Saturday, April 30, 2005

What I did today


This morning a few of my compatriots and I went down to the Church of the Holy Innocents on W. 37th St, for today was the pro-life Mass and procession. The Mass started at 7:30 AM (monastic discipline and all), and I was up at 5:30 to give Ariana a wakeup call so she could see her sister's confirmation. So it's been a long day. At any rate, the "theme" of the Mass, and of our procession, was silent contemplation. Or as the priest put it, we have to be there praying for everyone, and God will do the rest.

I think this is really the attitude that has to be adapted for everything in life. Sure, you have to be ready to answer peoples' questions when they start asking, but ultimately grace determines what's to come of the world (along with our free will of course), so we can't beat ourselves up too much.

It's humbling, but it's the only way to get through the day.

Sons of God in Genesis 6?

Friday, April 29, 2005

A Jewish view on loving your neighbor

So you say, "How's it even possible for me to love my neighbor? I don't even like him. In fact, I hate him. I can't stand his dumb ideas, he talks too much, he acts like a monkey, he looks like one, and to be frank, what I hate the most about him is his stupid tiny red hat. Love him? No way. At best, maybe I can force a smile when he comes around."

When the Torah says love your neighbor as yourself, it doesn't mean that you have to love your neighbor's ideas, nor opinions, nor actions, and certainly not his clothing.

Love your neighbor as yourself means you can hate his ideas, be annoyed by his talk and his walk, but still love that person.

This is what it comes to in the West

A judge has decided that a child should not be given medical care, even though the parents want it, because the judge feels it's a waste of time.

But, it's all about choice and dignity, of course.

Quote of the Day

How can I tell if I have the 64-bit edition of Windows?

Answer: Your wallet is empty.

Seriously, there is no way you bought an Itanium by mistake. They are expensive machines: The entry-level workstation available from HP (who co-developed the Itanium with Intel) goes for over $3000 and the entry-level server is over $13,000. And in addition to paying for the computer itself, you probably had to install a custom air conditioning system for your building to keep it cool.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

What's going on in P-land?

Friday Fax

April 29, 2005
Volume 8, Number 19

Family Planning Bill in Philippines Paving Way for Legalized Abortion

One of the most populous Catholic countries in the world is set to
significantly liberalize its laws on family planning and "reproductive
health" services, stopping just short of outright legalization of
abortion. The proposed legislation, which is likely to pass within months,
sets in place a "comprehensive national policy" that discriminates against
families with more than two children and requires the Catholic Church to
provide sex education in schools and to pay for the sterilizations of its

House Bill 3773, entitled, "Responsible Parenthood and Population
Management Act of 2005," says, "The State . . . guarantees universal
access to safe, affordable and quality reproductive health care services."
The bill defines "reproductive health care" as "availability and access to
a full range of methods, techniques and services that contribute to
reproductive and sexual health and well-being . . . [including] family
planning information and services."

Brian Cowles, Director of Research at Human Life International,
points out that "the words 'reproductive health' appear 55 times in the
seven-page bill." UN agencies and pro-abortion groups view such words as
including abortion.

While the bill states that "abortion shall remain to be penalized,"
Meg Francisco of the Filipine Alliance for the Family Foundation, Inc.
says, "The experience of every country that has promoted contraception
shows that abortion will eventually be included." She says that the
"reasons given for contraception are the same as reasons for abortion,"
the two policies are "linked by jurisprudence [such as the] right to
privacy," "and at times, are identical, [since] IUD and the Pill are

The bill also says that "the State shall encourage two (2) children
as the ideal Family size." The bill does not make two children mandatory,
but says that "Children from these families shall have preference in the
grant of scholarships at the tertiary level." According to Francisco, this
policy "will lead to social stigma for large families . . . [who] would be
considered irresponsible, and their children, unplanned and unwanted."
Francisco also believes that this provision "penalizes the poor, who are
precisely those who need financial aid for college."

The bill sets up mandatory sex education from grades 5-12, with
topics to include "reproductive health and sexual rights," "sexual
identity," and "gender roles." The Catholic Church is not exempt from this
obligation. Moreover, the bill requires all employers, not excluding the
Catholic Church, to provide free of charge, "reproductive health care
services and devices to the workers." The bill considers such services to
include voluntary sterilization.

Francisco also points out that the bill also prohibits persons "to
act from conscience" because it threatens up to six months imprisonment
for "any health care service provider who shall . . . refuse to perform
voluntary sterilization and ligation" and for "any public official . . .
who shall prohibit or intentionally restrict" the provision of services
outlined in the bill.

Copyright 2005 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: Website:

Bertie the Gerbil Says Love Your Neighbors and Your Enemies

I love this guy's sense of humor. It's so true.

Polish Priest Accused of Spying on Late Pope

A POLISH priest working at the Vatican was accused yesterday of collaborating with communist Poland’s secret police in the 1980s even as Pope John Paul II inspired his countrymen to resist the regime.

The Rev Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo, a member of the Dominican order, “was a secret collaborator of the Polish secret services under the names Hejnal and Dominik”, said Leon Kieres, head of the National Remembrance Institute, which guards communist-era police files.

Replying to the accusation, the priest, 69, said in Rome that he had never co-operated knowingly with secret police. He confirmed that he had written reports on church matters for Polish church officials and had been sharing the reports with an acquaintance introduced to him by other priests.

He had only just learnt that the man, a Pole who was living in Germany but had since died, might have been an intelligence agent working for the Stasi, the East German secret service.

Are we conservatives?

Theologically, we must be.

To be Catholic is to be theologically conservative. As I pointed out to a good friend of mine this past week, as we were looking at a front-page N.Y. Times headline describing Benedict as a "conservative," the term "conservative" as so used is a synonym for "Catholic." The Pope is Catholic! So is the College of Cardinals! As people examine the writings of Pope John XXIII, lo and behold, we discover that he was theologically conservative. As we read the actual documents of Vatican II and not just "feel" the spirit of Vatican II, the documents are clearly theologically conservative.

Now, this essentially conservative core to Catholicism is not necessarily politically conservative at all, but it is theologically conservative. Thus, a political science model of a conclave that mimics the secular conflict between political conservatism and political liberalism will never be adequate to the reality of a conclave. Such a model fails to adequately take into account the theologically conservative core of Catholicism.

We can draw a parallel to biblical interpretation. The best and most adequate interpretation of the Scriptures is that which accepts the Scriptures as divinely inspired and interprets Scripture with the mind of the Church. Similarly, the best analysis of the Church herself and of her conclaves recognizes the essentially conservative theological reality of Catholicism preserved by the Holy Spirit over the centuries. To truly understand the Scriptures, you must be part of the community which lives Scripture as genuinely divine speech. To truly understand a conclave, you must acknowledge that it is part of one of the most theologically conservative religions on the planet.

Why you should buy a hybrid

Of course, America should never have gotten to this humiliating position. Had Bush lifted a finger to reduce U.S. oil consumption five years ago, his shirt and tie would not be so dusty today. More importantly, American consumers would have retained more power over their own economy.

A simple 50-cent tax on every gallon of gas could have done it. Again, not an original idea. Ross Perot threw it out during his 1992 campaign for president. He said the tax would encourage Americans to use less oil, and the revenues collected would pay down the deficit.

So where do we stand today? Well, gas prices shot up 43 cents a gallon in just the last year. The average price last week was $2.24, and little of that money is going into our Treasury. It is going to, among others, various sponsors of terror in the Mideast.

Perot's solution was so elegant. A tax on gas would have let car makers continue to churn out guzzlers for consumers willing to pay more for gas. Eventually, everyone would have adjusted to the higher energy costs. More Americans would have flocked to fuel-efficient vehicles 10 years ago. U.S. carmakers would also have gotten on the hybrid bandwagon earlier. Instead, they kept making the Oil Warriors and let the Japanese capture 96 percent of the U.S. market for hybrids.

I'm usually opposed to government interventions in the market. But seriously, now, this gas situation is a little out of control.

The seal of the Pope

CWN has the article. The comment boxes have the graphic. It's the most unique I've ever seen, I think.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Libertarian Case for Marriage

Of the traditional variety, that is.

Apolonio Latar III on B16

"Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life."

If we open ourselves totally to Jesus Christ, we might lose the arrogance, the impatience, the selfishness of the world, but not beauty and liberation. Beauty and liberation can only be found by making Jesus Christ our friend. We will receive what even our friends cannot give us. We will receive the joy we all long for. Jesus is not a type of friend who will betray us. Jesus is not a type of friend who will not forgive us if we ask for forgiveness. Jesus is not a type of friend who does not love us as much as we love Him. No. Jesus is a friend who loves us even more. Jesus is a friend who will forgive us because Mercy is His second name. Jesus is merciful. Jesus is kind. There is no sin He cannot forgive. And we know this. We know that Jesus is a friend we all long for. We know this because He can keep His promises. We know that He is with us always. We know that He promised us that the gates of hell will not prevail against us. We do not need to be afraid. We do not need to be afraid of our Holy Father. Jesus is a friend of ours who will not put us into despair. Jesus is a friend who watches us, especially our Holy Father. We do not need to be afraid. Jesus does not betray. Let us open wide the doors to Christ as our Holy Father teaches us. "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' Let the hearer say, 'Come.' Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water" (Rev. 22:17).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


"I like big Bibles I can not lie, / You Christian brothers can’t deny, / When a girl walks in with a KJV* / And a bookmark in proverbs, You get stoked"

This is my life. AAHHHHH.

It Doesn't Get Geekier than This


Done by U of Wisconsin's ACAPELLA troup Redefined.

Here's the mp3 version

How much of my life have I devoted to you O Nintendo... how many fond memories of that Japanese box of joy...

Bonus Geek Pts if you can name all theme songs.

Or if you just want to know here's a description of what happens when the world discovers a former CS major's account @ It has since been taken off by the department when it reached 40,000 hits.

Hatke Comic on B XVI

I agree with his sentiment. And the smiley face t-shirt.

Rabbi Boteach is, as usual, on my list of people who need to mind their own businesses

This coming from a guy who opined that the Gospels were little more than trashy novels.

Or as one commentator put it, "I wonder how this genus would feel if I wrote an article titled 'The need of young Rabbis to be celebate'?".

Personal moment

I collect coins. Not good ones, I mean my collection must be worth like $150 if I'm lucky. But I have spent many an afternoon poking at pieces of metal.

Probably either contributes or is an effect of OCD.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quote/Blog of the Day

"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]

Bibles a threat to your health

So says Canada:

Frederickton, Canada, Apr. 25 ( - The administration of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Frederickton, New Brunswick, has decided to ban the bedside Bibles that once comforted patients on the grounds that they are a health hazard. Hospitals in Canada are facing a rise in the rates of serious infections due largely to staff carelessness and poor implementation of prevention protocols. Since the SARS scare in Toronto in 2003, hospitals have taken greater care with possible outside instruments that might carry illness-causing bacteria.

Today is the Feast of St. Mark

It is assumed in this article that the individual referred to in Acts as John Mark (xii, 12, 25; xv, 37), John (xiii, 5, 13), Mark (xv, 39), is identical with the Mark mentioned by St. Paul (Col., iv, 10; II Tim., iv, 11; Philem., 24) and by St. Peter (I Peter, v, 13). Their identity is not questioned by any ancient writer of note, while it is strongly suggested, on the one hand by the fact that Mark of the Pauline Epistles was the cousin (ho anepsios) of Barnabas (Col., iv, 10), to whom Mark of Acts seems to have been bound by some special tie (Acts, xv, 37, 39); on the other by the probability that the Mark, whom St. Peter calls his son (I Peter, v, 13), is no other than the son of Mary, the Apostle's old friend in Jerusalem (Acts, xxi, 12). To the Jewish name John was added the Roman pronomen Marcus, and by the latter he was commonly known to the readers of Acts (xv, 37, ton kaloumenon Markon) and of the Epistles. Mark's mother was a prominent member of the infant Church at Jerusalem; it was to her house that Peter turned on his release from prison; the house was approached by a porch (pulon), there was a slave girl (paidiske), probably the portress, to open the door, and the house was a meeting-place for the brethren, "many" of whom were praying there the night St. Peter arrived from prison (Acts, xii, 12-13).

When, on the occasion of the famine of A.D. 45-46, Barnabas and Saul had completed their ministration in Jerusalem, they took Mark with them on their return to Antioch (Acts, xii, 25). Not long after, when they started on St. Paul's first Apostolic journey, they had Mark with them as some sort of assistant (hupereten, Acts, xiii, 5); but the vagueness and variety of meaning of the Greek term makes it uncertain in what precise capacity he acted. Neither selected by the Holy Spirit, nor delegated by the Church of Antioch, as were Barnabas and Saul (Acts, xiii, 2-4), he was probably taken by the Apostles as one who could be of general help. The context of Acts, xiii, 5, suggests that he helped even in preaching the Word. When Paul and Barnabas resolved to push on from Perga into central Asia Minor, Mark, departed from them, if indeed he had not already done so at Paphos, and returned to Jerusalem (Acts, xiii, 13). What his reasons were for turning back, we cannot say with certainty; Acts, xv, 38, seems to suggest that he feared the toil. At any rate, the incident was not forgotten by St. Paul, who refused on account of it to take Mark with him on the second Apostolic journey. This refusal led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas, and the latter, taking Mark with him, sailed to Cyprus (Acts, xv, 37-40). At this point (A.D. 49-50) we lose sight of Mark in Acts, and we meet him no more in the New Testament, till he appears some ten years afterwards as the fellow-worker of St. Paul, and in the company of St. Peter, at Rome.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Quote of the Day

All Your Salvation Are Belong To Us

Installation Mass rundown

atican, Apr. 23 ( - The Vatican has offered a preview of the solemn Mass that will formally inaugurate the pontificate of Benedict XVI on Sunday, April 24.

Msgr. Crispino Valenziano, an official at the Vatican liturgical office, briefed reporters on the ceremonies that will be held in St. Peter's Square, before a congregation expected to number in the hundreds of thousands, including a large contingent of international dignitaries and representatives of other faiths. He explained that the ritual would be unfamiliar to most viewers and participants, not only because it has not been performed for nearly 27 years, but also because some changes have been made in the ceremony.

Before making his appearance in St. Peter's Square to begin the ceremony, Pope Benedict will visit the the Vatican basilica, to pray at the tomb of St. Peter, accompanied by the patriarchs of the Eastern churches and the cardinals. Then two deacons will take up a box containing the Fisherman's Ring and the pallium, which have been kept beside the tomb of the apostle.

The pallium-- the white woolen strip that is worn across the shoulders of all archbishops as a symbol of their authority-- will be longer than those ordinarily seen today, Msgr. Valenziano told reporters. The vestment to be used by Pope Benedict takes its dimensions-- a bit more than 4 inches wide, and over 8 feet long-- from the example found in the tomb of St. Martin of Tours. The pallium is decorated with five red crosses, referring to the five wounds of the crucified Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI will receive the pallium after the reading of the Gospel-- which will be done in Latin and in Greek, representing the two great traditions of the Church. He will be given the pallium by the senior cardinal-deacon, Cardinal Jorge Median Estevez, the same prelate who announced his election on April 19 from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.

Next Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news) will present the Pontiff with the Fisherman's Ring. (Cardinal Sodano will perform this ceremonial function in his capacity as the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals. There is no dean at the moment; that post was occupied by then-Cardinal Ratzinger.) In another slight break from tradition, Pope Benedict will wear this ring continually. In the past, the Fisherman's Ring has been used as a formal seal, to be used in marking official documents, while the Pontiffs have ordinarily worn their own episcopal rings.

In another new variation of the ceremony, the act of obedience to the new Pope will be performed not solely by the members of the College of Cardinals, but by three cardinals, representing the group. There will follow nine other people: a bishop, a priest, a deacon, two religious, a married couple, and two young people.

The Mass, beginning at 10, will last about two hours. At the conclusion, the new Pope will receive the diplomatic representatives and officials delegations attending the ceremony.

Mark Shea's dissident round-up

Containing such knee-slappers as

Women -- and not only in the United States -- are very angry at the church. It is no exaggeration to say that many of them, devout Catholics to the core, will tell you they hated John Paul because he hated women.


He is also committed to elevating the rich and powerful, such as Escriva, fascist sympathizer and founder of Opus Dei, to sainthood.

Note to Fox: St. Josemaria Escriva wasn't a fascist sympathizer. More damningly, he's already a saint, and has been so for a while now . . . I mean, fascism we can dispute about, but on the sainthood part, you'd think you'd do a little fact-checking before you opened your mouth. He was made a saint by the fascist sympathizer, woman hating John Paul II, at which time tens of thousands of non-fascist women went to Rome for the ceremony.

The Papal Critique-O-Matic

With the recent election of Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as the Oktoberfest-blessing dipsophile Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the question foremost in the minds of the faithful is: in which direction will he lead the Catholic Church?

The Boston College reproductive rights advocate Andy Rooney made an incoherent attack upon the Catholic Church's ban on Tourette's Syndrome.

(insert some quote from Andrew 'Randy Andy' Sullivan)

One of the most pressing problems of world religions today is whether Catholicism can change to meet the demands of crappy religion coverage in the media, or fade into further irrelevancy. Only wizened interpreters of the utterly infallible prophecies of St. Malachy will be able to judge if this papacy is a success.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

What night is it?

Tonight Passover starts. While I haven't been asked to buy any bread this year, I will be going to my first seder. I think the time bears some meditation on the relation of Passover and Easter, not to mention Christ as the Paschal Lamb. All of it is quite confusing, but the more effort I put into it, the more rewarding I find it.

I'd especially think about the Via Dolorosa.

The Papa Ratzi Post

The newest must-read. Todays headline: Latin is the Lingua Franca of the Vatican again. Take that.

Friday, April 22, 2005

New Pope's Reaction To Ratzinger Fan Club


What's wrong with this line:

Homily of Card. Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals

What's worse is, this is from the Vatican.

That's quick

Two days after his election, the new Pontiff re-appointed the Vatican Secretary of State (Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news)), the substitute Secretary of State (Archbishop Leonardo Sandri), the Secretary for Relations with States (Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo), the president of the Vatican City-State (Cardinal Edmund Szoka), and the prefects of the Vatican congregations. In announcing the appointments on April 21, the Vatican press office reported that the Curia officials were confirmed in their posts donec aliter provideatur-- until the Pope makes other arrangements. Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls explained that technically the officials would resume their current appointments, which are for 5-year periods.

All top officials of the Roman Curia are relieved of the offices with the death of the Roman Pontiff. Pope Benedict has, essentially, appointed all of the key officials serving under Pope John Paul II (bio - news) to continue on their jobs. The Pope also confirmed the secretaries of the congregations and pontifical councils to continue their respective 5-year terms.

Pope Benedict acted quickly to confirm the top Vatican officials. Pope John Paul II, by contrast, waited 10 days after his election in October 1978 before he confirmed the Secretary of State, Cardinal Jean Villot, who had been serving in that post under Popes Paul VI and John Paul I.

Vatican-watchers expect Pope Benedict gradually to install his own team of collaborators in the top Curial posts, perhaps beginning in 2-3 months. Since several leaders of the Roman Curia are over the age of 75, and have already submitted their resignations, the new Pope is free to accept those resignations whenever he chooses. This is the case notably with Cardinal Sodano, the Secretary of State, who is 77.

Pope Benedict will also need to make a key appointment soon to fill the role that he himself has now left, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

PC --- not my kind.

This time the redskins were vanquished not by the U.S. Cavalry but ideological fashion, which decreed that American Indians henceforth be called Native Americans. It was a kind of Indian Removal Act, but imposed on the football team. The change was particularly wrenching for the mascot of Stanford's marching band. He would have to go, feathers and war dance and all. Call it ethnic cleansing.

I can sympathize. I myself have felt snubbed by the choice of Native American as a euphemism for American Indian, since I'm a Native American, too, but somehow I know the census-takers exclude me when they use the term.

Stanford's teams must now go by the unobjectionable name of the Cardinal — it's for the color, not the bird. But you can't very well train a color to go prancing about with the band. Hence the search began for another mascot.

The band, whose antics regularly result in suspension, finally settled on the Tree. That's right: the Tree, as in a giant redwood in nearby Palo Alto. Long the unofficial emblem of the university, it was made the band's official mascot.

The university itself has no official mascot, prudently preferring to stay out of the name game and ideological fray. Which is a great pity. I've always thought Robber Barons would be a great name for a team representing the university founded by Leland Stanford, the 19th century financier, intercontinental railroad builder and general visionary. What better name than Robber Barons for a team out to monopolize the field?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A brief history of the Holy Father

For those who need a refresher.

What amazes me the most is how he always wanted to just settle down and do theology, and when he was head of CDF he wanted to retire back to Germany, but he just kept going.

The Pope goes for a walk

This is like the President going for a stroll in DC. Nuts.

Rome, Apr. 20 ( - Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance on the streets of Rome on Wednesday afternoon, April 20, as he visited his old apartment near Vatican City to transfer some belongings to his new home in the apostolic palace.

The newly elected Pope, clothed completely in the distinctive white vestments of the papacy, caught onlookers by surprise when he chose to travel on foot, walking the few hundred yards to the apartment in the Citta Leonina where he had lived for years. When the news spread that the Pontiff was walking through the city, hundreds of people quickly gathered, and he spent some time in front of the apartment building, greeting the people and blessing young children. Italian police and Vatican security officials did their best to control the crowd, preserving some breathing room for the Pontiff.

After a short stay in his old apartment, the Pontiff reappeared, entering a black car that was waiting for him at the entrance of the building. He paused again to wave to the crowd, turning slowly from one direction to another so that he could greet as many as possible. The crowd burst into cheers of "Long live the Pope!" and the chant that has already become familiar: "Benedetto!" Pope Benedict later commented that he was "very moved" as he resumed direct contact with the faithful.

Pope Benedict had occupied the apartment in Citta Leonina until moving into the Vatican's St. Martha residence, along with all the other cardinal-electors, to begin the conclave on April 18.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Contraception in India

"It is dinned into one's ears that the gratification of the sex urge is a solemn obligation like the obligation of discharging debts...and not to do so would involve the penalty of intellectual decay. This sex urge has been isolated from the desire for progeny and it is said by the protagonists of the use of contraceptives that conception is an accident to be prevented except when the parties desire to have children. I venture to suggest this is a most dangerous doctrine to preach anywhere, much more so in a country like India....Marriage loses its sanctity when its purpose and highest use is conceived to be the satisfaction of animal passion without contemplating the natural result of such satisfaction."

Mohandas Gandhi.

Get your Benedict XVI merchandise

I think I'm going for the hat and the drinkware myself.

Contra Gossip

It seems so simple and so easy to do. But 'tis so wrong, and yet I can't stop. Maybe it's just me . . . but maybe it's a cultural thing, related to our obsession with reality TV. Most actions are strongly influenced by cultural concepts, even if we're trying to fight them.

Frum Schiavo?

erri Schiavo might still be alive had she been in a hospice in New York State rather than Florida.

A Queens Supreme Court justice, citing state and Orthodox Jewish law, ruled last week that a feeding tube is not medicine and must be inserted into a patient who cannot swallow unless the patient had provided explicit instructions to the contrary.

Schiavo's husband, Michael, had the feeding tube removed from his wife because he said she would not have wanted to be kept alive by a tube. Terri Schiavo did not have a living will or health-care proxy. She died March 31, 13 days after the tube was removed.

Judge Martin Ritholtz rendered his opinion in a case involving Lee Kahan, 86, an Orthodox Jewish woman.

One question was whether Kahan's "deeply held values as an observant Jew" were being breached by the actions of her daughter, so Ritholtz devoted a portion of his 17-page decision to a discussion of how Orthodox Jewish law regards feeding tubes.

"Judaism views nutrition and hydration by feeding tubes or intravenous lines not as medical treatment but as supportive care, no different from washing, turning or grooming a dying patient," the judge wrote. "The first Halachic [Jewish law] principle of medical intervention is that whenever it is possible to increase the longevity of a patient, it should be done.

"On the other hand, Halacha certainly takes pain and suffering into account. Under certain exceptional circumstances, only to be determined by a competent rabbi, it has been held by [the leading 20th century Halachic authority] Rabbi Moshe Feinstein that for a patient with pain and suffering who cannot be cured and cannot live much longer, it is not obligatory for physicians to administer medications briefly to prolong his life of pain and suffering, but nature may be allowed to take its course."

Ritholtz then quoted a differing opinion, saying Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, a contemporary of Rabbi Feinstein, believed that "suffering serves to increase a person's merit, and therefore prolonged suffering is a good reason to prolong life in order to erase sins and to allow the person an opportunity to repent."

"From this cursory overview, it is clear that the halachic view can be intricate and complex," the judge wrote. "In practice, the final decision must involve detailed investigation and full consultation between the doctors, the family and the rabbis on a case-by-case basis."

Ratzinger's last homily as Ratzinger

mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil "is ultimately Divine Mercy" ("Memory and Identity," p. 60-61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: "In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love .... It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good." Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.

Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: "Behold your Mother." And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home;" (John 19:27)

-- Totus tuus. And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi. We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

IE, the former Cardinal Ratzinger.

Habemus Papam


I really want to go to programming languages day at IBM, but I have work/class the whole time. I really have to stop one or the other.

Ratinger's homily yesterday

Vatican, Apr. 18 ( - The papal conclave began today, with all 115 cardinal-electors concelebrating a Mass pro eligendo summo Pontifice in St. Peter's Basilica, and heard a homily in which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news) warned against the influences of popular ideology.

Cardinal Ratzinger, as dean of the College of Cardinals, was the principal celebrant of the Mass, at which the cardinals asked for God to guide their choice of a new Roman Pontiff. The German cardinal-- who is the main focus of attention as the conclave begins-- concludes his homily with a prayer that God "after the great gift of John Paul II, again gives us a pastor after his own heart, a pastor to lead us to a better knowledge of Christ."

On Monday afternoon, the cardinals will enter the Sistine Chapel, in a formal procession beginning in the apostolic palace, to begin the voting process that will produce the 265th Pope.

The cardinals, who have moved into the St. Martha residence at the Vatican, where they will live during the conclave, begin to assemble at the basilica at 9 this morning. Some of the prelates stopped to greet journalists as they passed, but since they had agreed not to give interviews, confined themselves to a quick exchange of best wishes.

The Vatican basilica was soon filled, with priests, religious, and lay people from Rome joining the cardinals to pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance on the conclave. When the cardinal-electors entered-- in a formal process according to their seniority status-- the vast basilica was hushed. The solemn Mass was chanted in Latin.

Cardinal Ratzinger's homily was a lengthy one, touching on each of the Scripture readings for the Mass. Reflecting on the first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, he remarked that "the day of vengeance and the year of the Lord's favor come together in the Paschal mystery." Christians are called to live this mystery and to proclaim it, he said.

In a further meditation on the Letter to the Ephesians, the cardinal focused on St. Paul's remarks about those who are "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine." That description, he said, captures the troubles of the current age. "The little ship bearing the thoughts of many Christians has often been shaken," he explained, mentioning the ideological forces "from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertarianism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism." In our era, he said, "a dictatorship of relativism is being formed," which the faith must oppose.

Christians, Cardinal Ratzinger observed, cannot surrender to relativism, nor be governed by ideology, because "we have another measure: the Son of God." In the day's Gospel reading, he noted, Jesus calls his followers to "bear a fruit that abides." He called on the faithful, and particularly the cardinal-electors, to "pray to the Lord that he help us bear fruit that abides."

As the Mass ended, the cardinals left the basilica in procession, with the congregation breaking into applause as they passed. The electors will assemble again this afternoon for the procession into the Sistine Chapel.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The conclave starts today

EWTN, of course, is watching. Now would be a good time to pray that prayer for the election of a Pope.

Open thread

Should I be a canon lawyer?

Fr. Neuhaus has a Rome Diary

Fascinating reading.

As of this writing, Ratzinger is, according to the rumor mills, very much in the lead, with 40 or 50 electors indicating their support. The main mills are run by the Italian newspapers and especially by Corriere della Sera. It is reluctantly admitted by other reporters that the Italian papers have the edge in getting inside information, the claim being that they are on the good side of a talkative cardinal or two.

According to Dublin bookmakers, the odds favor Lustiger of Paris and Martini, formerly of Milan, but nobody here in Rome gives their prospects much credence. One Italian daily is puffing Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under John Paul, as Ratzinger's chief rival, but that, too, is viewed as highly improbable in Rome. Yet another Italian daily claims the American cardinals are forming a bloc in opposition to Ratzinger, but I find that hard to credit since in recent years the American cardinals have not formed a bloc on much of anything, and at least a couple of them are great admirers of Ratzinger. Yesterday one cardinal said the meetings are "tranquil and cordial" while another described the cardinals as "divided and gravely concerned." Take your pick. I imagine the Holy Spirit is amused by the chattering speculation.

This way of selecting a pope is criticized in some circles for being antiquated, secretive, and undemocratic. There is something to that, but then one must ask what would be a better way. Some who are identified as champions of collegiality have proposed that there should be a worldwide consultation of the 4,000 bishops of the Church, including provisions for the contributions of priests and the lay faithful. One can imagine the nightmare of having a three-or six-month campaign season upon the death or retirement of a pope. Presumably the cardinals would be something like the electoral college in the American system, with each casting a vote in accord with the expressed wishes of his region. Such proposals are, in addition to being unworkable, a formula for unbridled politicking and factionalism.

The present procedure is to gather the cardinals, who are the senior bishops of the universal Church and chief consultants to the late pope, for a few days of prayer and getting to know one another, followed by a conclave in which, protected from the media and outside influences, they elect one of their own whom they trust to lead the Church for undetermined years into the future. People who are put off by the inevitable maneuverings and counter-maneuverings are lacking a Catholic and incarnational sensibility that is not offended by God's use of very human means to achieve His purposes. This does not mean that a bad pope cannot be elected. There have been more than a few bad popes in the past. The promise is that nobody will be elected who will be able to destroy the Church or betray what Catholics call the deposit of faith. And maybe, please God, he will be another saint.

It is a cliché to say that the Church is not a democracy, but it is a cliché because so many recognize that it is true. There is always the danger of the arrogance and abuse of power, and patterns of consultation and collaboration can always be improved. But those who claimed after the Second Vatican Council that the Church's affirmation of democracy in the secular realm required, for the sake of consistency, the extension of democracy in the governance of the Church were wrong--and they are still wrong. The political sovereign in the temporal and temporary realm is "we the people." Christ is the sovereign of the Church. Of course, if Christ is Lord, he is Lord of all, but only in the Church is his sovereignty institutionalized, so to speak. In everything, and certainly in the choosing of a successor to Peter, the goal is to discern the will of Christ. And that I have no doubt is what is happening--not despite everything, but through everything--during these days in Rome.


Can someone explain to me why on a 70 degree day we have heat but no hot water in my building? I'm quite confused, not to mention hypothermic.

Hillel 0, MELAC 0

JWR is complaining about how one-sided the report is in favor of MELAC. MELAC is complaining about how one-sided the report is in favor of the Jewish students. I find it hard to believe that the report could be biased both ways. I think I like de Barry's comment the best. It was something along the lines of grow up, if memory serves, and let the university's democratic process take care of it.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

What's up in Oregon

Washington, DC, Apr. 15 ( - The Supreme Court of Oregon on Thursday nullified 3,000 marriage licenses that were distributed to same-sex couples last year in Multnomah County, saying the issuance of the licenses was a violation of established law.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners began issuing the licenses on March 3, 2004, after deciding that limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the county had no authority to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said, "We must commend the Oregon Supreme Court on their restraint and willingness to follow the law rather than making it. Last fall, Oregon voters joined 13 other states in recognizing the definition of marriage as one man and one woman."

Concerned Women for America pointed out that the victory is even larger than it appears since the Oregon Supreme Court is considered to be liberal and activist. "This is a tremendous victory for marriage, especially from a very liberal, activist court," said Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel. "This is the same court that in another case held that the state constitution protects obscenity."

Pareto efficienty

Pareto efficiency, or Pareto optimality, is a central concept in economics with broad applications in game theory, engineering and the social sciences. A change that can make at least one individual better off, without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement: an allocation of resources is Pareto efficient when no further Pareto improvements can be made.

The term is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who used the concept in his studies of economic efficiency and income distribution.

If an economic system is not Pareto efficient, then it is the case that some individual can be made better off without anyone being made worse off. It is commonly accepted that such inefficient outcomes are to be avoided, and therefore Pareto efficiency is an important criterion for evaluating economic systems and political policies.

Which is why Canada's health care system, which makes it illegal for one person to pay another for medical care, is a bad idea. If both are willing to do it, it's clearly in each of their best interests'. So why prohibit them?

So the government system looks good.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Prayer for the Election of a Pope

Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.

Lord, you are our eternal shepherd and guide.
In your mercy grant your Church a shepherd
who will walk in your ways
and whose watchful care will bring us your blessing.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Overclocking mayham

Or, when you push your hardware past its design point, zeroing out a register is enough to crash your computer (which should be impossible for those of you who are lucky enough to have not taken Comp Org yet).

Jimmy Akin roundup

Michael Schiavo's doctor has a history of misdiagnosed PVS

Florida grants feeding tubes to dolphins

Friday, April 15, 2005

Matzah and Metal?

Someone, somewhere, is rolling over in their grave about this one.

You know, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'll roll over in my grave, assuming I'm lucky enough to get one.



April 15, 2005
Volume 8, Number 17

Pro-Life Forces Claim Victory at UN Population Conference

The UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended its annual
session yesterday and prolife groups are claiming victory. As is typical,
the UN organizers and allied pro-abortion non-governmental organizations
had hoped to use the conference outcome document to advance
abortion-on-demand, specifically through adoption of the phrase
"reproductive health care services." A coalition of regionally diverse
nations including the US, Costa Rica, and Egypt banded together and
stopped them.

In preparation for the 38th session of the CPD the UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan had issued reports asking for "universal voluntary access to a
full range of reproductive health care information and services." The UN
Population Fund (UNFPA) joined with pro-abortion lobby groups to call for
"universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and
programmes." In UN terminology, "reproductive services" includes the
availability of abortion.

The draft resolutions prepared at the start of the conference by
Alfredo Chuquihuara of Peru, the outgoing CPD chair, urged governments to
provide "sexual and reproductive health care services" and stressed the
importance of promoting "reproductive health and rights." The drafts also
unequivocally reaffirmed the outcome document of the 1994 International
Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agreed to at Cairo. The
Cairo document refers to "reproductive rights" and "reproductive health"
and has been used by UN agencies and lobby groups to promote abortion.

Intense informal negotiations on the CPD drafts stretched throughout
the week, often lasting into the early hours of the morning. Because of
the pre-drafted language in the documents, one Holy See official described
the negotiations as "starting with the knife in your stomach and seeing
how far you can pull it out."

Sustained opposition by the United States and numerous developing
countries at last led to the removal of references to "reproductive
rights" and of the word "services" in connection with "sexual and
reproductive health." Moreover, the reaffirmation of Cairo was qualified
by a reference to a document containing the reservations of many countries
stating that the Cairo conference does not create a right to abortion.

This is the second victory for pro-life forces at the UN in as many
months. At the Commission on the Status of Women in March, the United
States forced numerous left-wing governments and pro-abortion NGOs to
admit that the Beijing Platform for Action also did not create a right to

Copyright 2005 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: Website:


NPR discussed this morning that the lead candidate for the Papacy was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The reason this is hilarious is there's no such thing as a lead candidate. I know there aren't many Catholics out there but trust me, there is no such thing as papacy primary or polls or anything. When Pope John Paul II was elected, a vast majority of the world let out a simultaneous, 'WHO?'. So, it seems people just need something to say. It's this reason, this is extra funny:

No ****.

My outer European is Italian too.

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.

You show the world what culture really is.

Who's Your Inner European?


Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

40% Yankee

10% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Poll says American Catholics want St. JP II

Again, what is it with these American Catholics?

First they say they think he's not "with it" and consider his beliefs "oppressive". Then they say it was sad that he has died even though they didn't agree with him. Now they want to make him a saint.

Either one of 2 things are possible:

1. Pollisters don't know how to find Catholics who actually believe in their Catechism, except for this one time. I mean the Times had a poll saying American Catholics didn't believe in the Real Prescence. How Catholic can that be?


2. American Catholics just don't get it. To be a saint means to love God and to do His will. So if our beloved Pope should be made a saint, didn't he do what God wanted? And if that's true, doesn't that mean that God does not support abortion or abc and that it would be wrong to "get a pope who would change things?"

Both are equally possible. Both are equally ridiculous.

Plastic Talking Jesus?

Jesus, Mary and Moses - they're bendable, they talk and they're coming soon to a website near you.

I just have one thing to say right now:

"I don't care if it rains of freezes
'Long as I got my Plastic Jesus."

I think it puts a new spin on those lyrics.

Printers playing music

Now this is an instrument I could get into.

The Ortho are getting restless

Apr. 13 ( - The Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow hopes for "a new era in relations" with the Holy See under the next Pope. Patriarch Alexei II, who frequently criticized Vatican policies during the pontificate of John Paul II, said that the next Pontiff should show "the necessary wisdom and tact" to advance relations with the Moscow patriarchate.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the Russian prelate called for the eliminations of "all the complications that are an obstacle" to ecumenical relations, so that the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches could focus on their "shared witness" to the Gospel.

Patriarch Alexei noted that the two largest Christian bodies are in accord on many important contemporary issues, such as "the erosion of respect for life and social injustice in the world." Joint efforts in those areas could advance the Christian cause, he said.

However, the Russian Orthodox leader repeated that "it is necessary to overcome the divergences and perplexity that complicates our dialogue." He then raised his familiar objections to Catholic evangelical efforts in traditional Orthodox lands, which he labels as "proselytism."

Fine with me. Just throw all the Eastern Orthodox out of the Western hemisphere, and all will be well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cardinal personalities

Apr. 12 ( - Among the 115 cardinals who will enter the Sistine Chapel on April 18 to elect the new Pope, only 2 have ever participated in a conclave!

Cardinals who have reached the age of 80 are no longer eligible to vote in a papal election, and among those under 80, all but 3 were appointed by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) after his own election in October 1978.

One of those three, Cardinal Jaime Sin, the retired Archbishop of Manila, is seriously ill, and will not be able to attend the conclave. Another, Cardinal William Baum-- the American prelate who is a former Archbishop of Washington and most recently served as Apostolic Pentitentiary-- is in Rome preparing for the conclave, despite his own frail health.

Only one other cardinal-elector has participated in a previous conclave, and he is beyond question the most important figure entering the conclave on April 18: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news).

Since 1981, when he was called to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II to serve as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the former Archbishop of Munich has established a reputation as a powerful intellect and a determined defender of orthodox Catholic teaching. Although his strong stance on doctrinal issues have often roused controversy, Cardinal Ratzinger is by nature a quiet, affable, and mild-mannered man, whose personality belies the liberal caricature of the Panzerkardinal. Pope John Paul relied heavily on the Bavarian prelate, and urged him to remain at his post despite Cardinal Ratzinger's well-known desire to retire to Germany.

Now, entering the conclave, Cardinal Ratzinger is not only the most established public personality among the cardinal-electors, but also the dean of the College of Cardinals. He was the center of attention when he presided at the Pope's funeral; he will be squarely in the focus of public attention once again when he presides at the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica just before the cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel.

For several years Cardinal Ratzinger has been seen as an unlikely candidate for the papacy, because of his age (78) and his medical history (at least two mild strokes). But if the conclave opts for a cautious approach-- leaning toward a prelate who is well known to all, and unlikely to serve a long term in Peter's throne-- he could become an obvious choice. In any event, by virtue of his intellectual stature, his long experience, and his deep knowledge of Vatican affairs, Cardinal Ratzinger will be a dominant figure in the conclave: a man whose opinions others are bound to take seriously.

The second "great elector" in the coming conclave will be Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news), who was the Secretary of State until the Pope's death ended the terms of all the leading members of the Roman Curia. Essentially the second-ranking official at the Vatican, he-- like Cardinal Ratzinger-- was re-appointed by Pope John Paul II despite reaching the regular retirement age of 75. A veteran Vatican official, he lacks the pastoral experience that would make him a likely candidate for the papacy. But he, too, will carry considerable weight when he speaks in the conclave.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re (bio - news), too, lacks pastoral experience. Aside from a few brief parish assignments, he has spent his entire priestly ministry in the Vatican. For 11 years he was the sostituto, the influential deputy to the Secretary of State who handles the day-to-day details of Vatican administration, meeting daily with the Pontiff. More recently he was prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, supervising appointments to dioceses all around the world. His age (71) and nationality (Italian) would make him an obvious contender for the papacy, but his lack of pastoral experience weighs against him. Many Vatican-watchers fully expect that he will emerge instead as the Secretary of State in the new pontificate. His consummate knowledge of Vatican affairs and his many dealings with the other cardinals over the past decade or more ensure that he will be a force in the conclave.

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who only recently retired from his post as Archbishop of Paris, is another powerful personality and longtime confidant of Pope John Paul II who commands respect among his brother cardinals. His retirement at age 77, and reports that he is suffering from cancer, suggest that he will not be considered as a potential successor to Pope John Paul II. His lively personality and intellect suggest that he will make his voice heard in the cardinals' deliberations.

A brief history of modern Popes

An excellent resource for those of us trying to remember whether Leo XIII came before or after Pius IX. Well, I'm trying to remember, at any rate.

Conclave 2005

Go to for the latest updates on, well, everything. Two Cardinal Electors will not be attending due to health reasons.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Qutoe of the Day

It has been said that it would be monstrous to see a Jew judge try a man for blasphemy. In my opinion, it is monstrous to see any judge try a man for blasphemy under the present law. But, if the law on that subject were in a sound state, I do not see why a conscientious Jew might not try a blasphemer. Every man, I think, ought to be at liberty to discuss the evidences of religion; but no man ought to be at liberty to force on the unwilling ears and eyes of others sounds and sights which must cause annoyance and irritation. This distinction is clear. I think it wrong to punish a man for selling Paine’s Age of Reason in a back shop to those who choose to buy, or for delivering a Deistical lecture in a private room to those who choose to listen. But if a man exhibits at a window in the Strand a hideous caricature of that which is an object of awe and adoration to nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of the people who pass up and down that great thoroughfare; if a man, in a place of public resort, applies opprobrious epithets to names held in reverence by all Christians; such a man ought, in my opinion, to be severely punished, not for differing from us in opinion, but for committing a nuisance which gives us pain and disgust. He is no more entitled to outrage our feelings by obtruding his impiety on us, and to say that he is exercising his right of discussion than to establish a yard for butchering horses close to our houses and to say that he is exercising his right of property, or to run naked up and down the public streets, and to say that he is exercising his right of locomotion. He has a right of discussion, no doubt, as he has a right of property and a right of locomotion. But he must use all his rights so as not to infringe the rights of others.



Vatican, Apr. 11 ( - The cause for beatification and canonization of Pope John Paul II (bio - news) could move forward very quickly, according to the secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Archbishop Edward Nowak said that the "popular acclaim" for the late Pontiff, which was so evident at his death and particularly at his funeral, was a clear indication of the widespread belief that John Paul II was a model of Christian virtue.

Ordinary procedures require a 5-year waiting period after an individual's death before the cause of beatification can be opened. But many leading Catholics-- in particular, the Focolari lay movement-- have argued that the requirement should be waived in the case of John Paul II. The late Pope himself lifted that requirement to allow the early beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and a new Pope could put the cause of John Paul II on a fast track.

Speaking to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera , Archbishop Nowak cautioned that a move toward beatification was likely to begin "not immediately," but after proper documentation had been collected. He even speculated that the next general meeting of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for October of this year, could see an announcement.

The archbishop told Corriere della Sera that during the Pope's funeral, as he heard the cries ring out in St. Peter's Square calling for his quick canonization, "it reminded us of the acclamation of saints that was the practice in the ancient Church." Although there are now formal procedures to be followed, the continued, "the substance is always the same: it is not the Church that canonizes people-- not yesterday, not today-- but the faithful who recognize and attest to a person's sanctity."

The first step toward beatification and canonization, Archbishop Nowak continued, is the testimony of "a reputation for holiness." When that reputation is established, the Church begins the process of collecting documentation to judge the cause. In the case of Pope John Paul, he observed, the documentary record is already enormous. Italian media outlets have begun adding to the record, with reports of miraculous cures attributed to the intercession of the late Pontiff.

Noonan on JPII

What John Paul did in the Blonie field was both a departure from his original comments in Poland and an extension of them.

In his first comments he said: God sees one unity of Europe, he does not see East and West divided by a gash in the soil.

In this way he "divided the dividers" from God's view of history.

But in the Blonie field he extended his message. He called down the Holy Spirit--as the Vicar of Christ and successor to Peter, he called down God--to fill the people of Poland, to "confirm" their place in history and their ancient choice of Christ, to confirm as it were that their history was real and right and unchangeable--even unchangeable by communists.

So it was a redeclaration of the Polish spirit, which is a free spirit. And those who were there went home a different people, a people who saw themselves differently, not as victims of history but as strugglers for Christ.

Another crucial thing happened, after the mass was over. Everyone who was there went home and turned on the news that night to see the pictures of the incredible crowd and the incredible pope. But state-controlled TV did not show the crowds. They did a brief report that showed a shot of the pope standing and speaking for a second or two. State television did not acknowledge or admit what a phenomenon John Paul's visit was, or what it had unleashed.

The people who had been at the mass could compare the reality they had witnessed with their own eyes with the propaganda their media reported. They could see the discrepancy. This left the people of Poland able to say at once and together, definitively, with no room for argument: It's all lies. Everything this government says is a lie. Everything it is is a lie.

Whatever legitimacy the government could pretend to, it began to lose. One by one the people of Poland said to themselves, or for themselves within themselves: It is over.

And when 10 million Poles said that to themselves, it was over in Poland. And when it was over in Poland, it was over in Eastern Europe. And when it was over in Eastern Europe, it was over in the Soviet Union. And when it was over in the Soviet Union, well, it was over.

Prager misses the point

Yes, divorce does undermine the institution of marriage. And yes, failed parents do undermine the institution of parenthood.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dual-core Intel CPUs


I can only with difficulty explain the joys of using a multiprocessor PC. I don't think I shall ever return to the uniprocessor PC for any intense interactive application, such as programming. If you have the bucks, pick one up. If you don't have the bucks, find 'em. If you don't know what multiprocessor is, you're probably fine with uniprocessor.

Zed on Dating

Interestingly enough, there's a Christian Comic Character by Kevin Frank with my name. Note: The views expressed in this comic belong artist Kevin Smith. Z(ed), despite the smiliarity in name,is not affiliated with the Zed comic.

Another Enlightening Article from the NY Times

Note the tone or sarcasm here.

My question is this: When did people start forgetting the words, "follow me" and started thinking of "the way" as "have it their way"? I could pose my own theories regarding assimilation, but I leave that to you.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A history of conclaves

Early life of the Holy Father

Apr. 05 ( - On May 18, 1920, Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice, a quite town outside Krakow, in southern Poland. His family lived in a modest house in the center of town, next to the Catholic church.

Although young Karol was remembered by his neighbors as an energetic and cheerful boy, his early years were marked by mourning. His mother Emilia died when he was 9, leaving him to live with his father, also named Karol, a retired military office, and an older brother who was a medical student in Krakow. Three years later, in December 1932, his brother died of scarlet fever.

As he grew, Wojtyla showed a keen interest in sports. He was an accomplished soccer player-- a goalkeeper-- and an avid hiker, swimmer, and tennis player. He also became involved in acting, joining a company led by Mieczyslaw Kotlarczyk, who introduced him to the deep cultural roots of the Polish theatrical tradition. In 1939, when he was admitted to the renowned Jagiellonian University, young Wojtyla moved with his father to Krakow. His studies were soon interrupted, however, by the Nazi invasion of Poland and the outbreak of World War II. The university was closed down by the German occupying forces, and Wojtyla took a job at the local Solvay chemical factory as a manual laborer. In February 1940, Karol Wojtyla met Jan Tyranowski, a layman who worked as a tailor, who was to have an enormous impact on the spiritual formation of the future Pope. Under Tyranowski's influence he became acquainted with the mystical writing of St. John of the Cross and the Carmelite spiritual tradition, and for a time considered entering the Carmelite order.

In February 1941 the young man's life was disrupted by mourning once again, when he came home to find his father dead. Karol Wojtyla was now alone in a country scarred by warfare and poverty under a brutal Nazi occupation. During these years he rejoined his old dramatic mentor, Kotlarczyk, in an underground acting group in Krakow. By staging traditional Polish plays, reading poetry, and organizing philosophical soirees, the "Rhapsodic Theater" group sought to keep alive the country's native culture, and stiffen resistance against the German occupation. Again caught up in the excitement of the theater, Wojtyla thought about a career in acting.

However, in the fall of 1942, Karol Wojtyla felt an unmistakable calling to the Catholic priesthood. Although seminaries had been closed down by the Nazi regime, he studied secretly in the residence of Archbishop Adam Sapieha, while continuing work in the chemical plant. In 1944, as Nazi troops began rounding up seminarians, the archbishop brought Wojtyla into his own residence, to live in the basement while he continued his priestly training.

When World War II ended, Wojtyla resumed his studies in theology at the Jagiellonian University, and was ordained to the priesthood on November 1, 1946. He was sent to Rome-- his first trip outside Poland-- for further study at the Angelicum, where Dominican professors led him in a deep exploration of the work of St. Thomas Aquinas. During school vacations, he traveled across Europe, visiting France, Holland, and Belgium as well as other parts of Italy. In June 1948 he completed his doctorate, with a dissertation on St. John of the Cross, and returned to Krakow.

By now Poland was living under a Stalinist government, bitterly hostile to Christianity. In his early parish assignments-- first in rural Niegowic, then in central Krakow-- the young priest set out energetically to counteract the influence of Communist ideology. He attracted a group of young Catholic families-- many of whom would remain close friends throughout his life-- and organized an ambitious program of intellectual and spiritual formation, punctuated by family outings, dramatic productions, and sporting events.

In 1951, the young priest was encouraged to continue his studies, and took a second doctorate in philosophy, with a dissertation on the phenomenological work of Max Scheler. By 1954 he was teaching ethics and moral theology at schools in both Lublin and Krakow, while still serving as a parish priest.

On July 1958, while he was leading a group of families in a kayaking and camping trip, Father Wojtyla received a summons to the office of Archbishop Sapieha, who told him that he was to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow. He continued to teach in Lublin, however, and published widely in philosophical journals while maintaining a broad correspondence with other intellectual leaders in Poland and abroad.

From 1963 to 1963, Bishop Wojtyla took part in the sessions of the Second Vatican Council. He was actively involved in writing several Council documents, most notably the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes (doc) , on the Church in the modern world. After the second Council session in 1963, he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and returned to learn that he had been appointed the new Archbishop of Krakow.

Returning again to Poland, the new archbishop strove to make Krakow a model for the implementation of Vatican II. At the same time, he led a steady, quiet resistance to Communist ideology, frequently sparring with government authorities to protect religious freedom and promote Christian principles.

In June 1967 the Polish archbishop received a red hat from Pope Paul VI, becoming at that time the youngest member of the College of Cardinals. His regular participation in synods in Rome brought him to wider attention among the world's other cardinals, as did his occasional trips abroad-- notably a tour of the United States, where he lectured at several universities. In March 1976, he received a signal honor from Pope Paul when he was selected to preach the annual Lenten Retreat for the Roman Curia.

Upon the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Wojtyla was summoned to Rome to participate in the conclave that elected Pope John Paul I in August 1978. He had barely returned to Krakow when he heard that the newly elected Pontiff had died abruptly, and the cardinals were forced to return for a new conclave. This time, on October 16, 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected.

The last 'Magnus'

Gregory is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History. He has exercised in many respects a momentous influence on the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. To him we must look for an explanation of the religious situation of the Middle Ages; indeed, if no account were taken of his work, the evolution of the form of medieval Christianity would be almost inexplicable. And further, in so far as the modern Catholic system is a legitimate development of medieval Catholicism, of this too Gregory may not unreasonably be termed the Father. Almost all the leading principles of the later Catholicism are found, at any rate in germ, in Gregory the Great. (F.H. Dudden, "Gregory the Great", 1, p. v).

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Mark Shea on the Holy Father

USCCB's review of the Holy Father

Friday, April 08, 2005



Who's going

The Americans were taken straight to the basilica on arrival in Rome. They will attend the Pope's funeral tomorrow, the first time a serving American president has attended such a ceremony. When Mr Bush came to Rome last June, John Paul II, a vigorous opponent of the war in Iraq, scolded the US president for the "grave unrest" in that country.

At the funeral Mr Bush will find himself seated close to President Khatami of the "Axis of Evil" state Iran. That two such diverse leaders should be obliged to share the same space is one indication of the huge pull of this funeral.

The elaborate funeral rites will draw the biggest gathering of the powerful and the humble in modern times. Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers and more than 14 leaders of other religions will attend. Some of the dignitaries meet rarely, if ever, a fitting tribute to a Pope who spoke out for world peace.

The American delegation arrived at the basilica at 9pm BST, just as police were stopping any further people from joining the queue to view the Pope's body, which winds for more than a kilometre. More than a million people have already seen the body, many of them waiting more than 12 hours.

"The city centre cannot take the arrival of any more faithful," said Guido Bertolaso, head of crowd control. "Anyone arriving tonight or tomorrow will have no possibility of following the funeral at St. Peter's."

The last proclamation

Vatican, Apr. 04 ( - In a statement released shortly after his death, Pope John Paul II (bio - news) proclaimed that "the world needs to understand and welcome Divine Mercy!"

The Pope's statement, prepared before his final illness, was released on the feast of Divine Mercy: Sunday, April 3. Pope John Paul, who had established that feast on the calendar of the universal Church, and was a great proponent of the Divine Mercy devotion, died just as the liturgical celebration of the feast day was beginning, with Vespers on Saturday evening.

Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the deputy Secretary of State, read the Pope's message at noon on Sunday, after the public recitation of the Reginal Caeli prayer. In the message, John Paul II remarked that Jesus offers his infinite mercy to man, "who so often seems lost and dominated by the power of evil, egoism, and fear."

"It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace," the Pope continued. He offered the prayer of the Divine Mercy chapelet: "Jesus I trust in you, have mercy on us and on the entire world."

The Divine Mercy devotion was popularized by St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who was beatified, then canonized, by Pope John Paul II. St. Faustina had related her vision of Jesus, appearing to her with streams of light emerging from his heart, asking that a feast be established after Easter in honor of his mercy. During the April 3 recitation of the Regina Caeli-- the Marian prayer that replaces the Angelus during the Easter season-- an image of Jesus as seen by St. Faustina was placed in the center of St. Peter's Square.

Report from Rome

Apr. 07 ( - The city of Rome is calm tonight, on the eve of the funeral for Pope John Paul II (bio - news). But officials are bracing for unprecedented crowds on Friday morning, April 8.

On Wednesday evening, police closed off access to the long line of mourners waiting to view the deceased Pope's body in St. Peter's basilica. Some people have managed to insinuate themselves into the line, but the crush of people approaching the Vatican has eased considerably. Late on Thursday afternoon there were still about 150,000 people in the line-- a mere fraction of the number from the previous day. The public viewing of the Pope's remains will continue until the early hours of Friday, when preparations will begin for the funeral.

The line of mourners now includes many people carrying Polish flags: representatives of a veritable army of Polish Catholics who have arrived in Rome to honor their native son. By Friday morning, officials expect 1 million or more Poles to have arrived: by plane, bus, train, and private cars.

Police are broadcasting public-service messages constantly in hopes of easing traffic congestion. Italian cell-phone carriers are also sending out text messages, reminding customers of both the severe restrictions that have been imposed on vehicular traffic around the city on Friday, and the new efforts made by authorities to accommodate pilgrims. In one such effort, officials are putting up several giant video screens at the Tor Vergata grounds outside Rome, where thousands of pilgrims are now camping, to discourage them from attempting to enter the city.

On Thursday morning, the perimeter of the Vatican was cordoned off, and access severely restricted. Many pilgrims have made themselves as comfortable as possible on the sidewalks of nearby streets, or around the Castel Sant'Angelo a few blocks away, waiting for authorities to open St. Peter's Square early on Friday morning. Many thousands of people are still pouring into the city-- their arrival delayed by brutal traffic snarls and delays in train schedules. Since they are being strongly advised not to approach the Vatican immediately upon their arrival, they are settling into quarters in other parts of the city. No one knows how many of these people will join the enormous crowds for the funeral.

Meanwhile public officials are setting up video screens in different locations around the city so that pilgrims do not need to travel to the Vatican, where the crowds will quickly overflow the available space.

Automobile traffic around Rome will be shut down from 2 in the morning until 6 in the evening on April 8, the date of the funeral-- which has been declared a national day of mourning, so that most businesses will be closed. The air space above the city will also be closed during the day, and air traffic in and out of Rome will be sharply curtailed as the airlines alter their routes to comply with that ban.

City officials are reluctant to estimate the size of the crowd for the funeral, but no one doubts that the number will exceed 2 million, and the highest estimates range upward to 5 million-- approaching the size of the crowdd that gathered around Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day in Manila, probably the largest crowd in world history.

I apologize for the delay

I am trying to get ready for the Pope's funeral.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Should I buy this?

The Pesach Haggadah with insights, halachic rulings and customs of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The funeral

The funeral Mass is preceded by a short ceremony in which the Pope's coffin is seal. First the body of the deceased Pope, which has been lying on public view in the basilica, will be placed in a cypress coffin. After a short period of prayer, the master of liturgical ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, and the late Pope's private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, will draw a white silk cloth over the Pope's face. Then the camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, will bless the body with holy water.

Next Archbishop Marini will observe an old Vatican tradition, putting a small purse into the coffin at the Pope's feet, containing specimens of the coins that were struck by the Vatican during his pontificate. Then the coffin will be sealed, in the presence of several official witnesses: among them will be the camerlengo, Cardinal Martinez Somalo; the archpriest of the Vatican basilica, Cardinal Francesco Marchisano; the vicar of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini; the former Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news); his sostituto or deputy, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri; the prefect of the papal household, Bishop James Michael Harvey.

The funeral itself will then begin with a solemn procession, including the lectors, clerics, and deacons who will participate in the ceremony, as well as the cardinals and patriarchs who will concelebrate-- virtually all of the cardinals who are present in Rome. The procession will enter the Vatican basilica slowly, accompanied by Gregorian chant. The coffin will be placed on the floor in front of the main altar. The Paschal candle will burn beside it, a symbol of the Resurrection. There will also be a large crucifix, and an open Bible.

The concelebrating prelates, vested in red, will assemble behind the altar, facing the congregation. To one side, near the altar, will assembled the secular dignitaries attending the service, seated according to diplomatic protocol: the heads of state and heads of government, members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of international organization. Opposite them, on the other side of the altar, will be the representatives of other religious groups, as well as the priests and religious of the Vatican basilica.

After the Mass, in which Cardinal Ratzinger will deliver the homily, the German cardinal will lead the final prayers for John Paul II. After circling the coffin with holy water and incense, he will read the prescribed prayers of the ritual: the commendation of the soul of the deceased Pontiff. This prayer is followed by the Litany of the Saints. Then the members of the hierarchy-- patriarchs, cardinals, archbishops, metropolitans, and bishops-- file past the coffin to pay their final respects.

The coffin is then carried to the place of burial, in the Vatican grottos, in another procession, accompanied by the singing of the Magnificat. This is a much smaller procession-- due in part to the limitations of space in the grottos. The participants will roughly the same people who witnessed the closing of the coffin: the top-ranking prelates of the Holy See, officials of the Vatican basilica, and members of the Pope's household.

The camerlengo leads the burial service, another rite surrounded with Vatican tradition. First the Pope's cypress coffin is wrapped in red ribbons, which are imprinted with the seals of the pontifical household. Then the coffin is placed within another metal coffin, which is immediately sealed. This metal coffin, engraved with a cross and the late Pope's coat of arms, is then deposited into a third, oak coffin.

The notary of the Vatican basilica then reads the formal notice of the burial, in the presence of the witnesses. The camerlengo and the prefect of the pontifical household sing the document, formally certifying the burial.

John Paul II will be buried in the ground, in the oratory of St. Longinus, near the spot where St. Peter's tomb is located. His grave will be marked by a simple, inclined, marble marker bearing his name.


A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As a mark of respect for His Holiness Pope John Paul II, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on the day of his interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty ninth.


The camerlengo

Apr. 05 ( - With the death of a Roman Pontiff, the spotlight quickly fastens upon the camerlengo : the holder of an office that will lapse back into obscurity upon the election of a new Pope.

Appointed by the Pope, the camerlengo ordinarily holds another office in the Roman Curia. As camerlengo he has virtually no responsibilities while the Pope is alive. When the Pope dies, and the leaders of the Roman Curia are relieved of their offices, the work of the camerlengo begins.

Until recently only the most dedicated Vatican-watchers could have identified the current camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, despite the fact that he has held the post since April 1993. The Spanish cardinal was known to the world primarily as prefect of the Congregation for Religious Life. The 78-year-old prelate is a respected veteran of Vatican affairs, having served in the Holy See's diplomatic corps and the Roman Curia for more than 30 years.

The office of camerlengo can be traced back to the 11th century, when the camera thesauraria--- treasure chamber-- was the office handling financial affairs for the Holy See. The head of that office was the camerlengo, or chamberlain. By the 15th century it had become mandatory that the camerlengo should be a cardinal.

The scope of the office has changed significantly over the centuries, but the camerlengo has always been involved with the handling of practical, temporal affairs for the Holy See-- with finances and administration rather than spiritual and doctrinal affairs. The current duties of the camerlengo were set forth by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae in 1967 and updated by John Paul II in Pastor Bonus of 1988 and Universi Dominici Gregis of 1996. Essentially, the camerlengo supervises the temporal administration of the Vatican during the interregnum between Popes.

As caretaker the Holy See during the sede vacante period, the camerlengo has the responsibility formally to certify the death of the Pope; to seal off the papal apartments; to preside at prayer services for the deceased Pope and supervise his burial; to summon the world's cardinals to Rome; and-- together with 3 other prelates elected by the congregation of cardinals at their first meeting-- to handle the day-to-day management of Vatican affairs. He has the primary responsibility for preparing the conclave-- including, in modern times, the task of sweeping the Sistine Chapel to ensure that there are no electronic devices in place to eavesdrop on the cardinals' deliberations. The camerlengo continues with these management tasks through the election of the new Pope, at which time his importance quickly diminishes.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bush is going to the funeral

Culture & Cosmos
April 5, 2005 Volume 2, Number 35

President Bush's Attendance at Funeral Indicates John Paul II's Impact

As a testament to Pope John Paul II's wide-ranging influence,
President Bush will attend the Holy Father's funeral on Friday, the first
time in American history that a president has attended a papal funeral and
a symbol of the high esteem in which Bush holds the pontiff.

"Laura and I are looking forward to leading a delegation to honor the
Holy Father. . . . He's a courageous person; he's a moral person; he was a
Godly person," Bush said. "And so the world will miss him. And it is my
great honor, on behalf of our country, to express our gratitude to the
Almighty for such a man. And of course, we look forward to the majesty of
celebrating such a significant human life." The president is expected to
bring a five-person delegation to the funeral that will include former
Presidents Clinton and the elder Bush; Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice; and First Lady Laura Bush.

Pope John Paul II is the first pope to die since America gave
diplomatic recognition to the Vatican, a move that occurred under
President Ronal Reagan in 1983 and drew criticism at the time from both
secular and Protestant organizations. Robert Royal, President of the Faith
and Reason Institute and member of the Culture of Life Foundation Board of
Directors, said that Reagan recognized in Pope John Paul II an important
ally in the battle against the Soviet Union. "After meeting with the pope,
Reagan said he needed his own person at the Vatican because John Paul was
too important in fighting communism," Royal said. According to Royal, a
previous attempt to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican had been
made by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s but was squashed by
public protest.

Bush has long expressed admiration for Pope John Paul II and his
attendance at the papal funeral is likely more than just a diplomatic
formality. Bush frequently employed the Holy Father's phrase, "the culture
of life" and described his three meetings with the pontiff as powerful
events. "I remember going to Castel Gandolfo - Laura and I were there, and
I can remember him taking us out on the balcony of this fabulous palace
overlooking a magnificent lake, and talking about his views of the world.
It was a moment I'll never forget during my presidency."

Royal says he believes that Bush's apparent affection for the pontiff
is more than just lip-service employed for political benefit. "I think
that both Bushes sincerely admired the man. Let's not forget that it was
while the first George Bush was in power that communism fell. I think the
Bush family was very close with this pope." Following the announcement of
Pope John Paul II's death on Saturday, the president attended a memorial
Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington celebrated by Cardinal
Theodore McCarrick.

The fondness for the pope held by Bush, an Evangelical Protestant, is
emblematic of the way the Holy Father helped inspire a coalition between
Evangelicals and Catholics in this country in the culture war battles.
"The way this pope was able to draw in Evangelicals and Southern Baptists
was remarkable," Royal said. Many observers believe that a document like
"Evangelicals and Catholics Together," a joint statement initiated by
Father Richard John Neuhaus and prominent evangelical Charles Colson that
recognized areas of agreement between the two traditions, would have been
impossible without the powerful witness of John Paul II. Similarly the
pontiff was able to use the Vatican's diplomatic corps to build a
coalition of Muslim and Catholic countries to fight off the efforts of
radical feminists at the UN to create an international right to abortion
and declare the traditional family obsolete.

Copyright 2005---Culture of Life Foundation. Permission granted for
unlimited use. Credit required.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500 Fax: (202) 289-2502


Poor Stephanie

Michael: Who are all the babies on your wall?

Me: That's Emily...our niece.

Michael: Oh.

(later, a scene between me and mom)

Mom: I hope the girls in your dorm won't think that your brother was a boyfriend that you brought to your dorm room.

Steph: No, mom.

Mom: Boys aren't allowed in the rooms, are they?

Steph: Yes, they are.

Mom: (surprised) Oh.

You wanna know about TPF?

Well, probably not, but the message is fascinating to a mainframe buff.

Monday, April 04, 2005


I got this in an e-mail:

There were three country churches in a small town: the Presbyterian
Church, the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church. Each church was
overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do
about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

The Methodist group got together and decided that they were not in a
position to harm any of God's creations. So, they humanely trapped the
squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days
later, the squirrels were back.

It was only the Catholics who were able to come up with the best and
most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered
them as members of the parish. Now they only see them on Christmas & Easter.

JPII's Plans for After His Death

The 13,000-word document also specifies how the Church is to be governed during the next three to four weeks.

John Paul II decreed that the conclave to elect his successor should not begin until at least 15 days have passed since his death. But it cannot be delayed beyond 20 days.

During the period of the Sede Vacante, or Vacant See, the most important Vatican official is the Camerlengo, or Chamberlain.

His first task was to seal the papal apartment and ensure the Pope's ring and lead seal were smashed - a centuries-old precaution against any attempt at forgery or impersonation.


Representing communities that are sometimes bitterly divided by political and religious conflict, the Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergymen appeared at a joint news conference organized by the chief rabbinate, in a rare show of unity.

They issued a declaration warning that holding the gay event in Jerusalem would "desecrate its sanctity and character and cause a breakdown in public order," and they called on Israeli authorities to prevent it.

JWR on the Pope

A Jewish couple in Cracow anticipated the worst, and entrusted their small son to a Gentile couple in the town of Dombrowa, who accepted the boy at no small risk to their own lives. The parents left directives to see to it that their son be raised Jewish and reunited with relatives in North America if they should not return.

They didn't, but the couple (who did not have children of their own) grew attached to the little boy. Over time, they decided to adopt him as their own, and asked the new parish priest to baptize him. The priest questioned the child's provenance. What had the parents said? The couple told him of their wish to have the boy sent to relatives across the Atlantic. The priest refused to baptize the child. In time, his relatives were located, and he was sent to them, and grew up to become an observant Jew.

The priest would later become Pope John Paul. When one of the most prominent pre-Holocaust Chassidic sages, the Bluzhover Rebbe, heard the story, he remarked, "Perhaps it was the merit of saving a single Jewish soul that brought about his election as Pope. It is a story that must be told."

Schiavo v. Jacov

nvariably, Yacov responds to my inquiries about Marsi with expressions of thanks for the progress that has been made and hope for future progress. Last week, Yacov was moved to write about Marsi to the Jerusalem Post, in response to a series of articles about Terri Schiavo and the Jewish approach to such situations. Subsequently, CNN picked up the story and interviewed the Tabaks and aired a three-minute segment on them.

Over the last seven years, Marsi has learned again to swallow and to stand with the assistance of a walker. Each of these achievements — i.e., the performance of the most routine, everyday actitivies — has been hard-won, the result of months and even years of effort by each family member and various physiotherapists. As a result of Marsi and her family's efforts, she accompanied her daughter to the chuppah, and on Purim her son read the Megilla to her, as he does every year. Yacov describes communication as "very challenging, but possible, and very rewarding."

Yacov hopes that the brilliant woman he married will again be able to converse freely with him, just as Sarah Scantlin, a Kansas woman who had been in PVS for twenty years, began to speak well this past February. Whether or not that happens, however, he will have no regrets about devoting himself to her improvement. "To witness my wife struggling today with her challenging physiotherapy while standing in a walker is to understand what the will to live really means," he writes.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

OO on the Holy Father

"Totus Tuus."

May you return to Him
who formed you from the dust of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints
come to meet you as you go forth from this life.
May Christ, who was crucified for you,
bring you freedom and peace.
May Christ, who died for you,
admit you into His garden of paradise.
May Christ, the true Shepherd,
acknowledge you as one of His flock.
May he forgive all your sins
and set you among those He has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face
and enjoy the vision of God forever.

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!

May Christ, who called you, take you to Himself;
May angels lead you to Abraham's side.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and may perpetual light shine upon him.


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