Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
June 20, 2010

As we celebrate Fathers' Day, we offer congratulations to our parish's faithful, conscientious fathers, and we offer a humble prayer to God, asking Him to guide and strengthen these fathers and to confer His blessing on good fathers everywhere. A good father does vastly more than simply give life to a child. A good father will nourish and protect his children throughout their age of vulnerability, the first two decades or so of their lives. And, what is of decisive importance, he will show them by his example and his counsel how to live wisely, how to develop, through prayer, self-discipline and the keeping of important goals steadily in mind, the kind of moral character that leads to the only success that counts: namely, after having made a contribution to the common good here on earth, enjoying a face to face communion with God in His kingdom forever.

The role of the father as moral guide during his children's formative years is a role that stands unfulfilled in vastly too many of America's homes today. Within some major sectors of our society, close to three quarters of the children born each year are now born out of wedlock This means that in most such cases, there will be no day-to-day close-up model (especially for the boys) to inspire and guide the development of good character. And that means in turn that on reaching physical maturity, huge numbers of young men will be ruled simply by impulse, nor will they have acquired the skills that are the product of sustained  and challenging study. That's a formula for social catastrophe. And social catastrophe is precisely what is on display in a major city like Detroit today. For a number of reasons the future of our country is beginning to look undeniably grim. Some disaster- precipitating factors can be effectively addressed by short-term political action. But in the long run a "counterrevolutionary surge" in devoted and responsible fatherhood would offer the most effective answer to a multiplicity of our social problems.

In the meantime, may God bless the many good fathers who quietly fulfill their vitally important duty day after day, the fathers to whom our nation can point with gratitude and pride.

The liberal media (now blatantly anti-Christian) will of course have none of this. The latest issue (July-August, 2010) of The Atliantic magazine flaunts a cover that is emblazoned with the headline (accentuated by a graphic that is faintly obscene) "The End of Men: How Women Are Taking Control of Everything". The thesis of the cover story is reinforced with a concurrent short article entitled "Are Fathers Necessary?" The author of this short article, one Pamela Paul, an "authority" on parenting-her most recent book is called Parenting, Inc.-sums up her "take" on the current social scene with these words of comfort: "The bad news for Dad is that despite common perception, there's nothing objectively essential about his contribution. The good news is, we've gotten used to him." (Earlier in her short essay she cites the sociologist Judith Stacey and the demographer Timothy Biblarz to the effect that "Two [lesbian] women who chose to become parents together seemed to provide a double dose [undoubtedly so!] of a middle-class 'feminine' approach to parenting". Stacey and Biblarz, Ms. Paul notes further, are agreed that : "based strictly on the published science, one could argue that two women parent better on average than a woman and a man, or at least than a woman and a man with a traditional division of family labor."

So there! Thank heaven for "published science"!
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Finally, even as a good father is willing, should it be necessary, to sacrifice his life for the good of his family, the "Catholic Culture" blog for June 9, 2010 reported on a recent analogous occurrence: the murder of Luigi Padovese, the Catholic bishop of Iskenderun (in Turkey), who for the last six years had served as Apostolic Vicar to Anatolia (in Turkey). He was murdered the day after he had met with Turkish authorities to protest the violation of the rights of Christian minorities in the wake of the recent surge in Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey's major cities. (Four years ago a Catholic priest, Father Andrea Santoro, was assassinated in Trabzon, Turkey). May I share with you here the "Catholic Culture" blog's report.
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Slain Bishop's Driver Was Assigned By Government
   Catholic Culture.Org/news/headlines/index.cfm/storyid=6591

A funeral Mass for Bishop Luigi Padovese, the slain vicar apostolic of Anatolia and president of Turkey's episcopal conference, took place on June 7 at the cathedral in Iskenderun. "For us Christians, in particular, his death reminds us that fidelity to the Gospel, in certain situations, may be paid with the spilling of blood," said Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini of Izmir during the funeral homily." As a father, brother and friend, full of pain but forcefully remembering Venerable John Paul II, I say to you, to you all: 'Do not be afraid!' Do not lose heart, rejoice, like the apostles, to live in suffering and trial, without abandoning your faith, which is why we hope.... "

Murat Altun, the bishop's driver and admitted murderer ... according to a Spanish language Zenit report was not chosen by the bishop, but was assigned to the bishop by the Turkish government four years ago.... Initial reports claimed the driver was insane. Asia News reported:

As the days pass, new details emerge on the story of murder and the alleged "insanity" of the assassin. The doctors who performed the autopsy reveal that Monsigner Padovese had knife wounds all over his body, but especially in the heart (at least eight). His head was almost completely detached from his neck, attached to his body by only the skin of the back of the neck. Even the dynamic of the killing is clearer: the Bishop was stabbed in his house. He had the strength to go out the door of the house, bleeding and crying for help and there he was killed. Perhaps only when he fell to the ground, was his head cut off. Witnesses said they heard the bishop cry out for help. But more importantly they heard the screams of Murat immediately after the murder. According to these sources, he climbed on the roof of the house and shouted "I killed the great Satan! Allah Akhbar! "

This call coincides perfectly with the idea of beheading, making sense that it is like a ritual sacrifice against evil. This correlates with ... ultranationalist groups and Islamic fundamentalists who apparently want to eliminate Christians from Turkey.
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All of us are concerned about the ecological and economic disaster that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has unleashed. I therefore thought that you might be interested in an account of what went wrong given by a drilling expert in a long letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. And since it's also a characteristic of human nature to see some element of humor even in grim situations-what the Germans call "Gallows Humor"-- I'm including in today's bulletin a bit of whimsy inspired by the recent deadly serious announcement that James Cameron, the director of the movie "The Titanic", has been asked for his counsel as to how to "plug the dam hole!." This flight of imagination appeared in the regular parody section of the Weekly Standard, issue of June 14, 2010.
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The Oil Disaster Is About Human, Not System, Failure
    The Wall Street Journal
    Friday, June 11, 2010
    A Letter to the Editor

In response to Tony Hayward's June 4 op-ed "What BP Is Doing about the Gulf Gusher": It is time that the publicity spin that BP is putting on this disaster is put into perspective. What is alarming about the content of the article is not so much what it says, but what it does not say.

Mr. Hayward, chief executive officer of British Petroleum, asks, "How could this happen?" The answer has largely to do with BP's inability to follow its existing well-construction policies and those of the industry generally.

The BP testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on May 25 says it all, but perhaps that material needs to be explained. From looking at that evidence, this is what we know.:

1) When cementing the production casing the cementing crew, which was being supervised by BP, had difficulty landing the top plug into the casing shoe. This was the FIRST "RED FLAG", because a satisfactory cement job to the production string is fundamental to the safe operation on a go-forward basis. The fact that the cement job did NOT go as planned should have caused the testing operation that followed to be carefully scrutinized, it clearly was not.

2) As is normal practice, the integrity of the pressure tight seal was tested by pressuring UP on the casing and observing the pressure response. If pressure bleeds off there is clearly a problem with the pressure integrity of the shoe. However, industry practice dictates that a positive test, that is, no pressure drop, is NOT diagnostic, simply because the reservoir pressure is sufficient to retain the pressure being applied. A negative test is useful because it is diagnostic of a failed cemen tjob. In this case the test was positive.

3) Again, as is normal industry practice, a NEGATIVE pressure test was run, with pressure released from inside the casing, and the pressure response was measured. In this case evidence has been brought before the committee that there was a 1,400 psi pressure response. This response IS highly diagnostic and is therefore the second "RED FLAG," and at this point the BP supervisors should have concluded that they had what the industry calls a "wet shoe". That is, that the cement job had FAILED TO FORM A SEAL at the casing around the reservoir which we know contains high pressure oil and gas.

4) At this point a decision SHOULD have been made to do a REMEDIAL cement job; this is an EXPENSIVE operation, but having seen a 1400 psi response, there was no choice.

5) The BP engineers then proceeded with the balance of the operation to temporarily ABANDON the well. This meant REPLACING the 14-pound-per gallon MUD that was in the wellbore with 8.5 pound-per-gallon sea water.    The denser mud had been up until this time the PRIMARY PRESSURE CONTROL and was keeping the hydrocarbons in place DESPITE the lack of an adequate cement job at the casing shoe.

Given the two red flags that had been thrown up previously, one would have expected that as a precaution a cement plug would have been placed SOMEWHERE in the wellbore as a SECONDARY pressure seal BEFORE this primary pressure control system (heavy mud) was evacuated from the wellbore. But at the very least the mud replacement operation should have been heavily scrutinized. Clearly it was not.

6)  Evidence provided at the hearing, including the pressure data transmitted from the rig for the last two hours before the explosion, is diagnostic. At 8:20 p.m. on the day of the explosion the pressure data suggest there was a constant flow of sea water being pumped into the drill pipe that was DISPLACING THE HEAVIER MUD system which was the primary pressure control for the well. The rate going in was 900 gallons a minute at 8:20 p.m. to a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute at 8:34 p.m. During this 14-minute period one can conclude that hydrocarbons were flowing and pushing more fluid from the wellbore than was being pumped in.

This is what this data is supposed to monitor, but the well flow evidence would appear to have been IGNORED, because at this point the BP rig supervisors should have gone to a well KILL operation and started to pump heavy mud BACK INTO the well bore to RESTORE the primary control mechanisn. Instead the mud continued to be EVACUATED.

7)  At 9:08 there was another piece of evidence that is very clear cut. The sea water pump was shut down presumably to check the well stability. However, with the pump shut down a pressure increase was seen in the standpipe (SPP). This pressure response has to be associated with the reservoir flowing hydrocarbons and again at this point KILL operations SHOULD have been initiated by the BP engineers.

8)  From 9:08 p.m. to around 9:30, despite the sea-water pump either running at a constant volume or shut-in, the SPP continued to increase again. This is evidence that the well is producing hydrocarbons and should have caused a kill operation to be initiated.

9)  At 9:30 p.m. the seawater pump was again shut-in to presumably observe what the well was doing, and again there is a notable increase in the standpipe pressure.

10) At 9:49 the SPP showed a very large increase and the explosion followed- this is obviously the point at which the gas and oil reached the drill floor and found an ignition source.

Mr. Hayward and BP have taken the position that this tragedy is all about a fail-safe blow-out preventer (BOP) failing, but in reality the BOP is really the backup system, and yes we expect that it will work. However, all of the industry practice and construction systems are aimed at ensuring that one never has to USE that device. Thus the industry has for decades relied on a dense MUD system to keep the hydrocarbons in the reservoir and everything that is done to maintain wellbore integrity is tested, and where wellbore integrity test fails, remedial action is taken.

This well FAILED its casing integrity test and NOTHING WAS DONE. The data collected during a critical operation to monitor hydrocarbon inflow was IGNORED and nothing was done. This spill is about human failure and it is about time BP put its hand up and admitted that.
                                                                        Terry Barr, President
                                                                        Samson Oil and Gas,
                                                                        Lakewood, Colorado

[Emphasis added]
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