Deborah Gyapong: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From Archbishop Prendergast's Chrism Mass

In his homily last night he said:

Since the bishop is the only minister in the diocese who may consecrate chrism, this Mass highlights his ministry and the union of all the faith communities with him. Though he cannot baptize and confirm all the candidates for these sacraments in all the parishes of the diocese, there is a sense in which the Apostle of the local church becomes symbolically present in the chrism which the priests and deacons use.

More recently, this Mass of Chrism recognizes the ministry of priests, particularly important in this Year of the Priest. At Mass in a few moments, I will invite the members of the presbyterate of Ottawa and the religious who collaborate with us to renew their commitment of service and to receive the prayers and support of the people.

On the Feast of the Sacred Heart last year, Pope Benedict held out to us the holy Curé of Ars, St. Jean Marie Vianney, as a model of holiness. As recent events have made clear, many have fallen short of the ideals we learned in our formation by harming, even abusing, children and youth. For this and the malfeasance in handling such crimes and sins by bishops, our heads these days all hang in shame. We are all collectively, bishops, priests and people, being called to repentance. And hereafter to ensure the safety of all, particularly the most vulnerable who come to us to be ministered to in Christ’s name.

My only comfort (and I hope it is your own) in these difficult days, when the Holy Father, the bishops and the church in general are held in opprobrium is to recall and meditate upon the truths we have heard in the Scriptures this evening.

The words recorded by the seer of Patmos remind us that Jesus died for our sins out of love for us and to make us a church of holiness, a royal, priestly people, something we cannot achieve on our own.

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First-born from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth ... loves us and washed us from our sins by his blood.

Though we are tainted by the residue of sin, we also encounter the reconciling love of God made manifest in the sacramental life of our church.

We pray that our priests may continue to do all they can to help people experience the gift of a garland instead of heads hung in shame.

We long to know the joy that the people of Nazareth felt on the day when Jesus proclaimed the fulfillment among them of the prophecy of Isaiah, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour.

May every priest know how to communicate the Lord's joy to those who come not only to be set free of their burdens but to discern how the Lord is calling the zealous and faithful Catholics of our Church of Ottawa to grow in the holiness proper to each one’s state of life.

Please pray for the priests serving the Church of Ottawa, in gratitude for the favours of the Lord that come to us through their ministry. May they personally know the divine favour in their lives.

Beautiful, eh? Let us pray for this.

He writes about the meaning of the Chrism mass at his wonderful blog.

Cardinal Levada says, "Excuse me, editors"

William Cardinal Levada, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith weighs in against the biased New York Times. Read it all. My bolds.

As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.
I say this because today’s Times presents both a lengthy article by Laurie Goodstein, a senior columnist, headlined “Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest,” and an accompanying editorial entitled “The Pope and the Pedophilia Scandal,” in which the editors call the Goodstein article a disturbing report (emphasis in original) as a basis for their own charges against the Pope. Both the article and the editorial are deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness that Americans have every right and expectation to find in their major media reporting.

In her lead paragraph, Goodstein relies on what she describes as “newly unearthed files” to point out what the Vatican (i.e. then Cardinal Ratzinger and his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) did not do – “defrock Fr. Murphy.” Breaking news, apparently. Only after eight paragraphs of purple prose does Goodstein reveal that Fr. Murphy, who criminally abused as many as 200 deaf children while working at a school in the Milwaukee Archdiocese from 1950 to 1974, “not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims.”

But in paragraph 13, commenting on a statement of Fr. Lombardi (the Vatican spokesman) that Church law does not prohibit anyone from reporting cases of abuse to civil authorities, Goodstein writes, “He did not address why that had never happened in this case.” Did she forget, or did her editors not read, what she wrote in paragraph nine about Murphy getting “a pass from the police and prosecutors”? By her own account it seems clear that criminal authorities had been notified, most probably by the victims and their families.

Goodstein’s account bounces back and forth as if there were not some 20 plus years intervening between reports in the 1960 and 70’s to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and local police, and Archbishop Weakland’s appeal for help to the Vatican in 1996. Why? Because the point of the article is not about failures on the part of church and civil authorities to act properly at the time. I, for one, looking back at this report agree that Fr. Murphy deserved to be dismissed from the clerical state for his egregious criminal behavior, which would normally have resulted from a canonical trial.

The point of Goodstein’s article, however, is to attribute the failure to accomplish this dismissal to Pope Benedict, instead of to diocesan decisions at the time. She uses the technique of repeating the many escalating charges and accusations from various sources (not least from her own newspaper), and tries to use these “newly unearthed files” as the basis for accusing the pope of leniency and inaction in this case and presumably in others.

It seems to me, on the other hand, that we owe Pope Benedict a great debt of gratitude for introducing the procedures that have helped the Church to take action in the face of the scandal of priestly sexual abuse of minors. These efforts began when the Pope served as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and continued after he was elected Pope. That the Times has published a series of articles in which the important contribution he has made – especially in the development and implementation of Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, the Motu proprio issued by Pope John Paul II in 2001 – is ignored, seems to me to warrant the charge of lack of fairness which should be the hallmark of any reputable newspaper.

Let me tell you what I think a fair reading of the Milwaukee case would seem to indicate. The reasons why church and civil authorities took no action in the 1960’s and 70’s is apparently not contained in these “newly emerged files.” Nor does the Times seem interested in finding out why. But what does emerge is this: after almost 20 years as Archbishop, Weakland wrote to the Congregation asking for help in dealing with this terrible case of serial abuse. The Congregation approved his decision to undertake a canonical trial, since the case involved solicitation in confession – one of the graviora delicta (most grave crimes) for which the Congregation had responsibility to investigate and take appropriate action.

Only when it learned that Murphy was dying did the Congregation suggest to Weakland that the canonical trial be suspended, since it would involve a lengthy process of taking testimony from a number of deaf victims from prior decades, as well as from the accused priest. Instead it proposed measures to ensure that appropriate restrictions on his ministry be taken. Goodstein infers that this action implies “leniency” toward a priest guilty of heinous crimes. My interpretation would be that the Congregation realized that the complex canonical process would be useless if the priest were dying. Indeed, I have recently received an unsolicited letter from the judicial vicar who was presiding judge in the canonical trial telling me that he never received any communication about suspending the trial, and would not have agreed to it. But Fr. Murphy had died in the meantime. As a believer, I have no doubt that Murphy will face the One who judges both the living and the dead.


As I look back on my own personal history as a priest and bishop, I can say
that in 1980 I had never heard of any accusation of such sexual abuse by a
priest. It was only in 1985, as an Auxiliary Bishop attending a meeting of our
U.S. Bishops’ Conference where data on this matter was presented, that I became
aware of some of the issues. In 1986, when I was appointed Archbishop in
Portland, I began to deal personally with accusations of the crime of sexual
abuse, and although my “learning curve” was rapid, it was also limited by the
particular cases called to my attention.

Here are a few things I have learned since that time: many child victims are reluctant to report incidents of sexual abuse by clergy. When they come forward as adults, the most frequent reason they give is not to ask for punishment of the priest, but to make the bishop and personnel director aware so that other children can be
spared the trauma that they have experienced.

In dealing with priests, I learned that many priests, when confronted with accusations from the past, spontaneously admitted their guilt. On the other hand, I also learned that denial is not uncommon. I have found that even programs of residential therapy have not succeeded in breaking through such denial in some cases. Even professional therapists did not arrive at a clear diagnosis in some of these cases; often their recommendations were too vague to be helpful. On the other
hand, therapists have been very helpful to victims in dealing with the
long-range effects of their childhood abuse. In both Portland and San Francisco
where I dealt with issues of sexual abuse, the dioceses always made funds
available (often through diocesan insurance coverage) for therapy to victims of
sexual abuse.


It was only in 2001, with the publication of Pope John Paul II’s Motu proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST), that responsibility for guiding the Catholic Church’s response to the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clerics was assigned to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This papal document was prepared for Pope John Paul II under the guidance of Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Contrary to some media reports, SST did not remove the local bishop’s responsibility for acting in cases of reported sexual abuse of minors by clerics. Nor was it, as some have theorized, part of a plot from on high to interfere with civil jurisdiction in such cases. Instead, SST directs bishops to report credible allegations of abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is able to provide a service to the bishops to ensure that cases are handled properly, in accord with applicable
ecclesiastical law.


The Times editorial
wonders “how Vatican officials did not draw the lessons of the grueling scandal
in the United States, where more than 700 priests were dismissed over a
three-year period.” I can assure the Times that the Vatican in reality did not
then and does not now ignore those lessons. But the Times editorial goes on to
show the usual bias: “But then we read Laurie Goodstein’s disturbing report . .
.about how the pope, while he was still a cardinal, was personally warned about
a priest … But church leaders chose to protect the church instead of children.
The report illuminated the kind of behavior the church was willing to excuse to
avoid scandal.” Excuse me, editors. Even the Goodstein article, based on “newly
unearthed files,” places the words about protecting the Church from scandal on
the lips of Archbishop Weakland, not the pope. It is just this kind of
anachronistic conflation that I think warrants my accusation that the Times, in
rushing to a guilty verdict, lacks fairness in its coverage of Pope

The scourge of pornography

National Review Online has a must-read report on the highly addictive and destructive aspects of pornography addiction. It reminds me of a male friend telling me years ago that at a men's breakfast at an evangelical church, the speaker told the audience that he imagined some 40 per cent of those present were addicted to pornography.

The findings of the report hit particularly close to home for me. By his own account, my husband of 13 years and high-school sweetheart, was first exposed to pornography around age ten. He viewed it regularly during high school and college — and, although he tried hard to stop, continued to do so throughout the course of our marriage. For the past few years he had taken to sleeping in the basement, distancing himself from me, emotionally and physically. Recently he began to reject my sexual advances outright, claiming he just didn’t “feel love” for me like he used to, and lamenting that he thought of me “more as the mother of our children” than as a sexual partner. Then one morning around 2am he called, intoxicated, from his office to announce that he had “developed feelings” for someone new. The woman he became involved with was an unemployed alcoholic with all the physical qualities of a porn star — bleached blond hair, heavy makeup, provocative clothing, and large breasts. After the revelation, my husband tried to break off his relationship with this woman. But his remorse was short-lived. Within a few months he had moved permanently out of the home he shared with me and our five young children. In retrospect, I believe he succumbed to the allure of the secret fantasy life he had been indulging since his adolescence.

My husband is not alone. According to Dr. Victor Cline, a nationally renowned clinical psychologist who specializes in sexual addiction, pornography addiction is a process that undergoes four phases. First, addiction, resulting from early and repeated exposure accompanied by masturbation. Second, escalation, during which the addict requires more frequent porn exposure to achieve the same “highs” and may learn to prefer porn to sexual intercourse. Third, desensitization, during which the addict views as normal what was once considered repulsive or immoral. And finally, the acting-out phase, during which the addict runs an increased risk of making the leap from screen to real life.

Matt Fradd has a website to help Catholic men who suffer from this hideous addiction.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yeah! Senator Mike Duffy!

From his speech on free speech in the Senate:

“Some people say that if we ban offensive or rude opinions in Canada, society will be more harmonious.
“But experience around the world shows that’s just not how it works; and if we stop people from expressing themselves verbally, even in ways we find distasteful, they might be tempted to express themselves violently.
“Free speech is our national safety valve! “I’m impressed by how many grassroots Canadians have joined the ranks of democratic, participatory journalism through blogs and YouTube and social media like Facebook and Twitter.

“Journalism was once seen as a private club. There were enormous barriers to entry. “Ordinary people couldn't join in the national discussion. They were reduced to the role of spectators, with little chance to participate beyond shaking their fists at the TV set, or writing an occasional letter to the editor. “But now, anyone with a laptop – or a camera, – can help make the news and have their say, and through the power of their ideas, reach millions of people, and sometimes even change the world. “It’s not just healthy for journalism, it’s healthy for democracy too. And it's young people at the vanguard.

“That's free speech.

“Just ask the hard-liners of Iran, who are losing the battle of ideas against university students armed only with the power of Twitter. “Or consider Communist China. “During the events in Tienamin Square, our distinguished colleague Senator Munson provided Canadians with a window on that historic event. “Today, thanks to technology, instead of just a few valiant journalists, the main voice for reform in China is that country’s 20 million bloggers, blowing the whistle on corruption and pressing for greater liberty.

“So, even if censorship were morally correct, and it's not, it has been rendered obsolete by technology.
“The Canadian Human Rights Commission, has shut down offensive websites here in Canada. “But persistent dissidents can simply move their websites to the United States or to Iceland, which has announced its plans to be the world's leading free speech jurisdiction. “And there's another paradox of censorship in the Internet age: out of the billions of pages on the Web, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre estimates that around 8,000 sites are serious purveyors of racism or anti-Semitism. “But by prosecuting these obscure Web sites, we give fringe, marginal ideas more attention and publicity than they would ever have received on their own.

New meaning to Blazing Cat Fur

Via Jay Currie, this:

VICTORIA — B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner was hoping to spark a little romance with his wife over a candlelit dinner Saturday during Earth Hour.

Instead, he accidentally set his cat on fire.

The American Thinker noticed this too

Disgusting. My bolds.

The fact that mainstream media coverage of the Muslim terrorist attacks in Moscow was predictable makes it no less craven.

The Wall Street Journal (the hero of the story) ran the story above the fold, with a dramatic photo of a survivor, correctly identifying the bombers as an "Islamic insurgency."

The New York Times likewise put the story on the front page. Their headline, however, reads: "Attack Victims Are Mourned as Russia Weighs Its Response." So as not to offend anyone, no mention of the identity of the attackers is made.

A second New York Times story addresses the nettlesome question of who those "attackers" were, but since "terrorist" is the new T-word, the word "bombers" seemed less offensive. A first draft of their headline might have read: "Russia's Fear of Bombers Is Revived." But it sounded silly. Everyone fears bombers. If you learn that bombers are around, you want some clues to help identify them. It's almost a genetically programmed response, like asking how someone died so you know what to look for when it's your turn. The Times then discovered the appropriate modifier and ran with it: "Russia's Fear of Female Bombers Is Revived." That's right, female.

The Boston Globe can be relied on to follow the lack of leadership of its big brother, with even greater lack. The Moscow story does not appear at all on the Globe's webpage, bumped by breaking news: "Unwanted phone charges raising ire."

In the paper edition, the Globe tucked the Muslim terrorist attack into the "In the News" bullet points on the left column. It only rated second place on the list however. Number one was: "Nine purported members of a Christian militia group...charged with conspiring to kill police." No beating around the bush there. A Christian conspiracy ranks above a Muslim mass murder.

The militia is identified as "Christian" since cop-killing militia groups, it is well known, derive their marching orders from the Bible.

Some of my friends have not seen this yet

For those of my readers who do not visit Father Z regularly, he posted this several days ago. You may laugh. You may weep. You may do both at the same time. I'm a big fan of dance, by the way. That was my favorite hobby when I was younger. I used to take ballet and jazz classes almost every night after work. In my dreams I do magnificent split leaps that feel like flying. I hope in heaven I can worship the Lord in dance.

But I really do not like this kind of liturgical dancing. I REALLY do not like it.

Over at CMR we may have seen the coining of a new term. New? Old? I don’t know, but it is good.

Liturgesy: Heresy expressed in the form of Liturgy

We are treated to this, from the closing of the Three Days of Darkness in LA… er um…. the Education Conference.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Now here in Ottawa, one of the big charismatic churches in the East end has or used to have a large team of young people who I've seen at public events doing some nicely choreographed jazz dancing and/or hip hop to Christian praise music. I loved it. I think its a great way for kids to work as a team, vent some of their energy, and celebrate their love for Jesus. I don't see anything wrong with worshipping that way OUTSIDE OF THE MASS!!!!!

And these charismatic churches don't believe the same way about the Eucharist anyway, so fine, when they dance or do interesting things with banners and such, they are, well, doing their thing.

I have also loved seeing some First Nations warriors in regalia, swinging tomahawks and dancing traditional dances to Christian praise music. It was like seeing spiritual warfare through dance.

But I think Father Z has a point about this video. There is something in this liturgy that seems to undermine the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

What really happened in the Fr. Murphy case

A long report here. An excerpt to whet your appetite:

As a volunteer prison chaplain in Alaska, I have found a corollary between those who have been incarcerated for child sexual abuse and the priests who have committed such grievous actions. They tend to be very smart and manipulative. They tend to be well liked and charming. They tend to have one aim in life — to satisfy their hunger. Most are highly narcissistic and do not see the harm that they have caused. They view the children they have abused not as people but as objects. They rarely show remorse and moreover, sometimes portray themselves as the victims. They are, in short, dangerous people and should never be trusted again. Most will recommit their crimes if given a chance.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What if the state forced the Church to have priestesses?

Scary thought. But they tried it in Britain and it almost passed. From Dorothy Cummings column in the Catholic Register:

Catholics in Britain do not enjoy the same confidence in religious freedom that Catholics in Canada do. Here, for example, is a headline from the Catholic Herald, Britain’s leading Catholic newspaper: “Ed Balls: Catholic schools must teach pupils where they can access abortion.” Ed Balls is the Schools Secretary, a position akin to our Minister of Education. Under a new bill, Catholic schools in England will be forced to teach students how to use artificial contraception, where to get an abortion and why same-sex sex is good.

“Is it too early to talk about home-schooling?” I asked my husband.

We don’t have children yet, but you never know.

“This bill might not apply to Scotland,” said my husband hopefully.

The bill was passed on Feb. 23. But even before it was passed, I was feeling nervous about being Catholic in Britain. A bill that could have forced the church to accept women, sexually active homosexuals and married men as priests was narrowly defeated in the House of Lords.
Heck, Dorothy, I'm not all that confident of religious freedom in Canada, especially Quebec.

Brace yourself for some Gerald Warner


Gerald Warner writes:

The abusive priests are not the only hypocrites. “I am so shocked by the abuse scandal I am leaving the Church.” Right. So, the fact that some degenerates who should never have been ordained violated young people – in itself a deplorable sin – means that the Son of God did not come down to earth, redeem mankind on the cross and found the Church? This appalling scandal no more compromises the truths of the Faith than the career of Alexander VI or any other corrupt Renaissance Pope.
Father Z adds his comments (in red, with his bolds in black) to this explosive post here:

They are being supported by the media, whose agenda is to pressurise the Catholic Church into moral relativism, [bingo] to withdraw its condemnation of abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, embryo experimentation, ordination of priestesses and every other precept that conflicts with the secularist New World Order.

Free Guy Earle

Kathy Shaidle has a round up:

Background on the case here and here.

A dedicated website promises to post updates as they happen.

Guy writes:

I should present the HRT with a bill: $20,000 would only cover my expenses. I have moved across the country now, three times because of this and there is no telling how many opportunities I have missed. I can't get over the fact that this is a government sponsored cash grab and we as Canadians have nothing to say for it. We have become complacent, too comfortable in our "freedom"...

If we don't all get involved in our government and show that we can be a pro-active part of our country, then we won't even notice when all the freedoms have been stripped away. A comic is socially aware and because of my ordeal, I have made the transition to politically active; whether I like it or not, this was not my choice. Now, it is my destiny and you better hope and pray that YOU aren't next.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A 2008 "Spengler" article that bears rereading

It's long, insightful and chilling:

Here's a juicy tidbit to entice you to read the whole thing:

Never underestimate the influence of a wife who bitch-slaps her husband in public. Early in Obama’s campaign, Michelle Obama could not restrain herself from belittling the senator. “I have some difficulty reconciling the two images I have of Barack Obama. There’s Barack Obama the phenomenon. He’s an amazing orator, Harvard Law Review, or whatever it was, law professor, best-selling author, Grammy winner. Pretty amazing, right? And then there’s the Barack Obama that lives with me in my house, and that guy’s a little less impressive,” she told a fundraiser in February 2007.

“For some reason this guy still can’t manage to put the butter up when he makes toast, secure the bread so that it doesn’t get stale, and his five-year-old is still better at making the bed than he is.” New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported at the time, “She added that the TV version of Barack Obama sounded really interesting and that she’d like to meet him sometime.” Her handlers have convinced her to be more tactful since then.

And this:

Hatred is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama. As he recalled in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama idealized the Kenyan economist who had married and dumped his mother, and was saddened to learn that Barack Hussein Obama, Sr, was a sullen, drunken polygamist. The elder Obama became a senior official of the government of Kenya after earning a PhD at Harvard. He was an abusive drunk and philanderer whose temper soured his career.

The senior Obama died in a 1982 car crash. Kenyan government officials in those days normally spent their nights drinking themselves stupid at the Pan-Afrique Hotel. Two or three of them would be found with their Mercedes wrapped around a palm tree every morning. During the 1970s I came to know a number of them, mostly British-educated hollow men dying inside of their own hypocrisy and corruption.

Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish for.

Fr. De Souza on the sex abuse crisis

There has been much advice given to the Catholic Church in regard to the sexual abuse scandals. There are, though, only two real options. The Church can become more Catholic, or less Catholic.

Much commentary favours the latter approach. If the Catholic Church were to become less distinctively Catholic -- begin to teach as false what she now teaches as true, modify her traditional practices, adopt democratic modes of governance -- she would fix the problem. Though rarely put so bluntly, the advice to Catholics is to become more like Protestants.

The alternative is for the Church to become more fully who she already is--a preacher, a teacher, a mother, a mediator, a ruler. The sexual abuse scandals are a result of the Church's infidelity to her own identity and mission. That demands the response of being more Catholic, not less.

Obviously that's the case for the perpetrators of sexual abuse. Sin, especially such grievous sin and criminal activity, is a betrayal of the graces of baptism and ordination. The scandals, though, have been as much about a failure of governance and oversight; it's from the Greek for "overseer" that we get the word "bishop".

In the 1960s, like much of society and after the Second Vatican Council, the Church simply abandoned her disciplinary life. Doctrinal dissent was not corrected, but often celebrated. Liturgical abuses, both minor and outrageously sacrilegious, were tolerated. Bishops simply stopped inquiring into priestly asceticism, prayer and holiness of life. Non-Catholics often have an image of the Catholic Church as a ruthlessly efficient organization with a chain of command that would make the armed forces jealous. The reality for most of the 1960s to 1980s was the opposite. A priest could preach heresy, profane the Holy Mass, destroy the piety of his people and face no consequences. The overseers decided to overlook everything. It is any surprise, then, that when accusations of criminal immorality emerged they too were dealt with inadequately, if at all?

Sean Murphy refutes Christopher Hitchens

If you are interested in facts concerning the barrage of misinformation on Pope Benedict XVI, read this excellent article by Sean Murphy at the invaluable CERC.

The bogus pumped up attacks on the Pope

Damian Thompson writes:

There is still no good evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is seriously implicated in the atrocious child abuse scandals that are – rightly – blackening the reputation of the institutions of the Catholic Church. But still the attempts to join the dots continue. To put it bluntly, there is an increasingly frantic media campaign against the Pope in which headlines are being written first and then facts shaved to fit them.

It is also clear that many prominent liberal Catholics are turning a blind eye to this media vendetta because they don’t like Pope Benedict. They are happy for him to take the rap for diocesan cover-ups initiated, in some cases, by liberal prelates. Those relates are grateful for the opportunity to pass the buck to the one man who, though his record on this matter is certainly not beyond criticism, has done more than any other to rectify the Church’s lax procedures – Joseph Ratzinger.

Ah, the foaming at the mouth moralists of the mainstream media.

Father Raymond de Souza posts the following at National Review Online:

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.

Before addressing the false substance of the story, the following circumstances are worthy of note:

• The New York Times story had two sources. First, lawyers who currently have a civil suit pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Anderson, also has cases in the United States Supreme Court pending against the Holy See. He has a direct financial interest in the matter being reported.

• The second source was Archbishop Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee. He is the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him. Archbishop Weakland had responsibility for the Father Murphy case between 1977 and 1998, when Father Murphy died. He has long been embittered that his maladministration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee earned him the disfavor of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long before it was revealed that he had used parishioners’ money to pay off his clandestine lover. He is prima facie not a reliable source.

• Laurie Goodstein, the author of the New York Times story, has a recent history with Archbishop Weakland. Last year, upon the release of the disgraced archbishop’s autobiography, she wrote an unusually sympathetic story that buried all the most serious allegations against him (New York Times, May 14, 2009).

• A demonstration took place in Rome on Friday, coinciding with the publication of the New York Times story. One might ask how American activists would happen to be in Rome distributing the very documents referred to that day in the New York Times. The appearance here is one of a coordinated campaign, rather than disinterested reporting.

It’s possible that bad sources could still provide the truth. But compromised sources scream out for greater scrutiny. Instead of greater scrutiny of the original story, however, news editors the world over simply parroted the New York Times piece. Which leads us the more fundamental problem: The story is not true, according to its own documentation.

The New York Times made available on its own website the supporting documentation for the story. In those documents, Cardinal Ratzinger himself does not take any of the decisions that allegedly frustrated the trial. Letters are addressed to him; responses come from his deputy. Even leaving that aside, though, the gravamen of the charge — that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office impeded some investigation — is proven utterly false.

The documents show that the canonical trial or penal process against Father Murphy was never stopped by anyone. In fact, it was only abandoned days before Father Murphy died. Cardinal Ratzinger never took a decision in the case, according to the documents. His deputy, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, suggested, given that Father Murphy was in failing health and a canonical trial is a complicated matter, that more expeditious means be used to remove him from all ministry.

To repeat: The charge that Cardinal Ratzinger did anything wrong is unsupported by the documentation on which the story was based. He does not appear in the record as taking any decision. His office, in the person of his deputy, Archbishop Bertone, agreed that there should be full canonical trial. When it became apparent that Father Murphy was in failing health, Archbishop Bertone suggested more expeditious means of removing him from any ministry.

Furthermore, under canon law at the time, the principal responsibility for sexual-abuse cases lay with the local bishop. Archbishop Weakland had from 1977 onwards the responsibility of administering penalties to Father Murphy. He did nothing until 1996. It was at that point that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office became involved, and it subsequently did nothing to impede the local process.

The New York Times flatly got the story wrong, according to its own evidence. Readers may want to speculate on why.

Here is the relevant timeline, drawn from the documents the New York Times posted on its own website.

15 May 1974

Abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy is alleged by a former student at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. In fact, accusations against Father Murphy go back more than a decade.

12 September 1974

Father Murphy is granted an official “temporary sick leave” from St. John’s School for the Deaf. He leaves Milwaukee and moves to northern Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Superior, where he lives in a family home with his mother. He has no official assignment from this point until his death in 1998. He does not return to live in Milwaukee. No canonical penalties are pursued against him.

9 July 1980

Officials in the Diocese of Superior write to officials in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about what ministry Father Murphy might undertake in Superior. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee since 1977, has been consulted and says it would be unwise to have Father Murphy return to ministry with the deaf community. There is no indication that Archbishop Weakland foresees any other measures to be taken in the case.

17 July 1996

More than 20 years after the original abuse allegations, Archbishop Weakland writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, claiming that he has only just discovered that Father Murphy’s sexual abuse involved the sacrament of confession — a still more serious canonical crime. The allegations about the abuse of the sacrament of confession were in the original 1974 allegations. Weakland has been archbishop of Milwaukee by this point for 19 years.

It should be noted that for sexual-abuse charges, Archbishop Weakland could have proceeded against Father Murphy at any time. The matter of solicitation in the sacrament of confession required notifying Rome, but that too could have been done as early as the 1970s.

10 September 1996

Father Murphy is notified that a canonical trial will proceed against him. Until 2001, the local bishop had authority to proceed in such trials. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is now beginning the trial. It is noteworthy that at this point, no reply has been received from Rome indicating that Archbishop Weakland knew he had that authority to proceed.

24 March 1997

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, advises a canonical trial against Father Murphy.

14 May 1997

Archbishop Weakland writes to Archbishop Bertone to say that the penal process against Father Murphy has been launched, and notes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised him to proceed even though the statute of limitations has expired. In fact, there is no statute of limitations for solicitation in the sacrament of confession.

Throughout the rest of 1997 the preparatory phases of penal process or canonical trial is underway. On 5 January 1998 the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee says that an expedited trial should be concluded within a few months.

12 January 1998

Father Murphy, now less than eight months away from his death, appeals to Cardinal Ratzinger that, given his frail health, he be allowed to live out his days in peace.

6 April 1998

Archbishop Bertone, noting the frail health of Father Murphy and that there have been no new charges in almost 25 years, recommends using pastoral measures to ensure Father Murphy has no ministry, but without the full burden of a penal process. It is only a suggestion, as the local bishop retains control.

13 May 1998

The Bishop of Superior, where the process has been transferred to and where Father Murphy has lived since 1974, rejects the suggestion for pastoral measures. Formal pre-trial proceedings begin on 15 May 1998, continuing the process already begun with the notification that had been issued in September 1996.

30 May 1998

Archbishop Weakland, who is in Rome, meets with officials at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, including Archbishop Bertone but not including Cardinal Ratzinger, to discuss the case. The penal process is ongoing. No decision taken to stop it, but given the difficulties of a trial after 25 years, other options are explored that would more quickly remove Father Murphy from ministry.

19 August 1998

Archbishop Weakland writes that he has halted the canonical trial and penal process against Father Murphy and has immediately begun the process to remove him from ministry — a quicker option.

21 August 1998

Father Murphy dies. His family defies the orders of Archbishop Weakland for a discreet funeral

— Father Raymond J. de Souza is a chaplain at Queen's University in Ontario.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Obamalyptic healthcare

It's character, stupid, is what I always say. If you do not have a virtuous people then your socialized medicine or your market driven medicine will stink to high heaven and leave many vulnerable people in the lurch. I would like to see a market-driven system where health insurance is for catastrophes, like car insurance. I don't buy car insurance that pays for my oil changes and brake maintenance. I'd like to see the private sector do to medical procedures what it has done to the cost of laptops and digital cameras and other high tech gadgets that have gotten way better and gone down in price through competition. I'd like to see people with a lot more of their money untaxed to they can give to charity and build hospitals that reflect their religious ethos and serve the poor and the weak. But if you have people who think only in dog-eat-dog terms, greed will rule the day. But, if greed is going to rule, then it's better to have capitalism than socialism, because the market has a way of rewarding hard work and creativity. Government kills both.

John Zmirak writes, amusingly as usual:

At least in European socialist countries, the private sector is pretty much locked out of health care. All the money is collected at gunpoint by the government and spread throughout the system, like portions of mystery meat at a high school cafeteria. It's not very good, but at least everybody gets the same amount, and it's hard to game the system. Of course, there's little freedom: If you pack a lunch, it will be confiscated and redistributed -- or eaten by a teacher. You can't save money by dieting, or load up after you've exercised, since the portions are prepaid and standardized. On the up side, the kids don't need to worry about getting enough, or bringing lunch money, or even picking items from the menu: Onto each tin plate splats the same size ice cream scoop of grey, gelatinous protein dosed with vitamins and fiber. Call it Soylent Green.
The system we seem about to establish is much more like a school that privatizes its cafeteria to the Russian mob, then lets the vendors get rich serving foie gras and caviar at jacked up prices. To fund the system, huge thugs named Boris roam the hallways shaking down those kids who didn't spend their lunch money on porn and cigarettes.
With uniquely American ingenuity, we're combining socialist coercion with corporate greed and sleazy price-fixing, all justified by recourse to envy, guilt, and fear. The trial lawyers will continue to drive our doctors out of business -- and the price of services up. The insurance companies will pass along to all of us the cost of "insuring" new patients who only sign up once they're diagnosed with stage-three cancer. These companies will reap a giant windfall, since now private citizens will be legally obliged to buy their products -- like those little green uniforms in Maoist China. (Imagine what a killing those clothiers made!) Hospitals run by apostate nuns will finally be able to get reimbursed for all the services they've been rendering to deadbeats -- so funding a few abortions here and there seems a trivial price to pay. And that "pro-life" executive order Rep. Bart Stupak bravely fought to put in place? Give federal judges five years with this system, and taxpayers will be funding sex changes in Catholic hospitals for illegal immigrants, while hard-working citizens argue with bureaucrats that continued chemotherapy isn't a "heroic intervention." Like Borat, I love Amerika!

The Spong that afflicted the Anglican Church

But Spong spoke with the confidence of a Voltaire, sure that the age of reason will prevail over churchly superstition. This appealed to the aging majority of the Jesus Seminar, no doubt. But Spong's New Agey description of God as a subjective experience unique to every individual was edgy enough to separate him from most of the rationalist skeptics in the audience. He's too old to have ever been a hippie, but he tried desperately to mimic some of the gooey love language of Sixties-era theorists such as Marcus Borg, Matthew Fox, Marianne Williamson, or Rosemary Ruether. The aging bishop's efforts to be "with it" were perhaps not entirely unsuccessful, at least by the standards of this crowd. But that's not saying much. [My bolds, heh heh heh]

When Spong had finished and the seminar adjourned for a break, I left the hotel ballroom and had walked only a few blocks down Broadway before coming face-to-face with the right-wing religion Spong had so colorfully warned me of just an hour before.

There was loud singing coming from a store-front church meeting in an old theater. I walked in and discovered hundreds of worshippers filling the auditorium at a weeknight service, clapping, singing, and, in many cases, jumping up and down. The majority were black, Asian, or Hispanic, and represented the full spectrum of ages. It was standing room only, and the gathering was alive with an energy absent from the hotel ballroom in which the Jesus Seminar scholars had exchanged their wry observations.

It was an unexpected and jarring reminder that even in Manhattan, the Jesus Seminar's perspective is hardly dominant. The multiethnic audience of the evangelical congregation reflected the international nature of the orthodox Christian revival that is sweeping the globe, in some cases even infecting the liberal bastions of mainline Protestantism in the United States. Here is the future of Christianity, and it is leaving Spong and his like behind.

Great little story about new self-insights

An excerpt:

"The snow began falling on Friday and was still coming down hard on Saturday afternoon. My neighborhood in Northwest Washington was covered with a thick, white blanket. There were no pedestrians or vehicles on the street. People had wisely retreated to their homes for the duration and were praying (if they prayed) that the electricity wouldn't go out. Even the local archdiocese issued an announcement that the Sunday Mass obligation was lifted. In other words: Stay home!
"Looking out my window in the mid-afternoon, I saw that the limbs of the Japanese red maple in our front yard were bent to the ground under the weight of the snow, as was an overgrown boxwood up near the street. Both were in danger of serious damage. Time for Harry Homeowner to go to the rescue, I thought.
"So I put on my heavy coat, scarf, cap, and high boots, and grabbing a broom (for knocking off snow) I went outside. The first thing I discovered was that the snow was a lot deeper than I'd realized -- up over my knees, in fact. But I managed to mush through it to the red maple, and there did a reasonably adequate job of snow removal.
"Now it was the boxwood's turn. It was only ten yards away, but remember: This snow was just short of impassable. I got to within a couple of yards of the boxwood and then -- O Lord! -- I overbalanced and fell down.
"I fell backwards, in a half-sitting, half-leaning position. Falling into deep, soft snow, I wasn't hurt. But to my uneasy surprise, I couldn't get up. My feet were out in front of me, and when I tried to push myself into a sitting position my hands went down through snow without touching the ground. Slowly it dawned on me that I was stuck.

Hillbuzz' take on the Catholic sex abuse scandals

On the double standard:

First of all, before we say anything negative about the Catholic Church, we would like to point out the simple fact the MSM does not, ever, report on the millions of young boys who are raped on a daily basis in the Middle East, in the name of Islam, by Muslims who consider sex with young boys to be their right. All of us here studied Islam in college, and no study of Islam is complete without a look at what Muslim men do to young boys. “Women are for children, boys are for pleasure” is a very common phrase in Islam. Harems of young boys have things done to them no priest has ever done, in any country. But, in terms of calling Islam out on its many sins, the MSM issues just the sound of crickets.

On the political third rail:

What many people don’t talk about whenever church sex scandals arise is a simple fact we see clearly: part of the reason there’s a problem with this in the Catholic Church is that for many years boys who were suspected of being gay were forced by their families into the priesthood. They were never allowed to be themselves, were shunted into seminaries, and years later they express their sexuality in destructive and criminal ways. That’s not an excuse, but an observation in terms of what’s happening with these men.

On the Christmas and Easter crowd

Fr. Chris Phillips writes over at the Angl0-Catholic:

We’re headed into the time when clergy and the other parish regulars make the usual observations about the “Christmas ‘n’ Easter” crowd. You can usually tell by the gum-chewing and cell phones and unaccustomed “nicer clothes,” along with the impression that they really don’t quite know what to do with the bulletin being thrust into their hands. The cursory bobbing before sitting down, looking around to see what everyone else is doing, side-ways chatting when others are praying – these are all clues that church might not be the natural habitat for what seems to be a migratory flock that makes its way through twice a year.

I’ve been known to be guilty of threatening to mark them with ashes on their way in, give them a palm branch before they sit down, and wish them a Merry Easter on their way out. It’s easy to fall into that feeling of righteous indignation when strangers are filling up the place, and the regular crowd is reduced to sitting in folding chairs. “Who do they think keeps this place going when they’re not here?” is the thought in many minds. But I’ve finally gotten over that.

You don’t have to read very far in the Gospels before you see that there were crowds hanging around Jesus fairly often. Not all of them were His followers in any sincere or committed sense. In fact, plenty of them were there just because they thought He might do something amazing, or that He might give them some free bread, or that He might knock the Pharisees down a peg or two. They may have been following Him around because it was kind of a “day out,” a little break from otherwise humdrum lives. But whatever the reason, there were thousands of them. And once in a while – maybe not frequently, but once in a while – someone would stick with it. They’d hear something or they’d see something that would change their lives. Let’s face it, to be hearing and seeing the Incarnate Word of God just might have some sort of good effect on at least a few people.

Wow! "Spengler" on the Obamalypse and the Attack of the Pope

The Obamalyptic mood in the White House seems to have infected the cultural left generally. Thirty-year-old news is dragged daily into the headlines to make it appear that some dreadful truth has been dragged out of the Vatican vaults, demonstrating Pope Benedict XVI’s culpability in child abuse. It is hard to avoid the impression that the nihilists have a sense of empowerment as never before.

There’s something ugly in the air. The two central institutions of the West are the Throne of St. Peter and the Oval Office. That is not an exaggeration, for the Catholic model in Europe and the American model are the two modes of life that the West has developed. When Catholic universal empire failed with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, and was buried by Napoleon, the United States emerged as an alternative model; the non-ethnic nation founded on Christian principles albeit without an explicit tie to a particular Christian confession.

For the first time in history the barbarians have breached the citadel; to have Barack Obama in the White House is the cultural equivalent of electing Madonna to the papacy. America, the source of a civil religion that held together the world’s only remaining superpower, is committed to its own self-demolition. Nihilists around the world are in a triumphant mood and believe that it is time to mop up the remnants of their enemies everywhere.

John L. Allen Jr. on the latest Pope Benedict XVI stories

There is an astonishing sloppiness in much of the news reporting about Pope Benedict XVI and his alleged role in some kind of cover-up of sexual abuse in the Church. The CBC has been appalling, frankly.

John L. Allen Jr. explains some of the facts that have been ignored in this column. Here's an excerpt:

First, some media reports have suggested that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presided over the Vatican office with responsibility for the sex abuse crisis for almost a quarter-century, from 1981 until his election to the papacy in April 2005, and therefore that he's responsible for whatever the Vatican did or didn't do during that entire stretch of time. That's not correct.

In truth, Ratzinger did not have any direct responsibility for managing the overall Vatican response to the crisis until 2001, four years before he became pope.

Bishops were not required to send cases of priests accused of sexual abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until 2001, when they were directed to do so by Pope John Paul II's motu proprio titled Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela. Prior to that, most cases involving sex abuse never got to Rome. In the rare instance when a bishop wanted to laicize an abuser priest against his will, the canonical process involved would be handled by one of the Vatican courts, not by Ratzinger's office.

Prior to 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith got involved only in the exceedingly rare instances when the sex abuse occurred in the context of the confessional, since a canonical tribunal within the congregation handled cases involving abuse of the sacrament of penance. That, for example, is how the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, ended up in the congregation, and it's also why officials in the Milwaukee archdiocese directed the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy there.

One certainly can question how Ratzinger's office handled those exceptional cases, and the record seems painfully slow and ambivalent in comparison with how similar accusations would be dealt with today. Moreover, Ratzinger was a senior Vatican official from 1981 forward, and therefore he shares in the corporate failure in Rome to appreciate the magnitude of the crisis until terribly late in the game.

To suggest, however, that Ratzinger was the Vatican's "point man" on sex abuse for almost twenty-five years, and to fault him for the mishandling of every case that arose between 1981 and 2001, is misleading. Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome.

2. The 2001 letter

In some reporting and commentary, a May 2001 letter from Ratzinger to the bishops of the world, titled De delictis gravioribus, is being touted as a "smoking gun" proving that Ratzinger attempted to thwart reporting priestly sex abuse to the police or other civil authorities by ordering the bishops to keep it secret.

That letter indicates that certain grave crimes, including the sexual abuse of a minor, are to be referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that they are "subject to the pontifical secret." The Vatican insists, however, that this secrecy applied only to the church's internal disciplinary procedures, and was not intended to prevent anyone from also reporting these cases to the police or other civil authorities. Technically they're correct, since nowhere in the 2001 letter is there any prohibition on reporting sex abuse to police or civil prosecutors.

In reality, few bishops needed a legal edict from Rome ordering them not to talk publicly about sexual abuse. That was simply the culture of the church at the time, which makes the hunt for a "smoking gun" something of a red herring right out of the gate. Fixing a culture -- one in which the Vatican, to be sure, was as complicit as anyone else, but one which was widespread and deeply rooted well beyond Rome -- is never as simply as abrogating one law and issuing another.

That aside, here's the key point about Ratzinger's 2001 letter: Far from being seen as part of the problem, at the time it was widely hailed as a watershed moment towards a solution. It marked recognition in Rome, really for the first time, of how serious the problem of sex abuse really is, and it committed the Vatican to getting directly involved. Prior to that 2001 motu proprio and Ratzinger's letter, it wasn't clear that anyone in Rome acknowledged responsibility for managing the crisis . . . . "

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dr. Sanity on wealth creation vs. wealth distribution

If you take the anti-materialistic and anti-capitalist, "redistribute the wealth" message to its logical extreme, you must inexorably reach the conclusion that the highest values of society should be to encourage a virtuous--and equal--poverty for all; while homelessness and hunger would be proof that an individual has attained the highest moral plane. From the perspective of the "anti-materialists", malnourished children in societies of mud huts wearing rags and owning nothing- would be the epitome of human existence; since the possession of material wealth only condemns us to meaningless and empty lives given over in pursuit of meaningless and empty things. Clearly the poor have managed to eke out a life of powerful meaning and spiritual worth.

Only one problem with all this Marxist and neo-Marxst BS: human beings are not either spiritual or material. They are both at the same time. And, even more important for this discussion, there is a direct link between human freedom and those material goods the left incessantly tells us we should shun. Consider: all the marvelous goods and services that our incredible capitalistic society makes possible would not exist unless there were thinking, rational MINDS creating them.

The clothing, toys, electronics, food and other material goods that we "don't need" were created by human MINDS, who first imagined them in their thoughts, then found a way to make their thoughts real. When Marxists (or closet Marxists like Barack Obama) talk about "controlling the means of production" they are quite simply talking about controlling the human MIND. And when they talk about limiting your ability to pursue your happiness, i.e., obtain goods that you value; they are talking about controlling the human spirit.

When utopians dream of societies were wealth and material goods somehow mysteriously drop down from the skies above; or when they "imagine no possessions/I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger/A brotherhood of man", they are actually imagining a world where the human mind and spirit have been deliberately murdered; sacrificed to some "ideal" bouncing around in some slacker's fantasy. When they talk about "soaking the rich", they are actually talking about decreasing YOUR standard of living and capping your dreams and ambitions. The creation of wealth is what drives economies; not its redistribution.

The entire history of humanity has been driven by those individuals who have the unique ability to make the non-material real; to create wealth out of nothing but ideas. And, while those productive people have definitely benefited materially from their creations; the side effect has been that all of humanity has also benefited. In fact, this transformation of abstract concepts into material goods; of the spiritual into the physical--has been largely responsible for mankind's evolution from caves to modern cities and civilization.

I'm all for wealth distribution as long as it is voluntary. Otherwise it is a form of state theft and coercion that robs people of the choice to be genuinely charitable and generous.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Coulter's revenge

I hope Francois A Houle is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.

But from that letter he sent to Ann, he probably lacks a sense of humor and is huddling in a bunker somewhere Googling himself fiercely.

A talking Ann Coulter Barbie?

Andrea Mrozek has one:

In a moment that can only be considered prophetic in light of what happened at Ottawa U yesterday, my talking Ann Coulter Barbie ran out of (battery) steam at a dinner party I held a couple of weeks ago. She’s a party favourite, that is until the stunned silence falls amongst less conservative friends but I still have her perched on my book shelf holding a copy of Treason. That evening she gasped her last breath after letting out a lengthy, high-pitched electronic tone.

(Right now you have questions, I know. Why do I have an Ann Coulter barbie doll, one that talks? But that’s not my point, so stick with me.)

Now save for the Barbie, I’d never heard Ann Coulter speak, before yesterday, when I caught her on Michael Coren. And then and there I realized, to my shock, I do like this woman. I have some of her books, and I think they are terrible. But in person, some of those satirical quips are very funny. They just don’t transfer to the written page very well.

Heh heh. Go on over to ProWomanProLife and read the rest.

On "Thinking Catholic"

I write over at The Anglo-Catholic:

Back in the days I was a practicing cafeteria Christian who also loaded up my tray with poisonous Gnostic teachings from various sources, I had a friend who was an Anglican minister. I hesitate to say priest because he was evangelical and I’m not sure he saw the Eucharist as more than a table. But he did say once that it was important for him to have an Apostolic faith. I didn’t really know what he was talking about, until much later, but those words stuck in my mind.

The discovery came maybe ten years later, after I had done Neil Anderson’s Steps to Freedom, a series of prayers that involve the confession of influence by false teaching or occult practices, renouncing them and asking for forgiveness. The prayers also take one through renouncing unforgiveness, bitterness, sexual sin, a whole gamut of things that keep one separated from God.

I did these a little reluctantly because I was certain that many of my “truths” that I had picked up along the way were good and true and made me a lot smarter than those who bought into indoctrination and obedience to external authorities. Well, after doing them, I was amazed at my inner transformation. My mind was peaceful, no longer plagued with mental chatter and negative thoughts that I had to be very disciplined in battling. And it was as if scales had fallen from my eyes. What had seemed so innocuous to me or even good, was now so obviously poisonous, dishonest and false that my mouth fell agape at how I blind I had been to all this before.

It was then I realized how important it was to have an Apostolic faith, to choose to believe the truth, to seek out what the Apostolic faith is and to believe it in order to understand (stand-under) it. Soon after that God led me to the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and our little Ottawa cathedral and my understanding of what an Apostolic faith is has been growing and growing ever since, and my conversion is not something where I say “I am a convert” like I’m finished but an ongoing process of conversion to a deeper and deeper faith as I submit more and more to it.

For me, “Thinking Catholic” means making the switch between “I understand in order to believe and retaining the right to pick and choose beliefs”, to “choosing to believe what the Church teaches in her fidelity to the faith of the Apostles,” beginning with the eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ, who touched him, heard him, saw him and those who have at great cost passed down this faith intact to us. And not only choosing to believe but choosing to obey.

But the two are inseparable. If you choose to disobey, your faith will grow cloudy.

That's an excerpt. There's more over at The Anglo-Catholic.

Star Parker, my kind of gal

God really does redeem broken lives. Do I hear an Amen!? Michelle Malkin writes:

In her autobiography and in the article, Parker admits to some hard things. She’s had several abortions. She did drugs, cheated the welfare system, and committed crimes. The rough road led to a dramatic change of lifestyle and beliefs. She surrendered her life to Christ, became pro-life, and sounded the alarm against government dependency. Parker encourages those living on handouts to break the chains of poverty and find purpose and meaning in their lives.

In Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It, Parker traced the shift in America’s attitude from a belief in strong families and hard work to the flawed idea that the government’s role is to solve social problems.

“Social engineers of the late 1960s told Americans that black people could not take control over the poverty in their lives due to centuries of racism and segregation,” Parker writes. The onus was now on society to “fix” poverty, and taxpayers are still pouring money into it. But poverty can’t be fixed with money, Parker asserts. Moral bankruptcy, caused by the scourge of relativism, must be overcome. Government safety nets allow people to escape the consequences of personal behavior. As a result, there is little incentive to learn from bad behavior.

Star Parker is running for Congress. I hope she wins.

More Ann Coulter

I can't keep track of the explosion of coverage on Ann Coulter's canceled talk, but Free Canuckistan is.

So are Five Feet of Fury, Blazing Cat Fur and Scaramouche.

The SoCon has video and pictures from the reception prior to the talk and from inside the auditorium.

Scroll down for my coverage.

More on the University of Ottawa and the Ann Coulter speech


Xan is hopping mad and has written to City Council about allowing the police to decide who gets to speak and who doesn't:

If you have not had the opportunity to hear about this already, last night, the City of Ottawa has abdicated its duties, responsibilities and obligations to provide ‘core services’ in a very public manner, which is likely to draw a very large amount of international criticism to our beautiful city. And – rightly so!

Let me cut through the niceties and get to the core of the issue:

Last night, 23rd of March, 2010, an American media pundit – Ann Coulter – was scheduled to speak at the University of Ottawa.

First, let me stress that I am not a fan of Ann Coulter: rather, I am rather vocal in my criticism of her.

Still, that does not excuse what happened….

Sponsored by International Free Press, Ms. Coulter had been booked to speak at the University of Ottawa last night. Even prior to her entry into Canada, M F. Houle – a provost at the University of Ottawa – had sent Ms. Coulter, a letter warning her ahead of time to self-censor her expression, else she will face prosecution. While this letter has received international condemnation (and, Ms. Coulter is apparently considering legal action of her own against M Houle due to this letter), this condemnation of Ms. Coulter for a presumed pre-crime is nowhere as explosive as what had happened last night.

According to Macleans, the ‘police’ had – at the last moment – refused to provide an adequate security response to this event and, as Ms. Coulter is reported to have said, ‘pulled the plug’ on the event! Yes – the University of Ottawa was the primary organizer, and had the primary responsibility. Still, Macleans is reporting that it was the Ottawa Police – not campus security – who canceled the event, claiming they could not provide sufficient security.

UPDATE: Jay Currie writes:

The University of Ottawa and those brave members of the Ottawa Police force took a dive. They canceled because this was shaping up to be a pain in the butt.

Chickenshits. And the sad part is that this will only encourage the vermin to keep disrupting events.

Last night, I did not sense danger or violence while standing outside, so I would be very cautious about using the word "riot" to describe what happened. The number of people who were actively protesting was less than a third. They were young, they were having a ball with their little theatrical tantrum and their "Hey Hey ho ho" chanting and MOST OF THEM WERE GIRLS!

I did not see the table getting thrown aside though.

When the police showed up, they were in their community spirit mode. No riot gear, no helmets, no shields. Nice, young, handsome, polite Ottawa police officers.

While most people politely obeyed them, a small group of triumphant demonstrators remained inside the vestibule. I have their little victory chant on video here.

I blame the students less than I blame a society-wide climate of permissiveness and lack of backbone for protecting freedom of speech and other fundamental, God-given rights. This climate that not only pervades the university but also our governments and police departments.

We have a pattern developing where those who are controversial, those who are pro-life, those who are Christian, those who are conservative, those who are pro-Israel, those who are polemical from the right, and in Ann Coulter's case, all of the above, get penalized because some people might get upset and over-react to what they say.

There have been cases where those who speak up against hate-filled anti-Israel demonstrations flying the flags of banned terrorist organizations get threatened with arrest if they don't leave the scene, but nothing is done about the thugs who threaten violence. It's the grandmother praying outside an abortion clinic who gets arrested, not the pro-abortion student councils who throw over tables and smash displays on campus. It's the residents of Caledonia who get arrested and not the masked native protesters who have made their lives a living hell.

We have a pattern where lawlessness is ignored, placated, appeased and the louder and more violent the threats the more abject the groveling and denial. But those who engage in lawful protests that might trigger a reaction from various shades of thuggery are the ones who get the full brunt of the law because, well, they are law-abiding, they are not violent and they are not politically correct so who gives a flying frig.

I do not know what these students would have done had they been confronted with non-violent but firm force. Screamed bloody murder and gone to some human rights commission and sued the police and Ann Coulter and everyone else. This is probably why police don't bother to make waves. Who wants to be stuck with the hassle of a complaint from one of these students crying about their "rights"? The thought of the paperwork alone is daunting, nevermind the potential black mark on their record.

These kids remind me of three-year olds who want some of that candy by the check out counter. Mommy says "No" and they start screaming. Mommy says "No" again, and they throw themselves on the linoleum and start flailing around. Mommy buys a candy bar and shoves it angrily in the kid's hand and the crying stops, but the kid has a triumphant look on his face. There grows an element of theatre. The first time a kid does it, maybe his emotions do genuinely get out of control. Kids that young have not learned to control their feelings and they need their parents' help in disciplining them. But after they learn this kind of behavior works, they will ramp up the screaming and the crying as a tactic because it has been rewarded. Hey, I used to scan the floor to make sure there were no blocks or toys in the way before I threw myself on the floor as a toddler.

These students were like three-year olds in 20-year old bodies. Same mentality though in terms of their spoiled brat behavior. But really, I don't blame a three year old for the tantrum. I blame Mommy for giving into it and thereby creating a monster.

I would hesitate to call the protesting students thugs. I grew up in Boston and have seen real thugs. These are not thugs, even though some of them in rushing the auditorium, pushing the volunteers around and throwing the table aside were behaving thuggishly. These are ignorant, sp0iled, highly uneducated, appallingly incurious, brainwashed little politically correct leftists who have never been exposed to genuine debate. Whose fault is that? But underneath it all, for the most part, I detected some otherwise nice Canadian kids who now have a ruined reputation across North America. This is sad for them and their parents and the University of Ottawa, once a place that cherished the Truth.

But we as a society have to develop some firmness and some backbone in defending our fundamental freedoms. Instead, we have created bureaucracies like human rights commissions to take them away. Note that human rights commissions are busy forcing people to be "nice" but ignoring real human rights abuses like honor killings, forced child marriages, human trafficking and other real forms of horrible abuse taking place right in Canada. But no, these people put themselves in a bunker because they are afraid of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, but ignore the real abuses.

But what last night taught them is a little bit of shouting and chanting goes a long way towards exerting power. They will get their way and other people will lose their rights. Many people had already paid to hear Ann Coulter and they lost their money last night. We have to develop some tactics to combat this. We cannot let this drift into the slow suffocation of our freedoms by even the mildest of threats of disruption or hints of violence.

Miss Marprelate was inside the University of Ottawa auditorium last night at the canceled Ann Coulter talk.

The whole thing started very late. Not sure what the issue was there. It was supposed to start at 7 but the doors only opened around then and due to checking everyone's ID and registration it was not filling up very fast. I managed to get into the auditorium fairly early on. The atmosphere in there seemed to be both excited and rather tense.

Then the fire alarm went off. Do you know how loud industrial fire alarms are? Do you know what they sound like when they go on for about ten minutes?!

People in the auditorium seemed to be very confused about what was going on. It was impossible to tell what was happening outside.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anti-free speech students shut down Ann Coulter lecture

UPDATE: Get Brian Lilley's take here.
Blazing CatFur has a round up. And can you believe this is also on Drudge?

An unruly, chanting mob of anti-free speech demonstrators gleefully celebrated their success at forcing the cancellation of Ann Coulter's speaking engagement at the University of Ottawa.

I arrived a little after 7 p.m. and the paved area in front of the Marion building was packed with people trying to get into the hall. Then I heard the fire alarm had been pulled and they were trying to clear the building. Some folks came out, a number who had already paid the $10 for non-students and who had been waiting in the auditorium. The people tried to get back in and for about 45 minutes we were crushed like sardines in the vestibule, uncertain what was going to happen next. The doors to the auditorium were locked. Finally the Ottawa Police came and cleared people out, except for us journalists and a group of student demonstrators who were gleefully chanting and celebrating. When I got outside one of my blog readers came up to me and told me he had been inside the hall before 7 p.m. He said a group of people rushed the hall, jostling the three people who were at a table checking student ids and those who had registered. The table got pushed aside. When the volunteers said they needed order and for people to come to the table, some of the rowdies folded the table up and threw it aside. Then the volunteers decided it was too dangerous for them and they shut the doors to the auditorium.

There was lots of media--TV, radio, print, French and English so this black eye on the University of Ottawa's reputation is going to be all over the mainstream media. I see it is already all over the blogosphere.

I would guess though that at least two thirds of the crowd wanted to hear Ann speak. Though I heard some say they disagreed with her, they still wanted to hear her. One student was furious that the demonstrators were shutting this down.

One gal was waving one of Ann Coulter's books around asking whether they should burn it. "Let's debate this," she says.

Luckily I didn't see any book burning. These students think they are keeping the University of Ottawa a "safe" place. Safe for them to never hear any opinion that might upset them or challenge them. What a sad, sad day for Canada and for Ottawa. I am ashamed of the University of Ottawa. What a rinky-dink excuse for university. What a disgrace for the Oblate founders, whose mission was to truly educate people.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Seraphic Single's book is out

And I can't wait to read it because my oh my is Dorothy Cummings original and insightful and funny.

Here's an excerpt:

What if he's not coming?

As I said in the Preface, not every woman who wants to get married gets married. This is the cold, hard fact from which many of us run. Similarly, not everyone who gets a divorce and an annulment receives that second chance. Or we blow that second chance. Sometimes, our prince doesn't come.

There are countless reasons why this prince might not arrive. Some are historical, such as most of the men leaving town for work, or the anti-marriage trend of the sexual revolution. Some have to do with our circumstances: we work in a mostly female environment, or in a profession dominated by gay men, or in a profession dominated by celibate men, such as priests and religious, or in a community where everyone else got married at 22.

Some have to do with our poor choices: we dated the wrong man for a decade and have finally dumped him or been dumped; we date only unmarriageable men; we are drinking alcoholics; we are using users; we are bad-tempered harridans that no one can stand to be around. Some have to do with personal tragedies: we are physically scarred, maimed or plain as a pan of milk; we are chronically ill; we are "old"; we have been irreparably slandered in our communities; we are big-boned, full-figured or just heavy women, and no matter what we do, we cannot lose the weight. That is why Prince Charming has not come.

Or maybe not. Maybe some of us are just "too picky." I hear this one a lot, especially from grumpy single men. But what I, and many other chronically single women, usually want is just a nice man whose looks we find attractive, who is intelligent and funny and faithful, who goes to church, who has a job that he enjoys and is proud of, and brings in enough income so that if we lose our jobs, or have a baby, we all won't be in a financial mess. I wrote this once on a website, and a poster wrote, "Wow, you're picky." So maybe these men don't exist anymore or were all snapped up when they were 22.

Or maybe not that either. Maybe it is an insolvable mystery. Maybe, for some inscrutable reason of his own, God has decreed from eternity that many of my single friends and I will never find The Right Man. Maybe, in fact, we have been called to be Single. I am a Roman Catholic, and for Catholics, being called by God to be Single doesn't mean that we have been given divine sanction to be swinging singles, living only for the moment and ourselves. It means that we must discern how we can serve God and neighbour as single women. Unfortunately, it also means putting up with a lot of disrespect and presuppositions from others, including other Catholics. Some people think that single women are selfish. Others think we are losers. What I hope to do with this book is give a lift to the thousands of single women who are gradually losing hope that they will ever get married (or married again), or who have decided to cut their losses and embrace the state of life God has placed them in.

Two stories from the recent IMFC conference

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada is a great resource on cutting edge research on marriage and the family. They had a conference earlier this month and I was there covering it. The picture shows the intrepid and beautiful IMFC research director Andrea Mrozek, author Brian Lee Crowley and IMFC executive director Dave Quist.

The Western Catholic reporter published two of them. The first is on the hidden agenda of public sex education:

OTTAWA - When Dr. Miriam Grossman became a physician, she thought her biggest battle would be against physical diseases and emotional disorders.

Instead, the American psychiatrist said her biggest battle has been against dangerous ideas, especially the harm in sex education promoted by groups like Planned Parenthood.

"Their priority is not sexual health, it is sexual freedom," said Grossman, the author of You're Teaching My Kid What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child.

"Sex education is a social movement," she said at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) conference here March 11. "Its goal is to change society." Those changes include freeing people from sexual taboos, especially Judeo-Christian morality.

"Kids are being taught they can play with fire," she said.

Waiting rooms like hers are filled with "people who have been burned inside and out."

And the second is on a talk by Brian Lee Crowley, author of Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada's Founding Values. I'm reading it now and it is the Canadian answer to Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. I'm about halfway through and it's making me angry, in a good way.

OTTAWA - The erosion of Canada's founding values will have a negative impact on the future happiness and success of Canadians, says Brian Lee Crowley. Canada's founders had a theory of what made people happy and it centred on the value of the family, honest hard work and the virtue of self-sacrifice, Crowley told the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) conference here March 11.

"The family is the place where we learn to master our selfish instincts and begin to become of value to others," said the author of the bestselling Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada's Founding Values.

The greatest gift parents give their children is to instill character so they can rise above their selfish instincts, Crowley said.

Without the inculcation of virtue and self-restraint, he said, a person will fail to find the happiness that comes from self-mastery, self-respect and success that comes from the ability to delay gratification for future pleasure.

Over the last half century, Canada has lost sight of its founding values endowment through seeing freedom as liberation from any constraints on behaviour, he said. Tradition came to be seen as "an obstacle to the realization of our authentic selves."