Monday, March 31, 2008

EU laws and conscience

Dublin, Mar. 31, 2008 ( - In February the European Commission warned the Irish government that the nation's anti-discrimination policies do not measure up to European standards. The European Commission cited the Irish law that allows Church-related institutions such as schools, hospitals, and social agencies to reject employment applicants whose views or activities would violate religious norms.

There's a lot about how while a Catholic school could hire only Catholic religous teachers, it coulnd't do the same for, say, history. I understand what they're going at, but I'm not sure that 'secular' subjects are so divorced from the religion of the instructor as the EU would like to imagine.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Church today

Today in church Father Rutler said that the Acts of the Apostles was the first true history in the world.

Funny. I always thought that Thucydides wrote the first histories.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The perils of seeking perfection

Mr. Sorbino presents a fascinating analysis of how a healthy respect for doctrine and ceremony can turn ugly.

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NFP in Reuters!

A "natural family planning method" in which women use a set of beads to keep track of their fertile days is effective and widely acceptable to women and their partners, according to a new study conducted at 14 sites in six countries.

"I'm really convinced that this is a method that needs to be part of an informed choice approach to family planning," Dr. Victoria Jennings, director of the Georgetown University Institute for Reproductive Health in Washington, DC, told Reuters Health. "Women have lots of options and they need to be aware of this one."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Not all Catholics are the Vatican

Vatican, Mar. 28, 2008 ( - Responding to concerns raised by a prominent Muslim scholar, the Vatican has distanced itself from the criticism of Islam expressed by Magdi Allam-- the reporter who was baptized by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) at the Easter vigil.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, released a statement in reply to comments by Arif Ali Nayed, the director of the Islamic Studies Center in Jordan and a participant in the "Common Word" initiative, who had complained that publicity surrounding the conversion of Allam was "a triumphalist tool for scoring points."


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ammo For Afghanistan

Always nice to ship substandard rounds to your friends and charge them an arm and a leg.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Moving big rocks

How to build Stonehenge if you're a retired construction worker. Truly fascinating. Stole this from a mailing list I'm on but I'm not sure which.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm not sure why I found this headline so funny

Only Christians Believe Christ Is Risen

Zenit is very informative.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blackberry Silliness

Steve Jobs wants the iPhone to win, that much I understand. But his strange claims don't make a lot of sense to me

So what's the deal with James Bond movie female names?

Truly bizarre stuff in those movies I tell you.


Friday, March 21, 2008

The Pope is leading a crusade?

Vatican, Mar. 20, 2008 ( - The head of the Al Qaida terrorist network charged that Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) is leading a "crusade" against Islam, and vowed retribution, in a taped message released on the 5th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Must have missed the armies under the papal banner marching across Europe.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mark Shea on the "new sins"


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What's the week for?

In his homily during the Mass, Pope Benedict recalled that after his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus found the Temple cluttered with traders busy with various money-making schemes. That bit of Gospel history should cause Christians today to pause and ask themselves whether our faith is "open and pure enough," the Pope remarked. Non-believers coming into Christian churches should be able to "see the light of the one God," rather than be distracted, he said.

The Pope prodded the faithful to examine their consciences particularly with respect to financial affairs, recognizing that "greed is idolatry.

The bit about greed is a particular problem for me. I'm not sure that I'd actually do anything interesting if I were to make a trader type of salary, beyond blowing my bonus on a mainframe, but seeing increasing numbers in your bank account can be intoxicating. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with making money. After all, you need to provide for yourself, your family, and support the less fortunate in the world. But, in my experience, it's easy to slide from a natural desire to perform your best in the workplace to an all too natural desire to one up your neighbor. And one upping your neighbor is not one of the commandments, unless you mean one up in the Super Mario sense of giving them a new life.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

New trend: Urbanites becoming Organic Farmers

Confession: In many ways I'm a cliché. Yes, I went to Sarah Lawrence College, am now vegetarian (vegan for Lent!), and have chosen a commune type lifestyle in which I make little money. I eat organic when possible and care about where my food comes from. I am trying to switch from driving to biking to work, and I am about to buy into an organic coop. What next? I've been dreaming of moving to a farm for years. I've thought of going to work on my brother's girlfriend's family farm in Iowa, or going to a Catholic Worker farm in upstate New York. One of my current housemates is from a farm outside Baltimore and I'm tempted to volunteer my hours there this summer. It seems I am just one of the many young urbanites seeking to work with the Earth. Lately I've been discovering more and more how I value practical knowledge and working with my hands. It is so gratifying to cultivate or create something tangible. To take raw elements and work them into something delightful to the eye, mouth, or touch and also nourishing or functional has been an evolving theme for me this year. As I learn to repair bikes, knit socks, cook dinner, and grow a vegetable garden, I'm learning how empowering these tasks can be. It's nice to be able to do it for yourself and know the craft and skill that goes into these things. Besides, you learn so much by taking matters into your own hands.

This year I'm leading an organic gardening club at the school where I teach. Let's see if I can even maintain a garden patch before I start dreaming about having my own farm.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lolcats in Lent

Hang in there for another week buddy. It could be worse - you could be Jewish.

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

That fameous open-minded attitude

The face of totalitarianism is one Kelly Holloway, president of York's graduate students' association. It was she who pushed for the cancellation of a public debate on abortion. The event had been booked and the fliers printed, but it never happened. "This debate, over whether or not women should be able to have an abortion, is not acceptable in the student centre," said Ms. Holloway.

Not acceptable in the student centre? Abortion is among the most controversial issues anywhere. Theologians, ethicists and doctors - not to mention ordinary people - have been wrestling with abortion for many years. Even though abortion is widely available, there is still no philosophical consensus on the morality of killing a fetus.

Yet Ms. Holloway, in an act of terrifying arrogance, has declared the discussion finished. Referring to the 1988 Morgentaler ruling, she said, "The Supreme Court made a decision, and that's good enough for me. I think we should accept that the debate is over."

Yup yup. Might makes right, after all. The black-robed gods have spoken, don't question.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Should be easy to catch?

The Times ran these stories a day apart:

A Quarter of teen girls have STDs

wherein Planned Parenthood roundly condemned abstinence only sex education


Many gay men w/ STDs go unfound

wherein Planned Parenthood did not blame the problem on poor sex education.

I just thought it was interesting to see how one organization responds to the same problem in two different populations. STDs in teens - must be because of those evil Christians. STDs in gay men . . . hmm can't pin it on the Church, what to do.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New sins?

Not quite.

Mar. 10, 2008 ( - When he finished his interview with L'Osservatore Romano, Archishop Gianfranco Girotti probably thought that his main message had been an appeal to Catholics to use the sacrament of Confession. Little did he know that the English-language news media would play the interview as a newly revised list of sins.

. . .

If Archbishop Girotti referred to "new" sins, it is because some of the offenses he named (such as genetic manipulation) were impossible in the past, and others (such as international drug trafficking) are much more prevalent today, in a global society. Insofar as people could have engaged in these activities a century ago, they would have been sinful then as well.

Must have been a slow news day.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I've learned of these so called 'LOLcats'

Apparently I'm too old to keep up with the latest internet movements. Or maybe I just have a job. Anyway G4 was kind enough to put together a documentary on YouTube so I could make up for lost time.

I really want to make my away message "I can has mainframe?", but that would be overly geeky even for me. And I stayed up late last night reading Richard Stallman essays.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Mr. Spitzer's problem

Though I'm no friend of the gov, I'm not happy to see what he's been caught up in either. This sort of thing can be very damaging to a family. I'd love to see him fail politically, but not personally.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fear of death is justification for suicide

In Oregon, at least. That sounds reasonable, right?

The study, from the Journal of General Internal Medicine, asked relatives of patients who died by assisted suicide in Oregon to describe the reasons for their loved-ones' requests. "In most cases, future concerns about physical symptoms were rated as more important than physical symptoms present at the time of the request," the report says.

The study backs up other reports that show fear of pain, disability and "being a burden," rather than actual symptoms of disease, is a leading motive for requests for PAS.

The study said, "Concerns about what may be experienced in the future, including physical symptoms, were substantially more powerful reasons than what they experienced at the time of the request."

Truly strange.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Massachusetts, land of opportunity

After the adoptive parents, Jason and Holli Strickland, were arrested, Holli committed suicide, leaving only the stepfather in charge of making medical decisions.

Haleigh then became a ward of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, which sought and obtained a court order in October, 2005, to remove her life support, only six days after the state had gained custody over her.

. . .

Fortunately for Haleigh, the slowness of the court appeals process spared her life. The court made its final decision to euthanize her in January, 2006, by which time she was showing signs of alertness. Just days before doctors were going to remove her life support systems she began breathing on her own, and the Department of Social Services halted plans to remove her feeding tube.

It's always nice when the state decides that you're dead a few days before you start your recovery. Keeps life from getting boring.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008


South America has had more than its share of border conflicts. Still, it is hard to believe that in the 21st century the democratically elected governments of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela would be talking about war.

I'm not sure why it's so hard to believe. Democracies fight wars all the time over bizarre issues.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Canonical Territory

Bishop Hilarion of Vienna told the interfax news service that he hoped for "serious and elaborate discussion" of the Moscow patriarchate's objections to the presence of four Catholic dioceses in Russia. The Orthodox patriarchate claims Russia as the "canonical territory" of the Orthodox Church.

. . .

As the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Vienna, Austria-- historically a Catholic territory-- Archbishop Hilarion is himself an illustration of that point.

Always good times when Orthodox bishops in the West complain about Catholics being in Russia.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Rather unsurprising

Apparently a non-Trinitarian baptism is invalid.

Vatican, Feb. 29, 2008 ( - The Vatican has warned that Baptism is not valid when the celebrant uses a popular new formula.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a statement on February 29 saying that a baptism "in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier," is not a valid Christian sacrament.

In other news, many if not all popes are Catholic, and research has shown that ursine animals tend to engage in toilet behaviors in the woods.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Squach's grandmother. May she be in the embrace of Christ and may those on earth who know her feel not sadness from her absence but take comfort that she is with her Creator and may God grant them the graces to find peace and solace.


Baltimore Palm Sunday Youth and Young Adult Pilgrimage

Good things happening in Baltimore.


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