Tuesday, November 25, 2008


There are a few interesting stories...

First, an AP story: "Appeals court lets Vatican sex-abuse case proceed":

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A lawsuit can continue against the Vatican alleging that top church officials should have warned the public or authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the lawsuit filed by three men who claim priests abused them as children. They allege the Vatican orchestrated a decades-long coverup of priests sexually abusing children throughout the U.S.

Louisville attorney William McMurry is seeking class-action status, saying there are thousands of victims nationally in the scandal that haunts the Roman Catholic Church. He is seeking unspecified damages from the Vatican.

"This is an enormously huge moment," McMurry said. "We're finally going to get to the root of the problem."

Jeffrey Lena, a Berkeley, Calif.-based attorney for the Vatican, said the appeals court's decision narrows the plaintiffs' case because the court upheld dismissing several issues.

"It's gratifying to see the hard work the judges put into the opinion," Lena said.

Lena declined to say if he would appeal the decision. McMurry said he expects the case to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The story continues at the website.

Next is the JTA account of an Israeli company winning a contract to secure Vatican City. According to the article the company will be using video cameras and the internet. Could this be a bonus for potential sabotagers with hacker talent?

Next there is the report on progress--or lack of it--on Muslim/Vatican dialogue as reported at NRO:

This month’s much-anticipated, high-level Catholic-Muslim forum at the Vatican brings to mind a 2003 encounter between my longtime friend and colleague, Nina Shea, a frequent National Review Online contributor, and Faisal Ahmed Shinwari, then-chief justice of Afghanistan’s brand-new supreme court...

Shinwari cheerfully advised Shea, visiting post-Taliban Kabul in her official capacity with the U.S government’s independent Commission on International Religious Freedom, that Afghanistan’s new judiciary would embrace the full range of universally recognized international human rights — except, of course, for freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and women’s rights.

Five years later, nothing has changed...

Describing the latest round of talks that took place this month in Rome, John F. Cullinan writes:

What did happen — a frank and mostly cordial exchange of views between high-level Roman Catholic and Muslim representatives — is ultimately the product of Pope Benedict XVI’s initiative. It was his 2006 Regensburg address on faith and reason — endlessly debated and more often than not misunderstood — that provoked two authoritative Muslim responses..., the Common Word initiative which later evolved into the nascent Catholic-Muslim Forum. Even Tariq Ramadan, the controversial Islamist who took part in the Vatican talks, now acknowledges that Regensburg’s “overall consequences have proven more positive than negative.”

That’s a backhanded acknowledgment of the plain fact that, without the impetus of Benedict’s 2006 remarks, this month’s talks would never have taken place.

What didn’t happen in Rome was a meeting of the minds, at least on the paramount issue of religious freedom, but instead an implicit agreement to disagree.

Lastly there is the curious story of absolution for the Beetles that refuses to go away:

Saturday's edition of Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano recalls that Lennon's boast outraged many in 1966. But it says the remark now can be written off as the bragging of a young man wrestling with unexpected success....

Listening to the album, the newspaper says, makes clear how creative the Beatles were, compared to what it calls the "standardized, stereotypical" songs being produced today.

Of course the Beatles had help, in the form of drugs inducing creativity, or so I've read more than once. This brings to mind the way old people are inclined to view the world--"It's going to hell in a handbasket. Oh, for the return of the good ole days." However, now that we've arrived in hell, we can see how innocent the initial impetus in this direction looks. Yes, relativism is alive and well across the pond. Ideas, however, do have consequences. Just check out how influential the song "Imagine" has been in New Age circles. Perhaps someone at L'Osservatore Romano has been doing a little too much imagining.

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