Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lucia Marriage site shut down by webhost [UPDATE]

The stuff article should really have started with, "A website dedicated to defending the definition of marriage...", but never mind. What's pretty amazing is the scale of the attacks against the site after just a short time of being online. The gay marriage crowd show their true colours.

A website dedicated to opposing gay marriage has been removed from the internet the day it was launched after it was the target of one of the "largest unprecedented attacks" on a website in New Zealand.

The "Protect Marriage" website, launched today by Family First, crashed in a matter of hours as a result of a "large-scale denial of service attack" according to the site's webhost.

It was back up and running at 1pm, but had been removed completely by the webhosting company later this afternoon, to "protect its own servers".

"Due to large scale Denial of Service attacks against this domain it has been decided to ensure the stability and security of our servers and network, this account has been removed," said a message from 24/7 Hosting.

David Farrar, who does support redefining marriage to include two people of the same-sex, is annoyed the site has been shut down because he can't fisk it! But more seriously, even he is not happy with such an attack on freedom of speech. See A bad thing.

UPDATE: A commenter, Csanad on Kiwiblog suggests that sites that are subject to these sorts of attacks use ClouldFlare, a more advanced webhost that is constantly evaluating it's traffic for threats.  Here's an interview with the CEO and founder: Matthew Prince on how he founded CloudFlare – challenges, controversies, and his take on the startup scene. It's amazing how prevalent DNS attacks are - many of which are done for anti-competitive reasons.

‘The day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th, we saw a number of small-business flower shops come under attack: a purely financially-motivated essentially extortion scheme that said pay us a thousand dollars or we’ll knock your site offline on the busiest day‘.

Related link: Anti gay marriage website shut down ~ Stuff

Lucia Maori water claims look to be halting asset sales

I oppose asset sales, but not for this reason.

The Government has been warned it may face legal action if it ignores the Waitangi Tribunal recommendation over water ownership.

But the Prime Minister today would not rule out action on asset sales before the tribunal's final findings.

The Waitangi Tribunal issued the direction yesterday for the Government to halt its asset sales programme at least until the tribunal delivers its full findings on a water rights claim in September.

The tribunal said selling shares in state assets before it delivered its full findings could "cause a significant disadvantage to [Maori] claimants" if their claims were subsequently found to be well-founded.

The Government should do what most governments do when threatened with legal action over something that amounts to arm twisting over a share of the shares - change the law.

This is going to be interesting.

Related link: Govt warned over Tribunal response ~ NZ Herald

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lucia What will be undermined by same-sex marriage

John Key says that changing the definition of marriage to include two people of the same-sex will not undermine his marriage to his wife, Bronagh.

“You go through all the merits of the argument and look at what people put up; but my view is that if two gay people want to get married I can’t see why it would undermine my marriage with Bronagh,” he told Radio Live.

Well, good. I don't think anyone has ever seriously argued same-sex marriage would undermine John Key's marriage to his wife, or would indeed undermine any person's marriage.

However, how future generations, including how John Key's children and grandchildren will view marriage is another matter entirely. If you expand a definition enough, it will soon become meaningless.

Already in NZ today, we have young women who don't even contemplate marriage at all. Their idea of a future is to get pregnant to some young man who probably won't stick around and go on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. The DBP has been around for roughly forty years, and I doubt this sort of societal change was obvious at first, but now it's not difficult to find women who are making radically different choices about their lives because it exists and there is no expectation to get married before engaging in activities that result in children.

Otara administrator Delaney Papua, who turns 20 next month and is expecting her first baby in November, says going on the benefit seems to be just what you do when you get pregnant.

"All the people that I know that have kids go on it, so I kind of just assumed that you have to be on that," she says.

The babies' fathers often have no role in the families they help create, giving them no anchor in society. Papua doesn't expect her baby's father to support her.

"He's sending mixed messages, he says one thing and then another. I wouldn't know," she says. "I'd like to have him in the picture - maybe not together as a couple, seeing as we butt heads a lot, but being some sort of support with the baby.

"I don't know any friends that are being supported by their partner. A lot of them are in a relationship, but it will be on and off again, especially after having a child. He'd be working, or he'd lose his job, they're together, they're not together."

Does John Key want a future for his descendants where marriage is rendered so meaningless that no one engages in it any more? A future where very few children will live with their fathers, because there is no expectation that they will?  A future where it is the State's job to look after all the mothers and their children because men no longer feel they need to get married in order to get companionship and sex?  Expanding the definition of marriage will help in this wholesale decline, because marriage will mean everything and nothing.

Does John Key also want a future where the full force of the state will come down on those few who will continue to insist that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and two of the same-sex can't be married, no matter how many times it is said that they are?  That is the type of near future we will be hurtling into, where a business owner will be discriminated against by the State because he supports true marriage:

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has consistently backed "the biblical definition of a family," and his foundation has contributed to groups working to maintain the traditional definition of a marriage--one man and one woman. He later added, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage'."

[...]

But three liberal Mayors not only attacked Cathy's beliefs and words, but they threatened to block any Chick-fil-A restaurants from being opened in their cities. Those threats were not veiled.

I'm glad that John Key's marriage won't be undermined by same-sex marriage. However, his marriage is not what is at stake here.

Related link : PM says gay marriage doesn’t affect his marriage to Bronagh ~ KiwiBlog
A previous, very relevant post: Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry ~ NZ Conservative

Lucia Whale Oil's marriage convulsions [UPDATE]

Family First have set up a website that supports the reality of marriage : The National Marriage Coalition. (UPDATE 31/07/12 5:45pm: Marriage website shut down by web host)

The new website has lead Whale Oil tp mischievously suggest that Family First should support the redefinition of marriage, because they have on their website twenty-one reasons why marriage matters.

... 21 reasons why marriage matters and all of those can easily be appleied to same-sex marraige…making me wonder why Family Fist is opposed to marriage equality in the first place.

If marriage matters so much shouldn’t they be wanting as many people as possible to enjoy their 21 benefits of marriage…including gay people?
The problem with Cameron Slater's reasoning is that applying a label to a relationship does not make that relationship a marriage. Given the high number of divorces in the West today, there are many men and women who might have the label, but are also not really married in actuality. Since we have allowed no fault divorce, the understanding of marriage has eroded, and it's time that people remember marriage is more than just a piece of paper from the State.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lucia Colin Craig is being set upon by the liberals [UPDATE]

But I don't think it's because of what he is saying as such, it's because of the side he's on. Take the following, which David Farrar has leapt all over:

Mr Craig told 3 News that people choose to be gay rather than being born that way, many as a result of being abused as children.

Many years ago, I had a gay friend who confessed to me one night that he was planning to have one last night with his friends before killing himself. That was the beginning of a one very long night where I found out more about his life that I would have ever guessed, where he also told me he had been sexually abused by both male and female relatives during his life. I don't really know much more as my focus was more on helping him with his will to live at the time, rather than anything else.

Also, my co-blogger Fletch, posted a New Zealand study found that those that identified as gay or lesbian were three times more likely to have been abused as children. (link to press release)

Updated to add: Of course, this does not mean that every person who has experienced same-sex attraction was abused as a child!

However, I have some sympathy with where David Farrar is coming from with regards to this issue. A person cannot choose who they are attracted to, which is what David is getting all heated up about. But, I want to add, a person can choose what they do with that attraction. Sometimes an attraction is just a temptation to be overcome and is best treated as such. If it's acted upon, then it opens the door to attractions of a similar nature. Which is really where Colin Craig is coming from.

So, why have Colin Craig's comments raised such a reaction? Monsignor Charles Pope says it best:

Welcome to tolerance as defined by secular radicals. In their lexicon “tolerance” is “your right to agree with me.” Live and let live” means, “you have the right to live only where I say.” “Bigotry” applies only to the classes they say are oppressed. “Phobia” (as in Homophobia) applies only to those who oppose their  agenda. “Hate” only exists against the classes they I say who are “protected” and have defined as oppressed. It is never possible for religious or social conservatives to be the object of hate since hate only comes from social conservatives.
My advice to Colin Craig, if he reads this blog, is don't back-pedal.  If you're going to say controversial things, say them and make no apologies.  The liberals are going to tear you apart anyway, so it may as well be for what you really believe rather than just a softened version.  You'll get far more respect that way.

Related links: Colin Craig – being gay is a choice due to child abuse ~ KiwiBlog
Colin Craig: 'Gay parents not good role models' ~ 3News
What do Social Radicals really mean by Tolerance? ~ Monsignor Charles Pope

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lucia Maggie Barry being tarred and feathered in the media

I'm astounded that what National MP Maggie Barry said in Parliament the other day has exploded in this way.

National MP Maggie Barry's suggestion that a childless Jacinda Ardern can't speak with authority on child laws has been ridiculed on social media.

On Wednesday, in a debate on extending paid parental leave to six months, Ms Barry asked the Labour MP, "How many kids do you have?" and later added: "Don't be so precious, petal."

The comments were mocked on social media, with Twitter users applying Ms Barry's logic to other areas - including whether only the former TV gardening host could talk with authority on an invasion by triffids.

Is Maggie Barry being set upon because of her very strong views against euthanasia?

This has the whiff of a determined character assassination about it.

Related link: Barry mocked for childless snipe ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Same-sex marriage will become an election issue for Conservatives

Good on the Conservative Party for standing up on this issue.

The Conservative Party is calling for the protection of marriage in New Zealand after Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment Bill was drawn from the ballot in Parliament today.

“It is important that marriage remains between a man and a woman” says Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig.

"Make no mistake, this issue will be an election issue, and the Conservative Party looks like it's the only party with a clear policy of supporting the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman,"

“This is not an issue of rights; it’s an issue of respect. Respect for the many stakeholders in what marriage means. A tiny minority want to change the rules of the game to suit themselves, and that isn’t right,” he says.

“It’s time for all New Zealanders who recognise the importance of marriage being between a man and a woman to stand up and be heard, because our Parliamentarians lack the backbone to do it,” he says.

“Let’s not underestimate the essential role of the marriage institution for children and for our society as a whole. Changing the definition of marriage is no small thing, and will have far reaching impact, beginning with how this impacts on the rights of a child up for adoption," he says.

“The issue of gay marriage has been put to a vote in 32 states in America, and every time the people have chosen that it remain between a man and a woman. In Australia the same issue is being debated, and I am certain it will be decided in favour of marriage staying between a man and a woman. New Zealanders are not essentially liberals, and if there was a referendum on this issue I am confident we would see the people vote to stop this bill becoming law."

"We are tired of all this social engineering. Let’s hope the New Zealand people get their way on this issue. We’ve had far too many law changes that don’t have popular support” he says.

Related link: Gay Marriage not a right ~ Scoop

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lucia Demonic activity and exorcism

Anthony Hopkins in The Rite

The Catholic News Agency has an article on it's website of an interview with a trainee exorcist, who never imagined himself doing exorcisms when he first became a priest. It was something that must have been inspired by Our Lord Himself, for he says that when he was consecrating the bread and wine during Mass one time, he prayed the following:

“At the moment of consecration of the precious blood I asked the Lord to shower his blood upon the youth and to help any young men who may have a vocation to the priesthood.”

The instant reaction of one 13-year old boy shocked the young priest, “he fell backwards and started growling. And I thought, ‘I wasn’t expecting this!’”

I don't think anyone quite expects an overt manifestation like that. I had my own experience of overt diabolic activity many years ago when I was still dabbling in New Age stuff. I had the thought that an old building, such as the one I was wandering through at the time (the old Grace Bros Building in Sydney city, no longer standing) must have a lot of "energy" in it that might be felt if one opened themselves up. Stupidest thing I ever did, and I've done some stupid things, but this beat everything else. Once I gave the ascent, I felt a rushing at me from everywhere. The pressure on me was amazing, especially the pressure into my head. I immediately changed my mind and yelled out an internal no and it stopped. But I had an immense headache and I was physically sick for two days. Even now, just remembering it, I feel like I have to remain closed to whatever it was, because that capacity to open in that way is still there.

“It is not the devil or the exorcist who is at the center of this but a person is suffering a lot and who is in need of certain liberation through Christ.”

Confession, confession, confession has worked for me - it's the greatest protection against the devil. I think most (hopefully all) demonic influence beyond that which we are normally allowed to experience was removed last year after a Catholic retreat I went to. Thankfully, I was never actually possessed, though I could have been.  It was so close.

As for correct terminology, is it a demon or a devil? “Demon comes from Greek, devil comes from Latin, either is okay,” he explained. What you are dealing with “are fallen angels who were created good.”

The early Church Fathers, including St. Jerome and St. Augustine, speculated that these angels rebelled “because of the revelation to them of God’s plan of incarnation” and their “repulsion at the notion that God, who is pure spirit and infinite, should become a man.”

For this reason, the priest observed, they have a “fascination with physicality” and “making people suffer.”

“So once the rite begins, normally he starts to manifest himself in the suffering person different ways - violence, changing of the face, changing of the voice is different,” he said, recalling recent exorcisms.

“He just wants to intimidate, but you basically have to ignore him and say ‘Hey, I am the one giving orders around here, buddy,’” he laughed.

I can just imagine our resident atheists disbelieving that this sort of thing is possible.

The demon’s angelic knowledge, he said, also means they are aware that God only permits their diabolical activities to bring about the salvation of people through “expiating suffering.”

“These suffering people are becoming saints (by) the offering of their sacrifices” which God then receives and “blesses large parts of the Church around the world.”

“When you remind the Devil of that it makes him furious,” because he knows he is losing and hence “he wants to get what he can, while he can. If he can’t win these peoples’ souls, he wants to at least make their lives miserable.”

Expiated suffering is the hardest thing to explain to people. Even thought it's difficult, it really does make you stronger as well. Seriously.

The American exorcist-in-training explained that the causes of demonic influence vary from case to case and the impact of participating in evil practices also changes with each case.

But one factor that seems to be a common foundation for people coming under the sway of the Devil is “deep wounds in their lives and, above all, in their family,” particularly where “parents have made really bad choices” and in doing so “have invited evil influence into their home.”

He lists such things as “marital infidelity, abortion, doing things that break the family apart.”

“What is the family?” he asked rhetorically, “A family is an icon; it’s an image of the blessed Trinity, and so the devil hates the family.”

Same-sex marriage is one of the ways that the devil can attack the family. You add same-sex marriage to cohabitation, infidelity and divorce, and you get total confusion as to what the family is. The devil must be very pleased today with NZ and the same-sex marriage bill that has been drawn from the ballot!

Related links: American exorcist in training shares his experience ~ Catholic News Agency
Prayer and Suffering ~ Fr. John A. Hardon, The Real Presence Association

Lucia Same-sex marriage bill drawn in Parliament

It was inevitable.

Same-sex marriage generally heralds persecution of those who disagree.

In Scotland, the Archbishop-designate Tartaglia sees himself going to jail over this issue.

“I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out,” Archbishop Tartaglia said in an interview with STV News July 24

His comments came just a day before the Scottish government announced it would legislate in favor of same-sex “marriage.” Archbishop Tartaglia warned that the redefinition of marriage will have “enormous implications for religious liberty”

“I am deeply concerned that today, defending the traditional meaning of marriage is almost considered ‘hate speech’ and branded intolerant. Such a response is undemocratic, closes debate and is highly manipulative,” he told EWTN News on July 24

Last month the leading Scottish lawyer Aidan O’Neill warned that same-sex “marriage” legislation will radically undermine religious liberty in Scotland.

He predicted that a change in the law could result in employees being fired for opposing same-sex “marriage,” ministers and priests being sued for refusing to allow “wedding” ceremonies to take place in their churches, school children being forced to attend homosexual history lessons, and couples being rejected as foster parents if they oppose the new legislation

Let's hope sanity prevails in New Zealand.

Related link: MPs to vote on gay marriage

Fletch Court Agrees Greater Risk Of Suicide, Women Who Have Had Abortion.

Court in U.S rules that State of Dakota is allowed to say that women who have had abortions are at increased risk of suicide – and even planned Parenthoods expert concurred.

A federal appeals court affirmed the last provision of a long-disputed informed consent law today, ruling that the state of South Dakota can require abortionists to inform women seeking to terminate the lives of their unborn baby that they face an increased risk of suicide.

[...]

“As a result of this case upholding all eight major provisions of South Dakota’s Abortion Informed Consent Statute, pregnant mothers will now be informed: 1) that ‘an abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;’ 2) that the mother’s ‘relationship with that second human being enjoys protection under the Constitution of the United States and the laws of South Dakota;’ 3) ‘that relationship and all rights attached to it will be terminated;’ and 4) the abortion places the mother ‘at increased risk for suicide ideation and suicide,’” he said.

The court’s opinion said even Planned Parenthood’s own testimony documented a link between abortion and suicide.
“Planned Parenthood’s own expert, Dr. Nada Stotland, admitted that one of the studies, which determined a suicide rate after abortion of 31.9 per 100,000 as compared to a suicide rate after live birth of 5.0 per 100,000, ‘indicates an association; not causation, but an association’ between abortion and suicide,” the judges wrote.

Commenting on the decision, Steven H. Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom said “a woman’s right to make a fully informed choice is more important than Planned Parenthood’s bottom line.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lucia Just go home with your loot where the police can't get you!

It seems that if thieves steal stuff in New Zealand, that all they have to do to get away from police is to go home!

On Saturday night, Echo Liu, her husband Frank Yeng and their 1-year-old son Jayden returned to their Matipo St home in Riccarton to discover they had been burgled.

Among the items taken were Liu's iPhone, her diamond watch, the family's computer and iPads.

"They took a lot of stuff. They even took my skin care and make-up products," Liu said.

But Liu said the "most heartbreaking part" was that her iPhone and the computer contained all their photos of their son.

The couple instantly thought to turn-on the "find my iPhone" software they had installed on Liu's phone.

Using Yeng's iPhone the GPS showed Liu's iPhone was moving from Matipo St towards Riccarton Rd.

Liu called the police and explained they were tracking the offenders.

Yeng got in his car and followed the vehicle to a Gloucester St property and waited.

When the police arrived at the couple's Matipo St home Liu said she was told they could not inspect the Gloucester St property without a search warrant, which could take days to obtain.

Just bizarre!

Inspector Alan Weston said police currently needed a search warrant to enter a property.

However, a new Search and Surveillance Act, which was to come into effect shortly, would make searching a property "a lot more simple", he said.

The act will enable an officer to enter a place or vehicle without warrant to search for and arrest a person if the constable has "reasonable grounds".

Thank goodness for that.

Related link: Police powerless to act after couple track thieves

Lucia Danny Watson on getting priests to reveal Confessions


As promised from last week, I've put the first part of a talk back show on NewsTalkZB about forcing priests to reveal the contents of a Confession together into a You-Tube video. It's got Danny Watson's introduction and the first caller. I've added my responses to a few things in as text.

Here's the link to story of the martyrdom of Father Francis Douglas in WWII for refusing to reveal Confessions to the Japanese: Martyr for the Seal of Confession

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lucia Fulton Sheen on Temptation


Part II (9:56), Part III (3:21)

Temptations are a part of life
The stronger you are, the stronger the temptations you will face.
Defeating temptations makes us stronger.

Lucia A new (old) word from Shakespeare

The other night I came across a word that I had never seen before.

I was reading a little of A Midsummer Night's dream to my 11 year old son to give him an idea of what the play was actually like. We have just started going through Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare, which tells each play as a story, however, the book misses out the poetry of the play itself and quite a bit of story as well, as the it's really only a summary for children.

So, I found A Midsummer Night's Dream on the Kindle (I have the Complete Works of Shakepeare on the Kindle) and  and started reading from the beginning of Act 3, Scene 1, where a troup of players are organising their parts and practising their lines. One of them, Bottom, becomes enchanted by the fairy king with an asses head, and the fairy queen, falls in love with him after having her eyes smeared by the fairy king while she was asleep with the juice from an enchanted flower.

I think by the time we got to where the queen, Titania wakes up and falls in love with Bottom, my 11 year old's attention was waning, but there I found the new word.
TITANIA
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee.

BOTTOM
Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason
for that: and yet, to say the truth, reason
and love keep little company together now-a-days;
the more the pity that some honest neighbours will
not make them friends. Nay, I can gleek upon
occasion.
I'd never heard of "gleek" before. The dictionary on the Kindle was no help, my husband has no idea (he's a bit of a wordsmith), and neither did our rather large dictionary that we have in our bookcase. I needed the Internet to help me find the word, and after ignoring all the references to doing something with saliva, which I'm sure Shakespeare wouldn't have meant, I found the actual meaning: link

gleek

1 [gleek] 
verb (used without object) Archaic .
to make a joke; jest.

This is cool, too: Notable Quotations from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lucia Our family won't be buying shares

Kiwis with $1000 or more to spare are being targeted in the Government's first big power company float - with the promise of bonus shares if they hold on to them.

We just don't have thousands of dollars lying around doing nothing. We actually owe quite a bit of money on our mortgage, and it looks like we're going to have to extend it to buy a new car soon, as our 1997 Mitsubishi with 250K on the clock is on it's last wheels.

Now that I think about it however, we do have our super schemes in Australia. If the Government could think of a way of transferring some of our super money over from Aussie, we might actually think about using that to buy shares. Or pay off some of the mortgage - it would be a difficult choice.

Related link: $1000 to buy a share of NZ

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lucia Weird, faith based approaches to healing at Whanganui Hospital

Whanganui Hospital is trialling weird, faith based approach to healing.

Christian prayer and traditional Maori healing are to be offered at Whanganui Hospital as part of a natural therapy service - but a sceptic says they could do more harm than good.

Hospital staff will trial the service focused on spirituality and the healing and strengthening of the mind for three months before the district health board considers opening it up to patients.

I say weird, because, I don't quite see how you could offer Christian prayer as a natural therapy service. Whanganui Hospital already has two chaplains, and a chapel where people can pray. Why put Christian prayer into a natural therapy service, why not just leave it with the chaplains and the chapel? Or, do they think by mixing Christianity in with the other stuff, they can somehow equate all of them?

Reiki, massage and meditation will also be available, Maori health director Gilbert Taurua said.

Reiki is incredibly dangerous, and is a good way of increasing your chances of demonic possession. I suppose if the Hospital wants more patients, this is also a good way of getting them, especially for their psycho wards.

However, Victoria University biology sciences professor Shaun Holt said the therapies were a "strange mix". "Meditation and massage great - the others not so."

There was no evidence-based research on reiki, Christian prayer and Maori healing being useful.

"What annoys me with things like this is there are lots of useful complementary therapies out there that they could be offering - yoga, tai chi, herbal supplements, even acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine, that are all evidence-based."

He described reiki - which involves the practitioner placing their hands lightly on the body, supposedly allowing a free flow of universal energy - as "witchcraft".

Shaun Holt doesn't have the exactly the same objections that I do, but at least we agree on reiki. Describing it as "witchcraft" works for me.

However, while there may be no evidence based research on Christian prayer being effective, the Catholic Church's Saint process shows that there can be a direct correlation between prayer and miraculous healing, such as this one that was used in the elevation of Fulton Sheen to Venerable.

Related link: Whanganui trials faith-based therapies

Lucia How to stop jaywalking

The authorities are wringing their hands over the numbers of idiots jaywalking in Wellington. For some weird reason, it's turned into this massive cultural practise that doesn't really happen to the same extent in larger cities.

Even on really busy, multi-lane roads, the occasional random pedestrian will dash out and weave their way through cars. I find it incredibly disturbing as a driver, as well as distracting.

So, I propose, just like we have speed cameras to catch drivers going 10K over the speed limit, that problem streets be kept under surveillance and fines be given out to jaywalkers. It doesn't have to be a big fine - something in the range of $10 to $20 - but just something to make people think about whether it's really worth it to jaywalk, or spend the extra time walking to a crossing point and waiting for the green man.

Will be updated with a link soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lucia Maori water superstition and freedom of belief

"People say 'in this resource is my taniwha, my guardian spirit. He protects me, he protects my water resource. He's not your taniwha so if you are going to use that resource without my permission, he will do terrible things to you'.

I'll take the risk. Just like people who believe in taniwhas take the risk of Hell through their superstitious beliefs. But, hey, they have the freedom to believe what they want about water spirits as long as they allow the rest of us the freedom to disbelieve that those self-same water spirits can harm us.

Related link: Taniwha proof of Maori water rights

Lucia Sexual harassment by atheists at conferences

So it seems that less women are attending an atheist gathering in Las Vegas, some of whom are not going because of the amount of unwanted sexual attention they get at these sorts of conferences.

(RNS) As skeptics, atheists and humanists prepare to gather for their largest meeting in Las Vegas this weekend, attendance by women is expected to be down significantly.

Officials for The Amazing Meeting, or TAM, said Wednesday (July 11) that women would make up 31 percent of the 1,200 conference attendees, down from 40 percent the year before. A month before the conference, pre-registration was only 18 percent women, organizers said.

The explanations are many -- the bad economy, that women, as caregivers, are less able to get away, and that more men than women identify as skeptics, whose worldview rejects the supernatural and focuses on science and rationality.

But in the weeks preceding TAM, another possible explanation has roiled the nontheist community. Online forums have crackled with charges of sexism in TAM’s leadership and calls for the ouster of D.J. Grothe, the male president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, TAM’s organizer. In June, Rebecca Watson, a skeptic blogger and speaker, canceled her TAM appearance because, she said on her blog, she does “not feel welcome or safe.”

Other nontheists -- both male and female -- have shared stories of unwanted sexual attention at nontheist gatherings, including propositions for sex and unwelcome touching. Chatter has ranged from calls for more women to attend nontheist events to personal attacks on prominent female skeptics for discussing harassment. Meanwhile, two more skeptic/feminist bloggers announced they will not attend TAM.

It's probably best if I don't give my opinion on why this would be.

Related link: Do atheists have a sexual harassment problem

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lucia Confession on the airwaves [UPDATE 9]

Boy, is NewsTalkZB talk back fascinated with Confession today! Sean Plunkett, mostly after 11am (looks like it's unavailable) and Danny Watson between 12:15 and 3pm (link to week on demand - Wednesday).

Update 8: Starts at 1:10pm with a lead in by Danny Watson

"If I'm right the point of confession is to verbalise something that you've done that was wrong, and it's to ally some of your guilt by doing that. And whether you do that with the priest, whether you do that with a confidant, whether you're doing that with your god or whatever, it's all about the person that is confessing. There is value and merit in that. However, at the same time, what if you are confessing about a murder, a rape. What about if it's a paedophile that's telling a priest or someone else, some of the heinous things they've been doing. Doesn't the person listening have a responsibility back to the community at some level? I understand the confession wouldn't happen unless the confidence was there. But surely the person listening has a responsibility to the rest of us? And, to the victims of those crimes!"

He goes on to talk about prisoners, when they are ready to move on and take responsibility for their crimes, confess in public, not in silence, and not hidden (implying confession to a priest, here). He wants callers to phone in if they've ever been told something that they needed to tell someone else about, and what do people think about the debate that is going on in Australia, about forcing priests to tell about what is told to them in Confession?

Update 9

He brings up Lindsay Freer, the Catholic spokeswoman for the Auckland Diocese who says that priests would rather go to prison than to break the Seal of the Confessional.

Then they have a short interlude, during which a portion of Madonna's song, Like a Prayer, is played. I didn't really notice that at first, the connection of the song to the subject. Very nice. Except Madonna is not Catholic even though she grew up as one. Gregorian chant would have been much more overt, though. Maybe next time?

The first caller is Russell who works with children and adults who commit sexual crimes, and he talks about a limited confidentiality which he thinks needs to apply across the board. Limited confidentiality means that if there is any harm done or anything that needs to be taken care of, they're not bound by the confidentiality.

My thoughts after listening to everything

There is power in the Confessional that is unlike confessing to just another person. Those who are absolved are given Grace by God to directly struggle and overcome those sins confessed. Have personally experienced this many times where it's obvious to me that it's been happening. The opposite is telling someone (not a priest) about something you've overcome and then the temptation to do it comes on even stronger.

More thoughts later. As everyone can most likely see from the number of updates, this post keeps changing as I add more and go through the audio more carefully. I've also downloaded some audio editing software, so I might be able to get the more interesting parts of the two hours or so (minus ads and boring people) onto You-Tube! Once I've finished, I'll write another post, so don't worry if you're not keeping up with this one.

Lucia If CYF was Catholic, the pitchforks would be out in force

Why am I not surprised that child abuse of this magnitude is happening.

More than 70 children and young people were abused while in Child Youth and Family care last year and no central records are being kept on the abuse.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett revealed the information in Parliament today in response to a question from the Greens' Holly Walker.

Ms Bennett said that of the 71 cases of abuse - 30 were by CYF-approved caregivers and the rest by "third party'' caregivers.

"Thirteen have been prosecuted by police, the others have not. Even though they were substantial forms of abuse - they weren't at a level police were able to prosecute,'' Ms Bennett said.

Can you imagine the difference in reaction to this if the Catholic Church was involved?

"For an agency that's in the business of child protection it is astonishing that it didn't see fit to collect data on children in its own care who were subsequently abused in that care,'' she said.

Astonishing and criminal, I would have thought.  I doubt any heads will roll, however.  Unlike cases where what certain Catholic priests knew about abusers twenty years ago in Australia have made the international news.

In Australia as well, the Catholic Church has appointed a judge to lead abuse inquiry while as here in New Zealand, Owen Glenn's offer to pay for a commission of inquiry into domestic violence and child abuse, I get the impression, is being ignored by the Government.

As I said in my title, if CYFS was the Catholic Church, the pitchforks would be out in force.

Related link: Dozens of children abused while in CYF care


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lucia Beliefs about Hell

Fr Barron comments on hell, and how you have to believe in hell if you believe that God is love and that man has free-will. Hell is not somewhere that people are sent, rather it is a place where they go if they reject God's love, and it's always locked from the inside.


There was a post about Heaven being hotter than Hell on one of my side links at some point recently. I can't remember which blog. I think the person was implying that there was something wrong with this concept as presumably Hell is supposed to be where people are being burned alive forever. But if you think of Hell as the rejection of God's love and the fire of Hell being God's love that because it is rejected, torments those in Hell forever, then in Heaven God's love must be a heck of a lot stronger because God would tone it down quite a lot for the souls in Hell, therefore Heaven would be hotter than Hell.

Related link: Would God send someone to Hell? ~ Matt Fradd

Lucia Criminalise prostitution and those who use their services

New Zealand used to criminalise prostitution, but this was deemed unfair because the people who went to prostitutes were subject to no legal sanction. So, rather than doing the reasonable thing and making sure that using the services of a prostitute was criminalised as well, our idiotic Parliament of the time just decriminalised everything. But, after nearly 10 years of decriminalisation, prostitution is now out of control.

Sex workers have wrecked more than 40 parking signs in the last 18 months by using them to solicit clients, a tell-all-book on South Auckland street workers claims.

The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board released the book detailing business owners and residents dealings with street prostitutes today in their fight to ban them from working near homes, schools and sports grounds.

In the book, Donna Lee, the manager of the Hunters Corner and central Papatoetoe business districts, claims sex workers, among other things, are damaging public property

"Prostitutes use these (street sign poles) as dancing poles," she claims.

"The poles are part of their soliciting equipment and they often snap them. Some of the prostitutes are big, strong people."

Lee said she didn't receive complaints from business people anymore because they've "given up on getting any help" and simply go about cleaning up their properties which involved picking up condoms, drugs and faeces.

"We quite literally deal with human waste every day."

Disgusting.

All of this sort of activity needs to be criminalised again.

Related link: Prostitutes wrecking public property

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lucia Marriage and inequality

An interesting article in the New York Times that articulates the major differences between married couple families and single parent families that are contributing to increasing inequality. Children from married couple families are more likely to marry each other, and those from single parent families (mostly girls) are more likely to raise their own families by themselves.  This partnering between children raised similarly is what is becoming the largest barrier to upward mobility.

But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University.

I have told both my sons that their best bet in choosing a spouse is making sure the girl comes from an intact family. That way she would have seen her parents stick it out together through thick and thin and therefore be more likely to be able to do the same herself.

In my experience and in my wider family, most of those family members who came from divorced households have failed miserably in their marriages. By the time is has got to the third generation (ie the grandchild of the original divorced parent who herself was raised by a divorced parent), it's been a 100% marriage failure rate.

While many children of single mothers flourish (two of the last three presidents had mothers who were single during part of their childhood), a large body of research shows that they are more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty, act up in class, become teenage parents and drop out of school.

John Key was likewise raised by a single mother. However, wider New Zealand society modelled the married couple ideal at the time he was growing up. It doesn't seem to any more with an increasing number of people thinking of marriage as just a piece of paper. I know I thought that way more than twenty years ago even though it's changed now!

Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’ ~ New York Times

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lucia Philadelphia priest not found guilty of covering up child abuse

Contrary to what has been reported in the media, the Catholic priest found guilty of covering up child abuse wasn't actually found guilty of covering up child abuse as the media would have you believe.  He was only found guilty of "endangering the welfare of a child", one of the four charges against him.

In the end, Msgr. Lynn was found guilty of only one of the four charges he faced. The cleric acknowledged that he knew that Edward Avery was ministering at a parish in the vicinity of children even though Avery had received a credible complaint years earlier of sex abuse. Avery was then accused of abuse in his new assignment, and it is because of this episode that Lynn was found guilty of a third-degree felony of “endangering the welfare of a child.”

What's more, this verdict will most likely be easily overturned because the statue under which he was charged shouldn't have been applied to him.

Again, the crime for which Lynn was convicted was endangering the welfare of a child (EWOC). On the surface, it would appear that Lynn did indeed endanger children by allowing an abusive priest to remain in an assignment in which the cleric had access to children. But this Pennsylvania statute had historically only been applied to those who had direct supervision of children (e.g., parents, coaches, teachers, etc.), not to those who simply managed employees.

Indeed, Msgr. Lynn did not directly care for children. Here merely acted as a liaison for priests from his diocesan office.

Most surprisingly, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office actually admitted in its 2005 grand jury report that Pennsylvania’s endangerment statute did not apply to Msgr. Lynn. In the 2005 report, Assistant District Attorney Mariana Sorensen and attorney Marci Hamilton, representing the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, wrote:

The [EWOC] statute confines its coverage to parents, guardians, or other persons “supervising the welfare of a child.” High-level archdiocese officials [like Msgr. Lynn], however, were far removed from any direct contact with children.

In other words, Philly prosecutors publicly admitted in 2005 that they were unable to prosecute Msgr. Lynn under the EWOC statute. The law simply did not apply to him.

Therefore, an obvious question remains: why did the District Attorney’s Office prosecute Msgr. Lynn under the EWOC statute in 2011 when it already acknowledged in 2005 that it could not charge him with it?

I would say the answer to the last question would be to keep Catholic priests as child molesters in the the news media, even if the conviction will be overturned in the future. Meanwhile, real child molesters breathe easy, knowing that their activities are escaping this level of scrutiny.

* ~ * ~ *

As a personal note, I'm finding writing about this subject incredibly difficult, especially when I've read about the actual cases of abuse of children - they are horrendous. I'm sure that all those who abuse children have a special place in Hell reserved especially for them, but that's probably not particularly consoling for their victims.

Related link: Philadelphia Postscript: Will the Guilty Verdict Lead to Lawsuits Elsewhere?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lucia Interesting turn in the Father F molestation saga

The police were told and did nothing.

NSW police were told that a Catholic priest now at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal was abusing boys almost 30 years ago, but took no action against him.

In 1983, the father of an 11-year-old altar boy told officers in the town of Moree that his son had been touched inappropriately by the priest, known as Father F for legal reasons.

The boy's father, who asked not to be named, said he raised the allegation with the late Monsignor Frank Ryan, a church official in the diocese of Armidale on three occasions, but nothing was done. "So I spoke to the police and they said they were aware of (Father F's) activities and something would come out of it," the father said.

"But nothing happened."

Ok then, nothing to see here, let's move on to blaming the priests who were told something of the Father F's crimes against children 9 years later ...


Related link: Police 'took no action' over priest's abuse ~ The Australian

For more reading:
Outrage over sex crimes against children depend on whether they are Catholic or not
More secular hypocrisy on sex crimes
Double Standards in sex crimes involving priests in comparison to other people

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lucia Time to get rid of the Waitangi Tribunal

Maori claims on water highlight just how ridiculous the claims on the Treaty of Waitangi are becoming. The Principles of the Treaty can mean whatever anyone wants them to mean, and now it's a potential claim on water, which just shows that the whole Treaty process is looking more and more like a complete rort. Most people were likely too polite to say that in the past, but water might be the issue that inflames the population to the point of demanding that claims on the Treaty of Waitangi cease.

When there's money up for grabs, then there's incentive to go for it. Sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church, where it's cheaper to just pay out than investigate or fight the claims show that: Many Abuse Accusations Against Catholic Priests Are 'Entirely False'.

The number of commentators that I've heard on the radio over the last couple of days who have said to just pay the Maori out to make this whole water issue go away, through shares in asset sales or just straight money, just flabbergasts me. How does that discourage future claims of this sort? It doesn't, no, all it says is that you may as well have a go and see if you get anything.

Lucia Outrage over sex crimes against children depend on whether they are Catholic or not [UPDATE]

Compare and contrast

Guy in charge fires all the teachers, whether they are guilty or innocent. Presumably they'll go on to get jobs elsewhere, but no matter, he's dealt to the problem.

Faced with a shocking case of a teacher accused of playing classroom sex games with children for years, Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy delivered another jolt: He removed the school's entire staff — from custodians to the principal — to smash what he called a "culture of silence."

"It was a quick, responsible, responsive action to a heinous situation," he said. "We're not going to spend a long time debating student safety."

The controversial decision underscores the 51-year-old superintendent's shake-up of the lethargic bureaucracy at the nation's second-largest school district. His swift, bold moves have rankled some and won praise from others during his first year of leadership.

Superintendent fires entire school staff over classroom sex allegations (Hattip: Crusader Rabbit)

How about reporting the entire staff to police?  Probably didn't, as the police might need far more specific information that he didn't have, but never mind, no one wanted that because we are not talking about Catholics here, so nothing to see, move on ...

Anyway, twenty years ago in Australia, some priests had a meeting with a priest accused of abusing children. The Australian media has been in a frenzy over this over the last week, with there being no sign of it calming down. Now, the media is using it to attack the whole notion of a celibate Catholic priesthood, which even though it is not to blame for priests abusing children, it is to blame.  Huh?

Nothing sacred about celibacy

Yeah, it's confused, but that's to be expected in a sex-saturated culture.  The whole idea of celibacy to most in our society seems to be considered far more sinister than any other sexual choice.

However, celibacy is not an issue in schools, and yet they are not immune from sexual abuse allegations, as multiple news items show.  Why isn't sending children off to be looked after by other adults through compulsory schooling being looked at more closely?  What good is it if some children are sexually molested?  Doesn't the harm outweigh the good that schools do?  No, when it comes to schools, it's too important to all of us that our children attend, therefore we will take the risk that they'll be ok, and that things will be dealt with somewhat when they come up.

What about the boys scouts?  Here's a news story that the Catholic bashers might want to look into, Child abuse in Scouts dwarfs Catholic Church.
A televised report from an ABC affiliate in Phoenix has built upon the recent revelation that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kept files on thousands of cases of child sex abuse.
The voluminous amount of stomach-turning abuse cases prompted Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff to opine:
"I think the amount of abuse in the Boy Scouts of America dwarfs that which we've seen in the Catholic Church."
Kosnoff's statement is remarkable considering that he has secured millions of dollars in settlements from "several Roman Catholic dioceses, the Jesuits, and other religious orders."
Have a watch of the video below:

 
Waiting for the outrage ... Hmmmm, doesn't involve only priests, so I'll be waiting a long time, I think. Meanwhile, Whale Oil writes another post in which he tries to take the moral high ground, Hey Catholics…Boy Buggering is bad. Yes, we know. We also know all consensual sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is bad as well. Even sex with yourself, even looking at porn, even imagining sex with someone. All of that is covered under "bad". However, all those definitions of badness make most people very uncomfortable, especially when they are championing another form of sex outside marriage: same sex relationships.  Thus the demonisation of Catholics in order to destroy moral credibility in the protest against the redefinition of marriage.  This is a very dirty battle indeed.
UPDATE: Police were told of an Australian priest's offending back in 1983, but nothing was done by them. Police 'took no action' over priest's abuse
NSW police were told that a Catholic priest now at the centre of a child sex abuse scandal was abusing boys almost 30 years ago, but took no action against him. In 1983, the father of an 11-year-old altar boy told officers in the town of Moree that his son had been touched inappropriately by the priest, known as Father F for legal reasons. The boy's father, who asked not to be named, said he raised the allegation with the late Monsignor Frank Ryan, a church official in the diocese of Armidale on three occasions, but nothing was done. "So I spoke to the police and they said they were aware of (Father F's) activities and something would come out of it," the father said. "But nothing happened."

Will the police be demonised? Doubt it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lucia Is this a Maori water grab?

Unbelievable!

A Waitangi Tribunal began today after the Maori Council lodged a claim over the issue of water rights.

The hearing has been fast-tracked because of National's asset sales programme and will consider whether Treaty claimants are being denied a future stake in the state-owned power companies and the broader questions of Maori water and geothermal rights.

The Tribunal will consider how water and geothermal resources may be covered by the Treaty of Waitangi and government plans to partially sell off 49 per cent of state owned energy companies.

Opportunism at it's finest.

Maori Council spokesman Maanu Paul told the Tribunal the spirit of the group's claim had been lost in the words of the claim.

"What is freshwater? It is a spirit."

It was a sacred thing, he said.

"I am the water, the water is me."

Taipari Munro, of the Whatatiri Trust, spoke of the angst of his people who had lost control of the Poroti Springs.

He rejected suggestions by Prime Minister John Key that no one could own water.

"As long as my feet are standing on the earth, I won't accept that. I cannot accept that."

Munro said his hapu were treated like "flies on the wall" and had no control over what happened to the springs.

They were happy to share use of the water but wanted to have a say in decision making, he said.

I wonder if NZ governments will start regretting their encouragement of the Maori religion? Opportunism mixed up with pantheism, the false idea that God and the world are one, fantastic!

Related link: Maori expected to put asset sales through legal hoops

Saturday, July 7, 2012

ZenTiger More secular hypocrisy on sex crimes

[The Department of] Corrections has repeatedly refused to identify where freed sex offenders are living, citing privacy concerns.

So let me get this straight. It is a crime if the Church fails to tell people in their diocese that a person accused of sex crimes is working there, but we let the Government place known sex offenders into our community without telling us?

And even when the government tells us, it's a Claytons tell. They'll say that a sex offender is in the area, but not show any photos or divulge any useful information other than "be scared, be very scared". And guess whose rights trump the children:
Police powers to warn the public of a paedophile in the area are carefully controlled. In 2006, repeat child sex offender Barry Grant Brown won a $25,000 payout after a court ruled that police breached his privacy by delivering a leaflet warning residents that he had been freed
Isn't it about time that the same standards start applying to all?

(And before you get excited, I'd suggest the standards be in favour of full disclosure.)

ZenTiger Secular Immorality

The Hand Mirror are railing against Family First and their stance on sex education. Apparently, consent and pleasure is the main criteria for teaching children about sex.

I suggested Consent isn't everything

Their argument stems from these opening thoughts, and thus becomes somewhat irrelvant to me, as I got stuck on the idea that consent and pleasure are the defining criteria.

You can see this flawed logic in action, with CYF condoning illegal behaviour, because it doesn't fit with their ideology.

I think it shocking that criminal activity is endorsed by school councillors and CYF workers (who can then arrange an abortion without parental knoweldge and cover up their little "mistake").

Technically, 14 year olds cannot consent, so the 20 year old is guilty of statutory rape, or whatever new terminology for this has become. Either way, it was still illegal, and yet not just ignored by secular authorities, but condoned!

Crazy.

Lucia Whale obsessing about priests again

Phew at least he didn't root a woman ~ Whale Oil Beef Hooked

He, if we are talking about the subject of the article in question, didn't root anyone. The priest was involved in a meeting more than twenty years ago with another priest, Father F who cannot be named, who did admit some wrong doing against some boys (how much is not clear) roughly thirty years ago. Presumably what the priest in question heard is not enough to convict Father F, so the media are just making a story out of it instead presumably to keep in the public mind that only Catholic priests molest boys and to discredit the largest Christian body in Australia that is vociferously protesting same-sex marriage.

Whale Oil seems to enjoy posting these sorts of stories and perpetuating the myth that molestation of boys is something that the Catholic Church encourages, which of course, she does not.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lucia Friday Night Free For All


Haven't done one of these for ages, but was reminded when I accidentally found the first ever one: Friday Night Free For All on Sir Humphreys' on June 10, 2005. More than seven years ago now.

Since then, a number of other blogs have taken up the open thread concept, KiwiBlog's General Debate being a prime example.

I think they are a good idea for places where commenters gather. We're not so busy in that way anymore, but for blogs that are busy, it gives people an opportunity to talk to each other about anything rather than having to loosely stick to the topic of the post. It builds community if it's done well.

Lucia Chris Trotter is looking for a Labour Hero

Chris Trotter would make a good propagandist, if he put his mind to it and if we all weren't so cynical. But really, we are talking about politicians, so kind of facing an uphill battle with this one!

John Key’s extraordinary success as a political leader owes a great deal to how closely his own career conforms to the heroic monomyth.

The story begins with John, an ordinary Kiwi joker with a head for figures, setting out on a risky journey into the fantastic world of high finance, where all but the hardiest and most cunning traders are eaten alive. Having mastered the magical art of making money, and acquired a vast fortune, John returns home from his adventures determined to put his hard-won skills to good use among his own people.

It is difficult to imagine a “hero” better suited to the needs of twenty-first century New Zealand. John Key’s very ordinariness confirms his “Everyman” status, and amplifies the potency of his success. The power he wields is not his own, but a weapon forged from the capacities inherent in every Kiwi: those mysterious qualities that allow New Zealanders to “punch above their weight”; that national essence which sanctions John Key’s followers’ vicarious participation in his personal and political success. He is Us, and We are Him. It’s why, until an even more emblematic hero comes along, John Key will remain invincible.

For a while, it looked as though Labour had found just such an emblem. David Shearer’s story, like John Key’s, begins with an ordinary bloke setting forth on a journey, during which he encounters all manner of monsters – from Somali warlords to murderous Israeli settlers – learning in the process the magic spells for opening the human heart to compassion, justice and reconciliation. He, too, returns to his people and, at the crucial moment, steps forward from the shadows to declare that he is the one destined to lay low the National Party usurper.

Except he hadn’t learned the spells, or, if he had, he could no longer remember them.

Or ... no one wanted to be like him. Shearer hasn't bettered himself in the way that the ordinary man can understand, and therefore the ordinary man doesn't think Shearer can understand him and his struggles.

In fact, it's not even about heroes when it comes to Labour, it's about convincing the electorate that they are benign, that they don't want to rule every aspect of our lives, down to dictating what type of shower heads we can have or the type of light bulbs we are allowed to use. For that, for lulling every one into complacency and giving an alternative to vote for when people get too frustrated with National ( because no party keeps everyone happy all of the time), then Labour need to rely on the forgetfulness of the people in order to get back into government. Not sure how long that process with take. Maybe another couple of election cycles?

Related link: We DO Need Another Hero ~ Chris Trotter, Bowalley Road

Lucia Dunderheads in the Vatican [UPDATE]

Mark Shea mentions the dunderheads in the Vatican keeping the results of the transparency report secret and then goes onto to explain how he thinks it's wonderful being in a Church with such ineptitude on blatant display.

I *like* that the Catholic Church is so transparently inept and so plainly filled with such obviously failed and ridiculous people, not only among us laity, but throughout the ranks of its clerics as well. My abiding sense, ever since converting, has been one of relief. In sectarian Protestantism, the question is always whether you are pure enough, whether you are a “real Christian”, whether your “really meant it” when you asked Jesus into your heart, whether your latest grotesque failure means your whole life as a Christian has been one huge fraud. The great thing about the Catholic communion is that it begins every single act of worship with the Confiteor in which we all look at each other and say, “Who am I kidding? i don’t belong here any more than you do, so let’s pray for each other and ask the the Graduates in Heaven to put in a good word for us, trusting that God will cut us slack again just so long as we keep cutting each other slack.” It’s a place where there’s room for me: a screwup who can’t tell my butt from a hole in the ground who has no business darkening the door of a Church, much less brazenly walking up there and receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Almighty God, if you please. The whole project is so outrageous from beginning to end that my only excuse is that God tells all these other people they not only can but must do it, so I guess it’s okay that a dubious jerk like me does it too.

I kind of have trouble with this one myself, but, he's right. It's a good reminder.

I hadn't really thought of this you must be perfect to prove you are filled with God as a Protestant thing, but actually, it's reminding me of a bit of research I did a while back and a flash of understanding that I got that was very brief, so not really able to be held onto, let alone something I could write about, so I left it. So, I'm thankful to Mark Shea, whom I normally don't read, for his explanation here.

Related link: You can't make this stuff up

UPDATE: However, it seems that the Vatican is not allowed to release the results of the report for now, so Mark Shea may have prematurely launched into his tirade against ineptitude, and I was silly for taking his word for what had actually occurred. Last time I do that, now I'm going to check.

(VATICAN CITY) — The Vatican got a report card Wednesday on its efforts to be more financially transparent — but it’s a secret for now.

A Council of Europe committee in Strasbourg adopted a report by independent inspectors examining the Holy See’s efforts to comply with international standards to fight money laundering and terror financing.

The evaluators’ preliminary report found areas where the Vatican was compliant and where it needed work. During the meeting Wednesday of the panel, known as the Moneyval committee, that report was amended by governments who are committee members, as often occurs.

But neither the Vatican nor the Council of Europe would disclose the outcome, saying Moneyval’s procedures forbid it.

The full report will be released in about a month’s time, after the Vatican makes its own observations about the findings.

Related link : Vatican gets transparency report card ~ Time Magazine

Lucia Hope for the Hopeless

The story on the front page of the Dominion Post today is horrendous. What an awful, awful life is was that Bridgette lived.

Bridgette Peacock always knew that "narking" on her violent partner wouldn't sit well with some of his fellow gang members.

But after he kicked her unconscious and left her in a gutter, she knew she had to do something - if not for her, then for her kids.

It got to the point where her six children, aged 4 to 15, were so used to the routine violence that "he would be beating me and they wouldn't even flinch, they'd just keep watching TV – it was pretty ugly".

So she decided she had had enough, and in May she gave evidence against partner Michael Kane McRae at a trial in Wellington.

Yesterday, McRae, 31, a Nomads gang member, was sentenced in Wellington District Court to 3½ years' jail on two counts of injuring with intent, and two of assault.

[...]

Ms Peacock, 34, a Masterton rest-home carer, said it was for her children that she ultimately decided to help police.

"I want them to be innocent children and have a child's life instead of living with this shit," she told The Dominion Post. "Enough is enough, basically."

Unfortunately, I think it's way too late for her children to grow up innocent. They've already seen too much. The boys have learned from their dad how to treat women and the girls have learned what they will deserve if they annoy their future partners. Changing what they've learned to date will be hard, hard work.

It's not all hopeless of course, there's always divine intervention, and the fact that Bridgette stood up for herself shows something is going on in her life.

Related link: Bashings led mum to 'nark' on thug

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lucia How to get the Pope

Terry Mattingly of GetReligion has noticed a strange AP article on Pope Benedict's dismissal of a bishop. I noticed the story a couple of days ago, and found myself quite alarmed by it. Anyway, here's what Terry has to say:

So what’s up with the Associated Press, all of a sudden? It used to be rare to read an AP report that totally needed an “analysis” label, but now it seems that these stories pop up all of the time.

This time around, we’re talking about a report on Pope Benedict XVI’s unusual decision to dismiss one of his European bishops outright — just like that. No ifs, ands or buts. The bishop was simply shown the door.

Now, this is the kind of inside-baseball stuff that canon lawyers and church activists simply live to talk about. So what’s up with the top of this AP opinion essay? Note how quickly the piece moves from facts into straight out, connect-the-dots speculation — with no attribution clauses whatsoever.

Terry has more to say, which is worth reading, but I'm going off on my own tangent now.

What alarmed me personally was the shift into speculating that the dismissal of this particular bishop might mean that a legal line of attack might be open to those wishing to get the Vatican on child abuse cases. Here's a quote from the AP article:

Bishops normally hand in their resignation when they turn 75 years old, their customary retirement age.

The exercise of the pope’s ability to fire a bishop has important implications, particularly concerning bishops who mishandle pedophile priests.

In the face of U.S. lawsuits seeking to hold the pope ultimately responsible for abusive priests, the Holy See has argued that bishops are largely masters of their dioceses and that the pope doesn’t really control them. The Vatican has thus sought to limit its own liability, arguing that the pope doesn’t exercise sufficient control over the bishops to be held responsible for their bungled response to priests who rape children.

The ability of the pope to actively fire bishops, and not just passively accept their resignations, would seem to undercut the Vatican’s argument of a hands-off pope.

The Pope can fire bishops, but he needs a very good reason to do so. He needs evidence of wrong doing, for starters, not just accusations. If a bishop has been found guilty of a crime, then that makes his job easier. But this sort of fishing is somewhat equivalent of trying to hold the leader of a country responsible for inept handling of criminal cases by the justice system. You have to find the person who did wrong responsible, not just keep going up and up the chain seeking to find some one bigger to get who should have done something, otherwise what leader, anywhere is going to be exempt?

This isn't just about any leader, however.  This is about getting the Pope and shutting down the Church.  Ultimately, I think what is going on is a modern day attempt at a dissolution of the monasteries worldwide. Nothing less will satisfy. Child abuses cases are just the excuse.

Related links: That strange AP story about a fired Slovak bishop ~ GetReligion
Pope fires Slovak bishop in rare show of papal power; usually bishops are asked to resign

Lucia Sleeze-bag flees the country

New Zealand doesn't appear to consider child sex offenders as dangerous, for here we have a case of a convicted sleeze-bag being able to flee the country prior to sentencing. Though, I wouldn't really call him a child sex offender as such, as the girls in question were teenagers.

A convicted child molester facing up to five years in prison for attacks on two young girls has managed to obtain a bogus passport and skip the country ahead of sentencing.

And he appears to have left his wife facing the rap for allegedly helping him get it.

Interpol has been called in to track down Christopher Ian Crause, 47, of Hamilton, who was found guilty at trial of four counts of sexual connection with an underage girl, four of doing indecent acts with an underage girl and two of supplying cannabis to a person under 18, in Hamilton District Court in March.

He was released on bail to be sentenced on June 15 but did not turn up, with police confirming to the Times this week they suspected Crause had fled to his former home of South Africa and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

It's certainly amazing that he was convicted in the first place given the number of girls that I've seen in the news who are aged 12, 13 or 14 or so and in relationships with older men, and quite often with babies. Maybe the tide is turning?

Related link: Sex offender jumps bail, skips country

Lucia International Criminal Court investigating NZ for eugenics

This might cause a bit of embarrassment over here.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, July 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to launch an inquiry into a complaint against the New Zealand Government’s antenatal screening program for Down syndrome and other conditions.

The complaint was filed with the ICC by SavingDowns, the Spina Bifida Association of New Zealand (SBNZ) and Right to Life New Zealand. SavingDowns is an organized group of parents with children with Down syndrome.

The groups allege that the screening program, introduced nationally in February 2010 by the Ministry of Health, targets unborn children with Down syndrome and other conditions such as Spina Bifida for birth prevention. They also claim that such programs are eugenic, discriminatory and put parents under undue pressure to abort wanted babies.

The irony being that abortion in NZ is only legal if it puts the mother's mental or physical health in danger.

Related link: Eugenics in New Zealand? International Criminal Court launches inquiry

Lucia Education at the time of the American Revolution

I found this snippet of information about the level of education in the American colonies before public education very interesting. A people is most educated when the parents are totally behind and involved in their child's education and they don't pass that responsibility on to others.

4. The level of education for Americans at the time was astounding. Though no public schools existed in any recognizable sense in the eighteenth century, some “Common Schools” did. At a Common School, tutors and teachers drilled students for hours in Greek and Latin. Even if a student only attended school from, say, ages 6-8, he would learn only classical languages. Parents were expected to teach their children to read, almost always from the King James Bible. The colonists met with great success, and the American colonies probably contained the single most literate people in the world at that time. For those attending one of the several colleges in the American colonies (Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, King’s College (Columbia)), a liberal education was the only real education. As the grand historian of the period, Forrest McDonald, has revealed, when a student entered college (usually at age 14 or 15), he would need to prove fluency in Latin and Greek. He would need to “read and translate from the original Latin into English ‘the first three of [Cicero’s] Select Orations and the first three books of Virgil’s Aeneid’ and to translate the first ten chapters of the Gospel of John from Greek into Latin, as well as to be ‘expert in arithmetic’ and to have a ‘blameless moral character.’” Keeping this in mind, Americans should not be surprised to see the seventy-plus classical references in The Federalist Papers or the architecture of the Capitol building. Americans were, second only to their Protestantism, a classically oriented people.

Related link: 10 Things You Should Know About the American Founding ~ Catholic World Report

Lucia New Jewish History Museum in Poland

Awesome, the history of Jewish life in Poland needs to be told.

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, going up in the heart of the former Warsaw Ghetto, will narrate the 1,000-year history of Jews in Poland. It is a history that is unknown to many and that has been overshadowed by the tragedy of the Holocaust, which was carried out by Germany in occupied Poland.

The highly anticipated museum is expected to open in the fall of 2013, in the 70th anniversary year of the doomed Warsaw ghetto uprising.

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a doomed attempt to fight back against the Nazis, despite certain death. It was either die passively by being carted off the the concentration and death camps or go down fighting.

Related link: Jewish history museum in Poland gains crucial donations ahead of 2013 opening ~ Washington Post

Note: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is not to be confused with the Warsaw Uprising a year later, which was inadequately supported by the allies and actively thwarted by the Soviets, which ended in defeat and the almost total destruction of the city by the Nazis, before the Soviets rolled in.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lucia Guardian Angels

I love this comment by a person online whom I will never meet about his (or her) Guardian Angel. It has stayed with me since I first read it last year, and I finally remembered to track it down today.

I was given the incredible gift of seeing my Dear Guardian Angel in a dream. I wish that I could put into words the whole long scene, but suffice to say:

1. He was STUNNINGLY incredibly beautiful. Very manly actually, even though clearly not "a man", but beautiful - like the perfect face. His eyes sparkled, rotating with all colors (I am color blind) in stunning magnificence. (He was 40 feet tall at one point and had transformed from a statue in a cathedral.)

2. He was ON GUARD. He was all business. Super serious and reminded me of an old Marine Corps recruiting poster, but was looking out, over my head off into the distance with a steely, penetrating gaze that - itself was awesome.

3. He looked down at me - right at my face - (AWESOME) and very clearly said something to me, but used no words at all. Straight to me heart. He told me I would be all right. (There is more) then he was gone. (I thought. OK. That's good I guess.)

4. I had NO IDEA what it all meant. 2 weeks later I had a drug reaction that caused me to attempt suicide. On my way to do it, I begged my Guardian Angel to help me. A friend suddenly appeared who stopped me, helped me and saved my life giving me another chance to walk towards real redemption.

I don't know his name. I don't need to know it! He is my GUARDIAN DEAR. I love him and he DEFINITELY loves me. He watches out for me, and he guards me. During the dream he also made it extremely, unmistakable clear that he was profoundly displeased at some of my sinful actions. He looked simultaneously devastated, broken-hearted and disappointed. Trust me - you don't want to see this look from your Guardian Angel. Oh if only we could all please God always! (Think about it - if he is looking directly at God at the same time he is watching you sin.... UGH. Please your guardian angel by doing God's will!)

Why was I reminded of this? Because of this news item: Ex-FBI Employee Claims She Saw Angels at Flight 93:
A former police officer who retired from the FBI due to post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed.

Lillie Leonardi served as a liaison between law enforcement and the families of the passengers and crew members killed in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash. She arrived on the scene about three hours after the crash.

Although Leonardi's book, "In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir," centers on her vision of angels, she argues her life has been changed more by what she didn't see that day.

"The biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies," she said.

Leonardi, 56, remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board.

"I'm used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up" the plane, Leonardi said.

"That's when I started seeing like shimmery lights ... and it was kind of misty and that's when I first saw, like, the angels there," Leonardi said. "And I didn't say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, 'I just saw angels on the crash site,' they'd have called the office and they'd have said, 'She lost her mind and tell her to go home.'"

I don't know if Leonardi actually saw angels, maybe she did. While as the comment that I've got of a dream of an angel seems far more real to me, because it had more purpose. I don't know.