Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI on the Sex Abuse Crisis

Sandy Rios writes the following on
When [Benedict XVI] said he was ashamed of the existence of pedophile priests and their subsequent abuse of young boys, unlike the scoffers, I believe him....The church, however slow, has made attempts to purge themselves of this sexual deviance with one notable—and perhaps fatal—flaw. “We will rid the church of pedophile priests,” said Pope Benedict on his flight to America. That’s good news except for one thing: the root problem among the priests was homosexuality, not pedophilia.
Of course, she's 100% right on the money with regard to the root of the sex abuse crisis. However, she's wrong when she assumes that Benedict hasn't addressed the homosexual priest issue. In fact, it was one of the very first things that he did upon being elected Pope.

The link below goes to the text of the 2005 instruction forbidding homosexuals from entering the priesthood.

On Priesthood and Those With Homosexual Tendencies

This document says the following:
In the light of such teaching [quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality and the need to respect individuals with homosexual attractions while condemning homosexual acts], this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture."(10)

Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.
By doing this, Benedict XVI was reinforcing a directive that the Vatican had issued in 1961 saying basically the same thing.

The big problem we face in this country is with the homo-friendly bishops who have historically refused to obey this order--with horrendous consequences.

And the truly amazing thing is that a huge number of politically well-connected people are trying to force the Boy Scouts to make exactly the same mistake that the American bishops made by giving people with disordered sexual attractions easy access to young people.

The Pope can only do so much. In the end, it's our local leaders who are to blame for this hideous scandal--and we ourselves for not demanding that they follow the guidelines clearly set out by the Vatican.

Book Review: Beyond the Desert Gate

Apollodorus is a merchant at Philadelphia in the Decapolis of ancient Palestine. Since the beginning of the Jewish War, his excursions have been more perilous and on his most recent return trip, he has brought back a man left to die by the Romans--a man who has no memory of what happened to him or even his own name. "Xenos", as he is called, is befriended by Apollodorus's young son, Philo--one of three, the others being Conan and Nicanor.

On his next caravan, however, Apollodorus is killed and his sons are forced by financial concerns to lease their property to the Roman garrison. Conan decides to join the Roman federated troops to earn his living while Nicanor steals off to join the Jewish resistance. Philo remains at home to serve the Roman garrison and care for Xenos, who soon recalls his past--a past which goes back to the previous book in this series, The Ides of April. Events will bring the three brothers back together as each tries to make sense of the war and the suffering of the Jewish people.

In terms of historical research, Beyond the Desert Gate recreates life in Roman Palestine very well. My major gripes with the book are the ponderous plot and insufficient character development. The book is the fourth part of a series of five books and has trouble standing on its own. The description of the siege of Macherus was well done, particularly the climax which was very affecting, and the Christian elements were also appreciated. But over all, I think this book will have trouble holding the attention of the audience it's intended for--older kids ages 14 and up.

Book Review: Brunelleschi's Dome

No, this isn't a book about an Italian guy with a big head, although Filippo Brunelleschi certainly had a massive ego. Brunelleschi's Dome is about the city of Florence generally during one of the greatest periods of genius and creativity in human history. It is also, specifically, about the life of Filippo Brunelleschi, a classic genius of the Italian Renaissance, and his magnificent dome which dominates the skyline of Florence to this day. Like so many of his contemporaries, Brunelleschi had a high level of expertise in a variety of fields. He was an artist, an engineer, a craftsman, an historian, and an overall solver of impossible problems. He was also a bit of a whack-job whose failures were nearly as spectacular as his successes.

With this book, Ross King has penned an engrossing popular biography of Brunelleschi, as well as a history of the construction of his famous dome. While the book goes into some detail regarding the engineering behind the construction of the dome, the prose is never heavy and is written so that the layman, such as myself, never gets bored or lost.

My wife and I visited Italy in 2000 and climbing to the top of the Duomo was one of the high points (literally!) of the trip. I wish I had read this book beforehand! I therefore highly recommend it to anyone who is planning a visit to Florence. It will give you that much more appreciation for the amount of work--and genius--that went into the construction of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Abortion and mental illness at Yale

File this under: "How sick can our society get?" An art student at Yale has apparently artificially inseminated herself and then taken abortifacient drugs to produce miscarriage. Not once. Not twice. But multiple times. Why? Here's the kicker...

For an art project!

Don't believe me? Here are the money quotes from the story in the Yale Daily News entitled For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse:
Art major Aliza Shvarts '08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process....

The "fabricators," or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself....

"I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity," Shvarts said. "I think that I'm creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be."

The display of Schvarts' project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts' self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.
What else can I say? This young woman is clearly mentally ill. What is most shocking is that there are no adults left on Yale's campus to denounce this vile, ghoulish exhibit, and recommend Ms. Schvarts to the counseling she so desperately needs. Indeed, as this is an art project, we must assume that somewhere, a member of Yale's faculty actually sanctioned it!

What this young woman did isn't art. It's a crime against humanity.

Pray for her. Pray for our country.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I love my five punishments

Earlier this month, presidential candidate Barack Obama said the following:
When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include -- which should include abstinence education and teaching the children -- teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual. But it should also include -- it should also include other, you know, information about contraception because, look, I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
Can you believe this guy?

Hey, Barry. I've got five kids. They are blessings from God, not punishments.

And just today, Obama claimed that no one, not even him, is pro-abortion. Really? Is that why Mr. Obama has managed to compile the most pro-baby-killing record in the U.S. Senate and has been given a 100% rating by the National Abortion Rights Action League?

This guy is a world-class liar and phony. Next to him, McCain looks like St. Francis of Assisi.

Book Review: Beorn the Proud

Another in Bethlehem's series of excellent historical fiction reprints, Beorn the Proud tells a harrowing tale of the 9th century Norsemen. Beorn is the 12-year-old son of the Sea King, Anlaf, a pagan raider who pillages the Christian settlements on the Irish coast. During one of these raids, Beorn captures young Ness, the daughter of an Irish chieftan. Having lost her entire family but little of her combative nature, Ness wins the grudging admiration of Beorn, but the enmity of his rival, the powerful Helge. When Beorn's father dies, Helge usurps Beorn's inheritance and has his eye on an even bigger prize--the throne of all Denmark. Can Beorn reclaim his heritage and warn the ancient King in time?

Beorn the Proud is a superb tale of the Dark Ages on the fringe of Europe. The characters are wonderfully drawn--particularly the main characters. Beorn's extreme pride, rooted in pagan conceit, is challenged repeatedly throughout the book and I found his reactions very true to life. Ness, on the other hand, is independent and stubborn, with a sense of humility and Christian piety that is often subsumed by her too-quick tongue.

The book is a quick and easy read for kids 12 and up and is deep enough for adults to enjoy as well. The plot is quick paced and the style is tight and flows very well. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Gas prices too high? Thank a Democrat!

Hat tip to RandallFlagg over at Free Republic for this set of gems:
Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
They vote against our drilling for our own oil.
And they vote for raising gas taxes.
They vote against building new refineries.

Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
When you read about all the oil companies making "Record Profits", consider that they only make around 10% of their gross. Microsoft makes about 33% of their gross. And Democrats want you to think this is bad, so they can tax the oil companies even more. But guess who'll end up paying these taxes which usually result in higher prices? You.

Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
The prices of all things you buy in the store have gone up, too. The increase is because the cost of shipping has risen. The reason for that is because fuel costs have risen. And Democrats in Washington and (insert your state here) want to make it
cost even more by raising gas taxes and the oil companies' business taxes. Which YOU will pay for.

Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
A large percentage of the oil shipped into America goes into generating electricity. Modern nuclear power plants are remarkably safe and generate electricity with astounding efficiency. Yet Jane Fonda and her Democrat pals in Washington won't allow us to build more nuclear plants so that we could turn more oil into gasoline and thereby drive down the cost.
But wait! Even if we could build more nuclear plants, the Democrats still won't let us build more refineries to turn oil into gasoline.

Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
Do you think hybrid cars and alternative fuels are the answer? In California, there are a lot of these types of vehicles on the road. The result was that the tax revenue expected from gasoline sales weren't what the Democrats had hoped for because people were conserving and saving money as best they could.
So the Democrats, to make up fo this shortfall in revenue, raised the gasoline tax!

Gas Prices too high? Thank a Democrat!
The price of gas will go up in the spring regardless of what the price of oil is at the time. Why? Because of Democrats.
Changing blends of gasoline around the country twice a year mean that refineries must shut down and retool. Those refineries are running at about 95% capacity (some at 100% capacity) the rest of the year because we don't have enough refineries to keep up with demand. And of course, the Democrats won't let us build any new refineries.

Remember to vote!
This is perfect stuff for stickers, handbills, or to cut and paste into an email to send around to family and friends. Use it!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Catholic Total Abstinence Union Fountain

The image reproduced here is the monumental statue of Moses — the centerpiece of the Catholic Total Abstinence Union fountain. Originally commissioned as part of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the fountain commemorates the contributions of Catholics to the first 100 years of the U.S. history. Flanking Moses on four sides are sculptures of Commodore John Barry, Archbishop John Carroll, Charles Carroll (the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence), and Father Theobald Mathew.

Who is Father Mathew? Before researching this fountain, I, for one, had never heard of him. Known as “The Apostle of Temperance”, Fr. Mathew was an Irish priest who saw the scourge of drunkenness in his native land and decided to do something about it. In 1838, he founded a Total Abstinence Society in Cork — sort of a precursor to Alcoholics Anonymous — took the pledge himself, and began a crusade encouraging others to refrain from liquor.

By the time Father Mathew died in 1856, it is estimated that over 7 million people across the world had taken the total abstinence pledge, including hundreds of thousands in the United States.

In 1876, such an achievement was considered worthy of commemoration. But our country was much different then. One need only scan through some of the photos and lithographs made during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition to appreciate the dynamism, optimism, and growth that underpinned American life. Above all, there was a sense that virtue, progress, heroism, faith, and beauty should be celebrated on a grand scale.

Contrast that with the situation in Philadelphia and our other major urban centers today where very little of this optimism remains. Taxes are astronomical in places where men once went to war to protest much more modest impositions. Far from encouraging temperance, our cities hand out needles to those destroying themselves with drugs. Murder rates rival those of Sadr City, Iraq. Vice and hedonism are openly celebrated and officially protected while organizations that promote the manly traditional virtues are persecuted. In Philadelphia, the Boy Scouts are about to lose their building because they refuse to make the same mistake so many of our Catholic bishops made in giving those with disordered sexuality easy access to young people.

In our day, the term abstinence has come to connote something quite different than it did in Father Mathew’s day. But the underlying sense is the same. And many young people are already taking a new kind of pledge — to remain chaste until marriage and completely faithful within marriage. And some of the truly rebellious ones are opening their hearts to the possibility that God is calling them to perpetual chastity in the priesthood or religious life. There can be no greater sign of contradiction to the vulgarians of this world than this.

Today, the Catholic Total Abstinence Union fountain is a forgotten relic that almost no one knows about. The machinery that powered it has long since ceased to function. Weeds grow out of the cracks between the granite blocks, and the grounds around it are strewn with trash and beer cans. As such, it is an apt metaphor for our own broken society, once so grand and beautiful.

But even here there is hope. In 2007, plans were announced to begin restoration work on the fountain.

It falls to the rest of us to begin the much larger job of the restoration of America.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The cafeteria is back open?

I read a post today on The Cafeteria is Closed that frankly shocked me. In it, the ostensibly Catholic-in-all things author, Gerald Augustinus, made an apologia for the homosexual deathstyle based on the same absurd premises that one often hears out of the mouths of homo-promo cheerleaders in the “elite” media. That is, “they were born that way/we should accept them if they’re in committed relationships.” The usual rubbish.

Here’s the response I made on his site:
Gerald writes: "being in a committed gay is not the same as being 'enslaved' to sex..."

No? Based on my experience, the notion of "committed gay" is a complete myth. It's been confirmed over and over and over in my life among folks I thought were gay but otherwise "normal."

Don't know if you ever read this article from NOR, but it encapsulates everything I've learned about the homosexual deathstyle from the poor souls afflicted with this condition that I've known. (warning, graphic content):

The Truth about the Homosexual Rights Movement.

Enabling or affirming homosexual behavior is never loving or compassionate. It only compounds the sin and adds to the misery.

Christ told the woman caught in adultery to "Go and sin no more." That's precisely what Catholics need to tell people with homosexual attractions. Through the help of Christ, they can do it.
Safe to assume that the cafeteria is back open for Gerald. Very sad. One of the other posters suggested this was an April Fool's Day joke. I hope that turns out to be true.

Gerald, if you're reading this, I'm praying for you, my friend.