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EWTN & Torture

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Over at Vox-Nova.org, they have been making hay about an interview on EWTN with Bush administration official Marc Thiessen. During the interview, Thiessen criticized the Obama administration for failing to employ “enhanced interrogation techniques” against Christmas Day would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Vox-Nova correctly expresses shock that a Catholic news outfit would indulge someone who is arguing for torture.

This is not the first time. Last spring, Father Robert Sirico spent an evening with Raymond Arroyo winking at torture. Of course, apart from the fact that torture is illegal, it is also an intrinsic evil. Usually, rightwing Catholic groups argue that intrinsic evils should simply be legislated against, when in fact, finding a way to legislate such matters is often more complicated. In the case of torture, that difficult work has already been done. If you treat terror suspects under the civil code as criminals, they are immune from torture under U.S. law. If you treat them as enemy combatants, they are immune from torture under international treaty obligations.

Tragic aftermath of Vietnam war

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This tragic news speaks to the aftermath of war. It comes from Project RENEW, composed by a dedicated group of people who are doing some terrific humanitarian work in Vietnam. Here is a message they sent me today:

There was no Tet celebration to welcome the Lunar New Year for Ho Van Nguyen’s family this year. A cluster bomb explosion killed Nguyen on Friday morning, Feb. 12, as he was cutting weeds around his banana trees and preparing for the Tet holiday which began in Vietnam on Saturday.

'Avatar': A theological movie

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With snow piled high, and a movie theater nearby, I headed out yesterday to see "Avatar." It's been praised for cinematography (and that definitely is great), but I also found it a deeply theological movie.

First impression: it's one of the best anti-imperialist films I've ever seen. Whether one believes in the "just war theory" or not, this shows a clearly unjust war waged by earthlings in search of a precious mineral on the planet Pandora. And the crude earthlings leading the military assault are ready to destroy the civilization of Pandora to get what they want.

Bayh's Retirement & What It Means

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The news of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh’s decision not to seek re-election confirms something that has been going on for a long time: Congress is being taken over by extremes in both parties leaving little room for centrists. This has the very unhappy consequence that very little will ever get done given the Senate’s rules requiring 60 votes to move on any non-budget related matter.

You say bologna, I say ...

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Vatican Information Service made this announcement this morning:

VATICAN CITY, 15 FEB 2010 (VIS) - During the course of the day the Holy Father is meeting with prelates of the Irish Episcopal Conference in the Bologna Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The meeting began this morning at 9.30 a .m. and is scheduled to conclude at 7 p.m.

I was wondering how to pronounce the name of the meeting hall: \\b?-'l?-nyä\\ or \\b?-'l?-n?\\

Read the news story here: Irish bishops, pope begin summit on sex abuse

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July 4-17, 2014

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