Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hillary! Wins N.Y. Dem Nomination for U.S. Senate

(Hat tip: FreeRepublic)

Hillary! Running the Democrat Party like it's her own "plantation".

"Making History"? More like living in the past.

Ohio Supreme Court Ruling Blocks Lawsuits Against Catholic Church Over Clergy Sex Abuse

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons)

From Associated Press via
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Adults who accuse priests of abusing them when they were children must follow two-year time limits for filing lawsuits despite the trauma of sexual abuse, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The law requires suing by age 20, which is two years after reaching adulthood, for allegations dating back to the person's childhood.

"Although we acknowledge the complex emotional issues of plaintiffs who allege that they have been the victims of sexual abuse, we are constrained by the law as it exists today," said the opinion by Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton.

The 5-2 ruling overturns a decision by an appellate court that revived the case of a 36-year-old "John Doe" who sued the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk and the former Rev. Thomas Hopp.

A new state law that takes effect in August extends the time limit for future victims to 12 years after reaching adulthood, or age 30. But lawmakers removed a provision that would have opened a one-year window for past victims to sue the church over cases up to 35 years ago.

Diocese of Toledo Auxiliary Bishop Donnelly Retires

From the Toledo Blade:
Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. Donnelly retired yesterday after 49 years of service in the Toledo Catholic Diocese, including 22 as a bishop.

His retirement was effective at 6 a.m. Toledo time when Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement in Rome. According to the church’s code of canon law, all bishops must submit letters of resignation when they reach age 75. Bishop Donnelly submitted his letter to the Pope after his 75th birthday on March 22.

A native of Toledo, Bishop Donnelly was ordained a priest on May 25, 1957, and appointed auxiliary bishop by Pope John Paul II on May 3, 1984.

He served as administrator of the 19-county Toledo diocese following the death of Bishop James Hoffman in February, 2003. He held that top interim position until the Vatican appointed Bishop Leonard Blair the following October.

The Rev. Michael Billian, episcopal vicar of the diocese, said it is unlikely that the Vatican will appoint a successor to Bishop Donnelly for a diocese the size of Toledo.

“The number of auxiliary bishops in the world has been reduced over time and we do not expect here at the Diocese of Toledo to have another auxiliary bishop,” he said. “We knew that for a while now, and our own internal workings have shifted a bit.”



If you want to experience Americana at its best, spend Memorial Day weekend (as our family did this past weekend) attending and/or participating in the parade and memorial service in a small Midwestern city, town, or village, such as the historic village of Milan, Ohio.

(Milan - pronounced MY-lun - is just 5 minutes up the road from us. Sarah's grandparents and other relatives live there.)

Pro-US Candidate Wins Landslide in Colombia

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Colombians gave a resounding "No" to Venezuelan leader [and Castro-loving commie bastard] Hugo Chavez and his dream of a left-wing anti-U.S. coalition of Latin American governments on Sunday by re-electing conservative President Alvaro Uribe to a second consecutive term.

[Full Story]

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Saint Hugo - the Religious Left Begins its Embrace of [Castro-Loving Commie Bastard] Hugo Chávez

Pope Tells Castro-Loving Commie Bastard to Get With the Program

Robertson's Remarks On Chavez Shock Baptists

Strange Happenings in My Former Diocese

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Woman escorted from her church
Police called after she was told not to come; she wants documents


May 31, 2006

Police Beat

A Hopewell woman, a vocal critic of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, was escorted by police from her parish church over the weekend after she refused to leave.

Lynn Allgeier, 58, who has attended St. James Catholic Church in Hopewell for eight years, has tried to get the diocese and her parish to make their financial records available for inspection by the laity. She also wants to read the personnel file of Saint James' pastor, the Rev. Frank L. Wiggins Jr.

"They wouldn't give me a line-by-line budget showing how money is spent. I want that, and I want to know the history of the priest," Allgeier said.

William Etherington, an attorney for the diocese, said Allgeier has been disruptive.

"She accuses people of things that are not true and demands she be able to interview the pastor. The pastor has said, 'I don't want you here.' And he has the right to say that."

Allgeier was sent a certified letter by an attorney in Etherington's office telling Allgeier she is no longer welcome on any property belonging to St. James Catholic Church.

"Should you enter these premises, you will be considered a trespasser and subject to arrest," said the letter, dated May 22 and signed by Leslie A. Winneberger.

Allgeier went to the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday and was asked to leave. When she refused, the police were called, and she was escorted off church property, Allgeier said.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Quote of the Day: Fidelity, Not Blind Obedience

Quote of the day from "Reluctant Penitent", posting in comments at Amy Welborn's blog entry regarding the LATimes story on Bishop Tod Brown's decision to forbid kneeling in the Diocese of Orange:
Orthodox Catholics have stressed obedience far too much, in my view. What is important is not obedience but fidelity to the teachings of the Church.
My Comments:
Not that I necessarily agree with the notion of being disobedient to one's bishop, but I did think this was an interesting comment that certainly has me thinking about its implications.

In Memoria

In memory of those who gave the "last full measure":

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

~ Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Regular Guy Paul on "The Causes Of AIDS"

I was planning on posting something on this subject, but just couldn't quite put into words what it was I wanted to say. Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy does it for me:
When I was a kid, we never heard of AIDS.

AIDS began to hit the news about the time I graduated high school and joined the Air Force, in 1980. That's 26 years ago, now. There's a whole generation who have grown up always knowing the mortal danger of promiscuous sex, and especially homosexual promiscuity.

I'm sorry for Sir Elton's losses, but if he has his own charity for raisng AIDS awareness, he must be aware that it isn't Catholicism that spreads AIDS.

Freddy Mercury, and his group Queen dominated the music of my youth. I regard him as one of the most talented rock musicians of my life, the owner of one of the finest singing voices I ever heard. When he died of AIDS in 1991, I mourned the loss of his talent.

I really, really, have a hard time with the idea that Freddy Mercury was killed because of his excessive devotion to the teachings of John Paul II, or his fidelity to Humanae Vitae. Freddy Mercury was a rock star, and he lived the life of a rock star. It killed him, much more quickly and effectively than religious devotion would have ever done.
Please go read the whole thing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What the Hell?

It's the ubiquitous David Hasselhoff!

First, David Hasselhoff shows up 2 nights ago in the audience of American Idol, and is seen crying as Taylor Hicks is announced as the winner.

Then, tonight, the dude shows up in Dallas to cheer on Dirk Nowitski and the Dallas Mavericks as they evened up the Western Conference Final series 1-1. Incidentally, Hasselhoff, who for some strange reason is HUGE in Nowitzki's native Germany, is credited with the Mavericks' power forward's success at the free-throw line.

Inspiring Taylor Hicks to victory on American Idol. Leading the Mavericks past the San Antonio Spurs and into the NBA Western Conference Final.

As one blogger puts it, "Is Their Anything David Hasselhoff Can't Do?"

Rhonda Lugari, posting in comments, also credits Hasselhoff with the fall of the Berlin Wall. What a guy!

You just thought Superman wore an "S" on his chest -- when, in fact, he doesn't wear ANYTHING on his chest (apart from his hairy manliness), and goes by the name "David Hasselhoff".

UPDATE # 2 (27 May 2006)
See Christine's post in the comments.

Any man on whom "Sir" Charles Barkley has a man-crush has GOT to be something special.

UPDATE # 3 (30 May 2006)
PB adds this in comments:
If that still hasn't sold you on the HOF check this out.
Proving that David Hasselhoff can indeed fly - he IS Superman! Are ya "hooked" on the Hoffmeister yet?

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Al Gore Uses Religion to Attract "Global Warming" Converts

More nonsense from the so-called "religious left":
New York ( - Former Vice President Al Gore used religious references Thursday night in an attempt to convince a "town hall" meeting that human-caused catastrophic climate change is real.

[Full Story]
My Comments:
Frickin' clueless.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Salazar Backs Off "Antichrist" Comment

Methodist Leader Calls For Impeachment

Religious Left Struggles to Find Unifying Message

Saint Hugo - the Religious Left Begins its Embrace of [Castro-Loving Commie Bastard] Hugo Chávez

Has Tim Kaine Shown Democrats How To Reach The Promised Land?

For Democrats, a Troubling Culture Gap

Left-Leaning Preacher to Howard Dean: You Can't Fake It, So Shut Up About Religion

Wary Democrats Discover a Severe "Parents Gap"

Galloway Says Murder of Blair Would be "Justified"

Looks like the U.K. has its share of seditious leftist loonies, too:
The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.

In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"

Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

The Labour MP Stephen Pound, a persistent critic of Mr Galloway during previous controversies, told The Sun that the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London was "disgraceful and truly twisted".

He said: "These comments take my breath away. Every time you think he can't sink any lower he goes and stuns you again. It's reprehensible to say it would be justified for a suicide bomber to assassinate anyone."

The Stop the War Coalition criticised Mr Galloway: "We don't agree with Tony Blair's actions, but neither do we agree with suicide bombers or assassinations."

Mr Galloway yesterday made a surprise appearance on Cuban television with the Caribbean island's Communist dictator, Fidel Castro - whom he defended as a "lion" in a political world populated by "monkeys".

Mr Galloway shocked panellists on a live television discussion show in Havana by emerging on set mid-transmission to offer passionate support for Castro. Looking approvingly into each others' eyes, the pair embraced.


The Coming Persecution of Churches Over "Gay Marriage"

Last week, I had a post entitled "The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex 'Marriage' and Religious Liberty", in which I predicted:
Not to sound all gloom and doom, but I have long believed that this will be the issue that will eventually drive the Church underground to practice "in the catacombs" once again.

At one point in [Maggie] Gallagher's piece [in The Weekly Standard], this quote appears:
The problem is not that clergy will be forced to perform gay marriages or prevented from preaching their beliefs. Look past those big red herrings: "No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them."
Sorry, but I seriously do foresee just that. I can easily forsee a day when the government will use "anti-discrimination" law to punish churches who "discriminate" against same-sex orientation - first by denial of tax-exempt status, and then by allowing discrimination lawsuits, etc.

And when that day comes, don't look for the courts to interpret the 1st Amendment in a manner that would protect churches from such action.
Today, Dom Bettinelli has a similar post titled "The Coming Persecution of Churches Over Gay Marriage" - highlighting an Op/Ed in the ChicagoTribune by constitutional law professor Douglas Kmiec - in which Dom and Prof. Kmiec both make pretty much the same dismal prediction that I did:
How long before gay marriage is no longer an option for churches, but becomes mandatory by law? Douglas Kmiec, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine writes in today's Chicago Tribune that we can expect an eventual push to require churches to perform gay marriages.
This increased judicial approval of same-sex marriage will metastasize into the larger culture. Indeed, an insidious, but less recognized, consequence will be a push to demonize--and then punish--faith communities that refuse to bless homosexual unions.

While it may be inconceivable for many to imagine America treating churches that oppose gay marriage the same as racists who opposed interracial marriage in the 1960s, just consider the fate of the Boy Scouts. The Scouts have paid dearly for asserting their 1st Amendment right not to be forced to accept gay scoutmasters. In retaliation, the Scouts have been denied access to public parks and boat slips, charitable donation campaigns and other government benefits. The endgame of gay activists is to strip the Boy Scouts (and by extension, any other organization that morally opposes gay marriage) of its tax-exempt status under both federal and state law.

For technical legal reasons, it is difficult to challenge a religious group's non-profit status in federal court, but state court is more open. There, judicial decisions approving same-sex marriage or even state laws barring discrimination can be used to pronounce any opposing moral or religious doctrine to be "contrary to public policy." So declared, it would be short work for a state attorney general's opinion to deny the tax-exempt status of charities and most orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious bodies. If enough state lawyers do this, expect the IRS to chime in.

Punishing religious organizations for their moral beliefs might be thought contrary to the protections of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts have had little success defending these bedrock precepts. Penalizing the Scouts for observing their own handbook, say lower courts, merely avoids the immediate harm of discrimination, even as the bald-faced assertion that moral belief is a "harm" is anomalous.
Dissenters Within the Church Will Lead the Way

[Read more]

On Apologies for Alleged Past Wrongs

While in Poland, did Pope Benedict issue a clarification/corrective for the late Pope John Paul II's prayer in the Jubilee Year of 2000, in which he asked God's forgiveness for past sins committed in the name of the Church?

Amy Welborn has the details.

Bishop Sees Growing Support For A Marriage Protection Amendment

From the USCCB Office of Media Relations:
WASHINGTON (May 25, 2006) — The Chairman of the Committee on Marriage and Family, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said there is “a growing sense among many people, including a wide range of religious leaders, that a Marriage Protection Amendment is the only federal-level action that will ultimately protect and preserve the institution of marriage.”

Bishop Joseph R. Kurtz, of Knoxville, TN, spoke (May 25) at a Capitol Hill news conference hosted by the Alliance for Marriage Foundation. Others in attendance included leaders of the House and Senate, civil rights leaders, and representatives of other major faith communities. The Senate is expected to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (S.J. Res 1) next month.

“I am here today to support the amendment,” Bishop Kurtz declared.

“The teachings of the Catholic Church place the highest value on the love between a man and a woman in marriage,” the Bishop said. “Pope Benedict underscored this in his first encyclical (Deus Caritas Est) when he described the marital union as ‘the very epitome of love…where body and soul are inseparably joined together and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness.’”

“While religious convictions such as these motivate me, I am also motivated by the awareness that the gift of marriage between one man and one woman is a natural right, one written in the hearts of human beings,” Bishop Kurtz stated. “It is an essential building block of society. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, marriage does not originate either from the Church or the state, but from God. Therefore, we - church or state - are not free to alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.”

“Marriage makes a unique contribution to the common good of society,” the Bishop continued. “To defend it is not an act of unjust discrimination, but rather a stand in favor of what is right and just.”

“To adopt a constitutional amendment is a serious and lengthy process,” Bishop Kurtz noted. “It requires principled thought, pragmatic effort, and a spirit of perseverance. It is a journey that allows for consciences to be formed along the way and for people to express their convictions. My conviction is that the journey should begin. And so it is my privilege to urge passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment when it comes before the United States Senate in early June.”

On March 27, USCCB President Bishop William S. Skylstad, wrote to all Catholic bishops of the country to urge them again to support the amendment, and to “stand publicly in support of marriage as the God-given union of a man and a woman .”

He asked the bishops to work with the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic men’s organization, which has launched a nation-wide postcard campaign in support of the federal amendment. To date approximately 10 million postcards have been received.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Contrast this Catholic leader's advocacy of a particular policy position (legitimate religious involvement in secular politics) to this Methodist leader's advocacy of a purely partisan position - namely, impeaching the President in order "to advance the Kingdom of God" (illegitimate religious involvement in secular politics). Understand the difference?

But I'm sure the distinction is lost on the lefties who condemn every religious incursion into the public square as violating the so-called "separation of church and state" - except, of course, when it's liberals doing it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More MEN Like This in the Priesthood, Please (More Men Like Fr. Fox, That Is)

Father Martin Fox, Pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Piqua Ohio, and host of the blog Bonfire of the Vanities, has written a letter to Father Dennis Dease, President of the University of St. Thomas, regarding the commencement speech of graduating St. Thomas senior, Benjamin Kessler:
Dear Father Dease:

I read about the speech Mr. Kessler gave at your commencement, I listened to a (faily lengthy) exerpt of it via "You Tube," and read your comments at your web site.

Please explain to me: what does Mr. Kessler have to apologize for? I heard him reflect authentic Catholic teaching, as he contrasted selfishness and selflessness. It did not seem to me that he went a centemeter beyond Catholic teaching, nor did he venture into any area that is in dispute.

Since when is controversy in speeches at commencement something surprising or upsetting?

Well, it seems that Fr. Fox received a reply from none other than Fr. Dease himself. You can read Fr. Dease's lame-ass response here.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
More MEN Like This in Seminary, Please


I'm posting this because, after posts in both March and April, I've gone almost the entire month of May without mentioning the lovely and talented Miss Adriana Lima (although I did allude to her in this post).

However, I'm sure someone will find something objectionable about this completely innocuous photo of Miss Lima, who is obviously shown preparing to take part in her parish's annual Nativity play.

(Actually, the real story is here. And here.)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Purity Becomes Her

Welcome to Ribaldry & Risibility

Supermodel (NOT Miss Lima) Arrested for Allegedly Hitting Flight Attendant

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Lefty Loonies Try to Put Religious Spin on Abortion

(Hat tip: Jean at Catholic Fire)

Jill Stanek writes:
Most agree abortion is at the very least unpleasant. Even two of its most ardent political supporters, Bill and Hillary Clinton, concur abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." There's no reason to say that unless abortion is bad for some reason.

But latter-day feminist abortion advocates disagree. They think abortion is not just fine; it's holy.

I'm sure fringe feminist writings equate abortion as sacred. What surprises me are the mainstream pro-abortion feminist leaders making such statements today, like Debi Jackson, owner of Cincinnati Women's Services abortion mill, and Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Native American tribe.

I became aware of the sacredness of abortion when reading Debi's ramblings. In an abortionesque take-off of John Lennon's "Imagine," she posted "The World as I Would Create It" on the feminist website Moondance, aptly. After imagining the day when abortions were a private matter and contraceptives were easily accessed (hello?), Debi let loose:
[Imagine] abortion centers allow each woman to create the chosen abortion experience for herself … From choosing the kind of lighting … to arranging for specific music that she would like to hear, the woman creates the space in which she will experience her abortion. …

[Imagine a] woman's religious and/or spiritual preferences are not only respected, but are honored, with specially designed [abortion] rooms where a woman might receive spiritual guidance by clergy or a spiritual guide of the woman's choosing. She may create a ceremony with which to honor this passage, to be performed during the abortion or afterwards with family and friends in attendance. … She may have a circle of women friends take part in the procedure itself – an ancient ritual of fertility, life, death and rebirth. …

[Imagine t]he recovery period can be spent in a softly lit room in quiet meditation. … Group or individual ceremonies may be performed to celebrate the woman's journey on her chosen path. This is a period of reverence for the timeless and sacred ritual that is abortion.
"Experience," "spiritual," "ceremony," "passage," "ancient ritual," "meditation," "celebrate," "sacred."

These are words to describe abortion? With friends actually helping commit the act?

At which point, Debi – turning on the suction machine, chopping the baby up, collapsing the skull, or piecing the baby back together on the operating room table?

Maybe giving the mother a shot to stop her from hemorrhaging, or reinserting her bowel should it be accidentally removed?

Yes, let's tell the American public that feminists think abortion is sacred, something to be celebrated, a ceremonious and spiritual ritual.

And let's watch their rising repugnance against abortion spike up toward the heavens.
My Comments:
Once again, the left proves that they are clueless when it comes to talking about religion as it relates to their agenda.

Judge: Man is Too Short for Prison

From Associated Press (via Yahoo):
SIDNEY, Neb. - A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

"You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child," she said.

But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category."

Thompson will be electronically monitored the first four months of his probation, and he was told to never be alone with someone under age 18 or date or live with a woman whose children were under 18. Cecava also ordered Thompson to get rid of his pornography.

My Comments:
So the judge is worried this guy is going to be a target for ass-raping if he goes to prison? What irony!

If this judge is so distressed about small people being sexually assaulted, you'd think she'd have more concern for the child who was victimized by this perv.

Methodist Leader Calls For Impeachment

More idiocy from the so-called "religious" left:

(May 23, 2006) -- The United Methodist Church's chief social-issues spokesman, the Rev. Jim Winkler, says Congress should impeach President Bush "to advance the kingdom of God."

Winkler proposed that during the annual "Ecumenical Advocacy Days," attended by delegates from his church and other denominations, most of them members of the National Council of Churches.
[ED.: Well, that explains it - Castro's favorite religious group.]

In his view, "there was nothing Christian" in President Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks.

The Methodist church's official Social Principles declare, "War is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ," and reject war "as an instrument of national foreign policy."
[ED.: Where were you guys when Hitler needed you?]

The Methodists are America's third-largest religious body.
[ED.: And, unlike the religious bodies ahead of them (Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists), the Medthodists' numbers are shrinking every day.]

(emphasis and editorial comments added)
My Comments:
"To advance the Kingdom of God"? And they say religious "conservatives" inappropriately mix religion with politics.

Imagine if the late Cardinal O'Conner or the President of the Southern Baptist Convention had weighed in on the Clinton impeachment by proclaiming that the President should be impeached in order "to advance the Kingdom of God". What would have been the response from the media and the rest of the liberal establishment? I think even most religious "conservatives" would have thought an inappropriate line had been crossed.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Religious Left Struggles to Find Unifying Message

Saint Hugo - the Religious Left Begins its Embrace of [Castro-Loving Commie Bastard] Hugo Chávez

Has Tim Kaine Shown Democrats How To Reach The Promised Land?

For Democrats, a Troubling Culture Gap

Left-Leaning Preacher to Howard Dean: You Can't Fake It, So Shut Up About Religion

Wary Democrats Discover a Severe "Parents Gap"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Louisiana Bishop Leaves Graduation

More commencement huwt feewings:
A warning Tuesday night went out to the crowd at St. Thomas More's graduation. Monday, families of Teurlings Catholic High School grads like India Harris were told the same thing, too. No cheering - until Bishop Michael Jarrell hands everyone a diploma.
"I was nervous, excited - all that good stuff," says Harris. Her mother, Pam Derousselle says, "it's exciting - it's a big event - you can't contain yourself sometimes." Both say the Teurlings audience just couldn't hold it in - and cheered for several graduates - including India. "He called my name - they screamed - he handed me the diploma and he goes congrats. He said get somebody else to do this and he walked off," says India.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lafayette tells KATC the Bishop did leave after repeatedly asking the audience to respect the ceremony. Derousselle says she was shocked, "I'm just sitting there like oh my God - how could he do that to my child?"

The school's chancellor handed out the rest of the diplomas. The spokesman says the Bishop felt like he had to take a stand against unacceptable behavior. "Me personally - I think the Bishop owes her an apology," says India's mom. The diocese says the graduates weren't the problem, it was the audience. They also say Bishop Jarrell has not changed any plans for future graduation appearances.
My Comments:
Here's a clue for those of you in attendance at this graduation: When the Bishop tells you several times to be quiet during the ceremony, you might want to STFU!

UPDATE (24 May 2006)
Amy Welborn has additional details:
Text of cover letter

Bishop Michael Jarrell regrets that the Advertiser's front-page headline on Wednesday, May 24, 2006, said that he had apologized for walking out of the Teurlings' Graduation last Monday night. The bishop issued no such apology. Under the circumstances, the bishop believes he did the right thing, saying, "Walking out during a graduation is not something I enjoyed, but it is something that needed to be done."

Text of statement from Bishop Michael Jarrell on Teurlings graduation

The issue is respect. Recently I attended the graduation ceremony of one of our Catholic high schools. During the presentation of diplomas, people in the audience began making various kinds of noises when the names of graduates were called. Four times they were asked not to engage in this behavior. When it continued I chose to leave the auditorium before the presentation of diplomas was completed.

The issue is respect. Many have accused me of being disrespectful because I walked out. Under ordinary circumstances they would be correct. My perspective is that the behavior of some in the audience was very disrespectful. I believe that the graduates, the school and I were all being disrespected. I wanted to make a statement that rude and disrespectful behavior was not acceptable. The graduation was being high jacked by a few, or more than a few, persons engaging in disrespectful behavior.

I have great respect for the graduates. They were perfect young ladies and gentlemen. They did all that was asked of them by the school. I believe that they wanted a dignified ceremony and one not interrupted by rude behavior by others. Thirty years ago it was the graduates who created disruptions. Today's graduates are models of good behavior; the problem is in the audience. What I did was for the sake of the graduates in future years.

Some are saying that society has changed and that people's expectations are different. They say nothing can be done, so everyone must go along. I believe that things have changed, but I do not believe that everyone has to go along. I believe that rude behavior can be confronted. I believe that the majority of parents and graduates want dignified graduations. If not, why have processions, caps and gowns? Why have formality on the stage and raucous behavior in the audience?

Bishops’ Conference Urges Supreme Court To Uphold Federal Ban On Partial-Birth Abortion

From the USCCB's Office of Media Relations:
WASHINGTON (May 23, 2006)— Joined by other church bodies, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged the United States Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling which struck down the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

The amici curiae brief was filed (May 19) in the case of Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, v. Leroy Carhart, et. al.

The brief argued that Stenberg v. Carhart, the 2000 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska statute prohibiting partial-birth abortions, does not control the outcome of the present case because the statutes differ in two crucial respects.

“First, federal law bans a different procedure. Unlike the Nebraska law invalidated in Stenberg, the federal ban protects the life of an unborn child that is substantially outside his or her mother’s body at specified anatomical points,” the brief said. “Second, Congress made factual findings that address the precise question whether an exception to the ban is necessary to protect the mother’s health.”

“Indeed, that this case involves a living child substantially outside his or her mother’s body places the challenged statute outside the scope of this Court’s abortion precedents,” the brief continued. “Roe v. Wade…did not decide the constitutionality of a ban on taking the life of a child in the process of being born…No subsequent decision of this Court, not even Stenberg, has considered the constitutionality of a ban on taking the life of a child substantially outside his or her mother’s body. There is plainly no basis for saying that such conduct should enjoy constitutional protection. Congress could legitimately conclude, as it did here, that the challenged ban is necessary to preserve the distinction between abortion and infanticide and to prevent the latter.”

The brief said the statute should be viewed as a permissible regulation that squares with the Court’s decision in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. “Casey permits more regulation of abortion, not less, than had been permitted under previous decisions,” the brief noted. “The challenged ban does not prohibit a single abortion or impede access to abortion. It prohibits only a method of abortion. Congress found that this particular method of abortion was not medically necessary and, indeed, posed significant maternal health risks. Those factual findings are entitled to judicial deference here as in any other context. To hold otherwise simply because this case involves abortion would inexplicably accord abortion a constitutional status not enjoyed even by interests the Constitution explicitly protects.”

According to the brief, the case underscores several factors that compel re-examination of the Court’s abortion jurisprudence.

“First, the ongoing supervisory role that this Court has assumed in abortion disputes continues to be a source of division and unpredictability for the other two branches of government.”

“Second, a large number of respected scholars and legal commentators on both sides of the abortion question view Roe as indefensible on its original terms. The wide-ranging and continuing search by abortion proponents, and even members of this Court, for an alternative legal justification for that decision is itself a sign that abortion policy is best suited to the legislative branch, not a matter of constitutional interpretation.”

“Third, Roe impedes an essential function of government by forbidding it to restrain private killing. The result has been a catastrophic loss of innocent human life.”

“Fourth, the factual assumptions underlying Roe are now disputed with evidence not available to this Court at the time Roe was decided.”

“On all four counts, the error of Roe, a decision already partly overruled in Casey, needs to be more fully and explicitly acknowledged and corrected,” the brief asserted.

The brief was filed by the USCCB, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

It was submitted by Mark E. Chopko, USCCB General Counsel, and Michael F. Moses, Associate General Counsel.
My Comments:
This case will pretty much come down to (1) whether Bush's nominees - Roberts and Alito - are what we hope they are and (2) whether Anthony Kennedy sticks with the position he took in Carhart to uphold the ban, or decides that stare decisis is suddenly important again and votes to strike down the ban.

Yeah, I know. It sucks having to rely on Anthony Kennedy to do the right thing.

More MEN Like This in Seminary, Please

(Hat tip: Diogenes at Off the Record)

A rather "interesting" graduation speech by a student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN:
A spring term that began with controversy at the University of St. Thomas ended the same way Saturday when a student used part of his commencement address to admonish people he considered "selfish," including women who use birth control.

The remarks by Ben Kessler, a well-known student recently honored by peers and faculty as Tommie of the Year, led to catcalls and boos during commencement at the Catholic university in St. Paul. Others booed those who were booing. Some students walked out on their own graduation ceremony.
[ED.: Apparently, they weren't used to hearing the Truth of the Catholic faith.]

Kessler, a celebrated football player with a deep Catholic faith, apologized Monday in a written statement distributed by the university.
[ED.: You shouldn't need to apologize for speaking the Truth of the Catholic faith at a Catholic university's graduation ceremony.]

"Instead of providing hope to all, I offended some by my words and by my decision to speak those words at commencement," he wrote.
[ED.: Real hope (not touchy-feely "affirmation") lies in the Truth, as taught by Jesus and His Church. When you become a priest, you will offend many with that Truth. Keep speaking those words, regardless of who is offended.]

He was unavailable for comment beyond the statement.

The university's president, the Rev. Dennis Dease, also expressed regret "that graduates and their families and guests were offended by Mr. Kessler's remarks." Dease said he told Kessler it was inappropriate for him to use commencement to express his opinions.
[ED.: Gee, Father, those "personal opinions" sound a lot like what the Church teaches. Perhaps if your university did a better job of imparting those teachings throughout the students' 4 years there, they wouldn't be so shocked and offended upon hearing them at graduation. Nor would your unmarried professors be so shocked upon finding out that they can't cohabitate on university-sponsored trips - see following paragraph.]

Kessler's speech was the latest in a series of controversies that has divided the campus. It began with university decisions last year that kept a lesbian choral director from traveling with her partner and kept an unmarried heterosexual couple from sharing a room on a student trip.

"The speech started out pretty normal," Aus said. Then, he said, Kessler began talking about his disappointment at fellow students after a spring dance when a food fight became intense enough that security was summoned.

"His disappointment kind of snowballed," Aus said.

Kessler also alluded to the unmarried professors caught up in the travel policy battles, calling them selfish. And he then called women who use birth control selfish.

He also called himself selfish and said he needed to be a better person, said university spokesman Doug Hennes.
[ED.: How judgmental. Why couldn't he have just affirmed himself?]

Kessler was a defensive tackle on the St. Thomas football team and had a 4.0 grade-point average. He majored in philosophy and business, was an undergraduate seminarian at the university and plans to become a Roman Catholic priest.

"It takes a tough person to play football," Kessler said in a Pioneer Press profile last fall. "Well, what kind of priests do we want to have? We want someone who is internally strong and externally strong. That's the kind of priest who can change society."
[ED.: Damn straight!]

(emphasis and editorial comments added)
My Comments:
My guess is that this was the first time in their 4 years at the University of St. Thomas that many of these graduates had actually heard the teachings of the Church on these matters.

Now, I suppose it is arguable that a graduation ceremony is an inappropriate forum for expressing these views. But it is, after all, a Catholic university. And the student chosen to speak is, after all, discerning a vocation to the priesthood. And the matters discussed are, after all, timely and relevant to events at the university. And the message delivered does seem, after all, to be in accord with the Church's teachings.

And I can tell you from personal experience that there have been more controversial commencement speeches than the one this kid gave, and nary a peep was uttered from the same types that would have been offended by Kessler's speech.

Keep telling it like it is, son. I look forward to the day when a man my age can call you "Father" instead of "son".

GOP Soccer Mom offers her views (and links to what others are saying) here:
So let me get this all straight. A Catholic man graduating from a Catholic college has to apologize for upholding Catholic ideals and encouraging other Catholic adults to do the same? And the Catholic priest - the Rev. Dennis Dease - who is the president of the school says this?

"I have shared my sentiments with Mr. Kessler that it was not appropriate for him to use the commencement exercise as a venue to express his opinions on several issues," Dease said.

Um…those aren’t HIS opinions, Father Dease, but God’s opinions (delivered through His Church). You'd think that the school would at least have backed him up that the opinions are the doctrines of the Church.


Here's a bit of a round-up for you on other Catholic bloggers and what they had to say about it. ...

Thomas, the American Papist, has a link to a rough video of the speech, as well as a link to Dom's coverage of it. (Dom even mentions this: "He even named himself as selfish.")

Over at the Cafeteria Which Will Remain Closed, Gerald has some comments, too.

Amy Welborn has something to say, too.

More on the Arinze Letter

Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed has posted a couple of additional items regarding the letter from Cardinal Arinze addressed to Bishop Skylstad pertaining to the USCCB's upcoming vote on a new English-language translation of the Mass.

First, Gerald notes that Bishop Donald Trautman (a.k.a. "Trautperson") has responded to the Cardinal's letter:

Bishop Skylstad has forwarded to all Latin Rite Bishops a copy of Cardinal Arinze's letter concerning translation of the Order of Mass, which is presently under consideration by the members of the USCCB and scheduled for vote by the U.S. Bishops at their June meeting. I see this letter as a clarification and further restatement of criteria for translation previously authored by the Congregation in its document Liturgiam authenticam. This recent correspondence offers additional input for the deliberation of the Bishops.
Second, Gerald has framed Cardinal Arinze's letter for posterity:

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Arinze to AmChurch Bishops: Get with the Program

Bishop Trautman, US Bishops' Liturgy Committee Chair, Strongly Criticizes Proposed Mass Translations

How I Know Senate Democrats and the Catholic Bishops are Reading from the Same Playbook

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Law Professor Defends Marriage in Appellate Court: Says No-Fault Divorce Unconstitutional as Applied to Catholics

Just a little while ago, I received the following emailed press release:
Mary’s Advocates
P.O. Box 451382
29737 Schwartz Road
Westlake, OH 44145

Stephen Safranek
Constitutional Law Professor
“True Marriage Project”
(734) 827-8096

Mrs. Marie (Bai) Macfarlane
Mary’s Advocates Founder
(440) 871-5404



Cleveland, OH May 31, 2006 – Constitutional law professor, Stephen Safranek is arguing in the 8th district court of appeals that forcing routine no-fault divorce on a Christian wife and children is unconstitutional. With his “True Marriage Project,” a work of his public interest law firm, Safranek asserts, “promises made by the couple, to be married in accordance with the laws of their Catholic Church, can not be ignored by the civil courts.”

“The no fault system ignores the religious beliefs and practices of the family. Indeed, in this case, the innocent spouse was punished for being on ‘a crusade’ to save her children and family.”

The appellate court case involves William (Bud) Macfarlane, a self-professed practicing Catholic who left his wife Marie (Bai) Macfarlane in July, 2003, and sought a no-fault divorce. The divorce was granted against Bai’s objections, and Bud was given permanent custody of the children. The court criticized Mrs. MacFarlane’s opinions and the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of marriage in its decision to grant custody to her husband, and to forbid her to continue homeschooling the children.

Mrs. Macfarlane laments: “I was forced to stop homeschooling because the court psychologist stated it was bad after second grade, despite the fact that my children scored well on standardized tests. My youngest child is in daycare although I want to care for my children at home. Now, I have no right to make any decision regarding their upbringing. Finally, although we as a family poured our lives into building a non-profit foundation, my husband runs it and I have been ordered to get another job.”

“The court’s ruling gave the father, who works full time, permanent custody and their stay-at-home mom visitation time,” her lead attorney, Safranek said. “This occurred despite the fact that the father did not have a single family member or friend or even an employee who could testify on his abilities to serve as a custodial parent. However, a veritable blizzard of family and friends testified on behalf of Mrs. MacFarlane.”

Mrs. MacFarlane hopes her husband will be ordered to follow the arbitration process required by his church law before seeking civil divorce. “Courts order people to follow the rules they choose in their own contracts everyday; marriage should be no different,” says Mrs. Macfarlane.

Mrs. MacFarlane has taken her case on a parallel track before the Church Tribunals and she is publicizing all these efforts on her website.

- END -

UPDATE (24 May 2006)
Mrs. Darwin (with a link to this blog - Thanks!) has some very interesting observations about this case.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Legal Appeal Challenges Civil No-Fault Divorce

Ohio Woman Seeks Reform of US Divorce Law

Atheist Removes Memorial Crosses To Woman, Baby

Some people are just sorry sons-of-bitches:
LANCASTER, Mass. -- One month after a car crash claimed the lives of a young woman and her unborn child, the woman's family said they are facing a new hardship.

NewsCenter 5's Jim Boyd reported that part of the small roadside memorial along Route 62 in Lancaster to mark the crash site has been removed.

James Rousseau visited the memorial on Monday, just like he has every day since April 22 when a van operated by an alleged drunken driver hit the car he was driving, killing his fiancé, Katelyn M. DiSessa, and their unborn son. But now, Rousseau's grief has turned to anger, he said.

"I couldn't believe it. Totally wrong. Absolutely wrong," Rousseau said.

What Rousseau can’t believe is that someone would remove items from the memorial.

"Two crosses, baby's first shoes and a couple of things, I'm not sure. I know about baby's first shoes -- I put them there," Rousseau said.

The controversy revolves around the two crosses. The property owner, Bill Brodmerkle, who would not talk to NewsCenter 5, is quoted in the Sentinel and Enterprise of Fitchburg newspaper as saying, "I removed them because I am an atheist and I do not want any Catholic symbols on my property."

"He should have called somebody or something. I would have come and gotten every little piece from here," Rousseau said.

The local paper said Brodmerkle has taken the items away and had them buried.

(emphasis added)

The Anchoress on "The Essential President Bush"

(Hat tip: Julie D. at Happy Catholic)

The Anchoress provides some much-needed perspective on the Bush presidency:
... Perhaps I am a dim bulb, but President Bush has never surprised me, and that is probably why I have never felt let down or “betrayed” by him. He is, in essentials, precisely whom he has ever been. He did not surprise me when he managed, in August of 2001, to find a morally workable solution in the matter of Embryonic Stem Cells. He did not surprise me when, a month later, he stood on a pile of rubble and lifted a broken city from its knees. When my NYFD friends told me of the enormous consolation and strength he brought to his meetings with grieving families, I was not surprised. When the World Series opened in New York City and the President was invited to throw the first pitch, there was no surprise in his throwing (while wearing body armor) a perfect strike.

He did not surprise me when he spoke eloquently from the National Cathedral, or again before the Joint Houses of Congress, when he laid out the Bush Doctrine. He did not surprise me when he did it again at West Point, or when he went visionary at Whitehall (don’t try to find a tape of it, honey, that was ONE SPEECH C-Span never re-ran and the press quickly tried to move along from).

It never surprised me that Yassar Arafat, formerly the “most welcomed” foreign “Head of State” in the Clinton White House was not welcomed - ever - to the Bush White House.

I wasn’t surprised by the, not one, but two tax cuts he got passed through congress, or the roaring economy - and jobs - those tax cuts created. I wasn’t surprised when he killed the unending farce that is the Kyoto treaty (remember, the thing Al Gore and the Senate unanimously voted down under Clinton?), or when he killed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court, or when he told the UN they risked becoming irrelevent, or when he told the Congress and the world, “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.” Not surprising.

How you receive a good has a lot to do with whether any more “good” comes your way. The Conservatives got a “good” in 2000 and 2004; they’re receiving it very badly, indeed. I think the throwing-under-the-bus-of-George-W-Bush by “the base” is one of the most shameful things I have ever witnessed in all my years of watching politics, from both sides of the political spectrum. How do you receive a good?

President Bush has never surprised me. He is, in essentials, the man he ever was. It does not surprise me that he is a Christian man living a creed before he is a President, that he is a President before he is a Conservative. It seems to me precisely the right order of things.

You “base” have received a great good. You’ve forgotten it. Continue to do so at your - at all our - great peril.

My Comments:
While I continue to disagree with her take on Harriet Miers, I think the Anchoress is otherwise right on the money.

Going Batty - Redux

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a bat that had somehow made its way into our home.

Well, a couple of nights ago, another bat (or maybe even the same one) found its way into our house. The one common denominator is that both times our basement door was left open, so they must be coming in from that cave-like space.

One significant difference between this time and last time is how I was able to get rid of the bat, who was flying frantically around our kitchen. Basically, I didn't have to do a thing. My rodent-killing Border Terrier, Wallace, did all the work. (NOTE: that is not Wallace in the picture, but it looks like him - you can see parts of Wallace - still with winter coat - at the bottom of the photo here.)

While I was trying to get to a window to open it up, Wallace waited for the bat to swoop down within striking distance. He leapt up a couple of feet into the air and snatched the bat in mid-flight. Impressive. Wallace dispatched the bat fairly quickly with a couple of crunches.

What a good dog! I scooped the bat up into a plastic grocery bag and took it out with the trash.

If you'd like more information on Border Terriers, read "The Border Terrier in Brief".

Go Mavs!

Congratulations to my Dallas Mavericks and to my 2nd-favorite NBA team, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, on a hard-fought and excellent 7-game series.

Thankfully, the Mavericks - behind the scoring of Dirk Nowitski and Jason Terry - outlasted a 2nd-half-come-from-behind surge from the Spurs (who erased a 20-point 1st-half deficit), in order to win the series and advance to the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns.

This series was one for the ages, and certainly the best playoff series in my recent memory. It's just too bad that it had to take place in the Western Conference semifinals, with the 2 best teams in the conference pitted against one another way too early due to the NBA's idiotic seeding system (the Mavs had the 2nd-best record, but were seeded 4th).

Both teams should be proud of their efforts (of course, had the Mavericks lost, I'd be berating them right now for blowing a 3-games-to-1 lead in the series and a 20-point advantage last night). Nevertheless, I'm proud of the way both teams played.

Go Mavericks!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Religious Left Struggles to Find Unifying Message

Rod Dreher, citing a story in the New York Slimes, notes how "pitiful" the so-called "Religious Left" looks in their attempt to formulate a message to take on religious conservatives and traditionalists:
See, this is why the Religious Left is not about to amount to anything. These folks are so sold out to pluralism that they cannot affirm anything as true, except the dogma that "the Religious Right is wrong." Good luck building a movement around that, y'all. This excerpt from that NYTimes story is so very, very telling:
Mr. Campolo, the Baptist minister, explained to the participants in a seminar that many people on Capitol Hill were religious, and that to reach them and to establish authority, liberals should rely on the Bible."

You have no right to be a spiritual leader if you haven't read Scripture," he told the group. "People in Congress respect the Book, even if they don't know what it says. If we don't recognize this, we don't know squat."

A young man with long hair and a tunic challenged Mr. Campolo.

"I thought this was a spiritual progressives' conference," he said. "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that,' or that we get validation from something other than ourselves. We should be speaking from our hearts."
Pure sentimental mush. It has no power to bind anybody, which means it has no power to inspire. Can you imagine Martin Luther King Jr. saying, "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that.'?" Can you imagine facing Bull Connor and the police dogs, much less Diocletian, with that bucket-of-warm-spit stuff? Come on!

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Saint Hugo - the Religious Left Begins its Embrace of [Castro-Loving Commie Bastard] Hugo Chávez

Religious Conservatives Push for "Values Voters' Contract with Congress"

Has Tim Kaine Shown Democrats How To Reach The Promised Land?

For Democrats, a Troubling Culture Gap

Left-Leaning Preacher to Howard Dean: You Can't Fake It, So Shut Up About Religion

Wary Democrats Discover a Severe "Parents Gap"

Arinze to AmChurch Bishops: Get with the Program

Amy Welborn has some of the details of (and links to) a letter from Cardinal Arinze addressed to Bishop Skylstad, president of the USCCB:
The attention of your Bishops’ Conference was also recalled to the fact that Liturgiam authenticam was issued at the directive of the Holy Father at the time, Pope John Paul II, to guide new translations as well as the revision of all translations done in the last forty years, to bring them into greater fidelity to the original-language official liturgical texts. For this reason it is not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for the past thirty or forty years, and therefore that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes. Where there are good and strong reasons for a change, as has been determined by this Dicastery in regard to the entire translation of the Missale Romanum as well as other important texts, then the revised text should make the needed changes. The attitudes of Bishops and Priests will certainly influence the acceptance of the texts by the lay faithful as well.

(emphasis added)

Apparently, Diogenes broke the story.

My Comments (originally posted at Amy's blog):
The liturgical liberals have adopted the same strategy as their judicial liberal counterparts who, after decades of using judicial activism to pursue their agenda, suddenly have a new-found respect for stare decisis now that they fear Roe v. Wade is at risk.

We saw the same thing in the Soviet Union. Eventually, the radicals become reactionaries.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Bishop Trautman, US Bishops' Liturgy Committee Chair, Strongly Criticizes Proposed Mass Translations

How I Know Senate Democrats and the Catholic Bishops are Reading from the Same Playbook

Vatican on Condoms: Yes or No? Magister Says No

Sandro Magister writes:
ROMA, May 22, 2006 – “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the journal of the Rome Jesuits that is printed under the supervision of the Vatican authorities, doesn’t usually post to its website the complete text of all of the articles published in each of its editions. It does so only with one or two of its less significant articles, which are usually dedicated to art or literature.

But there are exceptions. In the case of an important editorial, or of another article also held to be significant, “La Civiltà Cattolica” immediately puts the entire text online, in order to bring the thinking of leading Church authorities to a wider audience.

This was done with an article dedicated to AIDS in Africa and to the Church’s efforts to combat it, published in the most recent edition of the magazine.

Why was this done? Presumably because during the preceding weeks there had been worldwide coverage of the controversy over the Church and AIDS, and in particular over the question of whether or not the use of condoms should be permitted.

The dispute was reignited by remarks from cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, and by later indiscreet comments about a possible Vatican document on the topic.

Both of these factors induced the opinion that the Church was about to loosen its ban on condoms, affirmed by the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” from Paul VI.

The article published in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica” is an implicit response to the expectations for a change in the Church’s stance, beginning with the specific case illustrated by cardinal Martini.

And the answer is in the negative. Not only does the article make no direct reference to condoms, but it demonstrates that the Church’s activity is directed in an entirely different direction, which can be summed up in the word “chastity.” It maintains that the Church would do nothing but harm if its efforts in combating AIDS “seemed to support promiscuous, excessive, and destructive behavior.”

That this is also Benedict XVI’s thought is beyond all doubt. At the same time as “La Civiltà Cattolica” was publishing its article, the pope referred twice – in addresses on May 11 and 13 – to the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” by Paul VI, describing it as “prophetic and always relevant.”


Pope Praises Democracy

From Catholic World News:
May. 19 ( - Democratic government is "the most valid historical instrument" for advancing human rights and development, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed in a May 19 address to the Centesimus Annus (doc) - Pro Pontifice Foundation.

Speaking at a private audience in the Clementine room of the apostolic palace, to participants in a conference organized by the Italian foundation to discuss democracy and social justice, the Holy Father congratulated the leaders of the Centesimus Annus- Pro Pontifice Foundation for their work to promote Catholic social teaching first in Europe, and now in the Americas.

Democracy, Pope Benedict said, has proven to be an effective means of "guaranteeing the future in a way worthy of man." He added, however, that democracy relies on the existence of other institutions that uphold a stable society. "Equally," the Pope continued, "there is an urgent need for tenacious, lasting and shared efforts to promote social justice."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Which American Idol Contestant Are You?

(Hat tip: Jean at Catholic Fire)

Which American Idol Character Are You

Taylor Hicks
Take this quiz!

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| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty

Maggie Gallagher writes in The Weekly Standard on "the coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty":

CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF BOSTON made the announcement on March 10: It was getting out of the adoption business. "We have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve. . . . The issue is adoption to same-sex couples."

It was shocking news. Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation's oldest adoption agencies, had long specialized in finding good homes for hard to place kids. "Catholic Charities was always at the top of the list," Paula Wisnewski, director of adoption for the Home for Little Wanderers, told the Boston Globe. "It's a shame because it is certainly going to mean that fewer children from foster care are going to find permanent homes." Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said simply, "This is a tragedy for kids."

How did this tragedy happen?

It's a complicated story. Massachusetts law prohibited "orientation discrimination" over a decade ago. Then in November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered gay marriage. The majority ruled that only animus against gay people could explain why anyone would want to treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently. That same year, partly in response to growing pressure for gay marriage and adoption both here and in Europe, a Vatican statement made clear that placing children with same-sex couples violates Catholic teaching.

Then in October 2005, the Boston Globe broke the news: Boston Catholic Charities had placed a small number of children with same-sex couples. Sean Cardinal O'Malley, who has authority over Catholic Charities of Boston, responded by stating that
the agency would no longer do so.

But getting square with the church didn't end Catholic Charities' woes. To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination--including the decade-old ban on orientation discrimination. With the legalization of gay marriage in the state, discrimination against same-sex couples would be outlawed, too.

Cardinal O'Malley asked Governor Mitt Romney for a religious exemption from the ban on orientation discrimination. Governor Romney reluctantly responded that he lacked legal authority to grant one unilaterally, by executive order. So the governor and archbishop turned to the state legislature, requesting a conscience exemption that would allow Catholic Charities to continue to help kids in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching.

To date, not a single other Massachusetts political leader appears willing to consider even the narrowest religious exemption. Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the Republican candidate for governor in this fall's election, refused to budge: "I believe that any institution that wants to provide services that are regulated by the state has to abide by the laws of the state," Healey told the Boston Globe on March 2, "and our antidiscrimination laws are some of our most important."

This March, then, unexpectedly, a mere two years after the introduction of gay marriage in America, a number of latent concerns about the impact of this innovation on religious freedom ceased to be theoretical. How could Adam and Steve's marriage possibly hurt anyone else? When religious-right leaders prophesy negative consequences from gay marriage, they are often seen as overwrought. The First Amendment, we are told, will protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage.

So who is right? Is the fate of Catholic Charities of Boston an aberration or a sign of things to come?

My Comments:
Not to sound all gloom and doom, but I have long believed that this will be the issue that will eventually drive the Church underground to practice "in the catacombs" once again.

At one point in the Gallagher's piece, this quote appears:

The problem is not that clergy will be forced to perform gay marriages or prevented from preaching their beliefs. Look past those big red herrings: "No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them."
Sorry, but I seriously do foresee just that. I can easily forsee a day when the government will use "anti-discrimination" law to punish churches who "discriminate" against same-sex orientation - first by denial of tax-exempt status, and then by allowing discrimination lawsuits, etc.

And when that day comes, don't look for the courts to interpret the 1st Amendment in a manner that would protect churches from such action.

A more pressing concern with possible immediate repercussions, however, arises with respect to religious education:
Consider education. Same-sex marriage will affect religious educational institutions, he argues, in at least four ways: admissions, employment, housing, and regulation of clubs. One of Stern's big worries right now is a case in California where a private Christian high school expelled two girls who (the school says) announced they were in a lesbian relationship. Stern is not optimistic. And if the high school loses, he tells me, "then religious schools are out of business." Or at least the government will force religious schools to tolerate both conduct and proclamations by students they believe to be sinful.
Please do go read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Feingold, Specter Clash Over Same-Sex "Marriage"

From Associated Press, via Yahoo:

WASHINGTON - A Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday, after a shouting match that ended when one Democrat strode out and the Republican chairman bid him "good riddance."

"I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter finished.

"I've enjoyed your lecture, too, Mr. Chairman," replied Feingold, D-Wis., who is considering a run for president in 2008. "See ya."

Amid increasing partisan tension over President Bush's judicial nominees and domestic wiretapping, the panel voted along party lines to send the constitutional amendment — which would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages — to the full Senate, where it stands little chance of passing.

Democrats complained that bringing up the amendment is a purely political move designed to appeal to the GOP's conservative base in this year of midterm elections. Under the domed ceiling of the ornate and historic President's Room off the Senate floor, senators voted 10-8 to send the measure forward.

My Comments:
Before anyone starts to think ol' Arlen has shed his RINO skin, he still opposes the amendment, but thinks it should come before the full Senate for debate.

Brain Scans Get at Roots of Prejudice

Harvard study shows that liberals are just as bigoted as those they consider bigots:
WEDNESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- The human brain may have a built-in mechanism for keeping racially or politically distinct groups apart, a new Harvard study suggests.

U.S. researchers observed the brain activity of liberal college students who were asked to think about Christian conservatives. As they did so, a brain region strongly linked to the self and to empathy with others nearly shut down, while another center -- perhaps linked to stereotypic thoughts -- swung into high gear.

"It's as if you think that 'they' don't think like you do -- it's like you believe they are governed by a different set of rules when they think," explained study author Dr. Jason Mitchell, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University's department of psychology.

His team published its findings in the May 18 issue of Neuron.

According to Mitchell, social psychologists have long known that people engage different mental criteria when thinking about the possible thoughts and actions of people within their own ethnic, cultural or political group, vs. those outside that group.

The neurological mechanisms governing this process has been much less clear, however.

"Our work is about 'other-ness,' " Mitchell said. "There's this question of 'How do I figure out what's going on inside your head? How do I make inferences about what you are feeling?' "

One theory that's gained credence among social neuroscientists is that people look to themselves when thinking about people they already include in their "group."

"If you and I are similar, then I can use what I know about myself to figure out what you are thinking," said Mitchell, who will become an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard in July.

Previous studies have shown that an area toward the front of the brain, called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), always lights up when people think about themselves or people they consider similar to themselves.

But which part of the mPFC activates when people think about those outside their group?

To find out, the Harvard team hooked up a group of liberal Boston college students to a functional MRI machine, which tracks real-time changes in brain energy use.

They then asked the students to read detailed profiles of two people: one, a liberal-minded person much like themselves, and the other, a fundamentalist Christian conservative with views and activities very different from their own.

"We showed that there are distinct brain regions active in the mPFC," depending on the political stripe of the object in question, Mitchell said.

When the students thought about the liberal person, the mPFC's ventral region -- strongly associated with thoughts about the self -- got very active. But it quieted down when the subject was the Christian conservative -- instead, the mPFC's dorsal area took over.

"The dorsal region is a lot more mysterious," Mitchell said. "It's more engaged when I think about a dissimilar other."

"These data challenge the naive view that we bring the same mental orientation to bear when we think about those who are similar or different from us," said study co-author Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, a professor of social ethics in Harvard's department of psychology. "In particular, it raises questions about who can, objectively speaking, sit in judgment on whom."

My Comments:
Which may help explain why bigoted liberals come up with crap like this.

Notre Dame Worker Says Her Wages, Conditions Fair - She Prefers Benefits to a Higher Starting Salary

From the South Bend Tribune:
SOUTH BEND -- Doris Housand has worked in food service at the University of Notre Dame since 1990, and she has no plan to look for work elsewhere.

She's pleased with her job and wages, and doesn't agree with student activists who are critical of Notre Dame's treatment of employees.

Members of the Campus Labor Action Project, a student group, are pushing the university to adopt a "living wage" of at least $12.10 per hour. Notre Dame's current starting wage (for a nontipped, full-time employee) is $8.13 per hour.

Housand said she believes the student activists are good-hearted, but naive.

"You can tell they are inexperienced in life. It's not their fault," said Housand, 41, of South Bend.

If Notre Dame raised its minimum wage to $12 an hour, the university likely would have to reduce benefits, Housand said. She thinks $8.13 per hour as a starting wage is reasonable for many campus jobs.

Health benefits are the big pull. Housand said she doesn't think she could equal the pay and benefits if she sought employment elsewhere.

Housand said she receives four weeks of paid vacation and will receive five paid weeks when she reaches 20 years on the payroll.

My Comments:
"You can tell they are inexperienced in life."

LOL! You tell 'em, Mrs. Housand. Ignorant do-gooders with no real experience in life doing more harm than good.

Besides, don't the children of Notre Dame employees also receive tuition breaks or something like that?

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