Thursday, August 15

Poland readies for the Pope's arrival

Final preparations are under way in the southern Polish city of Krakow for the arrival later on Friday of Pope John Paul II for a four-day visit.
An alcohol ban has been in force since midnight on Wednesday and the Polish, Vatican and Krakovian flags are flying from almost every building in the city centre.

From the NYTimes (LRR): Cardinal Egan defends his record

Text of the interview

Doug Bandow on one fruit of the (First?) Gulf War: moderate religious freedom in Muslim Kuwait

We are often reminded these days of how restricted religious worship is in the Arab world. Evangelical activity in Saudi Arabia, for instance, can earn a foreigner prison time; death rewards the Christian convert. Last year, 14 Ethiopian and Indian Christians were jailed and then expelled from Saudi Arabia for worshipping in their homes. But one exception is Kuwait, the country we liberated in the first Gulf War and a country that remains keenly interested in the possibility of a second. Barely a block from my hotel here, on a major street, sits a Catholic and a Coptic church, the Egyptian branch of Orthodoxy. There is a "very big Christian community" in Kuwait, says Msgr. Francis Micallef, a Carmelite bishop who presides over the Catholic church. Religious leaders put the number of observant Christians at roughly a quarter-million.

Gay subculture in the RC priesthood?

Over half of surveyed priests say "yes."

The survey, which was done in spring 2001, did not ask priests if they were gay but merely collected their impressions of their environment. The results will be presented today in Chicago at a meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion.Nineteen percent of priests said a subculture "clearly" existed in their diocese or religious institute, and 36 percent said it "probably" did. For seminaries, the numbers were 19 percent and 26 percent, respectively.The survey showed a wide gap in impressions between younger and older priests. Forty-seven percent of priests ages 25 to 35 said there was "clearly" a gay subculture in their seminary, while only 3 percent of those 66 and older had that same impression.That gap shows that "those subcultures have increased over time," said Hoge, or that they were underground in the midcentury, or that older men have a hazier memory of their seminary days....

Woman's hands exude oil after liturgy

Parishioners at a suburban church believe they have witnessed a sign from God - the oil that weeps from the hands of a Syrian visitor. Mirna Akhras Nazzour, 38, from Damascus, was on hand for 1,500 faithful parishioners at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic church in nearby Thornhill. At the end of a 90-minute mass, Nazzour started telling her story to the faithful in attendance.
Nazzour claims to suffer from stigmata, spontaneously appearing wounds to the wrists and ankles reminiscent of those Jesus Christ is believed to have suffered at the time of his crucifixion. As she neared the end of her story, Nazzour appeared to fall sick and witnesses said her hands started oozing an oily substance. ...Rev. Yousif Mansoor Abba, pastor of the Syriac Catholic church, said: "It is a sign for us to start believing in Jesus Christ. It is a time for us to renew our faith in humanity."

Only one non-North American reader? I find that hard to believe - I see domains from all over the world on my counter. Get on the map! (Click on the icon at the bottom of the left-hand column)

Update: Very funny, Tom. And Buenos Dias to you, too.

Please go and read this blog where you will find brilliance and cogency like this:

Since we are members of one mystical body, born after the spirit and not the flesh, these men have compounded the crime of rape with the sin of spiritual incest. They have violated the temple of the body, the dwelling place of the Holy Ghost, and the immortal link, the soul, in God's chain of light which binds us not only to Him but to every child of His who has ever lived or ever will live. I am less interested in the distinction between the "philes" than in the effects upon the victims. It would not surprise me to know that the adolescents endure a debilitating sense of emasculation, that all feel something has been ripped from their guts that cannot be gotten back, that, very nearly, a piece of their soul is missing. Most likely there will be problems down the line. We can discuss endlessly how such men got into our Church and why they would be attracted to it in the first place. Let's not. Endless and inconclusive discussion of myriad matters is part of what got us here in the first place. In this one instance, let's pretend we know objective truth when we see it and just get them out, them and their protectors and apologists, their shields of silent witnesses. They'll be lying low now, so they'll have to be sought out. Will anyone do it? Count the years and decades, not the weeks and minutes.

The LA New Times continues its work exposing the rot in that Archdiocese, this time in an article about Cardinal Mahony's (and other bishop's) insistence on sending pederast priests to the Paraclete Center in NM despite its poor reputation and wide knowledge that the place was doing more harm than good.

But Mahony and other church leaders scarcely needed the manual to understand that shuffling errant clerics off to New Mexico, or anywhere else, for supposed rehabilitation was a fool's errand. Camp Ped, as even some of the priests assigned to psychosexual treatment there derisively referred to it, had become more than the American hierarchy's dirty little secret. It was a cruel joke. From the time the Paraclete brothers -- over the objections of the order's founder -- began treating pedophiles there in 1965, Camp Ped was little more than a recycling center for child-molesting priests. Bishops used it as a holding tank for clerical sickos until they could foist them on new and unsuspecting parishioners. Its miserable track record can be measured in countless children's ruined lives.

Rod Dreher unpacks Cardinal Law's deposition
Another popular priest who did a "enormous good" ...uh..pleads guilty to fondling boys.

Schmitz, ordained in 1989, become vocations director for the archdiocese in 1994 and served until July of last year, when he became pastor of St. Gregory's in Marysville and St. Malachy's in Beattie. (Kansas) He was in charge of recruiting seminary students.Schmitz also founded The Runnin' Revs, a basketball team consisting of archdiocesan priests that plays games against area youth teams.

Have you visited Catholic Freebies recently?
Thanks to a reader for this link to the website of the first monastery built in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism.

It's a Trappist foundation, and here's what the abbot says:

We, of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance at Sept-Fons, believe God has sent us to you for help to turn a Christian dream into a reality. Since 1991, we have welcomed a number of young men from Czechoslovakia seeking to take up the life of Trappist monks. We have formed them in the monastic life, which consists of a strict routine of prayer, worship, contemplation, and manual labor needed to meet worldly needs. Now we are preparing to establish a new monastery in rural Novy Dvur, the Czech Republic. It will be that country's first monastery since the fall of Communism and end of religious intolerance. And it will enable these young monks to bring their spirituality back to their native land.

Trickster cons 4,000 hoping to see Pope

In an elaborate scam, the trickster signed a contract with the state railways to lay on four chartered trains from the northern port city of Gdansk. He even persuaded organizers of the Papal visit to issue him tickets to Sunday's mass. The man, identified by police as Piotr K., collected 120,000 zlotys ($25,000) from churchgoers who thought they were buying tickets for the round trip. He then disappeared with the cash.

From Canada, a look at the popularity of GE's new 4D ultrasound

Let's pray that this chance to see through such a wondrous window into the womb will turn more hearts towards life and protecting these helpless ones, making their destruction unthinkable.

Here's the official 4D page, with some amazing imagery.

California legislature expected to pass a bill offering a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of Roe ever being overturned.

The California state Assembly is expected to pass a bill forbidding the state from outlawing abortion should the Supreme Court ever overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The Reproductive Privacy Act, which passed the Senate earlier this month and has the strong support of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, forbids the state to "deny or interfere with a woman's fundamental right to bear a child or to choose or obtain an abortion."

Well, isn't that special?

Lottery supporter to use satirical Church Lady commercial to sway votes

A parody of the sanctimonious, Satan-bashing Church Lady will be the star of two television commercials that state lottery proponents plan to air before a Nov. 5 referendum...In the satiric script, written and produced by Bart Sibrel of ABC Digital, the Church Lady is chided for opposing ''a lottery that is estimated to raise $300 million annually for public schools.''She replies: ''I think 50 kids to a class is fine. … It helps prepare them for the real world. It's crowded out there, you know. And teachers make enough money as it is. Most of them need to be full-time housewives anyway.'' Asked about ''the fact that our Christian founding fathers used a lottery to support the first public schools,'' the Church Lady responds: ''Well, isn't that special? If I had my way, I'd take every founding father and hang them up by their … ''She is then interrupted by a phone call naming her as a Powerball winner. The Church Lady jumps up to do her arrogant, rooster-walk dance ....Ironically, one of the Church Lady commercials was filmed in a rented studio at Nashville's United Methodist Communications — an arm of the United Methodist Church, which opposes legalized gambling. ''We had no prior knowledge of this commercial content,'' Larry Hollon, general secretary of UMC, said in a statement. '' … The position of The United Methodist Church unequivocally opposes legalized gambling. In fact, last spring we taped a video for the Gambling Free Tennessee Alliance, opposing a lottery in Tennessee.''...

It would have been sharper if the Church Lady had her comments taped in a close up, with the camera pulling away at the end to reveal that she was making her pronouncements at the same time as she was playing church-sponsored bingo.

We just returned from Mass at Holy Ghost church here in Knoxville - they had a 10 am Mass, which was very, very convenient - better than a noon and far better than an evening liturgy for us at this moment.

The church has always had the reputation of being the most conservative in town, mostly due to its late pastor who held the fort until his death a few years ago. The priest who presided today seems to have slipped into Fr. Henkel's shoes with ease. He was Irish and preached a homily that might be called "orthodox" - but of the worst kind, in my opinion.

The bulk of the homily was given over to a brief and rather interesting summary of Pius XII's encyclical formally proclaim the doctrine of the Assumption. (I told you...) And then he gets to his point where he brings it to the present.

"And what is the important point for us?" he asks, "What is it that we should take from this feast?"

You're waiting....I can tell....

"The beauty of the rosary..." he answers, then goes into a story of how when he was a boy in Ireland, Ireland produced so many vocations because, he implied, every family (every single one??) prayed the rosary after dinner.


Well, yeah, the rosary is important, but I hardly think it's the most important point to take away from the feast of the a church filled mostly with older people (and one chick in the back wrestling with a 16-month old who discovered, much to his mother's dismay, the marvelous concept of the echo about midway through Mass), one would think that hope in the face of death would be the most important point to take away from this feast. Our confidence in God's promise, fulfilled through Jesus, born of Mary, the new Eve....and all that.

An interesting point - they still do communion at the rail in this church. It prompted me to think about the complaints concerning people receiving communion in line - for example, the complaint that because of the herd of folks surging forward to receive, people feel pressure to go up whether they're feeling prepared for Communion or not, whether they're Catholic or not. The prospect of being so noticed all alone in your pew while everyone else lines up, it's said, increases that pressure. After observing rail-communion in action for the first time in probably thirty years, I don't see the difference. People still surge, they still form a line to get to the communion rail, those who don't are still visible and perhaps still feel pressure.

To follow the sublime with the mundane, we then went to the UT campus where we ate lunch, I showed Katie the window of my dorm room at Massey Hall ("You still remember where it is?" she asked in wonderment. GEEZ LOUISE, am I THAT old?) and we hunted down some notebooks and such emblazoned with orange and white for David to take back and use up at South Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We also stopped by Christopher's office to find him not there, but we left him a thoroughly embarrassing note in a public place so he - and everyone else - would know we'd been there.

Greetings - a late start this morning, with no chance to check the other 'blogs, so forgive any repetitions in subsequent posts.


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