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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thanks, I Feel Better Already!

The Obama administration, showing a touching concern for our emotional wellness while it systematically destroys the economy, now offers a website to help us cope with the stress.

Free soma distribution is next and all I can say is
I’m so glad I am a Beta. Alpha children work much harder than we do because they’re so frightfully clever. I am really awfully glad I’m Beta because I don’t work as hard.
(Thanks to Dr. Helen.)

"Who Painted It?"

Our Secretary of State tours Mexico (from the Catholic News Agency):
Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 27, 2009 / 04:59 pm (CNA).- During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” (emphasis added) after asking who painted the famous image.
Brings to mind that catchy phrase purple-faced lefties used to shriek during the last administration: "NOT IN MY NAME!"
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.

Mrs. Clinton was received on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. by the rector of the Basilica, Msgr. Diego Monroy.
Let us pray"received" merely means the good monsignor opened the door for Mrs. Clinton after she rang the bell (many, many times, dare we hope?).
Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.

After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”
To which Mrs. Clinton responded: "Who?"

Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”
The Mexicans told Mrs. Clinton: "Gracias, señora, pero tenemos muchas vírgenes!"

And to make it all perfect:
This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.
The country's in the very best of hands.

(Thanks to Banished Child of Eve.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Providing Clarity

The Episcopal Divinity School at Harvard has just announced the appointment of its new dean and president. Her name is Katharine Hancock Ragsdale, a name that certainly fits within the Episcopalian paradigm. So does her theology: below is an excerpt from a sermon the Rev'd. Ragsdale gave recently on the subject of abortion.
These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes -- in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.
Read the whole thing (if it doesn't mysteriously vanish), if only to assure yourself the new dean and president of the EDS isn't being quoted out of context.

(Thanks to Christopher Johnson and the MCJ.)

UPDATE: It mysteriously vanished.

De retour à New York

In response to numerous requests (okay, just one) that I post pictures and impressions of my recent Lenten pilgrimage to Quebec, I hereby do so.

Not many pictures, I'm afraid: too often, as is my wont, I managed to leave the camera behind when going out and even when I remembered to bring it, was hesitant to use it inside the several sites visited, considering it rude and distracting to those who are in prayer. I did get some pics, however. The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was nearly empty (most certainly not the case, I'm told, in the high season) so I got in a quick shot of a shrine devoted to St. John Vianney, Curé d'Ars, a real inspiration.

Here are some external shots: of the Basilique,

the nearby Commemorative chapel

and chapel of the Scala Santa.

In Quebec City, I attended mass at the Ursuline Convent, as well mass for the Feast of the Annunciation at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

In Montreal, I took in the Basilica Notre-Dame and the Cathedral-Basilica of Mary, Queen of the World, which is a one-third sized replica (but still huge) of St. Peter's basilica in Rome; both were stunning. Also visited was the celebrated St. Joseph's Oratory, which sits atop Mount Royal, built at the behest of Blessed Brother André, porter of the nearby Notre Dame College. While the original crypt is lovely indeed, I found the Basilica above on the creepy side: stark, cold and, I thought, more appropriate for a setting in a Leni Riefenstahl picture.

Also a tad bizarre, on the outside at least, is the Notre-Dame du Cap Shrine, Cap de la Madeleine, the last site I visited.

Construction of the present structure (which replaced this charming little chapel)

took place between 1955 and 1964, which probably was the nadir of ecclesial architecture in North America, so I suppose it could have been a lot worse. Happily, the inside is spectacular indeed, particularly the stained glass.

I will forgo further personal impressions other than to relate a thought I had while sitting in a pew in the Basilique Notre-Dame in Montreal: I have visited and admired churches most of my life but while taking in the glorious riot of color and imagery in the Basilica, I suddenly felt overwhelmed as admiration became infused with gratitude. The knowledge I was now a Catholic made me realize all the sites visited, even the weird ones, were not just churches but my churches. Deo gratias.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Excellent Catholic Adventure

Today marks the one-year calendar anniversary of my reception into Holy Mother Church. To celebrate, I am heading off to Quebec to take in Catholic landmarks. There will be little or no bloviating this week.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Couldn't Have Put It Better Myself

From Terence Corcoran of the National Post (Canada):
The AIG bonus firestorm is a diversion from real issues , but it puts the ghastly political classes who make U.S. law on display for what they are: ageing self-serving demagogues who have spent decades warping the U.S. political system for their own ends. We see the system up close, law-making that is riddled with slapdash, incompetence and gamesmanship.
Read it all.

UPDATE: Here's an illustration for the above.

The Dignity of the Office

Is it too much to ask that the president of the United States refrain from making retard jokes on national television? Or, if he cannot, at least be man enough apologize himself for it rather than relegate it to one of his flunkies?

Hope and change.

UPDATE: He has apologized. Good for him.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scary Piece in the Asia Times

Some excerpts:

Before the stampede
By W Joseph Stroupe

Increasingly ominous clouds are gathering in what could soon be the perfect storm against the United States dollar and against the present dollar-centric global financial order.

This is not shaping up to be a storm that anyone is trying to initiate, not even those who are actively driving for a new global financial order that is no longer centered on the dollar. Instead, it will result from a correlation of forces arising out of the deepening global financial and economic crises, coupled with recurring and conspicuous miscalculation on the part of some of the world's political, financial and economic leaders.


Unfortunately, we cannot be confident that world leaders know what they are doing in seeking to resolve the crisis. Are their measures attacking the heart of the problem, or only its periphery? Are they exacerbating the crisis, either by enacting certain misdirected measures, or by failing to enact certain required measures? Are they setting up conditions that make a dollar crisis and radically increased financial upheaval virtually inevitable, by blindly pushing ahead with a simplistic agenda of trying to spend their way out of the present crisis?
The one-two punch:
Empty reassurances

Remember when the present crisis broke in 2007, the reassurances that it would not spread beyond the confines of subprime; when it did spread, the forecasts that Wall Street banks' losses would amount only to a total of about US$200 billion. Remember when "experts" insisted no widespread credit crunch would result. Remember when they insisted that the crisis was unlikely to spread from Wall Street to the real economy on Main Street?

Remember when they said the hundreds of billions of dollars of liquidity thrown into the system would free up the credit seizure. Remember when they said the October 3, 2008, $700 billion stimulus package and the many more hundreds of billions of dollars in bank and corporate bailouts would move the system out of crisis. Where are all these pseudo-intellectual ideas, beliefs, ideologies, assessments and assurances now? On the trash heap, precisely where they belonged in the first place.

The record inspires little confidence in the ongoing efforts of governments to resolve the crisis, or even that they know how to resolve it. The damage and outright destruction inflicted on vital components of the present global investment, finance and economic orders just keeps piling up while governments keep trying their various "solutions".
Read it all. While I tend to eschew gloom and doom prophecies, this one seems to have credibility because its author, W. Joseph Stroupe, seems careful not to exaggerate the present conditions that could lead to the future crisis. While he scrupulously avoids naming names, it is obvious that he directs a great deal of his concern toward Washington.

This country has experienced many financial crises in the past and has always emerged from them, eventually, whole. What scares me about the present morass is never in our history have we faced a crisis where there has been such a paucity of adult leadership (there is at least one grown-up in the Obama administration, Paul Volker, but no one pays him the slightest attention; look for him to quit). If indeed a there is worldwide panic, I can only foresee Obama, Geithner, Summers, Pelosi, Reade and the rest of our puerile leadership panicking along with the rest.
(h/t For What It's Worth)

When You Believe All That Stuff the Media Says About You...

This happens.
Initial response to Obama's grassroots appeal: It's a bust

WASHINGTON — Few supporters are answering President Barack Obama's call for nationwide house-party gatherings this weekend to build grass-roots support for his economic stimulus plan.

A McClatchy survey of sign-up rosters for a score of cities across the country revealed only 34 committed attendees in Tacoma, Wash., as of midafternoon Friday; in Fort Worth, Texas, only 54, and in Sacramento, Calif., just 78.
I wonder if he's having second thoughts about this job.

(h/t Instapundit)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dog Bites Man or How Many Times Have We Read This Before?

Vatican defends pope condoms stand, criticism mounts

18 Mar 2009 15:20:26 GMT
Source: Reuters (Reuters?! Who'da thunk it?)

YAOUNDE, March 18 (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday defended Pope Benedict's opposition to the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS as activists, doctors and politicians criticised it as unrealistic, unscientific and dangerous.
Talk about breaking news! The Church has proscribed contraception for only 2000 years. So what exactly is the point of this story? Ah, yes, the Pope is traveling in Africa, where AIDS runs rampant, so Reuters and others on the left want to blame it on him and the Catholic Church (once again).
Benedict, arriving in Africa, said on Tuesday that condoms "increase the problem" of AIDS. The comment, made to reporters aboard his plane, caused a worldwide firestorm of criticism.
Oooh, a "worldwide firestorm of criticism, " sounds scary! It seems, however, to this writer all the Holy Father is saying is when guys use rubbers, they're more likely to be in search of trim, which is how AIDS is spread. They thus are risking their own and others' lives. That doesn't seem an unreasonable view. One of the usual suspects, however, has this to say.
"My reaction is that this represents a major step backwards in terms of global health education, is entirely counter-productive, and is likely to lead to increases in HIV infection in Africa and elsewhere," said Prof Quentin Sattentau, Professor of Immunology at Britain's Oxford University.

"There is a large body of published evidence demonstrating that condom use reduces the risk of acquiring HIV infection, but does not lead to increased sexual activity," he said.
If Reuters employed real reporters instead of water carriers like the one who wrote this story, they would ask: "What evidence?" "In which studies?" "What are the actual numbers?" I guess we have to take that "large body of published evidence" as an article of faith.

Aids Activists Critical
I'm stunned.

A New York Times editorial said the pope "deserves no credence when he distorts scientific findings" about condoms.
Hold Page One! The Times just weighed in!
France expressed "very strong concern".
Oh my God.
There were also some signs of dissent within the Church.
Why am I not surprised? "Anyone who has AIDS and is sexually active, anyone who seeks multiple partners, must protect others and themselves," said Hans-Jochen Jaschke, Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Hamburg in the pope's native Germany. 

It would be nice if by now the auxiliary bishop of Hamburg had gotten a phone call, if not from Rome, at least from his Archbishop. Regardless, though, I would ask the auxiliary bishop of Hamburg, as well all the other critics cited in this ridiculous article the following.

Do the Pope's critics really expect randy young men (especially non-Catholics) engaging in sex outside of marriage (a mortal sin), to consider his views on condoms when deciding whether or not to use them?

Or do the critics use the occasion of the Pope's visit to Africa as just another opportunity to trash him for upholding Church teachings?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Going Down, Fast

Behold, if you will, pearls of wisdom from a sermon given by the celebrated Buddhist bishop-to-be in the Episcopal Church.
…One of the amazing insights I have found in the interfaith dialogue is that, no matter what you name that source, from which all life comes—you can name that source God, Abba; you may name that source Yahweh; you may name that source Allah; you may name that source “the great emptiness;” you can name that source many things, but what all the faiths in their wisdom have acknowledged in the interfaith dialogue is that, you and I, we’re not the source. We receive from the source, and what we are asked to do is give back to the source. In other words, what the interfaith dialogue has recognized is that there is a Trinitarian structure to life. That’s what I’m driving at this morning. We make the Trinity much too complex. The Trinitarian structure of life is this: is that everything that is comes from the source. And you can name the source what you want to name the source. And our response to that is with hearts of gratitude and thanksgiving, to return everything back to that source, and there’s a spirit who enables that return. Everything comes from God. We give it back to God. And the spirit gives us the heart of gratitude. That is the Trinitarian nature of life. And you can be a Buddhist, you can be a Muslim, you can be a Jew, and that makes sense. And we all develop more elaborate theologies, but the truth is we live and have our being in a God who asks only one thing of us: to grow into people who give thanks that God is our center, God is our life, that we are one with God. And as we grow into realization, that we are one with this God who lives in us, and the only thing God asks us is to give back everything in thanksgiving, we live. It’s what the Syrians said, “we will know what redemption truly is, we will come alive, we will be made to live,” because we will know—not because someone told us—because we know that God gives us life. And all God asks of us is “give it back to Me in return.”
OK, fess up: you didn't read it all, did you? 

Come on, be honest, now. 

Well, who can blame you? Did you get the sensation, say about three sentences in, it was just a bunch of impenetrable new-age, multi-culti, narcissistic gobbledygook? It was. Did you notice something else? If you actually managed to slog through this spectacularly inept remaking of the Holy Trinity, did you find a single reference to, you know, Jesus? Do you have a clue just what this fellow had on his mind, if he had one (to borrow from Wodehouse)?

There was a time, long, long ago, when those on the left, those proponents of the so-called counter-culture, were considered to be on the vanguard of the intellectual frontiers. Many of them were proud members of the Episcopal Church. Looking over the blather above, penned by a future bishop of the once-upon-a-time "prestige" church of the United States of America, the church of 16 presidents, one can only conclude whatever intellectual capital once found in the Episcopal Church is spent. When considered along with that institution's ever increasing expenditures suing the bejesus out of those parishes and dioceses fleeing in desperation, despite its plunging membership and revenue thus forcing it to pillage its dwindling endowments, you are witnessing an institution in a death spiral. How terribly sad.

(Thanks to the MCJ)

Where We Might Agree

Yaron Brook, of the Ayn Rand Institute, writing in the Wall Street Journal on capitalism's detractors and Ayn Rand's defense of it:
The message is always the same: "Selfishness is evil; sacrifice for the needs of others is good." But Rand said this message is wrong -- selfishness, rather than being evil, is a virtue. By this she did not mean exploiting others à la Bernie Madoff. Selfishness -- that is, concern with one's genuine, long-range interest -- she wrote, required a man to think, to produce, and to prosper by trading with others voluntarily to mutual benefit.
As a fresh-off-the-shelf Catholic, I find no conflict with Rand's beliefs stated above and Church teachings. For someone "to think, to produce, and to prosper by trading with others voluntarily to mutual benefit" is, essentially, doing unto others as they would to to you, enlightened self-interest, doing well by doing good; call it what you will.

While I am no Randian or Objectivist, I have a debt of gratitude to Ayn Rand that dates back over thirty years, to when I was an empty-headed college student with vaguely socialistic leanings. Acting on the recommendation of a family member I plowed through most of Ayn Rand's published writings, with alacrity. They served as a most effective cathartic, purging forever all collectivist sludge from my person.

Ayn Rand was famously atheistic, however, so I had to part company with her years ago, particularly on account of her views regarding abortion (if I remember right, in 1976 she endorsed the ineffectual Gerald Ford's bid for the presidency over Ronald Reagan's, citing Ford's waffling support of abortion versus Reagan's clear and emphatic opposition--a terrible pick on Rand's part, I think). No good Catholic (or Christian, for that matter) can support the taking of innocent life. 

On the other hand, it may (or may not) please Randians to know the Holy Catholic Church has long been opposed to socialism. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical of 1891 Rerum Novarum, stated
[I]t is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.
I don't think any Objectivist could quarrel with that. Reading the whole encyclical, however, an Objectivist would probably find much to quarrel with but on this much we may agree: socialism is a monstrous, pernicious evil and present efforts to force it down the throats of the American people must be stopped at all costs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Tipping Point

Instapundit points to Edward Cline of Capitalism Magazine, who thinks the backlash against the looters and the elite may be real. cannot help but be pleased with how startled the collectivists and altruists are now by the knowledge that they have not successfully pulled a fast one on Americans. These Americans have come knocking on the doors of elitists or leaning over the café railings or invading their legislated smoke-free bars and restaurants to ask: What in hell do you think you are doing?

The Americans who recently protested the spendthrift policies of the Obama administration and Congress with “tea parties,” and who plan to protest them on an even larger scale in the near future, one can wager are not regular readers of The New York Times. They cannot have much in common with its columnists and editors, nor with the news media.

So the collectivist and altruist elite become very touchy when the people for whom they are “doing good” for their own sake, even to the point of enacting coercive and felonious legislation, exhibit signs of intelligence, resistance and anger.
Cline may be on to something and it may be spreading beyond the hinterlands. The other day, while riding to work on the A train, I noticed a hip-looking type, in his late twenties perhaps, thoroughly engrossed reading Atlas Shrugged. This was in Manhattan, mind you. I've never seen a sight like that before.

We'll know for sure genuine "change" is in the offing when anguished and furious denunciations of  it, decrying it as "neo-fascism" (or the like), begin appearing in the New York Times and left-wing blogs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Signs of a Possible Upturn?

These days the Ferrari showroom I pass by going to and from the noon mass is utterly devoid of humanity, other than the elegantly attired receptionist looking paralyzed with boredom. Today, however, for the first time in months, I noticed three guys admiring the goods on display (the cars, that is) and discussing them animatedly.

True, they were on the sidewalk, peering through the plate glass windows; and true, while I hung back a few minutes to see if they would go in and they didn't, this surely is positive sign, don't you think? Sort of?

Something in the Air?

An interesting bit of scuttlebutt from Peter's Barque (by way of Professor Tighe):
I'm not sure what, but something, possibly something big, is in the Roman air.

A Dominican friar close to the Vatican in Rome has asked that the Dominican friars, nuns, sisters and laity pray the Dominican Litany each day until March 25 for the following intention: "If it be the will of God, we pray that those opposed to this outcome do not prevail." The friar is unable to disclose the exact reason for this request due to the high secrecy required.

We do not yet know completely what he is referring to, but it seems likely that it involves an important move by the Vatican, perhaps in the area of the liturgy.
The Dominican Litany has a fascinating history. It was prayed by the order when Pope Innocent IV and a cardinal tried to suppress it. The day the cardinal announced the suppression he fell downstairs and died shortly afterword from his injuries; the same day, Innocent IV suffered a stroke and also expired soon after.

In other words, you don't mess with the Dominicans. It brings to mind a joke about them.
Two men considering a religious vocation were having a conversation. “What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders? ” the one asked.

The second replied, “Well, they were both founded by Spaniards — St. Dominic for the Dominicans, and St. Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits. They were also both founded to combat heresy — the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians, and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants.”

“What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican Orders?”

“Met any Albigensians lately?”

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lies, Lies, Lies! We Have No Idea What We Mean!

The two members of the Connecticut State Legislature, steaming over the ridicule and brickbats they've received over their recently introduced and blatantly unconstitutional bill, one that would "strip [Catholic] dioceses of all financial control of parishes and leave bishops and priests to over see 'matters pertaining exclusively to religious tenets and practices' while a board of elected laypersons oversees parish finances," have spoken up at last.
"That is not the truth and the facts do not support such a claim," Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said in a joint statement. "In reality this bill was proposed and written by a group of faithful Catholic parishioners from Fairfield County who asked the Judiciary Committee to consider giving the subject a public hearing."


--We decided to give these parishioners a chance to present to the judiciary committee a case for their proposed revisions to existing corporate law," McDonald and Lawlor said. "A lot of misinformation has been spread about his proposal and we ourselves are still learning exactly what its impact would be" (emphasis added).
Which means, I guess, "Don't blame us for this idiotic bill, just the idiots we represent; it's not our place to look into silly matters like constitutionality or ramifications."

Multiply those two fools by many, many thousands and you will have a reasonably accurate picture who's running the country these days. God help us.

UPDATE: The bill's been yanked.
A controversial bill that would change the way the Catholic church governs itself has been pulled and a public hearing planned Wednesday on the issue postponed until its constitutionality can be determined.
That shouldn't prove too difficult, even for those geniuses.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Bold Departure in Foreign Policy

Obama Bid to Woo Taliban Moderates

What a great idea! Too bad Roosevelt and Churchill didn't think to woo Nazi moderates: an awful lot of unpleasantness might have been avoided.

A Home Grown Threat

It seems the foolish Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, when introducing a bill to strip Catholic priests and bishops of their control of parishes, was acting at the behest of disgruntled parishioners at St. John Catholic Church in Darien, whose previous pastor took them to the cleaners.

That pastor, the Rev'd Michael Fay,
was convicted in 2007 of stealing $1.4 million from St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien to fund a life of luxury with his boyfriend. Fay spent money on limousines, stays at top hotels, jewelry, Italian clothing and a Florida condominium he shared with his boyfriend, auditors hired by the diocese found. About half the money he spent was kept in a secret bank account.
Obviously we must sympathize with those poor (now literally) parishioners but didn't anybody at St. John's have suspicions about this lout when he was living the high life? It seems to me it would have been a tad difficult for him to cover it up. Was there no parish council or accountant looking over the books? Were there any books? If anybody did have suspicions, did he or she contact the bishop? Or was this rogue priest such a charmer, as often is the case, people just couldn't bring themselves to act on their doubts?

Regardless, parishioners asking the legislature to step in when their priests behave badly make a Faustian bargain that not only imperils their own local church but the Church as a whole. You do not want those people dictating how your church is run, that should be axiomatic if you read the Constitution.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

St. Sebastian, Pray for Us

Perhaps as a diversionary tactic to deflect attention from their ongoing destruction of the American economy, the left is turning its attention to another hated relic of Western Imperialism, the Holy Catholic Church.

In Connecticut, a state where rabid anti-Catholicism is a hoary old tradition, once the provenance of the right, later and effortlessly assumed by the left, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature has introduced a bill into the General Assembly that would, according to Fr. Greg Markey, the estimable pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Norwalk, remove from bishops and pastors, "any administrative, financial and legal power over their parishes."

A quick perusal of the bill suggests to this non-lawyer one could pin a copy of the Bill of Rights to the wall, throw darts randomly and every time land one on a violated amendment. The Supremes would certainly overturn it if it ever got that far. The bill's sponsors are surely aware of its blatant unconstitutionality and probably introduced it merely as a taunt, sort of a "we won" to the Holy Catholic Church. It should, however, also serve as a warning to all, not just Catholics, the viciousness of the left and the contempt it holds for the institutions of this country we hold dear.

Over on the left coast, the LA Times reports
A federal appeals court ruling has brought an Oregon man one step closer to suing the Vatican for sexual abuse he says he suffered by a Roman Catholic priest.

In a 59-page decision issued Tuesday, a three-judge panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the man -- who says he was molested in the 1960s by a priest at a Catholic school -- can pursue a civil lawsuit against the Holy See because the priest allegedly abused him while serving in a religious capacity.
Suing the Vatican has long been, if you will, the Holy Grail of the tort industry, which is, like Willie Sutton the bank robber, going where the money is. The Church in this country bears a lot of the blame for this ruling, for years stymieing and evading responsibility for the relatively small number of rogue priests who couldn't keep their penises inside their cassocks or their hands outside of boys' trousers. Just the same, the ruling is a welcome development for the left, which long ago made an unholy alliance with the trial lawyers in order to more efficiently attack those institutions of western civilization it so despises.

UPDATE: I neglected to mention two bills making their way through the New York State Legislature that will, if passed, according to Cardinal Egan,
rescind the statute of limitations in some sexual abuse cases. This issue has grave moral and legal consequences...The legislation as proposed last year (bills A4560B and S4614A) would allow anyone who was sexually abused at any time in the past to file a lawsuit. . . . Thus, a person who claimed he or she was abused in 1930 could now file a lawsuit even if the alleged abuser and other persons with knowledge of the incident were dead.
In a nod to the left and the teachers union, employees of public schools are specifically exempted from this legislation; it is a license to print money for the trial lawyers, taking the form of a bill of attainder.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Brave Sir Teddy

Senator Edward Kennedy has been made an honorary Knight of the British Empire, at the behest of Prime Minister Gordon Brown who had no ulterior motives whatsoever, no siree.

Sir Teddy's consort, Mary Jo Kopechne, was unable to attend the ceremony.

(Thanks to Bill Tighe)

A Bit of Cheer to End a Dreary Week

All is not lost. There are people out there, Republicans even, who get it and Congressman Jeff Flake is one of them. While Barack Obama may put Flake to shame with his oratorical skills (when using a Teleprompter, anyway), Flake puts Obama to shame with the actual words coming out of his mouth.

This is also worth a look: a bit hokey (it's from 1948) but surprisingly prescient.

(Thanks to Instapundit)

Rubbers for Bambi

Millburn, New Jersey, like many so many suburban towns, has a deer problem: they are overrunning the place and the debate over what to do about it is rancorous. Obviously, the cheapest and most effective solution is to ventilate the critters but there are those, it shouldn't surprise, who are aghast at blasting Bambi to kingdom come. They are proposing contraceptives, instead. Alas, there is a problem with that: the deer are not cooperating.
Contraceptives can only be effective in small, fenced-in areas where deer can be controlled, not places like the 3.4-square-mile Reservation, said Larry Katz, director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The cost per deer is also higher than using sharpshooters, he said.


Animal rights activists argue hunting is not a permanent solution because it’s used year after year. There’s a resistance to trying things like contraceptives, which could provide a permanent solution, said Janine Motta, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance.

“If as much energy and resources was put into making birth control work, we would be using that, but that interest isn’t there,” Ms. Motta said.
Right you are, Ms. Motta and the key to making this work is awareness and availability: counseling centers and condom machines strategically placed in forest locales, where young does and bucks can obtain contraception in a private and warmly supportive environment. Already successfully deployed in other locations where creatures roam and procreate with abandon, i.e. our nation's public high schools, birth control is the only humane and sustainable solution for those differently-hooved.

(A tip o' the hat to Vanished Child of Eve.)

Believe It or Not...

There are still brains in the financial sector.
March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Liberty Mutual Group Inc., the policyholder-owned property insurer, dumped shares of Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and General Electric Co. last year, avoiding losses of more than 50 percent in 2009.

“Our decision to substantially exit the public equities market was clearly the right decision to make,” Chief Executive Officer Edmund “Ted” Kelly said today in a statement. “The current economic crisis is challenging.”

Liberty Mutual posted a 12 percent increase in fourth- quarter profit today, earning $474 million compared with $425 million in the year-earlier period.
The president could do a lot worse than firing Treasury Secretary Geithner, putting Edmund “Ted” Kelly in charge (if he's foolish enough to take the job), then stand back and shut up.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How Low?

Eugene Volokh has posted a poll asking people: "How Low Do You Think the Dow Will Fall?" The only answer, of course, is nobody knows. What makes the current market decline so scary is the unrelenting steadiness (as opposed to "gyrations," as our president describes it), suggesting no one outside the D. C. establishment has even a scintilla of hope for the near future. Can you blame them?

With each passing day the present administration in Washington, with its cohorts in Congress, increasingly appears to be comprised of hapless bumbling amateurs, utterly clueless to the laws of economics (and foreign policy, too, but that's another rant), who, as our economy continues to collapse, repeatedly trot out the same mindless rhetoric and programs the liberal-left has been flogging for decades: more taxes, more spending, more debt; this despite daily evidence to the contrary they are hardly the answers to our economic woes. I can only see two possible explanations for this behavior:

1) Our president, his cabinet, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid have their heads so far up their ideological asses they are blind to what's happening around them. That might explain, for example, the inane assertion from Treasury Secretary Geithner he will only jack up taxes when the economy is "safely into recovery." Or

2) Our president, his cabinet, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are fully aware of what is happening around them and secretly cheer it on; believing after our economy is totally wrecked socialist Utopia will emerge from the ruins.

An aside: just yesterday in Washington the nation was treated to the entertaining spectacle of the aforementioned Secretary of the Treasury Mr. Geithner, a tax cheat, pledging to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Mr. Rangell, also a tax cheat, he would vigorously pursue "a series of legislative and enforcement measures to reduce . . . tax evasion and avoidance." I wonder how much longer the American people will give a pass to these lowlifes, for their arrogance and the contempt they have for their employers.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When is This Guy Going to Retire?

Or be retired? Cardinal Mahony of La-La Land:
The Tridentine Mass was meant for those who could not make the transition from Latin to English [or other languages] after the Council. But there is no participation by the people, and I don't believe that instills the spirit of Christ among us.
Boy, that takes nerve, considering the cardinal is responsible for this $190,000,000 monstrosity that he (we assume) believes does instill the spirit of Christ among us. (Hat tip to Robbo.)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Broad Gate

From the Apologia Pro Vita Sua of His Grace Genpo, aka Kevin Thew Forrester, Bishop of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Northern Michigan:
My soul-work entered a new stage on Pentecost, at Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, when I, as a Christian, received Buddhist “lay ordination” and a new name, to go along with my Christian name: Genpo (Japanese, for “way of universal wisdom”). I now walk the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism. What on earth would possess me to do something like this?

Zen Buddhism, for me, is about learning how to see the bedrock truth of our baptism – we are beloved. To say this may sound odd, at first. But 2,500 years ago, an Indian prince became known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, because he courageously sat and faced his fears, and after years of facing them, saw this basic truth about life: we are one, utterly one, yet we do not know it. We suffer because we fearfully cling to this or that thing (for me, trying to be perfect) in the hope that it will bring us happiness.
Whatever floats Your boat, Your Grace, I am not an Episcopalian anymore and it is no longer my place to express alarm or outrage; just bemusement over how one reconciles this bizarre syncretism (or is it universalism?) with Article VI of the Articles of Religion, found in the Book of Common Prayer (which, I assume, Your Grace is bound to uphold): "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation."

On the other hand, the Episcopal Church's makeover of the Prayer Book in 1979 relegated the Articles of Religion to a section entitled "Historical Documents," which suggests they should be interpreted as just that: relics of a distant, less enlightened time, to be employed or ignored as one see fit with regard to modern sensibilities.

(Thanks to the MCJ)