10 April 2010

Good Friday 2010 at the Vatican

Another video of the Good Friday Service at the Vatican.  You can see yours truly between 3:30-3:37.  The priests who will distribute communion are processing to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

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Questions the media wouldn't ask

Phil Lawyer of Catholiculture.org asks the questions the Pope-hating media couldn't be bothered to ask:

Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.

Had Oakland's Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest's application.

Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle's dismissal from the priesthood.

Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.

Did Cardinal Ratzinger's reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.

Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.

Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle's predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation-- before the case ever reached Rome.

Read the whole article and lament the decline in professional journalistic standards.

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Apple Cider Vinegar cure-all?

Anyone out there ever tried drinking diluted Apple Cider Vinegar as a tonic?

I tried it years ago and was generally unimpressed by the results.  I recently ran across a "folk remedy" site that has a huge amount of material on ACV and its alleged benefits.  

Always willing to give most anything a go (legal and moral, of course!), I bought a bottle of organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV.

I add about a tablespoon of ACV to my two liter water bottle and drink it all before lunch.  The results?  The most noticeable result for me has been a rather dramatic increase in energy.  I find myself chaffing at sitting inside to read. . .I'm going out of the priory most everyday. . .I'm actually sleeping through most of the night now.  ACV is also supposed to help with excessive sweating by correcting the magnesium imbalance that often causes this problem.  No results on this front just yet.

ACV is also touted as a natural way to prevent infections.  Since I rarely get sick, this benefit might not be all that apparent for me.  We'll see. . .

Anyone else ever tried this?

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Steven's resignation will move Kennedy in the Right direction

The Legal Fanboy in me couldn't resist posting this insightful analysis on the effect Justice Steven's resignation from the SCOTUS would have on future court-rulings.

The bottomline: it's pretty much good news for the Court's "conservatives."

from SCOTUSblog:

[. . .]

First, take the issue of Kennedy’s soon-to-emerge role as an “assigning” Justice. When the Court is divided on any case being decided on the merits, the senior Justice in the majority gets to select a colleague (or take on personally) the task of writing the opinion for the majority. Depending upon who gets the assignment, that can shape the actual outcome of the case, and also influence its breadth or narrowness. Also, a colleague whose support may be somewhat shaky can be handed an assignment in order to nail down that colleague’s vote and preserve a narrow majority.

If the Chief Justice is in the majority when the Court divides, the Chief always has the assigning function, because, however long in the job of Chief Justice, that member of the Court always has top seniority. Only if the Chief Justice is not in the majority does the assigning task then fall to the Justice next highest in seniority. That has been Justice Stevens, for 16 years of his 34 years on the Court.

But Kennedy is moving up only a single notch in seniority. He is still outranked in seniority by Justice Antonin Scalia. So, if the Court’s eight other Justices were to split along conservative and liberal lines, and the four most likely conservative Justices attracted Kennedy’s vote, the assigning task would fall to the Chief Justice. In any divided Court with Kennedy and Scalia on the same side, Scalia would always be the assigning Justice should the Chief Justice not be on that side.

But, if Kennedy were to line up, in a divided case, with the Court’s four moderate-to-liberal Justices (assuming Stevens’ replacement sides with that bloc), Kennedy would always have the assigning task, inheriting it from Stevens. He would outrank, in seniority, all of the Justices in that bloc. He thus will be able to shape even the Court’s more liberally inclined outcomes, by the way he chooses the opinion authors. And, if he thought any of the other four might use an assignment to write an opinion more sweeping than he would want, he could assign the task to himself, and keep it within whatever bounds he chose so long as it did not drive off one of the four other votes he would need to keep a majority.

[. . .]

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Too much? Maybe. . .

I'm no fan of B.O., but I think DRUDGE may be piling it on a little thick, don't you?

GINGRICH: Obama 'most radical president ever'...

LIMBAUGH: Obama 'inflicting untold damage on this great country'...

MARK LEVIN: Obama 'Closest Thing to Dictator We've Ever Had'...

PALIN: Obama's 'vast nuclear experience he acquired 'community organizer'...

LIZ CHENEY: Obama Putting America on 'Path to Decline'...

HANNITY: Obama 'Is a Socialist'...

SAVAGE: 'Obama The Destroyer'...

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Advances in anti-Zombie weaponry

The Coming Zombie Apocalypse fix for the day:

Yeah, OK. . .but does it have a flamethrower?

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

Justice Stevens will leave the Supreme Court at the end of this term.  What does this mean?  Another summer of listening to Senate confirmation hearings on NPR while commuting to Irving.  Why they bother holding these hearings is beyond me.  Nominees never say anything of substance.  Every word is carefully crafted to make the nominee as inoffensive as possible.  It's a choreographed dance.

Oh, if only women and married men could be swim coaches, this sort of thing would've never have happened!

Jonah Goldberg:  "We can’t become Europe unless someone else is willing to become America. . .Europe is a free-rider. It can only afford to be Europe because we can afford to be America."  Ouch.

A preview of the chaos that ObamaCare will cause. 

Richard Bastien asks the pertinent question:  "Why the near hysteria regarding sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, most of which occurred decades ago, from a society that celebrates the lack of constraints against almost every form of sexual activity, no matter how degraded?"

75 Books Every Man Should Read. . .and it would't hurt women to read them either.

Need help separating fact from urban legend?  Go to Snopes. I recently rec'd this one at my email account:  Giants Found

Fascinating solutions to everyday problems. . .

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Call it anything but sin

Bishop James Conley sticks up for the Holy Father.  Here are three excerpts that deserve special attention:

[. . .]

Sexual abuse of children cries to heaven for justice. It violates everything that is good and holy. It mocks everything Christ said in the gospels. Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to the innocence of a little child. And for a Catholic priest to commit a crime and a sin like this is profoundly evil [Except for murder, I would say that there is no more evil act a priest could commit.  The damage done to children who have been sexually violated is enduring and often leads them into becoming predators themselves.]

[. . .]

And no person has done more to rid the Church of the evil of sexual abuse than the current successor of St. Peter, Benedict XVI. As archbishop of Munich thirty years ago, then as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and now as the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict has always been dedicated to his responsibilities of purifying the Church in this area [and this is likely why he is currently the focus of these vicious media attacks:  does anyone think that a permissive, doctrinally lazy pope would be attacked like this?].

[. . .]

No other world religious leader, Jewish, Muslim or other, would be treated in this way. Contempt for the Catholic Church—and don't be fooled; the contempt is directed not just at Church leaders, but at ordinary believers as well—no matter how vulgar or bitter, is the last acceptable prejudice. Why? Because the Catholic Church is one of the few remaining voices that speaks effectively against the moral confusion of our day. The Catholic faith does not and will not bless the damaging moral path some people now seem to prefer [Amen.  The general line of attack here is fairly obvious:  if you can't beat the message, beat the messenger and hope that the message is discredited in the process.  The duplicity here is exposed when media talking-heads and church dissents immediately start touting their reform agenda as the only possible answer to the crisis.  What do they fear?  That the Holy Father's sincere efforts to return the Church to the principal task of preaching and teaching the gospel will succeed in unraveling the unmitigated disasters of the Spirit of Vatican Two revolutionaries.] 
I wonder when some prominent member of the Spirit of Vatican Two cadre will man-up and accept partial responsibility for this mess.  As I have already noted many times, the root cause of the scandal is sin.  Not ecclesial structures.  Not processes, procedures, or policies.  So, the question is:  what has happened in the Church in the last forty years to turn sin into any and everything but sin?  We talk endlessly about psychological disorders, legal responsibilities, criminal negligence, financial culpability, and the failure to self-actualize.  Why have we been so reluctant to call this outrageous behavior what it is:  sin?

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09 April 2010

Kindle 2 vs. iPad. . .what's it gonna be?

In a recent post I asked for advice/reviews of Amazon's Kindle 2.  Most of the responses were positive.  Some readers suggested I look at Apple's iPad

So, I did.  

My conclusion:  very nifty machine. . .but WAY more machine than I need.  I just want a easy-to-use, inexpensive way to read my books while traveling during the summer.  Since I have a laptop for web browsing, the iPad's internet capabilities would go unused most of the time.  I don't collect pictures or videos nor would I use the thing to store financial/personal info.  My sense of the iPad is that for me buying one would be comparable to a little old lady buying a Porsche to make her weekly trip to Bingo at St. Bubba's.

So, what's the decision on the Kindle 2?  Probably gonna pass.  First, on the advice of my sagacious readers, I looked at the WISH LIST and discovered that none of the books I should be reading during the summer have been Kindled (is that a new verb?!).  Second, my Fun Books (sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries) end up in the common reading room of the priory.  I couldn't share them if they were on a Kindle.  Third, I could buy a lot of philosophy books for $260. 

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Abuse scandals = crisis in fidelity

George Weigel, always an excellent read, points out what is obvious to any clear-thinking Catholic:  the abuse scandal is the result of clerics defying Church teaching and not the result of structural problems.  Ergo, all the fav "solutions" of ecclesial revolutionaries are just opportunistic whining about reform for reform's sake:

". . .what ought to be obvious about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is that these grave sins and crimes were acts of infidelity, denials of the truths the church teaches. A priest who takes seriously the vows of his ordination is not a sexual abuser or predator. And if a bishop takes seriously his ordination oath to shepherd the Lord's flock, he will always put the safety of the Master's little ones ahead of concerns about public scandal. Catholic Lite is not the answer to what has essentially been a crisis of fidelity."


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AP once again lying about the Holy Father. . .

"New" revelations of the future Pope Benedict XVI covering up for a clerical child molester?

Or, just another case of a lazy, Catholic-hating reporter publishing court documents leaked to her by plaintiff's lawyers?  (You know, like that NYT hit piece over Holy Week. . .)?

Here's the "reporting". . .

And here's Fr. Z.'s evisceration of the story.  . .line by line, "fact" by "fact."  The gist of Fr. Z.'s take-down is this:  the AP story ignores the time-line of Ratzinger's appt to the CDF; conflates the canonical duties of various curial offices in dealing with priests accused of molestation; completely confuses the various sorts of canonical remedies for molesters (defrocking, dispensation, etc.); and completely punts on the historical fact that Crdl. Ratzinger insisted on taking personal charge of all abuse cases sometime in 2001. 

Makes you wonder if AP reporters have access to Google or, you know, telephones. . .anything that would help them actually look stuff up, or you know, call someone to check their facts.  

Also, I have to believe that if these charges were being made against a prominent Muslim cleric or leading Rabbi, the reporter would go out of her way to learn something, anything about the internal workings of these faiths in order to better report the facts.  Cultural diversity, difference, and all that being the pinnacle of lefty ideology.  But since she's dealing with the Evil Roman Pontiff, who opposes all thing holy and good to the Left, plain ole willful ignorance serves the narrative just fine. . .so, why bother?

UPDATE:  Damien Thompson points out a few factual errors in the AP report.

UPDATE 2:  Fr. Fessio has an interesting take on why the process for granting priestly dispensations took so long after 1980.

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Catholic Priest = Child Molester?

from the otherwise reprehensible Newsweek:


The Catholic sex-abuse stories emerging every day suggest that Catholics have a much bigger problem with child molestation than other denominations and the general population. Many point to peculiarities of the Catholic Church (its celibacy rules for priests, its insular hierarchy, its exclusion of women) to infer that there's something particularly pernicious about Catholic clerics that predisposes them to these horrific acts. It's no wonder that, back in 2002—when the last Catholic sex-abuse scandal was making headlines—a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests "frequently'' abused children.
Yet experts say there's simply no data to support the claim at all. No formal comparative study has ever broken down child sexual abuse by denomination, and only the Catholic Church has released detailed data about its own. But based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others."


The good news:  Catholic priests do not molest children at rates higher than other ministers.

The bad news:  Catholic priests molest children at rates comparable to other ministers.

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Banning the burkha?

Q:  What do you think about these countries like France that are trying to ban Muslim women from wearing  burkha's?

A:  Only liberal fascists are stupid enough to believe that something as useless as banning religious garb will guard their precious secularist dogmas.  If they ban burkha's, why not clerical garb or religious habits?  You might say that they wouldn't ban Christian religious garb b/c Christianity is foundational to western European culture.  According to the E.U. Constitution, Christianity had absolutely nothing to do with the foundation and development of European culture.  They've already tried to ban crucifixes in Italian classrooms, and the leftists in the U.K. are trying to force Catholic schools to teach that abortion is a morally acceptable choice. 

By banning the burkha, the Nanny Statists are turning this traditional form of dress into a symbol of religious resistance to an over-weening political ideology.  I say, "Wear Two Burkha's!"

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Coffee Bowl Browsing (in breve)

The ever-vigilant Tom K. of Disputations provides irrefutable scriptural proof that Jesus was a Dominican:  Luke 24.41.  Now, this proof fails to demonstrate that Jesus was a plump, trustworthy Dominican.  Had Jesus wanted to prove that he was such a Dominican, he would have asked, "Have you any creme-filled Krispy Kremes."  Why KK's?  Because Jesus was also a southerner. 

More anti-Catholic bigotry from Newsweek:  a report on priests raping religious sisters in Africa is titled, "The Trouble With Celibacy."   Are we to conclude from this that celibacy causes rape?  

I've often preached against "bumper sticker spirituality". . .now there's a book out explaining the philosophy of bumper stickers.  If you read, send me a review. 

Kathryn Lopez of National Review Online takes Maureen "CINO" Dowd to the woodshed.  Lopez notes that in a recent column Dowd whines out this ridiculous question:  “How can we maintain that faith when our leaders are unworthy of it?”  Surely this question tells us all we know about the depth, breadth, and sincerity of Dowd's faith.

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Rel & Sci seminar: required texts

Below I've posted a very rough syllabus for the Religion & Science seminar I am offering this summer at the University of Dallas.

Here's an updated list of required texts:

Ferngren, G.  Science and Religion: a historical introduction (2002)

Godfrey-Smith, P.  Theory and Reality: an introduction to the philosophy of science (2003)

A good portion of the reading for this seminar will be articles, chapters, etc. from my collection of anthologies.  

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08 April 2010

Calling terrorists by a different name doesn't make them disappear

B.O.'s brilliant plan to re-name radical Islamic terrorism out of existence is working great.  

This just in:  an elderly Methodist woman is caught trying to blow up an American passenger jet while screaming something about a conspiracy against Jeopardy and her SSI benefits


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Lower the drinking age. . .

I was all of 20 years old when the federal gov't raised the minimum legal age for alcohol consumption to 21.  All of us 18-20 year olds were "grandfathered" into the new limit; that is, if we were drinking legally when the law was changed, we were still legal. . .even if not yet 21.

Study after study, report after report has concluded that the 21 year old drinking age is not doing the job it was designed to do:  prevent irresponsible drinking by young adults.  In fact, there's a good case to be made that the 21 age limit is actually helping to increase binge drinking, drunk driving, etc.  

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Rel & Sci syllabus

THE-6377: Religion & Science
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, PhD
University of Dallas
Second Summer Term 2010

Description: this course will examine the often-times tumultuous relationship between religious believers in the West and advocates of the empirical scientific method. We will focus particularly on the various philosophical/rhetorical strategies that have been used to help believers and scientists cooperate in the common pursuit of verisimilitudinous truth. Fundamental to our discussion is the ancient notion that faith and reason are not only not incompatible but perfectly suited, in virtue of their common origin, to serve as complementary workers in the task of investigating, describing, and explaining the “One World” of creation.

Week One: What is religion? What is science?

Religion: revealed relationship with divinity (theological)
Science: discovery and explanation of materiality (scientific)
Limits of revelation and reason

Week Two: Conflict, cooperation, or mutual ignorance?

History of the relationship between religion and science
Models of interaction: worlds apart?
Alethic hubris and complementarity in the search for truth

Week Three: Religious and Scientific Realism

Aquinas: adequatio as epistemology
Religious and scientific anti-realism
Critical religious and scientific realism

Week Four: Going too far

Intelligent Design as pseudo-science
The New Atheism as a fundamentalist religion 

Week Five: “One World” case studies

Macro: Cosmology/creation
Micro: Galileo and the Church
Other possibilities: divine interaction (i.e., miracles), revelation, religious experience

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07 April 2010

Mom back in the hospital

Just got off the phone with my dad. . .Scuba Becky is back in the hospital! 

Looks like she has pneumonia again. 

Prayers, please. . .

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Vatican Good Friday Services

Finally, I found an on-line video of the Vatican's Good Friday Service. . .well, the vid covers most of the service anyway:

Veneration of the Holy Cross  (for some reason the embed option is not working)

If you want to see how close I got to the Holy Father, fast-forward to 27:50.  I'm Father "Twice As Wide" Powell right in the middle of the screen at the beginning of the Pater Noster.
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06 April 2010

The B.O. Answer to the iPad

Can't afford an iPad?  No worries.  Congress just rammed through a $17.89 bazillion project to provide all Americans--including the dead, illegal aliens, and those guilty of felonies--with the oBamaPad:

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05 April 2010

Summer Classes at U.D. update

Also, update on my 2010 summer teaching schedule at the University of Dallas:

The English dept. has asked me to teach a senior seminar on American literature. . .this is the course I normally teach for them.  

With the kind permission of the theology dept., we're dropping Understanding the Bible from the summer term schedule and adding American Lit.  

American Lit, Mon-Thurs 4-6pm (senior seminar covering major writers from N. Hawthorne to C. McCarthy)

Religion and Science, Mon-Thurs 6-8pm (senior seminar/grad covering the historical and philosophical relationship between western Christianity and western science)

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Scuba Becky update

Talked to Scuba Becky (a.k.a. my mother) yesterday.  She has rec'd no official word on her biopsy results; however, a nurse in her doctor's office told her that if anything had been found, the doc would have called immediately.

So, looks like the biopsy was negative. 

Funny aside:  while talking to mom on the phone, I could hear the O2 tank making this wheezy, popping sound.  I started snickering, thinking of my new nickname for mom.  Shhhh...don't tell her.

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Gomez to L.A.!

This is H.U.G.E.!!!

Rocco of Whispers in the Loggia is reporting that Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio is going to be appt'ed coadjutor-archbishop of Los Angeles!

This means that when Cardinal Mahony begins his much-deserved retirement in less than a year, Archbishop Gomez will take up the reins of a archdiocese in desperate need of reform, starting with the Religious Education Conference/Circus and moving right on to the dismal condition of seminary education/formation.

Archbishop Gomez is an Opus Dei numerary.  And I imagine that the idea that BXVI is going to give one of the Church's largest, wealthiest, and most influential liberal archdioceses to an Opus Dei bishop is going to send the NCR/America/Commonweal/LCWR-types into fits.  

Gomez is only 58, so he will have a long, long, long tenure in L.A. 

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Choosy Medieval Philosopher-theologians choose Kindle

A HancAquam reader sent this to me:

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04 April 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Someone get his teleprompter back:  B.O. rambles for 17 minutes trying. . .futilely. . .to answer some poor woman's question about how his health care boondoggle is going to raise taxes.  Here's a surprise. . .I'd ramble on in my homilies if I didn't use a text.

The very definition of cheekiness:  Archbishop Rowan Williams accusing someone else (anyone else!) of having a credibility problem as a Christian leader.  Update:  His Gracious Fuzziness has since apologized for the remark

Spoiling the "Tea Partiers are a bunch of GOP racist" soup:  one of the recently arrested militiamen is a registered Democrat.  Also, 40% of the Tea Partiers are Dems/Independents.  Now that's really gonna mess with the narrative!

I'm a terrible speller.  Grammar is not really my thing.  And I frequently mispronounce words.  But punctuation is most definitely my forte (pronounced exactly like "fort," btw not "for-tay.")* Check out some of the up and coming punctuation marks--the irony mark and the interrobang.  An argument can be made that the internet/cell texting have made emoticons more useful than traditional punctuation marks. 

I want a hand-held version of this baby!  Would be most useful in walking around Rome. . .Italians have this thing about parking themselves in the middle of the sidewalk and chatting as if no one else were around. 

A decision tree that helps you answer the question:  it's touched the floor, do I eat it anyway?

A series of motivational posters.  My fav:  "Teamwork:  with a fat friend there are no see-saws, only catapults." 

I'm ashamed to admit it. . .I laughed at this.  It's both funny and vaguely sacrilegious.

Perfect Man & Perfect Woman pick up Santa Claus on the side of the road.  They get into an accident.  Who survives?

A slightly different take on the origin and use of the Easter Island monuments.

* "Forte" is French in origin but pronounced "for-tay" in Italian if you mean to describe musical emphasis, i.e., "strong," or "forceful." 

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Dark clouds and the rise of our only hope

Standing through the cloister window that looks south out over the Coliseum this morning, I watch a long line of dark clouds move over the city.   The most prominent angels of the Angelicum--the squawky sea-gulls--squabble over nesting rights and a few church bells ring out to wake those still asleep.

Clouds over Rome on the Resurrection of the Lord.  How fitting.  Bickering birds instead of angel's choirs.  Perfect.  For a few, quick moments I felt a cold, weighty melancholy squeeze my Easter joy. Would today be a day to get through, a day to merely endure with fingers crossed?  

The WeatherBug reports that it will rain.  Great.

At Mass this morning, I sit in my accustomed place.  Near the altar and across from a huge Renaissance-style fresco of Christ leaving the tomb.  During moments of silence, I look up at the triumphant Lord and back down at his emptied grave.  Some of the people in the fresco--the Mary's, soldiers, servants, angels--watch him rise.  Some with joy.  Some with knowing contemplation.  Some with fear and hatred.

These figures, I decide, represent quite nicely the diversity of contemporary reactions to the Resurrection.  Some greet Easter with joy; some with expectant silence; others with fear and loathing.  For repentant sinners, the Resurrection means life everlasting.  Joy comes naturally.  For those who see the Gospel as an unwelcomed restraint on their passions, their choices, the Resurrection is a unmitigated disaster.  Now, because Christ is risen, their choices have consequences beyond this impermanent world.  That they fear this revelation is their own choice.

I hear bells ringing all over the city.  The rain keeps the bickering birds under cover.  In churches here in Rome and the world over, faithful Christians are gathering despite the fear the world hopes to spark in their hearts.  Fear is easy.  Hope is hard.

Christ is risen.  The only hope for creation is risen.  He is risen indeed!

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Strife, deceit, and malice: media motivations & the Church

(NB.  Welcome Commonweal Blog readers!  And my thanks to Fr. Joe "Spirit of Vatican Two" O'Leary for all the extra traffic.  Joe's intolerance of any opinion that contradicts his personal magisterium is legendary in the blogosphere. . .as predictable as sunrise!)

I had a longish post dissecting the secular media's treatment of the Holy Father and the abuse scandals.

Then I remembered Romans 1:28-30 and decided that Paul describes it best:

"They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil."

Faithful Catholics, remember and never forget:  the war against the Devil is won.  Always has been.  Our victory over evil is not a future event, something yet to come.  The war is won.   This doesn't mean that there aren't battles to fight now and to come.  It means that we fight best when we fight knowing that victory is ours already.

Media attacks on the Holy Father are designed to do one thing and one thing only:  demoralize the faithful into surrendering hope, thus giving less faithful Catholics the excuse they want to abandon the Church's unwavering teaching on difficult moral issues.  Don't believe for one second that this latest onslaught of hyperventilating media self-righteousness* is anything but an attempt to throw mud on the Holy Father during Holy Week and Easter.  Just when the Pope is most visible to the world as preacher and teacher of the Gospel, suddenly--SUDDENLY!--the media discover documents long in the public domain and use them to score ideological points.  As SNL's Church Lady used to says, "How convenient. . ."

Now, to be absolutely clear:  the media's nefarious motivations do not excuse the Church and her leaders from the guilt of sexual abuse and cover-up. Nothing excuses the sexual abuse of a minor.  Nothing excuses covering these abuses up.  Calling the media to journalistic responsibility in the reporting of facts is not an ecclesial strategy for dodging blame or distracting attention.  No one in the Vatican or the Church at large is denying that minors were abused by clergy and that bishops sometimes worked overtime to hush these abuses up.  The only thing the Church is asking of the press is for them to do their jobs and report the facts.  Not speculation.  Not sensationalistic gossip or one-sided accusations from victims' lawyers.

That's not too much to ask.

*Why describe the media as self-righteousness?  The same media outlets that wail and claw at their faces, mourning the evils of sexual abuse are the same outlets that regularly tell us that there is nothing morally wrong with poisoning children in the womb and scraping their scalded bodies out with forceps.  It's hard to take their lamentations about sexual abuse seriously when they turn a deaf ear to children who are killed by their mothers and doctors.

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The Kindle: to buy, or not to buy?

Thoughts on the Kindle. . .???

Anyone out there use a Kindle for reading texts in electronic form?

I've been thinking of asking for one for my birthday.  I travel a lot in the summers and carrying around boxes of books for research/fun is just not possible.  Kindle-style texts are cheaper than books, so there's money to be saved over the long run.

Since I'm not a Gadget Guy, my concerns about the Kindle are mostly about how easy it is to use.  My poetically structured brain has zero interest in the intricacies of how the thing works or how its tech-wizardry can be improved by endless tweaking.

Does it work?  Is it easy to use?  Is it more convenient than a paper book?  Does it save money?

Thoughts. . .suggestions for alternatives. . .arguments for/against?

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