Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Activist Trap: Pope Benedict and Political Activism

(Hat tip: GOP Soccer Mom)

Colleen Carroll Campbell, writing at National Review, notes that "[a]s Election Day draws near, Benedict’s warning to his flock is timely and relevant":
The coming campaign season is shaping up to be as rough-and-tumble any in recent memory, and religious voters are once again at the center of the action. With Election Day less than three months away, Catholics of all political persuasions are working overtime to turn out the faith-based vote.

So what does the leader of the Catholic Church think about all of this faith-based political activism? Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II before him, has publicly criticized the Bush administration’s decision to wage war in Iraq. But both also have condemned abortion, euthanasia, embryonic-stem-cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. And both clearly distinguished between acts that are considered intrinsically evil (such as abortion) and those which must be judged according to circumstances (such as individual military conflicts). As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) wrote to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2004: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. …While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Kansas Bishops' Document Distinguishes Moral Evils From Prudential Judgments

This Day in Jacobite History: Marriage Ceremony of James Francis Edward Stuart and Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska - 1 September 1719

On this day, 287 years ago, the marriage ceremony of James Francis Edward Stewart (of right, King James III and VIII) and Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska took place.

The Polish Princess had been kidnapped on her way to the original wedding, escaped, and had married James by proxy earlier in 1719.

The couple had two sons:

  • Charles Edward Stuart (December 31, 1720 – January 31, 1788), aka "Bonnie Prince Charlie", and

  • Henry Benedict Stuart (March 11, 1725 – July 13, 1807), aka "the Cardinal-Duke of York".

  • Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    This Day in Jacobite History: Mary Queen of Scots Deposed - 24 July 1567

    This Day in Jacobite History: The Battle of Killiecrankie - 27 July 1689

    This Day in Jacobite History: Death of Queen Anne; George, Elector of Hanover, Becomes King - 1 August 1714

    This Day in Jacobite History: Proscription Act Introduced, Banning Tartan and Carrying of Weapons - 1 August 1747

    This Day in Jacobite History: Latin Mass Outlawed in Scotland - 11 August 1560

    This Day in Jacobite History: Raising of the Jacobite Standard at Glenfinnan - 19 August 1745

    Digest of Today's Posts (31 August 2006)

    How a Non-Catholic Politician Respectfully Communes at Mass

    Charles Barkley's Political Aspirations: DOA

    Muslim Group Offended by [Freddie] Mercury Party

    Pinocchio and Friends Converted to Islam

    Fugitive's Arrest Good for "Normal Polygamists," Activist Says

    Minneapolis Police Suspend Christian Psychologist

    Sorry, I Still Don't Get It

    Kansas Bishops' Document Distinguishes Moral Evils From Prudential Judgments

    (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (30 August 2006))

    How a Non-Catholic Politician Respectfully Communes at Mass

    The Anchoress has the details on “How a Non-Catholic respectfully communes at Mass”.

    Hint: Don't accuse the preeminent Catholic prelate in the United States of not knowing what he's talking about.

    Charles Barkley's Political Aspirations: DOA

    Barkley sounds off on gay rights, religion and Katrina:
    NEW YORK -- Charles Barkley was his usual outspoken self during a recent television interview in which he said, among other things, that he advocates gay marriage, believes Republicans have screwed up the country and is "struggling with my idea of what religion is."

    The former NBA MVP, who is considering running as a Democratic candidate for governor in his home state of Alabama, also said Democrats have concentrated too much on criticizing President Bush in the last two years instead of focusing on what they can do to improve things in the country.

    Barkley was a Republican until recently, saying he switched parties when the Republicans "lost their minds." He said he is troubled by some of the actions of people in the United States in the name of religion.

    "Religious people in general are so discriminatory against other people, and that really disturbs me," he said. "My idea of religion is we all love and respect. We all sin, but we still have common decency and respect for other people. So right now I'm struggling with my idea of what religion is."

    He also said he supports gay marriage.

    My Comments:
    No longer a fan.

    At least with his political aspirations now a shambles (does he actually believe he can be elected with such political views in ALABAMA?), he won't be left with the dilemma of whether to kiss babies or spit on them.

    Barkley's man-crush on David Hasselhoff won't make matters any easier for him.

    Muslim Group Offended by [Freddie] Mercury Party

    Radical Islamists are putting a restaurant that wants to honor Freddie Mercury "under pressure" - the restaurant manager responds "don't stop me now":
    ZANZIBAR, Tanzania (AP) -- A huge beach party to honor late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury must be stopped because the Zanzibar-born rock star was gay, a Muslim leader said Thursday.

    Mercury, who died of AIDS in 1991, violated Islam with his flamboyant lifestyle, said Azan Khalid of Zanzibar's Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation.

    "That's why he was branded a Queen," Khalid said, adding that anything linking Mercury with Zanzibar's Muslim population would be offensive.

    He said that a waterfront restaurant's plans for a Sept. 2 party honoring Mercury's birthday would be stopped.

    Mercury restaurant, which was named for the singer, will go ahead [with] the party, manager Simai Mohammed said.

    My Comments:
    Wherever he may have chosen to put his privates, I'll say this for the man: Freddie Mercury could flat-out sing. His vocals made Queen one of the greatest rock bands of the modern era.

    And the Zoroastrian rocker gets bonus points for pissing off Islamics.

    Pinocchio and Friends Converted to Islam

    From The Telegraph (U.K.):
    Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.

    "Give me some bread, for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

    "Thanks be to Allah," the puppet says later.

    In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas.

    An old woman explains: "He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness."

    Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a "special treat" for learning the Arabic words.

    Pollyanna, seen by some as the embodiment of Christian forgiveness, says that she believes in the end of the world as predicted in the Koran.

    Heidi, the Swiss orphan girl in the tale by Johanna Spyri, is told that praying to Allah will help her to relax.

    Several more books have been altered, including La Fontaine's fables and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

    The clumsy insertions by Islamic publishing houses have caused controversy in Turkey, which has been a strongly secular state since the 1920s.


    Fugitive's Arrest Good for "Normal Polygamists," Activist Says

    Uhhhhhhhhhh, okay:
    ( - "Normal polygamists" are "very glad" that sect leader Warren Jeffs was arrested in Las Vegas Monday night, because they were being "libelously smeared" during the hunt for the fugitive, the founder of a national "Christian polygamy" organization said. Full Story

    Minneapolis Police Suspend Christian Psychologist

    From Cybercast News Service:
    ( - Pro-family groups are defending a psychologist who screens potential officers for the Minneapolis Police Department after he was suspended because of his past affiliation with an Illinois group that opposes special legal recognition for homosexuals. Full Story

    Sorry, I Still Don't Get It

    Maybe I'm just completely out of touch, but I still can't figure out what all the fuss is about.

    I mean, come on. It's a TV show. The guy plays a role on a TV show. He acts the part of a character on a TV show.

    And the character he portrays is a parody of religious conservatives.* On a TV show.

    *As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am particularly thin-skinned about political humor, so it's probably just me.

    But, on the other hand, take the "Godless sodomites" reference in the linked video. Does anyone REALLY believe that Stephen Colbert thinks of Hollywood as a bunch of "Godless sodomites"? The more likely explanation is that he is demonstrating the "absurdness" of middle-American traditional values (and the cognitive disconnect with the "values" Hollywood portrays) by showing those traditional values to be "bigoted".

    Again, I am fully prepared to accept that the problem is all mine and my ill-formed sense of humor regarding such subject matter.

    At least I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    You're On Notice

    You're On Notice (Part 2)

    Kansas Bishops' Document Distinguishes Moral Evils From Prudential Judgments

    (Hat tip: Catholic World News)

    Kansas' Catholic Bishops issue statement of "Moral Principles for Catholic Voters":
    In some moral matters the use of reason allows for a legitimate diversity in our prudential judgments. Catholic voters may differ, for example, on what constitutes the best immigration policy, how to provide universal health care, or affordable housing. Catholics may even have differing judgments on the state’s use of the death penalty or the decision to wage a just war. The morality of such questions lies not in what is done (the moral object), but in the motive and circumstances. Therefore, because these prudential judgments do not involve a direct choice of something evil and take into consideration various goods, it is possible for Catholic voters to arrive at different, even opposing judgments.

    A correct conscience recognizes that there are some choices that always involve doing evil and which can never be done even as a means to a good end. These choices include elective abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, the destruction of embryonic human beings in stem cell research, human cloning, and same-sex “marriage.” Such acts are judged to be intrinsically evil, that is, evil in and of themselves, regardless of our motives or the circumstances.
    My Comments:
    Stick that in your seamless garment.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Digest of Today's Posts (30 August 2006)

    Book Review: Saints Behaving Badly

    Wishful Thinking: National AntiCatholic Distorter Proclaims "Conservative Crack-Up"

    Venezuela, Syria Join Forces Against "American Imperialism"

    First Day of School

    Is Saddam Being "Tortured"?

    Religious Voters Could Doom the Democrats

    (Digest of yesterday's posts)

    Book Review: Saints Behaving Badly

    Hardcover: 208 pages

    Publisher: Doubleday

    Publication Date: September 19, 2006

    Language: English

    ISBN: 0385517203

    List Price: $15.95

    Author Thomas J. Craughwell, who writes a monthly column on patron saints for Catholic diocesan newspapers, has written a book titled Saints Behaving Badly: the Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil Worshippers Who Became Saints, which - as it's title suggests - covers in 32 hagiographical sketches the less than savory details of the lives of men and women venerated by the Catholic Church as saints.

    In his introduction to the book, Craughwell points out that, unlike the 19th and 20th century penchant for whitewashing the sins of saints, earlier hagiographers had no qualms about delving into the fallen lifestyles of those about whom they were writing:
    In the early centuries of the Church and all through the Middle Ages writers of saints' lives were perfectly candid about saints whose early lives were far from saintly. It is from these ancient sources that we learn of the bloodbath St. Olga unleashed on her husband's assassins; of St. Mary of Egypt trolling the streets of Alexandria for new sexual conquests; of the obscenely rich St. Thomas Becket looking down at a poor man almost freezing to death in the street and refusing to give him his cloak.
    Fortunately for me, the book also includes a profile of my own personal patron, whose name I took at Confirmation, St. Columba - that infringer of copyrights and inciter of bloody wars (one battle alone, in which the saint took part, cost over 3000 lives).

    Of course, as Craughwell further notes in his introduction, "[t]he point of reading these stories is not to experience some tabloid thrill, but to understand how grace works in the world."
    Every day, all day long, God pours out his grace upon us, urging us, coaxing us, to turn away from everything that is base and cheap and unsatisfying, and turn toward the only thing that is eternal, perfect, and true -- that is, himself.
    With these 32 saintly vignettes, Craughwell -- or rather the saints about whom he writes -- offers hope for attaining that which is "eternal, perfect, and true" to those of us who wish for sainthood but struggle with our own vices and sinful predilictions.

    Wishful Thinking: National AntiCatholic Distorter Proclaims "Conservative Crack-Up"

    If you can hold your lunch down long enough to read it, here's The National AntiCatholic Distorter engaging in a little wishful thinking.

    Venezuela, Syria Join Forces Against "American Imperialism"

    From Cybercast News Service:
    Jerusalem ( - Thousands of flag-waving Syrians greeted Venezuelan President [and Castro-loving commie bastard] Hugo Chavez in Damascus on Wednesday as he began a three-day official visit, challenging what he called American "imperialism." Full Story
    My Comments:
    Prediction: Having already been embraced by the Protestant "religious left", antisemites, and now terrorist regimes like Iran and Syria, it's just a matter of time before the Castro-loving commie bastard Chávez becomes the darling of "progressive" Catholics.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Hugo Chávez Says Israel's Action in Lebanon "Worse" Than Hitler

    Israel's Critics Hail Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Hugo Chávez

    Pro-US Candidate Wins Landslide in Colombia

    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

    First Day of School

    We just got back from dropping our 4-and-a-half year old son, Jamie, off at school. Today is his first day of pre-K at Norwalk Catholic School's Early Childhood Center.

    No crying. No acting shy. The kid walked right in like he owned the place and said hello to his teachers.

    Aidan, our 2-and-a-half year old son, also greeted Jamie's teachers. He's chomping at the bit to go to school, too. He can start preschool at Norwalk Catholic School's Early Childhood Center next fall.

    All this is a good sign, considering we moved all the to Norwalk from Virginia specifically so that we could educate the kids in the Catholic school here.

    Is Saddam Being "Tortured"?

    Catholic Caveman reports that "Marines Make Saddam Watch Self As 'Gay' Satan Lover".

    Religious Voters Could Doom the Democrats

    From Financial Times via PMSNBC:
    Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman, is famous for his loose lips and exuberant vocal chords, which may help explain the muted reaction to his recent warning about religious participation in public life. A few months ago, Mr Dean told the Christian Science Monitor that the "religious community" would have to decide "whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics".

    Voters on the religious right are unlikely to go quietly back to their pews. The rationale for civil participation by conservative, mostly evangelical Christians has little to do with that latest scare word, "theocracy", and every­thing to do with defending their ­prerogatives.

    Remember, Roe v Wade did not create the modern religious right. Former president Jimmy Carter did when he refused to rein in an Internal Revenue Service that had decided to go after the tax exemptions of private Christian schools that were not in compliance with civil rights quotas. Evangelicals could live with legalised abortion and bedlam in the public schools by removing their children from the system. It must have grated that they were paying to subsidise education they did not agree with and then paying again for private education for their children to opt-out, but Caesar was dutifully rendered unto, until he threatened to hike the cost of tuition.

    The same dynamic persists today. The Democratic party elites cheer when regulators force Catholic charities to fund things the church considers immoral. They vote to curtail the freedom of conscience of pro-life pharmacists. They filibuster judicial appointees who do not hold to the interpretation of Ted Kennedy, senator, of the constitution-as-rubber-stamp for liberal causes. Worse, they compare religious rightists to Muslim terrorists ("Christianists") and warn that we have entered a new Dark Age. Garry Wills, the popular historian, called the 2004 election the end of the Enlightenment on American soil, and meant it.

    The good folks who make up the religious right may not love the Republican party, but they know a threat when they see one. The modern Democratic party is hostile to their very existence. An embarrassment for the Deanified Democrats in the November mid-term elections would be a victory not for theocracy, but for enlightened self-interest.

    (emphasis added)

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Digest of Today's Posts (29 August 2006)

    Chain of Title

    The Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani In 2008

    "The Closer" Hostile to Catholic Priest?

    Gov. Schwarzenegger Accused of "Squashing Religious Freedom"

    Scottish Bishop Welcomes Police Assurance That Goalkeeper Wasn't Sanctioned for Blessing Himself

    Essential Catholic Hymns

    Another Bishop Who Takes His Teaching Responsibility Seriously

    Happy Birthday, Sarah

    Chain of Title

    Sarah's Godmother, an attorney and a co-worker of mine, forwarded this to me:
    A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to the parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

    (Actual letter): "Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

    Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

    "Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella.

    The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus' expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA.

    I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

    He got the loan.

    The Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani In 2008

    (Hat tip: Jeff Miller at Catholic? Rudy Watch)

    John Hawkins at Right Wing News lays out the conservative case against Rudy Giuliani.

    See also The Conservative Case Against John McCain In 2008

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Southern Appeal Takes on The Anchoress' Support for Rudy Giuliani's Presidential Aspirations

    Pro-Abort, Pro-Gay, Anti-Gun Republican Tops Pro-Abort, Pro-Gay, Anti-Gun Democrat in Recent Poll

    Four in 10 Republicans Would Not Find McCain an "Acceptable" Nominee

    Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Republican Tops Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Democrat In Presidential Poll - Who Cares?

    Pat Robertson Says Giuliani Would Be "Good President"

    "The Closer" Hostile to Catholic Priest?

    Sarah's new favorite TV show is "The Closer". In last night's episode, the show's protagonist, Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, seemed to take delight in acting very hostile to a Catholic priest.

    Granted, the priest was a "peace and justice" free-the-convicted-murderer type who was using the students in his Catholic high school's government class to engage in political and social advocacy. But I thought the hostility was gratuitous.

    Did anyone else see show and feel the same way?

    I suppose we should feel somewhat gratified that the priest wasn't shown to be a sex abuser. But this show has recurring characters, so we can't count out its bringing back this particular priest for such a story line in the future.

    Gov. Schwarzenegger Accused of "Squashing Religious Freedom"

    From Cybercast News Service:
    ( - A conservative advocacy group says California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has betrayed California families by signing a bill that will force faith-based colleges to either abandon their biblical standards on sexuality, or else reject students who receive state financial aid.

    SB 1441 says state-operated and state-funded programs may not discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation (among other things).

    "People of conscience are appalled that Arnold Schwarzenegger has trampled religious freedom to satisfy hyperactive sexual activists," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF).

    Thomasson accused Schwarzenegger of having two faces: "He speaks at churches and says he believes in religious freedom and family values, yet he's stabbing pro-family Californians in the back."

    The Campaign for Children and Families is urging its supporters to call Schwarzenegger's office "to express how appalled and angry you are at him for attacking religion, and what his signing SB 1441 means to you as a voter."

    SB 1441, sponsored by lesbian Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat, specifically says that "any program or activity that...receives any financial assistance from the state" must give "full and equal access" to Californians without regard to "race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability."

    Conservatives say the addition of the "sexual orientation" category means state programs must now "support transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality or lose state funding."

    Conservatives are especially upset that SB 1441 contains no exemption for Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or other religious colleges and universities that accept students with Cal Grants, or for child-care providers that accept CalWORKS vouchers.

    "If signed into law, SB 1441 would mean religious colleges (which accept students with state financial aid), children's day care centers and after-school programs (many of which receive state funding) could be forced to allow men to wear women's dresses and hire transsexual, bisexual or homosexual instructor," CCF said.
    (emphasis added)

    My Comments:
    Just a sign of the coming schism between people of faith and the GOP.

    The Democrat Party - the "party of death" - offers no refuge. Where shall we turn when the day of reckoning finally comes (for example, if Rudy Giuliani becomes the GOP presidential nominee)?

    Scottish Bishop Welcomes Police Assurance That Goalkeeper Wasn't Sanctioned for Blessing Himself

    (Hat tip: Catholic World News)

    From The Glasgow Daily Record:
    LAW chiefs finally came clean yesterday over why Celtic keeper Artur Boruc was cautioned following an Old Firm match.

    The Crown Office said it was NOT because he blessed himself in front of Rangers supporters. They insisted the caution came after the Polish international star was witnessed "smiling or laughing at a Rangers section of the crowd and making 'come on' gestures".

    The Crown Office also stressed that they would never sanction action against a sportsman for acts of religious observance.

    The office, headed by Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, said they wanted to set the record straight in light of some "wholly unfounded claims".

    Yesterday's clear-the-air statement was praised by Bishop Joseph Devine, for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

    He said: "The Crown Office statement that they fully respect religious belief and practices and 'would not countenance formal action against individuals for acts of religious observance' is both welcome and reassuring."


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Scottish Soccer Player "Cautioned" for Making Sign of the Cross

    Essential Catholic Hymns

    Fr. Martin Fox is seeking suggestions for hymns to add to the repertoir of his church choir:
    My music director and I are going to undertake a new project: we are considering what should be the 10-12 songs that we think would be most beneficial to have the members of both parishes learn, and make their own, over the next year. The idea is that Mass is, like it or not, the best venue for doing some teaching and formation, and if there are pieces of music that should be part of our parishioners' repetoire, that will happen not by using a particular hymn one time, now and then.

    So, what would you suggest?
    Father Fox has already chosen "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" as one of the songs. I have suggested "Of the Father's Love Begotten".

    If you have suggestions, head over to Fr. Fox's blog and drop him a line in comments.

    Another Bishop Who Takes His Teaching Responsibility Seriously

    (Hat tip: The Cafeteria is Closed)

    From the latest column by Milwaukee Archbishop Thomas Dolan:
    Today I want to share with you some great signs of hope and vitality in the archdiocese. But, before that, I need to speak with you about three unfortunate issues.

    The first issue concerns Daniel Maguire, a professor at Marquette University. He has dramatically dissented from clear church teaching for decades. After my arrival here four years ago, I sought counsel as to whether or not I should publicly warn the faithful about his erroneous opinions. Voices I considered wise advised me that this was not necessary, since the great majority of our people already recognize his views as clearly inconsistent with legitimate Catholic teaching.

    Regrettably, he recently has widely distributed two pamphlets claiming that, as preposterous as I know it sounds, abortion and same-sex marriage are consistent with Catholic teachings. Because of the response generated among shocked and thoughtful people in the archdiocese, I feel obliged to exercise my teaching responsibilities and say such positions are blatantly erroneous and contrary to the clear teaching of the church. To claim the acceptability of such opinions is simply wrong and disingenuous.

    The second issue concerns the woman from our archdiocese who regrettably participated in a simulation of the sacrament of holy orders on a barge on a river in Pittsburgh. With the exception of a few inquiries from the media, the event has not generated a great deal of public comment, since most people seem to realize that her claims to ordination are groundless. People are saddened to see the sacraments, intended to be a source of unity, become an occasion for lobbying a personal agenda.

    My duty was to notify the Apostolic See (the Vatican) of this episode. When another group staged a similar event about four years ago — an episode now for the most part forgotten — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared the participants sadly to be separated juridically from the church.

    The third issue has to do with the “Call to Action” conference scheduled for Milwaukee this November. As you may recall, this group, based in Chicago, has been meeting in Milwaukee for decades. This group was actually initiated by the bishops 30 years ago, and started off asking some legitimate questions.

    But they have gotten way off track. In this case as well, I inquired some years ago what impact this annual meeting has on the archdiocese, and was told, almost none. Our Catholic people, I was advised, recognize that this is a group that has taken stands totally outside the bounds of church teaching.

    Unfortunately, as stated in the official program of this year’s conference, the leadership of that group has decided to include in the program an invitation to invalidly ordained “priests and bishops” to “celebrate a liturgy.”

    Here again it becomes my teaching responsibility to state clearly that such an action would make any claim of Catholic identity by the group to be misleading. Faithful Catholics attending these sessions would only promote division and disunity rather than genuine renewal in the church.

    People ask why I “allow” Call to Action to meet in Milwaukee. This group, of course, hardly asks my permission, and pays little attention to what any bishop, including the Bishop of Rome, has to say.


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Bishop Blair Teaches: "And With Your Spirit"

    Happy Birthday, Sarah

    Today is the birthday of my beautiful, beloved bride, Sarah. Although she is much younger than I am, I won't give away her age. But she doesn't look a day older than the day I met her.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Weighty Matter: Is Religion Making Us Fat?

    (Hat tip: Mark Shea)

    Last week, I covered a story about a university study blaming the Catholic Church for air pollution.

    This week, a story about a university study blaming protestants for obesity.

    Is attacking religion REALLY the best use of research resources?

    Pope Benedict Preparing to Embrace Theory of Intelligent Design?

    A Catholic Londoner reports here.

    Geogetown's Rediscovered "Catholic Identity"

    (Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

    Joseph Bottom, writing at First Things, notes the irony of Georgetown University's newly rediscovered "Catholic identity":
    But now, at last, Georgetown has rediscovered its Catholicism, at least long enough for a Protestant employee of Campus Ministries to send a letter to six evangelical groups, kicking them off campus. The story made the Washington Post and the Washington Times this weekend, with the kind of headlines the public-relations office hates to see: “Georgetown Bars Ministries from Campus,” “Georgetown U. Ejects Private Ministry Groups.”

    There’s an obvious irony here — employed too often to be surprising — in which people begin by protesting in the name of diversity against centralized authority, and later discover, once they’re in charge, how useful those old forms of authority can be in controlling diversity.

    But it also represents a tactic we’re likely to see more of: claims of old-fashioned Catholicism, used by people who are far from old-fashioned Catholics, to maintain control of officially Catholic institutions and to ban the people whose political opinions they don’t like. Watch for it at Boston College, and Marquette, and Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount, and on and on.
    My Comments:
    Before we start giving kudos to Georgetown for taking it to the "heretical protestants", let's think about 2 things:

    (1) This ban applies to the most conservative (i.e. theologically orthodox) of the protestant groups, while the "mainline" protestant groups (i.e. liberal homofest sects) seem to be unaffected, and

    (2) How we might feel if evangelical universities like Baylor and Wheaton decided to ban Catholic ministry groups from campus.

    South Dakota Becomes Abortion Focal Point

    From The Washington Post:
    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Kayla Brandt had an abortion three years ago and instantly hated having done it. Now, hoping to stop other women from making the same choice, she is a public advocate for the most severe abortion ban in the nation.

    "I don't want anyone to feel what I did," Brandt says.

    Maria Bell is a Sioux Falls obstetrician-gynecologist who also joined the political fray for the first time, but on the opposite side. Appalled by the attempt to shut the state's only abortion clinic, she says she would not be able to live with herself unless she worked to overturn the law.

    "To think passing a law will stop abortion is incredibly naive," Bell said.

    South Dakota is the unlikely home of this year's most intense duel over abortion, a Nov. 7 referendum to decide the future of HB 1215, a measure that would institute a broad ban on the procedure. No exceptions would be allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest -- abortion would be permitted only when the mother's life is in jeopardy.

    Partisans across the nation are delivering money and tactical advice on an issue that has divided residents of the state. South Dakota's fight could be a harbinger of political battles across the country should the Supreme Court strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

    My Comments:
    "... hoping to stop other women from making the same choice ..."

    No bias at all exhibited in the Post's decision to utilize the abortion advocates' "word of choice" [pun intended] right there in the opening paragraph.

    Funny, but the only time the author of the piece mentions the word "life" is in reference to abortions being allowed in S.D. where the mother's life is in jeopardy.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Poll: South Dakota Voters Against Abortion Ban

    Move to Overturn S.D. Abortion Ban Gains Ground

    The GOP's Abortion Anxiety - Why GOP Leaders Worry About Pro-Life Wins

    Why Abortion Bans May Not Be the Answer Now - Clarke Forsythe on Judicial Strategies

    A Strong Argument in Favor of the South Dakota Abortion Ban

    Justice Scalia Agrees with Former Mayor of Columbia, VA on Roe v. Wade

    South Dakota Abortion Ban Becomes Law

    Joseph Bottum: South Dakota Anti-Abortion Legislation a "Tactical Error"

    Fidelis Urges South Dakota Governor to Protect Women and Sign Abortion Ban

    Bill Introduced to "Stop Abortion in Ohio"

    South Dakota Passes Abortion Ban

    Catholic Official: New Study Provides No “Ethical” Road to Stem Cell Research

    From the USCCB's Office of Media Relations:
    WASHINGTON (August 24, 2006) - Reacting to a new report in the journal Nature, claiming to show an “ethical” way to obtain stem cells from human embryos, an official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says this study has been misrepresented in early news reports. “This experiment left no embryos alive, and solves no ethical problem,” says Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


    Former Bishop Pilla Implicated in Alleged Kickback Scheme (2 Articles)

    From Catholic World News:
    Aug. 28 ( -

  • Former Bishop Pilla implicated in alleged kickback scheme (NewsNet5)

  • Lawyer says priest duped by associates (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Surprised by Gunpoint: Islamic Conversion Stories

    The Curt Jester has the details.

    Augustine of Hippo - 28 August

    From the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
    St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop, Doctor of Grace
    Also Known As Aurelius Augustinus; Augustine the African;

    Died 430 at Hippo

    Commemorated August 28

    Patronage: brewers; sore eyes

    In art he is shown with a child; dove; pen; shell

    Saint Augustine

    Augustine, Saint (354-430), greatest of the Latin Fathers and one ofthe most eminent Western Doctors of the Church.

    Augustine was born on November 13, 354, in Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk-Ahras, Algeria). His father, Patricius (died about 371), was a pagan (later converted to Christianity), but his mother, Monica, was a devout Christian who labored untiringly for her son's conversion and who was canonized by the Roman Catholic church. Augustine was educated as a rhetorician in the former North African cities of Tagaste, Madaura, and Carthage. Between the ages of 15 and 30, he lived with a Carthaginian woman whose name is unknown; in 372 she bore him a son, whom he named Adeodatus, which is Latin for "the gift of God."

    Intellectual Struggle
    Inspired by the philosophical treatise Hortensius, by the Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, Augustine became an earnest seeker after truth. He considered becoming a Christian, but experimented with several philosophical systems before finally entering the church. For nine years, from 373 until 382, he adhered to Manichaeism, a Persian dualistic philosophy then widely current in the Western Roman Empire. With its fundamental principle of conflict between good and evil, Manichaeism at first seemed to Augustine to correspond to experience and to furnish the most plausible hypothesis upon which to construct a philosophical and ethical system. Moreover, its moral code was not unpleasantly strict; Augustine later recorded in his Confessions: "Give me chastity and continence, but not just now." Disillusioned by the impossibility of reconciling certain contradictory Manichaeist doctrines, Augustine abandoned this philosophy and turned to skepticism.

    About 383 Augustine left Carthage for Rome, but a year later he wenton to Milan as a teacher of rhetoric. There he came under the influence of the philosophy of Neoplatonism and also met the bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, then the most distinguished ecclesiastic in Italy. Augustine presently was attracted again to Christianity. At last one day, according to his own account, he seemed to hear a voice, like that of a child, repeating, "Take up and read." He interpreted this as a divine exhortation to open the Scriptures and read the first passage he happened to see. Accordingly, he opened to Romans 13:13-14, where he read: "…not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." He immediately resolved to embrace Christianity. Along with his natural son, he was baptized by Ambrose on Easter Eve in 387. His mother, who had rejoined him in Italy, rejoiced at this answer to her prayers and hopes. She died soon afterward in Ostia.

    Bishop and Theologian
    He returned to North Africa and was ordained in 391. He became bishop of Hippo (now Annaba, Algeria) in 395, an office he held until his death. It was a period of political and theological unrest, for while the barbarians pressed in upon the empire, even sacking Rome itself in 410, schism and heresy also threatened the church. Augustine threw himself wholeheartedly into the theological battle. Besides combating the Manichaean heresy, Augustine engaged in two great theological conflicts. One was with the Donatists, a sect that held the sacraments invalid unless administered by sinless ecclesiastics. The other conflict was with the Pelagians, followers of a contemporary British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin. In the course of this conflict, which was long and bitter, Augustine developed his doctrines of original sin and divine grace, divine sovereignty, and predestination. The Roman Catholic church has found special satisfaction in the institutional or ecclesiastical aspects of the doctrines of St. Augustine; Roman Catholic and Protestant theology alike are largely based on their more purely theological aspects. John Calvin and Martin Luther,leaders of the Reformation, were both close students of Augustine. Augustine's doctrine stood between the extremes of Pelagianism and Manichaeism. Against Pelagian doctrine, he held that human spiritual disobedience had resulted in a state of sin that human nature was powerless to change. In his theology, men and women are saved by the gift of divine grace; against Manichaeism he vigorously defended the place of free will in cooperation with grace. Augustine died at Hippo, August 28, 430. His feast day is August 28.

    The place of prominence held by Augustine among the Fathers and Doctors of the Church is comparable to that of St. Paul among the apostles. As a writer, Augustine was prolific, persuasive, and a brilliant stylist. His best-known work is his autobiographical Confessions (circa 400), exposing his early life and conversion. In his great Christian apologia The City of God (413-26), Augustine formulated a theological philosophy of history. Ten of the 22 books of this work are devoted to polemic against pantheism. The remaining 12 books trace the origin, progress, and destiny of the church and establish it as the proper successor to paganism. In 428 Augustine wrote the Retractions, in which he registered his final verdict upon his earlier books, correcting whatever his maturer judgment held to be misleading or wrong. His other writings include the Epistles, of which 270 are in the Benedictine edition, variously dated between 386 and 429; his treatises On Free Will (388-95), On Christian Doctrine (397), On Baptism: Against the Donatists (400), On the Trinity (400-16), and On Nature and Grace (415); and Homilies upon several books of the Bible.


    St. Augustine of Hippo, Patron of Brewers

    St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of hisconversion from a former life of loose living, which includedparties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His completeturnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many whostruggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break.


    Augustine of Hippo links:

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    Pew Poll on Religion and Politics

    Rod Dreher writes about the latest Pew Poll findings re: Religion and Politics at Crunchy Con:
    The big headline out of the survey is that the GOP is no longer considered to be as friendly to religion as it once was, especially among Catholics and white Evangelicals, which are key to the GOP coalition (among Evangelicals, the percentage who think the GOP is friendly to religion has plummeted an astonishing 14 points -- a figure that ought to furrow the Rovian brow). But Democrats are not benefiting from the loss of confidence -- the number of Americans who consider the Dems friendly to religion is only one in four, the same as last year. Still, the downturn in confidence among Catholics and Evangelicals could be enough to make a difference in close-run elections. The advantage, however slight, goes to the Democrats -- and that could be just enough to make a difference in some races.

    Another key finding is that the Religious Right is not only significantly larger than the Religious Left (no surprise there), but also dramatically more cohesive. Pew concludes that there simply isn't a "Religious Left" in this country to serve as a counterpart to the "Religious Right."

    Finally -- and this is going to come as a shock to many liberals and Democrats -- more Americans are dissatisfied with the left for trying to push religion to the margins of public life than they are with Republicans trying to bring religion more to bear on public matters. There is a huge disconnect between the Democratic party leadership and the American public on the question of religion. But the Democrats now have opportunities to reach out to religious Americans, especially younger ones. The question is, will the party leadership and its elites be able to overcome its cultural bias against religion and take advantage of the GOP's sudden weakness on the issue? Don't bet on it.

    In addition, Terry Mattingly covers the Pew Poll for GetReligion here.

    Scottish Soccer Player "Cautioned" for Making Sign of the Cross

    The Catholic Church has criticised Scottish prosecutors for cautioning a Celtic goalkeeper who crossed himself during a match against Rangers.
    Artur Boruc was cautioned for a breach of the peace over the incident at an Old Firm match at Ibrox in February.

    The Catholic Church called it "worrying and alarming" as the sign of the cross was a "gesture of religious reverence".

    However, the Crown Office said the decision was based on the player's behaviour, rather than a single act.

    In addition to crossing himself, the player was alleged to have made gestures to the crowd at the start of the second half of the game on 12 February.

    Strathclyde Police investigated complaints that Boruc, 26, had angered a section of the crowd with his behaviour and they submitted a report to the procurator fiscal.

    However, as an alternative to prosecution, Boruc was cautioned. That does not leave him with a criminal record, although the information about the caution will be retained.

    The Crown Office said his actions "provoked alarm and crowd trouble and as such constituted a breach of the peace".

    However, Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church, said the move to caution Boruc was "regrettable".

    He said other actions could not be defended, but that a gesture of religious significance should not be considered offensive.

    "It's a worrying and alarming development, especially since the sign of the cross is globally accepted as a gesture of religious reverence," he said.

    "It's also very common in international football and was commonplace throughout the World Cup.

    "It is extremely regrettable that Scotland seems to have made itself one of the few countries in the world where this simply religious gesture is considered an offence."


    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Rob Reiner: Gibson Must Acknowledge "Passion" Was Anti-Semitic

    From Associated Press via The San Jose Mercury News:
    LOS ANGELES - Mel Gibson's apology for making drunken anti-Semitic remarks isn't enough to redeem him, actor-producer Rob Reiner said.

    The actor also must acknowledge that "his work reflects anti-Semitism," particularly the 2004 hit movie "The Passion of the Christ," Reiner told Associated Press Radio.

    "When he comes to the understanding that he has done that, and can come out and say, you know, 'My views have been reflected in my work and I feel bad that I've done that,' then that will be the beginning of some reconciliation for him," Reiner said.

    My Comments:
    Hey Mel, tell the Meathead to kiss your ***.

    Mr. Compassionate Conservative

    (Hat tip: Mark Shea)

    The Weekly Standard has an excellent article titled "Mr. Compassionate Conservative".

    Nope. Not THAT "compassionate conservative" - the one who believes abortions should be available over the counter.

    Rather, this is a "compassionate conservative" worthy of the title - the man who I hereby endorse for President in 2008:

    Senator Sam Brownback.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Sen. Brownback Files Bill Against Assisted Suicide

    Washington Post Profile on Sen. Sam Brownback

    USCCB Official Expresses Gratitude to Sen. Brownback for Hearings on Capital Punishment

    Senator Brownback Conducts Senate Hearings To Examine Pornography's Effects On Families, Society

    Will This Catholic Senator Be the Next President?

    Kansas Senator Brownback, Looking at Presidential Bid, Makes Faith the Bedrock of Campaign


    Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Hugo Chávez Says Israel's Action in Lebanon "Worse" Than Hitler

    From the Frogs at AFP via Yahoo News:
    BEIJING (AFP) - Visiting Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has denounced Israel's recent attacks on Lebanon as "genocide," likening its action to war crimes committed by Germany's Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

    "Israel often criticizes Hitler ... but they have done the same thing, perhaps even worse," Chavez told reporters Friday in a briefing during his six-day visit to China.

    Denouncing the "fascist attitudes" of Israel, he said: "What has happened was a genocide. They must be brought in front of an international tribunal."
    My Comments:
    Nothing like a little perspective from a Castro-loving commie bastard.

    Sadly, not a few Catholics probably agree with him.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Israel's Critics Hail Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Hugo Chávez

    Pro-US Candidate Wins Landslide in Colombia

    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

    News From the Higher Education Front

    Two stories from Cybercast News Service related to higher education:
    High Cost of College Eroding US Birth Rate, Mayor Says

    ( -
    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is suggesting that high school be extended for a fifth year to defray the high cost of a college education, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Read News on the Web

    Colleges Ranked for 'Gay-Friendliness'

    ( -
    The Advocate has published a book listing the 100 schools that it says offer the best discrimination protection, friendliest climate, and most extensive campus services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. Sixteen of the schools are in New England, including six in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported. Read News on the Web

    Fr. Martin Fox Says "I Told You So" Regarding President Bush and "Plan B"

    Hard to argue with him:
    Bush betrays prolifers

    The headline above will take you to an article in the Washington Post about this story, which has been bubbling up for some time.

    Will this finally awaken those who were fooled by George Bush?

    * George Bush wasn't 100% prolife when he ran in 2000.

    * He has done the bare minimum, legislatively and executively.

    * "But what about his Supreme Court nominations?" What about them? We don't know how they'll rule, now do we? Even if they rule right, don't forget Harriet Miers. Anyway, Roberts was a stealthy candidate; Miers was chosen, because Roberts wasn't stealthy enough; and he chose Alito after Miers blew up in his face -- he is, we hope, the anti-Kennedy (remember 1987?).

    * "But what about baby-killing stem-cell research?" Yeah -- he was the first to allow it to be funded with our tax dollars--didn't you know that? Yes, he did hold the line. Good for him. But now, he's putting baby-killing pills on the street, without even a prescription.

    Sorry, but certain folks have this coming: I told you so.

    GOP Soccer Mom has compiled an excellent round-up of what others are saying about the "Plan B" sellout.

    Noble Descent

    Rich Leonardi tagged me with this meme:

    1. Which famous person would you most like to learn that you are descended from?
    Brian Boru, High King of Ireland; Robert the Bruce, King of Scots; Matoaka, Princess of the Powhatan nation - aka Pocahontas (family tradition says we are descended from her, but so does the tradition of EVERY Virginia family). What can I say? I got delusions of royal grandeur.

    2. Which famous person would you hate to learn that you are descended from?
    The usual genocidal maniacs: Oliver Cromwell, the Duke of Cumberland, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, etc.

    3. If you could be ancestor to any living famous person, who would it be and why?
    Prince William - again, delusions of royal grandeur (of course, I'd want to be one of his Jacobite ancestors).

    4. If you could go back in time and meet any known ancestor(s) of yours, who would it be?
    Both of my grandfathers and my paternal grandmother, all of whom died while my parents were young.

    5. Tag five others:
    1. The Catholic Caveman
    2. Jean at Catholic Fire
    3. Tony at Catholic Pillow Fight
    4. GOP Soccer Mom
    5. Anyone else who reads this - you're on the Honor Code

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    ADL Blasts "Christian Supremacist" TV Special & Book Blaming Darwin For Hitler

    From our loving friends at the Anti-Defamation League:
    New York, NY, August 22, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy."

    After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy's project, Dr. Collins said he is "absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory," he told ADL.

    ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement:"This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

    "It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to "reclaim America for Christ" and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."
    [ED.: This is an outright lie perpetrated by someone who it must be remembered is a leader among a distinct group of Christian haters - the ADL - who seek to turn the U.S. into a secular nation guided by their strange notions that Christianity is responsible for all the evils of the world.]

    My Comments:
    How dare those "Christian supremacists" blame Darwin for Naziism? Everyone knows the blame really lies with Jesus Christ and His Church.

    I am certainly no fan of James Kennedy, and I take no position on whether Hitler was influenced by Darwin (because I just don't know that much about it), but there's no excuse for Foxman to engage in such invective as his reference to "Christian supremacists". Of course, I think my reading is the real reason for the attack: Foxman and the ADL want to keep the blame for the Holocaust squarely (and inaccurately) on Christianity.

    Can you imagine Foxman reacting with such invective if someone produced a documentary linking Christianity to Naziism?

    German University Attacks Catholic Worship Citing Environmental Issues

    An example of university research dollars being put to their best use - attacking the traditional worship of the Church:
    Holy Smoke: Burning incense, candles pollute air in churches

    Incense and candles release substantial quantities of pollutants that may harm health, a detailed new study of air quality in a Roman Catholic church suggests.

    Even brief exposure to contaminated air during a religious service could be harmful to some people, says atmospheric scientist Stephan Weber of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany. A previous study in the Netherlands indicated that the pollutants in smoke from incense and candles may be more toxic than fine-particle pollution from sources such as vehicle engines.

    During the study, incense burners and candles were lit for services at midnight on Christmas Day, on the morning of the following day, and on New Year's Eve. During services on other days, only candles burned.

    Concentrations of both types of particles almost doubled during services that used only candles. Simultaneous use of incense and candles raised the concentration of PM10 to about seven times that recorded between services, and PM1 reached about nine times its background abundance.

    Particulate-matter concentrations quickly dropped after the candles were extinguished, but remained elevated for 24 hours after simultaneous use of candles and incense, Weber reports in an upcoming Environmental Science & Technology.

    Can Sen. Santorum Survive?

    From The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:
    The latest polls show the race tightening. An independent Quinnipiac University survey released on Aug. 15 had Mr. Casey ahead 48% to 42% among likely voters. The same poll showed him with a 52% to 34% lead in late June. A further concern for the challenger is that his negatives among likely voters have risen as he's allowed the senator to define him.

    Six points is a sizable deficit for the incumbent to close inside of three months, though the senator certainly has the money, savvy and party unity to give it a go. Mr. Santorum, who's held the seat since 1994, has never won more than 52% of the vote in a Senate race, and he's sailing into what appears to be a strong anti-incumbent headwind this year. Mr. Casey has done an effective job of making the race a referendum on Mr. Santorum, whose vocal social conservatism--he opposes abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research--has made him a whipping boy of the local and national liberal press.

    Another arguable misstep was publishing a controversial book last year when he was sizing up a White House run. Mr. Santorum is a conservative Catholic, and his biggest political liability may be the perception that he's some kind of theocrat. Releasing a manifesto on how government can be used to propagate Christian moral values has only reinforced that negative image. And it's unlikely to help him with moderate Republican voters in those all-important collar counties of Philadelphia come November.

    Among the handful of Upper Chamber Republicans facing difficult races this year, however, a Rick Santorum loss easily would be the most damaging to political conservatives. Mr. Santorum, the No. 3 man in the Senate, is much more than a reliable vote for lower taxes and a strong national defense. He's also been a true reformer who's often willing to champion unpopular causes. Sen. Santorum floor managed the welfare-reform bill that turned 10-years-old this week. He's backed medical savings accounts and pushed for Social Security personal retirement accounts long before George W. Bush. That takes chutzpah for a senator from a state with a higher percentage of senior citizens than anywhere but Florida.


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Poll Shows Pennsylvania Senate Race Narrowing

    Pennsylvania Senate: Casey (D) 52% Santorum (R) 37%

    Rick Santorum: "The Great Test of This Generation"

    Catholic Social Issues at the Fore in Election Debate

    Pennsylvania Senate: Santorum Still Way Behind

    Rick Santorum Wows Crowd With Hillary Clinton Abortion Story

    Bob Casey, Jr. - The Apple Who Fell Far From the Tree

    Rick Santorum Blasted for Taking Part in Justice Sunday III

    Santorum's Take on Lawrence v. Texas Proves Prophetic

    Alito And Casey On Abortion

    Rick Santorum's Brand of Conservatism: the Family, Not the Individual, is Paramount

    A Conservative Vision of Social Justice

    Canadian Bishop Urges Boycott of Event Keynoted by Bill Clinton

    (Hat tip: Catholic World News)

    Somebody give the USCCB whatever that guy eats for breakfast:
    A Hamilton bishop wants Catholics to stay away from a Kitchener fundraiser starring former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

    Clinton will speak Nov. 8 at a fundraising luncheon for the Catholic Family Counselling Centre.

    The appearance was widely seen as a coup for the agency. But Clinton's support for abortion, his marital infidelity and his promotion of condom use for AIDS prevention in Africa have angered some Catholics.

    "We felt it wasn't appropriate to have Mr. Clinton as a speaker, based on the fact that they were a Catholic counselling centre," said Most Rev. Gerard Bergie, the auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Hamilton.

    Bergie said he has received e-mails from people across Canada.

    "They find it difficult to reconcile the fact that an organization that calls itself Catholic has extended an invitation to an individual whose views, in particular regards to life, go against the Catholic church."

    While in office, Clinton twice vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion, which is performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

    Tickets to the fundraiser cost about $500 and go on sale Sept. 7.

    Read the whole thing to get some choice quotes from the group sponsoring the event.

    Southern Appeal Takes on The Anchoress' Support for Rudy Giuliani's Presidential Aspirations

    Steve Dillard of Southern Appeal is not impressed by The Anchoress' reasons for supporting the presidential ambitions of the pro-abort/pro-gay/anti-gun Rudy Giuliani:
    I am truly baffled as to how she can possibly support Rudy Giuliani for president. As K-Lo notes over at the Corner today, there is perhaps no other politician who is more radically proabortion than Giulani. The former mayor of New York City even supports the beyond-evil practice known as partial birth abortion, and has indicated that he would “give my daughter money for it [an abortion].” Translation: “I am willing to help kill my own grandchild.”

    I am sorry. That is simply beyond the pale. I don’t care how great one might think Giulani will be at handling the global war on terror. Rudy’s views on abortion reveal that at his core his is capable of supporting and/or engaging in the worst sort of evil. Giuliani is also a staunch supporter of gay marriage, something I know the Anchoress strongly opposes.

    What strikes me most about the Anchoress’s reasoning is that it is based almost entirely on emotion. She seems to be completely drawn in by Giuliani’s leadership during 9/11, and for her nothing else appears to matter. And that’s what I don’t understand. I mean, we’re not electing a counselor-in chief or a motivational speaker. Right?

    To be sure, Rudy has exceptional leadership abilities in some areas. No question about it. But we are talking about electing the next president of the United States; and if there was ever an office that demands character, the presidency is it. And I’m sorry, but I don’t trust Rudy’s character any more than I trust Bill Clinton’s. A man who is willing to stand idly by why millions of babies are aborted every year, and supports undermining traditional marriage, is not someone I trust to be the voice of the land of the free and the home of the brave. I don’t demand perfection, but I do require that the person I vote for be someone who doesn’t openly embrace evil practices.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Pro-Abort, Pro-Gay, Anti-Gun Republican Tops Pro-Abort, Pro-Gay, Anti-Gun Democrat in Recent Poll

    Four in 10 Republicans Would Not Find McCain an "Acceptable" Nominee

    Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Republican Tops Pro-Abort/Pro-Gay Democrat In Presidential Poll - Who Cares?

    Pat Robertson Says Giuliani Would Be "Good President"

    Professor Urges Defense of Christian Values

    From Zenit:
    RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 23, 2006 ( Jacobinism, Nazism and Communism have not succeeded in banishing God, and "Christ is the greatest revolution of history," a sociology professor told a mass gathering in Rimini.

    Rosa Alberoni, writer and professor at Milan's IULM University, was summarizing the content of her latest book, "La Cacciata di Cristo" (The Expulsion of Christ), published by Rizzoli. She made her presentation Sunday at the weeklong 27th Meeting of Friendship among Peoples.

    Alberoni referred to words of Pope John Paul II, according to whom "history has amply demonstrated that to make war on God to extirpate him from men's hearts, leads a fearful and impoverished humanity to options that have no future."

    The sociology professor contended that "the Enlightenment, Nazism and Communism tried to eliminate God, to deny Christ, thus legitimizing dictatorship, doing away with individuals and spreading paganism."

    Illustrating the second part of the book, the author analyzed the great revolution in history presented by Christ, and how "the Christian message is essential to address challenges such as the Islamic and Chinese -- which exert pressure today on our borders -- and the scientific atheist spirit on the domestic front."

    No "Our Father"

    "Christianity is the only religion in which God becomes tangible, becomes man to speak to men, and is Father of brothers to whom he also gives the freedom to rebel against him," Alberoni said.

    She continued: "In Islam, instead, Allah is not proposed as Father. For Muslims, the 'Our Father' is a blasphemy. Free will is not contemplated. And all, from animals to men, including the hand of a killer, are a mere instrument of Allah's power.

    "We must not await, passive and inert, the destruction of Christian civilization. The moment has come for believers to raise their heads, to speak out, to defend Christian values by practicing them, re-consecrating them in our gestures, because only in this way can modern challenges be faced."

    "Why don't we have the courage to speak openly of Christ?" wondered Alberoni, noting the media's relative silence about him. "Instead, we must not be afraid to speak of Christian civilization, not simply of Western civilization, because, the Soviet system having fallen, we are one Christian people in Europe, Russia, America, Australia and part of Africa and Asia."
    (emphasis added)

    Why the GOP Will NEVER See a Dime From Me

    From Associated Press via Forbes:
    But party leaders say [liberal RINO Lincoln] Chafee is their best bet to hold the seat in Rhode Island, where Democrats outnumber Republicans three-to-one. On Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched an ad attacking [conservative challenger and Mayor of Cranston, RI, Stephen] Laffey for accepting foreign identification cards that it says present national security risks.
    My Comments:
    Who cares about holding this frickin' seat when the incumbent "Republican" NEVER votes with the party and continuously threatens to caucus with the Democrats?

    Five People in Five Categories Meme

    Jean at Catholic Fire tagged me with the "Five People in Five Categories Meme" several days ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting this:
    "If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be?" (Explaining why is optional.)

    Name five people from each of the following categories:
    Saints, Those in the Process of Being Canonized, Heroes from your native country, Authors/Writers, celebrities.

    Five Saints:

    1. St. Columba
    2. St. Thomas More
    3. St. Dominic
    4. St. Patrick
    5. Our Blessed Lady

    Those in the Process of Being Canonized:

    1. Pope John Paul II
    2. Pope Pius XII
    3. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
    4. Frank Parater
    5. James II and VII (hopefully, one day, please God)

    Five U.S. Heroes:

    1. George Washington
    2. Thomas Jefferson
    3. Alexander Hamilton
    4. John Adams
    5. Henry Knox
    (Historians will recognize this as the bulk of Geo. Washington's first cabinet)

    Five Authors/Writers:

    1. St. Augustine
    2. J.R.R. Tolkien
    3. C.S. Lewis
    4. G.K. Chesterton
    5. St. Thomas Aquinas

    Five Celebrities:

    1. Adriana Lima
    2. Nicole Kidman
    3. Mel Gibson
    4. Charles Edward Stuart (aka "Bonnie Prince Charlie")
    5. Pope Benedict XVI

    Tag Five People:

    1. Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy.
    2. Publius at Res Publica et Cetera.
    3. Fr. Fox at Bonfire of the Vanities.
    4. Darwin & Mrs. Darwin at Darwin Catholic.
    5. Fidei Defensor at College Catholic.

    Anyone else who would like to respond to this meme is invited to do so. Be sure to tag five people.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Man Who Murdered Richmond, VA Family Receives Death Penalty

    Commonwealth of Virginia prosecutor Tom McKenna reports:
    "For God's sake, you give him death for killing those two children,'cause that's what this is all about."

    The Richmond jury, while making us wait a suspensefully long time for the decision, agreed with prosecutor Learned Barry, who argued for Ricky Gray's death for the gruesome murders of the Harvey family recounted here.

    If there were ever a case justifying the ultimate penalty, it was this one: a quadruple murder-robbery-home invasion with two child victims by a pair that slaughtered another family of three within days, robbed and almost killed another victim, and one of whom, Gray, had murdered his wife by beating her to death with a pipe.

    May the Harvey and Tucker/Baskerville families find some small peace and solace at this conclusion.
    From the Times-Dispatch story:
    In the end, it all came down to the girls.

    After more than 12 hours of heated deliberations, the jurors agreed that Ricky Javon Gray must pay with his life for taking those of young Stella and Ruby Harvey.

    As Judge Beverly W. Snukals of Richmond Circuit Court read the verdicts recommending that Gray be condemned to death, Harvey family and friends in the courtroom let out an audible sigh of relief and wept quietly. Snukals also choked back tears.

    "This has probably been the most difficult thing you've ever done -- probably for me, too," she told the jurors. She then asked a deputy to escort them from the building.

    Gray showed no reaction, as was the case during almost the entire trial. The only time he blotted his eyes was when his mother testified in hopes of alleviating his sentence.
    [ED.: I wonder how this piece of shit reacted when the mother of those 2 girls he murdered begged for her childrens' lives.]

    The jury returned the death penalty for the murders of Stella, 9, a third-grader at Fox Elementary School, and Ruby, 4, a student at Second Presbyterian Child Care Center. The jurors recommended that Gray serve life in prison without parole for the other three capital-murder convictions -- killing someone during a robbery, killing more than one person at a time and killing more than one person in three years.

    Bryan Harvey, 49, his wife, Kathryn, 39, and their daughters, Stella and Ruby, were bound and gagged New Year's Day in the basement of their Woodland Heights home. There, one at a time, Gray later told police, he and his alleged accomplice, Ray Joseph Dandridge, cut their throats, stabbed them in the back and bludgeoned them repeatedly in the head with hammers. Then, Gray said, they poured wine on the bodies and set the basement on fire before leaving.

    Gray later told police he and Dandridge stole two laptop computers, Bryan Harvey's wedding ring and a basket of cookies.
    [ED.: Hope them cookies were worth it, you son-of-a-bitch!]

    Gray, 29, had killed before the Harveys, and he killed after them. In his own words from a Jan. 7 interview with police in Philadelphia, jurors learned that Gray beat to death his wife, Treva, with a pipe in their bed in November in Washington, Pa. Also, he told police he and Dandridge suffocated Percyell and Mary Tucker, and her daughter, Ashley Baskerville, with duct tape, gags and plastic wrapping.
    (emphasis added)

    My Comments:
    I recently became an opponent of the death penalty for prudential reasons (I got tired of pro-aborts using capital punishment against me in arguments over the pro-life position). This case almost made me reconsider that decision. This is a textbook case arguing for capital punishment. I think maybe even the Pope himself might be willing to make an exception in this instance.

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