Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Digest of Today's Posts (31 July 2007)

  • Chief Justice John Roberts Suffers Seizure, Remains in Hospital

  • Schumer to Fight Any New Bush High Court Pick

  • Toledo Diocese: Local Priest Had "Inappropriate" Contact With Woman

  • Still Alive ...
  • Labels:

    Chief Justice John Roberts Suffers Seizure, Remains in Hospital

    From FOXNews (via Fidelis):
    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts suffered what doctors are describing as a "benign idiopathic seizure," causing him to fall Monday at his summer home in Maine.

    He is staying in Penobscot Bay Medical Center overnight for observation, court officials told FOX News.

    Roberts was at his home on Hupper Island around 2 p.m. ET when he suffered the seizure and fell. The fall caused minor scrapes, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

    Roberts, 52, was transported by boat and then ambulance from his summer home, a journey of some 40 miles. At Pen Bay Medical Center, he underwent a "thorough neurological evaluation, which revealed no cause for concern," Arberg said in a statement.

    Roberts was "alert" upon arrival at the hospital, and endured several hours of exams, Arberg said. He is said to have "fully recovered."

    Candice Davis, an EMT with St. George Rescue Squad who drove Roberts in the ambulance, told WPFO-TV that Roberts may have hit his head when he fell off a boat ramp, but he had no obvious physical injuries and was alert and conscious the whole time.

    Davis said she didn't know who she was transporting until she arrived at the hospital in Rockland and was told who Roberts is.

    A benign idiopathic seizure means the episode appears to be harmless and "of no known cause." Steven Garner of New York Methodist Hospital said if Roberts has a previous history of seizures, Monday's incident may be less serious than a newly-emerging problem.

    "We just may have a malfunction in the circuits, the way that brain cells talk to one another," said Garner, who did not examine Roberts. Garner said taking medication, drinking alcohol or certain periods of stress can all bring on seizures.

    According to Arberg, Roberts had a similar episode in 1993. The White House described the January 1993 episode as an "isolated, idiosyncratic seizure." In 2001, Roberts described his health as "excellent," according to Senate Judiciary Committee records.

    Larry Robbins, a Washington attorney who worked with Roberts at the Justice Department in 1993, said he drove Roberts to work for several months after the incident. Robbins said Roberts never mentioned what the problem was and he never heard of it happening again.

    Garner added that the report that doctors have said they have "no cause for concern" suggests Roberts does not have a tumor, but that the cause of the seizure should be investigated. He said Roberts could need to wear a heart monitor overnight to track whether surges are being directed to his brain.

    Roberts, the father of two young children, is the youngest justice on the court. Justice John Paul Stevens is the eldest at age 87. Nominated by President Bush and confirmed to the court in 2005, he was at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., just last week, though the court is adjourned for the summer.

    Roberts spent a couple of weeks in Europe in July, teaching a course in Vienna and attending a conference in Paris.

    In 2006, Roberts and his wife bought the house and land on Hupper Island off of Port Clyde, which is part of the town of St. George.
    My Comments:
    Although this health-related issue doesn't appear to be serious, my prayers for Chief Justice Roberts and his family.

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    Schumer to Fight Any New Bush High Court Pick

    Now that the Dems are back in control of the Senate, the Schumer Doctrine is back in play:
    New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

    “We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”

    Schumer’s assertion comes as Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court with Bush’s nominees – Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito – has moved quicker than expected to overturn legal precedents.

    Senators were too quick to accept the nominees’ word that they would respect legal precedents, and “too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito,” Schumer said.

    “There is no doubt that we were hoodwinked,” said Schumer, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Schumer's comments show "a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution" by suggesting that the Senate not confirm nominees.

    "This is the kind of blind obstruction that people have come to expect from Sen. Schumer," Perino said. "He has an alarming habit of attacking people whose character and position make them unwilling or unable to respond. That is the sign of a bully. If the past is any indication, I would bet that we would see a Democratic senatorial fundraising appeal in the next few days."

    Schumer voted against confirming Roberts and Alito. In Friday’s speech, he said his “greatest regret” in the last Congress was not doing more to scuttle Alito.

    “Alito shouldn’t have been confirmed,” Schumer said. “I should have done a better job. My colleagues said we didn’t have the votes, but I think we should have twisted more arms and done more.”

    While no retirements appear imminent, Bush still could have the opportunity to fill another vacancy on the court. Yet the two oldest members – Justice John Paul Stevens, 87, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 74 – are part of the court's liberal bloc and could hold off retirement until Bush leaves office in January, 2009.

    Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, said he was persuaded by a conversation with Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who spoke with Specter at the Aspen Institute gathering in Colorado this month, to study the decisions of the Roberts Court. The term that ended in June was notable for several rulings that reversed or chipped away at several long-standing decisions, delighting conservatives but enraging liberals.

    Breyer has publicly raised concerns that conservative justices were violating stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave precedents undisturbed.

    “It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench in June to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

    Schumer said there were four lessons to be learned from Alito and Roberts: Confirmation hearings are meaningless, a nominee’s record should be weighed more heavily than rhetoric, “ideology matters” and “take the president at his word.”

    “When a president says he wants to nominate justices in the mold of [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas,” Schumer said, “believe him.”
    From Fidelis:
    Obstructionism Against Judges Must Be Stopped

    Promising to oppose any new nominee to the Supreme Court, New York Senator Charles Schumer delivered startling speech Friday to the American Constitutional Society declaring that he is prepared to block any new nominee should a vacancy occur on the Court. Schumer’s statements also signaled a willingness to cater to radical left wing groups who are urging Democratic members of the judiciary committee to block all of the Presidents judicial nominees, many of them now awaiting a hearing or a vote.

    During the speech, Schumer said the confirmation of Justice Alito was one of his “greatest failings” as a Senator. Schumer also warned, "We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance…Given the track record of this President and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings, with respect to the Supreme Court, at least: I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances.”

    Late last week Fidelis President Brian Burch appeared in an important press conference in Washington D.C. featuring Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), to call upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to stop holding up the nominations of well-qualified judges to the federal bench.

    “In February 2000, Senator Leahy scolded the Republican-led Senate for their slow progress on confirming President Clinton’s judicial nominees saying, ‘The Senate is back to a pace of confirming one judge a month. That is not acceptable, does not serve the interests of justice and does not fulfill our constitutional responsibilities.’ We agree that a pace of one confirmation per month is not acceptable and we call upon the Senate to move forward with votes on pending judicial nominations,” said Brian Burch, President of Fidelis.

    “Republicans in the Senate went on to confirm 15 of President Clinton’s nominees. In contrast, the Democrat controlled Senate has only confirmed three of President Bush’s nominees in the first six months of this year. This is barely half the speed of which Senator Leahy considered ‘not acceptable’ seven years ago. Chairman Leahy is perfectly positioned to rectify the injustice of denying qualified nominees an up or down vote,” said Burch.

    Burch said it was clear that special-interest groups with a left-wing agenda have slowed down the confirmation process. “Long-standing vacancies in our federal courts are a major hindrance to justice. Senators have an obligation under the United States Constitution to provide ‘advice and consent’ not ‘admonish and impede,’” said Burch.

    Democrats could prove their good will, said Burch, by moving forward with a vote on Judge Leslie Southwick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Southwick, an Iraqi War veteran and a Catholic, has been the subject of baseless personal attacks. Fabricated accusations of insensitivity to blacks and homosexuals have been used to hold up his nomination. Some have even fought his nomination because he is not African-American.

    Fidelis has also joined 59 other organizations in a letter delivered to individual members of the Senate Judiciary Committee objecting to the special interest driven attacks on Judge Southwick, and demanding that the Committee act on qualified nominees in a timely manner.

    “Americans are already frustrated with this Congress. Senators refusing to give qualified nominees the courtesy of a vote are putting their political fortunes at risk, especially when they stand on the side of smear campaigns and obstruction,” said Burch.

    Click HERE to support Fidelis and help stop the obstruction of qualified judges!
    My Comments:
    You just know that, deep down, Sen. Chucky is wishing that Chief Justice Roberts' recent health-related issues were more serious.

    Fair enough. Deep down, I was probably wishing that, if some Justice had to have a seizure yesterday, it had been one of the more liberal ones.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    "Schumer Doctrine" Back in Play

    Charles Krauthammer on the "Schumer Doctrine"

    Up or Down - Religion, Filibusters, & Judges

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    Toledo Diocese: Local Priest Had "Inappropriate" Contact With Woman

    Many of you know that I have been covering the Perrysburg St. Rose saga in the Toledo Diocese here at this blog. Recently, I promised that once the news of why Fr. Nuss had refused to take the pastorate at St. Rose became official I would cover it here. While I was on vacation, the Toledo Diocese did make it official, so the story below is a little dated:
    A Toledo priest who was to take over St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg — but then abruptly stepped away from the new post — has been placed on a sabbatical after a “consensual but inappropriate” relationship with a woman, the Toledo diocese said.

    The Rev. David Nuss alerted the diocese in January about the relationship and has “expressed his sincere sorrow” for his actions, according to a release yesterday by the diocesan office.

    Since it's now official, comments will remain open. But the same rules apply. Play nice. Don't cross the line. I can countenance some questioning of Bishop Blair's decision-making in this instance, but just be aware that I will not tolerate personal attacks against the man, or attacks on the Church itself.

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    Still Alive ...

    ... but very well rested. The effects of drinking tequila only make me look like I'm dead.

    Sorry for the brief unannounced hiatus. I have been on vacation with my family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and this is the first time I've seen a computer in over a week. Now that I'm back in "civilization", you'll be hearing from me again. Lucky you.

    Can't say that I've missed blogging one bit. Some of the anonymous stink bombs that have been left in my absence (gee, can't a guy go on vacation without having his integrity or heterosexuality called into question?) only serve to reinforce why. Nevertheless, I have much to catch up on, and will have some new material posted later today.

    Thanks to all of you who emailed to check up on me.


    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Digest of Today's Posts (20 July 2007)

  • "If Anyone is Left, Then Discuss Iraq"

  • Secularist Attacks on the Catholic Church in Britain

  • Novena to St. Thomas More

  • Digest of Yesterday's Posts (19 July 2007)


    "If Anyone is Left, Then Discuss Iraq"

    An excellent suggestion from a commenter at Diogenes' Off the Record as to how the USCCB's upcoming strategy session with Catholic Democrats should go:
    I hope the first thing [the Bishops] do is demand a retraction of the May manifesto. Second order of business should be that the congresspersons sign a commitment to promote pro-life legislation and to decry the politics of death promoted by their former lobby/financial masters - Planned Parenthood, NOW, and NARAL. Third order would be individual confession and public repentance for past promotion of the culture of death. If anyone is left, then discuss Iraq.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    U.S. Bishops Agree to Collaborate on Anti-War Strategy With Same Catholic Dems Who Slammed Pope on Abortion

    Catholics Dems in Congress Seek Ally Against War

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    Secularist Attacks on the Catholic Church in Britain

    From the First Things blog On the Square:
    One might have expected the Catholic Church in Great Britain to enter a cosy relationship with the new Labour Government of Tony Blair elected in 1997. During that year’s general election, the bishops of England and Wales had issued a document entitled The Common Good, which sought to apply the principles of Catholic social teaching to the issues of the day. Although the document did not advise voters for which party they should vote, it was clear that the sympathies of the bishops lay more with Labour than with the outgoing Conservatives. [ED.: Be careful what you wish for.] The bishops were particularly critical of the legacy of Mrs. Thatcher and what has come to be called neo-liberalism, which seemed to stress individualism and the market and to undermine social solidarity.

    Furthermore, several members of the new Cabinet were self-confessed Christians, including the new prime minister, Tony Blair, who, although not a Catholic, attended Mass with his Catholic wife and family. The Blairs also incurred the wrath of traditional leftists by sending their children to a leading Catholic school, the Oratory, instead of the local state-funded school. At one point, several of the leading positions of British politics were held by Catholics: the secretaries of state of Scotland and Northern Ireland, the speakers of the House of Commons, and so on. Two of the party leaders were even Catholics: Ian Duncan Smith of the Conservatives and Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats.

    Despite all of this seemingly overwhelming Catholic presence at the heart of British politics, relations between the Church and the political establishment have been fraught with tension over a range of issues connected with bioethics and sexual morality. Two of the principal bones of contention have been the existence of “faith schools” and whether Catholic adoption agencies should be obliged by law to accept homosexual couples as adopters.
    [ED.: Could it be that leftism leads inevitably to religious persecution?]

    What is striking about these schools is how successful they are on a whole range of indicators of academic and personal growth and in their relationship with the wider community. Ofsted, the government agency responsible for inspecting and evaluating publicly funded schools, has consistently praised them. In fact, they are so good that there are long waiting lists that include pupils from non-faith backgrounds. Many Muslims seek to send their children, particularly their daughters, to Catholic schools because they teach a version of sexual morality that is close to their own.

    Despite these undoubted successes, there is a great deal of opposition from an increasingly vocal secularist lobby both inside and outside Parliament. These secularists are mainly found in the Labour party and among Liberal Democrats, but there are also a few, such as Lord Kenneth Baker, who had been Mrs. Thatcher’s education minister, within the Conservative party. The secularists oppose religious schools for a variety of reasons. Some, such as the notorious Richard Dawkins, simply believe they are evil and harm children by indoctrinating them with religious beliefs. Others condemn Catholic schools in particular for teaching that sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is sinful and accuse them of discrimination against homosexual teachers.

    A more recent accusation, made on a number of occasions by Lord Baker, is that faith schools are “socially divisive.”
    [ED.: But pushing things like same-sex simulated "marriage" is not "socially divisive".] Baker points to Northern Ireland as an example of this. In reality, this argument is quite spurious because the situation in England and Wales is quite different from that in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, Catholic schools have been instruments of social integration rather than division and were largely responsible for the assimilation of poor Irish Catholics into British society. Furthermore, they have an explicit policy of social mixing and have many pupils from deprived backgrounds. At the same time, they are concerned to preserve their Catholic ethos and limit the numbers of non-Catholics (and, yes, they discriminate in this sense). But even in Northern Ireland, segregated education is a consequence, rather than the cause, of the deep societal conflict, and undoubtedly the “Troubles” would have been much worse without the continual presence of faith schools and Christian teaching.

    In order to prevent the alleged threat to social cohesion, the Labour education secretary, Alan Johnson, attempted, in an education bill passing through Parliament in 2007, to impose a quota system, which would oblige faith schools to accept a minimum of 25 percent of pupils from a background that was not that of the predominant faith of the school. This was supposed to allow the school to become more “cohesive.” While the Church of England went along with the proposal, it was vigorously opposed by the Catholic Church. In the end, the government backed down, probably realizing that the measure might cost them seats in constituencies with large Catholic populations, such as in Scotland and the northwest of England. Lord Baker tried to reintroduce this clause when the bill was passing through the House of Lords, but it too was defeated.

    This was clearly deeply humiliating for the secularists, in particular for Alan Johnson. In what appears to be an attempt to bloody the Church’s nose, he returned to the attack, this time on whether Catholic adoption agencies should be forced to place adoptive children with homosexual couples. The Equality Act 2007 includes the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which prohibit “discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation . . . in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, the use and disposal of premises and the exercise of public functions.” The regulations do not cover employment practices, where discrimination is tackled under different legislation. The Church would be in breach of the legislation if, for example, it refused to hire its halls or clubs to homosexual groups. But the issue that caught the headlines was whether the Church would be obliged to hand over children for adoption by homosexual couples. The Church argued that it accepted the principle that it was unjust to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation and that homosexuals should be treated with respect. But it also argued that it was impossible for its adoption agencies to allow homosexual couples to adopt, because this was out of line with Catholic teaching on marriage understood as a public commitment between a man and a woman. Homosexual couples could not be regarded as the equivalent of marriage.

    The scene was thus set for a fierce contest between the Church, which asked for an exemption from the regulations, and those who argued that there could be no exceptions. Furthermore, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland introduced a version of the regulations there in January 2007, even before they had passed through the Westminster Parliament. The Scottish Executive (government) for its part came to an informal agreement with the Scottish hierarchy that Catholic agencies would be exempt.

    There are a number of important issues at stake here. First, there is a clearly a clash between two principles: the principle of equality as defined by human rights legislation, which includes sexual orientation, and the principle of freedom of religion and conscience in a pluralistic society. In this case, the principle of equality
    [ED.: Who's being treated unequally? Homosexuals have just as much right to marry someone of the opposite sex as anyone else. If anything, they're being given preferential treatment by the SORs.] has trumped the right of freedom of religion and conscience.

    Second, what is striking is the influence that the homosexual lobby has gained through using human rights legislation to achieve their political and ideological ends. We have passed from decriminalizing homosexual behaviour to the active promotion of homosexuality as a lifestyle the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. The next stage in this process is the silencing of any opposition—particularly opposition from the Catholic Church.
    [ED.: As I've opined on a number of occasions, this is the issue that will ultimately lead to active persecution of the Church, thereby driving the Church "back into the catacombs".]

    Even more ominously, these conflicts over faith schools and Catholic adoption agencies reveal the existence of powerful secularist lobby groups that are not only anti-Christian but especially anti-Catholic. They are found in the main political parties and among public figures and seem determined to remove the Catholic Church from public life and to undermine its institutions.
    [ED.: Satan knows who the real enemy is.]

    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    UK Catholic Schools Endangered by Sexual Orientation Regulations

    Official Anti-Catholic Bigotry Returns to British Parliament

    "A Charter for Suing Christians"

    A Catholic Londoner on "The Last Acceptable Prejudice"

    British Bishops: U.K. Sex Equality Law "Threatens Catholic Adoption Agencies"

    UK: Churches "Could be Forced to Bless Gay Weddings"

    The Coming Persecution of Churches Over "Gay Marriage"

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

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    Novena to St. Thomas More

    A Novena to St. Thomas More, authored by attorney Anita Moore of the blog V for Victory, has just been approved by Bishop Michael P. Driscoll of Boise, Idaho, for public and private devotion in the Church. Great job, Anita!

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    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Digest of Today's Posts (19 July 2007)

  • Democrat Congress Proposes Massive 20,000% Increase on Cigar Tax ("for the Children")

  • U.S. Bishops Agree to Collaborate on Anti-War Strategy With Same Catholic Dems Who Slammed Pope on Abortion

  • Planned Parenthood Fights "Dangerous New Initiative"

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (18 July 2007))


    Democrat Congress Proposes Massive 20,000% Increase on Cigar Tax ("for the Children")

    From The Cleveland Leader:
    Senate Considering Bill to Significantly Increase Cigar Taxes

    The Senate Finance Committee is currently considering a bill that would result in a huge increase in the federal tax on cigars. Currently, the federal tax on cigars is at $0.05. The proposed bill could increase that to as much as $10.00, a 20,000% increase.

    The bill is seeking to add $35 billion in funds to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which helps uninsured children get the healthcare they need. The Senate Plan is to fund the increase in children's healthcare funds by increasing taxes on tobacco products.

    President Bush has already said that if this bill were to pass, he would veto it.
    My Comments:
    I've already seen a couple of Catholic bloggers (see here and here) criticizing Bush's "lack of compassion" for daring to veto this 20,000% tax increase "for the children" (not having to listen to that lame-ass justification for all things liberal is reason enough to vote against the Democrat nominee for President next year).

    I'm guessing the health-related costs of cigar smoking in the U.S. are minimal, and that such a tax is a pure unadulterated "envy tax" that is completely unrelated to any sort of distributionist notion of serving the common good.*

    And I'm guessing the gentleman pictured above and below would agree with me.

    * Does anyone else doubt that the Dems would be pushing for such legislation if Cuban cigars were available in the U.S. and weren't considered contraband? The Dems wouldn't want to hurt their hero Fidel's bottom line by placing such a burdensome tax on his main cash crop (especially since doing so would likely hurt the "model" health care system after which they'd love to pattern health care in the U.S.).

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    U.S. Bishops Agree to Collaborate on Anti-War Strategy With Same Catholic Dems Who Slammed Pope on Abortion

    A couple of weeks ago, Catholic Congressional Democrats wrote to the USCCB asking for a meeting to discuss anti-war strategy. The Bishops have now replied with an acceptance of the offer to meet and strategize with the Catholic Democrats. From the USCCB Office of Media Relations:
    WASHINGTON (July 18, 2007) — The U.S. bishops have agreed to meet with a group of Catholic House Democrats to discuss a “responsible transition” to end the war in Iraq. The bishops also reiterated their call for members of Congress and the Administration to break the political stalemate in Washington and to pursue a bipartisan policy to end the war as soon as possible.

    The call was noted in a letter from Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Florida, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy, in response to a June 28 request for a meeting on Iraq from Rep. Tim Ryan (D/Ohio) and 13 other House Democrats.

    “Our Conference hopes to work with the Congress and the Administration to forge bipartisan policies on ways to bring about a responsible transition and an end to the war,” Bishop Wenski said in a July 17 letter. He pointed to numerous church statements that the bishops have made about the Iraqi situation.

    “Too many Iraqi and American lives have been lost. Too many Iraqi communities have been shattered. Too many civilians have been driven from their homes. The human and financial costs of the war are staggering. Representatives of our Conference welcome the opportunity to meet with you and other policy makers to discuss ways to pursue the goal of a ‘responsible transition’ to bring an end to the war in Iraq,” Bishop Wenski said.

    “The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable, as is the policy and political stalemate among decision makers in Washington,” Bishop Wenski said.

    “Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq,” he added.

    The letter follows.

    My Comments:
    For my own reasons, I made a decision when I first started this blog that I wouldn't engage in any Iraq War blogging. A more recent decision I've made is that this blog doesn't do bishop bashing (at least not anymore). So this post should not be taken as either. Rather, the point of this post is to raise a couple of issues regarding consistency.

    In short, I'm awaiting 2 unlikely things to occur:

    (1) For howls of outrage from the usual (liberal) suspects regarding the Church involving itself in the political process, and regarding one of the major political parties trying to "co-opt" the Church for its own ends; and

    (2) For the Bishops to similarly meet with pro-life Republicans in Congress and the Bush Administration to strategize on anti-abortion policy.

    Diogenes notices the same incongruency and offers his take:
    "Our shared moral tradition..."

    Leaders of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have agreed to meet with a group of 14 Democratic lawmakers to discuss how they might work together to end US military involvement in Iraq. In fact the USCCB has already done its little bit by issuing a press release to call attention to the Democratic legislators' cause.

    Who are these Democratic politicians, who find such a ready audience at the USCCB? They're Catholic members of the House of Representatives. And half of them-- including Rep. Tim Ryan, who is leading the charge on Iraq-- also signed a May public statement scolding Pope Benedict XVI for daring to say that Catholic politicians should oppose the legalized killing of unborn children.

    The Pope's comments on the political responsibilities of Catholic legislators, these Catholic legislators said in May, "offend the very nature of the American experiment." But now they're soliciting the political involvement of the American bishops.

    A practical politician might have told these 14 Democrats that if they don't want to hear from the Catholic Church about abortion, they shouldn't look to hear from the Church about the war in Iraq. A concerned pastor might have told them that if they disregard the Church's teaching on a clear issue of moral teaching, they should not be so hypocritical as to invoke Church teaching on an issue that is not nearly so clear-- an issue on which loyal Catholics can and do differ. But the USCCB leaders didn't choose those options. Instead the USCCB implicitly accepted the lawmakers' claim that they are the moral champions of Catholic teaching.

    No, wait; it wasn't an implicit acceptance; it was quite explicit. Bishop Thomas Wenski concluded his letter to Congressman Ryan by saying: "Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq."

    Back in May, 7 of these same politicians argued, in their highly public rebuke to the Pope: "Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our Church has taught us, our own life's mission." Thus they claimed that their political views-- including their support for legal abortion-- are formed by their Catholic faith. When Bishop Wenski writes to them about "Our shared moral tradition," he reinforces that claim.

    There are plenty of reasons to work for peace in Iraq; that's not the issue here. But responsible public leaders of the Catholic Church should not claim to share a moral tradition with politicians who support the slaughter of the unborn.

    (emphasis added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Catholics Dems in Congress Seek Ally Against War

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    Planned Parenthood Fights "Dangerous New Initiative"

    (Hat tip: The Curt Jester)

    Dawn Eden has the details of Planned Parenthood's warning to its supporters of a "dangerous new initiative" - one that would require abortion providers to report the rapes of underaged girls.

    Not to worry, Planned Parenthood. Hillary! and the rest of the Dems are here to help.

    Credit: Thanks to commenter PB for the PhotoShop work in the above photo.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Ohio Teen Sues Planned Parenthood Over Child Abuse

    Planned Parenthood - Killers, Liars, Aiders and Abettors to Rapists

    Ohio Judge to Planned Parenthood: Turn Over Records

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    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Digest of Today's Posts (18 July 2007)

  • Michael Gerson on Rudy's Political Baggage

  • Fidelis Head Resigns, Joins Fred Thompson Committee

  • Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Replaces Statue of Virgin Mary with Bust of Che Guevara

  • But ... But ... But ... She's Good on Healthcare and the Environment

  • Giant Homer Simpson Angers English Pagans

  • Obama, Clinton Slam Supreme Court on Abortion Ruling

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (17 July 2007))


    Michael Gerson on Rudy's Political Baggage

    Catholics Against Rudy links to this Michael Gerson column in The Washington Post highlighting the disastrous effects a Giuliani nomination would have on both the GOP and the pro-life cause:
    ... Another consequence of a Giuliani victory would be to place the Republican nominee in direct conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. For someone who aspires to be the fourth Roman Catholic to lead a major-party ticket, this is not a minor thing.

    Giuliani is not only pro-choice. He has supported embryonic stem cell research and public funding for abortion. He supports the death penalty. He supports "waterboarding" of terror suspects and seems convinced that the conduct of the war on terrorism has been too constrained. Individually, these issues are debatable. Taken together, they are the exact opposite of Catholic teaching, which calls for a "consistent ethic of life" rather than its consistent devaluation. No one inspired by the social priorities of Pope John Paul II can be encouraged by the political views of Rudy Giuliani. Church officials who criticized John Kerry on abortion are anxious for the opportunity to demonstrate their bipartisanship by going after a Republican. Those attacks on Giuliani have already begun.

    Across the country, there will doubtlessly be Giuliani Democrats who respond to a culture war against liberalism without the baggage of pro-life moralism. But there will also be Americans influenced by the teachings of John Paul II, who have been persuaded over the years to support Republicans mainly on the pro-life issue. Many are Reagan Democrats. And they will be less impressed by a conservatism purged of pro-life moralism -- which they would see as a purge of compassion and humanity.

    These are predictable results if the Republican nominee is not Reagan's heir but Nixon's political twin.
    (emphasis added)

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    Fidelis Head Resigns, Joins Fred Thompson Committee

    I just received the following emailed press release from Fidelis:
    Fidelis Head Joins Fred Thompson Committee

    Fidelis today announced that its President and co-founder Joseph Cella has taken a formal leave of absence to join the staff of Friends of Fred Thompson, a presidential testing the waters committee. Mr. Cella served as President of Fidelis since its founding in 2005.

    Fidelis co-founder Brian Burch, who has directed the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy is now serving as the new President of Fidelis, Fidelis America PAC, and the Fidelis Media Fund, all formerly headed by Cella. The following is a statement from Brian Burch, newly appointed President of Fidelis:

    "The Fidelis organizations are deeply grateful for the leadership and service of Joseph Cella over the past two plus years. Mr. Cella deserves enormous credit for his work in helping establish a truly authentic lay Catholic activist organization focused on the issues of life, faith, and family. His professional and personal talents played a major role in establishing Fidelis as one of the leading Catholic based advocacy groups in the nation."

    "The decision by a leading prospective presidential candidate to hire a member of our organization attests to our growing influence and impact in the arena of public policy and law. While we will sorely miss the contributions of Mr. Cella, Fidelis has already added two new talented members to our team, and is well equipped to continue its role as a leading Catholic voice in the fights for life, faith, and family."

    Joshua Mercer will re-join Fidelis as Communications Director. Mercer was the Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register from 2000-2004. His writing has been cited by The New Republic, The Drudge Report and earned him appearances on the Fox News Channel. In 2004, Mercer became the Political Director for the Ave Maria List, a Catholic PAC that contributed to Senator Tom Daschle's historic defeat. Mercer previously helped Cella and Burch in establishing Fidelis in 2005. Currently, Mercer is publisher of The Morning Star, a Michigan-based Catholic newspaper.

    Fidelis is also pleased to announce the addition of Mr. Bruce Green as General Counsel of the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy. Mr. Green’s distinguished career includes his role as the founding dean of Liberty Law School. Previously, Mr. Green served as Chief Counsel of the Center for Law & Policy of the American Family Association, and as Chief Counsel and Founding Director of the Blackstone Fellowship program with the Alliance Defense Fund. The Green Law Firm based in Lufkin, Texas will assist Fidelis in its legal advocacy efforts.

    Due to FEC regulations restricting collaboration between candidates and advocacy organizations, Mr. Cella formally resigned from Fidelis, and will not be affiliated or involved with Fidelis in any capacity.

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    Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Replaces Statue of Virgin Mary with Bust of Che Guevara

    (Hat tip: Mark Shea)

    Hugo Chávez, Castro-loving commie bastard extraordinaire, provides more proof that leftism leads to militant secularism:
    In another defiant gesture against the democratic and spiritual sensibilities of the people of Venezuela, its ruler, Lt. Col. Hugo Chávez Frías, has determined that after August 5th, when the government takes over the management of the hospital in Maracaibo, its name will be changed from Hospital Virgen de Coromoto to that of Argentinean guerrilla fighter, Ernesto Che Guevara, who executed hundreds of Cubans in Havana. As everyone knows, Guevara was a fundamental factor in the entrenchment of the fierce Marxist-Leninist tyranny of Fidel Castro.

    All those who are familiar with the characteristics of the people of Venezuela know that they are devotedly Catholic and that they have a profound devotion for the Virgen de Coromoto. To the Venezuelans, the Virgen de Coromoto is a symbol of spiritual union, of Christian faith that is beyond the agnostic sectors that exist or could exist in the country.

    Not only will the name of the hospital be changed but also, what is even worse, the venerated statue of the Virgen de Coromoto has been taken away from the entry to that hospital and it will be replaced by a bust of Guevara. That bust could be placed in a house where terrorism and the totalitarian doctrine of Marxism-Leninism are promoted, but never in a hospital and, even less, replacing the Virgen de Coromoto.

    My Comments:
    But hey, the guy hates Bush and supports socialized medicine, so let's give him a pass.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    What I Got at the Revolution

    Hollywood's Love Affair with Commie Thug Dicatators Continues

    Venezuelan Cardinal Tells Castro-Loving Commie Bastard: "Your Way Has Been Tried and Found Wanting"

    Castro-Loving Commie Bastard to "Build Heaven Here on Earth"

    Going Off On Citgo

    Castro-Loving Commie Bastard Pounds Shoe on Podium at U.N.

    Venezuela's [Castro-Loving Commie Bastard] Chávez Urges Pope to be More Careful With His Words

    Venezuela, Syria Join Forces Against "American Imperialism"

    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

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    But ... But ... But ... She's Good on Healthcare and the Environment

    There's something slightly troubling about someone who seems so ecstatic at the prospect of killing babies.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Obama, Clinton Slam Supreme Court on Abortion Ruling

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    Giant Homer Simpson Angers English Pagans

    Crass commercialism in the English countryside is upsetting to more than just pagans:
    The publicity team behind "The Simpsons" movie, which premieres in the United Kingdom next week, has taken its marketing campaign to a whole new level — one that has enraged members of the British public.

    A 180-foot-tall drawing of Homer Simpson has appeared on a hill in the English countryside, right next to the famed Cerne Abbas Giant, a well-known British landmark.

    The Cerne Abbas Giant, a chalk outline of an aroused, club-wielding man dating to at least the 17th century, is a revered symbol of fertility among pagans. It is Britain's largest chalk drawing, carved into the natural chalk rock beneath the turf.

    Its new neighbor is Homer Simpson, proudly wielding a doughnut and clad more modestly in an enormous pair of Y-front briefs in the adjacent lush, green field.

    The artist of the Homer Simpson giant is Peter Stuart, who was commissioned to create it using biodegradable paint, which will eventually wash away.

    Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for the Pagan Federation, told ABC News that Cerne Abbas "is a place people have a lot of affection for. Young girls used to pray at the feet of the figure so they wouldn't become old maids." Now, she said, "they've carved this darn great eyesore."

    Today, the site is protected by the National Trust. Because of the site's historical significance, visitors must observe Cerne Abbas from the bottom of the hill.

    My Comments:
    On the other hand, that one pagan dude in the photo looks pretty happy to see Homer.

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    Obama, Clinton Slam Supreme Court on Abortion Ruling

    Democrats make annual pilgrimage to pay tribute to Moloch:
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama criticized recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions as hypocritical and inconsistent on Tuesday, saying a ruling upholding a late-term abortion ban was part of a concerted effort to roll back women's rights.

    Obama and Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton, making separate appearances at a conference of abortion rights activists, pointed with pride to their Senate votes against the confirmation of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

    The two leading Democrats in the 2008 presidential race courted women activists at the conference and said President George W. Bush was taking direct aim at overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

    ... Clinton accused Bush of pursuing a conservative political agenda through judicial nominations.

    "At the top of the list was this effort to try to overturn Roe vs Wade or at least try to chip away at it," Clinton said, adding the Bush administration has waged war against contraception education and "set out from Day One to dismantle reproduction rights around the world."

    Both she and Obama said they would take a different approach in their Supreme Court appointments than Bush.

    "I would appoint well-qualified judges who really respect the Constitution," Clinton said.

    Obama said he would look into the heart of a potential Supreme Court nominee. "We need somebody who's got the empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teen-aged mom," he said.
    My Comments:
    As you can see, these Dems are really making an effort to be all religious and stuff in order to win over those "values voters". Besides, they're good on health care, right?

    And every time these characters open their mouths about the Bush Administration's record on judges and abortion, I feel quite justified in my votes for President Bush.

    Democrat candidates pledge taxpayer support for abortion:
    Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that her husband's health-care plan would provide insurance coverage of abortion.

    Speaking on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards before the family planning and abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Edwards lauded her husband's health-care proposal as "a true universal health-care plan" that would cover "all reproductive health services, including pregnancy termination," referring to abortion.

    Edwards was joined by Democratic candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the group's political organizing conference in addressing issues at the core of the political clash between cultural liberals and conservatives, including abortion rights, access to contraception and sex education.

    The recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding a federal ban on a late-term abortion procedure that opponents call "partial-birth abortion" has increased anxieties among reproductive-rights advocates over the future of constitutional protections for abortion rights. All three of the Democratic campaigns used the forum to signal their determination to appoint Supreme Court nominees who would uphold the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling.

    Obama, who earlier gained the endorsement of Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, offered the group a vision of equal opportunity for women, tying a call for improved access to contraceptives for low-income women with a call for an "updated social contract" that includes paid maternity leave and expanded school hours.

    Asked about his proposal for expanded access to health insurance, Obama said it would cover "reproductive-health services." Contacted afterward, an Obama spokesman said that included abortions.

    Clinton has not yet released her health-care proposal. She provided a bruising critique of Bush administration policies and Republican conservatives on abortion rights and contraception policy.

    She criticized cuts in contraception services for low-income women, lengthy delays in approving over-the-counter sales of the "morning-after" contraceptive pill and redirection of sex education funds to abstinence-only programs that do not include information on contraceptive use or condoms toto prevent the spread of AIDS.
    (emphasis added)

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    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Digest of Today's Posts (17 July 2007)

  • Most Affordable Towns

  • Crisis: "The Return of Rick Santorum"

  • NARAL Says All Republican Candidates OTHER THAN RUDY Are Pro-Life

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (16 July 2007))


    Most Affordable Towns

    Ohio leads the list of states with most affordable places to live:
    Looking for an affordable place to own a home? Think Garfield Heights, Ohio, or Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, or any number of the townships and communities clustered predominantly in America's industrial heartland. Nine of the 25 in the list can be found in Ohio alone.

    To generate the list, we divided median family income by median home prices. The towns are ranked in order of their home-to-income ratio. And average prices are less than half the cost of hot coastal markets, such as Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.

    My Comments:
    That's one of the primary reasons we moved here. Bellevue, which is just down the road from us, was listed in this survey among the most affordable towns in which to live.

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    Crisis: "The Return of Rick Santorum"

    Crisis Magazine has a piece titled "Lightning Rod: The Return of Rick Santorum". It's worth a read. Here's an excerpt:
    ... This post-election interlude has yielded time to ponder the victories and missteps that defined Santorum’s career in the Senate. Supporters hope it’s the right moment to correct his public image as a right-wing extremist intolerant of Americans who don’t fit a Father Knows Best storyline. The fact is, his faith-driven political activism has consistently transcended party ideology. He became the Senate’s major force on poverty and global AIDS/HIV, for example, though news coverage of such work has been sparse. If you Google “Santorum” you’ll dig up plenty of controversy—his Virginia-based family’s use of Pennsylvania school-district funds for his children’s “cyberschool,” for example. Meanwhile, it’s tough to find a story profiling his monumental work on behalf of Darfur.

    An editor from one major daily in Santorum’s home state acknowledges that some negative stories, like the cyberschool issue, generated “way too many inches of column” when compared with coverage of his legislative record. But that editor argues that Santorum also drove the media’s treatment: “He is confident and upfront. He thinks what he says is right, and believes he can persuade others of his point of view.” Like other reporters who have covered the senator, he did not want to be quoted by name.

    In the final days before the election, Santorum’s defenders sought to correct his public image. New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that Democrats attacked him as an “ideological misfit,” even though their target led “almost every . . . piece of antipoverty legislation [that] surfaces in Congress.” Why, then, weren’t liberals embracing him? “If Santorum were pro-choice,” argued Brooks, “he’d be a media star and a campus hero.” A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Peggy Noonan observed that Santorum’s voting record suggested the zeal of a “Catholic social reformer” of a bygone era—say, Robert Kennedy. A 2004 National Journal analysis underscored Noonan’s assertion, describing the Pennsylvanian’s voting record as “slightly to the left of the GOP center.”

    In 2003, the senator’s prophetic line of thought propelled him into much deeper trouble than he is likely to face now. During an interview with an AP reporter, Santorum predicted the dire, if unintended, consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas that lifted the state ban on sodomy. Gay activists had applauded Lawrence and heralded it as the first step in the ultimate legalization of same-sex marriage. But Santorum argued that “if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it’s in the privacy of your own home,” then the state could face legal challenges prosecuting incest and adultery cases.

    A firestorm ensued, with gay activists accusing the senator of equating homosexual relationships with incest and adultery. Santorum and his conservative allies fought back, insisting that his statements were taken out of context: He only addressed the legal dangers posed by Lawrence. But the damage from the interview could not be contained. Santorum’s reputation as a right-wing bigot spread through casual references on television sitcoms and ribald jokes on late-night talk shows.

    The charges returned during the 2006 election year. Santorum still failed to convince his critics of his good intentions. More recently, though, an ironic footnote to this controversy has surfaced. The Supreme Court may hear an incest case in which the accused cites the Lawrence decision as a shield against state prosecution of his sexual relationship with an adult stepdaughter. Santorum’s precise argument—that the Lawrence decision would open the door to state-sanctioned deviant behavior—may soon get its day in court. The Supreme Court may hear the argument this year, or wait for a less-complicated case.

    In late 2005, Santorum was again under fire when his book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good was published. Liberal bloggers obtained copies of the book before its official release date, sifted through its pages for controversial passages, and quickly rushed to define its message before Santorum began his book tour. The author’s positions on abortion, contraception, traditional marriage, and child-rearing were criticized as demonstrating a lack of respect for women.

    (emphasis added)

    My Comments:
    In my view, Santorum has been one of the more unfairly maligned public figures of recent memory. It goes with the territory, I suppose, of being a pro-life Catholic who also happens to be a Republican.

    Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. may be a "pro-life" Democrat, but only time will tell if he will be the sort of vocal advocate on behalf of the gospel of life that Rick Santorum was. What is certain is that Casey's election has, at least in the short run, made it more difficult for the pro-life cause, as this letter to the editor in the July 22-28 issue of the National Catholic Register points out:
    Casey Epilogue

    Donald DeMarco’s inspirational story about Alphonsus Casey and his son Bob Casey Sr. (“Mighty Casey and American Humility,” July 1) left out the rest of the story.

    The Democrats used his father’s reputation to get Bob Casey Jr. elected to the Senate, replacing Republican pro-life stalwart Rick Santorum and giving them a razor-thin majority in the Senate, which they used to pass a bill calling for taxpayer funding of embryonic stem-cell breeding and research, and in the future they will use to block any insufficiently pro-abortion Justices.

    Don Schenk
    Allentown, Pennsylvania

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Life After the Senate for Rick Santorum

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    NARAL Says All Republican Candidates OTHER THAN RUDY Are Pro-Life

    From LifeNews.com:
    Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- One of the top pro-abortion groups in the country told its membership last week that several of the main Republican presidential contenders couldn't get its support because they're pro-life on abortion. Of the leading names, only pro-abortion ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was not included for criticism.

    The pro-abortion group NARAL told its members that it also expects one more candidate to enter the race who is "bent on taking away a woman's right to choose: Fred Thompson."

    (emphasis added)

    My Comments:
    Doesn't appear that NARAL is too worried about Rudy's promise to appoint "strict constructionists" to the federal courts. They apparently give as little credence to this obviously bogus campaign promise as I do.

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    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Digest of Today's Posts (16 July 2007)

  • Giuliani to Reveal Five-Star Conservative Judicial Advisory Panel

  • A Sensible Evangelical Response to the CDF Document: "I'm Not Offended"

  • "As a Lifelong Faithful Catholic ..."

  • Evangelicals Defending Catholics Against Anti-Catholic Bigotry

  • The Curt Jester: "A Tale of Two Bishops"
  • Labels:

    Giuliani to Reveal Five-Star Conservative Judicial Advisory Panel

    FOXNews reports on Rudy's latest lame-ass attempt to woo conservative voters:
    WASHINGTON — GOP frontrunner [ED.: That's debatable. See Thompson, Fred D.] Rudy Giuliani will unveil his "Justice Advisory Committee" this week on a two-day swing through heavily Republican western districts of [Iowa], home of the first presidential caucuses in 2008.

    The committee signals an important moment for building his relationship with social conservatives a he tries to convince skeptical Iowans he can compete seriously in the caucuses.

    Former U.S. solicitor general under President Bush, Ted Olson, will chair the panel. Former Bush administration Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and filibustered judicial nominee Miguel A. Estrada will be among the "who's who" of conservative legal and judicial advisers to Giuliani.
    [ED.: All people for whom I have had admiration in the past, the very fact that these folks are supporting Rudy now causes me to question their judgment.]

    Giuliani hopes to reassure the GOP that he will appoint conservative judges and run a judicially conservative administration...
    My Comments:
    Conservatives who are pro-life and/or care about the future of the federal judiciary aren't going to buy this latest dog and pony show from Rudy.

    In the end, there's only one "advisory panel" that really matters, and that's the U.S. Senate with its constitutional role of "advise and consent". Assuming the Democrats retain control of the Senate, what's important is that we have a President who will fight for originalist and/or strict constructionist judges. We need to be able to trust that the person we elect President will go to the mat in order to move the judiciary in the right direction.

    The very fact that Giuliani, because of his liberal policy preferences, feels the need to go to such lengths to convince us that he's right on judges is all the proof we need that he is not, in fact, trustworthy on the issue.

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    A Sensible Evangelical Response to the CDF Document: "I'm Not Offended"

    (Hat tip: Alexham at Vox Nova)

    We've all heard about the irrational sky-is-falling hand-wringing from many liberal Catholics, mainline Protestants, and other faiths in response to the latest document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which merely states what the Catholic Church has always claimed for itself: that it is the one and only true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

    But there have also been some voices of reason from a few of our separated brethren. First, there was the Russian Orthodox Church, which called the CDF document an "honest" statement that helps to further rather than hinder dialogue. "For an honest theological dialogue to happen, one should have a clear view of the position of the other side [because] it helps understand how different we are," a Russian Orthodox spokesman responded.

    And now, Dr. Albert Mohler - President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - has responded "No, I'm not offended":
    Aren't you offended? That is the question many Evangelicals are being asked in the wake of a recent document released by the Vatican. The document declares that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church -- or, in words the Vatican would prefer to use, the only institutional form in which the Church of Christ subsists.

    No, I am not offended. In the first place, I am not offended because this is not an issue in which emotion should play a key role. This is a theological question, and our response should be theological, not emotional. Secondly, I am not offended because I am not surprised. No one familiar with the statements of the Roman Catholic Magisterium should be surprised by this development. This is not news in any genuine sense. It is news only in the current context of Vatican statements and ecumenical relations. Thirdly, I am not offended because this new document actually brings attention to the crucial issues of ecclesiology, and thus it presents us with an opportunity.

    Now, I couldn't disagree more with Dr. Mohler's views on ecclesiology and theology, but at least he is taking the CDF's document in the spirit in which it is intended.

    No ecumenical dialogue can take place without all sides laying their cards on the table. Muddling the issues isn't true ecumenicism because you're watering down and not respecting the real differences that exist, as well as playing down or ignoring what all parties to the dialogue claim for themselves about their respective faiths.

    (Of course, the only legitimate end of any ecumenical dialogue is that all those who claim to be Christians be convinced that what the CDF asserts in its recent document is TRUE, and that all come back home to the ONLY Church established by Christ - the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church with the Supreme Pontiff in Rome at its head.)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    "As a Lifelong Faithful Catholic ..."

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    "As a Lifelong Faithful Catholic ..."

    Rich Leonardi astutely notes that "It's a virtual certainty that any letter beginning with the phrase 'as a lifelong faithful Catholic' will contain nonsense".


    Evangelicals Defending Catholics Against Anti-Catholic Bigotry

    Robert P. George writes in the First Things blog On the Square:
    ... The neo-Blanshardite reaction to the Supreme Court’s partial-birth abortion ruling was led by former University of Chicago Provost Geoff Stone, who in condemning the decision as upholding what he ludicrously regarded as a an imposition of the Catholic religion pointedly called attention to the fact that the five justices forming the majority are members of the Catholic Church, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, which published a despicable cartoon depicting the five wearing the mitres of Catholic bishops.

    Had the partial-birth abortion decision come out the other way, turning on the votes of the two Jewish justices, and had a prominent conservative professor have made an issue of their religion and a conservative newspaper published a cartoon depicting them wearing yarmulkes and prayer shawls, there would have been howls of outrage and loud denunciations of the bigotry on display. People across the spectrum of religious and political belief, including those who oppose partial birth abortion, would have condemned the cartoon and demanded apologies. And they would have been right. Religious prejudice should be unacceptable in American public life. Period.

    But while the writings of Professor Stone and the cartoon in the Philadelphia newspaper drew a certain amount of criticism and generated discussion on some blogs, the neo-Blanshardites were not reprimanded or even criticized by prominent liberal civil rights leaders or by leading liberal civil rights and civil liberties organizations. Perhaps I missed something, but I heard no denunciations from those secular or religious liberals who have long proclaimed themselves mortal enemies of all forms of prejudice, and from whom therefore one would have expected a firm condemnation of bigotry even when manifested in support of a cause they like.

    Some Catholics spoke up in defense of themselves and their Church, but few prominent non-Catholics came to the aid of their Catholic fellow citizens. It was almost as if we were back in the 1940s and 50s, when it was socially acceptable to regard Catholics who were true to their faith as potentially disloyal to the principles of American freedom and democracy, and therefore unfit to be trusted with high political or judicial office.

    Yet it is not quite true that no non-Catholics spoke out against the new Blanshardism. There are heroes in this story. The heroes, however, are not to be found among the mainstream civil rights and civil liberties groups. No condemnations of the rank anti-Catholicism on display were forthcoming from the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, or Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Nor was anything heard from the mainline Protestant denominations that are regarded by many Catholic liberals as Catholicism’s true friends and ecumenical conversation partners. Leaders of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, etc. were silent. The prejudice antennae of these leaders–ordinarily so sensitive–seems to shut down when the victims of prejudice are Catholics.

    Who were the heroes, then? Who rushed to the defense of Catholics when they and their Church were under siege from the neo-Blanshardites? It was the leaders of the Evangelical movement. And they came with a powerful and, indeed, remarkable statement. Led by Chuck Colson, many of the most influential leaders of contemporary Evangelicalism joined together to condemn anti-Catholicism. And they did not stop there. They went on to acknowledge and express remorse for the involvement of American Evangelicals in anti-Catholic prejudice in the past.

    After condemning Stone’s remarks and the Inquirer’s cartoon, Mr. Colson, joined by Frank S. Page, president of Southern Baptist Convention, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, and many more leading Evangelicals, said:
    We believe it is our particular duty to condemn the bigotry we are now witnessing in view of the history of anti-Catholicism in our nation. It is a stain on the Protestant Christian conscience that at one time many of our people accepted the vile teachings of Paul Blanshard in his book American Freedom and Catholic Power, and supported the anti-Catholic agenda of the group founded by Blanshard and others that now styles itself Americans United for Separation of Church and State (formerly known as Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State).
    They then invoked the example of Pope John Paul II:
    Just as Pope John Paul II acknowledged past injustices committed by Catholics, or committed in the name of Catholicism, against Protestants, Jews, and others and pledged to work against any revival of these injustices, we acknowledge past Protestant prejudices against Catholics and pledge to fight against the anti-Catholic bigotry we are now witnessing. Our Catholic brothers and sisters will not have to wait to hear our voices forcefully raised against the bigotry now directed against them.
    (emphasis added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Chuck Colson: "The New Anti-Catholic Bigotry"

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    The Curt Jester: "A Tale of Two Bishops"

    Jeff Miller at The Curt Jester cites this statistic from the L.A. Times ...
    In Los Angeles, some 75% of the archdiocese's 288 parishes were served at some time by a cleric accused of molesting, according to a Times study.
    ... and wonders why the Times' fairly benign coverage of Cardinal Mahony's leadership in Los Angeles is so strikingly different than the Boston Globe's hounding coverage of Cardinal Law in the Archdiocese of Boston.

    Here's the conclusion Jeff reaches:
    The differences in coverage seem to be due to the fact that the L.A. Times is quite sympathetic to Cardinal Mahony and the issues the Cardinal has fought for over the years. Cardinal Law despite his quite obvious flaws and complicity in the abuse cover ups was quite orthodox in his theology and heavily involved in the pro-life movement and of course this made him a prime target. Cardinal Mahony in contrast makes some noises in a pro-life direction, but is hardly active in the movement and has no problem holding events for ardently pro-abortion politicians. The L.A. Times can easily see him as one of their own and while they are troubled about the abuse problems under his watch, well between friends can't we overlook some flaws?

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    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Put In Bay - Site of Perry's Victory on Lake Erie

    Ferry from Catawba, OH to Put In Bay

    Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

    War of 1812 Lecture and Military Demonstration

    National Park Service Visitor's Center - The Battle of Lake Erie:

    Mother of Sorrows Parish, Put In Bay, OH

    Miscellaneous Sites Around Put In Bay

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Aboard The Niagara

    Tall Ship Niagara Coming to Sandusky Bay

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