Friday, July 30, 2004

Catholic sources of modern science

"The [Catholic] Church's true role in the development of modern science remains one of the best-kept secrets of modern history," writes Thomas Woods points out in his article, "The Church and the Birth of Modern Science," in Latin Mass magazine (Spring 2004). Writes Wood: "The Catholic Church has been unjustly attacked over the years on more grounds than many of us care to recall, but her alleged hostility toward science may be her greatest debit in the popular mind. The caricatured and cartoonish version of the Galileo affair with which most people are familiar is very largely to blame for the widespread belief that the Church has obstructed the advance of scientific inquiry." It was not coincidental, notes Wood, that the birth of science as a self-perpetuating field of intellectual endeavor should have occurred within a Catholic cultural milieu. (Read more.)

Comical conclusion of DP Convension

DNC CONVENTION DIRECTOR ON-AIR CNN: 'Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go, goddammit... There's not enough coming down! All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the f@#k are you guys doing up there?'... (For an AUDIO [MP3 FILE], click on Drudge Report, below.) Here's the transcript:

'Go balloons, go balloons! Go balloons! I don't see anything happening. Go balloons! Go balloons! Go balloons! Standby confetti. Keep coming, balloons. More balloons. Bring it- balloons, balloons, balloons! We want balloons, tons of them. Bring them down. Let them all come. No confetti. No confetti yet.

'No confetti. All right, go balloons, go balloons. We need more balloons. All balloons! All balloons! Keep going! Come on, guys, lets move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go, goddammit. Go confetti. Go confetti. More confetti. I want more balloons. What's happening to the balloons? We need more balloons.

'We need all of them coming down. Go balloons- balloons? What's happening balloons? There's not enough coming down! All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the f@#k are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down, more balloons. More balloons. More balloons'...
(Drudge Report)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Around the blogsphere

Times Against Humanity continues its top to bottom coverage of the DP (Death Party) Con-vention by the irrepressibly charming Earl Appleby. In related news, The Curt Jester introduces "The Secularizer," whose patented unfilter technology called CorruptPlayTM injects the profanity, violence, and pornographic content that contemporary Democratic TV viewing audiences have come to expect, should the need arise. Elliot Bougis, taking over Mark Shea's blog under the revised name, "Not quite Catholic but still enjoying it," describes Kerry's DP Convention speech as knocking Nixon's "Checkers Speech" from its pedestal and reaching the "You make me want to puke" point in record time. The Jewish World Review offers an analysis of Arab coverage of the U.S. presidential race in Stephen Stanlinsky's "Arab Guide to the 2004 Election" (thanks to David Mills at Touchstone). It seems the Iranians and others are terrified of Bush, which may explain their all-out support for the Kerry-Edwards ticket. (Let the voter beware!) Jimmy Akin (Defensor Fidei) covers the reception of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ in Malaysia, which is surprisingly different from that of other Muslim countries in the Middle East (Kuala Lumpur, Reuters). John da Fiesole offers the following apt question for political observers, under the "Personally Opposed to Murder" button (pictured right):

"Okay, I understand everyone says stupid things at times. When we do, we should notice that what we've said was stupid and correct ourselves without compounding the stupidity.

"So, when are the politicians who have said they can't force their morality on their constituents going to correct themselves without compounding their stupidity?"
In other news, Greg Krehbiel, responds to the question, "Pornography never hurt anyone, right?" by taking us from "the fantasy universe of the privacy Nazis -- 'It's nobody's business what I do privately'" -- to a report from the real universe that hotel workers want porn-rated movies banned. Krehbiel, commenting also on the presidential race, quotes Ann Coulter:
"Among the four major candidates for president and vice president this year, who has the smallest net worth? Answer: George Bush."
But most interesting of all is Krehbiel's analysis of Sobran's take on fixing "same sex" marriage. On the question of Kerry's character and military service record, see the astute Catholic Analysis by Oswald Sobrano. Also see his analysis of Kerry's Speech, Like Michael Moore, Undermines Troops. For a detailed analysis of Ron Reagan's duplicitous speech at the DP (Death Party) Convention, see Christopher Blosser's piece in Against the Grain. See also his links to the discussion of George Sim Johnson's recent articles in Crisis magazine on the consequences and implications of the Second Vatican Council. Benjamin Blosser offers a detailed Augustinian analysis of sex and marriage in Ad Limina Apostolorum. In another post, "Fr. Pavone levels the playing field," Benjamin quotes Fr. Frank Pavone as saying:
"If a candidate who supported terrorism asked for your vote, would you say, 'I disagree with you on terrorism, but where do you stand on other issues?'"

"'I stand for adequate and comprehensive health care.' So far, so good. But as soon as you say that a procedure that tears the arms off of little babies is part of 'health care,' then your understanding of the term 'health care' is obviously quite different from the actual meaning of the words."

"'My plan for adequate housing will succeed.' Fine. But what are houses for, if not for people to live in them? If you allow the killing of the children who would otherwise live in those houses, how am I supposed to get excited by your housing project?"

Summary: "It's easy to get confused by all the arguments in an election year. But if you start by asking where candidates stand on abortion, you can eliminate a lot of other questions you needn't even ask."
See also Pavone's original article, entitled "You Wouldn't Even Ask," as well as his organization, Priests for Life.

For a very interesting discussion of the presidential race, read Michael Novak's "Why the Dems Will Lose." Here are a few excerpts:
of the political commentators I admire most for his astuteness said yesterday that the paroxysm of hatred the Democrats have been indulging for the last six months is the worst American political delusion he has seen in his entire life.

What will it be like -- if after all this hatred, all this effort, all those millions upon millions of dollars spent to express disdain, contempt, and hate -- Bush wins again, flashes a victory symbol over his head, grins, strides around shaking hands, glows with exuberance and radiance?

For Democrats, losing is much worse than for Republicans.... Democrats without power suffer much more. Democrats go listless, purposeless."
And, finally, a quote for the day from George Washington:
"Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Oblate pre-novice graduates and heads for the novitiate

On 21 May 2004, Benjamin Adam Roberts (pictured left) graduated Summa Cum Laude in philosophy from D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY. Ben is a convert to Catho-licism from Hickory, NC, where he previously attended Lenoir-Rhyne College (Note: Lenoir-Rhyne College Campus Pastor, Andrew Weisner, is pictured second from right). Roberts has been a member of the Bishop Fallon Community, under the direction of Fr. George Kirwin, Order of Mary Immaculate (OMI), since 2002. He will enter the Novitiate in Godfrey, IL, in August after working at St. William's Parish in Tewksbury, MA, this summer. Read more.

Iraqi prisoner calls Abu Ghraib "a joke"

While few of us would want to absolve those who abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib, this former prisoner of Saddam Hussein puts the matter into perspective and reminds us why so many Iraqis are relieved to be free of Saddam Hussein:
Ibrahim Idrissi has mixed feelings about the recent uproar caused by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib under the US occupation. "As a humanitarian organization, we oppose this," he says. "But these are soldiers who have come to Iraq to fight, not to be prison guards. It was to be expected. Of course, if there are innocent people in there ... it is possible, I guess, that some of them are innocent."

If Idrissi seems a bit callous about the fate of the Iraqis in US-run jails, he has probably earned the right to differ. He recalls a day in 1982, at the General Security prison in Baghdad:

"They called all the prisoners out to the courtyard for what they called a 'celebration.' We all knew what they meant by 'celebration.' All the prisoners were chained to a pipe that ran the length of the courtyard wall. One prisoner, Amer al-Tikriti, was called out. They said if he didn't tell them everything they wanted to know, they would show him torture like he had never seen. He merely told them he would show them patience like they had never seen."

"This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us."

"Amer's wife didn't lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer's throat." There is a moment of silence. Then Idrissi says: "What we have seen about the recent abuse at Abu Ghraib is a joke to us."
(Read the whole story in The Daily Star)

Why we didn't invade the "wrong country"

In a weekly column in World Watch entitled, "Did we invadethe wrong country?" Orson Scott Card writes: "I find it just a little amusing that pundits -- especially opponents of the war -- are now saying, 'It looks like we invaded the wrong country, if we wanted to get the governments that supported 9/11.'" Read Card's detailed and cogent analysis on why we invated Iraq. The reasons are still good. Card concludes "we can't afford to replace Bush with a candidate who has been an enemy of American defenses for his entire career -- starting the day he got home from Vietnam and threw whatever he threw over the fence." Read the whole article.

Kierkegaard, critic of Luther

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish Lutheran and one of Denmark's most revered philosophers,
and began his theological career quite sympathetic to Luther . But that opinion underwent a significant change. By the end of his life, as Walter Lowrie wrote, Kierkegaard had "nothing but denunciations" for Luther. The change in Kierkegaard's thinking is discussed in a recent article by Alice von Hildebrand, "Kierkegaard: A Critic of Luther," Latin Mass magazine (Spring, 2004), pp. 10-14. Some of the quotations from Kierkegaard, tracking the shift in his thinking, are posted on my Philosophia Perennis blog. Just a few are offered below to whet your appetite:

-- [S. Kierkegaard] --

  • Directly challenging Luther, Kierkegaard writes:
    "Luther, your responsibility is great indeed, for the closer I look the more clearly do I see that you overthrew the pope and set the public on the throne.... You altered the New Testament concept of 'the martyr,' and taught men to win by numbers."
  • Again, Kierkegaard criticizes Luther:
    As for the rest, the closer I examine Luther the more convinced do I become
    that he was muddle headed. It is a comfortable kind of reforming which consists in throwing away burdens and making life easier.... True reforming always means to make life more difficult, to lay on burdens; and the true reformer is therefore always put to death as though he were the enemy of mankind. Luther's 'hear me, thou Pope' ... sound[s] to me always disgustingly worldly. Is that the sacred earnestness of a reformer ... who knows that true reformation consists in becoming more inward? Such an expression is just like a journalist's slogan. That unholy political attitude, that desire to overthrow the pope is - [Martin Luther] - what is so confusing about Luther."
  • Kierkegaard became increasingly convinced that Luther had systematically watered down Christianity:
    "[I]t can come to the point in Protestantism when worldliness is honored and venerated as godliness. And that, I maintain, cannot happen in Catholicism.... No wonder Luther very quickly got such great support. The secular mentality understood immediately the break.... [T]hey grinned in their beards ... at Luther ... that chosen instrument of God who had helped men so splendidly make a fool of God."
  • New Iraqi film counters Farenheit 911

    Saddam's Mass Graves, a documentary making the rounds in the heartland of America, makes a compelling case for Bush, even though the film offers not a single image of Bush. "I wanted to keep the message absolutely free of politics," says director-producer Rosebiani, a soft-spoken native of Iraq's Kurdistan. And this he does religiously -- even cutting tempting footage of gushing families in northern Iraq who have named their new baby sons "Bush." Rosebiani's film lacks the entertainment value of Moore's political partisanship and venomous vitriol in Farenheit 911, and the quiet director is a bit shy when he suggests that Moore's film was engineered to appeal to the "dumb and dumber" set. But those who have watched Moore's Fahrenheit 911 might conclude the corpulent director was from another planet when his film portrayed Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a modern-day Shangri-la with children dancing in the streets. Rosebiani reveals, to say the least, a different Iraq. Following a simple formula of "just show it," Rosebiani has Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds recount in their own words how their brothers, husbands, children and friends were dragged from their homes in the middle of the night, beaten and starved at holding camps, and finally shot -- their bodies pushed into mass graves. The carnage under Saddam's regime was of horrific proportions, leaving an estimated 300,000 civilians dead. In the so-called "Anfal" ethnic cleansing of 1988 alone some 4000 villages were wiped from the face of the earth. Paramount is the conclusion that Saddam Hussein could have only been stopped by direct military intervention. Saddam's Mass Graves debuted recently at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, where, as Rosebiani recounted to NewsMax, "I had some tough customers there to see the film -- they were solidly against the U.S.'s intervention in Iraq. They told me that this was no longer their opinion after seeing the film." (Source: Dave Eberhart, "The Democrats Won't See This Film in Boston," Tuesday, July 27, 2004)

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    The disappointment with Jimmy Carter

    I voted for Jimmy Carter both times he ran for office. Until the end of his administration, I was a Democrat. I supported the Democratic platform until then, because, like many Catholics still mistakenly believe, I genuinely believed then that the Democrats supported the traditional hardworking family man -- the proverbial "little guy" -- against the presumed real enemy, big business. It was only during the latter part of the Carter administration that I saw the writing on the wall. The emerging outlines of a cultural divide were already then slowly becoming apparent, a divide that increasingly paralleled the division between the two major parties. Already in 1973 two gauntlets had been thrown down in Row v. Wade (legalizing the killing of unborn babies) and in the American Psychiatric Association's politically-inspired declassification of homosexuality as a disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (allowing homosexual behavior to be increasingly viewed as normal and even healthy, in conformity with the now discredited data of Kinsey's Report). But there were many individuals, including myself, who sincerely failed to see what was coming. Not only was the Democratic party no longer for the "traditional hardworking family man" at all; it was undermining the foundations of traditional families.

    When Jimmy Carter retired from the Presidency to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity and teach weekly Sunday School classes in his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia, I regarded him with a great deal of admiration and respect. Here was a man who, if he had not exactly succeeded at being a great President, had committed himself to helping the poor during his retirement years. He seemed to stand in some way for some of the best ideals in the Christian tradition. And this admiration for Carter has continued up to the present.

    Increasingly, though, since the first days of the Reagan administration, the ways in which the major US parties lined up on the issues made it more and more difficult to vote with the Democrats. Increasingly, it was the party of Abraham Lincoln (the GOP) that carried the ball when it came to legislation that could be called "liberal" in the classic sense of opposing big government. "That government is best which governs least," is a liberal political sentiment stemming from the basic Judeo-Christian insight of Lord Acton: "all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." But it was also the GOP that increasingly took on the mantle of the proverbial David against the Goliath of the activist courts, which have been rapidly legislating away the natural and civil rights of individuals under the rubric, ironically, of a "right to privacy." What had started out as (1) the idea of "freedom" firmly rooted in the Christian idea of the liberty of the sinner redeemed by Christ became (2) the Lockean idea of freedom rooted in Stoic ideals of reason and natural law, and then (3) the idea of complete autonomy utterly divorced from any conception of good as constitutive of freedom. But anarchy is always closely related to tyranny, as Plato saw in his Republic, and as J.L. Talmon, professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, clearly discerned in his book, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy. In was not for nothing that J.J. Rousseau said in The Social Contract that the masses must be "compelled to be free" -- and it was not for nothing that Simone de Beauvoir famously asserted that women shouldn't be allowed a choice to stay home as a wife and mother because too many women would choose to do so.

    Thus it is those (typically Democrats) who talk in the most glowing terms about "toleration" and the "rights" of individuals to such things as abortion and same-sex "marriages" are also most vociferous in their intolerance towards the rights of unborn babies, traditional families, and Jews and Christians who adhere to traditional heterosexual understandings of marriage, the usage of masculine pronouns for God, and so forth. Their viceral hatred of such traditional values can be seen, for example, in Linda Rondstadt's recent remark that her ability to enjoy her performances is stymied when she learns that there are Republicans or "fundamental Christians" in the audience, or in Michael Moore's unmitigated and gratuitious invective against the values of the Bush administration in Farenheit 911. These things have come to comprise the thematic of the Democratic Party over the last decades, and try as they might, they cannot hide it. Not even with extreme image makeovers of the sort attempted at their convention in Boston. Sooner-than-later, the underlying agenda animating their activity emerges: a culture of death-dealing abortuaries funded by free-access support for Planned Parenthood, a culture perpetuating attitudes of chip-on-the-shoulder victimization and resentment among African-Americans, radical feminist antipathy toward the values of motherhood and traditional families, neo-Marxist redistributionism, post-Christian loathing of all Judeo-Christian values, postmodern deconstruction of all traditional Western institutions (legal, educational, political, religious), and a homosexual agenda aimed at undermining the traditional institutions of heterosexual marriages and families. The time for subtlety is past.

    Thus when Jimmy Carter spoke at the Democratic Convention in Boston on Monday in support of John Kerry, whose convention organizers have befittingly wrapped him in the mantle of Bill "I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman" Clinton, I was disappointed with him. I was disappointed that he would even sit on the same platform as those who identify themselves with Clinton's lifting of the ban on partial-birth abortion, let alone drag in references to his Christian faith and prayer in the context of a party unequivocally hostile to traditional Christian belief in objective and inviolable absolutes. Above all, however, I was disappointed that Carter let himself -- willingly or unwillingly, I do not know -- be reduced to an aging attack dog for the Kerry campaign, impugning the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq when Kerry and Clinton supported it and when no Democrat has said specifically what he would have done differently, and feting the duplicitous and self-serving heel whom even many Democrats recognize Kerry to be with perfumed mendacities such as these:
    "Twenty years ago I was running for president, and I said then, 'I want a government as good and as honest and as decent and as competent and as compassionate as are the American people.' I say this again tonight, and that is exactly what we will have next January with John Kerry as president of the United States." (Source.)

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    MA residents know Kerry only too well

    A poll of 500 registered voters, weighted to reflect the Massachusetts electorate (which means three Democrats for every Republican), reveals that Massachusetts residents know him well:
    • 49 percent, nearly half of Massachusetts voters say that Sen. Kerry says what he believes people want to hear rather than what he really believes
    • 53 percent a majority of Massachusetts voters say he is more concerned with raising his national profile to being a serious legislator
    • Again nearly half 48 percent believe that flip flopper is a fair label and I'll remind you this is a poll weighted 3-to-1 Democrat
    • They also believe that John Edwards is more charismatic by 70 percent to 15 percent than is John Kerry
    • Sen. Kerry said that in 1991 he said, "I'm a liberal" but a few weeks ago he said, "I'm not a liberal I represent conservative values." But the people of Massachusetts have a different perspective they believe by 47 percent to 8 percent that Sen. Kerry takes liberal rather than conservative positions.
    More details at (Gratia tibi, Christopher.)

    Soldier who captured Saddam

    Ever wonder who captured Saddam Hussein? One of the first guys to find and capture Saddam Hussein was an American soldier of Iraqi descent, who fled Iraq in 1991 to escape persecution under Hussein's regime. Read more. One of the best Iraqi blogs for getting an on-the-ground Iraqi point of view is The Iraqi Model. (Gratias tibi, Christopher Blosser.)

    "Liturgical abuse of Last week (TM)"

    Ad Limina Apostolorum blogger, Benjamin Blosser, addresses the liturgical abuse of last (sic) week, made famous by LifeTeen Masses in which those youngsters present have been invited to "gather around" the altar during the Eucharistic prayer, where they have more often than not stood gawking, occasionally picking their noses, during the Consecration. Thankfully, as Defensor Fidei blogger, Jimmy Akin, noted last week (commenting on Amy Welborn's report to this effect), LifeTeen Masses are about to be changed and brought into conformity with the Church's liturgical law.

    "Where those who hate the Church go to church"

    Bill Cork reports (in his blog, Ut Unum Sint) on this story in the Daily Standard about John Kerry's perish in Boston, the Paulist Center. Cork quips, this is "Where those who hate
    the Church go to church." Besides boasting what may be the most night-marish crucifix in existence, the Paulist Center exists to serve, in its own telling words, "those persons searching for a spiritual home who have been alienated from the Catholic Church." This, as the article notes, "explains why John Kerry feels so comfortable at the Paulist Center. His fellow parishioners aren't gritting their teeth and looking away while he fights for abortion and defies the Catholic Church. They're cheering him on." The director of the Paulist Center, appropriately, it seems, has been invited to give the invocation at the Democratic Convention in Boston, since Boston Archbishop O'Malley won't offer his blessing. (Gratias tibi, Benjamin, for the tip.)

    "Flaming gay" Cardinal Bernardin compromised U.S. hierarchy?

    The following from Joseph Kellenyi, who figured prominently in Michael S. Rose's Goodbye,
    Good Men, implicates the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (pictured left), formerly Archbishop of Chicago, in developments over the past several decades. Kellenyi, who was once a seminarian at Mundelein in the Chicago area, makes the following statement about a conversation he had with the Rev. John F. Canary, the rector of Mundelein Seminary, in August of 1999, according to Dale Vree, editor of New Oxford Review (July/August 2004), pp. 14-15:
    I told Rev. Canary that I had some problems with the Chicago Diocese. I told him that I perceived that while Cardinal Bernardin had probably lived a celibate life, and may not have abused Steven Cook, that he also was flamingly gay. I said that I perceived that under Bernardin's regime, Chicago had become like Santa Rosa under Bishop Ziemann. I said that in Santa Rosa, those priests and seminarians not in the bishop's gay clique were treated unjustly, and that the same was true of Chicago under Bernardin. I said that I perceived that Bernardin fostered and promoted a network of gay priests and bishops, and that they protected each other, covered up each other's 'mistakes,' and promoted one another to positions of responsibility in Chicago and the church at large. I alluded to the fact that Bernardin had appointed Rev. Canary, and that he in turn had appointed the formation faculty. Rev. Canary's response was 'Your perception is accurate. The question is what are you going to do about it.'"
    Kellenyi subsequently took a lie detector test to vindicate his testimony on Oct. 21, 2002 at the offices of the Polygraph Security Services in London (Kellenyi then resided in Belgium). The result: "There is no doubt that Mr. Kellenyi was truthful in all his responses," according to the Polygraph Security Services. (The relevant documents, according to Vree, can be found in AMDG, Fall/Winter 2003, the periodical of Roman Catholic Faithful [call 217-632-5920].)

    In the same issue of AMDG, Kellenyi writes:
    The polygraph results show that I discovered in 1999 that Cardinal Bernardin had fostered a network of gay priests and bishops who were covering up one another's sexual indiscretions. The rector at Mundelein Seminary confirmed this fact.... Andrew Greeley has insinuated that Bernardin was gay. Will he now come out and simply admit that he knew it all along?"
    In a related vein, Vree notes that in his book, Amchurch Comes Out: The U.S. Bishops, Pedophile Scandals and the Homosexual Agenda, Paul Likoudis also implicates Cardinal Bernardin, whom he describes as:
    "[the] bishop-maker who ... gave the American hierarchy its pronounced pro-gay orientation.... Bernardin acquired power rapidly. As his friends back in Charleston continued buggering little boys, Bernardin used his influence, starting in 1968, as General Secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference, to select bishops (many of whom are still ordinaries) who would, to put it charitably, condone and promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle and tolerate the sexual abuse of children by priests."
    In what he terms a "telling aside," Vree relates that James Hitchcock reported that "the Windy City Gay Men's Chorus was asked [by Bernardin, who knew he was dying] to sing at his wake in the Cathedral. The chorus's director said that they regarded the invitation as a sign of approval by the Church..." (The Catholic World Report, Feb. 1997). "The Gay Chorus performed six songs -- in the sanctuary to the right of the altar," according to the story.

    Kellenyi's article continues:
    "I would urge the reader to search The New York Times archives for an article entitled 'Can This Man Save the Catholic Church?'
    The article is about Wilton Gregory
    [President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pictured right], and in it he describes in detail how Bernardin mentored and handpicked him, grooming him from early on for a leadership position.... One can reasonably presume that Bishop Gregory is well aware of the fact that he is where he is today because a gay Cardinal took a special interest in him at a young age. Bishop Gregory has benefited directly from the combination of homosexuality and power in the Church. This alone would explain his waffling over the gay priest problem."
    So is this why Bishop Wilton Gregory and the USCCB doesn't really seem serious about solving our 'gay' priest problem at the root of the clergy's sex abuse scandal?

    Pope John XXIII turns over in his grave

    "Silvio, Silvio; my pontificate has been a failure!"
    Contrary to prevailing popular opinion, Pope John XXIII would likely be appalled by the state of the post-Vatican II Church that he would find today were he alive to see it. In the July/August 2004 issue of the New Oxford Review, Alice von Hildebrand writes that Pope John XXIII's hopes for the Second Vatican Council were dashed, as revealed by a remark he made in confidence to his close friend, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, shortly before John XXIII's death. Von Hildebrand writes that she was privileged to have a two-hour interview with Cardinal Oddi in March of 1985, in which the Cardinal told her: "Knowing that his death was close, John XXIII called me and told me:
    'Silvio, Silvio; my pontificate has been a failure. All the things I wanted to accomplish have not been done; what I did not want to take place is being realized.'"
    [Alice von Hildebrand, "The Second Vatican Council: Why Pope John XXIII Would Weep," New Oxford Review, (July/August 2004), p. 34; reproduced and posted by Catherine Siena at]

    "To End All Wars"

    Why has this film been virtually ignored by the media and film industry? It's one of the best films I've seen in a couple of years, certainly better than 90% of the shlock in your community video store. I have an actor friend from Hollywood who is now retired and continues to be
    a major film buff. Recently he accidently happened across this film, about which he had heard nothing. Based on the autobiographical account of Ernest Gordon, Miracle on the River Kwai, the film at first looked like a rip-off of the classic movie, Bridge over the River Kwai (starring Alec Guinness and William Holden), about the British and American prisoners of war building a railroad through the jungles of Thailand and Burma for their Japanese captors during the Second World War. But then the story turns, and the most unpredictable drama unfolds, one whose brutality is tempered only by the redemptive depth of personal sacrifices that ensue. Directed by David L. Cunningham, the film stars Kiefer Sutherland, Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty), Ciaran McMenamin, Mark Strong, and Yugo Saso. Superb acting. Ron Reid (of Christianity Today) offers a mixed but substantial review, in which his critical remarks seem less revealing about the film than about Reid's knee-jerk reactions against his own Evangelical Protestant ethos. For a variety of reviews and clips from the official website, click here. For screenwriter Brian Godawa's commentary, click here.

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    The Intellectual Life: a book recommendation for the serious student

    Author: A. G. Sertillanges
    Title: The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods
    Translator: Mary Ryan
    Place of publication: Washington, DC
    Publisher: Catholic University of America Press
    Date: Reprint edition, 1987

    Originally published in French in 1920, this book has become something of a contemporary classic in France. It has been repeatedly reprinted and continues to inspire and instruct young scholars. Thanks to the translator's work, we now have available the book in English.

    Sertillanges asks in the preface of the 1934 edition of The Intellectual Life: "Do you want to do intellectual work?" He follows with the prescription: "Begin by creating within you a zone of silence, a habit of recollection, a will of renunciation and detachment which puts you entirely at the disposal of work; acquire that state of soul unburdened by desire and self-will which is the state of grace of the intellectual worker. Without that you will do nothing, at least nothing worth while."

    "Discusses with a wealth of illustration and insight such subjects as the organization of the intellectual worker's time, materials, and his life; the integration of knowledge and the relation of one's specialty to general knowledge; the choice and use of reading; the discipline of memory; the taking of notes, their classification and use; and the preparation and organization of the final production." (The Sign)

    In the forward to this edition, James V. Schall, S.J., writes:
    "I would put The Intellectual Life on the desk of every serious student, and most of the unserious ones. . . . We should read through this classic book, make its teachings ours after our own manner. Adapting what Sertillanges suggests to our own computer, to our own books, to our own hours of the day or night should be no problem. The book will have an abiding, concrete effect on our lives. If we follow its outlines, it will make us alive in that inner, curious, delightful way that is connoted by the words in the book's magnificent title--The Intellectual Life. I see no reason for settling for anything less. The great French Dominican still teaches us how to learn, but only if we are free enough to let him teach us."
    Highly recommended, especially for the serious student.

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    What would John Adams have said about a Novus Ordo Mass?

    John Adams (1735-1826), second President of the United States, like the ecumenical George Washington, was known to have visited Old St. Mary's, which later became the first Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Diocese of Philadelphia (1810-38).  In 1774, Adams and Washing-ton were both delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and they once took a day off from their deliberations to visit some of the churches in Philadelphia, including the "Romish chapel" (St. Mary's).  Fascinated and revolted by his first experience of this alien phenomenon of the Catholic Mass, Puritan-born Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail:
    "This afternoon's entertainment was to me most awful and affecting; the poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood.... The dress of the priest was rich white lace....The altar piece was very rich, little images and crucifixes about; wax candles lighted up.  But how shall I describe the picture of our Saviour in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds!  Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination -- everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and the ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell."
    Imagine anyone saying that of the contemporary "we are fa-mi-ly" guitar-and-song fest called the New Mass!

    Oregon Catholic Press reviving Latin chant???

    In an article entitled "A New Dawn for Latin Chant?" [PDF] in the July/August 2004 issue of
    Crisis magazine, authors Arlene Ooster-Zinner and Jeffrey Tucker, respectively, president and director of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn, Alabama, report that Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) is now suddenly promoting materials from the tradition of Latin chant. OCP, long notorious as purveyor of the trendy-folksy lowest-common-denominator, market-driven schlock that today passes in suburban American parishes for "liturgical music," has long terrorized Catholics of aesthetic sensibility. The dreadful amplified braying (one cannot call it hymnody) this has produced in most parishes, under the repressive aegis of aging music directors aiming to pull off a Whoopi Goldberg imitation in "Sister Act" or greying amateur Peter-Paul-and-Mary wannabes croon-
    ing into their microphones, has garnered for Catholics in the English-speaking world the well deserved reputation enshrined in Thomas Day's memorable title, Why Catholics Can't Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste (1992). Illustrative is the horrifying bathos and banality of one of OCP's flagship publications, Glory and Praise, whose triteness is surpassed only by the theological flaccidity of its small-minded, appalling ditties. The effects have not only been aesthetically nefarious but spiritually iniquitous, not merely afflicting cultur-ed and theologically literate Catholics, but depriving the younger generation of their Catholic patrimony, and regularly offending the sensibilities of non-Catholic visitors to Catholic churches over the last several decades, who are regularly treated to happy-clappy hand-holding "liturgies" (I use the term lightly) more reminiscent of the Barney Show than of a real Catholic Mass. Frankly, the matter has been a colossal embarrassment.
    Compared to what your average suburban Catholic parish dishes up these days, the traditions of hymnody found in Anglicanism, Lutheranism, other Protestant traditions are not only musically superior, but often -- horribile dictu -- theologically so. It is hard to imagine the management at OCP having turned over a new leaf and discovered a new appreciation for the glorious musical patrimony of Catholic tradition, although, given current trends, one is con-strained to say: "something's gotta give." In any case, OCP's startling and welcome new offerings from the Latin chant tradition include:
    • The Liber Cantualis, a core selection of the best-known chanted Mass parts and hymns
    • The Liber Hymnarius, 400 Latin hymns for the Liturgy of the Hours
    • The Gregorian Missal, Latin texts for the Mass for all Sundays and Solmenities
    • The Graduale Romanum, the Mass propers for the entire year, plus the entire Kyriale with all chants
    • The Graduale Triplex, the Graduale Romanum plus neumes from Laon and St. Gall family manuscripts to assist in interpretation
    Might we have "turned the corner," as the Oost-Zinner and Tucker dare to suggest in their article? Or, as they more likely fear:
    "Might chant be added to a Sunday mix of music that will include all styles, creating a kind of liturgical melange? Is chant in danger of becoming part of this year's Catholic Top 40 only to fall out of this list next year?"
    So far have we strayed from the Gregorian traditions over the past 40 years, that most of those who cherish these traditions cannot help being skeptical. It will take more than new catalog offerings from OCP to restore Gregorian chant to its "pride of place" within the Roman rite, as mandated by Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) (article 166):
    "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services."
    In the meantime, one would be well advised to cover his bases and petition for membership in the

    Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas


    Fellay interview on SSPX-Vatican status

    Documentation Information Catholiques Internationales (DICI) has published an informative interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) (pictured left), subsequent
    to Latin Mass magizine's May interview with Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (above right). For an English translation of the Fellay interview, in which he answers a number of questions regarding the proposals made by the Cardinal in regard to Tradition, see this link.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Clinton defends Berger, speaks no evil

    July 21, 2004 -- Defending Berger today in Denver, Clinton said: "We were all laughing about it" (Denver [The "Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" photo of Clinton and his associates, courtesy Diana Walker, 2002, via Drudge Report]

    Nuclear arms reportedly found in Iraq

    BAGHDAD, July 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi security reportedly discovered three missiles carrying nuclear warheads concealed underground northwest of Baghdad, official sources said Wednesday. The missiles with their nuclear warheads were concealed beneath six meters of concrete, so as to prevent sophisticated sensors from discovering nuclear radiation, sources said.

    "The country of the blind"

    A poem by C. S. Lewis

    Hard light bathed them -- a whole nation of eyeless men,
    Dark bipeds not aware how they were maimed. A long
    Process, clearly, a slow curse,
    Drained through centuries, left them thus.

    At some transitional stage, then, a luckless few,
    No doubt, must have had eyes after the up-to-date,
    Normal type had achieved snug
    Darkness, safe from the guns of heav'n;

    Whose blind mouths would abuse words that belonged to their
    Great-grandsires, unabashed, talking of light in some
    Eunuch'd, etiolated,
    Fungoid sense, as a symbol of

    Abstract thoughts. If a man, one that had eyes, a poor
    Misfit, spoke of the grey dawn or the stars or green-
    Sloped sea waves, or admired how
    Warm tints change in a lady's cheek,

    None complained he had used words from an alien tongue,
    None question'd. It was worse. All would agree. 'Of course,'
    Came their answer. 'We've all felt
    Just like that.' They were wrong. And he

    Knew too much to be clear, could not explain. The words --
    Sold, raped, flung to the dogs -- now could avail no more;
    Hence silence. But the mouldwarps,
    With glib confidence, easily

    Showed how tricks of the phrase, sheer metaphors could set
    Fools concocting a myth, taking the words for things.
    Do you think this a far-fetched
    Picture? Go then about among

    Men now famous; attempt speech on the truths that once,
    Opaque, carved in divine forms, irremovable,
    Dread but dear as a mountain-
    Mass, stood plain to the inward eye.

    C.S. Lewis, Poems (1964)

    Christian? Shhhhh! Don't ask, don't tell!!

    Cleveland, OH, June 30, 2004 -- A philosophy professor, Professor James Tuttle, who was punished by his administration and stripped of his classes for disclosing his religious viewpoint to students has filed suit against Lakeland Community College in Ohio, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reported Wednesday. David French, president of the Foundation representing Tuttle's rights, asked: "Does the college ask feminist professors to disguise their feminism or atheist professors to hide their atheism?"

    Interesting. You can openly ridicule the Christian Faith in class, you can push Marxism or feminism or postmodernism or atheism on your students, you can offer classes on Buddhism, Native American religion, Witchcraft, New Ageism, and the Occult. Or you can pretend to be completely "objective" or "neutral" and to teach from "the point of view of nowhere." But try to be a professor of some integrity and tell your students up front what your pre-theoretical commitments are so they understand your perspective, and you get yourself stripped of your classes and punished. And this is a free country?

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Notre Dame Center announces new website

    Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture has just launched a new and improved website
    featuring a more user-friendly design, discussion forums, audio and video recordings of past lectures, more links to sites for professionals in health care, law, media and business; more links and information about events and resources at Notre Dame and other institutions; and a prominent section for up-to-date news about the Center's current events and activities. The homepage also features, under the heading of "WHO INSPIRES US," a window with images (which change when you click on them) of G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Christopher Dawson, Orestes Brownson, Elizabeth Anscombe, Dorothy Day, Jacques Maritain, and John Henry Newman. Each image links to a short biography of the featured person, along with quotable quotes by each.

    Newman journal launched

    The National Institute for Newman Studies, officially dedicated on September 14th (felicitously, my birthday) of last year, located on North Dithridge Street in Oakland, and housing a library of 3,500 books and publications devoted to the 19th century English theologian and philosopher, has just launched its new Newman Studies Journal. The Table of Contents of first issue -- Volume 1, No. 1 (Spring, 2004) -- includes:

    • Editorial Preface
    • Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Newman in Retrospect
    • Bishop Donald W. Wuerl, Academic Freedom and the University
    • Paul Chavasse, C.O., John Henry Newman: A Saint for Our Times
    • M. Katherine Tillman, An Introduction to "The Dream of Gerontius"
    • Marvin R. O'Connell, Newman and the Irish Bishops
    • John T. Ford, C.S.C., John Henry Newman: A Spiritual Guide for the 21st Century?
    • Book Reviews
      (1) John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion, by Frank Turner; (2) Newman, by Avery Dulles, S.J.
    • Pastoral Vigniettes
    • Newman Chronology
    • Bibliography
    • Announcements
    Online subscriptions are available here (individuals $25; institutions $50).

    Lisa M. Goetz, Managing Editor
    Newman Studies Journal
    The National Institute for Newman Studies
    161 N. Dithridge St.
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Catholics who voted for gay "marriage"

    This just in from Deal Hudson on the Federal Marriage Amendment vote:
    [Fourteen] Catholic senators against the FMA, 5 in favor, and 5 undecided. Fortunately, four of those undecided Catholic senators did the right thing in the end and voted "yes" to the cloture vote on the amendment. Only John Sununu, a Republican from New Hampshire, went the other way and voted "no." That's a big disappointment. (By the way, the most famous Catholic of the bunch, John Kerry,didn't vote. Big surprise.)

    Some of the names on the opposition list are not surprising -- Ted Kennedy, Barbara Mikulski, and Tom Daschle, to name a few of the usual suspects. A couple of the names, though, are kind of funny. Dick Durbin of Illinois, for example, who created the infamous Catholic senator "score card" that ranked him the second most Catholic senator on the Hill. Who would have guessed that the most Catholic senators in Washington are all ignoring the bishops conference and casting votes in favor of gay marriage?

    Anyway, here are the rest of the senators who voted against;cloture:
    • Joseph Biden (D-DE)
    • John Breaux (D-LA)
    • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
    • Susan Collins (R-ME)
    • Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
    • Tom Harkin (D-IA)
    • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
    • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    • Patty Murray (D-WA)
    • John Reed (D-RI)

    Intelligence report rebuts Bush accuser

    Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, last year  launched a public firestorm with his accusations that the administration had manipulated intelligence to build a case for war. He has said that his trip to Niger should have laid to rest any notion that Iraq sought uranium there and has said his findings were ignored by the White House. Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.   Read more
    The level of hypocrisy involved in the Bush-bashing allegations is staggering when one reads Wilson's statements in his public "A Letter from Joe Wilson on John Kerry" on the RestoreHonesty.Com website paid for by the "John Kerry for President" committee.   Excerpts:
    • "I wasn't ready to keep quiet when this President misled the nation in his State of the Union Address ... " 
    • " ... John Kerry...has the personal courage and integrity that I want in the leader of our great nation ... "
    • " ... I am honored to endorse John Kerry and to commit myself to his campaign to wrest our democracy back from those who have so squandered the public trust ... "

    Read more.

    For information you won't find in most public media on what's going on behind the scenes in Iraq and in the world, pay a visit to WindsOfChange.Net.

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Oxford Movement anniversary

    Yesterday, July 14th, was 171st anniversary of the Oxford Movement, which commenced with the famous "Assize sermon" by John Keble condemning the national apostasy of the Anglican Church (notice, courtesy of Sean Fagan). The Venerable John Henry Newman, patron
    of our apostolate, became the primary leader of the Oxford Movement in England, calling the Anglican Church back to its Catholic roots and calling for reform of the Erastian pattern of subjection of church to state in England. At that time he was vicar at the prominent Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford. On October 9th, 1845, John Henry Newman, having despaired of Anglicanism and having just
    completed his famous Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, was received into the Catholic Church by Fr. Dominic Barberi, CP. In 1848 he estab-lished the Oratories of St. Philip Neri in England, opening an Oratory in Birmingham the following year. From 1854-1858 he became rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, authoring The Idea of a University. In 1879 Newman was elevated to the position of Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. He died August 11, 1890, and is buried at Rednal, on the outskirts of Birmingham. On January 22, 1991, was declared "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II, in the first step in the process leading to canonization. For additional information on Newman, see the following resources:

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Jehovah's Witness addresses gender, Christology

    My good friend, Edgar Foster, who recently re-issued a volume entitled Christology and the Trinity: An Exploration, has recently been in correspondence with me on the issues of Christology and gender. The issue of Christology is an old standby with Jehovah's Witness organization, a religious sect founded by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) (pictured left), who followed the Arians of the 4th and 5th centuries in rejecting the divinity of Christ. I have begun responding to Foster's arguments -- as I have found the time to do so -- in several posts, including (but not limited to) the following:The last question, on the subject of gender language, would seem to have little to do with the convictions of a Jehovah's Witness, except for the fact that the issue surfaces in the context of a challenge against the doctrine of the Trinity alleging that the "subordinationism" implicit in it (subordination of the Son to the Father, etc.) is essentially linked to the subordination of wives to husbands and women to men in general, a claim I find utterly unacceptable, if this is taken to suggest that wives and women are understood to be in some way "inferior." (The "headship" issue-- described by St. Paul in terms of a husband being "head" of his wife as Christ is "head" of the Church, is a question for discussion elsewhere.) Further, attempts are also made to tie the "subordinationism" implicit in classic Trinitarian theology to a "pro-slavery tradition" of theology justifying slavery, a contention I also find a bit far fetched.

    Democrat logic . . .

    Arturo Benedetti ~ Lemme see if I got this straight:

    Clinton awards Halliburton no-bid contract in Yugoslavia - good...
    Bush awards Halliburton no-bid contract in Iraq - bad...

    Clinton spends 77 billion on war in Serbia - good...
    Bush spends 87 billion in Iraq - bad..

    Clinton imposes regime change in Serbia - good...
    Bush imposes regime change in Iraq - bad...

    Clinton bombs Christian Serbs on behalf of Muslim Albanian terrorists -
    Bush liberates 25 million from a genocidal dictator - bad...

    Clinton bombs Chinese embassy - good....
    Bush bombs terrorist camps - bad....

    Clinton commits felonies while in office - good...
    Bush lands on aircraft carrier in jumpsuit - bad...

    Clinton says mass graves in Serbia - good..
    Entire world says WMD in Iraq - bad...

    Stock market crashes in 2000 under Clinton - good...
    Recession under Bush - bad...

    Clinton refuses to take custody of Bin Laden - good...
    World Trade Centers fall under Bush - Bad...

    Clinton says Saddam has nukes - good.
    Bush says Saddam has nukes - bad...

    Clinton calls for regime change in Iraq - good...
    Bush imposes regime change in Iraq - bad...

    Terrorist training in Afghanistan under Clinton - good...
    Bush destroys training camps in Afghanistan - bad...

    No mass graves found in Serbia - good...
    No WMD found Iraq - bad...

    Milosevic not yet convicted - good...
    Saddam in custody - bad..

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    Kerry vows to restore 'Truth' to Presidency

    Um . . . right. This is gonna really convince people of integrity to vote Democratic! "The value of truth is one of the most central values in America, and this administration has violated" it, John Kerry said in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday. "Their values system is distorted and not based on truth." Kerry and his running mate, J. Edwards of North Carolina, said in the interview aboard the Democrats' campaign plane Friday that the Bush administration has trampled on values, leaving voters "clamoring for restoration of credibility and trust in the White House again." Kerry and Edwards are all about integrity, they stressed. Kerry and Edwards have got "Truth" covered. After all, they've got Michael Moore, Dr. Truth himself, working on their team.

    Underlining [=undermining] his commitment to TRUTH, Kerry who recently said he agrees with the Roman Catholic Church that life begins at conception, said he disagrees with his church's teaching that homosexuality is a sin. Edwards twice did not respond when asked if he, too, believes life begins at conception.

    I am so on my KNEES out of respect for these guys! I'm sooooooo convinced . . . by Whoopi Goldberg's homily about Edward's youthful good looks and Senator Kerry's guitar playing at the recent Democratic Party happy hour in New York, I may just have to vote Democrat in this next election. For integrity. For truth. [And if you can't discern the cynicism in that, you're an idiot.]

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    Boaters find kitten swimming 3 miles offshore in Gulf of Mexico

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sun-Sentinel.Com) July 9 2004 -- When Maggie Rogers spotted something bobbing in the water three miles into the Gulf of Mexico while on a scalloping trip with friends, she assumed it was a turtle, or a piece of sea kelp. But as the boat got closer
    and slowed down, she found it was a tiny, apricot-colored kitten. Nine inches long and screaming at the top of its lungs, the cat was paddling furiously. Read more . . .

    Kerry passes up terror briefing: "I just haven't had time"

    Fri Jul 09 2004 09:23:56 ET -- Just hours before attending an all-star celebrity fundraising concert in New York, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry revealed how he has been too busy for a real-time national security briefing.
    "I just haven't had time," Kerry explained in an interview. (Source: Drudge Report) Kerry made the startling comments on CNN's LARRY KING LIVE
    Thursday night:

    KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?

    KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time . . .

    The Traditional Latin Mass: back to the future?

    "The rumour mill is churning with speculations that the Holy See is
    about to loosen the regulations surrounding the Tridentine Mass," writes Benjamin Blosser in Ad Limina Apostolorum, "due to widespread frustration over the fact that bishops have been so reluctant to allow its use." Quoting from a Crux News article (dated July 2nd) based on a report in the U.K.'s Catholic Harold dated June 18th (via Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam), he writes:
    According to the report by Freddy Gray, "Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, told The Latin Mass, America's leading traditionalist magazine, that the Vatican was preparing to issue a 'juridical guarantee' in favor of the Tridentine rite, which was the Church's official rite from the 16th century until 1962.

    John Medlin, development manager for the Latin Mass Society, said he was excited by the cardinal's comments. 'Rome is signaling that it is prepared to use the transcendent nature of the traditional Mass as a standard to rein in the abuse in the new rite,' he said. 'We are beginning to hear the death knell of liberalism in the Church and not before time'....."
    Citing an article from the North Carolina Research Triangle area based NewsObserver.Com, Benjamin Blosser said that he was happy to note the report of a strong Tridentine Mass community in his former diocese of Raleigh. The article goes on to report:
    As part of its efforts to reach out to all members, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh is allowing traditional Latin masses at Dunn's Sacred Heart Catholic Church. For some, it is a walk down nostalgia lane. But for many more it is a new experience -- one that appeals to young people.

    Indeed, Latin is enjoying a modest comeback. Such as Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," spoken in Latin and Aramaic, may be partly responsible. More likely, the traditional Latin Mass owes its fascination to a longing for timelessness and transcendence.

    "There's a sense of mystery and holy sacredness," said Kim Hoover, 42, of Clayton, who recently attended the first such Mass with her family. "I don't know how to explain it -- a reverence you don't find a lot of times."
    There is probably some truth to the observation, as Benjamin Blosser notes, that the sudden resurgence of interest in the Old Mass is connected to the abuses in the New. Indeed, one of the best things that could happen liturgically in the contemporary Roman Catholic Church is for the Vatican to allow free reign to the traditional Latin Mass, expose the New Mass to the free marketplace of liturgical competition, and let people vote their preferences with their feet. Everyone would be a lot happier, and in the most unexpected ways, we could well see grace abound within the Church.

    Thursday, July 08, 2004

    Kerry's exceptional um ... integrity

    Last Sunday (July 4th, 2004), John Kerry is reported as having told Iowa's Telegraph Herald that he is personally opposed to abortion:
    "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."
    However, at last year's NARAL Pro-Choice America Dinner, he declared:
    "There is no overturning of Roe v. Wade... We need to honestly and confidently and candidly take this issue out to the country and we need to speak up and be proud of what we stand for."
    But his blockbuster statement comes from the 1994 Congressional Record:
    [A]bortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the mainstream of medical practice.
    Amazing. What integrity ... that is, dis-integrity! That a mind could reach such proportions of dis-integration is stupifying. Then, of course, look at the times in which we live. (Thanks to Karl Keating's e-letter.)

    London shrine faces closure

    LONDON, JULY 7, 2004 ( One of Britain's most important Catholic shrines reportedly faces closure unless it can raise 400,000 pounds ($735,000) to pay for lifts and ramps for disabled visitors.

    The Benedictine nuns at Tyburn Convent in central London have until Oct. 1 to find the funds to comply with new disability laws, the Telegraph reported.

    The crypt at the convent, the motherhouse of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, contains the relics of 105 Catholic martyrs executed at Tyburn field under Reformation laws between 1535 and 1681. The crypt is open for daily public tours but is inaccessible for disabled visitors.

    Friday, July 02, 2004

    Washington Times: Kerry cited in Catholic heresy case

    A Catholic lawyer has filed heresy charges against Sen. John Kerry with the Archdiocese of Boston, accusing the Democratic presidential candidate of bringing "most serious scandal to the American public" by receiving Holy Communion as a pro-choice Catholic. (More . . .)

    Bill Cosby vents once again

    CHICAGO -- Bill Cosby went off on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full of activists at a
    Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual meeting that black children are running around not knowing how to read or write and "going nowhere."

    In an Associated Press release dated July 1, Don Babwin said that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the education fund, defended the entertainer's statements. (Source.)

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    One more soul . . .

    July 1, 2004 -- My wife is expecting. I am again overwhelmed and humbled by the mystery of the whole experience of conception and human life. We give God thanks.