“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

August 31, 2009

A Crazy Little Thing Called "Hate"

I had figured that Michael Sean Winters' recent psychodrama in America Magazine — “The Boors Who Demean Ted Kennedy” — would have a brief shelf-life, as most such gimcrackery usually does, but I was wrong.

A related outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease has erupted on a blog written by a theologian named William D. Lindsey who, like Mr. Winters, excoriated my response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's obit for Ted Kennedy ("He Made Me Proud to Be a Catholic"). He characterized my comments as "hating on Ted Kennedy" and being part of a wider "festival of hate."

Hate? Hate? Eh, not so much.

Upon scrutinizing Mr. Lindsey's complaints, I must say that I just don't see "hate" in the words and actions of the Catholics he attacks, such as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, whom he accuses by name of joining in with those who are "shouting and threatening and jubilating at the thought of destruction of good people and good plans."

That kind of fatuous nonsense is reminiscent of a line from Alice in Wonderland:

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?"

Oh, yes, I do indeed. And it would appear that Mr. Lindsey inhabits a world very much like that which Alice describes.

(Thought Experiment: Read Mr. Lindsey's blog post for yourself and tell me who you think is doing all the shouting and threatening, etc., mkay? And, of course, if you'd really like to test the veracity of his accusations, why not join us in person on October 8th when we honor Archbishop Chaput for his stalwart defense of the Catholic Faith. Come meet the good archbishop in person, hear him speak, and see for yourself if he is anything even remotely like the cretin described in Mr. Lindsey's risible caricature.)

And if you wish to peruse Mr. Lindsey's fulsome fulminations regrding moi and the monks and faculty of Belmont Abbey College, simply scroll down past about 20 tedious paragraphs to the one which begins, "MIchael Sean Winters has dared . . ."

And be sure to take note of the loving terminology he uses to describe Catholics who speak up about things like, you know, abortion. Here are a few examples of the love being dished out on his blog:
"Ghouls and goblins now prancing around in the light of day, occupying center stage," "mobs," "exceptionally mean-spirited," "army of malicious fools," "maleficence," and, of course, the ever-popular epithets reserved especially for when one is speaking about pro-life men and women: "hate" and "hatred."
When one encounters such torrid rhetoric, so heavily freighted with invective, as this stuff is, you just have to wonder where all that rage is coming from. It sure isn't consonant with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Even a theologian should be able to recognize that.

August 30, 2009

A Look at Senator Kennedy's Letter to the Pope

Portions of the personal letter which the late Senator Edward Kennedy sent to Pope Benedict XVI some months before he died have been published online.

Kennedy was, understandably, reaching out for some spiritual comfort and encouragement from the pope — something which the Holy Father duly assured him of in his letter of response. While some of the senator's comments, such as where he begs the pope to pray for him, are poignant and elicit my heartfelt sympathy, others I find somewhat . . . curious. In any case, today being the Lord's Day, I will continue to pray for the late senator in a special way, offering my Communion intention at Mass today for the repose of his soul.

Excerpts of the letter from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that President Barack Obama delivered to Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year and an account of the pope's response, as read by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington:

"Most Holy Father I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God's blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during these challenging times. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines.

"I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life. I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.

"Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."

An account from the Vatican of the pope's response, according to McCarrick . . . (continue reading)

August 28, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy Will Not Become a Mormon Any Time Soon

The late Senator Kennedy's funeral has not even taken place yet, and already someone who is either a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons), or someone who would simply like to embarrass them, has been making preparations to share the "restored gospel" with the senator in the afterlife. Read on, and you'll see what I mean.

One of the interesting and exotic features of the Mormon Church is its temple ritual of baptism for the dead. No, they don't baptize dead bodies. Rather, church members who possess "temple recommends" (a document which officially certifies them for up to one year as being worthy) are encouraged to visit any of the 130+ Mormon temples around the world and are themselves baptized on behalf of deceased persons, who may not have ever been Mormon in this life. (For additional info, see this Catholic Answers tract adapted from an article I wrote in 1989 about Mormonism's baptism for the dead).

Mormons sincerely believe that they can be baptized for deceased people who, the LDS Church teaches, are waiting in "spirit prison" for celestial Mormon missionaries to visit them, preach the gospel to them, and thus enable them — if the prisoner accepts the gospel message — to leave spirit prison and move upward along the path of eternal progression into the various levels of the celestial realm.

To wit, this comes from today's Salt Lake Tribune:

It's not certain whether the late Sen. Ted Kennedy would be more palatable to conservative Utah Republicans if he were a Mormon, but it appears someone tried to make that happen.

Just one day after Kennedy died, someone apparently posted his name on an LDS Church database to have him placed on the list to be posthumously baptized.

That posting was uncovered by researcher Helen Radkey, who has been critical of the church practice.

But, alas, Kennedy won't become a Mormon anytime soon. Whoever placed his name on the list was not authorized to do so, and the church's database security system put a block on it.

According to church policy, a person is not eligible to be baptized posthumously until a year after death. It also is against the policy for anyone to place someone's name on the list who is not related to that person.

The security system also is set up to catch the listing of famous people, like Ted Kennedy, who may be placed on the list as a hoax. (Source)

Some Follow-Up Comments on Yesterday's America Magazine Paroxysm

Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions

And now for something completely different. Yesterday was a bit more hectic than usual. So here's some levity to change the pace.

August 27, 2009

The Spanish-Language Press Picks Up on the Kennedy-Fiedler-Madrid-Winters Kerfuffle


Polémica en los medios católicos estadounidenses sobre la valoración de la figura de Ted Kennedy tras su muerte

La muerte del senador Ted Kennedy ha provocado la proliferación de artículos y valoraciones sobre su persona en los medios de comunicación católicos de Estados Unidos. Mientras que algunos articulistas ensalzan su figura, otros recuerdan que su constante apoyo a la legislación en favor del aborto le incapacitan para poder ser considerado como un buen católico. En ese sentido, Patrick Madrid y Fr. John Zuhlsdorf no han dudado en criticar un artículo de la Hna Maureen Fiedler en el National Catholic Reporter. . . . (continue in Spanish)

N.B.: One mistake they made (easily forgivable) is that they call me an "ex-pastor protestante," when, in fact, I am a cradle Catholic and have never been Protestant. Just for the record.

America Magazine Goes After Me for My Response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler

Well, I feel as if I've finally "arrived."

True, over the years, my name has been mentioned disparagingly a few times in the pages of America, but what appeared in its online edition today has reached a whole new level of invective (even by America's standards of invective).

I responded yesterday to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's obit piece on Senator Ted Kennedy in NCR ("He Made Me Proud to Be Catholic"), and my comments obviously hit a raw nerve among that community of disciples over at America, as evidenced by my being roundly chastised by one of their writers today.

Honestly, I don't think my remarks were in any way untoward, but clearly, that interlocutor disagrees. In just six irrate paragraphs, he manages to brand me me a "boor," a "loudmouth," "ignorant of history," "callous," "inhumane," "indecent," and "hateful" — all the while insinuating that my comments on this issue (and those of other pro-life people) are simply a "rant."

Kettle, meet Pot. Pot, meet Kettle.

August 26, 2009

Here's My Interview on Sirius/XM Radio on the Controversy at Belmont Abbey College

You can hear me interviewed every few weeks on Greg and Jennifer Willits' show, "The Catholics Next Door." I thought you might find yesterday's show of particular interest, because we got into a discussion about the current hassle that Belmont Abbey College is enduring as the result of its refusal to bend under pressure from the U.S. Government to force it to offer health-care coverage for contraception and abortion.

Keep in mind that Belmont Abbey College is a decidedly, determinedly Catholic college, and its president, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, has repeatedly made it clear that he would sooner shut down the college before the school would acquiesce to the demand to fund abortion and contraception for its employees.

Here's my interview, and here's the rest of the show's discussion, which happened after I was finished and which I find much more interesting than the interview. Click to play.

Do Not Text While Driving PSA

This is grim. But brace yourself and watch it anyway, because it might just save your life and the lives of those you love. If you have teenage children, sit down with them and make them watch this. Have them share it with their friends.

(courtesy of Colleen Hammond)

The further adventures of "Jaime Alberto Gonzales"

Although you probably know him as Fr. Marcial Maciel, "Jaime Alberto Gonzales" was allegedly one of the aliases he went by during his assignations with young Mexican women (queue to 7:00 for that). More details are available here and here, and for those who understand Spanish, these CNN videos provide fuller details, straight from a lawyer who's working this case. Start with this one:

My Response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's Comments About Ted Kennedy's Passing

I just posted a response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's NCR column about Ted Kennedy titled "He Made Me Proud to Be a Catholic"

Hopefully, my comment will be approved by the censo
rs and will show up there soon. Just in case, though, I post it for you here.

Maureen, with all due respect, I can appreciate your nostalgia for the Kennedys, but I cannot understand why you would insist that Senator Edward Kennedy was a "champion of the welfare of 'the least of these'" among us. He was not.

At best, Mr. Kennedy was highly selective as to which of "the least among us" he would deign to defend. Case in point: Abortion. The senator established his record squarely on the extremist position of defending the legality of abortion.

Many are not aware that he was originally publicly pro-life (I comment on the details of his transformation from pro-life to pro-abortion here).

As a result of Ted Kennedy's indefatigable championing of the pro-abortion movement, tens of millions of the "least among us" — unborn girls and boys — were killed through abortion under his senatorial auspices.

Whatever his positive qualities may have been, and no doubt he had some, the tragic reality is that Senator Kennedy's long political career was squandered by his vociferous, relentless promotion of abortion. And that, sadly, will be his enduring legacy.

I agree with you that tears are appropriate upon hearing the news of this man's death, but not for the reasons you are crying them.

"Our goal was 3 to 5 abortions for every girl between the ages of 13 and 18"

This new documentary, "Bloodmoney," exposes in detail how the abortion industry extremists systematically "had a plan that sold abortion, and it was called 'sex education.' [We would] break down their natural modesty, separate them from their parents and values and become the sex experts in their lives so they would turn to us. When we could give them a logos birth control pill they would get pregnant on it or on a defective condom. . . ."

Draw Your Own Conclusions

Sons of Perdition: How Certain Catholic Priests Turned the Kennedys Pro-Abortion

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating and deeply saddening article exploring the reasons behind the Kennedy Family's staunch pro-abortion position. Believe it or not, Ted Kennedy used to be pro-life. So how did he and all the other prominent Kennedys swing so far in the opposite direction? For that matter, what about some of the other Catholic pro-abortion zealots in (or recently in) high public office, such as Nancy Pelosi, Mario Cuomo, and Tom Daschle? What happened to them?

(NB: I originally posted this blog entry on January 2, 2009. In view of Ted Kennedy's death today,
I run it again because of its pertinence to his life and legacy, such as it was.)

This article reveals that it was was an intentional, systematic, concerted effort on the part of a group of dissenting Catholic theologians (including Fr. Richard McCormick, Fr. Charles Curran, Fr. Joseph Fuchs, Fr. Robert Drinan, and Fr. John Courtney Murray), who spent a good deal of of time with the Kennedys in the mid 1960s employing bogus moral theology arguments to convince them they could “accept and promote abortion with a clear conscience.” Once this was accomplished, these same Judas priests undertook to literally coach the Kennedy's on what to say and how to vote in favor of abortion in their public lives.

Given the Kennedys' enormous influence over American politics, it's diabolically logical for those dissenting Catholic theologians to have targeted this renowned and respected Catholic family for “conversion.” They were in the perfect position to persuade other Catholics, and even many Protestants, that it's okay to be pro-abortion.
And this strategy worked so well that, today, it is virtually impossible to find a Catholic politician holding national public office who is pro-life. Thanks to these dissenters and those Catholics they duped, “Catholic” is synonymous with “pro-abortion” in politics.

Read here how this hideous transformation was accomplished:

Ms. [Caroline] Kennedy's commitment to abortion rights is shared by other prominent family members, including Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Maryland's former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Some may recall the 2000 Democratic Convention when Caroline and her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, addressed the convention to reassure all those gathered that the Democratic Party would continue to provide women with the right to choose abortion -- even into the ninth month. At that convention, the party's nominee, Al Gore, formerly a pro-life advocate, pledged his opposition to parental notification and embraced partial-birth abortion. Several of those in attendance, including former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, had been pro-life at one time. But by 2000 nearly every delegate in the convention hall was on the pro-choice side -- and those who weren't simply kept quiet about it.

Caroline Kennedy knows that any Kennedy desiring higher office in the Democratic Party must now carry the torch of abortion rights throughout any race. But this was not always the case. Despite Ms. Kennedy's description of Barack Obama, in a New York Times op-ed, as a "man like my father," there is no evidence that JFK was pro-choice like Mr. Obama. Abortion-rights issues were in the fledgling stage at the state level in New York and California in the early 1960s. They were not a national concern.
Even Ted Kennedy, who gets a 100% pro-choice rating from the abortion-rights group Naral, was at one time pro-life. In fact, in 1971, a full year after New York had legalized abortion, the Massachusetts senator was still championing the rights of the unborn. In a letter to a constituent dated Aug. 3, 1971, he wrote: "When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."
But that all changed in the early '70s, when Democratic politicians first figured out that the powerful abortion lobby could fill their campaign coffers (and attract new liberal voters). Politicians also began to realize that, despite the Catholic Church's teachings to the contrary, its bishops and priests had ended their public role of responding negatively to those who promoted a pro-choice agenda.
In some cases, church leaders actually started providing "cover" for Catholic pro-choice politicians who wanted to vote in favor of abortion rights. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a "clear conscience."
The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book "The Birth of Bioethics" (Oxford, 2003). He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion.
Mr. Jonsen writes that the Hyannisport colloquium was influenced by the position of another Jesuit, the Rev. John Courtney Murray, a position that "distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue." It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians "might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order."
Father Milhaven later recalled the Hyannisport meeting during a 1984 breakfast briefing of Catholics for a Free Choice: "The theologians worked for a day and a half among ourselves at a nearby hotel. In the evening we answered questions from the Kennedys and the Shrivers. Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics . . . and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion."
But can they now? There are signs today that some of the bishops are beginning to confront the Catholic politicians who consistently vote in favor of legislation to support abortion. Charles J. Chaput, the archbishop of Denver, has been on the front lines in encouraging Catholics to live their faith without compromise in the public square. Most recently in his book "Render Unto Caesar," Archbishop Chaput has reminded Catholic politicians of their obligation to protect life.
The archbishop is not alone. The agenda at November's assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops included a public discussion of abortion and politics. The bishops' final statement focused on concern about the possible passage of the "Freedom of Choice Act," and referred to it as "an evil law that would further divide our country." The bishops referenced their 2007 document, "Faithful Citizenship," which maintains that the right to life is the foundation of every other human right. In it, they promised to "persist in the duty to counsel, in the hope that the scandal of their [Catholic congregants'] cooperating in evil can be resolved by the proper formation of their consciences."

August 25, 2009

Introducing Father Mitch Pacwa's "Reformation Project"

For more info on this groundbreaking new project exploring the historical and theological facts surrounding the Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church, go

$1000 Per-Day Fine & 30 Days In Jail For Refusing the Swine Flu Vaccine?

But, but, but . . . what if I don't want the vaccine?

I find this troubling, folks. What's going on here? Pay close attention toward the end of this video where they discuss the "severe penalties" to be imposed on those who refuse to be vaccinated. (More here.)

A Disturbing Trend for Religious Freedom: It's Not Just Belmont Abbey College

Earlier this month, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the small Belmont Abbey College, tucked away in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, is discriminating against its female employees.

How so? The Catholic institution – founded by Benedictine monks, who still serve the school from their abbey – does not offer coverage for prescription contraceptives in its employee health insurance plan, citing religious exemption due to Catholic Church teachings.

The story was picked up here and there, mostly in Catholic sources but also getting press in the Washington Times, which quoted college president William Thierfelder saying “if it came down to it, we would close the college before we ever provided (contraceptives).”

Many people have recognized the Belmont controversy for what it really is – a battle over religious liberties. But lest you think of it as one, isolated incident, take note of this CNA story from Wisconsin – where a provision in the new state budget mandates that providers of health insurance include contraceptive services in their plans.

That mandate would include the state’s dioceses, parishes and other Catholic agencies, and it lacks a religious exemption – an action that Wisconsin’s bishops rejected as “blatant insensitivity to our moral values and legal rights.”

“Nowhere does the Constitution say that the right of conscience is protected except in matters related to human reproduction,” the bishops wrote in a joint letter to their dioceses. “Nor does it limit the scope of religious freedom to tenets that conform to a party platform or to the agenda of powerful interest groups.”

Two related events, both involving coverage for contraceptives, both putting Catholic institutions on the defense and both occurring in the weeks before Congress returns to battle out legislation for national health care reform.

It’s clear that this is an issue of religious liberty. The State of North Carolina has recognized Belmont Abbey College as a religious employer, thus granting it an exemption from a requirement to provide contraceptives coverage – a fact that the EEOC seems to be ignoring. The Wisconsin case is equally, if not more disturbing, in that no exceptions were made in the budget mandate for religious institutions that could not comply.

To that end, the Wisconsin bishops conference is arguing that the mandate violates the state constitution, which articulates a right of conscience.

Indeed, both incidents raise the issue of conscience laws. As we question whether President Obama’s push for health care reform will survive the next congressional term, it’s absolutely necessary to ask where and how conscience protection will fit in the plan. The president himself promised a “robust conscience clause” when meeting with Catholic journalists this summer; while we tend to connect the phrase with doctors who refuse to perform abortions, August is reminding us that the breadth of such a clause has to be large indeed.

If abortion is not explicitly excluded in the final health care legislation, the dilemmas faced by Wisconsin Catholics and Belmont Abbey College could very well be a prelude to what a federal mandate for abortion coverage would mean for religious institutions across the country – Catholic and non-Catholic.

[Help Belmont Abbey College protect their Catholic identity! Make a secure online donation here: http://alumni.belmontabbeycollege.edu/ChancellorFund]

-- Elizabeth Hansen, Headline Bistro editor

August 24, 2009

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

(Courtsey of New Advent)
These long, crazy-looking clouds can grow to be 600 miles long and can move at up to 35 miles per hour, causing problems for aircraft even on windless days.

Known as Morning Glory clouds, they appear every fall over Burketown, Queensland, Australia, a remote town with fewer than 200 residents. A small number of pilots and tourists travel there each year in hopes of “cloud surfing” with the mysterious phenomenon.

Similar tubular shaped clouds called roll clouds appear in various places around the globe. But nobody has yet figured out what causes the Morning Glory clouds.

Yet another reason why I, Patrick Madrid, am not a "cat person"

(Courtesy of my gal pal, the lovely and insightful Mrs. Karen Williams)

It's Time to Invoke the Spirit of Vatican II

“Ordinaries [i.e., diocesan bishops], by the encouragement and favor they show to art which is truly sacred, should strive after noble beauty rather than mere sumptuous display. . . .

“Let bishops carefully remove from the house of God and from other sacred places those works of artists which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity and pretense” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 124).

Now, Why Can't We Get This Guy As Speaker of the House?

True, this video has been floating around awhile — I first saw it early this year, shortly after it came out — but it's worth watching again (and again, and again).

It takes conservative British MP Daniel Hannan just over three minutes to completely flay Gordon Brown over his government's failed economic policies. The video doesn't show Brown's response, but I am quite confident that he has nowhere near enough firepower to take on Hannan in a serious exchange about this issue.

Imagine if we had a few such gutsy, intelligent, and eloquent orators like this guy serving in the U.S. House and Senate. If we had had just five Hannan-types working for us in Congress, I don't think we would have gotten into the government-issue financial mess we're now in.

Here, here!