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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Latest on AMSL

Mirror of Justice has comments. Read it here.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:11 PM. |

Cardinal McCarrick to Ignore Vatican Instruction

In the same Washington Post story discussed below, Cardinal McCarrick asserted that he would not follow the Vatican Instruction. Of course, instead of just extending his middle finger towards the Vatican, McCarrick spoke with less confrontational tones. After all, he does not need to directly assault the Vatican or its teaching, simply ignoring it will do.


Several prelates, including Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, indicated that they will continue to ordain seminarians regardless of sexual orientation, as long as the candidates are committed to live in celibacy and to uphold church teachings.

"It is important to look at the whole person. One issue of many that are looked at in the overall evaluation process is in the area of human sexuality," McCarrick said in a written statement. "Applicants for the Archdiocese of Washington must have a demonstrated commitment to living a chaste life and must fully embrace, through belief and action, the Church's teachings, including those on human sexuality."

Asked whether that means the archdiocese will still accept gay seminarians, the cardinal's spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs, said: "We don't anticipate our admissions policy changing based on the document. There can be people whose orientation is homosexual if it's not such a strong part of their makeup that it interferes with their ability to live out church teaching. It's part of the larger picture we have to look at."

Fumed by Boethius at 9:19 AM. |

Will the real Bishop Skylstad please stand up

Yesterday, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Catholic Bishops, Bishop William Sklystad, reiterated the position of the Vatican's recent Instruction on the ordination of homosexuals. He stated:

"However, if homosexual tendencies are indicative of a passing problem in the candidate's life, he can be considered for Holy Orders if he has demonstrated that these tendencies have been overcome at least three years prior to ordination to the deaconate, which is the point at which a man becomes a cleric."

After reading Sklystad's entire statement, I have to so that I was surprised and impressed. That was yesterday, however.

Today, Bishop Skylstad offers a more "nuanced" interpretation. OK, actually there's nothing nuanced about it. Today's interpretation is in direct contradiction to yesterday's and to the Vatican's Instruction. Here's what Skylstad said in an interview with the Washington Post:

"I think one of the telling sentences in the document is the phrase that the candidate's entire life of sacred ministry must be 'animated by a gift of his whole person to the church and by an authentic pastoral charity,' [i]f that becomes paramount in his ministry, even though he might have a homosexual orientation, then he can minister and he can minister celibately and chastely."


What part of "[homosexual] tendencies must be clearly overcome" do you not understand? What part of your own statement do you not understand?

Bishop D'Arcy of South Bend said as much, calling Skystad's interpretation "simply wrong."

"I would say yes, absolutely, it does bar anyone whose sexual orientation is towards one's own sex and it's permanent," D'Arcy said in an interview with the Washington Post. "I don't think there's any doubt about it. . . . I don't think we can fuss around with this."

I think that Bishop's Skylstad's differing interpretations from yesterday and today shows what happens when a President of the U.S.C.C.B. does not prepare his own written statements. Unfortunately, today's Bishop Skylstad is more likely the real one. Yesterday's Skylstad, was likely just a U.S.C.C.B. staffer.


UPDATE: Bishop Skylstad also offers this gem (also from the Washington Post):

Skylstad took a similar approach. He said the barring of men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" refers to those who are "principally defined by" or whose "primary identification" is their sexual orientation. Although the document does not say so, he said, the same implicitly applies to men who have deep-seated heterosexual impulses.

"Absolutely, it cuts both ways. . . . I think if the orientation dominates one's personality, whether that be homosexual or heterosexual," then the candidate is not suitable for ordination, Skylstad said. "You know, a heterosexual person who cannot live the celibate life in fidelity to his mission, in fidelity to appropriate boundaries, is not going to be called by the church to priesthood, either."

Pop quiz for Bishop Skylstad: Are hetersexual tendencies (whether "deep-seated" or not) disordered? (And no cheating, Bishop Skylstad. You are not permitted to look up the answer. Additionally, the answer must be given in a "yes" or "no" format.)

Fumed by Boethius at 8:59 AM. |

"Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court..."

I haven't written much about the Scheidler v. NOW case, which is "that other case" being argued this morning before Ayotte, because just about all one could say about it was said back in June in this post, and then -- in response to NOW President Kim Gandy's temper tantrum over our first post -- this little follow-up.

What's happened in the interim? Well, this time out NOW has placed its hopes in Duke Law professor (and best friend to BarBri students who find themselves a little short in the Constitutional Law department) Erwin Chemerinsky, who authored their brief on the merits and will argue their side today. And their argument has morphed a bit sice the cert brief, most noteably in NOW's recent concession that Chief Justice Rehnquist's 2003 opinion for the 8-1 majority in Scheidler II did, in fact, mean that all the predicate acts supporting the RICO finding must be reversed, etc., etc. Now the crux of their argument is that the Supreme Court messed up last time and needs to reverse itself and go on to a Hobbs Act analysis, then a RICO injunction analysis, and finally reach a result 180-degrees from the result reached in 2003.

Unfortunately for NOW, while Professor Chemerinsky is wonderful at explaining Con Law in a way even the most clueless law student can understand, he's not often on the right side of constitutional debates. But given his track record arguing thankless liberal cases before the Supreme Court it's safe to assume he's become accustomed to disappointment and will survive a loss in Scheidler III as well.

I'll be at the argument (and likely will stay for Ayotte), but will try (almost)liveblogging as soon as things wrap up with some initial thoughts on how things went. Hopefully the little Palm OS app I installed today will work. Oh, and don't worry...I've brought my hard hat to wear as I walk under the facade of the courthouse!

Send an Ave Maria up right about 10:00 am EST, if you would, for the families of Joe Scheidler and his co-defendants, and for the unborn children who give meaning to the 20-year ordeal NOW has put them through.

UPDATE: Chemerinsky got spanked by the Supremes. The liberal justices were most talkative. Scalia was right on and even Roberts, CJ got in on the action. More later. By the way, Chemerinsky does write a nice conlaw book.

Fumed by Ryder at 4:52 AM. |

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What has this world come to?

This has to be the saddest article I have ever read:

Amanda, a 20-year-old administrative assistant, says it's not the obstacles that surprise her -- it's how normal and unashamed she feels as she prepares to end her first pregnancy.

"It's an everyday occurrence," she says as she waits for her 2:30 p.m. abortion. "It's not like this is a rare thing."

Amanda hasn't told her ex-boyfriend that she's 15 weeks pregnant with his child. She hasn't told her parents, either, though she lives with them.

"I figured it was my responsibility," she says.

She regrets having to pay $750 for the abortion, but Amanda says she does not doubt her decision. "It's not like it's illegal. It's not like I'm doing anything wrong," she says.

"I've been praying a lot and that's been a real source of strength for me. I really believe God has a plan for us all. I have a choice, and that's part of my plan."

(Emphasis added.) That she thinks killing her baby is not "anything wrong" because it is not illegal is proof that Roe v. Wade is not about "choice" and that the law is necessary to lead men to virtue.

His first patient of the day, Sarah, 23, says it never occurred to her to use birth control, though she has been sexually active for six years. When she became pregnant this fall, Sarah, who works in real estate, was in the midst of planning her wedding. "I don't think my dress would have fit with a baby in there," she says.

The last patient of the day, a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie, has had four abortions in the last 12 years. She keeps forgetting to take her birth control pills. Abortion "is a bummer," she says, "but no big stress."

(Emphasis added.) The author, Stephanie Simon, is just plain sick if she thinks she can legitimize what is the epitome of selfish behavior by writing a sappy human interest piece about it. The mere fact that she doesn't question the utter horror of what is going on demonstrates how psychopathic she is.

Harrison glances at an ultrasound screen frozen with an image of the fetus taken moments before. Against the fuzzy black-and-white screen, he sees the curve of a head, the bend of an elbow, the ball of a fist.

"You may feel some cramping while we suction everything out," Harrison tells the patient.

Come on, you can't get rid of Roe v. Wade. Everbody's doing it!

That reasoning rightfully didn't work with slavery. I don't see why it should work now.

Fumed by Thursday at 6:01 PM. |

Homosexual Tendencies Must be "Clearly Overcome"

The official text of the Vatican's Instruction regarding the admission of homosexuals to the seminary is here (in pdf format). The text is very similar to the unofficial translation which was released last week. After a quick perusal of the official text, there is one important difference that I caught.

Whereas the unofficial text stated that homosexual tendencies "must be overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate," the official text states that homosexual tendencies "must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate." [Emphasis added.]

Even better.

Fumed by Boethius at 3:59 PM. |

Monday, November 28, 2005


Read this.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:26 PM. |

She looks bored....

...but I'm sure the book is riveting.

UPDATE: Luminary endorses Cindy's Book:

"Cindy's is the final tear for the overflow and you can't stop running water." --Joan Baez

I've changed my mind. How could I have been so wrong. I guess the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:36 AM. |

Thursday, November 24, 2005

As you gather with loved ones today...

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There's always laughter and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
-Hilaire Belloc

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fumed by Ryder at 12:27 PM. |

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Unofficial Translation of Vatican Document on Homosexuals in the Priesthood

CWnews has posted an unofficial translation of the long-awaited document on the admission of Homosexuals to the priesthood. Here's the money-quote:


From Vatican II until today, several documents of the Magisterium—and especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church— have confirmed the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. The Catechism differentiates between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies.

Regarding acts, it teaches that, in Sacred Scripture, these are presented as grave sins. Tradition has constantly considered them to be intrinsically immoral and contrary to natural law. These, consequently, may not be approved in any case.

Concerning profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, that one discovers in a certain number of men and women, these are also objectively disordered and often constitute a trial, even for these men and women. These people must be received with respect and delicacy; one will avoid every mark of unjust discrimination with respect to them. These are called to realize the will of God in their lives and to unite to the Sacrifice of the Lord the difficulties that they may encounter.

In light of this teaching, this department, in agreement with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, holds it necessary clearly to affirm that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, may not admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practice homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.

The above persons find themselves, in fact, in a situation that gravely obstructs a right way of relating with men and women. The negative consequences that may derive from the Ordination of persons with profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies are by no means to by ignored.

If, however, one is dealing with homosexual tendencies that may be simply the expression of a transitory problem, such as for example an adolescence not yet complete, such tendencies must be overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.

[emphasis added.]


Overall, I like the document. Even the oft-discussed "three-year period" seems to take a pretty firm approach because it requires not just a three-year abstention from homosexual acts, but the overcoming even of homosexual tendencies.

The one thing I don't like, however, is that the three year period is the three years prior to ordination to the diaconate. Minor seminary lasts four years and then seminarians go on to major seminary for four years. That means that seminaries are permitted to admit to minor seminary those with homosexual tendencies. I think it would be better to keep all men with homosexual tendencies out of both major and minor seminary.

Lastly, the whole document will remain purely academic unless it is enforced. After all, aren't Catholic seminaries (and colleges) currently supposed to be teaching orthodox Catholicism? I am skeptical that that is currently happening and am similarly skeptical that this document will have any meaningful impact.


UPDATE: From the L.A. Times:

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said that seminary candidates in Los Angeles already are required to be celibate for at least two years before they can be admitted.

"The challenge, I think, for the media is to make sure it is not sort of taken out of context," Tamberg said. "There will be some people who from what they hear in the media will think: 'Oh my God, this means no gay will ever be ordained in the priesthood again or anybody with a homosexual orientation will never be ordained again.' That's simply not true."

Though the specific instructions pertain to homosexuality, they should be seen as part of many efforts to address spiritual challenges for men considering the priesthood, Tamberg added. More important than sexual orientation is an ability to lead others to Christ, he said.

"Any impediment that would prevent a priest from fulfilling that duty is cause for examination or disqualification," Tamberg said. "That could be one's sexuality that, one way or the other, gets in the way; it could be alcoholism; it could be that that person is incredibly selfish and not willing to give of themselves in the measure that is required of a priest."

Me: I know I shouldn't be surprised that this is L.A.'s approach, but it still makes me ill.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:17 AM. |

Basia Me, Catholica Sum...*

...but only if you're a girl.

* Kiss me, I'm Catholic...

Fumed by Ryder at 12:04 AM. |

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Not Quite Sure Whether This Is the Way to Be the Earth's Good Stewards

During my lifetime, I believe that I have been exposed to a lot of different ideas, theories, and arguments, both those with which I agree and those with which I disagree. I don't think that I've had a particularly sheltered existence, and I think that I have encountered at some point in my life or education even the most radical or extreme theories. I must confess, however, that this is an idea that I have never before encountered, and is an idea which I wouldn't have thought possible for a rational human being to hold.

It seems to me to be a position far more illogical than despairing and committing suicide: a person committing suicide illogically believes that the world would have been a better place if he as an individual had never existed, but he doesn't hold that the world would have a been a better place if humanity as a whole had never existed.

The position certainly must be the most unnatural position one could hold, as it is a complete denial of the worth of one's own human nature.

At Orthodoxy, Eh!, more thoughts on the article.

Fumed by Thales at 9:03 PM. |

The Population Of Hell

This article by Avery Cardinal Dulles is dated, but is still a great read. Dulles gives a very balanced account of the various positions that have been taken throughout the centuries concerning the number of the damned. There are a number of passages that serve to instill a healthy fear of hell. Take, for example, the following:

"Several studies published by Catholics early in the twentieth century concluded that there was a virtual consensus among the Fathers of the Church and the Catholic theologians of later ages to the effect that the majority of humankind go to eternal punishment in hell."

But Dulles also provides reason for hope:

"The earlier pessimism was based on the unwarranted assumption that explicit Christian faith is absolutely necessary for salvation. This assumption has been corrected, particularly at Vatican II."

Dulles concludes that we have no certitude as to whether many or few will be damned, an uncertainty that may exist due to the wisdom of God:

"All told, it is good that God has left us without exact information. If we knew that virtually everybody would be damned, we would be tempted to despair. If we knew that all, or nearly all, are saved, we might become presumptuous. If we knew that some fixed percent, say fifty, would be saved, we would be caught in an unholy rivalry. We would rejoice in every sign that others were among the lost, since our own chances of election would thereby be increased. Such a competitive spirit would hardly be compatible with the gospel."

Fumed by Sine Metu at 11:36 AM. |

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Ratchet Phenomenon

Diogenes has an excellent post on the "ratchet phenomenon" of liberalism and its effect on both the world and Catholicism. He explains:

"A ratchet is a device that permits a wheel to rotate in one direction only. The mechanism allows change, but it can only "advance." This advance has been mythologized by the Left as a synonym of improvement (preposterously, since you can advance toward calamity as well as toward triumph). Yet the Lefties designed the Social Change Machine we all use -- conservatives as well as liberals -- and political "progress" (or "moving forward," or "advance") has come to mean change in the direction built into the mechanism."

Diogenes provides several examples of the ratchet phenomenon. While reading John Allen's column over the weekend, I thought of another. The U.S. Bishop's are currently debating whether to accept a revised, but more traditional, translation of the Mass. (The revision is requested by the Vatican in Liturgiam Authenticam). 56% of the bishops polled prefer not making the change. Cardinal George explained this result: "
There are those who have been quite critical of the [older] translation, but who are now saying that we don't want to disturb the people, especially in the situation of weakened episcopal authority we have now."

In other words, liberal bishops who had no qualms about "disturbing the people" with post-Vatican II changes, now don't want to "disturb the people" with further change. Of course, the proposed change this time is not a liberal proposal, but a traditional one.

The ratchet phenomenon.

Another obvious example of the ratchet phenomenon is liberals' selective love for stare decisis. After modernizing the law to suit their ideology, liberals declare that stare decisis prevents their favorite Supreme Court decisions from ever being overturned. This is liberals' primary defense these days of Roe v. Wade. You'll notice, however, that stare decisis did not prevent the liberals on the Court from overturning Bowers v. Hardwick when it declared in Lawrence v. Texas that states may not criminalize sodomy. Once the liberal changes to the law have been made (as with abortion and sodomy), however, the ratchet phenomenon once again comes into play in an attempt to prevent those changes from ever being reversed.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:20 AM. |

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Member of the Vast Heteronormative Conspiracy

Matthew Petterson, who blogs on the Claremont Institute's blog, The Remedy, and who also happens to hail from That Anonymous College, has some interesting Heteronormative Ramblings on the Highly Ranked (in two parts) regarding the ridiculous behavior at the "top ranked" universities that belies their lack of what it was that made them tops in the first place.

I am not sure what upsets me more, the universities' obvious, malicious attempt to change the culture which is by every right my own, or the fact that they are turning generations of what are supposedly America's brightest into pusillanimous whiners.

The Claremont Review of Books, which is always in season, ran this essay, Profiles in Diversity, last summer regarding the further destructive, yet all too passe, behavior at America's greatest money pits.

Fumed by Thursday at 10:16 PM. |

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Like it or not, Protestants are Heretics

One of my all time favorite shrines is the tomb of St. Ignatius Loyola in the Church of the Gesu in Rome. In its baroque glory, St. Ignatius is depicted as "ascending" towards heaven in a beautiful image above the altar that rests upon his remains. On either side of the altar, are two sets of figures. The set of figures on the right hand side is my favorite. Allow me to paint a picture for you from my recollection: The name of the set of figures is "The Triumph of the Faith over Heresy" (or something to that effect). What is depicted in incarnate marble is a woman holding a cross with a clum,p of hair in her hand. At her feet is a cherub, playfully grinning tearing pages out of several books. Under the feet of the woman and cherub are two figures writhing in pain (from having thier hair plucked out) and being strangled by snakes--Laocoon-like. In the twisted and pained figures' hands (similarly coiled by the serpents) are two books. The first book's binding reads LUTHER, and the second, CALVIN.

I post this because of the apparent weak-knees with some of the responses to my hyperbole below. The great discomfort of some to call Protestants heretics is disturbing. In recent years we have seen a whittling away of the traditional theological vocabulary that has marked the Church's thought for two millenia. "Parishes" are now called, "faith communities." "Sanctuaries" are now called "worship spaces." "Fat ladies in stretch pants" are now variously called "Eucharistic ministers," "Directors of Religious Education," or "Pastoral Associates." Ultimately, I consider the deeper problem to be a failure to see reality--the failure to see things as they truly are. We are living now, as one Jesuit put it, in an "age of unreality."

Therefore, to dispel any cloudy thought which exists, I will give a nod to Mr. Belloc in his definition of a Heresy in general:

Heresy is the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein.

and further...

Heresy means, then, the warping of a system by "Exception": by"Picking out" one part of the structure and implies that the scheme is marred by taking away one part of it, denying one part of it, and either leaving the void unfilled or filling it with some new affirmation.

The denial of a scheme wholesale is not heresy, and has not the creative power of a heresy. It is of the essence of heresy that it leaves standing a great part of the structure it attacks. On this account it can appeal to believers and continues to affect their lives through deflecting them from their original characters. Wherefore, it is said of heresies that "they survive by the truths they retain."

(Excerpts taken from Belloc, H. The Great Heresies)

***Boy do I love that group of figures at Ignatius' tomb!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:38 AM. |

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Looks like the gig is up--they've caught Bowman.

Has anyone seen this? "radical religious fringe institution"? "third tier fundagelical [sic] law schools"? Last time I checked, we were beating the pants of top tier law schools. We just won the Michigan Moot Court Competition for the third straight year, and this time U of M deigned to participate.

This whole idea that the mainstream is by definition right is just ridiculous. Secularists, like lemmings, are just wrong en masse. Besides, the majority of America is religous, and Christian at that. It is people outside the mainstream that forced the current consitutional jurispridence on America. Just because they were successful in fooling, or conspiring with, the courts, doesn't mean that the "mainstream" of America holds such views.

Fumed by Thursday at 3:46 PM. |

Another Sad Article About a Woman's "Choice"

Continuing the theme from my post a little while ago, yesterday's Washington Post contains a chilling personal story from about a mother and her decision to abort a child with Down Syndrome. The whole article is accessible here. Mirror of Justice has a good commentary on the article.

Perhaps what bothers me most about the article are the last two lines:
As for that baby that will never be, I will remember him always. But I'm quite certain that I made the right choice for the three of us.
I'm not convinced. I happen to personally know several people with Down Syndrome (and their parents) who have very happy and fulfilled lives. I know none who have had such miserable lives that the world would have been a better place if they had never existed to begin with.

Fumed by Thales at 1:55 PM. |

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Devil's Perspective

Sheridan was dismayed over Howard's comments and on Oct. 20 apologized on behalf of the diocese.

SCREWTAPE: Ohh (insert orgasmic shouts of joy)...Thank you, Your Excellency! Now we have a whole generation of Catholics who don't believe that Sunday Mass is obligatory; that don't believe that the Eucharist is the Most Holy Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ; that believes condoms, jams, jellies and the like are ok to prevent pregnancy; and that believes feeding the poor is understood as those who are economically poor--not taking into consideration spiritual poverty or other more serious types of poverty. Now, we can confuse them theologically even more with the assistance of their half-wits they call bishops. One of the most brilliant things we've done is to confuse the heaven out of people with our spin on Nostra Aetate. Tee-hee-hee, its the old bait and switch! Get them to believe that praying with Protestant heretics is "mandated" by the Church. Lead them further down the road by indicating that praying with the Protestants means accepting and believing as the Protestants do. Then get their bishop to go along with it! Tee-hee-hee! It is indeed a good time to be a master baiter.

UPDATE: Mea maxima culpa for impugning Bishop Sheridan. The posts on this issue have been very good and have given great pause. I intended my post as hyperbole to demonstrate a larger problem in the Church by capitalizing on a particular case--the seeming inability of our bishops to take a stand (even on simple things).

I also maintain (as doggedly as I have before) that Mr. Howard's piece was in keeping with the Catholic tradition--a measured and prudential and CORRECT response to give to a query as written. (Not all of the faithful are as theologically astute as this crowd!)

I too know what it is like to work in a large diocese (and in Catholic education). The beauracracy is overpowering and the things that an individual bishop has to deal with are also overpowering. That being said. I disagree with the bishop's actions and feel free to criticize him.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:44 AM. |

Monday, November 14, 2005

The End of the Affair

I hope this message reaches David Lat, recently-outed author of one of my favorite blogs, "Underneath Their Robes," which I'd link to if somebody (and don't go blaming his bosses at DOJ just yet) hadn't yanked it down today:

I hearby revoke my marriage proposal. I just can't marry a dude. You led me on, Article III Groupie, along with the hoards of other male admirers you attracted with your hot-pink homepage and come-hither use of the vernacular. I knew it was too good to be true.

Currently listening to: The Dance (Garth Brooks)

UPDATE: Apparently, Judge Alito is feeling as betrayed by A3G (or should I say "D3L"?) as me.

Fumed by Ryder at 9:39 PM. |

ABC on C.S.L.'s TCON and J.R.R.T.'s LOTR

Denver's Archbishop Chaput (ABC) on C.S. Lewis' (CSL) The Chronicles of Narnia (TCON) and J.R.R. Tolkien's (JRRT) The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).

Fumed by Boethius at 4:18 PM. |

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Quick Thought on Criticism

To criticize, to destroy, is not difficult; any unskilled laborer knows how to drive his pick into the noble and finely-hewn stone of a cathedral.

To construct -- that is what requires the skill of a master.
I stumbled upon this little saying today, and was particularly struck by the insightful analogy after considering our mission as baptized Christians to build up the Kingdom of God (and its manifestations in various earthly institutions). Its author is a man much more holy and wise than I am, a canonized saint. Readers of Fumare are probably familiar with him; in fact, some of our readers might even benefit by giving his writings a second look.

Fumed by Thales at 6:18 PM. |

Saturday, November 12, 2005


So there I was. Driving down the road in a somewhat rural part of the country outside of the military installation that I am assigned to. I was going to pick up a dear friend who was coming to visit us from across the country. The trees were without leaves, the air was cold and crisp, your typical November day. But, as I would soon discover, not your typical Veteran's Day.

I was listening to the "Doctor of Democracy"--your friend and mine--Rush Limbaugh, when he began to give a tribute to our Nation's veterans. He went over the history of Veterans Day, recalling that it began with Armistice Day--paying tribute to our fallen heroes from WWI. Then it came...He quoted G.K. CHESTERTON!!! I almost swerved off the road! Wow! It was one of my favorite passages from Orthodoxy and is applicable especially to anyone of the male sex. Read it here. (I would have posted this yesterday--can't believe I didn't!)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:46 AM. |

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans' Day

MICHAEL YON, EMBEDDED BLOGGER: Well, I shot that photo on a day when a suicide or homicide car bomber ran into one of our Stryker vehicles, injured a couple of our soldiers, and, unfortunately, there were a lot of children who had crowded around to wave at our people. And the attackers had every opportunity to just wait a couple of blocks and attack our guys later, without the children being around, but instead chose to attack straight through the children. And Major Bieger, who is in the photo, found the little girl -- her name is Farah -- and decided he wanted to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. And so he picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and loaded her into one of our vehicles and started to take her to the hospital as fast as possible. And unfortunately, little Farah died en route.

It is appropriate that Veteran's Day is in the Month of the Holy Souls. Thank our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines--past and present--and pray for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

To all of our servicemen and the innocent victims of war: Requiescant in pace.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:26 PM. |

Wall Street Journal Piece on AMSOL

Wow! Check this out. It's hit the big time now.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 8:21 AM. |

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ars Gratia Artis


Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:40 PM. |

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Clash of Civilizations

Buchanan is right on here. The key point to be made is that Muslims have never fully (and don't want to) assimilated into Western culture. In fact--by all accounts--they will not assimilate. Thus, they are left to their ethnic enclaves, do not participate in civic and social groups, and introduce Sharia law through their unwitting pawns in the liberal-politico establishment.

There have actually been some courageous voices from Rome--as there should be:

"In reality,"says Civiltà Cattolica, "for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger." Now, in its radical, terrorist form, it is doing so again - but up until now no one at the Vatican, and precious few elsewhere, have taken much notice.

(The aforementioned article is a few years old, but like the Summa Theologiae, relevant and timely.)

Given the situation in France, maybe we ought to take this threat more seriously. Militarily we seem to be there, but much more important and much more essential is the cultural battle. This should be a clarion call for everyone to shore up and maintain our Christian Culture: Thursday, start having kids right away (after you have made your vows)! Phlogizo, start a Schola at your local parish! Devil's Advocate, puff the smoke from your pipe into some prickly feminist's face! Ryder, puff the smoke from your pipe into some prickly feminist's face. And everyone, say the grace before meals publicly "magna cum voce" at a restaurant! Just some practical hints to maintain sanity in a world that is rapidly drifting--if not already there--towards barbarism.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 7:46 AM. |

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

S. Ivo, ora pro nobis.

A medieval rhyme that is appropriate for us lawyers. Especially appropriate in this Month of the Holy Souls. It is in honor of the great St. Ives (1303), Patron of Lawyers:


Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 8:03 PM. |

Monday, November 07, 2005


Gay cowboy? I wonder if the producers of "Brokebrain Mountain" ever spoke with a cowboy? If my brother-in-law catches wind of this, there'll be hell to pay.

It's time we cowboy-up and boycott movie producers, directors, and production companies that produce this tripe. Boycotting a single movie is not good enough, as revenue from acceptable movies enables them to produce this kind of trash. Producers and actors need to know that making one objectionable movie will have serious consequences for their careers.

Is there a site that keeps a record of such things? If not, there should be, and we should all use it before we spend our money.

Fumed by Thursday at 9:22 AM. |

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm sorry, did you say you want your cake and plan on eating it?

A soon-to-be-classic from Zach Brissett over at In Toon With the World...

(click for larger version)
Couldn't say it any better, Zach.

Fumed by Ryder at 12:12 PM. |

Clinton and Gore on Iraq . . . in 1998

Jonah Goldberg of NRO has the goods on President Clinton's and Vice-President Gore's belief that Iraq had WMD's. The following quotes are from 1998.


Clinton: If he refuses or continues to evade his obligations through more tactics of delay and deception, he and he alone will be to blame for the consequences. … Now, let’s imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction…? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.

Gore: If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He’s already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world.


My comments: It's always good to have a reminder of exactly what Clinton and Gore said. It makes the current Democrat chorus of "Bush lied" that much more egregious.

Fumed by Boethius at 10:25 AM. |

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Catholic Law Schools

Mirror of Justice has posted an article from the National Catholic Reporter on Catholic Law Schools.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:38 PM. |

Grammick at Univ. of Detroit

Sister Jeannine Gramick recently spoke at the University of Detroit on (what else?) the topic of homosexuality.

"When we read about homosexuality in the scriptures, it's always about homosexual acts that are condemned," she said. "There is no condemnation of homosexual love relationships. In fact, the writers of the scriptures, the human persons who wrote the scriptures down, had no concept, had no understanding, of what we now call constitutional homosexuality."

So that's what the Gay movement is all about, "homosexual love relationships." Silly me, I thought it was about anal and oral sex. I wonder . . . is AIDS transmissible through a "homosexual love relationship"? I'll have to ask a doctor.

"Paul and other writers of scriptures thought everyone was constitutionally heterosexual," she said. "Paul had no idea that approximately 10 percent of the population - maybe more - is constitutionally, naturally, oriented toward [people] of their own gender. He didn't know that."

Nevertheless, Gramick said there were examples of same-sex love relationships in the scriptures, pointing to the stories of Ruth and Naomi and David and Jonathan.

"The point is there's no condemnation of homosexual love relationships and there are same-sex relationships [in the Bible]," she said.

Sister Gramick and the University of Detroit, which hosted her, are an embarassment. Church teaching on this subject is definitive and unchangeable. Homosexual acts are sinful. Same-sex attraction is disordered.

In the words of Father John Hardon, S.J., "Close the book."

Fumed by Boethius at 11:36 AM. |

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Semper Fi

Please keep in your prayers the repose of the soul of Major Gerald Bloomfield II, USMC, cousin of one of our Ave Maria School of Law classmates, who was killed today when the helicopter he was flying was shot down near Ramadi, Iraq. For more information about Major Bloomfield, including a video news clip, click here.

It is no coincidence that Major Bloomfield died on November 2d. Please read the post below this one, and the first comment therein, and pray with particularity for the soul of this fallen hero during the octave of All Souls!

Requiesat in Pace

UPDATE: The thought that al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the murders of Maj. Bloomfield and his co-pilot should not surprise me, but it has. Once again, this band of murderous thugs has touched my life and those of my friends in a profoundly personal manner. I'm also surprised because my nightly news has been telling me for years now that the Iraq war has nothing to do with al Qaeda. So my question is this: did al Qaeda come to Iraq just to shoot Maj. Bloomfield down? No matter how that question is answered, the fact remains that there is an enemy out there determined to harm us, our brothers and sisters, cousins and friends. That enemy brought this conflict to our shores, and we have returned the favor. Pray for the repose of the soul of Maj. Bloomfield and the 2035+ other heroes who have given their lives in the effort.

Fumed by Ryder at 11:40 PM. |

In Memoriam Defunctorum

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:14 PM. |

Specter and Alito

Arlen Specter (RHINO - Pa.) is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter is virulently pro-abortion. It is therefore interesting that Specter has seemingly come out in favor of Judge Samuel Alito. Sure, Specter will ask Alito questions about the "Right to Privacy" and Griswold and "precedent", but the early indication is that Specter will support Alito much like he supported John Roberts and that Alito will be confirmed.

Specter's support for Alito could be one of the main reasons Alito was picked by President Bush. Alito currently sits on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, in Specter's home state. Various news reports indicate that Specter is familiar with Alito and that he respects Alito as an impartial jurist.

By picking Alito, the Administration satisfied the conservative base and Specter. That is no small feat.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:00 AM. |