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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from January 2007

chesterton versus the new gnostics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 1, 2007

Ever notice how neo-pantheists like Thomas Berry and Matthew Fox, for all their exaltation of nature, seem fatally fond of grand-sounding but conceptually fuzzy abstractions? They convey an embarrassment with the God of the Bible as both primitive and importunate. The following passage from G.K....

deal with the devil by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 2, 2007

Back in 2004, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote a pointed critique of the arguments that former New York Governor Mario Cuomo had advanced to justify a “pro-choice” stance. Cuomo, the archbishop argued, was in effect saying: In brief, it’s OK to be Catholic in public service as long as...

corrupt by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 3, 2007

Gerald Augustinus draws our attention to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles's latest bit of sacrilege in the service of sabotage, a gay-rainbow Jesus-fish. The tease consists in painting the traditional ICHTHYS symbol in the livery of the gay liberation movement (yes, of course it's deniable), in...

change management by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2007

Dr. Richard McCorry, founder of the "Church change management consulting firm" Embracing Change, wants us all to, well, embrace change: I'll give you a current example. Several months ago, the new rector of Sacred Heart cathedral announced that they were considering remodeling the church....

the fugitive ideal of affection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2007

I confess the name Patricia Heaton was new to me (an actress, it turns out). The New York Times cocks an eyebrow over her pro-life politics. I got a kick out of the delicate phrasing of the last sentence: It's also the woman who in 1998 became honorary co-chairwoman of Feminists for Life, a...

quality of life by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2007

The parents of a child afflicted with a severe brain impairment have carried out a number of calculated mutilations intended to improve her quality of life by eliminating future inconveniences and possible medical complications. According to the (London) Times, the child's parents instructed...

and daddy makes ... four by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 4, 2007

The Ontario Court of Appeal makes onanist history by recognizing a marital troika: "There is no doubt that the legislature did not foresee for the possibility of declarations of parentage for two women, but that is a product of the social conditions and medical knowledge at the time," the...

and again ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2007

On a General ElectionThe accursèd power which stands on Privilege (And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge) Broke -- and Democracy resumed her reign: (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne). Hilaire Belloc,...

Prayers and Portraits in Washington by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 5, 2007

The free museums in Washington, DC have been doing us proud lately. Since November 12, 2006, the National Gallery has been hosting an exhibition entitled Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych. The exhibition runs through February 4th. If you can get to Washington this...

half-full half-empty by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 5, 2007

Polish archbishop admits cooperated with communists That's the headline for a Reuters report on a Friday statement by Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus. The All Headline News coverage gives the story a different slant: Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus Denies Having Worked As Communist...

Marketing Catholicism by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 5, 2007

In recent months I’ve been receiving emails from Xerox offering me a free multi-function printer, scanner and copier system. If I qualify for the free system, I must agree to process a certain number of pages per month and to purchase all paper, ink, maintenance parts and other supplies from Xerox...

Helena's Epiphany Meditation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2007

In his historical novel Helena, Evelyn Waugh paints the mother of the Emperor Constantine as a Briton, the daughter of King Cole of Colchester, and a tardy convert to Catholic faith. She is already an old woman by the time she begins her search for the True Cross in Jerusalem, and by...

bishops for sale by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2007

Bishop William Skylstad's Diocese of Spokane has reached a provisional settlement of sex abuse claims: $48 million, plus. It's the "plus" that's particularly disconcerting: The Spokane Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay at least $48 million to people molested by priests as a part of a deal to...

NARAL ♥ Nancy! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2007

NARAL plants a long, lingering smooch on the voting record of tactical-Catholic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in commemoration of the historic swearing in of Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the first woman...

English-speaking voices join the chorus by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 6, 2007

Following the example set by intellectuals in France, Italy, and Poland-- and, years ago, by writers and artists in Great Britain-- an English-speaking group has issued a statement of support for the broader use of the 1962 Missal. The statement is published in joyful anticipation of a document...

It's Ritter time by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2007

This according to Saturday's Rocky Mountain News: Here's a look at next week's (Jan 9)  festivities, as Colorado gets a new governor: Tuesday • 8 a.m. - Gov.-elect Bill Ritter's family celebrates Mass at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 1900 California St. • 10-11 a.m. - Musical...

sense & celibacy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 8, 2007

Fr. Donald Cozzens puts me in mind of one of those divers who takes higher and higher bounces on the springboard until he has everybody's attention, but then kills his jump, walks back off the board and robes up, still dry. As an author, he's penned a series of Prolegomena to Daring Stances, in...

Poland: on having no fear of truth by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2007

George Weigel, who is a regular visitor to Poland as well as a perceptive commentator on Catholic affairs, hits nails on heads in a Newsweek reflection on the Wielgus affair. Weigel argues that a thorough, systematic investigation of Communist-era records would reflect credit on the Catholic...

Willing to take the risk by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jan 9, 2007

For an object lesson in how standard operating procedure in reproductive matters has simply stepped out of the framework of argument and passion of the political perspective on pro-life issues, it’s hard to beat today’s article in the New York Times on testing (and by testing we mean searching...

Vatican missteps on Warsaw by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2007

Over on the excellent First Things blog, Robert Miller analyzes the Wielgus debacle, giving special attention to the role of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re and the Congregation for Bishops, which vetted the Warsaw appointment. He reaches this conclusion-- which, when you follow his argument, seems...

translation shock: faithful to flee full churches by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2007

Vox Clara, the Roman commission assisting in the preparation of a new English translation of the Mass in conformity with the instruction Liturgiam authenticam, received two crushing body-blows this week, delivered by internationally recognized experts in the field of pastoral liturgy, both...

We won! We won! We're losing slowly! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 10, 2007

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, wants us to know that "the constant harping about a Church crisis" is overblown. Here's his evidence: Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger cited a recent survey showing that more than 4 in 10 of Austria's 8.2 million people attend Mass...

the Constitution and the kitchen sink by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 11, 2007

In Springfield, Massachusetts, the diocese formerly headed by Bishop Thomas Dupre (current whereabouts unknown) has lost a court battle. The diocese had argued that insurers should pay the tab for sex-abuse judgments; the insurance companies had asked for a look at diocesan records, to see if the...

Eat your peas by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 12, 2007

Once again Anthony Esolen is hitting nails on heads over on the "Mere Comments" blog associated with Touchstone magazine. And nails aren't the only things he's hitting, as Esolen provides an interlinear commentary on a story about Bishop Trautperson's report to the liturgical panjandrums of...

The New Despoliation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 12, 2007

People say it can’t happen here. But that shows a profound ignorance of how these things work. I’m talking about the new despoliation of the Catholic Church. Not new dispensation: that’s the New Covenant. I mean new despoliation, like when Church properties were despoiled in the famous dissolution...

Oh, to be a fly on the wall by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 13, 2007

In his excellent Chiesa analysis of the disastrous Wielgus appointment, Sandro Magister took careful note of a statement by the Polish editor of L'Osservatore Romano. “I don’t know who, but someone has misled Pope Joseph Ratzinger. This is a serious matter, and someone must pay for it, in...

bless me, father by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 15, 2007

Jeff Miller posts this confessional query that appeared in a syndicated newspaper column. Sound familiar? Q. On a couple of occasions at our church, we've had a "general confession." The priest told us to examine our consciences and then proceed to one of several priests in different parts of...

Trinity Seeks Web Developer by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 15, 2007

Trinity Consulting (www.trincon.net), a provider of comprehensive IT consulting services that also partners with Trinity Communications to produce Catholic websites, is seeking a Web Usability Developer to join its staff. Trinity Communications and Trinity Consulting have collaborated to bring...

the pastoral style by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2007

The online California Catholic Daily caught up with Archbishop Donald Wuerl while he was in San Diego this past weekend, and asked him whether, in his capacity as Archbishop of Washington DC, he would take disciplinary action against the new Speaker of the House, the pro-abortion Rep. Nancy...

clerical chic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2007

Fashion writers are all agog about the new spring collection by Donatello Versace, who was inspired by the "look" modeled by Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI. (Note to fashion-minded priests: It's now chic to wear clericals. Try it sometime.) Richard Owen of...

services rendered by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 16, 2007

It was, I believe, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who said that the rebuttal to those who would exclude gays from the clergy lies in the lives of those priests who are "seeking each day not to be served but to serve their people." Orlando, consider yourself served. A...

all shook up by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2007

The (London) Times's Ruth Gledhill quotes a rant from the Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem Paul Marshall protesting -- from the left side of the narthex -- the Archbishop of Canterbury's limp lambethiosity. The non-Anglican interloper may feel somewhat guilty in reading Marshall's tantrum: it's like...

such a loss by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 17, 2007

A Diocese of Phoenix priest who took a leave of absence as a consequence of the Vatican's issuance of the Doomsday Doc has decided to leave the priesthood, according to local media: Carpenter served for more than eight years as pastor of Christ the King parish in Mesa, Ariz. He also was a...

the protocol of the elders of Boston by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2007

On Leila's advice, I skipped the opening chapter and watched the rest of the documentary Hand of God, produced by a native of Salem, Massachusetts, concerning the sexual abuse of his brother, Paul Cultrera, by the late Fr. Joseph Birmingham of the Archdiocese of Boston. You can watch it chapter...

prenatal testing that gets us somewhere by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jan 18, 2007

I almost missed this great rebuttal to the call for more Down’s syndrome prenatal-testing. It could only have been written by someone with a Down’s syndrome child, and the point it makes speaks to the complexity of human existence. It’s a paradoxical truth that suffering brings joy; that our best...

from one extreme to.... where? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2007

Columnist Ellen Goodman goes searching for "Abortion's Elusive Middle Ground," and finds-- now get ready for a shock-- that the "moderate" position is the one she occupies. On one side, to her right, you'll find the "extremists" who oppose abortion. And on the other side? Well now here's the...

gifted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 19, 2007

Writing in the NCR on the hardships of full-time ministry for a Catholic woman, Karen O'Brien fears her gifts may be wasted on the typical slob-in-the-pew: Yet I can attest to the fact that not having much support from the home office, or a supportive group of peers in ministry with whom to...

A Modern Fairy Tale by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 19, 2007

I don’t know what it is about English royalty, but it still gets our attention. In this case the attention is altogether good. For the first time in history, and with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth II, an heir to the British throne was married in a Catholic ceremony at the Vatican, at the Church...

in the high grass by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 20, 2007

Don't miss Fr. Richard Neuhaus's post on the First Things blog concerning what he calls "the deep realignment of religious, cultural, and political dynamics resulting from [Roe v Wade]." The role played by U.S. Catholics in the drama was, and is, exasperatingly double-edged. When it comes to...

a narrative of sin and atonement by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2007

"Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?" asks Emily Bazelon in the New York Times Magazine. The question is never answered directly. Instead, by a kind of asymmetrical condescension, we learn that many disturbed women (especially less-intelligent women, she doesn't say) like their disturbance reduced...

does not apply by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2007

Bill Cork brings to our attention the proposal of Nebraska state senator (since modified) to ban consumption of wine by underage citizens during religious ceremonies. Kruse said churches have alternatives to serving wine, including substituting grape juice for alcohol. Many churches, including...

morally accountable: "ladies, you have to be very careful of slander" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2007

The Bishop Accountability website posts some invaluable archival material corroborating the Cultrera documentary on the Birmingham-McCormack perfidy. Should there remain any question about Bishop McCormack's fitness for his present office, here are

McCormack appeared unfazed by the information by Leila in "Off the Record" - Jan 21, 2007

In the documentary Hand of God, Paul Cultrera finds it inconceivable that then Fr. John McCormack, now Bishop of Manchester, N. H., could lie to him and escape responsibility for his part in overseeing the re-assignment of Fr. Joseph Birmingham after he was a known predator of boys. I had...

the purity of the game by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2007

Leila, your friends know that you are married to an avid baseball fan, so I'm sure you'll understand a baseball analogy, and I hope most CWN readers will, too: One of the baseball writers who votes for members of the Hall of Fame recently explained why he did not vote for Mark McGwire this...

the money trail by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2007

"In his 14 years as pastor, Father Moynihan has dedicated himself to deepening the faith of his parish family and displaying a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of both young and old." That's Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, speaking to parishioners at St. Michael the...

thou art the man by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2007

Via Amy: the Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl fields the hot question of the hour: When [Wuerl] took questions, a woman asked how be would respond to Catholic politicians who support legal abortion.His response was "teach.""That is what Jesus did," he said. "Did everyone accept that...

bias by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 22, 2007

From the Chicago Tribune (via Amy), a surprisingly fine article on Down Syndrome babies and the concerted medical pressure on mothers to ... evacuate the uterus. Two years ago, Anita Krach of Streamwood learned that her fetus had Down syndrome through a phone call from a perinatologist she...

red dawn? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 23, 2007

The National Organization for Women's Kim Gandy is very pleased with the edge stropped on the Democratic curette ... The field of candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination is like a dream come true: contenders include a woman frontrunner, an African American, a Latino, and several...

taken in by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2007

In the UK, a full-court press is on to enact legislation that will treat the Catholic Church as a "goods and services provider" and thus require her to conform to EU standards of non-discrimination, including and especially that regarding sexual orientation. The first place the shoes pinches is...

the mother lode of frustration? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 25, 2007

Amy Welborn admits that she was surprised by the volume of the reaction. She made a quick comment on a controversy in Buffalo, New York, where a deacon had openly rebuked a pro-abortion politician during a homily-- and the deacon in turn was rebuked by the bishop. So Amy took note of this...

goodbye cruel world by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 26, 2007

Let's see, this is Bishop Gumbleton's .... twelfth? ... fourteenth? final exit from the world stage? It's easy to lose count. He's been in the martyrdom business for most of the last decade. In fact, he's made something of a speciality of the post-execution interview: rare in the case of the...

ever-so-enlightened atrocity by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2007

This is vile even by progressivist standards. German quacks started pumping a 12-year-old boy, now 14, full of female hormones so as to make him "the world's youngest transsexual." For legal reasons, castration and other surgical mutilation must be delayed until "Kim," born Tim, turns 18....

handed over by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 28, 2007

Bishops ought to think carefully before handing over Holy Communion to “manifest grave sinners,” like civil authorities who publicly promote contraception, abortion and same sex marriage. (Can. 915). Jesus was surely referring to the “chief priests” when He said to Pilate “he who handed me over to...

sinners in the hands of an angry state by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 30, 2007

In the UK, the government is refusing to give Catholic adoption agencies the liberty to follow Catholic teaching in the matter of gay households. The Minister for Education Alan Johnson gives the rote rationale: "I've never seen the case for an exemption. To me this is legislation to prevent...

cura animarum by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 30, 2007

"Poor little Father Mike," Holy Cross parishioner Kate Sharratt said. "He was just the sweetest guy you'll ever meet." Not...

Marriage: The Forgotten Vocation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Jan 30, 2007

Although homilists are more likely in this generation to mention marriage when they speak about vocations, the emphasis is still on the need for priests. Yet marriage is manifestly the vocation of most people. Demonstrably, it is also the key to all other vocations. Despite these realities, we...

Same-Sex Adoptions in England by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Jan 30, 2007

One can't help but notice that the Church in England is going through the same problem as the Church in Massachusetts and some other American regions: the problem of same-sex adoption. As in Massachusetts, the law in England now states that same-sex couples applying for adoption are to be afforded...

vineless branches by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Jan 31, 2007

Uncle Di's indefatigable tourism among the NCR's classified ads brings him this week to visit the Reconciliation Church -- or, to give its self-designation, Reconciliation Catholic Church™. The trademark is a nice touch, as are the quotations...

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