Monday, October 31, 2011

How Will Media and Southern Baptist Church Handle Video Voyeur Evangelist

First I am not picking on the Baptist. Also I am not trying to divert from Catholic problems. However this will be the second case coming within a month on if there is a double standard to reporting about these issues. That is what I am interested in as a Catholic

See Evangelist charged with video voyeurism from the Baptist press. For a more aggressive commentary see Video Voyeurism of Sammy Nuckolls - Were There Any Victims at Lifeway's FUGE Camps? via FBC Jax Watchdog

As we learn from local media this activity might have been going on for years.

Now to be clear there is no indication yet he was filming underage undressing or taking showers at all these camps. Maybe he did not. Maybe he has sexual taste in older women. Still this seems like a big freaking deal with someone that is sort of a big deal in the Southern Baptist Church. Yet I only caught wind of this because I got a Baptist news service on my twitter feed. Beside local media in Mississippi and the Memphis area not much out there in the press.

Again there is no indication yet that underage girls were involved in these past activities. But the again a lot of parents might be clueless if this gets the typical non celibate non Catholic coverage into these issues.

Again I am not position to be casting stones here as a Catholic and that is not my intent. But it will be interesting to see how the press covers this and indeed the Southern Baptist Church handles any internal investigation ( if they do one at all).

What is interesting here is because of the Lifeway connection this really puts the issue of liability a little closer to the National Convention perhaps.

Justice Clarence Thomas Writes That Establishment Clause Jurisprudence in Shambles ( Full Text)

The Court decided not to hear the Utah highway Cross case today. Justice Clarence Thomas gave a rather lengthy Dissent on the choice. The full text can be here . Thomas does a good job in pointing out how all inconsistent this is and there is no workable standard.

He gives a list of examples and looks at the different out comes to the situation below. As he points out:

..creche displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn’t..

Likewise, a menorah displayed on government propertyviolates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn’t...

..A display of the Ten Commandments on government property also violates the Establishment Clause, except when it doesn’t. ..

..Finally, a cross displayed on government property violates the Establishment Clause, as the Tenth Circuit held here, except when it doesn’t ..

One problem of course is why exactly Justice Thomas thinks that a coalition of 5 Justices or more would provide clarity this time. However he is right that this is all slightly a mess I think.

This just came out this morning so many legal sites have not given commentary. I hope to update this post tonight with that. One place that has comment is Bench Memos over at National Review. The observation is made:

,,,,I gather from footnote 11 of Justice Thomas’s opinion that concerns over whether surviving family members could select a symbol other than a cross (and thus over whether the case was a good vehicle for clarifying the confusion in case law) may explain the Court’s denial of review.

Could There Be A Supreme Catholic Supreme Governor Monarch In The United Kingdom ?

From across the pond in the Catholic Herald there is a interesting piece. See Why shouldn’t there be a Catholic ‘Supreme Governor’ of the Church of England?

They bring up the Malta example that I was not aware of till I read this.

Of course man Catholics in the UK looking at the state of the Anglican Church in the UK have wrote that perhaps this is not the best time to go around messing with this. Which I agree with to a great degree.

The time might come yet when a future Monarch ( or even this one) might have to step in to save Anglicanism from itself as the more traditional Anglician powers are more and more in conflict with the Anglicans elsewhere in the Commonwelath (the Global South).

Praying For the Catholic Dracula

This is an interesting post at Because Dracula was Catholic? Oh My! via Why I am Catholic. To be honest I assumed he died Eastern Orthodox. But as to something I never heard it appears he came back to the Catholic Faith according to this comment that has some documentation (though this was done by "pressure" it is said).

My Halloween link for the day :)

Not So Happy Halloween Louisiana. Ask the Saints Today To pray for the Saints (From Front Page of New Orleans Picayune)

Not such a great game yesterday. Maybe the worst of the Sean Payton era. Need to ask the Big Saints upstairs on this very Hallow- EVE to help intercede for them.

Kansas City Star Refuses Paid Ad Giving Bishop Finn and Diocese Side In Child Porn Priest Case

One does not have to be called a blind defender of Bishop Finn up in Kansas City to wonder what is up with the Kansas City newspaper.

Father Z has KC Star refuses to report other side regarding Bp. Finn and Diocese. Refuses even to take paid ad.

I really think and explanation is in order from the paper.

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for November 2011

General: That the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church.

Missionary: That the African continent may find strength in Christ to pursue justice and reconciliation as set forth by the second Synod of African Bishops.

I like how we are highlighting the Eastern Churches this month in prayer.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Looking Back at Bush's “Compassionate” Conservatism A Great Personal Story

Interesting interview that includes a great personal story relating to George Bush's forgiveness and compassion.

Rajun Cajun Catholics Student Centerat ULL -Best College Campus Ministry In Louisiana?

I have updated the links too on the side. They had a old blog and never posted the updated link to this site so I am now just discovering the new web site.

Appears there is a lot going on at the Rajun Cajun University of Louisiana Catholic Center . I think if I was a Catholic parent in Louisiana the vitality of the Catholic Center on campus would be a huge consideration in choosing a school. ULL may be one of the best.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Mean Attack on Justice Scalia - A Religious Fraud ?

There is a rather mean piece by a leading liberal blog and blogger I just saw. See Via Crooks and liars John Amato post Antonin Scalia's Selective Catholicism On Death Penalty.

These quotes well make me feel more sorry for Amato than Scalia:

...The televangelists made billions of dollars off our teevees and turned con men, liars, hypocrites and circus performers into mega millionaires. PFAW was Norman Lear's response after he saw some of these charlatan's become beltway darlings. Antonin Scalia is one of these religious frauds. He espouses that he is a devout Catholic, but when faced with a true tenet of Church doctrine, which is against the death penalty, he shrivels up into a typical movement conservative player:.

One feels what he is really is saying is I hate that jerk Scalia and here is my chance to twist the screws. Perhaps if Mr Amato was not out there on the west Coast cocooned in his world where he can evaulate who is bad and "frauds" but in D.C. it would be different. I have from various people that know him from all sides he is a very kind and GENUINE man. In fact on the most liberal of Law school he is a student favorite. Not only because he is very witty , smart, and funny but people sense he is genuine.

In fact from the rather large Catholic family that Scalia and his wife produced there was a vocation to the priesthood. Vocations , especially by men like Scalia who are in this very competive world, don't often come from frauds.

Mr Amato because I suppose he is out of the loop may have not got the memo but the word fraud is generally not associated with Scalia on any matter.

Now I will not rehash my remarks about this. Go down a few post where I respond to Lisa Williams on this topic. Needless to say Archbishop Hannan whose passing the whole State of Louisiana noted with much fanfare was no religious fraud. Yet for most of his life he held well Scalia position. He was the lone Bishop that would not sign off on this anti execution statement. In the very final years of his life he came around. Yet no one would ever think to call Archbishop Hannan a fraud.

Another person not no one would ever call a fraud is the late Cardinal Avery Dulles who passed away not too long ago. In his piece on this matter it appears that yes there is very ORTHODOX valid room for a faithful Catholic like Scalia to disagree a tad.

As I often note this issues just seems to get everyone's attention when it is a Catholic Justice or some Republican Governor running for President.

I find it curious that no one fails to note that a Catholic , even one opposed to State execution, can be on a jury where despite his feelings can take a oath to uphold the law in this matter. That is he or she will consider the mitigating and aggravating factors and decide to give Life or death. Unless it can be pointed out to me where the Church has said this is sinful or a Catholic cannot do that. A Juror is much more involved in giving death than Scalia is. Yet I can't find a Bishop's statement saying Catholics could not serve.

All of these should show this is all a tad more complicated than many think.

I can't get into Scalia's mind but I think what Scalia is saying if the Church said this was a intrinsic evil he would not be a part of it. That is it is akin to helping to facilitate an abortion. I say that because Judges have to as a part of their oath uphold laws they might find and indeed their Church might find immoral. No doubt Scalia has been in this situation. So I think Scalia is thinking intrinstic evil here and of course the Church has made no such claim.

The focus on Judges as to this matter is rather bizaree to me since even the latest theological statements on this matter urge that state execution be overturned by legislation and did not mention judicial fiat. A position taken by the way by quite a few anti execution adovcates in the legal field. One also I agree with 100 percent.

Don't Fall For the Muslim Red Herring In Catholic University of America Story

My aggravation just increased yesterday as I saw so many falling for the "All those Muslims want to the Catholic stuff away" as to this story. This Lawyer know has to push buttons and yeah sometimes when the "right" talks Islam he gets stupid sometimes.

Quite frankly it has not been helped by Fox News, that like other media does not cover religion well, that seemed not to get the real story.

Thankfully the Anchoress has a written a post on what really is going on. See CUA a Pontifical University: No Jesus-Free Places UPDATE

Thankfully since she has some massive readership this is getting out.

Maybe The American Catholic Church Does Not Deserve Catholic Priests and Other Vocations

UPDATE- Looking at this again it's probable that perhaps these are small children. There is something to indicate in the letter that maybe this is the case. Though it could indicate that lack of parental involvement at Mass leads to long term problems like this.

I am so sad and mad over this. See "We discovered about 30 hymnals containing the Body of Christ" in MN parish .

I am just shocked. I also have a feeling this just is not the a isolated incident at the Parish from Hell that you come upon on occasion.

There is no better argument than communion on the tongue only than this. Second there is no better argument than to bring back Adoration , Benediction, and just sound Catholic teaching than this. In fact maybe we should bring back the midnight fast back so Catholics don't treat the communion line like a Fast Food Drive through

But here is the thing. Catholics constantly complain we need more Priests and the Pope should let them marry etc etc so we have more Priests.
Now if this common, and I can't think of any reason why it would be happening here and not elsewhere, why would our Lord send us more Priests?

Former U.S. Ambassador to Holy See Interviewed On New Book - Mary Ann Glendon

I really want to read this book. A good interviw at National Review with Glendon on her new book The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt. See No Fooling with the Republic The tricky line between statesmen and scholars

No One Cares If Head OF Episcopal Church USA Knew She Was Ordaining Probable Child Abuser

Despite this major update on Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Father Parry its nothing to get excited about. If it's not Catholic its not news and well it's just different.

Episcopal Church USA is the place where in a few years back the Bishop of Navajoland that admitted to abuse with a minor left was allowed to come back as Bishop and when he died got a royal send off. If he was Catholic people would be screaming why he was not in jail. In that case he literally got a school named after him.

Heck maybe the Episcopal Church did the right thing there. But we all know the standard is different.

Anyone with a lick of common sense knows what happened in the Catholic Church about believing that "abusers" had repented and turned it around happened in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere. But to admit that and to look into that just blows up the nice narrative about how the Catholic system ALONE made mistakes.

So this will be snoozeville and these new revelations will not even merit Page a-35 coverage.

Prince Harry's Dating Options Just Expanded - Catholics Marrying the Monarch

This might be some significant history here we are seeing.

Following the announcement on the Royal Succession by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Perth, Australia, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said:

“I welcome the decision of Her Majesty's Government to give heirs to the throne the freedom to marry a Catholic without being removed from the line of succession. This will eliminate a point of unjust discrimination against Catholics and will be welcomed not only by Catholics but far more widely.”“At the same time I fully recognise the importance of the position of the Established Church in protecting and fostering the role of faith in our society today.”
Notes to editors:On 21 May 2009 Vincent Nichols was installed as the 11th Archbishop of Westminster. He was elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on 30 April 2009.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Can Be Orthodox Occupy Catholic Or A Orthodox Paul Ryan Catholic

Both the left and right have been annoying to some degree as to the Vatican PCJP's recent Note on the financial crisis ( AKA that World Bank Thing)

The "right" has correctly noted that Pope Benedict did not even read this document before it was released and that it was the views of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace alone. That being said the Church wanted it released so we can have a discussion about some of the proposals.

Some things in the Catholic Church are “roma locuta est , causa finita est,” translated: “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” but that is the case in very few cases. Catholics and indeed the Holy See is not fearful of discussion on matters of Catholic social justice even if some parties would wish it was not brought up.

On the "left" people are going the Pope is saying we need a world bank case closed now vote for for all these regulations. Well no they did not. In fact as pointed out here parts of the document are good while others are plainly deficient that it does not even attempt to make it's own argument.

Which brings us to this excellent piece of commentary I recommend so much today. See E.J. Dionne and the Straw Man Massacre

Now there is a caveat to the one can be an Orthodox Paul Ryan or Orthodox Occupy Catholic. It means that ones has to engage with prayer and some study Catholic Social Doctrine which is linked to the Gospel. One cannot go hey I can think whatever I want without trying to reconcile it with the core of social justice Gospel. In other words don't play game because God knows your inner heart. But besides that there is quite a bit of leeway and room for discussion on many topics

The Next Major Catholic Campus Ministry At State Colleges Success ? - Texas State

The Catholic student Center at Texas A & M gets a lot of well deserved national praise for being a widely successful model for Campus Ministry that produces Faith Filled Catholic and beaucoup vocation However I have noticed that across Texas there are some other gems of Texas Ministry. This one involves perhaps American Catholicism' best kept secret . That is FOCUS.

Let me introduce you to the Bobcat Catholics of Texas State. in beautiful San Marcos Texas. Texas State is located in the Diocese of Austin. According to latest figures Texas State has an enrollement of 34113 students with around 8000 of them being Catholic.

I should note this is the second instance where I have seen a FOCUS presence in the Diocese of Austin. It appears they are moving on to the Univ of Texas campus which could be huge.

To get a sense how dynamic this student center is and the seeds being planted take a look at this fall newsletter PDF they just produced. I get excited just looking at it. A

As you can see there is group there also involved called St Paul's outreach.

These groups play a critical role it appears. By the way look at last year's FOCUS annual report as to the activities at the Texas State campus. As you can see they are now just in their second year in the DIOCESE OF AUSTIN!

It has long been my contention , having lived it, that a major reason for the crisis in Catholic Faith and the drop in vocation numbers was self made. A large part of that dealt with campus ministry where often the more "interesting" theology wise of campus minister were had combined with horrific funding problem and lack of direction. As we see at places like Texas A & M had their example been taken early enough nationwide perhaps that problem could have been mitigated to a large degree. THE SECULAR CAMPUS is where it is out and the battle for souls is being fought.

Now not every school is Texas A & M with 20,000 Catholics . But I think at Texas Tech we are seeing how an aggressive ( and well funded) approach is going to produce major results at Colleges accross the nation. Imagine what fruit from this we might see in just 4 to 5 years.

Returning to Focus I saw this:
Since 1998, God has changed the lives of tens of thousands of college students through the work of FOCUS missionaries on campus and national conferences. In just fourteen years, 336 young adults have entered the seminary and/or religious life after being involved with FOCUS. In addition, hundreds of strong, Christ-centered couples credit FOCUS as having helped them establish and build their marriages on a solid foundation. Thousands more have graduated from college and been launched into the arts, sciences and marketplace to continue to live out their lifelong Catholic mission.

Yet 99 percent of American Catholics don't know what FOCUS is. Hopefully we are not dealing with that percentage when talking about the Bishops.

If FOCUS and dynamic campus ministry like this is not happening in our Diocese perhaps we should ask questions.

Lisa Miller in Washington Post Accuses Justice Scalia of Cherry Picking His Catholic Faith - A Response

Lisa Miller wrote an Op-Ed on Justice Scalia and State Execution today at Justice Scalia speaks for himself on death penalty, not the Catholic Church

She ends her piece with rather a strong charge . She says:

...That’s fine with me. I don’t want a justice sitting on the Supreme Court who submits blindly to religious authority or who holds his religion above the laws of the land. So keep your job, Justice Scalia. Just don’t pretend your church approves of the death penalty. Or that you aren’t like most people of faith, cherry-picking the teachings of your church that suit you best.

Now I am not discounting the Church's views on State Execution in the modern era. I think too many Catholics go "oh well its not dogma and I can disagree" without giving the Church's teaching here anything close to sufficient reflection. That is a problem.

However for most of his life the now just deceased Archbishop Hannon had Scalia's views until he took a more modern John Paul II view of it in the very final years of his life. No one accused Hannan of "cherry picking". Further as the late Cardinal Dulles pointed out Catholics do have some leeway here. Now again too many Catholics do not even engage the Church's views and that is not being a good Catholic in my view.

Still I don't think Lisa Miller is paying attention. This is key to the Scalia controversy over execution:
“If I thought that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign,” he told an audience at Duquesne University Law School last month. “I could not be part of a system that imposes it.”

Now what does he mean by immoral. There is no doubt that Justice Scalia has to impose judgments all the time that he might think is immoral. I suspect Scalia finds PORN very immoral but he has to uphold laws or strike down laws that violate the Constitutional protections that surround porn in many cases. I suspect that he might have to uphold prison sentences that as to the crime is excessive and he might think is immoral. Scalia is already on record that he thinks the Fed Govt cannot do much about Abortion and it is a matter of the states. Thus we see Scalia , in his own words, most likely having to uphold some State laws on abortion that perhaps some Fed Legislation might want to change. I could go on and on about Judges having to apply law they think is immoral. It happens all the time.

I think he when he says "machinery of death" it is something akin to being involved in an abortion. It is a mortal sin and indeed by Canon law one is excommunicated if one participates in an abortion. That means being the person having it, the person that helps pays for it, the nurses involved, the doctor, and heck maybe the person that drives the woman to the clinic. It is an intrinsic evil.

As to State execution I have never heard at all that the Church demands you even go to confession if you are the Judge , juror, DA, or even the guy that pushes the button to start the death drugs to start flowing as to the machinery of death. Now maybe you should if after you have examined your conscious if that is where God is leading you. But we can see a difference.

It's clear that Scalia is not saying he would resign if he had to validate immoral laws from the examples I show above. Again I think he is seeing this through the prism of the abortion example I gave.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Only In Louisiana - High School Homecoming Dance Moved From Night To Afternoon Because of LSU Alabama Game

We are fanatical now here. No telling where else this is happening in the state.

The Catholic Bishops Winning Election Year Issue Hits Congress - Religious Liberty Testimony Full Text ( Pass out To Friends)

The United States Catholic Bishops as a body gets a lot grief. However I am very impressed, as I have noted before, that the Bishops seem to be acting in a half way effective way on this alarming USA religious liberty issue.

I think this is a "winning" issue and by winning I mean if done in a effective fashion both parties in running for President and the Congress are going to maybe have to address our concerns.

Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hit Congress in the presence of the testimony of Bishop Lori who is the Bishop of Bridgeport. The full text is linked here at Bishops’ Religious Liberty Chair Urges Congress to Defend Religious Liberty at House Judiciary Committee Hearing

It is well written, backed up with facts, easy to understand , and most importantly conveys a real sense of alarm that even a lay person can pick up. On that note I hope people pass this out.

The next step is making sure ALL the American Bishops work their Dioceses on this. Which means working their priests to really inform their flock about the dangers. I would suggest that each Diocese have committee on a religious diocesan level to get the word out to the Parishes and the public at large. It's is going to take more than the Bishop talking about it in some monthly column of the Catholic newspaper that sadly most Catholics will not read.

That is the alarm bells has got to get out of the Catholic blogs, magazines and other other outlets of the Catholic media ghetto that many Catholics don' pay attention too.

Abortion Drops 30 Percent In Arizona After New Informed Consent Law

WOW. See Catholic Vote's Arizona Abortions Drop Over 30% As New Law Leads to Planned Parenthood Reducing Abortion Footprint

It's hard to argue with that.

Nightmare On TULIP Street- A John Calvin Pumpkin


If one wishes to scare the kids well you can download the Calvin carving design via Denny Burks blog at John Calvin Pumpkin Template

Italian Newspaper Notes Tone and Words Matter in the United States Illegal Immigration Debate

As noted by here quite correctly in Italian newspaper. See US ELECTIONS/ Immigrants: Legal or illegal, they are all people

Human beings , even the best of us, can go into tribal mode on emotional issues where is controversial issues that have in the background some ethnic or religious component. It is just human nature. The result being this absurd situation that happened to a business.

I highly suspect in the end the many factions in this very complicated debate over illegal ( and in some cases legal) immigration are ALL not going to be happy with the solution when that day comes. Till then responsible leadership on all sides need to help tone down the rhetoric some in my view.

That is not to say I am one those that there is no such thing as an illegal they are all just immigrants. That stance brings in a whole host of problems itself.

Huge Plenary Indulgences Coming up 1st Week of November

In fact they are so easy to fullfill that a Catholic would be insane not to do them. As to All Souls Day see 2 November indulgences coming up. Have a plan? via Father Z.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John Allen Says We're Missing the Point on Vatican " World Bank " Controversy - The Global South

I sort of mentioned of alluded to this the other day when talking about how the Vatican worked and the Curia. That is in many ways the Vatican is not a much of mini Pope Benedicts running around just implentating the boss's orders but has some diversity that represents the world wide Church.

See his good article Vatican note on economy the first ripple of a southern wave

This got me thinking of the future. American Catholics have got to really not make the same mistakes that incredibly more "liberal" mainline Protestants have done. That is not treat African and other places in the Global South as a fellow grown up in the room.

The Murdered Candy lady and Her Faith Recalled In New Orleans

I mentioned this horrible killing a couple of weeks ago that happened down in New Orleans. It occurred in the middle of the rites for Archbishop Hannan so it might have gone under the radar for many in the area down there.

The paper of the Archdiocese has a story on here today at Slain ‘Candy Lady’ remembered for her kindness

Archbishop of New Orleans Upset That Sacred Item Associated with Blessed Father Seelos Is Being Auctioned

Goodness what a mess. Abita Deacon has Very disturbing: Auctioning a Sacred Vessel used by Blessed Seelos; this must be stopped!

In 2011 Louisiana Election Aftermath No Clear GOP Kingmaker

I thought this wa a very good column by Stephanie Grace in the Picyaune. No one can claim kingmaker title: Stephanie Grace

I do agree that Jay Dardenne improved his lot by surviving the opposition of Senator David Vitter . People are going to respect that and the way that Jay ran a very methodical successful campaign will be noticed.

Of course not all of the "final results" are not in yet. If Bobby can get his people across the finish line in the BESE races well that will be huge for him.

But in the end it is still Vitter, Dardenne and Jindal and each have survived a rather interesting relationship with each other to say the least.

On a related note I think Grace is right when Bobby intends to run a tighter ship with the legislature this time. I got to think his endorsement of Sen Alario for Senator President, that is causing some conservatives heads to explode , is interesting. I would love to know the conversations Bobby and Alario had as to that deal. Regardless it appears Jindal is taking a more pragmatic view in attempts to get his future agenda passed.

I noted with some interest for instance that Bobby endorsed Democrat Rick Gallot in his State Senate race. Rick was term limited in the house and decided to run in the new created black majority state Senate district. He managed to win without a runoff ( by 72 votes). He got Jindal's endorsement despite being a a quite vocal voice against Jindal as to parts of the Governor's plan on redistricting.

Again perhaps another sign that the very "conservative" talking Jindal might be taking a very interesing pragmatic view toward governing to get an agenda through.

Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012

A rather significant day that is noted by the Church . As we see the effects of certain laws in states as Alabama it's good to note this as people of good will struggle with this issue.. See Full text: Pope Benedict XVI's Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012

Bishop Coyne of Indianapolis Talks About His Celibacy

Happy Jack Chick Halloween - Public School Teacher Hands Out Anti Catholic Tracts To Students (Updated)

UPDATE- SHE resigns from the School District Well to be honest I hate to see that. Everyone makes mistakes and a reprimand would have been fine with me if I was living there.

This story , tip of the hat to @roccopalmo , is from the what in the world was she thinking department. See Teacher reportedly handed out religious tracts in classroom . Yep one would think passing out Are Roman Catholics Christians? to Catholic students at a public school would cause perhaps a complaint by a parent.

Anyway it got me thinking about sort of a aspect of Halloween Americana that happens a great deal. That is the passing out of the Jack Chick tracts with the candy. I notice at the Jack Chick web site this tradition is still going strong. Of course if one is a heavy Catholic area I suspect those famous anti Catholics tracts would be added to the seasonal affair suggestions.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Rick Perry and Anti Catholicism Again

A blogger at VOX NOVA is just now noticing the Anti Catholic Pastor and Rick Perry story. See A bit of Anti-Catholicism, with a Side of Republican Politics

Now in reality this story is about two weeks old at least which in the 24/7 media news cycle seems like last year. Further as to discussion in that post, I should note that I think its highly unlikely that Dr. Robert Jeffress is Perry's Pastor since Dallas is not exactly a suburb of Austin.

However one commenter made a comment that while bashing Perry and assuming things about him makes my point on this issue:

I’m quite sure that Perry won’t dismiss this. First, he probably agrees with it. But, second (and in terms of politics, more importantly), in order to denounce it, he would need to refute it. And in order to refute it, he would need to undertake an in-depth historical and doctrinal argument that would hold very few interested listeners. I don’t think Perry is equipped to do so, even if it made political sense to try.I would certainly be interested to see an in-depth, scholarly, point-by-point refutation of it here, however–if anybody would like to attempt one.

Not only would it make no political sense it also would be inappropriate for a public official to start making theological and doctrinal arguments over controversial issues.

I know Perry talks about his important his Faith is. He also as a regular part of his role as a politico generally talks about the important positive role various faith communities play (YES HE HAS AS TO CATHOLICS) in the community. However it's not his role to defend the Catholic Church doctrines or it's claims when someone is in disagreement with them.

Misunderstanding How The Vatican Works - The World Bank Thing

I commented at some length here on this today at Vatican Pontifical Council Issues Global Banking and Finance Paper - Ignorant Reaction Takes Place (UPDATE)

However there is a related issue as I see tweets, headlines , blog posts saying the Vatican and even the Pope is calling for the a World Super Bank.

The Pope no doubt is the absolute Monarch of the Holy See. However as Monarch Pope Benedict realizes the Catholic Church is one huge big place. The Church has varied LEGITIMATE factions and views from a to z. It is true that Popes have agendas and the Vatican and Holy See bears the mark of that. However it would be very untrue that everyone in important parts of the Vatican are mirror images of Pope Benedict.

Again the Church is a worldwide Church that has many different life experiences and cultures in it. That in many ways is expressed in the make up of the Curia. Thus we see Cardinal Turkson of Ghana place his stamp ( or a world view he represents that is valid in the Catholic tradition) on Catholicism today.

Now no doubt Pope Benedict agrees with some aspects of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace urges major economic reform. But on the other hand he might not personally agree with every doted "i" and crossed "t" . Besides making sure it does not contain some heresy it's not really Pope Benedicts job to veto every piece of Catholic thought coming out of the Vatican that is not his. Again maybe he thinks a world bank there as envisioned would be a grand thing. On the other hand maybe not.

Huff Post - Catholic Bishops Endanger Church Tax Exempt Status Over Death Penalty Advocacy

Well no I am fibbing a tad here. The Huff Post piece "Catholic Bishops Endanger Church Tax Exempt Status" deal with gay marriage

But is is amazing AGAIN how we see implied threats to the Church's tax exemption used and how selective it is. We don't see articles at the Huff Post for instance saying the Church is in danger of losing it's tax exempt status because it speaks out execution, illegal immigration issues, and economic programs for the poor. Again it is "I don't like the content of the speech so let's try to suppress it".

The piece is quite a mess in my view. This part caught my eye:

There's a reason the Vatican appointed the cigar-smoking, baseball-loving, borderline-charming Dolan to serve as shepherd of the Sodom and Gomorrah that is New York City. The passing of same-sex marriage rights legislation in his state and the reproductive health aspects of the new health care mandate present New York's top priest with fresh opportunity to make his mark as the defender of the faith in the U.S. On Sept. 30, Timothy Dolan, in his capacity of USCCB president, announced the formation of a sub-committee whose task will be to respond to the "erosion of freedom of religion in America": "...the new subcommittee would be one of several initiatives designed to strengthen the conference's response and bring together a broad cross-section of churches and legal scholars to oppose attacks on the First Amendment."
Dolan is fronting this crusade, and the degree of difficulty involved makes going out on a limb with a shaky "First Amendment" argument worth the gamble. He has appointed a Connecticut Bishop, William Lori, to head up the new committee. Unfortunately the first association many Catholics have with the "Diocese of Bridgeport" is its notorious status as
a locus of sexual abuse. (In 2001, the Diocese of Bridgeport settled in 23 civil sex abuse cases, and there, according to Bishop, Timothy Dolan's predecessor is alleged to have allowed priests facing multiple accusations to continue in ministry....

Hmm "shaky First Amendment" augment. I am not sure it's that shaky . Further as we saw just recently as to another Religious Liberty case there seem to be some "bipartisan" shock at the position of the Administration on the ministerial exception.

Responding to Criticism Over Pope Benedict and the " Pope Mover "

Goodness Benedict can do no right. This is some commentary over at that Benedettoxvi Forum over some silly criticism the Vatican is getting.

Why do some commentators think
Benedict XVI is not entitled to
conserve his energies at his age?

It's surprising how much negative commentary there has been about the use of the mobile platform for Benedict XVI - with someone like Vaticanista Aldo Maria Valli, who has generally been approving of Benedict XVI - claiming that it smacked of idolatry with the Pope 'held up' on a platform like a 'pagan idol'. Well, images of saints are held up on platforms all the time for processions, yet no one has said that the practice smacks of idolatry! And how different is the mobile platform from the Popemobile in this respect? But Valli has not criticized the use of the Popemobile.

He even criticizes the Pope for carrying his pastoral staff while on the platofrm, because, he says, the pastoral staff is supposed to be the physical support for the Pope! Anyway, the arguments he presents are inexplicably silly, as of someone who was just waiting for the right opportunity to pounce and unload his repressed hostility against Benedict XVI.

Even worse, someone like Paolo Rodari on his blog appears to endorse Valli's views since he counsels his readers that Valli's blog is a 'must-read"! What's with these people????

Valli's thoroughly boorish and insensitive blog entry goes on to say that that John Paul II had reason to use the platform because he was ill, but not Benedict XVI who apparently is not suffering from any major health problems and could well walk those few hundred yards! And the natural decline of physical strength with age does not qualify as a reason for sparing the Pope - any Pope - unnecessary expenditure of energy??? Especially when he has to preside at a two-hour liturgy??? Or does Valli think that this particular 85-year-old man should be able to do all that without a sweat!

As I remarked earlier after the first negative comment I read about this issue, why do some people now expect Benedict XVI at 85 to be Superman, when at the time he was elected, few thought that he would survive long enough to be anything but a transitional Pope!

The PR problem about this started with Father Lombardi's labored announcement that the Pope would be using the device. It was, of course, good and necessary that he announced it beforehand, but his statement sounded too defensive and raised unjustifiable doubts among those who are most likely and ready to express doubts about this Pope.

It was fine that Lombardi first said that the device would help the Pope conserve his energies, and that its use is not prompted by any medical reasons. By simply adding to that first part of the statement that "After all, he will soon be 85" would have been the only 'explanation' necessary. That bit about 'better security' and making the figure of the Pope more visible to the crowd inside St. Peter's was sort of overkill. They should have been presented as additional advantages, not as reasons.

And of course, Cardinal Bertone appears to have made it worse by his statements last Thursday that the main reason for using the device was to make the Pope more visible. Even sympathetic commentators like Jean Mercier of La Vie found that a bit too much!

Benedict XVI himself was up front about his physical strength in Light of the World telling Peter Seewald he felt his physical forces waning. Those who watch his appearances on video regularly know that compared to when he was 78, little signs have gradually appeared of age taking a phyical toll on him, and that in recent months, he has been photographed using a walking stick.

But we also see him still moving about normally and with his characteristic brisk pace in circumstances other than a liturgy, where he necessarily moves in a more measured manner, both because of the occasion and because he is wearing liturgical vestments and has to be helped up and down any steps lest he trip. [More than one observer has noted that his movements whenever there are any steps to be taken are also hampered by the apparently impaired vision in one of his eyes.}

While we would all like him to be eternally youthful and strong, he is not exempt from physical laws, and we must trust that God knows best about looking after his Vicar on earth.

Meanwhile, Vatican officials should take a cue from the Holy Father himself and not be almost risible in their unnecessary efforts to 'put a good face' on something that is as completely natural as the effects of age in an 85-year-old man, especially one with the schedule that Benedict XVI has to keep. Even if it has been pared down to take his pysical capacity into account, it is still much more than any other 85-year-old man or woman anywhere is called on to do!

Vatican Pontifical Council Issues Global Banking and Finance Paper - Ignorant Reaction Takes Place (UPDATE)

Updates At Bottom

I really knew this was coming when I first heard of this last week. See Full Text: Note on financial reform from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace No matter what we can be rest assured that 99 percent of the people that go on a tantrum about this document will never read it.

Catholic Vote has a initial post on this , that I think rightly gives some criticism to Father Reese, at Pope Benedict Calls For “Central World Bank” … Only He Didn’t. Here’s Why. To be fair I am going to have a rare criticism of the wonderful Father Z. Though I agree with what he is saying here in part I am not sure the tone is helpful.

To be honest the "white paper" as Father Z calls it is not nearly as radical as was advertised. Of course it should be noted that anyone is free to disagree with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on if there should some of sort of Global watchdog Bank. However the concerns there are valid. Also besides the proposal itself the Christian issues that this proposal hopes to address are Orthodox Christian thought.

For instance I think it's hard to say that there is Catholic worldview that a Country can do economic wise whatever it wants though it might cause drastic harm to another country.

Now in reality this will in likely hood operate in the world of theory. What is missed in the rants against the document is all those "conditions" such a bank must have to be effective and to be moral. Note for instance the talk of the need to safe guard subsidiarity . Also the big "elephant" in the room is how to give those "underdeveloped" countries a real voice. Especially when many of these places don't exactly resemble Plato's Republic in governance. Finally even if the West signed on I have huge doubts that China would sign on

Whatever one might think of this paper by the Pontifical Council it does point out real issues.

(1) Unfetteredunregulated capitalism is not the same as Christianity. Though capitalism and the Church do not have to be opposed to each other.

(2) Globalization is a real issue. The Church in the document recognizes the good of globalization. However when a part of the world's financial system hiccups it can cause real damage to real human beings elsewhere in the world. Often in areas that don't have a good social safety net to help their citizens during the crisis. Further there needs to be efforts to ensure that globalization does not unfairly hurt the underdeveloped counties.

No matter what you think of this proposal those real issues are out there. If one does like this the idea proposed in the document , then it's incumbent on Christians to offer alternatives .

Anyway I am anxious to see the interesting discussion that will take place over this document. Contrary to what people might think the Church often puts things like this out there to start the discussion. So we shall if that develops or if this will be forgotten by the end of the week.

The Action Institute has a reaction up at Vatican Economic Analysis Incomplete, Says Gregg

Hey THREE CHEERS for the Vatican's position paper!! This is actually pretty good and is a must read. Pope Benedict: Neither Power Hungry Nor Naive

Major Southern Baptist Theologian Does Not Like Halloween Judgment Houses

I really like Russell Moore and this column is one reason I read him often. See Seven Reasons Halloween Judgment Houses Often Miss the Mark

Friday, October 21, 2011

Archiocese of New Orleans Unveils Isaiah 43 To Help Combat City Crime and Violence

I pray and hope it can work. The city is under siege. This I think is just one part of the the The Archdiocese's Battle of New Orleans plan.

Retiring American Catholic Bishop Will Live In College Dorm and Minister To Students

How wonderful. What a great way to "retire".

Looking at the Last Day of the Louisiana LT Governor Contest - Dardenne vs Nungessor

Full Disclosure again I am a Jay Dardenne guy.

It struck me that in the LT Governor's race that Billy Nungessor was sitting on a lot of money the start of this week. I figured that money was going to be used to for GOTV /Get on Ballots etc among the black political organizations when I saw that.

It appears a good chuck of that is being used for that. See the Hayride's good piece at Looks Like Nungesser Is Pushing The Black Vote In The Lt. Governor’s Race

I find it strange Nungessor is not doing these expenditures elsewhere in parts of the State. Its all very New Orleans based. . For some reason we are not seeinghim have money dispersed in North East Louisiana to these groups for instance but that may show up later on another form.

Now there is nothing wrong legal wise with this of course. However I find sort of bad govt looking that on that the above link we see that 15,000 dollars was sent to "Traits of Leadership" to get on a ballot and that happens to be the same address as the State District office of Representative Patrick C. Williams of Shreveport. If you are going to conduct a for pay endorsement operation one would hope we can keep it out of a State district office.

The Hayride article does show who these folks are generally aligned with though.

Nungessor also got a rather late public endorsement of conservative Tony Perkins. For whatever reason Jay and Tony have been at odds for some time. I expect this is a more Baton Rouge thing than real policy stuff to be honest. Tony flew down from D.C. to help Jay opposition in the final days of the Sec of State race a few years back. Needless to say that did not help. It appears this time that Tony is not bothering to come down to rustle the bushes since he is at at a convention in Baltimore.

Despite these endorsements , Jay Dardenne has generally racked up a ample number ( more than I think some pundits expected) by members of the GOP state delegation and other important folks. Those I believe are worth more than the ones Nungessor got looking at them as a whole

Nungerssor is on a final day statewide tour with David Vitter. One really wonders what the purpose of this Nungessor race is at looking at these events today. From a tweets I have seen Vitter is just torching Jay Dardenne which leads me to indicate this might be about some future race between Jay and David. Well if that is the case it is seems a bad use of resources and too much bad blood to be expended on a race that will not happen till the next Governor's race

Intra Party warfare is abound to happen and happen more since the Democrats are well a non factor right now. Still I wish we could have waited a bit.

My thinking is if Jay gets his vote out in Baton Rouge ( recall he has got that LSU home football game to combat) he will do fine. I think Jay has done a rather good methodical race and has weathered some horrible attacks that were to say the least misleading. From what I can feel his campaign feels very confident.

After tomorrow night I expect to , and the polls seem to indicate , that Jay Dardenne will be elected again to the office of LT Governor.

Hopefully after that everyone ( even the players in the background) , can get together and bury the hatchet in this very messy GOP VS GOP fight.

The Pope Himself Has Spoken- Beer Baptisms Not Valid

Democratic Party Rolls Out Their Anti Abortion Anti Gay Marriage Faith Point Man

Believe it or not I am going to link something from Religious Dispatches which I any devoted readers of my blog will know I have issues. However Posner has a interview with a person of some significance that is worth reading

See Dems' New Faith Outreach Director "Pro-Life" and Against Marriage Equality

It will be interesting to see his role and his position. While the interview is good the anwers are very vague. Full of well that's a vexing question and we must have "conversations" etc etc. The interviewer in this case in a surprising ( or maybe not) way avoid specific questions. Like well you are against gay marriage are you against the repeal of DOMA for instance.

His position on abortion is interesting and he seems to think this should be a state by state issue but again cluttered with all sort of vague buts etc. Pastor Harkins also says he is not for "further access to abortions" to abortion which seems sort of vague in itself. You can have abortion in many places almost up to birth what further access is there? Again the interviewer seems hesitant to ask specific questions about legislation to restrict.

He does seem to be talking to the Catholic Bishops and other groups so what he says will be important.

Needless to say his position on what Planned Parenthood does and what it does not do NEEDS to be engaged. I would suggest hopefully someone in the prolife community set up a forum where those issues can be civily discussed with him.

He talks about the need not to say applause line but thens says:

And to continue and to say we’re going to do away with Planned Parenthood because somehow then we therefore end abortion is a false premise.

Is anyone saying that? I have never heard that?

On a personal note I have to say this annoys me at tad:

What I say to somebody, would I advocate for further access to abortions? Well, no, that’s not in my wheelhouse. But I would say if you’re going to have that conversation, you better also have a conversation that speaks to the situations that apply to that would prompt a family, especially a poor family, or a woman to seek out an abortion..

I get the need that the poor have and a cost of a child. But in my personal life I have known a lot of well off young women and families that have abortions. There is all kind of poverty out there and some of the most horrific poverty is that of the spirit and soul that effects people that are not "economically" poor. I sometimes wonder when adressing poverty we are too focused on the economic kind.

Update- Catholic Vote has a related piece here Obama 2012 Announces New Effort to Confuse, Er, *Court* Religious Voters

Is the Catholic Church Acting Out of Bounds As To Minnesota and Gay Marriage ?

Over at Huff post Gay Voices there is a piece called The Catholic Church Is Overstepping Its Bounds Against Marriage Equality in Minnesota

Now the author of this piece is the blogmaster at the Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters blog. I follow him on a good deal on twitter. He is pretty aggressive with the National Organization For Marriage every day ,and though I support them I do enjoy watching his aggressive back ,and forth. For the record I have only interacted with him twice. That being this morning on twitter ,and once when I asked to correct some misinformation he had about a Priest and sexual abuse. Which by the way he did

Now I have objections to this piece on several grounds. However the prime thing that I find annoying about it is in the fine tradition of such pieces that make a mish mash of what the law is about what the Church can do in the public square.

We see this on BOTH the left and the right all the time. On the right I see it as to people complaining about the Church being involved on immigration policy, economic matters, it's support of Unions etc. On the "left" we see it as to such issues as abortion and gay marriage.

It's basically I don't like the content of this political speech and thus why are these people not taxed.

First of all, I wonder if it is legal for a tax-exempt organization to take such a role in the political process?
And even if it is, I am seriously disturbed by this latest development. I feel very uncomfortable when I think of the possibility of how deep the Catholic Church is putting itself into this state issue. I think people should vote as their faith dictates. However, I have a serious problem with a church official using his office or name to marshal large groups of people to vote in a particular way. And my problems become deeper when I realize that the church where that official belongs is tax-exempt

This is all perfectly legal by the way no matter who has a problem with what is being said. It also seems to be forgotten that Minnesota has a tradition of being a very progressive state.

Over the many decades the Catholic Church has been a part of that tradition in many respects and has helped that voice in the public square. For instance right now in Minnesota the public arm of the Bishops Conference is promoting DREAM ACT SUNDAY. Something that has got the right all riled up.

Again we see the objections in reality are not CHURCH Vs STATE issues but are more to content often. Other issues that the Church Officals use their office to marshal "large groups of people" in Minnesota include reforms recommended by the Legislative Commission to End Poverty, as well as support an increase in tax revenue should it become necessary.

I find there are no general objections to the Catholic Church and other diverse faith communities that are tax exempt from joining voices to influnce large amounts of people on other issues. In Minnesota we have for instance the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition .

That Coalition among other things has opinions and advocates on how Judges should be selected in the State and thinks the minimum wage should be raised to $8.80/hour.

The fact is there is really no constitional distinction between the Bishops pooling resources for a Marriage amendment and between trying to get the minuium wage raised up to $8.80 a hour.

Now I don't know Mr McEwin's view of the world is as too all this. Maybe he think the Church has no business in any of that if they are tax exempted. But that would be a pretty radical position legally and as well as to our American tradition.

Further we have seen "Progressive" churches and bodies pooling resources ( that are also" tax exempted" to push for such things as legal gay civil unions and marriage, abortion, and other causes. This is their right and I don't see them as a threat to the Republic.

Moving on:

Any entity flexing its power over how large groups of people vote while being exempt from laws that cover this sort of thing is a dangerous entity in terms of manpower and money. Moreover, this entity's actions are a slap in the face of an American core belief: the right to vote as your conscience dictates and not be intimidated via implied or stated threats, be they physical ("you are going to be murdered") or spiritual ("you are voting against God's law and will go to hell for it").

I am not sure that the Church saying that one's political choices might have a effect on one's salvation is going against a "core American value". I am pretty sure the folks in the anti Slavery movement, the Civil Rights movement, etc would not think that.

Archbishop Chaput recently said:
As far as the social justice question goes, I don't think you can be an evangelist, or part of this evangelical movement in the church, without being as clearly committed to social justice as the church has been in the past. We can't preach the Gospel and not live it. If we don't love the poor, and do all we can to improve their lot, we're going to go to Hell.

While he does not mention Governement programs ,I highly suspect he thinks that is part of the picture. I did not think he was violating a core American value. Maybe others do. I personally think depending on the situation some legislators and advocates that advocate harsh anti illegal alien measures are risking their soul and I am not afraid to tell them. I don't think that makes me anti American. Maybe in some eyes it does.

Now as to Gay Marriage of course we get into areas where is less leeway for the Catholic voter and legislator than lets say if head start is a good or bad thing. Still I suspect the Catholic Church's campaign will be a lot more sophisticated than a "you are going to hell" talking point.

Finally this:

..But regardless of that, this is a country ruled by the Constitution, not papal authority. And frankly, any person who surrenders his or her vote to the whims of someone else -- even if that person supposedly represents a "higher power" -- needs to examine themselves.
Furthermore, I don't think that any entity that assumes tax-exempt status should be allowed to take such a role in a political vote -- at least not without being taxed.
No group should be above the laws of this country, even if that group is of a religious nature

I am not sure why the "Pope Card" is pulled here. Catholicism and Catholic social Justice issues are a Universe that contains more than the Pope that includes scripture, tradition, natural law, etc etc.

While the Pope no doubt has made statements on such matters the reality is the average Catholic in the pews or the voting booth have likely not heard them. I wish that was different but that is the case.

The author of the Huff Post piece kindly commented on my blog. He said in part:
You made a vague point about progressive churches pushing a large number of people to vote a certain way but did not offer proof of this.
Fair enough here are some national examples.
In this piece we see that when the marriage amendment failed in NY the first time the Diocese of NY was an active participant in the political debate and advocacy.

Needless to say as to amendment California has been a hotbed of activity for Churches that opposed the Prop 8 issues and used their considerable influence to rally voters against it. An example being the Diocese of Los Angeles. Further more we can see the California Bishops and their Diocese all being politically engaged with the Prop 8 issue here.

Here we see on the local level quite a large number of Churches using resourse in San Jose alone to defeat Prop 8 in 2008.

We saw Candlight vigils , preaching from puplit against Prop 8 all over California. All of which was perfectly legal in order to rally large numbers of people against it.

We can duplicate this all over the country really.

Tolkien and The Eucharist in the Lord of the Rings

Ok enough On to more uplifting thngs this Friday morning I noticed this wonderful Eucharistic post. See via Hillsdale Catholic Inquiry this post Tolkien's Profound Love of the Eucharist which explores the Eucharist in terms of the Lord of the Rings.

Noted Notre Dame Law Professor Blasts NYT Maureen Dowd's Column on Romney

Does Dowd really think she can get away with all she said by just adding this line to the last part of her column:

"Republicans are the ones who have made faith part of the presidential test. Now we’ll see if Mitt can pass it."

Really? I mean read all that mess. Also is anyone buying that all that democrats don't bring religion into the presidential process.

Noted Catholic Law Professor Rick Garnett has some thoughts on this at Low, crude, and nasty . . . even for Maureen Dowd

Thoughts On New York Times Op -Ed on Bishop Finn Indictment

The New York Times is very encouraged to say the least by the Indictment of Bishop Finn. Though in it's restatement of the "facts" at issue it does not mention the Bishop's key defense issue but it's just an Op-Ed so I get that.

I am not a blind defender of Bishop Finn here and I am all for the legal process to continue. However this case is not exactly the slam dunk as it is being portrayed as to legal issues involved. Further if he is indicted under this fact pattern that the DA office in this jurisdiction applies this law equally to all people. I have doubts that will happen but we shall see. I have my doubts because looking at the fact pattern if Bishop Finn is guilty so were many others in this case. Why are they just indicting the Bishop personally?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ireland's Flagship Television Channel Gives Public Apology To Priest For Broadcasting False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

This priest went through hell and back it appears. It appears he was removed from the active ministry of the Priesthood and after getting his reputation back is now a Priest in good standing again.

See RTÉ apologises over false allegations made against Fr Kevin Reynolds

LSU Football Players Drug Tests Make Occupy Wall Street

Oh our friend at Occupy Herbstreit is still at it at OCCUPY WALL STREET.

YES I KNOW "alleged" Drug test saw the presser too :)

Notre Dame Note Being Nice To Tornado Ravaged High School

Booo Bad Catholics.

Abita Deacon has Notre Dame: big bad bully

Yes Yes Yes I suspect there is some complicated Copyright issue here. Though one would think if they owned it they could allow it for some nominal fee.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia and Justice Kagan Duck Hunting In Louisiana Together ?

I thought this was an interesting article. See Kagan on faith, the high court and hunting . This part caught my eye.

....She recalled paying a courtesy call on Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland, who is a member of Beth Tfiloh, shortly after her nomination to the court by President Barack Obama in May 2010. Cardin asked her about gun rights, and remarked she may not realize how important the issue is to some Americans.

She admitted never having owned or fired a gun before. "But I told Sen. Cardin if I was fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would go hunting with Justice Scalia."
And she has, joining her conservative colleague on an excursion to a Washington-area shooting range and on several hunting trips, until now never reported. Her host at the synagogue event was surprised.

"You're Jewish," deadpanned Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg.
"Yeah, but it turns out, it's kind of fun," said Kagan, laughing

I will pass on the curious deadpanned remarks that one cannot be Jewish and not like firearms :)

Still I do wonder if one of these hunting trips was to Louisiana. Justice Scalia still does his yearly trip down here. Heck I think Senator Vitter helps with some of the logistics or has someone do it. Maybe he is bunkmates at the camp with them too. Kinda of a fun picture and reminds us that people can have different views and still be kind and sociable with each other.

Will The Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta Be Brought Up On Abandonment Charges

It does seem that if one of the charges against the Bishop of South Carolina is not supporting a Pro Aborton lobby group it would seem throwing out Original Sin and need for Christian Grace would be need to be looked at too.

From the sadly NOT THE ONION FILE Recovering Pelagius: Diocese of Atlanta Seeks to Reinstate 5th Century Heretic at Diocesan Convention

In all seriouness I can't imagine this passing but heck what if it does. Hopefully the Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta will send out word of his displeasure with this bill.

Not just picking on Episcopalians really here as to Atlanta . No doubt if the Catholic Church was so "Democratic" there would a Priest or Religious that would think this is a grand idea too.

Southern Baptist Big Wig : Right Behind Catholicism Calvinism Second Biggest Problem

It seems there has been an effort in Southern Baptist circles to not talk about the Calvinism controversy. It got real heated a couple of years ago and got well rather nasty.

During the recent Southern Baptist convention I saw ton of tweets that were of the line " Can't we just talk about the spreading the saving word of Jesus" and " Oh this disagreement is so un Christ like" etc etc when this issue was alluded too.

Now part of that is cultural. Southerners are by nature very polite people and who wants all this disagreement out and about with your neighbors. Other just hope the issue goes away.

However as Frank Page, CEO of the SBC Executive basically says theology does matter and does have consequences. No matter how you wish to ignore it.

See SBC leader cites Calvinism as top challenge . I sort of keep up with this debate because when I was Southern Baptist I rarely met a Baptist Calvinist . Now they are everywhere. It is interesting that he had the courage to bring this debate more in the spotlight again.

Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress Washington Post Op Ed and His True Motivations

Needless to say we have heard a lot about the good Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas the last week.

One might pause the ask the question why. A somewhat different viewpoint ( detractors might call it cynical) on the why is done by a mega Church watchdog blog . See this post Was the Perry Endorsement and Jeffress Media Blitz Part of the FBC Dallas "Media Campaign"? .

Well that might be it I suppose. The Church's building plan is quite ambitious as you can tell from their web site.

Not that I think an aggressive building plan is something bad. In fact I rather like the fact the First Baptist of Dallas is committed to downtown and putting it's money where it's mouth is. It might have been far easier just to move to another area. However even with that post , that raises some good points, intentions are often hard to gauge. Still it's sort of worth keeping in the back of your mind. The media is sometimes one trick ponies and how Dr. Jeffress now has become the Southern Baptist booming voice on this is interesting. So let's return to him and his piece that was in the Washington Post.

He had a interesting and well very good Op-ed defending his position at the Washington Post which also can be viewed here on the First Baptist of Dallas web site at "Why A Candidate's Faith Matters" - Washington Post Op-Ed by Our Pastor .

First right out of the bat I think he hits an important point that must be stressed. He says:

....First, discussion of a candidate’s faith is permissible. Over the past several days, talk show hosts have lectured me about Article VI of the Constitution, which prohibits religious tests for public office, as if considering a candidate’s faith is somehow unconstitutional, un-American or even illegal. How ludicrous. This is a not-so-subtle attempt to eliminate through intimidation religion as a suitable criterion by which to choose a candidate. The Constitution is referring to religious litmus tests imposed by government, not by individuals...

Well he is right. If it was truly "illegal" or unconstitutional to fro voters consider religion in voting choices we would have all sort of lawsuits wanting to overturn elections because the voters made unconstitutional considerations. One does not have to agree with the good pastor that we don't want to go down that road. Is it "un American" to consider faith of a person running for office is is up to debate.

He next does what I call pick a Founding Father tactic. Every side every imaginable faction of this debate does this. Of course the problem is everyone sort of cherry picks the Founding Father they wish to quote. Further we also have a problem who the Founding Fathers should include. However he does have a point that his viewpoint would not be viewed as extreme by some.

He then says:

..Second, discussion of a candidate’s faith is relevant. During a time of rising unemployment, falling home prices and massive deficits, it is easy to relegate religion as an irrelevant topic. Yet our religious beliefs define the very essence of who we are. Any candidate who claims his religion has no influence on his decisions is either a dishonest politician or a shallow follower of his faith...

Well I can't say I disagree with that. He then hits the double standard charge big time:

...Those on the left and right have been disingenuous in suddenly claiming a candidate’s faith is off limits. Just a few months ago, David Gregory of “Meet the Press” asked candidate Michele Bachmann how her religious belief about submission to her husband would affect her performance if she were president. That was a fair question: If she had to choose between obeying her husband or obeying the Constitution, what would she do?..

To me that is one of the strongest parts of his op ed. The pot calling the kettle black as it were and he is dead on. Many conservatives like myself are sort of shaking out head at some factions of the outraged based on experience just observing the media each week. I mean goodness look how Palin was treated.

He goes on and then clarifies his position on Romney. All in all he makes some good points.

How United Methodists Corner the Pumpkin Market Each Fall

I have always wondered why in every town I live in around Halloween there was at least one Methodist Church was selling pumpkins. Never saw the Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals , etc do it just the Methodist.

ANSWER finally hear by the very good religious reporter from the Jacksonville Florida newspaper.

" Vatican " Outraged That USA based Have An Affair Dating Service Might Sponsor Rome Basketball Team

Tip of the hat to the UK Herald's Morning Reads for this.

See Roma in sponsorship talks with cheating website

Roma in sponsorship talks with cheating website

ROME — Virtus Roma basketball team are in talks for a sponsorship deal with a website that helps unfaithful married people have an affair.
Founder and president of Noel Biderman has been in talks with Roma president Claudio Toti for two days, something that has brought criticism from the Vatican.
The Canadian-based website's motto is: "Life's short, have an affair."
But Biderman is unrepentant.
"Sport is more about fun than the family. What should we say then about alcohol and betting and the companies that regularly sponsor sports teams," Biderman is quoted as saying by Italian news agency Ansa.
"I can assure you that affairs existed before we did.
"We're not offering anything new, we offer a communication platform for those who want to meet others away from work."
Roma are allegedly hoping to use the Ashley Madison revenue to fund a bid for Italian star Andrea Bargnani, who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors.
Several European clubs are trying to secure the sponsorship necessary to bring NBA stars to Europe and take advantage of the ongoing lock-out.
But the idea of a website that encourages infidelity sponsoring the team closest to the Vatican is too much for some.
"It's crazy, there's no need to comment on this. It's a betrayal of values and even of the identity of sport," His Grace Flavio Capucci, of the Opus Dei organisation, told Ansa.
"I hope that Virtus's directors will think twice about this

Well that is pretty outrageous (sick, vile horrid , insert your word) and no doubt some at the Vatican are indeed outraged. Of course no one I think at the Vatican or in authority at the See of Rome is actually quoted. I am not sure Falvio Capucci whose main duty is heading up the Opus Dei religious order can be called Vatican. I have seen several articles on this and again no doubt the Vatican is fit to be tied. However I can't find much in the english press at least as anyone from the "Vatican" going on record.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Priest To the Greatest Show On Earth- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

I am not big on the vestments here to say the least (my Traditionalist side coming out) but this is a cool story of the Priest that ministers to the "Greatest Show On Earth". See Circus ministry a high-wire act of faith for chaplain

Msgr. David Kagan - New Bishop of Bismark North Dakota Will Find Quite A Dynamic Diocese

The Pope appointed a Bishop for our shores this morning. See here for information on that. I expect Whispers in the Loggia at some point today will also write up an extensive post.

I always take these occasions to look at these Diocese out here in fly over country. It't not all New York , Boston , St Louis, and New Orleans out here. So here is the Diocese of Bismark North Dakota. According to the web site the total population in the counties of this Diocese is approximately 280,836; the Catholic population is approximately 59,000.

I have to say for a Diocese of this size it has a rather large amount of Parishes. Here is a list of their Priest clergy. Here is a list of their Deacons.

I am always interested in the vocation situation in these Diocese out in Middle America. I do like their well done vocation page. Here is a list and pictures of the Diocese's Seminarians which have 17 in some sort of stage of formation. One problem with the Vocation page is where are options for a call to the religious life for females and males. But beside that rather glaring problem its well done.

While I am sure the Diocese would like to double that number that seems like a good number all things considered as we continue to recover from the drop in men engaging a possible vocation to the Priesthood

As always to sort of get a feel for the Diocese the Catholic newspaper is a good place to start. Here is their recent edition.

Is the Catholic Church Screening Prospective Deacons Properly ?

I thought this was an interesting post at VOX NOVA. See The Questions They Didn’t Ask . This man is going through the process of becoming a Catholic Deacon ( I think if I have his location right the Archdiocese of Chicago). He talks about a series of questions he was asked in a battery of psychological tests.

We have been ordaining hordes of Deacons and sometimes I think if proper attention is going as to screening. I am sure it differs from Diocese to Diocese.

He hits on the fact that questions were not asked as domestic abuse which he found odd. I agree with that and of of course that can have a physical and/or mental component. Again as he notes that might differ from Diocese to Diocese. In fact in my own Diocese I know at least in the past that was looked into.

He also mentions the fact that hardly nothing was asked the issue of birth control which is sort of well concerning. Especially since many of these Deacons and indeed their wives are often going to be involved in marriage preparation and counseling.

I thought this question was worded wrong -"4) Are you a homosexual?" I think the better to way ask that is if a person has experienced varying degrees of same sex attraction. I suspect that some people that some level of smae sex attraction they are having problems dealing with in their mind can honestly answer "no" to if they are a homosexual.

Catholic Deacons because of their position and what they might be doing might even in fact be at higher risk for sexual temptations than some Catholic Priests. As a former Protestant the stories of Preachers, and even people on the board of Deacons messing around with someone's wife or a female in the congregation was not uncommon. It might start out innocently but well before you know boom there is a horrible and sinful situation that has developed. Something that in quite a few states by the way would be classifyed as a crime such as in Texas just to name one state. That is it is viewed as an abuse of authority that can be sanctioned by law.

Anyway I thought his take was interesting.

The Traditional Latin Mass is Being Said -- In Afghanistan !!!

I bet that has not happened too often if the not so distant past. See Traditional Latin Mass -- in Afghanistan

Pope Benedict Appoints New Papal Nuncio To The United States - Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

I just hope he was good at his part in the Bishop picking process as the last one. Also with the lections coming up just in time no doubt.

Rocco has At Long Last, Viganò = US Nuncio

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Billy Nungesser Campaigning For Lt Governor With Drew Brees Statue


Just vote for Jay Dardenne (Opinionated Catholic Endorsed)

Auburn Desecrated Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya " Song - LSU Auburn Week

HA HA. Poor Auburn Tigers. A little blast from the past there as to the Comic book cover. Fun song though I expect that will not be outcome. The Comic book references the 1970 game. The outcome was #14 LSU beat #6 Auburn at Auburn 17 to 9.

Tip of the Hat to The War Eagle Reader.

African Catholics In Archdiocese of Atlanta A Massive Presence

It is really amazing the changes that have happened in the Atlanta area especially as the Catholic population has just skyrocketed. I was taken aback at tad that there might be 50,000 African Catholics in that Archdiocese. That more people than in my little Diocese alone.

The Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese has a interesting article on this at African Catholics Join Together In Solidarity At Mass

For the Week Before All Souls and All Saints Day- New Orleans Stained Glass in Sacred Places Tour

I always have wanted to be in the New Orleans area when this happens each year. Maybe next year. Here is slight overview of the tour

There is a much more expansive article on the tour in the October edition of the Preservation magainze on page 9.

Something good to help prepare for All Saints and All Souls days that occurs right after.

LSU AD Writes Letter To Fans About Lack of Night Games At Tiger Stadium

It sucks but he is right and there is nothing we can do about it basically. The price of sucess

The Vatican Has A Pope Mover !!

I agree with Rocco that a lot will take this as a sign that the Pope is ailing though heck he is 85 so why not do it. The security issue is helped too by this. He goes into some detail about the "Pope Mover" further down in his piece.

Looking at Media Coverage of South Carolina Episcopal Church Crisis

Get Religion has a good post on looking at the so far surprising slight main stream media coverage of the Episcopal Church crisis in South Carolina.

I thought this comment made a good point:

Nice post Mollie, thank you. Also, your article at the WSJ was great and much appreciated by those of us who follow the Episcopal-Anglican split.

I can understand why this isn’t getting much mainstream press coverage: there are so many layers of confusion and obfuscation. Old Title IV canons, new Title IV canons; even canon law experts confused on exactly how the process is working - who has brought charges and what the next steps are. (It appears they are using a special “expedited process”…) confusion about who is on the Disciplinary Board for Bishops (two different rosters published), now all sorts of backtracking and the church attorney recusing herself, etc. etc. etc.

So even those of us deeply versed in Anglican lore are left bemused, confused, and feeling like we’ve gone down the rabbit hole where up is down and down is up and words are given new meanings every day (and canons interpreted however the powers that be wants them to be).

I don’t envy any reporter trying to untangle all of this! But thanks for spotlighting the story!!

I think that is true. Further you add a genuine dispute about what the poers of the National Church can be versus the local Bishop it's a tought one to tell.

U.S. Catholic Magazine Is A Spiritual Health Hazard

Father Z rightly goes after this piece that U.S. Catholic put out about if Catholics can take Protestant comunion. They leave so much out that is almost like malpractice Catholic journalism.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Major Mormon Owned Newspaper Defends Pastor Jeffress In Part And Calls Out Press

This is what I have partly been saying all week. See Cult of intolerance

Thoughts On the Diocese of Kansas City St Joseph and Bishop Indictment

Well this was not a pleasant way to start a weekend The Anchoress has the links and overview ( including the Diocese of Kansas City St Joseph statement) at Bishop Finn Indicted, “Significant Charge”. That charge is failure to suspicion that one of the priests of that diocese was engaged in improper behavior towards children.

The National Catholic Register has a good report that is significant . See Bishop Finn Indicted by a Kansas City Grand Jury

The famous Father Z has some brief thoughts at About Bp. Finn in Kansas City – St. Joseph

None of this is good for the Church, and no matter if the Bishop is guilty or not it's a black eye. But some good has come out of this including that the Diocese of Kansas City St Joe and no doubt others have implemented further reforms to t how they handle these situation.

Something to be quite frank , as to the proper process, perhaps can't be done with having some serious missteps.

I was sort of shocked that so many people were shocked yesterday. This was not to be unexpected and the debate in the Diocese of Kansas City over Bishop Finn has been raging for some time with detractors and advocates on each side. This indictment because of the known civil proceeding which the Church has worked with should not come out of left field. Further the Church appears to have been open about what happen for some time.

The Diocese of Kansas City St Joseph established an Independent commission to look into this incident and also to give needed reforms. This is talked about in the Diocese of Kansas City St Joe statement here . The Graves reports ( also called the FIRM in the report) was an independent commission asked to come in by the Diocese too look into the situation. That report is linked here at "report". As you can tell that report was headed up by some pretty big heavy hitters and is extensive. Anyone that wishes to comment in a intelligent manner in this case need to read that report.

A few thoughts.
(1) The Graves Reports has been online since September 1st on the Diocesan web site. Yet I get the indication that some of the people most critical and ready to assume that Bishop Flynn is guilty in Catholic land have not even read it nor knew it was there.

(2) It should be noted that both the Bishop and the Diocese has been charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to report suspected child abuse. Of course one cannot put a Corporation in jail and you can a Bishop.

After reading this report , and taking for granted the facts here presented are those the Grand Jury heard, I am wondering why Bishop Finn alone or perhaps Bishop Finn at all was charged. There is lay and other clerical involvement here besides Finn. Again why him alone? In fact looking at the report one can honestly ask if it is Vicar General who in either carelessness or intention misled people at a critical point in all this.

(3) If you read the time line you can just feel the timing of certain events made this case perhaps go off established protocol. The Priest attempted suicide and near death almost right after the discovery seems to have been critical in all this. This of course led him going to the expert Doctor that was mentioned and in the Bishop appears in his folly to rely on.

(4). Its easy to see perhaps how the Grand Jury could meets it's standard to indict the Bishop here. However after reading the report it's not clear to me at all that the trial judge or jury is going to convict on the evidence . That is they may not be able to meet that standard of proof at least as to the Bishop him

(5) What happens to Bishop Finn now. That is going to be interesting and indeed critical. This is now new ground. None of the fact here are going to be a shock to those in the Diocese that have followed this matter in the press. Finn has been open since the beginning he messed up here. Though he denies criminal conduct.

He also has some advocates in the Diocese and yes many are impressed how he handled himself in this difficult time. So we shall see if he manages or if its desirable that he is in active administration of the Diocese while this charge is out there. There are considerations pro and con to consider.

(6) Pray for the Diocese and the Bishop

(7) While I am pained by what happened in the Diocese of Kansas City St Joseph and recognize it offers important lessons ,I REFUSE to have Catholic haters have it define the Catholic Faith or the Church as a whole.

This is a usual tactic by many. Of course we are all Catholics and all of us are connected , and all of the Churches ( Dioceses) are connected together through our communion with the Bishop of Rome.

However a Baptist or a Methodist is rarely told that their whole faith community is at fault if someone in some part of the Church somewhere messes up. Catholics for whatever reason are not treated like that.

In many ways this is a important matter for Catholics to pray for , observe , and to learn from. On the other hand my Diocese ( or church) is not the Diocese of St Kansas City St Joseph but in my case the Diocese of the Shreveport. My local church (Diocese of Shreveport) has nothing to do with this case nor my Bishop so why should my faith or "church" be defined by my critics as to this matter. It can't and I suggest other Catholics to take that attitude.