February 2006 Archives

Always Be on Your Best Behavior


Because you never know who might show up.

My post a few down from here abour Ramesh clubbing Sullivan oer at The Corner drew a comment from... wait for it.... Ramesh himself.

I'm pretty sure he doesnt have me bookmarked or anything (he probably did a technorati search for posts on his excanges with Sully these past few days), but it's pretty cool nontheless, me thinks.

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Way to Go, Joe!


Today, the Supreme Court pulled it's head out from down under (if there's one thing W has delivered on, etc. etc.) and declared that pro-life activists are not akin to the mafia. Deo Gratias! Congratulations to Joe Schiedler, the Pro-Life Action network and all others who came out victorious today!

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No info here


I'm receiving lots of google hits concerning a priest whose work I've mentioned on this blog who has recently been accused of sexual abuse. I have no info other than what can be read in newspapers. The abuse is alleged to have taken place a long time ago, and my bishop has removed the priest from ministry pending an investigation. My only comment is that regardless of the truth of the situation, we should pray for the accused as well as for the accuser.

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Into the Desert with the Pope.


With Lent quickly approaching, here are a couple of handy links from Zenit - my favorite source for ecclesial primary documents:

  • Pope Benedict XVI's message for Lent. A must-read, this message's surprising focus is on development. Benedict subtly addresses a severe temptation during Lent: to turn completely inward. Of course, Lent is a time for personal prayer, purification and mortification through meditation on the paschal mysteries in preparation for the celebration of these same mysteries in the Easter Triduum. Yet in this message the Pope calls us out of ourselves and reminds us that a necessary fruit of this purification is "to become conformed to [Christ's] 'gaze,'" that, the Holy Father says, "impels us to affirm the true content of this "complete humanism" that, according to Paul VI, consists in the "fully-rounded development of the whole man and of all men."

    Like I said, a must-read.

  • The Pope's address before praying the Angelus with the faithful this past Sunday.
    A wonderful pre-Lent pep-talk. Benedict reminds us to face Lent with a "new spirit of the one who has found in Jesus and his paschal mystery the meaning of life, and now feels that everything must make reference to him." Our Lenten penance should proceed from a positive love for God and desire for Him to be the center of our life rather than a dour, negative attitude of duty, which he dubs the "old spirit."

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A Favorite Passtime...

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...is watching Ramesh Ponnuru dismantle Andrew Sullivan over at The Corner. Case in point here, followed up here, with a grand finale here.

Buy please don't let the deserved personal disdain dripping from Ponnuru's prose divert your attention from the very important, very clear, very true points he makes about abortion.

Someday Sullivan will get wise to the fact that taking on Ponnuru damages his credibility every single time.

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On One of Our National Disgraces


"Spectators were given red noses, no word on how many people actually put them on or whether Bode Miller needed one at all."
-Debbie Elliott of NPR's All Things Considered

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Crunchy Cons


Dallas Morning News columnist and National Review contributor Rod Dreher has a new book out: Crunchy Cons, with the rather informative if lengthy subtitle of "How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)."

I plan to get my hands on this book as soon as I can, but in the meantime here are some handy related links:

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Today's audience


Yes, the Pope did deiver an address in addition to announcing the creation of new cardinals.

He spoke of today's liturgical celebration: the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. I'll have a translation later. UPDATE: Here it is.

This points to an interesting possibility - that Benedict will use the general audiences to catechize on the liturgy. The need for liturgical reform in line with Vatican II is very close to the Holy Father's heart, and he may use this particular weekly pulpit to take the "reform of the reform" directly to the faithful.

Pure speculation, grant you, but it's an exciting possibility.

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Pope announces New Cardinals, Consistory


At today's weekly general audience, the Holy Father announced that a consistory will take place on March 24 at which he will create 15 new cardinals.

The names are:

  • Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  • Archbishop Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
  • Archbishop Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
  • Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales of Manila, Philippines.
  • Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France.
  • Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain.
  • Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea.
  • Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., of Boston, U.S.A.
  • Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland.
  • Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy.
  • Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B. of Hong Kong, China
  • Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.
  • Archbishop Peter Poreku Dery, emeritus of Tamale, Ghana.
  • Fr. Albert Vanhoye S.J., formerly rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

What strikes me most about this is the internationa flavor of the list, particularly the two Asian cardinals. Note also the elevation of Archbishop Dziwisz, who served as the longtime personal secretary of Pope Johm Paul II and who is now the late pope's successor in the see of Krakow. Poland is surely rejoicing today over the elevation of one of its hometown boys who made very, very good.

The last three names on the list are all over the age of 80 and thus unable to vote for a new pope in the event of a conclave. Pope Benedict has decided to maintain the limit of 120 cardinal-electors established by Pope Paul VI and ignored by JPII.

In addition to the consistory, the Pope also invited all of the cardinals of the world to the Vatican on March 23 for "a meeting of reflection and prayer." What an amazing event to think about! This year, the feast of the Annunciation on March 25 is going to have a very special additional grace attached to it.

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2 from NRO


I've had these links bookmarked for a while, but am trying to clean house, so here they are, posted with relaively little comment.

Cathy Seipp sort of bugs me (all pro-choice "conservatives" do, I guess), but she's pretty good at exposing journalistic lunacies. Read this and contemplate the fact that much of what is commonly called "news" is written by such narcissists.

The "Cathy Seipp anecdote," as I heard it became known in-house, seems to have been ruined for the Times by Cathy Seipp having the gall to use it in a Cathy Seipp column first; their story was evidently supposed to run about three weeks ago and so far has not. Johnston hadn't been one of the reporters working on the piece, nor, as far as I know, did he have anything to do with it.

But apparently his status as a press critic — Johnston has written for Columbia Journalism Review, and is a frequent crank on the Romenesko letters page — obligated him to weigh in. So he felt moved to lecture me via e-mail (subject line: "Gosh, Catherine"), press-critic-to-press-critic, that my scooping his paper by using an incident that had happened to me, in my own column, was "not honorable."

As a press critic myself, Johnston told me, I should have known this. Also, I'd better not tell anyone about his unsolicited opinion. That was a secret.

Stanley Kurtz is rock-solid on marriage. He had a good column a few weeks ago whose money quote is the subtitle: "If everything is marriage, then nothing is."

Canada, you don’t know the half of it. In mid-January, Canada was rocked by news that a Justice Department study had called for the decriminalization and regulation of polygamy. Actually, two government studies recommended decriminalizing polygamy. (Only one has been reported on.) And even that is only part of the story. Canadians, let me be brutally frank. You are being played for a bunch of fools by your legal-political elite. Your elites mumble a confusing jargon to your face to keep you from understanding what they really have in mind.

Let’s try a little test. Translate the following phrases into English:

1) Canada needs to move “beyond conjugality.”

2) Canada needs to “reconsider the continuing legal privileging of marriage and other conjugal relationships.”

3) Once gay marriage is legalized, Canada will be able to “consider whether the legal privileges and burdens now assigned to marriage and other conjugal relationships can be justified.”
4) Canada needs to question “whether conjugality is an appropriate marker for determining legal rights and obligations.”

[Answers: The English translation of #1,# 2, and #4 is: “Canada should abolish marriage.” The translation of #3 is: “Once we legalize gay marriage, we can move on to the task of abolishing marriage itself.”]

This argument was very publicly made to Canadians in 2001, when the Law Commission of Canada published its report, “Beyond Conjugality.” But nobody got it. Everyone noticed that a government commission had backed same-sex marriage. But few recognized, grasped, or could bring themselves to take seriously, the central thrust of Beyond Conjugality: that after the legalization of same-sex marriage, Canadian marriage itself ought to be abolished. (For more on this, see my article “Beyond Gay Marriage”)

Read the rest.

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Mama-Lu on the Olympics


"Was the two-man luge ever not considered gay?

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Washed clean


Today is Charles Joseph's baptism. Won't you please say a prayer today for my son as he becomes God's adopted son and a member of Christ's Church?


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It's the most - wonderful time - of the year


Pitchers and catchers have reported to Mesa. Thanks be to Yahoo for pictures!

Pictures are below for those who wish to see, but first, I just have to tell you how awesome my wife is. As I was typing this post, I started singing the little song which is the title of this post. From dining room table, Mama-Lu asked, "Pitchers and Catchers?"

Reason number 35156168768514 that I married very, very well.

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General Audiences and a special occasion


Behind again! Here are the last three Wednesday general audience addresses given by the Pope, including yesterday's:

February 1, on the first half of Psalm 144(145).

February 8, on the second half of Psalm 144(145).

Yesterday, February 15, on the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise found in the first chapter of Luke.

Yesterday's address is of special note, because it marks the last of the series of addresses that were prepared by the late Pope John Paul II.

John Paul was the first pope to use the Wednesday general audience to develop continuing themes from one week to the next. The first cycle was of course the "Theology of the Body" (actually, the TOTB consists of four cycles) which he developed over the first few years of his pontificate. The series ending today goes back to 2001 and have had as their focus the psalms and canticles prayed by the Church as part of Morning and Evening Prayer.

(For the curious, on March 28, 2001, JP2 explained his desire to dedicate his audeience addresses to the psalms and canticles of the Liturgy of the Hours. It's a nice read.)

It will be interesting (and, for a Pope-geek like me, somewhat exciting) to see over the next few weeks whether Benedict decides to continue his predecessor's practice of developing theological or devotional themes and ideas over multiple addresses, and if so, what the content of those addresses would be.

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Olympic Hero


America has produced a true to life hero in Turin. 26 year old speedskater Joey Cheek won the gold medal in the 500 meter competition.

In the Q&A following his performance, he used his 15 minutes of fame to call attention to the genocide taking place in Sudan and the plight of the refugees created by the situation.

Here is an excerpt:

I'm going to be donating the entire sum the USOC gives to me, which I think is around $25,000, I'm not sure, to the organization that Johann Olaf Koss either started or gave to in 1994. And I'm going to be asking all of the Olympic sponsors that give hundreds of millions of dollars if they will also maybe match my donation to a specific project.

So, as you know, there's been some media but not a ton, especially in the U.S., in the Darfur region of Sudan. There has been tens and tens of thousands of people killed. My government has labeled it a genocide, and so I will be donating money specifically to refugees in Chad where there are over 60,000 children who have been displaced from their homes. And hopefully, if the region ever gets stabilized, hopefully from pressure through the United Nations or from the U.S. government or from some other agency, then we can go into Sudan and start programs for refugees there.

For me, the Olympics have been the greatest blessing. If I retired yesterday I would have gotten everything in the world from speedskating and from competing in the Olympics. So for me to walk away today with a gold medal is amazing. And the best way to say thanks that I can think of is to help somebody else, so I'm going to be donating my money. I'm going to try and talk to the Olympic sponsors, and if there's anyone in particular in the U.S. or Europe who's going to be reading these articles, if you'd like, check out Right To Play. You can check out their web site, it's (http://www.righttoplay.com/)."

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For the Chicago Peeps


Smashing Pumpkins working on new album.

The soap opera continues.

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Jonah Goldberg on Rap Music


He gets it exactly right.

West is simply the latest example of decades of hucksterism. Under the headline "The Passion of Kanye West," the rap star graces the cover of Rolling Stone posing as a bloodied Jesus with a crown of thorns. I particularly enjoy the publicity around the piece. Clearly borrowing from the same press release, publications across the country proclaim that the "outspoken rapper defends his brash attitude inside the magazine."

Ah, yes. It's about time. After all, it's so rare to find a rapper with a brash attitude. Normally they're shy, retiring types overflowing with modesty and humility. I was particularly enamored with the "aw, shucks" Andy Griffith personalities of Ni**az Wit Attitude and the late Tupac Shakur.

We're supposed to believe that West has been persecuted for his anti-Bush tirades and his determination to keep it real. But his biggest complaint is that people criticize him for being arrogant. "You want me to be great, but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?" he asks.

Of course, the editors also hoped to stir up some controversy, maybe even incite some religious conservatives to play to type, by exploiting the imagery of Jesus's suffering. I never went to Sunday school, but I don't recall that Jesus was crucified for being smug....

Obviously, none of this is unique to rap or "black" music (quotation marks necessary because white suburban kids are the biggest market for the stuff). Big corporations have been marketing "rebellion" since the 1950s. And the kids fall for it every time. In 1968, Columbia Records promised in an ad that "the man can't bust our music!" Madonna made her career glamorizing slattern chic and attacking bourgeois morality. Now she peddles children's books.

Bravo! RTWT, as the kids say.

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That smell...

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Eminent Domain in Cali


The Winter 2006 City Journal is out, and it includes a depressing look by Steven Malanga at the use of eminent domain in California. Local legislators are running wild, collaborating with developers and using eminent domain to take away Private property from private use. malanga cites the particularly egregious example of a Costco that sits on land taken from a Church in Cypress, CA. Also mentioned is an attempt "to grab 188 homes in the thriving City Heights neighborhood... to build 509 town houses, condos, and apartments on the land."

Fortunately, Republican State Senator Tom McClintock (the best governor California never had) is leading a petition drive to put a constitutional amendment on the state's November ballot to put limits on the use of eminent domain. The amendment contains limits simlar to those scuttled by state politicos last summer.

Polls show that 90 percent of Californians favor curtailing eminent-domain powers. Still, many municipal officials in the state oppose the constitutional amendment, as does the Democrat-controlled legislature. Measure proponents anticipate that, to defeat the amendment, legislators and municipal officials will enlist the aid of well-funded real-estate and development groups, as well as businesses like big-box stores and hotels that frequently win prime sites from local governments through eminent domain.

Much is at stake. A successful ballot initiative in the nation’s largest state, where use and abuse of eminent domain for economic development have become so widespread, could jump-start similar legislation around the country.

Go. Read.

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Terrifying truths


NPR's Andrea Seabrook:

"Congressional staffers are so young... America is run by 24-26 year-olds."

It's one of those things you don't like to think about, but....

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  • Alejandro Bermudez of CNA news blogs at "Catholic Outsider. He's got two interesting posts today.

    The first is an insightful quote from the Most Reverend André Vingt-Trois (is "23" a common French last name?) that accurately portrays on of the main sources of tension and dysfunction in the education of our children:

    “Today many adults hesitate in front of the educational adventure: they shy away from their educational role, often they even refuse to have children. Perhaps they hesitate because they are not sure about the light they could transmit or because they do not know whether their lifestyle is the right one for their children. Such hesitation is not a fault. It is rather a grievance, a malaise that comes from the basic questions one asks oneself in one’s lifetime”.

    “We need to reconcile the trust young people place on their families with the trust they learn to place on those who are in charge of leading them during their school years”. “Unfortunately this unity is weaker and weaker because a boy learns one thing at school and the opposite at home”.

    “This is why parents must be involved in the daily life of the school. It is a prerequisite for the success of the educational work”.

    Another way to solve the problem of disunity is to refuse to contract the child's education out to those who will not respect the values of the family.

    Second, Bermudez reports that the Pope's Holy Thursday letter to priests will include some of his ideas for liturgical reform:

    “The Fox,” a well placed source at the Vatican, told the Outsider that even though most of the Pontiff’s ideas about the Eucharist will come out in his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, expected by the end of the year, the Pope’s letter for Holy Thursday will make some serious points about liturgical reform.

  • Shawn Tribe points us to an example of a Church renovation "gone right."

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Healthcare Conscience Protection


Talk of the Nation hosted a discussion yesterday on the problem of healthcare workers refusing to provide procedures or drugs that violate on moral grounds.

The good guy in the debate, Dr. David Stevens, generally holds his position well against a double-team opposition. His arguments are worth listening to.

One point on which I disagree with him, however, is that I think hospitals and pharmacies have the right to hire people who will carry out the full range of services they wish to provide, just like a Catholic hospital has the right to hire only those who would follow Catholic moral guidelines in delivering health care. When this question came up, he got defensive and took and tried to make it an issue of "choice." Aside from that point, he did a fine job.

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Papa Ratzi coming to town?


CNA reports that Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore has hinted that Pope Benedict XVI may be visiting America in 2007.

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February Papal Prayer Intentions


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

General Intention:
That the international community be ever more aware of the urgent duty to put an end to the traffic of human beings.

Missionary Intention:
That lay Catholics in mission lands may serve their country with ever greater commitment in every field, including politics and social assistance.

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2006 is the next archive.

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