- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beads in action

No sooner was Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. named the Democratic vice-presidential pick than the Catholic bloggers who brought the world Catholics Against Rudy (Giuliani) were back in action.

Stephen Dillard, Christopher Blosser and Jay Anderson began posting Saturday on their new site, Catholics Against Joe Biden. Each of the three men is an adult convert to Catholicism and runs his own site in the Catholic blogosphere.

In the first post, titled “Why should Catholics oppose Senator Joe Biden?” Mr. Blosser quotes the Delaware senator as saying that he “strongly support* Roe v. Wade” and calling the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth abortion ban “intellectually dishonest.” The site lists a series of Biden votes on life issues: supporting federal subsidies for embryo-destroying stem-cell research, opposing a ban on human cloning, opposing making it a crime to harm an unborn child in the course of an assault, and sponsoring the Freedom of Choice Act to overturn state restrictions on abortion.

A Biden quote displayed down the right side of the page says: “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”

Tight controls

Before the Democratic National Convention began, Michelle Malkin walked around Denver’s Pepsi Center, noting with a wink, “Security is tight, but somehow I still managed to get in.”

That caused the conservative blogger to wonder what the Democrats consider to be security priorities.

“One last tidbit: Every person inside the Pepsi Center has to have a badge with a bar code. You scan it to get in and out,” Mrs. Malkin wrote. “One of the few instances where the Dems believe in, and practice, tough border enforcement.”

Venerable Nancy

On Sunday’s editions of “Meet the Press,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat and an “Italian Catholic grandmother,” said the church teaching on when life begins has varied over the centuries.

“As an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know,” said the pro-choice lawmaker.

Several Christian bloggers were up in arms. The pseudonymous Irenaeus, who blogs at Catholidoxy did a thorough frisking of Mrs. Pelosi’s interview, in which he concludes that she “is either well-informed and lying, or ill-informed and thus sincerely mistaken. I opt for the latter, out of charity.” A sample:

“If she’d really studied the issue … she would know that no doctor of the church in particular and no orthodox father of the church has ever said abortion is OK, as we’ll see at great length. It’s true that some doctors and fathers and theologians of the church raised the question of ‘ensoulment,’ asking when an unborn baby receives a soul, and given different answers. But in Christian … tradition, humans are not only souls but also bodies. And thus no Father ever, ever used the idea of later ensoulment (often borrowed from Aristotle) to excuse or permit abortion. Contrary to what Pelosi expressly says, Augustine never ever said life begins at three months.”

Catholic author Amy Welborn called out the U.S. Catholic bishops at her site Charlotte Was Both.

“Here you have a very prominent American Catholic, going on the record with her purported studiousness on this issue, authoritatively declaring something false about the teaching of the Catholic Church. This is what we call a teachable moment,” she said.

“Over and over we are told - by bishops themselves - that their primary role in contentious situations like this is to teach. So … teach,” Mrs. Welborn writes, putting the last word all in capital letters.

She got her wish Monday with both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver rebutting Mrs. Pelosi by name.

“Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil” despite earlier eras’ inferior knowledge of science and embryology, Archbishop Chaput curtly noted.

Through the USCCB, Cardinal Justin F. Rigali and Bishop William E. Lori noted that “these mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago” and ever since, responding to science, “the Church has long taught that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person.”

Campaign fun

One of the most widely cited downsides to putting Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. on the Democratic ticket is the Delaware senator’s reputation as a man with a fast wit and the mouth to match. (Who can’t treasure his dis of Rudolph W. Giuliani: “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence - a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There’s nothing else!”)

Yet liberal blogger Digby thinks this spark of spontaneity may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Obama campaign, which he says is too cautious.

“One final word on Biden Day. … He is undisciplined and unpredictable - but I have to tell you, I think the Obama campaign could use a little bit of that at this point. They are control freaks and I don’t think it’s such a bad thing for them to have a little bit of a loose cannon in their midst. Maybe it will shake things up. It’s a good sign that they picked someone who wasn’t completely ‘safe.’”

For green-ness sake

We picked up reports in one of the first editions of this column that the Democratic National Convention Committee had imposed strict “lean ‘n’ green” rules on caterers, including that foods be of several specified colors and that it cannot be fried.

Nicole Russell, writing at the American Spectator says the Democrats’ green obsession goes further than that, adding that “since the early planning stages, the DNCC has been more [interested in] appearing green than getting things done.”

As one example of Democratic energy excess and hypocrisy, she cited the number of bloggers traveling to Denver.

“While DNCC encouraged bloggers from all over the country to attain credentials and travel to Denver to blog the convention (thus emitting CO2), their Republican counterparts encouraged bloggers to obtain credentials but also acquired the services of Ustream.TV - enabling bloggers to view the proceedings via live streaming from their own living rooms. But the Republicans aren’t broadcasting their greenness.”

• Contact Victor Morton

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