Sunday, August 31, 2003
 How Clinton lost bin Laden

Richard Miniter's new book Losing bin Laden contains quite the insight on how Clinton let bin Laden slip through his hands a couple of times, according to Matt Drudge.

I should give this book a read.
posted by Josh at 7:53 PM

 Google search added

Every so-often I get a visitor who comes upon this site via Google, but Google only takes them to the main page and then they're left to either hit the "back" button and forget they ever came, or search through the archives until they've found what they're after.

So, for those people, I've added the Google search feature that actually takes them to the archived page in question. Hopefully that'll work out better.
posted by Josh at 7:46 PM

 Now that's what I call a 'tatt'

Check out this guy's tattoo of Our Lady of Guadelupe.

Similarly, this woman has Our Lady of Guadelupe tattooed on some part of her body. I have no idea where, though, and perhaps I don't want to know. Is it an arm? A back? Your guess is as good as mine.
posted by Josh at 4:26 AM

 A note to Netscape users

I am thorougly annoyed by the fact that my page looks as bizarre as can be when viewed by Netscape. I have no idea why Internet Explorer and Opera handle the code differently than Netscape. My apologies for the fact that this blog will be virtually unreadable to Netscape users until I can figure out what the problem is.
posted by Josh at 3:19 AM

 Good Times

The New York Times highlights for this Sunday morning:

New Look at Pius XII's Views of Nazis: Pretty good piece. Fair and balanced, as both Fox News and Al Franken would say.
A Way to Break the Cycle of Servitude: NYT socialism alert! (curiously lacking is the follow-up article where all Times employees receive wage increases)
In California They Run. In Texas They Run Away.: "Not even Gray Davis has to put up with this..."The mother in me wanted to rush back," said Mrs. Van de Putte. "But my husband said, `We can handle it. If you come back, they'll get you.'" That's right. Cause Republicans are just pure evil. Thanks, Times, for stating your position. The beauty the article is that it isn't even labelled "editorial."
A French Roadblock to Free Trade: (op-ed) Viva France! Remind me again, why I care about a country so idiotic that it lets 11,000 of it's citizens die of overexposure to heat?
Policy Lobotomy Needed: (op-ed) The party of the Elite declares that Bush is Doing It All Wrong over a war they don't support and supposedly want nothing to do with. Keep swinging away, Mr. Friedman. Eventually you'll hit one out of the infield.
Who's Losing Iraq?: (op-ed) Ahh, the great Maureen Dowd. Glad to see that her brain hasn't imploded in on itself yet. She, like Mr. Friedman, suddenly declares that things are going to Hell in a Hand Basket. It used to be because we were launching a war that was unjustifed, a war we couldn't win. Now it's because we've won and we're doing it all wrong. Thanks, Maureen, but you have about as much credibility as a Michigan basketball booster or a Baylor University hoops coach.

One reading through the New York Times, and there's not much room for argument on the subject: they're about as leftist as it gets in the media. And if their "journalism" continues to be so ridiculously biased (and then exposed in full by the op-eds they carry), we'll only see them get loonier as the left continues to move towards the fringe ideas that are beginning to define what it means to be a "Democrat" in full.

posted by Josh at 1:32 AM

 The Milwaukee Boss speaks Madison Bishop Blasts Optional Celibacy Push
In a column to be published Thursday in the diocese's weekly newspaper, [Madison Bishop Robert] Morlino calls the idea part of the American fix-it mentality.
I guess Bishop Morlino didn't like the fact that his priests were causing a little stir.

Can't say I blame him.
posted by Josh at 1:05 AM

 Church attendance down drastically in Cincinatti Archdiocese

The Cincinatti Enquirer: Shaken, Catholics shunning church

I just wanted to post this article because it's fairly well-written and includes lots of detail about how the Crisis continues to effect the Church. It's not looking as if this is going away any time soon.
posted by Josh at 1:01 AM

 The ACLU strikes again

The Philadelphia Inquirer: State halts aid to 2 Catholic schools
The decision, announced Thursday, came as the American Civil Liberties Union was planning to seek a temporary restraining order to block the grants, contending they violated the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. The state agreed to withhold the money before Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson could rule.
Why doesn't the ACLU champion the cause of American taxpayers who put money in to the state's education fund and then reap no benefit from it, because they're also paying tuition for private education?

The answer from your friendly liberal dimestore neighbor is often, "because it's their choice. They don't have to send their kids to private schools." But shouldn't the ACLU -- the Defenders of Freedom and Free Choice (tm) -- defend the right to choose where a parent educates their child?

I'm all for public schools. I would have never received the college-prep education through Advanced Placement had I gone to the local Catholic schools, and most of the criticism of public schools come from people who, a) have some wild notion that you can honestly run a school like a business or b) think that the students are all eager sponges waiting to soak up knowledge, eager for it in fact, and they fail to learn because the teachers "leave them behind." But all of that set aside, I still think it should be up to the individual to educate their child in a manner by which they see fit, and this should be promoted by society instead of hindered.

By the way, where is the ACLU on the Harvey Milk Institute high school for gay/lesbian/trans-gender kids in NYC that receives public funding? Nowhere to be found.
posted by Josh at 12:49 AM

 Nothin' brings out the dirty laundry like politics!

Reuters: Religious Group to Schwarzenegger: 'Come Clean'
"We are very concerned about the report of Arnold's promiscuity and he must come forward and tell us if it stopped when he was 29 or if it continued," said the Rev. Louis Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition.
Arnold certainly has to come forward and explain himself. After the Oui magazine interview fiasco was made public, it's the least Ahh-nold owes us.

I'm not about to hang this guy, even if he stands by his comments and says that they were all true. The 1977 interview -- published 3 years before I was born -- doesn't necesarilly mean a thing about the man Schwarzenegger is today. If we were all made to pay for the sins of a quarter of a life-time ago, folks like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wouldn't be anywhere near public office (I do, however, care about horrid sins committed while serving in office, and Billy Boy provided enough of those to keep us entertained).

But there's no evidence to support the notion that the Schwarzenegger of today is anything resembling the man who made those remarks in Oui magazine.

If your conscience just won't let you vote for Arnold, then do the next-best thing: Vote Gary Coleman instead.

posted by Josh at 12:37 AM

     Saturday, August 30, 2003
(24) Oklahoma St. 7, Nebraska 17

Ticker: Fumble return for TD key in 'upset' win

Nebraska let up one touchdown on OSU's opening drive. The Huskers then proceeded to keep the Cowboys to under 200 total yards in the game, forcing 4 total turnovers.

The offense looked pretty stagnant at times, but things will only get better for the big O as they gain experience running a fairly complex system. While I don't totally buy this "Nebraska's down and out" business, I think it's safe to call the result here an upset.

(I'm from Nebraska by the way, and was raised on the theme "Sooner dead than a Sooner.")

posted by Josh at 6:39 PM


 Who'd have guessed it?

Fighting IlliniWell, as if there was any doubt to begin with, it's now official: Illinois football is going to be awful this year.

If you can't beat Missouri, whose Big 12 standing is slightly above Baylor's, then you're in for a long, long season.

Ron Turner coached a classic game of Ron Turner football. Run it straight up the middle and when this doesn't work, rely on your QB to make a 3rd down pass.

We Fighting Illini are better off keeping our eyes on basketball season.
posted by Josh at 4:25 PM

 Bshp Wilton Gregory tells 'em to cool down

AP: Top Catholic Sees Anti-Gay Marriage Moves
In a wide-ranging interview, Gregory also opposed any reconsideration of the church's requirement of priestly celibacy, as was proposed in a petition to him from more than 160 Milwaukee priests this month. Priest organizations in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania are considering similar petitions.
Surprise, surprise! Can't imagine that the petition didn't get very far.

And on the "people with SSA shouldn't be ordained" front:
Yet another aspect of the abuse scandal is a pending investigation of all American seminaries. Gregory indicated he opposes a suggestion from some conservatives that seminaries should bar all clergy candidates with a homosexual orientation, even if they are committed to celibacy.

That tactic would not "correct the problems that we face," he said. And "to attempt to scapegoat or to lump or to cause great harm to people who are doing the best they can to live the gospel and be true to themselves is wrong."
I agree with him there. I don't really like the idea of banning people with SSA from the clergy since they make an effort to live holy, Christian lives. Celibacy covers any "sticky" areas we might open ourselves up to. Just so long as that celibacy is observed by the priest actively.
posted by Josh at 1:16 AM

 Give me a break

If we take Walter Cronkite's (or Walter K, as I call him, referring an inside-joke with a couple of friends) latest defense of his liberal political view seriously ("I'm liberal because all reporters are liberal.. It's just the way we are, man), then we automatically understand why the following shouldn't surprise anybody.

Recently, The Washington Magazine Monthly, a ridiculously liberal publication, polled "journalists and pundits" to pick "the most serious fibs, deceptions, and untruths spoken by each of the four most recent presidents."

Before you read the article, let's do a common-sense check on what we have here.

A liberal magazine.
Polling an at-large liberal group.

I bet you can't imagine who the biggest liar of them all is! (and no, it's not Reagan. He came in second, proving that even in ill health this man still ruffles feathers)

And I bet you can't guess who the least of the liars is!

I have to give them credit for underscoring how stupid the entire thing is, though, when they note that, "We believe [the scores'] validity rests somewhere between the Periodic Table and the U.S. News & World Report college rankings."

Keep on churnin', liberal machine. But not too fast. Don't want to waste what little you've still got in the tanks.
posted by Josh at 1:05 AM

     Friday, August 29, 2003
 Scandal Report: Things going in the right direction

Zenit: Russell Shaw on the State of the Church in U.S.: "Bishops Got Things Back on Track," He Says

Good to see. We all knew progress was a necessity. Glad to know we're moving in the right direction.
posted by Josh at 1:49 AM

 Johnny Cash gets screwed

Rueters: Winners of 2003 MTV Video Music Awards
Best Cinematography in a Video: Johnny Cash -- "Hurt"
Outside of Radiohead, Johnny Cash is the only one on that list who will be remembered kindly in the distant future.

And the video to "Hurt" was so fantastic that it left tears in my eyes.

I've never expected much from the MTV crowd, though, so why start now...
posted by Josh at 1:12 AM

 Some things you just don't need to try...

...and watching Rob Zombie's movie "House of 1000 Corpses" is one of them. I took a friend's advice and rented it on the grounds that it might be funny. I'm a fan of campy horror movies.

But folks, this was just horrible. Insane. I need a shower after watching this one, and will have to remember to add it to my list of things to confess next time.

This earns the Saint Some Days Rating of: 1 out of 5 stars

That one star comes from the fact that I feel obligated to give it something.
posted by Josh at 12:51 AM

     Thursday, August 28, 2003
 Another reason I want Howard Dean to do well in the Democratic primary

We all know Howie's a little out-there on the fringes of lefty land, but this little gem of investigative reporting by the folks at the official Bush-Cheney blog confirm that Howard Dean is a whacko.


The only way things could possibly get better is if Al Sharpton wins.
posted by Josh at 8:35 PM

 Well, at least he was 67...

Reuters: Texas Man Wakes Up After Operation, Penis Missing

posted by Josh at 6:45 PM

 More Passion Critics Seek Changes in 'Anti-Jewish' Mel Gibson Film
"'We're not saying Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite, or even that the film is anti-Semitic,' Boys said. 'But rather, that by stressing the brutality, the torture, and by ascribing that visually to the Jews, the Christians seeing this will naturally conclude that the Jews carry the primary responsibility for the death of Jesus.' Critics in various quarters are using the term 'deicide.'"
You know, if there's one thing that irritates the hell out of me in this world, it's people who make interpretations of artistic works for me. Who try and deduce what effect art will have on the individual mind.

People can conclude just about anything they want from a work. But the latest questions surrounding Mel Gibson's film make it sound as if we have no background coming in to our screenings of it. People who say that The Passion will inflame hatred against Jews assume that people walk in the theater as open-book idiots, waiting for the movie to inscribe anything and everything in to their minds.

I also find it interesting that The Passion is catching heat from liberal groups like the ADL. Aren't liberals supposed to be "all about" expression through the arts?

Oops, that's right, though: only if that expression seeks to further their aims, and Christianity clearly isn't valued within liberalism at large. We'll never hear the ADL strike out against some foul representation of Catholicism.
posted by Josh at 1:19 AM

 Lithuanians and Poles tell EU to keep it honest

New York Times: Put Christ in Europe's Charter, Lithuanians and Poles Declare
posted by Josh at 1:07 AM

 The Order: Sounds pretty good to me Gibson's 'Passion' Spells Trouble for 'The Order'
"The Order," meanwhile is a mystery thriller about a rogue Catholic priest attempting to find the answers behind a murder. His investigation leads him to discover an ancient order within the church in which Sin Eaters absolves people's sins by figuratively ingesting them off the body of the sinner. "The Order" is the third feature for Helgeland, who won an Oscar for co-writing 1997's "L.A. Confidential."
If this 'rogue priest' is merely a rogue because he takes it upon himself to solve a crime, then I rather like the sound of this movie. I have no problem with the occassional thriller/horror novel/movie that uses the Church as a backdrop, so long as the Church isn't being defalcated.

That being said, I rather enjoy movies like The Exorcist (as cheesy as it is), where one of the main issues at hand is a man struggling with faith and Holy Orders.

Ultimately, I reserve judgement until we've heard more and I've seen the flick for myself.

posted by Josh at 1:02 AM

 Only in California...

Herald-Sun: Abandon crucifix: Catholic priest
A SUNSHINE Coast Catholic priest has been accused of undermining church teachings by saying the crucifix should never have become the symbol of Christianity and that Jesus would have been crucified naked. [...]

Father Dobson said the crucifix should never have become the symbol of Christianity because it was a means of execution.

"If Christianity means life it is the resurrection that is our real symbol," he wrote.

"But maybe the crucifix is the appropriate symbol for such negative, confining thinkers who are terrified to think in a more lateral, open way."
I hope Cardinal Ratzinger writes a personal note to this man. Something tells me it doesn't get any worse for clergy than when Ratzinger sends you a private note.
posted by Josh at 12:43 AM

 It spreads

Northeastern Penn. News: Catholic priest groups to vote on circulating letters urging optional celibacy

Suppose Bishop Wilton Gregory and the council at large say, "Yeah! They're on to something here!" (which will never happen). What do these priests expect to happen? Our bishops/cardinals won't make this change without the approval of the Pontiff, and I seem to remember a time when, reflecting upon the possibility of married priests in the Church, JPII remarked, "Not in my lifetime, never!"
posted by Josh at 12:37 AM

     Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 It's now hung right next to my Grateful Dead 1990 Europe Tour poster

Reuters: Da Vinci Stolen from Scottish Castle

Not really. But unless you're after money (and who would buy a black-market masterpiece nowadays, when everybody knows it's stolen?), what else are you going to do with this thing?
posted by Josh at 11:49 PM

 5 A.M. fun with Benny

I admit it. I have a weird sense of humor. So, when I'm up at 5 A.M. with nothing better going on, I tune in to "This is Your Day!", Benny Hinn's televangical show.

It's all so obviously staged and fake that only the most gullible individual would fall prey to Benny Hinn's panderings. But still, I was curious to see what "exposes" have been done on the man, and what they have yielded. I think it's safe to say (if there ever was a doubt), that the man is a fraud who preys on the desperate.

Reporter John Bloom, of the Dallas/Ft. Worth D Magazine, wrote an excellent article last month on Hinn. In "The Heretic", Bloom states, "He may, in fact, be the first Christian rock star. The analogy is not Paul McCartney, though. Hinn's career is more like Cher's. He makes it up as he goes along, re-inventing himself whenever necessary." That seems a perfect sumnation of the man.

And, it seems, Hinn has lied about his connections to the Catholic Church:
Occasionally, though, the enhancements expand from the realm of the white lie into the land of the whopper. For example, Hinn claims to have preached at an all-girls Catholic school in Jerusalem in 1976 and "every single girl in that school got saved, including all the nuns." Since there's only one Catholic girls school in Jerusalem, Schmidt's Girls College, it was a fairly easy matter to question all the nuns who were there in 1976, as well as Father Dusind, who has overseen all religious instruction since 1955. The result? "This is nonsense, real nonsense," Dusind told Fisher and Goedelman. "It never happened and could not happen because a Charismatic healer or Protestant preacher would never ever be let in to talk to the girls."
Benny. I think "nuns" who have given up most worldly things in order to follow Jesus are on the right path towards becoming "saved."

The reason I blog on this at all is because folks like Benny Hinn provide easy ammunition for those who wish to discredit religion as a "crutch." People like Hinn make Catholicism -- and those truly devotional, well-intentioned Christian sects -- look like foolish endeavors.

So, I end up wondering: Does Benny Hinn believe in anything? Does he believe in the Christ he uses to bilk people out of an estimated $100,000,000 per year? And if so, what does he think Christ would say to him?
posted by Josh at 2:43 PM

 Simply amazing...

Northern Ireland News: Catholic Family Under Attack From Loyalists

...that stuff like this still happens in the 20th century West.
posted by Josh at 2:25 AM

 Does the collar carry that much weight?

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Rev. Kuchar wears collar as new jury is selected
Some jurors interviewed after becoming deadlocked in his first trial, in May, said they found it hard to think ill of a priest. He had worn his collar to court each day.
I suppose it does; I once had a priest tell me that he usually was met with a warm reception anywhere he went wearing his collar. So I suppose this general reaction from the jury is understandable. BUT...
"Those on administrative leave should be advised that according to the charter ... they should not present themselves as a priest and that means they should not wear the collar," said Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI official who now heads the U.S. bishops' child protection office.
Clearly, he's committing a no-no. So I think he should ditch the collar and find himself a good suit.

posted by Josh at 2:20 AM

     Tuesday, August 26, 2003
 Hang it up, Walter K...

The Salt Lake Tribune: Siding with the powerless: Ideas from 60 years in journalism by Walter "Not Dark Yet (But It's Gettin' There)" Cronkite
I believe that most of us reporters are liberal, but not because we consciously have chosen that particular color in the political spectrum. More likely it is because most of us served our journalistic apprenticeships as reporters covering the seamier side of our cities -- the crimes, the tenement fires, the homeless and the hungry, the underclothed and undereducated.
Most reporters are liberals? No! It can't be!

Seriously, I find it rather interesting that people equate liberalism with the welfare of the poor more than they do with conservativism as we know it in the 20th century. Aren't conservatives interested predominately in empowerment? Giving people the chance to succeed is exactly what conservatives are all about. Allowing people to build a better life for themselves through hard work. That's what it's all about, versus just creating a country filled with dependents who require somebody else to make their way for them.

Different paths, same dream. Now, which sounds more "fair" to a liberal mind supposedly concerned with the issue of fairness?

posted by Josh at 3:52 PM

 Christmas is next, folks

ABC KMIZ (Missouri): Missouri's Ten Commandment Controversy

It sound as if Alabama isn't the only one facing this ridiculous confrontation between liberals and sane-minded individuals.

Interestingly enough, if you register your vote on their online poll, you'll see an overwhelming majority of individuals think this is as stupid as we do.
posted by Josh at 2:28 AM

 Optional celibacy isn't the way.

The Capital Times (Madison, WI): Opinion: Editorial: Marriage and the priesthood
Without a change in direction, the priest shortage will continue. But, as the Milwaukee priests suggest, there is an alternative. Married men who hear the call to serve God can be welcomed into the priesthood.
I am fairly orthodox on this issue, seeing as how I am a single male considering the priesthood for himself. And I can honestly say that the priest shortage problem doesn't lay with the 1,000 year old promise/vow of celibacy; it lays in the fact that young men aren't seriously considering their call to the diocesan priesthood.

Sure, celibacy is a requirement of answering that call. I don't mean to down-play the sacrifice a single bit. But it certainly has its spiritual benefits, and I think anyone is capable of making that sacrifice.

The problem runs more thick than just celibacy. The current generation to which I belong is extremely selfish; we go to college preparing for a career that will pay us good money, and our goals are largely self-centered.

Combine that with the fact that celibacy seems unnatural to our sexualized society, and you wind up with young men who instantly rule out a religious vocation without ever making any serious effort towards figuring out if they have a call.

What do I suggest, then, to end the priest shortage?

Increased pressure from our clergy to guide men towards examining their call. It hit home the hardest that I was obligated to pray and think hard upon it for myself because of intense words on the subject from Monsignor Swetland over at the University of Illinois's Newman Foundation during a homily.

Optional celibacy (which will never happen) isn't the only means by which the shortage can be answered.
posted by Josh at 2:23 AM

 Time for more Passion

TIME: The Problem With Passion
And oops, there it is. Long before The Passion's full release (the scene is from a trailer), Mel Gibson's film has already ignored the guidance of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1988 for dramatizers of Christ's last hours. The advisory warns, among other things, against "changing the small 'crowd' at the Governor's palace into a teeming mob." Why? Such an exaggeration, the bishops claim, would misleadingly suggest that the Jews as a body, indeed as a race, wanted Jesus dead.
I have a problem with this view adopted by the USCCB in 1988. What does it matter, how Gibson goes about framing the crowd during the trial scene? I would say that it matters little. Jews are still there. Whether it's 100 or 1,000, I don't think it changes the fact that the Jews were there in the first place. And this is the problem that the majority have with the movie: they don't like the fact that a group of Jews are calling for the death of the High Priest of Christianity. How would the number change things? If we're already operating under the assumption that the Jews were merely doing what God's will was and we're not indicting them exclusively as Christ Killers -- like a Vatican II Catholic or, by his own declaration, Mel Gibson -- then what's the problem?

posted by Josh at 2:05 AM

 British Jews join the Passion-ate uproar

Telegraph (UK): Jews fear backlash from Mel Gibson's Passion
He [Rabbi Eugene Korn] told the Jewish Chronicle: "Jews are uniformly characterised as negative, and the Jewish mob is depicted as forcing the decision on to Pontius Pilate, when in reality it was Pilate's decision alone. There are gross historical inaccuracies, and there is massive, and gratuitous, violence."
Korn's little uprising against The Passion is old news, but I hadn't seen this quote before reading this article. He says, "...the Jewish mob is depicted as forcing the decision on to Pontius Pilate, when in reality it was Pilate's decision alone." Yeah, well, ok. But from the Gospel we are directly led to believe that Pilate found no reason to kill Christ. The Jews talked him in to it. That being said, what "gross historical inaccuracies" are we talking about?

One thing is for sure: Gibson can't buy this kind of publicity. From Al Franken to Mel Gibson, nothing sells better than controversy.
posted by Josh at 1:42 AM

 Bowing before communion

News 5 (Cleveland): Catholics To Bow Before Receiving Communion

I'm just curious to know, so leave me a comment if you'd be so kind: How many of you bow before communion now? And if you don't make it a regular practice, do you plan to observe the request?

I think it's a good thing, although I'm sure some will become worried about slow-downs in the communion line.

Also, my old church in the Springfield, IL diocese went ahead with the change that calls for only a small amount of the Sacred Body/Blood in the tabernacle at any one time for prayer purposes, meaning that almost all of the consecrated items must be consumed during that mass. I noticed this morning at a local parish that they weren't observing this (because the priest hauled out an entire bowl of eucharist from the tabernacle after the consecration).

Has anyone noticed this change anywhere else?
posted by Josh at 1:35 AM

     Sunday, August 24, 2003
 Young genius

MSNBC: 12-year-old begins medical school

When I was 12, I always wanted to be this kind of guy after watching shows like Doogie Howser, M.D. Then, when I got old enough to actually pursue a career in medicine, I realized I absolutely hated all of the politics involved.

So there went all of my Doogie Howser dreams.
posted by Josh at 8:28 PM

 Johnny Cash = MTV Hit!

AP: Johnny Cash May Steal Show at MTV Awards

Johnny Cash's worst song is better than 9/10th's of the crap they play on MTV. I hope he takes 'em all.
posted by Josh at 4:18 PM

 Boy dies while at healing service

AP: Autistic Boy Dies During Wis. Service
Hemphill said the boy and his mother had been going to the prayer services for the past three weeks. Members of the church, made up of just six families, prayed for God to release the evil spirits that cause the boy's illness, he said.

"The boy just had a problem in his mind, and what we were doing was asking God to fix it," Hemphill said. "He chose to fix it by taking him back home to him."

posted by Josh at 4:04 PM

 Another reason Communism is bad!

Tech AFP: Worm may have hit 30 percent of China's poorly protected Internet users
posted by Josh at 6:10 AM

 Another reason porn is bad

Reuters: Sobig Virus Slows, but Aims to Build Robot Network
Sobig.F was released last Monday on a sex-oriented Internet discussion group, infecting computers when users clicked on what appeared to be nude pictures, experts from several security companies who had seen the site said.
No wonder it spread so fast.
posted by Josh at 4:36 AM

 Trouble in the land of The Antipodean Worshippers straining Catholic church

This is unfortunate. Sounds like parts of New Zealand will be going to a system very much like rural areas in the U.S. are under now.

Let's pray hard for vocations world-wide.
posted by Josh at 2:24 AM

     Saturday, August 23, 2003
 Media says, "Let's milk it for the last ounce."

Reuters: Inmate Kills Pedophile Priest in Prison

Certainly, I don't expect this sort of thing to go unreported or ignored. He was a central figure in the middle of the scandal. But it leads off every major news outlet right now, from AP to Reuters to MSNBC to Fox News.

I can't quite figure out what they're angling at; "this guy got his come-uppins!" or "how sad and tragic."

I guess my reaction is a little bit of both, but I certainly didn't want to see him dead regardless. I'll be praying for Geoghan.
posted by Josh at 11:36 PM

 One of the most obscure fansites ever

Ratzinger Fan Club Beer Stein (New)

You too can own a Cardinal Ratzinger beer stein via the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. I want two, in case company shows up.

Thanks to the Domers over at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping for this gem of a link.
posted by Josh at 4:04 AM

     Friday, August 22, 2003
 I bet this still won't be enough to quiet the whiners

AP: Researcher says wartime pope privately opposed Nazis
CNS News: Historian uncovers new evidence Pius XII strongly opposed Nazis

From the AP Article:
Pacelli, then Vatican secretary of state, gave Kennedy a report denouncing Nazism because it attacked "the freedom of the practice of religion."

Pacelli also reportedly told Kennedy that the church sometimes felt "powerless" as it struggled against Nazis -- whom he called "the new pagans" -- and communists. The future pope also is quoted as saying that political compromise with the Nazis was "out of the question."
How can this be? We all know that Pius XII was Hitler's Pope. That priests were being imprisoned and killed, and that folks like Karol Wojtyla had to go to seminary underground, was just a cover for the Ultimate Vatican Conspiracy to Elminate All Jews.
posted by Josh at 1:00 AM

 Stop smoking that incense! err...

BBC: Irish minister links incense to cancer
The Hearld (UK): Cancer warnings over incense become burning health issue
"Here you have quite a thick billowing type of smoke. Sometimes you see the children with this instrument which is down normally around their ankles, and the smoke just keeps coming up," Dr McDade said.

"And sometimes I cringe when I see them literally inhaling this, because sometimes there is an aroma of it and all I was trying to do was making people aware."
I doubt your average server spends so much time handling incense that he/she is going to develop cancer from handling it.

Breathing causes cancer. Eating grilled food causes cancer. Cancer will probably get me one day, regardless of whether or not I twirl around incense at a Mass.
posted by Josh at 12:45 AM

 Is there any practicing, devout Catholic who can truly call himself a Democrat?

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Interview with Howard Dean
CF: Let me ask you about one other issue that is unique to Oregon and that is physician-assisted suicide. As you may know, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. The Bush administration has mounted a legal challenge to that; the 9th circuit court of appeals may rule at any time of that issue. In general where do you stand on physician-assisted suicide and Oregon's vote on that issue?

HD: I think states have to make up their own mind. It's a very difficult moral problem,. I as a physician would not be comfortable administering lethal drugs, but I think this a very private, personal decision and I think individual physicians and patients have the right to make that private decision. I am very amused by the Right Wing--including the president and administration--who talk about liberty but then decide they're going to scrutinize everyone's behavior and tell them what they can and cannot do. There can't be a much more personal decision an individual makes than how to die and I think that is a personal decision left to individuals, their physicians and families.
Last time I checked, nobody on the "Right Wing" was advocating the installation of suicide detectors in to the individual. If a terminally ill patient decides to end his or her life, nothing is stopping that person from suicide. I won't do it, nor will anyone else.

But clearly, the legalization of euthenasia gives it the moral "ok" to society at large (see: abortion and gay marriage for examples). And as suicide has been traditionally viewed as dramatic, sad, and ultimately a negative impact upon society, this seems to run in direct contradiction to our current values.

Leave it to Howie, though, to provide one of those "I would never get an abortion personally, but it's ok if others choose to do so" morally relativistic answers.

posted by Josh at 12:35 AM

     Thursday, August 21, 2003
 What a stupid survey/"study"

AP: Study Ranks U. of Colo. Top Party School
The "Best 351 Colleges" survey is based on responses from more than 100,000 students at U.S. campuses. The review, which has no affiliation with Princeton University, has been conducting the study since 1992.
Wait a minute. They take "the Best 351 Colleges" in the United States and run a survey to find which amongst them are the "Top Party Schools?"

That's like the Ivy League doing the same thing and declaring Dartmouth the "party school" just because it has the most active nightlife.
Other top 10 party schools included the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Indiana University, Bloomington; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.; University of Texas-Austin; The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.; DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.; Saint Bonaventure University, Olean, N.Y.; and the University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
At least three of those - the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin - are top 35 schools academically. Yeah, we knew how to get down, but we never had as much time to party as our bretheren at the compass schools (Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Northern Illinois, etc.).

If you're looking for a place to drink your liver to death for 4 (or 5? 6?) years, don't choose one of the Big Ten schools on this list.

What a stupid survey.
posted by Josh at 9:38 PM

 Ok, so I was wrong...

...about the Cubs. They don't look all that hot tonight (insert moaning and groaning here).
posted by Josh at 9:23 PM

 A Houston MLB writer declares it! And so shall it be.

MLB Perspectives: Molony: Cubs the front-runner

We've definitely got the pitching. We've significantly improved our hitting with Simon, Lofton, Womack, and Ramirez.

The Cubs are poised. And hopefully tonight, they take the division lead and never look back.
posted by Josh at 7:04 PM

 Still not too old to be 'manly'

Reuters: Man, 102, Seeks Wife for Good Times

Gotta give the old codger credit for being spunky.
posted by Josh at 6:12 PM

 Nutty with a Passion!

National Post: Mel Gibson, we have a problem

This is truly the oddest piece of writing I have read in a long time.

Coren suggests that Mel Gibson gets it wrong with the nails-through-the-hands bit and doesn't seem to know anything about the rope that holds him up on the cross in the trailer scenes. Then he mentions that Catholicism is threatened by the notion of nails-through-the-wrists because it runs counter to the stigmata. But wait! That's not where he's going.

"This song is called Alice's Restaraunt. It's about Alice. And her restaraunt."

He's really going to talk about the Catholic Church when he notes that, "there has in the past and to an extent still is a virtual blood cult within it." A virtual blood cult? What the heck is this guy talking about? But wait, that's not what this article is really about.

[8 minutes in to the song] "...but that's not what I came to talk about. I came to talk about the draft..."

It's really about hatred towards Jews:
The medieval church was obsessed with gore, and even today in southern Europe we see quite repugnant fetishes with sacred blood, holy blood, miracle-giving blood. If it's European medievalism we're seeing rather than death-dry, God-drenched ancient Judea, we could be in trouble.

Jewish organizations do sometimes overreact. But try being even partly Jewish and see what anti-Semitic e-mails look like. Anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism is once again flowing like some malignant disease through the sickly bloodstream of modernity.
Notice that seamless transition between "fetishes with sacred blood" to "anti-Zionism"? I don't either.

Despite it's oddities (I'm still pondering the "virtual blood cult" thing) I liked this article. It reminded me of my man Arlo Guthrie.

posted by Josh at 11:30 AM

 Benny Hinn is one crazy cat

The things one learns at 5 A.M.

Because I'm a perpetual insomniac, I spent much of this morning flipping through channels, mostly out of boredom. Too tired to read, not tired enough to sleep. Anyway, I came across Benny Hinn's show today. Always worth a laugh or two. But then near the end of the daily "episode," Benny made it known that he is coming to Baton Rouge in November. I had to stifle a laugh at my mind's-eye image of Fr. Sibley at a good 'ole fashion Benny Hinn "Miracle Crusade."

Oh, and in other Benny Hinn news: If you send him $77 before September 22nd, their national day of prayer, you'll reap financial benefits from the good Lord. At least, that's what Benny claims and what one of his minister buddies said. Benny's pal claimed Jesus told him so. Who are we to argue with that?
posted by Josh at 10:56 AM

 Oswald knows his stuff

If you don't read Oswald Sobrino's Catholic Analysis, I recommend you put it on your blogroll immediately. His commentary doesn't always make for an easy read, but the complexity of it is exactly why I enjoy it so much. If you truly want to "learn something new" every day as the old cliche goes, read his daily posts.

Start off with his great critique on Gary Wills' Why I am A Catholic. After Wills' previous effort, I don't think I care much why he's Catholic.
posted by Josh at 3:51 AM

 Google Fights!

Google Fight is a fun time waster. Just think of two topics and let them go at it.

For example:

The Doors vs. door knobs
Bob Dylan vs. Dylan Thomas
Snoopy vs. Charlie Brown (This one's surprising)
Dogs vs. Cats (Yes!)
posted by Josh at 3:11 AM

 Sensible Passion Crucifying Mel Gibson

Exactly what Chris pointed out in yesterday's entry on the issue:
It is a source of constant amazement to those who are not Christian that so many Christians seem to miss the main point of their faith. If one believes that Jesus was the Son of God who died to take on the sins of mankind, what the Jews reportedly did is of no importance whatever. Here's the equation: no Jesus, no crucifixion, no Christianity. All involved, therefore, had to be acting out the will of God. Even the Pope would tell you that.

posted by Josh at 2:45 AM


Western Catholic Reporter (Canada): PM deals with 'religion problem'

This article says exactly what the Catholic blogging community has been for weeks.
posted by Josh at 2:39 AM

 Good for him

WCVB TV (Boston): Catholic Teacher Won't Pay Dues That Support Birth Control
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- A federal judge cleared the way for a Catholic gym teacher in Springfield to sue local, state and national teachers' unions for requiring him to pay fees he says support abortion rights and birth control.

But Gerard O'Brien's lawyer says his client is happy to settle if the unions will let him send his dues to a charity.
I know quite a few teachers who would rather just do away with the union altogether. But kudos to this guy for going with his heart.
posted by Josh at 2:27 AM

 Genetically modified food debate

CORDIS News: Vatican report fuels GM debate within the Catholic church
However, Catholic leaders in developing countries have expressed concerns about GM technology and the contents of the Vatican report. Father Giulio Albanese, head of the missionary news agency, described Archbishop Martino's comments as 'provocation', and warned that issues such property rights for GM seeds 'cannot but accentuate the dependence of the poor nations on the rich ones.'
Maybe I don't understand the concern here. Is it that third-world Catholics are worried that the seeds will be "copyrighted" and thus cost more?

I am all for genetically modified foods precisely because I think they can benefit third-world nations. If we can modify rice so that malnourished people receive a more balanced diet, isn't this a benefit to those people instead of a disservice?

I wish there were more to this article.
posted by Josh at 2:23 AM

 This Ivy-Leaguer is really smart!

Aberdeen News: Terrorists use religion to persuade followers, author says

Kathy over at Relapsed Catholic posted this yesterday, but I just read it.

The author of the book works at the point that religious fanaticism leads to terror. And I'd agree; we see this in all religions, including those Christians who feel it is their moral duty to blow up abortion clinics or murder doctors who perform the procedure.

But nowhere in this article (and thus, I assume, the book, although I could be wrong) does Jessica Stern get to the heart of the real threat: religiously-fueled terror is the biggest problem in areas where it has become mainstreamed, acceptable behaivor. And only one religion -- and one region -- meets this qualification.

That religious sentiment often incites terrorism is nothing new. We've known that for years. But what is new -- and such a threat -- is that the Islamic world largely accepts the use of terror against Israel as a justifiable, religiously acceptable act. If Stern's book fails to acknowledge this, then I sincerely doubt it's worth the $19.

Again, I could be wrong, but it seems as if Stern is the liberal type who avoids the dreaded possibility of criticizing a minority by saying, "Gosh, Islamic terrorism sure is bad.......But other people do it, too!" While there's nothing fundamentally incorrect about this sentiment, it certainly sidesteps the most prominent issue: the mainstreaming of Islamic terror.
posted by Josh at 2:12 AM

     Wednesday, August 20, 2003
 David Blaine at it again

The Mirror: Magician Blaine to live in box over Thames

I wonder what the "trick" will be here. This street magician just gets more bizarre as time goes on.
posted by Josh at 1:56 PM

 And it's even tax-deductible!

Reuters: Porn Candidate Offers Date to Big Donors
Asked if the date could lead to a sexual encounter, campaign aide Jayson Helgeson replied: "I don't think so, that's not part of it. It's like a normal date."

Pressed to clarify what a normal date means for a woman who has appeared in both explicit lesbian and heterosexual scenes, he put the phone on hold to clarify and then responded: "No sex, no matter what."
The people at Reuters write the greatest stories ever.

posted by Josh at 1:13 PM

 'Academic' turned suicide bomber

Academic Cleric Turned Bomber for Jerusalem Blast

Hooray for this man's Islamic intellectualism!

I have to give it to him, though; at least he's practicing what he preaches.
posted by Josh at 1:02 PM

 EWTN in Spanish = time for bed!
posted by Josh at 5:04 AM

 Silly France...

AP: France May Block End of Libya Sanctions
"We are in favor of the lifting of sanctions on Libya, but at the same time we want fair treatment for the victims of the UTA flight," France's deputy U.N. ambassador Michel Duclos said late Monday. "This principle of non-discrimination between the victims of terrorism is ... something very important for us and ... we are not prepared to make concessions."
Yet you didn't seem too concerned when a certain mustached, beret-wearing dictator kept his people in a state of perpetual terror.
posted by Josh at 4:57 AM


I had a visit from the Angel of Common Sense this evening. While I begged for spiritual information like, "What does Jesus really look like?" and "Are there any dogs in Heaven?", all he would tell me is this:

There's no way Ohio State football will make it out of their first six games undefeated. As a matter of fact, I think they might even lose two of those six games. The Angel of Common Sense wasn't clear about this, but he also assured me that there's no way they'll beat Michigan.

Mark my words, gentlemen: Ohio State is the most overrated team in the Top 10.

You'll hear more from me in 10 days, after their first loss.
posted by Josh at 4:36 AM

 Another whiner on The Passion

Kansas City Star: Americans should reject anti-Semitism

I agree! We're doing well. So far.
Along comes that great theologian Mel Gibson with his soon-to-be released film, "The Passion," which by all accounts I have read is a reiteration of "Passions" past. This comes some 40 years after the renunciation of the doctrine of Jewish deicide by the very Catholic church of which Gibson is a member.
1) The Passion has been receiving praise precisely because it hits the story of the Passion on the head a lot better than previous screen versions.

2) What doctrine of Jewish deicide? Was it ever even so important that it was enshrined by doctrine? Again, if you attempt to write on the Catholic Church, understand what the Catholic Church teaches. Oh, and the fundamental understanding that doctrine never changes would be nice, too.

3) Mel Gibson is a member of a Catholic sect that does not acknowledge Vatican II, therefore Rabbi Morris B. Margolies' point is completely invalid.
As to the New Testament accusation that the Jews killed Jesus, the Christian Bible is not a book of history. It was composed decades after the crucifixion, is inherently contradictory and was designed as a polemic writing in the propagation of the newly emergent religion.
Thanks for clearing up the fact that it's not a book of history because it was composed decades after the crucifixion. Let's just discredit the Torrah on the same account, shall we? Inherently contradictory? The New Testament Gospel accounts differ in minute detail, but not in anything important. Any person who tells a story is going to say things a little different.

Did the Jews kill Jesus? Yes!!! Yes, they did. Am I as responsible for that death as the Jews? Absolutely! He died for my sins, too. The enlightened Christian knows these things, and isn't about to start bombing synogogues because of how Jews are portrayed in a movie.

The story is what it is, Rabbi. Sorry.

Rabbi Margolies is one of those people who will only be satisfied if Christ is the only Jew in the movie.
posted by Josh at 3:44 AM

 What a crowd!

Winnipeg Sun: Same-sex spat: Opposing sides face off at rally
A crowd of about 3,000 -- including nuns, church groups and Christian bikers -- gathered at the Manitoba Legislature last night to protest gay marriage.

They were faced by some 50 same-sex marriage proponents chanting "shame on you" and waving rainbow flags.
3,000 against 50. My money's on the nuns alone.

And what is this? An honest gay man?
Speakers, who were canopied under a sign reading "marriage ... one man, one woman," included Provencher MP Vic Toews, Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen and Dennis Owens of the Frontier Centre.

Owens, an openly gay man and professional policy analyst, said gay marriage is bad social policy -- "considering all gay man are promiscuous."

"In my 32 years as a gay man, I've seen hundreds of gay couples come and go ... It's incumbent upon us to clean up our lifestyle ... On behalf of my gay peers, and without their permission, I apologize," he told the cheering crowd.

Owens said marriage was a way to force men into providing for their families. He said since gay men don't want kids, they shouldn't be allowed to marry.
Even if his philosophy on marriage is flawed (I don't think there are many men out there who feel "forced" to provde for their families), he gets to the root of the matter: marriage as an institution involves procreation.
Guinevere Giovanni, a drag queen in a tube dress and platform sandals, said the same-sex marriage debate isn't about the institution.

"It's about equality and choice," Giovanni said. "I can be who I want to be. I'm not hurting anybody."
I'm not going to stop you from dressing like a drag queen. Feel free to be whoever you want to be, and leave me free to respectfully disagree with your lifestyle.
posted by Josh at 3:21 AM

 When well-intentioned family members go bad

WorldNetDaily: Husband bars priest from brain-damaged wife

If this guy didn't attempt to strangle his wife to death like some believe, then he's just doing what he thinks is right, I guess. But geez... Denying a woman the sacraments when she is a member of the Church is horrible.

I believe the Monsignor when he says he didn't attempt to gain unauthorized access to the room, but I also wouldn't blame him much if he went in on his own.

Thank God for good priests like Thaddeus Malanowski. And shame on people like this guy.
posted by Josh at 3:11 AM

 Another unfortunate priest

The Strait Times (Asia): QC rejected for Catholic priest's trial
THE High Court rejected on Monday an application by a Queen's Counsel to be admitted to defend Catholic priest Joachim Kang Hock Chai, who faces 19 charges of misappropriating a total of $5.1 million in church funds.
Certainly a whole lot more than the priest from yesterday's news.
posted by Josh at 2:59 AM

 First time in 30 years!

AP: Wisconsin priests urging Catholic church to ok optional celibacy
AP: Catholic priests ask for celibacy dialogue
ABC 2 News: Priest Endorses Married Catholic Priests

And we see how far it got the group of priests three decades ago.
posted by Josh at 2:10 AM

     Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 Lying Liars...

Fox News: Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft

...seems to describe Franken pretty well.
posted by Josh at 8:23 PM

 This is our year!

Chicago Cubs acquire Womack from Rockies

Yes! Look out, NL Central!
posted by Josh at 7:28 PM

 Here's a new one...

USA Today: Gay marriages open gate to social stability

Gay people, according to the left, are so special that they deserve recognition far and above everybody else!

At least, according to this guy that's what we should do:
A decade ago, we bungled a comparable opportunity. When the issue of gays in the military arose, the Clinton administration framed the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell." That supposed compromise in fact served to reinforce the closeting of homosexuals in the military. We should have built a monument to the gays and lesbians who had given their lives in the armed forces; we should have honored them for making the ultimate sacrifice of any citizen.
Gee whiz, buddy. We happen to have monuments dedicated towards all soldiers who fought and died for the United States Armed Services. It's not like these memorials and their dedications exclude homosexuals. Now, that being the case, do you suggest that homosexuals deserve a special monument, resurrected by our tax dollars? I'm all for that, right after you give the "ok" to a special memorial dedicated exclusively to the white soldiers of America. Afterall, caucasions have been the largest group of people to die in military engagements. If you want to build a memorial somewhere, go at it. But use your own money.
The debate promises to be intense, protracted and ugly. At its end, the social stability of the country would be well-served by permitting gays and lesbians to join in formal domestic partnerships. Gay marriage, endorsed by the state, rewards a strain of social conservatism that benefits families, schools, workplaces and congregations.
How? I've not seen one convincing argument (including Andrew Sullivan's) that makes me throw up my hands and ultimately declare, "Gay marriage is a benefit to society!" Perhaps you would have been better served writing me an article on why I should support it, instead of throwing in a blanket statement that I've tried hard to prove.
Centuries, literally millennia, of opposition to homosexuality have done nothing to extinguish it, because, whether as a matter of biology or psychology, it is plainly part of the human equation. What the slanders and excommunications and hate crimes have accomplished is to drive homosexuality underground, or into some vague limbo in which daily life is a stilted exercise in don't ask, don't tell.
As I've said many a time, there is no remote bit of evidence that homosexuality is biological. It is entirely psychological/sociological. I'll dance a jig in a g-string if anybody ever proves differently. And I'm sorry, Samuel, but the days when homosexuals were persecuted is long past us. People are becoming more tolerant and accepting, as they should be.
The AIDS epidemic took hold and spread in America largely because gay male culture found its expression in the anonymous sex and multiple partners of the bathhouse scene. As if to compensate for straight society's refusal to allow them the prosaic forms of domesticity, many gay men disparaged monogamy itself as a boring heterosexual chore.
Aha! So Sammy asserts that homosexual promiscuity is/was the direct result of the dominant culture. Classic liberal tactic; ignore the God-given free will of an individual, and blame it all on society. Good one. Never seen that before.
But in the broader public debate now burgeoning, the conservative stance shapes up to be a definition of marriage that precludes homosexuals. Even after the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation protecting gays and lesbians in many states and cities, even after the extension of pension and health benefits by numerous public and private employers to homosexual couples, even after the emergence of gay TV stars and shows, the prospect of marriage stirs some ancient fears and hatreds.
Am I supposed to be proud or excited by the fact that in places like Ireland, Catholics can't religiously voice opposition to gay marriage under the threat of imprisonment? Is that progress? Certainly, no public group should be allowed to discriminate against gays, and I don't argue that this isn't a good thing. And private companies have the right to extend health coverage and benefits to domestic partners if they so choose. That's their private decision, not a public one. I still wonder what "ancient fears and hatreds" are being evoked by increasing gay rights, though. Other than my fear that the left will continue to take until all of our societal norms are mutated and mangled beyond recognition.
Along with demagogues and bigots and opportunists, millions of men and women of principle and piety deplore the movement toward same-sex marriage. They must realize that their own moral opposition to it can coexist with federal or state statutes permitting it. The Catholic Church deems divorce a sin even as civil law allows it. Orthodox and Conservative Jewish rabbis will not perform interfaith wedding ceremonies even as half of American Jews marry gentiles.
Yet another individual who either understands little of the Catholic faith, or doesn't care to be intellectually honest. The Church deems divorce as a sin, yes, but even the Church acknowledges grounds for annulment. Thus, divorce is an acceptable civil institution (even if it is abused by the American publiic).
Practicing a religion means joining a voluntary association and choosing to abide by its doctrines. Observers of America as far back as de Toqueville have ascribed a good deal of our vigorous public life to the freedom of church and state from one another. Let it be so on the matter of gay marriage.
Don't I have a moral obligation to speak out if my religious conviction requires it? Don't I have an obligation to hold to the moral code I claim I profess? If I were to do anything otherwise, leftists like Freedman would call me a hypocrite.

I was tempted to give this an Absurdity award, but I already did that this week. Besides, it's not really all that absurd. It just does little to advance the argument.

posted by Josh at 7:26 PM

 People can't make mistakes?

Reuters: Phish Bassist Arrested for Child Endangerment

We must not have the full story here, because from what it sounds like, father and daughter just wandered away from each other. Let me tell you, this is quite easy to do at a packed Dead show. So why is it illegal for a person to make a mistake?
posted by Josh at 4:01 PM

 How probable is this?

Reuters: Teen Dies After Prized Fish Stuck in Throat
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian teenager died of suffocation after a fish he caught jumped out of his hands and lodged in his throat, newspapers reported on Tuesday.
posted by Josh at 3:58 PM

 And now, some good news...

Latin America Press: Sandinistas mend fences with Catholic leaders
After 24 years of mutual distrust and violent squabbles, leaders of Nicaragua's Catholic Church and the country's Sandinista National Liberation Front have embarked on a new relationship. Former President Daniel Ortega has asked the church's forgiveness, and a top Catholic official blessed a July 19 celebration marking the anniversary of the 1979 triumph of the Sandinista revolution.
Always good to see fences mended, instead of knocked down. I think we're seeing too much of that lately.
posted by Josh at 2:26 AM

 And they wonder why we aren't promoting change... Hong Kong activists disrupt Catholic mass
On Sunday, eight activists struggled with church officials as six of them shouted at worshipers for about 10 minutes during a mass at the Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Two female demonstrators also kissed inside the church.
"In the name of social acceptance, let's all go in to a church and disrupt a religious observance! Yeah, cause then they'll like us... And stuff... **I HATE YOU MOM AND DAD!**"
"It was only a brief disruption, but the Catholic officials are supporting a stance that trespasses our rights every moment, every day," said protest organizer Noel Chen.
Really? I didn't know that anyone had a right to marriage. Is this some sort of Chinese thing, where individuals are guaranteed the right to marry? Heck, in China I can't even decide to have more than one child.

Nice try, gay China, but you're failing just as bad as gay America.
posted by Josh at 2:21 AM

 A question...

NBC 12, Florida: Catholic Priest arrested

What does a celibate priest, who gets paid in addition to room and board, need/do with $400,000?
posted by Josh at 2:11 AM

 We love Ah-nold!

We Love Arnold is a website filled with Arnold's poor speaking. Some of the things he says are pretty classic, but he's still riding Dubya's second.
posted by Josh at 1:53 AM

     Monday, August 18, 2003
 I really need an SACD player

Reuters: CD Reissues Reveal Another Side of Bob Dylan

It's a pretty safe bet. If you're Sony and pushing your big new SACD audio format, go with a few albums that will always sell regardless.

Looks like I will be a couple hundred dollars poorer anyway, just because of the fact that the reissues have been re-set a bit more precisely on CD from the original analog recordings.

Anything for Dylan albums I've been listening to for over half of my brief life!
posted by Josh at 8:15 PM

 I knew it!

On the day of the "Blackout of 2003" (a slogan that still cracks me up) I was talking with a friend and I said, "No matter what caused it, expect Al Qaida to take the blame."

It appears as if the day has come for them to make their claim.

World Al Qaida claims responsibility for blackout
posted by Josh at 6:12 PM

 A Legend Remembered

I don't know what brought it on, but I suddenly thought about the great Spuds MacKenzie today. And then I thought, naturally, Where is he now? Thank goodness the people at InsideJokeTV have figured it out for us at the Where Are They Now - Spuds MacKenzie page.

I am a Joe Camel/Spuds MacKenzie kid, and for some reason I wasn't a teenage smoker or drinker. Where did society and commercialism fail me?

Or maybe we're not automatons after all, and we alone are responsible for our decisions.

Naah, can't be.

At any rate, long live Spuds MacKenzie!
posted by Josh at 5:41 PM

 Give 'em hell, Kathy

Kathy Shaidle over at Relapsed Catholic has recently been fighting the good fight against a couple of her fellow Canadian countrymen over the gay marriage issue.

I, for the most part, have stopped this because I can't really find anything new to say on the topic. Other bloggers continue to do a pefectly fine job of drawing out the hypocrisy and dishonesty I have found so many times.

So, go Kathy. Keep up the good work.
posted by Josh at 12:53 PM

     Sunday, August 17, 2003
 Elvis is still good for something!

MSNBC: Will 'Saddam Elvis' insult Iraqis?
TIKRIT, Iraq, Aug. 17 - Saddam Hussein has his head tossed back, his blonde locks flowing and a filter-tipped cigarette dangling coquettishly between his delicate fingers. Meet "Zsa Zsa Saddam," one U.S. officer's latest ploy in the four-month hunt for the fugitive dictator. In a campaign set to start on Monday, U.S. forces plan to put up posters around Saddam's hometown of Tikrit showing his face superimposed on Hollywood heroines and other stars in an attempt to enrage his followers and draw them out.

posted by Josh at 3:06 PM

 Personality types

Fr. Jim Tucker over at Dappled Things posted his Myers-Briggs type, so I figured I'd do the same:

Your personality type is INTJ.

Introverted (I) 79% Extraverted (E) 21%
Intuitive (N) 59% Sensing (S) 41%
Thinking (T) 65% Feeling (F) 35%
Judging (J) 59% Perceiving (P) 41%

From the webpage's info on my career opportunities/suggestions:
More so than any other personality type, INTJs are brilliant when it comes to grasping complex theories and applying them to problems to come up with long-term strategies. Since this type of "strategizing" is the central focus and drive of the INTJ, there is a happy match between desire and ability in this type. Accordingly, the INTJ is happiest and most effective in careers which allow this type of processing, and which promote an environment in which the INTJ is given a lot of autonomy over their daily lives.

Possible Career Paths for the INTJ:

Professors and Teachers
Medical Doctors / Dentists
Corporate Strategists and Organization Builders
Business Administrators / Managers
Military Leaders
Lawyers / Attorneys
Computer Programmers, Systems Analysts and Computer Specialists
Probably right on target for me, as I have studied science and at one point was headed towards an M.D. I've also considered getting a PhD and teaching college.

I think in terms of religious vocations, this points me towards a group I've become very interested in: the Jesuits.

posted by Josh at 2:57 PM

 Thank God the Church is skeptical

The Vindicator (Youngstown, OH): CAMPBELL STATUE It's no miracle, but it's nice, officials say

Sounds reasonable to me.
posted by Josh at 2:13 AM

     Saturday, August 16, 2003
 I really dislike Elvis.

The Milwaukee Channel: Fans Marking 26th Anniversary Of Elvis' Death
A local Catholic church will even hold an Elvis Mass, although Elvis wasn't Catholic.
The man's contribution to popular culture is undeniable. But his songs are awful. He really had no musical talent. And he is, in a lot of ways, your prototype for the look-good-sound-awful hacks that dominate the music scene today.

Thanks, Elvis. Now move along.
posted by Josh at 4:05 PM

 Gold-leaf glows!

The Beacon Journal: Faithful flock to see statues

Gee. If I shine a flashlight -- or any sort of light -- on gold-leaf, it's going to send off a "glow." Show me a spooky night-lightesque picture in the dark, though, and I'll be more inclined to believe.
posted by Josh at 3:56 PM

 Hillary Sillary

Scrappleface: Hillary: Power Grid Became Antiquated Last Year

Gotta love Scrappleface for pinning it to dishonest whiners. This piece of satire comes as a reaction to Hillary's claim that Bush was largely responsible for the "Blackout of 2003" (A phrase I first heard from Dan Rather. I almost fell off the couch and on to the dog, I was laughing so hard. Need we create a dramatic name for everything?)

This has become the #1 Liberal Tactic: If we can't beat 'em through rational discourse, let's smear 'em instead!
posted by Josh at 2:20 AM

     Friday, August 15, 2003
 In praise of Mary (from the mainstream media!!)

Palm Beach Post: Humanity was Mary's best gift

Imagine that...
posted by Josh at 9:34 PM

 The 'ole "Christianity must be anti-intellectual!" bit

NY Times: Believe It, or Not?

You've done it, Nicholas Kristof! You've won the coveted "Saint Some Days Absurdity of the Week" award!
Today marks the Roman Catholics' Feast of the Assumption, honoring the moment that they believe God brought the Virgin Mary into Heaven. So here's a fact appropriate for the day: Americans are three times as likely to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent) as in evolution (28 percent).
The general fact of the matter is that American society is a whole heck of a lot more "in tune" with the fundamental principles of Christianity than they are science. The intricacies of evolution take much study and effort to understand, and the overwhelming majority of the population hasn't taken the time to even consider what evolution is. Most people, though, say, "We descened from apes! No, can't be!"

Too bad for them evolution is the tenant of modern biology, and much "fact" has evolved out of this supposed "theory" (which really isn't a theory at all -- the specifics are yet to be worked out, but I agree with the Holy Father: "Evolution is more than just a theory"). But I digress.
So this day is an opportunity to look at perhaps the most fundamental divide between America and the rest of the industrialized world: faith. Religion remains central to American life, and is getting more so, in a way that is true of no other industrialized country, with the possible exception of South Korea.
Kristof, in all of his thinking glory, implies that this is a bad thing. That America should necessarily strive to be like the French, who have largely been Catholic in name only.
The Virgin Mary is an interesting prism through which to examine America's emphasis on faith because most Biblical scholars regard the evidence for the Virgin Birth, and for Mary's assumption into Heaven (which was proclaimed as Catholic dogma only in 1950), as so shaky that it pretty much has to be a leap of faith.
Gee whiz, buddy, isn't the acceptance of Christ as Messiah a "leap of faith," too? Isn't the cornerstone to Christianity -- or any religion, for that matter -- faith? Thanks for taking time to point out the obvious.
But mostly, I'm troubled by the way the great intellectual traditions of Catholic and Protestant churches alike are withering, leaving the scholarly and religious worlds increasingly antagonistic. I worry partly because of the time I've spent with self-satisfied and unquestioning mullahs and imams, for the Islamic world is in crisis today in large part because of a similar drift away from a rich intellectual tradition and toward the mystical. The heart is a wonderful organ, but so is the brain.
You've never read C.S. Lewis, Nicky boy. Never read Thomas Aquinas. Apparently, you've never gone very far towards understanding anything about Christianity. Philosopy -- "the brain" -- is so important to the Church that anyone considering a priestly life must be well trained in the discipline. And furthermore, what's so bad about mysticism? Mysticism is another form of "knowledge." You're apparently a good little liberal, so don't insult the minority American Buddhists who acknowledge this and hold it as key.

Oh, and you might want to do a little reading on Islam, since you mentioned it. You won't have to look very far before you realize that they've never had a "rich intellectual tradition" comprable to our Western Enlightenment. Had they, religious tolerants like yourself would be praised in the Arab world instead of shot at.
posted by Josh at 9:18 PM

     Thursday, August 14, 2003
 More Passion

Jewsweek: In defense of Mel Gibson

Apparently, Gibson has made some changes based upon the response he's been getting.
posted by Josh at 1:30 PM

 Beatification underway

Puerto Rico Wow!: Catholic Church begins process to beatify Rafael Cordero

No, Rafael Cordero is not a former baseball player.
posted by Josh at 1:18 PM

 Hugh Hewitt's still fightin' Anti-Catholic Test in the U.S. Senate

He has apparently taken this issue to heart. Good for him. Pryor and Estrada were absolutely screwed by our elected officials.
posted by Josh at 1:10 PM

     Wednesday, August 13, 2003

MSNBC: Piazza homers in return as Mets win

The article isn't as interesting as the picture. I have never seen a bat do something quite like that.
posted by Josh at 11:19 PM

 We all sin, people. Gay, straight, crooked or otherwise... Feature: Once A Catholic?

Finally, a homosexual individual who gets at least part of what I mean when I ask, "What did you expect out of the Vatican?"
It is suggested that the certificate be displayed proudly in the hallway, porch or be at hand to shoo away those pesky bible wielding door steppers. To some gays it may be surprising that such a reaction has taken a long time in coming, while others find the idea of being gay and a member of an orthodox church, as a paradox in itself.

As one gay person said to me on the subject: "Would a black person join a branch of the Klu Klux Klan because they liked the music and robes?"
It's not really a paradox, per say, because the Church welcomes homosexual individuals in to the fold. And the Church doesn't hate gays. More dishonest rhetoric from people who don't understand - or, more likely, don't care to understand - that the Church embraces every individual, regardless of sexual orientation.

But finally, I have it! Someone from the gay community who gets the point: homosexuals shouldn't have expected the Vatican to say anything other than what they did.

Sadly, any respect I might have developed for Richard Bevan is dashed as he continues in reference to a gay Catholic who finds it difficult to break from the Church:
Does Michael not think that by being loyal to a religion that says no matter how charitable, good natured or philanthropic you may be, you're still a sinner - is a terrible blow to self-esteem? Especially when many heterosexual church members may be greater sinners themselves!
They very well might be! For the love of Christ, we're all sinners! The Church doesn't believe that heteros walk on water. A terrible blow to self-esteem? This is the Catholic religion we're talking about here, not an evening with Tony Robbins. Through the acknowledgement of sin, we have taken the first step towards self-mastery. It's a battle we all fight daily. If it helps out your "self-esteem" any, Richard, we're all in this together.

I am becoming more and more convinced that homosexuals define themselves exclusively through the sexual act, and that's why they fail to realize that the Catholic Church doesn't "hate" them.
posted by Josh at 9:53 AM

 I'm callin' Pryor a good Catholic

Democratic Underground: Who Are You Callin' a Good Catholic?

Glenn M. Edwards calls himself a historian and a Catholic. Perhaps he should become a little better acquainted with history and his own Church's teachings.

Catholics are free to weigh the merits of a papal position and either accept or respectfully disagree. The current pope's position on the death penalty, which Pryor does not necessarily share, must be treated the same way. If William H. Pryor disagrees with John Paul's opinion, this does not put him at odds with the Church. He hasn't fallen out of communion.

However, a pro-abortionist Catholic has. This is why bishops like Sean O'Malley have asked that pro-choice Catholics not take Holy Communion.

Resistance to abortion is a doctrinal element of the Church, never to be changed. And, should a person wish to consider himself a "good Catholic," he is thus expected to agree with the Church's teachings. Before I took my Christian vocation seriously, I held a neutral stance on the issue, believing that my views shouldn't influence others (I know now that my entire reasoning and logic was flawed here, and had I never come in to the Church I should have changed my opinion based upon purely philosophical grounds). But upon coming in to full communion with the faith, I no longer had the luxury of apathy.

Glenn Edwards wrongly asserts:
At this point I should point out that I have been a Catholic all my life, and in spite of attempts to join other faiths I have been unable to do so. I can no more cease my Catholicism than I can flap my arms and fly away. And as a Catholic I have reservations about the papal teaching on abortion, hearkening back to the great theologian of the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas, who held that human life did not begin at conception but rather when the fetus was infused with a soul. This could not happen, according to Aquinas, until the fetus was developed enough to support cognition. Since Aquinas is the closest the Catholic Church has to an official theologian, his words should carry tremendous weight with all members of our church.
Having heard this contorted, twisted view of Aquinas in the past, I decided to do a little research on the issue. I found a very well-written piece by Fr. George Pritchett, in which he states the following:
While St. Thomas Aquinas, relying on the biology of Aristotle, thought that the soul was not infused into the body until at least 40 days after conception, he always taught that procured abortion was a grave evil, a violation of natural law and always wrong, no matter when a soul may be infused into the developing child's body. And that has been the constant teaching of the Church for two millennia.
Here is yet another classic example of a liberal's attempt to misrepresent the "whole" of an argument for personal gain just because a part of it seemingly supports a liberal stance. While we see Aquinas writing under a philosophical trend, the fact still remains: abortion is - and always has been - wrong in the eyes of Aquinas and his Church. The Church Fathers opposed abortion long before St. Thomas Aquinas came on to the stage, and Aquinas wasn't out to revolutionize the fundamental principles of the faith. Or was he, Mr. Edwards? And just to clear up Edwards' confusion, the Church's position on abortion isn't John Paul II's "papal teaching," obviously, since it had already been so deeply rooted in the faith long before JPII ever came in to the picture.
Nonetheless, I am willing to accept the papal teaching on abortion, at least provisionally, if only as a matter of discipline, but I believe that Catholic politicians in the United States are correct to follow a pro-choice position because in the matter of abortion there is the conflict of two goods: the fetus's right to life and the woman's right to control over her own body.
Aha! Now we get to the stuff I mentioned above (about my reluctance to declare one way or the other on the abortion debate before I came in to full communion). Tell me, Mr. Edwards: if I have the right to abort a baby because "it's my body, it's my life," why don't I have the right to abandon it after birth? Why shouldn't I be allowed to do whatever I want? Screw the helpless, right?

Edwards then proceeds on with classic Dubya bashing, all of which means nothing to me and displays a typical partisan, leftist "nah nah! boogeyman!" tone. People who would defend Clinton and then go after Bush need to take a long look in the mirror before they start criticizing anybody.

I also find his stance on the "history" of Christ to be unmoving and just plain silly. His whole Jesus as "the son of Loki, the Norse god of mischief" line is as ridiculous as me questioning whether or not the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is or isn't an alien from the planet Melmack (isn't that statement just as non-justifiable given his scenario?). Christ himself followed the Jewish tradition as is verified by scripture and everything else we have on the man. Your reductionist strategy, Glenn, is defeated by one practical tool that God gave (most of) us: common sense.

He ends the article with a real gem, though:
One other thing. I wish Chris Matthews would stop the gratuitous references to his Catholic religion. All he does is embarrass the rest of us.
The same can be said to you, Mr. Edwards.

posted by Josh at 9:14 AM

 More Passion-ate crazies

USA Today: Passions collide over movie about Jesus' last day
A Jewish human rights organization in Los Angeles already has received dozens of hate calls and letters based on news reports on the film, the Simon Wiesenthal Center told Reuters news service Tuesday.
Well then, it must be true! Gibson's film must be anti-Semitic.

Seriously, folks, who is going to send letters to a Jewish organization over a movie they haven't even seen yet? I'll tell you: people who have an irrational hatred for Jews to begin with.

If people honestly believe that a movie is going to make me hate somebody any more or any less than I already do, then there's no help for them.
posted by Josh at 4:05 AM

 Liberal dissent? - Canada's Homosexual Marriage Bill Imperiled by Liberal Defections
( - A spokesman for Canadian Catholic Bishops Tuesday said he was encouraged by news that nearly 50 liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) were opposed to legislation to legalize homosexual marriage throughout the nation.
I expect this sort of thing, actually. I think we'll see it from our own Democrats when the issue becomes large enough. Social moderates are more likely to understand that the legalization of gay marriage or civil union is too radical.

At least, I hope I'm right.
posted by Josh at 4:01 AM

 More dishonesty

Malta Media: Gays say Vatican document encourages homophobia
The movement said that instead of promoting prejudice, discrimination and violence, the Church should promote the values of tolerance and love.
I don't know why I keep pointing out instances of this in the popular media. But I find it particularly interesting that this underhanded, intellectually dishonest tactic isn't limited exclusively to American homosexual groups.

Perhaps the Vatican's statement was too dead-on for these groups to attack honestly.
posted by Josh at 3:56 AM

 And you thought I supported Gary Coleman!

Reuters: Porn film "actress" in the mix

Errr... Yeah... She's probably a bigger joke than old Gary...
posted by Josh at 3:27 AM

     Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 What needs to happen everywhere

The Cincinnati Enquirer: Archdiocese volunteers must pass criminal history check

Other organizations like the Boy Scouts, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Girl Scouts require criminal background checks in order to weed out sex offenders. Believe it or not, PUBLIC SCHOOLS require this. So, sounds like a logical move for the Church to adopt nationwide.
posted by Josh at 9:20 PM

 More Passion

E! Online: Mel's Film Stirs More "Passion"
Mel Gibson's film about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus is "the truth" and/or the potential catalyst for "turn[ing] back the clock on decades of positive progress" between Jews and Christians.
Err.. Why is it that this movie draws horrible introductions from writers covering the controversy? It's baffling. A couple of days ago, I caught another example of a horrible introductory paragraph.

So, yeah, the movie is either true AND will damage Jewish-Christian relations, or it's false AND will damage Jewish-Christian relations.

Isn't it possible that it's true AND won't damage the relationships between anybody, because people aren't stupid and know that it wasn't only the Jews who killed Jesus?
The ADL begs to differ, calling on Gibson to "modify" his film until it is "historically accurate, theologically sound and free of any anti-Semitic message," per a statement from the group's national director, Abraham H. Foxman.
I suppose the ADL and Mr. Foxman here will only be satisfied if Mel edits in a few "extras" yelling and shouting for the death of Christ. You know, like Native Americans and maybe a few Eskimoes, and heck, maybe even one or two of the Village People. I vote for the fireman/policeman combo.

posted by Josh at 9:12 PM

saint some days

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me
Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
Does in fact please you.
And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
Though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though, I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, And you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.

-- Thomas Merton


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