Saturday, August 09, 2003

I'm sure Domenico Bettinelli will have a lot more to say about the concert and Mass than I do. So, for a more complete review, check out his site tomorrow.

Mrs. F. and I strolled around, bought a few things, ate some things, chatted with a few people, spent some time at Adoration, and enjoyed the day.

It was unexpectedly hot and humid, but without rain. The showers that threatened seemed to part somewhere southwest of Woburn, and didn't let loose a drop on Salem.

It was nice to see so many young people enjoying the Faith. Hey, the music wasn't exactly our cup of tea, but it has been almost 20 years since we were 20. We are officially oldsters at 39. Somehow the rising generation needs to become integrated into the life of the Church. Reasonable people can differ on how that comes about. But I don't think one can criticize the enthusiasm the young people we saw today demonstrated for the Church. It was quite moving and encouraging in fact.

Who was there? Steubenville, EWTN, LaSallette, Holy Trinity Parish in Boston (home of our one and only Indult Mass), and many others. Lots of musical performers were featured. But I'm not well-informed on that scene, so wouldn't know one from another or the relative merits or reputations of any.

We ran into Dom doing some camera work and said howdy.

Though we spent most of our time listening to the music from distant shade, we enjoyed the atmosphere. The folks who put it on deserve a great deal of praise.

Michael Medved On The Passion
He has no problems with it (and he's Jewish).

Ditto for David Horowitz.

And Let Me Just Add
Appendix Three of the report, if it is what I think it is, is what really makes the blood boil. This is the breakdown of the costs of all of the confidential settlements between the Father Porter Case and the Father Geoghan Case. The Archdiocese paid out, not counting attorney fees or treatment costs, but also not factoring how much was paid by the liability carriers, $17,000,000 in 6 fiscal years. Nobody knew about this, except the plaintiffs, their lawyers, the insurers, the courts, the Archdiocese, and their lawyers.

Instead of fatalistically shaking your head, Cardinal Law, and saying that canon law tied your hands, that you could not defrock the perverts, but had to keep giving them second chances, you could have defrocked them anyway, and gone to Rome using your authority as a Prince of the Church and your access to the Holy Father himself to make the laicizations stick, the perverts' canonical rights be damned.

Also, if someone on the outside with an IQ above room temperature had known what was going on all this time (or the magnitude of it) and been able to talk about it, the good-old-girl network would have been put out of business a long time ago. Certain bishops would not have been given their own dioceses (might even have lost their status as bishop, as Bishop Cawcutt did). That is why the demand for some greater transparency in the finances of the Church is correct. Cancers like this festered in the dark. The light of day is deadly to them.

New England Has Paid the Heaviest Price For Harboring Pervert Priests
The figures below come from two sources. The first is the Massachusetts Attorney General's Report (Appendix 3) on the pervert priest crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston. If I am reading it correctly (and I may not be: I'm open to constructive criticism if someone has a better explanation for Appendix Three) Boston quietly settled a great many cases in the years 1994-2000 (between Fall River's Father Porter crisis and the explosion of 2002 touched off by the Father Geoghan case). The year-by-year breakdown is as follows:

FY Priest Treatment Settlements
94-95 $189,073 $1,535,000
95-96 $194,993 $1,018,000
96-97 $153,734 $2,365,482
97-98 $ 39,681 $10,687,000
98-99 $ 25,587 N/A
99-00 $ 99,702 $2,265,000

Sorry. As we found out last year when I was handicapping US Senate races state-by-state, Blogger does not allow you to set up nice neat columns. So you just have to bear with the fact that the columns run together a little.

Everybody still with me? You, down in back, get that glassy expression off your face! There are more numbers to come.

So from 1994-2000, the Archdiocese apparently quietly paid out $17,870,482 in confidential settlements of pervert priest cases, and another $702,770 in treating pervert priests (unfortunately not for broken limbs and skulls inflicted by the male relatives of victims, but for psychological/psychiatric crap that is, for the most part, utterly ineffective). So Boston alone expended $18,573,252 dealing with pervert priests and the problems they caused from 1994-2000 (no figures for earlier times).

The second set of figures is from a graphic published in the Globe today (can't link to it, sorry: go to Boston.com and find the sidebar graphic on Archbishop Sean's proposed settlement).

With the Geoghan settlement of last year, the Archdiocese parted with another $10,000,000. I don't know if there were treatment costs for Geoghan or whether they were included in the treatment costs for previous years.

The Jesuits at BC High had to settle with victims earlier this year, and parted with $5,800,000 to do so. No word on what the Jesuits spent treating the priests involved, if anything.

I believe that there are other suits against other orders pending, though, perhaps, as some of those orders are no longer present in the Archdiocese, they were folded into our ongoing pervert priest litigation.

I add these next figures in with some reluctance, as they are seperate dioceses. However, Fall River, Providence and Manchester are part of the overall picture. This is one region. There is a geat interchange of priest personnel and seminary training between the New England dioceses. And Boston sets the example that the others generally follow.

So here we go:

Fall River 1992 $8,000,000
Providence 2002 $13,500,000
Manchester 2002 $15,500,000

We don't have recorded settlements for the Worcester, Springfield, Portland, Burlington Dioceses, or the dioceses in Connecticut. But these are all further afield from Boston, and mostly (except for Worcester) less integrated in the regular interchange between the New England dioceses. Now the Fall River, Providence, and Manchester numbers do not include what was spent on treatment. They also don't include any smaller cases that were settled from 1990-2001.

Boston is now proposing to pay $55,000,000 to terminate the remaining pervert priest claims against it (however, I would caution that more cases may yet be filed).

So what has the total cost to the Roman Catholic Church in New England been over the last decade (11 years, actually)?

It is impossible to calculate because we don't have complete data, and even if we had the numbers for Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Worcester and Springfield, it would not tell the whole story of the financial impact that pervert priests have had on the Church in New England. Personal knowledge (by experience or word of mouth) of instances of abuse has been making the rounds for decades, and has led to a great number of people just not contributing to the Church or dropping out on the perceived grounds that our priests "are all hypocritical queers, and who wants to be involved in that." I don't in any way endorse it, but it is a mindset that has been out there for some time, a by-product of the "feminization" of the priesthood. There must have been a drop in revenues that came from this, though it can never be quantified adequately. I also do not add in the huge drop in revenues that the Archdiocese of Boston, and many parishes in it have experienced since the Scandal broke in January 2002. Part of that had to do with the recession, as well. So you can't really assign a dollar figure to it with any certainty. Besides, we are looking at expenditures, not lost revenue.

We can say this, based on the data available: if there had been no pervert priests abusing boys, as a minimum, and including the proposed Boston settlement (though I think the final settlement will be higher than $55,000,000), New England Catholic dioceses would be at least some...

(my calculator is giving me an error message, hold on a second)...

$126,373,252.00 better off.

Of course, I'm not saying that would be money in the bank. In fact, it is not all money out of the bank, as a great percentage of this was paid by the insurance companies, and the dioceses only contributed to some extent, probably paid the treatment costs, and just paid higher premiums. Attorney fees are not included, though some of that was paid for by the insurance companies.

And, since the Catholic Church is in the business (hopefully) of evangelizing and doing unto the least of His brothers as we would like Him to do unto us, any monies not spent on paying for these claims would have been used, not saved.

But isn't that the point? The business of the Church should be to invest in helping those less fortunate and passing on the Faith, intact, to the next generation (as well as to the current generation).

Of course She needs to make good any damage that those acting in Her name have done.

But the damage ought not to have been done. If it had not been done, there would be a vast pile of cash that might have been used to do the job the Church is here for. We are probably talking about $30-40 million (I'm guessing here, but I think I am close) that the Church in New England has paid out of its own pockets to clean up the mess left by perverts our bishops allowed into the priesthood.

And keep this in mind, too. Because of the magnitude of this crisis and the size of the settlements, the Church will, from now on, be spending much more on insurance premiums, will have immensely higher deductibles, if they can get coverage at all, if they don't end up having to self-insure. This sort of thing cannot happen again without forcing the liquidation of virtually everything the Church as a corporate entity owns.

Thirty-forty million dollars could have paid for a lot of effective Catholic evangelization.

It could have kept many a food pantry and soup kitchen in operation.

It could have succored many a poor soul in need.

It could have educated many a child.

It could have treated many a sick or injured indigent person.

Of course the Church was doing these things. But we could have done more without the costs associated with the pervert priests.

This is the price of giving in to modern notions of right and wrong.

This is the cost of believing that just because someone is attracted to his own gender at some level, it does not mean that he can't be a "good priest."

This is what we pay because someone pulled a string, vouched for an old seminary classmate, covered up, smoothed the troubled waters for perverts, instead of promptly defrocking them, and screening them out of the seminary in the first place.

The price has been too high. And I am not just talking about toting up the settlements, but also about the cost in human anguish.

Let the lesson never be forgotten or misconstrued. Perverts in the priesthood cost us much, much more than any good they could ever do could possibly compensate.

An Odd Story From Detroit
As far as I can make out, a priest allowed his brother, a defrocked priest, to say Mass at his parish. Some 15 families pointed out that this is highly improper. They were sent letters from the parish telling them they were no loger welcome there. The parishioners say they won't go. The Archdiocese is investigating.

Come To Salem Today!
The Live2BHoly Concert on Salem Common starts at noonish. This will bring a great number of younger Catholics here to Salem. Domenico Bettinelli's brother in law, Peter Campbell is running it. There will be vendors selling Catholic goods, including the Daughters of Saint Paul, and a substantial food court. The radar seems to look good. There are showers in the area, but they are on a track to slip by to the south of Salem. Mass is scheduled for the afternoon. If it should rain substantially, the Mass will be moved to Immaculate Conception Church, just two blocks down Hawthorne Boulevard from the Common. Mrs. F. and I took a walk to the Common last evening, and saw some very large tents set up, and a stage. One of the tents, I understand, is being set aside for Adoration.

Mrs. F and I will be down there periodically during the day today. I guess other bloggers are stopping by as well. Since Domenico will be there all day, and his photos are on his website, I guess finding Domenico is the key to finding where the bloggers are. We are looking forward to meeting some of you there.

Also, today is the start of Heritage Days, Salem's annual civic festival. It opens with a street fair on Essex Street (it ends about a half block from the Live2BHoly Concert site). In other words, the Street Festival will be going on, as usual, right under our windows. There will be all sorts of activities on Essex Street all day today and tomorrow. Fried dough, Italian sausage, lemonade, and vendors of every shape and size are setting up there now. Tomorrow, in Derby Square, there will be an ice cream Scooper Bowl, including samples from our favorite ice cream place in the galaxy, Richardson's in Middleton. Admission to the Scooper Bowl is $3.00 per person, and well worth it. Later next week there will be a Chowder Fest. Ice cream and chowder: the principle reasons for my rotundity. Heritage Days are great!

It is a great thing to walk out your front door, stroll about a block, and find a fried dough vendor. I'm not gregarious by nature, but for a weekend in August, and most of October, I can deal with the crowds. Heaven knows, Salem is quiet enough after November 1st. There will be plenty of time for solitude then.

Friday, August 08, 2003

We Have A Settlement Offer For the Boston Pervert Priest Cases
The dollar figure is $55 million. Why now, and not 6 weeks ago? Two factors prdominate. We have a ew Archbishop who has a mission to settle these claims in a just manner, and the insurance companies no longer have a reasonable hope that what the leadership of the Archdiocese did will be prosecuted, giving them the excuse to invoke the "illegal acts" limitation of liability clauses under their contracts with the Archdiocese.

The plaintiffs regard the $55 million figure as a nice place to start. They would like to be at around $100 million. Most likely, the parties will meet at around the $75-80 million mark. How the $55 million wouold be distributed is a matter of speculation. A complex formula, or the use of a panel of arbiters is possible. Whether the settlement consists of nothing but money is also at issue.

Some of these folks need counselling, therapy, and treatment. In many cases, they were not the most stable of young men when they came under the influence of the perverts. The experience has torqued some further. Just throwing money at them might not be the best thing to do for them. It might very well end up going up the noses of some of them, harming them even more. The Archdiocese has a system of hospitals under its control. Any just settlement must include free use of the medical facilities and staff of the Archdiocese to help these guys (and it is almost all guys we are talking about here) heal. Let us hope that such terms are hidden in the settlement, but are just hard to quantify and therefore not discussed.

Macworld Is Weaselling Out Of a Boston Show for Next Summer
Macworld started here, but we lost it to New York. Now Apple has been applying pressure to keep it in New York, going to far as to announce that it would not participate if the show was held in Boston.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Is Going To Call An Emergency Meeting of the World's Anglican Leaders
The objective of which will be to get the conservative Anglicans to accept Bishop Robinson, not to pressure Robinson to step down. Pretty much what you would expect from this Archbishop.

Fat Cats
Yes, our cats are getting fatter. They are sedentary, just as we are. They live inside all the time because it is safer for them. That means they don't hunt.

When Gaspar the Wonder Cat was neutered four years ago at the age of 5, he weighed about 10 pounds. Now he is 15 pounds. He plays little, sleeps much, has only a passing interest in birds outside his windows, and is as rotund as the people he lives with. Even when he gets the daily "crazies" he isn't all that active. He runs down the stairs, scratches on something as if he had caught it, then runs back up the stairs.

What to do? His vet recommended a diet. How do you put a cat on a diet? I can deal with my own cravings when I give things up. But a cat constantly meowing for more food and scratching wood when he does not get it is a very different thing. And he does not eat all that much anyway. He gets and handul of kibbles (Purina One for older cats) at 11: 45 am and a slightly larger one at 9:45 pm. However, he gets no exercise. Neither do we, for that matter. It is the lack of exercise that is enlarging his waistline, and ours. Maybe we should put him back on catnip. At least it makes him a little active.

Flight 93 Was Deliberately Crashed By the Hijackers
But they did it where and when they did because the passengers were rebelling (as will all the passengers on any flights the bastards try to take from now on). So the passengers are still heroes, whose actions prevented the plane from being smashed in the Capitol, or the White House, or CIA headquarters, or into another wall of the Pentagon.

Took my first flights since before September 11th a couple of weeks ago. I'll admit that, even so long after the atrocities, I was still looking around at the other passengers, trying to gauge who might be a threat, and who might be useful in counterattacking. No obvious people to watch on any of the flights. Lots of potential rebels.

Archbishop Sean News
He will celebrate Mass as St. Michael's in Lowell, a parish damaged by the late Father Birmingham's predations. I am guessing it is another Hispanic parish, so he will get to do his multi-lingual thing there, too. It is what he specializes in, so we should not be surprised if he does what he knows, even if it seems disproportionate to the percentages of non-English speaking Catholics in this Archdiocese. And it is good to see him getting out there visiting the parishes harmed by the perverts. I assume St. James parish, since it, too, had a swath cut through it by Birmingham, will be on the agenda, though he will have to do the Mass in English, since there are not enough non-English speakers to justify the effort.

He also announced that he will not live at the Archbishop's residence across the street from my alma mater's lower campus. He does not think the surroundings are appropriate for a Capuchin. He will live and work out of the rectory of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Perhaps other offices will be moved to other closed rectories.

No word on a possible sale of the residence to B.C. B.C. has ready cash and would love to acquire the place. The Archdiocese needs the money. Saint John's Seminary, I feel confident, could double up with the other seminary for late vocations. Given the staggering number of perverts graduated from there, I would shed few tears at Saint John's closing.

Keep Your Kids Away From Disney World In June
Every June for a period of some days (it varies year-by-year) Disney World turns into Sodom on the Everglades. I agree witht he Christina groups trying to raise awareness of this depravity. It it their right to do so, and to hold Disney's feet to the fire for allowing a gathering like this, and not warning visiting families that it is happening or about to happen.

One thing that did strike me as odd was the contention that homosexuality is all acquired. My understanding is that a small percentage of the population (about 2%) is indeed genetically predisposed to homosexuality. They may not all act on that predisposition. But if certain psychological triggers are present in their early lives, they do seem to act on the prodisposition. There are many more who do "choose" it as what is perceived as an increasingly "hip" lifestyle choice. These are the confused who need to be guided away from this lifestyle. That is why I often say that the percentage of homosexuals in the population is 2%, but the homosexual movement claims it is as high as 5%.

"I Prefer Boysenberry More Than Any Ordinary Jam....Ahh...California"
Things were a little weirder than I knew in California last night when I wrote about the recall election.

Dan Issa withdrew tearfully from the race, after funding the recall effort, apparently because he understands that he can't beat Arnold, and that his name recognition is lower than Davis' approval ratings.

And Davis' own lieutenant governor Bustamente has stabbed his chief in the back by hopping into the race, knowing that Davis will lose and, if the Democrats have to be represented by somebody, their best bet is an Hispanic.

Otherwise, the collection of oddballs in the race is impressive. Sleaze-meister Larry Flynt, Arriana Huffington (odd enough to write whole books about) former child star Gary Coleman, and a guy who smashes watermelons for fun (bet he isn't the Green Party candidate) round out the field.

Then there is the front-runner, Arnold, who we are about to hear posed for nude photos for gay magazines and has known more women than the entire Dallas Cowboys of the 21st century and (maybe) Bill Clinton. But that may be a plus among California voters. Hey since most of his former friends great and good would be more than old enough to vote now, it gives him a substantial part of the electorate who both know him intimately and must like him to some extent.

And the Democrats may try to recall any Republican elected as a result of this recall, just out of pure spite. Good thinking. The Democrats. Florida 2000, The Senate 2001- ?, California 2003: The Party of Meanspirited Spitefulness. Rush Limbaugh said it best. These guys only exist to win and hold power. They are not good-natured losers likely to work with the majority for the common good, as the Republicans did from 1932-1980. "Elect us, or we'll raise hell!"

Me? I'm a Citizens For Boysenberry Jam Fan. Hint, the reference is to a old Simon & Garfunkel song. I misspent a good part of my teenage years revelling in Simon's pseudo-intellectual poetry, even though I disagreed even then with his political positions.

Fourteen Holy Helpers
Today is the traditional collective feast of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saints whose support is particularly sought for certain situations. They are:
1) St. Blaise (2/3) for maladies of the throat.
2) St. George (4/23) for skin diseases; patron of soldiers and of England
3) St. Erasmus (6/2) for intestinal diseases
4) St. Vitus (6/15) for nervous disorders and "St. Vitus' dance"
5) St. Margaret (7/20) for kidney ailments and women in childbirth
6) St. Christopher (7/25) for protection from accidents and sudden death
7) St. Barbara (12/4) for protection from sudden death; patroness of artillerymen & firemen
8) St. Acacius (5/8) for protection from headaches
9) St. Cyriacus (8/8) for eye ailments
10) St. Panteleion (7/27) for wasting diseases
11) St. Giles (9/1) for demonic possession
12) St. Eustachius (9/20) for protection from fire and damnation
13) St. Catherine (11/25) patroness of lawyers, philosophers, and scholars
14) St. Dionysius the Aeropagite (10/9) for headaches and attacks by the devil

Thursday, August 07, 2003

With Arnold In the Race, Is There Hope For Simon?
I have a great respect for Bill Simon. I owe his late father big time for his help in funding my college conservative newspaper. But I think the answer to that question is no. I think Simon could have taken out Riordan (after all, he did it before).

But I think Arnold's popularity and name recogniton, and star appeal will be too much, unless there is some very serious personal baggage Simon or Issa has got a hold of that will blow Arnold's campaign out of the water before it starts. I predict that tomorrow we will start hearing about the nude photos for the gay magazine, and the numerous young starlets who trooped in and out of Arnold's bedroom in the 1970s. Still, unless there is something more recent, I think Arnold will not be undone by Simon or Issa. Those issues are out there. In Clinton terms, Arnold is immunized against them, because they are old news.

Will an idealogical campaign within the GOP even take place, as it did last year when Simon proved that the California GOP is just as conservative as the national GOP? I doubt it. Unless the weight of Arnold's colorful past drags him down quickly, the GOP will line up behind him as a likely winner against Grey-out Doofus.

So, though I dislike where Arnold has gone on social issues, I recognize that he is no worse than Pete Wilson. And he has this advantage, though he may go on to the Senate, he can never be President or Vice President (because he is not a natural-born American). The social liberal we have to fear in 2008 is Rudy Giuliani, not Arnold.

Update: George Neumayr has a great take on Arnold's campaign. I agree with him. Would that California voters liked Simon better. But I fear they will back the guy everyone knows over the guy who generates no passion at all, even if he is consistently right on the issues. My heart is with Simon, but my head tells me it won't be him.

This Priest Deserves A Sterner Dressing Down Than His Bishop Will Give Him

The Anglican Communion: The Faithful and Orthodox Nigerians v. the Decadent Americans
Amy Welborn has an interesting post on the topic of the split in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Seventeen milion Nigerians, or 60% of 2.3 million US Episcopalians? Who would you side with, or, more importantly, who do you think the officials around Canterbury will back? My money is on the 60% of the 2.3 million US Anglicans. The progressive imperative will not be denied.

Computer Trouble
Last night, Mrs. F. noticed that our PC was running rather slowly. So she ran a virus scan, which was negative, and then tried a scan disk. The scan disk, which was a couple of weeks overdue, would not run. Something else, we were informed, was writing to the disk. I had updated Internet Explorer to IE6 a couple of weeks ago and either as part of that, or shortly thereafter, something called Privacy Report attached itself. It seemed to be something that blocked cookies. Together with a Beta Version of the Google toolbar, which I installed a couple of days ago, pop-ups were being eliminated.

But I suspected that something that was interfering with the scan disk would have to go. I took out my Norton anti-virus software, and the software associated with our digital camera, in case one of those programs was causing the problem. Last night I noticed that comments were down. A quick check of a few other Blogger/Haloscan sites told me everybody's comments were down. Since Haloscan is, in part, powered by Blogger (or at least used to be), we obviously had a Blogger problem, and it was global.

When I tried to get into Blogger this morning, I found I could not access anything on my Blogger site. I could not publish, edit, access my template or settings, or even tap into the less-than-helpful help section. "OK," I thought, "still a Blogger problem," and for those Left Coast slugs who operate Blogger, it was still 3:00am.

Doing my work, I found that I could zip from website to website in record time. Pop-ups were not coming up. Even the ads on the top of Boston.com were blocked. Nirvana, except that I could not access Blogger or the comments. Couldn't even see that there were comments. Then, while I was taking a break, Mrs. F. tried to play a game at Pogo.com. It would not play.

Then I realized we had a bigger problem. So I re-installed the Norton anti-virus program, which had a great number of shared files I rather cavalierly deleted last night. After an "Emergency Virus Repair" that took almost 3 hours (and repaired nothing, because there was no virus), I was back in business.

There are a lot of things I have missed in the last 30 hours. The almost-million dollar payoff to the gangster's brother to get him out of the presidency of UMass cried out for some commentary. The Canadian priest who has stepped way over the line on same-sex marriage needed to be addressed. Arnold's decision to jump into the California governor's race, as DiFi is staying out (for now). while Jerry Springer is wisely not tossing his hat into the ring in Ohio also needed my own perspective. David Horowitz has a great take on The Passion. And there has been some interesting discussion of what comes next for the Episcopalians, who have balked at a liturgy for gay "weddings" while approving an openly gay and non-celibate bishop.

But you know, after working this morning, and fighting with the computer for the last 4 hours, I don't feel like addressing any of it now. I may later. Or other things may pop up that I find even more interesting. But things seem to be working again, and Recta Ratio is back in business.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

It Is Hot and Humid Here
But London is sweltering under unprecedented heat.

The Vision of the Anointed Can Chalk Up Another Win, Now Begins The Open Split in the Anglican Communion
It really is an interesting social circumstance, the conviction that some "forward" step must be taken and the gathering of momentum behind it. No objection will be allowed to stop it. Some people have a vision of that which they imagine will bring us closer to utopia on earth (be it gay rights, affirmative action, bilingualism, gay priests, women priests, legal abortion, feminism, meat on Fridays, vernacular Masses, or no-fault divorce) and they talk it up for a decade or two.

Then, suddenly, despite the fact that the idea has been thoroughly discredited in debates with the right-minded, the drive to gain the objective takes on a life of its own. And the proponents, though they are, in fact, open to and in favor of a broad range of socially destructive things, concentrate their efforts on one item at a time, accomplish it, and move on. We have, since Voltaire and Rousseau, created a cadre in favor of permanent revolution in society, just carried out in a piecemeal fashion.

Those standing athwart history yelling, "Stop!" tend to be bowled over, unless they are brandishing a gun.

One way to look at it is that, once again, we have an illustration of O'Sullivan's Law, that all institutions that are not explicitly, vigorously, self-consciously, and aggressively conservative become, over time, liberal. But perhaps that happended a long time ago with the Episcopal Church, sometime in the 19th century when it ceased to be a force for order, and became a force for "justice".

But it is deeper than that.

I think this may be another illustration of the "vision of the annointed" as Thomas Sowell calls it, the "unconstrained" view of human nature that believes in man's perfectability on earth and that "progress" is a material thing that must be served. Perhaps he should have called it the "vision of the self-appointed." We have seen it before in our civilization, especially since the "Enlightenment". It is almost always deeply harmful to traditional society.

Now, the cause du jour is homosexuality. The courts are labouring to bring gay marriage full legal recognition. The Episcopalians have just elected an openly gay and noncelibate bishop. The Dominicans are bound and determined to ordain an openly gay man as a priest. Hollywood has already started shoving a steady diet of sympathetic homosexual characters on its audiences (and I here that much more is to come). So we see all the symptoms at work. The self-appointed elites (the media, the entertainment industry, the legal profession, the medical profession, and the religious "professionals") all come together in support of a proposition (in this case that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, and that it ought to have wider acceptance). They work in their own spheres to increase acceptance for that proposition. They evangelize in favor of it vigorously. Gradually, they tip public opinion in favor of the proposition. Then it is accepted widely as a "fact." Soon it is entrenched and vigorously defended. It would take thermonuclear weapons to destroy the proposition once it is entrenched in society. And the proposition itself is deeply subversive of traditional morality.

After they get their way, where will they go next? Polyamory? Bestiality? Elimination (or drastically rolling back) of the age of consent? Elimination of prohibitions on incest? Euthanasia? Perhaps it will be something as simple as affirmative action for homosexuals. They are all on the agenda, even if no one wants to openly admit that they are eventually aiming at all of this. Look at the campaigns they have won in the last century: no-fault divorce (and the concommitant easing of the standards for annulment in the Church), women clergy in many Protestant and Jewish groups, abortion, practical elimination of standards against non-marital sex and cohabitation, pornography, the triumph of casual dress, and now homosexuality. I would point out that this is just in the area of sexual morality. Corresponding "triumphs" have been registered all across the board (standards of liability in tort law, how history is taught and written, how English is spoken and written). How can one who stands by the traditional standards of morality not fear the success of the future plans of the "anointed"? Every indication is that they get what they want, eventually.

The only time I can think of when they were effectively blocked for a time was Franco's Spain. And look at the price in blood that had to be paid to arrest their momentum in Spain. And Franco's success was transitory. Even under his dictatorship, social "progress" continued there, though on a more limited basis. And when his tyranny was over, Spain leapt headlong into the social decay around it. Dictatorship could slow these trends, but it will not stop it, especially not permanently.

What can reverse the trends? A new comprehensive understanding of the Gospel, delivered by charismatic leaders deeply commited to tradition who treat the modern world with the contempt it deserves. A new movement within the Church that sweeps aside the cobwebs of the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Sexual Revolution. Exactly what form that movement will take I am not sure.

I think I spy it in the "reform of the reform" the effort to restore a sense of beauty and reverence in the Mass. Beginning as a restoration movement in the Catholic Church, I hope that its spirit will have a wider effect, bringing new people, including aggrieved Episcopalians, into the Church, and then transforming social institutions, laws, and morality, like a Catholic Great Awakening. But that movement is still fragile, despite the support of Pope John Paul II. And it has a long way to go in putting all the pieces together. Few see the comprehensive potential that the new seriousness about the Faith has. I think it will come with time, and prayer.

Amy Welborn's Blog Has A New Name, New URL, New Host, And A New Look
You may want to update things accordingly. May she and her other readers be happy in the new cyber home.

The Test Act Is Back
And very healthy among liberal Democrats.

Michael Rose Has An Excellent Piece On A British Priest Who, In His Spare Time, Licks the Blood Off Castro's Boots
These pro-communist priests (and nuns, and brothers) were a staple in the 1980s, when there was still a Soviet Union, before we verified how very bloody the experiment in scientific socialism really was, when President Reagan was the enemy of civilization to be opposed on every count. But true believing Red Priests have kept a lower profile since 1989. They may not have changed their minds, but at least they knew they had to shut their mouths.

Except Father Bottoms, who apparently has never read Armando Valldares Against All Hope, the standard expose of the blood on Castro's hands. Rose calls him a "useful idiot," the old Soviet term for Western leftists who helped the cause along either because of infatuation with the great cause, or because they were independently working along a parallel course. The term seems to fit Father Bottoms.

And spare me any of that "criticize no priest" line. A fool is a fool. It is better to point that out than to allow others to be taken in by the idiocy.

The Transfiguration of the Lord
August 6th is the traditional date for marking the Transfiguration.
The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) has more on this feast.

UMass This Summer: A New Minuteman Logo Gained, An Embarrassment Lost
.William Bulger, the President of UMass better known as the former long-time State Senate President and brother of Irish Mafia gunman James Whitey Bulger, is reported by the Globe to be preparing to step down today

It has taken months to bring this about. His former stooges in the State Senate voted against the Governor's prudent call to eliminate his position just a month or two ago. This departure is apparently the result of secret negotiations between Bulger and Romney's office.

I am sure he will be leaving with a nice golden parachute, despite a long history of using his brother's reputation as a murderous hothead (with at least 19 victims to his credit) to intimidate political rivals, and using his political power to retaliate against those who have made life difficult for Whitey (attacking their budgets, refusing to approve promotions or raises for them).

Bulger's departure is long overdue. His presence, along with that of a bloated staff of highly-paid hacks has been a great detriment to the UMass system at a very difficult budgetary crisis. UMass does not really need an imperial presidency. It needs someone who protected a repeat killer and used his reputation for his own advantage even less.

The Globe, of course, starts off its story making Bulger look like the "stag pulled down by wolves." No. He is the wolf pulled down by stags.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well, the Episcopalians Did It, As We All Knew They Would
Their "investigation" came down to "He said/he said," and they decided to not try to stop progress, and to just believe the one they wanted to make a bishop. Even if the evidence had been stronger, they would not have stopped the effort.

What is next? Scrapple Face thinks he can see where the Episcopalians are headed next. Thanks to Mark Sullivan at Irish Elk for the link.

A Globe Travel Writer Stumbles Upon A Re-Enactment At Hubbardton
Always nice to read about folks you know, in this case Jim Hayden and Paul Loding.

Pope Pius XII: The Pope Who Helped Save Hundreds of Thousands
According to an interview with Inside the Vatican, Sir Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill's official biographer, who happens to be Jewish, has examined the documents relating to the saving of Jewish people by religious groups in Europe during the Holocaust. His conclusion is that the Roman Catholic Church played the predominant role, though not an exclusive one, since many Jews were saved by members of other groups, in rescuing people the Nazis would otherwise have murdered.

Asked if this meant he agreed with the Vatican’s 1998 declaration on the Holocaust (“We Remember”) that “hundreds of thousands” of Jews were rescued under Pius XII, Gilbert replied that if that estimate was meant to include the entire wartime Catholic Church, including the Vatican, the clergy, religious and the laity, the answer was, “Yes, that is certainly correct. Hundreds of thousands of Jews saved by the entire Catholic Church, under the leadership, and with the support of, Pope Pius XII -- would, to my mind, be absolutely correct.”

And it was not all courageous individuals acting without the knowledge of the Pope.

Gilbert noted that Pius XII was personally involved in rescue efforts during the German occupation of Rome, when he “personally ordered the Vatican clergy to open the sanctuaries of Vatican City to persecuted Jews and others in need of refuge at that time.”

And the actions of Pope Pius and those who assisted him in carrying out this enterprise were not without great danger to themselves and to the Church.

A fact that Gilbert strove to make absolutely clear was that Pius XII and other rescuers acted under extremely dangerous circumstances, forcing them to act with caution, a necessary tactical policy that is today misunderstood and misrepresented as “timidity” by those who have no concept of what it is like to operate, day-by-day, under a ruthless totalitarian regime.

Far from being timid, said Gilbert, Pius XII was “very active” in early wartime plots to overthrow Hitler, via the anti-Nazi German Resistance.

Subsequently, according to Gilbert, Pius XII, through his many allocutions, instructions and activities, did “speak out” and provide clear moral guidance to the faithful, but did so in ways that were designed not to undermine the Church’s rescue efforts.

For forty years and more, people with an animus against the Roman Catholic Church have used the Holocaust as a stick to beat the Church as a whole and Pope Pius XII in particular, since he was not only pope during the war, but became a symbol of traditionalism in the days after Vatican II. They have accused him of being in complicity with Hitler, or, at the very least, of not doing enough. As Sir Martin makes clear, he did all that he could under extremely dangerous circumstances.

Popes had been deposed, imprisoned, tortured, and executed by secular authorities before. There is no reason to believe that this might not have happened to Pope Pius. Yet he stood his ground and did what he could. Stalin's crack about the Pope not having any divisions is true in that there is not much in the way of geo-strategic resources open to the Vatican. Pope Pius did not have the physical resources to intervene decisively against the Nazi terror. Yet he did what he could with the resources available to him. It is sad that he did not have more resources he could use to save more. But those the Church did save are grateful, and rightly so.

Cardinal George Liked The Passion
"I've read the Passion narratives of the Lord and contemplated them and prayed over them many, many times, and I've never thought of the crucifixion with the images that I received while watching this," George said. "I'll never read the words the same way again."....

George said he was impressed that the film gave a more complex and thus accurate depiction of Jesus, who is often thought of as "this nice-boy-next-door . . . who floats around and smiles and is untouched by the sufferings of the human race he came to save.

"That's as much a false representation of Jesus as anything else, and this is a kind of corrective to that," George said.

Those voices raised against this movie sound both tinier and more shrill all the time.

Requiescat In Pace
On this day in 2000, Sir Alec Guinness died at the age of 86. Most people remember him as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. But he played a great variety of characters in comedies and dramas from the 1930s until the 1990s. He played Pocket in Great Expectations, Father Brown, in Father Brown, Charles I in Cromwell, Jacob Marley in Scrooge, and ust about everybody in Kind Hearts and Cornonets. . His credits include A Foreign Field, The Lavender Hill Mob, Smiley's People, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Murder By Death, Hitler: the Last Ten Days, Tunes of Glory, Doctor Zhivago, and Lawrence of Arabia. Probably his best role was as the unbending Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai .

Guinness converted to the Catholic Church after sometime after portraying Father Brown. He was knighted in 1959. He died of liver cancer in 2000. Requiescat in pace.

There Has Been A Slight Delay In The Episcopalian Church's Confident March Into Oblivion
Someone has accused the focus of the firestorm of "inappropriate touching." Watch for this to be quickly swept under the rug. The bishops will not let a little thing like their pet homosexual's actual conduct stop the momentum of "progress."

This One, Undoubtably, Belongs In the "Religion of Peace" File

Monday, August 04, 2003

The Guy In Charge of Public Education In Lawrence Has Failed To Pass an English Literacy Test Three Times
Drudge has picked up the story now, so Lawrence's shame is global.

The superintendant regards the test of basic English literacy as "stupid," and without relevance to what he does. Really? Can someone who is himself not competent in the English language genuinely hire teachers who will do the best to educate Lawrence's many immigrant children in English, the language they will have to use to function as Americans?

Shame on Lawrence for hiring such a man to be the ultimate authority in the education of their children. Shame on him for not taking the achievement of basic competency in English seriously.

On This Date in 1892
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

This was the most celebrated New England murder of the 19th century, surpassing even the murder of Dr. George Parkman by a Harvard professor.

Except that it wasn't her mother, but her step-mother. And, for the record, Lizzie Borden was acquitted.

This was just barely within the lifetime of one of my grandparents. My grandfather was three at the time, but still living in Ennis, County Clare.

National Review On Line Is On Vacation Until Next Week

Congress is in recess.

The President is at his ranch for the better part of the month.

Yup. It is August.

Gettysburg In August?
The reason they are re-enacting the Battle of Gettysburg a month late is that spring rains left the ground in the area too sodden for fighting a battle in any degree of comfort. So, starting Friday, some 14,000 civil war re-enactors will converge on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to recreate the pivotal battle of the war.

The battle will not be fought on the actual site, but some two miles away, due to National Park Service restrictions on re-enactments. The logistics for a battle of this size are staggering. A budget of over $1 millon dollars. Forty-eight thousand gallons of potable water. Over 300 porta-potties. Three thousand bales of hay for the horses. The largest re-enactments I have participated in were only 20% the size of this (and it will not be the largest ever Civil War re-enactment). The Civil War draws an unbelievable number of re-enactors.

Unlike the battles I am most used to, the events will be heavily scripted. Revolutionary War/Napoleonics have gotten away from strict re-creations on actual battle sites, saving them for special anniversaries. What we do more of are lightly scripted events, where the troops are allowed to influence the course of events somewhat (though the winner and loser are known in advance, generally each side winning on one day of the weekend) , or tactical wargames, with no pre-determined outcome, where it is all skill (and the better-disciplined and more skilled Brits win most of the time unless we are grossly outnumbered).

But here, every move of any unit of any size must be strictly according to the plan. I suppose you have to script very tightly with that many men on the field. The safety-consciousness must vary when such large numbers are present. The staff work to put on such a thing is not insignificant. The folks who can conduct such a weekend are not to be despised in the department of military skill.

We like to joke with Civil War re-enactors, telling them that they have it easy. No leather and horsehair neck stocks. No wigs. No tight canvas knee-length gaiters that make your fingers bleed when buttoning them. Lighterweight wool uniforms. Lighter muskets. More battlefields to fight on. They can keep their facial hair. But on the other hand, their drill has to be more standardized so that such large numbers from different units can work together. Nobody who can handle such large numbers on the field effectively should be sneered at, even if they don't have to shave off the beards and moustaches.

Colin Powell Won't Be Secretary of State In a Second Bush Admininstration
No one really expected that he would.
In fact, it is very common for important, and unimportant cabinet secretaries to depart after a first term. Despite powell's presitge, it might not be a bad thing for the Administration for Powell to retire. He has often been at odds with those in the Pentagon and the National Security appartus who hold a more realistic view of American power. The split has become public to the detriment of the unity of the Administration.

Powell has performed magnificently in some respects. He is a great American who deserves the gratitude of his country for his services. But he is also something of a prima donna, who learned a little too much in the liberal-conservative infighting of the Reagan Administration. For the same reason I would not have hired James Baker, Howard Baker, Frank Carlucci, or Margaret Tutweiler, I would have been loath to give Powell so much power. There are more conservative people of all races who are very able and could handle the job. They might get their chance in the second Bush Adminstration, if President bush can reverse current negative trands.

Priests Who Expound Upon the Anti-Gay Marriage Document Issued Last Week By the Vatican Could Face Hate Crimes prosecution In Ireland
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.

So you thought Ireland was a safe Catholic country. Sad to say, it is just as much corrupted by modernity as the US or the UK.

Freedom of religion, not to mention freedom of speech, has been thrown into a sewer to accomodate the homosexual lobby.

It won't be too much longer before people are looking for tiny islands large enough to house them, a few like-minded folk, and a Loeb Classical Library, but completely cut off from the modern world.

Feast of Saint Dominic
This is the feast of Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers. Dominic was a canon regular, but in 1205, he began his real career in the Church. While on a pilgrimage to Rome, he and his bishop became entangled in the efforts of a group of Cistercians to convert the Albigensians in the south of France. The Cistercians gave up. So eventually did the bishop. But Dominic stayed on the mission. He recruited priests to help him.

Domenic urged his followers, by the 1220s recognized as the Order of Preachers, to try to convert by learned preaching. To that end, he encouraged them to study. During Domenic's life, there were some 26 Doctors of theology in all Europe. Fifty years after he died, there were 700 in the Dominican order alone.

A happy feast of Saint Domenic to our Dominican friends in Seattle and Anchorage.

Archbishop Sean and the Parishioners of St. Patrick's, Lawrence, Seemed To Relish His First Sunday Mass
He decided on that parish for his first Sunday Mass because it had been hit by a pervert, and because it enabled him to do his multi-lingual thing. Like it or not, that is his strength, and he is going to do what he knows.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

As the Vote of the House of Bishops Seems To Be a Foregone Conclusion...
Looks like New Hampshire Episcopalians will be breaking new ground with the first openly gay non-celibate bishop. The House of Deputies by a roughly 125-63 vote (though 20 delegations were split) approved Robinson's election today.
Lord have mercy on them for sanctioning and perpetuating this abomination in the Lord's name.

Today Would Have Been My Mother's 80th Birthday
She died about 7 weeks after her 75th birthday, from post-surgical complications worsened by dementia brought on, most likely, by a series of small strokes.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Tony Blair: The Pope's Secret Agent?
With the Anglican Communion at daggers drawn for the last 30 years and more over the issues of homosexuality and women in the priesthood, what move could be better calculated to push that heresy (or at least schism) over the edge into the waiting dustbin of history than the appointment of looney leftists like Rowan Williams to the leadership of that Church?

It is almost as if Blair, though I suppose his appointments are dictated by internal Labour Party dynamics, had calculated how best to bring the CofE down in a resounding crash as soon as possible. Though the decisions of Blair are the product of a good-faith belief that more liberalism will cure the CofE, and not harm it, the defections of more conservative Anglican priests and laity to Rome over the last 10 years has become a flood. Now the American Episcopalians are making things worse.

Blair is said to be sympathetic to Prince Charles' inclination to reverse the Glorious Revolution's ban on a Catholic spouse for the monarch. If this continues, the sectarian triumph of the protestants in England from 1535-1715 could be reversed completely. And Blair hasn't even formally converted, yet.

The only problem is that Rome will inherit not a healthy Christian England that merely needs to have the effects of the Reformation wiped out, but a Moslem, pagan, or atheist society that will need to be thoroughly evangelized in a repeat of Saint Augustine of Canterbury's mission. And the Church is not yet ready to commission such an undertaking. There is much that will need to be fixed at home, first.

It Seems Likely That the Episcopalians Will Elect Robinson Bishop
To those upset by the move, the Tiber is an easy river to cross.

We can use some additional support on the right in the Roman Catholic Church, whether it comes from former Pius X Society members, or from conservative Episcopalians, Lutherans, or Methodists, or from those who have fled to the Byzantine Rite to get tradition, even if it is not your tradition.

And refugees from the sinking ship of the Anglican Communion could provide an impetus and motivation to preserve our Church. The horror stories they will bring with them just might motivate Catholics to get off their butts and preserve (restore, if need be) our own devotional practices in our own parishes, lest the same revolutionary drive fully succeed here.

Just What We Don't Need
Pop-up ads on Blogger sites.

Just for the record, the only thing I hate more than telemarketing calls is the pop-up ad. I can deal with junk e-mail via my block list, and don't have a fax. But pop-ups are such an annoyance.

We've Been Having Some Lovely Showers and T-Storms This Afternoon
We need the rain after a drier-than-normal July, but the tourist industry cannot be very happy.
The AccuWeather forecast for the week calls for showers, T-storms, or steady rain all week. Well, a wet summer means a nice fall foliage season.

Personal Impact of the Scandal
It is interesting to see how the Scandal has played out in our lives.

Neither Mrs. F., nor I, nor any of our combined 8 brothers was abused by a priest (or anyone else, for all we know).

Neither of the parishes I belonged to before I moved to Salem (Sacred Heart, Malden, Our Lady of the Assumption, Lynnfield) had been damaged by a pervert. No one in my family or among my childhood friends was molested by a priest (or anybody else, as far as I know). Yet, the priest who baptized me, and who gave my older adopted brother First Communion and First Confession, trained him as an altar boy, and married him (Bishop Daniel Hart) went on, as a Boston auxiliary bishop, to play a minor part in shuffling and protecting pervert priests, and a more meaningful role in doing the same thing when he got his own diocese in Connecticut.

After I moved to Salem, after an interlude worshipping at the Carmelite Chapel in Peabody, we became members of St. James, which had, long before we moved here, not one pervert assigned, but two (Father Birmingham and Father Martin-who also failed to supervise his Youth Minister at Saint Agnes in Middleton, Christopher Reardon, who was busy abusing hundreds of boys, some even in Martin's own rectory), as well as the notorious pervert-protector, now-Bishop John B. McCormack. We have not become acquainted with anyone who was abused by one of the perverts (at least that we know of) , but I am sure many of the people we saw at Mass this morning knew some of the victims.

Now we find out about what happened to Mrs. F.'s shirttail relative, and we found out last year that the priest who baptized her was a pervert, with a long history of abusing boys.

No one is quite untouched by the Scandal.

The key is to remember that the Faith (and the Church) are much, much more than the actions of one man, of hundreds of priests, of an entire bench of bishops, of cardinals, bureaucrats, or popes. It is the key to eternal life given us by God Himself. She is administered by humans, the vast majority of whom are not saints. Though she can never err in her teachings on faith and morals, on the dogma believed by all Catholics, the men who administer her can be very, very wrong.

Today's Anchorage Daily News Has A Lot About A Pervert Priest With A Boston Connection
The pervert priest, Monsignor Murphy, baptized Mrs. F. and three of her brothers (the ones born in Anchorage).

There are three articles in today's edition.

The first gives more details about the abuse and its coverup by Archbishop Hurley than were previously known. Murphy graduated from St. John's Seminary, Brighton, MA (he was born in Belmont) and went to Anchorage as part of the work of the Saint James Society (which has been used as a dumping ground, along with military chaplaincies, for troubled priests).

He is an admitted homosexual. He also had a drinking problem. He is accused of plying adolescent boys with alcohol, and molesting them under various pretexts. Once again we see the pattern of troubled boys being brought into contact with him for "guidance," only to see him molest them.

When the son of an Anchorage cop wanted to become an altar boy, Murphy refused him. He apparently felt that someone from an intact family with close ties to law enforcement might not be a good target, and might become suspicious. Likewise, he never got aggressive with Mrs. F's brothers, because they were part of an intact moderately prominent family (and one with a gun or two around the house).

The circumstances of his case where hushed up by Archbishop Hurley and his staff. Murphy was sent off to Boston for treatment for his alcoholism. When he was "ready" to come back, the Anchorage Police threatened to arrest him if returned.

This story is from the victims' perspective. This one comes close to home. The featured victim, is related to my wife's step-mother. I've never met him, and I think Mrs. F. said she only met him once. This is the first I had heard of this matter. Well, even as peripheral as the relation is, I guess we can say we have joined the list of families touched more or less directly by the Scandal.

And it seems as if Murphy will get away with it all, as Alaska's statute of limitations applicable at the time said a sex crime must be reported within five years of its occurence.

And the crisis continues.

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