Friday, February 28, 2003

Mystery Plane Over Indiana

From the Hoosier Times:

It is a plain, white, small plane, a single-engine prop, that has been appearing over Bloomington around midnight, circling the city a few times at relatively low altitude and then flying off. It repeats the route in the early morning and around noon.

Officials are being very close-mouthed about what is going on, despite increasing concern from city residents, several of whom have called The Herald-Times about the mysterious plane and its repeated flights.

Nigeria Reports Stolen Nuclear Materials

Just heard this on Fox News...

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Here is a First...

and I Might Add One for the Catholic League to Look Into

This morning when I awoke at 2:30 A.M. local time (5:30 my time and close to my usual wake up time) I turned on the television. The local station was running an ad asking, "Have you been sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest?" It went on to say that a current law passed by the state senate made it possible to sue even if the abuse happened a long time ago. It then gave the law office to contact.

They don't run these types of ads in Indiana.

Why not ask have you ever been sexually abused by anyone? For instance a lawyer, a teacher, a scout master, a rabbi, a Protestant minister, a Iman, a priestess, etc.?
U.S. Lowers Alert Level

When I was in the military some twenty plus years ago for a year I was stationed in Turkey. It was a difficult time and terrorism was a real threat. Twice in the year terrorist his members stationed with me--killing five of the one hundred of us stationed there.

Every Friday our commander would give us a report, as I remember it from the CIA. What I also remember is that the threat was always perceived to be higher around Moslem Holy Days like Ramadan and the Hadj. What I also remember is that nothing ever happened around these holy days. But in the minds of the government spies, who I now perceive to think of religion in negative terms, holy days were prime time for the possibility of fanatical acts.

It is wrong I think to think of terrorists as devout Moslems or devout anything else. The hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Centers and Pentagon seem rather secular on the face of it--soldiers fighting for a cause not a religion. Yet we insist on labeling them by their religion.

Most of us cringe when the tables are turned. Some nut kills a doctor and then is identified as a conservative Christian. Suddenly the press paints innocent people praying the rosary or handing out prolife materials--genuine Christians who love life as terrorist. We know that is a lie!

Christian's don't kill--nuts do! Christians don't kill their unborn, their elderly, their undesirable nor their enemies. If they follow the teaching of Jesus they love their enemies, forgive their abusers, and worship God alone not their position in society.

Following Christ is difficult. It requires death but not of someone else but of our own ego. "We are fools for Christ's sake," St. Paul preached. Are we?
RENEW 2002

Here is the link to the RENEW materials that I have seen. They are just being released by to the public.
E-Mail Floating Around NASA Office Predicted Disaster

A few days before but in the end nothing became of it. The Smoking Gun as usual somehow has obtained it for you to view.
Sad Day in the Neighborhood

Mr. Rodgers is dead. He died this morning at his home in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Pope Says Purify Mass of Ill Suited Music


Hence, it is necessary, to constantly discover and live the beauty of prayer and of the liturgy. One must pray to God not only with theologically precise formulas, but also in a beautiful and dignified way.

In this connection, the Christian community must make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and song will return increasingly to the liturgy. It is necessary to purify worship of deformations, of careless forms of expression, of ill-prepared music and texts, which are not very suited to the grandeur of the act being celebrated.
Not RENEW 2000 but the New RENEW

The materials that I reviewed were post RENEW 2000, newer but very orthodox. It is this new version I'm sure that Archbisop Dolan will be using. They carry the Imprimature of Archbishop Meyer and anyone who knows him knows that it has to be orthodox to carry his imprimatur.
Amy has a Super Entry Today on War and Peace

Be warned it is almost as long as Tolstoy's opus. I know she's been stewing about this for the past few weeks.
I'm in California...

for the next few days so the blogging might be light. I have a beautiful view of the Crystal Cathedral from my room.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Even Conservative Evangelicals are Joining the Call to Fast for Peace

From Fast and Pray for Saddam Hussein --

But Christians should never talk about war with bravado—only with reluctance, weeping, and with prayer and fasting.

We know from 2 Chronicles that King Jehoshaphat of Judah was a great warrior with a large, seasoned army. But when Jehoshaphat was confronted with an invasion, instead of riding out to meet the invaders, he led the people in prayer. "We do not know what to do," he prayed, "but our eyes are on you." And God’s deliverance came in a thoroughly unexpected way. Jehoshaphat’s army didn’t fire a shot.
Catholic Just War

The facts and myths about a war with Iraq. Includes a Catholic petition to either support or express reservations about a possible war.

Personally, I'm for peace. I believe that with prayer and faith Saddam Hussein can be overthrown without a bullet ever being fired. I am one of those traditional Catholics who prayed the rosary for years for the conversion of Russia. I would say that Russia was a bigger threat to the world in those years that Iraq is today. I firmly believe that it was prayer that knocked down the Berlin wall and crumbled the Eastern Bloc aliance to the Soviet Union.

We have to launch a spiritual war on Iraq. Pick up a rosary, fast for peace, get on your knees and pray to God! Believe that with God all things are possible.

Too many of us show that in reality we are nothing but materialist when we conceive of how all situations can be handled. I stand firmly with the Pope on this issue!
Mark Shea Provides an Update on Al Kresta's Condition

Please continue to pray for his recovery!
It Does Snow in the Holy Land

There are those who think that Jesus could never have experienced a white birthday. Well of course they are wrong. For those who don't know Bethlehem is a few miles from Jerusalem.

From Article Static:

Heavy snow in Jerusalem brought the capital to a halt Tuesday, with schools shut in the city and the surrounding area after some 20 cm fell overnight.

The Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway was closed in both directions from the Beit Shemesh interchange up to the capital, but has now reopened for 4x4 vehicles only.
Muslim Med Students Refuse to Perform Abortions

There was a day when Catholics of all professions believed enough in the tenets of their faith to make a difference in what they would and would not do.

From News, 17 February 2003:

It is reported that British medical schools have started to restrict the number of Muslim students because they refuse to learn about abortion. The proportion of medical students from ethnic minorities in Britain has risen from 10 percent to 33 percent over the last 20 years, and the Council of Heads of Medical Schools has expressed concern that tutors are now unable to teach the full syllabus on account of the refusal of Muslim students to participate in certain courses which run counter to their faith.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Pope Says Internet Great Means for Evangelization

From Zenit News:

The growth of the Internet in recent years provides an unprecedented opportunity for expanding the Church's missionary outreach, since it has become a primary source of information and communication for so many of our contemporaries, especially the young," the Pope said Friday.

"It is my hope that the new pontifical mission societies' Web site will awaken in the Catholics of the United States a deeper appreciation of the Church's universal missionary mandate, and a greater awareness of the rich variety of cultures and peoples in which the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to take root in our time," he continued.

"I trust," he added, "that the new site will draw many people to a deeper faith in Christ, lead to an increase of missionary vocations, and call forth a greater commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel 'ad gentes' and the new evangelization of traditionally Christian countries."
Pope Calls on Catholics to Dedicate Ash Wednesday Fast to Peace

From Yahoo! News - Pope Calls for Fast Against War in Iraq:

"We Christians in particular are called upon to be sentinels of peace," John Paul said, calling on Catholics to dedicate their fasting on Ash Wednesday, March 5, for the cause of peace.

On that day, the pope said, faithful will pray for "the conversion of hearts and the long-range vision of just decisions to resolve disputes with adequate and peaceful means."

He said that the fast, which Catholics traditionally conduct at the start of Lent to prepare themselves for Easter, is an "expression of penitence for the hate and violence which pollute human relations."

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The Genius of Archbishop Dolan

Some conservative blogs and news sites are negatively reporting something that is coming out of Milwaukee. The fact that Archbishop Dolan is mandating that the Archdiocese enter anew the process of RENEW. Here is are the Archbishop's comments from The Milwaukee Catholic Herald:

As you have probably heard, this Lent, many of our parishes, at my request, will offer the Renew program (with the others opting to do it next fall). We are all familiar with Renew, as the entire archdiocese benefited from it over 15 years ago. It is a six-week endeavor where groups meet throughout parishes for prayer, reflection on Sacred Scripture, study, mutual reflection, and discussion. It has a proven track record, with thousands of people hailing it as a very effective means of sound evangelization, catechesis, and interior conversion.

The original Renew program was widely criticized by conservatives to be doctrinally flawed and a breeding ground for diseminating dissident views throughout the Church in the United States. But folks, this is not your mother's RENEW program.

Renew comes from the Newark Archdiocese and the current Renew materials carry the Imprimatur of Archbishop Meyers. I can assure you that the doctrinal irregularities that were the original are no longer there.

The genius of using the program is that people are already familiar with it. But now they can be reevangelized in the truth in the very same process that once introduced them to error.

Conservatives need to support great bishops like Archbishop Dolan and pray for them rather than criticizing every move before they have the facts!
Tyson Fight

Most of you probably didn't see this and don't care but the less than a minute fight last night clearly was fixed. The comments of Tyson after the fight were entertaining. Turns out:

He was fighting with a broken back, that's what he said.

He said that he and his competitor talked and decided they had to "take care of each other."

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Feast of the Papacy)

Pope John Paul Calls for More Contemplative Church

From Zenit:

John Paul II called the Church to be more contemplative, more holy and more missionary, grounding its work on fervent prayer.

In his message for this year's World Mission Sunday, issued today, the Pope emphasized that only in an atmosphere of prayer can the Holy Spirit be received and the faithful become witnesses of Christ.

This year, World Mission Sunday will be observed on Oct. 19. It will coincide with the 25th-anniversary celebrations of the Holy Father's pontificate, the beatification of Mother Teresa, and the closing of the Year of the Rosary.
Tony Blair to Become a Catholic

The story taken from the British press reads like it was written by the Russian identifying Blair as "Premier."

From the Daily Mirror:

TONY Blair is expected to become a Catholic when he steps down as Premier.

Senior figures in the Catholic Church in England, and friends of the Blairs, say he has wanted to convert for some time but will wait until he leaves office. Mr Blair will have a private audience with Pope John Paul today after his war summit in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Downing Street said his religious leanings were a "private matter".

But some figures in the Catholic Church privately say Mr Blair must make a choice - remain an Anglican or convert to Catholicism.

One said: "There are a number of us who feel it is time he made up his mind."

Mr Blair's wife Cherie was brought up as a Catholic and will accompany him to the Vatican.

Their four children, all baptised Catholics, are also expected to attend part of the audience.

Friday, February 21, 2003

The How-To Book of the Mass is Catholic Digest's Featured Book for March

There is a great review in the magazine on page 104.

Catholic Digest BookStore
DANGER--Spending Time on the Internet May be Bad for You!

You can read the following below from Zenit or just get off now and interact with a real person somewhere and quick!


Excessive use of Internet can degenerate into unheard-of pathologies, warn Catholic psychiatrists and psychologists.

Children are the most vulnerable to this new form of illness, said conferees at a recent congress organized by the Italian Association of Catholic Psychiatrists and Psychologists (AIPCC).

Their conclusion summarized the results of research on disturbances derived from the abuse of the Internet in 109 children, ranging in age from 6 to 9.

In general, young adults are the most prone to "tech-abuse," that is, difficulty in relating to real people, according to the study.

Another phenomenon mentioned is "Webcam abuse," the propensity or even obsession to spy on others through Internet sites for this purpose.

"Technoautism," or the inability to express one's emotions without the aid of new technologies, is more frequent among children, the study reveals, reported by the Italian bishops' SIR agency.

"Fifteen to 20% of the children studied surf regularly on Internet, chat and, above all, seek friendships on the Internet," the report continues.

"The fact that technology is understood as a way of interacting with others is very worrying," said Tonino Cantelmi, AIPCC president and coordinator of the research.

Seventy percent of boys spend about two hours daily with Internet video games; 5% spend more than five hours a day.
Sad Story from Ohio

From theAP Wire | 02/21/2003 | Ohio Priest Found Shot to Death in Bed:

A Roman Catholic priest who stabbed and poisoned himself in 1998 - then claimed he'd been attacked by two teenage intruders - was found shot to death in his residence.

Rev. Thomas Spisak, 59, was found in his bed Thursday in the rectory of St. Mary Church in this northeast Ohio community. An autopsy was scheduled Friday.

Lt. Catherine Giovannone said police were waiting for the coroner's report before saying if the death was a suicide. A police statement on the death omitted any mention of a weapon.
A Joke to Lighten the Mood

The Loving Husband

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on a bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker-function

and begins to talk.

MAN: "Hello"

WOMAN: "Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"

MAN: "Yes"

WOMAN: "I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat It's only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it?"

MAN: "Sure, ...go ahead if you like it that much."

WOMAN: "I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2003 models. I saw one I really liked."

MAN: "How much?"

WOMAN: "$60,000"

MAN: "OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

WOMAN: "Great! Oh, and one more thing....the house we wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking $950,000."

MAN: "Well, then go ahead and give them an offer, but just offer $900,000."

WOMAN: "OK. I'll see you later! I love you!"

MAN: "Bye, I love you, too."

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are looking at him in astonishment.

Then he asks: "Anyone know who this phone belongs to?"

Thanks to Martin Farkus for pointing out my negligence in posting the USA Today link for their front page story yesterday on Father Mychal Judge.

Father Mychal Judge is included in a new book entitled "Modern Heroes of the Church" by Leo Knowles. This book includes both canonized saints and people who likely will be at some later date along with some who probably never will be.

I know that conservatives love to judge Judge. Rumors about his activity within the homosexual community swirl around and even hint at his own possible lifestyle.

Guess what folks, if he was a sinner, even a grevious sinner--he was just like you and I. Could any of us ever be declared saints? Of course. How?

Our past is our past but what matters is our present and our future. St. Paul stood by as St. Stephen was stoned to death and for Paul it was all a day of being a good religious--hardly any of us would see killing someone as being good. Neither would St. Paul in the end. He was converted and looked with shame on what he had done in his previous life. St. Augustine's story is well known to most of us and offers all of us hope.

But in Father Judge's case I would point to another historical figure who ultimately gives the worst of us hope to one day be declared a saint--St. Dismas.

We have no evidence that Dismas did anything praiseworthy during his life but at the moment of death he cried out to Jesus in Faith and became the first canonized (declared so by the head of the Church--Christ) saint when Jesus said to him, "This day you will be with me in Paradise!"

Father Judge risked his life to bring the sacraments to those who were in peril. In the end he gave his life in the process. If that isn't saintly, I don't know what is. But I do know that standing in judgment is not saintly. In fact it is a direct violation of Our Lord's command, "Judge not and you will not be judged!"

Judge Father Judge at your own peril.

Here is the link The making of St. Mychal Grass-roots campaign grows to canonize priest killed at WTC:

There was a time when 4-year-old Matthew Brown did not speak well. He wouldn't respond to certain noises. He could hardly look a person in the eye. Specialists said his communication and cognitive skills were delayed.

So Scott Brown prayed that God would loosen his son's tongue. He prayed to family members long dead, to St. Nicholas and St. Joseph. And after Sept. 11, 2001, Brown began to pray to the Rev. Mychal Judge, the 68-year-old New York priest who was the first person listed as a casualty of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

''Once I started praying to Mychal Judge, the positive outcome . . . was almost instantaneous,'' says Brown, 41, a Newport, R.I., firefighter, about his son's recovery. ''For someone who was so silent and would never make eye contact with you, he's like a different child. . . . I can't help but to say that it is miraculous.''

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Inspectors Have You Looked Here Yet?

Too much time on their hands.
Google Now Owns This Site

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Fame or misfortune beckons for weblogs?
Happy Feast Day to My Wife Amy!

Today is the feast of St. Amata (Amy) the niece of St. Clare of Assisi.
Archbishop Chaput is Doing What All Bishops Should Be Doing!

Educating the faithful of his diocese.

From the Archdiocese of Denver:

The bishops have determined that we should not kneel or genuflect. We receive Communion standing. Before receiving, we bow our head in adoration, and we say "Amen" and receive the body of Christ on the tongue or in the hand.

This will be new for many of the faithful, because the formal act of reverence was not widely promoted in the past. This act helps us avoid nonchalance in receiving holy Communion. It allows us to acknowledge what we are about to do: take under the form of bread and wine the resurrected body and blood of Christ. If we have become distracted during the procession, the gesture helps us to recollect ourselves.

While the act of reverence will be new for some, it may be "different" for others. In the past, we may have made a sign of the cross, a profound bow (one from the waist), genuflected or simply knelt as our act of adoration. The Church now asks us asks to submit our personal preference to her wisdom.

Some of us will need time to remember to do this. Others may not want to change the gesture of reverence they've been using. In all cases, we need to defer to the Church. Just as I ask that kneeling be preserved within the rubrics where indicated (such as during the entire Eucharistic Prayer), I ask that the act of reverence approved by the U.S. bishops — the bowing of the head — be embraced and maintained. This act of reverence, which should also be done before receiving the precious blood, unites us with the whole community of faith.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Johnny Cash's New Video--"Hurt"


Rolling Stone magazine declares this the "video of the year."

I had seen it from afar while running at the gym but last night saw it for the first time up close. It is an amazing video. You can watch it online by going to the Johnny Cash Chart News site I've posted above.

Images of the young Cash clash with the present day old man, and the way the piano is photographed it evokes the lid of a coffin being shut at the very end. There are also images of The House of Cash Museum a defunct museum of Johnny Cash memorabilia hinting at the forgotten glory of a famed life. Interwoven toward the end are the pain on Cash's face and the crucifixion of Jesus.

This is absolutely the most artistic and evocative piece I have seen in some time!
Just When You Thought You'd Heard the Last of Him

Will Bill Clinton be the next head of the U.N?

From WorldNetDaily: Bill Clinton: Next U.N. chief?

Has former President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail again?

That's the word according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist who reports a "major international move" is afoot to help install the ex-CEO of the most powerful nation as the CEO of the most powerful world body – the United Nations.

Sunday's "Dateline D.C." column, which the paper says is written by a Washington-based British journalist and political observer, named no names but cited reports that Clinton had already lined up support for his candidacy for the secretary-general position from Germany, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, a handful of African states, Morocco and Egypt. The Tribune-Review also reports Russia has made it known it would not object and added that China is also a big fan of the former president.
Please Pray for Al Kresta

I've been a guest on Al's radio show a few times, Amy is a frequent guest. Please pray that the Lord will restore him to health:

Al Kresta, host of the syndicated Catholic radio talk show, “Kresta in the Afternoon,” was listed in critical condition, after emergency surgery to remove the lower portion of his left leg. He had been in intensive care since about 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, suffering severe leg and back pain along with swelling in the limbs and fluctuating blood pressure.

After close observation, doctors became alarmed when blotches appeared on Kresta’s leg, due to sepsis (blood poisoning) from an infection of unknown origin. Exploratory surgery was undertaken at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and it was determined that amputation was necessary to save his life. As of 6:00 a.m. today, Kresta was responding to treatment. He remains in critical condition under heavy sedation.

The three-hour “Kresta in the Afternoon” is produced by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Ave Maria Radio and distributed live, Monday through Friday, to Catholic radio stations around the country. Al Kresta is well known in Catholic circles as a speaker and lay evangelist. He is the author of the popular catechetical work, “Why Do Catholics Genuflect?” published last year by Servant Books of Ann Arbor.

In addition to his writing and on-air work, Kresta is CEO of Ave Maria Radio, which operates two Michigan stations — WDEO (990 AM) in Detroit-Ann Arbor, and WMAX (1440 AM) serving the Tri-Cities area (Saginaw, Bay City and Midland) — and maintains a satellite program distribution service for Catholic broadcasters around the country. Before joining Ave Maria in 1996, Kresta hosted a daily talk show on Detroit Christian station, WMUZ.

Kresta and his wife, Sally, have five children and reside in Ann Arbor.

Iran Invades Iraq

They are not waiting for the UN to resolve the issue. Home US:

Iranian-backed Iraqi opposition forces have crossed into northern Iraq from Iran with the aim of securing the frontier in the event of war, according to senior Iranian officials.

The forces, numbering up to 5,000 troops, with some heavy equipment, are nominally under the command of Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, a prominent Iraqi Shia Muslim opposition leader who has been based in Iran since 1980 and lives in Tehran.

Sad News

From Arutz Sheva - Israel National News:

Joseph´s Tomb in Ruins

( Photos taken by Breslov Hassidim who recently visited Joseph's Tomb in Shechem testify to the total destruction to the holy site that was abandoned by Israel and left to the mercy of PA residents. The tomb has been destroyed and the area has been filled with trash. An obvious effort was made to do whatever possible to defile the holy site.

Members of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, once located inside the Tomb, have turned to IDF authorities calling for renewed Jewish rule over the site and permitting reconstruction of the Tomb and the reopening to visitors and worshipers as per the Oslo Agreement that places total control over Joseph's Tomb in Israeli hands.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Novena of Peace by the Irish Jesuits

The Irish Jesuits are planning to do an internet novena for peace beginning on February 23rd. To join them check out Sacred Space - the prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits.
Turns Out That Catholic Iraqi Politician is Just Like American Catholic Politicians

They call themselves Catholic but it really doesn't mean anything to them, but their wives are faithful.

From United Press International: Commentary: Saddam's loyal 'Christian':

Well now, is Tariq Aziz actually a Christian? It's a matter of interpretation. According to bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, first ordinary of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the United States, he is a Christian "because he was baptized."

In fact, he was baptized Michael Yohanna some 66 years ago in the village of Telkaz, near the town of Mosul in northern Iraq. So why does he call himself Tariq Aziz? Because he thought this would make him more acceptable in the eyes of the Muslim majority in Iraq, exiled Iraqis told United Press International on Monday.

Is he still a Christian, then?

"Well," said bishop Ibrahim, "his wife is very faithful. She attends mass every day."

What about Tariq Aziz, though? "No," allowed the bishop, "but I did see him at his mother's and his brother's funerals."
Please Remember Nancy Nall's Family in Your Prayers


Charles E. Nall Jr., 1915-2003. My father died after a brief illness Monday afternoon. Given that he feared a long one more than anything, we're grateful things went as swiftly as they did. We will all miss him and remember him and hope that wherever he is, they're doing things his way.

Our condolences to Nancy and her family.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Another View of a Peace Rally

Pictures and commentary from a San Francisco peace rally.

Right-Thinking Comments - Live from Baghdad, Part III

Vatican to Issue Ten Commandments for Motorists

From Total Catholic:

The Vatican has been asked to draw up a 'Decalogue for road users' to counter a worsening accident rate throughout Europe. 'The prime commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill', is just as binding when a person sits at the driving wheel,' said an outline document, tabled by Spanish priests at a meeting of the Papal Council for Migrants and Travellers.

'The second is that the road should unite people, rather than bringing loss and death. The third is that the Christian driver should show courtesy, correctness and care which help in unforeseen situations, while the fourth is that mercy and help should always be extended to neighbours who fall victim to accidents,' the document states.

I wonder if there will be a day of rest for the vehicle?
Stock Car Racing and Conclusions

An anticlimatic ending to the Daytona 500 with rain falling. Saturday's Busch race ended under caution which had about the same effect. NASCAR needs to realize that no one wants to sit for hours watching a race that in the end doesn't really end. The 500 should have started even earlier at Noon when the television viewing began. This would have enabled them to run the whole race. They knew it was going to rain, they moved it up about 15 minutes. They should have moved it up sooner.

On Saturday they made some inane rule that if a caution is thrown in the last five laps the race will end under caution. This after a year of throwing red flags to ensure that the race would end under the green flag. I was no fan of that but it is better than watching cars go around the track behind the pace car and seeing the checkered flag fly.

If they want to keep their fan base large, NASCAR will have to figure out a better way to deal with rain delays and caution flags. Here is an idea--don't count caution laps.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Documents Prove that Pope Pius XII Sought to Aid Jews During World War II

From the Daily News in the UK:

The documents undermine critics' claims that Pius - condemned by critics as "Hitler's Pope" - put the interests of Rome first and did not protest about the fate of Jews during the Holocaust.

A letter, signed by the Pope in October 1940 and sent to Giuseppe Palatucci, Bishop of Campagna in southern Italy, instructed him to give money "in aid to interned Jews", to whom Pius also referred in an earlier letter as "suffering for reasons of race".

The bishop was already involved in assisting Jews through his nephew, Giovanni Palatucci, the police chief in Fiume, in north-eastern Italy. Palatucci had distributed false identity papers to 5,000 Croatian Jews, enabling them to leave local internment camps for relative safety in his uncle's southern Italian diocese, an operation that would later lead to the police chief's death in Dachau.

A second letter to Bishop Palatucci in November 1940 contained a cheque for 10,000 lira that was to be used for the "support of Jews interned in your diocese".

Supporters believe that the letters will help to repair the reputation of a man whom the present Pope, John Paul II, is seeking to make a saint but who has been accused of being anti-semitic, culturally Germanophile, rabidly anti-communist and conspicuously silent about the fate of Europe's Jews.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Massive Peace Rallies Around the World Today

Most of us might see this as some un-American enterprise. I think it would be better to conceive of it as a good thing. We should all actively be praying for peace. None of us should desire that thousands of innocent people perish so that a dictator can be removed from office. Better I say to move in and take out the dictator and his associates than to wage a full blown war. Better to imitate what we did in Panama in this case rather than what we did in Afghanistan.

The Pope isn't a stooge for Sadam. He is a stooge for Christ and those of us who follow Christ cannot ever sit idly by while the innocent suffer for the sins of some. We should take up the arms of prayer and believe that God can intervene to bring peace out of this situation even at this late stage.
Bin Laden son, al Qaeda terrorists spotted in Iran

From the Washington Times:

U.S. intelligence agencies say Osama bin Laden's oldest son, Sad, is in Iran along with other senior al Qaeda terrorists, as Iranian military forces have been placed on their highest state of alert in anticipation of a U.S. attack on Iraq, according to intelligence officials.

Sad bin Laden was spotted in Iran last month, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports. Sad is believed to be a key leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network since U.S. and allied forces ousted the ruling Taliban militia in Afghanistan

Friday, February 14, 2003

Dolly, World's First Cloned Mammal, Dies

From the

Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, died on Friday, her creators at Scotland's Roslin Institute said.

Veterinarians gave the world famous six-year-old sheep a lethal injection after they discovered signs of progressive lung disease.

The birth of Dolly in July 1996 made headlines around the world and sparked criticisms and fears that human cloning would not be far off.

"Dolly is dead. I can confirm that," a spokeswoman at the institute told Reuters. - Pope calls for 'complete commitments' from Iraq to disarm

Pope John Paul II told Iraq's deputy prime minister on Friday that the Vatican opposed war against Baghdad but insisted that Saddam Hussein demonstrate "concrete commitments" to disarm.

Tariq Aziz, a Christian, met for about 30 minutes with the pope and later the Vatican secretary of state and foreign minister.

In a brief video tape released by the Vatican, the pontiff was shown firmly gripping Aziz's hand and saying: "God bless you. God bless Iraq."

In a brief statement, Vatican said the meetings allowed for an exchange of views "on the known danger of an armed intervention in Iraq, which would add further serious suffering to a population already tried by long years of embargo."
Engaged couples gather at St Valentine's tomb to seek blessing

Jesus is the best role model for engaged couples hoping to perfect their love, and the Gospel is the best marriage preparation manual ever written, an Italian bishop told couples gathered at the tomb of St. Valentine.

"Valentine listened to the Gospel, tried to live it day by day and taught so many others to love that he became love's patron saint," said Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, Narni and Amelia.
Happy St. Valentine's Day!

From Zenit:

St. Valentine was a holy priest in Rome in the third century. St. Valentine, along with St. Maurius and his family, assisted the martyrs who were persecuted under the reign of Claudius III. Emperor Claudius issued an edict in A.D. 270 forbidding marriage because he believed that married men made poor soldiers, not wanting to leave their families.

Valentine, bishop of Interamna, disagreed with the emperor and secretly married young couples. When Claudius found out, Valentine was arrested, and when he would not renounce his faith, he was clubbed and beheaded on the 14th of February, 270.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

How Far Can You Go?

Advice for the single (woman) on St. Valentine's Day from the National Catholic Register:

Do: Be slow about getting physical.

Don't: "Hook up" before you're married.

Do: Your homework.

Don't: Go out with someone whose background you can't check or whom you immediately recognize as requiring change.

Do: Agree on a specific activity and make sure it's wholesome and designed to enhance communication.

Don't: Go drinking or to a movie with explicit sex scenes.

Do: Take your time, remembering that getting to know someone is a long, slow jog - not a sprint.

Don't: Lead the relationship.

Do: Make a list.

Don't: Reject someone who possesses important qualities because he isn't ideal in less significant ways, such as appearance or recreational interests.

Do: Be open to meeting men in settings other than bars and clubs.

Don't: Be a one-woman search party.

Do: Dress appropriately.

Don't: Be so scrupulous about modesty that you look frumpy.

Do: Pray.

Don't: Despair.

You'll have to go to the story to get the low down on what some of the advice is getting at.
Italian Disgruntled Catholics Requesting Unbatism

Sorry, once we've got you your stuck but we'll make a note that you are now officially an apostate (my personal take).

From zoomata:

Disgruntled Catholics have come a step closer to washing off holy water they were baptized in as tiny children. Upon request, priests in Italy must note alongside baptism information the will of adults to leave the Roman Catholic Church. Bowing to pressure from lobby groups who call the act 'unchristening,' the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) recently outlined the procedure.

Both sides disagree on the scope of the phenomenon -- one activist group claims 10,000 people have presented unchristening requests; the Church says it is trying to do right by a 'few dozen' people who wish not to be counted as Catholics.

Statistics, however, show a large number of slumbering or disinterested members of the country's predominant religion -- although 98% of Italians are baptized, only 36% attend mass regularly and over 14% never attend at all, according to 1999 data from Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT). Baptism records are used for Church statistics and influence whether last rites and religious funerals are administered.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, CEI president, made it clear that the Church considers the issue an entirely bureaucratic one. "You can't cancel a sacrament any more than you can cancel the act of being born," he told newspapers.
What Students at Catholic Colleges are Saying

Check out there new blog Ever Ancient, Ever New

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

New Mexico Church Visitors Marvel at 'Miracle'

I was going to post a story about this the other day but I couldn't locate an image of the painting anywhere online. Today's story from the Denver Post has the image posted. Go and check it out.

From the Denver

The parish of San Francisco de Asis is home to a goose-bump-raising work of art called "The Shadow of the Cross." The painting brings some people to their knees. Others turn away tearfully disappointed or angry because they cannot see what most can, the images that emerge only with darkness in this 1896 work by a little- known French-Canadian artist, Henri Ault.

Father Groeschel Offers a Remedy for the Church

The Oratory of Divine Love

Proposes the formation of prayer groups:

The Catholic Church in the English-speaking world is in urgent need of reform and renewal. The scandals of the past two years, although exaggerated and fanned by the hostile secular media, nevertheless point to the great need for reform and renewal in the Church. Many devout Catholics, laity, religious and clergy are looking for some way that they can join in a church-wide effort to start a serious reform. We are proposing a way that is simple, powerful and completely alien to much of the public relations approach to religion we have been experiencing for several decades in almost all Christian denominations.
Humble Self-Promotion

I'm a firm believer that it injures a person's pride (if they are a Christian) to tout their own horn than it does not to do so. So in that spirit and in the spirit of fulfilling Jesus' command to "let your light shine" I offer the following note from someone in Florida who is currently reading

The How-To Book of the Mass

Your book on the Mass is wonderful...I am about half way thru and I am learning a great deal...I love your perspective...rational and illustrative as a cradle Catholic I sometimes think I know it all...your book has been enlightening...keep up the great work!

And while I'm at it, here is a review by an Amazon customer:

Michael Dubruiel's latest book is a terrific resource that should be located on every Catholic family's bookshelf. Whether you are exploring the faith or a lifelong Catholic, this book will provide enlightenment. Dubruiel looks at each part of the Mass in a step-by-step fashion, offering explanations for the biblical backgrounds and traditional reasons behind the prayers and rituals. In the week that I've had this book and been reading it, I've already changed my perspective on celebrating the Eucharist. I would recommend this book as an excellent choice both for families looking to enhance their experience of the Mass and for those looking to learn more about the teachings of the Catholic Church pertaining to the Mass.
Pope Sick on World Day for the Sick--Calls 2003 a Difficult Year for the Fate of Mankind

From Reuters AlertNet - Pope has cold, limits role in service for the sick:

Pope John Paul had to limit his role at a religious service for the sick on Tuesday because he was suffering a slight cold, church officials said. Instead of taking part in the ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, the 82-year-old pope briefly blessed the congregation from his window while holding a large candle.

"It is a great joy for me to greet you, especially the sick among you," said the frail pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and has difficulty walking.

Pope John Paul is due to meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Friday as the Vatican steps up its bid to avert a new Gulf war. A papal envoy arrived in Baghdad earlier on Tuesday for talks with Iraqi officials to try to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Addressing the faithful on Tuesday, the pope called 2003 "a difficult year for the fate of mankind".

St. Valentine's Head Found

From zoomata - Italians Find St. Valentine Relic:

The silver relic, in the shape of the saint's face, contains fragments of his skull. Stolen in 1979, it was recently recovered in an art sting by police in Bari. The relic has a special significance since Valentine, the first bishop of the Umbrian town of Terni, was decapitated after celebrating marriages between pagans and Christians.

The return of the head, however, is unlikely to solve centuries-old bickering between several European countries over relics of the patron saint of lovers. To further complicate matters, there were at least three martyred saints called Valentine. The first was a Roman priest martyred under the Emperor Claudius II in 269 or 270 AD, the second was a Bishop of Terni killed about three years later and little is known of the third who died in Africa. Rumors abound about whether the remains were given or had simply been trafficked out of Rome by enterprising monks and nuns.

With Valentine's day only a few days away--a timely story. Isn't it odd that no one makes a fuss about the celebration of St. Valentine's day in this country? St. Valentine is the patron of greetings and lovers.
Novak's Visit to Vatican Sponsored by U.S. Government

From GN Online: Bush aims to influence Pope

Keen to build support for military action against Iraq, the U.S. government is sponsoring a conservative American Catholic scholar's visit to Italy to challenge the Vatican's opposition to a war on moral grounds.

Michael Novak, an author affiliated with the American Enter-prise Institute in Washington, D.C., has been meeting with senior Vatican officials since his arrival in Rome last week and delivered a public lecture arguing that attacking Iraq now constitutes a "just war."
96% of the Universe is Made up of Mysterious Matter (sic) that is Invisible

You may have read or heard about this latest scientific discovery (sic). Isn't this what every major world religion has taught as fact for millenia?


-- Only about 4 percent of the universe is composed of atoms -- the "ordinary matter" making up the physical universe we know. About 23 percent is "cold, dark matter," about which scientists know little, and 73 percent is "exotic dark energy," about which they know even less.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I Believe Fulton Sheen is a Saint.

I pray everyday for his canonization. I also pray everyday for his intercession.

When I was pulling together material for "Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen I literally felt like I was being guided by the Archbishop in my choices. The material that he wrote 60 to 70 years ago was so prophetic that it reads as though he were writing it specifically for today. When the Praying in the Presence was almost ready to go to press, I added an additional section (again I felt like he was prompting me to do so) that dealt with "war as punishment from God" and Archbishop Sheen's explanation of this term. With war looming and who knows what else-- I now see the value of those additional entries.

To join in praying for Archbishop Sheen's canonization or to seek his intercession go here.
Pentagon Denies Vatican Official's Claim...sort of

From | 77,000 body bags: (February 11, 2003)

The Pentagon yesterday denied a claim by a senior Vatican official that the US was secretly shipping 100,000 body bags and 6000 coffins to a military base in Sicily.

But it admitted that it has 34,000 of the bags stored at military bases around the world and available to be sent to the Gulf at short notice.

It has ordered another 8890 for delivery this week and is about to sign a contract for another 30,000 to be delivered next month.
Americans Ready for 15,000 Troop Deaths

From Total Catholic:

Some 100,000 body bags and 6,000 coffins have been airlifted to a US military base in Sicily as part of American preparations for war on Iraq.

That was the claim of the Pope's chief advisor on justice and peace Archbishop Renato Martino this week.

In an interview with a US Catholic weekly newspaper, Archbishop Martino said he had information that President George W Bush's administration 'foresees' the deaths of 15,000 American troops should the predicted conflict become reality.

With the sons of numerous people that I work with over in the area of Iraq already I cannot tell you how much I am against this military action. I think that we have fallen right into a trap that Osama Bin Laden hoped would be our response to 9/11. Brutal action in Iraq is turning the world against us and as one conservative political commentator has said it looks like we are "empire building" not reacting to any real threat against us.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Dell Dude Busted

From The Smoking Gun:

Benjamin Curtis, the 22-year old actor who portrays the Dell Guy in those bothersome computer commercials, was arrested late last night (2/9) on a marijuana possession charge.
Pope Again Encourages Faithful to Pray the Rosary for Peace

From Reuters:

Pope John Paul made a dramatic appeal on Sunday for world prayers to avert war in Iraq, saying it sometimes appeared that only God can stop a conflict now.

"At this hour of international worry, we all feel the need to look to God and beg him to grant us the great gift of peace," the 82-year-old pope said. "I encourage everybody to pray the rosary for an intercession."

Gun Toting Christ?

Bizarre...From the Cybercast News Service:

Members of Beija Flor, a samba dance group, have already practiced the scene, which includes an actor representing Jesus Christ lowering himself from the cross and confronting Satan with a revolver in his hand. During the battle, a small child is killed. Photos from the play, featuring Jesus carrying the revolver, were shown recently in local newspapers.

The director of Beija Flor denounced any attempts to control the content of Carnival activities. "The authorities, instead of censoring cultural shows like ours, should prohibit hunger, the homeless and unemployment," said Luiz Fernando Ribeiro de Castro.

"We want to create a doubt: Who shot the child - Christ or the demon?" said Hilton de Castro, who is also involved in directing the scene.
World Catholic Population Goes Over a Billion

Thanks to Africa!

From Catholic

The number of baptized Catholics "has increased worldwide from 757 million in 1978 to 1.06 billion in 2001", according to the new Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook).

The Yearbook points out that there is wide geographical variation in the change, contrasting a 148% increase in Africa the 25 year period with stagnation in Europe.

The Yearbook, which was launched on Friday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, also indicates the increase in Catholics is accompanied by a decrease in the number of priests. In, 2001, the number of priests declined by 111 compared to the previous year. However the number of seminarians increased 1.5% in the same period, which Africa and Asia making a disproportionately large contribution.

Figures also reveal a sharp rise in the number of permanent deacons (4.9%), members of secular institutes (2.7%), laic missionaries (10.1%), and catechists (6.5%).

Sunday, February 9, 2003

Catholic healer doesn't mind skeptics

From My San Antonio:

When Setien prayed over her, she said she felt a strange, warm sensation in the affected part of her body and the pain was gone. Maxwell rose from her wheelchair, walked about seven steps without help, then walked back.

Soon after her daughter's healing, Tarin attended Setien's prayer meeting after learning from a doctor that she had a small tumor on her left breast, she said.

"Mr. Setien said, 'There's a lady who's just learned she has a tumor on her breast. Raise your hand.'"

Setien said he told her, "You don't have it anymore. Don't worry about it."

When she returned to the doctor, she said, the lump was gone.

Domingo Setien is 73 years old and has the support of his Archbishop.
Cardinal George Upset at Sharpton Invitation

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Cardinal Francis George said Friday he "does not approve" of plans to have the Rev. Al Sharpton speak Sunday at St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, noting the civil rights activist favors abortion rights and is a candidate for president.

Sharpton is scheduled to preach Sunday morning from St. Sabina's pulpit as part of the South Side parish's Black History Month celebration.

"The cardinal supports the celebration, but does not approve of the invitation because of the Rev. Sharpton's present political candidacy and his pro-abortion stance," a statement Friday by the Chicago archdiocese said.
Toledo's Bishop Hoffman dies at 70

Another Saint Meinrad alumn.

From the Morning Journal:

Hoffman died at 2:15 p.m. at the Ursuline Center, a nursing home where he had lived since being diagnosed with cancer in November, said Terrie Albert, an executive assistant to the bishop.

Hoffman had been head of the 322,938-member diocese since 1981. A native of Fremont, he was ordained a priest July 28, 1957.
Throng bids farewell to Bishop Crowley

From the South Bend Tribune:

As the church bells at St. Matthew Cathedral, 1701 Miami St., slowly tolled 12 times at noon, the funeral Mass for its former rector began.

At the back of the church, altar boys and girls, seven bishops, an archabbot and six priests approached Crowley's casket.

The six priests, who would be the pallbearers, draped an ivory-colored pall over the casket. The pall was adorned with an ornate gold cross. On top of the casket was placed the Book of the Gospel and Crowley's burgundy colored biretta -- a square cap with three projections and a tassel on top, worn by Roman Catholic clergy.

The entourage escorted the casket to the front of the church so the service could begin.

At least 100 priests from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the order of the Holy Cross filled several pews to the left of the altar.

D'Arcy presided over the Mass.

Geoff Bodine's Run Lasts Two Laps

There was something in his prerace comments that hinted at it. He was promising victory, in fact he was almost apologetic about being on the pole. Then alas the car is parked in the garage shortly after the start.

It seems like Geoff Bodine's late entry into the Bud Shootout was nothing more than a successful attempt to make his cash strapped brother's operation an easy $29,600. It worked but it is a sad day for the sport.

Saturday, February 8, 2003

Friday Night Channel Surfing

From Discover Channel (I think):

Don't ever urinate in the Amazon River while in the water. There is a parasite that is attracted to the chemicals in urine and will swim right up your urethra. This was conveyed in a rather graphic manner.

From the National Geographic channel:

Native women now have their breast blotted out. Doesn't that defeat the who existence of National Geographic which is evidenly no longer "graphic"?

From some news channel:

Women protesting war took it all off and made some sort of symbol in the snow. Nothing was blotted out but I couldn't figure out what the symbol was.

Finally after watching some birds fighting each other I shut the television off.

Subscribe to Find Out When I Actually Post Something Here

I've added a Bloglet subscription option to the blog. So if you'd like to know when I've added stuff to this site you can enter your email address and you'll be notified along with the first line of the entries. Sign up to the right in the appropriate space.
Uninvited Guest Hands President Note from God

Two things to wonder about this episode: How good is the security around the president? And is God really helping this man get the message to the president?

From the Washington Post:

Weaver told Montgomery that at one point he unhooked a rope in front of the head table, approached the president and handed him the letter, which warned: "If America does not repent, there will be 50,000 casualties and a six-month war" with Iraq. Bush had a look of attentiveness and "peace," Weaver added.

The exchange caught the attention of the Secret Service, and a small army of agents accompanied Weaver to his hotel room after breakfast and grilled him about his escapade. He was not charged with anything. After the interrogation, Weaver met with Montgomery in the Hilton lobby, and agents hovered nearby. Then they trailed the pair onto Connecticut Avenue NW when Weaver decided to get his snapshots developed at a nearby RiteAid.

Shrine of the Holy Relics Undergoing a Renovation

From the Cincinnatti Enquirer:

Albers, curator of the shrine, said other relics housed at the shrine include what is believed to be a splinter from Jesus' cross, a thorn from his crucifixion crown, pieces of wood from his crib and the Last Supper table. Also, a piece of the Virgin Mary's veil and relics of each of the apostles are there, Albers said.

Many of the relics were brought to the convent in 1875, Hoying said. A Milwaukee priest bought the collection in Rome at a time the church was eager to prevent the relics from being stolen and sold by bandits.

The priest chose to take the relics to Maria Stein because of its rural setting and security provided by the Sisters of the Precious Blood's round-the-clock devotions. The sisters maintained a 24-hour-a-day vigil at the shrine until the 1970s, when there were no longer enough of them to continue.

In the past only half the relics were on display. I'll look forward to seeing this renovation. The shrine is about an hour from where we live.

The Ongoing Threat

From the NY Daily News:

The CIA fears that Al Qaeda is planning at least two large-scale attacks against American targets by mid-February or at the outset of war with Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The terrorist strikes - which may coincide with the end of the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca - could include the use of a radioactive "dirty" bomb or chemical and biological weapons, the CIA has determined.

Friday, February 7, 2003

Offline--Soon Forgotten

Themestream was a place where you could post an article and be paid everytime someone clicked on your story. I received a few checks of about $20 as I recall. This site has the "ghost" of Themestream posted in their museum of E-Failure!

Ghost Sites /Museum of E-Failure /themestream.jpg
You're Not Insane if You Have Plenty of Cash

Warren Zevon has lyrics in his song Splendid Isolation that go, "Michael Jackson in Disneyland, don't have to share it with nobody else, lock the gates, Goofy, take my hand and lead me through the World of Self." Turns out the lyrics don't reflect accurately the real Mr. Jackson. It is people his own age that he despises---he loves to be accompanied by children--- bunches of them.

Adults like Martin Bashir who interviewed Jackson and followed him around for eight months might "judge" Jackson as a little odd. But odd is no longer a fit moniker for Jackson---clearly Jackson is mentally ill.

But Jackson is also filthy rich.

So doctors will continue to rearrange and plaster his face as long as the checks keep coming. Women will allow themselves to be injected with his sperm cells and hand over their babies to him covered in placenta as he races home to enshroud them in a burka. Parents will allow their children to "sleep" with Jackson and collect the checks to keep silent. Art galleries will continue to demand payment for the art that he flippantly picks out like he was at a flea market.

The rest of us watch and do nothing.

Jackson's wealth may keep him out of a mental institution but he should not be allowed to inflict his illness on others. The trouble with the insanity of Michael Jackson is that he is a pop icon of the insanity of our culture that no longer looks with scorn on those who victimize others by their own selfish whims.

Zevon had that part right about Jackson. It is the world of "self" that he occupies--a veritable living hell.

Geoff Bodine on pole for Bud Shootout

From the United Press International:

Although Geoffrey Bodine has not had a full-time NASCAR Winston Cup ride for several years, the 1986 Daytona 500 winner will start on the pole Saturday night in the 25th annual Budweiser Shootout.

Amy Contributes This From a Salon Interview with Camile Paglia

As we speak, I have a terrible sense of foreboding, because last weekend a stunning omen occurred in this country. Anyone who thinks symbolically had to be shocked by the explosion of the Columbia shuttle, disintegrating in the air and strewing its parts and

human remains over Texas -- the president's home state! So many times in antiquity, the emperors of Persia or other proud empires went to the oracles to ask for advice about going to war. Roman generals summoned soothsayers to read the entrails before a

battle. If there was ever a sign for a president and his administration to rethink what they're doing, this was it. I mean, no sooner had Bush announced that the war was "weeks, not months" away and gone off for a peaceful weekend at Camp David than this catastrophe occurred in the skies over Texas.

From the point of view of the Muslim streets, surely it looks like the hand of Allah has intervened, as with the attack on the World Trade Center. No one in the Western world would have believed that those mighty towers could fall within an hour and a half --

two of the proudest constructions in American history. And neither would anyone have predicted this eerie coincidence -- that the president's own state would become the burial ground for the Columbia mission.

Including one small town where the debris fell called Palestine, Texas.

Yes, exactly! What weird irony with an Israeli astronaut onboard who had bombed Iraq 20 years ago. To me this dreadful accident is a graphic illustration of the limitations of modern technology -- of the smallest detail that can go wrong and end up thwarting the most fail-safe plan. So I think that history will look back on this as a key moment. Kings throughout history have been shaken by signals like this from beyond: Think twice about what you're doing. If a Roman general tripped on the threshold before a battle, he'd call it off.

I would add that we have become very reliant on our technology to blow our enemies into oblivion. As President Carter learned in the failed attempt to rescue hostages in Iran. The desert is not a friendly place to fight a war, especially if it means fighting a ground war.

Father Tolkien Revisited

A reader sent along the following that he found posted on a newsgroup. It calls into question the veracity of the claims against Father Tolkien.

Öjevind Lång wrote:
"The British police declared they had enough evidence to have him prosecuted. They only refrained from doing so because he suffered from dementia."

The article that this is based on is full of oddities. Read it again carefully.

The only person named as an accuser is Mr. Carrie. I have searched several papers online. None of them name other victims, and none of them seem to have spoken with other victims. And yet the Sunday Mercury reports Mr. Carrie's claims that there must be a hundred victims, and asserts in the second paragraph that these victims numbered in the "dozens". Yet there are no names and the paper doesn't claim to have talked to any of these victims other than Mr. Carrie:

On the other hand, when the police investigated this in 2002, they were investigating only a few possible victims ("in the low single

Of course even one victim is heinous, but if one plaintiff alleges a hundred victims with no evidence, it makes me wonder if he is being
honest in his other claims as well.

The most bizarre part of the story is this. Mr. Carrie, now 57 years old, claims that in mid-1994 he had a conversation with the
77-year-old Fr Tolkien. He claims that Fr. Tolkien didn't deny the abuse. Indeed, says Carrie, their conversation was so friendly that
he entertained hopes that he and Fr. Tolkien might co-author a book giving the perspective of the abuser and the abused. On the other
hand, Fr. Tolkien's story to the police that same day was that Mr. Carrie tried to blackmail him.

Blackmail? Well, one thing that is certain is that Fr. Tolkien has lots of money. The reason I bring this up is that on the victim's own
website he actually accuses _two_ sons of J.R.R. Tolkien of abuse. The two brothers have never worked in the same city (according to the victim's own website). But what they _do_ have in common is they are both heirs to one of the largest literary fortunes of the 20th century.

I don't want to jump to conclusions that this is a lie -- the last year certainly has taught us not to do that! But the abuse cases
we've seen in the past year usually involve one priest and several victims. Here we have two abusers -- both very rich -- and one
victim. Plus, according to Mr. Carrie, 99 other unnamed victims.

And here's one more bizarre angle. Supposedly Fr. Tolkien abused this man in 1956, when he was ten. I would think that a victim in this situation wouldn't want to read the novels of his abuser's father. And yet this victim not only has read J.R.R. Tolkien's books, but has used a Middle-earth theme all through his own webpage, with cute little "Gollum" comments, as well as using a Middle-earth theme in his self-published book (which is named Klone'It, a Tolkien anagram with cutesy punctuation).

I certainly hope the authorities investigate these charges. But based on the evidence so far, I am not convinced.

Update-December 2006:

From Mr. Carrie:

I am determined the story will be known and to that end I have published it free to read on my web site.

I invite you to visit my site, download the now 18 chapters.

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Happy with Ron Zook Now?

Thank him here...

Or maybe you'd rather just that they change his job to chief Gator recruiter and still hire another head coach.
Latest Theory--Perhaps a Meteor Hit Shuttle

From Ananova:

Nasa says a small meteor or piece of man-made space junk may have struck the Columbia shuttle causing it to crash.

Even a tiny scrap of debris grazing the shuttle could have damaged thermal tiles just enough to start a chain reaction.

The comments by Milt Heflin, the space agency's flight director, cast doubt on the lead theory that a piece of foam insulation damaged the craft during blast off.

"Did we take some hit? That's a possibility. Something was breached," he has told the Los Angeles Times.

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Top Ten Catholics of 2002

Inside the Vatican magazine names Top 10 Catholics for 2002

The Top 3:

Heading the list is Monsignor Luigi Giussani, 80, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement. According to the January issue of the magazine, he "has inspired thousands with a desire to seek Jesus Christ as the 'ultimate meaning' of their lives."

Belorussian Catholic journalist Viktor Taresevich is in the second place, brutally killed in Poland last February by unknown assailants, after having purchased a car together with his brother (also killed) in Germany. He founded the Russian ecumenical news agency Blagovest Info.

According to Inside the Vatican, Taresevich was much appreciated by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in Russia. At 39, he left his widow, Lyudmila, and three children.

In third place is the new Genoa Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, 69. The magazine mentions the importance of the documents Monsignor Bertone signed over the past seven years as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Rest:

* Sister Callista Cozzi, Comboni missionary in Sudan

* Antonia Willemsen, secretary-general of Aid to the Church in Need

* Sister Margherita Marchione, 81, leading scholar on the life of Pope Pius XII

* Cardinal François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, late president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

* Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, new president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

* Thomas Monaghan, US Catholic millionaire benefactor who founded the Dominos Pizza chain

* Bishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, personal secretary of John Paul II

In Gator Country it Won't be the Basketball Team They'll be Talking About Today!

Evidently the Gator Basketball team spent a late night celebrating their number one ranking in both polls on Tuesday night because they sure seemed totally out of it last night when Kentucky beat them to a pulp. But its basketball and rankings mean absolutely nothing until the Final Four is history.

But today the Florida Football team is likely to be declared number one in recruiting. Unbelievable but after all this is supposedly what Ron Zook is good at.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Possible Successor to Pope John Paul?

From L'Espresso Online | Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Profession: Servant of the Servants of God:

John Paul II made him a cardinal together with the last group of bishops named to the honor, in February of 2001. On that occasion, Bergoglio distinguished himself by his reserve among his many more festive colleagues. Hundreds of Argentinians had begun fundraising efforts to fly to Rome to pay homage to the new man with the red hat. But Bergoglio stopped them. He ordered them to remain in Argentina and distribute the money they had raised to the poor. In Rome, he celebrated his new honor nearly alone – and with Lenten austerity.

He has always lived this way. Since he was made archbishop of the Argentinian capital, the luxurious residence next to the cathedral has remained empty. He lives in a nearby apartment, together with another bishop, old and sickly. In the evening, he himself cooks for both of them. He rarely drives, getting around most of the time by bus, wearing the cassock of an ordinary priest.

We could use another saint in the position.
Vatican Official Doesn't See Any Problems with Harry


The Vatican is giving two thumbs up to the Harry Potter series.

The Rev. Don Peter Fleetwood told a Vatican press conference Monday that the good vs. evil plot of the best-selling books are imbued with Christian morals.

"I don't see any, any problems in the Harry Potter series," Fleetwood said.

Fleetwood was responding to questions following the release of a new Vatican document on the New Age phenomenon, which he helped draft as a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Now the New Age is a different the document either at EWTN or the Vatican.

Monday, February 3, 2003

Amy Withdrawal?

For those faithful readers of Amy's blog who are looking for more from her, here are a few suggestions:

1). Subscribe to Our Sunday Visitor newspaper. Amy has a column in it every other week with the same sort of material that she often wrote about in the blog. She also does book reviews and frequently writes feature articles. If you do subscribe mention that you are doing it because you want to read more writing by Amy.

2). Write your local Catholic diocesan paper and ask them to carry Amy's syndicated CNS column also bi-weekly and though geared toward youth applicable to all.

3). Request Amy's books at your local Barnes and Nobles and Borders bookstores. While you are at it request her husband's (me) books too! Amy has a number of books out already (have you read them?) and a number coming out in the next two years.

Great Book for Black History Month

This site gets a ton of hits everyday from those that I presume are researching for a report that is due for Black History month. I posted a piece on Emmitt Till after his mother died last month and that continues to be the number one reason people are ending up on this page via search engine.

Let me recommend a book Saints of Africa by Vincent O'Malley as a great resource to do a project that isn't like the rest! Especially if you attend a Catholic School!
Photos show odd images near shuttle

It's not what you think or I should say it isn't what I thought. Usually when something tragic happens someone takes a photo and discovers either the devil or god in the image. But this is something entirely different. Evidently these photos might help explain what happened and it could be that they point in an entirely different direction then the current thoughts on what happened.

From the San Francisco Chronicle
My Book is Book of the Month for Catholic Mom's

The How-To Book of the Mass...that is.

See Book Club

Sunday, February 2, 2003

Today is the Feast of the Presentation

Check out my Daily Meditation Here.

Please continue to pray for those who lost their lives, those who have been scarred by the loss of their lives and those who work on the recovery that they might find answers to prevent future tragedies of this magnitude.
Some Human Remains Recovered Among Debris

From the Houston Chronicle:

Both men met on the two-lane road about 9 a.m. and realized with horror that they apparently were looking at an astronaut's remains: a charred torso, thigh bone and skull with front teeth intact.

"I wouldn't want anybody seeing what I saw," Gibbs, 33, told The Associated Press. "It was pretty gruesome."

It's a Miracle No One was Hit by the Falling Debris

Fromt the NY POST:


What you'll find if you read the actual story is that the injuries all stem from people handling the debris after being warned very publicly not to go near it.
Today is the Feast of the Presentation, Candlemas and Groundhog Day

And they are all related...

Here is the official Groundhog Site.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Come, Winter, have another flight;

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Go Winter, and come not again.

According to an old Scotch couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,

There'll be twa (two) winters in the year.

Another variation of the Scottish rhyme:

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,

The half o' winter to come and mair,

If Candlemas day be wet and foul,

The half of winter's gone at Yule.

The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Teutons, or Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the "Second Winter."

Saturday, February 1, 2003

Vatican says no to transsexual priests

P.S. They can't be nuns or monks either.

From Yahoo UK:

The confidential document written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, its doctrinal watchdog, says those who undergo sex change operations have a "pathological personality situation". It advises bishops and heads of religious orders not to allow transsexuals to become priests, nuns and monks and any who have already made it through the admissions process should be expelled if discovered.
Tragic News--Space Shuttle Breaks up over Texas

Among the crew was the first Israeli astronaut. Please pray for the crew.