Friday, December 31, 2010

Long time Louisiana Abortion Rights Advocate and Clinic Owner Dies

The Shreveport Times has an article on the death of Robin Rothrock who was the owner and operator of the "Hope" Medical Center for Women. On of Louisiana's major abortion clinics and in fact one of the earliest.

See Shreveport reproductive rights activist dies . As the article correctly notes:

Rothrock moved to Shreveport from Cocoa Beach, Fla., at age 29 to open the Shreveport clinic, which at one time was the only abortion provider in a 400-mile area between Dallas and Jackson, Miss.The clinic has operated since 1980 despite increased regulations imposed by state lawmakers. The most recent challenge came in September, when state health officials temporarily closed the clinic, citing health and safety violations. Rothrock, aided by the Center for Reproductive Rights, successfully challenged the action in court and reopened.

This also means her clinic was quite profitable.

The article is a rather glowing piece on her life and includes interviews with friends. The web version has a little bit more than what appeared in today's print version.

My main problem with the article is well what is not in it. For an "activist" the article seems to very much steer away from the passionate politics that she was involved in. She was a force needless to say in the abortion community. When a person that is rather controversial or has controversial position dies it is usual for their opponents to be asked to comment.

In this article the voices of the active pro-life community in Shreveport are absent. Their absence I think is glaring and should have been included. It would have been interesting to hear their thoughts about her passing and their interaction with her.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Muslims Means A More Social Conservative Great Britain

I would expect so. Damion Thompson has thoughts at the UK telegraph here.

Falling In Love With the Mass In Time of War - Missa in tempore belli

Last night Oklahoma State was just killing Arizona so my mind wandered. I started listening to Haydn's famous Missa in tempore belli . That is "ass in Time of War."It is quite something and amde joyable evening.

I studied some of the history of this Mass and many people say Haydn was doing a anti war Mass. Well I am not sure of that. I don't think many people are pro-war but the evidence here looks slim that this is an anti war piece trying to prove a political point in my view. Still the fear of war and the evil it brings can be found in the piece. Chances are Haydn in Austria was hearing the French Cannon shot as he was perhaps composing this piece .

Still music is just not just the property of the creator. The fact that this was used in the famous Mass for Peace at the National Cathedral shows how this powerful Mass can touch people in different ways and with perhaps with different views. Regardless I think Haydn's intentions here cannot be found with clarity.However who cares!! It is a wonderful piece.
The Angus Dei is perhaps the most striking with it's use of the timpani aka kettledrums. One is a tad shocked by the militaristic overtones but it does not come off as sacrilegious to me. It indeed seems to capture the plea of the Angus Deoiprayer. The piece is not of course all dark and foreboding. Indeed the Angus Dei itself ends on a rather joyful note.

You can download individual parts of the Mass here. I recommend listening to the Angus Dei. For those that want the simple English translation of the Angus Dei go here.

You can follow the score of the Angus Dei (which is pretty easy ) used here by going to this pdf files located here.

It must have been something hearing this at the time. Ah we need to get serious about bringing back this sacred Music. By the way if you attend a traditional Latin Mass you can hear the traditional collect for times of war whenever the priests thinks it is apt to use them. . Father Z a few years back had a post on them here.

Regardless of your feeling on how Liturgy and the various facets of war mix this is a nice piece to go out and download or buy. If you do so download the scores to follow along.
You might want to look for another recording. This is fair but I don't think gets the majesty and awe of the music and liturgy. ALSO CRANK IT UP

Ethical Questions Raised By Haley Barbour's Get Out Jail For Kidney Offer (Updated)

Yes they do exist. See We’ll Let You Out of Jail, But Only if You’ll Save Us Money by Donating a Kidney to Another Prisoner

Now I am not saying at this point if this is the right or wrong thing to do. In fact there might be more facts out there. However I am sure this will be discussed and it should be. However my first inclination is a red flag. Not saying this is unethical right off the bat but.... want to hear more.

Update- It should be noted that this is her offer!! So I am not piling on Haley here and not saying in this individual case it should not be granted. I just am uncomfortable with the idea of this being abused by the State. Still I am not saying the Slippery Slope article should trump other concerns here.

Update- Joe Carter updates his entry which shows the concerns I have.

2011 Prediction - Too Many Very Bad Anti Bullying Laws

I fear this is going to happen. I am not for bullying of course. However now bringing this into the criminal realm I predict will bring a lot more injustice than injustice.

MCJ had an interesting link up at AND NOW…IDIOTS which I think is apt o this discussion. As you can see what we have is a "zero tolerance" approach to violence and weapons in school. Now as usual "zero tolerance" sounds goods in theory into you realize that cases like this exists everyday. Zero tolerance quickly becomes zero sense.

THIS is not an isolated incident. These things happened every day of the school year. Why? Because teachers , principals, and school boards in order not to be accused of playing favorites play the game of passing the buck. LET the District Attorney decide (which in cases like this means let the young Asst D.A.) if to prosecute. The Asst DA echoing the guys that is his boss might very well pass the buck some more. "We just prosecute the cases before us" so it is up to the Judge.

So after spending perhaps a few hours in jail, lot so time in Court, lots of time away from school 6 6months later the kid might get his day in court.

I have a feeling situations like the above and countless similar others are not what the legislatures had in mind when they passed these laws.

The situation with anti bully laws could be and I predict far worse. First it appears the people don't know what do with a kid with a "weapon" in the above case. Imagine what they are going to do with a kids statements and actions. What happens when there is not even any "incriminating text or email message as physical evidence.

I have commented on in a negative way several statutes in the past that depend too much on the DA's good graces to handle in a responsible manner. As we have seen that is not enough.

Now bullying is a problem but it strikes me as something that one is going to have a problem just legislating away. For whatever reasons kids and teenagers can be very cruel. I am not sure a law will change that. Regardless this seems like something that should handled in 99 percent of cases in a non criminal way. What we are doing here is just passing the buck and letting the courts get involved.

This will not end well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don't Have Sex With 18 Year Old High School Students On the Mayor's Sofa

Generally a bad idea even if it MIGHT be found to be consensual. My Bossier has

Seaton Sacked

A Baptist Informed Me that Virgin Birth Was Optional Belief

Further he told me that the Virgin Birth is only important to Catholics and not a big deal with Protestants because it is just based on traditions.

Oh Voy!!

I had to inform him that for Fundamentalists the Virgin Birth was one of the 5 FUNDAMENTALS that one had to believe. Oh and what about the Orthodox and other Creedal Christians!!

The problem is this guy is always lecturing others on reading the bible and goes (I think) to a sound Baptist Church.

So another sign that bad religious literacy is not just a problem among Catholics anymore.

The Story Behind General Patton's Weather Prayer

I think I will be more in the blogging mood tonight. I actually have some time today and have really nothing to say at this moment.

Anyway I think I posted something on this last year but it is a good story. Inside Catholic has General Patton and the Third Army Prayer

Pope Mentions American Democracy and Alexis de Tocqueville in 2010 Speech to Curia

Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by … purely instrumental rationality…. In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.

Just struck how often Pope Benedict talks Alexis de Tocqueville
Thank to Quote Catholic and Pope Benedict XVI on the Sun Setting over the Entire World . which quotes the end 2010 end of year speech to the Roman Curia.

Big Congrats to Lady Tigers That Upset #8 UCLA Last Night


The LA Times has LSU upsets UCLA women, 55-53. The Baton Rouge Advocate has their article here. LSUsports net has their write up here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Remains of Pre-Islamic Monastery Opened To Public In UAE

This is a pretty cool story from a U.A.E Newspaper. A little bit more about the island and the monastery here.

There is web page that pics of the grounds and the what has been dug up here.

Pics of the grounds and artifacts on this page.

Saints Beat Falcons Playoff Bound !! -Front Page of Picayune

Oh happy day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Christams News - Archbishop Hannan To Leave Hospital Today For Nursing Facility

I am hoping this is good news. It's not clear if the nursing facility is just a short term stop or if it's anticipated he will be able to return home again.

As the Archbishop requests keep him in your prayers.

Worst College Bowl Pickem Year I have Ever Had So Far

I have never been in the hole so early so big as in 2010.

So far I am 2 - 5.

BYU won over UTEP (I was picked right)

NIU won over Fresno St (I picked wrong)

Troy won over Ohio ( This was one my upset picks. I picked wrong)

USM won over Louisville ( I picked wrong and I looking back liking USM hurt here)

Boise St won over Utah (I liked 95 percent of the country picked right here)

San Diego State over Navy ( Sadly I picked wrong)

Tulsa won over Hawaii ( I picked wrong)

Well at least we have Air Force vs Ga Tech in the Independence Bowl this afternoon. I picked Air Force so perhaps this can be the beginning of at least me looking respectable as to the final results at the end of the Bowl season.

ALso coming up in FIU vs. Toledo I picked Toledo.

The Vatican Liturgy Wars Hits the Washington Post

Get Religion has a good overview of this article at Big Ben’s new counter-reformation?

Major Jesuit James Martin Misleads Millions On Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell

I came across this post on Christmas Eve and decided not to saying anything on it till after Christmas day. The whole piece got my blood boiling. Which was one reason I needed to set it aside till after the Feast Day.

Father Martin is well known and among other things has wrote The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. He is also the cultural editor at America magazine where he wrote this unfortunate piece Will Catholics Rejoice over the Repeal of DADT?.

Now that piece is bad enough if he had stayed over at America on its blog. However it got reprinted in the the very big Huffington Post.

One could say technically there was no Catholic position on the repeal of DADT. In fact I would be the first to say that a Catholic in good standing could support the repeal tooth and nail. However Father's piece is misleading because he only tells half the story.

Further a huge important voice is absent. That is Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in the United States of America who was very much against the repeal!! It is indeed strange that America and perhaps Father Martin that urges us too look to the Bishops that have expertise in certain areas would just pretend the Archbishop of the largest Diocese of the World does not exist. I wonder how Broglio felt when reading this article.

Does Father Martin think Broglio is just some play acting Bishop down the road?

As I have stated one can be for the repeal of Don't Ask Don;t Tell and still be a faithful Catholic. However Father Martin is practicing deception here by just focusing on line of the Catechism as to unjust discrimination. I say deception because it is deliberate. Father Martin is very AWARE of the Document by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith issued in 1986 by Cardinal Ratzinger. That is LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Ratzinger talks about "unjust discrimination". Read it all.


I am pretty darn sure Father Martin aware of this. The future Pope again talks about the issues above in EVEN MORE DETAIL. In fact the Congregation wrote:

11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.

Now note the Church is not saying that people with same sex attraction cannot be in the military. When I have talked about this issue I made the point that the above statement cannot be taken as Church teaching that the Military must ban homosexuals from the military. I just wish Father Martin would have been more honest and open as I have. Especially since no one reads my blog and millions have read his piece no doubt.

I think one could be a very devout Catholic in the public square and support the repeal of Don't Ask Dont' Tell. See Congressman Cao of New Orleans. You can also make the case that in the particular circumstances in the USA that maybe this was "unjust" discrimination. However Martin just assumes it and does mot make the case. He very much felt free to ignore the major concerns of the Archbishop of the Military.

That has got me really upset about this article. It is not the underlying issue of DADT so much but the deception of Father Martin. I don't always agree with Father martin but I respect him. Now he goes on a list of people who again I will have to double check a lot more in order to see what he leaving out.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pope Not Crazy After All - In 70's Sex With Kids Was Mainstream

I am going to get more into this "controversy" later on as well as SNAP's ( Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests,) increasing role as sadly becoming part of the problem.

I saw on a internet board a few days ago something entitled POPE SCANDAL. It referenced remarks that Pope Benedict made in his "State of the Church" address to the Curia as to sexual child abuse by clergy. I could not imagine what was controversial about it since I read the whole thing. Read it all here

However some people were offended


Pope’s child porn 'normal' claim sparks outrage among victims

Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict's claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn't considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s........

But outraged Dublin victim Andrew Madden last night insisted that child abuse was not considered normal in the company he kept.

Mr Madden accused the Pope of not knowing that child pornography was the viewing of images of children being sexually abused, and should be named as such.

He said: “That is not normal. I don't know what company the Pope has been keeping for the past 50 years.”

Pope Benedict also said sex tourism in the Third World was “threatening an entire generation”.

Angry abuse victims in America last night said that while some Church officials have blamed the liberalism of the 1960s for the Church's sex abuse scandals and cover-up catastrophes, Pope Benedict had come up with a new theory of blaming the 1970s.

“Catholics should be embarrassed to hear their Pope talk again and again about abuse while doing little or nothing to stop it and to mischaracterise this heinous crisis,” said Barbara Blaine, the head of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

“It is fundamentally disturbing to watch a brilliant man so conveniently misdiagnose a horrific scandal,” she added.

“The Pope insists on talking about a vague ‘broader context' he can't control, while ignoring the clear ‘broader context' he can influence — the long-standing and unhealthy culture of a rigid, secretive, all-male Church hierarchy fixated on self-preservation at all costs. This is the ‘context’ that matters.”

The latest controversy comes as the German magazine Der Spiegel continues to investigate the Pope's role in allowing a known paedophile priest to work with children in the early 1980s.

I am going to get more into what the Pope said and where I agree and perhaps disagree a tad. I also plan to do a rather painful piece on SNAP and talk about some things that need to be said.

However lets me stay on topic. The Pope, that has seen a lot of History , is not just making stuff up.

See David Quinn: Pope is right on views of paedophilia in 1970s

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Pope On Grace and Free Will At 2010 Midnight Mass

I am not going to Midnight Mass tonight. I have now a tad of regret over that. However I will be in Shreveport tomorrow to spend time with our family. So I am going to the Cathedral for Christmas Day Mass. I went last year and I was very uplifted by the Choir and Father Mangum even it was not at Midnight.

So I am taking some time to read the Pope Benedict's Midnight Mass Homily.

As usual he packs an incredible amount in just a few paragraphs. We are truly blessed to have such a good "Preacher" as Pope at times.

There is a lot here but this struck me:

At the end of the Christmas Gospel, we are told that a great heavenly host of angels praised God and said: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Lk 2:14). The Church has extended this song of praise, which the angels sang in response to the event of the holy night, into a hymn of joy at God’s glory – “we praise you for your glory”. We praise you for the beauty, for the greatness, for the goodness of God, which becomes visible to us this night.

The appearing of beauty, of the beautiful, makes us happy without our having to ask what use it can serve. God’s glory, from which all beauty derives, causes us to break out in astonishment and joy. Anyone who catches a glimpse of God experiences joy, and on this night we see something of his light. But the angels’ message on that holy night also spoke of men: “Peace among men with whom he is pleased”.

The Latin translation of the angels’ song that we use in the liturgy, taken from Saint Jerome, is slightly different: “peace to men of good will”. The expression “men of good will” has become an important part of the Church’s vocabulary in recent decades. But which is the correct translation?

We must read both texts together; only in this way do we truly understand the angels’ song. It would be a false interpretation to see this exclusively as the action of God, as if he had not called man to a free response of love. But it would be equally mistaken to adopt a moralizing interpretation as if man were so to speak able to redeem himself by his good will.

Both elements belong together: grace and freedom, God’s prior love for us, without which we could not love him, and the response that he awaits from us, the response that he asks for so palpably through the birth of his son. We cannot divide up into independent entities the interplay of grace and freedom, or the interplay of call and response.

The two are inseparably woven together. So this part of the angels’ message is both promise and call at the same time. God has anticipated us with the gift of his Son. God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways. He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us. But he is still waiting for us to join him in love. He loves us, so that we too may become people who love, so that there may be peace on earth

I thought that was quite interesting and I never have thought of that before as those verses. That was just one of the sub themes. Read it all

Full Text of Papal Homily For Christmas Midnight Mass 2010

Very nice as usual.

Contemporary Protestant Worship Services Verus The Catholic Mass

A Baptist campus minister at LSU has a good post up. See Live the Trinity's Tired of the worship wars (or) Why would they leave? . Let me ramble on about it.

First let me note this nice piece of Catholic news he mentions in his post:

I am not entirely persuaded that contemporary or emerging worship style is the cultural language necessary for reaching this generation. Christ the King Catholic Church on the Louisiana State University campus is busting at the seems with several services on Sunday many standing room only with several thousand attending each week.

Catholic. Mass. Several thousand. Standing room only.

Traditional liturgical worship styles seem to attract young people quite well thank you very much. Granted we might ask if Christ the King uses what freedom it has to make what changes make Mass more attractive to university students. Guitar instead of organ? And so on.

But we are not Catholics. We are Baptist Protestants.

Well let me say I am happy that Christ the King is busting at the seams. I was actually going to post on the subject of the Catholic Campus Ministry versus other groups in the State of Louisiana but got sidetracked.

So it appears things are going well at Christ the King!! I will return to Christ the King in a bit.

I think both the Baptist Church and the Catholics were effected by the contemporary worship movement at the same time . In the Catholic Church we had also the big added wrinkle of the charismatic renewal which caused some conflict in local parishes. Most Baptist I think strongly resisted Charismatic services for various reasons.

However the Charismatic renewal I do think affected the Baptists too. They might draw the line at speaking in tongues at Church but some aspects of charismatic and pentecostal worship style was introduced as an option. Though I would be shocked to see dancing in the aisles at any Baptist Church.

The Episcopal Church seemed until recently seemed not to hot on the idea. Maybe that had more to do with class status. As a Catholic at an university where some of us viewed the "contemporary" Mass as practiced close to heretical the Canterbury service was a nice service to go too. (NOTE WE DID NOT TAKE COMMUNION AND WE ATTENDED MASS ON SUNDAY). Some facets of the TEC seemed to be affected by the Cursillo movement as to worship but this was still contained.

Their Liturgical revolution had much more to do with the 1979 prayer book and had some similar overtones with the Catholic controversy over the missal. Strangely (and thankfully) at least in the South the TEC kept to it's tradition. Though many would regard the 1979 prayer book as a REVOLUTION itself.

Perhaps the Episcopal Church wisely noted that the revolution intheir doctrine that was happening plus a revolution in worship styles that we were seeing in come Catholic and Evangelical would be too much.

Sadly it appears the TEC is embracing this "contemporary" worship more and more now. In that I mean embracing the worst Catholic mistakes of the 70 's and 80's. That is the WORST OF WORST OF THE CONTEMPORARY that might lead to errors.

Returning to his article which is a good look at the situation in his Church as an example:

I am concerned that yes perhaps this current generation of Baptists expects contemporary and/or emerging style to such an extent that if a church does not provide that they will look elsewhere. Can it be that we have created this by raising an entire generation with certain expectations? That we feed them a steady diet of casual contemporary emerging and so on – and then sure enough that is all they will accept when they become adults?

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I should be more open to these newer worship styles. Fair enough. But does that work both ways? That the emerging generation needs to work harder to appreciate and even include the traditional and the liturgical?

If children grow up on junk food – and no I am not saying contemporary or emerging worship style is junk food – do we just shrug our shoulders and say “oh well sure you can have pizza and soda for dinner again”? Or do we educate our children such they learn to appreciate and even enjoy different and often more nutritious foods?

Have we failed to help our children appreciate and even enjoy more traditional and liturgical worship? Even if – thanks to modern popular culture – they also enjoy and even expect newer forms and styles? Of course one can respond that those who prefer more traditional and liturgical need to learn to appreciate newer styles and approaches.

That “they will just leave and go elsewhere” really bothers me.

I really think that in "CERTAIN" Protestant and Evangelical circles there is a liking for more traditional worship.

The question is what is the "Baptist" Liturgy. When I was a Southern Baptist we had an informal liturgy I suppose but I never thought of it in those terms. It consisted of

Opening Worship Song

Opening Prayer- My Preacher

Perhaps another Song

Sunday School Report coupled with announcements

The Offering (A song is done)

The Preaching ( we might have some mini Children Sermon before as kids go to the Altar and sit down with proud parents and grandparents looking on beaming)

Benediction (singing occurs)

Closing song

Note- Every three months there would be a Communion Service too add. I can vaguely recall a time when those bell choirs were big and we might have that on occasion.

Now the big points were of course the PREACHING and the Benediction (will anyone walk the aisle).

Besides the singing and saying Amen after some prayers that was about Liturgical as it got. In reality I am not sure how a contemporary Baptist service would really deviate a lot from the above. There might be guitars, there might be big movie screens, there might be a different type music, maybe a personal testimony?, but it seems to me that follow that pattern.

I would be interested in Live the Trinity's details of their service.

He mentions this though:

And then our last senior pastor after a few years pushed hard for the creation of a new second service. It would be emerging in style – not contemporary. It would be the growth/outreach service – to attract and involve the unchurched of/and the current generation. Most significantly it would be the later service.

Several people have said to me they had no problem with a second service. Even with an emerging worship style. What bothered them was that the traditional would become the early service and the emerging service would take what they regarded as the primary time. Moreover they felt there were serious problems with how that decision was made...

Throw in some controversy concerning the term emerging and its relationship to the so called Emergent movement. It was becoming increasingly evident that the senior pastor was theologically more liberal than even this moderate Baptist church.

Now that is interesting. I think I am not alone as a Catholic from only seeing one thing when we hear "emerging" Church. That is evangelicals that are into the Church Fathers, praying the hours, community life, liturgical worship, interesting ideas on communion , and they also dig Anglican Bishop NT Wright.

Now when I see "conservative" Evangelicals talk about "emerging" Church they seem to be talking about something that has to deal with liberal politics and even worse a water downed liberal theology.

Now yes there might be some concerns over some aspects of NT Wright but I don't think that is the theology they are worried about. So we may be talking about two different things. The emergent Church people I describe above rarely seemed to be theological liberals.

However maybe there is some overlap. Does this service include a more liturgical style? That indeed would be something different though again I am not sure why such a movement would tend toward liberalism. However the fact he contrasts the "emerging" worship with that at the Catholic Christ the King makes me think this is something different.

He says:

And while we are on the subject – to what extent do Anglican or Catholic or Orthodox Christians struggle with this issue of worship style? Ah therein lies the rub.

Well as a Catholic I can say NOT SO WELL. I can't speak for the Orthodox. I think their major change was switching to English but I am not sure if they had anything close to the Liturgical revolution we all had. Thankfully I have never heard of an "Contemporary" Orthodox Divine Service.

What made the Catholic situation so explosive was that so much of our Liturgy is very much connected to doctrine and belief. Throw in who has the authority to change what and other political agendas and it was WAR.

I do think though the wild stuff we saw in the 70's and 80's is going extinct. Young people want a more traditional service. They might not want the full Latin Mass every Sunday but I have a feeling they would love more traditional music and YES KNEELING FOR COMMUNION.

That does not mean the LIFE TEEN service does not have a place. One just has too look at the the Steubenville Youth Masses we have each year in Louisiana to see that. However one gets a feeling that this generation is in full agreement with Pope Benedict on what the Liturgy should look like and a healthy balance is finally occurring. Once you take the not so hidden theological agendas behind "Liturgical reform" out it is amazing how clarity comes. I think we are in the right direction.

Now while the danger that "Contemporary" worship would damage lets say Baptist Doctrine is slim there is still is a danger. In fact I think Catholics are now aware of this. That is we very well might be confusing a filled with the spirit worship service with being entertained. Further the shift toward the contemporary seems to have a LETS LOOK AT HOW GREAT WE ARE aspect at time. Lot of focus on the community less on a vertical aspect toward God himself.

For Catholics this became a disaster because I am not sure we were set up to prevent the abuses. Evangelicals might have some defenses against this but I think the dangers are the same.

In the end LITURGY is a vital connection to the Church in every age. It is also the public sign to the world of our faith. I think that might be one reason why we see perhaps a rebound in traditional worship in both places.

Let me add something that might be related. When I became a Catholic I was SHOCKED how people dressed for Sunday Mass. It was like they were going to Walmart. I went out of my way to try at least make some effort to dress up for Sunday Mass for a few years. I don't know when it happened but I look at myself today and I am now part of the Walmart crowd.

If I wear a nice long sleeve shirt that is now dressing up. The only time I wear a jacket and tie to Mass (that is not a funeral or wedding) is Midnight Mass and Easter Vigil.

Until recently this downgrading in clothing was very unheard of as to Church among Protestants. However I can't help but notice that the same thing seems to be happening there. Is the use of the "Contemporary" playing a part of this.

Now this might all seem petty. GOD does not care what you wear to Church as some say. However how we dress and when we dress is a symbol of importance. He communicates something to ourselves and others.

I actually thinking the dressing down that is occurring in the Catholic Church and in other Faith communities might be having some unforeseen consequences.

END of rant.

Selective Reduction Abortion On Rise In North America

Yes I know not a very HO HO HO Merry Christmas type posting. I wanted to put this link here so I can discuss it after the Feasting. From Mirrors of Justice Oh Canada! – The Culture of Death North of the Border

Here Come the Charges of RINO On START Treaty !!

There is a very good column up here entitled "RINO" Label Used Too Flippantly By Conservatives.

I have been preaching that for years.

Since those days, I've occasionally branched out and suggested some policy or position that doesn't reflexively mirror some bedrock conservative outlook. Often some readers of this column, whom I deeply respect and appreciate, will call me out for this or that view by dismissing me as a "RINO" -- a "Republican in Name Only."

I know where he is coming from.

Sometimes it seems the only way to shed the dreaded "RINO" label is to forget about pragmatic lawmaking and instead just appear on radio or TV, selling CDs, books or other trinkets, and telling everybody only what they want to hear. And that's too bad, for conservatives and everybody else.


Read the whole thing. He talks about how many are doing this charge as to Republicans that voted to ratify the most recent START treaty. I did not blog much on it because well I did not feel I was qualified to say anything on it. I had concerns but a lot of REPUBLICANS I TRUST and that have served this Country in this area were behind it. So that is good enough for me.

In is ironic but poor Senator Lindsey Graham that often is labeled a RINO every five seconds was against it.

The comments at the article go on the attack right away. That really cannot be used to determine if this is the mood of the conservative and Tea Party movement. Comment sections at newspapers, blogs and sites like that can be deceiving and just become the ultimate echo chamber.

Still on twitter and elsewhere I saw people ided as Tea Party slamming Republicans that voted for the Treaty.

Now that does not mean that it was the TEA PARTIES position on the treaty. In fact , and this is critical, it seems the Tea Party having a position on the issue goes beyond what they say will be their focus. So I would be interested to see who if any of the leadership of the various Tea Parties chimed in.

Beyond that he is correct. As I have always said there is a huge danger of extreme litmus test in the GOP. However what we often see is something far more dangerous. That is charges of RINO being thrown out on issues where there is no conservative consensus at all.

It seems to me that a lot of people whose main motivation is for you send them money every month are behind this. Certain key people state this the CONSERVATIVE position and out go the blast emails.

I rarely saw conservatives on the Internet or on the news talk about the START treaty this year. It was not an election issue. However in the final weeks everyone is a expert and to vote for it makes one a RINO? Please.

In a First Pope Gives Christmas Eve Message On the BBC

This is pretty cool!! Whispers has the text, audio and video link at "God is Always Faithful": With Christmas "Thought," B16 Meets BBC

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Complex World of Haley Barbour's Mississippi

A blog post I saw today has got me to want to revisit the Governor Haley Barbour comments on the Citizen Councils. First some background.

Some of the more interesting and fun reporting on Mike Huckebee in 2007/08 was done by Hanna Rosin over at Slate. She had a fun article called What's Huck Hiding? Searching for the lost Huckabee tapes. Basically these tapes were around but NO ONE was giving them up. The article is fun and informative so it is a good read even at this date. She sort of goes into theories what might be on the Huckabee preaching tapes. Here is one:

2. Race—Pine Bluff was a very racially divided town, recalls Bruce Rodtnick, who was minister of music when Huckabee came on as pastor. African-Americans went to their own churches and whites to theirs. One Sunday morning in 1984, after Huckabee's sermon had been broadcast on the radio, a young black man called the church to say he'd heard it and been saved, and asked whether he could join the congregation. Huckabee let him come to services, but only after much resistance from the congregation. Huckabee did the right thing, but he also had to mollify his congregation, and what sounded racially progressive in Pine Bluff in 1984 may be cringe-worthy now.

Now we have no idea if that happened. But this reporter is hitting on a truth here. People that were trying to make people progress in racial matters might have to use language and make alliances that well don't make great TV news today. However that was the reality.

Lets now get much more close to Haley Barbour's world of Mississippi.

ESPN at times does some very quality reporting that links the complexities of life to sports. One of the best shows that does this is ESPN 30 for 30. If you love football or hate football it is almost impossible not to like a recent show they did. In fact I think it might be one of the best that was ever produced by them was The Best That Never Was that focused on the amazing recruitment and aftermath of Football player Marcus Dupree.

The director says in part:
Philadelphia, Mississippi, was the site of one of the most notorious acts of terrorism during the Civil Rights Era in the 1960s: the murders of three young men helping to register black voters who had come to Philadelphia in 1964 to investigate the burning of a church that supported civil-rights activities. Marcus was born a month before the killings, and eventually would join the first class to go through integrated public schools in the state.

When Marcus was establishing himself as the best high school running back in the nation, Philadelphians white and black took pride in him, and in the fully integrated team that he led. He was the town’s first shared joy. It would be naive to believe that Marcus singlehandedly gave rise to a “New South.” But it would be cynical to disbelieve that he did help change the lives of the people of a small town with a horrible past. It is here that the best of sport still resides—in its ability to tear down the isolation and separateness that permeate everyday life in America, and to give people something bigger than themselves to share, a way to transcend the distinctions that otherwise keep them apart.

For this experience, Marcus feels blessed beyond any measure of wealth or fame that might have come his way had things played out differently. “The Best That Never Was” is a story infused with sadness and loss. But its hero is a man who is at peace with it all.

Now that is not the main focus of the story but it is ever in the background. In fact out of the blue comes in one of the major figures of those tragic killings in Mississippi. That is the infamous Cecil R. Price SR whose photo was well known to all American. As noted by one reviewer:

Upon the end of his football career, Dupree turned to Cecil Price Sr. This was unusual because Price Sr. was a sheriff in Mississippi and had served time in prison for allegedly playing a role in the death of 3 civil rights workers in 1964 which loosely gave the premise for the film “Mississippi Burning.” Price Sr., whose son, Cecil Price Jr. was a teammate of Dupree’s during their high school years, helped Dupree by allowing him to work as a truck driver and got the young man a license and a career. Ironically, this man, this white man, this potentially hated racist man, took care of Marcus Dupree when so many of his friends, family and yes, black people, had left him behind.

This is the same Cecil Dupree that would have the young Marcus Dupree over to his house when he was a small kid.

Welcome to the complex world of Haley Barbour's Mississippi .

Now I use this all as background because well Haley was getting into politics about the time that so much of the Civil Rights work in Mississippi had to be really implemented! White Mississippi folks had accepted it was coming but many were not too happy or in a hurry about it. I use my own Mississippi conenctions as a reference point

Which leads us to a blog entry by a Mississippi Politico this morning. See Barbour, Citizens Council and Race

Now this guy is a Mississippi Democrat politics that works to get Dems elected so I of course am expecting some bias here. He says:

At first I thought he might have done it on purpose. It’s the Southern Strategy and code words, straight out of the Ronald Reagan playbook, which Barbour helped to write. Barbour’s path to the Republican nomination would include winning the South in spades, and he figures winks and nods can help.

I could go on and on about what is called the "Southern Strategy" by some but that is another blog post.

Later he says regarding the now infamous quote:
Upon reading this, I started to consider that perhaps this really wasn’t a calculated statement so much as an honest one. It’s what he believes, how he thinks and he spoke without a filter. (I have little doubt this is how he feels; I wonder about whether or not he ever really speaks without a filter.).

Well this might be true. I at first thought it might have been calculated to perhaps preempt some rather awkward association with the Council of Conservative Citizens. Maybe not.

In that blog he quotes Ipse Blogit a Mississippi blogger that looks into these statements at Haley's Blind Spot, And Ours .

He says in part:
Oh, ok. "Just a figure of speech." Sorry, but the choices one makes in speech -- conscious or not -- prove one's character by circumstantial evidence. In both the "whorehouse" and the "Citizen's Council" remarks, our Governor has exposed the fact that his worldview is distorted by Mississippi's racist past.Now, there is a difference between active racism, which acts to hurt or oppress an insular minority group because of their race or ethnicity -- and passive racism, which accepts stereotypes about that minority group(for example, that children of impovershed communities would be better off in a whorehouse). The latter isn't good; but it's not the former, either. Most of us born into the majority race, or into the more empowered economic sector of our society, have the same blind spot as Governor Barbour. The Governor's positive remark about the Citizen's Council shouldn't be (dare I say it) whitewashed. But neither should we take pains to remove the speck in Gov. Barbour's eye to repair his blind spot, before we've removed the log that blinds our own perspective.

Now I don't think Governor Barbour is racist at all. I think like many people he was trying to explain a complex time. None of which is so black and white as people in 2010 want to make it out. I don't think this is about "code words" to get the racists on board.

It is a man that is trying to explain and perhaps even comprehend himself the land and people that He ,the football player Dupre and the convicted Sheriff Price mentioned above share together. No not everyone involved with the Citizen Councils were Saints. But not everyone was a demon either. Life it appears is much more complex than that. Just ask Jimmy Carter

Barbour I see got on the Richard Nixon campaign in 1968. That is critical because it seems early on that Barbour was not going to be a Wallace guy.

Some tapes came up again recently with Nixon saying some not very nice things about various ethnic groups. But it was Richard Nixon that did a lot of the heavy lifting to get the LBJ legislation and various Court orders implemted in the South including Mississippi.

Nixon's work on intergration and the Southern Schools is not much talked about but it happened. Barbour saw the times and he did his best to advance progress in my view. Haley it appears very early on on his life not to join the FIREATERS of the time. He was joining the establishment. Sometimes the establishment while working for change must make sure things don't blow up in the process and cause much more destruction. No one erects monuments to these people (well not the GOPERS) but they are needed. In other words Haley Barbour , unless he becomes President is unlikely to have Space Centers and Naval vessels named after him. That is reserved for Mississippi Democrats like Senator John Stennis.

I am no fan of the CITIZEN COUNCILS at all. I have ranted about the Council of Conservative Citizens before. I also stand by that we need to vet Barbour to make sure he does not have any unsavory connections to the council. However we need to be careful here. Today Mississippi is one of the most integrated places in the nation to a large degree. That happened partly because of the work of Dems and Gopers alike that had to walk a tightrope while dealing with politics that was quite personal and quite family.

National Public Radio Has Nice Story On the Nashville Dominican Sisters

This is pretty nice coming from NPR. Creative Minority Report has the link at A Great Story on the Nashville Dominicans: on NPR!

Recession and other Woes Hit Religious Order's Fruitcake Business

Get Religion highlights a story about California Catholic Monks and their ailing fruitcake business. See Monks, fruitcakes & falling finances

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

After Getting DADT Repealed A Call Fire Head of the Marines!!

No now every post will be about gay related issues today. WIth the repeal of DADT and other matters in the news there is just a lot there. However I was pretty shocked by this piece in the Washington Post from a major columnist. See Marine Corps commandant has to go

I mean WOW. It would expect (though I hope I do not) to see pieces like this a few years after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. I mean we have this just couple of days after passing!!

If you were for the repeal of DADT then voices like this should concern you. It confirms your opponents worst fears.

There is no reason to think he will not salute the flag and carry out Congressional directives. However because he exists and has this views then he must be removed?

When you read stuff like this the concerns of the Archdiocese of the Military seem really valid. I am praying this is an isolated voice.

A Not Very Productive Pro Gay Marriage Ad (Little Kids Going F YOU)

The politics and arguments aside on these issue who in their right mind would issue such a commercial? I mean it will likely now turn more people off if you support gay marriage.


China Tells Vatican To Mind It's Own Business As To Catholic Church

Wow this is really in your face:

The spokesperson called the Vatican's practice of seeking to push political ideology through religious belief "very dangerous" and warned it could have serious percussions for the Catholic church's development in China.

The spokesperson said the congress, which was established over 50 years ago, is a democratic assembly for Chinese Catholics that has the full respect from the Chinese government.

The Vatican has resorted to various methods to prevent the Congress convening in recent years, including by threatening to "punish" the Chinese Catholic clergy who attend it.

"Who is actually using coercive measures and demanding Catholics betray their conscience? Isn't it crystal clear?" the spokesperson asked.

At the eighth congress, Bishop Fang Xingyao was elected CCPA chairman and Bishop Ma Yinglin was elected head of the BCCCC.

The spokesperson said the senior leaders of the two organizations were elected with a majority of the vote, reflecting the will of the congress's representatives.

In condemning the elected leadership, the Vatican had trampled and shown its contempt for the democratic will of Catholic clergy and laymen in China, the spokesperson said, adding that the condemnation was extremely arbitrary and rude
. ....

The Vatican, moreover, had interfered in the internal affairs of China's Catholic Church in both open and clandestine ways in an attempt to control the church, the spokesperson said.

China-Vatican ties were cut after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The spokesperson said China hoped the Vatican could speak and act prudently, so as not to further damage the relationship and to allow talks between the two sides


Read it all.

Crucial Election and Ray of Hope For Catholics and Christians in Sudan

This is very major!! United States Catholics need to keep on top of this. See
Upcoming election in Sudan has repercussions for local Catholics.

If God willing this election goes through this new Government will need our help big time!!

LSU CRISIS! Stevan Ridley Might Be Out For Cotton Bowl

TIME OF OFFER UP PRAYERS :( . This could be a big game changer.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU head coach Les Miles says running back Stevan Ridley is dealing with a one-time academic violation that may make him ineligible for the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Miles declined to go into detail about the violation, but says LSU is appealing to the NCAA to have Ridley ruled eligible to suit up for the Jan. 7 bowl game. LSU (10-2) plays Texas A&M (9-3) in Cowboys Stadium.

Ridley has been LSU's leading rusher this season, gaining 1,044 yards on 225 carries and scoring 14 touchdowns

Ridley is a smart kid and one would have to think this is not a "bad grade". Which actually means it could be something worse. Hoping it is not.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

States Losing Congressmen and Catholic Parishes All At the Same Time

Population shift is not the only reason a Catholic Parish will close now. However in certain areas of the country it is a major factor.

See Changes in Number of Parishes... and Congressional Seats?

Again I am not chalking up all Parish closing to THIS!! In fact a bunch bigger problem is the current Priest shortage and bad Catholic education the last few decades.

Still when we see those massive closing in the Northeast for instance there are reasons that are rleated to current Census matters. Some states have been shedding population for decades (and thus Congressional seats). The Catholic parish closings are often just a sign of that in part.

Arlen Specter Lashes Out At Alito and Roberts Before He Leaves Town


Ann Althouse has
Arlen Specter accuses John Roberts and Samuel Alito of violating the oath they took at their confirmation hearings.

I have watched Arlen Specter for years in this confirmation hearings and this is his constant rant. If Congress says it's true it must be. Further we have the power to do about anything we want!!

I am all for deference to Congress on fact finding. That is their role. However that does not mean a blank slate on everything!! Both Alito and Roberts have given HUGE deference to Congress when it was clear they were not buying the "facts" See the case dealing with the Voting Rights Act this past year.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Issues Note on Pope's Condom Remarks

Father Z has the text up here at Cong. for Doctrine of the Faith issues a note: On the trivilization of sexuality – Regarding certain interpretations of “Light of the World”

Washington Post Op Ed -Labels of Hate In Gay Marriage Debate Need To Stop

A much need article in the Washington Post today. See In the gay marriage debate, stop playing the hate card

2010 Full Lunar Eclipse Lived Up To Expectations

A lot of times these types of things never live up to the hype. We see this with meteor showers and often comets. I can think of a couple comets in the past that were sort of disappointing when they arrived.

That being said last night full Lunar eclipse was pretty cool. I am trying to recall if I have seen one before I know I have seen partial ones of course. However I never can recall watching a full one, one in which it is was in total eclipse for a hour, and where the MOON LOOKED LIKE IT WAS RED.

It was worth staying or getting up for. I was very lucky that there enough breaks in the clouds last night to see a good bit o fit

Monday, December 20, 2010

So There Was An Controversal Wedding Announcement in The New York Times

Totally missed this because I guess was watching football.

The Need to Vet Haley Barbour For Council of Conservative Citizens Problems? (Update)

UPDATE!! See below

The Governor or Mississippi raised some eyebrows with some comments he made at the old "Citizen Councils". There are two takes on this One is more damning and the other trys to take a balanced view.

I actually like the Governor a good bit and I don't think he is racist at all. HOWEVER conservatives and GOPERS don't need to shrug this off. This could be problematic and one wonders if Haley might be trying to preempt something. Maybe not. Still I do wonder why he went there.

Let us be blunt. The Citizen Councils were a big force behind the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission that basically became a spying outfit. They spied on people involved in the Civil Rights movement of course. But as that wound down they spied on people and were curious in all sort of topics. Like who was sleeping with whom. Heck maybe they spied on the KLAN too but it is not exactly a great moment in United States History. The fact that many of these records might have gone MISSING is always in the background. I am not saying Haley had anything to do with that. In fact the timeline would inidcate he would not. However the political reality is there are people alive today that don't want certain news of their actions to get out from those decades.

The old citizen councils morphed into the current Council of Conservative Citizens. A organization who at a national level has become very extreme and has to concerning associations.

In Mississippi on a county level they were and still are to some degree in some regions of the State. I suspect most are quite benign but many have people involved that one does not want to be in photos with.

In Mississippi politics I have no doubt that Haley might have to interact with the various Council at some point. All this depending on what is out there(if anything) will not be easy to brush off.

Again I don't think the Governor is a racist at all . I also think the complex world of Mississippi politics of the last few decades native black Mississippi people realize that too.

Still if he is going to run for President this is a warning we need to make sure there nothing bad there.

Update- A piece from NRO online at Haley Barbour Faces an All-Too Familiar, All-Too Exhausted Accusation

I agree with a good bit of that. I doubt very much Barbour is some racist. However Like Lott and other folks Barbour had to work some messy alliances to get the State moving forward no doubt. As to Barbour he is of a age where perhaps he had to do less so than other.

Still people don't need to be Pollyanna here. Just saying caution is dictate and this is the first round in Haley having to address possible questions. We can't hide our heads in the sand about that.

The Lack of Coverage On Catholic Crisis in China Getting Noticed

Get Religion has a good piece on this at Got news? Vatican, China and crickets .

They end their piece by saying:

Do journalists really want to argue that the sexual revolution reigns supreme as the ultimate liberal value, much higher than human rights, religious liberty, free speech or the actions of a police state? Courage.


The Repeal of DADT Now Opens Up Sticky Religious Liberty Issues

I had some conflicting thoughts on the repeal of DADT and I did not blog that much whether pro or con as to it. However that is it repealed so the implementations problems and challenges can no longer be so easily swept aside. They will have to be dealt with.

I might post on other aspects of this debate (NOTICE THE BISEXUAL WORD IS GONE AGAIN JUST GAY AND STRAIGHT) but I want to hit again on the part I have blogged on. That is the Chaplain religious liberty issue and how that is a tough spot for all.

Get Religion has and DADT last rites; chaplaincy questions (again) .

Now one can say hey what is the big deal. You no doubt have lets say Seventh Day Adventist Chaplains that are in major conflict with theology wise with their Catholic troops for instance.

The problem is I think we understand those disagreement and make room for them. While Seventh Day Adventist arguments over other Churches are huge no one would call it HATE SPEECH.

One sense with the debate as to issues such as gay marriage that many people view opposition to gay marriage or homosexual acts as INDEED HATE SPEECH. See Apple and the recent controversy on the Manhattan Declaration app. So it is indeed a problem that is going to have to be worked out.

ESPN's Outside the Lines Attacked Les Miles On Recruiting

I was really shocked at some of the bad journalism that was on ESPN yesterday morning. You can watch the piece here. One of the main reporters that covers LSU comes to Miles defense and gives clarity and additional facts THAT WERE NOT IN THAT PIECE.

The fact that Chris Garrett is portrayed as some victim here is laughable. Les Miles refused to be interviewed for this piece and one can understand why. He can't be in a situation when he gets in to unseemly back and forth with a former recruit and kid. However the question is this. WHY OH WHY did ESPN appears not to interview or consult worth local media in Baton ROughe on this situation? If they did it was not apparent in the story.

Pope Hit Sex Abuse Hard In Hhis 2010 State fo the Chruch Address

Rocco has excerpted the part dealing with sex abuse in what again is another major State of the Church address. See Church's "Garment is Torn -- By the Sins of Priests": At Curial Christmas, B16 Talks Abuse

I think his use of the vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen is quite good

Friday, December 17, 2010

Do Many Liberals Think Incest Is Ok Between Adults?

I was rather shocked to hear from a liberal source that perhaps that is more widespead than I EVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT.

Are liberals having these discussion a lot over the dinner table? It seems like he has heard them. I still find that hard to believe but YACK.

A Look at Pope Benedict's 2010 Christmas Card

Sigh my Card must have got lost in the mail (Sadface)

A nice vid on it here.

Catholics United Attacks Archbishop Dolan, and Other Concerned Patrons of the Arts

Why what a piece attacking Archbishop Dolan for defending Bill Donohue. See from Catholics United Archbishop Dolan defends Donohue and the Never Ending Culture War.

Wow so much to say. However this made me laugh!!

...........In order to understand why Dolan’s comments are so unfortunate, one should consider why Donohue is simply bad for Catholicism. Donohue personifies that white older male constantly at odds with the changing world around him. He’s like the Catholic version of Archie Bunker, only with fax machine and a $350,000 salary. But the worst part of Donohue’s shtick is that his message has no semblance to the teachings of Jesus Christ, who spent his time forgiving sinners and healing lepers, not complaining about art....

..Our nation is in the worst economic recession of my lifetime. More than nine percent of our workforce is unemployed. Millions of households are dealing with foreclosure or underwater mortgages. And in this Advent season, we have families that can’t afford a full tank of gas, let alone gifts for the Christmas tree

This is why Dolan’s attitude is so disappointing. By defending a manufactured controversy during a time of great suffering, he trivializes the meaning of Jesus’ birth: to bring good news to the poor. And the worst consequence of this behavior is that it is driving young Catholics away from the church. So as Dolan and the bishops get to work on their evangelization strategy, I suggest they spend less time following in the footsteps of Bill Donohue and focus more on Jesus.

Wow HOW AGEIST!! Also it is funny that Catholic United headed by two "young" white guys plays this silly racial card. Also maybe they can talk more about this horrible white older male "constantly at odds with the changing world".

They do exist!! Catholic liberals are full of older white guys that have not quite got into their heads the Church is not stuck in the 70's show.

Let me say that I have mixed feeling about Donahue and I have not always agreeded with him. However this attack is bit too much. On the whole Donahue does good work.

First off yes Jesus did not talk about "art". However does Catholics United really want to go down this road?

I mean Jesus did not talk about the environment a great deal. Jesus did not talk about Roman miltary ndustrial complex. Jesus did not talk about how the Roman authorities should be ensuring a living wage and health care. Jesus did not talk about unjust war to my knowledge. Jesus did not talk much about state execution. Do you get my drift?
Of course maybe Jesus did not talk about it!! We are "By Scripture Alone" Christians as they should know.

I am not saying the Church should not be involved in all that. In fact I think they should. However just because Jesus did not talk about art does not make it unimportant. I think any Catholic half his salt should know that.

Perhaps Catholic United should review Pope Benedict's comments recently!! All made while we are in the middle of hard economic times worldwide!!

See Meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel (November 21, 2009)

...this gathering I wish to express and renew the Church’s friendship with the world of art, a friendship that has been strengthened over time; indeed Christianity from its earliest days has recognized the value of the arts and has made wise use of their varied language to express her unvarying message of salvation. This friendship must be continually promoted and supported so that it may be authentic and fruitful, adapted to different historical periods and attentive to social and cultural variations...

...I also recall how on 7 May 1964, forty-five years ago, in this very place, an historic event took place, at the express wish of Pope Paul VI, to confirm the friendship between the Church and the arts. The words that he spoke on that occasion resound once more today under the vault of the Sistine Chapel and touch our hearts and our minds. “We need you,” he said. “We need your collaboration in order to carry out our ministry, which consists, as you know, in preaching and rendering accessible and comprehensible to the minds and hearts of our people the things of the spirit, the invisible, the ineffable, the things of God himself. And in this activity … you are masters. It is your task, your mission, and your art consists in grasping treasures from the heavenly realm of the spirit and clothing them in words, colours, forms – making them accessible.”.....

.... Unfortunately, the present time is marked, not only by negative elements in the social and economic sphere, but also by a weakening of hope, by a certain lack of confidence in human relationships, which gives rise to increasing signs of resignation, aggression and despair. The world in which we live runs the risk of being altered beyond recognition because of unwise human actions which, instead of cultivating its beauty, unscrupulously exploit its resources for the advantage of a few and not infrequently disfigure the marvels of nature. What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation – if not beauty? Dear friends, as artists you know well that the experience of beauty, beauty that is authentic, not merely transient or artificial, is by no means a supplementary or secondary factor in our search for meaning and happiness; the experience of beauty does not remove us from reality, on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful....

Read it all

Oh dear that Archie Bunker of a Pope we have talking about art in these hard economic times. I can quote many other. Such as from this year CONCERT IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FATHER BENEDICT XVI ON THE OCCASION OF THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH, HIS PATRON SAINT

But Jesus did not talk about music since he was healing lepers!!

I could on and on about their "culture war" charge. The fact is Catholics United main concern is not "art" but they just don't like the guy.

They could have saved us a lot of time if they just said that instead of giving us faux Theology on how Jesus (and by implication) Christians should not care about art but instead feed the poor.

Is Bobby Jindal's Coastal Berm Project Turning Into A Long Term Success

During the BP oil spill the money and time spent on coastal berms to protect the wetlands was subject of SEVERE criticism. A lot of people weighed in.

I did not discount the criticism but most of it appeared to me among folks that disagreed with funding priorities on how to correct the problem of coastal erosion. That is they were worried about the direction the Jindal administration was taking perhaps.

Also crucial to this criticism was the berms would not work. They would not work to catch the oil and in the end they would just wash away.

Dr Sadow has a good post that examines both of these questions here. What caught my eye was newspaper article he links. See Berms may become Islands.

THAT ARTICLE SOUNDS ENCOURAGING!!! Let me also say I am not buying the Jindal administration was perhaps looking to future as to these berms beyond the oil spill.

The erosion and disappearance of the barrier islands lays a part in the national emergency of Louisiana Coastal erosion. It is not the only or primary solution. But it does a play in the overall plan.

If these berms become functional barrier Islands then the critics should give Jindal his due.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Great New Photo Book Out On Holy Places In Louisiana - Sacred Light

I am usually not a huge fan of coffee table Books but I was pretty blown away by this one. See Sacred Light Holy Places in Louisiana -A decade's worth of fine art photography taken in the most divine spaces of an elegantly devout state.

It is put out by the University of Mississippi Press. Miss Press has an overview of it here at New Book: Sacred Light

It is worth the buy and the photos are to say the least great.

Shreveport Louisiana Has Most Self Proclaimed Christians In USA

Who Knew?

As you can see Portland, Maine is the least Christian with 19 percents describe themselves as atheist or agnostic

"Christian" Civil Rights Group Seeks To Recall Bobby Jindal

Oh how LAUGHABLE!! Have they noticed we have an election coming up next year!!

The Hayride has a good take on this at Dippy Democrats Start Recall Of Jindal As Election Year Dawns

Louisiana Baptist School Sought Funding For Medical School From Middle East Nations

Well this is interesting. See Louisiana College pursued funding from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, but was turned down -Plan sought $70 million from Mideast nations to start medical school

Top of the hat to the The Dead Pelican.

The Catholic Church Weathered 2010 Quite Well All Things Considered

National Review Online has an excellent article up. Catholicism, and the Oceans, Will Survive
2010 was a year of turmoil, and of triumph.

As they say the Catholic Church has had a lot of Chickens coming home to roost this year. Even if established by Christ and thus Holy the members of it are often not Holy at all or are frail and weak. So the facts there are Chickens roosting at all is no shock.

Of course the state of the Church differs from region to region. Despite the all out attempt to indict Pope Benedict in the sex abuse scandal that went to months it failed. Also I think in the USA people are starting to notice that these "new" cases are not new at all but rather old news recycled.

In Europe on the overhand one fears the revelations are just beginning! Ireland is hurting and it appears the rest of Europe will be affect to a great degree.

The USA has been going through this since the early 90's with the worse of it around early 2000. The Church survived and is a much better Holy witness for Christ for it.

I expect the same to happen in Europe. Of course not all is bleak as the article points to the Papal UK trip and of course other things are happening under the radar.

The article mentions China and makes the wise observation the Church will in the end have victory over the communists. We know how this plays out because we have this tragic play time and time again.

I am sure 2011 will have its own series of triumphs and problems(which will have another wave of pundits declaring the Church is at a end). In other words it will be just another typical year in it's two thousand year history till Christ comes again.

Is Conservative Judges Overturning Law Judicial Activism ? Health Care Bill

This is often the charge of the Jeffery Toobins of the world. I think American Catholic has a good response at Activism! They Cried!!

I also agree with the several in the comments that people should just not assume it will be 4 to 4 with Justice Kennedy to decide the Health Care Bill's fate. It very well could be 8 to 1 with Thomas as the lone dissent.

Despite the lack of attention givenby often liberal Legal commentators on TV the conservative judges still have some rather extreme deference toward Congress. In fact the limiting of the Commerce clause has really not been visited that much since the Lopez case in the 90s!!

It is not clear at all that the conservative Judges on the Court will limit the commerce power here. Though they might!!

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Get Early Christmas Gift - A New Archbishop

The news broke from Rome this morning. Pope Benedict has appointed Bishop Paul Coakley, 55 Who has been head of of Northern Kansas' diocese of Salina. Whispers has the a good first story up at "Coak-lahoma!" -- Salina Bishop to OKC.

As Rocco notes this Bishop has a very good records as to Priestly vocations so that is good for the Archdiocese. As Rocco notes he is also VERY young being the second youngest Archbishop Benedict has appointed on these shores.

He promises some updates later today so check back at his place

Catholic Archbishop Informs Children There Is No Santa Claus !!!

Ouch. Just catching back up on the news. Whispers has The Bish Who Stole Christmas?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have Not Disappered For the Holidays Yet!!

Just been busy the last two days. Regular blogging starts again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Associated Press Misleads On Vatican Wikileaks Cable Regarding Irish Sex Abuse Scandal (Update)


I have posted before on how wikileaks cables can be misleading as Vatican and Holy See affairs and what the related what the U.S. Govt knows. See Contrary To Wikileaks Reports U.S Government Had Strong Indications Ratzinger Would Be Pope

We now have a cable out dealing with the Holy See and the Irish Catholic clerical abuse scandal. The AP gives a rather sensational and misleading news report.

It is very important to LOOK AT THE CABLE ITSELF to compare to the news report to see how accurate it is.

From the AP reporter FRANCES D'EMILIO.

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that the Vatican felt "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See "sovereignty" by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish government commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy.
That the Holy See used its diplomatic immunity status as a tiny-city state to try to thwart Ireland's government-led probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.

Well thanks for reminding us the Holy See is "Tiny". Further to say the cable indicates that the Holy See was was trying to "thwart" the probe is not true as seen in the cable itself..

According to the deputy to the Irish ambassador to the Holy See, the Irish government gave in to Vatican pressure and allowed the church officials to avoid answering questions from the inquiry panel, according to one of the cables from a U.S. diplomat.
Ambassador Noel Fahey apparently told U.S. diplomat Julieta Valls Noyes that the sex abuse scandal was a tricky one to manage.
"The Vatican believes the Irish government failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations," read the cable from Noyes, deputy chief of mission.
Elsewhere in the cable the diplomat, citing a Holy See official, wrote that the inquiry commission's requests "offended many in the Vatican" because they were viewed as "an affront to Vatican sovereignty

Ok let us go to the cable itself:
Sidestepping diplomatic channels, the Murphy Commission sent a letter requesting further information to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which follows issues relating to clerical misconduct and crimes.The Commission also asked the Vatican Nuncio in Ireland to answer questions. (Judge Murphy argued that the body did not have to follow normal inter-state procedures in making its requests because the independent commission was not part of the Irish government.).....

The Murphy Commission's requests offended many in the Vatican, the Holy See's Assessor Peter Wells (protect strictly) told DCM, because they saw them as an affront to Vatican sovereignty. Vatican officials were also angered that the Government of Ireland did not step in to direct the Murphy Commission to follow standard procedures in communications with Vatican City. Adding insult to injury, Vatican officials also believed some Irish opposition politicians were making political hay with the situation by calling publicly on the government to demand that the Vatican reply. Ultimately, Vatican Secretary of State (Prime Minister equivalent) Bertone wrote to the Irish Embassy that requests related to the investigation must come through diplomatic channels via letters rogatory.

See here for what a letters rogartory is.

In the end, the Irish government decided not to press the Vatican to reply, according to Fahey's Deputy, Helena Keleher. Moreover, Keleher
VATICAN 00000033 002.2 OF 003
told Polchief the CDF probably did not have much to add to the inquiry. Regarding the request for the Nuncio to testify, Keleher said
the GOI understood that foreign ambassadors are not required or expected to appear before national commissions. Nevertheless, Keleher thought the Nuncio in Ireland made things worse by simply ignoring the requests.

As you can read the AP reporter then basically ignores the rest of the cable that puts the Holy See in a GOOD LIGHT.

So from the Cable itself we learn that the Holy See was not trying to thwart anything!! The Holy See's Secretary of State said that requests had to go through proper channels and if they wanted to know something send a letters rotatory.

The fact that the Congregation for the Faith would have little to add is very much correct. We can see that from the documents have been leaked in the United States as to sexual child abuse cases and clerics.

Let me add this commentary. The importance of the Papal Nuncio not being forced to testify is huge for matter that have nothing to do with Child abuse. That is the Church has some valid concerns of setting up a dangerous precedent.

One just has to too look at the horrific events in China happening at this very minute to see that the entire world does not operate in very satisfying way as to religious freedom to say the least.

The Church of course has some recent dramatic history on it's side to guard this precedent with it's life. The fact that countless Jews were saved by the Holy See's diplomatic arm should not be forgotten. The damage done to those Jews and others that resisted Nazis in much of Europe and elsewhere would have been beyond belief.

Though the Holy See might be "Tiny" it was that sovereignty that protected thousands of Jews in ROME itself.

After the Nazis we had the horrible oppression of communism in which the Holy Sees Diplomatic arm played a key war against that.

One can just think of the major problems one would have seen in Central and South American during various oppressive regimes if Papal Nuncios were order to appear. Major DITTO for the Holy See's current activities in Islamic countries.

Thus there are practical real life and death reasons why the Holy See despite it's "tiny" status must have its Sovereignty respected.

John Allen has a good short overview of the Cables we have seen so far.

Update II
Good Grief the Guardian itself is misleading. See The Guardian lies about WikiLeaks US cable on Vatican and Irish sex abuse inquiry

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vatican Wikileaks- U.S. Embassy Says Vatican Communications Suck

Well that was not exactly a big secret. But they have an interesting cable on why.

See US embassy cables: Vatican's 'moral megaphone' is faulty

Does Secular News Media Owe The Vatican Newspaper More Respect?

L’Osservatore Romano is in the news again. This time the editor is defending the paper in full court Press interview with noted Vatican reporter John Allen. See Thoughts from Rome: the Vatican newspaper, religious life

It is a good interview plus gives some cool history too boot.

I have been a critic of the paper at times but not it's harshest critic. I do think perhaps it does get a bum rap at times.

As I have noted much of that is not the paper's fault. It is the fault of a press that wants misleading sensational headlines over truth. Plus throw in all the other social media to boot and well we have a problem.

The problem is that American journalist are not very sophisticated about the Vatican's newspaper. Not everything in the paper to say the least is approved by the Pope or is official Catholic Doctrine. Yet we see headlines such as VATICAN SAYS SIMPSONS ARE CATHOLIC.

Now there that saying there is not much to criticize at times. I think their reporting on U.S. political affairs suffers at times from the typical European press deficiencies.

However it is a newspaper and it is one I hope will get wider publication.

The interview focuses of course on the publications of the Pope's comments on condoms. As a side issue I recently said one major sideline saga as to that was if the paper had violated the embargo on those remarks. I think that is what got under quite a few Catholics skin because they respected it and were upset they could not break it first.

I think he clarifies the situation and I no longer see any fault as to that.

However what about the future. I don't know if it would make a darn bit of difference but I think the editor needs to come to the USA and meet with reporters. Give them an understanding of what the paper is and what it is not. Try to educate them.

I actually think the people at L’Osservatore Romano need to challenge the major reporters in the secular news business on their professionalism. The newspaper is a serious work that have serious people working for it.

Is there not any sort of journalistic fraternalism that should be at play here. That is treat the newspapers pieces as a serious matters instead of giving us headlines POPE SAYS SIMPSONS ARE CATHOLIC! VATICAN LOVES THE BEATLES etc etc.