Hasterts Religious Guru Prays Over Him 40 Minutes, then Tells Him to Resign as Speaker. Number 2 in Line for Presidency Falls for Quack.
A column from The Wanderer, the oldest national weekly Catholic newspaper in the U. S.
By Thomas F. Roeser
CHICAGOProtests against the militant anti-Catholic secularism of so-called Catholic universities here go ignored by Rome, all the while Loyola University has featured an instructional course for its students: an address by an abortion provider who gave students an inside-look at her work. The presentation was a live infomercial.
The lecture was promulgated with the sanction of the Jesuit university. Indeed, all that was lacking was a fervent endorsement of death in the womb by the universitys president, Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, SJ. Fr. Garanzini does not respond to phone calls from news media including The Wanderer which may ask him questions he disdains as criticalbut he has been front and center as the university sponsored a good many productions, many of them gay, including The Vagina Monologues.
Last week the production could be called a uterus monologue. Dr. Judith Arcana was invited by the Loyola University Chicago Womens Studies Department to be a guest lecturer for a bioethics class entitled Bioethics 395: The Ethics of Human Reproduction to do what the university described as a performance of her work.
Dr. Arcana was a member of the Abortion Counseling Service of the Chicago Womens Liberation Unionbetter known by its nickname Jane. Jane was a Chicago underground abortion service roughly five years prior to Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973. The Womens Studies department touted that `Jane performed 11,000 safe [sic] abortions. Far from the usual run-of-the-abortion-mill advocates of death in the womb who strive to describe the operations as unfortunateeven tragediesDr. Arcana happily told the Loyola students that the service was caring and compassionate.
Women joined the service through periodic orientation meetings and learned the necessary tasks from those who had come before them, she said. Once their counseling skills had been developed in new recruits, and the group had come to trust them, they could learn moredoing everything from basic record-keeping to becoming a medicone who performed abortions.
Ultimately we learned to do abortions in all three trimesters. Although we did only a handful in the third, as you may imagine, there were many in the second, no doubt because illegality forced women and girls to take so much time searching for abortionists and saving up money. The methods that we learned, we primarily learned from one man. He was not a doctor but he was the best [sic]. Once we understood that many of the people doing abortiona at that time were not doctors, we realized that we could do it, too. This would mean women would not have to be charged a lot of money, could even come through the service free. So we pressed this man to teach us as he had been taught. He was an extraordinary man in many ways, had been doing this work and maybe other illegal work virtually all of his life.
`Our abortionist liked us, thought we were cool (which we were) and we liked him so it was a good arrangement all around. He eventually taught one of us and then let others watch. Eventually the one he had taught then taught others.
A Loyola student, critical of abortion, describes Dr. Arcana as believing that abortion can and should be done with grace, compassion and care. She accepted that abortion is the taking of a human life and justified it by means of compassion.
Earlier Dr. Arcana had spoken of her experience in London: I think there is a need for us to talk more about what we are doing, when we carry out or support abortion. Wein the Stateshave dealt heavily, up top now, in euphemism. I think one of the reasons why the `good guysthe people in favor of abortion rightslost a lot of ground is that we have been unwilling to talk to women about what it means to abort a baby. We dont ever talk about babies. We dont ever talk about what is being decided in an abortion. We never talk about responsibility. The word `choice is the biggest euphemism. Some use the phrases `products of conception and contents of the uterus or exchange the word `pregnancy for the word `fetus. I think this is a mistake tactically and strategically and I think it is wrong. And indeed, it has not workedwe have lost the high ground we had when Roe was decided.
My objection here is not only that we have lost ground but also that our tactics are not good ones. They may even constitute bad faith. It is morally and ethically wrong to do abortions without acknowledging what it means to do them. I performed abortions. I have had an abortion and I am in favor of women having abortions when we choose to do so. But we should never disregard the fact that being pregnant means there is a baby growing inside of a woman, a baby whose life is ended. We ought not to pretend this is not happening.
Attempts to protest to Fr. Garanzini SJ have been futile because Loyola, like many other establishmentarian Catholic universities, long ago handed over practical control to secular boards of directors. They in turn named presidents wearing roman collars but who are priests in name only--amenable to the de-Catholicization of the university.
While not responding to protests on this or other topics which he deems impolitic, Fr. Garanzini is noted for his great interest in Renaissance art. Last year he convened an art festival at Loyola and, with no obvious relevance, speculated to the Chicago Tribune that the great 17th century artist Caravaggio was gay. The comment received wide attention in the gay community which endorsed the artists presumed sexual orientation. But the distinguished art critic Paul Johnson in his landmark volume Art: A New History [Harper-Collins: 2003] disagrees. Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio [1571-1610] had two mistresses, was engaged regularly in roundhouse tavern brawls, was brought to trial for assault eleven times, killed a policeman, fled to avoid execution, but was never charged with sodomy then a capital offense. Johnson ascribed the Caravaggio story as common rumor similar to those circulated by aesthetes and gay activists about famous people whom they recruit posthumously.
Catholic Citizens of Illinois has protested not just secularism but anti-Catholic teaching at Chicagos two large purportedly Catholic universitiesDePaul and Loyola. Protests signed by Mrs. Mary Anne Hackett, its president, weres sent to Rome including to Archbishop John Miller, an expert on renewal of Catholic higher education. He has talked extensively about the need to re-catechize Catholic universities in the United States. But once in Rome, he became not just distant but incommunicado. There has been no response to Mrs. Hacketts letters. Francis Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, has said that he has talked to Archbishop Miller on these matters but received what George called a Roman response. That is generally interpreted as implying that the Hackett protests have gone to the dead letter office in the Vatican. While the archbishop is facile in writing about renewal of Catholic education, he is dilatory in responding to laymens entreaties.
In election years, Republicans issue dire warnings about an October Surprise where last-minute news is generated to cause voters to lose respect for Republican office-holders. But last week an October surprise came not from the Democrats but from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who seemed to play a trick on his Republican party.
In this state Hastert is well known as a former high school wrestling coach and history teacher. Earlier this month, a number of congressmen including the House Majority leader said that they had warned him several times about Cong. Mark Foleys circulation of inappropriate I-mails to a teen-aged boy page. The Speaker reportedly twirled his spectacles to and fro, raised his eyebrows meaningfully which evidenced serious thought but nothing happened. In the furor that followed, suspicion has grown in some state circles that he is a dim bulb. Others reacted angrily and said no, he is very cogent. How could it be so, they ask, when he is second in line for the presidency of the United States? The answer seems to be that since all the smart guys above him in the House GOP leadership were leaving for one reason or anotherdue to womanizing or legal troubles--the GOP might have had to choose a Speaker from the dregs.
Impossible counted Hasterts supporters. But since last week they have been very quiet in his defense. As erupting from Hastert himself, a story came out that was an unwelcome October surprise.
The Speaker, who has been staying at his home in tiny Plano, Illinois rather than campaigning, decided one night last week to go out for dinner to the towns only restaurant. He was accompanied (as he always is) by three secret service agents on guard to protect him from assassination. The only other customer in the place when Hastert and his body-guards walked in was one Dennis Ryan who was devouring a small prime fillet (rare). Ryan is an advance man for an evangelist K. A. Paul whom some call a quack. He had stopped off en-route from South Bend, Ind., where Paul had conducted a tent rally.
Ryan beckoned to Hastert who was attentive to what the sawdust trail advance man said. He told Hastert that Dr. Paul believed the Cong. Mark Foley scandal was blown out of proportion and was distracting attention from global poverty.
After Hastert agreed, Ryan suggested that Dr. Paul visit the Speaker the next morning to reiterate his concern. As the secret service stood by and looked bored, Ryan rang up Dr. Paul on his cell-phone and moved the instrument to Hasterts ear. After hearing Dr. Paul, Hastert invited the evangelist to visit him the next morning at his Plano home. Usually this procedure would necessitate a federal screening for anyone to see a man who is number three in line for the presidencybut this was waved aside as unnecessary for a man of Dr. Pauls stature.
The invitation was eagerly received. Dr. Paul and Ryan alerted the Associated Press and hired a photographer. They rang the doorbell the next morning at 7::30 and the door was opened by Hastert. Dr. Paul ordered his hired photographer to take a succession of photos of him with Hastert. The session ended with the evangelist praying over the Speaker for 40 minutes the portly top lawmaker, shown sitting and listening in rapt attention to the preacher as the minister raised his hands in dramatic fashion.
Once outside, advanceman Ryan professionally distributed the photos and to the Associated Press reporter, Dr. Paul announced that he had urged Hastert to resign as Speaker immediately and that Hastert agreed. That would have precipitated yet another crisis of succession to the presidency. When told that he had agreed to resign, Hastert denied it emphatically but stayed inside his house all day, answering no more questions.
But on his way to more evangelical sessions, Dr. Paul had much to say about Hasterts need to resign and about Dr Pauls views that it is imperative that the U. S. withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately. .
Dr. Paul, born Anand Kilari in Andhra Pradesh, India has made millions of dollars with his ministry, claiming to have counseled Saddam Hussein, Muammar al Khaddafi, Slobodan Milsoevic and al-Qaedas Abu Musab al-Zarquawi. His ministry lost its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability because Paul announced he asked God whether he should do disclose his financial records but God was so non-committal he has refused. In news reports he says he told Hastert to quit because if he didnt the Republicans would lose control of the House and in 35 days or so hed be out anyhow so he might as well beat the exodus to spare his reputation. He says Hastert gave this some thought. All in all it was quite a news day for Hastertand for the voluble Dr. Paul.
Others who have listened to Dr. Pauls spiritual counsel include the late Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Houston mega-multi-millionaire, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, himself a former evangelist famed for losing 110 lbs. over a year in a crash diet producing an improved appearance with the result that he is regarded by some as a dark-horse Republican candidate for president; Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney and boxer Evander Holyfield. In recent months Huckabee, McCartney and Holyfield have been taciturn about their religious experience with Dr. Paulbut none more so than has Speaker Hastert since last week. Nor has the Speakers secret service detail been particularly forthcoming.
Media have been instructed not to bother Hastert with questions concerning Paul but to refer them to his press secretary. However, Dr. Paul informs reporters that he will continue to take personally all the questions they will ask and interviews they seek concerning his prayer session with Speaker Hastert.