Saturday, May 15, 2004
NEWS FROM PLANET ZIRCON
VICTORIAN taxpayers will foot a $50,000 bill so that a transgender "witch" may sue a suburban mayor for outing her.
Olivia Watts, a male police officer and practising witch, will test Victoria's unique religious tolerance legislation.
Free legal work, tribunal fees and a solicitor and barrister were believed to have been given to Ms Watts by Victoria Legal Aid.
It seems that s/he ran for council as a witch, and the mayor "outed her as a witch in a press release and on community radio."
As a result "she became 'an emotional wreck'...her sleep and home life were 'disturbed badly' as a result of the comments, and...she had to close her naturopathy clinic because she was too distraught to see clients."
Last June some "council embarrassments" were blamed on "diabolical intervention." The council's troubles were said to have had "all the hallmarks of being linked to the occult.
Meanwhile "several barristers...were outraged that scarce Legal Aid dollars were being directed to Ms Watts' case."
The Courier Mail has the story as well.
There are more stories on Ms. Watts
at MichNews.com where you will find:
Taking to radio frequencies, Mr. Wilson explained his vibes perceptions, pointing the finger of blame at Olivia. She's the witch. She's the culprit. She's the open door to demonic entrance to council proceedings going botched. Olivia had attempted to win an election to the council seat, but lost. However, her very try brought on the devils aplenty.
And here at The Washington Times where you will find:
Olivia Watts works for the suburban police force of Casey, a suburb of Victoria, as a male police officer, but at all other times presents herself as a female, the Victoria Herald Sun reported Monday.
If outing Olivia to the town caused him/her to be unable to function in his/her business, what is outing him/her to the world going to do? And who is going to be sued for it?
MOVIE AND BOOK DEALS ARE BEING OFFERED
in the Toledo murder case of Sr. Margaret Ann Pahl. Reporters are knocking on the doors of even those peripherally involved.
MATT C. ABBOTT
has a follow-up article to his report on the Catholic orphanage, St. Colman's at MichNews.com.
check out Terry Pluto's column today titled "Women's Value Isn't in Looks." Just a teaser...
And your hair... darling... you've got to do something with that! Looks like you've got a family of eagles living there.
explained in an interesting article in the Beacon Journal.
This is a style of hymn singing that prevailed in Black churches at a time when most members of the congregation were illiterate. First the line of the hymn is spoken, then it is sung. It's a dying style that Troy Demps of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Congregation, Orlando, Florida, is attempting to preserve.
The style has European roots and was established in American colonies of the 1640's. It is culturally linked with black slaves and black spirituals. Demps is following in his mother's footsteps in using this style. He remembers when his mother sang this way at home, and he could judge her mood by noting which hymn she chose.
Losing this style of singing will amount to losing a portion of black history.
THREE NEW PRIESTS
are being ordained today at the Cleveland Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. One of them is a widower with children who ran a boat business before studying for the priesthood. He decided to become a priest when his rosary beads turned from silver to gold while he was praying.
Two of the priests are from St. Francis de Sales parish. I've attended Mass there several times. The church is quite contemporary, but the Novus Ordo and the homilies are traditional. This is my next parish of choice if my present parish would suddenly go heterodox, though it's rather a long drive. Interesting that two of the three new priests come from this parish.
The third priest is from a church not far from me. One that was rather trendy on the few occasions that I've attended Mass there several years ago. I think there is a message in this, but haven't figured out what it is.
In any case may Christ send abundant graces to our new priests, and may the Holy Spirit work through them in every moment of their ministry.
Oh, and one more thing...thanks, guys, for your commitment to the service to God and to your fellow Catholics. You are appreciated!
God Bless Fr. William E. Browne, Fr. Joseph G. Workman, and Fr. Jeffrey L. Cornelius.
ISLAM IS LOSING ITS WAY
says Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at WorldNetDaily.
He makes some other rather startling statements in the article. It's worth reading in its entirety, so I'm not quoting it.
Thanks to a reader for sending it.
Friday, May 14, 2004
A couple of readers have sent links to this story.
It's full-steam ahead for homosexual marriage in Massachusetts next week, after the United States Supreme Court refused today to block America's first state-sanctioned same-sex ceremonies from taking place there.
Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's revolutionary Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ruling last November ? in which the state's highest court fundamentally re-defined marriage ? opponents have sought to stop the same-sex marriage juggernaut the Massachusetts jurists put in motion.
In the intervening six months, a wildfire of thousands of same-sex marriage ceremonies, starting in San Francisco, were conducted across the nation, in open defiance of the law.
NO MEXICAN UFOs AFTER ALL
Mexico City-AP -- Experts say they have an explanation for fast-moving lights in the sky, videotaped by the Mexican air force with infrared cameras.The lights appeared March fifth. The tape made public only this week has delighted U-F-O fans.
Thanks to a reader for this one.
WILLIAM DONOHUE ON ARCHBISHOP LAJOLO
It's only a short comment at the end of a New York Daily News story but it's so out of character for Donohue that I'm blogging it:
First the unwelcome comment comparing the prison scandal to 9/11:
... a Vatican official yesterday...called the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal a worse blow to America than the Sept. 11 attacks....
Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican foreign minister, said the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison would do untold damage to efforts to bridge the divide between the West and Muslims. He also said the church would suffer because Arabs often equate Christianity with Western values and U.S. power.
Followed by Donohue's comment:
Catholic League leader William Donahue also branded Lajolo as an elitist and an "absolute disgrace to the Catholic Church."
Thanks to a reader for the story.
THIS CBN NEWS REPORT IS DEPRESSING
It discusses Europe The sense of hopelessness there. The loss of religious faith among those who were once Christian. The growing Pentecostalism and Islam. The childless neighborhoods. The disconnect between Europe and America, mostly over religion.
Thanks to a reader for sending it in. (I think.)
MORE ON THE WATER LOVER MASARU EMOTO & COMPANY
This website wants us to "send our love and thanks to all the water on planet Earth." I'm going to do that right away. I know, I'll write a nice little thank you note and flush it down the toilet where the water is.
Do you suppose the next idea will be that we must stop drinking the poor water like we must stop eating the poor animals? (It's a good thing water doesn't have babies!)
You missed the "World Day of Love and Thanks to Water." It was last July. Awwwww. Tooooo bad. But they have a link at the top of the website to the water crystal photos before and after the ceremony. The water really liked being thanked and showed them its appreciation. Now if there were just a way to give it a hug!
There are Women's Water Rites which surely we ladies can find some way of claiming you patriarchal men have tried to take away from us. If you click the "water rites" button at the top you will get the water blessing ceremony. The folks on Vashon Island told the water they respect it. In Vancouver they synchronized their singing bowls. In Mexico they were envisioning stars. ( I guess something must have been lost in translation.) In Australia they energized the water and drank it. (Sounds like murder to me.) Dr. Emoto spoke in Australia. Don't know what they did with it in Argentina, since they did it in Spanish. On Long Island they were having a geography lesson and forgot to thank the water. (I'd be worried about a flooding if I were them.) Venezuela is still trying to figure it out.
I may be laughing now, but stopping to think about how many people are taking up these goofy notions takes all the humor out of the moment.
What if there really is something to the hundredth monkey theory?
Thanks to a reader for digging up these entertaining websites.
at Air America:
The United States "is on the slippery slope to theocratic fascism." "The Catholic Church has been secretly encouraging oral sex for years."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "ought to be tortured." President Bush should be taken out and shot.
Those are a few nutso nuggets from the hosts of Air America Radio, which calls itself the new liberal voice. The fledgling network is carried in New York on WLIB, 1190 AM. With the Iraq torture scandal everywhere, I tuned in, expecting to hear sober policy analysis mixed with glee over President Bush's political pickle.
Instead, I got 10 hours of rancid venom directed at the President, Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic Church and anyone else the hosts felt like slamming. If you're a card-carrying lib who likes crude sex jokes and a cartoonish echo chamber, Air America is for you.
Thanks to a reader for sending this one.
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT KERRY ANYMORE
Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan won't stop at Kerry. He says: Catholic Americans should not receive Communion if they vote for politicians who defy church teaching by supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, euthanasia or stem-cell research....
Anyone who professes the Catholic faith with his lips while at the same time publicly supporting legislation or candidates that defy God's law makes a mockery of that faith and belies his identity as a Catholic.
Blog credit to a reader.
ABORTION SUPPORTERS SPEAKING AT CATHOLIC COLLEGES
according to LifeNews:
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- More than a dozen Catholic colleges have once again invited abortion advocates to speak at their graduations, defying a key teaching of their church.
The Cardinal Newman Society this week listed 19 schools who have chosen "inappropriate speakers" and Patrick Reilly, the group's president, expects more as only about half of the country's 223 Catholic colleges have announced their speakers.
"When Catholic institutions honor well-known abortion advocates like Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer, they are being openly subversive," said Reilly. "Not only are they scandalizing students and impeding the Church's aggressive efforts to end legalized abortion, but they are flaunting their nonconformity in a very public way."
In reading this, I can't help but wonder what noncatholics make of this confusion in the ranks.
Blog credit to Spirit Daily.
MORE PRISONER ABUSE
is being reported by MSNBC:
WASHINGTON - A U.S. soldier?s video diary showing her disdain for Iraqi detainees who died in her charge was to be broadcast Wednesday in a further escalation of the prisoner abuse scandal that has shaken the Bush administration and provoked world outrage.
CBS, which two weeks ago broadcast the first pictures of Iraqi prisoners? being abused in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, said Tuesday that ?60 Minutes II? would show video footage depicting conditions there and at another U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq called Camp Bucca.
in South Africa. WorldNetDaily reports:
Rocks are mysteriously falling "from the sky" onto a South Africa family's home at night, and local police believe demons are responsible.
According to a report in News24.com, the Lambani family, who live in a village near Thohoyandou, South Africa, are pestered each night by the falling rocks. This week, they called the police for help.
Blog credit to Spirit Daily
THE EFFECT OF WORDS ON WATER
Yesterday I linked the website describing Dr. Masaru Emoto's experiments with the effects of word vibrations on water. It sounded implausible, so I asked the family chemist, who is in graduate school working toward her doctorate in analytical chemistry, what she thought. Here is her hastily gathered answer:
Adding 3 electrons would violate the 8 electron rule therefore it's impossible as we know the laws of chemistry and if by some freak of nature it did happen then everything we know would break down. What a crock! But it was sure good for a laugh.
The concept is beyond nuts! It's so ludicrous that the man is a disgrace to the PhD population, if he's a PhD. He did scientific work on water but with a humanities background, therefore all his studies in a scientific world would be void because he more than likely didn't even set up his experiments correctly.
Here is a link of the types of crystal structure that is observed in objects such was water, urine, etc.
The only justification I could possibly give him on his first images is that the distorted crystal could be zoomed in a million and two times so you're looking at the microscopic version of the second image which resembles a snowflake.
Here are some sights you might find interesting:
Ice Grain Structure
Encyclopedia Entry for Ice Crystal
(In the types of ice section you'll see several scientific words to describe it such as amorphorus solid water, low density amorphorous ice, etc. Type these into Google to understand them. The links on this page don't seem to work)
Hope that answers your question. Since you told me about your post of my inability to fold sheets, I hope this will accomplish my redemption. You seemed to take quite a bit of delight in that particular problem of mine! ;-)
(Well! It just looks like one-upsmanship to me!)
THE INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC MOVEMENT
An article at Business Wire anounces that "Holy Family Parish is hosting a free seminar in Las Cruces to discuss the rapid growth of this local ecumenical catholic community." According to the article, "Weekly mass attendance has doubled from forty to eighty, for this inclusive Catholic community, over the course of the past nine months."
The church is pastored by a former Catholic deacon and parish administrator of the diocesan cathedral, Fr. Jim Lehman. It adheres to the typical renegade Catholic movements in welcoming all to the sacraments regardless of their state in life.
This church belongs to the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, which is holding a Retreat 2004 at which Anthony T. Padovano will be the keynote speaker. There will also be presentations by Presiding Bishop Peter E. Hickman, and Rev. Jim Callan, Associate Pastor of Spiritus Christi Church, Rochester, where Rev. Mary Ramerman is the Pastoral Administrator.
The Independent Catholic movement also boasts of a Franciscan Order.
Another church in this movement is Holy Spirit Ecumenical Catholic Church in the Tampa Bay area. On the links page this church links Pax Christi, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Women's Ordination Conference, Dignity-Integrity/Sarasota, and Priests for Equality.
Thre are Ecumenical Catholic Communion churches in Australia and England.
The Pathfinder Community of the Risen Christ is part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. On their links page they link St. Matthew's Church in Orange, and Bishop Peter Hickman.
Holy Spirit offers a wedding ministry.
Mary Ramerman's ordination is featured at the FutureChurch website where Fr. James Callan and Bishop Peter Hickman are also mentioned in this article from "Focus on Future Church." The article indicates that Spiritus Christi Community numbers some 3000 people.
Mary Ramerman and Fr. Jim Callan are also mentioned on the Call to Action website.
THE NEW FATIMA CHURCH
A reader sent in Delia Gallagher's report at the Zenit website ("Fatima's New Church Moves Ahead") that plans for the new church at Fatima continue unabated despite the controversy:
I spoke to Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, of the Leiria-Fatima Diocese, to find out the latest on the situation.
Plans for the new church are going ahead, he said. The church will be a Catholic one, much like the Pius X Church in Lourdes, built near the shrine to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who come to Fatima each month.
As with any Catholic church, it will be open to all, but the services held there will be Catholic.
Ok. Sounds good. There is that final statement, though:
"The best witness we can give," Archbishop Fitzgerald said, "is to take our example from the words of the Acts of the Apostles, 'See how they love one another.'"
Is that a warning of changes to come? Naturally all should be welcome at Fatima, but only with the stipulation that services be truly Catholic, and not some variety of interreligious "Catholic" service. However, in the climate of Assisi, many things will pass as Catholic which would not have so passed in former days. There is also the concern that the new church be adorned with familiar Catholic symbols, rather than making of it a generic meeting hall unrecognizable as belonging to any particular faith tradition. Such generic Catholic church buildings have become commonplace in recent years. So the assurance given is not as comforting as it at first seems.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
ARE YOU A "BRIGHT" ?
Well, proabably not if you're reading my blog. If you were, you'd either be angry or derisive toward most of what I have to say.
So what's a "bright", you want to know. Well, it's an atheist.
Now if you didn't think the argument for the use of a dead language to keep Catholic doctrine pure was legitimate, maybe you want to rethink that position.
A NEW CATHOLIC COLLEGE IN WYOMING
is being planned according to a story linked at Cruxnews:
Casper, WY, May. 11 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne is looking into establishing a liberal arts college in Wyoming that would connect its education with nature. The Rev. Bob Cook, a member of the college planning committee, told the Casper Star-Tribune the college -- as yet unnamed -- could open within two years and eventually have an enrollment of 400 students.
Ok, so far, so good. If it's faithful to orthodox Catholicism, it's needed. But I have to wonder when they make a statement like this:
"(College committee members) have noticed that so many young people, they read a poem about a horse, but they don't know what a horse is."
Even residents of New York City see horses in Central Park! Perhaps they need a few more brain-storming sessions.
AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY CHAPEL
Architecture students at Notre Dame University have designed an alternative to the glass "hothouse" chapel proposed for Ave Maria University. Michael Rose has the pictures up at the Cruxnews website. The chapel is lovely and reflects the influence of Duncan Stroik. It looks to be in keeping with tradition and appropriate to the environment. Hopefully the planners at Ave Maria will take notice.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
I believe that water changes when it is blessed. But what is the nature of that change? And how does the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, figure into that change? Dr. Masaru Emoto at the "Spirit of Ma'at website" explains it. What I want to know is whether any of you Catholics out there believe him?
Thanks to a reader for sending in the website.
NCR reports that "dozens of bishops want to defer or derail a second round of audits designed to measure diocesan compliance with child protection programs called for in the June 2002 Charter of the Protection of Children and Young People."
According to the article, the current chairwoman of the board, who replaced Frank Keating last June, now finds herself in a relationship with the bishops comparable to that which Keating experienced when he resigned. Are we to see yet a third chairman of the National Review Board? As Keating sees it:
These acts of sedition and resistance occurred around this time last year....I think that some within the hierarchy have been irked that lay people would be so forward as to suggest to them how to clean up their own Aegean stable....The annual audits were a statement to the Catholic lay poeple that we will send in CPAs and law enforcement to make sure that you'll do what you said you'll do. For [a bishop] to look down his thin nose and say 'I don't really need to be told what to do' is a terrible blunder because they do need to be told that this is unacceptable and that they need to clean it up themselves with lay guidance and advice.
Is it reasonable to pose the question: Do they want to continue what they had been doing, and find the laity involvement inconvenient?
This report from Cincinnati prompts that question:
A Roman Catholic priest convicted last year of soliciting an undercover male police officer for sex will be returned to active ministry next week, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said Wednesday.
The Rev. Raymond Larger, 53, will reside at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati and will celebrate the sacraments in parishes as needed, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk said.
Larger was ordained in 1977. He pleaded no contest last July 25 to misdemeanor charges of public indecency and soliciting for sex in a Dayton park. A magistrate found the priest guilty, fined him $100 and placed him on probation for a year.
Pilarczyk then placed Larger on administrative leave, meaning that he was forbidden to present himself as a priest or celebrate the sacraments. The archbishop said Wednesday, however, that Larger has been in counseling and that his psychologist said it would be appropriate for Larger to return to active ministry.
Larger will be expected to "live in accord with the demands of celibate chastity" but also deserves forgiveness, the archbishop said.
The Omaha World Herald reports:
It's not a question of whether or not to do audits," said Father Gregory Baxter, chancellor of the Omaha archdiocese. "They just wanted to make sure that the issue had full discussion before the Office of Child and Youth Protection (which conducts audits) moved forward."
Some bishops, however, have complained that the review board has overstepped its proper role, assuming authority that belongs to bishops alone. The review board was formed as part of the 2002 abuse policy.
Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz told the conservative Catholic World Report magazine that it's a mistake to let the review board enforce the charter through "the threat of bad publicity for a bishop or a diocese."
Bishops of Connecticut and Rhode Island wrote in a protest letter that there are "disturbing trends" toward overly expanded responsibilities and activities by the panel.
The Denver Post indicates that SNAP also objects to the stance the bishops have taken toward the review board:
A clergy-abuse victims group called Wednesday for U.S. Catholic bishops to open portions of their private prayer retreat in Denver next month, another salvo in a widening dispute over the bishops' commitment to reforms after an abuse scandal.
The group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also criticized Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and his assistant, Bishop Jose Gomez, for a letter they wrote questioning claims brought by a lay Catholic panel investigating the scandal.
Meanwhile, it seems that Archbishop Pilarczyk believes it is appropriate for a Catholic to hold a "political belief" that is contrary to the teachings of the Church. One wonders how that would play out before the Judgment Seat. "Oh yes, Lord, I voted for a continuation of abortion. You see, that was my "political belief" which Archbishop Pilarczyk told me did not have to be in conformity with Your truth. You don't see a problem with that, do You?"
I'm told that my own diocese is under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Pilarczyk, so I guess I have a stake in wondering what other beliefs besides "political beliefs" the good Archbishop approves. How about a "criminal belief" that disagrees with the Church's teaching on theft? Would that be appropriate? How about a "psychological belief" that sexual abuse of children is ok? Surely he would not object if I hold a "financial belief" that contributing to my parish is unnecessary.
Dr. James Hitchcok wades into the discussion about private vs. public opinions and the separation of Church and State:
Catholic politicians who support abortion say that their consciences require them to do so. That implies that Catholic teaching on the subject is simply wrong, and those politicians should cease the pious fraud of claiming to be "personally opposed." (The Catholic mayor of San Francisco has rattled off a whole list of Catholic teachings from which he has "liberated" himself.) Such people should admit publicly, "I'm really not a Catholic, and it is hypocritical for me to pretend that I am." But they are more than eager to profess their Catholicism if they think it brings political advantage. Much of the criticism of bishops is itself hypocritical.
When Pope John Paul II came to St. Louis in 1999, he made a plea for a man on death row, and the governor (who was not a Catholic) commuted the sentence. There was no outcry over separation of church and state. Another dramatic incident has been shoved down the memory hole because to recall it now would be inconvenient. In 1962 the archbishop of New Orleans excommunicated several Catholic politicians for their unyielding defense of racial segregation. The resistance began to crumble and liberals praised the archbishop for his courage.
Liberals have not, in the meantime, had second thoughts about religion and public life. Rather, the issues have changed. Some liberals ask whether the bishops are going to deny communion to those who support the death penalty. They make it clear that they would approve if this were done. In the end their complaint comes down to: "You?re not supporting our agenda."
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
REUTERS REPORTS UFO
If the source were less reliable, it could be easily dismissed. As it is, what was flying around the Mexican plane?
The Mexican Air Force has released footage of what a UFO expert said were 11 invisible unidentified flying objects picked up by an infrared camera as they whizzed around a surveillance plane.
A long-time believer in flying saucers, journalist Jaime Maussan told a news conference on Tuesday the objects were real and seemed "intelligent" after they at one point changed direction and surrounded the plane chasing them.
"They were invisible to the eye but they were there, there is no doubt about it. They had mass, they had energy and they were moving about," he said, after showing a 15-minute video he said the Defense Ministry gave him permission to publicize.
The ministry confirmed to Reuters it had provided the video, filmed by the Air Force on March 5 over the eastern coastal state of Campeche.
PRINCE CHARLES AND ORTHODOXY
From The Guardian.
Prince Charles is making his third visit to Mt. Athos in the last year.
On Monday night a resplendent yacht docked at the watery entrance to the world's only monastic republic. A middle-aged man, followed by two bodyguards, stepped on to the jetty of the peninsula in northern Greece and into the "state" known variously as Mount Athos, Aghio Oros and the Holy Mount.
He has good taste in religious art:
According to friends and associates of the prince, the future head of the Church of England has become enamoured of the Orthodox faith to the point that he has adorned a section of his home at Highgrove with prized Byzantine icons. Many are believed to originate from the Mount, the Orthodox world's holiest site.
This might be the reason why Orthodoxy looks so appealing:
The prince, like his friend, the composer Sir John Tavener, who converted to Greek Orthodoxy in 1977, is said to be especially drawn to the Orthodox church's rugged spirituality. Orthodox faithful are allowed to marry up to three times.
His true religious sensibilities seem to be more diverse than the Orthodox would normally welcome:
Not since the Stuarts has an heir to the throne taken such an intellectual interest in religion. For years Charles, who assumes the title of Defender of the Faith when he becomes king, has displayed an unprecedented interest in denominations as divergent as Islam and Buddhism.
Would the Defender of Anglicanism convert?
But his regular meetings with Ephraim, the abbot of Vatopedion - his adopted monastery on the Mount - have helped fuel speculation that the prince is being personally instructed in eastern Christianity, even if it is fiercely denied by courtiers. The Cypriot-born abbot is said to be a frequent visitor to Highgrove. Witnesses say that when the prince arrived in Athos days after the death of Princess Diana almost seven years ago, it was Ephraim who induced him to join the faith. Closeted in a chamber alone with the abbot, Charles is believed to have made a "spiritual commitment" to Christian Orthodoxy.
Blog Credit to Spirit Daily
IS THE VATICAN PRO-ISLAM AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN ?
in their politics, as this article indicates. From USA Today:
The scandal of prisoner abuses by U.S. soldiers in Iraq has dealt a bigger blow to the United States than the Sept. 11 attacks, the Vatican foreign minister told an Italian newspaper.
In an interview published Wednesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo described the abuses as "a tragic episode in the relationship with Islam" and said the scandal would fuel hatred for the West and for Christianity.
"The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves," Lajolo was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.
This is pathetic. I hope Bush calls the Pope on stuff like this when they meet.
Blog credit to Spirit Daily
SATANISM IS MENTIONED IN THE DEATH OF A NEWBORN
A 19 year-old delivered her lover's baby in her parents home while he was present, then she killed the baby. She confessed and implicated her lover who was then brought to trial and found guilty. Sad, but there is nothing remarkable about this story except the last paragraph:
Prosecutors brought in evidence that Stensrud told a friend he performed a Satanic ritual on the baby's body, and that a psychic had told him he'd become the antichrist if he bathed in the blood of his firstborn.
It's usually assumed that Indians want the Feds to stay out of their affairs. This story has a slightly different twist.
Therese and Melissa Morris, 16 and 13 years old, are enrolled members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Reservation, and are in Washington DC to speak to Congressmen about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The ICWA gives tribal governments jurisdiction over any enrollable child, anywhere in the United States. Due to this, according to one social worker, children are kept in dangerous homes much longer than children of any other race are. When they are finally removed, they are frequently placed in the homes of equally dysfunctional relatives. For Therese and Melissa, this means watching cousins, nieces and nephews suffer violence, neglect, abuse and even suicide. On April 25th, the Minneapolis Star and Tribune began a series of articles entitled, "The Lost Youth of Leech Lake." Children that were interviewed spoke of alcohol and drug abuse, violence, murder, attempted suicide, and Satanism. To Therese and Melissa, it was all too familiar.
THE ROBIN WILLIAMS PEACE PLAN
is making its way around the web and into email. Truth or Fiction.com claims Robin Williams didn't write it. Other websites claim that he did. In any event, here it is:
I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan:
1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.
2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence.
3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.
4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 day visits unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not ever be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers.
5) No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home, baby.
6) The US will make a strong effort to become self sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non polluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else.
8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere". They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.
9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
9b) Use the buildings as replacement for the twin towers.
10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. Now, ain't that a winner of a plan. "The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?"
We are constantly told that we can't be isolationists. How long has it been since that was tried? Anyway, a lot of what is amusingly spelled out in this plan sounds better every day.
THE CREATIVITY OF GOOD TASTE OXYMORON
at Swatch, sent in by a reader. Check out the Bunnysutra Swatch Watch line.
No problem. My Timex is still ticking!
FR. ROB HAS ISSUED AN UPDATE ON TERRI SCHINDLER-SCHIAVO
in which he unpacks the ruling Judge Douglas Baird issued last week which declared "Terri's Law" unconstitutional.
He has the ruling linked for anyone who would like to read it. The arguments made include:
(a) Judge Baird argues that "Terri's Law" is an unwarranted usurpation of the powers of the Legislative Branch, because it grants the governor the power to intervene without any standards or guidelines as to how that intervention should be carried out.
(b) Judge Baird argues that "Terri's Law" is an invasion of Terri's privacy. As the right to privacy is construed, it includes the right to make decisions about end-of-life issues such as what "extraordinary measures" one will and will not allow. These decisions, generally speaking may not be overruled or obviated by the State.
(c). Here Baird argues that Terri's Law is an unwarranted intrusion into the power of the judiciary. The courts, Baird says, have ruled on Terri. They have ruled that she is in a Persistent Vegetative State.
He also indicates that he:
spoke with the Schindlers the other night, and, as I mentioned above, they were not surprised by Judge Baird's ruling. They and their legal team were expecting it. Governor Bush's attorneys immediately appealed Baird's ruling. What remains to be seen is whether or not George Felos attempts to short-circuit the appeals process and get Judge Greer or Baird to lift the stay brought about by Bush's appeal and issue another order to remove Terri's feeding tube.
Most disturbing of all is the ability Michael has to prevent the Schindlers from visiting Terri, which Fr. Rob also discusses in his blog. If you are following this case, you really need to read the details in Father's blog.
One Million Moms, an outreach of the American Family Assocition, has issued a call for a letter writing campaign to stop a second attempt to starve Terri to death. Here is the form they are using.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
SPANISH LEFTIST GOVERNMENT BILL ATTEMPTS TO FORCE DOCTORS TO COMMIT ABORTIONS
Read the article at LifeSite.
From the website:
MADRID, May 10, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The socialist government of Spain is attempting to pass legislation that would force doctors to commit abortions. The population of Spain is overwhelmingly Catholic and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has made little progress in imposing surgical abortion in the publicly funded hospital system. Up to 96% of Spanish doctors refuse to do abortions and IPPF shows that most abortions are committed in private facilities. However, chemical abortion by mifepristone is offered in hospitals.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
This community, located in Birmingham, is Christian non-denominational gathering which seems to imply by the symbol on the top left of the website that it is one of the "rising stars" of the new religious culture. Even the occultists use the star symbol, claiming "everyone is a star." And then there is the Eastern Star, the woman's auxiliary of the Masonic Lodge. I'm always interested to see where the star symbol will be used next. This community was launched October 14, 2001 according to their website.
The minister of this church, "Fr." William John Sullivan, is a Roman Catholic priest who was married to Karen in 2000. Naturally they are promoting optional celibacy for Roman Catholic priests. "Fr." Sullivan offers the sacraments, including Eucharist, to all who desire it. The community has adopted the phrase, "Unity through Diversity" as a motto.
The website is linked on the FutureChurch website dedicated to St. Mary of Magdala, where information is being made available to anyone who wants to put together a celebration of this saint.
Another website linked at the St. Mary of Magdala FutureChurch website is this Koinonia Catholic Community in Portland, Oregon, which offers "same sex wedding ceremonies" and a cross peopled by humans, in place of a crucifix on their website. They emphasize the "circle" in their community gatherings...just like the Wiccans. There is a picture of members of this community walking in Portland's Gay Pride Parade. Lay people are welcome to preach at their services.
This community developed out of the Roman Catholic ministry at Portland State University. Your Newman Center dollars at work, I guess. They seem to like the word "thoughtful" to describe their liturgies. Implying that "orthodox" liturgies are thoughtless?
Pictures of their service on the website seem to show a woman minister. They also show a sparce laity. The community claims to be 30 years old. This:
During Koinonia's first 25 years, the Archdiocese of Portland assigned the community's pastor and supported him with a substantial stipend. In 1989, the Archdiocese and Father Dan Adams hired Peggy Friedl-Yee as Koinonia's pastoral assistant. This fruitful partnership continued until Father Adams was reassigned without replacement to a San Francisco parish in 1991. Peggy Friedl-Yee continued as Campus Minister and the community's Pastoral Minister. We brought in ordained presiders to celebrate Eucharist and held Communion Services when priests were not available.
In 1994 the Archdiocese ended its stipends to the community and we became self-supporting. We currently meet weekly at Bridgeport UCC, 621 NE 76th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
is an interesting excerpt from their website.
The link to the FutureChurch webpage on Mary Magdalene celebrations came from the Call to Action webpage, titled "Celebrate the Feast of Mary of Magdala."
It's always interesting to see where the links will lead.
SEX, SCIENCE AND THE SACRED: EMBRACING DIVINE MYSTERY
is the title of the 2004 Call to Action National Conference. I see that Brian Swimme is a scheduled speaker. Swimme is co-author with Fr. Thomas Berry, the priest who wants to put the Bible on the shelf for 20 years and study the Earth instead.
I wonder if tantra will be covered under "Sex" in this conference. Or maybe they will cover it under "Sacred"?
THE LIBERALISM OF VOTF
Amy Welborn has an article up at Open Book from Boston.com, in which VOTF takes the bishops to task for defending the teaching of the Church on gay marriage.
James E. Post says that it is "discouraging to see the archbishop using archdiocesan resources to run this campaign against gay marriage and to speak out in a way that is so divisive." Post claims that gay rights are not a VOTF issue in the same article that he makes it a VOTF issue. Does he expect to be taken seriously with a contradiction like that? He sees this defense of the teachings of the Church on the part of the bishops as "deterioration in the envoronment of the Catholic Church," a rather odd way to describe adherence to Catholic teaching. If anyone had doubts about the claim that VOTF is just another dissenting element in the Church, this should banish the those doubts.
A LITTLE BOY AND HIS FISHING POLE
(This story was sent to me in email. I don't know the source or whether it's true or not. But I'd like to believe that it is.)
Howard County Sheriff Jerry Marr got a disturbing call one Saturday afternoon a few months ago. His 6-year-old grandson Mikey had been hit by a car while fishing with his dad. The father and son were near a bridge by the Kokomo Reservoir when a woman lost control of her car, slid off the bridge and hit Mikey at a rate of about 50 mph.
Sheriff Marr had seen the results of accidents like this and feared the worst. When he got to Saint Joseph Hospital, he rushed through the emergency room to find Mikey conscious and in fairly good spirits.
Mikey, what happened?" Sheriff Marr asked.
Mikey replied, "Well, Papaw, I was fishin' with Dad, and some lady runned me over, I flew into a mud puddle, and broke my fishin' pole and I didn't get to catch no fish!"
As it turned out, the impact propelled Mikey about 500 feet, over a few trees and an embankment and into the middle of a mud puddle. His only injuries were to his right femur bone which had broken in two places. Mikey had surgery to place pins in his leg. Otherwise the boy is fine.
Since all the boy could talk about was that his fishing pole was broken, the Sheriff went out to Wal-mart and bought him a new one while he was in surgery so he could have it when he came out.
The next day the Sheriff sat with Mikey to keep him company in the hospital. Mikey was enjoying his new fishing pole and talked about when he could go fishing again as he cast into the trash can. When they were alone, Mikey matter-of-factly said, "Papaw, did you know Jesus is real?"
"Well," the Sheriff replied, a little startled. "Yes, Jesus is real to all who believe in him and love him in their hearts."
"No," said Mikey. "I mean Jesus is REALLY real."
"What do you mean?" asked the Sheriff.
"I know he's real 'cause I saw him, "said Mikey, still casting into the trash can.
"You did?" said the Sheriff.
"Yep," said Mikey. "When that lady runned me over and broke my fishing pole, Jesus caught me in his arms and laid me down in the mud puddle."
NEW NUKES ANYONE?
by Lawrence S. Witner.
(This morning's email from Lee Penn)
Note that this article is on a paleocon/libertarian site, not a leftist site. Pay attention!
"New nuclear weapons? Yes; there is no doubt about it. Armed with only 10,000 nuclear weapons, the U.S. government wants some more."
"These shifts in nuclear policy are designed to get the U.S. armed forces ready to wage nuclear war. The Nuclear Posture Review made it clear not only that nuclear weapons would continue to "play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States," but that they would be employed with "greater flexibility" against "a wide range of target types."
"The nuclear weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki had explosive yields of from 14 to 21 kilotons; by contrast, the "bunker buster" has a yield of from several hundred kilotons to one megaton. If exploded underground, its effects would not be contained there. And if exploded in a city, it would create vast devastation through blast, fire, and radiation. As U.S. Senator Jack Reed observed: "These weapons will bust more than a bunker. The area of destruction will encompass an area the size of a city. They are really city breakers."
"Furthermore, these "usable" nuclear weapons blur the dividing line between conventional war and nuclear war. Indeed, this is just what they are designed to do. And given the Bush administration's penchant for waging war on the flimsiest of pretexts, it is hard to imagine that these weapons will not be used in the future ? for "pre-emptive" wars or worse."
* * * * * * *
What are our fearless leaders thinking? This is insanity.
Could we please have the consecration of Russia now?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, May 10, 2004
ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA
or in other words, contact with the dead using electronic equipment. There is a paper on the web by Victor Zammit which discusses the Vatican's involvement with this activity. From the website:
Unknown to many Christians - Catholics, Protestants and Fundamentalists - the Catholic Church has been actively positive and encouraging towards investigation of the Electronic Voice Phenomena.
Two of the earliest investigators were Italian Catholic priests, Father Ernetti and Father Gemelli, who came upon the phenomena by chance while they were recording Gregorian chants in 1952.
Father Gemelli heard his own father's voice on the tape calling him by a childhood nick-name saying 'Zucchini, it is clear, don't you know it is I.'
Deeply troubled by Catholic teaching in regard to contact with the dead the two priests visited Pope Pius XII in Rome.
The Pope reassured them: Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this. The existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter (Italian Journal Astra, June 1990 quoted Kubis and Macy, 1995:102 ).
Pope Pius' cousin, the Rev. Professor Dr Gebhard Frei, co-founder of the Jung Institute, was an internationally known parapsychologist who worked closely with Raudive, a pioneer in the research. He was also the President of the International Society for Catholic Parapsychologists. He himself is on record as stating:
"All that I have read and heard forces me to believe that the voices come from transcendental, individual entities. Whether it suits me or not, I have no right to doubt the reality of the voices." (Kubris and Macy, 1995:104).
Dr Frie. Professor Dr. Gebhard; died on October 27, 1967. In November 1967 at numerous taping sessions a voice giving its name as Gebhard Frei came through. The voice was identified by Professor Peter Hohenwarter of the University of Vienna as positively belonging to Dr Frei (Ostrander and Schroeder, 1977: 271).
Pope Paul VI; was well aware of the work being done from 1959 onwards on the voice phenomena by his good friend, Swedish film producer Friedrich Jurgenson, who had made a documentary film about him. The Pope made Jurgenson, a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory in 1969 for his work. Jurgenson wrote to Bander, a British voice researcher:
"I have found a sympathetic ear for the Voice Phenomenon in the Vatican. I have won many wonderful friends among the leading figures in the Holy City. Today 'the bridge' stands firmly on its foundations." (Ostrander and Schroeder, 1977: 264).
The Vatican also gave permission for its own priests to conduct their own research into the voices? Father Leo Schmid, a Swiss theologist, collected more than ten thousand of them which were published in his book When the Dead Speak in 1976, shortly after his death.
There is more at the website. Frankly, I don't know what to make of this. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking? I haven't been able to corroborate any of this.
A reader sent in this Victor Zammit website.
SEEKING "OPTIONS IN SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE"
Leilani Birely has wandered from the bosom of the Catholic Church to the Daughters of the Goddess Temple where she is now providing spiritual guidance of her own. She "hasn't rejected the monotheistic God" thereby indicating her new definition of the word "monotheistic." But hey, it seems that for some, the more the holier:
IT'S ALL ABOUT CHOICE. Leilani Birely was raised Catholic but now worships goddesses. According to a March 4 Oakland Tribune story, Birely said, though she loved Catholic rituals, she "felt" they had too much emphasis on masculine energies. Her journey to goddess worship began with the La Leche League, an organization (founded by Catholics) that encourages breastfeeding. "I started helping women reclaim their bodies," said Birely. "It seemed sacred, that we have everything we need to feed our babies. I did feel a yearning connected to sisterhood and community, and I was looking more for that than I was looking for a religion." Taking a class on female shamanism at San Francisco's New College, Birely learned of goddess worship and decided she wanted to lead other women to the knowledge of goddess. Today, she is the priestess of the Daughters of the Goddess Temple, which holds goddess events throughout the Bay Area. During these events, Birely and about 40 to 50 women meet to honor "She of Infinite Names." Among the infinite names are those of the Egyptian goddess Isis; the Greek Artemis or Diana; the Buddhist mother goddess Kuan Yin; and Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and rebirth.
Birely asserts, however, that she doesn't reject the monotheistic God. "It's not that I'm looking for something other than the masculine," she told the Tribune. "However, I do feel that as women it's important for us to be intimately in touch with our roots and our heritage and our past, and the goddess is part of that." For Birely, her religion is about "expanding the level of options that we have in finding spiritual guidance, and I do think the female deities offer a lot more choices than we're given in most male-centered traditions."
? ? ? ? ?
For those who dislike anything RadTrads might offer, skip over this link. It came from the Novus Ordo Watch website.
BISHOP AQUILA OF FARGO
speaks strongly against Kerry Catholicism. Patrick Madrid has linked the diocesan website where Aquila's homily is posted. He even says the "H" word. When was the last time you heard a bishop do that?
And as long as we are talking about clergy defending the teachings of the church, I can't leave out Fr. Larry Wieseler, a priest in northern Minnesota, who told a gay couple they were no longer welcome to receive communion, to distribute communion or to sing in the choir. The story was linked at Spirit Daily.
Spirit Daily linked another story at NewsMax. Kerry has once again "taken" communion, this time in Pittsburgh from Fr. Robert G. Duch at St. Scholastica Catholic Church.
Catholics do not "take" communion, they "receive" it. But in this case, the reporter unknowingly got it right, because "taking" exactly describes what Kerry is doing. If he believes this will endear him to the heart of faithful Catholics, he should guess again.
THE DEVIL IS ALL AROUND US
is the title of commentary by Martin Kelly in The Washington Dispatch. From the website:
It is uncomfortable for us to admit that the power of the Devil is all about us, but it?s a fact. The pentagram is worn too casually as an adornment to believe otherwise. The casual prevalence of body-piercing in both males and females, rendering the flesh susceptible to infection for the sake of vanity, is one of the most sinister cultural developments of recent times. I don?t know about bookshops in the States but walk into any Brit one and you see the prevailing cultural appetite in the rows and rows of books on true crime and serial killers. As Alan Bloom recorded in The Closing of the American Mind, the most critical cultural influence on the young is music, and from the Sixties onwards, when the now Sir Mick Jagger proclaimed his sympathy for the devil (?I killed the Tsar and his Ministers?, ?I rode a tank and wore a general?s rank when the blitzkrieg came?), the message of Christian rejection is the one that?s blasting through the headphones. The mistake was not taking Sir Mick at his word.
Faith in an omnipotent God enables one to reach intellectual conclusions about Satan. If God is omnipotent Satan only exists because God allows him to. He is not an alternative to God, but exists to tempt His people so that they can exercise their divine prerogative of free will.
However, so casual is our treatment of Christianity that Satan?s influence now exists in the strangest of places. Religious relativism borne from a desire to be ecumenical is a classic example. As a Christian, one should believe that Islam is a false religion and have no compunction in saying so. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Christians refer to Mohammed as a ?prophet?. To Christians, he may be something but he wasn?t a prophet. For Christians to call Mohammed a prophet is an act of casual apostasy....
Occultism is one of Satan?s principal tools for luring souls away from God. Until 1952, the practice of witchcraft was banned in England and Wales. Since the passage of the Witchcraft Act that year, the number of exorcisms performed in E & W has risen every single year afterwards. There is no coincidence there.
INTERESTING WORDS FROM CARDINAL KASPER
at 30 Days: Unity between Catholics and Orthodox: that was the subject of a long interview which Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, granted to Il Tempo on 12 March. To the question about whether he was optimistic or not about the possibility of reconciliation between the two Churches, the German cardinal replied: ?I am not optimistic in the superficial sense of the term. I cultivate the realism of hope. The unity of the Church can not be organized around a table, it is the work of the Holy spirit. It is He who acts and who opens new horizons in the future for us. We are not the masters of time and of history. There is Another?.
Yes, there is indeed "Another." In our rush to ecumenism, we seem to have overlooked this vital fact. And where has it led us?
- Into the embrace of heresy in various flavors
- Into activities which reduce the human to the condition of an animal
- Into interreligious conferences ad nauseum
- Into interreligious services that mix all gods into an ecumenical stew which honors none of them
Our Lady, at Fatima, gave us a prescription for the unity of East and West, for a world at peace. Did we take it up? Are First Saturday Masses overflowing? Is the rosary said in every Catholic home every day of the week--or even once a week? Has the consecration of the world made by the Holy Father led to the conversion of Russia and peace in the world?
Where would we be if every hour, minute, second spent on ecumenical and interreligious effort by a Catholic somewhere in the world had instead been spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? If we had all done as Our Lady requested, would peace be ours to enjoy?
I'm not taking the high road here. I am not at Mass on First Saturdays. The recited rosary has not been a regular feature of the prayer life at my house. I'm not even sure I could introduce these practices and have peace at home.
What I do suspect is that had we taken a different path, both in my house and yours, and in the Church, the outcome would be radically different. Maybe it would even be possible that there would be no war on terrorism, and no nuclear threat.
It seems obvious to me that what we have been doing in the years since Fatima has not lead to the results that we sought. Is it too late to turn the situation around? Only God has the answer.
Sunday, May 09, 2004
I have finally gotten through all of the email that piled up this weekend when I was doing other stuff. And out of it composed some blogs, only to access the editing screen and discover a whole new format since I last posted in this blog.
It's a little bit like moving into a brand spanking new house with nooks, crannies, closets, and rooms you keep discovering; and not being exactly sure how to find your way back to the kitchen when you're done exploring.
In any case, I've attempted to post, and we'll see what the results look like soon enough.
THE "HAPPY TOILET" CAMPAIGN
The folks in Singapore have a unique way of controlling the culture...right down to the loo.
Blog credit to a reader.
MILITANT ISLAM AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS TAKEN ON BY AN ITALIAN JOURNALIST
From National Review Online:
Oriana Fallaci" is not a household name in the United States, but it cannot be uttered in Europe without generating a heated reaction. Even though her 2002 book, The Rage and the Pride, was translated into English (by Fallaci herself) and sold many copies in the U.S., it was on the other side of the ocean that intellectuals, politicians, and ordinary citizens passionately debated the views of the celebrated Italian journalist.
The Rage and the Pride is either loved or hated; the positions Fallaci takes in it leave no middle ground. Outraged by the events of 9/11, Fallaci criticizes both Muslims (bent, according to her, on conquering the West and annihilating its culture) and Europeans (described as spoiled, hypocritical, and blind to the mortal threat represented by Islamic expansionism). Fallaci's views as expressed in the Rage and the Pride caused an uproar in politically correct Europe, death threats and lawsuits included. Now, two years later, Fallaci has published a new book, entitled La Forza della Ragione (The Force of Reason), which continues the discourse she began in The Rage and the Pride.
As its title suggests, The Force of Reason is not dictated by the (sometimes excessive) fury that inspired The Rage and the Pride, but it gives a more accurate explanation of why Europe has decided not to defend its identity and to surrender to what she calls the "Islamic invasion." With the sarcasm and uniquely direct style that characterizes her work, Fallaci carefully examines the historic and political reasons that have led Europeans to vilify their own culture, consistently embrace anti-Americanism, and pander to every request from the increasingly powerful Muslim communities that populate the dying Old Continent. Her analysis does not leave much hope for the future of Europe, although she takes a far more optimistic position on her adoptive country, the United States (Fallaci currently lives in New York).
The long introduction to The Force of Reason recounts the intellectual lynching to which Fallaci was subjected following the publication of The Rage and the Pride. The PC establishment, which she refers to as the "Modern Inquisition," crucified her, submerging her with lawsuits and accusations of being racist and fomenting a religious war. But all of this publicity just played into Fallaci's hands, as sales of The Rage and the Pride soared into the millions. But what has really struck Fallaci in the wake of The Rage and the Pride are the letters she has received from readers throughout the world.
One of the most significant was written by an Italian, who thanked her for "helping me to understand the things I thought without realizing I was thinking them." And this is Fallaci's goal: provoking Europeans into realizing what is going on right under their noses and getting rid of their fear to say something that goes against the PC dogma.
She is optimistic that the U.S. will not follow Europe's lead. Is that a reasonable assessment?
The Pope has frequently referred to Soloviev. One of his books, War, Progress and the End of History, concerns the last days when Europe is overrun by militant Islam. It is out of this chaos that the antiChrist arises at the end of the novel.
Soloviev died in 1900, and the novel was published in 1915. Yet Soloviev appears to have been prophetic. What he described one hundred years ago appears to be dawning over Europe today.
Some time ago Cardinal Biffi made politically incorrect statements about this Islamic invasion of Europe. He, too, speaks highly of Soloviev. It's hard to mistake the threat that he and the Pope see growing in Europe when reading a review such as this one.
Though claiming to be a "Christian atheist," Fallaci offers the following insight into why Europe is submitting to the invasion:
While stating that she does not believe in God, she claims that the West cannot ignore its Christian origin and identity. Even if we deny God's existence, Fallaci says, Christianity has shaped the Western world. It defines "who we are, where we are coming from, and where we are going."
But the Church, she says, is not able ? or worse, not willing ? to defend Christianity. Fallaci accuses the Church of helping the expansion of the "Islamic empire," lobbying for more Muslims to come to Europe. She points out that Christianity offers its churches as shelters to Muslim immigrants, who immediately turn them into mosques, as it has happened repeatedly in France and Italy. It continuously apologizes for the Crusades, but never expects an apology for what Muslims are doing now to Christians in Sudan or Indonesia.
Reflect for a moment on the Pope's pleading with the EU to acknowledge the Christian roots of Europe, and the futility of his words and actions. Can a way of life, divorced from its explanation of the reason for existence, continue to be cohesive?
Every culture has a religion, and the culture itself is the product of that religion. Human interaction defines a culture, and religion defines that very human interaction. What we enjoy as a pleasant way of life is the product of Christianity. If Christianity is sacrificed in the West, some other belief will rush in to fill the void. A strong voice in our culture attempts to lead us to unity through worship of our material world. In the process they are provoking chaos in established religion. What if we are fragmented at the very moment when another strict religion is poised to move in? Those who would promote worship of our world in the name of peace, may be fomenting the very disorganization that will permit us to be overthrown.
An article in Asia Times takes on this very issue of religion confronting religion and the potential for each to triumph. Both Islam and Christianity hold the seeds of its own destruction when confronted by the other as the reporter explains it. It is tempting to dismiss concern about Islam since all of this is currently taking place primarily across the pond, but consider that militant Islam is separated by more than the Atlantic from the twin towers, and yet they are no more. How much more will America have to fear when Europe bows to Allah? Aggression will not stop at the water's edge.
Blog credit for these stories goes to a reader.
has been laicized.
BOSTON - Paul Shanley, the priest who was a key figure in the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese, has been defrocked, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
In a letter dated May 3, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley told Shanley he was being removed from his duties as a priest, and that Pope John Paul II made the decision on Feb. 19.
The letter said Shanley will no longer be eligible for financial support or benefits from the archdiocese, and that his stipend and medical benefits will be eliminated at the end of the month.
"I earnestly exhort you to take part in the life of the People of God in a manner befitting your new ecclesiastical status, by offering a good example and thereby demonstrating that you are a faithful son of the Church," O'Malley said in the letter.
Incredibly it took the Holy Father until February of this year to make this decision. It took until this month for his bishop to notify him.
Thanks to a reader for sending in the story.
DO WE SUBTRACT FROM MARY BY HONORING HER TODAY?
Until recently, Mary had been forgotten. The statues were derided as kitsch, the songs to her as sentimental. Honoring Mary fell out of favor. The rosary was neglected in the drawer. Marian devotion became an embarrassment.
For some, perhaps, it was a conscious decision. For the majority it was most likely just a different focus, a different way of emphasizing other aspects of the faith while pushing Marian devotion to the background. That, at least, was my experience. Had it not been for older family members who kept the devotion alive, I would have forgotten about her entirely.
Those family members brought to my attention some of the Marian apparitions. I began to read more, and started saying the rosary again. My grandmother's statue of Mary that had stood on my dresser when I grew up, and that was the center of so many May altars in my bedroom during parochial school days, the statue that had been banished to a sewing room at my mother's house when I got married, was rescued and reinstalled on my dresser.
But still, for personal reasons, Mary was a problem. I wanted to relate to her as Mother, but it just didn't work. Gradually I discovered a closeness to her as I watched my daughter grow up. If she couldn't be Mother to me, we could be mothers together. In the experiences of parenting when I didn't have the answers, I could turn to her asking how she handled it. In this way, gradually, crisis by crisis, through the tears and laughter of being a mother, I rediscovered the Mother of my Lord.
And so for me, this is the most appropriate day to honor Mary. This is the day of all days when I'm closest to her, when she is most real to me. It is because of Mary that Mother's Day has meaning, and it is only because of grace that any of us earthly mothers are worthy of being remembered.
FROM MY PARISH BULLETIN
"To Mary, Cause of Our Joy"
O Mary, who abandoned your soul to happiness by offering it to God, grant that in our gift to God, our joy may be complete.
O Virgin radiant with joy, grant that we may believe in the happiness which God in His love wills to offer us.
Make joy bloom again in our hearts given over to sadness.
Teach us to detach ourselves from worldly pleasures and to seek our happiness in God.
Help us to radiate the witness of Christian (and religious) joy.
Through your presence in our lives, be for us the font of joy which is ever new.
A day when theoretically Mom gets to relax. (It really does happen when they get a little older. Trust me.) A day to remember mothers who are no longer with us, and to say a prayer for them that they will be partaking in the heavenly celebration.
My own kidlet came home to do her laundry, wash her car, and wash mine as well. To do the driving when we went out for dinner this evening, and to share the day with me tomorrow. I'm fortunate. She takes coming home for Mother's Day as a given. The question isn't "Are you coming?" but rather "When are you coming?"
So grown up. So capable. So much in charge. Still she wanted sheet folding lessons. The fitted kind that stuff into the closet much better when they're flat. She didn't even ask me to fold them for her; and so I came out of retirement for a brief lesson; and she tried to follow my demonstration, corner by corner. We shared a good laugh when mine came out flat and hers came out lumpy.
In my parish, it is a day to honor our heavenly Mother with a May crowning after the noon Mass. The old custom is gaining in favor once again. Sure, the songs are corney and sentimental.
"Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above"
"On This Day"
"Bring Flowers of the Rarest"
I'm not sure why I place a priority on attending the crowning. It can be difficult to arrange the schedule around it when mothers-in-law are within driving distance. The rest of the day can be rushed. In the years before the Council we didn't have the May crowning on Mother's Day, so it isn't a sentimental attachment. But still I count on being there.
Whatever it is, I seem to share it with a lot of other people because nearly everyone stays for the May crowning. Those who have received their First Communion this spring will be back to take part, dressed in their white dresses and suits.
One year I happened to be in the Columbus cathedral for Mass on Mother's Day. There, buckets of carnations were provided so each person who came to Mass could take a carnation to Mary's shrine. The shrine was overflowing with white and red flowers and several people were there praying.
In an age when we place a greater value on everything else, and place motherhood somewhere below street sweeper on the occupation hierarchy, Mother's Day is counter-cultural. Perhaps it wouldn't even exist if there were no way to make money off of it. As it is, the merchants make sure we don't forget its arrival, and anyone who still forgets is setting himself up for a major guilt trip.
In a culture that aborts babies and often lives in fear of pregnancy, the greatest woman who ever lived is honored solely because she was a mother. She embodies all of the good things we got from our own mothers, and makes up for the things our mothers lacked. Mary was and is the perfect Mother who never disappoints.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. May there be at least one unforgettable moment in your day. And to the Mother of us all, the Mother we ignore and disappoint on a regular basis, thanks for putting up with us!