Papa-Lu: November 2005 Archives

Pope News

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I have a back-log of Zenit stories about the Pope, so I'll drop them all here:

Last week, the pope addressed two pontifical academies - the Academy of the Sciences and the Academy of the Social Sciences - and unveiled a sculpture of Pope John Paul II.

Zenit has the text of his address, in which he talked about the centrailty of the human person in society. An excerpt:

According to God's design, persons cannot be separated from the physical, psychological or spiritual dimensions of human nature. Even though cultures change over time, to suppress or ignore the nature that they claim to "cultivate" can have serious consequences. Likewise, individuals will only find authentic fulfillment when they accept the genuine elements of nature that constitute them as persons.

The concept of person continues to bring about a profound understanding of the unique character and social dimension of every human being. This is especially true in legal and social institutions, where the notion of "person" is fundamental. Sometimes, however, even when this is recognized in international declarations and legal statutes, certain cultures, especially when not deeply touched by the Gospel, remain strongly influenced by group-centered ideologies or by an individualistic and secularist view of society. The social doctrine of the Catholic Church, which places the human person at the heart and source of social order, can offer much to the contemporary consideration of social themes.

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Here is the Zenit translation of the Pope's address at last week's general audience, which reflected on Ephesians 1:3-10.

Here is an excerpt:

The "mystery" of the divine "will" has a center that is destined to coordinate the whole of being and the whole of history, leading it to the fullness willed by God: It is "a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1:10). Prominent in this "plan," in Greek "oikonomia," that is, in this harmonious plan of the architecture of being and existence, is Christ, head of the body of the Church, but also axis that recapitulates in himself "all things, things in heaven and things on earth." Dispersion and limitations are surmounted and that "fullness" is configured which is the true end of the plan that the divine will had established from the beginning.

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Last week, the Pope also met with participants in a conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Here is the text of his remarks to them.

Excerpt:

There is a need to base international relations on respect for the person and on the cardinal principles of peaceful coexistence, fidelity to commitments undertaken and mutual acceptance by the peoples who make up the one human family. There is likewise a need to recognize that technical progress, necessary as it is, is not everything. True progress is that alone which integrally safeguards the dignity of the human being and which enables each people to share its own spiritual and material resources for the benefit of all.

Here I wish to mention the importance of helping native communities, all too often subjected to undue appropriations aimed at profit, as your Organization recently pointed out in its "Guidelines on the Right to Food." Also, it must not be forgotten that, while some areas are subject to international measures and controls, millions of people are condemned to hunger, even outright starvation, in areas where violent conflicts are taking place, conflicts which public opinion tends to neglect because they are considered "internal," "ethnic" or "tribal." Yet these conflicts have seen human lives systematically eliminated, while people have been uprooted from their lands and at times forced, in order to flee certain death, to leave their precarious settlements in refugee camps.

An encouraging sign is the initiative of FAO to convene its Member States to discuss the issue of agrarian reform and rural development. This is not a new area, but one in which the Church has always shown interest, out of particular concern for small rural farmers who represent a significant part of the active population especially in developing countries. One course of action might be to ensure that rural populations receive the resources and tools which they need, beginning with education and training, as well as organizational structures capable of safeguarding small family farms and cooperatives (cf. "Gaudium et Spes," 71).

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The Spanish bishops have invited the Pope to attend the 2006 World Meetng for Families (official English Website here. The Pope has already said he plans to attend.

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Vatican document discussed on Talk of the Nation

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I haven't listened to it yet, but this promises to be interesting. The line-up includes John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter and Bishop William Skylstad, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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This is more like it, Hendry

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Cubs GM meets with Rafael Furcal.

I am excited, but I bet Larry is about to wet himself.

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ILLINI BEAT NORTH CAROLINA!

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The document

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So it's officially out now. The document that some on both sides of the debate seem to think authorizes live-burning of gays was released officially today. The official English translation is here.

Here is the money quote:

In the light of such teaching, this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture'.

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Ugh

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Every day the Cubs spend signing relievers and back-ups and not closing deals to strengthen their swiss-cheese line-up I start feeling sicker and sicker. We have not a single star outfielder, but hey, we got John Mabry.

I'm not saying I have no confidence that Hendry will do something, but where's the urgency to snap up the guys who will score and drive in the runs that will win the games?

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Back!

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We made it back from Columbus in well under 5 hours today. That's well over 300 miles in well under 300 minutes, with a stop to change drivers.

I credit the record time to a short-cut one of the truck drivers at work tught me around Indianapolis. 38th Street baby!

I also found out that one of Mama-Lu's cousins that I never met before reads this blog. Hi Stephanie! Check back for a link to pictures from the weekend!

Tons of email. I'll respond sloooowly.

8 AM tomorrow, I have a meeting. We'll see what happens!

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Hotel blogging

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Apparently this hotel has Wi-Fi!

This won't be a long post, as I'm tapping away on my PDA and my hand is cramping up.

We're in Columbus, OH right now. Had Thanksgiving with Mama-Lu's fam. It's been fun; I'll have pictures next week.

Later!

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Ephesians 5

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Christianity Today on one of the most controversial texts in the Bible..

A good article as far as it goes, though I dared Mama-Lu to write the editors to say: "It's about sex!"

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Crossroads, of a sort

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Please pray that I receive the gift of Counsel.

I went to an interview today for a part-time job for next spring. I came out with an interview on Wednesday for a new career.

Here's the situation:

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More Buckley

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A satirical hagiography from David Brooks circa 1983 transcribed for your pleasure by Sean Gleeson.

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You think it's messy now?

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Things will only get worse. From Mark Steyn:

Take human cloning. It's all but certain that within a decade it will be available and affordable. Not in Trois-Rivières, nor even in Seoul, where the first cloned dog made his debut a few weeks back, but surely in some jurisdiction somewhere or other. Will there be clients anxious to take advantage of it? Undoubtedly. Not just billionaire kooks, but also the likes of Barrie and Tony, a couple from Chelmsford in southern England. They'd been trying for a baby for some time, but nothing seemed to work. Then it occurred to them this might be because they're both men. So in 1999 they bought four eggs from one woman, co-mingled their sperm in a beaker and shipped it to a second woman in the United States who for two-hundred grand managed to find a rare nine-month vacancy in her fallopian timeshare. The resulting twins were born in California and, in a landmark court decision, Barrie and Tony became the first couple to both be named as father on the birth certificate, though neither mother rated a credit. Nor the turkey baster.

That would seem to be in defiance of what we used quaintly to call "the facts of life." But who cares about biology? As Hester Lessard, the eminently eminent law professor at the University of Victoria, has argued, "biological" concepts of parenthood are "an increasingly fictional creation narrative" that "legitimates a heterosexual view of the family." And we wouldn't want that, would we? Which is why earlier this year the Province of Ontario passed Bill 171 abolishing the words "husband," "wife," "widow," "widower," "man" and "woman" from its laws--and not just the words but the very concept of gender.

More:

Meanwhile, the ever more elderly Japanese and Europeans and Canadians will go on--and on and on, like the joke about the gnarled old rustic and the axe he's had for 70 years: he's replaced the blade seven times and the handle four times, but it's still the same old trusty axe. We will have achieved man's victory over death, not in the sense our ancestors meant it--the assurance of eternal life in the unseen world--but in the here and now. Which is what it's all about, isn't it? An eternal present tense.

Think I'm kidding? Compare the suspicion and denigration of genetically modified foods to what's mostly either enthusiasm for or indifference to genetically modified people. Mess with our vegetables, we'll burn down your factory. Mess with us, and we pass you our credit card. And by the time we wonder whether it was all such a smart idea it'll be the clones who have the Platinum Visa cards.


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The whole problem with mainstream media...

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...can be found in one sentence here.

The news media do for democracy what liturgy does for religion; what poetry does for experience; what gesture does for feeling. With words out of silence, the press tells you who you are.

Now most sane people might say that voting is the way the citizen participates in his democracy. But that's not how the press sees it. They see their product as the liturgy of democracy. So what does that make them? The priest, bishop, pope.

That odor you smell is the stench of smug self-importance. It's also the smell of irony: the irony of an East Coast Liberal telling men - not the national collective mind you, but individual citizens - that their identity comes from what they read in the NY Times and the Boston Globe. So much for individuality and disdain for institutional pre-programming! I guess adhering to a common faith is only bad if that faith is in God.

UPDATE: Added previously omitted link.

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Better!

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The little guy is feeling a ton better! Thank to any of you who stopped by and said a prayer for him!

Yesterday was a very rough day around here. Matthew was unsatisfiable. He cried all day, it seemed. He also hardly ate a thing until dinner, and getting him to sleep was a team effort that took over an hour.

Today, however, he woke up with his usual joy... and violence... as much as I don't like being awakened with kicks to the head, I knew this morning that he was feeling his usual chipper self in the morning.

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Tagged...

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alicia got me with a somewhat ironic meme in light of the post five down from here.

There's no actual description of the meme, so I guess I'll have to figure it out somehow...

I confess that I enjoy certain morally suspect movies, specifically violent movies, and especially mafia flicks and movies where "the good guys" and "the bad guys" are morally equivalent.

I confess that working with truck drivers makes me swear more.

I confess that I find nothing whatsoever wrong with drinking alone.

I confess to feeling real malice, born of intense jealousy, towards the 2005 Chicago White Sox.

I confess to eating 3/4 of a row of Chips Ahoy cookies (~10-12 cookies I think) in about 5 minutes last week when I was sick and nothing else sounded good.

I confess that I'm starting to love rooting for Ohio State (my wife comes from a Buckeye family) and that it's refreshing to get on a winning bandwagon after two decades of football disenfranchisement at both the professional (Da Bears) and collegiate [the Fighting (haha) Illini] levels.

I confess that I purchased "Return to Me" on DVD simply because I needed a chick flick to round out my movie collection.

Is this enough? Can I stop now?

OK, I tag John Bambenek, the other Chris Lu, Ellyn and Zadok.

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Powerless Papa

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Our family has been passing some bug back and forth for about a week and a half now. It's the boy's turn now, and he's got it bad.

Thursday night he barely slept and was awake crying from about 5 AM to almost 6. Friday morning his temperature hit 103 (under the arm) before we got him in to see a doctor. It's a virus, they say, so instead of antibiotics they prescribed infant Ibuprofen, which has worked miracles so far, especially compared to the Tylenol - plus, it came with a cool syringe-type despenser instead of the standard rubber dropper.

It's horrible to see my little guy crying and have no ability to make it better. Here's hoping he's better tomorrow, I want my happy, crazy little ball of energy back.

Maybe you could say a little prayer to that end, please?

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Who's muddying the waters?

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A pro-life news service that specializes in hysteria says (emphasis added):

However, any equivocation between abortion and the death penalty is, according to Catholic teaching, thoroughly false. According to the Catholic Catechism, and the longstanding tradition of the Church, capital punishment is justifiable under certain grave circumstances, and as such Catholic's are free to support its use. Abortion, on the other hand, according to Catholic teaching, is always and everywhere a grave moral evil and punishable by automatic excommunication.

Is that what the Catechism says? Let's open up our Catehism at random and see where we land... aaaaaand OK... here we go (again, emphasis added).

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

So according to the hystericists, I can support the death penalty even though the circumstances where its use is licit do not exist in my country?

I happen to agree (albeit with significant reservations) with the notion that a flashy campaign against the death penalty is not the best use of the Church's resources at this time (after all where is the CCEA to go along with the CCEDP? ), but what good is it to dispense with the teachings of the Church in order to belabor the point? Or to put it another way, what will it profit a man...?

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Shepherd of shepherds

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Sandro Magister on Pope Benedict's handling of the bishops.

ROMA, November 18, 2005 – The bishops have come to realize that every time they meet Benedict XVI, alone or as a group, they must be ready for anything: accolades, rebukes, surprises.

According to Magister, the Italians got "a collective accolade," the Austrians got "the riot act" and the Brazilians got a surprise:

The conference was already set for 2007, but the place and the exact date remained to be determined. The four bishops were prepared to hold it in Rome, in order to ensure the pope’s participation in the work.

But Benedict XVI said to them all of a sudden: “It will be held in Brazil,” and immediately asked what the country’s most venerated Marian shrine is. “The Aparecida,” they replied. And the pope: “In Brazil, at the Aparecida, in May. I’ll be there.”

Of course, nobody likes uninvited guests, but surely we can make an exception for the Pope?

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For Mama-Lu

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Confession

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Slate has an interesting if unhelpful little piece about Catholics and Confessing - specifically why the former ain't doin' the latter.

What stands out about this piece is the irony of a let-it-all-hang-out generation that somehow abhors the idea of anonymous confession.

But it's strange that so many lay Catholics should have abandoned the confessional even while secular culture is increasingly awash in confession, apology, and acts of contrition of every sort. Parents own up to pedophilia on Jerry Springer. Authors reveal their fetishes and infidelities in self-lacerating memoirs. On Web sites like Daily Confession and Not Proud, the anonymous poster can unburden his conscience electronically. The confessions on these sites are displayed in categories borrowed from Sunday school lessons: the Ten Commandments or the seven deadly sins. At least one posting I read was framed in the language of the Catholic confessional. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," it began before going on to catalog a series of mostly mundane misdeeds. (Others are simply odd: "I eat ants but only the little red ones. They're sweet as hell and I just can't get enough.")

All this public confessing testifies to the impulse to share our deepest shame. So, why isn't that impulse manifesting itself in Catholics practicing the ritual that was created expressly for that purpose? Of course, Catholic penance—whether it's done in a confessional booth or in a face-to-face meeting with a priest, an innovation introduced in 1973—is supposed to be private and confidential. It may be that in an age of media-fueled exhibitionism, some people want more attention for our misdeeds than can be had from whispering a list of sins in a box in a church. But those Internet confessions won't count toward absolution in the eyes of the church any time soon. "There are no sacraments on the Internet," declared the Pontifical Council for Social Communication unequivocally in 2002.

Despite a reasonably fair analysis of the situation, the author misses the most obvious factor keeping Catholics from receiving absolution: the prevalence (yes I'm using this word properly) of the idea that there is no such thing as sin. Call it relativism, call it the "loss of the sense of sin," no matter: if Catholics don't believe that their actions are in fact sinful, why should they seek forgiveness for them?

Another small point that sticks out: the author asserts that the Sacrament's "official" name is "The Sacrament of Reconciliation". This is untrue. The "official" name (according to the Catechism) is actually "The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation".

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On Language

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One of my least favorite words in this language of ours is healthful. I was about to write a diatribe against it when I came across this page which explains that the recent increase in the use of this hideous word is actually a return to the proper use. I still don't like it: almost every time I hear it used, the context is politically correct/sterile/manipulative. I put it in the same category as going forward, impact used as a verb and proactive. Unfortunately, in this instance I am beat; healthful is proper English.

The linked page also has some other interesting language tidbits, though most of them are already pet peeves of mine. One, however, was new to me: apparently the word prevalent was originally used pejoratively. So, "happiness is a prevalent emotion" is somewhat contradictory (unless you don't like happiness). "Cockroaches are prevalent in Chicago" would be a more appropriate use.

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New tool in the War on terror

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Junk food!

The World reports that Iranians are getting huge off domestic knock-offs of American fast-food chains. Oh well, if we can't stop them from getting nukes (which we can't), we might as well export our girth. Maybe we'll make them too fat and lazy to get off their rears to blow up the world.

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One for the Mannings

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If they can take their eyes off of their darling little girl!

Gaudi masterpiece sparks controversy from UPI.

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Reminiscing

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[Before I begin, I'd like to ask that if my sister-in-law Regina is reading this, go on ahead an skip to the next post.]

So West Virginia is banning high-proof grain alcohol.

My thoughts go bck to the late 90's, when my roommate/drinking buddy and I would stumble home after a long night of excessive alcohol abuse and trade shots of Gem Clear (190 proof) just to finish ourselves off.

Or to even earlier times than that, when my floormates and I spiked Fruitopias with Gem clear and took them to our Japanese Language and Culture class.

Not my fondest nor proudest memories, these, but still I find myself getting sentimental at the news...

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Speaking of WFB

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NRO has put up about a dozen flashbacks of Buckley's writings and speeches. My favorite: Buckley gives thanks for peanut butter.

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WONKETTE??

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I subscribe to Yahoo's RSS feed for opinion articles. Yes, I have to deal with junk from The Nation and Ted Rall, not to mention The Huffington Post. In the end, it's been worth it for Maggie Gallagher, and the occasional Bill Buckley piece that is coherent these days.

Imagine my chagrin yesterday when I opened the feed and saw a piece from.... Wonkette!

That's the last straw. I'm dumping Yahoo.

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Only in America

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Punkin Chunkin.

Every year since 1986, near Millsboro, the Punkin Chunkin has been held. Last week, 100 teams vied to see whose machine could toss an 8-10lb (3.6-4.6kg) pumpkin farthest. There were various categories: air cannons, trebuchets, pedal-powered doohickeys. No explosives are allowed—a galling rule to some contestants. But the biggest air cannons, with barrels up to 150 feet (46 metres) long, can shoot their fruit projectiles most of a mile, making each one what one spectator called “one heck of a peashooter”.

Best analysis: "Dorothy Blades... thinks men crave the sense of power that only blasting a pumpkin into orbit in front of a large crowd can provide. 'Plus it's a drinkathon,' she adds."

Update: NPR has an audio piece with photos here.

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Strange things happen

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I had a weird dream last night.. the Cubs gave $11 million to a reliever I'd never heard of.

*shrug*

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Oh to have been there

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Dutch nerds with nothing better to do set up four million dominoes to break the world record for, well, domino knocking-over (which they themselves already hold). A bird flies through the window and sets off a chain reaction knocking down 23,000 of the dominos.

The bird is then promptly shot and killed by an exterminator who happened to be hanging around.

And of course, since it's Europe, the guy who shot the bird has received death threats and could be prosecuted.

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Weigel on Pope Benedict

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The Ethics and Public Policy Center hosted an event last week featuring George Weigel discussing his latest book: God's Choice.

This page has a link to an audio file of Weigel's remarks. I haven't listened to it yet; these lab computers don't have audio...

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Cardinal Arinze

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Mama Lu's horse during the recent conclave gave an interview to Inside the Vatican Magazine.

Nobody dispenses with BS like this man.

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Wednesday's with Benedict

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Here is Zenit's translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered at today's general audience in St. Reter's Square.

Excerpt:

In Psalm 135(136) are interlaced, therefore, two modalities of the only divine Revelation, the cosmic (cf. verses 4-9) and the historical (cf. verses 10-25). The Lord is, of course, transcendent as Creator and arbiter of being; but he is also close to his creatures, entering into space and time. He does not stay far away, in the distant heaven. On the contrary, his presence among us reaches its summit in the incarnation of Christ.

This is what the Christian interpretation of the psalm proclaims clearly, as attested by the Fathers of the Church who see the summit of the history of salvation and the supreme sign of the merciful love of the Father in the gift of the Son, as Savior and Redeemer of humanity (cf. John 3:16).


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FINISHED!

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I got my Power Point presentation done last night as the lab was closing last night (~9:45), saving myself a stop at work to finish up and email it in. I went home and studied for my exam until about midnight. At work today, I spent the last half hour finishing my studying, went straight to the test, and just finished the lab that was due after the exam.

Now all I have to do is do a fake resume and cover letter for by business communication class and I'm done until after thanksgiving!

Have I yet mention how stupid my BusComm class is? First of all, it's ALL on-line. Business communications is all on-line. This is fine by me, but I think it misses the point. Also, my teacher is kind of dim. She sent out an email 30 minutes before one of our assignments was due (which was at midnight) to change the instructions. Way to communicate! Finally, the course is a TON of work for very little useful material. In short, it's a big waste of time. There's more dumb stuff my teacher has done, but I can't think of it right now.

Speaking of my resume (two paragraphs up), say a little prayer for me, eh? I have an initial telephone interview tomorrow for a part-time job for next semester. It also has a lot more to do with my current line of studies than my 9-5 so it could be useful experience for the future. Also, if the pay is enough, I can maybe not take classes next semester and pay down my student loans a bit, and bring home some higher quality bacon as well.

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Blesed Charles de Foucauld

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A brief bio from Godspy. Amazing story. Much could be said by somebody who didn't have to go to work about Charles' relationship with the Muslim people around whom he lived.

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Smell ya later

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Blogging will be light this week.

I have a Power Point Presentation due Tuesday at midnight and a test Wednesday evening. Tuesday night we have an extra-curricular CCD event. Mama-Lu invited a representative of the Jewish community here in town to speak to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade kids about the Old Testament. Um yeah, and I also have to work 16 hours in that time...

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Bl Charles de Foucauld

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I must admit to knowing little about the newest blessed, but Fides Service has impressive quotes from some of his followers around the world.

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Best. First. Line. Ever.

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From this Opinion Journal piece on homeschoolers and what they read:

Home-schooling is sort of like a college student's virginity: People figure it's a mark of religiosity, but nearly as often it's just personal taste, or a lack of better options.

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Report: JPtG was Jewish

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Here.

Boy, I can't wait to see the SSPX press releases on this one...

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Zenit interview with Father Ignacio Larranaga

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"A Society Without God Ends Up as a Society Against Man."

Father Larranaga is the author of an incredible biography of St. Francis: Brother Francis of Assisi. It is a deeply spiritual and deeply psychological work full of insights into Francis' inner life. He also has written a life of Christ and a life of Mary, but I've never been able to get my hands on them.

I don't know too much about the Prayer and Life Workshops he founded, but he outlines them a bit in Transfiguration, a short treatise on prayer. The movement seems to simply be about teaching people to pray--as worthy an apostolate as there can be.

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Fantasizing, Wrigleyville style

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How about this for a starting rotation next year:

Carlos Zambrano
Roger Clemens
Mark Prior
Greg Maddux
Kery Wood/Glendon Rusch/Jerome Williams

And wouldn't Manny Ramirez look good in Cubby blue?

On the other hand, Johnny Damon is a free agent...

You've got a lot of options, Hendry.

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Pumping your body full of hormones is a bad idea

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It turns out the birth control path is killing women three times faster than the pill.

Citing federal death and injury reports, the AP also found that about a dozen women, most in their late teens and early 20s, died in 2004 from blood clots believed to be related to the birth-control patch, and dozens more survived strokes and other clot-related problems.

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General Audiences - last week, this week

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It looks like I'm a week behind bringing you the text of the Holy Father's weekly audiences.

Here is last week's, from November 2, a reflection on Psalm 111 (112).

Excerpt:

Docility to God is, therefore, the root of hope and interior and exterior harmony. Observance of the moral law is the source of profound peace of conscience.

At the end of this address, while addressing members of the Italian Association of Large Families, the Holy Father made an appeal for help for large families.

"Your presence gives me the opportunity to recall the central character of the family, the fundamental cell of society and primary place of acceptance and service to life," the Holy Father told the parents, many of whom were accompanied by their children.

"In the present social context, family nuclei with many children are a testimony of faith, courage and optimism, as without children there is no future!" he exclaimed, prompting applause and smiles from those present.

"I hope that more social and legislative measures will be promoted in defense and support of the largest families, which constitute a richness and hope for the whole country," Benedict XVI concluded.

Here is this week's, from November 9, on Psalm 135 (136): 1-9.

Excerpt:

The first visible sign of this divine charity -- says the Psalmist -- is to be sought in creation. Then history enters. The gaze, full of admiration and wonder, pauses first of all on creation: the heavens, the earth, the waters, the sun, the moon and the stars.

Even before discovering the God who reveals himself in the history of a people, there is a cosmic revelation, open to all, offered to the whole of humanity by the only Creator, "God of gods" and "Lord of lords" (cf. verses 2-3).


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Lincoln

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Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was interviewed on Tom Ashbrook's On Point about her new book on Lincoln. If you have the time and any interest, take a listen.

She also talked to Terry Gross about the book.

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Sneak peak

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021.JPG

Here's a preview of our wedding pictures, which I'm currently uploading to ophoto. I'll post a link when they're all up, though it might take a while. Our scanner is slooooooooooooooow.

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Baseball parks are better than office buildings

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In the summer '05 City Journal, I found a piece whose subtitle says it all: Today's new baseball stadiums offer a lesson in smart urbanism.

George Steinbrenner’s plan to build a new Yankee Stadium is part of a new and different kind of sports-building boom. What everybody calls “ballparks”—intimate, charming fields, with flourishes of historical design that fans love—are springing up everywhere, and New York will soon join the fun with a Yankee Stadium that incorporates some features of the original, but in a cozier, viewer-friendlier setting. It’s too bad that office-tower developers (and the firms that rent space in the offices) haven’t followed suit with people-centric buildings. The builders continue to uglify American cities with soulless modern office monstrosities; Daniel Libeskind’s inhuman glass Freedom Tower for the World Trade Center site, even as modified by architect David Childs, would be only the latest example.

[...]

Predictably, the modernist- and postmodernist-dominated architectural establishment hates the new stadiums. Former New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp, for instance, dubs them “America’s most diseased building type,” rising out of baseball’s “sickly longings for a past that never existed, a pastoral, even anti-urban, vision.”

In fact, the new parks are anything but anti-urban. One of their key appeals is how they respectfully integrate with the urban landscapes around them. San Diego’s Petco Park, an exemplar of the new-old style, for instance, incorporates elements of the local Spanish-mission style, including a lovely sandstone and tan stucco exterior. Similarly, designers finished off the facade of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park in rough limestone to match its setting in a former industrial area.

By contrast, the modernists largely ignore the idea of architectural context, believing that it shackles their imaginations. It’s a shame that developers and business executives have caved under elite pressure and erected and occupied so many alienating modernist office buildings. It’s rare to find a developer who’ll actually live in a home built in this arid style. And it’s worth noting that CEO offices in today’s Corbusian towers often boast wood paneling and other warm features sharply at odds with the cold environments encasing them. Yet the modernist eyesores keep going up, perhaps because those who commission them don’t want to look behind the times.

It's a great piece, and the fact that it disparages U.S. Cellular Field doesn't influence my opinion at all.

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Early Church building discovered in Holy Land

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The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the ruins are believed to date back to the third or fourth centuries, and include references to Jesus and images of fish, an ancient Christian symbol.
Full story.
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Oenological Battles: The War on Terroir

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Traditional European winemakers try to survive the market takeover by American wine-labs.

Link found at (and clever title stolen from) Arts and Letters Daily.

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That Good Ol' American Can-Do Entreprenurial Spirit

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Students in world's fattest country create junk food black-market to get around school bans.

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Making Amends

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Apparently I sounded a chord that resonated (for better or worse) amongst certain readers with my link to the article about pregnancy making you stupid. Reports have come in that a response was dictated, but the scribe charged with the task refused to publish it. In an attempt to balance things out, I bring you this article (from the Columbus newspaper, no less!), which argues the opposite.

Yet a new body of research — still involving mostly animals — is fueling the idea that parenthood might rewire the brain, making mothers (and involved fathers) more perceptive, efficient, competitive and even socially aware. And, according to sociological studies, most symptoms of "mommy brain" might be attributed as much to stress and exhaustion as to biology.

Comparing the brain of a non-mother to that of a mother is "like comparing a tree in the winter to one in full bloom in the spring, when it is much fuller and richer," said University of Richmond (Va.) neuroscientist Craig Kinsley, a leading researcher in the field.

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U of I Newman Center makes news

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Catholic News Agency had a very laudatory story about the Newman Center at my alma mater and its current chaplain on Friday. Fellow alumni might like to take a look.

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Happy Birthday, Mama-Lu!

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Xmas.GIF


If you by chance happen by here today, please say a prayer for my lovely wife on the anniversary of her birth!

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For all (????) my South Dakota readers

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If you have children in the public schools, you need to go here.

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Happy Thanksgiving

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A little early, but if I don't post this now, I'll never remember. My boss sent me this e-card today:

I WIll Survive.

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Bill Donohue and Alito

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I've mentioned before that Bill Donohue gives me headaches. Well, sometimes he makes up for it.

From Lifesitenews.com:

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On the October 31 edition of the CNN show, "Larry King Live," CBS reporter Mike Wallace commented that the mother of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito said her son is "definitely against abortion." To which Wallace said: "He's a nice Catholic boy and he doesn't believe in abortions."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded to Wallace's remarks saying, "We at the Catholic League like nice Catholic boys who don't believe in abortion. For that matter, we even like not-so-nice non-Catholic girls who don't want to kill the kids. What we don't like are condescending octogenarians who don't know when to get out of the ring. Or when to shut up."


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More on Catholics and the High Court

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Slate's Will Saletan has a piece in Slate exploring the angle and talks it up in this NPR segment.

From the Slate piece:

Not to worry. Two years ago, Republicans found a new way to play victim. They were trying to get Bill Pryor, the attorney general of Alabama, confirmed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor had called Roe v. Wade an "abomination" that had led to "slaughter." Such rhetoric, according to Democrats, suggested that Pryor was incapable of subordinating his moral convictions to constitutional law. A well-connected conservative lobby, the Committee for Justice, fired back with ads depicting a warning on a courthouse door: "Catholics need not apply." The ads accused senators of attacking Pryor's " 'deeply held' Catholic beliefs."

Saletan conveniently omits the fact that the Democrats did admit that they opposed Pryor for his "deeply held beliefs." It probably speaks more to liberal relativist ignorance of the idea of a judge ruling according to law over personal belief than to anti-Catholicism, but the use of those words opened the Democrats up to those accusations.

Later:

If Alito is confirmed, Catholics will hold five of the court's seats, and the Protestant contingent will have dwindled from eight to two. The notion that bigotry is keeping Catholics off the court is becoming numerically preposterous.

No it's not. Not if some Democrats actually carry a bias against believing Catholics. Democrats need to argue about the Constitution and not about beliefs, or they deserve any "religious test" criticism they receive. The problem is that they lose any constitutional debate, especially where Roe v. Wade is concerned.

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The Catholic majority

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Father Neuhaus writes about the potential Catholic majority on the Supreme Court and natural law.

I recently read a piece (unfortunately I cannot remember by whom it was written) that conjectured that the large Catholic presence on the Supreme Court may have precisely to do with the Catholic embrace of natural law, which gives these judges a better conceptual framework to "think with the mind of the founders" (to twist a phrase Catholics may find familiar). The founders certainly had natural law in mind when they wrote and amended the Constitution, and modernists who do not even believe that such a law exists - let alone that it can be known - are much more prone to get important things wrong like Roe V. Wade. Wouldn't it be fascinating to see a discussion of natural law in a confirmation hearing? That'll be the day...

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Kelo and Urban Renewal

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City Journal (fast becoming one of my favorite journals) has an excellent though somewhat depressing piece by Nicole Gelinas about the use of eminent domain in failed urban renewal projects.

Consider the fate of New Haven, Connecticut, the most willing victim of the urban-renewal era. Mayor Richard Lee, a Democrat who took office in 1953, had pledged to create “a slumless city, the first in the nation.” During his 16-year tenure, as Yale University’s “Model City” history project relates, Lee procured more urban-renewal funds per capita than any other American mayor—more than $1 billion in today’s dollars, and nearly four times as much as runner-up Newark. In 1958, the Saturday Evening Post hailed Lee for embarking upon “saving a dead city.”

[...]

But bulldozers and central planning didn’t save New Haven. Between 1950 and 1980, the city’s population declined by 30 percent—and poverty increased. “In 1970, as urban renewal ended, the census ranked New Haven as the 38th-poorest city in America,” local journalist Paul Bass and Yale prof Douglas Rae wrote in a New York Times op-ed in July. “Ten years later, it was ranked seventh, with 23.2 percent of its population living below the poverty line. Today, more than a quarter of its families live in subsidized housing.” Rae thinks that without urban renewal, New Haven’s poverty rate would be lower today: “They destroyed a lot of economic and social vitality,” he told me. Even Mayor Lee saw that top-down planning had failed; by the end of his final term, he observed: “If New Haven is a model city, God help America’s cities.” Unfortunately, cities all over the country had replicated New Haven’s experience.


She also destroys the ill logic of those who claim the money invested in urban renewal projects will reap finacncial benefits:
The taxpayers sure won’t get much in return. They will pour about $200 million in public subsidies into the stadium portion of Ratner’s project up front. In return, the city and state could receive an annual net surplus from that part of the project of about $7.8 million over 30 years... But if New York simply deposited that $200 million in a savings account and left Prospect Heights alone, it could receive about $8 million a year in interest—and at no risk, as it could withdraw the $200 million at any time.

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British Children: Marriage leads to life of boredom

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Family Law Prof Blog has a blurb, but no link.

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I got it!

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I figured out why Democrats oppose a ban on human cloning!

They want to clone Sandra Day O'Connor so Bush can nominate the clone to the Supreme Court and they can vote for the only "conservative" they've ever liked!

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Dahlia

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Can NPR stop pretending that Dahlia Lithwick is an analyst? Every time she opens her mouth the piece should be labeled "Liberal spin."

Discussing two of Judge Alito's rulings: that a Christmas display was constitutional "even though" it contained "overtly Christian symbols" and a decision to let Christians evangelize ("proselytize," she says) at a public school, she said Alito "has clearly been a fan of allowing greater entanglement between Church and state."

Entanglement. This is how these people really think.

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I like Alito

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Despite being pro-life and believing that most Americans are moderately pro-life, I carry no illusions about abortion disappearing. Most Americans in most states simply do not have the stomach to restrict abortion meaningfully. Yet the constitution gives them the right to, and those states or even localitites with enough citizens who do have the stomach ought to be allowed. The current position of the Supreme Court restricts that freedom.

Anybody who can read can see there is no basis in the constitution for abortion (or, for that matter, restricting the exercise of religion, and for many other Democrat agenda items). Those who favor abortion have only ever won when liberal judges all over the country abuse their office by ignoring or misinterpreting the constitution to enforce what they think is right).

Now, in some circumstances, what they think is right may very well be right, but there are processes in place in the Constitution to change the law. Violating those processes takes the process out of the hands of democratically elected delegates and places it into the hands of the unelected.

I live in one of the bluest counties in a very blue state. If Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, there would be little chance of any change in the abortion laws where I live. But thanks to the unjust and unconstitutional rulings of the Supreme Court over the past 32 years, we do not even have the chance to enact sensible limitations on the procedure.

Rich Lowry of the National Review was on NPR the other day, and he made the winning point that everytime the Republican party has taken this issue to the people, they've won political battles. It takes neither a genius nor a right-wing hack to understand that judicial usurpation of the democratic process is unjust. When we elect people, we like those votes to mean something, and when judges misinterpret the Constitution to strike down good laws passed democratically, anybody can sense that is wrong, and only the agenda-driven can stomach it. The same goes for judgements against religion in the public square, and judgements that mandate the redefinition of marriage.

I'm happy with Alito because I think he is a sensible man who will interpret the constitution rightly, and thereby allow the democratic process to flourish.

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War Games

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WWII, Internet-style.

Bloody hilarious, but some bad language.

Hat-tip: Mark Shea.

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How to destroy your self-esteem

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Confidently leave yourself not nearly enough time to write your first research paper in 3 1/2 years. Ugh. I could not be more out of form.

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So what the heck is going on,,,

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in France?

Would it be politically incorrect to note that this is the fourth report I've read on this in the past three days and the first to note the Muslim flavor of the rioters?

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Go Hendry!

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Cubs give Glendon Rusch 2-year deal, chance to start next year.

This is a great move, Rusch has quietly been the Cubs most consistent injury-free pitcher next to Zambrano for two years now.

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The Catholic Majority

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If Judge Alito is confirmed to the Supreme Court, a majority of the justices will be Catholic: Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy (boo), Roberts and Alito. Benedict (not the Pope) blogs the "Top Ten Changes a Catholic Majority Would Make to the Supreme Court."

Here's my favorite:

8) The bones of Chief Justice Marshall will be disinterred and placed in a glass coffin in the center of the Supreme Court bench;

Go read the whole thing.

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Papal Prayer Intentions

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for the month of November is: "That married people may imitate the example of conjugal holiness shown by so many couples in the ordinary conditions of life."

His mission intention is: "That pastors of mission territories may recognize with constant care their duty to foster the permanent formation of their own priests."


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Papa-Lu in November 2005.

Papa-Lu: October 2005 is the previous archive.

Papa-Lu: December 2005 is the next archive.

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