Saturday, November 10, 2007

Amy Welborn, who is not blogging as much as she used to, still manages to find interesting Catholic related links. At Charlotte Was Both, she points out a great piece-

Give Garry Wills that old-time religion

This is an op-ed in the LA Times by St. Blog's own Gregory Popcak. Mr. Popcak, who I met at the blogging conference at St. John's Law School, responds to a previous editorial by Garry Wills where Mr. Wills tried to say abortion was not a religious issue. In the editorial, Mr. Popcak mentions both Peter Singer and James Watson, both people I have written about recently on this blog.
From Newsday -

Navy chaplain Capodanno set on road to sainthood

"His story was told Friday in a presentation following a Mass for the football team at St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington. The presentation was given by Vietnam veteran John Scafidi, who was at the battle where Capodanno died."

The official website for the canonization of Fr. Vincent Capodanno is

Thursday, November 08, 2007

From the where do they find these people files:

Priest accused of stalking Conan O'Brien

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Interesting discussion going on over at Catholic Matriarch in My Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom on Catholic Schools. I am interested in the discussion of CCD programs and how they are treated at parishes, especially parishes with Catholic schools. The blogger mentions a parish school installing smart boards in classrooms and not allowing them to be used for CCD. Here on Long Island, the number of students in CCD classes is greater than the number of students in Catholic schools so we should be making sure the CCD programs are top notch. Are parishes and the Diocese doing enough for these programs?

From the Long Island Catholic:

"Bishop William Murphy, flanked by Msgr. Robert Morrissey, left, and Deacon John Coughlin, faces the altar as he celebrates Mass at St. Mary Major Basilica"

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is sponsoring a golden jubilee pilgrimage to Rome. Click here to see a picture of Bishop Murphy celebrating Mass "ad orientem".

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

John Paul II Named Patron for Youth Day '08

"World Youth Day organizers say that Servant of God Pope John Paul II was a natural choice as one of the event's 10 patrons, since the Polish Pontiff invented the gatherings."
President Bush nominates Mary Ann Glendon as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fr. Francis Mary Stone of EWTN's Life on the Rock show has taken time off to "discern" after becoming close to a woman he was counseling.

Update: The reaction throughout St. Blog's Parish has been one of sadness with many offering prayers for Fr. Francis. A few have expressed anger and noted that the time to discern is before ordination not after. I would agree with this and also add that traditionally priests have always had to be careful not to become too close to someone they are counseling or teaching. Still, prayers for Fr. Francis and this widow are the best response.
Steelers first in local market brand strength

"The Pittsburgh Steelers are more than just a good football team. They're also a powerful brand.
franchise was named the strongest team brand in its local market compared with scores of other professional sports teams across the country in a new consumer survey"

Anyone that has been to Pittsburgh can vouch for this. I have seen the Steelers logo painted on a side street, I have seen busloads of fans pulling up to a hotel the weekend of a game, and I have seen Pittsburgh fans gathered around a tv watching the game with an intensity of generals at war.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Come Here Watson, I need you

Now that James Watson has resigned from Cold Spring Harbor Lab after making racist comments, Newsday has published an article entitled An Echo of the past which mentions the racism of the first head of the lab. Per the Scientific American blog, Cold Spring Harbor was once the center of eugenics studies in America and although there are many great things the Lab has done, and is doing, it is important to remember how even good intentions can lead to bad science and bad things. This is especially important to remember considering James Watson's on the record stance against the Catholic Church for its teaching on (embryonic, not adult) stem cell research. Consider:

Edwin Black, author of IBM and the Holocaust, wrote a book about Eugenics called War Against the Weak Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

The website for the book says: It began on Long Island and Ended at Auschwitz.....and yet it never really stopped. Here is a quote from an interview the author did with the Dallas Morning News:

"Question: All this happened 60 or more years ago. What's the lesson now?

Answer: First, it's important to understand that the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Institute and Planned Parenthood were completely cooperative. We should not judge these organizations today by how they were 50 or 90 years ago. These organizations publicly regret the involvement of their originators.
The "take away" is how easy it is to mask racism and prejudice in science. How easy it is to be deluded by credentials and academic titles. Remember, eugenics in the U.S. and in Nazi Germany was based on "settled science." The eugenicists all agreed on it.

Question: You mentioned that, universally, the Catholic Church spoke against eugenics. Why didn't it work? Is there a lesson there for organized religion, in terms of preventing something like this in the future?

Answer: But it did work. Where the Catholic Church was strong – parts of Illinois or Massachusetts, for instance – eugenics measures were not enacted. The problem was that organized religion failed to project itself beyond its small sphere of influence. If there had been a more universal approach, had the Catholic Church and other churches ... been far more aggressive in defending human rights during the 12-year Hitler era, things might have been different. But, you have to understand, eugenics never acted in the name of an organized religion. Eugenics held itself out to be its own religion.

Question: Is there a religious issue here?

Answer: Sanctity of life is a religious issue. The devaluation of human life is a religious issue. Once you say, "I want to improve society by doing away with someone else, or someone else's family," you're into genocide. No matter how pure your heart is.
The recent paper delivered by Peter J. Colosi on Pope John Paul II vs. Peter Singer at the conference of Catholic Social Scientists has a foonote I found very quotable. Singer's decision to supply his ailing mother with aides, rather than kill her, completely contradicted his philosophical beliefs and his work in ethics. A footnote in Colosi's paper quotes Peter Berkowitz in the New Republic Jan. 10, 2000 :

"The ethicist's innocence, at this late date in his career, of the most elemental features of his subject matter boggles the mind. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more stunning rebuke to the well-heeled and well-ensconced academic discipline of practical ethics than that its most controversial and influential star, at the peak of his discipline, after an Oxford education, after twenty-five years as a university professor, and after the publication of thousands of pages laying down clear-cut rules on life-and-death issues, should reveal, only as the result of a reporter's prodding, and only in the battle with his own elderly mother's suffering, that he has just begun to appreciate that the moral life is complex."
Hereditary, My Dear Watson?

James Watson, formerly of Cold Spring Harbor Lab made racist comments recently that made the news . Check out Dawn Eden's description of her meeting with him.

Then, please see this article which includes this telling quote:

"James Watson would have aborted his son if a genetic test had been available at the time warning that his child would be born with severe epilepsy.

"Any time you can prevent a seriously sick child from being born, it is good for everyone," Dr Watson told The Sunday Age. "Most mothers wouldn't want to have dwarfs."


"For instance, he believes abortions are acceptable where a foetus is found to be genetically inclined to homosexuality."

Then there is the whole question of how much credit should have gone to Rosalind Franklin for the discovery of DNA's Double Helix:

From Wikipedia:

"Watson's original title was to have been "Honest Jim," in part to raise the ethical questions of bypassing Franklin to gain access to her X-ray diffraction data before they were published. Watson seems to have never been particularly bothered by the way things turned out. If all that mattered was beating Pauling to the structure of DNA, then Franklin's cautious approach to analysis of the X-ray data was simply an obstacle that Watson needed to run around."

Or from Jewish Virtual

" In fact, many scientists believe Franklin played a larger role than previously acknowledged in the research that led to the 1962 Nobel Prize that was awarded to Maruice Wilkins, Francis Crick, and James Watson for the discovery of DNA's double helix.
Wilkins shared Franklin's data, without her knowledge, with Watson and Crick, at Cambridge University, and they pulled ahead in the race, ultimately publishing the proposed structure of DNA in March 1953."