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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from January 2004

Admissions against interest by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 2, 2004

Another year has passed, and it's time to make up lists of the events that occurred-- or in this case did not occur-- in 2003. (I waited the extra day just so that I could scan all the newspapers to make sure nothing new happened on December 31.) Here is a list of the US bishops who, responding...

MAYBE AN EPIPHANY MIRACLE? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 2, 2004

Mark Shea has blogged my letter to the Apostolic Nuncio on the Father Weinberger situation....

St. Job the Baptist and the Three Little Pigs by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2004

Sad, isn't it, to watch a cripple toss away his crutches, take two timid steps, and then tumble face-foreward onto the pavement. A story in this morning's Washington Post shows Howard Dean trying to find his voice on religion. His prat fall confirms Phil's point in last week's post below. Dean...

Working Toward a Brighter Tomorrow by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2004

Christopher Zehnder reports on Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry, a program designed to aid elementary school students in overcoming intolerance they may have learned at home. The theme of homosexual marriage is revisited in "Play Wedding," where Noodlehead explains to...

Reggie's Back by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2004

Several bloggers have noted the discouraging news that disgraced South African Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of Saint Sebastian's Angels fame is back in the saddle, now as the pastor of a Cape Town parish. For a glimpse of Bishop Cawcutt's theory of Intra-Trinitarian Procession, go [WARNING: contains...

GOOD BYE, FATHER WEINBERGER by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2004

Rod Dreher was present at Blessed Sacrament Church in Dallas for the final Mass of Father Paul...

The Church You Save May Be Your Own by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

Occasionally one still sees roadside crosses marking the site of a fatal auto accident at a dangerous curve or intersection -- a warning that we take stock of how fast we are travelling and, more importantly, in what direction. Today's Telegraph sets up such a cross in reporting on the continuing...

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: on Father Weinberger by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

The Dallas daily takes note of a sad day for the people of God in Dallas....

A safe family environment by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

Let's say you get sick and tired about all the stories on sexual abuse by the clergy, and-- just for a break-- you take the family to Disney World. How do you feel when you learn that one of the "greeters" there is a priest, removed from his pastoral assignment because of sex-abuse...

Democracy in the Church? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

Carol McKinley, who has devoted herself to exposing the liberal agenda of Voice of the Faithful, now reveals exactly how "democratic" the upstart organization is. McKinley's blog notes that although VOTF claims over 30,000 members (since anyone who asks for information as counted as a...

Thou Shalt Not Bear Embarrassing Witness Against Monsignor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

From the Full Disclosure of What We Have Unilaterally Determined You Need to Know Department comes the following shell game from Syracuse: Bishop James Moynihan said Sunday he released a report on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse's history of clergy sexual abuse in an effort to rebuild...

Good News about Bad News about Good News by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

The current Voices, the magazine of the invaluable organization Women for Faith & Family, has some excellent transcripts of the discussions that took place at the last USCCB National Meeting. I was especially struck by Archbishop Alfred Hughes's refreshingly blunt remarks on the deplorable state...

The January issue of Catholic World Report is out by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

The January issue of Catholic World Report is now on newsstands and here's what you'll find inside:Same-Sex Unions And The Meaning Of Marriage: A new revolution is brewing in America, with the action again beginning in Massachusetts, where a court's decision has forced reluctant politicians to...

The December issue of Catholic World Report is now online by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

The December issue of Catholic World Report is now available on the Catholic World News web site. In this issue, you'll find our special report on how a papal conclave will work and who the influential players will be in the next papal election, not just those who might be Pope, but also those...

Dallas. There is nothing else. Dallas. There is nothing else. Dallas. There is nothing else... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2004

The correspondence between Father Weinberger and his bishop is online. Go here, and then click on "Parish...

The envelope, please ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

The Media Research Center announces its awards for the worst journalism of 2003. I think the scoring is pretty well done. Below is the pick for Quote of the Year: "If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have...

Britney Joins Poor Clare Convent in Luxembourg by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

Victims of 15 of the 17 priests with credible accusations against them were male. The victims of the other two priests were female. This from the audit of Bishop Wilton Gregory's Belleville Diocese, showing that, even if their sexual morality is dodgy, their arithmetic is...

The Final Solution by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

Today's live-web transmission of the USCCB's Child Protection Compliance Audit press conference was oddly unsatisfactory. Answers failed to connect with the questions -- as if the press corps had shown up with footballs and the panel with fielders' gloves. That said, in response to a reporter's...

PORTABLE INTERCHANGEABLE PRIESTLY UNITS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

My thoughts on the last Sunday of Father Paul Weinberger at Blessed Sacrament Church, and on contemporary clergy transfer policies, are at...

BIG BROTHER: SETTING YOUR BREVIARY RIBBONS FOR YOU by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

This poor fellow in Essex, England, has to get PLANNING PERMISSION before he can meditate on his own land....

Big news coming out of Washington by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2004

Sources tell me that a big story will be coming out of the Archdiocese of Washington on Wednesday. A law firm representing at least ten clients has sent the archdiocese a letter demanding it "accept responsibility" for "a history of abuse and negligent supervision comparable to that of Boston."...

True versus False Accountability by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

A man I know worked for a firm that made fuel controls for jet engines. His job was to ensure the quality of the component parts that were made by outside contractors. This entailed weekly visits to the shops in which the parts were machined and personal, hands-on verification that the parts...

wounded healers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

The Washington Times picked up the story Dom mentioned about an alleged sex abuse ring in the Archdiocese of Washington: The law firm last night faxed the diocese the eight demands. "One or two [victims] went and had meetings with subsidiary officials who listened, thanked them and that was...

"the cancerous growth of human numbers..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

David Mills at Touchstone links an article by a Bay-area woman whose neighbors are in her face because of her three children: After my [third] baby was born, the hostile looks and mutterings continued. While I was waiting in line for coffee one day with the kids in tow, one woman offered to...

What the Pope don't know, nohow by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

E.W. Scott, the former Anglican Primate of Canada, has a very high respect for the family -- I mean, of course, for "the family unit." On the Sunday before New Year's, in his weekly comments in St. Peter's Square, the Pope said that giving same-sex couples access to civil marriage has...

What have we learned from the Inquisition? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

What painful lesson should Church leaders draw from the history of the Inquisition? For one thing, it's a dangerous mistake to turn ecclesiastical problems over to civil authorities. How much better is it to have clerical discipline handled by ex-FBI...

Accountability in Dallas by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2004

"Accountability" has come to be a word much heard in Church discourse in the last couple of years. It means different things to different people; among some groups pressing for change in the Church, it seems to be a code word for the introduction of democratic decision-making structures in the...

in high places by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

Bliss was it in that dawn to be aliveBut to be young was very heaven! Former Jesuit Robert Blair Kaiser belongs to that fading remnant of 1960s mustangs who fell besottedly in love with folk guitars and bell-bottoms and oral contraceptives and who still await the trumpet signalling the dawn of...

Properly inflated by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

Howard Dean says that his religious faith prompted him to support same-sex unions. Of course, this is the guy who chose his religious faith on the basis of a dispute over a bicycle path. So a discussion on a bike path formed his faith, and his faith formed his views on same-sex unions. Seems...

"AND EVERYTHING YOU KNOW, WE KNOW" by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

Cardinal McCarrick responds to the Washington Times report of a D.C. clergy sex ring....

familiaris consortio by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

Maggie Gallagher recounts her causal conversation with a college student whose parents are divorced and who doesn't see the problem with same-sex marriage: "What about you?" I asked him. "Do you think you'll matter to your kids?"Matthew seemed taken aback by the question. Obviously he had never...

I Found My Ovulation Suppressants at Kmart! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

From the Weight of Glory blog, good news of one man who has planted a flag in the sand. While working as an independent contracting pharmacist at a Kmart pharmacy in Menomonie, WI, I asserted a conscientious objection to a 22 year old female who was seeking hormonal contraception (birth control...

A rational basis for marriage by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2004

Mary Ann Glendon and Hadley Arkes have an op-ed in the Boston Herald today (it's not online) that provides a brilliant alternative to the Hobson's choice provided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on same-sex marriage. Pro-marriage legislators and the governor have been saying that the...

The Children of the Dawn by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2004

Perhaps no step has been as remarkable or courageous as that taken by 23 Chicago priests who signed a letter strongly objecting to "the increase in the use of violent and abusive language" in Vatican declarations directed at gays and lesbians. ... [I]t is impossible to find even that...

re-education by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2004

Once a byword of drowsy Anglican propriety, the Church Times has acquired a Nina Totenberg-ish whine in its sympathies for school-marm progressivism. The current issue has a number of digs at refractory elements within the Anglican communion, including a blast at "untrustworthy" conservatives and...

Clone Bishop Burke! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2004

OK, OK. I realize that cloning is not a moral option. (And it would take too long.) But if the Vatican could find a few more American priests who think and act the same way, and quickly make them...

THE AUDIT IN PERSPECTIVE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2004

The Dallas Morning News has a superb editorial on the newly released audit of the dioceses....

Unreported good news? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2004

This is only my personal observation-- call it anecdotal evidence-- but I'm beginning to think I notice a trend. At the little chapel where I attend Mass almost every weekday, the attendance at daily Mass has been rising, slowly but steadily, ever since I began going there. The same thing...

Mulieris Dignitatem: how the Left views the woman voter by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2004

Gen. Wesley K. Clark has replaced his suit with an argyle sweater in an attempt to increase his support among women. -- slughead to a New York Times article by Edward...

The right to one's good name, revisited by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2004

Remember the reason Syracuse Bishop James Moynihan gives for not disclosing the names of priests accused or found guilty of child abuse? Moynihan cited the Eighth Commandment -- "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" -- to explain his refusal to reveal names. The moral code...

JP2's complicity in mass extermination? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2004

This Sunday's New York Times carries an exceptionally brainless op-ed on this papacy and the next, penned by Roberto Pazzi, an Italian fantasist and artiste with an attitude. Perhaps, as someone who has devoted two novels to the Vatican, I may be allowed to invent a "what if" scenario....

A cardinal's waning influence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2004

As a rule, an archbishop has a great deal of influence over the appointment of bishops in his metropolitan region. And a cardinal can influence appointments in nearby metropolitan regions as well. Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles didn't show much influence in the selection of a new bishop for...

has issues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 12, 2004

Ex-monk, ex-priest, and bender of the tenderer gender Nathan Mitchell explains why they're wrong who "claim that our postconciliar worship lacks beauty." This from the January 19, 2004, issue of America: Liturgy is an ecstatic, even erotic act that embodies God’s own passionate, excessive...

bad habits by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 12, 2004

All of us are somewhat chagrinned at telling the priest the same old sins time after time, right? Australian priest (and thinking Catholic) Father Mike McArdle says he confessed the mistake of inappropriate boundary crossing, with minors, on at least 1,500 occasions. The Catholic Church today...

Eyes Wide Open by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 13, 2004

For the most part, [Catholics] do not go to church; those who do, do not go to confession; and whether they go or not, there is little doubt that the great majority have strayed a long way from the main thrust of twenty centuries of Church teaching, together with their priests. So that "Catholic"...

CHECKING OUT VOTF by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 13, 2004

Danny DeBruin joined the Long Island chapter of Voice of the Faithful. He participated, even filling an office, and watched, and pondered. And now he has written a very fine article about the experience. Nicely...

with liberty & justice for all by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2004

"Diogenes," people ask me, "what does today's well-dressed young man think about Leviticus 20?" Well just yesterday, à propos, milords May and Harrison ruled that some exercises of free speech are simply too tasteless for words: A preacher who held up a sign in a town square calling for an end...

Reading comprehension quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2004

After reading this story from the Washington Times, answer the following question: Which of the following options best describes the moral of the story:   (a) We're a little short on tar and feathers. (b) Voice of the Faithful, just step aside. (c) Home schooling gets a boost from Arlington...

Confusion in Catholic Quebec by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2004

Seminaries in Quebec may contravene the province's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms if they deny admission to HIV positive candidates, according to a story in the Montreal Gazette. Paradoxically, according to the article, the Church's liability was increased by an ill-judged (and doubtfully...

deny, deny, deny by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2004

Richmond VA priest Fr. John Leonard pleaded guilty yesterday to a pair of misdemeanor assault charges involving two minors. He was charged yesterday in Goochland Circuit Court with three felony sex offenses, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Edward K. Carpenter. Under a plea agreement, two...

A Closure Walk with Thee by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2004

Back to Richmond. Accused of an unsatisfactory Good Touch to Bad Touch ratio, Fr. John Leonard copped an Alford plea, in which, according to the legal lexicons, "the defendant does not admit the act (factual guilt), but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge." Retired Bishop...

crying over spilt seed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2004

A front lines report from the wonderful world of emancipated bio-technology, in today's Boston Globe: For Richard J. Gladu Jr., his then-wife's decision to initiate a pregnancy he didn't want -- using one of those frozen embryos created with a donated egg fertilized with his sperm -- sent his...

Safe Sin by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2004

One morning you meet Red Eye, the HIV-positive Rastafarian and male prostitute who works out of the Irving Park El station, on his way over to beat up the parish priest for giving him a bad check. You demur, citing perhaps Inter Mirifica, but he persists. What's the morally appropriate Christian...

The Young Prospectors -- or, nemo restaurat quod non habet by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2004

Several bloggers have commented on Fr. Andrew Greeley's "Young Fogeys" piece in the current Atlantic, in which he retails the unsurprising news that a generation of conservative young priests is on the rise in the U.S. Church. These are newly ordained men who seem in many ways intent on...

Absolute zero by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2004

Showing the political timing that made him what he is today, Al Gore is giving a speech on "global warming" today in New York-- where today's temperature is zero. Gore explains that actually, global warming causes extreme cold. You might not understand that, but then you didn't invent the...

I wish they all could be California ... jails by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2004

Has to be a misprint, I thought. In reporting on a recent denial-of-appeal decision by California Supreme Court, legal journalist Claire Cooper wrote yesterday: In a ruling handed down in October, apparently the first of its kind, the state Court of Appeal said the Milwaukee Archdiocese could...

hand-wringing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2004

Q. How do you know a liberal's running scared? A. When he attributes his adversaries' motives to fear. The folks at the The Tablet (you remember -- "loyalty in difficult times") are patting their pockets for the Valium after a first glance at a draft of the new Missal. It also reflects...

healing & health: his offenses did not involve minors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2004

A priest of the Lexington, KY, diocese was accused of abusing a boy in the early 1970s, the Herald-Leader reports: A diocesan committee in Lexington that reviews allegations of sexual abuse decided the [newly revived] claim against the Rev. William G. Poole was "not credible," Bishop Ronald...

Only a bishop could say it by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2004

As they say, the devil is in the details. The policy adopted by the US bishops in Dallas in 2002 may look good on paper, but how it's implemented is the tricky part. Case in point: One Kentucky diocese says a priest had a credible allegation against, paid out a settlement, and suspended him. But...

Fr. Groeschel update by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2004

For those wanting to keep up with Fr. Benedict Groeschel's condition following his traffic accident, here is an update from his order's web site. He is not out of the woods yet, and so many prayers are asked for him. The attitude of the friars is great: they are using the tragedy as an opportunity...

British Jesuits: a chapter of contemporary history by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2004

From the Catholic Herald (UK) comes an interesting serve and volley. Last November 7 saw an article claiming jobbery by the British Jesuits in the early 1980s. In briefest terms: An orthodox Jesuit named Michael Kyne was proposed for the job of Provincial in the summer of 1981. Leftist...

toward a vibrant, inclusive faith-community by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2004

STATISTICIANS for the Church of England have recorded another across-the-board drop in attendance figures. Average weekly attendance at churches and cathedrals dropped by three per cent in 2002. This was on top of a five-per-cent drop from the previous year. The above from the current Church...

U.S. Bishops Pick the Top Ten Films for 2003 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2004

Whale Rider. A touching coming-of-age story set among contemporary New Zealand Maoris, which explores the role of community and change through the relationship of a determined 12-year-old girl and her tradition-bound grandfather. Let me guess. After some preliminary sulking, the petulant...

THE WHISTLE BLOWER by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2004

If a priest became suspicious about the activities of his pastor with regard to young people, he could turn to his superiors and confide his concerns to them with complete confidence. Right? "But newly unsealed court documents show that long after Aylward admitted having touched boys for...

More on Greeley by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2004

In my earlier post concerning Andrew Greeley's Atlantic article on the conservative convictions of younger priests, I withheld comment on an irritating feature: his report that "only about 40 percent of the younger generation believe that birth control is always wrong." Well, Father,...

heads they win; tails we lose by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2004

Today's Boston Globe discusses the Church's political clout in Massachusetts: But the Catholic Church has a mixed record of accomplishment on Beacon Hill. Lawmakers and bishops agree that the church has been most successful advocating for the poor and staving off capital punishment in...

Hapgood, Kasper Agree on Designated Hitter Rule, Salary Caps by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2004

Of course it'll be strangled in the cradle -- like a pro-life resolution introduced at the Democratic National Convention -- but it's wryly amusing all the same. The topic of Papal Primacy is debuting at the C of E's General Synod. The Church of England is being asked to take its biggest step...

healed wounders by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2004

With the action news team cameras trained on him, Bishop Brown takes a deep breath and gives us DRAMA: Turning to an ancient method of public notice, Bishop Tod D. Brown on Sunday nailed to the doors of Holy Family Cathedral a document proclaiming a commitment by the Diocese of Orange to help...

Lest we give offense by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2004

The Telegraph reports that, sadly, the folks supervising Scotland's police have stopped taking their meds: Police officers have been warned not to ask people if they are married in case it causes offence to homosexuals, it was disclosed yesterday. The directive is included in new guidelines,...

FALLOUT by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

The Most Rev. William Murphy, was a Boston priest, aide to Cardinal Law and ultimately auxiliary bishop of Boston when he was appointed IV Bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y., the diocese comprising the eastern three-fifths of Long Island. The wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and other...

The Party of Fiscal Restraint by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

As President Bush prepares to deliver his State of the Union message-- which, no doubt, will include some grandiose new plans for government action-- a Wall Street Journal editorial (available only to subscribers for now) notes that Bush has presided over more rapid growth in discretionary federal...

Another affirmative-action category? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

In a Boston Globe op-ed, Cathy Young complains that agnostic politicians suffer discrimination. (By "discrimination," what she means is that people don't vote for them.) Coming soon, to a state near you: A federal judge will declare that henceforth, 5% of all elected officials must be...

an enduring mystery by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

Regarding Phil's affirmative action post below: why is it that the free thought that freethinkers think is always the same...

alternative lifestyles by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

Ms. Barb Ickes believes law enforcement agencies would be easier on top-of-the-pops pederast Michael Jackson if he were a priest. Maybe, maybe not. From my own perspective, I'm struck by how much easier Michael Jackson is on us than are our home-grown celebrators of diversity. We don't have...

No longer on the agenda by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2004

Did you hear what Pres. Bush said about abortion in his State of the Union address? Neither did I. Twenty years ago, a Republican president would always make at least a perfunctory reference to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. But the decision endures, and now GOP leaders have given up the...

Burke borked by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2004

St. Louis-bound Bishop Burke put the cat amongst the pigeons in a big way by announcing that pro-abort pols would be denied communion. Clever folks at the Post-Dispatch phoned around the country to Burke's brethren to see if his spokespersons-in-Christ might help cut the ground out beneath him....

Blue Light Special by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2004

8-month fetus a bummer on your bladder? Smart shoppers can save $$$ at Women's Health Care Services. Offer good through Thursday. (**Limit one per customer; may not be used in conjunction with other WHC coupon discounts; Kansas sales tax restrictions apply). A Wichita abortion clinic will...

DID HE OR DIDN'T HE? by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

Word was that the Holy Father had seen the Mel Gibson movie on the Passion, was moved by it, and had said, "It is as it was." Then, an unnamed Vatican official denied that. But the story was repeated, so the Pope's personal secretary now denies it. Yet apparently, the Gibson people had an...

ROD DREHER'S TAKE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

Rod weighs in on the same subject....

PROLIFE PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

Well, it didn't make it into the State of the Union Address, but at least the eight thousand gathered at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last night for the Prolife Mass heard a strong prolife message from the President and the First...

Once again... by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

What is the lesson we learn from the kerfuffle over whether the Pope gave two thumbs up to Mel Gibson's movie? Once again, we learn that it's not the crime, it's the cover up. If only the Vatican had let the thing stay as it was, the comment would have faded into history. But now, with Peggy...

THE PASTOR'S POT by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

Well, when I was growing up, back in the Golden Age of the Church (strains of "Blowin' in the Wind" can still make me get all tingly-eucharistic), the "Pastor's Pot" meant the personal corporation made all the more evident by the purple sash of his soutane (we were all Temples of the Holy Ghost,...

retired & loving it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

The Kansas City Star is reporting that three priests, including one who later became the Bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has since retired, have been accused of getting in touch with somebody else's inner child: Hart, 72, is accused of sexual improprieties at parishes in Kansas City and of...

Post-It notes from the papal kitchen by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2004

Date: 6 December 2003 To: Zofi From: Stan Re: Last night's dinner The boss said the soup was good. Nice work. Date: 8 December 2003 To: Sr. Zofia From: JNV Re: Super Soup Rina told me the Pope thought your soup was the hit of Friday's meal. Any chance of my getting the...

my humility act can beat up thy humility act by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 23, 2004

DEAN TRIES A SELF-DEPRECATION STRATEGY (headline in today's Washington...

Apologetics on Auto-Pilate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2004

The current issue of America has a solemnly condescending article by Richard Gaillardetz dealing with those he calls the "New Apologists": Scott Hahn, Gerry Matatics, Karl Keating, Mitch Pacwa, S.J., Peter Kreeft, and Patrick Madrid. In a feeble effort at evenhandness, Gaillardetz provides a list...

...and nothing but the truth by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2004

Remember former Phoenix Bishop Thomas "Bat Phone" O'Brien, who bunted a 250 pound pedestrian to death with his Buick and thought he might have hit a cat? Well it turns out he intended to call the police but, um, the dog ate his phone book: Testimony from two key witnesses Thursday revealed...

More "prestige" for the Pope by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2004

Reading of the "prestigious Charlemagne award" being given to the Pope, acording to Vatican announcements,one is reminded of two facts: 1) If an award is "prestigious" it does not have to be identified as such. 2) Until present times, the Supreme Pontiff graciously refrained from accepting...

rock, paper, scissors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2004

There were confirmations and mass at 6:00 and I had the confirmations and I was driving home and all of a sudden something came out of nowhere and hit me and I didn't know what it was. I thought it was a dog, I thought it was a rock, people have been threatening me, so ... For a transcript of...

What the Pope really said about The Passion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2004

I have a theory that might explain all the contradictions. Maybe the Pope saw the movie, and said: "It is as lousy as the Anti-Defamation League told me it was." But you know how movie publicists operate. So the quote ended up: "It is...as it was." Just a theory. You got a better...

utterly null & absolutely void by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2004

A lawyer for Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage has filed an amicus curiae brief that makes the following concise argument for the nullity of the SJC decision on gay marriage: The six Justices on the Supreme Judicial Court were evenly split," Pawlick wrote. "The three who opposed Marshall's...

Tell it, Sheila by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2004

The Weekly Standard carries an amusing account of how the politics of condescension can backfire. On Martin Luther King Day, Wesley Clark felt moved to take a few moments away from hardball compaigning in order to seek spiritual refreshment at a Baptist prayer service. [The guest preacher...

Here be dragons by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2004

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has gone through some hard times in the past years, including a harrowing crisis in catechesis. That's why I was delighted to learn that it's taken a serious look at its problems and decided that the way forward is careful instruction of children in the doctrine of...

danger: feeble & irrelevant loners! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2004

Eugene Kennedy warns us against the alarming trend of erratic independence among U.S. bishops, against a rising tide of doctrinal evaporation, against men so timid and unimaginative as to break ranks entirely with the regiment that earned us the Dallas Capitulation: While Bruskewitz struts...

documentary find wows scholars by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2004

A partially damaged papyrus manuscript recently discovered in Bethsaida sheds new light on first century epistolary practice. The translation is still provisional. 162 Via MediaJerusalem7th Abib, 0033Dear Rabbi Bar-Joseph, Thank you for your letter of the 3rd inst. regarding the Greater...

taking a stand by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2004

"It's simply not acceptable." That's a public statement by a Catholic official in response to a policy proposal made by a nominally Catholic governor. Is the outrage ... a) legalization of gay marriage? b) state funding of third-term abortions? c) mandatory domestic partner benefits for...

to teach, to sanctify, to govern by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 27, 2004

Thanks to Amy Welborn for pointing us to a Commonweal profile of Cardinal George by Peter Feuerhard that is only mildly patronizing and that pays him some grudging compliments. The following paragraph caught my attention:[note: I have capitalized the "c" in Church, wagering that the contrary...

voting & emoting in New Hampshire by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 27, 2004

For a writer who seldom changes the temperature of her prose, the WSJ's Dorothy Rabinowitz can really deliver a hammer-stroke. The kinds of postures affected by candidates tell a good deal about them and are, as such, valuable. Authentic feelings, in much shorter supply on the campaign trail,...

Let us entertain you! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2004

Judith Martin makes some good observations on the de-ritualization of the wedding as indicative of a frivolous approach to marriage. Though several points deserve comment, mine was provoked by her last: The wedding has become a great blast of a party, which is stuck with a slow start when...

Reaping what we sowed by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2004

Last November, at the US bishops' meeting, Archbishop Alfred Hughes made what should have been recognized as a shocking admission: None of the standard Catholic religious-education texts for high-school students gives an adequate presentation of Catholic teaching. Now Newsweek finds that young...

profiles in courage by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2004

Father Joe Marcoux is one of 30 Rochester priests who deplores the violence of the language of the Vatican instruction on gay marriage: "For me, because of my experience ministering to gay and lesbian people and helping them understand the church teaching, I have to sign this document -- risk...

The Softness Group by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2004

An official notice from the office of Orange Bishop Tod Brown begins this way: Father Richard Delahunty is on Administrative Leave from his duties as pastor of St. Nicholas parish. After a few sentences of boilerplate legalese, stating that Delahunty is accused of sexual misconduct with a...

Roe effects? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2004

James Taranto points out that only 13% of New Hampshire primary voters belonged to the 18-29 age group, and suggests that Democrats may have aborted themselves off the charts: Why so few young voters? Part of it, of course, is that younger adults tend not to show up at the polls. But part of it...

solemn impiety by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2004

Daddy, do atheists go on retreat? No dear, they call it an "advance," and you can get some idea of what to expect at the Freedom From Religion Foundation website, which links this disappointingly Camp Fire Girl-ish specimen of a godless Sunday: If you are a freethinker and are ready to live...

Archishop Burke, and his brethren by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2004

Princeton's Robert George and Notre Dame's Gerard Bradley provide a tightly reasoned defense of Bishop Raymond Burke's discipline of pro-abort Catholics. The whole essay is worth a careful read. Here's a key paragraph: The bishop said that he acted for two reasons. One was to warn Catholic...

Gather Us In by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 30, 2004

Fr. Richard Poster, director of liturgy for the Diocese of Davenport, has pleaded guilty to downloading hard-core child porn. The judge gave him a year in prison. Poster told the judge he would not return to the priesthood and has come to terms with his sexual identity after years of...

"thoroughly investigated..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 30, 2004

On January 7, CWN ran a story reporting that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington had written a pro-life group to assure them that a problem concerning research at Georgetown University involving cells from aborted fetuses had been resolved. McCarrick is quoted as saying: "I have had...

Lee & Leo XIII by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2004

Utterly null, absolutely void, and, apparently, hard on the cortical synapses as well. If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy," said the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to 500 Episcopalians meeting for the annual diocesan council at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. "For as...

sez you! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2004

"Scare quotes" are a typographical "trick" used to express some authorial "distance" between a writer and a word he finds himself "obliged" to use. Often the "essayist" employs scare quotes sarcastically to "sneer" at the "suspect" term, and in so doing he reveals more about his own "inner life"...

well ... not so fast by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2004

The NCR's Word from Rome includes a note on the forthcoming translation of the Roman Missal, focused on the controversy surrounding the words of consecration of the chalice: ought we translate "It will be shed for you and for all," or "for you and for many"?: Rendering the Latin phrase pro...

HMM. I ALWAYS FOUND THURSDAY ANNOYING, MYSELF... by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2004

Anglican news is always more interesting than ours. Part of this is that you never know what the Anglican Bishops will come up with next. The other part is that, by the time our Bishops have come up with whatever they're coming up with, you've lost interest and wandered away. Anyway, the...

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