Sunday, August 31, 2003

"Ratzinger & JPII... rolling back VII" bla-blah, blah blah blah

Last week UPI had an analysis of appointments which John Paul II will have to make as certain church officials approach the mandatory retirement age of 75. Among them is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. The second paragraph of the article reads thus:
    He [the pope] needs to find a replacement for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Bavarian-born, rigidly conservative Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith who has been second in importance only to John Paul II himself in putting the clock back -- as many observers see it -- on the progressive reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
I hope the author of this article isn't as, well, theologically- and historically-unaware as these "observers" he refers to. Ratzinger was, after all, one of the leading periti (theological experts) of the Council, and John Paul II (then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Kracow) played an important role in the drafting of Gaudium et spes. Both men were regarded to be among the "progressive" element of the Council. Too bad most (granted, not all) of these "observers" have memories which seem only to go back 20 years or so.
“Is there a man who desires life and longs for happy days”?

This line, from Psalm 33, was the theme of the just-concluded annual Meeting for Friendship among Peoples sponsored by Communion and Liberation and held in Rimini, Italy. The following is the message of John Paul II to the participants in the Meeting, as can be found at the CL website here.

H.E. Mgr Mariano De Nicolò Bishop of Rimini

Your Excellency,

The Holy Father wishes, this year as well, to extend his cordial greetings to you, the organizers and all the participants in the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples. The theme chosen for the 2003 edition is a line from Psalm 33: "Is there a man who desires life and longs for happy days"? This is a question that induces reflection.

Man spends long stretches of his existence almost insensible to the call of true happiness, a call that nonetheless is harbored in his consciousness. He is "distracted," as it were, by his manifold relationships with reality, and his interior ear seems no longer to know how to react. Isaiah's words come to mind: "There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity" (Isaiah 64:7).

The prophet highlights the root of the unrest aroused by the Psalm's question, and goes on to say, "I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' to a nation that did not call on my name" (65:1). This word from Isaiah is perhaps the best counterpoint to the Meeting's theme: God appears and shakes man who is turned in on himself, dazed by his own iniquity; he makes himself known, trying repeatedly to attract man's attention. God's insistence, lovingly manifested to a son whose life is drifting astray, is a stirring mystery of mercy and gratuitousness.

The world that mankind has built, especially in the centuries closest to us, often tends to obscure the person's natural desire for happiness, increasing the "distraction" into which people risk falling because of their intrinsic weakness. Today's society gives priority to a type of desire that can be controlled according to psychological and sociological laws and thus utilized often for purposes of profit or management of consent.

A plurality of desires has replaced the longing that God placed in human beings as a spur, so that they would seek him and find complete fulfillment and peace only in him. Partial desires, oriented by powerful means capable of influencing consciences, become centrifugal forces that push the person farther and farther away from himself, rendering him dissatisfied and sometimes even violent.

The 2003 Meeting in Rimini proposes once again a perennially current theme: The human creature, animated by this desire for infinite fulfillment, can never be reduced to a means for achieving any interest, no matter what it may be. The footprint of the divine, which takes shape in him as a longing for happiness, makes him by his very nature incapable of being exploited.

The unease felt at being asked the question in Psalm 33 is thus born of the fact that man often cannot find the strength to say: "I do! I am the man who desires life and longs for happy days." The Meeting's theme recalls the need for a reawakening on man's part. He has to find again the energy and courage to stand in front of God and respond to the Lord's "Here I am, here I am," by saying -- albeit in a feeble voice, an echo of that same call -- "Here I am, I'm here too. I call to you, now that you have found me."

This answer to the God who cries out to the point of overcoming our deafness describes the deeply moved coming to awareness which a person reaches in the most intimate center of his being. This happens right in the moment when God's call manages to break through the clouds shrouding the consciousness. Only this response: "Here I am," restores to man his true face and represents the beginning of his redemption.

But the person has to be sustained by an adequate education that tends, as its ultimate aim, to foster the reawakening of his awareness of his own purpose, arousing in his heart the energies necessary for achieving it. Education, therefore, is never addressed to the mass of people, but to the individual person in his unique and unrepeatable physiognomy. This presupposes a sincere love for man's freedom and an untiring commitment to its defense.

With this year's theme, too, the Meeting reminds the peoples of Europe, who seem to be staggering under the weight of their history, where their roots are sunk. By raising again the question asked by the psalm, the Meeting forcefully evokes the great figure of St. Benedict in the act of welcoming the novice who asks to enter the monastery (cf. the Rule, prologue 15).

St. Benedict's Rule has represented not only a path to Christian perfection, but also an unparalleled instrument of civilization, unity and freedom. During centuries often marked by confusion and violence, it has enabled the construction of bulwarks that have allowed men and women of different times to be led back to a full realization of their dignity. The future can be built by starting afresh from Europe's origins and by treasuring the experiences of the past, a large part of which bear the mark of the encounter with Christ.

His Holiness, expressing his wish that the Meeting may be an occasion of true cultural and spiritual growth, assures you of his prayers and sends a heartfelt special Apostolic Blessing to the participants in the various events on the program. I too express my own hopes for the unqualified success of your noble initiative, and gladly confirm to you my deepest regards.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State
On the bandwagon

Okay, not only do I appear to be the only person in St. Blogs not to have received September's issue of Crisis yet, but I also have yet to post Fr. George Rutler's letter reply to the letter (scroll down to "Christians Should Be Vegetarians") by Daniel Paden of the Catholic Vegetarian Society.

While only the mailman can rectify the former, I am, fortunately, able to do something about the latter. So without futher ado, here is Fr. Rutler's letter:

    I was delighted to read the Manichaean ramblings of Danel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society ("Letters," June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of which contradict the order of grace.

    As an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme commitments to vegetarianism.

    Taste is one thing; it is another thing to condemn meat eating as "evil" and permissible only "in rare and unfortunate circumstances." Paden disagrees with no less an authority than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7: 18-19), and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16). Does the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

    Man was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home with a bowl of radishes.

    Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower.

    Vegetables have reactive impulses. Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.

    The Rev. George W. Rutler
    New York City
There are writers, and then there are writers. Fr. Rutler's long-time status in the latter camp is only solidified by this letter.
What is Tradition?

Today's Gospel concerns traditions of men; many well-meaning Christians often take Our Lord's words here in Mark's Gospel to mean more than they do, concluding that all tradition is beyond the pale. With the Orthodox, Catholics have a different view.

In that context, Gerard Serafin today posts a quote from Lutheran-turned-Orthodox church historian Jaroslav Pelikan which well distinguishes Sacred Tradition from traditions of men:

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

Well said. It echoes Chesterton's famous quip that Tradition is the democracy of the dead, as found in Orthodoxy, written while he was still Anglican. (Go here to get more of the quote.)
Comments temporarily down

According to its website, YACCS (the commenting program I use) may be down until Tuesday or even Wednesday.

So if you really, really have something to say about a post, jot it down for a couple of days, or email me.
Pizza Pizza!

When it comes to pizza, Sioux Falls is much like most other cities I've lived in: plenty of standard chain pizzarias and a few "hometown" places, but nothing to write home about. The best pizza I've had so far in the year I've been here is Tomacelli's a local joint.

We are getting a new place, though: Old Chicago Pasta & Pizza, a chain which I've visited once at a location in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and which I was very pleased with. I'm looking forward to their new location in town.

The best pizza I've ever had, though -- and this includes three years' worth of study in Rome, remember -- is found 20 minutes from my hometown: Rafferty's Pizza in Brainerd, Minnesota. It's thin, but not too thing (thicker than "thin crust" at the big chains); a crispy, but not burnt crust; good sauce, but not too much; and the perfect amount of cheese. Seriously, it's the best I've ever had, and I make a visit almost everytime I get home.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


The following comes from Instapundit:

      Eleven years after France signed the Maastricht Treaty it has decided it has had enough of its obligations. The straitjacket of the stability pact, which paved the way for the euro, is bound too tight for an economic downturn, it has told Brussels.

      So instead of suffering for the common European good, President Chirac has decided to bust out, to let his deficits soar and try to spend his way to an economic recovery.

      It is hard to know what lesson Sweden is to draw from this as it prepares to vote on Sept 14 on whether to start using the euro. Is every country that uses the single currency allowed to behave like this?

    Of course not. Only those indispensable nations at the center of the Empire Union.
Like I said, ouch!
"La France n'est pas un Etat de droit. La France est régie par la loi de la jungle."

Translation: "France is not subject to the rule of law. France is ruled by the law of the jungle."

This from a bilingual french blog reporting last Wednesday on how striking workers at a Parisian McDonald's are now selling items from that location.

Warning: some indelicate language at the post.

(Thanks to Andrew Stuttaford for the link.)
Judge Moore

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but I don't put myself on Judge Moore's side in the battle over the Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama courthouse. I think that many of those who support him are "knee-jerking"... they support public religious displays, and ergo they support Judge Moore. I think this case requires a bit more examination; I, too, support public religious displays, but that doesn't mean that I'm automatically going to support every single case in which such a display is challenged.

In this case, there are two commentaries I point to as influential for me. One of them is this blog entry by Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner; I'm actually going to post it in its entirety:
    It's good to see that Paul Weyrich, Richard Land, and Pat Robertson have all taken Judge Roy Moore to task for defying a federal court order, even though they agree with him (as I do) that his display of the Ten Commandments does not violate the Constitution.

    I am no fan of judicial supremacy. Many public officials, most prominently Abraham Lincoln, have maintained that no court decision could legally bind them to act, in parallel cases, as though the court's reasoning were sound. Thus the State Department could issue passports to black citizens even after the Supreme Court made its ruling in Dred Scott. But Lincoln never denied that the parties to a case were bound to follow judicial decisions. When a federal court issues an order to a public official by name--even if that order is foolish or mistaken, as I think this one is--he is bound to follow it.

    He always has the option of resigning in protest, perhaps even of engaging in official civil disobedience (that one I need to think through). But you can't simultaneously claim that the federal courts have no moral right to judge in a matter while also filing an appeal with them, as the Alabama chief justice has done.

    Acts of civil disobedience have to be evaluated based on moral criteria. The Washington Post quotes D. James Kennedy as saying that Alabama presents an "exceptional case" where civil disobedience is required, because the court order is an attempt to put "man's law" above "God's law." If Moore were being ordered to deny the existence of God or the validity of the commandments, or to repudiate the commandments, he would indeed be morally obligated to commit civil disobedience. But he has not been ordered to do any of those things. Nor has he been ordered to give his assent to the proposition that his display violates the Constitution. There cannot be an obligation in conscience to keep a particular bloc of granite in a particular place. And when there is no moral obligation to disobey "man's law," there is a moral obligation to follow it.
Well spoken, Ramesh.

The second commentary is by Quin Hillyer, an editorial writer and columnist for the Mobile Register. Here's a key passage:
    For intelligent advocates of appropriate public displays of the Ten Commandments, Moore's cause is the wrong case by the wrong man for the wrong legal arguments by the wrong methods. Conservatives can and should support the right of posting the Ten Commandments, but they should distance themselves from Moore's particular example.
In the piece he goes on to explain his position. It's well worth a read.

So there you have it -- my views on Judge Moore.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Catholic hymns

I'm too tired to go find the links, but a number of people (e.g. Bill Cork and George Weigel) have commented of late on the state of Catholic hymnody, which is in many ways woeful. Someone, somewhere recently pointed out the fact that many Catholic liturgical songs are sung from God's perspective. I thought about this, and was struck by how many of the "big" hymns of the 70s and 80s are of this nature. For example, On Eagle's Wings, (I am the) Bread of Life, and Be Not Afraid are all in part or completely written as if God is speaking, when in fact we are the pray-ers!

Hymns, after all, are prayers put to music; as St. Augustine put it, "singing is praying twice". Now, what kind of a "prayer" is it in which we pray from God's perspective?!

Perhaps there is some theological/liturgical explanation for this, but whatever it is is beyond me. If you have a good explanation for how I can sing/pray that lil ole me can claim to be the Bread of Life, by all means, please do!

Monday, August 25, 2003


What's the biggest threat to full, conscious, active participation in the liturgy by the laity? IMHO, it's continual change. Go read this.

Gerard Serafin rightly highlights the fact that a "lifetime of tradition" is being undone. The stated purpose of the change (read the article to find out what I'm talking about) is hardly a no-brainer, in that one might easily contest it.

However, the Lord has not entrusted me with the duty to oversee every liturgy in every parish and diocese throughout the world, so the best thing for me is probably to shut up and pray that I might respond myself to the abundant graces which the Father has bestowed on me through His Son and in His Spirit.


Good exchange between Carl Olson and an inquiring (or better, challenging) dispensationalist. Go, read.
Clancy's new book

Last week I read Tom Clancy's latest novel, The Teeth of the Tiger. It's out only a year after Clancy's last novel, Red Rabbit, and is considerably shorter than his last three or four novels, coming in at 431 pages (which is actually around the length of the first novels Clancy wrote).

TTOTT is apparently the first book in the post-Jack Ryan, Sr. era of Clancy novels, moving the focus to the a generation: Jack Ryan, Jr. and two of his cousins. Clancy appears to be laying the groundwork for a series of novels which focus on the war on terrorism, which more often than not occurs behind the scenes and without much (if any) public fanfare. This is, of course, typical Clancy -- take a real life scenario and fictionalize it.

I enjoyed TTOTT. It wasn't Clancy's best novel, but it wasn't his worst, either (it's better than Rainbow Six [I didn't get past forty pages of Red Rabbit, but I'm sure it wasn't any better that RS]). The shorter length was apparent, in that the book actually moved a bit too quickly, IMHO. Yes, too quickly... one of the more standard complaints against Clancy's novels is that they crawl until the last couple of hundred pages (a complaint, BTW, which I do not share). TTOTT definitely cannot be criticized in this manner.

Other than that, though, I thought it was an enjoyable book. It appears that I'm not going to see what I most want to see from Clancy, though: another Red Storm Rising novel, which details a major conflaguration between the US and Whoever. Although many of his subsequent novels saw the employment of a wide range and amount of modern military hardware, Clancy never revisited a WWWIII-type scenario. While such a novel would be difficult to fit into the "Ryanverse," I think he could easily do what he did with RSR: create an "alternative" universe for the purposes of that one novel.

At this point, though, it appears that he has little inclination to go in that direction.


Remember, though -- TTOTT is a good book. If you like Clancy, you'll probably like this one.

Bill Cork has a number of good posts today on what dialogue is and is not, and on the importance of avoiding stereotypes and caricatures, e.g. regarding Luther.

Good stuff, as always.

Friday, August 22, 2003

That's why I blogroll him by name

Bill Cork has re-renamed his blog "Ut Unum Sint," the name of the blog prior to "Pro Deo et Patria," which was the most recent title. When will it stop, Bill?!

Seriously, make sure you visit Bill's blog on a regular basis... his thoughts are always intelligent and well-constructed, and if you disagree with him, you'd better have a good basis for doing so.
Oh no!

Today, in the context of remarks on our resolve in Iraq, the President stated, "We're going to stay the course."

Nooo!!! Next thing you know, he'll be talking about "the vision thing," "a thousand points of light," and then breaking into a diddy, "not gonna do it, not gonna do it, not gonna do it 'cause it wouldn't be prudent."

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

New Report from C-FAM

C-FAM has a new report out detailing UNICEF's support and promotion of abortion and other "unsavory political ideas." Here's the blurb announcing it...
    Dear Colleague,

    We report today on a critical new report published by the International
    Organizations Research Group and C-FAM which details UNICEF support and
    promotion of abortion and other unsavory political ideas. The 90-page
    report, which was released last week at , uses
    primary sources, mostly from UNICEF itself and also from its partners. For
    an eye-opening gander at what UNICEF thinks is a good program, go to

    Though this UNICEF funded website is intended for children, you would be
    well advised not to share it with yours.

    C-FAM has called for an international effort to get UNICEF out of the
    pro-abortion and radical feminism business.

    Spread the word.

    Yours sincerely,

    Austin Ruse

    Action item: Go to to read the UNICEF report, then
    get it around to as many people you can.


    August 19, 2003
    Volume 1, Number 3

    New Report Details UNICEF Support for Abortion, Radical Politics

    A massive new study just released by the New York-based International
    Organizations Research Group (IORG) reports in great detail the gradual
    change of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) from a child
    survival agency to one that promotes aspects of radical feminism. The
    study charges that UNICEF also promotes abortion. UNICEF has already
    blasted the report saying it represents "a vendetta," even though IORG's
    parent organization, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, has
    been a vocal supporter of the agency for some time.

    Called "UNICEF: Women or Children First?", the report details how UNICEF
    has participated in the formulation of UN documents and internal working
    papers with other UN agencies that explicitly support and promote
    abortion. In 1997 the UN released a handbook for emergency workers in
    refugee situations that urges the use of abortion-causing "emergency
    contraception" and also the use of the a portable device called the manual
    vacuum aspirator that can be used for performing abortions in refugee

    UNICEF is also a financial supporter of a South African non-governmental
    organization, loveLife (sic) that actively promotes abortion to its mostly
    underage audience. The loveLife website directs its teenage audience to
    the abortion provider Marie Stopes International and goes on to say that
    no one, including parents, can stop a teenager from getting an abortion.
    LoveLife also encourages experimental sexual practices including

    The report asserts that UNICEF began to lose its principle focus on child
    survival many years ago in an attempt to gain support from the radical
    feminist community. In certain radical feminist circles UNICEF was
    considered the enemy because of its focus on children and on women as
    caregivers to children. Now the agency believes that children will never
    be truly free from disease and hunger until women receive their full range
    of rights as defined by the ethos of radical feminism.

    Trouble began publicly to brew for UNICEF when in 1996 the Vatican
    withdrew its largely symbolic annual contribution to UNICEF. It did so
    because Vatican officials came to believe that UNICEF was supporting
    abortion. UNICEF has attempted since that time to convince the Vatican to
    resume funding. Resumed funding from the Vatican would do much to still
    the growing controversy over the agencies new direction. The Vatican has
    made no plans to resume funding UNICEF and the IORG report will likely
    contribute to the freeze between the Vatican and UNICEF.

    C-FAM has called for an international campaign of citizens and political
    leaders to bring UNICEF back to its main mission, which is child survival.
    "UNICEF has been too important to lose to this radical ideology," said
    C-FAM Vice-President Douglas A. Sylva, who is also author of the new
    report. "UNICEF has a reputation to protect and lots of employees who want
    it to return to its original mission. We have heard from many of them."

    Copyright - Culture of Life Foundation.
    Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

    Culture of Life Foundation
    1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
    Washington DC 20005
    Phone: (202) 289-2500
    Fax: (202) 289-2502
A "New" Blog

A newer blog started last month: Times Against Humanity.

Besides commentary, Earl (the owner/author) has a regular recap feature called Strong Words of the Week highlighting some of his fav commentary from other bloggers (the first "issue" is found here).

Check it out!
Lincoln and the CC

Interesting post by EL Core on Abraham Lincoln and the Catholic Church... check it out.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Ratzinger's latest book now available in english

Last March Zenit news service informed us that Cardinal Ratzinger had a new book coming out on the Eucharist, titled (in italian) Il Dio Vicino [An Intimate God]).

The book, I'm happy to see that Ignatius Press is publishing this book: it will be available in September with the English title, God Is Near Us: The Eucharist: Heart of Life.

I ordered my copy today, but I doubt it will be here in time for me to use as a text to prep September's Theology on Tap, which focuses on the Eucharist.
Military evaluation of Operation Iraqi Freedom

For those of you who are looking for a military analysis of Op. IF, I'd point you in the direction of Anthony Cordesman, who provided expert analysis during '91 and '03 as well. He has written The Lessons of the Iraq War, of which both the full report and the executive summary are available online for free (both in pdf format).

Interesting reading. Cordesman deals with an issue which particularly interested me during the campaign: the performance of armored helicopters like the AH-64 Apache.
Liturgical Drill Camp

Jeff Miller gives us an idea of how R. Lee Ermey (of Full Metal Jacket fame) might instruct Catholics on liturgical rights and wrongs.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Kerry Doctrine

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argues here that Sen. John Kerry has "created" a new public policy doctrine: separation not between church and state, but between church and (public) morality. Really an excellent piece.

(Thanks to Josh Claybourn for the link.)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Power post

Great layman's explanation of power grids and blackouts here. (Thanks to the Instapundit for the link.)
Vatican Secret Exposed!

Jeff Miller has the inside scoop on the existence and purpose of a heretofore secret Vatican congregation.
Money and kids

Interesting study finds "that couples with higher incomes and children were less happy than those couples from lower socioeconomic groups with children." It has some other interesting findings... check out this article.

Thanks for the link, Greg.
Feast of the Assumption

Blessed Feast Day!

Today Catholics celebrate the assumption of Mary by the Father into Heaven. Fr. Bryce Sibley has a nice post with an image of the assumption and a quote from Ratzinger on the event, taken from his work on eschatology. And Kevin Miller quotes Dominican Morning Prayer and St. John Damascene.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Only a matter of time

Jeff Miller has a nice, succinct post reiterating what Catholics have been saying for, oh, about 75 years: once you accept the morality of artificial contraception (as the Anglicans did at their 1930 Lambeth Conference), accepting the morality of homosexual acts is only a matter of time (as the American Anglicans [i.e. Episcopalians] did last week).
Jack's back!

Last month I noted that Jack of Integrity was stopping his post-train, but he has now decided to resume operations, this time at a new site.

Welcome back, Jack!
The same

Giussani and Chesterton both express the same intuition... each, of course, in his own style and method.

More on this later, maybe.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

overdue update

Finally updated the link to Fr. Todd Reitmeyer's blog.

Sorry, Father!
St. Thomas Aquinas' to-do list

Disputations has a pretty funny "facere [to do] list" as he imagines Thomas would write it.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

"Inclusive" to a fault

Sorry to see the ECUSA selling its soul to the culture.

If you haven't seen it, read this parody (I think that's the right term), which refers to the ECUSA's upcoming episcopal elections of a Muslim and an atheist.
The Passion

I'm looking forward to it. I know there's a lot of bru-haha about it, but based on the trailers I've seen, it should be very good.

I especially like that satan is being portrayed by woman ;-)

Seriously now...

I don't expect to see anything anti-semitic in it. I understand some concerns raised by some folks, but they haven't seen this rough cut some have been able to view (I do wish Mel would let them see it, just to settle the controversy and to ensure that the focus is on the film and not the controversy).

We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?
The JDDJ (again, for those of you who visit here more regularly

Sadly, it appears that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is still unread (or at least not understood) by many Catholics. I recently heard a well-known speaker (at least in some Scripture and catechetics circles) refer to Luther's heretical views on justification, and to the erroneous (i.e. heretical) Lutheran views on justification.

Such views cannot be held by Catholics; it is unfortunate that a document of such importance is still relatively "unreceived" by Catholics, scholar and lay alike.
"Secret" Vatican document

Last night I caught a snippet of a CBS Evening News story on a 1962 Vatican document. Here's how the story (in its print form which I just linked) opens:
    For decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican.

    CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales has uncovered a church document kept secret for 40 years.

    The confidential Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests - anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church.
Uh, what? Honestly, I didn't see enough of the story last night to warrant my paying much attention, but I read more about it today, and I'm disgusted with CBS News. Go read this story which lays out the truth of the matter...

As it turns out, the curial document focuses solely on what is technically called "solication": the use by a priest of the confessional to tempt the person seeking confession to engage in sexual acts. Because of the seal of confession, these crimes themselves must remain "sealed" as well.

But in the CBS story, there is only a vague hint at the fact that this document focuses on solicitation... unless the reader is aware of the real story, they're more likely to presume that the Vatican document refers to any instance of sexual misconduct by a priest, which it manifestly does not.

Shame shame, CBS.

(In italian, "ciao" can be used both as a greeting and as a "goodbye"; in this case, it's the former.)

Okay, I'm back, at least for a couple of things.

I was surprised to see that Arnold is running for governor of CA, but pleasantly so. I must say that I was surprised to read a few weeks back that he is pro-abortion and pro-gay, in that I read in a Catholic youth magazine years ago that he is (was?) a daily Mass-goer. Perhaps it was an error, or perhaps our Austrian-import is one of those strange-but-not-entirely-rare liberal Catholics who attends daily Mass.

The way I see the race, it'll basically come down to Davis and Arnold, and I hope Arnold wins; he's better than Davis, for what it's worth.