Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

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    Tuesday, February 27, 2007

    Forget smoking, infidelity kills better

    Look at a group of 20 to 24 year old girls. Odds are almost half are carrying the HPV virus in their womb that causes cervical cancer.

    How did they get that lil bug? Yup, multi-partner sex.

    And that new vaccine they want to fill our grade school girls with? Under 4% of the study group carried the strain that the vaccine would protect against.

    And do you know what NBC Nightly News reccomends? Safe sex.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get this straight. It is multi-partner sex that spreads the array of killing diseases. Gay men that have to poke every hole they can find. Straight younguns that go from person to person fornicating until they finally get old and decide to settle down and maybe make a baby on purpose. Until that time sex is a plaything, then just maybe they will let a baby live.

    We are acting like fat, self-centered, self-esteemed barn animals.

    The answer is not to find safer latex, but to procreate with the one single spouse as we were meant to. Clearly taught by the Catholic Church at all times, and most other Christians until the last 30 years.

    It's just plain stupid. Why can't people wake up to simplicity? Could it be the advertisment I just saw on TV of young girls wanting to be 'one less' woman who gets cervical cancer by guess what??? That's right, getting the vaccine.

    Jesus calls this malady blindness. But no one under the influence believes that.

    Just how much light needs to show on our dark activities until we can wake up as adults? Not enough yet it seems.


    One in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with the sexually transmitted virus that in some forms can cause cervical cancer, according to the first broad national estimate.

    Researchers have estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of HPV. The study concluded that 26.8 percent of U.S. women are infected, a figure that is comparable to earlier estimates using smaller groups.

    There are dozens of strains of HPV. Low-risk forms can cause genital warts and non-cancerous changes in cells in the cervix, and often clear without treatment. Several high-risk forms have been linked with cervical cancer.

    And the overall HPV prevalence among the youngest women studied, 14-to-24-year-olds, was substantially higher than in previous estimates, 7.5 million versus 4.6 million.

    The highest prevalence — nearly 45 percent — was found in young women within the age range recommended for a new virus-fighting vaccine, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    VW junk

    Oh by the way, VW cars are junk.

    I had the honor of owning a '96 Passat. I got to know the service department very well, and started to recognize the faces of other VW owners there.. that's a bad sign.

    The car drove really well (except on the snow), but all the pieces kept falling off.

    The doors oozed some thick oily stuff from inside and rusted from the inside out. Air Conditioning stopped working, along with the heated seats, mirrors, CD player, and of course the famous electric windows that were all stuck a little open.

    For awhile I tried to pay the average $600 per visit to the repair shop, but then I stopped and the car kept running with all the extras broke but along for the ride.

    Now maybe VW has improved over these 10 years, but I haven't heard.

    Take the money you would donate to the repair department, and donate it to a more worthy cause.


    Around 800,000 Volkswagen vehicles have been recalled Monday because of faulty brake lights, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said .

    The 790,000 vehicles include Jettas, New Beetles, Golfs, GTIs and R32s.

    This recall expands on one announced by Europe's No. 1 carmaker last year, when 362,000 Jettas and New Beetles were recalled due to the same defective part.

    Immigration test

    Interesting how Australia seems to be able mention the ability to speak English a little more loudly than here in the U.S.

    The Bishops also believe the proposed citizenship test will discourage some immigrants from seeking citizenship, intimidating some elderly immigrants who do not speak English well.

    Bishop Grech says that many of these immigrants still make an enormous contribution to Australia.

    "There are so many of our people who even today are struggling a little bit with English, but their contribution is impeccable, it's an amazing contribution," he said.


    We are awash with so many illegal folks that the ability to speak English is the last thing on anyone's mind. Those under 10 OK; teens so-so; adults nada.

    When will we get this fixed? Sometime before Bush leaves I think. Well not really 'fixed' to anyone's satisfaction, but hopefully at least within some sort of legal framework.

    I know it sounds like gossip, but did you know the man who abducted that boy in Florida for ransom a few days ago was an illegal once deported back to Mexico, and again returned?

    I bring it up because the media did not bring it up. Very odd.

    Saturday, February 24, 2007


    As an organist I used to like funerals. They were authentic liturgy and the people were focused.

    Then the eulogies got large and folksy out of compasion for those grieving. And yes, they ruined it.

    I am surprised to hear the Australian Cardinal mention that eulogies are banned in the U.S.. Someone must have forgotten to tell our Priests. They still go on, perhaps half of the time.

    It is hard for the family to understand this but the place for eulogies is at the wake, not the Mass. This is getting tougher because many are skipping the wake the evening before the Mass, and instead doing a mini-wake a few hours before Mass in the back of the church.


    Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, has imposed strict deadlines on eulogies delivered at Catholic funerals.

    In a move to protect the sacred character of the liturgy, the cardinal has ruled that any speaker at a funeral must confine himself to at most a 5-minute talk. Only one talk is allowed, and the tone of the eulogy should be in keeping with the spirit of prayer for the deceased, avoiding jokes about his weaknesses, the guidelines add.

    Cardinal Pell explained that the guidelines were necessary to prevent abuses in the funeral liturgy. In some cases, he said, a series of eulogists spoke at length, resulting in overly long services; in other cases a highly emotional speaker added to the grief of the families. In most extreme cases, laughing references to the drinking or sexual conduct of the deceased profaned the ceremony.

    The cardinal noted that in some countries-- including the US-- Catholic funeral guidelines do not allow for any eulogy (as distinct from the priest’s homily at the funeral Mass). In the Sydney archdiocese, he said, the new rules “uphold the principle that the funeral Mass is an act of worship and prayer that should not admit elements foreign to its intrinsic nature."

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Infection is moving on

    Like a winter cold, moving from one place in the body to the next, it and SNAP has a will to survive.

    After prowling through the Catholics with belly full, and finding less piles of cash, it is moving on to check for new vulnerabilities with the Baptists.



    The victims advocates who dogged the Roman Catholic Church over sex abuse by its clergy have now turned their attention to the Southern Baptists, accusing America’s largest Protestant denomination of also failing to root out molesters.

    The Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has started a campaign to call attention to alleged sex abuse committed by Southern Baptist ministers and concealed by churches.

    “They don’t want to see this problem,” said Christa Brown, a SNAP member from Austin, Texas, who says she was sexually abused as a child by a Southern Baptist minister. “That’s tragic because they’re imitating the same mistakes made by Catholic bishops.”

    Southern Baptists passed a resolution in 2002 urging its churches to discipline ministers guilty of sexual abuse and to cooperate with authorities in their prosecution.

    But Brown said that’s not enough. She says the Southern Baptists need an independent review board precisely because there’s no clear chain of command among Baptist churches. The SBC also does not keep a list of ministers who have been accused of abuse. Advocates say this means molesters could move from church to church.

    “I believe kids are not safe in Southern Baptist churches,” said Brown, who runs a Web site called the Voice to Stop Baptist Predators.

    One SNAP member, Debbie Vasquez, said she was raped by a Southern Baptist minister in Texas when she was 15 years old.

    Now 48, Vasquez filed a lawsuit last year against the pastor, the Rev. Dale “Dickie” Amyx and his current church, Bolivar Baptist in Sanger, Texas, about 45 miles north of Dallas. She claims the church knew, or should have known, about Amyx’s past.

    Now 48 and ready to retire without quite enough in the retirement fund. I don't know that for sure of course. Just a guess.

    Our courts don't work too well with 33 year old memories of those involved. All the details get fuzzy, and some get invented even more than with recent events (if that is possible).

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    I don't care anymore, do you?

    1.3 million per individual settlement. Gee, I wonder what all the fuss us about?
    This story is getting so old, with the motives repeated again and again. 40% money for the old folks with memories, 40% to the lawyers who are just trying to make a living in their chosen profession, and 20% revenge.
    It's over. An ugly spat with the moneychangers near the temple.
    And please, no more talk about healing and closure. Go away. Everyone involved is old enough to have their burial plots picked out and retirement plans in place. Healing and closure will come naturally soon enough.
    Zalkin, who represents 45 clients, said that nearly five years of negotiations have shown him that the diocese is more interested in protecting its records and the reputations of its bishops and other high officials than in compensating victims.
    "I'm convinced Bishop Brom does not want the information that would come out at trial to come out," he said
    The bankruptcy threat could also be a negotiating tactic. In Dallas, victims won a $119-million court judgment, but after the archdiocese threatened bankruptcy, they settled for $31 million.
    Nationwide, the average settlement is about $1.3 million per claim. Brom, in his letter to parishioners, said the lawsuits, if successful, could require payments of up to $200 million.

    Mary Grant of Long Beach, western regional director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said, "Threats of bankruptcy are designed to guilt-trip victims and frighten Catholics so that testimony isn't given, the truth isn't exposed and the church isn't held
    SNAP members sought unsuccessfully Monday to meet with Brom. Instead, they left a letter at the diocese asking that they be allowed to send their own letter to parishioners.

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Practical brought the holocaust

    First off, I believe in liberty. Use condoms or don't, it will say a lot about you. And you need to say what you believe, be it moral or practical if those two things differ.

    Now, what about a city that champions the practical when the Church claims the practical is immoral?

    Let's pick apart how they're driven.

    "This is not an issue of faith, this is a health issue for the city,"

    Thanks mayor. This is the usual confusion point. Morals vs. faith. When he mentions faith, it shoves the argument to something under the steeple. But morals have to do with the good side of human nature under the steeple or outside in the streets.

    Yes, a person of faith will find their first things coming from their belief.

    Where do persons not of faith find their morals? From their common sense borrowed from their neighbors in faith. There is no other source. The good mayor is simply interested in the practical. May I remind you of WWII and Germany. No one can claim those folks were not practical.

    "They should preach to their congregants what they think is the appropriate ways to live your lives, but the health department has to work with the real world of people not practicing protected sex, not practicing abstinence, and this is a ways to keep people alive." More than 100,000 of New York's 8.2 million residents are living with HIV or AIDS.

    Since when did our civic health concerns decide they must keep people alive contrary to the actions and wishes of the electorate?

    It's a creepy thing. Cigarettes are banned, taxes are gathered, all in the name of enforced health. Why? What mandate set these nanny do-gooders loose? I don't remember where government advice morphed into goverment coercion.

    Condoms are thrown to the crowd who won't stop having sex with multiple partners. The message is keep fornicating but please improve our health statistics. Why? Condom sex is not normal sex. Who cares about health statistics?

    And wait untill government heath care becomes the norm. The rules and regulations, along with the punishments for not living the enforced health vision, will be a joy to behold.

    The Church says be good. The practical minded say be healthy. Why? We know what the Church is up to.

    What are the practical minded up to? Statistics. Improve the statistics.

    The Church says you are a person no matter what. And a good person when you draw close to the source of good.

    The practical say you are a good person if healthy, wealthy, and Politically Correct. And as we know, you are not a person if you havn't exited the birth canal, or you are at the end of life's span and have become a nuisance.


    Cardinal Edward Egan, head of the Archdiocese of New York, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn released a joint statement on Thursday that said City Hall leaders "fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms."

    "The taxpayer money that is being spent to distribute condoms and promote the attitude that anything goes would be far better spent in fostering what is true and what is decent," said the statement from Egan and DiMarzio.

    In New York, officials hope that the new distinctive design _ featuring the words "NYC Condom" in the fonts and colors used in the subway system _ will help them track usage with their annual community health survey.

    Bloomberg said Egan and DiMarzio, who together serve more than 4 million Catholics, have the right to communicate to their followers what they feel is proper behavior. But, he added, the city is trying to find ways to reduce its rates of HIV and AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Utah matters

    We have this guy, Sulejmen Talovic, who went to a Utah mall and shot up the place. A Bosnian Serb refuge. Perhaps an un-peaceful muslim. If this proves wrong, I apologize. Facts are still scarce or hidden in this case.

    We have this guy, Mitt Romney who wants to be President, a mormon.

    I've only heard Mitt say one thing so far, and that's that he can't believe that arguments about fringe religious doctrines will have an impact upon voters.

    My dear muslim and mormon friends, you are both revisionists. You have taken the faith of the Jews and Christians and come up with something new and different. Muslims had some spirit whisper into a prophet's ear secrets of how to create a new "corrected" religion. Mormons had this guy Joe Smith told by another spirit via golden page tablets that have somehow disappeared, how Christianity had gotten it wrong again, and how to nicely fix it.

    These are not little things. They are big things and they have resulted in odd things.

    These revised instructions in both cases require real faith. Whispers or missing gold tablets, their origin could make one suspect the worse. But to people holding to that faith, they don't.

    These are fundemental first things. Either they tell us a lot about their adherents if the followers are serious about their faith, or they tell us a lot about their adherents if they are not serious.

    Romney can't believe voters care because I suppose in his heart he really doesn't care. That's OK but then please Mitt, admit it.

    And if Mitt does care, do we want a man that believes in foundational secrets and special information running this country? I don't.

    And if Mitt doesn't really care, do we want a man that doesn't care, who says one thing and believes another, running this country? I don't.

    Besides, mormons are not clever. Claiming this golden book disappeared, and unable to find any DNA of the folks supposedly planted in the Americas is simple fraud uncovered. Sincere people yes, but that is besides the point. I don't want a President that is sincere about the wrong things.

    Sameo regarding Keith Ellison, the first Muslim senator. The quran is a clever thing. Just enough real stuff from the Jews and Christians to make it sound good. Just enough seeds of destruction woven in to make me think there really was a clever spirit whispering. Scary.

    Give me a Christian, Jew or atheist and I know where they're coming from at a basic foundational level. Anything else is a step in the wrong direction that will flower over time.

    Oh, and this shooter fellow? I'm sure we all know about Suleyman the Conqueror. That was a close call to extinction for Western civilization. You know, that thing on its last legs but still an economic powerhouse?

    Suleyman had many titles; in inscriptions he calls himself:

    Slave of God, powerful with the power of God, deputy of God on earth, obeying the commands of the Qur'an and enforcing them throughout the world, master of all lands, the shadow of God over all nations, Sultan of Sultans in all the lands of Persians and Arabs, the propagator of Sultanic laws (Nashiru kawanin al-Sultaniyye ), the tenth Sultan of the Ottoman Khans, Sultan, son of Sultan, Suleyman Khan.

    Slave of God, master of the world, I am Suleyman and my name is read in all the prayers in all the cities of Islam. I am the Shah of Baghdad and Iraq, Caesar of all the lands of Rome, and the Sultan of Egypt. I seized the Hungarian crown and gave it to the least of my slaves.

    He called himself the "Master of the Lands of Caesar and Alexander the Great," and later as simply, "Caesar." It's hard, of course, not to be slightly humbled by assertions of such greatness, and no ruler in the sixteenth century was more adept at diminishing the egos of all the other rulers surrounding him.

    Suleyman believed, however, that the entire world was his possession as a gift of God. Even though he did not occupy Roman lands, he still claimed them as his own and almost launched an invasion of Rome (the city came within a few hairbreadths of Ottoman invasion in Suleyman's expedition against Corfu). In Europe, he conquered Rhodes, a large part of Greece, Hungary, and a major part of the Austrian Empire. His campaign against the Austrians took him right to the doorway of Vienna.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    A really nice response

    Pentecostalism’s rapid growth is challenging the Catholic Church in Asia, forcing clergy, lay leaders, parishes and ecclesial communities to respond, according to a Catholic working group that gathered to discuss the effort for Christian unity.


    Among those attendance included Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Christian unity council, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, and 33 other bishops.

    “The ecumenical movement is inspired by the Holy Spirit, who moves people to pray fervently and work sincerely to restore the unity intended by Christ for his disciples,” the document said, adding that spiritual ecumenism is marked by “prayer, change of heart and holiness of life.”

    Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the visible manifestations of the Holy Spirit including healing and speaking in tongues, has been responsible for “profound changes” in Christian churches that Catholics have to understand and to which they must respond, the Catholic leaders said in the document.

    The working group’s document acknowledged Pentecostal churches’ “attractive elements,” such as joyful and spontaneous worship,
    strong community life,
    the stress on personal prayer and personal conversion,
    and the welcoming of the talents and charisms of all believers.

    “These are factors in drawing Christians from other churches into the Pentecostal fold,” it said.

    Yet, Pentecostalism also carries with it other “negative elements” for which the “richness of Catholic sacramental life can be abandoned,” the document said.

    It pointed specifically to
    “the overemphasis on wealth and health that often leads to a disregard for the message of the cross,
    the stress on feelings at the expense of truth,
    worship perceived more as a moment of entertainment rather than an encounter with Jesus, the misuse of mass media and
    the unwillingness to recognize the validity of other Christians’ faith commitment and spiritual experience.”

    “While keeping in mind that ignorance of the faith and the rootlessness caused by rapid urbanization are among the cause of departures from the Catholic Church, we consider it urgent to educate out faithful more deeply in the beauty of the Catholic faith through lively catechesis, sermons and Christian formation of adults,” the church leaders said.

    They called creating the “necessary” environment to retain Catholics, which includes “warm, familial atmosphere in churches, worship services characterized by participation and joyful prayer, an enhanced openness to the contributions of the laity, solidarity with the poor and others with physical and spiritual needs, and the restructuring of parish life into welcoming neighborly basic communities.”

    The document calls for “ecumenical formation” of lay people and clergy in order that the faithful “understand and respond positively to the challenges of the search for Christian unity.”

    I like it. Many Saints came from a shallow catechesis but a simple love of Christ. Now however there is competition which leads people to a shallow place. Especially 'tounges' and other feel good entertainment.

    Monday, February 12, 2007


    Portugal yesterday voted to sweep away centuries of moral domination by the Roman Catholic church in a referendum allowing the government to reform one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws.


    A change will see Portugal leave the small club of European countries, which includes Ireland, Poland and Malta, that either ban or severely restrict abortion. Voters braved stormy weather to cast their balllots.

    Some 90% of Portuguese describe themselves as Roman Catholics, but that did not stop many rebelling against doctrine yesterday.

    Laurinda Duarte, on her way to church in Lisbon yesterday, said: "I voted yes and will always vote yes. Abortions will always take place, so why not vote to allow women to carry them out under decent conditions? I am a Catholic, but that does not mean I am not free to vote."

    Campaigners for change say the experience of being put on trial adds further suffering and humiliation to those who have gone through the difficult and painful experience of an abortion.

    Oh great, Portugal is no longer dominated by morals... exactly what has replaced them?

    Or how about the idea of rebelling against doctrine? Now that you have rebelled, where does that leave you?

    And of course, the usual new morals argument... since something 'always takes place', it's time to make it legal.. sort of like murder and theft. Better to have 'decent conditions'.

    The real irony is all that further suffering and humiliation of those who have gone through the 'difficult and painful experience of an abortion'. Are they talking about the baby?

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Borneo rules

    Muslim lovebirds will be safe from the February 14th Valentine's Day commercialism that has hit the country, with Brunei Imams cautioning against those who even think of venturing out to celebrate their love in public.


    Perhaps this is why Catholics call their worship a celebration, but muslims are more interested in submission. Not 2 sides of the same coin, but 2 different things. When considering Truth, only one can be right.

    We should not make ourselves as 'pests' to our religion and praise other religions. Valentine's Day which is initiated by other religion where the culture is against the Islamic teachings.

    ...some Muslims do not realise and follow western cultures in the name of modernisation without knowing that such culture is against the Islamic teachings.

    Love and affection according to Islam is not to socialise without limits...

    ...Muslims are prohibited from observing and celebrating this occasion.

    For Christians, Valentine is a symbol of true affection between God and mankind. This is why Christians make February 14 as a day for love and affection to commemorate the death of the priest. is clear that Valentine's Day is not a celebration needed among Muslims.

    "It is sad to note that we also celebrate such an occasion without knowing its origin, whether it is permissible in Islamic belief or otherwise. Valentine is a name of a priest who actively spreads Christianity in Rome during the reign of Roman King, Claudius II. During the King's rule, he sent Christians to prison including Valentine for spreading Christianity.

    "Though facing imprisonment, Valentine still spread such teachings among inmates and assisted them to escape from prison and willing to sacrifice and get killed for the sake of spreading such teachings. His activity was detected by the Roman King, who tortured and sentence him to death on February 14."

    "For Christians, Valentine is a symbol of true affection between God and mankind. This is why Christians make February 14 as a day for love and affection to commemorate the death of the priest."

    Based on the explanations, it is clear that Valentine's Day is not a celebration needed among Muslims. Hence, Muslims are prohibited from observing and celebrating this occasion. Muslims are encouraged to live with love and affection among the Ummah, according to Islamic guidelines. Such affection is forever and should not be observed only on a certain day, the religious leaders said.

    Love and affection according to Islam is not to socialise without limits, against Islamic law and more importantly, not to engage in any wrongdoings like committing adultery.

    Imams advised its Ummahs that not all cultures are good to be followed. It should be reviewed by considering the limits. For Muslims, it must be based on the Islamic law.

    We should not make ourselves as 'pests' to our religion and praise other religions. For instance like Valentine's Day which is initiated by other religion where the culture is against the Islamic teachings.

    Muslim teenagers should possess strong faith, resilience in soul, possess national identity and not get easily influenced into engaging in bad deeds and wrongdoings. Islam is an exalted religion which some Muslims do not realise and follow western cultures in the name of modernisation without knowing that such culture is against the Islamic teachings.

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Offer up their suffering

    A partial indulgence is available to anyone who, between February 9 and 11, prays fervently for the sick, “especially those suffering incurable and terminal disease.”

    The decree announcing the indulgence observes that “human remedies have a limit,” and Christians must help those who are terminally ill with their prayers, “so that their transit from this world to the Father is comforted by divine consolation and so that, as the Church's prayer for the dying implores, they may see the gentle face of Jesus Christ and clearly hear the voice calling them to eternal glory and joy."


    The Vatican has announced a plenary indulgence for Catholics who, under the usual conditions, participate in prayer services for the World Day of the Sick: February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

    The same plenary indulgence is available to those who cannot participate in the special prayer services, “if on that day they generously provide, at least for a few hours, their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself.”

    The decree issued late on February 5 by the Apostolic Penitentiary calls for participation in the official World Day of the Sick ceremonies that will be held in Seoul, Korea, or “at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities” where similar prayer services will be held. Those who are themselves sick or otherwise infirm can obtain the indulgence if they unite themselves to the Pope’s intentions, offer up their suffering, and “pray devotedly for the sick.”

    We have commentators and Priests who are a little too sophisticated and try to explain away the practice of "offering up sufferings". Too old school for them.

    Not so.

    Except for the grace of God go I.

    That also means the grace petitioned by all the souls in monasteries, convents, children's bedtime prayers, purgatory, heaven, and the sick themselves.

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Iraq, short on possibilities.

    Here's a lot of noise about stoping the 'surge'. OK. Then what?

    Really nothing possible.

    Sure we want to leave. So what? We will need a better Plan B than simply wanting to quit. Maybe running out of money is the final solution. Oops.. we're already spending money we don't have.


    Continued and expanded U.S. military action in Iraq will bring only more violence and bloodshed, will not end the conflict and will further destabilize that country and the region, said the heads of 13 Catholic organizations.

    “We oppose the proposed escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq, noting that prior escalations have not resulted in increased peace and stability,” the Catholic leaders said, pointing to troop escalations in late 2006 that “resulted in increased violence and death for both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.”

    Decrying the Bush administration “rejection of a comprehensive diplomatic effort is a short-sighted view of American interests,” the 13 Catholic organizational leaders urged the U.S. president “to engage in diplomatic and political negotiations” toward a cease fire of “all factions in Iraq and the region.”

    Can you imagine that after all this, Iraq would just be handed over to those wacko governments in the region? I doubt it.

    What we had high hopes for, but failed to realize is that the Iraq folks are nutty themselves. Maybe it's the high temperatures, or something in the sand, but comon' let's face it. It's a hell hole, was a hell hole, and will be one in the future.

    Now what is the new idea re withdrawal? Not too new or quick after all...

    He laid out “benchmarks for progress” by which current and future policies should be judged in order to meet “our nation’s moral responsibility to help Iraqis to live with security and dignity in the aftermath of military action.”

    Among those includes providing for “minimally acceptable levels of security;

    economic reconstruction to create employment for Iraqis;

    and political structures and agreements that help overcome divisions,

    reduce violence,

    broaden participation, and

    increase respect for religious freedom and basic human rights.”

    There ya go. No problem, just impossible.

    Numbers looking not so bad

    "The inquiries in recent years have been coming from younger and younger women, most of them in their early to mid-20s," Sister Agnes Mary, mother superior at the Sisters of Life community in New York, told AFP.


    The Catholic community, which counted seven members when it was founded in 1991, has grown to 52 women who live in six convents scattered throughout the New York area. A seventh convent is planned within the next two years.

    "I think young women are searching for something and culture is not giving it to them so they are turning to God," said Sister Mary Karen, 33, the superior at the Sisters of Life Formation House in the Bronx, where 18 women are being groomed for a life of obedience, poverty and chastity.

    They include a Yale graduate, a former navy officer, a former medical student, an opera singer and a Web designer.

    All have college degrees, are well-travelled and were more cosmopolitan than cloistered growing up.

    They have abandoned cell phones, I-Pods, daily Starbucks runs and, in some cases, fiances for dorm-like rooms, or "cells" as they call them, and a wardrobe that consists of a veil and habit.

    According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), there are currently 66,608 Catholic nuns in the United States compared to nearly 180,000 in 1965. Worldwide, there are an estimated 776,260 nuns as opposed to some one million in 1970.

    But despite the dwindling overall number, several new orders and communities, especially those founded during the 1978-2005 pontificate of John Paul II, say they have seen a surge of new blood in the last decade, a welcome turnabout for the church .

    "These women are looking for something deeper," said Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference. "They are looking to develop their Catholic identity and given our secular values in the United States where we promote sex, money and power, it is a very counter cultural thing to profess celibacy, poverty and obedience."

    Bednarczyk and others also credit the late John Paul II's charisma and his effort to reach out to younger Catholics for the mounting popularity of some communities.

    "The John Paul II generation is a generation of young people, a generation of authenticity," said Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, vocation director at the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, located in the midwestern state of Michigan.

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Social Communication ala 1984

    Clever folks. Behead a few people and put the globe on edge.

    Mass communication makes it seem like the beheading is happening in one's home. It's not.

    Out of millions of people, one or two die. There's a word for our tendency to overestimate the risks of life. You know, as safe as airliners are people stop flying immediately after the rare accident. Not to mention dressing our kids in helmets and pads from head to foot when they go bike riding. In fact, better not let them out of sight when they ride since evil people are ready to kidnap them around every unsupervised corner.

    Anyway, the same here. using this tendency to terrorize the huddled sheep.

    We really do need to fight this effect and walk forward like adults. We can stop being used and abused anytime we wish.


    Police foiled a major kidnapping plot, the first of its kind in Britain, with the arrests yesterday of nine terror suspects who reportedly planned to torture and behead a British Muslim soldier and broadcast the killing on the Internet.

    "The threat from terrorism remains very real," said Assistant Chief Constable David Shaw, who would not confirm reports from the British Broadcasting Corp. and other media outlets that the intended victim was an army soldier to be killed in an "Iraqi-style" execution and broadcast on the Internet.

    But the Birmingham kidnapping plot raised fears that a new type of terrorism has reached Britain, one that uses individual victims to send a message through kidnappings and publicized beheadings. Although the motive in the new plot was not disclosed, the announcement coincides with other indications that young British Muslims are becoming increasingly angry over this country's involvement in the American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    catholic interest.