Wednesday, October 9

Aileen Wuornos executed

Aileen Carol Wuornos, called the "Damsel of Death," was executed voluntarily and peacefully by lethal injection Wednesday morning, dying much more gently than any of the seven men she shot to death a dozen years ago."She was extremely happy, ready to go. She has made her peace," said Dawn Botkins, a long-time friend who spent three hours with Wuornos at Florida State Prison late Tuesday night and will take her ashes back to Michigan for burial.

A reporter who witnessed the execution reports

Today I am mildly panicked. A week from today I will either be a)eerily calm or b)completely whacked out wondering why speaking in Pittsburgh seemed like such a good idea when I agreed to it..what...three years ago?
Catholic Cheerleaders of Doom: Where sugar, spice and everything nice meet glitter, latex, and manic sexual dancing on late-night ESPN

....you flip again and accidentally land on ESPN and immediately feel your very soul being siphoned straight through your teeth.

It is a cheerleading competition. Check that, no wait, it's a dance-team competition. Slight difference, mostly having to do with gender mixing and back flips and hand clap frequency and intensity of hip thrusting and the fierceness of a young girl's madly grinning stare that can eat live puppies for breakfast.

...Squads of 20 Catholic schoolgirls all dressed in, say, skintight "Matrix"-ish black latex, hair slicked and pulled tight, a complete S&M fetish-a-rama, dancing like robotic sex machines to a hyperspeed "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics, and they have no idea, and no one mentions it.

All moving like they want to copulate with the devil Himself and maybe a few dozen demons just for kicks, despite not really knowing how, not really addressing the sex issue at all, though they really, really should, as the bland judges just comment on the nice agility and good leg extensions.

Thanks for the link, Carolyn. A great piece.

The Lady in the Pew has her own website, getting the word out about what's really going on outside Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston.
There's a boom in church weddings in France.
Racing Car Cleric brings Mass to the Fast Lane
Parents of alleged abuse victim are suing Fr. John Bertolucci for harrassment

The story is sketchy, and I really don't get it...but perhaps more details will emerge.

Our prayers and sympathy to Brian, Sally and their family.
By the way, I don't think I've told you that Joseph has learned to share the Sign of Peace at Mass. He says "Peeesh" and sticks out his little hand. Cute.
Comics as expressions of religious values
Why we're right and they're wrong about aid to international "family planning" agencies.
From the NYTimes: How an amazingly rich Catholic-centered exhibit of Spanish art ended up at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine and further, why hardly anyone is coming to see it:

Among the works in the ambulatory at the back of the cathedral at Amsterdam Avenue and West 112th Street are a remarkable painting of St. Sebastian by El Greco from the cathedral in Palencia; an unusual work by Goya from a convent in Valladolid; a painting by a noted Flemish artist from the tiny village of Castrojeriz; early examples of polychrome statues, richly enameled caskets, ivory statues and notable examples of Castilian art from the Romanesque to the Baroque.

There are also six early Bibles, including one printed by Gutenberg, as well as original letters and diaries by St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila, two of Spain's most famous Roman Catholic saints, all presented in a context that is deeply religious.

...Bishop Arias, a Spanish-born auxiliary bishop in Newark, confirmed that several Catholic churches were approached. "All of them said it would be impossible because they have daily religious activities, they don't even have an ambulatory at the back of the main altar, and their pews are fixed," he said. "And none of them could simply close down for two months."As it happened, St. John the Divine, by far the largest cathedral in New York, and said to be the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, was available for an autumn exhibition, even if it meant emptying five of its seven chapels. Although it came with only six months' notice, the offer from Spain seemed a perfect fit for a church that has a long history of supporting the arts, and of sustaining a tradition of ecumenicism.

Read the entire article - it's very interesting, especially concerning the Spanish Church's support for the arts.



From the NYTimes, Chinese "courts" overturn death sentences of Christian leaders
At Heinz Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh, they sing Compline every Sunday evening.

In my few exposures to monastic prayer (at Conyers, St. Meinrad and Gethsemane), I have to say that Compline has affected me the most deeply. I'm too tired in the morning, still distracted at Vespers, but finally relaxed in the evening. What is always most memorable is that final offering of the Salve Regina, the gently plaintive words echoing through a darkened chapel.

If you ever wonder why you're Catholic, go to Compline. You'll remember.

School of Ministry in Rochester Diocese to build $3 million campus

Hoping to respond to a growing need for more lay ministers in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry is building a new $3 million campus in Pittsford. ...St. Bernard’s has 120 people in graduate study and about 150 in certificate programs, as well as another 150 students at an Albany satellite location. It is presently using space at Colgate Rochester Divinity School’s 1100 S. Goodman St. campus. Schoelles said St. Bernard’s plans to continue its relationship with Colgate Rochester and, in fact, has required its students to take some courses at the Protestant schools there. “We’ll keep our good relationship going,” she said. The new facility, which will include a meditation garden and a small public chapel, is expected to be ready by August 2003, in time for the fall semester. “Our particular industry can only grow because of the rise of lay ministry in the church, which is up nationally 55 percent in five years,” Schoelles said. “The diocese really has confidence that we need lay ministers and we can provide them.”

Canon lawyers discuss Charter which, of course, is a meaningless exercise until the Vatican lets its decision be known.
Here she comes.....now shut up...

Miss America silenced

You must read this article - it's galling and amazing:

"Quite frankly, and I'm not going to be specific, there are pressures from some sides to not promote [abstinence]," the 22-year-old woman from Urbana, Ill., told The Washington Times. In her first visit to Washington since winning the crown Sept. 21, Miss Harold resisted efforts by Miss America officials to silence her pro-chastity opinions. "I will not be bullied," Miss Harold said yesterday at the National Press Club, as officials tried to prevent reporters from asking questions about her abstinence message. Miss Harold, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois, was "furious" as she arrived for yesterday's press conference, an acquaintance said.

From LA (LRR): Priests voice opposition to Mahony's budget cuts

Alarmed by deep cuts in ministry budgets and shaken by the church's response to the sexual abuse scandal, priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles confronted Cardinal Roger M. Mahony during a private meeting Monday, questioning his statements about the archdiocese's finances and urging him to restore funds for programs

Grade tampering hits Christian college

Gardner-Webb University has been embroiled in controversy ever since the school's president admitted he wrote a memo two years ago ordering a star basketball player's GPA to be calculated without an F he received for cheating -- in, of all things, a religion class. Without the change, Carlos Webb would have been ineligible in 2000-01, the season Gardner-Webb won the National Christian College Athletic Association championship. The school's trustees affirmed Christopher White's presidency after a 10-hour meeting September 27, though they demoted a pair of administrators who had criticized White's actions.

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