Kim Jong Il is Dead; New Tyrants Come

While you were sleeping our already-roiling world took another hit to its tenuous stability:North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.Pyongyang described his son Kim Jong-un as the "great successor" … [Read more...]

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Skins: Encouraging Banality? – UPDATED

There is a headline out there indicating that MTV's controversial new series, "Skins" may be "in danger" of being canceled:MTV’s controversial drama “Skins” is losing advertisers faster than some of its characters lose their clothes.As FOX411 reported, Taco Bell was the first sponsor to withdraw advertising from "Skins," quickly followed by Wrigley, Subway, Foot Locker, L’Oreal and Shick. General Motors and H&R Block both issued statements explaining that their ads were aired during the p … [Read more...]

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All Saints Day & Modern Martyrs – UPDATE

Chapel & Tomb of St. Philip Neri, Chiesa Nuova, RomePodcast of the Readings for All Saints Day via the USCCBLate yesterday, word began to come of a "bloodbath" during Mass at Baghdad's Syrian-Catholic cathedral. Details are still emerging; it portends nothing good:The terrorists, some wearing suicide vests, had taken over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation, one of Baghdad's largest, during Sunday mass and demanded the release of al Qaeda … [Read more...]

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Benedict & the UK; The First Fruits

Benedict Speaking on Hildegard of Bingen, 09/08/10English and Welsh bishops are urging Catholic parents to dress their children as saints this Halloween.At first consideration, that might not seem too remarkable. But when one takes into account how timid Catholics have been in the UK in recent years, perhaps it is remarkable indeed. Perhaps the Halloween suggestion reflects some of the first fruits of Pope Benedict XVI's recent visit to England and Scotland. British journalist Paul … [Read more...]

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The Ultimate in Nanny-Statism! UPDATED

Productive citizenry, diligently earning its allowancesThe Ultimate in Nanny-Stating: UK wants to take paychecks and give citizens an allowance!That's basically what it comes down to. "While we're 'modernizing' our systems, why don't we just take all that messy tax-calculation off everyone's hands?"The UK's tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate … [Read more...]

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John Allen; definitive on Benedict, Scandals

The great John Allen, perhaps the best English-language reporter on the Vatican beat, does yeoman's work in three different articles, to which I am linking today. Allen takes knowledgeable, sometimes devastating but always fair looks at Pope Benedict XVI and the crisis that has engulfed him over the past few weeks and has come to -rather unjustly- define his papacy.None of these pieces is fun to read. All of them are thoughtful, instructive and very valuable, particularly to anyone who wants … [Read more...]

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Staring into the Empty Tomb

"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." — J.R.R. TolkienThe news is terrible, disheartening, troubling, horrific -choose your a … [Read more...]

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Cardinal Levada Responds to NY Times -UPDATE

H/TA week into the whirlwind sown by a NY Times article that traveled around the world before accuracy, fairness or balance could get their pants on, Cardinal William J. Levada, the pope's successor as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written a long and rather stunning reply to the Times, in which he writes very personally.Rocco Palma, who reproduces the entire piece at his site, writes that in all the coverage and defense of the Pope you may have read, "you've … [Read more...]

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Murphy Case: NYT Never Talked to Judge – UPDATES

In a remarkable piece, we get a sense of confirmation, that the New York Times and the mainstream press are doing their best -during Holy Week, as usual- to (at the very least) foment disgust at the Pontiff and the Catholic Church and/or (at worst) create a climate that "demands" a papal abdication.But curiously, as the media talk endlessly about an extremely sick case out of Wisconsin, the Times -which "broke" the story- seems to have been very selective in their sources. Fr. Thomas … [Read more...]

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Praying for the Pope & for All

Archbishop Timothy Dolan got a stand ovation in the middle of mass, this weekend, for his passionate defense of Pope Benedict XVI against what seems to be a concerted effort to undo his papacy, via distortion and a media rushing-to-judge.I have linked to John Allen's last several pieces on the "Benedict story" and urge that those who have not already made up your minds to read them and also take a gander at Fr. Raymond de Souza's spirited defense and timeline.The timeline is important. As … [Read more...]

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