Friday, November 01, 2002
The death toll in the Italian earthquake is up to 28, nearly all children in a single first grade class. What a terrible tragedy this one town, San Giuliano di Puglia, has suffered. The town has a population under 1,200. Twenty-four first-graders probably represents the entire 7-year old population there.
Eternal rest grant unto these little ones, oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
On our walk this morning, I only saw one shattered window and a few destroyed cornstalks (Salem does a poor job putting up cornstalk decorations anyway; the work seems to be done by work-release gangs under the supervision of indifferent city workers, and most of the stalks look more like captives tied to trees by the Indians than appropriate autumn decorations). Emergency trash pick-ups and street sweeping have been taking place. The city looks to be just about back to normal. Mrs. Fitzpatrick tells me that there was what sounded like a drunken brawl under our windows about an hour after the street was cleared, which is, I suppose, par for the course.
On the way back from the train station, I was absently humming a tune. It started off as "For All the Saints," but morphed somehow into, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" before I caught myself.
From the fourth century, a feast to honor all the saints was established in the eastern Church, on the Sunday after Pentecost. The feast appears for the first time in the West in a little after 600. Pope Gregory III moved the feast to November 1st in the mid-700s. Pope Gregory IV in 835 applied the feast to the universal Church. It is a day for remembering and honoring all the saints, both known and unknown. In English, the title of the feast was sometimes called Hallowmas.
The crowds were smaller than in years past. Yet, when motorcycle cops lined up at one end of Essex Street and began moving the herds down the street and out of the downtown (sort of like squeezing a tube of toothpaste) at around 11:00, it had been increasingly rowdy for some time. I don't know how many were arrested, or what damage was done yet. But as the police bullhorns blared last night, "Halloween is over. Downtown Salem is closed."
Thursday, October 31, 2002
To give out, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. To horde, Russell Stover orange marshmallow pumpkins, if you can find them.
Another cherished Halloween custom is trick-or-treating. This is another one with some Christian origins.
In Celtic times, the inhabitants of the British Isles believed that on the night of October 31, which was their new year's eve, the spirits of those who had died during that year could come back to visit their families. Offerings of food were left by the living for these relatives. Some donned the clothes of the dead, and begged for the treats from door to door in the village. Sometimes banquests were laid out, after which the people in the guise of the dead were escorted to the edge of town (we still send what we don't want to the edge of town-to the dump).
The Church looked somewhat askance at this custom. But, as the Church did with many pre-Christian customs that we still observe as Christmas rituals, it gave the celebration of the night of October 31st a Christian content. First All Saints' Day was imposed on November 1st, and made a day of mandatory attendance at Mass. Later, a day to honor all the faithful departed, All Souls' Day was added on November 2nd. The custom of dressing up in the clothes of the dead and going door-to-door was transformed into the "luck visit" ritual called "going a-souling." Young people would visit, and beg for soul cakes (square cakes of something like raisin bread), sometimes singing souling songs. If given a soul cake, the visitor would promise to pray for the soul of the donor, or anyone he designated. This custom was, in the 19th century revived and transformed into trick-or-treating.
You will notice a strong resemblence between trick-or-treating and Christmas "luck visits" like wassailing, and the wren boys in Ireland. They are indeed related customs. Luck or good fortune, in this case in the form of prayers for the soul, is exchanged for gifts of food or drink. Both are new year rituals, with trick-or-treating a reminder that October 31st was new year's eve for the Celts.
Today many Catholic schools have children dress up as saints, and attend Mass on All Saints Day so attired. This is another adaptation of the "luck visit" ritual that is at the root of trick-or-treating.
Many of you will be familiar with this story, but it illustrates the Christian origins of one of the most cherished Halloween customs.
Back in the days after Saint Patrick had converted Ireland, there lived an Irishman named Jack. Now Jack was a notoriously mean, stingy, and hard-drinking reprobate. Jack wanted a drink, but could not afford one. He somehow summoned the Devil, and offered him his soul for a drink. The Devil agreed. Jack asked for hard cider, and asked the Devil to climb a tree to get apples to make cider from. The Devil climbed up, and sent down some apples. Once Jack had the apples. he quickly carved a cross in the trunk of the tree, making it impossible for the Devil to come down out of the tree. Jack and the Devil agreed that Jack would efface the cross, so that the Devil could come down, and the Devil would never accept Jack's soul into Hell. Jack went off laughing in his sleeve.
Jack continued his life of sin. When he finally died, he presented himself at the Gates of Heaven, only to be turned away for being in life too nasty, too tight, and too thirsty. "Well," Jack said, "off to Hell I go." But when he got there, the Devil reminded Jack of their bargain, and refused him. To speed him on his way, the Devil hurled a coal from the fires of Hell at Jack. Jack had been eating a turnip, and had hollowed it out fairly well. Jack defended himself from the burning coal by putting up the turnip, and caught the coal in it.
Since then, using his hollowed out turnip as a lantern, Jack has been wandering the earth in search of a drink and a refuge. He is known as Jack of the Lantern, or jack-o-lantern.
When the Irish came to America, they found turnips not particularly popular. But the Yankees used pumpkins for everything, including soup tureens, ladles, and storage pots. The Irish found that pumpkins made excellent substitues for Jack's turnip lantern. That is why we carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns to this day.
Matt Drudge is reporting that 4 children died when their school collapsed during an earthquake 50 miles from Naples. Others may be trapped in the rubble. Prayers for these innocent ones are certainly needed.
Let's hope they have more luck finding Father Widera than Whitey Bulger, or Osama bin Laden, for that matter.
Mark Shea and Father Richard Neuhaus have been engaging in an excellent dialogue over at Catholic and Enjoying It! on why the Holy Father doesn't just broom McCormack, Daily, Banks, Law, Egan, and Mahony out of their respective sees and provide new shepards. It is well worth the five minutes it takes to read it. I found it most informative.
I disagree with the Holy Father's position as stated by Neuhaus, and think the American Church has come to such a pass that it does not need unifiers and managers, but saints and prophets, perhaps particularly prophets bearing witness against the prevailing culture and calling Catholics to full and faithful observance of the teachings of the Church of Rome in all respects.
If a bishop's action has to be open and egregious for the Holy Father to remove a bishop, is perjury in a judicial proceeding enough? The blog below and the article it links to make it pretty clear that we may have reached that point with Law.
Happy All Hallows' Eve! Tonight, Salem will be overwhelmed with tens of thousands of Halloween revellers. We are mostly prepared for the onslaught. We are planning to hunker down and ride out the storm three stories above it all. Tomorrow, all will be calm, and Salem will return, until next tourist season, to the sleepy town time (and the highway system) has passed by. For now there is work to do, and jack-o-lanterns to carve.
In his deposition testimony in the Geoghan and Shanley cases, Cardinal Law has said under oath that, in Missouri, he only dealt with abuse caused by one pervert priest. In today's Boston Herald, a former Missouri altar boy says he twice told then-Bishop Law that he was being abused by a priest there. On both occasions, he was told by Law to be quiet about it and not spread the information so as to not harm the Church. So, we have a second instance of Law dealing with a pervert priest (and hushing up the accuser). The Herald has more details here.
The Church may recognize a mechanism by which a Catholic being questioned under oath may make mental reservations about his testimony for the protection of the Church, but civil authority, even in the most liberal of jurisdictions, calls that perjury.
This story coming out may explain Law's sudden peace offensive, which I noted yesterday.. It was an effort to obtain some favorable public relations before this bombshell burst. How Clintonian! But if Attorney General Reilly has any guts, this isn't just another bomb bursting over Bernard Law's head, but something more serious.
This is a torpedo to the magazine. The SS Cardinal Law is sinking fast. The credibility and moral authority of the captain vanished a long time ago. Fuel and provisions, in the form of contributions, ran low a while ago, too. The crew has been reduced to half-rations for more than six months. Scurvy and open mutiny are not far off. Time for the captain to admit defeat, and petition the Admiral that a new captain be appointed. Meeting with victims and VOTF are just efforts to keep the crew busy and their minds off the hopeless situation. Time for a sterner disciplinarian, and a more creative leader to hoist the ship off the rocks, strip off the seaweed, and get her back on station. Chaput, Bruskewitz, and Timlin strike me as captains who might be promoted to the command of this once-proud ship. But the Admiral ought not waste any more time on the change of command.
The Archdiocese of Boston has cleared Monsignor Michael Smith Foster of sex abuse charges and has reinstated him in his position as Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese. The Boston Globe has more details here.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
The joint Vatican-US commission that was going to revise the US bishops' pervert priest policy has completed its work in two days of meetings. Their product will be presented to the US bishops at their November meeting. If approved there (a sure thing) it goes back to the Vatican for what will be pro forma approval.
So much for the mindless belly-aching from plaintiffs' lawyers and victims and lefties generally that the Vatican doesn't care about the victims or what-have-you just because it rejected the poorly-drafted US policy. Seems like the Vatican's people did their work promptly. The Globe has more details here.
My latest effort to handicap the US Senate races.
State Party Dem. Republican Who's Ahead
Alabama Rep. Susan Parker Sen. Sessions Sessions*
Alaska Rep. Frank Vondersaar Sen. Stevens Stevens*
Arkansas Rep. Mark Pryor Sen. Hutchinson Toss-up -
Colorado Rep. Tom Strickland Sen. Allard Toss-up *
Delaware Dem. Sen. Biden Ray Clatworthy Biden -
Georgia Dem. Sen. Cleland Saxby Chambliss Cleland -
Idaho Rep. Alan Blinken Sen. Craig Craig*
Illinois Dem. Sen. Durbin James Durkin Durbin -
Iowa Dem. Sen. Harkin Rep. Ganske Harkin -
Kansas Rep. No Democrat Sen. Roberts Roberts *
Kentucky Rep. Lois Weinberg Sen. McConnell McConnell *
Louisiana Dem. Sen. Landrieu 4 candidates Landrieu -
Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree Sen. Collins Collins*
Massachusetts Dem. Sen. Kerry No Republican Kerry -
Michigan Dem. Sen. Levin A.Raczkowski Levin -
Minnesota Dem. Walter Mondale Norm Coleman Mondale-
Mississippi Rep. No Democrat Sen. Cochrane Cochrane *
Missouri Dem. Sen. Carnahan Jim Talent Talent*
Montana Dem. Sen. Baucus No Republican Baucus -
Nebraska Rep. Charlie Matulka Sen. Hagel Hagel *
New Hamp Rep. Gov. Shaheen Rep. Sununu Toss-up-
New Jersey Dem. Frank Lautenberg Doug Forrester Lautenberg-
New Mexico Rep. Gloria Tristani Sen. Domenici Domenici*
North Carolina Rep. Erskine Bowles Elizabeth Dole Dole*
Oklahoma Rep. David Walters Sen. Inhof Inhof*
Oregon Rep. Bill Bradbury Sen. Smith Smith*
Rhode Island Dem. Sen. Reed Robert Tingle Reed -
South Carolina Rep. Alex Sanders Rep. Graham Graham*
South Dakota Dem. Sen. Johnson Rep. Thune Thune *
Tennessee Rep. Bob Clement Lamar Alexander Alexander *
Texas Rep. Ron Kirk John Cornyn Cornyn*
Virginia Rep. No Democrat Sen. Warner Warner*
West Virginia Dem. Sen. Rockefeller Jay Wolfe Rockefeller -
Wyoming Rep. Joyce Corcoran Sen. Enzi Enzi*
* Likely Republican win
-Likely Democrat win
Apologies for the uneven columns. Blogger does not allow tabbing within "edit your blog", and the posting process disrupts spacing in columns.
Data from the US Chamber of Commerce and Taegan Goddard's Political Wire.
The changes are mostly that the two most vulnerable Republican incumbents, Allard and Hutchinson, have become somewhat less endangered. Hutchinson is still likely to lose, but has made the race almost a dead heat. Allard has been ahead in tracking polls for two weeks, but not by much. Sununu seems to consistently trail Shaheen in the polls. President Bush would be well advised to spend a lot of time in New Hampshire from now until the fifth in order to save this seat. Senator Johnson has been trailing Thune in the polls for some time now, so that race is no longer a toss-up, but a likely Republican pick-up. In Texas, Kirk has narrowed Cornyn's lead, but Cornyn is still likely to prevail. Jean Carnahan looks like a dear in the headlights, seconds before being mushed by an 18-wheeler.
So it comes down to the likely loss of Hutchinson's seat in Arkansas and the New Hampshire seat, offset by the pick-up of the South Dakota seat, and the Missouri seat. I don't think the Republicans will pick up any of the other vulnerable Democrat seats (New Jersey, Minnesota, Georgia, or Iowa). That makes it look like a net of no-gain for the GOP. Republicans need a net gain of one seat to take control of the chamber. It does not look to be in the cards, unless one or more Democrat senators from states with Republican governors should happen to kick the bucket, or either John Sununu can somehow hold off Governor Shaheen, or Senator Hutchinson can stage one of the great comebacks of all time.
There is, of course, the Louisiana scenario, in which Mary Landrieu's opponents somehow keep her below 50%, forcing a runoff into which the national GOP can pour tons of cash. But you can't beat a somebody with a nobody. Mary Landrieu may be a nobody in her own right, but as an incumbent US Senator, she is a constructive somebody. None of her opponents have enough stature to beat her. Governor Foster's refusal to jump into the race is going to be regretted. By the same token, Marc Racicot's refusal to take the legal steps necessary to jump into the race to knock off Max Baucus should be remembered by Republicans should he seek office in the future (along with his lacklustre running of the RNC).
Read Michelle Malkin's latest offering on the incompetence bordering on criminal culpability of the INS, presented by TownHall.com.
Cardinal Law met yesterday with victims of Father Joseph Birmingham in Lowell, in what is described by the Boston Herald as an emotional session. At the same time, Bishop Walter Edyvean met with VOTF leaders. Seems as if Law is undertaking a peace offensive. It will do nothing to change the fact that his leadership is a failue, and that he should resign, and resign again if the Holy Father does not accept his first effort. In fact, by cozying up to the slick left-wing operatives that head up VOTF, he is further distancing himself from what little conservative support he has enjoyed.
Right now Law is the boy in the bubble, suffered to remain on Lake Street just because the pope has refused his resignation, but without any genuine moral authority beyond that which adheres to the office he sort of holds. Boston's Archdiocese is in a state of crisis, and new leadership, in the mold of Chaput, Bruskewitz, or Timlin, is urgently needed.
That is what the DOD wants.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
The Miami area had a small scale invasion of illegal immigrants from Haiti as about 200 illegals jumped ship and waded ashore. One thing this country cannot use more of is unskilled labor. We can, however, use more law-abiding productive citizens. One hopes the US rounds up these blatant avoiders of US law, and ships them back as quickly as possible, before the immigration industry fills them with further false hopes. The US is not a flop house for the entire Third World.
You might very well think that, since I wasn't blogging this weekend, I was assiduously restocking the intellectual shelves with material. Actually, I couldn't concentrate on anything more complicated than the new Ignatius Press and Vermont Country Store catalogs. Illness doesn't do much for intellectual curiousity.
I am currently part-way through about 4 books (Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, E. Christian Kopff, The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition, Michael Rose, Ugly As Sin, and Thomas Sowell, The Quest For Cosmic Justice). But the rapid approach of Halloween means that what I am reading gets shunted aside each year for my traditional Halloween reading.
This is the time of year to think of the dead. Next month, the Church focuses in a particular way on the souls of the departed. It is fitting and proper that it should do so at this dying time of the year, when nature's annual growth is dying off rapidly.
Just as the souls of the dead draw the attention of the Church at this time of year, stories of the remarkable and supernatural, almost all totally fictitious, come to mind now. Teenagers have for a while had a taste for slasher movies, in which groups of teenagers are slaughtered by some supernatural creature. Universal Studios introduced us to Count Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man once at this time. Arsenic and Old Lace was produced as a Halloween movie. Vincent Price brought to life some of Edgar Allen Poe's work. Who, born between 1955 and 1970, doesn't want to watch Charlie Brown to see Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch yet again? Holidays mean tradition. And Halloween is the first of the holidays.
Simple, well-written ghost stories predominate here. I do look through some H.P. Lovecraft at this time of year. His New England settings are compelling. But it is the old English ghost story that captures my imagination most now. The telling of ghost stories in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales has been a rural pastime for ages. Whenever country people gathered together over a winter fire, you could be sure that stories of ghosts haunting familiar places were being told over a mug of cider. Starting in the 19th century, writers began compiling these legends, and improving upon them.
I have before me now a volume entitled True Ghost Stories, by John H. Ingram, which appears to be a re-publication of a book published in 1886, and then called The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain. The stories are short, ranging from a few paragraphs to a few pages, and are alphabetical. We get to read about the Hell Club of Glasgow, the phantoms of Littlecote, the ghosts of Oxford and Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, and Edge Hill. The stories are told briefly, leaving out circumstantial detail and literary adornments. But they serve as a good introduction tot he icon of October, the haunted country house.
But I will soon start a book given me by my mother 25 years ago and read every late October since, Fifty Great Ghost Stories, edited by John Canning. We read here a few of the same stories as in Ingram's volume, but this time re-worked as literature. The story of Wild Will Darrell of Littlecote smashing out the life of his new-born bastard in the roaring fire of his bedroom, and the full story of the haunting that allegedly followed, is told in circumstantial detail. My favorite is J. Wentworth Day's story of the 18th century Cambridge ghosts of the "Everlasting Club," the Club of Dead Men. The story of the headless ghost of a woman disturbing the sentries of the Coldstream Guards at the Recruit House (later Wellington Barracks) during the Napoleonic Wars I have read, though without the artistic touches, in histories of the Guards Regiments. Here, too, are the familiar stories of the hauntings of Borley Rectory, Ballechin House, and Glamis Castle. The enjoyability of many of these stories as literature make it worthwhile to crack this volume open.
A week ago, I polished off the slim volume of New England ghost stories, New England's Ghostly Haunts, by former Essex County sheriff Robert Cahill, which is available at all the best tourist traps here in Salem. The story of the haunting of the Joshua Ward House around the corner from here is interesting (and was told on A&E's America's Haunted Houses some years ago). The house is now home to Higgenson Book Company, which specializes in geneology titles. I have been there many times, and never noticed a thing out of the ordinary. But the Ward House, a fine example of Samuel McIntire's early work and the only house in Salem stayed in by George Washington, is a stop on all the "ghost tours" we see every night during tourist season.
So, Thursday night, as the herdes of revellers roar outside my windows, I'll turn out the lights, light a few candles, including the one in the jack-o-lantern, mull some fresh Brooksby Farms cider, and enjoy my annual re-read of Fifty Great Ghost Stories. The next morning, almost with the suddeness of thought, October will be gone, and it will be time to honor all the saints. Solemn sobriety and winter's cold (already pretty much in control this year), along with the bleak November aspect of nature, replace the gaudy joy and frivolity of October. It is as if the bright orange and red leaves fall from the trees overnight, leaving us the bare branches of November.
The Ghost's Lament
Woe's me, woe's me
The acorn's not yet fallen from the tree
That's to grow the wood
That's to make the cradle
That's to rock the baby
That's to grow a man
That's to release me.
An old English lament
Cardinal Law is reported to be meeting today with victims of the late Father Birmingham, one of the most notorious of Boston's pervert priests, who left a 20+ year trail of victims all over the Archdiocese, including here in Salem at our current parish, St. James. Time and place are not being released to the press.
EWTN carries Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's views on the politics of abortion as applied to this year's election. The basic message is obviously correct: Catholics should never vote for office-seekers who do not vote against abortion. Catholics should adopt abortion as an absolute litmus test for all office-seekers. If that happened here in Massachusetts, it would make a huge difference (and end the career of Ted Kennedy, itself a very desirable outcome).
According to this report in Zenit, a catechism designed for young American adults is being prepared for review. By this time next year, it should be in the hands of the US bishops. I think a copy of this catechism ought to be seen by others than the bishops, even before it goes to Rome. Perhaps some informed lay input will prevent a watered-down pile of pap from being adopted. Let us hope for leaks.
TownHall.com carries George Will's superb take-down of France's pretense of importance. Hear him! Hear him!
FrontPage Magazine carries WorldNetDaily's discussion of Yossef Bodansky's theory that Iraq, al Qaeda, and the Palestinians have formed an alliance and plan to launch significant terrorist attacks on US targets once we start in on Iraq. Such an alliance of history's losers would not be unusual. In fact, it makes some sense that this type of alliance of the "outs" would take place.
We can stop it with vigorous action. But we have one problem. Much of what we depend upon is outside our own direct control. The entire oil industry of the Persian Gulf states is not directly under US control or protection, except in a general sense that American forces are in the vicinity. Should enemy agents begin blowing up and sabotaging parts of this industry, we are not on the spot to stop it.
But when the outlaws and rogues join forces, it is time to sweep them away once and for all.
A French court acquitted Michel Houellebecq of charges of inciting religious hatred through anti-Islamic comments he made. Jacob Sullum in today's Washington Times discusses the case here.
But the fact that someone can be charged with a crime for saying things not too far removed from what has been said here and in many other blogs about Islam (and in fact appears to be objectively true despite what Moslems would want us to think) is troubling for free speech in France. "Hate speech" in general is an absurd concept that conflicts with free expression and ought to be swept away. Direct incitement to violence is one thing, but that is not what we are talking about here.
Many an American university has a code of hate speech that is used to persecute conservatives (who routinely, and on principle, attack homosexuality, and the social pathologies strongly identified with certain minority groups). These universities lack the political common sense and accountability that led the French court to acquit Houellebecq. In fact, most universities are in the grip of fever swamp inhabitants eager to seek out heresy from socialist/modernist orthodoxy. Genuine miscarriages of justice have happened in the American university because of "hate speech" codes. More will happen.
Western society, in trying to accomodate minorities, has gone too far in criminalizing speech that minorities deem harmful. Generations of Italian immigrants to the US have been called "wops" or "spaghetti vendors". Generations of Irish immigrants have been called "micks", or my favorite (used many times when I was a serjeant major) "spud-munching bog trotters". Every ethnic group has endured this, and survived without notable scars.
Homosexuals and more recently-arrived ethnic and religious minorities need to develop the same thicker skin the rest of us did. Getting along in life isn't an easy business. One needs to be able to take some verbal brickbats from time to time. It is part of growing up, becoming an American, and getting on. It is time for blacks, homosexuals, Moslems, and others to learn this lesson, and not run to political authorities to protect their delicate ears from things they don't want to hear.
I just noticed that Diana West, writing in TownHall.com, has more to say on the subject, especially in regard to Oriana Fallaci the next author who will be prosecuted for violating French law by criticizing Moslems.
Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem has an excellent discussion of the leftist politicization of commemorating the martyrdom of 6 El Salvadoran Jesuits in the 1980s, and provides us with a list of 340 Jesuits murdered in the 20th century, mostly by the communists in Spain and elsewhere. What a tremendous service Mark has done us all. I strongly recommend reading this and perusing the list. It reminds us that not all Jesuits are effete socialists striving to push the Church further left, basically the clerical equivalent of the Boston Globe's editorial and reporting staff (though a lot are). I would say Mark has produced a VIB (Very Important Blog).
Today's Boston Herald reports that local police routinely handed priests accused or caught in the act of various crimes over to the Church for discipline. This explains the Nahant Police Department's non-action in the 1977 Kelly incident (two patrolmen found Father Kelly having sex with a teenage boy in a parked car). The information comes from Bishop Daily's deposition testimony. I assume that denials from various police organizations will be forthcoming today. But this savors too much of the truth to listen to that.
That such an arrangement was in place and appears to have been fairly universally observed is a shocking dereliction of duty on the part of law enforcement. I have often said that I can't understand why so many families with known pervert priest problems took them to the Archdiocese to be dealt with, rather than to the police, prosecutors, press, and attorneys. Now it becomes somewhat more clear. It wouldn't do any good to bring these matters to the police.
This tacit arrangement was the product of the often-convenient (and probably envied by Catholics who live among hordes of, say, Southern Baptists) fact that Catholics make up an absolute majority of the population of Eastern Massachusetts. One can't imagine a sheriff in a hard shell Baptist county down south having the same kind of cozy arrangement with the Catholic Church. But here, where most of the cops and the politicians who control them are Catholic, such a deal is very much forseeable. We begin to see yet more clearly why Boston has been the place most polluted by the pervert priest problem.
But the Gentlemen's Agreement is dead now. Political considerations make it impossible for it to operate. So families who have new pervert priest problems should waste no time taking their complaints to civil authorities, and to the press. Forget about taking them to the Church. Let the Church merely react to matters of public record. Right now, the sunshine is beginning to be poured into the operations of the Archdiocese regarding pervert priests. The Archdiocese is resisting, but must yield eventually. Sunshine is a wholesome thing.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Halloween has been a long time coming, but for some it is going fast. Some restless stores I noticed today at the mall are shifting out their Halloween window displays for Christmas displays. Whatever happened to the pilgrims and turkeys?
According to deposition testimony released today, Bishop Thomas Daily knew Shanley was an advocate of perverted sex between men and boys, and knew he had attended the formative meeting of NAMBLA when he assigned him as pastor of St. Jean's parish in Newton. Daily's odium, as I said earlier, grows. The Globe has more details here. McCormack obviously should tender his resignation to the Holy Father. So should Daily. And if the Holy Father refuses them, they should tender new resignations daily until the Holy Father accepts.
Abigail Adams has been saddled with a terrible reputation by feminist historians. Her playful teasing of husband John about not forgetting the ladies while founding a new nation has been taken at face value and has transposed this first female icon of American conservatism into an avatar of feminism. Historian David McCullough implied in his recent biography of John Adams that the admonition was part of a private joke between the two. But feminists don't want to hear that.
The reality of Abigail Adams' political views is rather different from what the feminists would have you believe. She held a conservative world view throughout her life. Her views on then-current political controversies, as expressed in letters to her sisters, were more consistently conservative then her husband's.
It takes a rigid determination to not see the real Abigail Adams to paint her as some sort of feminist precursor. She was the daughter of a Congregationalist minister and was accepted into that church in 1759. Her greatest intellectual influence seems to have been Alexander Pope's Essay On Man, and Samuel Richardson, who believed that the purpose of educating women was to produce better wives and mothers. She showed an instinct for order, duty, subordination, religion, and respect for vested rights and property throughout her life.
During the twelve years of the Washington and Adams Administrations, Abigail's conservatism found its fullest expression. She railed against the Jacobins, both at home and abroad. On all the issues she recorded her opinion on, she was on the side of the hardline Federalists. Often, her sentiments could be taken for those of Fisher Ames.
Hearing of the fate of Queen Marie Antoinette, she wrote, "Would to heaven that the destroying Angel would put up his sword."
Writing of the Jeffersonian press in early 1797:
You will see by the Chronical, I presume, that
the Tone of the Jacobins is turnd, and that the president
has committed with them the unpardonable sin "by
saying, that he was convinced that the conduct of the
Government had been just and impartial to foreign
Nations." Bache opend his batterys of abuse and
scurility the very next day, and has in every paper
continued them, extracts of which I dout not the Faithfull
Chronical will detail...The Antis want to qualify. They
dare not openly countanance the conduct of France,
but they want to court and coax her. With Barra's
insolent speech before their eyes and Pinkney's dispatches,
which fully prove the unbecoming and indignant conduct
of France toward the United States, these degraded
beings would still have their Country men "lick the Hand
just raised to shed their blood." Amongst that number
is Freeman of our state, who yesterday appeared a full
blood Jacobin in his speech in the House. Landgon in
the Senate is more bitter than...any Virginian. Mr.
Otis I am told appeared to great advantage...
Here Mrs. Adams sounds like Claire Booth Luce denouncing the Communist menace in the 1970s:
I am at a loss to know how the people who were
formerly so much alive to the usurpation of one Nation
can croach so tamely to a much more dangerous and
dareing [sic] one, to one which aims not only at our
independence and liber[t]y but a total annihilation of the
Christian Religion...In short no crime however black or
Horrid to which they have not become familiar. America
must be punished, punished for having amongst her
legislatures Men who sanction these crimes, who justify
France in all her measures, and who would rejoice to see
fire, sword, and Massacre carried into the Island of Great
Britain untill [sic] she became as miserable, as France is
Oh my native state, wash ye, make yourselves
clean from these abominations. You are guilty of sending
three such men, Varnum, Freeman, Skinner...can we
expect such measures to be adopted as the safety and
security of the Country require? Every Man who sees
the danger may toil and toil; like [Sisyphus]...the weight
And again, what conservative has not had this suspicion:
That we are sinking into a state of Languor,
of Supineness, of Effeminancy and Luxury is but too
evident from our standing in need of such severe and
repeated scourging to arouse us to a sense of Danger,
and to compell us to rise in defense of our Religion,
our Liberties and independence [sic].
She recommended to her sister John Robinson's book, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, noting that "to destroy and undermine Religion has been the cheif [sic] engine in the accomplishment of this mighty Revolution throughout Europe. We have felt no small share of the balefull influence of the Age of Reason, but to have a thorough Idea of the deep laid system".
And here is Mrs. Adams on Thomas Jefferson, who was once considered a friend by the Adamses:
Yet when I reflect upon the visionary system of
Government which will undoubtably be adapted, the
Evils which must result from it to the Country...What a
lesson upon Elective Government have we in our young
Republic of 12 years old? What is the difference in
character between a Prince of Wales & a Burr? Have
we any claim to the favour or protection of Providence,
when we have against warning admonition and advise
Chosen as our chief Magistrate a man who makes no
pretentions to the belief of an all wise Suprem Governour
of the World...? I do not mean that he is an Atheist, for
I do not think that he is-but he believes Religion only
usefull as it may be made a pollitical Engine,
and that the outward forms are only, as I once
heard him express himself-mere mummery. In
short, he is not a believer in the Christian system-
The other [Burr] if he is more of a believer, has
more to answer for, because he has grosely offended
against those doctrines by his practise.
Such are the men whom we are like to have
as our Rulers. Whether they are given to us in wrath
to punish us for our sins and transgressions, the Events
will disclose.-But if ever we saw a day of darkness, I
fear this is one which will be visible untill Kindled into flames
In the domestic scene, she was never an advocate of "emancipation", or women's suffrage but rather thought women ought to be educated to exercise their "proper sphere" in rearing and educating an informed republican electorate.
No other woman of her time and of her prominence recorded her views on the political issues of the day as Mrs. Adams did. It is easy to call her the Claire Booth Luce or Jeane Kirkpatrick of her day.
I think American conservatives have ample reason to celebrate Abigail Adams as one of their own, if they only knew it. Mrs. Adams died on this date in 1818.
Neil Doyle, writing in today's Washington Times, explores this issue thoroughly. I think they would use them on us if they had them, rather than wait to use them to create an Islamo-fascist superstate.
On this date in 1903, author and Catholic convert Evelyn Waugh was born. It was once said that Hobbes had some sort of vision of Waugh, when he described the life of man without civil society as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." When you strip away the rudeness and the sometimes obnoxious behavior, you are left with a great writer. He produced the beautiful Brideshead Revisited, perhaps the best novel in English about the Faith in the last century. I read once a description of Brideshead that made me shake my head in despair. It was said to be about two gays at Oxford, and one of them had a teddy bear.
But there is much to like about old Waugh. He was a short stocky fellow who liked cigars, and worked in a book-lined study, rather like a certain blogger. Waugh was a Tridentine Catholic who died before the deluge in 1966. His letters to a local bishop regarding reform have recently been published. They reflect a conservative trying to come to terms with a revolution in an institution he had come to embrace and love.
He won my respect forever by writing, in Men At Arms, which I read while in college, of the Nazi-Soviet Alliance of 1939 thus:
News that had shook the politicians and young poets of a dozen capital cities brought deep peace to one English heart....The German Nazis he knew to be mad and bad. Their participation had dishonoured the cause of Spain....He expected his country to go to war in a panic, for the wrong reasons, or for no reason at all, with the wrong allies, in pitiful weakness. But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle.
About 100,000 genuine blithering idiots marched in Washington to express support for Saddam Hussein and solidarity with Islamo-fascist mass murderers against the United States. David Horowitz focuses his microscope on this peculiar organism in today's FrontPage Magazine.
National Review On Line this morning carries Jim Nuzzo's views on the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, and says the momentum is with Romney.
One quibble. Billy Bulger aka "The Corrupt Midget," did not provide anything more than a bon mot in the 1984 Senate race, certainly not a coup de grace. The race was only decided by true blue conservative Ray Shamie's decision to wage a grass roots campaign against "El-Yacht" Richardson focusing on contacting each and every Republican voter in Massachusetts and making sure that they understood who the genuine conservative was. That worked back in the age of Ronaldus Magnus. Why it didn't work for Jim Rappaport this year is a matter of speculation.
The media this weekend has been full of criticism of the Russians' ending the hostage crisis at the Moscow theatre by storming the building after pumping some sort of gas, perhaps a medical anesthetic, into the building. The fact that 116 of the 118 dead hostages died as a result of the gas fuels the carping.
But the Russians had to do something. The Moslem fanatics had begun murdering their captives. Should they have just let the Islamo-fascists murder 700 innocent people. With 18 of the terrorists bedecked with powerful suicide bombs, attacking without any preparation to stun or knock out the captors would have resulted in a bloodbath and hundreds of dead hostages. The Russians had few good choices. That they acted as they did saved more than 500 innocent lives, including 3 Americans. They were unfortunate in the result to some extent. But the only thing that is worthy of criticism is not telling the hospitals what sort of gas was used, so that they could treat it.
The Russian government is to be applauded for acting to save lives. It is time that the US government get out of the Cold War framework, and start helping the Russians beat al Qaeda's Chechen allies. Maybe it could be a quid pro quo for support for our position on Iraq.
Townhall.com carries George Will's observations on Michigan's Kurr case and its implications for the abortion debate.
Abortion kills (BEG ITAL)something...
A television commercial for General Electric's new ultrasound system shows a pregnant woman and her husband marveling at an amazingly clear picture of their unborn baby's features. The commercial features Roberta Flack's song ``The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.'' The announcer says: ``When you see your baby for the first time on the new GE 4D ultrasound system it really is a miracle.''
By the time babies are as old as Kurr's quadruplets were, ultrasound can show their fingers and beating hearts. The Supreme Court in Roe called such babies ``potential life,'' a weird opinion that could be forgiven if this were the 11th century, knowing nothing of embryology or microbiology--if the beginning of life were a matter of uninformed conjecture.
Thank you, George.
In today's Boston Herald, a former Nahant police officer has made public an incident he observed in 1977. He and another officer observed Father Edward Kelly, now the subject of several sex abuse suits, having sex in a parked car with a teenage boy. The Nahant Police Department received a visit from Bishop Thomas Daily, then Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston. Daily assured the police that Kelly would be transferred to New Mexico to get help, and asked that the incident be broomed. It was. Kelly was never sent for treatment. He was just transferred to another parish.
I would really like to dissect the brain of Thomas Daily, if that could reveal his true attitudes. Did he genuinely regard buggery of young boys as a legitimate job perk for priests who were into that sort of thing, a cherished institution to be protected by lying, stonewalling, and playing musical chairs with perverts? Was it all just to protect the reputation of the Church from scandal? Didn't he realize that someday it would all come out, with much greater force for being contained so long? Did he ever stop to think that the Church would be better off without the perverts, even if it meant defrocking 1/3 of the active priests? Did he ever stop to think that covering up for perverts put him and his superiors in direct contradiction to the Church's teachings on human sexual morality? Did he ever consider St. Gregory the Great's dictum that, if the truth be scandalous, it is better that it be told, than that falsehood be taken for the truth?
I still find McCormack the more odious of the perverts' enablers. His influence is more pervasive. But Daily is gaining in odium as more comes out. I shudder to think what is in the personnel files the Archdiocese has been fighting tooth and nail to keep from being made public.
The transition from Daylight Savings Time to Eastern Standard Time is strongly felt in the early morning. For a brief time, we actually have light on our 5:30 walk to the train depot. We had become accustomed to making the trek in the dark. Now, briefly, we have the illusion (but for the colder temperature) that it is earlier in the year, perhaps even August. Day has broken even before we leave the house. By the time I return, the sun is ready to rise. But we know that we will lose a minute or two or early daylight every day. Before Thanksgiving, it will be as dark when we leave the house as it was on Friday. And the afternoons will be much shorter. It will be dark before I leave the house to meet my wife's train. On the whole, I would rather have the daylight in the afternoon.
Today the Church honors two of the Lord's Apostles, Simon the Zealot and Jude. As his name implies, Simon the Zealot came to our Lord from a background in radical nationalistic politics. Jude was actually known as Judas, but is called Jude to avoid confusion with Judas Iscariot. He is also known as Thaddeus. Both slipped almost immediately into the anonymity of the Apostolic College after joining the Lord's followers. Legend tells us that they exercised their ministry in Persia after the Ascension, and were martyred there. Jude is the well known patron of lost causes. Simon has become the patron of curriers and pit sawyers.
The Anaheim Angels (we old-timers still usually call them the California Angels) won their first World Series ever, beating the San Francisco Giants in a seventh game last night. Congratulations to Angels fans.
Lawrence Foley, who worked for the Agency for International Development, was shot to death by as-yet unknown assailants in Amman, Jordan early this morning. The only question is, does this go in the "al Qaeda fall offensive" file, or merely the "Islam Is a Religion of Peace" file.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Yesterday was a rainy, windy day in Salem. At least it kept the tourist hordes down. I took the day off to recuperate, and will take most of today off as well, since I still have a way to go to full recovery from this bug. Since I haven't been able to eat anything more substantial than jello since very early Thursday, visions of Italian coldcut calzones and filet mignon with bernaise sauce are dancing in my head.
And when it comes to news, I really didn't miss much. Minnesota Democrats are planning to push Walter Mondull onto the ballot against Norm Coleman. Seems they can't take an act of God for an answer.
The Russians seem to have used a little too much gas in overcoming the Chechen rebels in the theatre. The Telegraph reported 150 dead hostages. Other sources have the death toll under 120.
The Palstinian barbarians provided yet more material for the "Islam is a religion of peace file," when a suicide bomber killed 4 civilized people at an Israeli settlement early today.
Collegues Amy Welborn and Domenico Bettinelli reported on the sorry state of affairs in Spokane, where late bishop Lawrence Welsh is reported to have attempted to strangle a male prostitute to death while having perverted sex with him.
The less said about BC's loss yesterday the better.
Fellow Salemite and cigar-lover Domenico Bettinelli has a new more interactive format. Check out his site's great new look.
And Blogger has still not fixed the flaw that sends you back a month in certain blogs' history when you come back from a link.
This week, I'll provide an update on the US Senate races, talk a bit about good Halloween reading, maybe discuss the controversy over Halloween and alternatives to it among some devout Catholics, observe some important dates in the history of the Adams Family, as well as provide on-the-spot commentary on developing stories in both secular and Roman Catholic news, and on anything else that interests me.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!