Saturday, February 08, 2003

Anchorage Archbishop Failed To Protect Abuse Victims From Predatory Priest
Retired Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley admitted today to the Anchorage Daily News that he continued to utilize the services of a priest he knew had abused at least one young man. In fact, the news story indicates that the Anchorage Police had an extensive file on Monsignor Francis Murphy. I tend to doubt that Hurley was unaware of the many instances of abuse on file with the Anchorage Police Department. In fact, statements from the Anchorage Police Department and Archbishop Hurley quoted in the article regarding Hurley's knowledge of the investigation of Murphy are directly contradictory.

Anchorage police, in a 1985 report to authorities in Massachusetts, accused Murphy of collecting pornography and abusing transient boys, according to documents in the Boston case. Police said in their report that Hurley was aware of their allegations.

Murphy was transferred out of Alaska in 1986 after undergoing alcohol treatment and moved to Massachusetts, Hurley said. Anchorage police had asked Hurley about the priest, but Hurley said he wasn't aware of an investigation when he sent him to five months of alcohol counseling.

As we have seen in Boston, when a priest ran afoul of the police in any matter relating to sexual abuse, the Archdiocese was immediately notified. The Boston files indicate that on several occasions chancery officials had to act as go-betweens and in some cases posted bail. While Anchorage police may not have had the same cozy relationship with the Archdiocese of Anchorage that Boston area police departments had with the Archdiocese of Boston, it is hard to believe that the police would not have contacted Murphy's superiors at some point in any of the investigations.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick recalls when Monsignor Murphy was sent away from Anchorage. The official line was that he left for alcohol treatment, but some of his parishioners knew of the molestation accusations and made it clear to any who asked, that that was the real reason behind his departure.

Hurley displays the same flawed approach and deep-seated denial of the nature of the problem that we have seen in Cardinal Law and Bishop McCormack.

Hurley said he believes priests who are guilty of sex abuse can be reformed and still work in a limited position in the church.

But he said the church does not shuffle priests around. Church officials give them a job, and they are carefully assigned if they go to another archdiocese.

Aside from assigning priests with a history of sex abuse to remote monasteries where they would have no possibility of contact with minors, ever, there is no appropriate role in the Church for pervert priests. In civil courts across the country, we are seeing that sex offenders who are labeled sexually dangerous are more and more being given open-ended civil commitments to psychiatric institutions after they serve their criminal sentences. The state of our society's knowledge about sexual predators indicates that they are not able to be rehabilitated. "Once a pervert, always a pervert," seems to be the rule. The Church cannot take the risk of employing them in any capacity in which they would have, even on their days off, any possibility of contact with minors. Christian forgiveness is one thing. Putting Catholic families at undue risk from perverts is quite another.

It may be true now, due to reforms, that accused priests are carefully assigned if they go to another archdiocese, but it certainly wasn't the case at the time Monsignor Murphy was shuffled from parish to parish, and diocese to diocese. And what of retired priests? Although Monsignor Murphy was not working in a Catholic school, (as a retired priest) until yesterday he had been working for 3 1/2 weeks with at-risk teens in a counseling program in rural New Mexico. It's shocking that Murphy was allowed to work with at-risk teens given his background. There should have been huge red flags for any employer considering him for such a position.

As you can see, small dioceses can have problems with pervert priests also. The Archdiocese of Anchorage has 26 active priests for less than 30 parishes. And yet, there are at least two priests with a history of abuse allegations who have served in Anchorage. As a percentage, I think that exceeds Boston's percentage. It should be noted, however, that both of these accused priests came to Anchorage on loan from other dioceses (one of which was Boston).

The key is episcopal leadership. If the bishop refuses to tolerate this sort of behavior from his priests there will be fewer attacks on children by clergymen. If, on the other hand, the bishops pardon the offender again and again, and assign him to one parish after another, or even to another diocese as in the case of Murphy and Shanley, the number of victims will multiply.

Well, That Was Unexpected
As you may have heard, the 3-4 inches of snow Boston was supposed to get turned into a foot of light fluffy snow. Meteorologists have been excusing themselves by claiming that a pocket of colder, drier air made the snow very puffy. Thus the half inch of precipitation that fell, instead of topping out at 5 inches, became a foot. I'll let them off the hook this time.

Friday, February 07, 2003

We Are Going To Orange Level Alert Today
The official announcement will be in about an hour.

Those Funny Marines
Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough have obtained a copy of a parody set of rules of engagement being passed around the US Marine Corps. Actually, some of the advice is quite sensible for men in a war zone.

Among the 24 rules are such gems as, No. 1: "Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns," and, No. 2, "Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive."

Rule No. 7 is: "In 10 years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived." And No. 8: "If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading and running."

Rule No. 10 addresses a worst-case scenario: "Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty." And No. 11: "Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose."

As for prisoners, the rule is: Be careful. No 18: "Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them)."

And advice for warriors in combat, Nos. 21 and 22: "Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one."

In a dig at other services, the Marines offer this: "U.S. Navy rules: 1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture. 2. Send the Marines. 3. Drink Coffee."

Army rules: "Show up after fight to provide security and help hand out food to all of the displaced civilians."

Air Force rules: "Watch this all on cable in a BOQ [Bachelor Officers´ Quarters] while drinking a beer."

North Korea Trying To Divert US Attention From Ally Iraq

Complaints By Female Victims Ignored Also
Plaintiffs' lawyers made public six priest personnel files involving assault or inappropriate touching of young girls. In none of the cases was any serious action taken by the Archdiocese. Given the fact that 85% of the sex abuse nationwide (and apparently 90-95% of it here in Boston) was directed at boys there was probably something of a credibility problem. "Our priests? Going after teenage girls? Can't be."

But seriously, it is not surprising that the Archdiocese has shown the same poor reflexes in dealing with complaints by women as it has in complaints from men. When crimes commited by priests are treated as sins, something to confess and seek counseling for, rather than as crimes to be reported to authorities and prosecuted, that sort of reaction crosses the gender line.

The Globe, of course, tries to deflect our attention from the preponderant nature of the underlying conduct in the vast majority of cases by saying women are more reluctant to come forward than men. Women in general are more reluctant to make a public show of intimate and perhaps shameful details of their lives than men? I don't think so. Who is in the audience and among the guests on Oprah, Jerry Springer, etc? Isn't it men and women equally? Don't they routinely discuss intimate and shameful details about their lives? The Globe is just trying to carry water for the homosexual movement, which is desperate to prevent the priest sex abuse problem from being seen as a preponderantly homosexual problem (because if that is the conclusion, the resolution is clear: ban homosexuals from the seminary for the future).

And of course, even on a day that was intended to highlight sex abuse of women, we have the omnipresent homosexual conduct as well:

The records show that church officials returned the Rev. Paul P. Rynne to ministry in Brockton 15 months after he was accused of making lewd advances to a teenage boy in 1986, when Rynne was pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in Manomet.

The April 1986 allegation forced Rynne's resignation from St. Bonaventure and his assessment at an inpatient treatment center, where church officials sought ''reasonable assurance that he will be able to be assigned to parish ministry without undue risk.''

And in July 1987 he was. Cardinal Law named him parochial vicar at St. Margaret Church in Brockton. While there, Rynne faced another allegation in 1994, and was forced from public ministry. He retired in August of that year, and died at age 70 in 2001.

The number of Boston priests, living and dead, active and inactive, accused of sexual abuse currently stands at 135, but that may not be all of them.

The Homeland Security Department Is Considering Going To the Next Highest Level of Alert

Thursday, February 06, 2003

25th Anniversary of the Blizzard of '78
Twenty-seven inches of snow, with drifts up to 6 feet high. Winds at hurricane strength. A record storm surge that caused extensive coastal flooding and the loss of several houses in Scituate and elsewhere. Hundreds of cars stopped dead in their tracks and buried under feet of snow on Route 128, Boston's inner beltway. A week-long state of emergency with traffic banned from the roads and most businesses closed. As an eighth grader, a week off from school. It took three days of determined effort to dig out. We didn't see a plow for five days. And then it was heavy construction equipment. We didn't lose electricity, or heat. I remember walking across an abandoned US Route 1 to get to a Cumberland Farms with my Dad for groceries. The 27 inches of snow was noticeable because less than 10 days before, we had endured a 21-inch storm, the results of which were still mostly on the ground.

One of the lasting legacies of the blizzard is "panic shopping" at the first word of an approaching snow storm. We hearty New Englanders used to take snow storms in our stride. But the prospect of being without bread, milk, baby food, etc. now has us clearing off the shelves of the nearest supermarket at the merest mention of snow. We are getting 3-4 inches tomorrow. I'd better buy a month's supply of candles and batteries.

The Globe has more details here.

Liberating US Policy
At National Review On Line, Mark Levin says it is time to start ignoring the UN.

Also In the Latest Crisis
Father James Schall, S.J. asks, "how can we make disciples of all nations if they are determined to not listen?".

Is Modern Culture A Barren Fig Tree?
Father George Rutler in the latest issue of Crisis thinks so. I tend to agree.

Take the Which Cartoon Dog Are You? Quiz.
Mr. Peabody

A Sinking Sense of the End of Things
National Review On Line's John Derbyshire can't help being gloomy, inspired this time by a piece of Paul Johnson's that appeared December 7th.

A Tale of Two Headlines
Last night a pregnant woman was shot at an MBTA station in Boston. Her baby died as a result of the gunshot wound.

This is the Boston Herald's headline: MBTA Gunman Kills Woman's Unborn Baby

This is the Boston Globe's headline: Passenger Shot, Her Fetus Dies As Men Clash On T

The difference has been pointed out before. But it is illustrative of the relentless political correctness and liberalism of the Globe that the child is called just a "fetus" in its story, but an "unborn baby" in the Herald's (for the record, the Herald is by no means vigorously pro-life). But the Globe is vigorously pro-abortion. Abortion is, as Rush Limbaugh told us a decade ago, the sacrament of the religion of feminism. The Globe would not dare offend feminists by calling a baby a baby. I'm surprised the child wasn't called a "reproductive tissue mass."

Ronald Reagan: The Man Who Saved America
America's greatest president of the late twentieth century, Ronald Reagan, is celebrating his 92nd birthday today. Perhaps, given his current status, "celebrating" is not quite the right word. But we Americans who are the beneficiaries of his policies can celebrate the man and his achievements.

To put it as succinctly as I can, he saved America. His economic policy of cutting taxes and regulation paved the way for unprecedented prosperity from 1983-2000. His determination to check the expansionist Soviet Union at every step, his re-building of the US armed forces not only overtaxed the Soviet Union, but gave us the muscle to easily win the Persian Gulf War. His judicial appointments prevented, at least until Bill Clinton got into the Oval Office, the federal judiciary from becoming a complete tyranny overturning the acts of democratically elected legislatures at will. Perhaps most importantly, he came to the White House at a time when the American people were still reeling from Watergate, Vietnam, and the failure of the Keynesian economic policies of the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations, and revived a faltering American Spirit. He made patriotism popular again. He made us feel good again about being citizens of the greatest republic in the world and reminded us of John Winthrop's vision of a City On a Hill.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of that great man. We all know his story (if not, check it out at the Reagan Foundation's website).

For a more in-depth treatment, read When Character Was King by Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. It is available at most book stores or through the Conservative Book Club at the link above. Peter Schweizer also has a new book out called Reagan's War, detailing Reagan's struggle against Marxism.

America owes Ronald Reagan a tremendous debt for his inspired leadership. He is the man who saved America. God bless him.

Reagan's Foresight
John B. Roberts II, writing in the Washington Times, tells us that decisions Ronald Reagan made 15 years ago regarding the space program are keeping the loss of the Columbia from being a national security disaster.

Samuel McIntire: The Man Who Built Salem
For the most part, only people who live in Salem, or make a close study of early American architecture are familiar with Samuel McIntire. But he was the foremost Federalist-style architect (he called himself a "house-wright") and wood carver outside of Boston. Indeed, looking at their surviving work, it is difficult to say who was the more talented, McIntire or Bulfinch. He was the son of a house wright, and apprenticed with his father, along with his brothers. His father may have built in 1759 the oldest brick house in Salem, the first home (a wedding present from his merchant father, Captain Richard Derby) of the man who would become America's first millionaire, Elias Haskett Derby.

Even before the Revolutionary War was over, young Samuel was producing elegant homes for Salem's new mercantile elite. His first works were heavy and awkward adaptations of the Robert Adam style to American conditions, like the Pierce-Johnnot-Nichols House (1780) on Federal Street. But shortly he had developed a lighter touch, as seen in the Ward House (1783) on Washington Street (allegedly the most haunted house in Salem, and where George Washington spent the night on a visit to Salem in 1789) and in a house built for Elias Haskett Derby next door to the existing Derby House , called the Hawkes House in 1782 on Derby Street.

And McIntire's taste and talent grew from there. The fullest expression is the Gardiner-White-Pingree House (1805) on Essex Street, across from another example of his best, the Gideon Tucker House (1804). The GWP House is cited in most textbooks as the most refined expression of the Federal style of architecture and interior design. It is open as a house-museum run by the PeabodyEssex Museum. Hamilton Hall (1805) on Chestnut Street, at least three houses on Salem Common, the old Crowninshield House on Derby Street, and several of the earliest houses on Chestnut Street are his.

McIntire was patronized by the Derby Family extensively. Aside from building the Hawkes House for Derby (Derby never lived in it, but used it as a warehouse for his privateers, and then sold it to one of his captains), he remodeled an existing house on the corner of Washington and Lynde for him. He remodeled Derby's farm in present-day Peabody and built a beautiful summer house there, now on the grounds of Glen Magna in Danvers.

Mrs. Derby grew tired of the house at Washington and Lynde, and commissioned McIntire to build a new house between Essex and Front Streets on the site of the current Old City Hall. He finished what was probably the finest example of Federalist architecture in New England in 1799, just months before Mrs. Derby died (followed just six months later by Elias Haskett himself at the age of 60). But the patronage of the Derby family did not end there. He built houses that are no longer standing for one of Derby's sons in the area ravaged by the Great Salem Fire of 1914, and for Derby's daughter (Oak Hill) on the present site of the North Shore Mall in Peabody, a few hundred yards down the road from her father's farm. Several rooms from Oak Hill are preserved at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

But McIntire also built great public buildings. I have already mentioned Hamilton Hall, essentially the Federalist-era equivalent of a function room. The building we live in was built as a Custom House for the US government by McIntire in 1805 (and features one of the few Palladian windows McIntire utilized (others were at Oak Hill and at Waltham). At one point, more than 5% of the total revenue of the US government was generated in this building. He built a commercial block almost identical to our building, but no longer standing, on the corner of Washington and Essex Streets. He built a school, no loner standing, on Federal Street. He built the old Tabernacle Congregational Church (the new one was built in the 1920s along very similar lines) on Washington Street. He built a new church for Salem's First Church congregation on Chestnut Street. Unfortunately it burned in a spectacular fire in 1911.

If his architecture was the epitome of refined good taste, his wood carvings somehow managed to surpass even that standard. His most familiar motif was the sheaf of wheat, which appeared on the sides of many a mantle-piece here in Salem. He carved the federal eagle for the entry-way of our building (the original is in the PeabodyEssex Museum down the street). Delicate moldings, mantlepieces, arches, doorways, staircases, entryways, even plaster ceilings, all bore the marks of his exceptional skill. He even carved the figureheads of some ships. He even turned out some fine Federal style furniture.

McIntire died before he could execute many of the numerous commissions he had been given for the new development on Chestnut Street, soon to be the homes of merchants and sea captains. But his brothers were longer lived, and his son worked in the trade as well. Therefore, Chestnut Street, which the tourist guides will tell you is considered the best-designed and most architecturally harmonious street in the United States bears the McIntire stamp. There generations of Salem Brahmin families grew up. Some still live there part-time.

Read a brief biography of McIntire by Salem historian Jim McAllister here. Do follow the links, especially the ones relating to the federal mansions, and Salem Common. The PeabodyEssex Museum also has some part of a site dedicated to the Gardner-White-Pingree House.

Samuel McIntire died on February 6, 1811, and was, according to the diary of Rev. William Bentley, greatly mourned in Salem. With good reason. He was the man who built Salem.

Morning Round-Up
On the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Richard Rahn offers a convincing explanation of Europe's economic woes. I have always respected Rahn's work. This brief column is excellent on what not to do to economic policy.

Also in the Washington Times, James Hackett amplifies what Colin Powell told the UN yesterday about the shell game Iraq is playing with banned weapons. His source: an interview with an unknown Iraqi officer.

OK, I don't normally link to a leftist's writings with any motive other than to inspire ridicule. But Christopher Hitchens today has an excellent column on the venality of the French government regarding Iraq. It was originally written for the Wall Street Journal, but is available today at FrontPage Magazine.

Ann Coulter, in a piece for FrontPage Magazine, gores and tosses aside the bloodied remains of the left's latest excuse for not going to war with Iraq, the Columbia disaster. Lord bless Ann. If she didn't exist, she would have to be invented.

Also at FrontPage Magazine, Michael Radu looks at the mess that is now South Africa.

And over at TownHall.com:

Praise for Colin Powell's presentation from George Will, who warns about overlooking the capacity of determined opponents to ignore it.

Paul Greenberg points out that, after Powell's presentation, it is time to act, or the UN will become our time's League of Nations.

Cal Thomas says only the "duped, the dumb, and the desperate" could ignore Powell's presentation.

Larry Elder points out that "New Europe" stands with us (and he wrote before the Vilnius Group, as reported in a link below by the estimable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, took action).

Larry Kudlow points out that the markets are suffering not from fear that we will take on Saddam militarily, but from uncertainly over the issue. Our financial markets have long been suffering under the fog of war. They would vastly prefer that the United States and its allies implement regime change and disarmament in Iraq sooner rather than later. Instead of fearing war, markets have been greatly concerned over the delay of war. I have seen at least 4 times in the last 30 days this standing head at close-of-trading: "Markets Lower On War Fears." Such a head is misleading, to say the least. Kudlow is right, the markets surged on Powell's speech, and sank on the shilly-shallying of France, Russia, China, Germany, etc.

Bob Tyrell takes the time to note the political gifts of George W. Bush, and compare them to the president we honor especially today, Ronald Reagan.

Haloscan Is Still Having Troubles
It erased comments left yesterday (including a huge 160+ comment string over at Mark Shea's) sometime during the night. My apologies to those whose comments were lost.

Ten More European Countries Back US
That brings the total to 19. While the Vilnius Group have little to offer militarily, moral support is welcome, too. More importantly, it isolates France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium further.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The Boston Herald Has A Different Take On the Doherty Matter
According to the Herald, Cardinal Law connived at ordaining Doherty in North Carolina, by suggesting that the local bishop just wait until the 5-year residency requirement kicked in. It was only objections from Bishop Lennon that prevented Doherty's ordination. This directly contradicts what the AP report carried in the Globe early today said.

Comments Are Back
But Haloscan seems to have erased all of them. We'll see if it is permanent.

Fox News Has Some Interesting Information
Fox News has some interesting information on the balance of forces between the US and Iraq (follow links on the right of the main news story), though it lacks informaiton on US forces in the theater, which is much more difficult to get now than it was in 1991. It is good basic information for those coming to this cold.

A Masterful Presentation
I only listened on the radio while working, but my impression of Secretary of State Powell's UN Security Council presentation was that it was compelling. It is, in essence, the US brief for war. There was more he could have said about Iraq and terrorism, the meeting between Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent confirmed by Czech intelligence, the undisputed presence of Abu Nidal in Baghdad, the recent reports of the presence of Abu Abbas in Baghdad.

The information on WMD was detailed and compelling. WMD are being hidden in Iraq. I fully expect that they will be used in the coming war. Historically, the use of such weapons is not decisive, but merely adds to the casualty list without having any significant effect on the outcome of the battle.

But that is on the battlefield. What if such weapons are loosed on a civilian population, essentially opening up another front? That is where the links to terrorism come in. Saddam's regime itself can't launch a missile with an NBC warhead and hit anyplace other than Israel or the Gulf states. But of course, his agents could smuggle a weapon into the US or any place in Europe or Asia through use of the diplomatic pouch. And Saddam could keep his fingerprints off the attack by making use of terrorist networks to smuggle such weapons into the US and launch the attack.

We can't take this risk. If the weapons are here or in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, or Tokyo already, they will be used eventually, whether we attack Iraq or not. We must efface from the earth the Iraqi regime so that it cannot lend further support to the terrorists, or position itself to make such an attack itself.

We can't wait for a smoking gun. That smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud or massive chemical or biological contamination of Washington D.C., New York City, or Los Angeles. The time to act has come, whether the UN agrees or not.

I Think It Is A Haloscan Problem
Other Haloscan users don't have comments this morning either.

OK, The Associated Press Has Some Information
This time, Cardinal Law comes off relatively well. he at least warned the diocese he was transferring Father Picardi to about the sex charges. There was even an effort to de-frock this guy, though the Vatican inexplicably squelched it.

Documents show Phoenix Bishop Thomas D. O'Brien allowed the Rev. John M. Picardi Jr. to transfer from Boston after being personally warned by Boston Cardinal Bernard F. Law about sexual allegations involving him.

Despite efforts in the 1990s to defrock Picardi by a Boston archdiocese review board, the priest appealed to the Vatican and in 1997 was cleared to continue his ministries.

Picardi admitted to Boston church officials that he had raped a 29-year-old man, but he was allowed to resume parish work in New Jersey, where he was later accused of putting his hand on the buttocks of a 5th grade girl, according to the documents. Tuesday, Picardi, now serving as a parish priest in Flagstaff, was placed on paid administrative leave.

And this one I'll have to tell Mrs. Fitz about. There are so few priests in Anchorage, she may well have known this one.

In another case, records dating back decades on the Rev. Francis A. Murphy indicate the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, was aware of an extraordinarily graphic catalogue of allegations gathered against Murphy by police in Anchorage.

Murphy, a Boston-area priest who had worked as a missionary in Alaska, underwent alcohol treatment and returned to Massachusetts, apparently in 1986, where he was eventually allowed to work in hospital ministry at Holy Family in Methuen in 1988.

Another allegation surfaced in 1994, and in 1995, Law insisted that he no longer be allowed to perform ministerial duties, despite apparent reluctance from an archdiocese board.

In 1985, Anchorage police sent a report to their counterparts in Belmont, Mass., that accused Murphy of collecting massive amounts of pornography and abusing transient boys.

The files indicate that Anchorage Archbishop Francis T. Hurley was aware of the allegations, and communicated regularly with Boston church officials during Murphy's treatment. Law eventually requested and received Hurley's consent to reinstate Murphy to one-year hospital ministry assignments, which were renewed several times.

And Cardinal Law kept a pervert deacon from being ordained as a priest.

In another case, Deacon Mark C. Doherty was accused of molesting two brothers during a 1977 camping trip. Years later, a woman told church officials Doherty molested her when she was a child. Two brothers from another family said Doherty had also molested them.

Church officials, including Law, refused Doherty's request to be ordained as a priest, citing the abuse allegations. Law wrote letters to former Bishop William G. Curlin of Charlotte, N.C., informing him of the allegations against Doherty and saying he would not recommend him for ordination.

Doherty was never ordained as a priest in North Carolina, but he was allowed to work as a religion teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School.

Kevin Murray, a spokesman for the Charlotte diocese, said Doherty was placed on administrative leave Tuesday.

It is dificult to characterize how the Archdiocese reacted to these cases. These are mostly late cases, and we see some of the increased vigilance caused by the Father Porter scandal in the early 1990s.

One wonders what would have happened if Deacon Doherty was already Father Doherty. Would he have been cossetted and protected?

We see more efforts to warn other dioceses. Archbishop Hurley of Anchorage refused to take the warning. Mrs. F. could tell you numerous stories that would convince you that Archbishop Hurley is a liberal jerk. He certainly comes across thus in this story.

What the heck was the Vatican thinking in refusing to confirm the laicization of Father Picardi?

Again, the underlying behaviour is overwhelming homosexual in nature. Maybe that is why the Globe has switched these stories from the front page of Boston.com with the Scandal coverage to the AP wire section. It would not do to make the conduct prominent. People might think ill of homosexuality. Heavens, they might even get the idea it is unnatural and perverted!

Priest Raped Boy in Concord In 1992, And Was Still Active Until Yesterday
WBZ Radio (nothing in the Globe, yet) is reporting that a priest, whose name I did not catch, admitted to Boston's Archdiocesan officials to raping a boy in Concord in 1992, and having sex with (if I heard correctly) a ten year-old girl in New Jersey. Yet he was serving actively as a priest in Arizona until yesterday.

Does anyone remember if Cardinal Law said any pervert priest the Archdiocese knew about was no longer serving as a priest, or was merely no longer serving in the Archdiocese? No matter the exact words he used, this does not look good.

Facing the Reality of Justice
Charges against Brother Fidelis DeBerardinis, a Francisan, and Father James Talbot, a Jesuit, were dropped by the Suffolk County District Attorney, as the counts relied on statutes passed after the crimes were allegedly committed. Other counts against Brother DeBerardinis were filed. Some counts against Father Talbot also remain.

It is a basic ingredient of our concept of justice that men not face criminal charges for actions that were not criminalized at the time. That is why the Constitution forbids ex post facto criminal laws.

But it begs the question that society needs an answer to, "Did these events happen?". The remaining charges may get us answers to that.

A good question is what dim-wit thought they could proceed on counts that were clearly ex post facto? Did they think that the seriousness of the charges overrode the clear-as-a-bell constitutional requirement? Did they think the defense counsel would be asleep? The constitution creates a bright line that anyone who can get through even the least prestigious law school ought to be able to work with. If the law was passed after the act was committed, the actor cannot be criminally charged with violating that law. What part of that did the Suffolk County DA's office not understand?

The Morning Round-Up
I have to start off with a brilliant essay, carried in FrontPage Magazine, but originally written for The New Criterion by Roger Scruton, in which he describes how his reading of Burke solidified his conservatism and helped him understand the drab, bellicose, soul-numbing malaise of communism in Europe.
Henceforth I understood conservatism not as a political credo only, but as a lasting vision of human society, one whose truth would always be hard to perceive, harder still to communicate, and hardest of all to act upon.
This one gets my highest recommendation.

Lowell Ponte answers Richard Perle's views by claiming, not all that believably, I think, that France is about to switch sides, leaving Germany high and dry.

Meanwhile, our British allies are coming in for some justified criticism. Alexis Amory and Michael P. Tremoglie talk about the UK's grant of asylum to a Taliban member who fears persecution by the new pro-western government of Afghanistan (hint to the Brits: these our our enemies, the folks we are supposed to turn over to our allies, not protect). FrontPage links to a City Journal piece by Theodore Dalrymple on British academia's anti-semitism.
On the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Bruce Bartlett has an interesting discussion of President Bush's tax reform proposals.

And the Washington Times has a strong editorial in favor of Miguel Estrada's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

TownHall.com's server seems to be down this morning, so I'll check them out later.

Richard Perle Ought To Be Running US National Security Policy
"It is now reasonable to ask whether the United States should now or on any other occasion subordinate vital national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our interests," he added.

I Wonder If It Is a Haloscan Problem, Or A Blogger Problem
I can't see comments this morning. If anyone left any overnight, I'll check them out when the system allows me to.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Yugoslavia Abolished: Serbia-Montenegro Replaces It

Michael Jackson Still Having Sleep-Overs With Children In His Room
One 12-year-old boy told him that he slept in the singer's bed. Jackson said of the night that he slept on the floor in a sleeping bag, feeling he was "four" not 44. "I see God in the face of children. And man, I just love being around them all the time."

There is nothing wrong with liking children, but this is not normal behaviour. Stuff like this has been the undoing of more than one priest. Prudence dictates a different course. Someday, if this continues, there will be criminal charges. But with Jackson's penchant for plastic surgery, he could elude police worldwide forever.

You would think that after settling one lawsuit, he'd get the message and just keep the kids at arm's length.

Archdiocese Makes School Closings Official
So far, the Archdiocese has announced the closing of three schools, Monsignor Ryan Memorial High School in Dorchester, Saint Joseph's Elementary School In Roxbury, and Charlestown Catholic Elementary School. These schools were heavily dependent on subsidies from the Archdiocese. So that takes the Archdiocese down to 116 parochial schools, if my memory serves.

Maybe fresh new leadership more concerned with raising money for Catholic education and less concerned with getting rid of kneeling during the Mass (a much-applauded aside at one of the current director's speeches to gathered Catholic school teachers about two years ago) would serve the cause of Catholic education much better.

VOTF's Rent-A-Riot Crowd Complain About N.H. Cops
Don't get me wrong. I do want to see Bishop McCormack out as soon as possible. But it is amusing to see the VOTF storm troopers complaining about not getting the kid glove treatment from New Hampshire police that Boston cops gave them.

Just To Keep the North Koreans From Taking Liberties While We Are Busy With Iraq
We are contemplating beefing up our forces in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula. Another carrier may be deployed there. B-1 and B-52s may be sent to Guam. If you want peace, be prepared for war.

Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life
The document itself from the Vatican's website. I'll see if I can get a chance to read it today and have comments later. For now, it is enough to know that you can listen to Mannheim Steamroller without guilt. But stay the heck out of New Age shops.

The Vatican Weighs In On "New Age" Movement
I'll see if I can post a link to the document itself.

Syndicated Wrap-Up
Today, FrontPage Magazine focuses on campus leftists and the struggle to restore balance.

Stanley Fish, in an article originally written for the Chronicles of Higher Education, insists that universities exist for teaching and research, not for political indoctrination.

R. Tyler Hillman, in a piece written for Time, reports on plucky conservatives fighting back at Berzerkley.

J.D. Cassidy reports on socialist indoctrination at Bridgewater State College here in Massachusetts.

Lisa Falkenberg, in a reprint of a piece she did for the Associated Press, tells us of a Texas professor's refusal to write letters of recommendation for students who believe in Creationism.

Over At TownHall.com:

Charles Krauthammer says let's do the space thing even more intensely.

Dennis Prager, who is rumored to be thinking about taking on the horrible Barbara Boxer, puts into the President's mouth what the left would like him to say, "Saddam, we love you. All is forgiven. Let's give peace a chance."

Frank Gaffney gives us a preview of Colin Powell's important presentation to the UN tomorrow.

Joel Mowbray and Phyllis Schlafly write on related topics concerning illegal immigrants.

WFB reflects on the Daily Mirror's treatment of Mandela's insane remarks. "The single thing Mandela proves by such an attack as yesterday's is that he is capable of making judgments so stupid as to qualify for approval by the editor of the Daily Mirror...". Once in a while, Bill shows us signs of the enfant terrible he once was. What a delight!

On the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Bruce Fein speaks of the challenge of post-Saddam Iraq.

The Beanpot Winners Are
B.C. and B.U. Now these two will square off. Harvard and Northeastern will play each other in the consolation game.

Go B.C.!

Monday, February 03, 2003

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) had unscheduled open heart surgery today. The Governor of Kentucky is a Democrat. Aside from the fact that McConnell is an effective US Senator and a great guy, if something makes him give up his seat, he would be replaced by a Democrat, making the balance 50-50 again. And there are another three nominally Republican senators from New England, who, for the right price, might play Benedict Arnold.

Pray hard for Mitch. Right now they are saying his prognosis is good.

Vatican Says Harry Potter OK
The question of whether J.K. Rowling (news - web sites)'s books and the films on the boy wizard have a positive influence came up at a news conference on Monday where the Vatican presented a document on "New Age" spirituality, which contain elements of the occult.

"I don't think that any of us grew up without the imaginary world of fairies, magicians, angels and witches," said Father Peter Fleetwood, a Vatican official who worked on the document.

"They are not bad or a banner for anti-Christian ideology. They help children understand the difference between good and evil," he said in response to a reporter's question.

I found this link to the Yahoo story in Drudge. Without Amy bird dogging the links, we will all have to work a bit harder.

US Soldier Shot In Germany
The victim is a 26 year-old soldier assigned to the First Infantry Division (Mechanized) ("Big Red One"). He was in civilian clothes at the time and had pulled his car over to scrape ice off his windshield. We know nothing about the shooter at this point. The victim is in serious condition.

Read the Full Text of the Letter On Catholics In Political Life
Courtesy of Adoremus.

Dublin Cardinal's Resignation Imminent
Desmond Cardinal Connell, Archbishop of Dublin, is said to be preparing his resignation after being buffeted by criticism of his handling of clergy sex abuses cases (the Archdiocese of Dublin just shelled out $300,000.00 to settle some claims). He submitted a pro forma resignation almost two years ago on his 75th birthday, but is said to pressing the Vatican to accept that resignation now.

While $300,000.00 does not seem like much to us, where that is probably what one Geoghan or Shanley victim would end up with if violated significantly, in Ireland, that is a heck of a lot of money.

Again I ask, can't we just once hear about a Catholic bishop under fire for being too quick on the trigger with pervert priests, who is criticised for jettisoning them too quickly so as to minimize the risk to Catholic families? When we do, give that man a cheroot.

The Holy Father: The Genetic Manipulation of Human Life Is Wrong

My Heart Pumps Canal Water
Jane Fonda's $12 million donation to Harvard for the creation of a Feminist Studies Center has fallen through.

Can my sorrow ever be assuaged?

Michael Ledeen Takes A Good, Hard Look At Nelson Mandela, Failure

I Thought They Would Find Them Eventually
The Jerusalem Post (registration required) talks to some Palestinians happy about the Columbia tragedy.

As with the Iraqis, they will get theirs soon enough.

Beanpot Tonight
Round one of the Beanpot Tournament is tonight. The hockey teams of Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, and Northeastern, Boston's "Big Four" universities traditionally square off against each other in early February, regardless of NCAA divisions, for local bragging rights. Tonight, it is Harvard v. B.U. and Northeastern v. B.C. Even alumni sublimely indifferent to winter sports like me take the time to note the outcome of the games.

Go B.C.!

Massive Casualties?
Iraq is threatening the US with what its popular culture fears most: large numbers of casualties. But the balance of forces indicates that the ones inflicting massive casualties will be the US, not the Iraqi regime. We remember that we were to be defeated 12 years ago in the "Mother of All Battles."

The Iraqi regime will be effaced from the earth in less than three months' time from today. The US and the UK will lose less than 500 total killed and wounded in the battles. If we had the capacity to deploy 4-5 more divisions, as we did in 1991, we would lose even fewer troops. Iraq will lose some 5-10,000 killed (some of whom will sadly be civilians) and around 20-30,000 wounded. Use of WMD would increase the casualties, but not change the proportions significantly.

The only question is if terminating Saddam's wretched existence and liberating the Iraqi people is worth 500 brave Americans and Britons. I think it is.

Amy Welborn Says Adieu To Saint Blog's
I have to say that Amy's blog has been a mainstay. She has been great at ferreting out information of interest to Catholics. Not that I agree with everything she writes. I think she is a little to my left on many things, especially with regard to advocacy for a married priesthood. But I have enjoyed reading her blogs since Rod Dreher at National Review On Line first called her to my attention about a year ago.

But it is a fact that you ain't gonna get rich blogging. It can showcase ideas and skills. It can get you noticed (Amy's career has really taken off since she started her blog). But blogging itself puts no bread on the table.

She will be missed. I, for one, wish her and her family nothing but the best for the future. God bless you, Amy.

An Odd Sci-Fi Tale With Some Interesting Implications
Served up by Jonah Goldberg at National Review On Line.

Saint Blaise
Much of what we know about Saint Blaise is legendary. We think he was born in Armenia sometime in the third century. He apparently studied medicine, but eventually became bishop of Sebaste. Despite being a bishop, he lived as a hermit on Mount Argeus. In his hermitage, he was visited by and healed a great many people and animals. One girl he healed when she had a fish bone stuck in her throat. That is the origin of his status as one of the fourteen Holy Helpers, with special concern for disorders of the throat, and why throats are blessed on Saint Blaise's Day. He also is a patron for those who treat animals.

Blaise was arrested during a sweep for Christians around 316. He was tortured in an effort to make him abjure the Faith. Legend says that he was thrown into a lake in an effort to drown him. He walked on the water, and challenged his pagan persecutors to show the power of their gods by doing likewise. They were all drowned. Blaise returned to the shore to be martyred by other means.

The Archdiocese May Announce More School Closings Today
Parents and alumni are justifiably enraged. Other ministries (gay outreach, "social justice" activities, etc) should be wiped out, the archbishop's palace sold along with tons of owned real estate, before a single school is closed.

How else are we to pass the Faith on to a new generation?

CCD? Get real. Kids need immersion in the Church (admittedly they don't really get that in our Catholic schools now, but, aside from homeschooling they are our best hope).

If we close our schools, our Church will go the way of the Episcopal Church, the hobby of an increasingly old congregation, with the senility of old age manifested in a VOTF-type liberalism and an increasing lack of seriousness about the Faith (some would say we are there already).

We need to new-model our schools, not close them.

How's That Knee Coming Along?
The horrible livid bruising on both sides of the knee has healed. I can walk on level surfaces almost normally. I have about 50% of my range of motion. I still have to take stairs at less than half speed, with the bad leg leading on the way down, and trailing coming up (no follow-through of course). Walking about outside the house (and therefore with my brace) tires me out quickly, and I end up limping very noticeably. There is still plenty of swelling and scar tissue to be worked out over the next couple of months. I'd have to say that I am a little behind where I hoped to be three weeks after dislocating the kneecap. Easter is still a likely time to be more or less back to normal.

Enjoy It While You Can
Today's print pundit columns are the last we will have for a while that will not be all-Columbia-all-the-time (didn't the incessant drumbeat of the coverage on Saturday and especially Sunday bother you; after 5:30 Saturday, was there really any more necessary information?).

Not that it is a particularly cheering subject, but George Will has some excellent reflections, carried at TownHall.com, on the coincidence of Hans Blix, Colin Powell, and the French government suddenly and inadvertently coming together to advance the cause of armed disarmament of Iraq.

Larry Kudlow insists that President Bush is serious about ending the double taxation of dividends.

Debra Saunders rightly decries the lack of recognition the movie Signs has received. For the record, we saw it and found it most enjoyable, and, as Saunders says, wholesome. And it was the fourth largest grossing movie, in a year it competed for that honor with The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a decent Bond film, and a very good Spiderman.

Kathleen Parker tells us not to be guilted out of our SUVs. Right on. I'd buy one tomorrow if it were my style. But I'm more the Jaguar Van den Pla sort (not that I own one).

Meanwhile, over at FrontPage Magazine, Jamie Glazov hosts a forum on what Republicans need to do to attract a decent share of the black vote.

Anthony Browne, in a piece originally published by vdare.com points out that Britain's insane immigration policies are turning our (sometimes-detested, sometimes-loved) Mother Country into a Third World hell hole.

And on the op-ed page of the Washington Times, Bruce Bartlett serves the cause of higher academic standards well by pointing out the rise of grade inflation at most major colleges and universities, as well as on the SAT.

These links serve to remind us that, despite what the news channels would have us believe, there is more to talk about than the Columbia tragedy.

If Only I Had the Time
Blogging in The Corner, Rod Dreher gave this link to Peggy Noonan's excellent reflection on the value of time (free time, that is). Events like Saturday's do make you reflect on the necessity of making time.

After a fashion, we caught up with our own down-time requirements yesterday. Mrs. F. and I had a longish conversation in the morning, she caught a long nap in the early afternoon. We spent some time horsing around on the computer, and then plugged a Blake Edwards' marathon into the VCR (The Great Race, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Revenge of the Pink Panther). We needed a lighter mood than the news of the weekend afforded us. Even so, we had to reflect on the actors we saw perform. Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood, Keenan Wynn, and Peter Sellers are all dead. Tony Curtis, Peter Falk, and the vastly underappreciated Herbert Lom are all old men now. Time spares none. If we are not careful, we could find ourselves old, too, and without the beneifit of having recognized and enjoyed the blessings we have been given.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Liberals Want To Retreat From Manned Space Flight
Really tasteless of Easterbrook to publish such ideology-serving drivel the day after such a tragedy. Almost as offensive as the Iraqi reaction, or the Palestinians cheering in the streets on September 11, 2001. There would have been time enough hereafter for reasoned discussion of the merits of manned space flight. Now is not the time.

Just Let This Stand On Its Own
Dan Rather quoted a Reuters dispatch, datelined Baghdad, quoting Iraqis saying that the Columbia disaster was a great thing, that Allah was avenging Iraq.
Rod Dreher, blogging in The Corner, posted it originally.
K-Lo found a more complete version:
"We are happy that it broke up," government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said.
"God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us," he said.

Iraq will have tears of its own to shed soon enough.

Today is the feast of Candlemas. It is of double significance in the Christian calendar. It is the day on which we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple in accord with the Mosaic Law, and also the ritual purification of the Blessed Mother 40 days after giving birth. Simeon saw the Lord on this day, and his phrase, "A light of revelation to the Gentiles," provides the basis for the ritual blessing of candles in Church on Candlemas. The light is growing. In Europe, February is the last full month of winter. By the end of the month, the first flowers may begin to poke through the ground, and the mating of birds begins.

A European legend has long held that if an animal sees his shadow on Candlemas, the winter will last for another six weeks. If it is so overcast that animals would not see their shadows on this day, we only get 4 more weeks of winter. This is the basis for our modern Groundhog Day, which, sadly, has overtaken the religious meaning of Candlemas.

Six More Weeks of Winter
Punxatawney Phil did his thing, and saw his shadow. So, according to legend, we get six more weeks of winter weather.

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