Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fitting photos for the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

His All-Holiness, Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

[Plenty of pics here.]

His homily is worth your time, too. Ditto this website of the EP, which includes Byzantine music.

And the picture of the day:

[Pics by the Patriarchate. H/t to Amy for the above links.]

"The sea, the sea...."

There are times when I not only understand the lament of Legolas, I actually feel it.

A still from the Copper Harbor website.

The Mighty Mac in winter.

Gift ideas for the sports masochist in your life.

At least if they are still fans of a certain team.
I love The Curt Jester. I really do.

It is a great blog you should read every day. This, though--not so much. It's a failed attempt to make light (been there, done that and will probably do it again tomorrow), and I'm not going to open a six-pack on Jeff over it.

The most serious problem with it is that provoked what is, hands down, the most ignorant (I'm using it in the most neutral possible sense) historical commentary of 2006, by a Mr. Shaw:

Having misspent many LIRR commuting hours reading various books, some on the Crusades, I want to coment on the Byzantines' actions throughout the Crusades.

Fact is the Byzantine emperors 'used' the Crusaders to fight Turks, and 'stabbed the western yokels' in their collective backs whenever it suited them.

That's...inaccurate. When Alexius I asked the west for help, he was expecting mercenary forces from the Western royals, not mass armies headed by ambitious lesser nobles. He made do with what he got, and yes, he did "use" them: he agreed to help them get through Anatolia, but they had to swear an oath to turn over any former Byzantine territories to the Empire along the way.

To their credit, the Westerners did this--until they got to Antioch. There, one of the Crusade's leaders, Bohemund, reneged on his promise and took the city as his own. Another of the Crusade's leaders, Raymond of Poitiers, protested vehemently, but was overruled. In other words, the "yokels" were no strangers to backstabbing.

The sack of Constantinople that should be lamented took place in 1453, when the Turk did exponentially more evil and horribly defiled the city, its churches and its inhabitants. Now the city is 99% pagan, and the Hagia Sofia is a filthy mosque.

No lament over the 1204 rape of the city? None? At least the Turks had a religious motivation. The Fourth Crusade was a money-grub from the start (with a Byzantine pretender along as window dressing). Too bad Mr. Shaw wasn't around to set Pope Innocent straight, who described the unholy crusade in these terms:

How, indeed, is the Greek church to be brought back into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See when she has been beset with so many afflictions and persecutions that she sees in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs? As for those who were supposed to be seeking the ends of Jesus Christ, not their own ends, whose swords, which they were supposed to use against the pagans, are now dripping with Christian blood ­ they have spared neither age nor sex. They have committed incest, adultery, and fornication before the eyes of men. They have exposed both matrons and virgins, even those dedicated to God, to the sordid lusts of boys. Not satisfied with breaking open the imperial treasury and plundering the goods of princes and lesser men, they also laid their hands on the treasures of the churches and, what is more serious, on their very possessions. They have even ripped silver plates from the altars and have hacked them to pieces among themselves. They violated the holy places and have carried off crosses and relics.

Too bad also that he wasn't able to advise Pope John Paul II back in 2004, who still saw fit, even 800 years later, to offer an apology for the atrocity.

Oh, and by the way--Hagia Sophia is a museum these days, not a mosque. Has been for decades. And it was never "filthy"--except when it was desecrated by invaders and stained with the blood of the Christian residents of Constantinople.

Of note: the Crusaders took the place with much fewer men and much more quickly than did the Sultan, probably because Venicians and other western crusaders comprised over half of the 1453 defensive forces.

Ah, yes: The Westerners were Manly Men, Muscular and Strong! And hairy, too! Unlike the unworthy Byzantines, who no doubt spent their time fussing over their hair and reading the medieval version of Men's Health.

So, don't lament the Crusaders one-time sack and immediate ransom of the effete and corrupt Byzantines while ignoring the fact that the murderous Turk apostacized and destroyed the once-great Christian city.

Don't lament it--the Byzantines were effete and corrupt. They deserved it. They had ferns at their pubs.

No further comment necessary--some s--t just fisks itself.

If you have time to misspend reading, try Liutprand's narrative of his embassy to the Byzantines. It's a good overview of corruption and effeminacy. Where did you think the adjective 'byzantine' came from?

Yes: "corrupt," "effeminate," and "effete." Leaving aside that (1) it's warmed over Lecky served with a side order of rancid Gibbon, and (2) it boils down to "the b***h had it coming," is it really an appropriate and accurate summation of the greatest Christian civilization of the Middle Ages?

[Answers other than "No" are null and void.]

This is the same society that birthed the builders of Hagia Sophia, Hosias Loukas and the Walls of Theodosius. The nation of the fresco painters of Monreale and Santa Maria Assunta. The scribe-preservers of Greek antiquity. The priests and monks who introduced Christian civilization to the Slavic peoples of the East. The martyrs who preserved Christian iconography in the face of persecution. The empire of the generals and soldiers who successfully withstood the Arab military avalanche. The same empire which in its steep decline managed to do the same against the Turkish onslaught--with minimal and always grossly-insufficient help from the West.

Byzantium deserves much better than a Catholic version of the Black Legend.
[Abort, retry, fail?....]

I really have no clue how to title a post for this article.

Rue Britannia/
Britannia rue the day/
When Britons sleepily became PC slaves....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If this was a mob attack, I hope the assailants get tacked to a wall.

Authorities are investigating an alleged anti-Muslim hate crime attack in Detroit.

Of course, someone should go to jail regardless of motivation--the man appears to have been pretty badly beaten up.
"Michigan's Band of Brothers."

A great story about the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, on duty in Fallujah.

The 1-24th is based here in the Wolverine State.

Moderate Muslims--they exist, all right.

They just aren't very popular with less-moderate Muslims.

Consider the case of Jamal Miftah. Miftah is a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A banker born in Pakistan, he fled his native land in 2003 with his wife and four children after the border areas where he lived became a war zone.

Frustrated by quotes by al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri enjoining terrorism in a front page article in the Tulsa World, Miftah wrote an essay in October 2006 for the same newspaper (available here) which condemned violence in the name of Islam.

Reaction from his mosque? Excommunication. And no return until he repudiates the article and apologizes to the entire Muslim community.

The reason? According to an interview, it is because "you can't write bad things about Muslims in front of non-Muslims." He has also been labelled "a traitor," "an agent," and even "anti-Muslim."

If I may be so brazen as to offer some advice to the leadership of the Tulsa mosque--actions speak louder than words, and yours say volumes. None of them good.

Now ask yourself a few questions: (1) have you seen one word in major media about Jamal Miftah? (2) Have you heard anything about him prior to today? (3) Compare the non-coverage of this story to the media lather over the Imams' street theatre at the Minneapolis airport last week. Not even the Tulsa World itself has touched it.

Not so by the way--thank you very much, Mr. Miftah. We need many, many more like you.
The Dictatorship of Euphemism.

Robert Araujo heard the oral arguments in the Supreme Court on the partial-birth abortion ban.

Short summary: if you don't name it, you don't have to claim it:

It was ear and eye opening to listen to how highly intelligent people relied on euphemism (e.g., “fetal demise”) to escape coping with the reality of what is at the core of the case and, therefore, at the heart of abortion itself—human life. I hasten to add that some of the participants would periodically indicate or otherwise suggest that two human lives are involved in every abortion case that is litigated; however, others could not or would not make this concession.

Very early on in the oral argument the listener hears a discussion about dismemberment, but what is being dismembered is not mentioned. The object/subject of this procedure is left to the imagination of the listener to identify. But, with patient listening, the identity of the object/subject becomes clear; however, with the increase in this clarity, the efforts by some to fortify the conclusion that it is not human, or at least outside the scope of Constitutional protection, intensify. Some of the presentations are concrete when they focus on “the health of the woman (mother?)”; however, they become more abstract when the “other entity” is mentioned.

Read it all. The power of definition is critical, and this is Exhibit A.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"World's oldest cold case" solved.

King Tut not murdered, according to CT scans.

Good to see the Arizona native was not a victim of foul play after all.
I hate Illinois Nazis.

Nativity film barred from "holiday" festival.

The fear of a heckler's veto rears its ugly head. Wouldn't want to be called intolerant by some hypersensitive nimrod.

Chicago: it's a silly place.
Apparently Cartoon Network discovered a sizeable demographic that thought "Squidbillies" was too cerebral.

So they came up with Assy McGee.

You know, the lowest common denominator just isn't what it used to be.

No, you can't move into our survival bunker--build your own.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pray for the Holy Father.

Or if you aren't the praying kind, at least pull for him. He's walking into a maelstrom.

I was rooting for Notre Dame.

Not just because it helps Michigan, either. I, like the Irish faithful, am also metaphysically certain that USC is Evil.

Gah. I really thought Quinn would pull something out of his hat when they closed to 28-17, too. He still deserves to win the Heisman, too--nobody does more with less than Brady Quinn. But he won't, of course.

Speaking of which:

Which one of you wags signed me up for a trial subscription to Sports Illustrated? You know--just in time to get Troy F. Smith on the cover? I will find you--rest assured.

Friday, November 24, 2006


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

[H/T to Don at Mixolydian Mode.]

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You can call this confab anything you want...

except "scientific."

BTW, I love the NYT's benign-spin titling of what is more or less a free-fire vent against religious belief.

Yeah, it's a "free for all" in exactly the same way what happened to Rodney King was a "free for all."

This quote pretty well sums it up:

“With a few notable exceptions,” he [anthropologist Melvin J. Konner] said, “the viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?”

Monday, November 20, 2006

And now for something completely positive.

A great article about a great Jesuit priest, Fr. Greg Boyle, laboring magnificently in some pretty grim fields--amongst the Los Angeles gangs.


P.S. More recent articles here and here.
Actress renowned for cleavage and starring in Michael Bay's biggest bomb is upset about something.

Click here if you're interested.

All part of our intermittent CelebWatch feature.

For those religion junkies who actually paid attention to The Episcopal Church's General Convention this year, that was the watchword of Christian Anglicans: they wanted clarity about the direction of TEC. They certainly received that in bushels, culminating in the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of that particular communion. Starting with her invocation of "Mother Jesus" [God help me, it reminds me of Clerks], and continuing with her denial of Christ as universal savior, she has been a cornucopia of leftist platitudes, confused pseudo-Christian theology and overall gaffes that only someone with a heart of granite could fail to enjoy.

As an example of the last, consider her pelted-with-cottonballs interview with the NY Times wherein we Catholics receive plenty of clarity concerning the new PB's ecumenical bent:

How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

You’re actually Catholic by birth; your parents joined the Episcopal Church when you were 9. What led them to convert?

It was before Vatican II had any influence in local parishes, and I think my parents were looking for a place where wrestling with questions was encouraged rather than discouraged.

Have you met Pope Benedict?

I have not. I think it would be really interesting.

Hoo, boy. All the Catlick stereotypes wrapped up and served with PC panache by one who worships at the Altar of Tolerance--Or Else™. Yep, we're unthinking breeders waiting for our latest orders via the Pope Signal.

And as to that wrestling with questions thing, I wonder how long someone still questioning women's ordination would last at one of the Rt. Rev. Schori's parishes.

Anyway--have you seen pictures of my bad stewardship of earth's resources lately?

[Thanks to Amy and Chris Johnson for the link. Chris also shows us the ideal response--asking the Rt. Rev. to help us benighted papists the only way we know how--in crayon.]
Well, well, well.

The pro multis controversy is resolved, tout suite.

Good. Too bad it was mistranslated in the first place, but better late than never.

What's that thin wail I'm hearing?...
Life goes on.

Ah, well.

I'm developing a hypothesis about the problem. You see, last year I went up to my friend's condo to watch the game. This year, he came down to Casa Pequeña to watch it.

Clearly, the problem is that my friend is bad luck. His presence even causes my kids to gouge each others' eyes.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rest in Peace, Bo.


That's because it's the separation of church and state, not temple and state.

Or some similar quarter-assed argument.

According to board member Michael Queen, when Mr. Sklar was asked by the principal “to organize an effort to help the school develop a ‘Wall of Great Teachers’ to include other religious figures,” he declined. Mr. Queen believes that both the ACLU and Americans United were being “very selective” about what they considered a violation of the Establishment Clause. He notes that both groups had no objections to a two-foot statue and a portrait of Buddha that remain displayed in two classrooms in the school. (The settlement does not affect these two religious items.) “If they wanted to make it religion-free, why didn’t they go through the entire school?” Mr. Queen asks. It would seem that some religious symbols are bigger violations of the Establishment Clause than others.

I'm not particularly concerned that litigious bedwetters like the ACLU and Americans Utd. hate my religion. I just wish they'd be honest enought to admit they hate only my religion.
Some friendly advice for Michigan fans planning to travel to Columbus for the Big One.


And as to the shotgun, I heartily recommend a pump-action Mossberg. As a Michigan State Police trooper once put it: "Everybody recognizes the sound of a shotgun racking."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."

Eric Scheske has compiled an extensive list of Steven Wright lines. Enjoy!

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
When I’m not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.
Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Goldangit, isn't this fun?"

Gene Wojciechowski discovers the legendary voice of Michigan football, Bob Ufer. RTWT--Wojciechowski gets it perfectly.

I grew up with Bob's voice and General Patton horn-honking (for real--it was from one of Patton's jeeps) on Saturday afternoons when travelling around with my Dad. There was nothing quite like him even then, and there will never be another. God broke the mold.

"The Wolverines line up, two tight ends and a balanced line, Woolfolk in the backfield and Wangler over center..."

His most legendary call was the game winning last second touchdown against Indiana at the Big House in 1981. Gimpy-kneed Johnny Wangler tossed a floater to Anthony Carter on a short crossing route that the fleet Carter turned into an eye-popping run into the end zone. Ufer completes about the first five seconds of the call before it becomes an incoherent scream of pure joy punctuated by manic honks from the horn. The most magical moment in a most magical season (Michigan won its first Rose Bowl under Bo Schembechler that year). Hear it for yourself here.

He will always be missed.
People who agree with me are the smartest people I know.

Keep that in mind when you consider this otherwise fine post by Courage Man on L'Affaire Elton.

Seriously, though, CM raises a good point--goofy comments like EJ's add more particles to the cultural smog. Small and inconsequential of themselves, but at some point you have to start worrying about the cumulative effect.

And as to the vexing question of what Adam would say, I think he'd suggest that they stand and deliver--your money or your life.

Monday, November 13, 2006

He's better than you/It's the way that he moves...

The former Reginald Dwight says religion should be outlawed. All of it, what what.

I used to get upset when celebrities would say stupid things like this. Then I realized:

Who gives a crap what entertainers think?

The only ones who take this stuff seriously are the mind-gelded fans who would commit seppuku if the airhead in question asked them to. How am I supposed to act?

"Wow--this is disturbing. Much to mull over. Hmmm.

I wonder what Adam Ant has to say about this?"
When Libertarians Attack!

Remember, it's all about the principles (I refuse to link directly), man. Whatever you think of Santorum as a politician, cheapshotting his eight-year-old daughter is grounds for a beating.

Oh, and it keeps getting better and better in the combox--one of the a**holes brings up the Senator's deceased baby boy, Gabriel. Whatever else you can say about the Reason [sic] crowd, they would be a daunting challenge for the priests in Aztec sacrificial ceremonies.

Just another example of why liberts continue to ring up those microscopic electoral totals. Who the hell wants to be associated with that?

Oh, and for connoisseurs of irony, enjoy the spectacle of "libertarians" beating up on those who refuse to send their children to government schools.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Prayer Request.

Matthew and Heather Siekierski are good friends of ours. Matt blogs over at the Loudest Cricket and too occasionally at the Catholic Cricket. They are now the parents of four children.

The youngest is Lily Clare. Lily was born today at a little under 28 weeks old via an emergency c-section. She is one pound, seven ounces. Heather is doing all right, and Lily is slowly being weaned off the respirator.

It's going to be a rough road for all concerned, so prayers and good wishes in bushels would be appreciated.

Read Heather's sentiments here.

UPDATE 11/12/06: Picture now available.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Now, Kathy, go easy on the guy.

Yes, his essay is a fatuous pile of multi-culti brain droppings which disintegrates upon contact with history and reason. For a brief rebuttal, google "devshirme" and "Caliph Yazid" for examples of "belief in the mutual coexistence of all peoples." Or, if you don't give a crap about mistreatment of Christians, take a look at the Muslim invasions of India. Indeed, I'm still trying to get my eyes to roll fully back into place. During a couple of passages, I imagine I looked like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

Be that as it may, some leniency is warranted. He is a student at Loyola University of Chicago. The Jesuit institution is still wrestling with the requirements of Catholicism, so it is understandable that its grip on Islamic issues would be shakier still.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Man rules.

Received this via e-mail. All are deliberately labeled #1. Ladies, you are hereby warned:

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon
or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport.
And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria 's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of them makes you sad or angry, then we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle, besides we know you will bring it up again later.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really.

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. "Round" IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight....
Thoughts on the Republican wipeout.

For those more inclined to grieve this morning (I'm not one of them):

First thought--Bush is faced with the "Republicans lose in 1864" scenario that Lincoln faced. Lincoln's plan was to try to win the war in the time he had before he left office in March 1865. Bush has two years to do the same thing. He'd better come up with something resembling a strategy to do so. It would have been nice if he'd had one in 2003, but...

Second--defending the brand name at all costs was the response of Catholic bishops nationwide when faced with rapist priests. Bad Idea™. The Republicans did the same with respect to their corruption-tainted politicos (Delay, Ney, et. al) and bloated budgets. The electoral kick to the clockweights was well-deserved, indeed.

Third--Sure, the war loomed large in last night's vote(1). But the Democrats shouldn't fool themselves into thinking that the majority of that sentiment was for skedaddling. Exh. A, Lieberman, Joseph. Especially in those Republican districts the Democrats took last night--the sentiment there is "win." Lest we forget, two decades worth of withdrawals only emboldened our enemy to massacre us on our own soil. Lather, rinse and repeat is not what most of the voters had in mind.

Fourth--Democrats took seats in strongly Republican territory. They ran--as they had to--as fairly conservative Dems. Meaning that those newly-minted Representatives can't start acting like tantrum prone Kos-acks. Not unless they are looking forward to updating their resumes in two years. Nor will they likely be ecstatic about the prospects of reams of subpoenas churning forth. After all, that was an electoral strategy tested by the Republicans to great success during the Clinton Administration. [sarcasm off.]

Fifth--a pro-life Democrat won a high-profile race (Pennsylvania Senate). Frankly, Bob Casey Jr. has a lot of growing to do in office (his suit strikes me as awfully roomy, so to speak). And he has the difficult legacy of trying to live up to the mantle of his father, a veritable giant. Give him time--he's going to be tested quickly, and Juniors all too often don't measure up well compared to Seniors. If nothing else, the victory will make it much easier for pro-life Democrats to run--nothing succeeds like success.

Sixth--put not your trust in princes.

(1) Though you sure couldn't tell that from the ad campaigns for the Michigan Senate seat. Near as I can figure, the biggest international problem facing our country is Canadian trash being dumped at Michigan landfills. Still, I can't deny that Debbie Stabenow has a convincing mandate to put an end to that menace.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Finally, a break for a serious topic.

Namely, Cylons.

John Gibson muses about the humanity of Cylons from a Catholic perspective, and further wonders about whether a valid marriage could be contracted with one. Don't forget to congratulate him on the birth of his son, too.

[For those of you unaware of what we are talking about, I have but pity. You are missing out on the best thing on TV, friends.]

1. Could a human and cylon marry in the Catholic Church?

Answer: Assuming no other impediments, yes.

Why? From a Catholic perspective, Cylons are human. Period. Feel free to dispute it, but it seems to be to be an inescapable conclusion.

2. If a human and cylon married, and the human was widowed, would the human still be married to the cylon once he/she downloaded? Or would they have to remarry?

ANSWER: They would still be married. The analogy would seem to be waking from a coma. The spiritual essence would be the same.

3. Does each cylon have a soul?

Yes. A unique one, each with different experiences and mindsets resulting from those experiences.

4. Does the soul get downloaded to the new body when the cylon is killed?

Yes, assuming the Resurrection Ship is in range. The soul retains all of the experiences accrued up to the point of death.


Finally, a BSG fun fact: adama is the Hebrew word for "earth."
I think she gets it.

Maddie drew this, out of the blue, last week. Unprompted.

The woman kneeling is Mary Magdalen. Madeleine is French for Magdalen, for those keeping track at home. The black spots symbolize the darkness on Good Friday.

I'm the one in charge of religious formation, so I'm feeling a bit of pride in this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Understanding Detroit.

The archdiocese, to be more precise. Inasmuch as it can be understood or explained, that is.

A bit of a furor is developing about the confusing leadership of the archdiocese on our Governor's race.

Five things to keep in mind.

(1) There is a history of official disdain for the good folks at Catholics in the Public Square. I have a very reliable report of an official attempt to stop CPS' advocacy in favor Michigan's marriage amendment proposal back in 2004. It was quickly repented of by the respected and decent person in question, but it was stunning that it was even tried. The good news is that the archdiocese and Michigan Catholic Conference did put in a yeoman's effort to support the amendment, however belatedly. Still, this episode is a prime example of number (2) immediately following.

(2) Detroit is a badly-divided archdiocese. From the pews to the chancery on Washington Boulevard, there is a fierce tussle between the late Cardinal Dearden's dogged progressives on one side and the more conservative Boomer and X-er generations on the other. It isn't pretty, and it results in the phenomenon that prounouncements from HQ are often confused or completely lacking. Put another way, Detroit is often quite literally of two minds on every important issue and those heads try to butt each other whenever they get the chance.

(3) Adam Cardinal Maida draws a very bright line between issue advocacy (generally good) and candidate advocacy (verboten). In the former, the AoD can be a very active player indeed, shooting down an attempt to legalize euthanasia in Michigan in 1998 and using an obscure Michigan constitutional provision to get a partial birth abortion ban past Governor Granholm's itchy veto pen. That the Merry Medeas at NARAL immediately drew a line in the dust and successfully sued to block the PBA law, shrilling "Abortion now, abortion tomorrow and abortion forever!" cannot be laid at the feet of the AoD. In short, the Cardinal has a record of backing words with action.

(4) One word: Triage. That is the best way to sum up the approach to governance here. Water the good ground and neglect the thornbushes. You can see this in the Catholic culture building efforts sponsored by the Archdiocese. Exhs. A and B: the womens' and mens' conferences. This year's conference for women featured--and please sit down--Alice von Hildebrand. [Heather is scouring the wires for her books.] The conference for the lads had Deacon Alex Jones (if you get the chance to hear him, drop everything and do so), and featured an exposition with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance used by Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1987. With singing in Latin. How Fr. John Riccardo managed to process with the monstrance for 30 full minutes remains a mystery. Pro-life themes in all their glory--along with lengthy lines for the confessionals--abounded.

Both conferences combined had approximately 4500 paying attendees.

Sure, the occasional fragrant [not a typo] dissenter speaks to 20-30 at a parish function (though the Cardinal reached out and barred Anthony Padovano from appearing on Church property, and in 2004 swung his Metropolitan crozier northward and kicked CTA off diocesan grounds in Saginaw). And yes, the oft-gestured-at Bishop Gumbleton still has his podium at the Reporter. But note that the retired bishop complained that Cardinal Maida had spent a decade pointedly ignoring him (Gumbleton was positively wistful describing his shouting matches with Cardinal Szoka).

And I have to point out that the pro-life movement definitely gets spiritual support from headquarters. Upon invitation from CPS, Bishop Boyea celebrated a Respect Life Mass in Warren three weeks ago (and did so despite suffering from a grim cold and the fact he had four Masses total that day). He also led the worshippers in a Rosary and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Prayer counts.

(5) Let's be blunt: Dick DeVos is not the most palatable candidate from a Catholic perspective, either. He has a certain bottom-line corporate mentality that makes it hard to get behind him. It is difficult to get the impression that life issues are all that high on his list of priorities. If Granholm were capable of showing any sign of independence from the Emily's List wing of pro-abortionism, she'd win the race in a walk.

Could the AoD do more? Sure. But it is doing more than critics may be aware.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Whatever you think of the Kerry Commentgate, this is a pretty funny retort:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On The Latest Pratfall of Sen. Thurston Howell III.

I find myself agreeing with LaShawn Barber on this one.

Remember that the junior Senator from the People's Republic of Massachusetts is also responsible for such theological novelties as "Pope Pius XXIII" and "the Vatican II." Despite, you know, being an altar boy, carrying a rosary, getting a smudge on Ash Wednesday....

Malapropism, thy name is Kerry.

My only reservations are these:

(1) Release the speech already. The longer he waits, the more it appears he had a Freudian slip.

(2) Here's how he should be apologizing: "I am horrified that my clumsy misstatement makes it look like I was denigrating our troops. I was attempting to make a joke about the President and it came out horribly, horribly wrong. I apologize to all of our men and women in uniform for the hurt this has caused." Getting huffy and shrieking about the "Republican hate machine" isn't cutting it. Especially since even Democrats are treating him like he has Ebola.

(3) It would be nice if MSM gave the same solicitude the next time a conservative tripped over his tongue. I know: while I'm at it, wish for the winning MegaMillions numbers, too.
The people in the neighborhood.

Halloween was a huge hit this year with Belle (Maddie), Cinderella (Rachel) and Lightning McQueen (Dale), what with all the kids being being able to walk the route and tote their own pumpkin pails.

What was especially pleasant was how neighborly everyone was. The party store/deli up the street passed out candy (our enthused offspring briefly thought the candy rack was fair game) and everyone who offered candy was delighted to do so and oohed and aahed over the costumes.

One place stands out in particular. A family moved into the neighborhood early this year, and with the help of friends, they set up an tarp-enclosed haunted maze in their front yard. This was a serious production number--about ten friends and family were involved in the set up. The kids were interested (they saw the strobe light flashing inside, but were otherwise dubious. The bearded proprietor (who said they did this sort of thing for money at a farm up north) offered to let the kids go through on a "scare free" tour. Sounded good. He marched in and barked "little kids--no scares" and then had his son usher us through. Dry ice, strobe lighting and a maze that would have done the Minotaur proud (I actually ran into a hiding denizen who gave a little wave and pointed the proper direction. We exited with little anxiety and went around to the back of the house. A masked figure approached with a "machete" but retreated with an apologetic wave and lowered "weapon" when I said "little kids--no scares." The kids were also treated to a friendly wave from the masked something tending to a steaming flourescent green bowl in the garage. We departed with many thanks--and the kids received extra candy for "braving" the maze.

Another fellow set up a large furry spider on a radio controlled car which appeared from under his SUV. Dale and Maddie were a little weirded out by this, but Rachel thought it was hilarious.

She's not right, when it comes down to it.

By this time I was carrying her (wrapped in my jacket) and her candy pail, and we staggered home with our loot.

The last candy dispenser? The suburb's Finest. Yep, the police were driving around distributing sweets to the kids. A nice touch, and a good way to end the evening.

The Secret to Thriving during the Eastern Great Lent.

A couple secrets, actually. The first is Lebanese and Syrian cooking. At our new Melkite parish, the Divine Liturgy has been followed by Len...