Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Icon Picture

Here it is folks! The icon I went to Mt. Angel to pick up. A better picture will be posted in the next couple of days along with some interesting things about Mt. Angel Seminary and the trip.

FYI the best bumper sticker I saw on the trip was: Peace had a chance.

Update 3 September 2006 There is a very interesting conversation with a Protestant fellow in the commentary of this post. Please remember to be polite in any comments.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Message from the road

Has Media Ignored Sex Abuse In School?
NRO: Why Haven't Teachers Received Same Scrutiny As Catholic Priests?
Aug. 24, 2006

John Karr isn’t a priest. He’s a teacher. Most teachers are dedicated, hard-working people who wouldn’t dream of hurting a child. The same is true of priests. If the suspect in the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey were a priest, there would be a fresh outcry about a decades-long cover-up in the Catholic Church. Commentators from Left and Right would rightly unite in decrying the crisis and the entrenched complacency that led to it. Catholic pundits would take a special relish in pointing out that they agree: The Church had better get its act together. Any institution that has allowed children to be harmed by predators deserves to be taken to task for it. No institution should get a pass. And no profession should get a pass. Not preachers, not priests — not even teachers. Especially not teachers. And yet … Consider the statistics: In accordance with a requirement of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, in 2002 the Department of Education carried out a study of sexual abuse in the school system. Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft looked into the problem, and the first thing that came to her mind when Education Week reported on the study were the daily headlines about the Catholic Church. “[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?” she said. “The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” So, in order to better protect children, did media outlets start hounding the worse menace of the school systems, with headlines about a “Nationwide Teacher Molestation Cover-up” and by asking “Are Ed Schools Producing Pedophiles?” No, they didn’t. That treatment was reserved for the Catholic Church, while the greater problem in the schools was ignored altogether. As the National Catholic Register’s reporter Wayne Laugesen
points out, the federal report said 422,000 California public-school students would be victims before graduation — a number that dwarfs the state’s entire Catholic-school enrollment of 143,000. Yet, during the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government’s discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools. Perhaps John Karr will help change that. “Could JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr get a job teaching in your community?” asked USA Today. Not any more, of course; but could a creepy pedophile who isn’t all over Fox News get hired? Richard Dangel, a child psychologist in Dallas, told the paper, “Only about 4% of offenders get busted,” he says. “The other 96% don’t.” Which means that background checks won’t stop the vast majority of sex offenders. A writer for The New York Times lurked online at pedophile chat rooms, and reported this summer about the chilling way pedophiles convince themselves that children want to have sex with them and insinuate themselves into the lives of children. The Times' Kurt Eichenwald explained that pedophiles often discuss their personal lives. They come from all walks of life, but they like to speak about how close their jobs take them to children. “The most frequent job mentioned, however, was schoolteacher,” he wrote. “A number of self-described teachers shared detailed observations about children in their classes, including events they considered sexual, like a second-grade boy holding his crotch during class.” The media have left many with the impression that sexual abuse is a Catholic problem — as if Catholic beliefs and customs make sex abuse inevitable. Church teaching for its part is clear: Sexual abuse of minors is always wrong. A more likely culprit would be a non-religious ambivalence about the pedophilia, as seen, for instance, in the media’s refusal to broaden its scope to include teachers when considering the issue. Professor Michael Tracey, whose e-mail correspondence with Karr helped in identifying him as a suspect, identified the real problem in an interview with the National Catholic Register. “Was JonBenet a pedophile’s dream? Clearly, clearly she was,” Tracey said. “Her death, and the whole circus surrounding it even 10 years later, has everything to do with the culture’s desire to sexualize children.” In 1992, the National Victim Center estimated that 29 percent of all forcible rapes in America were against children under age 11. More than a decade later, an estimated 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are victims of unwanted sexual acts. The 2002 Department of Education report estimated that from 6 percent to 10 percent of all students in public schools would be victims of abuse before graduation — a staggering statistic. Yet, outside the Catholic Church, the reaction is increasingly accommodation instead of outrage. The April 17, 2002, issue of USA Today featured an article titled “Sex Between Adults and Children” — a euphemistic way of referring to child molestation. Under the headline was a ballot-like box suggesting possible opinions one might hold on the subject: “always harmful, usually harmful, sometimes harmful, rarely harmful.” The newspaper’s answer: “Child’s age and maturity make for gray areas.” And what about the popular culture? Mary Eberstadt has written at length about “Pedophilia Chic” — from Calvin Klein underwear ads to mainstream defenses of the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Hollywood’s heroic treatment of accused child molesters in “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Kinsey” — not to mention its Oscar for Roman Polanski — doesn’t help. It’s good that this ugly problem in the Catholic Church is being investigated, exposed, and dealt with. Now let’s expand the investigation. In the face of the evidence of a widespread epidemic of abuse fed by a new morality that winks at child molestation, why is the Church the only institution under the microscope? Right now an important story stares the media in the face with the cold intensity of teacher John Karr’s eyes. Will they cover it?

Tom Hoopes is executive editor of the National Catholic Register and, with his wife, April, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Road Trip

I will be gone for the next week. I will be driving up to Mt. Angel to pick up the icon of Ss. James and Mary Magdalene for the new church.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I am NOT happy

"Stargate: SG-1" Gets Cancelled
Posted: Tuesday August 22nd 2006 12:16am
The SCI FI Channel
Author: Garth Franklin

The SCI FI Channel has confirmed that it will not renew its record-breaking original series Stargate SG-1 for another season, but will pick up its spinoff series "Stargate: Atlantis" for a fourth year. SG-1 aired its 200th episode on August 18th, and the SF series is the longest-running SF show on American television.SCI FI issued the following statement on Aug. 21: "SCI FI Channel is proud to be the network that brought Stargate SG-1 to its record-breaking 10th season. Ten seasons and 215 episodes is an astounding, Guinness World Record-setting accomplishment. Stargate is a worldwide phenomenon. Having achieved so much over the course of the past 10 years, SCI FI believes that the time is right to make this season their last on the channel. SCI FI is honored to have been part of the Stargate legacy for five years, and we look forward to continuing to explore the Stargate universe with our partners at MGM through a new season of Stargate Atlantis."Stargate SG-1, developed for television by executive producers Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, is based on the 1994 feature film Stargate. SG-1, which originally starred Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge, began on Showtime, then moved to SCI FI after five seasons. The current cast includes Tapping, Shanks and Judge and newcomers Ben Browder, Claudia Black and Beau Bridges. It airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

-- From Dark Horizons

Saturday, August 19, 2006

You know you live in Utah when...

Teens Defend Polygamy at Salt Lake Rally
By JENNIFER DOBNER Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Calling their lives blessed, more than a dozen young women and girls from polygamist families in Utah spoke at a rally Saturday, calling for a change in state laws and the right to live the life and religion they choose.
"Because of our beliefs, many of our people have been incarcerated and had their basic human rights stripped of them, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said a 19-year-old identified only as Tyler. "I didn't come here today to ask for your permission to live my beliefs. I shouldn't have to."
Polygamy is banned in the Utah Constitution and is a felony offense. The rally was unusual because those who practice polygamy typically try to live under the radar.
It drew about 250 supporters to City Hall, said Mary Batchelor, co-founder of Principle Voices of Polygamy, which helped organize the event.
The youths, ages 10 to 20, belong to various religious sects, as well as families that practice polygamy independent of religious affiliation. They said they spoke voluntarily. They gave only their first names, saying they were protecting the privacy of their parents.
Dressed in flip-flops and blue jeans, bangs drooping over their eyes, the teens at Saturday's rally talked on cell phones and played rock music, singing lyrics written to defend their family life.
All of the speakers praised their parents and families and said their lives were absent of the abuse, neglect, forced marriages and other "horror stories" sometimes associated with polygamist communities.
Speakers said that with "dozens of siblings" and multiple "moms" they are well supported, encouraged to be educated, and can make their own choices about marriage.
"We are not brainwashed, mistreated, neglected, malnourished, illiterate, defective or dysfunctional," 17-year-old Jessica said. "My brothers and sisters are freethinking, independent people; some who have chosen this lifestyle, while others have branched out to a diversity of religions."
First brought to Utah by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1846, polygamy was abandoned by Mormons as a condition of statehood in 1890. The church now excommunicates members found to be practicing plural marriage. It also disavows those who call themselves "fundamentalist Mormons," although most Utah-based polygamists identify themselves with those terms.
Fundamentalists split with the Mormon church in the 19th century and continue to believe plural marriage is the key to eternal salvation.

What the @#$ is that?

(Mass will be offered for the person who gives A) The first right answer and B) The best fanciful answer.)

Update 22 August 2006 The contest is officially closed. Fr. Stephanos correctly identified the statue as being the Native American Memorial at Our Lady of the Yellow Armadillo in Los Angeles. (When I first learned what it was, I though, "Haven't we done enough to those poor people?" But when I learned that it was by an Indian artist, I realized it was retaliation.) Seriously, what business does a Pagan statue entitled "Spirit of the Earth" have in a Christian Cathedral. Jack Chick would love this!

I liked all the fanciful suggestions. But the co-winners are Paul Hofer with the 'Monster that killed Tasia Yar' suggestion (extra points because I'm a Trekkie) and Brad Haas with the 'Giant Nut Eating Woman'. Your Mass will be celebrated next Monday.

Honorable mention goes Kasia because I thought the same thing the first time I saw the real thing. And so did the other priest who was visiting with me. We had to stop at the Alhambra Carmelites Convent afterwards to purify our minds with prayer. It reminds me of the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Marie takes up sculpture.

Creativity is all well and good, but...

not during the liturgy. Our worship is not about expressing ourselves, celebrating ourselves, or sharing our talents or ideas. It is about one thing; the worship and adoration of God. In other words, it is about He, not me.

Unfortunately, that is not what the liturginazis seem to think. (Just take a look at the pictures of any of the Masses from the Anaheim RE Conferences.) I still remember the icy glare I got when I told the sister who taught us 'Pastoral Liturgy' that our first concern should be to follow the rubrics.

I once thought up a Punk Rock Mass. The priest would have a Mohawk and wear torn black leather vestments. The Penitenial Rite would start, "Lord have mercy on you scumbags!" We would even have Pulpit Diving into the Congregation/Mosh Pit. Think of the possibilities with Liturgical Slam Dancing!

Anyway, click here for a very creative liturgy. (Biretta Tip to Argent.)

Friday, August 18, 2006

My kind of folk music

Into each life a few dopes must fall

President Bush is coming, for the second time, to Salt Lake City to address the American Legion convention. And for the second time, Mayor Rocky Anderson is leading a protest against him. Anderson is a train wreck of a mayor. Among other things, he was grand marshall at the Gay Pride Parade. (The summer I worked for the parks department, I had to work that event. I saw things I never wanted to see and ended up spending $10 at the 'Dunk-A-Dyke' booth. No kidding, that was the name.) Now, I think it is tacky for a mayor to lead a protest of the President of the United State when he visits his city. (Imagine the outraged cries if it had been Clinton. Oh that's right, the media only whines for civility if it is for Bubba.)

If that isn't enough, we found out yesterday Cindy Sheehan is coming too. Sigh, my hometown used to be such a nice place. All the granolas will be coming out of the woodwork for this one and no doubt the Diocesan paper will publish a nice fluff piece on this like they did last time.

Over at Pontifications, Fr. Joseph Freeman has a wonderful meditation entitled Everyone you meet was sent to you for your salvation. Now, if I could just figure out how those two fit in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In the interest of full disclosure

In light of the previous post, I do have to admit that this is sitting by my desk.

The other remaining acceptable prejudice

My last name is German. However, it accounts for only a quarter of my total heritage. I like to refer to myself as a generic, Northern European mongrel. (One of the benefits of having Mormon relatives is that one's genealogy has been extensively researched.) Yet, because of the last name, German is what sticks for good or bad. (And for the record, I don't speak German. All I know is from Hogan's Heroes and what my grandfather would say when he was very mad.)

Twice now, I have had people respond to comments I have made on other blogs with statements to the effect, "Oh German, you must be a Nazi." Only they couched them much more subtly. The surprising, or really not so surprising thing, is that these comments invariably come from the Left; the tolerant, accepting ones. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, several people tried and continue to try to do the same with Pope Benedict.

OK folks listen up. Prejudice is bad, mmmkay. To judge someone by anything other than their actions is stupid. Nazism was a bizarre, leftist political philosophy. It is not a genetic trait. Continue to tar a whole people with it is just wrong. It is the similar to the kind of philosophy that would label all Jews Christ-killers because of the actions of a few people around AD 33.

One of my favorite novels, The Killer Angels, has the following quote, "The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Truth in broadcasting

I always arrive early when I go to the movies--I love previews and feel slighted if I don't get at least ten. Now it appears they have a pre preview show. When I went to see Pirates II last week, the pre preview show included an ad for TBS's Skanks in the City reruns. I absolutely loathe that show. (No I have never watched it. The ads are bad enough. And I don't feel the need to taste test Potassium Cyanide either.) If the popularity of that show and Will and Grace aren't signs of societal decay, I don't know what is.

The worst thing about them is that they present the sexual libertine lifestyle as having no adverse consequences. If it were the real world, the cast of Will and Grace would be dying of AIDS by season 3 and wondering why 'safe sex' didn't save them. Skanks in the City would include the principle characters being repeatedly treated for STDs. Maybe there would also be a few cases of physically abusive relationship. They could even do a reunion episode with the principals bemoaning their lack of fertility due to contraceptive use and their inability to have stable relationships caused by their promiscuity. Yup, that is what we need; a little truth in broadcasting.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

From Futurama Episode 11 "Mars University"

Fry: Back in the 20th century we had no idea there was a university on Mars.

Professor Farnsworth: Well, in those days Mars was a dreary uninhabitable wasteland much like Utah, but unlike Utah, Mars was eventually made livable.

The day I officially became an old fogey

I am feeling old this weekend. On Saturday, I witnessed the wedding of a kid I knew during my second assignment as a priest. He was in Junior High then. Now he is studying to be a nurse and married to a nice Catholic girl.

The day I officially became an old fogey was two years ago. My church has always had problems with skateboarders. We have it posted but the little #$#*ers come here anyway and do a fair bit of damage. (Not to mention the insurance liability if one of them got hurt.) I got buzzed by the secretary on the intercom telling me they were out zipping around the property. I called the police, realizing it would do little good since they wouldn't respond in time, and then went out to tell them to get off the property. (In more civilized times, I could have taken after them with a shotgun loaded with rock salt.) There response was predictable, "We aren't hurting anything." I replied, "Yes you are. Your damaging this rails and the concrete. Besides, this is private property. I want you out of here." It quickly degenerated with one of the kids saying, "My dad's gonna talk to you." I replied, "I would LOVE to talk to your dad." They ended up leaving.

As I walked back to the Rectory, I realized I had become the old man waving his cane yelling, "Hey you punks! Get off of my lawn!"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where did a priest get all that cash?

A reader of this blog asked me to comment on this story: Priest leaves nearly $1 million to diocese. The upshot is a retired priest left a large sum of money to his diocese. The question they have is where would a priest get all that money?

The first thing that needs to be made clear is that diocesan priests, unlike members of religious orders, do not take vows of poverty. We can own personal property. However, considering what our salaries are, there usually isn't the opportunity to accumulate wealth. (Do not get me wrong, I think high salaries for priests is an awful idea that would lead to luxury lifestyles not in accord with our vocations.) Also, priests are not to be involved in commercial endeavors. (No selling Amway on the side.) So, he likely didn't get the cash through his salary.

How then could he have come by it? It might have been family money left to him. Or, it might have been left to him by a non-family bequest. Or, he might have invested his spare cash very well. Or, he might have won the lottery. (I have my own fantasy about that. It involves a working Civil War replica cannon.) I other words there are many ways he could have come by it in perfectly acceptable ways.

I think it is ok for a priest, or anyone for that matter, to have that kind of wealth as long as they use it well and in accord with their state of life. He certainly insured that it would be used for good purposes after his death.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Subtle as a napalm run

Or so says The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen about yours truly. Probably true. (I had to look up the word in the dictionary.)

It is likely due to 1) my German ancestry 2) growing up around Marines.

Funny napalm story. When I was in high school, some friends and I discovered how to make napalm. No, I won't post how. I really don't want visits from ATF and/or Homeland Security. Suffice it to say, "Better living through chemistry." We would make a batch, put it in baggies, wrap the baggies around a M-80 with a long fuse, take it out to the desert where we wouldn't cause any fires, and have fun watching the fireballs.

Dead commie on the windshield Pt. II

As I was trying to regain consciousness this morning, a better punishment for the numbskull with Che on his car occurred to me.
He should have to drive it around the Cuban section of Miami for a day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Che engraved on the back window of a car

Yesterday, I snuck off to the movies in the afternoon. I saw Pirates II. It was a fun movie, but certainly darker than the first one. As I was driving home, I spied a car with a dead commie engraved on the back window. It is a good thing that I am a priest, otherwise an incident of vandalism would certainly have occurred. Window + Tire Iron = Restoration of the Order of Nature.

I don't get why people would want to have a t-shirt, let alone a rear car window, with a picture of this murderer on it. Why not have Hitler, Stalin, or even bin Ladin? They also promoted evil, anti-human ideologies, but they were more successful.

Remember, as a t-shirt I once saw said, "Commie Ain't Cool".

(On a related matter, I once stopped in a mall in Salt Lake to get lunch and ended up parking by a car with a "Meat is Murder" sticker. I ended up buying an extra burger at A&W and leaving it on his hood. I did, however, put down some napkins first.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Evil 1970s Artifact Found in Old Sacristy

Even though we are in the new church, I am still going through the sacristy of the old church. It is amazing how much crap accumulates over time.

While doing this, I found an artifact of pure liturgical evil. I don't know what it is called. I don't want to know what it is called. All I know is that it was used to inflict folk Masses on innocent people.

Speaking of things found in the sacristry, a friend of mine, while on his 'year of pastoral torture' (working for liberal pastor who was trying to drive him out of formation) found a burlap chasuble with a big yellow smiley face on it hidden in the back of the vestment rack. Also, while visiting a priest friend out of state, he showed me a chasuble that belonged to his pastor. It had multi-colored children's handprints all over it. It gave me the creeps. (It really gave me the creeps when I heard he had been dismissed for child abuse.)

Update 14 August 2006 The smiley face chasuble mentioned about was sighted in Oregon. I have another confirmed sighting of the same in the Diocese of Lincoln in the late 1980s. (It must have been left over from Bishop Casey's tenure.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

On Soft Pacifism by Archbishop O'Brien

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien is head of the Archdiocese for Military Service in the United States. He wrote the following:

“Soft Pacifism”
What follows is not about Iraq.
It is about several thousand angry protestors recently besieging the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia.
It is about some Ivy League schools that want to ban ROTC from their campuses.
It is about far too many Catholic high schools refusing to let military recruiters into their buildings.
It is about …”soft pacifism.”
Recently, I took part in a colloquium sponsored jointly by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Notre Dame and Georgetown Universities, entitled, “The Ethics of War After 9/11 and Iraq.”
It was a very profitable day-long session that included several bishops as well as professionals from academia and the military. It could have been a brief discussion with all going home after voting unanimously, “War is not the answer, therefore there should be no more war.” A beautiful dream…but a dream.
Unfortunately, our world is more complicated than that, as St. Augustine realized in the 5th century. We have not realized the City of God, yet, where we can presume everyone’s goodness and the perfection of institutions. Rather we are in the City of Man where rapacious power tends to brutalize and enslave the weak. For Augustine, and for Aquinas and all mainline Christian moralists, the virtue of justice sometimes requires “benevolent severity,” the use of force to stop and/or prevent unjust aggression, whether on the street corner, in Kosovo or Kuwait.
A strong concern was voiced by several ethicists teaching on Catholic campuses: many of our ROTC members are uncertain in reconciling their Faith with their military profession. That “soft pacifism” can also be discovered in our “Catholic elite.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects on our just war tradition to state that every possible means should be employed to avoid taking up arms.
“However, as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed” (#2308)

Such decisions are ultimately left “to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” Therefore, the Catechism (and the Second Vatican Council) declares that public authority can rightly oblige its citizens to take part in national self-defense.
“Those who are sworn to serve this county in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. They carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace” (CCC 2310)
The just war principle permits and limits the use of justifiable force. It needs conscientious, principled military members to interpret it and carry it out.
We should encourage our young people to see the military as a noble vocation, demanding great self-sacrifice in the service of peace.
We should esteem that service and support their sacrifice, and not fall victim to the simplistic sentiments of a “soft pacifism.”
“The doctrine that war is always a greater evil seems to imply a materialist ethic, a belief that death and pain are the greatest evils. But I do not think they are. I think the suppression of a higher religion by a lower, or even a higher secular culture by a lower, a much greater evil…. The question is whether war is the greatest evil in the world, so that any state of affairs, which might result from submission, is certainly preferable. And I do not see any really cogent argument for this view.”
C.S. Lewis

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and held so by the exertions of better men than he.”
J.S. Mill

Of course, this set the Pax Christi bozos heads spining. Take a look at this editorial from the National Catholic Distorter.

Quote of the Week

From Gerard Augustinus at The Cafeteria is Closed:

I've said for some time - ecumenism means everyone has to listen to the same shitty music.

Friday, August 04, 2006

G. K. Chesterton on revolt (and hence dissent).

"There again," said Syme irritably, "what is there poetical about being in revolt? You might as swell say that it is poetical to be sea-sick. Being sick is a revolt. Both being sick and being rebellious may be the wholesome thing on certain desparate occasions; but I'm hanged if I can see why they are poetical. Revolt in the abstract is--revolting. It's mere vomiting."....

"It is things going right," he cried, "that is poetical! Our digestions, for instance, going sacredly and silently right, that is the foundation of all poetry. Yes, the most poetical thing, more poetical than the flowers, more poetical than the stars--the most poetical thing in the world is not being sick."

--The Man Who Was Thursday

Reason for Celibacy #54

Also a good reason for bringing back the Inquisition.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

An entry from Fr. Erik's Dictionary

Spirit of Vatican 2 n. A fictional entity, not unlike the fellow to the left, postulated by dissenters who are upset that the real Second Vatican Council did not teach heresy. Example: "The Spirit of Vatican 2 requires that we recognize same sex marriages." See also, fallen angels.

N. B. If someone ever cites SoV2 as a reference, ignore what they are saying.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Post so I can use image in signature

From my all time favorite movie.
Napoleon Skywalker

The only video for fans of both Star Wars and Napoleon Dynamite.
Propeller Beenie SciFi Geek Happyvideo

Fanboy video. Need I say more.

Oh No! I've been memed!

I got tagged by The Curt Jester with the the Book Meme. So here goes:

1. One book that changed your life. This is a hard one. I would have to say G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It placed many of my own disparate thoughts in a coherent framework.

2. One book that you have read more than once. This is easy. J. R. R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. I read it at least once a year.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island. St. Augustine's City of God. It has it all; scripture, history, and philosophy. I could read it to Wilson.

4. One book that made you laugh. G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.

5. One book that made you cry. Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels. This is the best war book ever. I cried at the description of Pickett's charge.

6. One book you wish had been written. The sequel to 'salem's Lot Stephen King talked about in the 80s but never wrote. (Ok, so I like pop horror.)

7. One book you wish had never been written. Karl Marx's Das Kapital. More people have been killed and suffered in the name of this #$%ed up philosophy than any other in history. Close runner up: The Koran for the same reason.

8. One book you are currently reading. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's The Book of the Dead. Fun, clever thriller that will keep you out of museums.

9. One book I have been meaning to read. John Paul II Memory and Identity.

10. Tag some others. The guys at Videat Dominus et Requirat, The Art of Apologetics , and Improvised .

A few words about Mel

Most everyone has heard by now of the unfortunate incident with Mel Gibson being arrested for DUI during which he made some very stupid anti-Jewish remarks.

Let's get my view of Mel out front. I really like most of his movies. (The only ones I don't care for are the so called romantic comedies: they are real snoozers.) And while his historical movies aren't all that historical, they are great to watch. A lot of his personal life is very edifying. His involvement in possibly schismatic traditonalism isn't my cup of tea. (If I lived where he does, I would likely go Eastern Rite rather than step out of communion with Rome.)

Evidently he has struggled with addiction several times during his life. This is a horrible thing to have to deal with. It can warp one's entire life. I admire greatly those who day by day struggle in recovery. We learn from them that it isn't easy and often times it requires several attempts. Addiction isn't an excuse for poor behavior, but we can certainly have compassion for those who are afflicted.

He was also, evidently, raised with bigoted opinions regarding the Jews. His father seems to be a real piece of work; a sedevacantist who blames the Jews and the Masons for a conspiracy to undermine the Church. Mel must have been affected by this stupidity. Being raised around bigotry affects one deeply. Even when these opinions are rejected later in life they can resurface. Especially when a person is not in control of his faculties, such as when one is drunk. Mel's anti-Jewish remarks seem to fall into this category. Stupid yes, hurtful certainly, but not opinions held of deep conviction.

So now Mel has issued an apology. I hope it will be accepted, though I doubt the ADL and friends will. They can make too much political capital by making him an example. He is also in treatment. I pray that this will help him in his struggle for sobriety.