Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Peace in our time

There are three articles in today's Boston Globe that stood out in my mind. The first was this little gem entitled "suits argued churches owned by parishioners". It describes lawsuits filed by parishioners of parishes which are being closed in accordance with the archdiocesan reconfiguration plan. Here's the money quote:
Mary K. Ames and John M. Galvin -- the lawyers representing the parishioners in Framingham, Scituate, and Weymouth -- said they will try to convince the courts that the archbishop of Boston holds parishes in trust for a group of beneficiaries, local Catholics. They will argue that although O'Malley can terminate the standing of congregations as parishes, he cannot seize the land or buildings.
I wonder for whom I hold MY property in trust?

What a perverse idea and what utter contempt it shows for the property rights of an unpopular institution. Really, the contempt shown here for property rights is simply astounding. I guess to find someone who profoundly disrespects the law, one could not do much better than some plaintiff lawyers, with the possible exception of parts of the Massachusetts judiciary, who seem impatient with the obstacles to Utopia imposed by the laws of our elected representatives.

Second is a delightful column by Joan Vennochi documenting an interview held yesterday by John Kerry with Globe editorial writers and columnists. In the interview Kerry claimed to already signed the form SF 180 that he promised to file months ago. Of course this had to be clarified through numerous telephone calls and e-mails between the Boston Globe and Kerry’s aides during the rest of the day, and nobody could produce a copy of the document. But now they claim the process has started and we shall see. Joan is charitable to the former Democratic presidential nominee when she refers to his problem as a "candor gap". That reminds me of an old Down East story:

“What do you think of that new man out your way?"

"Oh, I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? Would you call him an honest man or would you call him a liar?"

"Oh, I don't know that I’d go so far as to call him a liar, but I've heard tell by them that know that he has a candor gap you could drive a bus through."
Finally, this story of the compromise crafted by 14 senators to avert a showdown over the use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats to block the Bush administration's judicial nominees. These senators waving around this document remind me of another leader in another time, but equally without backbone, who also waived a document and promised "peace in our time". I suspect the senators have arranged to shorter period of peace than did Neville Chamberlain, and his lasted barely a year. I would be astonished if this agreement does not fall apart in less time than that.

Of course if it does, it will be Bush's fault, not McCain's. John McCain now has this wonderful piece of work to add to his resume, along with the McCain-Finegold Free Speech Supression Act. Thanks again, John.

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