"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."
"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
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.
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."
"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.)
"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.
"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)
"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)
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)
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)
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.
"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
"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
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
"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:
"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