Friday, March 9, 2012

My Take on the News: Hack Attack; Double Standard; Purloined Heart

My scheduled "in the news" post focused on an attack on religious liberty. There's more going on - hardly surprising, since I have about 7,000,000,000 neighbors these days. Give or take a few hundred million.


It's a big world. And, as a practicing Catholic, I have to follow some simple rules:I said "simple," not "easy."

Particularly since some of my neighbors aren't entirely congenial:
  1. Vatican's Website, and what Bishop Sheen Said
  2. Oh, SNAP: Uncomfortable Facts, and Psychobabble
  3. The Poignant Case of the Purloined Heart
  4. Living in a Really Big World

1. Vatican's Website, and what Bishop Sheen Said

"Vatican prevents complete website shutdown"
Marta Jimenez, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (March 8, 2012)

"Despite launching an attack for several hours on the Vatican website, a group of hackers known as Anonymous was unsuccessful in completely shutting down the Holy See's official internet page.

"Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy Sees Press Office, confirmed to CNA on March 7 that the Vatican website was indeed the target of an attack.

"However, the vice director of the press office, Father Ciro Benedettini, said on the following day that the hackers 'were not able to achieve their objective' of completely bringing down the site....

"...An entry on the blog of Anonymous Italy said the attack was in response to the 'doctrines, liturgies and the absurd and anachronistic precepts' that the Church spreads worldwide. It cited the sexual abuse of children, various historical and alleged misdeeds, and Church 'interference' in Italian daily life and public policy as motives for the digital assault.

"The hackers also objected to the Catholic stance against abortion and contraceptives...."
I think Bishop Fulton Sheen was right:
"There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."
(Bishop Fulton Sheen, Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, page ix (1938), via Wikiquote)

2. Oh, SNAP: Uncomfortable Facts, and Psychobabble

This is a followup to a post from early January:
"SNAP director admits to publishing false information"
Michelle Bauman, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (March 6, 2012)

"The leader of a group that works with clergy sex abuse victims admitted during a recent deposition that the organization has published false information and that he is unsure about whether the group employs licensed counselors.

"David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, was deposed on Jan. 2 in Clayton, Mo. amid accusations that the group had printed restricted information in a press release.

"The accusations centered around concerns that an attorney violated a court gag order by revealing information about an abuse lawsuit to the organization....

"...In the text of the deposition -- posted online by The Media Report on March 1 -- Clohessy was asked by attorneys, Has SNAP to your knowledge ever issued a press release that contained false information?

" 'Sure, he responded, without offering any defense or explanation...."
I've posted about SNAP before. And yes: I know about the pedophile priests.

I think anybody who has suffered abuse might benefit from counseling. But I also think that whoever is doing the counseling should know something about that profession. Which the SNAP group director doesn't have. That, by itself, might not be an issue: administrative types don't necessarily have to know anything about tasks their subordinates are responsible for.

In the case of the SNAP group director, he wasn't able to say whether or not any SNAP employee had a counseling license. Which might explain this:
"Clohessy ... also could not give definitions for 'rape trauma syndrome,' a 'safe exam' or 'repressed memory.'..."
Then there's the "survivor support" provided by SNAP. They paid almost - but not quite - $600 in 2007.

Double Standard?

"...SNAP has repeatedly argued that Catholic dioceses need greater transparency.
"However, one day after the deposition, Clohessy told CNA that his organization should be held to a 'different standard' of transparency than Church leaders and dioceses, which he described as 'organizations that enable and conceal thousands of pedophiles to rape tens of thousands of kids.'..."
What's sad is that folks who were 'helped' by SNAP may have needed help: and still need it.

A tip of the hat to Catholic News Agency @cnalive on Twitter (March 6, 2012)

3. The Poignant Case of the Purloined Heart

"Saint's ancient heart stolen from Dublin cathedral"
Associated Press, via (March 4, 2012)

"Somewhere in Ireland, a burglar has the heart of a saint.

"Officials at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin said Sunday they're distraught and perplexed over the theft of the church's most precious relic: the preserved heart of St. Laurence O'Toole, patron saint of Dublin.

"O'Toole's heart had been displayed in the cathedral since the 13th century. It was stored in a heart-shaped wooden box and secured in a small, square iron cage on the wall of a chapel dedicated to his memory. On Saturday someone cut through two bars, pried the cage loose, and made off with the relic.

" 'I am devastated that one of the treasured artifacts of the cathedral is stolen,' said the Most Rev. Dermot Dunne, the cathedral's dean. 'It has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father....

"...Ireland's churches have suffered a spate of such robberies of irreplaceable, but also hard to sell, religious artifacts...."

I have some small inkling of how folks in Dublin may feel. Someone stole the Gospel book from the parish church down the street. That theft made a little more sense, but not much. The gold on our old Gospel book was real: but about a micron thick. Very roughly 1/1000th as thick as an American dime.

Both thefts left the thief with something of almost no economic value - and a whole lot of other folks with a loss that's very significant - if not in a strictly dollars-and-cents way.

My parish got a new Gospel book, by the way: someone bought a replacement of the same design for us. A nice gesture, and much appreciated.

St. Laurence O'Toole's heart? That's not the sort of thing anybody can replace.

Not that Dublin's 'under a curse,' now that the heart has been stolen. That sort of thing is superstition - and strictly against the rules:

4. Living in a Really Big World

"Vatican astronomer: Science one of the best ways to know God"
Hillary Senour, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (March 8, 2012)

"The astronomer for the Vatican Observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., says that his study of the universe through science has helped him better understand the person of Christ.

"Despite people often having the 'crazy idea' that science and religion conflict, science is 'really one of our best principles for getting to know God,' he told CNA....

"...Those who believe in God should not be afraid of science, but should see it as ... an opportunity that God gave humanity to get to know him better.

"Br. Consolmagno said that he believes in God, 'not because he is at the end of some logical chain of calculations' but because he 'experienced what physics and logic can show me but cannot explain: beauty and reason and love.'

"The primary difference between him and atheistic scientist Stephen Hawking is that he recognizes that God is not another part of the universe that explains the inexplicable, but rather 'Logos' and 'Reason itself.'..."
I've been over this before. God made the world. God made us. Refusing to learn about the world God made looks like an odd way of honoring the Almighty:
"...the things of the world
and the things of faith
derive from the same God...
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159)

"...Science and technology are ordered to man, from whom they take their origin and development; hence they find in the person and in his moral values both evidence of their purpose and awareness of their limits."
(Catechism, 2293)
I've discussed science, God, and embracing a world of incredible wonders, before. I'll probably do so again.

Briefly, I see no problem with acknowledging that God made - and is making - a world that we're only starting to understand.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)

"Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of his works have we seen.

"It is the LORD who has made all things, and to those who fear him he gives wisdom."
(Sirach 43:34-35)
Related posts:


Brigid said...

Odd line break: "A tip of the hat to
Catholic News Agencyn"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


*And* a typo. Found, fixed, and thanks!

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.