Saturday, March 01, 2008
FACING THE CONSEQUENCES
What do you call a society steeped in laissez faire capitalism with a communist government? Well, apparently you call it China if this Wall Street Journal article can be believed.
In reading through the article I was reminded of the information I gathered while researching Austrian economics. The "widening gap between rich and poor" is a growing problem there just as it developed into one here in America during the early days of the industrial revolution before the government stepped in to reign in the profit-takers. The WSJ tells us:
what has developed here sometimes resembles a sort of naked capitalism, where an unfettered pursuit of profit governs almost all facets of life, and a growing share of the population is left unprotected.
In fact the situation in China is serious enough that "China's Communist Party leaders have put dealing with social inequalities at the top of their agenda." Globally economists are concerned that if China's economy falters, the economy of the world will be affected. Problems that have developed in China include
- official graft
- real estate developers bilking farmers out of their property
- hospitals turning patients away who can't afford treatment
- soaring housing prices
- luxury housing developments for the wealthy
- pollution, pollution, pollution
- public protest--sometimes violent
In thirty years China has made the kind of economic progress that took the West 100 years to make, but not all have benefited, and many have been harmed.
The Wall Street Journal did a series of articles on China's developing economy in 2006. For more information on this subject, check them out.
Booming progressive economies need young workers with enthusiasm and innovative ideas. China is no exception. However resulting from the one-child policy, China is faced with an aging population and increasingly too few workers to support those growing old. The New York Times tells us:
China’s fertility rate is now extremely low, and the population is rapidly aging, especially in urban areas. Experts have warned that China is steadily moving toward a demographic crisis with too many old people in need of expensive services and too few young workers paying taxes to meet those bills. China is often regarded as having a limitless pool of young, cheap labor, but the country’s biggest manufacturing centers are already facing labor shortages.
Some of the biggest cities, like Shanghai, have tried to make small tweaks in the policy to spur more births. Nationally, the policy now allows urban couples to have two children if both spouses are from one-child families. But officials have resisted any major policy changes out of fears that a major population boom might follow. In recent months, Chinese officials have pledged to crack down on rich couples that are using their money or influence to disobey the policy.
The UK Times spells out some of the policies that have engineered this demographic difficulty:
Breaking the one-child rule would result in a heavy fine, calculated as a multiple of salary in the year of the child's birth, or as a proportion of the collective income of the community in peasant areas. State officials who have more than one child automatically lose their jobs, a heavy punishment.
The rules are privately detested by many Chinese and have been criticised abroad. Human rights activists complain that the one-child policy has led to the practice of eugenics, and that the Chinese state uses it as a method of social engineering.
Some couples are given rigorous medical tests before they are allowed to marry, and it is claimed that people suffering from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and disabilities including dyslexia are banned from marriage.
There have also been claims of genocide, through state-imposed abortions among pregnant women of the Uyghur ethnic group, which seeks an independent Turkestan homeland.
Chinese officials say that the one-child policy has been successful in preventing at least 300 million births, and has boosted prosperity.
Birthrates are below replacement level now. The policy has resulted in a gender imbalance estimated to produce "men known as 'bare branches'" by the year 2020. These men will not be able to find a wife. It has also produced "little emperors"--boy children who have been indulged and cosseted and who are overweight, arrogant, and lacking in social skills.
Friday, February 29, 2008
LION HUGS RESCURER
Unusual YouTube video of a male lion hugging the person who rescued him from starvation.
A GOOD REASON TO DISTRUST
The only word that comes to mind is "hypocrisy". Boston Magazine has a story about the current status of Cardinal Law who is now in charge of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The argument is often given that he no longer has any significant power--that the basilica is a sort of unimportant assignment. That may be true, though the description of the place in the article would tend to indicate otherwise, but he has other duties and privileges that have nothing to do with the basilica.
Where else but in the Catholic Church can someone with heavy responsibility for the organization mess up his responsibilities so badly that millions of company dollars are lost and children and families are damaged, then subsequently find himself in a better position than the one he flubbed?
Seeing him honored to this extent, and knowing that he allowed priests to abuse children, calls into question the very nature of the organization that he represents. Is it really what we here on the bottom of the hierarchy believe it to be, or is there a secret among the elite about its true goals and purposes? Does this Church still represent Christ? It's a question I never want to have to ask, yet one I ask repeatedly in the contemporary Catholic climate.
According to the article
Law now sits on eight of the Curia’s “dicasteries,” or policy-implementing committees, a total far above average; Boston’s Archbishop Seán Cardinal O’Malley, for instance, is a member of only two. Cardinals living near Rome typically belong to more dicasteries than those overseas, so it is a measure of Law’s ambition that in his last year in Boston he served on no less than nine. Thanks to his new station, his participation is more intense than ever. “Since he’s in Rome he can attend the meetings on a regular basis,” says Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and scholar of church administration. “He couldn’t do that when he was in Boston. So his ability to influence has actually increased.”
The cardinal’s dicasterial work covers a broad range of policy areas, from Catholic teaching on the family, gender, and reproduction; to the governance of religious orders, such as the Franciscans and the Jesuits; to oversight of the church’s missionary work, including the appointment of bishops in much of Africa and Asia. He sits on the Congregation for Catholic Education, which issued last fall’s controversial document banning gay men from seminaries—a policy many commentators suggested was a response to the sex abuse crisis. As a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Law will have a say in the new English translation of the Mass, which U.S. bishops approved in June, a project beset by years of controversy over issues including the use of gender-neutral language. Father Reese speculates that Law could make a significant contribution to this particular debate: Despite his reputation as a conservative, the cardinal has a progressive record on questions such as inclusive wording and the role of altar girls.
By far the most consequential of Cardinal Law’s roles is his membership in the Congregation for Bishops. While the appointment of prelates is ultimately up to the pope, he chooses almost all of them on the recommendation of this body. Each of the congregation’s 36 members has a vote on appointments, but members reportedly defer to colleagues from a given country on appointments in that land. The congregation has five American members, though one, William Wakefield Cardinal Baum—Cardinal Law’s mentor in the early 1970s and one of his oldest friends in the hierarchy—reportedly suffers from failing eyesight and other ailments that limit his participation.
Cardinal Law, therefore, is one of a handful of men in charge of choosing the hierarchy of the American church.
Phil Lawler, editor of "Catholic World News" and previously editor of the Boston archdiocesan newspaper, says "It seems to me unfortunate that he is where he is... We're still waiting for the evidence that he understands what happened in Boston. And if he doesn't understand what caused his resignation, that raises questions for me about his perceptions of other problems, his ability to recognize what's good for the Church."
The article also reports that when Cardinal Law needed back surgery he did not come to the U.S. despite the "generally iffy quality of Italian healthcare." Was he afraid to come to the U.S.? If so, what of?
The whole article shouts hypocrisy to me loudly and repeatedly, and has me wondering what else over in Rome is not what it appears to be.
CATHOLICS HAVE A RIGHT TO PRAY FOR THE JEWS
according to Rabbi Jacob Neusner in the Jewish daily Forward:
Israel prays for gentiles, so the other monotheists, the Catholic Church included, have the right to do the same — and no one should feel offended, as many have by Pope Benedict XVI’s recent revision of the Tridentine Mass.
Any other policy toward gentiles would deny their access to the one God whom Israel knows in the Torah. And the Catholic prayer expresses the same generous spirit that characterizes Judaism at worship.
God’s kingdom opens its gates to all humanity and when at worship, the Israelites ask for the speedy advent of God’s kingdom. They express the same liberality of spirit that characterizes the pope’s text for the prayer for the Jews on Good Friday.
Let me explain. I derive evidence of the theology of Judaism toward gentiles from the standard liturgy of the synagogue. I draw the text from “The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire,” published in London in 1953, which sets forth an English translation of a prayer for the conversion of gentiles that concludes public worship three times a day every day through the year.
Very sensible. Each and every person adheres to the religion he believes is the one true religion. Yes, we think the others are in error. But that doesn't mean we use violent or repressive means to correct the error. Prayer is something that every believer in a good God has a right to. When we pray for the Jews, we seek the same thing for them that we seek for the members of our own family--eternal happiness in Heaven. While they don't agree with our methods of pursuit, I would hope that they would not discount the concern for their welfare that the prayer expresses.
Read the whole article here.
PEDOPHILE RING ON ENGLISH CHANNEL ISLAND ?
A tale of horror is developing on the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. A large children's home, Haut de la Garenne, was the scene of decades of sexual and sadistic abuse that resulted in the death of one victim buried in a walled-up cellar and possibly six more. Some of the stories are calling it a pedophile ring. Others hint at Satanic practices. Thankfully this one does not appear to be Catholic.
BBC News presents a timeline of the story indicating the home was closed in 1981 for "economical" reasons, and turned into a youth hostel. In 2006 Jersey police began covert investigations based on allegations by former residents.
The Guardian reports that notorious predatory paedophile Edward Paisnel, who died in 1994, had played Father Christmas at the home. Paisnel was dubbed "the Beast of Jersey" after a 1971 conviction for a string of sex attacks spanning a decade. According to the article
During the trial, court officials visited a "secret room" behind a red curtain at Paisnel's home. A detective said there was a large knife with a wooden blade hanging over a glass chalice that gave him the impression of "shrine or altar". Paisnel "admitted owning books on hypnotism, black mass and notorious child-killer Giles de Rias."
In a victim's account in the Mirror
Pamela said that every night staff pulled cowering children from their beds and battered and raped them. She added: "The things that happened there are indescribable, the most cruel, sadistic and evil acts you could think of."...They would throw parties and invite outsiders...Rape was rife in all ages, both boys and girls."...Kids were encouraged to rape each other. ...The staff took their favourites alone to beauty spots. One lad...was befriended by a priest.
A story in The Sun describes the team of investigators and provides a picture of the site of excavation where tents conceal activities. Sniffer dogs (pictured in Sky News) are being used along with ground-penetrating radar. There are 140 surviving victims dating from the 1950s. Investigators indicate the body count could go higher. The article claims the home "was the base for a paedophile ring for more than 50 years." The article also indicates the island is a tax haven for the rich.
Residents pay only 20 per cent income tax - with NO inheritance tax, capital gains tax or VAT. Ex-Formula One star Nigel Mansell has a flat there and The Who's Roger Daltrey regularly visits. But tough residency laws see applicants considered on the benefits they would bring to the isle, which is nearer France than the UK.
Thanks to Susanna who unearthed these articles.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
WHAT SORT OF TWISTED TALE IS THIS ?
According to the Schnectady Daily Gazette a Montgomery County Catholic priest, Fr. John W. Broderick, who had been acting as a family's spiritual adviser has been arrested for allegedly abusing the family's four children ages 5 to 11.
In May 2007 he left the county where the victims reside, moving to Holy Name of Jesus Academy where he was arrested. The school, run apparently by the Dominican Sisters of Idaho, is a girl's school for preschool to seventh grade, which opened last September.
Three Dioceses are involved: Syracuse and Albany, N.Y. and Ogdensburg, Idaho. Only Syracuse will claim the priest, and says the priest was suspended earlier this year. Police believe there are more victims.
The Dominican Sisters of Idaho are not officially recognized by the Catholic Church.
Here is the Fox News announcement of the Opening of the school last September. Already there was controversy.
A newsletter from a group associated with the Dominican Sisters of Idaho included a picture of the priest blessing the school, who was identified as an "independent New York state priest."
HighBeam Research tells us
The sisters' hopes are that by September, the school will be a fully operational copy of their facility in Idaho and six other schools in southern France, Sister Marie Reginald said. The Idaho school has 200 students from all over the country, 40 of whom live on the campus.
Kicking the craziness up a notch, we have the letter from SSPX Bishop Williamson stumping for funds for the Dominican Sisters of Idaho:
Also dedicated to the true service of the United States by the putting of absolute truth in first place are the Dominican Sisters of Idaho. The motto of the Dominican Order is "Veritas", or "Truth". The Sisters are rescuing in depth girls from moral chaos by filling their minds and hearts with Truth. They are creating what is most likely already the best girls' school in the United States. Enclosed is a second envelope and flyer to help them, in case you missed the first. They are still needing by the autumn $100,000. For these Sisters we are appealing for funds! St. Dominic's day is August 4th
Take a moment to skim the rest of the letter. Its main thrust is a refutation of religious liberty. Freemasons and the post-conciliar Church are the target of the bishop's displeasure. But up there at the top seems to be a plea for forgiveness of a priest who has gotten himself into some sort of trouble in New York.
The Watertown Daily Times identifies the newsletter with the picture of the priest blessing the school as a publication of the SSPX. The Idaho Dominicans as SSPX sisters.
Could this priest possibly be a leftover from the Society of St. John who founded an academy in the area but were found to be abusing boys in the academy?
A Syracuse News blog claims Rev. John W. Broderick was suspended from ministry "for incidents unrelated to sexual abuse." The Diocesan spokesperson would not elaborate on the suspension.
A website calling itself "true catholic faith" lists eleven pages of non-Roman Catholic groups of one sort or another and businesses providing traditional Catholic goods.
The screed on the webpage is a vicious attack on the Roman Catholic Church, proving that the heresy on the right is equally as virulent as the heresy on the left--maybe even more so. Here is another page in the website with the same sort of venom.
Glancing through the long list I found Independent Franciscans, Dominicans (including the Dominican Sisters of Idaho), Discalced Carmelites, Contemplative Benedictines, Poor Clare Capuchin Contemplatives, and Benedictines. Nearly all of the organizations have very traditional-sounding Catholic names. They look like the pre-Vatican II Church, but with a twist. The independents reject the leadership of the Pope.
There were a couple of organizations that stood out:
Holy Rosary Abbey and Retreat Center - Fr. Abbot Ryan St. Anne (He's been in Catholic news off and on for years. None of it good.)
Order of St. Dagobert - YIKES
Society of Our Lady, Warriors of the Blessed Virgin - Independent (Hermetic) YIKES again!
When the solicitation for funds shows up in the mailbox featuring very pious looking sisters in habits and priests raising the host dressed in a fiddleback with two kneeling altar boys holding up his vestment, don't be fooled. Check it out very carefully to see that it is truly Roman Catholic before sending a check.
It is becoming very very difficult to know what we are seeing and sort out the wheat from the chaff in these days of the "restoration". Was it all planned?
Then if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or there: do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you before hand. If therefore, they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert: go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth, even unto the west: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matt. 24:23-27
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Catholic Exchange offers a long article by Matthew Tsakanikas arguing for the institution of the fifth Marian doctrine of Co-Redemptrix. He believes now is the time.
I suppose the Gnostic Catholics would heartily agree. Once the Blessed Virgin has a title equating her with God, the argument for a feminine goddess will be nicely strengthened.
Probably the women's ordination crowd would approve as well. After all if a woman can be a co-redeemer, she must surely have divine attributes. They would be able to combine this with a female eucharistic minister who handles the host while the remainder of the laity are forbidden to touch it as evidence of the validity of ordaining women.
And on we march toward Armageddon.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.
"RON PAULIZATION OF OBAMA"
The Harvard Crimson compares the grassroots following of Obama with the same phenomena that they believe sunk the Ron Paul campaign.
Despite how unusual Paul’s political views may be for a Republican candidate, the intensity, persistence, and downright craziness of his grassroots support overshadowed his official campaign through primary season. Paul’s supporters, including many members of the “9/11 Truth” movement—those who believe that the U.S. government was complicit in 9/11—released a range of unofficial videos and pamphlets idolizing Paul as a kind of Messianic figure. The conspiracy theories and cult-like behavior of Paul’s grassroots supporters has alienated many voters and forced Paul to repeatedly distance himself from much of his unofficial support.
The problem with the mindless, cult-like behavior that sunk the Paul campaign and is now beginning to take hold of Obama backers, is that this kind of support often takes on a life of its own and becomes unmanageable by politicians or official campaigners. Although Obama probably doesn’t have to worry about his supporters embracing conspiracy theories, there are other potential political liabilities to the rise in Obama worship.
What has recently become clear is that an obsessive love of Barack Obama seems to go hand-in-hand with an obsessive hatred of Hillary Clinton. The more Obama’s supporters idolize him as a Messianic, transformative figure, rather than simply supporting him because of his political position or qualifications, the more they attempt to demonize Hillary Clinton as the anti-Obama—the calculating, deceptive anti-Christ out to sabotage Obama’s chances of becoming president. While Clinton-bashing was once solely the domain of the Right, Obama supporters have recently entered the fray with a barrage of anti-Hillary videos and blog posts.
Michael Brown takes it even further with his editorial:
But there is still the mystery of charisma. For example, can a person have charisms or "gifts" from the Holy Spirit at the same time that the person holds positions that are for example in favor of abortion?
Are folks fainting simply because the crowds are so thick and the air too warm, too thin, or because a spiritual dynamic -- for good or less than good -- is working?
This has also been asked of evangelistic healers: can a flawed preacher, or priest, still be exercising holy charisma?
Perhaps. We are all flawed. Perhaps the fainting is from normal ills. Perhaps it is simply excitement. But we have noted -- whether or not he has done anything to evoke it -- that a New Age-style light shines around those who have made such extravagant claims about him, and we note that it is time for such extravagances -- about anyone -- to halt.
Not long ago when I was reading up on G. I. Gurdjieff, it became obvious that he had such a charisma that could mesmerize those to whom he was speaking. In one instance he was able to get his No. 1 supporter to do something against the supporter's beliefs, and he had no explanation for why he had done it except that he had been hypotinized.
Back in 1970 on the KSU campus I watched the student body president mesmerize his student crowd. He convinced them to march out of the auditorium and around the campus behind a Viet Cong flag. The words he had spoken to them were not words of common sense or rationality. They were simply inflammatory. It was my first lesson in this power of charisma to mesmerize, and it is burned into my mind as though it happened yesterday. The phenomenon is frightening.
Messianism rarely leads to anything good. It has a long history of revolution to its credit. And now I'm wondering if such is being fomented in America? The Church is hardly in a position to counter it, and will be the target in any case if such is in the works.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
America is embracing the New Age and Paganism with its superstitious beliefs. Yesterday The Australian covered the story of a woman who was seven months pregnant and her husband who were dragged from their home in the middle of the night by fellow tribesmen, accused of killing their next door neighbor who had died suddenly, and hung from a tree. The woman gave birth while trying to free herself from the noose. At the time this took place, the post-mortem on the dead neighbor had not been completed.
Hat tip to New Oxford Review for the link.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
It's been a while since that word has been tossed around. Last night it turned up in the evening news. Not a good sign for the immediate future of American households.
I've been writing rather a lot about Austrian economics lately, and their laissez faire policies, of which it would appear the price of gasoline is a direct result given the fact that there isn't a particular shortage of oil, yet the prices continue to rise.
Now it appears that we could see something similar in the price of food staples according to an article at Asiaone News sent in by a reader.
Normally, sky-high food prices reflect scarcity caused by crop failure. Stocks are run down as everyone lives off last year's stores. This year, harvests have been poor in some places, notably Australia, where the drought-hit wheat crop failed for the second year running. And world cereals stocks as a proportion of production are the lowest ever recorded. The run-down has been accentuated by the decision of large countries (the United States and China) to reduce stocks to save money.
Yet what is most remarkable about the present bout of 'agflation' is that record prices are being achieved at a time not of scarcity but of abundance. According to the International Grains Council, a trade body based in London, this year's total cereals crop will be 1.66 billion tonnes, the largest on record and 89 million tonnes more than last year's harvest, another bumper crop. That the biggest grain harvest the world has ever seen is not enough to forestall scarcity prices tells you that something fundamental is affecting the world's demand for cereals.
OBJECTIVIST CLUBS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
George Mason University Objectivist Club has posted a list of American college Objectivist clubs. They include:
# Carnegie Mellon University Objectivist Club
# Harvard Objectivist Club
# Illinois Objectivist Club
# John Hopkins Objectivist Club
# L.O.G.I.C. (UCLA)
# Michigan State Objectivist Club
# MIT Objectivist Club
# Objectivist Club at CU Boulder
# Objectivist club at Lawrence University
# Objectivist Club at UCLA
# Objectivist Club at Virginia Tech
# Penn State Objectivist Club
# Stanford Objectivist Club
# The Objectivist Club Association
# The Objectivist Club at NYU
# The Objectivist Study Group @ Yale
# University of Chicago Objectivist Club
# University of Oklahoma Objectivist Club
# USC Objectivist Club
Zenit has posted an interview with the President of Valencia's Judeo-Christian Friendship which describes the present state of Jewish-Christian dialogue. Given the recent controversy over the Good Friday prayers, I expected to read that is was breaking down; but that isn't what the interview indicates.
I have to wonder, though, just how much the two faiths dialogue on theology given this response from the interview:
Q: What is the basis upon which the dialogue between Jews and Christians sits?
Fontana: We have a very similar concept on basic questions of morals and beliefs. There are many points in common: the importance of religion for personal and community life, the basic dignity of being human, created in the image and likeness of God, God as giver of the Ten Commandments, a salvation history which begins with Abraham, father of the believing.
We have the Bible in common. The Old Testament -- or Hebrew Talmud -- is contained in the Christian Bible. The Church has always been considered implanted into the ancient Israel. “If the root is holy, so are the branches. You […] were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree.” (Romans 11:16-17).
"The Old Testament -- or Hebrew Talmud"??? Shouldn't that be Torah? Perhaps it was the reporter who made the error; but if not, it doesn't lead me to believe that this is working out well at all. The difference between the Talmud and the Torah is basic to interreligious dialogue I would think.
I'm not so sure about the "very similar concepts" of morals and beliefs either given that in at least some Jewish circles reincarnation is a belief and in others abortion is considered to be moral.
ENGLISH BISHOP DEFENDS THE FAITH
London, Feb 26, 2008 / 03:45 am (CNA).- A committee in the British House of Commons will investigate Catholic schools following the Bishop of Lancaster’s instructions to schools to place crucifixes in every classroom and stop “safe sex” education, the Independent reports.
Patrick O’Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster, had circulated a 66-page booklet instructing Catholic schools to stop “safe sex” education. Bishop O’Donoghue wrote, "The secular view on sex outside marriage, artificial contraception, sexually transmitted disease, including HIV and AIDS, and abortion, may not be presented as neutral information."
Additionally, he told the schools not to support charities that support abortion.
Read all of it...
The Bishop specifically cited Amnesty International for its approval of abortion of babies that result from rape in war zones as a charity that must not be supported. Of course this firm stand brought out the "fundamentalist" charge, which is not unexpected.
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT DEFENDING THE FAITH IN THE PUBLIC FORUM
Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, is pointing to coercion by pro-abortion groups and some state legislators in a local controversy over the merger of non-Catholic hospitals with a Catholic health care system run by the Sisters of Charity. ...
Critics of the merger have proposed two bills in the state legislature to hinder it.
In his February 22 letter, Archbishop Chaput defended the merger against its critics.
He noted that Catholic hospitals had served Colorado for more than a century. He suggested that some critics, ignorant of this history, lacked both “memory and common sense.” The hospital merger, the archbishop said, had sparked “unreasonable resistance” that should concern all Catholics. ...
Archbishop Chaput said, “the local bishop does have the obligation to ensure that Catholic hospitals act in accord with their Catholic identity. Reasonable people will see very quickly that there is no such thing as ‘strictly’ or ‘loosely’ following the ERDs -- any more than a person can be strictly or loosely faithful in a marriage. A husband is faithful, or he isn't.”
Read all of the story...
RUSSIA WANTS FOUR CATHOLIC DIOCESES ABOLISHED
Recently Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said the Moscow Patriarchate's wish to abolish four Catholic dioceses in Russia that had been created by the previous Pope John Paul II, was "very unexpected."
It is hard to discern a quality difference between Catholic dioceses in Russia and Orthodox dioceses in the West, Walter said. He called on the Russian Orthodox Church to show the same openness that the Catholics are demonstrating in relation to Orthodox parishes in Western Europe and the U.S.
Read the whole story...
AMERICANS ARE LEAVING THE CHURCH
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Many U.S. Roman Catholics and Protestants are leaving the churches of their childhood and either choosing other faiths or no religion at all, according to an extensive survey released Monday.
More than a quarter, or 28 percent, of American adults said they have left the faith in which they were raised, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
About 16 percent of Americans say they are not members of any religious group, making the "unaffiliated" group the fourth largest religious tradition in the United States, rivaling the number of members in mainline Protestant churches.
The three largest religious traditions are Protestant evangelicals at 26 percent, Catholics at 24 percent and mainline Protestants at 18 percent.
The Catholic Church has lost more members than any other religious group, the survey found, with about 10 percent of all Americans reporting they have left.
Immigrants are replacing American Catholics, causing the percentage of our Catholic population to remain steady, and camouflaging the hemorrhage. I can't help but reflect on the fact that the immigrants are less likely to have information about the extent of the sexual abuse scandal. It's probably not the only factor in the drain, but surely it is part of the picture.
The Orlando Sentinel coverage on the study gives a lot more statistics on the composition of American Catholics if you're interested in that.
Monday, February 25, 2008
CARDINAL ADAM MAIDA'S FAILURE
Matt Abbott's column today documents the career of abuse of one Father John Patrick Feeney, and the enabling of that abuse by Cardinal Maida which is contained in a letter Abbott reproduces, written by Peter J. Isley, Midwest director of SNAP, to Cardinal Maida, now of Detroit, but then of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Even after all of the reports I've read, some of them still make me shudder. Like this one. How will Catholics ever be able to respect their bishops again? I got the distinct impression that the Cardinal was afraid of something more than he was afraid of the consequences of not protecting the kids. Blackmail?
Ironic that this happened in Green Bay, of all places.
I'll bet the "good Catholics" of Detroit are still putting their money in the Bishop's appeal about now, as though nothing has ever happened. As long as they get the cash, the bishops are immune to discipline.
Dear God in Heaven, is there no end to this until all of the gay clergy die off?
ON A RANDIAN ROLL
I have a few disconnected websites that I'd like to touch on briefly.
ATLAS SHRUGGED at Illuminati News
The book is said to be "A blueprint for ushering in the New World Order." According to the unknown author, "it is little known habit of the elite to place a copy of this book...on their coffee tables. If you are one of 'them' you will be able to quickly identify that these people...are 'in the know'."
According to one source, Rand was alleged to be a mistress to Philippe Rothschild, who instructed her to write the book in order to show that through the raising of oil prices, then destroying the oil fields and shutting down the coal mines, the illuminati would take over the world....till they had destroyed the economy of the entire world...
As we watch the price of gasoline slowly destroy the American economy while the oil companies reap record profits, this is a rather unsettling claim.
The Morality of Homosexuality Explored at The Atlas Foundation
Here we learn that Ayn Rand
said that homosexuality is a manifestation of psychological "flaws, corruptions, errors, [and] unfortunate premises" and that it is both "immoral" and "disgusting"
Before you breathe a sigh of relief, however, note that Atlas turns this rejection into acceptance by a walk around the mulberry bush:
Objectivism holds that sex is morally important, but not for the traditionally cited reasons...Objectivism holds that sex is morally important because it can promote one's life and happiness. Sex is not merely a hedonic process that produces immediate sensory pleasure. Sex, "[t]o a rational man…is an expression of self-esteem—a celebration of himself and of existence"...sex is properly a physical expression of romantic love, "his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire"... Celebration of one's own life and of existence is essential to promoting one's happiness; thus, it is moral to make choices that allow oneself this celebration and immoral to deny or negate it.
(That word "celebration" that shows up all over the Catholic landscape is used by the Objectivists to justify homosexuality. And we have a homosexuality problem in the Church. Hmmmmm.)
The website continues:
Current psychobiological research indicates that Rand's conception of sex roles is, in part, mistaken. Biological factors such as genetics and prenatal development play substantial roles in determining sexual orientation...to the extent that homosexuality is not a product of choice, it is not a moral issue. As Ayn Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged..."a sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality"...
There you go. All wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow.
Objectivism and Religion
Ayn Rand is noteworthy for her atheism and uncompromising opposition to religion.
Though she was born in Russia of Jewish parents, she did not write about either Eastern Orthodoxy or Judaism. She did write two essays about Roman Catholicism. One concerned Pope Paul's Humane Vitae, and the other concerned his Populorum Progressio.
...this attention given the Roman Catholic Church is noteworthy. Rand went so far as to blame the existence of American laws against abortion (which she opposed) on the Roman Catholic Church....[Was this the wife of the man with whom she committed adultery?] Rand became an atheist at age thirteen. Branden records Rand writing in her diary at that age: "Today I decided to be an atheist." Branden then reports her as later explaining, "I had decided that the concept of God is degrading to men. Since they say that God is perfect, man can never be that perfect, then man is low and imperfect and there is something above him – which is wrong." [Branden, PAR, p. 35.] Branden continues that Rand's "second reason" is that "no proof of the existence of God exists."
Rand's focus on Catholicism likely stems from a belief that Catholicism is the principal opponent of reason and capitalism. ...
she believed that it was untrue in all its manifestations and that its consequences were disastrous. ...
According to her one-time associate Barbara Branden,
Ah yes, where have we heard that before: "You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know..." (Genesis 3:4)
NO MORE COMMUNION IN THE HAND ?
Rome - The Vatican is poised to introduce stricter norms on Roman Catholic mass, including halting the taking of communion in the hand and setting a time limit for homilies, an Italian newspaper reported Monday. Turin-based daily La Stampa quoted senior Vatican official, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don saying the move was necessary to eliminate "extravagancies" that have crept into Mass celebrations.
Provisions include restricting to 10 minutes homilies and sermons and ensuring that they be exclusively based on the Gospel readings, said Ranjith who is Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
The practice of allowing the faithful to receive Communion - the bread host which Catholics believe represents the body of Christ - in their hands would also be "urgently reviewed", Ranjith was quoted as saying.
The Vatican wants the host "placed directly into the mouths of the faithful so they don't touch it (with their hands)... because many don't even realize they are receiving Christ and do this with scant concentration and respect," Ranjith said.
Here's the article...
If this is done without eliminating Eucharistic Ministers, I will not receive from anyone but the priest in the future. Which, given the usual dynamics in churches here, will mean that I might seldom be in a position to receive. Unless the EMs fade into the sunset, this will create a superior class of Catholic laity that is unwarranted and unprecedented in Church history. That is a scandal just as large as the scandal the priests and bishops have been giving us, in my opinion.
How ironic that this announcement is coming out of Turin.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.
A NOVEL APPROACH TO CREATING CATHOLIC SCANDAL
Most of the stories are about priests abusing male minors. This one is different. It's about a priest who stole $600,000 from two parishes to support his secret "wife and three children". Sigh. Is there no end to this?
McCAIN APPEARS TO BE THE CATHOLIC CHOICE
Political analysts may well wonder how John McCain, who lagged so far behind in the early stages of the campaign, managed to surge ahead towards what is now an almost certain Republican nomination. That sudden burst surprised many observers who earlier predicted that hard-line conservatives far preferred business-savvy Mitt Romney over maverick McCain, who has faced harsh criticism for being too chummy too often with Democrats.
One answer might well be traced to the little-noticed endorsement of Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, when he dropped out of the race. Brownback, a virtual unknown among the Republican contenders, may not have scored highly with evangelicals, but he was the clear favorite of Catholics.
After Brownback's endorsement, three McCain victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida could be attributed to decidedly Catholic support for McCain's pro-life stance, and his sympathetic position on immigration. That, plus his strong stand on national security and his reputation as a fiscal conservative was very appealing to Catholic voters.
SEXUAL ABUSE AT AN INDIAN SCHOOL
I've been skipping over the sexual abuse stories that keep appearing in the headlines, but this one is especially awful, so I decided to blog it.
For years, Joe Courtoreille refused to go into St. Albert.
"I just couldn't come through on that road," he says. "Too many bad memories. I'd always have to go around."
Just thinking about the nine years he spent "imprisoned" at St. Albert's Indian Residential School used to anger Courtoreille.
"It was awful," he says, "just like jail."
He checks himself, then adds: "No. Jail is more better."
Courtoreille says the children were virtual slaves in the service of the Catholic Church and sexual playthings for the school's staff.
Once, as a young teenager, he was forced by a nun to masturbate her with a bottle.
When he was nine, a priest ordered Courtoreille into his private room and made the boy perform sexual acts on him. If he refused, the priest warned, he'd beat him.
Keep on reading...
FRENCH PRESIDENT LOOKING TO RELIGION FOR DIRECTION
PARIS -- More than a century after France officially separated religion and state, President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to close the gap, talking about faith as the missing compass in private and public life.
By North American standards, or even those of other European countries, Mr. Sarkozy's remarks over the past two months, and the resulting French disapproval, may seem overwrought. He doesn't claim a personal relationship with God and is not a regular churchgoer.
But he has called religious faith a defining element of identity. And even more shocking in anticlerical France, he has invited the Roman Catholic Church and other organized religions to provide moral instruction to "enlighten our choices and build our future."
Mr. Sarkozy's repeated references to God in speeches over the past two months have been denounced as attacks on the citadel of French secularism. Some critics accused him of political pandering, particularly to conservative Catholics dismayed by the attention paid to the twice-divorced President's social life.
Read the rest...
EX-PRIEST BECOMES CATHEDRAL DEAN
A former Catholic priest has been appointed Church of Ireland Dean of Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral, a senior and high-profile post in Irish Anglicanism.
Dermot Dunne, currently archdeacon in the diocese of Ferns, becomes the cathedral's first Dean since the 16th century Reformation to have received his theological education in a Catholic seminary.
The new Dean succeeds the Very Reverend Desmond Harman, who died last December.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
ANOTHER FRUSTRATING SUNDAY
My husband left church this morning madder than a bucking bronco and taking it out on me. What had I done? He finally admitted it wasn't me. He was furious because of the prayers at Mass, and I'm not going to quote him because it wasn't pretty.
Among the general intercessions was the prayer that we will be open to other religions, and the one for gays for which I don't remember the specific language. If things don't turn around in the Cleveland Diocese soon, neither of us will be attending Mass any longer! As you can tell, I'm angry as well. I don't need this kind of frustration every Sunday.
About six months ago the debate we had over the breakfast table about where we were going to attend Mass on that particular Sunday was so stressful that I couldn't stop crying all the way through Mass. This is not what Sunday worship is supposed to be like. This is not a way to move closer to God. This is not a way to nurture faith.
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Or more correctly today, NOT from the emailbox...
Fr. Euteneuer has not yet issued his weekly eletter, but there is an article posted at the HLI website that could easily be his weekly eletter. Since the article is "for immediate release", I am reproducing it here because it shouldn't be missed:
HLI Lauds WI Bishop’s Stand against ‘CFFC’
FRONT ROYAL, VA — The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, (HLI) today applauded Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, for his letter to the Wisconsin Legislature pointing out the illegitimacy of the rogue group calling itself “Catholics for a Free Choice” (CFFC).
“Perhaps CFFC should call themselves ‘Catholics Against Conscience’ given the maneuver they are trying to pull in Wisconsin,” Father Euteneuer said. “CFFC is trying to block a conscience clause in a law regarding so-called ‘emergency contraception,’ which would protect health professionals in the state from being forced to dispense the abortion-causing drug, also known as ‘Plan B.’
“That would bring the cynical irony of their existence full circle,” Father Euteneuer said. “CFFC cites a false concept of conscience to support their claims that one can be ‘pro-choice’ and a Catholic in good standing. CFFC also issues a misnamed publication entitled Conscience.”
Father Euteneuer said, “I salute Bishop Morlino for reiterating what Human Life International and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have said all along: that no one can responsibly claim both to be Catholic and pro-choice.”
Bishop Morlino said, “CFFC is, practically speaking, an arm of the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world. It is an advocacy group dedicated to supporting abortion. It is funded by a number of powerful and wealthy private foundations, mostly American, to promote abortion as a method of population control. Thus, I reaffirm, ‘Catholics for a Free Choice’ is not, in fact, Catholic because its members don’t accept basic Catholic teaching. So, it comes as no surprise that when I teach basic Catholic doctrine, which they don’t recognize as such, they call it ‘political maneuvering’ – a claim that is as frivolous as their claim to be Catholic is irresponsible.” (Emphasis in the original.)
Father Euteneuer said, “Thank God for shepherds like Bishop Morlino. On this day when we commemorate the tragic Roe v. Wade decision—which has claimed nearly 50 million lives and damaged countless women over 35 years—his action reminds us there are still wolves in Catholic clothing ravaging God’s little ones.”
NO DUAL COVENANT THEOLOGY
A reader sent in a link to the Catholics United For the Faith Blog in which the disagreement between Robert Sungenis and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg is addressed. Specifically a number of questions directly related to dual covenant theology have been put to Bishop Rhoades. He responds to them point blank reaffirming that there is no dual covenant, but only one covenant through Jesus Christ who saves all men including the Jewish people.
If you have been following this debate and found it unsettling, I think you will be gratified by reading Bisshop Rhoades' answers. They are a clear defense of the Catholic faith.