Saturday, March 18, 2006


Video surveillance has become the fastest-growing industry within the major categories of electronic security—with nearly one in four major cities in America investing in new technology, analysts say. It has more than doubled in the last five years, becoming an estimated $9.2 billion business in 2005 and expected to grow to $21 billion by 2010, says Joe Freeman, a columnist for Security Technology & Design Magazine and founder and president of J.P. Freeman, a market research and consulting firm. "What we have is a huge industry that is attracting competitors from everywhere," says Freeman. "In this world of constant threat, it's almost impossible to predict what might happen ... But the one overarching thing that we know is that security, which used to be a quietly growing industry, is now an international attention of the first order."

I suppose that if we can't enjoy any measure of privacy once we step out our front door, there may be some comfort in knowing that it will take many warehouses to store all of this tape if it is all kept, and that may still provide a certain measure of anonymity.

But I can still remember the days when it wasn't necessary to lock the house when you went to town for groceries. When the garage didn't even have a lock on it in spite of the fact that it was easier back then to steal a car than it is today since there weren't any alarms on the cars. Back then we didn't think twice about leaving the garage door open. It all changed in the 60s when the moral underpinnings of our culture were challenged.

Today instead of honesty we have video cameras.


Wikipedia has a short bio up on Dan Brown's wife, Blythe Newlon Brown.


There are several differing texts of this interview floating around the web. Robert Duncan has obtained permission to post the entire original interview at Spero Forum.

"Vatican exorcist Fr. Amorth speaks on Satan's smoke"

What would we have in our hands if we had a list of those who were responsible for this revision to the Rite of Exorcism?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


** Feeding tube removed one year ago today.

** Died on March 31, 2005.

** May God grant you eternal rest, Terri.

Friday, March 17, 2006


If, according to the neopagan view, we and everything else are but emanations of God, then there is nothing for Christ to do but guide us back to gnosis of what we already are. This idea is precisely what is be­ing promoted today under the guise of being the authentic, esoteric teaching of Christ. In actual fact, it is but a revival of the ancient gnos­tic heresy, based on pagan philosophy, that was rightly condemned by the early Fathers of the Orthodox Church. This message of gnostic "Christianity" is being publicized today through the writings and me­dia appearances of scholars with an obvious bias against traditional Christianity, chief among whom is Elaine Pagels, author of The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief. The same message has recently received much attention through the quasi-historical novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: a blasphemous assault on traditional Christianity that has sold over twelve million copies since its publication in 2003.

This is the main reason why I would so like to see Eastern and Western Christianity reunited. Fr. Seraphim doesn't hesitate to call a spade a spade:

If one perceives a common thread among occult and New Age teachings spanning generations, this is because there is a single mind directing the formation of the new religious consciousness. It is the mind of the same fallen angel who tempted Adam and Eve in the Gar­den with the words: Ye shall be as Gods (Genesis 3:5). But while the evil one's servant, the antichrist, will appear to triumph for a time, in the end it is he whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (II Thes. 2:8).

Fr. Seraphim correctly took note of the state of the Roman Catholic Church:

Concurrently, there is now a movement in contemporary Roman Catholicism to assimilate the teachings of Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of the New Age movement. Jung, who participated in seances and admitted to having "spirit guides," taught that the exclu­sion of the "dark side" is a fatal flaw in Christianity, and that therefore there needs to be a fourth hypostasis added to the Holy Trinity—Luci­fer! His theories are being extolled in Roman Catholic seminars and workshops, and his psychotherapy is being practiced in some Roman Catholic churches, and by monks and nuns in some monasteries [Deborah Corbett, "The Trouble with Truth: A Review of The Illness That We Are: A Jungian Critique of Christianity by John P. Dourley," Epiphany Journal, Spring 1986, pp. 82—90; "Jungian Psychology as Catholic Theology," St. Catherine Review, May—June 1997; and Mitch Pacwa, S.J., Catholics and the New Age (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Publications, 1992)]. Episcopal and Protestant (especially Methodist) churches have entered this movement; a number of Protestant ministers who also work as Jungian analysts [Deborah Corbett, "The Jungian Challenge to Modern Christianity," Epiphany Journal, Summer 1988, pp.33-40].

We may be in the midst of the Scriptural "Great Apostasy" or just witnessing a forerunner of it. Whatever the case, while our Western monks dabble in Buddhism and the teachings of Gurdjieff, this Orthodox monk puts the Traditional Catholic interpretation on the times.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


The text of this document will be released on April 6, and is expected to cause some Christians to doubt their faith.

New Oxford Review links this story of the ancient text.


The hymn St. Patricks's Breastplate sounds good at this website.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Many American Catholic colleges refer students to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers through their web sites, a lay Catholic group has discovered.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a Virginia-based group devoted to promoting Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities, found links to Planned Parenthood, referrals to abortion clinics, and internship offers with pro-abortion activist groups on the web sites of Catholic schools including Boston College, DePaul, Georgetown, Loyola of Chicago, and Seton Hall.

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), which has called attention to ties between Catholic colleges and abortion providers in the past, urged the president of the schools involved to remove the links and referrals from their web site. Patrick J. Reilly, the president of CNS, observed: "Faithful Catholics expect Catholic colleges and universities to embrace a culture of life and avoid scandal."

The article lists some of the colleges in question and details what they link, including Boston College, College of St. Catherine (St. Paul, Minn.), DePaul University, Dominican University of California, Georgetown University, Loyola University of Chicago, Loyola University of New Orleans, Our Lady of the Lake University, Santa Clara University, Seton Hall University, and University of Detroit Mercy.


The Tablet reports:

One of the hardest things for Catholic parents is for them to see their children lose interest in their faith. There they are at Mass at the age of 15: sulky expression, arms folded, not taking part, not listening.

Is it just a rebellious phase or will it continue? There is every indication that many of those who start drifting away in their teens stay away for good. Mgr Keith Barltrop, director of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE) says the dramatic fall in churchgoing in recent decades is largely down to a failure to pass on the faith to the next generation – what the experts call “a crisis of transmission”.

According to the most recent statistics available, and reported in the current Catholic Directory, Mass attendances in England and Wales fell by well over 130,000 in the three years to 2005. The Catholic Church is not alone in this. In his forthcoming book, The Biology of the Human Spirit, the zoologist David Hay traces the pattern of regular church attendance in statistics for over 100 years and concludes that if the trend continues “there will be virtually no Christian institutional presence in Britain by the year 2050”.

Continue reading...


Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, is the most influential Roman Catholic lay person in Britain, according to an analysis by the Catholic weekly The Tablet.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, who has faced criticism for her links with Opus Dei, and Cherie Booth, a successful lawyer and the Prime Minister's wife, are second and third.

The magazine, which publishes its list of the 100 top Catholics today, said its analysis demonstrated how accepted Catholics had become in the life of the nation and the establishment.

Continue reading...

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Maybe everyone has spring fever?

Or maybe readers have come to realize that an awful lot of time can be spent (wasted?) reading and commenting in blogs?

Or perhaps the interoffice memos have indicated that "THERE WILL BE NO MORE READING OF BLOGS DURING WORKING HOURS"?

Or is it just that blogging has become a lot less fun than it was when this was a novelty?

Whatever it is, I've just scrolled through Dom's blog and Amy's blog, and neither of them have many comments posted. Is the blog becoming boring to you readers?


That is the thrust of an article by Cindy Wooden at Catholic News Service as reported in The Florida Catholic. She is reporting on Benedict's March 15 general audience. According to Benedict:

"A slogan in vogue a few years ago, 'Jesus, yes; the church, no,' is completely irreconcilable with the intention of Christ," the pope said March 15 at his weekly general audience.

That is closely akin to my argument that doctrine is a mystic's life preserver. Everything we know about our faith has come to us through the Apostles and their successors. Jesus and the Church are inseperable. That is why so many Catholics are still faithful Mass-goers in spite of the demoralizing scandals that are a regular feature of Catholicism in America these days.

But what do you do when the local church is feeding out heresy and molesting the laity's children? A lot of Catholics must face this dilemma. What do you do if your local church is driving your faith away?

Benedict's target would seem to be the teaching of liberal theologians:

Pope Benedict criticized the "individualistic interpretation" of Christ's ministry espoused by "liberal theologians" such as the late German theologian Adolf von Harnack.

The idea of von Harnack and others that Jesus' mission is addressed only to individuals, he said, "is a typically modern" interpretation of relationships and does not fit in with the biblical description of God establishing a covenant with an entire people and sending Jesus to establish a new covenant and save all humanity.

If all of humanity is saved, then what have they been saved from? Unless there is sin, there is no need for a Savior. To call Jesus Savior is to admit that some actions will keep you out of heaven unless you repent. Jesus came to offer His Redemption to all of humanity, but each and every human must respond to the offer for himself, or we would have no free will.

So how could we determine what actions are pleasing to God and what are not if we have no doctrine to guide us? Human wills are too easily corrupted to rely solely on ourselves for guidance. We can easily persuade ourselves that what we want to do is what we should do unless we have an objective standard. There really is sin in the world, and without an objective standard, no two of us would define sin in the same way.

If there is an objective standard, then there is doctrine, and so then there is a Church. If there is a Church, then there are leaders of the Church. And if there are leaders, there is the potential that some of them will be sinful. That, of course, brings us full circle to abusing priests and heretics in theologian disguises. Benedict said:

"The Twelve Apostles are the most evident sign of the will of Christ regarding the existence and mission of his church, the guarantee that between Christ and his church there is no contradiction," he said.

Again speaking without notes, the pope said Jesus and the church "are inseparable despite the sins of the people who make up the church."

"Christ is present today among his people, especially through those who are the successors of the apostles," he said. "And his continuing presence in the community is a motive for our joy."

True, when it's working as it was intended to work, the Church is a source of joy. But in order for this to happen, there must be order. The doctrines of the Church must be upheld, and something must be done about those who are undermining doctrine. Someone with the power to do so must act when heresy is being preached. But we have had 25 years of a papacy that shunned action. We have had 40 years of dissent and confusion since Vatican II.

For the Church to work...for our faith to hold us...there must be reform and return to orthodoxy. Otherwise we are whistling in the wind, and in a couple more generations many, and maybe even most, will not even know what Catholicism means.


"Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in the one God, Creator of heaven and earth. It follows, therefore, that all three monotheistic religions are called to cooperate with one another for the common good of humanity, serving the cause of justice and peace in the world," said Pope Benedict XVI. "This is especially important today when particular attention must be given to teaching respect for God, for religions and their symbols, and for holy sites and places of worship."

Continue reading...


Made public Thursday was a letter sent by the Pope to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, that highlights the strong bond of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church to Rome.

The letter, dated February 22, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, was sent to mark "the sad events to which the cathedral of St. George at Leopoli was witness, in March of sixty years ago," Pope Benedict XVI said, and recalls how in the cathedral in March 1946, "a group of prelates meeting in a pseudo-synod which took upon itself the right to represent the Church, made a serious attack against ecclesial unity. Violence against those who remained faithful to the Bishop of Rome intensified, giving rise to further suffering and forcing the Church to descend once again to the catacombs."

Continue reading...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Where do the people at Novus Ordo Watch find them? Night after night there is a jaw-dropper waiting there.

This one is the Ash Wednesday talk of Presider J. A. Loftus, S. J. at The Jesuit Urban Center - Boston, Church of the Immaculate Conception. After citing the teaching in the Talmud, and telling his congregation that they are not yet fully human (so apparently God did make junk, but it doesn't matter because our sins "are hardly worth mentioning, really."), he writes:

The consequence of not being free is sin. I suspect many in this community have already seen Brokeback Mountain. If not see it; if you have, see it again and reflect on the consequences of not being interiorly free, the consequences of not knowing who you really are and want to become, the tragic consequences and subsequent devastation that comes from only living in a “pretend” world. Watch carefully the price of dishonesty in yourself and with those whom you try to love.

Let this Lent be a Brokeback Lent. Let yourself feel genuinely dreadful at just how little you accept God’s invitation to be yourself, to be honest, to live more freely, to love more passionately, to even be prepared to die for those whom you love. So hold on to both pockets of your jacket and don’t ever forget both messages. Because while you are not the fully human being God created you to become, yet for you, this entire, magical and sacred world was made. Welcome to the hard journey we call Lent.

I wonder if he recommends that I freely pursue my love of someone else's husband? Maybe he should visit the Christian section of the library next time he needs a homily topic!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Ok, I got the link from Novus Ordo Watch, so you know it's going to be peculiar. I should have paid attention in German class so I would be able to read the website, but alas...


Here is the webpage Novus Ordo Watch linked. What is he doing? Our Father Calisthenics? Monk of the Dance? Father Fatburner?

Whatever it was, he seems to have survived it and gone on to what appears to be a tea ceremony with his friends. Does this have a purpose--nevermind a "Catholic" purpose? A tea cup would have been nice instead of that bowl thingy they all seem to be sharing.

Then there is the---ahhhh---well whatever it is, there's a used hypodermic needle involved.

Dolphins? But wait, scroll down a ways and get a look at the legs! And is that blood along with the mess? What IS this monk up to, and is he Catholic?

It gets weirder and weirder. This woman with the legs is definitely addicted to something. He seems to be making a comparison between her situation and Christ crucified. I'm not buying it. Not for a moment. Christ didn't crucify Himself. This is sick.

Templi. Scroll down for the yin-yang symbol and what looks like chakra blessing. And what's with that green eye--"Third Eye"?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


There are so many grave problems facing the Church these days that finding one that can be solved is something of a cause for rejoicing.

This particular problem had parents picketing and teachers picketing. Students were made ill by the menace that couldn't be excommunicated. Finally the school had to be closed and the problem addressed directly.

What was the problem? Pigeons.


LEWISVILLE -- In what can only be briefly described as a seance, about a dozen people gathered at a dimly lit church and tried to conjure up the dead. One saw visions of a man without a face; another felt a dead girl come into the room and try to tell her grieving mother that everything is all right.
The group delving into this paranormal realm was led by a University of North Texas tenured professor and her graduate students, who believe that ghosts don't haunt, they heal.
Counseling professor Jan Holden facilitates these "induced after-death communications," or IADCs, and said she has seen them help people deal with the loss of loved ones. She gives a sympathetic ear to people who say the dead have come back to them.
"There is just no basis to say this is not a legitimate area of research. Thousands of people have had after-death communications, and probably what's most hurtful is a culture that doesn't prepare people for these experiences," said Holden, coordinator of the counseling program at UNT's College of Education. "I have no reason not to believe it's real."

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to NOR.


New Oxford Review links this story:

Parents across the nation are taking action against both school districts and libraries that feature books, some of them required reading, that include sexual issues and obscenity many believe are inappropriate for school children.

In Overland Park, Kan., parents have organized to protest the inclusion of obscene books on children's assigned reading lists in the Blue Valley School District. The parents took action after a few of them researched the books kids were being asked to read.

"[My son] is a 14-year-old freshman boy, and [the book] had references to oral sex and homosexuality. … I thought it was a mistake!" Janet Harmon, one of the Blue Valley parents, told activist group Concerned Women for America.

The Kansas parents eventually started a website, Classkc.org, designed to inform parents about the contents of their children's reading material and about how to get involved to make changes.

The site includes pages with explicit examples of narrative bestiality and oral sex, citing the school board-approved books from which the excerpts come.

Says Classkc.org: "The state should not have open season on when, where and how to indoctrinate and form children's sexual attitudes, but rather … the parents should have the primary role in values education and overall worldview, particularly in the area of sexual values, for their own children."

Unbelievably, the article says:

"Beloved," by Toni Morrison, was assigned to 12th-graders but has a sixth-grade reading level.

"'Beloved' contains oral sex, incest, rape, pedophilia, graphic sex, extreme violence, sexual abuse, physical/emotional abuse, infanticide, and an extensive amount of profanity," states the classkc.org website. "The first two chapters contain five references to sex with cows in addition to other types of sex."

Obviously teachers who are recommending such material have an agenda for our children that Catholic parents can't share. Now it seems that parents will have to read the books their children are reading. And when are parents to find time to do that along with all the other demands that are being made on them?

Read the entire story...


In this month's Catholic League publication, "Catalyst", William Donohue begins his editorial with this comment:

It's time for some straight talk: the Catholic Church is being raped by some alleged abuse victims and their lawyers, and our side is capitulating. Moreover, the rights of the accused, namely priests, are being sacrificed on the altar of forgiveness.

So I'm not the only one saying it--that it's time to also look at the lives of the victims to see if there are wolves among them.

Donohue moves away from this position in the rest of the article, but I thought it was interesting to see that at least one other voice in Catholic journalism is saying what I'm saying.


Dom has been reporting on this story this week. Spirit Daily has it linked today. It looks like a story to watch:

MINNEAPOLIS, March 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - It seems like all hell is breaking loose in the archdiocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis. In recent weeks 27 priests signed a petition against Archbishop Harry Flynn's backing for a measure to protect the traditional definition of marriage (http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06031006.html ). The diocese is refusing to release those names and it has not publicly ordered the priests to be silent about their heterodox views, but it has, at the same time, silenced a faithful priest who objected to the graphic sex-ed program advocated by the archdiocese (http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06030602.html ).

Like many dioceses in North America, the archdiocese has been plagued by the scandal of priestly sexual abuse. The diocese is unique however, in that a movement of faithful Catholic lay men has chosen to publicly confront the scandal, not by demanding - as do most such groups - that the Catholic Church become more liberal and abandon priestly celibacy, but by direct confrontation and demands for faithfulness.

The group's website explains, "For an atheistic culture, celibacy is incomprehensible - and unnatural. But for Catholics, we know our nature is fulfilled by love for God our Father. Our purity codes could not match the splendor of our message if they were easy. Celibacy is difficult, but it marks the priesthood with a spiritual focus, pursued in imitation and anticipation of Christ. Our priests take on a difficult discipline, but it allows them to lead the laity in other difficult disciplines that the world says can't be done - daily prayer, communal fasting and worship, faithful marriage and teenage virginity."

The Dan O'Connell society, named after a father allegedly killed by a priest with homosexual tendencies who had reportedly sexually abused boys, is an organization of men, of fathers, says founder Dr. David Pence. The organization has compiled evidence, not only on abusive priests but also, on the men in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church most responsible for allowing and even facilitating such abuse.

Continue reading...


Amman, March 15 (Petra) -- Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem Michel Sabbah hailed the efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II and his international initiatives in carrying the message of justice, tolerance and love to the world.

Sabbah reiterated that the Catholic Church is in the side of Palestinian people, who are oppressed everyday by the Israeli occupation troops.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


It continues to puzzle me, this trial of Dan Brown over copyright infringement in the DAVINCI CODE. Can history be copyrighted? If I'm the first person to witness an historical event, can I write the story and claim the copyright?

Obviously I could claim a copyright over the literal words in the order in which I use them in my account, but somehow that doesn't seem to be quite the same thing. I don't think Dan Brown lifted Biagent and Leigh's language from HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL. The court argument seems to be over the premise that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a child. If that were truely historical, no one could copyright it, could they?

On the other hand, if it's a story fabricated by Baigent and Leigh, maybe they could claim copyright infringement on their storyline. Which is what they seem to be doing according to Reuters:

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, co-authors of the 1982 Holy Blood book who are suing Brown's British publisher Random House, say he lifted their ideas wholesale.

If they win this lawsuit, can we then take it as a given that the courts have ruled that the story is historically false?

Speaking of history, according to the Reuters report:

The court heard discussions on the difference between British and U.S. punctuation and spelling, as Brown sought to prove documents attributed to his wife were not her work.

Again Blythe emerged as a key partner in Brown's phenomenal success, researching and suggesting plot ideas as he wrote.

Blythe Brown is said by Brown to be an art historian:

Dan has always described Blythe as a painter and art historian. But after curious researchers failed to unearth an alma mater where she had qualified in either of these fields, Brown referred to her as an 'art history buff' instead. Painting is mainly her hobby.

The critiques of the DAVINCI CODE which have repeatedly shown that the claims made in the book are not historical fact, might be useful to indicate that Blythe Brown's "history" is actually subject to copyright infringement, unlike real history. Afterall, if you write a fairy tale, you can copyright it.

In any case, perhaps Baigent and Leigh should be kissing the floor of Dan Brown's bank, considering the renewed interest in HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL that has been brought about by Brown's book.

That renewed interest has me thinking. Could the trial, and its incredible timing that is keeping the title front and center in the public eye just as the movie is going to be released, be the latest novelty in publicity stunts? Could Dan Brown, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh have concocted the whole thing to sell books? If they did, it's got to be one of the boldest moves we've seen in advertising. When you've sold millions of copies of your book, does your ego become so inflated that you believe the national courts are at your disposal?

HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL has three authors. Interestingly, the name Henry Lincoln does not appear in the court records, as Lewis Perdue, author of the blog "The Da Vinci Crock" points out. I wonder why? Is it that he does not think his work has been plagarized? Is it that he smells a fraud and doesn't want to be part of it?

There is also the fact that Random House is suing Random House, publisher of both books. Does this make any sense? Well, yes, it does if the objective of the law suit is to promote book sales. This just might be the best marketing scheme of the decade!

Can a court system sue a publishing house for waste of taxpayer money and fraud?


Here in Ohio the Cincinnati Archdiocese and the Cleveland diocese have been dispensed from Friday abstinence on the 17th. Not so in Columbus:

"First and foremost, we want to pay tribute to St. Patrick. It is a religious holiday."

Bishop Frederick F. Campbell agrees. He "wishes to remind Catholics of their Lenten obligations to abstain from meat on Fridays," said Carol Lowry, associate director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

She said she’ll have corned beef and Guinness on Wednesday and fish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Campbell, though, is willing to consider special requests, Lowry said.

For example, Monsignor John Kelly Cody, chaplain to the Shamrock Club, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Daughters of Erin, received the limited approval for those attending the Irish Family Reunion and other organized events to eat meat.

"The bishop made a very practical, wise decision," Cody said. "You still can’t eat your bacon at home."

Continue reading...

Since I'm not Irish, and since I'm not crazy about corned beef anyway, I think I'll be cooking some kind of fish this Friday while I'm listening to Irish music on the radio.

I'm somewhat puzzled by this passage in the article about the arrangements in Columbus:

He has, however, granted a limited, special dispensation for the 5,000 people expected at the Irish Family Reunion in Veterans Memorial. Individuals also can ask their priest for a pass.

Don't believe I've ever heard of priests handing out dispensations before.

In any case, the main thrust of the article is the restaurant of Chinese "Irishman" Ken Yee, who is preparing his specialty, Chinese corned beef and cabbage for the Irish Family Reunion.

It's often said that on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish. Maybe after I've finished eating the fish this Friday, I'll drink a Bailey's toast to internationalism. It would be more in keeping with the Columbus celebration than toasting the Old Sod; but afterall, Ireland's most impressive saint was really a Scottish import.

Monday, March 13, 2006


according to Catholic.net:

November 14, 2001 / BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. - No school in the Bedford Unified School District is called the Hogwart´s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (that´s Harry Potter´s school). But as I visited the area and spent time with families here, I began to think that perhaps one should be.

According to Catholics in the area and investigative journalist Maury Terry, the area has long been a haven for occultists, from Satanists to Wiccans to druids.

The strange goings-on in Bedford and the surrounding affluent Manhattan suburbs came to light when several families, citing constitutional protections of freedom of religion, in 1996 brought a lawsuit against the school district for what they called an "occult" curriculum.

Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that forcing their children to engage in several school and class activities violated constitutional guarantees against the state establishing a religion.

Among others, the contested activities included the making of models of the Hindu god Ganesha, a school wide "Earth Day" ceremony where gifts were given to the earth, the making of "worry dolls" in class to ward off bad dreams, a yoga class taught by a Sikh priest, and the school sponsorship of a game called "Magic: The Gathering." Though they won on all but the last two issues in a district court, the decision was overturned on appeal. They appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in July. This month, the high court declined to review the case, letting stand the lower court´s rejection.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch for the link.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Basically the article says that bird flu is coming to North America via the airborn highway, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, so get ready to get sick, or at least to see a lot of sick birds.

The current bird flu strain has been around for at least 10 years and has taken surprising twists and turns -- not the least of which is that it's now showing up in cats in Europe, where officials are advising owners to bring their cats inside. It's advice that might soon have to be considered here.

Well, we do know what cats like to eat, don't we.

Around Akron we have lots of small lakes that are really drainage areas for places like shopping centers and housing developments. Usually there are a number of Canada geese swimming around these ponds. And usually there are children helping them to stay well fed. Geese leave their droppings all over these areas. Which means, I guess, that if the geese turn up with bird flu, something will have to be done about them. Could be interesting when animal rights people meet bird flu people.

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.


Long time readers know that I've been taking note of the use of the word "rainbow" and the word "gathering" wherever it appears. Well, it seems that those words appear together in the Rainbow Gatherings.

Woodstock gone religious, apparently. These gatherings appear to always include a bonfire. What's with that?

United Communities of Spirit has an entry for the rainbow people.


The weather report for the Akron area today is looking stormy, which means that I will probably be shutting down the computer periodically.


I've been a proponent of Christian rock since I first heard it. Not that I think it belongs in church, but for other occasions I would sure rather see young people listening to Christian rock with the right message than listening to the secular stuff.

A group of Greek Orthodox monks goes one step further by creating the music and marketing it. Called The Free Monks, they have a ministry to youth that targets the media and the music style that Greek teenagers listen to, and it seems to be working:

Citing new threats to the Greek ethnos, Fr. Nektarios blasts priests for their complacency, accusing them of being more interested in collecting their paychecks (priests and bishops are state employees) than in defending the Church and the nation.

But his message to youth is even stronger. The Free Monks' songs are not just about the redeeming power of God's love or the importance of Christian values. Lyrics speak of Satan disguised as western culture, of the brainwashing of Greeks by multinational corporations, of the dangers of electronic surveillance, of a global conspiracy to steal away souls. Whether young people are internalizing the message or not, they are buying the albums. Although the media frenzy has died down since Free Monks' debut in 2000, the group has remained a fixture on the Greek pop scene.

You can hear samples of their music at that link.

Much of their website is written in Greek, but the homepage is in English, and you can see from it that they are catching the attention of the news media. Elsewhere in the website I tried unsuccessfully to get the music to play. Perhaps they are better at making music than they are at making websites.

In any case, NPR ran a segment on them last night, and they sang in English. The message is Christian, the music is exotic and upbeat, and the teenagers are tuning in.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Today's homily at my church was about giving up things that we enjoy during Lent as a sacrifice. A good solidly-Catholic homily. Father also suggested that we consider going back to abstaining from meat on all the Fridays of the year, not just during Lent.


A reader sent in the following homily that was originally published in "The Wanderer":

March 30,2002

"The Cruelest Death"

"The Other Side of Christ"

by Father Robert D.Smith

In the Year 70 B.C., the Roman orator Cicero initiated a prosecution against
Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily, for cruelty and malfeasance in office. Verres
had sentenced a Roman citizen named Gavius to prison in the stone quarries of
Syracuse. Somehow, Gavius escaped, made his way to the city of Messina, and was
boarding ship to Rome, exclaiming that he was going there to protest about Verres.
Verres' agents heard of these protests and arrested Gavius. Just then, Verres himself
happened to arrive in Messina. He had Gavius stripped naked, scourged, and crucified
then and there. This was done. All the while, Cicero tells us that "no words came from
the lips of Gavius in his agony except, 'I am a Roman citizen.' " (see Against Verres II,

Cicero describes crucifixion as "that most cruel and most disgusting (crudelissimi
taeterrimique) of penalties", and mentions that as Gavius saw the cross being made
ready, "the hapless and broken sufferer...had never seen such an accursed thing until
then." He then adds, "To bind a Roman citizen is a crime, to flog him is an abomination,
(for a magistrate) to slay him is almost an act of murder, to crucify him is....what? There
is no fitting word that can possibly describe so horrible a deed."

To Cicero, crucifixion is not merely a painful death, a shameful death, but the
"most cruel" death of all, the "most disgusting," the most shameful death of all. In this
category, it is not just one among many. It is the worst of all. It is the "worst extreme of
the tortures inflicted upon slaves."

This is the death that Christ, the Son of God, was to suffer about 100 years
later. He not only suffered it, He suffered it through the will of God the Father. Even when
Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that He might be spared that which He saw
coming, His own prayer for Himself appeared to go unanswered.

All this teaches us about the intrinsic and irrevocable nature of penalties for sin.
Even Christ, who, though innocent, came to redeem man from sin, had to pay them. He
Himself taught that similar hideous and irrevocable penalties, those of consignment
eternally to Hell, await those who die unrepentant in sins against the Commandments.

Great numbers of people today, unrepentant in sin, boasting even of their unrepent-
ance in sin, also boast at the same time of what a great friend they are to Christ, and of
how great a friend Christ is to them. "He will surely take care of me. After all, He, Himself,
is the Judge on Judgment Day. He will take care of everyone. He will save everyone."
They forget that Christ on Judgment Day will act in divinely perfect accord with
the will of the Father, and can do nothing other than that.

It is a great mystery...the greatest. But it is clearly expressed again and again in
the New Testament, for those who have eyes to see. Those who see Judgment coming,
accept it as a future fact, and prepare humbly for it; prepare themselves for God's mercy.
Those who blind themselves to it, allow themselves in their pride to drift unblinking into
that part of God's justice which means irreversible punishment for all eternity.

On Dec.15,2001, Father Smith went to his eternal reward.

"This is why I was born, and why I have come into the
world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is
of the truth hears My voice." (John 18:37)

Permission to freely distribute these articles has been received from Fr.Smith's
estate and from The Wanderer(201 Ohio St.,St.Paul,Mn.55107), which may
produce them in book form at a later date.


Lastly, this Sunday's music at my church was once again a mix of Latin and Greek chant for the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei combined with piano and guitar accompaniment of other hymns sung in English. During the Kyrie someone's cell phone in the pew behind me rang with a cheerful little ditty that kept playing. I heard a man's voice comment softly, "I don't know how to shut it off." How I wanted to say, "Well then take the thing outside until it gets finished" but charity restrained me.

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