Monday, November 21, 2005

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The former first lady urged President Bush to protest China's forced abortions, according to Lifesite, which quotes from a portion of a letter Hilary Clinton recently wrote to the president:

"Since first introduced in 1979, China's one-child policy has evoked strong concern over human rights abuses. These abuses have reportedly included denial of social benefits, fines, detention, destruction of property, forced abortion and forced sterilization. . .," she wrote. "In 1995, as a participant in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, I heard first hand about these practices and spoke against them."

Blessed Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary is blessed because of her discipleship than her motherhood, says St. Augustine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Torturous Debate

Fascinating discussion about torture is going on at Mark Shea's blog, sparked by a challenge to lurkers to express their views on the use of torture in the War on Terror.

As a point of focus, Mark linked to a Wall Street Journal column, which he called an execrable piece of filthy agitprop for Strength Through Torture.

By the way, I agree with Mark on this. St. Paul tells us not to do evil in the hopes of good. Sin kills us and I want to live, that is, forever, as in having eternal life.

Lots of good commentary on this topic over at Mark's. For the most part, people on either side are addressing the discussion with the respect it deserves. And it is a serious topic. Do we torture prisoners or not? And if so, are we prepared for the consequences? History suggests otherwise. By that I mean, World Wars I and II introduced new and more efficient ways to kill and terrorize populations. It is no coincidence that Modernism emerged out of the shell-shocked nations of Europe following World War I. After Modernism's popularization came Existentialism, a soul numbness that accelerated following World War II and that continues to this day.

U.S. Catholic Bishops: End State Murder Now

During yesterday's meeting, U.S. Catholic Bishops approved a new statement on the so-called "death penalty", saying it is a "tragic illusion", and urging the U.S. to abolish it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I Must See This Film

A movie that takes you into another world via silence and time. The Carthusian monks are the subjects of Into Great Silence, what the U.K. Telegraph calls a "strangely fascinating meditation" on the daily lives of these monks of the French Alps. These monks are the strictest religious order in Christianity, living in near silence and constant prayer.

H/T Open Book.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

So Dosing Yourself With Hormones Isn't A Good Thing After All?

So the birth control patch isn't so safe. No kidding. In fact, it's riskier than the pill, killing about a dozen young women last year from blood clots and dozens more survived strokes and other clot-related illnesses.

Funny. I saw a Planned Parenthood ad for the pill and the patch today. It ran in the local "alternative" rag and the ad featured the usual young, healthy looking, urban hipsters. I could be wrong on this but none of the models appeared to be gasping for breath due to a clot blocking their lungs. Neither of the models looked like they had been paralyzed by a stroke. I'm sure this was an oversight.

The AP reports also that the company disclosed, in an internal memo, its refusal to fund studies comparing the patch to the pill out of fears that the results would not be positive (cash-wise) for its makers.

Okay, so birth control makers may not necessarily be looking out for the health, safety, and lives of women. Who knew?

New Law Requires Public Discloure of Church Financial Data in Mass.

Turns out the post I wrote way back in August about the end of the First Amendment rights in Massachusetts has come to pass.

Legal Protection for Catholic Employers

A reader writes:

"Found this great article at the Beckett Fund site about Churches being able to preserve church autonomy in respect to the hring practices of teachers. This is in relationship to Katelyn Sills and Loretto HS."

Ms. Sills, you may recall, is the high school girl whose mother notified the Bishop of Sacramento of the abortion activities carried on by the girl's teacher. The school reluctantly fired the teacher after being ordered to by the bishop. A newspaper outed Katelyn's identity and her blog has been swarmed by agents of the culture of death ever since. Katelyn has been expelled by the same nuns who refused initially to fire the abortion rights teacher. Now the teacher plans on suing. So it's important that the right of Catholic institutions to require employees not to publicly protest church teachings is upheld.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Place for Kindness

Got this email today from the owner of seeking a link:"I am a fellow Christian that has also helped start a website/blog/prayer chain called ( ... We are interested in giving people that seek Christian community and conversation in their life every opportunity possible to find it."

They seem to be evangelicals, if that matters any. Myself, I'm just glad to see some online Agape action. I recommend Oaktree with the caveat that one of their links connects to a site that says Catholic thought on Mary is "dangerous". I realize some evangelicals misinterpret our love of Mary, but ... come on now.

Oaktree itself seems to take an ecumenical stance. In fact, Catholics looking to perform spiritual or corporal works of mercy can take some hints from the mission of Oaktree to provide an open source venue for people seeking, hope, prayers, money, and community.

Says the FAQ:
" gives those willing to help an opportunity to directly impact the person in need; we call this direct effect giving. We open the channel between those in need and those willing to help. After financial assistance, prayers, encouragement or advice is provided to the person in need, the one helped is encouraged to do two things. First thing is to thank the person that helped them by posting a public "thank you" and then pledge to help someone else within the following 90 days. This continues the direct effect indefinitely! "

I spent some time at Oaktree -- a nice little spot of kindness on the Internet. It's good to know they are Christians by their love, rather than by their sarcasm and pharisee-like devotion to the Law like so many Catholic sites.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blogs 4 $$$

What's the 2005 version of the professional protestor? "The activist blogger"!

According to a post on the ever-amusing Craigslist, if you are an "active member of the progressive movement" and have a strong command of the written language (hint: not really necessary for a career in the blogging arts), and feel your posts are worth $3 each, then you may be qualified to be a professional licensed blogger.

Since most bloggers are already blogging at work, the extra coin can seriously up your hourly pay rate.

Denver to Ordain 14

So says Abp. Chaput in his weekly column: In Denver we’re blessed with an abundance of seminarians. They study in two new diocesan seminaries founded in the 1990s: St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. These are wonderful young men. They’re carefully screened for their character, background, balance and dedication before they enter. And they’re formed throughout their education in a spirit of service and healthy chastity.

How exciting it is to live in the Archdiocese of Denver where a "vocations crisis" does not exist. Thanks be to God!

Elsewhere, The Denver Catholic Register reports that J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, spoke to seminarians and faculty last week about the role of the priest. The article talks a bit about the "priest as teacher", but then delves into the unexpected (well, to me anyway):

We must speak from the heart,” Archbishop Miller said. “Proclaim the Gospel, but not on your own authority, rather Christ’s.” Then quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Miller said that priests are not sent to proclaim themselves, but the mystery of Christ.

“Like John the Baptist, the priest is only the precursor,” he said. “The focus is not on him, but on the other.”

In proclaiming the Gospel, Archbishop Miller said that seminarians must become masters of prayer. There is a need in the world, he said, a need to know Christ, but often people don’t ask for it.

“People want to know God,” he said. “They come to you to teach them to pray.”

How very true -- we laity do need our priests to help us pray. Very much so.

The comparison to John the Baptist reminds me of the prophet's response when asked whether he is the Christ: "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." The best priests know they are nothing next to the one whom they proclaim.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Religion Ghosts In Paris

Get Religion, the finest web-based media criticism site, has a fascinating discussion going on about the elements going unreported in the "Paris Is Burning" news story.

Mainstream Media Now ID-ing Rioting Youth (But Still Burying Lead)

This Associated Press news story about the violence in Paris over the last 11 days departs from other mainstream news stories in that it finally does identify the perpetrators as coming from mainly "Muslim" or "African immigrant" communities, which gives a different impression from earlier reports that "French youths" were rioting. Of course, it took 8 paragraphs for the reporter to get around to identifying the actors in this story but at least he got around to it.

Why does it matter? For one, it's a journalism basic to identify the "Who" as well as the "What", "Where", "When," and "Why" of a story. As basic as the inverted pyramid structure. So when the pros fail in the fundamentals of News Writing 101, it raises suspicions that they are hiding something and begs the question why this is so.

Identifying the rioters as Muslims or African immigrants tells the reader a whole lot more about the nature of this event than saying "French youths are rioting." Youths riot over won or lost football games. They riot at keg parties (at least they do in Boulder). They riot because they hate George Bush and he happens to be in their city (at least they do in Portland -- or try to). Identifying the perpetrators in the case of the Paris riots tells us that these are not spawned by vague "unrest" (a news speak term if I ever heard one), but by political or religious reasons. Considering that Europe and the U.S. have been targeted by Muslim terrorists in recent years, the question of who is rioting becomes crucial.

By the way, the Union for Islamic Organizations of France, identified here as France's largest "Muslim fundamentalist organization" has forbidden Muslims from participating in the riots. This piece of information is also important. Guess how far down the page it is buried.

A Prioress? Where do I apply?

The Prioress
You scored 0% Cardinal, 66% Monk, 52% Lady, and 45% Knight!

You are a moral person and are also highly intellectual. You like your solitude but are also kind and helpful to those around you. Guided by a belief in the goodness of mankind you will likely be christened a saint after your life is over.

You scored high as both the Lady and the Monk. You can try again to get a more precise description of either the Monk or the lady, or you can be happy that you're an individual.

Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test