Saturday, August 24, 2002

Worcester Loses 4-0
Definition of a slow day: Little League scores are blogged.

A Summer Saturday
As I said below, it is a slow news day. Or maybe it is just that nothing is firing my imagination today. In either case, there is little that makes me want to mount the high horse. Got a late start blogging today, because of errands, but that was probably a blessing, given the material.

We are getting a little rain, just about the first since mid-June. July was dry as a bone. We have had less than half the noral rainfall in August. June was below normal. Water emergencies are popping up throughout Greater Boston. Tourists, don't expect a fall of spectacular New England foliage this year. Dry summers lead to dull fall color. But it will probably still be better than wherever you live, just not up to our highest standards.

There is a large Catholic youth concert going on a few blocks away on the Common. But youth Masses and concerts are not this old duffer's cup of tea. I dislike the music. Youth Masses are just about guaranteed to set my teeth to grinding, even if the sermon is entirely orthodox, how the Mass is conducted is just about sure to offend my sense of aesthetics. We stopped by for a brief visit, but our suspicions were confirmed quickly. There were some interesting books and videos on sale, but we prefer to patronize either our local Catholic bookstores (the Carmelites at the North Shore Shopping Center, or Andrew Lane, Inc.) or the Daughters of Saint Paul. Domenico Bettinelli has a higher opinion of this sort of thing than I do. Look to him for more coverage of it.

Top of the third.

Why It Is Perfectly Fine For the Priest To Face the Altar
Cardinal Ratzinger's third chapter in Spirit of the Liturgy explains why it is theologically sound, and perhaps even the optimum situation, when the priest faces the altar during Mass. Adoremus has it on line.

Not Everyone Is Impatient With the Pope
Stephen Hand has a interesting editorial in TCR responding to certain people's expressed impatience and feelings of disappointment with the Holy Father.

Not A Propitious Date
Hey, it's a slow news day. I even checked out a "This Date in History" site. Well, I found that a lot of negative things happened on August 24th. In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, killing 20,000 or so as it buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. In 410, the Visigoths sacked Rome, just a few decades before the final end of the western Roman Empire. In 1572, the slaughter of protestants in Paris (the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre) began. In 1814, British troops burned the White House and Capitol during the ever-so-foolish War of 1812. In 1982, Cardinal Bernadin was installed as head of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Not a good day in the history of the world.

Karl Rove Says
President Bush's top political stategist says the US House of Representatives looks fine as of the middle of August. All things being equal, he anticipates holding control and perhaps picking up 3-10 seats there, despite historic trends. The Senate, he says, is too close to call. If Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu is forced into a run-off, the control of the Senate may not be decided until December.

I hate playing for a tie. Would that Lee Atwater was still alive and running White House political operations (and had been since 1988). There would never have been a Clinton presidency, and we would be playing for a huge win, busting control of the Senate wide open. We would be talking about obtaining a filabuster-breaking majority (67 seats) not this narrowest of margins. To use a football analogy, Rove has put the Republican party into the "prevent defense." Most observers know that the only thing the prevent defense prevents is victory.

The Game's the Thing
The Little League team from Worcester, Mass. is playing the team from Louisville, KY right now in the Little League World Series US finals. The game is scoreless as of 7:30 pm. Go Worcester!

It is probably a good thing I wasn't blogging back when the Patriots were playing the Super Bowl.

Putting It Into Practice
Yesterday, I blogged to the effect that if a Catholic were to go to a mosque and kill himself and others, the Catholic world would condemn the act forthrightly. I did not expect to have to put the principle into practice so soon.

Dr. Robert Goldstein of Tampa, Florida had apparently amassed weapons, ammunition, and explosives with the purpose of carrying out an attack or a series of attacks on mosques.

I condemn this irrational violence against anyone. It is a wonderful thing that law enforcement was able to stop him before he created a tragedy. What is more, on behalf of Western Civilization (I assume Goldstein is Jewish), I apologize to the peaceful, law-abiding Moslems whom Dr. Goldstein meant to kill or injure. No one ought to live in fear in this country as they exercise their faith. Goldstein is obviously disordered. I hope he is packed away for a long time.

Hoyt Wilhelm, RIP
Knuckle-baller Hoyt Wilhelm, the first reliever to make the Hall of Fame, died yesterday in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 79. In his twenty-years in the big leagues, he pitched in 1,070 games, at the time a record. Wilhelm got a late start in his major league career because he served in World War II (awarded a Purple Heart for wounds recieved in the Battle of the Bulge). He pitched mostly for the New York Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago White Sox. While with Baltimore, he no-hit the Yankees (the last pitcher to do so, by the way) on September 20th, 1958. Wilhelm is the third Hall of Fame member to die this summer (Ted Williams and Enos Slaughter being the other two). Requiescat in pace.

Mike Foster Won't Give It a Shot
Mike Foster, the Republican Governor of Louisiana did not file for the US Senate race by the close of business yesterday. He is supporting Congressman John Cooksey. Too bad. Foster would have cleaned Senator Landrieu's clock.

For Those With A Strong Stomach
The audio of the sex-in-St.-Patrick's is available here. There is more to this story than we first knew. Jim Koch, chairman of Sam Adams Beer was live in studio with Opie & Anthony cheering this couple and others on.

Time to say good buy forever to Sam Adams. If you must drink American beer, give your money to Coors, a much more ideologically appropriate beer. It is also hard to imagine the Guinness Company engaging in this sort of sacrilegious, and just plain morally wrong, stunt.

Saint Bartholomew
Today is the feast of Saint Bartholomew (aka Nathaniel). He is not the best-known of the Apostles, but comes across from the few references to him in the Gospels as very human. When first told of Jesus of Nazareth, he asked his friend Phillip, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" When the Lord told him he had seen him "under the fig tree" (where he was when he was first told about Jesus?) he said, "Thou, Master, art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel."

We know almost nothing else of Bartholomew. We are not even certain that he was also known as Nathaniel. It is believed (on the basis of oral tradition) that he was martyred in Armenia.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Missed This One
I neglected to mention Bill Gertz' new book Breakdown (about the intelligence failures that allowed 9/11 to happen) in my list of new conservative books this week. Bill Gertz is always worth reading.

Grand Juries Weighing Charges
Grand juries in nine states are considering charges in the pervert priest crisis. Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania and South Carolina grand juries are examining evidence to determine which laws were broken, and by whom. Most observers think it unlikely that any bishops will be indicted.

Cardinal Law is almost certain to escape indictment. I don't want to see him in prison, anyway. I want to see him working in the Vatican and out of here. I still think John Paul will eventually do that, perhaps in a year or so.

Go Worcester!
The Worcester team has advanced to the US finals of the Little League World Series after a thrilling win over a team from, I think Brooklyn. These kids need to be applauded for a terrific effort. What a thrill it would be for a Massachusetts team to represent the US in the finals of the Little League World Series!

Bostonians don't get out to Wusta very often and that is a shame. There is a nice museum of mostly medieval arms and armour there; the Higgins Armory. I was just there this summer, and saw a sterling silver sword created by Josiah Wedgewood that I would pay dearly to own (though it doesn't match the regimental pattern of my recreated regiment, it is the right metal and is from the right time period, though I doubt anything so ornate was carried on the battlefields of the American Revolution by even a British general). Worcester is also the home of the great regional tonic maker, Polar Beverages. If you get the chance their Birch Beer and Orange Dry are the best.

Into the Fray
I have been utterly silent on the Rod Dreher controversy. Since I haven't had time to sit down and read his article or the voluminous comments on it at Amy's and Mark's sites, I only have the gist of it: that he thinks JPII should be doing more to solve the Scandal. As far as that goes I agree. Hey, if I were Pope, anathemas and excommunications would be handed out in their hundreds and thousands (perhaps even hundreds of thousands). I'd take the cost of a smaller Church for a more cohesive and disciplined one. But there has been no white smoke over Salem lately.

I am not as angst-ridden about it as Rod seems to be. There are significant flow-of-information factors that I recognize. The Vatican gets its information mostly from the bishops. The structure of the Church is such that a great deal of reliance is placed on information gathered from the bishops, and little from other sources. The Holy Father speaks English with difficulty. I am sure that he and his closest associates follow these debates in the American press very remotely. He and his advisers are of a generation that does not live on line. Instant reaction is not the Vatican's style anyway. The Church moves, if it moves at all, at the speed of glacier. Heck, I was deeply impressed when Cardinal Ratzinger's office followed through on its threat and excommunicated the "ordained" women on the date promised.

Also, perspective is needed. Americans have an exaggerated view of their importance in the Church. They think anything that concerns them should get instant reaction from the Vatican. John Paul has roughly a billion souls under his charge. Sixty millon of them are in the United States, and are largely not in want. As a Church, we are considered by the Vatican as all grown up now. What problems we have, we can deal with. No one is seriously jeopardized by confessing the Faith here. And if you look at the record, Geoghan has been convicted of patting a kid's fanny. I am sure many of the American bishops who have spoken to him have told him that the problem is scarcely more serious than that; largely a public relations problem. Let's see, what should I deal with today with my limited energy, a priest who is accused of patting kids' fannies in America, or a faithful priest being tortured to death in Castro's Cuba or in China.

Besides which, is John Paul, who has seen genocide and tyranny resulting in the deaths of tens of millions going to be shocked that sin exists in the Church, even in the priesthood? Sin is always with us. I am sure he is distressed by it. But to him it is a fact of life. Priests sometimes break the vows of celibacy and abuse minors. Some priests break the vow of poverty and steal money entrusted to them. Some break the vow of obedience by open defiance of the Church and its teachings. To him they are all equally sinful.

Still, I would prefer the Vatican to do a better job of screening candidates for bishop in the US. I would prefer to see a few American bishops dismissed. I would prefer to see Rome revving up the defrocking process for genuine perverts in the priesthood. I would like to see renewed definitive rulings from Rome that homosexuals should be excluded from the priesthood, both in diocesan roles and in the orders. I would like to see a thorough cleaning out of the seminaries- no white-washes and Potemkin villages allowed, but hard-nosed inspectors visiting unannounced and speaking to everyone and checking out the curriculum at each seminary. I want to see dissenting heads roll at the seminaries and in the diocesan bureaucracies.

I think most of this will come to pass, but it will take time. Ultimately, John Paul is on our side. I hope his successor will be too.

To Louisiana Governor Mike Foster
If you happen to see this, file the papers today. You can win. I don't thnk the others can. We need a Republican Senate. Everyone else, read this to find out what I'm talking about.

Blair To Sing, "Give Peace A Chance"
National Review On Line's John Derbyshire is probably right in saying that, despite his heartening words in September, Tony Blair will weasel out of the war with Iraq. His own party is saying "Hell no, we won't go." And strong principled action against the prevailing wisdom is not in his nature. In Iraq, we will almost certainly be going it alone.

But remember, victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan. If we succeed in toppling Saddam, Blair will be right there on the bandstand.

I Wish I Had Written That
Victor Davis Hanson has a fabulous and somewhat optimistic piece on the war at National Review On Line.

Saint Sidonius Apollinaris
Who? You would not have to ask that question if, 19 years ago, you took Medieval Europe at Boston College with Professor William Daly. Sidonius Apollinaris was a key figure in the transition from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages. Professor Daly was writing a scholarly biography of him, and spent at least a week early in the class going through his letters.

Sidonius was a Gallo-Roman nobleman from Auvergne, who rose to high rank in the last days of the Empire. He married the daughter of the Emperor Avitus, and was appointed governor of the province of Arvernia. Despite being married, he was selected to become bishop of Clermont. He and his wife lived as brother and sister from that time on, and he handed his secular authority over to his brother-in-law. He served as a go-between for the Romans and the Goths, obtaining better treatment for the native population than they would have otherwise received from the barbarians.

Sidonius' response to the barbarian conquest was completely different from that of fellow Gallo-Roman Ausonius of Bordeaux. Ausonius despaired that civilization was fading away, and spent his time writing empty, shallow verse about the good life, while doing nothing constructive. Ausonius reasoned that there was nothing he could do to stop the slide of the Empire into barbarism, so he might as well eat, drink, and be merry while he could.

Sidonius, on the other hand, took his responsibilities as bishop seriously and gave generously to the poor. When he had nothing else to give, he sold his furniture and plate. When his wife used her own money to buy them back, he was able to sell them again. Austerity was the rule in his own house.

Since the Gothic king was an Arian, Sidonius was exiled but eventually recalled as too valuable a leader to be excluded from Auvergne on religious grounds.

Are we sliding again into an age where classical learning will mean nothing? Robert Bork thinks so, and I find much merit in his arguments. The barbarism is coming from within this time, rather than without. If he is right, do we respond like Ausonius, and fritter away the time with leisure, or do we take responsibility to preserve what we can like Sidonius?

Sadly, I don't think Bill Daly has ever published his biography of Sidonius. He retired at age 70 in 1986. I still pray that someday I will see it in print.

Rev. Franklin Graham
Reverend Graham has been taken to task for being critical of the US Moslem community and Islam in general. He has been accused of hype to promote a book. Today's Washington Times has a discussion of the issue here. While I have many theological differences with Rev. Graham, I think he is right on here.

"If a Roman Catholic put on dynamite and walked into a mosque in Saudi Arabia, in Medina or Mecca, and said, 'In the name of Jesus Christ and the Church of Rome I now blow you all up,' and then took his life and killed everybody around him, the pope would be on television within hours denouncing this man and saying he does not represent the Church. And they would be raising money, not for the family of this man, but they would be raising money for those Moslem victims that died. There has not been the condemnation from the Moslem clerics."

Can anyone honestly say he is wrong?

William F. Buckley, Jr. has called the charge unanswerable. There were indeed expressions of regret, but nothing to indicate a change of heart. As soon as the dust of the World Trade Center settled, Saudi Arabia was releasing al Qaeda members captured in Afghanistan, and sending money to support the families of homicide bombers in Israel, and looking the other way while Moslem schools and the controlled press in their country (and other Moslem countries) continued to spew anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-Western, and anti-Christian bile.

Part of the problem is one that Jonah Goldberg or John Derbyshire pointed out last year, the lack of a central spokesman and authority in Islam. Since the end of the Ottoman Empire, there has been no one source to which the Islamic world can turn for guidance. There is no one to stand up and read terrorists and those who advocate or even rejoice at terror out of Islam.

And let us be honest here. Part of the problem is that the Islamic world is not just unwilling to admit culpability, but that parts of it secretly, or not so secretly (remember the footage of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon) rejoice at any strike against the US. Hatred of the US, Christianity, Judaism, Israel, and the West in general are deeply ingrained in Moslem culture. No amount of foreign aid, relief supplies, openness to emigration, inter-faith dialogue, or cultural exchange will ever change that. We can never be loved in the Moslem world.

Debating the offense Moslems take at Rev. Graham's remarks is beside the point. He has seen clearly enough what is going on, and had the courage to speak out about it. He is to be applauded.

"Oh No, Homosexual Priests Have Nothing To Do With the Scandal"
Today's Boston Globe has new information on former Boston priest Paul J. Mahan, defrocked in 1998 for abusing at least a dozen boys since 1969. In the mid-1990s he was sent to a treatment facility called St. Luke's in Maryland. Someone on Law's staff reported that Law would not be pleased with some of the things that go on there. According to the Globe, at least one member of the staff regularly took priest/patients out to a "drag queen night" event.

The liberal reflex, and the reflex of the homosexual community, has been to remind us that child abusers come in all shapes, sizes, and notional sexual orientations. As a generalization, that is probably fair enough. The majority of sex abusers in the entire population probably are heterosexual. That, however, is not what we are dealing with here. It fails to address the fact that 85% of the priest sex abuse is ephebophilia or abuse of a homosexual nature directed at post-pubescent boys. There is a less clinical name for it that homosexuals themselves use, called "chicken-hawking." I have seen some more forthright homosexuals admit that the predeliction of some homosexuals for very young men is a significant factor in the Scandal.

But the liberal reflex defense has largely worked. With a very few exceptions, the media has stayed away from the homosexual angle of the story. The bishops dare not address the problem, lest their clergy rebel. Even here at St. Blog's the outrage has turned away from the homosexual offenders and to the bishops for their stupid, clericalist, ineffectual, and possibly conspiratorial response to the whole issue. As a result, nobody is reminding us that the underlying behaviour that caused the Scandal is homosexual abuse of young men. If the drum-beat stops on that issue, it becomes very easy to get lost in zero tolerance policies, review boards, canon law, structual issues, the politics of the USCCB, and plenary councils, and never address this root cause.

Some things just cry out for a solution despite persistent attempts to hide or overlook them. A large majority of priests think there is a homosexual subculture at work in the priesthood and in some seminaries. Eighty-five percent of the abuse is of a homosexual nature. Some of the abusers are being taken to drag queen night with therapists. Many of the abusers have homosexual relationships with other priests and with non-minors outside the priesthood. Facts are stubborn things. They add up to an inescapable conclusion. There is undoubtably, not just a subculture, but a network.

I am sure that the network has taken some hits with the removal of so many abusers from service, and will take more. But the support network of homosexual priests who may never have abused any young men themselves, but have covered up for, looked the other way, urged bishops to take no action, and even certified abusers as posing little or no risk, remains intact. And some of them are bishops and even Cardinals.

Solving this problem is going to take a long time, because it can only be done through attrition. You can't just conduct a survey of all priests asking them if they are homosexual and defrock everyone who says yes. For one thing, many (most?) will lie about it. For another, some may struggle to be good priests, don't teach dissent, and stay completely within their vows. I admit, I don't think the percentage is a high one, but God would spare a city, according to the Old Testament, if even one righteous man could be found within it. And then, there are the protections afforded abusing priests by canon law, which may itself need significant reforms. Relying on informants to get the data needed to sort out the wheat from the chaff will not be reliable.

The only solution is to change the gate-keepers in the seminary formation process, and make sure that the people making the decisions about who can enter the seminary, who has a real vocation and how the vocation develops, even teaching the various subjects in the seminary curriculum, are screening out homosexuals and dissenters and are themselves solid, rock-ribbed Romans with no sympathy for a gay priesthood. A change like this can only come from the individual bishops who run their own seminaries. They will have to take the responsibility of firing the less-than-staunch and finding and hiring reliable people for the job. And even that leaves the whole problem of the orders unsolved.

As I said, this will take time.

The Persistent Virus
Well, thought I had the virus licked, but Windows started acting up again yesterday. I installed and ran another anti-virus program, to find that the same virus had embedded itself in some compressed files not detected by the first v-scan, or my old anti-virus software. I can post and surf the web as much as I like, at least until Windows becomes unstable. My incoming e-mail is now being screened. I don't dare, however, send anyone any e-mail unless I know their system screens automatically, lest I transmit the virus to them.

So, for those who suggested that I e-mail them, I'd be glad to, once the techno wizards at Norton give me a solution to the virus problem. Thanks.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Opie & Anthony, Good Riddance
The two morons who sponsored the sex-in-St.-Patrick's couple were fired this afternoon. They lose a multi-million dollar syndication deal in the process. Sam Adams Beer, I assume, felt the heat, and applied it to the radio station.

If you had a multi-million dollar syndication deal, would you risk it with stunts like this that would be guaranteed to anger and outrage a huge and relatively influential part of the population? I wouldn't either.

More On Michael Collins
The statue dedicated today was in Clonakilty, not Dublin. The Globe has an article on de Valera's petty refusal to honor Collins during his long reign over Irish politics here.

A Bill Clinton TV Show?
The idea of Bill Clinton gaining more publiciity and attention turns my stomach. Apparently, a significant number of on-line readers of the Boston Globe agree with me. Forty-eight percent say they would not watch it. Thirty percent say they would be glued to the TV set (this is the Boston, Massachusetts Globe, remember). More than 21% say it would depend on the topic (moderates with situational ethics).

Shocking Facts About Tuition
In discussing parochial school tuition with a parent yesterday, I was shocked to find out that at a "working class" school with a crumbling, ancient physical plant, hardly any non-teaching staff, teachers making well-below what their colleagues in the public schools are making, bare-bones spending on books and materials, tuition is now over $8,600.00 per student. This is a grammar school we are talking about. Given a class size of roughly 24 students, and a teacher's salary of just about $30,000.00, that leaves an awful lot of money uncalled for. Half of the books are re-used year after year. Mortgages? Maybe.

I started college 20 years ago this month. I paid $5,000.00 for tuition in my freshman year. I was at one of the top twenty colleges in the country. The physical plant of the college was impeccable. I was taught by tenured professors with 30-40 years of experience making $65,000.00 and more. Although I had one lecture class with more than 100 students, most of my classes had just 10-20 students.

Of course there has been inflation since 1982. Still, there is something wrong with this picture.

Why the Church Must Evangelize Jewish People
John Zmirak takes the Catholic Reflections on Covenant and Mission to task on terms very much like those I spelled out last week. TCR carries his remarks, originally from Front Page Magazine, here. Of course the document says it is not giving up evangelizing Jews, but it forswears the most effective method. If it is to be done, it ought to be done directly.

Tweezer Grannys Unite, You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Connection!
Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit has an article in Fox News on a growing sense that airport security, while bending over backwards, and forwards, to avoid being politically incorrect, is too burdensome and absurd in checking those who, rationally, pose no discernible threat.

Impeach Norman Mineta? Too much trouble it seems. Put pressure on President Bush to fire Mineta? Ya, you betcha. I still like best the monniker John Derbyshire gave him: "Underperformin' Norman", in contrast to General "Stormin' Norman", whose birthday today we noted below.

This Is Also General Norman Schwartzkopf's 68th Birthday
A fine soldier and student of military history, he earned my respect by displaying a copy of General F. W. von Mellenthin's Panzer Battles on his desk in Saudi Arabia. This meant he was solid on mobile warfare theory. I went very few places in high school without Panzer Battles nearby (hey, I already told you I was a nerd).

How Civilized
The Moslem terrorists who kidnapped several Jehovah's Witnesses in the Phillipines yesterday, left behind the heads of two of them. The religion of peace hard at work fostering inter-faith dialogue?

Our prayers, of course, for the two murdered hostages.

Even Further Back
The House of Tudor, eventually so disastrous for English Catholicism, took the throne with the death on this date of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. The Wars of the Roses were at an end. England had just one more generation under Rome.

In Bael na m Blath In the Year '22
Eighty years ago today, Michael Collins, driving force of Irish independence and first Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army was murdered in an ambush by the IRA. Collins had been instrumental in negotiating the treaty by which Britain recognized Irish independence within the Commonwealth and in urging Irish voters to accept the treaty. But the IRA and de Valera, demanding a complete break no matter what the realities, would not be satisfied with the results of the election, and began a civil war.

Collins, a native of Cork, was driving along rural areas in an inspection tour to gauge sentiment and to do some secret negotiation with the IRA. In fact, he was travelling under a guarantee of safe conduct from the IRA. In Bael na m Blath, the small convoy was ambushed. Collins took cover behind his car. The attack lost steam, and Collins' guard began to take the initiative. Just then, Collins stood up to either order his men to go up into the hills after the attackers, or call on the partisans to surrender. He was shot through the head. Ireland was doomed to 50 years of corruption and stagnation under de Valera and his successors.

The story has a personal side for me. My grandfather (who was from Ennis, Co. Clare) had taken the British civil service exam with Collins and the two became friends. Granddad Fitzpatrick was a golf pro, but worked for the Royal Postal Service in Co. Clare. Collins took a job with the postal service in London. They went their separate ways during the Great War, with Collins agitating and becoming a leader in the Easter Rebellion. My grandfather joined his brother in enlisting in the Connaught Rangers and fighting on the Western Front (and become a gas casualty at 2nd Ypres). After the treaty was approved, Collins sent my grandfather a signed photo of himself in his new uniform as Commander-in-Chief. Collins was murdered within ten days. Ten days after that, my grandfather and grandmother decamped for America. The photo of Collins hangs in my study.

Oh the Joy!
...of dumping and re-loading Windows. Please, Mac users, forbear. A new virus managed to sneak under my virus scan. Have to update that more than once every four months, I guess. I think everything is OK now. YACCS comments no longer duplicate the first line into infinity. Haven't had a dreaded blue screen yet this morning, and haven't been told that I've performed any illegal operations either.

Memo to Windows-writing geeks: Why do you have to call it an "illegal operation"? Why can't you just say that the software is experiencing difficulty or something like that. From "illegal operation," you'd think I was accessing plans to nuclear power plants or something like that, rather than just surfing between National Review, Fox, the Washington Times, TCR and other outlets in the blogosphere. Hey, maybe you can arrange to have the pop-up actually explain what is going wrong and how to fix it. But then, Microsoft wouldn't be able to charge you to have someone roused out of some homeless shelter give meaningless "advice" over the phone on getting things working again. What was I thinking of?

Again, Mac users, don't go there.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

YACCS Trouble
I'm having some trouble accessing Comments right now. I think it is my computer, not YACCS. I'll get to your comments as soon as I can. Thanks

Attention Dunkies Addicts
Home Depot is going to sell coffee and donuts from Dunkin Donuts in some of its stores.

I am among the many who have to dodge not one, but several traffic jams around Dunkin Donuts locations in the morning, and don't understand it. For those outside Greater Boston, there is a Dunkin Donuts on just about every busy intersection here. The quality of the donuts has declined in the last few years. Shaws and Shop & Save have better-tasting donuts in their store bakeries. The coffee is ok, but you can buy better at other places. And it is cheaper to brew a cup or two at home as well.

Is the cause of the hordes storming the local D&D outlet just laziness and lack of thrift? Is there some dynamic at work here that I don't understand?

Iraq Says Nidal Killed Himself
So its official, or as official as it gets, the Iraqis killed him.

Boston Priests Forum Seeks More Due Process
The Boston Priests Forum, which represents 250 of the 900 priests in the Archdiocese is seeking more in the way of transparent investigations and due process from Cardinal Law's administration for accused priests. The process of removal is rather abrupt and cold, as are firings in the dreaded private sector.

Twenty priests have been removed from ministry since late January. Cardinal Law did not disagree with an attorney's statement during his depostion that 70 Boston priests still alive are accused of abusing minors.

Law and the regional bishops plan to meet with the group after Labor Day.

Our Lady of Knock
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Knock, one of the better-documented Marian apparitions of modern times. In Knock, County Mayo, on August 21st, 1879, The Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of the parish church to 15 people over a period of 2 hours. Two ecclesiastical commissions have looked into the Knock apparition, and have endorsed it as authentic. In 1979, Pope John Paul II said Mass in Knock. Knock has become, after Lourdes and Fatima, the most popular Marian pilgrimage site.

Members of the Religion of Peace Take Hostages In Phillipines
Eight pharmaceutical company representatives were taken hostage yesterday by members of the Abu Sayyaf group in the Phillipines. Abu Sayyaf is the Phillipine local branch of al Qaeda. Until recently, US Special Forces had been working with the Phillipine military in coordinating the extinction of this group. Looks like we pulled out too early.

Homeschoolers Under Fire In California
According to this article in today's Washington Times, the California Department of Education is trying to put homeschooling parents out of business. It now requires that any parent homeschooling his or her children be a credentialed teacher, despite another statue that seems to permit any parent to file an affidavit of private school status annually. Now the Department is telling it's local representatives to no longer accept the affidavits of homeschooling parents unless they are credentialed teachers. The kids are to be marked truant, and dealt with accordingly.

California is trying to become the only state in the country to require homeschooling parents to be credentialed teachers. The education-crats hate the idea of homeschooling with an ungovernable passion. They hate it all the more when they are looking around for revenue.

But homeschooling serves a vital need for many Catholic parents. The parochial schools are becoming little better than the public schools. Watered-down religious instruction from people barely out of college (where they received a full dose of the latest trends in unsound educational theory and plenty of liberalism, but little else) is now the norm in the parochial schools because that is who they can afford to hire (at least around here). Political correctness is becoming rampant in parochial schools, as lay career administrators replace aging nuns (and the nuns for the last 35 years were pretty liberal themselves-look at the School Sisters of Notre Dame). The margin that parochial schools held over public schools in educational quality is diminishing because of charter schools. Many Catholic parents want the authentic Faith, and much higher academic standards for their children. They do not want them in a "progressive" and permissive atmosphere. The only way to get that is homeschooling.

This action should set off a small but intense flurry of political and legal action in California. Let us hope that the homeschooling parents prevail. Otherwise other states will be doing the same thing under pressure from the NEA. Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Connecticut can be expected to try it if it works in California.

This should help Bill Simon out in California, if he has the wit to grasp the issue.

Off the Air
Opie & Anthony, the moronic radio hosts who promoted and broadcast the couple having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral on the feast of the Assumption, have been off the air for two days. I expect that they will be back shortly. If you are inclined to do so, write in to the FCC and recommend that the station's license be suspended for 30 days for this irresponsible, arrogant, and disrespectful act of desecration. A few years ago, Opie & Anthony were fired from a Boston station for the far less harmful stunt of announcing on April Fool's Day that Mayor Menino had died in a car crash. Opie & Anthony deserve a permanent vacation from the airwaves. Bill Donaghue and the Catholic League are trying to see to it that it happens.

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!!!
No, not Hillary Clinton, but almost as good. Cynthia McKinney friend of Louis Farrakhan lost her primary. Thus ends, for now anyway, one of the least impressive political careers of all time. Good riddance.

Sadly, Bob Barr also lost his primary to John Linder, but it was Barr's fault, choosing to run in a district that had more territory from Linder's old district than from his. The gun going off at the NRA rally was unfortunate, but probably not critical. Take consolation from this. John Linder may be less aggressive than Barr, but he is no liberal.

Half-Hearted Denial
VOTF's letter as detailed here in today's Boston Globe, is indeed a response to conservatives, designed to be soothing. But the "apology" does not go far enough. Post admits that SIECUS and Deborah Haffner was a mistake, but says the We Are Church speaker was not. He can't repudiate all his liberal speakers, because then he loses his base. Make no mistake, liberals are the base of VOTF.

True, the organization has not yet taken stands on women priests, married priests, homosexual priests (they have on the last one, Post says in his letter that the group does not support the removal of homosexual priests). Given the policy agenda of the majority of the members and the leadership, there is no question which way VOTF will go on these issues. Don't forget O'Sullivan's Law (any organization that is not determinedly, aggressively, vigorously conservative, tends over time to become liberal). If the membership starts out liberal, where will it go? There can never be enough conservatives joining it to steer it back.

Conservatives don't belong in the organization, any more than conservative lawyers would belong in People For the American Way. There are other options for us. Hopefully, in the near future, a conservative/orthodox/traditionalist national umbrella group will emerge, to give us a place to belong, outside of old St. Blog's.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Current Reading
I notice that a lot of other bloggers put neat things on their blogs, like what they are reading now, and links, and the Archives index. I'd love to do that, except, when you check the Blogger directions for doing so, it invariably tells you to start playing with html code thingies and inserting new code thingies. Since I have no idea what they are talking about, until they put the directions in a more user-friendly (liberal arts grad user-friendly) format, I won't be able to do that.

So, what am I reading now? Just started a book that has been in my library for years, Russell Kirk's The Intemperate Professor and Other Cultural Splenetics. In between essays, I am looking at Fiske Kimball, Mr. Samuel McIntire, Carver: The Architect of Salem.

Most Influential Books
Apropos of the discussion going on down below on reading books, this is a list of the ten books that have influenced my thought the most (the Bible taken as given).

1) Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm
2) F.A. von Hayek, The Road To Serfdom
3) Edmund Burke, Reflections On the Revolution In France
4) Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
5) Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
6) Robert Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah
7) Alexander Pope, Essay On Man
8) Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations
9) Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
10) Paul Johnson, Modern Times

Cardinal Keeler Hoists White Flag
Cardinal Keeler has felt the necessity of stating that the Catholic Reflections statement is not the official teaching of the Church, but is just a stage in an ongoing dialogue. In other words, it was published as a trial balloon, to see how much fire it would draw. Hope I and others put up enough flak to dissuade any further movement in that direction.

VOTF Is Trying To Make Amends
Amy Welborn has a letter posted from a VOTF spokesman in which he tries to apologize for Deborah Haffner, but does not quite do a thorough enough job. For a more honest explanation of what VOTF is all about, check out the interview with VOTF spokesman Tom White which I have re-posted from my July 30th blog.

VOTF On Brudnoy
Originally published July 30: Re-posted 8/19

Last night, David Brudnoy, WBZ (Boston) Radio's openly gay libertarian talk show host had as a guest Tom White, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful. I don't want to turn my blogs into all-VOTF-bashing-all-the-time, but some things White said are, I think, worth amplifying. He really painted a very useful portrait of VOTF. I did not find it a flattering one.

Brudnoy started off by describing VOTF's mission as a "radical" return to the structure of the early Church- with laity choosing and dimissing bishops at will. White agreed that was their goal, said he couldn't put it better. White was candid enough to describe VOTF's "primary objective" as diminishing the power of the Church's hierarchy. Until they "get their way" White said VOTF was willing to live with lower amounts donated to charities and agreed that VOTF is setting itself up as a rival fundraising organization through its Voice of Compassion program.

Brudnoy raised the issue of the group's membership make-up: white, middle-aged, upper middle class. White agreed that that was the case, and indicated that Hispanics are not joining because they come from a more "authoritarian" culture, in which questioning bishops is unthinkable. A caller then amplified this point, calling VOTF's membership "increasingly well educated Catholics" who think things through on their own and formulate their own opinions, and don't follow the party line. The VOTF spokesman agreed and called these people the real base of the Church. Another caller said that the issues that are stirring VOTF are deeper than the sex scandal, and would have come to the fore because of something else, but for the sex scandal. White agreed.

A final caller took White to task for not demanding Law's resignation. White hemmed and hawed a bit about this, and said that, when it was considered, the organization was using a consensus requirement, but has since moved to a 2/3 requirement to act on a measure. At the time, there were more than 2/3 in favor, but not a "consensus".

White then said something very interesting. He denied that Law is the issue, though he thinks he should go. Personalities are not the issue, he said, "power is the issue".

Well, there we have it, right from the group's spokesman. At this point, VOTF is not really interested in Law's departure from the scene. As long as Law is there, he acts as a terrific recruiting poster for VOTF. "See, the problem is still there. How can we trust a Church run by him? A new Archbishop of Boston would be seen as a fresh face, a chance for a new start. But that would have the effect of cutting into VOTF's membership, taking the wind out of their sails. So they are not interested in Law leaving now (not until VOTF gets every last bit of use out of him as a symbol, the Church of Boston is in ruins, and has to turn to VOTF for help).

Personalities are not the issue, "power is the issue". The goals of helping victims of sex abuse and supporting good priests are mere window dressing for the real issue here, power. Power to the laity translates into power to VOTF and its members. This is about a cabal of pampered, rich baby boomers who think they are better qualified to run the Church than its leaders, so that they can modify personnel (and therefore teachings) to their hearts' content.

Want women ordained? Just let the laity elect enough liberal bishops. Want Circus Masses in your parish? Let the laity pick their priests. Want all this nonsense from Rome about birth control, and premarital sex, and divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality silenced? Again, just let VOTF pick the bishops, and cafeteria Catholics can have their way without regard to stick-in-the-muds like Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, and Cardinal Dulles. Rome can talk to the hand. We American VOTF members know better. This is about power. And power means who decides what is taught, and what is not. Just turn power in the Church over to the "educated elites" of laity from VOTF, ignore Rome, make women priests, allow priests to marry, and declare an impromptu millenium. What a Brave New World VOTF is striving for! Or is it an Animal Farm?

I don't know about you, but I was deeply touched by White's admission that VOTF can live with lower donations to charities, until VOTF "gets its way." I'm so glad he and his members are willing to do without some donations from Catholic Charities, or health care from Caritas Christi. Not, of course, that these Wellesley residents are likely to go knocking on the door of the local Catholic Charities office looking for a handout. But it is the thought that counts.

I was also struck by the complacent assertion of the caller, agreed with by White, that VOTF members are cafeteria Catholics, and proud of it. Since they are "increasingly well educated", they know better than others how the Church ought to be run. They certainly know better than those benighted Hispanics who come from "authoritarian cultures" and don't question the bishops. American education, Catholic as well as secular, has been turning out increasingly less well-educated citizens for more than 40 years. "Increasingly well-educated"? Gee, I know where I keep my Phi Beta Kappa key. Does White or the caller?

Aren't you glad there are so many enlightened people in Wellesley, Dover, and Wenham who can run the Church (when they are not busy with their divorces, or their daughters' abortions, or welcoming their son's gay lover, or buying that second house). Aren't you honored that they call themselves "Catholic" despite all that medieval nonsense coming out of Rome? I know I go to bed every night thanking God for Tom White and the other bright, beautful people at VOTF.

So VOTF thinks of itself as an elite. Well, its typical member has some money. But money alone does not make one part of an elite. Are Michael Jackson, or Jennifer Lopez, or Puff Daddy, or Elizabeth Taylor, or Ellen De Generes the leaders of society? Do you look to them for moral guidance? No? But they have money! And a lot more of it than the VOTF members. Any one of them could buy and sell just about anyone in VOTF.

I came across this quotation yesterday from James Duncan Phillips, a Yankee aristocrat and historian who flourished 50 years ago. "It is not the flamboyant morons of Hollywood or Broadway, however smart, who make for the eventual good of a community, but people of taste, culture, and mental activity, living decent, restrained lives." I had no idea I would find a use for this insight so quickly!

So, if you want to be considered an elite, check the second house and the 401(k) balance at the door. Taste, culture, mental activity, and leading a decent, restrained life have much more to do with elite status than money. VOTF needs to learn this lesson. One does not turn over control of important institutions to people whose only qualification is their bank balance (oh yes, and their "increasingly good education"!).

So, White really put VOTF in a very clear light. It is made up of well-heeled, selfish, baby boomers (and Korean War half-generation people) whose goal is power for themselves. They don't care if people in need of help don't get it, just as long as they "get their way" (White actually used those words). They think of themselves as an elite. They demand that their voices be heard, and obeyed.

They are not willing to stay in the proper role for laity in the Roman Catholic Church. Their pride has issued its "Non serviam!" As Michael Novak wrote, they haven't made up their minds whether they are Anglicans or Unitarians. But it is clear that, no matter what they call themselves, they are no longer Roman Catholics. So long! Don't let the door hit you on the collective arse on the way out! Have fun singing "Kumbaya" with the Unitarians!

Teachers Rejecting NEA's 9/11 Lesson Plans
According to Today's Washington Times, teachers across the country are nixing the NEA's blame-America-first and do-anything-but-tell-the-truth-about-who-attacked-us lesson plans. Good for them. I trust the judgment of individual teachers much more than the judgment of the education-oids at the NEA.

Cat Nights II
Maybe there is something to that old wives' tale about Cat Nights bringing better sleeping weather. Our forecast for the next week is almost all high '70s, breaking our heatwave. Then again, maybe the weather here just normally cools off from the middle of August.

Hey, Georgians!
If any of you live in Georgia's Fourth Congressional District, and you want to see the end of Cynthia McKinney's congressional career, bring proper photo ID to the polling place and cast your vote for her opponent in today's Democrat primary (it's an open primary) whoever he or she is. Has to be an improvement. This is a chance, however small, to be rid of this human toothache. God speed, Georgians.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Today is the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who had an enormous impact on the piety of the West. From a French noble family, Bernard was born some 25 years after the Norman Conquest of England. At the age of 22, he entered the monastery of Citeaux along with 25 friends, four of his brothers, and an uncle. His father and another brother later joined them there. He founded Clairvaux in 1115. Within his lifetime, Clairvaux had 700 monks and 160 daughter houses.

Bernard preached all over the Continent, helped organize the Second Crusade, was instrumental in bringing an anti-pope to end his schism, and influenced the Benedictines of Cluny and the Templars with the Cistercian reforms he started at Clairvaux. Pope Eugene III was his protege. We have 10 works on spirituality, more than 300 sermons and 500 letters he wrote. The influence of his theology can be seen in The Imitation of Christ, attributed to St. Thomas a Kempis.

Can This Be Correct?
Following a link in Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It! last night, I came across some data that I find disturbing, and cause for much thought. According to this one source, 60% of adult Americans have never read a book. Only 6% read as much as one book per year, and that includes Harlequin romances and how-to manuals. Is this possible? Don't a full 20% or more graduate from college? What are they doing in high school? Whatever happened to required reading?

My own life revolves around books to a great extent. My wife and I own thousands of books (no Harlequin romances in the collection; I don't think either of us have ever read one). The walls of the study I am working in now are lined with bookcases crammed with books. From an early age, I started laying the ground work for my private library. Our house is full to bursting with books on history, law, religion, political thought, literature, architecture, art, writing and language, New England life, cooking, sports, military matters, humor, business, and children's books.

I look forward to the day when I can afford, like Charles Francis Adams, to build a separate library to house the bulk of them. One of my main goals in life has been to replace pocket paperbacks with hardbounds and trade paper editions. I have been restive because we are running out of shelf space and therefore unable to buy as many as I would like. My wife chides me about "weeding out" some books, but I would rather lop off fingers and toes than part with any.

My wife and I both read as often as we can. She is the faster reader, having completed some twelve books this Summer to my ten.
I set a goal for myself of reading a book a week, and am ashamed to admit that I often don't complete that goal. For instance, I had planned to read Peter Mayle's Hotel Pastis this Summer. I know now that I just plain will not get to it. WFB's Nuremburg is even farther down the list with Margaret Thatcher's Statecraft.

Is it possible that so very few of us support the publishing industry? Is it possible that so very few of the people we see on the street are genuinely lettered? What is all the money we pour into public education doing? Barbara and Laura Bush have been urging people to get children to read for a generation. Hasn't anyone been paying attention? How do Borders and Barnes & Noble stay in business?

The implications of so few people being well-read are staggering. If the data are correct, the percentage of people who read serious books regularly is lower than the percentage of members of the aristocracy, gentry, and professional class in Jane Austen's England. Is genuine knowledge really so concentrated in early 21st Century America? But for the fact that there is no barrier to obtaining books, this would be grounds for a revolution that even Edmund Burke might bless.

I don't want to sound snobbish, but what sort of life of the mind do the 60% who never read books have? I find it difficult to accept that such a staggering percentage will never even think of picking up Patrick O'Brian, or Charles Dickens, or Cicero, or Marcus Aurelius, or Nathaniel Hawthorne, or Michel de Montaigne, or Russell Kirk, or William F. Buckley, Jr. Is it just that these people come from backgrounds where knowledge is not greatly prized? What do they do with themselves? Are they glued to television in their spare time?

Even the 6% appears to be mighty shallow in the depth of its book knowledge. One book a year, including romance novels and how-to manuals? I seriously wonder what the demographic and economic breakdown would be for those who do read serious books on a regular basis (at least one per month). Paul Fussell in his profound and funny work Class some years ago said that books are the province of the upper middle class and those struggling to join it. Above that level, there is little in the way of detectable brain activity. Below that, knowledge is not prized. I guess Fussell was indeed correct. He also said that most colleges are just diploma mills that do nothing to challenge the mind. If the percentages cited above are correct, Fussell is right again.

Kind of depressing. I think I'll go buy a book today, and just find a way to cram it onto a shelf somewhere.

British Armoured Protection: TNG
The people who brought us Chobham armour and reactive armour have come up with the next generation in armoured protection for tanks and APCs. This time, according to this article in today's Washington Times, it is an electric charge operating off the tank's battery, designed to vaporize an RPG round on impact. This armour is rather light, and so may work on the next generation of American tanks. Tests at the British Army proving grounds have been successful.

It's Worldwide
Archbishop George Pell, of Sydney Australia has gone on leave, while allegations he molested a 12-year old boy when a priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne are investigated. He denies involvement. The year the alleged abuse took place was not released.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Study Makes Sense On Water Use
Today's Boston Globe reports on a study on the human need for water. It may be a myth that we each need 8 cups of water per day, that the water can only come from a tap or bottle, and that caffeinated beverages do not count because they dehydrate. The bottom line of the study is, for normally healthy adults, to drink when you are thirsty.

More Slippery Slopes
According to David Mills writing in the Touchstone blog, the Unitarians are about to be asked to consider opening up to and recognizing polamory, defined as, "the philosophy and practise of loving or relating intimately to more than one person at a time with honesty and integrity." It says polyamory is not swinging, or merely cheating, but "intentional open long-term loving relationships." The proposal is going to come from a group of Unitarians calling themselves the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness.

So, serial adulterers and those unwilling to commit to one person, but willing to sleep with several are about to become the next group that the ever so open-minded Unitarians embrace. I don't doubt for a minute that they will do exactly that. Oh one or two sexually repressed Unitarians (assuming there are that many) may object. But there can be no doubt that the whole trajectory of that movement dictates the outcome.

This is a logical step on the way to embracing pederasts and those who practice bestiality. In 20-30 years' time, you can be certain that we shall see all of this come to pass unless some sea change in society forces us to no longer tolerate this, and ends the ever-leftward movement. Once the Unitarians give in, the pressure will then ratcheted up on the other mainline protestant sects to do so as well. Then the Catholics for Free Choice and VOTF types in the Church will start in on our hierarchy.

This piecemeal approach is just the way liberal forces work in this society. I would urge anyone listening, don't take the next step down the slippery slope. Take a firm stand in the path of on-rushing history, hold out your hand, and yell, "Stop!" If that doesn't work, to save social order, it may have to be done by some figure in uniform, and no one wants that. If liberty is not practised in a restrained and orderly manner, we will face a choice of liberty or order. To preserve themselves, societies usually choose order. The genius of our Constitution has allowed us to avoid that. But if this is an indicator of where society is heading, we may one day have no choice. Let us pray that our Unitarian friends find the strength and wisdom to say, "no" this time, for all of our sakes.

R Father N Heaven
Amy Welborn called our attention to an effort to translate passages from the Bible into the sort of gibberish in the headline to make it more accessible to Youts.

I grew up with one of the efforts to make the Bible relevant to young people, a 1970s product called The Way. It just seemed to me at the time to be a less serious form of the Bible: a Bible one need not particularly respect.

I relate the effort to do this to the Bible with efforts long-established to create a Mass for children and for young people. Both efforts are in my view misguided. Young people should participate in the same Mass, and use the same Bible translation that adults use. They should come, through long acquaintance, to love the authentic Rite and Word. If there are things that they don't understand, that is the job of parents, teachers, and a host of people who publish guides to the Mass and guides to the Bible.

Reaching out to groups by offering "special" Bibles and "special" forms of the Mass is, in my view, counter-productive. It is a slippery slope. People hate slippery slope arguments, but the history of the 20th Century is little more than a slide down one slippery slope after another.

What is next, an Ebonics Bible for young ghetto Catholics? "In the beginning be the Word, and the Word be flesh..."

Yesterday, my wife and I went out for an ice cream. As we walked back home, we overheard a 4-5 year old on a bench with his father, saying, "Salem's Witch City. Zombies better." Well, yes, given some of the people you see walking along Essex Street, it might be more appropriate, too.

Some school kids in the Southern part of this country are on their way back to school already. The civilized habit of holding off until after Labor Day has not caught on down there yet. So parents' vacations there are disrupted by the school calendar, while the rest of the country is on holiday the last two weeks in August.

Speaking of things in the Already? category, I saw the first Christmas displays in a Hallmark store this weekend. In Walgreens, yesterday, I noticed Halloween candy and accessories being laid out. Where did Summer go?

Abu Nidal Dead
Veteran Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal was found dead at his apartment in Baghdad with several bullet wounds. The Palestinian officials say he committed suicide.

Several bullet wounds? I'm not buying suicide. Who killed him, the Palestinians, or Saddam Hussein, or both?

Dick O'Connell, R.I.P.
Former Boston Red Sox General manager Dick O"Connell died yesterday at the age of 87. A Boston College grad (1937), he was briefly a player with the Red Sox minor league team in Lynn. In 1965, he took over as GM, and began building the team that gave New England the "Impossible Dream" Summer and Fall of 1967 when they almost won the World Series (and this scribe was a precocious 3). Once that talented team was played out, he concentrated on the minor leagues. In due course, the Red Sox farm system produced Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Rick Burleson, Butch Hobson, Bill Lee, Bob Stanley, and other members of that team that almost won a World Series in 1975, and (but for the Yankees) in 1978, when the team had an all-star at almost every position.

It has been a sad Summer for Red Sox fans with the deaths of O'Connell, Ted Williams, and Ned Martin. Add the looming strike which may wipe out the World Series, and the fact that the Sox are rapidly dropping out of the hunt for the divisional title and even the wild card, and it has not been a happy time in Red Sox Nation. In fact, it has been more melancholy than usual.

O'Connell turned a sleepy franchise with no more going for it than the Chicago Cubs had (has), a team that had not seriously contended for 20 years and was known as the "Jersey Street Jesters," into a perrenial contender (and sadly, perrenial runner-up). O'Connell's work compares very favorably to that of his eventual successor (and B.C. alum) Lou Gorman who put together those Red Sox teams of the late 1980s to early 1990s that (again) almost won a World Series. It is not an exaggeration to say that Dick O'Connell was the best GM the Red Sox ever had. Requiescat in pace.

Saint John Eudes
In the traditional calendar of saints, today is the feast of Saint John Eudes, the founder of the Eudists, an order committed to reform of the clergy. A return to holiness in the clergy was what Saint John Eudes aimed at, and worked for throughout 17th Century France. We could use his example today. Pray for his intercession for the Church here in America.

But I found something much more interesting in Father Englebert's account of this saint. His father Issac desperately wanted to become a priest. He was denied admission to the seminary. Instead, he got married, had children, read his breviary every day, and raised a saint. Once he accepted that he could not become a priest, Issac Eudes took up his other vocation, and performed it so well that one of his sons is revered even today as a saint of the Church.

Issac Eudes should serve as an example for those agitating for married priests (though he wasn't married at the time). There is a vocation for marriage as well. Even for people who think they would like to be priests, the marriage vocation is sometimes the stronger one. They can accomplish tremendous things in that vocation. Accept the lay status and vocation, and do great good through it. Stop picking at the wound. There will not be married priests, except for those who come over from the protestant sects. Live with it. And ask John Eudes to pray for a restoration of holiness among our priests and bishops.

Reparations Again
David Horowitz hits a grand slam with his coverage of Saturday's edition of "Lunatics on Parade", the rally for reparations on the Mall. Read it here.

Al Qaeda Working With Chemical Weapons
A videotape obtained by CNN showing al Qaeda operatives practising chemical warfare on dogs makes it clear that al Qaeda is indeed working on weaponizing dangerous chemicals. They would like nothing better than to use such a weapon in New York, or London, or Los Angeles. That is why it, and anyone who even gives it the time of day, has to be wiped off the face of the earth.

If al Qaeda keeps using dogs for poison gas tests, they will get PETA mad at them. Then they'll be in real trouble.

And the Winner Is...

Kathryn Lively.

While Britney Spears doesn't quite reach the point where you want to smash the TV at the sight of her (Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah are at that level), the whole Britney Spears thing is amazingly nauseating.

I liked the idea of combining the Britney Spears concept with pop-up ads, but I think we have to give Kathryn credit for the basic concept.

Just for the record, I hate pop-up ads, too. The Britney Spears pop-up I encountered is annoying.

Any advertising by lawyers is distasteful. The ad described by Justintime sounds pretty tasteless. A case might be made that it violates the standards of the profession. I'll let the practising lawyers in the audience hash that one out.

Scroll down to Friday's blogs for the entries.

But I still think the NARAL radio ads are the worst. They are without peers. If I didn't use my stereo for work, I would have a strong desire to toss it out the window when NARAL starts its pitch for abortion.

Monsignor Foster On Leave
Cardinal Law decided to allow Monsignor Michael Smith Foster to go on leave, instead of being put on suspension, while he contests the charges detailed here and elsewhere last week. I guess it is a question of who you are. If you are the Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese, you get to go on leave. If you are Father Joe Schmoo of Saint Mike's in Billerica, you are suspended.

John Paul II Can't Draw People Anymore
There were only 2 million people at the Mass the Holy Father celebrated this weekend in Poland. The total crowd, which spilled out of the area was close to 4 million. Since the Holy Father is old and infirm, people just don't want to come out to greet him anymore. Let's see if people who peddle that line, like Anna Quindlen or Maureen Dowd could ever get a crowd of 4 million come to see them. Bet it never happens, even in their native country.

Memo To: BBC, et al.
The Holy Father is on his way back to Rome, has prayed for the strength to continue his mission until he dies, and is not retiring.

It Isn't Just Us Catholics
According to the Washington Times, a Texas Methodist minister is charged with murdering his wife.

NEA: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
The NEA is offering via its website lesson plans for teachers that deal with the first anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack. One tells teachers to avoid blaming any group for the atrocity. Another instructs them to examine past instances of American intolerance and how they contributed to the attack. What a load of bilge water!

A group was indeed responsible for the attack. It was done by radical extremist Moslems belonging to the al Qaeda terrorist group, in conjunction with several anti-US governments. Are all Moslems responsible? No, although Islam for some reason seems to harbor an extraordinary number of hate-filled homicidal nutters, and "moderate" Moslem leaders have not been strenuous enough in condemning the attackers and their motives (for the most part, they have condemned the attacks and then fallen silent).

As to the lesson plan that instructs teachers to have children look at past instances of US intolerance, that is plain 1984-San-Francisco-Democrat-convention "blame America first" nonsense. Americans of all races and creeds were working together and peacefully going about their business on September 11th when vicious murderers attacked us. In the last decade, we have fought in Kuwait, Somalia, and Bosnia to protect Moslem lives and liberty. As we have seen repeatedly since September 11th, if anyone wishes to enumerate intolerant governments, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, et al. would top the list, and the US would be just about at the bottom.

Did anyone expect better of the NEA? No, not really. I am somewhat surprised that it took them this long to express these views. The NEA is, as they say, a known quantity.

Conservative Books
Tomorrow, conservatism's second favorite radio talk show host, Sean Hannity, will release his new book Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty Over Liberalism. It is expected to be a best seller. Meanwhile Ann Coulter's Slander remained perched in the No.1 spot for non-fiction. Bernard Goldberg's Bias was No.1 earlier this year. Bill Bennett's Why We Fight cracked the top ten, as did Kenneth Timmerman's Shakedown, and the posthumously published The Final Days by Barbara Olson. Michael Rose's Goodbye, Good Men came close, as did Crocker's Triumph. Paul Johnson's Napoleon, and Richard Brookhisers book on the Adams Dynasty are doing well. Not a bad year for conservative books. George Weigel has a book, The Courage To Be Catholic, coming out next month. I expect it, too, will sell.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

A Couple of Entries
In our "Most Annoying Commercials" contest, we have a few entries. Scroll down to Friday's blogs for details. Feel free to leave an entry via the comments button. Winner will be announced here at about 8:00 am tomorrow.

Popular Piety At Its Best
Boston's North End held its annual festival in honor of the Blessed Mother. A religious procession, with fried dough, calzones, and cannolis afterward. Mmmmmm.

According To InstaPundit:
The most interesting thing said at yesterday's reparations rally in Washington was from Brooklyn, NY city councilor Charles Barron, who said he would like to slap a white person, just for his mental health. Maybe he meant just because of his mental health, or lack thereof.

Then again, the whole reparations issue is a slap in the face. Maybe it will wake us up to the extent that we begin demanding an end to "affirmative action." It only continues to exist because the majority of Americans are insufficiently energized on the issue.

Deal Hudson Talks Sense
Deal Hudson of Crisis has a sound reflection at Catholic Exchange on the two big stories of last week, the Catholic Reflections on evangelizing Jews, and the Vatican's rejection of the USCCB policy on pervert priests. Read him here.

A Decent Calendar
I've been busy this weekend compiling data for a working calendar for next year. Saints' days (both traditional and reformed), birth and death dates of praiseworthy men and women, significant dates in Western history, notable holidays, moveable Catholic feasts, phases of the moon, changes of seasons, etc. What prompted me to do that was the constant flipping around I have to do between the Lives of the Saints that I prefer, and the calendar of feasts currently in use, as well as missing two secular anniversary dates I meant to comment on last week.

I am done with the saints and the moveable feasts, half-way through with birth and death dates, and am woking on the significant dates. Between the internet and my personal library, if I can put a bit of effort into it today, I may have all the data compiled today. If I can find a site that will host the calendar in a format I like, I may post it to the internet for general use.

So if I don't blog much today, you will know why.

In Our Faces, And Down Our Throats
The New York Times has anounced that, beginning next month, it will publish same sex unions with the marriage announcements. This is nothing more than an attempt by the media elite for force its permissive values down the throats of Americans. I am sure surveys will be done of the clueless showing that the "man on the street" thinks it is alright. One is morally certain that pressure was being applied to the "Old Gray Lady" from a certain powerful lobby for this (remember, the NYT is the same paper that, just before the Dallas meeting of the USCCB, spiked a story that would have outed one of the American cardinals).

Since the NYT is now the parent company of the Boston Globe (talk about a marriage made in liberal Heaven) it will not be long before we here in New England will be treated to the details of the perverted "union" of Randy and Jeff, along with those of young couples starting their families. The perversion and sin of active homosexuality will gain even broader acceptance from the general public. Marriage will lose status by the comparison. With this societal encouragement, more people will experiment with the homosexual lifestyle.

It is trite to say that society is going to Hell in a handbasket. Trite, but true.

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