Wednesday, September 25

House passes bill protecting hospitals' rights not to perform abortions

The House passed a bill yesterday that would let hospitals and insurance companies refuse to perform or pay for abortions without forfeiting Medicare and other federal funding.Antiabortion activists hailed the 229 to 189 vote as a key action that would shield Roman Catholic hospitals and other health care providers that oppose abortion....It is unlikely the measure will pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Supporters maintained that the bill is necessary to clarify which entities are covered by the conscience clause in current law.

Remember Cardinal Keeler's list?

His priests aren't happy about it.

There was a sense of mourning as the priests read the names of men who were classmates, friends or mentors who are now disgraced."It was an emotional shock for all the priests there. There were people who you knew had been in trouble, but there were also people you never thought were in trouble at all," said the Rev. Michael Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Manchester. "There were so many of our men who had done great work. It was tragic, tragic, tragic, especially for their families who survive."

Cardinal Keeler's intention, as he stated it, was to make sure that Catholics and the general public have complete confidence in the priests who are actively ministering now, knowing that the names of all the accused are out there for all to see.

"So often a pall is cast, a sort of suspicion is directed toward all of our clergy," Keeler said. "By taking this step we are affirming that those who are on the front lines are not only worthy of respect, but in my judgment, they're doing a good job."

There are links to the Cardinal's letter and the list of names at the link above.

This link should work. Sorry about that.

There's a little note here at the CNS site (scroll down) about the high ratings that the Nickleodeon program The Brothers Garcia is getting. As it happens, I happened to see this show for the first time the other night, and was startled by the matter-of-fact Catholic content - the episode I saw involved a minor conflict within the family about attending a particular Mass at which mom might be receiving an award - it would conflict with a football game. It was inoffensive family entertainment, rather broadly played, mildly cute.

Okay. This is good. Pop culture has determined that it's okay for African-Americans and Latinos to be overtly Christian, and it's okay for anyone to embrace an Eastern religion. When will the Euro-rooted among us get permission?

Argentine Archbishop offers resignation after allegations.
EWTN shows are coming in fast and furious (see comments) - I especiallly like Greg the Obscure's.

Now...can someone with much programning skills do a faux website? That would be too much.
Here's something to think over...

If you were put in charge of EWTN, with all of its resources and global outreach...how would you program it? For those of you not familiar with the network, go here to check it out.

Both serious and Onion-like satire accepted.

My husband's frequently said that they should have a show like Cops...only called...Priest...in which obviously, a camera follows a priest around his daily duties, respecting the limits of confidentiality, of course.

Waddya think?

More on the Pakistani situation at CT's Weblog including the following good news:

Pakistani officials still say Christians are fine in the country. "For God's sake, stop twisting trivial and internal matters of the country into a propaganda campaign," information minister Nisar Menom told a Pakistani-American Christian during a visit to New York. Pakistan, he said, was a "paradise" for religious minorities.

Uh...yeah.

Ultrasound imagery at the mall?

Fetal Fotos at your service!

Some thoughts on my trip last week:

(Yeah, I know it was, indeed, a week ago, but things move slowly around here..in between naps.)

(BTW - the 6-hour sleeping stint from two nights ago was evidently a grievous error in judgment. He made up for it to the Baby Sleeping Gods last night.)

I took a quick trip down to the EWTN studios in Birmingham last Thursday to tape an episode of Johnette Benkovic's Abundant Life program. I was there to talk up my Prove It! series of books.

It was, of course, a very long day, with me leaving from Fort Wayne at 6 am and arriving in lovely Birmingham - hey - at least they have hills - around 10 am. I remember nothing of the Fort Wayne - Atlanta leg, except that there was a young woman who was taking her first airplane trip and was a bit nervous. On the way from Atlanta to Birmingham, I was seated in the way back of the plane, in the midst of a group of men who were obviously together and obviously from the same part of the country - Philly, I think I concluded. I spent the whole trip trying to figure out what in the world they were doing. They were all about the same age, white, fit, and pretty loud, with no carryon luggage. At first I thought they were going to a football game, but then as the conversation progressed, I decided they were going on some kind of hunting or fishing outing - they talked a lot about their other jaunts - golf and fishing mostly - about how drunk they got and so on. They were all owners of small-to-medium businesses. It made me wonder, as listening to conversations of frequent travelers always does - how people do it. How do they find the time to do all this traveling? And the money? Who knows - these guys might even be able to use this jaunt as a business expense, right?

Anyway, a nice elderly fellow picked me up at the airport in the mighty EWTN mini-van, and took me the ten-minute distance to the studio. I was amazed - for some reason, I thought this place was out in the country, but it's not (the new monastery and church are) - it's smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood - quite cramped, actually.

I wandered around, found Steve Motyl, the show's producer, then wandered around a bit more. The gift shop was a bit of a bust - hardly any books (and none of Michael's or mine - harrumph) and the usual Catholic gift stuff, with the extra bonus of an entire table of renditions of Mother Angelica's favorite "El Nino" representation of Christ, which I think is just as hideous, in its own cherubic Anglo-Saxon way, as the Infant of Prague.

Went to noon Mass, presided over by Fr. Mitch Pacwa - it was, as you would expect and hope at a Catholic insitution - crowded. Went over to the dining room afterwards and ate a sandwich with an unknown priest, Fr. Pacwa and Dave Durand, author of a new book called "Time Management for Catholics," soon to be published by Sophia, and who'd been the guest for the morning taping of Johnette's show, and whom I ended up spending a lot of time talking to later, since we were on the same flight out of Birmingham.

I was glad to be able to speak with Fr. Pacwa - I'd met him once before at the Vanderbilt Divinity School library, where he was having his usual spirited discussion with a mutual friend of ours (a Southern Baptist) about infant baptism.

And on with the show. It went all right, I guess. Johnette is a wonderful host, but I was so self-conscious - not nervous about what I was going to say, but self-conscious about the way I was going to look (radio is MUCH better), that I wasn't as lively as I usually am in settings like that, I fear. I was also frozen in place because the first time I moved, before taping, the microphone fell off of me, and I was terrified it would happen again. I was on the show with Stephen Wood of St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers.

The set is, of course, in EWTN's one studio - so we were on one end, with the set for The World Over across from us and the set for Mother Angelica's show down on the other end. It's always amazing to me how cheap television sets look in reality - does that mean we look cheap, too?

The most startling thing about the EWTN studios is this: From the front, it's just a normal-looking grouping of buildings - really a small mass of buildings all huddled there together. Walk down the hill behind the buildings though and BAM - you're face to face with five or six HUGE satellite dishes. It's a fascinating juxtaposition - BTW is there in the back that I saw Raymond Arroyo, racing by me at the wheel of a minivan.

Then it was off to the airport and a long evening until I got home at 10:30

EWTN is an interesting phenomenon. Some may gripe about its focus and take on Catholicism, but let's face it - like Catholic Answers, it's providing an apostolate that the "official" Church in this country has been completely unable to provide. The NCCB's attempts at a broacast ministry have been predictably milquetoast and talking-head, earnestly dull. But even though most of the people I saw working at EWTN were fairly young, the network still has an old feel about it - careful to the point of paralyzation (word?) and overarchingly defensive. With the reach and the hardware the place has now, some very interesting things could happen - but who knows how it will all pan out in the next few years.

Ah. From the letters page of the LA Times

Cardinal Roger Mahony's assertion that funds used to build his personal "Rog Mahal" were raised separately and have no bearing on the recent budget shortfall of the archdiocese is patently absurd. The archdiocese sent out a memo during the fund-raising period listing the major cathedral donors and informing other Catholic charities not to contact those donors.

Today is the memorial of (among others) Blessed Herman Contractus, known in less sensitive eras as Herman the Cripple

Born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents were unable to care for the child, and in 1020 gave him to the abbey of Reichenau at age seven; he spent the rest of his life there. Benedictine monk at age twenty. A genius, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. Built musical instruments, and astronomical equipment. Eventually went blind, and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, and is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Now - knowing what you do about its author, read (or pray) the Salve Regina. Resonates a little deeper now, doesn't it?

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Gunmen kill six at Christian charity in Kurachi, Pakistan
Meadow Soprano is really Jewish! An interview with actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, whose mom is a Sephardic Jew originally from Cuba - via Holy Weblog
Columbia president apologizes to Fordham, but the creator of the skit doesn't:

The Columbia student who wrote the script, Andy Hao, said he would not apologize. "You should blame the priests that molest kids and degrade the name of the church rather than blaming some college kid who wrote a football script," Hao told The New York Times.

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