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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from January 2005

Lehmann, Kasper Axed for Test by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 1, 2005

Get that grin off your...

Non-Random Access Memory by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 2, 2005

We've had occasion before to speak of the heartbreak of "ramnesia" -- that curious memory loss that afflicts higher ecclesiastics when questioned under oath about buggery by the clergymen for whom they're responsible. Cardinal Mahony's is an advanced case, witness his deposition of last November...

Lambada, anyone? Exemplars of Jesuit Life by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 2, 2005

"They were more concerned about rumors of documents from Rome regarding the suitability of gay men as priests than they have been affected by the current sexual scandals. In general, I think they are doing well, and I would urge you to attend closely to these men if they are in your...

Trial balloon by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 3, 2005

Time magazine announces that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is now a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II. What a wonderful idea! But there's a problem with the Time story: It's based on not one single discernible fact. The Time story is based on perceptions offered by a few "Vatican...

Surprised by the stork by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2005

Federal health officials are worried sick, having spotted a trend away from contraceptive use. In the last 7 years, it seems, the number of women of child-bearing age who are having sexual intercourse but not using contraceptives has risen from 5.2% to 7.4%. That still means that almost 19 of...

playing church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2005

A Covington diocesan priest has trespassed against the Sixth Commandment. His accomplice in sin was an adult woman. Bishop Foys's response? "A year ago an allegation of inappropriate behavior with an adult woman was made public against your pastor, Father Mark Witte," the bishop's letter...

slips by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2005

In Thursday's Boston Globe, we read that Boston College psychiatrist Fr. William Meissner, S.J., committed a "serious breach of professional and scholarly standards" by recycling another professor's ideas in a recent book on psychoanalysis without acknowledging their source, according to the...

the end of the tether by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2005

San Diego News Notes has a chilling insider's account of working at an abortion clinic for Hispanic women (from Jeff Miller). The girl lived in Tijuana. They put dilators in her for two days. The baby was five and a half months. She didn't have a car and came walking to the clinic. Then it...

The buck passed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2005

Bishop Joseph Adamec, of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, ordinarily isn't afraid to throw his weight around. As a number of conservative, orthodox, and/or traditionalist Catholics have learned, Bishop Adamec is ready and willing to denounce his critics; if he can, he'll follow up with...

half in love with easeful death? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 7, 2005

Mark Steyn powders some skeets d'élites in the Spectator: Steve Sailer pointed out in the American Conservative the other week that George W. Bush won 25 of the 26 states with the highest fertility rate. On the other hand, John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest. If I were a Democrat...

interview by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2005

"The source and summit of our Catholic Faith is in jeopardy!" The agitation in the bishop's voice was plainly audible over my car phone yesterday morning when, at his insistence, I turned off the expressway and rushed over for an unplanned interview at the cathedral. On entering the cavernous...

Deep waters by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2005

A tip of the hat to the Washington Times, for noticing the irony (scroll down to the bottom of the column) when Sen. Ted Kennedy berated attorney-general-designate Alberto Gonzales....

VictimPower team answers CWN readers' concerns by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2005

Our headline story about VictimPower-- the new web site for abuse victims-- prompted quite a few "Sound Off" comments from CWN readers, with many people expressing concerns about the potential for false accusations. I asked Stephen Galebach, the legal advisor to the VictimPower project, to...

Know The Facts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2005

By way of keeping up-to-date on the opposition, you'll be interested to know that the NARAL folks have followed "Choice Chick" with an equally camp flicklet called Creatures from the Far Right. They also invite you to Take the Pro-Choice Personality Challenge. And don't fail to check out the...

whosoever shall scandalize one of these not-so-little ones ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2005

A California attorney, once a faithful Catholic, has been shaken out of his faith by his work in the sex abuse scandals. Not surprisingly, he wins the "strange new respect award" from the approved sources. Listening to his clients' stories took a toll on Manly's lifelong religious...

almsgiving XXV by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2005

Suppose you're a priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Ordained in 1967, you serve as pastor of a large parish (3,100 families) in the Diocese of Arlington. In this interview, your tout the parish as "very inclusive. The welcome includes those who are a different age, of different...

men overboard by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2005

A recent article on the seriousness of the training of Coast Guard cadets includes the following passage: Over the years, according to Commander Joseph F. Domingos, there have been fires and men have gone overboard. In 1982, for example, a cadet fell overboard around 3 a.m. and spent a few...

Half Measures in a Crazy World by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 10, 2005

Now that abortion has become a norm in the United States (and in many other areas of the world), Catholics have been faced with new challenges. Perhaps the most confusing of these challenges is how to regard legislation that is not aimed at abolishing abortion altogether but rather at limiting it...

worth a look by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

Russell Shaw has some judicious remarks on the November elections. Barring major changes in the USCCB, bishops of the Chaput-Myers-Burke variety are likely to continue speaking and acting on their own in the future, without letting a dysfunctional episcopal conference inhibit them. A...

rebuilding trust by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last explains how the Rathergate investigation was a whitewash. I appreciated his comment regarding the authenticity of the notorious Killian documents: The conclusion is summed up neatly by Les Moonves who, responding to the report allowed that "documents could...

stimulating my mental brain by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

The UK Telegraph takes a skeptical look at Kabbalah, the low-carb mysticism of the stars: In 1969, a former insurance salesman, Rabbi Philip Berg, established the Kabbalah Centre International and appointed himself its leader. The centre markets Kabbalah as a "universal system for...

killing me softly by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

Miles Plastic, the hero of Evelyn Waugh's "romance of the near future" Love Among the Ruins, has the great good fortune to be assigned to the new socialist Britain's only thriving industry: euthanasia. His supervisor, Dr. Beamish, is a man "now much embittered, like many of his contemporaries, by...

body count by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

Check out Bill Cork's striking graphic in "illustration of the...

Take my neighbor. Please. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

After just 3 years of heavy thinking, the Royal Dutch Medical Association has concluded that it's OK for a doctor to administer a lethal injection to anyone who is "suffering through living." Let's say that John Doe is perfectly healthy, and perfectly happy in his life. John has a neighbor,...

Would somebody please slap Father? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

Blogger RC of Catholic Light has some good-willed but pointed words of remonstrance for a priest who departed from the Sacramentary to crack a joke: Father, please shut up. Mass is a ritual, so let it be one. Let Him increase and you decrease. If you break the ritual, and if you step out of...

This day in history by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2005

If you are a loyal Catholic, born in Boston on the same day that Bernard Law was appointed archbishop, happy birthday! You're now 21, so you can legally order a drink. And if you've been watching the course of Church history in Boston, you'll need...

Rash judgment? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 12, 2005

A couple of weeks back I wondered aloud about the chancellor of the Springfield, Illinois diocese, who was found badly beaten in a public park that is notorious as a homosexual hangout. Could there be, I asked, some connection with the past bishop of the same diocese, who resigned "for health...

Bishops as policy wonks by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 13, 2005

If you live in Minnesota, your taxes aren't high enough. That's what the Catholic bishops of Minnesota say, and they should know, because bishops are experts on public policy in general, and fiscal management in particular. (Have you noticed how prudent our bishops have been recently in their...

out of the mouths of bishops by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 13, 2005

Here's Springfield Bishop George Lucas talking about Msgr. Eugene "Risky" Costa: "I think he's also coming to grips with the enormity of support for him," Lucas said. The malapropism fits better than the intended...

off the reservation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2005

George Weigel discusses the shock to the (British political) system provided by pro-life MP Ruth Kelly, and the paradoxically predictable reaction: The Times of London summed up this change in the Ruth Kelly indictment by writing that "some MPs [Members of Parliament] fear her religion may...

"Catholic enough" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2005

Commonweal features an unusual, and disheartening, account by a Catholic convert of what she calls her "bumpy path to Rome." In fact, at the end of her journey she finds companionship in mediocrity among cradle-Catholics who share her doubt and dissent. At age forty-seven, while having some...

episcoponix are here! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2005

Boy & girls, you can add precision and spiritual depth to your Church-related Internet communications by using these handy emoticons specially created as a "short-hand" for recurring ecclesiastical mini-dramas. Have fun! © 2005 G. Frege, Ltd. All rights...

help is not on the way by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2005

John Allen's Word from Rome is up, with the usual spread of interesting items, including the following: The long-awaited document from the Congregation for Catholic Education on the admission of homosexuals to Catholic seminaries may be nearing publication. In mid-January, word was that the...

Survival of the faddist by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 14, 2005

A federal judge in Georgia has ordered Cobb County educators to remove stickers that were affixed to science textbooks. The stickers, the learned judge determined, "convey a message of endorsement of religion." Here's the actual text of those nasty stickers: This textbook contains material on...

The Vanishing Catholic Intellectual by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2005

This teamwork, by groups of young Catholic philosophers and theologians who prefer anonymity to renown -- in France as elsewhere -- is also a result of the climate of suspicion surrounding Catholic intellectuals under the present pontificate. When such luminaries as Congar, Küng, Schillebeeckx,...

ba-a-ad puppy! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2005

The USCCB has sent the bishops a draft Charter for review and comment. A copy has been acquired (as they say) by Off The Record. Check out the paragraph below: 6a. While the priestly commitment to the virtue of chastity and the gift of celibacy is well known, there will be clear and...

Found in Translation: Blessing our WHAT-ness? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2005

You all know how Google Roulette works. You go to Google's translation engine here, and type any English sentence into the text box (lets use, "Beam me up, Scotty"). Then you select, say, English-to-French from the options menu and hit TRANSLATE. This gives you rayonnez-moi vers le haut de...

Denver and the Professions: A Flashpoint for Change? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 17, 2005

Just before Christmas, the Archdiocese of Denver told the local chapter of the Catholic Lawyers Guild to take a hike—a hike away from Church property, that is. It seems the Guild had decided to honor pro-abortion attorney Ken Salazar with its Thomas More Award. As a result, Archbishop Chaput...

Reading comprehension test by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2005

The Kansas City Star , introducing an interview (regrettably no longer available online) with that city's new coadjutor archbishop, finds an anonymous chancery official worried that the new man might not have "a spirit in the diocese of collaboration." Question #1: How would you define a...

Have the Spanish bishops approved condoms? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2005

Spain's Catholic Church backs condoms to fight AIDS screams a Reuters headline. This seems to be something of an overstatement, but how much? The General Secretary and spokesman of the Spanish Bishops Conference, Fr. Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, met with Spain's health minister yesterday to...

more on Spain by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2005

La Razón, which I am informed is the major Spanish daily least unsympathetic to the Church, gives a further account of the condom controversy: The Church does not approve the use of condoms, but it recognizes that "they have their place in the integral and global prevention of AIDS". With this...

and they all lived happily ever after by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the problem that ceased to be a problem last February (according to the USCCB) is ceasing to be a problem more definitively every day. Cardinal Edward Egan had received a subpoena that required him to provide sworn testimony next week about sex-abuse committed by...

Beyond the headlines by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2005

This is why it pays to go beyond the headlines. This one says, "Study: Parental Consent Laws Affect Teen Sex." We might be tempted to say "Good" until we realize that it doesn't mean that it will encourage them to abstain. The first sentence says: Laws that require federally funded clinics to...

spanish shell game by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2005

The Spanish Bishops' Conference has issued a clarification of their spokesman's statement on condom use and everything is now perfectly ... vague. The clarification does not claim Fr. Martínez Camino was misquoted, but says his remarks to journalists should be understood in the light of the...

this is my commandment: that you love one another by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2005

"While we can say that, objectively, the use of condoms is wrong, there are places where it might be licit, or allowable, as when there's a danger of intercourse leading to death. It would be wrong to take a special case and make it a universal law." -- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor A thought...

Job Interview: Opening for Diocesan Director of Public Relations by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2005

Personnel. OK, Mister .... Sahheed, is it? Let me give you a hypothetical and ask how you'd respond. The diocesan chancellor is found late one night by the cops. He's been beaten to a jelly by a couple juveniles, and the park in which they find him is notorious as a gay cruising spot. You've...

on target by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2005

Bill Cork does a nice job of vindicating James Dobson and Don Wildmon against the superior malice of the New York...

The Defenestration of Poelten by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2005

The Tablet reports that the St. Poelten diocese is under new management, and not everyone is taking it well. In St Pölten, meanwhile, Bishop Küng, who replaced Bishop Kurt Krenn last October, spoke at length with the former rector of the seminary, Fr Ulrich Küchl, and his assistant, Fr Wolfgang...

Day of Infamy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2005

January 22nd 1973 is a date that, like the name "Auschwitz," is never pronounced without a vibration of horror. Even the most ferocious advocates of abortion-on-demand prefer to focus our attention elsewhere than the Roe-versus-Wade decision, an act of intellectual and moral debasement so...

Life Unworthy of Living by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2005

All correspondence was subject to rigid "language rules," and, except in reports from the Einsatzgruppen, it is rare to find documents in which such bald words as "extermination," "liquidation," or "killing" occur. The prescribed code names for killing were "final solution" (Endlösung),...

how did this slip past the editors? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 23, 2005

The following article from the San Francisco Chronicle on yesterday's pro-life march in SF is remarkable (for the secular media) in its attempt to communicate fairly the aims and the tactics of both pro-life and pro-abortion demonstrators. In dueling marches, about 6,000 antiabortion...

knight errant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 23, 2005

Never on earth did any man see more: Gainst us their shields an hundred thousand bore, That lacèd helms and shining hauberks wore; And, bolt upright, their bright brown spearheads shone. Battle shall we have as never was before. Among Charlemagne's numerous wars were those he waged against...

awkard coincidences continue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 24, 2005

Ron Russell provides a pair of articles on the versatile Fr. Gregory Ingels of San Francisco. Long a favorite of San Francisco Archbishop William J. Levada, [Fr. Gregory] Ingels had helped devise the American church's "zero tolerance" policy ... In 2001, Levada tapped him to help set up the...

A Pro-Life Checklist by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 24, 2005

I am writing this on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a hundred thousand people gather in Washington, DC for the annual March for Life. They are marching for the thirty-second time, a generation of protest against evil. In their honor, let's think again about the basic steps each of us can take...

Flynn Flam by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2005

Last month your Uncle Diogenes surmised that Archbishop Harry Flynn was being less than truthful in telling the U.S. bishops' news service that "he was not asked to change his policy" on communicating rainbow-sashed congregants -- this in the context of recounting his ad limina meeting with...

didn't inhale by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2005

The cite below, which I am not making up, comes from the New York Times's account of Hillary Clinton's speech in which she pokes an olive branch into the eye of the pro-life movement. Several audience members inhaled sharply, for instance, when Mrs. Clinton said that 7 percent of American women...

GIGO by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2005

A computer doesn't make decisions. And it doesn't have a sense of humor. It just does what it's "told" to do. If you go to Google News right now, and type "Madonna" in the search box, you'll get a list of stories about a fascinating story: the weeping statue in Civitavecchia, for which Church...

Judicial non compos mentis by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2005

(courtesy of my friend Rick Cross) You may recall serial murderer and rapist, Michael Ross, was convicted of the murders of eight women in the early 1980s. Well it appears that he may not be executed because, although there's no doubt about his guilt, there is some question of his mental...

no contest by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2005

Like many philosophers through the ages, I believe that if God could have stopped the tsunami and did not, then God is not all-good and so does not exist. However, if God is all-good, then God must not be all-powerful. I cannot believe in a God who could have stopped this tragedy but did nothing....

you've come a long way, baby by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2005

In time for Valentine's Day, the NOW on-line gift-shop has some ennobling gift...

Who profits? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2005

Commonweal has an article written by a gay Catholic priest "pre-acting" to the upcoming Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to the seminary. Gay priests like myself are caught in a double bind. If we speak the truth and discuss freely our existence in the church, and, more...

The Curious Case of Father Talbot by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2005

Two weeks ago Jesuit priest Fr. James Talbot, S.J., pleaded guilty to rape, assault with intent to rape, and three counts of assault and battery, related to two students he sexually abused when he taught and coached at Boston College High School. Why is this noteworthy? Because last year...

address no longer valid by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 27, 2005

As the virulently pro-abortion stand-up comic Margaret Cho said, with callous poignancy, about her own abortion, "The tenant was evacuated." And that is something a woman does not soon forget. -- Janice Crouse, via After Abortion via Amy...

out again in again flynn again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2005

This past Wednesday Archbishop Harry Flynn issued a statement "to clarify remarks he made in an interview with Catholic News Service in December." CNS reports on the clarification: In a Jan. 26 statement, Archbishop Flynn said he met in mid-December with Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the...

... and more transparency by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2005

Three insurance companies have sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, accusing Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of refusing to share information about alleged sex abuse by priests, and precluding scrutiny of his activities as their supervisor. ..."For whatever reasons, the archbishop's...

be kind by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2005

Thinking myself unshockable, I was shocked to read in the U.K. Telegraph that Britain's famous mass-murderer Dr. Harold Shipman (who killed himself in prison last year) is believed to have killed 284 people. You read that right. The sidebar below illustrates the constellation of attitudes that...

catechism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2005

Q. When is a multi-colored sash worn at Mass?A. A multi-colored sash is worn at Mass when the wearer wishes to deprive the faithful of full and conscious participation in the act of worship and to refocus their attention on the circumstances attending his unilateral decision to distract...

Flynn in a nutshell by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2005

My comment below is a bit lengthy. So for the benefit of readers in a hurry, let me offer a very quick summary observation: Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Flynn "got no sense." And Cardinal Arinze seems to agree. The boy got no...

precious moments by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2005

Crime rears its head in lovely Lakewood, New Jersey. Dr. Flavius Moses Thompson, owner of the Pleasant Women's Pavilion, has been charged with flushing medical waste down a toilet at his clinic. The waste material in question was aborted babies. Don't be alarmed -- law enforcement is on...

virtually vapid by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 29, 2005

Andrew "We Are All Sodomites Now" Sullivan has Roman Catholic markings brightly painted on the wings of his Lancaster, and he volubly insists he is fighting on the same side as his co-religionists, yet his bombs invariably land and detonate in "friendly" territory. His loyalty is unconnected with...

The Legion in Minneapolis-St. Paul:
An Age-Old Conflict
by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 29, 2005

Last October 22, Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul wrote a letter to Fr. Anthony Bannon, US National Director of the Legionaries of Christ. In the letter Flynn forbids Legionary priests to be active in the Archdiocese and orders that the activities of the Legion’s lay Regnum Christi...

part-time priests of a part-time god by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 30, 2005

Saturday's Dallas Morning News has a sympathetic "personal interest" story on a 65-year-old renegade ex-Jesuit priest named John Stack, who intends to marry in a few months. He said he didn't set out to be a crusader on the issue of marriage and the priesthood, but he's glad to find himself in...

Not too nervous... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2005

This morning, in announcing that the Holy Father is suffering from "flu-like symptoms," papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls added an interesting note: "However, the 2005 Pontifical Yearbook was presented to him." Why did he mention that? Our guess is that it was a signal. Since everyone...

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