Saturday, January 29, 2011

Priest Absolves Dying Police Officer

The National Post reports:
As Sergeant Ryan Russell lay dying on Toronto’s frozen streets in the early morning hours of Jan. 12, a local priest was running late for his morning mass.
Father Fausto Bailo, a chaplain at the downtown Ernescliff College student centre on the University of Toronto campus, recalls approaching the intersection of Avenue and Davenport roads — and finding an unexpected scene of chaos.
A police car in the middle of the road with its door open. A man lying motionless on the ground. A growing swarm of officers and curious onlookers. A tragic snapshot in time that would later form the heart of a bizarre murder case.
At the time, Fr. Bailo was not sure what he was looking at, but he knew one thing: The man on the road was not long for this world.
“I saw that he was badly hurt. It was so fast, the whole thing. I thought that he was dead,” the soft-spoken Catholic priest recalled in a heavy Spanish accent.
As more police cruisers screamed up Avenue Road, Fr. Bailo says his religious instincts kicked in, prompting him to deliver a final blessing.
“It was an instant reaction, the moment I saw him,” Fr. Bailo explained.
He performed what is known as a conditional absolution, a blessing to absolve the dying officer of his worldly sins, regardless of his religion. The ritual requires no direct contact, so Fr. Bailo was able to stand on the sidelines, praying for Sgt. Russell as panic and confusion reigned around him.
“It was a very emotional moment…. On a personal level I had a reaction that I should have basically gone to the man and talked to him, but I was overtaken by the whole situation,” Fr. Bailo recalled.
He was at the scene only a few minutes before police began ushering curiosity-seekers away.
Fr. Bailo says he did not immediately realize the fallen man was a police officer. On his way back from morning mass, about 7:30 a.m., Fr. Bailo turned on his car radio.
“I heard what happened in the car, and then I realized it was a policeman,” he recalled. “My first reaction was to pray again for him. I was quite shocked.”
Sergeant Angela Theriault of 52 Division, where Sgt. Russell worked, acknowledged there were many witnesses on scene that day, but no way to verify whether Fr. Bailo was among them. She said Sgt. Russell formally received his last rites from a police chaplain shortly before he was pronounced dead in hospital.
“It’s tough,” Sgt. Theriault said, asked how officers were coping a week after more than 12,000 police and emergency workers descended on Toronto for Sgt. Russell’s funeral. “We have little reminders now and again of him and his personality, and things that he could have been involved in with us, but we’ll get through it.”
The man accused of running down Sgt. Russell while driving a stolen snowplow made a second court appearance Tuesday. Richard Kachkar, 44, had not yet obtained a lawyer, and is to return to court Thursday.
Too often we take priests for granted.  Stories like this remind us that priests are truly a gift from God.

Michael Voris is Wrong About Amazing Grace

On The Vortex, host Michael Voris condemns the song Amazing Grace for being too Protestant.  I agree with Voris most of the time but in this case he is making a mountain out of a molehill and trying to do away with a great song. 

Yes the Protestant heresy regarding the supposed "wretchedness" of humanity is written into the song.  However, the word wretch has a double meaning in this case.  John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace was a former slave trader.  He was personally pretty wretched regardless of Protestant beliefs about justification.  I see nothing wrong with simply accepting that half of the double meaning and rejecting the heretical part.  As for the line about the hour of first belief, Voris is again overreacting.  In his hour of first belief, Newton repented and begged God to save his ship from a storm.  The storm relented and Newton was converted.  Newton may have been referring to sanctifying grace but anyone can recognize the actual grace poured out on the contrite slave trader.

I'm calling in the Dropkick Murphys to provide some musical artillery support.  You can't really argue with Irish punk rock.  If you try it will break your eardrums.


With Lyrics

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cool Ecumenism Video

H/T: Teresa

The American Catholic

I have been really enjoying The American Catholic.  It is a group blog that comments on politics and culture from a Catholic perspective, like Vox Nova except it's not written by a bunch of pinko commies.  Do yourself a favor and check out The American Catholic!

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Loyal reader of the blog?  Accidentally found this site while looking for a blog about buttons?  Either way, click follow!  (Scroll down and see column on the right.)

To see where I stack up against my fellow Catholic bloggers, check out the updated list of
Most Popular Catholic Blogs.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photos From the March for Life

These pictures were taken on my iPod which doesn't have zoom.  Even so, I think they turned out nicely.

Assembling on the National Mall

 Nellie Gray Speaking at the Rally

Pro-Life Captain America!

 WTF: An Appropriate Reaction to Abortion


Sign: Obama Your Mama Chose Life!

A Highly Confused Super-Trad

 Democrats for Life

TFP Ultramontanists

What More Need Be Said?

Benedictine College President Stephen Minnis (2nd From Left)

The Supreme Court

Al Should Appreciate These Last Two:

 Unwelcome Visitors

There were so few counter-protesters that I didn't even see any.

Photo Credit: THOnline

The La Rouche nutjobs made an appearance.  They're psycho conspiracy theorists who like to show up at conservative events.   They had a sign that looked like this:


Some people from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform set up a display from the Genocide Awareness Project along the march route.  The GAP display features graphic images of aborted babies.  To see some examples click here.  Usually CBER sets up GAP displays on college campuses.  I'm all for exposing hedonistic college students to abortion images, but there is no need to show pictures of dead babies to pro-life 8 year-olds.  One of the CBER representatives was harassing the marchers, demanding that they use graphic images.  He said, "Whoever wants to use images like this raise their hand!  Why isn't anyone raising their hand?"  I replied, "Because our hands are cold dammit!"  I don't think that he heard me but that means that the aforementioned 8 year-olds didn't either which is a good thing. 

Ronald Reagan on Abortion

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

West Coast March for Life

I will be posting my photos from the D.C. march sometime tomorrow.  In the meantime, check out this photo-essay from Celledoor Micellany.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grit & Grace: Fr. Barron on True Grit

I love True Grit, both the book and the John Wayne movie, and I also like the Coen brothers.  Put them together and you get something great.

Spoiler Warning: Even if you have seen the classic movie, the new movie has an important scene from the book that the John Wayne film did not.  Fr. Barron reveals that scene in his commentary.


March for Life 2011

I will be departing for Washington D.C. tomorrow along with well over 200 fellow Benedictine College students to attend the March for Life.  I don't have a camera but I'll try to take some pictures with my iPod and post them to the blog.  Please pray for the marchers!

The Pro-Life Movement Should Listen to Abby Johnson

My dorm has been experiencing internet speeds the likes of which I haven't seen since I was 8 years old and using a dial-up connection.  Thus, the delay in posting.

This is part of an article about Abby Johnson, the Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist.  From Christianity Today:
Johnson now turns her years of experience at Planned Parenthood into advice for pro-life groups. Along with doing some consulting for Coalition for Life, she advises pregnancy centers on ways to look more like Planned Parenthood clinics.
Decorate with bright oranges and pinks. Banish the vines and pastel colors. And for goodness sake, get rid of the butterflies, she says.
"Every pregnancy center, I'm telling you, has a butterfly in its logo," Johnson says. "That's not something that's going to catch the eye of teenage girls."
Johnson brings knowledge to the prolife movement that few can offer. She knows secrets to Planned Parenthood's success—how the billion-dollar nonprofit draws millions of women and girls in through its doors each year.
Those well-researched techniques leave pregnancy centers with a lot to learn, Johnson says. Even though their funding is usually much smaller than their monolithic counterpart, they can take clients away from Planned Parenthood simply by playing copycat.
That's why Johnson wants to help pregnancy centers create a brand that appeals to the type of person likely to visit a Planned Parenthood clinic: a young woman who may not be familiar with Christianity. Before her Planned Parenthood position, she was a visitor to abortion clinics—once for a surgical abortion and again for a medication abortion.
Although she kept those abortions a secret for years, Johnson says the regret she felt about them pales in comparison to the regret she felt for working at Planned Parenthood.
"That was really a small part of the burden I carried, because I had coerced thousands of women into having abortions," she says.
She tells directors their centers should look more secular, since posting Bible verses on the walls could serve as a turnoff to girls fearful of being lectured. They should look like living rooms, not doctor's offices. Little details like updated d├ęcor are important, she says, as well as finding nicer buildings in locations more easily accessible to clients.
"Pregnancy centers sometimes aren't using their money in the best way," she says. "They're hanging onto this hand-me-down furniture and these falling-down, dilapidated buildings, instead of looking to [move to] a new location."
Overall, she says, pregnancy centers need to think of themselves as businesses competing with Planned Parenthood.
I think that Abby Johnson gives excellent advice not only for crisis pregnancy clinics but for the pro-life movement as a whole.  Dissuading women from getting abortions should be our highest priority.  The tactics used by crisis pregnancy clinics and by those that protest outside abortion providers should be evaluated in light of this objective.

For example, there is nothing wrong with adopting a more secular tone if it prevents more abortions.  If prayer is intimidating to young women, as I am sure it can be, leave the rosaries at home and bring pamphlets.  The immediate goal is saving lives, not converting pregnant women.  I certainly don't mean to discourage prayer, but rather to recommend its' prudential application.

Hopefully, pro-lifers listen to Abby Johnson, and babies are saved as a result.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dante & Galileo

I wouldn't say that Galileo invented mathematical physics, but it is pretty cool that his calculations were based on The Divine Comedy.

Between schoolwork and a slow network connection, I haven't posted as much as I would like to.  The blog will be more forthcoming the rest of the week.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mark Shea, Glenn Beck, & Conspiracies

I like Mark Shea, and though I am not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, I don't really have a problem with him.  However, I have noticed that the same thing bugs me about both men.  Both Shea and Beck make references to some sort of vague yet sinister conspiracy that is trying to take over the world.  Mark Shea thinks that a corporate conspiracy of "a few wealthy men" is working to enslave the country and assassinate distributists*, while Glenn Beck believes that progressive globalists are taking over.  I cannot say that I am particularly worried about either scenario.  To quote P.J. O'Rourke: 
There are no conspiracies that rule the world.  There's no universe-mastering cabal of capitalists, communists, Islamic fundamentalists, International Monetary Fund executives, Federal Reserve Bank governors, New World Order functionaries with their UN black helicopters, Trilateral Commission initiates, Freemasons, Bavarian Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Knights Templar, Mafia families, Chinese triads, Mexican drug gangs, Jesuits, or Google.  And no, no, no, no, it's not the Jews.  They'd do a better job.
The Presidential "Birther," the 9/11 "Truther," the JFK assassination "Grassy Knoller," and every other conspiracy buff is announcing aloud: "The world is so stupid that even I can understand it."  
There is no sense in worrying about nebulous conspiracies when there are so many real, if less exciting, problems to solve.

*Ok I made that part up.

Benedictine College Winter Gallery

Here are some cool pictures of my college campus covered in snow:
From the BC website.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ann Coulter on the Tuscon Shooting

I've found Ann Coulter to be a bit obnoxious at times but she hits the nail on the head with this one:
After the monstrous shooting in Arizona last week, surely we can all agree that we've got to pass Obama's agenda immediately and stop using metaphors.

At least I think that's what the mainstream media are trying to tell me.

Liberals instantly leapt on the sickening massacre at a Tucson political event over the weekend to accuse tea partiers, Sarah Palin and all conservatives who talk out loud of being complicit in murder by inspiring the shooter, Jared Loughner.

Of course, to make their case, they first must demonstrate:

(a) Right-wingers have called for violence against anyone, especially conservative, pro-Second Amendment Democratic congresswomen;
(b) Loughner was listening to them; and
(c) Loughner was influenced by them.

They've proved none of this. In fact, it's nearly the opposite.

Needless to say, no conservative has called for violence against anyone. Nor has any conservative engaged in any "rhetoric" that was likely to lead to violence. Every putative example of "violent rhetoric" these squeamish liberals produce keeps being matched by an identical example from the Democrats.

Sarah Palin, for example, had a chart of congressional districts being targeted by Republicans. So did the Democratic Leadership Committee. Indeed, Democratic consultant Bob Beckel went on Fox News and said he invented the bull's-eye maps.

Similarly, every time liberals produce an example of military lingo from a Republican -- "we're going to target this district" -- Republicans produce five more from the Democrats.

President "whose asses to kick" Obama predicted "hand-to-hand combat" with his political opponents and has made such remarks as "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" -- making Obama the first American president to advocate gun fights since Andrew Jackson.

These are figures of speech known as "metaphors." (Do liberals know where we got the word "campaign"?)

It's not that both sides did something wrong; neither side did anything wrong. The drama queens need to settle down.

The winner of the most cretinous statement of 2011 -- and the list is now closed, so please hold your submissions -- is MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who on Monday night recalled Palin's statement, "We're not retreating, we're reloading," and said, I quote, "THAT'S not a metaphor."

Really, Chris? If that's not a metaphor, who did she shoot?

By blaming a mass killing on figures of speech, liberals sound as crazy as Loughner with his complaints about people's grammar. Maybe in lieu of dropping all metaphors, liberals should demand we ban metonyms so that tragedies like this will never happen again.

As for Loughner being influenced by tea partiers, Fox News and talk radio -- oops, another dead-end. According to all available evidence, Loughner is a liberal.

Every friend of Loughner who has characterized his politics has described him as liberal. Not one called him a conservative.

One friend says Loughner never listened to talk radio or watched the TV news. Throw in "never read books" and you have the dictionary definition of a liberal. Being completely uninformed is precisely how most liberals stay liberal.

According to voluminous Twitter postings on Saturday by one of Loughner's friends since high school, Caitie Parker, he was "left wing," "a political radical" "quite liberal" and "a pot head."

If any public figure influenced this guy, my money's on Bill Maher.

But liberals have been so determined to exploit this tragedy to geld conservatives, they have told calculated lies about Loughner's politics.

In the most bald-faced lie I have ever read in The New York Times -- which is saying something -- that paper implied Loughner is a pro-life zealot. This is the precise opposite of the truth.

Only because numerous other news outlets, including ABC News and The Associated Press, reported the exact same shocking incident in much greater detail -- and with direct quotes -- do we know that the Times' rendition was complete bunk.

ABC News reported: "One Pima Community College student, who had a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would often act 'wildly inappropriate.'

"'One day (Loughner) started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby,' classmate Don Coorough told ABC News, referring to a discussion about abortions. 'The rest of us were looking at him in shock ... I thought this young man was troubled.'

"Another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled the incident as well.

"'A girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomber,' Ali said."

Here's the Times' version: "After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a 'terrorist for killing the baby.'"

So that's how the Times transformed Loughner from a sicko laughing about a dead fetus to a deadly earnest pro-life fanatic. (Never believe a news story written by Eric Lipton, Charlie Savage or Scott Shane of The New York Times -- or for simplicity, anything in the Times.)

I wouldn't have mentioned Loughner's far-left world view immediately after a tragedy like this, but now that liberals have opened the door by blaming Loughner's politics, they better brace themselves.

And when I say "brace themselves," I don't mean they need to actually strap themselves into a brace. That's a metaphor, Chris.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Astrology Is Even Dumber Than You Think

Live Science reports:
The folks over at have outdone themselves with a set of predictions for 2011 based on your horoscope. The horoscopes offer "a good, long look at what the stars have in store for you this year!"
Problem is, the predictions are all wrong. Why? Because, simply, the stars are not aligned as the prognosticators think.

Your zodiac sign — Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius or Pisces — was originally based on the constellation the sun was in the day you were born. Thing is, Earth wobbles, a phenomenon called precession.

Over the 2,500 years or so since the zodiac was established, your sign has moved about a month relative to the sun and stars. You're no longer what you think you are, and so if you're an astrology buff, perhaps poised to make a New Year's resolution based on the stars and a reading of your supposed personality, know that you're actually following observations, predictions and advice aimed at another person entirely.

Still, 25 percent of Americans say they believe in astrology (which, it should be pointed out for those who might not know, is NOT a science).
 Those who have ceased to believe in God...

Because There Seems to Be Some Confusion

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Geneology and Reparations for Slavery

The academic left promotes all manner of wacky ideas, not the least of which is slavery reparations.  The idea is that white Americans ought to collectively write a giant check to black Americans in atonement for past mistreatment.  A bit of introspective genealogy demonstrates the foolishness of such a policy.

I am a quarter Irish, a quarter Danish, a quarter German, and about a quarter English.  My Irish ancestors suffered first from Danish Viking raids and then from a murderous English occupation.  It is quite possible that some of my English ancestors were part of Cromwell's army whose invasion of Ireland resulted in the death of nearly a quarter of the Irish population.

Examining my ancestry, it would seem that as a descendant of Vikings, Englishman, and Irishman, I owe reparations to myself.  Every group of people have at some point committed transgressions against another group.  To grant one group reparations for past suffering would set a destructive precedent that could ultimately compel me to write myself a check.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not Blog Fading

My blogging activities have been rather relaxed over the Christmas holiday.  I will resume my previous posting pace upon returning to school where faced with a choice between studying or blogging, I will often choose the latter.