Thursday, July 31, 2008

New York TImes Op Ed- McCain's Ad is Racist!!!

This is incredible.

Say What? John McCain, Barack Obama, and the “Race Card”

By The Editorial Board

We know that operatives in modern-day presidential campaigns are supposed to say things that everyone knows are ridiculous — and to do it with a straight face. Still, there was something surreal, and offensive, about today’s soundbite from the campaign of Senator John McCain.

The presumptive Republican nominee has embarked on a bare-knuckled barrage of negative advertising aimed at belittling Mr. Obama. The most recent ad compares the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton — suggesting to voters that he’s nothing more than a bubble-headed, publicity-seeking celebrity.

The ad gave us an uneasy feeling that the McCain campaign was starting up the same sort of racially tinged attack on Mr. Obama that Republican operatives, some of whom work for Mr. McCain now, ran against Harold Ford, a black candidate for Senate in Tennessee in 2006.

That assault, too, began with videos juxtaposing Mr. Ford with young, white women. Mr. Obama called Mr. McCain on the ploy, saying, quite rightly, that the Republicans are trying to scare voters by pointing out that he “doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills.’’

But Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, had a snappy answer. “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck,” he said. “It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.’’ The retort was, we must say, not only contemptible, but shrewd.

It puts the sin for the racial attack not on those who made it, but on the victim of the attack. It also — and we wish this were coincidence, but we doubt it — conjurs up another loaded racial image.

The phrase dealing the race card “from the bottom of the deck” entered the national lexicon during the O.J. Simpson saga. Robert Shapiro, one of Mr. Simpson’s lawyers, famously declared of himself, Johnny Cochran and the rest of the Simpson defense team, “Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.” It’s ugly stuff. How about we leave Britney, Paris, and O.J. out of this — and have a presidential campaign?

The New York Times needs to put down the Crack pipe. I think it shows way more about the people that wrote that op-ed and their mentaltity than anyone elses.

So a humorous ad that has pop icons Britany Spears and Paris Hilton in is now racist or has racist undertones? Do they think the first reaction down here in Bayou Country (or the second, the third, or the thousandth) was oh no Obama is after the white women (insert redneck drawal)?

Good Grief reaching here. Harold Ford ran away as fast as he could from those charges of Racism that people were doing on his behalf. He knew it was not only false but would backfire.

Louisiana Catholic Update for July 31st 2008

Well we have not had a Louisiana Catholic Blog "daily" update since Monday because of a weird work schedule this week. Also a tad of a summer cold has got me down this week. Over the last two years I have had weird habit of not getting sick in the fall or winter but picking up every virus running around during the 100 degree days of North Louisiana summer.

So lets catch up with what folks have been saying. I must say the fact it is summer time is showing. I did not have a huge amount to get caught up upon.

Ville Platte Catholic Youth Group has vids. See Word of God Speak!!!!! , Rescue!!!!! , Final Outing with Seminarian Nick Dupre, and East to West!!!!!

Moms and Kids At Home has T-Shirt Ideas , Soy Allergy Substitute for Bread Crumbs , and Indoors and Outdoors

ALIVE AND YOUNG has Thanks (Congrats on Your Graduation here too!!!) He promises that "Anyway, I will be back to posting in some kind of regularity in a few days. "

Thoughts & Ruminations from Fr. Ryan has In the House, Tweets Fly Over Web Plan He has a quote regarding the current state of Liturgy and the "people" here

From The Recamier has her latest daily update here at Daily Update: July 30, 2008. She has Saints!!! She starts out with Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor (died 450).

Baby Cate has a nice meditation at For the Glory and a very heart felt tough post here at "Need a Minute?"

The Louisiana Brown Pelican Society( lay Louisiana Catholic organization) as usual has his mega update of daily news.

Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has a very nice letter from a seminarian that has completed his first year of formation in the Diocese of Lake Charles. See SEMINARIAN LETTER ~ MATTHEW CORMIER. Also see Rainy Day Rattles, Short and Sassy, How to Promote PEACE in Your Homes, and Simple Woman's Daybook for July 28th, 2008

Maudie in Mandeville has Warning: A.P. article , The Great Global Warming Swindle , and Just in from your United Nations

Life on the (L)edge (Catholic Deacon) from New Orleans has I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM! and YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION

Now we hear from out two EXPAT Priests.

Fr. Victor Brown’s Catholic Daily Message has his daily meditation at Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (31 July 2008)

Da Mihi Animas has a ton of stuff that I will be catching up on. He has St. Ignatius Loyola: Soldier for Christ! . LOL this looks good Just for fun: Ron Burgundy - Jim Caviezel Interview . Also see A Prayer from Thomas Merton and Calling Out Your Name - Rich Mullins

What Traditions Were Jesus Condemning?

The Black Cordelias has a nice excerpt from the above book by Yves Congar O.P. on the subject of Traditon and Catholic Teaching. I used to own this very useful book till a little puppy I had went to town on it with his teeth. It is a very good book. THe excerpt is pretty good he provides

McCain Has Private Meeting With Archbishop Chaput

McCain met with Catholic Archbishop Chaput of Denver yesterday in a private meeting. This is an interesting to say the least. The Archbishop will be publishing a book in the coming months on Catholics and voting.

Inside Catholic has more details and the news link here.

LSU Coach Les Miles Has A New Set of Wheels To Drive Recruits Around In


Pictures of THe Pope and His Bro on Vacation

These have been released by the Vatican Newspaper. Thanks to the Ratzinger Forum for the pics of the Pope and his brother. They also have a few stories on the Pope's vacation that that page I linked

The "A" Word and the Catholic Left

Crunchy Con revisits our supposed non partisan Catholic friends at the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good at The word Catholic lefties can't say

Theology of The Body Teaching Being Supported By Tax Dollars

No not the famous body of Teaching by John Paul the II, but Planned Parenthood's own version. It is truly amazing that this group that is also a profit making business with their chain of abortion centers is funded by us.

What is Wrong With the World has more at Planned Parenthood's "Theology of the Body," courtesy of your tax dollars

Cardinal Kasper Gives Hard Hitting Address to Anglican Bishops

Well this is a biggie. Father Z has the full address that Cardinal Kasper gave at the Lambeth Conference along with comments here at Card. Kasper at Lambeth calls for a New Oxford Movement . I am going to try to find more Anglican reaction to it today.

LSU Coach Miles and Snoop Dogg Make Peace

The Civil War between LSU Coach Les Miles and Snoop Dog (Huge USC Fan) appears to have concluded :). As some might recall Snoop DOg was none to happy about Miles dishing his beloved Southern Cal Trojans which also resulted in a interesting song with MIles in the lyrics. Now all is peaceful.
It’s never a typical Rotary Club meeting when the LSU football coach comes to call.

The parking lot behind Boudreaux’s is packed. Cars line streets off Government for blocks around. The buffet’s loading capacity is tested to the breaking point.

Wednesday’s annual preseason stop by LSU coach Les Miles was even more unusual still.
That’s because Miles’ new buddy, Snoop Dogg, dropped by.
The rapper and entertainer, who was in town for a concert performance Tuesday night at the River Center, made a cameo appearance during Miles’ speech to the weekly meeting of local business people.
“I just wanted to give my love and support to coach Miles,” Snoop Dogg said as he briefly stepped behind the podium. “I met him last night.
“So you’ve got my love and support, from S.C. I’m here to support him.”
Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, was born in Long Beach, Calif., and is a devout Southern California Trojans fan. Wednesday, at least for a moment, he was an LSU fan. He walked into the packed dining room with a white No. 8 LSU football jersey draped on his 6-foot-4 frame, much bigger than the one worn on Saturdays by Tiger speedster Trindon Holliday.

Miles, who visited Snoop Dogg at his hotel Tuesday night after returning from a quick trip to Shreveport, said he’s become a fan of the artist through his son, Ben.
“Ben Miles is all over Snoop’s stuff,” Miles said.
“I found every guy around him is a former coach or player, and he runs a league of youth football and provides opportunities for young people.
“I defend his music, and am much more a fan of the person.”
More at the article

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catholic Louisiana Blog Update

to restart tomorrow after a two day hiatus :)

United States Casualities At All Time Low For July

It is not over. AL Qaeda will do some more of their horrific evil attacks as they gasp their breath here. But these stats show the story. AJ has more at Record Setting Month Of Security In Iraq

Vatican Newspaper on Why 1968 Was Not the Church's Best Year

This is very compelling reading and sort of caps a week of reflection of 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae. The reaction to that as is shown in this lengthy essay from L'Osservatore Romano, written by Francis Cardinal Stafford, about the chaos that resulted from Humanae Vitae. was More than just about birth control. He sort of gives a inside view.

Tip of the Hat to Crunchy Con who writes correctly of a observation by his friend regarding this piece ""encapsulates the history of Catholic life in America in my lifetime." It is an extraordinary, and extraordinarily personal, reflection by an American cardinal who was a young priest in 1968"

The Cardinal says in part:
The summer of 1968 is a record of God’s hottest hour. The memories are not forgotten; they are painful. They remain vivid like a tornado in the plains of Colorado. They inhabit the whirlwind where God’s wrath dwells. In 1968, something terrible happened in the Church. Within the ministerial priesthood, ruptures developed everywhere among friends which never healed. And the wounds continue to affect the whole Church. The dissent, together with the leaders’ manipulation of the anger they fomented, became a supreme test. It changed fundamental relationships within the Church. It was a Peirasmòs for many.

Indeed . Great read.

Ryan Perrilloux Praises Coach Miles and Is Getting On With His Life

I suppose it is a tad depressing that the departure of Ryan Perrilloux means that LSU is not really in the national discussion to repeat a National Championship or even found likely to win the SEC this year.
I was needed break though. I as well as much of the LSU fan bases really liked Ryan but it was needed break. This interview and piece from ESPN today just shows me what I always believed. RYAN just needed to get out of Baton Rouge which was basically home. There were just too many temptations there and also the particular bubble he was in was causing him to make silly mind boggling bad choices.
A few quotes:
I let a great opportunity slip away at LSU," Perrilloux told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "Everybody knows that, and I know it, too. But what I have to say is, 'Will I let that crush me as a player or will I look at that as adversity and use that to drive me and motivate me to do better?'
"That's what I've been doing since I've been here. I've been looking at the mistakes I made at LSU and trying not to make those same mistakes at Jacksonville State," he said
If Miles' decision caused any hard feelings from either side, it's not obvious. Perrilloux, a Louisiana native, praises him as a great coach who "gave me every opportunity to do the right thing. I think everybody saw that."

Protestant Church Leader Gives Apologies to Catholics In Boston Over Female "Priest" Incident

This is quite something. The so called Catholic female "priest" movement "ordained" according to them some women to the "priesthood" a couple of weeks back.

This event occurred in a Protestant Church. Now the Executive director of Confessing Movement in the United Church of Christ has done a letter apologizing to Catholic that this event occurred in a Church of his Faith Community.

Creative Minority Report has a excellent post on this at A Man Among the Womyn!

A few thoughts I would like to put up to add.. He is very correct that what this man is doing and saying is in true Ecumenical Language and that this pastor is very much more align with Pope Benedict and his thoughts on Ecumenical dialogue as we can see on his recent thoughts on it here and here.

Also this Pastor had done what sadly the media and yes many Catholics have not pointed out. That the agenda and beliefs of this movement do not endorse the Orthodox Christian Faith on a number of other issues

Catholic Dating Online- A Love Story

Crunchy Con had a nice post up at Catholic Geeks, A Love Story. I laughed at this part because well I do this.

For instance, orthodox Catholics. No, not the folks who happened to grow up Italian-American or Irish in the wake of Vatican II, and learned a little less about their Faith than most 19th century Haitians. I mean the much smaller subset of people who have blundered somehow onto the actual teachings of the Church--and even worse, come to believe them. From a mass religion that exercised a sweaty grip on the minds of tens of millions, the American church in the past 40 years has become something very different: An exotic, almost esoteric sect of old believers, hidden inside the shell of a mainline Protestant denomination. Apart from the occasional Latin Mass full of elderly anti-Masonic activists, we typically sit through our dismal local services with teeth clenched and earlids shut, and spot each other (if at all) by secret handshakes and coded phrases. See that blonde over there, a friend might nudge you with his elbow. She took Communion on the tongue. I wonder if she's single.... Such thoughts don't always help you to pray.

A Catholic Church In Knoxville Getting More Than the Building Right

Well more good news. It is sad fact that Catholic Architecture went off the deep end after Vatican II. Yes horrible buildings that really no one liked was the theme for decades all justified somehow by Vatican II we were told.

I find this Church in Knoxville Tennessee that is being constructed much more proper than lets say what we have seen for a depressing long time.

There is more than the building going on here. Amy Wellborn that is on vacation in this area tells us what other things are going on here at Mass in the gym, revisited
All these will bear much fruit down the road.

Catholic Actor Not a Big Obama Fan

I am just starting to get back into the weeds of politics and religion after a very busythree days. I was looking at Pro- Ecclesia today and he was telling the bad news to Illinois ,Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern , Penn State and Purdue , Wisconsin that they better not get their hopes up too much this year See his post Just One Month to Go ... where he give talks about how likely it will be that if Ohio State beats USC that they will of course being playing one of the SEC teams for the National Championship. (well he did not say that last part but we know that is true :) ).

He also hits on a hard hitting Op-Ed that Actor John Voight Gave against Obama in the Washington Times . GO see Catholic Actor Jon Voight Announces His Retirement from Acting in a Washington Times Op/Ed which leads to the insights of another good Catholic and conservative blogger.

Also see Dirty Harry's You’ve Been Warned: Blacklist? What Blacklist?

A Catholic VP for Obama?

I hope not!!! Market watch though has this article at Catholics Fear Obama Considering Pro-Abortion Catholic Veep (Tip of the Hat to Southern Appeal)

The name I have been keeping a eye on since way back in February for Obama is on that list.

Most recently, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has been discussed as a good fit for Obama given his Catholic faith and purported "pro-life" views.
"Tim Kaine deserves some credit for supporting a ban on partial birth abortion, but he has also made clear that he is totally committed to protecting the right to kill unborn children, in direct opposition to his Church," said Burch.
"Opposing the barbaric practice of infanticide is better than Barack Obama, but it hardly qualifies one as pro-life," said Burch. "Sadly Kaine represents yet another politician who professes to be 'personally opposed' yet refuses to back any meaningful efforts to stop abortion in America.

This is the man I would be doing an opposition research on especially as to Pro-Choice views

Ann Rice Interview in "First Things"

Father Longenecker , AKA Standing on My Head , has a wonderful interview with Ann Rice in First Things. Go see Interview with an Ex-Vampire Novelist.

I have always loved Ann Rice. She brought again the mystery and special quality of New Orleans to a whole new generation though her books.

The interview focuses on her conversion, her new books on Jesus, and other question. For instance she finds modern Biblical scholarship a scandal.

Her Catholic readership was of course pretty big before she came back home to the Church. I do like what she had to say about her famous Vampire Chronicles here:

Your earlier body of work is pretty, well, wicked. Did you include the erotic elements to sell books?

I recently posted an essay on my website on my earlier work. I think this essay has answered quite a few questions from my Christian readers who are unacquainted with the books. Basically I see the entire Vampire Chronicles as a search for God, a search for the light. The vampire was a metaphor for me, in the atheistic world, grieving for a lost faith, for the lost possibility of grace. I think that vampires are powerfully metaphorical for people, especially young people because the vampires (in my work, at any rate) are always in rebellion, refusing to be shut out of life, trying desperately to see deliverance through love of one another, through painting, through music. All my earlier work is united by these themes. The erotic element in the books was never there to sell books; it was something that came naturally to me, especially in my younger years.

I very much can see what she means about the Vampire books. In fact I suspect that these theme of religion and especially the engagement of Vampires with the Christian religion was a tad taxing for some of her readers.

It would be wonderful if "Lestat" made a comeback some how. I along with millions fell in love with that character. Perhaps Lestat coming back and complaining about the state of the Liturgy :) and refusing to go anywhere but St. Patricks in New Orleans for a "proper Mass" would be fun.

However I fear Lestat is now dead forever. Anyway good read

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Democrats Ready to Conduct Purge

Good grief. Pro Ecclesia has the link at LOL! The Dems Haven't Even Won Yet, and Already They're Calling for a Purge

Baptists Invent Warp Drive!!!

Had a few minutes to get a post up today. This is pretty cool. I knew all that money Baylor had would produce something one day :) Francis Beckwith has the news at To Bearly Go?: Baylor physicists propose way to travel faster than light

Monday, July 28, 2008

Louisiana Catholic Blog Update for July 28 2008

A note on the Louisiana Catholic "Daily" Update. My work schedule is different this week so we MIGHT not have another LOuisiana Catholic blog post till this Wednesday.I have to be in Shreveport this afternoon so I am rushing this one. I suspect most of my posting will be at night or wee morning hours . This is not too much different since I have a very odd sleeping schedule. Anyway if I missed anyone I will catch you on Wednesday.

Ville Platte Catholic Youth Group is taking music request. See Let me know!!!!!. As to their recent music and vids they have up since we last checked in with them on Friday see East to West!!!!! and This is The Air I Breathe

Unskilled Labor has news of interest to fishing fans in the Lafayette area. GO see Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club

Mom and Kids At Home have The best things in life are FREE!

From The Recamier has her latest daily update here at Daily Update: July 27, 2008. She also has a book review post I missed earlier. Go see A Cat Is Watching: A Look At The Way Cats See Us by

Baby Cate has The Long Ride Home

The Louisiana Brown Pelican Society( lay Louisiana Catholic organization) is back from vacation and has started posting his daily large number of links and posts.

I have still not taken Vox Feminae off the Louisiana Catholic links and into the general section. I have to do that next week. However she has a Nice update on the good work she is doing since she left the Diocese of Shreveport. See Ft. Worth Schola Gregoriana?

Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has Simple Woman's Daybook for July 28th, 2008. Shealso has the article I highlighted earlier last week (she has a nice pic though) on Governor Jindal. See Louisiana Governor's Spiritual Journey. Also see We're Having Twins!

Our Louisiana expat Priest in Texas Fr. Victor Brown’s Catholic Daily Message has his daily meditation here at Feast of Saint Samson (28 July 2008) which starts it in a amusing fashion today

Fianlly go see ou Loiuisiana Expat Priest in New Jersey Da Mihi Animas . He has Our Lady of Zapopan: The Pilgrim Image of Jalisco , and HISTORIA DE UN LETRERO (The Story of a Sign) . He also notes Rebel With a Cause: Bobby Jindal's Spiritual Journey . He has a pro-life post here at 40 Days for Life . A vid here at Rich Mullins: Sometimes by Step . Also see Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood and World Youth Day in Madrid: Seeking to Recover Christian Identity

Pope Benedict Goes on Vacation (Pics, Links ,and News Articles)

The Ratzinger Forum has a ton of stories and pics starting on this page of their News about Benedict section about the Pope's vacation.. Many of these articles are translated including the one I shall post in full from the Vatican Newspaper. Be sure to check it out through out the week. Many of the Pope vacation stories were pretty cool last year and they did a good job of covering it.

For the Pope:
Two weeks of prayer, study and rest in Bressanone
by Nicola Gori
Translated from the ... issue of
L'Osservatore Romano

Almost a homecoming, to be welcomed by friends who await him like a member of the family, Benedict XVI will spend his summer vacation in an informal, familial atmosphere. He will be arriving there tomorrow Monday, July 28, and will stay till Monday, August 11. One might say that Papa Ratzinger is a habitue of Bressanone/Brixen in the Alto Adige/South Tyrol [to give the bilingual places their habitual Italian/German names].
As Cardinal Ratzinger, he spent ten summer vacations in Bressanone, at the Seminario Maggiore, where he always occupied the same room. He was such a familiar guest that, knowing his preferences well, he was given his own key to the seminary's famous baroque library.

The city and the diocese are ready to provide the Holy Father with two weeks of tranquillity and rest. For this purpose, planned renovation and restoration work at the Seminary, a half-century due, was advanced to be in time for his visit. L'Osservatore Romano spoke to Mons. Wilhelm Emil Egger, bishop of Bolzano-Bressanone/Bozen-Brixen, who has headed the preparatory work.
Monsignor, how did the local people react to the Pope's decision to spend this summer vacation in Bressanone?

They have actually been wanting this visit for some time, and now their desire has been realized. They feel greatly honored because they feel that the Pope's decision is an expression of his esteem for the place and for us - both for the quality of life in the city, and for the nature of the region itself, which is a favorite vacation site for many. It is a tourist region, so to speak, so we are very happy that the Pope has chosen to be with us.

How have you prepared so that the Pope can truly have a period of rest here?

Since the Pope has been here many times before, we think he will find the place familiar to him. But we have renovated the so-called bishop's apartment, which he will occupy, as well as other parts of the seminary that had been scheduled for renovation soon. The Cusanus, a training academy next door to the seminary, will be closed for the duration of the Pope's vacation, to make the place more private for him.

What is most important for us is to guarantee his tranquillity.

We had programmed only three public events for him - the two Sunday Angelus prayers and the Mass and meeting with the priests of the diocese. These required special preparation. We have a beautiful Cathedral Square which can accommodate 9,000 persons for the Angelus. My people have also made on-site visits to places in and around the city which the Pope may visit if he so desires.

Given the extraordinary natural setting of this place, do you see this vacation as another opportunity for the Pope to say something about the environment?

As you know, the Pope spoke about the subject even while he was in Australia. His presence with us is yet another message itself about the beauty of creation. The Pope loves natural settings. His presence amid such beauty - for rest, tranquillity and silence - is an optimal message about relaxing from stress by enjoying the beauty of God's creation.

What would a typical day be like during the Pope's vacation?

I couldn't say, but we know how he spent his vacations here as a cardinal, and I think he will follow the same pattern. There will be periods for prayer, and of being together with his brother Georg, who will be arriving Tuesday to join him. He will listen to music a lot. We have placed a piano for him in his apartment, as we are sure he will want to play music himself. He will have all the time and space for reading and study. As a visiting cardinal, he had his own key so that he could enter the library whenever he wanted. It is a historical library of great value, but its contemporary collection of books is equally very good, and the Pope knows this. And certainly he will be taking walks in the garden or by the river. But all this will not take him away from thinking about his pastoral and magisterial ministry.

We know that he has used his previous vacations here to undertake or begin many important works, such as the interview with Vittorio Messori that led to the book Rapporto sulla Fede. And he has revealed that he wrote the first four chapters of JESUS OF NAZARETH when he was here in August 2004. The surrounding atmosphere, the fact that he is free of his daily public commitments, and the tranquillity we hope to assure him during his stay are elements that are favorable to study, reflection and prayer.

Has the city planned anything special for him?

First of all, it has 'prettied up' itself. Not the least, for instance, they have repaired the pavement and filed up the holes in the square in front of the seminary. That is where the first meeting will take place between the Pope and the citizenry - at the end of the motorcade through the main streets when he comes in from the airport in Bolzano. The municipal band and children will welcome him there as in a homecoming. During the two weeks, there are several cultural initiatives including concerts and a special photographic exhibit on the consecrated life. The 12th General Assembly of the Bishops Synod will take place at the Vatican in a few months on the theme "the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church".

Last January, the Pope named you to be its secretary-general. Will you be discussing this with the Pope?

As I am committed above all to guarantee the Pope's rest, this applies first of all to me personally. I would not bring up the subject, unless he does. I have known the Pope for a long time, and he knows me just as well. He knows I am a specialist in the Scriptures. And as he is a great expert on the Bible himself, it would be very interesting to converse with him on these things. He wrote a very beautiful commentary on the Conciliar Constitution on Revelation, Dei Verbum. And when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he worked on and published a document on the interpretation of the Bible in the Church. So yes, there could be a lot to talk about, but that's not what he's coming here for.

Public opinion has also shown interest in the economic aspects of the visit. What do you say to this?

We are a very hospitable people. The government has spent on many initiatives to promote tourism and has supported events like important football tournaments. Of course, even for the visit of the Pope, there have been public expenses - and these are shared by the diocese, by certain public institutions of the city and of the province, and by donations from private sponsors. As for the renovations in the seminary, I already pointed out that these had been programmed to take place sooner or later.

Will Pope Benedict be the First Successor of Saint Peter to Visit Arabia?

I have been talking about this some as we see a couple of Leaders in the Gulf give invitation to Pope Benedict to visit the Gulf Region. Of course last week the Prime Minister of Iraq gave a invitation.

This is all pretty exciting when one thinks about it. Also for a Pope according to his critics that was damaging relations with Islam( The famous Papal Speech in Germany, the very Public Baptism of a Muslim at the Vatican on Holy Saturday etc etc) there seems to be movement.

Anyway Newsmax has an interesting article on this here at Pope Benedict to Visit Arabia?

A Jesuit in Qatar Hits On the Problem of American Diplomacy and the Islamic World

As usual Crossroads Arabia is one of the more interesting blogs on the Middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia.

He caught a very interesting article that ran in the Washington Post a few days ago at his post A Jesuit in Qatar

A couple of things strike you about the post article. First the fact that a Catholic Priest is teaching what is basically a first year Theology course in Middle East Country to a diverse group from around the area a "college class of mostly Sunni and Shiite Muslims exploring with one another and with their Catholic priest professor some of the basic theological issues: the existence of God, free will, sin, prayer and Judgment Day" is something else.

As the article says it still takes some getting used to by the students.
One day early in the semester, in the middle of a discussion on the definition of revelation, one of my students, an intensely bright Muslim from Bosnia, heaved a deep sigh and blurted out, "I hope we don't get blown up for talking about this stuff." I was writing on the blackboard, with my back to the class. I laughed. When I turned around, I saw that he wasn't joking.

However the main thrust of the article is how this Priest explains that part of the problem of the United States Diplomatic Corp is there are few people of faith. Thus that creates particular problems as to the Muslim World.

A few quotes:
I had spent years discussing religious matters with smart American students in excellent schools before I was sent to the Middle East. I had found those conversations enjoyable, often challenging and usually sincere. But something was often missing, something I found hard to pin down. An Egyptian Muslim friend I met in Qatar helped me understand what that something was. Talking with Americans about faith and religion, he told me, is like having coffee with Forrest Gump: pleasant enough, but not of much substance. "They just don't have much to say because they just don't get it," he said.

"They just don't get it" is never something a teacher wants to hear. That's especially true when I think about our mission at Georgetown, where we educate many students who will become foreign service officers for the United States and other countries. One of the more important and pragmatic qualities I hope our students carry with them into those careers is a felt-in-the-bone understanding of what it is to live one's life committed to one's faith. ...........

Most professors I know nod vigorously when I suggest to them that an understanding of faith and its claims on the imagination of faithful people is essential for future diplomats. "Of course, of course," they say. "If we don't know about Islam, we will never be able to help untangle the mess in the Middle East." I usually don't have the heart to tell them that they have missed my point entirely.

The majority of Georgetown students I know are fairly knowledgeable about religion. They can talk intelligently about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The glitch is that they talk from the perspective of anthropologists and sociologists and historians. These are valuable perspectives. But they are not enough. Of course we need to raise young people who can be smart, savvy, sophisticated participants in international affairs. What we also need are young people who can be all of those things while at the same time knowing and understanding what it is to live one's life with a commitment rooted in faith. ......


Recently, I had a conversation with a young woman who is about to begin her sophomore year at Georgetown. She has a passion for art history and American democracy and is serious about her Jewish faith. She hopes to work in international affairs one day. We were discussing the courses she might take this fall.

She reported that people had been telling her she really should take more economics. "What if instead of that," she said, "I took only four courses this semester and used the extra time to go with my Christian and Muslim friends to their churches and mosques? I just think that if I had a better sense of how they prayed and what they mean when they use the word 'God,' I'd be able to have much better conversations with them about the situation in the Middle East."
What do you say to that, except "Amen"? And, "Have you thought of taking the foreign service exam after you graduate

I think there is a lot here to contemplate. I also think it shows that despite the huge efforts of the Church to remind people that Vocation is more than just the Priesthood and Religious life that this is a concrete example of perhaps that has not set in. Though to be fair how many Devout and Catholics and Christian or people can attend the Pricey GeorgeTown and their Diplomatic school

Where are all the Traditional Female Catholic Priests?

Curt Jester had this the other day at Traddy womynpriest. He says in part:

If women are being called to the priesthood then why is it only dissident women that are being called? Where are the women being ordained that have a preference for the extraordinary form of the Mass? Why do they always have a preference for Hippy stoles and not beautifully embroidered ones. Where are the traditionalist women priestesses who are being called?.

This is something I have touched on before. I noted just last week that in the Anglican Communion that there are female "priest" that are far more traditional. That is it seem they do not have a urge to burn the whole thing down.

When I converted there was a lot of talk about female priests in the Catholic Church. In fact most campus ministers I knew were very much for it and believed it. However one could tell by some of liturgical boundaries they were pushing (one could go not too far in conservative Louisiana even among College kids) that their vision of Church, liturgy, authority and even some fundamental Christian doctrine was quite different.

When I went of annual Louisiana Catholic College Retreat it was rare that one of these sister (Priests in waiting if the the Vatican just gave the word) would lets say do the Rosary or lets have a night of Adoration. It was more in the name of the Creator-Redeemer-Santifier stuff and session how Father Matthew Fox (recall that flake) was one of the most theologians of the 20th Century. Also there seemed to be just a plan anti authority tinge to some of their actions. Oh and everything before Vatican II of course was the "dark ages".

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Holy Father's Angelus For July 27 2008 (Full Text)

Sorry for the delay on the Pope Benedicts Angelus. Just got off the off the Red River doing the water ski thing. I have a feeling my body will be complaining soon.

Thanks to the Ratzinger forum for the quick translation.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's words at the Angelus today: Dear brothers and sisters! I returned last Monday from Sydney, Australia, site of the XXIII World Youth Day. I still have before my eyes and in my heart this extraordinary experience which allowed me to encounter the young face of the Church: It was like a multicolored mosaic of young men and women from all parts of the world, all assembled in the one faith in Jesus Christ. "Young pilgrims of the world" is how they were referred to, a beautiful expression which grasps the essence of these international days of gathering initiated by John Paul II.

These meetings indeed form the stages of a great planetary pilgrimage, to show how faith in Christ makes us all children of the Father who is heaven, builder of the civilization of love. Characteristic of the Sydney WYD was taking conscience of the centrality of the Holy Spirit as a protagonist int he life of the Church and of the Christian. The long path of preparation followed by the local Churches had as a theme the promise made by the risen Christ to the Apostles: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1,9).

On July 16,17 and 18, in teh churches of Sydney, numerous bishops present from around the world exercised their ministry by offering catecheses in various languages. These catecheses were moments for reflection and meditation that were indispensable so that the event would not merely be an external manifestation but would leave a profound trace in the conscience of its participants. The vigil in the heart of the city, under the Southern Cross, was a choral invocation of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, during the great Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, July 20, I administered teh sacrament of Confirmation to 24 young people from the various continents, of whom 14 were Australians, and then asked everyone to renew their baptismal vows. And thus, this World Youth Day was transformed into a new Pentecost, from which to relaunch the mission of teh young, who are called on to the apostles to people of their age, like so many saints and blessed ones, in particular Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati, whose remains, brought to the Cathedral of Sydney (from Turin, Italy), were venerated by an uninterrupted flow of pilgrims.

Every young man and woman is called on to follow their example, to share their personal experience of Jesus, who changes the lives of his 'friends' with the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God's love. Today I wish to thank once again the Bishops of Australia, particularly the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, for their great work of preparation and for the heartfelt welcome which they gave me and all the other pilgrims. I thank the civilian authorities of Australia for their valuable collaboration.

And I address special thanks to all who, in every part of the world, prayed for this event, assuring it of success. May the Virgin Mary reward everyone with the most beautiful graces. I also entrust to Mary the rest period which I will begin tomorrow in Bressanone, among the mountains of Alto Adige. Let us remain united in prayer.

After the Angelus prayers, he said this in English:

I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are here today and I wish you all a pleasant stay in Italy. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that we should treasure above all else the faith that has been given to us. I pray that your visit to Rome and the surrounding area will help you to deepen your faith and to grow in your love for our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you all! In Italian, he greeted the members of the Focolari movement who are holding an annual conference and congratulated them on their new leadership, following the death of their beloved founder, Chiara Lubich. He also greeted the delegation of the city and parish of Castel Gandolfo who visited him today on the occasion of the traditional annual festival of peaches.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Death of Protestant Mainline America

This article has gotten some play over the last few days. It is long but pretty good. In the end it brings up the bothersome question what will replace it and if its not replaced what that means for us as a Country

The Death of Protestant America: A Political Theory of the Protestant Mainline

Is Secessionism making a comeback?

Good Grief. From Burke to Kirk and Beyond... has the insanity at Secessionism making a comeback...

I have been thinking about doing a post on what I see as a upswing in this neo Confederate viewpoint in the clothing of Conservatism I am seeing more and more. I see a ton of Lincoln Bashing and a ton of The South Was Right Stuff, the War had nothing to do with Slavery etc etc .

I am a Southerner. I went to a High School that had the Rebels as a mascot. I have many items with the rebel flag on it. I am proud of my heritage. However there is no Legal right to secession period full stop. I have not heard a compelling legal argument yet.

I think part of the problem is that people confuse and combine the issue of if there is valid legal mechanism of secession and the issue of the inherent right to rebellion under some circumstances. I think the South's argument, and I intend to show in the future posts, failed on both counts.

I might do part one of this series of post over the weekend.

The Danish Cartoon Controversy and the Recent Desecration of the Eucharist

First an update on this sad saga.

Now there are arguments that the Prof should be fired see Rod's piece Should P.Z. Myers be fired?

Rod Dreher had a good piece up on this controversy at "It is finished." No, it's just beginning.

He quotes a person that commented at his blog and I think it hits it right on. Here is a part:

But I just had to point out that this afternoon he's posted a picture of a communion host with a rusty nail poked through it, along with a banana peel, coffee grounds, a ripped page of the Koran and a page from Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" dumped in the trash (it's beyond pathetic that Myers seems to think that by including this last bit, it somehow ameliorates what he has done). Paul Zachary Myers begins his post with the intentional words, "It is finished." The comments thread on Myers blog is stunning in its volume - as it is in the sheer ferocity of hatred spewing forth from Myers' fellow atheists. Here's one of the milder comments: "What a hollow god they serve! How delicious a treatment of their sacred relics!"

I don't think I need to expand on this much, except to note how demonic all of this seems. It's gone beyond smarmy atheist "freethinkers" with a bone to pick against faith in general. Now the snarling rage is there for all to see, and it is very focused against one faith, against one figure in history. I'm not sure I was prepared for the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I would experience at witnessing Myers photo. As I've noted here before, I'm not a Catholic and I don't believe in transubstantiation. But what Myers has done is far, far beyond that. He seems trapped in his own version of magical thinking; in other words, he seems to believe that the "symbols" of Christianity are what gives the faith its power. And that is precisely what one under the oppression of the prince of this world would believe.

Myers seems unaware of the consequences of so gravely and deliberately sinning within his own heart. As he himself put it, he did this joyfully and with much laughter in his heart - thus he has committed an act of purposeful desolation, distancing himself from God nearly as far as one poor soul can be. Others will now follow him with far worse, I fear.

Myers has crossed a boundary, and the hatred of aggressive atheism has been loosed. It is no longer the province of folk songs, pithy bumper stickers or amusing droll commentary. It is now what it has always been - the domain of pure hatred. Pray for them, pray for peace, pray that you yourself can simply forgive them for what they do. And pray for the strength to walk in a manner worthy of Christ in the days ahead.

I very much agree with that last part. It should be noted that even some atheists are saying enough is enough. This atheist blogger noted in part commenting on this situation:

I don't believe in God, I guess, in any conventional terms, and I'm non-religious. But Jeezy Chreezy, the public face of atheism turns my stomach. It is an unrelenting, never ending foray into self-aggrandizement, debasement of one's opponents, and ridicule of things one doesn't believe in. If someone was a political commentator, and operated the way Meyers, Richard Dawkins, or Christopher Hitchens did, would anyone listen to them? No. As much as the success of the Ann Coulters of the world suggests otherwise, we largely understand that a basic level of decorum, mutual respect, and the assumption of good faith should under gird our national dialogue. Indeed, without these assumptions, the dialogue is not worth having.

But then there is atheism, where it is apparently the case that you can always come closer to righteousness by expressing still-greater contempt for those with which you don't agree. Now, this is all very strange; though growing, the atheist minority is stilled dwarfed in this country and in this world by the religious. And how can you possibly change people's minds if you're constantly ridiculing them? Doesn't make much sense.................

But atheism has expelled me. It has expelled me because it has in its heart contempt and loathing and fear of the other. So I reject it. I don't reject all atheists; many atheist are uninterested in ridiculing the religious-- they simply want to be left in peace, and not have religion forced on them or on the law. That, to me, is a principled atheism, and one I am happy to coexist with. But this new atheism, this anti-theism, has only contempt at its heart, and I reject it as thoroughly as it has rejected me.

I think we are in for a rough time ahead. That being said my thoughts went back to the Danish Cartoon controversy a couple of years back that enraged the Muslim world. I did agree that the riots and threats were too much by some segments of the Muslim world. However I became very uncomfortable by some reaction on the right and on conservative forums. I was not thrilled to see a never ending contest to see who could by photo shop could degrade Islamic symbols more. I think a line was crossed there by many and people were not thinking how perhaps that feeds in some small part what we see today.

Even though as Catholic we find Islam to be false I do think that some of what we saw, no doubt by many serious Christians, was an occasion of sin in SOME cases.

There was a interesting thread on VOX NOVA about this and what the Catholic Church view is on the subject

They quoted the Vatican Press release on that controversy which said:
1. The right to freedom of thought and expression, sanctioned by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, cannot imply the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers. This principle applies obviously for any religion.

2. In addition, coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect to favor peace among men and nations. Moreover, these forms of exasperated criticism or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation. A reading of history shows that wounds that exist in the life of peoples are not cured this way.

3. However, it must be said immediately that the offenses caused by an individual or an organ of the press cannot be imputed to the public institutions of the corresponding country, whose authorities might and should intervene eventually according to the principles of national legislation. Therefore, violent actions of protest are equally deplorable. Reaction in the face of offense cannot fail the true spirit of all religion. Real or verbal intolerance, no matter where it comes from, as action or reaction, is always a serious threat to peace.

I am sure that sound horrific to American ears and I might add I am not too comfortable with it.

Pope Benedict even touched on this concept on a very hard hitting column on Europe when he said:
The last element of the European identity is religion. I do not wish to enter into the complex discussion of recent years, but to highlight one issue that is fundamental to all cultures: respect for that which another group holds sacred, especially respect for the sacred in the highest sense, for God, which one can reasonably expect to find even among those who are not willing to believe in God. When this respect is violated in a society, something essential is lost. In European society today, thank goodness, anyone who dishonors the faith of Israel, its image of God, or its great figures must pay a fine. The same holds true for anyone who dishonors the Koran and the convictions of Islam. But when it comes to Jesus Christ and that which is sacred to Christians, freedom of speech becomes the supreme good.

Now of course on can agree or disagree with the Holy Father for what appears his view toward "religious hate crime legislation". What might work in Europe might not be what is best here. However I do think one can follow the spirit of what the Church is saying even if one has concerns about it being legislated.

I am not saying that the Danish Cartoon controversy and some misguided reaction was the cause of this. However it does not help our case that so many perhaps stayed a tad too quiet and did not police their own on how to handle it.

Will Obama Throw John Edwards Under the Bus?

I am pretty forgiving of the sins of the flesh and politicians. However the latest John Edwards saga, fit to talk about on blogs but not in Print of MSM media, intrigues me. What interests me is the horrific double standard as to the press . I truly believe that the lack of coverage is so not to detract from the MSM glowing and and heavy coverage of Obama. Just wait till he gets back on U.S. soil and this story will break in the mainline press.

Mickey Kaus is covering this well. His latest entry is Does Obama Want Edwards Gone?

Update see Getting Rielle - The Enquirer Files a Criminal Complaint in Edwards Love Child Case

Major Missal Changes Approved to English Language Mass

Well this is interesting. The Vatican it appears was not pleased by the stall tactics of some American Bishops as to approval of some new English translations of the Mass. It appears the Vatican has in a hurry approved parts that have alredy passed in part to send a message. Whispers in the Loggia has the story at And With Your Recognitio

So first off what changes are coming to a Parish near you in the near future?

The more significant changes of the people’s parts are:
et cum spiritu tuo is rendered as “And with your spirit”

In the Confiteor, the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has been added

The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text
In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”

The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”

The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Good read

THe Top 20 LSU You Tube Vids of 2007- Number 17- "Ladies and Gentlement" 2007 HIghlights

At the time of this posting it is:

Countdown to Appalachian State: 35 days, 6 hrs, 45 min, 52 sec

It is Saturday so to get ino the LSU Football Mood this Sweet You Tube Vid

2007 LSU Football-"Ladies & Gentlemen"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Louisiana Catholic Blog Update For July 25 2008

As we continue our Louisiana Bishop Themed pics for the update we hit Bishop Jarrell of the Diocese of Lafayette Louisiana. Say hello to the Bishop of America's Cajun Diocese

I missed the "daily" Louisiana Catholic Update yesterday :( SORRY!!! I went to Happy Hour and had too many Abita Purple Hazes. It happens

So we pick up on what Louisiana Catholic Bloggers have been saying since I last posted on Wednesday.

Ville Platte Catholic Youth Group has a two vids up at A Request by: Lela (Who am I) and Everyday!!!!!

Unskilled Labor has Ready to Duck Hunt Yet?

Mom and Kids At Home has Scheduling Two-fer! and Music Anyone?

From The Recamier has her daily update here at Daily Update: July 24, 2008 She has SAINTS!!! She starts out her post with Saint Sharbel Makhlouf, priest (died 1898)

Catholic Tube has vids!!! See Father MP3 (this looks cool especially if you are a Catholic Sci-Fi fan), and a good one here In The Public Square

ALIVE AND YOUNG has Done(dot)com

Father Decker at Thy Nose to the Marble. has a blurb on Humanae Vitae . Oh and Father appears to be eating some great Tuna YUMMMMM

Full Circle has thoughts as well as a link regarding the 40th birthday of Humanae Vitae here

Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has To Teach Shakespeare or Not to Teach Shakespeare Home school parents are a innovative bunch I must say. Also see The Elijah Syndrome

Da Mihi Animas our Louisiana expat Priest is New Jersey has a great vid and song I love also too. See Trace Adkins: Arlington . I agree with Father and like this article he highlights at Handing on the Faith: Returning to Tradition! He hits the Saint we honored yesterday at Saint of the Day: Saint James the Greater
He also hits more SAINTS :) Go see G-E-A-U-X! Go, Saints, Go!!! Saints Camp Day 1. Finally see From Gangster to Evangelist: The Story of John Pridmore

Last but not least Fr. Victor Brown’s Catholic Daily Message has CDM for the Feast of Saint James (25 July 2008)

Catholics Attempt to Arrest Karl Rove

Well this is pretty funny. I guess we shall learn how this went today.

Are Eastern Orthodox Soft on Abortion?

The Black Cordelias has an interesting post at Orthodox Soft Like Anglicans on Abortion. I am no expert on this and no doubt views and tones differ from Orthodox Jurisdiction to Jurisdiction. The fact though that one of the people he quotes Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is concerning.

I am stretching my memory here but I think back to the race between George H Bush and the EASTERN ORTHODOX Governor Dukaksis.. The concerns and voices in the Orthodox community were not nearly as vocal as those Catholics that were troubled by a Catholic Pro Choice Kerry 4 years ago. Now this was before of course the explosion of Cable News and the Internet and that ensuring information revolution. However that is my recollection

I do not mean this to be a "orthodx" bashing post and do not want it viewed as such. I am just curious what is up

"Theologian" Hans Kung Bashes Pope Benedict and George Bush All at One Time

This i incredible editorial was in La Stampa, an major Italian daily based on Torino (Turin). I must say after reading this I wonder why in the Silly Season after Vatican II so much attention and influence was given this guy. Perhaps his age and his anger that the Post Vatican II Church was not made in his image is coming through.

Father Z has translated the piece and very well rips it apart at his post LA STAMPA: Hans KÜNG on Pres. Bush and Pope Benedict XVI .

It is incredible how one person can get so much wrong in one piece.

Expect more of this. Certain forces are upset that the Vatican and Pope Benedict are and were friendly with the Bush Administration. As reported by the London Times last week:

The Pope has rejected an invitation to address the European Parliament, amid Vatican alarm at what is seen as a drift towards militant secularism. A letter from the Vatican said that he was declining the request to speak to MEPs owing to other commitments and his age, The Times has learnt. The rejection came soon after the Pope agreed to spend his 81st birthday visiting President Bush and as his tour of Australia was ending..

. *** The Vatican has favoured the White House as a reward for Mr Bush’s acclamation of faith in God and help for antiabortion causes. *** The breakdown in confidence between the Pope and the European Parliament is a sensitive area and observers close to the dispute are unwilling to be identified publicly. One spoke of the church hierarchy’s “great disillusionment” with the European project. Its founding fathers, Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman, were deeply Catholic. However, a well-informed observer said that the EU “has become more and more secularist”. ***

... Mr Bush is regarded by the Vatican as far more sympathetic to its priorities than Europe. When he withdrew $34 million from the UN family planning programme in 2002, claiming that some money went to abortions, the European Union made up the shortfall.

and are fearful that like in 2004 the Vatican will let the word out that its sees an potential Obama Democrat White House as a disaster

Its the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

As every generation goes by we see more the practical wisdom of the document and teaching. One just has too look to Europe and see how its dying out to see that. Japan in fact appears to be shutting down. That is not even getting into the moral and spiritual realm.

Pro Ecclesia has a great set of links of people that are giving their input today at 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

This teaching of course has been with us since the apostles and at one time was very much more widely proclaimed outside Catholic Christian circles. We do see though that there is a movement of Evangelicals that see the wisdom of this today.

For those that wish to see what the early Church Fathers had to say on this go here.

Scripture Catholic has more

Pope Benedict Invited to Visit Iraq at Meeting With Prime Minister of Iraq (pics and articles)

Pope Benedict met with the Prime Minster of Iraq today. Thanks to the Ratzinger Fourm that has the pics and articles I am putting up. Also on that page there is a video link of the event. If there are more articles of interest especially from an Iraqi point of view I will update.

It should be not noted That Pope Benedict was invited to Iraq and to come AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. That would be quite a trip. Also that an Iraqi politician is making this invite while American troops are still in Iraq is significant.This is the second Muslim majority country that Pope Benedict has been invited too in weeks. There could be some Papal tour/ trip if seized upon.

COMMUNIQUE FROM THE VATICAN PRESS OFFICE (translated by the Ratzinger Forum)

Today, at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father Benedict XVI met with His Excellency Nuri Kamel al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq. Earlier, the Prime Minister met with the Secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accompanied by the Secretary for Relations with Froeign States, Mons. Dominique Mamberti.

The conversations which took place in an atmosphere of cordiality, allowed the participants to examine some fundamental aspects of the Iraqi situation, including its regional context. Particular attention was given to the issue of the great number of Iraqi refugees, within the country and outside it, who need assistance, particularly for an eventual return to their homes.

The participants renewed their condemnation of the violence that continues to strike different parts of the country almost daily, among them the Christian communities who strongly need much better security. It is the common wish that Iraq may find the way to peace and development through dialog and the collaboration of all ethnic and religious groups, including the minorities, with respect for their respective identities, so that in a spirit of reconciliation and the search for the common good, they may help in the moral and civic reconstruction of the country.

The importance of inter-religious dialog as a way to religious understanding and civil coexistence was emphasized. The Prime Minister extended an invitation to the Holy Father to visit Iraq.

Maliki invites Pope to visit Iraq to help peace

By Philip Pullella CASTEL GANDOLFO,

Italy, JULY 25 (Reuters) -

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki invited Pope Benedict on Friday to visit Iraq, saying it would help the process of reconciliation. Maliki, who met the pope for 20 minutes at the pontiff's summer residence, also denied in comments to reporters afterward that minority Christians were being persecuted by Muslims in Iraq.

"We renewed our invitation for his holiness to visit Iraq. He welcomed the invitation. And we hope that he will be making the visit as soon as he can," he said. "His visit would represent support for the efforts of love and peace in Iraq," he added. The late Pope John Paul wanted to visit Iraq in 2000 but was denied permission by the government of Saddam Hussein. Maliki said he and the pope also discussed the plight of minority Christians in Iraq and the prime minister urged those who had left after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to return to help rebuild the country.

"I also appealed to His Holiness to encourage Christians who left the country to go back and be part of the social structure of Iraq again," he said. Many of Iraq's Christians have left the country, among the two million refugees who have fled to neighboring states. Iraq's small Christian minority has tried to keep out of the Shi'ite-Sunni sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. But Christian clergy and churches have been targeted repeatedly by Sunni militant groups linked to Al Qaeda.

The Archbishop of Mosul of Iraq's largest Christian denomination, the Chaldean Catholics, was kidnapped in the northern city in February and found dead two weeks later. Maliki said the Pope understood the inter-religious situation in Iraq. "He expressed this by saying that bad people exist within all religions, whether Christians or Muslims," Maliki said. "This sound, realistic, objective understanding by His Holiness is the best answer to those who claim that Christians are persecuted in Iraq by Muslims," he said. A Vatican statement said Christian communities in Iraq "strongly feel the need for greater security" and that inter-religious dialogue would be important for the country's future.

Iraqi PM discusses Christian refugees with pope


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Friday discussed with Pope Benedict XVI the plight of the war-torn country's Christians, according to a Vatican statement. Maliki, who had a 20-minute meeting with the Pontiff at his Castel Gandolfo summer residence, also met other officials including Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone. They discussed the situation of "many refugees inside and outside the country who need help, in particular with regards to their return," said the statement.

The two men also issued a renewed condemnation of the continuing violence in Iraq, where Christian communities "strongly feel the need for greater security," it added. The Vatican hoped "that Iraq can find a path to peace and development through dialogue and cooperation with all ethnic and religious groups including minorities in respect of their respective identities," it said. Maliki, who met his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday, also invited the pope to visit Iraq.

In March, the body of Iraq's kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was found near the northern city of Mosul, prompting warnings of a mass exodus of Christians from Iraq. Iraq's Christians, with the Chaldean rite by far the largest community, were said to number as many as 800,000 before the US-led invasion. The number today is believed to have dropped to half that figure due to massive emigration. Associated with the "Crusader" invaders and regarded as well-off, they are often victims of sectarian violence, killings and kidnappings at the hands of both Sunni and Shiite Islamists, as well as criminal gangs.

On January 6, a series of bombs exploded outside churches and a monastery in Mosul, in an apparently coordinated attack that wounded four people and damaged buildings, as Christians celebrated Epiphany. Maliki was due to leave Italy and return to Iraq on Saturday.

The Wall Street's Journal Interesting Article On Bobby Jindal's Conversion to the Catholic Faith

There was a slight bump this week of articles that were slamming Jindal's Christian faith. I do not think it occurs to the people that writes these articles that perhaps the tone of them produces a result that they do not want.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article today at Jindal's conversion at Rebel With a Cause: Bobby Jindal's Spiritual Journey

Catholics will find this part amusing:
Mr. Jindal's roommate at Brown University became his baptism sponsor. His parents did not attend the ceremony, which he says was "certainly disappointing." But he persisted. Mr. Jindal participated in nearly every campus Bible study group. One morning, while Mr. Jindal prayed in Brown's chapel, a priest who had observed the young man tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to teach a Catholic education program for youths, at a local parish. Not yet confirmed, Mr. Jindal said "I don't think I can do that. I'm not Catholic."

"Oh, look," joked the priest, "since Vatican II, anything's allowed." So Mr. Jindal accepted.

As the article shows his conversion perhaps did not come without cost and he has come critics in the HIndu community. However I must say at least what I saw on the ground here the Indian community was really behind him in all his races

Mississippi Inmate Endorses Obama Before Being Executed

We learn from the Jackson Mississippi Paper

PARCHMAN — Before he died Wednesday evening, death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop apologized to his victim's family, thanked America and urged people to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama

"For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice," Bishop said..........

I guess access to news at Parchman is not great since Obama is doing no such thing. However this shows the power of Obama. One can project your views on him and think that is him.

Is there much difference between this Death Row Inmate and certain Catholic legal minds that say Obama is good for the Pro-Life Movement and he will listen to us

YES WE CAN- The Biblical Story

This is great. From the London Times .

He ventured forth to bring light to the world
The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the
Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.
Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.
But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can