Thursday, September 12

Well, the pacifism stuff isn't coming...I forgot that it's all on the laptop, which is now with Michael a bit east of here in Steubenville at the Catholic Writers' Festival, a fun-sounding gathering to which apparently every Catholic writer in the United States except yours truly was invited. Don't worry, I've harrumphed sufficiently to all the invitees I know so that they will doubtless fill the halls with an undercurrent of murmuring: But where is the excessively hyperbolic Amy Welborn?, and I contributed some thoughts to Regina Doman for her talk and I am married to this wonderful man. But still.

Have fun y'all. I'll just sit here and drink my Diet Coke, okay? Don't mind me....

Remember the accusations of porn in the rectory down below?

The pastor in question has resigned.

The pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Fredericksburg has resigned after another priest accused him in a court deposition of having gay pornographic videos and photos in his rectory bedroom.
In the deposition, taken in July, the Rev. James R. Haley also alleges that other priests in the Arlington Diocese have collected such material and that Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde has tried to ignore his complaints about the problem....In the deposition, Haley said he once asked Loverde "whether there was anything wrong with homosexual priests, and he kept saying that there was nothing wrong, and I was floored by that." In a statement to parishes in May, Loverde said his predecessor had not allowed homosexual men to be sponsored for seminary studies and that the policy "has not been changed."

From Friday's WSJ: Michael Rose on the LA Cathedral
From the NYObserver: A priest writes of his ministry at Ground Zero

"I had never worked with firefighters or police officers and rescue personnel before," he said. "That culture was totally new. I know this will sound banal, but I remember standing next to a firefighter—and here I was the, quote, official Christian—and I was standing next to people whose jobs required them to sacrifice themselves at a moment’s notice. Here were people who would give their lives for other people, which is at the heart of the Christian message. They put me to shame. A news reporter asked me what I said to inspire them. It sounds like a pat answer, but I said, ‘They inspire me. They’re incredible.’" Father Martin has written a small book about his work at the site, Searching for God at Ground Zero. It’s published by Sheed & Ward, and all proceeds will be donated to 9/11 charities benefiting the families of firefighters, cops and other rescue workers. The book is, in essence, a journal of Jim’s ministry to (and from) the heroes of 9/11, the "other-directed, naturally generous, naturally kind" people whose charity and love led him to write, in Kennedy-at-Berlin style, "if any still doubt the presence of God in the world, let them come to the World Trade Center." "Most people," Father Martin said, "saw only the Good Friday part of Sept. 11. I and others were privileged to see the Easter Sunday part. In this place of enormous suffering and desperation and sadness came intimations of new life, through great works of charity."

A disjointed article about Mel Gibson's religious views

Mel Gibson, a Roman Catholic who is to play Christ in a new film, has attacked the Vatican, saying that he does not believe in the Church as an institution.The actor, who says that he is an “old fashioned Catholic” who rigorously supports the Latin Mass, is shooting Passion in Rome and in the southern Italian town of Matera. He says that he is happy that his only daughter has decided to become a nun. Gibson, 46, had a Catholic upbringing and attended a Catholic boys’ school in Australia. He is scathing about the Church’s hierarchy, saying that the Vatican was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. “I believe in God,” he told the newspaper Il Giornale. “My love for religion was transmitted to me by my father. But I do not believe in the Church as an institution”. Gibson has a private chapel at his home in Malibu, California, at which the service is conducted every Sunday in Latin.

Or maybe it's not the article. Maybe it's just Mel.

But then again - maybe it is the article after all, which is incorrect in the first sentence - according to what we've heard in the States - that Jim Caziel (forgive the mispelling - I don't have time to check it, but you know who I mean), not Gibson, is slated to play Jesus.

From Salon: Alan Dershowitz on terrorism:

I have to tell you the worst offender of moral equivalence has been the Vatican, which simply fails to understand the difference between democracies that fight back against terrorism and terrorists who target babies and children. I just can't imagine the pope, who met seven times with Arafat, being willing to meet seven times with other killers. It's sent a message: You can kill, you can blow up airplanes and you will still be greeted by the man who's supposed to represent the greatest international morality in the world....So when you do any kind of a moral comparison, you ask yourself, why has the Palestinian cause leapfrogged over all other causes? Why has the pope met with Arafat seven times and never met with a Kurdish leader or an Armenian leader? It's a reflection of the success of Palestinian terrorism. Now, that doesn't mean that it's the only way of achieving success; my own personal view is that the Palestinians would have actually achieved a state had they engaged in civil disobedience, Martin Luther King-like. But they opted for the tactic of terrorism and for them it has worked. In the book, I quote Palestinian leaders who say that they were surprised at how well it worked. ...

Thanks to Nancy for the link.

Man who shot priest and parishioner in Long Island wants to be his own defense lawyer.
Texas girl given permission to wear pentacle to school

She and her Wiccan family relieved.

So..have we "changed?"

What do you think?

What has changed on a social and cultural level?

My opinion: Not much. Those of us who were already aware of the contigency and transience of life still are, and those who were jolted into sudden awareness of same have mostly soothed themselves into forgetting again. The best words on this were written by Leon Wieseltier about a year ago:

No doubt about it, seriousness is in. So it is worth remembering that there are large swathes of American society in which seriousness was never out. Not everybody has lived as if the media is all there is. Not everybody has been consecrated only to cash and cultural signifiers. Not everybody has been a pawn of irony. Everybody was shocked by the attack, but not everybody was philosophically unprepared for it. For a thoughtful life is not premised on an experience of catastrophe, except for the exceedingly thoughtless. There are states of happiness that are not states of stupidity. We should not have to choose between being imbeciles and being mourners.

The one thing that has changed, is the cultural attitude towards patriotism. Sontag and Chomsky notwithstanding, there's no doubt that the events of the past year have deepened our awareness of the uniqueness of the American experiment and its value to the world. "Why do they hate us" still creeps into coverage and commentary and the actions of college students, but my impression is that hardly anyone else is buying.

Later today, though, I will get you going with some quotes from the article I wrote for OSV on what the Catholic peace movement is saying and doing right now. It will give you food for thought - and thoughtful commentary, I hope.

Quote of the day from Jonah Goldberg

We're not mad at the Japanese for bombing Pearl Harbor anymore, but we're supposed to keep apologizing for a defensive war launched by popes nearly a millennium before the Boston Tea Party?

One of the most tiresome consequences of the plethora of cable news outlets (besides Aaron "Let me tell you how I feel" Brown and The Crawl) is the incessant need to brand events. Is there a way out of this? Can anyone take a stand, clean out their graphics department and just start over? Then might we see the end of:

America Under Attack. America Fights Back. America Kicks Booty. America Remembers. America Mourns. America Reflects. America Eats Lunch.

What crosses the line from flaky to really offensive is the way that news outlets use their coverage of events - usually tragic ones - to celebrate themselves. I heard it on an oldies radio station yesterday.."We've been here for you, reporting the rememberances of 9/11" which then seques into some supposedly pertinent song that I'd never heard of. The president of NPR gave himself a few minutes yesterday, congratulating his network on what they'd contributed to the coverage. As Jonah Golberg notes, we all hope that Dan Rather wins his professed struggle to understand that this is not all about him...

This is why the internet is so, so much better - I can be my own newsgatherer, without some fluffy-headed news reader or pledge-mongering public radio flack telling me how grateful I should be to them for giving me the news in their snappily-branded, highly edited package.

America Yawns and Goes Online.

Maine Catholic Charities considering suing city of Portland

— Catholic Charities Maine is considering suing the city for withholding federal grant money because it does not provide domestic partnership benefits for employees. Portland's domestic partnership ordinance requires social service agencies that contract with the city to offer the same benefits to domestic partners that they offer to spouses of employees. Catholic Charities Maine contends the ordinance discriminates against religious groups, violates federal regulations and is not applied consistently to all groups that do business with the city. ...Catholic Charities is reviewing various benefit options that may satisfy city requirements. One option offered by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco offers health insurance benefits to any adult living with an employee.

Two recent church vandalism incidents in Queens.

On consecutive days two weeks ago, two northeast Queens churches were desecrated by vandals, but the attacks were not believed to be related. St. Gregory the Great Church in Bellerose had a statue of its patron saint toppled, while Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Bayside was covered with anti-Catholic graffiti. The 7-foot-tall marble statue of St. Gregory was found in pieces Aug. 31 in front of the church’s school where it had stood since 1964. In Bayside Monsignor John Mahoney of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was awakened by police at 5 a.m. Sept. 1 to find graffiti relating to the recent priest sex-abuse scandal sprayed across the front of the church.

Church to formally clear Foster; reinstate as judicial vicar in Boston
More on the Delray Beach Priest:

Naturally, he's removed from ministry by the diocese


His background.


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