Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

  • ..the devil's in the details..
  • ... John 5 25-29 ...
  • National Shrine in Wash. D.C>
    Add to My Yahoo! << # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    China childish and dangerous

    We pick on and look for perfection from America at every turn.

    Our motives and actions are a mix of right and wrong, but pretty much we are
    easy to understand as we act like good and bad adults.

    This China mentality is just childish. An adolescent head on a Goliath's body
    as the people suffer with the unpredictability. I wonder what they want to
    be when they grow up?

    Perhaps the cold war is not over. Just taking a break during half-time while
    the huge trade economics provide the entertainment and diversion.


    On November 30, the Chinese regime plans the ordination of a new bishop, a ceremony that will take place without the approval of the Holy See.

    On the eve of the ceremony, two bishops in the Hebei province-- Bishops Peter Feng Xinmao and Li Liangui-- have been taken into custody by officials of the government's religious-affairs bureau, AsiaNews reports. They have been taken to the site of the illicit ordination, the agency says.

    Other Chinese bishops are being subjected to severe pressure to participate in the ceremony, AsiaNews adds. Even Father Wang Renlei, the priest who will be consecrated an auxiliary bishop, is being held in isolation to prevent any communication with the Vatican.

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Blind loudly

    2 of the 3 Priests I have had weekly breakfast with over the last 10 years, have admitted reading the National Catholic Reporter regularly.

    They knew the rules, but somehow thought things had moved beyond the rules. Somehow things had changed, but the old stodgy Church was a little slow catching up.

    I saw a reference to the NCR editorial today, and thought I’d take a peek. Yikes! It’s not pretty.


    Apparently the bishops feel that people just aren’t listening. If that’s their hunch, we’d agree. Why aren’t they listening? Let’s consider for starters the document on contraception. A lot of the U.S. bishops today might say there are a lot of bad, or at least ignorant, Catholics out there, Catholics influenced by the contraceptive culture, for instance, who no longer know good from evil.

    Maybe they’re right. More likely, though, it’s because the teaching makes little sense, doesn’t match the experience of lay Catholics and tends to reduce all of human love to the act of breeding.

    Maybe they're right but more likely the teaching makes little sense? Maybe they're right? Tends to reduce love to the act of breeding?

    A lot of folks realize it makes perfect sense. Sex is mainly for procreation. Everyone knows this. There are other facets, but let's face it. It's not eating, it's not drinking, it's for making babies. And before the pill changed culture, people on the entire range of the IQ spectrum knew this in their gut.

    The NCR sees this as breeding. HA. The NCR and the 2 Priests that I am familiar with have been subsumed into recent culture. I would guess that they are blind to it. Had the editors been alive 50 years ago, they would have enjoyed a culture that could still understand sex as procreation. They would even have experienced the majority of Catholics having large families.

    But to NCR, and common culture, 50 years ago is irrelevant. Generally they feel there is so little to learn from history, with such a glorious present to wallow in.

    There's more to the editorial, but I don't wish to grant it anymore attention.

    It's a shame you know. But as so often these recent years, it's a shame blindly unfelt.

    The ignorant and sneaky pope

    A Turkish woman, wearing a headband that reads:"The ignorant and sneaky pope who insulted Islam and our Prophet should not come to Turkey", chants Islamic slogans during an anti-pope rally in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006.

    The protest crowd estimates were given as "thousands" to as high as 25,000
    from different sources. Quite a large turnout for what for them is a normal work


    Tens of thousands of protesters denounced Pope Benedict XVI as an enemy of Islam at a rally that highlighted the deep strains in Turkey before hosting the pontiff this week: Officials hoping to promote their Western-looking goals, while pro-Islamic groups unite in anger.

    Chants of "No to the pope!" rose among the nearly 25,000 demonstrators Sunday at every mention of the pope's remarks on violence and the Prophet Muhammad. Many protesters wore headbands with anti-pope slogans and waved placards that included a depiction of Benedict as the grim reaper.

    The protest, organized by an Islamist political party, was the largest mass gathering so far against Benedict's four-day visit scheduled to begin Tuesday -- his first papal journey to a mostly Muslim nation. The outcry also was designed to rattle Turkey's establishment.

    "The pope is not wanted here," said Kubra Yigitoglu, 20, who attended the rally in a head scarf, ankle-length coat and cowboy boots.

    Nearby, a large banner was raised amid a sea of red flags of the Saadet, or Felicity, party. It called the Vatican "a source of terror."

    Nearly 4,000 police, including units in full riot guard, watched over the protest. Surveillance helicopters buzzed overhead and protesters were frisked before entering the square in a conservative stronghold of Istanbul.

    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    Anorexia condoms

    Condoms are to the intent of sex as anorexia vomiting is to the intent of

    Both sex and eating are pretty basic, and have a natural control. Eat less in
    one case, and have sex when you are open to the transmission of new life in the

    If you are eating, but do not want the natural result of nutrition, you vomit
    voluntarily. And well, you know, condoms function about the same way.

    Both vomitting and rubbers are inventions of man's cleverness in fighting the
    natural design of things.

    Not very appetizing, or romantic, or normal.


    Condoms have always been banned by the Vatican on the grounds that they deny the full reality and implications of sexual intercourse and prevent life that might naturally be conceived. Now the Pope has commissioned a scientific and theological report from Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico. He is understood to be recommending that the use of condoms be allowed where one person in a marriage is HIV positive. Although a small shift in the eyes of most non-Catholics, it would be a huge change in Vatican teaching. Only last year, Pope Benedict XVI said the spread of HIV and Aids should be fought with abstinence and fidelity alone. Contraception was encouraging a "breakdown in sexual morality".

    The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has said, "If the church is really interested in having its followers live, it should back the use of condoms."

    The report by Cardinal Barragan has now gone to the traditionally conservative Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and to the Pope himself, who led the Congregation under his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Together they published in 1987 a document called Donum Vitae which stressed that the church would never be able to condone the use of condoms by gay or unmarried couples. It did not mention marriage. The Pope may choose February, the twentieth anniversary of Donum Vitae, to state a new view.

    Cardinal Barragan hinted at a rethink this week but said "no response from the church can be one that encourages a libertine sexual attitude".

    Donum Vitae was published in 1987 and signed by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become his successor. It reiterated the church's total ban on contraception.

    Pope Benedict XVI told African bishops Aids could be tackled by only abstinence and fidelity, not condoms.

    The Pope's theologian Cardinal Georges Cottier signalled a shift last year, saying: "The virus is transmitted during a sexual act, so at the same time as [bringing] life there is also a risk of transmitting death. That is where the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' is valid."

    I like to bet small stakes, but I am staying away from this one. I think the
    decision could go either way.

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Things to talk about. I hope the Pope lives through it.

    Turkey's top Muslim official said on Thursday Pope Benedict should state clearly during a planned visit to Turkey next week he believes Islam, like Christianity, to be a religion of peace.


    "I think the attitude the Pope should take is that neither Islam nor Christianity is a source of violence," said Ali Bardakoglu, who heads Ankara's Directorate General for Religious Affairs which controls Turkish imams and writes their sermons.

    "If they ask me if Christianity has been the cause of violence, I would say no, that is not so ... We believe all prophets sent by God, from Moses to Jesus and Mohammad, are messengers of compassion," he told Reuters in an interview.

    Violence committed in the name of religion was the fault of fallible and misguided human beings, he said.

    He said he would be happy to explain to the Pope the "unbreakable" link between reason and faith in Islam, citing the historic achievements of Islamic science and learning.

    The Pope is due to hold talks during his visit with the Istanbul-based spiritual head of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew, who has complained of property and other restrictions his church faces in Turkey.

    Bardakoglu defended Turkey's treatment of its tiny Christian community and of other religious minorities. "If the Pope says Christians in Turkey are mistreated, I will tell him that he has been seriously misinformed," he said.

    I didn't know that this guy, Ali Bardakoglu, controls Turkish imams
    and writes their sermons. That's an odd arrangement coming from a government
    office. Well, to the European mind at least.

    I wonder if the Pope will believe him regarding mistreatment over the word
    of the Orthodox Patriarch?

    Ali also seems to have missed the point if he believes that the "historic
    achievements of Islamic science and learning" is what the Pope was talking about
    regarding Faith and Reason.

    As we know, the Pope was talking about whether reason applies to God.

    We Christians say yes. That reason and faith are compatible, and the God is
    reasonable in His will.

    They say no. That God is above reason, not bound by it in His actions or
    promises. In other words God is chaotic and unreasonable. It seems to me that
    would make God the source of chaos. Whereas we Christians identify another
    individual, usually portrayed with horns and pitchfork, as the author of chaos.

    The Pope certainly has his work cut out for him.

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    More than colors

    One big trouble with racism, is that we can not talk about anything deeper
    skin color. As if that were the issue.

    It starts with our
    innate desire
    to mate with someone we recognize as beautiful. Which is
    usually someone of the
    same race. Which causes racial segregation in
    something foundational as the family

    And you may have noticed, that some races are tall, others short. Some get
    bald, some don't. Some have big butts, some have little boobs. It's called
    genes, and by marrying folks we somehow find arrtactive, these gene gatherings
    form pools of like attributes. Some of these attributes help them in the
    economic game rules we adopt, some dont, and some are irrelevant.

    similar gened families in geographic groups delivers an us-vs-them outlook. And
    there really is an us and a them. By this time, we are talking about cultures
    that are noticeably different. And if they are different, they can not of course
    be equal in all senses.

    We have an equality before God, and strive for an equality before the law.
    But that's about it. I have never found another person equal to me. And I am
    betting you have never found another person exactly like you.

    light, blue, green is not the only criteria in town.

    It's culture. And the latest solution is to somehow 'celebrate' this
    diversity. You know... beyond admiring or avoiding another culture's food
    selections. That somehow we can remain multi-cultural and enjoy the mosaic of
    different adaptions to a common goal.

    Well maybe. Maybe in a very large enterprise that can absorb the fricion,
    like General Motors, or the government.

    But in families, parishes, normal sized businesses, and neighborhoods, it
    doesn't work. It's not comfortable and not natural, and without compulsion does
    not happen.

    It works in only one situation. And that is as we stand before out Maker
    whose purpose is worked out with such a motley crew. The more we see Him, in
    addition to the family, parish, business, and geographic nation, the more we
    feel the cultural friction less.

    But the friction will not go away. After all, that's how he made us. For
    whatever purpose.

    I think it was not "deliberately invented to create
    division" as the Archbishop says. Rather, it was deliberately invented in the
    choice of our mate. Which is something not very many powers-that-be have yet
    attempted to control.


    Calling racism "a concept deliberately invented to create division in humanity," Archbishop Gonzalez said every person must combat it with the truth, "the truth about the equality of all humans."

    Any one human being can donate blood to another, he said. "There is only one kind of human blood."

    At the close of his talk, Archbishop Gonzalez referred to a key moment in Pope John Paul II's papacy when he asked forgiveness for the church's involvement in slavery in centuries past.

    After quoting portions of the pope's speech in Spanish that asked for forgiveness from God the Father and from those people who had been victims of injustice, the archbishop said that the late pope's words should stir up the courage to overcome the evil of racism and slavery in all its forms.

    He spoke of seeking and exploring a world where men and women exist as a "single human family, within which the concept of racial superiority has no place."

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    The power of people who are different

    People who are different, and will always remain different, for religious
    reasons are scary to the established culture.

    Christian now Post-Christian Europe, Jews, the old Mahotmet wars, an old old
    story of struggle to maintain the 'we'.

    When I was young, the teachers put the fact that America was proudly a
    'melting pot' of cultures on the civics test. Over a generation or 2, the
    American immigrants lost their stark difference and blended in to the new stew.
    Economic power gain and survival made the rules of the game safe to

    When the rules are based on something eternal like religion, it's a different
    unchanging game. One particularly hard for non-religious, non-baby-making
    Europeans to tolerate.

    There are so many echos of the past to listen to. I really have no idea how
    this current mash of cultures in Europe will play out. It is probably on a 20
    year timeline before it settles down into something new and as for now,


    LONDON: Muslims are being singled out for demonisation on a par with the victimisation of Jews during the last century, the Mayor of London said on Monday.

    Unveiling new research indicating that 75 per cent of those polled in the capital support the right of Muslims, and those of other faiths, to dress "in accordance with their religious beliefs," Ken Livingstone criticised the "barrage" of attacks as an assault on freedom of religious and cultural expression.

    Mr Livingstone said: "Over recent weeks we have seen a demonisation of Muslims only comparable to the demonisation of Jews from the end of the 19th century. As at that time, the attack on Muslims in reality threatens freedoms for all of us, which took hundreds of years to win -- freedom of conscience and freedom of cultural expression. Every person who values their right to follow the religion of their choice or none should stand with the Muslim communities today."

    Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "Freedom of conscience and religion, like freedom of speech, is essential to any democratic society. We must keep our heads and unite around democratic values, applying them to others as we want them applied to ourselves. We must all be able to think, wear and say what we like, subject only to personal ethics and restrictions truly necessary for the protection of others."

    As I am sure many others have observed, a continent's values "subject only to
    personal ethics and restrictions truly necessary for the protection of others"
    is a poor defense against people with a deep religious conviction.

    The cold war was ended by a combination of the superior spiritual
    power of the Pope, military power of the USA, and political power of
    European Thatcher.

    In this struggle, Europe still holds the military and political might to
    prevail, but not the spiritual. If the weakness of a fluid democracy wipes
    out the political advantage, the tables may turn as only military power is left
    for the final stand. It is not likely to be pretty.

    Monday, November 20, 2006


    I like her comment about clay feet and Genesis. But the rest of it is

    Not left or right but "comprehensive". What was that said about being neither hot nor cold? Seems about right for mush.

    "Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates".

    Q. Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

    A. No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

    Q. He [the Pope] became embroiled in controversy this fall after suggesting that Muslims have a history of violence.

    A. So do Christians! They have a terrible history. Look at history in the Dark Ages. Charlemagne converted whole tribes by the sword. I think Muslims are poorly understood by the West, and it is easy to latch onto that which we do not understand and demonize it.

    Q. You were previously bishop of Nevada, but your new position requires you to live in New York City. Do you and your husband like it here?

    A. He is actually in Nevada. He is a retired mathematician. He will be here in New York when it makes sense.

    From "Questions for Katharine Jefferts Schori" N.Y. Times

    The article doesn't say if she has reproduced. I guess that leaves more
    reproducing portion for the rest of us.

    She says episcopalians are smart. That's certainly a smart pose she has
    practiced in front of the mirror. Not quite Christ-like as I imagine it.

    Oh well, I don't think I want to be an episcopalian after all.

    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    Draft = Salient

    What will wake our kids out of their slumber?

    TV Junkies, sex players, ego-centric, materialist, without history or
    purpose. That's them.

    For me the reality wake-up was the VietNam draft. It finallly made me add 2+2
    and realize my butt was on the line in something called the world.

    It does indeed seem we are going to need a lot more people in the armed
    forces. I think we tired the current ones out, and there are lots more follks
    out there to carry the current mission to.

    Perhaps, even if the draft can not get traction just yet, just the thought of
    leaving the bedroom and dance floor for something else may be the wakeup they

    Maybe even get them to church.


    WASHINGTON - Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says he will introduce next year.

    Rep. Charles Rangel D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars.

    At a time when some lawmakers are urging the military to send more troops to Iraq, "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," said Rangel, who also proposed a draft in January 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "I think to do so is hypocritical."

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Standby Reserve, said he agreed that the U.S. does not have enough people in the military. Rangel, the next chairman of the House tax-writing committee, said he worried the military was being strained by its overseas commitments.

    "If we're going to challenge Iran and North Korea, and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft," Rangel said.

    Turk land

    Although modest, sales of a Turkish novel subtitled Who Will Kill the Pope in Istanbul? (the book fingers everyone but Islamists) have increased as his trip approaches. The country is expected to place about 22,000 policemen on the streets of Istanbul while he is there. "This is a very high-risk visit," says Cengiz Aktar, a Turkish political scientist. "There is a vocal nationalist movement here, and there is the Pope, a man who likes to play with fire."


    If the test of a new act is to see how well it plays in a tough room, Benedict has certainly booked himself into a doozy. In the racial memory of Western Europe, the Turks were the face of militant Islam, besieging Vienna in 1529 and 1683 and for centuries thereafter representing a kind of stock bogeyman. In 2002, after nearly a century of determinedly secularist rule, the country elected a moderate Islamist party. For many in the West, that makes Turkey simultaneously a symbol of hope (of moderation) and fear (of Islamism). The Pope's original invitation came in 2005, from the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which represents a nervous 0.01% of the country's population. The Turkish government, miffed that as a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger had opposed Turkey's urgent bid to join the European Union, finally issued its own belated offer for 2006. But even now, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discovered a previous engagement that will take him out of the country while Benedict is in it.

    If he does get killed in Turkey, let us decide now to remain calm. It is
    his life, and he knows what he is doing.

    Something tells me he is in his own way walking up to calvery.

    Game games in Mass.

    BOSTON, Mass. (CNS) – The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts said they are "deeply disturbed" by the state Legislature's recent move to squelch a proposed amendment that would limit future same-sex marriages.


    "The effort to silence the people through inaction and delay has no place in democracy," they said in a Nov. 14 statement after the Legislature recessed the constitutional convention without voting.

    "Citizens of the commonwealth have exercised their right to initiate the petition process afforded to them by our state constitution, and they have complied with the law at every step," they added. "Our public servants have no less of an obligation to follow the law by bringing the marriage amendment to a legislative vote."

    On Nov. 9 the joint session of the Legislature voted 109-87 to recess until the last day of the legislative session Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. They did not vote on the citizen's initiative petition aimed to allow voters to decide the definition of marriage.

    The petition garnered 170,000 signatures, the largest number in state history, and needs to receive 25 percent of the vote in two consecutive joint sessions of the Legislature before it can appear on the ballot in 2008.

    The coalition behind the petition drive,, said its lawyers and strategists are looking into options to compel the Legislature to take up the vote on the issue. The group announced plans for a Nov. 19 rally with Gov. Mitt Romney on the steps of the Statehouse to urge legislators to act on the marriage amendment.

    Ed Saunders, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, told The Pilot, Boston archdiocesan newspaper, that the conference is also working to find legal and political options.

    "Every possible means to move this people's amendment is being looked at right now," he said.

    Quickly after the legislative amendment was defeated, Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, moved to recess the session. The motion passed 109-87.

    Arline Isaacson, who co-chairs the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, said the action was legal and that legislators had taken a "principled stand on marriage" by voting to recess.

    But Kris Mineau, a spokesman for, said the Legislature's action was "a travesty."

    "The people have been denied to have their voice heard," he said. "Nothing is going to happen on Jan. 2. We know that."

    "If it's put up to a fair vote, by the constitution, it will pass, hands down," he added.
    Because the Legislature chose to recess instead of adjourning the session, Romney said, "I cannot call them back into session."

    He said those legislators who voted to recess had "disgraced their oath of office" and have a responsibility to "favor the rule of law."

    Romney said he too is looking for legal and political options to ensure that the Legislature votes on the marriage amendment.

    Saturday, November 18, 2006

    All We Are Saying

    There's something about youth not yet lost in reality.

    The main message of the 60's peace movement was 'just stop'.

    Although it is ridiculous to think the world may know peace by simply putting down the sword, it is not ridiculous to pray for it.


    Interreligious Youth Meeting

    Assisi, Italy

    We will strive to follow the path to peace, guided by the precepts of our respective religious traditions. In the "spirit of Assisi" and with a united voice, we echo the words of that great ambassador of peace, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, as we cry out:

    Violence never again!

    War never again!

    Terrorism never again!

    In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth Justice and Peace, Forgiveness and Life, Love!

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Garbage IN, Garbage OUT

    Computer geeks used to have a saying.. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    It means that no matter how well one writes a computer system, if the
    information fed into it is wrong, the information coming out of it will be

    If something as basic as a Birth Certificate starts out wrong, then we're
    talking about a lifetime of wrong information.

    So here in the juicial state of New Jersey, we have the impossibility of 2
    mothers stated on a poor child's Birth Certificate.

    Nope, it wasn't an input error. Apparently political will trumps biological

    We probably can not call these things simply Birth Certificates anymore.
    Perhaps "Birth Information as understood by the Courts at a particular time in
    culture" would be clearer.


    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Two women will be listed as parents on the birth certificate of a baby born this week in New Jersey, one of the first implications of a state Supreme Court ruling that gives same-sex couples access to the same rights as married couples.

    Under state law, the husband of a woman who gives birth through artificial insemination is listed on the birth certificate as the father. No such provision is made for lesbian couples, who often go through lengthy and costly adoptions to give both women equal rights as parents.

    Ha, lengthy and costly adoptions, and rightly so. There are many rules to
    bend, natural and man made, to get to such a illogical conclusion, and many
    lawyers to pay along the way to state things "just so".

    Amazing Fathers, Father.

    I have not yet seen the document from the Bishops this week in Baltimore. But the news is all over the place.

    It seems the Bishops have clearly supported and taught about 3 things that I would say have a strong manly basis.

    Contraception... It's no good. Men are required to start acting like men, by respecting both women and God in sex.

    Communion for those who are in communion with the Church.

    And homosexual acts.. again needless to say, men should always act like men, and not something else against nature.

    May I say, their courage is fatherly? It seems so.

    May I say that men, and the culture at large, have lost the concept of fathers?

    If the Bishops are starting to act like fatherly teachers instead of loving politicians, I say Thank You to the Father, whom Jesus named clearly so many times.


    Thank You.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    How is self-esteem not deadly Pride?

    It's so easy to see faults in other people.. I am very good at it!

    I have heard so many times hearsay information that schools take building self-esteem in their students as a serious mission.

    I understand thet low self-esteem can be a problem for a very few, but I think perhaps we have gone overboard.

    One of the things I am sure of is that Pride, and what culture today calls self-esteem, deserves its place among the 7 Deadly Sins. It is pervasive and deep. Mea Culpa.

    Mainly Pride distorts reality, severely damages our relationships to God and people. In fact it is a lie from the grand-daddy of lies.

    In my long-time-ago schooling, there was no such thing. Self-esteem came from accomplishment. Low self-esteem was common and deserved and appropriate.

    The new workers I get to see in my profession are loaded with self-esteem. I think it comes from the schools they have recently escaped from. Needless to say these kids are in for a shock as they hit reality. But it is not something they easily see. In all but one case, they have quit and looked for more accommodating pastures before confronting the root cause of their poor performance.

    I also suspect this self-esteem engenders and reinforces the Victim mentality the world is awash in. Obviously, if hardly anything bad that happens to a person is that person's fault, something or someone else must be the cause. Folks with high self-esteem have a hard time seeing that it's they that are part of the problem.

    Anyway, here’s an article that I have found to be very informative. I think it indicates that self-esteem and Pride delay, and perhaps prevents, people from ever seeing reality as clearly as they might.

    I bring it up here in a Catholic context regarding Pride, but also because of my lingering fear of lay leaders in the Church. Especially at the Parish Council level. Everyone has something to say, and is eagar to vote! It is not a pretty scene.

    Knowing one’s betters is a handy tool. Hardly popular, but it permits learning and correct action. It’s a wonderful source of Humility, Pride’s antidote. As you might expect.. also hardly popular.

    The 4 predictions that the study explores:

    Prediction 1.

    Incompetent individuals, compared with their
    more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability
    and performance relative to objective criteria.

    Prediction 2.

    Incompetent individuals will suffer from deficient
    metacognitive skills, in that they will be less able than their more
    competent peers to recognize competence when they see it—be it
    their own or anyone else's.

    Prediction 3.

    Incompetent individuals will be less able than their
    more competent peers to gain insight into their true level of
    performance by means of social comparison information. In particular,
    because of their difficulty recognizing competence in others,
    incompetent individuals will be unable to use information
    about the choices and performances of others to form more accurate
    impressions of their own ability.

    Prediction 4.

    The incompetent can gain insight about their
    shortcomings, but this comes (paradoxically) by making them
    more competent, thus providing them the metacognitive skills
    necessary to be able to realize that they have performed poorly.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Celebrate multi-cultural diversity

    Yes, a little off topic, but still.. in the spirit of multi-cultural

    With it's rapid move from cash poor to cash rich, Asia is also moving from
    cooking dogs to keeping them as pets.

    China with it's One Child Abortion culture has naturally moved to a One Dog

    Seems the problem is rabies. Dog owners are not giving them their shots.
    Answer? Lower the number of dogs. Yup, it follows logically from their
    successful limit the number of humans rule.

    Gee, I would have thought giving the dogs their shots would have been the
    solution. Otherwise we have fewer dogs running around.. but they are rabid!

    Silly me.


    Beijing families were first restricted to one child, and now the Chinese authorities have set the limit on pets too with its one dog policy.

    China's capital will institute a "one dog" policy for each household in nine areas, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

    Xinhua said: "Only one pet dog is allowed per household in the zones, and dangerous and large dogs will be banned. Anyone keeping an unlicensed dog will face prosecution."

    China has limited most urban couples to one child and those in the countryside to two since the 1970s in an effort to limit population growth and ease the strain on resources.

    Such measures are seen as a clampdown on rabies, which has been on the rise in China. At least 318 people were killed by the disease nationwide in September said Xinhua.

    There were 2,651 reported deaths from the disease in 2004, the last year for which data was available.

    Only 3 per cent of China's dogs are vaccinated against rabies, which attacks the nervous system and can be fatal.Many people have supported the move, saying it is the only way to contain the disease.

    Lord, please save bambi

    ROCKVILLE CENTRE, New York: Two women were arrested after they chained themselves to the front doors of a Catholic diocese building to protest the authorized killing of deer on church property.

    "We're appealing to members of the diocese who respect God's teachings of love and compassion of all creatures to halt the inhumane deer killing," Deirdre Guelke, a Hunter College student from Queens, said in a statement before her arrest.

    Guelke and Therese Ferreira chained themselves to the entrance of the Diocese of Rockville Centre offices to protest the deer cull at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and in Caumsett State Historic Park.

    A marksman with a shotgun has been hunting the deer because of an increase in the number of car accidents and near misses with the animals on local roads. The deer meat has been used to stock a food pantry.


    Maybe they are on the Parish Council.

    0.7 percent

    What a little bit is 0.7 percent. What a huge struggle to find that much
    spare cash to feed folks whose faces we can not see.

    But there' more. It's also a voluntary shift of power. Not much, but
    something. Us rich fat dudes are never rich enough. I know I'm not.

    What do we do with those parts of the New Testament Scripture that tells us
    the early Christians were known by "see how they love each other", and that they
    held all thing in common?

    We are simply unable to give that much power to someone else. Our own
    families would be less well off. Eventually our country would be less well off
    and powerful too. That's asking too much!

    First comes economic power. Then that has to be defended with military power.
    It's really that simple. Those early Christians were of some other time and
    place. An interesting sidenote to real power and security.

    When we share without considering our own economic interest first, we are
    giving away power to maintain our never-satisfied position in life, and trusting
    the person on the receiving end to not abuse their new amount of power against
    us. That's asking a lot. After they are fed, they will next want roads and
    schools, factories and banks, a military and a place at the decision table.

    So we struggle to make the sacrifice to get to 0.7 percent to even share the
    wealth to the extent other people might not starve. Under the current economic
    rules they have not earned the right to eat and live. They have obviously
    failed, and being the holders of the money to buy food, it is our prerogative to
    bail them out yet again, or not. We have bailed them out a little bit, but it is
    a tiring practice. After all, they will only return hungry again, hand out,
    dirty and dying.

    I don't know if God will judge us hashly for this or not. I heard 2 sermons
    this past Sunday about the reading of the Widow's Mite. How the poor woman gave
    all she had from her need to the temple, trusting God to supply her need for
    tomorrow's sustenance.

    Well, that's what the readings said anyway. One sermon had to do with sharing
    a smile with one's neighbor and to trust God, and the other sermon talked about
    finding the love in one's heart to relate to one's neighbor without bias and

    OK, what exactly were we to do with that advice except be more nice? Neither
    sermon said we had to accept the world with solidarity, and share wealth until
    all power and hunger were equal. That would have been a bit much. Considering
    the empty pews already in church, I think they would have been quickly

    Well then, if we don't have to share the power to that extent (thank you God
    for making only benign requests of us), maybe 0.7 percent wouldn't be too much
    to ask.

    Then again, Jesus did say that the poor we will always have with us. And
    after all, I may be the poor he was talking about. I certainly don't feel rich.
    And if they will always be with us, perhaps that is the way with our fallen
    nature. Best leave things as they are.

    And after all, I don't really hate my neighbor so I have that covered. And I
    guess I could smile more.. yes that I could do if I were in the mood.

    Well, there you have it then. Let's proceed. God help us, we do trust in you
    after all to the extent practical.


    The greatest worldwide threat is not North Korea's nuclear testing, the war in Iraq or terrorism, said Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

    The greatest threat, he said, is poverty.

    "Half of mankind lives in absolute poverty," he told The Catholic Spirit Oct. 23. "There are 800 million persons who go to bed without eating," 200 million of whom are children, he said.

    However, in the midst of other attention-grabbing world events, the prominence of poverty is often forgotten, he said.

    Current world conflicts have fewer victims than hunger and poverty, he said.

    "We have 50,000 people dying every day of hunger and defeat, [including] children," he said.
    Cardinal Martino, 73, spoke at the University of St. Thomas Oct. 23 and at St. Olaf in Minneapolis Oct. 24 for its "Faith and Work Breakfast."

    Odd how hunger was the topic at 'breakfast'. We are always eating it

    During his two lectures, he spoke about Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, and Catholic social teaching on human work.

    If the church and world worked together to eliminate poverty and hunger, the world will be much more peaceful, the cardinal said.

    Around the world, the Catholic Church is viewed as the greatest agency of development, the cardinal said.

    "You cannot imagine what is done in developing countries by the missionaries [including] social initiatives, hospitals," he said.

    U.S. Catholics are especially generous and great work has resulted from their donations, he said. However, he added, individuals are not enough.

    "We have to continue to do [this], and not only [by] our personal initiatives, but also to convince the governments to take initiative," he said.

    In 1970, wealthy nations committed to giving 0.7 percent of their gross national income to developing nations. Only five countries have kept their promise, Cardinal Martino said. The United States and Italy, Cardinal Martino's home, are not among them, he said.

    This initiative has recently been renewed by the United Nations to meet 0.7 percent by 2015. If this level of assistance was met, billions of dollars would be available to developing countries, he said.

    Oops, there's a mention of the United Nations.. a bad word here in America.
    They are a failure with their hand always out also. Besides, on a political
    level they are run by idiots. Better if the Cardinal had left mention of them

    And it would help powerful nations gain back their credibility, because breaking promises can result in conflict, Cardinal Martino said.

    "We have to see the causes [of conflict]," he said. "Conflict can start with poverty. ... When there are people who are hungry or in poverty, they will be angry."

    Good Cardinal, let's get to the point. Either we have to be poor by sharing
    as Jesus seemed to advise, or not. Please do not worry us about whether the
    starving folks will be angry with us, start a war, and try to steal what we

    Get to the point, or Jesus may have to wait another 2,000 years before he
    returns in Judgement.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Fat and Hunger

    He's right of course. We consuming people lack enough compassion for folks so very far away and out of sight.

    Fasting would help clear my vision and lessen my fat. I only wish I could bring myself to do this seemingly simple thing.


    Benedict XVI alluded to a "very painful point: the tragedy of hunger," which though addressed recently "in the highest institutional quarters, such as the United Nations and in particular the FAO [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization], continues to be very grave always."

    "More than 800 million people live in a situation of malnutrition," he said from the window of his study. "Too many people, especially children, die of hunger."

    This is a reality that "the Church knows very well through the direct experience of communities and missionaries" and which has been confirmed in the last FAO annual report, the Pope observed.

    To address this tragedy, Benedict XVI stressed the need "to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of government of the world economy, which allocates the greater part of the planet's resources to a minority of the population."

    He said that this phenomenon has already been labeled an "injustice" by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

    The Holy Father also pointed out the responsibility of each person and each family, who "can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world."

    To do so, he suggested that they adopt "a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation and with criteria of justice toward those who cultivate the land in every country."

    The Pope further urged a concrete commitment "to eradicate the scourge of hunger" and "to promote justice and solidarity in all parts of the globe."

    "Jesus taught his disciples to pray, asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread," he noted. "Thus he wanted every man to feel co-responsible for his brothers, so that no one would be without what is necessary to live."

    Sir Elton

    I think the 'gay' moment is over. It will return someday, but for now, the
    One Man / One Woman State amendments have quieted the crowds.

    Effective people have a trait of seeing things as they are and responding
    accordingly. Sir Elton has a ways to go in improving his vision.

    He feels religious people hate homosexual activists. I have never met a
    hateful religious person. I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but they must be

    "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people."

    "But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," he said. "From my point of view, I would ban religion completely."

    Not very compassionate toward those friends of his who love their religion is

    "Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate. The world is near escalating to World War Three and where are the leaders of each religion?

    "Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together? I said this after 9/11 and people thought I was nuts. Instead of more violence why isn't there a meeting of religious leaders?" he said.

    "It's like the peace movement in the Sixties. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts but we don't seem to do them anymore.

    Religious leaders are always speaking out against war. The problem of dull
    reaction is in the hearts of the listeners.

    The young musical idol listeners today are not the young listeners of the
    60's. Peace music is not going to resonate like it did then. Smart musicians
    have stayed away.

    I only bring Elton up because he is 'Sir' Elton. Other than that, he has little
    to say of note.



    He also vowed to continue his fight for gay rights and AIDS charities: "I can't just sit back; it's not in my nature anymore. I'm nearly 60 years old after all. I can't sit back and blindly ignore it and I won't."

    Work on that 'blindly' thing Sir Elton. Even at 60 you still may have enough time

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Hypocrite, you are we

    I have more than once met people who were shocked to find hypocrisy in Christian
    leaders, mainly Bishops and Priests.

    My answer was that if a Priest
    stopped preaching about all the subjects he was himself darkened with or at
    times failing at, he would not preach at all.

    It is the same for
    me, and I suspect all of us. If we waited until we were perfect to speak of
    things of God, there would be only silence.

    These are usually
    referred to those “dark corners” or “closets” of ourselves.

    course, the Gospel says it better:

    When the unclean spirit is gone
    out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth

    Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came
    out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and

    Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other
    spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the
    last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto
    this wicked generation.

    So as we all know.. this veil of tears is a
    darn tough place to make our home.

    Father Neuhaus as usual, says things nicely:


    As Miller points out, the case of Ted Haggard is very different. An oddity in much commentary on Haggard is the insistence that he denied who he really is. This is the mortal sin of being “in the closet.”

    The pertinent text countering that way of thinking is Romans 7:13–20:

    Did that which is good then bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment become sinful beyond measure. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil that I do not want is what I do. Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.

    Note that carnal and flesh as used by St. Paul do not refer only, or even chiefly, to sexual sins. The carnal and fleshly is all that is opposed to the Spirit of God.

    In tones of adolescent rage and petulance, which is the characteristic gay voice, commentator after commentator has accused Haggard of hypocrisy, insisting that what he claims to see as his sin is, in fact, his true self, and demanding that he embrace his sin as his authentic identity. At the core of such commentary is an adamantly binary view of sexuality—one is either straight or gay, all the way. This completely ignores findings otherwise celebrated by proponents of sexual liberation, such as Kinsey’s scale of 1 to 5 in heterosexual/ homosexual orientation. Much more important, it is a naive indifference to the reality of the conflicted self, which is the subject of all great spiritual and psychological writing, as well as the best of the novels and dramas of our civilization. Gay propagandists have room neither for St. Paul nor Hamlet.

    What most Americans know about being gay is distinctively unattractive and, in their view, morally repugnant. Gay advocates deceive themselves in thinking that the more people know about homosexuality the more they will approve of it. Moreover, it is self-evident to such advocates that gay trumps straight. If a Ted Haggard is by every indicator a good husband and father of his children, and also a preacher who teaches that homosexuality is morally disordered, but occasionally falls into sin and consorts with a male homosexual, it is obvious to such advocates that he is not a good husband and father but is gay. And a hypocrite to boot.

    This is a self-serving illogicality that is not likely to convince anyone not captive to the gay ideology. I expect most people will continue to hold with the maxim to hate the sin and love the sinner. To the gay insistence that they love the sin and hate only those who call it sin, they will respond with St. Paul’s much more profound—dare I say nuanced?—understanding of the conflicted self.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Irak was not VietNam, God help our foolishness that it will not be now

    Is this really the same old groove? Does it take us 30 years to forget and then remember?

    How foolish. If these were our kids running things they would be in line for a spanking.

    And who has surfaced from those golden years to advise us now? George McGovern. Unbelievable.

    Look for a rash of new Oldies stations playing those great 70's hits. Harvest Gold and Avacado Firebirds muscle cars can not be far behind either.

    We were gulible enough to start this thing, it is not OK to now change our minds, but I think we have. The last chance to honorably do that was when half way to Bagdad our soldiers took off their WMD suits for the rest of the trip. That's really all I needed to see. All the rest of the story was voluntary and not WMD hunting.

    Our exit at this time is not an option if we are anything other than folks playing a video game vs. dealing with real life.

    Maybe the new advisors can get something workable in action. I doubt our enemies will let that work.

    History will show that we have shot at the wrong target, have now run out of ammunition and will to stop Iran's nuclear weapons and protect Israel.

    A world changing mistake.

    Good Morning Vietnam!

    What I really hope is that we can keep all these half empty church buildings intact for just a little longer. When fire rains down from the heavens, they will fill up again quickly.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Love your neighbor, don't trust your neighbor

    For 25 years, Arlington County resident Peter Jones carefully tended a lace leaf Japanese maple tree growing in a black container in his back yard. Jones imagined the day that the tree, bought as a seedling, would outgrow its bin, finally old enough to shade a tract of empty land somewhere and able to spread its roots.


    Last week, the tree found its home. It was planted with great pomp, complete with public officials and photo opportunities, outside the six-month-old Walter Reed Recreation Center in South Arlington, becoming the focal point on a slight knoll near a new playground. But yesterday morning, all that remained of the tree was a hole about two feet deep and a trail of rust-colored leaves and mulch leading to the parking lot.

    And this from good old Chuck E. Cheese... I have had many a pitcher of beer
    there while watching my little ones. Now it seems scrappy older ones are
    causing the guards to start carrying guns.

    A Milwaukee alderman wants to shut down a south side Chuck E. Cheese's, the family-themed pizza joint better known for its arcade games and jungle gyms than its armed guards.


    "I feel that that Chuck E. Cheese's is a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community," said 14th District Ald. Tony Zielinski. "In fact, a police officer I talked to said it could be just a matter of time until a shooting takes place."

    Police were called to the restaurant chain's 2701 S. Chase Ave. location 18 times in June and July on calls ranging from theft and car burglaries to a fight involving 40 people that took 11 officers and three police sergeants to defuse.

    On Oct. 6 at the Bay View location, an argument that broke out between two teenagers over an arcade basketball game ended in a melee with nearly 20 people involved. The two women who called police that day agree the location is a trouble spot.

    "Oh, my God, I'll never go back there again," said Veronica Grady, who was about to sing "Happy Birthday" to her 9-year-old daughter when the fight erupted. "They were throwing pans at each other, napkin holders, everything."

    Kimberly Jones was at her nephew's party the day of the fight. She hadn't been to that location in four years, and she said she'll steer clear of it in the future.

    Sometimes the clock hands move too slowly to see the change. And then it is
    old people telling about how things "used to be". Damn right. You have to spend
    a few years to get a little perspective.

    40 years ago, rural folks left a note on their kitchen table telling anyone
    who came by where they had gone, and when they'd be back. Now, if they even go
    to a funeral that is mentioned in the paper, they must have a neighbor babysit
    the place because untrustworthy folks scan the Obituaries and rob the house
    while people attend the wake.

    As we know, it has slowly descended again to the Wild Wild West out

    To meet your neighbor, much less love your neighbor, requires some courage
    and some risk to body and wealth. Still, that's what we are called to do.

    Yet there's no command to trust your neighbor, so be wise like a fox.

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Startling difference

    Seamless geography, amazing difference in culture and wealth.

    For better
    or worse, one culture is poor, the other not.

    The fence is an ugly
    thing, as are the reasons people risk their life to cross it.

    immigrants from around the world that are here, that I know, are here for the
    money. Sometimes other words are used such as health care (it's the money),
    education (it's the money), jobs (it's the money).

    Why can't Mexico fix
    the money problem? It's the people.

    I know there must be much evidence
    that somehow, Mexicans are victims of history, but let's get on with it.

    They are already nicely Catholic and Christian. But on a worldly level,
    if the government structures are the problem, fix it. If the culture lends
    itself to being poor and is more attractive than a more money making one, then
    forget the money.

    Stop running away.

    Sorry, I don't like my
    conclusion either.


    Ahead of a meeting with President Bush, Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon is acknowledging his unhappiness with U.S. border security measures, saying the two countries need “bridges for progress and not walls that isolate and divide.”

    Calderon acknowledged Wednesday that illegal border-crossings into the United States is an unpleasant issue for both countries, saying it raises enormous sensitivity in the United States and “takes away the most daring part of our population and divides our families.”
    In a statement issued Wednesday from Mexico City, U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza said Bush and Calderon planned to discuss problems along the border caused by criminals and narco-traffickers.

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    America's mood for the time being

    Bring back the death penalty.

    Feel the need to enshrine One Man / One Woman in State consitiutions. Expect that this will be overruled at the Federal level.

    Withdraw from Irak.

    Spend like there's no tomorrow.

    Punish the Republicans.

    Seal all food and medicine items with tamper-proof protection.

    Ignore Humane Vitae.

    Tire of sexual scandals, unless there is money to be had.

    Protect our kids with helmets and home alarm systems and locked schools and drive them everywhere they need to go.

    Look for sexual predators and stalkers around every corner.

    Blame Coca-Cola and Twinkees for our overweight.

    Watch the absolute vulgar trash on TV.

    Pay for the absolute vulgar trash from our celebrities.

    Allow the creeping loss of human dignity for the very young and very old by carefully redefining health care.

    Find renewed interest in the super-hero and cartoon genre in entertainment.

    Prove that the government is allowed no moral compass.

    Put video surveillance everywhere.

    Ask for personal identification everywhere except the voting booth.

    Africa stuck

    Unlike officials in other countries, Nigerian public officials are not concerned with unemployment; in Nigeria "government and governance has been practically reduced to merely manipulating oil wealth," said Archbishop Onaiyekan.


    Many Nigerian leaders "steal the money of the people and use it to buy up useless property abroad or stash it in foreign banks," and the money is used to "oil the industries of those countries, thereby giving jobs to their own people while Nigerians have no capital available to carry out small and middle-scale industries," he said.

    Despite Nigeria's oil wealth, which has produced billions of dollars since the 1970s, Nigerians are worse off today, the British magazine The Economist said in a late-October report.

    Approximately 71 percent of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day, "and the country is unlikely to achieve any of the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals by 2015," the report said.

    Archbishop Onaiyekan said that, like Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola are also rich in natural resources yet "wallowing in poverty."

    "When we look at our soil, we have vast arable land, fertile soil that can produce a wide variety of crops," but land cultivation has been neglected, he said.

    "Even food production, which ought to be a major concern of every nation, has suffered the same serious neglect," said Archbishop Onaiyekan. He used the example of rice, which Nigeria buys from outside markets while its local rice production is "stifled almost out of existence."

    In Nigeria "churches are seen as one of the few if not the only broker" among the people, government and corporations of extractive industries, Father Small told CNS Nov. 7.

    There are so many organizations and non-African governments trying to make
    some dent in Africa's shield of poverty, and nothing gets anywhere.

    It seems so many poor countries can not attain the economic critical mass
    needed to move toward improvement, especially in Africa.

    As Father Small indicates, somewhat like the dark ages in Europe, the
    church is the last structure left standing. What terrible changes of upheaval
    are in store, and what slow people-building programs are needed are painful to

    God help them.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    It's hard being the boss

    Morlino, bishop for 270,000 Catholics in the 11-county Madison diocese, had ordered all parishes to play his strongly worded audio message on Nov. 4 and 5, just days before an election in which all three hot-button topics will be on the state ballot, either directly or indirectly.


    Voters will decide Tuesday whether to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions, and an advisory referendum will ask them whether they think state legislators should reinstate the death penalty. Meanwhile, stem-cell research has been an issue in a close governor's race.

    Morlino warned priests in a letter that any verbal or nonverbal expression of disagreement with him on their part before or after the playing of the audio message "will have to be considered by myself as an act of disobedience, which could have serious consequences."

    For some Catholics, Morlino had gone too far by inserting politics directly into the sanctuary and by slapping a gag order on priests. But others cheered. Finally, they said, a tough- love church leader willing to state the obvious and herd a sometimes wayward flock back into line.

    The decision was not a difficult one for Frank McMahon, although he said it was one he thought he would never have to make.

    As a prerecorded message from Bishop Robert Morlino began playing during Saturday's Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison, McMahon, 70, a lifelong Catholic, quietly but purposefully strode to an exit.

    "I could have stayed in there and pretended I was soaking it up, but why be a hypocrite?" said McMahon, as he waited out the 14-minute message from Morlino by gazing at a quilt hanging in the church vestibule.

    A handful of other parishioners also walked out, unwilling to hear Morlino's opposition to three controversial issues - same-sex marriage, the death penalty and embryonic stem-cell research. One read the Bible. One prayed. One dabbed at tears.

    In the taped homily, Morlino never utters the words "election" or "referendum," and he never tells people to vote "yes" or "no." But his message is clear.

    He says residents "have a big challenge right now in Wisconsin" on three issues.

    He says there is no right to redefine marriage, and that "if we admit that there is such a right, that causes the collapse of the family and that causes the collapse of society, in due time."

    On the death penalty, he says life without parole and secure prisons can protect society from criminals. Embryonic stem-cell research is being promoted for commercial interests, Morlino says, not because it has ever led to the cure of a single disease.

    Quoting the Bible, Morlino says that a person who tries to confuse the issues, causing another to sin, "would be better off with a millstone around his neck, tossed into the sea."

    Judy Winter, a Catholic from Platteville, said she was pleased that Morlino had stated so forcefully what is "simple, natural law."

    "I think he has absolutely every right and every duty to speak to the issue because there's been so much confusion," she said, likening Morlino to a corporate CEO who calls in managers and states company policy.

    She attended two church services over the weekend - one in Lancaster and one in Fennimore - and saw no one walk out. Those who walked out at other parishes "obviously are not well-educated in natural, moral law, let alone Catholic teachings," she said.

    However, others have challenged Morlino on Catholic teachings. In an open letter to Morlino printed Thursday in the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times, 50 Catholic families in the Madison diocese said his opposition to civil unions for gay couples "is dangerous and wrong."

    "Jesus told us the most important of his teachings was to 'love one another' with tolerance and understanding being fundamental to the Christian way of life," the ad said.

    The people in the ad seem to think that love means tolerance.

    No Torture

    Bishop William S. Skylstad, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has joined religious leaders from diverse faith traditions in rejecting the use of torture because it is a violation of basic human dignity.

    Bishop Skylstad signed the statement entitled “Torture is a Moral Issue.”

    The text follows:

    “Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved — policymakers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished values. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable. Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now — without exceptions.”


    History will not look well upon our treatment of non-citizens. It may be
    legal, but it is beneath my expectations.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Familiar Christians

    I have lately met more and more Christian Evangelical people.

    A brief summary is that the Bible and local teaching authority can be a
    powerful thing, even without Catholic tradition and depth.

    These folks are not the odd folks on TV like Creflo Dollar, or Pat Robinson,
    or Oral Roberts.

    There is a lot of 'me and Jesus" and "Jesus as butler" with a pliable
    definition of just what the Bible message happens to mean to them at a
    particular moment in their lives.

    There is also an honest un-attachment to doctrine. If one local church's
    preaching is not to their liking, they easily move to another. More honest than
    the pew-sitting Catholics that only give half hearted assent to their faith, and
    mumble their own beliefs to themselves at the points in life where Christianity
    meets the human condition.

    These Evangelicals try to be good people in the Christian definition they
    understand. There is a lack of humility to learn, but it is honest, since there
    is less to learn. How many Catholics are humble enough to learn by knowing their
    place, and acknowledging their betters? For most Catholics this never occurs to
    them, hence we end up in the same place.

    Good people trying to be good as they understand good. Not exactly heroic,
    but perhaps for all of Christian history, typical. Salvation by faith alone,
    nevermind the definition.


    By Michael Gerson

    Nov. 13, 2006 issue - During my time in the White House, the most intense and urgent evangelical activism I saw did not come on the expected values issues—though abortion and the traditional family weren't ignored—but on genocide, global AIDS and human trafficking. The most common request I received was, "We need to meet with the president on Sudan"—not on gay marriage. This reflects a head-snapping generational change among evangelicals, from leaders like Falwell and Robertson to Rick Warren, focused on fighting poverty and AIDS in Africa, and Gary Haugen, confronting rape and sexual slavery in the developing world. Since leaving government, I've asked young evangelicals on campuses from Wheaton to Harvard who they view as their model of Christian activism. Their answer is nearly unanimous: Bono.

    Many evangelicals have begun elbowing against the narrowness of the religious right, becoming more globally focused and more likely to consider themselves "pro-life and pro-poor." Depending on your perspective, this may be creeping liberalism or political maturity. But where did it come from?

    First, in reacting against the harsh tone of some on the religious right, many have been led back to the text of the Bible itself.

    Second, this new evangelicalism is, in part, a positive legacy of the religious right. One of the important innovations of religious conservatism in the 1980s was the discovery of common cause between evangelicals and Roman Catholics after generations of mutual bitterness. Early pro-life events featured busloads from Liberty University marching beside Knights of Columbus carrying statues of the Virgin Mary, in the best democratic tradition of taming durable differences. Over two decades, evangelicals came to view John Paul II as almost one of their own, admiring his balance of firm orthodoxy and global concern for the poor and oppressed. And for many, including me, Roman Catholic social thought provided a more sophisticated model of social engagement than a fractured Protestantism had produced. Evangelicals began to talk of subsidiarity (the imperative to respect and strengthen value-shaping institutions of community and family) and solidarity with the poor, and the pursuit of the common good, in ways that were not allergic to government.

    Third, the global focus of the new evangelicalism also reflects a major historical change: the southward shift of Christianity. The center of gravity of the Christian world is now arguably in central Africa, with more than a third of a billion Christians on that continent. Many American congregations have developed church-to-church ties with this rising African Christianity. Some American Episcopal churches, fed up with North American theological liberalism, have formally associated with more-orthodox developing-world bishops. Sociologist Robert Wuthnow estimates that 1.6 million American Christians took short-term foreign mission trips last year, creating a generation of church leaders with a direct, often life-changing experience of the needs, vitality and heroism of the developing world.

    Courage wanting

    How about this for a homily with substance?


    I will jump immediately to the punchline. To the men here tonight, if you know that God has called you to serve His church as a priest or even if you think he might have called you to serve, it is time to put aside your worries and your doubts and your fears and your hesitations and it is time to answer with a resounding YES!

    There is no vocations crisis in this country. None. There is a crisis of courage. God has called all the men we need to serve His Church as priests. More than enough. There is never a lack of abundant blessings from our Father. There is, however, a lack of generous acceptance of His abundance. We, as a Church, can only benefit from those blessings that we accept, only those that we eagerly bring in and use and give thanks to God for! So my question is: if God is sending us all the vocations we need, why do we have such a shortage of priests?

    The young men God is calling aren’t saying YES to the call. Why? The reasons are as old as the world: money, sex, prestige, or should I say the fear of not having any money sex, or prestige. Forgive me for saying this, but it needs to be said: there is a profound lack of courage among you who are called but will not say YES. What do you fear? If God has called you to the priesthood, what more do you need than His word setting you on the way? Yes, you will have to give up sex, money, and prestige. Why is this a problem for a Christian? Have you bought into the pagan ideal of the virile man? You can’t be a man if you don’t have a treasure box full of gold, an enviable career, and a little black book full of women?! No, I’m not saying that the vows of a Catholic priest are easy to live out. Far from it. It takes courage, resolve, and a lot of hard work with God’s grace to be a faithful ordained man of God. And the reward for this hard work isn’t always what we might want. But that’s what sacrifice is—giving to God the best we have and trusting that He will use it to the best possible end.

    For many Muslims, Malaysia offers a model of how Islam and modernity can
    co-exist. Many Westerners also automatically bring up Malaysia as an example
    of a possibly peaceful spot of islam.

    Another thing we Westerners do is make excuses for them, but this does not give them the respect they are due. We think perhaps they are emerging from a tiny rural mentality, or perhaps the lure of Capitalism will change them. But this is pure bias and too superior an attitude.

    They are free intelligent humans deserving of respect. And thereby let's judge them as equals. And if so, let's not let this Text Messaging response slide as we would with children in a High School cafeteria.

    I think it's the influence of their religion. Period.

    And with that religion it seems something as little as a Text Message about Christians can upset the supposed peacefulness.

    For as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says:

    "He said when the Malays and Islam could be accepted as one, only then the
    role of the party in achieving independence and continued peace and harmony
    without diluting the Malays and Islam as the "core of the nation" could be


    Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants firm action taken against those who spread short messaging service (SMS) information and e-mail that a group of Malays would be "embracing Christianity" in Ipoh yesterday.

    "Firm action must be taken against those responsible because the SMS message is dangerous as it can lead to racial conflict and create a tense situation in the country," he told reporters after closing the Johor Umno Convention here Monday.

    Najib who touched on the SMS in his speech earlier, regarding the message as an incitement, said: "We must find out who is behind the SMS message."

    The SMS and e-mail said that "several Malays will be baptised by Datuk Azhar Mansor" at a church in Ipoh.The SMS was so widespread that more than 1,000 Muslims throughout the state gathered in protest outside the church yesterday.

    Saturday, November 04, 2006

    Same worthy thing, different goals

    This was the second "Monks in the West" interreligious dialogue; the first took place in 2004 at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in northern California. On the Catholic side, participants come from Benedictine, Cistercian and Camoldolese monasteries, and on the Buddhist side, from the Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan traditions.


    In Collegeville the first session dealt with theory -- the "why" of celibacy. Buddhist participants explained that their teachings focus on seeing how suffering is created and cured. Attachments give rise to suffering, they said, so advancement in the spiritual life requires letting go of one's attachments. Attachment to desires, including sexual desires, is a hindrance to spiritual progress, they said.

    Benedictine Brother Gregory Perron from St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Ill., said monastic life demands a profound understanding and acceptance of solitude.
    "Celibacy is a tool," said Brother Gregory, "a skillful means, like intentional simplicity of life, by which our heart is burrowed out and the core of our being laid bare. By embracing it, the monk accepts the aloneness that characterizes every human being."

    Heng Sure, a Buddhist monk who teaches at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., said celibacy is the first step in a three-step process that goes from celibacy to stillness to insight.

    "It should not be seen just as a difficult adjunct to the spiritual path, but as essential to it," he said.

    "Something happens to the energy in the stillness," he added. "The pressure goes away."
    In married life, he explained, spiritual practice is "partial and piecemeal," making celibacy a more effective means to move toward insight, and the peace and happiness that flow from it.

    Benedictine Father Mark Serna, president of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, pointed out that "in Christianity married people can be holy, too; one doesn't have to be celibate to go to heaven."

    Catholic monastics emphasized how, in Christian faith, motivation for celibacy is strongly relational.

    "For me," said Benedictine Father Terrance Kardong of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, N.D., "it's the deep personal relationship with Jesus that enables me to do something this hard."

    Benedictine Father Michael Peterson from Blue Cloud Abbey near Marvin, S.D., drew laughter with his comment: "When college kids ask me: 'How can you live without sex?' my answer is, 'God's a better kisser.' In celibacy I transfer my desire for fulfillment to God."

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    Odd conduct by Hell

    A pizza delivery company that used condoms and “safe-sex” instructions in a product promotion was strongly criticized by the bishops of New Zealand.


    Hell Pizza, located in 18 cities throughout the island nation, included a condom and explicit instructions on how to use it during sex in its small pamphlet mailed advertising piece to promote its “Lust” pizza.

    Calling the promotional campaign for the company, which sports devils, flames and pitchforks on its Web site, offensive and an affront, the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the Catholic Church supports the critical comments of the lobby group Focus on the Family.

    Focus on the Family executive director Tim Sisarich said that New Zealanders were concerned that children of all ages would have access to condoms and instruction on how to use them.

    Further, he noted that the connection between "meat-lovers" pizzas and condoms cheapened women and the act of sex.

    A spokesperson for Hell Pizza told One News in New Zealand that the pizza company was not going to apologize for the promotion, and indicated that it would force parents to talk about sex with their children.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Who is our leader?

    Here comes Christ's Vicar on earth.

    Earthly leaders weigh their options.

    Turkey weighs the Muslim voters, and probably riots. Bush sees a wise man,
    and Catholic votes.

    The humility and mission of the Pope compels him to go to Turkey anyway. All
    the folks there are his children, even if they stay away.


    Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not meet Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Turkey on 28 November-1 December to please extremists in the Muslim majority country in view of general elections in a year's time, said the president of Catholic bishops in Turkey, Ruggero Franceschini on Thursday. "Elections are on the horizon and perhaps both left-wing and right-wing extremists who oppose dialogue prevailed," Franceschini told Italy's largest circulation paper Corriere della Sera. "The prime minister probably thought that by not meeting the pope he had one less problem during the electoral campaign."

    The bishop also said the fact that Turkey is not expected to join the European Union any time soon has contributed to deteriorating relations between Muslims and the tiny Christian minority in the country - less than one percent. "

    I think Europe has had the wrong attitude by raising constant objections (to Turkey's EU membership)," Franceschini said. Low expectations over this issue in Turkey have contributed to the fact that Erdogan didn't feel any "benefit for his public image" in meeting the pontiff to prove the secular nature of the country to the Turkish and European public opinion, the bishop added.

    Contrary to the Bishop's opinion, I would say the low expectations are
    proper, and that the constant objections are better said than silent.

    Rosey buddist

    I should seriously write a book called, ''The Idiots Guide to Not Thinking Seriously About Islam.''

    It’s hard to find a subject where mushy thinking is more in vogue and where political correctness conquers reality more thoroughly. People actually are afraid to think seriously on the subject, because the logical conclusions are too frightening for many to contemplate.

    And so, there’s no place where comfortable clichés are more readily deployed.

    Probably the most glaring illustration of inanity here were recent comments by his holiness, the Dalai Lama, the 14th earthly incarnation of Larry, Moe, and Curly.

    On leaving a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of Tibetan Buddhists told reporters that we can’t hold all Muslims responsible for the misdeeds of a few.

    The Lama: “Nowadays, I often express that due to a few mischievous Muslims’ acts we should not consider all Muslims as something bad. That is very unfair.”

    Expanding on this dazzling analysis, the Dalai Lama continued: “A few mischievous people you can find from all religions--among Muslims and Christians and Jews and Buddhists. To generalize is not correct.”


    Here are some recent examples of Muslim high-jinks:

    · In Iraq, Father Paulis Iskander, a Syrian-Orthodox priest, was kidnapped by a few Muslim pranksters. After good-naturedly torturing him, they beheaded the priest. This was in retaliation for Pope Benedict XVI’s quote of a 14th century Byzantine emperor. Jihadists apparently missed the Catholic-Orthodox schism (1054 AD)--or maybe all Crusaders look the same to them.

    · There are 1 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq--but not for long. They’ve been targeted by every side in the civil war. On September 24, two bombs exploded in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Baghdad. Earlier, a church was bombed in Basra.

    · Muslims celebrated their holy month of Ramadan by racking up an impressive body count--more than 1,600 dead in 280 separate terror attacks in 17 countries. As I recall, for my bar mitzvah, I didn’t kill anyone. But I did hurt someone’s feelings on Passover, once.

    · In a recent column, former New York Mayor Ed Koch reports on a meeting he had with Pope John Paul II in the early 1990s. Forthright fellow that he is, Koch asked the pope why the Vatican didn’t recognize Israel (it did a few years later), Koch says John Paul II replied: “It will happen someday, but it can’t happen now. I have a responsibility to the Catholics who live in Koranic lands and who would be in danger if we recognized Israel.” This wasn’t paranoia. John Paul knew exactly what happens when Muslims get testy.

    · In Germany, the government is starting to crack down on an estimated 5,000 Islamist websites that are “spreading hatred” and “hawking terror.” I see, those few mischievous Muslims must all be website designers and computer geeks.

    · Then again, perhaps they’re all involved in mass communications. The American-Muslim television network, broadcasting in six states to a potential audience of two million, says its mission is “to improve the image of Muslims in the United States.” Recent programming included the broadcast of an anti-Semitic/anti-Christian sermon, with the supplication: “May God destroy them.”

    · In Atlanta, Ethiopian immigrant Khalid Adem is on trial for circumcising his then-two-year-old daughter. Female genital mutilation is all the rage among African Muslims.

    · Islamic funsters tend to be particularly hard on the ladies. There are as many as 300,000 runaway girls in happenin’ Iran, some as young as nine. It’s estimated that 86% of the runaways were rejected by their families after they were raped. In Prophet-land, rape is shameful--for the victim.

    · Islam’s rhetorical war against the hated Zionist entity continues. In Karachi, Pakistan, a few mischievous Muslims--well, 6,000 to be exact--marched through the streets shouting “Death to Israel! Death America.” That’s how Muslim merrymakers celebrate Al-Qods Day (or Jerusalem Day).

    · His Naziness Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (president of 68 million waggish Iranians) continues to assure us that Israel will be “wiped from the map,” the Holocaust is a “myth,” and any nation that sides with the Jewish state will face the “boiling wrath” of adherents to the religion of peace.

    · On October 24, the Taliban announced that it was planning attacks on civilian targets in Europe, in revenge for the invasion of Afghanistan that resulted in toppling its regime. A Taliban commander observed on Sky News television: “It’s acceptable to kill ordinary people in Europe because these are the people who have voted in the government…. We will kill them and laugh over them.” Like the Dalai Lama said, these guys have a sense of humor.

    · As noted earlier, there is no freedom of conscience in Islam (or freedom of anything else). In Ethiopia, in July, a mischievous Muslim mob attacked a group of Christians in the city of Henno. The victims included two prominent Christians who had converted from Islam. The Muslim scamps used knives, stones, and metal bars to reinforce the point that--like the Syndicate--there’s only one way out of this organization.

    · The Afghans who kidnapped Italian journalist Gabriele Torsello have offered to exchange him for Abdul Rahman, a Christian convert forced to flee the country. His own family wants Rahman dead. Bring back Rahman so we may instruct him in the finer points of Sharia, the abductors of Torsello plead.

    · In Britain, there are veiled threats over the suggestion by Tony Blair and others, that some Muslim chicks stop dressing like they just stepped off a camel caravan (full face veil).

    · Perhaps the Brits are thinking that if their homegrown Sons and Daughters of Allah were more assimilated, they wouldn’t be subjected to high-spirited pranks like the 2005 London transit bombings (52 commuters dead) or the foiled August plot to blow up 10 U.S.-bound jetliners (with a potential death toll exceeding 9/11.)

    · Across the Channel, Robert Redeker (a French high-school philosophy teacher) is a marked man, since the publication of his September 19 piece in Le Figaro, wherein he called the Koran “a book of extraordinary violence” (Hello, Dalai!) and observed that Mohammed was “a pitiless warlord, pillager, massacrer of Jews and polygamist”--in other words, a 7th century Arabian rascal. E-mail death threats started pouring in the day the article ran. One naughty website published a map showing the exact location of his home, along with photos of Redeker and his workplace. (An e-mail amusingly informed the teacher: “You will never feel secure on this earth. One billion, three hundred million Muslims are ready to kill you.”)

    · All it took was one guy named Mohammed to murder Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, for making a movie about the treatment of women in the wacky world of Islam. Van Gogh was shot, stabbed, and had his throat slashed. A note by the killer, pinned to his body, read, “I did what I did purely out of my beliefs.”

    · A spokesman for a French police union says that Muslim youths are waging a “civil war” against the gendarmes. The Gallic intifada that started last November never really stopped. At one point last year, disaffected “youth,” as the French press discretely calls them, were torching 1,300 cars a night, to cries of “Allahu Akbar.” Rioting spread to 300 French cities and spilled over into Belgium and Germany. Now, whenever French cops go to housing projects they are assaulted with everything from stones to guns to Molotov cocktails. Nearly 2,500 officers have been injured this year.

    catholic interest.