European Union Will Soon Outlaw Criticism of Islam and Homosexuality

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I recently returned from two weeks in Spain. As I have done while on other visits to that country (where my father’s side of the family has its roots), I made a point of asking Spaniards about their attitudes toward Muslims.

Without exception, the responses were always negative, often bitterly so, and usually based on their fear that Islam was rapidly reconquering the Iberian Peninsula through immigration and fertility. Huge numbers of Muslims emigrate to Spain each year, especially from Morocco. As is widely known, this emigration trend is happening throughout the European Union.

These Spaniards say they’re worried that before too long, Islam will reassert itself as the dominating religious force, due to the vacuum which the Catholic Church, now moribund there, has left in the wake of its steadily receding presence and influence among the Spanish people. Spain is a veritable treasure house of Catholic cultural artifacts — churches, shrines, convents, castles, monasteries, martyrs’ tombs — but the vitality of the Catholic Faith is very weak indeed among the largely Catholic population.

With that depressing information fresh in my mind, this headline caught my eye this morning. It plays straight into the angst I encountered among the Spaniards I spoke to just a few weeks ago. Lord have mercy on us.

(Courtesy of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch)

European Union set to outlaw objections to Islamic practices

If all goes as planned, the 27 member states of the European Union will soon have a common hate crime legislation, which will turn disapproval for Islamic practices or homosexual lifestyles into crimes. Europe’s Christian churches are trying to stop the plan of the European political establishment, but it is not clear if they will be successful.

Last April, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s Equal Treatment Directive. A directive is the name given to an EU law. As directives overrule national legislation, they need the approval of the European Council of Ministers before coming into effect. Next month, the Council will decide on the directive, which places the 27 EU member states under a common anti-discrimination legislation. The directive’s definition of discriminatory harassment is so broad that every objection to Muslim or homosexual practices will be considered unlawful.

On April 2, the European Parliament passed the “directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,” 363 votes to 226. The directive applies to social protection and health care, social benefits, education and access to goods and services, including housing. American citizens and companies doing business in Europe are also required to adhere to it.

Originally intended to serve as an equal treatment directive for the disabled by prohibiting discrimination when accessing “goods and services, including housing,” activist European politicians and governments had the directive’s scope expanded to include discrimination on the basis of religion, age and sexual orientation.

Under the directive, harassment – defined as conduct “with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” – is deemed a form of discrimination.

Harassment, as vaguely defined in the directive, allows an individual to accuse someone of discrimination merely for expressing something the individual allegedly perceives as creating an “offensive environment.” The definition is so broad that anyone who feels intimidated or offended can easily bring legal action against those whom he feels are responsible. Moreover, the directive shifts the burden of proof onto the accused, who has to prove the negative, i.e. demonstrate that he or she did not create an environment which intimidated or offended the complainant. If the accused fails to do so, he or she can be sentenced to paying an unlimited amount of compensation for “harassment.” […]

The same phenomenon, a lack of interest on the part of European and also American public opinion, is apparent with regard to the semi-legal initiatives taken at the level of the United Nations. On October 2nd, the UN Human Rights Council approved a free speech resolution, co-sponsored by the US and Egypt, which criticizes “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” American diplomats said the decision to co-sponsor the resolution was part of America’s effort to “reach out to Muslim countries.” The resolution passed unanimously, with the support of all Western nations. Though the resolution has no immediate effect in law, it provides Muslim extremists with moral ammunition the next time they feel that central tenets of Islam are being treated disrespectfully through the creation of what they perceive to be an ‘offensive environment.’

How Would You Caption This Picture?

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

So This Is Dear Leader's Way of Uniting Us?

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This item ran in the Washington Post on August 15th, 2007:
Drawing a sharp contrast with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama said in an interview that he has the capacity she may lack to unify the country and move it out of what he called “ideological gridlock.”

“I think it is fair to say that I believe I can bring the country together more effectively than she can,” Obama said. “I will add, by the way, that is not entirely a problem of her making. Some of those battles in the ’90s that she went through were the result of some pretty unfair attacks on the Clintons. But that history exists, and so, yes, I believe I can bring the country together in a way she cannot do. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be running.”
If, for the sake of argument, we posit that this man’s opinion was correct, then I shudder to imagine how Mrs. Clinton would have “united” the country if she had been elected.

Actor Jack Black Prays to Satan on MTV

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

When MTV first appeared back in 1981, I, like many other American young adults, watched it with interest because it showcased videos of many bands that were popular then: The Police, Duran Duran, Squeeze, Genesis, The Go-Gos, Hall & Oats, Blondie, etc. But after the initial novelty of 24-7 music videos wore off and it became apparent that MTV was lurching steadily toward a darker, more erotic, and increasingly decadent format, I tuned out for good.

The rapid transmogrification of MTV from a purveyor of meaningless, if at times mildly entertaining, videos of pop rock bands, to full-on, in-your-face glorification of vice and sexual deviancy must be reckoned, I believe, as one of the integral reasons for the equally rapid unraveling of the moral fabric of Western society. The dramatic rise in on-campus student violence, promiscuity, sex crimes, and the growing modern obsession with death and the devil (to name just a few examples) can be, I believe, directly attributable in some measure to the nearly 30-year steady diet of moral corruption that MTV has been feeding its viewers.

The truth of the maxim “garbage in, garbage out” has nowhere been more spectacularly verified than it has been with MTV.

That’s why for many years now, I have been warning parents everywhere — in my parish seminars, in radio interviews, and most recently on my “Open Line” radio program — to not allow MTV in their homes, to not let their children watch it. Of course, I am far from alone in this, and mine is just one of many voices that have been “crying in the wilderness” about the dangers of MTV’s nefarious content.

And now here’s another voice — that of the comedy actor Jack Black — that is reminding all of us why MTV is such an aggressively pernicious danger to anyone who watches it. Read the news report below, written by James L. Lambert for The American Family News Network and then watch the accompanying video. It says it all.

And for those who may think I’m being alarmist and extreme in my warning about MTV (believe me, there are Catholics and Protestants out there who have told me exactly that), I can only say that if this video is not enough to make you say, “Enough!” to MTV, and to remove it forthwith from your home and forbid your children from watching it, then I don’t know what else I could possibly say to you to get your attention.

During last month’s MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to “dear dark lord Satan.” In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have “continued success in the music industry.” The awards program was [broadcast] on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television.T

The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black’s invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, “let me see those horns.” Black, dressed in a “muscle suit” continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during “the prayer.” He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.

Black’s prayer went basically unnoticed among most conservative and Christian media circles — perhaps because they feel the comedian was simply joking as he displayed his contempt for Christianity with the prayer invocation. In fact, this would be in keeping with Black’s previous behavior.

In 2008 he participated in a video that mocked supporters of California‘s marriage initiative, Proposition 8. In commenting on that video, the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) said Black “appears as Jesus rebuking the Proposition 8 supporters while munching on a shrimp cocktail and saying that the Bible condemns eating shellfish too. Then he [Black] reels off some scripture references without context to s
uggest that the Bible is self-contradictory and unreliable.” In their press release (December 4, 2008), CMI described Black as “an anti-Christian bigot.”

Others claim last month’s public “prayer” to Satan was just a publicity stunt to promote the new heavy metal video game, “Brutal Legend.”

But regardless how one looks at Black’s actions, it sets a dangerous precedent. Author and King’s College professor Paul McGuire labels Black’s prayer to Satan as “just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in our nation and in the entertainment industry.” The conservative commentator contends that “although it is hidden, Satanism is one of the fastest growing religions in America.” He adds: “We can expect to see Satanists demanding and getting the same rights as any other religion.” . . .

Radio talk-show host Jesse Lee Peterson . . . says it is “disturbing that MTV continues to promote the most degenerate and base programs on its network….[They] intentionally air programming designed to seduce and corrupt the minds and hearts of America‘s youth” (like Sex…with Mom and Dad, among others). . . . (continue reading)

Here's the Article by Archbishop Dolan the New York Times Won't Print

October 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

From the Archbishop’s blog on the Archdiocese of New York’s website, we read that “The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.”


By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!

Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.

It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”

If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:

* On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”
Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as theNew York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.

* On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.

* Five days later, October 21, theTimes gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.

* Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription — along with every other German teenage boy — into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.
True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm — the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives — is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

I do not mean to suggest that anti-ca
tholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday.
Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will notreceive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALLschool-children and their parents to be treated equally?

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.

Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

In Search of the "Great Apostasy": A Catholic Response to Mormon Claims

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Since its inception in 1830, the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has denied any continuous historical connection with Christianity.

Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith, claimed that in 1820 God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in the woods near his home in Palmyra, New York. Jesus said that for the proceeding 1700 years (give or take a century — Mormonism can’t say exactly) the world had been living in the darkness of a total apostasy from the gospel.

This was the answer to a question young Smith had been pondering. “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of these sects was right, that I might know which to join. . . .I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all these sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong), and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me [Jesus] said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that their professors were all corrupt”

Smith convinced his credulous followers, most of them simple rural folk, that he’d been chosen, in what Mormons have come to call the First Vision, to be the first post-apostasy prophet — God’s hand-picked agent charged with restoring the true gospel.

Over the next several years Smith purported to have received additional revelations from “heavenly personages.” He claimed that after establishing his church in Palestine, the resurrected Jesus appeared in South America to the Nephites (Jews who, Smith said, had migrated to the New World between 600 and 592 B.C.) and organized a parallel church there (3 Nephi 11-28).

The new prophet seized on Jesus’ words in John 10:16 (“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd”) as proof of the Lord’s impending South American travel plans. The exegesis might impress one unfamiliar with the New Testament, but the usual understanding is that the “other sheep” Jesus referred to were the Gentiles, to whom the gospel also was extended.

Smith claimed the Nephite church had the same hierarchy and ordinances as its sister church in Palestine — living prophets, twelve apostles, seventy disciples — but things didn’t go well for either church. Both collapsed under the weight of pagan influences, dissolving into complete apostasy.

The late Bruce McConkie, a Mormon apostle and, during his life, perhaps Mormonism’s leading theologian, explained things this way: “This universal apostasy began in the days of the ancient apostles themselves; and it was known to and foretold by them. . . .With the loss of the Gospel, the nations of the earth went into moral eclipse called the Dark Ages. Apostasy was universal. . . [T]his darkness still prevails except among those who have come to a knowledge of the restored Gospel.”[1]

Mormons believe the church Jesus established in Palestine, before its disintegration, was identical to the Mormon Church of today, with ceremonies such as baptism for the dead, a polytheistic concept of God (including eternal progression, the notion that God was a man who evolved into a god and that worthy Mormon males can evolve into gods), and other peculiar Mormon beliefs. The fact that no historical evidence exists to corroborate this position doesn’t put much of a dent in the average Mormon’s mental armor. . . . (continue reading)

Genesis Front-Man Phil Collins Can't Play Drums Anymore

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This is sad news. I’ve been an avid fan of Genesis since 1976, when the group’s drummer, Phil Collins, took the lead after former front-man Peter Gabriel left the band to pursue a solo career. Under Collins’ leadership, the band scaled new heights of musical diversity and commercial success. But it’s being reported that, due to complete numbness in his hands following his recent neck surgery, he’s simply unable, at least for the time being, to hold the drumsticks. I do hope that problem is only temporary and that it passes soon.

In the meantime, here’s a tasty Genesis video to enjoy. I don’t know if Phil Collins is Catholic, or even if he is religious, but I’m sure he and his family (and the band) would appreciate any prayers you could spare for his healing.

"Did You Go to Mass This Past Sunday?" Michael Moore Puts Sean Hannity on the Spot

October 19, 2009 by  
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Who would have guessed that Michael Moore, of all people, would get the upper hand on Sean Hannity on this issue? (Or at least appear to.)

Introducing My Newest Grandchild, Killian Patrick Madrid

October 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Tidings of great joy! After several days of worry about the fact that this baby was going to be born three months premature, all of our prayers have been answered with the birth of my little grandson, Killian Patrick, the first son born to my son, Timothy Killian, and his wife, Nina.

Here’s a little video clip of of the 14″, 2-lbs. 2-oz. lad, taken this afternoon using my trusty iPhone. As you can imagine, because Killian was born three months premature, he needs lots of prayers.

You’ll see in the video below that the little boy is currently bivouacked in a very sophisticated premee “incubator” bed, which contains an amazing array of equipment, sensors, and (quite literally) life-support measures to help him grow and thrive.

I thank God almighty that we live in the age of Advil, Novocain, and sophisticated baby incubators.

Check out this video and note Mr. Killpatrick’s awesome heartbeat. No wonder the name “Killian” means “small and fierce.” Seewhatahmsayin?

My profound thanks to all of you who have been praying for him — especially all of you who are my Facebook friends, who’ve been following this on my Facebook page). For more details, visit Tim’s blog, where he’s been posting updates.

God bless us, one and all, especially the little, fierce Killian Madrid.

Why the Swiss Are Afraid of Minarets

October 17, 2009 by  
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Spiegel Online reports:

Wangen bei Olten has already been lost. The small Swiss municipality at the foot of the Jura Mountains has become home to a minaret.

The Christians in the village fought hard to prevent it — they collected signatures, lodged official complaints, spoke publicly against it and even the local Catholic and evangelical communities registered their opposition.

But nothing worked. Switzerland’s highest court approved the building plans of the local Turkish cultural association and now a six meter (20 foot) tall minaret provides graphic proof of the victory won by the Olten Türk Kültür Ocagi.

“The minaret is only the first step,” Daniel Zingg warns in appearances across the country. The former television repairman is a member of the Federal Democratic Union (EDU), a Christian party on the far right of Switzerland’s political spectrum. Zingg, 53, sees minarets as symbols of Muslim victories over newly conquered lands — as precursors to the introduction of Islamic Shariah law.

How times have changed in Switzerland. In the 1960s and 70s, politicians in Zürich and Geneva welcomed the construction of two mosques as symbols of the country’s sophistication and open-mindedness. Nowadays, Switzerland’s anti-minaret activists like to quote Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Minarets are our bayonets,” he said. “The domes are our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the believers our army.”

Daniel Zingg, on the other hand, has been referred to by the Swiss dailyTagesanzeiger as “God’s soldier against Islamization.” So far, his biggest success has been in Langenthal, not far from Wangen bei Olten. There, he was able to prevent a minaret from being built, arguing that it would be a source of “ideological emissions.”

But he soon may win a much larger victory. On November 29, Swiss citizens will vote on a referendum as to whether the construction of minarets in the country should be forbidden. Such a ban would not be a global premiere; similar laws exist in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan — against the building of church towers. . . . (continue reading)

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