Sunday, January 6

An interesting article from the LA Times about the relationship between the Church and the Democratic party.

One of the more intriguing elements of this article is the honesty with which it's written:

. But a case now making its way through the California courts raises the question whether state Democratic leaders are going beyond policy disagreements to target the religious practices of Catholic organizations.

In 1999, at the bidding of Planned Parenthood of California, the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the Women's Contraceptive Equity Act, co-authored by Assembly Speaker Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks) and Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), requiring religious charities, hospitals and colleges to provide contraceptive benefits to their employees. Last July, Catholic Charities of California sued on freedom-of-religion grounds, contending that it should not be forced to provide birth-control devices if, as a religious institution, it chooses not to.

Did you catch the bidding of Planned Parenthood? Surprising to find such wording in the LA Times, but how true it is, how true.

Here's a striking photograph of the ordination of 10 bishops yesterday by Pope JPII.
A fascinating and thorough piece on Robert Hanssen from the Washington Post:

But Hanssen did not feel guilty about what he had done. Instead, he viewed the disclosures as fair play in the spy game. In addition, he reasoned that as long as he regularly confessed his sins to various priests and sought forgiveness, he would remain in a state of grace.

I'm still waiting for a thorough look at Hanssen and religion - it may be too soon to expect it (he was arrested less than a year ago), but I think the question of his style of Catholicism (he's a convert, BTW), which included Opus Dei membership, membership in a conservative parish, and an apparent devotion to Chesterton at the same time he was selling information that was putting his country and real human beings at risk, not to speak of having an affair with a stripper and secretly taping his sex life with his wife to share with a buddy, is certainly worth examining. Rationalization, we hardly knew ye.

The author of the piece has written a soon-to-be published book on Hanssen called The Bureau and the Mole. Apart from content, I have to mention that the book's website is pretty nifty, visually speaking, particularly the Casefiles section. I have to take issue with the author's bizarre contention that one of Hanssen's "icons", G.K. Chesterton, has fallen into "relative obscurity." Huh? Catholics who read still read Chesterton, and in great numbers. I could name a lot of early 20th-century Catholics who are relatively obscure, but GKC ain't one of them.

Now. Bonnie Hanssen, meet fellow spousal rationalizer, April Ray. April Ray is the subject of this week's Newsweek cover story. She is the wife of Wadih El-Hage:

... now serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison for conspiracy to commit terrorism in the August 1998 bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa. Within Al Qaeda, El-Hage was nicknamed “the Manager,” according to federal prosecutors. For several years during the 1990s, the U.S. government alleges, El-Hage performed nefarious chores for his terrorist boss, like purchasing a jet plane in order to deliver Stinger missiles (El-Hage personally handed the keys to bin Laden at a dinner party). Before the embassy bombings, federal wiretaps picked up El-Hage talking about “fixing papers” and preparing “notebooks”—code, the prosecutors said, for creating false passports for Qaeda operatives.

April is thoroughly behind her man and the cause:

Like many true believers, she won’t accept that bin Laden ordered the September 11 attacks. She suspects they were plotted by the CIA or Israeli intelligence. She is opposed to killing civilians, but if the jihad against the enemies and corrupters of Islam goes on, and her 15-year-old son, the WWF fan, wants to fight, then she’d consider letting him join when he comes of age

We had a very nice snow last night and this morning. Not too light, not too heavy, and the temperature is just right, as well - you can be out in it without freezing your ears off.

First pictures of the momentous experience here!


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