wDe Virtutibus
The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.
-St. Gregory of Nyssa; CCC 1803

De Virtutibus; or, Kevin's Kasuist Korner; or, Miller's Moral Musings.

"Why 'De Virtutibus'?"



wLinks, resources:
Worth browsing ...

Balthasar: a Sketch
Book TV.org
Center for Life Principles
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics
Communio
Dominicans
Franciscan University of Steubenville
IntraText Digital Library
John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
Junkscience.com
Christopher Kaczor
Life Issues Institute
Lifeissues.net
Marquette University Institute for Natural Family Planning
National Catholic Bioethics Center
National Right to Life
New Advent
Perseus Digital Library
Priests for Life
Ratzinger Fan Club
The Thomist
USCCB
Vatican

blogs4God

< x ? ChristBlogs # x >

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Select Catholic and other good blogs

After abortion
Being! Or Nothingness
Catholic Analysis
Catholic and Enjoying It!
Catholic Light
Catholic Ragemonkey
Dappled Things
Dawn Patrol
Disputations
Dyspeptic Mutterings
Envoy Encore
Fructus Ventris
HMS Blog
In Light of the Law
Open Book
Rerum Novarum
SecretAgentMan's Dossier
Sed Contra
Summa Contra Mundum
Thrown Back
Veritas
... and more ...

News and commentary

Catholic News Service
First Things
FOXNews.com
National Catholic Register
National Review Online
Town Hall
Weekly Standard
ZENIT News Agency

Some especially good moral theology reads ...

Aquinas, Summa Theologiae; Ashley & O'Rourke, Health Care Ethics; Cessario, Introduction to Moral Theology; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Christian Freedom and Liberation - Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian - Euthanasia - Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons - Procured Abortion - Profession of Faith - Questions concerning Sexual Ethics - Respect for Human Life in its Origin and Dignity of Procreation - "Theology of Liberation"; DiNoia, Veritatis Splendor and the Renewal of Moral Theology; Gagnon, Bible and Homosexual Practice; Kaczor, Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition; de Lubac, Brief Catechesis on Nature and Grace; Matera, New Testament Ethics; Melina, Sharing in Christ's Virtues; Pieper, Faith, Hope, Love - Four Cardinal Virtues; Pinckaers, Sources of Christian Ethics; Schindler, Heart of the World, Center of the Church; Schürmann, Ratzinger, Balthasar, Principles of Christian Morality; Sokolowski, Moral Action; Steck, Ethical Thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar; Vatican II, Apostolate of the Laity - Church in the Modern World - Priestly Formation - Religious Freedom; Wojtyla/John Paul II, Catholic Universities - Church in America - Dignity and Vocation of Women - Faith and Reason - Human Work - Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum - Gospel of Life - Letter to Families - Lord and Giver of Life - Lord's Day - Love and Responsibility - Mercy of God - Person and Community - Redeemer of Man - Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World - Social Concern - Splendor of Truth - Theology of the Body

Who is this blogging moralist?


Note. This blog adheres to the Welborn Protocol: All correspondence is bloggable unless it requests otherwise - and to the Shea Protocol: At my sole discretion, uncivil commenters will be banned.



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wSaturday, July 30, 2005


I'm skeptical about the "PEOPLE LIKE YOU" part of this result
the Prankster
(43% dark, 17% spontaneous, 16% vulgar)
your humor style:
CLEAN COMPLEX LIGHT


Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not
pretentious, but neither are you into what some would call 'low humor'.
You'd laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something
clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly
likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways,
yours is the most entertaining type of humor.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 66% on dark
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on spontaneous
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid


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wThursday, June 30, 2005


Along similiar lines ...

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic

96%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

82%

Neo orthodox

82%

Emergent/Postmodern

43%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

29%

Reformed Evangelical

29%

Classical Liberal

25%

Fundamentalist

18%

Modern Liberal

7%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com


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w


Looks about right (though I'm not sure why Islam is 2nd, and Judaism, only 4th)

You scored as Christianity. Your views are most similar to those of Christianity. Do more research on Christianity and possibly consider being baptized and accepting Jesus, if you aren't already Christian.

Christianity is the second of the Abrahamic faiths; it follows Judaism and is followed by Islam. It differs in its belief of Jesus, as not a prophet nor historical figure, but as God in human form. The Holy Trinity is the concept that God takes three forms: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (sometimes called Holy Spirit). Jesus taught the idea of instead of seeking revenge, one should love his or her neighbors and enemies. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save humankind and forgive people's sins.

Christianity

88%

Islam

50%

Buddhism

38%

Judaism

33%

Hinduism

17%

Paganism

17%

agnosticism

8%

Satanism

4%

atheism

4%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com


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wSaturday, October 23, 2004


Righteousness

What must our attitude be if we are to be accounted righteous by God - whose opinion is, after all, the one that ultimately matters? Tomorrow's readings might seem to present us with somewhat of a mixed message. On the one hand, St. Paul is convinced that "a crown of righteousness awaits" him. On the other hand, though, Jesus' parable warns "those who were convinced of their own righteousness," with the example of the Pharisee who, unlike the penitent tax collector, did not go home justified. So what distinguishes the former Pharisee Paul's attitude from that of the Pharisee in the parable?

I think the point is something like this. Paul speaks of the righteousness of "all who have longed for the Lord's appearance." His confidence stems not from a presumption that he "stands acquitted" before the Lord, but from his longing for the Lord - a longing not unlike the tax collector's longing for mercy and justification.

"The prayer of the lowly," in the words of Sirach, is what God wants: the prayer of those who are not "convinced of their own righteousness," but convinced of God's righteousness, which includes his cleansing and healing and elevating and transforming mercy not only for the innocent oppressed but even for the repentant sinner - which includes, that is, his desire to share his righteousness with us, if we will accept it as the pure gift that it is.


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"The Church Needs Holy Priests, Says John Paul II," in message to international congress for 1000+.


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"Don't rule out Dolan: He could win U.S. bishops' No. 2 role"


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On, Wisconsin!


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w


"Theory of Relativity Evidence Found"

My question: To what degree of precision does it have to be proven before we can say, "Yep. Einstein got it right. Now, on to other things"?


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w


Trial lawyers. Again.

They help put a company out of business in a case I've mentioned before.

They snag $26M in a malpractice case.

Regarding the latter case: Let's assume the jury rightly concluded that there was true malpractice here - not an unavoidable error for which "someone" was nonetheless going to have to pay. I still think that the award in such a case should be limited to expenses. That could include legal expenses, thereby taking care of the problem that otherwise the costs of trying a malpractice case will make lawers unduly reluctant to help plaintiffs. It's especially pernicious that relatives can collect "pain and suffering" damages for someone who has died. It is also especially pernicious that the doctors were penalized for refusing to settle. Pressure to settle possibly winnable cases, due to the costs to the defendants of taking them to court, is one of the things that helps drive up medical costs. The law shouldn't make defending a case even more of a gamble than it is by its nature.

And for any lawyers who want to tell me that maybe high malpractice premiums are at least partly the fault of insurance companies - rather than solely the fault of doctors and/or lawyers - I'll say that that might be true. But $26M awards are hardly going to help. Being a malpractice insurance company doesn't mean you have a money tree growing out behind the office.


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"C-section Babies at Risk for Food Allergies"

Another reason to be concerned about a recent trend.


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w


"Courting the Gay Vote: What John Kerry really told the Advocate."


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"Patients With Dementia Receive 'Suboptimal' End-of-Life Care"

Sad, but not surprising.

By the way, I suspect that it's also - and perhaps even more often - the case that dementia patients who really do need feeding tubes are less likely to get them.


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w


"Federal Court Points Way for Abortion Ban: New Facts Must be Backed by New Legislative Effort"

Somehow, I suspect this is wishful thinking, but I suppose it could be worth a shot.


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w


"The Politics of Suffering"


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w


The House of Daschle has got to go!


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w


Another example of why Bush is good for the international community (and Kerry would be a disaster)

Email received:

Dear Colleague,

Today we report on an important panel convened by the Bush administration at the United Nations to tackle maternal mortality in the developing world. The US wants real health care for poor women and their babies, not a "right" to abortion.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse
President

October 22, 2004
Volume 7, Number 44

US-Sponsored Panel Calls for Focus on Main Causes of Maternal Mortality

At a panel convened Tuesday at the UN, public health experts discussed the failure of UN "reproductive rights" and family planning programs to reduce maternal mortality in the developing world. The panel was convened by the United States to explore alternative programs for maternal health. ... more




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w


What will the world do about human cloning?

"Statement of the Holy See on Human Cloning addressed to the United Nations: ‘Humanity Needs a Common Basis, a Common Understanding of Humanity’"

"Statement by Archbishop Migliore On Cloning to 6th Committee of U.N. General Assembly: Cloning ‘Concerns the Nature and Existence of Human Life Itself’"

"Human Cloning: the Ongoing Battle: Some Scientists Reject Limitations on Research"


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w


How should - and how will - Catholics vote and otherwise deal with politicians?

Archbishop Chaput: "Faith and Patriotism"; "Speakout: Silence of the faithful is cowardice"

Priests for Life: National Prayer Campaign, and other resources

Also from Priests for Life, email passed on by a friend:

Distorted Citizenship
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

We seem to have a major problem in the Church in the area of reading comprehension. The problem is most obvious when the reading material asserts the primacy of abortion among issues that voters have to consider in elections.

Statements of the Pope, various Vatican officials, committees and officials of the USCCB, and the entire body of US bishops, all point to abortion as the fundamental human rights issue of our day. Even Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who during his life was a key spokesperson for the "consistent ethic of life," pointed out repeatedly that the fundamental right is the right to life.

To illustrate how profound the reading comprehension problem is, just take a look at the list of quotes I have added at the end of these remarks. Then determine for yourself whether they are clear or not.

Meanwhile, we have people in various positions within the Church saying that all the issues are equal. Excuse me, but not only does that violate Catholic teaching, it violates common sense. Ask any parent whether, among their daily activities caring for their children, all issues are of equal importance. In fact, you can ask the children themselves. They seem to know the answer better than some Church officials do. I’ve been acquiring a whole file of letters sent out, often from offices of "social ministry" in various dioceses, which state that voters have to consider a wide range of issues. So far, so good. But then these letters say that no issue is more important than another. And that’s where the lack of reading comprehension reveals itself. Either they have never seen the quotes below, or they are deliberately ignoring them. And neither is appropriate for a person who has the responsibility to convey Church teaching.

Two explanations can be offered for why some would distort the teaching. The first is simply loyalty to the Democratic party. The problem has to be faced honestly that the loyalty of some Church ministers to the Democratic Party is deeper than their loyalty to Catholic teaching. There is nothing wrong with belonging to a political party and being loyal to it. But when that party promotes the widespread, daily, legal killing of children, the voice of protest must be heard. Silence is not an option, neither for Democrats, Republicans, or anyone else - most certainly Catholics.

The second explanation for the reading comprehension problem is a legal concern. Unfortunately, the Church has been fed for decades with legal advice which is far more restrictive of the Church’s freedom than the IRS or the FEC has ever been. And this is wrong. Not only are the IRS/FEC restrictions on the Church minimal, but the enforcement policy is even looser. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption by teaching about abortion, or the primacy of the right to life, or the duty of public officials and voters to advance the Culture of Life by voting. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption for doing what it exists to do, namely, convey the teachings of the Church. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption for distributing materials that did not cover a wide-enough range of issues; in fact, no Church has lost its tax exemption for distributing voter guides, period. Despite all this, various Church officials will go into all kinds of contortions to protect their assets from legal problems that they think will arise if the Church says that the right to life is primary among all the issues. Of course, the problem here is that this kind of legal advice, if it were accurate, would prove too much. Statements of the USBishops themselves, like "Living the Gospel of Life" (1998), would constitute illegal activity under such an erroneous framework. The best way to describe the current problem with some of our attorneys is the bumpersticker that says "I Brake for Hallucinations."

The solution to all of this is for all of us, clergy and laity alike, to bear faithful witness to the teachings of the Church, no matter what the political implications may be. Bear witness to the consistent ethic of life, and to that which makes it consistent - the right to life. Proclaim that there are many rights, and proclaim the foundational right. And be sure to keep your reading skills in top shape!

Abortion: The Primary Issue: According to Statements from the Pope and Bishops

Letter to Cardinal McCarrick from the Milwaukee Archdiocese Priests Alliance; coverage in the JS

"Living on a Prayer: Pro-abortion candidates like Kerry face long-term trouble from Catholics."

"Catholics dispute weight of abortion in election"

"The Myth of the Catholic Voter: The media are obsessed with the Catholic vote, the Catholic bishops, and the Catholic influence on the election. Is there any there, there?"


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w


An interesting Bush campaign commercial


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w


Voting, the state, and the citizen

"Racism vs. responsibility"

"Stay home; don't vote"

"The Florida Lie: A paranoid urban legend returns."

"The Myth of the Disenfranchised: It’s not the government’s fault if you can’t properly fill out a ballot."

"'Provisional' Democracy: Will Democratic lawyers make voter fraud easier?"


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w


Kerry (and his political allies) on wars of yesterday and today

"Never Apologize, Never Explain: John Kerry's real record as an antiwar activist."

"Kerry on Zarqawi: Wrong: The Democratic nominee is ignoring the evidence on Zarqawi's activities in Iraq."

"The Levin 'Report': Yesterday Carl Levin released a report on the Iraq-al Qaeda from the Democratic staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It is an embarrassment."


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w


Whither Iraq?

"The Spirit Endures: Iraq's democrats look for support from a democracy."

"Religious Leaders Ahead in Iraq Poll: U.S.-Supported Government Is Losing Ground."


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"Afghanistan Reborn: The epic achievement of the Bush administration--and of America."


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w


The House of Kim has got to go!™


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w


With HMS Blog down for a few days,

I'm going to post a few things - mostly links of interest - here so as not to have to choose between leaving them unblogged and having my "to blog" pile grow unmanagable. (I'll note this on HMS when we're back up.)


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wSunday, March 02, 2003


Thus spake De Virtutibus

As previously announced, with the cessation of blogging today, I'm jumping blog to HMS.

So, after you've browsed my posts here from this weekend, look for me there!

There'll be the same incisive commentary as here (but few link-only posts, which will make some readers happy), including continuing thoughts on Iraq, the usual on pro-life and chastity issues (more than before, I hope, on contraception and NFP), a long-awaited Fisking of Rod Dreher on JPII (I had almost changed my mind and decided that I'd let that drop, until his "pot to kettle: 'black'" charge of "hysteria"), the Wednesday Book Club (its beginning; most recent), the occasional country song, etc.

See you tomorrow at HMS Blog!

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w


Kasper on ecumenism

"ROME, MARCH 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says the state of ecumenism is 'ambiguous.' ..." more

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w


Another fake church-state issue

"MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Republican Gov. Bob Riley has incurred the wrath of ardent church-state separationists for offering early-morning bible study classes to his staff.

"'He is a political panhandler for public piety,' said Larry Darby, Alabama state director of American Atheists. ..." more

Darby may be adept at alliteration, but he, like certain judges, is clueless about the Constitution. What the governor is doing has nothing to do with the prohibition against Congressional "establishment of religion," and has everything to do with the guarantee of "the free exercise thereof."

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Iraq, terror

"WASHINGTON — Much discussion lately has been centered on the expenses a war with Iraq will incur, but some analysts are pointing out that the cost of not making war may be greater than the cost of a conflict. ..." more

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates won support Sunday from several Persian Gulf nations in its call for Saddam Hussein to quit power to avert a war, while Iraq poured scorn on the Emirates, calling it a tool of Israel. ..." more

"VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made a renewed appeal for prayer and fasting for peace in the world, especially in the Holy Land and Iraq. ..." more

"VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will send a special envoy to the United States with a message for President George W. Bush about the Iraq crisis. ..." more (See also column blogged below.)

"PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Usama bin Laden's terrorist network lost a key operative with the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, but Taliban fugitives and Al Qaeda allies said Sunday the arrest will not cripple the organization. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — The CIA wants to get inside Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's head. ..." more

"VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Vatican and Muslim representatives have decided on the need to stimulate knowledge of religions, to make distinctions among sacred texts, and to condemn terrorism. ..." more

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w


"Bread and wine"

A commenter on a post below, "On idiotic Lidless-Eye criticisms of the 'Novus Ordo,'" was invincibly troubled by the references in Mass to the Body of Christ as "bread," never mind that this usage is not new to the new rite. He and others might be interested in this excerpt from St. Gregory of Agrigentum's commentary on Ecclesiastes, from last Friday's Office:
Come, eat your bread in gladness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart ...

But a spiritual interpretation of the text leads us to a loftier meaning and teaches us to take this as the heavenly and mystical bread, which has come down from heaven, bringing life to the world, and to drink a spiritual wine with a cheerful heart, that wine which flowed from the side of the true vine at the moment of his saving passion. Of this the Gospel of our salvation says: When Jesus had taken bread and had blessed it, he said to his holy disciples and apostles, Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins; and in like manner, he took the cup and said, All of you, drink of this: this is my blood of the new covenant, which will be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. For whoever eats this bread and drinks this mystical wine enjoys true happiness and rejoices, exclaiming: You have put gladness into my heart. ...
This, with its use of "wine" as well as "bread," goes even further than the liturgy generally does.

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Sex abuse, the law, and the confessional

Bill Cork links another blogger who who questions whether a Maryland bill would require priests to break the seal of the confessional: "In fact, it specifically exempts anything revealed in confession as an item for mandated reporting." The blogger thus questions the motives of the Catholic hierarchs who oppose the bill.

This reflects a misreading of the bill. The relevant passage, (a)(3)(I)(ii), exempts from disclosure information "COMMUNICATED BY THE PERPETRATOR IN THE COURSE OF A CONFESSION" (caps in the original). Hence, an article about a bill under consideration in West Virginia containing no exemptions at all refers to the diocese's objections, then mentions similar objections to the Maryland bill, with the note that "It differs from the West Virginia bill by exempting a direct admission by the abuser."

This is not the same thing as exempting "anything revealed in confession." And the canonically-mandated seal of the confessional does not seem to be limited to information about the penitent's own sins.

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Police searches and common sense

"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday that it would consider a government appeal that asks if a SWAT team went too far by breaking down the door of a suspected drug dealer while he took a shower. ..." more

The 4th Amendment provides that there will be no violations of the right "against unreasonable searches" and that "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." What does this have to do with requiring officers with a search warrant to wait before entering? What does it have to do with the exclusion of evidence found during an allegedly unconstitutional search? (By the way, the Amendment doesn't say that a warrant is needed for a search to be legal.)

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Women's movement and Afghanistan

"The first time Anne Brodsky traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, to see for herself how an underground women's movement was changing lives, she was nervous. ..." more

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Should she get a transplant?

"YORK, Neb. -- Calvin Stock's life was saved by a liver transplant three years ago, and he would hate to see anyone else lose their chance at survival because a convicted killer was ahead of them on the transplant list.

"But that's exactly what could happen, Stock says, because of Carolyn Joy's conditional approval to be included on the list of 118 Nebraskans and 17,300 people nationwide waiting for new livers. ..." more

It seems to me that the physician is entirely correct who is quoted as saying: "Whether or not she's a prisoner or not does not enter the equation"; "Ethically as a physician, it's our responsibility to be advocates for whatever patients we are treating." According to the Hippocratic Oath's vision of medical ethics, the physician is dedicated to "the benefit of the sick." Just as he must not use his position to exploit anyone, "free or slaves," so also he must heal everyone. That a person is being justly punished by the state for his or her crimes similarly does not affect a physician's duties toward that person.

And since those who are justly imprisoned are obviously in no position to pay for their own medical care, it seems to me that the state is ethically obliged to pay for such medical care for them as a physician must, ethically, be willing to provide. The fact of illness cannot ethically be allowed to turn a prison sentence into a de facto death sentence.

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Specialist docs: Doing it for the money?

"NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Feb 17 - When choosing a specialty, new physicians are more likely to base their decision on the amount of vacation time and schedule regularity than on income, new study findings show. ..." more (registration required)

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Hospitals, hospice care, and money

"Hospital-based palliative care is clinically imperative because hospitals remain the site of death for many patients and the majority of people with serious illness spend at least some time in the hospital. ... Hospice is an excellent model for managing end-of-life care and needs to be utilized more effectively by care providers. Because most hospice patients refuse life-sustaining interventions, favor palliative care, and are often treated at home, the hospice model of care offers potential health care savings by reducing the use of high-technology interventions at the end of life. ..." more (registration required)

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Hormone Replacement Therapy dangers

More bad news: "PHOENIX (Reuters Health) Feb 14 - New data from the Women's Health Initiative cast more bad light on combination hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women. HRT is associated with an early increased risk of stroke. ..." more (registration required)

Importance of evidence-based medicine: "... most of the studies showing beneficial effects were either retrospective, observational, or case-control studies, and ... there was a paucity of prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials to support the beneficial effects of HRT. ... Hormone replacement therapy was introduced in the pharmacopeia without rigorous evidence of efficacy and safety because of the relatively lax modus operandi of the time. ... The use of HRT became established when the practice of medicine was mostly an art rather than a science. ..." more (registration required)

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Thoughts about mismatched heart-lung transplant at Duke

"... To help determine what went wrong, how to prevent mismatches from happening again, and what effect this situation will have on organ donation, Medscape's Laurie Barclay interviewed Robert A. Metzger, MD, medical director of transplantation and of the organ procurement agency of Florida Hospital in Orlando. ..." more (registration required)

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North Korean missiles

Hey, Mark, maybe the threat to your neck of the woods isn't as clear as was thought.

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Disturbing social(izing) trend

I have nothing against the 'net per se, but this is spooky.

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Bishops

Today's second reading includes important lessons for both bishops and the laity during this time of scandal in the Church in the US.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that the testimony to his "qualification" to be their spiritual father consists not in letters of recommendation written by human beings, but rather in what the Spirit has written in bringing about Paul's loving care for them and in making the new covenant with them through that care. Our bishops, successors to the apostles, some of whose apostolic succession no doubt traces back to Paul, must remember this when they are tempted to curry favor with human beings rather than lovingly seek the spiritual welfare of their flock. And, we, their flock, must remember this when we are tempted to question their legitimacy because of what journalists not known for their appreciation of the meaning of living the new covenant, or "Call to Action" Catholics [sic], do or don't say about them. Because of our bishops, we have the sacraments (even if not always beautifully celebrated), the preaching of the Word (even if not always with full accuracy), the example of vocation to service (even if sometimes compromised by competing desires). We would not have these things at all but for the Spirit of Christ working through our bishops.

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w


Mr. Rogers tributes continue in Pittsburgh

"I have been privileged in my life to meet many great people. As a journalist and as a government official, I have talked with three presidents, dozens of governors and scores of celebrities and CEOs. And I had the privilege to work for seven years with Tom Ridge -- an extraordinary politician and an even better man.

"But I have known only one person who ranks as one of the truly great people in American history. ..." more

Letters to the editor about Mr. Rogers

"Fred Rogers, the beloved children's television icon who millions came to know as their neighbor Mister Rogers, was quietly laid to rest yesterday after a private funeral in a tiny Presbyterian chapel that his father had once restored. ..." more

And, an interesting item about a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood regular: "Joe Negri's been playing guitar so long he can hardly remember a time he wasn't. ..." more

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Problems with child-protective services

"Selena Underwood, 20, who delivered her second baby 11 days ago, has been crying herself to sleep, alone in her apartment in Beaver Falls. ..." more

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Social Security fraud

Bad fiscal policy, bad homeland-security policy: "A policy that lets people trying to fraudulently obtain Social Security cards leave with their bogus documents is coming under fire from congressional leaders after the federal inspector who blew the whistle was threatened with suspension. ..." more

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Terror arrest/precautions, Iraq, N. Korea

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks who may also have played a role in the kidnapping murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, has been handed over to U.S. authorities ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Leaders of the congressional intelligence committees said Sunday the capture of a top Al Qaeda operative is a major blow to the terror group and will give U.S. officials the chance to learn about attacks that may have been planned. ..." more

"WASHINGTON -- No one can precisely gauge how much safer from terrorist attack the United States is since Sept. 11, 2001. But there can be no doubt the country has mobilized to defend its territory unlike any time since World War II. ..." more

"After the massacre at Columbine High School four years ago, nearly every school in the nation developed 'emergency plans,' sometimes under pressure ...

"It's time to dust off those reports, school safety experts say, and add a four-word phrase that, even post-Columbine, few people thought would ever be necessary:

"Weapons of mass destruction. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Federal inspectors are checking all travelers arriving in the United States for radiation as part of an expanded effort to screen for terrorist activity, a Customs official said ..." more

"NEW YORK — A run on duct tape. Fighter jets scrambled after three Middle Eastern men change seats on a plane. A house in Connecticut covered entirely in plastic wrap. ..." more

"SALAHUDDIN, Iraq — The fragmented Iraqi opposition took a step toward unity Saturday and insisted they should be allowed to run the country's affairs if Saddam Hussein is ousted. ..." more

"ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's ruling party has no plans in the 'foreseeable future' to seek another parliament vote for the deployment of U.S. troops on Turkish soil for a war with Iraq, a party leader said ..." more

"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.N. weapons inspectors returned to a military compound Sunday to supervise the disposal of more outlawed Al Samoud 2 rockets ..." more

I don't want to be on the same side with either of these nuts (Mark might be interested): "Mount Pleasant - Wearing an American flag cap with the slogan 'Bomb Bomb Saddam!' emblazoned on his forehead, 77-year-old Don Hetland believes the Iraqi dictator needs to be stopped. Hetland says he's sick and tired of anti-war protesters 'bad-mouthing the president and our country.'

"Waving a United Nations flag in one hand and holding a sign in the other saying, 'Think - it's patriotic,' 54-year-old Theron Snell thinks the possible attack on Iraq is a symptom of 'something more insidious' happening in American government, which he believes is changing from a republic into an empire. ..." more

Speaking of nuts (see also below): "LONDON — Some of the peace activists who went to Iraq to serve as human shields in the event of war returned home, fearing for their safety, a spokesman said ..." more

More on anti-Saddam/pro-war Middle Easterners: "Goli Afshar, a 23-year-old college student in Tehran, is worried about an American attack on Iraq. The Americans, she fears, are taking too long. ..." more

Analysis by Pittsburgh priest: "Pope John Paul II is laboring tirelessly, at this moment, for peace. This fact hardly comes to popular attention, and his efforts are dismissed as superfluous by some. Still, the pontiff works with an urgency that conveys a genuine personal concern. Why? ..." more

Economics of war: "WASHINGTON - So bit by bit, we're learning what President Bush meant when he forgot to tell us about 'sacrifice.' ..." more

"SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea warned Sunday of 'nuclear disasters' around the world if Washington attacks the communist state, while its civilian leaders urged greater cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul ..." more

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wSaturday, March 01, 2003


"Three Cheers for Marriage"

"LONDON, MARCH 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Britain celebrated National Marriage Week from Feb. 9 to 16. The event, organized by a private group and now in its seventh year, had in the past been financially supported by the government. No more. ...

"A collection of essays published in the United States last year, 'Marriage, Health and the Professions,' contained numerous studies showing the advantages of marriage. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Fighting AIDS

"NEW YORK, MARCH 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Commentators regularly excoriate the Catholic Church for its opposition to condoms in 'safe sex' and anti-AIDS programs. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Columnist on JPII on Iraq

"Pope John Paul II is causing heartburn among one of the president's key constituencies: conservative Catholics. ..." more

Two comments. First, McGrory seems to equate the pope's position on abortion and cloning with his position on Iraq, and to suggest that Bush's disagreement with the latter somehow cancels out his agreement with the former. This would not be correct; abortion is a different kind of issue - clearer and more fundamental (war, unlike abortion, is not always morally evil), and generally an overriding one.

Second, I think it's interesting that the very liberal Richard McBrien is concerned about Saddam's use of the pope's position as propaganda. One can contrast the lack of such concerns on the part of the liberal sister blogged below.

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Iraq

"ANKARA, Turkey — In a serious blow to U.S. war plans, the speaker of Turkey's parliament nullified a legislative vote Saturday that would have allowed deployment of 62,000 U.S. combat troops in Turkey to open a northern front against Iraq. ..." more

"SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt — Arab leaders said they reject a war on Iraq and U.S. threats to remove Saddam Hussein, but their message Saturday was undermined by exchanges of insults and sharp divisions at a summit aimed at finding unity over the Iraq crisis. ..." more

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9/11 arrest

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was arrested Saturday in Pakistan, both senior Pakistani officials and U.S. intelligence sources have confirmed. ..." more

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Name, nationality and status of some major Al Qaeda figures: ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed turned Usama bin Laden's wish to kill Americans into a reality like no one else in Al Qaeda, and his arrest could lead to information about terror attacks still in the planning stages, U.S. counterterrorism officials say. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — President Bush celebrated a major success in the fight against terrorism Saturday with the arrest of the Al Qaeda operative suspected of planning the Sept. 11 attacks. ..." more

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More from Pittsburgh on Mr. Rogers

"Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup. ..." more

"Mr. Rogers helped me move back to Pittsburgh. No, he didn't drive the truck or pack the boxes, but he was there. ..." more

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Not a serious solution to malpractice-insurance crisis

"HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell pledged yesterday to continue short-term financial relief to physicians facing high medical malpractice insurance rates, even if the state has to borrow money to cover the expense. ..." more

Also: "CHARLESTON (AP)- The state would give doctors $10 million worth of tax breaks over two years in the compromise version of the medical malpractice insurance bill being drafted by a joint conference committee late Thursday. ..." more

Why not? See below.

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"Safe environment" against child sex abuse?

"... Doty is a coordinator for Virtus -- Latin for virtue -- a 6-year-old program started by the national church's self-insurance organization to stem child abuse within the church.

"The program, adopted by 30 dioceses and under consideration in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, made its Pennsylvania debut in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown this week ..." more

Some screening and knowing and watching for "warning signals" is necessary. I question windows in confessional doors, though. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," I know, but perhaps among the most important preventives for the problem is deterrence by cooperation by all in the prosecution of abusers. It ought to be - it must be - possible for the Church to function as the Church, not as a place where suspicion prevents us from being each other's brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church gives our life meaning only because it's the place where we give and experience that kind of love (see John Paul II's Redemptor Hominis 10). And Catholics who thus understand the nature and purpose of the Church will take that understanding into account in deciding whether to sue their dioceses.

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Specter opponent begins campaign

"Lehigh Valley Congressman Pat Toomey began his statewide barnstorming tour challenging U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in next year's Republican primary by repeatedly hammering Specter as a liberal who is out of step with conservatives like himself. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Black churches on AIDS

"For the Rev. Jason Barr, pastor of Macedonia Church in the Hill District, the battle against HIV/AIDS has become an increasingly personal one. ..." more

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Dominican sister, union organizer march in Iraq against war

This is an example of how Catholics should not go about opposing war. (Contrast "Iraqis on Saddam and freedom" below, as well as this article. Where do the protesters show more than perfunctory support for this perspective - when they're taking part in Saddam-organized demonstrations?)

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How should the media cover religion?

A columnist seeks readers' thoughts.

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Nobel laureate Carter will apply peacemaking skills in Georgia

Georgia, USA, that is - not the former Soviet republic.

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9th Circuit maintains absurd Pledge stand

"SAN FRANCISCO — Rebuffing the Bush administration, a federal appeals court Friday refused to reconsider its ruling that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional because of the words 'under God.' ..." more

Why "absurd"? First, the recitation of the pledge in government-run schools cannot reasonably be termed either an "establishment of religion" (or a deprivation of "the free exercise" of religion, since no one is forced to take part). Second, the 1st Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law ..." School boards and principals and teachers are not Congress. And the claim that the 14th Amendment's "due process" clause applies the 1st Amendment to the states (and local governmental entities), however "settled" it may be to lawyers and judges, is wholly specious. Substantive rights like those having to do with religion are not procedural ("due process") rights. (If they were, by the way, then the 5th Amendment Federal "due process" clause would be redundant with respect to the rest of the Bill of Rights.)

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Iraq, terror, N. Korea

"WASHINGTON — Iraqi forces guarding Baghdad are armed with chemical weapons and may have orders to use them, U.S. officials say ..." more

"NEW YORK — As time runs out for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to disarm or face a military thrashing from the United States and its allies, 'pro-war' — or 'anti-anti-war' — Americans are saying they have had enough of the recent protests in various cities at home and abroad. ..." more

"UNITED NATIONS — While welcoming Iraq's decision to destroy a key missile system, top U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix maintained Friday the country still has a long way to go in to prove it's serious about disarmament. ..." more

"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.N. weapons inspectors have conducted a private interview with an Iraqi biologist, the first such interview since Feb. 7, the inspectors said Saturday. ..." more

"BAGHDAD, Iraq — News of Iraq's planned destruction of more Al Samoud missiles was praised by governments opposed to war, but those advocating military action remain suspicious. ..." more

"SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt — The United Arab Emirates on Saturday called for Saddam Hussein to step down to spare the region from war, the first Arab country to do so publicly. ..." more

"CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first person convicted under a law that bars aid to terrorists was sentenced Friday to 155 years in prison ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Terror suspects prosecuted by U.S. military tribunals could be charged with any of two dozen crimes, including hijacking, poisoning and rape, under a draft list of offenses the Pentagon released ..." more

"WASHINGTON — A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is on the ground in Nigeria for what it describes as a 'radiological emergency.' Sources say radioactive and highly toxic material that could be used to build a 'dirty bomb' was stolen ..." more

"WASHINGTON — The independent commission on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is trying to get a half-million pages of documents compiled by the House and Senate intelligence committees. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Faced with political turmoil in the Philippines, the Pentagon Friday backed away from a plan to launch a joint combat offensive against Muslim rebels there. ..." more

"SIDON, Lebanon — An Egyptian man with purported links to Al Qaeda was killed Saturday in a bomb explosion at Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp ..." more

"KARACHI, Pakistan — A man arrested after opening fire and killing two Pakistani police officers guarding the U.S. Consulate in this southern city had a note in his pocket saying it was his duty as a Muslim to kill the protectors of infidel Americans ..." more

"SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, in his first policy speech since taking office, on Saturday warned of a 'calamity' from the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program unless a peaceful resolution is found quickly. ..." more

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Should Orioles pitcher's widow sue?

Probably not. On the other hand, the selling of unnecessarily dangerous stuff like ephedra is right up there on a list of examples of corporate irresponsibility. It's legal, and people should know better than to buy and use the product (would warning labels really help?), and civil lawsuits shouldn't be a backdoor method of criminalizing - but perhaps forthright criminalization of ephedra sales wouldn't be a bad thing.

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wFriday, February 28, 2003


Children in church

"PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- Msgr. Philip Murnion of the New York-based National Pastoral Life Center tells this joke: 'A baby starts crying loudly in Mass during the sermon. The mother stands up to take him out. "Don't worry, he can stay," the priest says from the pulpit. "He's not bothering me." The woman says, "Thanks, Father, but it's you who are bothering him."' ..." more

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UN population projections

"NEW YORK, Feb 28, 03 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - The United Nations has released the 2002 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections. For the first time, the United Nations Population Division projects that future fertility levels in most developing countries will likely fall below 2.1 children per woman, the level needed to ensure the long-term replacement of the population, at some point in the twenty-first century. By 2050, the medium variant of the 2002 Revision projects that three out of every four countries in the less developed regions will be experiencing below-replacement fertility, with all developed countries far below replacement level as well. ..." more (subscription required)

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USCCB on Court decision about pro-lifers

"WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A U.S. bishops' aide hailed the Supreme Court's ruling that held a federal racketeering statute cannot be used against pro-life protesters. ..." more

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Pope to new Anglican archbishop

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In a letter to the new archbishop of Canterbury, John Paul II expressed his hopes for continued progress in Catholic-Anglican relations. ..." more

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Vatican and Iraq

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official told the ambassadors at the Holy See that it is imperative to have 'the force of law, and not the law of force' prevail in the Iraqi crisis. ..." more

"VATICAN, Feb 28, 03 (CWNews.com) -- During his Thursday briefing for the Vatican diplomatic corps, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran had strong messages for two ambassadors who attended the session: the envoys from Iraq and the United States. ..." more (subscription required)

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The promotion of peaceful ways to resolve the Iraqi crisis has created amazing unity among Christians, says a Vatican representative. ..." more (Compare John Paul II's Ut Unum Sint 21, 43, 68, 74, 76.)

"ROME, Feb 28, 03 (CWNews.com) -- Israel's ambassador to the Holy See has taken issue with recent Vatican statements regarding the situation in the Middle East. ..." more (subscription required)

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Sad country song with happy ending

"Three Wooden Crosses" (clip). One of this this great artist's many excellent songs. He picks good, traditional-country material, and his voice is well suited to it. An older hit of his: "Forever And Ever, Amen" (clip). Also terrific: "Spirit Of A Boy, Wisdom Of A Man" (clip).

(See also below.)

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What's causing AIDS in Africa?
FRIDAY FAX

February 28, 2003
Volume 6, Number 10

British Medical Journal Asserts Coverup in African AIDS Pandemic Claims AIDS Crisis Caused by Bad Medicine, Not Sex

A prominent British medical journal has published a series of articles claiming that the mainstream AIDS community seriously misinterprets data concerning the spread of AIDS in Africa because it is blinded by its pro-condom ideology. According to the authors of the papers, published in the International Journal of STD and AIDS, the majority of new AIDS cases in Africa are not caused by heterosexual activity, but by contaminated needles used for medical injections. Therefore, the massive distribution of condoms over the past twenty years, the keystone of the international community’s response to the African AIDS epidemic which continues to this day, is bound to be misguided and even counterproductive.

Most AIDS researchers hold that the African AIDS epidemic is overwhelmingly the result of heterosexual activity. The authors recount that, “In 1988, prominent organizations and experts circulated estimates attributing about 90% of HIV infections in African adults to heterosexual contact. Estimates have inched upwards since. According to the World Health Organization’s 2002 World Health Report, ‘current estimates suggest that more than 99% of HIV infections prevalent in Africa in 2001 are attributable to unsafe sex.” However, the authors contend that “we have been unable to locate any document – from the 1980s or later” to substantiate these claims. Instead, according to their data, up to 70% of HIV infections occur through health care transmission, most notably through the reuse of needles.

In the articles’ most stunning passages, the authors question the motives of researchers who disregard this data. “Why was evidence ignored? It has been said that people often see what they wish to see…In short, tangential, opportunistic, and irrational considerations may have contributed to ignoring and misinterpreting epidemiological evidence.” Specifically, they suggest that the AIDS community may be influenced by a homosexual, population-control agenda. “First, it was in the interests of AIDS researchers in developed countries – where HIV seemed stubbornly confined to MSM [men who have sex with men]...to present AIDS in Africa as a heterosexual epidemic...Second there may have been an inclination to emphasize sexual transmission as an argument for condom promotion, coinciding with pre-existing programmes and efforts to curb Africa’s rapid population growth...”

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the WHO quickly discounted these findings. IPPF flaty claims that the “new research findings...have been rejected by medical experts...”

The authors conclude that their studies should “...have major ramifications for current and future HIV control programmes in Africa,” and that “Africans deserve scientifically sound information on the epidemiological determinants of their calamitous AIDS epidemic.”

At this moment, the Bush administration is discussing how to allocate $15 billion for a new AIDS initiative in Africa and the Caribbean. Many of the international agencies and nongovernmental organizations involved in condom distribution and the “safe sex” campaign, such as IPPF, hope to receive a significant portion of these funds.

Copyright – C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: c-fam@c-fam.org Website: www.c-fam.org
(See also below.)

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Sex selling classical music

I've noticed this trend, and I agree it's disturbing.

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The WTC site proposals

I agree with one complaint from this commentary: the proposals "were all wacky. They just didn't look like real buildings. They looked like something a first-year architecture student would come up with, when he's got the math and the physics and the graphics software down pretty well ..." I disagree with the rest. The site should host something majestically beautiful, not merely nicely modest and functional. The problem with the designs, including the winner, is that they aspire to majestic beauty but end up majestically ugly, partly because they don't look like real buildings.

By the way: Why do I care about this; why have I been blogging about this? As John Paul II teaches in his encyclical on fundamental moral theology (51): "In order to perfect himself ..., the person must ... contemplate beauty."

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Medicare money

"It's not hard finding objectionable items in the massive, omnibus appropriations bill the president signed into law last week. But of all its provisions, the one that's likely to end up costing taxpayers most is one that, officially, had no cost at all when it was agreed to. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Challenge to liberal GOP senator from right

Good: "Pat Toomey will challenge Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter in the Republican primary in April. ..." more

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White House challenge to Dems on judicial nominee

"In perhaps its most forceful effort yet to break the stalemate over the appeals-court nomination of Miguel Estrada, the White House has now invited every member of the Senate who has doubts about Estrada's legal views to submit written questions to Estrada by the close of business Friday. ..." more

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Iraq, terror, N. Korea

"WASHINGTON — Excerpts from a letter written by Iraqi Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi to chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, who ordered Iraq to begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles and their components by Saturday: ..." more

"BEIJING — Russia is ready to veto a U.S.-British resolution in the U.N. Security Council authorizing use of force against Iraq if such a step is needed to preserve 'international stability,' Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said ..." more

"BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq will begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles on Saturday, the last day of a deadline given by chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, Iraqi sources said ..." more

"PARIS — French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Friday that Iraq's decision to begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles confirms U.N. weapons inspections are working. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel said Thursday that while he abhors war, he believes the world community must confront Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — President Bush's showdown with Saddam Hussein started with the goal of regime change and disarmament. Now the administration's objectives in Iraq are expanding as Bush searches for a compelling theme that will win support and blunt growing world opposition to war. ..." more

Aha! (but the Civil War parallel is faulty, if one recalls that it began with an attack by the South in the form of secession and Ft. Sumter): "ONE REASON the coming war disturbs many Americans is that it seems optional. While the fight in Afghanistan was thrust upon us, this conflict is one our country enters by choice. ..." more

Problems with using Palestinians-Israel to argue for war against Iraq: "Just when it appeared as if he could do no wrong, President George W. Bush this week reminded us all that even great leaders can make monumental mistakes. ..." more

"KARACHI, Pakistan — Gunmen opened fire on a police post guarding the U.S. Consulate in Karachi on Friday, killing two policemen and injuring at least five others ..." more

"WASHINGTON — President Bush promised a 'united defense of our homeland' Friday in marking the launch of the department created to answer the danger of terrorism. ..." more

"At midnight Friday, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) turns into a pumpkin. Saturday morning means a whole new arrangement for administering the immigration law, ending years of debate over the issue. But whether things will actually improve is not clear. ..." more

Interesting interview with expert on Muslim apocalypticism: "... Rod Dreher: What are the main beliefs of Islamic eschatology? David Cook: Referring to Sunni Islam, the principal beliefs are: ..." more

"SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday that North Korea has restarted a small reactor that could produce plutonium for atomic weapons. ..." more

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250th anniversary of "French and Indian"/"Seven Years" War coming

"History buffs have a new Internet site to visit. ..." more

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More on Mr. Rogers from his hometown paper

"The first time Marc Brown, creator of the animated PBS series 'Arthur,' met Fred Rogers, they talked about loss. 'He never used the word death, he always used the words "going to heaven." Boy, if anyone deserves to be in heaven, it's Fred Rogers,' Brown said yesterday. ..." more

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We pretend to value marriage, but we don't

Examples: various recent "reality" shows, and contests like this (the man's record is just the icing on the bad wedding cake).

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What to do about troubled urban youth?

How about having urban men try to be a positive influence on their public behavior?

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"Desegregation" and "diversity"

"Republican lawmakers looking for state budget savings may try to cut the Chapter 220 desegregation program or merge it with the less expensive public school choice program, but a new study says either would be a major blow to diversity in suburban Milwaukee schools. ..." more

De facto segregation resulting from where people live is radically different from de jure segregation. And the law should not impose busing to remedy de facto segregation in the name of "diversity." This is a waste of money.

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One more on EPA regulations and "perverse incentives"

I'm for clean air, but the Bush plan sounds reasonable to me, and I think that this is misguided. (See also below.)

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HS graduation requirements

"Milwaukee Public Schools students will need 22 rather than 23 units of high school subject credits to graduate under a change in curriculum requirements the School Board approved Thursday. ..." more

Hmm. I can't recall how many credits my high school (admittedly, a private, college-prep school) required when I was there, but I believe I had 23.5 units, and I see that the school requires 23 now.

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Cloned pigs source of human organs?

"DeForest - A Wisconsin biotech firm said Thursday that it has genetically engineered and cloned a litter of piglets with organs that may resist rapid rejection by the human immune system. ..." more

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The EPA, water, and radium

Speaking of regulations, this one troubles me. Maybe it makes sense substantively - on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis - and maybe it doesn't.

But here's my concern. The "Environmental Protection Agency" sounds like an agency that's supposed to protect the environment - from pollution, etc. - for the sake of human health and (more generally) well-being (it's good that natural beauty is preserved for our contemplation), and perhaps also for its own sake. What does regulating the amount of naturally-occuring radium in drinking water have to do with this (I had the same concern about the Clinton - and now Bush - arsenic standards)? How is this "environmental protection"? Is "environmental protection" the same thing as (putatively) "protection from the environment"? I think that having an organization called the EPA to make these kinds of regulations amounts to a bait-and-switch scheme. (And, why shouldn't drinking-water standards, and the cost-benefit analyses that should underlie them, be local matters?)

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wThursday, February 27, 2003


More "perverse incentives"

Columnist: Using tax money in ways that are a disincentive to marriage helps the poor; using it to encourage marriage is wasteful. (She may, however, have a point about "a mother's place"; I've long been ambivalent about this aspect of welfare reform.)

(See also below.)

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Illinois doctors and malpractice insurance

"SPRINGFIELD--Eduardo Barriuso, a Humboldt Park obstetrician, says he pays $104,000 a year for malpractice insurance and was just told there'll be a 10 percent to 15 percent increase by July. ..." more (Thanks, Chris. And see also below.)

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Eucharist encyclical coming on Holy Thursday

But, the story below is wrong.

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Requirements for ecumenical dialogue

"ROME (CNS) -- While theological dialogue is essential to building Christian unity, the ecumenical movement cannot succeed without prayer and conversion, said Cardinal Walter Kasper. ..." more

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School choice in another state?

Moving beyond WI and OH?

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Vatican revision of abuse norms

"WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II has changed several Vatican norms to expedite the trial or laicization of priests who have sexually abused minors. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Abortion discrimination?

"WILMINGTON, Delaware, Feb 27, 03 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - A pro-abortion woman who was fired from her post as a teacher at a private Catholic school after her support for abortion was mentioned in a newspaper ad celebrating Roe v Wade has launched a discrimination complaint. Michele Curay-Cramer, 31, claims her dismissal violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits firing an employee for having an abortion. ..." more (subscription required)

Fill me in. What kind of law (state, Federal) is this? When was it passed? How does "firing an employee for advocating for abortion" = "firing an employee for having an abortion"?

(See also below.)

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Parents on homosexuality and sex ed

"CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, Feb 27, 03 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - A new Zogby poll of 1,200 parents shows that 71 percent of parents do not want sex education programs teaching students that homosexual relationships are as normal and acceptable as loving heterosexual relationships ..." more (subscription required)

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VP of Pontifical Academy for Life on science and ethics

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Science cannot be without ethical judgment because research in areas such as biomedicine and biotechnology can have consequences for everyone, says a Vatican official. ..." more

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Diablogging: Pro-abortion candidates

The article on Kucinich that I blogged below prompts some good reflections by Chris Burgwald. Chris is right that abortion should be an overriding issue (and my link to the article wasn't meant to imply agreement with what the article says about, e.g., Rice - not that I'm implying that Chris was implying this implication, but I just want to clarify; in fact, though, I think the article's critique of of the abortioncentric left is all the more striking given what it says about pro-abortion candidates and other issues).

I do, however, think that there could be cases in which it would be legitimate to vote for pro-abortion candidates other than the one case Chris mentions - "if the other candidate is also pro-choice, and is worse on the other issues." First, of course, pro-choice/pro-abortion is somewhat a matter of degree, and if candidates A and B are both pro-abortion but one less so/more pro-life than the other, it could be moral (even necessary) to vote for that candidate. I don't know that Chris meant to exclude that case, though.

Less obvious, but still compelling to me, are arguments for the morality in some cases of voting for a more pro-abortion/less pro-life candidate. The underlying point is that there is more to deciding, based on the overriding issue of abortion, for whom to vote than considering how each candidate would personally deal with the overriding issue of abortion if elected.

Suppose one votes for a candidate who has no serious chance whatsoever of winning. This can amount, in practice, to a vote for one of the other candidates (as when Nader voters in 2000 effectively voted for Bush, and Buchanan voters, for Gore). Suppose that candidate C is fully pro-life; candidate D, partly pro-life/partly pro-abortion; candidate E, fully pro-abortion. But candidate C has no chance of winning. A vote for fully-pro-life candidate C rather than less-pro-life D increases the chance that not-at-all-pro-life candidate E will win - that is, increases the chance that the election will have a worse rather than better outcome for the abortion issue. A pro-life voter in such a case could - perhaps should - vote for candidate D, not because he is the most pro-life candidate, but because he is the most pro-life winnable candidate. Naturally, dealing with such a situation requires a prudential judgment about "winnability"; in some cases, the judgment will be fairly easy; in others, less so.

Now, suppose that candidate F is (relatively or fully) pro-life, and candidate G, pro-abortion. But candidate F represents political party X. Most members of this party, and especially those party leaders who will be installed as committee chairs, etc., if the party is in control of a legislative chamber, are pro-abortion. Meanwhile, candidate G represents party Y, most of whose members are pro-life, etc. And in this particular election, control of the legislative chamber for a seat in which candidates F and G are running is closely contested between parties X and Y. So, if F is elected, there will be one more pro-life vote in the chamber. But it is also very likely that party X will thereby be given the majority in the chamber, with the result that pro-abortion committee chairs, etc., will be installed, with the result that pro-life measures will be killed before F has an opportunity to vote for them. Meanwhile, G, if elected, would vote pro-abortion, but in a chamber probably controlled by party Y, who would at least bring pro-life bills up for votes. Here again, I think that a - this time more complicated, less certain - prudential judgment is called for on the part of the voter. Obviously, electing lots of pro-abortion Yers will be counterproductive - it's only useful to pro-lifers that Y be the majority party if there will still be enough pro-life votes to pass the bills that the party's leaders will allow to be considered (and if some pro-abortion Yers are successful in getting elected, this could encourage others to run). But, also important, I think, is the consideration that electing some pro-abortion Yers rather than pro-life Xers may in the end produce more pro-life laws.

I blogged about these kinds of judgments last fall, contra Judie Brown (who, of course, goes so far as pretty much to think, absurdly, that one may never vote for a less-than-perfectly-pro-life candidate, even when such a candidate is the best one in a race). I still think I'm right that at the least there are prudential judgments to be made here - pro-life voting in races with more than two candidates, or in races when control of a legislative chamber is up for grabs, isn't always as simple as voting for the most pro-life candidate.

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Dreher on JPII on war: who's "hysterical"?

Amy blogs Dreher's latest rant (her posts can no longer be linked directly; scroll down to "From Rod Dreher:"). Two comments. First, I'm not sure how accusing the pope of lacking humility about his position, and comparing him to "the hysterical lady in Western movies," square with Rod's claim to think John Paul will "rightly" be called "St. John Paul the Great." Second, more substantively, Rod asserts, "We have had 12 years of dialogue and diplomacy with Saddam, to no avail." "To no avail"? Let's see. Saddam hasn't invaded any of his neighbors, hasn't even fired a Scud at Tel Aviv. Hasn't, in short, repeated the specific acts that led to the "12 years of dialogue and diplomacy" to begin with. That's very minimal. Yes, he's been a terror to Iraqis. But, "to no avail"?

Mark Shea sufficiently responds to the rest of Rod's comments (immediately below them). I believe I've seen Rod accuse people of hysteria before. I think he ought to get out of his glass house if he's going to keep throwing that particular stone.

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Another anti-malpractice-cap appeal

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture, granting that malpractice occurred? (See also below.)

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House passes cloning ban

Now, tell your senator to get on board.

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Senate GOP tries to call Dems' bluff on nominee ...

But their approach may fail. See below for what they should do.

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"Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale"?

Creative, and helps illustrate the point to which it's trying to draw attention.

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Iraq, terror

"PARIS — President Jacques Chirac is under pressure from key supporters who fear that France's opposition to war with Iraq could cripple relations with the United States, wreck the United Nations and leave France isolated. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — The U.S. military buildup for war topped 200,000 troops in the Gulf region Thursday while inside Iraq Saddam Hussein was said to be moving some of his best-trained forces into new positions. ..." more

"UNITED NATIONS — U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iraq failed to make a major effort to produce evidence of its weapons programs and therefore its disarmament has been 'very limited so far' ..." more

"NEW YORK — Children of military parents across Maine are being harassed in school, in some cases by teachers who claim the little ones' mothers and fathers are wrong to fight for their country ..." more

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and all parties involved in the Iraqi crisis for 'peaceful initiatives ... inspired by international law.' ..." more

"VATICAN, Feb 27, 03 (CWNews.com) -- In a special briefing for diplomats accredited to the Holy See on February 27, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran summarized the Vatican's stance regarding Iraq, saying that Saddam Hussein's regime must disarm, but that military action against Iraq is not justifiable. ..." more (subscription required)

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- To the question, 'What concrete contribution can the Church make to the cause of peace?' a Vatican official has four answers. ..." more

"ROME, FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- What guidelines for world peace can the Church offer amid the debate over Iraq? ..." more

"WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The president of the U.S. bishops' conference says it is hard to justify a war against Iraq, given the lack of clear evidence linking Baghdad to an imminent and grave attack or the Sept. 11 attacks. ..." more

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II and a special envoy of Iran's president huddled for talks that focused 'on the need to safeguard peace in the Middle East region.' ..." more

"NEW YORK — Red tape at the Immigration and Naturalization Service is preventing police from reporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes ..." more

"CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Thirty-seven people accused of being illegal immigrants were arrested at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, headquarters of the nation's largest arsenal of intercontinental nuclear missiles. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — A leading civil rights groups has asked President Bush to end the extra scrutiny given to Arabs and Muslims in the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism. ..." more

"WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda operatives plotting U.S. attacks may use sophisticated surveillance techniques that are difficult for local security and police officials to detect ..." more

I'm for this if it means I won't have to remove my shoes and belt anymore: "WASHINGTON — The government is getting ready to test a new risk-detection system that would check background information and assign a threat level to everyone who buys a ticket for a commercial flight. ..." more

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