Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Vatican and Saint Peter's Traveling Exhibit

Amy and the rest of us saw the exhibit today in Cincinnati. Very nice, interesting, informative to a degree. Set in a tone to offer an apologetic for the role of the papacy as founded by Christ...taking one from the tomb of St. Peter to the cast "hand" of Pope John Paul II (which viewers are encouraged to touch).

Gay priests in a Barely Closed Closet

From the sounds of this piece from the Springfield, Mass. paper there are priests up there openly living an active gay lifestyle. They name names... this is in a state where the church must take a strong stand against gay marriage?

From Gay priests in a barely closed closet:

"In the magazine the Catholic World Report, Jesuit Paul Shaughnessey in 2000 wrote 'the ugly and indisputable facts: a disproportionately high percentage of priests is gay; a disproportionately high percentage of gay priests routinely engages in sodomy; this sodomy is frequently ignored, often tolerated and sometimes abetted by bishops and superiors.'

One of two men who accused former Bishop Thomas L. Dupre of sexual abuse said he was moved to come forward only after reading of Dupre's preachings against gay marriage. The man, who is gay, said he was angered by the hypocrisy.

A statement issued by the man's lawyer read, 'He believed that Bishop Dupre's comments reflected his disapproval of our client's lifestyle. ... (As a result) he began to see his relationship with Bishop Dupre in a different light and he contacted our office.'

At The Pub, the priest has been a regular for years, according to staff there.

'And he's not the only priest who comes in either,' said Pub bartender Thomas Martin, who is also a plaintiff in a clergy abuse suit.

The priest didn't return a call from The Republican, but others have acknowledged or been accused of engaging in a gay lifestyle.

The Rev. James A. Sipitkowski was living a homosexual lifestyle while assigned to Holy Family Parish in Springfield several years ago, according to a sworn statement by the Rev. Paul E. Manship, who found pictures of Sipitkowski dressed in women's clothing with other scantily clad men. The statement was included in a suit charging Holy Family Parish and a church deacon with a variety of employment violations, including sexual harassment. Sipitkowski is not a defendant in the suit.

About four years ago Sipitkowski was transferred to Sacred Heart Parish in Easthampton, where he currently works. He refused to comment on his situation, referring a call to his lawyer, who also had no comment.

Last week a Springfield man's obituary in The Republican revealed his 25-year relationship with his male partner, a period which included the last three years he served as a priest in the Springfield Diocese.

When Chicopee native and Springfield diocesan priest the Rev. Robert L. Arpin was on loan to the Diocese of San Francisco in the 1980s, he announced from the pulpit that he was gay and had AIDS. In doing so, he became the first American priest to openly discuss his sexual orientation and the illness that eventually claimed his life at age 48 in 1995.

Two other priests working in the Springfield Diocese have close ties with the gay community. They include a once high-ranking priest who performed publicly at an AIDS benefit.

In an attempt to place the abuse scandal in historical context last week, Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk, the acting administrator in the Springfield Diocese, said some priests in the past thought it was all right to have sex with young men. He later clarified his comments, adding that sexual misconduct in any context is never acceptable, and apologized if his comments offended anyone.

The idea that there are gay priests may be as shocking to some Catholics as it was to a former Springfield resident who was enrolled in a seminary high school in the 1970s. At the time, he said, he was trying to decide whether to become a priest while simultaneously struggling with his own sexual identity. "

Friday, February 27, 2004

Conserve Latin in Church

Catholic World News (CWN):

"A new document on the use of Latin in the Church, and the teaching of Latin in seminaries, is expected sometime this year.

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, has confirmed that he hopes the document being prepared by that Congregation will be published in 2004.

'In order not to mutilate herself, the Church cannot fail to conserve her tradition and patrimony written in Latin,' the Polish cardinal remarked during a February 25 meeting in Rome. He pointed out that Latin remains the official language of the Roman Church, and the official documents of the magisterium are written in that language.

Therefore, he concluded, the Church needs priests who are familiar with the language, in order to ensure that they fully understand Catholic teachings. "

A Comment

This was still being mouthed by professors in the 1980's...

From Catholic Review Board | Report 01: A Report on the Causes and Context of the Current Crisis in the Catholic Church.:

"In addition, in the 1960s and 1970s, there was an expectation among many that the Vatican was contemplating modifying Church doctrine on sexuality and perhaps even abolishing the discipline of celibacy for priests. As one bishop stated when discussing seminaries of the late 1960s and 1970s, 'You had professors who were saying, 'Don't worry; they're going to change the celibacy rule any day, and you will be able to get married.' So guys were going through thinking that they . . . could get married after ordination.'"

Two Dioceses / Two Cardinals Singled Out in Report

Cardinal Egan and Cardinal Mahony...mentioned as "problems" in The Catholic Review Board Report:

Although this was an ambitious agenda, the Ad Hoc Committee did not have as great an impact as some of the bishops had hoped it would have. One bishop claimed that this was owing to the fact that the committee "had no teeth" and was not supported by some influential bishops, out of concern that it was an intrusion on a bishop's authority and it would increase litigation against the Church.20

Problems continued to fester in other dioceses. Litigation was filed against the Diocese of Bridgeport and then-Bishop Egan in 1993 alleging that the diocese had been aware of complaints against certain priests since at least 1982 but had failed to take actions to remove the priests from ministry. For example, according to published reports, a 1990 diocesan memorandum indicated that there was a "developing pattern of accusations" that Father Charles Carr had abused young boys. (Significantly, Carr had been admitted into a seminary years earlier despite the fact that a priest who had known him for years reportedly had recommended against his admission, asserting that he lacked the emotional maturity required for the priesthood.) Nevertheless, Carr was not suspended until 1995. Indeed, Carr was actually reinstated in 1999 and served as a chaplain in a nursing home until Bishop Egan's successor, Bishop Lori, removed him in December 2002 and instituted laicization proceedings. Shortly after Bishop Egan left Bridgeport and was installed as Archbishop of New York, Bishop Lori settled pending litigation against the diocese for more than $12 million.

Another troubled diocese was the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. After allegations were made that Cardinal Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, had allowed numerous predator priests to remain in ministry, the Archdiocese engaged in a very public spat with law enforcement authorities who questioned his level of cooperation in the criminal investigation of sexual molestation charges. The Archdiocese resisted grand jury subpoenas seeking priest personnel files by arguing that communications between a priest and his bishop were privileged. This argument did little to enhance the reputation of the Church in the United States for transparency and cooperation.

The Catholic Review Board Report

A research study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice...Catholic Review Board | Reports:

Why did so many priests sexually abuse minors?

Although it is not possible to pinpoint any one "cause" of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by priests, there were two overarching contributing factors:

Dioceses and orders did not screen candidates for the priest¬hood properly. As a result, many sexually dysfunctional and immature men were admitted into seminaries and later ordained into the priesthood.

Seminaries did not form candidates for the priesthood adequately. As a result, seminarians were not prepared for the challenges of the priesthood, particularly the challenge of living a chaste, celibate life.

In addition, although neither the presence of homosexually-oriented priests nor the discipline of celibacy caused the crisis, an understanding of the crisis is not possible without reference to these issues. There are, no doubt, many outstand¬ing priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives, but any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than eighty percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature. Likewise, celibacy does not cause sexual abuse; but the Church did an inadequate job both of screening out those individuals who were destined to fail in meeting the demands of the priesthood, and of forming others to meet those demands, including the rigors of a celibate life.

Questions About Da Vinci Code?

Find the answers in De-Coding Da Vinci

Author of "Jesus the Christ"

Congratulations to Father Weinandy! I worked with him on a book that Our Sunday Visitor published called "Jesus the Christ."

From U.S. Catholic Bishops - Office of Communications:

"Father Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., of the Faculty of Theology, Oxford University, has been named Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

He will succeed Msgr. John Strynkowski who has held the post since 2001.

The appointment, which is effective January 1, 2005, was announced by Msgr. William Fay, USCCB General Secretary.

'Father Weinandy is a leading scholar in the Church today, and a prolific writer, at both the academic and popular levels,' Msgr. Fay said. 'He is held in the highest esteem by his colleagues and the students who have taken his courses in this country and abroad. He has inspired numerous people through the days of recollection, retreats and parish missions he has conducted in the United States, Canada, Ireland, England and Scotland. I am confident that his work with the Bishops' Conference will make an enormous contribution to the life of the Church in our country.'

'I also want to pay tribute to the dedicated service and accomplishments of Msgr. Strynkowski,' Msgr. Fay continued. 'The USCCB will remain in his debt for many years to come.'"

A Comment Page for those who've seen the movie...

THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST: Support Passion! - Mel Gibson Film PASSION of Jesus

A New Era?

Passion of Christ the top movie, radio stations dropping Howard Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge, partial birth abortions banned...could it be that we are entering a new era?

Of course at the same time we see Rosie O'Donnell and her "wife" appearing on the courthouse steps splashed all over television...

Thursday, February 26, 2004

A Post on the Beginning of The Passion of the Christ

I've posted some comments about the beginning of the movie, along with the Gospel accounts and Anne Catherine Emmerich's account for your enrichment. They are over here.

The Passion of the Christ

I have two sets of comments about the film, one is in the Lenten Meditations to the right, the other is below under "It is as it was."

Do You Recognize This Jesus?

Ken Woodward's comments on The Passion from Op-Ed Contributor: Do You Recognize This Jesus?:

"Most Americans worship in churches where the bloodied body of Jesus is absent from sanctuary crosses or else styled in ways so abstract that there is no hint of suffering. In sermons, too, the emphasis all too often is on the smoothly therapeutic: what Jesus can do for me.

More than 60 years ago, H. Richard Neibuhr summarized the creed of an easygoing American Christianity that has in our time triumphantly come to pass: 'A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment though the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.' Despite its muscular excess, Mr. Gibson's symbol-laden film is a welcome repudiation of all that.

'The Passion of the Christ' is violent -- no question. Although Mel Gibson the believer identifies with a traditionalist movement that rejects Vatican Council II, Mel Gibson the artist here displays a thoroughly Catholic sensibility, one that since the Middle Ages has emphasized Jesus as the suffering savior crowned with thorns. Martin Luther, too, would have recognized in this film his own theology of the cross."

It is, as it was

Well, I saw it. Overall I liked it.

I thought it did a great job in portraying the cultic action of the Jewish priesthood offering the "lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". God is the supreme actor in the Passion as Jesus reminds Pilate, and I did hear what Jesus says to Pilate (that is from the Scripture) in a way that I never heard before..."what do we do with the power that God has given us?"

I've heard a ton of talk about the movie since I've seen it. Rabbi Marc Gelman liked it and thought it resurrected a "real" portrayal of the roots of Christianity in a day when religion is often portrayed in a cartoonish way.

Other rabbi's have condemned it, one saying that all the Jews had "bad teeth." Since everyone in the movie was either a Jew or Roman and Jesus had great teeth, I'm not sure what movie he saw.

But perhaps that is the point about a movie like this, we see what we want to...we go to it looking for confirmation of our preheld views.

Some things that I liked in particular were:

Seeing the Passion from the view of the Blessed Virgin Mary...

Seeing the Eucharist from the view of John...

The interspersing of scenes that in someway made the gave additional interpretation to the events that were taking place.

Overall the movie serves as an excellent meditation on Christ's passion and it's lack of focus on the resurection (only hinted at) gives the viewer a way to apply the passion of Christ to their daily life.

Things that I think were weak:

The opening Garden scene I thought was poorly done. The focus was on the devil (another weakness...), the apostles after being told to stay awake--literally wake up and do watch Jesus (they don't in Scripture--rather they go back to sleep), and Jesus is never sent an angel to strengthen him. I know that some aspects of Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision has supplied this scene, but even her vision is more intersting as the devil displays before Christ all the misinterpretations of his message and the futility of his suffering on the mass of the future humanity--this could have placed the whole passion in context).

I thought there could have been more focus on the cultic action of the Temple and tied that in with Jesus' passion and the hostility of the Jewish priests.

I would have like to have seen the "darkness" that overtakes the whole land to be more eerie than just an impending thunderstorm.

But overall, here is a Passion of Christ that portrays Christ as a man not a wimp, as someone entering a battle and fighting it courageously until it is finished.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Great Book on Prayer--Excellent Book for Lent!

This is without a doubt one of the best books on prayer, gestures and growing closer to God through Christ that has appeared on the scene in the last fifty years...

Day of Ashes

I am posting Lenten meditations that are bits and pieces of a book that I'm currently working on at a another site that you can access by clicking on the "gate" at the right.

Here is origin of this day from CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Ash Wednesday:

"The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead -- or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure -- of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: 'Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.' The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. In the blessing of the ashes four prayers are used, all of them ancient. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and fumigated with incense. The celebrant himself, be he bishop or cardinal, receives, either standing or seated, the ashes from some other priest, usually the highest in dignity of those present. In earlier ages a penitential procession often followed the rite of the distribution of the ashes, but this is not now prescribed. "

Boston Abuse Victim Found Dead

From My Way - News:

"Patrick McSorley, a victim of defrocked pedophile priest John Geoghan who spoke openly of the deep scars left by clergy sexual abuse, has been found dead, his lawyer said on Monday.

Mitchell Garabedian, who represented McSorley and dozens of others who said they had been abused by Geoghan, confirmed reports that McSorley's body had been found in downtown Boston, but declined further comment on the cause of death.

Boston police declined to comment, but said they had responded to a report of a 'sudden death' in that neighborhood early on Monday.

'He was a loving father, a caring son, and a hero to all survivors of clergy abuse,' Garabedian said. He said he had spoken with McSorley on Friday and that he seemed 'fine' at the time.

McSorley, 29, was a public face of the victims during the clergy sexual abuse scandal that erupted in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston two years ago."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Not a Violation of Church Law Then...?

Here is a strange story with the reasoning that when he might have done it wouldn't have been a violation of Church law? Perhaps this explains what we'll be reading about on Friday. Evidently, according to who ever made this statement at the Vatican, it was okay then but not now. Unbelievable!

From Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - U.S. Headlines:

"The Vatican has reinstated a U.S. Navy chaplain as an active priest after he was placed on administrative leave amid sex abuse allegations, Detroit Roman Catholic leaders said.

The Rev. Brian Bjorklund, 64, was suspended last summer over allegations he molested a 17-year-old boy in his early years in the ministry. He was ordained in 1966.

Vatican leaders say the alleged contact was not a violation of church law at the time, though it is now."

Why are these People so Crazy?

Here is a group that you would think would be exemplary in their outlook but when you hear what they have to say about others you begin to see how they are more a "cult" than faithful followers of Jesus Christ. It is sad and perhaps a good example of what happens when people exhalt themselves against the Church.

I grew up just a few miles from where they are located. They weren't there when I lived there over twenty-five years ago, but even when I was living there the area was a refuge for hippie communes and other seeking to flea the city. Granted, the Boston Globe probably was fishing for just such quotes but sadly it looks like they got more than there share.

For the full story go to the Boston Globe, here is a snipet of the more sane part of the story:

In Richmond, a small town south of Keene, those traditions are immediately on display, ideas and rituals so powerful that people are willing to live at odds with their own church hierarchy to preserve them.

On Sunday mornings, 200 to 300 people gather in a hilltop chapel, a low-ceilinged basement with wooden pews. The families are huge, some with as many as 11 children, displaying, a community leader says, "their noncontraceptive glory."

Before the Mass, they recite the rosary aloud, in unison, a chorus of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, as one man walks, praying, along the Stations of the Cross. Women wear black veils. A group of celibate women in black habits with white wimples sing Gregorian chant.

The priest faces a high altar, not the assembly, as he celebrates the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Rite Mass. He distributes Communion over a rail to communicants kneeling as they receive the Eucharist in their mouths.

"We're Catholic, and to be Catholic means to be traditional," said Sister Marie Therese, 35, the prioress and the principal of the community's school, which has 37 students. "It can't be something new."

The St. Benedict Center, a 200-acre complex featuring a few church buildings and land that is being sold to sympathetic families, is headed by a Catholic priest and is home to five celibate brothers and six celibate sisters, who are part of a religious order called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Worship services attract between 200 and 300 each Sunday. Since 1989, about 20 to 30 families have moved to the area to be near the church.

This community, like others around the country, is out of step with the official Catholic Church. The residents are so-called Feeneyites, followers of the Rev. Leonard J. Feeney, a Boston priest who was silenced by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing in 1949 and dismissed from the Jesuit order because of his insistence that there is no salvation outside the church, a doctrine that runs contrary to current church teaching that anyone, even non-Christians, can get to heaven. Feeney died in 1978.

Happy Fasnacht!

Leave it to the English to turn it into "pancake Tuesday", there is something a little more interesting about the German name, probably because I hadn't heard of it before.


"Shrove Tuesday, the eve of Lent -- also known as Mardi Gras (literally 'fat Tuesday' in French), Carnival (from the Latin for 'farewell to the flesh'), and Fasnacht (the Germanic 'night of the fast') -- is celebrated across the world with riotous merrymaking and feasting.

While Brazilians samba in the streets of Rio, and New Orleans throws its most famous party of the year, the English celebrate with Pancake Tuesday. It may seem an unlikely last indulgence, but pancakes use up rich ingredients like butter and eggs from the larder before the pious Lenten fast. Families gather for sweet and savory pancake suppers, and housewives still compete in the peculiar tradition of donning their aprons and racing each other holding pancake-filled skillets. "

Monday, February 23, 2004

My Bookreview of Stalking the Divine

Scroll down on Marly Rusoff Literary Agency's web site to Stalking the Divine: Contemplating Faith With the Poor Clares by Kristin Ohlson is heralded as a modern classic by Catholic News Service. Click on "Read more..." and you'll notice that I'm the "reviewer."

Da Vinci Code Confusion?

Amy answers all of your questions with her new book, De-Coding Da Vinci: The facts behind the fiction of The Da Vinci Code...available April 5th, order your copy now atDe-Coding Da Vinci by Amy Welborn

"For the man who hit me."

Latest update on Father Benedict from Father Glenn:

"Father's arm is in great pain. He asked Brother Daniel and I to adjust the pillow under his hand; he grimaced. The wound on his head is healing nicely; his leg I couldn't see since it was covered. Considering the severity of the accident, he looked quite good. In fact, he spoke to me about the accident. He whispered, 'The car hit me at forty-five miles an hour', and then widened his eyes. 'A van stopped for me, but a car went around the right side and hit me'. Of course, Father remembers nothing after getting hit; in fact he was surprised when I told him Joe Campo and I were by his bed days after the accident. When I asked him with a smile if his life passed before his eyes or if he went through a white tunnel, he simply gave me his typical 'no, don't be stupid' look. It was so good to see that look!

Fr. Gene Fulton and I stood by his bed and celebrated Mass while Brother Daniel served. Actually, Father concelebrated as he lie there with Cardinal Cooke's simple white stole draped around his neck. My eyes kept darting in his direction to see if he was engaged during the Mass; he was, especially during the elevation. His eyes were locked on the host. The Mass was brief but very beautiful. During the Prayer of the Faithful, Father Gene offered a few petitions, then paused for us to offer our own. Father B mouthed the words, 'For the man who hit me'. What a beautiful example of love."

The Late William Simon and a Golden Rosary

I've had several rosaries turn to gold, but I've never taken one to a jeweler for an appraisal. The late Secretary of the Treasury did and the jeweler told him that it was solid gold...

From Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world:

"In the book, A Time for Reflection (Regnery), Simon, a multi-millionaire, then drops this bombshell:

'At Medjugorje, I was actually the recipient of a miracle. Medjugorje ('between the hills') is a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina (formerly Yugoslavia) where, since 1981, the Blessed Mother has been appearing and giving messages to the world, mainly through six young people. Since the first apparitions in 1984, millions of people of all fgaiths have visited Medjugorje. Countless have been healed and converted.

'After our first Mass at Medjugorje, I remember telling my son Billy, 'That is the closest I've ever felt to Heaven on earth.' I then pulled out the old, inexpensive rosary beads that I had bought about ten years earlier, and noticed that the chain was glittering in the sun.

'That was strange. The chain was just some cheap, dull alloy, yet it suddenly appeared radiant and golden and vibrant and remained so. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and upon my return brought the rosary to a jeweler for an appraisal. He confirmed that the chain, inexplicably, had turned to solid gold. I can't explain the transformation, either of the rosary or my own life, except as a sign of Divine intervention.'"

Why Evangelicals are Cheering a Movie with Catholic Sensibilities

Here is the question that I've been asking all along being dealt with in Christianity Today. He raises the issue but I'm not sure I found the answer to the question. About the foundation of the movie and Anne Catherine Emmerich...

From Christianity Today:

The vision thing

Mel Gibson is in many ways a pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic. He prefers the Tridentine Latin Mass and calls Mary co-redemptrix. Early in the filming of The Passion, he gave a long interview to Raymond Arroyo on the conservative Catholic network EWTN. In that interview, Gibson told how actor Jim Caviezel, the film's Jesus, insisted on beginning each day of filming with the celebration of the Mass on the set. He also recounted a series of divine coincidences that led him to read the works of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a late-18th, early-19th-century Westphalian nun who had visions of the events of the Passion. Many of the details needed to fill out the Gospel accounts he drew from her book, Dolorous Passion of Our Lord.

Here is one such detail from Emmerich:

"[A]fter the flagellation, I saw Claudia Procles, the wife of Pilate, send some large pieces of linen to the Mother of God. I know not whether she thought that Jesus would be set free, and that his Mother would then require linen to dress his wounds, or whether this compassionate lady was aware of the use which would be made of her present. … I soon after saw Mary and Magdalen approach the pillar where Jesus had been scourged; … they knelt down on the ground near the pillar, and wiped up the sacred blood with the linen which Claudia Procles had sent."

Gibson does not follow Dolorous Passion slavishly, and at many points he chooses details that conflict with Emmerich's account. But the sight of Pilate's wife handing a stack of linen cloths to Jesus' mother allows Gibson to capture a moment of sympathy and compassion between the two women, and the act of the two Marys wiping up Jesus' blood gives Gibson the opportunity to pull back for a dramatic shot of the bloody pavement.

Evil unmasked

Another detail picked up from Dolorous Passion is just as dramatically powerful, but much more significant theologically. Emmerich writes that during Jesus' agony in the garden, Satan presented Jesus with a vision of all the sins of the human race. "Satan brought forward innumerable temptations, as he had formerly done in the desert, even daring to adduce various accusations against him." Satan, writes Emmerich, addressed Jesus "in words such as these: 'Takest thou even this sin upon thyself? Art thou willing to bear its penalty? Art thou prepared to satisfy for all these sins?'"

Sunday, February 22, 2004

What is Truth?

By now you probably have read Bishop McGrath, the Bishop of San Jose's comments on The Passion of the Christ:

While the primary source material of the film is attributed to the four gospels, these sacred books are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief.

Going down this route, the bishop, on a week that will see the release of the clerical abuse report has made one of the all time biggest blunders in recent history. While Evangelical Christians are handing out flyers to movie goers of the Passion, Bishop McGrath is pre-empting the viewing with a line that, oh well none of its based on history anyway--merely some reflections of a few pious souls.

This "theory" is the basis of everything that you've read over the past umpteen years about the "historical Jesus", the attempt to get beyond the "reflections" and find out who the real Jesus is...But in fairness to that crowd, the passion of Jesus is usually the one item they all agree is historical!

The ealiest sources, outside of the Scriptures, about the origins of the Gospels--all point to a very traditional understanding of their origins. Mark is the interpreter of Peter, who writes down the his gospel from the recollections of the Apostle. Matthew is a tax collector, Luke is a physician who accompanied St. Paul, John is the Apostle John. Although modern scholars love to go back to the original sources, they conveniently ignore the earliest sources when it comes to the gospels and use rather a tests of their own making--such as dropping anything miraculous or keeping anything that seems especially strange and out of character. In the end the "history" they come up with usually reflects whatever they believe or in the case of feminist theologians, the "herstory" they come up with reflects a struggle between Magdalene and Peter.

Bishop McGrath's statement has become the modern creed of mainline churches and to some segments of the Catholic Church. Once preachers buy into this theory they no longer preach with conviction, and what you usually here immediately after the Gospel proclaimed is something akin to "well we really don't know what happened." Talk about letting the air out of the balloon.

Listen, we all grew up with an understanding that the four Gospels told the story of Jesus from different viewpoints. Just in the way that modern people watch the details of the a news event on Fox or CNN and expect to hear a slightly different version of the account, slanted according to an ideology--but nonetheless something that is based on a factual event. Watching coverage of the horrors of 9/11, regardless of what the slant, we know by the hole one encounters in lower Manhattan now that the event happened. Plus the account of what happened that day as told by someone who was fleeing the falling buildings, or someone who lost a spouse in the fall, or someone living in the Midwest who watched it on television is all going to be vastly different, a reflection no doubt but historical also.

How far we go with the "reflection" vs. the "history" of the events told to us by the Gospel writers goes a long way in determining our own way of looking at what impact Christ makes in our lives. My sense is that there is a lot more history in the Gospels, that led to there being something to reflect upon---then there is reflection that would lead to anyone putting their lives on the line.

Reflection is the buzz word of a certain school of modern Christian thought. Sadly, the "reflection" is often of the person giving it, rather than of the Savior who suffered, died and was buried and on the third day rose again from the dead."

It is the "living Jesus" that the Gospel's proclaim and quite frankly this is the kind of history that we don't find in any history book--but more likely on the front page of the supermarket tabloids that proclaim that Elvis or JFK aren't really dead. Ultimately this is what throws scholars into such a tailspin when confronted with the history of the Gospels, they don't know how to handle the miraculous and ultimately the resurection and ascension of the lead character. This is why they also can't handle the difference such an intrusion into the history of man was made by the Son of God that even the year we live is marked by his coming and that time is divided into "before Christ" and in the "year of Our Lord"--they choose to render it "before the common era" or "after the common era." Call it what you will, but the truth is that there was nothing common about the era where someone rose from the dead. But as Jesus said in one of the Reflections, "they would not believe even if one were to rise from the dead." Many modern scholars are sadly in that lot, and I fear not a few clergy too.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

A Free Catholic Study Guide to The Passion

Online at Catholic Citizens

OFIA UNIT ONE Christ Confronts Evil

OFIA UNIT TWO Mary Witness to Suffering

OFIA UNIT THREE Obedience to the Father

OFIA UNIT FOUR What is Truth?

OFIA UNIT FIVE Christ's Self-Giving Love

Michael Dubruiel

FOR MORE on the power of the Passion of Christ - see Michael Dubruiel's book, now available in free download (pdf) and the audio podcasts he made about the book.

Father Benedict Groeschel Back in New York

Still recovering, but in his backyard or backcement as it may be...

For the details...Letter 2/20/04

Bin Laden Surrounded?

If so, this could dwarf any other breaking story for the next two weeks...

From Sunday Telegraph - Bin Laden 'surrounded' [February 22, 2004]:

"A BRITISH Sunday newspaper is claiming Osama bin Laden has been found and is surrounded by US special forces in an area of land bordering north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Sunday Express, known for its sometimes colourful scoops, claims the al-Qaeda leader has been 'sighted' for the first time since 2001 and is being monitored by satellite.

The paper claims he is in a mountainous area to the north of the Pakistani city of Quetta. The region is said to be peopled with bin Laden supporters and the terrorist leader is estimated to also have 50 of his fanatical bodyguards with him.

The claim is attributed to 'a well-placed intelligence source' in Washington, who is quoted as saying: 'He (bin Laden) is boxed in.'

The paper says the hostile terrain makes an all-out conventional military assault impossible. The plan to capture him would depend on a 'grab-him-and-go' style operation. "

Friday, February 20, 2004

Blood and Destruction Because of One Man…

This line from the play Jesus Christ Superstar accurately captures the effect of Jesus Christ on the modern world, after all art imitates life. The furor over The Passion of the Christ is really rather remarkable, after all there have been any number of movies about Jesus and most of them hardly merit any mention at all by the mainstream press, but this one, this movie has everyone talking.

Personally, I think this is a good thing. If there is anything that the modern world needs it is to have the Passion of Christ placed before it. Modern Christians have by and large conveniently placed the Passion of Christ off to the side, as something not to focus on—and much to the detriment of the way Christians in the affluent west have subsequently reinvented what it means to be a follower of the Jesus who said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” (Mark 8:34). Take away the cross from Christianity and you are left with something that patently is no longer Christian.

It used to be that Catholics were known by their focus on The Passion of Christ. Walking around on Ash Wednesday with their foreheads smudged with an ashen cross, eating fish on Fridays, making the stations of the cross on Friday evenings—and kneeling before what usually was a larger than life crucifix that dominated the sanctuary of their churches. But after Vatican II and the subsequent good fortune of American Catholics, one saw a shift where new Churches or even renovated Churches place a resurrected Christ in the sanctuary, graphic stations of the cross were usually replaced with little wooden cross markers and outside of Lent, Catholics could eat whatever they wanted to eat.

While the Catholics were taking Christ off of the cross, other Christians were preaching a gospel of affluence, not unlike the hypnotic message of infomercials that run endlessly on early morning television. The message varied but it essentially promised that if you make a down payment in faith, Christ would bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Ironically, many of the great preachers of this Gospel were publicly humiliated and suffered their own public crucifixions. Perhaps that is one reason why evangelicals seem so ready to embrace a very graphic meditation on the Passion of Our Lord.

The price Catholics have paid for taking Christ off of the cross, (not officially, I know but popularly this has been the case and often claimed by the “experts” to be the case), is being displayed daily in the newspapers. Clergy no longer embracing the cross of Christ fell into horrible sins. Laity no longer focused on the demands of the cross have become indistinguishable from the world around them. Ask the Catholic laity about any issue and they are likely to reflect the exact same beliefs of those who claim no religious belief. Which has left many to wonder what exactly does it mean to be a “Catholic” or better what exactly does it mean to be a Catholic follower of Christ?

The answer all comes back to the Passion. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen used to say that the west was characterized as having Christ without the Cross. We have the ability to hear the gospel preached freely, we can worship freely but without persecution we do not really hear the gospel in the same way that those who are suffering do.

The sad reality is that we are all suffering, but our ability to distract ourselves with meaningless entertainments keeps us out of touch with our suffering…until a 9/11 or the death sentence of a doctor telling us that we are terminally ill…then we see the cross and all its horror without Christ. Sadly if we have mocked Christ by being a follower without the cross we may miss the opportunity to be saved by the cross of Christ if we have spent our lives denying that it is the integral part of the Christian message.

It is interesting to see the reactions of those who worry about what a movie that graphically presents the Passion of Our Lord will do. Evangelicals are promoting it, encouraging their congregations to view the movie, invite friends and then bring them to Church so that their questions can be answered. Catholics, with the exception of the evangelical converts, for the most part are worried about the Passion renewing anti-Semitic feelings among the viewers. Jewish groups are also worried about this.

Jesus was a Jew and to me this is what I would proclaim to anyone who sees his Passion as an excuse to think poorly of the Jewish people. Such bigotry is from the devil, is evil, ignorant and is hatred ultimately of the Lord who died on the cross where the proclamation “King of the Jews” was nailed. I have written elsewhere on these pages about how Matthew’s Gospel in particular portrays Jesus as the new Moses who ratifies a new covenant and that the way to understand “his blood be upon us and our children” is only understood by going back to the ratification of the first covenant and Moses sprinkling blood upon the heads of the people as a sign of their new relationship with God. Any Christian need only open the Bible and sit with Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well and hear, “For salvation is from the Jews,” (John 4:22) or sit awhile with St. Paul in Romans 9-11.

What should we really worry about? That we have lost the true meaning of the gospel of Christ and its radical call to repent, repentance that leads to sacrificing:

“you lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor,” (Mark 10:21).

“every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery,” (Matthew 5:28)

“give to him who begs from you,” (Matthew 5:42)

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5: 44).

We should fear that in our comfort and ease we have lost the true Christ who told the disciples on the road to Emmaus that it “was necessary” that the Son of Man suffer all of these things, because if we fail to see the true meaning of the Passion we will fail to see God’s design for us in our own lives and we will flee the cross like a possessed man—because indeed fear of the cross is a clear sign that something other than Christ has possession of us.

So there is confusion, what do we do with this man, for if we leave him alone the entire populace will believe in him and then our economy will be shot, our livelihood destroyed, our (fill in the blank)… This is always the inner conversation between the self God created and self that we feel we need to be to please others…the cross of Christ is the line in the sand…what will save us?

As St. Paul said, “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

You Wonder Why These Guys Don't Just Resign

I'm think aloud here, but it really doesn't make any sense to me why guys who have this kind of stuff in their past continue to stay. I ask it, but I think I know the answer. There is a certian arogance that continues to dominate a certian sector of the clergy.

From Search:

"The former Catholic bishop of Springfield introduced the two boys, one of whom was a 12-year-old refugee, to homosexual sex and gay pornography after taking one under his wing when he was a parish priest about 28 years ago, the men said last night.

The two men, one aged 40 and the other 39, issued a statement through their lawyer detailing the alleged abuse. One of the men, who is now gay, said he was moved to anger after the Roman Catholic Church and Dupre began a crusade against gay marriage in Massachusetts.

Dupre, 70, checked himself into an undisclosed medical center and retired within a day of being confronted with questions about the allegations by The Republican last week.

Roderick MacLeish Jr., a lawyer for the men, said the bishop is being treated at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Spring, Md., which is known for treating pedophile priests. This could not be confirmed last night. "

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

and the perfect book to guide you on a Biblical meditation of Christ's steps from the garden of Gethsemane to the garden of the empty tomb!

Red Sox Nation Raises Terror Alert to Red


See Red Sox Nation Raises Terror Alert to Red

The Boston Red Sox created this color-coded terror alert warning system last year to help the organization and their fans measure the threat of the Yankees winning the next World Series. Any time the Yankees trade for, or sign a player, the terror alert status rises.

Communications between the Yankees and SS Alex Rodriguez, intercepted by ESPN, indicate that the team has acquired the superstar just months after negotiations between the Texas Rangers and the Red Sox Nation fell through.

"There is no doubt, from all the intelligence we gathered, that George Steinbrenner, known in several terrorist circles as the ‘Boss’, plans to systematically dismantle each and every major league baseball team through scare techniques, intimidation, and, if needed, by buying all their good players,” said ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons.

Father Groeschel to be Moved to NY

Could be tomorrow or next week...

From Letter 2/18/04:

"Plans for Father Benedict to be transferred up to New York are presently 'set in sand'. 'Hurry up and wait' may be the name of the game. It could be as early as Friday and as late as next week. Airlifting Father to New York is being planned; although expensive, at this point we don't want to nickel and dime the situation. Besides, so many of you have been generous in helping with friars' plane fares to Florida, some of which we now don't have to schedule."

More on Albany

From The Record:

"A potentially explosive letter purportedly written by the late Rev. John Minkler in 1995 claims 23 priests in the Albany Diocese are actively homosexual. Furthermore, the letter says Hubbard had a relationship with two priests and names another bishop as being actively homosexual."...

...The unsigned letter is somewhat of a mystery. Whether Minkler is even the author is under some dispute. After the letter was given to the media and his name affixed to it, he went to the diocese and signed an affidavit stating he was not the author. Whether he was called to the diocese or went freely is also in question.

Rev. Joseph Wilson of Queens said he had an hour long conversation with Minkler the day a television report tied Minkler to the letter and two days before Minkler was found dead in his Watervliet home. According to Wilson, Minkler told him he had written the letter, but the two did not talk about the affidavit.

Wilson said Minkler, a priest at the Stratton Veterans Administration Hospital, was "horrified" when the conversation started, but "hopeful" by the time it ended. Minkler's cause of death may not be determined for a couple weeks, but there were reports that a note had been found and suicide has not been ruled out.

Minkler and Wilson are both conservative, orthodox priests but they had never heard of each other before the conversation. They were brought together by Paul Likoudis, the editor of The Wanderer, an ultra-conservative weekly newspaper run by lay people who cover the Catholic Church. In the past, the paper has been very critical of Hubbard and the way he runs the diocese and there is speculation that Minkler was a source of much of the information the paper published.

The letter accuses Hubbard of "varied and constant" procedural irregularities during his saying Mass, such as offering wine and bread at the same time and his use of altar girls before they were approved by Rome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

More on Albany

They've hired a Mary Jo White to investigate the claims against Bishop Hubbard. And the intrigue around the priest who wrote Cardinal O'Connor with claims against Hubbard only grows...

From Fox News:

The Albany County Coroner tells Fox 23 News autopsy results on Father John Minkler's body were inconclusive, and they are waiting for more tests to determine exactly how he died. But today we spoke with several people who say they spoke with Father Minkler just days before his death.

Stephen Brady is the director of Roman Catholic Faithful, an Illinois-based group which investigates clergy corruption allegations. Brady faxed us documents which he says are just some of his correspondence with Father John Minkler.

The signature on the cover letter appears similar to the one on the affidavit Minkler gave the Diocese on Friday. In the affadavit, Father Minkler said he never wrote a 7-page letter to Cardinal O'Connor citing improprieties by Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Brady claims Minkler sent him the letter in 2001 and made it clear he wanted to remain anonymous. “He made it clear he wanted to be very careful. He in no way wanted Bishop Hubbard to ever find out who was behind this, who was going to O'Connor behind his back, and who was looking into information in the Diocese regarding misconduct, especially homosexual activity,” said Brady. The editor of “The Wanderer,” a national Catholic weekly published in Minnesota, tells Fox 23 News Father Minkler has been informing him about problems within the Albany Diocese for 13 years. Paul Likouidis says he spoke with Father Minkler on Friday, just two days before Minkler was found dead in his Watervliet home.

He alleges Minkler told him he was called into the Diocese office and asked to sign this affidavit. “He went into an office and his longtime friend Father Ken Doyle had a document for him to sign and all Doyle said was sign this,” said Likoudis. “What he said to me was ‘Hubbard forced me to lie,’ and he felt very bad about that.”

Likoudis says he advised Father Minkler to call Father Joseph Wilson of St. Luke's Church in Queens for advice. Father Wilson says he too spoke to Minkler on Friday, and he was distraught. “I don't remember his exact phrase, but the connotation was he was trying to put out the fires caused by his mention. He did concede to me that he had written on the bishop and he had handed that report into Cardinal O'Connor,” said Father Wilson.

The Diocese issued a statement late today saying, “Father John Minkler denied four times to officials of the Albany Diocese that he had written a letter critical of Bishop Howard Hubbard." The statement goes on to say, “at no time did anyone associated with the Albany Diocese seek to pressure Father Minkler to meet with diocesan officials or to deny the letter or to sign a statement denying the letter. At no time was Father Minkler summoned to the Diocesan Pastoral Center. He came willingly..."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


From - Draft survey: 4,450 priests accused of sex abuse - Feb. 16, 2004:

" Children accused more than 4,000 priests of sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, according to a draft survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The survey, to be released February 27, found that children made more than 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by priests. The 4,450 accused priests represent about 4 percent of the 110,000 priests who served during the 52 years covered by the study.

The report is based on a nationwide survey of church records, and was compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for the conference. The bishops' conference commissioned the survey to get a better understanding of the scope of the crisis. "

Monday, February 16, 2004

More Strange News Out of Albany

Priest dies two days after stating he was not the author of letter addressed to Cardinal O'Connor claiming Bishop of Albany was sexually involved with his priests.

I've heard from some that it was a suicide, but I'm guessing the police in Albany are suspicious.

From Fox News:

The Rev. John Minkler, 57, was found dead Sunday in his home in Watervliet. Police there won't say how or when Minkler died.

"He was very disturbed that his name was associated with this letter and he wanted to assure me that he was not its author," Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard said Monday.

Last week, Andrew Zalay said Hubbard had abused his brother, Thomas Zalay, 30 years ago. Thomas Zalay committed suicide in 1978.

Hubbard has maintained he has never broken his vow of celibacy and has denied ever sexually abusing anyone. He also says he has handled all claims of abuse by clergy seriously and has dismissed several abusive priests.

Minkler was ordained in 1972 and had been chaplain of the Stratton Veterans Administration Hospital (search) in Albany for about 20 years.

"This is a tragedy no matter what the circumstances," Hubbard said. "A priest has died and I have great sympathy for his family and they will be very much in my prayers."

Prosecutors have declined to investigate the 30-year-old claim against Hubbard, saying the allegation didn't represent a crime. The Albany Diocese (search), which represents more than 400,000 Catholics, has said it will hire its own investigator to look into Zalay's claim.

A copy of the 1995 letter to the archdiocese in New York City surfaced following a press conference last week called by a lawyer who has represented several alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests. The Albany Diocese in a statement issued Monday said Minkler was identified as the letter's author in a television news report.

"The purported letter" to the late Cardinal John O'Connor (search) was denied by Minkler in a written statement and no such letter was found in the files of the archdiocese, according to the Albany Diocese statement.

Amy has more on this over at Open Book.

Update on Father Benedict (Mother Teresa's Express Novena)

An interestig side note is the revelation of Mother Teresa's express novena...

From Father Glenn:

"Both Father Juniper and Brother Daniel Marie report that today was a quiet day for Father B. He didn't attempt to get into his 'lounge chair'; although Father is a fighter, he does know his limits. In fact, today he said something to a nurse which one rarely hears coming from the lips of Father Benedict. He said, 'I don't want to overdue it!' I have known Father for close to thirty years - I have never heard him say this! Well, thank God he knows that even he must respect his limitations. He wants to go home yesterday, but every evening I remind him that we can't make a move without the doctor's 'green light'.

Today he called the friars over to his bedside; he wanted to pray. He began to pray the Memorare - nine times in a row. Those of you who knew Mother Teresa know that this is her famous 'express novena'. When she wanted something 'pronto', she would gather with her sisters and pray this prayer. Now, I'm not a mind reader, but I suspect Father B. had one ear turned toward the phone hoping it was his doctor who would say, 'Father Benedict, start packin''. On the other hand, he might have been praying to receive a special grace for patience - which he needed real quick!"

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Who Killed Jesus?

I had a conversation the other day with a good friend, a Jewish woman, who I've blogged about on these pages before. She is very upset and fears that the release of Mel Gibson's movie will unlease an uprise of anti-semitism. We talked about this for some time and at the time while trying ally her fears--I really felt that she was over reacting. Until, of course, I recall her personal history.

She grew up a young Jewish girl in very Catholic Poland in the 1930's and 40's. Surrounded by Christians, she witnessed first hand the complicity of many who willingly handed over their Jewish neighbors to the nazis. She and her family survived through the help of other Catholics--who gave them a "Catholic" cover; fake baptism certificates, allowed them into their churches and ultimately saved their lives. But one only has to put themselves in the place of a twelve year old who knows they are being hunted down sitting in a church and looking up at the stations of the cross and seeing the passion of Christ in an entirely different light.

So then armed with some compassion, I revisit this issue again. It bothers me that Mel Gibson cut the scene with Caiphas yelling, "His blood be upon and our children." It after all is a line from the Gospels. I would have rather he had kept the scene in and interwoven a scene from the Exodus where Moses sprinkles the blood that has been sacrificed to ratify the covenant upon the heads of the people. Then, the scene becomes one of the priests unwittingly invoking salvation upon the Jewish people, not giving bigots and ignorant people a blank check to disregard the entire Gospel message of love and to use it as a reason to hate anyone.

After all, the same Gospel that some used to fuel hatred for the Jewish people--of which Jesus and his Blessed Mother were members of that same chosen race, enabled some Catholics in Poland to shield and protect Jews during the shoah. Obviously, it is a matter of clearly understanding the Gospel and its demands for a radical response of love.

So who killed Jesus, might better be asked by who continues to kill Jesus? This puts the ball in our court--"when I was hungry, when I was naked, when I was in prison, when I was a stranger," etc. (Matthew 25) could well be us!

The Gospels portray the religious and world leaders turning against the innocent wasn't something that was specifially "Roman" or Jewish" but rather something that was a "world' event and when it comes to reliving the Passion of the Christ it is always us, not any race of people, who stand in the crowd screaming "crucify him" and we can only hope that his redemptive blood will be upon us and our children.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Bishop Takes Public Stand Against Notre Dame

Good for Bishop D'Arcy! Unfortunately not only is Notre Dame having a performance of the V-Monologues but also is having a "Queer" film fest.

I know many good and holy alumni of Notre Dame. Is this what you remember about your alma mater? The Bishop's stand will mean more if you the alumni of Notre Dame back him and threaten to cut off all support. Notre Dame's prestige comes from its being the premier Catholic University in the United States--but because of weak leadership from within its days as a "Catholic" university may be numbered.

From A Statement by the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend:

"Also, what possible advantage can this text have to the common good of society or of the church? I have dialogued on this matter with Father Edward Malloy, CSC, most recently in an exchange of letters initiated by me this past summer, in which I shared with him my pastoral concern. Such quiet dialogues on difficult matters have always been my modus operandi with Notre Dame and the other Catholic institutions of higher learning in our diocese, especially on difficult issues. This is in the spirit of Ex Corde Ecclesiae which calls for a spirit of friendship between bishops and university leadership through close personal and pastoral relationships characterized by mutual trust, close and constant cooperation and continuing dialogues. But a bishop has an obligation to teach, and there comes a time when the young people at Notre Dame, many of whom, along with their parents, have written to me over the years about this text, need to know the judgment of the bishop on a moral question at a time when clarity about the teaching of the church is required. A bishop can never refuse to exercise this responsibility so central to his vocation.

As an example of a sound moral choice within the context of true academic freedom, I would like to refer to Portland University, a sister institution of Notre Dame, also under the Congregation of Holy Cross. There, Rev. David Tyson, CSC, at that time president of Portland, after reading the text and consulting his deans, who also read the text, determined that it was inappropriate to the mission of a Catholic university, and the play was cancelled.

Feast of St. Cyril and Methodius

But most will celebrate the lesser saints of the day, choose one of the three St. Valentine's commemorated today. Most of us have learned stories that combine all three into one.


"At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

Four Nuns Kept off Flight

Obviously, we're talking about four nuns in habits.

From - Nuns among six passengers kept off American flight - Feb. 12, 2004:

"Four California nuns say they were among six passengers kept off an American Airlines flight in January after crew members complained of a sulfur smell in the cabin and ordered passengers off the plane.

'I felt discriminated very much, because the four of us were taken out from that group, kept us aside, not telling us why we were there,' said Sister Tessy Pius, the principal of Mary Immaculate Queen School in Lemoore, California. She and the three other nuns are natives of India and are employed at the school.

The nuns were among the group of passengers held in Dallas, Texas, for additional screening before being allowed to board another flight to Fresno, California, January 2, American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner told CNN.

At the time, airlines were acting under strict security rules because the national threat level was orange, or high. When the Department of Homeland Security raised the threat level December 21 from yellow to orange, it warned that al Qaeda may use international flights to launch attacks on the United States. "

Friday, February 13, 2004

Dad of Kerry Intern, "I think he's a sleazeball."

I heard Kerry on Imus this morning, lot of coughing, didn't sound well. He denied that there was anything to this story.

From The Sun Newspaper Online - UK's biggest selling newspaper:

"PRESIDENTIAL hopeful John Kerry was branded a "sleazeball" last night by the parents of a young woman he allegedly tried to woo.

Alex Polier, 24, was named as the woman at the centre of a scandal that threatens to damage Democrat Kerry's bid for the White House.

Her mother Donna claims Kerry, 60 -dubbed the new JFK - once chased Alex to be on his campaign team and was "after her".

There is no evidence the pair had an affair, but her father Terry, 56, said: "I think he's a sleazeball. I did kind of wonder if my daughter didn't get that kind of feeling herself.

"He's not the sort of guy I would choose to be with my daughter."

Terry, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, added: "John Kerry called my daughter and invited her down to Washington two or three years ago.

"He invited her to be on his re-election committee. She talked to him and decided against it."

Priest's Warnings About Bishop went Unheard

From Berkshire Eagle Online - Headlines:

The Rev. James Scahill, a longtime critic of Dupre and his handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal, counseled the mother of one of the boys. He said he spoke with Reilly after he left an urgent message for O'Malley in November.

But O'Malley never returned his call, and Reilly "said that if the victims were willing to come forward, he would prosecute to the full extent of the law," Scahill said.

Ann Donlan, a spokeswoman for Reilly, confirmed that the attorney general met with Scahill in November to discuss the allegations against Dupre.

"The identity of the victim was not passed on," Donlan said. "The attorney general made it clear that the matter would be referred to the district attorney's office if the victim came forward."

Donlan said Scahill was not obligated to report the suspected abuse to police because the alleged victims are now adults.

Attorney Eric MacLeish, who has counseled both alleged victims of Dupre, said both men wish to remain anonymous.

Before he called Reilly, Scahill said he left a message for O'Malley, saying he needed to discuss "a dire matter that concerned the entire well-being of [the] church."

Scahill said he also spoke with a woman at the archdiocese, but did not give her any details about the abuse allegations. He said no one from the archdiocese called him back.

"I said it was very urgent that he contact me because of the importance of the matter," Scahill said.

Mary McGeer, a nun in Scahill's East Longmeadow parish, said she was in the room with the priest when he made the call. "He certainly got his message across that this was very serious," she said.

O'Malley's spokesman, the Rev. Christopher Coyne, said neither the archdiocese nor its attorney on sexual abuse matters has any record of receiving a phone call or letter from Scahill concerning allegations of abuse by Dupre.

"Anyone who knows the policies and procedures for handling matters like this would know that a phone call of this type is not the way to do it," Coyne said.

He said Scahill should have gone through the proper channels by calling the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Delegate's office and following up with a letter.

"That's the way you do it," Coyne said. "An unsolicited phone call of such an ambiguous nature is not the way you handle serious matters such as this."

Scahill said he didn't write a letter or follow up on his call because "I felt I did what I could."

"I'm so used to this system of denial that I felt I did all I could do to fulfill my obligation, and that was it," Scahill said.

Accusations of clergy sex abuse have plagued the diocese during Dupre's tenure, but have been overshadowed by reports of widespread abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, where MacLeish and other attorneys brokered an $85 million settlement between the church and more than 550 victims.

The allegations against Dupre are the first public claims that the bishop himself may have abused children.

Debunking the Da Vinci Code...Who's at the table with Jesus?

Elizabeth Lev who teaches art history at Duquesne's Rome campus weights in on Lenardo's painting...

From Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

"Truth be told, Leonardo da Vinci is not one of the 10 historical figures I would most like to invite to dinner. Perhaps the historical rivalry between Leonardo and Michelangelo was so fierce that one starts to take sides. Nonetheless, after 46 weeks of 'The Da Vinci Code' ensconced at the top of the best-seller lists, I felt obliged to come to the defense of his work.

A little background for the remnant still unsullied by the reading of this book: Author Dan Brown makes the incredible claim that the individual seated at the right hand of Jesus in da Vinci's 'Last Supper' is not, as commonly understood, the Apostle John, but rather ... Mary Magdalene, who would be Jesus' wife.

Although the work presents itself as fiction, it is written in such a way as to cause doubt. I have heard countless Rome visitors make comments like the following: 'I know it is fiction, of course, but it brings up some interesting questions ...'

The acute nature of the problem set in when my American students, instead of asking where the outlet stores in Florence were, began inquiring where they could see 'The Last Supper.' Then one day in the classroom, the bomb was dropped: 'Professor Lev, isn't that Mary Magdalene sitting next to Jesus?'

Now, there is a positive side to all this. The students are taking an interest in Leonardo and many are learning the names of the apostles for the first time. Unfortunately, the author stimulating these first impressions has no idea what he is talking about. The major religious and historical gaffes aside, a word must be said about Leonardo's 'Last Supper.'

Amid Leonardo's copious writings, very little reveals his personal thoughts and feelings. Artists generally do not look to be remembered through their diaries, notebooks or doodling pads. One thing for sure, nothing in Leonardo's writings suggests that the person next to Jesus is anyone other than John.

Brown capitalizes on Leonardo's soft-featured, beardless depiction of John to offer his fantastic claim that we are dealing with a woman. Of course, if St. John were really Mary Magdalene, we may well ask which of the apostles excused himself at the critical moment.

But the real problem stems from our lack of familiarity with "types." In his Treatise on Painting, Leonardo explains that each figure should be painted according to his station and age. A wise man has certain characteristics, an old woman others, and children others still.

A classic type, common to many Renaissance paintings, is the "student." A favored follower, a protégé or disciple, is always portrayed as very youthful, long-haired and clean-shaven; the idea being that he has not yet matured to the point where he must find his own way.

Throughout the Renaissance, artists portray St. John in this fashion. He is the "disciple Jesus loved" -- the only one who will be at the foot of the cross. He is the ideal student. To the Renaissance artist the only way to show St. John was as a beardless youth, with none of the hard, determined physiognomy of men. The "Last Supper" of Ghirlandaio and Andrea del Castagno show a similarly soft, young John.

Leonardo's innovation lies not in his depiction of John, but rather in the dynamism of his composition. Unlike his predecessors who showed a group of men talking around a table, Leonardo selects the most dramatic moment of the meal. Jesus has just made the announcement, "One of you will betray me." The composition accordingly registers the shockwave that emanates from this statement.

Instead of the typical 11 apostles on the far side of the table and Judas on the side closest the viewer, Leonardo places them all on the same side, so there is a ripple effect from the isolated Christ framed by a window out toward the apostles who are grouped into threes. The most important set comprises Peter, John and Judas. Impetuous Peter thrusts himself toward John, asking him to inquire of Jesus who the betrayer will be; in doing so, he pushes Judas outward toward the viewer.

The original image (it has been heavily repainted) had Judas' head turned directly toward John, whose serene countenance manifests the assurance of his own innocence. The low forehead, and dark, brutish features of the traitor Judas stand in sharp contrast to the luminous delicacy of John. The viewer is forced to think about where he or she stands (or sits) in this picture. Are we calm in certainty of fidelity, do we protest too much, or do we hide in the shadows?

Unfortunately, all these truly important questions are overshadowed by the silly speculations of Dan Brown.

One thing is clear, during the real Last Supper, Mary Magdalene was elsewhere.

Pray the Passion

New book by Paul Thigpen that relates to the upcoming Mel Gibson movie and more importantly the subject of the movie...the passion of Jesus...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

University of Notre Dame to Host Gay Film Fest

Comfortable sending your child to a Catholic school to get a good Catholic education? Willing to spend your life savings to finance their indoctrination to all things not Catholic?

Why is it that the religious orders that run these campuses are incapable of seeing the damage they are doing to young impressionable minds.

From Yahoo! News - At Notre Dame, gay film fest a first:

"'You have to understand what a breakthrough this is,' said Richard Friedman, a fifth-year student participating in the event. 'The university's administration had even barred gay groups from advertising in the student newspaper.'

On many campuses, eyebrows wouldn't be raised by a gay film series featuring titles such as 'Jim in Bold,' which kicks off the series Wednesday.

During freshman orientation at state schools and secular colleges, it is commonplace to see the information booth of a gay-and-lesbian group.

But that is not the case at universities affiliated with a religious denomination that considers homosexuality sinful.

Yet even at some such schools, things are changing quickly, given society's increasing acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Deans and presidents are feeling the pressure of gay and lesbian students, newly determined to have an accepted place on campus.

'The landscape has changed,' said Nicholas Sakurai, an official of the United States Student Association, which is preparing a guide to forming homosexual campus organizations. 'Young people have been coming out in droves in high school since the '90s. They're now in college and challenging administrators who would deny them a place in campus life.'

For instance, Boston College, a Catholic university run by Jesuit priests, extended official recognition to a gay group last May, after many years of denying previous requests.

'This film fest is our way of forcing people to recognize there is an active gay community here,' said Liam Dacey, a Notre Dame senior. 'There's been a fear on this campus to come out.' "

Alleged Kerry Infidelity Predicted to Ruin His Campaign

Breaking news from theDRUDGE REPORT 2004

Eucharist to be the theme of this Fall's Synod

From the Vatican Information Service:

The Holy Father has announced that the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place

in the Vatican from October 2 to 29, 2005 on the theme. “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.”

Why the Bishop of Springfield, MA Resigned

And why it was accepted immediately on a Wednesday...


In a press release and a press conference, the diocese said that Dupre had resigned because of failing health and that he had requested permission to resign last November and was only informed of the pope's decision yesterday.

But in a series of interviews late yesterday, a diocesan spokesman and Monsignor Richard S. Sniezyk, who was named yesterday as the diocese's interim administrator, confirmed that Dupre had been made aware Tuesday of allegations made against him by the mother of one of two men who say Dupre abused them about 25 years ago when he was a priest and they were boys in Holyoke.

The allegations were contained in a series of questions submitted to the bishop Tuesday by The Republican newspaper in Springfield. The newspaper reported last night that the mother of one alleged victim, who it described as a longtime diocesan school worker, had written to the bishop about the allegations last year. The newspaper reported that weeks after the woman said she wrote to the bishop, Dupre told the newspaper last spring he was considering early retirement because of a heart condition and other health problems.

Mark E. Dupont, a spokesman for the diocese, said he understood that the timing of Dupre's resignation was coincidental. He said Dupre, 70, had told him in either late November or early December that he had requested the pope's permission to resign five years before the mandatory retirement age of 75 because of his declining health. Dupont said Dupre checked himself into a hospital Tuesday after receiving a copy of the questions about the allegations and left without issuing a denial or any other statement.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A Shocker--Monsignor Andrew Cussack has Died

Msgr. Cussack was the leader and founder of a conference for the continuing formation of priests to which Father Benedict Groeschel was headed to in January when he was struck by a car. It seems that Monsignor Cussack died a week later.

From The Ashbury Park Press:

Family and parishioners, as well as friends from across the country, paid their respects yesterday to Monsignor Thomas Andrew Cusack, 71, who died Tuesday at his home in Brick. Cusack was remembered as a kind and gentle man whose words touched the hearts of churchgoers and helped give meaning to their lives.

"He was the most caring, intelligent, spiritual priest I have ever known," Brick resident Ann Scrudato said at O'Brien Funeral Home, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. "His homily always seemed to be a message just for you. Whenever he spoke, his words reached inside of you and warmed your soul. He was always fond of saying, 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery and today is love.' I will never forget those words."

Cusack served as a weekend celebrant for Masses at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church in Brick from 1984 until his death. He was a member of American Catholic's "Who's Who" and received an award for outstanding achievement from the Graduate School of Pastoral Counseling of Iona College.

According to his obituary, Cusack appeared on national television shows and produced a 13-week series called "Living Life Fully." He lectured to clergy throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Central America, west Africa and Turkey.

Update on Father Benedict

From Father Glenn's Letter 2/10/02:

"Well today, the breathing doctor allowed Father to breathe on his own - and without his 'training wheels'! Guess how long he did it? One hour! And he didn't fall once! So, let's not forget to thank Jesus and pray, if the doctor allows, that Father will ride on his own tomorrow for two hours!

Today we also had a speech therapist and an assistant come in to help Father Benedict communicate. The assistant is deaf and obviously adept at reading lips; while the therapist knows how to use sign language! Well, 'the best laid plans of mice and men' - Father was somewhat 'out of it' due to the pain medication. After about fifteen minutes it was evident to everyone that this wasn't the best time. I was disappointed, but am hopeful for round two. "

"All fear had left me" Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

In Bernadette's own words, what happened during the first apparition on February 11th 1858, from Catholic Online - Blessed Mother Mary - Apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes:

"'I had just begun to take off my first stocking when suddenly I heard a great noise like the sound of a storm. I looked to the right and to the left, under the trees of the river, but nothing moved; I thought I was mistaken. I went on taking off my shoes and stockings, when I heard a fresh noise like the first. Then I was frightened and stood straight up. I lost all power of speech and thought when, turning my head toward the grotto, I saw at one of the openings of the rock a bush - only one - moving as if it were very windy. Almost at the same time, there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden coloured cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful, exceedingly beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen before, came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening, above the rose bush. She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance, as if She had been my Mother. All fear had left me, but I seemed to know no longer where I was. I rubbed my eyes, I shut them, I opened them; but the Lady was still there continuing to smile at me and making me understand that I was not mistaken. Without thinking of what I was doing I took my Rosary in my hands and went on my knees. The Lady made with Her head a sign of approval and Herself took into Her hands a Rosary which hung on Her right arm. When I attempted to begin the Rosary and tried to lift my hand to my forehead, my arm remained paralysed, and it was only after the Lady had signed Herself that I could do the same. The Lady left me to pray all alone; She passed the beads of Her Rosary between Her fingers but She said nothing; only at the end of each decade did She say the Gloria with me.

'When the recitation of the Rosary was finished, the Lady returned to the interior of the rock."

Add Sex Abuse to Pot Priest's Charges

All alleged of course...


"A priest charged with growing marijuana in his church residence is under investigation for alleged child abuse, a prosecutor said.

Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach said Tuesday that she plans to meet with police to determine if sex charges should be brought against Rev. Richard Arko, 40.

The allegation surfaced during a court appearance by Andrew J. Smith, 25, of nearby Barberton, who tipped police last month to marijuana plants allegedly grown by Arko inside the rectory of Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church.

Smith, in court Tuesday for violating probation in an unrelated case, claimed Arko began a sexual relationship with him when he was 15. "

Much Worst than Anyone Thought

The report will be released on the 27th of this month.

From My Way News:

"The scope of sex abuse accusations against Roman Catholic clergy since 1950 appears to be much greater than previously estimated by victims' groups and the media, an Associated Press review of reports from dioceses has found.

The U.S. church will make an unprecedented, nationwide accounting of abuse claims and costs later this month, and some bishops already have started releasing local figures. The AP contacted dioceses across the country and found that 1,341 clergy members have been accused of molesting minors, with more than half the dioceses yet to report.

'What it's really doing is showing us in black and white that the problem is much worse than any of us thought,' said Sue Archibald, president of The Linkup, a Kentucky-based victim advocacy group.

Statistics have yet to be released by some archdioceses that have faced hundreds of allegations, including Boston and Los Angeles.

A January 2003 review by The New York Times counted 1,205 accused priests nationwide over five decades. Survivors First, an advocacy group compiling its own list from media reports and lawsuits, has counted 1,800."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Do You Write Like a Man or a Woman?

The Gender Genie

Thankfully, I write like a man:

Words: 516

(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)

Female Score: 342

Male Score: 808

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Papal Acts--New Bishop for Portland--New Saints

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Madison, U.S.A., presented by Bishop George O. Wirz, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Richard Joseph Malone, auxiliary of Boston, U.S.A., as bishop of Portland (area 85,541, population 1,274,923, Catholics 213,680, priests 211, permanent deacons 23, religious 471), U.S.A. The bishop-elect

was born in Salem, U.S.A. in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1972. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Joseph John Gerry, O.S.B., upon having reached the age limit.

New saints to be canonized on February 19th:

- Blessed Luigi Orione, priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of Charity.

- Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Generosity.

- Blessed Jose Manyanet y Vives, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

- Blessed Nimatullah Al Hardini, priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order.

- Blessed Paola Elisabetta, nee Costanza Cerioli, widow Busecchi-Tassis, foundress of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family.

- Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, mother.

Scandal at 34 Catholic Colleges

What Catholic Colleges are planning to perform the Vagina Monologues this year? Here's the list... Unbelievable...visit the site and email the presidents, protest!

Will Something Happen in 2004...

...that will change the world and bring everyone to their knees?

From Father Robert Altier:

Beyond that, back a few years ago, the day after the tragic incidents that took place out in New York City with the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the very next day Mother Angelica went on national television and announced that in the year 2004 we will be in the era of peace. She said, “Do not ask me how I know that because I will not tell you. All I can tell you is that in 2004 you will see the era of peace.” There is a woman by the name of Christina Gallagher, whom many people purport to be a true mystic from Ireland, and she is saying the same thing. There is a woman from Venezuela by the name of Maria Esperanza who has the approval of her bishops and has made a variety of predictions with extraordinary accuracy over the years, and for quite a few years now, certainly more than ten, she has been telling the world that in 2004 everyone on the face of the earth will know that God exists. More recently, she has said, “In mid-2004, you will begin to see the light,” and that the turn-around is going to be taking place around halfway through the year. Again, all of these people could be entirely wrong. The date can be pushed back; things could be mitigated. We do not know.

There is a Vietnamese priest who was captured by the Communists some 21 or so years ago now. He was put into a concentration camp where for 13 years he had to break rocks everyday. At the end of the day, they would give him a cup of rice and send him back out the next day to break rocks. He did that everyday for 13 years. He is now free, and a couple of years ago this man was traveling to France for some surgery (you can imagine the condition his body is in after all of that) and he heard about a hermit priest in Belgium. He wanted to stop and speak with that priest about something extraordinary that had happened to him, and he told the hermit priest this story. He said, “I had a friend, another priest in Vietnam, who was also captured by the Communists. This particular priest was beaten to a bloody pulp by the Communists, dragged into the sanctuary of this parish church, dumped on the sanctuary floor, and there he died in front of the Blessed Sacrament.” Not a bad way to go. About two years or so ago, he said, “My friend has recently appeared to me and he told me this: that in the year 2000 the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart began, but it will begin with the Triumph of the Cross.” (Which I interpret to mean that the Church is going to be crucified, which the Fathers of the Church told us many times is going to happen.) He then went on to tell his friend that Satan had been given 100 years to destroy the Church. (That is according to the vision of Pope Leo XIII from 1884.) In that 100 years, Satan overstepped his boundaries and in punishment for overstepping his boundaries God has meted out two points of punishment: number one, He took some of Satan’s power away from him and has given it to Our Lady; number two, the reign of the antichrist will be severely limited – perhaps to even as little as six weeks. Thanks be to God! Three and a half years is what Scripture told us it would be, which none of us would be able to survive. Our Lord knew that and He Himself told us, “If the time were not shortened even the elect would fall astray.” So we knew the time would be shortened; the question was how much. This man is saying “perhaps even as little as six weeks”. Then he went on to say, “In the year 2004, you will see the era of peace.”

Now that coupled with what happened back in 1961in a little village called Garabandal in Spain, with some apparitions that have only just recently received local approval by the bishop so now we can actually talk about them, and in those apparitions, Our Lady said a few things that are of import for us. Number one, she said that there will only be three more popes until the end of the present age. How one interprets that is entirely up to you because she did not explain it. Our present Holy Father is the third, the three being Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II. Now this becomes also very important timing-wise because Our Lady told us at Garabandal that there will be a warning, and the warning will be what is variously called “an illumination of conscience”, or simply put, every person will get to see their soul as God sees it. For some, this will be a great blessing. After all, if you just think about it, if you had been shown by God everything that is on your soul so that you have the opportunity to go to confession and rid yourself of absolutely everything that is there, this is cause for great rejoicing. For some, however, she said it will be so horrifying that they will die. So it will not be a pleasant thing for most people to see, but for anyone who is trying to live a good life, it will be a great blessing. That is really something to look forward to, although it is going to require a great grace because she said, “The priests will be in the confessional around-the-clock hearing confessions, one after the next, 24 hours a day.” Not humanly possible, but with God all things are possible. And then she said, “Within a year, that will be followed by a great miracle which will be a Eucharistic miracle.” The children thought it seemed that it would be much, much shorter than a year, but what Our Lady said was that within a year this miracle would happen. It would be able to be seen by television cameras and it will be demonstrated throughout the world. But what is important for us is that she said, “The Pope will see the miracle from wherever he happens to be in the world when it happens,” which means that our Holy Father has to be alive when it happens.

So you have the two persons who have been named: Sister Lucia being 95 years old, and our Holy Father being 83 years old and not in very good health. Whether it happens in 2004 or sometime thereafter, one can surmise that it cannot take too much longer before something is going to occur. Now at Garabandal, Our Lady said, “If people do not change their ways, that will be followed by a great chastisement.” The chastisement was foretold at the last fully approved apparition (“fully approved” meaning not only locally and provincially, but even by the Vatican), and that was at Akita in Japan in 1974 when Our Lady appeared to a nun and told her that fire will fall from the sky killing the greater part of humanity and the living will envy the dead thinking that they had the better part. Everyone in the state of mortal sin will die, and some who are in the state of grace will die so that no one will be able to make judgments about the people who have died. It will not be a pleasant time for anyone on the face of the earth. How exactly that is going to be, we do not know. The fact that Our Lady appeared in Japan to tell us that I think is important. Many saints from back in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries had visions and prophesied about the fact that a comet is going to crash into the earth. Now this is my pure conjecture, but back in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries they did not have intercontinental ballistic missiles; if you were a sixth century mystic and saw a fireball coming from the sky with a tail on it and a huge explosion following from it, what would you think it was? It looks like a comet, so it must be a comet. We know better. If you read the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, you will find two things there that are rather terrifying. One, the prophet says, “One-third of the people will be saved through the fire.” Our Lady said, “The greater part of humanity will die.” So one-third will be saved through the fire according to Scripture. And then the prophet Zechariah gives a particularly terrifying presentation of what is going to happen to people: their flesh will rot, their eyes will be pulled into their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths as they stand there. That is exactly what happens when a nuclear device is exploded.