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, December 14, 2002


St. John of the Cross, John Paul, and theology

St. John's memorial is now technically over - the sun is down, so liturgically, it's Sunday (Gaudete Sunday, more on which tomorrow). But I wanted to blog an interesting tidbit apropos of him. Karol Wojtyla's theology dissertation was Faith According to St. John of the Cross, written at the Pontifical University (then Athenaeum) of St. Thomas Aquinas under Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP. This project seems to have been an important moment in the history of 20th-century theology. In his biography of Wojtyla/John Paul II, Witness to Hope, George Weigel writes of the "creative tension" between Wojtyla and Garrigou-Lagrange:
In his dissertation, Wojtyla emphasized the personal nature of the human encounter with God, in which believers transcend the boundaries of their creaturely existence in such a way that they become more truly and completely themselves. This encounter with the living God is not for mystics only. It is the center of every Christian life. The mystical experience reveals important things about the road to God and about the nature of our communion with God. It teaches us, for example, that the highest wisdom we can achieve is to know that we cannot "objectivize" our knowledge of God, for we do not come to know God as we come to know an object (a tree, a baseball, an automobile). Rather, we come to know God as we come to know another person, through mutual self-giving. As two persons in love come to live "within" each other without losing their own unique identities, God comes to live within us, and we come to dwell, in a sense, "within God," without the radical difference between Creator and creature being lost. This is how Wojtyla interprets St. John of the Cross's dramatic teaching that the goal of the Christian life is to become ... "God by participation." ...

In his review of the dissertation, Garrigou criticized Wojtyla for not using the phrase "divine object" of God. One assumes that this was an issue between director and student during the preparation of the dissertation and that Garrigou did not persuade Wojtyla of his point. Whatever the process involved, the fact remains that, in his insistence on not treating God as a divine "object," even by way of analogy, Wojtyla was moving beyond the vocabulary, formulas, and intellectual categories that had dominated the Angelicum during his two years there. ...
This is significant because the theology to which Wojtyla was committing himself became the theology of Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes and the theology of John Paul's pontificate from Redemptor Hominis (1979) onward.

This theology also overlapped perfectly with the "new theology" of Henri de Lubac, SJ (the "new theology" "movement" - which was not monolithic! - included, among others, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Yves Congar, OP, Jean Danielou, SJ, and Joseph Ratzinger). Indeed, the disagreement between Wojtyla and Garrigou-Lagrange mirrored the disagreement between de Lubac and Garrigou-Langrange, one of de Lubac's most prominent critics. Thus it is no accident that Vatican II (in which Wojtyla took part as a bishop, and de Lubac took part as a theological expert) and John Paul II seem to have been heavily influenced by de Lubac - that, for example, what Wojtyla later called "a key point in the Council's thought," a teaching in Gaudium et Spes, no. 22, that "Christ ... reveals man to man himself," repeats nearly verbatim an earlier statement by de Lubac, and means it in the same radical sense in which de Lubac meant it.

The significance of the Wojtyla/John Paul - de Lubac connection can be seen in what they themselves have said about each other. De Lubac recalls of his meeting with Wojtyla at the Council: "He knew my works, and we were soon on good terms." John Paul mentions de Lubac in his Crossing the Threshold of Hope, writing of the Council:
I am particularly indebted to Father Yves Congar and to Father Henri De Lubac. I still remember today the words with which the latter encouraged me to persevere in the line of thought that I had taken up during the discussion. ... From that moment on I enjoyed a special friendship with Father De Lubac.
It is not surprising that John Paul later honored de Lubac for his service to the Church as a theologian by naming him a cardinal.

But it is worth noting St. John of the Cross's role in this story of theological and Church renewal as well as de Lubac's and Wojtyla/John Paul's.


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21st-century Christmas

"TORONTO, DEC. 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Just when the annual concerns about shopping and gift giving threaten again to overshadow the true meaning of Christmas, comes a new wrinkle. ..." more

(See also below and below and below.)

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Analysis: latest on Australia and stem cells

"... The Australian Senate vote came just after a report on the failure of transplanted fetal cells to help patients suffering from Parkinson's disease. ..." full story

(See also below.)

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w


Music and the brain

"NEW YORK -- From Mozart to Miles Davis, the harmonies of Western music rewire the brain, creating patterns of neural activity at the confluence of emotion and memory that strengthen with each new melody ..." more (registration required)

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30 DUIs?

"To look at his record, it may seem the only times George Bernard Johnson is not driving drunk is when he's in jail. ..." more

Er ... shouldn't this man have been jailed for a much longer time, long ago?

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w


US response to Iraq report

"WASHINGTON — After reviewing the 12,000-page Iraq weapons declaration this week, the Bush administration has concluded that the report fails to give insight into missing chemical and biological agents ..." more

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w


Odd twist in Illinois death-penalty case

"CHICAGO — A man whose murder confession freed a death row inmate in 1999, sparking an unprecedented review of Illinois' death penalty cases, has filed court papers saying he was coaxed into pleading guilty. ..." more

My reaction: skepticism, above all because of Simon's especially implausible claim that "his lawyer, Jack Rimland, was party to the 'scheme' ... and hid evidence ..." ("Rimland denied the claim, saying Simon sent him thank you letters for keeping him off death row.")

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wFriday, December 13, 2002


Cross-burning case, race, free speech

"... But the most glaring wake-up call is for free speech absolutists. First Amendment law has been rotting from the inside out for more than a decade now. ..." more

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Money for victims?

Summa Contra Mundum's Karl makes a good case that sex-abuse victims may not deserve money. (Some arguments about The Situation seem to have operated on the assumption that they do.) I'm not sure Karl's right that one is right to sue even a cigarette company (I have actually meant to blog more about that question, and still hope to do so some time). I do think he's right about suing dioceses over sex abuse.

By the way, if anyone wants to argue both that victims should sue dioceses and that Catholics can reasonably decide to withhold contributions to dioceses whose bishops have handled sex-abuse cases poorly (I have blogged my objections to this latter position below), I'd say that person is contradicting himself.

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Lott's latest
WASHINGTON — Embattled Sen. Trent Lott won't step down from his position as the incoming Senate majority leader but will "dedicate himself to undoing the hurt" he has caused by recent remarks in which he implied support for segregationist policies of the past. ... more
For reasons suggested in various articles blogged below (here and here and here and here), I don't think this is wise. Lott is no longer likely to be able to be effective. Worse, he's likely to try to "undo the hurt" by giving away the racial-equality issue and other issues related to race.

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Myers pastoral on respect for body

"NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Catholics can show proper respect for the body ..." more

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Rabbi to Catholics on shared hope

"ROME (CNS) -- The expectation of the Messiah and the reign of justice and peace are hopes shared by Christians and Jews ..." more

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Bethlehem open for Christmas

"ROME, Dec 13, 02 (CWNews.com) -- Responding to a request from Pope John Paul II, the government of Israel has promised open access to Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations. ..." more (subscription required)

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In God the USPS Trusts

"WASHINGTON, DC, Dec 13, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - The United States Postal Service has been ordered to display framed posters with the US motto 'In God We Trust' in all 38,000 of its post offices. ..." more (subscription required)

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Morality in advertising

"MONTE CARLO, Monaco, DEC. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Communication and advertising should not be mere instruments of orientation and persuasion, but must have an ethical base for the spread of morally correct messages, says a Vatican official. ..." more

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"The rehabilitation of chastity"?

Karol Wojtyla gave this title to a section of Love and Responsibility. Maybe it's happening:

"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The world is beginning to rediscover the value of chastity, the Papal Household preacher said during an Advent meditation for the Pope and Roman Curia. ..." more

(See also below.)

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Pope on prerequisites for peace

"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II proposed two key conditions to reach peace: respect for international law and better distribution of resources and formation of persons on a world scale. ..." more

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w


Novak on Boston and Law

I don't always agree with Michael Novak - especially on socioeconomic issues (in fact, I think that when he criticizes "dissent," he ought to apologize for both his past dissent on sexual issues and his current dissent on socioeconomic ones) - but in light of what I've heard about The Boston Situation from others, I suspect that this analysis is right on the mark.

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The South Dakota scandal

"The woman at the center of a vote-fraud investigation in South Dakota says the state attorney general is ignoring evidence of other improprieties during the election. ..." more

(See also below.)

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NR editors and others on Lott

"He should go":
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott "has proven himself better suited to the back bench, where he is at least a generally reliable conservative vote. And there is an alternative in Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles . . . Conservatives should encourage Nickles to make the — admittedly risky — challenge against Lott."

Thus wrote National Review in November 1998 ... more
Why Bush and conservatives are criticizing him:

"That was something much less than a ringing endorsement the President offered Trent Lott yesterday." ... more

Why what Lott said was wrong:

"The doom visited upon those that forget the past goes beyond just being forced to repeat it. ..." more

Lott and the issues of our day:

"... The issue is whether someone who has said what Senator Lott has said has the credibility on civil-rights issues to be the Senate's Majority Leader. ..." full story

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w


Optimism about Islam
I MUST BEGIN by saying that there is nothing I would choose to revise, regarding my prior views of Democracy and Islam, in the aftermath of that terrible day, September 11, 2001. Perhaps because I do not come to this debate from an academic or government background, but rather as an author and journalist, my understanding of Islam has always been based on an encounter with reality ... more
I've been reading this author's book, mentioned below; more on it next week.

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w


Abstinence vs. condoms vs. AIDS in Uganda
As AIDS sweeps across Africa, Uganda remains a lone success story, as millions of Ugandans have embraced traditional sexual morality, including sexual abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within marraige, in order to avoid infection. But the international AIDS community has been reluctant to promote this strategy elsewhere, continuing, instead, to place its faith in condoms. ... more
(See also below.)

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What is the universe made of?

"Most of the universe consists of matter that can't be seen and a mysterious energy that nobody understands, and today, astrophysicists are releasing the latest exacting measurements of what they do not know. ..." more

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Another view on carcinogen warnings

"The federal 'cancer scare' machine this week labeled sunlight, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, wood dust and 12 other substances as 'known' to cause cancer in humans. ..." more

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w


Powell plan for Arabs

"WASHINGTON — The Bush administration outlined a program Thursday to help modernize Arab society, offering an initial contribution of $29 million and pledging to seek more from Congress and rich Arab countries. ..." more

Especially from the latter, I hope.

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Iraq, North Korea ... now Iran

"WASHINGTON — Two construction sites in central Iran may be used for a clandestine program to develop nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said Thursday. ..." more

"Though also: TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Friday rejected U.S. claims that it was developing a clandestine nuclear program and said all its nuclear plants were open to international inspection. ..." more

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wThursday, December 12, 2002


As predicted: fallout from Lott remarks

"JACKSON, Miss. — Senate Republican leader Trent Lott's recanted remarks that appeared to endorse race separation views of a half-century ago may derail Mississippi jurist Charles Pickering's second chance for the federal appeals court seat ..." more

(See below.)

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Scouts can recruit in Oregon schools

"SALEM, Oregon, Dec 12, 02 (CWNews.com) - An Oregon appeals court on Wednesday rejected an atheist mother's attempt to have the Boy Scouts banned from recruiting in schools ..." more (subscription required)

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Clergy sex-abuse and canon law

"... Various victims' groups have concluded ... that the Church's system of accountability was tried, and it failed. But they're wrong. What happened was that too many ... actually ignored our canonical legal system as this crisis mounted. ..." full interview

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European bishops on EU

"BRUSSELS, Belgium, DEC. 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The ... Bishops' Conferences of the European Community seem[] bullish on the expansion of the European Union. ... But they also state that the accession of new member states should not lead ... to ... a 'fortress Europe.' ..." more

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Protestant theologian on Pope on rosary

"ROME, DEC. 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The rosary has found an unlikely fan in a leading Protestant theologian. ..." more

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Pope to Israeli president

"VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Moshe Katsav became the first Israeli president to visit the Pope at the Vatican, and was told that the Holy Land will see peace if there is cooperation between Israel and Palestine. ..." more

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North Korea, proliferation, and terrorism

"This week, after pulling off one of the most remarkable interdictions in naval history and succeeding for the first time in making nonproliferation something more than a feel-good slogan, the Bush administration concluded that it had made a mistake. ..." more

"THIS MORNING'S front page article [blogged below] in the Washington Post, 'Report Cites Al Qaeda Deal For Iraqi Gas,' should not come as a surprise. ..." more

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Will SD GOP official investigate election fraud?

"In South Dakota today, some Republicans are questioning state attorney general Mark Barnett's recent statements downplaying allegations of improprieties in last month's senatorial election. ..." more

(See below.)

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Lott should go

"WASHINGTON — President Bush on Thursday slammed comments made by Sen. Trent Lott last week, calling them 'offensive' and saying they 'do not reflect the spirit of our country.' ..." more

Good. I think Bush should have suggested Lott might want to resign as Senate GOP leader, though, in light of Lott's "latest mess." And concerning Lott's comments on federally-enforced integration: he might want to have a look at the 14th Amendment. That Amendment doesn't mean much of what current Constitutional law claims it does, but it does mean something, and if it means anything, it means the Federal government can prevent states from engaging in racial discrimination.

One NRO writer details the political baggage that a Lott-led Senate GOP will be saddled with: "Rather than strive to cut taxes, improve education, and battle terrorism, conservative activists have spent recent days cleaning up after Trent Lott. This will become a more-frequent chore if the Mississippi Republican does not stand down as Senate GOP leader. ..." more (HMS's Greg makes much the same point.)

And another NRO contributor elaborates on a similar concern:
... Over the next two years, Congress must deal with a number of racially charged issues. ... Congress will probably be called to respond to a Supreme Court decision severely limiting racial preferences in higher education. There will be contentious judicial nominations, very likely a Supreme Court nomination. And through it all, the Republican party will be led in the Senate by a leader who owes his survival to the sufferance of his political opponents. ... full story
Lott should go. Bush should help ease him out.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Fr. Jerome, O.C.S.O., reflects:
"The maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel" (Is 7:14). Mary, the immaculate, ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. Her womb was made holy and fruitful by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord and Giver of Life. While is Christ who is the image of the invisible God, it is the Holy Spirit the prepared the virginal womb of Mary to bring forth the Only-begotten son of God. By the will of the Father, Mary has become the mother of all with been born in New through water and the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 3:3).

In days of old, God promised our forbearers that he would watch the offspring of the woman crush the serpent's head (cf. Gen. 3:14-15). In these later days God has revealed the fullness of His glory for all creation to see (cf. Is. 40:5). The seer of Patmos described the vision, "A great sign appeared in the heavens, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet ... And the woman was with child" (Rev. 12:1,2). God in His great mercy allowed the children of Eve to see their true greatness when the humble maiden of Nazareth placed herself at the service of God's plan. In conformity with the Father's will, Mary, the new Eve, chose to become the mother of all who are brought to the fullness of life and her Son. The woman wrapped in the sun is the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church. As she prepared a place for her son beneath her heart, she also prepared a place beneath her heart for the Body of Christ, the Church.

In anticipation of the redemption that would be brought about by the paschal sacrifice of His Son, God the Father kept the heart of the ever Virgin Mary free from any stain of Original Sin. Cooperating with the grace that was at work in her, Mary freely allowed herself to become the bridal chamber of her Lord and God (cf. Jn. 20:28). Overshadowed by the Love of God (cf. Song 2:4), Mary knew herself to be the handmaid of the Holy One of Israel (cf. Lk. 1:38). Having conceived the son of the Most High, Mary was carried by the One whom she bore in her womb (cf. Deut. 1:31). Moved by the Spirit of her Son, Mary knew that she was called it to serve and not to be served (cf. Mat. 20:28). In haste she set out intending to be a servant to her cousin Elizabeth. She, who was full of grace, cooperated with the grace she had received. By so doing, she collaborated with God and brought comforts to those in need. The gift she had received from Lord she shared with others (cf. Mat. 10:8).

"Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, Mary gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son" (C.C.C. #494). By so doing, she became the gateway to salvation for self and for the whole human race. Just as her son's food was to do the will of his father (cf. Jn. 4:35), Mary's joy was to know God's merciful love (cf. Lk. 1:46). May she who brought her Son to Elizabeth, bring us to Him when He comes in glory. Like Mary, may we come to know the fullness of joy that comes from faith (cf. Lk. 1:45).


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State may reconsider longtime ban on death penalty

"Madison - A new Republican-controlled Legislature wants Wisconsin's Capitol to reconsider an emotional topic next year: the state's 150-year ban on the death penalty. ..." more

This is not good news. Wisconsin has done fine without the death penalty. Its murder rate is generally low; the murders that occur predominantly in parts of Milwaukee are of a sort that are unlikely to be deterred by the death penalty. Nor is the death penalty necessary to scare convicted murderers into repenting. Lots of condemned murderers go to their deaths bitter and hardened in their evil. Wisconsin's most notorious murderer, Jeffrey Dahmer, was baptized in prison (ironically, only weeks before he was murdered by another inmate).

However, the executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference did not acquit himself well in his response, quoted in the article, to the bill's proponents: "'I don't think we respond to the horrors of Sept. 11 with more violence,' Huebscher said. If a death penalty becomes new law, he said, 'then Osama Bin Laden has already won.'" There are far more cogent and persuasive moral arguments to be made, and someone in his position should have learned to make them.

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State's new campaign-finance law out

"... The section Crabb found unconstitutional was one requiring independent groups, such as those representing teachers, Realtors or other special interests, to give the state Elections Board 30 days advance notice of any activity for or against a candidate. ..." full story

What does this presage for the McCain-Feingold law? I'm not sure.

Is this good news or bad? It's probably the right decision as a matter of Constitutional law. I also suspect that most campaign-finance regulations (other than those mandating disclosure of funding sources) are bad public policy. On the other hand, I am troubled by the amount of money that goes into political advertising, whether the donations from which it generally comes are "corrupting" or not. Should candidates (including incumbents) really have to spend so much time and energy on fundraising? Should political success really be heavily dependent upon fundraising success?

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"Classic Catholic" on Pat Buchanan on Vatican II

Gotcher is quite right: "... One cannot reject an ecumenical council and call oneself Catholic. ... What the Council wanted was for the light of Christ to shine forth more clearly from the Church before all nations. ..."

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"Early education" need?

"A regional education agency has once again criticized the lack of quality instruction for younger children in southwestern Pennsylvania. ..." more

Would this be a "need" if more moms (or dads) did or could stay home with their young kids?

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Muslim creator of new PBS "Muhammed" documentary

"On Sept. 11, 2001, Charleroi native Alexander Kronemer was in an editing booth in San Francisco working on the PBS documentary 'Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet' (9 p.m. Wednesday, WQED). ..." more

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Fighting antibiotic abuse

"Local doctors and health plans have joined a statewide effort to end the improper use of antibiotics, a practice that threatens to render commonly used medicines ineffective. ..." more

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"IT firm - with a conscience"

"Chad Washington and Charles Stewart were boys from the 'hood. Having grown up in single-parent households in the Homewood North and East Hills public housing communities, respectively, they know about the toughness of inner-city streets. ..." more

This is a good response to the sort of problem pointed out by John Paul II in Centesimus Annus, no. 33.

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Bush executive order on faith-based groups

"WASHINGTON — President Bush is enacting by executive fiat key pieces of his divisive 'faith-based initiative,' including one that lets federal contractors display religious favoritism in their hiring. ..." more

(In other news: AP writer displays typical media bias three times in one sentence.)

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Come, let us worship Christ, the Son of Mary

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Here are some words of Pope John Paul II on this apparition. They are from his 1999 Ecclesia in America, chap. I, "The Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ" (the pope speaks of this "encounter" as the prerequisite to the conversion, communion, and solidarity for which he calls in America):
We encounter Jesus through Mary

11. At the birth of Jesus, the Magi came from the East to Bethlehem and “saw the child with Mary his Mother” (Mt 2:11). At the beginning of his public life, at the marriage of Cana, when the Son of God works the first of his signs, awakening faith in the disciples (cf. Jn 2:11), it is Mary who intervenes and directs the servants towards her Son in these words: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). In this regard I once wrote that “the Mother of Christ presents herself as the spokeswoman of her Son's will, pointing out those things which must be done so that the salvific power of the Messiah may be manifested”. For this reason Mary is the sure path to our meeting with Christ. Devotion to the Mother of the Lord, when it is genuine, is always an impetus to a life guided by the spirit and values of the Gospel.

How can we fail to emphasize the role which belongs to the Virgin Mary in relation to the pilgrim Church in America journeying towards its encounter with the Lord? Indeed, the Most Blessed Virgin “is linked in a special way to the birth of the Church in the history ... of the peoples of America; through Mary they came to encounter the Lord”.

Throughout the continent, from the time of the first evangelization, the presence of the Mother of God has been strongly felt, thanks to the efforts of the missionaries. In their preaching, “the Gospel was proclaimed by presenting the Virgin Mary as its highest realization. From the beginning — invoked as Our Lady of Guadalupe — Mary, by her motherly and merciful figure, was a great sign of the closeness of the Father and of Jesus Christ, with whom she invites us to enter into communion”.

The appearance of Mary to the native Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531 had a decisive effect on evangelization. Its influence greatly overflows the boundaries of Mexico, spreading to the whole Continent. America, which historically has been, and still is, a melting-pot of peoples, has recognized in the mestiza face of the Virgin of Tepeyac, “in Blessed Mary of Guadalupe, an impressive example of a perfectly inculturated evangelization”. Consequently, not only in Central and South America, but in North America as well, the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated as Queen of all America.

With the passage of time, pastors and faithful alike have grown increasingly conscious of the role of the Virgin Mary in the evangelization of America. In the prayer composed for the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, Holy Mary of Guadalupe is invoked as “Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization”. In view of this, I welcome with joy the proposal of the Synod Fathers that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother and Evangelizer of America, be celebrated throughout the continent on December 12. It is my heartfelt hope that she, whose intercession was responsible for strengthening the faith of the first disciples (cf. Jn 2:11), will by her maternal intercession guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early Church (cf. Acts 1:14), so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life.
Another meditation on Mary for the Feast later today.

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What will the Court do on sodomy?

And what should it do?

"The Supreme Court has announced that it will revisit its 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick that state laws against sodomy do not violate the Constitution. Many observers (even Jerry Falwell) expect the court to reverse Bowers ..." more (See also below.)

I wouldn't be surprised if the Court does reverse Bowers, and perhaps for the reasons this commentator cites. Unlike him, however, I think those reasons are bad ones that have little to do with the Constitution. (It's telling that he speaks of "the Framers" without actually citing any!)

There will perhaps be other - bad, i.e., having little to do with the Constitution - reasons as well. For one thing, the Bowers opinion did not respond convincingly to the argument that upholding the Georgia law in question would be inconsistent with various prior (but bad - ungrounded in the Constitution) Court decisions. For another, the Georgia law actually prohibited all sodomy - heterosexual as well as homosexual - and although the Court's opinion "express[ed] no opinion on the constitutionality of the Georgia statute as applied to other [i.e., heterosexual] acts of sodomy," I think it's likely that the fact that the law didn't address homosexual conduct per se was part of the "subtext" of the ruling. The Texas law now at issue, however, addresses only homosexual acts. This does make it harder to explain it as non-arbitrary (even though, again, that has little to do with the Constitution).

But while this law is questionable as public policy - not because homosexual acts are per se deserving of legal protection, but because justice does confer a certain right to privacy in the home - it is certainly not unconstitutional, and it is another blow to the rule of law that the Court will likely strike it down.

By the way, for an excellent careful and critical history of judicial review of the constitutionality of US laws, read Christopher Wolfe's The Rise of Modern Judicial Review. (Wolfe is another bright spot at a Marquette U that has in so many ways gone to the dogs. And see also the excellent books on homosexuality he's edited: Homosexuality and American Public Life, and Same-Sex Matters.)

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"Wicca" on campus

"NEW YORK — Witches are big draws at the box office, on TV — and apparently on college campuses. ..." more

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FDA on drug ads

"WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has a new chief and he's taking the reins in an effort to halt misleading drug ads. ..." more

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Interview with the Senator

"This is a partial transcript of an interview with Sen. Trent Lott on Dec. 11, 2002 ..." more

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Saddam gave nerve gas to al Qaeda?

"The Bush administration has received a credible report that Islamic extremists affiliated with al Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last month or late in October ..." more

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North Korea back in plutonium business

"SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea announced Thursday that it will immediately resume operations of its plutonium-based nuclear facilities as a result of recent U.S. oil suspensions ..." more

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wWednesday, December 11, 2002


Pope on Jeremiah (14:17-21) on lamentation
... In addition to the sword and famine, there is, in fact, a greater tragedy, that of the silence of God, who no longer reveals himself and seems to be enclosed in his heaven, as though disgusted with human behavior. The questions addressed to him are, therefore, tense and explicit in a typically religious sense: "Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you?" (verse 19). Now they feel alone and abandoned, deprived of peace, of salvation, of hope. The people, left to themselves, find themselves lost and overcome by terror.

Is not this existential loneliness, perhaps, the profound source of so much dissatisfaction, which we also perceive in our days? So much insecurity and so many inconsiderate reactions, which have their origin in having abandoned God, the rock of salvation. ... full story
Good thought as we consider our reactions to all that we experience in the Church and in the world today.

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Pope to UNESCO

"PARIS, DEC. 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged UNESCO to foster dialogue among cultures, in a letter marking the 50th anniversary of the Vatican's entry in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. ..." more

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Book of the week

This week's Book Club selection:
Romanus Cessario, Introduction to Moral Theology (Catholic Univ. of America Press, 2001).
This is the first volume in a Catholic Moral Thought Series that Cessario is editing; volumes on sexual, bio-, and social ethics will follow. It is often difficult to find a good introduction to a field - so many topics must be covered, so much can go wrong. This book is probably the best introduction to moral theology now available. It could be clearer on a couple of key points in the best of 20th-century theology and at the heart of the messages of Vatican II and John Paul II, like the end of the human person and the (related) central meaning of being made "in the image of God." But it is thorough, draws deeply from Aquinas and dialogues carefully with other historical and contemporary positions and concerns (both exegetical and substantive), and well worth a slow read. It is especially strong on the role of virtue in ethics, and on the connection between love, commandment, and freedom. A couple of brief, representative, and synthetic passages:
Recall that in his "Canterbury Tales," ... Chaucer ironically places the insignia "Amor vincit omnia" on the golden broach of a worldly Prioress. But the authentic Christian tradition ... brooks no such flippancy about sinful activity ... Because mistakes about how to distinguish moral good from sinful behavior jeopardizes the well-being and holiness of her members, the Church can never retreat from preaching and teaching the full truth about the good of the human person.
But also:
The general teaching on freedom and charity assumes that the redemptive Incarnation restores a true connaturality between the human person and the human good. This connaturality is the fruit of a heart converted to the Lord and to the love of what is good. Connaturality is associated with the development and exercise of virtue, and explains why a human person can fulfill the law without putting too much strain on his or her psychological equilibrium. Connaturality also explains why Aquinas expresses a hearty confidence in the moral life lived under the new law of grace. ... "Following Christ," proclaims Pope John Paul II, "is thus the essential and primordial foundation of Christian morality."
Another good moral theology text in a few weeks. Next week, something a little different.

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30 years ago today ...

... man began his last walks on the moon.

Aristotle says, "All men naturally desire knowledge. ..." I doubt Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 exhausted our ability to gain knowledge from manned exploration of the moon. I think it's a shame we haven't gone back, let alone gone farther into space. (Notwithstanding the beautiful images we've gained from some unmanned probes.)

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DNA, rape, and privacy
... It is useful and necessary for states and the federal government to construct DNA databases of violent convicts for the purposes of solving crimes. The trend, however, is to expand these databases to include an increasingly broad swath of the population — not merely violent offenders, but all felons; not merely adults, but juveniles; and not merely those convicted of felonies, but anyone arrested for one. ... full story
This does go too far, I think. On the other hand, the author cites "a Texas law that would allow law enforcement to collect DNA samples from those accused of sex offenses at indictment — not conviction." At least in cases in which the DNA sample might help solve the crime - and perhaps in all sex-crime cases - I don't think that's problematic. If there's evidence enough for a sex-crime indictment (yes, yes, I know, "A good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich," but ...), surely there's probable cause for the collection ("seizure") of DNA.

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"Holiday symbols" in NYC schools

"'I don't know why we live in a country where people are so damn uptight that they can't stand the thought of seeing the Baby Jesus,' Catholic League head Bill Donohue fumed yesterday. ..." more

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More "gay-marriage" debate

"Andrew Sullivan has posted a detailed response to 'Gay-Marriage Endgames,' my latest piece in our ongoing debate ..." more

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"Smoking gun" proves media anti-Catholic

Is media coverage of The Situation affected by their anti-Catholicism? Ratzinger and others have been mocked by self-appointed victims' advocates for suggesting this (see below).

Now here is an MSNBC story (blogged by Amy Welborn) about a document in which Pope John Paul II (a) LAICIZES ("defrocks") a Boston-area priest convicted of sexually assaulting two boys, and THEN (b) says he "ought to live away from the places where his previous condition is known" but allows his superior "to dispense from this clause [emphasis added] of the decree if it is foreseen that the presence of the suppliant will cause no scandal." The story quotes the co-founder of the "Coalition of Catholics and Survivors" as claiming that this document is a "smoking gun" showing that bishops' decisions to move non-laicized priests around without warning anyone of the danger they pose represented Vatican policy!

Mark Shea blogs the New York Post's version of the story, which lacks mention of the "Coalition" but quotes "Victims' lawyer Roderick MacLeish" and begins with the reporter's assertion: "Cardinal Law was just following orders from his boss - Pope John Paul II - when he sent suspected pedophile priests back to work in parishes with kids, a damning church document reveals."

Yes, the media are often anti-Catholic; yes, this bias often taints their reporting about The Situation. That doesn't mean bishops like Law aren't to be criticized! But it does mean the media deserve criticism as well. Unless one thinks the good end (exposing predators) justifies the (anti-Catholic) means. Except that utilitarianism isn't Catholic. God can bring good out of evil. But he doesn't will or "do" evil. So also, we're not permitted to do evil to bring about good.

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New "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction"
Weapons of mass destruction (WMD)—nuclear, biological, and chemical—in the possession of hostile states and terrorists represent one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States. We must pursue a comprehensive strategy to counter this threat in all of its dimensions. ..." more
See also below.

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"Alternative Nobels"

"STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Organizations from Burundi and Sweden working to overcome ethnic hatred, a Paraguayan torture victim and an Australian scientist were presented Monday with the Right Livelihood award ..." more

Meanwhile, one commentator judges Carter's Oslo lecture ignobel.

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Chicago-style politics in ... South Dakota?

"SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Allegations of vote-buying were among irregularities reported in affidavits Republicans collected after the Nov. 5 election that gave Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson a 524-vote win over GOP challenger John Thune. ..." more

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The Michigan affirmative-action case
... University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman said ... that "we are looking forward to presenting our cases." Ms. Coleman's--and Michigan's--problem is the law, and the law tilts pretty plainly against the school's race-conscious admissions policies. ... full story

... The staff of the Michigan Review, a conservative campus biweekly newspaper, has dedicated a section of its website to explaining the university's point system for undergraduate admissions. The site contains the university's official admissions policy, and, what's fun, an "admissions calculator" based on it so visitors can see if they make the cut. ... full story
(See below.)

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A Lott more trouble

Seems he's engaged in the same pro-Dixiecrat nostalgia (see also below) before:
... on Nov. 3, 1980, ... following a speech by Thurmond — who declared that Mississippians wanted "that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states" — Lott told the crowd: "You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today." ... full story
The Senate GOP needs a better leader.

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Anti-immunization campaign

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Campaigners who doubt the safety of vaccines have launched a renewed effort to find a link between diseases such as autism and childhood shots, worrying experts in the field. ..." more

I saw one of Burton's hearings on C-SPAN a couple years ago. He is clearly in over his head on this topic, and he ought to be ashamed of himself for exploiting a serious public-health issue issue he - perhaps willfully, that is, because of a "will to blame" - fails to understand.

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Former Reagan official on Saudis

"You're either with us or against us, has been President Bush's clear mantra. Well, I'm with the president in the war against terrorism on everything -- except -- his stance towards Saudi Arabia. That's because the Saudis aren't with him ..." more

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US threatens nuke use

"WASHINGTON — In a warning to Iraq and other hostile countries, the United States says it is prepared to use 'overwhelming force' — including nuclear weapons — in response to any chemical or biological attack. ..." more

This would be unlikely to be moral. Almost any use of nukes would fail adequately to discriminate between combatants and non-combatants (and probably also cause damage disproportionate to the good sought), and thus fail to meet at least one key criterion for justice in the conduct of war.

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North Korean Scuds in Middle East

"WASHINGTON — A U.S. bomb squad searched a ship Tuesday that was intercepted in the Arabian Sea carrying a dozen Scud-type missiles from North Korea, defense officials confirmed ..." more

... This is why North Korea is part of an "axis of evil" together with Iraq and Iran.

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wTuesday, December 10, 2002


Pope at Mass for Roman universities

"VATICAN, Dec 10, 02 (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II delivered a rebuke to 'the powers of the earth,' who seek to match their 'glory' to God's ..." more (subscription required)

"VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The power of God is the power of love for each individual ..., Pope John Paul II told university students. ..." more

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Interview on angels

Part 1 and part 2. Sample: "Our Christmas hymns describe a world more fully real than the materialistic world in which so many of us have been brainwashed. The drama of Christmas may well be giving us one of our deepest glimpses into the heart of God."

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Cardinal on Christmas and consumerism

"BERLIN, DEC. 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A leading German prelate warns of the growth use of the 'truth of Christmas in just one direction' -- that 'of consumption.' ..." more

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More Jesuitical support for Planned Parenthood

Blogged here by Mark and here by Amy. (See also below.)

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Stanford will try to clone humans

"SAN FRANCISCO — Stanford University announced Tuesday its intention to develop human embryonic stem cells through nuclear transfer technology, becoming the first U.S. institution of higher education to publicly embrace an effort many consider to be cloning. ..." more

Of course, as others to whom the article later alludes point out, "many consider [this] to be cloning" because it is cloning, since it produces a human embryo genetically identical to the human being from whom the DNA put into the egg cell was taken, whether this resulting human embryo is allowed to develop in a woman's womb or whether it is dismembered for its stem cells. The scientist quoted as denying this is engaging in Orwellian doublespeak.

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Generating a Lott of hypocrisy

Without taking back any of one's criticisms of Lott's comment, one should nonetheless observe the hypocrisy of some of Lott's Democratic critics. Jeff Miller notes this in his comment in the box under my post below. So does this NRO article: "On Tuesday, October 22, 2002, Bill Clinton traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to honor the life of the late Arkansas senator, J. William Fulbright ..." more

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In general, the GOP could do a Lott better

"Can George W. Bush and the Republican party really afford to have Trent Lott (R., Miss.) be its face in the United States Senate? The question has to be pondered as the wannabe Majority Leader tries to dig himself out of his latest mess. ..." more

Note well: this is just Lott's "latest mess."

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Lott more

"There are new indications on Capitol Hill that the controversy over Sen. Trent Lott's remarks at the birthday ceremony for Sen. Strom Thurmond might soon swell into a major issue ..." more

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More on what was wrong with Lott's comment

"... the damage from Lott's tribute may already be done, and it comes at a time when issues of race are once again coming to the fore. ..." full story

(See also below.)

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Bush's plans for the judiciary

Amy Welborn links a NYT article: "WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 — President Bush is considering naming Douglas W. Kmiec, the dean of the law school at Catholic University and a prominent social conservative scholar, to the federal appeals court ..." more (registration required)

The Senate Dems may try to obstruct some such nominees with filibusters. But the nominees' confirmation prospects will be infinitely many times better than they would have been in a Dem-controlled Senate - since in such a Senate, their prospects would have been zero.

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Lott apologizes

This may not be enough, though, and perhaps it shouldn't.

(See below.)

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"Affirmative action" and justice

"The crossfire of commentary about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review affirmative action makes one thing clear: The Left thinks it owns the concepts of 'justice,' 'equality' and 'freedom.' ..." more

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wMonday, December 09, 2002


Cardinal Keeler on big business and porn

"... the religious leaders identified three companies listed among the Fortune 500 as distributors ..." full story

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Program in Catholic-Jewish theological studies at JPII center in DC

"... Father Francis Martin, a noted theologian who specializes in New Testament theology and its Jewish background, is the first scholar to chair the program. ..." full story

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Condoms don't stop AIDS in South Africa

"JOHANNESBURG, Dec 9, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - A new study has indicated that over the past four years South Africa has seen a revolution in condom use. However, despite the condom surge, AIDS infection has surged ..." more (subscription required)

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Aussie bishops on embryo research law

"SYDNEY, Dec 9, 02 (LSN.ca/CWNews.com) - The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference reacted with profound sadness ..." more (subscription required)

(See below.)

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Fate of a Cuban Catholic human-rights/pro-life activist

"... Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet had just finished a three-year sentence for protesting abortion in his country on October 31. ..." full story (subscription required)

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Vatican letter on (not) ordaining homosexuals

"... This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ... expresses its judgment as follows ..." full text

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Reactions to Ratzinger on the media on The Situation

Down below, I blogged part one of a recent interview with Cardinal Ratzinger, part of which concerned media coverage of clerical sex-abuse scandals (see also part two of the interview, blogged here). Other bloggers have noticed the interview too. A number of folks have been sharply critical of Ratzinger, e.g., Amy Welborn. Rod Dreher has commented his agreement with Amy and other critics; in particular he has has expressed again in the comments box under this post his despair over whether the pope understands the crisis, and has even taken the occasion in the comments box under another post to take another swipe at the "Luminous Mysteries" of the Rosary (the formulation of which he originally judged to be a waste of the pope's time in light of the scandals).

Then on the other Hand (so to speak), TCRNews.com has blasted Dreher and even Wellborn (sic) for their criticisms.

What's one to say? TCR's response is overheated and over the top, but so is Dreher's rhetoric especially (again). Thus TCR makes some valid points about blogging in general as well as about blogging about The Situation in particular. No one who has read John Paul II or Ratzinger at length and with care would make the sorts of accusations Dreher especially has been making, let alone with the attitude of narcissistic flippancy and/or hysteria he and some other bloggers and writers have displayed. He would know that such accusations are wildly implausible if not obviously untrue, and that making them undermines the repair of the Church - not because the making of such accusations per se generates bad PR and PR is all that matters, but because it undermines those specific persons who happen to be doing just what the Church most needs at this time.

And with regard to the recent Ratzinger interview specifically: what, exactly, is untrue or unimportant about what Ratzinger said? He was asked one specific question (among several in a wide-ranging interview) about press coverage of the scandals (not about the scandals per se), and he gave a reasonable answer, one that reflects the likely reality of the US media and that did not in any way suggest that the press is somehow more to be blamed than the abusive priests. (It's especially ironic, by the way, that Dreher agrees with Welborn's critical reference to Ratzinger's "conspiracy theories," given the sort of reporting that Dreher has been endorsing.) As one other blogger has also noted (here and here), it's not just clear that the latest criticism reflects careful reading of the interview - let alone, I'd add, of Ratzinger and John Paul II in general.

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The "Classic Catholic" is back!

... i.e., Robert Gotcher is blogging again!

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More Kurtz on Sullivan on "gay marriage"

"Slowly but surely, Andrew Sullivan's actual position on gay marriage and federalism enters into the light. On December 3 ..., this is how Sullivan characterized my warning that gay marriage in Massachusetts could be imposed on the whole country ..." more

(See also below.)

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Dixiecrat chickens come home to roost
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday that Senate Republican leader Trent Lott should be censured for his "racist statement" that the nation would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had won the presidency when he ran on a segregationist ticket in 1948. ... more
Just hours earlier, David Frum had written on NRO:
... I cannot help thinking that this story is not over – that Republicans will hear Lott’s words quoted at them again and again in the months to come. ...

... What came out of his mouth was the most emphatic repudiation of desegregation to be heard from a national political figure since George Wallace’s first presidential campaign. Lott’s words suggest that one of the three most powerful and visible Republicans in the nation privately thinks that desegregation, civil rights, and equal voting rights were all a big mistake.

These would be disgraceful thoughts to think, if Lott thought them. If Lott thought them, any Republican who accepted his leadership would share in the disgrace. So Lott needs to make it clear that he does not in fact think them. He owes his party, his state, his country, and his conscience something more – something much more – than a curt “I am sorry if you were offended.” If he can’t do that, Republicans need to make it clear that Lott no longer speaks for us. ... full story
Indeed. Lott does not speak for this Republican on this subject. What was he thinking?

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Come, let us celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary; let us worship her Son, Christ the Lord.

This is from a homily of St. John Damascene in today's Dominican Office:
Today the salvation of the world is begun. ...

Today the Artisan of all things, God the Word whom the Father sent forth from his heart, began a new volume, written as with a pen by the Spirit who is the tongue of God.

O worthy daughter of God, loveliness of our human nature, the one who makes amends for our first parent, Eve! ...

Truly you surpass in dignity all created things. ... The God of all the universe forknew your dignity. Even more, God loved you and predestined you, the beloved one. ...

The whole bridal chamber of the Spirit is the entire city of the living God which the flowing waters make joyful; truly, I say, they are the rivers of grace of the Holy Spirit. You are all-beautiful, most intimate with God, O Virgin overflowing with divine graces! I aver that you are the holy temple of God, not adorned with gold and lifeless gems but shining with the Spirit rather than with gold. Instead of priceless gems you possess the most precious pearl, Christ, that jewel of the Deity.

Holy God and Father who in yourself and from yourself wished to bring to completion that mystery ordained before all ages. Holy Strong One, Son of God as well as God, the Only-begotten, who brought forth a first-born daughter from a sterile woman that he himself might be the Only-begotten from the Father and the first-born of every creature. He was the only-begotten son born from you, Virgin Mother, and the first-born of many. Likewise he became a sharer in our flesh and blood which he received from you. Holy Immortal One, the most Holy Spirit, who by the dew of his divinity preserved you lest you be consumed by the divine fire. For that bush of Moses also prefigured this event, your "Let it be done unto me!"

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To him be glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit for eternal ages!


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Victory over assisted-suicide drugs at AMA

This was sent the other day by Richard Doerflinger of the excellent USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities:
Dr. Bill Petty, who is attending the AMA House of Delegates meeting in New Orleans, just told me that the California Medical Association has WITHDRAWN its resolution urging the AMA to defend Oregon's ability to use controlled substances for assisted suicides. Apparently the resolution aroused so much debate and opposition even at the regional meeting of West-coast medical societies this morning (Saturday) that the California delegation decided to withdraw it. Some opponents of the resolution had announced they would seek to amend it in reference committee, to turn it into a resolution urging a brief in favor of attorney general Ashcroft's stance -- supporters may have withdrawn it fearing that this move would succeed. So at this point it looks as though this resolution will not even receive a hearing in committee or a vote before the full House of Delegates.

This victory is due to the dedicated work of countless physicians and others who prepared materials and testimony, lobbied their state delegates, arranged to attend the meeting, and got the word out to others urging them to take action of their own. Supporters of assisted suicide apparently didn’t know what hit them. But we know.

The challenge remains of persuading the AMA leadership to prepare an amicus brief in SUPPORT of attorney general Ashcroft's directive on assisted suicide and controlled substances. The absence of any resolution from the House of Delegates certainly leaves the leadership free to take this stand, which would be thoroughly consistent with AMA policy on assisted suicide and on the Pain Relief Promotion Act. The fact that the AMA now wants to maintain cordial relations with a Republican Congress and President who hold the health care purse strings probably will not hurt. There is some time to work on this, as the time for filing briefs before the 9th Circuit is already past -- by the time this case goes to the Supreme Court, though, the AMA should be persuaded to take the side of the angels. We had received some very sympathetic reactions from AMA officials when we raised concerns about the California resolution, so our advocacy these past weeks has already borne some fruit.


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Very good political idea

"MADRID, Spain, DEC. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Focolare Movement founder Chiara Lubich says the events of Sept. 11 highlight the need to make 'fraternity' a political category. ..." more

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Bible beats drugs

"In a world of dwindling residential programs offering help to drug addicts, Craig Harper thinks he may have found an answer. ..." more

My only worry: "Last year, one of our graduates finished at Harvard University with a master's degree." I just hope that what Harvard did to his brain wasn't worse than what drugs do. In particular, I hope it didn't teach him that programs like the one that had helped him are wrong or unconstitutional.

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"Race card" trumps inner-city problems?

Milwaukee's police chief defends as useful his latest "divisive" rhetoric in his ongoing feud with the mayor.

I hope the mayor doesn't try responding with some racist rhetoric of his own; I doubt that people would entertain a similar defense of a use of, say, the "N" word.

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The latest PCness

"The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada has stopped marking calendar years on its exhibits with A.D. and B.C. ..." also: tolerant Islam?; no angels allowed; no dogs allowed; no "homosexual" allowed; anti-Saddam not "progressive"

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wSunday, December 08, 2002


Pope entrusts peace to Mary

"ROME, DEC. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- During a traditional homage for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, John Paul II entrusted to Mary's hands the peace of the world. ..." more

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Meanwhile, in the race for Senator from Louisiana

"NEW ORLEANS — Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu overcame a determined GOP challenge led by President Bush and won a second term Saturday ..." more

That's too bad, especially given Landrieu's abortion stance. But 51 Senate seats is still a GOP majority (making pro-life votes possible). And of course, but for a certain Libertarian spoiler, the GOP would have 52 anyway.

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State budget worries?

"Madison - Wisconsin's budget ills have state residents worried that their families will be affected by efforts to plug a deficit projected at $2.6 billion, according to results of a poll released Sunday. ..." more

Is there cause for worry?

Between 1986 and 2000 - during which period, the total US inflation rate was 57.4% and WI's population grew by 11.5% - WI government spending more than doubled. Just in 2000, WI was one of ten states whose budgets rose by 10% or more (subscription required).

Wisconsinites (I was one of them) made it before this spending spree, notwithstanding that in general Tommy Thompson (WI's 1987-2001 governor) was a fine governor, a vast improvement over his predecessors (including with respect to some fiscal matters). There should be room for needed budget cuts. Even with room left over for lawyers for the poor.

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Lawyers for poor?

"Poor people accused of crimes in Wisconsin are systematically denied their constitutional right to legal counsel because the state Legislature says that if they are living on as little as $248 a month, they can afford to hire their own lawyers. ..." more

I notice that even the Milwaukee DA is concerned about this.

Do lawyers do pro-bono work anymore?

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State, families, children
Anthony Bruno was born suddenly, but safely, early on Aug. 5 in a West End home where his parents cuddled him and cared for him for three days then took him to a pediatrician who deemed him fit and fine.

The day after Anthony's birth, someone called Allegheny County's Office of Children, Youth and Families claiming that two addicts had delivered a baby in their home and had failed to take the drug-exposed infant to a hospital for fear of being found out. ... more
The state has some right and obligation to protect children from abusive parents. Does that make it necessary - or just - to presume parents guilty until they prove themselves innocent? What's the right balance between solidarity with abused children and respect for the rights of families?

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