Monday, December 2

Interesting tidbit...

The Smoking Gun website is owned by Court TV

Norfolk priest faces lewdness charge.

That will happen when you frequent the parks at night, you know. You get charged with what they call "'frequenting a bawdy place for lewdness" down Virginia way.

In case you haven't noticed, Sullivan and Mickey Kaus have picked up the David Kelley NYTimes errata

I'll be offering brief daily meditations for Advent here.

Remember the about-to-be ordained blind fellow I blogged about a couple of weeks ago?

Here's the account of his first Mass

A big-screen version of Brideshead Revisited is being planned, and if the screenwriter's intentions come to fruition, the chances are something good will come of it:

Screenwriter Andrew Davies, who was responsible for television adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Moll Flanders, Daniel Deronda and Dr Zhivago, wants the new version to concentrate more heavily on the religious tensions in Waugh's novel than the ITV series did.

Although those tensions were evident in the 1981 adaptation, Davies said: "I think that ITV got the wrong emphasis. Of course, it was done very well by ITV. But I'm more interested in the religious side of the book, rather than the Oxford days. In fact, for me, Sebastian and his teddy bear were the problem.

"The scenes at Oxford were magical and all that, but they were silly, too. The more the book goes on, the more interesting it becomes. It essentially begs the question, 'Is God more important than love?' It's a Catholic novel."

Priests around the world this weekend:

Cut off their hair in South Korea


Learned that this is not a good photograph to pose for.

Clicking on the Advent wreath above will take you to a good collection of Advent links. More on the season later.

Overpopulation in India?

Well, maybe.

Unless you're looking for girls.

A fertile farming state just west of New Delhi, Haryana produces a smaller share of girls, relative to overall births, than almost anywhere else in India. The 2001 census found just 820 girls for every 1,000 boys among children under age 6, down from 879 in 1991. The lopsided sex ratio reflects the spread of modern medical technology, particularly ultrasound exams, which allow Indian couples to indulge a cultural preference for sons by using abortion to avoid having girls....
While Haryana is an extreme case, the trend is also visible at the national level, where the number of girls under 6 declined from 945 for every 1,000 boys in 1991 to 927 in 2001. Some of the sharpest declines have occurred in the most prosperous areas of the country -- including wealthy neighborhoods in New Delhi -- where couples have the wherewithal to practice sex-selective abortion and the pressure from their parents to produce sons is often acute.

In Milwaukee, they were going to put a priest with an arrest record (sex in the park, you know the routine) in charge of a parish...

Parishioners protested, and the assignment was withdrawn

After outcry from concerned Catholics, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has rethought plans to assign a priest who has a history of being arrested for homosexual conduct with adults to a Hartford church.

Had his transfer to St. Kilian parish gone through, it would have marked the third time Father Thomas Walker was sent into a situation where Catholics who described themselves and their parish as traditional or orthodox had challenged the closing of their parish.

Former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland had approved the first two assignments.The priest's latest reassignment would have occurred under the watch of newly installed Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who is more traditional in many devotional and theological matters than the liberal Weakland was.

Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba decided this summer that Walker was suitable for reassignment, said archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski. The nine-member College of Consultors, priests who advise the archbishop, made that recommendation, he added.At the time, Dolan had not yet been installed as the new archbishop. Sklba was serving as administrator of the archdiocese because Weakland had retired amid news reports that the archdiocese had paid $450,000 in 1998 to a man who claimed Weakland had sexually assaulted him nearly 20 years earlier.

From the American Prowler:

Doctors letting doctors perform malpractice

But this group of doctors, who were surgeons, and who performed operations in a number of local hospitals, began to get disturbing information back from the hospital operating theaters. At first, it just looked like patient complications were becoming more frequent. Then it became more obvious that the increased complications could be traced to surgeries performed by the new partner, Doctor X.

The most common post-op problems were misplaced stitches, resulting in torn tissues, and requiring repeat surgeries. The misplaced stitches caused infections, too, and often permanently damaged tissues that surgery was supposed to repair. As the partners investigated, they found the same patient names showing up for post-op complications again and again -- Doctor X's patients. They questioned their office staff. The patients complained of similar problems. They checked the charts. Doctor X had falsified the patients' charts, indicating in the written record that there were no problems. And Doctor X was covering up mistakes by removing the offending stitches in the offices, without recording it.

.....As competent and accomplished as doctors are, there are some things they don't do well at all. Management or employee confrontation rank right up there among the things that doctors really hate, and do very badly. These partners consulted a lawyer. They eventually asked Doctor X to stop doing surgeries. They eventually asked Doctor X to leave the practice.

But here's where the story gets maddening. You'd think it would be pro forma for the partners to register a formal complaint with the state medical authorities, who would obtain some kind of injunction to suspend Doctor X from the practice of medicine pending a full inquiry.

But no. The prospect of expensive lawsuits freezes the doctors in place. The partners fear Doctor X may sue them for defamation of character if they bring complaints. Further, they fear suits by patients against the practice itself. They cannot buy more malpractice insurance to cover the time when Doctor X practiced with them; they're stuck. The hospitals involved have made a few careful reports to state authorities, but Doctor X could sue the hospitals, too. The state medical authorities have been informed, but have taken no action yet. A few hospitals have suspended Doctor X's operating room privileges. But that's as far as it has gone, and this situation has gone on for years.

From the NYTimes (LRR):

Greek Orthodox priests itching to change their clothes

When the Rev. Ioannis Melissaris puts on his long black robe, and then another black robe over it, and then a tall black hat to top it all off, he knows that he is honoring tradition and has no problem with that.But he also knows that he is going to swelter, and maybe stumble, and possibly snag a sleeve in a car or bus door. It has happened to Father Melissaris, a Greek Orthodox priest here, too many times already, and, he said, "I can't deal with it anymore.".....

For that reason and others, many Greek Orthodox priests here, like Fathers Melissaris and Moulatsiotis, are clamoring for a makeover, or at least a few alterations.Some want permission to shed the outer layer — "the Superman cape," as Father Moulatsiotis described it — when they are not performing a formal church service. Others want a green light to go almost completely casual once they step into the streets......

The movement has acquired enough momentum that in early October, at a meeting of church leaders, Archbishop Christodoulos proposed a discussion of the clerical dress code and grooming expectations. His brethren in the Holy Synod balked, deciding that it could wait.
But the issue is unlikely to go away, because it ultimately concerns more than mere convenience, raising questions about the overall image that Greek Orthodox priests should have and the right distance between them and their parishioners.Outside of Greece, in Western Europe and North America, many Greek Orthodox priests dress much as their Roman Catholic counterparts do, with no complaints from superiors.But in Greece, where a vast majority of people belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, the dress code has changed little in five centuries, and priests are expected to obey it.They can now shorten their beards, but cannot eliminate them. In public, they must wear all the requisite layers and tiers or risk punishment: perhaps a suspension, or a temporary loss of salary.

We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding this weekend - it was....okay. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't the great work I'd been led to expect. It was an amusing, inoffensive comedy. I suppose that sort of thing is in such short supply these days that the appearance of even one in the theater is news.


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