Catholic Cardinal tries to block Secretary Sebelius from speaking at Georgetown University

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The already-boiling debate about Georgetown University’s decision to invite Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak during graduation hit the highest levels of Catholic Washington on Tuesday, with the region’s archbishop slamming the school’s president for the “shocking” invitation and saying the real issue was being distorted.

The real issue is the princes of the church trying to censor science and reality, a mind free of the shutters of superstition.

…Sebelius was a key architect of the 2010 health-care law, and she authored the requirement that employers, including most religious ones, provide their employees with contraception coverage.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, criticized Georgetown President John J. DeGioia for remarks he issued a day earlier — apparently to address the controversy — saying DeGioia had mischaracterized the issue as being about birth control. As the region’s top Catholic official, Wuerl is responsible for making sure Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, follow church teachings…

The Catholic bishops have led opposition to the mandate, arguing that it violates religious freedom. Liberal and moderate Catholics and other religious advocates also opposed the mandate when it was announced in January but their opposition died down after the White House shifted the requirement from the employers to insurance companies.

Addressing the controversy Monday, DeGioia noted that debate about the mandate “dominated public discourse” in the months after Sebelius was invited in January to speak at an awards ceremony for the school’s Public Policy Institute…

The back and forth reflects the intense debates among American Catholics about the degree to which Catholic institutions should reflect the official teachings of the church on contraception and other things.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church and other equally restrictive religions join Republicans to continue their onslaught not only on education and science; but, on the right of women to manage their own reproductive decisions. Politics that are the opposite of liberty.

Villagers in Turkey mistake migratory bird for Israeli spy

A migratory bird has caused alarm in a village in south-eastern Turkey after locals mistook it for an Israeli spy.

Villagers’ suspicions were aroused when the bird, a common European bee-eater, was found dead in a field with a metal ring around its leg stamped “Israel”.

They called the police after deciding its nostrils were unusually large and may have carried a microchip fitted by Israeli intelligence for spying. It was taken to government experts for examination and declared safe.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head, in Istanbul, says the regional office of the Turkish agriculture ministry examined the colourfully plumed corpse and assured residents of the village, near the city of Gaziantep, that it was common practice to fit a ring to migratory birds in order to track their movements.

An official at the ministry told the BBC that it took some effort to persuade local police that the little bee-eater posed no threat to national security.

At one point a counterterrorism unit became involved in the case.

Couldn’t happen in the United States. Right? Because we have Homeland Security to oversee all the potential dangers of terrorism. No real chance of conspiracy theories getting started.

I’ll take me Wellies off, now.

Judge has $28 million stashed in 5 banks — salary is $935/month

Conchita Carpio-Morales verifies records from 82 bank accounts = $28.7 million

Prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Renato C. Corona, the chief justice of the Philippines, presented evidence on Monday that he had deposited $28.7 million into various bank accounts.

According to financial documents presented by the prosecution, Mr. Corona maintains 82 dollar-denominated accounts in five banks in the Philippines…

Mr. Corona was impeached in December by the Philippine House of Representatives. He is being tried by the Senate, which will decide if he is guilty of using his position to enrich himself and delivering biased decisions. If convicted, he faces removal from office…

Prosecutors rested their case on Feb. 28, but were unable to access Mr. Corona’s dollar accounts because of strict Philippine secrecy laws regarding bank deposits in foreign currencies.

The account information was permitted to be entered as evidence on Monday because of a provision in the secrecy laws that grants the Anti-Money Laundering Council, a semiautonomous Philippine government agency, access to bank records related to suspicious accounts.

Conchita Carpio-Morales, the ombudsman of the Philippines, investigated the bank accounts in coordination with the council. In an odd twist, Mr. Corona’s lawyers called Ms. Carpio-Morales to the stand on Monday to refute news reports of the accounts. Her testimony produced the opposite result: she confirmed the news accounts and produced the records indicating the $28.7 million in deposits.

That was the biggest blunder of the impeachment trial,” Mr. Casiple said.

Wow! It’s a good thing we needn’t fear anything like that happening in the United States of America.


Conservative moderates can’t find presidential candidate

A well-funded U.S. non-profit group using the Internet to find a centrist candidate to run for president said on Tuesday it had failed to generate enough interest in any one nominee.

The group, Americans Elect, was creating a third party in which voters were to choose someone challenge Democratic President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the November election.

The group qualified to get its candidates onto the ballot in 27 states in November and raised millions of dollars, prompting concern among some Republicans [mostly] and Democrats that it could affect the outcome in what is expected to be a close election.

Americans Elect Chief Executive Kahlil Byrd said no candidate had received enough support by a deadline of midnight on Monday to enter its “online convention” in June.

He left the door open for the group to continue seeking a candidate. “There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process,” Byrd said in a statement.

Third party candidates have not come close to winning U.S. presidential elections, but they have affected them.

What I read tells me the group would have loved to find a moderate Republican who cared to run against the party that characterizes moderate Republicans as RINOs. Republicans In Name Only. Unless you sign pledges to obey Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Rick Santorum and, of course, Rush Limbaugh you’re no longer qualified to use the label.

That excises a number of former Republican Presidents and a large body of traditional American conservatives from achieving anything under the holy tent that party now presumes to shield it from the heavens.

In truth, Democrats haven’t that problem. Obama talks like a Progressive [which means nutballs think he’s a radical]. At best, he’s set out to achieve what have always been liberal goals and that he stuck through to the end and got some passed – still doesn’t make his politics more than Liberal. In some cases, liberal Republican when you look at the historic point of origin.

There’s another topic worth addressing – but, I won’t take the time, now. It’s how do you really build a self-sustaining 3rd Party in the United States? I believe it has to build at the local level well before you attempt to influence a national election – except as a negative.

‘Somebody lied to me’ about list of priests suspected of abuse!

Monsignor William Lynn

A lawyer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia testified Monday that church officials lied to him about the whereabouts of a hidden list of 35 priests suspected of sexually abusing children.

“Everyone I spoke to said they didn’t know where it was,” Timothy Coyne, former director of legal services for the archdiocese, told jurors at the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests. “Somebody lied to me…”

One safe drilled open by a locksmith contained an accordion-style file folder that housed a memo ordering the shredding of the list of 35 Catholic priests accused or found guilty of sexual misconduct, the list of priests and other personnel documents…

Both the memo and list were in the safe. That memo remains a contested piece of evidence in the child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests. It was discovered in February, shortly after Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died in January.

The fate of one of them, Monsignor William Lynn, may depend on whether jurors believe the list he compiled proves he transferred suspected priests or, as the defense claims, he informed his superiors that clergy members were assaulting children…

On trial are the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old, and Lynn, who is accused of covering it up…

Prosecutors are using the memo, the list of priests — and testimony from a host of witnesses with allegations against priests who are not on trial — to build their case that Lynn knowingly shuffled predator priests to unwitting parishes.

Lynn’s attorneys said the documents show that Lynn had informed his superiors — including Bevilacqua — that priests in the archdiocese were assaulting children…

I won’t wander of into what-ifs and what-should’ve-been. But, reflect on your own which of those scenario seems likely – given that nothing was done about the priests who were abusing children – after mention of the existence of this list?