Friday, June 17, 2005

The problem with Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn is one of the most popular lay Catholic theologians publishing today. He is one of the most widely-read Catholic authors in the U.S., and because of his biblical knowledge, when Hahn speaks, Catholic laymen everywhere tend to listen. Hahn is very knowledgable, and I wouldn't question his orthodoxy for a second, but a recent New Oxford Review article does question whether Hahn is hanging on to too many of his old Presbyterian ideas and passing them off as Catholic thought.

Moving update

There is a possibility we may have found a place in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee to be precise. I don't know yet whether we will take the place or not, as the details have yet to be found out or ironed out. The domacile in question is a house for rent...we've decided to temporarily rent until we can settle on a house to buy and are able to find permanent jobs in the Knoxville area so that we can get a lower interest rate on a mortgage.

Those of you who are friends who live nearby, I may be calling on you for assistance very soon if we do decide to take this house and move. Other loyal readers, I will keep you informed here as the situation develops and it effects the frequency of blog entries.

Taft for President?

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The problem with PBS (con't)

this is an audio post - click to play

The problem with PBS

this is an audio post - click to play

Note on the audio post

If I sound a little unsure of myself on the preceding audio post, note that it was the first one...I was trying the service for the very first time. The next time I post an audio post, I somehow think I will sound a bit more relaxed.

Inaugural audio post

this is an audio post - click to play

Nuclear button may have been pushed on Cincinnati talk radio

Bill Cunningham, Cincinnati's most famous conservative export (his radio show is beamed to roughly half the country every day on 700 WLW, the 50,000 watt radio giant) may have inadvertently begun a right-wing nuclear war in the talk radio world. For months on end, Cunningham has engaged in a relentless attack on the Catholic Church. The attack began with clear concern over the number of abuser priests who were allowed to continue in ministry in the Archdiocese. Fair enough, lots of people were concerned about that. The situation has now escalated to the point where Cunningham has attacked the Catholic education system, the priesthood and the episcopacy as institutions, once playing the theme from The Godfather when pointing out the number of city and county officials who graduated from Archbishop Elder High School. (Note: If you had a Catholic education in this town, the odds are good you went to Elder, Moeller, St. Xavier, or La Salle. There are other schools, but those four are in the closest proximity to where the most Catholics are. Over half of the "regulars" at my Knights of Columbus council went to Elder.)

What is most sad is that not long ago, Cunningham was probably the most Catholic talk host on a secular radio station that I was aware of. He used to openly brag about being Catholic, and it was not unheard of for Willie to recite the Nicene Creed on the air! It is clear that the clergy sex abuse scandal has rocked Cunningham's faith. I know that he has lost many Catholic listeners just from talking to people at my parish who are long-time Cunningham fans who no longer listen because of the Catholic-bashing. Rumor has even spread that Willie has renounced the Church.

Well, a disturbed an irate caller to last night's Catholic Answers Live had finally had enough of Bill Cunningham's Catholic bashing, and mentioned it to the guest, who just happened to be William Donohue, head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Like Cunningham, Donohue's conservative credentials cannot be questioned, except that Bill Donohue is not someone I'd want to make angry, he has the ability to bury you, and he has done so (figuratively speaking) to many people. The Catholic League (and by extension, Bill Donohue) has become the most powerful Catholic lay advocate organization in America. Even Hollywierd producers are afraid of the Catholic League's wrath, and they frequently call Donohue to see if their films pass muster for being sufficiently pro-Catholic. Donohue is also unafraid to take to the air to defend the Church.

When the caller in question complained about Cunningham's newfound anti-Catholicism and gave examples of how he is running down the Church, Bill Donohue said: "You tell this Cunningham that I will be happy to take him on live on the air. Donohue then threatened to make a fool out of Cunningham on the airwaves of Cincinnati. As a long-time listener to Bill Cunningham, I know that he can make fools of many people, and he is very often right. If there is one person that can turn the tables on Cunningham, it is Bill Donahue. Cunningham has yet to answer Donahue's challenge. Does he have the guts to engage in an all-out oratorical nuclear war with one of the Church's most powerful lay-henchman in America?

On-air nuclear war!!!!!!!

Will Bill Cunningham
accept the challenge?

Bill Cunningham: Cincinnati's famously combative conservative talk-show host may have gone too far in running down the Church on the air. His antics have triggered a challenge from the Catholic League. (Photo from the liberal CityBeat)

Bill Donohue: Has challenged Cunningham to an on-air sparring match. This is not a man I would want to make angry, as his conservative credentials can't be questioned. Against another conservative, Donohue may wipe the floor. Both men are known for their abilities to win debates on radio and television, so if Cunningham accepts the challenge, it could lead to an on-air nuclear melt-down at The Big One. (Photo: The Catholic League)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Special Primary proves that values matter

Our neighboring Congressional district had a primary yesterday. If that sounds a bit odd, it should be, it was a party primary for a by-election to fill the seat of Congressman Rob Portman, who is now our U.S. trade representative. The election itself will be held in August, but it was the primary that grabbed the most attention, largely because Ohio’s Second District is seen to be one of the safest Republican seats in America. One local commentator said that the day the GOP loses the Second District seat, it may be a signal of the End of the World As We Know It. Hence, most of the local press and all of the candidates are essentially operating under the assumption that the winner of the Republican Party Primary will be the winner of the open Congressional seat.

The outcome of the Primary was of interest even in this district for two reasons:

1.) The district line splits Cincinnati in two. The East Side is in the Second District, while the West Side is in the First (Steve Chabot). It is thus very fair to say that the decision of voters in one of these districts affects a very large number of citizens in the neighboring district who have no say. The Second District is also geographically huge, running from Portsmouth all the way downriver to Cincinnati.

2.) This primary was really a test of whether family values matter as a political issue. The candidate who was seen as the front-runner was Pat DeWine, the son of Ohio’s federal Senator, Mike DeWine. Pat was quick to point out how he worked to cut property taxes while a member of Cincinnati City Council. He couldn’t speak much about his record on the County Commission because he was just elected to that seat last November, and he was already grandstanding for a seat in Congress. I’m sure that reality did not sit well with Second District Republicans, and neither did the fact that DeWine just recently moved into the district, apparently with an eye to replacing the aforementioned Portman. Those factors alone, however, were not enough to defeat anyone named DeWine in Southern Ohio.

What did become the unspoken issue was Pat DeWine’s well-known status as an adulterer, a deadbeat husband, and some say he is an absent father. DeWine left his wife and children for another woman, divorced his wife, and then had the audacity to bring the adulteress with him on a couple of campaign stops (this after he attempted to trash his wife’s name with allegations proven to be false during their very public divorce). In the Second District, values are an issue. The area between Portsmouth and Cincinnati is filled with small towns and family farms, and these are God-fearing, church-going people who see their Member of Congress as a representation of themselves. All the polls indicated that DeWine, the man with the family name in Ohio politics, was the overwhelming favorite. Behind the scenes, you could hear the backroom whispers of Republican Club presidents and County Central Committeemen and Chairmen all over town and the district: “Whoremonger,” “deadbeat,” “adulterer,” hypocrite.” Senator DeWine’s stock went down, too, largely because of his refusal to condemn his son’s actions in regard to his family. The DeWines are a Catholic family, members of St. Paul’s Church in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and they have always been outspoken about their pro-life and pro-family views. Despite the obvious hypocrisy factor, polls showed Pat Dewine with a comfortable lead over his ten other opponents. Then came Primary Day yesterday:

Jean Schmidt, GOP 14,232 - 31 percent
Bob McEwen, GOP 11,565 - 25 percent
Tom Brinkman Jr., GOP 9,211 - 20 percent
Pat DeWine, GOP 5,455 - 12 percent

DeWine was absolutely routed, beaten, whipped, and all of the polls were proven wrong. Pat DeWine took all of the right positions on issues, but what beat him was his lack of integrity. People knew that he had a been a terrible husband and father, and despite his attempts to ignore the issue and attack his opponents instead, the whole strategy backfired.
Jean Schmidt would not have been my first choice, but like the other good candidates, Schmidt was able to say with honesty that she has been faithfully married to the same person for many years. That reality, combined with strong support from her former State Senate constituency, contributed to her victory. The Primary proved that integrity and values really do matter, and that having high integrity and a clear moral compass can lead to a real political payoff.

Pat DeWine: His lack of moral integrity has dealt a severe blow to his hopes of being the next member of his family to achieve federal office. Republicans in Ohio's Second Congressional District made it clear that they did not want a man who abandoned his family representing them in Congress.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Breaking news on Ohio workers' compensation scandal

The Ohio News Network is reporting today that money from the Ohio Workers' Compensation Fund was moved into a Pittsburgh-based hedge fund, after state officials were already aware that the said fund had lost huge amounts of money.

If we did not have access to state-based news sources such as ONN, there would be little news of this major scandal that threatens to undo the state Government.

New Oxford Review returns

Here at the World, we used to have the traditionalist Catholic monthly The New Oxford Review linked in the right sidebar. I removed the link when it appeared to me that NOR's site was perhaps last updated when Al Gore invented the internet.

Well, the Review returns. Not only is the site updated, but I have found that the Review's new and improved site has some of the very best Catholic (and overall Christian) news and commentary available on the net today.

I hope regular World readers enjoy NOR as much as I do.

Michael Jackson verdict

By now, you'd have to be on another planet not to know the Michael Jackson trial verdict. The self-styled "King of Pop" was found not guilty of charges of child molestation, lewd contact with a minor, and serving alcohol to a minor, among other charges. For the record, I personally believe Jackson is guilty as sin...anyone who sleeps with young boys (usually a different one each night) 365 nights a year has a problem deserving the attention of the justice system.

However, based on all the information I have been able to obtain about this case, I don't know if, when sitting on a jury, I could have justified voting that Jackson was guilty in this case. There were too many holes in the prosecution's case, and frankly, there were just as many defense witnesses who could be seen as reliable that were able to contradict the prosecution's story. Being able to convict a person of a crime means being able to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt...I don't think this could be done in the case of California v. Jackson, and so even though I believe Jackson is guilty, I doubt I could have voted with good conscience to convict him. Convictions are not merely about what the jury believes, but about what the prosecution can prove. In this sense, "the system" functioned exactly as it was supposed to yesterday.

MJ: Probably guilty, but prosecution made a very poor legal case.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Investment manager says state knew risk

An investment manager formerly hired by the State of Ohio to handle the states investment funds from the Workers' Compensation funds says the state was aware of the investment risks it was taking and certainly knew of the losses to the fund.

The longer this scandal festers, the more it becomes apparent that Taft at least knew something about the losses to the fund. His story that no one made him aware doesn't seem to hold water. Therefore, the legislature needs to be seriously asking the question: What did the Governor know, and when did he know it?

Jack Chick parody

For those of you familiar with them, you know that Jack T. Chick publishes a series of tracts that are not only vehemently anti-Catholic, but are also full of lies and misrepresentations of the Church. Someone has finally successfully parodied Chick, giving him the name of "John Cheek" in a parody of his lies.

Thanks to Jimmy Akin.

Who's the Pope?

Last night, Nicole and I went to the late Mass at St. Peter in Chains. This is the liturgy that is usually the "contemporary" Mass, and I am not normally a fan of such undertakings. However, the quality of music and worship at the 6:00pm Cathedral Mass has greatly improved of late, and has gone from being a mini-Woodstock to being, well...much more spirit-filled worship. I'm still not a fan of contemporary (as opposed to more traditional) worship, but I now find it much more tolerable.

One thing that did happen at the Mass last night was that Father Bramlage, the Cathedral rector, made a mistake that has become common of late. During the part of the Consecration where the Mass is offered in part for the Holy Father and for the local bishop, Father Bramlage had to correct himself:

ord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love, together with John Pau...Benedict, our Pope, Daniel our bishop, and all the clergy.

We aren't quite three months into the reign of Benedict ( and many of us are enjoying it highly), but John Paul's influence can still be felt, even in the number of priests who are so used to saying "John Paul" during the Mass who still haven't quite adjusted to "Benedict."

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