June 2005 Archives

This week in relations with the Orthodox


Pope meets with Orthodox delegation, theological dialogue to resume.

Meanwhile, Russian Orthodox leaders warn Cardinal Kasper that the activities of the Ukranian Catholics threaten ecumenical efforts between Rome and Moscow.

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"Diaper" Bag

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Danielle Bean recently emptied her diaper bag. She lists the many contents, and reveals that she found neither diapers nor wipes.

Recently, Mama-Lu asked me to pack the diaper bag. Silly me, I placed a diaper and some wipes into the bag and thought I was done. We got to our destination, only to find that I had neglected to add snacks and disposable bibs.

What, I ask, do snacks and bibs have to do with diapers?

Other regular contents of the "diaper bag" include a change of clothes for the boy, toys, maybe a book.

Wouldn't a more honest term for such a container be a "bag of baby junk."

Yet it does not stop there, for other regular or occasional contents of the "diaper bag" include my wife's wallet, her keys, our cell phone, shopping lists, altoids and aspirin.

Wouldn't a more honest term, then, be a "purse?"

Furthermore, does it not seem to any other men out there that the "diaper bag" is an insidious plot to get men to carry purses in the interests of "the children?"

I demand an investigation.

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Latin Mass in Pheonix Diocese

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Enough Valley Catholics love Latin that Masses in the church's ancient language will become permanent and more frequent.

Church officials have deemed a yearlong test-run a success and given the service's worshipers status as a mission called Mater Misericordiae, or Mother of Mercy.

The move makes it possible for a future parish based on the Latin Mass.

"There is a stable community now, and we will see what happens," said Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

Here's the whole thing. It actually manages to avoid concluding that the Tridentine crowd are reactionary lunatic zealots.

This is what a "wide and generous application" looks like. I hope we see more of it.

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It won't be easy for Pope Benedict XVI to create unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, one Orthodox leader says.

"You can't expect people after centuries of animosity to forget," Antiochian Orthodox Bishop Alexander Mufarrij said Sunday.

"What it would take is for the pope to drop his infallibility," he said during a brief interview at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 4988 Onondaga Road.

Full story.

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Deo Gratias!


Geoff Horton - a seminarian from my diocese - notes that we may have up to 18 men enter the seminary this fall.

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Calling John Bambenek

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ACLU President goes on record putting ACLU behind polygamy.

In a little-reported speech offered at Yale University earlier this year, ACLU president Nadine Strossen stated that her organization has "defended the right of individuals to engage in polygamy." Yale Daily News says Strossen was responding to a "student's question about gay marriage, bigamy, and polygamy." She continued, saying that her legal organization "defend[s] the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals," making the ACLU "the guardian of liberty ... defend[ing] the fundamental rights of all people."

As a side note, the artile also points out that Strossen is author of a book entitled Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex & the Fight for Women's Rights. Yes, she actually links pornography with women's rights in a positive way. Talk about denying reality.

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Not quite a corked bat or pine tar


cabbagehad.jpgAP: Koreans Nix Cabbage Inside Baseball Caps

The Korea Baseball Organization ruled that wearing cabbage leaves inside a baseball cap constitutes as an "alien material" that may disrupt a game, the organization said in a statement.

The decision came after Doosan Bears pitcher Park Myung-hwan's cap fell off twice in a game last Sunday, revealing frozen cabbage leaves. He was using the vegetables to keep his head cool and no measures were taken at the time.

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Other prominent Catholisc who support the research (prominent means I've heard of them):

Monsignor Stuart Swetland
William Saunders of the Family Research Coucil
William May of the JPII Institute in DC
Germain Grisez of Mt. St. Mary's University
Robert P. George of Princeton University

here's the statement of support with the full list of signees.

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The UK tablet on Father Fessio

Joseph Fessio is a million-dollar publisher, the man who runs a university founded on a pizza fortune, a conservative Jesuit who fell out with his superiors and a friend of the Pope. It’s made him one of the US Church’s biggest players
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There goes about 15% of this blog's posts


No weekly audiences during Pope's summer vacation.

Thankfully, there will only be three weeks off...

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Prayer for beatification of JPtG


Published by the Diocese of Rome.

O Blessed Trinity,
We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen

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Silly, stupid people


You should know better. You never, ever mess with Oprah.

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22.6.05 General Audience


Here is Zenit's English translation of yesterday's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square.

Here's an excerpt:

In the second part of our song of thanksgiving we move from the marine image to a hunting scene, typical of many Psalms of supplication (see Psalm 123[124]:6-8). It evokes a beast which has its prey between its teeth, or a snare of fowlers that captures a bird. But the blessing expressed by the psalm leads us to understand that the fate of the faithful, which was a fate of death, has changed radically thanks to a saving intervention: "Blessed be the Lord, who did not leave us to be torn by their fangs. We escaped with our lives like a bird from the fowler's snare; the snare was broken and we escaped" (verses 6-7).

At this point the prayer becomes a sigh of relief that rises from the depth of the soul: Even when all human hopes are destroyed, the divine liberating power can appear. The psalm ends with a profession of faith, which centuries ago entered the Christian liturgy as an ideal premise of all prayer: "Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini, qui fecit caelum et terram -- Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (verse 8). The Almighty places himself in particular on the side of the victims and the persecuted "who cry to him day and night" and "will vindicate them speedily" (see Luke 18:7-8).

4. St. Augustine offers an articulated commentary to the psalm. In the first place, he observes that this psalm is properly sung by the "members of Christ, who have reached blessedness." In particular, "it has been sung by the holy martyrs, who having left this world, are with Christ in happiness, ready to take up incorrupt again those same bodies that before were corruptible. In life, they suffered torments in the body, but in eternity these torments will be transformed into adornments of justice."

However, in a second instance the bishop of Hippo tells us that we can also sing this psalm with hope. He states: We, too, animated by a sure hope, will sing exulting. The singers of this psalm are not strangers to us. Therefore, let us all sing with only one heart: both the saints who already possess the crown as well as ourselves, who with affection unite ourselves to their crown. Together we desire that life which we do not have down here, but which we will never be able to have if we have not first desired it."

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Movie Quotes


I never watch three consecutive hours of television unless the Cubs are involved, but CBS sure snookered me in last night with their top 100 movie quotes show.

Before the show, I guessed as my top three:

"Here's Looking at you, kid."
"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."
"May the Force be with you."

"Force be With You" came in at #8, "Here's looking at you" came in #5 and "Make him an offer" came in at #2.

Here's the full list.

Prediction: if in 10 years they do this again, CasaBlanca will go from having six to seven in the top 100. Why? Because what blogger hasn't used some variation of "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Believe me, it will be in the top 30.

Complaint: How on earth does Animal House make the top 100 with "Toga, Toga!" but "Over, you say it's over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!" doesn't make a ripple?

I have to hand it to CBS and the American Film Institute. There were several movies represented that I've never seen, but that I will now be renting.

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Pastoral Letter from Zimbabwean bishops


The Cry of the Poor

We, the members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, issued a press statement on June 2, 2005, in regard to the "clean up" operation, dubbed "Operation Restore Order'' in which we expressed our dismay at the suffering and hardship experienced by the most vulnerable members of society in some areas nationwide. Now, almost four weeks after the event, countless numbers of men, women with babies, children of school age, the old and the sick, continue to sleep in the open air at winter temperatures near to freezing. These people urgently need shelter, food, clothing, medicines, etc. Any claim to justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end becomes totally groundless in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have been used. People have a right to shelter and that has been deliberately destroyed in this operation without much warning. While we all desire orderliness, alternative accommodation and sources of income should have been identified and provided before the demolitions and stoppage of informal trading. We condemn the gross injustice done to the poor.

Full Text of the Letter

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Terri laid to rest

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Michael still twisting the knife in Schindlers' backs.

Michael Schiavo angered his late wife's family Monday by not notifying them about the burial beforehand and by inscribing on her bronze grave marker the words "I kept my promise."

Michael Schiavo — who said he promised his wife he would not keep her alive artificially — also listed Feb. 25, 1990, as the date his wife "Departed this Earth."

On that date, Schiavo collapsed and fell into what most doctors said was an irreversible vegetative state.

Schiavo actually died March 31, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed by court order. The grave marker lists that date as when Schiavo was "at peace."

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Jaime Cardinal Sin, RIP

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines' influential Cardinal Jaime Sin, the former head of the Catholic Church in the Southeast Asian country who helped topple two presidents, died in hospital at age 76, church officials said.

Pope Benedict's statement:

"Deeply saddened by the death of Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to all the clergy, religious and laity of the archdiocese of Manila. Recalling with gratitude Cardinal Sin's unfailing commitment to the spread of the Gospel and to the promotion of the dignity, common good and national unity of the Philippine people, I join you in praying that God our merciful Father will grant him the reward of his labors and welcome his noble soul into the joy and peace of His eternal Kingdom. To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian burial I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord."

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From LifeSite News, posted in its entirety:

CLEARWATER, Florida, June 20, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A neurologist who spent 10 hours examining Terri Schiavo while she was alive has issued a release criticizing the autopsy conclusions drawn by the independent medical examiner.

Dr. William Hammesfahr, nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work in Medicine, and a patent holder for a medicine to help people with brain injuries and stroke, released the following statement in response to the independent medical examiner’s autopsy conclusions:

“We have seen a lot on the autopsy of Terri Schindler Schiavo in recent days that I feel needs to be addressed,” Dr. Hammesfahr began. “To ignore these comments will allow future ‘Terri Schiavo's’ to die needlessly after the wishes of clinicians and family are ignored.”

“The record must be set straight. As we noted in the press, there was no heart attack, or evident reason for this to have happened (and certainly not of Terri's making). Unlike the constant drumbeat from the husband, his attorneys, and his doctors, the brain tissue was not dissolved, with a head of just spinal fluid. In fact, large areas were ‘relatively preserved.’”

“I have had a chance to look at Dr. Nelson's analysis of the brain tissue, and essentially, as a clinician, these are my thoughts. (Neuropathologist Dr. Stephen Nelson performed the autopsy on Mrs. Schiavo's central nervous system.) The autopsy results confirmed my opinion . . . that the frontal areas of the brains, the areas that deal with awareness and cognition were relatively intact.”

“To use Dr. Nelson's words, ‘relatively preserved.’ In fact, the relay areas from the frontal and front temporal regions of the brain, to the spinal cord and the brain stem, by way of the basal ganglia, were preserved, thus the evident responses which she was able to express to her family and to the clinicians seeing her or viewing her videotape. The Spect scan confirmed these areas were functional and not scar tissue, and that was apparently also confirmed on Dr. Nelson's review of the slides.”

Terri Schiavo “was a woman trapped in her body, similar to a child with cerebral palsy, and that was born out by the autopsy, showing greater injury in the motor and visual centers of the brain,” Hammesfahr continued. “Obviously, the pathologists comments that she could not see were not borne out by reality, and thus his assessment must represent sampling error. The videotapes clearly showed her seeing, and even Dr. Cranfoed, for the husband, commented to her that, when she could see the balloon, she could follow it with her eyes as per his request.”

“That she could not swallow was obviously not borne out by the reality that she was swallowing her saliva, about 1.5 liters per day of liquid, and the clinical swallowing tests done by Dr. Young and Dr. Carpenter. Thus, there appears to be some limitations to the clinical accuracy of an autopsy in evaluating function.”

“With respect to the issue of trauma, that certainly does not appear to be answered adequately,” Hammesfahr added. “Some of the types of trauma that are suspected were not adequately evaluated in this assessment. Interestingly, both myself and at least one neurologist for the husband testified to the presence of neck injuries. The issue of a forensic evaluation for trauma, is highly specialized. Hence the wish of the family to have observers which was refused by the examiner."

"Ultimately, based on the clinical evidence and the autopsy results, an aware woman was killed."

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Pius XII

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Sandro Magister posts an article that traces the roots of the myth of Pope Pius XII's alleged silence during World War II

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George Weigel on extremism


I read this in my diocese's newspaper and found it online here.

During the recent, raucous debate in the U.S. Senate over what's procedurally kosher in considering a president's judicial selections, opponents of several Bush nominees persistently dismissed the prospective judges in question as "extremists." My colleague at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Ed Whelan, thereupon proposed a thought-experiment:

Imagine that a Democratic president nominated for the federal bench a judge who had suggested that there was a constitutional right to prostitution and a constitutional right to polygamy; who had blasted the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for promoting gender stereotypes; who had proposed abolishing Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day, substituting an androgynous "Parents' Day;" who had advocated abolishing same-sex prisons, on the grounds that male prisoners returning to a work environment in which men and women are equal could learn to deal respectfully with women in co-ed jails; and who, while arguing that "manifest" racial imbalance in a company's work force was de facto evidence of deliberate racial discrimination, had never, while working in the private sector, employed a single African-American (in a majority-black city!) in over 50 hires.

It seems almost too absurd. Would any Democratic president nominate to the federal bench a jurist with views like this --- views that are, by most understandings of the term, "extreme"? Or, if a Democratic president would attempt such a nomination, surely some Senate Democrats would object --- not to mention Senate Republicans, who would certainly use the filibuster and every other legitimate legislative tactic to stop such a nomination. Wouldn't they?

Well, not quite.

For the not-so-fictional nominee in question here is none other than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, current Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a 96-3 vote, having taken every one of the positions noted in Ed Whelan's thought-experiment.

Why isn't this a talking point in every Republican response to judicial filibusters?

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AP: Orthodox leader reaches out to Vatican

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KIEV, Ukraine - Defying the position of the Russian Orthodox Church, one of Ukraine's top religious leaders said Wednesday he sees no obstacles to greater cooperation between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

The statement, which was made during an interview with The Associated Press, signaled yet another rift between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, where pro-Western leaders came to power earlier this year...

"Today the task and mission of Christian churches - Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant - is to support moral values and support spirituality and morality in European civilization," Filaret said. "We don't need to be afraid of Rome, or the Greek Catholics."

The new pope, Benedict XVI, already has declared a "fundamental commitment" to heal the divide between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Unifying the two churches is "desirable, but today it is not realistic," Filaret said, but he added that greater cooperation is possible.

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Jewish leaders pleased with papal audience

Following what they termed a warm and friendly Vatican audience with Pope Benedict XVI, Jewish leaders are expressing conviction that

Jewish-Catholic relations will broaden and deepen under his pontificate.

"After this meeting, we are confident that under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church will continue to build upon its growing relations with the Jewish community," World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman said in a statement after the audience.

The WJC's chairman, Rabbi Israel Singer, added that the church and the Jewish community would cooperate on joint humanitarian initiatives, including "much-needed relief and education aid to Africa, a continent suffering from the plague of AIDS."

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McCarrick and Chaput


The Denver Post compares and contrasts Cardinals McCarrick and Chaput, speculating on their fates as indicative of the future of the U.S. Church and fanning the flames of the Chaput-to-D.C. fire.

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George Weigel on C-SPAN2


In case you read this in the next few hours, George Weigel will be on C-SPAN2 today at 11:45 Eastern Time discusing his new book: The Cube and the Cathedral.

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End of Life Conference


This Tuesday the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Culture of Life Foundation are co-hosting a conference entitled "Religious and Ethical Perspectives on the End of Life."

The purpose of the conference is to bring together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish perspectives on caring for patients who can no longer speak for themselves. As America ages, the challenges of caregiving—both ethical and social—will only become more serious and more difficult. The questions before us are both very practical and very theoretical: we must think about what gives human life its worth and dignity; about the meaning of death in the age of modern medicine; about the relationship between the generations in a world where the incidence of dementia and long-term dependence are much-increased, while the ties of family and community have often weakened. We face difficult life-and-death decisions for the persons entrusted in our care, difficult legal and policy decisions about how such decisions should be made, and difficult theological and philosophical questions about the nature of human dignity and human equality.

More on the Conference, including the heavyweight line-up of participants here.

Hopefully, the EPPC will post a transcript or maybe some audio of the conference on their website. I'll update you if they do.

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Eastern Catholics

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Earlier this week, I blogged that I had never known that there were tensions between the some eastern rite Catholics and some Orthodox Christians.

Nick commented and pointed me to this interview from last year by the Reporter's John Allen with Fr. Robert Taft, a Vatican expert on the Eastern Churches. Wow. This is one ineteresting interview.

Some "highlights:"

What it is that bothers the Orthodox so much about the idea of a Ukrainian patriarchate? What bothers them is the very existence of these churches. They look upon all of these people as their property that has been won away, coaxed away, forced away from them. And they’re right. But what they don’t realize is that you just cannot collapse history the way they do. It’s like going on a visit to Greece to the beach because you want to get a suntan, and some jerk points his finger at you as if you fought in the Fourth Crusade. Most Westerners don’t even know what the hell the Fourth Crusade was, and don’t need to know. You’re dealing with people who collapse history as if it happened yesterday. Let me use my classic example of the Anglicans. Does anybody think that Henry VIII took a plebiscite to see if the Catholics in England wanted to separate from Rome? No, they got up one morning and found that they were no longer Catholics. But that’s 500 years ago. It certainly doesn’t mean that the Catholic church could enter England with an army today and force all those people back into the fold. The same thing is true in Ukraine. These people, the Greek Catholics, have been in the Catholic church since 1596, and want to remain there. The Orthodox propose, and it’s hard to even take this seriously, that Eastern Catholics should be given the “free choice” of joining the Orthodox church or joining the Latin church. That’s like telling African-Americans in Georgia that because you’re the descendants of somebody who got dragged there, you can have the “free choice” of living in Albania or Uganda. Maybe they want to stay where they were born, right in the good old USA. To call that a “free choice” is a mockery of language.

So they’re afraid of a domino effect?
To attempt to apply rational analysis to this is to fail to understand what the East is. Once you get over on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the further you go South or East from anywhere, the worse everything gets, except the food. Logic gets worse, rationality gets worse, and everything ultimately winds up in hysteria and emotionalism. It’s futile to try and reason about this.

So the Catholic church is never going to persuade the Orthodox to accept the patriarchate?
No, and I don’t think we should even try. To hell with Moscow.

So what can Kasper hope for?
What Kasper can hope for is a renewal of the dialogue. What he needs to do is to reassure Moscow once again is that the Catholic church regards the Russian Orthodox church as a sister church, that we are there to take care of Catholics, not to fish in their pond. We’ve said this a million times. Kirill has been making some good noises lately. He’s said the dialogue has never been interrupted, which is true, and that while the official position of both churches is that we shouldn’t be fishing in one another’s waters, but there are clergy on both sides who don’t respect those norms. There are Orthodox clergy who proselytize among Catholics, we know that for a fact. The Russian Orthodox opened up a parish in Palermo! All the Russians in Palermo you could fit into a telephone booth. Who’s the priest? He’s a converted Catholic. When it was opened up, in the journal of the Moscow patriarchate, it stated quite clearly that this is a step toward recovering the Byzantine heritage of Sicily. Furthermore, there’s a Greek monastery in Calabria that’s also proselytizing among the Catholics. There are loose cannons all over the place.

There seems to be a predictable pattern of crisis/reconciliation/crisis in Catholic-Orthodox relations. Are we doomed to keep repeating this cycle?
I think so. In part, because we live in a free world and nobody really controls all of their own people. If the Neocatechumenate crowd decides to show up in some Russian city and cause trouble, who’s going to put them under control? Part of the problem is that this papacy hasn’t controlled some of these new movements. Matter of fact, it encourages them. It’s not the Jesuits who are causing trouble in Russia. It’s not the Franciscans. Part of the problem too is that the Russians are always reacting not so much to what we do, as to how their own constituency reacts to whatever we do. Basically, there are three groups in the Russian hierarchy. You’ve got a real wacko kind of right-wing fringe. These are the ones who would agree with calling Rasputin a saint and that kind of garbage. Then you’ve got people like Kirill, who are open and ecumenical and intelligent, because he’s got an education. Then you’ve got kind of a middle group that’s very conservative but not frothing at the mouth. Kirill’s group is a very small minority. The patriarch is a juggler trying to keep all these balls in the air.

Do you agree that the central problem is the papacy?
Of course. What we’ve made out of the papacy is simply ridiculous. There’s no possible justification in the New Testament or anyplace else for what we’ve made out of the papacy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in a Petrine ministry. I believe that Rome has inherited that Petrine ministry. But there’s no reason on God’s earth why the pope should be appointing the bishop of Peoria. None whatsoever. So we really need a devolution, a decentralization. The Catholic church has become so big that we need some kind of a synodal structure in the West the same way you have in the East. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ought to be a kind of synod of Catholic bishops in the United States. They ought to be able to elect the bishops. Leave Rome a veto, if you want. By the way, this would be no guarantee of better bishops. The notion that the locals will necessarily pick better people than Rome is obviously false, as anybody who knows the East understands. But at least people will see these guys as their bishops and not Rome’s. Make your own bed and sleep in it. The pope could say: ‘You don’t like the archbishop of New York? Hey, I didn’t name him.’

Given all the hassles, is there a case for simply forgetting about dialogue with the Orthodox?
The Catholic church never calls anybody else a “church” if they don’t have an episcopate. In that strict sense of the term, the Russian Orthodox is the largest church in the world after the Catholic church. To ignore them would be like the United States’ policy on China for so many years. There are a billion people over there, and the U.S. tried to pretend they don’t exist. How stupid can you be? So we’ve got to come to terms with Moscow, but they also have to come to terms with us. Like it or lump it.

So, tough love is your approach.
Absolutely. That was one of the problems of the Secretariat of Christian Unity under Willebrands. When the Orthodox would say something outrageous, they would make remonstrances privately, but never did anything appear in public. You can’t do it that way. That makes them think they’re getting away with it. It’s got to be front page, in your face. We shouldn’t have a Catholic bishop in Moscow? Well, let’s see, there’s a Russian Orthodox metropolitan in Brussels, to say nothing of Paris, of London. Up to a while ago, there were three Orthodox bishops in Oxford. All of the Orthodox in Oxford you could fit into a telephone booth. You’ve got to challenge this sort of nonsense.

Holy cow, I think this man managed to offend approximately 30% of the world in this interview.

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Great quote


from Amy Welborn

I'm waiting for someone to coin that word [embryphilia]. One of the many out there who sneer at certain parties' fixation with those damn clumps of cells while gosh, there are people starving in Darfur and Uganda.

(Side note: In my experience, most of the care for the starving ex-embryos seems to come out of traditions that insist on respecting the embryos. It's an odd, stubborn and mysterious connection, don't you think?)

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Pope Benedict on feeding the world

It is one of the basic services that men of good will must give to mankind. The earth has, in fact, the capacity to feed all its inhabitants, on the condition that rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to everyone.

Our world is faced with many challenges that it must surmount so that man will always be more important than technology, and the just destiny of peoples is the main concern of those who have accepted to administer public affairs, not for themselves, but for the common good. Our heart cannot be in peace when we see our brothers suffer for lack of food, work, housing or other fundamental goods.


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Way to go

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Happy Birthday, Swee-Pea!

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Today is my boy Matthew's 1st birthday! Hard to believe that this, this, this and this were one year ago.

So what did we get our son for his birthday? Well, we got him the usual clothes and toys and books, but the best gift we could offer our son is a sibling, and that is a gift I am proud to say we will be giving him, though this particular gift will not be arriving until around December 19th.

if you happen by here today, would you please say a prayer for Matthew and our family?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!
St. Matthew, pray for us!
St. Boniface, pray for us!

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To be listened to later


Gotta run to work. I'm posting this now so I don't forget about it.

George Wiegel appearing on BBC - Real Audio.

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Two researchers from the Heritage foundation have debunked a claim publicized by the media earlier this year that teens who pledge abstinence acquire STDs at the same rates as others.

Hat-tip Lifesite News.

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Pope frustrates editors


CNS: "Not many sound bites: New pope's discourses defy simplistic headlines"

As one veteran wire service reporter recently lamented in the Vatican press office, the new pope is hard to write about because short citations don't do justice to his complex arguments. You can't just cherry-pick quotes.

That was especially true when the pope spoke about the family to a packed Basilica of St. John Lateran. His 3,000-word speech was a seminar, not a tirade.

It began with an explanation of the "anthropological foundation" of the family and moved on to outline three sets of connections that give the family meaning: the relationship between God and man, between the body and the spirit, and between personal freedom and the concept of fidelity.

When these relationships are forgotten, he said, the result is a false idea of freedom -- an "anarchic freedom" -- that gives rise to various forms of marriage dissolution, such as cohabitation, 'trial' marriage and gay marriage.

He said the idea that freedom is simply the right to "do what one wants with oneself" ends up trivializing the human being and making the human body a secondary instrument of pleasure.

The pope also underlined the idea that the promises made in marriage have always had a public aspect, making it a core social institution. The generation of children in marriage flows from the natural desire not just to produce babies but also to give them the love provided by a family, he said.

If I were a headline writer, I'd call this one: "Theologian Pope too smart for journalists."

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NPR bemoans Italian vote


The piece begins with a reporter mournfully announcing that "Italy will retain one of the world's most restrictive laws on assisted fertility."

NPR correspondent Sylvia Poggioli reports that Italian bishops "with the endorsement of Pope Benedict XVI, openly campaigned in parishes and through the media" for voters to abstain.

Daniele Capenzone, leader of the Radical Party (which was the main promoter of the referendum), laments, "We lost, We lost heavily... I fear that what prevailed was indifference or mistrust in the possibility to change things."

The report claims Italian analysts are citing "referendum fatigue" as a factor, since no referendum in 10 years has elicited a majority turnout.

Another Italian political analyst Sergio Romano goes on record condescendingly claiming that the Italians - afraid of progress - in effect stuck their thumbs in their mouths and ran to a medieval Church ready to capitalize on the ignorant, techno-phobic peasantry:

"There is no doubt that people are disconcerted, uncertain, they have anxieties and that sort of thing, and it is possible that in such a psychological state they turn to the Church and they are ready to listen to the Church."

Poggioli then reports how "in the last several weeks, the Italian Catholic Church has been very vocal. Leaflets saying 'Life cannot be put to a vote' were distributed in Churches." Of course, she pronounces "Life cannot be put to a vote" in a mock authoritarian voice.

Romano then makes another appearance to accuse the Church of interference.

"But when the Church tells you exactly what kind of an electoral strategy Italian citizens should adopt, this is interference in my opinion. People who abstain just gave the Church a victory."

Notice what theory is not mentioned? That the Church actually succeeded in helping people to clearly see the moral issues and the best way to avoid supporting one immoral law over another was to abstain? Any other explanation is considered plausible except for this one.

Interestingly enough, Poggioli points out that Italy's abortions laws conflict with the fertility statues in effect that recognize the legal rights of embryos, and that many of the forces that supported this referendum are worried that the country's abortion laws are the next target. This is scare mongering of course, as no country in western Europe has any sort of pro-life movement strong enough to overturn liberal abortion laws.

Notice what happened: IVF is still legal in Italy. The end result of the failed referendum is that the laws won't be loosened to allow even more reckless creation and destruction of life and to allow non-traditional families to articially conceive

The status quo - creation and destruction of life still being legal - is hailed as a Vatican victory (even though, remember, no referendum in TEN Years has garnered a majority turnout) and social anarchists squeal that next the Pope will take away their rights to stop their unborn children's hearts.

What really happened I cannot say. But surely there is some middle ground here. What I don't get is why anybody is surprised that Italy - a nation that has rejected the truth about the family and children and is terrified of reproducing - didn't feel very strongly about a law that would result in more children.

That said, I do believe that there has been a tremendous outpouring of grace with the the passage of Pope John Paul and the election of Pope Benedict. I believe that the events and the hoopla forced people to pay attention to the Church, and that the Holy Spirit - being God - is fairly adept at taking advantage of the slightest openings of hearts to enter and convert them, and we may have seen the first fruits of that conversion here. Yes, there are many factors that make it hard to tell just how much a change of heart was responsible instead of voter apathy, but even if the effect of the Church;s efforts was slight, it's a sign of progress, and that is something to be celebrated.

UPDATE: Sandro Magister gives the Church a great deal of credit. Check out his piece for a more in-depth look at how Cardinal Ruini and others mobilized to spread awareness and get the Church's message out. He also looks briefly at the next battleground in the culture war: Spain.

UPDATE: John Allen has more analysis in this week's Word from Rome.

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Uh-oh spaghettios

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Get a hold of yourself

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I listened to this NPR interview with Christian Bale because I used to be somewhat of a Batman junkie and I'm contemplating wheher this new Batman is one I want to see.
The NPR host interviewing him is a woman who seems perversely interested in Christian Bale's body:

"I mean, your arms, man... they're the size of a lot of people's waists"

A few minutes later:

"So you've had several different, like, extremely different bodies for your movies, do you lose sight at any point about what your actual body is?"

Then, this question, asked excitedly, I dare say even hopefully:

"And what happens to all the muscles you put on for Batman? Do you have to keep working out to keep them?

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Peggy Noonan ably defends PBS


I think she's very right. Arts, yes; politics, no.

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Pray for our bishies


The Us Bishops are meeting in Chicago this weekend. Please pray for Wisdom to be with them as they discuss how to shepherd a particularly unruly flock.

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At yesterday's general audience...


...apparently, the Pope began chatting on a cell phone that was handed to him by a disabled man. The man had a terminally ill friend on the other end. How cool is that?

[UPDATE: Apparently, it was "Sister Maria Cristina, a sick nun from the town of Angri in southern Italy."]

Side note: I hope people realize that this was a terminally ill nun on the other end of the line. It would be silly to see every Joe Pilgrim coming through the Vatican trying to give the pope a phone just to talk to "my friend Sara, who, like, totally wanted to be here."

Anyway, here is the English translation of his address from Zenit, and here is a sample:

The importance of God's loving glance is revealed in the second part of the Psalm, characterized by the invocation: "Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us" (Psalm 122[123]:3). It is in continuity with the end of the first part, where confident expectation is confirmed, "our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he have mercy upon us" (verse 2).

The faithful are in need of God's intervention because they are in a painful situation of contempt and derision by proud people. The image the Psalmist now uses is that of satiety: "We have had more than enough of contempt. Too long our soul has been sated with the scorn of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud" (verses 3-4).

To the traditional biblical satiety of food and years, regarded as a sign of divine blessing, is now opposed an intolerable satiety composed of an excessive load of humiliations. And we know that today many nations, many individuals are full of worries; they are too satiated with the worries of the satisfied, the contempt of the arrogant. Let us pray for them and let us help these humiliated brothers of ours.

For this reason, the just have entrusted their cause to the Lord, and he is not indifferent to those imploring eyes, he does not ignore their invocation or ours, nor does he disappoint their hope.

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Legal advice for Bloggers


Every blogger should probably check out this site - just not all at once.

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Newsflash: The Pope Shepherds


"Benedict XVI less conservative, more pastoral than expected" from the Pittsburgh Post-gazette (hat-tip Annunciations again.

It's a fair analysis, but can anybody tell me what the section labeled "health care" actually has to do with health?

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Chaldean Patriarch visits US


From The Michigan Catholic (hat-tip: Annunciations.

In the Iraq War, Patriarch Delly said both Christians and Muslims suffered, and there was damage to both Christian and Muslim places of worship. In the war's aftermath, both Christians and Muslims continue to suffer because of the lack of security, he said.

On the one hand, he said a positive aspect of the new situation is that Christians – though still a tiny minority – no longer consider themselves second-class citizens.

"We feel one family, Christians and Muslims. That is one positive point, that now the Christians feel that they are really part of Iraq, and that they are citizens of the first class," he said.

But despite good relations between Christians and Muslims, Chaldean Christians continue to leave Iraq, the partriarch continued. While under Saddam Hussein, young men would leave to avoid being drafted into the army, then later help family members join them in their new country, now families are leaving because of the unsettled security situation.

"We are doing everything (to discourage it), but it is not possible at this point. It continues, but it is not only among the Christians, not just among the Chaldeans, but among all the Iraqi population that people are leaving. We feel this especially, because we are a minority," Patriarch Delly said.

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Beliefnet profiles Zimbabwean archbishop


Archbishop Pius Ncube does not mince words. Here is what he had to say about "President" Robert Mugabe:

“He [Mugabe] does not apply his faith to his political governance of the country," says Ncube. "He totally ignores it. He is hypocritical when it comes to that. Here is a man who goes to Mass, receives Holy Communion, and speaks at church meetings but yet he does not respect basic human rights. He goes to justify himself...”

“As far as I am concerned he [Mugabe] is a total failure as far as the application of human rights is concerned," says Ncube. "He has been rigging elections left, right, and center, parliamentary elections in 2000 and 2005, and presidential elections in 2002. He has totally rigged them and thereby shown himself to be untruthful. He has been killing innocent people through the Fifth Brigade [infamous North Korean-trained soldiers, loyal to the regime]. He is a murderer. He gets zero as far as human rights are concerned.”

We pray that God may take him, because there is no way to change him, We do not want him to be removed violently but on the other hand we have a right to pray. The Israelites prayed to God to deliver them from Egypt--from Pharoah, who was an oppressor. And so we also ask that God may deliver us and take this man away, since he is even going to rig the ballot. He is a bad guy, and you cannot change anything legally. He has no respect for the law, no respect for human life; people can starve to death and he will not care. In my view, it is justified that we pray to God to take him.”

Whoa mama.

Full story.

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Last week's general audience


In my continuing effort to get my inbox cleaned out, here's the Zenit translation of last week's general audience.

A taste:

Psalm 110(111) is sealed at the end by the contemplation of the divine countenance, of the Lord's person, expressed through his holy and transcendent "name." Then, quoting a sapiential saying (see Proverbs 1:7;9:10;15:33), the Psalmist invites the faithful to cultivate "fear of the Lord" (Psalm 110[111]:10), the beginning of wisdom. Fear and terror are not concealed under this term, but earnest and sincere respect, which is the fruit of love, genuine and active adherence to the liberating God. And, if the first word of the song was thanksgiving, the last is praise: As the saving righteousness of the Lord "endures forever" (verse 3), so the gratitude of the Psalmist is incessant, it resounds in prayer "forever" (verse 10).

In sum, the Psalm invites us at the end to discover all the good things the Lord gives us every day. We see more easily the negative aspects of our life. The Psalm invites to see the positive also, the many gifts we receive, and so find gratitude, as only a grateful heart can celebrate worthily the liturgy of thanksgiving, the Eucharist.

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Way to go Dusty


One of your top pitching prospects steps in for your injured aces and pitches a 5-hit shutout. How do you encourage the youngster?

Baker laughed off a suggestion that Mitre could replace either one of Chicago's injured aces, Kerry Wood or Mark Prior.

"The horses are the horses,'' Baker said. "He's not a horse yet, he's a little pony trying to be a horse. He'll be a horse someday.''

Real nice. Why don't you just pick up an axe and have at his knees?

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IQ test

Your IQ Is 130
Your Logical Intelligence is Genius Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius Your General Knowledge is Above Average

I'm positive that I got at least one, maybe both of the last two wrong.

I'm waiting to see how Mama-Lu does because she beat me by one point on the last IQ test.

Please note "Quick and dirty" thankfully doesn't mean anything bad.

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So much for serial monogamy


UK Observer: Now sex with other people doesn't mean you're unfaithful

When Ali Sheik met Tori Coxon they knew that they had something. Ali, 33, from south London, and Tori, 27, from north London, hit it off straight away and within a month were seeing each other four or five times a week.

It looked like the perfect relationship apart from one snag - the couple carried on 'seeing' other people for six months into the relationship.

'That is how it is these days,' said Ali, who thinks it is 'unusual' for people to decide they want monogamy within a few weeks. He said that up to the end of the year he had casual encounters with other women and Tori was fine about it....

New research has revealed that Ali and Tori are not alone. 'The Infidelity Report' carried out by the Consumer Analysis Group to mark the launch of the film Closer on DVD, revealed that one-third of people think people were made to stray, over three-quarters consider infidelity more common than ever and nearly as many find it increasingly acceptable.

Nearly a third of over 1,000 respondents didn't consider infidelity in a short-term relationship as 'being unfaithful' - a mindset that has been imported from the New York dating scene. There it is becoming more normal to try out multiple partners - sometimes at the same time - before settling on one.

So much for the Enlightenment. The supremacy of human reasoning seems to be losing out to the basest animal impulses. Is it any wonder that somewhere between a quarter and a third of my age cohort have already had an STD in their lives?

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Michael Cook evaluates the late Pope's legacy with regards to AIDS on the African continent.

A sample:

Superimposing maps of prevalence of AIDS on prevalence of Catholicism is enough to sink the link between the Catholic Church and AIDS. In the hospice which is Swaziland nowadays, only about 5 per cent of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37 per cent of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4 per cent of the population is Catholic. In South Africa, 22 per cent of the population is HIV infected, and only 6 per cent is Catholic. But in Uganda, with 43 per cent of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4 per cent (9).

In fact, without the Catholic Church the situation might be much worse. The AIDS disaster in Africa weighed heavily on the Pope. Ten years ago he appealed to "the world's scientists and political leaders, moved by the love and respect due to every human person, to use every means available in order to put an end to this scourge" (10). And Catholics have responded.

About 27 per cent of health care for HIV/AIDS victims is provided by Church organisations and Catholic NGOs, as even The Lancet has acknowledged (11). They form a vast network of clinics which reach the poorest, most remote and most neglected people in Africa.

These statistics suggest that the true story may be quite the opposite to the tune sung by the media: that Catholic observance may, in fact, be the best prophylactic.

His conclusion:

There is a political answer. A slick campaign to discredit the Pope and the traditional teachings of their Church has been operational for several years. A pro-abortion rights group called Catholics for a Free Choice (CFC) launched an international PR drive in December 2001 to promote their view that "good Catholics use condoms". Advertisements in the US, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Chile and Zimbabwe were intended to mark "the first phase of an effort to change the Vatican's policy and challenge its aggressive lobbying against availability and access to condoms in areas of the world most at risk" (19). Subsequent media coverage, at least in the UK, has reflected the major themes of CFC's ideology.

But on a deeper level, Catholic beliefs about sexuality clash with what John Paul II called a "pathology of the spirit". As an example of this, take Polly Toynbee's claim that "contraception is women's true saviour". The Pope looked to a different saviour. He knew that technology cannot repair the wounded human condition. It cannot inject self-restraint; it cannot infuse respect for others; it cannot manufacture a sense of responsibility. The only lasting salvation comes not from a pill or a latex tube but from a conversion of heart. A technical patch will leave Africa's acute problems of gender inequality, poverty, low education and social disruption unsolved. And without fixing these, the AIDS problem is sure to get worse.

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AP looks at Catholic-Orthodox relations

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It'a a pretty good piece with decent reporting. I did not previously know that there are some ill feelings among some of the Orthodox towards the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. It's not surprising, I just have never come across it before.

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The Simple Life

June 20 issue - In the photo, Agnes Long looks drop-dead gorgeous. She's on vacation at the Jersey shore with her husband. He is tall, tan and trim; she wears a zebra-stripe bikini, a floppy hat and sunglasses. The sea breeze has blown her platinum hair across her face and she is smiling. The picture says it all. In the mid-1970s, Agnes Long was a happily married, affluent, middle-aged woman with three children and a weakness for expensive clothes.

Today, Agnes Long is a Roman Catholic hermit. She lives alone in a thickly wooded section of Madeline Island, in northern Wisconsin. Her beloved husband is dead; she hasn't seen her children in years. She wakes before dawn, prays throughout the day, eats small meals, works outside, makes religious paintings, and rises in the middle of the night to pray. Although she sees people when she drives her little truck to the grocery store or to mass, she has no one you might call a friend. And though she answers her phone when it rings, she doesn't often engage in what you would call conversation. "I feel that my whole life has been in preparation for where God has me now," she says, as she slips the old photo back into the pages of her prayer book. "When you go into solitude, you find out who you really are.

Full stoy from MSNBC/Newsweek.

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Cleaning out my Inbox


Thanks to John Bambenek for giving me one of his spare monitors so I can be back in business.

Lots of links accumulated since my computer woes began, so I'll just put them up here.

From a couple of weeks ago: Zenit interviews Fr. Richard John Neuhaus about the Pope.

Where IVF is taking us
The Denver Post reports that a Danish sperm bank is selling donor sperm in New York, marketing them as "Viking babies." Although the article mentions the eugenic implications, nobody seems terribly bothered by the notion.

Scandinavian Cryobank says it is the first international sperm seller in the United States. Claus Rodgaard is the manager and chief executive of its two-person Manhattan office. He smiles up at blond, blue-eyed babies in oversized photos on the walls who look, well, just like him.

"They are just so damn cute," he said.

I seem to remember another guy who was enamored with blond hair and blue eyes and pushed eugenics... now who was that?

The BBC reports that scientists are currently researching new birth control pills that will specifically target already conceived children by making it impossible for them to implant. All birth control pills already do this, but they are trying to focus on this specific form of preventing pregnancy because of the many health risks that come from screwing with a woman's body. The artile refers to is as a birth control pill, but make no mistake, this will be nothing other than an abortion pill.

"A Special Kind of Journalism"

Sandro Magister analyses the Vatican's media arms and the journalists who cover the Vatican. Absolutely fascinating in an info-geek sort of way.

Friend and reader Rob emailed with this piece on the Cubs from a Sports Illustrated blog: The Magic of Lowered Expectations.

Positive thinking is a negative in Chicago: A-List ball players be warned, come to the Windy City and your career suffers, B-list ball players come to Chicago and you become a star, at least for a couple of weeks.

So, I am taking this chance to thank the Cubs who have given me the slightest glimmer of hope recently, because I am sure that I will soon return to my angry ways when the Cubs get swept by Toronto and the Red Sox (see, never think positive)...

Rusch, Rusch to the rescue: I would like to kiss Jim Hendry on the forehead for re-signing Mr. Rusch. During the preseason Rusch was slated for long relief, and possible fill-in starter. Joe Borowski was hit in the hand with a liner during preseason, knocking him out of the closers role. LaTroy Hawkins stepped in and bombed, leaving Ryan Dempster to move to the pen. Enter Rusch.

More pressure was heaped on the lefty when Wood went down because of his "violent mechanics" and then Prior returned to the DL. So how has Rusch done as a fill in? He leads the team with five wins (5-1 overall) and a 1.96 ERA. So with $13 million worth of pitching on the bench (Wood: $9.5, Prior: $3.5) this $2 million guy is getting it done.

Jeromy Burnitz: I set the bar pretty low for him. All I wanted out of right field was a better performance than Sosa would give in Baltimore and thus far Burnitz has achieved that. He betters Sosa in average by 20 points, doubles his RBIs (Burnitz: 34, Sosa: 17), and has more homers. Burnitz also has managed to stay healthy thus far, and not sneezed hard enough to land on the DL. Well done!

I added those last three paragraphs because they mirror pretty closely what I said here and here.

Gotta get to work... more tomorrow.

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Blogging will be light nonexistent


until I get a new monitor. I had been using a laptop (which ran tediously slowly), but it went caput yesterday. Bah!

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"No alternatives" to the Family

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In order to give a truly human face to society, no one can ignore the precious gift of the family, based on matrimony. The marriage bond, in which man and woman together constitute a life-long association, ordered by its very nature for the good of the spouses and the generation and education of children, is the basis of the family, the heritage and shared wealth of humanity. Thus the Church cannot cease to announce that, in accordance with God's plans, marriage and the family are irreplaceable and admit no alternatives.
- Pope Benedict XVI (courtesy of Vatican Information Services)
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Sacred Heart of Jesus


Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

At Mass today, the Alleluia verse refers to Matthew 11:29 - "Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

I was struck by this particular line, and so I did a text search for the word "heart" in the New Testament, and sure enough, this is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus refers to his heart.

When we think of the Sacred Heart, we think of it pierced and bleeding, and maybe we think of the triumph of the Sacred Heart over sin and death.

How often do we think of the Sacred Heart as "gentle and lowly?"

Every victory that Christ won for us, He won through his meekness. By subjecting Himself to be as a "slave," He gained his exaltation.

Correct each other we must, rage against sin and evil we must and hate the devil we certainly must. While we do these things, however, we are also called to imitate Christ in his meekness. This is one of our greatest challenges as Christians.


In addition, this is a special feast day for my family, as we are consecrated to the Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful devotion, about which you may read more here.

I also found two links (1 and 2)with enthronement rituals similar to what we used.

Our consecration is renewed daily with this prayer, which we recite at dinner after the usual Catholic prayer before meals.

Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, we renew our pledge of love and loyalty to You. Keep us always close to Your loving Heart and to the most pure Heart of Your mother, Mary.

May we love one another more and more each day, forgiving each other's faults as You forgive our sins. Teach us how to see You in those we meet outside our home.

Please help us keep our love for You always strong by frequent Mass and Communion.

Thank You, dear Jesus, King and Friend of our family, for all the blessings of this day. Protect us during this night. Help us all to get to Heaven. Amen.

V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
R. Thy Kingdom come

V. Immaculate Heart of Mary,
R. Pray for our family

V. St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart
R. Pray for us!

V. Our patron saints and guardian angels,
R. Pray for us


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Dziwisz to Krakow!

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From Vatican Information Services


VATICAN CITY, JUN 3, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, Dziwisz.jpg adjunct prefect of the Pontifical Household, as metropolitan archbishop of Krakow (area 5,730, population 1,618,593, Catholics 1,566,555, priests 2,026, religous 4,841), Poland. The metropolitan archbishop-elect was born in Raba Wyzna, Poland, in 1939. From 1966 to 1978 he acted as private secretary to Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow and, following the latter's election as Pope John Paul II, continued to act as his private secretary throughout his pontificate from 1978 to 2005. He was ordained a bishop by John Paul II in 1998 and elevated to the dignity of archbishop in 2003. He succeeds Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

Count one more red hat at the next consistory.

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There are a few comments I wish to reply to, but I simply don't have the time right now. With a fried monitor, I'm reduced to using an ancient laptop which is slow as all heck. Additionally, I have a wedding to attend this weekend, so I don't expect to get to these at all until next week, and by then my motivation may very well be gone.

Regardless, I appreciate the comments, even if I don't agree with them.

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The Eagles


If you're a big fan of the Eagles, you may wish to skip this post, as I ruined Mama-Lu's appreciation of their concert with my observation.

During their 9-11 tribute song, I couldn't help but remark that they sounded like a boy-band. It was in a partly jokingly manner that I made the initial observation until the key change about 3/4 of the way through the song that sounded straight out of 98 Degrees.

Many of the remaining songs fleshed out the creepy resemblance. I'll never listen to the Eagles in the same way again...

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Mama-Lu on the American Church


"If the Orthodox Church is the right lung, and the Catholic Church is the left lung, then the American Church is the black lung."

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My vote for MVP

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Glendon Rusch pitches in the first of inning of his 4-0 shutout last night

Glendon Rusch, who pitched a 4-hit shutout against the Western Division leading San Diego Padres is, in my opinion (and even more in that of my wife), the Cubs' MVP for the past two seasons. He has dutily performed every task the Cubs have asked him to do. Whether it be providing a steady arm in the bullpen, filling in with a spot start here and there, or dropping into the rotation for a spell to fill-in for an injury, he has delivered every time. I don't think I've ever seen a player be so quietly valuable to a team.

Check out these stats:

5 W, 1 L, 55 IP, 10 ER, 40 K, 24 BB, 1.96 ERA

Just one homer in 55 innings. 40 strikeouts. I think he's one of the most underrated pitchers in the majors.

Here are his stats in his six starts:

3 W, 1 L, 39.2 IP, 8 ER, 29 K, 14 BB, 1.82 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

The only blight for Rusch this season is the high number of walks, but he made up for that by only giving up 31 hits in these six starts. His worst start was his first, where he only went 4 2/3 innings and gave up 8 hits. Even then, he only gave up two earned runs. In no start has he given up more than two earned runs, and he's given up just two total in his last three starts, covering 24 innings.

Please extend this man's contract.

How about them Cubbies? Does anybody think that maybe the Central Division is way stronger than anybody thinks? The Cubs have struggled all year, until they head out West to play these supposedly strong teams, and then it's lights out, even though they're missing about 40% of their pitching staff. Although suppose maybe the West just ain't up to snuff.

Joyful as I am with our seven game winning streak, how frustrating is it when your two most bitter rivals, the two teams that bring that taste of bile to Cubs fans mouths, also happen to have the two best records in the Major Leagues. Grrrr....

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Bleggars can't be choosers

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So... Tuesday morning I'm typing away at my computer and I hear a sudden pop, my monitor goes black, and a few seconds later I smell smoke, like a capgun.

Is that bad?

OK, I know it's bad, but my question is, is it even something I can take to a repair guy and get fixed, or am I SOL here? It is used to be a really nice monitor, and I'd hate for it to be gone for good... (sniff).

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Yesterday's General Audience


Here is the Zenit translation of Pope Benedict's General Audience yesterday.

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Alphabetized for easy perusal


Alphabet Meme - Like I have nothing better to do.

A is for Age - 28 years young, regardless of what they may have you think.

B is for Booze - YES! Any and all! I love beer, wine, spirits, the whole blessed idea of alcoholic beverages. If forced to choose favorites, here we go... Spirits: Vodka (especially citrus vodka) and many drinks that contain vodka, such as Black Russians, Vodka tonic, and Citron and lemonade, Gin (mmm, Sapphire) and Tonic. Beer: Erdinger & Guiness. Wine: White Bordeaux, yum! and some South American wines I've tried that are top-rate.

C is for Career - Nothing glamorous, I work for a large corporation's trucking fleet making sure we get paid for everything we do. I'm also a part-time student hoping to eventually become a CPA.

D is for Dad’s name - Angel, those who know him may appreciate the irony.

E is for Essential items to bring to a party - beer and good cheer.

F is for Favorite song at the moment - Geez, I don't know, haven't listened to much music for a while. Although the Led Zeppelin song they play for Cadillac commercials makes me want to get up and dance every time. Hoo-oo yea! Hoo-oo yeah!

G is for Golf? - I've never had the slightest inclination to try it. Mini-golf is OK by me.

H is for Hometown - North Side of Chi-Town, Lakeview neighborhood specifically. I currently dwell in Champaign, IL.

I is for Instrument you [used to] play - Percussion

J is for Jam or Jelly you like - Blackberry (I love all thngs blackberry)

K is for Kids - Two (if you've read this far, you deserve to know even though I haven't made the "formal" blog annoucnement yet). 11 1/2 month old Matthew Boniface and conceived-less-than three months ago Baby-Lu #2!

L is for Living arrangement - Two bedroom apartment on the second (practically third) floor.

M is for Mom’s name - Carmen

N is for Names of best friends - Mama-Lu!

O is for overnight hospital stays - two, one when I had my first asthma attack in third grade, another when I ripped up my knee in high school and had what I call the "hat-trick surgery" ligaments, cartilage and a tendon had all snapped.

P is for Phobias - None really. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Although yesterday I did confess to Mama-Lu that I have a recurring fer every time I change Matthew's poopy diaper that he's going to crawl over to the dirty diaper and play with his poop.

Q is for Quote you like - Not my favorite all time, but I just came across this over the weekend while finising Dumas' The Three Musketeers:
“Do you know,” said Porthos, “that to twist that damned Milady’s neck would be a smaller sin than to twist those of these poor devils of Huguenots, who have committed no other crime than singing in French the psalms we sing in Latin?”

R is for Relationship that lasted longest - That would have to be with my wife of 1 3/4 years.

S is for Siblings - older brother and older sister

T is for Television? - Only when necessary - there's nothing I really like or commit myself to watching regularly. All my favorite shows are syndicated: Cosby, the Simpsons (well, I guess that one's still around) Cheers, All in the Family.

U is for Unique trait - my left is ear is slightly clipped on the top, into a slightly elvish shape, just like my late grandma's was. We were born that way, it's not some crazy Caribbean ritual.

V if for Vegetable you love - since being married, I discovered I love Zuchs. Mama-Lu fried them in olive oil. Yum!

W is for Worst trait - LAZY! My ideal day is any day I don't have to change out of my jammies (now you see why blogging appeals to me)

X - is for XRays you’ve had - knee (see "O" for details), chest (asthma), left pinky finger (sliced on broken glass bottle), right ring finger (sliced on broken coffee mug - yes, I'm that brilliant)

Y is for Yummy food you make - Mama-Lu loves my schnitzel and my pancakes. I am also master of the grill, but, well, that doesn't count for much. I once remarked that grilling is a sham that makes men feel accomplished for no good reason. I simply stand there and watch the meat get dark. I can't really mess it up at all. In the meantime, Jenny is racing around the kitchen making side salads or kabobs to go with my slabs of meat. Who am I kidding?

Z is for Zodiac sign - Aquarius

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Joseph the Realtor

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Jimmy Akin blogs a question from a reader about burying a St. Joseph statue upside down in your yard to sell your house. Yes indeed, this is a superstitious practice, and not something I condone (although I heartily recommend asking St. Joseph for his prayers if you're trying to sell). Nevertheless, I worked in a Catholic gift/bookstore once, and one item which we could not stock enough of was a St. Joseph home-sale kit. Fortunately, the package clearly stated that the superstitious practice was wrong and the prayer should be done out of devotion. I know superstitions are not spiritually healthy, but every time we sold one, I hoped that Joseph would also pray for a continuing conversion of the purchaser.

Oh, I just rechecked Jimmy's blog, and it looks like there is a debate over whether this is a superstitious practice or not. Folks, it is. There's no way to get around it. An individual might not understand that it's superstitious, and may do it out of pious devotion, but it's still superstitious and it would be far better to practice a more traditional devotion (praying a novena, lighting a candle, consecrating your firstborn to the priesthood, slaughtering goats) in petition for your intention.

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OK, just one more

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From Feminine Genius: Condom and Cervical Cancer

Here, Abigail Tardiff points us to a Planned Parenthood article downplaying the risks of the human papilloma virus.

HPV — the human papilloma virus — is the most widespread sexually transmitted infection in the world. In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million people have genital HPV, and more than five million people contract it each year. Right-wing ideologues have used these numbers to make HPV seem like the country's next sexual health epidemic, and have twisted facts about the spread of HPV to discredit condom use. What they won't admit is that most HPV infections are completely harmless, and that the numbers reveal just one thing — how common, and very normal, it is to have HPV.

Got that? Your STD is completely normal. So wait a second, I've never had an STD in my life. Am I a freak?

What a clear example of Satan's goal of calling evil good.

Anyway, the article goes on to persuade us how harmless and normal genital warts are. I'm sure the next article will tell us it's actually cool to have genital warts.

Next the article admits that some forms of HPV have been shown to be associated with cervical cancer and that condoms don't fully protect against PV because it is trasmitted by skin to skin conatct. Their two-fold solution?

But today, only one in 1,000 women who contract cancer-related HPV will develop full-blown cervical cancer. This is because many women know how to prevent cervical cancer with proper health care — including annual Pap tests and regular use of condoms.

That's right, the way to avoid getting cancer that condoms can't fully protect you against is to:

  1. not get cancer
  2. use condoms

Does any anti-lung cancer literature focus on detection and treatment without mentioning quitting smoking as prevention? Do we tell over-eaters to blow chunks to prevent heart attacks without suggesting they not eat so much? Of course not! And who would take seriously anybody who did? We intuitively know that the far better answer is to decrease or cut out altogether the behavior that causes the consequences. But to Planned Parenthood, it is unthinkable to propose that the answer to preventing the natural results of casual sex is to decrease or cut out the detrimental behavior. In their minds, irresponsible sexual behavior can be totally dissociated from the natural consequence of contracting disease.

As Tardiff points out, over 5,000,000 women a year contract HPV. Even though not every strain causes cervical cancer, that's still an enormous scale, even at the rate of just one in a thousand developing cancer. In addition, those rates are rising.

Finally, she adds this nugget:

What I do not see on this Planned Parenthood page is a reminder that both precancerous conditions of the cervix and their treatment, which can destroy the cervix's ability to produce the mucus necessary for sperm mobility, can lead to infertility.

Planned Parenthood says you should not be afraid of contracting HPV because there's only a 0.1% chance it will give you cancer. The fact that there is a far greater chance that you will never be able to have children because of the virus does not even enter into their moral framework.

This is even more insidious in light of the article blogged earlier which points out that having babies provides stropng protections against many other forms of cancer.

These people want to teach your children the birds and the bees.

Coincidentally, Alicia blogs an HPV fact sheet.

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Two more from "Feminine Genius"

  1. Marxist roots of feminism
    For those interested in the Marxist underpinnings of feminism, this article helps to connect the dots, though it is ponderous and difficult. Suffice to to say that feminism is best understood as the last step of the dialectic, though they seldom reveal this dimension of their strategy to the public at-large. Remember, the proletariat (producers) were to attack those who owned the means of production to create the workers paradise? Well, after that, there was another stage in which the women (re-producers) were to attack the men (who controlled the means of re-production) in order to bring about an androgynous society without sexual inhibitions. That's the part of the struggle we're "enjoying" now. Without understanding the philosophy, it's hard to get a real handle on what radical feminists want. It also explains their blind eye towards leftist dictatorships (which often harbor total sexual liberty, abortion, etc.) and fierceness towards right-wing dictatorships (which often maintain traditional male-female differences).

  2. Fatherless America

    Genevieve Kineke points us to this column by Phyllis Schafly which, Kineke comments, "is right on target about why government programs are working at cross-purposes with the needs of children, whose fathers are nudged out of the picture for the sake of added welfare benefits."

    An excerpt from the article:

    The states have powerful incentives to separate fathers from their children, to give near-total custody to mothers, to maintain the fathers' high-level support obligations even if their income is drastically reduced, and to hang onto the father's payments as long as possible before paying them out to the mothers. The General Accounting Office reported that in 2002 states were holding $657 million in UDC (Undistributed Child Support).

    Incidentally, my dear Illinois residents, our illustrious governor just raided the state's child support fund of $1.1 million to support their budget. Thanks, Rod!

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Pray for Priests


This Friday is, in addition to the Feast of the Sacred heart of Jesus, the World Day of Prayer for Sanctification of Priests. Here is the Congregation for the Clergy's document to mark the occasion, courtesy of Zenit:

Eucharist, Priesthood and Ecclesial Communion

1. The Legacy of John Paul II and the Exhortation of Benedict XVI

The church events which we have lived through during the month of April of this Year of the Eucharistic (2005) have been an unrepeatable grace in our Christian and priestly lives. Pope John Paul II has left us a priestly inheritance with his Holy Thursday letter to priests of 14 March 2005, which is a synthesis of his previous documents on priesthood. Pope Benedict XVI has called us to live this Year of the Eucharist rediscovering the friendship of Christ and making it the key of our priestly existence (Discourse to the Parish Priests of Rome, 13 May 2005).

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I'm speechless...

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Was Jesus an embryo?

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Beliefnet asks some of its contributors to weigh in.

The great thing about being Catholic is we know that the answer is yes. The Incarnation happened at the Annunciation. Jesus, like all of us, was knit together in His mother's womb, known by God even then.

The Church constantly teaches throughout the ages that Christ assumed our humanity in its entirety, at all stages, even the tiniest.

This seems like a good moment to recommend John Saward's Redeemer in the Womb, a splendid meditation on the nine months Jesus spent in Mary's womb. He draws from writings of Catholic and Orthodox saints and theologians throughout the centuries to portray the humble beauty of Christ's earliest Redeeming acts as understood in the tradition of East and West. I especially recommend reading it as an Advent meditation.

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Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for May


VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of June is: "That our society should, with concrete acts of Christian and brotherly love, come to the aid of the millions of refugees who live in extreme need and abandonment."

His mission intention is: "That the Sacrament of the Eucharist should be more and more recognized as the beating heart of the Church's life."

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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