Sunday, February 26, 2006
Domino's founder plans Catholic town
MIAMI, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The founder of the Domino's Pizza chain is building the first town in the United States to be run on strict Catholic principles.
Tom Monaghan says pharmacies in the new Florida town of Ave Maria will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills, and the town's cable television network will carry no X-rated channels, the Sunday Times of London reported.
The town, being built 90 miles northwest of Miami, will be centered around the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in 40 years.
The land on the western edge of the Everglades swamp will eventually house up to 30,000 people, with 5,000 students living on the university campus.
Civil rights activists concerned about the separation of church and state are threatening lawsuits if Ave Maria attempts to enforce Catholic dogma, the newspaper said.
Why does it bother "civil rights activists" (read: the ACLU) if a group of like-minded people went and formed their own community? Of course, Tom Monaghan could simply build a large, gated community, much like The Disney Company has already done in Florida, and restrict that as private land. Hasidic Jews have already taken these same steps - more power to them. The issue is whether anyone's constitutional rights would be violated, and I am unaware of any interpretation of the Constitution that guarantees every pharmacy in America must carry contraceptives.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Today is my father's birthday.
Had he lived, instead of dying too soon from cancer on May 16, 1995, he would have been 81 years old today.
Typing this entry will be hard for me. I miss my Dad terribly. But I cannot let this day pass without honoring him.
Francis Xavier Martin was born on February 24, 1925 in Fall River, MA. As a boy, he, led a hardscrabble life. His father ran speakeasys and, as my Dad would say, he was "his own best customer." My paternal grandfather finally stopped using his wife and five sons as punching bags after the two oldest boys - my Dad and his older brother, Hugh - got big enough to let him know that if he laid another hand on them, they'd kill him.
On December 7, 1941, the invasion of Pearl Harbor took place. My father turned 17 years old the following February and convinced my grandmother to let him drop out of school and enlist. My father at first went into the Marine Corps, where he went through boot camp at Parris Island. At the end of his training, a formation was called and the newly minted warriors were asked if anyone wanted to volunteer for hazardous duty. As my Dad said, he was "17 and full of piss and vinegar," so he raised his hand. In short time, he found himself transferred into the Army to join a new band of brothers, led by one Colonel William O. Darby - the infamous "Darby's Rangers." During WWII, my father served in the European theater. The picture above is a digital collage I did in his honor. It shows him about the time he was a soldier and commemorates his "special day" - June 6, 1944, D-Day. The caption on it reads, "Frank Martin was a 19-year-old Army Ranger when he went ashore on Omaha Beach that morning. He was still 19 at the end of the day, but had become a man." Note the Silver Star - yeah, he got a couple of those, and a few Bronze ones too. My father was at the invasions of Sicily and Anzio. He was at Monte Cassino. He pushed through France with a man he held at his hero, General George S. Patton. He liberated a death camp, although he would not talk about it with me, only to say, "I saw Hell that day, baby girl." His biggest regret was when they allowed the Russians to take Berlin.
The war had its tol, though. He suffered through several breakdowns in the years immediately following his discharge in 1945. Only after his death I learned that he was married, and had a son, but his wife could not take the breakdowns and disappeared with the biy. He never heard nor saw them again.
A lesser man would have turned to the bottle. A lesser man would have turned to violence. My father did neither. On New Year's Eve in 1956, he crashed a private party in the Bronx with a friend who had been invited. Let's say he got into a ruckus and the hostess, a fiery woman with a finely honed Polish temper, one Dorothy Koretzky, let him know where he stood and tossed him out on his ear into the icy streets. Impressed, my father went back the next day on January 1, 1957 with flowers and an aplogy, and asked her to dinner. They were married later that year on November 17th, and settled in the Bronx to raise three children. I came along in the middle, in 1961.
My Dad raised us well. Church at our local parish, St. Brendan's, was mandatory, no ifs, ands, or buts. As a child, my parents worked hard during the week, but Sundays were for God and family. I remember as a child being amazed that my Dad, who in my mind was a giant of a man, confessing to me that he feared the fires of Hell and prayed for mercy from God. My father was a Knight of Columbus, and later a member of the Holy Name Society. At his funeral, a good friend of his, Monsignor O'Brien, eulogized how he always knew when his sermons were going too long, because he could look to the back of the church where the ushers stood and see my Dad making a cutting motion across his throat. As a second job so we kids could have some special things, like summer camp, my Dad was a sports official for local leagues and was a proud member of the Bronx Umpires Association - the "BUA," which my father insisted stood for "Blind, Useless Alcoholics." He also was the coach for the Maritime Merchant Academy hockey team, and made me a proud 12-year-old by making me his scorekeeper. We would joke that no matter where in the world my Dad went, someone would call out, "Frankie, babe!" because he had that wide a circle of friends.
In the latter years of his life, after he retired at age 62, his life was volunteering at the local VA hospital, working specially with quadrapelegics and parapelgics. Many of the men in his wards were Vietnam vets, and my father saw them as his sons. He told me he felt lucky to be there, because he could help them since he too could relate to them about losing the innocence and fun of teen years to war. During this time, he also attended Mass daily, and said his Rosary twice each day.
When he finally went into the VA Hospital for his cancer, he put up a brave front for us all. Two nights before he died, I called him. I could tell from his voice he was in a lot of discomfort. But all of a sudden, I was compelled to ask - "Daddy, are you afraid to die?" His voice became clear, serene, and he answered, "Oh no, Baby Girl - I know Jesus is here with me, and He will call me home when it's time." I told him I loved him, and he said the same, and we said goodnight. That was the last time I spoke to my Dad.
And when my family gathered at the local funeral home, the director met us at the door and apologized to my mother, saying, "Dorothy, I swear to God, I don't know how it happened, none of my guys did it . . . maybe we can fix it." We went to view him - whaddaya know, there was a smile on his face! My Mom just laughed and told the director, "Leave him be - he's having one last joke for us all."
A red-headed, green-eyed, gregarious Irishman (of course, he took Patrick as his Confirmation name). Always had a joke, a story, a song. A wonderful father, a faithful husband. Loved his faith, loved his family, and loved the world. A remarkable head for sports statistics. Could whistle up a storm. Diehard New York Giants fan. Sang an atrocious version of "Feliz Navidad" in his fake Puerto Rican accent. Nicknamed "Frannie," "Frank, "Red," and "El Gordo." And made the best Tuna-and-Hardboiled-Egg Salad.
Sometimes I sense his presence at Mass, and for some reason I always feel he is there with a group of soldiers, young men standing with their helmets held in their hands, respectfully, while adoring God in the Eucharist.
I love you, Dad. I know you are watching over your grandkids, and be assured Mom and I always tell them stories about you. I know we will see each other again, after this earthly life. Until then, I will always be, your loving and grateful daughter.
Expect fierce opposition:
Some opponents of the bill said abortion should at least be allowed in cases of rape or incest, or where the woman's health is threatened.
If a rape victim becomes pregnant and bears a child, the rapist
could have the same parental rights as the mother, said Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.
"The idea the rapist could be in the child's life ... makes the woman very, very fearful. Sometimes they need to have choice," Heeren-Graber said.
NO! As a family law attorney, and while I practice in a jurisdiction different than South Dakota, it is unreasonable to think that South Dakota would not have laws that, with regard to custody, protect the best interest of the child. This is simply ridiculous.
But opposition will be met with like force - amen!
Money for the anticipated legal fight is already pouring in. Lawmakers
were told during the debate that an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to defend the ban, and the Legislature is setting up a special account to accept donations.
"We've had people stopping in our office trying to drop off checks
to promote the defense of this legislation already," Rounds said.
Monday, February 20, 2006
It seems that there are a group of Catholics upset at the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell. Crikey! Wot he's doin' is fair dinkum bloody unfair, mate! Just looky here:
"When people are making moral judgements on right and wrong, the Catholic position is that you are required to look carefully at what the Church teaches, what the Bible teaches, what experience teaches. But
ultimately, it's your responsibility to make your decision on what is right and wrong. Now, Cardinal Pell tends to go back to the pre-Vatican II position of the Church, which was very much simply this is the way it is, these are the dos, these are the don'ts, do you what you're told."
Um, yeah, that's been the rule for, oh, some 2000 years now. And while ultimately it is your decision to act on what you think is right or wrong, but if you're wrong in doing so, it's called sin. However, you don't choose the label.
"Ultimately, freedom of conscience guarantees that a person is the ultimate… that the person's conscience is the ultimate moral norm
of their behaviour. Cardinal Pell never stresses that. In fact, at times he has seemingly attacked that and kind of almost wants it abolished from Catholic teaching."
No. God defines the "ultimate moral norm." And the reason Cardinal Pell doesn't stress that is because it is not in line with Catholic teaching. See, Cardinal Pell has got this duty to uphold the catechism of the Church and . . . oh, never mind, I don't think it's going to matter to these folks.
Now, such criticism of a cardinal is hardly news today. What makes this story funny is the fact that these upset Catholics . . . wrote to complain to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith at the Vatican to "tell" on Cardinal Pell. Yes, they got together and wrote a letter to the authorities in Rome that Cardinal Pell's teaching is "inaccurate, misleading and not true to the Catholic tradition."
Have they never heard His Holiness, Benedict XIV, speak of the "dictatorship of relativism?"
What can only be the proper response to this is succinctly put by Cardinal Pell:
"I think it's a bit of a hoot."
Indeed, it is. Cardinal Pell goes on to explain:
"Everybody knows that we have to use our conscience, we have to… the point as issue is whether our conscience has primacy or is supreme and whether a Catholic can choose to reject central doctrines, central
teachings of Jesus Christ and/or the Church and be regarded as a perfectly good Catholic."
And the answer is - a good Catholic cannot.
It's time for true confessions, and I must confess . . . The Digital Hairshirt is an easy pushover for movies with dogs. With this thought in mind, I recommend bringing your children to see the new offering from Disney, "Eight Below."
The story is based on some true facts about a band of sled dogs that are unintentionally left abandoned at an Antartic science camp when bad weather, emergency evacuation, and weight limits on small planes converge. From there are two story lines - the dogs' one of survival in a bitter and harsh environment and the owner's one of trying to get the help and support to go back and either rescue the dogs or at least find out what happened to them.
Warning , though - it is a tearjerker, even for you big guys who cried like little girls when Old Yeller got shot in the end ("No, Ma, I'll do it . . . he's my dog"). The USCCB rates it A-II, and there are several scenes that would be fightening to a young child (including a particularly nasty leopard seal). I took my 5-year-old but then, this is a kid who handles all exposure to tragedy by stating with much assurance that "God brings them to Heaven."
Anyway, if you like dogs with guts rather than cutesy lap dogs or yuppie retrievers, this is the movie for you.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
When the judges called in each contestant at the end to let them know whether it was the end of the road or whether they would be one of the 24 for whom viewers will now have the chance to vote in upcoming episodes, one contestant decided to have her say.
Enter Mandisa Hundley, a Black woman who is both large and gorgeous. In her initial audition, the caustic judge, Simon Cowell, quipped when she entered, "It looks like we're going to need a bigger stage," and later made another remark comparing her girth to the country of France.
In last night's episode, Mandisa called him on that, letting him know the comments hurt her. But then she went on to tell him (and I am quoting as best I can remember):
"But I forgive you, Simon. I figured if my Lord, Jesus Christ, can die on a cross to forgive our sins, then I can at least forgive you for your comments."
Can you imagine? Fox-TV allowed her to utter the name of the Christ, without any consideration given to members of non-Christian faiths, the ACLU, the Democratic Party, children without self-esteem, Michael Nedow, GLAAD, or gay cowboys - no redaction, no censoring, and no apologies.
What is this world coming to?
Monday, February 13, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Britney Spears was criticized this week when she was photographed driving her car while holding her infant son, Preston, in her lap. Her comment on it was "I made a mistake, so it is what it is, I guess." Huh?
You may recall that her excuse was because she wanted to leave the scene quickly as she was having a "horrifying, frightful encounter" at the time with paparazzi. However, it seems tha paparazzi came along at a time when she stopped at a local Starbucks with her bodyguard - let me say it again, with her bodyguard - and sent him inside to pick up beverages. While waiting, she took lil' Preston out of his seat and held him in her lap as she sat behind the steering wheel. As soon as the bodyguard came back to the car, she drove off to escape the cameras. With the baby in her lap. And the bodyguard hired to protect her. From things like paparazzi. Unfortunately, though, not from herself.
Anyhoo, it inspried me to create a new holy card for mothers like Britney, since we Catholics are big into sacramentals and whatnot. For your consideration . . . Our Lady of Vehicular Safety, Help of Infants.
Friday, February 10, 2006
It's a discussion more Catholic universities are having as "The Vagina Monologues" becomes a seemingly unsolvable dilemma for the schools. Allow the performance and they are criticized for going against church teachings. Ban the play and they're accused of stifling academic freedom.
A seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Hardly. It's a decision that should be easy to make because one would expect that Notre Dame - a Catholic institution - would already have guidelines as to what is allowable, and what is not, on campus.
When you put Catholic university in your title and your Web site looks like the 'Bells of St. Mary's,' you set up an image that students expect," said Malcolm A. Kline, executive director of Accuracy in Academia, a nonprofit watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. "What I get from parents and students is, 'I thought I was going to a Catholic school and they're showing the 'V Monologues.'"
Exactly - what the students expect. If a student expects an environment that fosters the Catholic faith, then there is already an expectation that it will not support the presentation of the play.
This isn't to say that the play cannot be discussed in a proper setting, such as an literature class. This isn't to say that the school can't sponsor a field trip to see the play elsewhere, since being Catholic is about facing sin, not ignoring it. It is about the school - a private institution - deciding what it will accept and what it will allow the use of its resources on. And in making that clear, then a prospective student know what to expect.
The woman, Kerry Walsh, who wanted to present the play, said:
"They do have a responsibility to follow the values of the morality of Catholicism," she said. "That is incredibly important."
At the same time, she said, Catholic schools are still "100 percent a university. And a university is meant to be a place of learning, a place of ideas, a place where you can say what you want and learn from what others say and what others think."
What Ms. Walsh fails to realize is that a university need not adopt an "anything goes" attitude to be a "place of ideas." Just as a scientist would study viral strains in a controlled environment, so too can a university that wishes to remain within the tenets of the Catholic faith to protect such and foster it amojng its students opt to forgoe showing "The Vagina Monologues" but still allow discussion of a woman's sexuality - perhaps even with an eye towards having its students learn about it within a faith-based setting first so that they have a foundation if they choose to see the play at a later time.
Does BYU get this much flack?
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I have always been intrigued with the frontman, Bono. Born to a Catholic father and Protestant mother in Dublin, he seems to have his own take on Christianity. Now, some of you might be offended by the quote I want to give you, but as someone who grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in the Bronx, I can appreciate Bono when he said, "The idea that there's a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it. Actually, maybe even far-fetched to start with. But the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius, and brings me to my knees, literally."
Bono gets it. In an interview this past summer, he commented about Christ:
"Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius." "But actually", he says, "Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook."
"Christ says, No," Bono continues. "I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was-the Messiah-or a complete nutcase. . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."
Here's to U2 and their wins.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
"'When push comes to shove, at certain times, [Clinton] will support the party even if that choice does not reflect all their standards and principles,'" Kate Michelman, former longtime head of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told The Post."
Her faux pas? Contributing $10,000 from her PAC to a - *gasp!* - pro-life Democrat candidate for the Senate.
From E! News:
For its part, NBC bristled at allegations it was intentionally trying to poke fun at Christians, issuing a statement chalking up the dispute to unnamed trigger-happy publicist.
"Some erroneous information was mistakenly included in a press release describing an upcoming episode of Will & Grace, which, in fact, has yet to be written," the network said in a statement, which was disseminated to its affiliates. "The reference to 'Cruci-fixins' will not be in the show and the storyline will not contain a Christian characterization at all. We value our viewers and sincerely regret if
this misinformation has offended them."
I will admit, I am biased in that I would likely care les about such things if Katie Holmes was not Catholic. But I would still care, because all I have read about Scientology leads me to conclude it is nothing more than a scam and a harmful one at that. In my own opinion, Tom Cruise is a disturbed individual that back in the Bronx we'd refer to as a "f***ing whackjob" (go on, sue me, you midget, it's my 1st Amendment right to say that).
When I see the "handler", Jessica Rodriguez, they have shadowing Katie Holmes day in and day out, and the stories about the heartbreak of her parents, who are said to be devout Catholics, all I can say is: "Katie, if you can hear me, if they have let you out of whatever drug-induced mind cage they have you in . . . COME HOME! Mother Church will always give you the sanctuary you need! COME HOME!!"
Thursday, February 02, 2006
In the episode, scheduled to air on April 13, Jack's fictional TV network is bought by a Christian broadcaster, leading Spears' character to do an Easter cooking segment on Jack's show called "Cruci-fixin's."
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Tuesday's ruling was marked by an unusually sharp dissent by Judge Chester J. Straub, who said he believed Congress' determination that the procedure was never medically necessary to protect a women's health was well founded and supported by a lower court ruling.
"Allowing a physician to destroy a child as long as one toe remains within the mother would place society on the path towards condoning infanticide," he said.
He added: "I find the current expansion of the right to terminate a pregnancy to cover a child in the process of being born morally, ethically and legally unacceptable."