Saturday, January 25

Vicente Fox brings his unborn grandson into his reelection campaign

Politicians routinely kiss babies in search of votes, but Mexican President Vicente Fox has now released a sonogram of his unborn grandson apparently flashing a "V for Victory" sign to win political points. Fox's office released the image of the sonogram showing the outline of a tiny hand flashing the two-fingered salute that Fox made his trademark in his 2000 presidential campaign.The sonogram was made public after Fox's claim at a public appearance last week that his unborn grandson had adopted the sign was met with widespread incredulity.To prove his point, Fox's team posted the image on the presidential Web site late on Monday and it made the front page of national newspapers on Tuesday.

Since it's Saturday, let's be superficial for a moment:

(Not that we usually aren't, but you can keep your comments to yourself on that point)

Blogger GenX Revert comments on the Seinfeld finale, and defends it against its critics. I agree with him (her? Dunno), but I have a more specific interpretation - I think that they died in the plane crash, the trial was their judgment and their prison sentence was the hell wrought by their self-absorption.

Now off to Mass to try to remedy some of mine.

All good things must come to an end...

The fifth-grade girls' basketball regular season came to a merciful end today, closing as it began and as it continued in between (except once) - with a loss. 28 to 12 or something like it, with our Katie scoring 6 of her team's points and waving her arms like a mad windmill on speed when she was on defense.

One of the benefits of these long weeks has been the opportunity to see various churches in the area as we traveled to our road games at the other Catholic schools. I think I may have seen them all now, and today turned out to be the most interesting.

The game was in Garrett, a town about 15 miles north of here (you thought I was kidding when I said "road game?"), in the middle of farm country. The church, which unfortunately does not have a website, is a lovely, late 19th-century gem, but also a gem that someone, courtesy of some big bucks, has polished up quite nicely. Renovation had obviously occurred, but all of the artwork was intact and any roccoco excess cleaned up. At the back of the church, a large baptismal pool had been erected above ground, placed under a "canopy" (for lack of a better word) of a large pane of stained glass (the Holy Spirit) supported by four pillars, with a statue of Jesus, arms open in welcome, standing alongside. The cabinet for the oils was on one wall, and there was a small reliquary on the other. It all worked and was just way nicer than you'd expect to find in such a small community. Hence our speculation about the big bucks. It was just a quick walk through, but we were very impressed.


I need saints or otherwise holy folk who were, at one time in their lives severe in one way or another, then moderated. Email or comments welcome!

Wondering what happened to the possibility of bankruptcy in Boston? The Globe says it knows.

Just before Law resigned on Dec. 13, the Vatican gave conditional permission for a bankruptcy filing, but wanted to solicit the views of other US cardinals and bishops before reaching a final decision, one archdiocesan adviser said yesterday. The adviser asked that he not be identified.

Immediately, several influential US cardinals and bishops objected, according to this adviser and others who are familiar with the issue. The adviser and others said the prelates expressed concerns that a bankruptcy filing by the fourth largest American archdiocese would prompt a serious falloff in donations across the country, damage the church's reputation, and create an ominous precedent by opening the church's secret financial records to public view. No American diocese has ever filed for bankruptcy.

The loudest objections have been raised by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, whose own archdiocese is in serious financial straits. Yesterday, according to the Associated Press, Mahony announced that the Los Angeles archdiocese will close its four-year undergraduate seminary amid a falloff in donations.

The Boston archdiocesan adviser said most of the bishops and cardinals who had opposed a bankruptcy filing have subsequently withdrawn their objections. Cardinal Adam J. Maida of Detroit, who is both a civil and canon lawyer, has been studying the issue on behalf of the other bishops. Boston church officials hope the Vatican will soon give its final approval for the filing.

Over the past week, we’ve been advised time and time again that “both sides” need to approach the issue of abortion with reason, calm and as little emotion as possible.

Translation:Pro-lifers, shut up.

For you see, it’s okay for pro-choice advocates (See? I can do it? Only once, though, I think…) to throw around selective statistics, present false accounts of history and mischaracterize and stereotype their opponents, but let a prolifer say the words “baby” or “kill” and let the clucking begin.

An experience that is sort of relevant:

A few years ago – okay, many years ago – I was on a radio program, debating the director of a local abortion facility. It was an NPR affiliate, so it was all very hushed and reasonable and calm. For the first part of the program, I was hushed and calm, too. This was the first time I’d ever debated a person directly involved in providing abortions face-to-face, and it sort of unnerved me. I was supposed to be a Christian, and a witness to Christian love, right? And I know that’s true – many, many of the abortion providers who have converted to the other side have been won over, not by arguments, but by the simple force of love and prayer. They’ll tell you that themselves.

So there I was. I didn’t want to offend, I wanted to put the best face on the pro-life side of things, and deep down, as I sat there inches away from a real human being, you know…I didn’t want to…I don’t know. Hurt her feelings? It’s that socialization to avoid confrontation, you know.

Then midway through the program, it hit me. Forcefully.

This woman made her living from abortion. This is how she paid her mortgage, her car payments, her grocery bills. She got a salary for managing a place where women could come and have their preborn children killed. I saw blood. I saw blood everywhere.

And it struck me: I don’t have to respect that. Sure, I have to respect her as a person, and remember that Jesus loves her and that her life is to be respected at all levels, but her opinions? The way she spends her days? The fact that she spends her days at a place where the weekly refuse pick-up includes incredibly tragic human remains? And she profits from this?

I don’t have to respect that.

So, I went on the offensive. Those of you who read this blog and have read my columns on this issue know my style: own up to the reality and defend it. Tell the rest of the world what happens in your place – exactly – and tell the rest of this why this is a good. Tell the rest of us why it’s okay to end the life at day 179 and someone not okay to end it at 180. Tell us all about it.

There are some things I understand. I understand how a person who has not faced the reality of abortion can get swamped in pro-choice rhetoric and defend it as a necessity, if not a good. I can even, believe it or not, understand how a woman can choose an abortion, and I can understand this because I’ve been pregnant. I know how difficult it is, especially in the early stages, to make the intellectual connect between the idea of pregnancy and the reality of an Independent Who living in there, especially if you don’t want to be pregnant and you’re surrounded by pressures not to be, as well.

But what I don’t understand is how a person can see – even in pictures, much less in person – the reality of unborn human life and the reality of destroyed, mutilated aborted unborn life – and still think this is a good. Or even a necessity. That bespeaks to me a coldness of conscience that is frightening and dangerous. And doesn’t merit respect, especially when one personally profits from the destruction.

So sure, I’m all for respect. I’m all for calm. But I’m not for using those terms as a technique for silencing anyone for speaking out on the reality of abortion, or refraining from pushing abortion advocates to defend the logic of their actions, which, I’m sorry to say, it usually is.

Rich Gannon's aunt, the nun


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