August 2005 Archives

Ryno's big day


The Sun Times has the story - two of them, actually - and my friend (the other Chris Lu-) has pics. Alas, I was invited to tag along, but I blew my annual Cubs' game budget watching this debacle last month.

Now that Ryno is in, is there really any decent argument for Santo not being inducted?

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Colleges don't like dealing with control-freak parents.

They're called "helicopter parents," for their habit of hovering -- hyper-involved -- over their children's lives. Here at Colgate University, as elsewhere, they have become increasingly bold in recent years, telephoning administrators to complain about their children's housing assignments, roommates and grades.

Recently, one parent demanded to know what Colgate planned to do about the sub-par plumbing her daughter encountered on a study-abroad trip to China.

"That's just part of how this generation has been raised," said Mark Thompson, head of Colgate's counseling services. "You add a $40,000 price tag for a school like Colgate, and you have high expectations for what you get."

What a uniquely American problem. And I mean that in the most vile, repugnant sense of the word. Is it any wonder China and India and, well, the rest of the world, are kicking our a**es academically?

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Headlines to good to be true:

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Charging for CCD = simony?

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Jimmy Akin has a post with some good comments about the practice of charging for CCD. Jimmy seems to think that the practice amounts to simony, which I think is a bit extreme, considering how many parishes are strapped for cash.

I almost agree with Jimmy, but I have a lot of sympathy for parishes that charge (including my parish where I teach CCD). Catholics give so little to the Church, it's hard to imagine financing it otherwise. Ironically, this comes back to bite us in the butt, because the money they pay for CCD for their kids is not tax deductible, whereas if we would just adequately support our parishes, they wouldn't have to charge and we could keep more of our money out of the hands of Uncle Sam.

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A revolution recalled


Lech Walesa recalls the beginnings of the Solidarity movement, including Pope John Paul II's influence.

Lech Walesa, the shipyard electrician who helped topple Poland's communist regime by founding the Solidarity movement in 1980, credited the late Pope John Paul II as his inspiration at 25th anniversary celebrations Monday.

Walesa, who became his country's first postwar democratic president, said John Paul's visit to his native Poland in 1979 gave his countrymen the courage to stand up to the communist leaders.

"He did not tell us to make a revolution, he did not call for a coup, but he was so suggestive that we all had to define ourselves," Walesa told an international conference on Solidarity's legacy. "The Polish nation and many other nations awoke."

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Mad Madigan


Illinois Attorney Genral Lisa "I never met a pro-life crisis pregnancy center I didn't want to shut down" Madigan to recieve honor and praise from a school which claims to teach children Catholic values.

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I see you!


I'm getting a lot of hits from yahoo email accounts. Can somebody please drop me an email (odragul - at - juno - dot - com) and let me know what's up?


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What a weekend for Poland!


Friday, Our Lady of Czestochowa was given a new decor.


Tens of thousands of Roman Catholics gathered at Poland's holiest shrine Friday to pray as the revered Black Madonna of Czestochowa icon was given a new covering, including gold crowns donated by the late Pope John Paul II, as well as amber and diamonds.

The Polish-born pontiff's secretary, the Rev. Stanislaw Dziwisz, presided over a Mass and other ceremonies at the Jasna Gora shrine in the southern city of Czestochowa. In attendance were dozens of church leaders, including Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Germany, Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit and Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston.

Dziwisz and Poland's primate, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, blessed golden crowns from John Paul, who died April 2, on the head of the icon's image of the Virgin Mary and on the image of the baby Jesus.

Church leaders also placed a 20-pound panel of amber decorated with nearly 1,000 diamonds on the painting. The covering — commonly called a "dress" — leaves only the faces of Mary and Jesus and their crowns visible beneath the screen.

By placing the crowns on the icon, we were able "in a way to fulfill the last will, the testament of Pope John Paul the Great," Dziwisz said.

The artist who created the amber-and-diamond panel, Mariusz Drapikowski, said he wanted to thank the Virgin Mary for the pontificate of John Paul II and for the Solidarity movement, which toppled the communist government in 1989-90.

More than 100,000 people gathered on a field outside the packed church for the ceremony, according to the monastery's Web site.


To top it off, on Saturday, Archbishop Dziwisz was installed as Archbishop of Krakow.


Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed Stanislaw Dziwisz to lead the important diocese in June, described him as "the best person to hold this position" in a papal bull read out by Rev. Jan Zajac during a ceremony in Wawel Castle cathedral.

"By now, the faithful have come to know your responsibility and dedication and I am sure they will be obedient to you," the bull said.

Dressed in a white-and-gold robe and miter, Dziwisz walked in a procession to St. Mary's church, surrounded by hundreds of priests and bishops in white robes, nuns and city officials. He held a silver-and-gilded staff given to Karol Wojtyla — the future John Paul — when he became archbishop of Krakow in 1958.

Dziwisz blessed the crowds as he walked through the city, smiling as he repeatedly made the sign of the cross. Tens of thousands of people who lined the streets under the scorching sun responded with applause and shouts of "Bravo!"

Yahoo has more great pics of both events.

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St. Jude Catholic Worker House


The local paper has a nice write-up on the local Catholic Worker House, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend. Our diocesan paper also had a piece about the house last week.

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Sock her

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With apologies to Poleguy, I point you to the last item on today's Best of the Web Today:

Red Card Our item yesterday on metric football prompted this reply from reader Eddie Staples:
While I certainly sympathize with your attitude toward this "sport" implicit in the name you give it, I think the appropriate disdain can only be shown by calling it what it really is: communist football. Consider:
  • No one understands the rules.

  • Workers are prohibited from using the tools that would let them be more productive (hands).

  • From time to time petty bureaucrats (officials) interfere with play in such a way as to limit production.

  • Players, coaches, officials and fans are all fully involved (employed) and yet output is miniscule.

  • Any production is met by celebration all out of proportion to its objective value.

  • Followers are slavishly (religiously?) devoted to the system and their own brand of it and resort to violence at any criticism of either.

Good points all, but "communist" and "metric" turn out to be inextricably linked. The Soviet Union used the metric system, and Cuba, North Korea, Red China and Vietnam still do.

I know many people find some enjoyment in this sport, but I never, ever have.

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Spero WIki

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Did you know Spero news has a Wiki? There's not much to it yet, but the Wiki page for St. Blog's Parish is growing. I'm sure they'd like you to add your blog if you haven't yet.

For a good laugh, check out the second listing under the "Other St. Blog's Ministries" section at the bottom of the St. Blog's Wiki. Ministry, indeed.

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Brother Roger's funeral


Zenit has the text of Cardinal Kasper's homily at the funeral of Brother Roger - founder of the Taize community.

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World Youth Day in the Pope's own words


Zenit has the English translation of yesterday's general audience. The address was all about World Youth Day.

Dear brothers and sisters, from the heart of "old" Europe, which in the past century, unfortunately, knew horrendous conflicts and inhuman regimes, young people relaunched to the humanity of our time the message of hope that does not disappoint, because it is founded on the Word of God made flesh in Jesus Christ, dead and risen for our salvation. In Cologne, young people met and worshipped the Emmanuel, the God-with-us, in the mystery of the Eucharist and understood better that the Church is the great family through which God creates a space of communion and unity among all continents, cultures and races, a -- so to speak -- "great group of pilgrims" led by Christ, radiant star that illuminates history.

Jesus makes himself our travel companion in the Eucharist, and, in the Eucharist -- as I said in the homily of the concluding celebration, borrowing a well-known image from physics -- effects a "nuclear fission" in the depth of the being. Only this profound explosion of goodness that overcomes evil can give life to the other transformations necessary to change the world. Let us pray therefore so that the young people of Cologne will bear with them the light of Christ, who is truth and love and will spread it everywhere. In this way we will be able to witness a springtime of hope in Germany, Europe and the whole world.

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Fetal pain study

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You may have heard recently that there was a study that determined - in the face of many contradictory studies - that the unborn do not feel pain until the third trimester.

It turns out that the study was authored by pro-abortion activists. One is a former NARAL employee currently in med school (heaven help us), another is a director of an abortion clinic in San Francisco who is also a staff member of an abortion advocacy group.

Funny how the mainstream press misses on those sorts of thing. Here are three stories on the study (1, 2, 3), and not one mentions the activist history of its authors.

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Monika: this one is for your hubby

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Frank Robinson: Void all Palmeiro's stats

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Mwoo-hahaha. We just need more and more folks to step up and say it.

I think a two-fold solution is needed. The first part would be the voiding of stats. The second would be to dictate that no player found using steroids could make more than the league minimum for 5 years. It would never happen, but if there were a way to do it, it would work.

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Magister on WYD


The very thorough Sandro Magister, who covers the Church for the Italian newspaper Espresso writes approvingly of the Holy Father's performance at World Youth Day. There's too much to quote, so just check it out.

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I am the ultimate centrist


So says this political compass survey.

Your political compass Economic Left/Right: 0.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.13

Admittedly, I guessed at answers on issues I knew nothing about, or where the question is poorly worded. Such as:

"The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline." Agree or disagree?
Well, not the most important thing, but it is very, very important.

"In a civilised society, one must always have people above to be obeyed and people below to be commanded." Agree or disagree?
Well that's certainly loaded. Above and below what? Politically, we elect leaders precisely to command us (make laws) so we can obey (follow the laws). However, this obedience is not absolute. Yeesh.

My favorite:
"Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries." Agree or disagree?
Um, what? I might answer except I have no idea what you're talking about.

The biggest weakness, I think, is that there is little differentiation between levels of government. For instance, take this question:

"Pornography, depicting consenting adults, should be legal for the adult population."

Now, if you're talking about Congress passing a law legalizing or banning pornography absolutely, or the Supreme Court deciding the question of whether there is an absolute right to pornography, then I think government should be out of the question and in a way I agree with the statement. But if you're talking about the right of a small, local community to decide that they don't want pornography in their town, then I strongly disagree with the statement.

Also, a more fundamental flaw of the survery is the fact that just because I have a distaste for the anonymity and relative unaccountability of corporations as currently permitted by law, and just because I don't worship the free market, that does not mean I'm more of a Communist than a neo-liberal.

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Miranda on Durbin


Manuel Miranda, writing for Opinion Journal, gives Dick Durbin the treatment...

As the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin is in the spotlight as never before, and the country is now seeing that he is, indeed, both ruthless and insipid. In June, after wilting public scrutiny that included calls for his resignation, Mr. Durbin was forced to his knees and a near-tearful apology on the floor of the Senate after he compared American servicemen to Nazis, Soviets and the Khmer Rouge.

This came only days after the Washington Post revealed that Mr. Durbin, one of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's harshest critics in a travel-related ethics controversy, was one of the most frequent congressional beneficiaries of international junkets. Mr. Durbin's communications director, Joe Shoemaker, admitted that Mr. Durbin had failed to report a trip to Asia he said was paid by a nonprofit group. Then it turned out that the junket's deep pockets, Results, identifies itself as a political lobbying organization with ties to's radical financier, George Soros.

...and warns that he could be about to make an even bigger fool of himself during the Roberts hearings.

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Just for fun


Letterman from 1994: Top 10 words that sound great when said by James Earl Jones. I remember watching this one when it aired. Too bad they don't have audio.

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Familiar face


U of I Newman folks (well, the alumni, anyway) may recognize this guy who was blogging World Youth Day last week for The Criterion (the Archdiocese of Indianapolis' newspaper). Yes, former Sacristan, my former roommate and fellow pilgrim from WYD 2000, Brandon Evans, coming to you live.

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More sports blogging


F.U.T.O. An open letter to Terrel Owens from a young Eagles fan.

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Mariotti seems pissed


"Cash-cow Cubs a MacFailure on the field"

I pretty much agree.

So secure is MacPhail in his employment, he can get away with comments that insult the eternally tortured fans. This is what he said while defending his tenure: "In some ways, we have made significant progress. What I wanted to accomplish when I came here was to have an organization that could rely on a productive farm system and start to get a flow of talent. I keep a close eye on this, and we are among the top four teams in bringing talent to the big leagues over the last 11 years. Now, in my 11th season, we have had three Rookies of the Year and at least six All-Stars come up through our system. That's pretty good. We have had three or four attendance records. The things we have done to the park are going to help keep the park viable for the next generation of Cubs fans."

Pause here for a collective release of anger.

Don't bring up those trades

What is so incredibly wretched about those statements? First, MacPhail claims he and Hendry have overseen a productive farm system. In those 11 years, how many quality position players are starting for the Cubs today? Zero. Patterson is a bust, Hee Seop Choi was a myth, and of the three starting positions set for 2006, Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Michael Barrett were acquired only because cost-conscious franchises were dumping them. Maybe Pie and Murton will pan out, but I'll have to see it to believe it. As for Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, they were taken second and fourth in their respective drafts and weren't choices that required rocket science. As for the "three Rookies of the Year and at least six All-Stars" who have come up through the system? Embarrassingly, MacPhail is counting Dontrelle Willis, Jon Garland and Eric Hinske in that mix. I realize the Cubs were trying to win immediately when they were traded as prospects, but have some dignity, Andy.

Garland, a first-round draft pick, was traded to the White Sox for Matt Karchner. Hinske, a draftee, was traded to Beane's Athletics for Miguel Cairo. And Willis, a draftee, was traded to Florida in a package for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement, who was allowed to sign with Boston last offseason. When you've given away three young stars and have squadoosh to show for it, don't remind Cubs fans that you drafted them. That just makes them sicker after the Lou Brock and Greg Maddux debacles.

Those last two paragraphs are hard to read. Well, OK, my stomach doesn't exactly turn at the thought of the "Lou Brock debacle," but maybe I'm just not old enough.

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Feeling covetous


I'm having serious tenth commandment issues after reading Abbot Joseph's first post at The New Liturgical Movement. I'm sure there are probably abuses in the Byzantine Rite, but, but...

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WYD Pics

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Wondering what all the fuss is about? What is the meaning of World Youth Day and why is it important.

Yahoo has a great slideshow of shots from World Youth Day, and there I found two that I think sum up the significance of the event very well.

This man brings Christ...

WYDAdoration.jpg these people:


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Ecumenical hiccup

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Well it's done. The Ukranian Catholics moved their headquarters from Lviv to Kiev. I say better sooner than later. It was the right thing to do, and time will heal the wounds caused by it, so do the deed and let the long healing process begin.

How long will it take? Well, here's a hint:

The mass took place amid tight security, as several hundred Orthodox protesters gathered near the site, denouncing the move.

"Orthodox or death!" they chanted, accusing the Vatican of proselytising.

"You can kill us but you cannot take our faith from us!" demonstrators shouted.

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WYD 2005


Zenit has the goods on all your World Youth Day needs.

Transcript of a radio interview given by Pope Benedict XVI on August 15th.


Q: Holy Father, can you tell me what you would like to transmit to the youth of the world? What is the main issue you would like to "bring about"?

Benedict XVI: Yes -- I would like to show them how beautiful it is to be Christian, because the widespread idea which continues to exist is that Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep and, hence, is something toilsome and burdensome -- that one is freer without such a burden.

I want to make clear that it not a burden to be carried by a great love and realization, but it is like having wings. It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community. As Christians we are never alone -- in the sense that God is always with us, but also in the sense that we are always standing together in a large community, a community for The Way, that we have a project for the future -- and in this way a Being which is worth believing in.

This is the joy of being a Christian and is the beauty of believing.

Cardinal Meisner's opening address.


We all share a yearning for the good, the pure, the great and the beautiful. Why is that? Because we were all made in the image of God, who is the highest good and purity personified. That is why no one can want to be bad, impure and ugly. The hunger for love is in all of us.

When I asked a nonbeliever, "Do you wish to be unloved?" he answered, "That would be hell." How did he know this without having been taught about faith? Because we all originated in God's hand and have an intuitive knowledge of God and the fact that we were made in his image. And because God never releases us, even if we break away from him, we always instinctively remain aware of our origin and destination. Saint Augustine already realized this 1,600 years ago. He summarized this insight in his memorable words: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

4. Two thousand years ago, this inner driving force from God caused the Three Kings to commence their journey to Christ. It has also brought you here to Cologne to look for and find God. He guarantees you a great future and a fulfilled life. For Christ, there was no alternative. When some of the disciples disagreed with his teachings, they decided to turn away from him.

Jesus asked the remaining disciples, "Do you also wish to go away?" And it was the first Peter who gave the Lord an answer that is both the first and the shortest creed in holy Scripture: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). Peter's creed is also our own. "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life."

The Lord expressly tells us, "No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me" (John 6:44). You, dear brothers and brothers, have been drawn by the Father. That is the ultimate reason why you are here in Cologne. Your presence here is the result of an act of mercy by God. And I promise you sincerely: He will therefore remain your leader. He will turn you into a blessing for your environment, your fatherland, for the whole world, and guide you in bringing the world closer to God. That is how the world will remain a habitable place for us humans as God's children.

Cardinal Meisner's first catechesis.

The Pope's address upon arriving in Germany.


n this spirit of esteem and acceptance toward all those who come from different cultures and traditions, we are about to experience World Youth Day in Cologne. That so many young people have come to meet the Successor of Peter is a sign of the Church's vitality. I am happy to be with them, to confirm their faith and to enliven their hope. At the same time, I am sure that I will also receive something from them, especially from their enthusiasm, their sensitivity and their readiness to face the challenges of the future.

And so I greet the young people themselves, and all those who have welcomed them in these event-filled days. In addition to intense moments of prayer, reflection and celebration with them and with all those taking part in the various scheduled events, I will have an opportunity to meet the bishops, to whom even now I extend a warm greeting. I will also meet the representatives of the other churches and ecclesial communities, make a visit to the synagogue for a meeting with the Jewish community, and also welcome the representatives of some Islamic communities. These meetings are important steps along the journey of dialogue and cooperation in our shared commitment to building a more just and fraternal future, a future which is truly more human.

During this World Youth Day we will reflect together on the theme: "We Have Come To Worship Him" (Matthew 2:2). This is a precious opportunity for thinking more deeply about the meaning of life as a "pilgrimage," guided by a "star," in search of the Lord. Together we shall consider the Magi, who, coming from various distant lands, were among the first to recognize the promised Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Virgin Mary, and to bow down in worship before him (cf. Matthew 2:1-12).

The Pope's address to young people gathered in Cologne, given in 5 languages from a ship on the Rhine:

Excerpt (the English portion):

With great joy I welcome you, dear young people. You have come here from near and far, walking the streets of the world and the pathways of life. My particular greeting goes to those who, like the Magi, have come from the East. You are the representatives of so many of our brothers and sisters who are waiting, without realizing it, for the star to rise in their skies and lead them to Christ, Light of the Nations, in whom they will find the fullest response to their hearts' deepest desires. I also greet with affection those among you who have not been baptized, and those of you who do not yet know Christ or have not yet found a home in his Church. Pope John Paul II had invited you in particular to come to this gathering; I thank you for deciding to come to Cologne.

Some of you might perhaps describe your adolescence in the words with which Edith Stein, who later lived in the Carmel in Cologne, described her own: "I consciously and deliberately lost the habit of praying."

During these days, you can once again have a moving experience of prayer as dialogue with God, the God who we know loves us and whom we in turn wish to love. To all of you I appeal: Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ! Let him have "the right of free speech" during these days! Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace. In these days blessed with sharing and joy, may you have a liberating experience of the Church as the place where God's merciful love reaches out to all people. In the Church and through the Church you will meet Christ, who is waiting for you.

The Pope's address after his visit to the cathedral in Cologne.

The Pope's address to seminarians.

The Pope's address at the Synagogue of Cologne.


In the 40 years that have passed since the conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate," much progress has been made, in Germany and throughout the world, towards better and closer relations between Jews and Christians. Alongside official relationships, due above all to cooperation between specialists in the biblical sciences, many friendships have been born. In this regard, I would mention the various declarations by the German Episcopal Conference and the charitable work done by the "Society for Jewish-Christian Cooperation in Cologne," which since 1945 have enabled the Jewish community to feel once again "at home" here in Cologne and to establish good relations with the Christian communities. Yet much still remains to be done.

We must come to know one another much more and much better. Consequently, I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians, for only in this way will it be possible to arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions, and, above all, to make progress towards a theological evaluation of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. This dialogue, if it is to be sincere, must not gloss over or underestimate the existing differences: in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect for one another.

Finally, our gaze should not only be directed to the past, but should also look forward to the tasks that await us today and tomorrow. Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defense and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world. The Decalogue (cf. Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5) is for us a shared legacy and commitment. The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life. This is particularly the case for the young people whom I am meeting in these days and who are so dear to me. My wish is that they may be able to recognize in the Decalogue a lamp for their steps, a light for their path (cf. Psalm 119:105).

Adults have the responsibility of handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that "never again" will the forces of evil come to power, and that future generations, with God's help, may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights and are equally at home.

The Pope's address to an ecumenical gathering of various Christians.

What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians? The Catholic Church has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 2, 4, etc.). This unity subsists, we are convinced, in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 4). This does not, however, mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline.

Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, I insisted that full unity and full catholicity go together. As a necessary condition for the achievement of this coexistence, the commitment to unity must be constantly purified and renewed; it must constantly grow and mature. To this end, dialogue has its own contribution to make. More than an exchange of thoughts, it is an exchange of gifts (cf. "Ut Unum Sint," 28), in which the Churches and the ecclesial Communities can make available their own riches (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 15; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 3, 14ff; "Ut Unum Sint, 10-14).

As a result of this commitment, the journey can move forward step by step along the path to full unity, when at last we will all "attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). It is obvious that, in the end, this dialogue can develop only in a context of sincere and committed spirituality. We cannot "bring about" unity by our powers alone. We can only obtain unity as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, spiritual ecumenism -- prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life -- constitute the heart of the ecumenical movement (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 8; "Ut Unum Sint," 15ff., 21, etc.). It could be said that the best form of ecumenism consists in living in accordance with the Gospel.

The Pope's address to members of German Muslim comunities.

The Pope's address at the evening vigil on August 19th.

Dear friends, what does all this mean for us? What we have just been saying about the nature of God being different, and about the way our lives must be shaped accordingly, sounds very fine, but remains rather vague and unfocussed. That is why God has given us examples. The Magi from the East are just the first in a long procession of men and women who have constantly tried to gaze upon God's star in their lives, going in search of the God who has drawn close to us and shows us the way. It is the great multitude of the saints -- both known and unknown -- in whose lives the Lord has opened up the Gospel before us and turned over the pages; he has done this throughout history and he still does so today. In their lives, as if in a great picture-book, the riches of the Gospel are revealed. They are the shining path which God himself has traced throughout history and is still tracing today...

The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world. In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common program -- expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?

The Pope's WYD Mass homily.

It begins:

Yesterday evening we came together in the presence of the Sacred Host, in which Jesus becomes for us the bread that sustains and feeds us (cf. Jn 6:35), and there we began our inner journey of adoration.

The Pope's Angelus address at the end of Mass.

The Pope's address to the German bishops.

The Pope's farewell address delivered from the airport.

Not quite the same as being there.... but it's the best I can do.

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General Audience 8.17.05


Here is Zenit's translation of last Wenesday's papal general audience, on Psalm 125(126).

An excerpt:

The psalm's horizon thus opens to a festive harvest, symbol of the joy generated by freedom, peace and prosperity, which are the fruit of divine blessing. This prayer is, then, a song of hope, to which recourse should be taken in times of trial, fear, external menace and internal oppression.

But it can also become a more general appeal to live one's days and fulfill one's choices in an atmosphere of fidelity. Perseverance in the good, even if misunderstood and opposed, in the end always leads to light, fruitfulness and peace.

It is what St. Paul reminded the Galatians: "The one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest" (Galatians 6:8-9).

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Single adult households now most common

Single-adult households have displaced two-parent families with children as the most common kind of U.S. household, the Census Bureau reported yesterday.

It's tough to comment too much because the reasons for so many people living alone aren't entirely clear, but I can say that human beings were meant to live in community. Little good can be said about a culture that drives away this innate need.

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Friday Thought


Can you really call it a "penance" when the end result is Oreo cookies for breakfast?

We really need to get out to the grocery store...

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Refreshed. Renewed. Returned.

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We just returned from the first ever Lu- family vacation celebrating our second wedding anniversary.

We went camping for three nights and followed it with a one-night stay in a quaint (that's hotelese for "tiny") log cabin in Northwestern Illinois. It was a gloriously refreshing trip, and Mama-Lu and I think we've found an annual vacation site. I hope to post more on the trip - including pictures - this weekend.

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So what's the problem?

I've seen some bloggers come down very hard on this World Net Daily piece.

Frankly, I don't understand the fuss. How else would they expect a tried and true Protestant to view the Catholic Church? Given, he does make errors, some factual, some theological. But really, why fuss because a Protestant sees things wrong with our Church, and why on earth accuse World Net Daily of being anti-Catholic because of it? Now, World Net Daily may very well be anti-Catholic, but this article is hardly proof, especially when the article is the first in a series critiquing all of the big denominations.

If anything, this article could be a useful tool for Catholics. For one thing, some of his criticisms are valid, and are things the Church locally and more broadly needs to work on. Second, it's good to be aware what kind of misconceptions are broadly held; knowing what others really think of us can only will help us evangelize better.

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The glories of hip-hop culture

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NY's HOT97 fined for "Slapfest" promotion.

WQHT Hot 97's parent company also agreed in a settlement to pay $240,000, which equaled the maximum fine it faced, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said.

Spitzer and the state Athletic Commission said the hip-hop and rhythm and blues station held 24 "Smackfest" contests from April 2004 to January 2005. Young women took turns "violently" slapping each other for concert tickets and as much as $5,000 in cash, Spitzer said. Images of the slapping then ran on the station's Web site.

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Scrappleface on Roberts/NARAL


NARAL: Roberts' Adoptions Jeopardize Abortion Rights

"NARAL will continue to make allegations about Roberts until President Bush drops him and nominates someone who holds a clear conservative position on Roe v. Wade," said Mrs. Keenan. "The haziness of his views makes it more difficult for us to whip up the rage needed for a big NARAL fundraising campaign."
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Number one rating drains monastery's beer supply

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Belgian monks run out of the world's best beer.

A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer Web site ( in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world's best.

But the abbey only has a limited brewing capacity, and was not able to cope with the beer's sudden popularity.

"Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out," said a message on the abbey's answering machine, which it calls the "beer phone".

And the abbey has no intention of boosting its capacity to satisfy market demand.

"We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks," the father abbot said on the abbey's Web site.

Monk Mark Bode told De Morgen daily: "Outsiders don't understand why we are not raising production. But for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery."

Our loss.

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More NPR


If you have the stomach, you can also check out this roundtable which followed the Santorum interview, where Gordon and three others rip into Santorum. They speak glowingly of Affirmative Action without giving an actual argument as to why it's good or why it works. Then one of them says the "real core issue" with homosexuality is the fact that Santorum has a gay staffer, implying that this somehow contradicts his belief in separating the sin from the sinner (which the commentator describes as "what the Bible says"). Another suggests that coaches, high school principals and heads of housing projects can take the place of having a father in the home. The team they assembled to debunk Santorum only makes him sound 20 times better.

I've heard some good roundtables on NPR, but this one is ridiculous. After firing wildly at Santorum, they find the courage to take a stand against media bias - bias by south Florida's media against Fidel Castro! Gordon is surprised we haven't reached out to Cuba to make any politcal, economic or social gains. I'm not generally one who loves power politics, but at the same time I find it strange to be surprised that the world's greatest superpower doesn't feel a great need to reach out to a tiny speck of a Communist dictatorship in the Carribean.

The last several minutes of the round-table are kind of interesting as they discuss a co-founder of an LA street gang (the Crips - whose illustrious member-list includes Snoop Doggy Dogg, among others) and a convicted murderer. Apparently, he's had some sort of nice-guy conversion while behind bars and has been writing and working for keeping kids out of gangs. A movie on his life was made (starring Jaime Foxx). He recently received the President's "Call to Service" award.

Well, he's also on death row, and his appeal is scheduled to come before the Supreme Court. It creates a bit of a conflict of interest for our death penalty-loving president.

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Santorum on NPR again


This time Senator Rick is interviewed by Ed Gordon. Once again Rick does a great job. I'm not qualified to judge how well he walks the walk, but he gives a great interview.

There's an interesting exchange a few minutes into it over Affirmative Action. Rick tries to make the point that Affirmative Action as an issue is dead, and the number of African Americans that federal Affirmative Action programs help pales in comparison to the number of African American individuals and entire communities that have been devastated due to the breakdown of the African American family. Ed Gordon just can't swallow this and insists that Affirmative Action is somehow a bigger issue than the African American family.

RS: Affirmative Action to me is an old battle... I think there are more systemic things that are more important to the African American community - such as rebuilding the traditional family, such as rebuilding safe neighborhoods and creating opportunites in those neighborhoods - than a government set-aside program for 5% of contracts. Now I'm not saying I oppose that and I haven't opposed that...

EG: I just want to make sure that we're under the same understanding here, Senator. Forgive me, but you understand that African Americans see Affirmative Action as far bigger than set-asides and the 5% set-aside that you suggested there. It's a much broader issue and topic for African Americans.

RS: Yes, I know it is for some African Americans. And I understand that the issue of Affirmative Action has a lot of connotation to it. But when it comes to government programs, that's what Affirmative Action by and large is: it's a set of preferences and set-asides. So my point is, that what we need to do is focus on things that have greater impact in the African American community than a handful of government programs that benefit a very small number of African Americans. So my point is not that I'm against those things - and in fact in the book I talk about my support for them - but when you focus on those things you miss what I consider to be the bigger picture here. And the bigger picture is that the African American community - and particularly in the inner city - is... we need a program and we need a policy - both from a government as well as community-based - to be able to address some of the more systemic problems there.

EG: Alright, I would just beg to differ with the idea of a greater impact than Affirmative Action. I think that would be a hard road to go down with most African Americans, that you'd find many things greater than the impact of Affirmative Action through the years.

RS: I would say the out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community going from 20% to 75% has had a bigger negative impact than the positive impact of Affirmative Action.

Gordon doesn't reply except with a casual "Alright." If he does not agree with what Rick just said, than that is enormously revealing.

Santorum does not support repealing the Affirmative Action programs in place, but he states that healing the wounds that have been inflivted upon the African American family and community is a more fundamental issue. To disagree with this is to give up on the idea of actually achieving equality. It is almost unbelievable.

I would argue that such a low regard for the importance of repairing families is a deeper cause of our culture of death than is legalized abortion. Abortion is a symptom; hostility towards the family is a root cause, a corollary to hostility towards God's will for us.

Towards the end there's an exchange on homosexuality. Gordon claims not to understand how one can differentiate between respecting a person and not approving of certain behavior that person engages in. Rick provides a quick education, and you can sense a weariness with explaining such an incredibly simple point. Again, Gordon doesn't reply.

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World Health Organization (hardly part of the vast right-wing conspiracy) declares that some oral contraceptives are carcinogenic.

UPDATE: Genevieve Kineke points out that even after admitting the pill causes cancer, the World Health Organization is still encouraging pill use.

This is big news, and I've heard very little about it in the blogosphere. I don't understand!

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It's the money


Manuel Miranda argues (FRR) that attacks from NARAL on John Roberts are more about abortion dollars than abortion rights.

Abortion-rights groups like NARAL are not what they seem. To say that they are solely about women's rights to an abortion is like saying that the Gun Owners of America are unconnected to the profitable gun-retail business.

Roe v. Wade is not just the source of a right; it's a business license for abortion clinics. This comes best into focus when we consider that in the next term the Supreme Court is likely to hear cases involving not the right to abortion but laws regulating parental consent and notice of abortions for minor girls. These are laws that, according to a Los Angeles Times poll, over 80% of Americans support.

In September 2002, when Democrats first blocked Justice Priscilla Owen from a circuit court nomination over a Texas Supreme Court ruling that upheld a parental notice law, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah put it this way:

I fear the opposition to Justice Owen from the abortion lobby is not at all about abortion rights, because abortion rights are not affected by a mere notice statute. The opposition to Justice Owen is not really about abortion rights, it is about abortion profits. Simply put, the abortion industry is opposed to parental notice laws because parental notice laws place a hurdle between them and the profits from the abortion clients--not the girls who come to them but the adult men who pay for these abortions. These adult men, whose average age rises the younger the girl is, are eager not to be disclosed to parents, sometimes living down the street. . . . At nearly one million abortions per year, the abortion industry is as big as any corporate interest that lobbies in Washington. They not only ignore the rights of parents, they also protect sexual offenders and statutory rapists.

You've never heard this? Surely that is no surprise. Mr. Hatch's statement was reported in only one news story, by Newsday's Tom Brune. He noted that there was an audible gasp among the abortion lobbyists in the back of the Judiciary Committee room. I remember that gasp.

What Mr. Brune did not record is that no Democratic senator responded to Hatch's charge. Something very unusual. Not even Dianne Feinstein of California, who, as she always notes, ran for the U.S. Senate to protect abortion rights. Or was it abortion profits?


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Peter Wood on evolution


If you're interested in the evolution debate, check out this reasonable piece at NRO.

We can give a name to what happened: with the biological emergence of modern humans came both the capacity for and the realization of "culture." Maybe geneticists will, at some point, isolate a gene or genes that make complex, symbol-based culture possible. Indeed, we already see some hints of this in the gene FOXP2, which affects our capacity to learn language and which mutated to its current form about 200,000 years ago.

But to speak of the beginning of culture and the emergence of our species by way of some genetic mutations from anatomically similar ancestors does little to explain the profound mystery of the event. Of course, if we are convinced in advance that genetic mutation is a random, material event, the results of which are sorted out by the struggle for survival, the immense mystery dissolves into happenstance blips in strands of East African DNA, c. 150,000-200,000 years ago.

But at that point, we have moved beyond scientific evolution to doctrinaire Evolution. The randomness of the mutation cannot be demonstrated or proved; it is simply an article of belief, no different in character from a belief that an intelligent Creator nudged the adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine bases of that DNA strand into the right order. Or that he took the clay of archaic homo sapiens and molded Adam in His own image.

At bottom the dispute between Evolutionists and Creationists always comes down to the question, "What is random?" This is the cage that Cardinal Christoph Schonborn rattled in his op-ed in the New York Times, July 7, where he wrote, "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection — is not." Now the director of the Vatican Observatory, Father George Coyne, has published a rebuttal in British Catholic weekly, The Tablet, neatly asserting the opposite, and accusing the cardinal of having "darkened the waters" between the Church and science.

Whether the universe is truly random or whether apparent randomness is order-not-yet-apprehended seems pretty clearly a philosophical or theological debate. It will not be settled by the editors of the Boston Globe ("Unintelligent," editorial August 4), the vaporings of Rev. Barry Lynn from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, or the numerous respectable scientists who have stepped forward to say, "Sure enough, the universe is random." How exactly would they know? It is not hard to suspect that beneath this ardent insistence on an unproven proposition lies simple irritation at having to share public space, including schools, with people who inexplicably continue to think that they live in a universe governed by an active God.


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Forced abortion in Oregon


If true, this is horrible.

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John Bambenek beware

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GOLD HILL, Ore. - A 15-year-old boy who pinched and twisted the nipples of a 13-year-old has been sentenced to three days of community service for harassment.

David Thumler, 15, said the "titty-twister" was just horseplay. The mother of 13-year-old Matthew Cox counters that the incident was humiliating for her son, who saw it as an assault from an older, bigger bully.

Full story.

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Human trafficking in America


Lest you think that the trade in enslaved human beings is a purely African/Asian/Latin American problem, the Sun-Times is running a three piece series on the problem of huiman trafficking in Chicago.

The first two are up(1, 2) and the third is coming tomorrow.

UPDATE: Third installment is up.

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Bee oh oh Ayche oh oh


Players union might sue Major League Baseball over steroid leak.

Somebody in the MLB office leaked the specific steroid that Rif-Raf was busted for taking. It turns out that it's not one that's available in any over-the-counter form, making it hard for Raf to say he "accidentally" took it. The players' union might sue over this. I'm having trouble finding sympathy in my heart.

We need more information, not less. The player's union is circling the wagons to protect the deadbeats when it should be cheering the exposure of frauds within their ranks. Moves like this only do more damage to the union's credibility. Yes, MLB was willing to look the other way when 'roids were good for business, but now that they have their act together the players' union needs to do the same.

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The 48% Initiative


Mark Steyn on last week's Ohio special election and the general plight of the left.

Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:

"While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs."

Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.

Some of us wish he had cut education funding. By any rational measure, a good third of public school expenditures are completely wasted. But instead it's skyrocketed. And the idea that Bush is heartlessly pursuing an elite leisure activity denied to millions of American schoolchildren takes a bit of swallowing given that his preferred fitness activity is running. "Running" requires two things: you and ground. Short of buying every schoolkid some John Kerry thousand-dollar electric-yellow buttock-hugging lycra singlet, it's hard to see what there is about "running" that requires increasing federal funding.


Speaking of shivering coatless girls in Bush's America, spare a thought for the underprivileged urchins of the Bronx. The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit social-services organization in New York, receives millions of dollars in government funds to give disadvantaged youth in poor neighborhoods a leg up the ladder of life. But mysteriously much of the money wound up being diverted to the coffers of Air America, the liberal talk-radio network whose ratings are yet another example of "deferred success." The needs of disadvantaged Al Franken and his pals apparently outweigh those of Bronx welfare recipients. Perhaps Janeane Garofalo is the coatless girl John Edwards was talking about all those months. Air America looks like the broadcast version of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, whereby money earmarked to save starving moppets somehow winds up in the bank accounts of bloated self-described do-gooders with political connections.

The DNC's Bush-is-the-reason-your-kid-is-fat press release is a convenient precis of the party's problem: While he runs rings around them, the Dems lounge about getting flabbier by the week and telling themselves it's all his fault they can barely move except to complain about Bush's Supreme Court nominee's kid being overly cute. What's the betting for 2006? The Dems will have a few more "nearly the biggest political upsets," while the Republicans will have the actual political upsets -- a couple more Senate seats? Including Robert C. Byrd's venerable perch in West Virginia?

Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too. Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the house all day.

I don't think kicking the Democrats when they're down is particularly productive, so I'm glad Steyn made that last point. An "all-red" country would do nobody any good. We need a healthy opposition party. More than that, we need more diversity within parties. Politicians clinging to the party line to save their NRA or NARAL dollars does not a healthy democracy make.

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Spreading the Gospel is not always cost-efficient


More from this week's Word from Rome.

Being pope used to mean the world came to you, yet John Paul took104 foreign trips to 129 nations. From a cost/efficiency point of view, some seemed almost absurd. We went to Azerbaijan in 2003, for example, despite the fact that there are all of 120 Catholics there. I did the math, and it would have been four times less expensive to fly all of them to Rome. Yet John Paul felt it was important to meet people where they lived, to confirm them in the faith.
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Schönborn replies


From this week's Word From Rome.

Scientists debate, the paragraph said, whether life's development is best explained by explicit design or random mutation and natural selection. This is not an argument that theology can settle. Following Thomas Aquinas, however, the document says that divine providence is consistent with either hypothesis. God's causation can express itself through both necessity and contingency, so that even if the development of life seems random to empirical observation, it certainly doesn't to God.

I had hoped to speak to Schönborn about all this, but unfortunately he was in Poland as I wrote the piece. This week, however, I was able to reach him. My question was, what does he make of paragraph 69 of the ITC document? In the end, is his problem with evolutionary theory itself, or with its potential philosophical and theological abuse?

This is his response:

"I agree completely with what was formulated in number 69 of 'Stewardship and Communion.' And I feel confirmed in my convictions by this document. In any case I think it is necessary to cite the whole paragraph 69, when it states: 'In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science.'

"For Catholic thinking," Schönborn told me, "it was clear from Pius XII's encyclical, Humani generis, that evolutionary theory can be valid to understand certain mechanisms, but it can never be seen or accepted as a holistic model to explain the existence of life."

Schönborn's point thus seems to be that in "absolute" form, meaning as a "holistic model" that would exclude design as a metaphysical matter, "evolutionism" turns into a philosophy that parts company with Christianity.

In that light, observers say, Schönborn's view does not seem to court a new Galileo affair, putting the church at odds with scientific discoveries. He's making a philosophical point, not a scientific one. In the end, he's warning that Christianity cannot accept a universe without God, and it's fairly difficult to argue with that.

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Yes, we might have defeated Japan, eventually, at the loss of 500,000 or a million lives. But we had this awful technology, wrought from the can-do spirit of America. We should be proud of the atomic bomb, and any lingering doubts should be dispelled by honestly answering one simple question: Had Japan the capacity, in early August 1945, to drop 100 atomic bombs on the 100 largest American cities, would they have done it?

This is the new moral standard: It's OK as long as the other guy would do it. An examination of our own guilt is not necessary as long as we're reasonably sure that our enemy is more guilty.

Crap like this inspires us towards moral laxity and cynicism. Is this what we want for our society?

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Nefarious Public Radio

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This NPR report may seem like an objective search for the truth about the morning-after pill, but their starting point is precisely incorrect.

Critics say the medication causes very early abortions. The Food and Drug Administration classifies it as a contraceptive that prevents pregnancy. Who's right depends on the answer to the question "When does pregnancy start?"

Wrong. The answer depends on the question "When does life begin?" When a pregnancy begins is irrelevant. It's perfectly possible to terminate an embryonic human life without terminating a pregnancy. See embryo-destructive stem-cell research for an example. Focussing on when a "pregnancy begins" is a red-herring.

Another dopey line:

[Some schlubby pro-choice scientist] says what really renders a woman pregnant from a medical point of view is a positive pregnancy test.

How can people get away with saying something so obviously dumb and misleading? What renders a woman pregnant is a living human embryo implanting in her uterus. A pregnancy test provides evidence of certain hormones being present, nothing more.

The result of this obfuscation is the implication that the human life created by the union of egg and sperm has no value until it implants in the woman's uterus. Using this definition automatically excludes any question of the morality of abortifacient "contraceptives." It may be a convenient definition for the embryophobic to work with, but it's purely arbitrary and denies the fact that human life begins at fertilization. Destroying an unimplanted embryo is no more benign than destroying an implanted one.

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An unfortunate thing


"He's a phenomenal player. He's accomplished unbelievable things. It's just an unfortunate thing, that's all."
-Jason Giambi - admitted steroid user whose agent had the Yankees remove from his contract the standard clause that would have permitted them to dump his a** if he were caught using steroids - on Rafael Palmeiro's steroid use.

See Jay Mariotti for a hard-hitting commentary on the Rif-Raf affair.

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Into the [Nittany] Lions Den

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Rick Santorum on NPR's Morning Edition.

Rick comes off very, very well on individualism (of both the left and the right), teaching intelligent design, religion in the public square, John Roberts and precendents.

UPDATE: I forgot to cite the quotation below. It comes from this piece on Santorum by Maggie Gallagher.

The rigidly predictable response to Rick's latest defense of the family among the village elders he critiques has been a stunning and vituperative series of attacks, in which (yes) some fair-minded folks quote and criticize what the good senator actually wrote, but more "summarize" it in ways that wildly distort his views. Bob Casey Jr., the Democrat who hopes to unseat Rick in the 2006 election cycle, falsely accused Sen. Santorum of calling working mothers "selfish and bad budgeters," and said Santorum was "out of touch" with economic realities.

But this over-the-top attack by Democrats and their sympathizers may backfire.

Much of the fire in the family debate has centered on Rick Santorum's call for parents to cut back on work, if possible, to spend more time with their kids. But as writer Danielle Crittenden told a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter: "(Rick Santorum) is not saying anything different from what most American women themselves would say or express. Do we think children are better off with a parent at home? Of course we do."

Indeed most working moms think working less sounds pretty good, according to a recent nationally representative survey of mothers by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research Inc. reported in The Boston Globe. Only 10 percent of working mothers say they would prefer to work full time; 30 percent would prefer to be home full-time, and 59 percent want part-time work. Both working and stay-at-home moms also agree with Rick's other point: Moms at home raising kids don't get enough respect. Sixty-two percent of at-home mothers and 55 percent of working mothers agree that society values working mothers more than mothers who stay at home.

I don't always agree with Rick, and even when I do, I don't always agree with how he says a thing or two, or three. But one thing I do know: In these days when politicians' pronouncements are mostly the focus-grouped bland hoping to (mis)lead the voting blind, Rick Santorum dares to try to say something that actually matters. (This is known in Washington as a "gaffe.")

He's by no means perfect, but really, given the choice between him and my current gruesome two-some of Durbin and O'Bama, give me Rick anyday.

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More on that Hitchens piece


From The American Scene:

Every papal statement on the subject of evolution (and these have no binding force over Catholics, and never will) over the last century has been generally favorable to the theory, albeit with caveats. Schonborn's op-ed took those caveats a bit further, into intelligent design territory, which to my mind was a mistake. But are we really going to disqualify an American Catholic from the Supreme Court because a Viennese Cardinal wanted to attack Richard Dawkins?
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More on John Roberts


From Katherine Jean Lopez:

I can hear John Roberts now, upon confirmation: Thank you, senators, for looking beyond my obvious liability — my gender. You took a chance on me, confirming me despite the irrevocable damage I may do to the girls of our nation, who, like my own daughter, dream, as they play with their Justice Barbies, that one day some open-minded president will nominate them instead of some slice of Wonder Bread — well, me — to the Supreme Court. I'm so sorry I am a man, but I will try my very best not to be too much of a Neanderthal in robes.

My take: all of the Democrats quacking about Bush's pick being a white boy can thank themselves for filibustering all of the qualified women and minorities Bush nominated for lower courts in his first term.

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Headline of the week


For a story on Jose Canseco's sequel to his first book:

Canseco juiced for 2nd tome run

I also like this quote from Ron Rappaport of the Sun-Times:

I think Rafael Palmeiro has made it safe for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and the other stars so many people think have used steroids to get caught now. We only can be shocked -- shocked -- like this once.
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Nate F. of Southern Appeal takes apart Hitchens. Hitchens' original screed can be found here.

Hitchens' predominant theme is that Judge Roberts should be scrutinized more closely than other Supreme Court nominees because he is a Roman Catholic, and Catholics have the temerity to acknowledge an authority above the United States Constitution. I'm not sure who should be more insulted by this suggestion -- Catholic jurists like Roberts, whose legal objectivity has been called into question; or Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim jurists, who by implication have fallen into idolatry and do not believe in an authority higher than the United States Constitution.

Ramesh at the Corner also dismantles and dismisses the same piece.

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The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a great piece by Katherine Kersten on a Catholic family in Minnesota with 9 children. It's probably the most sympathetic treatment of a large family I've seen by the media in recent years.

A taste:

Walking into the Reinhardts' modest home, you'd expect to see a harried mother, a father desperate to escape to a TV baseball game, and a living room without an uncluttered square inch. But on a recent visit, I was welcomed into a spotless kitchen by relaxed and smiling parents, and a passel of helpful, polite kids.

I listened with amazement as the older girls described the family's recent 30-hour drive home from Zion National Park in a 15-passenger van. I had visions of mortal combat over an iPod, Oreo debris everywhere, and parents ready for the insane asylum. But 11-year old Liz bubbled: "We had fun the whole way, playing in the back seat, talking and having contests. I love being in a big family."

Jim and Nadine Reinhardt don't have advanced degrees in Parenting Studies. They've just got a few good ideas about what makes for family happiness -- ideas our culture has largely forgotten

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Feddie has discovered bloglines. So has Danielle Bean.

I of course, have been using bloglines for months. I cannot tell you how great of a FREE service this is.

Some of the great features are:

  • You can organize your subscriptions into groups. I have about 10 groups, and I can click on the name of a group to see all of the most recent posts from blogs in that group, or I can click on just the name of a specific blog to see what's new on that site alone.

  • It's not just for reading blogs. I get comic strips, news, on-line journal articles and links to NPR audio, too.

  • If I see something that I don't have time to read or that I read and want to maybe blog later on, I can click a box to keep that post new.

Using bloglines has let me cut down the amount of time I spent flipping through blogs by about 75%.

The only down side is that some blogs don't have RSS feeds activated for their blogs. Yes, I'm talking to you Dale, and Ellyn, and everybody at The Thing Is.

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Ed Whelan of the Ethiocs and Public Policy Center has the goods on how the media is distorting John Roberts' record.

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The Anti-Palmeiro

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You want to understand my love for baseball and for the Cubs?

Read this.

(Ignore the joke in the middle, which I think probably was not in the best taste).

My managers like Don Zimmer and Jim Frey, they always said I made things easy on them by showing up on time, never getting into trouble, being ready to play every day, leading by example, being unselfish. I made things easy on them? These things they talk about, playing every day, that was my job. I had too much respect for them and for the game to let them down. I was afraid to let them down. I didn't want to let them down or let the fans down or my teammates or my family or myself. I had too much respect for them to let them down.

Dallas Green brought me to Chicago and without him, who knows? I couldn't let him down. I owed him too much. I had too much respect for him to let him down. People like Harry Caray and Don Zimmer used to compare me to Jackie Robinson. Can you think of a better tribute than that? But Harry, who was a huge supporter of mine, used to say how nice it is that a guy who can hit 40 homers or steal 50 bases drive in a hundred runs is the best bunter on the team. Nice? That was my job. When did it become OK for someone to hit home runs and forget how to play the rest of the game?

When we went home every winter, they warned us not lift heavy weights because they didn't want us to lose flexibility. They wanted us to be baseball players, not only home run hitters. I played high school football at 185 pounds and played big league baseball at 182. I'd get up to maybe 188 in the offseason because every summer I'd lose eight to 10 pounds. In my day, if a guy came to spring training 20 pounds heavier than what he left, he was considered out of shape and was probably in trouble. He'd be under a microscope and the first time he couldn't beat out a base hit or missed a fly ball, he was probably shipped out. These guys sitting up here did not pave the way for the rest of us so that players could swing for the fences every time up and forget how to move a runner over to third. It's disrespectful to them, to you and to the game of baseball that we all played growing up. Respect.

A lot of people say this honor validates my career, but I didn't work hard for validation. I didn't play the game right because I saw a reward at the end of the tunnel. I played it right because that's what you're supposed to do – play it right and with respect. If this validates anything, it's that learning how to bunt and hit and run and turning two is more important than knowing where to find the little red light on the dugout camera.

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Palmeiro suspended for steroid use.

Commisioner Papa-Lu's solution: no player found using steroids will be eligible to earn more than the league minimum for five years (a provision that would override their contracts) and half of their career statistics will be voided. If their stats are still Hall of Fame-worthy after being stripped, then go ahead and let them in. Removing the motivations of money and legacy should take care of the problem.

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Lee Iacocca and Stem Cells

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For any of my under 25 readers, he's the old guy that those new Chrysler commercials seem to imply you should recognize. He was the very visible and well-known head of Chrysler in the 80s (maybe the early 90s, too?).

Well, I really don't care about any of that, and you don't have to either. What I want you to know is that Lee Iacocca is determined to find a cure for diabetes, and has put up $1,000,000 to fund promising non-embryonic stem-cell research. He's asking America to pitch in the other $10 million needed to run a clinical trial.

"Last year, Dr. Denise Faustman, one of the researchers the Iacocca Foundation has supported for over a decade cured type I diabetes in mice. I'm not going to wait for the government or the pharmaceutical industry to decide to get the human trials going. We need $11 million for these clinical trials now. I've given the first million and I'm asking the American people to get behind me and give the rest. Click the 'donate now' icon above to help!"

The Iacocca Foundation's mission statement:

The Iacocca Foundation was founded in 1984 by Lee Iacocca in memory of his late wife, Mary K. Iacocca, who died of diabetic complications in 1983. Our primary purpose is to fund innovative and promising diabetes research programs and projects that will lead to a cure for the disease and alleviate complications caused by it.

If you want to ethically contribute to finding a cure for diabetes, this looks like the place to do it.

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August Prayer Intentions


Here are the Holy Father's prayer intentions for the month of August

General: For World Youth Day: may this occasion draw young people everywhere to meet Christ and to welcome Him as Lord of their life.

Missionary: For students from mission Churches in Rome: may their studies in the Eternal City be a time of spiritual enrichment.

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

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

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