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April 2006 Archives

April 1, 2006

Bishop Bruskewitz shoots back at National Review Board

Bishop Bruskewitz released this statement on March 31:

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln." The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.


It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.


The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

Screwtape On 'The DaVinci Code'

You gotta love Godspy.


My dear Wormwood, here is a book (and soon, a movie!) filled with such a precariously towering heap of our very best non-thinking that it is quite dizzying! It has the potential to mislead, confuse, and vex millions! Its name? The DaVinci Code.

Read the whole thing here.

McCarrick Misses the Mark on Marriage

An interesting tidbit from a friend of mine in D.C.


Cardinal McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, writes a column each week in the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard. On March 30, 2006, his column was about what a good job he's doing on vocations. His article included this:

"Some folks think that I don't emphasize marriage or lay vocations enough. If that is true, and I hope it is not, the reason would be clear. There is not a crisis in the shortage of people entering lay
vocations, nor, thank God, in entering marriage. In so many parts of the world, a priest and religious vocation shortage troubles the Church. Perhaps more than anything it is a result of smaller families
since parents with only one child understandably hesitate to encourage him to be a priest or her to be a religious sister . . . ."

I am sending this e-mail to you because I believe you can see the fallacy in the Cardinal's argument. True, lots of people get married. But how many people follow the Church's teachings on marriage? How many Catholics get divorced, and how many annulments are granted on the assumption that people had no idea what Catholic marriage actually entails? I don't have exact statistics, but I believe there is in fact a terrible crisis in the shortage of people entering the Catholic vocation of marriage.

Ironically, in the second half of the quote the Cardinal all but admits that the reason there is a shortage of priestly and religious vocations is because there is a terrible shortage of Catholic families
having babies.

The hierarchy in this country seems to be totally blind to the terrible "vocations crisis" of marriage in this country. That blindness has never been more clearly stated than in Cardinal McCarrick's column this week. I call on each of you who receives this e-mail to send Cardinal McCarrick a brief, heartfelt letter. Then send this e-mail on to all your Catholic friends--even friends outside the Archdiocese of Washington. We need to do something to wake up our bishops and call them to defend and support the vocation of marriage. And all of you in other dioceses, send letters to your bishops too.
Quote Cardinal McCarrick and say how terrible you think it is that our dear bishops are not making the connections, not appreciating the terrible vocations crisis in our country, the desperate need in our
parishes to hear the Gospel of Life proclaimed.

Cardinal McCarrick's address:
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260

I know it's hard to begin. But just cut that quote from above, paste it into a Word document, write a few heartfelt words, print it out, and drop it in the mail. And pass this e-mail on. The bishops are so
caught up in their own world of priests and old people that they will never stop to think about this unless we as lay people make clear that it is important.

April 3, 2006

April 11 speakers to examine genocide in Darfur


Mark Hanis, founder of the Genocide Intervention Network, and Hugh Parmer, executive director of the American Refugee Committee, will give a presentation, "A Call to Action – End the Genocide in Darfur," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium at the University of St. Thomas.

The Genocide Intervention Network engages and empowers people to help stop and prevent genocide. The American Refugee Committee assists refugees and displaced people worldwide, including southern Sudan and the Darfur region.

The event is free and open to the public. Sponsors include the Service-Learning Office, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Sociology Department at the University of St. Thomas; the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State University-Marshall.

For more information, contact Dr. Ellen Kennedy, (651) 962-5082.

If Only Catholic Were So Zealous...

There are over 142,000 people signed up over at www.ya-mohammed.com protesting the Islamic cartoon that ran back in September.

April 8, 2006

Notre Dame Circling the Bowl

To the shock of almost no one, Notre Dame has decided to allow “The Vagina Monologues” to be performed on campus. At least Father Jenkins, president of the university, made a show of thinking about it. In the end, he revealed a shallow moral relevatism of the kind that an expensive Catholic university was designed to correct. “[T]here must be room in a university for expressions that do not accord with Catholic teaching.” he said.

That is undoubtedly true in a certain sense, but are all expressions equally valid? There was a time when a university would pride itself on the elevated discourse and disciplined intellectual inquiry taking place on its campus. The tradition that Notre Dame rejects goes back to medieval times. Will the freshman geography course at Notre Dame include flat earth theories? Will the pre-med courses there feature units on bloodletting? After all, we must have diverse views, mustn’t we? If a group produced a play called “The Human Sacrifice Monologues,” would Father Jenkins permit it to be shown? Such a practice being celebrated would definitely not accord with Catholic teaching. Therefore, we must make room for it, right? There must not be much room left for authentic Catholic culture. After all, there is an awful lot of cultural offal out there to include. One would expect more given the $40,000 tuition. I teach tenth graders who could defeat the argument Father Jenkins is peddling.

Under the Notre Dame approach, what difference is there between a Cathilic university and a secular one? What is the point of a specifically Catholic university at all? For help, Father Jenkins could have gone to his bishop who urged the university not to allow the play. Or he could have reviewed Ex Corde Ecclesiae for some clues.


That encyclical, in the first paragraph, cites the pursuit of truth as an essential element of a Catholic university. This play does not qualify. The actions and choices depicted in the play are evil, and they lead only to moral destruction. The Church does not engage them but condemns them outright. One suspects that Notre Dame invites this wretched cultural sewage to defile their campus for one of two reasons. Either they do no want to alienate the secular students who grind the gravy train, or they secretly endorse the agenda so artlessly duct-taped to the presentation. Either way, the institution is no longer sounds Catholic in any meaningful way. For whatever reasons, many serious Catholics still attend (I assume), but one wonders how long this will endure.

April 10, 2006

French Government Caves In

The trouble with basing a nation’s economics and politics on empty jargon and pandering is that when change is necessary, the stakeholders lack the nerve to affect it. France is a nation that has boasted one of the weakest economies in Europe for decades. Faced with high unemployment, low productivity and a demographic time bomb much like our own, the French government belatedly and half-heartedly sought to mitigate its troubles by legislation. Disaffected youth rioted over a period of several days. Today the government bowed to pressure and will withdraw portions of the controversial law.

Is this the political process in France? Government is elected. Government governs. Displeased constituents diminish economic productivity and destroy property, all while waving signs in English made especially for CNN. Government then alters its policies. What ever happened to elections?

April 11, 2006

Bishops Dabbling in Politics

In France, the French bishops have come out with sympathy for the young people who rioted for almost a month before the Chirac government caved in yesterday. The remarks reported by Catholic News Service show that the bishops have an understanding that the French economy is collapsing, and that the unrest is a symptom deeper issues there. Many people would agree with this assessment, but reasonable minds can differ about solutions. Some reasonable minds will be wrong, and there is nothing to say that a bishop speaking on purely political matters will be right, or even reasonable.

The same goes for the prominent Catholic presence in Washington yesterday. Except that yesterday the Cardinal himself invoked the civil rights movement to talk about the McCain-Kennedy immigration “reform” bill. It does no Catholic any good to be seen on a podium with Ted Kennedy, but the specific issue here is that the Church is presented as having taken a position on the bill.

In both cases, the bishops come very close to endorsing illegal behavior. Black Americans had both the moral law and the human law on their side. They fought only for recognition of the right they were already guaranteed. Foreign nationals who yearn to come to America have no such right (though one may argue they have other rights). Illegal immigrants clearly have no such right, and their claim to any such right is undermined by their illegality.

Bishops have the power to speak with authority, but that fact requires that they speak with restraint. One hopes these bishops and cardinals are just as loquacious at the pro-life rallies. But are they? In that case, they would be speaking with authority, enunciating the Church’s clear teaching that life is sacred. The Pope stands behind that position, and it does not involve averting their eyes from criminal behavior. They would have the same authority to speak to liturgical abuses, but seldom do we hear of any such remarks.

Instead, we hear a lot of talk from bishops dabbling in politics, about which they possess no special wisdom beyond the relevant infallible doctrines of the Church. If these doctrines were proclaimed with more vigor, many of our political issues would take care of themselves as the democratic principle was combined with moral rectitude.

April 14, 2006

This Just In: Individual Rights Aren’t Big in China

I wonder if this breathtaking revelation was also supplied by unnamed Pentagon sources whispering in parking garages. After all these years, the NY Times has learned that rights and privileges in China don’t mean dookey.

“More Chinese citizens...are claiming legal rights and often citing the Constitution, but it is actually a flimsy tool for protecting individual rights.”

Lucky for them it’s the “People’s Republic” and they can rectify things. Imagine what ruthless totalitarian tyrants would do with a meaningless constitution. Yikes.

I smell a Pulitzer.

Yet More Crack NY Times Reporting

Amid the rising stakes and rising emotions of the immigration reform debate, the Paper of Record offers this insight. Front page headline:

“Path to Deportation Can Start With a Traffic Stop”

Indeed. It could also start with border security, but beginning anywhere a person has violated two laws (one in coming illegally and one in a moving violation) is a good fall back position. I believe the technical term for this process is called “enforcement” and it is part of a larger concept in Western Civilization know as “the rule of law.”

April 23, 2006

Cub Foods Curbs Cleavage

A pleasant surprise from one of the major discount grocery chains here in the Twin Cities.

My wife and I found ourselves in a Cub Foods out in the White Bear Lake area this weekend, and as we made our way through Cleavage Aisle on the way to the checkout clerk, we were pleasantly surprised by these plastic covers that were a part of the magazine rack and obscured all but the tile of Shape, Glamour, and a few others magazines that featured women falling out of their clothes.

Put simply, Cleavage Aisle was rated G for a change.

A postive comment to the manager by my wife was met with the response "we do our best to try and stay on top of it."

Way to go Cub!

April 26, 2006

Adopt A Rabit

Perhaps it's a testament to my ignorance, but I just found out today that you can adopt a rabit for $75 dollars.

Now there are some restrictions:


- A completed application.
- An initial interview, usually via telephone, with our Adoption Coordinator.
- All adult members of the household must agree to the adoption.
- Any current rabbits must be spayed/neutered unless the rabbit is not sexually mature yet or your vet will state that there is a medical reason that the rabbit should not undergo surgery.
- Any other pets must be safe for the rabbit (well trained, separate housing, or similar).
- Any minor children must be mature enough to interact appropriately with the rabbit.
- The adopted rabbit must have adequate run time in the new home.
- In some cases, a home visit may be scheduled.
- If you are interested in bonding the new rabbit to a current rabbit, at least two "dates" are required, one of which will be in your home.
- If the adopter rents, a letter from their landlord will be required at the time of adoption.

A home visit to adopt a rabbit? But it gets better. To make sure you don't every get separated from your Easter bunny, they even implant them with a scannable microchip.

Of course you'll want to provide everything for your rabbit, including a companion which brings us to...


Bunny Dates - MCRS (Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society) also offers "dating" services to help match your current rabbit with an appropriate companion. Since rabbits are naturally social, they often do better with a companion than being single. The rabbits are able to provide continuous companionship, even during those times the humans have to work, etc. Please note your rabbit needs to be sterilized to begin the "dating" process.

Hmm... forced sterilization prior to dating? Sounds kinda human doesn't it!

You learn something every day.

About April 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Seventh Age in April 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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