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Friday, April 30, 2010

Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other...But Ask Me Again Tomorrow.

A few years back, Episcopalians were bemused (as this then-Episcopalian certainly was at the time) when the recently retired Bishop of the Diocese of Albany, Daniel Herzog, announced he was leaving the Episcopal Church for Rome; a round trip for him, since he had swum the Tiber the other way many years earlier, leaving the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church.

The move puzzled me because although Herzog was fairly conservative on most church matters, he was an ardent proponent of the ordination of women, indeed he was ordaining them almost up to the moment he decamped for Rome, seemingly wanting to get as many in as he could before could do so no more. Now it looks as if Herzog has had third thoughts about where he stands; he has returned to the Episcopal Church, warmly received by his successor in Albany, Bishop William Love and none other than the Presiding Bishop herself, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

This is indeed a puzzlement for Bishop Herzog's enthusiasm for women in the priesthood was equaled by his strong opposition to partnered-homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage. I remember a stern letter read from the pulpit one Sunday, written by the Bishop and read at his behest in every church in his diocese in the wake of the installation of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. If I recall correctly, the letter denounced both Robinson's installation and same-sex marriage. That was and is, of course, the polar opposite of the prevailing ethos in the Episcopal Church these days so you have to wonder just what is going on in Herzog's head. He has made this journey three times now. I wonder if he might make it one more time.

(Thanks to William Tighe)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Counting the Days in Los Angeles, Part 2

The United States Code 1304(e) states
Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
The Governor of the State of Arizona, which has been besieged by illegal border crossers, has signed a bill that requires
For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state . . . where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.
In other words, the Arizona bill simply specifies how the federal law is to be enforced but perhaps more accurately, specifies that it is to be enforced. Naturally, the usual suspects, from the President and the Reverend [sic] Al Sharpton on down, are up in arms about it, claiming somehow that enforcement of long-established federal law violates the "rights" of illegal aliens and, of course, is "racist" because it singles out Hispanics (well, duh! Arizona borders Mexico, not England or Germany).

Protest from that quarter is little cause for concern; it is to be expected and may be safely ignored (although if Democrats think championing the "rights" of illegal immigrants when there is a ten-percent unemployment rate is a winning strategy, one really must question their cranial capacity). When protest comes from a Cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church, however, even when he is the faculties-impaired Roger Mahony, attention, regretfully, must be paid. Cardinal Mahony thus complains:
The Arizona legislature just passed the country's most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law....The tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense.
Nonsense? Really? That should come as news to administrators of public schools and hospitals in Arizona overwhelmed and bankrupted by hordes of non-paying customers, not to mention to chiefs of police and crime victims in towns along the Arizona-Mexico border. The Cardinal's concern for the rights of those in this country illegally (and no Christian would deny they should be treated with respect, even when apprehended) ought also to extend to those here legally, especially immigrants who have survived the admittedly arcane (and woefully needful of reform) procedures to become United States citizens. It is they, after all, who must pay for the vast array of social services Cardinal Mahony and other liberals also insist are a right and to be lavished upon those here illegally, at no charge.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oh My God

Behold the new tomb of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, aka St. Padre Pio.




Escalators to heaven?

(Images from the Mail Online)

Attention Christopher Johnson, proprietor of the splendid blog Bad Vestments: if you have ever considered expanding beyond vestments, here is your opportunity, writ large.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

From the Bottom of His Heart

Let us bow our heads in grateful thanks to resident New York Times theologian and Church historian Nicholas Kristof, who selflessly takes the trouble to explicate the myriad faults of the Catholic Church and offer suggestions for her improvement; suggestions that if followed will make her virtually indistinguishable from the Episcopal Church, thus finally allowing Holy Church to share in the brilliant successes that elite and august Protestant body has enjoyed these past thirty years.

Lest you think otherwise, Prof. Kristof does know whence he speaks when it comes to the Catholic Church: you see, he's been around. Consider this brilliant nugget he picked up while globetrotting.
In my travels around the world, I encounter two Catholic Churches. One is the rigid all-male Vatican hierarchy that seems out of touch when it bans condoms even among married couples where one partner is H.I.V.-positive. To me at least, this church — obsessed with dogma and rules and distracted from social justice — is a modern echo of the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized.
(Since the failure rate of condoms is upwards of fifteen percent, is it churlish of me to ask Nicholas Kristof, since he apparently prescribes the Catholic Church do same, if he recommends a person with AIDS go ahead and have sex with loved one who does not, so long as condoms are used? It is churlish? Okay, I withdraw the question.)

No doubt the 27 observant Catholics who still read The New York Times have already fired off telegrams to the Vatican urging the Holy Father to strongly consider the sage counsel from this brilliant and caring soul. It is thus only a matter of time Kristof's cogent and brilliantly thought out reforms will be enacted and all will be well with Holy Mother Church. How does one repay such magnanimity and generosity?

Thanks to William Tighe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Maybe There's Something in the Communion Wine in Chicago

Well-known loud, obnoxious heretic and Barack Obama intimate, Fr. Michale Pfleger, took time out from his busy schedule giving continual cause for scandal in Holy Mother Church to accept a "lifetime achievement" [sic] award from Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago. A few days later Fr. Pfleger showed his gratitude to his superior, as well his obediance to Church teachings, by preaching the following:
That’s why there should be woman priests, that’s why there should be married priests, that’s why there should be woman Bishops and women Cardinals.
Pfleger has been a boil on the neck of the Cardinal for quite some time; you would think His Eminence would have learned by now appeasing the rabble rouser only encourages him further.

In my humble opinion, the most graceful way for Cardinal George to deal with this nuisance is to present Pfleger with yet another award (make one up, if necessary), offer him copious thanks for his service, then remove him promptly from his parish and install him as a cemetery chaplain as far from Chicago as possible.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is There Something in the Lobsters in Maine?

From Fox News:
Maine Commission Moves to Ban Gender Specific Bathrooms, Sports Teams in Schools

By Diane Macedo - FOXNews.com

The Maine Human Rights Commissions taking heat over a proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms, saying forcing a student into a particular room or group because of their biological gender amounts to discrimination.

The issue came to light last year when the commission ruled that, under the Maine Human Rights Act, a school had discriminated against a 12-year-old transgender boy by denying him access to the girls' bathroom.

Now the commission aims to issue guidelines on how schools should deal with similar situations in the future. It would make Maine the first state to implement such guidelines for schools as young as preschool and nursery -- and even some private schools.
Actually, the lobsters in Maine are just fine, last time I checked. What we have here is just another manifestation of the post-modern academic left, whose titular head is Barack Obama. Expect to see much more nonsense like this over the next few years, unless we put a stop to it.

Thanks to Augustine

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Counting the Days in Los Angeles



Jose Gomez, the new Archbishop of Los Angeles

With former Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland heading toward oblivion, albeit fitfully, and his successors having made headway cleaning up the Augean mess he left behind, let us now contemplate with pleasure the upcoming retirement next February of the equally egregious Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. His successor was named today and it looks as if Catholic traditionalists at last have something to look forward to in that beleaguered diocese.
Jose Gomez, who has been tapped to take over the archdiocese of Los Angeles, has risen rapidly through the Catholic church and earned a national reputation.

In replacing Cardinal Roger Mahony, Gomez, 58, would instantly become the most prominent Latino bishop in the United States, leading an archdiocese that is by far the nation’s largest and is dominated by parishioners with roots in his native Mexico.

If his personal history is any guide, he also could be expected to guide the Los Angeles church along a more traditional -- some would say conservative -- path than Mahony, known as one of the most progressive archbishops in the country and an impassioned fighter for immigrants’ rights.
This is especially encouraging:
A long affiliation with the conservative teaching group Opus Dei guarantees him the Vatican's doctrinal confidence and a support and information network leading high up in Rome.
Gomez will take his chair in perhaps the ugliest church in Christendom, courtesy of Cardinal Mahony, and there is little he can do about that. But he can do something about the deplorable liturgical innovations Mahoney foisted upon his dioocese. More important, let us pray Archbishop-to-be Gomez deals with predatory priests with greater alacrity than did Cardinal Mahony, who appears to have ignored the problem until it could be ignored no longer and was then forced to write a check for 660 million diocesan dollars to the 508 victims of those monsters.

The Great Dumbing Down

For Catholics with brains, it was Vatican II.

For Episcopalians with brains, it was the 1979 Prayer Book.

For all mankind with brains, it's this.
Mattel changes the rules of Scrabble for the first time since 1948

The official rules of Scrabble are being changed for the first time in 62 years, to allow the names of celebrities, places and companies to be used.

[snip]

Players will now be permitted to use proper nouns, which will enable high scores from celebrities such as Jordan, Beyoncé and Shakira. Mattel is also considering allowing players to spell words backwards and upwards on the board and place words unconnected to other pieces.
This is the last straw. How low can we go?

(Thanks to Robbo)

We're from the Government and We're Here to Help

25 men are dead and four are missing after a a methane explosion in West Virginia. Meanwhile, Fox News reports that
...the country's top mine safety agency was not adequately retraining its veteran inspectors, even as hundreds of new inspectors were being hired.

The audit, released on March 30, found that 56 percent of veteran Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors had not completed required retraining between 2006 and 2007. A few hadn't attended any training sessions since the policy was enacted a decade earlier, and even entry-level hires "lacked supporting documentation" to show they went through the required 21-23 weeks of instruction.

The report found there were "no consequences" for not attending retraining, and said that training gap "increases the possibility that hazardous conditions may not be identified and corrected during inspections which, in turn, could increase the risk of accidents, injuries, fatalities."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Democrats and Episcopalians

I wonder if the Democratic Party's leadership and liberal-left commentators, who have been having a field day trashing the Tea Party movement, might learn from the cautionary tale of the Episcopal Church.

There was a time when the Episcopal Church was referred to, only semi-facetiously, as "the Republican Party at Prayer." Those days are long gone, of course, and while the rapidly diminishing Episcopal Church is, ironically, even whiter and more upper-class than it was in its WASPy heyday, it is even harder to find Republicans and conservatives in its churches than baptisms and confirmations.

The reasons for the disappearance of Republicans and conservatives from the Episcopal Church no doubt vary but certainly the relentless innovations of the past forty years are largely responsible. I suggest, however, it may actually have been less the innovations themselves that drove many Republicans and conservatives, who were much more likely to be traditionalists, out of the Episcopal Church than it was the unceasing vilification of them from pulpit and church leadership. People don't stay where they aren't wanted.

The Democratic Party should heed that example. Via Instapundit we learn two recent polls show a fair number of those supporting or sympathizing with the Tea Party movement identify themselves as Democrats. Nonetheless, the trashing of Tea Partiers from Democratic leadership and the liberal press continues unabated, with the increasingly stale and ineffective charge of racism being the most popular tactic.

The Democrats, just like the Episcopal Church, do not seem to grasp that constantly smearing your opponents, especially those in your ranks, does not not win them over and will eventually drive them away. If the Democrats and their cohorts in the media continue this foolish ploy--and they will, being so ideologically driven as to be blinded to reality--they may find themselves facing not only an electoral disaster this November but worse, becoming as irrelevant an institution as the the Episcopal Church is today.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Underlying Motive

Why we must regard most criticism of the Pope, no matter what the issue, with the deepest of skepticism; this from a Lutheran, no less:
Neither apostates within Holy Christendom nor naked unbelievers outside her borders will ever forgive Ratzinger for the grave breach of secularist, pluralist etiquette involved in the first volume of his Jesus of Nazareth. It goes without saying (and around the Holy Week of each year the several forms of mainstream media say it loudly, often, and emphatically) that Jesus was an ordinary man, a wacko apocalyptist, or a failed political revolutionary. Stones must fly and clubs be brandished against a learned man fully familiar with all the “Jesus of history” literature from Reimarus to the present, who winsomely draws on believing scholarship of all confessions to offer a calm and cogent argument that the real, actual Jesus is the one who meets us in the Gospel record. Where the North American liberal intelligentsia can offer no refutation, they spit contempt. And a Western Europe sunk in a new heathenism and undergoing Islamic takeover can only howl at this attempt to arrest its suicidal downward slide.
From "The Dictatorship of Relativism Strikes Back—and Goes Nuclear," by John Stephenson in Logia: a Journal of Lutheran Theology, and well worth reading in its entirety.

UPDATE: Archbishop Dolan of New York takes on the New York Times (again) and its pernicious attempt tarring the Holy Father with covering up for a loathsome priest, now dead, who decades ago sexually abused numerous adolescents at a school for the deaf. Dolan points out the appalling lapses in the Times' reporting, and suggests, reasonably, it "gives every indication of being part of a well-oiled campaign against Pope Benedict." Yes it does, and for the reason given above.

(Thanks to William Tighe)