Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don Bosco as Patron Saint of Detroit?

Our friend Diane over at Te Deum laudamus! hopes so:

Archbishop Vigneron seeks a patron saint for Detroit

"It's little details such as this that I find heart-warming about Archbishop Vigneron.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

It has been the ancient practice of the Church to seek the intercession of a saint or a group of saints canonized together, such as the North American Martyrs, for a particular need or needs. Similarly, saints have been assigned to various entities in the Church, including dioceses, for intercession and protection. Going back as far as Cardinal Mooney's tenure as Archbishop of Detroit, the question has been raised: Who is the patron of the Archdiocese? Ste. Anne has certainly been considered by many, through many generations, to be the patron of the Archdiocese but she has never been officially designated as such. In seeking designation of a patron by the Holy See, I am required to carry out a broad-based consultation with the faithful of the Archdiocese.

The faithful of the Archdiocese now have the opportunity to submit names of saints as possible patrons. After these submissions have been collected, I will review them with the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Presbyteral Council, and Council of Vicars. I will then ask the Holy See to designate our choice as patron for the Archdiocese...."

Diane then offers her pick:

"I pondered St. Michael the Archangel, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. At the same time I was thinking how it might help to have someone who is not as well known, but can offer much in the example they lived, and in their written works. I especially pondered the Fathers and Doctors of the Church - specifically because of the wisdom they offer.

For whatever reason, I settled on St. John Bosco. I know it is a long shot, but I feel it's worth the try. This Italian saint is not just the patron of youth, but is also the patron of Mexican youth, children and students. We are also a heavy blue collar community and St. John Bosco is the patron saint of apprentices and laborers. The Italian priest lived a very holy life rooted in love for the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. He encouraged a virtue driven life and the use of sacramental confession - something seriously lacking today. Reading any works on his life reveals how God's grace can work in us, and for the benefit of those around us. It's also noteworthy that Don Bosco brings us in close proximity to other saints such as St. Dominic Savio - the 'teenage saint' and St. Joseph Cafasso - the priests, priest who was a guide to St. John Bosco."

God willing, may it come to pass!

Publicly Funded Abortion Now in ALL Obamacare Bills

We are not surprised in the least. ANY healthcare bill that comes out of a Democrat-controlled Senate or Congress will have publicly funded abortion.

From LifeNews:

Pro-Life Groups: Votes on Baucus Amdts Confirm Abortion in All Health Care Bills

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 30, 2009

"With a Senate committee rejecting yet another pro-life amendment to make sure the health care bills in Congress don't include abortion funding, pro-life groups say there is one conclusion. That is that every one of the health care bills under consideration contains abortion funding.

The Senate Finance Committee this morning rejected the Hatch amendment to make it clear that the Baucus health care bill would not fund abortions.

"This action leaves no doubt that the health care bill that will come to the Senate floor in a few weeks will contain provisions that would result in massive subsidies for abortion coverage," Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee said.

Johnson told after the vote the battles to stop abortion funding are not over as "the full Senate will have to vote on the pro-abortion subsidies, and other pro-abortion components as well."

The pro-life legislative guru also noted that the near unanimous opposition to the anti-abortion funding limits by members of President Barack Obama's party "is one more proof that President Obama's public statements that he does not want federal dollars used for abortion are completely phony -- part of an ongoing political hoax."

Faith & Politics

Excerpts from a recent address by Archbishop Raymond Burke, former archbishop of Saint Louis --serves as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. (Reported in Catholic Catholic Daily)

Regarding the faith and political life, there has developed in our nation the false notion that the Christian or any person of faith, in order to be a true American citizen, must bracket his faith life from his political life. …

To ignore the fact that Catholics in public life, for example, who persistently violate the moral law regarding the inviolability of innocent human life or the integrity of the marital union, lead many into confusion or even error regarding the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, in fact, contributes to the confusion and error, redounding to the gravest harm to our brothers and sisters, and, therefore, to the whole nation. The perennial discipline of the Church, for that reason among other reasons, has prohibited the giving of Holy Communion and the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist, after admonition, in the grave violation of the moral law (Code of Canon Law, cann. 915; and 1184, § 1, 3º). …….

We find self-professed Catholics, for example, who sustain and support the right of a woman to procure the death of the infant in her womb, or the right of two persons of the same sex to the recognition which the State gives to a man and a woman who have entered into marriage. It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself politically in this manner….

A recent article in a Catholic journal of bioethics gives expression to the proportionalist way of thinking. The writer states that he voted for a particular candidate whom he knew was in favor of embryonic stem-cell research, which involves the deliberate destruction of a human life at its beginning, because he agreed with the candidate on other issues, namely "the war in Iraq, universal health care, the importance of diplomacy and dialogue, energy policy, concern for the environment, and global climate change" (W. Malcolm Byrnes, "Confessions of a 'Pro-life' Obama Supporter," the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 9 [2009], 241). The candidate for whom he voted was also in favor of procured abortion, including partial-birth abortion, and so-called "same-sex marriage." …

To ignore the fact that Catholics in public life, for example, who persistently violate the moral law regarding the inviolability of innocent human life or the integrity of the marital union, lead many into confusion or even error regarding the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, in fact, contributes to the confusion and error, redounding to the gravest harm to our brothers and sisters, and, therefore, to the whole nation. The perennial discipline of the Church, for that reason among other reasons, has prohibited the giving of Holy Communion and the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist, after admonition, in the grave violation of the moral law (Code of Canon Law, cann. 915; and 1184, § 1, 3º).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Shadow Churches" UPDATE: "Queering the Rosary"

An article (disclosure: written by us) from this morning's California Catholic Daily.

Queering the Rosary
“Relational Mysteries” Prayed at Berkeley’s Newman Center

When Oakland’s Bishop Salvatore Cordileone visited Berkeley’s Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union on September 22, he was greeted by approximately 20 protestors. The protestors were seminarians and faculty from the theological union’s schools. The bishop was there to commemorate the merging of the Jesuit school with Santa Clara University. The protesters were there to oppose Bishop Cordileone for his defense of natural marriage.

According to the website, protestors included Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, president of the Starr King (Unitarian Universalist) School of Ministry; Rev. Roland Stringfellow, the organizer of the GTU’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies; Rev. Sanna Reinholtzen, a Lutheran minister; and graduate student Eugene McMullan, apparently a Catholic.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, Mr. McMullan is the founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality. There is more than one organization with that name; presumably they mean the one in the bay area. On August 13, the BAR published an article called “Pray for Equality Outside St. Mary‘s.“ The article began: “The recently formed Catholics for Marriage Equality will be holding a prayer vigil outside St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco Saturday, August 15, which is the feast of the Assumption. Organizer Eugene McMullan noted that on the Assumption, the Catholic Church celebrates Mary being bodily raised into heaven. Catholics for Marriage Equality will be praying the rosary while contemplating the Relational Mysteries.”

Many Catholics, even devout ones, may be excused for never having heard of the “Relational Mysteries.” That’s because they exist nowhere except on the agenda of homosexual activists. According to the June 2009 issue of “Impact“, the international newsletter of the Metropolitan Community Church, under the heading “Queering the Rosary,” the “relational mysteries” were devised by Mr. McMullan.

A crystal-clear description of purpose of the “Relational Mysteries” was given in the online calendar of the New Spirit/MCC Church in Berkeley. The entry was for an event held on Sunday, May 31, 2009, and reads: “GTU doctoral student Eugene McMullan and Reverend Jim Mitulski will lead a two part class on "Praying the Queer Rosary," based on stories from the bible which depict Queer Families or Relationships. The class will include a brief history of the rosary, introduction to Catholic devotions, sharing of stories, and praying together.”

The MCC is an overtly homosexual activist church; that was its founding purpose, so it is not surprising to see such an event held there. Unfortunately, the homosexual activists have managed to introduce the “relational mysteries” into at least one Catholic parish as well. The September 13 web bulletin of Berkeley’s Newman Hall - Holy Spirit Parish announces: “Praying the Rosary in solidarity with LGBT Catholics. Join us Sept. 17, 7:30-9:00 p.m. in the lounge as we explore the Relational Mysteries: Fidelity—Ruth's pledge to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18); Grief—The parting of David and Jonathan (I Sam 20:35-42); Intercession—Esther intercedes for her people (Est 4:9-5:2); Restoration—the raising of Lazarus (John 11:38-44); and Discipleship—the two encounter Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). The group will be co-facilitated by Mike Campos and Eugene McMullan, Ph.D. students at the Graduate Theological Union.”

One may ask just how these biblical events fit in to the homoactivist agenda. The process is defined as “eisegesis” (the interpretation of a text by reading into it one's own ideas) as opposed to “exegesis,” and it seems to be an ecumenical practice among religious homosexual activists. For example, the relationship between Ruth and Naomi will be interpreted as a lesbian one. The relationship between Saul, David, and Jonathon was interpreted by Episcopal Reverend John Kirkley, one of the nominees to be the next Episcopal suffragan bishop of Los Angeles, as a “Biblical Love Triangle.” The raising of Lazarus was the subject of a homily at San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer by Fr. Donal Godfrey, the executive director of University Ministry at USF. He titled his homily “The Call to Come Out.”

The purpose of all this is to redefine the faith into an instrument that serves the homactivist agenda. At Most Holy Redeemer, at USF, and now apparently at Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley, the homoactivists have established "facts on the ground." But if such actions are left unchallenged, others inevitably build upon the error. They homactivists know this. It is something they are counting on, long-term. For this strategy to work, the actions must be public. Here's an honest statement from Nanette Lee Miller in the September 27, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle. The article was titled “Gay Catholics Keeping Faith Despite Vatican”:

"I'm someone who believes you have to live how you believe, and by doing that people will change."

I take Ms. Miller to mean that if she (and likeminded people) just stick to their guns, the Church out of laziness or weakness, will eventually just accomodate them. Is she right?

Well, today Ms. Miller serves as an openly same-sex "married" acolyte and lector at Most Holy Redeemer Parish; a worship committee member at MHR; the Coordinator of acolytes at MHR; and as a Board Member and the Treasurer of Catholic Charities of San Francisco.

As Archbishop Raymond Burke said last Saturday, public scandal requires a public response.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, September 28, 2009

Suggestion for Cardinal

The following quote is from the California Catholic Daily:

Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has said abortion should not be in the
health care reform bill and that President Obama believes similarly. The cardinal briefly spoke to at a Sept. 22 panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on faith communities’ involvement in immigration reform. The event was sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Asked whether he thought that the proposals fund abortion and whether they should be amended to explicitly prohibit abortion, he said the issue was “way beyond his field,” which is immigration. “I really haven’t kept up on that, and I spend all my time on this other [topic]. You have to get somebody who spends time on that,” he remarked

My suggestion to the Cardinal: change your schedule and make time to include the essentials, one of which is the question of abortion.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bishop of the Church of God in Christ Supports Obamacare; Black Pro-Life Ministers Outraged

On September 26, Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, a primarily African-American denomination, issued a statement in support of what he called President Barack Obama’s “effort to provide healthcare to every American.”

It should never be forgotten that, far from making an “effort to provide healthcare to every American” President Obama is one of the very few American politicians who has ever voted to deny healthcare to Americans. President Obama did this as an Illinois state senator when he voted on four separate occasions against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act. (The act passed 52-0 after Obama left Illinois to serve as a US Senator.)

Bishop Blake‘s statement of support included the sentence "In accord with our commitment to Christian teaching, we wholeheartedly affirm the president's position that medical costs related to the abortion of fetuses shall not be covered by healthcare plans funded by this initiative."

Bishop Blake has thus joined other religious leaders, including those at the Catholic Health Association, who are apparently willing to accept at face-value President Obama’s claim that no government healthcare bill will allow public monies to be used to fund abortion. Given President Obama’s legislative history and political allies, such uncritical acceptance goes beyond charity and becomes irresponsibility.

Bishop Blake’s statement has provoked outrage from other African-American clergymen around the country. The following statement was issued in response:

“The Black Pro-life Movement is outraged by the recent endorsement of this administration's health care proposal by some clergy of the Church of God in Christ.

As God-fearing individuals we encourage COGIC leaders to read and evaluate the President’s plan, including the Capps-Waxman Amendment, rather than merely parroting his words. If unborn children cannot depend on the Church to carefully examine this bill to see if their lives will be protected from state-funded genocide, on whom can they depend?

Such an endorsement does not consider the devastating impact abortion is having in the black community. Over 1,400 black babies each day are lynched out of their mothers’ wombs. Clearly, this rate of prenatal murder in our community outpaces death by heart disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS and violent crime combined.

We find it troubling that this endorsement does not acknowledge the deliberate targeting of the black community by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, nor decry the mental and physiological impact abortion is having on black women across America.

We recommend in the strongest terms possible that this endorsement be withdrawn until such time that the Obama administration adds language to the health care proposal that specifically prohibits taxpayer funded abortions.

Pastor Stephen E. Broden
Fair Park Bible Fellowship
Dallas, Texas

Pastor Dion Evans
Chosen Vessels Christian Church
Alameda, CA

Reverend Walter B. Hoye
Issues4Life Foundation
Union City, CA

Reverend Dean Nelson
Executive Director
Network of Politically Active Christians
801 K St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dr. Johnny Hunter D.D.
L.E.A.R.N Inc. (Life Education and Resource Network)
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Dr. Levon R. Yuille, .D.D
Chair: National Black Pro Life Congress
Host : Joshua's Trail Talk Show (WDTK)
Member of The Michigan Advisory Committee
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights"

We applaud the statement of the Black Pro-Life Ministers. We join them in urging His Excellency Bishop Blake to withdraw any endorsement of any healthcare plan until "the Obama administration adds language to the health care proposal that specifically prohibits taxpayer funded abortions. "

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Holy Father Takes on the Divorce Culture

Yesterday the Holy Father uttered these powerful words in a meeting with representatives from the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops:

"The Church", Benedict XVI went on, "tirelessly teaches that the family has its foundation in marriage and in God's plan". Yet "the secularised world is dominated by profound uncertainty on this matter, especially since western societies legalised divorce. The only recognised foundation seems to be individual subjectivity, expressed in a desire to live together".

"In this situation the number of marriages is falling because no-one wants to commit themselves on such fragile and unpredictable grounds, the number of 'de facto' unions is increasing and divorces are on the rise. It is in this fragile scenario that the drama of so many children is played out - deprived of the support of their parents, victims of apprehension and abandonment - and social disorder grows".

"The Church cannot remain indifferent before the separation and divorce of couples", Pope Benedict cried, "before the break-up of homes and the repercussions on children, who need extremely precise points of reference for their instruction and education: in other words determined and confident parents who participate in their upbringing".

"This is the principle that is being undermined and compromised by the practice of divorce, through the so-called extended and mobile family which increases the number of 'fathers' and 'mothers' and leads to a situation today in which the majority of those who feel orphaned are not children without parents but children with a surplus of parents. This situation, with its inevitable ... crisscross relationships cannot but generate internal conflict and confusion that contributes to giving children a distorted idea of the family".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Petals in the Dust: India's Missing Girls

From today's California Catholic Daily:

"Petals in the Dust
Why Are Ten Million Women Missing from India’s Population?

The practice of sex-selection abortion and female infanticide in India has resulted in the deaths of an estimated ten million women and girls over the past two decades. That astounding figure is the impetus behind a new documentary co-produced by a husband and wife team of California Catholic filmmakers.

Petals in the Dust is produced and directed by Nyna Pais-Caputi, an Indian native who now lives in the Bay Area. Her husband Gino Caputi, a native San Franciscan, is the associate producer and director of photography. Other projects by the Caputis include film coverage of the Walk For Life West Coast.

A personal experience led the pair to produce Petals in the Dust. Nyna Pais-Caputi describes it: ”Growing up in India, I was aware of the issue of female foeticide and infanticide. However, it was only when my husband and I started looking into adopting a baby girl from India, that we realized the scope of the problem. We were surprised to learn that there were very few female infants available for adoption. When we dug deeper, we found statistics that seemed to explain these missing baby girls - one out of every six girls does not live to see her 15th birthday, one-third of these deaths take place at birth, every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.”

The film will explore the attitudes underlying the devaluing of women in Indian culture. Although sex-selection abortion is illegal in India, it is widely practiced, apparently at all levels of society. To combat sex-selection abortion, Indian law prohibits the use of ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby, but the law is widely ignored. According to Donna Fernandes, co-founder of the Vimochana women’s rights organization, ultrasound clinicians have told her that even the daughters-in-law of judges have come for sex-determination ultrasound tests. Perhaps the most disturbing sequence in the film’s trailer is of a woman who, after an ultrasound revealed that her child was a girl, had an abortion. She has so internalized the Indian devaluation of women that she justifies this: “Girl baby means for 18 years I have to look for some boys to get married. I have to make some property. That’s why I doesn’t like girl’s life.” In the United States, it is generally agreed that ultrasound imagery of the living child in the womb has furthered the pro-life cause. But in India the same technological advance is apparently having the opposite effect.

If abortion is unavailable, infanticide may be practiced. Dr. Marie-Mignon Mascarehnas, who represents the Indian chapter of International Right To Life, says “Today it is very clear that infanticide is practiced where they cannot afford a sex detection test.” She notes that for the mother “the attachment to the child begins at conception“ and that often the mother “cannot go through with it (the infanticide).” But the natural maternal love can be overwhelmed by the ingrained cultural attitudes of the extended family.

The trailer includes a heartbreaking sequence in which a mother describes how her husband took her newborn girl away from her. The husband killed their baby girl: “My husband and his family wanted me to give the baby girl poison…and kill her. I went crazy with grief. I said ‘No, I will not let that happen to my baby daughter.’ In spite of that, they took her to my friend’s house without my knowledge, and fed her rice husks. (Rice husks will slit the baby girl’s throat from the inside.) I asked my husband ‘Where is my baby?’ He said, ‘She is dead.’”

The documentary will explore the extraordinary demographic damage these practices are causing to Indian society: “The average ratio of women to men is 927 to 1000 based on the last census in 2001, and in some parts of North India it is as low as 845 women to a 1000 men. The district of Daman in Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 591 women to a 1000 men.”

By highlighting these attitudes and the practices they engender, the filmmakers hope “… to create an awareness both in India and globally and bring people together to help protect India's girl children and the women who face atrocities because of the sex ratio....”

Petals in the Dust is in pre-production and the filmmakers are still raising funds. To learn more, or to donate to this worthy project, please visit the website:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CCHD Update: Some Success!

The CCHD is pulling funding from the two objectionable San Francisco organizations we had reported on in Tuesday's California Catholic Daily.

From today's Catholic News Service:

"CCHD pulls funding from two agencies, investigates two others

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has canceled grants to two organizations after learning about their involvement in activities contrary to church teaching and is studying the actions of two other groups.

Ralph McCloud, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' anti-poverty program, told Catholic News Service Sept. 23 funding was canceled for two San Francisco-based organizations, the Chinese Progressive Association and Young Workers United.

Public service announcement from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. (CNS/CCHD)

The Chinese Progressive Association, which works to improve working conditions and advance social and economic justice for Chinese immigrants, was set to receive $30,000. Young Workers United, a coalition advocating for the rights of low-wage service-sector employees, was awarded a $25,000 grant during the 2009-10 funding cycle, according to CCHD records.

McCloud said the funding was canceled after he learned that both organizations had advocated that its members vote "no" in the November 2008 election on an amendment to the California state constitution that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In the same election, the workers group also urged San Francisco voters to adopt a citywide proposition that would have decriminalized prostitution."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Ten Suggestions

The Canadian David Warren, once editor of the Idler Magazine, is widely travelled -- especially in the Middle and Far East. He has been writing for the Ottawa Citizen since 1996.

…I do actually think about this a lot, and today I propose to give 10 suggestions in reply to all such questions. Note that not one of them requires political action.
These are 10 things I think a "normal" person could pursue in a practical way (I have always aspired to be normal myself, not always with success), and indeed, I am convinced that they are "categorical imperatives." That is to say, if these suggestions were followed, diligently, by any number of people in our society, our world would actually become a better and more civilized place.

The first is, absolutely refuse to give obeisance to the various idols that the "politically correct" specially define and demand that we worship, such as "equality," "fairness," "human rights," and the other specious abstractions to which they attribute a gnostic and mystical power. And symmetrically, refuse to worship in the temples of the gods of money and power and coolness.

Second, make conscious, reverent references to God -- even to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- an audible part of our lives in the world, and love God in our hearts. Conversely, carefully avoid speaking of any divine thing in a cute or irreverent way.

Third, unfailingly attend Mass, each Sunday, and daily where we can; and let the Mass do its work upon our souls. (Non-Catholics should likewise be punctilious in their own religious observances.) Let the enemy see our churches filled. Observe and participate in all other sacraments, which includes, for Catholic Christians, the crucial one of making a good confession, frequently. In any event, prayerfully ask God's forgiveness when we fail.

Fourth, defend our families, by keeping as aloof as possible from the bureaucracies of Nanny State. Do not neglect the needs of our parents in their time of sickness and old age; do not fail to instill in our children, by our own upright and sincere behaviour, the respect they owe to us as their parents.

Fifth, do not participate in any way in what the last Pope so eloquently described as "the culture of death." Do everything in our power to streetproof ourselves and our children against its demands, and do not hesitate to spell out the basic facts of life, behind all life issues. Be sure our children understand them, and that they grasp the sanctity of all human life.

Sixth, reject sexual liberation in all its insidious forms. Do not even think about fornication and adultery. Truly respect and accommodate the opposite sex.

Seventh, be consistently honest and honourable in all business and social transactions, with everyone, regardless of race colour or creed, even when it must be at some cost to ourselves. Do not play with temptations to corruption, even on the office pencil scale. Yet assiduously avoid being "holier than thou."

Eighth, be truthful in speech, fair and even charitable in speaking of other people, and look constantly for whatever good we can find in them. Be encouraging rather than discouraging by habit, and most important, do not spread personal gossip and lies, even against our worst enemies, and even when we think they deserve it.

Ninth, be content with what we have in our family and religious life, make ourselves happy with the homes we have to return to, and do not look covetously upon the Joneses. Accept with humility our station in life; have ambitions, but make them unselfish.

Tenth, be content with our fate more generally, and trust in God to deliver His justice in the fullness of Eternity: "Thy will be done." Take only what comes our way, including all knocks, and use what we have been given, including all talents and skills, generously. Indeed, give, according to our means, a little recklessly. See and sympathize with need.

And rejoice, always, in the life we are given, and in the knowledge that what we leave upon the face of time can only be our example

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Catholic Campaign for Human Development UPDATE

There are two stories online today about how the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is funding organizations that take positions contrary to Church teaching on abortion and same-sex "marriage." The CCHD will be allowed to hold a nationwide second collection the Sunday before Thanksgiving at nearly every parish in the United States.

One of the stories (disclosure--written by us) is in the California Catholic Daily, and the other by Patrick B. Craine is in LifeSiteNews.

We reported that in San Francisco the CCHD is funding two organizations (the Chinese Progressive Association and Young Workers United) who are on record as opposing Proposition 8. We also reported that the Young Workers United were on record as opposing Proposition 4, (which would have required the parent or guardian of an underage girl to be notified before she undergoes an abortion).

Mr. Craine's story reported that the Chinese Progressive Association was also on record as opposing Proposition 4. He also linked to a report prepared by the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry which documented other grants made by the CCHD to organizations which were in violation of their own funding guidelines. Those guidelines, created by a panel chaired by Bishop Roger Morin in the wake of the CCHD's ACORN funding scandal prohibit

“...partisan activity and funding of any group that engages in activities contrary to Catholic moral teaching, whether or not those activities are funded by CCHD. These criteria are actively enforced and have led CCHD to deny funding to many groups and to quickly terminate any group that violates these prohibitions. The Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee and staff are reviewing these existing CCHD’s policies, grant agreements, and other safeguards in order to reaffirm and strengthen our protections in areas of Church teaching, financial and organizational accountability, and partisan political activity.”

Obviously, those guidelines are not being enforced. And it's not as if the disqualifying information for these groups was hard to find. As we said in the California Catholic Daily article " is impossible to see how the application from Young Workers United made it through the levels of the Catholic Campaign scrutiny."

One look at the homepage of their website should have set off alarm bells, and the link to the voter guide recommending opposition to Propositions 4 and 8 was the first item on their "Social Justice" page.

For more info, and suggested actions, please visit the comprehensive "National Campaign: Addressing the CCHD" page on the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry's website.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lord, Hear our Prayer!

San Francisco’s Catholic weekly (September 18) carried a
Guest Commentary, By George Wesolek: “The Kennedy Catholic legacy.”.
Here is a selection from his insightful message

His death and his position on abortion as a Catholic politician highlight the great divide in American Catholicism and underscored the great tension and conflict that the bishops have on their shoulders.

On the one hand, Bishops must unify the Church. Their first job is to be pastors of their people, signs of compassion and forgiveness. I believe, contrary to some, that it would have been a tragic mistake to deny him a Catholic funeral – a harsh judgment out of keeping with that mercy and compassion that all of us, sinners that we are, look toward at the time of our deaths.
On the other hand, without any clear, public message from the Bishops about the truth of his very public life and position, the status quo in American Catholicism remains. Prominent Catholic politicians like Kennedy, Pelosi and Biden, in effect, continue to give the strong, public message to American Catholics and others that their position is somehow sanctioned, different perhaps, progressive perhaps, but well within the parameters of the Catholic faith. It is not.

And even though the Bishops speak out clearly and often about the true Catholic position on abortion, their statements are trumped, time and again, by these powerful and influential politicians who are revered by average Catholics who often don’t have a clear and sound understanding of the abortion issue.

Thus these “false prophets” lead the national abortion debate in politics and society with a much more powerful impact than the Church’s bishops. Indeed, these politicians “catechize” millions of American Catholics by their stance - -a failure-proof formula for more divisiveness.
Solving this conundrum requires reflection and discussion in the spirit of patience and respect. Still, we have the light of truth to guide us: All Catholics – bishops, clergy, religious and laity -- must speak with one voice on the issues of life and the dignity of the human person.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"We Shared Everything For the First Millenium of Christianity"

Very hopeful news this week. Let's pray for a healing of the breach between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches!

From the National Catholic Register:

"A leading figure in the Catholic Church in Russia made a startling statement in recent weeks.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera Sept. 14, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow said that unity between the long-separated Catholic and Orthodox Churches could be accomplished in the very near future.

In fact, he said it could be a reality “within a few months.”

That would be an astonishing accomplishment, considering the fact that the split between East and West has existed for almost 1,000 years and that at times the road to communion has been full of boulders, potholes, ambushes, false exits and missing bridges....

The pontificate of Benedict XVI has made many Orthodox leaders optimistic: His work as a theologian is greatly admired in Orthodox circles, and he is without the burden of the difficult political history between Poland and Russia, which hindered Polish Pope John Paul II from making as much progress.

And the election of Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church, a man seen as more open to the West than his predecessor, has also encouraged those who hope for unity.

There’s another factor that bodes well for future developments, as well: Orthodox and Catholics are finding that they share common concerns, particularly the increasing secularization of Western society. Patriarch Kirill said recently that “Catholics understand that Orthodox are their allies. And Orthodox are more and more coming to understand that Catholics are their allies in the face of hostile and nonreligious secularism....

There seems to be less and less that separates us on other issues, as well. Orthodox are closer to Rome than perhaps any other church or faith community. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have the same seven sacraments, valid apostolic succession and valid priesthood. Except for the primacy of the papacy, we believe the same tenets of faith. We venerate many of the same saints. We shared everything for the first millennium of Christianity (including the Church Fathers) and much else since the split of 1054."

Pray God this reunification comes to pass!

The AP is covering the story as well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last Things?

Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican, in his letter #26, ( written from New,York) quotes a passage from St. Robert Bellarmine , whose feast day was celebrated yesterday:

"For it must be known that in the divine letters the Holy Spirit has given six sure signs concerning the coming of the Antichrist: two which precede him, namely the preaching of the Gospel in the whole world and the devastation of the Roman Empire; two contemporaneous, the coming of the two men (the two witnesses), Enoch and Elias, and the greatest and final persecution and also that the public sacrifice (of the Mass) shall completely cease; and two following signs, the death of the Antichrist after 3 and 1/2 years (after his rise to power) and the end of the world, neither of which signs have we seen at this time."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Raise Standard

"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair."
George Washington

“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to develop whatever talents God gave me – not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – ‘this with God’s help, I have done.’
All this is what it means to be an American."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Can we point to even one success story?"

That's the hard question asked by Fr. Roger Landry, writing in "The Anchor" the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts.

"Last week, our editorial argued that one of the most important lessons pastors of the Church in the United States need to draw from the history of interactions with Senator Ted Kennedy on the sanctity of human life is that a strategy of conscience-education-alone with “personally opposed, publicly pro-choice” Catholic politicians hasn’t worked. The attempt to engage, teach and help persuade such politicians to conversion didn’t succeed with Senator Kennedy and it hasn’t succeeded yet with other pro-choice Catholic legislators.

To say that it hasn’t succeeded, however, is really not strong enough. It’s possible, after all, to fail a test with a grade of 59; in such a case a student would be able to take some solace that, while there are some areas in need of improvement, he was close to minimal success. If a student fails a test with close to a zero, on the other hand, he obviously needs to make some radical changes if he ever hopes to succeed. And that is closer to the candid assessment that leaders of the Church need to make relative to the education-alone strategy during the past few decades.

Let us take an honest look at the numbers. When we survey the long list of pro-choice Catholic politicians from both parties — Kennedy, Kerry, Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Daschle, Dodd, Durban, Leahy, Mikulski, Pelosi, Delahunt, Capuano, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Granholm, Sebelius, Pataki, Richardson, Cellucci, Cuomo, and Biden to name just a handful — is it possible to say that the strategy has worked with any of them? Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?"

Is there even one? Just one?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Another Look

Here’s twist to my recent blog; History Unfolding:
"More than 5000 people have visited this site in the last seven days. Most of you visited because of a fradulent email comparing President Obama to Hitler, which has been circulating under my name for the last five months or so, and whose circulation has dramatically increased this month. You can read its full history here. Quite a few, however, have appreciated what they found and apparently intend to return."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Senate Votes to Defund ACORN

More "community organizer" news. This, from the AP :

Senate votes to deny funds to ACORN

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.

The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. "

This follows the US Census Bureau's decision to not let ACORN partcipate in the 2010 censeus count.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

History Unfolding

I received from a good friend. Worth taking few minutes to read.

I am a student of history. Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus.

Something of historic proportions is happening.. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy.. Why?

We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten... And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska .. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning.

As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s In those times, the "savior" was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative "losers" read it right now.

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did - regularly. And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand - theGreat Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course,

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world. He did it with a compliant media - did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and .... . .. change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books.

So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords inEngland (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most cultured country inEurope. It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors... All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

David Kaiser
Jamestown , Rhode Island
United States

David Kaiser is a respected historian whose published works have covered a broad range of topics, from European Warfare to American League Baseball. Born in 1947, the son of a diplomat, Kaiser spent his childhood in three capital cities: Washington D.C. , Albany ,New York , and Dakar , Senegal .. He attended Harvard University , graduating there in 1969 with a B.A. in history. He then spent several years more at Harvard, gaining a PhD in history, which he obtained in 1976. He served in the Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.

He is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the United StatesNaval War College. He has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, WilliamsCollege and Harvard University . Kaiser's latest book, The Road to Dallas , about the Kennedy assassination, was just published by Harvard University Pressent.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Today in DC

Americans wake up and protest the government's attempt to take over society.

Very nice.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Catholic News Agency Covers Memorial Prayer Story

"Publisher apologizes for Sen. Kennedy memorial prayer

Chicago, Ill., Sep 12, 2009 / 07:05 am (CNA).- Liturgy Training Publications, the Chicago-based publisher associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago, has apologized for distributing a controversial prayer that praised the late pro-abortion Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as one who had promoted peace, justice, equality and liberty.

The prayer was made available for use at Sunday Masses after the prominent Catholic senator’s death on August 25.

The original prayer, posted through the publisher’s downloadable Prayer of the Faithful resource, read: “For those who have given their lives to service to their country, promoting values of peace, justice, equality, and liberty; especially, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, that he may find his eternal reward in the arms of God . . . . We pray.”

Pro-life Catholics such as the 87-year-old priest and blogger Fr. John Malloy complained about the prayer, citing the late senator’s ardent support for abortion in the latter half of his political career.

Liturgy Training Publications Director John A. Thomas wrote to Fr. Malloy and others to apologize for the “extremely poor use of words” in the prayer.

He explained that the prayer had been adapted from the text for “Prayers on the Inauguration of a Public Official.” Calling the source text a “poor choice,” he said that the prayer is future-oriented and not intended as a reflection on “the quality of the life of a person.”

“This was not considered enough when adapted. As adapted for the Prayer of the Faithful, the text inappropriately presents a sense of support for the positions and actions taken by the late Senator by those who wrote it or pray it.”

He said the editors did not intend to show support for Sen. Kennedy’s positions.

“I apologize for our failure in judgment and poor selection of words used in the prayer. I pray that we do better in the future,” his letter concluded.

A spokeswoman at Liturgy Training Publications confirmed for CNA that Thomas had sent out the letter, which has been published on several websites.

Responding to the apology, Fr. Malloy explained his reaction to the prayer and commented that Sen. Kennedy “certainly didn't promote liberty for the unborn, or equality and justice. And that's what I found offensive."

"I think we pray for everyone who's dead, our enemies, we pray for them, but we don't extol them," he continued.

Fr. Malloy told ChicagoCatholicNews he has “great respect” for the publisher and said he believes their apology is sincere. "

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hear the Fathers

For those who believe homosexuality is just another way of life
here are a few teachings from Church Fathers on the matter of homosexuality,

as quoted by Robert Moynihan in Letters from Rome # 26:

Tertullian, the great apologist of the Church in the second century, writes: “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish… from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV)

Saint Basil of Caesarea, the fourth century Church Father who wrote the principal rule of the monks of the East, establishes this: “The cleric or monk who molests youths or boys or is caught kissing or committing some turpitude, let him be whipped in public, deprived of his crown [tonsure] and, after having his head shaved, let his face be covered with spittle; and [let him be] bound in iron chains, condemned to six months in prison, reduced to eating rye bread once a day in the evening three times per week. After these six months living in a separate cell under the custody of a wise elder with great spiritual experience, let him be subjected to prayers, vigils and manual work, always under the guard of two spiritual brothers, without being allowed to have any relationship… with young people.” (St. Basil of Caesarea, in St. Peter Damien, Liber Gomorrhianus, cols. 174f.)

Saint Augustine is categorical in the combat against sodomy and similar vices. The great Bishop of Hippo writes: “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed." (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)

Saint John Chrysostom writes: “All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men… There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV) Saint Peter Damian’s Liber Gomorrhianus [Book of Gomorrah], addressed to Pope Leo IX, is considered the principal work against homosexuality. It reads: “Just as Saint Basil establishes that those who incur sins [against nature] … should be subjected not only to a hard penance but a public one, and Pope Siricius prohibits penitents from entering clerical orders, one can clearly deduce that he who corrupts himself with a man through the ignominious squalor of a filthy union does not deserve to exercise ecclesiastical functions, since those who were formerly given to vices … become unfit to administer the Sacraments.” (St. Peter Damian, Liber Gomorrhianus, cols. 174f)

Saint Thomas Aquinas, writing about sins against nature, explains: “However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)

Saint Bernardine of Siena, a preacher of the fifteenth century, writes: “No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God….. Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furor.” (St. Bernardine of Siena, Predica XXXIX, in Le prediche volgari (Milan: Rizzoli, 1936), pp. 869ff.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Health Care?

One of the most extensive analyses of the elements of health care reform came in a joint statement by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., and Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.

"Despite the many flaws with our current policies, change itself does not guarantee improvement," they said in the Sept. 1 statement. "Many of the proposals which have been promoted would diminish the protection of human life and dignity and shift our health care costs and delivery to a centralized government bureaucracy."

The Catholic obligation to the common good requires that "we must find some way to provide a safety net for people in need without diminishing personal responsibility or creating an inordinately bureaucratic structure which will be vulnerable to financial abuse, be crippling to our national economy, and remove the sense of humanity from the work of healing and helping the sick," the Kansas City bishops said.

(From Catholic News Service)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pray for our Military

During the next 60 seconds, stop whatever you are doing, and take this opportunity. (Literally it
is only 1 minute.) All you have to do is the following:

Stop and think and appreciate God's power in your life, for doing what you know is pleasing to Him. If you are not ashamed to do this, follow the instructions. Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of Me, I will be ashamed of you before My Father'

If you are not ashamed, copy and send this message...only if you believe 'Yes, I love my God He is my fountain of Life and My Savior. He Keeps me going day and
night. Without Him, I am no one. But with Him, I can do everything. Christ is my strength.'


If you look closely at the picture above, you will note that all the Marines pictured are bowing their heads. That's because they're praying. This incident took place at a recent ceremony honoring the birthday of the corps, and it has the ACLU up in arms. 'These are federal employees,' says Lucius Traveler, a spokesman for the ACLU , 'on federal property and on federal time. For them to pray is clearly an establishment of religion, and we must nip this in the bud immediately.' When asked about the ACLU's charges, Colonel Jack Fessender, speaking for the Commandant of the Corps said (cleaned up a bit), 'Screw the ACLU.' GOD Bless Our Warriors, Send the ACLU to France . May God Bless America , One Nation Under GOD! What's wrong with the picture? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

I am sorry but I am not breaking this one....Let us pray Prayer chain for our Military...please don't break it.
(courtesy Fr. Larry Lorenzoni, SDB)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Exaggeration of Freedom?

We are hearing voices, loud and clear: “Beware the cries of diversity, which stifles true liberation!”

Barack Obama's recently appointed Diversity Czar, Mark Lloyd, appears to be looking to wage a regulatory campaign to silence conservative voices on talk radio, cable TV and maybe even the Internet... in other words, an all out effort to stifle dissent of the Administration's radical agenda. Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd, whose official job title is Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), makes no secret of his desire to stamp out freedom of speech and of the press.

"It should be clear by now that my focus... is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies."