Monday, October 31, 2011

We're cooking again ...

This isn't turning into a recipe blog, I swear!

However, because of my mother's arthritis in her hand, I am cooking more. I've also started baking, especially cookies (which isn't easy on the diet), since blogging and shooting out résumés doesn't take up my whole day. The next time we go shopping, I'm picking up some yeast for some homemade bread ....

But man does not live on bread alone. So tonight it's a pork roast with a honey-ginger marinade: For a 2 lb. roast, combine 1/4 c. honey, 1/4 c. soy sauce, 2 tbsps. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. ginger, 1 tbsp. ketchup, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper; stir well. Marinate the roast in the refrigerator at least one hour; for best results marinate overnight.

Here's a tip: For roasts, pull the meat out of the oven when the thermometer reads about 3-5º below desired doneness and let it rest without cutting for approximately 5-10 minutes. First, this allows the interior heat to finish cooking the meat to the right temperature so it's not overdone. Second, this allows the meat to reabsorb the juices for the best texture and flavor.

Now, it's too bad I don't have any red potatoes ....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Filipino comfort food!

When I was five, my father, who was in the US Air Force, was transferred to Clark Air Base near Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of metro Manila on the big island of Luzon in the Philippines. This was after about a year or so of being stationed at Tachikawa AB near Yokohama, Japan; since both postings were PCSs (permanent changes of station), as Dad's dependents we were "sponsored" to live overseas with him.

What a fascinating time to be a kid!

Like most American families stationed at Clark (and, I imagine, at the naval base at Subic Bay), Mom and Dad hired a local woman, Maria, to cook, clean and watch us kids while they worked for the 13th Air Force. One native dish she introduced us to was chicken adobo. We loved it! And when we came back home, Mom got Maria's recipe from her, so chicken adobo was part of our growing up.

(Aside: One of my fellow Knights of Columbus, Ray Huie, is a Filipino from Chicago. At our council's monthly meetings we have dinner together beforehand, mostly dishes brother Knights have cooked. Ray and I are talking about doing chicken adobo in the near future!)

I bring this up because I've got a pot on right now for tonight's dinner. I hope Fr. Leo Patalinghug has no objections to putting our recipe out there; like most regional and ethnic dishes, the recipe has almost as many variations as cooks.

Chicken Adobo

  1. Coat 2 lbs. chicken with a mixture of flour and pepper (about 2 tbsps. pepper to 1 c. flour usually works best) and brown in oil or shortening in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Drain off oil.
  2. Add to chicken 2-1/2 c. water, 1 c. soy sauce, 1/2 c. white vinegar, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp. whole black pepper, 1/4 tsp. ginger and 3-4 bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours.
  3. When done, chicken should be practically falling off the bone. Serve over steamed white rice.

It's a simple dish, good with salad or any other greens you care to serve. You can skim the fat off the pot liquid (if you don't use boneless, skinless chicken breasts) and pour it over both the meat and rice instead of soy sauce. I recommend Kikkoman for cooking, as it has a more robust flavor than La Choy; plus, you can buy it in quart-sized bottles for ease of pouring.

How did so many kangaroos get into the judicial system?

Recently, Jill Stanek reported that a Kansas disciplinary panel sent a recommendation to the state Supreme Court that former state Attorney General Phill Kline be indefinitely suspended from practicing law due to ethical misconduct in the pursuit of his investigation of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Kline responded by accusing the KSSC of using the ethics process to punish political opponents:

The panel did what they were instructed to do. This is the latest chapter of a [former Kansas governor, now US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen] Sebelius appointed court covering up for a Sebelius political benefactor in order to protect the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars.
The Sebelius court joined Planned Parenthood to file this complaint, appointed the prosecutor, appointed the panel and will make the final decision. Our Constitution was created to end such conduct.
The accusation of cronyism took on added weight and dimension when it was revealed the other day that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment destroyed around 2005 key evidence needed in a trial against PPKMM on 107 criminal charges stemming from Kline's investigation. That's the year 2005, as in "on Gov. Sebelius' watch". Even if the document destruction could be justified as routine or mandated by HIPAA or the Privacy Act, there's no way this can look good; it makes PPKMM's counsel's claim that "there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing" look disingenuous to say the least: "Of course there's no evidence. That's what a successful cover-up is supposed to accomplish!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Be careful what you ask for ....

©2011 Matt Bohrs.
Seriously, I'd rather not speculate on Jobs' eternal fate. After all, God could have seen fit to admit him to Heaven. My task is to try to get there myself. "Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last" (Lk 13:30).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ah, if only I could draw!

I would love to have enough drawing skill to be a cartoonist. But, alas! I don't. So here I am, trying to work this exchange into a passable joke without drawing skills:

Person #1: "I'm from the US Government, and I'm here to help you."
That's all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shocking news: Bishop's faith not shaken after attack!

A year ago, Bp. David Monroe of Kamloops, BC was assaulted with a blunt object when he answered his door. He spent 55 days in the hospital; his attacker, John Bandura, is currently being held at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam.

So it was nice for The Canadian Press to follow up on the story a year later.  What I don't get is the lede: "A Catholic bishop from Kamloops, B.C. says his faith in God was not shaken, even as he struggled to breathe following an attack at his home one year ago."

Is there a particular reason why his faith should have been shaken by the attack? Should Bp. Monroe have expected God to come swooping in on his attacker like Spider-Man or Batman to foil Bandura and save the day? 

It's not that the question is "stupid", but rather that the answer is so shocking that it deserves the lede. It would be more newsworthy if Bp. Monroe's faith had been shaken by the attack, if he were reconsidering his vocation in light of it.

After all, Catholicism isn't into the whole "prosperity gospel" thing; to us, faith in God isn't a lucky rabbit's foot to grant us perpetual health and wealth or to protect us from all harm or inconvenience. S*** still happens; you just deal with it differently.

So anyway, here's to Bp. Monroe: may the rest of his life be healthy and just eventful enough to be interesting.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lo, how the mighty hath fallen!

One day, maybe in a month or two, the OWS protesters will realize that people don't take them seriously anymore.

Well ... yeah. But then, very few people, if you walk up to them and accuse them of being evil and greedy, will say, "Yeah, I know. Ain't it cool?"

Just to show you that elitism isn't dead in America ....

Actually, this was shown later to be an astroturf movement started by Vilya, the Ring of Fire, and Nenya, the Ring of Adamant.

And the most annoying thing is, he doesn't really eat them. [Actually, I'm a Distributist. I don't mind if someone has more cookies than I do, so long as everyone has enough ovens and ingredients.

Now they tell me ....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hugging the cactus—UPDATED

©2011 Getty Images.
In quick succession, we've seen Hollywood figures at their most generous and at their most infantile.

On Saturday, Robert Downey, Jr. delivered a speech in acceptance of the 25th annual American Cinematheque Award, an award which pays tribute to an actor "fully engaged in his or her work and ... committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures." Certainly Downey throws himself completely into every role he plays, and is very knowledgeable in films and the art of story-telling, so I can think of few people as deserving of the award.

Except for the actor who presented him the award — Mel Gibson. And Downey paid him tribute both for his craft and his friendship by demanding that Hollywood forgive Gibson for his indiscretions of the last few years. Here's the part of the speech, as presented in Forbes:

When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head and food on the table and most importantly he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoing and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly – hugging the cactus he calls it — he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough, I’d become a man. ... I did and it worked. 
All he asked in return was that someday I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him or that someday was tonight. So anyway on this special occasion and in light of the recent holidays including Columbus Day, I would ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin in which case you picked the wrong f—ing industry, in forgiving my friend his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate you have me, allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Canticle for Liebowitz: Plus ça change, plus ça même chose

I've had A Canticle for Liebowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (New York: Bantam Books, 1959), in my book collection for some time. In fact, judging from the state of the cover, it must be one of the last books I bought from a second-hand book store I lived near in Omaha over five years ago. But while I started it a couple of times, in both cases something else called me away from finishing it.

So I read Dr. Peter Kreeft's laud of Liebowitz in Dappled Things, and realized with some guilt that I still had it but had never read it completely through. So taking the command "Tolle, lege" literally (while still appreciating the reference to St. Augustine's Confessions 8:12:29), yesterday I took up and read the sucker straight through. And I will say something that will strike the sci-fi purist as sheer blasphemy: Miller did in one book what Isaac Asimov could not do in all his Foundation series. 

Liebowitz reminds me very much of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (especially in the last section, where Miller's overview of the second technological age is reminiscent of Chief Bromden's mental fugue after he and Murphy go through electro-shock therapy). But where Heller's novel is an absurdist shot at war, and Kesey's is full of the post-Sixties distrust for "the system", Miller's work indicts the modern hermeneutic of "the eternal conflict between faith and reason", which treats the two principles as if they were divorced and not inextricably entwined. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why prayer is better than apologetics

We are often deceived into thinking that doing great things for God is something for tomorrow and the life of prayer is something only to be taken up when one's life's circumstances allow it to be more of a priority. This is not the way the saints understand time.

Bl. Julian of Norwich
 I encourage you to read the rest of Dr. Anthony Lilles' "The Present Moment – Eternity Begun and Still in Progress". There's a downside to coming at Catholicism strictly from an intellectual, apologetics approach as I usually do: you miss the interior communion with God that forms the core of Catholic spirituality, a dialogue without words.

Let me give you an example of what I mean: 

Too often when we say, "God is eternal," we filter that proposition through our own experience of Time – a vast yet finite succession of individual "nows", with both foresight and hindsight crippled by lack of knowledge and emotional biases. But for God, there is no "yesterday" or "tomorrow" ... for lack of a better way to express it, to God all moments are NOW. Furthermore, His knowledge is complete, His vision undistorted by human needs and wounds.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Being poor in America

"If the goal is to eliminate poverty it seems like the current economy is quite good, in the United States the bottom 5% in terms of 'wealth' have a standard of living that is better than 60% of the rest of the world. In the United States 65% of those that are classified as poor have amenities like cell phones, about 2/3 have DVD players, 90% own a microwave oven, and so forth. A dynamic capitalist economy creates a system that essentially eliminates poverty as known by the rest of the world.”

So the argument goes, in a comment in Richard Aleman's Distributist Review post, "In the Beginning". And yeah, it's pretty easy to find a picture of a homeless lady with a shopping cart full of trash and post it as representative of poverty in America, when most of the bottom 5% aren't in homeless shelters or sleeping under bridges.

But that doesn't mean they're eating strawberries and cream, either. I know; I've been there, and but for the grace of God and generous friends and family I'd be there right now.

A cell phone is no longer an "amenity". Like the car before it, the cell phone has become a survival tool. If you never take a picture or text a friend or download an .mp3 with it, you still need it to be employed, just as you need "reliable transportation" (which in most states east of the I-95 corridor means a personal vehicle). The main difference between the cell phone and the car is that the cell phone won't cause a major financial crisis if it quits working.

While a PC and a microwave aren't strictly speaking necessary, you can be severely hobbled if you don't have them. While you can use a PC at the library, it's not convenient: you're a hostage to the library's hours of business. And having a PC at home expands your employment potential, because you may — and probably will — be asked to do things from home for your job. As for the microwave: if you're a single mother working two jobs (or one job with massive overtime), you don't have a lot of time available to cook from scratch, and fast food ain't cheap anymore.

Yes, I spent a good portion of my adult life throwing frozen dinners into the microwave — or, more often, the oven. That's when I had money for frozen dinners, and didn't have to content myself with a pantry full of Ramen noodles, Kraft Mac n' Cheese (mixed with Star-Kist tuna for protein) and rice. I also ate a lot of spaghetti, Hamburger Helper and PBJs. That's because I'm not a single mother, and never qualified for WIC or food stamps; although I made barely more than minimum wage, I made too much to qualify for rent assistance or any other social programs.

That meant months without a telephone. No cable; I didn't have a TV to begin with, anyway. That meant scrambling in December to buy el cheapo Christmas gifts when I could afford them because it took me until November to pay down the summer's electric bill ... when I had air conditioning.

Being poor means pounding half your paycheck down a rathole labeled "rent". It's money down a rathole because you'll never own that apartment no matter how long you live in it.

Being poor means letting the rest of your car fall apart while you struggle to maintain the drive train, hoping that your tranny won't drop out on you on your way to work and take out your next paycheck. It means that, nine times out of ten, if you can't fix it (whatever "it" is), the sumbitch ain't getting fixed.

Being poor means that the jalopy you're driving is uninsured because you traded off a payment for another bill, and because the Paternal Government that requires you be insured has no assistance program to help you remain insured (which you probably wouldn't qualify for anyway because you make too much money).

Being poor means calculating very closely just how much — or even whether — you can contribute to a 401(k) without hurting yourself someplace else.

Being poor means selling your plasma to eke out your check, or trading in that DVD player for a loan to cover a last-minute bill. In my case, it meant selling the only decent six-string I ever owned, a blondwood Fender American Standard Stratocaster, to pay my rent. (Tolkien: "He who can not sell a precious thing at need is in fetters." I don't regret the decision, no matter how much I miss the guitar.)

Being poor in America means living in neighborhoods where your eyes are constantly checking out each alley and dark corner as you walk down the sidewalk hunched in preparation for fight or flight, where you're awakened in the middle of the night by gunshots or your upstairs neighbors' domestic quarrels, where the cops stake out an apartment in your building as a suspected dope ring center.

Being poor in America means working 60-hour weeks to have the most basic things the children of privilege take for granted, struggling just to keep your head above water, knowing that a serious-enough illness will drag you down. And the odds are that that's the way you'll live for the rest of what will be a shorter-than-average life.

In sum, don't tell me how good poor people in America have it, as if it justifies CEOs earning over three hundred times the average workers' salary and the top 10% owning 83% of the total American financial assets. Yes, many of the bottom 5% should be grateful they have working toilets and that their children aren't suffering from beri-beri or scurvy.

But they don't have capitalism to thank for that. For that, they have an inefficient and bloated federal bureaucracy to thank for correcting a little — very little — of capitalism's inequity.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Punctuation Police

Yes, I carry a badge. Or a badger. Or a grudge. I can also carry a tune, carry a torch, carry your books, carry on, carry over, Cary Grant, Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginny, but I won't hari-kari even if you hold a gun to my head.

Where was I? Oh, yes ... punctuation. Most of you have probably seen the image at left on Facebook, chuckled over it, and then gone on with your slovenly writing ways. Possibly even continuing to write in that overly-cute texting spelling, with OMGs and LOLs punctuating your thoughts instead of commas and semicolons.

I'm one of those wierd, retentive people that get frustrated when people put quotation marks around words they meant to emphasize rather than call into question. Example: The sign that says EARN $1,000/WK FROM YOUR "HOUSE"! ("Yeah, like that termite-ridden hovel could be called a house. 'Well, it was a hole in the ground covered with a piece of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us!'") Or people who use 's for simple plurals: GREEN PEPPER'S $0.48 EACH ("Green pepper's what? What does the green pepper own that I'd be willing to pay it four bits each for?").

Yeah, I know ... you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. But to quote Churchill, "This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put." And my ongoing mission is to boldly split infinitives no one has split before. As far as I know, only English has a splittable infinitive ... why pass up on the opportunity if it leads to better poetry?

But one of the best jokes I've ever read depends on your knowing that, back in the day, Morse code had no signals for punctuation. Western Union used "X" or "STOP" at the end of sentences, but it could get a little difficult if you didn't know how to make yourself clear. So this joke will use some punctuation and italics to get the sense across as if I were telling it vocally.

Anyway, Stalin was haranguing the crowds on a blustery May Day, when an aide handed him a telegram. He gave it a brief glance, then announced: "Comrades! Today is a wonderful day! I have just received an important message from our beloved comrade Trotsky!" He then read it out:



Cheers erupted throughout Red Square. Amidst the celebration, the Leader noticed little Shepsel trying to get his attention: "Comrade Stalin! Comrade Stalin! Such a historic message! A message for the ages. But you didn't read it with the right feeling!"

Stalin calmed the crowd down and said, "Comrades! Here is a man, a simple patriot, who tells me I didn't read the message with the right feeling! I shall now invite him to read it!"

Shepsel stepped to the microphone, cleared his throat, and began:




Friday, October 7, 2011

Rebels without a clue

Okay, so here's what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want, according to the Washington Times (10/3/2011):

  1. Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hour. [So you're willing to pay $25 for your cheeseburger, right?]
  2. Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to Wall St. investors. [Okay, so you're saying that doctors, nurses and hospitals don't get anything from the insurance companies? Oversimplify much?]
  3. Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment. [Check me on this: isn't a wage something you receive for working? If you're not working, it's not a wage ... it's charity. And what you really want is for government support to be so munificent that you don't have to work to live. Nice non-work if you can get it.]
  4. Free college education. [And how are we paying for this? Oh, let me guess ... teachers are going to be paid that minimum living wage just like everyone else, and money will be redirected from research for the "military-industrial complex".]
  5. Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand. [Can you be less specific?]
  6. One trillion dollars in infrastructure (water, sewer, rail, roads and bridges and electrical grid) spending now. [Okay, I'll let you have this one.]
  7. One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants. [So long, New Orleans, it was nice knowin' ya.]
  8. Racial and gender equal rights amendment. [As far as racial equal rights, you might check out the 14th Amendment. That's what it's there for. Women are already given equal rights under that and the 19th Amendment. You want us to pretend "male" and "female" are only two of thirteen or so "genders" ... that's asking a bit much."]
  9. Open borders migration. Anyone can travel anywhere to work and live. [Because national security doesn't matter, you know. Nobody really hates the United States; that whole 9/11 thing was just a party prank that got out of hand.]
  10. Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system. [Okay, I'll give you this one too.]
  11. Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "books." World Bank loans to all nations, bank to bank debt and all bonds and margin call debt in the stock market including all derivatives or credit default swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period. [Yeah. That's gonna happen. And you want the letter "M" stricken from the English language.]
  12. Outlaw all credit reporting agencies. [Tempted to give you this one, too. Better to eliminate credit cards.]
  13. Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union. [This could go wrong on so many levels ....]
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy. [No, actually, these demands will stop the flow of capital, create rampant inflation and accelerate the collapse of Western civilization.]

Another anti-Catholic myth that needs to die!

Over at Patheos, Marc Barnes has written a lampoon centering on the gender gap among atheists — the male-to-female ratio being something like 3 or 4 to 1. Marc writes very well and humorously, although I thought this particular example was a pretty heavy-handed snark-fest since atheists are hardly all cut from the same cloth. An atheist writing under the nom de Net "Quasar" thought so, too, and made some fairly intelligent replies without sneering over religious beliefs ...

... until he wrote, "Dawkins, Hitchins and others have been thoroughly chewed out by their own fans every time they show their privilege blindness. Can you say the same for your authority figures?"

Yes. Absolutely. It's called "fraternal correction".

There's a difference between filial obedience and blind obedience, and the only person who believes Catholics let themselves be doormats for priests and bishops is a person who doesn't know anything about Catholics. If a pope, bishop or priest has done something dumb, you can bet your sweet bippy other Catholics lower down on the food chain have let him know it in no uncertain terms. In fact, if a pope, bishop or priest has done something wise and foresighted, you can bet other Catholics not quite as wise or foresighted will take issue with him on the matter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Requiescat in pace, Steve Jobs

Many people made it possible for the average person to own a computer. Steve Jobs and Apple made it possible for the average person to use a computer, taking it out of the province of the electronic engineer and the techno-geek and making it useful to the masses. Windows, like other forms of plaigirism, is the sincerest form of flattery.

In other news: ABC News reported today that Margie J. Phelps announced an impending boycott of Jobs' funeral by Westboro Baptist. How did Ms. Phelps make this announcement?

When the inconsistency was pointed out to her, Ms. Phelps tweeted back, “Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell.God created iPhone for that purpose! icon smile Westboro Church Uses iPhone to Announce Steve Jobs Funeral Protest ” Once again proving that Fred Phelps & Co. are the poster children for why sola scriptura is bad doctrine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If at first you don't succeed ... try smearing them again ....

Bp. David Zubik
This is not Bp. David A. Zubik's first rodeo.

Last December, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune, SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) accused Bp. Zubik of having destroyed evidence of sexual abuse while he was bishop of Green Bay. The diocese denied the allegations, noting that some of the records were required to be destroyed under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996), as the priests were still alive, and that the rest of the records destroyed were those of dead priests. The diocese also claimed it destroyed no records of priests with outstanding claims against them. No federal investigation or criminal charges are pending as of this date; it's hard not to conclude that the feds either decided there wasn't enough evidence to warrant opening up an investigation or that Jeff Anderson and SNAP were grandstanding again.

Now, Mike Rock, 45, has publicly accused Bp. Zubik of sexually assaulting him while Rock was a student at Quigley High School in the 1980s. Rock had made allegations last year against two priests who were teaching at Quigley at the time. Offered a meeting with Bp. Zubik, Rock demurred until this May; at the meeting, according to the WPXI-11 website, "Rock didn't talk about the two priests and instead asked him to overturn the background check that prohibited him from working at a local church." Rock has a lengthy criminal record with charges including burglary, indecent exposure and open lewdness.
Denied by Bp. Zubik, Rock then posted his allegation on the Quigley Facebook page.

The incident has been passed on to the Vatican and Diocesan Review Board for review. Zubik also passed the matter on to the Beaver County district attorney, Tony Berosh. According to Berosh, Rock never approached the police or the DA; Berosh began his investigation at the bishop's request. 

The district attorney said they conducted an investigation even though the statue of limitations was up. Berosh said Rock was hard to reach and was not cooperative. When Rock finally responded, Berosh said he told him that he was represented by council [sic] civilly and was going to handle matters in his own fashion. [Let me guess who counsel for the plaintiff is ... could it be, maybe, uh, Jeff Anderson?]
 There are some discrepancies between WPXI's report and that of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the story, the accusation was against +Zubik and two nuns, and last summer's accusation was against one priest. But the real surprise is that the media was willing to print allegations undermining Rock's credibility.

Nevertheless, I'm sure we can count on SNAP to release a statement within the next twenty-four hours siding with Rock and rehashing the Green Bay allegations in the hope of raising more interest the second time around. Where there's smoke ...

... there are bound to be mirrors.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

As if I didn't have enough on my plate — oh, wait, I don't ...

My reversion to orthodox Catholicism began in 2002, when I started to write a book defending Catholicism against Protestant anti-Catholics in the wake of the sex-abuse scandals. The book, which I did complete and was in the process of revising, disappeared in a hard-drive crash. (Important safety tip: back your s*** up!) While I regret losing hundreds of hours of work spent over the course of six years, researching the gaps in my knowledge led me to an even deeper appreciation for the One True Faith, while writing the book led me into further understanding ... and that I don't regret at all.

Recently, a correspondent asked me if I intended to write a book. Since the Catholic niche market is flooded with traditional apologetic works, I have no intention of picking up my original project again. However, that left me stumped for a hook on which I could hang another project. Then an idea almost literally fell off my bookshelf, when I picked up a book I haven't read for over ten years: The Catholic Why? Book, by Andrew M. Greeley. (It's now out of print, but Amazon has access to a few copies.)

 I have a lot of respect for Fr./Dr. Greeley as a priest, social scientist and best-selling author. He was responsible for opening my eyes to the tremendous cultural and symbolic heritage of the Catholic Church, and how the Catholic imagination affects one's response to the world. Nevertheless, my change in perspective since 2002 has led me to question and even challenge positions he has taken over the years, especially in The Catholic Why? Book. As well, Fr. Greeley wrote in 1983, and is possessed of no more than mortal precognition, so he didn't foresee all the changes of the last twenty-eight years and how they've impacted the post-conciliar Church, especially in the US.

The book answers eighty-eight questions posed from the point of view of a person raised in the pre-conciliar Church who doesn't quite get all the changes. I propose to answer questions posed from the point of view of a Catholic raised in the post-conciliar church, or an interested non-Catholic, who is puzzled by and wary of the resurgence of the "old Church". Like Fr. Greeley, I intend to pull the questions apart, look at the assumptions beneath them, and explain where the assumptions are incorrect, then proceed to an answer based on a correct understanding. Also like Fr. Greeley, I intend to keep the answers as short as possible; one addition I propose is a "bottom line answer" summing up the response in one sentence. [A sample section has been published on The Other Blog.—TL] While many if not most of the questions will remain as Fr. Greeley originally phrased them, others will be dropped and added, some will be re-phrased, and the text of the answers will all be mine.

If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, I'd be more than happy to hear from you!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another one bites the dust!

You might remember this story from last year: Since September 2008, a group of priests started praying weekly in front of the Northern Illinois Women's Center, a notorious abortion mill. Not just any prayers, either — "special prayers of the Church that the abortion mill be cleansed from evil", which argues prayers from the rite of exorcism. Within a month, the numbers started declining.

Soon after that, the signs began appearing in the clinic's windows, attacking the priests. Last year, when I first wrote about this story in The Other Blog, they'd sunk to a new low:

I don't own the copyrights. The car at far right had been egged.
Since that day three years ago, the priests have been joined by other protesters. LifeSiteNews has recorded both violence and threats of violence against people praying, counseling and offering free ultrasounds outside the clinic. Moreover, the clinic expanded its range of insults and bizarre mockery to include such things as crucifying and lynching rubber chickens ... in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. (Too insensitive to think of the racist overtones, or too loony to care? Your guess is as good as mine.)

Yesterday, Pro-Life Corner reported that the Illinois Department of Public Health has indefinitely suspended NIWC's license, because “the department had found conditions at the facility that are a direct threat to the public interest, health, safety and welfare requiring immediate, emergency action." There's also a report I haven't verified yet that the nutjob owner, Wayne Webster, has been fined $15,000.

Granted, IDPH wasn't exactly "Johnny at the rat hole" to shut NIWC down. The actual inspection took place in June. "A local nurse who read the report from the Illinois Dept of Public Health said, 'Yet, even with all these violations and without a registered nurse in their employ, they were open for business the very next day.  What does it take for the IDPH to shut this place down?  Do women really deserve this quality of medical care?'" As "Fred" commented this morning on the Pro-Life Corner combox, "I honestly didn't know that the IDPH had enough integrity, even after years of dereliction of duty, to [suspend NIWC's license]."

It remains to be seen whether NIWC will stay close, or if the State of Illinois will pursue any other action. But this exchange, reported by LifeSiteNews, is too good to pass up: One of the most recent signs taped up in NIWC's window taunted protesters, “You morons couldn’t close a jack in the box.” Kevin Rilott, the editor of the Pro-Life Corner blog, exulted, “He is right, pro-lifers can’t shut an abortion mill down. But the dangerous, unsanitary, and disgusting conditions inside the mill can shut it down!”

Update: Same day
Over at Jill Stanek's blog, Rachael C. reports:

Wow, at the [Rockford Register-Star] article, when faced with the deplorable conditions of this clinic, all the pro-choice commenters can do is plug their ears and say, “I don’t believe you!” and/or scream and rant “Abortion is the law of the land!” “Abortion a legal right!” “Men don’t have a say!” while continuing to defend abortion rights and abortion providers, but turn a blind eye to and refusing to address the issue of sub par clinics and women who’ve been injured at these clinics, which seems to me to be a diservice [sic] to women.
 I believe it. They pretty much did the same thing with Kermit Gosnell's little shop of horrors. To the hard-core pro-aborts, access trumps everything, even the most basic, common-sense health and safety regulations, as was indisputably demonstrated in Virginia earlier this year. Because when it comes right down to it, it's not really about women's health ... it's about a stupid, misogynistic "feminist" social theory that tells women motherhood is slavery and that homemaking is inferior to working. So what if women are physically damaged and emotionally traumatized by abortion ... doesn't the seed of liberty only grow when watered with blood?

Closing the clinics, of course, does nothing to dispel the radical-feminist groupthink that fuels the hard-core pro-abort's anger. But the more that these clinics come into the light, and the more the pro-aborts fight to keep them open, the more obvious to everyone else their self-delusion becomes.

Sing it, Freddie!

[H/T to Matt Archbold @ Creative Minority Report!]