Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bishop DiLorenzo Enforces Appropriate Liturgical Practice in Richmond Diocese

News on the progress being made by Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo in the Diocese of Richmond:
Richmond, May. 31, 2005 (CNA) - One year after his [sic] began in the Diocese of Richmond, Bishop Francis DiLorenzo has already set up a commission to enforce appropriate liturgical practice, and has implemented other measures and solutions, which he says the people want and which meet the current needs of the diocese, reported the Times-Dispatch.

Soon after his installation, the bishop reactivated the diocese's liturgical commission and named Fr. Russell Smith as diocesan theologian, a post that had been vacant since 1998.

The commission investigates and responds to parishioners who complain about liturgical abuses in a particular church. It also ensures that proper practices are being followed. Fr. Smith must also approve all speakers from outside the diocese before they speak at a diocesan parish.

My Comments:
Great timing. Just as my family is considering relocating to another diocese, these much-needed reforms are beginning to take place in the Diocese of Richmond. Oh well, hopefully Bishop Blair in Toledo, Ohio will make similar reforms in what will be our new diocese.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I Will Be Out of Town for Several Days - Blogging Will Be Mimimal or Nonexistent

My family and I are heading up to Norwalk, Ohio for a few days to check out the housing situation, Catholic schools, and the 2 Catholic parishes. We are considering making a move to a less expensive part of the country (the cost of living in the Charlottesville, VA area has gotten out of control) so that we (1) can afford for my wife to stay home with the kids and (2) have more affordable Catholic schools available to us.

But before I pick up and move my family halfway across the country I want to make sure that the parishes and schools where we are thinking about relocating to are faithful to the Magisterium. Keep us in your prayers as we travel today and next week. Pray for us that we can discern whether a move to this location is the right one for us.

Thanks and have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

P.S. May we remember the fallen of our Nation as we enjoy our long weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bush Will Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Bill

Amy Welborn has a good roundup of the issues surrounding yesterday's House vote to approve federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Remember that this was a vote for federal funding. That means you and I - the taxpayer - would be footing the bill for this monstrous sort of Frankenstein science.

Thankfully, President Bush will veto this legislation if it passes the Senate. Anybody still think there's not a dime's bit of difference between voting for George W. Bush or voting for John F. Kerry?

St. Bede the Venerable

Today is the feast day of St. Bede the Venerable.
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, any my spirit rejoices in God my savior." With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given.

Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

"For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fill with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: "and holy is his name," to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: "and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This is the name she spoke of earlier when she said "and my spirit rejoices in God my savior."

from a homily by Saint Bede
From the Patron Saints Index:
"He was known as the most learned man of his day, and his writings started the idea of dating this era from the incarnation of Christ. The central theme of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica is of the Church using the power of its spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity to stamp out violence and barbarism. Our knowledge of England before the 8th century is mainly the result of Bede's writing. He was declared a Doctor of the Church on 13 November 1899 by Pope Leo XIII." (emphasis added)
My Comments:
"... the Church using the power of its spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity to stamp out violence and barbarism ..." Maybe Benedict XVI is planning to take a few pages from Bede's playbook and apply them to today's era of violence and barbarism. That's the impression I've gotten so far.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

McCarthy: "The Republicans Have Been Rolled"

Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online sums up in 3 sentences exactly why I'm done with the GOP:
Does anyone really think it needed to be established that conservative judges “have every right to serve on the higher benches”? That is self-evident. But, in today’s arrangements, notwithstanding a president reelected with more votes than any president in history and a one-sided 55-45 margin in the Senate, that which is self-evident somehow needs to be reestablished as a “principle” whenever a determined minority objects. (emphasis added)
"... a president reelected with more votes than any president in history and a one-sided 55-45 margin in the Senate ..." So, how exactly is a Republican Congressional majority with a 2-term Republican President any different than being in the minority?

Monday, May 23, 2005

As Of Tonight, I Am Done With The GOP

I am going to be ill.

Deal Averts Filibuster Showdown
Agreement preserves Senate rules

WASHINGTON - Averting a showdown, 14 centrists from both parties in the Senate reached agreement Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation votes on many of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable Senate filibuster rules.

"In a Senate that is increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

"The Senate is back in business," echoed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

"We have reached an agreement ... to pull the institution back from a precipice … that would have had damaging impact on the institution," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a news conference where the agreement was announced.

Officials from both parties said the agreement would clear the way for yes or no votes on some of Bush's nominees but make no guarantee.

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush's future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances."

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

The two-page memorandum of agreement said it is "based upon mutual trust and confidence."
My Comments:
So, tell me. What did I and thousands of other committed volunteers gain from working our tails off to regain a Republican Senate majority in 2002 and then build a 55-seat majority in 2004? If a 55-seat majority isn't good enough to ensure that judicial nominees who make it out of committee get a vote on the Senate floor, then why bother wasting my time with politics?

This isn't some rash decision on my part. Long ago, I drew a line in the sand on the confirmation of the President's judicial nominees because I honestly believe the future of the out-of-control activist federal courts is the most important issue facing this country. But it's not just judges - the GOP has failed to deliver on most of its other domestic legislative priorities, as well.

I'm afraid November 2, 2004 through May 23, 2005 will be viewed by historians as the high-water mark of GOP ascendancy at the national level - and in the end, they accomplished exactly nothing on the domestic level. No Social Security reform. No real tax reform. No budget discipline. No ban on cloning. An unwillingness or inability to enforce Congressional subpoenas that might have prolonged the life of Terri Schiavo. And now, a capitulation on ending the filibuster of judicial nominees with no guarantees that future conservative or strict constructionist nominees will not be filibustered.

As a result, the elections in 2006 look to be particularly ugly for the majority party. Those of us who worked hard in the past to give the President a larger Senate majority to work with understandably feel like we have been stabbed in the back. I won't forget it. And I plan to do all I can to work for the defeat of Senator Mike DeWine - who is one of the ringleaders in this sell-out - once my family and I relocate to Ohio. (Unfortunately, there's probably not much I can do about my current Senator, the dirtbag John Warner, because he's unlikely to run for reelection.)

The Anchoress has a fairly comprehensive rundown on all the post-capitulation commentary.

And here the Anchoress revisits the issue to discuss some of the positive spin on this "deal" coming from the Republican/conservative side.

For my part, I ain't buying the spin. I've seen the Democrats run legislative circles around the Republicans for too many years to believe that, in the end, the Republicans will have gotten the better of the bargain. Let's just say I'll watch to see what happens, but, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "I'll believe it when I believe it."

Must Parental Consent Laws Have a Health Exception?

From the SCOTUS blog:
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide a long-unsettled issue of abortion law: the standard to be used in judging the constitutionality of a restriction on a women's right to end a pregnancy. The question is whether such a restriction is to be upheld if there is any circumstance in which it could be applied constitutionally. The Court for some time has not followed that approach, but has never explicitly repudiated it.

The issue arises in the case of Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (docket 04-1144). The case also raises the question whether a parental consent law for minors' abortions must contain a health exception. At issue is such a law enacted in New Hampshire in 2003.
My Comments:
If a "health" exception is "constitutionally" mandated for parental consent or notification laws, then the laws are completely worthless. Since "health" has been jucicially defined to include mental and emotional health, the "health" exception to abortion legislation is the proverbial exception that swallows the rule.

Senator George Allen Predicts Showdown Will End In "Nuclear Option"

From The Washington Times:
Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, said yesterday that he doesn't think a compromise can be reached with Senate Democrats and predicted his party has the 51 votes needed to employ the so-called "nuclear option" that will prevent the filibustering of judicial nominees.

"I just think that it is not that big of a deal for senators to exercise their constitutional responsibility," Mr. Allen said on ABC's "This Week." "I think that we'll get the constitutional option done, and we'll vote on judges."
My Comments:
I hope Senator Allen is correct. This unprecedented and, in my opinion, unconstitutional filibuster of a President's slate of appellate court nominees has gone on long enough. Four years after being nominated, these nominees - who have had majority support in the Senate the entire time (even when the Democrats were briefly in the majority) - deserve an up-or-down vote.

By the way, Senator Allen is currently my choice for President in 2008. [ED. UPDATE: Well, we see how that worked out!] I have worked on several of Senator Allen's campaigns going back to the days when he held "Mr. Jefferson's seat" in the Virginia General Assembly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those who have known Senator Allen going back several years have long recognized his Presidential qualities. [ED. UPDATE: They sure didn't shine through in that Senate re-election bid. Sheez!]

The Least of These

Amy Welborn's Open Book blog has an interesting post about a sanctuary for the homeless in San Francisco - where the homeless are housed in the nave of St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church. Go take a peek at the interesting discussion about the "appropriate" Catholic response to homelessness over at Amy's.

As an aside, I just want to know where all these homeless people were between January 1993 and January 2001. We heard news account after news account about the homeless throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Then suddenly, beginning in 1993, nothing. I honestly do not recall seeing a single news story about the homeless during the entire 8-year-period of 1993-2000.

And then just as suddenly, the news accounts of the homeless began to pick up again starting around March of 2001.

Since homelessness has been a severe societal problem throughout that entire time period, I can't for the life of me figure out what the explanation is for the dearth of news stories covering the issue during the 1990s.

Atheists Reach Out In San Francisco - Conclave Designed To Turn Nonbelievers Into Activists

Hat tip: Laura Ingraham

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
As they watch religion increasingly dominate American political discourse, nonbelievers will gather in San Francisco today for their first "All Atheist Weekend" -- in an effort to put a friendlier face on godlessness.

"We're trying to do what church people call outreach," said Jim Heldberg, a Pacifica software salesman and onetime Methodist who coordinates the group San Francisco Atheists.

"We feel very threatened by what's going on in this country, but we realize that we can't just sit here in a corner by ourselves," Heldberg said. "If we do, the religious right is just going to run us over.

The goal is to do what organizers commonly call "herding butterflies" -- turning atheists into activists.

The challenge in that?

"Atheists are not joiners," said Ellen Johnson, national president of American Atheists, which the country's most famous modern atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, founded in 1963.

"You hear people complain, 'Look what they (religious people) are trying to do now,' " Johnson said. "Well, yeah, sure. They're better funded. Better organized. That's why atheists get pushed around. I say if you don't like it, get involved and do something about it."

My Comments:
I wonder if atheists get the irony that their entire worldview is defined by others' belief in a Divine Power.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Andrew Greeley: Bush is Wrong on Yalta Apology

"Father" Andrew Greeley weighs in on President Bush's recent trip to Eastern Europe and offers his spin on the history surrounding the Yalta Conference and the end of World War II:

During his recent trip to Europe, when he wasn't telling Vladimir Putin how to preside over Russia, he retold one of the biggest lies of the 20th century. He apologized for the Yalta agreement that handed, as he said, eastern Europe over to Soviet domination. Because one can hardly expect the president to read history books, one supposes that he does not realize that the serious studies of the Yalta conference reject that analysis. It's a Republican big lie that has become true because of 60 years of fervent repetition. It is still a lie, however -- just like the claim in a New York Times article that the big powers had "carved up" Europe at Yalta.

The Yalta meeting occurred in February 1945. Consider a map of Europe at that time, such as the one opposite Page 246 of Max Hasting's book Armageddon. By February 1945, Marshals Zukov and Konev were about to cross the Oder River, which was well inside Germany (and is now the border between Germany and Poland). It had occupied or surrounded every Eastern European capital except Prague. Stalin obtained nothing at the Yalta agreements that he had not already captured.

Despite President's Bush's willingness to accept American responsibility for Soviet occupation of Europe, this remains the Republican big lie of the 1940s: A senile President Roosevelt had given Poland and the Baltic countries over to Stalin.

Roosevelt was not at his best at Yalta. He still thought he could "get along with Stalin." However, there was nothing much he could do to extirpate the Red Army from those or any other countries they occupied except drive them out by brute force.

Thus, Bush's "apology" was valid only if he believes that the United States should have driven the Red Army out of Germany (a geographically necessary first step) and then out of Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (and Ukraine, for good measure). How many millions more would have died on both sides in this continuation of the war?

Why did no one ask President Bush if he would have gone to war with the Soviet Union in 1945? He could have used the Iraq excuse: to rid the world of a monstrous dictator. Like the Iraq conflict, such a war between the United States and Russia might have continued for a long time. Indeed, it might still be going on. Our cities would be in ruins. Most of us would be dead and many of us would never have been born.
My Comments:
[I want to think about this a little - I'll come back here and offer my comments later]

See Rick Lugari's comments. Since I agree, I'll let them speak for me. But I will say three things.

First, the Soviets were indeed wrong to occupy Eastern Europe at the end of World War II. They were ostensibly our "allies" during that conflict. So, if our allies did something wrong, why shouldn't we apologize for their actions, and for our allowing those actions to occur unchecked? Greeley apparently had no problems with the late Holy Father John Paul II apologizing for all sundry of things that were done by "allies" of the Church. And I can guarantee you that Greeley would not object to the American government apologizing for things done during the 1970s and 1980s by our "allies" in Central and South America. In short, Greeley is a lefty hypocrite who is shilling for the socialist Roosevelt and the Communist Stalin.

Second, Greeley sets up a false dichotomy: (1) acquiese in the Soviet colonization of Eastern Europe or (2) go to war with them to force them out of Eastern Europe. How about condemning their actions? Couldn't Roosevelt at least have done that at Yalta?

And third, military action wouldn't necessarily have meant sending American troops against Soviet troops, as we proved in the Pacific just 3 months after the victory in Europe was secured.

Is a "Pro-Government Conservative" What Used to be Called a "Reagan Democrat"?

Here is a summary of the Pew Research Center's description of a "Pro-Government Conservative", which I blogged about yesterday:

(1) Strong religious faith
(2) Conservative views on many social and cultural issues
(3) Support the military and a muscular American foreign policy
(4) Less educated
(5) Less affluent
(6) Favor social safety net
That sounds remarkably like the type of voter who 20 years ago was called a "Reagan Democrat".

Much has been written over the last several election cycles that the "Reagan Democrats" do not exist anymore - that they were attracted to Reagan's personality and not the policies of the Republican Party. I think a much better explanation is that "Reagan Democrats" no longer exist because they have all become "Pro-Government Conservatives" (i.e. Republicans).

For the reasons I stated yesterday, I really don't think I fit into this category.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Apparently, I'm a "Pro-Government Conservative" (at least according to Pew Research Center)

Hat tip: Amy Welborn

From the Pew Research Center for People and the Press:
"As part of the never-ending quest for political metaphors after the red-blue divide, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press has developed a nifty little online test in an attempt to give a snapshot of the basic political viewpoints in the land."
My Comments:
Below are my results (with some editorial commentary in red):
Pro-Government Conservative
Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Pro-Government Conservative typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues [Gee, I'd say].

Pro-Government Conservatives represent 9 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
Pro-Government Conservatives stand out for their strong religious faith and conservative views on many social and cultural issues [so far, so good]. They also express broad support for a social safety net ["broad" support? More like "some" support], which sets them apart from the other two core Republican groups. While backing George W. Bush by roughly six-to-one, this group has one of the lowest incomes levels in the typology [ummm ... I wish I made more money (who doesn't?), but I make a good living]. Pro-Government Conservatives are skeptical about the effectiveness of the marketplace [I believe strongly in free enterprise, but with some regulation where the market doesn't take important values into account - I will admit that I'm not the free market libertarian I used to be], favoring government regulation to protect the public interest, and government assistance for the needy [again, I favor some government regulation to protect important values ignored by free markets].

Defining Values
Religious, financially insecure, and favorable toward government programs [okay, I'm NOT financially insecure, but I am concerned that particular lifestyle choices - e.g., wife staying home to have more babies and sending my kids to Catholic school - are becoming more and more difficult; and I DON'T believe that the government should support these lifestyle choices with additional programs - but favorable tax policy would be nice]. Support the Iraq war and an assertive foreign policy, but less uniformly so than Enterprisers or Social Conservatives [I'm about as supportive of an assertive American-based foreign policy as one can be; what I don't support is UN-style multilateralism]. Back government involvement in a wide range of policy areas [again, some], from poverty assistance to protecting morality and regulating industry.

Who They Are
Predominately female (62%) and relatively young [I'll cop to being relatively young, but I'm all man, baby]; highest percentage of minority members of any Republican-leaning group (10% black, 12% Hispanic). Most (59%) have no more than a high school diploma [I've got a BBA in management and economics and a friggin' JD!]. They also are poorer than other Republican groups [again, I ain't making six figures, but I do alright]; nearly half (49%) have household incomes of less than $30,000 (about on par with Disadvantaged Democrats). Nearly half (47%) are parents of children living at home. 42% live in the South [I have lived in the South all my life].

Lifestyle Notes
Most (52%) attend religious services at least weekly [I do that]; nearly all describe religion as “very important” [ditto] in their lives. Gun ownership is lower (36%) than in other GOP groups [bzzzzzt ... WRONG! You mean to tell me that Pro-Government Conservatives are mostly found in the South, but they DON'T own guns? Right. An "Enterpriser" is more likely to own a gun than a Pro-Government Conservative? Right. This one is bogus.]. Just 14% trade stocks and bonds in the market; 39% say someone in their home has faced unemployment in the past year.

2004 Election
Bush 61%, Kerry 12%. Fully 21% said they didn’t vote in November.

Party ID
58% Republican, 40% Independent/No Preference, 2% Democrat (86% Rep/LeanRep)

Media Use
Most Pro-Government Conservatives consult traditional news sources, including newspapers (48%) and network TV (31%). No more or less engaged in politics than the national average [This one couldn't be more wrong. I NEVER watch network news or read MSM newspapers. NEVER. I get my TV news from FOX. I get radio news by listening to Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham. I get all other news from internet sources (usually FreeRepublic and Catholic news sources). The only newspaper I read is The National Catholic Register.].

Congressman Decides Against Speaking at Catholic School

From Cybercast News Service:

(CNSNews.com) - A congressman who supports abortion rights has voluntarily turned down an invitation to be the commencement speaker at a Catholic school in New York, after a Catholic group protested his planned appearance.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert was scheduled to speak at St. Elizabeth's College of Nursing in Utica, N.Y. on Saturday, but now school officials say the invitation violated a diocesan ban on such speakers at Catholic institutions.

Bishop James Moynihan of the Diocese of Syracuse voiced his opposition to Boehlert's planned appearance, but it was Boehlert's idea to turn down the invitation because of planned protests.

"Perhaps Congressman Boehlert understands what officials at St. Elizabeth's College did not: It is a scandal and an affront to faithful Catholics when Catholic institutions hold up abortion-rights advocates as role models for their students," said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society.
(Emphasis added)

My Comments:
Contrast Rep. Boehlert's actions with those of the Landrieu family in Louisiana who will receive an honory doctorate degree from Loyola University, despite criticism by Archbishop Alfred Hughes, who has noted that two of the Landrieus are pro-abortion.

See also:
Cardinal Keeler To Boycott Catholic College Commencement Because of Giuliani Speech

When God's House Doubles As a Doghouse

An interesting university parish in New Jersey:
HALEDON, N.J. - The priest, dressed in a flowing red robe, says Mass. He reads from the Gospel, gives a homily, prays for the sick, blesses bread and wine. He could be at any Roman Catholic church in the country, except for the dogs near the altar.

A black, bow-legged mutt sprawls out for a nap, a white wolfish type paws gently at a parishioner as the priest talks of Pentecost and Bablyon.

Is this God's house or a doghouse? Jesus Christ Prince of Peace Chapel is both. The Rev. Louis Scurti brings his two dogs everywhere, and that includes Sunday Mass. The dogs make people feel at home, Scurti says. Churchgoers add that the dogs give them a sense of calm and peace.

"At first I was like, omigosh, there's dogs in church," said Carrie Mampel, 25, who began attending Prince of Peace in 1998 as a student at William Paterson University, where the chapel is part of the university's Catholic campus ministry. "Then I realized how cool it was."

Scurti believes people could take a lesson from dogs on loyalty, fidelity, forgiveness and undying love. But having his dogs at Mass was less a decision than a natural evolution from their living situation. If there's a spiritual core to his dogs' presence during the liturgy, it's about making people feel included and at home in the church, he said.

Twenty years ago, Scurti's mother got him a dog when he became campus minister. At that time, no chapel existed, and he celebrated Mass in the living room of the Catholic Campus Ministry House where he lived. Students sat on couches, and the dogs wandered around their home.

In 1998, the Paterson diocese built Prince of Peace chapel next door, but Scurti and the dogs continued to live in the center. For him and the dogs, the chapel is home, and he hopes that parishioners pick up on that feeling.

Scurti said the dogs don't "remove the sacredness of the liturgy at all," and parishioners seem to have no complaints. Paulette Wicks, of Wayne, said the dogs make Mass more relaxing, and send the message that all are welcome.

Anne Drago, also of Wayne, echoed that.

"God's house is open to everybody," she said.
My Comments:
I'm told that St. Thomas Aquinas parish here in Charlottesville, which is the Dominican parish for the University of Virginia, had a pastor about 30 years ago who used to bring his dog to Mass. He would even process in to Mass with the dog at his side.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Terri's Parents Meet Pope Benedict

Hat tip: Amy Welborn

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Double Standard

So, the story about American interrogators at Guantanamo Base flushing copies of the Koran down the toilet turned out to be false. But, let's assume it was true. Why did the mainstream press play up the reports of Koran flushing as being such a horrible thing?

After all, as a caller to Laura Ingraham's radio program noted today, if it had been the Bible or a Crucifix or a picture of Our Lady being flushed down the toilet, it would have qualified for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

And the MSM would have thought that to be just hunky-dory.

Is the 1st Amendment More Dangerous Than the 2nd Amendment?

Thought to ponder:
Michael Isikoff has killed more people with his pen and his 1st Amendment right to freedom of the press than I have with my gun and my 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
See also
"Waiting Periods" for the Press?

President Bush to Address National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

The following press release is located on the website for the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast:
May 13, 2005


WASHINGTON - The White House Press Office announced today that President George W. Bush will speak to the 2nd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Friday, May 20 at the Hilton Washington in Washington DC.

"We are honored and delighted that the President of the United States is joining with our Catholic community as we bring action to our faith and commit ourselves to prayer for our nation and the world," said Joseph Cella, president of the prayer breakfast. In addition to the president, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver will speak to an expected 2,000 attendees.

The day begins with the Rosary, followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which will be presided over by Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas. The breakfast will follow.

WHAT: 2nd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

WHEN: Friday, May 20, 2005
6:30 a.m.: Recitation of the Rosary
6:45 a.m.: Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
8:00 a.m.: Breakfast

WHERE: The Hilton Washington Hotel
1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

For more information go to http://www.catholicprayerbreakfast.org/.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Judges' Financial Information Sought by Democrats and Pro-Abortion Allies

Robert Novak is reporting that several federal judges who are potential Supreme Court nominees have been targeted for probes of their financial disclosure records by former employees of Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. For whom are these former Democrat staffers conducting this "research"? I think we can assume that they are still working for Reid, but they also have as their client a pro-abortion special interest group:
On May 5, the U.S. Judicial Conference in Washington received a request from a Mike Rice of Oakland, Calif., for the financial disclosure records of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones (5th Circuit) of Houston. A 20-year veteran on the bench, Jones is a perennial possibility for the U.S. Supreme Court. The demand for her personal records is part of a major intelligence raid preceding momentous confirmation fights in the Senate.

Jones was not alone as a target, and Rice is not just a nosy citizen. He and Craig Varoga, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, are partners in a California political consulting firm. Their May 5 petition requested financial information on 30 appellate judges in all but one of the country's judicial circuits, including nine widely mentioned Supreme Court possibilities. Varoga & Rice's client: NARAL Pro-Choice America.

In addition to Judge Jones, papers filed by Varoga & Rice asked for information from eight other appellate judges who are considered possible Supreme Court candidates. They include the veteran James Harvie Wilkinson, who has served on the 4th Circuit in Charlottesville, Va., for 21 years. Other veteran judges targeted by Varoga & Rice who were on the bench prior to this administration include Emilio Garza (5th Circuit) of San Antonio, J. Michael Luttig (4th Circuit) of Alexandria, Va., and Samuel Alito (3rd Circuit) of Philadelphia.

One of the appellate judges who learned that his financial records were sought by a Democratic political consulting firm told a friend that he felt violated by this political intrusion. He did not know that the firm's client was NARAL.

The abortion advocacy group surely was not asking the judges' views on abortion. Nancy Keenan, who has been NARAL's president some five months, told this column her organization is concerned about "out of touch theological activists" becoming judges. Why seek financial information from them? She said the disclosure information might help identify the "character" of judicial nominees.

What additional information about sitting judges is being sought by Varoga & Rice is unknown. But Reid is clearly into probing the detailed backgrounds of nominees. Asserting that Democrats would probably filibuster Michigan appellate nominee Henry Saad, he explained: "All one needs to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree that there is a problem there." The minority leader's statement shocked colleagues, but it may well be a taste of much more of the same to come.
My Comments:
The Democrats and their pro-abortion allies will stop at nothing to destroy the President's judicial nominees.

Saints and Judges

Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester has the following as the Quote of the Day for May 14:
As heard on the Hugh Hewett Show

Hugh:Benedict the Sixteenth announced opening of the cause for Beatification of John Paul the Second. He is waiving the normal waiting period of five years - which means you can now become a saint quicker than you can be confirmed a federal judge.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Commission Issues List of Countries Violating Religious Freedom - Canada Not Included

The latest list of countries violating religious freedom has been released by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:
May 11, 2005

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today announced its 2005 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief. The Commission’s recommendations for 2005 include, for the first time, Uzbekistan. In addition, the Commission reaffirmed its 2004 recommendations that the Secretary of State designate the following countries as CPCs: Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam. India was removed from the Commission’s recommended list of CPC countries.

The Commission also has established a Watch List of countries where conditions do not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation but which require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments. Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria remain on the Commission’s Watch List, and Bangladesh has been added this year. Laos and Georgia were removed from the Watch List, although concerns about religious freedom in both these countries persist and the Commission continues to monitor them closely. In addition, the Commission is closely monitoring the situations in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, and Russia.
My Comments:
I notice Canada doesn't appear on the list. But perhaps our "neighbor" to the north should be added.

After all, Canada is currently prosecuting Catholic Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary for speaking out in a pastoral letter against Prime Minister Paul Martin's bill to legalize homosexual "marriage". The Bishop's statements that the Catholic Church considers "homosexual acts to be intrinsically disordered and gravely sinful" have caused the government to seek to "silence the Church and marginalize it" by trying Bishop Henry for alleged human rights violations.

For more on this story, see also:
Religious freedom under attack in Canada

"It’s about Children, Stupid!" Says Bishop Fred Henry on Homosexual "Marriage"

A Shepherd Speaks

Bishop Fred Henry pulls no punches

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Activists Urge Homosexuals to Wear "Rainbow Sash" at Sunday Mass

From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - A group of homosexual activists plan to protest Mass at Catholic churches nationwide Sunday in opposition to the church's stance on homosexuality. The group, Rainbow Sash, explained on its website that they "stand opposed to homophobia at the Eucharistic table" and "make no apologies for God's gift of our sexuality." The group encourages its members to wear the Rainbow Sash in a parish or cathedral as "an act of faith in the Lord, who works through weakness." "This year, Rainbow Sash has upped the ante," Catholic League President William Donohue said in a statement. He pointed to a May 2 press release in which the group said that the purpose of the protest is to "counter the lies that Pope Benedict XVI is promoting about our community" and called the new pope an "aggressive homophobe." Full Story
My Comments:
Cardinals McCarrick of Washington, D.C. and George of Chicago have banned Rainbow Sash members from receiving the Eucharist. This year, Archbishop Flynn of St. Paul has joined McCarrick and George in telling the Sash wearers to ditch the Sash or stay away from the Lord's Table, after having allowed them to come forward for Communion at Pentecost last year.

Flynn's reversal can be explained by his statement that "the Vatican has communicated to me that it does indeed consider the wearing of the Rainbow Sash during reception of Communion to be unacceptable, a directive I believe all Bishops will adhere to."

Hmmm. I wonder what Cardinal Mahony will do.

UPDATE (5/16/05):
I guess this answers my question regarding the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles (although it really doesn't address the subject of receiving Communion):
Joe Murray the US Convener of the Rainbow Sash Movement was contacted by Tod M. Tamberg, Director of Media Relations, Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The following is that communication:

"May 13, 2005

Dear Joe,

Just a note to say that, as in the past, members of the Rainbow Sash Movement who come to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels this Sunday will be most welcome to attend any of our Masses. Over the years, Cardinal Roger Mahony has consistently spoken to the faithful in Los Angeles about being respectful and inclusive of our Catholic brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian. All of us struggle to be better Christians, but I think a good number of our parishes in the archdiocese are places where people feel welcome and included, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Tod M. Tamberg
Director of Media Relations
Archdiocese of Los Angeles."

Ex-Principal Loses Defamation Suit Against Richmond Diocese - Judge Rules "Matters of Faith" Played Role in Firing

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch:
By all accounts, the procedures for hiring Carole Kahwajy as principal of St. Benedict in June 2001 and terminating her seven months later were highly unusual.

Kahwajy contended that the termination was not only unusual but based on lies about her by administrators for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and others who were opposed to her tenure as principal.

She filed a $14 million defamation suit in Richmond Circuit Court, but Judge Randall G. Johnson ruled yesterday that ultimately the truthfulness of the allegations about Kahwajy did not matter.

Johnson said "matters of faith and doctrine" played a role in Kahwajy's termination, and relying on a 2001 Virginia Supreme Court opinion, added, "religious matters trump all other reasons."

Kahwajy and [Father James F.] Kauffman [pastor of St. Benedict's Church] testified that she worked hard and well as the new principal, but complaints and rumors began making their way to the diocesan officials.

The complaints included allegations of extended prayer and chapel sessions cutting into core academic time, uncaring and arbitrary discipline and -- perhaps most damaging of all -- that the relationship of Kahwajy and Kauffman was so close as to suggest sexual impropriety.

Only the last of those complaints was communicated to Kahwajy, however, and she and Kauffman said they were caught completely off guard when they were asked to meet with diocesan officials Jan. 2, 2002.

Diane Bialkowski, superintendent of schools for the diocese, gave Kahwajy a termination letter listing seven grounds for dismissal, most of them related to her relationship with Kauffman and the lack of classroom time for core academic subjects.

Bialkowski and other diocesan officials acknowledged that they had not discussed those concerns with Kahwajy or given her an opportunity to remedy any deficiencies, as was usually the case with an employee whose work was unsatisfactory.

It was not until her termination that she learned of the extent of the rumors about her and Kauffman, who is still at St. Benedict, and of the animosity and rumors directed at her, Kahwajy testified.

My Comments:
I live in the Richmond Diocese, and this is the first I've ever heard of this case. On the one hand, I'm glad the Judge ruled that "matters of faith and doctrine" trump all other matters in Diocesan personnel decisions. But on the other hand, this has all the hallmarks of a hatchet job by the Chancery.

What the heck kind of complaint is this (remember that this is a "Catholic" school)?
"... allegations of extended prayer and chapel sessions cutting into core academic time ..."
And was there any proof of an "improper relationship" between Ms. Kahwajy and Fr. Kauffman? If so, why is it that only Ms. Kahwajy was dismissed and Fr. Kauffman is still pastor of St. Benedict's?

[I have removed my previous speculative statements because they were just that: speculation based on my gut instincts as I read this story. For all I know, my instincts are correct. But until they can be confirmed, I think it best to leave those things unwritten.]

Here are some other links discussing the background of this case:
Defamation Lawsuit Against Diocese Reappears

Former school administrator sues Diocese, claiming they slandered her

Poynter Abuse Tracker: Former school principal suing Catholic diocese for defamation
It seems that Ms. Kahwajy may also have been the "fall guy" ["fall person"?] for the Diocese's failure to take action against a pedophile priest.

Up or Down - Religion, Filibusters, & Judges

Chuck Colson, former Nixon Administration official and founder and chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries, writes about how religion came to be a part of the filibuster debate:
Never before in American history have judges been filibustered. They’ve always been given an up or down vote under the advice and consent clause of the Constitution. But a minority in the Senate is blocking good, decent, well-qualified judges simply because of ideology: They are strict constructionists. This is an outrage, and we need to express that outrage vigorously—now.

Let me clarify two things that cloud the debate. First of all, those of us who are Christian are being told that we are using religion against our opponents. It has been said repeatedly in the press and by various senators that those of us who have been advocating that the Senate change its rules and bring these judges to a vote are impugning the religious faith of the senators blocking the vote, of saying that opposition senators are not as good Christians as we are.

Now, let me tell you something: I’ve been in Washington most of my life, and this may be the most preposterous charge I have ever heard. I reread what people have said in this debate, and no one has challenged the faith of anybody on the other side—not Ted Kennedy or Joseph Biden or Harry Reid. And to accuse us of doing so is nothing but a smear.

The other side of that coin is that we are being told that as people of faith we have no place in the debate. I suppose they think it is okay for us to speak out as citizens, but if we talk from a faith perspective, we are perverting or corrupting the political system.

The senators are claiming that they’re trying to keep ideologues off the bench. But isn’t it interesting that all these so-called “ideologues” are pro-life and pro-family?

So, who is using religion? Not Christian groups who are rallying the Senate to vote. It’s those trying to discredit judicial nominees. They are applying a religious test for office, something the Constitution specifically prohibits.
My Comments:
I'm not really sure why the Republicans aren't hammering the "who's playing the religion card?" thing a little more vigorously by focusing on the confirmation hearings of William Pryor, wherein we got to see the "Schumer Doctrine" on full display.

How many Democrat Senators commented on Pryor's "deeply held [Catholic] beliefs" as disqualifying from sitting on the federal judiciary?

Again, which side is using religion against the other side?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vatican UN Envoy Calls WWII a Man-Made Disaster

From Catholic World News:
May. 10 (CWNews.com) - Speaking at UN headquarters in New York, the Vatican's permanent representative characterized World War II as "the worst of several unnecessary, man-made global catastrophes that made the 20th century one of the most bitter that humanity has ever known."

Archbishop Celestino Migliore spoke during a UN commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the close of World War II. The anniversary, he said, should help international leaders to recall the primary reason for the founding of the UN: the desire to devise means of avoiding future wars.

The roots of World War II, the Vatican envoy said, could be found in "exaltation of state and of race, and the proud self-sufficiency of humanity based upon the manipulation of science, technology, and force." All responsible leaders should be on guard against the development of the same ideological impulses today, he said.

The archbishop acknowledged that under some circumstances warfare may be justified or even required -- as he put it "a limited and strictly conditioned use of force could be inevitable." However, he insisted, "the tragic and devastating nature of war" should prod all leaders to exhaust every peaceful means of resolving conflicts. Archbishop Migliore suggested steps to extend the UN's peacekeeping abilities, by strengthening existing international legal agreements and expanding the role of the UN to include "an inter-governmental peace-building commission.
My Comments:
And just who, according to Archbishop Migliore, deserves the credit (or, rather, blame) for the "unnecessary, man-made ... catastrophe" known as World War II? Does he place the blame squarely where it belongs - on Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, and last, but not least, Stalin (lest we forget the non-aggression pact and his simultaneous invasion of Eastern Europe as Hitler invaded Poland)? When he speaks of "exhaust[ing] every peaceful means of resolving conflicts", does the Archbishop include sacrificing Austria and the Sudetenland to the likes of a madman like Hitler? Does he mean ignoring the Rape of Nanking? And what substantive suggestions - not platitudes - does the Vatican's envoy to the UN offer for how the Allies were to have avoided going to war?

I sincerely hope that Archbishop Migliore is not suggesting that the "failure" that produced World War II was on the part of the world community as a whole rather than on the part of those who were the aggressors. If anything, the world community can be faulted for not acting sooner to stop the Axis triple threat of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo, rather than trying to placate these madmen by rolling over for, and even giving assent to, their audacious land grabs.

The kind of peace the Vatican seems to be seeking is the sort of "peace in our time" that the world community got from selling out Czechoslovakia. The Vatican's willingness to sell out Kuwait to Saddam in order to avoid military action in the first Persian Gulf War is proof positive of this brand of knee-jerk pacifism.

And history has shown us that this sort of "peace" is no peace at all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pope John Paul II Baseball Card a Hot Item

From SportsIllustrated.com comes this story about one of the hottest trading card on the market:
NEW YORK (AP) -- The sports trading card generating the most buzz among collectors right now doesn't feature a baseball, basketball or football player. This captivating athlete was a soccer goalie who also liked skiing, swimming, hiking and kayaking.

His name: Pope John Paul II.

A one-of-a-kind card featuring the pontiff's autograph was released earlier this year by Topps, the best known maker of baseball cards. When the pope died last month, collectors wondered whether anyone had found the card and what it might fetch in a marketplace suddenly sizzling for all things John Paul.

(Emphasis added)

Catholics in Congress - How They Have Voted

The Catholics in Congress blog has published a "Report on Catholic Members of the House of Representatives":
I chose 14 actions to point out where these Catholic House members stand in regards to the non-negotiables. Of these 14 actions, 10 were votes, three are co-sponsorship status on legislation, and one was the co-signing of a letter of support. One occurred during the 105th Congress (1997-1998), one occurred during the 106th Congress (1999-2000), nine occurred during the 108th Congress (2003-2004), and three are occurring now during the 109th Congress. I chose these actions. I based their selection on my own understanding of the House and my own observations of how representatives have been presented opportunities to affect the non-negotiable issues. In my heart and mind they seem the ones which not only give an understanding of where these Catholics stand, but more importantly, these are actions which did, or could very well, make a difference in changing federal law, influencing the debate, and furthering the causes addressing these issues. The representatives' positions on some of these actions make it very clear whether or not they bridge the gap between their Faith and their decisions as lawmakers. And though some of these actions may not have been successful in passage, the attention and national discussion brought about by them, have been important for Catholics in understanding Church teachings on the issues. Given this, Catholic representatives actions, when not adhering to Catholic teachings, can be confusing and disheartening to many Catholics.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Religion of Peace Alert! Catholic League Website Hacked (WARNING: Foul Language)

The Catholic League website has been hacked by what appear to be Moroccan hackers. Or is it "moronic hackers"?

UPDATE (5/10/05):
The Catholic League's website has now been restored, and the organization has issued the following press release in response to the hacker attack:
May 9, 2005


Over the weekend, the Catholic League website was hacked, apparently by Islamic extremists. The homepage of the league’s website, which has not been fixed yet, says the following:

PRI[11 was here



Morocco RuleZ

Greetz [sic]: ALL Palestnian people [sic] – Ben_laden [sic] – sadam [sic] – ch33ta –Mianwalian – mani 1 – [code] – nEt^DeViL & all Moroccan Hackerz [sic]

Catholic League president William Donohue responded as follows:

“On Saturday, Andy Soltis and Richard Johnson of the New York Post wrote an article about the new movie, ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ In it, I was quoted as saying, ‘It is a matter of historical record that Muslim violence—in the form of a jihad—was responsible for Christians striking back, hence the Crusades. Yet in the film, it is the Christians who are the bad guys. This is on the order of doing a movie on the Warsaw Ghetto and blaming the Jews for all the violence.’ The next day, my cell phone was ringing off the hook alerting me to what happened to our website.

“We have contacted the New York City police and the FBI about this matter.

“I really can’t stand dealing with illiterates. If these jerks can spell Palestine correctly, why can’t they spell Palestinian people correctly? And I’m not so sure that bin Laden and Saddam would care to know that their names have been misspelled.”

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Pope Outlines His Vision of the Papacy - Newsflash! Catholic Church Will Remain "Catholic"

From the Washington Post:

ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI indicated Saturday he will stick to Pope John Paul II's unwavering stands against abortion and euthanasia, saying pontiffs must resist attempts to "water down" Roman Catholic teaching.

Benedict outlined his vision of his papacy in a homily during a ceremony in which he took his place on a marble-and-mosaic throne in the ancient Roman basilica of St. John in Lateran. The ceremony is the last to formally mark Benedict's assumption of the papacy.

The pope "must not proclaim his own ideas, but ever link himself and the church to obedience to the word of God, when faced with all attempts of adaptation or of watering down, as with all opportunism," Benedict said.

"Freedom to kill is not a true freedom but a tyranny that reduces the human being into slavery."

"The pope isn't an absolute sovereign, whose thoughts and desires are law," Benedict said. "On the contrary, the ministry of the pope is the guarantor of the obedience toward Christ and his word."
My Comments:
I guess this answers the question raised by all those MSM pundits after the death of John Paul II (the Great) as to whether the next Pope would change "John Paul's teachings" with respect to sanctity of life, contraception, homosexuality, women's ordination, etc.

Hint to mainstream media: these teaching didn't begin with JPII and they didn't end when he died. They are the unchanging teachings of Christ and His Church.

Catholic Colleges Defy Bishops With Graduation Honors

From Catholic World News:
Washington, May. 06 (CWNews.com) - At least 13 American Catholic colleges and universities have defied the US bishops by inviting commencement speakers who defy Church teachings on key moral issues, the Cardinal Newman Society reports.

Last June the US bishops approved a policy barring Catholic institutions from conferring honors on public leaders who promote legal abortion, same-sex unions, fetal-tissue research, and other policies that involve grave violation of fundamental moral principles. The bishops proclaimed that public figures who support such policies "should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Nevertheless, a number of Catholic colleges and universities have made commencement plans that include awards for politicians and other public figures who support "the culture of death," the Cardinal Newman Society reveals. "We are blowing the whistle on any Catholic college or university that blatantly disrespects the bishops by defying their clear command teaching," said Patrick Reilly, the president of the Virginia-based group.

My Comments:
What will be the response to "Catholic" Colleges and Universities that thumb their noses at the authority of the local Bishop? Will the Bishops exercise the authority given them under Ex Corde Ecclesiae to withold the Mandatum? I won't hold my breath.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Diocese Employee Says Judge In Abortion Case Should Be Denied Communion

From PalmBeachPost.com:

WEST PALM BEACH - An employee of the Diocese of Palm Beach said Thursday that Palm Beach County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Alvarez, a Catholic, should be denied communion for allowing a 13-year-old foster child to have an abortion.

Don Kazimir, who works for the diocese's Respect Life Office, which opposes abortion and the death penalty, called Alvarez's office Wednesday to ask which church the judge attends. Kazimir said he wanted to speak with Alvarez's priest, who he said might have a problem with a Catholic judge agreeing to an abortion.

Kazimir was disappointed by Alvarez's decision in the case of L.G., the 13-year-old who became pregnant after running away while under state care. Although officials from the Florida Department of Children and Families objected to an abortion, Alvarez ruled this week that the girl had a right to choose.

L.G. subsequently ended her pregnancy.

The original message relayed to Alvarez by his assistant said Kazimir was investigating the issue for the diocese. But Kazimir said Thursday he was speaking only for himself and did not talk to supervisors before calling the judge.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga, a Catholic, said he asked for the death penalty many times as a prosecutor.

"I don't think any of us here let our religions get in the way of our thinking," he said.

My Comments:
I'm not sure what to think here. Well, I know what to think about Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga's statement that he doesn't "let his religion get in the way of his thinking". Your faith doesn't "get in the way" of your thinking - rather, it should inform your thinking. And where you have discretion of action [like Judge Greer did with respect to Terri Schiavo], you should choose the course that is in conformity with your faith.

That being said, when a judge is faced with the choice of following the law or following his faith, it's not as cut-and-dried as one might wish to make it out. After all, a judge has taken an oath to uphold the law. A lower-court judge, unlike a legislator, or even a Supreme Court justice, is not involved in formulating public policy. The lower-court judge is charged with enforcing the law as it exists. Those who make public policy should rightly be held accountable for making public policy that is not in conformity with Church teaching; but how should this be applied to a judge who must apply existing law to a particular set of facts in a given case?

I am reminded of this scene from "A Man For All Seasons" (I know it's overused in the blogosphere - in fact, I've already used it more than once on this blog site) regarding the vagaries of determining whether to do what is "right" vs. what is "lawful":

More: There is no law against that.

Roper: There is! God's law!

More: Then God can arrest him.

Roper: Sophistication upon sophistication.

More: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.

Roper: Then you set man's law above God's!

More: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact - I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forrester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God....

Alice: While you talk, he's gone!

More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
(emphasis added)

Again, I don't know the answer. I'm certainly troubled by the facts of this case. I'm very upset that an abortion took place - taking the life of an unborn child. The person seeking the abortion was also a child. The child's legal guardian objected to the abortion.

Did the judge have any discretion? Was a decision to not allow the abortion likely to be reversed on appeal? And St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that an immoral law is no law at all. When faced with upholding his oath to enforce a law that is immoral, what should a judge do?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Archbishop Chaput: The Truth About The Crusades

Forget Ridley Scott's inaccurate and anti-religion history of the Crusades as portrayed in the recently released movie "Kingdom of Heaven". Instead, read Archbishop Charles Chaput's take on "the urgent need [for] Christians to recover, understand and protect our memory as a believing people who have a decisive role in history":
Memory is a powerful thing. It helps form who we are, how we think and what we do. By influencing our choices here and now, memory encourages a certain shape to the future — and discourages others. That’s why every new ideology and generation of social engineers seeks to rewrite the past. Whoever controls the memory of a culture also has power over its future.

That’s why today’s European Constitution makes no mention of the continent’s profoundly Christian past. By writing Christian faith out of Europe’s history, secularists hope to wipe it out of Europe’s future. The same applies in our own country. No one can read the founding documents of the United States without seeing the deeply religious — and especially Christian — spirit that informs them. People who deny that do so for a very simple reason. By scrubbing God out of America’s history, institutions and public discourse, they hope to scrub Him out of America’s future.

We have a duty to prevent that. We have the obligation to keep alive the real facts of real history. When Pope John Paul II called on us during the Great Jubilee to “purify” our memories, he asked us not to forget the hard events of the past, but rather to remember them more humbly and clearly.

Lasting reconciliation between aggrieved parties always begins with an honest, mutual examination of past sins. This requires an accurate historical record. As Christians, we need to repent of our own many sins and acknowledge the sins — sometimes, terrible sins — committed by Christians in the past. We also need to invite, by our example and by our commitment to telling the truth, the repentance of others who have sinned against Christians — sometimes, terribly — over the centuries.

Unfortunately, over the past few decades, the confession of sins has often seemed like a Christian monologue. That isn’t just. It isn’t honest. And it doesn’t serve charity, because charity is always wedded to truth.

Nearly 250 people showed up at the John Paul II Center last week to hear a lecture on the Crusades because, for most of their adult lives, they’ve heard critics distort and misrepresent Christian history in general and the Crusades in particular. They sense they’re too often being short-changed by the movies they see, the “scholarship” they read and the commentators they hear, but they don’t know why. They sense that the Crusades — despite their many failures and the grave sins committed on both sides — were nonetheless, in the context of their times, also acts of piety, deep faith, nobility, heroism and self-sacrifice with the purpose of liberating the Holy Land and ending the oppression of brothers and sisters in Christ.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Letter to the Editor

Below is the text of a letter I emailed yesterday to the editor of the Diocese of Richmond's diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Virginian:

Dear Steve,

I was a little surprised to see The Catholic Virginian publish a photograph of two diocesan officials posing with an outspokenly pro-abortion politician, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. Senator Biden is currently involved in blocking nominees to the federal judiciary who have been deemed by his party and pro-abortion special interest groups as hostile to Roe v. Wade. For instance, one judicial nominee, William Pryor, has been targeted for filibuster specifically because of his "deeply held" Catholic beliefs -- which I assume means that he actually believes what the Church teaches against abortion. I hope that the two diocesan officials who posed with Senator Biden took advantage of the opportunity to do what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has done and condemned the attempts to use opposition to abortion as a litmus test for blocking qualified nominees to the federal courts.


James T. "Jay" Anderson
Mayor, Town of Columbia
Columbia, Virginia 23038
My Comments:
You should see this picture. Two officials of the Diocese of Richmond (who I will not name) in Rome acting as the Diocese's official delegation to the funeral of John Paul II -- and smiling like Cheshire Cats as they ham it up posing with the pro-abort "Catholic" Joe Biden.

The next edition of The Catholic Virginian comes out the beginning of next week. I'll post something here if my letter makes it into the publication.

Here is the online version of the story that appeared in The Catholic Virginian with the offending picture.

Also, my letter did not make the May 9 edition of The Catholic Virginian. I'll look to see whether it appears in the May 23 edition.

Religious Commitment is the Leading Vote Indicator, Says Study

From Catholic World News:
Washington, DC, May. 03 (Culture of Life Foundation / CWNews.com) - Polling data continues to show that people committed to their faith are abandoning the Democratic Party in historic numbers. The shift has become so significant that according to a report from the Pew Research Center, church attendance is a greater indicator of how one voted in the 2004 presidential election than "such demographic characteristics as gender, age, income, and region" and is "just as important as race."

The Pew study, "Religion & Public Life: A Faith-Based Partisan Divide," reports that in the last election people who attend church more than once a week, such as Catholics who go to daily Mass or Evangelicals who attend Wednesday night services, supported Republican President George W. Bush over Democrat Sen. John Kerry 64 percent to 39 percent. Such voters made up 16 percent of the electorate. For those that attend church weekly, support for President Bush was 58 percent versus 41 percent for Kerry. Among those who never attend church, 62 percent voted for Kerry; 54 percent of those who attend church a few times a year voted for the senator. Monthly church-goers evenly split their vote.


British Cardinal Sees Catholic Influence in National Elections

From Catholic World News:
Rome, May. 03 (CWNews.com) - British Catholic leaders are urging the faithful to give high priority to life, the family, education, prison reform, and immigration in the coming May 5 national elections.

In an interview with the Italian daily Avvenire , Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said that laws regarding abortion and bioethics, as well as the ban on an English sovereign marrying a Catholic, should also figure in voters' assessment of candidates.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor observed that "the English think that religion is something that relates to the private domain, of which one doesn't speak in public-- unlike in the United States." He explained, "for Bush it is natural to mention God in his talks; Blair can't do that."

My Comments:
If the secularist left (and, indeed, many liberal Catholics) had their way, religion in America would be consigned, as it is in Europe, to the private sphere, with no mention of or role for religion whatsoever in the public square.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Richmond Bishop DiLorenzo "Suggests" Retirement for "Motorcycle Priest"

[Thanks to Will Bloomfield for suggesting that I, being a resident of the Diocese of Richmond, blog on this subject. WARNING: this is quite long.]

From The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot:

VIRGINIA BEACH — Gruff, opinionated and iconoclastic doesn’t begin to describe the Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan , the gravel-voiced, chain-smoking priest of Holy Family Catholic Church in Virginia Beach. During his 47 years of parish ministry, “TQ” scorned public opinion – and doctrine as well, critics say – in colorfully preaching his interpretation of Vatican II Catholicism.

Quinlan advocated vigorous lay involvement in the Mass and ministry, and salted services with attention-grabbing twists, such as a famous Palm Sunday motorcycle ride in the sanctuary of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk.

But his days as a priest in charge of a parish are numbered. After receiving a complaint from a visitor to Holy Family about the priest’s unorthodoxy, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo wrote to “strongly suggest” that Quinlan retire.

“I had a visit with him and told him I wanted another year and he said, 'No, I’m retiring you,’” Quinlan said last week after talking with the bishop. (emphasis added)

My Comments:
Finally, after 30 years of all manner of "progressive" lunacy in doctrine and liturgy under the leadership of now-retired Bishop Walter Sullivan, new Richmond Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo is bringing some semblance of orthodoxy to the Diocese of Richmond.

[In fairness to Bishop Sullivan, in addition to his doctrinal and liturgical "liberalism", he was also "liberal" - in the true meaning of the word - in permitting celebration of the Tridentine Rite in the Diocese. He has also been very kind to me on a personal level.]

The positive changes began when Bishop DiLorenzo appointed a Diocesan Theologian and established a Doctrine Commission to act as enforcers of "orthodoxy". In an interview with The Catholic Virginian, the Bishop's new Diocesan Theologian made the following comments about his new Ratzingerian role: "Everyone has a right to the faithful celebration of the liturgies and orthodox teaching."

One important function of the Diocesan Theologian via the Doctrine Commission is that Catholic organizations and parishes in the Diocese must seek approval of the Commission before inviting guest speakers. According to the Diocesan Theologian, for that to happen:

"There must be a submission of their name, topic and curriculum vitae. They also need a letter from their Bishop or Religious Superior with regard to their orthodoxy. In other words, are they non-dissenting. Dissent will not be tolerated in the diocese." (emphasis added)

"Every case will be decided according to the same standard: 'orthodoxy'. Orthodoxy is right teaching. Anything contrary to Catholic teaching will not fly. Don't expect anything about women's ordination in this diocese." (emphasis added)
With that standard in place, Bishop DiLorenzo then dismissed a member of the Diocesan Women's Commission who had used her role on the Commission to advocate in favor of ordination of women to the priesthood. When questioned about this dismissal, Bishop DiLorenzo responded as follows: "That woman is perfectly free to her opinion, but she can’t have it both ways. I can’t have her representing me on a diocesan commission when she is not representing the views of the Catholic Church."

Next, Bishop DiLorenzo dismantled one of Bishop Sullivan's pet projects, the "Sexual Minorities Commission", which, when established by Bishop Sullivan in the 1970's, was the first outreach ministry of its kind to homosexual Catholics. In the intervening years, it had become something of an official Diocesan gay rights advocacy arm, so the new Bishop disbanded it: "The commission carried a lot of baggage with it and so I made the decision to not let it continue ... I don’t think two retreats a year constitutes a ministry ... from what I can tell, no one on the commission was engaged in serious dialogue that had theological underpinnings."

And now, the Bishop has "retired" one of the worst "Spirit of Vatican II" offenders in one of the most "progressive" parishes in the Diocese. To get an idea of the mindset at Holy Family (and indeed, much of the Diocese of Richmond), one need only read the following quote from The Catholic Virginian describing a parishioner's confrontation with Bishop DiLorenzo:

Tim McCarthy of Holy Family told the bishop he was saddened to see that he dismantled the Sexual Minorities Commission and chose to take his friend (Judy Johnson) off the Women’s Commission. He told the Bishop, "I want to be in right relationship with you but I would like for you to recognize our truth as we recognize your truth and I would like to be able to enter into a collaborative dialogue, although I fully recognize the important role that you have." (emphasis added)
Well, Timmy, I doubt whether the Bishop cares if you're in a "right relationship" with him, so long as you're in a "right relationship" with Jesus Christ. And as for recognizing "your truth" vs. "his truth", again, I think the Bishop is probably more interested in your recognition of The Truth. I also doubt whether Bishop DiLorenzo, given the demands of his "important role", is too interested in entering a "collaborative dialogue" with you or anyone else regarding settled Church teaching on women's ordination and the sinfulness of homosexual acts.

In conclusion, after such an auspicious start to his leadership of the Diocese of Richmond, we can only hope for more of the same from Bishop DiLorenzo in the future.

[hat tip: Amy Welborn]
Check out Father "TQ"'s bulletin notes.

This story has also been blogged at A Saintly Salmagundi.

Pat Robertson Says Giuliani Would Be "Good President"

From The Los Angeles Times:
Televangelist and one-time presidential candidate Pat Robertson praised former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Sunday, saying that despite disagreements on social issues, Giuliani would make "a good president."
My Comments:
Oh. So, as long as he's "our" pro-abortion presidential candidate, he's okay. Comments like Robertson's understandably make the public cynical about whether Christian conservatives are Christians first or conservatives/Republicans first.

Cardinal McCarrick to Seek Retirement at 75

From The Washington Times:
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, said yesterday he is interested in retiring when he turns 75 in July.

"I'll be writing my [retirement] letter, and I'm certainly open to retirement. I have a thousand things I could do, or at least I think I could do," Cardinal McCarrick told The Washington Times yesterday.

His retirement, however, is the pope's decision.

My Comments:
When Cardinal McCarrick receives his letter from Pope Benedict either accepting or rejecting his retirement, I wonder if the good Cardinal will mischaracterize its contents.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Update On Laura Ingraham - Good News! (But Please Keep Praying For Her)

From Laura's website:
LAURA UPDATE, DAY 4: Great news yesterday from the pathology report that was done on Laura's tumor and lymph nodes after her breast cancer surgery on Tuesday. Her lymph nodes were NEGATIVE, her HER-2 test was negative (a good thing), and her tumor was estrogen/hormone receptive (good thing). The tumor was 9 millimeters in diameter. The one bummer is that she needs to go back for another surgery next week because the dye they used showed some cancer cells remaining "outside the margin" of the tissue Dr. Katherine Alley excised during the first surgery. So, Dr. Alley will go back in and "clean the margins" a few more millimeters around the original tumor and that should be that. Laura is meeting soon with her oncologist Dr. Fred Smith to begin mapping out her post-op cancer treatment (radiation schedule, etc.). "Chemo could really cramp my style so I am hoping that is not necessary!" Laura laughed. "That could really mess up my highlights! Although, then again, it could save me money on salon waxing bills." "Botton-line," said Laura, "I am feeling better every day--your calls, emails, best wishes, and more than anything your prayers have made all the difference in keeping my spirits up. You remind me every day that I am too blessed and have too much to say and do to check out any time soon!"
Also this little tidbit:
ELIZABETH EDWARDS SUPPORTS LAURA...AND THE LEFTY BLOGGERS SCOFF: Michelle Malkin recently reported on Elizabeth Edwards, a breast cancer survivor herself, who has announced her support for Laura. Meanwhile, the liberal bloggers went nuts. Click here.
My Comments:
Great news about my fellow University of Virginia Law alum (Laura was 2 years ahead of me). Please continue to keep Laura in your prayers. She is an outstanding voice for conservatism on the airways - and, in case you didn't know it, another fairly recent Catholic convert.

And how 'bout 'dem compassionate liberals over at Democrat Underground (DU)? DU may be far-left loony, but it's mainstream enough to Democrats that Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards, is a frequent commentator. Unfortunately, the hatefulness exhibited towards Laura (e.g., hoping she dies) is how many on the secular left feel about conservatives and people of faith.

UPDATE (5/2/05):
Laura is back on the air today (Monday, May 2) going strong. Welcome back, Laura!

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