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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Saturday, November 29, 2008

    First Sunday of Advent

    Fr. Z and NLM walk us through this evening's papal liturgy. Remember to light your advent wreath!

    [photo credit: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN)]

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    Friday, November 28, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/28/08


    Winning Caption: "Quieter than a silent E." - Worm

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: e3000]

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    Advent wreath tips

    My family has always been very good about observing the tradition of lighting an Advent wreath to prepare for Christmas.

    The Catholic Spirit (MN) and Florida Catholic have articles this week explaining the tradition and providing prayers for the first week of Advent.

    (Ph/t: CNS)

    [photo credit: mrscurtis2005]

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    Rumor: Pope Benedict to visit Holy Land in May 2009

    Exciting news if it turns out to be true:
    Israeli president Shimon Peres has extended an invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Israel in 2009 and he is considering the offer, according to the Vatican’s spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.

    Speaking to the press on Thursday in Rome, Fr. Lombardi reacted to an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that stated that Pope Benedict has indeed accepted an offer to visit the Holy Land in the second week of May, 2009.

    While not denying that discussions are under way, Fr. Lombardi did not confirm the specifics. "I can confirm that contacts exist at a diplomatic level between the Holy See and Israel to study the possibility of a trip by the Pope to the Holy Land next year," he said.

    The article in Ha’aretz also claimed that the Pope will visit the Palestinian territories by stopping in Bethlehem. (CNA)
    If the trip accomplishes one thing, I hope it finally puts to rest this common misconception:
    "[The trip] would help to ease recent tensions between Catholics and Jews over the role of wartime Pope Pius XII, who some Jews have accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust." (Reuters)
    You can expect the Pius XII controversy to be front-and-center during the news coverage of the Holy Father's visit. Good. Maybe the Church can finally, publicly defend herself against the false charges.

    But I won't be holding my breath.

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    Vote for a pro-life blog in the CBA!

    The Pro-life blog "ProWomanProLife" has been nominated for "Best New Blog" in the Canadian Blog Awards.

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    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Advent on your iPhone: Introducing "iHabitus"

    Not a gag post!

    More details from Fr. Z.

    And this would be just as good as any to ask, do you have any Catholic software for mobile devices tips? What about a Facebook Advent application? I've heard of such a thing existing but this one appears to be the only one updated for 2008, and it does not appear to be particularly Christian.

    Anyway, I'd love to promote these sorts of things to other AmP readers. Spread the Good News (online)!

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    CDF to release important bioethics document on Dec. 12

    We've been waiting awhile for this one:
    A new Vatican instruction on bioethics, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is scheduled to be published Dec. 12, informed sources said Wednesday.

    The document, under discussion for at least two years, is expected to examine ethical issues in biological research and health care that have emerged in recent years, including the cloning and freezing of human embryos, stem cell research and new therapeutic possibilities.

    Pope Benedict XVI was head of the doctrinal congregation when both those documents were published. Addressing the congregation in January, the pope said the new problems included the freezing of human embryos, the selective reduction of embryos, pre-implant diagnosis, research on embryonic stem cells and attempts at human cloning. (CNS)
    This document will be a follow-up to Donum Vitae (1987) and Evangelium Vitae (1995), both landmark statements from the Church on the literally life-and-death importance of bioethical decision and practice.

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    Picture: New Cardinals (Awesome)

    A treasure taken from the recently made-public LIFE magazine photo archives:

    Cardinals prostrating in the Sistine Chapel. From The Far Sight 2.0 via NLM.

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    How many books does Pope Benedict own?

    Answer? 20,000!

    Aside from being a prolific author himself, Pope Benedict XVI loves books. After he was elected Pope in 2005, renovations were undertaken to the papal residence to accommodate his personal library of 20,000 books.

    So it’s especially fitting that the Vatican opened a new bookstore this week dedicated to the Holy Father. Along with books, the new store offers both a stamp and a medal collection, including a new stamp printed for the occasion of the opening, Zenit reported. (NCRegister.com)

    wow.

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    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    THANK YOU!

    The combined efforts of AmP readers, and friends of AmP readers, resulted in this blog becoming the second Runner-Up in the 2008 Blogging Scholarship contest, with almost 5,000 votes:

    As promised, this money will be used to pay off my student loans. I have all you to thank for that, this Thanksgiving and everytime I look at the bill for my student loans (which will be often).
    Also, that crisis pregnancy center I asked AmP readers to vote for, well it ended up winning a $25,000 office makeover.
    This level of grassroots organization and mutual support between Catholics online is very encouraging to me. Together we can be a powerful, united force for good, in every area of our lives. Keep it up!

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    Large scale terrorist attack unfolding in India

    Breaking news .... the UK Times:

    At least 80 people were killed tonight and 20 Westerners taken hostage as suspected Islamic terrorists mounted a series of co-ordinated attacks on India’s financial capital.

    The gunman, armed with automatic weapons and grenades, targeted British and American tourists in the city’s luxury hotels and bars. They were reported to be holding Western tourists hostage at the Taj Mahal Palace, Bombay’s top hotel, where a group of British MEPs were staying.

    As a swathe of violent incidents swept across the south of the city, hitting at least nine locations, security sources said “a major terror attack” was unfolding. A senior police officer said that “terrorists have used automatic weapons and we have reports that in some places hand grenades have been used”.

    “We have reports of 80 people dead and at least 900 injured. Many have serious injuries and the toll will go up,” said P.D Ghadge, a police officer in the main control room in Mumbai. Hemant Karkare, chief of the police anti-terrorist squad in Bombay, was among the victims. Police said two terrorists had been killed.

    Shootings were reported in the lobby of the five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel in the Colaba area of south Bombay and at the nearby Leopolds bar, a popular destination with western backpackers. Witnesses described pools of blood and bullet-scarred walls at both locations.

    “I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports,” said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on business. “They had bombs.”

    Drudge is following the story.

    Let's pray for the victims and be thankful for the relative peace we are blessed with in America.

    update: and lest we let our own guard down, there are now reports of a plan to bomb penn station.

    update 2: Pope Benedict has responded.

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    Evil Stocking Stuffer: Gift Certificates for Abortions

    I'm not making this up:

    Gift certificates have become a popular holiday gift option, but a controversial new one, already has people talking. For the first time, Planned Parenthood in Indiana is offering gift certificates.

    .... asked if the gift certificates could be used towards abortions. The answer is yes. But, Planned Parenthood said that's not the purpose of the gift certificates. (Local 8)

    Video:



    PP of Indiana has made it onto the AmP radar before, back in February, where it offered to prepare students for their spring break with a "free emergency contraception day." PP of Indiana certainly appears to be innovative and pro-active when it comes to promoting their wide range of harmful services.

    Related: "Planned Parenthood Issues Christmas Gift Certificates: Give the Gift of Abortion" (LifeNews)

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    Video: Man transports 20 bricks on his head!

    If this is real, it's incredible:

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    Vatican forgives Lennon. Who's next, I wonder?

    Someone at L'OR must have had space to fill:

    The Vatican's newspaper [L'OR] has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a "boast" by a young man grappling with sudden fame. (Reuters)

    During the papacy of John Paul II, the Church went through an "apology stage." If this is the beginning of a "forgiveness stage" in the Church, I have some suggestions for who the Vatican should forgive next:
    1. Vatican "experts" who claimed Pope Benedict XVI would be a vindictive, blood-thirsty traditionalist tyrant, single-handely ushering in a new dark ages
    2. The so-called "new athiests" who have blamed the Catholic church for everything evil that has happened in the world since the Incarnation, except for natural disasters
    3. The pop singer Madonna, for the past 25-or-so years (this one will be tough)

    There, that should keep L'OR busy.

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    Amazing Photos of Dubai

    I keep tabs on Dubai.

    This page contains amazing recent photos of the fastest-growing city in the world.

    Including this one, of the new Tower of Babel.

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    What about Twilight?

    If you look at the movie Box Office returns from last weekend, there's a big surprise....

    .... it's the movie Twilight. I'm rather disturbed by its huge success, because I've heard nothing good about the book it is based on.

    A Catholic mother blogging about the book and movie over at Spes Unica has this to say:
    "The Twilight Saga is an international sensation, but unlike other recent blockbusters (for example, the Harry Potter series), this fan base tilts very, very heavily towards females. (One fan site listed a ratio of 31 registered females for every male, and I would venture to say it may be optimistic about the number of males.) The series has been carefully marketed as a courtly romance based on old fashioned morals, but this is simply untrue. It is driven by eroticism and obsession, contains explicit sexual situations and violence, and disturbing spiritual content which concludes in a “happy ending” where the heroine of the story gives up her soul to become a vampire." (Read More)
    So be advised - Twilight is dark for a reason.

    update: it's evident from the comment thread that other Catholics view this series favorably, for instance the USCCB review, and pro-life chastity blogger Kate Bryan.

    Since I have not read the books or seen the movie, nor do I have a particular interest in the genre, I'll refrain from commenting and allow AmP readers to pursue the debate who are closer to it.

    I would say, speaking as an outsider, that this genre of film in general contains unsavory elements, and so if it is good, that means it has an uphill battle. But for all that, it would be encouraging to see that there is an entry that features acceptable moral values for a chance. Otherwise it's just another teen vampire movie. Blech.

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    Online Movie: Volition (pro-life & powerful)

    A powerful film available in its entirety online.

    The description doesn't quite to it justice:

    "The act of making a choice. Sometimes the choice of inaction has consequences stronger than we could ever imagine. Throughout history, men have been faced with difficult choices in a world that makes it easy for them to conform. This film explores the hope that lies behind every decision made in the face of adversity; the hope that is buried in the heart of those that look beyond themselves and see something bigger worth fighting for."

    Okay,that's a bit vague. Watch the movie and it's very clear what is being talked about. And it's very moving.

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    Cardinal DiNardo leads procession from PP to death row

    Not a coincidence:
    Saying they want to promote the sanctity of life, several hundred people traveled to Huntsville Monday morning. The group was made up mostly of Catholics, including one very prominent one - Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

    They said their protest was to call attention to the value of life, whether unborn or condemned, which is why the group ended their procession at TDCJ's death row.

    The prayers were as constant as the step. The procession moved forward at a steady clip as over 300 people walked quietly through the heart of Huntsville from the Planned Parenthood offices traveling north of the Walls Unit. It was a chance, many say, to protest against abortion and state executions of convicted criminals. (ABC 13)
    And on a related note, Corpus Christi is refusing to give money to Planned Parenthood (at least for now). Would that other cities would follow its lead.

    Ph/t: Dawn.

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    Keeping track: a list of Obama's anti-life appointments

    As LifeSiteNews records, they include so far his:
    1. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
    2. Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson (Catholic)
    3. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Daschle (my posts on him)
    4. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
    5. Communications Director Ellen Moran (my post on her)

    ... and we can expect:

    1. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
    2. Secretary of the Interior: Raúl M. Grijalva

    Discouraging, not unexpected.

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    Vatican turns to Korean for economic advice

    Tucked away at the very end of Monday's Vatican bulletino:
    "VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed .... Thomas Han Hong-soon as international auditor of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See."
    Good stuff from a Zenit exposition and Catholic Asian News.

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    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/25/08

    Today's Top Story: "AmP T-Shirt Contest"

    Winning Caption: "Hey, you in the blue, where's your habit?!" - Caterina

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Divxplanet]

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    Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination

    "The world's first satirical board game of religious warfare."

    USA Today has the story.

    I'm dissapointed the article doesn't contain the word "smite." Such a missed opportunity.

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    BotC: St. Bridget's, New Jersey

    St. Bridget's in New Jersey ][ Photo by Flickr user mudpig

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    "Pope Benedict calls on society to reconnect beauty to truth and goodness"

    You know, if society has some free time this week:
    Although the world is immersed in images, it can be empty of beauty, Pope Benedict said today in a message he sent to the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Literature as it explores the relationship between aesthetics and ethics.

    ... Pope Benedict also calls on contemporary reasoning to rediscover the link between beauty, truth and goodness. "And if such a commitment applies to everyone," the Pope asserts, "it applies even more to believers, to the disciples of Christ, who are called by the Lord to 'give reasons' for all the beauty and truth of their faith." (CNA)
    Which reminds me....

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    Kmiec for Vatican Ambassador?

    A double dose of stupid this week from Michael Sean Winters.

    Last Friday I took apart Winters' attempt to claim that Tom Daschle's appointment as Secretary of HHS was a "step in the right direction."

    Now I find that Winters is arguing that Doug Kmiec would be a good choice (indeed, the "perfect candidate") for US ambassador to the Vatican.
    Oh boy, here we go again. Luckily, we don't have to go far....

    Longtime associates of Professor Kmiec denounced him, often in ways that lacked all charity, suggesting bad logic or bad motives or both. There is no better way to answer those who argued that no Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience than to see the man who wrote the book (literally!) defending the proposition that Catholics can and should vote for Obama being received in the Sala Clementina by Pope Benedict XVI!

    Winters implies that "longtime associates" turned on Kmiec. In fact, Kmiec turned on them. Kmiec turned himself around several times. For instance, after originally supporting the Republican Mitt Romney, Kmiec then supported Obama. After originally claiming "beyond life issues", Obama was a good choice for Catholics, Kmiec went on to claim the Obama was the natural choice, "upon even a moment's reflection." In other words, which side in this debate has been "longtime" in their position? That's right - not Kmiec.

    As for the "lacking all charity" jab, Kmiec continually hides behind a smokescreen of holier-than-thouness, without ever engaging his opponents in substance. In fact, Kmiec's normal tactic is to claim that anyone criticizing him, de facto, must be speaking uncharitably. The reality that the criticism might be founded in reason and fact, seems to conveniently escape him. Having watched this debate closely, most interlocutors seemed to be trying their best to reach Kmiec, scratching their heads all the while. They've demonstrated an over-abundance of charity, considering they are dealing with someone who they genuinely believe is undermining the cause of defending unborn life in our country.

    And it is so untrue for Winters to claim that the Kmiec-critique contained "bad logic, bad motives or both." In fact, Kmiec seemed to run from a debate with intellectual Catholics whenever he could. He refused to publicly dialogue with bishops, he continually turned down opportunities to debate his position with prominent pro-life Catholics, opting instead for a well-funded, whirlwind tour of Catholic campuses where he rallied for Obama. Controlled Q&A sessions with liberal undergraduates is not where you test the mettle of your position. And shilling for a candidate who raised the ire of an unprecedented number of American bishops is not good credentials for a diplomatic appointment to the Holy See.

    Oh, and Winters last claim that Pope Benedict's meeting with Kmiec would somehow be an endorsement of Kmiec's position is simply ludicrous. The Pope takes what he gets, and I'd love to see Winters come out and say that the Pope's meeting with Mary Ann Glendon (the current Republican ambassador) is somehow an endorsement of her entire public career. For someone who claims so much knowledge of what the position of ambassador entails, it's amazing that he would have these sort of blindspots still.

    ... okay, that's just one short paragraph of Winter's post that I've decided to answer.

    Winters similarly displays a certain unexplainable myopia in his presentation of the situation. Again:

    Notwithstanding the sparring over abortion, Kmiec’s influence in the campaign grew from there – helping the campaign draft platform language supporting economic assistance that would encourage the decision of a pregnant woman to choose life, writing his book explaining why Obama might be voted for in good conscience (the book ranked #1 for a number of weeks in its category on Amazon), and then personally carrying the message to the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

    I have to wonder where Winters is getting his statistics. Currently Kmiec is ranked #31 in Political Reference and #59 in Government Elections. By contrast, Archbishop Charles Chaput's book, Render Unto Caesar, which I have talked about often and represents the most comprehensive, authoritative refutation of Kmiec's argument, is currently (still!) #1 in Catholic Inspirational, #1 in Roman Catholicism, and #1 in Church & State.

    If Winters is really serious in claiming that Amazon rankings are a measure of the influence and level of acceptance an individual's arguments merit ... well, Catholics who are reading, read Chaput, not Kmiec.

    A final observation:

    Kmiec has shown no interest in an administration appointment.

    What sort of interest should Kmiec show? When was the last time, when asked, anyone being considered for a post said "yes, I'd be thrilled to accept it, and eager"? Again, Winters says things he presumes are arguments, but upon reflection, turn out to actually be counter-arguments.

    In other words, if Kmiec is uninterested in an appointment, he has a very funny way of showing it - because throwing oneself into the pro-Obama movement is an unlikely way to remain hidden from view in an Obama administration (which would make Winters wrong). And if Kmiec is interested in an appointment ... well, everything he has done makes sense, and, again, Winters is wrong.

    Regardless of what happens to Kmiec, it's encouraging to see that Winters is already laying the groundwork for his canonization cause. In the meantime, Kmiec should focus on fixing his credentials.

    update: I'm not surprised and pleased to see that a certain official of the Vatican's Secretary of State agrees with me.

    [photo credit: ProLifeProObama]

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    Photos: The Hug/Kiss/Sign of Peace

    It seemed topical:


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    Monday, November 24, 2008

    AmP T-Shirt Contest

    Papists,

    Many of you have emailed me asking why there is no AmP merchandise (t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, etc).

    There's a very simple reason: I can't draw.

    But you can!

    I think I see a solution here - I'll let you design the AmP t-shirt! The CafePress store is waiting.

    My guidelines are generous, because I'd like to keep this open to your creativity:
    1. A distinctive image, probably based on this photo which I've used since the beginning as my banner. I think a stencil version (of the Cardinal on the right side) would be very snazzy. This photo, after all, perfectly captures the "Not Your Average Catholic" AmP tagline....
    2. .... which leads into my next suggestion, that the graphic include the phrase: "American Papist ... Not Your Average Catholic!" Because being Catholic is never ordinary - it's extraordinary! And AmP readers ... well, this applies to you the most.
    3. use the preferred AmP color scheme (white background, deep crimson primary color, loud orange highlights).
    4. finally, of course, "blog.americanpapist.com" or "AmericanPapist.com" should appear somewhere.

    .. and that's it! Send me your submissions in an email attachment to "thomas [at] americanpapist [dot] com."

    As for remuneration, I can't make guarantees, as obviously it depends on how many folks decide they just can't live without official AmP product, but I can guarantee recognition and credit. And hey, if I sell a few dozen shirts, I certainly won't forget the talented individual(s) who made it possible! I haven't gotten to where I am by forgetting my good friends who have helped me.

    If you are a fledgling Catholic designer, etc,. this is a great way to get massive exposure. AmP is, by my current tally, one of the three most popular Catholic blogs in the world (plus plenty of people at the Vatican read this, too, so this is a great way for you seminarians to get noticed!).

    Okay, I like keeping things short n' sweet - so give it a shot yourself or tell a friend straight away!

    update: to avoid confusion, I've slightly edited this post. I'm looking for a t-shirt design, not a new logo.

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    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/23/08

    (I decided to carry this one over an extra day.)

    Today's Top Post: Thanks, folks!

    "Who approves these crazy translations?"
    [source: (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)]

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    "Pew study finds election coverage of religion was shallow"

    No kidding.

    Of note:
    "Sen. Joe Biden, who is the first Catholic elected as vice-president and whose pro-abortion rights views and comments were criticized by leading prelates, received only 0.7 percent of religion-focused campaign coverage, according to Pew."
    Remember, under-reporting is a form of media bias as well.

    update: Phil Lawler on this.

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    Dealing with FOCA-supporters in Canon Law

    Canonist Ed Peters lays out the legal tools that Bishops may put into use against FOCA-supporters:

    The final wording of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) has yet to be set, but there is every indication that it will be the most radical piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed at the federal level. The near certainty that FOCA will be re-introduced (compounded by the increased likelihood that it will pass and be signed into law) means that, ready or not, Catholic bishops will have to face squarely the problem of well-known Catholic legislators supporting a specifically and gravely evil bill. As I see it, bishops have four options for dealing with Catholic legislators who support FOCA:

    [Read them here.]

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    Taking Catholics for Choice to the Woodshed

    Fr. Z does it for me.

    The nerve of their president Jon O'Brien:
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association may be behind the new rule, but their support does not reflect the fullness of Catholic teaching and the views of Catholics.
    Fr. Z called what Jon O'Brien wrote "evil."

    I'd have to agree:
    One hopes that the bishops are not suggesting that the only well-formed conscience is one that is in lockstep with their own interpretation of Catholic teaching. That would, in fact, be the antithesis of a well-formed conscience.
    Actually, the catechism says:
    no. 1794 - A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith.
    In other words, the phrase "well-formed conscience" is an objective not a subjective description.

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    TX Bishop apologizes for not overseeing hospital properly

    I called attention to this story back in July.

    I have a great deal of respect for how the bishops have handled these revelations:

    In yet another sign of revival in the Catholic Church in America, a US bishop has taken the rare step of publicly repenting for failing to ensure respect for life at Catholic hospitals under his jurisdiction.

    An anonymous report issued last year revealed that tubal ligations were being performed for contraceptive purposes at Texas Catholic hospitals. The report cited hospital inpatient discharge data that was reported to the Texas Health Care Information Collection Center for Health Statistics, as evidence for the claim.

    Bishop Alvaro Corrada, SJ, initiated an investigation following the report and has today issued a public admission of guilt after finding that Catholic hospitals were in fact illicitly carrying out sterilizations. (LifeSiteNews)

    And not just apologizing. The bishops are pursing a comprehensive response to the reported abuses.

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    Quo Vadis, Sign of Peace?

    I heard about this a little while ago. It's pretty much a done deal [brackets mean I'm editorializing]:

    A high-ranking Vatican official says Pope Benedict XVI is considering introducing a change to the Mass liturgy.

    Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican office for sacraments, says the pope may move the placement of the sign of peace, where congregation members shake hands or hug [or run around grabbing at any available hands they can find].

    Arinze told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview published Friday that the pope has asked bishops to express their opinions and will then decide [actually, I'm pretty sure it's already decided; he is looking for input, however].

    Under the change, the sign of peace, which now takes place moments before the reception of communion, would come earlier. Arinze said the change might help create a more solemn atmosphere as the faithful are preparing to receive communion. (AP)

    A good move, I think.

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    Prayer request

    Please stop and say a quick prayer for a good friend of mine and his family. Thank you!

    Another surprise for the Vatican's Nativity Scene this year?

    Maybe-could-be:
    This week the Vatican City government began work on the construction of a new Nativity scene that will be on display in St. Peter’s Square this Christmas.

    During this past week, with the Church preparing to celebrate final holy day of the liturgical year, the solemnity of Christ the King, dozens of workers began building a curious thirteen feet tall semi-circular structure that partially surrounding the great obilesk in St. Peter’s Square.

    CNA asked the Holy See’s Press Office about the theme chosen for this year’s Nativity scene. “The theme of the Nativity scene is chosen and implemented by the Vatican government, and only when the work is completed will the Holy See be informed of the theme,” Sister Giovanna Gentili, SFP, said.

    Last year the Vatican government chose the new theme of the Holy Family in Nazareth instead of in Bethlehem. Due to the [un]usual, semicircular aspect of the preparations, many expect the Holy See to unveil another surprise this Christmas season.
    Okay, Roman Papists ... send me photos!

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    "Biden experiencing troubled conscience over abortion, says Bishop Aquila"

    Oh?!

    Following the Fall meeting of the U.S. Catholic bishops in Baltimore, where they pledged not to yield ground to the incoming Obama administration on the issue of abortion, Bishop Samuel Aquila has revealed that vice president-elect Joe Biden is struggling with his conscience over his support for abortion.

    ... “The nice thing about Biden, at least he says his conscience bothers him, which is good,” Aquila said. (CNA)

    I don't know what Bp. Aquila is referring to exactly, but I certainly haven't seen anything recently from Biden that would cause me to think he's suddenly experiencing a conversion on the issue. I mean, he's been in politics how long?
    Absolutely, it's a good thing to have your conscience bother you when you are involved in doing something gravely wrong, but we've all seen politician after politician say "well, you know, I'm troubled ... but I'm going to do it anyway."
    Some consolation, that.

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    Radical pro-abort picked for Obama communications

    Put your friends in high places:
    Ellen Moran, executive director of EMILY’s List, was named White House communications director by President-elect Obama on Saturday. Moran, a well-known grassroots organizer, has also managed statewide Democratic campaigns and managed the Wal-Mart corporate accountability campaign for the AFL-CIO. EMILY's List, one of the most important Democratic constituency groups, says it is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing Democratic pro-choice women to office." (Politico)
    Even when phrased in saccharine political-speak, there's no real masking the fact that Emily's List pushes pro-abortion candidates, period:

    EMILY's List - which stands for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" (It makes the dough rise) -was formed more than two decades ago to support pro-choice women candidates. Over the years they'd raised millions for them. They helped, among others, political tyros like Diane Feinstein, Jennifer Granholm and Clinton (during her Senate run) reach their desired end.

    EMILY's List also states being "committed to a three-pronged strategy to elect pro-choice Democratic women: recruiting and funding viable women candidates; helping them build and run effective campaign organizations; and mobilizing women voters to help elect progressive candidates across the nation."

    For a candidate to be considered for funding from EMILY’s List there are three requirements: The candidate must be a woman; she must be a Democrat; and she must support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.

    The List’s support for abortion-on-demand is so strong that it has cut funding from politicians who voted against extreme pro-abortion positions. Two examples of this are Senators Mary Landrieu from Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas who lost funding from EMILY’s List when they voted to ban the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion. (CNA)

    Once again - these are Obama's friends.

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    Obama hasn't been to Church since Nov. 4th

    Politico:
    President-elect Barack Obama has yet to attend church services since winning the White House earlier this month, a departure from the example of his two immediate predecessors.

    On the three Sundays since his election, Obama has instead used his free time to get in workouts at a Chicago gym.

    Asked about the president-elect's decision to not attend church, a transition aide noted that the Obamas valued their faith experience in Chicago but were concerned about the impact their large retinue may have on other parishioners.

    "Because they have a great deal of respect for places of worship, they do not want to draw unwelcome or inappropriate attention to a church not used to the attention their attendance would draw," said the aide.

    Both President-elect George W. Bush and President-elect Bill Clinton managed to attend church in the weeks after they were elected.
    Doug Kmiec was quoted over the weekend as saying Obama has "far more in common with our great faith tradition than any political administration in recent memory."

    Well sadly, if our legacy is "skipping out on Church whenever possible" then ... yes, yes Obama does.

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    Fed Pledges Top $7.4 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit

    Happy Monday:

    The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

    ... The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.
    No words.

    Cardinal Ratzinger had some good ones.

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    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Video: Amazing Meteor in Canada

    I thought this was too cool not to post:



    Quote from the story:
    "She said there was a flash of light, the house shook twice and it sounded like dinosaurs were walking," Evans said.
    Now that's an ironic choice of metaphor.

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    Saturday, November 22, 2008

    Thanks, folks!

    A big AmP Shout Out to everyone who voted for me in this year's Student Blogging Scholarship! And thanks to the judges who first chose me as a finalist.

    Evidently "second runner up" is the new way to describe 3rd place! I couldn't be happier with a "show" in this stiff competition. Almost 4,800 votes is nothing to sneeze at!

    Okay, back to the blog beat....

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    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/21/08

    Today's Top Story: "The Daschle Glass if Half Empty"

    Winning Caption: "Father, you're a great ventriloquist, but don't you think your puppet is a little... large?" -WhollyRoamin'Catholic

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Divxplanet]

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    Automatic excommunication for FOCA voters?

    Matt Hadro of CNSNews.com tried to get Cardinal George to say as much, but he wasn't biting. Jeff Miller adds some helpful comments and Deal Hudson outlines some reasons why it should.
    I think this is an interesting question to raise, but will become urgent should FOCA be introduced.

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    A little Friday Onion

    Read The Onion, and get reduced to tears of laughter:

    "I'm Not One Of Those 'Love Thy Neighbor' Christians"

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    The Daschle Glass if Half Empty

    Michael Sean Winters, writing for the America blog, has tried to claim that the appointment of Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services is a "step in the right direction." As he puts it: "Call me an optimist ... The Daschle glass is half-full, not half-empty."

    Well, call me a realist, but I think the Daschle Glass is half-empty, and I'll explain why.

    From the outset, Winters misses the point:
    The Church in America today is burdened by a group of conservative prelates and laity all of whom seem to be taking their marching orders from the Republican National Committee
    I've said it dozens of times: when Catholic bishops speak out on behalf of the unborn they are doing so because abortion is a human rights issue, not a partisan talking-point. Catholic bishops would rejoice to see the pro-life cause energetically embraced by democrats and republicans alike. Winters continues:
    The Catholic press and blogosphere are the only outlets that view the Daschle selection through the prism of where he stands on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
    Well no kidding, that's because the Catholic press and blogosphere actually believe abortion is wrong, and actually believe that Obama might very well try to fulfil one of the promises he made. Catholic press and blogs would be abandoning their commitment to a Catholic perspective on modern social issues if they mirrored the liberal orthodoxy of the age which says abortion is here to stay.

    I don't have time to chase down all of Winters' claims about Daschle's supposed teppidness when it comes to abortion. I'll grant that Daschle is not the most extreme supporter of abortion rights ... but he still supports them. Daschle fundraises for NARAL, for pete's sake! Especially around election time. A 50% rating from NARAL doesn't mean he's 50% pro-life, it means Daschle is only half as radically, unequivocally, energetically pro-abortion as they demand.

    Winters also takes a cheap shot, quoting Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League on crisis pregnancies, and then saying this in response:
    Those are the words of a man who has never spoken with a poor woman facing a crisis pregnancy and who has evidently never read a papal encyclical on social justice. These voices can be counted upon to denounce the Daschle appointment.
    Um... excuse me? How does Winters know that? Does a lack of personal experience mean Scheidler can't make prudential decisons? How dare Winters (or Daschle, for that matter) attempt to legislate for things they have not personally experienced?! Oh that's right, all politicians legislate about things they haven't personally experienced. Winter's comment isn't even an argument. And I'd like to see Winters point out to me that "papal encyclical on social justice" where it says abortion is the answer to any social problem. I'll be waiting.

    Winters winds down his post with claiming to have originated, or at least pre-dated, the current democrat line which says "Roe v. Wade is here to stay, so the only way to reduce abortions is to make women not want them." Ironically, Winters resumes "Call me an optimist..."

    I'm sorry, but what Winters just said sounds incredibly pessimistic. And it's a very sad day indeed when Catholics feel encouraged by the appointment of pro-abortion Catholic politicians to the highest healthcare office in the country, and somehow claim that the rest of us are impeding progress when we voice concern.

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    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Last day to vote for me....

    And this also means it's the last day I'll be bugging you to do so! Vote for "Thomas Peters" here, please.

    update: and to spread the love (and support), Jill has details on how you can easily vote for a pregnancy center that is in the running to receive a $25,000 office makeover. I voted!

    update 2: this seemed as good a place as any to mention that AmP now has over 900 Google Reader subscribers and over 800 Facebook Fans. Cool beans.

    Rumors: New Prefect of CDW arrived in Rome

    The New Liturgical Movement and Fr. Z are keeping tabs. I'll sure miss Cardinal Arinze!

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    Papist Quote of the Day

    It's a depressing one:
    "Hate crimes occur when homosexuals are attacked. Christians don't count." - Diogenes

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    Did the pope predict this market crash back in 1985?

    So say some:
    Pope Benedict XVI was the first to predict the crisis in the global financial system, a ``prophecy'' dating to a paper he wrote when he was a cardinal, Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti said.

    ``The prediction that an undisciplined economy would collapse by its own rules can be found'' in an article written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became pope in April 2005, Tremonti said yesterday at Milan's Cattolica University.

    German-born Ratzinger in 1985 presented a paper entitled ``Market Economy and Ethics'' at a Rome event dedicated to the Church and the economy. The future pope said a decline in ethics ``can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse.''

    Pope Benedict in an Oct. 7 speech reflected on crashing markets and concluded that ``money vanishes, it is nothing'' and warned that ``the only solid reality is the word of God.'' (Bloomberg)
    Here is the text of the article of Cardinal Ratzinger's that the report refers to.

    Ph/t: AmP reader German.

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    Newt Gingrich to become Catholic on Easter?

    That at least is the rumor from some. I tend to believe it. His wife is an active Catholic.

    Newt has a checkered marriage past, to say the least, and that could cause some difficulties.
    update: oh, and is anyone else hearing these rumors about President George Bush converting to Catholicism after he steps down in January?!
    [photo credit: Leadmine]

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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Balloons, balloons?

    Welcome Spirit Daily readers, what you are looking for is here.

    Breaking: Obama picks Tom Daschle for HHS secretary

    Bad news:

    "Former Senator Majority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) will be secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, with the delicate mission of shepherding a health-care bill through Congress at a time of punishing budget constraints, a senior Democratic official said.

    ... “Of all the proposals that Obama wants to enact, health care requires the most input and tough negotiations,” the official said. “No one knows the House and Senate like Tom Daschle." (Politico) (NYT) (more)

    Tom Daschle grew up Catholic, but is pro-embryonic stem cell research and NARAL claims him as one of their top supporters. In 2003, his bishop at the time (Most Rev. Robert Carlson of Saginaw, MI) told Daschle that he may no longer call himself Catholic (not the same as excommunication, mind you).

    As for the "delicate mission of shepherding a health-care bill through Congress", that mission will be made more difficult if Daschle listens to his NARAL friends who are demanding the Freedom of Choice Act be included (we oppose it).

    [photo credit: Center for American Progress]

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    Ron Howard having a tough time filming in Rome

    Boo-hoo:
    "Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard had to shoot the movie's forthcoming prequel using imitations of the Catholic churches in the storyline - after the Vatican banned him from all of its holy buildings.

    The first movie's portrayal of the Catholic church angered the religion's heads, who were in no mood to cooperate when Howard headed to Rome, Italy this year to shoot an adaptation of author Dan Brown's 2000 book Angels & Demons, which is set in the Vatican City.

    As a result, Howard has been forced to used camera trickery and substitute locations.

    He reveals, "We've had problems filming in Catholic Churches. We just weren't allowed anywhere near them." (Wenn)
    [photo credit: divxplanet, which also has a photo album of pictures taken on the movie set ... yeah, you're looking great, Tommy.]

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    Papist Quote of the Day

    Well, more like the "Papist Paraphrase of the Day":

    Several Beaufort County residents and officials expressed surprise and anger Tuesday after County Councilwoman Laura Von Harten criticized the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on women and reproductive rights during a rezoning discussion Monday.

    Von Harten brought up church positions that don’t allow women to become priests and on “uterus rights” while the Land Management Committee debated whether to grant a zoning request to allow the expansion of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Bluffton.

    Though the committee approved the rezoning, Von Harten promised to fight the expansion, calling official Catholic church policies “an affront to my dignity and all womankind.”

    “I just have to vote in favor of love not hate,” she said. (The State)

    Wow, I'm surprised a Unitarian Universalist (no kidding) would show such .... intolerance!

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    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/19/08

    Today's Top Post: Video: Austrian Cardinal participates in grave liturgical abuse

    The chefs travelled thousands of miles to surprise the pope only to be foiled by their tall hats and Jerry ... who had to sneak in that one last peek.

    [source: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (VATICAN)]

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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Video: Austrian Cardinal participates in grave liturgical abuse

    Your Eminence, Cardinal Schonborn, I love and admire your previous good work for the Church.

    ... but what are you doing?!



    This video depicts grave liturgical abuses. Someone who wrote the Catechism of the Catholic Church should know better. I know things are bad for the Church in Austria - but this is not the solution to the problem of young people straying. The Cardinal looks hardly happy about the whole situation, but he remains complicit in it.
    As a personal contribution, I studied in Austria for several months. I've participated in Masses across Austria. They're not all this bad! There are people in Austria who love the Mass reverently celebrated. The Church can be a magnificent sign of contradiction to the pervading secularism of Austria - but only if it remains a contradiction.
    This saddens me.
    update: I'm seeing precious little reaction in the Catholic blogosphere to this video, AmP and Fr. Z's excepted. The video was recorded last Sunday in Wolfsthal (lower Austria). More details in the combox below.
    Ph/t: Fr. Z.

    update 2: Fr. Z received a statement from the spokesperson for Cardinal Schonborn which he posted.

    Several people have contacted me asking me to clarify what I mean in my post title by "grave liturgical abuse."

    The statement which Fr. Z has posted answers my primary concern, e.g., that the matter used in the consecration was invalid. It does not rule out, of course, the fact that the large "chunks" of Eucharistic matter provide an all-too-easy opportunity for crumbs to fall, be trample upon, etc.

    The statement, however, also fails to answer the other ways in which I would consider this Mass to contain some grave liturgical abuses, such as....

    • tie-dye vestments (which liturgically proper color is that?!)
    • rock instruments, including heavy metal for the consecration response
    • the injection of non-liturgical elements, such as the balloon-release
    • violation of the sanctuary space by persons not ministering (you can barely tell where the sanctuary ends and the "church" begins)
    • an extensive, and intrusive light show, complete with strobe lights and lasers (what is this, pink floyd?)

    And those are just the ones that first come to mind, I could go on.

    Back in February, Pope Benedict asked if outdoor Masses are "what the Lord wanted", and simultaneously took steps to reform them. I can say with a confidence gained from studying liturgy at some length, that the sort of Mass depicted above is not "what the Lord wanted." These sort of liturgical innovations have cropped up often in the past 40 years, but they take on a gravitas they do not deserve when Cardinals themselves participate and condone them.

    At any rate, when you put together all the inappropriate elements represented here, the end result is a thoroughgoing violation of the sanctity of the liturgy, and that, to my mind, is a grave liturgical abuse. Maybe not technically, but if this celebration shows us anything, it's that one can complete violate the spirit of the Mass while arguably remaining inside the loosest interpretation of the liturgical rubrics.

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    "Don’t drink and drive, Pope Benedict XVI urges"

    An interesting application of the Apostle Paul's advice to be "sober and alert":
    Pope Benedict XVI urged drivers to stay “sober and alert” Sunday and prayed for those who have died in traffic accidents.

    “On this third Sunday of November, we remember in a special way all those who have died as a result of traffic accidents,” Benedict said as he delivered the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.

    “Dear brothers and sisters, I implore everyone — drivers, passengers and pedestrians — to heed carefully the words of Saint Paul in the liturgy of the word today: Stay sober and alert,” he added. (AFP)
    Of course, if you have nowhere to drive....


    .... well, that's another story!

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    Video: How Obama Got Elected

    This video is quickly making the rounds today:


    It's a small part of a comprehensive poll, Hot Air has the numbers.

    http://www.howobamagotelected.com/

    I found it especially interesting at the end of the video when the people mention where they get their news.

    Clearly more people need to read American Papist.

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    Barry Knestout appointed aux. bishop of Washington, DC

    News on the local front!

    Msgr. Barry Knestout, formerly the pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring, MD (where I have many friends) has been appointed our newest auxiliary bishop today by Pope Benedict:

    "The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Barry C. Knestout of the clergy of the archdiocese of Washington, U.S.A., moderator of the Curia and vicar for administration, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,447, population 2,647,492, Catholics 582,488, priests 1,000, permanent deacons 182, religious 1,505). The bishop-elect was born in Cheverly, U.S.A. in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989."

    At 46, a young bishop, one who holds a degree in architecture, was part of the planning for the sanctuary of the papal Mass earlier this year, and has also served as moderator of the curia.
    Knestout is the first auxiliary to be appointed to Archbishop Donald Wuerl since he took office, Rocco notes .... and adds that Knestout's ordination Mass has been scheduled for December 29th (rats, I'll be away!).

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    Monday, November 17, 2008

    BotC: Sainte Chapelle

    Interior of Sante Chapelle in France ][ Photo by Flickr user R. Duran

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    Cecile Richards attemps to snooker Catholic voters

    (Before we get any further, let's get the definition of "snooker" clear.)

    Cecile Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood. Now that Obama is president-elect, her organization is set to profit handsomely from windfall pro-abortion initiatives. "We have been communicating with [Obama's] transition staff almost daily", Richards boasts. "We expect to see a real change."

    Such words give me cause for alarm. Richards is already working, for instance, to get UNFPA re-funded by American dollars. This is an organization complicit in China's horrific, compulsory one-child policy, which remains a problem.

    Today in the Huffington Post, Richards decides to add "rewriting history" to her resume:

    "With all the post-election polling analysis, there are many interesting outcomes that merit some soul-searching -- and not just within the political parties.

    Exit polls reveal that 54 percent of Catholic voters supported President-elect Barack Obama, despite entreaties from Catholic leadership to vote against Senator Obama because of his support for abortion rights."

    Soul-searching? Please. As if Richards has ever reconsidered her passionate pursuit of abortion-on-demand, ever.
    She certainly has shown no willingness to debate her positions in free public forums.

    Next, I'm aware of no one who can seriously claim that Catholics voted for Obama slightly more than McCain because they preferred Obama's position on abortion to McCain's. How stupid must Richards think Catholics are to believe that? Poll after poll shows that Americans voted based on the economy, and a whole host of issues, with abortion far down on the list. And that's sad, because if they had given abortion more consideration, they would have reconsidered voting for Obama. As Steven Erthelt says, "the only plausible conclusion is that some Catholic voters backed Obama despite their disagreement with him on abortion."

    Richard goes into full-boar snookering at this point:

    "While this may come as a surprise to Catholic bishops who are meeting this week to discuss the election, it is consistent with what we know about the attitudes of Catholic voters.

    In a poll commissioned by Planned Parenthood last year, Catholic voters were asked to name their largest concerns around the issues of abortion and family planning."

    What do you know, Richards? The results of a self-commissioned poll asking people what they don't like about abortion? That's like Coca-Cola commissioning a poll to ask people "what three things do you most dislike about Pepsi?" Would anyone be surprised that they can think of something?

    I'll wrap this up with one more observation. Richards says:

    "At Planned Parenthood, we work to prevent unintended and teen pregnancy. We provide more than 2.4 million women each year with family planning services -- but nearly another 15 million go unserved due to lack of affordable access."

    Come again? That's just rich. Richards is trying to somehow imply that Planned Parenthood is prevented from carrying out its mission of mercy because - wouldn't ya know it? - they just don't have enough money....

    In fact, see: "Planned Parenthood's Obscene Profits":

    "In April, the annual report for Planned Parenthood Federation of America revealed that the abortion giant had a total income of $1.02 billion -- with reported profits of nearly $115 million. Taxpayers kick in more than $336 million worth of government grants and contracts at both the state and federal levels. That's a third of Planned Parenthood's budget."

    Forgive me if I hold back the tears. Evidently in this underdeveloped economic corner of the healthcare market, despite desiring so sincerely to serve more marginalized individuals, Planned Parenthood has still managed to make huge profits, with taxpayers eventually footing a third of the bill.
    The hubris and deceptiveness required to pen an editorial like this really takes my breath away. But as you can see, demolishing Richards' arguments takes only about as much effort as blowing down a house of cards.
    P.S. That goes for you, too, Vanessa.

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    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/17/08

    Today's Top Post: Cecile Richards attemps to snooker Catholic voters

    Some people want a picture of the pope. Some people want to count his eye lashes.

    [source: REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)]

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    "Change you can conceive in"?

    Newsweek asks the question "Could euphoric Obama fans be sparking a baby boom?"

    Clearly, Newsweek and I differ as to what sort of things can be counted as part of a "baby boom":

    In Chicago, where 28-year-old Chip Bouchard—a former Hillary supporter—attended Obama's acceptance speech, he says he looked over at his boyfriend, Chris, and thought: "This [is] the president under whom I [want to] get married and adopt a baby."

    So many things to say to that, but not now.
    Back to the "baby boom" ... sorry, agreeing with Jill, I think we can more expect an "abortion boom".

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    Cardinal: Obama is "Aggressive, Disruptive and Apocalyptic"

    Cardinal Stafford made some noise on the CUA campus last week:
    His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“

    “For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.” (The Tower)
    And in completely unrelated news: earthquake swarms today in the Western US.

    update: Andrew Sullivan goes on a tear after he hears about the Cardinal's comments:
    "The Vatican hierarchy has become radicalized under Benedict and John Paul II - so much so that they see the West since the 1960s as entirely a creature of resistance to Humanae Vitae, the papal declaration that all non-procreative sex is a moral evil."
    First of all, the phenomenon of dissent from the teaching of Humanae Vitae is actually (and I would add, accurately) understood by many in the hierarchy as an important symptom of deeper historical issues. Of course it's not all about Humanae Vitae, but at the same time, it's amazing how well the document managed to frame the major conflicts of that time. And frankly, not just that time, but our own age as well!

    Also, Sullivan barely seems to understand what Humanae Vitae actually teaches .... "All non-procreative sex is a moral evil"? Sorry - that summary would get a failing grade if it was submitted by a kid in high school religion class. Which brings me back to my old phrase: Before you criticize the Church, try to understand her.

    And to think, Sullivan plaintively asks if someone could "talk some sense" into us....?

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    Video: SNL on Joe Biden

    SNL decided to spoof vice president elect Joe Biden:



    I wonder what Joe Biden's comments on Meet the Press would receive on the "blunder scale"?

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    Mark Wahlberg wants to be left alone at Mass

    Mark Whalberg is Catholic, and goes to Mass every Sunday.

    Problem is, people know it:
    Entourage has become a curse for Mark Wahlberg on Sundays - because people approach him in church with story lines and requests to be on the hit show. Wahlberg, who is the producer of the series - which is based on his early days in Hollywood, admits a family trip to church has become a business meeting and he'd like others to leave him alone when he's worshiping.

    He says, "I go to church and people ask me if they can be on Entourage, what's gonna happen. I go to church to worship, I don't go to church to talk about it. The stuff that I did with my entourage back in the day is stuff that I'm not proud of and I'm asking forgiveness for; I don't want things brought up in church, but, if you go to church in Beverly Hills, those kind of things happen."

    And his fellow worshipers don't just bug him about Entourage.

    He adds, "I get scripts, resumes, books - people tried to come up to me with a children's book before and I wouldn't take it. They got upset with me. This is church." (StarPulse)
    Whalberg's wiki page says he "credits his faith and a priest from his childhood for helping him turn his life around and recognize the seriousness of his faith." He has three children with model Rhea Durham, whom he has never married, but plans to marry her next August, in a Catholic wedding:
    "Catholic church, small, family only, no media!" [Whalberg] told Us. Laughing, he added, "And there will be no wedding pictures sold to any magazines!"
    Mark and Rhea named their youngest son Brendan. "It's for St. Brendan" he told Us. No kidding!

    Perfect? Nope. Trying? Seems like it.

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    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    BotC: Paoay Church in the Philippines

    Paoay Church in the Philippines ][ Photo by Flickr user Storm Crypt

    History:

    Paoay is probably one of the best known churches in the Philippines. The walls are more than 1 meter thick -- made of coral stones. The design of the church is a mixture of Gothic, Oriental and Baroque influence. History has it that the parish of Paoay church was founded by Augustinian Missionaries in 1593 -- which is why this church is in Paoay, and where its cornerstone was laid only in 1704 -- is called St. Augustine Catholic Church.

    The church was damaged by an earthquake in 1706 and 1927. Its construction primarily was intended to withstand earthquakes. The huge belltower was used as an observation post for Katipuneros during the revolution in the late 1800s, and was later used by local resistance forces during the second world war when the Philippines was occupied by Japan.

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    In the mailbox: Praying the Rosary


    Description:

    The book explains the history and significance of the Rosary as well as instructions on how to get the most of the meditative and spiritual exercise of repeating prayers. The Rosary walks readers through each of twenty Mysteries combining biblical excerpts and by using reproductions of famous biblical artwork by Tissot, Raphael Gaugin and many others to illustrate the power of this beloved act of devotion.

    I especially appreciate the "multidisciplinary" approach of placing the devotion of praying the rosary next to scripture and religious art. It will help me make praying the rosary a more regular habit.

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    Keep at it!

    Update: SC priest "repudiated" for his pastoral letter?

    Joseph Abrahams at Fox News claims so, and cites a new statement from the Apostolic Administrator of the Charleston Diocese Msgr. Martin Laughlin (who's standing in until a new bishop is appointed), who said:

    "Father Newman's statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated""

    You can read his full statement here (PDF). Also:
    A video from Laughlin has likewise been posted by the diocese. According to one well-placed source on the ground, the understanding also included Newman pulling his statements from the parish site (a development which had reportedly taken place later Friday evening; the St Mary's site was inaccessible, ostensibly due to a heavy number of hits). {Whispers}
    I said in my first post on this story that I was surprised that the diocesan spokesman took a position in support of Fr. Newman. Frankly, I think it's above his pay grade, and obviously Msgr. Laughlin had his own ideas. (update: of course, one would hope the spokesman was not acting in good faith, and then subsequently contradicted by Msgr. Laughlin.)
    My AmP Poll asking the question "Do you agree with Fr. Newman's Letter" is currently registering 69.5% yes, 21.1% no, and 9.5% undecided with 749 votes registered. I think it's very clear where the majority of AmP readers stand on this question.
    But perhaps I should clarify my position: while one might agree or disagree with the substance of his letter, I would still say the prudence of the letter remains doubtful. Msgr. Laughlin also said that Fr. Newman's actions "diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion." That's really what's at issue here: how to pastorally yet powerfully and effectively preach this message.
    That said, I'd rather see a few mistakes committed out of zealousness then witness continuing silence caused by cowardice. If we're trying to balance on the edge of a knife, there's a better side to err on.

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    Update: Fr. Bourgeois to appeal excommunication, but it doesn't matter

    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, two pictures and a few words will suffice.

    When you do this:

    You'll end up like this:

    Get the picture? I hope he does.

    {more backstory here.}

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    AirHeadOpEd

    That's the most charitable way I can describe Ann Weaver Hart's article "Catholic Bishops Sow Divison"

    The one line of hers I most agree with?

    "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Baltimore this week."

    She's absolutely right, they sure did!

    Everything else she writes? Misinformation along these lines:
    The Catholic church has adopted the attitude for centuries, that women who became pregnant in bad circumstances were suffering for their sins, and deserved whatever came their way, including, but not limited to being separated from their infants at birth, living in poverty, and enduring social stigma for either having children outside of marriage or being without them. The neoconservative movement, which tends to believe that poverty is a well-deserved punishment for sin, has agreed, and the two groups have supported “social conservative” candidates whose real agenda has been laissez-faire corporate rape of the country and its citizens.
    Reading this, I can't help wonder why orthodox Catholics labor under the stigma of being "ignorant".

    It just goes to prove that the only thing you can hate is a caricature of the Church, not the true Church.

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    Video: Colbert gives the Pope a wag of his finger!

    For what you ask? Going green....



    And for the record, just to be a spoil sport, Pope Benedict did not say polluting is a cardinal sin.

    And I'm sure Cardinal Sin doesn't like having his name tossed around randomly.

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    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Oh sure, take the day off why don't ya?

    Judging by today's super-sparse bulletino, I guess Pope Benedict decide to start the weekend early!

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    Photo Caption Call - 11/14/08


    Winning Caption: "Pastor's log......supplemental." - Adam S.

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Alanhitchcock49]

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    Visit your Jesuit U. Spirit Shop ... at Victoria's Secret

    *cringe*

    Boston College in flap over lingerie ... Critics: Biz deal with Victoria’s Secret ‘disgraceful’:

    BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the school was “very selective” when it agreed to let Victoria’s Secret sell BC sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts and flip-flops as part of the racy chain’s youth-oriented Pink line.

    “We thought it was a tasteful line of clothing that college students wear,” he said.

    “We never authorized undergarments,” he said.

    Yeah! Victoria's Secret wanting to sell undergarments? I'm sure that threw everyone for a loop.

    Ph/t: Diogenes.

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    Video: NARAL tries for Hippie, arrives at Confusing

    You've got to be kidding. This has to be the wierdest video I've seen in a long while. What's more, it was put together by the radical pro-abortion group NARAL. Considering it your Friday Zen Bad Trip:



    This Suzy B blogger is as equally freaked out as I am.

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    The Acorn/CHD post

    I've had lots of people asking me about ACORN and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CHD). Both are certainly in the news alot these days:
    The CCHD has donated more than $7.3 million to ACORN-related projects over the past decade, including $40,000 to an ACORN chapter in Las Vegas, Nevada, that was raided before the election in an investigation into fraudulent voter registration forms. Among other questionable documents, the ACORN chapter submitted registration forms for members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
    Earlier this week I blogged about the US bishops' decision to stop funding ACORN.

    Now many folks are saying that the CHD should be axed as well. Diane at Te Deum has a good post on this subject. Joseph Lawler was reporting on this back in October for the American Spectator:

    The CCHD, which is run by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has funded far-left organizations with missions diametrically opposed to that of the Catholic Church for years, including, in the '90s, the pro-abortion group National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union.
    Richard John Neuhaus has also tackled the topic. Tom McFeely at the National Catholic Register picks up his trail - and the last paragraph is particularly important:

    Father Neuhaus notes in this article that since its creation “in the ideological climate of the 1960s,” CHD has never directly supported Catholic charitable activities that aid the poor. It has concentrated instead on funding politically active groups such as ACORN that often support agendas like abortion rights that are in conflict with basic Church teachings.

    Said Father Neuhaus, “What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor.”

    And all of this attention couldn’t come at a worse time for CHD, with its annual collection in Catholic parishes scheduled for later this month. Under these circumstances, lay Catholics can scarcely be faulted for asking themselves whether they should place any money on this year’s CHD collection plate.

    That's right, November 23rd CHD will be asking for your money, as you can see on the USCCB website.

    There are so many good organizations strapped for cash these days - why take a risk on CHD?

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    Man's nap causes $15k in church organ damages

    Friday random:
    This isn't music to anyone's ears: The restoration of a church's 130-year-old organ has been delayed because four delicate pipes were damaged when a visitor napped on them.

    The 18-foot pipes were among about 50 stored in the basement at First Churches in Northampton during the sanctuary's renovation.

    The Rev. Peter Ives estimates the damage at close to $15,000. But he says the organ can be played without the pipes. Ives says the church will not press charges. (AP)
    Oh sure, play it without some of the pipes. Who needs middle C, after all?!

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    Let's not forget about Orissa

    Anyone know of an international aid organization specializing in assisting Indian Catholics?

    They need help:
    Denouncing what they called a “master plan” to wipe out Christianity, the bishops of India’s troubled Orissa region have written a letter to state’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik concerning the persecution of Christians at the hands of Hindu extremists.
    Christians play fair, and now 10-15,000 have been forced to flee their homes. That's just a start.

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    Picture: "Why Believe in a God?" bus advertisement

    Yeah, it's "great" living in Washington DC. I take public transportation and get to see stuff like this:

    Talk about "essence of lame":

    Ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," will appear on Washington, D.C., buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. (AP)


    Actually, if people have never asked themselves why they believe in God, maybe the ad campaign could be useful. The problem here is - and I state it with nauseating repetition - that these "humanists" only think a God who is able to be discovered through scientific observation could be "real". They refuse to admit the possibility of a reality beyond the empirical sciences or scientific method.
    Well, I hope they have fun examining and dissecting that lump of coal they're going to get for Christmas.

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    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    AmP Poll: Was SC priest right to suggest confession for Obama voters?

    You can vote in the AmP Poll at the bottom of this post. But first, the details....

    Michael Paulson at Articles of Faith:

    The pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Greenville, SC, is urging parishioners who voted for Barack Obama not to present themselves for Communion unless they go to confession first because they have cooperated with "intrinsic evil'' by voting for a candidate who supports abortion rights over a candidate who does not. The Rev. Jay Scott Newman told the Greenville News that he doesn't intend to deny anyone Communion, but made it clear that his view is that Obama voters should not present themselves without seeking penance first "lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.''

    The relevant passage from Pastor Newman's letter:

    Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.

    Before I get into the reactions, my four observations:
    1. not quite: The common teaching on this matter has been that it gravely wrong to vote for a pro-choice candidate because you support their pro-abortion stance. This is the common conclusion drawn from, for instance, Cardinal Ratzinger's famous letter. Fr. Newman seems to be arguing that an Obama vote in this case is wrong not because it representes formal cooperation, but because it is a case of material cooperation (because their vote helped elect him)
    2. actually: People who vote for a pro-choice candidate despite there being a pro-life candidate in the running, circumstances being equal, I would say have a poorly-formed conscience ... however, that does not mean they are culpable of any sin if they honestly attempted to inform their conscience, or were misled by third parties, etc.
    3. moreover: individual parish priests should take the lead from their bishops when it comes to the pastoral implications of forming the consciences of their parishioners. There's a reason why no other priest in America has apparently done something like this - a priest ought not to exercise this level of admonition about issues still genuinely up for discussion.
    4. finally: it seems to be that a nation of Catholics that elects Obama by a majority needs education, guidance and leadership about its faith. There are good and bad ways to go about it, and telling people they have just committed a mortal sin isn't the best way. Try teaching them for four years, and if this keeps happening .... well, that's another story.

    Now here's an interesting thing, the parishioners don't seem too upset, at least according to Fr. Newman. Remember who we are hearing this from, of course. I wonder if the parish leans heavily right?

    More amazingly, one could conclude the local diocese of Charleston has Fr. Newman's back:

    "Stephen Gajdosik, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, told The News that calling parishioners who voted for a candidate who supports legalized abortions to penance is a question of how best to deepen a flock's relationship to God and a move left up to local priests. He said such a move is appropriate and in line with church teaching."

    "Newman said, "An uninformed vote is an irresponsible vote," and that no informed voter this year could have mistaken the candidates' abortion positions." [source.]

    Charleston currently does not have a bishop, instead they have an interim apostolic administrator.
    Anyway, let's talk about it. Is Fr. Newman, strictly-speaking, right or wrong? And if he is right, was he right to go about it in this way? After all, how you preach the truth is important as well. Oh and vote:


    Poll stats here.

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    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/13/08

    Today's Top Post: Update: Biden receives Communion, Pelosi stands-up Niederauer

    "It looked more impressive in the catalog."

    [source: REUTERS/Christophe Simon/Pool (VATICAN)]

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    UK bishop "thrilled" by Obama's election ... or is he?

    LifeSiteNews reports:

    A British Catholic bishop has issued a statement enthusiastically welcoming the man who has been labelled the “most pro-abortion US president in history” – president-elect Barack Obama. Bishop Crispian Hollis of the Portsmouth diocese in southern England has said he is “thrilled” at the election of Obama.

    The bishop’s message, posted on the website of the Portsmouth diocese, says, “With millions of others, I have been thrilled by Barack Obama’s victory and I thank God for it. For me, it represents a rare moment of hope and optimism which shows American democracy at its best and it is of seismic significance and potential for the whole global community. And so, more than ever now, he deserves and needs us to keep him in our prayers.”

    This ardent welcome from Hollis, known in Britain to be on the extreme left of the Catholic Church, is in sharp contrast to a letter issued yesterday by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which they warned Obama that “aggressive pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.”

    But an update from Damian Thompson:

    Bishop Hollis has now "clarified" his message as follows:

    I genuinely welcome [Mr Obama's] election because he represents such a different political profile from that of President Bush. America – and the world – needs that political change and will benefit from it.However, I am aware of what he has said about abortion and about the so-called freedom of choice and I deplore his words.

    There is no way in which I endorse his position on these crucial “life” matters, nor, as a Catholic bishop, could I ever do so.Perhaps it’s naïve to say this but I hope and pray that the realities of the political process will mean that he has to temper his personal policies on these all important life issues and pay serious attention to the outrage with which many view his “life” agenda.

    That's much better, though I don't think the Bishop should present his own party political views on a diocesan website. I'm glad he's deplored Obama's extreme pro-abortion opinions; I would have thought that he would have mentioned them in his original message, but maybe they slipped his mind.

    Too bad, I was waiting for the pro-Obama Catholics to register their outrage at Bishop Hollis' brutal display of partisanship. Yawn.

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    Update: Have a couple seconds? Help me win a $10k scholarship!

    If you've already voted for "Thomas Peters" in the
    ... now's your chance to tell a friend ..... or five! =)
    Updated list of AmP-Supporting Catholic Bloggers:
    [photo credit: Flickr user Fotogail]

    BotC: Last Judgement Florence Mosaic

    Last Judgement Florence Mosaic ][ Photo by Flickr user Oar Square

    I was able to see this in person when I visited Florence in 2003. My picture did not turn out as well.

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    On the end of Catholic Hospitals

    Ed Morissey at Hot Air tells us how serious the bishops are about not allowing Catholic Hospitals to be forced into performing abortions under FOCA:
    [The bishops will] shut them down and take the losses in order to prevent their use as abortion clinics. To do otherwise, the bishops stated, would be to cooperate in the evil of abortions.

    What kind of impact would that have? The Catholic Church is one of the nation’s biggest health-care providers. In 2007, they ran 557 hospitals that serviced over 83 million patients. The church also had 417 clinics that saw over seven million patients. If they shut down almost a thousand hospitals and clinics nationwide, the US would not just lose a significant portion of available health care, but the poor and working-class families that received the health care would have fewer options.

    Also, the Catholic Church runs this on a non-profit basis, spending vast sums of its money to ensure access for those unable to pay. That’s the kind of model that many on the Left believe should exclusively provide health care — and FOCA would spell the end of the major provider already in that model.
    Notice that point about Catholic hospitals being non-profits? And to think that a common criticism of the Catholic pro-life movement during this election was that, somehow, we aren't serious about providing concrete medical care and assistance to the poor. Simply unbelievable.

    So how serious are democrats and Obama about FOCA? Serious enough to push the Catholic Church in the US out of the health care industry?

    Let's hope drawing these clear lines in the sand will give them pause. We're not blinking first.

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    Fr. Bourgeois' women priest activism to result in Vatican action

    His case is one ripe for exommunication: he supports women's ordination, is obstinant in the face of Vatican reprimand, and seems ready to receive the sentence of excommunication.

    Well actually, he might be facing more than that, as Canon Lawyer Ed Peters explains:

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has given activist Maryknoll priest, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, about a month to recant his support for women's ordination or suffer excommunication.

    Without seeing CDF's warning letter to Bourgeois, it is impossible for me to comment on the precise grounds upon which his excommunication looms, but a related thought occurs to me: given the attitude that Bourgeois showed in his reply to CDF, I suspect that a penal decree here will not only impose an excommunication, it will also lay the groundwork for a fairly expeditious dismissal from the clerical state.

    Signed, sealed, delivered.

    And ya know, while we've got the official seals out of their boxes....

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    Thursday reminder

    Update: Biden receives Communion, Pelosi stands-up Niederauer

    Catholic Vice-President Elect Joe Biden and Catholic Speaker Nancy Pelosi have the shared dishonor of being pro-abortion politicians who have earned the rebuke of dozens of American bishops for their misrepresentation of their faith in a textbook case of scandalizing the faithful.

    So what are they up to now?

    Joe Biden is still receiving Communion, most recently (that we know of) in Tallahassee FL the Sunday before election day. Local bishop John Ricard took swift action and warned Biden to examine his conscience carefully before approaching the altar again. But hey, when do we next expect Joe Biden to be in Florida? It's served his purpose

    Biden's home bishop Francis Malooly, meanwhile, the person most responsible for the formation and discipline of his parishioners, won't tell him to stop, saying "I won't politicize the Eucharist ... I don't want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds."

    Now while that's surely a noble aim, I don't see any results. The penalties of the Church, however, can also serve to change hearts and minds. Let's not forget that. If laws are never enforced, people will feel free to ignore them.

    Speaker Pelosi, meanwhile - also still presumably presenting herself for Communion - promised her local Archbishop George Niederauer to sit down with him about her situation after he invited her. That public promise was made 68 days, 21 hours and 27 minutes ago. How do I know that? I've had a timer running since the day she made her promise. It's still ticking.

    That's right, for over two months, this "ardent, faithful" Catholic - who regularly uses her faith as credentials in the exercise of her public office - couldn't even find time to fit in a sit-down with her bishop on a matter which has received national attention, both within and outside the Catholic Church.

    Again, I'm looking for signs that progress is being made, that the pre-chosen methods are working.

    But I'm not seeing it.

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    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/12/08

    Today's Top Post: New Bishop chairs announced + analysis

    Q: Why doesn't the pope appear fuzzy in this picture? A: Because he's rock solid.

    [source: REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)]

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    Have you...

    ... voted for Thomas Peters? Yes? Awesome. Asked some friends to? Hmm. Thought so! =)

    BotC: San Giovanni Battista

    Two regular features on AmP, the Papist Picture of the Day and the Photo Caption Call, have proven to be very popular. I'd like to now add a third: "Beauties of the Church", where I will showcase stunning/uplifting/beautiful photos depicting Catholic culture throughout the ages.
    You can never have too much beauty, or too many reminders of the Beauty of God, I think.

    "San Giovanni Battista" (1619-1675). Photo by Flickr user Ben.

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    Text/Commentary: Cardinal George's letter to President-elect Obama

    You can read the text here.
    My pull quotes:

    [On Roe v. Wade:] Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.

    [On FOCA:] "It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil."

    [On the election, etc.:] "The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve.

    Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected.

    Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."

    What's especially significant about this? Cardinal George is speaking not just personally, nor as the Archbishop of Chicago, but as the President of the gathered American bishops:

    "On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will ... The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted."

    "This statement is written at the request and direction of all the Bishops...."

    Okay, moment of truth time: when dozens of individual bishops were making these same points during the election, they were dismissed as a "minority" or "mavericks" by their liberal critics. Now will those same critics who disagreed with these brave bishops admit that their alternative position is NOW a minority one?

    In other words, here is the contradiction. When bishops said something they didn't like they would dismiss them as "fringe" or "extreme", now that the combined bishops are, as a body, saying the same things as were said before by a few, will they continue to refer to the position taken by all the bishops in similar terms?

    Tick, tock, tock.

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    Breaking: Bishops to present concerns on abortion, other issues to politicians

    CNS - which has lots of coverage, follows the knotted thread:

    With a new administration and a Democratic-dominated Congress about to take office, the U.S. bishops will spell out their concerns about policies and laws that might make abortion more readily available.

    After a total of nearly three hours of discussion in public and private sessions Nov. 11 during their annual fall meeting, the bishops gave their president, Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, a set of concerns about abortion and other matters to raise in a public statement he will issue on their behalf. The statement was to be completed for final approval Nov. 12.

    Martino tries to get some movement:

    Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa., said though he realized the statement would not address that topic, "we are going to have to speak as firmly as possible to Catholic politicians who are not merely reluctant to vote pro-life, but are stridently anti-life." He noted that in ages past, U.S. bishops took canonical measures against Catholic politicians who supported institutional racism.

    "We have to have something like that," he said. "I cannot have the vice president-elect (Joseph Biden) coming to Scranton (his childhood home) saying he learned his values there, when his values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church."

    The Church already does have "something like that." The laws are on the books, they're just not being used.

    Tobin (!):

    Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., said toward the end of the discussion that if the statement were to include everything heard in that session, "you might as well just reprint 'Faithful Citizenship,'" the bishops' 2007 document on political responsibility.

    He said instead the final version should be concise, taking a lesson from Obama's own successful campaign strategy, which focused narrowly on change and hope.

    "That carried him to the presidency," Bishop Tobin said. The bishops need to find a similar succinct approach, he said, "less political, less politically correct and more prophetic. We need somehow to reclaim the prophetic voice on this issue."

    Though I agree with Tobin about "less political, less politically correct, and more prophetic" .... did I just catch a hint that he is admitting Obama reaches people better these days than the bishops themselves? What does it say that Obama can come across as more "prophetic" than bishops who are consecrated into the prophetic priesthood of Christ Himself?
    Talk about a wake-up call.

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    Beast: Man arrested for attempting to steal Communion

    It's not often my blog coverage crosses paths with The Smoking Gun, and considering the subject matter, I'm not dissapointed about this in the least [comments in brackets]:

    Meet Jonathan Ricci. The Florida man was arrested Saturday morning after he allegedly tried to steal "a handful of communion wafers" from a priest at a Catholic church in Jensen Beach. Ricci, 33, sought to swipe 15 wafers valued at $1 [um, try again, Catholics value the Eucharistic presence a bit more than that] , according to a Martin County Sheriff's Office report....

    During mass at around 9 AM, Ricci accepted a wafer on the Communion line, but "walked away without taking the communion into his mouth." After refusing a priest's requests to "accept" the wafer [good for the priest in not letting him get away!], Ricci "turned to the priest and grabbed a handful of the wafers from the plate and attempted to leave" St. Martin de Porres Church, according to the report.

    "Due to the religious significance of the holy communion, the parishioners were very upset at his callous treatment of their holy ritual" and sought to detain him [good for those brave parishioners!]. An "enraged" Ricci then began to act "crazy" and scuffled with parishioners, two of whom (men aged 82 and 66) sustained minor injuries. [old men defending the Eucharist - good for them!] Ricci .... was charged with theft, battery, and disrupting a religious assembly.

    I'm praying the man was psychologically disturbed and so not responsible for his actions.

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    ACORN gets axed by American bishops

    About time:
    he Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has not yet been able to determine if grants made to ACORN were used for fraudulent voter registration, but has cut off all funding to the community organizing group, Bishop Robert Morin announced on Tuesday.

    Shortly after addressing the full assembly of U.S. Catholic bishops, Bishop Morin spoke to reporters about what the bishops had learned concerning the use of grants from the CCHD to the group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is currently under investigation in 13 states for voter fraud.

    CCHD originally announced in July 2008 that it was suspending funding to ACORN because of the embezzlement of 1 million dollars by the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Today, however, the Bishop Morin went one step further and announced the cancelation of all funding to the group. (CNA)
    Okay, fine, it's a good start - but now let's go deeper and root the rest of this sort of stuff out. It's an embarassment to the Church and demotivates hard-working Catholics from supporting other worthy charities when others betray our trust.

    Does anyone know of a trustworthy 3rd-party watchdog group that keeps a list of both?

    That would be useful.

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    Breaking: President-elect Obama phoned pope yesterday

    CNS:

    "U.S. President-elect Barack Obama telephoned Pope Benedict XVI to thank the pope for his message of congratulations on his election victory.

    The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed to Catholic News Service Nov. 12 that the president-elect telephoned the pope Nov. 11 "to thank the pope for his telegram, his congratulations" on winning the U.S. presidential election.

    Further details about the call were not known, Father Lombardi said."

    [photo credit: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on the phone Nov. 6, returning calls to world leaders. (CNS photo/Obama Campaign/handout via Reuters)]

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    Results: New Bishop chairs announced + analysis

    Conference Secretary:
    Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton: 69
    Bishop George Murry SJ of Youngstown: 150

    National Collections:
    Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston: 84
    Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas: 139

    Cultural Diversity:
    Coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento: 134
    Bishop Terry Steib SVD of Memphis: 92

    Communications:
    Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph: 97
    Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles: 129

    Pro-Life Activities:
    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston: 165
    Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City-St Joseph: 59

    Doctrine:
    Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington: 140
    Bishop Jerome Listecki of LaCrosse: 85

    I don't know how to evaluate the claim made by some that these elections to bishops chairs are "politically influenced" - i.e., popular bishops get elected and unpopular ones don't. While that certainly seems like a very human temptation, I tend to disbelieve it actually obtains here in any serious way.
    At any rate, some gut reactions:

    And just to shut down one line of disagreement at the outset: I'm not trying to evaluate the "goodness" of these bishops based only on how vocally they preach the Church's teaching about unborn life.

    However, the other side will be going over these chair elections with a fine-tooth comb trying to do the opposite - saying that whenever an outspoken bishop isn't chosen, somehow the American bishops are shunning them. I don't think that is the case. And either way, it's best to know a little bit about their records.

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    Bishops approve official blessing of infants in the womb

    As mentioned.

    CNA has the straight scoop:

    Children in the womb will now be able to receive a special blessing from their parish priests following an overwhelming vote by the U.S. bishops in favor of the new blessing.

    "The Blessing of a Child in the Womb" has been in the works for two years, but Bishop Michael Saltarelli noted at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that, “happily it’s come to fruition at this time when I think it’s important to reaffirm and focus our attention on the life of the unborn.” The bishop’s remarks were apparently in reference to the recent election results and Cardinal George’s remarks on not giving any ground to those who insist that Catholics set their beliefs aside in public dialogue.

    Also in the works:
    Bishop Michael Pfeifer suggested that the conference eventually designated a nationwide Day of Prayer for the unborn.
    John Allen comments:
    In part, these gestures suggest a "full-court press" from the bishops in terms of fostering a strong pro-life sensibility in the church.
    These both strike me as laudatory, smart decisions. By what sort of margin did the resolution pass?
    "The English-language version was approved 223-1 and the Spanish-language version 224-0." (source)
    Who didn't approve it?!

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    Bishops in Baltimore Day 2 Recap

    On Fighting Foca

    Almost a dozen people have recommended this link to me since November 5th:

    http://www.fightfoca.com/

    They've collected almost 70,000 signatures against FOCA. What is FOCA?

    "The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would eliminate every restriction on abortion nationwide. Barack Obama believes this legislation will "end the abortion wars." To him, "ending the abortion wars" means eradicating every state and federal law on abortion — laws that the majority of Americans support."

    70k is a good start, but honestly, millions would be better.
    The Catholic bishops are "completely united and resolute in our teaching and defense of the unborn child from the moment of conception" and have explicitly named FOCA as a preeminent threat to the unborn child in their Baltimore meeting this week. (More details here.)
    I'll bracket, for the moment, the obvious observation that we are now in a situation of having to vocally oppose a piece of legislation that it has was long known President-elect Obama has promised to sign. Looking to the past and learning from the lessons it can teach us is important, but should not interfere with us moving, quickly, to do something about FOCA now.

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/11/08

    Today's Top Post: Are pro-life dems making a "breakthrough"?

    Among the proposals the Pope has recently rejected: Robot Altar Servers.

    [source: REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Pool (VATICAN)]

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    It begins: ESCR Bans & The Mexico City policy first to go in Obama administration

    Get used to photo-ops like this one:

    Barack Obama with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.

    "President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is preparing the first actions of his presidency, planning to lift embryonic stem cell research funding restrictions and rules which prevent international organizations that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion."

    Okay, Kmiec et al., explain to me how proliferating the human-destroying procedure of embryonic stem cell research + providing funding to pro-abortion international groups ... builds up a culture of life.

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    Picture: I want it, I want it, I want it!

    "The Archbishop PC" on BoingBoing, via the Whapsters & Fr. Z.

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    Congrats...

    To Steven Greydanus, his wife, and their newborn child Catherine Rose ... pictures!

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    Tuesday Update: American Bishops Meet in Baltimore

    AmP's picks for the best stories being published about the American Bishops' meeting today:

    That should keep you (and me) busy this afternoon.

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    Wow, is this a useful link

    I remember searching for something like this some time ago but I'm happy to find out that it now exists:

    {Map of the Roman Catholic Dioceses in the USA}

    Bonus feature: clicking on the map sends you to the official diocesan website! How useful - how bookmarked.

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    Oh, and just a reminder

    I'm in serious running to receive a $10,000 scholarship for blogging as a student. Voting for me here ("Thomas Peters") only takes a few seconds, and I would deeply appreciate you spreading the word amongst your friends, facebook, readers, email lists, etc.
    If this cause goes viral among the Catholic online community, I could have real shot at winning, which would mean more time blogging as opposed to, well, trying to pay the electric bill. Reading in the dark is no fun. :) Think of it as a little good deed for today. Thank you!

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    In the mailbox: Priestblock 25487

    During my travels this past weekend I read Fr. Jean Bernard's Priestblock 25487, the memoir of his Nazi imprisonment at the Dachau concentration camp. It was an incredibly moving read, telling the story of the brave Catholic priests who received (if it can be imagined) even worse treatment than other prisoners amidst the terrors of the Nazi regime.

    It was especially inspiring to see how they brought their priestly vocation, in whatever small ways they could, into the depths of horror there. Talk about clinging to Christ! The writing is never needlessly graphic, and gives one courage to overcome the (relatively minor) crosses we are called to bear ourselves.

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    Are pro-life dems making a "breakthrough"?

    Tom McFeely has a most intersting post on NCRegister.com, my comments in bold:
    Let’s face it, there weren’t very many pro-life silver linings among the electoral clouds that formed Tuesday evening over America. Agreed.

    But here’s one: A record 31 Democratic Party pro-life candidates were elected to Congress.

    According to Democrats for Life of America, five new Democratic pro-lifers were elected, joining 26 pro-life incumbents who were re-elected. Out of 58 total.

    “This will be only the second time in 30 years that the number of pro-life Democrats increases instead of decreases,” Kristen Day, director of Democrats for Life of America, told Lifenews.com. “The first time we made gains was in 2006 due to the work of pro-life Democrats all over this country advocating on behalf of the pro-life cause.” DLA, not to be confused with "Catholic Democrats" - a front group

    The first task confronting Congressional pro-lifers from both parties in the next Congress? Forging bipartisan alliances across the aisles of the Senate and the House of Representatives to prevent passage of the abortion lobby’s Freedom of Choice (FOCA) legislation. Most important, and some small encouragement.
    I've said it before, "pro-life" and "democrat" can be a powerfully appealing combination to a Catholic. It's clear to me I need to learn more about Democrats for Life of America. What I've seen so far, I mostly like (i.e., "Pro-Life Is The Winning Strategy For Democrats", etc). Other things they have said, while I don't agree with entirely, are certainly far better than what we are used to hearing.

    I know I would love to support pro-life candidates within the democrat party. After all, contrary to what you may hear, pro-life is not a partisan issue. The goal of true pro-life advocates is not to see republicans win, but to see human life preserved across party lines.

    Sadly, it appears that the democrat party's leadership remains strongly committed to abortion rights, as is evident from their most recent party platform. What will it take to make these higher-ups realize that they need not be the "party of death", to quote the phrase of an archbishop?

    Maybe Catholics electing more pro-life Democrats.

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    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/10/08


    Winning Caption: "One of these bishops was washed with the leading detergent, the other one was washed using Colorsafe Tide. Can you tell the difference?" - WRC

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Darriuss Royce]

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    Bishops *will discuss* politicians and abortion tomorrow

    Of course, all the interesting things would happen when I'm on the road. Some important updates:
    This week the US Bishops are meeting in Baltimore. There had been some recent rumors that the US Bishops had decided to not take on the scandal caused by Catholics who support abortion and also present themselves for Communion (like the future Vice-President of America).
    CNA and Rocco clarify that, to the contrary, the item is still on the agenda but will probably take place, behind closed doors, tomorrow morning. Check in with Amy for a dose of sanity, and read Diogenes for the sed contra.
    That's about it until I get back home tonight. In the meantime, CNS has been doing some live-blogging of the public sessions and they published this little story which caught my eye: "Bishops to vote on blessing service for children in the womb"
    Finally, Cardinal George's opening address as President of the USCCB has been getting plenty of attention.

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    Saturday, November 08, 2008

    Vote for my blogging scholarship - only takes seconds!

    Hey AmP fans, please take a couple seconds right now and vote for me ("Thomas Peters") in the 2008 student blogging contest.
    Last year I won 4th place in this contest - when AmP had only a third of its current readership! Whatever funds I win will go directly to paying down my student loans. If I win 3rd place, that's $1,000 less I have to pay. First place? $10,000! So tell your friends, too. Thanks! :)
    update: My humble thanks to the inestimable Fr. Z and other bloggers/readers who have made this cause their own, not because of who I am, but for the common cause and faith which unites us. God bless you!

    Friday, November 07, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/07/08

    Today's Top Story: "AmP's 4,000th Post"

    Winning Caption: "Inspired by Arthurian legend, the Cardinals finally came up with a new way to choose the new pope: Miter-scaliber." - Josh

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Flickr user Goenetix]

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    On letting Doug Kmiec have it

    Many, many people are tiring of Doug Kmiec's incessant need to argue against people while never actually responding to the substance of their counter-arguments. Kmiec also displays an incredible presumption whenever he claims to be more concerned about the lives of America's unborn than our very own bishops. (I mean - really? - what do they have to gain? Not much. What do you have to gain? Well, apparently something you find very worth it.)

    Archbishop Chaput charitably responds to Doug Kmiec's open letter to him, corrects Kmiec's claim that they are friends ("[we] have had little contact in the past"), notes that there are "serious falsehoods and misdirections in Prof. Kmiec's ''prolife'' advocacy for Sen. Obama" and concludes by saying "I look forward eagerly to Prof. Kmiec's vocal advocacy against these profoundly unjust policies" in the future Obama administration.

    In other words - the ball is in Kmiec's court, so he should take some time off from the lecture circuit if that's what it takes to free up his schedule to purse the reduction in abortions he has promised under an Obama presidency. Fumare, however, sees something else in Kmiec's future:

    What will be Kmiec's reward from Obama's New Hope America? My guess: He will head up a new "pro-life" special commission in the Obama administration that will be charged with the task of "reducing abortions, by reducing unwanted pregnancies."

    It will be the equivalent of the Faith Based Initiatives program - a program that made it seem like the Bush Administration was pro-Christian, but was intended to do nothing except keep the Evangelicals in the Bush camp. This new "Pro-Life" program will serve to do the same thing for the Obama Pro-Lifers: keep them in the Obama camp for 8 years.

    Ross Douthat tries to give Kmiec the best possible read and comes up with this:
    I suppose I could find a thing or three to agree with in Kmiec's longer list of ideas for how the party he abandoned could win back his vote. But frankly, I don't see the point. I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject. And I have no doubt that the Republican Party can profit from greater dialogue between its pro-life and pro-choice constituents—and do a better job, as well, of addressing itself to both pro-lifers and pro-choicers who aren't already inside its tent. But I can't begin to fathom why the GOP should consider taking any advice whatsoever from a "pro-lifer" who has spent the past year serving as an increasingly embarrassing shill for the opposition party's objectively pro-abortion nominee.
    "Increasingly" is the only charitably way I can describe Kmiec's latest, in which he marvels at the election of Obama in an America that used to deny that African-Americans were human persons with rights. The response is, of course, that we elected someone who thinks unborn humans don't have rights. But once again, reality seems to have little effect on Mr. Kmiec.

    update: Good heavens. In response to Douthat's entirely reasonable observations, Kmiec responded with an embarrasing attempt to dodge the accusations by accusing Douthat of ... I dunno, "uncharity"?!

    In response, Tucker Carlson really did have it, and really let Kmiec "have it":

    Hey, Doug. Toughen up. Seriously. I've read suicide notes that were less passive-aggressive than this. Let's review what actually happened: You argued that Obama is not a pro-choice extremist. Ross disagreed. Rather than respond with a counterpoint, you got hysterical, dismissing Ross as a hater, even fretting about the future of his soul. Come on. Get some perspective. And for God's sake, stop whining.

    ... I understand it must have hurt when Ross accused you of shilling for Obama. On the other hand, he's right. You did shill for Obama. That's not Ross' fault. Don't blame him.

    But if you are going to blame him, do it directly, like a man, without all the encounter-group talk and Pope quotes. People often attack the religious right, sometimes with justification. But as you just reminded us, there is nothing in the world more annoying than the religious left.

    What Tucker doesn't point out, and I will, is that Kmiec also is guilty of substantive factual errors in his contribution ("54 percent of the Catholics in America saw exactly what I see in Barack Obama" ... sorry, 54% of those who voted may have seen this") as well as completely unintelligible lines like "[Obama's] party commitments have not let his mind free of ill-considered measures like FOCA" (what?!) and then, typically, Kmiec accuses others of what he has himself done: "It is better to be part of that honest effort than the passive, smug Republican partisan complacency that thinks of the defense of human life as just another issue to be ranked and, worse, ranked lowly" (but that's what you yourself have in fact done, Kmiec - clearly!).

    I'd say more, but I have to go catch a plane. It's about time for a Kmiec-free few days.

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    John Allen on the future of U.S-Vatican relations

    On the whole, I support John Allen's contribution:
    "For the record, nobody from the Obama transition team has solicited my advice about relations with the Vatican, and I would frankly be surprised if the question were yet on their radar screen. Others, however, are already speculating about how things might shake out; on Wednesday, for example, Reuters moved a story predicting a “tricky” relationship between Rome and the Obama White House because of the abortion issue. As a thought exercise, I decided to pen an open letter to the president-elect about U.S.-Vatican ties over the next four years."
    Allen also tells a story from the Clinton years I found worth repeating:

    Finally, one last piece of unsolicited advice: Mr. President-Elect, whatever else you do, please try to avoid repeating the mistakes of the last Democratic administration with regard to the Vatican.

    In his memoirs, former Vatican Ambassador Raymond Flynn tells a depressing story from 1994 illustrating what I mean. During the lead-up to the U.N. conference on population in Cairo in 1994, Pope John Paul II called Flynn to the Vatican on a Saturday morning to personally request a telephone conversation with President Clinton. Flynn relayed the request urgently to the White House that afternoon, and got no response. He called again on Sunday and on Monday, both times with no results. Frustrated, Flynn then got on a plane to Washington on Tuesday. He cooled his heels outside the president’s office that night and most of Wednesday. Finally, he was admitted to the White House’s pre-Cairo war room, where he was told by Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Wirth that “nobody is getting a chance to lobby the president on this one.” Dumbfounded, Flynn explained that the Bishop of Rome is not a lobbyist, and that it would be seen as a profound act of disrespect if the president wouldn’t even get on the phone. After almost a week, Clinton finally agreed to take the pope’s call.

    The episode was symptomatic of a basic disinterest within the Clinton team about the Vatican, which at times shaded off into hostility. The result was that the U.S.-Vatican relationship during the Clinton years was more often defined by predictable differences than by imaginative areas of common purpose.

    For what it’s worth, Mr. President-Elect, my advice is to get on the phone if the pope calls. Better yet, initiate the conversation yourself. You might be surprised about where it goes.

    It's no secret that the Clintons were basically jerks to Pope John Paul II when they could get away with it.

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    Kathleen Sebelius waiting to pounce?

    Rocco reports that extreme pro-abortion advocate (and Catholic) Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas (previous AmP mentions here) ... is being considered to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees such things as abortion, and who would be tasked with shepherding FOCA through Congress.
    Even if she is not picked to lead that department, it is highly likely she will be offered some prominent position in Obama's cabinet. She was, after all, one of his early, vocal supporters, and has tirelessly supported him since.
    A local columnist isn't happy about this development, saying "[Sebelius] appears poised to skip out of the job she was elected to do in Kansas. If that happens, she won't be around to deal with Kansas' huge and looming budget challenges in 2009."
    Good thinking, Kathleen, have someone else deal with the mess.
    When asked about the rumors, she responded, "I'm always flattered to have my name in circulation".
    ... Such humility.
    [photo credit: flickr user jbenson2]

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    While we're talking about Catholic Charities

    Diogenes....

    Father Larry Snyder, the head of Catholic Charities USA, has sent his "sincere congratulations!" to Barack Obama on his electoral success, thereby reminding the president-elect that Catholic Charities, which receives most of its support from Uncle Sam, could always use a few more federal dollars. Sure.

    "I know that you share our commitment to these 'least among us,'" Father Larry assures Obama.

    So I guess the unborn are not the "least among us."

    Seriously.

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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Photo Caption Call - 11/05/08


    Winning Caption: "You voted for Obama?!" - Matt

    Add your captions below in the comment box! View the winning caption from the last Photo Caption Call here.

    [Source: Flickr user Jerseyfreeze]

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    AmP's 4,000th Post

    Four thousand posts ....

    1,532 this year alone ....

    It's enough to make a young guy feel old! I mean, some of those are pretty long. I can't even begin to imagine how much time that represents. For instance, I think it's a safe estimate that only about a tenth of what I read eventually makes it to the blog. So that's 40,000 sources ... at least. Oh, and those blogger tech issues - *shudder*.

    To celebrate this marker, I'm going to take a little break. It seems many of us are suffering a little post-election burn-out/postpartum depression, and I'm no different. There's plenty plenty to be done, but I'm confident that He who keeps the world running will do just fine without me watching out for His fingerprints, at least for a few days (which is all I'll be gone).

    Mind you, I'll probably sneak in a few posts until the weekend, but over the weekend I'll be travelling home to catch up with family and close friends, recharge the batteries, visit the old haunts, and commiserate over a pint or five. If anyone wants to assist in funding the adventures, there's always that paypal button on the sidebar - jingle, jingle! I'm just sayin'. ;-)

    Who knows, I might find some time to update my twitter page, but no hard promises - this is the closest thing I get to vacation these days. And of course, there's always AMP NEWS archives to browse, comment wars to wage (feel free to post news links in the threads) and ... well - 3,999 other posts to read! This tag is a personal favorite. You can also make me happy by subscribing to AMP NEWS. We should have exciting new content for you soon.

    Oh and don't cease sending the emails. As I've said, I read each and every one ... eventually. Blogging also tends to be far more email-based when I'm travelling because, obviously, the stories are waiting patiently for me in my inbox (or impatiently - please, no more subject lines in ALL CAPS. I can read small case just fine).

    I'm beginning to understand how I got to 4,000 individual blog topics so quickly - it's hard to stop. With devoted readers like you, it's easy to see why. You're not the only ones who have benefited from these 4,000 posts.

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    Bishop Hermann v. Catholic Charities

    A dust-up is taking place in the Archdiocese of St. Louis between Catholic Charities and the apostolic administrator who is keeping things running until a replacement is named for Archbishop Burke.

    They seem to have plenty of these spats in STL, and the local press is never very sympathetic to the hierarchy (my comments in underlined brackets):

    The St. Louis Archdiocese has demanded that Catholic Charities, the largest private provider of social services in Missouri, turn over control of the way it raises its money. [notice, the way it raises money, not its actual money]

    The acting leader of the archdiocese, Bishop Robert Hermann, has given the board members an ultimatum: Agree with his plan, or get out. [I'm sure he didn't phrase it that way, plus "ultimatum" is such a loaded term]

    The archdiocese says that it has talked with Catholic Charities about its "day-to-day operations" and that it wants to better coordinate fundraising with the agency. But, at least one board member claims the dispute is really about the archdiocese trying to seize control of the nonprofit and how it is run. [I don't think it's a matter of seizing control - the charity is actually constituted to have the head of the archdiocese oversee it]

    In a memo to board members dated Oct. 30 and obtained by the Post-Dispatch, Hermann wrote that Catholic Charities "was allowed ... to drift in a direction that began to work contrary to the desires of Archbishop Rigali and Archbishop Burke" and that the relationship between the Archdiocese and Catholic Charities is "at an impasse." [I'd like to know the specifics of what Catholic Charities has been up to]

    More from the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Do any AmP readers want to add context?

    Ph/t: AmP reader Jean.

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    "Black Pope could follow Barack Obama's election, says US archbishop"

    I hope this is an example of a mainstream paper misinterpreting Archbishop Gregory's meaning - but some of the quotes are just hard to get around:

    The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American US President could pave the way for the election of the first black Pope, according to a leading black American Catholic.

    Wilton Daniel Gregory, 60, the Archbishop of Atlanta, said that in the past Pope Benedict XVI had himself suggested that the election of a black pontiff would "send a splendid signal to the world" about the universal Church.

    Archbishop Gregory, who in 2001 became the first African American to head the US Bishops Conference, serving for three years, said that the election of Mr Obama was "a great step forward for humanity and a sign that in the United States the problem of racial discrimination has been overcome". Like Mr Obama Archbishop Gregory comes from Chicago, and was previously Bishop of Belleville, Illinois. (UK Times)

    There are some obvious problems here:
    • The selection of popes does not follow "the trend" set by our selection of American Presidents. The idea that Rome looks to where the American voter is tending ... is just silly.
    • I'd like to see Pope Benedict's exact quote, but I'm sure he wasn't advocating some sort of affirmative action in the selection of popes for the universal Church, and I dislike this whole notion that the Catholic Church has to elect a black pope to prove that it does not discriminate. That's an American hang-up, not the Universal Church's. Frankly, you could make a better argument that the Vatican tends to be euro-centric, and as an American shouldn't I be complaining about that? Nope. So what - we've been getting great popes.
    • I'm happy to hear Archbishop Gregory say the election of Obama means that racial discrimination "has been overcome", though I doubt the USCCB will uniformly act as if it agrees in the future.

    The other quotes from Archbishop Gregory are more nuanced and I get the distinct feeling he's being re-read through the Times' lenses.

    I do also resist this attempt by the Times and other papers to claim some sort of Vatican endorsement of Obama as Obama. Every official statement I've seen so far from the Vatican is an endorsement of Obama as President.

    And it's no surprise - Obama will be the leader of the most powerful country in the world and the Church is a universal institution with universal interests and considerations to take into account.

    And I'd like to see the original interview in La Stampa.

    Oh and - seriously - Richard Owen gets put up in Rome by the Times to report "trends" and make "predictions" like this?

    Next up ... "Does the recent mention of iPods at the World Synod of Bishops signal that the Church is switching from PCs to Macs?!"

    update: the AFP's headline is even worse: "Catholic Church ready for black pope: US archbishop".

    ... yeah, because I can just see those cardinals in the Vatican reading their morning paper:

    "Good heavens! The Americans elected a black man as their President! Why - do you know what this means? It means we can finally have a black pope! This is awesome news. I'd like another espresso, please."
    Yeah, right.

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    A good day, and a bittersweet one

    Months and months of election coverage from a Catholic perspective has resulted in AmP becoming one of the places on the Internet to find Catholic news, commentary and enlightened discussion - almost 10,000 visits today. The elections are over, but the work has just begun. So pour a new cup of coffee and pull up a chair!

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/5/08

    [For today's blog topics, scroll down or click here.]

    The Pope just couldn't figure out why there was such a high demand for drink tickets today.
    [source: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN)]

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    Reminder...

    If you haven't yet seen the first episode of AMP NEWS featuring an exclusive interview with Archbishop Chaput on Faith & Polilitics - please do so! (5 more subscribers and we'll make it into the top 20 this month!)

    update: you folks continue to exceed my high expectations for you - thanks!

    And now for something completely different

    My Italian relatives are at it again it seems (and before you ask - no - the picture to the right is not connected to the story):

    ... The restaurateur said he rushed to the eatery, in the village of Rutino near Salerno, in southern Italy, after hearing that the priest and nuns were causing trouble.

    He told police that he got into an argument with the priest, who smashed a chair over his head. The nuns followed up by kicking him in the stomach.

    Stunned passers-by were shocked to see tables and chairs being hurled around the bar and promptly called the police.

    ... He was taken to hospital with injuries to his neck and bruising to his abdomen.

    A lawyer for the clergy disputed his version of events, noting that the nuns had "a combined age of 160".

    "This establishment was being occupied illegally," said lawyer Gaetano Di Vietri. "As to the alleged aggression, I would only say that the two nuns have a combined age of about 160. For the rest, it will be up to the magistrate to clear up, but the clergy members deny the allegations."

    The priest and nuns belong to a religious order, the Disciples of Santa Teresa and the Baby Jesus, which owns the lease on the premises and reportedly wants the property back. (UK Telegraph)

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the Church apart from the mafia. ;-)

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    Words of hope from today's Mass texts

    Excerpts....

    First reading:

    " ... work out your salvation with fear and trembling ... Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life ..."

    Responsorial psalm:
    "The LORD is my light and my salvation;whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?"
    Gospel:
    “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple ... everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
    "Sophia" at Metaphysical Musings provides us with a reflection.

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    First update: Biden, Pelosi ... Kerry

    There will be at least two, and possibly three prominent pro-choice Catholics in the Democratic establishment:

    Sounds like a full house to me.

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    Joe Biden: the first Catholic VP ... so what?

    Paul Moses at Commonweal is happy about the forgotten "first" of the campaign, the first Catholic VP.

    I find this "first" meaningless except in the most basic sense.

    Think about it - if Joe Biden followed his Church's teachings he probably would not be where he is today. Can you imagine, for instance, a pro-life democratic vice-presidential candidate or nominee these days?

    So congratulations, Joe Biden, when given a choice between your Catholic principles and being elected to the second highest office in the land, you made your choice. Some Catholic example he's set for us.

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    What we must prepare for in the years ahead

    It's not overstating the situation to claim we have witnessed a "sea change" in American politics.
    Here's what I consider to be the distinct concerns of American Catholics looking into the years ahead. Moving from general observations to particular/pressing concerns, I would list them as follows:
    • A new liberal majority which, sadly, is often antagonistic to the free practice of our Catholic faith as it effects our public activities. I'm only saying this is always the case, but it will be more often.
    • Obama is the biggest Presidential supporter of abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was passed. This is a problem. He has made promises to the pro-abortion crowd which they won't forget.
    • The ongoing contradiction of Vice-President Biden and Speaker Pelosi claiming themselves to be faithful "in communion" Catholics while they advocate the destruction of unborn human life.
    • Freedom of Choice Act, repeal of the Hyde Amendment (which has up to this point prevented American taxpayers and Catholics in particular from directly supporting abortion with their tax dollars), new Supreme Court Justice nominees which for all intents and purposes will have to pass a Roe v. Wade litmus test, a new openness to gay marriage, coercion of Catholic hospitals which attempt to retain conscience clauses, de-funding of crisis pregnancy centers, etc. And that's just the life issues.

    What have I missed? Am I overplaying anything?

    Related: I recommend reading the last three paragraphs of Greg Sisk's post.

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    Statements: Pope, Vatican, Bishops react to Obama victory

    The CNS blog is tracking the statements. Here are the significant ones....
    • Fluff from Vatican spokesman Lombardi.
    • More substance from Cardinal George, president of the USCCB: "We pray that you will use the powers of your office to meet them with a special concern to defend the most vulnerable among us and heal the divisions in our country and our world. We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person."
    • The Pope's message was private: "Asked if the pope mentioned any specific issues he was concerned about, Father Lombardi responded, "peace, solidarity and justice."
    • L'Osservatore Romano, meanwhile, the official Vatican Newspaper: "the article said, the vote for Obama was "very pragmatic" because he was the "more convincing" candidate for "an electorate needing new hope, especially for a quick economic recovery."

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    Doug Kmiec has seen my YouTube interview

    Or so Kmiec implies in the public letter he wrote to Abp. Chaput yesterday (who has responded here).
    You can watch the YouTube interview Kmiec refers to right here. Now that we know what the political future holds, it is helpful to see where Abp. Chaput predicts the cultural and religious future of our nation is headed.
    As for Kmiec's 11th-hour letter to the Archbishop, I have a few observations:
    • I dislike his tone. This is not a dinner party disagreement. Human lives are literally at stake in this debate.
    • Kmiec ignores the issues he can't handle. He has his own idea of what this debate is about, and constantly refuses to move away from his talking points. This is not what happens in a debate - this is instead a propaganda tactic. Has he ever spoken about FOCA, for instance?
    • Kmiec calls for collaboration in what is already happening and Catholics are already doing, as if he had thought of the idea. Supporting women who face problem pregnancies? Check. Finding ways to make adoption an alternative over abortion? Check. A Human Life Amendment? (seriously?!) Well, check that too. Sure, more could be done in these three areas - but Obama is against many of these proposals and they will be harder to achieve when he is President! How can Kmiec hope for these when the candidate whom he supports is against them? It's schizophrenic. I simply don't see the logic here.

    And as for Kmiec's comment that "Intemperate language and hyperbolic argumentation may play well on the blogs", two things:

    • There might be intemperate language and hyperbolic argumentation out there. But there is also sound, logical critique - critique that Kmiec has never been able to answer to my satisfaction. I should start a counter for every time he claims to be a martyr and treated unfairly when people disagree with him or criticize his position. A man of his experience shouldn't need me to tell him to get over it and move on.
    • I'd be happy to debate or interview Doug Kmiec in person anytime he wants. How's that?

    Finally, see my 4th conclusion that I write about in this post. That prediction is now a reality....

    update: stop the presses, Archbishop Chaput has responded himself.

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    Picking up the pieces (recap post)

    Yes, Barack Obama won 349-173, and by about 7 million votes nationally. The Senate is Democratic 56 to 40 with 4 seats undecided (still?!), but it's highly unlikely the Democrats will reach a super majority of 60. The House is Democratic 258-173, a gain of 17 at least.
    Okay, on to ballot innitiatives....
    • It looks like Prop 8 in CA - which would ban gay marriage in that state - will win. Arizona and Florida bans on Gay Marriage and Arkansas' ban on gay adoption also passed. Good news.
    • Pro-life initiatives in Colorado, California and South Dakota have lost. Bad news.
    • In Michigan, pro-embryonic stem cell research proposal 2 passed by 4%. More bad news.
    • And Doctor-Assisted Suicide is now legal in Washington. Even more bad news.

    So what happened? Anti-gay marriage legislation won .... pro-life legislation lost, and badly.

    We've got our work cut out for us.

    update: some early numbers on how Catholics voted...

    • Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly went for McCain 54-45%.
    • Catholics who attend Mass less than weekly went Obama 61-37%

    What can we take from this? One obvious conclusion: Catholics who don't feel obligated (or desire) to attend Mass probably won't feel obligated (or desire) to inform their conscience either.

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Twittering the Election // Open Thread

    I'll be watching the election coverage with friends tonight, but will try to update my twitter page.
    Consider this the new election-night Open Thread post for all your comments, observations, etc.
    And may God continue to bless and watch over our great nation, whatever the outcome....

    Looking for my interview with Archbishop Chaput?

    You can watch it here.
    Also, it would be nice to top 100 subscribers today.
    update: of course, 125 ain't bad either! AMP News is also in the top 40 YouTube reporters for today and the #25 most-subscribed YouTube reporter this month. That's some real progress - and we have you to thank!

    The issue that wasn't... Obama's YES on FOCA

    Mark Joseph complains (and I agree):

    The McCain campaign has been such an abject failure in so many ways that it’s difficult to focus in one just one. But let me try.This morning I received the following messages from two friends. The first, a minister in the Chicago area wrote:

    “This FOCA [Freedom of Choice Act] statement has put me over the edge at the last possible moment…I’m voting for McCain as an anti-Obama vote…wish I’d known about this sooner…I would have told my congregation about this…in line waiting to vote now.”

    The second, from a college professor in Florida, was similarly themed:

    “Somehow, though I knew he was pro-choice, I had never heard of FOCA or his statement on FOCA. That settles it for me, I can’t in good conscience not vote against someone who said this. I wasn’t going to vote for McCain, perhaps writing in Jeb Bush, but even if it’s futile, I have to live with my vote and what it could, against the odds, contribute. That statement isn’t about governing from the center–it’s about dominating from the left.”

    Both are referring to a speech featured on YouTube that Obama gave to Planned Parenthood in which he promised to make as his first act after being elected, passage of the Freedom of Choice Act which would invalidate all state laws against abortion.

    It’s just another measure of the utter and complete incompetence of the McCain campaign that voters like these never heard about the issue until the day they were voting. If ever a campaign deserved to lose an election it was this one.

    To get a sense for the categorical way in which most of the mainstream media simply would not talk about Obama's position on abortion and FOCA in particular, see this article published by CNN today titled "Ballot hot buttons include abortion, same-sex marriage" which, you guessed it .... doesn't mention Obama once.

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    Open thread: Top links for election day

    I'm plowing through mountains of links today. Here are the best. Most recent links are at the top.
    (And don't forget my video interview with Abp. Chaput on Catholic voting in this election!)

    Consider this the first open thread of the day as well.

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    "Muslims seek crisis management plan with Vatican"

    Reuters:
    Muslim scholars due to meet Pope Benedict and Roman Catholic officials this week hope the Vatican will agree to joint crisis management plan to defuse tensions that flare up between Christianity and Islam.

    Violent protests in the Islamic world after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad might have been averted if Christians and Muslims had spoken out jointly against such unrest and the provocation behind it, they say.
    Let's be awkwardly specific: what needs to be managed is the crises caused by ... muslims.

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    On the papal horizon: hope for Africa

    Zenit:
    Benedict XVI will make his first trip to Africa to give hope to peoples that suffer violence and poverty, says a Vatican spokesman.

    Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this on the most recent edition of Vatican Television's "Octava Dies."

    The Holy Father announced at the end of the world Synod of Bishops his plans to travel to Angola and Cameroon next March, an announcement that Father Lombardi called "an important piece of news."
    Hope, surely. But the Pope's third encyclical will be released by then and could provide the theme for his Africa trip, much like his second encyclical provided the theme for his visit to the United States.

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    Bishop Finn frames Obama vote in terms of salvation

    On the Chris Stigall show, Bishop Finn's electrifying line:

    Stigall: "There are Catholics listening to me right now who are thinking strongly or are convinced that they will vote for Barack Obama. What would you say to them?"

    Bishop Finn: "I would say, give consideration to your eternal salvation."

    The audio:


    Oh, and he had more to say on the widely-listened-to Hugh Hewitt show.

    Your thoughts?

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    Vatican workers have to use swipe cards again

    Union! Union!

    For the first time since Pope John XXIII, Vatican workers from office staff to cardinals have been issued swipe cards for clocking on and off at work.

    Ansa reports the Vatican City State has issued new cards to all employees from the lowest office staff to the grandest heads of departments, including priests or bishops.
    The swipe cards have reportedly been received without complaint by the lay staff but some older clerics have been heard grumbling that Pope John XXII abolished timekeeping in the early 1960s.

    They fondly remembered that Pope John thought that keeping staff on the clock worked against the flexibility they needed.

    The clerics complain that clocking in and out is a headache when they have to leave the office on twice weekly pastoral duty.

    The timekeeping scheme is part of a new meritocracy drive at the Vatican, which is set to introduce performance related pay next year. (CathNews)

    A "meritocracy"?

    What's next - justification through works?!

    update: Bloomberg has more details (Ph/t: Fr. Z.)

    Picture: Flick user plemeljr

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    Monday, November 03, 2008

    My thoughts about the 2008 election

    I have been covering the 2008 presidential election since its beginning, striving always to provide a personal perspective informed by, and faithful to, the teachings of the Catholic Church.
    In this brief calm tonight before tomorrow's storm, here are the top five conclusions I've drawn:
    1. Obama's record and philosophy disqualifies him from being an acceptable Presidential candidate. He is unapologetically pro-choice, and for all his talk about moving on and changing politics as it is currently practiced, his solution to the problem of abortion is to completely and unilaterally decide in the favor of the abortion-on-demand crowd. More than that, his party platform and promises would force Catholics to help fund abortions, and his policies on embryonic stem cell research and other biomedical issues will pose a grave threat to the practice of Catholic ethical health care in America.
    2. McCain is not a perfect candidate - far from it, he is flawed on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and not-quite-perfect on the issue of abortion. But he is, in a distinct sense, the lesser evil, and compared to the prospect of an Obama presidency, is the better choice. I could go on about his other policies, but they are matters of reasonable debate - the positions of Obama on life issues, however are not open for debate. They are so deeply flawed that they preclude our vote, and Catholics must shape the public debate by sending a strong message to pro-choice candidates that this will not be tolerated.
    3. The American bishops have spoken. Well over one-in-three have chosen to conspicuously remind their followers about the importance of life issues in the weeks leading up to this election. Nor is this a coincidence - they know exactly what they are doing and what they are risking. Those bishops who have attempted to re-assert a (false) spectrum-of-issues argument can be counted on one hand, and hail from some of the most liberal and dysfunctional dioceses (and no, I'm not using the terms synonymously) in the country. We can expect a heated and urgent debate in a week when the bishops convene in Baltimore to discuss the fall-out of the misinterpretations of Faithful Citizenship spread by pro-Obama catholics. Sadly, I fear it will be precisely one week too late. But we hope for the future, and the next election.
    4. Pro-Obama Catholics will remain with us into an Obama presidency. And we must hold these people accountable. By this I mean we have to hold them to the promises they have made the Catholic faithful about the reduction of abortions which they claim Obama's presidency will bring about, as well as a whole range of other predictions. They are on record, we have read their statements, and the burden is on them. Don't get me wrong - faithful Catholics will never cease in their efforts to defend the unborn, but as the waters rise, it is the pro-Obama Catholics who claimed we didn't need the levees.
    5. Election controversies are faith controversies. Politics does not occur in a vacuum, and it is not separated from our Catholic faith. Disagreements arise (indeed, sometimes in a conflagration) more often in politics because it's impossible to ignore the opposing results that different understandings of our faith bring about in the real world and in practical day-to-day matters. "Do you believe, as the Church teaches, that abortion is a grave moral evil that Catholics must do everything in their power to eliminate, and quickly?" How you answer that question will effect how you vote. Or again, "Do you believe we must listen carefully to our bishops when they speak out on issues of justice?" These two questions are just a start.

    I could go on, but there will be so many last-minute op-eds published today that I'm content to stop here.

    If you haven't voted yet, go vote. It's an obligation for Catholics. Oh - and pray, and fast.

    Those last two we can do the whole year round. To start, it's going to be a long Advent this year....

    And, needless to say, I'm eager to learn what you've observed as well. We have time before the polls close.

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    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/3/08

    [For today's blog topics, scroll down or click here.]

    When you're the Pope, fitting in a nap is never easy.
    [source: REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)]

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    McCain's Hail Mary to Hispanics

    Adapting an emailed tip in my own words here ....

    The McCain team has sent 25,000+ of these two-sided prayer cards (PDF) to Hispanic churches and prayer groups in NM and CO. They contain an image from when McCain visited Our Lady of Guadalupe as well as a prayer for John McCain. More pictures of McCain's Mexico visit are available here.
    The text of the prayer:

    God, our Father, all earthly powers must serve you. Help your servant, Senator John McCain, to fulfill your plan for him. By honoring and striving to please You at all times, may he continue to defend the right to life of the unborn and promote peace, justice and freedom for our Nation. We ask this through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and Patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    The text is in English and Spanish.

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    Tracking the Catholic Vote: 51-38% for McCain?

    So says one poll, and American Catholic adds context:

    The most accurate poll from the 2004 Election, the Investors Business Daily (IDB) Poll, has been showing a trend of Catholic voters moving away from Senator Obama and into Senator McCain’s camp. Since I first reported this a little over a week ago I can now say that this trend is real and Catholics are now leaning to McCain as of today.

    Again, this is only a snapshot and outside of the IDB and Gallup polls, I don’t put much into any other poll. But it is interesting to note that the Catholic vote has switched over to McCain, 51-38%. A solid majority so to speak.

    Pray and fast my brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray and fast.

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    Just Vote

    The Anchoress:
    "The press and the Obama trolls will use psy-ops to try to discourage your vote. That’s another no-brainer, but remember it. Remember it and VOTE. Vote if it’s raining, vote if it’s snowing. Vote if you feel crappy. Vote if you’re hearing talking heads proclaim “the most historic landslide in all of human history.” Tonight you’re going to hear - if you bother to tune in, and I wouldn’t - the gasbags on the boob tube announcing, “this election is over…” After all this time, you should know hype when you hear it, you should know, by now, that the press lies. Ignore all of that and GO VOTE. Even if eleventy billion vote the other way, get your own voice heard and on the record. Take someone else with you when you vote; encourage everyone you know to vote. Vote, vote, vote."
    Plus Starbucks will give you a free cup of brewed coffee. I'm not kidding.

    Fr. Jonathan Morris thinks it will be close, and considers a possible reason:
    And if I’m right and the vote is close in 2008, when the Democratic Party has every political reason to wipe out the Republicans, it will mean our country rejects major elements of Senator Obama’s plan to revolutionize important American values, beginning with the right to life. Then the Democratic Party may see the benefit of freeing itself from the stranglehold of the culture of death, forced upon it by extreme, and extremely powerful, interest groups. What a relief it would be for “Values Voters” to have a viable alternative to the very imperfect Republican Party.

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    Photo: The Onion does it again

    I know, it's macabre, but I feel that's in keeping with the day....

    "Fleet Of Stem-Cell Container Trucks Ready To Go If Obama Elected"
    [Source: The Onion]

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    "If Obama Loses the Election, I'll Blame the Catholic Church"

    So says one individual.

    I'll be happy to share the blame, too.

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    Game point: Responding to the "pro-life Obama" argument

    Ryan T. Anderson & Sherif Girgis have done us a service over at Public Discourse:

    The Obama apologists are at it again, this time attacking Archbishop Charles Chaput for speaking out against their candidate's pro-abortion views. But the latest salvo from Doug Kmiec is a tangled web of falsehoods and fallacies.

    Doug Kmiec is at it again. His most recent Obama propaganda piece is titled ''Why Archbishop Chaput's Abortion Stance Is Wrong.'' As far as we can tell, Kmiec, a legal scholar who identifies as pro-life, has never written an article titled ''Why Senator Obama's Abortion Stance Is Wrong.'' We await such an article. In the meantime, Kmiec has offered a pro-Obama reply to Archbishop Chaput's wise counsel that Catholics vote with a view to securing the equal protection of the law for all people, born or unborn. Kmiec's answers to the Archbishop can be divided without remainder into three categories: the irrelevant, the false, and the fallacious. Exposing their failure shows that the pro-life case against Obama is decisive.

    Required reading for those who are still up in the air, or who know folks who are.
    Related:

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    Sunday, November 02, 2008

    AMP NEWS Video - Episode One Featuring Archbishop Chaput Interview!

    This week I sat down for an interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver to discuss his NYT bestseller Render Unto Caesar as well as Catholic voting in this election as part of my new collaborative project AMP NEWS.

    Regular AmP readers will know that Archbishop Chaput has been one of the most (if not the most) vocal bishop defenders of the unborn in the American public scene of late, despite some criticism. God bless him for it.

    Archbishop Chaput, I am thrilled to say, gave me frank answers to the tough questions that are facing American Catholics this election, and it is my hope my that many people will have a chance to see this interview before they vote on Tuesday.

    Embedded below are the four segments of AMP NEWS Episode One. You may also watch the entire episode as a whole right here on YouTube. We hope to continue providing quality Catholic news, interviews, and offbeat programming to you in the future!

    Episode 1 - "Headlines"

    Episode 1 - "Papist Chat with Archbishop Chaput {Part 1 of 2}"


    Episode 1 - "Papist Chat with Archbishop Chaput {Part 2 of 2}"


    Episode 1 - "The Papist Takedown"

    This link creates a playlist of the entire episode: http://tinyurl.com/ampnews
    Now that you have seen the show, please forward these videos to your friends and family who are preparing to vote on Tuesday, and send AMP NEWS to folks who are seeking an informed, Catholic perspective on the important stories facing Catholics in America today. Please also subscribe to our AMP NEWS YouTube Channel if you want to be updated instantly when new episodes are uploaded.

    Special thanks go to the Catholic Information Center in Washington DC (and do check out their upcoming events) for giving AMP NEWS the opportunity of interviewing Archbishop Chaput, to AMP NEWS producer Alex Buder, to William Newton for creative input, and our profound gratitude to His Excellency, Archbishop Charles Chaput O.F.M Cap, for his faithful service on behalf of Christ and His Church.
    update, some pull quotes from the interview with Archbishop Chaput:
    • On Barack Obama: "Senator Obama is the most active pro-abortion politician to run for the Presidency since Roe v. Wade. He has committed himself to do things the Church would resist."
    • On vocal bishops: "The bishops are aware ... a quieter approach to these things has not been effective ... we have to be stronger in what we say. We've just had it."
    • On Faithful Citizenship: "[It is] not very clear. We either ought to get rid of it, or say things much clearer."
    • On claiming Obama is a pro-life candidate: "It would be foolish to say that someone who ... runs on a party platform that has no regret at all about abortion ... to call that position pro-life is really strange."
    • On IRS investigations: "It's simply bullying. It shouldn't stop us from talking about the important issues of our time."
    • On the separation of Church and State: "We do believe in it. We don't like the state to tell us what to do. We don't believe in the separation of faith and politics."
    And here is a running tally of the blogs/websites that have picked up on AMP NEWS so far:

    If I left your name off the list please send me an email!

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    It's coming....

    Pictures: Unused or Unseen Papal Vesture and Vestments

    What could be more papist?

    More images and explanations at NLM.

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    Saturday, November 01, 2008

    Papist Picture of the Day - 11/1/08

    [For today's blog topics, scroll down or click here.]

    Someone didn't get press credentials.
    [source: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (VATICAN)]

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    Leon Suprenant on the November meeting

    Good words:
    At their semi-annual meeting November 10-13th in Baltimore, the United States bishops will discuss the “practical and pastoral implications of political support for abortion.” Some might question the timing of this discussion, coming days after a national election featuring a candidate whom Princeton professor Robert George described as being the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the presidency. At the same time, better (barely) late than never, and perhaps the timing will allow for a candid discussion relatively free of USCCB-speak (read “Faithful Citizenship”) or charges of partisanship.

    In my own discussions with bishops regarding this issue in the weeks leading up to the November meeting, I have urged them to consider these three concerns.
    Read them here.

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