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Just a special hello to all those coming from the Washington Post link.

Thanks for stopping by, don’t be a stranger.


Baltimore is recieving 2,500 tickets. Requests are no longer being accepted.

Washington will be distributing tickets through parishes. Contact your pastor ASAP if you are interested in attending.

Richmond is getting 400 tickets. Apply through your parish or online. Tickets will only be given to members of parishes in the diocese. Deadline: March 7th.

Arlington is getting 600 tickets. Tickets are being distributed through individual parishes. Contact your pastor to request tickets.

Looking for more Papal Visit info, including ticket information? click here.

It seems that lately I have been blogging all Papal Visit all the time. Maybe it’s because 90% of my hits have been by people looking for info on the papal visit, maybe it’s because I still can’t believe I have a ticket reserved for me, maybe it’s because test related insanity has set in. Anyway, please forgive me for yet another Papal Visit related post.

From USA Today:

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the veteran Vatican diplomat who serves as the Holy See’s U.S. ambassador, knows exactly why the world will see — but not hear — Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the bedrock at Ground Zero during the pope’s first visit to the USA.
The silence is Sambi’s idea.

“This will be a moment of solidarity with those who died and their families. He will walk alone to indicate the loneliness of those who went to their deaths and the loneliness of the survivors. He will light a lamp. He will pray silently and make a public prayer (the only portion to be broadcast) for the remembrance of those who died, and for peace.

“There must be only silence and prayer here because not a single word will be enough to be convincing. Nothing will be adequate to touch the loneliness of those who died there and those who lost someone. Silence and prayer are what is required.”

It is Sambi’s job to know what is required, spiritual or political or trivial, to make a success of the shy, scholarly pope’s visit. When Benedict comes to Washington and New York April 15-20, he will be reaching out to all Americans, not only Catholics.

Sambi, 69, is a model of Italian charm who engages visitors with warm hazel eyes and expressive hands emphasizing his conversation. He has a 40-year résumé of serving in world hot spots: Jerusalem, Cuba, Indonesia and more.


Now, the nuncio wants to correct many people’s image of Benedict, drawn from when the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, enforcing John Paul II’s strict vision of Catholic teachings.

‘Simple man, human and warm’

“Anyone who lives by first impressions will simply see very quickly they were wrong about this Pope Benedict,” Sambi says. (I will attest to that!)

“The great surprise for people will be that the professor is a very simple man, human and warm in the ways in which he expresses himself. He came down from the chair of the teacher and accepted the role of preacher.”

Indeed, Vatican watchers calculate that Benedict is outdrawing the immensely popular John Paul II when he speaks to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square during Wednesday general audiences and his noon prayer and reflections on Sundays.


“Hope is the transcendent theme. A person or a people without hope is already dead,” Sambi says. “In his humble, simple, kind way, this pope is bringing us this clear message: that the way to happiness is to know that God loves you, and because God loves you, you love your neighbor.”


Sambi also is engaged in the fine points of making Benedict, who will turn 81 while in Washington, welcome and comfortable.

The shining black Yamaha baby grand piano is tuned in case the pianist pope wants to relax playing Mozart. It stands in one of the upstairs reception rooms at the nunciature, the Vatican Embassy’s home and offices, across busy Massachusetts Avenue from the vice president’s residence.

If Benedict wants to take one of his twice-daily walks, Sambi has mapped out a sylvan route where birds will drown out urban clamor.

But there are no plans for the German-born pope to have Bavarian pastries for his birthday luncheon. This will be an Italian meal, Sambi says, catered by Cafe Milano, a trendy Georgetown restaurant.

It’s one more taste of American life for Benedict, who keeps an astute eye on popular culture.

Young people are drawn to the pope’s message of “obedience to God as the way to happiness” and away from the self-centeredness of modern life, Sambi says.

“If you stop believing that you are God, it will be easy to believe in Him.” (Awesome quote. I am saving that one)

Catholics believe the pope is infallible in questions of faith and morals, but “he very rarely makes infallibility an issue. There is so much absolutism, so much infallibility in each of us, the pope uses it very little by comparison.”

Sambi, eyes twinkling, repeats, “People will be surprised.”

I have no doubt that the hearts of many people will be changed by this visit.

On a related note, the souveniers are already making an appearance:
Six Washington, D.C.-area Build-A-Bear Workshop stores will be selling souvenier teddy bear T-shirts. The shirt costs $6, and a portion of the shirt sales will help pay for the pope’s trip.

H/T to Thomas Peters (American Papist) for making this video available. Check out his You Tube page for more great video from this Theology on Tap session.

Listen carefully! The Archbishop has a very important message which I wish more people would get. It’s not about the man, it’s about the office.

The Archdiocese of Washington has announced that letters have been mailed to nearly 120 dioceses in the United States that had requested tickets on Monday, February 25.

Nearly 14,000 tickets are being distributed to these dioceses, including 6,000 for the Diocese of Arlington and 2,500 for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Quantities for the 140 parishes within the Archdiocese of Washington are scheduled to be shared with the parishes on Friday, February 29.

How tickets are distributed within a parish will be decided at the parish level. While the quantities are being announced now, the actual tickets to the Mass will be provided closer to the event. More than 45,000 people are expected to attend the Mass, Pope Benedict’s first major, public event in the United States.

For more information, visit or keep checking back here as I will continue to post updates as I recieve information.

Update: A special hello to all those coming here from the Washington Post link.

Check out my other Papal Visit related posts here.

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don’t get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Ethanol will save destroy the world.
Remember when ethanol was going to save the world? Well, guess what. Ethanol is actually worse for the earth than fossil fuels. At least, that is what Science Magazine says.

According the the article “replacing fossil fuels with corn-based ethanol would double greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades.”

Wow, that is an interesting statement. It seems that while the world was crowing about the new miracle fuel, an important item was forgotten. Ethanol doesn’t just appear. Corn must be raised on farms, it must be picked, it must be processed, and so forth. The result, ethanol is worse for the world than oil.

Read more here.

From Cape Cod Today:

Five months after 22-year-old Laura Hope Smith died on his operating table during an abortion, Rapin Osathanondh, a Hyannis gynecologist , has relinquished his medical license in the wake of a criminal investigation and disciplinary action by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

Woman’s mother kept the heat on newspaper and DA’s office

Smith was reportedly 13 weeks pregnant when she underwent the abortion Sept. 13 last year at the Women Health Center office of Dr. Rapin Osathanondh.

Mother was sought out and interviewed by a Cape Cod Times reporter two days after her daughter’s death, but the article never ran.“I don’t want Laura’s death swept under the rug,” her mother said. Eileen and Tom Smith adopted their Honduran-born daughter at age 5. “If Laura had died falling off a bike or in a car accident, it would have been in the paper the next day. This is a political hot potato,” Laura’s mother said.

The Board had moved to suspend Osathanondh’s license pending further investigation, declaring him to be a “risk to public safety.” In a surprise move yesterday, Osathanondh instead permanently surrendered his license, and will not practice medicine again anywhere.

“If Laura had died falling off a bike or in a car accident, it would have been in the paper the next day” the mother

On Monday, the Boston Medical Examiner’s office declared that the cause of Smith’s death was “cardiac pulmonary arrest during anesthesia during a voluntary termination of pregnancy.”

Left Boston Hospital under a cloud
Threatened nurses, complaint ignored

As we reported last October, Dr. Osathanondh left Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 2001 following complaints that during a staff meeting he threatened to “execute” five nurses. He was not prosecuted for the alleged threats, according to Boston Herald reports. Mrs. Smith said her daughter apparently died on the abortion table. Firefighters found her non-responsive when they answered the emergency call, according to the report she read.

Smith was brought by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital. Pending the autopsy, the cause of her death is still not officially listed. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said his office “reviews all deaths of this nature.” However, he’ll have to first receive the state medical examiner’s autopsy report, which may be released by late October.

Calls to Osathanondh’s clinic revealed that it is not accepting patients, but is referring women to other clinics.

Laura Smith had sought an abortion from Osathanondh on September 13, 2007, at his office, Women’s Health Center, in the Cape Cod town of Hyannis. Smith was placed under full anesthesia when only Osathanondh and a non-medical receptionist were present. When Smith suddenly stopped breathing, the receptionist phoned 911 but gave very little information to the dispatcher. Smith died later that day.

Met with mother, immediately “smelled a rat”

Ten days after Smith’s death, Osathanondh met with Smith’s mother, Eileen, and showed her medical records that caused her to believe that his negligence was responsible for Laura’s death.

“While nothing can bring back Laura and her baby, we take great comfort in knowing that Osathanondh will never again hurt another woman or kill another innocent child”Operation Rescue, a “Pro Life” organization, first broke the news of Laura’s death, then worked with Eileen to apply public pressure to authorities so that Laura’s death was not covered up. Cape Cod TODAY ran a story on these facts on October 17, 2007 after the local daily newspaper had failed to respond to the mother’s requests for news of her daughter’s death. “I feel like this was a group effort and you were part of it!” Eileen Smith told Operation Rescue after receiving news of Osathanondh’s license surrender.

“While nothing can bring back Laura and her baby, we take great comfort in knowing that Osathanondh will never again hurt another woman or kill another innocent child,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger. “We commend Eileen Smith on her tireless dedication to seeking justice for Laura, in spite of the personal grief and huge obstacles that she had to overcome.”

“Most of the time authorities just want to sweep abortion complications and deaths under the rug, slap the abortionist on the wrist, and send him on his merry way. That certainly would have happened in this case if not for Eileen’s determination and for groups like ours that kept Laura’s death on the front burner.”

and from the Cape Cod Times:

A gynecologist who came under scrutiny after a patient died following an abortion in his Hyannis clinic resigned his medical license yesterday.

As a result of his resignation, Dr. Rapin Osathanondh, whose primary practice was in Brookline, can no longer practice medicine in Massachusetts, nor can he reapply for the license at a later date.

Dr. Rapin Osathanondh
Medical school: Mahidol University, Siriraj Hospital, Thailand, graduated 1967

Post-graduate training:

Siriraj Hospital, Thailand, general surgery, 1967-1968

UMass Memorial Medical Center, intern, 1968-1969

Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, resident, general surgery, 1969-1970Brigham & Women’s Hospital, resident, obstetrics and gynecology, 1970-1973 Brigham & Women’s, Harvard Medical School, fellow, 1973-1975Ford Foundation, fellow, 1975-1977

Board certification: American Board of Medical Specialties, obstetrics and gynecology

Source: Massachusett Board of Registration in Medicine
The reasons why the former Harvard fellow resigned his medical license are not public, according to a Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine spokesman. However, medical board spokesman Russell Aims described the action as “disciplinary,” adding that because the doctor chose to resign, members of the board are constrained from discussing the case or the underlying cause of the resignation.

Aims said Osathanondh’s name and a notice about his resignation will be sent to national data banks that track doctors’ licenses.

Messages left at Osathanondh’s offices in Brookline and Hyannis yesterday were not returned.

Laura Smith of Sandwich, 22, died Sept. 13 after going to Osathanondh’s Hyannis office for an abortion. Smith’s mother, Eileen filed a complaint against Osathanondh with the medical board late last year.

Laura Smith was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital after being taken there by ambulance. Her mother said she was 13 weeks pregnant when she sought an abortion.

In her medical board complaint, Smith questioned what kind of drugs, including anesthesia, Osathanondh used on her daughter and whether there was anyone with medical training to assist Osathanondh during the abortion procedure.

Some of those questions remain unanswered because Smith has not been allowed complete access to her daughter’s medical records, and the results of the autopsy performed in September are still pending as the state Medical Examiner’s office awaits toxicology tests.

Smith has filed a claim in Barnstable Superior Court to obtain the medical records and autopsy results. Smith’s Boston-based attorney, David Angueria, said he plans to press the court harder for the release of the medical records now that Osathanondh has resigned.

“I cannot say exactly what led the board to take the action it did (to accept the resignation), but something the doctor did obviously led them to take that action,” Angueria said.

“For the time being, we are acting under certain constraints because we don’t have all the information we’re seeking.”

Angueria said once he has a complete autopsy report in hand, he will consult with experts before taking further legal steps.

In a telephone interview from her New Jersey home yesterday, Eileen Smith said she was “overjoyed” with the medical board’s decision to accept Osathanondh’s resignation.

“I am thrilled beyond belief. I feel like Laura finally got justice. … I’m grateful to the medical board,” she said.

The state medical examiner has determined Laura Smith’s cause of death as “cardiac pulmonary arrest during anesthesia for voluntary termination” of a pregnancy, her mother said.

The manner of death is still pending, Smith said.

Manner of death — the way in which the cause of death came about — is a key factor in whether Osathanondh could face a criminal charge.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said his office is treating the case as an unattended death, a term that is applied to cases the state medical examiner investigates under state law. He spoke with the state medical examiner a few days ago and some blood tests are pending, he said.

O’Keefe said he will consult with an anesthesiologist about the results of the toxicology reports.

Eileen Smith said she is satisfied with O’Keefe’s handling of the case.

“He’s been very sensitive and it has been reassuring to know the DA’s office is following this,” Smith said.

“My hope is the district attorney will prosecute. There are certain things that (Osathanondh) should have done that he didn’t do. He must be held accountable.”

Ten days after her daughter’s death, in an effort to understand what had happened, Smith met with Osathanondh in the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Osathanondh said her daughter had a suction-type abortion and she was anesthetized during the procedure, according to Smith. She saw a waiver her daughter signed, the permissions she gave and the list of drugs she was given, Smith said.

“After what had happened, I expected to meet a monster. Instead, I met this tall, thin, soft-spoken Asian man, who if I had not known what he’d done, might be someone I’d invite to dinner,” Smith said. “But I do know what he did and I am relieved that he will no longer practice medicine. Laura’s death will not be in vain if it saves the lives of other young women.”

I know that I often send e-cards to my cyber-friends and I prefer to send religious themed cards for religious holydays, but I sometimes have a hard time finding them in the mix of Santa Clauses and Easter Bunnies.

I recently found out that has a selection of religious Easter e-cards. The artwork leans to the semi-traditional and the cards contain scripture verses from the KJV Bible or a quote from one of the Church Fathers or a protestant theologian. is the largest free ecards web site in the world, with over 20,000 proprietary ecards celebrating more than 3,000 everyday, special occasions & events. According to Comscore Media Metrix they are also in the top ten fastest growing websites for December 2007 .

One interesting card in the one with the image of the Divine Mercy and a quote from St. Augustine.

I hope they create more cards with Catholic images and quotations from Catholic translations of Scripture and quotations from the Church fathers.

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