Tuesday, January 15

This is what I want to know:

Who was in charge of the meeting where it was decided that what television needed was a program in which contestants' heart rates are monitored while they answer questions, and at a certain point in the game a live alligator will be dangled by ropes in front of said contestant to see if her heart rate will rise above the limit? And who was at the meeting at which it was decided that this masterpiece needed to be hosted by - John McEnroe?

Oh yes. And who was at the meeting that greenlighted (greenlit?) the program in which the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States gather in a circle before sessions, join hands and pump fists, saying, "Let's go make history!" Geez.

For years, television has been just bad. Now it's getting weird.

Here's a good takedown of First Monday, the Supreme Court drama.

Excellent piece by Rod Dreher in NRO about the Boston priest pedophile case. What's particularly good about this piece is that Dreher uses more "conservative," orthodox sources to make his point about the abject failure of the hierarchy in this regard.
Many thanks to Kathy Shaidle, poet, columnist and webmistresss of Relapsed Catholic, a daily must-read Weblog of religion news, spiced by Kathy's spot-on comments. She linked me last week. Lucky me!
It didn't seem like a terrible idea to me. I was asked to write an article on Oprah Winfrey focussing on her "spirituality." I complied, and the article was published. The decision was made to make it the cover article, as well.

Holy hell ensues.

I've not seen all the correspondence as yet, but so far, this is what I think people are upset about:

Putting Oprah on the cover implied approval. How? If you put bin Laden on the cover would that imply approval? If you put Martin Luther on the cover as part of an article on the Reformation, would that imply "approval?"

There are more worthy "Catholic" subjects to write about. Perhaps, but I don't know of any Catholic subjects who are selling out $185 day-long workshops on mental and spiritual health in an hour. I don't know of any Catholic subjects whose imprimateur means an automatic 500,000 in book sales. She's influential. Catholics are among those being influenced, and when that influence is partly about spiritualilty, it very much merits coverage.

Here's the article.

Joseph news for family and friends: He talks constantly. Never stops. I think he's pretty close to waving bye-bye, but I'm not sure if what I've seen so far is random flailing or purposeful communication. He associates everyone's name with the right person, plays better by himself in his various prisons, although he still prefers freedom. It is very funny when he's set free - he starts scooting, and after a few feet, he looks back to see if anyone's coming to stop him. He loves everyone, but gets especially excited when Katie comes on the scene, and he brings a smile to everyone's face - even the too-cool 16 year old, and even the 19-year old living two states away who told me last night that he put his photo of Joseph up in his room, and asked for another one. There is nothing like a baby - I highly recommend them.

Joseph has a few toys, of course, but his favorite toy is paper. Mail-order catalogues, especially. His favorite pasttime is pulling books off shelves.

More on the Nazi attitude toward Christianity.
Two contrasting stories on Catholic education:

In Philadelphia, especially in the suburbs, schools are bursting at the seams.

In Chicago, by contrast, they're closing 14 Catholic schools. That's far less than the 45 that were recommended to close when Cardinal George took over, and the story also tells of three new schools that will be opening (and not in the wealthy suburbs, thank you.), so it's not quite as lousy as it seems.

However, whenever I hear tales of Catholic schools struggling and closing, particularly those in inner cities, I always wonder where the rich Catholics are. I know they're out there. Why aren't they bankrolling these poor Catholic schools? Why won't anyone in the Church try to convince them to do so?

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world.... The situation in Belfast continues to worsen. Protestant paramilitary groups have targeted Catholic workers as "legitimate targets." A postal worker was killed last week, and a general threat has gone out to schoolteachers. Schoolteachers! One school, in particular, has been the focus of protests and violence: Holy Cross Girl's School. Here's an explanation of how the conflict in and around the school evolved back in September. It begins:

Why are grown men and women hurling missiles at schoolgirls?
The Protestant residents of the Ardoyne in north Belfast are angry that Catholic parents are walking their children to school past their houses. The girls' Catholic school, Holy Cross, is beside a Protestant enclave.

....How will the clashes stop?
The attacks are fundamentally about territory: Protestants refusing to allow Catholics to walk on "their" streets and Catholics insisting on the right to do so. Such disputes inflame Belfast's sometimes violent sectarian divide. Police have suggested an alternative route to the school - the same as was used in June - but the best hope for the future is mediation between the two communities, an end to paramilitary violence and progress in the faltering Northern Ireland peace process, three things that are notoriously difficult to achieve

Islamic fundamentalists don't hold a monopoly on irrationality, it's clear to see.

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