Tuesday, September 30, 2003
 Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Take Game 1 from Atlanta, 4-2.

Kerry Wood

This is our year. Believe.

Another interesting point: Cubs fans made this the first sold-out Divisonal Series game in years. We also took over Roberto Clemente field in Puerto Rico earlier this year, and always make Miller Park in Milwaukee Wrigley Field North. If there's any doubt as to who the best fans in baseball - and perhaps in all of sports - are, then let that doubt be put to rest!
posted by Josh at 11:02 PM

     Monday, September 29, 2003
 Good for them!

Reuters: Texas Conservative Group Sets Cookie Price on Race
DALLAS (Reuters) - Southern Methodist University said on Thursday it shut down a bake sale on campus by a conservative political group that sold cookies at different prices, based on a customer's race and gender.

The Young Conservatives of Texas, a nonpartisan group that mostly campaigns for Republican-backed policies and candidates, said the bake sale was aimed at bringing attention to what it sees as flaws in affirmative action policies. The university said the group's actions were offensive.

Cookies were priced at $1 for white males, 75 cents for white females, 50 cents for Hispanics and 25 cents for blacks.
You have to love these guys for making a mockery out of a social system using a bake-sale. And the fact that the university had to shut them down is even more hilarious.

Good job, Young Conservatives of Texas. I salute you.

posted by Josh at 2:17 AM

     Sunday, September 28, 2003
 From the 'Liberal Catholics on the march' file

Newsday: Letting Their Voice Be Heard
"If we are dangerous, radical people, our church needs a whole lot more of us dangerous people," said Bartley. But he and many others in the mostly older crowd pointed out that more young people were needed."
I'm having a Chestertonian moment! Don't dangerous, radical people, claiming to represent the necesarry and needed change in an institution, always insist that they need to increase their numbers in order to push their dangerous, radical agenda?
posted by Josh at 2:48 AM

 Altar girls, applause, and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist: They're not going anywhere

Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh): Women fill key roles in Catholic churches, feel strongly about participation

For all of those who got their hopes up about the report concerning altar girls, you're in for a disappointment.
Not everyone in the church views altar girls that way. Last week there were reports, some overblown, about a draft document from the Vatican's liturgical office that took a negative tone toward altar girls, who were approved by the Vatican only in 1994.

A group of cardinals and bishops has sent that draft back for revision, and its bottom line seems to have been only that a priest could not be forced to use altar girls against his will.
This is basically what the original report sounded like to me; the priest has the power to deny altar girls the ability to serve. I can't imagine why the individual priest would do so, but it's fine by me if we leave it up to his discretion.
The Vatican's liturgy office is considered one of the most conservative strongholds in the Roman curia. In this case, some of its proposed rules appeared to be more Catholic than the pope: The same draft that took a negative tone toward altar girls would have banned all applause and dance inside the church. Both are common at papal Masses.

"Now someone is going to have to tell the pope he can't do this," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America and author of a book on the Vatican bureaucracy.
These things won't change either.
In 1994, the Vatican said the decision to allow altar girls was up to each diocesan bishop. In the United States, all but a tiny handful immediately welcomed them. The bishops who declined said they wanted to preserve altar service as a pathway to priesthood.

But while altar service had a vital vocational role in some eras, it has been less important since Vatican II, said the Rev. James Wehner, rector of St. Paul Seminary in Crafton. Decades ago, a priest might identify promising altar boys and encourage them to enter a minor seminary in eighth grade. But minor seminaries have virtually disappeared since 1970. And John Paul has encouraged other ministries that have become new doorways to priesthood, he said.

In the 1990s, entering seminarians were usually college graduates who had experienced a renewal of faith as an adult, Wehner said. Since the turn of the millennium, the age of Pittsburgh's entering seminarians has moderated down to the early 20s, but their call rarely stems directly from altar service.
Thus defeating the most common argument in favor of banning girls from serving at a Mass.

The bottom line is that once you allow something, it shouldn't be revoked. If the Church allows certain things, people are naturally going to be shocked and offended by the prospect of change.

posted by Josh at 2:31 AM

 Why we no longer read poetry

Do you dislike modern poetry? Do you make every attempt to avoid it all costs, for fear that you might gag on self-loathing, or worse, self-celebration? As one who has studied literature for a while, I don't hesitate to say that I dislike the overwhelming majority of it and don't bother with the art form, save for the "canonized" works that form the backbone of English letters.

That's why I was extremely refreshed by professor J.S. Salemi's 2001 lecture entitled "Why Poetry is Dying". He isn't afraid to target the liberal notions of relativism in terms of what constitutes "good" and "bad" poetry. He isn't concerned with political correctness. Salemi is simply worried that a great medium is being destroyed by mediocrity, and I love him for it.
posted by Josh at 2:10 AM

 Political compass

Take the test and see where you line up against some of the world's leaders, past and present. Then you can compare yourself to me.

(Can you believe I mis-spelled "compass"? I expect someone to show up at the door and demand my Eagle Scout Card be returned).
posted by Josh at 12:05 AM

     Saturday, September 27, 2003
 We did it!
Dusty Baker

The Chicago Cubs won the NL Central tonight after taking both games of a double-header, 4-2 & 7-2.

I wasn't in Wrigleyville for the celebration unfortunately (because all of my contacts in Chicago were busy with non-baseball related stuff), but according to the reports, the celebration was safe and responsible. No problems were reported, and everybody behaved themselves.

We celebrate tonight and then get ready for the Atlanta Braves, a team the Cubs have bested the past couple of years in regular season play (they can't hit our pitching). It will be a good season, and for once both Cubs fans and players aren't merely satisfied with making the playoffs. We want to win it all. And the pieces are in place, so we will see.
posted by Josh at 8:19 PM

 Don't look now, but...

...if the Cubs can win the second game of their double-header with the Pittsburgh Pirates, they will win the division outright after Houston lost its second in a row to the hapless Milwaukee Brewers.

Cubs and Red Sox in the playoffs in the same year? Unbelievable.
posted by Josh at 3:29 PM

     Friday, September 26, 2003
 The Promise of Padre Pio

"...I will stand at the gates of Heaven but will not go through them until all my spiritual children have entered."

Other great ones:

'I love my Spiritual Children as much as my own soul and even more.'
'Once I take a soul on, I also take on their entire family as my spiritual children.'
'To my Spiritual Children, my prayers for you will never be lacking.'
'If one of my spiritual children ever goes astray, I shall leave my flock and seek him out.'

(From Padre Pio Today)
posted by Josh at 4:04 AM

 Letters to Wendy's

I spent part of this evening with Joe Wenderoth's 2000 release, Letters to Wendy's.

There's something appealing about philosophical ramblings and random musings focused around a big fast-food chain like Wendy's. We all know Wendy's, whether we eat there often or not, and it is always interesting when "high" culture meets "low" culture.

While I found this book to be rather entertaining (and also a quick read; I was finished in a little over 1 1/2 hrs), the work loses its novelty fast. Humor and shock - two devices employed throughout the work - become laborious and difficult to enjoy after a while. I feel as if I would have read everything in the book just by perusing the first 10 pages.

So that's what I recommend you do with this book. Read it while you stand there in the bookstore, and then move on.

This title earns the Saint Some Days Rating of 2 out of 5 stars
posted by Josh at 2:05 AM

 Don't be conned by folks looking for your eBay info

MSNBC: EBay thief reveals tricks of the trade
posted by Josh at 1:56 AM

     Thursday, September 25, 2003
 For all you fans of quirky studies...

Check out Julian Dibbel's blog entitled "Play Money." The point behind it is to chronicle how online gaming economies work, both in online money and in good old fashioned hard currency.

I first came in to contact with Julian via a book he wrote entitled My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World which is a chronicle of one of the oldest online communities, LambdaMoo (an interesting group of folks inhabit LambdaMoo, including me for a number of years, but you will hardly find any candidates for Sainthood in the community. Heck, you'll probably find more crazy athiests than you will men and women of any religion).

A good blog on an interesting subject.
posted by Josh at 1:09 AM

     Wednesday, September 24, 2003
 Kazaa to Music labels: We can be hateful and mean-spirited too!

MSNBC: Kazaa turns tables on record labels
SHARMAN NETWORKS LTD., the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a federal lawsuit Monday accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorized versions of its software in their efforts to root out users. Entertainment companies have offered bogus versions of copyright works and sent online messages to users.

posted by Josh at 3:50 PM

 The Culture Wars, Toronto Cardinals, and Rush's Brother

As Kathy Shaidle over at Relapsed Catholic points out, our clergy recognize that a time is coming when Christians will be fed to the lawyers and judges instead of the lions for speaking their minds against alternative lifestyles and systems of morality that do not fit in to a politically correct box.

This has been a long time coming, and David Limbaugh nicely chronicles the progression of modern Christian persecution in his latest work, Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity.

I first heard about Mr. Limbaugh's book via Sean Hannity, who gives it high praise. Alan Colmes, the not-so-bright token liberal foil to Hannity, kept asking David Limbaugh in an interview on Hannity and Colmes about how his thesis could possibly be true if some liberals were Christians. Limbaugh obviously thought this question as ridiculous as me, because he didn't do a very good job of answering it.

That some liberals are active Christians is undeniable. But what's also undeniable is that those who threaten Christianity in the public forum are always the leftist liberal loonies who do not hesitate to trample on Christianity in the name of acceptance and unity. One need only have been conscious for the past year to see this in action; I've chronicled much of it in the past 4 months of this blog's existence. Either Alan Colmes is in denial, or he has been living under Hillary's desk and only comes out when Sean needs to tape the TV show.

From what I have been able to read of Persecution so far, I am greatly impressed. Limbaugh's subject matter isn't as easily dismissed as the liberals who attack it would have you believe. Check it out in passing at a bookstore or get it from the library. Or heck, buy it if you can afford it. It's worth the effort.
posted by Josh at 2:23 PM

 Bishop shows backbone: banks and activists whine

CBC News: Catholic Church cuts ties with VanCity
Meanwhile, VanCity board member Reva Dexter says she's disappointed with the church's move.

"We took a stand. We're expressing our values and I'm very sorry if people feel that that's not within their liking," she says.
Hrmm, maybe because your 'values' are constructed only to make money, and not to stand up for what is right according to Christianity? Yeah, that could be it.
posted by Josh at 1:14 PM

 Reason #4,432,232 that our activist, idiot courts threaten freedom and sanity

Reuters: U.S. Court Blocks Anti-Telemarketing List
posted by Josh at 1:01 PM

 Yesterday was the Memorial of Padre Pio

I generally don't post on memorials because there are plenty of others in the St. Blogosphere that do, but I just wanted to take a minute and comment on one of my favorite saints.

Fr. Sibley has plenty on Padre Pio, including this cute anecdote:
There's a joke in Italy that goes something like this... If you have a small prayer request, like to pass an exam, or that your stomachache might go away - you pray to Jesus. If you have one that is a bit bigger, like that you might find a job or that you might have a safe trip during a snowstorm - you pray to Our Lady (La Madonna!!) But if you have a really big prayer request - for something like a dying child, or the conversion of a hardened sinner - you pray to Padre Pio...
Two other interesting facts I found via links provided by Fr. Sibley:
  • In the last few years of his life, Padre Pio ate only 1 ounce of food per day.
  • Besides a short nap in the afternoon, Padre Pio slept only 1.5 hrs per night.
  • I try and pray St. Pio's chaplet daily because it is simple and takes all of about 3 minutes to do correctly. Simply say three Our Father's, three Hail Mary's, and three Glory Be's and you're good to go.
    posted by Josh at 2:29 AM

     Neuroscience 100

    Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain ScienceFor those of you who like to learn something new every now and then, I recommend John Fleischman's new effort, Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science.

    Neuroscience can be daunting to those who aren't inclined towards the sciences, but it's also one of the most fascinating topics in biology. The thing about this book is that it teaches the basics of brain science to the layman.

    It does this through the story of Phineas Gage, who had an iron rod driven through his skull in a construction accident in 1848. He lived, and what we've been able to learn about the brain from his misfortune has been invaluable to the field.

    The Saint Some Days rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    posted by Josh at 2:09 AM

         Monday, September 22, 2003
     Mark Prior, Cubs ace. Traitor? Closet Cardinals fan? You decide.

    A picture of Mark Prior a few years ago.

    Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are now in FIRST PLACE.
    posted by Josh at 11:04 PM

     A newfound respect for Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks

    Herald-Sun: Madonna-Britney kiss angers Stevie

    Even if I am not a fan, Stevie hits the nail on the head concerning modern music and sexuality as it is being canned and sold to the masses:
    "I personally have never been to a strip club, but I turn on MTV and see in every single video what it must be like to be at a strip club," Nicks said.

    "I think the mystery is gone, and if you have no mystery, then you aren't even sexy.

    "Real sexuality and sensuality is in the music, and all these girls, vis-a-vis, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and on and on, should go back to writing songs and start over because it won't last and they won't last.

    "When they are 55, they won't be around and that's sad because I think a lot of those girls are very talented. But they are signing their own death warrants."

    Nicks revealed Madonna asked Jennifer Lopez to be in the smoochy routine, but J.Lo told Madge to kiss something else.
    Bob Dylan once commented that he felt a bit "burlesque," getting on the stage every night in front of thousands of staring eyes. I can't imagine how these pop girls feel when they get on stage all whored out. Maybe they like it, but I'd imagine it to be demeaning and I think it'd certainly make anyone feel dirty. The feminist stripper will tell you that it's all about power, using the body to captivate the attention of the crowd, but that's why Nicks' other comments are so important.

    Musicians who do not write their own songs like Britney or Aguilera are essentially signing their own death warrants, because when they're flabby old ladies with wrinkles that even BoTox can't erase, nobody will give a damn what it is they're saying. They've sold an image that can't stand long after their beauty fades, and they have no backup plan. They aren't musicians. They aren't songwriters. They're nothing but sex.

    Britney, Christina, and the rest of them employ the same strategy as the strip show; sure they're "dancing," but people don't really come to see their athletic psuedo-jazz ballerina acts. They come to see nudity.

    Yet I think Stevie - and myself - operate under a conviction foreign to these acts. We believe that popular music ought to stand for something, and ought to be celebrated as a true and valid art form as deserving of respect as painting, writing, sculpture, or the sonata.

    Too bad our culture has turned music in to temporal crap whose sole desire is to make millions in spite of morality or the desire to produce a solid product.
    posted by Josh at 3:47 PM

     Reagan on Jesus

    Kathy Shaidle over at Relapsed Catholic passes along a quote from Reagan written in one of his personal letters:
    "We could ask, would even the greatest of liars carry his lie through the crucifixion, when a simple confession would have saved him? .."
    This personal revelation hits home, because before I decided to come in to full communion with the Church, I was forced to ask the same question as a fundamental, logical, and rational approach to accepting the notion of Christ as God.

    I took the question Reagan asks in a different direction, though: If Christ never existed, never walked again amongst the living after death, then why were his apostles willing to die for him in such great numbers? A con, being selfish and in pursuit of his own personal welfare alone, will never die for his own con. When things head south, he either gets out of town or recants.

    So we're left with two levels of assurance:

    1) Jesus was who He said He was, because He did not hesitate to die in accordance to the will of the Father. Jesus didn't confess to a lie, as Reagan notes.

    2) The apostles, who knew Jesus personally, believed in Him so much through what they experienced when Christ walked the earth, that they did not hesitate to sacrifice their physical welfare for Him. Because a con man never dies for his con, the only conclusion we're left with is that they truly saw what they testified to seeing.

    But doesn't all of this make sense? What reason does a Godly man who has glimpsed a little piece of Heaven have to fear in death?

    Even terrorists operate under a false sense of convction, that what they are doing is God's Will. While they have obviously been led astray by Islamic fundamentalism, they still die for what they believe is "right." The big difference here, though, is that Christ and the apostles knew the Divine first-hand, not through anti-West propaganda and a muddled, confounded text written by the very man who called himself a prophet. Jesus and the apostles died for what they knew through first-hand experience and not for the contorted manipulations of others.

    The only way I can think of, to discredit or disprove any of this, is to form the solid opinion that Christ and his apostles never existed. But assuming that the apostles never existed is as absurd to me as the notion that there was no Aristotle or Socrates.
    posted by Josh at 2:19 PM

     The Patriot Act and a great comment

    kd, a frequent commenter, was kind enough to leave a nice one on my opinion concerning the Patriot Act. I would like to address his comments here rather than in the comment box because he (or she?) poses some fantastic questions.
    The key problem with the Patriot Act is the definition of who can be investigated. Even those suspected of aiding a future terrorist activity can be investigated. Doesn't that seem a bit slippery to you?
    Actually, not in the least. Should it? The Patriot Act exists solely in the name of prevention; if the Act did not create provisions for targeting those "suspected of aiding a future terrorist activity," then what good would it be as a preventative measure? If the Act only allowed us to put those guilty of a terrorist action under surveillance, we've done a pretty good job of negating any advantage we might've had in the first place. And after 9/11, I think the majority of Americans would agree that we need to create measures insuring that terrorism is thwarted.
    You think you are immune from any inquiry, because you are American-born, or politically conservative. But if you are a scuba diver, for example, guess what: when the FBI was told that terrorist training could include scuba diving techniques, they asked for -- and got! -- the names and addresses of the 10 million Americans who are diver certified.

    As a single factor, these people may not be interrogated, but add another corroborating factor and you are a suspect. Foreign-born, politically active, or liberally sympathetic? You might get a visit soon.
    I see your point. But just as I didn't buy any of the liberal hysteria that Tony Blair "sexed up" his dossier on Iraq, I don't buy in to the notion that a hard-working Muslim Palestinian born leftist scuba diver will be targeted simply because (s)he is what (s)he is. I think the fact that the Patriot Act has yet to be invoked in situations such as these - which certainly do exist somewhere, in some profession - is proof enough that there needs to be a greater suspected link to fundamental Islamic terrorism before action against anyone is pursued.
    Granted, we are not a police state. We are a very free country, and I love the freedoms I have. And like any love affair, I am careful of anything that might harm it.

    Our forefathers most certainly understood terrorism as we understand it, perhaps even better. I don't understand what you mean exactly when you say that our forefathers sacrificed rights for the greater good.
    I am generally very cautious too. I border on Libertarian when it comes to many issues, but apparently not this one (grin).

    I can't say I agree with your thoughts on our forefathers and their understanding of terrorism. They came from a culture that deemed guerrilla warfare (!) ungentlemanly, and the general rules of engagement called for fighting in uniform columns. Individuals may have dressed up like Indians in order to throw tea in to a harbor as a vehicle for political statement, but they didn't blow themselves up in the middle of town square, taking as many women and children as they could with them. Indians might have attacked settlements, but at least you had a chance to kill them before they killed you. We have no such luxury with terrorists, who exist in large part because of technological advances that the Founding Fathers wouldn't have dreamed possible (think airplanes, skyscrapers, C4, and dynamite [1866]). They have changed the rules of engagement. That this sort of thing could occur in the U.S. in an easily traveled world was never really taken seriously by the public at large before 2001, much less in an isolated 18th century North America.

    I think I wasn't clear when I said, "rights have to be sacrificed for the greater good." This isn't the case. Rather, there have to be legitimate limits to freedom so that one man does not infringe upon the freedoms of another. When it comes to the safety and welfare of society, sometimes we have to give a little for the greater good, and we aren't always truly free to do whatever we want to do. The Founding Fathers accepted that this was the case, and acknowledged the need for potential limits to freedom.

    Does it all make me just a little nervous to know that Big Brother is peeking in a little bit more than before? Absolutely. But at the same time, I acknowledge the need to stop a mode of violence that is extremely difficult to prevent in the first place. And ultimately, the Patriot Act absolutely and unequivocally pales in comparison to the restrictions enforced by the government of Israel, our fellow scapegoats in this unholy Jihad, who are under constant surveillance in order to keep the nation's busses and malls intact. I'm willing to go so far as the Patriot Act in hopes that we prevent becoming a nation like Israel in this respect.

    So, excellent post kd. I agree with most of it, and I think we're basically on the same side of the coin in that we want to see our freedoms maintained and abuses limited.

    posted by Josh at 1:21 PM

     This is actually a Pop hit; there's hope for the world yet

    From: Where Is The Love Lyrics:

    I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
    As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
    Most of us only care about money makin'
    Selfishness got us followin' in the wrong direction
    Wrong information always shown by the media
    Negative images is the main criteria
    Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
    Kids act like what they see in the cinema
    Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
    Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
    Instead in spreading love we spreading animosity
    Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
    That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
    That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
    There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
    Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found [...]

    People killin', people dyin'
    Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
    Can you practice what you preach
    And would you turn the other cheek

    Father, Father, Father help us
    Send us some guidance from above
    'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
    Where is the love (Love)

    posted by Josh at 3:06 AM

         Saturday, September 20, 2003
     CNN: U.S. Army Muslim chaplain arrested

    Chaplain traitors. It's sad to think that people like this guy would abused their status in the army to aid those who want to hurt this country.
    posted by Josh at 9:09 PM

     Finally! I disagree with a St. Blogs Priest!

    Wow! I didn't think it'd ever happen. The priests of St. Blogs are so intelligent, and so good-natured, every last one of them (Fr. Jim included), it's tough to find much fault with any of them.

    Fr. Jim Tucker's latest entry at Dappled Things takes aim at the Patriot Act. He writes:
    Patriot Act "Hysteria" -- So, John Ashcroft has decided to reveal the data about how often the Patriot Act has been used to gain secret access to people's library and business records. So far, if what he says is true, the Act has not yet been invoked for such uses (no word yet on its other possible uses). This, the Attorney General claims, should deflate all the "hysteria" about endangered civil liberties.
    Actually, what should deflate all the Patriot Act "hysteria" about endangered civil liberties is not only the fact that these methods have never been employed, but also the realization that these methods will only ever be employed against those suspected of being future terrorists. Seeing as how I sit here with my Hermit crabs and a mountain of books on theology at the moment, with no ties to fundamental Islam or some pro-militia organization, I don't exactly sit in fear thinking about whether or not my phone is tapped or if I have a bug in my car.

    Let's not forget one simple fact about the Act, too: any action must must must be authorized by a judge. Fr. Jim asks, "But what's to keep the next Attorney General, who may be less enlightened, from doing so?" My answer is that the courts keep things on the up-and-up. They make sure Joe Average's every movement isn't being monitored every day. There is also an oversight committee in charge of making sure that nothing is abused. Works for me.

    Fr. Jim concludes:
    The spirit of the American Constitution -- a spirit spelled out in article after article, amendment after amendment -- is one that restricts the government's power to a bare minimum, and then sets up safeguards and counter-balances around that minimum to ensure that even that power isn't abused.
    Absolutely correct. But the fathers of the American Constitution also realized that sometimes, and in some instances, rights have to be sacrificed for the greater good. Obviously, modern terrorism wasn't even half-way conceivable to the writers of the constitution, so we'll never know their exact feelings with any certainty. But given the fact that people tend to dislike what threatens their homes, I think it's safe to say that they'd drink at least a few pints of beer and then settle on the same conclusion.

    But wait! Let's not forget whose rights we're even talking about in the first place! Why am I going to stand up with the ever-idiotic ACLU and the Hollywood Elite and defend the rights of people who want you and me dead? Who want to see this country destroyed and Islam spread by force? What should I say? "Sorry if our FBI is reading your email, mister, I really am and all...STOP FBI man! He promised not to blow anything up!"

    Furthermore, the Patriot Act only gives the government power to stop suspected acts of terrorism. Because I'm suspected of selling bootlegged CD's or whatever, the government cannot legally invoke the Patriot Act and tap my phone. If they did, any evidence extracted from the phone tap would be inadmissible because it was obtained illegally.

    I am usually one of the first people on St. Blogs or anywhere else to stand up against infringements on American rights. But in this situation, I just can't get myself worked up over something that has checks and balances on it to protect common Joe's but gives the government just enough edge to perhaps stop thousands from dying again.

    We need every tool we can get to keep our country safe. Terrorists don't exactly register as such with customs.

    posted by Josh at 3:23 PM

     Boston Globe: 'Keep the kids safe,' Druce shouts in court

    I think this article does a fairly good job of showing just how crazy this guy is. I particularly like the part where he screams, "Hold pedophiles accountable for their actions."

    Ok, Druce, time to kill you then.
    posted by Josh at 11:51 AM

     Fun speculation on the next Pope

    Plain Dealer Reporter:
    Vatican reporter tries to pick the next pope:The three church leaders that Allen thinks are most likely to meet these criteria are Claudio Hummes of Brazil, Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic and Godfried Danneels of Belgium. He also thinks Lubomyr Husar, head of the Ukrainian Greek Church, makes an intriguing dark horse candidate and is the contemporary cardinal most similar to the beloved John XXIII. He was pope from 1958 to 1963.
    I want the guy from Belgium to win, seeing as how that's where my family is. So, go Godfried! (ok, so I know this isn't exactly a World Cup soccer tournament or something, but aren't we allowed to have our favorites?)
    posted by Josh at 11:42 AM

     The Salt Lake Tribune: Professor says Catholic priests should have outside jobs
    "Wouldn't it be better if large numbers of Catholic priests were not members of the 'clergy'?" Byrnes asks. "If today priests were drawn from many professional backgrounds -- teaching, medicine, law, manual skills -- and were prepared to preach, teach, and preside in Catholic communities [parishes], we would have a much broader base of candidates to draw from."
    What we'd have are, undoubtedly, a bunch of married priests (which is fitting with this guy's Orthodox background) who are weak spiritually as well as physically; there just wouldn't be enough hours in the day for them to devote life to family, work, and God. This is precisely why I have always been an advocate of celibacy, even if I do see it as the #1 impediment to the priesthood. Men who devote themselves entirely to the Church -- the "clergy" -- have chosen to (in most cases, anyway) put God first.
    posted by Josh at 11:36 AM

     Chicago Sun-Times: 'Catholic' churches sued for fraud
    ATLANTA -- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta has filed a lawsuit accusing a network of Spanish-speaking churches of falsely claiming to be Catholic -- with priests who conduct mass, hear confessions and offer communion to immigrants who mistakenly think the churches are tied to the Vatican.
    What a horrible deception. Hopefully this lawsuit serves to spread public awareness on the issue.
    posted by Josh at 11:29 AM

         Friday, September 19, 2003
     Luther looks good to me

    Newsmax.com: 'Luther': Sola Scriptura

    While a Catholic apologist could have a field day with the statements contained within this review, it certainly seems safe to say that the movie is worth seeing.
    posted by Josh at 3:54 PM

     I'm back!

    My hiatus went on longer than I had expected, since I spent some time with a friend undergoing surgery this week. But I'm back at St. Blogs now and should have some time to keep up with things.

    Glad to be back!
    posted by Josh at 3:50 PM

     The Boston Channel: Sex Predators Should Be Castrated
    BOSTON -- The prison inmate accused of killing defrocked priest John Geoghan in his cell said anyone accused of molesting children should be castrated or rendered impotent, according to a letter he sent to the Boston Herald.
    Well thank goodness we have the cracker-jack mind of a killer on the case.
    posted by Josh at 3:48 PM

         Monday, September 15, 2003
     Two great sites linked

    Padre Gio's 'Not So Quiet' Catholic Corner and Times Against Humanity have been added to my blogroll. Both are great sites that seek to defend the faith wherever it is attacked, a concept near-and-dear to my own heart. So give 'em a read if you don't already.
    posted by Josh at 3:13 AM

         Sunday, September 14, 2003
     Madonna doesn't care about your kids. Just her own.

    Ananova: Madonna 'hides sexy stage persona from daughter'
    Madonna says she is anxious about protecting her young daughter from her raunchy stage persona.

    The star, whose intimate sexual imagery has made her a modern-day icon, told the Times she goes out of her way to ensure that Lourdes, seven, is not aware of her alter-ego.

    "I protect her from sex full stop," she said.
    Meanwhile, you sell it to everybody else's kids. Good job, Madonna. But at least you're keeping your kids safe!
    posted by Josh at 9:24 PM

         Friday, September 12, 2003

    I'll be away from St. Blogs (and my own blog) for a couple of days, as I join friends to celebrate my college roommate's wedding. I'll probably be back on the map Sunday, so don't go anywhere without me.
    posted by Josh at 2:32 PM

     Johnny Cash dead at 71

    As one who loves music and sees popular forms of entertainment like country music as a mode by which certain individuals can create something as relevant as a Mozart or a Beethoven, I am greatly saddened to read about the death of Johnny Cash.

    He was fantastic in every sense of the word. A truly talented songwriter, he emitted this kind of "screw you" attitude that turned the world on its ears. And in his older days, he became a symbol of charity, love, and patriotism for those who knew him.

    My prayers are with both Johnny and June, and also with the Cash family who has suffered two tragic losses so close together.
    posted by Josh at 2:26 PM

         Wednesday, September 10, 2003
     Silly Sully returns from hiatus

    In one of today's posts, Andrew Sullivan suggests that the following quote from Cardinal Dulles suggests something scandalous and under-handed:
    The immoral behavior of Catholics, both lay and clergy, is a cause of scandal and defections. Under this heading I would include not only sexual abuse of minors, which has been so extensively publicized in recent years, but sex outside of marriage, abortion, divorce, alcoholism, the use and marketing of drugs, domestic violence, defamation, and financial scandals such as falsification of records and embezzlement. The morality of Catholics all too often sinks below the standards commonly observed by Protestants and unbelievers.
    Sullivan's response:
    Anything to distract from the real scandal, I guess. Dulles' proposals for reform of the Church amount entirely to greater obedience to Rome, subservience to ecclesiastical authority, maintenance of the existing structures, and penance from the laity. I.e. more power for him. Funny how that happens, doesn't it?
    Andrew Sullivan gets whackier by the minute. While the man is dead-on about politics most of the time, look out when something attacks his sexuality. All intelligence and intellectual honesty that Sullivan holds flies out the window.

    The quoted section doesn't down-play the scandals. It doesn't attempt to excuse them. It does nothing of the sort. It simply points towards the fact that we have other problems out there too. Sexual abuse isn't the only moral issue threatening today's Church according to Cardinal Dulles. Does Sullivan disagree? Does he think that Dulles is deflecting here?

    St. Blogs has cracked down on Andrew Sullivan before, and I daresay this won't be the last time.
    posted by Josh at 4:18 AM

     Well, at least he got there safe!

    El Paso/Las Cruces News: Man Mails Self Home To Parents
    After hours of traveling, the 25-year-old New York City man pried open the crate with a crowbar Saturday morning. He popped up outside his parents' doorstep in the south Dallas suburb of DeSoto, shook the hand of a shocked delivery man and walked away.
    I have now truly heard it all.
    posted by Josh at 4:02 AM

     Harry gets butchered

    Reuters: No Magic in Rogue Venezuela Version of Harry Potter
    The rogue Spanish edition of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is peppered with notes from a translator who had to leave phrases in English with a Spanish explanation "(Sorry, I didn't understand what this means)."
    Which leaves me with the question: Why bother?
    posted by Josh at 3:58 AM

     Get 'em while you still can, folks!

    The Chicago Cubs have announced that the first two playoff games will go on sale this Sunday at 8 AM CST.

    Of course, these are just the first two games. There will be more. In mid-late October.

    posted by Josh at 3:18 AM

     Thoughts on the Funeral Mass of Rev. Richard Dochstader

    I have never been to the funeral of a priest before. I have never even, in all of my 23 years, been to a funeral. Nobody close to me -- or even a general acquaintance -- has passed away in my lifetime. So when I heard that Fr. Rick of St. Mary Immaculate had died suddenly, I knew that I had to pay my respects.

    I'd only met Fr. Rick one time, in passing. There was something about him that you often find in priests; love for those around him was expressed unreservedly. I had the pleasure of hearing him say Mass a number of times, and it was evident that Fr. Rick respected and loved this sacred aspect of the priesthood.

    Attendance was so great that Plainfield police were at every corner around the parish grounds, directing traffic in and around the large parking lot. This is no small church; thousands of families attend St. Mary Immaculate every Sunday. And they certainly turned out in strength to say their final goodbye to a servant of God that they loved.

    Fr. Rick lay in state before the altar, and had for six hours that day. Parishioners had one last chance to see him before his burial ceremony in Ontario, Canada later this week.

    No less than fifty priests and two bishops were on hand to conduct the funeral mass. It was truly beautiful; the readings were selected because they were ones that Fr. Rick used himself when the family hadn't made a request.

    The homily was given by Fr. Anthony A. Nugent, who runs the parish. He reflected upon the ministry of Fr. Rick, sometimes making us laugh, but always reminding us of what a truly wonderful priest we had lost so suddenly.

    After communion, Auxiliary Bishop Roger Kaffer remarked that the turnout and reverence of those in attendance was a tremendous show of support for the good priests who've needed a little bit of encouragement lately. The congregation responded to Kaffer's comments by giving the priests in attendance a long round of applause.

    As sad as it was, to mourn the passing of such a good man, I was left feeling something else. Seeing a community draw together like they did at St. Mary Immaculate left me with an enduring sense of hope. Hope in a time when our Church is under such constant pressure, that we will all get through these troubling times together, as one community, joined through the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    posted by Josh at 2:21 AM

     Give me a break..

    The Courier-Mail (Australia): Priest 'chosen by God' for sex crimes
    A FORMER Mount Isa Catholic priest told one of 20 child sex victims that God had chosen him to inflict the abuse, a court was told yesterday.

    Prosecutor Carl Heaton said Neville Joseph Creen, 63, made the claim when a girl refused to sit on his lap so he could sexually assault her more than 20 years ago.

    "I'm a priest and God has chosen me to do his work," Mr Heaton said Creen told the girl.

    "I'm above what your family and teachers say. God has put his trust in me to take care of his flock."
    Wowee, I guess God made an exception for you, buddy. I guess God gave you a 'sin exemption,' too.

    What a nutjob.

    posted by Josh at 12:16 AM

         Tuesday, September 09, 2003
     The Boston Settlement

    Well, things are all settled in Boston. I think victims needed monetary restitution for the scandal, and I'm glad they agreed on a number. Hopefully, however, this number doesn't send the Archdiocese in to a big hole.

    My major question now, however, is simply this: can we all move on now? Will the media, and those who show nothing but venom for the Catholic church cool off and move on? Will Andrew Sullivan continue on about how the Church loses all moral credibility on homosexual issues by the bad actions of a few? I doubt it.

    The Church has handled things more damaging than this in the past. Hopefully She'll come out of it all the better.
    posted by Josh at 11:11 PM

     Mark Shea makes sense again

    Mark has written a wonderful piece on what I like to refer to as our pinata bishops, who are being attacked on all sides. I think we can all agree with what he has to say here.
    posted by Josh at 1:19 AM

         Monday, September 08, 2003
     JPII on upcoming World Trade Center anniversary

    Reuters: Pope says peace hopes fell along with Twin Towers
    "Instead, preference has been given to the development of particular interests and throwing huge resources in other directions, above all for military spending," he said.

    The pope said true peace would never be achieved until governments committed themselves to resolving what he called the world's basic injustices and inequalities.
    Although I know it's impossible for a pope to say in this day and age, peace is almost always won through military strength and superiority. That doesn't mean we have to oppress the masses or keep them in a state of perpetual bondage. It doesn't mean that we can't address human rights concerns. But I suspect our military might - and Bush's unflinching resolve to display that might when provoked - has gone far to keep another WTC disaster from breaching our shores.
    posted by Josh at 2:46 PM

     Proof that things have changed

    Pensacola News Journal: Priest resigns amid allegations
    Parishioners at St. Michael's Catholic Church were shocked at Mass over the weekend to learn that a longtime and well-liked priest has admitted to molesting a boy 34 years ago in St. Augustine.[...]

    "He admitted to the incident," [Monsignor Michael] Mooney said. "And in compliance with our policy and the Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of June 2002, he will no longer function as a priest or otherwise be involved in ministry."
    Part of me feels it unfortunate that an old man has to pay for a 34-year old sin. And there's no suggestion in the article that he was a repeat offender. But still, the new regulations dealing with abuse are there for a good reason, and we have to accept that.
    posted by Josh at 2:39 PM

     JPII continues to push towards saving Europe

    Reuters: Pope's Slovakia Trip Key to Vatican's Europe Policy
    posted by Josh at 2:32 PM

         Sunday, September 07, 2003
     Vegetarians like to forget this, but:

    New Scientist: Meat eating is an old human habit
    Humans evolved beyond their vegetarian roots and became meat-eaters at the dawn of the genus Homo, around 2.5 million years ago, according to a study of our ancestors' teeth.

    In 1999, researchers found cut marks on animal bones dated at around 2.5 million years old. But no one could be sure that they were made by meat-eating hominids, because none appeared to have suitable teeth.

    Now an analysis by Peter Ungar of the University of Arkansas has revealed that the first members of Homo had much sharper teeth than their most likely immediate ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis, the species that produced the famous fossil Lucy.
    I don't have a problem with vegetarians as a rule. I know of religious orders, Christian or not, who abstain out of observance or sacrifice.

    I do, however, have a problem your typical tofu eating California liberal who celebrates humanism with no restraint, yet denies one of the most fundamental aspects of humanity: the fact that we're meat eaters.

    posted by Josh at 6:32 PM

     More on investing with a conscience (and it seems to be working)

    The risk for investors in so-called ethical funds is that they may shun top-performing stocks. Ave Maria's screening eliminates hundreds of companies, including Avon Products Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

    Ave Maria, however, has gained 23 percent this year, outperforming 84 percent of all U.S. funds tracked by Bloomberg data and exceeding the 13 percent advance of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

    posted by Josh at 6:06 PM

     A good priest leaves us too soon

    Father Richard Dochstader
    Age 54, of Plainfield, IL passed away suddenly September 5, 2003 in Chicago, IL. He was born October 1, 1948 in Sarnia, Canada.
    Father Dochstader was baptized at St. Peter Church in Sarnia and attended the parish elementary school. Father Dochstader entered the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrinians) and studied at Sacred Heart Seminary in Melrose Park, Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn and the University of St. Michael in Toronto. Following his ordination to the priesthood on May 31, 1975 by Bishop John Sherlock in Ontario, Father Dochstader ministered in Vancouver and St. Charles Barromeo Parish in Melrose Park. In 1983 he began ministry in the Joliet Diocese as a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Lockport, October 1983. Then served at St. Joseph Parish in Bradley, June 1985. He became incardinated into the Joliet Diocese on April 15, 1987. He then ministered at St. Anthony Parish in Frankfort, June 1989 and at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, June 1990. On December 5, 1981 he proudly became a citizen of the United States. His final two assignments were at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Naperville, June 1993 and St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield, June 1998.
    He is survived by his mother, Florence of Sarnia, Canada, his brothers, Larry (Paulette) Dochstader of Kingston, Canada, Gerry (Ann) Dochstader of Forest, Canada, Bill Dochstader of Sexsmith, AB, Jim Dochstader of Sarnia, Canada, his sisters, Bonnie (Bob) Griffin of Sarnia, Canada, Elizabeth Dochstader of Camlachie, Canada, Kathy (Bill Clements) Brousseau of Point Edward, Canada and Diane (Dave) Belling of Bright's Grove, Canada. Uncle of Lisa, Kevin, Adam, Sara, Adam, Bryan, Brad, Jaime and Chantelle. Great uncle of Melina.
    Preceded in death by his father Louis.
    Visitation Monday, September 8, 1-7 p.m. at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, Plainfield, IL. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, 129 South Division Street, Plainfield, IL. Interment at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Memorials to Plainfield Interfaith Food Pantry, 129 S. Division St., Plainfield, IL 60544. Local arrangements by Overman-Jones Funeral Home, Plainfield, IL. Info: 815-436-9221 or www.overman-jones.com.
    I just saw him a week ago. Fr. Dochstander was the celebrant of the daily Mass at Saint Mary Immaculate in Plainfield, IL. He appeared to be in perfect health. He was one of the most vibrant, joyful celebrants of the Holy Mass that I have ever encountered. He will be sorely missed by a community that loved him.

    May I meet him again one day on God's golden shore.
    posted by Josh at 3:40 AM

         Saturday, September 06, 2003
     Count on a Kennedy Catholic to make an idiotic point on gay marriage

    The New Orleans Channel: Senators Debate Constitutional Gay Marriage Ban
    But a man whose gay partner was in one of the jets hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, said that without a marriage license it was hard for him to settle inheritance and other legal issues.
    So draw up a will that makes you the executor of a last will and testament. You don't even need a lawyer (although one is preferrable). There, issue solved.
    But Sen. Edward Kennedy argued that a constitutional ban on gay marriage would violate the rights of churches that perform same-sex weddings.
    Edward, Edward, Edward. Are gay marriages legal now, as it is? And do some churches and institutions still hold 'union' ceremonies? Of course they do. We're not going to storm in and break all of that up, are we? Of course not. Now, have another drink for me.

    posted by Josh at 5:24 PM

     Milwaukee priests and laity keep on pushin'...

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Married, reordained clergy find exception in Catholic church
    posted by Josh at 5:18 PM

     Good thing I reserved judgement on The Order

    AP: Boring? This film's made to 'Order'

    Let's go through why this movie will be horrible, and is troublesome to the Faith:
    Heath Ledger plays a young priest who neither shaves nor can grow a proper beard. He broods a lot and mumbles things like, "Every life is a riddle. The answer to mine is a knowledge born of darkness." Sounds like the poetry of a 10th-grader hooked on "Dungeons & Dragons."
    Campy art. Horrible dialogue belonging in some cheesy George Lucas film where he insists on writing the lines. This in and of itself isn't the part that makes me mad, though:
    Shannyn Sossamon (who was also Ledger's galpal in "A Knight's Tale"), is his love interest here. They have sex in a scene intercut with images of the Virgin Mary, as if she's some kind of voyeur. Whatever you think of the Roman Catholic church, its leadership or its politics, this is a trash technique.
    And not only is it a trash technique, it's also profane and disgusting, representing nothing more than a total disservice to Our Lady.

    In short, I don't think I'll be seeing this movie.
    posted by Josh at 5:16 PM

     My favorite Bishops list: #1) Sean O'Malley. #2) Wilton Gregory

    Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY): Catholic bishop criticizes media
    I think the media coverage last year did help the church to take some steps that will wring this terrible stain out of her life to the extent that sin and crime can ever be fully eliminated,' Gregory said in the keynote address to the Religion Newswriters Association, which is meeting in Seattle for its annual conference. 'However, the way the story was so obsessively covered resulted in unnecessary damage to the bishops and the entire Catholic community.
    His point is perfect. Since large reforms on the issue were already instituted in the 90's before the scandal ever broke, why has that fact largely remained out of the media?

    This is touchy ground. Fr. Groeschel has been fighting his own battle against a media that has both distorted his positions on the issue and, in at least one case, launched a smear campaign against him. My hope for Bishop Gregory is that the media doesn't use this statement as a declaration of open war against him and others. Because, as we've seen in the case of Fr. Groeschel, they've done it before.
    posted by Josh at 5:09 PM

     After a couple weeks off, we have a winner!

    The New York Times: Unheavenly Days for the Catholic Church

    For the second straight time, a New York Times article has earned my Saint Some Days Absurdity of the Week Award. The absurdity well had been rather dry as of late, but I found an unfortunate victim in the Sunday Times.
    The first sentence on Page 1 of ''A People Adrift'' sets forth the stakes. ''Today the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is on the verge of either an irreversible decline,'' Peter Steinfels writes, ''or a thoroughgoing transformation.''[...]

    ''To some it would seem hypocritical for Catholics to stay in the church at this point, or at best an indicator of unjustifiable passivity,'' Gibson admits. ''Then again, maybe it's the sign of a first-rate intelligence.''
    Maybe ape-like hominids are bound any minute from the planet Zorg. Then again, maybe not. But then again, maybe they're already here.
    So much for the good news. However debilitating the current scandal, both Steinfels and Gibson contend that it is symptomatic of a deeper crisis roiling the American church, a malaise that has been building since Vatican II (1962-65) transformed the face of modern Catholicism -- or, depending on one's point of view, since Pope Paul VI dashed the hopes for genuine, abiding transformation by repudiating the recommendation of his own committee and reaffirming the traditional ban on artificial birth control in 1968. The church faced the stark alternatives of decline or reform before the sexual abuse revelations, Steinfels asserts, ''and would do so today even if this shocking sexual misconduct had never occurred.''
    Ahh, I see. So it's Vatican II that did this? The rejection of Vatican II by Pope Paul VI that has led to disaster? Or Paul's stance on birth control? I've read this paragraph twice and I think I am actually stupider for having ever attempted to understand it. What's the thesis here?

    And then we get to my favorite part of the article, where I automatically dismiss both Peter Steinfels and David Gibson as the liberal weirdos hell-bent on massive reform because we want it and know a whole lot better than the Church does what is good for us:
    Such a transformation, they acknowledge, will require the hierarchy to engage in frank and uncensored discussion of grievances and differences with the laity. It will require cooperation with, not humiliation of, responsible lay reform groups like Voice of the Faithful. It will also require lay Catholics to address the moral, spiritual and institutional dimensions of the crisis with an honesty and moral courage born of deep conviction that the church is still worth profound personal sacrifice.
    I am still trying to figure out what kind of 'crisis' we're talking about. Haven't most individual parishoners worked their way through the scandal, having accepted it? Are lay ministers going in to decline because of the crisis one year after it climaxed? Is the crisis the priest shortage?

    Some articles tell you nothing, but do it in such a way that leaves you thinking you've read something profound. This isn't one of those articles. It tells me nothing, and I am left wondering why I should even care to check out these works reviewed by the writer of the article.

    posted by Josh at 4:59 PM

         Friday, September 05, 2003
     Naked paperboys!

    Channel Oklahoma: Naked Man Caught Delivering Newspapers In Norman
    posted by Josh at 11:47 PM

     Another side of the RIAA

    Reuters: Repent Downloaders and Get Amnesty

    Sounds a bit better than their formerly militant "we'll get them and sue them and show them good!" plan.
    posted by Josh at 4:59 PM

     Apocolypse Update!

    Wellp, looks like this world will stand a little longer than we all thought! For Doomsday has been postponed.

    Kind of unfortunate, really. My friends always kid me that the Cubs winning the World Series is a sign of the world's end. And we were looking so good this year....

    Thanks to Mark Shea for the heads up.
    posted by Josh at 3:14 PM

     I wish I could do this...

    Check out a recent post by the Domers over at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping. You'll find one of the most bizarre Catholic statues in recent memory.
    posted by Josh at 3:09 PM

     Echoes of the Pryor mess

    Ohio News Network: Attorney Wants Catholic Judges Disqualified From Hearing Sex Abuse Case
    A lawyer wants more than three-fourths of Cuyahoga County's judges disqualified on religious grounds from presiding over a lawsuit he's planning.
    The assumption here is obviously the same as it is for Pryor -- a religious individual, especially a Catholic -- cannot rule fairly and justly on an issue related to Catholicism. But this is even sillier than the Pryor issue because he's avidly anti-abortion. These guys are just Catholic, and presumably as frustrated and disgusted with the entire scandal as we are.

    posted by Josh at 2:49 PM


    My Way News: Mormon Church OKs Firing Squad Change
    The clarification was needed, according to one commission member, because of a purported church doctrine that held that justice was not done unless a murderer's blood was shed.
    Next time a "missionary" knocks on my door, I'm going to have to ask all about this!
    posted by Josh at 2:44 PM

     The problem with quasi-socialist systems

    Reuters: 'Lazy' Germans Urged to Work More to Revive Growth

    I've heard the same problem has France in a bind. Not really surprising.
    posted by Josh at 2:39 PM

         Thursday, September 04, 2003

    We did it! The Cubs ended a fantastic series today by winning a close 7-6 game at Wrigley Field. We're currently half a game behind Houston, who does not play tonight.

    Believe. This is our year!
    posted by Josh at 6:55 PM

     The Baghdad Times sees a cut, declares gaping wound

    New York Times: Debate Flares in Catholic Church as Priests Question Celibacy
    A debate that has simmered for years among Roman Catholics in the United States about whether the priesthood should be opened to married men is now on the front burner, pressed by priests concerned about their dwindling ranks.
    30% of Milwaukee priests want to see dialogue opened on the celibacy issue, and the New York Times acts as if an overwhelming majority of priests are up in arms over celibacy. Unbelievable.
    posted by Josh at 6:52 PM

     Official USCCB release on celibacy issue

    Bishop Gregory Says Church Owes Much to Priests Faithful to Chaste Celibacy, "A Powerful Spiritual Means to Draw Closer to Christ"
    posted by Josh at 2:22 PM

     Estrada Folds

    Reuters: Estrada Asks Bush to Withdraw His Nomination

    This is unfortunate. The Democrats, the party of the minority (but only if you support our politics), didn't exactly look highly upon Catholic pro-lifer Miguel, and I guess he realizes he isn't going anywhere any time soon.
    posted by Josh at 1:16 PM

         Wednesday, September 03, 2003
     USA Today runs an ingenious op-ed (finally!)

    USA Today: Student problems begin at home
    Unfortunately, most of that time, the effort and money have been wasted, bypassing the issue's true heart. There is something terribly wrong with our schools, but it has nothing to do with the quality of teachers, the curricula or textbooks or even how much money we spend. The problem is far simpler and more ominous: the students themselves.

    This opinion is common among teachers who've served double-digit years in the trenches. Kids these days ain't what they used to be. I know that rant has been popular since the time of the Romans. But these children are different from those of just two decades ago not in raw ability, but in their essential attitudes and readiness to learn. If I had a hundred bucks for every time a student cheated on a test, or had the nerve to tell me, in the middle of an impassioned lecture, that my presentation was "boring," I could be driving a new car.
    As an individual who taught high school this past year and was a high school student less than five years ago, let me just say that Nick Jans is right. Completely and entirely.

    This is the one issue about conservatives that antagonizes the crap out of me. Conservatives -- the party of individual responsibility, mind you -- claim that schools fail because the teachers are horrible, stupid, etc. They largely operate under the false assumption that kids are happy little sponges, ready to soak up all the information a teacher throws their way. In short, conservatives operate under the assinine assertion that all segments of society value education.
    The music, movies and computer games are just symptoms. The fault lies squarely in the failures of the home, and in the disintegration of the traditional family. For many reasons dual incomes, divorce, separation and more quality face time between parent and child has shriveled. Schools struggle to take its place.
    Precisely. Parents don't give a damn what their kids do because they're too busy sorting out their own shortcomings in life. Caught in a perpetual cycle of failure, parents don't set high educational standards for their children because it was never expected of them.

    All any conservative needs to do is spend a week in any public school to figure out that there really aren't any children that the educational system has "left behind." But there are plenty of parents and children who leave themselves behind.
    posted by Josh at 4:16 PM

     Software recommendation

    For those of you who spend quite a bit of time browsing the web, I strongly urge you to download the free Ad-aware, which clears your computer of registry keys and processes that might be spying on you. These cookies or programs can really slow down the web-browsing experience. I recently ran a check and found 35 various components on my computer that were "spying" on me. I deleted them all and am happy that I did.
    posted by Josh at 4:02 PM

     A poll that is long over-due

    Chris over at Maine Catholic and Beyond has a poll at the top of the page that asks at what time you would most likely be able/encouraged to attend daily Mass. The overwhelming majority so far say 7 PM and later.

    I agree, and I think it's disappointing that at least one parish in every larger city doesn't "experiment" with this. Your average median age at a daily Mass is probably 65. Perhaps higher. But the point is that they're past retirement age. Retirees get up early (as a rule) and have no problem heading out to Mass at 7 AM. However, this just isn't feasible for people who would otherwise attend regularly because of family/work commitments.

    In a Catholic town and diocese head like Joliet, we have at least a dozen Masses being said between 6:30 and 8 A.M., but only one said in the evening (5:15 PM, which is still a bit early for your average individual who comes home from Chicago and wants to spend time with their family and eat dinner).

    I wish every diocese would at least consider it somewhere along the line.
    posted by Josh at 3:44 PM

     Stick to acting, Johnny

    Reuters: Johnny Depp Says U.S. Is Like a Stupid Puppy

    Johnny Depp is my favorite actor. He's immensely talented, and takes more "high-brow" parts than most established, bankable actors. He's interested in making art, and he does a good job of it.

    But that's where his talent ends. He's under the assumption that just because he's a great actor, he has wisdom beyond us "stupid" Americans. He thinks we should honestly give a damn what he has to say.
    "America is dumb, it's like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive," he said.
    Yes, Johnny. America has big teeth. And you -- who obviously support America's enemies -- don't like the fact that Bush and Republicans in general since World War II aren't afraid to show them, and bite when provoked.

    Depp is just another example of the liberal notion that if you play like the French, problems will melt away and we'll all embrace in a communal hippie love-fest. But when has this ideal pacifism ever worked for the French?
    posted by Josh at 3:27 PM

     Investing Catholic style

    Reuters: Investor Profile: Catholic fund avoids porn, abortion, GM
    "General Motors is a big pornographer because they own DirecTV and that has pornographic broadcasts," Schwartz, 58, said in a telephone interview with Reuters from his office in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

    posted by Josh at 2:10 PM

     A note..

    I was at Wrigley yesterday, and wasn't around much to read/write/blog. I did see one heck of a ball game, though, ending in a Sammy Sosa bottom of the 15th 2-run walk-off homer.
    posted by Josh at 2:07 PM

     Good article on the old 'idols' debate

    The Catholic Herald: Icons and sacred images
    posted by Josh at 2:06 PM

         Tuesday, September 02, 2003
     Apocolypse Alert!

    CNN: Giant asteroid could hit Earth in 2014
    posted by Josh at 8:55 PM

         Monday, September 01, 2003
     Activism works

    Washington Times: Gov. Bush backs parents in fight to keep life support
    "The governor has deliberately twisted the facts in this case in an apparent effort to kowtow to his 'right-to-life' political supporters," [Mr. Schiavo] told the Tampa Tribune. "This has nothing to do with him. He should stay out of it."
    Translation: Let me kill my wife and everybody around me should be "ok" with that.

    Thank goodness Bush finally felt "compelled" after a good deal of pressure was put upon him by the Schiavo activists.

    I have no sympathy for Michael Schiavo, who wishes to kill his wife against the expressed wishes of her own parents. Nor do I appreciate the fact that Schiavo has denied his wife the right to sacraments that she received for a long time.

    So yeah, Jeb. I guess you should have just stayed out of it. Having a conscience or anything resembling moral clarity on this issue obviously offends both the judicial system and Michael Schiavo's plan for murder.

    posted by Josh at 6:00 PM

     Those zany Germans...

    Anglican Journal: Service challenges Vatican rules
    Berlin: A Roman Catholic priest, presiding over a Catholic eucharist in a Protestant church, invited non-Catholics to take communion, challenging Vatican doctrine that forbids such action.[...]

    However, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog, had earlier condemned the event, saying it was a "political action," the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur reported.

    "A general invitation [to communion] is for us Catholics simply not possible," said Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. "Public pressure, public polemics, demonstrations and controversy" would not help bring about agreement on the eucharist, Cardinal Kasper cautioned at the Kirchentag.
    What about the Church's belief that the sacrament of confession/penance should come at least once a year in order to keep us ready? What about the fact that if protestants understood and truly believed in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they would be Anglican or Catholic already? So many true questions are being disregarded here merely because this priest decided to promote "unity."

    posted by Josh at 5:38 PM

     Must be made available in poster form for kitchens

    Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad

    Did you know it takes Gravy 3 days to go bad? Now you do.
    posted by Josh at 3:20 PM

     Two different viewpoints on Geoghan

    #1 "He got what he deserved!": Sentinel and Enterprise (MASS.): No sympathy for Geoghan

    #2 "Sure, he was a creep. But did he deserve that?": NY Daily News: Many complicit in a priest's death

    I am more apt to agree with guy #2 than #1.
    posted by Josh at 3:18 AM

     Dutch gays publish 60 pages to refute 5 pages

    BBC: Dutch gays launch marriage manual

    ...and not a word too many, I bet they'd say.
    posted by Josh at 3:05 AM

    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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