Are Some Recent American Soldier Fatalities in Ira…

Are Some Recent American Soldier Fatalities in Iraq the Results of Suicide?

From Sunday Times:

US forces in Iraq have suffered cases of probable suicide, a senior military official said today, amid slumping morale among troops faced with daily and deadly attacks.

The senior officer, who asked not to be named, said that among 53 US military non-combat deaths since May 1, when the war was declared effectively over, were ‘probable’ suicides as well as a large number of road accidents.

He did not say how many soldiers were suspected of committing suicide.”

Vandals Destroy Statues Outside Catholic Church …

Vandals Destroy Statues Outside Catholic Church

Mike O’Mara is a college classmate of mine. This is an inner city parish in downtown Indianapolis. It is a poor Hispanic parish. I hope that the local parishes down there would consider pitching in the money to repair the church (in many ways symbolic of the sort of welcome US Catholics are giving to Hispanic immigrants).

From The Indianapolis Star:

“Two life-size statues were toppled at St. Mary Catholic Church, 317 N. New Jersey St., between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, causing about $5,000 in damage, according to police and the Rev. Michael O’Mara, church pastor.

The head of the St. Joseph statue, which stood at the top of the concrete steps leading to the church, was found in the street early Wednesday by a passer-by, who notified police.

A statue of Mary in front of the rectory also was knocked over.

‘As much as I felt hurt for myself, I felt hurt for the people who did the damage,’ O’Mara said. ‘Perhaps they had anger over something or were drinking, but they acted in an inappropriate manner.’

The church was built in 1912, though the parish community dates to 1858.

O’Mara said the deductible on the church’s insurance is $5,000, and he doesn’t know where he will find the money to repair or replace the marble statues.”

Recommended Book I know Merton has been dead si…

Recommended Book

I know Merton has been dead since December of 1968 but if it is possible to have a new book out in spite of death this is it. Due to an expressed desire that this book not be published that Merton left in his will (written about a year before he died unexpectedly) this manuscript that he subsequently did finish and express oral desire to see published has remained unpublished until now.

The book is an excellent presentation of the contemplative life and points out all that is wrong with many cute attempts to make liturgy or prayer something other than what it really is —conversation with God at our most inner depths.

Shop at

Hoax Perp May be Arrested Soon From the Indiana…

Hoax Perp May be Arrested Soon

From the Indianapolis Star:

“The woman who fooled an Indiana family with her claim to be their abducted daughter may be arrested in a few days, an Indiana State Police detective said this morning.

Donna L. Walker of Topeka, Kan., faces charges of identity deception, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of false reporting.

‘We’re hopeful to have her in custody in a few days,’ Lt. Jeff Heck said today on NBC’s ‘Today’ show.

Appearing with Heck was Mike Sherrill, still reeling from having his hopes dashed that his daughter would be returned after 17 years.

Sherrill, his former wife, Dorothy Sherrill, and other family members learned that they were victims of a hoax shortly before a press conference Wednesday when police revealed the scheme.”

I have a problem with the way the Indiana State Police kept the family in suspense. This seems almost as criminal as what the woman did to them by raising their hopes.

I also think there is more to this story that will come out when the woman is arrrested. She would have been 19 at the time that the Sherrill’s daughter disappeared. Might she have been involved in some way with the disappearance? Could there be an element of truth in all of this deception? A guilty conscience returning to the scene of the crime? I’m betting that there is a connection. We’ll see.

Vatican Condemns Gay Marriage Oops, here it is …

Vatican Condemns Gay Marriage

Oops, here it is in English.

First the document lays out what exactly “marriage” is:

The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.

In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.

Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9).

Then concludes:

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.(4)

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

And then adds for good measure:

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”

The rest of the document lays out the case for why should we care and what we should do about the move in many countries (and states) to legalize the marriage of homesexual couples:

It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

To the politicians (Ted Kennedy and others):

If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.

It will be interesting if not predictable to see how Catholic politicians will respond to this teaching. Since most with some exceptions (Santorum, Dornan) don’t listen to the church when it comes to what it teaches about life issues, it seems unlikely that they will listen to the church on this issue. So the ball is in our court–loyal Catholic voters–Who will you vote for to represent you?

The Man Who Brought the World Elvis, Cash, Conway …

The Man Who Brought the World Elvis, Cash, Conway and Jerry Lee is Dead

From the | Sam Phillips 1923-2003:

“Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley and helped usher in the rock ‘n’ roll revolution, died Wednesday. He was 80.

Phillips died of respiratory failure at St. Francis Hospital, his son Knox Phillips said. He said his father had been in declining health for a year.

Sam Phillips founded Sun Records in Memphis in 1952 and helped launch the career of Presley, then a young singer who had moved from Tupelo, Miss. He also worked with B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty and Charlie Rich”

Sad News–Call to Parents of Missing Child was a H…

Sad News–Call to Parents of Missing Child was a Hoax

Indianapolis Star–Woman charged with Shannon hoax: “It was a cruel hoax, police said today, that renewed a Boone County family’s hope that a daughter missing for 17 years was about to come home.

A Kansas woman is charged with identity deception and false reporting, police said at a press conference this afternoon. Donna Walker, 35, Topeka, is not in custody and police asked for help in locating her.

Walker used the telephone and e-mails to make the family of Shannon Sherrill think that she may have been the missing girl, police said

Shannon was 6 when she disappeared Oct. 5, 1986 outside her mother’s trailer home in Thorntown.

Without warning, Dorothy Sherrill received a call Saturday from a woman saying she may be her daughter, said Indiana State Police spokesman First Sgt. David Bursten. The girl would be 22 years old.

Bursten said the investigation determined it was Walker actually making the contacts, but they don’t know why she did it.”

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