Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Facing down the screamers

The latest liberal attempt to blacklist pro-life conservatives failed last week. The Bush administration finally appointed W. David Hager, a University of Kentucky obstetrician-gynecologist, to the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee for reproductive health drugs.

The cultural left in America is trying to silence those who do not get over seeing the real-life consequences of the sexual revolution. Gloria Feldt and her allies try to inflict damage on any social conservative who gets even minor attention and in that way drive a wedge between moderates and conservatives. It's excellent that in this relatively minor appointment the Bush administration stared down congressional and media liberals.
Intimate Poems by Pope John Paul to Be Published

An unprecedented book of poetry written by Pope John Paul, including the pontiff's thoughts about choosing his successor, will soon be published in his native Poland, the Catholic Information Agency said Monday.
The agency said the book's working title was "The Rome Triptych, the Meditations of John Paul II" and that it had been written over the last several months.

The pope, the author of several best-selling books about faith, has not published any poems since the start of his pontificate in 1978.

Doonesbury looks at school vouchers.

The Cato Institute will host a conference February 13, 2003 on School Choice and Special Ed, Extending Choice and Opportunity to Children With Disabilities, in Washington, D.C. 20001

This spring, the 108th Congress prepares to reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. Since its passage in 1975, IDEA has been plagued with problems including an adversarial atmosphere, skyrocketing costs, unequal treatment of affluent and low-income children, an excessive focus on bureaucratic processes, and poor academic results. This year, special education experts are engaged in an energetic debate about the causes of and solutions to various problems in special education.

Can school choice for disabled children form part of a policy solution to the problems facing special ed? What kind of school choice would work best? Which problems might be solved through a policy emphasizing choice? How does Florida’s McKay Scholarship Program for disabled children work, and what are its results so far? What are the limitations of school choice as a policy solution?

This should be interesting.

Time to leave the victim labels behind
Armstrong Williams says:
"Black Americans have pushed into the mainstream. They stud the upper echelon of America's economic hierarchy. And this is not just true of entertainment or sports, two areas to which black achievement was traditionally confined. From politics to corporate finance to litigation to fashion, blacks succeed.

Yet, despite these obvious successes, there remains much talk about how blacks remain victims of a cruelly unjust past. Our most visible civil rights leaders, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, make a living telling poor blacks that they are trapped in a repressive white society that neuters their talents. Sharpton and Jackson are the dispensers of a warm drug, a surrender of the will to the feelings of victimization. Their rhetoric gives people the feeling that they are not to blame for the missed opportunities of their lives. (With at least one sad byproduct being that those black Americans who actually have the audacity to succeed in industry are marginalized as "sell outs.")

And while it is true that social hierarchies exist, it is self-limiting to regard race as inextricably bound to victim status. Yet that is precisely what many of our civil rights leaders accomplish when they demand that all blacks are victims of an unjust past."

Read the whole article. It's very thought provoking.

More Doonsbury
See Doonsbury for Dec 23-27 for comments on the Trent Lott Situation.

Maggie Gallagher says:
Archie Bunker syndrome

With a new year almost here, and a new majority leader in place, what have we learned about America and American politics in the last few weeks?

Hillary Clinton thinks she knows: "I mean, what (Lott) did was state publicly what many of them have stated privately over many years in the back roads and back streets of the South. I'm looking to see what kind of new leadership the Republican Party will have, not in terms of names and faces, but in terms of commitment to equal justice under the law."

Call it the Archie Bunker syndrome. Many people, right and left, would like to believe that their political opponents are not only misguided or wrong, but also evil and ugly. To many, Trent Lott's remarks were not an aberration, but a revelation. If you do not support a particular left-wing political agenda (critics presented everything from Lott's vote against protection for sexual orientation to his votes on tort reform as evidence of his bad faith on race), you are mean-spirited at best, and probably racist.

Expect to see this liberal nostalgia repeated endlessly every time a GOP political leader stands up for equal justice under the law and against racial preferences.

Monday, December 30, 2002

I had a great time with a bunch of my hubby's high school friends yesterday. It's fun to see how these once radicals have turned into moral, church-going parents now that we are all in our fifties. We spent the afternoon hiking across a Route 66 era bridge, then ate dinner at a nostalgic 1930's restraunt followed by playing the juke boxes at the oldest soda shop in town. It was groovy!

Sign the petition to oust Sen Patty Murray

People who live in Third World countries might have a better view of the United States if Americans followed Osama bin Laden's example of being "a good neighbor so people there have a different vision of us," said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat.

She said bin Laden is popular in some parts of the world because he spent years building good will in poor nations by helping pay for schools, roads and day care facilities.

Vatican to Open Files From Start of Nazi Period

In 2000, Pope John Paul II asked for forgiveness for wrongs inflicted upon Jews by the Catholic Church

Starting in February, scholars will be offered access to files that document the Vatican's relationship to Germany in the early years of the Hitler regime.

The Vatican is planning to open its archives relating to interactions with Nazi Germany in the years leading up to World War II.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas.

Which is harder to believe? Jesus is truly, physically present in the Eucharist or that He came to us in the flesh in Bethlehem? For me it seems harder to believe He became flesh at all. The Eucharist is a continuation of His presence in the flesh that began with His birth. Jesus has not left us orphans. He is the bridegroom that has not abandoned His bride, the Church, but continues to give Himself to us. What incredible love He must have for us!
One Christmas tradition at our house is the Baby Jesus Cake. It's easy to make and our kids love it.
1 white cake mix
1 can white frosting
Pull apart red licorice
Food coloring
Yellow construction paper

Bake the cake in one round cake pan and a square cake pan. Cover a 20 inch by 14 inch board or cardboard with foil. Put the two layers side by side. The round layer will be the face of Jesus, while the square one will be the body. Spread the frosting on the body. Use the food coloring to tint the face. Use the Skittles for the eyes and the red licorice for the mouth. Tuck 2 inch wide strips of the yellow construction paper under the edge of the cake and shred it to make it look like hay.

This tradition started when I explained to our kids that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. They wanted to know where Jesus' birthday cake was.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Pastor here resigns after admitting abuse
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
12/22/2002 10:45 PM

Parishioners at Our Lady of Providence Roman Catholic Church in Crestwood were confronted with ugly news on the weekend before one of the most joyous holy days of the Christian calendar: Their pastor had resigned after admitting to sexual misconduct 24 years ago.

The Rev. Robert F. Johnston had come to the parish 6 1/2 years ago. Over the years, he worked hard to eliminate a big debt the parish had incurred and to rehabilitate the interior of the church. He worked hard for the parish school and for the elderly of the congregation.

But this weekend, parishioners learned that when he was at Sacred Heart parish in Valley Park, Johnston sexually abused a minor - a teenage boy.

Cybercast News Service reports:
The resignation of Senate Majority Leader-elect Trent Lott Friday was preceded by much speculation that, if Lott resigned the post, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) would replace him. As that prediction moved one step closer to becoming a reality, Frist's pro-life credentials came under fire.
Frist has received a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee every year since 1997, the earliest year for which ratings are published on the group's website. But another, more aggressive pro-life group gives Frist a very different grade.

"Bill Frist is not pro-life," said Judie Brown, president and co-founder of American Life League. "He's made all kinds of strange statements," Brown said of Frist, "and is a shareholder in a huge for-profit hospital company that does abortions."

Friday, December 20, 2002

Christmas Reflections
I love this poem:
The Nativity
C.S. Lewis
Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullness might at length
Give me an ox's strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Saviour where I looked for hay;
So may my beastlike folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence.

from the book Poems

England - Where Christmas is illegal. Is the US next?

Oliver Cromwell's outlawing Christmas cheer

Oliver Cromwell took over the governing of England. A devout believer, Cromwell was a Puritan in all senses of the word. He wanted to purify the services and government of the Church, by making them much simpler.

As part of his attempt to purify the State of England, he introduced a law banning excesses at Christmas, including decorations, celebrations and extravagances. Christmas, said Cromwell was a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and nothing more.

The remarkable thing is that Cromwell's law has never been repealed.

I also found this:
Life in England under Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell banned Christmas as people would have known it then. By the C17th, Christmas had become a holiday of celebration and enjoyment - especially after the problems caused by the civil war. Cromwell wanted it returned to a religious celebration where people thought about the birth of Jesus rather than ate and drank too much. In London, soldiers were ordered to go round the streets and take, by force if necessary, food being cooked for a Christmas celebration. The smell of a goose being cooked could bring trouble. Traditional Christmas decorations like holly were banned.

My comment: In this country, the ACLU is our Oliver Cromwell. The ACLU sued to ban a nativity scene in my town's Civic Center, but lost because the display had other secular decorations. The difference is that the ACLU doesn't want to just ban Christmas celebrations; they want to make people think Christmas doesn't exist. Hopefully, Christianity's goose is not cooked.

New York City is a prime example.
The Catholic League and Thomas More Law Center have joined in a lawsuit against the City of New York Department of Education on its discriminatory policies against Christmas displays during the Christmas holiday season.
I wonder if this will qualify for a hate crime?
Episcopal Church employee is fatally stabbed

To her neighbors in south St. Louis County, Carol Bledsoe was a gentle friend, a grandmother who hosted an annual Easter egg hunt for her grandchildren.

To Christ Church Cathedral choirmaster William Partridge, she was a soul of genuine compassion who reached out to the men and women of the street "more than anybody I have ever seen."
Here's some good news for those of us that have "senior moments."
Bone marrow stem cells used to create brain cells

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stem cells from a person's own bone marrow can be used to generate brain cells and other nervous system cells that, when put back into the body, may be a way to treat diseases like brain cancer or Alzheimer's, researchers said on Friday.

``Neural stem cells have a lot of characteristics that make them an attractive means of treating neurological disorders -- but they come from precarious sources,'' said Dr. John Yu, co-director of the brain tumor program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the study's senior author.

He was referring to the political and ethical issues surrounding the use of embryonic and fetal stem cells in medical research. Using renewable stem cells culled from bone marrow solves that dilemma -- as well as potential problems with tissue rejection and uncontrolled growth of stem cells cultivated in a lab dish, Yu said.

Mayans have European and Asian genes? I think this article is interesting in light of Mormon claims that the lost tribes of Egypt sailed to Central America. Shouldn't they have Middle Eastern genes?

Scientists use genetic markers to track ancestry

A team of scientists led by a Stanford University researcher has been able to determine the ancestral history of more than 1,000 people not by seeing their faces or asking their family histories, but by simply looking at their genes.

The findings, published today in the journal Science, suggests that though humans are remarkably alike, a few telltale genetic mutations say more about our ancestry than our eyes, skin or surnames.

These tiny genetic markers, once revealed, tell powerful stories about human migration and history. For instance, scientists discovered that the Uygur of northwestern China, a group with Caucasian features and an Islamic heritage, have genetic markers from the Middle East. Modern descendants of the Maya have genetic markers that reflect their mixed ancestry -- Europeans and Asian migrants who crossed over to the Americas.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Did you watch the special on the local PBS station about Islam? Once again, the media promotes anything but Christianity. If one did not know the less appealing aspects of Islam, the show would make one want to convert. The show presented Islam as a religion of love, morality and peace, not inconsistency, forced conversion, denegration of women, and intolerance for unbelievers.
One of the most puzzling parts was a cameo appearance of a Catholic deacon-to-be who was lauding Islam for its service to the poor. Isn't it funny how the show appeals to a Catholic to give Islam credibility?
I did get a sense that Islam was a big improvement over the pagan religion it replaced and it did incorporate some ideas from Judiasm/Christianity. Also, the show helped me see a side of America one does not see in this part of the Mid-West. It's the conversion by conquest part they left out that bothers me.
I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for a pro-Catholic show on PBS. There will more likely show a pro-Buddist, pro-Hindu, pro-atheist, or pro-Moonie special first. Ah, our tax dollars at work!

Cal Thomas says, "Last night, tax-funded PBS television broadcast a piece of propaganda that would be embarrassing to any network not already well accustomed to propaganda. It was a film funded by various Arab and Islamic groups called "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet."
The Times reviewer writes, "Heartwarming depictions of a Muslim New York city firefighter, a hajib-wearing nurse in Dearborn, Michigan, and a black Muslim capitol hill staff member in Washington, packaged around glowing testimonials by clerics and academics, turn the Muhammad story into a lengthy infomercial for Islam."

Monday, December 16, 2002

According to the latest financial statements, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has paid out $2.59 million to settle abuse cases, including legal fees, over the last 10 years. The financial report covers the fiscal year that ended June 30.

I'm getting ready for Christmas. The tree is up, the lights are up, the new nativity scene is out, the cards are done, the cookies are baked, the shopping is almost done. I get turned off by the materialism of my three kids and the constant ads that encourage them to buy more stuff. I'm making them round up a sack of stuff to give away before they can open presents because there is no more room in the house for the new stuff. A friend of mine told me about a practice they have in their home -- since Jesus only received three gifts, the children can only receive three gifts. I wish I had thought of that! I know what my kids would say. "Let's see --- a new PC, an Xbox, and a new PlayStation -- that's three gifts, right Mom?"

There's nothing like Christmas traditions to make a working-outside-the-home Mom feel stressed and inadequate. I can't do all the stuff my Mom did when I was a kid even on a normal day, much less with the additional work of Christmas traditions. I have to cut a "few" corners. Translated, that means most of them. I've cut so many corners, I've got a circle by now.

How about spiritual preparations for Christmas? I've been reading the diary of St. Faustina. If you think Christmas traditions make me feel inadequate, you ought to read Faustina's diary. The level of faith and trust she had in God makes me feel like a heathen! Wow! Faustina is a must read for folks that want to be challenged to grow in faith.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

December 12, 2002, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Bishop-elect Hermann to be ordained Dec. 12

Family, friends and colleagues of Bishop-elect Robert J. Hermann next week will celebrate with him his consecration as an auxiliary bishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese.

Hermann is replacing Bishop Timothy Dolan, who is now in Milwaukee.

The Washington Times reports:

Diverse state laws and a Supreme Court ruling backing vouchers have complicated the faith-based policy debate, but religious welfare groups still have many ways to operate, according to a 50- state study.
Current law, the study said, holds that religious groups "may not be favored or disfavored" when compared with secular welfare groups that get funds, and their services "must be limited to secular activity."
But with a Supreme Court ruling this year that backed state-funded vouchers, U.S. law is likely to allow welfare vouchers to be spent at "pervasively" religious social services, especially for family problems or addictions.

Here is a story from the Boston Globe, which begins;

The Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts, in a rare public challenge to the Catholic Church, are warning that a steady stream of comments by Vatican officials critical of gays in the priesthood could lead to hate crimes in the United States.

Read the rest at:


Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Joke Day
Zebediah was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers, called pullets, and eight or ten roosters, whose job was to fertilize the eggs. Zeb kept records, and any rooster that didn't perform well went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of Zeb's time, so, Zeb got a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so that Zeb could tell, from a distance, which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

Zeb's favorite rooster was old Brewster. A very fine specimen he was, too. But on this particular morning, Zeb noticed that Brewster's bell had not rung at all!! Zeb went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells a-ringing! The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. BUT, to Zeb's amazement, Brewster had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. Zeb was so proud of Brewster that he entered him in the county fair. Brewster was an overnight sensation!

The judges were impressed with Brewster, indeed. They not only awarded him the No Bell Prize, but also the Pulletsurprise.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

John Leo at Townhall.com
These are the marriage-hating ideas of the most radical counterculturalists, circa 1969, now surfacing on the agenda of U.S. and Canadian legal elites. At a time when efforts to bolster marriage are gaining some traction, the elites are telling us that marriage is defunct and almost any kind of short-term, self-serving relationship will do. Can these people be taken seriously?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch letter to the editor, 12/8/02:
Letter: Questionable ethics in herpes vaccine trial

The herpes vaccine trial for which St. Louis University (a Jesuit institution) gets $37 million is a perfect model of experimental design. Both experimental and control groups engage repeatedly in the dangerous behavior that results in a serious infection.
The experimental group is treated with a vaccine known to protect against the infection. The control group is given an ineffective vaccine. The study determines which group will get higher rates of the incurable infection, which not only affects the subjects but can result in brain damage or death to their offspring.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Maggie Gallagher in Abortion and the new generation comments on uberliberal George McGovern.

"Here lies bared the unexamined heart of small-l liberalism: the idea of Progress (with a very big P). The liberal faith is that history, shorn of God, is nonetheless marching irrevocably in liberalism's direction. In the minds of McGovern and his ilk, liberalism equals rationality. Therefore, while the weight of tradition, taboo and religiously inspired sentiments may slow down Progress, in the end, reason (read: liberal morals and mores) will triumph. We have seen the future and it is them. Or so they imagine.
The clearest rebuttal of the idea that the future belongs to liberalism is the abortion issue. The liberal myth of Progress assumes that, as the older generation, steeped in mystifying ancient religious taboos, gradually dies off, a new pro-abortion consensus would emerge as pols realized there was no profit in pro-life principles.

Instead, something remarkable and unheralded has happened. Not only is the country in general becoming more conservative in its attitudes toward abortion, but two new polls find that young people are significantly more anti-abortion than their parents' generation are."

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Here's a fun download for a snowy day: Fractal Snowflake Generator v1.2 [478k] W9x/2k/XP FREE

Fractal Snowflake Generator is a simple utility to easily create beautiful fractal snowflakes, patterns, and backgrounds. The resulting images can be saved at the desired resolution to 24-bit Windows bitmap (.BMP) files. I made a desktop background with this.
Religion linked to positive outlook in teenagers

Teenagers who attend worship and rate religion as important have positive self-images, are optimistic and enjoy school, a study released yesterday said.

The survey of thousands of 12th-grade students found that optimism and confidence correlate with exposure to religion as much as with success, race, wealth or "self-esteem" education in public schools.
"The more religious the kids are, based on its importance to them or their attending worship, the greater their positive outlook on life," said sociologist Chris Smith of the University of North Carolina, where the National Study of Youth and Religion is being conducted.
"They have more self-esteem and confidence," he said. "The more religious they are, the less they hate school."

To all the high school teachers who preach about the bad effects of negative self-esteem, how about allowing a little prayer in the classroom?

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"Abortions are declining because the public knows more about the details of abortion, said Laura Echevarria of the National Right to Life Committee.
This, in turn, is causing Americans, especially young ones, to become much more conservative in their views on abortion, she said.
A case in point, she added, is the Zogby International poll of 1,800 persons conducted last month for the Buffalo (N.Y.) News. The poll found that 32 percent of people had changed their opinions on abortion, with 21 percent becoming "more negative" on abortion, the newspaper said.
In 1998, the most recent year for data, nine women died as a result of complications from legally induced abortions."

I guess it is true that pro-lifers will ultimatly win by changing hearts, not the political climate. Yet efforts on both fronts are necessary.

Friday, November 22, 2002

A new Web site will make thousands of children's books from 100 different cultures available for free to Internet-savvy kids around the world.

The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is a 5-year research project to develop innovative software and a collection of books that specifically address the needs of children as readers.
Access to the library initially requires a direct Internet connection, such as a cable modem or DSL line. Those connecting by phone modems will be able to access the site in summer 2003.
The Wanderer reports:
A document is expected soon from the Holy See vetoing the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to the priesthood or the religious life.

Also, Why Do Catholics Oppose Capital Punishment But Support Abortion?

"It is an indictment of the ineffectiveness of Catholic teaching in the U.S. that most of the pro-abortion legislators in Congress wouldn’t be there except for votes by Catholics. The silence of the bishops about this puts the seal on the failure of those they leave unrebuked in this sin and crime, all the while many who vote for pro-abortionists brag about their pious concern for the rights and lives of criminals."

I vote pro-life because I think more people are killed by abortion than by capital punishment. If I can't have the perfect candidate to vote for, I pick the most pro-life one. This country isn't eutopia, you know.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

An open letter to Republicans
If Republicans would cater to Catholic interests, they might get more of the Catholic vote.

For example, school vouchers or tax credits for private schools would interest Catholics. The Catholic Church in 1992 ran 52,828 kindergartens with an attendance of 5 million students, 80,612 Elementary and Primary Schools with 25 million students, 31,711 Secondary Schools with 13 million students, and 2 million students in its 6,400 Colleges and Universities. (I don't have current statistics.) This is a very sizable block of voters.

At the least, you could offer vouchers or tax credits when the child has a learning or physical disability. This would have the side effect of raising test scores in the publics school the disabled child attended if the learning disable child had low scores on standardized tests. Then Republicans could claim they have improved education as evidenced by higher test scores in public schools, since private schools are not included in these tests. Who could object to a government that is helping disabled children to get a better education? Who knows best what is good for this situation than the child's parents? This voids the issue of religious instruction in giving vouchers.

I'm paying $12,500 for Catholic school tuition for my three kids this year. My youngest's school costs $5200. It is a Catholic special school. We sent her there because she wasn't bad enough for the public special school district. Both the parish Catholic school and the local public school, though both excellent schools, could not meet her need for specialized instruction, discipline and assistance. We think we as her parents are the best ones to decide what is best for her. Luckily, with her grandparent's help, we can afford to get the best for her. But what about those who cannot afford it? Do their kids get left behind in a school that does not meet their needs?
Currently, the public school operates under the assumption that all kids will do well in the traditional learning environment. But that assumption is not true. Schools are not like assembly lines that turn out a uniform product because kids are not alike. Kids are treated as if a certain effort always gets the same results. Non-uniform raw materials will result in a non-uniform product. Kids have individual needs. We were lucky that we had a school available that meets her needs.

Why can't the government pay the same for my kid or at least refund the money I pay in property taxes for schools? My kid is a citizen too and she deserves equal assistance that other kids get from the school district? Even if I can afford to send her to a special school, doesn't she deserve similar financial support as rich or poor kids? If the government were fair, they would pay for education regardless where a child goes to school, just as they did for the GI Bill.

Anyway, I want Republicans to think about how to get more Catholics to vote Republican. I hope my ideas are helpful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says:
The nation's Catholic bishops are slated to convene in St. Louis next summer to consider holding their first plenary council, the church's highest level of meeting since 1884. That 19th-century meeting in Maryland led to the development of the familiar (to Catholics of a certain age) Baltimore Catechism. There are nearly 400 bishops in the United States. Pope John Paul II would have to agree to any such meeting.

Heard on Jay Leno, Monday Night, November 18
"Al-Qaeda has issued another threat towards New York and Washington saying there will be more attacks if we do not convert to Islam. Convert to Islam? And you thought Jehovah Witnesses were pushy!"

CRISIS MAGAZINE SURVEY OF CATHOLICS, 2002 The results are very interesting.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Strange. I thought polygamy was against the law in this country. Scripture does not forbid it, though. The ban on polygamy is one of those Catholic traditions that became part of our laws. Even Sola Scriptura Protestants follow this ban as if it were in the Bible. I thought Mormons gave up the practice so that Utah could join the Union. I guess that's not true, if you read this.

Woman to bring suit against Mormon church
VANCOUVER -- Debbie Palmer, a women with eight children from three assigned marriages in a Mormon polygamist colony, is going to court in an effort to expose a lifestyle which she says leads to sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse.

Ms. Palmer, 47, intends to ask the B.C. Supreme Court this week to consider a class action against the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on behalf of women who say they have suffered as a result of the religion's communal, polygamist lifestyle.

At least 25 wives, and possibly as many as 200 from communities in Canada and the United States are expected to be part of the unprecedented lawsuit against the well-established religious institution.

The lawsuit could shatter a 55-year long silence by authorities who have ignored repeated attempts by women for help.

Polygamy is illegal, but the government has adopted a hands-off approach to the community. B.C. Attorney-General Geoff Plant says a guarantee of freedom of religion protects church members from the law.

Ms. Palmer said the rural community currently has about 200 men and 600 women and children. Bountiful is affiliated with polygamist Mormon communities in Utah and Arizona, with a population of between 20,000 and 30,000 people.

She said she is aware of about 50 girls who have been brought across the Canada-U.S. border in the past three years to be married to men at Bountiful. About 25 girls from Bountiful have been sent to Utah and Arizona for marriage, she said."

Monday, November 18, 2002

I saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Friday. This book is so far the most allegorical of the four books. While some people denounce the books as evil, I see it as a morality play of sorts. I think that Hogwarts symbolizes heaven, Harry's foster parents house symbolizes earthly trials, Dumbledore symbolizes God the Father, Mr. Weasly symbolizes the pope, the phoenix symbolizes the Holy Spirit, the sorting hat symbolizes free will, the baskalisk symbolizes Satan while Harry symbolizes St. Michael the Archangel. The prejudice against mudbloods symbolizes the evil of racism. Learning about magic symbolizes learning about the supernatural. The mystery within a mystery format symbolizes how the supernatural is a mystery that we cannot understand in this Muggly, earthly existance. The whole series is the story of good vs evil. Harry is always on the side of good, not evil. Harry is his most intelligent, creative, fullest self when he is at Hogwarts. I think we too will be our best self when we are in Heaven.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), when interviewed by Matt Lauer, said she is a conservative Catholic. If that is true, the Pope is Protestant! She doesn't vote that way in Congress. I have this strange idea that conservative Catholics would be pro-life and pro-family.
Sometimes the news makes me scratch my head at the irony when two stories show opposite views on the value of human life.

Heart op on unborn child hailed a success

A pioneering heart operation performed on an unborn baby 18 months ago has been hailed a success by surgeons. The micro-surgical technique allowed the mother to carry her child to full term, avoiding premature birth-related complications. Doctors from London's Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS trust developed a technique of dilating underdeveloped pulmonary valves while the baby was in the womb. Abnormal closure of the pulmonary valves means that blood cannot circulate freely through the heart. This prevents growth of one side of the baby's organ, causing life threatening complications during pregnancy."

Contrast the above story with this one:

PETA Crashes Victoria's Secret Show
NEW YORK (AP) - Victoria's Secret doesn't put on a typical fashion show. Besides strategically draped models, Thursday's show featured musical numbers, acrobats and even a runway showdown between a model and anti-fur protesters.
Activists for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals rushed the stage as Gisele Bundchen strutted down the runway in a beaded bra and panties, thigh-high black stockings and red strappy heels. The four female protesters, carrying signs that read "Gisele: Fur Scum," shouted at the supermodel as she calmly completed her runway turn.
The dramatic confrontation was oddly fitting in a show that featured tried-and-true black lace numbers as well as everything from clear go-go boots with Day-Glo lingerie to fur caps paired with moccasin boots. And wings, lots of wings."

I guesss saving furry animals must be more important than saving the unborn babies, according to some. The priorities in this country need realignment.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

While I'm thinking about downloading free software, try Pixia to create graphics. It's a blast!
I'm trying to overcome the stereotype that Catholics don't know Scripture. Scott Hahn says Protestants don't have extra brain cells for doing this, so I'm out to prove him right. I found some free software that lets me make flash cards and quizzes to help me learn. It's called Lamp Light Scripture Study. Download it and give it a whirl. Impress your Protestant friends!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

From the "Things aren't so Bad" Department
If you think the Roman Catholic Church is getting too liberal, check out the real Liberal Catholic Church.
"I have heard that the early Bishops of the Liberal Catholic Church were Theosophists. What is Theosophy and is a belief in it required in the Liberal Catholic Church International?

Theosophy is a school of thought founded in the late 1800’s. Its purpose was study comparative religion and mysticism. Some of its basic principles are belief in the eastern concepts of reincarnation, karma, vegetarianism and abstention from the use of alcoholic beverages. While many of the Liberal Catholic Church’s early Bishops did, in fact, hold theosophical ideals, a belief in them is neither required nor forbidden in the Liberal Catholic Church International. The LCCI respects the freedom of individual conscience on these issues, as in others. There is a branch of Liberal Catholicism in America known as the “Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States of America,” that does require its clergy to profess a belief in the teachings of Theosophy. We are not part of that branch."
As mentioned on www.drudgereport.com:
Catholic Bishops Say Roe v. Wade Has Left 'Trail of Broken Hearts' - Young People Understand Women Deserve Better Than Abortion
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- While Roe v. Wade remains, for now, the law of the land, the pro-life cause is winning the minds and hearts of the young, according to a statement passed by the U.S. bishops at their fall meeting today."

Pro-lifers give women a real choice.
For example, Our Lady's Inn is an emergency shelter for pregnant women in St. Louis. I created their web site. Pro-choice folks, if they were worthy of the name, should give women more options than just abortions.
In the process of establishing Our Lady's Inn, I met my husband. Pro-life volunteer work pays!

Monday, November 11, 2002

My son, Tim, is 13 now. Another teenager in the house. I wonder whether the most challenging years are ahead of me. All my friends have given me dire warnings that the worst is still to come. I'll try to enjoy parenting along with its challenges one day at a time. If I thought I'd have to have the courage to deal with the next five years right now, I think I would crawl in a bomb shelter and wait for it to blow over. I trust in God to give me the grace as I need it. What other alternative do I have? It's trust or be toast.
Governments have this bad habit of tinkering with society and mucking up everything. I thought the USA was the only place this happens, but I was mistaken. Here's an example from India:

Low-caste Hindus in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are threatening to embrace Christianity, Buddhism or Islam to protest a new law that outlaws religious conversion.

A bill passed into law by the state legislature last month penalizes those who convert to a religion other than Hinduism with imprisonment and a hefty fine.

"The bill runs foul of Article 25 [25] of the Indian Constitution, which grants freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion to every Indian citizen," the group said.
Dominic Emmanuel, director of New Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, called the measure, "an assault as much on civil rights as on human dignity."

Friday, November 08, 2002

One last thing to say about the elections --- The unions and blacks have gotten everything from the Democrat party that they ever will get. The fake carrots the Dems put in front of their noses will never be real until there is consensus among all parties that it needs to be. I think folks have figured out that fake carrots will cost too much and are not going to happen. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not enough of the people enough of the time to win elections forever. The day of reckoning has arrived.
St. Louis Archdiocese has a new Youth Ministry web site at http://www.stlyouth.org/.
Lumen Verum Apologetics has some good articles. It has a 30-Part Course in Defence of
the Catholic Faith
About time!!!!

Republican Leader Promises Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

WASHINGTON, Nov 7, 02 (CWNews.com) -- The new Republican majority will push a partial-birth abortion ban through the next Congress, a key Republican leader has promised.

Senator Trent Lott, the Mississippi legislator who will head the Republican majority in the Senate, said that when the new Congress convenes, "We will move the partial-birth abortion bill."

"I will call it up, we will pass it, and the President will sign it," Lott promised during a post-election interview on American Family Radio. "I'm making that commitment; you can write it down."

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Catholics can make a difference. Evidence? Read this:
Religious vote credited in GOP wins
By Larry Witham
A mobilized conservative religious vote probably swept Republicans to victory in Georgia and the Carolinas on Tuesday and pro-life Catholics and Protestants made the difference for the GOP in Missouri, political analysts said yesterday.

Exit-poll data from Voter News Service that asks voter religious affiliations and values is not yet available, but election-watchers nevertheless pegged some victories to religious-motived voting.
"We were very happy that 74 percent of religious conservatives voted for the pro-life Saxby Chambliss for U.S. senator in Georgia," said Ronn Torossian, media director for the Christian Coalition. "Our voter guides had a great influence."
John Green, an analyst of religion and voting patterns at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, said Republican victories for the U.S. Senate in North and South Carolina turned on similarly motivated voters.

Deal Hudson, publisher of Crisis magazine and analyst of Catholics in the GOP, cited Fox News exit polls showing that 16 percent of voters saying they were in the "conservative Christian political movement," most of them Republicans.
After the economy, abortion was the next topic picked by Missouri voters as the "issue that matters most," and 80 percent of voters picking that concern were Republican.
While many religious leaders have stirred a debate on the morality of a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, it did not seem to be a moral issue for religious-minded voters, Mr. Green said.
"I don't think the prospect of war in Iraq had much effect on this election," he said. "That's been a debate in the more elite religious circles, and I think even people who attended churches are mostly concerned about national security."

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

I'm delighted that pro-life Jim Talent won his Senate race over pro-abort Carnahan. My hubby and I have campaigned for him for 10 years. This year we did a voter registration drive, handed out literature, and volunteered to be at the polling place. St. Louis County had a 68.8% turnout when we usually get 33% in an off-year election.

I can really gloat though. Jim won by 1%, only about 24,000 votes. That's not a landslide. But a Republican Senate & House will be great.

Perhaps now the Senate will get something done instead of obstructing progress. Maybe some judges will be approved and we'll get a ban on partial-birth abortion. A new budget and Homeland Security should be passed too.

The Missouri State house has a Republican majority for the first time in 48 years. Term limits forced a lot of incumbents to retire or run for something else. The incumbent advantage disappeared. Maybe some new ideas will come with the election of new faces.

Hope is restored. The political scene and the pro-life cause look better than it has in a long time.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Bush Demands Zero Tolerance for Kiddie Porn
By Terence P. Jeffrey

Child pornography, the Supreme Court has ruled, can be a good thing.

The point was made in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, an April decision demonstrating what a dark and destructive force the court has become.

Ashcroft was decided 6 to 3, with Justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Sandra Day O’Connor dissenting. It struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. This law was enacted by a Republican Congress and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton with little controversy. It reflected a bipartisan consensus: zero tolerance for child pornographers.

Media Makeover for Sniper Suspects
By Ann Coulter

After all the speculation about the sniper terrorizing Maryland and Virginia, at last we have some cold hard facts. He is a Muslim. He converted to Islam 17 years ago. He changed his name to John Muhammad. He belonged to Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. He cheered the terrorist attack of September 11. He registered his getaway vehicle with the DMV on the anniversary of September 11—writing down the time of registration as 8:52 a.m.

Naturally, therefore, the mainstream media have decided the crucial, salient fact about sniper John Muhammad is that he is a Gulf War veteran. Thus, the New York Times described the snipers as: "John Allen Muhammad, 41, a Gulf War veteran, and John Lee Malvo, 17, a Jamaican."

Inasmuch as the nation is at war with Islamic terrorists, you might think it would be of passing interest that the sniper is a Muslim. But you need a New York Times decoder ring to figure out that Gulf War Veteran John Muhammad is a Muslim. The main clue is the Times’ repeated insistence that Islam had absolutely nothing to do with the shootings.

Wrestling with the freakish development that a practitioner of the Religion of Peace is a killer, the Times has even rushed to print with the completely unsubstantiated speculation that John Muhammad had recently rejected Islam. Experts explained that a "rapid and bizarre change in religious beliefs" is common among "serial killers." One doctor said a change in religious beliefs before committing violent crimes is "a fairly well-known phenomenon in clinical psychiatry," adding that he "was not diagnosing Mr. Muhammad’s condition."

His condition? He’s a Muslim. That’s his condition and his diagnosis. It may be time to update the DSM-IV by adding "Jihad Impulse-Control Disorder" to its index of official diagnoses.

Opinion: Church Intimidation by the Left
Gary Bauer
President, American Values
Yet again, the "religious Left" in America is trying to intimidate pastors, squelch debate and discourage voter participation in the political process. Yesterday, we received a copy of a letter from the Interfaith Alliance urging pastors to reject voter guides from six specifically identified organizations, including the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, and the Campaign for Working Families.

Evidently, the Interfaith Alliance decided to expand their intimidation campaign this year beyond churches. The letter we received yesterday was sent to a soup kitchen run by a Christian ministry.

So, there you have it, my friends - the "religious Left" in America is attempting to disenfranchise even the poorest Americans. They are threatening the tax-exempt status of soup kitchens if they dare provide voter information to the folks who desperately need their services. What hypocrisy!

And that's really what this is all about - hypocrisy. While the Interfaith Alliance and other groups of their ilk try to appear "non- partisan," the pastors who received this letter were asked to reject voter guides only from conservative organizations. There was no similar request to reject voter guides from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, etc., etc, -- only conservative groups were specifically mentioned.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

I thought some might find this interesting (a blessing)

Court clears way for abortion lawsuit

Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Star-Ledger Staff

Opening the door to legal arguments about when life begins, a state appeals court ruled yesterday that a woman who had an abortion can sue her physician for emotional distress on grounds she was not properly informed of the consequences.

Rosa Acuna contends that her doctor failed to tell her that her 7-week-old fetus was "an irreplaceable human being."

A lower court threw the case out, reasoning that the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion had established that a 7-week-old fetus is not a "constitutional person."

But a three-judge appeals court ordered a trial on Acuna's lawsuit against obstetrician Sheldon Turkish, who advised her that she needed an abortion because of a kidney problem and terminated her pregnancy in April 1996.

A psychologist concluded Acuna suffered "severe emotional and psychological trauma" because of the abortion.

Acuna's lawyer, Harold Cassidy, said the trial will mark the first time "a jury has to determine whether this procedure (abortion) terminated the life of a living human being." He contends it did, and that Turkish had an obligation to tell Acuna "the truth" about the biological beginning of life regardless of the legality of abortion.

Cassidy said he has assembled a team of seven scientific experts to testify that Acuna's unborn child was "a living human being" just before the abortion. He called the ruling "a great victory for the rights of pregnant women."

But Talcott Camp, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "This case isn't about patient rights. It's about harassment of doctors.

"In fact, what this does is hurt women," Camp said. "It harasses doctors and discourages them from providing this constitutionally protected medical care."

During pre-trial questioning, Acuna testified that when she went to see Turkish, she asked him "if there was a baby already inside me," meaning a "human being," and that he replied "don't be stupid, it's only blood."

Turkish testified he did not remember Acuna asking such a question but would have advised her that "a 7-week pregnancy is not a living human being."

The appeals court said it will be up to Acuna to show at trial "that a prudent person under her circumstances would not have consented and submitted to the medical procedure had she been properly informed."

The court left for a jury to decide the "perplexing" issue of just what Turkish should have said to Acuna.

Appellate Division Judge James Havey said allowing Acuna to sue was the flip side of earlier rulings upholding lawsuits by parents who were deprived of their right to choose an abortion because they were not told the unborn child might suffer birth defects.

Havey was joined in the ruling by Appellate Division Judges Ariel A. Rodriguez and Edith Payne.

Turkish's lawyer, John Z. Jackson, was out of the office and could not be reached for comment.

Robert Schwaneberg covers legal issues. He can be reached at
rschwaneberg@starledger.com or (609) 989-0324.


Astronomers discover a star of the 'Class of 13 Billion B.C.'
Thursday, October 31, 2002


Astronomers have discovered an ancient star near the center of our galaxy that may shed light on the universe's composition shortly after it was blasted into existence by the Big Bang.

This cosmic relic is more than 12 billion years old -- about a billion years younger than the universe itself. It also has an extremely low metal content, some 1/200,000th of that found in our sun. That is 20 times less metal than the previous lowest-metal star, found in 1977.

The star's age and composition place it among the second wave of stars that formed after the universe's violent creation, its discoverers said. Researchers had predicted this type of ultra-low metal star 25 years ago, but an example eluded them until now.

Michael S. Bessell, an astronomers at Australia's Mount Stromlo Observatory, said the newly discovered star arose from the debris of a first-generation star, so it contains only a very small amount of heavy elements.

"This really traces things back to the very early stages of the universe because stars are records of that time. This is an indicator of those times," said Bessell, the star's co-discoverer.

Good news!
Miss World boycott is off after Nigeria vows to stop a stoning

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria said yesterday it would never allow one of its citizens to be executed by stoning, repudiating an Islamic court verdict that had prompted a threatened boycott of the upcoming Miss World pageant.

Junior Foreign Minister Dubem Onyia singled out the case of Amina Lawal Kurami, a 31-year-old Muslim woman whose sentence for committing adultery sparked worldwide outrage.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

GM Targets Christians in Marketing Drive

Chevrolet is sponsoring an evangelical concert tour in an effort to reach some Christians, a move criticized by some as crossing the line between business and religion.

The "Chevrolet Presents: Come Together and Worship" stage show begins Nov. 1 in Atlanta and ends at the Palace at Auburn Hills, Mich., on Nov. 23.

Washington Post
New Status For Embryos In Research

The Bush administration has revamped the charter of the federal advisory committee that addresses the safety of research volunteers, stating for the first time that embryos in experiments are "human subjects" whose welfare should be considered along with that of fetuses, children and adults.

Survey Finds Black Voters Less Solidly Democratic

African Americans are becoming less likely to identify themselves as Democrats, and give Republican Secretary of State Colin L. Powell a higher approval rating than civil rights icon Jesse L. Jackson, according to an opinion poll released yesterday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The survey, which also bolstered previous findings that a majority of African Americans prefer school vouchers to other education improvement plans, is an indication of changing attitudes in a community that has long identified overwhelmingly with the Democratic Party and its agenda.

Here's a very funny (but true) Republican Halloween trick or treat flash presentation

Redistricting due to the 2000 census has changed the US Congressional House District I live in. I used to be in the 2nd District and now I'm in the 1st. The Republican Candidate for the US Congressional House Seat from Missouri's 1st District is Richard J. Schwadron

Here is how the districts changed:
Congressional Districts Pre-Redistricting

Congressional Districts Post-Redistricting- St. Louis County and Surrounding Area

The incumbent in the 1st District is Wm. Lacy Clay, son of Bill Clay, who had the office for a long time. Clay is a very liberal, pro-abortion Democrat. Unfortunately, I live in an area that is 66% Democrat territory. It looks like Lacy will win this seat again and be in for a long time due to redistricting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Attention St. Louis voters:
Missouri Bar Association rates all those judges you'll see on the ballot next week. Most of the judges get very high marks, but a few are on the low side. Brenda Stith Loftin got only a 52% approval mark, Patrick Clifford got 58%, and Evelyn M. Baker, the judge who kept the polls open past closing time in St. Louis City in 2002, got only a 62% approval. So if you are in the mood to kick any one of the judges out, these should be the only ones to go.

To add to a previous post, Missouri Right to Life is against Proposition A. It says the money raised from new cigarette taxes would go to "health care for women ...and life sciences research" Life sciences research sounds like cloning to me. Think about it.
Call Thomas reported this:
Catholic League Attacks DNC for Linking Website to Porn
Lawrence Morahan
Senior Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - The Democratic National Committee (DNC) "may have violated federal law" by linking its website to an Internet site depicting pornography, a prominent Catholic organization said.

The New York-based Catholic League found the link while examining a connection between the DNC and "Catholics for a Free Choice," a group denounced by the Catholic Church hierarchy as fraudulent.

Under the "links" section of the site www.dnc.org, visitors found a category called "Hispanic." The second to last entry in this category, "Willi Velasquez Institute," linked to a porn site.
A search by CNSNews.com confirmed the link to pornography. However, a search later Monday revealed the DNC had altered the link to connect to the William C. Velasquez Institute, a group whose mission is "to conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities."

Calls to the DNC for clarification were not returned.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Proposition "A" on next week's election would raise Missouri's tax on cigarettes by 55 cents a pack. It would also raise taxes on other tobacco products. The money would go to health care, child education and prescription programs.

By "health care", do they mean "Planned Parenthood" and abortions? I get suspicious when I hear health care in the same sentence as politics.
Inner Strength
If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these things,

Then you are probably the family dog.

CNN reports:
LEXINGTON, Kentucky (AP) -- A gay couple who became parents of quadruplets after enlisting the help of a surrogate mother had their 3-month-old children baptized Saturday in a Roman Catholic church.

Father Paul Prabell blessed the men, Thomas Dysarz and Michael Meehan, and baptized their daughter and three sons at Lexington's Cathedral of Christ the King.

"This is what Christ would do," said Meehan, the quadruplets' biological father. The babies "are God's children. That's how the church should view it."

Saturday's ceremony was attended by about 30 friends and relatives.

The mother, 23-year-old Brooke Verity, has said she thinks Dysarz and Meehan, a Lexington lawyer, will become great dads. She conceived Michael, Jacob, Tristan and Taylor through in-vitro fertilization in January and gave birth in July.

Prabell said no one had objected to the christening, although he expects that "some people would feel that the christening would be an endorsement of homosexuality and surrogate parenting."

Those issues did not enter into the decision to baptize the quadruplets. Prabell said he and the Catholic Diocese of Lexington agreed to the baptisms because Dysarz and Meehan said they will raise the children as Catholics.

The men expressed gratitude to the priest for his acceptance.

"I didn't expect him to bless us both. Just like any other couple," Dysarz said.

Friday, October 25, 2002

President Signs Important Sudan Peace Act

On Monday, October 21, President Bush signed the Sudan Peace Act, which may become and important tool in the effort to bring the atrocities being committed against Sudanese Christians by the government of that country to an end. President Bush had this to say about the legislation, "I have today signed into law H.R. 5531, the "Sudan Peace Act." This Act demonstrates the clear resolve of the United States to promote a lasting, just peace; human rights; and freedom from persecution for the people of Sudan. The Act is designed to help address the evils inflicted on the people of Sudan by their government --including senseless suffering, use of emergency food relief as a weapon of war, and the practice of slavery -- and to press the parties, and in particular the Sudanese Government, to complete in good faith the negotiations to end the war." Pro-family group Family Research Council praised the move. However, FRC was also quick to state that the ultimate goal in the region should be not only peace, but also justice for the people of southern Sudan.

Go to Project Vote Smart to read responses from candidate surveys and who the candidates are in your area. Find out if the candidate is pro-life, pro-family, etc.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Joke Day
A group of office co-workers decided one day to share a ride to work. But they did not realize that they also shared the same fear -claustrophobia. As they were driving through a mountain tunnel, they all began to scream wildly! The car went out of control, but finally, they were able to slow down and pull over to the side of the road.

A psychologist, who was driving behind the car, saw everything, and stopped to see if he could help. He immediately ascertained what the problem was -- they were suffering from carpool tunnel syndrome.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Scholar Touts Oldest Link to Jesus

WASHINGTON –– A burial box that was recently discovered in Israel and dates to the first century could be the oldest archaeological link to Jesus Christ, according to a French scholar whose findings were published Monday.

An inscription in the Aramaic language – "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" – appears on an empty ossuary, a limestone burial box for bones.

Andre Lemaire said it's "very probable" the writing refers to Jesus of Nazareth. He dates the ossuary to A.D. 63, just three decades after the crucifixion."

In case you've never heard, there is a tradition that says Joseph was much older than Mary and may have had sons from a previous marriage. It says Joseph was a widower.
The Protoevangelium of James tells this story.

Also, The History Of Joseph The Carpenter tells about Joseph's other children.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

St. Louis has a new auxiliary bishop elect! Fr. Bob Hermann was named as the bishop-to-be yesterday. Fr. Hermann was the leader of the Charismatic Renewal for several years. This pleases me and my Charismatic friends greatly. I don't know him very well, but every time I've heard him speak, he impressed me as a spirit-filled, holy man. One of the parishes where he was pastor continues to be a beacon of light to the Marriage Encounter and Life Teen groups in the St. Louis area. Fr. Hermann will replace Bishop Timothy Dolan, who is now serving as Archbishop in Milwaukee. Full story is in the Review.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Survey finds many Christians don't understand worship
Many people who call themselves Christians and even go to weekly religious services are "clueless" when it comes to what worship means, according to a study by Christian pollster George Barna.
Barna said he was concerned about the results that pointed to a "worship-challenged" America.

One in three adult regular attendees said they have never experienced God's presence while in church. Two in three were unable to describe to the survey-takers what worship is. Less than half reported that worship was a top priority in their lives. Only one in four described worship as something people do for God.

Americans make worship services a self-centered activity, he said. Of the reasons given to researchers on why they go to church, 47 percent were self-focused, 29 percent were God-focused and 2 percent had no focus at all, Barna said.

"We view ourselves first and foremost as consumers," he said. "Americans are always looking for a deal," or what's in it for them, he added.

I think catechists had better start explaining more of the basics, like "Why go to church?" and "What is religion for?"

Monday, October 14, 2002

Since I'm a Technical Writer, I enjoyed this.
You Know You're A Tech Writer When...

09 May 2001; by Danielle Preston, UWEC Senior
This page will show you whether you are a true technical writer (or a student thereof).

10. You bring a pen into public restrooms to punctuate the graffiti.

9. Style guides thrill, anger, and challenge you all at once.

8. You look forward to the upcoming workshop on the semi-colon.

7. People that misspeak English bring you to a boiling rage.

6. Your sarcastic wit (a survival tool of a technical writer) shows when you suggest a new title for the scientific manual: CBE: The Brink of Madness.

5. You start to question the political correctness of the ChiMan abbreviation.

4. You and your tech-writing friends have a great time thinking of new editing symbols and how to ‘edit the planet.’

3. It no longer bothers you that when you’re a writer, it’s your best work and when you’re the editor it always needs work.

2. Nothing in your world is edit-free anymore- including e-mails from your parents.

1. You’ve been mentally editing this page since you started reading it. *

*In fact, you noticed that one of the hyphens in #2 should be a dash.
Strange bed-fellows?
Pro-life students try for recognition

The Student Bar Association at Washington University's law school in St. Louis is scheduled to vote today on whether the institution should recognize a student pro-life group, which it has rejected twice already.

"It does not look good for us," said Jordan Siverd, a second-year law student who heads the group, Law Students Pro-Life.
"Almost all of the SBA members who spoke at a meeting last Thursday spoke against us. And some who had abstained in earlier votes said that they will vote against us, saying they don't like having the media or anyone else infringe on their power," he said.
The Student Bar Association has said Law Students Pro-Life is "too narrowly focused." SBA President Elliott Friedman has sent letters to the group, objecting to the fact that its constitution does not include opposition to the death penalty as one of its missions.

"It's as if the SBA is barring a Catholic organization because it believes in the doctrine of transubstantiation," he said.

However, the pro-life group gained another advocate as the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri on Friday backed the cause of Law Students Pro-Life.
The two groups issued an "open letter" in which they urged the SBA to "recognize the right of your fellow students to organize in accordance with their own beliefs, even if you disagree with those beliefs."
Poll finds support for Carnahan slipping
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan is trailing former Republican Rep. Jim Talent in Missouri's closely watched Senate race, the latest poll shows.
The Zogby International poll of 800 likely voters, conducted Wednesday through Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shows Mr. Talent leading Mrs. Carnahan, 47 percent to 41 percent.
A Zogby poll last month showed 48 percent supported Mrs. Carnahan and 40 percent favored Mr. Talent.

Jim Talent is strongly pro-life. Since the Senate leadership is in the balance, his lead is good news for the pro-life cause.

Religion clearly has an effect on Americans' political behavior, and may explain part of the existence of the marriage gap (since those who are religious are more likely to get married and stay married than are those who are not religious). There are large differences in voting intentions between those who attend church regularly (that is, on a weekly basis, among whom 62% favor Republicans and 38% Democrats) and those who attend less regularly (among those who attend nearly weekly or monthly, or those who seldom or never attend, roughly six in 10 plan to vote for Democratic candidates).

Protestants show a clear preference for Republican candidates, by a 58% to 42% margin. Catholics, a group that historically had been Democratic but has shown more competitive voting patterns in recent years, are among the more Democratic groups found in the poll, with 62% favoring Democratic candidates and 38% favoring Republicans. Preferences of practicing Catholics (those who attend church every week or nearly every week) are slightly less Democratic, 56% to 44%.

Since more Republican candidates are pro-life, why do Catholics vote for Democrats?

Friday, October 11, 2002

In The Detroit News:

Serious and silly, religious action figures are battling for new buyers
By Michael Yount / Scripps Howard News Service
Is nothing sacred?
The article discusses new religious toys. For example, "The Pope" action figures are for sale at JesusChristSuperStore
"his hardness, God's mortal messenger" includes Holy Cross Kali sticks, 'Meek and Mild' Walther PPK handgun, wearing blood red Vatican Assault uniform.

I don't see any action figure for Billy Graham or other Protestant religious leaders, yet they are selling Pope action figures. If this is suppose to be all in jest, why don't they spread the joke around?

Thursday, October 10, 2002


Miss America 2003, Erika Harold, announced in Illinois yesterday that she has won her battle with pageant officials over the right to talk about teen sexual chastity.

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." ~Romans 8:5

Woman left to discover jar containing her baby

A WOMAN who had an abortion was stunned to find the foetus left in a jar after a hospital blunder. Nicola McManus made the horrific discovery when she was left in a room to answer a phone call from her husband. The jar was labelled with her name. She said: "I fell apart. I couldn't believe anyone could be careless enough just to leave it lying there. That image will live with me forever." Mum-of-three Nicola, 27, received a a full apology from the hospital but plans to sue North Glasgow NHS Trust, claiming the handling of the abortion left her psychologically scarred. She took the RU486 abortion pill, which requires no surgery and is supposed to make terminations easier.

What did she think she was aborting? A frog?

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Miss America 2003, Erika Harold, yesterday said pageant officials have ordered her not to talk publicly about sexual abstinence, a cause she has advocated to teenage girls in Illinois.

Abortion rates decline in late 1990s
By Cheryl Wetzstein

The U.S. abortion rate fell steadily during the latter half of the 1990s, with the steepest decline occurring among high-school-age girls, says a report released yesterday by a leading research group on abortion statistics.

Declines in abortions were also seen among women with high incomes, women with college degrees and nonreligious women, said the study by Rachel K. Jones, Jacqueline E. Darroch and Stanley K. Henshaw of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which based its report on data from 10,000 women who sought abortions.
However, poor women — especially those on Medicaid — saw abortion rates rise.
Other groups of women cited in the study who were likely to get abortions are those ages 20 to 30, as well as those who are unmarried, black or Hispanic, already mothers, or Protestant.
•Women who identified themselves as Protestant had the highest proportion of abortions (43 percent), followed by Catholic women (27 percent), women of no affiliation (22 percent) and women of another religion (8 percent).

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the same story, but did not give a breakdown on religious affiliation. "The study was based on questionnaires completed by more than 10,000 women who had abortions. Most of the women surveyed, 78 percent, said they had a religious affiliation."

I wonder why the Post-Dispatch did that. Could it be possible they don't want to say something remotely positive about Catholics having a lower rate of abortions?

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Catholic World Report Editorial: October, 2002
The Pope's Burden

The American Church Needs a Strong Papal Hand
Just before World Youth Day, columnist Rod Dreher provoked a firestorm with a piece published in the Wall Street Journal, entitled, "The Pope Has Let Us Down." Dreher, a convert to Catholicism who writes regularly for National Review, argued forcefully that Pope John Paul II should have intervened, long ago, to curb the spread of the sex-abuse scandal in the United States.

The Catholic League continued its ad campaign against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by placing a half-page ad in today’s edition of Roll Call, the influential D.C. publication. Catholic League president William Donohue said that nothing will stop the league from pressing the DNC to sever its association with an anti-Catholic organization. By providing a link to Catholics for a Free Choice on its website, the DNC is tacitly endorsing Catholic bashing.

The campaign against the DNC picked up steam last week when it was revealed that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also implored the DNC to break its support for Frances Kissling’s anti-Catholic group.

The league’s ad has already run in three Catholic weekly newspapers, the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor and the Wanderer; Roll Call marks the first secular publication to run the ad.

Let the DNC know of your outrage by calling them at 202-863-8000; fax at 202-863-8174; email at dnc@democrats.org or write to Democratic National Committee, 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003

For more information on CFFC, see http://www.catholicleague.org/cffc.htm

Monday, October 07, 2002

New Jersey statutes say a political party may not replace one candidate with another within 51 days of the election. This prevents candidates who are losing as the race is drawing to a close from dropping out to make room for a different candidate. Torricelli was losing. This is a lot different situation than a candidate that died, like Mel Carnahan, or become disabled. Despite this, the New Jersey supreme-court justices ignored the law and enacted their own law from the bench.

Remember when Bill Webster ran for Missouri Governor ten years ago? He was losing because he was accused of illegal campaign fund raising. That's the same thing that is happening in New Jersey now. Did Bill Webster bow out of the race? No. I guess Missouri Republicans don't operate like New Jersey Democrats. If Torricelli and the Democrats get away with this, think of the precedent it will set for the rest of the nation.

Every Senate campaign will have an impact on the pro-life issues if Democrats continue to control the Senate. New Jersey Dems should not get away with this.

Friday, October 04, 2002


"There were 75 members of the clergy convicted of sexual offenses between 1985-2000. Thirty eight were Catholic Priests.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Non-Catholic churches are reporting an average of 70 incidents a week to their insurance companies.

There were 236,000 people in jail for sexual offenses in 2000 (38 priests), according to the Juvenile Bureau of the Justice Statistics. They have a 45 page report that goes into details about time of day, location, relationship etc.

Since 1960 there have been over 140,000 men ordained in the priesthood or as Brothers. Currently there are 46,075 priests. So far this year, 250 priests have been charged with an offense, some as long ago as 45 years ago. At least 3 have already been reinstated and exonerated.

Over 10,000 priests have left to get married in the last 30 years.

We do a great disservice to parents when we only warn them about priests. The largest group of the 236,000 offenders are relatives, in the victim's home, between the hours of 3-7 PM.

The majority of the 250 offenses have been homosexual liaisons, not pedophile with prepubescent boys. Milwaukee Bishop Weakland's victim was 32 at the time of the sexual assault.

We do a great disservice to the 45,800 + priests when we stereotype them as homosexuals. There is no evidence that there are more (or fewer) homosexuals than the general population in the priesthood.

It's good that the Catholic Church should be held to a higher standard of scrutiny. One victim is one too many, and we ought to do everything possible for them. But we ought not compound the problem by attacking the Church and the clergy by stereotyping them.

Individuals have sinned, some have committed crimes, and all of them should be punished. None should be persecuted. Priests who get out of jail need to be held to their vows of obedience in permanent penance. They need to continue to be insured so they can be treated, supervised, monitored and accounted for."

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Renowned anti-Catholic, James White, has an argument against Transubstantiation on his web site. He leaves out some important stuff when he quotes Theodoret.

“The mystical emblems of the body and blood of Christ continue in their original essence and form, they are visible and tangible as they were before [the consecration]; but the contemplation of the spirit and of faith sees in them that which they have become, and they are adored also as that which they are to believers.” (Theodoret, Dialogue ii, Opera ed. Hal. tom. iv p. 126).

This sounds like Transubstantiation was not the teaching of the early Church fathers, right? Here is what Theodoret actually wrote:

Theodoret, Dialogue ii, Opera ed. Hal. tom. iv p. 126
Theodoret (c.393-466 CE),

Eran.-As, then, the symbols of the Lord's body and blood are one thing before the priestly invocation, and after the invocation are changed and become another thing; so the Lord's body after the assumption is changed into the divine substance.

Orth.-You are caught in the net you have woven yourself. For even after the consecration the mystic symbols are not deprived of their own nature; they remain in their former substance figure and form; they are visible and tangible as they were before. But they are regarded as what they are become, and believed so to be, and are worshipped128 as being what they are believed to be. Compare then the image with the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality. For that body preserves its former form, figure, and limitation and in a word the substance of the body; but after the resurrection it has become immortal and superior to corruption; it has become worthy of a seat on the righthand; it is adored by every creature as being called the natural body of the Lord.

I guess James White conveniently leaves stuff out only when it suits him. When one reads the whole thing, one comes to a different conclusion than White asserts.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Traditional Values Coalition reports Miss Illinois, Erika Howard was crowned Miss America on Saturday 9/21. She’s an outspoken advocate for abstinence!

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Mother Teresa's Cause for Beatification Clears a Key Step
Cardinals and Bishops Recognize Her "Heroic Virtues"

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes have acknowledged Mother Teresa's lifelong "heroic" virtues, a key step toward her beatification, Vatican sources told ZENIT.

Mother Teresa could be beatified as early as next year. Such a process of beatification would break all records in modern times. It was opened formally on July 26, 1999, less than two years after her death.

This story interests me because my friend, Sr. Mary Edward, is a nun in Mother Teresa's order and is working on the cause for beatification. When she visited me in June, she told me some wonderful Mother Teresa stories and about the miracle that has helped speed up the cause.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Sacramento Bee reports Berkeley study finds youths more conservative than parents.
Teenagers are more conservative on issues such as school prayer and abortion than their parents, according to a study released Tuesday.

Political science professors Merrill Shanks and Henry Brady of the University of California, Berkeley, found the generation gap was most pronounced on issues such as school prayer - on which 69 percent of teenagers surveyed said it should be allowed, compared to 59 percent of adults 27 to 59.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Look out St. Louis
Women for Faith & Family

A local effort to spread dissent in the Church, "Faithful St. Louis", is a spin-off of a "reform" coalition of dissident Catholic groups organized in Boston in the heat of the clerical sex-abuse crisis, "Voice of the Faithful". Some presenters at the St. Louis gathering, "Ways to Create a Healthier Church", held September 21, at Harris-Stowe State College in midtown St. Louis, are high-profile dissenters. None of the sixteen-member steering committee is known for faithfulness to Church teachings.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Washington Times reports the findings in the most complete religious survey of the United States. "Catholic parishes in the West and South are growing faster than elsewhere, often by a third, he said. The Church may have to shift more of its institutional resources to meet this growth, or give more attention to mission needs there. One reason for the cooperative census is to find out at the county and state levels how much of the population is "unclaimed" by religious groups and thus fertile ground for faith organizations to reach out."

Very interesting.
Ignorance of History of Slavery and Christianity

Catholic Encyclopedia has an interesting article about the history of slavery.


"In the Middle Ages slavery, properly so called, no longer existed in Christian countries; it had been replaced by serfdom, an intermediate condition in which a man enjoyed all his personal rights except the right to leave the land he cultivated and the right to freely dispose of his property. Serfdom soon disappeared in Catholic countries, to last longer only where the Protestant Reformation prevailed. But while serfdom was becoming extinct, the course of events was bringing to pass a temporary revival of slavery. As a consequence of the wars against the Mussulmans and the commerce maintained with the East, the European countries bordering on the Mediterranean, particularly Spain and Italy, once more had slaves -- Turkish prisoners and also, unfortunately, captives imported by conscienceless traders. Though these slaves were generally well-treated, and set at liberty if they asked for baptism, this revival of slavery, lasting until the seventeenth century, is a blot on Christian civilization. But the number of these slaves was always very small in comparison with that of the Christian captives reduced to slavery in Mussulman countries, particularly in the Barbary states from Tripoli to the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

The language in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia is outdated. Mussulmans are now called Muslims. Barbary states is a term used for the North African states of Tripolitania, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. From this article, one can conclude that Catholics abolished slavery and Muslims revived it. I wonder if Afro-American Louis Farakan, leader of the Nation of Islam, tells his followers that the organization they belong to promoted slavery.

Also, the Southern Baptists should know the origin of their denomination. According to another Catholic Encyclopedia article:

"Calvinistic" or "Particular" Baptists, ... maintained that Christ's redemption was intended for the elect alone. Particular Baptist congregations were established in and about Philadelphia, and these through the foundation of the Philadelphia Association in 1707, which fostered mutual intercourse among them, became a strong central organization about which other Baptist churches rallied. As a result, we see today the large number of Particular (Regular) Baptists. The Regular Baptists divided in 1845, not indeed doctrinally, but organically, on the question of slavery. Since that time, attempts at reunion having remained fruitless; they exist in three bodies: Northern, Southern, and Coloured.

The Official Website of the Southern Baptist Convention says, "Since its organization in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has grown to 15.9 million members who worship in more than 41,500 churches in the United States."

Hmmm. Interesting that the web site does not mention the reason for the split. Considering how many are in the denomination, Afro-Americans should know they belong to an organization that once believed slavery was OK. I wonder if Afro-Americans would be more open to become Catholic if they knew who abolished slavery in Europe. I guess it's up to Catholics to make this fact more widely known.

And who was that female Democrat politician from the south who accepted money from Arabs that lost the primary election recently?

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

A Call to Racial Reconciliation in the Church
Janet Chismar writes, "Sometimes dubbed "the most segregated hour of the week," Sunday mornings indeed have a long way to go. One New York Times poll said that 90 percent of whites said there were few or no blacks at their religious services, and 73 percent of blacks said their congregations had few or no whites."
Garland Hunt's booklet, "The Mandate: A Call to Biblical Unity," serves as a succinct call to action. "It challenges the reader to understand that our nation, as a whole, must do something about this incredible racial divide that still haunts us as we go about internationally and proclaim ourselves to be a nation of peace," says Hunt.
"Globally, the Anglican Church is a church of color," said the Rev. Butch Naters-Gamarra from the Diocese of Los Angeles. "We know that in the next 15 or 20 years, the majority of the population in Los Angeles will be people of color. The church needs to be prepared to welcome whoever wants to come," he added.

The same thing can be said of the Catholic Church in St. Louis. Several parishes have closed because they failed to evangelize the neighborhood after the white Catholics moved to the suburbs.

Christopher Reeve Apologizes to Catholics

Christopher Reeve issued an apology to Roman Cathoics, who may have been offended by his recent remarks concerning embryonic stem cell research.

That's super of him.

Monday, September 16, 2002

An editorial in the usually liberal St. Louis Post Dispatch supports the statute of limitations in clergy abuse cases.
Lawsuit abuse


WHEN BISHOP Anthony J. O'Connell of Palm Beach, Fla., resigned six months ago, the news reverberated through an already-shaken American Catholic Church. This was no mere priest, but a shepherd of the church admitting that, yes, he had sexually abused a student at a Hannibal, Mo., seminary more than 20 years earlier. What's more, Bishop O'Connell warned, another abuse victim might come forward.

In fact, three other men came forward. The first two filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court in Hannibal, where their cases are pending. The third man filed an ambitious suit in St. Louis County Circuit Court, naming not only Bishop O'Connell, but church officials in Kansas City, Jefferson City and Knoxville, Tenn.

Lawyers for the 50-year-old Massachusetts man, known in court documents as John Doe, charged that the defendants had engaged in a pattern of racketeering and civil conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse that began in 1969 and continued until the early 1990s.

Last week, St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Mark D. Seigel threw the case out. His decision makes sense. .... But, in light of the unusual facts in the John Doe case, use of the statute was appropriate. There are too many victims in too much pain to abuse the court system with overstated claims like this one.

I'm surprised that the St. Louis Post Dispatch would agree with the law as it is. They tend to want judges to legislate from the bench.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

David Limbaugh in the Jewish World Review lets those who object to enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq have it.

"The Bush administration takes the position that a strike against Iraq is justified under international law as a matter of self-defense. If we had 100 percent proof that Saddam had or would soon have nuclear weapons and was going to use them against the United States, through terrorists or otherwise, would we be justified in attacking him? In other words, is it the level of proof that bothers you, international law or world opinion?

Regardless, on the matter of proof, shouldn't we err on the side of preventing another 9/11, especially when we do have strong proof, including that if Saddam had nothing to hide, he wouldn't have continually expelled the weapons inspectors? And, if you were reasonably certain that Saddam was going to unleash weapons of mass destruction on our people or our soil, would you be quibbling over the fine points of international law, much less world opinion?

It would be one thing for people to object to our invasion of Iraq if we had imperialistic designs -- if we wanted to absorb the Iraqi nation or even steal her oil. But no one believes that. This is about self-defense, pure and simple. If we are correct that Saddam will unleash these catastrophic weapons against our allies or us, we have not only the legal right but the moral obligation to act before he does it.

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld so cogently observed, America's task is to "… behave in a way that there won't be books written about why we slept."

Hear that? Self defense. Isn't that allowed under the moral code?