Saturday, October 28, 2006


Today I can't resist the topic.

There is an long-standing joke that if you don't like the weather in northeast Ohio stick around. It's going to change. Today is a case in point.

It's 43 deg. here. In the last four and a half hours we have had sunny skies, cloudbursts (plural), snow, hail, thunder while its snowing, and wind. Right now at 4:34 in the afternoon the sky is so dark the back light has come on. A northeast Ohioan can be entertained all afternoon by just sitting next to a window.

Tonight is trick-or-treat. I predict that there is going to be a street parked full of mothers providing instant shelter in the car so their kids don't have to miss the fun.

I believe I'll be passing out candy from the front door instead of my usual place on the front porch. Brrrrr.


Father Drinan and Attila the Hun

One of the plagues of the Catholic Church in modern America is the barely-disguised faith abuse of many of our so-called Catholic universities. The actions of some of these universities are just intolerable from the viewpoint of authentic Catholicism, and they should be exposed and rebuked for the heresy, apostasy or the just plain pathetic Catholicism that they advocate. This week saw one of the most egregious slaps in the face to the Catholic Church that has been seen in a long time: an award for an abortion-advocating priest. The culprit? Georgetown - again.

This fallen-away Catholic school in DC has an astounding history of offensive actions against the Catholic Faith. Remember the scandal of the removal of Crucifixes from the classrooms despite student protests? How about the sponsorship of the V-Monologues and endorsement of the openly gay advocacy group on campus? They also hosted pornographer Larry Flint with honors but then staged a pretty nasty walkout on Cardinal Arinze, of all people, because he dared to mention homosexuality as a threat to the family. Not surprising really, when you consider that this is the same university that taught Bill Clinton how to be a politician.

The shenanigans of the Georgetown University Law Center this week, however, top them all. Georgetown Law established an endowed chair for "human rights" in the name of Fr. Robert Drinan, the Jesuit priest who unwaveringly supported abortion while he was in Congress (1971-1981) and even defended the despicable partial birth abortion. Why this scandal of a priest was not summarily run out of the priesthood by his superiors or at very least silenced for his shameless blessing of abortion is beyond me. But what inevitably happens when heretics are not disciplined by their superiors is that they end up being celebrated and honored with silly awards like this. Well, if Fr. Drinan is a human rights hero then Attila the Hun was a diplomat. Maybe Georgetown Law should name a chair of humanitarian law after Atilla just to be consistent.

This incident, of course, touches upon the open, gaping wound in Catholic higher education these days. Western culture owes the very concept of the university to Roman Catholicism, which brought this institution to society for the purpose of evangelizing culture and saving souls through intellectual pursuit and formation in virtue. What passes for Catholic universities today is sometimes a pure mockery of that great tradition. Schools that routinely violate authentic Catholic teaching and refuse to discipline heretics in their midst under the rubric of "academic freedom" should not be called Catholic - pure and simple. They should have their status to teach as representative institutions of the Catholic Church revoked because they violate their very reason for existence, which is to bring souls and societies to Christ, Truth Incarnate.

We can lay the blame at the feet of bishops who don't supervise the Catholic credentials of these places, religious superiors who allow their subordinates to get away with heresy and school administrators who just don't seem to care about the mission of Christ. Parents would do well to stop investing upwards of $40,000 a year in Georgetown and other formerly Catholic universities just to have their kids lose the Faith and very possibly their souls.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International


There is only one diocese in Maine, the Diocese of Portland, under the direction of Bishop Richard J. Malone, installed 3/31/04.

The Bangor Daily News reports on clustering activities:

There may be a new church in town._ As Maine’s 234,000 Roman Catholics redraw the lines of their parishes and sell off property to cope with a shrinking number of priests, their bishop has approved a proposal to sell property in Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Milo and Sangerville to help pay for a new church serving the Penquis region.

It’s part of a statewide reorganization, launched 18 months ago, to address shifting demographics. The plan abolishes traditional parish lines and calls on the laity to play a much bigger role in the life of the church.

Continue reading...

The clustering plan detailed in the article includes five parishes, four of which will merge into a megaparish, selling off their parish buildings and using the funds to build a new larger church. The new church will seat 250 to 300 people.

In four years the diocese expects to be down to 61 diocesan priests under 70 who will have to serve the entire state.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Click on over to Threshing Grain and scroll down to this blog entry:

Denial of Sin

The worst sin committed!

then follow the links. You won't believe what you find going on in the hall of a Roman Catholic Church.

There's one more angle that Catherine of Siena hasn't noted, but you know I'm going to point it out--the interior of the church. You can see it in the homepage wallpaper. You can also see the same picture here. Remind you of anything?

It looks like the church has been remodeled. Why was the formal sanctuary dispensed with? What purpose did the change accomplish? Did it arrange the interior design to be more in line with this? What you are looking at in the picture is the interior of Cochranton Masonic Lodge 790. If you scroll down in the website you will see a picture of the interior of Lodge 14 Galway Bay Ireland, where the Grand Master's chair is flanked by pillars. They have pillars behind the presider's chair in Most Holy Redeemer Parish, too. Pillars are important symbols in Freemasonry. Let's hope there is not a star back there in the church as well!

There is a double circular platform around the altar. A double Wiccan safety circle one wonders? Certainly with the layout in this church there is little need to raise the altar so that everyone can see what is happening. Yet there are two steps. And then there are the candles. They are placed in the same position as they appear in a Masonic lodge. The Lodge uses three candles, representing the three lights of Masonry. The photo of the interior of the church, by a trick of the camera angle, appears also to have three candles rather than four.

Deviance in the church hall and out on the street, with the blessing of the parish priest; and a Masonic layout in church. Hmmmmm. Very interesting. Do you suppose the activities in the hall ever move into church after the moral world has gone to sleep?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Blogger John Bambanek takes on the liberal establishments:

The higher education system works largely because of they great diversity of universities in the system. There are plenty of colleges to choose from if you want to be thoroughly immersed in the secular humanist ideal. Why is the system under such great danger if a Catholic institution wants to be actually Catholic?

If a university is honest about its perspective and disposition with new students and new faculty, there is nothing wrong is being true to its claimed identity. Professors who wish to thoroughly investigate why the Catholic teaching on abortion is wrong will find a home at a near infinite number of religious studies departments across the country. Yet, when a Catholic college wants its faculty to be actually Catholic (or at a minimum take Church teaching seriously) then they are waging a war against academic freedom. Whatever happened to academic honesty? If you don't really believe it, don't teach in an environment that claims to.

These fights have started and grown in intensity because the university system has largely banned conservative lines of questioning. Far from trying to take over the university systems to indoctrinate, it's time to really have the free exchange of ideas. If this can't take place in the context of a campus, at least allow universities to exist that allow for those lines of questions.

No ideology grows and thrives when it seeks to eliminate any and all criticisms of it.

Amen, John. Truth in advertising demands of colleges that claim to be Catholic on their websites that they actually are in their classrooms. Time to eliminate the dishonesty at the highest Catholic academic levels.


Portland's "Catholic Sentinel" reports:

The man who signed The Who and ABBA to record label deals is about to premiere his own composition, a Mass for the dead.

Michael Hoppé’s “Requiem” melds ancient chant, classical instrumentation and the concise clarity of pop.

Once an officer in the British Army and formerly an executive for PolyGram records, he has of late created his own music. Hoppé, who lives in Southeast Portland, has film scores and music for an episode of HBO’s The Sopranos to his credit. There’s also Solace, his Grammy-nominated album.

Now there’s the requiem, which premieres on All Souls Day — at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at St. John Fisher Church, 7007 SW 46th Ave., at Nevada.

Continue reading...


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Roman Catholic religious order and the Los Angeles Archdiocese will pay $10 million to settle allegations of clergy sexual abuse, according to representatives of those involved.

The Carmelite order will pay most of the settlement to seven people, including two who said they were sexually molested at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino. The archdiocese will contribute about 5 percent, a church spokesman said.

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Excuse me...A Carmelite order can pay 95% of a 10 million dollar sexual abuse settlement?? Ten million??? Don't Carmelites take a vow of poverty? Yes, I recognize the order has funds that keep the order going, but ten million?? Where does this money come from? Who knew contemplation paid so well!


Those of us in our 50s and early 60s inevitably must face the prospect of retirement. Even those of us who may not want to retire must face the fact that our bodies are not the flesh they used to be, and a time will come when there is no longer a choice. At some point retirement is inevitable unless we drop dead on the job.

In thinking about retirement, one has to consider the longer lives that the previous generation is enjoying. Recent deaths in my extended family have included an uncle who was 99. In my husband's family an aunt is just beginning to seriously slow down at 94. My own mother was 92 when she died. A person retiring at 65 must be prepared to cover the expenses for perhaps 30 years or more. That is a daunting prospect given the rate of inflation that is typical in America and considering healthcare costs. Friends of mine who are in their early retirement years have merely retired to a less demanding job. The notion our parents had that retirement was a time of play and relaxation, perferably in a retirement community setting, seems to be fading. One couple we know retired to such a place in the south, but after 10 or so years down there has moved back to Ohio to be close to family. So much for senior play-time.

When the discussion comes up in mixed company, there is usually one young person who thinks that seniors should have saved their money for retirement and have no one to blame but themselves if they don't have any. The generation approaching retirement now started working in the late 60s or early 70s, a time when America was a humming factory with good jobs to offer for all who were not fighting in Viet Nam. Those factories provided pension incentives to keep the plant rolling. Our fathers had worked at the same factory from high school or college graduation until they retired with pension and health benefits and a nice retirement party. We thought we'd do the same. Then came Reaganomics.

After a working career that has required not only the changing of jobs, but also the changing of career paths, sometimes more than once, coupled with the disappearance of pensions, and the evaporation of health insurance for retirement, my generation is now trying to figure out how to keep eating and buying medicine until the Good Lord calls us home. Pertty much we are doing it on the fly.

I had a conversation with my accountant recently, and given that he is nearing retirement age, the subject inevitably came up. What tips did he have to offer for managing this transition? He had nothing to offer. He found it as confusing and unpredictable as I do. He didn't know any better than I do how this is supposed to work out, and told me that it really wasn't possible to plan for retirement in the changing economic reality that we are faced with. His solution for handling the economics of retirement would appear to be skip retirement altogether, but maybe he just wasn't willing to divulge his strategy.

With thoughts like these in mind, I read an interesting article in our local paper this morning. The article, written by Ken Lahmers, Editor of the "Aurora Advocate," lists the prices he found in an old issue of the "Falls News" (another local paper) from 1964. I thought I'd list them here:

- Sirloin steak dinner at The Brown Derby Inn $1.85. Lunches for $.75.
- McMillen Tire front-end alignment $8.50. Tune-up $8.75.
- Firestone store alignment $5.55. Brake relining $13.88. Used tires $4.
- Goodyear Service Store tires $10 ea., 2/$19, 3/$27, 4/$32. Brake special $1.19.
- Econo Car Rental Chrysler products $3.99/12-hour-day, $4.99/24-hour-day.
- O'Connor Lumber mahogany paneling $3.99 per 4-by-8 ft. sheet.
- Young Brothers Builders new four-bedroom brick ranch $18,900.
- Conmart (used cars) 1962 Ford Falcon 4-door station wagon $1,589.
- Isaly's deli chipped chopped ham $.89 a pound. Baked ham $.59/half pound.
- Family Treat ice cream $.59/half gallon.
- Two six-count packs of Heath ice cream bars $.99.
- W. T. Grant, picture of your baby $.59.
- Thorpe Florist cut flowers $1.25/bunch.
- Lillian Rockefeller's Fancy Pastries decorated 8-inch cake $2.50.
- Goodyear store 19-inch portable TV $128. Westinghouse washer $198, dryer $178.
- J. C. Penney's department store two piece sectional plus chair $88.
- J. C. Penney's entire stock winter coats $16 - $44.
- Sonny Klein's Sport Shop men's suits and topcoats $12.22 each
- Edwards Shoe Store women's flats $2.
- Frazier's Atlantic Service gas station offered a free 8-inch cherry pie with every purchase of $3 or more of gasoline
- Goodyear store 19-inch rotary lawn mower for $29.99.
Firestone store ironing board $3.66. Remington electric portable adding machine $66.66
- Bettie's Fashions, a Kay McDowell walking suit for women for $24.98.
- La Dolle Hair Fashions haircuts $1. Perms $7.50.

Of course back then wages were a bit lower. In 1969 top salary for a graduate from Kent State University with a degree in Industrial Technology, a sought-after field at the time, was $840/month. My own starting salary as a legal secretary in 1965 was $175/month. Assuming that I had put away 10% a month for retirement back then, just how many days living would I have saved for at 2006 prices? How many people today save 10% per month before taxes for retirement? I think this illustrates the folly of suggestions that my generation should have saved for retirement. Assuming that the average working life of a person who enters the workforce at age 20 and retires at 65 is 45 years, and assuming a lifespan that continues to age 90, each working year must provide for approximately 6 months of retirement at an inflated cost of living. Pretty unrealistic.

Something has to change, obviously.

There was a time when retirees proudly posted the sticker on the backs of their campers, frequently seen going down the road, that read "I'm spending my children's inheritence." At the rate things are going, retirees of the future are going to be posting a small fender sticker on their three-wheel bicycles that reads "I'm spending my children's paycheck."

Thursday, October 26, 2006


According to the NY Post:

Edward Cardinal Egan is lashing out at his anonymous priest critics, claiming they are motivated by unjustified anger over his tough treatment of clerics accused of sexually abusing minors.

"We cannot be left open to all manner of lies, leading to all manner of scandal and damage to the archdiocese and the archbishop from people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions," Egan wrote New York Archdiocese priests in a new letter.

Egan's missive comes in response to an anonymous letter circulating among priests accusing him of being dishonest and uninterested in dealing with priests. The earlier letter called for a "no confidence" vote as a means of convincing Pope Benedict XVI to accept Egan's mandatory resignation offer next spring when he turns 75.

The New York Times, which requires registration, even mentioned the Catholic Blog Whispers in the Loggia as the source of the leak of this anonymous letter.

So, are the priests upset about Cardinal Egan's handling of priests found guilty of sexual abuse, or is it a wider question of management style in general? Perhaps Whispers will leak another letter for us!




Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – It’s not often that Catholic churches turn into rock concerts, but that’s what’s been happening Wednesdays at St. Michael’s on Onondaga Hill.

Wednesday nights are revived thanks to a man who says kids relate to an MTV-style church.

Justin Fatica moved to Syracuse about a year ago with a challenge: to inspire Middle and High Schoolers to care about god and each other.

One day he wants to transplant the pews in stadium seating.

“I told people that and they laughed at me,” he says, “Even my bosses were like, you're going to get hundreds of kids here? I said, ‘God can make it happen.’ And look we've got hundreds of kids in one year.”

Continue reading...


My printout of the interview of Malachi Martin is dated 2/28/03. Old news. Nevertheless, in re-reading it, it seemed worthy of blogging. The interview is titled "Malachi Martin on The End of Religion (As We Know It)". It's said to be one of the last interviews before Martin's death in 1999. In it he talks about Satanism in the Vatican and the future of planet earth. It's not a very bright future by any means. It strikes me, though, that he didn't forsee the developing interest in religion. Martin thought the future was secular. Granted this developing interest may not serve Christianity well, but it is still opposite to the claims of Martin in this interview.

What should be the final conclusion on Malachi Martin? Some reject everything he wrote because of the scandal over Robert Blair Kaiser's wife. Is Kaiser's the final declaration on Martin's life? Or does it make more sense to recognize that, even if true, he was human and thus sinful; but his sinfulness should not erase any good he may have done?

Others, such as William H. Kennedy believe he was falsely accused. I guess we'll never know for sure, but it certainly places a black cloud over Martin's books.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


NATCHEZ — Cathedral Elementary students Anna Roboski and Pepper Taylor witnessed a miracle Tuesday.

They didn’t know it when they saw Pamela Avellanosa walk into the school cafeteria Tuesday morning.

But it took less than one hour of listening to Avellanosa tell her story to the group of fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, to convince them otherwise.

“She is like a living miracle,” Roboski said Tuesday after Avallanosa’s visit.

“Her story is amazing,” Taylor said. “She was dead. But then she came back to life.”

Continue rading...


WASHINGTON, October 25, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – "Few have accomplished as much as Fr. Drinan, and fewer still have done so much to make the world a better place." So said T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center on Monday, as he honoured one of the US’s most infamous and aggressive crusaders for abortion, Jesuit priest, Robert Drinan. The ceremony at Georgetown was to name a new faculty chair for human rights after Drinan.

Catholic News Agency quotes Aleinikoff saying, "This new Chair honours Fr. Drinan's lifelong commitment to public service and will allow us to bring distinguished human rights scholars and advocates to Georgetown Law.”

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, head of Human Life International, called the honour, “deeply disturbing” and “hypocritical.” In a statement, Euteneuer condemned the creation of a faculty chair for human rights “in the name of a heretical priest who has spent much of his lifetime advocating for the most heinous of human rights violations: abortion.”

Continue reading...

For shame, Georgetown. It is outright dishonesty to advertise yourself as a Catholic school while making this announcement.


When the Select Committee on Academic Freedom was created by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 2005, the legislators observed,“Academic freedom is likely to thrive in an environment of intellectual diversity….” Temple University, which is one of the three major public institutions of higher learning in the state, does not include a declaration like this among its academic policies and its academic programs regularly violate the principle.

For instance, Temple provides a “writing-intensive two course sequence” called “Intellectual Heritage” which is required of all Temple students and which includes a focus on Enlightenment, Romantic and Revolutionary Thinkers. The Revolutionary Thinkers include Darwin, Marx and Freud, but not Adam Smith whose revolutionary ideas underpin the society in which Temple students live. Professors involved in the course post guides for students on a department webpage called “Faculty Perspectives on Marx.”1 Most of the faculty guides provided, however, are explications of Marx’s writings without critical comment. In all, there are about 30 sample exam and study questions provided which relate to Marx. Every one, without exception, prompts students to explain what Marx said in the way you would expect students to explain the theories of Isaac Newton, whose hypotheses were confirmed by real world experiments. Since all Marxist experiments have failed one might expect some mention of this fact. But one would be disappointed if one did.

Here is a sample guideline: “Marx presents an astute understanding and critique of Capitalism. Is it convincing?” The professorial question does not say, “Marx analyzed capitalism. Is his analysis convincing?” Instead, the student is told what to think: Marx wrote a wise critique of capitalism. And then asked: Are you convinced? What if you’re not convinced, and suppose you encountered the question on an exam. Are you going to contradict your professor and risk a possible repercussion to your grade? This is not education; it is indoctrination.

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Diocese bars area Right to Life group from churches

01:07 PM EDT on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

By BRETT BARROUQUERE / Associated Press Writer

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) -- A northern Kentucky Catholic diocese has barred an anti-abortion group from its churches and forbidden its priests from handing out the literature from the organization.

Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Ky., issued a note to priests last week saying priests should have “no involvement” with Northern Kentucky Right to Life and to remove all of the group’s materials from diocese facilities and churches.

“There are many good people involved in NKRTL who are being misled,” Foys wrote, without giving specifics. “We cannot give any semblance that the Diocese approves of the tactics of some of the leadership of NKRTL.”

The move has angered and confused the leadership of Northern Kentucky Right to Life. Fred Summe, a Newport attorney who is the group’s vice president, said Foys has not spoken to the group about what tactics the church finds objectionable nor about how he feels people are being misled.

Continue reading...

The article gives no reason for the Bishop's actions, since the Bishop isn't talking.

Very strange.


This story is all over the news outlets this morning. The press enjoys another round of hits at the Catholic target.

Do I sense upcoming another bankruptcy pleading, this time by the Miami Archdiocese?

But wait, we're in the New Springtime, aren't we?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, the Institute and the International Union of Former Juvenile Prisoners of Fascism of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, the Republic of Serbian Krajina in Exile, Plaintiffs vs. the Vatican Bank aka Institute of Religious Works, and the Croatian Franciscan Order and Croatian Confraternity of the College of San Girolamo Degli Illirici, Defendants. The case was filed February 14, 2006, of all days.

Based on international law and the laws of the United States, the suit concerns the treatment of Holocaust Survivors by the regime known as The Independent State of Croatia under the authority of Ante Pavelic and his Ustasha Party, controlled by present day Croatia and parts of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia and militarily occupied sectors of the former Soviet Union. The charge is that the defendants concealed, hypothecated, converted, laundered, profited from, and retained a significant portion of the illegally looted wealth of the Ustasha Regime. In essence the Vatican Bank is being accused of confiscating the wealth of the Ustasha, wealth collected by confiscating the assets, including glasses and gold fillings, of Jews who were held in the Yugoslavian concentration camp during the war. It was through the Ratlines--those underground means of escape provided by the Vatican for Nazi war criminals--that the treasure is said to have been funneled out of Croatia and into the Vatican Bank. The story is not a pretty one. The 33 pages of the court document can be read here.

Information on the case is being provided at the website of the plaintiff's attorneys, including a press release dated August 5, 2006, headlined "Vatican Lawyers Claim Nazi Regime Violated No Law in Genocide of 500,000 Serbs, Jews, & Roma".

The basis of the claim is supposedly spelled out in a book by Mark Aarons and John Loftus titled UNHOLY TRINITY, pictured at the attorney's website. I've ordered it, but it has not yet arrived. According to Wikipedia, John Joseph Loftus "is an American author, a former US government prosecutor and former Army intelligence officer. A graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University, he served in the US Department of Justice in 1977 and in 1979 joined their Office of Special Investigations, which was charged with prosecuting and deporting Nazi war criminals in the US."

Loftus is also the author or co-author of books on the Nazis, on espionage, and on the Jews, making Loftus' charges credible based upon his expertise. The organization behind the prosecution is Jewish, The Root and Branch Association, Ltd., Chairman Rabbi Yehoshua Friedman, Founder.

A more balanced picture of the events can be had by reading E. Michael Jones' book THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, which demonstrates that this event took place during a time of war and that there was barbarity on both sides, as is inevitable during war. Jones writes:

Virtually all of the atrocity stories involing the Church's collaboration with the Ustasha are traceable to Franciscan priests. "Fra Satona," Father Miroslav Filipovic-Majstorovic, the butcher of Jansenovac, the Ustasha concentration camp, was a Franciscan. The only question which remains to be clarified was whether he had been excommunicated at the time he committed the atrocities attributed to him. In the period following World War II, the Franciscans went from being avid supporters of the Ustasha to being the first religious group to join Dobri Pastir, the communist-sanctioned priest's association. When Archbishop Stepinac was serving his term in jail at hard labor for not collaborating with Tito, the Franciscans had already become members of Dobri Pastir and were eligible for government pensions. Pius XII was so enraged at the behavior of the Franciscans in Herzegovina that he wrote an order excommunicating them, a decision which, for whatever reason, never got promulgated.

Reports over just what happened in Siroki Brijeg
[the Franciscan monastery] are still contested, like just about every other incident in recent Yugoslavian history, and still controversial because of the Franciscans' involvement in the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje... . In his pro-Medjugorje version of the incident, David Manuel claims that the Partisans' advance party murdered the 12 friars at the monastery and then put on their robes and deliberately fired on their own troops to defame the memory of the Franciscans as traitors. Richard West's account is less far-fetched and less flattering to the Franciscans. He claims that "the Franciscan Order played a leading role in the slaughter in Bosnia-Herzegovina" and that "the center of operations was the monastery at Siroki Brijeg, the Alma Mater of many leading Ustasha." One of the Siroki Brijeg alumni who had a leading role in the Ustasha government was Andrija Artukovic, head of the hated secret police. According to West, "the SS and Ustasha Franciscans fought side by side and literally to the last man to defend the monastery at Siroki Brijeg"... . Lending credence to West and refuting Manuel is a plaque at Siroki Brijeg commemorating the battle.

At the beginning of May, 1945, three months after the massacre at Siroki Brijeg, Josip Broz, now known as Tito, soon to be known as Marshall Tito, was in Belgrade anxiously awaiting news from the Slovenian border with Austria. Having declared himself ruler of Yugoslavia, where he had waged a moderately effective guerrilla war against the Nazi occupation forces and their Croatian collaborators, Tito told his lieutenant Milan Basta that the Croation refugees under no circumstances should be allowed to cross the border, and at that time Tito's Partisan bands, which the Allies regarded with increasing contempt and concern as bandits, murders, and thugs, were pressing northward for some final confrontation. The Partisans were bent on revenge not just against the Uatasha leadership, most of whom would escape anyway, but, in a pattern which would repeat itself tragically throughout the region, against the Croatian nation as well, which had picked up just about everything it could carry--man, woman, and child--and loaded it into horse drawn wagons or piled it on top of bicycles or packed it into suitcases and headed north, to Zagreb, to await its fate together.

The Ustasha army, a fully armed force of about 210,000 men, faced three options. They could take their stand in Zagreb and fight to the last man; they could retreat into the Croatian forests and wage a guerrilla campaign much as Tito had done, or they could retreat to the Austrian border, specifically to a town called Bleiburg, where they would surrender to the British forces.

They chose to surrender at Bleiburg, together with thousands of civilians who left with them in the hope of escaping the Communists. They were betrayed thanks to infiltration of the British intelligence service by the Communists. Thinking they were surrendering to the British and would be taken to POW camps in Austria, the Partisans and the peasants with them were herded back into Yugoslavia and slaughtered at Bleiberg. Jones writes:

Auschwitz at the height of Hitler's extermination campaign against the Jews in its grimly mechanized and efficient fashion claimed 6,000 victims a day. At its height, Bleiburg claimed twice as many victims a day. Following the British betrayal of the Croatians in mid-May, 15,000 men, women, and children a day were slaughtered in an orgy of killing that lasted over a month. If word had gotten out, the occurrences at Bleiburg would have jeopardized the Nuremberg trials, because everyone responsible for them, including the future British Prime Minister, should have been put on trial alongside Goering and the other Nazis. But word did not get out, at least not in the fashion that publicized the concentration camps run by the SS. ...

Bleiburg had convinced both the Vatican and the Americans that a fair trial for Ustasha refugees was impossible and that sending them back to Yugoslavia meant certain death for the innocent and the guilty alike. Incidents like Bleiburg and the subsequent squabble over the status of Trieste likewise convinced the West that Yugoslavia was an expansionist state with which war was imminent. As a result, people who knew the language and the terrain might be useful, no matter what their past sins. As a result, the policy of de-Nazification came to an abrupt halt. The Americans were no longer interested in prosecuting potential allies who might be of use in the upcoming war with Communism, but they couldn't very well embrace their former enemies openly, and so a clandestine
modus operandi involving the Vatican and its refugee relocation services came into being, as the first halting steps in a joint-venture anti-Communist crusade.

"Both Washington and London," write Arons and Loftus, "had entered into arrangements with the Holy See to assist many Nazi collaborators to emigrate via
[Croatian priest Fr. Krunoslav] Draganovic's smuggling system. The Vatican was cynically being used as a respectable cover for the West's own immoral conduct.

That smuggling system became known as the Ratlines, and it is those Ratlines that feature in the current trial going on in San Francisco that is attempting to recover the property of Jews who had the misfortune of being caught in the Yugoslavian trip.
The events are spelled out in more detail in the first Chapter of Jones' book. The above quotes were taken from pages 1-11.

The Croatian Franciscans have a history of ignoring Vatican directives that would appear to go back to the events associated with World War II. Is the Vatican culpable in the atrocities perpetrated on the Jewish inmates of the concentration camp in Yugoslavia? It would certainly seem to be debatable given evidence of the excommunication. But is that evidence available?

Jones adds a further detail pertinent to the trial:

In September 1967 [Father] Krunoslav Draganovic was reported missing in the Croatian emigre press, allegedly the victim of a kidnapping by the UDBA. The man who had helped so many other people disappear in the aftermath of World War II had now disappeared himself, in the aftermath of the Cold War, or at least the Vatican's involvement in it. The mystery surrounding Father Draganovic's disappearance was soon cleared up when it became clear that he was living in Zagreb, unmolested by the Yugoslavian government in spite of the role he had played in organizing the Ratlines. The clarification surrounding the mystery of his disappearance was followed by the more profound mystery surrounding the motivation for his departure and the motivation behind the Yugoslav government providing one of its major Cold War enemies with what amounted to political asylum. Almost from the moment his disappearance had been explained, rumors began circulating that Draganovic had been a double agent from the beginning. (Page 29)

Was the Vatican doublecrossed by a Croatian priest? The story of the Yugoslavian concentration camp and surrounding events is a complicated one. Perhaps this trial will sort it out, or perhaps this will be another attack on the Vatican and the Catholic Church by her enemies.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


A brief glance at the Olive Tree Dictionary might put a smile on your face, or even generate a mild giggle.

The book contains an abundance of both useful and obscure Arabic phrases with their English translations, including gems such as “I hunt on dry land, I’m not a fisherman,” “that guy’s a zero on the left (i.e., he doesn’t count for anything), and “show me your embroidery!”

But Yohanan Elihay, who painstakingly compiled the dictionary’s 9,000 entries and 17,000 phrases, and has devoted his life to building bridges with the Arabic-speaking world, does not take language matters lightly.

“Everything in this dictionary is something I heard over the past 30 years. I didn’t make up anything,” Elihay says. “For example, ‘The lady didn’t complain to the police because she was afraid of her husband.’ That’s something I heard. It’s from life.”

The 760-page Olive Tree Dictionary, A Transliterated Dictionary of Conversational Eastern Arabic (Minerva, 2006) provides a wealth of information on colloquial Arabic, and is a loyal guide to the perplexed English speaker in the Middle East.

The dictionary is written in Latin letters, relieving its users of the need to learn Arabic script, and is currently one of the most comprehensive and detailed guides to colloquial Arabic on the market.

As well as the Arabic-English section, the guide also contains a 100-page English index, so it is in fact a two-way dictionary.

Elihay, a sharp-minded but soft-spoken Catholic monk, is not quick to brag about his colorful life story and finds the fascination with his past – rather than his work – somewhat strange.

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I was cleaning out a file of news clippings recently and came upon this 2003 article about Iraqi intelligence:

A document from the Iraqi intelligence service in Basra — which was captured in April as coalition forces gained control — orders agents to start campaigns of sabotage, looting and murder should Iraq lose the war.
The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, also orders intelligence agents to infiltrate political parties and religious institutions, should the Saddam Hussein regime be toppled.
The document, stamped "Extremely Confidential," described itself as an "Emergency Secret Plan" and is signed, unintelligibly, by "The Head of General Intelligence".

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Night after dreary night the carnage commands our attention via the evening news. There seems to be interminable political discussion about how to fix the mess we've made, with no end in sight. Meanwhile Americans die. A commentator last night claimed that the carnage won't go away because the U.S. presence prompts it, and until we leave nothing will change. This 2003 article looks to have been prophetic.


EBay is selling relics. Of course they may be fake relics. Heck, could anyone but a medical scientist distinguish a fragment of a cat bone from a fragment of a human bone?

In any case Tom Serafin, President of the International Crusade for Holy Relics (ICHR) is calling for a boycott of the online auction house in order to persuade them to stop the sale. He claims that no amount of persuasion has convinced them this must stop, and that the only thing they will hear is money talking. He's probably right, but will the Catholic world stop using EBay?

You can read the details here.


Daijiworld reports on a wedding in Mangalore, October 24:

St. Vincent De Paul (SVP) Society of St. Jude Thaddeus Church in Pakshikere organized mass marriage in the church on Tuesday October 24 morning. A total of 7 couples exchanged vows on the occasion.

At least four priests concelebrated. Four are pictured, but the caption indicates there were more. The guest list numbered over 3,500. You can see pictures of the event here.

The brides are all wearing the traditional red, and all of them seem to be identical. Can you imagine seven American brides all dressed alike? No? Neither can I.

The article doesn't say why this event took place.

Monday, October 23, 2006


MOSCOW, OCT. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church, the Neocatechumenal Way will teach its methods of evangelization to Orthodox priests.

Kiko Argüello and Father Mario Pezzi, initiators and leaders of the Neocatechumenal Way, told ZENIT of the plan. They met Thursday with Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, president of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate's Foreign Relations Department.

The agreement reached will be implemented in two stages, Argüello explained: Initially, the Russian Orthodox priests will be taught the Way's principles of evangelization, and then they will be trained.

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Moscow, October 24, Rev. Igor Vyzhanov, Moscow Patriarchate DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations, has dispelled the reports that the Moscow Patriarchate and the Catholic Neo-Catechumenate movement concluded an agreement on training Orthodox clergy.

The Moscow Patriarchate website circulated yesterday a statement made by the Neo-Catechumenate leader, Kiko Arguello, in an interview to the Zenit Catholic news agency that during the meeting between the movement leaders and the DECR chairman, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, on October 19 an agreement was concluded whereby Neo-Catechumenate was to train Russian Orthodox clergy for evangelization methods.

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WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Pentecostalism and other similar charismatic movements are among the fastest-growing sectors of global Christianity. So says a 10-nation study published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The Washington, D.C.-based research group released the study Oct. 5.

According to the study, around a quarter of the world's estimated 2 billion Christians are thought to be members of Pentecostal and charismatic groups, which emphasize the active role of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives.

The study was based on random surveys carried out in the United States; Brazil, Chile and Guatemala in Latin America; Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; and India, the Philippines and South Korea in Asia.

The findings confirm the error of predictions about the demise of religion, comments Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in the preface. "Talk of 'secularization' and of a 'post-religious' society has given way to a renewed recognition of religion's influence in people's social and political lives," he writes.

A case in point is Pentecostalism. It was born just a century ago and now ranks second only to Catholicism in the number of followers, Lugo noted. In Latin America, Pentecostals now account for about three in every four Protestants, according to the World Christian Database.

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or more specifically the cost of dying in a nursing home has once again come to my attention.

My mother died of Alzheimer's a few years ago. She spent the last two years of her life in a nursing home which cost a total of $100,000. At the time it seemed like a lot. Today a relative of my husband's is in a nursing home in the Cleveland area, a Catholic nursing home, which seems to be run by nuns. It's a lovely facility with Catholic symbols all over the place, and a chapel where there is Mass on Sunday. If I ever have to spend time in a nursing home, I hope it's one like this one.

All of the rooms are private, a vast improvement over those with semi-private rooms and no privacy for the residents.

But the cost! One year in this Catholic facility costs $87,600. Yet even at that high rate of expense this facility solicits the relatives of residents for donations. The most recent fundraiser that came to our house requested anything from a cake mix to financial contributions. A cake mix??!! They collect $87,600 from each of their residents every year, and they can't afford a cake mix? It simply boggles the mind!


As much as I love the Cleveland Orchestra, getting to Severence Hall to hear them has proven to be too big of a hassle. This year we decided to try the Akron Synphony Orchestra. Their concerts take place at E. J. Thomas Hall on the University of Akron campus, a short drive from home.

Last Saturday they played Brahms' Tragic Overture and soloist Axel Strauss played the Brahms Violin Concerto in D major. Excellent music.

The lesser known Akron Symphony is smaller than Cleveland and composed proportionally of more stringed instruments. There were 30 violins, and 7 bases. I didn't count the cellos. The brass section, by comparison, is much smaller.

E. J. Thomas Hall has an unusual layout. The seats arc around the stage in an unbroken line, and are accessible only from the extreme left or extreme right of the stage. Rows are tiered such that every seat is a good one, however from the Grand Tier up concert goers look down upon the orchestra. I haven't yet sat in the flying balcony. That's the nosebleed section.

On Saturday we were seated near the right in the Grand Tier. From our seats we were above the orchestra and looking slightly down. About half way through the concert I happened to notice that angle provided a different view of the 30 bows in the violin section located on the left of the stage. They seemed to take on a life of their own, rising and falling in synch in what almost appeared to be a Ballet of the Bows.

After intermission the program switched to Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. The conductor introduced the piece by telling of Bartok being confined to the hospital, dying of lukemia, when the conductor of the Boston Symphony requested he compose a piece for them. It was composing this piece that brought Bartok back to life. His reviving strength is apparent in the Concerto which begins on a very somber note and increases in strength and vivacity with each movement.

Something else was noteworthy, particularly in the last movement. The piece is disjointed, jarringly so for me. One could almost get the impression of a frantic search for meaning, running first to this and then to that, and finding none, so that the quest offered no possibility of conclusion. The intrusion of a busy world of sights and sounds and possibilities was overwhelming in its intensity and its meaninglessness. Something is grossly lacking in the picture it presents. What could have occupied Bartok so completely at the moment of composition. Was it fear? Fear of death, perhaps, and a headlong rush into life as one last escape... any life...every hint of life...for one last fling before the curtain fell?

I reflected on the words of the conductor as he opened the piece. Bartok, he told us, believed in his own personal trinity of science, nature and art. But did Bartok believe in the Trinity which could have saved him from this headlong rush into motion?

I looked him up online, and found him in the Unitarian-Universalist Association website. Bartok, living under the Russian umbrella, was not a believer. According to the website,

Bartok had been brought up as a Roman Catholic. The ethical legalism taught in the religion classes at school drove him away from his early faith. "By the time I had completed my 22nd year," he later wrote, "I was a new man--an atheist." In a letter written in 1905 Bartok claimed to be a follower of Nietzsche and expressed his skepticism about religious teachings: "It is odd that the Bible says, 'God created man,' whereas it is the other way around: man has created God. It is odd that the Bible says, 'The body is mortal, the soul is immortal.' whereas even here the contrary is true: the body (its matter) is eternal; the soul (the form of the body) is transitory."

So it would seem that his Concerto for Orchestra grew out of his own personal philosophy, animated by the nearness of death. Was I hearing his doubts at this point in his life? Was I hearing a final search for transcendent meaning, a search that grew more frenetic as the end approached?

When the concert was over I left feeling vaguely sorry for this obviously brilliant composer whose worldview had apparently intruded to destroy what harmony he might have had in this worldly life, and what hope he could have had for the next. I would hope that when my life is near its end, I will not still be engaged in a frenetic search for meaning that I heard in Bartok's disjointed Concerto for Orchestra.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


We attended the 11:30 a.m. Mass this morning.

They are doing some things right in there:

- The church was full, though there weren't many children.

- The music ministry is not located in the sanctuary. Some pews have been removed so that the piano and the lectern where the cantor sings could be located near the sanctuary but not in it. Thus the music ministry does not detract from the central focus of the Mass.

- The tabernacle, while not located in the sanctuary proper, has been placed in plain sight to the right on a side altar. No one here genuflects to empty space.

- The Extroardinary Ministers remained in the aisle until after Father had received, then moved up into the sanctuary.

- The homily was a down-to-earth recommendation about serving God by being servants to the other members of our family and the people where we work. God and Jesus Christ were mentioned in the context of this attitude of a humble servant's heart. Priorities were in order.

The negatives:

- By far the most overwhelming negative was the second communion hymn. Just as I was about to try to make a thanksgiving after receiving despite the distraction of the singing, the second hymn began with the words "I myself am the bread of life." Can it get any worse than that? I never did manage to make a thanksgiving.

- There were 13 EMs.

- The congregation stands until communion is finished and Father sits down, though there was a pause long enough after communion for saying a prayer of thanksgiving.

- Another creative Agnus Dei.

- There was no organ, only piano, and the music did not invoke a sense of reverence.

- Three boy altar boys and one girl altar boy.

Then there was the thing I simply could not comprehend. This was the first time in about 15 years that I have seen a Baptism at Mass. Mass began in the back of the church just as the Easter Vigil Mass begins back there, but instead of blessing the new fire, the priest began the Baptism service back there by asking the parents what they requested for their child, and doing some other stuff. When that was finished the entrance hymn began and priest, servers, and family of the new baby processed down the aisle. When the entrance hymn ended, the Gloria began, meaning that the opening prayers of the Mass were omitted. The rest of the Mass was the usual Sunday service except that the Baptism proper took place after the homily.

Was this according to the rubrics? I have no idea. The priest was young and seemed to be attentive to saying Mass reverently. He left a good impression on me, but I couldn't figure out the baptism arrangements.

The bulletin has six pages and is stapled together. Largest one I've ever seen. There was also a flyer announcing the "Focus Group Interviews", four opportunities to voice your opinion about the upcoming capital campaign for the purpose of upgrading the infrastructure of each of the buildings and renovating the church, with the help of Trinity Consultants who will assist with the Planning Study. Shades of Richard Vosko? I'd say the church could not be renovated into anything more modern than it already is, but I'd probably be speaking too soon.

According to the bulletin last Sunday's collection was $24,096. The "Weekly Sunday offertory income needed" is $33,100 to go with the "Other Church/School income needed" of $40,100.

I had the strangest reaction of all to Mass this morning. At no time during the entire event was I able to pray. I left Mass neither angry nor inspired nor uplifted, nor frustrated. I left Mass indifferent. I attended and fulfilled my Sunday obligation, but it was a mechanical process, and I still can't account for this very odd emotional response to it, or really this total lack of emotional response. It would seem that I could attend Mass at Holy Family Parish for the rest of my life and never once be touched by God at all. My husband had no reaction to it either. After Mass he had no comments either positive or negative. It was as if neither of us had even gone to Mass, but rather had spent our morning listening to a lecture, and visiting an historical site, or perhaps just attending a Protestant service to see what they do in theirs. I simply can't explain it.

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