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

September 24, 2010

Stephen Colbert Cropdusts Congress With a Fine Mist of Mockery

A bishop's warning about the promotion of unapproved "apparitions"

Allow me to draw your attention to a timely blog post from Diane at Te Deum Laudamus, highlighings a statement issued last year by His Excellency, Archbishop Peter Sartain, the newly appointed Archbishop of Seattle. (Note: This statement apparently was issued while he was still Bishop of Joliet.) It gives a good example of the proper caution and circumspection Catholics should have regarding the claims of alleged apparitions and alleged visionaries, such as those associated with Medjugorje.

Those who chase after "signs and wonders" and flock to hear alleged visionaries associated with unapproved apparitions speak in public — complete with apparitions on demand — should heed the words of this vigilant bishop. 

Diane writes: "In April of 2009, Bishop Peter Sartain, of Joliet, Illinois, . . . issued a memo to priests of the diocese which states, in part (emphases mine in bold; added emphasis in italics)."
“From time to time we are approached by parishioners who would like to invite speakers representing various alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, private revelations or locutions, or others claiming to possess extraordinary spiritual gifts. My purpose in bringing this to your attention is to ask that you not issue such invitations. Whether the speakers would make presentations on well-known alleged apparitions, such as Medjugorje, or lesser known private revelations, we must be extremely cautious about inviting or promoting them. 
“As you know the Church takes great time and care before declaring that an apparition is worthy of belief, and even then it never says that a Catholic must accept the apparition as a matter of faith. We must avoid giving the impression that alleged apparitions about which the Church has not made a judgment are somehow already approved. 
“It is our responsibility to see that our parishioners are not led down the wrong path. That is not to say that those who ask us to promote these matters are doing so out of bad faith, but we must be extremely careful not to confuse our parishioners. 
“Our greatest spiritual treasures are the Word of God, the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and the teaching of the Church, and our focus should always be there. Needless to say, these comments do not refer to apparitions such as Fatima, Lourdes or Guadalupe which enjoy the approval of the Church.” 
[Diane comments . . .] "Bishop Sartain exemplifies the very behavior exhibited by bishops throughout the history of the Church by discouraging activity in his diocese which could lend credibility to the alleged apparitions, including those of Medugorje.  His actions are also very collegial in that his statement is also in harmony with the pastoral directives of his brother bishop.

It's hard for me to fathom why a bishop or archbishop would knowingly permit (or invite) "visionaries" of unapproved apparitions to speak and have "visions" on Church property.  People develop attachments to such phenomena, which they believe to be real (we are not talking about approved apparitions like Lourdes and Fatima).  It is hard enough for some to give up this attachment if the Church condemns it as not supernatural.  This may be even more true, if a bishop's actions (or permissiveness), gave the thing even more credibility than it should have had.  I'm sure there are cases where a bishop is unaware that such activity is happening in his diocese.  But, when high profile diocesan staffers are involved - such as a vocations director - or the archbishop himself shows up to greet the "seers", it seems unlikely that he would not know what is going on.  I think the more likley scenario is that he is not well informed about the phenomena as he thinks he is.  In any event, a simple phone call to the responsible diocesan bishop, or even the CDF, rather than to favorite mariologist would seem prudent, and collegial.  If he is disinclined to speak to his brother bishop about the events, then this too is a fruit which calls for deeper examination. (source)

Mark Steyn: Mollifying Muslims and Muslifying Mollies

WHILE I'VE BEEN TALKING about free speech in Copenhagen, several free speech issues arose in North America. I was asked about them both at the Sappho Award event and in various interviews, so here's a few thoughts for what they're worth:
Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.

Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the President of the United States to denounce him, and the Secretary of State, and the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie. President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the western world feel they have to weigh in.

Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama's famous "teaching moments"? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the President, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where's the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones' First Amendment rights?

When someone destroys a bible, US government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.

So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for "respect" and "sensitivity" toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it. . . . (Source: www.MarkSteyn.com)