Tuesday, August 13

Australian prolifers say stem cell researchers not motivated by desire for cures:

While arguing to be allowed to use human embryos in the hope of developing therapies for degenerative and other diseases, the scientists' real agenda included the desire to have human tissue on which to test drugs, study the effects of toxins, and undergo genetic research, according to the group Do No Harm...."This Bill is about the unlimited ransacking of embryonic humans for whatever purpose scientists see fit," said van Gend, whose group is described as a coalition of Australians supporting ethical medical research.

Claudia Rosett on the Saudis and freedom:

The Saudis have built institutions all right--straight out of the construction manual for your basic totalitarian state. There is no freedom of speech, there are no elections at any level, there is no freedom of assembly, political parties are illegal, travel is restricted, and even our own fawning State Department notes in a recent report that "members of the security forces committed serious human rights abuses." There's no such thing as a tourist visa. This is a country that in the latest Freedom House annual survey ranks right down there with Iraq, Cuba and North Korea--and well below Ethiopia and Albania--as one of the least free on the planet.

The Nation examines The Situation in unsurprising ways: the Church is composed of two elements: "Progressive Reformers" and "Hypocritical, Fearful Guys in Dresses." Nothing in between. Not you, not me, not anybody.
Support Banned Books Week!

Uh....sorry, no. Not until they put The Bible on that list.

And what does that mean? It means that more than a few kids and young people have been "challenged" by teachers and administrators in their attempts to use Bible stories and references in projects, papers and speeches.

Teacher turns self in, is arrested on molestation charges:

Three were students at Weller Elementary School and two were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Milpitas First Ward, on Green Valley Road in Fremont, where Harward was a member and a secretary for the bishop.

Georgia Right to Life moves from three- to one-exception endorsement policy for political candidates:

Georgia's largest anti-abortion organization is hardening its position and denying its endorsement of political candidates who say exceptions should be allowed in cases of rape and incest....The political action committee has long accepted the three exceptions. But three years ago, the group decided to adopt a "one exception" policy, which wouldn't go into effect until after the 2000 elections. Similar anti-abortion political organizations in several other states, including Michigan, have gone the same route.The National Right to Life organization in Washington, which operates independently, has not gone that far. It will still support national candidates who make allowances for abortion in cases of rape or incest. "We take a pragmatic approach," said spokeswoman Laura Echevarria.

A summary of Cardinal Law's June deposition

Church leaders previously chose not to publicize clergy sex abuse allegations because they did not want to dissuade other victims from coming forward, Law said. He acknowledged that they also wanted to protect the church from scandal. Church policies have since been revised to mandate the reporting of past and present allegations to authorities.

I don't know...doesn't publicizing a case actually work to bring other victims forward?

Germaine Greer rails against the Blairs.

Or, Tony, to be exact:

Ms Greer said: "The marriage of our own prime minister is an interesting case in point. That is a very weird relationship. I want to say to him, 'Leave her alone, for Christ's sake. She's 47 years old. She doesn't practise contraception because she is a Catholic. So stay off her!' "It seems there are contrasting notions of their duty to each other."
Cherie Blair, a leading QC, is recovering from a miscarriage. The Blairs' fourth child, Leo, who is two, was the first baby born to an incumbent prime minister since the 1840s.

Germaine Greer is a very interesting person, and an energetic, if not always clear thinker. You'd think she would know, however, that most Catholics artificially contracept as much as anyone else. You'd also think she wouldn't presume to know what the Blairs were doing in their bedroom...perhaps they actually conceived this last baby...on purpose? It's a brave thing to do at 47, but not unthinkable, by any means.

A report on how the "new media" (aka the Internet) has impacted press coverage of The Situation

The most interesting point in the article, in my view:

The Web has also changed things by allowing people to read news in cumulative batches, and not only as day-to-day coverage. Scandals may come and go, but when they are perceived as local and transitory they are more easily hushed up -- front page news today, relegated to the back pages next week. In contrast, the effect of reading through the Boston Globe’s outstanding Web archive is overwhelming, and contributes to the perception of the problem as systemic and international in scope.

Absolutely true. And what Catholic media outlets or web portals have taken the lead in gathering such information? The correct answer: D - None of the Above.

Excellent new blog: The Fathers of the Christian Church

(via Eve.

Mother Teresa voted India's greatest citizen
A story about the various groups in charge of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
One thing that continually bugs me is the contention, as stated in the Joliet article below, that before...what...1985...the problem of sexually abusing priests was seen as one that could be fixed by an "I'm sorry" and a transfer to another parish. I don't quite understand this and frankly, I don't believe it. I have a very difficult time believing that a Church with as well-developed and detailed moral theology as the Catholic Church, one in which moralists for centuries spent pages and gallons of ink picking apart the nature of sin, that priests abusing kids was seen as something to be treated with such relative ease.

It's hard for me to articulate this fully right now, what with Joseph tearing up my father's study and all, but here's the general shape of my thinking on this:

If what defenders say is true, then Catholic moral theology and, more importantly Catholic pastoral thinking deserved the condemnation it's received in the post-Conciliar years. Then it was superficial, it did allow sinners to do simply cursory "penance," feel better about themselves and move on to a new week of the exact same behavior. If this is the case then the Church's approach to sin, repentance and spiritual growth had devolved into a model of superficial, momentary satisfaction of Divine wrath via quick prayers and promises that could be easily broken because there was always the chance for another Confession around the corner.

Or - they're lying. Pure and simple. That is, it was not seen as a sin because a) children were expendable objects and b) the sexual abuse of boys had become structurally approved and an acceptable by-product of the priestly culture.

Your clarifying and corrective thoughts welcome.

A long, devastating account of abusing priests in the Diocese of Joliet. Sounds like an enormous mess. Too much of interest to pull just one quote, but I'm interested in your comments.

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