Friday, May 14, 2004
Lajolo's moral equivalence
Let's hear from the Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops of the United States!
"The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11."
Lajolo is the Pope's own Colin Powell and speaks for the Pope (or at least people believe that's the function of his office) on matters concerning relations with states.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:20 AM Permalink
Newsday: Congressman berates Vatican for 'hypocrisy'
Congressman says Rome has no business talking about prison scandal, given its record on sex abuse
I just heard an interview with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. I agree with him that Congressman Peter King's comments were mostly on target but overreached by dragging in the charge of hypocrisy in handling the sexual abuse crisis.
Thankfully, the charge of Pentagon cover-up made by L'Osservatore Romano (blogged below) is not being repeated. Now that's hypocrisy. The Penatagon immediately started investigations and publicized that these investigations had begun in January 2004. No pictures. The Catholic hierarchy showed no similar concern to investigate the abuser priests. It was the media, plantiffs attorneys, and prosecutors whom need to thank for triggering the investigations leading to punishment of these priests.
I think the greater problem here is Lajolo's moral equivalence between putting women's underwear on the head of a prisoner (abuse) and removing the head of an innocent man (babarity). It's a rush to judgment to blame the United States for something that might be limited to seven soldiers at this point as far as we know now.
The Vatican has been and is totally unrealistic with its solutions for Iraq. The current pitch is a UN force to take over from the American army. There simply is no UN force of comparable size to do this job, and in Iraq the UN pulled out the day after the first attack on their headquarters. In Africa, the UN forces retreated into its compounds as soon as the bullets began to fly. Left alone, Iraq and Afghistan would become centers of the export of terrorism.
Abu Ghraib continues to be in the news because it serves the political needs of the anti-Bush Kerry campaign, the anti-American Euro-Vatican axis of finger wagging, and the terrorists who simply demand that US pull out of Iraq right now. There are too many interests that converge on keeping this story on the front page.
Tali Hatuel has already been forgotten, Nick Berg will be forgotten, and the Iraqi prisoner on the leash of Pfc Lynndie England will long be remembered.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:28 AM Permalink
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Rose Mary Zapor had an interview with Sean Hannity this afternoon
I have been reading interviews that have been given by Pfc. Lynndie England, and it's clear why now, the lawyers (she has four of them) are doing the talking now.
In one interview, she said she was given orders by "people in her chain of command" later she said "persons of higher rank" and when asked "who, what rank, what agency" she and her attorneys have memory loss.
Sean asked Zapor a bunch of questions, and I didn't hear an answer to any of them. Either she didn't know or if that couldn't be denied, he refused to answer. Her theme was "she is being picked on for being a private and a woman". She has said she was following orders. Whose orders? Why doesn't she name a sergeant, lieutenant, or captain who gave her orders or told her to take direction from a civilian? Now would be a very, very good time to do so.
Did she know the Geneva Convention as it applies to prisoners? We're not saying now if she did or didn't.
Did she have sex in front of a camera as the New York Post claims? Since we haven't seen the pictures or video we have no comment. (How could one not be aware that they were being photographed or tape having sex?)
She seems to be smiling and enjoying the experience in many of the photos? Was she ordered to smile for the camera or was this her own emotion? We don't know specifically which picture you are talking about. (the one with the cigaret and she is pointing to the genetalia of the prisoners) Oh! This is not a question we're going to answer.
Apparently she obeyed all the orders she was given. Did she refuse any orders? Don't know.
Would she have refused an order to seriously harm a prisoner? Don't ask me any hypotheticals. I have got a real flesh and blood client.
The point I'm trying to get at is did she ever think about the orders she was given as possibly being unlawful? I'm not in a position to answer that.
This didn't help her case in the public eye one bit. Until she's got some meaningful answers to those questions, don't do any interviews.
I mentioned in another blog that it's time for Spc Sivits or Pfc England (or one of her attorneys (1) Rose Mary Zapor (2) Giorgio Ra'Shadd (3) Carl McGuire and (4) James Covino to identify someone above the rank of sergeant who gave the olders or directed them to obey the orders of a civilian.
This story broke on April 29 -- 14 days ago. What are they waiting for?
Keep an open mind that this may be limited to a circle around Sgt Graner.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:21 PM Permalink
Scandal Reaches the Jesuits AP: SJC forces release of accused priest's file
The state's highest court on Thursday ordered the Roman Catholic Jesuit order to turn over the personnel files of a priest charged with molesting two of his students at Boston College High School in the 1970s.
The defense is that it would interfere with "the internal investigation" being conducted by the Jesuits.
That must have elicted laughter in the courtroom.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:24 PM Permalink
Reuters: Drunken Priest Shoots Mayor Dead
A Catholic priest shot to death the mayor of a town in western Mexico early on Wednesday after the pair got drunk and began punching each other during a religious festival, state officials said.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:06 PM Permalink
"I'm in limbo, literally," Burke said.
LA Times: Sex-Abuse Panel Assails U.S. Bishops (free reg reqd.)More on the National Review Board, which you may already be tired of reading about. But I had to go with this item because of the limbo quote.
Mahony should let his actions speak for themselves. Invite the NRB audit team to the LA chancery and get that 2004 annual report started today.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:26 PM Permalink
MichNews.com: Sadistic Soldiers Reflecting Liberal Values
Americans are righteously outraged about the Iraqi prisoner abuses, but why are we surprised?
Others have said that if the same photos were presented as art to Congress and to National Endowment for the Arts as the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, it would have been funded as other displays of sadomasochism have been.
This from George Neumayr in the American Spectator
Outrage at obscene photos would be a little easier to take from liberal senators if they didn't have a history of financing them. Had Robert Mapplethorpe snapped the photos at Abu Ghraib, the Senate might have given him a government grant. Jesse Helms would certainly be surprised at the moral horror on display these days in the Senate. In 1989, he asked his fellow senators to stop funding degrading photography coming out of the National Endowment for the Arts. They refused.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:29 PM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:04 AM Permalink
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Italian Press Agency. POPE: ATTACK OF MAY '81 - OSSERVATORE, MYSTERY REMAINS
(AGI) Vatican City, May 12 - 23 years after the murder attempt carried out by Ali' Agca in Saint Peters square, it now appears evident that the definitive sense of the mystery of the attack will remain in the inscrutable will of the Divine Providence wrote the Osservatore Romano today, quoting the Pope's secretary Stanislaw Dziwisz who revealed many details of the event in speaking at the Universita' Cattolica di Lublino, on May 13 2001.
And speaking of inscrutable, I'm not sure what point the author of this item is making. What's the news?
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:51 PM Permalink
Updates on Fr. Minkler
"You gotta point out the problems and the contradictions with this. And then and only then something will be done," Stephen Brady, President of the Roman Catholic Faithful said.Troy Record: Aretakis addresses concerned Catholics
COLONIE - Before an audience of nearly 150 attending the 14th regional Education Forum of the Coaliton of Concerned Catholics in the Albany Diocese Saturday, attorney John Aretakis, outlined his efforts to bring to justice those in the Roman Catholic Church who he said have wronged parishioners.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 PM Permalink
More Proof of Original Sin
When Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR preaches before his friendly New York audiences he mentions that he asks people doubting the reality of original sin and not living in New York to come and get a tour from him and he can show you the living evidence of original sin.
I've been linking to sites which make the connection between violent pornography and the abuse in Abu Ghraib.
I've been reading sites that reference America's military culture as a source. Of course this is wrong: the people so far identified as responsible are not career soliders but reservists. The authentic military culture would reject orders which violate the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners.
Reality Reset blames a culture that's obsessed with authority and power and veers off and becomes an another impeach Bush platform.
It looks like you can twist these seven identified soldiers who were properly being investigated by the Army long before the scandal broke into almost anything. Especially The US should immediately pull out of Iraq (if you are a terrorist) and Elect Kerry (if you are a Democrat or a terrorist).
It's original sin and if you're Catholic, you knew that already: that capacity to do evil, the weakness of the will to resist evil, the dimming of the intellect, etc.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:39 PM Permalink
Chicago Tribune: Bishops, lay panel at odds
The head of a Roman Catholic lay review board has accused U.S. Catholic bishops of returning to "business as usual" in protecting the church from the fallout of the national priest sex abuse scandal.
What happened was while the Burke panel was presenting to the bishops their plans for the 2004 reports, a number of bishops were mailing Bishop Wilton at the USCCB to delay consideration of the preparation of a report for 2004 until November - meaning, of course, that there would be no report prepared in 2004.
There's a split among Catholic bloggers on this issues who would agree on many, many other points:
text of Anne Burke's letter (it's an image PDF)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:11 PM Permalink
My outrage about his outrage
"The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves," [Archbishop Giovanni] Lajolo was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.
On one hand
I'm outraged. This is a case of a handful of soldiers criminal behavior which is being punished and not an official policy.
Has there ever been abuse by guards or police of prisoners in Italy? Is it official policy?
Your excellency, it is a global war on terrorism. Italy is a target. The Vatican is a target.
Your comments go beyond moral equivalence calling it "more serious" -- they form a rationalization for the killing of Nicholas Berg and killing 3000 more on the part of the terroists.
Do we deserve this? Do we have it coming to us?
Many, many comments on this at Little Green Footballs
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:26 PM Permalink
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
There's a connection between the surrender of Fallujah on April 30, 2004 and the disclosure of abuse of Iraqi prisoners from months ago.
It was cowardly -- unwarrior-like.
In Fallujah, on March 31, four civilian contractors were killed and their bodies hung from a bridge.
The town should have been disassembled and the people responsible for this put in jail and tried for murder. From Bush down to the military leaders this was promised.
That didn't happen. 30 days later the terrorists were given arms and uniforms and welcomed into an new "army" led by a former Baathist general.
That promise to bring justice was broken without explanation and the news cycle moved on. This was like USA General Sherman not marching through Georgia but finding CSA General Nathan Bedford Forrest and making him provisional governor of Georgia.
There's nothing honorable to use pathetic Iraqi prisoners to make sadistic porn for resale or for souvenirs. Humiliation of this type increases the will of the enemy to resist.
Surrenders like Fallujah give the enemy the hope they will prevail over the United States.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:16 PM Permalink
WorldNetDaily: Prisoner abuse and the rot of American culture
Every decent person I know has reacted in horror to the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners in Al Ghraib prison near Baghdad. When the lewd photos emerged of American soldiers forcing prisoners to engage in sexual acts, and leading them around on leashes with hoods over their heads, and threatening them with electrocution, people were speechless and horrified.
Statistics on the magnitude of the influence of pornography.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:03 PM Permalink
Reading List: Missing Mary
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:58 PM Permalink
Extreme Catholic Silliness Dept.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:25 PM Permalink
A Polish Catholic priest has been suspended for his anti-Semitic utterances. Protesting against the expected appointment of Bronislaw Geremek to the post of foreign minister, the former Solidarity priest Henryk Jankowski said on October 26 that there was no place for the Jewish minority in the Polish government.Poland 2004
A Polish church spokesman has refused to condemn anti-Semitic incidents in the country, despite protests by leading Catholics."Our position on anti-Semitism is clear," said Father Jozef Kloch, chief spokesman for the Polish bishops' conference. "But you can't expect us to take a stance on every occasion." Poland's Catholic bishops condemned "all forms of intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism" at a special May 2001 Mass in Warsaw.However, church leaders frequently have been criticized for failing to react to anti-Semitic statements by priests in Poland, home to around 3,000 Jews, compared to 3.5 million before the Holocaust.
CNS gave the 2004 item the headline "Polish church spokesman refuses to condemn anti-Semitic incidents"
Has Poland changed from 1997 to 2004? Or is this just one clueless spokesman?
Blogger Credit: Bill Cork
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:47 PM Permalink
Rich Lowry NRO: Abu Ghraib & Us
...So, it was shocking to see a large gloved man smiling in a picture with his arms crossed as he stood over a pile of naked Iraqi detainees, but there was something familiar about it too. The apotheosis of the strong. There was something familiar in the picture of Lynndie England, with a cigarette dangling from her lips, pointing her finger at the genitals of a naked detainee. We know what she's doing in that picture — she's trying to seem cool. She thinks that cruelty is a game, that the strong engage in it casually.
So many of these minds have been twisted by pornography and violence. Now that they have absolute power over these prisioners, it comes naturally to degrade them.
It is a sad reflection of our popular culture. Don't expect "Hollywood" to take a lesson from this.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:38 PM Permalink
New York Times: The Heart's Desire
Leigh Todd spent four years and $300,000 to have a baby. She saw 10 doctors and sought help at medical clinics in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.
Why not consider adoption? (the word or discussion of it appears nowhere in the article.)
If we stop being Christians we become pagans and start to worship our sexuality.
Blogger Credit: Otto da fe.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 PM Permalink
Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner
The 59th dinner is taking place this year of Lord, 2004 in October.
First, Alfred E. Smith, the governor of the state of New York (D) ran for, but was not elected President in 1928. Herbert Hoover (R) won -- although he might have later regretted it.
Smith was a Catholic and by losing the presidential election, avoided being blamed for the Great Depression which began in 1929. He was the first Catholic to obtain the nomination of a major party to run for President.
Seondly, The Memorial Dinner benefits the hospitals of the Archdiocese of New York. Now it's called Health Care Institutions
I was personally invited to attend in 1983 when I was 29 but couldn't afford the $1500 for two tickets, and a tux rental, and a evening gown for my wife. I've never regretted not going even though we would have been able to shake hands with Cardinal O'Connor and President Reagan.
The invitations are a problem this year because it would be routine to invite candidate John Kerry.
Last night, when I was among some savvy Catholics, 15 out of the 20 there thought that Senator Kerry would be invited.
Cardinal Egan can't take the bad press that would come from not inviting him.
I'm not alone in watching this closely. Stay tuned for further updates.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:20 AM Permalink
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, criticized what it called a Pentagon cover-up and took sharp aim at the photograph of a soldier holding a prisoner by a leash. The paper said the soldier's goal was clearly to dehumanize the prisoner, but the image achieved the opposite effect.
What we see in these pictures appears to be moral evil but not as great as the rape of children. But evil it is.
But is hypocritical for the Vatican to call this a Penatgon cover-up.
It was the Army itself that began the investigations, the courts-martial, etc. and has already taken action in suspending the general in charge of the prison. All this weeks before the 60 Minutes disclosure.
This is a scandal in two parts: the people who did it (the private, segeants, lieutenants) and the people who negelected to supervise them (captains to generals).
But it is not a cover-up. That fact that all the photographs, testimony, etc. other evidence isn't public now is because the criminal investigation process is working and disclosure at this point would be prejudicial to obtaining a fair trial.
Rather than a cover-up this is an excellent example of the honor of the United States being upheld by the generals not protecting generals but prosecuting them -- starting with soldiers who passed the evidence onto investigators within the army whom they could trust to act, and, in fact, did act immediately.
There hasn't been any similar words or actions among the bishops. That work has been left to the Boston Globe, the media, and state prosecutors.
The bishops should be ashamed that they have avoided accountability for their own cover-up. They put all of the blame on offender-priests and have announced "it's history".
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 AM Permalink
When do the Senators and Congressmen get their own televised inquisition?
The ability of cooperative Democratic media (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, the Washington Post, and New York Times) with the Congress to manipulate public opinion is troubling me.
When is there a partisan, nationally televised Q&A of the opponents of the Bush Administation?
Politically, Congress seems to have access to hours of time to put Rumsfeld and Rice under the lights.
In theory, folks like Teddy Kennedy and Hillary Clinton face Republican opponents. Jack E. Robinson and Rick Lazio respectively. Anyone ever hear from them again?
The last tough question that Teddy ever got was 24 years ago "Why do you want to be President?"
Hillary has managed to avoid any tough questions since birth.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:00 AM Permalink
Monday, May 10, 2004
Abu Ghraib photos and video look like porn. They were producted for that purpose.
It looks like there was a conspiracy among a number of guards to pose and take photos and videos of Iraqi prisoners not for interrorgation or even a bizarre souvenir.
There's theme of sadism that I couldn't see being connected to anything to do with interrogation. They hoped to be able to see this stuff and cash in.
What Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt wrought.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:50 PM Permalink
Latin Revival in Urban Slang! Latin Revival in Popular Culture! The return of mea culpa
Has one of your kids come home from school and forgotten to write down his homeork. He apologizes by saying My Bad.
This is the new urban expression of repentance.
In the larger political culture it it showing up more and more:
"I've put together a fantastic team of people," Bush told a conference hall of cheering, flag-waving supporters, standing in front of a red, white and blue screen declaring he had made America "safer, stronger, better."
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:01 PM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:25 AM Permalink
If only getting out of Hell could be this easy...
same article as below
Cardinal Egan, call your office.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:55 AM Permalink
Conscience is Clear. That's all that counts.
same article as below
William Pascrell, Jr. represents the 8th District of New Jersey (Essex Co.)
from his official biography
Its time for Bill to be taught (again) about the relationship of the constant teaching of the Church, human conscience, and the Holy Eucharist.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:40 AM Permalink
New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny "leaves" the Catholic Church
Philadelphia Inquirer: N.J. politicians: Church is seeking too big a role
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 AM Permalink