Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy Birthday Solidarity

Foreign leaders have paid tribute to Poland's Solidarity movement at events to mark the founding of the first free trade union in the former Soviet bloc.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the movement had launched an irreversible process towards freedom in eastern Europe.

He was speaking at a conference in Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity.

Thousands of people then attended a Mass by the shipyard where Lech Walesa and fellow workers founded Solidarity.

The Times editorial page has an interesting problem on their hands

If we look at this little snippit:

The Koso marriage is indeed legal, and that is the fault of the Kansas State Legislature, which should heed a call by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and raise the age as soon as it reconvenes in January. Kansas is not the only state that has failed to fix antiquated laws permitting 14-year-old boys to marry 12-year-old girls if the parents permit; several states, including Massachusetts, have laws that are nearly as ridiculous.

The fact that parents are willing to go along with these unions does not make them right. Chances are that in most of these cases, as apparently happened with Mr. Koso's family, when the parents found out that a baby was on the way, they were eager for the child to be born to married parents. But neither parental nor state approval makes it right to tie a girl as young as 12 to another person in what is supposed to be a lifetime commitment.

The Nebraska attorney general has recognized something even more serious in the Koso case, however. Wedding or not, Matthew Koso is a grown man who seduced a child. There are very good reasons for such things being against the law, even in Kansas and even when the child in question believes that she is in love. Prosecuting this case should send a warning to other adults who imagine they can turn sex crimes into romance by marrying their victims.

We can see a problem. The Times has said that these things are wrong because they're, well, wrong, the wishes of those involved and the laws involved nonwithstanding. But they haven't given any reason for these things to be illegal, or in the absence of a legal question for them to be immoral, most likely I think because they can't articulate what that reason might be, they just feel it.

Will they admit this? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Also scary in another way

I have to wonder about any Oracle consultant that mentions about he and his wife that
They also rescue crippled dwarf miniature horses and provide them with lifelong care.

Noble, but I didn't' realize that such a degree of specialization was possible.

Things are a little scary down South

Not the usual topic of my blog, but I think everyone could use a little praying and a little reflection right now.


Those who have never tried electronic communication may not be aware
of what a "social skill" really is. One social skill that must be
learned, is that other people have points of view that are not only
different, but *threatening*, to your own. In turn, your opinions may
be threatening to others. There is nothing wrong with this. Your
beliefs need not be hidden behind a facade, as happens with
face-to-face conversation. Not everybody in the world is a bosom
buddy, but you can still have a meaningful conversation with them.
The person who cannot do this lacks in social skills.

-- Nick Szabo

Taken from a fascinating Usenet FAQ.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Apparently exorcisms are on the up in Mexico

Mexico City, Aug. 30 (CNA/ - At the recent National Congress of Exorcists held at the headquarters of the Mexican bishops’ conference, organizers revealed that up to five exorcisms per day are taking place in the country.

The number of daily exorcisms has been climbing since the 1960s, according to researchers. In the central Federal District of Mexico alone there are eight priests authorized by the Holy See to perform exorcisms in order to expel demons in the name of Jesus according to the rites and norms of the Catholic Church.

Spy Games

This weekend I saw the movie Spy Game which, to be honest, was quite awesome. As I watched, however, I pondered the morality, or more rightly the immorality, of all the various killings that were going on, the bombings, the "realpolitik", and began to consider whether a Catholic could really participate well in an organization that engaged in such activities as the CIA.

I mean, in a certain sense what's going on is war, and soldiers are valid targets. However, the lying, the constant lying, and the "side effects" of their fights are quite disturbing. Thoughts?

Mark Shea is done!

Amazing. Hopefully he shall return soon to the Blogosphere with much rejoycing.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Holy Father meets with SSPX

Castel Gandolfo, Aug. 29 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) met on Monday with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the Society of St. Pius X, for talks aimed toward reconciliation between the Holy See and the traditionalist group.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the director of the Vatican press office, reported that the meeting had been held "in a climate of love for the Church and a desire to arrive at perfect communion." He said that the Pope and Bishop Fellay were hoping to make gradual progress in overcoming differences, so that a full agreement could be reached "in a reasonable time."

In his own statement after the meeting, Bishop Fellay said that his visit to the Pope showed that the SSPX "has always been, and will always be, attached to the Holy See." Echoing the Vatican's official statement, Bishop Fellay said that the 35-minute conversation had produced an agreement to work gradually toward a resolution of the differences between the traditionalist group and the Vatican, "in a spirit of great love for the Church."

Not my favorite little situation, but I'm glad to see progress is being made. If you want a little background on what all of this means, check out this story.

Mr. Lorenzo has found the greatest new sport

Don't try this at home!

Sorry about that

Spent a weekend in Vermont planning for the Columbia Catholic Undergraduates retreat. I have to make a million phone calls, learned that I'm moving in on Saturday, and I'm looking for a copy of Ratzinger's "The God of Jesus Christ" if anyone can point me in the right direction or would care to comment.

Missed Church? Discuss with Your Confessor

Of course the Times doesn't agree with this one. They don't have a confessor. You can still listen to Catholic Insider.

Mr. Lewis, who regularly attends services of the National Community Church in Alexandria, Va., listened to the sermon while he was at the gym, through a recording he had downloaded to his iPod. Instead of listening to the rock music his gym usually plays, he heard his pastor's voice.

"Having an iPod is a guaranteed way to get the sermon if you're going to be out of town," Mr. Lewis said, adding that he listens to the pastor's podcast at least once more during the week, usually while driving to work, even during weeks he makes it to services.

Mr. Lewis's pastor, the Rev. Mark Batterson, started podcasting, or "godcasting" as he prefers to call it, last month to spread the word about his congregation. The hourlong recordings of his weekly service, available on, have already brought new parishioners to his church, he said.

One of the most popular Christian podcasts, Catholic Insider (, already exceeds 10,000 listeners for each program. The founder is the Rev. Roderick Vonhögen, 37, a priest from the Netherlands, who heard about podcasting from one of his parishioners and has become an avid fan of Adam Curry, one of podcasting's founders.

Father Vonhögen began podcasting during a trip to Rome in February. When Pope John Paul II fell ill he captured reactions in and around the Vatican. Since then Father Vonhögen has done programs on the spiritual aspects of the "Star Wars" films and has discussed the Christian dimensions of the Harry Potter books.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Because it's Almost Time for Vespers

I've decided to post a website about the Magnificat, a song that has gained meant a lot to me these past couple days. It makes me amazed by the wisdom and piety of our Virgin Mother even at the age of 16.

Mary's prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the Incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father's plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ's conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, His Body. In the faith of His humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance He had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to Thy word". "Fiat": this is Christian prayer: to be wholly Gods' because He is wholly ours. [CCC 2617]

No to Bad Mouth Anyone Again

But the Jesuit who has been saying daily mass at my church is beginning to get on my nerves. Why? Because he invites everyone to say the doxology with him. For laymen, that's the "Through him, with him" part.

This isn't the first time I've seen a priest do this either-

The recitation or singing of the conclusion by the whole assembly is an extension that is unlawful not merely from a disciplinary point of view-as being against the rules now in force-but at a deeper level, namely, as being in conflict with the very nature of ministries and texts.

Even though someone could interpret this extension to the entire assembly as a sign of the desire of the assembly for increased participation in the liturgy, it is necessary that this desire be realized in an orderly and authentic way. What seems like progress is in fact retrogression: it is a sign of forgetting the part that belongs to each individual in the liturgical celebration. See SC art. 28: ". . .each person, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all, but only those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy." In the third case it happens often that the final is said or sung by no one or almost no one. If, on the contrary, the directions given in the Order of Mass (nos. 100, 108, 115, 124, "The people respond: ") are followed, it is possible in order to give greater emphasis to this response to use more elaborate chants that give force and solemnity to the acclamation of all the people (for example, the triple sung by all the people at a Mass celebrated by the pope or the more simple in the French missal of 1974, p. 103): Not 14 (1978) 304-305, no. 7.

The rest of the article has some good Q&A about procedural stuff involving the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).

I have read that if one has a problem with a priest, to not criticize him and instead tell Jesus in his tabernacle, but I've got to do some research on the validity of that. In cases like this I would prefer to write a letter to the bishop rather than wait around for someone else to do something. Since the entire congregation is saying it, they obviouslly don't know it's illegal.

And Now it's Time to Laugh at the Lost Soul Who Wandered Upon This Blog To Look for Porn-

Look at him! Hahahahaha! You may all taunt now. Poor soul off in East Stroudsburg, PA.

Serriouly though, considering the fact that 'homo' is already on the website and I've mentioned the word porn twice (this makes 3 times) in the past couple days, it makes sense that he popped by. Too bad he spent such a short time in horror at what a... papist place is before running away in fear. He could have gotten some advice on kicking the habit from David Morrison or something. Something makes me doubt that he would want that. Oh well.

Back to the mines!

God is for the Birds

Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them.

Are not you of much more value than they?

Matthew 6:26

I was looking outside and I saw a bunch of sparrows feeding, and it reminded me of the value of spiritual poverty. From what I hear, the life of birds can be pretty rough. But they live for the moment, not hoarding anything. In this same way, we should not hold back anything from God nor should we be attached to anything on Earth. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through material poverty.

I was watching Sunday Night Live with Fr. Groeschel and he was telling a story. He stumbled upon a Greek festival at an Orthodox church. He thought, "maybe if I go in someone will feed me some Greek food." He said it was very Franciscan of him to think that. How often do we walk into a situation with the bird-like simplicity of hope that God will provide for our needs? I myself do this rarely. Sure enough, he stumbled upon a woman at the festival. She recognized him as the man on EWTN and praised him for all his work and support for the Orthodox Church. Sure enough, she was the pastor's wife, and he ended up getting his fill of baklava.

People like Fr. Groeschel live on practically nothing, and yet they still survive. Their only material request of God is, "give us this day our daily bread" so that they may focus their energy that day on praising God and not making more money for the next day.

Which leads me to the strange paradox I notice between this miniparable and the story of the 10 virgins. The wise virgins saved up their oil. They stored it and met the bridegroom wheras the man with the stores of grain stores his grain and dies. Is storing a good thing or a bad thing? In the case of the 10 virgins, I think the storing is of a different idea. The virgins stored oil while the man stores grain. Grain is of material value because it can be saved for eating or sold for money. Oil in this case is used for keeping watch. The women that did not keep much oil were not intent on keeping watch for a long period of time. The women who were wise knew that the time of His arrival could be now or later during the night.

Waiting is a funny thing, isn't it? In waiting, we experience the now because waiting is something that can only be done in the present. However, to wait implies a continual activity, such as struggle, over a duration of time. Therefore we must be as much in the now as possible, expecting the thing to come regardless of the duration of time spent. And because we are living in the now, we cannot save since it prevents us from being in the now.

This idea is very similar and yet very different to the way many modernists try to live in the now in order to achieve their individualist or hedonist goals. They aren't holding anything back because they see nothing worth while to save. It is in fact, quite animalistic. We also are like this because compared to God nothing is more valuabe. Nevertheless, we have something to wait for. Thus, those people are more like the foolish virgins who use up their oil instantly unlike the faithful who keep their lamps trimmed.

Hopefully I have made some sense.

Today we read about the 10 Virgins

While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said,‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply,‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake,for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Mother, don't you stop a-prayin'
Father, keep right on prayin'
Mother, don't you stop a-prayin'
For this ol' world is almost done

Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
For this ol' world is almost done

Sister, don't you stop a-prayin'
Brother, keep right on prayin'
Sister, don't you stop a-prayin'
For this ol' world is almost done

Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
Keep your lamps trimmed and burnin'
For this ol' world is almost done

A Question about Br. Roger's Funeral

At a Eucharistic service celebrated Tuesday by a Roman Catholic cardinal for Brother Roger, a Swiss Protestant, communion wafers were given to the faithful indiscriminately, regardless of denomination.

How could that be?

This Comic Makes me Laugh

The Controversy over Fetal Pain

Someone please write the bishop of this woman's diocese.

What's worse, these people are pro-abort.

There's a Turkey in Battery Park

I found pictures. Her name is Zelda. One day she even took a walk into TriBeCa. I'm surprised she hasn't attacked the tourists.

The Times wrote an article a while ago about Giuliani, Riverside Park's bird that got shipped off to Pelham Bay Park against the will of the locals.

Evangelicals and "The Internet is For Porn"

The politically activist evangelical model views government coercive force as the primary means of achieving the desired end, in this case media decency. In extreme cases, what might otherwise be viewed as a secondary means, such as personal evangelism and conversion, can be completely overshadowed and even explicitly denounced.

So in the case of X3Church, a Christian pornography ministry aimed at consumers and producers of pornography, evangelical leaders criticize or distance themselves from the effort. At the same time Pat Robertson is busy pontificating on US foreign policy, he is rebuking X3Church. According to Robertson, while Jesus would not go to a porn convention, he might be in favor of assassination of a foreign political leader.

Christians should not refrain from making their moral judgments heard in public debates about policy issues. But political means should be viewed as secondary means to achieving desired ends and they should certainly never displace evangelism as the primary means of the inbreaking of God’s kingdom (see the Great Commission).

As I’ve said before, a far better way than coercing others to adhere to objective standards of morality is to convert them to those standards. It is ultimately only through proclamation of the Gospel that the culture and the nation will be redeemed. For the church is to engage the world not with the sword of the government, but with "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 NIV).

Besides, how is one to love God out of his free will if he's simply being coerced into not doing anything socially unpleasant?

Fr. Tucker Explains the Celibate Priesthood

The first distinction we need to make is between priests who are vowed Religious and those who are not. Vowed Religious would be friars, monks, Jesuits, and all those men who belong to this or that religious Order. They -- like any woman or non-priest who joins an Order -- make the traditional three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience -- what we call the three evangelical counsels. The religious vow of chastity is actually a vow of continence, the voluntary abstinence from all sexual gratification. Chastity in itself is not sexual abstinence, but rather the virtue of rightly ordering the sexual drive, and this applies to the unmarried and the married in different ways. Everyone is called to chastity, but not everyone is called to perpetual continence. It is to continence that members of the religious Orders vow themselves.

But not all priests belong to religious Orders. Considerable numbers of us depend directly upon the local bishop and, in fact, take no vows. We are called the "secular clergy." In a way analogous to the religious vows, at ordination we make public promises of celibacy and of obedience to the diocesan bishop and his successors. When the Church says "celibacy," she means celibatus, "the unmarried state." Indeed, if you look at public documents in Italy, for instance, in the marital status section, where an American document would say "single," the Italians still say "celibe," regardless of what sort of sexual life a person is leading. In English, the word has taken on connotations of continence, which is not what the canonical term means. So, canonically, the Religious priest takes a sacred vow to abstain from sexual activity; the secular priest makes a promise not to get married. A vow is more radical than a promise, and thus the spiritual rewards are greater for a vow -- and so are the penalties for breaking it. The Religious' vow (and this applies to priests, sisters, and brothers) is of higher perfection than the secular priest's promise.

Cardinal Spellman isn't Gay

An intense article on the slander surrounding Francis Cardinal Spellman.

Found another Article on Population Control in the Philippines

This covers about everything. Did I mention the fact they will be copying China's 1 child policy?

I have a very bad feeling about this.

CLS's Analysis on Cafeteria Catholics

Methodist, Dr. Albert C. Knudson, in a 1944 book entitled simply “Protestantism,” insisted that “the cardinal principle of Protestantism is "the inspiration of the individual and the consequent right of private judgment," as opposed to Rome's claim to be the authoritative interpreter in religious matters” (the link provides a great summary of this topic). It seems to me that Ken has hit the nail on the head. Total self-reliance in all spiritual matters seems to be the same spirit that many dissenting Catholics adopt. This realization of course is nothing new but it does provide another perspective to consider.

The difference between Protestants and dissenting Catholics is that the Reformers left the Church and current Protestants do not join Her. However, for some reason dissenting Catholics do not leave to find a tradition more in keeping with what they wish to hold. Why? There are manifold reasons, perhaps as many different reasons as there are individual dissenters. However, it seems to me that the reasons many do not leave is that the current culture better allows the dissenter to live peaceably within this discord than it did in the past. Here are some ways in which I think it does:

- The relativism of our culture and its distorted sense of tolerance conspire to make any claim of absolute truth untenable to modern ears.
- The radical individualism which the culture fosters (with its seeds at least partly from the Reformation) and the virtue assigned to those who seem to be in control of their destinies, together with our ingrained suspicion of authority make it quite difficult to trust anyone other than ourselves (at least in some matters since we cannot live with this suspicious attitude in our daily lives and still survive in a society).
- Our fallen state and our hedonistic culture condition us with a bias against any admonitions toward self-control and self-restraint.
- Finally, most Catholics are not well catechized and do not understand very well what the Church teaches or why.

Thus with very little to go on most dissenters (but not all), simply follow the path of least resistance. They are catechized by the culture and respond to the rare corrections that they hear with the canards with which the culture feeds them. Other dissenters who are relatively well catechized seem able to hold their positions because they have been able to convince themselves that they know better than the Magisterium . . . the path which every heretic and dissenter has taken.

What is required to solve this problem is the same that that which is required for faith itself—trust. We are born trusting and only eventually learn to distrust. Without trust a child could not learn, a society could not function, and a man cannot be saved. Trust is reasonable and it is possible because God has made us with this in built capacity. It is sin, temptation, pride, bad experiences which teach us not to trust and make it hard to overcome our resistance to trust. Grace through the Sacraments and cooperation with grace through prayer, self-mastery, and practice of the virtues is the way home to the true Spirit of Catholicism.

Add in the fact that relativism teaches that all religions are just as good as any other and the fact that one can find Prostesant individualist centered tendencies in some churches today (such as the singing of hymns written by Calvin, Wesley, and even Martin Luther) and I think he's got it all covered.

Flos Carmeli "Behold, I make all things new."

I found this article through Ratzinger Fan Club and thought it was very blogworthy-

"Behold I make all things new." Not some, not a few, not a limited number--all things--all things in nature and in myself. Each day I am a new creation in Him, if I choose to be. Rather than clinging to the old self and its perceptions and prejudices, I can choose to grow and become ever new. I can join the Saints in the newness of the world that Christ recreates each day. The choice is mine, the options are mine. God leaves me free to tread the same weary path every day, or to discover in the day all the newness He has placed there.

"Behold, I make all things new." All things. New. Life becomes meaningful once again in Him and in His path for me--every experience is something new from Him, through Him, and in Him. Now it is time to be renewed and to find this newness in the everyday. To see with my son all that the things of the world around me. To see with God's Son how they reflect and speak of His glory

He later writes:

Every day provides the grace for beginning the transformation into the new person Jesus wants us to be. Detachment--leaving the old and known behind and choosing the new, different, and difficult--allow Jesus the space and the material to start forming us in the image He sees in us. It is slow. Sometimes it is difficult. But ultimately it will lead to our transformation and the transformation of all the world. God works with us, in us, and through us--He recreates us.

Jesus Himself said, "Cursed be the man who sets hand to plow and looks back--he is not worthy of the kingdom of God." Another hard saying was that we had to leaven Father and Mother, brother and sister, wife and children and follow Him. What does that mean? We are to abandon our responsibilities? No, rather, it is that we must abandon our old selves, our old habits, our old choices, our old ways of doing things and trust solely in his.

I know I'm going to work on that.

Congratulations to the Squach

For breaking the 10k hits mark on his sitemeter. Someone bring in the cake!

Unfortunately, this puppy is still under my dominion until he kicks me off.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Keating on tolerance


A man with two advanced degrees in evolutionary biology, Richard Sternberg
edits a tiny-circulation journal called the "Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington." It is partly under the auspices of the Smithsonian

In the journal Sternberg published a peer-reviewed article arguing in
favor of what is called the "intelligent design" theory, which holds that
Darwinism is unable to account for the development of complex biological
structures and that this defect points to the intervention of a designer.

According to "The Washington Post," "within hours of publication, senior
scientists at the Smithsonian Institution ... lashed out at Sternberg as a
shoddy scientist and a closet Bible thumper."

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigated the ensuing brouhaha and
concluded that "retaliation [against Sternberg] came in many forms ...
misinformation was disseminated through the Smithsonian Institution and to
outside sources."

What intrigues me more than the merits or demerits of the scientific and
philosophical arguments is the overheated reaction from Sternberg's former
colleagues. Some of them went so far as to make up stories about him, such
as claiming that he had studied for the Orthodox priesthood or was a
closet creationist who believed the Earth was no more than 10,000 years
old. In short, they underwent meltdown.

You don't see this kind of fevered reaction in theology. When a heterodox
Catholic comes out with a book denying the Real Presence or Mary's
virginity or the teaching against contraception, the response by the
orthodox side is measured: "Here is where you are wrong, and this is why
you should change your tune."

No defender of traditional Catholic teachings has felt the need to make up
stories about Richard McBrien or Matthew Fox or Rosemary Radford Ruether.
It has been enough to address their arguments.

Most Americans think science is cooly rational while religion is a thing
of the emotions. They expect scientists to work through disagreements
calmly, and they expect religious folk throw anathemas at one another.
Sometimes anathemas are thrown (see John MacArthur), and often scientists
disagree amicably.

But when it comes to a reassessment of a dogmatic principle in science,
such as Darwinism, anything goes. And one thing that goes out the window
is civility.

Until next time,


Nun Caught Grinding at WYD

Tisk, tisk, tisk. With a missionary, too. Such is the state of the Belgian church.

Two Articles from CWN on Inter-Denominational Relations

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has denounced the Ukrainian Catholic Church for moving its major see from Lviv to Kiev, warning that the transfer will "complicate" relations between Moscow and Rome.

The Patriarch's claim that Ukraine is within the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church is disputed by many Orthodox believers in the country. After the collapse of the Communist regime, the leading Orthodox prelate in Ukraine, Metropolitan Filaret, split with Moscow to set up an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev patriarchate.


Pope Benedict XVI will meet with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior-general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), on August 29, to discuss the prospects for reconciliation between the Vatican and the schismatic group.

The Catacombs in China

Pictures of Secret Churches in China. How inspiring.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Louis!

The Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of St Louis.

You'd think that as Cardinal of Munich, He'd Know His Football

Because Bayern-Munich is one of the best football (soccer) teams in the Bundesliga, and consequently the world.

But apparently the Pope doesn't because he didn't recognize Pele.

At least the pontiff got his nationality right, asking: "Are you Brazilian?"

But he was spared his blushes thanks to an aide who whispered: "He's Pele. He's the world's greatest-ever footballer."

A New Spin on Reality TV... Artificial Insemination?

Only in the Netherlands...

A new reality television show in the Netherlands which sees a woman search for a sperm donor is in the running to be made into a full series.
I Want Your Child And Nothing Else is among five programmes vying for a run on Dutch cable channel Talpa.

Viewers will decide on Saturday night which show they want to see more of.

Other contenders include the efforts of five prostitutes to set up a business, while two people who have never met before will become engaged.

Pat Robertson Tries to Cover His Tracks

Unsuccessfully I should say:

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement," Robertson said. "I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

But he compared Chavez to Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler and quoted German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "[That if a madman were] driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver."

"I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time," Robertson said.

Did you know that the word assassin comes from Arabic- hashishiyyin "hashish-users,"

A fanatical Ismaili Muslim sect of the time of the Crusades, under leadership of the "Old Man of the Mountains" (translates Ar. shaik-al-jibal, name applied to Hasan ibu-al-Sabbah), with a reputation for murdering opposing leaders after intoxicating themselves by eating hashish.

and in some languages the homophone word directly translates to MURDER? (Such as asesinar in Spanish)

Something makes me think he's acting a little like the "Old Man of the Mountains"

We should not go out of our way to attempt to kill him in cold blood. War is sometimes necessary, but this cannot be moral because it doesn't fit the definition of war, let alone justified war. I think this is why I can argue FOR highly organized religion- because when someone says something like that, there's actually something people can do about it to censure him. It's bad enough he tried to scape goat it on the journalists when he said it on NATIONAL TELEVISION.

Besides, he mentioned Hitler, and according to Godwin's law, he should loose.

The history of the tabernacle

That there was one altar in churches is documented from the 4th century, later they increased in number, but absolute respect remained for the mensa dominica that excluded anything extraneous to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. Toward the end of the 9th century a new, highly expressive element began to appear on the altar table in a lasting way: the relics of the saints. Very soon other elements were added, so many that at the beginnings of the 10th century an important document, of Gallican origin, known by the name of Admonitio Synodalis, that became general law for all the Churches of West, prescribed that the altar must hold only "the urns of the saints (capsae), the missal and the pyx with the Body of the Lord for the sick; every other thing should be kept in a fitting place".

It wasn’t till the 16th century that the tabernacle came to be fixed on the high altar and, later still, for it to be set in the center of the table, the last phase in the historical development of the altar. In dutiful homage to the recent encyclical and to the consequent instruction on the Eucharist, I propose to describe – even if in rapid summary - the history of the casing of the Eucharist, both in terms of the location, and in terms of the sacred vessel used to contain the Eucharist.

Do yourself a favor and don't buy Livingsoft software

They don't believe that people should have the right to resell stuff that they buy. Which kind of boggles my mind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Some intense stuff has been going on in my absence. I'll have to collect all of this here.

Girl Crush- Like a Real Crush, but Not

Ms. Buice, who lives with her boyfriend, calls her attraction a girl crush, a phrase that many women in their 20's and 30's use in conversation, post on blogs and read in magazines. It refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers - excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty - are very much like those that accompany a new romance.

This is not a new phenomenon. Women, especially young women, have always had such feelings of adoration for each other. Social scientists suspect such emotions are part of women's nature, feelings that evolution may have favored because they helped women bond with one another and work cooperatively. What's new is the current generation's willingness to express their ardor frankly.

"Historically, talking about these kinds of feelings has gone in and out of fashion," said Paula J. Caplan, a sociologist who this fall will teach a course about the psychology of sex and gender at Harvard. Women have not been this blunt in expressing their crushes for several generations, Dr. Caplan said.

I'm a little skeptical here...

Shrine of the Holy Whapping backs me up on this one:

The girl crush disconnects the apparatus of romance from sexual, and particularly heterosexual love and marriage. We already have split childbirth from sex and sex from marriage; shearing off romance from love or even lust is, I suppose, the next step. The great emotions of Man are now taken to bits like the parts of an enormous clock, and Ms. Buice can feel free to take whatever the shiniest, prettiest ones she wants to. The problem is, you can't tell the time with two springs and a nice brass gear.

I would even argue that the theory of the girl crush tries to disconnect the apparatus of romance from sexual, but fails. Flutters and sighs, though superficial at times, is sexual. One can't just separate them out for convenience's sake and then put them back together when you want. In short, I think this thing is a little homosuspicious. Does that mean the end of the world? No, because same sex attraction, or even heterosexual attraction is not the defining factor in one's identity.

Jason Evert mentioned in an interview on The Abundant Life that a reporter was interviewing Bl. Teresa of Calcutta who was asking her about her thoughts on homosexuals. She corrected him and told him to call them, "the friends of Jesus." The reporter had difficulty continuing the line of questions. Why? Because we as a society place such an emphasis on homosexuals' sexual identity that it becomes their ownly defining quality.

Matt from SHW explains this idea quite well:

Gay activists define themselves by their sexual relationships, a fact which puzzles straight folk like myself; my attraction to women is just part of a much larger personal constellation. But considering that the connubial embrace between husband and wife images the Trinity, the sexuality of a Catholic does loom rather large in his or her life; and the opposite extreme, which seeks to deconstruct the settled order of the two becoming one flesh, is yet another quietly disturbing trend in the continued collapse of Western Society. There is something far better than a girl crush: the deep, true friendship of women with women, and the deeper mystagogies of marriage that take man and woman out of themselves and create in them something startling and new that is as old as the world itself.

I've Got to Get this Video Game

You have played all of the versions of Civilization and have learned to balance your power to dominate the world through diplomatic finesse, cultural domination, and military prowess. Yet now you are looking for a real challenge in a simulation that will test all your skills to the highest order. We proudly introduce the next generation in simulation gaming - Episcopacy!

Your goal is to be a true shepherd and to help to prepare your flock to accept God's grace and to grow in holiness. Your simulated parish includes doctrinal progressives, materialist conservatives, radical traditionalist schismatic and otherwise, lukewarm Catholics, Christmas and Easter Catholics, on-fire Catholics, self-appointed experts, dissident theologians and Scott Hahn wannabes, hostile media, liturgical dancers and subscribers to Adoramus, cafeteria Catholics and salvation rigorists, and diocesan bureaucracy. Or in other words an average diocese. You will soon learn that juggling rabid cats would be preferable to being a bishop.

A Plethora of Prayers

in English AND Latin

Strange fossil defies grouping

A strange fossil creature from the early Cambrian Period is baffling scientists because it does not fit neatly into any existing animal groups.
The 525 million-year-old soft-bodied animal might have belonged to a now extinct mollusc-like phylum, scientists from America and China say.

Other researchers have suggested the creature could represent an early annelid or arthropod.

Details are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The 5-10cm-long (2-4 inch) creature, Vetustodermis planus, had a flattened body and horizontal fins which, researchers think, could have been used to support it as it moved along the sea floor. It also had well developed senses, including a pair of eyes on stalks.

The trouble is the animal did not possess a key set of features, or characters, which placed it clearly within any known group.

When it was first described in 1979, Vetustodermis was included in the annelid category. Later researchers argued against this classification, saying it was, in fact, either an arthropod or a mollusc.

Some Thoughts on This Week's Latest Comedy

Sex has become so desacralized, it seems hard to believe that anyone, especially an apparently healthy man living in the age of Madonna and Maxim, Pamela and Paris, has managed to avoid getting some with someone, somewhere, at some point. Thirteen years ago, when Madonna released her hardcover, soft-core elegy to her body and herself, there was still something novel, even a little shocking about sex as a public performance. Now, with sexually explicit videos a rite of celebrity passage, hard-core pornography just a mouse click away and the girl next door having metamorphosed into a girl gone wild, or so it would seem, who isn't doing it?

Andy, for one: a loner geek by circumstance rather than conviction, this accidental virgin works in an electronics store with the usual bunch of genial misfits. The rest of the time, Andy tends to his solitude in a modest Southern California apartment crammed with boyhood collectibles, many still in their original packaging. He likes to watch "Survivor" with his neighbors ("I'll bring the soda!"), an elderly couple who cluck over him like grandparents, but Andy seems most at ease surrounded by these regressive totems. Among his prize possessions are action figures, including of the Six Million Dollar Man (and the Six Million Dollar Man's boss) and miniature toy soldiers he meticulously paints under a magnifying glass, imparting to them a richness of detail absent from his own life.

Andy puts away these childish things at least temporarily after three of his fellow workers stumble onto his secret, throwing a wrench into his orderly, celibate existence. One night, while attempting to share a tale of sexual braggadocio, he compares a woman's breast to a "bag of sand." Quickly scoping out the truth of his situation, the three embark on a rescue mission to deflower (by proxy) this shrinking violet. But the guys are hapless when it comes to women - one is brokenhearted (Paul Rudd as David), one is a compulsive cheat (Romany Malco as Jay), the third is merely clueless (Seth Rogen as Cal) - and their schemes invariably fizzle rather than sizzle, often to sidesplitting effect.

Another installment in the "Guy Tries to Loose it in Under 120 minutes" Collection.

Instead of going with this school of hedonism, Amy Welborn posts some articles on consecrated virgins-

Judith Stegman wants to reclaim the word "virgin" from the jokes, satire and stigma.

When people ask whether she's married, the 49-year-old Haslett resident replies, "Yes, and no."

"I'm not married to a man, but I'm far from being single," Stegman tells people. "I'm a consecrated virgin in the Catholic Church."

At a time when virginity is getting the Hollywood laugh-track treatment -- the movie "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" opened Friday and was No. 1 at the box office over the weekend, raking in $20.6 million -- Stegman wants to celebrate the V-word for its beauty and integrity.

"An important part of being this," she said, "is not to be afraid to say it."

Luckily, This is Satire

Starting this October, you will be able to get your tires, groceries, and hour of worship all in the same place once Wal-mart Superstores begin offering non-denominational church services on Sundays and Wednesdays.

"We are all about offering great products and services to consumers every day, and we think our new church services will give customers one more reason to shop and stay at Wal-mart," said John Fleming,vice president and chief marketing officer for Wal-mart Stores Division.

According to Fleming, the company's latest market research shows that 90 percent of Wal-mart shoppers identify themselves as Christians, and 60 percent of that group said they attend church at least once a month. As a result, Wal-mart Superstores across the country are adding chapels that seat 75 worshippers. Numerous hour-long church services will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays, and one evening service will be offered on Wednesday nights. Wal-mart greeters and cashiers, who have been certified through various online theological seminaries, will be in place this fall to serve as ministers, music directors, and counselors.

BXVI and Dark Night of the Soul

If you have time you should also read the earlier articles posted. They're quite good.

Tim mentioned that the popular refrain he has heard is that many just say they loved JP the Great but just do not know B16 very well yet. This brought me to thinking about a possible analogy here to the interior life. I am thinking in particular about St. John of the Cross’s Dark night of the senses and Dark Night of the Soul. To keep from running down rabbit trails myself and also from getting any stalwarts lost who are still reading this blog, let me layout where I am going. I first will briefly describe the salient aspects of the Dark night and relate them to JP the Great’s anthropology. Then I will get to the main point, that is showing how it appears to me that one can find an analogy between an aspect of the WYD experience (and all of our experiences of this new Holy Father for that matter) and this Dark Night.


So what does this have to do with WYD and B16? Well perhaps part of the reason for God’s choice of B16—a holy, wise and loving soul but one who does not have the charisma of JP the Great—because it is time for us to mature. We need to learn to love the Holy Father because he is Christ on earth for us. JP the Great was easy to love because he made us feel so good. He could exude the love he had for his flock, to millions at once. B16 does not have these same gifts. We do not receive the same affects from him (in general anyway—some I am sure do). We are perhaps being called to maturity. If the youth continue to flock to the Holy Father, who loves them every bit as much as JP the Great did, without the affective reinforcement then what JP the Great started I believe will bear much fruit. If most of the youths’ response to the Church and Her leader was a shallow, personality based response then we will see WYD (as many of the disaffected critics claim) fall off. I put my money on the former. Only time will tell.

Riches are Porn

A very wise analysis by Catholic Analysis

Why is it so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? Riches are like alcohol, narcotics, lust, and pornography: addictive. We have more and get more, but more is never enough because someone else has more, someone else has a bigger house or car or bank account or real estate holdings. In addition, our very human fears for the future and for our children drive us to amass more and more. We are weak before the temptation to become addicted to money and riches as we are weak before substances, lust, and pornography. We have Alcoholics Anonymous. We need a "Materialists Anonymous."

Worst of all, materialism leads us to ignore the weightier things. We vote for candidates based on our perceived economic self-interest and ignore the life issues. We focus on making more money, and at the same time let our daughters dress like hookers. We stick to our exclusive social circles, and miss out on the real treasures: our fellow Christians, many of whom have very little of the world's goods. Read the Bible about riches and pray. We Catholics, who claim to be faithful and traditional, should be just as suspicious of riches as we are of dangers like pornography and substance abuse.

St. Bart's Day

Makes me want to go to St. Bart's.

To celebrate, you could eat luch at the cafe at St. Bart's, which has the largest pipe organ in New York... or do something else if you feel uncomfortable about the idea of a cafe in a church. I am one of the latter.

St. Bart is the patron saint of tanners and people who work with skins because he was skinned alive.

Musings of a Catholic Convert has some nice commentary on the apostle.

And because I like so much I'm including their info on him as well.

In Sandwich, Kent, England, there is a St Bartholomew's Bun Race. The Bartlemas Bun Race for children takes place around the chapel of St. Bartholomew's Hospital on this feast day. Each participant receives a currant bun, while the attendants are each given a St Bart's Biscuit, which has an imprint of the hospital's ancient seal.

My Goodness!

Awesome Blogroll on the Ratzinger FanClub site. I am impressed.

MoMAphobes and Tourists in the City

Tween girl: My dad flies into New York airport tonight; where is that?
Tween boy: It's in Jersey.
Tween girl: Idiot! It's New York airport.
Tween boy: It's Newark airport, and it's in Jersey.
Tween girl: New York airport and it's in New Jersey? That's gay.
Tween boy: You're gay.
Tween girl: Shut up! We're at the museum!

--outside MoMA

Guy #1: Naw, you's retarded! That's Greek, yo!
Guy #2: Where's Greece?
Guy #1: Dude, Greece is in Ireland.
Guy #2: No it ain't.
Guy #1: But they look the same, man!

--Sunset Park

Hispanic kid: This is great, everyone just stands on the escalators and then when they get to the bottom they take off running to their trains. They like animals or something. It's like some Travel Channel sh*t.
Hispanic girl: You're stupid. Why would Penn Station be on the Travel Channel?

--Penn Station

Overheard by: Ali

Girl: Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Little Italy?
Man: You're standing in it.
Girl: But isn't this still Chinatown?
Man: Yeah, it's that too.

--Mulberry & Grand

Overheard by: The Fever

Don't Take Birth Control or it'll Make You Not Want Sex

According to a recent study

Oral contraceptives have been shown to increase the amount of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) - a protein produced in the liver that lowers testosterone levels, thereby reducing sexual drive.

It is well known that taking the Pill can reduce levels of sex hormones that drive libido. However, most doctors advise that this effect is reversed when a woman stops taking the contraceptive.

Researchers at Boston University found that women still had double the normal level of SHBG in their blood a year after stopping the Pill.

Dr Claudia Panzer, an endocrinologist at the Boston University Medical Centre and lead researcher on the study, said: "These results suggest that the hormonal changes induced by oral contraceptives are not immediately reversible after discontinuation of oral contraceptive use.

Thousands Attend Funeral of Br. Roger

More than 10,000 people were on hand for the funeral, held at the Church of the Reconcliation at Taize. The mourners-- in a congregation that overflowed the church-- included dignitaries such as German President Horst Köhler, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, the head of the French Protestant Federation, Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Huber, and representatives of the Russian and Romanian Orthodox patriarchates.

In his homily at the funeral-- which was a Catholic service, at Brother Roger's request-- Cardinal Kasper said that "the springtime of ecumenims flowered on the fields of Taize." He paid homage to the inspiration of Brother Roger, who brought together Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians to pray and work together. The Taize community in France now draws thousands of Christian pilgrims every year. They are attracted, Cardinal Kasper said, by the example set by Brother Roger, "a great spiritual master."

Abortion in the Philippines

A lot of people have been coming here from the Philippines looking for articles on abortion. So I figured I would help them out-

Lito Atienza Battles UN backed NGOs selling RU-486

Info on Responsible Parenthood and Population Management Act

Manilla Times Op-Ed on the Bill

CWN's coverage on the bill

And what the Philippine Conference of Bishops has to say on the subject

Luckily from an article I read voting on the bill has been delayed

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson Tells US to Assasinate Pres. Chavez of Venezuela

US religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has called for the US to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Mr Robertson caused controversy with the comments on his TV show, describing Mr Chavez as "a terrific danger".

Venezuela's vice president accused Robertson of making "terrorist" remarks and said the US response would put its anti-terror policy to the test.

The US State Department said the comments were "inappropriate" and did not reflect the policy of the US.

Drug Reduces Lack of Sleep Effect

A drug could reverse the effects of sleep deprivation in the brain, a US study of monkeys has suggested.

The drug comes from a class of molecules called ampakines which enhance how some chemical receptors work in the brain.

It helped monkeys overcome their lack of sleep, the study in the Public Library of Science - Biology showed.

Researchers from North Carolina's Wake Forest University hope it could help people like doctors and shift workers.

The study was partly funded by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of a project to reduce of eliminate the effects of sleep deprivation on soldiers.

FAQ on Avian Flu

from the BBC

Non Sequitur on Tech Support

NYT on WebComics

There are many sites where you can find online comics, both old ( and new ( and Some of the comics are also available in print, but because of the Web, lots of comic artists who would have had a chance at syndication can now show their wares and find their publics. In fact, there's even a new site out there called, which is supposed to do for Web comics what Blogger did for blogs and Flickr did for photo sharing.

And there are contests too. The fifth annual Web Cartoonists Choice Awards took place at last month. The master of online ceremonies was a Web cartoon character and so were all the award presenters. Otherwise, it was much like the Oscars. There were too many award categories (26) and some commercial breaks, and all winners were rewarded with the Web equivalent of Hollywood fame: a live link to their sites.

But when it comes to the content of Web comics, Mr. Groth was right. The comics that use digital technology to break out of their frozen boxes are really more like animated cartoons. And those that don't are just like the old, pre-digital ones, without the allure of the printed page and with a few added headaches for reader and creator alike.

I wonder what Ben Hatke has to say about this.

Blame Canada

Canadian Professor proposes to ban Catholocism- just like the good old days... when we were lion food.

Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate.

Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood.

Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure.

We could also help the general cause of religious freedom by introducing a code of moral practice for religions. They will never achieve unity so why not try for compatibility? Can't religious leaders agree to adjust doctrine so all religions can operate within the code?

I am an engineer so the model I am thinking about is rather like the provincial acts regulating the practice of engineering. For example, engineers must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or pass qualification exams. They must have a number of years of practical experience and pass an ethics exam. The different branches: mechanical, electrical, civil and the like have a code of practice that applies to everyone. Why can't religious groups do the same?

I envisage a congress meeting to hammer out a code that would form the basis of legislation to regulate the practice of religion. Like the professional engineers' P.Eng designation, there would then be RRPs (or registered religious practitioners). To carry the analogy to its conclusion, no one could be a religious practitioner without this qualification.

Kanye West is Way Cool

The same way Jesus was Way Cool... except not.

Read the lyrics. It's something else, if not slightly sacrilegious.

His latest single is great social commentary on the diamond trade in West Africa, something you would not expect from a genre of music coined the term bling. If you haven't heard it yet, listen to the song Jesus Walks. I think it's uplifting, and it's actually credible music. Chirstian rappers such as KJ-52 and Southpaw aren't taken very serriously- one took shots at Eminem and the other took Sir Mix a Lot's classic and made it into something completely out of context. And as much as I like Nas, his music video in which he portrays the passion of Christ got a couple people offended. Kanye West does neither and he does it well.

Some Thoughts on the Song of Solomon

Aka the Book of the Bible with possibly the most names.

A reading from Song of Songs is in the Matins today, which makes this entry quite relevant.

I went directly on to my weekly appointment in the Adoration Chapel where I came excerpts from St. Alphonsus Liguori's writings on the Holy Eucharist:

"'The voice of my Beloved knocking: Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled' (Song 5:2). Open to me, he says, O soul, thy heart, and there I will come to unite myself to thee; so that, being one with me, thou mayst become my sister by resemblance, my friend by participation in my riches, my dove by the gift of simplicity, my undefiled by the gift of purity, which I shall communicate to thee.

And then he goes on to say, "Open to me, for my head is full of dew and my locks the drops of the night." As if he said: Consider, my beloved, that I have waited for thee all the night of the bad life thou has led in the midst of darkness and error. Behold, now, instead of bringing scourges to chastise thee, I come in the Blessed Sacrament, with my hair full of heavenly dew, to extinguish in thee all impure desires towards creatures, and to kindle in thee the happy fire of my love. Come, then, O my beloved Jesus, and work in me what Thou wilt."

What I love about this is the reminder of the overwheming gift-ness of oneness with him. It's truly Christmas - lavish gifts of riches, simplicity, purity, love - with nothing for us to supply but a willingness to open the door.

Knowing God

Being known by God is far more than being in His awareness. He not only knows what we do, think, believe and feel. He surrounds us, loves us, draws us in, gazes on us, pours goodwill into us, knows us. Are we willing to allow him to make Himself known to us in that same way?

What Paul lovingly desires for his brothers and sisters in Ephesus is that they individually and together know God better. It's not enlightenment of their minds here, but their hearts, which will bring to them the depth of hope and participation in the riches and power that the Holy Spirit wants to give them.

Info on the Missa Mundi

What music should be played and heard in a service gathering of almost a million young people from all over the world? Is there a common language of music for the various Christian culture groups in the world? The roots of Christianity, the Gregorian music, may provide an answer. The ordinary of the Holy Mass consists of five parts: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The idea underlying >Missa Mundi< by Thomas Gabriel which will be performed for the first time during the final service of the World Youth Day 2005 is to relate each of the five liturgical elements to one of the five continents. The European Kyrie employs polyphonic techniques of composition (homage to Bach), the South American Gloria uses Quenas, Zamponas and Charangos. In the Asian Credo an Indian sitar is played, drums dominate the African Sanctus and the characteristic instrument of the Australian Agnus Dei is a didgereedoo. Their common bond is the ancient >Missa Mundi<, a piece of Gregorian mass music of the first millenium. As Christianity spread all over the world, this music found its way into all regions and exerted a clear influence on the cultural development everywhere. The Mass composition bears in mind this phenomenon and thus shows respect for the cultural diversity of our world.

And if you're intersted you can buy the CD for 10 Euros.

The Lowdown on the Vigil and Concluding Mass of WYD 2005

Sorry this is a little late, guys. I had a tough time finding the info.

From 1952 until 1986, the site of the modern-day Marienfeld was used for lignite mining. During this period, several entire villages had to be relocated for the purpose. Today, this former open-cast mine has been completely refilled and made suitable for return to agricultural use.
The Marienfeld takes its name from a statue of the Virgin Mary carved in French limestone in 1420. Thanks to the statue, a convent founded in 1150 by Cistercian nuns, and later occupied by Cistercian monks, became a renowned destination for pilgrimages. After several relocations to accommodate mining operations, the statue – a pietà depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Christ – now houses in the St. Mariä Himmelfahrt parish church in Frechen.

The musical elements of the Concluding Mass recapitulate the international character of World Youth Day. World Youth Day Choir C sings the “missa mundi” Mass by composer Thomas Gabriel of Essen. The polyphonic Kyrie resonates with European features. The Gloria is accompanied by South American Quenas, Zampoñas and Charangos. In the Asian Credo one hears an Indian sitar, drums set the tone for the African Sanctus, and in the Agnus Dei it is the Australian didgeridoo that serves as the characteristic instrument.

3,000 patens and 100 chalices of stainless steel have been produced and donated for the XX World Youth Day. They were designed by Manfred Kollig. Young people at the ThyssenKrupp apprentices’ training shop in Duisburg helped produce them. The contour of the liturgical vessels resembles a hemisphere, evoking the open earth in which God plays a part.

Today is the Feast of St. Rose of Lima

Which means the Common of Religious, Holy Women, or Virgins in your Psalter.

If you feel like reading here's some longer articles by EWTN and

She is the patron saint of many things including the Philippines, embroiderers, people persecuted for piety, California, the West Indies, Central America, and gardeners.

And because no feast day is complete without a feast, here's a recipe for Arroz con Leche, a rice pudding like dessert from Peru.

I'm now going to listen to the Gloria from the concluding mass of WYD 2005.

Metropolitan Teophilus Elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

The 14 members of the Greek-Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem have unanimously elected 53-year-old bishop Theophilus as the new patriarch. The appointment makes him Metropolitan of Jerusalem and he takes the place of Ireneos I, who was deposed on 24 May by the pan-Orthodox Synod of Constantinople led by Patriarch Bartholomew I. The former patriarch had tried to nullify the meeting of the Synod to name his successor but the judicial court of Jerusalem stopped him from doing so.

Of Greek nationality, the Metropolitan Theophilus has served in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and he was also representative of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Moscow and in Qatar. The secretary-general of the Synod, Archbishop Aristarchos, said: “We endeavoured to elect a patriarch capable of restoring prestige to the patriarchate. Now we feel stronger to face and overcome the crisis and scandal created by Ireneos I”. AsiaNews analysts in Jerusalem say the unanimous vote for Theophilus shows the unity of the Orthodox community with regard to Ireneos I, who now occupies a palace of the patriarchate and refuses to leave.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Archbishop Francisco GIL HELLÍN of Burgos, Spain reflects on BXVI

Translation para los analfabetos (Spanish illiterate) to come soon.

Site found through The Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Fr. Tucker's Homily on "Petros"

This homily is similar to the one I heard in mass on Sunday. Only difference was, the priest at church gave a history on the significance of rocks in the Old Testament. His point was, although Rock seems like a ridiculous name even at the time of Christ, it was rooted in Holy Scripture. IMHO, Jesus had a good understanding of 1950s rock bands for naming his homies "Rocky and the Thunderboys."

An Interview on the Status of the Catholic Chruch in Georgia

The country, not the state.

Clearing Up the HEResy that the Holy Spirit is a Woman

Through out Scripture, God has revealed His maternal and female attributes. It is also true, that in the "God Head" the Holy Spirit transcends gender. However these same Scriptures make it make it abundantly clear that the Persons of the Trinity are male.

And an explanation of why though Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the father of Christ.

Create a Crown Cake

In honor of the coronation of the BVM.

It is truly proper to glorify you, who have borne God, the ever-blessed and immaculate and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and be- yond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who, a Virgin, gave birth to God the Word, you, truly the Mother of God, we magnify.

-The Hymn to the BVM from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Tim Drake's Thoughts on BXVI

So, he's no JPII, and that's okay with the young. They recognize that he is his own man - a man of books, and concepts, and ideas. His talks on adoration, the Eucharist, and vocation were clear and direct, and the young responded very positively to his messages (interrupting his vigil 12 times and the final Mass 16 times for applause). The applause was loudest when his remarks were most challenging - observing Sunday Mass, imitating the saints.

Pope Benedict XVI is no JPII. He doesn't have to be. As pope, he is Christ's representative on earth whether he has charisma or not, whether he kisses the ground or not.

In Cologne, the young of the world showed that they are ready to accept him as such. 1.1 million came to participate in Mass with him.

One of my favorite photos from WYD was taken outside St. Pantaleon Church. I'll post it when I return to the U.S. In it, a crowd is gathered along the streets waiting for the pope's arrival. They are 8-10 deep. On the left side of the street, perched up in a tree, was a man hunched leaning on a branch, hoping to get a view of Benedict, in persona Christi. I fully expected the Pope, when he arrived to yell to the man, "Zaccheus, get down from that tree."

The crowds and their response to this new pope, were tremendous. A reporter asked me on the media ship if I had seen anything like the crowd assembled along the river. "No, I told him, but it reminds me of Scripture when Christ flees the crowd and addresses them by boat." I don't think he liked my answer. There were no further questions.

If I'm not mistaken it was St. Teresa of Avila* who said, "If you are who God intends you to be, you will set the world ablaze." Pope Benedict is exactly who God intends him to be. That can never fail to resonate with people.

*This statement was later corrected by a reader who attributed the quotation to St. Catherine of Sienna

Praise God! It's a Byzantine Catholic College!

Students will study the Great Books in small seminars under the direction of a tutor. Students will read original texts, from Aristotle and St. Basil the Great to Gregory Palamas and Dosteyevsky.

Students will be immersed in the the riches of the Byzantine spiritual tradition. Daily Divine Liturgies will be celebrated according to the usages of the Romanian, Ruthenian, Melkite and Ukrainian traditions. Students will have the opportunity to pray Akathists, Matins and Vespers, and all students will study and learn to write icons.

All we need now is Catholic Colleges in America as part of the Maronite, Coptic, Chaldean, Syro-Malankara, Syro-Malabar, and Ethopian churches, and we'll be all set.

Thanks to Karl from Summa Contra Mundum for posting the link.

Check it Out!

Jimmy Aiken and O.O. debate the unusual interaction between Boaz and Ruth at the request of Naomi.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Chastity Interviews

Know that sex is something that is meant for marriage and the gifts of marriage are to stay in marriage. You will be rewarded for that. You can’t get the peace and joy that comes with chastity in random sexual relationships. It just doesn’t happen. Chastity is so freeing. So go to confession as a starting point, say a Hail Mary every morning or even a rosary, spend time in Adoration and keep the physical out of the relationships. And know that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done or if you have fallen, you can start over. God can make you a new creation like He has me.

One is of a fourteen year old girl that I know of who fell out of bed in the middle of the night and freaked out and said, "Oh, I really need to pray for my future husband." So she got on the floor and prayed for her future husband. Ten years later me the guy, fell in love, got married, and said to him, "Honey, I prayed for you one night." He said, "Well thanks." But she wanted to figure out when it was so she opened her diary and found the exact day and said, "Look there it is. That is the night I prayed for you." He opened up his journal and flipped to the exact same day, because he had kept a record of his life back them as well. He was a veteran and had fought in the war. He said to her, "Honey, that was the night when the enemy troops came across our lines. They slaughtered almost every man in my platoon but they spared me. So thank you for your prayers." That is a little love story about the power of prayer.

Watch Mars this Fall

Mars is coming back. The Red Planet, the only one whose surface we can see in any detail from the Earth, has begun the best apparition it will give us until the summer of 2018.

Planet watchers have already begun readying their telescopes.

If this sounds familiar, you might recall a similar setup two years ago. This current apparition of Mars will not be as spectacular as the one in August 2003 when the planet came closer to Earth than it had in nearly 60,000-years.

Mars is currently in the constellation of Aries, the Ram and doesn't rise until around 10:45 p.m. local daylight time. There is certainly no mistaking it once it comes up over the east-southeast horizon. Presently shining at magnitude –0.8, it now ranks fifth among the brightest objects in the night sky, surpassed only by the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Sirius (the brightest star in the sky).

And as it continues to approach Earth, Mars will only be getting brighter in the coming weeks: it will surpass Sirius on Sept. 21 and on Oct. 4 it will rival Jupiter and as a consequence (until Nov. 26), hold forth as the second-brightest planet.

Late on the night of Aug. 24, Mars will hover below and to the right of the waning gibbous Moon. As you will see for yourself, the so-called Red Planet actually will appear closer to a yellow-orange tint – the same color of a dry desert under a high sun.

This time around, Mars comes closest to the Earth on the night of Oct. 29 (around 11:25 p.m. Eastern daylight time). The planet will then lie 43,137,071 miles (69,422,386 kilometers) from Earth measured center to center. Mars will arrive at opposition to the Sun (rising at sunset, setting at sunrise) nine days later, on Nov. 7.

Thoughts on Our Holy Father's Homily

In a world of rapid-fire, MTV-style cutaways in television programs and movies, driven by the assumption that young people have limited attention spans and thus little capacity for following a line of thought, Pope Benedict made no apologies Sunday morning for veering into a lengthy exegesis of the Greek word proskynesis and the Latin adoratio. (He later tossed in a Hebrew term, beracha, to boot). He used words such as "positivism" and "transmute" without bothering to explain them, as if all one million young people from 197 countries standing in the Marienfeld plain Sunday morning ought to have scored 700 or better on the SAT verbal.

It's quite likely that some portions of his Sunday morning homily will have sailed over the heads of part of his audience, especially since the majority heard most of it through translation, but that's not quite the point. Many will come away inspired because this man, whom most of the World Youth Day participants regard as brilliant and holy, didn't water his thinking down. He didn't act as if he was saving his best stuff for someone else -- he assumed these young people were capable of meaty content.

Benedict smiled, waved, and repeatedly thanked the youth for coming. The crowds seemed to genuinely like him, even if they tended to react to him like a respected teacher rather than a surrogate father, or grandfather, which is the relationship many Catholic youth felt to John Paul II.

What Benedict offered in his three major addresses -- the opening greeting on Thursday afternoon delivered from a boat on the Rhine, and the two homilies Saturday night and Sunday morning -- was instead some 35,000 words of teaching, moral exhortation and spiritual challenge.

-The National Catholic Reporter

This first fundamental transformation of violence into love, of death into life, brings other changes in its wake. Bread and wine become his Body and Blood. But it must not stop there, on the contrary, the process of transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own flesh and blood. We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. In this way, adoration, as we said earlier, becomes union. God no longer simply stands before us, as the one who is totally Other. He is within us, and we are in him. His dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outwards to others until it fills the world, so that his love can truly become the dominant measure of the world. I like to illustrate this new step urged upon us by the Last Supper by drawing out the different nuances of the word “adoration” in Greek and in Latin. The Greek word is proskynesis. It refers to the gesture of submission, the recognition of God as our true measure, supplying the norm that we choose to follow. It means that freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness, so that we ourselves can become true and good. This gesture is necessary even if initially our yearning for freedom makes us inclined to resist it. We can only fully accept it when we take the second step that the Last Supper proposes to us. The Latin word for adoration is ad-oratio – mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence ultimately love. Submission becomes union, because he to whom we submit is Love. In this way submission acquires a meaning, because it does not impose anything on us from the outside, but liberates us deep within.

The Eucharist must become the centre of our lives. If the Church tells us that the Eucharist is an essential part of Sunday, this is no mere positivism or thirst for power. On Easter morning, first the women and then the disciples had the grace of seeing the Lord. From that moment on, they knew that the first day of the week, Sunday, would be his day, the day of Christ the Lord. The day when creation began became the day when creation was renewed. Creation and redemption belong together. That is why Sunday is so important. It is good that today, in many cultures, Sunday is a free day, and is often combined with Saturday so as to constitute a “week-end” of free time. Yet this free time is empty if God is not present. Dear friends! Sometimes, our initial impression is that having to include time for Mass on a Sunday is rather inconvenient. But if you make the effort, you will realize that this is what gives a proper focus to your free time. Do not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others to discover it too. This is because the Eucharist releases the joy that we need so much, and we must learn to grasp it ever more deeply, we must learn to love it. Let us pledge ourselves to do this – it is worth the effort! Let us discover the intimate riches of the Church’s liturgy and its true greatness: it is not we who are celebrating for ourselves, but it is the living God himself who is preparing a banquet for us. Through your love for the Eucharist you will also rediscover the sacrament of Reconciliation, in which the merciful goodness of God always allows us to make a fresh start in our lives.

Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on. In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him. But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. People tend to exclaim: “This cannot be what life is about!” Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. Yet if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a “do-it-yourself” basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction. - BXVI

Frankly, I think it was stunning. The simple fact that he weaved in and out of such complex thoughts in several languages is a feat few can do so well. He follows the example of JP the Great and uses it to direct it completly to the Eucharist. I believe that his quiet presence and firm words are able to actively point to the love of God in so that he becomes less of a rock star and more of a messenger.

Some Blogs on The Closing Mass Today

Which I am watching on EWTN.

Young and Catholic

Mark Butler


Ad Limina

And John Allen for National Catholic Reporter

Matthew 12:37 is also blogging, but we await to hear from him on the mass.

My question is this:

I was slightly perturbed to see some youth who just didn't take Mass seriously. There were many who were eating during Mass, and some who were drinking Coca-Cola. There were also many who wanted to get out of the crowd early and who were packing their things during Mass or left even before the Eucharist. These folks represented a minority, but it was still disappointing to see.

-Tim Drake

What were they thinking? Why go to WYD to eat potato chips and drink Coca-Cola?

The world may never know.


I'm out for a few days, so Zed will be covering for me. Don't you peoples get out of control now.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

YTMND roundup for Saturday

First we have Darth Benedict XVI, not sure if it's a papal photo or not, but either way it sounds like a good idea to me.

From Blair we have the original beta of Google maps. And I always thought they started in the 90s?

We have one kid who is sadly stuck in perpetual motion, in violation of the laws of physics.

A quick review of the true planning that went into the assault on Mordor.


Mr. Snow and Mrs. Sheehan don't seem to get along

Though I'm not terribly sympathetic overall. For the loss of one's son, ok, but ultimately you have to accept it. After all, everyone's gotta die sometime, and signing up with the Army is a sure way to bring that day closer.

Here's Internet activist, dataguy: "We should call her 'Mother Sheehan.' ... 'Mother Sheehan' is her title, and expresses her ceremonial status as a bereaved mother, calling forth over the dead body of her son. She is not a person now, she is a mother, which is not an expression of her individuality, but rather the expression of her eternal character: the mother, the bringer of life who has been wronged by state power."

This vaporous encomium makes explicit what many have suspected from the start. Cindy Sheehan's backers and financiers do not consider her a "person." To them, she is a useful idiot, whom they will adore until the TV cameras go away.

Reporters get the joke, which is why they treat her with a wary sensitivity normally reserved for aggressive panhandlers. After all, this is a woman who has likened terrorist lawyer Lynn Stewart to Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird"; who has done Dick Durbin one better by calling the president the most prolific mass murderer alive; who has earned the praise and admiration of David Duke by calling Operation Iraqi Freedom a "war for Israel"; and who has accepted support from Code Pink, an organization that advocated aid to terrorists in Fallujah. Journalists would rather gargle acid than listen to such gormless gibberish, which is why they primly avoid asking her questions about her beliefs.

Even her personal recollections seem dotty and odd. When she and her husband met with President Bush in June 2004, she greeted the commander in chief by asking: "Why are we here? We're both Democrats. We didn't vote for you. We're never gonna vote for you!" Meanwhile, she never talks in detail about her son — other than to mention that he is dead.

The real UN

Friday, August 19, 2005

Speaking of

If anyone has an old Alpha machine, it'd be cool if we could install VMS on it and play . . .

What I'm up to tonight

Flashing the BIOS of a 7 year old computer so I can put in a 4 year old processor.


Tim Drake's Amazing Coverage of WYD

He's the author of Young and Catholic. This currently my favorite blog, and even favorite person/group covering WYD.

Ahead of me there were three bishops, one of whom was Bishop Dennis Schnurr. At the mid-point on the bridge a group of Italian kids came running up behind me, passed me by, and surrounded the bishops. As soon as they reached them they dropped to their knees. The bishops, without a flinch, began blessing each pilgrim's forehead, as if this were a frequent everyday happening at WYD, which I am sure it is. I cannot describe what observing that kind of faith does for you. As a believer, it fills your heart with so much joy that you either want to cry from it all or smile all the time. As you walk around town, you experience so many of these moments that you end up smiling all the time and feel like your heart could burst from the joy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Wisdom of the Boondocks

Michael Jackson is an artist, NOT a genre of music.

Web Comics!

Found through the evil influence of the NY Times.

More Photos of the Pope

My favorite was posted by Amy Welborn under the title "My Son Likes Super Heroes." I think the cape makes him look cool.

Pakistanis Denied Visas for WYD

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Young Pakistani Catholics “do not enjoy full freedom of worship” and their presence in Cologne for the twentieth World Youth Day is “seriously restricted” by the attitude of the German Embassy in Pakistan.

Many hold that the German Embassy’s refusal to grant visas is linked to terrorist alerts in recent weeks and to ties between some terrorist cells in Europe and Pakistan.

Il Papa Arrives in Deutschland

As he arrived in Germany, amid very heavy airport security, the Pope was warmly applauded by young people, who had filled several buses for the trip to greet the Pontiff. Crowds of young people had arrived earlier in the morning, pressing against barriers at the airport as they awaited the arrival of the Alitalia jet carrying the Holy Father. As the time of his scheduled flight drew closer, the chant of "Benedetto" arose repeatedly from the crowd-- composed mostly of German youths, with many Italians as well.

"With great joy I find myself, for the first time since my election to the chair of St. Peter, in my beloved homeland," Pope Benedict said. "I thank God, who has made it possible for me to begin my pastoral trips outside Italy with this visit to the land of my birth."

The department that made UNIX lives no more

May it rest in peace, and may someone figure out an easy way to install software on it.

You know it's bad when . . .

Iraq seeks constitution on eBay

The wonders of the modern corporation

"It is not just that the matter has not been resolved, it is also the reprehensible way that SBC goes about handling customer inquiries," the reader wrote. "What I am about to describe happened so consistently that I know it is intentional no matter how much SBC denies it, and in fact, I am a little embarrassed that it took me so long to figure it out."

The reader realized that his initial call to SBC always seemed to result in rude treatment from the customer service representative. "When a customer calls SBC customer service a recording comes on asking for the phone number the customer is calling about, supposedly so it can be routed to the right place," the reader wrote. "The first call on a day goes to the bad cop. This person asks what you want and when you tell them they just make up a response. It has nothing to do with the problem and when you point that out, they get you to argue with them. They will hang up on you, if you do not hang up on them. In fact, when we first received the bill, it was my wife who called about it. She got the bad cop and by the end of the call, she was crying. My wife does not cry easily. SBC owes my wife a personal apology."

Calling back would, however, yield entirely different results. "If you call again immediately, the recording says that it appears you called recently and asks if this is about the same thing," the reader wrote. "You say yes and get transferred to this wonderfully friendly person that starts off with, 'How can I make you a very satisfied customer?' In my case, this good cop/bad cop routine is just a waste of time -- mine and SBC's -- as I will always call back, if for no other reason than to complain about the first call. But what about the divorced mother of a two-year-old who comes home from work after picking up her child from day care and finds a problem with her bill? She, I submit, and many customers in similar situations, will not know what to do after that first call. She doesn't have time to spend hours on the phone and will probably just pay the incorrect charge, at least eventually, when she gets letters and calls threatening to cut off or reduce service. That is stealing in my book."

Although the "good cop" always agrees to remove the bogus charge plus penalties and interest SBC has been adding to the bill because of it, the charges are still there. "I am also aware that there is actually a variation on this routine," the reader continued. "Once the incorrect charge becomes an overdue charge that appears on the bill, it does not matter how many times you call in a day, the call always first goes to the bad cop who after getting your number and before you can say anything says something like, 'You have overdue charges. The total bill is $xxx.xx, would you like to make a credit card payment now?' As with the other routine, if you try to dispute the bill with this person, he will get rude and even hang up on you. Unless you know to specifically ask for the good cop, you will never get through to the person who will discuss the bill, no matter how many times you call back. Incidentally, the bad cop has always been male, and the good cop has always been female. Whoever thought up this way of handling customers should be fired."

Brother Roger has been killed

Aug. 17 ( - Brother Roger, the founder and leader of the ecumenical Taize community, was killed by a knife-wielding attacker during a prayer service in France on August 16.

A Protestant theologian, Roger Schutz was 25 when he first set up an ecumenical house of prayer in Taize, a village near Cluny in eastern France, in 1940. At first the community was a haven for refugees-- particularly Jews escaping the Nazi regime-- during World War II. Over the years, the Taize community became established as an ecumenical monastery, with Brother Roger as its prior, and more than 100 members, including both Catholics and Protestants. The Taize community, dedicated to reconciliation among Christians, attracts thousands of visitors each year, and Brother Rogers' books of prayers and meditations have proved popular among Christians of many different denominations.

Brother Roger was participating in an evening prayer service at a church in Burgundy when he was attacked. More than 2,000 participants witnessed the killing, as an assailant stabbed the 90-year-old Brother Roger in the throat. He died instantly.

Let us pray for his soul, and those of all who have died tonight.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Just a little chaos in Israel

Summa Contra Mundum on Mary and Martha

Does Jesus ever say "The world needs Marthas?" Does he make it easy on those of us who would rather be busy with the world rather than with contemplation of Christ? Or does he just assert that what Mary has chosen is the good?

It is like Bl. Mother Teresa reminds us, "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful."

Funny, but true:

Hobo: What the f***? Why's the train so crowded? Used ta be between 9 and 5 the train'd be empty. Don't anybody f***ing have a job anymore?

--N train

Girl: That's weird. I'm on the subway and my cell phone rang.
Guy: We're on the bridge.
Girl: Oh sh**! I was supposed to get off at Canal Street!

--Q train

Arnie Kriss: Vote Arnie Kriss for District Attorney.
Hobo: This man would not buy me a cup of coffee.
Arnie Kriss: Arnie Kriss for DA!
Hobo: This man would not buy a cup of coffee.
Arnie Kriss: Vote Kriss for DA.
Hobo: This man would not buy a cup of coffee.

--Bergen Street station

"Imprimi Potest," "Nihil Obstat," and "Imprimatur"

Everything You wanted to Know about Those Nifty Little Latin Terms.

Pictures of WYD on EWTN

And a Happy 25th to them!

Amy Welborn Reports on the Opening of WYD

The importance and power of an event such as this? Beyond what we all know and beyond the considerable impact on the participants themselves, consider this: We hear these bishops, these teachers speaking to youth, speaking to them in words that youth need to hear: this is it. This is your you want to know what to do with it? Listen to God. It will take courage to follow..God will give it to you. LIsten.

And, listening ourselves, young again because in God's eyes, we never grow old, we know it is never too late. Never.

Be as little children...


eBay Used to Sell Endangered Species

An International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) probe found 9,000 live animals or products for sale in one week on trading sites like eBay.

Ifaw claims many traders are taking advantage of the internet's anonymity.

The UK Government says it takes wildlife crime seriously, but Ifaw urged it to act urgently.

During a three month investigation, Ifaw found some of the world's most endangered species for sale online - almost all being traded illegally.

These included a live gorilla for sale in London and a Siberian tiger and four baby chimps on US websites.

Animal body parts included hawksbill turtle shells, shahtoosh shawls from the Tibetan antelope and taxidermy specimens of lions, and peregrine falcons - protected by British law.

Ivory items and traditional Asian remedies containing parts of endangered tigers and rhinos were common place.

Riot in Virginia over Cheap Laptops

More than 5,500 people queued for a chance to buy one of the 1,000 laptops and stampeded when the sale of the computers started.

In the crush 17 people were injured and four needed hospital treatment.

The four-year-old iBooks were being sold off cheap because Henrico County switched to Dell from Apple to supply laptops for its schools.

Again the Scientists are Surprised...

By the Complexity of Seeming Less Evolved Animals

A husband and wife research team at the University of Richmond has discovered that marine sponges, long considered some of the most primitive creatures on the planet, carry a sophisticated gene that in other animals controls the growth of eyes, brains and the central nervous system.

Sponges lack nerve cells, however, so they can't produce the complex sensory organs of higher animals.

The Purpose of Gossip

There has been a tendency to denigrate gossip as sloppy and unreliable" and unworthy of serious study, said David Sloan Wilson, a professor of biology and anthropology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the author of "Darwin's Cathedral," a book on evolution and group behavior. "But gossip appears to be a very sophisticated, multifunctional interaction which is important in policing behaviors in a group and defining group membership."

When two or more people huddle to share inside information about another person who is absent, they are often spreading important news, and enacting a mutually protective ritual that may have evolved from early grooming behaviors, some biologists argue.

Long-term studies of Pacific Islanders, American middle-school children and residents of rural Newfoundland and Mexico, among others, have confirmed that the content and frequency of gossip are universal: people devote anywhere from a fifth to two-thirds or more of their daily conversation to gossip, and men appear to be just as eager for the skinny as women.

Sneaking, lying and cheating among friends or acquaintances make for the most savory material, of course, and most people pass on their best nuggets to at least two other people, surveys find.

This grapevine branches out through almost every social group and it functions, in part, to keep people from straying too far outside the group's rules, written and unwritten, social scientists find.

I still think it's an immoral use of time. Just ask St. Paul.

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