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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Never forget.

Today, 3/31/06, is the first anniversary of Terri Schiavo's euthanization. Please pray for Terri, her family, and the husband who -- in the final analysis -- bowed to pressure from the euthanasia movement in bringing about Terri's death.

Click here for more.

Fumed by Ryder at 12:01 PM. |

US News and World Report Law School Rankings

The US News and World Report has updated their website with the current information on law school rankings for the coming year. (Not all the information is accessible for those without the premium edition; you may just have to go down to your local newsstand to get the magazine for a more complete statistical comparison.) Specific statistics for Ave Maria can be found here, and the other schools that Ave Maria compares with can be found here.

Fumed by Thales at 10:13 AM. |

Valerie Convertino in Detroit Free Press

Today's Detroit Free Press is carrying this local comment in its editorial section, written by Valerie Convertino, wife of Rick Convertino, friend of Ave Maria, on her husband's recent indictment. Many of us at Fumare have respect for Rick Convertino, and we are holding him and his family in our prayers as they go through this difficult time.

Fumed by Thales at 9:19 AM. |

Wednesday, March 29, 2006








Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:57 PM. |

Abdul Rahman and the Clash of Civilizations

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post has an interesting editorial about Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christianity from Islam who was charged with apostasy, a crime which carries the death sentence. The charges were dropped on account of "insanity." (Several Western nations, including the Vatican in a letter from the Pope, had made appeals for clemency on Rahman's behalf.) What is noteworthy is Cohen's observation that the Rahman situation demonstrates that we are not simply facing a few insane terrorist individuals, but rather a true difference of cultures.
But you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You say it is a few crazed terrorists of Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.

Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture.

. . . .

It is also frightening to confront how differently we in the West think about such matters and why the word "culture" is not always a mask for bigotry, but an honest statement of how things are. It is sometimes a bridge too far -- the leap that cannot be made. I can embrace an Afghan for his children, his work, even his piety -- all he shares with much of humanity. But when he insists that a convert must die, I am stunned into disbelief: Is this my fellow man?
The most recent news is that Afghanistan wants to prevent Rahman from leaving the country, even though Italy has offered asylum. With the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Afghan clerics, leaders, and citizens demanding Rahman's death, if Rahman is not allowed to leave the country, he might still be subject to a death sentence.

Fumed by Thales at 9:55 AM. |

Monday, March 27, 2006


We, the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association of Ave Maria School of Law, on behalf of all alumni, confer upon Charles E. Rice permanent membership in this Association, with the benefits, privileges, and entitlements that are accorded with such membership.

Be it known that the intention of this conference is not so much to honor Charles E. Rice, but to honor each alumnus of Ave Maria School of Law, and the Alumni Association, who by claiming Professor Rice as one of our own, are accorded the greater honor.

Professor Charles Rice--Catholic, jurist, teacher, scholar and mentor--we recognize you as the first to have alumnus status conferred by the Alumni Association. May all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you will become reflect, inasmuch as your capacity enables you to do so, the light of Christ, our Lord.

In His glory, in honor of Ave Maria School of Law, its alumni and their Alumni Association, and in thanksgiving to Mary, our Mother, we welcome you.



[This went out to all Alumni last week. It was done pursuant to the Alumni Association bylaws. Curiously, I'm told that this action was taken over a month ago.]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:10 PM. |


[At the outset: This post is especially in honor of our our dear friend JTCorey. He is a Catholic, scholar, wit (some might add "half"), veteran of Desert Storm, friend, and all around pun guy.]

We here at FUMARE keep before our eyes the true, the good, and the beautiful; and while most of our posts focus on the the true and the good, there are a dearth of postings on the beautiful. To remedy this I have decided to post on a topic that was first suggested to me months ago by Mr. Corey: the beauty of woman--but not just any woman!

Now, lest there be any misunderstanding, AM is happily married to Mrs. Militaris--THE most gorgeous, smart, witty, holy and SMOKIN' babe on the planet (who is the best mom in the world)! And, if I may say so, I believe most of my jealous single colleagues who post on this blog will confirm the aforementioned. However--though it pains me--I will leave for another day, another and more glorious post for Mrs. Militaris.

Today's post is dedicated to a babe who is a frequent topic of conversation amongst those who blog, and the object of many a good Catholic man's fantasies. While she has yet to appear in GQ, no doubt she'll check that box before long. Let's meet this smoking siren--and there is no better way than for her to speak for herself:

She's a 24-year-old member of the legal profession with a conservative bent, a Catholic philosophy, too much education and a smart mouth. A dangerous combination.

Yes, folks it is Miss Zanotti--Catholic, commentator, citizen, conservative...and a visitor to FUMARE! No doubt, much of the wisdom she has imbibed over the last year was due, in large measure, to the insightful and scintillating analysis given here. Ex opere operato as it were. But in any event, I salute Miss Zanotti and her blog for insightful analysis, great wit and a damn good time.

I wish her only the best: being a good wife and mother of 12 kids with a husband who worships you--not unlike I with Mrs. Militaris (JT, guys, what are you waiting for!).

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:36 PM. |

M.D. = Mortis Doctor

The Third Reich had their own "bed blockers"--they were variously called Jews, Catholics, Gypsies, Poles, political dissidents, etc.

UPDATE: Diogenes cites an article that clarifies the use of the term "Nazi" in terms of an easy appellation to target those who propagate the Culture of Death. It is in this nuanced way--and the reason I chose "the Third Reich"--that I intend this post. I especially am reminded of Dr. Alfred Hoche, when reading the modern attempts at removing "blockers of beds."

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:13 AM. |

Friday, March 24, 2006


Dear Alumni,

Dean Dobranski recently announced that Ave Maria School of Law will be updating the Feasibility Study relating to a possible move of the school to Florida. We know you have strong feelings on this matter, and want to be heard and well-represented in this important decision. To that end, your Alumni Association called an emergency meeting today, March 24, to discuss this issue. We formed a Feasibility Study Committee to ensure Alumni have a meaningful role in the process. We want to be a channel for your thoughts and concerns on the move, and all issues relating to it. The Dean has clarified that his call for input today related only to the type of information to be considered in the Feasibility Study and not opinions on the potential move. Still, this Committee welcomes input of any kind on this topic, and we want to be prepared to present your opinions at the proper time. If you prefer to communicate with the Dean directly, please feel free to copy us (or let us know your thoughts independently), as we want to gather and present a complete picture of Alumni opinions on all aspects of this decision.
Our next regular Alumni Association meeting is April 4, and the Committee will be discussing meaningful proposals for how Alumni expect to be involved in the Feasibility Study process and potential move decision. We will present the appropriate items to the Board of Governors and all of those involved in the Feasibility Study and potential move decision. We want your comments and thoughts on this, and will be sending you regular communications to inform you of where the process stands, and how our feedback to the Administration and Board of Directors is received. Please email any of the Committee Members at the addresses below at any time.
Finally, please pray for this process and for Ave Maria School of Law (and all those associated with it) at this critical time. May our Mother guide us every step of the way to the will of Our Lord.
Thank you,

Mark Rohlena
Chair, Feasibility Study Committee

Justin Berger '03- jberger[at]fcnlaw[dot]com
Thomas Flickinger '03- tflickinger[at]flickingerplachta[dot]com
Peter Mansfield '03- mansfield3[at]hotmail[dot]com
Angela Pfister '04- angelapfister[at]yahoo[dot]com
Mark Rohlena '03- mrohlena[at]hollandhart[dot]com

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 5:53 PM. |

Sandra Day O'Connor: Conceived Without Sin and Infallible

Andrew Cohen's March 23, 2006 "The War on Judges" is one of the shoddiest pieces of journalism I have ever seen. In it, Cohen praises Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and rails against political "bullies" Rep. Tom Delay and Sen. John Cornyn who are both [gasp!] from Texas. But no, Cohen's piece is not a Rush Limbaugh parody of a George Soros commercial. Cohen, who is described by CBS as an attorney that analyzes legal issues for them, is apparently serious. Here's how he begins his piece:

The political bullies who have launched and maintained their despicable attack on the authority and independence of the federal judiciary finally have met their match. She is a gray-haired grandmother who likes to golf, fly fish and write. Not only is she standing up to those who seek to dominate the courts, she is likely to ultimately win the battle of ideas over the role of judges in the age of terror.

I mean, really -- in the end, who would you follow? Whose vision of America do you share? The bullies -- men like Rep. Tom DeLay and Sen. John Cornyn -- both of Texas? Or a small, frail woman by the name of Sandra Day O'Connor, who, it turns out, happens to be a surprisingly brave and remarkably outspoken former United States Supreme Court Justice.

OK. Based on this introduction, what facts have we learned? (1) That Delay and Cornyn are political figures from Texas, and (2) Justice O'Connor is a "gray-haired grandmother who likes to golf, fly fish and write", is a "small, frail, woman," and is a former Supreme Court Justice.

Everything else in this intro merely exhibits Cohen's dislike of Delay and Cornyn because they are "political bullies" (and in case you missed it when Cohen used this decsription in the first paragraph, don't worry because you'll be sure not miss a similar use of the word "bullies" in the second paragraph) who make "despicable attack[s]" on the judiciary. Then Cohen tells you how much he likes Justice O'Connor. She is "surprisingly brave and remarkably outspoken."

But let's give Cohen a break, right? I'm sure he'll tell us in the rest of the article why he dislikes Delay and Cornyn and has implicit faith and trust in Justice O'Connor. Let's see what else Cohen has to say.

The Lone Star heavyweights are used to picking on feckless Democrats -- that's proven to be easy -- but they stand no chance against the Reagan-appointee who is a legend, literally, in her own time.

Did he just say that Delay and Cornyn are from Texas. I had no idea. Wow, and Justice O'Connor is a "legend." I'm astounded by Cohen's ability to focus on the important facts and to deftly weave them into such complex legal analysis.

And it's not just because of the image they present of two powerful and power-hungry men pushing aside a little old lady. It's because of the untenable arguments they are making. They are ugly arguments, foreign and mean, that rely for their power on base, cynical and false views of how judges judge.

Delay and Cornyn: "Powerful" and "power-hungry." Check. "Ugly," "foreign", and "mean" arguments. Check. "Power." Check. "Cynical" and "false views." Check.

O'Connor: "Little old lady." Check.

Although their voices are the loudest, and for now the most powerful, Cornyn and DeLay ultimately will lose because they are on the wrong side of both history and the law. They are for fearful and weak judges, extreme legislative and executive power, and the will of the majority over protection for the minority. O'Connor, meanwhile, a former legislator herself, is on the side of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, checks and balances, and the separation of powers.

Delay and Cornyn: Loudest. Most Powerful. Wrong. Support fearful and weak judges. Extreme Legislative and Executive power. Supports will of majority [Double Gasp! Those fascists!].

O'Connor: Former legislator. Supports Constitution, Bill of Rights, Checks and Balances, and Separation of Powers.

Well, Cohen certainly is very repetitious, and descriptive, but if you read the rest of his article, you won't find any real reasons for his heart-felt dislike for Delay and Cornyn and his love for Justice O'Connor. Instead, all you'll see is that Cohen really dislikes Delay and Cornyn, and apparently, so should you. Also, Cohen really likes Justice O'Connor, and apparently, so should you.

Based on the whole article, I think the only real facts to support Cohen's view is that Delay and Cornyn are from Texas and O'Connor is a frail, grandmother. Perhaps I'm overly skeptical, but I think I'll need some more evidence before I come to accept Cohen's worldview.

I'll leave you with Cohen's final gut-wrenching appeal. Try to choke back your tears.

O'Connor is speaking out now -- against a dictatorship she is worried about -- because she more than most knows what is at stake. She knows what will happen if DeLay and Cornyn and their supporters prevail in this fight. She knows how badly the Constitution's fragile balance of power would be affected by a weak judiciary, especially during a period of great national stress. She has made a choice -- and so, too, must you. There is no middle ground in this battle for the future of the federal courts. And there is no time to wait to make your voice heard, too.

Fumed by Boethius at 2:26 PM. |

Domini Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae

Benedict's first consistory was held today, in which he imposed the red biretta on 15 new "senatores" of the Roman Church. As Cardinals, they make up the presbyterate of the Diocese of Rome and will take possession of their titular churches.

UPDATE: It's 'pilium rubrum' time again here in the Vatican. Time to find out more about the origin of words like 'Cardinals' 'Consistories' and also why we should use the word creation to appoint the Pope's closest advisors...

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:00 AM. |

Thursday, March 23, 2006

AM's Press Release in Light of Today's Military Operation

This picture seems to me to be a res ipsa loquitur moment in terms of sizing up the intellect of this group. As you'll read below, I'm not disappointed.

In case you haven't heard, several peaceniks from this group who were abducted by Jihadists in Iraq were rescued today in a military operation undertaken by coalition forces. This based on a tip given by a thug captured by our military forces in Iraq.

Nevermind the fact that this Jihadist group had already murdered one of the peaceniks colleagues, the crowd just couldn't keep from blaming the whole situation on the U.S. and her allies. Further, it appears that the "Anointed"--which is how the people in this group see themselves--just could not deign to lower themselves to give thanks to those soldiers who risked their lives, so that the peaceniks might live. Read their press release here.

Now this begs for a response. In order to save time and get the widest possible audience, I have issued my own Press Release to the Christian Peacemaker Teams, which you can read here.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:33 PM. |

Liberal Commentator with a Sensible Post on Abortion Politics

I do not generally utilize "liberal" and "sensible" in the same sentence, and accordingly, I think this post is worth passing along. Many of the comments are also very interesting and informative. (Hat Tip: Southern Appeal)

Here's a sample:

Let's try to exercise a bit of empathy and consider that question, "What does Kansas think is the matter with us?"

The answer, frankly, is that we're baby killers.

I'm not trying to play devil's advocate. I'm not trying to articulate or to engage their argument. I'm not concerned here with the merits or demerits of that argument, and I'm not concerned here with trying either to refute or defend it.


What I'm getting at here is that this is how we are perceived.

For American evangelicals and many Catholics, abortion is the trump card. Everything I have just said or quoted from The Editors about torture parallels exactly how these folks think -- and, more importantly, feel -- about abortion.

Fumed by Boethius at 11:37 AM. |

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 6, 2006 Letter from Charles E. Rice to Dean Bernard Dobranski

This is the text of a letter that was obtained from Prof. Charles E. Rice who authorized its publication.

March 6, 2006

Dean Bernard Dobranski
Ave Maria School of Law
3475 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Dear Bernie:

Last December, the Board of Governors approved the two-term limit, as a result of which I ascended to my current title of Gubernator Ejectus. It has since come to my attention that some members of the AMSL community apparently think that the Governors created an Advisory Board and that I am on it. I am sure you will understand my desire to put to rest any such impression that I have any role in the administration of AMSL.

That misunderstanding may arise from the fact that the Board of Governors, at the September 28, 2005, meeting, recommended that members excluded from the Board by the two-term limit "shall be invited" to serve on an Advisory Board to be created. The by-laws, however, were amended at the telephone meeting on December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, to impose the two-term limit and to provide instead that the Board of Governors "may establish" an Advisory Board which "may include" persons who formerly served as Governors.

I understand that no decision has yet been made on the creation of an Advisory Board. If that Board ever does materialize, I request that I not be considered for membership.

Please do not interpret this request as an unfriendly gesture or as a personal criticism of anyone. I owe you, however, a candid expression of the concerns that prompt me to decline membership on the Advisory Board. Those concerns go beyond the fact that the Advisory Board will have no discernible useful function. One reason I do not want my name associated with the administrative structure of AMSL is that I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that AMSL is now governed, in practical effect and not by design, as if it were a sole proprietorship with yourself as the resident agent and with the Board of Governors in a marginal role. I believe that you, Tom Monaghan, and all others involved, are acting in what you and they see as the best interests of AMSL. In major respects, however, the administration of AMSL has been counterproductive. For example, AMSL's prolonged dalliance with the notion of uprooting AMSL and transporting it to Florida has destabilized AMSL and created the perception that the best interests of AMSL are being subordinated, in effect, to another agenda.

AMSL has a record of unprecedented success and I express my appreciation for your contribution to that success. AMSL has an excellent student body, an exemplary faculty, a dedicated and competent staff and an active, loyal alumni. It is a high privilege for me to serve as a Visiting Professor at AMSL. To destabilize AMSL, however, by holding open the prospect of a move to Ave Maria Town is, in my view, indefensibly imprudent. Please understand. I have nothing against Florida in itself. Some of my best friends are Floridians. But the Ave Maria Town venture is a speculative and eccentric medley of the academic, the religious, the municipal and the corporate in which the bottom-line corporate interest will predictably dominate. I would not want anyone to think that I had any share in any decision to involve AMSL with such an enterprise.

One final point. At the September 28, 2005, meeting of the Board of Governors, I reserved the right to make any statements or disclosures necessary, in my judgment, to prevent misapprehension of my own positions and record as a member of the Board of Governors. In light of the various comments made in discussions over the past several months, it is appropriate for me to exercise that right. So please permit me to say that, if an Advisory Board were created and if I were on it, I would offer as advice the enclosed excerpts from the memo I sent to the Board of Governors on November 27, 2002. Please note especially that nearly four years ago, in that memo, I explicitly brought to the attention of yourself, Tom and the Board of Governors the constitutional problems inherent in what Tom presented as his vision of Ave Maria Town, etc., a vision which, in my opinion, is flawed in many respects.

I disagree with the perceptions and judgments of yourself and Tom Monaghan in significant respects. Those disagreements are on issues and they are not personal. I know we all share a common interest in the success of AMSL and a commitment to persevere in prayer to Mary, its patroness, for that intention.

I am not sending this letter to the AMSL list. I will, however, make it available to interested members of the AMSL community.

With appreciation and best wishes,

Charles E. Rice
Professor Emeritus of Law

[N.B. The referenced November 27, 2002 memo will be made available as soon as possible.]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 8:40 PM. |

Cardinal Roger "Civil Disobedience" Mahony

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has an op-ed in today's New York Times reiterating his position that Catholics should disobey recently proposed immigration laws which would provide criminal penalties for those who assist illegal aliens in remaining in the county.


I'VE received a lot of criticism for stating last month that I would instruct the priests of my archdiocese to disobey a proposed law that would subject them, as well as other church and humanitarian workers, to criminal penalties. The proposed Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives in December and is expected to be taken up by the Senate next week, would among other things subject to five years in prison anyone who "assists" an undocumented immigrant "to remain in the United States."

Some supporters of the bill have even accused the church of encouraging illegal immigration and meddling in politics. But I stand by my statement. Part of the mission of the Roman Catholic Church is to help people in need. It is our Gospel mandate, in which Christ instructs us to clothe the naked, feed the poor and welcome the stranger. Indeed, the Catholic Church, through Catholic Charities agencies around the country, is one of the largest nonprofit providers of social services in the nation, serving both citizens and immigrants.

Providing humanitarian assistance to those in need should not be made a crime, as the House bill decrees. As written, the proposed law is so broad that it would criminalize even minor acts of mercy like offering a meal or administering first aid.

Current law does not require social service agencies to obtain evidence of legal status before rendering aid, nor should it. Denying aid to a fellow human being violates a law with a higher authority than Congress -- the law of God.


Based on the above comments, it appears that Cardinal Mahony has found an issue he can stand strong on. With immigration, Mahony shows a firm episcopal backbone and makes it clear that Catholics should engage in civil disobedience in order to adhere to God's law on this issue.

Though Mahony's interpretation of God's law is not so obvious to me based on my reading of Church teaching, I will not criticize his views on immigration at this time. Instead, I think it is instructive to compare Mahony's current firm stance on immigration with his position on abortion.

It is clear under Church teaching that God's law does not permit abortion, and yet, the Supreme Court has declared that the Constitution of the United States requires that the practice be legal in nearly all circumstances. Despite this obvious violation of God's law, Mahony has not urged the Catholics of his diocese to ignore the laws of the United States and the laws of the State of California in order to save the lives of millions of unborn babies.

My point is not to argue that Catholics should ignore the rule of law. Instead, my point is that Cardinal Mahony has urged Catholics to ignore the rule of law with respect to immigration law. His relative silence on the issue of abortion is deafening.

UPDATE: The Editors of National Review take on Cardinal Mahony here.

Fumed by Boethius at 4:15 PM. |

LOST--Tools from Cardinal's Kit Bag: Prudentia and Discretio

Unfortunately, in the opinion of this casual observer, many in the hierarchy of the Church--which used to employ common sense and a sane realism--love to run to the loving arms of those who would slice their throats. One such prelate is Renato Cardinal Martino. Sandro Magister at Chiesa has done us all a service by pointing out how "out-of-control" Martino really is. (Recently, Jay Anderson also posted his assessment of Martino.) Consider a sampling of the Cardinal's track record (h/t Chiesa):

*On the eve of the war in Iraq, for example, his pacifist and anti-American quips were so frequent and so unbalanced that he forced the secretariat of state-- even though it was against the war-- to impose silence upon him: a silence he observed for a few months.

*In December of 2003, he wreaked havoc once more. He was to present to the international press the pope's message for the World Day of Peace. And instead, the following day the media spoke of something completely different: the accusation Martino had made on the occasion against the United States, charging it with having treated the imprisoned Saddam Hussein "like a cow."

*On his return from a trip to Cuba, where he had met with Fidel Castro, he made a statement. Interviewed by the news agency ANSA last March 3, he said that "Castro knows the social doctrine of the Church," and that "the times when the Church was persecuted in Cuba are water under the bridge."

*On Thursday, March 9, in a press conference at the end of a conference on "The Ways of Peace" held at the Saint Louis of France Cultural Center in Rome. He said: "If there are a hundred Muslim children in a school, I don’t see why one cannot teach them their religion." And again: "If we said 'no' until we saw equivalent treatment for the Christian minorities in the Muslim countries, I would say that we were placing ourselves on their level."

(As to the last point, there are brighter lights in the Vatican to show the way.)

Needless to say, perhaps the good Cardinal will consider this list before he hugs and kisses the Islamic world. Let's face it, it is incorrect to say that we worship the same God. I see a beautiful future for Martino as the Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter in vinculis.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:17 AM. |

Italian Minister Accuses Holland of Nazism for Euthanasia Laws

Who says that history doesn't repeat itself? Especially when we fail to recognize the root symptoms of great evil (murder of innocents) and the solution.

For a thorough discussion on the Eugenics movement in Germany look here.

Here is the article:

Italian Minister Accuses Holland of “Nazism” for Euthanasia Laws

By Gudrun Schultz

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 20, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Italian minister has accused the Netherlands of adopting Nazi-style eugenics laws under the banner of euthanasia.
“Nazi legislation and Hitler’s ideas are re-emerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children,” said Parliamentary Affairs minister Carlo Giovanardi on an Italian radio programme last Friday.

He said it is “eugenics” to debate killing children “who are ill or have Down syndrome.”
“We could just as easily apply this to senior citizens,” he said.

Giovanardi is a member of the conservative Christian Democrat party in Italy. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is also a Christian Democrat. He was outraged by Giovanardi’s comments, reported Expatica.

Another Italian political leader, Daniele Capezzone, a member of the secular ‘La Rosa nel Pugno’ party that supports euthanasia legislation, was also part of the radio programming. He called on Giovanardi to apologize, but the minister refused, and repeated his remarks.

Holland has recently adopted the recommendations of the Groningen Protocol, a committee that will regulate doctors in the killing of seriously ill children. Within a few weeks, it will be legal to kill children who are suffering from terminal illness with no hope of recovery.

The illicit euthanasia of infants has been going on in the country for some time—doctors already “help to die” at least 15-20 babies every year, with no legal consequences.

Fumed by Husband at 1:50 AM. |

Monday, March 20, 2006

Redemptoris Custos, ora pro nobis.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:00 PM. |

The Elmo Awards

This is simply a must read for those interested in protecting our children, our Church and our sanity. Now, no doubt, Mr. Casey Kahn--a Marine who faithfully served his country and now gets his tighty-whiteys in a bind over the slightest suggestion of off-color humor--may not approve of such an editorial. Nevertheless, this Soldier finds it worth posting and the attitude of the author worth emulating. (h/t, Diogenes.)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:20 AM. |

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pre-Emption and Catholic Just War Teaching

Here's a topic that is sure to rile some people up. Foxnews.com is reporting that in a 49-page national security report, President Bush is reaffirming the doctrine of pre-emption.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur -- even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," Bush wrote.

Titled "National Security Strategy," the report summarizes Bush's plan for protecting America and directing U.S. relations with other nations. It is an updated version of a report Bush issued in 2002.

In the earlier report a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush underscored his administration's adoption of a pre-emptive policy, marking the end of a deterrent military strategy that dominated the Cold War.

The latest report makes it clear Bush hasn't changed his mind, even though no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

"When the consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. ... The place of pre-emption in our national security strategy remains the same," Bush wrote.

Many Catholics have criticized Bush's doctrine of pre-emption as being outside of the Catholic Just War Tradition. Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger were among President Bush's critics as he invaded Iraq (see here and here for a good summary of their statements). Then-Cardinal Ratzinger went so far as to note that the "concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church." With his typical clarity, Ratzinger went on to say that:

"One cannot simply say that the catechism does not legitimize the war," he continued. "But it is true that the catechism has developed a doctrine that, on one hand, does not exclude the fact that there are values and peoples that must be defended in some circumstances; on the other hand, it offers a very precise doctrine on the limits of these possibilities."

Ratzinger also explained that, though Pope John Paul's opposition to the war was rationally persuasive, it was not doctrinal.

Q: Eminence, a topical question that in a certain sense is inherent to the Catechism: Does the Anglo-American war against Iraq fit the canons of a "just war"?

Cardinal Ratzinger: The Pope expressed his thought with great clarity, not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church. Of course, he did not impose this position as doctrine of the Church but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by faith.

The Holy Father's judgment is also convincing from the rational point of view: There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a "just war."

On the other hand, Catholic thinkers Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Robert P. George have supported Bush's doctrine of pre-emption as being consistent with Just War Theory.

In one of Weigel's articles, he explained it this way:

Is preemption ever morally justifiable?

Classic just-war thinking identified three kinds of "just cause": defense against an aggression under way, recovery of something wrongfully taken, or punishment for evil.

Modern just-war thinking, reflected in the U.N. Charter, has tended to limit "just cause" to "defense against an aggression under way."

When a vicious regime that has used chemical weapons against its own people and against a neighboring country -- a regime that has no concept of the rule of law and that flagrantly violates its international obligations -- works feverishly to obtain and deploy further weapons of mass destruction, a compelling moral case can be made that this is a matter of an "aggression under way."

The nature of the regime, which is the crucial factor in the moral analysis, makes that plain. It makes no moral sense to say that the U.S. or the international community can only respond with armed force when an Iraqi missile carrying a weapon of mass destruction has been launched, or is being readied for launch.

There are serious questions of prudence here, of course. At the level of moral principle, however, there may be instances when it is not only right to "go first," but "going first" may be morally obligatory. Iraq may well pose one of those instances.

For the record, I fall into the Weigel, Novak, and George camp, and believe that pre-emption, though not mentioned in the Catechism, is not precluded under Just War teaching and may be permissible under the proper circumstances. I believe this position is certainly compatible with Church teaching based on Cardinal Ratzinger's comment that Pope John Paul's opposition to the war in Iraq was not doctrinal. If pre-emptive war were impermissible as a matter of doctrine, Pope John Paul's opposition to the war would have been doctrinal, and Cardinal Ratzinger certainly would have indicated as much.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:26 AM. |


Lucky kid! (h/t The Anchoress)

Fumed by Ryder at 1:08 AM. |

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What the Bishops Should Have Said

On March 1, 2006, I commented on the Catholic Statement of Principles issued by 55 Catholic Democrats from the House of Representatives.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ("USCCB") issued their response here, which was critiqued by Diogenes here.

Today at NRO, Fr. Thomas Williams, LC, offered his critique of the House Democrats' Statement. Fr. Williams' strong rebuttal is everything that the Bishop's tepid response is not. Here's a sample from Fr. Williams' piece:


All the typical rhetoric is in the "Statement": talk of a "safety net" for those who are "most in need," a commitment to advance "respect for life" and the "dignity of every human being," and of course, protection for "the most vulnerable among us." Unfortunately it is precisely the most vulnerable among us -- voiceless unborn children -- whom the Catholics of the party have sacrificed on the altar of Moloch. If the party would only take its own rhetoric seriously, then the most important social-justice issue of our day would command center stage. There is no indication of that happening any time soon. As a result, Catholics who would otherwise be sympathetic to the Democratic Party reluctantly find themselves obliged to abandon it.

Fumed by Boethius at 1:46 PM. |

Monday, March 13, 2006

Prof. Volokh on the Mohammed Cartoons

I generally enjoy UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh's posts over at the Volokh Conspiracy as they tend to be very thoughtful and well-reasoned, in contrast to the posts one finds on the great majority of blogs. His recent post on the Mohammed cartoon controversy is no exception. As Prof. Volokh's expertise is in the realm of free speech, his post focuses on that aspect of the cartoon debate. For myself, I have been especially bothered by the whole cartoon situation, because there is a part of me that says that the controversy is not about the cartoons per se, but that the controversy has been completely manufactured by the Moslem clerics who are inciting their people to violence regardless of the cartoon depictions. Furthermore, I find it absolutely absurd that there has been such a violent reaction to cartoons. . . a violent response to cartoons which are quite obviously critical political observations of the violent nature of militant Islam.

Fumed by Thales at 10:33 PM. |

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Archdiocese of San Francisco and Same-Sex Adoption

A faithful reader brings this article to Fumare's attention, on recent developments in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and its policy on same-sex adoptions, in response to the actions of the bishops in Massachusetts. Good to see our leaders in the Church taking an unpopular yet necessary stand. When Archbishop William Levada, formerly of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was named as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Benedict XVI, there was some criticism of the move because of a perception that Levada was soft on doctrine in some areas. It looks like that criticism, however, might have been unfounded.

Fumed by Thales at 10:17 PM. |

Friday, March 10, 2006


Okay, this guy is a damn SSPXer which I CANNOT ABIDE; however, we should acknowledge the truth wherever it may be found. Finally, an answer to the slobbering over the "contribution of women" and the "genius of women" gobbledygook that has infested our bishops' teaching since they allowed the first fat woman in stretch pants to become an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.

Take the quiz. (With the caveat of the damnable SSPX taint.)

***For the record, I love women and believe that men should love, protect and provide for them.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:04 PM. |

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Take your coat off and stay a while...

Welcome to those visiting Fumare from Howard Bashman's "How Appealing" blog and other sites that have picked up the following post on the "Roe v Wade for Men" case filed Thursday in the Eastern District of Michigan. As the law review article [PDF] mentioned below illustrates so well, this case is the natural (albeit absurd) result of Roe and its progeny.

Leave a comment and let us know what your thoughts are on this case. And visit Fumare again sometime!

Fumed by Ryder at 11:37 PM. |

Ave Maria Law Review Predicts Roe v. Wade for Men

"Roe v. Wade for Men" -- that's what they're calling a new lawsuit that is set to be filed in district court in Michigan. As the news report states:

The suit addresses the issue of male reproductive rights, contending that lack of such rights violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

The gist of the argument: If a pregnant woman can choose among abortion, adoption or raising a child, a man involved in an unintended pregnancy should have the choice of declining the financial responsibilities of fatherhood. The activists involved hope to spark discussion even if they lose.

Though the position of the plaintiff in the suit is abhorrent (i.e., a man having a "right" to slough off responsibility for his children), it may be a completely logical progression under the current Roe regime.

And, an article in the Ave Maria Law Review predicted it. Check out this article, from Volume II, Issue 1, entitled "Child Support Statutes and the Father's Right Not to Procreate." Written a couple of years ago by an Ave Maria graduate as a reductio ad absurdum argument, the Ave Maria Law Review article appears to be directly on point with the arguments that the plaintiff is attempting to put forward in the current suit.

Update: The complaint was filed this morning in the Eastern District of Michigan, and is before the Honorable David M. Lawson. It is Civil Case No. 06-11016, Dubay v. Wells.

Update II: Thanks to a commenter, you can now read the 8-page Complaint here. [PDF]

Fumed by Thales at 5:20 PM. |

The Best Damn Catholic Commentary: DIOGENES

This guy is great! Read this gem. I especially like the "toenail polish drying" comment.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:01 PM. |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Women Farding in their Cars

Now it's illegal.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:20 PM. |

St. Patrick's Day Season?

Has anyone else seen the Guinness ads encouraging viewers to celebrate St. Patrick's Day Season? Since when did Ol' St. Paddy's day become a season? It's bad enough that every March 17th some folks invoke the Apostle of Ireland's name when getting sloshed (don't get me wrong: I'm all in favor of drinking up to, and maybe even a tad beyond, the point of hilarity). Now they are being encouraged to do so for a season.

Sounds like a commercial stunt to me. This is almost as bad as celebrating Christmas in September.

Fumed by Sine Metu at 12:41 PM. |

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Irrelevant Poll: Majority Oppose S.D. Abortion Ban

A recent Foxnews poll shows that 59% of Americans oppose South Dakota's ban on nearly all abortions, and is running the headline that "Majority Opposes South Dakota Abortion Law."

Well . . . I'm not at all surprised by the results of the poll, and at some level, I suppose the results are interesting, but the result just happens to be entirely irrelevant!!! It is the people of South Dakota that get to decide what South Dakota's law is. Obviously, the people of South Dakota, through their duly elected representatives and Governor, don't think the ban is too broad.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, and the states of California and New York passed laws legalizing all abortion in their states, I'm sure that a poll could be produced indicating that most Americans disagreed with the California and New York laws. Of course such a poll would be just as meaningless as the present poll, since it would be entirely permissible for the people of California and New York to adopt liberal abortion laws regardless of what a majority of Americans thought of the practice.

I do think that Foxnew's poll contained one interesting statistic. 35% of Americans support South Dakota's law, i.e., 35% of Americans want to restrict nearly all abortions, even where the law does not permit an exception for rape and incest. I think this statistic is tremendously encouraging for pro-lifers, as it indicates that there is a solid block of Americans that oppose abortion in nearly all circumstances. When Roe is finally laid to rest, this block of Americans will use their influence to adopt the most restrictive abortion laws that they can in their respective states. States that are more conservative will adopt more restrictive abortion laws, and states that are more liberal will adopt more liberal abortion laws.

Fumed by Boethius at 1:45 PM. |

Monday, March 06, 2006

A banner day

Liberals are going ape-sh*t over at HuffPo after the signing of the South Dakota law banning infanticide of pre-born children (and lacking the standard equivocation allowing the killing of those children unfortunate enough to have a criminal for a father).

At this writing there were approximately 400 comments, most from apoplectic posters apparently concerned that -- in addition to rape and/or incest charges -- they might also end up having to pay child support to their victims/daughters/sisters/neices/etc.

March 6, 2006. Remember this day. I may be wearing glasses that are too rosy, but I really think this law marks the beginning of some serious legal inroads for pro-lifers. And not a moment too soon.

Fumed by Ryder at 5:40 PM. |

A Legal Principle You May Find Interesting

Though generally the stuff of law review articles, I came upon an issue while researching. The ancient legal principle of stercus tauri. While modern legal scholars consider it a bit of an embarrassment, there is a tradition in the West that is both substantial and significant. It appears to be a broad principle that affects every area of law. Though it is mostly latent throughout our common law tradition, there seems to be an issue in every generation that recalls the legal community to not only acknowledge its existence, but also appeal to it directly. Recently an issue came up and we successfully appealed to it and used it in several legal issues concerning the Department of Defense and our military installation. Here is a brief historical sketch:

This principle originally developed in ancient Rome. Cicero expounded on this doctrine in his prosecution of Catiline, and in his defense of Roscius. It was codified in the Lex Iulia and later solemnized in the Codex Iustinianus. Ulpian commented on it and it made its way into the canonical forms used by the Roman Church. During the Middle Ages, Gratian compiled all of the canonical legislation then existing into his famous Decretum (11th century). (It is worth mentioning here, that stercus tauri--as well as countless other Roman legal forms--became part and parcel of this body of law which today is known as Canon Law.) The medieval scholastics commented on the Decretum and scholars at the University of Bologna in Italy became famous for commentaries ("glossae") on this principle for canonical and civil usage. This legal principle then found its way into the common law of England. The Magna Carta (13th century) was an actual application of this principle when King John tried to expand his prerogatives over and against the City of London and other landed interests. King John's action was the first attempt at absolutism, but he was forestalled by the land owners and subsidiary interests who drafted the Magna Carta as a solemnization of their ancient and customary rights. Henry of Bracton (d. 1268) in his De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae expounded on this principle with great force. So much so, that it became an integral part of the common law. The common law of England significantly influenced the founding of the American Colonies. James Otis (d. 1783)(pictured left), scholar and lawyer, commented on this tradition and in response to the King's violations of customary law, stated:

A man's house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court may inquire...


The ancient legal principle of "stercus tauri" applies and if not here then nowhere; for how can the laws of the realm be endured when such writs are issued! To quote Tully, "how long will that audacity go unbridled?" Our only response, in the tradition of our fathers who met at Runnymede, must be "stercus tauri."

We see this principle play out in the laws of the states and federally as well. There are explict citations of stercus tauri in the Cranch series of case reports. (Usually these citations are in reference to issues of federalism.)

Very interesting indeed.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:52 AM. |

Law 278.31 Technology and Intellectual Property in Law

Interested in the type of law practiced by Devil's Advocate? Thanks to the advent of webcasting, you can take an entired undergrad semester course on IP law courtesy of UC Berkley. Yes, it's Berkley, but it's tough to inject too much wanton anti-Americanism into a basic IP law class. Or at least I think that's the case. Take a look at the course syllabus/podcast list. I just watched the class on derivative works, and found it a fascinating refresher of my law school IP survey course. The class list shows a heavy emphasis on copyright law, which is understandable given that it is the most practical area of IP for college students and other individuals not in business.

(There's also a slew of non-law courses available this semester, mostly in the engineering and scientific disciplines. One or two history classes, too, which merit some healthy skepticism given their origin. Class titles include Ideologies of class, gender and history: socialism, liberalism, conservatism, feminism, historicism, romanticism.)

h/t Southern Appeal

Fumed by Ryder at 1:33 AM. |

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Toner, schmoner.

Ever regret your lack of meaningful correspondence? Email just doesn't seem to cut it. You'd love to write those meaningful Kerouacian communications, but your Gen-Y/spell-checker status is synonymous with third-grade penmanship. (Make that second-grade; in third grade you at least learned cursive.) You would use the tools of the trade, but toner and full-justification lack the personal touch.

Well Gents, have I the solution for you. It's ink, but not ink-jet. It's manual, but won't bring back the tennis-elbow memories of bar exam dread. It's the manual typewriter! Thought they were positively paleolithic? Well, the Italians--that's right, the makers of the Vespa--still have it goin' on!

[Enter, stage right] the Linea 198 from Olivetti. Built to "Duck and Cover" in the event that Castro ever ran out of Cubans, its non-electric mechanical engineering is itself a piece of wonder.

But, if that is too much commitment from a binary baby, then may I suggest a the MS 25 Premier Plus, my personal favorite.

[Hint, hint.] (Friday has required the liquidation of the Rubicon, before I enroll as an agent of Interzone.)

Talk about sexy. Don't you just want to bang out some gritty prose with backspace-free abandon?

Fumed by Thursday at 9:21 PM. |

Criminal Law I

Is nipple twisting a specific or general intent crime?

Fumed by Thursday at 9:00 PM. |

Fumare Group Photo

(pictured from left) Boethius , Sine Metu, Devil's Advocate, Ryder, and Thursday.
(Not pictured: Advocatus Militaris, Thales, and Phlogizo)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 7:30 PM. |

World's Greatest Pleading

Those of you in the business know that sometimes more argument is not a good thing. With that in mind, the award for "Best Pleading Ever" goes to. . . [drum roll] The City of Detroit!

The award is for the City's very real response to Plaintiff's motion for leave to submit a sur-reply in Chancellor v. City of Detroit, et al., No. 03-40344 (E.D. Mich.). For those of you with access to the Eastern District of Michigan's E.C.F. system, it is document 128. Enjoy.








VI-[infinity]. AND SO ON AND SO FORTH?



E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(c)(8).


Enough Aready.

s/John XXXXX_________
Attorney for Defendant City
1650 First National Building
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 237-XXXX
Dated: February 10, 2006

Fumed by Thursday at 2:51 PM. |

Saturday, March 04, 2006

On second thought...

After reviewing recent posts and accompanying comments from Irish Stout, Fumare has opted to become a leaner, meaner blog by trimming its contributer list by one. While we welcome respectful comments from anyone, our regular post contributors must adhere to a higher standard. Those familiar with Irish Stout's posts will understand where that standard was not met.

Onward and upward!

Fumed by Fumare at 11:59 AM. |

Friday, March 03, 2006

Monaghan Backtracks on Ave Maria Town

From WFTV.com:


Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan, who is helping to bankroll the birth of a southwest Florida town and university, backtracked Friday from comments that he'd like the community to be governed by strict Roman Catholic principles.

His ideas about barring pornography and birth control, he said, apply only to the Catholic university. "There are a lot of misconceptions," Monaghan said Friday.

Both the town of Ave Maria and its Ave Maria University, the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in four decades, are set to open next year about 25 miles east of Naples.

Monaghan's comments Friday contrasted with statements he made last year to a Catholic men's group in Boston that pornographic magazines won't be sold in town, pharmacies won't carry condoms or birth control pills, and cable television will carry no X-rated channels.

"I would say I just misspoke," Monaghan said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

"The town will be open to anybody." Monaghan had declined to comment earlier in the week, while his attorneys were reviewing legal issues surrounding his original ideas.


The town will not allow adult bookstores or topless clubs.

However, it will merely suggest, not prohibit, businesses from selling adult magazines or contraceptives.

"We are not going to censor any of that information, but in deference to Ave Maria University, we are going to request that they not sell that merchandise but we are not restricting," said Barron Collier CEO Paul Marinelli.

Contraceptives will not be distributed on campus.

"We are trying to create a town with traditional family values and a wholesome environment and that's why we are saying we will not allow adult bookstores, massage parlors or topless bars," Marinelli said. "The misconception we're trying to clarify is that this is not going to be a strictly Catholic town ... I think it would be boring if in fact it was all Catholic." Marinelli said the town would welcome "synagogues as well as Baptist churches."

"We're not going to discriminate against anyone, whether it be religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation," said Barron Collier executive Blake Gable, adding that homosexuals will be welcome despite the church's belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Fumed by Boethius at 1:13 PM. |

A Tale of Two Cardinals

In 1941, at the height of Nazi power in Germany, few dared to speak out against the perversions of law that were occuring under Hitler's Third Reich. We all know the countless stories about what happened to those that did speak out against the regime. One only has to mention the names Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Sobibor to conjure up images that are the very incarnation of evil in the world. Yet, there were those who did speak out, and while they received vilification from the German press and even death at the hands of the German authorities, they continued to speak. They spoke out because it was their duty, they spoke out because it was right.

One such figure is Blessed Clemens Cardinal von Galen. As Bishop of Munster, he was known as the "Lion of Munster." There were three sermons, in particular, in 1941 where he took on the Nazi authorities. On July 13, he delivered a sermon against the dread Gestapo; on July 13, he delivered a sermon against the Nazi plunder and despoilation of Church property; and on August 3, he delivered a sermon against the Nazi Euthanasia policy. After this series of sermons, the Nazis retaliated by bombing the Bishop's residence. Undeterred, the "Lion of Munster" spoke out against the regime and exorted the faithful to remain faithful to God and Holy Mother Church.

Here is an excerpt from the Aug. 3 sermon worth reproducing:

My dearly Beloved, I trust that it is not too late. It is time that we realized today what alone can bring us peace, what alone can save us and avert the divine wrath. We must openly, and without reserve, admit our Catholicism. We must show by our actions that we will live our lives by obeying God's commandments. Our motto must be: Death rather than sin. By pious prayer and penance we can bring down upon us all, our city and our beloved German land, His grace and forgiveness.

But those who persist in inciting the anger of God, who revile our Faith, who hate His commandments, who associate with those who alienate our young men from their religion, who rob and drive out our monks and nuns, who condemn to death our innocent brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, we shun absolutely so as to remain undefiled by their blasphemous way of life, which would lay us open to that just punishment which God must and will inflict upon all those who, like the thankless Jerusalem, oppose their wishes to those of God.

Contrast this with the "courage" of Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. The New York Times heaps praise in this editorial for His Eminence's courage for the least among us. (Hat tip: Diogenes.)

Suffice it to say, we leave for your consideration, a comparison of the two cardinals.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:47 AM. |

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reid Killed the Patriot Act . . . Before He Voted for It

On December 16, 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) boasted that "we killed the Patriot Act."

Today, the Senate voted 89-10 to renew the Patriot Act. Reid was among the "yes" votes.

If by "killed" Reid meant "supported," then in true Homeric fashion, what Reid said in December was true (and by "Homeric," I, of course, mean Homer Simpson).

Today, Reid offered this anemic defense of his "yes" vote: "Our support for the Patriot Act does not mean a blank check for the president. What we tried to do on a bipartisan basis is have a better bill. It has been improved."

Fumed by Boethius at 4:30 PM. |

A True Son of Ignatius

I received a note from one of my theology professors in college this morning. A superb Jesuit of the old mold. This is a portion of that note which I think bears reprinting. Again, this is private correspondance and I wish to keep the complete contents that way, but it is a good insight into one good priest's struggles with the B.S. of the hierarchy in this country. Unfortunately--to follow up on Buttercup's comment in a previous post--our bishops have lost sight of the most important things, i.e., the salvation of souls.

In July I hope that I will be working with [a fabulous order of women religious who serve the poor]... I have told the bishop here that I have had enough of parish work. He wants us in his Stewardship Program to ask the people to give 10% of their gross salary. I told him that I wasn't the priest to do this and that I thought it greed on the part of the Church.. People should not be told what to give and I didn't want my 151 adults who are very generous to hear this mandate from me. When I came, I told them that they would never hear me speak of money and I have kept to that. As someone told me, the reason that the people are so generous is that you never ask for money. People in Chicago used to tell me that their priests spoke only of money and more money so much so that they began to identify the Church with money. I will be sorry to leave these people. As yet the provincial hasn't answered my letter asking to go to the [a fabulous order of women religious who serve the poor]. I presume that he will allow me to go there. Keep it in your prayers.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:49 PM. |

"You are embarrassing the angels."

I commend to your Lenten reading list today's Wall Street Journal column by Peggy Noonan, a bright light in the murky fog of bad metaphors if there ever was one. Take a look. Take stock. Take a cue from her when it comes to using these next 40 days to effect some change that helps promote the Culture of Life, no matter how small that change might be.

Fumed by Ryder at 12:40 PM. |

Vapid (adj.)

Today's word of the day is vapid. Here's the definition and word usage.

Vapid (adj.) -- Lacking liveliness, animation, or interest.

Usage -- Archbishop Wilton Gregory's article on the appropriate dress at Mass is the most intellectually vapid article I have ever seen.

The following excerpt is from the article and helps to further illustrate the meaning of vapid.


The Church is a public institution and subject to social mores and customs. This means that people who live in the society at-large typically take public customs into the Church. When all is said and done, the issue of what constitutes proper attire in Church has changed over the years. This is especially challenging for parents of young people who must persuade their youngsters to attend Church, but who may themselves have real qualms about the appropriateness of the dress of their children. The styles of young people change with even greater rapidity than clothing styles for the general population. Parents want their children to be properly dressed for Church, but how do they also allow their children to feel comfortable, to feel connected to their peers, and not to develop an aversion to going to Church simply because it always involves a painful encounter over apparel.

As the pastor of this local Church, I must confess that I have never been offended or scandalized by any attire that I have seen our kids wear to Church. I am so happy to see them at Mass that I generally don't even notice what they are wearing. When I see those bright faces, I am grateful that these young people are found within the warm embrace of the Church. Braces and flip-flops are welcome wherever I am celebrant.

Now a word to our youngsters: Your parents are trying to prepare you for life and part of that preparation must be to instill you with good manners. Dress is a sign that speaks to you and to your friends. That's why you like certain jeans, why you wear your hair in particular styles, why you reject last year's fashions. When Mom and Dad want you to dress in a certain way to attend Church, they want your clothing to speak to the entire community of the Church. It's important for you and your parents to speak to one another -- in love -- about this issue. You must listen to them -- and hopefully they will listen to you. It's part of being a family. It's part of growing up.

Because the Archbishop is usually not in the kitchen when these conversations take place, he wants you to know that he will always welcome you, Mom and Dad with a smile on his face because he knows that you have done the best that you can to bring changing styles and traditions into Church. Such conversations will continue to take place since they have such a longstanding history without having ever been completely settled!

Fumed by Boethius at 8:55 AM. |

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


One of the great traditions of the Roman Church in Her observance of Lent has been praying at the Stational Churches of Rome. The term "stational church" (not unlike "Stations" of the Cross) comes from the Latin term statio which is a military term meaning "an outpost; a watch." What are we watching for? We are observing and watching the mysteries of our salvation play out in this Holy Season. But in watching, we are to also enter into the mystery along with the whole Church--the Saints and Martyrs, the Poor Souls in Purgatory and one another in the Church Militant here on earth. Pope St. Gregory the Great (6th century AD) began the practice which was to visit the churches of Rome--i.e., the Stational Churches--and offer prayers and devotions. The practice was to include a procession and a recitation of the Litany of the Saints. This very ancient practice of the Church of Rome declined during the Middle Ages but was restored after the Council of Trent in the 16th Century. Although the Popes no longer lead the devotional practices at each of the stational churches as Gregory the Great once did, every Pope since Blessed John XXIII has offered Mass and presided over the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday (Dies Cinerum) at the first stational church: S. Sabina.

If you wish to spiritually make this devotion a part of your Lent, I recommend the following prayers--coupled with the Litany of the Saints--to aid with your devotion.

For our Readers in Rome: Indulgences are granted for piously making this devotion under the usual conditions. (Cf. Enchiridion Indulgentiarum; and here Englishly.)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:25 AM. |

Catholic Democrats in House Issue Statement

From the Washington Post: (my comments are in bold/italics)

Still reeling from the attacks on Sen. John F. Kerry's brand of Roman Catholicism during the 2004 presidential race, 55 House Democrats issued a joint statement yesterday on the central role that the Catholic faith plays in their public lives.

The signers said they were fed up with being labeled "good Catholics" or "bad Catholics" based on one issue -- abortion. They said their religion infuses their positions on many issues: poverty, war, health care and education.

Of course, as most of us already know, then-Cardinal Ratzinger debunked this view in his July 2004 letter to the U.S. Bishops:

"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

"Some of us are pro-choice and some of us are pro-life," said Rep. William J. Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). "But we respect each other and we're going to defend each other, because we're all operating in good conscience."

Well Bill, you may be operating in good conscience, but your conscience has not been properly formed. The Church is very clear that abortion is a grave sin and that legislators must work for the legal protection of the unborn. Again, from Ratzinger's letter:

"The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a 'grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propoganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it.'"

The statement stressed that all of the Catholic Democrats share the goal of reducing the incidence of abortion.

"We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion -- we do not celebrate its practice," the statement said. "Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term."

I hope these Catholic Democrats really do want to reduce abortion (though I am very skeptical based on their record over the last 30 years), but so long as they refuse to work to grant legal protection to the unborn, their position is untenable for a Catholic.

The statement also said that though the Catholic Democrats "seek the Church's guidance and assistance," they "accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas."

This is the equivalent of holding up three fingers to the Church and telling Her to "read between the lines."

Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the Catholic Democrats "have decided to stop letting others define us." But Tom McClusky, a Catholic who is acting vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, predicted they would fail.

"What is at the core of being Catholic is the life issue, and that's something the pope has never strayed from," he said. "While other issues are important -- such as helping the poor, the death penalty, views on war -- these are things that aren't tenets of the Catholic Church."

McClusky has it mostly right. The Church teaches that the the "other issues" are important, but the Church does not specify "how" we are to address theses issues (let alone how legislators must address these issues). This is not the case with abortion, gay marriage, or euthanasia. The Church is crystal clear that such things must never be permitted or sanctioned by law.

Fumed by Boethius at 8:38 AM. |