Friday, November 22, 2002
Mrs. Fitzpatrick and I are pledged to help out at a parish bazaar tonight and tomorrow. That means light blogging, perhaps none tomorrow. Sunday is Christ the King and Stir-Up Sunday, and I may have an A Feast of Our Own to offer if I can find the time. But if I don't offer anything else until Monday, have a nice weekend!
National Review On Line carries Dave Konig on Tom Daschle, Michael Jackson, and the fat kid suing McDonalds.
On this date in 1963, C.S. Lewis died. Children remember him fondly as the creator of the Chronicles of Narnia. But he was also a stalwart Anglo-Catholic and Christian apologist. His specialty was Medieval and Renaissance Literature. His Preface to Paradise Lost is a classic of literary criticism. His Christian apologetics, if not always perfectly sound from a Catholic perspective, were an effort at the preservation of Christianity, which is nothing to sneeze at. He even wrote science fiction (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength). The Abolition of Man, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, Mere Christianity, Surprised By Joy, A Grief Observed, and Reflections On the Psalms are all essential reading. He lived a quiet life as a man of letters and sometime friend of J.R.R. Tolkien. His death was unfortunately overshadowed by the murder on the same day of President Kennedy. Lewis' reputation has grown since 1963. That of the other famous person who died that day has declined.
If you have the time, peruse the C.S. Lewis Foundation's site.
by John Dryden
From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began:
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
"Arise, ye more than dead!"
Then cold and hot, and moist and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's power obey.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
When Jubal struck the chorded shell
His listening brethren stood around,
And, wondering, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
The trumpet's loud clangour
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thundering drum
Cries "Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat!"
The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.
Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion
For the fair disdainful dame.
But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above.
Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees uprooted left their place
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:
When to her Organ vocal breath was given
An Angel heard, and straight appeared -
Mistaking Earth for Heaven.
Today the Church honors Saint Cecilia, a Roman martyr. Most of what we know about her is legendary. We cannot even specify when she lived. She was married, but appears to have converted her husband and lived in continence with him. He was martyred along with his brother. She was executed for burying them. She was beheaded after an attempt to suffocate her failed. Because she is said to have had a song in her own heart while her wedding was going on, she has become a patroness of musicians and artists.
Green Bay, Wisconsin Bishop Robert Banks, formerly a high official of the Archdiocese of Boston, is trying to explain that he didn't know Father Paul Shanley abused young boys, even though he admits that he knew Shanley publically advocated "man/boy love." Astonishingly, Banks had Shanley mediate sex abuse charges against Father Daniel Graham. The Globe has details here. This is either criminal stupidity or criminal complicity. Take your pick.
This is a response to the yesterday's deadly terror bombing. The barbarian who blew himself up was from Bethlehem.
Since 1999, the closure of St. Mary's parish here in Salem has been on the table. The other night, the area's regional auxiliary bishop, Bishop Irwin, made it official in an address to St. Mary's parishioners. St. Mary's was built in the downtown section of Salem by Italian immigrants. It is the only Italian parish in Salem. Declining attendence is the main reason why St. Mary's is closing. Its pastor is nearing retirement age. And Bishop Irwin made it clear that there really isn't a need for an Italian parish. The closing will take place sometime in early 2003.
Salem has seven parishes, if you count St. Thomas, which is on the Peabody/Salem line and draws from both cities. Salem has a population of roughly 38,000-40,000. It is heavily French-Canadian and Irish, with a smattering of Poles and a growing Hispanic population. If the latest parish population figures, published in the 2002 Boston Catholic Directory, can be trusted (and I have some doubts), Salem's parishes have a combined 28,000 Catholics (though that includes St. Thomas parishioners from Peabody). Immaculate Conception (fellow Salemite and cigar lover Domenico Bettinelli's parish) is the oldest parish in Salem (and the second oldest in Massachusetts). St. James, our parish, was founded as an Irish parish in the mid 1800s, and is, historically speaking, Salem's second parish. St. Thomas serves North Salem. St. Joseph's, also founded as an Irish parish, is in a depressed area, and has the only surviving Catholic grammar school in Salem (but a distressingly modrn church, built in the 1960s or early 1970s). St. John the Baptist is a Polish parish a few blocks from Immaculate. St Anne is a French-Canadian parish in South Salem. And St. Mary's, like Immaculate and St. John's, is in the immediate downtown.
St. James can hold 1,400 worshippers at a time. That would just about encompass the entire population of practicing Catholics in Salem. People between the ages of 20 and 50 are just not present in the pews on Sunday. Two whole generations have just walked away from the church of their ancestors.
Part of it is word of mouth from the days of Father Birmingham buggering young boys at St. James.
Part of it is the growth of Wicca and paganism which has a niche among certain disaffected and maladjusted (or just liberal) young people, especially here in Salem.
Part of it is sloth and materialism, which make people not want to make the effort to attend Mass on weekends, when they could be sleeping in, participating in whatever leisure activities proles enjoy. And let's not just single out the "working" class. Their betters are no more willing to show themselves at Church on Sunday. My own parish sits in a district filled with old mansions now divided into high-priced condos and apartments. Surely some well-heeled Catholics must live there (they can't be all protestants), but they have no presence in the parish. And if they did, they would probably be the vanguard of VOTF.
Part is the general decline in Catholic education. Too much latitudinarianism has encouraged people to think none of what the Church preaches is worth listening to and living in accord with. It is not a coincidence that two generations of kids have been fed pap in religion class and CCD, and that two generations have essentially fallen away from the Faith in all respects that matter.
Part of it is poor placement of the parish churches. Aside from St. Thomas and St Anne, they are all within 8 blocks of the downtown, leaving most of the area near Lynn and Swampscott and the area of Salem Neck, closer to the Willows, without something that feels like a neighborhood parish (though the whole city is within the geographic boundaries of a parish).
And part of it is lack of initiative on the part of Salem's priests. The ones I have met are all good men who preach the Gospel in a firm and orthodox manner. But they lack the drive to evangelize. They are good administrators and pastors, but not prophets, witnessing against modernity in a dramatic manner (exactly how that could be done I am not certain, not being one myself). Such ludicrous and intellectually vacant notions as Wicca and paganism flourish among the younger Salemites, but rarely do we hear from our pastors about it.
The pastors have all they can do to hold their crumbling parishes together. Maybe what we need is some outside agency to inject itself into Salem to call fallen-away Catholics back to their duty. How? Maybe compelling and inspiring preaching measured to the short attention spans of the population. Maybe a more effective media ministry. Maybe trying a variety of approaches, letting one parish go all-modern with guitar masses, etc., while another offers an Indult Latin Mass. One thing is certain. Devotion to the Eucharist and the Rosary can only help, and may even save the Church here.
Bringing in Catholic speakers from outside, perhaps allowing an order to establish a presence is always unpopular with pastors and bishops. The Scandal multiplies the difficulty enormously, since it makes any Catholic figure suspect in the popular mind. But Catholics must look beyond the Scandal, beyond the victims, beyond the perverts, beyond the dissenters, beyond Cardinal Law, beyond Banks, Daily, and McCormack, beyond VOTF, to the future prosperity of the Faith in New England.
There is no question that Salem (indeed all Eastern Massachusetts) needs to be re-dedicated to the Faith. It is hard to see how this can be done within the existing parameters. The alternative to doing something is unacceptable.
Brother Leo Labbe, currently president of Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, New Hampshire has taken leave of absence in order to deal with abuse allegations stemming from his time as a teaching brother at the now-closed Sacred Heart Academy in Andover, Mass., back in 1960-61. The Boston Globe has more details here. Will it never end?
Thursday, November 21, 2002
A thirty-one year old American missionary named Bonnie Penner, working at a center in southern Lebanon that provides free medical care to Palestinian refugees, was shot in the head three times. The center where she worked has been criticized by Moslem clerics for promoting Christianity. Requiescat in pace.
I have so far refrained from commenting on Senator Benedict Arnold Jeffords efforts to caucus with the Senate's Republicans, since they have the majority again.
Have you no shame, Senator Jeffords? What a foul hypocrite you are, giving control of the Senate to the Democrats, pretending it was done for some high-minded purpose, then as soon as the Democrats lose the benefit of the corrupt bargain you made with them, turning to the GOP to try to retain your chairmanship.
If I were Trent Lott, I'd make Jeffords chairman of the Committee (of one) on Licking Out the Senate Toilets. That is about as far as he can be trusted. As for Jefford's precious dairy compact, kiss it good bye.
I don't know about the rumors that Jeffords film biography will be titled, This Hack For Hire. But it sounds reasonable to me.
As today is the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Mother on which the Church traditionally honors cloistered nuns. Zenit reports that the Holy Father praised their dedication and encouraged the faithful to support them as they witness to the primacy of Christ in their lives.
Allow me to suggest one group of cloistered Carmelite nuns, which a friend of my wife's entered some years ago. Even without that, long-time readers will remember that I have a particular fondness for the Carmelite order anyway, as I was born on July 16th (the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), and the Carmelites played a major role in my return to active Catholicism. This particular Carmel is located at
2901 South Cecelia
Sioux City, Iowa 51106
I am sure that this Carmel will accept donations and prayer requests at this address.
Two American soldiers were shot at in Kuwait City, which we liberated from Saddam's tyranny a decade ago. They were both hit, but neither is believed to be in a dangerous condition. Payback will come for al Qaeda. And it won't be pretty.
Ben Shapiro, writing in TownHall.com, lampoons the anti-war movement, by just reporting what they do and say. It is an old tactic, and very effective. We used at at the Observer from time to time. But the real question is, is Ben that young, or is he having us on by using his high school photo for his column?
Thanks to Townhall.com.
FrontPage Magazine is reporting that someone called Marvin X, presumably a leader of a tiny group of black nutters, is calling for a general strike to force the payment of reparations to blacks.
I'll believe in a general strike when I see the welfare checks and food stamp payments going to that subset of the black community calling for reparations coming back to the government unused and uncashed. I'll believe in a general strike when I hear of large numbers of job and college applicants from that same subset of the black community refusing to accept positions because they are on strike and won't accept racial preferences that harm other more qualified applicants. If these particular black people want to have a general strike against those who are harming them, let them go on strike against their real employers, the Democrat Party. Let them sit out the next election.
Wow, Fitz, isn't that insensitive? No. A disproportionate number of members of that subset of the black community are dependent upon government transfer payments (hence their allegiance to the Democrat Party). Among those screaming for reparations the percentage is unusually high, apparently. Note the author's comment that not many copies of Marvin X's work were sold. Working black people don't favor reparations, and think the idea is ludicrous. Why should I, the descendant of Irish and Italian immigrants who first came to this country 80 years ago, provide a reparation to Tiger Woods, Tom Sowell, or Walter Williams? They don't want or need the reparations and know the concept to be both unjust and crazy.
It is the left that struggles to keep blacks "on the plantation" (dependent upon government and safely voting Democrat). The right offers them opportunity. It challenges them to accumulate merit to succeeed on their own (as many have done and will, God willing, continue). It judges by knowledge, accomplishment, content of character, and effort, not by just showing up breathing as the left does.
One of the great things about America is that Martin Luther King's dream has largely been achieved. If you work hard and intelligently, if you struggle to get good grades in school, if you challenge yourself intellectually, you will succeed. There isn't anyone blocking blacks, as blacks, from voting, or from taking a job, or getting a good grade, or going to college. Our society is amazingly open and free for all. The idea of reparations is a fringe concept embraced by malcontent kooks unwilling to do what it takes to succeed here. They should not be rewarded for their sloth. If saying so is racism (and I am sure it is not), then make the most of it.
Today, the Church remembers the Presentation of the Blessed Mother. It is the belief of the Church that the Blessed Mother was presented as a child at the Temple at Jerusalem so that she would be consecrated to God. This feast began in the East, and was extended to the Latin Church in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V. Also, historically, the Church of Saint Mary at Jerusalem, near the site of the Temple, was dedicated on this date.
Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Tom Das-hole went out blaming Rush Limbaugh and conservative media for creating a climate in which Democrats have not been able to flourish. He accused Rush listeners essentially of being unsophisticated drones who take their cues from the chap behind the Golden Microphone. He said Rush, among others blurs the distinction between entertainment and news.
Like having Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc., etc., etc., proclaim on public affairs continually isn't blurring the distinction between news and entertainment. Like accusing Republicans of starving children and pushing little old ladies in wheel chairs off cliffs isn't mean-spirited.
The fault, dear Das-hole, lies not with Rush, but with the failed policies of your party, that you are about to be an underling again. I suppose that, from a liberal perspective, it would be great if people got their news from the New York Times and NPR again. But here is a huge bulletin for Tom Das-hole: The Internet is an infinitely greater threat to liberal hegemony in the public policy debate than talk radio. Sure talk radio is entertaining. I have Rush and Howie Carr on for a combined 7 hours a day. But for the fact that the Boston affiliate dropped Sean Hannity (tape delayed 5 hours so as not to conflict with Howie) I would listen to ten hours a day. But most of the time I could not tell you what they talked about at the end of the day. Often when Mrs. Fitzpatrick comes home, she asks what Howie has been talking about, and I can't tell her. I work while they are droning in the background. Most people who listen do the same. The Internet is a far more interactive tool, the effect of which is far more pervasive than that of talk radio.
And the demographics of Rush's show have long been well known to those interested. I'm fairly typical. On the young side of middle age, relatively affluent, employed, with a bachelor's and two advanced degrees (JD and LLM in my case) and a strong interest in public affairs. But Rush didn't create my views. I was a committed secular conservative, partisan Republican, and conservative Catholic long before I ever heard of Rush (for the record, I first heard him during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings). I stayed tuned in because he reflected my views. That is true of most of his listeners.
As to who are the real mind-numbed robots, I submit the typical Democrat voter as evidence. While a few informed (misinformed, really) liberals exist, the vast majority are herded like sheep to the voting booth with the injunctions of unionized city workers who shuttle them there ringing in their ears. They watch Oprah and other day-time TV (because they are not working). They depend for their sustenence on transfer payments from government, or government wages. Taking their marching orders from Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather, it is a certainty how they will vote. A substantial number of them are convinced OJ Simpson was innocent, that space aliens regularly visit the earth, that Princesss Diana was more than a spoiled and unprepared rich girl who could not properly handle her role, that Elvis is still alive, that Elizabeth Taylor and Rosie O'Donnell have anything to say that is worth listening to.
That Das-hole begrudges conservatives those few sources of information that are open to us is obvious. It is not enough for him to have idealogical control of the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Philadelphia Enquirer, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Tribune, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Atlantic, Rolling Stone, the New Republic, Nation, Village Voice, Readers' Digest (a new acquisition), Vanity Fair, CNN, TNT, ABC, CBS, NBC, Public TV, NPR. We won't even mention the fact that liberal dominate the legal profession and the judiciary, the teaching profession from pre-school to graduate school (especially the faculties of law schools, divinity schools and seminaries, and journalism schools), the ranks of ministers and priests (and especially nuns), the ranks of politically active Hollywood stars, the unions, and the "helping" professions. Let conservatives carve out a niche for themselves in talk radio, the Internet, and Fox, and liberals will not rest until those outlets have been assimilated (Das-hole of Borg?).
The day when people were content to take the daily dose of liberal slant with the news, as a baby takes vitamins with his pap, are over. Fewer and fewer people take their cues from television news or the approved liberal newspapers. Alternative outlets have been growing since my days in college when my generation founded conservative newspapers to counteract the standard liberalism of the establishment. As more and more people find the Internet more convenient, liberal hegemony in the dissemination of news and discussion of public policy will diminish. And that is why Tom Das-hole is crying a river.
A Palestinian barbarian blew himself up on a crowded bus in Jerusalem this morning, killing at least 10 civilized Israelis and wounding dozens. Repeated barbaric acts like this may eventually lead Israel, which has a pretty strict internal security regime in place already, to adopt something even tighter than what South Africa practised during Apartheid, which would exclude anyone who can't prove they are a Jew from travelling in the vicinity of Jews. It would be a sad thing, but how else can you combat this terrorism? Even levelling the houses and exiling the families of the barbarians does not seem to be working. If they are intent on blowing themselves up, let them do it among themselves. But it would mean a radical restructuring of Israeli society.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
'Twas two weeks before Thanksgiving, and all around the North Shore, homeowners were putting up Christmas decorations. Now I can understand the desire to make use of the relatively clement weather to put up outdoor decorations in Novemeber. Who wants to be up on a ladder stringing lights along the top of the gutters in a December ice storm? But I have already seen numerous Christmas trees in house windows up, decorated, and lit. Yes, they are pretty, and when you use artificial trees you can have them up longer. But aren't we putting the cart before the horse? Isn't there supposed to be a holiday between Halloween and Christmas? Did we not once celebrate it as something significant in and of itself?
It used to be that the long Thanksgiving weekend was the kick-off for Christmas. Families would gather around the traditional holiday groaning board in a way that would make Norman Rockwell smile. Santa Claus would arrive at the malls and downtown on the day after Turkey Day. The North Shore Mall has had Santa Claus at his station for a week now. The malls would be jammed on the day after Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law's sister was known as an early-bird for getting her tree up and decorated about 18 hours after the pumpkin pie was sliced up.
Thanksgiving was led up to with a number of holiday specials (Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Mouse on the Mayflower etc.). There were never as many Thanksgiving specials as Christmas specials, but there was a respectable number. People left up their fall decorations and added pilgrims and turkeys to the pumpkins, Indian corn, apples, leaves, and cornstalks. People used to think about and remember the sufferings of the pilgrims and their determination to build a new society in a new world. Thanksgiving menus were designed around the model of the fare of colonial New England. And if the gathering of family for a feast to thank God for His blessings wasn't enough, there was always plenty of football to watch.
Now, the menus for many Thanksgiving dinners are, shall we say, "nontraditional," because of the presence of so many wimps who are wet on the subject of eating meat or fats. Oh, that tofu turkey is so delicious! That nondairy whipped cream on the pumpkin pie really hits the spot! And the non-alcoholic wine really complemented the all veggie feast!
Give me a break, and pass a plate of white meat with a little stuffing and real gravy.
Try to find a football game on TV on Thanksgiving Day. Oh you can sit in the stands and freeze your buns off watching the local high school. But aside from municipal bragging rights, how much satisfaction (or enjoyment) is there in watching Malden play Medford, or Peabody play Saugus? Where are the pros and colleges? Why don't they add extra games for Thanksgiving Day and weekend? Are we becoming Euroweenies yearning for a "good" soccer game? Are we no longer tough enough to appreciate a good hard-fought football game?
Thanksgiving is in serious danger of being overwhelmed by Christmas. People have long hit the stores early on the day after Thanksgiving. Most reasonable employers give their employees the day off. But now, with Internet shopping, and people shopping on Veterans Day weekend, the stores are less crowded, giving the ubiquitous TV news crews nothing to report on the "first shopping day of the Christmas season." Since Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving has become serious, Thanksgiving has become an interruption in Christmas. As time goes on, it will become as less and less notable interruption.
People are decorating for Thanksgiving less than they used to. You used to see lots of pilgrims in house windows. At A C Moore this fall, I noticed that there were plenty of Halloween gee gaws available, but very little in the way of turkeys, pilgrims, and cornucopias.
We have at least had the satisfaction of seeing the pilgrim re-enactors re-live the pilgrims' progress in Plymouth. But now they have to fight their way through a horde of "Native American" protestors (most of whom are 90% or more European since the original inhabitants of New England were largely wiped out by war and disease). Glorifying the pilgrims is unpopular, since they are dead white male-dominated Europeans. Mrs. Fitzpatrick tells me that her students come into third grade convinced that the pilgrims were giving thanks to the Indians for saving their sorry butts from starving. They have no idea that they were giving thanks to God for his blessings in establishing what John Winthrop would call the shining "City On a Hill."
So I urge people to buck trends. Put a ceramic pilgrim on your mantle. Put Indian corn on your door, and a pumpkin beside it. Don't touch those cornstalks. Don't put the lights up until after Thanksgiving Day. Start your Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Serve a real turkey (they are not hard to cook) with stuffing, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, pumpkin and mince pie. Put a little Cointreau and orange rind into the whipped cream. Ditch the pumpkin mousse, vegetable casserole, and tofu "turkey." Watch a football game, even if it has to be the Chicago Bears. Give thanks to God for His many blessings (I'm sure you can think of something). Remember the pilgrims celebrating being alive and able to worship God as they saw fit.
And save some of that turkey breast for me. I like turkey sandwiches on nice fresh white bread with a a little salt and a decent amount of Cain's mayonnaise. Yummy!
National Review On Line today features Jay Nordlinger's priceless insistence that Americans and Englishmen continue pronouncing foreign place names as they always have. I have been meaning to blog onthis topic for a long time. But with Blogger so ditzy today, I will just refer you to Nordlinger, and save my additions to his list for another time.
Today's Boston Herald carries a summary of deposition testimony from Cardinal Law on various pervert priests who have plagued the Archdiocese. Taken together, the effect is devastating. Law just says he did not know, again and again, years into his tenure as Archbishop of Boston. He never checked the secret personnel files, he said. He left it to his staff. McCormack, Banks, Daily were to blame. They didn't tell him everything. They told him everything was alright. The dog ate his homework. The buck never got to him.
Here is a long quote from the Herald article. I apologize for the length, but you really should read it through.
In addition to defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, whom Law has previously admitted to being aware of as a repeat child abuser, the clerics Law acknowledged knowing about personally were:
The late Rev. Joseph E. Birmingham, who is alleged to have molested 50 or more boys over a 29-year career at parishes in Sudbury, Salem, Lowell, Gloucester, Brighton and Lexington.
Birmingham, a seminary classmate of Bishop John B. McCormack, one of Law's former personnel subordinates and now bishop of Manchester, N.H., died in 1989.
Law reassigned him twice in the 1980s despite multiple allegations.
The Rev. Eugene J. O'Sullivan, who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a St. Agnes Church, Arlington, altar boy in 1985, yet was allowed by Law to take an assignment with the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., in which O'Sullivan worked with children.
Law admitted he was not aware of any steps by Boston to alert parishioners in New Jersey to O'Sullivan's crimes, saying of the priest ``he worked evidently well'' there.
He was recalled to the Archdiocese of Boston in 1992 and banned from serving as a priest.
The Rev. George J. Rosenkranz, who served at Blessed Sacrament Church in Saugus in the 1970s and was arrested in a public men's room in 1981 and charged with lewd conduct - charges later were dropped after church intervention.
Law said he did not remove Rosenkranz in the 1980s, letting him serve at St. John's Church in Salem until 1990, when the priest, who faces multiple suits, was put on sick leave amid abuse allegations.
The Rev. Anthony J. Rebeiro, who was placed on administrative leave from the Chelsea Soldiers' Home and Quigley Memorial Hospital in August after accusations surfaced that he sexually abused a child 30 years ago.
In March 1984, charges surfaced that Rebeiro had exposed himself and masturbated in front of a parishioner's wife while her husband was at a funeral.
Law testified the charges were ``terribly serious,'' yet wrote to the alleged victim's husband saying ``I find this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered such.''
Law claimed to have no recollection of seeing that letter sent over his signature, and stated later in the deposition he signs many ``routine'' letters without reading them.
``Did I on April the 3rd, 1984, three days into the job, read every letter that was put before me?'' he said. ``Probably not.''
The Rev. Daniel M. Graham, whom Law allowed to remain as a parochial vicar on the South Shore until mid-2002, though the priest admitted to molestation in 1988.
MacLeish asked Law why Graham, who was not supposed to ``be involved in ministry that involves minors,'' according to church's own requirements for his readmittance, was given such a post.
``Do you have any explanation?'' for the apparent special treatment of Graham, MacLeish asked.
``No, I really don't,'' Law said.
The cardinal's remarks on the six priests came at the end of his six-day deposition in the Rev. Paul R. Shanley sex abuse suit.
The words of apology come from Law again and again, but only after being caught red-handed. Meanwhile, his adminstration is still stalling the Attorney General and plaintiffs' lawyers on their demands for production of documents. I understand that the insurance company actually controls the activities of the lawyers, but this is hardly consistent with a burning desire to make a clean breast of things and set all to rights as far as is humanly possible. Words without complementary actions are meaningless and are not demonstrative of genuine contrition. As Catholic Christians we must forgive the behaviour, though it will be hard.
But forgiving does not translate into support for Law's continued tenure in office. He must go. Banks must go. Daily must go. McCormack, perhaps above all, must go. Mahony must go. Egan must go. There are many solid, orthodox parish priests, long passed over for promotion because, unlike McCormack, they did not travel with the smart set and were not marked out for promotion to bishop at an early age, who can do a more than adequate job filling the roles of bishops and cardinals who need to go.
Sadly, the only way to crowbar these episcopal miscreants out of the sees they misrule seems to be withholding money from them. Once they get the idea that they are being shunned by their own flock for their own misdeeds, perhaps they will take the honorable way out, and insist that the Holy Father accept their resignations. Maybe they can join the House of Penitents I posited last week.
A survey of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 has brought some dismal results. Only 89% could find the USA on a map. On average, the young Americans could find only 7 of 16 counties on a world map. Only one in seven could find Iraq, Israel, or Iran. Young Swedes, followed by Germans and Italians, had the best scores. Only young Mexicans scored worse on the National Geographic Society survey. The Globe has the sorry details here.
Frank Gaffney's column examining the fascinating work of an Oklahoma City investigative reporter appears at TownHall.com, and in FrontPage Magazine. Just because the CIA etc., have discounted the links, it seem to me that it would be worthwhile looking into this. Heaven knows the intelligence community has a reputation for discounting dispositive information for political reasons.
On a related note, check out Michelle Malkin's column, carried in TownHall.com, asking how many Iraqi agents in the US are getting ready to strike.
Johannes Jacobse, writing for FrontPage Magazine, discusses the meaning of the desecration of religious symbols, and why modernists just can't comprehend the harm that is done by it.
Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem has posted a link to a photo, from Catholic Tradition, Action, and Counter-Revolution (a fine site with lots of interesting links) of undoubtably the ugliest late-twentieth century church in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Trinity in Vienna. The ediface looks like something I constructed out of blocks at age 4 (wonder if I can sue the designers on some sort of intellectual property rights infringement claim). Man, that church is plug ugly. Even my recent reading of Michael Rose's Ugly As Sin (though Rose has a photo of it, too) does not prepare me to discuss everything that is wrong with it. You have to see it for yourself.
While we are there, Mark also has a number of H.L. Mencken links, in which a chap could get lost for hours.
Update: I have labored short and easy, but finally come up with a decent characterization for the Church of the Holy Trinity: Mont Saint Michel, built by an Aztec (apologies to Evelyn Waugh).
The bill that will reshuffle the federal government and create a Department of Homeland Security passed the Senate 90-9, after Democrat amendments failed 52-47. President Bush can be expected to sign the bill into law very quickly.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
The Boston Globe is publishing more transcripts of Cardinal Law's deposition testimony in the Father Shanley civil case.
The Democrat governor of Alabama has finally conceded defeat to his Republican opponent in the election held two weeks ago. Republicans now hold 26 of the 50 governorships (after a few disappointing losses in Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania). Good luck Governor Riley!
Pope John Paul II spoke out forthrightly against abortion, divorce, and mass sterilizations, and in favor of the family. He also attacked geographic uprooting as a factor leading to the deterioration of the family. He is correct. People uprooting themselves to pursue a promotion may end up making more money, but they will also have rootless children who don't really know what "home" is. It is best for society and community for individuals to stay in or near their ancestral place, but in this highly mobile nation of immigrants, the virtue of geographic stability is often forgotten. How can we develop a proper appreciation of the "Permanent Things" if we uproot ourselves every five years (that used to be the average)? While many of the things of permanence are broad concepts, a place in a community is part of that legacy we should bequeath to our heirs.
National Review On Line carries John Derbyshire's reflections on the National Question, a series of issues one can get in a great deal of trouble raising in certain quarters.
James Q. Wilson, writing in the Autumn 2002, City Journal, tells us that Islamic countries need to correctly reconcile religion and freedom before they take their place in world discourse.
Dennis Prager, appearing in TownHall.com, tells us that the antismoking nazis are upset that James Bond is smoking cigars in his latest movie. Bond has enjoyed cigars on and off throughout the franchise. And rightly so.
The health concerns are overstated if one enjoys premium cigars with due care and in limited numbers (just as with alcohol). I took advantage of some Indian Summer-like weather on Friday to enjoy the the post-election victory cigar I promised myself (a Dunhill Samnana with a disappointingly tight draw), though it was my first in 6 weeks. You see, cigar smoke, unlike cigarette smoke, is not inhaled directly into the lungs. The only way you inhale it in more than minimal amounts is smoking indoors, especially in a room with other cigar smokers. I attended a few cigar dinners years ago (200 guys in a function room each smoking 1-3 cigars). I now do my cigar smoking outside in very clement weather (April-Novemeber, basically) at a rate of at most 1 per month. My wife prefers it that way. And it doesn't threaten my health in any significant way.
Smoking a cigar is an opportunity to get away from it all for an hour or so. It promotes contemplation and relaxation. It is a celebration of the good life. Cigars and James Bond are a natural combination. It is ridiculous for the anti-smoking people to get their knickers all twisted by it.
The GOP is making a full-court press to take the Lousiana Senate seat held by Democrat Mary Landrieu. Vice President Cheney was campaigning down there for Suzanne Haik Terrell yesterday. Landrieu is having trouble with the black community, which thinks she has neglected them. Polls show Landrieu leading, but a few appearances by President Bush, Rudy Guiliani, or John McCain could swing the balance.
Just when you thought that it was safe to say that the current Congres had done its work (the House has recessed), the intransigence of the Senate's Democrat leadership on the Homeland Security Department threatens to bring the House back, and keep the Senate in session.
But his defense of free speech norms against a Harvard Law committee's proposal for a code that would ban certain speech deemed offensive finds us on the same side. It is pretty clear where the efforts of thought police like this group are headed. It is inadequate to say that it would stifle academic inquiry. It would be an oppressive burden on free speech.
In college, I helped found and eventually became editor of Boston College's conservative newspaper. I was also involved in the founding of the Pro-Life group. At B.C. Law School, I founded a Federalist Society chapter and was the outspoken conservative in all my classes. So I know a fair amount about the ability of the conservative minority to express its views on campus. While I have always believed that it is preferable to put forward conservative views without recourse to abusive expressions (unless fully justified by outrageous activity on the part of the subject), some don't quite judge the circumstances correctly and cross the line.
Famously, my collegues at the Dartmouth Review (I think the now-famous pundit Laura Ingraham was editor then) mocked ghetto speech. The fire storm that created almost closed down the Review. My own paper, after my tenure as editor, responded to the formation of the Women's Club at BC with ads for the "Gentleman's Club." That controversy made the regional newspapers, though it was a tempest in a teapot compared to the activities of the Dartmouth Review.
Make no mistake: this is not just an effort to remove the "N-word" from acceptable discourse at Harvard Law. This is an effort aimed at making it impossible to express conservative views on a range of issues including "affirmative action," forced integration, immigration, a "constitutional right" to welfare,housing and medical care, English as the national language, search-and-seizure, church/state relations, sodomy, abortion, federalism, states' rights, the role of the federal judiciary in society, and the doctrine of original intent. The desire is to sweep conservative arguments "outside the mainstream" and put them beyond the pale of "civilized discourse".
It is interesting to note that Dershowitz' defense of common sense and free expression was attacked by Randall Kennedy, resident commissar of the Harvard Law faculty. Though the sentiment on campus, including that of the Dean, seems to be against such a code, it will be drafted nevertheless. Let us hope that the Harvard Law community heeds Dershowitz' warning on this matter.
After the student was not able to cite an example of offensive language that could be censured in a speech code, Dershowitz said of the proposal: ''That's like asking someone to first vote for censorship, and then figure out later what is censored. With all due respect, I find that statement unhelpful.''
Taking a leap of faith into the arms of censorship could only be justified by extreme provocation. That level of provocation is very far from what exists at the Harvard Law School today.
A federal District Court judge has ordered the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to remove a 5,300 lb granite monument to the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court's property, holding that the monument serves a religious purpose exclusively. The lefties at the Globe, the New York Times, NPR and the ACLU are cheering. The Ten Commandmentes are the root of all law in Christendom. Presumably, the Code of Hammurabi would pass muster with the federal court, though it has little to do with Western law (and had religious significance for the Babylonians). But if the symbol is remotely Judeo-Christian, out it must go from public property.
It goes without saying that the federal courts have developed entirely too restrictive a reading of the doctrine of separation of church and state. A minimal approach is more consistent with the views of the founders (except maybe Jefferson, but he was not one of the framers of the Constitution). More dangerous is the application of the First Amendment to the states in a rigid and inflexible manner.
You will notice that the First Amendment says, "Congress will make no law," leaving the states free to make what laws they wished. That was the rule in the early republic, with no ill effects on human freedom. In fact, Massachusetts had an established Congregational Church until the 1830s. When the official relationship between Massachusetts and Congregationalism was abandoned, it was not because anyone thought the federal constitution prohibited it. It was merely that Unitarianism and other protestant sects (along with the nascent Catholic Church) were growing in influence in Massachusetts.
Long after the Civil War, in fact early in the last century, the liberties granted against the federal government in the Bill of Rights were "incorporated" against the states as well through some alchemy with the Fourteenth Amendment (the same process that brought us Roe v. Wade and its progeny). The first cases the Supreme Court considered on this matter (the Slaughterhouse Cases) held differently, but they were implicitly overturned by a later Supreme Court less respectful of the Tenth Amendment and the rights and duties of the state governments.
Thus a new federal constitutional "right" to be free from religious establishment by the states was created. At the same time, the interpretations of the federal courts about what constituted an establishment of religion (by either the state or federal government) expanded far beyond what the framers had envisioned. Thus, we have the perennial battles over creches or menorahs, Christmas trees and Santa Claus in public places with the ACLU and other liberal legal organizations (with the exception of the Federalist Society and some few similar institutes, "liberal legal organization" is a redundancy) acting as shock troops in the effort to rid modern public culture of any Christian symbols.
And governments are not the only ones feeling constrained. The North Shore Shopping Center (now the North Shore Mall) used to display a lovely large (almost life-size) nativity in one of its courts. I haven't seen it in 12 years or more. I once called the mall's office to inquire why it was no longer set up. I was told that separation of church and state made it no longer possible to set up the display. Now I was puzzled by this, and still am. The Mall, it is true, operates under a number of local permits and licenses. But it is a private entity. The area the mall is located in is heavily (75% or more) Catholic and Orthodox, but with a large (10% or more) Jewish population. If the Mall was concerned with offending its Jewish customers, couldn't that be taken care of with a Menorah given prominence during Hannakkah? That is what the local Stop & Shop and my bank do (though I don't remember any nativities, just secular Christmas decorations and a menorah). So a mistaken application of a doctrine that on its face only applies to government entities (or commerical timidity in the face of modern de-constructionism) has ended a lovely tradition.
The Kulturkampf of the federal courts on society continues. With the enthusiasm of Jacobins and Bolsheviks, they are tearing at the fabric of society and eagerly pulling down all the decent drapery of life. The cake of custom has been broken (smashed) time and again by the robed Druids who consider themselves the "guardians of civil liberties." Gone are the complacent days when Ike could say that all Americans should hold some sincere religious beliefs, and that our system made no sense without a religious under-pinning. Now the courts are ruthlessly enforcing a purge of religion from the public square.
In the past, when the courts have taken society into places where the national majority did not wish to go, they have been met with the basic weakness of the judiciary, its reliance on the executive branch to enforce its decrees. Andrew Jackson's famous reaction rings out to later generations: "The court has made its decision, now let's see them enforce it, for I will not." Sadly, the national and local executive has not evidenced a salutary disregard for hair-splitting nonsense from the courts on these matters. When the courts find that they cannot make good on their policy preferences, they have had the common sense to back-track, though it takes a generation for them to both save face and restore public confidence in them.
The courts got a nasty shock from the public outry over the Pledge of Allegience ruling of the Ninth Circuit panel. More adverse public reaction to the courts' church/state holdings may have a similar effect. If the courts make themselves political actors, they can be expected to be treated as such. Though the recent election results spell an eventual return to common sense from the judiciary, expect a filibuster of every Appeals Court and Supreme Court nomination from President Bush. And while the Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate, they don't have 60 votes for cloture.
Actor James Coburn died last night at the age of 74. He will be remembered for roles in Our Man Flint, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Last of Sheila, Affliction (for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor), and Maverick. He even did a narration as part of one version of Paul McCartney & Wings' Band On the Run. He overcame severe arthritis which kept him away from the camera for most of the 1980s, to make a comeback in the 1990s. Requiescat in pace.
Monday, November 18, 2002
George Weigel's William Simon Lecture on Moral Clarity In A Time of War is available from the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Rod Dreher, writing in National Review On Line, disposes of the Rapture clap trap which is very popular among some protestant groups, and has even taken in some ignorant Catholics.
Turkish authorities interrogating the Palestinian who tried to hijack the El Al flight yesterday report that he intended to crash the jet into a tall building in Tel Aviv.
Monkey see, monkey do, or is it more than that? Is there a deeper unity of purpose and tactic beyond mere imitation? I have been referring to the Palestianians as al Qaeda's allies for some time. Forget Arafat's crocodile tears over September 11th. Remember the cheering in the Palestianian camps that day. It is what they truly think. Now they want to bring the same sort of terror to Israel.
A history of Michael Jackson's face. I'm old enough to remember him as the little kid of the Jackson Five. As the link tells us, only in America can you be born a cute, talented black boy, and end up as an ugly white girl.
Republican Senator Sam Brownback (KS), a recent Catholic convert, will submit a bill in the next Congress intended to ban all human cloning. A similar bill passed the House in the last Congress, but was stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate. EWTN carries Catholic World News' brief here.
Pope John Paul II strongly condemned the Palestinain murder of 12 Israelis in Hebron as they were returning from worshipping at the Tomb of the Patriarch. Zenit has details here.
Anti-Catholic state consitutional amendments proscribing state aid to parochial schools are being challenged in light of the recent US Supreme Court Zelman case by the Institute for justice and other groups. The Globe provides some highly biased anti-voucher coverage here.
The likely appointment of Andrea Cabral as Sheriff of Suffolk County (essentially the City of Boston) is drawing fire from the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts because Cabral prosecuted a priest for blockading an abortion clinic, and then challenged Catholic potential jurors. The Boston Herald has more details.
Medical science has made it official. According to this story in the Boston Globe, married couples tend to suffer the same ailments. It all makes sense to this commentator, who tends to catch the same bugs Mrs. Fitzpatrick gets. Does it really surprise any married people?
A letter apparently from al Qaeda is spelling out that organization's terms for peace with the US. We must all submit to Islam and stop supporting Israel. Is that all? What generous terms al Qaeda is offering! Is President Bush supposed to take the lead in the mass conversion of the USA? Will they be appointing ayatollahs to run things here in the United Islamic Republic of America?
Our terms, of course are a little different. All al Qaeda operatives around the world must be permanently brought to room temperature, the sooner the better. Then we don't care who they support.
Sunday, November 17, 2002
Three North African members of an al Qaeda-linked group planning to release cyanide gas into the London subway system were arrested after their cell was infiltrated. Cyanide released into the Tube could have killed thousands.
Meanwhile, Kuwait is confirming the arrest of an al Qaeda leader who was plotting to blow up a hotel in Yemen that regularly houses Americans.
And security guards overpowered a knife-wielding hijacker aboard an El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul. No passengers were harmed.
Nice work in all three cases. May security forces detect and foil all of al Qaeda's plots (and the plots of its allies and associates) before they can harm anyone.
The Globe reports that Maine National Guard military police units are being mobilized for transport to the Persian Gulf theatre.
God speed and protect them from harm as they preserve our freedoms and way of life.
The Archdiocese of Boston will file suit against the Travellers Insurance Company, seeking declaratory relief, in the form of a judgment that the $65 million in insurance coverage is available to compensate victims. The Travellers has been fighting the Archdiocese over paying up.
Just when you think the Scandal is going to give you a peaceful day...
The Diocese of Burlington, Vermont has announced that it will no longer report instances of abuse to civil authorities first, but will create its own cover-up, ooops, investigation, first. These guys are beginning to sense that the heat is off, and are starting to revert to old patterns.
Laity, of course, have the power to render all of this moot. Just report abuse first to the DA, and the local press, and your own lawyer. Let the Church find out about it when the DA has the alleged pervert brought out of the rectory in chains. Then let them react. Sex abuse is a crime and a violation of the bodies and lives of children. Catholics should stop trying to treat these things "within the Catholic family." I doubt any Catholic with as many as two active brain cells would think of letting the Church handle these issues from now on. If they can cover it up, they will. If the matter is not brought first to the attention of the civil authorities, they have an opportunity to hush it up. And the sin will continue. And others will be abused.
In an interview with the Manchester Union Leader, discussed here in the Boston Globe, Bishop John McCormack of New Hampshire said he does not think the Church should preclude homosexuals from the priesthood. Since McCormack has been covering up for and enabling homosexuals preying upon young boys since the 1960s, it is not really much of a surprise that he thinks the priesthood should continue to be haunted by a gay mafia. McCormack, it should be remembered, was already aiding and abetting Father Birmingham in his depredations on young boys here in Salem shortly after his graduation from the seminary. And McCormack is the one who smoothed things over for Paul Shanley, and even stayed at the gay B&B Shanley set up in California.
The most laughable part of the interview is where he says he does not think that the Church has ever knowlingly ordained an active homosexual. Really? So the fact that seminarians, some of whom later became priests, were hitting the local gay bars, sometimes in company with seminary faculty and formation personnel, as recounted by witnesses in Michael Rose's Goodbye, Good Men, does not equal actual knowledge of an active homosexual lifestyle. The fact that John Geoghan was in trouble while in seminary, but was ordained anyway because his monsignor uncle intervened, does not equal actual knowledge.
It is a good thing that the policy on homosexuals being admitted to the seminary is being set in Rome, and not here in the US, by McCormack and his collegues.
I didn't have time to blog yesterday, as we spent the day at the malls. We like to have our Christmas presents that will need to be shipped out to the West Coast purchased by Thanksgiving, so they can go out within a day or two of the start of the Christmas mailing season. We are about 75% done with that. Our household present shopping is nearly 20% done. We are about half done with buying decorations, cards, candles, music, videos, and other things that make the holidays more enjoyable. Thanksgiving shopping itself is about 10% complete. My wife writes actual individualized letters that go out with the Christmas cards, so she will be starting with that soon. Lists of what we need for holiday baking are being made, and checked twice.
We are having a rainy, dreary, typically Novemberish sort of day. With Gregorian chant playing on the stereo, the leaves now all stripped off the trees in front of our windows, the windows themselves steamed-up for the first time this season, and fragrant cooking smells wafting up to the study, the calm and comfort of late fall/early winter is settling over us.
At this season, the Church, too, is preparing for the end of it's liturgical year. Christ the King is next Sunday. The Sunday after that, Advent begins. The theme for the last few weeks' Sunday Liturgies of the Word has been watchfulness, and readiness. In the Psalm today, we were reminded of the rewards of a faithful life. There is much to be done in preparation for the coming of the Lord. Don't let the secular preparations overshadow the spiritual ones. But we will hear much more about that during Advent.
More than likely by Moslems, since they make up the majority of the population where this took place. Once again, where Islam and other religions come into contact, violence ensues. It is not true of Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism. But violent efforts to destroy the symbols, and often enough the worshippers, of different faiths seem to blossom wherever Islam intersects with any other faith. That tells us something we need to admit about the nature of a too-large percentage of the adherents of Islam.
What we need to do is to design a "hearts and minds" campaign to counteract this tendency and undermine it from within (Rush Limbaugh would say, export liberalism into Islamic teaching in order to undrmine Islam, but that isn't quite what I have in mind-more like just undermining Islamic fundamentalism). In the meantime, the contagion needs to be isolated and sealed off from contact with our own culture and people as much as possible. That requires the State Department to actually be pro-active rather than merely feebly reactive.