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Popping Off

Cardinal Martino's mosh pit. Post-hole Saddam. Post-post-hole Gore. Plus much more.

12.17.03

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HIGH POP-UP
Re: Editor's Desk communiqué of 12/17/03:

Sheesh guys, phone service with a subscription? Feels like I stumbled into MoveOn or some such unsavory place!

Yes, your $50/80 normal offer is too high for a monthly, but do a standard gimmick instead of this stuff. How about a $30/50 offer for a new "charter subscriber" to the resurrected monthly and throw in either a canvas bag or a mouse pad for the 2-year option. I could be wrong, but I bet that gets you farther than an offer for "Billy Joe Bob's" phone service. :-)

Regards,
-- Mark Hessey

P.S. I'll even go for the $50, even though I barely touch my snail mailed Weekly Standard as it is.

PHARAOH'S SON
Re: George Neumayr's Vatican Shuffler:

George Neumayr reports that Cardinal Martino has once more blasted his mouth off. This is the same gentleman who, in the 21st March edition of the Scottish Catholic Observer, was reported to have said the following about Operation Enduring Freedom on Vatican Radio:

"It is a crime against peace that cries out vengeance (sic) before God. Let us pray so that the Pharaoh's heart will not be hardened and the biblical plagues of a terrible war will not fall on humanity."

Readers of websites such as MEMRI will be aware that the word "Pharaoh" in that context is incendiary. It is an Islamist terrorist codeword used by them to describe any civil authority they consider to be oppressing Muslims. It was used by the assassin of Anwar Sadat, Kareem Tambouli, almost immediately after pulling the trigger -- "I have killed the Pharaoh of Egypt. I am not afraid."

According to John L. Esposito's slick and anodyne book, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (2002), Tambouli's younger brother was a senior Al Qaeda organizer at Tora Bora and a high office holder in Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The word "Pharaoh" was regularly used to describe President Bush in the Arab press before the launching of the war.

So far, in the biblical plagues of a terrible war league, the score is standing at White House 1, Vatican 0. Can the men in red recover the lost ground of moral authority before all Europe is Muslim? Tune in for the next installment, due when Holland introduces sharia.

Best regards.
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

When Cardinal Martino shows such a lack of common sense as he did in his concerns for Saddam Hussein it becomes increasingly difficult to take him (and people like him) seriously on any topic. I wonder if it ever occurred to him that the pictures of Hussein were broadcast far and wide to help convince people (especially Iraqis) that he had been captured.
-- Dick Melville
Ozone Park, New York

I sometimes pass over reading George Neumayr since he can be a little too … strident, let's say. But today he nails it. And they wonder why there is a crisis in the Church? It would seem to me that if guys like Cardinal Martino worried more about molestation and less about offending murderous tyrants the world might be a better place. And, while what Lauryn Hill did might have been impolite, I wish that the bishop of my diocese would publicly make a statement as forceful and as unambiguous as she did.
-- James Siegler
New York, New York

Now there can be no question as to why the perverted priests were given such a free ride. If President Bush is rebuked for the "way" he brought the brutal tyrant Saddam to justice it's no wonder the perverted priests were sent to country club treatment centers.

Many of us Catholics cringe with shame at our leaders as I sit here cheering on a hip hop singer
-- Annette Cwik

I want to compliment George Neumayr's excellent article, "Vatican Shuffler," where he very pointedly calls out the absurd behavior and extreme comments regularly dished out by His Eminence, Renato Cardinal Martino. I agree with Neumayr's assessment that Martino has squandered significant opportunities to bring the moral wisdom of the Roman Catholic Church to bear in a world suffering from a virulent strain of secularism.

I have been shocked to see Cardinal Martino, so sure of his moral uprightness on the war question, juxtaposed to many of his brother prelates who can't seem to utter a morally coherent statement about the crime and the absolute moral degeneracy involved in retaining predatory homosexuals and pedophiles in the priesthood. In the initial response to the sex scandal in America, many high-ranking Vatican prelates basically argued that there was nothing they could do and that the same incompetent Bishop's who's poor leadership created the crisis in the first place would have to handle the problem. Yet, when a morally contingent question, such as the Iraq war arises, the Vatican is able to immediately dispatch top officials all around the world to deliver in lockstep a well-publicized, coherent and consistent, if wrong-headed, message about the war. In other words, they thought they could tell George Bush and Tony Blair what to do, both publicly and privately, but not Cardinal Law and the other Bishops who utterly failed in their jobs to discipline priests whose monstrous actions had inflicted such terrible wounds on the Body of Christ. A very strange confusion of pastoral priorities, indeed.

Where is the public concern and orchestrated campaign to remove (or at least attempt to shame) doctrinal dissenters and ecclesiastical disasters from their heretical views and positions of power? Even though the Vatican's line on the war was not adopted, no one could dispute that their campaign and highly publicized efforts forced those in support of the war to rethink their position in terms of the Vatican's argument. Even President Bush went to great lengths to discuss his decision in terms of the Church's just war doctrine. (A case which I think he made quite well.) It's perplexing that the upper echelons of the Vatican bureaucracy can dramatically and swiftly mobilize to insert its opinion concerning a contingent moral question, but shrinks from the same clarity and forcefulness in presenting the truth about many unpopular non-contingent moral questions, such as the sex scandal and the crime of priestly pederasty, as well as doctrinal and moral dissent coming from various ecclesiastical posts in diocese's throughout the world. George Neumayr has done us all a favor in exposing this strange inversion of the Vatican's pastoral priorities. Who would have thought that it would be safer for prelates to talk politics instead of religion?
-- Reverend Deacon Phillip W. De Vous
Pontifical College Josephinum
Columbus, Ohio

Many thanks are due to George Neumayr for his comments on Vatican faux-mouthpiece Renato Cardinal Martino.

To his excellent piece I can only add during this blessed season of Advent: "Amen" and "Even so 'Amen.'" (Rev. 1:7)
-- James N. Ward
Paris, France

SNOW MAN
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Truth About Winter:

The beauty of fresh-fallen snow is too great. We in our fallen state do not deserve that it should last very long. The dirt of the world sullies it, reminding us that there is only one true, enduring beauty, the heavenly goal.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

CAN YOU BIG DIG IT?
Re: The Washington Prowler's Curse of the Menino (scroll down):

Mayor Menino thought he could bluster his way to stature by lobbying to hold the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Wait 'til the secret service suggests closing part of the streets here for safety, you will hear a howl that reaches the heavens when Bostonians have to re-route. The Democratic Party will learn that not even Teddy Kennedy and his ensemble can ensure a success when dealing with the traffic headaches of his big dig. And the only Big Dig success is to the pockets of the people of Massachusetts
-- Cari G.
Cambridge, Massachusetts

OLD ROCK
Re: Kevin Michael Grace's Never Trust Anyone Over Thirty:

While the theory of younger artists making better rock music is compelling, it is not without its exceptions: David Bowie. See "Scary Monsters," "Let's Dance," "Black Tie White Noise," "Earthling," "Heathen," and "Reality."
-- unsigned

THE HITLER CONNECTION
Re: Jed Babbin's One Beautiful Weekend:

Right a usual Jed. I'm glad that Saddam is out of play now, but I sure wish we could have canceled his ticket instead of capturing him (if a cop ever needed a throw down gun). We'll be damned sick of him well before we ever decide what the hell to do with him. And whatever we do we need to do it ourselves and do it quickly. The Islamo-wackos and the bed wetters will have a field day with this one as long as it goes on. At least Corporal Schickelgruber had the good sense and grace to kill himself before the Soviets got hold of his sorry ass.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, Florida

It wasn't supposed to be this way. In what can only be described as a political masterstroke, Al Gore emerged from ignominy and cult status to endorse the candidacy of Howard Dean for president. The move was staggering in its daring and acumen. Through all his reinventions, none managed to excite the "punditocracy" like this one. In one bold move, Al Gore emerged as force to be reckoned with as Democrats attempt a reinvention of their own; a return to their liberal roots. Al Gore is back, baby! Big Al is a player! The Sunday shows were supposed to be ablaze with Gore/Dean. And then...something happened. The capture of Saddam Hussein. And, once again, like so many times throughout his career, Al Gore had to take a back seat. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
-- Jon Lindquist
Las Vegas, Nevada

RATHER NOT
Re: John Tabin's Face Time With Saddam:

This is one Texan who has never heard any of Dan Rather's "Texan" expressions. The liberal elitists like to use such sayings to make it sound as though they have the common touch. Once in a while, they might even use a common saying but they don't convince "folks" like me and my friends.
-- Michael Bergsma

FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT
Re: Steve Hornbeck's Capture the Moment:

I can see it now....Gore's new network announces "Queer Eye for the
Disheveled Tyrant!"
-- Randy Gammon
Drexel, Missouri

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE
Re: Eric Peters' Unsafe at Any Speed:

Peters has it all wrong. The sole reason the autobahns are safer than our freeways is simply because of the German's sensible law that all drivers must drive in the right lane except when passing.
-- Jack Karnes

PURRING TO OUR EARS
When I began reading The American Spectator in '92, I learned I had to keep a dictionary close at hand. A thesaurus wasn't a bad idea, either. When I began reading it online, I decided to keep a running list of words, usually culled from the writings of R. Emmett Tyrrell and Wlady Pleszczynski. Y'never know when you'll need pellucid or ecdysiast or maybe priapic or even ithyphalic, the last three of which must have been used in reference to Boy Clinton considering their definitions. The latest edition to my list is tergiversation from a James Bowman review.

Contrast that to the erudition of John "Now we know what the *F* stands for" Kerry, not to mention the string of celebrity potty mouths at a recent Dean fund-raiser (no cameras, please!). Tsk, tsk, tsk.

TAS is a class act.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

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