Saturday, September 30, 2006

Audio Recordings of Finn and Keyes at the Rally Against Human Cloning

Earlier this month, I published my roving correspondent's report from the Rally Against Human Cloning held at First Baptist Church of Raytown, at which Dr. Alan Keyes spoke.

In perusing the internet this morning (postponing my chore for the day--crawling under the house to get ready for winter), I ran across a page on the Bott Radio Network which includes photos of the event and and audio recordings of all the major speeches, including Bishop Finn's and Alan Keyes'.

CLICK HERE to go to the page.


PS, Catholics should be cautious about some of the other material on their site.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Clone & Kill Coalition is having a seminar...

...and the public is invited. I just got the following message from a correspondent:
The Bad Guys are having a disinfo seminar, complete with PowerPoint, at:

Cass-Midway R1 Gymnasium
5801 E. State Rt. 2
Cleveland, MO
Oct 3 @ 7:00 (Vigil of St Francis, My Man!)

I won't repeat the rest of his incendiary comments, because we don't provoke people here in the Cave or say unkind things about anyone for any reason. But perhaps a few folks from down around that way might consider a road trip to Cleveland. Just remember, if it comes to be question and answer time, to be polite when you ask them about killing and mutilating people for medical experiments.

Thank you for your application Mr. de Zutter, but Ms. Nolan better fits our vision for the Anchorage Catholic Anchor

Hilary makes us in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph relieved that the leftist, modernist editor of our diocesan paper, the Catholic Key (awful as he and it might be) is not this woman:

John Paul II an “Unbelievable Misogynist” ~ New Editor of Anchorage Catholic Paper

A snippet or two from Hilary:

At the time of John Paul’s death in April 2005, Nolan wrote, “This pope, this benevolent, everyone’s-best-friend, Karol-from-Poland pope, was an unbelievable misogynist. News flash, kids: JP2 did not like women.”

Writing under the pseudonym, “Myster,” and apparently referring to the late Pope’s reiteration of the Catholic teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests, Nolan wrote that the late Pope “spent the last 26 years working overtime to keep us in our place.”

* * *

Other selections from Nolan’s 'blog demonstrate a young woman with little grasp of the fundamentals of her religion. Describing herself as a “cafeteria Catholic,” on November 13, 2005, she wrote on the sacrament of confession that she had done “a number of things that the Catholic church (sic) would technically consider confessable sins, although I don't necessarily think they're bad.”

and the Bishop's reaction once the laymen discovered stuff that would have disqualified Nolan if she had been minimally vetted before being hired (or worse, perhaps she had been vetted?):

[Archdiocesan Spokesman Mary] Gore told that the Archdiocese had received complaints about Nolan’s comments from parishioners. “Bottom line is that it's an internal policy decision. Right now Archbishop Schwietz is sticking by his editor.”
It's easy to forget, when we're actually on the upswing here in Kansas City, Missouri, that there the general trend in most dioceses saddled with Bernardin-style bishops is still unmistakeably downward.

In the meantime, all you letter-writers out there, follow Hilary's lead and let the Archbishop of Anchorage have a piece of your mind. It's not the worst thing that's going on in North America, perhaps, but it's worth a little hounding, I'd say. His address is at the bottom of the article.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Conference: Part 3.....The Sebelius speech

I was forwarded the last bit of our correspondent's report on the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship conference, with Kathleen Sebelius's speech. Here it is:

Part 3

Finally, I'm getting to the finale; Kathleen Sebelius's speech. After a short introduction by one of the organizers, we were instructed to stand for the governor, and Sebelius marched in. After thanking those who put on the conference, she set forth her vision for moral leadership. She invoked the free-staters who founded Kansas (leaving out any specific mention of John Brown's rampages or the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre) and those Kansans who followed the abolitionists and advocated "women's rights and a free and open society." Sebelius said that those people who settled Kansas understood the idea of the "common good" and talked about their cooperative efforts.

Then she went onto a biographical reverie which began with a dig on the traditional Latin Mass. She said she was raised in the Catholic Church where, as a child, she watched Mass with the priest saying his prayers in Latin, with his back to the congregation. She said that way of doing things made religion an individual thing; it "wasn't very inclusive." She also accused her mother of using daily Mass simply as quiet time--of not really praying. She then made a praising passing reference to John XXIII for setting changes in motion. She said then that for her generation, it was standard for politicians to keep their individual religious beliefs quiet, but it was important these days to share them and try to apply them in public life.

After going on for a time about what constituted virtue and saying that "actions do speak louder than words" (which seemed to be the only remotely Catholic thing she said--contra the protestant notion of sola fide), she said that ignoring schools and children's needs and voting against health care access was not virtuous. She called for moral leadership in the distribution of resources and repeated the "common good" mantra. Then she jumped in and quoted the more convenient parts of USCCB statements, including something that went like "How can we, all of us, especially the weak and vulnerable, be better off in years ahead?" (That doesn't really sound like a Catholic statement, but it does sound like a USCCB statement, doesn't it?) Sebelius then went back into her biography, and talked about how she had to do volunteer work in the summers, rather than get a paying job. She also talked about being educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame, who (instead of teaching her the Fifth Commandment, I guess) taught her and her classmates that girls could do anything, and that in so doing they created a group of "accidental feminists."

And then she got into her abortion stance. She said that there was no question she couldn't focus on the abortion issue, and that "My Catholic faith teaches me life is sacred," but that she simply disagreed on tactics: "criminalizing women and their doctors" wasn't the way to fight abortion--it should be fought be reducing and eliminating the causes that lead to abortion. She then had the audacity to take credit for the reduced number of abortions in the last few years, and she argued that a lower abortion rate can only come about by supporting her litany of liberal (er, "progressive") causes. It was more productive to "talk about a culture of life," she said, and she looked forward to a day when abortion was rare or non-existent. Then without taking on Archbishop Naumann directly (and...this is a shocker...without personally thanking George Tiller for his financial support), she moved on to talk about protecting natural resources and other things, with the old liberal Catholic line.

Naturally, she received a rousing standing ovation, and one of the guys that spotted me as a mole chided me for not joining in. She left, the conference ended, and I had a few minutes of private conversation with the two guys who figured me out. One of them wanted to know what I thought of the conference, and I said the common good rhetoric was pretty good, and it might work to some degree, and it's true that it will. If the neo-cons--particularly those at the national level--continue on the present course, the liberals could win over more of the masses, and then the "real conservatives" will be truly on the outs, with nothing to show for their last 25 years of activity. Meanwhile, the cultural destruction that California and Massachusetts are taking to the next level will come to Middle America. Part of me wonders if that needs to happen, in order to purge the neo-cons from the "conservative" movement, but another part looks at Great Britain and sees what might happen: in the years the Tories have been out of power, the true conservatives of the Edmund Burke line have failed, utterly, to pull themselves together and make any progress, and Tony Blair (and his neo-con Labour party) have worked to tear down the last bits of the institutions which sustained England even through the protestant revolt and replace it all with "Cool Britannia."

And that's it. Like I said, you shouldn't have waited with baited breath for the Sebelius report. It was entirely predictable--wrapping herself in a cloak of cozy feel-good Catholicism without confronting any of the hard issues. The lawyer and the priest in Lawrence that you wrote about last week must be proud. There were no fireworks, and of course, no challenges to her positions, or her outrageous attempt to take credit for reducing abortions while she was vetoing pro-life legislation. I suppose, ultimately, though, that she and her "progressive" friends got the last laugh on me, having sacrificed most of a Saturday for such humdrum. I'll give her credit for that, for sure.

Pro-Cloning hat trick for the Kit Wagar of the Kansas City Star

As you know, the Kansas City Star is a reliable organ for the clone-and-kill coalition, and unlike all those billboard and TV commercials, the Star's promotion of embryonic stem cell research isn't costing Jim Stowers a cent (at least that we know, eh?). The Star's stylebook must warn reporters to be really careful to avoid anything that might make any concern for human life sound reasonable, or anything that might make Jim Stowers and his mad scientists sound . . . well . . . mad. One of the Star's star misinformers, Mike Hendricks, ran a dishonest column following the anti-cloning rally on September 13, which I didn't report on in a timely manner, and now it's in the Star's pay-per-view archive--too late. But my perusal of the last few days of Kansas City Star articles has led me to at least three of their latest efforts, by another of the Star's cheerleaders for the clone-and-kill team, Jefferson City correspondent Kit Wagar.

The first, Saturday's article headlined "Blunt's plan gets new limits" (emphasis added) on applying existing state restrictions on experimenting on human embryos in buildings constructed with Missouri Development Finance Board money, serves to show how our backwards troglodyte thinking about human life is standing in the way of Science and obstructing the betterment of the master, er, human race. We have these highlights:

  • "Spence Jackson, a spokesman for [scoundrel neo-con traitor Matt] Blunt, said the governor opposed the limits on scientists’ work."
  • "Joe Moore, spokesman for the University of Missouri system, expressed concern about how the academic community would view such restrictions. We wouldn’t want to be at a competitive disadvantage with our peer institutions that may be seeking the same cutting-edge researchers,” Moore said." [Which researchers are we seeking? These guys?]
  • "But Sen. Charles Wheeler, a Kansas City Democrat [who is Kansas City's elder statesman and "Mister Civility," at least to those constituents who make it out of a petri dish alive], warned that the restrictions could undermine the purpose of Blunt’s life-sciences initiative and would lead to more litigation. 'Science only advances in states where scientists are given a lot of discretion about the types of research they can do,' Wheeler said."
  • "The prohibitions reflect the beliefs of opponents of some stem-cell research who say that a microscopic person is killed when stem cells are harvested from the ball of cells that develops five days after conception." [Ever read Horton Hears a Who?, Mr. Wagar, Mr. Editor? Naturally, we dare not say which types of stem cell research, do we? Naturally, we dare not give a fair airing of their position, do we?]
And then we another article about Episcopal priests cheering on the clone-and-kill team, like their confrere John Danforth. Wouldn't ya know? They are hoping to prompt a frank discussion. Again, some highlights:

  • "The resolution, drafted by the Rev. Stan Runnels of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, calls for the diocese to affirm the value of research on both adult and early stem cells and to recognize that such research 'is consistent with the theological teachings and moral practices of the Episcopal Church.'"
  • "A statement supporting the resolution notes that the Episcopal Church’s policymaking council, known as the General Convention, determined in 2003 that 'wider availability of embryonic stem cells for medical research holds the potential for discovery of effective treatment of a wide variety of diseases and other medical conditions.'"

Um, yeah, what have I said in the past about the consistency of such positions with the theology of a sect founded solely on political expediency? Ditto that.

Then we have today's article on the pro-cloning, pro-killing kiosks set up in Union Station and other places around the state:

  • "The kiosk sticks to the scientific view of such research and its potential for curing a wide range of diseases." [yet, of course, it fails to point out the truth: dozens of cures from adult stem cells, but nothing just lots of tumors from embryonic cells]
  • "Some people oppose such research, the video tells viewers, because they consider the ball of cells from which stem cells are taken to be a human life. Others say that ball of cells is not a human life until it is implanted in a woman’s uterus. That is an issue 'science can’t resolve,' according to the video. 'Each person must make up his or her mind.'" [Which worries me. We all get to make up our own minds? What if someone makes up his or her mind that I'm s suitable matter for destructive medical experiments? Or that Kit Wagar is?]
  • "'We had the feeling that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about stem-cell research,' [Science City director Ray] Shubinski said. “We hope to get information to people so they can be better informed about what the issues are." [Naturally, though, we won't tell you all the information, will we, Ray?].
  • "Shubinski acknowledged that the exhibit looks at stem-cell research and its potential in a positive light. It’s simply the scientific point of view, he said. 'We’re saying, "This is what stem cells are all about,"' Shubinski said. "We’re not looking at the political, religious or cultural issues. All we’re saying is, ‘If this is available, what are the benefits?'"" [Poor me, I was misinformed. Back in the 1980s, my textbooks said science was a method of reasoned inquiry, not just a positive point of view].

Um, yeah. Recommendation: don't stand next to Kit, or that Ray Shuby-Doo guy, on a stormy day.

Kansans for Faithful Citizenship Conference, Part 2

Here's a continuation of my correspondent's report. He still doesn't get to Kathleen Sebelius, but he promises to do so soon:

Curmudgeon, Wolftracker, in rereading Part 1, I realized I skipped over an important preliminary fact; i.e., how many people were there? I'd never make it as a journalist, obviously (not that journalists ever estimate a crowd well). The organizers had a very large room reserved, with about 28 large round banquet tables (the kind that would seat 10 people at a larger function) with six chairs arranged around them so nobody would have his back to the podium. The were set up for about 170 people, but the morning started with only 80-90 folks in attendance. Several tables were empty, and there were empty seats at a lot of the tables towards the back of the room. Over the course of the conference, another 10 or 15 people came in, and at Gov. Sebelius's speech, they let in another fifty people or so. I'm guessing that the majority of those in attendance were liberal Catholics, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I saw two men wearing clerical attire (one was with a woman I judged to be his wife—hopefully a protestant minister; the other I couldn't tell), and I recognized the retired pastor Our Lady of Sorrows in KCMO in lay dress. I was really surprised at the attendance; I honestly expected more folks to be there.
Sister Jeanne Christiansen RSM

Anyways, back to the panel discussion. Next came Sister Jeanne Christiansen, whom I didn't recognize on the dais in her short hair and pantsuit, and who started off quickly by pointing out the typo on the screen: she was an "RSM," or a "Religious Sister of Mercy," instead of an "RSN" or "Religious Sister of Nonsense." She made an allusion to her leaving the Kansas City, Missouri chancery office with the change of Bishops, and talked about how Catholics in the Missouri diocese were forming a new organization to "fill the gap" created by the new Bishop's apparent lack of interest in liberal lawmaking. She talked about her work on past elections in the Kansas City, Missouri, chancery, and said how wonderful the USCCB-produced voter information materials had been in the past (at the same time expressing concern about how they might change in the future do to changes at the USCCB). She also held up a "little blue book produced by some group in California" which I couldn't see, but which I assume was Karl Keating's and Catholic Answers' "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics." She said the California group's book "drove us crazy" and popped up all over the place. She said that the people in the room should read "the little blue book" so they'd know how Keating's group (which she never named) was distorting Catholic teaching, but she emphasized that when talking to Catholics about which guide to rely upon, point out that one of the guides came from "the bishops," and the other came from "some group in California."

My thoughts on this so far: Once again, we saw a speaker talking up the USCCB functionaries as "the Bishops," as if the rank-and-file Bishops of the United States really have much input into such publications, and as if the USCCB's political orientation has some magisterial significance. And like most trads, I'm not a big Catholic Answers fan, but if Keating's little blue book is driving people like Sr. Jeanne crazy, it's doing some good, for sure.

Christiansen quoted extensively from the documents on Catholics in Political Life, of course skipping over the inconvenient parts that Archbishop Kelleher incorporated into his recent Leaven column. She then said that it was important for people of faith to be political, but not partisan, and gave some examples of how they could walk that line, including avoiding "slanted" activities inviting a spectrum of candidates to speak at events (notice, though, that the only candidate to speak today is Sebelius). She then talked about recruiting candidates, and seemed to lament the fact that she could not, as a religious woman, run for office.

At this point she started using the buzzword "common good," and made a couple of references to (and apparent quotes from) "Catholic Teaching" about social justice-type stuff. I'm not sure what Christiansen meant by "Catholic Teaching." She didn't cite any documents, so I don't know if she was quoting magisterial authority or USCCB political stuff or just some unofficial, private theologian or moralist, or just some author who happened to write a book or an article entitled "Catholic Teaching." But Christiansen was very careful to remind us, over and over, that she was reading "Catholic Teaching." One of the things that came from "Catholic Teaching" was a statement on the formation of conscience, in which she stated that official Church teaching was a FACTOR in forming one's conscience, as was the consultation with "wise people." Here, I couldn't help but think she was quoting Bp. Tom Gumbleton's talk in Kansas City a while back, or that he was quoting Christiansen back then. I assume that her notion of "wise people" would be different than mine. Her point seemed to be that we shouldn't get hung up so much upon what the magisterium says, and that if "wise people" disagree, we can form our conscience around that disagreement. Christiansen made a reference to the new document put out by the Kansas Bishops (the KCC, I guess?), and said if fell between the USCCB "Faithful Citizenship" statement and the "little blue book."

Christiansen said that Catholics were to work for Charity AND Justice, and she gave her own gloss on "the bishops'" moral priorities for legislation:

1. Defend Human Life from conception to natural death (which, unsurprisingly, to Christiansen, means improving the QUALITY of life in all its

2. Supporting Family Life (by which she focused on education, health care, and parental something-or-other, instead of stuff like divorce, contraception, and other unfashionable stuff).

3. Social Justice (she said we "can't duck that one," but I may have some reflections on that if you don't).

4. "Practicing Global Solidarity" (by which I guess she means debt relief and more support to corrupt third world regimes and less military action, but I don't recall that she elaborated on this because she was running out of time).

Finally, she encouraged everyone to get involved, and spend some time reading about and researching other progressive Christian organizations. She urged everyone to visit and the ncr blog, and also, she promoted the website. This was the group mentioned above that intends to "fill the gap" left by Bishop Finn, but when I checked it out after I got home, I found it to be far from the electronic behive of "social justice" activity Christiansen seemed to suggest it was. The site averages four hits per day.

Bert Braud

The next talk was by Bert Braud. He's an employment lawyer, and his talk was apparently all about employment discrimination and the injustice of "at will" employment in Kansas. It just didn't seem to fit the program; it was too detailed, too specialized and to lawyerly, so I thought this was a good time to step out for a restroom break and for more coffee. During his talk, I spoke at some length to one of the two fellows who had tagged me as a right-wing mole. Most of it was private conversation, so no report on that is forthcoming, except to report that he said he wanted me to "feel welcome" at the conference.

Luncheon Speaker

As a late registrant, I didn't have a box lunch, and I had some errands to run, so I left the hotel for about 45 minutes while everyone else ate, but I got back in time to hear John Halpin of the "Center for American Progress," who spoke for about 30 minutes on the political polling data derived from a 1,000-sample poll and follow up focus groups. That was a fairly interesting talk, in which the folks in attendance got to see how they could best frame their agenda so as to play the public reflexes that have been conditioned by neo-con and evangelical rhetoric. He used the buzzword, "common good," a gazillion times. He flew through a bunch of slides, which he indicated were available on his organization's website for further study, and talked about how they could get people to break with the "radical individualism of the right" and the "national interests equated with the needs of the few" and the notion of an "ownership society." He emphasized the idea a public craving for "national service" (about which I have some passionate thoughts) and the need to emphasize a call for "ethical personal behavior" and a "just, peaceful, cooperative" military policy. He emphasized strongly that the people in the room needed to describe themselves as "progressives" and "moderates" because the term "liberal" was such a turnoff in polling. I haven't been to his organization's website, but it might be useful for people to visit it and see how the liberals seek to recast themselves.

Breakout Sessions

There were two breakout sessions; one on the environment, run by the Sierra Club, and another on Health Care, Poverty & Social Justice, run by Robert Harder. I attended the latter. The session mostly discussed advocacy for home health services instead of more-expensive nursing home care, and other government programs to indoctrinate children. My notes from this segment are sketchy.

Kathleen Sebelius

Of course, everybody wants to know what Kathleen Sebelius would have to say in a venue like this, especially given the Archbishop's recent challenge to her on her recent pro-abort veto and the rhetoric that surrounded it. However, I don't have time right now to wrap this up and get a full report to you on her speech. You'll have to wait another day or so. But don't wait with baited breath: I was disappointed that she dodged the Archbishop's direct challenge and stuck to her typical hollow "I'm personally opposed" rhetoric. I'll finish this in the next day or two. Sorry for the delay, Curmudgeon, but remember, you get what you pay for.

It turns out that my correspondent wasn't entirely alone at this conference. There was another person who drove by the Doubletree just to see what the attendance was like. He was kind enough to email me a gem of a photo from the parking lot and give me permission to use it above.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Report on the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship, part 1

Here's the first part of the report from the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship conference. More is promised.

Cur, I saw your post alluding to this report. Don't think I'm kidding; I want my $10 reimbursement, here. You should be lucky I'm not billing you for mileage, lunch, and six hours of my life that will never be recovered. You'd better have cash at Mass tomorrow, and don't give me any garbage about protecting your anonymity. And no funny stuff! If you pay me with rolls of pennies, you'll have to find yourself a new correspondent. And don't try to pay me in bumperstickers, either. I'm sending this to Wolftracker, too, just to make sure I get something for my trouble.

Anyways, as planned, I attended the conference of the Kansas Coalition for Faithful Citizenship today. I took a big risk and registered in my own name, and was quickly spotted as a right-wing "mole." It's not like our events where we tend to leave the left-wing moles alone in the back of the room. I did have to explain to a guy that I'm not a neo-con. I'll say more about that later.


The conference started a little after 10am. One of the local organizers, Janet Schlake, read the mission statement, which is to be "a group of people of faith pledged to support candidates and policies which have the common good as their focus." I didn't see or hear anything about Janet Schlake's biography, but do note the buzzword, the "common good," which was repeated throughout the day like a mantra of sorts. A woman named Mara Vanderslice came next. She's has a company called "Common Good Strategies, LLC," which is "a new political consulting firm that helps build bridges and understanding between Democratic elected officials, candidates and state parties and America's diverse religious communities." She was the Kerry-Edwards campaign's Director of Religious Outreach. She appears to be a non-denominational type, and has a resume with lots of liberal political experience (although it became apparent that they much prefer the label "progressive." Although I would guess that the room was mostly older liberal Catholics and mainline protestants (very few young folk), she mentioned Rosh Hashana and the start of Ramadan. She said something about two events that really showed the US to the world: Katrina, which exposed the poverty of New Orleans, and 9/11, which was a squandered opportunity to build bridges (because our political leaders took a "for us or against us" attitude in the aftermath). She also said something about how she saw reasons for hope, as more "progressive" Christian groups like the "Red Letter Christians" and Catholics for the Common Good were forming, and guys like John Danforth were waivering from the "conservative" line. Following Vanderslice, another local organizer, Janelle Lazzo, introduced National Catholic Reporter editor Tom Roberts.

Tom Roberts.

Roberts had an hour-long speech. He read it in less than 30 minutes. It was hard to follow because he talked so quickly, and thus my notes are poor, but here's what I did get:

He started with a discussion of St. Thomas More, quoting heavily on the play A Man for All Seasons, rather than authoritative biographies, and noting that the Vatican's Doctrinal Note on Certain Questions on the Participation of Catholics in Political Life drew on More as well. Roberts suggested that we substitute, for suspicion of More's king, a suspicion of our own religious and political leaders, such as a Bishop who says stem cell research is like genocide, evangelicals preachers who say they intend to retake a state or the nation for Jesus Christ, politicians who speak as if God has given the US a special mandate in the world, and [something else; he was moving too fast].

He made allusion to the moral certainty of the old says, and said that we should all be grateful, in light of the current interest in homosexual marriage, that "one age's moral absolutes become malleable in the next." He complained that religion should not be at the beck and call of politics (which left me wondering why we were all at a hotel conference room on a Saturday morning), and referenced some absurd quotations of the current Holy Father by Congressman Nancy Pelosi (acknowledging their absurdity). He complained that Catholics are too willing compromise their broad agenda for a few narrow issues, and said we must "unchain God from our smallness" and avoid letting the Church get co-opted by politics. He rattled through a substantial list of religious figures that inspired him, of which I only jotted down Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton and Sister Joan Chittister, but because he was moving so fast, I didn't have any notes on why they were relevant to him or how they worked into the speech at this point.

Roberts spoke a little bit next about how pro-lifers were ill-used in the Reagan-Bush era, and moved back to the present to criticize bishops who set forth conditions for voting and try to regulate who comes to the "communion rail." He talked about the pass given to Rick Santorum when he sold out and supported Arlen Specter. He tried to draw a distinction between "church teaching" and "church politics," and complained of those who do nothing other than oppose abortion and not try to fix the social structures that cause it. He said there was more than one way to be a good Catholic, and praised the compromising spirit of Cardinals George and McCarrick and the official USCCB statement which left lots of wiggle room for "progressives." He pointed out that Pope John Paul gave communion directly to pro-aborts, and even non-Catholic Tony Blair.

I'm sorry, at this point, I was hopelessly behind on my note-taking and things got sketchy. Roberts was reading a mile a minute:

He went on to talk about the formation of conscience, and said that while Church teaching was a major factor in forming ones' conscience, there was "no infallible statement on how to vote." He said that the war in Iraq was the one moral issue that we were forced to support with our taxes. He said something about the economic gap. Something about tribal wars. He said the US was 36th in infant mortality (did that count abortions?). He invoked Cardinal McCarrick again. And then he stopped.

My impressions: Roberts' invocation of the USCCB, as "the Bishops," was to become another frequent technique among the speakers in the day. The progressive church bureaucrats and the old-school Bishops running the conference apparatus and presuming to speak in the name of all the Bishops gave them much ammunition, and will certainly give their candidates a good deal more in the coming weeks. It seems to be that the "progressive" strategy will be, today and in the run-up to the election, that instead of running from any religious identity, they'll embrace it, or at least the quotable, non-magisterial politically useful part of it, which the USCCB functionaries have offered up for their exploitation. His comment above, expressing approval and hope for the fact that old moral absolutes become malleable over time today (or I would say, appear to be) doesn't surprise me much—I wouldn't have expected him to make a distinction between the phenomenon of sins becoming fashionable and his dream of a moral world where sins ceasing to be sins.

He did have a point about how pro-lifers were ill-used by the Reaganites; it can be proven in three words: Sandra Day O'Connor. As for the Rick Santorum sellout, I imagine that he will be punished by those he abandoned for Specter. I also expected to hear something about the Bishops who were attempting to do something about the public scandal caused by pro-abortion politicians who were exploiting their Catholic identity, but I laughed out loud at the reference to the "Communion Rail" coming from one of the leaders of the movement which did away with the rail and replaced it with the modern breadlines and lay "Eucharistic Ministers." Of course, no mention was made of the Vatican's (Cardinal Ratzinger's) letter to the USCCB's discussion of the McCarrick report, nor of McCarrick's cover-up of the full text and import of it. There's little to say about his allusion to JP-II's carelessness with regards to communicants, other than to note that such a lack of discretion in governing the Church and his own household, manifested here and elsewhere, shows that whatever his other virtues, JP-II does not merit the rare appellation "the Great." Finally, I took issue with Roberts' suggestion that the War was the one immoral thing we were all required to support with our tax dollars. We all know that's false. Just off the top of my head, involuntarily support obscene and sacrilegious art. We support sex education in schools, too. And in many states, through mandatory coverage laws and insurance policies and prisoner's rights claims, we support contraception and abortions. Anyways, due to the speed with which Roberts spoke, I didn't get enough written down to draw any great insights now, at the distance of several hours' time.

Dr. Robert Harder

The next segment was a panel discussion with Dr. Robert Harder, Sister Jeanne Christiansen, and Bert Braud. It was more like three short, unrelated speeches than any sort of panel discussion, but the first two were interesting, at least. Robert Harder, who worked in several bureaucratic and advisory positions in Topeka and now runs the "Big Tent Coalition" doing "progressive" advocacy on welfare and healthcare issues, and who was to give a "breakout session" on that topic later in the day, gave the one talk that I could agree with 100%. It was fully on target. The talk was titled "A Godless Constitution?" In the 15 minutes he spoke, he answered the (typically evangelical protestant) patriotic assertion that the United States was founded on Christian principles. He went through a host of facts that showed the anti-religious political foundations of the Mayflower Compact (yes, from the Puritains), Thomas Jefferson's efforts to discourage religious belief and practice in Virginia, George Washington's religious non-observance, and the rampant Deism among the other founding fathers. He pointed out that only 10-15% of the colonial settlers were observant. Harder even went so far as to quote someone and insist himself that the country was founded on "reason and enlightenment" rather than on religious principles. That reminds me of Curmudgeon's criticism of the video shown at the beginning of the stem cell rally a couple of weeks ago.

To Harder, I can only say "Amen," and I'll wait until we start talking about what we should do and say in light of our anti-religious foundations before I voice disagreement with you.

Well, it's late, and I'm tired. I think I'll sent this to you in parts, and you can either wait until you get all the parts, or you can post it (if you choose to) as it comes in. Tomorrow I'll write up what Sister Jeanne Christiansen had to say (which was really the most interesting part of the day, in a morbid way), as well as a report on the polling data gathered by the national organization promoting the "common good" rhetoric, the "breakout sessions" and the headliner speech by Gov. Sebelius, as well as some more commentary, such as you may want.

We'll see if my correspondent follows through with part 2. Maybe I'll only give him $5 this week, and hold the rest until he's done.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Is it worth a sawbuck?

One of my correspondents said he'd go to today's Sebelius Fan Club meeting (a/k/a the Kansans for Faithful Citizenship conference) in Overland Park, but I didn't want to promise a report to anyone.  This is the same guy who was lined up to cover last week's talk by that Jesuit dissenter guy at Topics to Go, and he didn't follow through.  As you'll recall,  I didn't go to Topics to Go, either, because I thought he had that event covered and so I skipped it and attended to some long-neglected household chores and family time last week.  

My correspondent doesn't have a report for me just yet, but he did just email me a note saying that he attended, and that something  is forthcoming, but that if I don't reimburse him for the $10 registration fee, he'll give the scoop to Kansas City Catholic or Dust of the Time.  

I'm thinking about it.  Is it worth a sawbuck?

Parking Lot Cloning Conversation

As the Curmudgeons were parking the van this evening, a guy noticed our bumper sticker (this bumper sticker--my friends still have more available):

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Anyways, a guy noticed our bumper sticker and asked "Is that the stem cell thing?"

"Yes it is," I replied.

"I don't know what to think of that," said the guy. "Is that a Democrat thing or a Republican thing? 'Cause I'm really a moderate Democrat. Are you a Democrat or a Republican?"

"I'm none of the above," I responded, sensing that is was inexpedient to explain the virtues of monarchy.

"Well, which is it? The Republicans are against it, aren't they?"

"There are a lot of rich Republicans who want cloning because they think they can make more money off it. Really, it's a question of life, not political parties. People are on both sides in both parties," I answered, it an atypical burst of mental agility.

"Well, I don't know what to think. There are a lot of things out there like diabetes and cancer that could be cured," said the guy.

"Well, first of all, that's a lie, too. What they propose hasn't cured anything. There are stem cell cures, but they come from adult stem cells. What this is about is creating and killing other human beings for experiments," I say, with Mrs. Curmudgeon, not visible to the guy, raising her eyebrows.

"Well, I don't like that; I'm against abortion. But I'd never tell a woman she couldn't have one. That's her own business, between her and God."

"Well, you're mistaken....." Had he not been walking away, and had my mental wheels been turning quicker, and had the Littlest Curmudgeon within arm's reach, I'd have asked the guy if it would just be between me and God if I killed Littlest.

But I missed my chance.

And it's a pity, too. I guess I don't have enought day-to-day contact with many fellows of the non-Catholic Joe-Six-Pack variety. I lose track of the way they think in short, network-news-informed bursts. I forget how easy it is to manipulate their TV-addled minds. Here was a guy, who (if you could keep him focused on one line of thought for more than 30 seconds without fancy moving graphics) could be convinced of the wickedness of Jim Stowers' scheme, and could probably also be convinced that abortion is a societal evil instead of a private matter, to boot.

I have to give credit to whatever attorney came up with the idea of duping every Joe Six Pack in the state of Missouri with the dirty lawyer's trick of redefining the term "clone" to use it in the opposite sense, in their legislation, of what it means in real life. I would have thought there'd be something unethical in doing such a thing. There are consumer protection and truth in advertising laws for buying and selling stuff, aren't there? Why don't they have the same sort of thing here in a plebiscite? Anyways, the lawyers and the public relations shills and their evil friends apparently have their fingers on the pulse of the TV-addled, run-of-the-mill Missouri voter in a way that me and my friends simply don't. I would never have thought people so gullible; it never would have occurred to me to run a constitutional amendment through the system with such a bold-faced lie. But it's happening, and there's a good chance they'll get away with it. My guy in the parking lot is a perfect illustration of their success.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Takes one to know one...

Chavez calls Bush a "devil."

"Hugo, it's George. We missed you at Mephistopheles' party last night. It was great. Robespierre got smashed and puked all over Stalin. Pol Pot got rowdy, too. Where were you? Out drinking with Screwtape's friends?"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Way to go, [Abp] Joe!

The Archbishop [His Grace, the Most Reverend....somebody scolded me this morning], Joseph Naumann, may be moving slowly with respect to Gov. Sebelius and other prominent Kansans who are exploiting their Catholic identity to evil ends, but there's no doubt in anyone's mind now of his direction--he's moving forward. In the Leaven, he followed up last week's criticism of Killer Kathleen's (fn1) pro-death worldview, with a general column about the duties of Catholics on issues of civil government, notwithstanding the reaction from Dan Watkins and the commie-progressive camp.

The Archbishop crafted an excellent, and unusually clear, statement about the difference between prudential issues and morally indefensible positions: one the likes of which Tod Brown or Raj Mahoney or Howard Hubbard (fn2) could not bring themselves to make. Here's a snippet:
Moreover, as Pope Benedict XVI stated when he served as the cardinal prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Catholics are free to choose from “among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good. ” On most public policy issues, there are a variety of possible strategies and solutions that a Catholic could choose to support or oppose in good conscience: “It is not the Church’s task to set forth specific political solutions — and even less to propose a single solution as the acceptable one — to temporal questions that God has left to the free and responsible judgment of each person. ”2 It is not the church’s role or competency to develop specific proposals for foreign policy, economic development, immigration, taxation, environmental policies, etc.

The church does enunciate moral principles that have a significant bearing on public policy issues. The Catholic must choose, from a variety of possible paths, how best to implement these principles. however, there are some public policy issues that directly pertain to a correct understanding of the dignity of the human person. Regarding these fundamental human rights issues, it is not possible for a diversity of opinion.

Thus, a Catholic in public life cannot in good conscience support or advocate for a policy that gives legal protection to the destruction of innocent human life. Pope John Paul II stated clearly: “Abortion and
euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can legitimize.” Our late Holy Father, referring to the 1974 Declaration on Procured Abortion, reemphasized: “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 propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.’” (footnotes removed)

It was a sincere pleasure to see someone in a mitre clearly state the truth, which I'll paraphrase as follows: it's not a seamless garment, there are issues on which Catholics can differ (and I would say, be terribly, but not sinfully, wrong), and there are issues in which error leads everyone--Catholic, heretic or infidel--to perdition.

I won't quibble on this one. Marvellous work, your Grace! Keep moving forward!
fn1: It's Killer Kathleen, not Killer Kathy--not even to her friends-- somebody else told me so this morning)

fn3: Of course by that I mean His Excellency, the Most Rev. Tod Brown, His Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahony, and His Excellency, the Most Rev. Howard Hubbard.

Kathleen Sebelius Fan Club . . . They're having a conference next week!

Orville emailed me yesterday afternoon to share with me the statement of a Kansas activist group, Kansans for Faithful Citizenship (and by activist group, perhaps it's just a website run by one overweight dateless wonder living above the Red Lyon in Lawrence and getting a grand a month from Dan Watkins and his leftist cronies to maintain an internet presence).

I guess Orville was trying to restart my rant from Thursday.

Anyways, here's the link to the group's May press release.

I'm all ranted out this morning, but I'm happy to share the link. Do enjoy it, Mom. They seem like your kinda people. Solid faithful Catholics all--not like those Latin Massers.

UPDATE...9am Sunday

I just learned that this isn't just the website of a left-wing slacker in Lawrence; this is a real group, of sorts, with a Fall Conference planned and everything. Mom, you may want to attend:

Kansans for Faithful Citizenship
invites you to participate in a conference on faith and public life:
Leadership for the Common Good, A New Moral Vision for Kansas

Featuring Keynote addresses from:
Governor Kathleen Sebelius and
Tom Roberts, Editor in Chief of the National Catholic Reporter

Saturday September 23rd from 10:00-4:00
at the Double Tree Hotel on College Blvd in Overland Park, KS.

Pre-registration cost $20.00 and includes either a standard or veggie lunch. Registration at the door without lunch will cost $10.00.

The conference will also include panel discussions and workshops featuring John Halpin, the Center for American Progress’ chief strategist on the common good, Dr. Robert Harder, former Kansans SRS Secretary, Sister Jeanne Christensen RSM, Bert Braud JD and representatives from the Kansas Sierra Club.
Thank God they'll have a veggie lunch available. Aren't all RSM's vegans now?
Please, somebody (on our side, whichever side that is), GO TO THIS CONFERENCE! If you have a strong faith and a strong stomach, GO! I have a conflict next weekend, but I'm quite eager to hear about it; I will post your report.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No time for heretics and dissenters

I've told a number of people that it was my intent to go to the "Topics to Go" program at the Unitarian church today, where the National Catholic Reporter staff and other Commonweal-readin', granola-chewin', buggery-luvin', labrynth-walkin', priestess-promotin' pseudo-Catholics gather to hear someone from out of town dissenter promote one or another form of heresy and absurdity. Today's topic was "Holy Orders and Marriage" by some Jesuit priest I haven't heard of. I had to think he was going to argue for combining the two sacraments or otherwise mixing them up, and perhaps reordering what constitutes valid matter (by the sexes) for the recipients of both.

But I'll never know.

Too much going on today; behind at the office, lots of delayed housework, a couple of hours with the kids at the airshow, and no time left for heretics and dissenters.

But if you did attend, email me and give me the details.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Meanwhile, back in Kansas . . . Kathy Sebelius Gets Some Pro-Abort Press

Archbishop Naumann has taken a break from his church-closin' activities and written a Leaven column addressing Governor Kathleen Sebelius' veto of recent abortion legislation in Kansas, in which he asks for prayers for Killer Kathy, that she might see the Truth and the Light. While it's good to see the Archbishop of Kansas City finally taking some straightforward stand against Sebelius' exploitation and corruption of her Catholic background (instead of, like his predecessor, standing by while one of his parishes permits her to use a Catholic church to celebrate her Tiller-funded march-of-death to the Statehouse), Naumann just doesn't take the next, obvious step.

Granted, a talking head tells us that the Archbishop has been working on her:
“The governor appreciates her ongoing counsel with the archbishop, and we believe this is a matter best left to the privacy of their discussions,” said Nicole Corcoran, a Sebelius spokeswoman.
However, this isn't a private matter, is it? This isn't John Smith in Holton who's in a secret adulterous relationship. This isn't Mary Jones in Olathe who's quietly driving her daughter to Tiller's chop shop in Wichita to kill her granddaughter in utero. This is a public scandal. For years Sebelius has played the Catholic card and there has been no direct public reaction to correct her and to mitigate the scandal among the faithful. What's going on? Is she a Kennedy? Are we in Boston? With the big pass she's getting (and with all the church closings we're seeing), it must be that we're in Boston. Let's see some penal action, your Grace!

Anyways, this little archepiscopal chiding and call for prayers has gotten people riled up in Lawrence, which is, as you'll recall, William Quantrill's favorite spot for a rowdy road trip. For those of you who don't know, Lawrence, like Berkeley and Boulder, is a hopeless university town governed by an anti-meritocracy, where any boy or girl from western Kansas, who's too foolish, shortsighted, and impressionable to manage the Dollar General store in McPherson or Medicine Lodge (or any local who's too addled even to run the front counter at Yello Sub) can come and get elected to public office, or establish a law practice, or (if he's a cleric) get himself appointed pastor of a Catholic parish.

The story made Dolph Simons' paper the Lawrence Journal World (more affectionately know as the Urinal World among the Jayhawk undergrads). In it, we have Lawrence attorney Dan Watkins, an official idiot shill of the Democratic Party, jumping up to correct his ordinary (who, of course, lacks the theological and moral training that Danny must have picked in law school):

Dan Watkins, who attends St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lawrence, said Catholics must practice a faithful citizenship, which encompasses a whole range of issues in addition to respect for life.

“The fact that a public official upholds what is the law of the land, even if their faith and personal belief tells them that that’s wrong, that shouldn’t disqualify them in the eyes of other Catholics,” said Watkins, a Lawrence lawyer and active Democrat.

Watkins said he had not read Naumann’s column but said that the governor agreeing to uphold the law differs from her advocating for abortion.

“It is a polarizing issue, and I think that people may not have looked carefully enough at what her position is,” he said.

First of all, I've been to St. John the Evangelist, and, well, nevermind, I'll get to that later.

Second of all, I can't believe those law-and-order Democrats in Lawrence! Isn't it the Douglas County Democratic Committee that organizes the weekly Honk for Hemp demonstration on Massachusetts Street? You know the "conservative" cause is lost, and it's time to hand the reins to the violent reactionaries like me when the liberals are calling for law and order. It's all about institutionalizing the revolution isn't it?

And third of all, Danny, this isn't even arguably about "upholding the law." Good grief, didn't you go to law school right after Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton? Didn't you read that case? It was fresh and new and hot back when you were in law school, wasn't it? Or were you too cheap to buy the post-1973 version of the textbook? Or did you cut class that day? The vetoed law isn't a direct challenge to the evil, unsupportable premise underlying Roe v. Wade and its progeny; it's a matter of state regulation of the abortion business. You're a Democrat, right? Democrats love regulation and bureaucracy and tying businesses up in red tape and paperwork, right?* Why don't you love this idea? It's good enough for the poor guys who are trying to build homes and stores and otherwise make a living in Lawrence, isn't it? Why isn't it good enough for Kathy's buddy George in Wichita?

And fourth of all, why shouldn't Sebelius's refusal to act in accordance with unambiguous moral teaching (which was, BTW, nearly unanimously accepted in this country only a few decades ago) or to plainly admit that she doesn't adhere to the Church that teaches it "disqualify [her] in the eyes of other Catholics"? If she will not abide by such a basic and unambiguous Catholic teaching, she should be an honest heretic, and never set foot in a Catholic church, nor describe herself as Catholic, nor ever invoke Catholicism ever again. She should go be an Episcopalian. They've got better music, and they've got plenty of comfortable empty seats, and that seems to be what matters to her, after all. She should take a cue from the apostate friend she appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court, who was baptized Catholic but left the Church formally when she left it materially, and doesn't pretend otherwise.

And fifth of all, what is Sebelius position? Jesus, if He really existed, said some nice things for us to reflect upon, but we should keep them to ourselves, especially if they might hurt campaign contributions. And He really didn't love the little children as much as He loved libertinism and material self-fulfillment, and He just wants us to be happy at any cost. What is your position, Dan? DAN? I hear an AC/DC tune in the background, and they're not just playing it for Kathy.

And so we come to the pastor of St. John's:

The Rev. John Schmeidler, pastor at St. John’s in Lawrence, also said it was difficult to judge a candidate on one issue.

“Abortion is wrong, so we really have to hold that as part of it. You can’t weigh it lightly, but you also have to weigh it against any other issues, too,” he said.

Schmeidler also said he had not read Naumann’s column.

Now, first of all, St. John the Evangelist is Catholic only in a limited and formal sense. They've got geographic boundaries, and I'm sure they pay their Cathedral taxes. But I've been there, at a very early Mass about four years ago when I was in town but had to catch a plane or to report to jail later in the day. The old sanctuary and altar has been ripped out, and instead of focusing on images of the saints as they pray, the parishioners worship felt banners and oils and colored water and sheaves of wheat in the niches where they once stood, and surround themselves with faux finish marblized plaster . The corpus on the crucifix is an overfed Buddha image, instead of a dignified representation of our suffering Savior. At communion (I went to communion reflexively, I'm sorry to say, and I wouldn't go again there), some lay woman tried to play priest and bless my infant Eldest Curmudgeon. The place is filled with people there to hear the peace and justice line (quickly, of course, so they don't miss the Honk For Hemp rally, which starts promptly at 11am on Sunday morning), with nary a mention of sin or sacrifice. So we have to think that any but the most remarkable of priests to become pastor of such a parish is either soft to begin with, or is very quickly softened.

Second point, this pastor just ain't thinking ahead. It's true that he's a Capuchin priest, so he's not doomed to have Naumann as his boss forever, as a diocesan priest might, but Naumann is still his boss for now. When one is asked to comment to the media on what the boss has written, one had damned well better have read it before one opens his mouth.

Third point, even if one HAS read what the boss has written, and one is so polluted by the Bernardin seamless-garment nonsense that one is simply compelled to undercut the boss, one ought to have more to say than "so we really have to hold that as part of it." I understand the importance of being squishy and ambiguous when you're in the spot you're in, Father. But let's try a little harder to give a pretense of a profound clerical statement to the press than you might from the pulpit. What do you mean when you say "that"? Is it abortion? Is it the wrongness of (some would say the immorality of) abortion? What do you mean when you say "it"? I haven't a clue. Maybe it's the great "It" that's somehow embodied in the oils and colored water and sheaves of wheat in your niches (your parishioners would know her as Earth Mother, wouldn't they?).

And Fourth Point is, well . . . nevermind, you get the point.

*Which isn't to say the Bushie Neo-Cons don't love bureaucracy and red tape, too.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Gehenna?

I've been reading the first volume of Warren H. Carroll's history, The Founding of Christendom, in which he discussed the original inhabitants of Palestine and their cruelty and worship of Baal at several points in the first 150 pages:
Most of the land was occupied by the people known as Canaanites, of Semitic stock and language like the Israelites, dwelling in small cities and towns with a flourishing agriculture, worshipping primarily fertility deities--often with temple prostitution, homosexuality and various orgiastic rites--and with a fearsome cult of child sacrifice. ... (p. 83)

He goes on to describe the child sacrifices made at Tophet by the Canaanites, "in the deep valley of Ben-Hinnom which, most appropriately, was to give its hellenized name of Gehenna to be one of the names of Hell" (p. 130), and later discusses the transplantation of the demonic practice to Carthage.

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Ever since I first read that part of Carroll's history many weeks ago, I haven't been able to shake the thought of the Canaanites and Tophet from my mind. Seems that of all the ancients, that's the society we best identify with these days, isn't it? Maybe even more the Canaanites or the Carthaginians than the old Romans. Though far from saints, the republican Romans, at least, had more moral scruples than we seem to. And since reading about and talking with others about last night's talk by Alan Keyes, in which he suggested in a rhetorical flourish that the Judgment may have already begun, I've been rather preoccupied with the thought. The difference between the Canaanites and our society, though, is that our chastisement isn't so likely to come from a David; our enemies are perhaps the instruments of our Lord's justice, but they are hardly His chosen people.

And on a related note, I bemoan the trouble Mel Gibson has brought upon himself in advance of his release of Apocalypto. From what I've read, and from the trailers I've seen, I suspect that there may be an allegory of some sort in that movie. Unfortunately, as we know, Gibson has played into the devil's hand recently, and that makes it less likely that a larger audience will draw any parallels between the human sacrifice of the indigenous empires of the New World and the human sacrifice of their Western conquerors.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Anti-Cloning Rally: I'm told it was worth it.

I just got the following report from someone who attended the Kansas City anti-cloning rally which was put on by the evangelical organization Vision America tonight in Raytown:

I attended the anti-cloning rally in Raytown tonight. Wow. Some of it was hard to take, but it was worth it. Being in a Baptist mega-church (complete with hybrid half-pew/half theatre flip-up seating and the little racks to put your thimble-thingy in after you've had your grape juice/wine) was really strange. I haven't been in such a place since, well, I guess, ever. At the start of the rally, there was a video by the sponsoring organization that was hard to watch for due to over-the-top patriotism: it stated--among other things--that America had been founded on Christian principles, when in fact it was founded on the unchristian principles of the French Englightment and English Freemasonry. Later, in the video, I heard that the Soviet Union was the first state that tried to utterly destroy all religion (um, does the year 1789 ring a bell? What about revolutionary France?).

There were several musical breaks, which they called "Worship and Celebration," that was emotional, happy-clappy contemporary stuff--they didn't have a Schola Cantorum and the music was .... well ... not exactly Pallestrina. Not even old protestant standards, for that matter. Not even St. Louis Jesuit songs, for that matter.

But, all and all, it was worth it. The difficulties I had with the evening were more than compensated for in the highlights: Bishop Finn and Alan Keyes.

There were a number of men in clerical suits present, and one guy in a white monastic robe--but not knowing anyone by sight except Bishop Finn and the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, I wasn't sure I could tell the priests from the protestant ministers. Bishop Finn gave a great talk in his quiet style, bluntly calling on--among others--businessmen to stand up and demand that their chambers of commerce promoting the economic good of the community without sacrificing human life.

Rick Scarborough, a Baptist preacher from Dallas (who's the principal in the organization that sponsored the evening) was okay, from what I could tell (I was a little distracted at this point by a rowdy child and by a man behind me who appeared to be a mole for the other side, looking disinterested, lternating between notetaking and a crossword puzzle, and certainly not standing, clapping or shouting halleluiahs (but then again, neither was I doing any of the last three things).

And the treat of the evening is what made sitting through the music and the video and such worthwhile--Alan Keyes, who was introduced by the evangelicals as "the best Baptist preacher the Catholics have." Sure, Keyes is, in this venue, a bit of a Maryland mercenary, but he's worth his wages. If you've seen Alan Keyes speak on any topic over the TV, you've seen half the show. In person, he puts on an amazing performance. Without even getting into the substance of the matter, or the words he uses, the way he uses cadence and volume, moving back and forth from streaming passion to quiet, profound statements is brilliant.

But to the substance of what he said was: He started by invoking the events of five years before, September 11, 2001, but in so doing dismissed the neo-con rhetoric about "Islamo-Fascism," and he avoided the smalzy, surreal sort of patriotism that we saw in the opening video. He managed to weave two different ideas together from that invocation; the first being a comparison of our situation to that of Sodom and Gomorrah in which our Lord was giving our society chance after chance to repent and seek his mercy, even as the angels were passing through the gates to carry out His just sentence, and the second being a description of the 9/11 highjackers' regard for the lives of those they were using as instruments to pursue their agenda.

I can't really describe how he held these two threads together for what must have been twenty minutes, but he did, ending the first part of his speech with the idea that perhaps, in some way, the Judgment had begun, and that the instruments of that judgment, the 9/11 hijackers, were at their heart the same as those who would sacrifice human beings for medical research--they each
embodied the same evil principle.

The second part of Keyes' talk went head-on against Sen. Danforth, who is the Stowers' puppet Christian statesman. Keyes, turning the trite question "What would Jesus do?," to his purpose well, quoted or alluded to, and commented on, just about every statement our Saviour made against greed and power and ambition and self-preservation (or so it seemed). He, of course, talked about slavery and greed, and how racism was the instrument, ultimately, of greed. He invoked Abraham Lincoln only once (thank God; I despise Lincoln as much as you do, Curmudgeon). He pointed out that just as Christ was crucified for us once, he would most certainly allow himself to be crucified again rather than abandon those who Danforth's handlers want to kill for their experiments. He ended by discussing the relative value of all those promises offered by the Stowers clan compared to the loss of human dignity, and our souls, as a consequence of exploiting other human beings.

All and all, a great speech, which I couldn't capture the essence of, even if my notes were better. Hopefully the folks that put this one will webcast it or something. It was a great speech. Keyes has a great gift; if only we had several dozen more Catholic laymen who could speak like him, and several thousand more priests who could preach (at least on occasion) like him, huh?

And so was the event. I should have gone after all, eh? I just hope that the correspondent who's covering the progressive quasi-Catholic "Topics to Go" speech for me on Saturday doesn't stand out quite so obviously as the mole my correspondent spotted tonight. I would be interested to hear from others who may have attended this event. Please email me.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stuff going on...lots of stuff.

Been extraordinarily busy with real life again over the last week, and the next one promises to be no different, so posting will continue to be light.

However, I do want to point to information on upcoming Kansas City activities which is given on Dust of the Time.
  • The first, tomorrow night's Anti-Cloning Rally, though billed as "ecumenical" is worthwhile and unlikely to be a danger to one's soul (unless, as Hilary warned, they pass out crackers and little thimbles of grape juice). Whatever allies we can get, right? And besides, it's an opportunity to invite our heretical brethren to the One True Church. Plus, Alan Keyes will be there. That is noteworthy, if for no other reason, because the only bumper sticker I have ever had on my car, prior to the current anti-cloning stickers, was one for his last presidential campaign: Alan Keyes 2000.
  • The second event should be great, and much more intellectually stimulating (if not as rousing) as the first. After all, consider who one of the speakers will be.
  • The third is something I'm not sure what to think of now: a meeting of the reform-of-the-reform crowd. Obviously, some sort of gradual restoration of the sacred will have to take place; the Pope isn't likely to stand at the window of the apostolic palace one day and simply wipe out everything that occurred to the liturgy since the promulgation of the 1962 Missal (even though his predecessors had no qualms about wiping out everything that occurred before it). But I'm not sure that anyone will get to the root of the problem at this meeting in Kansas City. I would be quite interested, though, to hear a report from someone who does attend.
Also, a fourth event. It's coming up soon, and it should be a hoot! If anyone interested in covering it for the blog (or perhaps for the Wanderer, or even for a real news outlet), I just got confirmation that the "kinda-sorta-Catholic" crowd that reads the National Catholic Reporter is has it's next "Topics To Go" seminar at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at 9:30 am next Saturday, September 16? The speaker is Fr. Dirk Dunfee and the topic is "Marriage and Ordination: a historical review and discussion of two sacraments that touch the lives of every Catholic." It won't be quite as interesting as last time, when the heresy came from the mouth of a Bishop (Tom Gumbleton-surprise!), and not a mere priest, but if you're strong in your faith, and you've got a St. Benedict medal on, you may be interested in getting the story (let me guess: there should be a married priesthood, and divorce is okey-dokey, so long as you feel bad about it).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another one's out!

It was relayed to me today, via Orville and MO Catholic, that somebody's bumper sticker has caught the attention of the St. Louis paper. Not so much so, of course, that they dare repeat the slogan, but it has been posited that it's the one being distributed by my informal group of friends here in Kansas City:

Now, my friends tell me, they've got a second one circulating, as well as the first. The scan below was sent to me with apologies for it being cut off; the ringleader seems to have an 11" scanner and this sticker's a little longer than that:

You can get some of these, and the original one below, by emailing My understanding, though, it that they don't want to send these out in ones and twos if they can avoid it....they ask that anyone who's interested try to commit to taking and distributing at least 10 to other people (who will put them on their cars)

There are lies. Damned lies. And Amendment 2. Vote No.

Totally Outside their Real-Life Experience

This report from an African Bishop (a Cathlic Bishop, at least formally) visiting a parish in Albany:
For millions of sub-Saharan Africans, the whole concept of pre-marital abstinence and being faithful to one's mate, as prescribed by the church, is totally outside their real-life experience, Dowling said. Dowling compared the church's stance on condoms to the impossible rules Pharisees imposed on people during Christ's day.
Naturally, one doesn't want to address the fundamental issue here and strive to make Christian morality part of the average African Catholic's "real-life experience," now does one?

Of course not. Instead, let's make infidelity and impurity part of the Africans' "spiritual experience," too. It's called "inculturation," isn't it?

These days it is hardly shocking to hear such an idea from a cleric, however wrong it might be, but note that Bp. Dowling has picked one of the more hospitable places in the United States to spread his heretical message, hasn't he? I wonder what his tour itenerary is like? Next stop Springfield, Illinois? Winding up in Los Angeles and Orange?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Crowded Mass

We were blessed to have the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, with us at high Mass on Sunday. So nice for the Eldest Curmudgeon to see a couple dozen nuns in traditional habit. They certainly made an impression on her (I haven't the heart to tell Eldest that they only eat one meal a day during much of the year; that might lessen the attraction of religious life).

It was otherwise crowded at Mass--we had people on folding chairs in the back of the church again. I can't imagine how crowded we'll be when the chancery forces the 9:30am low Mass out of Blessed Sacrament in a couple of weeks (at least I hope we're crowded, and people don't just drift across the state line to Old St. Pat's or St. Vincent's). Of course, it's all for the good, whatever happens, right? After all, they just must have a fourth Mass in Spanish on Sunday am at Blessed Sacrament, even though Blessed Sacrament is already busy on Sunday, and it is surrounded by under-utilized churches with only one Sunday Mass. And the new Mass just must be in Sunday prime time, right?; Nevermind how far the Latin Massers are driving from, and nevermind how large the families are, and nevermind how poorly attended the new Spanish Mass is likely to be.

I'm still not convinced that the Archbishop even knows we exist. Then again, as I think about it, I'm even more convinced that the chancery fix is in: they're executing some part of the church closing plan (excuse me, the "pastoral plan") now, even though it supposedly hasn't been formulated yet. Here it comes....CLICK HERE to be reminded of what we'll be seeing in Wyandotte County soon.

Ahem, anyways, the Benedictines have got their website back up and running. CLICK HERE to see it if you need a dash of hope after that last link.


PS, hat tip, as always, to that master of church photography, Marcus Scotus of Rome of the West.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

That sticker again...

Orville and I haven't talked since Thursday, but we were thinking along the same lines this evening. Just a reminder... They're Lying. It's Cloning. Vote No.
The sticker monkeys tell me they have a new order coming in at some point next week, which includes more of the one above and a new one. Just in time for the upcoming rally:
Christians Against Human Cloning Rally on September 11th. Guest speakers will be Dr. Alan Keyes and Dr. Rick Rick Scarborough. Location is First Baptist Church Raytown, 10500 E. State Rt 350, Raytown, MO. It begins at 7 p.m. This rally is endorsed by Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Bishop Robert W. Finn, Dr. David Clippart - Exec. Dir. - Missouri Baptist Convention, Rev. Gary Fry - Exec., Dir - MO State Free Will Baptist Association; Dr. John Marshall - Exec. Pastor - Second Batpist Church of Springfield,; Kay Meyer - resident of Family Shiled Ministries, Inc; Dick Bott - Bott Radio Network; Phyllis Schlafly - President of Eagle Forum; Dave and Joyce Meyer - Joyce Meyer Ministries; Dr. Monte Shinkle - Concord Baptist Church; Archbishop Irl Gladfelter - The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran. For more information please go to

Well, even though the rally is being held at the facilities of a heretical sect, the Curmudgeon will probably go (it can't be any worse than when my correspondent went to the Unitarian Church to hear Bp. Tom Gumbleton a while back). After all, side-by-side work on the anti-Stowers-funded-babykillin' campaign is a two fold opportunity: fighting back the post-Christian culture of death as well as leading a prot or two into the arms of Holy Mother Church.

BTW, it was suggested that someone email me if they want a sticker. Not so. I don't have any (except for what's on my car). Maybe if you email the sticker guys at, they can send you some. I would assume that's why they put their email on the sticker.