Monday, July 31, 2006

Theological Engineering

Blair has a little too much time on his hands . . . though it does give us the quote of the day:

tan is a frictionless, massless Mormon in a rest state. His sin level for his faith is currently 11 McBeals. He eats .3 kg of pork, and enjoys it very much. Assume that the Jews are right about, well, pretty much everything.

Wow. Couldn't have said it better myself, whatever it is.

Problems in Gibson-land

LOS ANGELES — Getting drunk and mouthing off is nothing new in Hollywood, but Mel Gibson's weekend arrest has plunged him into a crisis that few could have imagined two years ago.

Back then he described himself as a filmmaker guided by the Holy Spirit on his surprise blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, saying he hoped the film had "the power to evangelize." But that image has been shattered by news of his drunken-driving arrest Friday and the anti-Semitic and sexually insulting remarks attributed to him. The Associated Press reports that an official police report substantiates claims that Gibson made the remarks and threatened a deputy.

Game over. I know not what to think of it, except that Mr. Gibson has some explaining and repentence to do. Though I do have to say I have much experience with angry drunks, usually those closest to me, physically assaulting me. So the truth is not always in the wine. But sometimes it is.

Something to think about

Thanks to Mr. Jacoby.

According to a pair of Gallup polls released last week, 83 percent of Americans say Israel is justified in taking military action against Hezbollah, while 76 percent disapprove of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel. Yet when asked which side in the conflict the United States should take, 65 percent answer: neither side. Indeed, 3 in 4 Americans say they are concerned that the US military will be drawn into the fighting, or that it will increase the likelihood of terrorism against the United States.

Gallup's numbers suggest two things. First, that most Americans, sizing up the warfare in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, recognize that Hezbollah is the aggressor and that Israel is fighting in self-defense. And second, that most Americans believe this fight has nothing to do with the United States.

Welcome to Sept. 10.

We really have to do something about this. I mean I hate to play armchair statesman, but even I can recognize that when a bunch of people who like to kill other people get a significant number of guns, bad things happen.

A little more tolerance in Canada

CALGARY, Alberta, July 31, 2006 ( – Homosexual activists have denounced three Calgary based websites to the Alberta and Federal Human Rights Commissions, demanding that the sites which post information critical of homosexual behaviour be shut down.

. . .

“This is becoming the biggest battle in Canada’s history for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Freedom of the press is gone.”

“Our freedoms are being taken away very quickly. This may end up with one or another of us in jail, because I won’t pay the fine. If that’s what it takes, I’m willing to go behind bars.”

If only we had fought the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with such ferocity, we might have freedom of speach today in this country. At amu rate, let's support our Canadian brethren in any way we can. Which for me is sadly not much, but I'm sure I can find something . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Now here's an article you don't read every day

The Word of the Gospel, as Christ uttered it, as the apostles elucidated it, is woven entirely of the written Word of the Old Testament and its living commentary in Jewish tradition. To uproot them from the New Testament would make it not only incomprehensible but dumb and empty, for all its notions, images, and vocabulary, like all the realities to which this totality applies, proceeds from the Old Testament, and from the unwritten as well as the written Torah.

Hence this profound and little-noticed truth: the Old Testament has so influenced the New that every Christian, like the whole Church, can enter and progress in the mystery of Christ only through the history of Israel. It is necessary that the Jewish Passover be reproduced and transfigured to be fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus; and it is necessary that Christ’s new Passover in the Eucharist become ours.

Judeo-Christianity cannot be considered a transitory phase of abolished Christianity, forever surpassed by pagano-Christianity, which would have triumphed over it. The Christian synthesis must always be renewed by renewing its contact with the primary and, in a sense, definitive expression of the Gospel, in the categories and forms of Judaism.

Wow. Those are some pretty strong words in favor of a form of Judaeo-Christianity. I mean, I tend to think Paul would argue along the same lines, based on Romans, so it shouldn't be toocontroversiall, but I'm sure this is the sort to make plenty of people upset, if they read this sort of stuff.

However, I am unable to track down this book in any form. Maybe if I knew French it would be easier, but I feel like a citation with a publisher should be enough.

The world's least religious programming language

It's called Malbolge. I could attempt to write a witty post about it, but I'd fail, because it's a frightening beast that should probably be shot, though at least it's deterministic. For example, as instructions execute, they're encrypted so that they do something else the next time around, which is kind of the opposite of every other programming langauge I know of which tries to keep the code the same.

Plus, it's named after something in the Inferno. Bad news for any programming language.

At any rate, here's the obligatory Wikipedia link, and a programming guide, in case you have a few weeks to kill.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Well look who's in the Times

If it isn't Samantha Dobrich herself.

For years, she and her daughter, Samantha, listened to Christian prayers at public school potlucks, award dinners and parent-teacher group meetings, she said. But at Samantha’s high school graduation in June 2004, a minister’s prayer proclaiming Jesus as the only way to the truth nudged Mrs. Dobrich to act.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Overheard at the office

“My friend said that you always love your kids and some other guy’s wife”

Religion in Computer Science

Today we look at the life of Larry Wall, creater of Perl, the world's most religious programming language.

Firstly, one of the key operators in Perl is bless(). I sure can't say the same thing for C#, (no not C-hash), since I seem to spend most of the time I'm using it cursing.

Secondly, Perl design documents are called apocalypses
. I guess you could say the same thing for God's design documents come to think of it.

Thirdly, Larry Wall, in a move that would make Archbishop Sheen proud, compared the five years of work on Pel to communism:

Everyone my age and older knows that Five-Year Plans are bad for people, unless of course you're someone like Josef Stalin, in which case they're just bad for other people. All good Americans know that good plans come in four-year increments, because they mostly involve planning to get reelected.

I probably shouldn't point this out, but we've been planning Perl 6 for five years now.

Thanks to O'Reilly for hosting this pic and Mr. Wall for making it.

And of course Larry Wall is an evangelical. I wonder if his pastor understands that he's like the coolest guy ever.

For these reasons, I find Perl to be the most religious programming language ever. Tomorrow (God willing) I will propose a candidate for the least religious programming language ever.

Where's the Pope going?

Why to Castel Gandanfo, and no it's not for sale at any price Mr. Vander.

Note to everyone who's not Vander - please ignore.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


"Jesus is not Einstein" - at morning Mass during the homily.

So tired, but I did find some good news

Seoul, Jul. 27 ( - The World Methodist Council has given its approval to a theological statement on the doctrine of justification-- a statement already agreed upon by Catholic and Lutheran leaders.

At a general assembly in Seoul, South Korea, the World Methodist Council added its approval to a statement produced in 1999 by the Vatican and the World Lutheran Federation.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Peace in your heart

Is this your idea of peace?

Williams, the world-renowned pacifist, fumed while the kids cheered: "Right now, I would love to kill George Bush."
. . . . the disgusting comments left on an America Online message board for Sgt. Leonid Milkin, whose wife, two sons, and sister-in-law were murdered in Kirkland, Wash., last week while he was serving in Iraq. Human Events Online writer Lisa dePasquale documented the comments of anti-military Bush-haters:

"Too bad the paid assasin (sic) wasn't home also... Got what he deserved for serving an illegal government in an illegal war."

"Maybe he signed up for the wrong profession because who in their right mind would want to be a army man? He should have studied harder in school and found a real job instead of joining the army. Lmao, be all u can be? Don't patronize me ! People who join the army either have no education or come from small towns. He should blame himself for his family dying due to his lack of education."


Or perhaps this:

The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace, and in equity, and turned many away from iniquity.

Malachi 2:6

Just sayin.

Free speach?

Well, I'd call my representitives and tell them to vote against this bill before Congress gets arbitrary authority over the Internet.

If enacted, it would "Amend the Federal criminal code to make it unlawful for any person engaged in a gambling business to knowingly use the Internet or any other interactive computer service to: (1) place, receive or otherwise make a bet or wager; or (2) send, receive, or invite information assisting in the placing of a bet or wager." Criminal penalties include fines and up to five years' imprisonment.

. . .

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act gives Congress the authority to go to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and order that they not provide linkages to online gambling establishments. If you think Congress will be satisfied with restrictions only on gambling establishments, you're going to be disappointed. After all, the Internet provides people with access to other establishments that can be said to "cause innumerable problems in our society." There are various hate groups with Internet sites that spew vile propaganda. There are pornographic sites. There are sites that present political ideas or religious fanaticism that are offensive to many people and can "cause innumerable problems in our society."

Now a more interesting issue is how this relates to the laws of a properly ordered society. Perhaps states, since they have police powers, would in fact be able to protect people from themselves when it comes to things like adultery or contraception. But does the federal government have this authority? I can't see that it does, short of amending the Constitution.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Abp. Chaput deals with that little thing

The Anglos v. the Mexicans, Colorado edition. Not many answers, but I suppose it's a good thing that people are talking and not killing one another. The picture is what most impresses me and quite sums up the Archbishop's burden - one man, all alone, with a million people breathing down your neck looking for the answers.

Well that's not being very honest

The Lebanese government agreed to enforce UN Resolution 1559 which calls on it to disarm all militias on its territory, namely Hezbollah. If the Lebanese Government had performed this obligation, there would be no war, and there would be no Lebanese civilian casualties.

Instead the Lebanese government allowed Hezbollah to build its headquarters and underground bunkers in the populated neighborhoods of Beirut. It allowed Hezbollah to import 13,000 missiles to be fired into Israel's cities and towns. The 75,000-man Lebanese army has not sealed off the Syrian border and, according to reports, has allowed Syria to re-supply Hezbollah in the midst of its aggression.

As an associate put it, let's be honest here. If IDF, one of the finest fighting forces on the planet, couldn't beat Hezbollah, it's a little odd to task a brand new government with the task and then chastise them when they can't do it.

His appeal to Free France is the same:

It will be objected that Lebanon is helpless, that its democracy was destroyed and its territory conquered by the PLO, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. It will be said that the Lebanese cannot resist the superior force of Hezbollah's "state within a state." But this is an argument in bad faith. No one is helpless. When France was occupied by Germany during World War II, DeGaulle organized the "free French" into a fighting force.

If Lebanon had a vast overseas empire, it's quite possible that they would have continued fighting terrorism in their country or allied themselves with someone else. However, the author seems to forget that Lebanon can't really call on their Far Eastern and North African territories for support. Because, well, they don't exist.

I mean sure I'd love for Hezbollah to get their butts wiped off the face of the earth. But don't expect Lebanon to do it, and don't accuse them of coddling the enemy if you can't even do it yourself.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Go Poland!

WARSAW, Poland, July 24, 2006 ( – The Polish parliament has issued a resolution against research using human embryos, in response to the European Union’s recent vote to provide funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament, issued the resolution, which passed with a strong majority of 341 votes in favour and only 47 against. 20 votes were withheld.

The resolution stated: “Sejm of the Republic of Poland points out that those reprehensible practices (human embryo experimentation) are inconsistent with Polish law. [The destruction] of human embryos purposefully to receive stem cells is against the Polish Constitution, Chapter II, article 38, which states ‘The Republic of Poland shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being.’”

In other words, go away EU. A victory for human dignity, says Squach.

Ha, he agreed. Well, sort of.


Washington, DC | Sunday, July 23, 2006 | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will file a federal lawsuit tomorrow claiming that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld failed to fulfill their constitutional and professional obligations and protect US citizens in a crisis or time of war.

In the lawsuit, ADC alleges that the defendants placed US citizens in peril by not taking all possible steps to secure the safety and well being of US citizens in Lebanon. Further, the lawsuit asks the Federal Court to issue an order compelling the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense to request a ceasefire and to stop any shipments of weapons or any other military support to Israel during the evacuation of all US citizens out of Lebanon.


I agree. The Dept of State and Defense should have taken more active steps in removing Hezballah long before Israel had to go in.

Wait, thats not what they meant?

Ha. Ha. I love the internet.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How a book is made

If I ever get the opportunity to write a book, I'd like to take a trip to the printing like the good Mr. Sells and watch the paper turn into product.

Free psalms!

I know they're already free, but ArtScroll has put out some of their Hebrew/English interlinear psalms for free in order to facilitate prayer. Don't forget, today is a day of prayer for Mideast peace . . .

Saturday, July 22, 2006

For another take on the Mid-east peace crisis

From your friends at YTMND.

And if you want to see great military leaders at work, click here.

New website for Blair

Over at :-). Sign up for an account and check out this weird star trek/monty python crossover.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Managing complexity

The number of people who have been without power in Queens for five days now is actually closer to 100,000, not the figure of 2,000 customers that officials of Consolidated Edison had cited in previous days.

At a press conference in Queens, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called the discrepancy annoying, and said that Con Edison apparently based its earlier count on the number of customers who complained to the utility company that they had no power, and not on any systematic assessment of the power outage.

Complex systems demand skilled analysis, but beyond a certain level of complexity the human mind can't cope. For this reason we create abstractions, ways of dealing with what we consider to be the most relevant variables. In this process, of course, information is lost.

It may be helpful to think of an abstraction as a contract that we attempt to make the system adhere to, whereby certain parts are governed according to specified rules without being visible to those outside, and only a subset of internal state is exposed in a carefully controlled way.

The advantage of this is the ability to manage a system that would normally be beyond the ability of humans to effectively deal with. No computers don't necessarily fix these problems. Humans have to program computers, and computers themselves are abstractions built on top of abstractions, or as a fellow programmer put it, "Our job is to magnetize quickly spinning magnetic disks at exactly the right places".

The disadvantage is that when something breaks you may have no idea why, or how to fix it. Even worse, you may have a leaky abstraction, if the underlying system violates the contract of the abstraction. And the more complex the abstracted system is, the more it will leak, and the more it will break.

So why do I write about this? Just a reminder that managing complexity is hard. Try it some time if you don't believe me. In our lives we try to build some sort of abstraction that we're going to get such and such a job and everything will be good, but ultimately we're going to have to dive into the muck underneeth and realize that you can't really impose that sort of contract on the world, or on God. Sometimes the power goes out and you have to crawl around under the streets until you figure out why your expensive equipment isn't working like it did in the brochure.

Someone finally connects the dots

Yes, in fact there are pro-life organizations who have been loudly protesting for years.

“In short, if embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps—with a side order of cold-blooded eugenics,” writes Michael Kinsley in an article entitled Where’s the Logic? “No one who truly believes in the humanity of embryos could possibly think otherwise.”

Kinsley explains that in vitro clinics, in their efforts to produce a successful pregnancy, always create numerous embryos, ultimately selecting the best and destroying the rest. Thus not only is murder involved, as thousands of embryonic human beings are destroyed in fertility clinics, but also eugenics, as only the healthiest embryos are selected for implantation.

“In any particular case, fertility clinics try to produce more embryos than they intend to implant. Then…they pick and choose among the candidates, looking for qualities that make for a better human being…If the fertility clinic rejects you, you get flushed away—or maybe frozen until the day you can be discarded without controversy.”

The only logical conclusion, he says, “is that if embryos are human beings, the routine practices of fertility clinics are far worse—both in numbers and in criminal intent—than stem-cell research.”

Kinsley, however, following his display of logical clarity in linking the moral equivalance of the practices of IVF and embryonic stem cell research, continues on to state about the practices of fertility clinics that, “And yet no one objects, or objects very loudly.” From this alleged silence he infers that pro-life advocates are inconsistent, and thereby calls into question the sincerity of the pro-life belief that the embryo is a human being with all the same human rights as any other human being. If even pro-life advocates—he indicates—don’t believe in the humanity of the embryo in all circumstances, but only selectively, then the embryo must not be human.

Hmm. Me thinks that you have to talk to a few more pro-lifers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Busy on Sunday?

Pray for peace in the Mideast. Spread the word!

The Pope's statement listed specific petitions to be raised during the day of prayer and penance:
for an immediate ceasefire,
for the opening of humanitarian corridors allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid, and
for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region."

Many thanks to CWNews for letting us all know.

Trusting God

At Mass yesterday morning we had a bit of a prayer service for one of the parishioners who doesn't have the use of her hands, as in they don't work properly.

I felt rather shocked when I realized that I didn't believe that anything would really happen, in the sense of a miraculous recovery. I feel as if I had had faith the size of a mustard seed, I would have witnessed something amazing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trusting others

Sexton believes every word in the Bible, rejects evolution theory, and supports the Iraq war, the Republican Party and Bush -- in part because he is a born-again Christian.

"I trust his opinion because of his beliefs," she said.

While I'm glad that evangelicals are doing well in Ohio, I'm worried by that statement, despite the fact that I'm guilty of the same thing myself.

E.G. Mark Shea? Always right. Jesse Jackson? Never been more wrong.

I guess if nothing else, reading online news stories makes me realize how odd I'm being in not applying my mind to whole areas of my life.

Lots of Jewish stuff from the Vatican this week

First we have a new book about the relationship of the Church and Judaism.

Then we have a statement that the Pope is supporting the G-8 in the Mideast, calling for everyone to stop fighting.

On Sunday, when praying the Angelus in Les Combes, the village where he is spending these days of rest, the Holy Father said that "at the origin of these cruel oppositions there are, sadly, objective situations of violation of law and justice."

"But neither terrorist acts nor reprisals, above all when there are tragic consequences for the civilian population, can be justified," he said. "On such paths -- as bitter experience demonstrates -- one does not arrive at positive results."

The question I have, then, is what is ius ad bellum?, exactly.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

First Church of Springfield?!?

Apparently Reverend Lovejoy is behind Pius XII now. Who knew that the Simpsons harbored secret papists?

Be not afraid

A personal look at fear and the spiritual life from someone suffering from OCD.

I think in my life I've usually come down on the side of one poster who responds:

I myself encountered this a number of years ago. Sadat had been
assasinated. The Russians were about to invade Poland. The Chicago
School teachers were about to go on strike. My stomache was in knots,
my mind in turmoil. Fortunately, they were the same headlines for
week after week- so that I was able to see finally how ludicrous the
situation was. Finally, I woke up and said to myself, This is
completely nuts.

So I called into the radio show and pointed out what I had discovered
in myself, that for NONE of the things this lady was was worried
about did she have any responsibility whatever.

"So what should she do?," asked the radio host.

Well," I said from my own experience, "It just seems to me to be
Mental Health 101 that when you get in that kind of turmoil over "the
world situation," you turn off the news. You don't watch TV. You
don't read the paper. Instead, you take a chlorophyll bath by taking
a walk in the woods....." You spend some time in front of the
Blessed sacrament. You take a hymn book home from church (with
Fathers permission) and you sing hymns of thanks and praise to God
for His goodness. source

We do have a disturbing amount of control over what we think about, though it may be hard to exercise it if we havn't in a while. More important of course is trusting in God, but we have to put in the effort as well.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Duc in altum

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

How many of us are being called to the service of God? And how many of us think we are, but are sticking our noses where they don't belong. I feel as if I'm usually in the latter group.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pope Praises Our Lady of Mount Carmel

My patron Mary, so to speak.

INTROD, Italy, JULY 16, 2006 ( Benedict XVI dedicated today's first public meeting during his vacation in the Italian Alps to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, highlighting Mary on this feast day as model and intercessor.

Over 5,000 faithful gathered in the field in front of the chalet in Introd in the Aosta Valley -- where the Holy Father is spending a holiday in prayer, study and outings -- for the usual Marian meeting with the Pope.

. . .

Mount Carmel

The Pontiff began his reflection this Sunday by focusing on Carmel: "high promontory that rises on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea," whose folds have "numerous natural grottoes, favorites of hermits."

Of these men of God, "the most famous" was "the great prophet Elias," courageous defender of "the purity of the faith in the one true God from contamination by idolatrous cults," he said.

Inspired in the figure of this prophet, "the contemplative order of the Carmelites arose, a religious family that counts among its members great saints such as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of the Child Jesus and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (in the world, Edith Stein)."

And the Carmelites "have spread in the Christian people devotion to the Most Holy Virgin of Mount Carmel, pointing to her as a model of prayer, contemplation and dedication to God."

Read More

Pray More

Ikon jacked from The Curt Jester:

A brief discussion on the Vatican response to the war

Too brief at the moment. I find it odd, given that Hizbollah has been condemned by Saudi Arabia as the root cause. I would pay good money to see the Saudi royals argue with Cardinal Sodano over that one.

On the plus side, he'll be leaving in a few months . . .

Feeling environmentally responsible this Sunday?

All of our homes have large roofs that soak up sunlight all day long, why not harness that energy to offset our energy costs. Photovoltaic shingles look to be a promising way to do exactly that.

Now this is what I'd like for Christmas, unfortunately I don't think my parents would go for it despite the greatly reduced electric bill that could result. Apparently they place some importance on the slate roof on the house. I'll have to craft my arguments carefully.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Now this is interesting.

I got a visitor from Lambeth, in London, who came hear searching for skinhead pierced nipples.

Could it be someone close to the good Archbishop himself reading my blog? Probably not given the google, but I thought it was possible before I saw the search words.

TCJ finds an interesting blog

A blog dedicated to helping Episcopalians finding a home in the Catholic Church.

Interesting, as these things go.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oh and about meat on Friday

Just b/c I'm in a bad mood:

Canon 1251
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Our episcopal conference has perscribed pennance here in the US, so get on top of that.

What's going on in the Near East

Over the past six years, Hezbollah has launched periodic raids and rocket attacks into Israel. Israeli retaliation has led to the cessation of these provocations — until the next time convenient for Hezbollah. Wednesday was such a time. One terror base located in fully unoccupied Arab territory (South Lebanon) attacks Israel in support of another terror base in another fully unoccupied Arab territory (Gaza).

A few guys were talking at work today how Israel's response to the attacks on soldiers was disproportionate. Well, when you commit an act of war, it only seems reasonable that war is the result.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

And hey, maybe you need a little background on the Unification Movement

I know I did. I haven't really met a ton of these so-called Moonies in my travels, and their theology is, to put it wildly, kind of whack. Then again, it's probably better than what the Presbyterians have been endorsing these days. Ugh. If you're going to pretend you're God or some sort of messianic figure, at least admit it.

Let's pray for the Archbisohp

He seems to have gone a little off his rocker.

VATICAN CITY, JULY 13, 2006 ( Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is again in the news, this time reportedly to campaign for a change in Church discipline on priestly celibacy.

The Vatican issued a statement today, saying: "The Holy See has not yet received precise news on the purpose of the trip to the United States of Monsignor Emmanuel Milingo, archbishop emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia.

"However, if the statements attributed to him about ecclesiastical celibacy are true, there would be no alternative but to deplore them, the discipline of the Church in this respect being well known," concluded the brief communiqué.

On his return to the Catholic Church at the request of Pope John Paul II in August 2001, Archbishop Milingo, native of Zambia, acknowledged that, having gone through a crisis, he sought recognition for his work in the "Moon" sect.

A few months earlier in that year, he had entered a supposed marriage -- not recognized by the Catholic Church -- with Maria Sung, in Korean Reverend Sung Myug Moon's "Federation of the Family for World Peace and Unification."

Today, the Italian newspaper Avvenire reported that, after a few weeks of not knowing Monsignor Milingo's whereabouts, he appeared on Wednesday in Washington.

According to the Italian Catholic newspaper, the prelate said at a press conference that he has gone back to Maria Sung, that he has met again with Moon himself and that he is contesting priestly celibacy.

We should all sell organs!

After all,

No, doctor, that's where you have to step aside. Like many anointed experts, Dr. Pereira thinks he and others like him — "the government, the professional societies who help the government make the right policies" — have to make our decisions for us. But that conceit condemns people to suffer and die — as Steve Rivkin did.

Government and professional societies have no right to do that. They don't own your body. You do.

Unfortunately, of course, we're sort of on lease from God. You don't get to do arbitrary things, even if you're a consenting adult, becaue they're offensive to human dignity. Sorry Mr. Stossel, no dice.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Forgot to post this excellent find by TWA

A man, speaking after being in a coma for 20 years. Yes in fact nerves can regrow. This will, of course, have little impact on discussions of these matters in most circles, but with some patience and the grace of God these sorts of things can be spread.

Something to remember

For the next time you get into a discussion with gnostic types:

He said, "It's also significant to note that the early Christians were more spiritual than religious, without the need for a hierarchical church." (He went on to describe himself as "more spiritual than religious, but I did take my kids to church on Easter.")

Waitt's private views likely color his perception of Church history. When he said that "early Christians were more spiritual than religious," he apparently meant that they operated without any sense of a formal Church structure--as Waitt himself operates now. The only problem with this idea is that it is demonstrably false.

All one needs to do is to read any of the Church Fathers. Take Ignatius of Antioch, for example. There he is, being hauled off to Rome for execution. The year is 110. The last of the apostles, John, has been dead about a decade. There still can be found old men who had heard Jesus speak.

Roman soldiers escort Ignatius toward the capital, and the man they escort is a bishop, which is to say a leader of an organized, hierarchical Church. Ignatius knows his authority and exercises it, even as he is in captivity. During his last journey he writes letters to local churches in Asia Minor.

We still have them. They can be found in translation in most larger book stores. They are short and can be read in a single sitting, and no one can read them without seeing that Ignatius was not a member of a loose agglomeration of like-minded people but was a member of--even a hierarch of--an organized Church.

It's not like there's a disputed witness in the early Church. The documents clearly state what was afoot, and the importance of the hierarchy to the functioning of the Church. It's not until well after the earliest period that these things are disputed. Keep your wits about you and stick with the facts, and soon maybe you'll convince people that DVC is in fact not true.

Then again, maybe not.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mark Shea on Modesty

Probably a lot more palatable to many than OO on modesty. I'll put him up on the right-hand rail.

Israelites Sue God For Breach Of Covenant

I've already found two holes in prosecution's argument, however.

"My client, the Children of Israel, entered into this covenant with the Defendant in good faith. They were assured, in writing, that in exchange for their exclusive worship of Him, they would be designated His chosen people and, as such, would enjoy His divine protection and guidance for eternity," said Marvin Sachs, the Manhattan attorney bringing the suit on behalf of the Israelites. "Yet, practically from the moment this covenant was signed, the Defendant has exhibited a blatant and willful disregard for its terms."

I submit the Bible as evidence that Israel has often breached the Covenant and that its continued existance is by the grace of God.

Furthermore, it states that the plaintiff will become more numerous than the dust thereof. This has not occurred, either, assuming, of course, that the world contains more than 14 million particles of dust."

Ah, but that's not the Israelites, but the descendents of Abraham, including Ishmael and others. Add them up . . .

"We have yet to determine whether the Jews are arguing for the Covenant of Abraham, which covers homeland and birthright issues, the Davidic Covenant, under which they say they were guaranteed a Messiah, or some combination of the two," Harrigan said. "But one thing is clear: Standard assumptions for any legal contract in this district specifically state that the Defendant is not responsible for acts of God."

Continued Harrigan: "I must also point out that the plaintiff has been given a homeland and offered at least one viable Messiah. If the plaintiff chooses not to accept them for whatever reason, it demonstrates that no meeting of the minds was truly possible and that they acted in bad faith, and the covenant is therefore rendered null and void."

Case dismissed.

Hat tip to Justine.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Who knew?

All this time the Holy Grail is in Spain! Valencia, to be exact. There's something I'd like to go see.

Inside the cathedral is the Chapel of the Holy Chalice, also known as the Holy Grail. This cup, which reportedly dates back to the 1st century, is said to be the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. It was, according to the traditional story, brought to Rome by St. Peter, and kept there until the persecution of Valerian, when Pope Sixtus II entrusted it to his deacon, St. Lawrence. Before his own martyrdom, St. Lawrence was successful in sending the chalice to his family in Spain. During the Moorish invasion the cup was kept in a monastery, then in the royal palace in Saragossa, later in Barcelona, and finally transferred to Valencia early in the 15th century. The chalice was later removed for safekeeping during the Napoleonic invasion in the early 19th century and again during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. But it was returned to the cathedral chapel. There the Pope will delivered an address to the Spanish bishops.

Romney for president?

In a recent Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll, more than a third of registered voters polled said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, happens to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is a leading contender for the GOP ticket; so "the Mormon question" has been a hot topic in some political circles. But although, among the speculators, it is widely believed that evangelical Christians would no-way, no-how vote for a Mormon, the poll numbers hint that Romney's real obstacle might be a much more traditional political one.

Looking at the numbers, John C. Green, a religion-and-politics expert at the University of Akron, points out, "There appears to have been an increase in the skepticism about voting for a Mormon for president since the late 1990s." Green speculates: "This increase may reflect the opposition to Mormons among evangelicals and other conservative Christians. But it also may reflect opposition from liberal Democrats and seculars who recognize Mormons as a socially conservative group."

In the 2006 poll, self-described "liberal Democrats" were those most likely to oppose a Mormon candidate.

Romney for president . . . just so long as he doesn't make any promises to keep his mind divided, unlike JFK, I suppose that could work.

Even more sanity!

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

Now this actually makes sense.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sheed's Disease

I was reading an excellent book today:

In it the author discusses Sheed's disease, where people forget that religion is supposed to be about a relationship with Christ, about loving God, and instead focus on the Church, or theology, or apologetics, etc.

Unfortunately, guilty as charged. Good reading for a Sunday, I suppose.

The latest and greatest in IVF

Apparently eugenics and fraud are creeping in . . . the destruction of "problematic" embryos being one part of the brave new world.

Criticism of the new test was immediate, reported Britain's Daily Mail newspaper the next day. "It is not about taking an embryo and curing it," said Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, "but about diagnosing and then throwing away."

Simone Aspis, of the British Council of Disabled People, warned: "Screening out autism would breed a fear that anyone who is different in any way will not be accepted. It would create a society where only perfection is valued."

Something I've briefly mentioned before is a classmate's dream of a world where everyone is the same so that no one fights with one another. Are we one more step there?

Almost Perfect

I've been reading this history of Word Perfect, yes the word processor, today. I like it a lot better than Word, which is why I use it. Though perhaps Wordperfect isn't as good as this product:

Anyway, I always find some spiritual lesson in the fall of corporate giants. Usually they have all of the ingredients to be successful, but they get greedy, or lazy, or diversify to keep from getting bored, and the next thing you know Microsoft owns your market.

I mean, in the spiritual life we all have sufficient grace, so pretty much any problems we have we should be able to overcome, right?

Anyway, my recommendation for evangelization is to teach people corporate history.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A friend spars with some Protestants

Jack Cuervo, that is. I'll let you guys figure out who it is, lest I cause someone to show up at his house and kill him.

New Dappled Things is out


A highlight:

The paneling and drapes leant a certain gravitas to discussions with the Liturgical Committee about the prospect of moving a drum set into the sanctuary.

. . .

But the parlor was all the way at the front of rectory. Precious time would be spent on the journey there and back, and Father did not want to abandon his steak any longer than absolutely necessary. The pantry, then. Small and private like a confessional, not quite a true living space like the kitchen, and supremely economical. Father stepped into a corner to indicate that this was to be the place, set his glass next to a Mason jar of homemade applesauce, pulled off his oven mitt and fished his purple stoll out of his pocket. The short strip of embroidered satin made a comical appearance against his oceanic torso, more like a rake’s unraveled bow tie than an ecclesial garment.

From Meat

Only because a few of us were considering the question a few days ago of whether priests always carried their purple stoles. What's rather more interesting is the investigation of food, a subject rather near and dear to my heart.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Dreaded O Word

Yeah, I'm overweight and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Sure it sucks but it's my fault and I don't think that not telling kids is going to make it any better. It's not so long ago that you were considered to be an adult at the age of 13, so we better be able to tell 12 year olds that they have a problem.

We're a cult!

According to the letter the law is based on recommendations made in a 1997 report from the Belgian parliamentary commission that called for a law punishing those who abuse a person's weakness as a result of an "indoctrination by sects." The letter says the same commission drafted a list that labeled 189 religious groups as "sects" including, Hasidic Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Zen Buddhists, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Amish, Quakers, five Catholic groups, and others.

What a bunch of deviants. Buddhists in particular, always causing trouble in Belgium. Yeah.

A worthy cause - via email

Every mother and child deserves love and support from the moment of conception.


This is a very difficult time for me, here in New Jersey tonight. I would not normally be staying up this late but I am really, really worried. I have been worried for several months now and the situation is getting worse.

You see, 21 years ago, with the help of Fr. Benedict Groeschel ( Good Counsel Homes - Father Groeschel,) a Franciscan priest and psychologist, I began a small home to care for single mothers and their babies. We wanted to help mothers not only have a safe delivery but to also have a new life after the birth of their child. We knew that early intervention in helping a young mother return to school or find a job would help in the long-term moral and educational life of her child.

We wanted to make a difference for the many women and children whom society has forgotten. That is how Good Counsel Homes began ( .)

A lot has happened in those 21 years. Thousands of mothers and thousands of babies have been saved a life of despair, been given real hope, and have gotten a step up. Mothers like Ann, who turned her life around from abusing drugs to earning a living and caring for herself and her daughter.

Good Counsel Homes now has five homes, helping more than 80 mothers and babies a night in our residences. In addition, we help dozens more women through our national helpline and our Outreach and follow up Exodus programs, each and every week.

What has me really worried tonight, and has for the past several months, is that our income is not keeping pace with our expenses. I have tried very, very hard to budget what we expect to receive from our monthly mailings, numerous speaking engagements at churches, and from businesses and charitable groups. We have some private foundations who give us some sizable grant money but it is not enough.

Not only that, there is so much more to do in order to help the ever increasing amount of expectant mothers who call every day. I cannot do everything, but when a young, single mother calls and says, "I'm pregnant and my boyfriend wants me out of the house," I want to be able to respond quickly and say, "We can help you. Come right over!" We do say that now and I am finding that I am not able to fully cover these expenses.

I need help. I need your financial assistance immediately. The summer is traditionally a difficult time to raise funds but I really, really need your support. I simply have to say that this year we have not been able to keep up with our bills. They are piling high and I can no longer cover our daily operational expenses.

It may very well be that you are in no position to make a sizeable donation. It may very well be that you are in a very similar position to me at this time. My prayers are with you! All I ask is that you provide what you can at Good Counsel Homes - Donate and pass this message along to a friend. If they gave something, and also passed this message along to other friends, I know we could make it through this tough financial period. Please help!

A donation of $65.00 would be enough to feed a mother or child for an entire month. We are able to spread out these dollars because of donated food we receive. If you can support a mother or child each month for $65.00, please let me know so I can plan on this. These donations will prove to be of great help. If you can send something less right now, please do so, because every little bit helps. If you can send more, it will be a tremendous help.

Please, do something now because without your help, I really do not know if Good Counsel Homes can survive. I do not know if I can keep feeding, counseling, and helping more than 80 new or expectant mothers and their babies each night. There are many, many more women and children who need our help. It already breaks my heart to know that we cannot do more.

We can do more, but we need everyone's help in order to get it done.

Please make a sacrificial offering now: Good Counsel Homes - Donate

Please know that you will be in my prayers and the prayers of all of us at Good Counsel Homes. I trust that you will pray for us too.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to learn of this situation.


Christopher Bell
Good Counsel Homes
24/7 Helpline: 1.800.723.8331
P. 201-795-0637
Fax. 201-795-0809
411 Clinton St.

Box 6068
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Good Counsel Homes is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt charity. Your support is tax deductible. If you wish to find out more about Good Counsel Homes please visit

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I've been studying the Adventures of Pete and Pete for the past few days, for reasons relating to childhood nostalgia, I suppose. The first thing that surprised me was the number of fameous guest stars and allusions to various works of literature. Who knew that Selma Blair was in there.

More significantly though I'm wondering about how much of an effect it had on me, and how. I really identify with the characters many years after seeing it for the last time. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? How much of a thing? I worry.


From CWN's blog:

"Practices effective immediately include priests using only chalices and bowls made of precious metals for the distribution of holy communion. "Research has shown that metal chalices are less likely to contribute to the spread of diseases," church bird flu epidemic protocols state."

Research has also shown that chalices made from precious metals are required by Church liturgical norms.
original source

Yeah, if I was over there in NZ I'd probably be a little nervous for my liturgy. Then again, I can say the same about Columbia's chapel.

Influencing the world?

I wonder what the person from Indonesia thought as they landed on this blog after searching for "bondage." The person found my article about bondage entering fashion and actually spent 11 minutes on the blog. (That's more than I usually spend!)

The internet connects people in the strangest ways.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Perhaps if you have a little time

You could pray for nursing homes and those in them, which will be doubly rewarding due to the two awesome saints tasked on it, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Something to think about for when you're in a position of responsibility

Disc-less wonders: Dell’s not the only hardware maker not shipping discs with new systems. Reader Dennis M. says he dropped $47 on new Windows CDs after his Lenovo ThinkPad T41 went belly up. That was after he spent three days trying to reinstall from a boxed copy of XP. It’s like one of those MasterCard commercials. Cost of manufacturing a CD: less than $1. Cost of customer loyalty lost because you’re too cheap to ship them: priceless.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hmm. Missiles in North Korea

I'm somewhat disturbed. And on July 4th too. Though they waited until July 5th their time.

In light of Justine's post and July 4th, I'm suspending normal programming

We'll see if I can find something appropriate. For starters:

"Our loved ones only go from us to God. And God is very near"
-- St. Augustine

Monday, July 03, 2006

Please pray

Please pray for Br. Chris Bassen, a Christian Brother from the Oakland Lasallian community who just passed away. Especially pray for this small religious community. It will be very hard for us to fill the important role Br. Chris had.

Dawn Eden's Bat Mitzvah

I haven't seen the videos, but the description is priceless. Thinking about my own life, the part that impresses me the most is this tidbit:

I chant in Hebrew the prayers for the reading from the Haftarah (the prophets) and the Haftarah itself, Isaiah 54:1-10. I also read the Haftarah in English, rather too vigorously. Perhaps I knew that one day I would not approve of female lectors.

I wonder how many times I've rushed through something thinking that perhaps it was a bad idea . . . possibly several times everyday.

A little unrelated to the normal programming here

But I'm amazed that there are animals that need water to breathe that live on land. If only we had talked about this in school I might feel a little educated.

In fact, it's so weird it has me looking up non-classcial logics on Wikipedia. I've worked with ternary arithmatic, which requires the use of ternary logical circuits in computers, but I didn't think you could actually apply it to philosophy. Will the wonders never cease?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Send out a search party

O.O.: My stomach feels terrible.

Zorak: What did you have to eat today?

O.O.: Cognac, pop tarts and some caffeine pills. Do you think that's the problem?

Just a reminder to keep OO, Zorak, and the mini-Mantis in your prayers. OO's been under since October, but unless Zorak finally killed him, he's probably still working on his degree and in need of St. Joseph's intercession, etc.

Todays' reading

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

It seems to me that my first battle is exceling in all of those things which I'm supposed to excel in. Not so easy.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The candidate of their choice

Justice Kennedy also deserted the conservatives in a redistricting case from Texas when he found a violation of the Voting Rights Act in the dismantling of a Congressional district that had previously had a Mexican-American majority. The action of the Republican-led Texas Legislature had deprived the Latinos of the ability to elect the candidate of their choice, Justice Kennedy said, leaving Chief Justice Roberts to complain in dissent, "It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race."

Sure, if I got to set up a Congressional district I could get the candidate of my choice elected, whereas now I'm represented by someone I find fairly distasteful. But that doesn't mean I get my own Congressional district.

Atheism in action

A little Mark Shea commentary:

A number of his readers are panicking and assuming he's become a theist. Why? Because he's trying to become a more virtuous person. He hasn't, so far as I can tell, advocated a single theistic idea. He's simply said that, out of respect for some of the prolifers he knows, he will not malign Jesus or Christianity any more. He's also said he's going to try to swear off mockery and sarcasm.

For this, his atheist readers are reviling him (read the comments, but put on fire retardant clothes first).

This was somewhat true of some of my classmates, one of whom had an interesting desire to outlaw any differences between people, because differences cause disagreements. I kid you not.

Some of the secret archives are opening

I've always wondered what gets stuck in the archives of a government. I mean, if I were to open my secret archives, I'd probably have issues with a few kids from my high school, so I guess it makes sense that when the Vatican opens theirs they have issues with a few countries.

Like most other governments, the Vatican does not release confidential documents until long after the historical era that they concern, in order to protect the privacy of individuals involved. In many countries, legislation requires that archival documents must be held secret for 50 years; in some countries the threshold is 100 years.

What I want to know is how to get access. It's apparently limited to those with appropriate academic credentials, which means that my proposed degree in CS isn't going to get me through the door. Unless I do my dissertation on the influence of electromechanical computers on Church policy during the period leading up to WWII.

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