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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from October 2005

tears and band-aids by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 1, 2005

You should never let liturgists run with pointed metaphors in their hands. They can trip and hurt themselves: "It seems that we are willing to sacrifice the Eucharist on the altar of priestly celibacy," said Viatorian Fr. Mark Francis, a noted liturgist and a synod delegate elected by the...

looking very lay in L.A. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 1, 2005

Brace yourselves, Angelenos. Parish Life Directors are coming your way. Cardinal Mahony explains: Some few parishes in the Archdiocese are already being led by competent laypersons. However, beginning on July 1, 2006, this number will likely increase considerably. I am fully supportive of...

Corn, Feinstein, and the E-word by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 2, 2005

Back at the beginning of July, shortly after Justice O'Connor's retirement was announced and before John Roberts was nominated to replace her, The Nation's David Corn warned his fellow Leftists that, this time around, Borking might backfire: The "extremist" strategy, I fear, is worn out and...

Williams: let's compromise and do it my way by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 3, 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury drops back, pumps right ... The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, may decline to consecrate women if the Church decides to allow them to become bishops. ... and throws left. Under the proposal, Dr Williams would forgo his role as the primary...

speaking like St. Paul by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 3, 2005

Wouldn’t it be wonderful for our country, for each one of us, if our discourse could mirror that of the apostle [Paul]...? Yes; absolutely. Now let's see if we can distinguish between the discourse of St. Paul and that of a contemporary American successor. If he were speaking to American...

understanding Moscow's fears of "proselytism" by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

When the Russian Orthodox hierarchy complains about Catholic "proselytism" in traditionally Orthodox lands-- and the Moscow Patriarchate makes that complaint all too frequently-- most Western observers have trouble understanding. How could the Orthodox be so blatant in their attempts to protect...

the counter-reformation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

When they meet in November at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, the US bishops will have their hands full. There are dioceses going bankrupt-- including the diocese led by the president of the bishops' conference. There are dioceses closing parish churches by the dozens. There are seminary...

the future that never was by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

Only in Episcopal churches have I received the Eucharist from a woman who consecrated it. That's Arthur Jones of the NCR, in his editorial "Retrospective," noteworthy for being as frivolous as it is bitter -- qualities rarely found in the same work in the same measure. Like fellow...

who's diverting what? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

The glorious history of the Catholic Church is full of examples of saintly bishops who gave up their lives for the welfare of their flocks. But please tell me why, on the feast of St. Francis, we have to learn about a Franciscan bishop in Brazil who is willing to "give my life for the Sao...

Sailing, Wind and Humility by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 4, 2005

Someone once said of water transportation in general that if you need to get somewhere, use a powerboat. There is no question that happy sailing requires a certain philosophical dependence on the wind, much as a happy life requires dependence on Providence. I bring this up in light of our recent...

new kids on the blog by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

First Things's On the...

hey, what gives? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

In March of 2004, National Catholic Reporter reporter Chuck Colbert planted himself in a parish mass near Boston with the purpose of disrupting it to protest a family-rights video shown at homily time. A couple weeks later, NCR editor Tom Roberts announced he was giving Colbert the hook: In...

first trimester care, $350 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

The gutsy and unfailingly interesting Maria Elena Kennedy gives an intriguing glimpse into the down-market abortion industry in Southern California, targeting immigrant Hispanics in particular. Kennedy, a Latina pro-lifer posing as a potential "patient," strung the hawkers along while they...

tolerance on parade by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2005

How to tell when you've hit a nerve: On October 2, 2005, the Race for the Cure in Denver began with a loud horn and dozens of pink balloons released into the Denver skyline. As the first wave of 60,000 runners hit the first mile of their run, their eyes were drawn to the Truth Truck, parked...

the tribute paid by vice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2005

Father Donald Cozzens-- the researcher who noted that the priesthood is becoming perceived as a gay enclave-- opposes a ban on homosexual seminarians. One point he raises is that "in many cases the seminary official, religious superior or diocesan bishop who informs a gay candidate for seminary...

Signs of the Times by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2005

OK, the news reports are not designed to put the best face on the story. Yet it never should have happened in the first place. Shocked by the decline in the eating of gecko lizards (forbidden in Leviticus 11:30), the UK bishops have chosen this moment to deplore the scourge of scriptural...

Federal Social Programs and Catholic Principles by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 5, 2005

One of the fundamental differences between the “liberal” and “conservative” mentalities, at least in the United States, is the penchant of one for glorifying social programs and the other for glorifying capitalism and a free market system. Over the decades, but particularly...

but whose church are you? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2005

We Are Church wants the Catholic Church to renounce her doctrine on the Eucharist. But if the Catholic Church did that, it would cease to be the Catholic Church. To deny that the Eucharist is Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary, made present in the world today, is to deny the existence of the Catholic...

unfit for priestly service by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2005

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin is not mincing words about the proposed Vatican statement on homosexual seminarians. In plain, simple language, he told The Tablet: "You don't write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man." You might think that Archbishop Martin is...

own goal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 6, 2005

"Church Stops Believing in the Bible" -- another malicious but entirely predictable headline provoked by the UK Catholic bishops' latest pastoral initiative. Think about it. How many Catholics in the United Kingdom -- today, in 2005 -- are likely to be in jeopardy of damnation because of an...

Mahony's reign by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 6, 2005

Is there a Christian in the house? A close reading of Cardinal Roger Mahony's latest pastoral, As One Who Serves, gloms the reader in lots of rhetorical syrup but fails to come up with a recognizably theistic sting. The most thin-skinned Unitarian can bathe in the document and encounter nothing...

Aaaahhh! At last! by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2005

Kudos to Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, who has announced that he will not comply with a new USCCB policy requiring sex-education programs (advertised as "safe-environment" training) for all Catholic children. Many Catholics have aired their concerns about these programs, and this bishop,...

Jesuits at work and play by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2005

An OTR reader found the advertisement above in the program for Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre last week. Seattle University is a Jesuit institution of higher something, and in the composition and placement of the ad we can all recognize a bit of political theater on the Jesuits' behalf. In...

"nasty" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2005

Nasty: That's a strong word, don't you think? So when it's used by the head of the liturgical commission for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, in a reference to the working document for the Synod of Bishops, it's worth noticing. What is the comment that prompted the ire of Father Tom Elich? He's...

heads they win, tails we lose by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2005

John Allen is now reporting that a Vatican official told him the Doomsday Doc will not, as earlier suggested, ban all homosexual candidates from the seminary, but only those who use the wrong fork for their salad. OK, what his source actually said is that the text would exclude gays who "have...

women exploited... again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2005

If you're an American doctor specializing in in vitro fertilization, you're judged on one statistic: how many of your patients achieve a successful pregnancy. If lots of women get pregnant, lots more women come to your clinic, and they put lots of money into your bank account. Simple enough,...

better to give than to receive, mate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 9, 2005

Bigotry gets a bloody nose in Tasmania: The Red Cross Blood Service may be forced to abandon its blanket ban on gay men, following a landmark anti-discrimination investigation into the case of a Tasmanian man turned away from a blood bank. The case is only the second of its kind in Australia,...

building a "both/and" church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 10, 2005

[Cardinal Medina's] letter had been expected to form the basis of the document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, but in the years since it was published, Vatican officials have said the eventual policy would be more nuanced. The consideration of homosexuality may be more nuanced than...

Evolution: Thinking Clearly about Randomness by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 11, 2005

When Cardinal Schönborn argued in July that Church teaching is incompatible with neo-Darwinism, he touched off a firestorm of journalistic incredulity. Was the Church now retreating from John Paul II’s statement that the theory of evolution is “more than a hypothesis”? Was the Cardinal...

From Los Angeles: "Everything in flux is creative." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2005

Vibrant. Mission. Flux. Community. Likewise voicing a sense of hope, presenter Dominican Sister Donna Ciangio noted that "everything in flux is creative." As director of Pastoral Services for the National Pastoral Life Center, Sister Ciangio stated, "My passion is the parish." Pope John Paul...

Close the SOA? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2005

The Catholic Left's annual protest against the School of the Americas has taken on a quasi-liturgical formality, with amply-photographed pilgrimages of students and clergy assembled outside Fort Benning featured in nearly every Catholic school alumni magazine. The reason the closure is...

the gay priest imposture by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2005

This week's NCR has an interview with -- don't be shocked -- an anonymous gay priest. The editorial aim is to demonstrate the irrationality of the Church's stance on homosexuality; in fact, the article does just the opposite. A few observations: The priest interviewed identifies himself not...

open, honest, and obligated by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

Back in February 2004, Cardinal Mahony released a Report to the People of God, assuring readers that it contained "the best information we can glean at this time" about sexual abuse by archdiocesan clergy. Having fought tooth and nail to prevent public release of personnel files in sex-abuse...

is there intelligent life? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

In a pamphlet about the theological implications of extra-terrestrial life--- and I bet that's a topic you've spent a lot of time wondering about-- a Jesuit priest from the Vatican Observatory raises some interesting speculative questions. The announcement provides a quick list of the topics...

fun with the LA files by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

Why is it, anyway, that plaintiffs' lawyers detected a self-interested hand in the editing process that led the Los Angeles archdiocese to produce some personnel files on priests accused of sexual abuse? Raymond P. Boucher, the lead lawyer for those suing the church, said the versions of the...

and more fun with files by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

Bouncing around the PDFs released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we can see that they don't reflect real personnel files, but rather give a career synopsis of various priests in the form of chronologically-ordered postings, treatment periods, and various complaint reports whose wording clearly...

Eucharist of Martyrs by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

One bishop's account of the price paid for the Eucharist (from Sandro Magister): Bishop Lucian Muresan, president of the Romanian bishops’ conference, stunned and moved his hearers with an account of a Eucharist of martyrs: “In our country, Romania, the communists tried to give man material...

stealth marketing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

Walt Disney executives face a ticklish challenge in marketing their film version of the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the New York Times tells us. Their strategy is "aggressively courting Christian fans who can relate to the story's biblical allegory while trying not to disaffect secular...

thank Allah or thank God? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2005

The kingdom of Jordan has donated $100,000 to the relief effort for victims of hurricane Katrina. That's wonderful. The donation was made to the Archdiocese of Washington, which lies roughly 1,000 miles from the area where the hurricane struck. That's puzzling. The donation was gratefully...

inscape by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

Jeff Miller passes on an invitation to Meet the...

the candor continues by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

Never? [Defense attorney for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles] Hennigan said the church never knowingly put children at risk. Archdiocese officials routinely transferred priests, especially early in their careers, he said. Well, almost...

the end times? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

“Are We Living in Apocalyptic Times?” Michael O'Brien, the very thoughtful Catholic artist and author of Father Elijah and other novels, asks that question and gives a long, provocative answer. Just a quick sample: And if so, how will our enslavement be accomplished? It will be...

"asked to comment on Law's future ..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

Remember the bygone days of April, 2002, when the U.S. prelates were gasping and shaking their heads at the bad bad bishop of Boston? The cardinal, who asked to remain anonymous, said Sunday that he had been "commissioned" by other senior prelates to take their case against [Boston's Cardinal...

strange pathways of grace by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

Here's an article on the Philadelphia Archdiocesan horror story with the usual nauseating details but with a surprising twist: an Assistant DA who took part in the investigation into clergy abuse found he could look at the blackest crimes of Catholic priests and bishops ... and distinguish the...

the guide within by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2005

Norwegian Lutheran Bishop Per Lønning recounts to the Synod his experience of "Eucharistic hospitality": 1975, St. John's Abbey, Minnesota. In a lecture on "The present state of ecumenism", I had uttered fear that we might still have several years ahead of us before eucharistic fellowship...

a crucial missing word by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2005

These days I'm dividing my time between two projects: plowing through reports from the Synod on the Eucharist, and organizing my thoughts on how the Boston archdiocese collapsed. This morning the two threads came together. The Synod is tackling very important issues, because if you don't...

a Dallas expert speaks again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2005

At their June 2002 meeting in Dallas, the US bishops heard from a psychologist named Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea. Or at least one of them is still hearing from her. In a letter sent to Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston-- with copies helpfully sent to all the pastors in the archdiocese-- the...

What is a "preferential option"? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2005

We've heard a lot in the last few decades about the Church's "preferential option for the poor." It sounds like a good thing, and in what follows I am not questioning the Church's social teaching. I am questioning the grammatical construction of that phrase. What is a "preferential option"?...

more california candor by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2005

The Log Cabin Dominicans of St. Albert's Priory, Oakland, incensed their neighbors last year by warehousing seven sex abusers on its grounds without alerting the community. They have just issued a press release intended to smother the firestorm that followed, aimed particularly at a pair of...

Reflections on the Ordination of Homosexuals by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 14, 2005

According to recent news reports, Pope Benedict XVI has approved an Instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education which states that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained even if they are chaste, because they have a personality disorder which may interfere with ministry....

the cause with no effect by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2005

In his latest "Word from Rome" column, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter asks an obvious question, and gets an astonishing answer from Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the US bishops' conference: Has the sexual abuse crisis in the United States taken a toll on vocations to...

Talk to a Sistah -- about protease inhibitors & Leviticus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 16, 2005

We are all at risk. While you slept, your bishops have been at work coming to the rescue of your family. How? By preparing for World AIDS Day and embarking on an Advent-synchronized educational program "to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in your parish." The postcard above -- featuring...

Winters: Are Gay Priests the Problem? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 16, 2005

Today's Dallas Morning News has an article on gay priests and the Doomsday Doc by Michael Sean Winters, a less discreet and more autobiographical version of which I've seen elsewhere (Beliefnet? Busted Halo?). He makes a thoughtful, fairly low-decibel case for giving the green light to gays. I...

how reassuring by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 17, 2005

Writing for Opinion Journal, John Fund finally provides an answer to the question everyone is asking: Some Evangelical leaders apparently did receive assurances that Harriet Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. But the assurance did not come from Miers herself. During a conference call,...

delete *.* by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 17, 2005

A long, loud sigh of relief was doubtless heard in many a chancery this morning. The Servants of the Paraclete Center, in Jemez Springs, N.M., specializing in treatment of clergy sexual disorders, had an appalling record before being forced to close in 1995. Apart from numerous recidivist...

beautiful people and the "useless eaters" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2005

In an article titled, "The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have," a former Washington Post reporter speaks of her Down Syndrome daughter and the conflicts such children provoke among enlightened pro-abortion professionals. She concludes: And here's one more piece of un-discussable baggage:...

call me irresponsible by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2005

Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul, Minnesota, is troubled by criticism of the director of the US bishops' Office for Child and Youth Protection, Teresa Kettelkamp. He has written to all US bishops: I wish to respond to recent public criticism of Ms. Kettelkamp in a few quarters. He means,...

Akinola in combat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2005

Your Uncle Di makes no secret that he's a fan of Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria. Here's a link to his recent letter in response to the Primate of Ireland, Robin Eames. A good read. Content apart, Akinola writes some of the most un-episcopal prose on the market, and for an author...

bits and pieces of truth by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2005

He borrowed with antecedent permission, but without attribution. Does it count as plagiarism? An interesting point of casuistry: The morning after classes began at the end of August, the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, president of St. Louis University, gave a homily at the school's Mass of the Holy...

works without faith by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 19, 2005

An October 16 editorial in the Chicago Tribune said that "certifiably negligent bishops should be losing their jobs." No argument there. But the Tribune doubts that any episcopal heads will roll, because: The evident goal of U.S. bishops is to ride out the corrosive crisis that has all but...

call me irresponsible, cont. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 19, 2005

In quoting from Archbishop Flynn's memo in defense of Teresa Kettelkamp, I left out a passage which, on second glance, looks more interesting. The archbishop, you will recall, argued that although Kettelkamp was on the advisory board of a group that was founded and funded by the Feminist...

what might have been ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 19, 2005

Australian commentator R. John Kinkel chafes at Cardinal George Pell's remarks at the Synod, and laments the current state of the Church, exclaiming, "It did not have to be this way": WHAT IF… the pope in 1966 followed the advice of the papal birth control commission and stated that this was a...

The Truth About Catholic Social Teachings by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 19, 2005

In a recent article I wrote about federal social programs and Catholic principles. This is a very broad, controversial subject that demands further treatment. In this article, I’m going to take a brief look at the basis for Catholic social teachings, and how individual freedoms relate to the...

still witnessing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 19, 2005

Fr. Ronald Knox, addressing an audience gathered at the London home of Thomas More on the anniversary of his martyrdom, spoke about the uncanny power of times and places and things to make the past vividly present to us: There is, I think, a healthy kind of paganism lying very near to the roots...

let's get those meds adjusted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2005

Eugene Kennedy, on hierarchy: The hierarchical dynamic shatters the wholeness of creation and human personality, dividing people into higher and lower aspects, thereby de-sacramentalizing and sexually wounding both. Up to a point, Professor....

The Bishop, like, of San Francisco by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2005

The covers of this book are too far apart. -- Ambrose Bierce, reviewing a long-forgotten work. Hey, why should Andy Greeley monopolize the trash cash? Ex-Jesuit Eugene Bianchi boots up the Mac and tries his hand at the novel-writing business. Below is the synopsis from the promo site (no,...

without apology by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2005

Remarkable. How did this guy make it past the Thought...

barbed commentary by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2005

Here's an interesting interview with Barb Nicolosi on the pop culture front of the culture wars. Lots of her points I agree with; some I don't; most often I don't have the right to an opinion. But it's clear she doesn't pull her ideas off the rack. An excerpt: I think that, unfortunately, a...

Evolution and the Faith, Revisited by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 20, 2005

The feedback I received on my recent column concerning evolution reveals the deep divide which separates Catholics on this issue. Over 30% of respondents expressed passionate disagreement, often insinuating that my position proved I was not a good Catholic. These particular writers clearly...

the future belongs to the fertile by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2005

Writing in the U.K. Spectator, Mark Steyn gives Russia a grim prognosis: Russia is literally dying. From a population peak in 1992 of 148 million, it will be down to below 130 million by 2015 and thereafter dropping to perhaps 50 or 60 million by the end of the century, a third of what it was...

The Ferns Report by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2005

A long-awaited report on sexual abuse by priests of the Ferns Diocese in Ireland has been completed, to be released sometime next week. The Irish Independent says the report, written by Judge Frank Murphy, discusses twenty priest-abusers and "contains stinging criticisms of two bishops, the late...

another defeat for intolerance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2005

That "heroic sense of integrity" runs up against rank bigotry when operating in Nevada, and triumphs. The Worcester Voice reports: Fr. James Aquino, pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish and Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program (training for new deacons), is allowed to stay in ministry...

passionate Protestants by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2005

During the 20th century the "mainline" congregations-- Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian-- lost their majority status among American Protestants. The more conservative Evangelical congregations now outnumber them. Why? Conventional explanations have focused on the more...

doing violence to children by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2005

Fact: The Catholic Church teaches that allowing homosexual couples to adopt children "would actually mean doing violence to those children." (Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, 7) Fact: The Boston archdiocese

terms of the contract by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2005

OK, let's try this again: Wouldn't you think that an outfit that calls itself "Catholic Charities" would be 1) Catholic, and 2) concerned about charity? Perhaps you can explain this to me: Despite Vatican teachings that allowing homosexuals to adopt children is "gravely immoral," the...

I can only hope we are at the bottom of the slippery slope by Leila in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2005

Diogenes dear, in May 2004 when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that homosexual couples could marry, a thought sprang to my mind, a parallel if you will. I thought that 30 years ago if someone had shown us a vision of what we would be facing today in life issues we probably...

the problem of the rigid seminarian by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 23, 2005

Over the past thirty years or so we've often heard concern expressed by bishops, theologians, seminary rectors, and vocation directors that many candidates for the priesthood are unsuitable on account of their "rigidity." In these circles it goes without saying that rigid is bad. But suppose,...

This will work by Leila in "Off the Record" - Oct 23, 2005

I wanted to quote one bit from the Boston Globe story today about Archbishop Sean’s plan to fix Boston Catholic schools – it made me laugh out loud: Catholic priests no longer tell families they are obliged to send their children to Catholic schools, and the anti-Catholicism that once drove...

beyond the immeasurably marvelous ME by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2005

Haven't read the book, but I'm well-disposed toward the author. The title is Four Benefits of the Liturgy, and the author's name is given as "a Benedictine Monk." This usage is not an innovation but a restoration, a return to the traditional monastic practice of crediting publications simply to...

Far worse than Hitler, Jesuit claims by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2005

I've had occasion before to call attention to the ... distinctive perspective on current affairs provided by Jesuit Father John Dear. Recently Father Dear shared his insights with an audience at Boston College: With "an arsenal that's willing to destroy the planet," an intimate involvement in...

well, that didn't take long by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2005

On Saturday the Synod of Bishops affirmed the Church teaching that Catholics who are divorced and illicitly remarried should not receive Communion. On Monday, Cardinal Kasper questioned the Synod's conclusion, and suggested that it was time to re-think the Church policy. But wait: Isn't...

There'll always be an England by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2005

I know me rights. And I has me spiritual needs, see, same as anybody else. And the next screw what gets in me way stands fair to cop it nasty, see? Wands, wine, and tarot cards, but not nudity, may be allowed in Pagan acts of worship in prison, says the [U.K.] Prison Service's first written...

post-factum fearlessness by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 25, 2005

Announcements of the death of Rosa Parks put me in mind of Joseph Sobran's perceptive, if sardonic, remarks about one of her tardy admirers (from a May 2000 column): Clinton is a perfect specimen of bogus courage -- the sort of guy who says things that are now safe and even fashionable with an...

schism, and cynicism by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 25, 2005

The Thirty-Nine Articles did not include a pre-nup, and as the divorce between traditional and anarcho-Anglicans draws nearer, folks are starting to ask, who gets custody of the faith? A liberal Episcopal group is crafting a strategy to disenfranchise about 16 conservative bishops if the...

superior breeding by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 25, 2005

A couple in Arkansas has sixteen children. A columnist in San Francisco flips out: But that would be, you know, mean. Mean and callous to suggest that this might be the most disquieting photo you see all year, this bizarre Duggar family of 18 spotless white hyperreligious interchangeable...

Wellington Mara, RIP by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2005

Not being a pro football fan, I was only vaguely aware of Wellington Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, who died yesterday. But the obituaries (sample here) leave no doubt that this was an extraordinary Christian gentleman. Father George Rutler tells me: All I could add is that in the...

What's going on? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2005

Can you explain what's happening? Because I can't. A few weeks ago the Vatican announced that a record crowd had assembled for the Pope's weekly public audience: 50,000 people! Since that time, there have been about 50,000 for every Wednesday audience. The number of people flocking to see Pope...

Whimpered like a pedant by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2005

Fr. Rutler, the genial pastor of Our Saviour in Manhattan, writes in his weekly bulletin: Have I made a good confession recently as the heir of a kingdom, or have I whimpered like a pedant that I just want to feel good about myself? Have I given God sacrificially of my money in tribute to his...

soft sciences, softer scientists by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2005

James C. Cavendish is associate professor of sociology at the University of South Florida. In the current NCR he has an essay titled "Muddled thinking behind targeting gays in seminaries." Let me single out one paragraph for comment: Another troubling feature of the forthcoming document is...

on target by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2005

Amy Welborn has some perceptive remarks on The Crisis. An excerpt: The greatest risk to losing your faith is working in the Church. Not just because of what you see, which is the way people usually think of it, but because the risk is high of matters of faith becoming just a job. The...

withdrawal symptoms by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2005

Miers withdraws, and Ralph Neas is brought to bed of a bison. Harriet Miers' withdrawal from her Supreme Court nomination demonstrates that ultraconservatives are so determined to swing the Supreme Court sharply to the right that they pounded their own president's nominee into submission, and...

names, please by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2005

Where do we send the candygrams? "Witch hunts and gay bashing have no place in the Church," writes USCCB President Bishop William Skylstad, who informs us in the same column, "There are many wonderful and excellent priests in the Church who have a gay orientation, are chaste and celibate, and...

priestless in Seattle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 28, 2005

Today's Seattle Times features a profile of CITI ministries, a group of Catholic priests who have left the ministry for marriage (or something), but still perform the odd ceremony. John Shuster, for instance, celebrates Christmas Mass for friends each year: "People come in. We sing carols....

If I were a bishop ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 28, 2005

If I were a bishop, I'd write the following letter to the Bishop of Spokane: Dear Bishop Skylstad, I confess I was dismayed to read the following words in your Inland Register column of October 20th: There are many wonderful and excellent priests in the Church who have a gay orientation,...

retake by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

NRO's Bench Memo blog is pleased with the Alito appointment. K.J. Lopez made sardonic reference to those urging gender set-asides: I just got the White House talking points on Alito. Nowhere in them does it say that he is one of the best male lawyers in New...

downwardly mobile by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

The San Francisco Faith reports that, as church, we've come a long way since the days Catholic kids sold candy bars door-to-door to retire the parish debt: The Sacramento Diocese agreed to sell its investment property, Lakeview Village Mobile Home Park in Citrus Heights, to the mobile home...

nescience by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Good piece by George Weigel on the Roe imbroglio, including an excerpt from an essay on abortion politics from Walker Percy's Signposts in a Strange Land: Picture the scene. A Galileo trial in reverse. The Supreme Court is cross-examining a high school biology teacher and admonishing him that...

updated halloween liturgy for the U.K. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Ekklesia reports that a new ecological Halloween liturgy, "developed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC)," will be celebrated for the first time today. From context, it appears that "the Church" that helped develop the liturgy is the Church of...

the teen moment by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Amy Welborn has some pointed commentary on Catholic youth ministry. I am not convinced that most current (read, for the past two decades) trends in Catholic youth ministry have the net effect of rooting young people in a faith that will take them through to mature Catholic faith. It is all...

A new angle on the Levada appointment by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Here's an interesting perspective on the appointment of Archbishop William Levada as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Particularly interesting, in fact, because it comes from someone who spoke directly with Pope Benedict about the appointment: Archbishop Levada himself....

a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Celebration would definitely be premature. But if Alito is confirmed, the Supreme Court would have 5 Catholic justices (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, & Alito). Whether that line-up would translate into a majority defending natural law is another...

Justice and Mercy Strike by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 31, 2005

As of last month, Micheál Ledwith is an ex-priest. Ledwith, who now lectures for the Ramtha School of Enlightenment in Washington State, was already an ex-member of the International Theological Commission as well as an involuntary ex-President of St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, the diocesan...

who will rid me of this turbulent faith? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2005

Doctor Rowan Williams is one of those men all but impossible to take seriously, for the simple reason that it's all but impossible to believe he's not play-acting a role he secretly finds ridiculous. Like the bishops in the P.G. Wodehouse stories, he speaks in a sonorous phraseology four percent...

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