Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Archbishop Zings the Gray Lady

Archbishop Dolan is the former Archbishop of Milwaukee who was promoted to the See of New York. He is youthful, exuberant, orthodox, but also possess that keen pastoral sense that helps make the fullness of the Catholic faith accessible. He also now maintains a blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age.

In response to the recent Anti-Catholic reporting of the New York Times, the Archbishop penned an OP-ED response that the Gray Lady refused to print. Apparently "All the News that is Fit to Print" does not include "Fair and Balanced" reporting on religious issues. Instead the Liberal Modernist sensibilities of the Times are paramount, objectivity and fairness be d-mned. Below is the Archbishop's brilliant response:


October 29, 2009

The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.

By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!

Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.

It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”

If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:

* On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”

Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.

* On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.

* Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.

* Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.

True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday. Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.

Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

Fr. Z also has an excellent commentary on the Archbishop's OP-ED.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Failing the Armed Forces

Virginia has once again failed its citizens. 16 Virginia Localities have failed to mail absentee ballots to the men and women of the Armed Forces for the 2009 Gubernatorial Elections.

The Below follows from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

"Despite court prodding and changes in state election laws, 16 Virginia localities have failed to meet a deadline to allow absentee ballots of military personnel serving overseas to be counted on time.

"Nancy Rodriques, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said she did not know how many ballots will not be counted.

"The local election districts include the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights and Williamsburg as well as Caroline County.

"Words cannot express my disappointment in our commonwealth," said Rusty McGuire of Hanover County, chairman of the Iraqi Freedom Veterans Plate Project and deputy commonwealth's attorney in Louisa County.

"The Richmond Liberty Alliance, an offshoot of the Tea Party movement, plans to protest the failure outside the State Board of Elections' headquarters at 1100 Bank St. today from 4 to 7 p.m.

"The alliance has been gathering signatures to protest a process that it says leaves military votes uncounted while allowing some felons to vote. State police are investigating several instances of alleged voting by felons, which is voter fraud.

"In last year's presidential race, about 2,100 military ballots went uncounted. The presidential campaign of Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin sued the State Board of Elections in U.S. District Court here. After losing the election, the McCain-Palin team withdrew and the U.S. Department of Justice's civil-rights division intervened.

"Local registrars did the mishandling of the ballots, but the State Board of Elections was brought into the suit because it oversees the registrars."

This is an outrageous betrayal. One has to wonder if this was deliberate based off of earlier reporting on the Board of Electors stating that they did not have to mail off absentee ballots until the day prior to the election.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

London Crosses the Tiber?

"Crossing the Tiber" is a phrase used by Catholics to refer to Protestants and Orthodox Christians who have converted to Roman Catholicism. After the Great Schism of 1054 tore Christianity in half and the further split caused by Luther and Calvin's Protestant Reformation, Christian Unity was broken. Yet, in the last century progress has been made in bringing individuals and communities back to Rome. Reunion with the Orthodox Churches is a complex theological discussion on the proper role of the Bishop of Rome and of the filioque clause of the Nicean-Constantipolitan Creed. This is a discussion between Churches who are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.

Reunion with the Protestant communities is far more fragmented. The group that Rome has had the most fruitful dialogue with is the Anglican Church. Anglicans view themselves as the "Via Media" between Rome and the Protesant Reformers. But in recent years, Anglicanism has splintered. There are three groups within the Anglican Communion. The Traditionalists or Anglo-Catholics are often described as more Catholic than the Romans in their liturgy and spirituality. Their theology is undeniably Christian and very Catholic. The Evangelicals are probably the largest and most significant group and while morally they have much in common with Rome, theologically they are closer to the reformers than they are to Rome. The third group are the Modernists who have rebelled against Traditional Christianity and who are a dying breed.

Today there was breaking news out of Rome and London that indicates a possible reunion with the Traditionalists of the Anglican Communion is upon us. It will likely be many more years, but thousands of Anglicans will likely find a home across the Tiber in Rome. That the Archbishop of Cantebury would himself make this annoucement indicates to the degree the Modernist drive within the Anglican Communion's western branches has alarmed him. It has alarmed even the Queen of England, the head of the Church of England.

Pope Benedict XVI has announced a Personal Ordinariates for the Anglicans. Father Z covers the issue from a theological perspective far better than I, and I defer to his discussion on the issue here and here. When the Episcopal Church in the US began to ordain women, Anglican parishes and Anglican Clergy began to cross over to Rome and with special dispensation, were ordained as Catholic priests.

Below one can read the JOINT STATEMENT issued by the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.


Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

London, 20 October 2009

+ Vincent Gerard Nichols

+ Rowan Williams

Cardinal Newman would be very pleased to see this. I would argue that this has something to do with his prayers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Patron Saint for Catholic Army Chaplains

Army agrees Kansas priest worthy of Medal of Honor

The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — As his fellow prisoners of war returned home from the Korean War, they shared stories of self-sacrifice about Rev. Emil Kapaun, the humble priest from Kansas.

The prisoners of the 8th Cavalry Regiment spoke of how Kapaun, an Army chaplain, continued to look after his men even though he was wounded and sick himself. Risking his own life, Kapaun would sneak out after dark to scrounge food for those too weak to eat, fashion makeshift containers to collect water and wash their soiled clothes.

Kapaun died at the camp hospital seven months after he was first taken captive by the Chinese in 1950. More than a half-century later, the Army's top civilian leader has recommended that Kapaun, who is also a candidate for sainthood, receive the Medal of Honor.

For the Rest of the Article please visit the Atlanta Journal Constitution Website.

There also is a "cause" currently before the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints for Fr. Kapaun. For Fr. Kapaun to be declared a Saint the Congregation must investigate his background and deem it worthy of emulation while also validating a minimum of Two miracles that can be attributed to the individuals intercession with Jesus Christ. Earning the Medal of Honor as a Catholic Army Chaplain would certainly indicate a life worthy of emulation in the service of others.

If two miracles can be validated, Fr. Kapaun would make an excellent candidate for the Patron Saint of Catholic Army Chaplains. Not only did he live a holy and exemplary live, but also set an example for Army Chaplains by his heroic actions while a Prisoner of War to the North Koreans.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mission Complete

1/25 SBCT has returned from its deployment to Iraq and held its official Redeployment Ceremony yesterday 8 October 2009. The Fairbanks Daily News Miner has special coverage in today's Paper. The BDE Celebrated its return from Iraq, but also remembered those who did not return but gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis, Domine, Et Lux Perpetua Luceat Eis. Te Decet Hymnus Deus, In Sion, Et Tibi Reddetur Votum In Ierusalem. Exaudi Orationem Meam; Ad Te Omnis Caro Veniet. Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis, Domine, Et Lux Perpetua Luceat Eis.

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. A hymn becometh thee, O God, in Zion, and unto thee a vow shall be repaid in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer; unto thee all flesh shall come.

SPC Heath K. Pickard
PFC Cody J. Eggleston
SPC Cody L. Lamb
SPC Christopher P. Sweet
CPL Michael B. Allenman
CPL Zachary R. Nordmeyer
CPL Michael L. Mayne,
SPC Israel Candelaria-Majias
SSG Christian E. Bueno-Galdos
SPC Michael E. Yates
SPC Charles D. Parrish

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Some Excellent Reads on Health Care

The Current Health Care debate elicits passionate feelings and responses from all those involved. The two sides have vastly different ideas on what Health Care Reform should look like. The Left leans toward a Public Government Run Option or Increased Governmental Regulation in Health Care while the Right argues for a incentive-based system and market reforms to create a freer exchange of Health Care. Both sides want to expand Health Care, a moral good in the eyes of the Church, yet, have radically different solutions.

What is of note is that the U.S. Catholic Bishops oppose the current Health Care Reform Bills. Despite assurances from the writers of the Bills, neither Health Care Bill protects the Freedom of Conscience of Medical Professionals nor do the bills gaurantee that abortion will not become a fundamental health care right. The Bishops wrote: "So far, the health-reform bills considered in committee … have not met President Obama’s challenge of barring use of federal dollars for abortion and maintaining current conscience laws,” the USCCB wrote in its Sept. 30 letter to members of the Senate. “These deficiencies must be corrected.” However, many on the Left are beholden to Planned Parenthood and the Abortion lobby and are loathe to do anything that might be perceived as not fully supportive of Abortion.

The Current Bills also to various degrees attempt to utilize price controls to control Health Care Costs. Price Controls HAVE NEVER worked and ultimately have inflationary impacts on the economy. Peter Suderman in the Wall Street Journal analyzes past attempts at Reform utilizing price (premium) controls and increased regulation. His verdict: "Like participants in a national science fair, state governments have tested variants on most of the major components of the health-care reform plans currently being considered in Congress. The results have been dramatically increased premiums in the individual market, spiraling public health-care costs, and reduced access to care. In other words: The reforms have failed."

Albert Einstein defined insanity as attempting to do the same thing again and again expecting a different result.

Another point on the reform is "Cutting" Costs in Medicare. This actually will consist of reimbursing doctors less for their work than they already are under Medicare. By slashing this even more, they have created "Savings" which can be used to increase coverage for more people. However, they are now compensating hospitals and doctors less for the procedures they conduct. Drs Palmisano, Plested, and Johnson write in the Wall Street Journal: "Today, Medicare already reimburses doctors less than what many of their treatments cost to provide. Now the government is saying that additional Medicare cuts are coming—thus forcing doctors to try and make up the difference in volume, by seeing more patients. If you ask patients about this, they understand that more volume means less time with the doctor. That's something that all patients and doctors should oppose. In time, it will be difficult to find a physician." More lines akin to the Canadian system is not what Americans desire.

Part of what makes the American Health Care system superior is our access to Specialists and Specialized procedures. However, these treatments and experts are expensive. In another attempt to control costs, the Health Care Bills will punish these experts and their specialized treatments because they are too expensive. It will result in savings, but will it result in better care? The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes: "Take a provision in the Baucus bill that would punish any physician whose "resource use" is considered too high. Beginning in 2015, Medicare would rank doctors against their peers based on how much they cost the program—and then automatically cut all payments by 5% to anyone who falls into the 90th percentile or above. In practice, this rule will only apply to specialists." Does that make any sense?

The Current Health Care Bills aren't reform. They are revolution. They are not designed to give better care, but to essentially nationalize 17% of the US Economy. Shouldn't Health Care Reform be about BETTER Care, not less care?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Anti-Military Election Board in Virginia

The Right to Vote is cherished by all Americans, albeit practiced by less than 50%. The Right to Vote is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and protected by the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

The US Military places a lot of importance on voting amongst its members and appoints Voting Assistance Officers to ensure that every soldier/sailor/airmen who wishes to exercise their Constitutional Right is able to do so.

There have been obstacles in the past, as Congress has repeatedly stopped military bases from hosting polling stations. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it remains an obstacle. The biggest obstacle is that the vast majority of soldiers on Active Duty and Deployed are not serving in their Legal State of Residence where they may cast their ballots. The Voting Assistance Officer and Program is designed to assist that with the support of the States.

The State of Virginia's Election Board (run by the current Party in Power) has argued before a Federal Court that they can mail absentee ballots the day before the election and are not obligated to do so earlier to support Active Duty and Deployed Virginians. An absentee ballot mailed the day before the election will not be returned by election day nor postmarked by election day. The State of Virginia and the Party in Power is actively seeking to disenfranchise members of the US Military. They are perhaps following the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

The lawsuit filed against the State of Virginia is built around the the DOD Voting Assistance Program: "There is no federal statute that requires States to mail absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters a minimum number of days before an election. The Complaint in Intervention is based entirely on a “determination” by the Federal Voting Assistance Program of the Department of Defense that such ballots be mailed at least 30 days before an election, and a “recommendation” that States allow 45 days for round-trip mailing of absentee ballots."

Virginia does allow its service members to utilize the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot which does minimize the requirements for the 30/45 days stated by the DOD and denied by the State Board of Electors. However, the State of Virginia only honors the Federal Write-In Ballot for Federal Office, not State Office. I guess that means it won't work in the 2009 Election for Governor between McDonnell and Deeds.

Apparently the State of Virginia does not value the Right to Vote for military servicemen and women. If you are interested in doing something, please feel free to contact the Virginia State Board of Elections.

I've voted in nearly every election in my home state since I have been on Active Duty. My village election supervisor has worked diligently to ensure I have the required absentee ballot, even for off elections in the Spring that feature only Referendums and the occasional Supreme Court Election. I have paid to mail back every ballot to ensure it arrives by election day. To ensure I can do that, I have to have the ballot at least a week before the election.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago 2016 -- Failed

I will admit I am quite conflicted about the epic failure of Chicago's Olympic Bid for the 2016 Summer Games.

I love my country and as a Nationalist, there is a lot of National pride that comes with the Olympics. One only need to remember the powerful "U-S-A, U-S-A" chants during Olympic events to recognize the outpouring of National Spirit. The Olympics are an International Spectacle that puts the host city on a Pedestal.

That pedestal at the same time, is the reason why one would not want to host the Olympics. Chicago in 2016 would be a basket case. The inevitable cost overruns would hurt the financial viability of Chicago. Only the 2002 games in Salt Lake City made a profit, the rest of black holes; Athens is still paying off its debt.

I think the biggest slap in the face is that Chicago finished 4th. Chicago is the 2nd City and a close second is where I wanted Chicago to end up. Losing to Tokyo and Madrid was unexpected and hurts a little bit.

Rio De Janeiro will make an excellent Olympic Host and a first for South America. It will be a great Olympics to watch and I am sure they will put on a great show. I also like the idea of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the competition.