Deborah Gyapong: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Binks raises important 'net privacy concerns

A fresh new Binks offering is up, and includes this scary stuff:

In an evil move that must concern freespeechers, privacy activists, and anybody who doesn’t like powerful software & websites all up in their bizniss, Google is going to mind your online activities via their sites, and you have no privacy-opt-out choice. GoogleCorp had already slid this modus operandi under the radar with their popular Chrome Browser, assinging individual IDs to users, and recording their online activity. Now, the Google search-engine, Youtube, GMail, AdWords, and the many-tentacled mass of other Google products and sites will all be collecting data on you, personally. Via ComputerWorld:
“What has the blogosphere and some users in an uproar is that Google isn’t offering users an opt-out option. If you don’t want your information from Gmail, YouTube and Google searches combined into one personal data store that can paint a detailed picture of you, the only option is to stop using Google’s services.”
It all starts March 1st.

Already Evilling

GoogleCorp is a corporation with inappropriate & cosy ties to the radical Obama administration; it has in the past helped with the Great Firewall of China (blocking traffic & content into & out of China); Google Earth data-catching was sweeping up passwords, private info, and illegal content; Google Corp has also been fined $500 million by the U.S. Government for criminal activity connected with the online drug market. That is, despite the founders’ motto “Don’t Be Evil”, the temptations of money, political power, and collaboration with repressive regimes has been a sweet, sweet opportunity for evil.
Now, it’s ‘No Opt Out’. Well, if you want to use their products, that is. All freedom-loving Netizens should respond by refusing to use Google (except via anonymizer websites like Scroogle), cancel Gmail (I’m moving over to Yahoo), use SRWare’s spyware-free Chrome-copy Iron browser instead of Chrome (yes, it supports Angry Birds), use Bing or any other engine for searches, and off-dump any browser or desktop-intrusive Google products for free substitutes available everywhere online. And yes, the snooping also includes the new Google+.

But Binky!, You Say

“But Binky,” you say, “you’re an international elf of mystery– we’re just using FaceBook and GMail and sending e-mails and browsing Amazon and eBay and kitten-picture sites. What’s the big?”
The big? One company not only wants to be your gateway to the web, but install itself all over your computer– and watch you.
Much more on a range of interesting subjects.

Covenant relationships must be respected

Crown, First Nations’ covenants must be retained

Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News Monday, 30 January 2012 11:14
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Prime Minister Stephen Harper process into Crown-First Nations Gathering Jan. 24. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Prime Minister Stephen Harper process into Crown-First Nations Gathering Jan. 24. - Photo by Deborah Gyapong
OTTAWA - The historic Crown-First Nations Gathering revealed stark differences on how the relationship between Canada’s founding peoples and the government, embodied in the Indian Act, should continue.

And whatever is resolved, an advisor to the Catholic Church said, must re-affirm historic treaties signed between the two.

It is about recognizing the sacred importance of covenants, said Gerry Kelly at the one-day gathering held in Ottawa Jan. 24. Kelly is the former director of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ secretariat on aboriginal affairs and now advises Catholic entities regarding the Indian Residential Schools legacy.

“Our whole understanding of our relationship with God is understood scripturally in terms of covenants,” said Kelly. “We understand what it means. A covenant is sacred. We can’t hold that position and not recognize the covenant relationship established by treaties. It is timeless and it is binding.”

The rest at The Catholic Register

The battle for religious freedom in Ontario

Education Minister Laurel Broten rejects Catholic trustees’ policy statement

Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News Tuesday, 31 January 2012 11:32
Education Minister Laurel Broten is insisting that Catholic schools permit single-issue clubs such as gay-straight alliances despite the OCSTA’s outright rejection of such groups in a long-awaited document titled Respecting Differences. Education Minister Laurel Broten is insisting that Catholic schools permit single-issue clubs such as gay-straight alliances despite the OCSTA’s outright rejection of such groups in a long-awaited document titled Respecting Differences.
A battle is looming between the Ontario government and Catholic schools after the Education Minister rejected a key component of a new anti-bullying policy from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).

Laurel Broten is insisting that Catholic schools permit single-issue clubs such as gay-straight alliances despite the OCSTA’s outright rejection of such groups in a long-awaited document titled Respecting Differences.

Released Jan. 25, Respecting Difference affirms the Catholic identity of Catholic schools by stating that all clubs and activities must be “respectful of and consistent with Catholic teaching.” The document follows the Accepting Schools Act introduced last November by the minority Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty that would require all schools to accommodate gay-straight alliances or similar clubs under a different name.
“We’ve been absolutely crystal clear that we expect students to participate in groups and have the issues important to them talked about,” Broten said in a Jan. 30 interview from Toronto.

“I do feel very confident that Catholic boards will be able to operationalize the expectations we have set out consistent with Catholic education. We all have a responsibility to make sure all of our students and in this circumstance, we’re talking about our gay and lesbian students, or our students who come from families with two moms and two dads. It’s important every one of those students be accepted and welcomed in our schools.”

Broten agreed with the OCSTA document’s goals to combat bullying and said it contains “some very wonderful language.” But Broten said her policy is outlined in her anti-bullying Bill 13, introduced last November, a bill the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and other groups said threatens religious freedom and denominational rights.

More at The Catholic Register

Monday, January 30, 2012

Do you believe in Mom?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The doves that would not go home!

I love this story:

VATICAN CITY - A pair of doves seemed to prefer the company of Pope Benedict XVI to the great outdoors on Sunday when he had trouble convincing them to take flight in a traditional peace gesture.
The first dove hesitated on the windowsill of the pope's Vatican apartment for a long spell before flying off, while the second flew back into the room before flying out again.
"They want to stay in the pope's home," Benedict said, flanked by two children.

Read more:

A white dove, who looked like Central Casting had selected him to play the Holy Spirt in a Hollywood movie, landed in my garden many years ago and stuck around.  He arrived in the summer when the impatiens were blooming and he would strut around, chest all puffed out, among the flowers. He loved unpopped popcorn and would eat out of my hand.  When I would return home from work, he would land on the door of my car as I opened it, wings backlit, gorgeous, as I grabbed my gym bag to come in.   He would be quite demanding though, insisting I feed him.

Winter came, and Dave---that's what my son named him---was still holding his vigil on the garage roof.  I just loved this bird. He had so much personality and you could see his bird brain working---if he spied the jar that had popcorn in it, he would prefer to eat from that than from my hand, as as soon as his head was inside the jar, and he didn't see me, well, I wasn't there.  Smart!

And he left credentials the size of quarters on the sidewalk and all over the garage roof, and that didn't make my husband happy.  One day he caught him in his hands and asked me if I wanted to keep him, and if so, I should cage him, because he was not going to put up with the offal all over the place.  Otherwise he threatened to put him in a pot and cook him!

So, I found a family that would be willing to take Dave, feed him, keep him in their backyard.  I drove him over to another part of Kanata, and left him.

Then a couple of days later I got a phone call.  Dave had escaped.  He had squeezed around someone's hand while his water and food was being attended to.  Oh well.  But then, a day or two after that, I heard cooing.  I saw little pigeon prints in the snow.  And there he was!  Dave came home!

If you love something, let it go.  If it comes back to you . . . .you know the cliche.

I tried again, tricking him with popcorn to get back in the cage.   But he escaped again and came home.  So the family gave up.

I brought him to the Wild Bird Care outfit and they found a home for him.  I brought him there and he got out of his cage and perched on the back of an office chair.  People walked by and Dave, cool as he was, just edged over a bit, otherwise unfazed.  Such an awesome bird.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some of my faves from my evangelical days

Found myself singing this in the car last night.

And trying to remember this one

Friday, January 27, 2012

He's Brother Robert Mercer now

But he will always be Bishop Robert to me.  He was received into the Catholic Church on Jan. 7 as a simple, humble lay man.   What a treasure he is and will be.  Here's one of his writings.  He made time stand still when he prayed the Mass or preached.  Heaven came to earth.  We were so blessed to have him.

Sin, Salvation, the End of Man

A Homily by Bishop Mercer
“Keep before you an outline of the sound teaching”
(II Timothy 1,13).
Christianity is about relationships.
Christianity is not primarily about a book, though there is a whole library called The Bible, Greek for books, orScriptures, Latin for writings, which is of immense importance to us.
Christianity is not primarily about rules and regulations though there are 10 commands, neatly summarized into 2, which are of immense importance to us .
Christianity is not primarily about doing good or about being good, though if our concern is with relationships,the difference between right and wrong is of immense importance to us.
Christianity is not primarily about knowledge or understanding, though if our concern is relationships, then a measure of knowledge and understanding is of immense importance to us.
I repeat: from first to last Christianity is about relationships.
And the first and foremost Relationship is calledGod. Within one God are relationships. There is a self consciousBeing called the First Person. From Him derives another self­consciousBeing called the Second Person. They have taught us to think of the relationship between Them as akin to, though not exactly parallel with, the relationship between a father and his son. From the relationship between this Father and this Son derives another self conscious Being called the Third Person. They have taught us to think of Him as the Spirit. For this one God we have ourselves,perhaps under the Spirit’s inspiration, coined a new word, Trinity,from the Latin, three one. There are other ways of thinking of this Trinity: Lover, Beloved, the Love between Them. Or God, HisWord or Self-Expression or Self­Revelation, His Spirit.
God creates the universe from nothing. And here comes the next relationship. As part of creation God invents man, whom oddly enough, God describes as being in His own image. Odd, because in some ways man is in the image of brute beasts: like pigs, we eat; like dogs, we dream; like chimpanzees, we play games; like birds and fish, we reproduce and die. But God gives to man self-consciousness;the ability to reason, the ability to reason about right and wrong;the ability to know the difference between good and evil; the ability to choose the right. God gives to man participation in relationships. No one human is ever sufficient or complete in and of himself. We need others in order to survive, in order tobe. We love and we are loved. A male and female love. From their love other humans derive. We call this derivation family. But we share in ever­widening rings of “relationship”.We call other humans grandparents, ancestors, uncles, aunts, cousins,children, friends, teachers, pupils, clients, customers, craftsmen,nurses, and so on. Our happinesses come from knowing and loving other humans. Our sadnesses come from ruined, broken, quarrelsome relationships with other humans, or from severed relationships by way of death. God made man for relationship: God made man inHis own image. If the first and foremost relationship is God,the second and derived relationship is mankind, humanity.
And the second exists in order to relate to the first.Man is here to know and love God, more importantly, to be loved by God. Here in this life we are to relate to God. But this short life is the entry to a fuller life after death, just as life in the womb is entry to a fuller life outside of our mothers. In the next phase we shall have an even better time loving and being loved by God and, incidentally, loving one another.
But there’s a snag to this idyllic swirl of loving relationships. The snag is called the fall, sin, or original sin.Ruined, broken, quarrelsome relationships. Severed relationships by way of death. Our knowledge of the difference between good and evil is impaired. But even when we do know the difference,we have a compulsion to do the wrong. I can’t forgive. I won’t forgive. I’ll kill. I’ll conquer, bully, steal. Need I go on?We all know about life together. Our human life together is made miserable by self­deception, deceit towards others, selfishness,aggression.
The result of sin is twofold. We are on the outs with each other. We are on the outs with God. There is still relationship,but it’s impaired. What’s to be done?
God’s way of healing broken relationships, God’s way of reconciling man to God, of reconciling man to man, is byway, yes, you’ve guessed ­ by way of relationship.
God the Trinity gives us the Second Person called the Son. And to facilitate this special relationship the Son became man, became one of us. If we put our trust in Him, if we entera specially intimate relationship with the Son, so intimate that we are described as ‘in Christ’, part of Christ, Christ’s body,Christ’s wife, then in Christ we shall be restored to the wholeTrinity: we shall be restored to each other. Because of Christ’s tender love for us, called grace, we shall be able to love, to forgive, to say no to sinful impulses, to know the difference between right and wrong, to choose the right. This slow improvement of our inadequate selves is called growth in grace, or sanctification,though it involves suffering. When the Son Himself became manin order to give Himself to us at our level, man responded bykilling the Son. If, as part of the Son we become like the Son,there’s a good chance man will kill us too!
Remember, relationships: not mechanisms, not magic,not manipulations. In a personal relationship you can not manipulate anybody to your ends, by saying words, or performing mechanistic actions. Prayer, Bible study, sacraments, all other activities like fasting or almsgiving, are to be understood in terms of relationships,not of magic. It is inhuman to say things like, “Prayer works”. It doesn’t. What we mean is that God loves and understands and that we respond by turning to Him in trust. Thou and I. Outward acts, a kiss, a smile, a friendly wave, are expressions of an inward meaning, not methods for controlling God or for controlling man.
God and man: sin, salvation, grace and penitence:the true end of man. What I’ve done in this talk now is obfuscate the creeds. If you want an excellent summary of the whole Christian faith, of the whole Bible, don’t listen to me. Turn to your PrayerBooks, turn to what you already know by heart. There is a statement about sin, salvation, grace and penitence, the true end of man,nicknamed the Apostles’ Creed. There is a slightly longer statement nicknamed the Creed of Nicaea. And there is a much longer statement nicknamed the Creed of St. Athanasius. This last is full of detail about the relationships among the Father, the Son and the HolySpirit within the Godhead. Also about the relationship withinChrist of His divine nature which He has ­from without beginning;and His human nature which He took of a human mother (she too is of immense importance to us). There is an even shorter summary of the whole Christian faith than the three creeds. St. Paul sums up the whole faith in just two words which he used over and over again: In Christ.
The important thing about Christianity is not to understand and know everything, but to relate to God in a loving personal relationship. And this we do by relationship with HimWho is both God and Man. A Christian is one who trusts Jesus,and who, trusting Jesus, is baptized into unity with Jesus, and who feeds on Jesus by way of bread and wine.
Christianity is about Christ.

I am besotted with the Angel Gabriel

Played by the most beautiful boy in the world at his Christmas pageant

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A great meaty Binks post full of fresh links awaits

Lots of commentary on many issues, from the Crusades and Byzantium, to a student suspended for making a "racist" remark and the Costa Concordia.   An appetizer:

What happens when the local, state, or national bills can’t be paid? When the prices keep going up, wages down, and the unemployed or debt-laden employed can’t pay the bills, or feed themselves & the kids? As the still-deferred reckoning of the 2006-2008 financial collapse continues to unfold?
We’re living on borrowed time– the ship has hit the rocks, and water is pouring in, and the officers are playing about as if it’s all just fine, no worries, go back to your cabins and wait for instructions type thing. The captain & officers will mostly save their own hides, so they’re not overly concerned about the expendable passengers.
It is often said that nobody knows how they might act in an emergency. Only partly true, in my experience. If you’re a douchbag/ette, you may surprise yourself with unsuspected resources of courage and suchlike in a disaster.. but you’ve also left it up to luck, maybe, who knows.
The time to prepare for an emergency is before the emergency– just as the way to deal with temptation is to practice virtue and stick to your promises with God’s help before the particular juicy opportunity saunters by. Thinking about what you’d sacrifice– or lay down your life for– best happens ahead of time, not while you find yourself kicking everyone out of the way to save your all-precious ass.. if not your self-respect or basic humanity.
Jeez: Move It, Granny!
Suddenly, we find ourselves pushed back on basics of self & civilization. A cornerstone: unselfish love. The Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” [ Luke 6:31 ] How about John 15:13 – “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
.. Or a weaker person, or a pregnant mother, a child, a granny, an elderly person, your spouse or child, a stranger needing saving. The passengers on the Costa Concordia (Or “Peaceful Coast”) found out what happens when civilization loses faith, and when “self and individuality and did I mention my all-awesome self?” is all I really believe in. Some charitable souls have tried to explain the recent disaster by pointing at Italians. As Steyn points out, nice try, but MV Estonia in the Baltic saw the same damned ugly scenes, of panicky men clambering over the weak, and not using their strength to save others.

Kathy Shaidle has often said, in the context of mass shootings such as the Montreal Massacre, that if you comfort yourself by saying, one never knows what one would do in that situation, "you make cowardice the default position."

So I think her principle can be expanded to these Costa Concordia situations----so that this kind of disgraceful scrambling is not the default position.

Victor Davis Hanson on the civilization decline

He writes at the National Review: (h/t The Binks):

News accounts abound now of impoverished Athens residents scrounging pharmacies for scarce aspirin — as Greece is squeezed to make interest payments to the supposedly euro-pinching German banks.

Such accounts may be exaggerations, but they should warn us that yearly progress is never assured. Instead, history offers plenty of examples of life becoming far worse than it had been centuries earlier. The biographer Plutarch, writing 500 years after the glories of classical Greece, lamented that in his time weeds grew amid the empty colonnades of the once-impressive Greek city-states. In America, most would prefer to live in the Detroit of 1941 than the Detroit of 2011. The quality of today’s air travel has regressed to the climate of yesterday’s bus service.

snip  (he talks about his native state of California with many examples of decline)

In 1960, there were far fewer government officials, far fewer prisons, far fewer laws, and far fewer lawyers — and yet the state was a far safer place than it is a half-century later. Technological progress — whether iPhones or Xboxes — can often accompany moral regress. There are not yet weeds in our cities, but those too may be coming.

The average Californian, like the average Greek, forgot that civilization is fragile. Its continuance requires respect for the law, tough-minded education, collective thrift, private investment, individual self-reliance, and common codes of behavior and civility — and exempts no one from those rules. Such knowledge and patterns of civilized behavior, slowly accrued over centuries, can be lost in a single generation.
A keen visitor to Athens — or Los Angeles — during the last decade not only could have seen that things were not quite right, but also could have concluded that they could not go on as they were. And so they are not.

Mark Steyn's adventures in the drive-through pharmacy

A couple of months back, I was with a friend of mine when she suddenly collapsed and I found myself having to run her to the emergency room. After a fairly harrowing 14 hours, the hospital released her, the doctor writing her a prescription for the still-very-intense pain she was in. So we stopped at her local Kinney Drugs in Vermont.
-snip-  (several astonishing mix-ups occur after first forays to the drug store--go and read the entire post)
This time, they had the drugs. My pal handed over her new insurance card. After some 15 minutes, the clerk returned and said the insurer had declined it. There were two cars backed up behind us. My friend said that couldn't be right, the number was valid, could they please run the number again. They did. Same result. There were now four cars behind us. The clerk suggested we drive around the building, join the back of the drive-thru line, and maybe when she'd taken care of the four cars behind things would have quietened down sufficiently for her to call someone and try to find out what the problem was.
Never mind my friend's crippling pain, spare a thought for me: I'd had to spend untold hours being kindly and supportive and sympathetic, which is not a role to which I'm naturally suited, and the strain was beginning to tell. In that useful Americanism, I didn't need this in my life right now. So I enquired of Kinney Drugs whether it would be possible for us just to pay for the prescription — you know, with money — and then bugger off to resume our lives. She went off to see whether that was still possible. Upon her return, I grabbed my wallet and pulled out a credit card.
"That will be eighteen dollars and 79 cents," she said.
Oh. For whatever reason — perhaps the sheer dogged determination required to negotiate this time-consuming transaction to a successful conclusion — I had assumed this would be one of those expensive pills about which one hears so much and I'd be ponying up 500 bucks. Instead, I put away the credit card and fished out a $20 bill.
And then I thought of the opportunity cost not only to me but to the four cars behind. It seemed a very expensive way to buy 18 bucks' worth of pills.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Holy Father's reflections on Christian Unity

Some wonderful reflections to consider on this the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, from VIS news (my emphases):


VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis
during this morning's general audience to Christ's priestly prayer during
the Last Supper, as narrated in chapter 17 of the Gospel of St. John. In
order to understand this prayer "in all its immense richness", said the
Pope, it is important to see it in the context of the Jewish feast of
atonement, Yom Kippur, in which the high priest seeks atonement first for
himself, then for the order of priests and finally for the community as a
whole. Likewise, "that night Jesus addressed the Father at the moment in
which He offered Himself. He, priest and victim, prayed for Himself, for the
Apostles and for all those who would believe in Him".

  The prayer which Jesus prays for Himself is the request for His own
glorification. "It is in fact more than a request", the Holy Father said,
"it is a declaration of willingness to enter freely and generously into the
Father's plan, which is accomplished through death and resurrection. ...
Jesus begins His priestly prayer by saying: 'Father, the hour has come;
glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you'. The glorification Jesus
seeks for Himself, as High Priest, is to be fully obedient to the Father, an
obedience which leads Him to fulfil His filial status: 'So now, Father,
glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence
before the world existed'".

  The second part of Jesus' prayer is His intercession for the disciples who
have followed Him, and His request that they may be sanctified. Jesus says:
'They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Sanctify them in the truth'. Benedict XVI explained how "To sanctify means
to transfer something - a person or an object - to God. This involves two
complementary aspects: on the one hand, the idea of 'segregation' ... from
man's personal life in order to be completely given over to God; on the
other hand there is the idea of 'being sent out', of mission. Having been
given to God, the consecrated thing or person exists for others. ... A
person is sanctified when, like Jesus, he is segregated from the world, set
aside for God in view of a task and, for this reason, available for
everyone. For disciples this means continuing Jesus' mission".

  In the third phase of the priestly prayer, "Jesus asks the Father to
intervene in favour of all those who will be brought to the faith by the
mission inaugurated by the Apostles. ... 'I ask not only on behalf of these,
but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word'. ...
Jesus prays for the Church in all times, He also prays for us. ... The main
element in Jesus' priestly prayer for His disciples is His request for the
future unity of those who will believe in Him. This unity is not a worldly
achievement. It derives exclusively from divine unity and comes down to us
from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit".

  By this priestly prayer Jesus establishes the Church, "which is nothing
other than the community of disciples who, through their faith in Christ as
the One sent by the Father, receive His unity and are involved in Jesus'
mission to save the world by leading it to a knowledge of God".

  Benedict XVI invited the faithful to read and meditate upon Jesus priestly
prayer, and to pray to God themselves, asking Him "to help us enter fully
into the plan He has for each of us. Let us ask Him to consecrate us to
Himself, that we may belong to Him and show increasing love for others, both
near and far. Let us ask Him to help us open our prayers to the world, not
limiting them to requests for help in our own problems, but remembering our
fellow man before the Lord and learning the beauty of interceding for
others. Let us ask Him for the gift of visible unity among all those who
believe in Christ, ... that we may be ready to respond to anyone who asks us
about the reasons for our hope".

  At the end of his audience, Benedict XVI delivered greetings in various
languages to the pilgrims and faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall,
reminding them that today's Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul marks the
end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Addressing Polish faithful he
said: "The conversion of the Apostle of the Gentiles near Damascus is proof
that, in the final analysis, it is God Himself Who decides the destiny of
His Church. Let us ask Him for the grace of unity, which also requires our
individual conversion, while remaining faithful to the truth and love of

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Help get Rick Santorum get his proper place

In Google.  Help make sure Rick Santorum's true site and positive items about him are on the first page on any Google search.

Check out his real website

Friday, January 20, 2012

Victor Davis Hanson on reading literature

This is a great essay, worth reading in full:

Reading literature endows us not just with a model of expression and thought, but also with a body of ideas — and the names, facts, and dates that we can draw on to elucidate them. When I used to follow the career of the brilliantly destructive Bill Clinton, he seemed to be Alcibiades reborn — and thus was surely bound to share the same fate of those with enormous talent who are consumed by their own huge and unrepressed appetites.
Richard Nixon jumped out of the pages Sophocles, another gifted Oedipus whose innate and unaddressed flaws were waiting dormant — for just the right occasion to explode him, for Nemesis to take him from the King of Thebes to itinerant blind beggar.
Obama? He came on the scene as arrogant and self-righteous as young Pentheus or Hippolytus and he is now learning firsthand the effects of his Euripidean smugness on others. Nothing that we experience has not happened before; the truly ignorant miss that, hypnotized by sophisticated technology into believing that human nature has been reinvented in their own image.
TranscendenceWe all wish to live beyond the confines of our pathetic flesh and the limitations of the material world. I am here not just talking of religion, but rather of how shared ideas and learning trump age, race, class, gender, all the supposed barriers that only government alone can trample down.
At Fresno I used to teach works like Xenophon’s Hellenica or Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound in advanced Greek classes, usually to about 10 students. Some were 60 years old and retired. Some were physically disabled and rolled in on wheel chairs. Some were Mexican-American; some women; some Asian. Often an epileptic retiree, who took every Greek course offered, would have a seizure in class. Most were poor or of middle means; but I recall there were one or two millionaires as well.
The Point of Such “Diversity”?There was no diversity.
When they translated or sounded off about Prometheus’s pontifications or nearly wept at poor Theramenes (who perhaps deserved his fate for his triangulation) being dragged off to his death, all “difference” disappeared. What we had in common vastly outweighed our class, gender, and racial distinctions. Thucydides could belong to an immigrant from Oaxaca as much as it did to me — or even more so.

Obama has got to go

Check this out.  My emphases.

Brushing aside concerns about religious liberty and respect for individual consciences, the Obama administration has announced that Church-related institutions will be required to provide contraceptive coverage for employees in their health-care plans.
The decision, announced on January 20 by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, guarantees a confrontation between the Obama administration and the US Catholic bishops. The bishops, along with a number of Catholic universities, had argued strenuously against including mandatory contraceptive coverage in health-care plans.
Ironically, the administration’s decision was announced just a day after a speech in which Pope Benedict XVI told visiting American bishops that religious freedom is under attack in the US. The Pontiff specifically mentioned government initiatives that would “deny the right of conscientious objection” by forcing individuals and institutions to partiipate in activities they regard as intrinsically immoral. The US bishops’ conference had warned that the imposition of mandatory contraceptive coverage would be a clear violation of the conscience rights and an assault on religious freedom.
Calling the administration's decision "literally unconscionable," Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the president of the US bishops' conference, said that the ruling "has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand.” He promised that the US bishops would fight against implementation of the administration's plan. "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," he charged.
Okay.   I hope they do draw a line in the stand and have the courage to fight.   And don't think this problem is not here in Canada as well.  Ours concerns encroachments by the state on Catholic education and parents' prior rights to educate their children.

Sadly, I saw something about a poll that said 51% of Catholic will vote for Obama.

So the MSM is ignoring Newt's standing O--why is that the Anchoress asks?

Elizabeth Scalia, aka The Anchoress, writes:

I came to the debate a few minutes late so I didn’t see it live. At the end of the debate, when CNN replayed “highlights” the standing-O wasn’t included (it certainly seemed like a “highlight” whether one liked it or not), so I only became aware of it thanks to the internet, and social media.
This morning I got an email from a friend who scours the papers, and he wrote:
AP and others did not even mention the standing O
I took a quick look around at various mainstream reports and discovered that my friend was correct. Even pieces identifying themselves as analysis of “winners and losers” or “views from the bleachers” made no mention of the standing ovation that accompanied Newt’s smackdown of King. From the bleachers, this is what it looked like to CNN:
He opened by offering Newt Gingrich a chance to respond to his allegations from his ex-wife in an interview on ABC. Gingrich delivers a flat “No” and the segmented crowd becomes uniform in its applause as Gingrich attacked the media.The writers, Soledad O’Brien and Rose Arce (two sets of eyes!) were in the bleachers and saw the crowd “become uniform,” but they can’t bring themselves to report what they actually saw.
Several reports did make mention of the other unusual moment of the night, when John King asked Santorum, Gingrich and Romney about their pro-life positions and then then moved on. The audience (and even my husband and I at home) yelled at the moderator, “what about Paul! He’s a doctor!” And King was forced to allow Paul to be part of the discussion. The press was right to mention the moment, but — as my friend said — they seem to be determined to ignore Newt’s standing-o, which is something completely foreign to debates; in my memory it has never happened before. That alone makes it news-worthy and yet it’s not considered mentionable. To the press, it was not a “highlight.”
Which means we must ask, why is that?
Here's a peek at the rest:

The mainstream press does not want to discuss last night’s standing ovation because it shakes their worldview. They were supposed to be able to control the narrative; they were supposed to be able to corral the sheep. And last night, the sheep indicated that they’re no longer willing to be herded, no longer going to allow their own moral judgments to be exploited in a time when the nation is facing serious issues. They’ve decided they’re going to make up their own minds, thank you, about who they think is up to dealing with those issues. They’re looking at the press and saying, “Scallywags, heal thyselves!”This has to be a true shake-up for the press. No wonder they don’t mind, so much, the idea of the government being able to shut down the internet at will. Without it, it will be so much easier to hide what they’d rather not have to discuss.
Which is precisely why we really need to make sure the internet remains unencumbered.Shutting it down may be the only play the mainstream media has left. 

Go Newt!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How can someone lead such a double life?

Here's a link to a story I worked on last week, now published in the Western Catholic Reporter:

WCR This Week


Narcissism leads abusers to double life

January 23, 2012
Bishop Raymond Lahey's double life while serving as a bishop in the Catholic Church might partly be explained by narcissism say experts who have worked with troubled or accused priests.
In December, the forensic psychiatrist who examined the 71-year old bishop told Lahey's sentencing hearing, he was a homosexual who had been involved in a "number of one-night stands" before entering a 10-year relationship with a man that he hoped to continue when he got out of prison.
"What causes a man to maintain this kind of double life for so long is basic narcissism, the idea that I'm entitled to this, I can do whatever I want; if I want to lead a double life I'll have a double life," said psychologist Peter Kleponis.


Narcissism can grow as priests climb the ladder and become bishops, thinking of themselves as a prince of the Church who is above everything, he said.
"Narcissism is very common in addicts, because even though they know what they are doing is bad, and know it is wrong, they decide, 'I'm going to do it anyway,'" Kleponis said from his office in West Conshohocken, Pa.
Kleponis and his colleague Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist who is a consulter to the Congregation for Clergy in the Vatican, have worked in dioceses across the United States.
"Severe narcissism is a major reason why a priest or other men choose to sexually abuse a minor," Fitzgibbons and co-author Dale O'Leary wrote in the article "Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Clergy" in the August 2011 issue of the Linacre Quarterly, the journal of the Catholic Medical Association in the United States.
"Not having one's needs met during childhood can create a situation in which a person believes they must meet their own needs."

An interview with Fr. Steenson

Via the Ordinariate Portal, a most interesting interview by The Living Church Foundation's  Douglas LeBlanc of Fr. Jeffrey Steenson. Here are a few excerpts:
If the Ordinariate in the United States is a Vatican effort to poach disgruntled Anglicans, Sunday-golfing ex-Anglicans or never-were Anglicans, its newly appointed leader has not received that memo.
In fact, says the Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Anglican does not appear in the new body’s formal name, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, because members will make no pretense of remaining Anglicans.
And anyone who wants to enter the Ordinariate because of anger toward Anglicanism rather than a desire for deeper communion with the Roman Catholic Church probably ought to wait.
Steenson, who was bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of the Rio Grande from 2004 to 2007, will be invested as the first Ordinary of the Ordinariate during a Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, Feb. 12.
“It is spiritually so critical that they leave all that anger behind. We want people who are happy with their spiritual lives and are not fighting old battles,” Father Steenson told The Living Church.
Steenson expressed a similar wonderment about being asked to lead the Ordinariate. He planned to continue teaching patristics for a few more years at Houston’s University of St. Thomas and then possibly to return to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, whose archbishop, Michael J. Sheehan, helped Steenson work through his questions about joining the Roman Catholic Church.
“No one in their right mind would accept this,” he said of his new duties, in which he will continue working full-time for the university but will serve the Ordinariate in his free hours, without salary. “It is the challenge of creating a diocese from scratch, overnight. … When the Holy See asks for something, the answer is ‘Yes, sir.’”
Fr. Jeffrey Steenson is in my prayers and I am extremely touched that he would reach out to me.  I hope and pray that God will give him the strength---supernatural strength to gather us all in. But wow.  No pretense of remaining Anglicans.  Er, what about our patrimony that we're supposed to be bringing in as a gift to be cherished in the wider Church?
And Fr. Steenson's job as Ordinary is in his spare time without a salary?  He is still teaching full time? So is the only one working full time with a salary for the American Ordinariate is Fr.  Scott Hurd, who is stick handling this for Cardinal Wuerl?
Look, I'm just a lay woman who has only my precious community to loose and our beautiful way of worshipping.   I speak for no one but myself and obviously I don't ask permission of anyone before I blog here, but this is astonishing.
We had no anger towards the Anglican Communion because all the issues the Canterbury Communion has been facing were none of ours. We were a tranquil, peaceful little oasis in the wilderness, bursting at the seams so that we were desperately in need of a new building.  We were growing ever deeper in our catholic faith and experiencing great joy.  How exciting it was in the fall of 2009 when we thought, really, Anglicanorum coetibus was an answer to our request for corporate reunion while keeping our Anglican identity.   Then, oh boy!  The Refiner's Fire!
It's a beautiful, sunny day, where beautiful fresh snow glistens on the Spruce branches outside my window, and there is so much to praise God for and be thankful for, so I will focus on that. I choose to laugh because I'm done.
This ain't Anglican, but hey, I may soon be singing this in a Roman Catholic parish where I go to the Adoration Chapel a lot, a Companions of the Cross, charismatic parish where they Catholic faith is alive.  Because there will come a point where I will have to say, enough is enough. I give up.  Have it your way as in the  Burger King song. I'm tired of fighting a losing battle.
As our dear Companions priest, Fr. Francis Donnelly, who accompanied us on our catechesis, reminded me during one of my complaint sessions,  with a sense of humor: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."
The main thing is Jesus.   If He wants this Anglicanorum coetibus thing to work, it will work.  And maybe He's stacking the odds up against it so high so as to show His mighty power.  I hope so.