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The Philippines legislature has approved a UN-inspired bill that, if enacted, will give preferential treatment to children of families with two children or fewer.

The Catholic Church has decried the bill as statist, totalitarian, and satainic. Religous leaders are calling for a presidential veto. 

Read it all here-and pray for the people of the most Catholic country on earth.




Can we choose to remain where we are under these circumstances? We have argued for years now of our “state of necessity” and of the resulting supplied jurisdiction that the Church supplies to us. But can we continue to argue this when ordinary jurisdiction is offered to us without any compromise in the Faith? Can we choose freely to remain in this irregular canonical situation where we are? In other words, can a state of necessity be the object of a choice without moral fault? Clearly not And on the other hand: are the authorities ready to accord us regular faculties? If the answer to this second question is affirmative, then we are no longer in the same case of necessity!

All these serious considerations, dear friends, move us to go and see what Rome has to say.

Read it all here.


NLM quotes the Sunday Times:

An Anglican priest whose conversion to Catholicism shocked Victorian England will this week take a big step to becoming one of the first new British saints in almost 40 years.

The Vatican will announce the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman after accepting that he was responsible for a miracle in which an American clergyman was ‘cured’ of a crippling spinal disorder.

Newman will be given the title ‘Blessed’ after a ceremony later this year, leaving him one step away from sainthood.
Read the rest of this entry »

(This, by the way, is the afore promised “shocking news”, not the news that I got a job.  Getting a job didn’t shock me.  The following did.  Considerably.)


A bit of happy and very surprising news.  The other day, I got a letter in the mail which informed me that I had been nominated for membership in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, an ecclesiastical order of Knighthood in the Catholic Church, and that this nomination had been vetted with my pastor and bishop, and that I had been formally approved.

I assume that this has something to do with my work for the Franciscans at the monastery in Washington.  I have been a big advocate of the Franciscan charism of protecting the shrines in the Holy Land, as evidenced by my “Bloggers’ Crusade” project (click the link on the sidebar.)  I started volunteering at the monastery in my first year of law school, and have found a great deal of spiritual peace and comfort in the work.  It is, I think, my favorite thing to do outside of my family.

While I am very please to now be a permanent part of the Church’s work in the Holy Land, I am a bit overwhelmed by the honor.  (I personally think of it as more of a call to continuing service, but it is, by itself, a tremendous honor.)  The Order was founded in the 11th century by Godfrey de Bullion, and has ever since served the Catholic cause in the Holy Land.  I am flabbergasted, thankful, and deeply touched.

And, no, you don’t have to call me “Sir”.

Unless you want to.


Sad news from correspondent Jim last night.  Al Arborgast, pioneer of the Latin Mass movement in Lexington, KY, and a friend of mine, has passed on.

The email from chaplain Fr. Valentine Young, ofm, announcing the death:

  Our beloved Al Arbogast past away this morning around 6:30 AM at St. Joseph Hospital.  His son Joe from Milwaukee had been staying with him, and noticed his weakened condition earlier this morning.  He called 911 and had his dad taken to the hospital, but it was his dad’s time to go to heaven.

[. . .]

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.  Et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Here are the arrangements as announced by Fr. Valentine:

  Viewing for relatives and friends will be from 5 – 8 on Thursday, March 27, with the Rosary and other prayers being recited at 7:00 PM.  This will take place at the Milward Funeral Dicrectors locatged at 391 Southland Drive.

The Funeral Mass will be Friday at 9:00 AM at St. Peter Church.  Hopefully the adult and children’s choir will be able to be present and sing at this Mass.  The burial will take place at St. Stephen Cemetery in Fort Thomas, KY, where Al’s wife is buried.

Al brought all of his energy, inelegance, and charm to the Latin Mass Committee and helped keep it going through the rough years.  He was a real gentleman and he will be missed.


By the great Leon:

(1) The presidential frontrunners on New Year’s will not ultimately receive their party’s nomination.

(2) America will not win a gold medal in diving, gymnastics, or synchronized swimming at the Beijing Olympics.

(3) Mother Assumpta Long will not have enough room in her motherhouse for all her new postulants (not an altogether bad thing).

(4) I will not get change back from my $50 bill when I fill the tank of the family minivan (now that is a bad thing!).

(5) Bishop Bruskewitz will not be named an Archbishop, despite several U.S. vacancies.

(6) The Church will not change her official teaching on contraception, homosexuality and “gay marriage,” women’s ordination, or other established, immutable doctrines–reports and/or wishful thinking notwithstanding.

(7) Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will not admit to knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

(8) The U.S. bishops will not speak with a unified voice in this year’s presidential election, and those who identify themselves as “Catholic” in the polls will mirror the general population in their vote for the next president.

(9) In a related prediction, whoever happens to be reviewing movies for the USCCB in 2008 will not publish a favorable review of the next notorious, anti-Catholic Hollywood film–even if he happens to like it.

(10) No Boston sports team will win a championship. Not the 16-0 Patriots. Not the revitalized Celtics. Not Red Sox nation. Not even the Boston Bruins (is there still an NHL?). The rest of the country has had enough of this madness. It’s time to begin a new curse.


If only the Polish immigrants would hold their religion cheap in keeping with good English custom.

From the Telegraph (UK):

The leader of the country’s Roman Catholics has sparked a row by accusing immigrants of creating a separate church in Britain.

  Worshippers outside a packed Polish Catholic Church in London
Crowded out: Worshippers outside a packed Polish Catholic Church in London

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, urged the Polish community to do more to learn English and integrate into local parishes, claiming the Catholic Church in the UK was in danger of dividing along ethnic lines as the number of Polish-speaking churches rose.

Leading Polish community figures said they felt “violated” and “spiritually raped” by his words and called for talks on the issue.

New research, revealed last week by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that an influx of eastern Europeans boosts numbers attending Mass above those at Church of England Sunday services.

The research ended a momentous week which saw Tony Blair formally convert to Catholicism, while official figures to be released in the new year will show a rise in Mass attendance in 2006.

The number of churchgoers fell 40 per cent between 1963 and 1991, but the arrival of immigrants from Catholic countries in eastern Europe halted the decline and led to an increase in weekly Mass attendance from 917,500 in 2005 to 927,154 last year.

However, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “I’m quite concerned that the Poles are creating a separate church in Britain. I would want them to be part of the Catholic life of this country.

“I would hope those responsible for the Polish church here, and the Poles themselves, will be aware that they should become a part of local parishes as soon as possible when they learn enough of the language.”

Despite the archbishop’s also using his Christmas message to appeal to the nation to be more welcoming to immigrants, Grazyna Sikorska, of the Polish Catholic Mission for England and Wales, said the community had been upset.

She told the Catholic newspaper The Tablet: “How can he demand that we stop praying in Polish? Is it a sin? I feel my inner conscience has been violated, leaving me spiritually raped.”

Fr Tadeusz Kukla, the vicar-delegate for Poles in England and Wales, said: “If we lose our national identity, we lose everything.”

A spokesman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said the archbishop was keen to work with the Polish chaplaincy. “He believes the Polish community contributes greatly to the Church in this country, but closer collaboration would make it even more effective.”

As an aside: The French bishops had a similar problem with the Motu Proprio. It seems that the majority of churchgoers in France were SSPX traditionalists. Everyone else stayed home. The prospect of regularizing the schismatics position in the Church in France horrified the bishops because they were afraid they would be in charge of a flock that was “dragging the Church back in time.”



NOTE: I posted on this way back in September. Today, it made the front page of the damnable Washington Post

Remember Chernobyl? Well, the Chinese, not to be outdone, are about to show the world that state planning can and often does result in widespread environmental disaster. Except this time, it might starve a billion people.

By Edward Cody:

In the 18 months since the Three Gorges Dam was completed, increasingly clear signs of environmental degradation have started to accumulate along the Yangtze, just as activists had warned. Among the most troubling have been incidents of geological instability in the soaring gorges that now embrace a reservoir stretching behind the dam across a good portion of Hubei province 600 miles southwest of Beijing.

Local officials acknowledge that dozens of major landslides have been recorded, affecting more than 20 miles of riverbank.

The Chinese, who had been talking about taming the Yangtze for a century, finally realized their dream of the Three Gorges in May 2006, when the dam was declared finished in a burst of national chest-thumping. From the beginning, Communist Party officials had acknowledged that the massive engineering project would entail environmental risks and upset the lives of riverside peasants. An estimated 1.2 million were forced to move to make way for backed-up water. But the damage could be controlled, the party and government insisted, and overall, the benefits still would outweigh the dangers.

The $24 billion dam played its assigned role in controlling the river during the annual flood season this summer. Moreover, the 7,575-foot-wide (almost 1.5-mile) structure has dramatically increased China’s supply of clean electricity, producing 23.7 billion kilowatt hours in the first half of this year. The reservoir and swollen upstream river waters, reaching about 250 miles to Chongqing, have given the center of the country a trouble-free transportation lane.

But the breaking-in period has also shown how vast the environmental damage is likely to be — and how expensive to handle. Lei Hengshun, an engineering professor at Chongqing University who has followed the Three Gorges project since its inception, said it has opened a “bottomless pit” of government expenditures that will have to go on for decades.

(. . .)

Read the rest of the story here.


is Chairman Mao himself.

mao_book.jpgThe publication of hundreds of millions of copies of The Sayings of Chairman Mao, a.k.a. “The Little Red Book,” continues to create royalty revenue decades after the tyrant’s death. The irony is, of course, that Mao was responsible for the death, imprisonment, and silencing of millions of artists during his reign of terror in Red China.

To date, the royalties from Mao’s collected writings are approaching an estimated $18 million. However, there is a dispute over who should get the money.

From the BBC:

An article published in the magazine Literary World of Party History laid out just how much Mao has earned from his writing.

It said that in 1967 he was worth 5.7 million yuan ($780,000, £400,000) from books printed in Chinese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and Japanese.

But that figure, including interest, had risen to 130 million yuan ($17.6m, £8.8m) by 2001. The article did not say how much the estate is worth now.

There has long been a debate within the higher echelons of the party about who should inherit this vast sum of money.

Jiang Qing, Mao’s fourth wife and loyal supporter during the Cultural Revolution, apparently asked for the money on five occasions before her death in 1991.

Jiang, also known as Madam Mao, even brought the subject up with China’s former leader before he died in 1976.

If he was in a good mood, Mao promised he would leave her some money, according to the article.

If he was in a bad mood, Mao would accuse her of wanting him to die early so she could get her hands on his cash.

Two of Mao’s children also asked for the money to be given to them. Their request, along with Madam Mao’s, was refused.

This issue came up again in 2003 following the publication of a new edition of Mao’s collected works, according to the new article.

It arose because party leaders were apparently unsure whether or not Mao’s royalties should be taxed and so asked the country’s cabinet for advice.

It decided to uphold an earlier decision not to give the money to Mao’s relatives because his writings were not his own, but the “crystallisation of the party’s collective wisdom”.

Over the last few weeks there has been debate in China’s media about the legality, as well as the morality, of this viewpoint.

Should Mao’s estate be considered a private or a public fortune?

Harvard University Prof Roderick MacFarquhar, who has written extensively about Mao, makes another point – the chairman’s conflict of interest.

“The real issue is that the CCP made it possible for Mao to earn royalties in enormous quantities by projecting his cult and prescribing his works,” he told the BBC.

“Since Mao was chairman of the party, it could be suggested that there was a conflict of interest.”

But many Chinese people see no inherent contradiction in a radical, left-wing revolutionary earning millions of dollars in book royalties.

They point out that Mao supposedly gave away much of this money to loyal friends, those who worked with him and the poor.

Liu Tieying, a 55-year-old former journalist, speaks for many of his generation when he says Mao did not become a leader to make money.

“Mao was a genuine leader, not like those in charge today,” he said.
“He sent his own son to die in the Korean War. He gave up everything for the revolution.”

We at FIB suggest the money be donated to the families of the victims of the Cultural Revolution. But, as they say, “rotsa ruck.”


You may remember this story about the head of the Anglican Communion’s dismissal of the faith of Nice viz the Virgin Birth.

As one might expect, the outspoken and outstanding Archbishop of Sydney has something to say about it.

From CathNews:

dney’s Cardinal George Pell has vehemently disagreed with the worldwide Anglican head, who has said Christians don’t need to believe Christ was born of a virgin.

The Australian reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams implied in a BBC interview that the story of the three wise men is a legend, as “stars do not behave like that.”

Furthermore, Archishop Williams added it was unlikely Jesus was born in December and Christians can “take or leave the virgin birth.”

“I believe it (the virgin birth) but that’s not a pre-condition for being a Christian,” Archbishop Williams said.

“Matthew’s Gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that’s all we’re really told.

“It is unlikely Jesus was born in December at all. Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival,” he said.

Opposing the Anglican Archbishop’s comments, Cardinal Pell said those who doubt or deny the virgin birth are departing from Christian teaching.

“What is important is that the Christ child was and is the son of God,” Pell said.

“For this belief and fact, the virgin birth is essential.”

South Sydney Anglican Bishop Robert Forsyth sided with the Archbishop of Canterbury saying Jesus’ birthday was “probably March as the Holy Land is very cold in December and if there were the shepherds in the field, it is likely to have been another time of year.”

“(The virgin birth) is not the first thing you have to believe to become a Christian – the resurrection is that. If you believe God raised Jesus from the dead, you are open to the questions like the virgin birth.”


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