Monday, August 5

Love the headline on this WaPo story: President Signs Bill on Abortion Procedures. The bill in question, was, of course, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, obligating medical care to be given to babies who show signs of life after the "medical" personnel have finished trying to kill them. I guess you could say it was about an "abortion procedure." If what you're after is slanting the story in the direction of "government interfering in the practice of medicine" direction, that is.

This paragraph is pretty good, too:

Today, through sonograms and other technology, we can see clearly that unborn children are members of the human family," Bush told an audience that included Catholic leaders. "They reflect our image, and they are created in God's own image."

So why is it worth mentioning that the audience included "Catholic leaders?" To show that Bush is somehow being remote controlled by them? To diminish the meaning of the act because "Catholic leaders" - meaning - child molesters - were present?

Good God, why are people so threatened by tiny babies that they are driven to a) kill them and b) hide the fact that babies are being killed?

More on the miracle of sharing

First, a reader mentions in a comment that, not surprisingly, Matthew Fox embraces this interpretation.

My husband said that he thought the interpretation was mentioned by William Barclay in his commentary on the miracle. (For those of you who don't know, William Barclay was a Scottish scholar who published a whole series of Scripture commentaries - you'd recognize them if you saw them - small, compact volumes. Published first in the 1950's, and never out of print since)

So this morning, I looked it up, and sure enough:

There are those who see in this miracle something which in a sense is perfectly natural, and yet which in another sense is a real miracle, and which in any sense is very precious. Picture the scene. There is the crowd; it is late; and they are hungry. But was it really likely that the vast majaroirty of that crowd would set out around the lake without any food at all? Would they not take something with them, however little? Now it was evening and they were hungry. But they were also selfish. And no one would produce what he had, lest he have to share it and leave himself without enough. Then Jesus took the lead. Such as he and his disciples had, he began to share with a blessing and an invitation and a smile. And thereupon all began to share, and before they knew what was happening, there was enough and more than enough for all. If this is what happened, it was not the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; it was the miracle of the changing of selfish people into generous people at the the touch of Christ.....It does not matter how we understand this miracle. One thing is sure -- when Christ is there, the weary find rest and the hungry soul is fed.

Isn't there a flaw in this? If no one would set out for the lake without some food...then....no one would be without food, right? Hmm.

I'm kind of disappointed. I didn't want to have to hurl Blogdarts and old' Barclay. I was hoping for a good Schillebeeckx or Schussler-Fiorenza target. Oh well. There it is - Barclay's everywhere, and this explanation is so superficially clever, it must strike more than our fair share of preachers - Protestant and Catholic - as a clever sermon point. Damn the consequences for faith. Who cares about that?

Anyway, I agree with another reader who commented that the attempt to explain away miracles (and the resurrection, ultimately) is supremely insulting to the early Christians. It suggests they were either stupid or they were liars. Neither possibility makes me interested in listening to what they have to say. What does interest me is that they say in several places that it is the truth they are about, so because of that, I am ready to listen. And learn. Not dictate what they mean, especially if my interpretation has the effect of being the opposite of what they say they mean.

Ohio priest leads yoga class

Shortly after the Rev. Rick Arko came to St. Mary's Roman Catholic parish in Barberton about seven years ago, Goch and the other women of the St. Therese Altar Society enlisted him to teach a yoga class to help them stay fit. Since then, Arko's following has grown to an average of 50 students a week.The dedication and commitment of members of this yoga community, known as Sacred Ground Yoga, have prompted Arko to invite his mentor and teacher -- internationally renowned yogi Amrit Desai -- to facilitate a four-day workshop later this summer."It is a real honor that someone of Yogi Desai's stature is coming to our little yoga community," said Tammy Workman, who became a parishioner at St. Mary's after joining the yoga community. "We are so excited."

Now listen. I've been thinking about taking up yoga myself - in my dreams, probably, but anyway - I would like reactions to this story, but I'd like more than jerks of the knee, too. There are probably people out there who can make informed comments on this. Can one separate yoga "as exercise" from its ancient spiritual dimensions? Are these spiritual dimensions necessarily and always contradictory to Catholic Christianity?

Here's a link to Yogi Amrit Desai's website.

From the NYTimes (LRR) Dr. Paul McHugh defends his views.
From the LATimes (LRR), the high price of blasphemy in Pakistan


Colonial laws inherited from British rule over the subcontinent prohibited blasphemy against any of Pakistan's various faiths. In 1986, Pakistani dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq rewrote the laws to apply to Islam alone. Human rights activists say Zia in effect invited extremists to threaten Pakistan's 15 million Christians--who make up roughly 10% of the population--and other religious minorities, many of them members of Muslim sects.Filing a blasphemy charge in Pakistan is so easy that the laws are often used to pursue private vendettas and settle disputes over land or money. Those accused are often killed by village mobs, or by fellow prisoners in jail, before their cases can be heard. Perhaps most worrisome, the activists say, is the prosecution of mentally disturbed people such as Anwar Kenneth.

Update: Attack on Christian school in Pakistan leaves 6 dead

From the LATimes (LRR) an article in answer to my question below about the Catholic-ness of the appearance of the LA Cathedral. No and yes, the answer seems to be:

No, not particularly:

One of those stories will be told by Contreras, who says his memorial, "Spirit of the Earth," grew out of "tons of meetings and talks about spirituality and Native American traditions." The sculpture--a man rising out of swirling water but still struggling against enormous pressure--is based on a specific Kumeyaay creation myth. But it also symbolizes all Native Americans' journey through life and "the journey that takes place at the cathedral itself," he says

But then yes..."It was just this mad 26 months, seven days a week, 10- or 12-hour days--an insane amount of work," says John Nava. A figurative painter based in Ojai, he made his first foray into weaving in a big way at the cathedral--designing 620 square yards of tapestries that encompass a procession of 135 saints, most of them 10 feet tall, a baptismal scene that soars to 45 feet, and a smaller, abstract panel behind the altar.

and

The altar sits at the apex of the nave, with the bishop's chair and pulpit nearby. Toparovsky's crucifix--to be installed on a pole behind the altar, with the feet about 39 inches above the floor--involves a single life-size figure, but it's weighted with 2,000 years of history and countless interpretations. Each member of the cathedral art committee seemed to have a different idea of how this particular crucifix should look. "I decided the only way I could be successful was to transcend all of those limitations and just do the best work I have ever done," the artist says.
When Toparovsky began, Vosko suggested that he read the book "A Doctor at Calvary," written in 1953 by Pierre Barbet, which describes in clinical detail the ordeal of crucifixion and the brutal treatment that preceded it. Toparovsky had envisioned a relatively transcendent, sweet image. The book changed that, but he ultimately decided that he didn't want to make a sculpture that would terrify children. The result is a tortured Jesus whose skin is a mass of abrasions and whose limbs are broken and swollen, but one who is not violently distorted.


A WaTimes look at new research on the "wall of separation" between church and state

"What we have today is not really Jefferson's wall, but Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's wall," said American University professor Daniel Dreisbach, whose forthcoming book explores how Jefferson coined the "wall" metaphor. Mr. Dreisbach's arguments parallel those of University of Chicago law professor Philip Hamburger, whose new book also says Justice Black's anti-Catholicism — learned in the Ku Klux Klan — influenced his 1947 ruling that the First Amendment created a "high and impregnable" wall between religion and government.The two authors say the Founders did no such thing and that the "wall of separation" has become a "lazy slogan" for judges and politicians.

A judge has issued an injunction preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion because the father of the baby claims he wants to support the child and the woman's mother if forcing her into the abortion.

Meanwhile, the baby waits....peacefully..unaware. Just as all of them do.

Gilbert Gauthe, the notorious Louisiana abuser, is not on any sex offender list in any state, including Louisiana.

What's more - and get this - after serving ten years of his twenty year sentence in LA, Gauthe moved to Texas where he was more or less promptly arrested for -

sexually fondling a 3-year-old boy but escaped jail time by pleading guilty in 1997 to the lesser crime of injury to a child. He was given seven years' probation and is still on probation, said Lee Hon, Polk County assistant district attorney. Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said because Gauthe was convicted on a non-sexual crime, he would not be listed on the state's sexual offender list. Injury to a child is not considered a sexual crime under Texas law.

When it comes to our kids, it seems, no one can be completely trusted - here we learn that a previously jailed sex offender cops to a lesser plea, which is not an explicitly sex-related crime, and thereby escapes not only jail time but being placed on a sexual offender list in Texas, thereby endangering even more children.

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