Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Washington Archdiocese throws priest under the bus for enforcing Canon 915

Barbara Johnson (© 2012 Marvin Joseph/Washington Post)
So the story goes that Barbara Johnson was at her mother's funeral Mass at St. John Neumann in Gaithersburg, Md., when the celebrant, Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, refused to give her Communion.  The way WUSA-9 presents the story, Fr. Guarnizo "somehow found out" that Johnson was living in a lesbian relationship, and his denial of Communion put her in a state of shock.

That, however, is only one side of the story.  According to one of Deacon Greg Kandra's readers, Johnson introduced her partner to Fr. Guarnizo in the vestry as her lover.  Guarnizo said at that time that she should not present herself for Communion.  When she walked away, according to another account, he attempted to follow her to speak with her further, but was blocked at the vestry entryway by the girlfriend.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 15)

On the one hand, I appreciate the opportunity to work and make money again.  On the other, I miss having all day available to write.
Jehovah's Witnesses to the left of me!  Jehovah's Witnesses to the right of me!  It's chaos!  How did they all end up working for the same *@#&$ company!?

This company is expanding so rapidly that they're still installing security and offices with windows in the building they just leased before I interviewed.  Right now my job consists of re-reading the training materials while waiting for my computer to arrive so I can actually earn my paycheck.
Angel Coulby and Adetomiwa Edun from Merlin
Okay, I understand that English television is the epitome of British secular rationality.  This explains why Angel Coulby and Adetomiwa Edun were cast in a television show set in England  sometime between the fifth and eleventh centuries, when you were as likely to see a person of African descent as you were to see an armadillo walking across the Roman road.

Ate lunch at Razoo's today ... fortunately, there are plenty of places near my office I can have fish or seafood for lunch on Fridays.  The hurricane shrimp lunch special was reasonably priced, and was exquisitely spicy.  Nevertheless, I can't shake the feeling that Razoo's is bidding to become a Cajun Outback Steakhouse.  Meaning that you pay a little extra for decor and atmosphere that tries a little too hard to convince you it authentically represents the culture.
I've been trying to do some writing at a library about a mile and a half from my office.  On Wednesday, I finished my Ash Wednesday post for The Other Blog at 11:45 am, and drove like a madman through North Dallas traffic, making one wrong turn, to get to the only church within reasonable distance — Prince of Peace Catholic Community [say what?] in Plano.  Got there at the stroke of noon ... and there wasn't a place to park within half a mile of the joint.  While the Catholic blogger and apologist part of me was pleased to see such a turnout, the rest of me swore furiously — I blew through a friggin' red arrow to get there, dammit!  Ah, well ... it wasn't a holy day of obligation, at least.

Belated recognition to my friend Lisa Graas, for whom Ash Wednesday marked the twenty-first year since she was received into Mother Church!
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Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What if we just stop fighting Vatican II?

Bl. Pius IX
On February 7, Johannes Faber at Golden Straw huffed, "All this talk about Obama's health bill is rather shocking. I think that the way American Catholics are rebutting it is extremely unwise. I am referring to the constant appeal to religious freedom."

From there, you can pretty much figure it out, even if you don't follow the link: Cite Syllabus of Errors and St. Thomas Aquinas, then cast Dignitatis Humanae into non-infallibility as if such will make it irrelevant.  The only extra difference is that Faber brings up the Vatican's efforts to bring the Society of St. Pius X back to full communion: 

I propose, pace the US Consistution, American Catholics find other ways of arguing this issue. Otherwise we may find ourselves either a) cutting off the branch we're sitting on, or b) with egg on our faces when this issue is resolved in the Church in the future. I do think that Dr Pink's paper on the matter goes a long way in resolving this issue in the Church, but until we have a clear consensus [there is a clear consensus among the successors of the apostles, which is the only consensus needed; this is just weasel-speak for "until the unreasonable folks in the Vatican finally give the SSPX some concessions"] , it would wise for us to rely on other arguments (that are generally better anyway).
I think we need to be clear: HHS is not wrong because it is anti-Catholic. It is wrong because it is mandating something that is intrinsically evil, and contrary to the natural law. Religious liberty has nothing to do with it, the evil of contraception is not a revealed truth [non sequitur]. Conscience is only relevant in so far as we make clear that we will not comply.  But this is not about building a fortress where can carry on our pleasant prophylactic-free lives [and nobody said it was, either] — the endgame is to have no contraception anywhere, not just to have Catholic hospitals exempt. We should not be using secular, atheistic [?] arguments like religious liberty to justify this, because of the consequences down the road. Our arguments must be rooted in philosophy (not theology) and the natural law. We have had enough of the world's greatest philosophers in the one true fold of the Redeemer to be able to construct a better, richer and more convincing argument from than religious liberty.

Monday, February 20, 2012

WaPo Fact Checker calls BS on "98 percent" meme

On Saturday, Feb. 11, I wrote "Lies, damned lies and the Guttmacher 98%", which was in essence a repeat of Lydia McGrew's post on What's Wrong with the World, "How to lie with statistics".  (I had mentioned in a post on The Other Blog that there was a discrepancy between the "98%" figure and another figure — "nearly 70 percent" — in the Reuters report of the Guttmacher Institute study.)

Well, Mollie at, in a post with a title that shows we're all pretty unimaginative in our literary references, also called "bulls***" on the  number, citing Lydia's excellent takedown.  I just want to make her (and my) debt to Lydia clear, because Mollie in turn has been cited by none other than the unimpeachable Fact Checker of WaPo, Glenn Kessler:

But while the study says that 98 percent of “sexually experienced Catholic women” have “ever used a contraceptive method other than natural planning,” the data shown in the report does not actually back up that claim.  In fact, a supplementary table in the report, on page 8, even appears to undermine that statistic, since it shows that 11 percent of Catholic women currently using no method at all.  That has led to criticism of the statistic [link leads to Mollie].
The Guttmacher Institute, citing “confusion” over the statistic, on Wednesday posted the actual data behind it [which should tell you how badly the MSM got it wrong if even Guttmacher wanted to set the record straight].  It turns out it was based on a question that asked self-identified Catholic women who have had sex if they have ever used one of 12 methods of birth control.  [Rachel K.] Jones [co-author of the study], in an interview, said the women were asked to answer “yes” or “no” whether they had used each of the different forms; only two percent had said they had used only natural family planning.
In other words, a woman may have sex only once, or she may have had a partner who only used a condom once, and then she would be placed in the 98 percent category.  Jones said the correct way to describe the results of the research is this:
 “Data shows that 98 percent of sexually experienced women of child-bearing age and who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (2/19/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!

Well, this week wasn't very productive, as it was my first week back in the regular workforce.  The next week is going to be even stranger, since I'll be working split shifts at my paying job and trying to write at the local library during the four-hour segments between (writing at my desk using company software would be not only questionable work ethics but also sticky in terms of copyright law — they would have a legal claim to it, even if they never exercised it.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ride 'em, Cardinal!

I couldn't help but reprint this segment from John L. Allen Jr.'s post on the National Catholic Fishwrap, "Rome notebook: Dolan's the rock star of this consistory":

Yesterday, I was drawn into a heated discussion among several Vatican correspondents from Italy, other European nations, and Latin America, the topic of which was: Could Dolan be pope? The consensus was that it’s an awfully long shot, but the fact of the conversation itself is telling.
A Spaniard seemed to capture the sentiment of the group, and perhaps something of the broader Roman reaction to Dolan.
“I cannot think that these cardinals are going to elect a cowboy pope,” he said – and for once, this European didn’t mean “cowboy” pejoratively, but in the sense of someone who would give the Vatican a healthy jolt.
Then he added: “But can you imagine how much fun it would be if they did?”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A small history lesson

+Leo T. Maher (1915-1991)
A couple of weeks ago, I shared an exchange with Sr. Lisa Ann Doty of Nunspeak, just after Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made her weaselly statement about "standing with my fellow Catholics in support of" the HHS mandate.  At the time, we speculated that the bishops were just angry enough with the Administration that they might just dust off the bell, book and candle.  And believe me, I'd give a lot of cash to be in National Cathedral if and when Cdl. Donald Wuerl decided to make a high formal matter of excommunicating notorious quislings Pelosi and HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius ... perhaps adding Vice President Joe Biden for good measure.

However, when Jimmy Akin was on Catholic Answers Live tonight, he discussed this matter with a caller, and thought of a really good reason why Cdl. Wuerl, Abp. George Niederauer or Abp. Joseph Naumann would want to hold off on such an act.  Because the radio program can neither campaign for nor against a candidate without violating IRS rules — and the IRS has shown great flexibility in what it considers "campaigning" — Akin mentioned no current names.  He simply alluded to the case of former California state senator Lucy Killea, who had won election on the strength of having been denied communion by the bishop of San Diego (the late +Leo T. Maher) for her pro-abortion views.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (2/12/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!

Of course, the majority of the week was taken up with writing about the HHS mandate and the Obamination's phony "accommodation".  I really have no wish to inflict more of that on you; however, one post that bears on the subject without talking directly about it is Lies, damned lies and the Guttmacher 98%.  Read that and you'll know how to counter it when the office know-it-all gasses on about it.

Lies, damned lies and the Guttmacher 98%

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters  from the North American Review

I've written before that the same Guttmacher Institute report which claims that "98% of Catholic Women have used birth control" also notes that “Nearly 70 percent of Catholic women use sterilization, the birth control pill or an IUD".  Well, thanks to Lydia McGrew at What's Wrong with the World, we have some further exposition into the study itself rather than the (biased) Reuters report.

First, the study was limited to women between 15 and 44.  While it's somewhat reasonable, as 45-50 gets into the pre-menopausal range, it leaves out all the women who didn't use contraceptives prior to menopause. So the study is about current contraceptive use; the claim as constructed misleadingly attempts to extend that "98%" figure to cover women who are 45 and older.

Next, having left out all the ≥ 45 women who never used birth control, the study next trims out women who aren't sexually active (no sex in 3+ months).  Lydia quips, "There go all the nuns," but there also go all the women who, for one reason or another, have opted for celibacy and/or chastity, like my friends the Bright Maidens.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 14)

This week hosted at Betty Beguiles!

One bit of "culture shock" I've yet to get used to, even after 5½ years in the Lone Star State, is mowing the lawn in February.  Nevertheless, it's gotta be done ... I've got weeds coming up to my knees here!

Part of being on Twitter is knowing whom to block.  Got a message today that "NOM Tweets Hate (@nomtweetshate) is now following you on Twitter!"  *sigh* Nobody cares about subtlety or subterfuge anymore.  I have no use for people who want to cram my opinions into their agenda-driven delusions, so he's been booted off my feed.

My buddy Subvet from Blowing San #1 nominated The Other Blog for a Liebster Blog award.  This is actually a pretty cool thing, because it helps link us bloggers with smaller audiences to one another; you can follow the nominations forward or backward and come up with some good reading.  Go check it out!

As of this writing (5:27 pm CST), the White petition started by Frank Weathers is at 29,099 signatures!  And the St. Gianna's Physician's Guild petition is at 21,955!  While the White House is busy making "accommodations" that are really advances in their position, we're gaining more and more support every day!

Next week, as I announced last week, I start my new job processing loan modification documents.  The main difficulty is that, after a week of training from 8 to 5, my work schedule will be 7-10 am and 3-8 pm.  How will I find time to write?  We'll see!
I love this sign that's reportedly on Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' desk: “Thou shalt not emanate from the penumbra.”

Last night, I was discussing the Susan G. Komen debacle with some brother Knights.  One of them suggested, half-fun and full earnest, that the Knights or the Church offer mammograms.  From there, it built into a serious idea:  incorporate breast screenings, mammograms and other women's health services into the pregnancy shelters that Catholic charities run, as a full-on pro-life competitor to Planned Barrenhood!  This is an idea that needs to be followed up!

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And that's all for this week.  Have a safe and pleasant weekend, and remember: Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent is Feb. 22, so now is a good time to start thinking of your Lenten sacrifice!

Do you want the shaft with or without Vaseline?—UPDATED

Photo credit: Larry Downing/Reuters (© 2012)
From Reuters News Service, today at 12:50 pm EST:
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama, in an abrupt policy shift aimed at quelling an election-year firestorm, announced on Friday that religious employers would not be required to offer free birth control to workers and that the onus would instead be put on insurers.
The compromise sought to accommodate religious organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and universities, outraged by a new rule that would have required them to offer free contraceptive coverage.
Instead, the new approach puts the burden on insurance companies, ordering them to provide workers at religious-affiliated institutions with free family planning if they request it, without involving their employer at all, the White House said.
"Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services," Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room. "But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services."
On paper, the new approach looks broader than the "Hawai'i-style exemption" that the USCCB had already signaled was "not much of a compromise", and already one "Obama Catholic", Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association, has announced she's "very pleased" with the announcement.  (Is she not disturbed that Planned Parenthood capo CEO Cecile Richards is also pleased with it?)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Your daily irony supplement

There are some news items that, as soon as you see them, just cause your brain to explode.  "Too ... many ... jokes ... Must ... mock ... idiots ...."  This first item is self-explanatory:

As they used to say in the British Submarine Service, "Never mind your enemies, watch out for your friends."  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's go through it again — UPDATED

I'm surprised by the number of people who either have no clue what's at stake in the fight between the Catholic Church in America and the Obama Administration or have convinced themselves that (to use my father's expression) we're "hollerin' before we're hurt".  After all, does not the Health and Human Services have religious exemptions?  Should not institutions which receive federal dollars comply with federal mandates?  And isn't a refusal to carry insurance which provides coverage for contraceptives and sterilization an imposition on employees by their Catholic employers?

First, let's look at the situation squarely on.  The White House website page, "Health Reform, Preventive Services, and Religious Institutions," attempts to spin the guidelines to make them appear broader than they are: "Churches and other houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception."  However, the Church also runs hospitals, schools, homeless shelters and other non-profit services for the benefit of the disadvantaged without any religious qualification.  (That means you can be an atheist and still receive treatment at a Catholic hospital.)  The Church was running these services long before the Fed got into the social safety net game.  Moreover, there are plenty of for-profit businesses run by faithful Catholics who object to funding contraception and sterilization even indirectly.   In short, the rule attempts to establish an idea of "religion" as something that happens only once a week at church and tries to confine it there, making churches, temples, synagogues and mosques into little more than catacombs built to code.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (2/5/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!

Well, well, it's been quite a week.  At least at the end of it — the first couple of days I could barely prod a thought out of my brain.  Then the HHS controversy started heating up good and proper, as more bishops sounded off against the Obamination and more people sounded off for and against the mandate.  Then the news broke out about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Barrenhood, and we got front-row seats to a mob-style shakedown,played out with the active connivance of the MSM and a huge chunk of Congress on the national stage.

From the "More dire need than any non-profit in history" file—UPDATED

Kristi Burton Brown of LiveAction did a comparison to eHarmony's “Seven Signs of a Desperate Dater” that's just too funny. 

1) Desperate Organizations are ALWAYS Available.  Uh, yeah.  Definitely too available.  I wrote earlier about Planned Parenthood’s new ad campaign which clearly speaks of desperation.  Planned Parenthood wants men and women to know that they are the “sexual fantasy,” “private area,” “quickie,” and “sexual partner” we’ve all been looking for.  Who wants an organization to be that available?
2) Desperate Organizations are Clingy.  Heard of Planned Parenthood’s “Women Are Watching” campaign?  Its slogan includes a huge, nasty eye right in the middle of “women.”  The issues they claim women are watching include support for Planned Parenthood (number one on their list, of course), Title X and state family planning programs, sex education and teen pregnancy prevention programs, support for new health care reform law, access to abortion care, and HPV and cervical cancer.  It appears very odd to me that Planned Parenthood’s women aren’t watching the One Child Policy in China, the widespread gendercide against women, or the onslaught of human trafficking—all issues that hurt women.  And please, whatever you’re watching, Planned Parenthood, I don’t need the image of your supposedly all-seeing eye clinging to my dreams.
Big Sister?  "Paging Mr. Orwell, Mr. George Orwell ..."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 13)

This week hosted at Betty Beguiles!

It's been a while since I participated in this, but it's still a fun idea.  So here we go:

I want to give you all a "heads up" on this:  On January 24, I was hired as a contract worker back in the home lending industry.  Starting February 13, I won't have as much time to write, so my posting on The Other Blog may become a little (more) erratic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The art of lying perfected

Y'know, it's not just Planned Parenthood's genetically-ingrained dishonesty that bothers me ... it's that their lies can be so stunningly audacious as to be satanic.

1) Planned Barrenhood has not lost all funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Three major grants are still in the pipeline, and some local units are still getting funds.  Nevertheless, as soon as the news was released that SGK had changed their grant policy, PB zombies immediately started throwing money at them as though the organization were going to go broke next week (in fact, this non-profit organization has been earning hundreds of millions in non-profits for some years).

From the "Collected Works of Winston Smith" file

I had just published my rant on The Other Blog, "Catholic or American? Why must we choose?", and was trolling Twitter looking for another topic when this tweet came in from Marcel LeJeune:  "Dumbest & most illogical article I've ever read.  Don't break anything if you read it."

How could I resist?

So I pull up the link, which is to an op-ed in the Boston Globe by Joan Vennochi, "The Catholic Church's unfair attack against Obama".  And I didn't break anything ... except the land speed record for getting pissed off.

Four paragraphs into the column, the intellectual dishonesty starts:

But not all employees of Catholic institutions are Catholics. Why should their employers impose their religious beliefs on them and deny coverage for birth control and other medical care?  As long as those Catholic institutions are getting taxpayer money, they should follow secular rules.  [Put another way: As long as the government buys Vaseline, you should submit without complaint to rape.]  That’s the Obama administration’s argument, and it makes sense.

Very simple: because your taking money out of my pocket to fund your inability to keep it in your pants is an imposition on my religious beliefs — not the other way aroundVennochi gets the injustice exactly backwards.  Contraceptives and sterilization are no more medically necessary than are boob jobs or "gender reassignment" procedures, and therefore pose no honest ad misericordiam claim let alone a right to funds from the unwilling.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hooray for Susan G. Komen!

For some time now, I've been reluctant to give SGK so much as a dime, despite the worthiness of their cause, because I don't want to give money to Planned Barrenhood even indirectly.  (This is why I no longer drink Starbucks'® Fr'appucinos.)

However, as reported in LifeNews last March, PB's "partnership" with SGK has always been misleading.  Many if not most PB clinics don't offer mammograms or screenings.  Former director and now pro-life activist Abby Johnson charges: “For so long PP has touted that they are a provider of mammogram services. This is just one of the lies that Planned Parenthood uses to draw people into their clinics.  PP is not able to provide quality services on their own, so they are forced to lie to the public about services they don’t provide — and mammograms are just one of those services.”  

(In response, Stuart Schear, Vice President for Communications of Planned Parenthood, accused LiveAction of "twisting facts to suit its extreme political agenda," and claimed, "Like the vast majority of primary care physicians and ob-gyns, we refer our patients to other facilities for mammograms when indicated based on a breast exam, age or family history.”)