Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Public Officials Under God

Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy has a post linking to and providing commentary on this E.J. Dionne piece in The Washington Post:

When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he said some things about Catholic bishops that might, in today's climate, be condemned as insolence toward church authority.

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act," Kennedy told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. "I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me."

Kennedy, of course, spoke those words in an effort to fight anti-Catholic bigotry. That was long before the 2004 campaign, in which John F. Kerry, only the third Roman Catholic in American history to be nominated for the presidency by a major party, found himself fending off certain prelates who said that his stand on abortion meant he could not receive communion -- and also meant that Catholics should not vote for him.

The episode caused anger, anguish and reflection among Democratic politicians who are Catholic. "People felt their faith was being questioned, and they were angry that ideologues were using the church for their own purpose," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.

Such reflections have produced a remarkable document that will be released this week, a "Statement of Principles By Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives." It is, to the best of my knowledge, an unprecedented attempt by a large number of elected officials to explain the relationship between their religious faith and their public commitments.

"As Catholic Democrats in Congress," the statement begins, "we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition -- a tradition that promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need. As legislators, in the U.S. House of Representatives, we work every day to advance respect for life and the dignity of every human being. We believe that government has moral purpose."

My Comments:
Please read Paul's excellent commentary on what he refers to as a "House Catholic Democrats' Manifesto". Ditto what Paul says.

And then go read what Bishop Vasa says about politicians who profess their Catholicism while at the same time supporting the so-called "pro-choice" position on abortion.

Additional commentary on this "Manifesto" by The Curt Jester:
Have you ever heard "primacy of conscience" invoked which wasn't immediately followed by some excuse to deny some part of the Catholic faith? Definitely at odds with Blessed John Cardinal Newman's "the voice of God in the nature and heart of man" The voice of God does not say that you can murder his children. Even worse that some Catholic Democrats who have a zero percent NARAL rating are willing to support their fellows who have a 100 percent one. When instead they should be calling their party to repent of their support of abortion, ESCR, etc, instead of providing covering fire.

"As Catholic Democrats in Congress we are proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition " I guess this is much like that "living Constitution" thing. That is you have it mean whatever you want it to mean. In each case the founders (Jesus and the Fathers of the Constitution) original intent is substituted with something quite at odds to it. Democrats see everything as alive except a fetus.

and by Captain Ed:

The bishops have been forced into the position of threatening excommunication expressly because of stunts like this new statement. Their job is to make clear what the Church teaches, and since the politicians involved have made their alignment with Catholicism part of their political campaigns, the bishops have to draw a line and protect the catechism by pointing out the hypocrisy involved -- and holding those who defy it accountable.

If these people want to be pro-choice and vote for abortion, that's their right. It's also the right of the Church to apply the consequences of those decisions.

UPDATE # 2 (1 March 2006):
Boethius also provides excellent analysis at Fumare.

UPDATE # 3 (1 March 2006):
The Holy Fool calls a spade a spade. See, e.g., this in comments:
"Some of the signers are extremely pro-life, conservative Catholics."

Really? Evidence, please?

Even if they are, they all happen to be Democrats. Right? And the Democratic party holds the sacrament of Abortion as its political Raison D'etre. Therefore, "conservative Catholic" or not, these politicians carry water for the Moloch-Worshippers. They want the Bishops to define the Faith down so they can pick up some Catholic votes. Since they claim to take God seriously--but don't act seriously on their claim--I call them "Foolable."
Damn straight!

Watch Out for Those Ash Wednesday Newspapers!

Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy has posted an account of a true-life humorous Ash Wednesday episode from his past.

Well, here's my funny Ash Wednesday story (originally posted in an abridged form in the comments at Paul's blog):
Back when I was in law school, I had an evangelical friend named Mitch. I was also an evangelical back then, and neither of us had much exposure to Catholic culture (apart from our 2 Catholic room-mates), having both been raised in thoroughly Protestant enclaves of the Bible-Belt South. However, I was ahead of Mitch because my father's Yankee relatives were all Catholic, so I wasn't completely in the dark about things.

Mitch, on the other hand, was absolutely clueless. His naivete was on full display during our first year of law school when the season of Lent caught him completely unaware. On Ash Wednesday, I was sitting with our Catholic roommates in the student lounge reading the school newspaper when Mitch, with a look of utmost concern on his face, came up to us and told us there was something wrong with that day's newspaper. According to Mitch, everyone had "newsprint smudged all over their faces".
We laughed then, and I laugh now every time I think of that story. Little did I know at the time, that one day I would be walking around with newsprint smudged on my forehead.

Which brings me to the next topic of this post, with a hat tip to Julie D. at Happy Catholic, who notes in the Mardi Gras edition of the Catholic Carnival that Upper Canada Catholic has a question about the appropriate thing to do with the ashes on your forehead once you've left Mass on Ash Wednesday:
Ashes on or off? That is, after leaving the Mass, should one wipe the ashes off the forehead or leave them on until they wear off naturally? I ask, because I am definitely in the “wipe them off” school, but would welcome the opinion and instruction of others.

For me, leaving them on would lead to the sin of pride: “Hey everyone, look at me – I have ashes on my forehead! Aren’t I pious? I am so much better than you because I go to church and fast and stuff.”
To which I responded in comments at Happy Catholic:
"Wash 'em off? Are you kidding? All those years as a Protestant I was jealous about all the cool "stuff" that Catholics got in conjunction with their faith. I'm not about to lose out on it now that I'm in the fold."

Does Cleveland Police Logo Contain Image Of Pig?

I smell bacon!
CLEVELAND - Some people are saying that there's a hidden image in the Cleveland police logo on the side of their cars.

A recent newspaper article did some editing, taking away bordering and edging on an image of the logo -- and the result was the image of a pig.

TV station WEWS in Cleveland took the pig image to the streets to find out what Clevelanders thought about the image.

"Yeah, now that you point it out, it does look like a pig. Wow, that's funny, sort of," said Lakewood resident Jennifer Carrico.

Clevelander resident Nick Zalonis said, "I never noticed it before ... I think people are being paranoid, really. If you read too much into it, I guess it would look that way."

The Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association said the logo is a silhouette of the police department badge, which dates back more than 100 years. It's a part of their history, and this is not the first time in history that the pig image has come up.
My Comments:
LOL! They won't change the logo even though "pig" is an offensive epithet often hurled at law enforcement officers. But what will the Cleveland cops do when some Muslim notes that pigs are offensive to Islam, and that the Cleveland Police Department is therefore being insensitive to Muslim sensibilities by sporting a logo with an image likely to cause revulsion to the "average" jihadist?

Utah Town's Pro-Family Resolution Sparks Debate

From Cybercast News Service:
The government council in the heavily Mormon town of Kanab, Utah, is under attack for a resolution it passed in January that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, "ordained of God." (emphasis added)

[Full Story]
My Comments:
You'll have to read the whole story to find out which part of the resolution is most controversial: the part about "ordained of God"; or the part defining marriage as including one man and only one woman.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Abortion Protesters

From Associated Press via Yahoo:
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.

The 8-0 decision
[ED.: UNANIMOUS!] ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 ruling by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.

Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the appellate court sought to determine whether the injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence.

In Tuesday's ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend
[ED.: So, is it safe to say that Justice Breyer DIDN'T rely on foreign law in writing this opinion?] to create "a freestanding physical violence offense" in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act.

Instead, Breyer wrote, Congress chose to address violence outside abortion clinics in 1994 by passing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which set parameters for such protests.

Social activists and the AFL-CIO had sided with abortion demonstrators in arguing that lawsuits and injunctions based on the federal extortion law could be used to thwart their efforts to change public policy or agitate for better wages and working conditions.

The legal battle began in 1986, when the National Organization for Women filed a class-action suit challenging tactics used by the Pro-Life Action Network to block women from entering abortion clinics.

NOW's legal strategy was novel at the time, relying on civil provisions of the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was used predominantly in criminal cases against organized crime. The lawsuit also relied on the Hobbs Act, a 55-year-old law banning extortion.


(emphasis and editorial comments added)
My Comments:
For some background on this case, read this Fumare post from last June, which includes an interesting exchange between the bloggers and a NOW official.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bill Introduced to "Stop Abortion in Ohio"

Father Martin Fox (who I am linking to for the 3rd time today) has a post about Ohio House Bill 228, which would outlaw abortion in the state of Ohio:

Some pro-life Ohio legislators have introduced a bill to prohibit abortions in this state. Click here to read the complete text of the proposed legislation (House Bill 228).

Please contact all of those representatives who have co-sponsored this bill and thank them for supporting the right to life. (Click
here for a sample message).

If your representative is not a co-sponsor, please
contact him or her and urge them to support HB 228. (Click here for a sample message).

Also, please contact your state senator asking him or her to support the introduction of a companion bill in the senate. (Click
here for a sample message).

ACTION ALERT! Contact Health Committee members

My Comments:
I still can't help but think that this is all a little premature, and could cause more harm than good (as I've detailed here and here). But - what the hell - I'm happy to get the word out for the pro-life cause.

I'm even going to send a copy of the flyer linked above to our church secretary for inclusion in our bulletin.

Fidelis Urges South Dakota Governor to Protect Women and Sign Abortion Ban

Earlier this evening, I received the following emailed press release from Fidelis.org:
WASHINGTON — Fidelis, a national Catholic-based advocacy organization encouraged Governor Mike Rounds (R-SD) to sign House Bill 1215, a bill that would protect women by banning most abortions in South Dakota. The bill is widely viewed as a “frontal assault” on Roe v. Wade.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella stated: “This is the leading edge of a growing women’s movement to protect women and children from the disastrous effects of abortion. South Dakota has taken a necessary and bold step toward protecting the real rights of women. We are honored to play a part in this historic effort and encourage Governor Rounds to sign the bill.”

Fidelis Vice President Brian Burch stated: “The enormous amount of information now available on the harm to women brought about by legalized abortion is incredible. Study after study has shown that abortion is devastating for women. This growing body of evidence puts South Dakota in a very strong position because the courts are going to have to confront this explosive new information that was not available in the past.”

Fidelis has worked with constitutional experts from around the country to provide South Dakota with assistance on the legislation. Lawyer and former state representative Matt McCaulley, who introduced a similar ban in the 2004 South Dakota Legislature, served as a lobbyist for Fidelis throughout the process.

“Mr. McCaulley was instrumental in working with several legislators and groups during the debate on this very important issue. He was a perfect fit to help get the job done. Mr. McCaulley is a very talented lawyer who is 100% committed to protecting women and children,” Cella said.

Fidelis also acknowledged the courageous leadership of Rep. Roger Hunt, the sponsor of the 2006 legislation, and Leslee Unruh President of the South Dakota based Alpha Center and the Abstinence Clearinghouse. “Representative Hunt and Leslee Unruh deserve enormous praise for their efforts on this bill,” said Burch.

As Governor Rounds decides whether to sign the bill, accounts of people dropping off checks to support the legal defense of the bill were confirmed. Governor Rounds has also reported that leaders from across the country, including other state governors were pledging support.

“There exists a nationwide women’s movement that is rallying behind the leadership of South Dakota. Fidelis is committed to providing every resource at their disposal to aid the state as they urge Governor Rounds to sign the bill and prepare for a predictable legal challenge from Planned Parenthood,” continued Burch.

Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Other Pro Ecclesia Posts on this Subject:
Joseph Bottum: South Dakota Anti-Abortion Legislation a "Tactical Error"

South Dakota Passes Abortion Ban

USAToday on NBC, the Turin Olympics, and the Shroud (or Lack Thereof)

Michael McCarthy, writing USAToday's post-mortem on NBC's dismal Olympic coverage, notes the following about NBC's reticence to cover Turin's most famed object:

NBC Sports' failure to mention the Shroud of Turin until the last day was like ignoring a pink elephant in the living room.
Readers of this blog have seen this critique before here:
Yet it's not so significant a relic as to draw one word from NBC's commentators during the Turin Olympics opening ceremonies. That would be a little like holding the Olympics in Salt Lake City and never mentioning the Mormons.
and here:
Catholic League President Bill Donohue believes a "hypocritical" NBC is deliberately avoiding religion. "If you asked the average American to name something about Turin, Italy, they'd name the Shroud," Donohue said. "It's like having the Olympics in Fort Knox and not mentioning gold."

Other Pro Ecclesia Posts on this Subject:
USAToday: NBC Chooses to Keep the Faith Out of Olympics — For Now

Mention of Shroud Absent From Turin Olympics Opening Ceremonies

Holy or Hoax, Shroud Still a Draw

Embryos Are Human Beings, Pope Insists

The Holy Father, addressing scholars participating a conference on the human embryo, has insisted that human embryos are not just "potential life", but human beings marked with God's image:
Vatican, Feb. 27 (CWNews.com) - Human embryos deserve the same protection as all other human beings, Pope Benedict XVI told an audience of scholars on February 27.

"The love of God does not distinguish between the newly-conceived infant still in its mother's womb, the baby, the youth, the grown adult or the elderly, because in each of them He sees the sign of His own image and likeness," the Holy Father said. He was speaking to participants in a conference on the human embryo, organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The Vatican conference has drawn over 300 experts from around the world to discuss the status of the human embryo prior to implantation in the mother's womb. The Pope acknowledged that the topic is "fascinating but difficult," involving both scientific data and fundamental about the nature of the human person.

However, the Pope observed, the Bible gives clear guidance on the question, pointing to "the love of God toward all human beings, even before they take form in the mother's womb." God's love, the Pontiff continued, is not conditional, nor is it based on the personal traits of the individual. Every human person, regardless of condition or state in life, bears the image of God. "Human life is a good thing, always and definitively," he insisted.

(emphasis added)

Pope Says Terrorists Face God's Wrath

From Catholic World News:
Vatican, Feb. 27 (CWNews.com) - Terrorists who kill in the name of religious faith will receive a stern judgment from God, Pope Benedict XVI warned during a public audience on Sunday, February 26.

Responding to a new spate of religious violence in Iraq and in Nigeria, the Pope said: "God, the Creator and Father of all, will be severe in his judgment of those who shed their brothers' blood invoking His name."

With the season of lent approaching, the Pope suggested that Christians should fast and pray for an end to bloodshed, particularly in the nations where religious conflicts are now flaring.

(emphasis added)

Joseph Bottum: South Dakota Anti-Abortion Legislation a "Tactical Error"

Joseph Bottum, writing for the First Things blog On the Square, thinks that the South Dakota legislature made a "tactical error" in pushing for a showdown on Roe v. Wade at this juncture:
Back in my home state of South Dakota, the state legislature voted on Friday to ban all abortions except those to prevent the death of the mother. The governor, Mike Rounds, hasn’t yet signed the bill, but said he was leaning toward doing so—though two years ago, he vetoed similar legislation on the grounds that it was badly written and would have caused all of the state’s old restrictions to be enjoined while the ban was being tested in court.

From Pierre, South Dakota, to Washington, D.C., is hardly a straight line, but the point of the effort is to give the Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade and its progeny. “Many people will never believe this will not work unless it’s tried,” Rounds told a news conference, and the bill’s supporters were demanding the “opportunity to be proven wrong.”

It looks like they’ll get it. But is the effect likely to be good or bad? The usual pro-abortion groups are already booming the legislation—which is years from facing Supreme Court review—for fund-raising purposes, which certainly looks like a first bad effect.

And then there’s the question of the Supreme Court’s review of the Federal ban on partial-birth abortion. With the appointments of Roberts and Alito, there are, we hope, four solid votes against Roe on the Court. If Justice Kennedy was serious in previous opinions when he said that legislation could treat third-trimester abortions, then there may be the five-vote majority needed to assert that the right to abortion does not trump every other consideration—and that abortion is therefore, in principle, subject to restriction and regulation. With that crack in the rock that rolled over us in 1973, there is a chance to start breaking off more pieces—or so the argument goes—until Roe is finally reduced to rubble. But if the pro-abortion groups and their supporters in the press can successfully equate the Court’s review of partial-birth with an outright and immediate ban of all abortions, the crack gets harder to open. And that, too, looks like a bad effect of the new legislation in South Dakota.

But there’s hunger out there—in the real world, in places like Pierre, South Dakota—for something to happen. President Bush forgot during the brief Harriet Myers imbroglio that the Supreme Court was the election issue for a large number of people who voted for him in 2004. And now with Roberts and Alito on the Court, those people want to see results. The base is worked up, the pro-abortion Democrats looked feeble and stupid during Alito’s confirmation hearings, and for the first time since the Webster decision in 1989, the end of Roe is actually imaginable. Not certain, you understand, and maybe not even likely. But that it should be even imaginable is huge change: For the first time in many people’s adult life, we can picture a genuine path for returning abortion law to the states.

So it’s not really surprising that the national pro-life groups can’t keep tight control of the movement. Down at the roots, the grass is on fire. After all the careful work writers in journals like FIRST THINGS have done to set in motion the analysis by which Roe can be chipped away, it’s hard to see the South Dakota legislation as anything except a tactical error. But it’s also hard to blame the lawmakers who pushed it through. As the governor said, “Many people will never believe this will not work unless it’s tried.” And the hunger for something to happen—oh, yes, anyone who is opposed to abortion knows that feeling well.
My Comments:
You may recall that I expressed similar concerns about the South Dakota abortion legislation here, when I asked whether pro-lifers know how to count. For a well-reasoned but contrary view of the South Dakota legislation (as well as my comments thereto), see Father Martin Fox's excellent blog Bonfire of the Vanities.

Justice Scalia: Guns Not Just for Crime

From NewsMax.com:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia fondly remembers carrying a rifle around New York City as a boy and says outdoorsmen should attack the idea that guns are only used for crimes.

An avid outdoorsmen who's hunted with Vice President Dick Cheney
[ED.: Brave man, that Nino], Scalia spoke Saturday at the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention.

"The attitude of people associating guns with nothing but crime, that is what has to be changed," Scalia told the audience of about 2,000.

"I grew up at a time when people were not afraid of people with firearms," said Scalia, noting that as a youth in New York City he was part of a rifle team at the military school he attended.

"I used to travel on the subway from Queens to Manhattan with a rifle," he said. "Could you imagine doing that today in New York City?"
Scalia was criticized in 2004 for hunting ducks with Cheney while the Supreme Court was considering a case involving Cheney's energy task force. This month, a lawyer hunting with Cheney in Texas was wounded when he stepped in the way as Cheney fired at a bird.

The nonprofit turkey federation is dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Nino: "As far as dangerous weapons go, I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride in a car with Ted Kennedy."

Taliban's Former Spokesman Now a Yale Student

John Fund, writing for The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, wonders if anyone sees a problem with the fact that the Taliban's former spokesman is now a Yale student:
Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far.

Something is very wrong at our elite universities. Last week Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow ROTC on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder. Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century--the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

"In some ways," Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. "I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale." One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.

Many foreign readers of the Times will no doubt snicker at the revelation that naive Yale administrators scrambled to admit Mr. Rahmatullah. The Times reported that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status." Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times that "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again."

My Comments:
Never mind the question of why this guy is AT YALE. The real question is why isn't he IN JAIL?

Life at Conception Act

Click here to read about the "Life at Conception Act":
Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion by using the Constitution instead of amending it.

Therefore, a simple majority vote is all that is needed to pass a Life at Conception Act as opposed to the two-thirds required to add a Constitutional amendment.

When the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Roe v. Wade decision, it did so based on a new, previously undefined "right of privacy" which it "discovered" in so-called "emanations" of "penumbrae" of the Constitution.

Of course, as constitutional law it was a disaster. But never once did the Supreme Court declare abortion itself to be a Constitutional right.

Instead the Supreme Court said:

"We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

Then the High Court made a key admission:

"If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [i.e. "Roe" who sought the abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed by the [14th] Amendment."

That's exactly what a Life at Conception Act would do.

A Life at Conception Act changes the focus of the abortion debate. It takes the activist Supreme Court out of the equation and places responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the elected representatives who, unlike life term judges, must respond to grass-roots pressure.

... continued efforts have led to ever-increasing support for a Life at Conception Act in Congress. Representative Duncan Hunter's (R-CA) Life at Conception Act (H.R. 552) was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 2 with a record 36 original cosponsors.

Members of the National Pro-Life Alliance are lobbying hard to gain a record number of cosponsors for a Life at Conception Act.

An up or down vote on a Life at Conception Act will put politicians on record either for or against ending abortion-on-demand.

Pro-lifers are urged to call (202) 224-3121 and insist that their Congressmen cosponsor Duncan Hunter's H.R. 552 today.
Thanks to Father Martin Fox of the blog Bonfire of the Vanities, who is also involved with the National Pro-Life Alliance, for alerting me to this piece of legislation.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Marriage as a Public Good - Scholars Defend Institution's Role in Society

From Zenit News Agency:
PRINCETON, New Jersey, FEB. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Marriage's role as a public institution is increasingly under attack. In the midst of pressures for legalization of same-sex marriage, formal recognition of de facto couples, and the continuing problem of divorce, the traditional view of marriage is no longer clear to many people.

But a volume of essays just-published collects an impressive array of evidence by leading scholars defending marriage and arguing that it serves the common good. "The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals" (Spence Publishing) is edited by Robert P. George and Jean Bethke Elshtain, professors at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, respectively.

Elshtain notes in the book's foreword that nobody is left untouched by the marriage debate, because it is such a pervasive institution in society. Discourse over the future of marriage, however, has become increasingly fractious as groups such as same-sex couples demand recognition of their "rights."

An underlying theme in the book, she continues, is the conviction that altering the institution of marriage will have profound and perhaps unintended consequences for ourselves as individuals, and for society in general.

In all observed societies some form of marriage exists, comments English philosopher Roger Scruton in his chapter. Not only does it play a vital role in handing on the work of one generation to the next, but it also protects and nurtures children, is a form of social and economic cooperation, and regulates sexual activity.

Long-linked to religion, the marriage tie in recent times has faced a steady de-sacralization. As well, social constraints tying husband and wife have diminished to the point where marriage has left behind the Christian undertaking of "till death do us part," and now resembles more a short-term contract.

Indeed, this loss of the religious aspect of marriage played a key role its weakening, Scruton argues. A sacred vow is a far more binding commitment than a civil promise. And little by little, the state has loosened the marital tie, to the point where, he contends, we now approach "serial polygamy." But these rescindable civil unions cannot carry out the traditional functions. In fact, they serve principally to "amplify the self-confidence of the partners," he maintains, and cannot guarantee security to the children.

(emphasis added)

"Fra-Gee-Lay; It Must be Italian" and "You Gotta Nip it in the Bud, Andy"

Two actors who played much-beloved roles during their careers are dead.

Darren McGavin who, among other roles, played the grouchy but lovable father of Ralph Parker in "A Christmas Story", died today at the age of 83 (I had no idea he was in his 60s when he played that role).

Don Knotts, famous for his role as bumbling sheriff's deputy Barney Fife in "The Andy Griffith Show" and for his role as bumbling apartment manager Ralph Furley in "Three's Company", died today at the age of 81.

May they rest in peace.

“Pro-Choice” Position is Heresy Says Oregon Catholic Bishop

From LifeSite:
BAKER Oregon, February 21, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Robert Vasa, the Catholic bishop of the Oregon diocese of Baker, has written a letter to his diocesan newspaper clearly identifying the so-called “pro-choice” position among Catholics as a “heresy”. For decades, many Catholics have argued that “primacy of conscience” allows them to dissent from basic Church teaching, including the right to life, and still consider themselves “good Catholics.”

He said he does not seek to justify “vigilante theology,” and that the word needs to be applied with care, “but we do need strong words to combat erroneous and fallacious teaching.”

“There is a very strong word, which still exists in our Church, which most of us are too ‘gentle’ to use. The word is ‘heresy.’”

To the many Catholics who publicly profess that one can be both a good Catholic and “pro-choice” on abortion, Vasa says, “The teaching of the Church in the area of life is clear and unequivocal. Human life must be respected and protected from conception to natural death. Those who maintain that any and all decisions about the disposition of pre-born human beings are exclusively the right of the mother or the parents, at least implicitly, reject the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.” This rejection, he writes, is heresy, as defined in the Church’s canon law.

Those Catholics who hold the “pro-choice” position, he writes, “reject the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.”

Vasa blows away the usual claim that asserting the right to life or the sinfulness of homosexuality is ‘intolerant.’ Jesus, the bishop writes, was “meek and humble of heart,” but not tolerant of sin. “I wonder if those who heard Jesus say, ‘Whoever leads one of these little ones astray, it would be better if he had a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea,’ nodded approval and said, ‘He is so tolerant and accepting.’”

He writes, “There is a point at which passive ‘tolerance’ allows misleading teachings to be spread and propagated, thus confusing or even misleading the faithful about the truths of the Church.”

In 2004, Vasa was cheered by faithful Catholics when he instituted a requirement for diocesan staff to publicly adhere to Catholic teaching on abortion and other major issues. He said, "A failure on my part to verify a person's suitability for ministry would be judged as seriously negligent."

Vasa, bishop in a state where assisted suicide is legal, was also among the few US bishops to vocally condemn the court-ordered dehydration killing of Terri Schiavo.

During the presidential election, Vasa was also among that small cadre of US bishops in agreement with then-Cardinal Ratzinger that pro-abortion politicians must be refused Holy Communion. When challenged that he was putting himself at odds with his fellow bishops, he responded, “I answer to the Holy See, I don't answer to the USCCB (Conference of Catholic Bishops).”

Read Bishop Vasa’s complete letter:


(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Bishop Vasa: "I answer to the Holy See, I don't answer to the USCCB". Got that Bishop Wuerl?

Other Pro Ecclesia Posts on This Subject:
Is Bishop Vasa Headed to Cleveland?

Bishop Wuerl: Bishops Should Consult One Another Before Speaking On National Issues Like Kerry And Communion

Catholics in Toledo Diocese Given St. Patrick's Day Dispensation

Today's Toledo Blade is reporting that
because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during Lent, there is “a diocesan-wide dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat on that day… those people who wish to include the eating of meat in their celebration of the Apostle of Ireland may transfer the obligation to Thursday, March 16.”

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
I like the fact that Bishop Blair, rather than doing away with the Friday Lenten obligation altogether for St. Patrick's Day, instead transferred the Friday obligation to the Thursday before.

I'm still fairly new at this, so I'm wondering if other dioceses are transferring the Friday Lenten obligation to another day in order to accommodate St. Patrick's Day celebrations, or do other bishops merely dispense with that Friday's obligation altogether?

UPDATE (27 February):
Kevin Miller at Heart, Mind & Strength writes:
RE: MEAT ON FRIDAY 3/17 [Kevin Miller]
A reader sends word that the bishop of Lansing is among those who're giving a dispensation. He has also recommended that Catholics who won't abstain on that day do so on another day that week.
(emphasis added)

So, here's a "recommendation" that St. Patrick's Day revelers abstain on another day. So far, Bishop Blair is the only bishop who I've heard has made abstaining obligatory on another day of the week. Anyone else?

Ohio Governor Taft Threatens to Veto Gun Bill

Ohio Governor Bob Taft takes issue with 2 proposed changes to Ohio's conceal-carry law, and has threatened a veto:
Unless two major provisions being pushed by gun advocates are taken out of a bill that would revise Ohio’s concealcarry law, Gov. Bob Taft won’t sign it.

Supporters say the bill will close loopholes and clean up the state’s nearly 2-year-old gun law, and it should pass out of a House committee by the end of March, said Rep. Robert E. Latta, R-Bowling Green, the committee chairman.

But the governor won’t go along with two proposed changes: altering how guns must be carried in vehicles and restricting journalists’ access to the names of those with conceal-carry permits.

"The governor would be opposed to any change in those provisions," spokesman Mark Rickel said.

"The position remains the same as it did two years ago. Those were two very key provisions to his approval of the legislation and he does not want them to be changed."

Bill supporters would need three-fifths of the votes in each chamber to override a Taft veto.

Taft signed the conceal-carry law in early 2004, but only after repeatedly butting heads with gun-rights advocates.

My Comments:
Bob Taft - a pro-tax, anti-gun crook. That POS can't leave office soon enough for me (and I've only been in Ohio for 3 months - imagine how the folks who have had to live through 7-and-a-half years of his corrupt administration feel).

Friday, February 24, 2006

Vatican Challenges Arguments on Embryo Research

From Catholic World News:
Feb. 24 (CWNews.com) - The Pontifical Academy for Life will hold an international congress on the human embryo next week, bringing together 350 specialists in the Synod Hall for a two-day meeting on February 27-28.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, briefed reporters about the conference at a February 24 press conference. He said that the scholars taking part in the sessions-- including doctors, philosophers, theologians, and scientific researchers-- would focus on the scientific and bioethical questions involved in the treatment of the embryo prior to implantation.

The Wife's Favorite TV Show ...

..., I'm embarassed to admit, is "American Idol". One of the unfortunate side effects to her Idol addiction is that I sometimes have to watch it. I hate that show.

But I really like this guy:

Taylor Hicks

He reminds me a lot of a friend I had back in college, right down to the great singing voice and premature gray hair.

Dawn Eden and and the folks at After Abortion like him, too.

The Empire Brokeback

(Hat tip: Mark Shea)

Not as funny as "Brokeback to the Future", but "The Empire Brokeback" is funny nonetheless.

And there's even one for Star Trek fan, Paul.

Catholic League: Dems Owe Blackwell an Apology

(File under Catholic League, Ken Blackwell, Ohio Politics, Democrat Dirty Tricks)

Yesterday, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued the following press release regarding Ken Blackwell, Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio:
February 23, 2006


Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor, has recently been labeled anti-Catholic by the Ohio Democratic Catholic Caucus. The charge stems from the fact that Blackwell is co-authoring a book, Rebuilding America, with Jerry Corsi, the co-author of a book with John O’Neill about the swift boat veterans. Corsi once made anti-Catholic jokes on the Internet, and later apologized for doing so. This was sufficient grounds for the Catholic Democratic group to say, “The message from Blackwell to Ohio Catholics is clear. Mainstream and faithful Catholics need not apply.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue took issue with this today:

“Follow the logic: Ken Blackwell, who holds the same positions as the Catholic Church on abortion and school vouchers, and who was vice president and a professor at a Catholic university (his alma mater, Xavier University), is being branded anti-Catholic by an organization which rejects the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion and school vouchers, simply because he is co-authoring a book with someone who once made anti-Catholic quips for which he has long apologized.

“Charging a public official with bigotry is serious business, and nothing that Ken Blackwell has ever said or done is anti-Catholic. Indeed, his record is one of championing Catholic causes: he has been honored for his pro-life work by the Knights of Columbus, and was given an award last year by the Catholic Inner-City School Education Fund. That is why he deserves an immediate apology from those who have slandered him.”

(emphasis added)
My Comments:

Looks like the Dems are trying to use against Blackwell the same old guilt-by-allegedly-anti-Catholic-association gambit tried by John McCain against George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries. Didn't work then; won't work now.

Other Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Ken Blackwell Leads GOP Hopes

National Review: Meet “Jesse Jackson’s Worst Nightmare” - Ken Blackwell

Principle Trumps Race

Ronald Reagan's Unlikely Heir

Republican Senate Leadership Survey

Yesterday, I received and filled out a "Republican Senate Leadership Survey" that was sent by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, chaired by Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

The survey asked a number of questions about my policy preferences and how I rated the leadership of President Bush and the Republican majority in the Senate, blah, blah, blah.

When the survey finally got around to asking whether I would "support" the NRSC in its efforts to maintain and increase the Republican majority in the Senate, I answered "No" and added an asterisk. In the blanks left for comments at the end of the survey, I included the following remarks:
* Judges are the ONLY reason I continue to support the Republican Party.

* I will not support your efforts until you stop funding liberals like Lincoln Chafee who are running against more conservative primary opponents.
I hope other people who received this survey did the same thing. Maybe then they'll get the message.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Liking Chief Justice Roberts ... A Lot

Chief Justice John Roberts has, so far, turned out to be just the sort of Supreme Court Justice I had hoped he would be. Here's the most recent example of why that is:
Roberts, Scalia See Limits to the Reach of Clean Water Act

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., gave a skeptical hearing Tuesday to the government's contention that it has broad powers to block development on private wetlands that are far from rivers or bays.

The Clean Water Act gives federal authorities the power to protect the "navigable waters of the United States," but the high court is reconsidering whether that power extends to wetlands and small streams.

Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia sharply questioned U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who defended the broad reach of the law. Both said they thought there must be a limit to the reach of federal authority.

Scalia said it was "absurd" and "extravagant" to claim that ditches and storm drains were part of the navigable waters of the United States.

There must be a point where the law "says, 'Stop,' " Roberts said. Otherwise, "every drop of water" on any field or farm in America is subject to federal jurisdiction, he said.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Now, that's what I call a Justice "in the mold of Scalia and Thomas".

Death Row Protest by Doctors Stirs New Debate

Both Amy Welborn and Katelyn Sills link to stories (here and here) about a scheduled California execution by lethal injection that was put on hold because the 2 doctors who were to administer the lethal dosage refused to do so on the basis that they believed it would violate the Hippocratic Oath.

I can think of several simple solutions to solve this alleged problem of doctors participating in lethal injections violating the Hippocratic oath:

(1) bring back the hangman;
(2) bring back the firing squad;
(3) bring back the electric chair; and/or
(4) bring back the gas chamber.

None of these methods of execution involve a member of the medical profession in any way other than to pronounce the prisoner dead.

Look, I shouldn't be so cavalier about anyone's life being taken, but I find it hard to take seriously this alleged opposition to the execution of convicted murderers when the same medical profession sees no problem with taking the life of the innocent through abortion and, increasingly, through euthanasia.

And I REALLY AM trying to come around to the Church's newly "developed" teaching on the death penalty. I truly am trying. It's just that the Church's (or should I say John Paul II's) views on capital punishment really are a stumbling block for me. So, perhaps I wouldn't be out of line in asking for your prayers that I would receive the grace to conform my mind to that of the Church on this issue.

Welcome Happy Catholic Readers

Welcome to any Happy Catholic readers who have followed Julie D.'s link to this blog. It was very kind for someone of such elite stature as Julie D. - being a Catholic Blog Award winner in the category of Best Blog by a Woman - to bestow such an honor on little ol' me.

For those of you visiting for the first time, take your time, look around, drop me a comment or two, but most importantly, please come back again.

Thanks again, Julie D.!

More Ohio Politics - CNS Fact-O-Rama

Today must be "Ohio Day" at Cybercast News Service, and by extension (since I post many articles from there), at Pro Ecclesia:
‘Mother of Presidents’ or Presidential Curse?

Ohio was in fact the state where Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, McKinley, Taft and Harding were born. That’s seven out of the 42 men who have served as president, or approximately 17 percent, all coming from the same state.

But out of the eight presidents who have died in office, three, or about 38 percent, were born in Ohio. James Garfield and William McKinley were both assassinated and Warren Harding died of a heart attack.

(SOURCE: Virtual Library)
My Comments:
My former state of residence, the Commonwealth of Virginia, probably has a better claim to being the "Mother of Presidents" than does Ohio. It is, after all, the birthplace of 8 U.S. Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

Virginia is also the birthplace of the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston.

So, in essence, Virginia has 9 Presidents to its credit compared to 7 for Ohio. Just a little trivia for anyone who cares.

Priestessing in Ohio

Coming up this Sunday in Dellroy, Ohio - for those of you interested in this sort of thing:
What do you do for an encore after you've been "ordained" priestess of the Roman Catholic Church?

Former Ohio first lady, ex-wife of former Governor Richard Celeste, Dagmar Braun Celeste was "ordained" in the Catholic Church by Romulo Antonio Braschi, founder of a schismatic community, on a boat in the Danube River between Austria and Germany on June 29, 2002. She was declared excommunicated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on July 22, 2002, which left her a priestess without a church.

Celeste will be conducting her Roman Catholic mass ritual this coming Sunday at the WinterStar Festival 23, "Sects & Sex", a gathering of Ohio Pagans at Atwood Lake Resort in Dellroy, Ohio, U.S.A.

WinterStar is sponsored by the Chameleon Club/Association of Consciousness Exploration, and by Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship.
(emphasis added)

Democrats Facing Problems in Ohio House Races

A couple of items from Cybercast News Service give some indication of the problems Democrats are having in their efforts to turn Ohio from "red" to "blue":
Embarrassment: Dem Front-Runner Disqualified for Ohio Ballot

(CNSNews.com) - In what Republicans are calling a "high-profile gaffe," a Democrat running for Congress in Ohio's 6th District has been disqualified from running in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Charlie Wilson failed to get the minimum number of petition signatures, elections officials said on Wednesday. He fell four short. The Columbiana County Board of Elections' decision to disqualify him "represents a major setback for National Democrats in their efforts to hold on to one of the country's most vulnerable open seats," the National Republican Congressional Committee said. The NRCC also described Wilson's disqualification is a "colossal failure" for Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel.

[Full Story]

Democrats Stymied in Recruiting Challenger for Embattled Ohio Republican

(CNSNews.com) - National Democrats are having trouble recruiting experienced politicians to run again Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, press reports said, despite the fact that Ney is the focus of a lobbying scandal and a top target for Democrats in November. Three experienced Democrats have turned down their party's request to run against Ney, reports said. One of the Democrats who refused to run against Ney said the Republican congressman could be unbeatable, despite his troubles.

[Full story]

Florida Bill Would Allow Birth Certificates for Stillborn Babies

From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - Florida's House Health Care Committee unanimously approved a "Missing Angels" bill on Wednesday that would allow the state to issue birth certificates for stillborn babies -- if the pregnancy lasted at least 20 weeks and ended in the natural delivery of the deceased infant, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. A Senate committee unanimously approved similar legislation last week. Similar bills have died in past sessions, the newspaper said, and the current bill faces additional committee hearings. The legislation would allow grieving parents to name a child who was not born alive; but it prevents the state from using stillbirth certificates in calculating live birth statistics.
(emphasis added)

Compromise Reached on Milwaukee Voucher Program

Bad news if you live in Milwaukee and sent your kid to a Catholic school because you wanted his or her education to be "Catholic":
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gov. Jim Doyle and state Assembly Speaker John Gard announced a compromise Friday to expand enrollment in Milwaukee's private school voucher program while increasing funding for reducing class sizes statewide.

The proposal, which still needs legislative approval, would increase voucher slots by 7,500 to about 22,500, require all 124 private and religious choice schools to obtain accreditation from an outside group and make them administer nationally standardized tests to their students.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
I once favored voucher programs. THIS is the reason that I do not favor vouchers anymore.

The government has done a crappy job of running the tax-supported government schools. Why the hell do we want them screwing up the Catholic schools by requiring mandates for outside accreditation and administration of standardized testing?

Once the government gets its claws into something, it can't help but destroy it through bureaucratization and enforcement of leftist PC orthodoxy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Swimmer's Unwanted Birthday Present

Today is Teddy "the Swimmer" Kennedy's 74th birthday. Speaking today at a community college in Massachusetts, Teddy got what could only be called an unwanted birthday gift:
A community college student in Massachusetts faces possible disciplinary action for shouting "Remember Chappaquiddick!" during an on-campus speech by Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Paul Trost, 20, a student at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass., says he was upset by an introduction of Kennedy given by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., in which the congressman noted how the long-time senator overcame hardship in life on his way to success.

"Lynch said Kennedy had overcome such adversity to get to the place he was, and that's a bunch of bull," Trost said of the introduction, which occurred in the school's student center Tuesday morning.

Just as Kennedy began speaking, Trost was walking out of the room when he shouted, "Remember Chappaquiddick!"

"Most of the crowd gasped," Trost said. "Then I walked out of the student center."

The student said one of his teachers confronted him after a class about the Chappaquiddick issue.

"One of my teachers called me ignorant and told me this was an embarrassment to the school," Trost told WND. "She said to me, 'Can't you forgive him after all these years?' And I said, 'No, he killed somebody.'

"If it had been me or any other person, we'd be in jail," Trost says he told his instructor.

Referring to his two-word shout, Trost said, "I did it because I know about Kennedy's past. I know what happened at Chappaquiddick.

"I wanted to send a message to him that my generation still knows about it. We haven't forgotten about it."

Trost said he was satisfied to know that students on campus were talking about the Chappaquiddick incident later in the day – some of whom, in fact, were not familiar with it.

Trost, a liberal arts major who has protested the Iraq war, says he's not a right-winger.

"I tend to have what would be considered liberal views," he explained, "but I go with whatever I think is right."

"I don't regret what I did," Trost said. "And if they ask me to apologize, I won't do it."

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
I don't think much of hecklers, as I indicated in an earlier post today regarding some heckling that Justice Scalia recieved. Heckling an invited guest during a speech is rude.

That being said, this guy is what I would call a "principled liberal". He has protested the war in Iraq, and now he has protested the laughable claim that Teddy, a trust-funded member of "America's royal family", has had to overcome adversity to get where he is. Again, I disagree with his chosen tactic of heckling, but this is a liberal with whom I could sit down and have a beer.

Hope you enjoyed your birthday, Swimmer!

South Dakota Passes Abortion Ban

Do pro-lifers know how to count? The ones in South Dakota seem to be under the impression that 4 Justices equals a majority on the Supreme Court:
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) - South Dakota's state senate voted on Wednesday for an abortion ban aimed at giving the conservative-tilting Supreme Court an opening to overturn rulings granting women the right to the procedure.

Only an unlikely veto by Republican Gov. Michael Rounds could prevent the legislation from becoming law, people on both sides of the issue said.

"We hope (Rounds) recognizes this for what it is: a political tool and not about the health and safety of the women of South Dakota," said Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood, which operates the sole clinic providing abortions in South Dakota.

"If he chooses to sign it, we will be filing a lawsuit in short order to block it," she said after attending the afternoon debate at the state capitol in Pierre.

Proponents have said the law was designed for just such a court challenge.

The timing is right, supporters say, given the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the high court. The two conservatives could pave the way to a decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling said women have a constitutional right to abortion.

My Comments:
Couldn't South Dakota have waited until another Supreme Court vacancy had been filled before jumping the gun on this? As it stands, there are still 5 votes to uphold Roe v. Wade - the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito didn't change the balance of power on the Court vis-a-vis abortion.

I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to be a huge mistake. Another Supreme Court decision re-affirming Roe v. Wade would only further entrench it as precedent, making it that much more difficult to overturn later.

A Tocquevillian in the Vatican

From Catholic Exchange:
Upon Joseph Ratzinger’s election to the papacy in April 2005, many commentators correctly noted that Benedict XVI’s self-described theological “master” was St. Augustine. The fifth-century African bishop is widely acknowledged as a giant of the early Church whose life and writings are counted, even by his detractors, among the most decisive in shaping Western civilization. Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, is full of citations and themes drawn from Augustine’s texts.

The encyclical’s publication appears, however, to confirm that another, more contemporary thinker has influenced the way that Benedict XVI views religion in free societies and the nature of the state. That person is the nineteenth-century French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville.

The author of classic texts such as Democracy in America, Tocqueville’s own relationship with Christianity is best described as “complex.” Raised in a devout French aristocratic family, Tocqueville was appalled at the French Revolution’s assault on the Catholic Church — an attack involving looting of church property and violence against clergy and laypeople alike. But Tocqueville also disapproved of the post-Revolutionary clergy’s tendency to attach itself to political absolutism. On a personal level, Tocqueville oscillated between doubt and faith for most of his life.

What Tocqueville did not doubt, however, was religion’s importance in sustaining free societies. This theme is addressed at length in Democracy in America. More importantly, it has attracted Joseph Ratzinger’s attention. Upon being inducted into the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques of the Institut de France in 1992, then-Cardinal Ratzinger remarked that Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America has always made a strong impression on me.”

My Comments:
I read pieces of Toqueville's Democracy in America, along with John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, in an undergraduate Philosophy course many years ago. That's the extent of my exposure to Toqueville, I'm embarassed to admit.

A year or so ago, I was given a copy of Democracy in America as a gift. One of these days I'm going to get around to reading it.

Bible-Quoting Science Students on Rise in Britain

Apparently, the U.S. is exporting "irrationality" to the U.K.:

A GROWING number of science students on British university campuses are challenging the theory of evolution, saying that Darwin was wrong.

Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Koran as scientific fact and at one college in London, most biology students are now thought to be creationists.

Earlier this month, Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin's theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.

In the US, there is growing pressure to teach creationism or "intelligent design" in science classes,
[ED.: Bullshite! Creationism and "intelligent design" aren't synonymous, and the REAL problem is with neo-Darwinists who won't even allow "critical thinking" regarding their evolutionary dogma.] despite legal rulings against it. Similar trends in Britain have prompted the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific academy, to confront the issue head-on with a talk next month entitled "Why Creationism is wrong", when the award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally.

"There is an insidious and growing problem," said Professor Jones, of University College London. "It's a step back from rationality. They [the creationists] don't have a problem with science, they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease, as we see from the US."


(emphasis added)

My Comments:
You know, because the U.S. is just a hotbed of irrationality compared to Britain, where they ban Piglet and hot-cross buns from the schools and allow throngs of Islamist militants to chant threats of murder and mayhem in the streets of London.

Other Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
English Flag Offensive To Muslims?

Just Say No to Dhimmitude!

Proof That The Brits Are Losing Their Minds (And Perhaps Their Souls)

More Insanity From The U.K.

More UK Insanity: Girl Sent Home From School For Wearing A Crucifix

Fr. Richard McBrien, MSM, Cleared of Plagiarism

Dom Bettinelli has the details:
Not that I didn’t see this coming, but the chairman of the Notre Dame theology department said Fr. Richard McBrien was not guilty of plagiarism. This came up last month when I posted some comparisons between a McBrien syndicated column and an Eileen McNamara column in the Boston Globe about the Menino-Catholic Charities affair. The Cardinal Newman Society took the ball and ran with it, filing a complaint with Notre Dame.

Of course, it’s no surprise that McBrien would be cleared, especially when you read the department chairman’s description of CNS:

[T]he complaint “was publicly lodged by the Cardinal Newman Society ... a militant right-wing Catholic interest group lobbying for the most stringent standards of orthodoxy to be used in courses and curricula at Catholic colleges and universities,” Cavadini wrote. The group, he said, had already “targeted Fr. McBrien as a dissident priest who should be required by the university to leave his teaching position.”
Gee, do you think the outcome was pre-ordained?
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Someone needs to ask new Notre Dame President, Fr. John Jenkins, whether he agrees with the department chairman's assessment of the Cardinal Newman Society. If he's going to live up to all the good things we've heard about his leadership, then President Jenkins ought to order that an apology be given to the Cardinal Newman Society for the defamation they have endured.

Other Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Is Richard McBrien A Plagiarist?

Welcome to the Neighborhood

From the Toledo Blade:
3 charged in terror plot; local suspects planned attacks in Iraq, U.S. says
Men accused of trying to build bombs

In a simple West Toledo ranch house and during target practice at a local shooting range, three area men plotted to build bombs and help assist the insurgent attacks in Iraq, federal authorities alleged yesterday.

The men, including a University of Toledo computer and engineering student, planned to wage “holy war” using skills learned via the Internet, officials said, and they intended to enter Iraq under the guise of doing business related to a Reynolds Road used-car lot that one of them owned.

Two of the men were arrested in Toledo over the weekend and pleaded not guilty during a hearing yesterday. The third was arrested in Jordan and flown back to Cleveland, where he pleaded not guilty yesterday.

My Comments:
And here I thought I was moving my family to some place that was "safe". Of course, I'm sure the folks in Oklahoma City thought the same thing prior to 1995.

I suppose there is no such thing as a "safe" place in this day and age.

UAE Port Deal Brings Charges of "Islamophobia"

It seemed only a matter of time before someone started crying bigotry over the bipartisan effort to keep our ports safe from Islamic terrorists:
(CNSNews.com) - In the United Arab Emirates, the dispute over control of American seaports is being attributed variously to ignorance, election year posturing, and "Islamophobia."

[Full story]
My Comments:
That's right. Our peace-loving brothers in the Religion of Peace[TM] have given us absolutely no cause to be afraid.

But, I do find it ironic that Democrats, as Michelle Malkin points out, are suddenly fans of "profiling":
For the past several years, I've been condemned as an "extremist" for advocating nationality profiling -- unapologetically applying stricter scrutiny to terror-sponsoring and terror-sympathizing countries in our entrance, immigration and security policies.

Now, mirabile dictum, some of the same Democrats who have routinely lambasted such profiling are rushing to the floors of Congress and in front of TV cameras espousing these very same policies.

The impetus: the White House's boneheaded insistence on ramming through a $7 billion deal giving United Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World control over significant operations at six major American ports in New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Miami.
And I find it doubly ironic that President Bush - the man who is supposed to be leading this global War on Terror and who is charged with keeping our Nation safe - has finally found a Congressional action that he's willing to veto:
(CNSNews.com) - President George W. Bush threatened on Tuesday to veto any legislation that would stop the deal for a state-owned Arab company to manage six major United States seaports, stating that the arrangement would not jeopardize U.S. security.

"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush said to reporters traveling with him on Air Force One to Washington, D.C.. He added that if the U.S. Congress passed a law to stop the arrangement, "I'll deal with it with a veto."
And I find it triply ironic that Jimmy Carter has finally found an issue on which he agrees with President Bush:
President Bush is taking a battering from fellow Republicans, even the governors of New York and Maryland, over the administration's support for a decision that gives an Arab company control of some commercial operations at six major seaports -- including Miami-Dade's.

But he got a boost Monday from an unlikely source, frequent critic and former president Jimmy Carter, who downplayed fears that the deal poses a risk.

"The overall threat to the United States and security, I don't think it exists," Carter said on CNN's The Situation Room. "I'm sure the president's done a good job with his subordinates to make sure this is not a threat."

Virgin Mary Cartoon Stirs Debate Over Freedom to Offend

From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - While the Mohammed cartoon controversy rages around the world, a television channel in New Zealand was under fire Wednesday for a decision to show an episode of the South Park comedy series featuring a menstruating statue of the Virgin Mary.

The episode, entitled "Bloody Mary," originally was scheduled to air in May, but after a religious row erupted, the network decided to move it up to Wednesday.

Earlier, Catholic bishops wrote to TV Works, a New Zealand subsidiary of the Canadian media company CanWest, and urged it to reconsider. The letter also was signed by Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders.

TV Works rejected the complaint, prompting the bishops to call on the country's half-million Catholics to boycott the channel (and others owned by it) as well as the network's advertisers.

In a pastoral letter read to congregations across New Zealand, the bishops said the episode was offensive, not just to Catholics but to adherents of other denominations and faiths, and demeaning to all women.

Catholic bishops conference president Bishop Denis Browne and fellow bishops said a boycott "might give them pause to consider that press freedom is not a license to incite intolerance or to promote hatred or derision based on religion, race or gender."

TV Works responded by announcing Tuesday that because of the controversy, it would now screen the episode on Wednesday night, to give viewers the opportunity to make up their own minds.

The Catholic Church called the decision to bring forward the episode "arrogant" and "cynical."

The New Zealand branch of Family Life International, a Catholic pro-life group, has launched a protest website identifying advertisers supporting TV Works and urging a boycott of their products.

Catholics comprise 12 percent of the population of the small South Pacific nation.

In neighboring Australia, the "Bloody Mary" episode was due to run on March 6, but The Australian daily reported that after complaints by Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart, the SBS network agreed to "defer" it, citing "the current worldwide controversy over cartoons of religious figures."

The new controversy has erupted as New Zealand and other countries continue to debate the publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper last September.

The publication of cartoons has triggered Muslim protests, boycotts, rioting, killings of non-Muslims, and calls by Islamic leaders for the U.N. to outlaw blasphemy.

Two New Zealand newspapers and the country's two main news networks reproduced the cartoons.

Other newspapers, which chose not to publish the Mohammed caricatures, took flak because readers recalled they had not demurred in the past from carrying images offensive to Christians - most notoriously when the national museum in 1998 exhibited a three-inch statuette of Mary sheathed in a condom.

One regional paper's editorial writer Wednesday compared the bishops' response - calls for a boycott - to "the mullahs, who whip the faithful into a violent frenzy."

Catholic Church communications director Lyndsay Freer said the Mohammed cartoon issue had opened up a debate over freedom of expression versus the media's responsibility to uphold "good taste and decency," adding that the South Park episode was "gratuitously offensive."

That assessment echoed the reasoning given early this month by the country's largest daily, the New Zealand Herald, in deciding not to publish the Mohammed cartoons.

On the South Park issue, the Herald in an editorial Wednesday said, "it is one thing to be offended by an image put in a newspaper or on a television channel with a mass audience, but less clear-cut when the item is intended for a niche publication or channel."

Anyone offended by the South Park episode should just "change the channel," it said.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Hypocricy, thy name is MSM.

And don't you love how one editorial writer compared a call for boycotts by Catholics to acts of murder and mayhem by Muslims? What freakin' planet are these people living on? Oh, that's right, they live on the planet Dhimmi.

Heckler Disrupts Scalia at D.C. Appearance

The Guardian headline says "Hecklers Disrupt ...", but the story only mentions one incident by one heckler:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia grew tired of a persistent heckler Tuesday and asked organizers of a legal seminar to do something about the outbursts - gently.

"Don't use force," Scalia told American Enterprise Institute workers as they grabbed the young man's arm and nudged him toward the door. The workers then let go and the man walked out.

It was unclear what Aaron Yule, 23, of Boston, was asking when Scalia turned to organizers and said, "Can you, somebody ..."

Earlier, a microphone had been snatched from the man's hand when he tried to engage the justice in debate. Scalia had asked him whether he had a question, "apart from insults."

After the man left, Scalia answered questions for about 15 minutes but repeatedly declined to engage anyone who asked questions, even of an apparently friendly nature, that he felt were not related to his topic - the use of foreign law by U.S. courts.

"I feel really bad about it," said Veronique Rodman, an AEI spokeswoman. "There's no excuse for rudeness."
My Comments:
As Justice Scalia has said previously ... "idiots".

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Justices to Weigh Late-Term Abortion Ban

From Associated Press via Yahoo:
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will consider the constitutionality of banning a type of late-term abortion, teeing up a contentious issue for a new-look court already in a state of flux over privacy rights.

The Bush administration has pressed the high court to reinstate the federal law, passed in 2003 but never put in effect because it was struck down by judges in California, Nebraska and New York.

The outcome will likely rest with the two men that President Bush has recently installed on the court. Justices had been split 5-4 in 2000 in striking down a state law, barring what critics call partial birth abortion because it lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.

But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the tie-breaking vote, retired late last month and was replaced by Samuel Alito. Abortion had been a major focus in the fight over Alito's nomination because justices serve for life and he will surely help shape the court on abortion and other issues for the next generation.

Alito, in his rulings on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, has been more willing than O'Connor, the first woman justice, to allow restrictions on abortions, which were legalized in the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act prohibits a certain type of abortion, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially removed from the womb, and the skull is punctured or crushed.


Catholic Blog Awards - Voting Has Ended

The fun has ended. Voting for The 2006 Catholic Blog Awards has now come to a close, and Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate DID NOT FINISH DEAD LAST in the category of "Best Political Blog". Hooray!

Pro Ecclesia finished with 9.6% of the vote total for the category, which means that I didn't quite reach my goal of 10%. Nevertheless, like the
Pharisee who thanked God that at least he was "better than" the Publican, I am gratified that at least Pro Ecclesia did not finish DEAD LAST like Der Tommissar's Donegal Express.

In all seriousness, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who voted for Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate as "Best Political Blog". I am humbled that you think this blog worthy of such an honor.

I also want to thank Rick, Rhonda, Tom, Maureen, Julie D., Jeff, Darwin & Mrs. Darwin, Fidei Defensor, Scarlette, and some overzealous voters for making this fun by providing some great laughs and helping to keep the whole "awards" thing in perspective.

Special thanks goes out to Joshua LeBlanc of CyberCatholics for the thankless task of hosting The Catholic Blog Awards. Josh has graciously invited constructive feedback on this year's CBAs and suggestions for how to improve next year's Awards.

Oh, and one last thing: I am taking Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate out of consideration for next year's awards. The recognition that you have given to Pro Ecclesia this year is confirmation enough that you think this blog has contributed at least somewhat positively to the political dialogue at St. Blog's. When the time comes for The 2007 Catholic Blog Awards, I am going to post a list of other fine blogs that very easily could have been nominated this year for "Best Political Blog" and ask that you support them.

Again, thank you for all your support over the past year that this blog has been in existence.

Majority of Births in Britain Will Soon be Out of Wedlock

From the London Telegraph:
Half of all babies will be born to unmarried mothers by 2012 if present trends continue, says new research that suggests the rapid erosion of moral and religious taboos.

Moreover, fewer than half of families will consist of married couples and up to a third could be lone parents, said Dr Peter Brierley, a former Government statistician now specialising in religious trends.

Dr Brierley's projections followed the publication of official figures yesterday showing that the number of births outside marriage has almost quadrupled in recent decades.

The Office for National Statistics' Social Trends report, an annual snapshot of Britain, said that the figure rose to 42.3 per cent last year.

In 1994, the figure was 32 per cent and in the early 1970s it was less than 10 per cent.

The number of births outside wedlock exceeds 50 per cent in some parts, including Wales. In the North East, it was 54.1 per cent last year.

In London, where a higher proportion of young mothers are Muslims who adhere to more conservative family values, a third of children were born outside marriage.

The report said Britain now had the fourth highest level of births outside marriage in Europe, after Sweden, Denmark and France.

Much of the rise comes from a sharp increase in people living together. But the number of one-parent families is also increasing.

The figures have alarmed family campaigners, who say the collapse of marriage could have a serious impact on social structures.

Campaigners and Church leaders have accused politicians of marginalising marriage by undermining its legal and financial privileges and shying away from promoting it above other types of family.

Labour abolished the last tax break for married couples, the Married Couples' Allowance, while its tax credit system is said to favour single-parent families.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
This is what a decade of Labour-led government will get you. And I say that as someone who holds Tony Blair in the highest esteeem.

hit counter for blogger