05 March, 2012

The New Yorker front cover: Rick Santorum in a dog house on the roof of Mitt Romney's car - POLITICO.com

As a Canadian, I don't have much invested on whomever the Republican's nominate as Obama will make mincemeat out of any of the current candidates for that position in the coming general election. But this cartoon cover is just too good not to share. It certainly will bring a chuckle to the heart of anyone familiar with the Romney family's roadtrip vacations from years past. His gaffe was as memorable as any he's committed in this primary run. It's easily the match to Michigan's perfect trees and his self disclosure that he and his wife are a four luxury vehicle couple this time around.

The New Yorker front cover: Rick Santorum in a dog house on the roof of Mitt Romney's car - POLITICO.com

36 comments:

  1. Lord I pray you are wrong in your assessment Tim. For all the 'yes we can' - Obama is merely a suit who talks a great game, especially if the TelePrompTer is on. He knows nothing about the economy, has never managed as much as a lemonade stand and has made more foreign policy blunders than one can count.

    While not a democratic by any means, I believe Clinton, with his pants up or down, was a more balanced centrist president and I suspect Hilary would be the same.

    How can Obama head down the road of economic policy (whether socialist or ultra left wing social democracy) when we see what is now happening in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France? They have now learned that their system is unsustainable and yet Obama wants to head down the same path?

    While my life does not depend on it, I believe with Romney as GOP nominee and Rubio as VP choice, the possibility of Obama losing is at least 50/50.

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  2. Hi Steve,

    While I share your dim assessment of Mr. Obama's performance, it is probably for very different reasons. Mr. Obama is right of even PMSH. Obama disappoints because he has not had the courage to lead with a true left of centre vision. I note some of the following lapses and fumbles:

    a) Health Care reform that was very watered down. His proposal is still a far cry from a single payer system and was mostly a capitulation to the insurance companies and big pharma. Many Americans are still not covered;

    b) No meaningful reform of the financial services industry that caused the economic crisis of 2009 and the great recession that lingers even now;

    c) Guantanmo Bay has not been closed as promised;

    d) DOMA still remains intact and movement to repeal this nasty peice of legislation is still tentative;

    e) The death of Osama bin Laden was mishandled. He should have been handed over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for prosecution. Instead, we have a lot of unanswered questions about how Bin Laden died and not much of an example of how the west is supposedly guided by the "rule of law";

    f) Mushrooming debt and deficits with little political will to cut the most obvious waste of all - military spending. Military spending amounts to over 4.0 of US GDP (double that of most western countries). It is expected to clock in at above $1.014 trillion dollars in 2012 and does not include nuclear weapons research etc... Over 40% of the world's global arms are being financed by the US. Our American cousins could solve a lot of their economic woes just by bringing miliatry spending down.

    Romney may or may not end up as the Republican candidate. He may be the best of the current crop of contenders, but that is not saying much. I think Obama will have a tough beating even a weak Republican candidate.

    So many who supported Obama in 2010 have been bitterly disappointed by his half measures and empty symbolism. I was always skeptical of Obama's bona fides as a progressive politician, and unfortuantely, he has done little to prove me wrong.

    Cheers...Martin

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    1. Martin: Your assessment is spot on. But if the election is fought on who is 'the tallest pygmy in the tribe' given the poor prognosis for trusting in any politician's promise, especially in the USA. Obama has yet to prove he can deliver, and with Romney, Americans are faced with a choice between a candidate who says the right things but fails to deliver and another who has been on every side of the major issues of the day so he is clearly a 'pig in the poke'. Clearly no one can know for sure what he would do if he were to win the election. An uncertain unknown quantity. Given that the economy is showing signs of life south of the border and is producing jobs at an accelerating rate giving the voting public hope that finally the dark days of the Great Recession are behind us and that the nation is (economically speaking) heading in the right direction. Whereas capital was frozen when he came to office in 08, American companies are awash in cash as the inefficiencies wrung out of their operations today. Apple alone has more cash and credit at its disposal than did American governments four years ago. Accumulated reserves from recovering stock exchanges and deferred dividends mean that the economy is primed for a cycle of economic growth with pent up demand finally ignites the American engine on all its cylinders. This is going to work in Obama's favor as well by the time the election rolls around in November.

      Fr. Tim

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  3. Fr Tim, your point concerning the existence of cash reserves both in the U.S. and abroad attests to the uncertainty in the marketplace concerning Mr Obama's economic ideology. Clearly, he is intent on establishing class warfare suggesting that the providers of employment and wealthy investors on the whole are not paying their fair share of tax. How or why would anyone create a new business in such an anti-capitalist milieu?

    I am most pleased with the NCCB and their objection to the so called 'accommodation' concerning birth control. As a tried and true secularist, Obama is trying to undermine legitimate religious rights and if challenged he will lose in the Supreme Court.

    While I am not comfortable with Mr Ronney's flip flopping, I am even less comfortable with Obama's lack of executive experience and his thin skin. As was said about JFK, he is weak in foreign policy and seems hesitant to recognize that the Iranians will be appeased by a nice sit down 'beer' summit. I have found it amusing that the Obama administration would insist upon the notion of advance notice and approval of Israel's defensive strikes, if and when they occur.

    That being said, I am comfortable with Guatanomo remaining open provided that the military tribunals complete their work in a reasonable period of time. I am also comfortable with the justice waged against Bin Laden. We are embroiled in a new form of warfare. Taking him out was just consequence of his terrorist activities.

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    1. Steve: With Obama in office and Republican control of at least one house of congress, conservatives have a proven model for ensuring that these threatened intrusions of the State into areas outside of its domain as well any increased taxes on the rich will be stymied. If they elect Romney, God knows if he'll prove himself to be another Nixon or GHWB and in an erroneous outreach to prove his willingness to compromise, will nominate high court judges that will prove to be wolves in sheep's clothing. History is filled with examples where leaders, driven solely by political winds who found that they had done to the ship of State what the Captain of the Concordia did to his cruise liner; holing the hull beneath the water line and put the lives of everyone at peril.

      Obama will win the election and lose the battle for power if he tries to spend or raise money by re-balancing the public accounts by 'making the rich pay', (the same Marxist-Leninist slogan raised at every public political march and demonstration since the 1950's in support of the Communist cause). Like GWB before him, he'll discover just how rapidly his 'political capital' melts away after he emerges victorious from the last election of his life and career. When was the last time that a former President returned to serve in congress or the judiciary after completing his term in the Oval Office? I know it's been a very long time.

      Tim

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    2. Marlene Cooke06 March, 2012

      I am shocked that a Roman Catholic Priest would agree with the murder of Bin Laden.
      Yes, he was an evil man. Yes, he probably had killed many.
      But, what part of the Commandment-- Thou Shalt not Kill--does this Priest not get?
      It is this kind of loose interpretation that confuses all Christians.

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  4. Marlene: I believe you are addressing Fr. Steve, but let me try to provide you with an answer. Thou shalt not kill has always meaning that no one or State has the right to take an innocent life. Capital punishment has existed for eons as a tool of societal control, long before and after the recording of the 10 Commandments. When it is the only option to protect others from further harm, it has always been considered a valid option if you are dealing with an enemy combatant.

    So the question is: Was OBL an innocent life or was he an enemy combatant? Was it an execution of someone who was surrendering or the 'taking out a command and control' capacity of an enemy using a military asset?

    Life is not always as b/w as they seem to be when it comes to understanding scripture, even with the 10 Commandments. A priest who failed to understand this would do a great deal more damage to the faith than anything Fr. Steve has written on this blog. This is very much true in the comment you are objecting to.

    Fr. Tim

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    1. Marlene Cooke06 March, 2012

      So, Father, are you saying GOD did not do a good job in explaining the commandment? Do you think it should have been enlarged to say, - except in certain circumstances where a human detemines it is for the good of society etc. etc ? The word NOT seems pretty explicit to me. We use it in terms of abortion, which is killing, so does it depend on our fallabile interpretation? If so, why would it be a Commandment. This sounds like the Unitarians, or some othe kook church.

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    2. Marlene, let us remember that we are in the midst of war. Certainly not a conventional war, as we have known it before, but a war nonetheless. In my opinion, the killing of OBL does not, in any manner, work contrary to the 'just war theory'. In the war on terror, the killing of this evil monster is, in my opinion, morally justified. Fortunately, monsters of this kind are not an everyday occurrence and his is certainly a unique case. I do not subscribe, in any indiscriminate way, this approach as an acceptable norm. When one is dealing with monsters who hide and scheme, plot and kill hundreds and thousands at a time, it was imperative that their leader be dealt with. By HIS actions, the world was left with no other choice.

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    3. As an aside, I ask Marlene, what would you have the Israelis do when faced with the monster they have in Iran? Obama has finally learned (I think!) that a beer summit will not work with this dictator. The President of Iran has pledged to eradicate Israel! Diplomacy is virtually impossible.

      If Israel chooses to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, with some loss of incurred, is that an immoral act by Israel? Or is it self-preservation?

      We live in a complicated world when difficult choices need to be made, particularly when faced with abject evil.

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    4. Marlene Cooke06 March, 2012

      Father, since when does the Geneva Convention, and human history trump the Ten Commandments? I can not believe the scant regard you two pay to the Ten Commandments.
      It is no wonder our Church is in such bad shape. The sexual abuses that are prevelant among clerg members is only a small sympton of a greater lacking- lacking of respect for God's Commandments
      It is totally disgusting. There is no need to reply- it will just be more pap !

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    5. Marlene: I'm trying to decide if you're being dense or devilish with your comments. But let's play your silly game just so we can see how stupid your point is.

      OK... scripture has to be taken literally according to you. So, when was the last time you let your husband beat you for being insubordinate or lazy? When you were defiled with your menses each month, do you refrain from touch your husband so as not to make him impure? How many appendages have you lopped off because they led you into sin? Jesus told you do so you know. Don't you believe the words of Jesus?

      I have great respect for God's commandments... enough respect to study and learn what they actually say and mean. Clearly the depth of your understanding comes from watching Charlton Heston come down the mountain a couple of times. If this were not the case, you would not be posting such vapid and specious pap in lieu of intelligent comment or argument.

      Marlene, if you can't keep up with the conversation without grasping even simple concepts, you should refrain from joining in with your opinion. You would be well served to remain silent and thought to perhaps be an idiot that continue posting as you are and removing all doubt.

      Fr. Tim

      P.S. Before you start bleating like a wounded sheep at my pointing out how stupid and ignorant you really are, remember that it was you who began this conversation. What you think of as 'disgust' is most likely just a deep seated sense of inadequacy on your part.

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    6. I note, with a smile, that Marlene would not go near my not so theoretical question of Israel's need for a defensive posture against Iran..........that seems to be skipped right over.

      Interesting.

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  5. Hi Marlene,

    Excellent questions. Certainly, Steve is in the majority when he expresses approval of the killing of OBL. As you note, it certainly does not make Steve's view correct or ethical, and in fact, it appears inconsistent with his presumed “pro-life” viewpoint.

    While I think most of us view OBL's acts as reprehensible, it does matter what the US's intention were when they stormed OBL's stronghold in Pakistan. If Bin Laden was merely caught in the cross fire of a capture attempt gone wrong, then his death may be regarded as an unintended consequence and is morally neutral. This was certainly one version of events floated by the US at the time.

    On the other hand, if the US's intention was to “take out" Bin Laden - then this was an assassination and it is both illegal and immoral. What disturbs me is that so few Americans seemed to have any qualms if this latter possibility was the truth.

    Tim - I am afraid that labeling OBL an “enemy combatant” is mere a word game. Let’s not forget that the phrase "enemy combatant" was used after the September 11 attacks by the Bush administration to include an alleged member of al Qaeda or the Taliban being held in detention by the U.S. government as part of the war on terror. This was done so that the Geneva Convention could be circumvented, thereby permitting the U.S. to sidestep treating such individuals as “prisoners of war”. Note that OBL was not actually in the custody of the U.S. at the time of his death, which meant he could not have been an “enemy combatant”. In any case, on March 13, 2009 the Obama administration announced its abandonment of the Bush administration's use of the term "enemy combatant". This was over 2 years before OBL’s death on May 2, 2011.

    I would argue that respect for the rule of law should be a major distinction between the west and the terrorists that we abhor. When we abandon the rule of law we sink to the level of the terrorist and we miss a great opportunity to clearly demonstrate how civilized people ought to resolve conflicts and disputes. It is frightening to think that religious leaders of any denomination would be complacent about justice, due process and the rule of law.

    Steve - if the latter scenario is true (i.e. the US intentionally assassinated OBL), do you agree that it was a moral act? If so, are you implying that “Consequentialism” is a valid moral theory? If so, then how do you reconcile this to the Natural Law Theory that your Church favours?

    Cheers…Martin

    PS: Steve - while I am a godless apostate, it is OK to address me directly in any response you might have. I usually respond in kind, and I promise to be civil if you are. ;-)

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    1. Martin: I use the term enemy combatant in the same sense it is used by the Geneva Conventions - not as the re-defined definition dreamed up by a couple of Bush regime lawyers. Remember that I am agree with what you previously stated. As busy as I have been these past few weeks even I wouldn't post diametrically opposed positions so quickly. I was just trying to answer Marlene's admittedly rhetorical question about the 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' commandment. I could have used the 'some one breaks into your house where intent to kill your family - can you kill him?' example. I was just trying to frame the question in a manner relevant to our current times.

      Tim

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    2. Martin, you have an interesting way of framing questions and drawing conclusions. In any case, as stated, I do not believe that the attempted capture or killing of OBL was immoral in anyway. I reiterate, the war being waged at present is a war on terror fought in a unconventional way. OBL was not a free man walking down the streets of Paris or Moscow. He was sequestered in a fortified camp, with the full knowledge and cooperation of our friends the Pakinstan government! Their cooperation in his capture was not a certainty by any means and it would appear that our trust In their government needs to be tempered.

      That OBL needed to be brought to justice is unquestioned. The options concerning how this would be done, limited. This is an exceptional case, for obvious reasons and I do not feel on any level that this conflicts with my pro-life views. It's not as if he was coming out of the womb, having its throat cut. Something that many democrats seem to believe is an acceptable moral choice. Talk about something that is contrary to 'natural law'!

      Cheers!

      Isn't it nice that Fr. Tim's blog allows contrary opinions to be posted unlike that of you know who!

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  6. It will be a tough race to re election for President Obama. He may or may not succeed. I find Father Steve and Tim's comments dumbfounding, however.

    All of the candidates likely to feature in a general election, Obama, Santorum, Romney, Gingrich and Paul, have troubling inconsistencies in their stated personal faith lives. Obama, no more or less than any other. The attempts by the Fathers to make the conservative Romney and Gingrich, the reactionary Santorum, the libertarian Paul and the center left man of color, Obama's religious beliefs more or less acceptable to God, based on where they fall on a political spectrum, seem inappropriate for men of their vocation.

    What's up wit dat, Fathers?

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    1. Where exactly did I enter into any analysis of their faith life - I did call Obama a secularist, which by any standard is true.

      Romney called a conservative? Many would happily debate that!

      And then comes the predictable canard: 'inappropriate for their vocation'. Whenever some folks don't like debating with a priest or disagrees with one, that one is sure to appear! Father you are a poor example of a priest!

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  7. ....'some one breaks into your house WITH intent to kill your family....

    Tim

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  8. PS, I'm glad I wasn't asked about waterboarding............:)

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  9. Hi Steve - if I parse your response carefully, you seem to be saying that if OBL was assassinated, then it was a moral act. I hope I have not misrepresented you. If so, your rationale leaves me cold. While I agree that Pakistan could not be counted on to cooperate in good faith with OBL's capture (which probably justifies violating that country's sovereignty), it certainly does not justify assassination. I am not even sure St. Augutine's "just war" doctrine provides you with any real cover. OBL was not an immediate threat to the U.S. at the time of his death - in fact, he was for all practical purposes isolated and impotent.

    Hi Tim - sorry to bang on about "enemy combatants". It is a pet peeve of mine. I don't think you will find the phrase "enemy combatant" in the Geneva Convention. In any case, anyone not covered by the Geneva Convention is supposed to be subject to Article 3:

    "1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
    ...
    (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
    ...
    The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention."

    Seems pretty clear to me: if OBL was assassinated, then it was illegal. If it was moral, then I will leave it to Steve to explain to Marlene and the rest of us how this is possible. Again, are you using Natrual Law to justify assassintation, or Consequentialism, or plain old literal biblical proscription, or something else altogether?

    Cheers...Martin

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    1. Thanks
      Martin for trying to put the 2 Priests straight on this.
      When it comes to the Ten Commandments, or to moral law, we can not just make it up as we go along.
      That is part of the trip some in the Catholic Church have been on for too long.
      I was waiting to see the ELEVENTH Commandment which some think would say- Now do not take things I say literally- put your own interpretation on each of these. Signed, God !

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    2. Hi Martin! I suppose we may need to agree to disagree on this one.

      In my opinion, OBL was neither murdered or assassinated. As mentioned twice, this is an unconventional war requiring a different military engagement. OBL has never been in hiding making cupcakes. Without doubt, he was the coordinating force behind the terrorism which has been waged on the world. In the context of the compound in which he was found, a peaceful citizen's arrest was never going to happen, nor could the cooperation of the Pakistan government be relied upon. Storming the compound, as opposed to ignoring it was the only viable option and I am comfortable with the outcome. As mentioned, unique circumstances in an unconventional war.

      I don't think I can any more than that.

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    3. Marlene, your remarks are jusssssstttttt a tad self-righteous.

      So a police officer or a group of officers coming under fire, in your world, should drop their guns, join arms and sing "we shall overcome"?

      Life is sometimes much more complicated than that. As I mentioned at least three times, this situation, involving THE leader of a evil warring faction is an exceptional situation and NOT the norm.

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    4. Bill Barber07 March, 2012

      What is conventional about any war? Were the history books you used at school so different than the ones we used in Guelp? I do not think so.
      There is no doubt that OBL was asassinated, against the Geneva convention, and U S law.
      You might parse all you want- it was still murder. And, it is not unlike the reigh of terror perpetrated by the Israelis through the murdering of people they call enemies of the state, which they have done in many countries throughout the World.

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    5. Father Ballard: The two of you have begun to very insulting to me , and , I noticed, eventually to anyone who does not agree with you.
      My father worked very hard at his job to be able to send me to College. The Diocese did not pay for it.
      No one puts bread or meat on our table unless my husband goes to work at least 40 hours every week. We pay our taxes on the house we live in, and we try to raise our children to respect others.
      You and Fr. Moyle are really bad examples compared to what the Priest-hood used to be.
      And very few hours you work every week is a poor example.
      Even Msgr. Borne said when I met him at a wake in Pembroke a few years ago, We Priests really do not have much to complain about. We really only have one busy time of the year , at Easter!
      The rudeness with which you have responded to my posts prove how unworthy you both are to be called father. Good-bye ! If ever our paths cross, you will find out who I am.

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    6. Marlene: I hope that venting your spleen made you feel better. Then you can take some time and contemplate what actually happened here. You will find that you are the one who set the terms of our discussion. You're the one who came onto my blog and started hurling insults. If you think it inappropriate for a priest to defend himself in the face of an attack, then you have perverse view of the priesthood. Since you seem to hang around with Borne, that might be understandable although using him as a source of what's normative for priests is a bit perverse in itself.

      I hope our paths do cross! I'd love to meet you... that is if my empty schedule will allow it! Your contention that we are only busy once a year is proof positive that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to comprehending the life and work of a priest.

      Fr. Tim

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    7. Marlene, where was I rude to you. I did suggest that you were being self-righteous, but that was only after YOU gloried in the fact that the 'two priests' were put in their place.........

      Btw I did notice how conveniently you bypassed legitimate questions during the course of which I thought would be mature debate.

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  10. Steven: Marlene isn't interested in the truth. She is only intent on spewing bile on people who don't agree with her Shirley Temple world view. Personally, I'm surprised that she's so bent out of shape over the 10 commandments when she has yet to demonstrate the ability to even count that high!!

    She demands a literal interpretation of scripture. I guess that means that she believes the the following people all deserve to die because the Bible prescribes the death penalty for the following activities, among others:

    * Murder
    * Adultery (a crime that only a woman could commit)
    * Bestiality
    * Rape
    * Sodomy (so much for gay rights!)
    * One man picked up sticks on the Sabbath, he was taken into custody because a punishment was not known. Jehovah told Moses that the man in custody must be killed. This particular crime and punishment is an isolated case.
    * A betrothed woman who does not cry out while being raped
    * A woman who is found not to have been a virgin on the night of her wedding
    * Worshiping other gods
    * Witchcraft
    * Taking the LORD's name in vain or cursing his name
    * Cursing a parent
    * Kidnapping

    There must be a lot of blood flowing in her house!

    Tim

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  11. Bill Barber07 March, 2012

    Fr. Moyle: I am sure you know even the Devil can quote from the Bible, and do a better job than you just did.
    Where does it say GOD approved of killing in the above quotes?
    The first Commandment says, I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have other gods before me.
    Does He say, I will kill you if you do?Did you read where Jesus made a mockery of all the 600-odd rules the Jews had? What did He say about the Apostles picking grain to eat on the Sabbath?
    I guess they did not teach that in the Social Worker courses.

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  12. Bill: Glad you can comprehend what I quoted. Marlene clearly is not. She is the one claiming that the Bible is to be taken literally - I guess in the original English that Jesus spoke!

    As to your last point... no, they didn't teach that in my social work degree. I learned about properly understanding scripture in my theology degree. In my BSW studies, I learned how to respond to warped, broken and sick personalities. It was a good preparation for dealing with comments like yours on this blog.

    Nice way to end your comment with a personal insult. It adds a great deal of credence and authenticity to your argument. Was that a skill you learned in school? I assume it was in elementary school given it uses insult in place of logic or argument. Were you able to eventually move on to high school or does this represent the pinnacle of your educational accomplishments?

    Fr. Tim

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  13. L. J. Cornwall08 March, 2012

    May God deliver us from the likes of these two priests . They post items to invite reply and controversy, then castigate the responders.
    It is indeed noteworthy that so far no person who is not a priest has risen to their defense. They stand alone as teo abusive priests.
    Today one complains that he does not like getting up in the morning and facing posts he does not agree with. Poor baby!
    If these two are a fair representation of the priests of their Diocese, may God help their Diocese.

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  14. LJ point to one place where I castigated anyone?

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  15. Hi L.J. Cornwall,

    I will stand up and say that I knew both Tim and Steve when we were seminarians together many years ago. I have no reason to doubt that they are honourable men trying to do the best that they can.

    While I do not agree with them on many points (as you can see from my comments on this site), I don't think it is necessary to call their integrity into question just because I may disagree with them.

    I encourage everyone to join the discussions, but to keep our discussions focused on ideas, arguments and counter-arguments. There is no sin in disagreeing or being passionate in our disagreement, but let's leave personal attacks or insults out of it. I am not perfect on that score myself, I am simply suggesting we should all aim higher.

    Regards...Martin

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    1. Martin: Thank you. Well said.

      Tim

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