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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New podcast up!

New podcasts are popping up all over at Catholic:Under the Hood where I talk about Lenten podcasts and the "A" word as well as over at Theosis.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Getting ready for Lent

Well, I have not thought about what I will give up for Lent, since everything I would like to give up I kinda sorta gotta do for work, ministry, or fun. Perhaps I'll give up trying to think about something to give up....

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Once again - Don't Mess With Nuns

Part 1 - Nun doesn't let armed robbery stop her from evangelization. Be sure to watch the accompanying video.

Part 2 - Buddhist nuns try to promote vocations through less than appropriate means. Note to self - telling people to join the TORs or else their relatives will die is not the right way to get new members.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Haleigh!

I have posted a couple of times about the tragedy of Haleigh Poutre who was beaten into a coma by her adoptive mother and her boyfriend, who was nearly removed from life support by the government of Massachusettes. She turned 12 today - in a hospital - alone.

Haleigh's birth mother who left her long ago has now re-entered Haleigh's life and has voiced great anger over the hospital's refusal to allow her to visit. Why she couldn't have been this concerned when Haleigh's aunt was abusing her, I don't know. Still, better late than never.

Happy Birthday, Haleigh

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On the state of Jesuit Education

Rockhurst University, a Jesuit university in Kansas City, is in the process of looking for a new president. Here are their candidates according to e-mails sent out:

Richard H. Owens, Ph.D., professor of history, West Liberty State College, West Liberty, W.V.: Dr. Owens earned a B.A. in history from Manhattan College, an M.A. in U.S. history from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in U.S. diplomacy from the University of Maryland. Dr. Owens served as president of West Liberty State College from 2001 to 2005 and as president of Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, from 1996 to 2001.

Ronald A. Slepitza, Ph.D., vice president for student development and special counsel to the president for strategic planning, Xavier University: Dr. Slepitza earned a B.A. in psychology from St. Vincent's College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling and student personnel administration from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining Xavier, Dr. Slepitza served as associate vice president for student services at Creighton University.

Rev. Thomas B. Curran, O.S.F.S. Fr. Curran is associate vice president for university relations and assistant to the president at Regis University, Denver. Fr. Curran is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and is a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, known as the Salesian order. He earned a B.A. in politics from DeSales University, an M.A. in theology from DeSales School of Theology, an M.A. in liberal studies, public policy and government from Georgetown University, a J.D. from the Catholic University of America and an M.B.A. from St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia. Before joining Regis, Fr. Curran served as founder and executive director of Nativity Preparatory School in Wilmington, Del.; president of Salesianum School in Wilmington; and president of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, Philadelphia.

Not one is a Jesuit and one of the candidates doesn't appear to have any connections at all to Jesuit education. Is this another sign that the Jesuits are having trouble finding qualified members of their order to run their universities? Apparently it is -

The search garnered 60 applications. Nine were chosen as candidates, and two of them were Jesuits.

“We all knew going in that there is a limited list of Jesuits available,” said Thomas McCullough, president of the Rockhurst board of trustees.

According to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, there often is not a Jesuit available who has the experience to lead a college.[source]

DePaul University where Academic Freedom only goes so far

Recently, there has been some controversy over the establishment of a Queer Studies on the grounds that, being a university, there should be academic freedom. As the Director of the new program states,

"Institutions of higher learning, even if they are Catholic, aren't spokespeople for the Vatican," he says. "Like any university, there should be room for free inquiry."

On the other hand, a conservative group at DePaul was not permitted such freedom when it chose to host an "Affirmative Action Bakesale" to question Affirmative Action.

My question is why allow one and not the other, if your goal is the promotion of "free inquiry". On the otherhand, if your goal is something different - at least be open about what it is.

Yahoo, Muslims, Catholics and Jews

Recently Yahoo! was forced to change a policy which prohibited any e-mail address that included the letters "allah". Ostensibly this was to prevent insulting Muslims, but e-mail address including Jesus or priest or Jew were allowed, even in contexts that would be offensive.

Because of news attention on the fact that even those whose last names was Callahan would be banned, Yahoo has since lifted the ban.

My advice, leave Yahoo! and use a different e-mail system.

ACLU vs Tom Monaghan

There is an interesting discussion over at MSNBC about whether Tom Monaghan should/does have the right to establish a town with laws based upon Catholic moral principals such as forbidding access to pornography or contraception and still obtain federal funds.

I'm not sure about the legal issues and while Catholic schools and universities don't have to provide either on their campuses in order to receive federal funds, it is likely different with cities. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone interested in those things chosing to live in/visit a town governed by conservative Catholics in order to obtain them.

Returning to posting

My goodness, it's been a while since I last posted. Things have been really busy with teaching and the continuing work with Catholic:Under The Hood. Mea culpa. I am really going to strive to get at least one posting a day from here on out.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm sorry, but I don't see the connection

Fox News is reporting the reactions to a cartoon drawn by Tom Toles and the cartoons of Muhammed that appeared in the Denmark papers and making these reactions essentially the same - they clearly are not.

But reactions in the last month, both to a cartoon by The Washington Post's Tom Toles and through a violent global response to 12 depictions of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, appear to have raised the stakes for those making their paychecks on the drawing board.

Yes, raised the stakes, let's see how this works -Cartoonists in Denmark publish cartoons and

Riots erupted in at least a dozen countries and have lasted for two weeks. U.S. officials said they believed extremists, including the governments of Iran and Syria, helped fan the flames of discontent.

A Catholic Priest in Turkey was murdered, death threats have been issued against the cartoonists and for most of the people in Europe.

Tom Toles publishes a cartoon in The Washington Post and this is the response -

The Joint Chief of Staffs showed their outrage by - I can barely believe it - they wrote a letter.

Yes, a real show of equivalence.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Think you know nuns?

More nun news - this time it's a video of a nun driving a monster truck.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The secrets of the Vatican interview

Time magazine offers a humerous and interesting article about what it was like to cover the First Lady's visit to the Vatican last week. Perhaps the best comment was "Don't mess with the nuns" - see, even after 2000 years - some things don't change.

New podcast up!

In this episode of Catholic:Under the Hood, I talk about scary movies and what it's like to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance as a priest.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Everybody run for the hills!

As if it could get any worse - forecasts state that Russia is headed for a vodka shortage. I never thought I would have to go to Russia and bring my own vodka.

Let us all offer a sympathy toast or two or three or four...

"Hundreds of new species" discovered

Scientists have discovered all sorts of new critters in New Guinea.

Among the new species of birds, frogs, butterflies and palms discovered in the expedition through this pristine environment, untouched by man, was the spectacular Berlepsch's six-wired bird of paradise. The scientists are the first outsiders to see it. They could only reach the remote mountainous area by helicopter, which they described it as akin to finding a "Garden of Eden". [source]

Word is that several groups of Americans are already planning hunting trips based on reports that many of the new species "taste like chicken".

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Franciscanism and Islam

I have been following the uprisings in the Middle East over a series of cartoons published in European newspapers that Muslims have condemned as blasphemous to Islam. Some Muslims have resorted to violence and threats of violence against many people.

I have protested against many things that were hostile to my faith on this blog site, but I would never wish any violence against those who attacked my faith.

I must admit that watching these demonstrations by some Muslims frightens me and because I am frightened I am concerned about acting in a way that is not Christian. I wonder about the Franciscan community's legacy of relating to the world of Islam. We seem to have renounced the heritage of seeking conversion exemplified by Francis of Assisi and our first martyrs for an attitude that seems to have been overly naive. But then again, perhaps it is the fear that is talking.