said, had stressed "protection of religious freedom in the new constitution, and protection of the rights of the Christian community." He said that he had assured the Pope that these rights would be "established firmly, on an equal basis, without any discrimination," and that Christians would be "free to practice their religion without fear of being intimidated or harassed by any other group."

[Full story]
My Comments:
In case you missed yesterday's post on the Iraqi draft constitution: Iraq's Federalist Papers

Another Pathetic Low For The Press In Its Attempts To "Get" John Roberts

Ellen Goodman, writing in the Boston Globe, has a "Sexism Award" for Judge John Roberts:
We award John Roberts, nominee for the Supreme Court, the Let's Hope He Grew Out of It Prize. As a teenager, Roberts editorialized against admitting women to his parochial school because he didn't want to study Shakespeare's racy passages with ''a blonde giggling and blushing behind me." Ruth Ginsburg, beware!
... and when Roberts was 4, he made fun of his sister because he had a "wee-wee" and she didn't.

The nerve of Bush to appoint such a blatant sexist! I mean, whoever heard of teenaged boys being embarassed about such things in the presence of teenaged girls? Instead of appointing Roberts, the President should have followed the First Lady's advice - at least according to Ellen Goodman:
Finally, our Knight in Shining Armor Prize goes to George Bush for so many reasons, but especially this one. He didn't follow his wife's advice to nominate a woman to the Supreme Court, but he did let her appoint the first woman chef to rule the White House kitchen. Who said there wasn't progress?

Bolton Accused of Causing Chaos Ahead of United Nations Summit

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Less than three weeks before more than 170 nations' leaders meet for a major world summit in New York, media around the world are reporting that the Bush administration's point man at the United Nations has thrown plans for the gathering into disarray.

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton is calling for scores of changes to a draft "outcome document" prepared for the Sept. 14-16 meeting.

Media reaction has been biting, with newspaper headlines in Europe and Asia accusing Bolton variously of showing "contempt," throwing the U.N. summit into "chaos," working to "derail" a world agreement on poverty and setting out to "wreck" U.N. reform plans.

China's ambassador to the U.N., Wang Guangya, was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying it was rather late for the U.S. to be suggesting so many changes, since the summit was less than three weeks off.

[Full story]
My Comments:
"China's ambassador to the U.N., Wang Guangya, was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying it was rather late for the U.S. to be suggesting so many changes, since the summit was less than three weeks off."

Well, you damn commie, you have your lefty friends in the Democrat Party to thank for that! Oh yeah, and my future Senator, RINO George Voinovich.

Labor Day 2005: Time to Recall the Teaching of Pope John Paul II on Work and Workers

From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Media Relations:
Labor Day 2005: Time to Recall the Teaching of Pope John Paul II on Work and Workers

WASHINGTON (August 25, 2005) — Labor Day is a time to reflect on the teaching of Pope John Paul II on work and workers, according to the chairman of the bishops’ domestic policy committee in the annual Labor Day statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The first Labor Day since the death of Pope John Paul II “is a good time to recall the constant teaching of the Pope,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. Pope John Paul said that trade unions have “the Church’s defense and approval,” and that unions are an “indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrial societies.” The new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has affirmed this teaching, insisting it is “necessary to witness in contemporary society to the ‘Gospel of Work,’ of which John Paul II spoke in his encyclical Laborem Exercens.”

“However, on Labor Day 2005, there are some daunting challenges to how we live ‘the Gospel of Work,’ and how we respect the dignity of work and the rights of workers today,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “In this economy many are moving forward, reaping the rewards of their education, skills and hard work. Others can be left behind, hungry, homeless, or poor, often struggling with rent or paying for decent health insurance. Families in the middle can be one lost job, one major illness, one unanticipated setback away from serious economic trouble. As their children grow, parents are faced with balancing the costs of education and saving for their own retirement. Too many families find it difficult to reconcile the demands of work, the duties of family life, and the obligations of community and spiritual life.”

Bishop DiMarzio pointed to troubling signs that reflect these pressures in our economic life.

“--Sadly the American labor movement seems bitterly divided over priorities, personalities, and how to move forward.

--The Central American Free Trade Agreement very narrowly passed Congress after an angry debate about its impact on workers and farmers in the U.S. and Central America.

--There is a growing conflict in some local communities, and on Wall Street, about the obligations of large retailers and major employers to their workers in the U.S. and around the world, and the communities they serve.

--Workers in the automobile, airline and other industries confront ongoing struggles over wages, work rules, health care, and pensions in the face of new competition and new economic realities.

--Our nation debates how budgets, benefits, and sacrifices are to be shared—who gains and who loses—in the midst of the war and deficits.

--The minimum wage, last raised in 1997, leaves a full-time worker with two children below the poverty level, while the gap between executive and worker compensation continues to widen dramatically.

--In a time of more retirees and longer life spans, discussion about retirement—what it means and who will pay for it—begins with a polarized debate about Social Security, but also extends to pensions, savings, and taxes.

--The reality that many U.S. workers are immigrants too often leads to a search for scapegoats rather than practical responses that recognize both the humanity and contributions of these newcomers to our country.”

Bishop DiMarzio said the Catholic tradition offers a different way of thinking about economic life than addressing problems in simplistic, ideological, or polarized ways. The Bishops expressed key principles to guide economic choices in their statement A Catholic Framework for Economic Life.

Those principles included the idea that a fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring; that all people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families, and an obligation to contribute to the broader society; that workers, owners, managers, stock-holders, and consumers are moral agents in economic life; and that the global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences.

“To move forward, our nation needs a strong and growing economy, strong and productive businesses and industries, and a strong and united labor movement. In Catholic teaching, it is up to workers to choose how they wish to be represented in the workplace, and they should be able to make these decisions freely without intimidation or reprisal. When management and union representatives negotiate a contract or settle disputes, they should pursue justice and fairness, not just economic advantage,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “On this Labor Day all of us are called to look at the economy from the ‘bottom up’: how our economic choices (i.e., work, investments, spending,) affect ‘the least of these---poor families, vulnerable workers, and those left behind.”

Copies of the Labor Day statement are available from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Domestic Social Development, 202-541-3185,
Click here to read the full text of the statement.

My Comments:
I work hard. During the summer and autumn months, I work very long hours, which means I often don't get to spend as much time as I'd like with my family. I'm good at what I do. I am respected by my co-workers for my expertise, for being easy to work with, and for doing what is necessary to get the job done (despite spending a little too much time blogging).

Notwithstanding these facts, because I receive a salary rather than being paid an hourly wage, and because I do much of my job seated behind a desk, I doubt that I qualify as a "worker" in the eyes of the "social justice" types in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Domestic Social Development.

By best friend is in sales. He works very hard. He travels around the country, spending many evenings away from his family, to earn the sort of living that will allow his wife to stay at home with their children.

Notwithstanding these facts, because he receives a salary plus commission and bonuses rather than being paid an hourly wage, and because he gets to fly in planes and stay in hotels on the company dime, I doubt whether he qualifies as a "worker" in the eyes of the "social justice" types in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Domestic Social Development.

The point I'm trying to make is that we are all laborers in the vineyard, whether our wages are paid hourly or via salary. People work to support their families. They pay their taxes. They contribute to their churches. They give to charity.

I don't like the term "worker" - especially the way it is used by political parties (i.e. Democrats) and the way it is used in this document coming from the USCCB. It implies that those not meeting the narrow definition of "worker" espoused by the Democrat Party and the "social justice" types do not "work" hard, and that they earn something less than an honest living.

And whether I'm a "worker" or not, I plan to enjoy my Labor Day weekend when it rolls around next week.

Pro-Life Participant Openly Rebuked by Chair at U.N. Disabilities Conference

From's "Friday Fax":
Pro-Life Participant Openly Rebuked by Chair at Disabilities Conference
August 25, 2005
Volume 8, Number 36

At a recent UN conference held to negotiate a treaty on the rights of the disabled, the concerns of a pro-life NGO leader were openly criticized by the conference chairman, a highly unusual move given the extreme collegiality that typically prevails at such meetings. The exchange took place during an August 8 meeting of the Sixth Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.

Patrick Buckley, a representative of the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, voiced concern over Article 21 in the working draft of the treaty. Article 21 says signatory nations are required to "[p]rovide persons with disabilities with the same range and standard of health and rehabilitation services as provided other citizens, including sexual and reproductive health services." Buckley feared that the inclusion of "sexual and reproductive health services" in a legally binding treaty could be later interpreted by enforcement committees to mean that abortion is a universal right. Defenders of Article 21 say it is only intended to ensure that nations provide those with disabilities the same rights as the rest of its citizens.

Buckley said to the group of governmental negotiators, "It is crucial to remember that this Convention will be legally binding. Unless we are careful, this document could contribute to the codification of abortion and euthanasia into international law. 'Reproductive health', 'reproductive health care', 'reproductive health services' and 'reproductive rights' do not appear in any legally binding UN document. The [preamble to] the Article talks about health and rehabilitation 'rights' and 'services'. This would add a new 'right' that could be interpreted to include abortion in a legally binding document regardless of whatever formulation of 'reproductive health' is used."

In an unusual rebuke Chairman Don MacKay of New Zealand called Buckley's concerns invalid because, he said, it was not the intention of the working group to create any new human rights and this had already been codified in a report on the ad hoc committee's fifth session. UN observers say that it is unusual for a chairman to be so publicly critical of an NGO's concerns and that because of the UN's diplomatic environment chairmen do not usually editorialize on NGO interventions.
The following day the Chairman allowed Buckley to respond to the Chairman's criticism. Buckley presented the legal opinion of D. Brian Scarnecchia, legal counsel for the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, who argued that just because the authors of Article 21 do not intend to create any new rights does not mean that the document will not be used to do so by those charged with interpreting it. He also said that the intent of the working group does not "necessarily reflect the intent of those who would later ratify this Convention." Previous agreements by the working group, he said, were "certainly not binding legal authority on a juridical body charged with interpreting this treaty, such as national tribunals, regional tribunals, and international compliance committees and juridical institutions." After Buckley's second intervention the Chairman rebuked him again.

This exchange demonstrates one of the key sticking points of this hard-law negotiation. UN delegates insist they are not creating any new human rights. Critics fear otherwise.

Copyright 2005 - Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
My Comments:
I'll ask the same question I ask every time I post something about the United Nation's hostility to the Culture of Life: Why does the Catholic Church continue to support and give credibility to this abominable body?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Word Verification Has Been Added To Comments

I have added Word Verification to the Comments boxes in an effort to filter out all the "blog spam" that has been filling up my Comments lately. You know, the ones that say "Great blog. Keep up the good work. Come visit my blog related to ***."

I apologize for this additional step, and hope that it will not keep either of this blog's readers from continuing to post comments.

NRO: "Getting to Know Thomas More"

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

Matthew Mehan reviews a new book on St. Thomas More at National Review Online:
Getting to Know Thomas More
A more seasoned Man for All Seasons.

By Matthew Mehan

Dead nearly five hundred years, Sir Thomas More pops up all over the place. He is in the Frick Collection in Manhattan as painted by Hans Holbein. More's bust sits in the Tower of London where he was imprisoned and executed, and his statue is at the Inns of Court, the center and source of Anglo-Saxon law, where he was recently named in a British lawyers' poll the "Lawyer of the [last] Millennium." You can find him in Rome where he was canonized a saint in 1935 and named the patron of statesmen in 2000. You can find him on stage and on film in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons. You can find him in bookstores the world over, still posthumously pedaling his hotly debated and famous philosophic dialogue Utopia. So hotly debated was that book that you can even find More's name engraved on a Leninist monument near the Kremlin, erected in 1918, celebrating him as one of that handful "who promoted the liberation of humankind from oppression, arbitrariness, and exploitation." Less but still surprising, you can find him in the Anglican Church calendar celebrated yearly as a martyr. When Lenin, the pope, and the Church of England all lay claim to the same man's legacy, you have to assume the following: This man is worth knowing, and no one knows this man.

Gerard B. Wegemer and Stephen W. Smith, from the University of Dallas and Hillsdale College respectively, have edited together into a manageable and highly readable volume, a collection of documents that form an impressive mosaic of the life — political, intellectual, personal, spiritual, and historical — of Sir Thomas More. The book — A Thomas More Sourcebook is not, as you might think, simply famous selections from his voluminous tracts, letters, poems, speeches, and philosophic dialogues. Rather, it is something more clever and nimble, which turns out to give a far clearer picture of More than has been heretofore drawn — excepting Holbein's portrait of course.


Iraq's Federalist Papers

From The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:
Iraq's Federalist Papers
The constitution empowers legislators, not clerics.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

Iraq's first freely elected government continues to vindicate the belief that the Mideast can be transformed, starting with Saddam Hussein's former tyranny. Its draft constitution, which appears headed for parliamentary approval tonight, reflects a remarkable spirit of compromise--and even enlightenment--among the country's political, ethnic and religious factions.

The word "compromise" is key here. If we were drafting the document, there are many things we might have done differently. But the point of democracy is that countries have to find their own way on difficult issues. Americans also shouldn't be too quick to conclude that anything that sounds odd or unfamiliar to liberal ears is evidence of failure. While this constitution does indeed contain general appeals to religion, it is fundamentally a document that empowers legislators, not clerics.

Take the role of Islam, which is designated as "a" (not "the") "basic source of legislation." Some critics see this as evidence of incipient theocracy. But in what Western democracy are laws not generally in accord with the Judeo-Christian moral heritage? In any case, interpretation of that clause will be up to elected representatives.

My Comments:
I have said that if the Iraq Constitution recognizes Sharia law as the basis of the governing structure, this is where I "get off the bus" in my support for the Iraq War. However, in light of this Wall Street Journal piece, I have reason to hope that the governing structure, although not exactly what I would have chosen, may not be the "Shi'ite Islamic Republic" nightmare that I had feared.

Maybe here is where I listen to the sage advice of Benjamin Franklin, delivered to the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, regarding the set of compromises that came to form the United States Constitution:
Mr. President,

I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others...

In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good... I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administred.

On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.

Hamlet on the Hudson Says Senate Should Ask Roberts About Faith

Another "devout" Catholic, Mario Cuomo, writes in the Los Angeles Times that the Senate Judiciary Committee should go ahead and ask Judge John Roberts about his Catholic faith:

Put a little faith in Roberts
Go ahead, ask him about his religious beliefs. As long as he puts the Constitution first, there should be no problem.

By Mario M. Cuomo
MARIO M. CUOMO was governor of New York from 1983 to 1995.

FOR MORE THAN 20 years, some conservative clerics and politicians have bitterly criticized Catholic public officials for refusing to use their office to "correct" the law of the land. They demand that Catholic officials make political decisions reflecting their religious belief that abortion is tantamount to murder and work to overturn Roe vs. Wade and other laws that make abortion legal.

Most of the targeted officials have been Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Gerry Ferraro and John Kerry. But now that Judge John G. Roberts Jr. — their candidate — has been nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, the shoe is on the other political foot. Conservatives are outraged that another Catholic public official might be considered deserving of the same criticism. They demand that Roberts not be asked about personal beliefs, including religious ones, because it would amount to a "religious test" prohibited by the Constitution.

They are clearly wrong.


My Comments:

The only one being disingenuous is you with your continued insistence upon comparing the role of judges like Roberts to that of elected representatives like Kennedy and Kerry.

"Devout" Catholic Pat Leahy Guilty of "Protecting Anti-Catholicism"

Holy Fool links to a commentary in the Rutland [Vermont] Herald by someone named Matthew Coffin. In said commentary, Mr. Coffin takes so-called "devout" Catholic Pat Leahy to task for his tolerance of blatant anti-Catholicism and support for "a public square devoid of religiously informed moral arguments", especially where the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court is concerned:
Earlier this summer Senator Leahy decried the alleged desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. He seems to have forgotten that the National Endowment for the Arts, which he ardently supports, funded an assault on Christian symbols because it was "art" protected by the First Amendment. The same politicians who tolerated the desecration of Christian icons that Catholics revere are now making an issue of Judge Roberts' impartiality in light of his Catholic faith and questioning him in ways that would be unthinkable if the nominee were Jewish.

It is a source of much consternation and great suspicion to Senator Leahy and like-minded devout Catholics in the U.S. Senate that an intelligent, articulate, eminently qualified, widely admired and respected, Roman Catholic jurist would actually agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ex-Bush Aide Expected To Be Appointed To Texas High Court

Congratulations to Don R. Willett, an old friend from my undergraduate days at Baylor University (when he was known as "Donny"), on his appointment today to the Texas Supreme Court. He will be filling the seat vacated by Judge Priscilla Owen who was recently confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Donny and I were in the Baylor Chamber of Commerce together way back when. Serving with us in the Chamber in those days was former Oklahoma Congressman (and unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Don Nickles) Brad Carson.

I can't say that being elected Mayor of Columbia, Virginia makes me quite as successful as those two guys have been.

Once again, congratulations Donny! CJ!

National Review Online: Mainstream Media Continues to Distort on Abortion

From Michael J. New, writing in National Review Online:
Abortion Distortion
Will the media correct the record?

By Michael J. New

Abortion, as we all know, is one of the most scrutinized issues in American politics. The mainstream media is always eager to detail the positions of various candidates, document platform fights, and analyze the views of prospective Supreme Court nominees. However, despite this, the media have only granted scant coverage to the consistent decline in the abortion rate since the early 1990s. Even worse, the only occasions when the media has used, or in some cases misused, these numbers is to advance liberal political objectives.

Abortion trends did suddenly become a hot topic during the 2004 presidential election. This was partly because several commentators were using the Clinton-era decline to urge pro-life voters to support candidates who supported abortion rights. A New York Times op-ed by Mark Roche — the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame — made this exact point. Roche contrasted the slight increase in abortions that occurred under the Reagan administration with the decline during Bill Clinton’s presidency and argued that the interests of abortion opponents might be better served by electing a President who supported legalized abortion.

Perhaps even more notoriously, ethicist Glen Stassen wrote a widely circulated article for Sojourners, arguing that abortions had actually increased after President Bush’s inauguration. This article was reprinted by a number of major newspapers around the country including the Charlotte Observer, the Miami Herald, the Houston Chronicle, and the Hartford Courant. Furthermore, Stassen’s research was cited in articles that appeared in the New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

There were a number of problems with Stassen’s analysis, including the fact he analyzed data from a small sampling of states. Furthermore, some states attributed their increases to more rigorous reporting standards. Nevertheless, Strassens's claims have stuck and become some of Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean's favorite stats.

However, in May the Alan Guttmacher Institute (no pro-life outfit) released a comprehensive survey which found that abortions had actually decreased in both 2001 and 2002. Considering the attention that Stassen’s faulty analysis received in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere, one would hope that media organizations would be interested in correcting this misinformation that Stassen and others disseminated during the 2004 election.

My Comments:
Will the MSM correct the record and report that the number of abortions have actually declined since President Bush entered the White House?

Yeah, riiiiiight.

A Letter From the Shallow End of the Kennedy Gene Pool

From's "Washington Whispers":
Kennedy hits "Cowboy" Bush

While the Democratic Party might be torn on how hard to smack down President Bush's policies at home and abroad, old liberal lion Sen. Edward Kennedy isn't quieting his roar. In fact, in a new fundraising letter for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Teddy K lashes out at just about everything Bush and the GOP do, from the war in Iraq to trying to cut funding for Big Bird.

"I urgently need you to help defeat this flagrant threat to our democracy," pens Kennedy in a copy provided to Whispers. "They're shameless! Their arrogance knows no limit. Never has it been clearer in American history that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. George Bush and his allies don't believe they have to answer to anyone but their hard-core supporters on the farthest fringe." On issues, he hits the Bush deficit, changes in environmental policy, moves to put conservatives on the court, and the president's foreign policy. "They've alienated crucial allies," says Kennedy. "George Bush's cowboy diplomacy and misguided war in Iraq have made America more hated in the world and made the war against terrorism harder to win." Republican officials just shrugged when told of the letter. One official characterized it simply as some Kennedy red meat to liberal donors.

Read the Kennedy letter
(emphasis and photo added)

My Comments:
There's that reference to "liberal lion Sen. Edward Kennedy" again.

It's The Message, Stupid

(Hat tip: Fumare)

Colleen Carroll Campbell, writing at National Review Online, notes that the success of World Youth Day has always been about the message, NOT the messenger:
The Message Does Count
World Youth Day was never just about Pope John Paul II.

By Colleen Carroll Campbell

The conventional wisdom of secular journalists has long held that World Youth Day is a "Catholic Woodstock" born under Pope John Paul II and sustained by his personal charisma. The millions of young Catholics who have flocked to this global faith celebration for more than two decades like to party together and loved their late pope. But his defense of orthodox theology and traditional morality was never part of the appeal.

That explanation — that World Youth Day gatherings were successful in spite of the pope's message, not because of it — has survived in the mainstream media despite enormous evidence to the contrary. It took hold back in 1984, when 300,000 young pilgrims first answered Pope John Paul's invitation to travel to Rome and join him for a day of prayer. It persisted through 1987, when nearly one million converged on Buenos Aires, and in 1995, when four million flocked to Manila, making that gathering the largest ever recorded in history. The explanation even surfaced in media reports about World Youth Day 2002, when 82-year-old Pope John Paul was so crippled by Parkinson's that he struggled to walk and slurred his speech. Though he looked nothing like the handsome actor he had once been, many journalists continued to cite his penchant for performance — and not the content of his message — as the reason that 800,000 young pilgrims descended on Toronto to cheer and weep as he called them to conversion.

The world had a chance to test that hypothesis last week, when Cologne hosted the 20th World Youth Day and the first without its founder. In place of John Paul now stood a new pontiff, a shy, cerebral man with considerably less star appeal. Unlike his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI would not meet young pilgrims as a relatively young man or have a quarter century to court them. He would face them for the first time at age 78, while standing in the long shadow of the only pope they had ever known. If the success of World Youth Day was predicated on the persona of John Paul, then surely this meeting in Cologne would fall flat.

Instead, it was a resounding success.


Acton Commentary: "Back to School, Back to Parents"

From Anthony B. Bradley, Research Fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty:
As this school year kicks off, we do well to remember what really produces successful students: quality time spent with parents. This does not mean parents showing love only when grades are high, nor does it mean demanding high grades at all costs. It means parents being dedicated to the welfare of their children and demonstrating by word and deed that they value education.

In this context it is also important to note that, overall, children in loving, stable two-parent homes have an academic and social advantage over those who do not. Stressing this fact does not in any way diminish the achievements of single parents who strive to provide for their children to the best of their ability. It is no disrespect to such parents to emphasize that the ideal family situation is one in which both parents are present, and that it is this ideal that should guide individual decisions and commitments, social values, and public policy.

As evidence to back up this claim mounts, a new study by the Alabama Policy Institute demonstrates that most children in non-intact families are at an educational and social disadvantage compared to children from traditional families. The study, titled “Family Matters: Family Structure and Child Outcomes” and authored by three University of Chicago social scientists, explains the disadvantages of homes broken by divorce, cohabitation, and single-parenthood.

As a former high school teacher, my experience confirms such findings. High achieving students were not always the most intelligent individuals in the class, but they were usually from homes where parents spent time giving moral guidance and academic support.

(emphasis added)

Robertson's Remarks On Chavez Shock Baptists

From the Houston Chronicle:
Pat Robertson's suggestion that the United States assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez left some Texas Christian leaders speechless Tuesday.

"I was kind of shocked, like a lot of people were shocked," said the Rev. Sonny Foraker, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Pearland.

"I don't know why he said it," he added. "I wouldn't have said it, and I don't support it."

Robertson, who resigned his ordination as a Southern Baptist minister in 1986 before his presidential bid, made the comments Monday on his television show, The 700 Club , on the Christian Broadcast Network.

Leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas issued statements calling Robertson's comments inappropriate and detrimental to the church's message.

"Pat Robertson does not advance the Christian faith by announcing on television his own preferences about who around the world he wants killed," said Phil Strickland, director of the convention's Christian Life Commission.

"Those of us who call for Muslims to condemn terrorism by their brethren cannot be silent when one of ours advocates this kind of violence," said convention Executive Director Charles Wade.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Wow! You mean it doesn't take Christian leaders 4 years to get around to condemning one of their own for advocating violence?

In Toon With The World Takes On "Taliban Pat"

Taliban Pat

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Saving It.

Holy Fool has a nice post on chastity. Please check it out.

Controversial Report: Fetuses Do Not Feel Pain Until Late Pregnancy

From Fox News:
A review of medical evidence has found that fetuses likely don't feel pain until the final months of pregnancy, a powerful challenge to abortion opponents who hope that discussions about fetal pain will make women think twice about ending pregnancies.

Critics angrily disputed the findings and claimed the report is biased.

"They have
literally [ED: really?] stuck their hands into a hornet's nest," said Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a fetal pain (search) researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who believes fetuses as young as 20 weeks old feel pain. "This is going to inflame a lot of scientists who are very, very concerned and are far more knowledgeable in this area than the authors appear to be. This is not the last word -- definitely not."

The review by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco comes as advocates are pushing for fetal pain laws (search) aimed at curtailing abortion. Proposed federal legislation would require doctors to provide fetal pain information to women seeking abortions when fetuses are at least 20 weeks old, and to offer women fetal anesthesia (search) at that stage of the pregnancy. A handful of states have enacted similar measures.

But the report, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, says that offering fetal pain relief during abortions in the fifth or sixth months of pregnancy is misguided and might result in unacceptable health risks to women.

[Full story]
My Comments:
I doubt the findings of this report, but also think the whole inquiry into fetal pain is irrelevant. Since when is it okay to kill people so long as they don't feel pain while you're snuffing out their lives?

Best Movie Clip Ever

Hat tip: Patrick Carver at Southern Appeal

If for no other reason, may God bless the late Bob Hope for this.

PETA Twists Religion

From Cybercast News Service:
PETA Twists Religion to Promote Animal 'Rights,' New Report Charges

August 23, 2005

( - Americans are accustomed to the tactics of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but the group's in-your-face advocacy is increasingly calculated to offend, provoke and otherwise show contempt for America's religious faithful, according to a new report released by the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Entitled "Holy Cows: How PETA Twists Religion to Push Animal 'Rights,'" the document claims that this animal rights group hijacks religious rituals and institutions in an attempt to impose its stated philosophy of "total animal liberation."

The report also chronicles PETA's controversial assaults on the scriptures and traditions of Roman Catholics, Protestant Christians, Jews, Mormons and Muslims and contains an inventory of scriptures contradicting PETA's assertion that only vegetarians can claim to be observant people of faith.

Full-time "faith-based campaigners" work for PETA under the direction of a campaign coordinator who has publicly advocated "blowing stuff up and smashing windows" as "a great way to bring about animal liberation."

The organization has also begun holding protests at houses of worship, even suing one church that tried to protect its congregation from Sunday-morning harassment, the report claims.

In addition, the group's billboards and other advertisements taunt Christians with the message that livestock "died for your sins," misrepresent the teachings of the Mormon faith and make the false claim that Jesus was a vegetarian.

PETA even paraded a statue of a cow dressed as the Pope in front of Catholic churches, the report states.

Contrary to a wealth of rabbinical teaching, PETA claims that ritual kosher slaughter is inherently cruel. It directs Jews to abstain from eating lamb during the Passover seder.

[Full story]

The Catholic League on the Newsweek "Spirituality in America" Poll

William Donohue at the Catholic League has commented on the Newsweek "Spirituality in America" article that I posted yesterday:
August 22, 2005


The cover story of Newsweek magazine, “Spirituality in America,” contains fascinating information that was gleaned from a survey of Americans conducted by Newsweek and Catholic League president William Donohue commented on the poll results today:

“The poll shows that 85 percent of Americans are Christian (63 percent Protestant and 22 percent Catholic); Jews and Muslims each make up 1 percent; 4 percent did not designate their religion; and 6 percent profess to believe in nothing. To understand the social significance of this profile, consider what the U.S. looked like a half-century ago.

“Will Herberg’s book, Protestant, Catholic, Jew was published in 1955. At that time, 91 percent of Americans were Christian (68 percent Protestant and 23 percent Catholic); Jews were 4 percent; and 5 percent expressed no religious preference. So in the 50 years since Herberg’s classic appeared, the percent of the nation that is Protestant declined slightly; Catholics constitute about the same proportion; and the number of self-identified Jews has declined. Yes, we now have more Muslims and adherents of other religions than ever before, but the real news is how little our nation has changed.

“Why is this important? Because for the past few decades, the multicultural industry has been beating the drums of the radical secular agenda. The multicultural specialists, most of whom work in education, the non-profit sector and large corporations, would have us believe that it is the height of intolerance to celebrate our Christian heritage in the schools or at work. Hiding under the names of diversity and inclusion, these multicultural gurus have sought to gut America from its religious moorings. And now we know that not only is the secular agenda inimical to the best interests of society, it is based on propaganda as well.”
(emphasis added)

Did 2000 American Soldiers Die For Islam? - Part 2

I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression about yesterday's post regarding my misgivings about Sharia law taking hold in the new Iraqi government.

Despite my dismay at the prospect of another Shi'ite Islamic Republic being established in Iraq, I will go to my grave believing that it was the right thing to do to take out Saddam Hussein and his evil regime. It should have happened at the end of the 1st Gulf War, and certainly by no later than 1998.

My current beef is only with "nation building" that results in Iran II.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Did 2000 American Soldiers Die For Islam?

If it turns out to be true that the new Iraqi government will be based on Sharia law - in other words, we fought a war, spilling much American blood, the result of which is the creation of yet another Shi'ite Islamic Republic (as if the first one isn't bad enough) - my support for the Iraq War ends right there. Like Andy McCarthy at NRO, "this is where I get off the bus."

Amy Welborn is also covering this ground, in reference to a post by Professor Bainbridge at his blog and the responses thereto. Things are bound to get hot over at Amy's before it's all said and done.

From The Guardian:
US relents on Islamic law to reach Iraq deal

Rory Carroll in Baghdad and Julian Borger in Washington
Monday August 22, 2005
The Guardian

The United States has eased its opposition to an Islamic Iraqi state to help clinch a deal on a draft constitution before tonight's deadline.

American diplomats backed religious conservatives who threatened to torpedo talks over the shape of the new Iraq unless Islam was a primary source of law. Secular and liberal groups were dismayed at the move, branding it a betrayal of Washington's promise to advocate equal rights in a free and tolerant society.

[Full story]
Now, why is it again that we went to war in Iraq? Oh, that's right. So that we could create Iran II. I seem to recall that being the primary justification for this war.

Oh, and how much did establishing this mullah-ocracy cost the United States in terms of lives and money? In terms of opportunity costs?

UPDATE # 3 (8/23/05)
I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea about this post. Despite my dismay at the prospect of another Shi'ite Islamic Republic being established in Iraq, I will go to my grave believing that it was the right thing to do to take out Saddam Hussein and his evil regime. It should have happened at the end of the 1st Gulf War, and certainly by no later than 1998.

My current beef is only with "nation building" that results in Iran II.

Newsweek on Roman Catholicism: "Hail Mary" Is More Than a Football Play

From the August 29 edition of Newsweek:
Roman Catholicism: 'Hail Mary' Is More Than a Football Play
Raised in the era of John Paul II, these young people are resurrecting old rituals and hewing to strict doctrine.

Aug. 29 - Sept. 5, 2005 issue - Marc Sayre looks like a typical college student: baggy jeans, unbuttoned plaid shirt over a grungy tee and a knit black cap. He lives off campus with friends who favor Coldplay, cold beer, pool tournaments—and the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Their fratlike group, called the Knights of the Holy Queen, consists of nearly 40 male students at Franciscan University. They pray together daily and convene once a week to share the long, ritualistic prayer of the rosary, which is more commonly performed by folks their grandmothers' age. "This is what we long for in our faith," says Sayre, 21, referring to a level of devotion that goes far beyond attending Sunday mass. "There was an emptiness before. Now our lives—my life—are full."

Although most of these students were born Catholic, many speak of "converting" to this deeper immersion as teenagers. They'd grown dispirited with routine Sunday masses and wanted a more personal connection with Christ. Some are unapologetically judgmental of the unconverted. "A lot of these kids have a problem with so-called sociological Catholics," says Boston College theologian Stephen Pope. But Franciscan University's president, Father Terence Henry, says conversion is a deeply personal choice, not something by which to measure others. "It's an ongoing experience, a handing over of life more and more to the Lord."

[Full story]
My Comments:
Maybe the authors of this Newsweak [sic] piece should read a little of Father O'Leary's screeds against these so-called "Neo-Caths" to see just who is "unapologetically judgmental" of whom.

Whirling Durbin

From The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:

Whirling Durbin
Which Democratic senator is most likely to damage himself politically in the Roberts fight?

Monday, August 22, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

One of the little imperfections of our American political system is that the qualifications of an excellent lawyer like John Roberts are judged, and often subjected to vituperative questioning, by politicians who are manifestly unfit for the job. Two of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Dianne Feinstein of California, are not even lawyers. You can tell by the questions they ask, how they ask them, and, in Ms. Feinstein's case, her look of incredulity after a nominee gives a straightforward answer any law student would give but that Feinstein deems "out of the mainstream."

Ted Kennedy barely made it through law school before buying his Senate seat, and the inquiring Chuck Schumer never practiced law a day in his life. By contrast, the Republican side of the Judiciary dais includes only one nonlawyer - physician Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The other nine GOP members all are experienced lawyers, including a military judge and three former prosecutors, one of whom has also served as a state supreme court justice.

So it is odd that the senator who is, in my estimation, the most talented lawyer among his Democratic Judiciary colleagues is the one most likely to do himself harm during the Roberts hearings and debates: Dick Durbin.

In 2003 Mr. Durbin joined other Democrats in mocking judicial nominee Leon Holmes of Arkansas, a Catholic, for his personal religious views on sex roles and marriage. He blocked Mr. Holmes from getting a Senate vote for over a year. Then Mr. Durbin joined Democrats in blocking judicial nominee William Pryor, another devout Catholic, for Pryor's "deeply held beliefs."

When voices of all faiths, including the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, joined to complain and ads ran under the old banner "Catholics Need Not Apply," Mr. Durbin argued that he could hardly be accused of antireligious bigotry being a Catholic himself. This brought a near ex cathedra rebuke from Denver's Catholic archbishop, the Most Rev. Charles Chaput, in words not heard from any Catholic bishop before or after:

"At a minimum, Catholic members of Congress like Senator Durbin should actually read and pray over the Catechism of the Catholic Church . . . before they explain the Catholic faith to anyone. They might even try doing something about their "personal opposition" to abortion by supporting competent pro-life judicial appointments. Otherwise, they simply prove what many people already believe - that a new kind of religious discrimination is very welcome at the Capitol, even among elected officials who claim to be Catholic.

"Some things change, and some things don't. The bias against 'papism' is alive and well in America. It just has a different address."
(emphasis added)

Michigan Catholic Schools To Remain Union Free

From the Thomas More Law Center's web site:
Court of Appeals Blocks Catholic High School Teachers From Unionizing

Thu, Aug 18, 2005

ANN ARBOR, MI. – Teachers at the 675 -student, all-boys Brother Rice Catholic High School, located in Bloomfield Township, MI, have lost their bid to become Michigan’s first unionized parochial school.

Last year the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) ordered Brother Rice High School to allow teachers to vote on whether they wanted union representation by the Michigan Education Association. However, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, took on the representation of the school and appealed the MERC ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

This week a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals struck down the MERC ruling on the basis that the state board had no jurisdiction over lay teachers in parochial schools.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented on the decision, “The Thomas More Law Center agreed to represent Brother Rice because of the broad implications the MERC decision would have on the religious freedom for every church-operated school in the state. I applaud the court panel for its sensitivity to the religious implications of this case. Unions many times espouse public policies inimical to the doctrine of faith-based institutions.

Patrick Gillen, the Law Center lawyer handling the case, added, "The decision is a victory for religious liberty generally as well as the whole community of faith brought together by Brother Rice High School. It leaves the parents, students, faculty and staff of Brother Rice free to pursue the highest aspirations of religious schools, service to their faith and each other, without interference from the state.”

Brother Rice High School is a private Catholic parochial school run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, a group of lay individuals, founded in 1802, who operate nearly 300 Catholic schools around the world. The faculty, mostly lay teachers, are not all Catholic, but they are responsible to promote faith-building. Teachers at the school are expected to begin and end classes with prayer. A daily religion class is part of the curriculum.
(emphasis added)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Growth of Catholicism in the South

From the Times (of London) Online:
Roman road leads South to a brighter future
Dwight Longenecker
Our correspondent reports on the energetic advance of Catholicism in the sun-belt states of America

IN THE popular imagination, religion in the US Deep South, home of rednecks, Scarlett O’Hara and the Ku Klux Klan, was always a heady mixture of Confederate pride, bigotry and hellfire fundamentalism. But things are changing, and one of the most striking changes is the rapid growth of a Catholic Church with a particularly Southern complexion.

Catholics account for around 12 per cent of the population of the southern states, but in the booming cities of Atlanta, Greenville and Charlotte, 20 per cent are Catholics and their numbers are growing — up by a third in the 1990s — while Baptists, admittedly much more numerous, grew by less than 10 per cent. In short, Southern Baptists still dominate the religious scene, but the growth of the Catholic population is making itself felt.

The numbers of Catholics are growing because Catholic families are moving from northern cities to work in the technological industries. Their numbers are swollen by Hispanics moving north from the Caribbean and Latin America. In the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, nearly half the Catholic population is Hispanic. The ratio of newly ordained priests in Charlotte is one to 7,000 parishioners — compared to one to around 50,000 in Chicago.

A “New Catholicism” is emerging that is likely to influence the whole US Church. These young Catholics tend to be faithful to the Church’s teachings while being educated and media-savvy. One of their hot spots in the South is the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) in Alabama. Started by a nun, Mother Angelica, the network broadcasts radio and TV programmes worldwide (including to Britain).

This New Catholicism is young and optimistic, but it is unlikely to tolerate the open dissent that went with the 1970s and the “cultural Catholicism” of generations past. That form of Catholicism is dying, and its death is symbolised by the northern US parishes with plummeting congregations, a shortage of priests and huge debts as they pay off child-abuse scandals. It seems that in the parishes where “anything goes”, everybody went.

Father Timothy Reid, 34, one of the priests who has moved south, told Time magazine that he moved to Charlotte as “it’s more vibrant here because we’re creating a Catholic culture almost from scratch”.

Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St Mary’s, Greenville, South Carolina, said: “Here you are not Catholic because your parents came from Italy or Slovakia. It’s because you believe what the Church teaches you is absolutely true.”

Patrick McHenry, 29, a Republican congressman from Charlotte, said to Time: “Southern Catholicism is changing the nature of the Church in America. We adhere to a truer and purer view of Catholicism” — in other words, these are Catholics who sign up to the full Catholic menu, including papal infallibility and the rejection of contraception, abortion, homosexuality and female ordination.

... the tension between Evangelicalism and Catholicism in the US is waning. As the main Protestant churches continue to haemorrhage members, money and influence, the two main religious forces in America are Catholicism and Evangelicalism. Despite the historical tensions, these two religious forces are surprisingly convergent; their steady rapprochement and shared conservative agenda has been analysed in the recent book Is the Reformation Over? Many ascribe George Bush’s election to his second presidential term to the fact that he appealed to the New Catholic vote as well as the right-wing Evangelical vote.

[Full story]
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Catholicism is growing in the South. Great. Just in time for me to leave my Dixie homeland to relocate to the Midwest.

Oh well, Catholic education is still more affordable in the Midwest than it is in the South. At least for now.

A Catholic Justice Faces Confirmation

From the National Catholic Register:

Judge Roberts should take a middle ground on the Catholic issue.

Roberts should walk away from the path advocated by [Illinois Senator Dick] Durbin: that his judicial philosophy ought to serve only man. And he ought to shun the road implied by [Oklahoma Senator Tom] Coburn: that his rulings should serve only God.

As much as possible, Roberts must serve God and man.

What’s more, the Church teaches that prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues. According to the Catechism, prudence is “not be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation.” Rather, it states, prudence “disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.”

Taking the middle path also honors and complies with the Constitution. In our form of government, the chain of command is clear: Citizens elect representatives. The representatives make laws. And the judges interpret whether the laws adhere to the Constitution.

Although that principle sounds elementary, it is violated routinely. Take the Supreme Court’s twin 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the rulings that established a uniform “right” to human abortion. In those cases, seven justices junked the Constitution altogether. Instead of acting as judges, they acted as legislators.

In arguing for a middle ground on the religious issue, I realize that my position is inconsistent with the natural law argument. Charles Rice, an emeritus professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, has pointed out that our constitutional model of legal reasoning is positivist — that is, legislators, rather than God, determines what is right and wrong. Moreover, Rice argues, even if Roe and Doe were overturned, the unborn would still be non-persons under the law.

“If your life is subject to extinction at the discretion of a legislative body or of somebody else,” he concluded, “you are a nonperson.”

Which is true, but Rice’s argument finds no basis in the Constitution. Granted, the divine law supersedes man-made law. Yet his reasoning is awfully imprudent when applied to Roberts’ testimony before the Senate. It requires Americans to scrap their system of government and replace it. It is fair to conclude that Americans will not be doing so anytime soon.

... if Roberts does contend at his confirmation hearings that he separates his personal and legal philosophies, his statement could scandalize the faithful. He would be implying that his legal decisions take no account of God or Church teaching.

Of course, Roberts might believe personally that God comes before man and professionally that he can serve both. But it’s fair to conclude that he will leave the impression that he considers only man.

Such an impression might be good for the pro-life movement. I suspect Roberts would vote to overturn Roe and Doe. But he would be the opposite of St. Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England who in the 1530s rejected the request of King Henry VIII to condone the divorce of his wife. On the scaffold, More’s famous last words were, “The King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

If he refused to say the same, Roberts would save his neck but lose his soul.

Mark Stricherz, a writer living in Washington, D.C., is working on a book about how secular, educated elites took over the Democratic Party from Catholics and working-class whites.

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