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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from October 2007

"most priests were doing their best ..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 1, 2007

Emil Wcela, retired auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, has a smug article in the current America in which he reflects on the Mass in Latin and in the post-Conciliar vernacular. The following paragraph caught my attention: When Mass in English arrived (in hindsight, perhaps with insufficient...

just between us by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 2, 2007

The NCR's John Allen has a note on out-going Papal MC Piero Marini in which he floats the appalling possibility that Marini might succeed Cardinal Arinze as Prefect of the Congregation for Worship. Your Uncle Di hopes that rumor is a case of wishful thinking on the part of the clique of Roman...

more on the pelotte story by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 2, 2007

Things are sounding more and more bizarre in Gallup. Here's an update on Bishop Pelotte's nocturnal intruders. [Diocese of Gallup Bishop Donald] Pelotte called police before dawn last Thursday, reporting that there were four intruders inside who did not want to leave. Police responded within...

what some experts believe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 2, 2007

Explaining the Connecticut bishops' decision to allow use of Plan B in Catholic hospitals, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport blogs: What’s really at issue here is how much testing is appropriate to ensure that Plan B does not induce the chemical abortion of a fertilized ovum. Answer: a lot....

code blue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 3, 2007

Now here's a pretty example of communication theory in action. It concerns a pederast priest named Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, whom a Mexican cardinal, also named Rivera, sent north to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Rivera the Cardinal insists he gave Cardinal Mahony a coded warning. Mahony denies...

couldn't have said it better myself by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2007

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz has returned to Minsk, and Charter 97-- which, I admit, I don't read every day-- has the story with pictures. "At the beginning of the mess archbishop Tadeush Kandrusevich was welcomed from the depth of the heart by Bishop Antoni Dzyamyanka. In the answer...

and the winner is... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2007

As we mentioned previously, Father Z took an unscientific poll of his readers' opinions on the best quick way of identifying the extraordinary form of the Mass. I even encouraged CWN readers to cast their votes. Now the results are in, and the clear winner is: Traditional Latin...

Resurgence of Reality in Russia by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 4, 2007

The resurgence of reality continues in surprising ways. Even as relatively abstract entities such as the United Nations and the European Union continually try to bully member states into full acceptance of the politics of sterility, at lower levels we may be seeing the opposite trend. This is...

faith no fancy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2007

Before there were blogs, there were pamphlets. The 17th and early 18th centuries were especially fertile of theological attacks and counter-attacks carried out by preacher-pamphleteers. Concision of argument was not highly prized by the disputants, and one interesting feature (not without its...

the two-edged sword by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2007

Great days for ecumenism: today we're all the spiritual beneficiaries of joint efforts for justice. Remember the liberal Christians' rallying cry from the 1960s: "Practice unites, dogma divides"? Well those wonderful folks at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice are helping enlist...

no explicit teaching by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2007

In his effort to explain the Connecticut bishops' decision on use of Plan B at Catholic hospitals, Bishop Lori points out-- in boldface, no less: Indeed, the Church does not teach that it is intrinsically evil to administer Plan B without first giving an ovulation test or that those who do so...

thus saith the lord, for the time being by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2007

Writing in The Tablet, Timothy Lavin delivers the thoughts of the premier Mexican Anglican: Meanwhile, the Anglican Archbishop of Mexico, Carlos Touche-Porter, sought to promote a middle way that "celebrates diversity" for the Anglican Communion at a press conference in London this week,...

The Tomb of Jesus and the Christ Who Saves by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 5, 2007

Some months ago a reader asked me to say something about the Discovery Channel’s claim that the tomb of Jesus had been found in Jerusalem. I didn’t regard the request as urgent because the tomb of Jesus has been “found” many times and in many places, despite the complete absence of evidence. The...

all parties would benefit by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 6, 2007

Bishop Tod Brown's Diocese of Orange has agreed to pay $6,885,000 to settle four sex abuse lawsuits involving lay employees and four female victims. The settlement ends one chapter of an often farcical case involving fractious attorneys, clumsy grand-standing, and the perfectly-timed breakdown...

wishful punting by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2007

I was pleased to learn from the U.K. blogger Mulier Fortis that the Irish betting service Paddy Power makes the odds at 10-1 that Sydney's Cardinal George Pell will become the next Archbishop of Westminster. Clearly someone sees a gap in the field. Ok, it'll never happen, but the suggestion of...

multiculturally yours by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2007

It seems that every time a pope makes a trip to South America, there's a spate of news stories about Indians protesting the 16th century introduction of Christianity into the continent as a tool of colonialist oppression and an unprovoked assault on the indigenous spiritualies which flourished...

the jesuit and the skull by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 8, 2007

There's a new book on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled The Jesuit and the Skull, by Amir Aczel. It's reviewed in yesterday's LA Times by Jonathan Kirsch. Kirsch is enthusiastic about Teilhard and about the book; less so about the Church. Tall, dapper, handsome and aristocratic, Teilhard was...

who says you can't have it all? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 8, 2007

The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 2:15f. Suppose you're a typical dissenting Catholic and self-styled progressive who believes that the Roman...

double standard, example 6,487,312 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 8, 2007

Here's a rule of thumb in American political discourse: When a presidential candidate announces plans to act as an "instrument of God" and to create a "kingdom on earth," you can be quite sure he will be identified by the mass media as either a menace to world peace or... a liberal...

Creationism 101: Unscientific? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2007

If you didn’t believe the evolution wars were heating up, you’ll believe it now: The Council of Europe has adopted a resolution calling upon all nations to firmly oppose the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in schools, which the CE regards as a dangerous and unscientific trend...

Creationism 102: A Threat to Human Rights? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 9, 2007

As I noted in Creationism 101: Unscientific?, the Council of Europe recently declared that creationism and intelligent design should be barred from classrooms because “creationism could become a threat to human rights.” This is an indefensible position. The very idea of human rights grew out of...

one bread, one body? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 10, 2007

Most Holy Redeemer is a truculently gay parish in San Francisco's Castro distinct, a notorious center of counter-Catholic activism, and the subject of an enthusiastic book called Gays and Grays, by Jesuit Father Donal Godfrey. Gerald Augustinus brings to our attention the fact that San...

worship canceled by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2007

The National Catholic Reporter tells us about a Protestant conventicle in California that decided to prune the deadwood and get back to basics. Jim Yelvington decided he would do something different with the launch of his new church in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. -- cancel Sunday worship...

the archbishop responds by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2007

LifeSite is in receipt of a statement from San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer explaining his having given communion to a pair of drag queens belonging to an anti-Catholic agit-prop group calling itself the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: At Most Holy Redeemer Church Oct. 7, I noticed...

taking a stand by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 11, 2007

The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy has plans to hold on a conference on the campus of Holy Cross ("a college in the monotheist tradition") in Worcester. Among the workshops scheduled are those sponsored by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert McManus has...

Relativism and the Rights of Man by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 11, 2007

At the same time the Council of Europe was condemning creationism as a threat to human rights, Pope Benedict was warning against moral relativism for the very same reason. An innocent bystander might be tempted to believe that Catholics are no better than secularists when it comes to attempting to...

tender compassion ... for those who were suffering by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2007

Today, boys and girls, we take up the edifying story of Father Andrew Christian Andersen, a former priest of the Diocese of Orange and a multiple molester of underage youths. Two years ago the L.A. Times gave us a synopsis of Andersen's adventures in pastoral ministry: It previously had been...

The Mystery and Power of Personal Prayer by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 12, 2007

I am continually amazed at how many Catholics forget the power of personal prayer. There are priestly, consecrated and lay apostles who make significant commitments to the active Christian life, including the Church’s liturgical life, but fail to nourish that commitment through personal...

for extra credit by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 14, 2007

Six Orthodox ecclesiastics with a collective mass of 500kg traveling eastward at 90 mph encounter a midwestern auxiliary bishop who is stationary and weightless. Assuming a frictionless plane, calculate the displacement caused by their ecumenical collision. Hint #1: A young Orthodox priest...

who really cares? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 15, 2007

Most metropolitan areas in the U.S. have a large Catholic church near the city center -- perhaps a cathedral, shrine, or basilica -- that provides Mass and confessions more or less continually throughout the day. If you enter such a church while Mass is going on, you'll notice three distinct...

"especially suited" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 15, 2007

Anita Henderson has a new dress. Her husband, a bishop in the Church of Ireland, thinks it suits her nicely. His friend, the Catholic Bishop of Killala, agrees. Oh wait. It's not Mrs. Henderson's dress that the two bishops are talking about. When they delicately observe that some things are...

The Bishop and the Jesuit: Robert McManus vs. Holy Cross by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 16, 2007

One could fill a book with the ways in which schools “in the Jesuit tradition” have deliberately and defiantly undermined the Catholic faith of their students over the past forty years. The most recent example is the decision of Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts to host a conference...

upward ever upward by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 17, 2007

Remember VOTF, the reform outfit that wants to "change Church structures" but won't let on as to which structures it wants to change? They're gathering, again, to call the Church to transparency. Voice of the Faithful, the organization of reform-minded lay Catholics spawned by the priest...

taking sides by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2007

Via Thomas Peters, we learn that the cross-dressing Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, two of whom received communion from the hand of Archbishop George Niederauer on October 7th, have posted a facetious press release concerning the incident, headlined "Sisters Upset Communion Being Turned...

Dialogue with Islam: A Strategy of Hope by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 18, 2007

There is a good deal of debate among Catholics concerning the fruitfulness of dialogue with Muslims. Obviously, Muslims have often regarded the “Christian West” as an enemy to be destroyed. But Muslim nations and the Holy See have also found common ground in resisting the sexual ideology of the...

witness by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 19, 2007

Sjödin's Casual Minister line of clerical leisure wear hasn't made it to the apparel department of my local Wal-Mart yet, but for all that it suggests the ancient quarrel between the urgency of Christian discipleship and the comforts of worldliness has, in some quarters at least, been put to...

Authority and the Logic of Revelation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 19, 2007

The rejection of religious authority by Catholics never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I remark on the need for some bishop to enforce a proper understanding of Catholicism, I hear from those who detect in my comments the foul odor of authoritarianism. Such persons perceive authority as driven...

take my case, for instance ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2007

"Can you imagine what kind of candidates we would attract to the U.S. Senate, for example, or to any other high-ranking political, corporate or academic office if a commitment to lifelong celibacy were an essential, non-negotiable requirement?" -- Father Richard McBrien, addressing the Voice of...

tolerance, 21st-century style by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2007

Bigotry is bad. We teach our children to avoid bigots, to hold them in contempt. If the schoolteacher encourages students to fight against bigotry, we applaud that effort. We want bigotry to vanish. Because the word provokes that sort of reaction, it's important to be mindful about what...

attn: california bishops by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2007

A thought experiment. Suppose there exists a big city police force whose reputation has been damaged by corruption scandals, most particularly by active collaboration with organized crime. Suppose too that several policemen turn out to have direct ties to Cosa Nostra families and, after being...

obeisance by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 21, 2007

Astute observation by Dale Price: Voice of the Faithful is focused on grasping at the levers of ecclesial power -- the dread clericalization of the laity which changes "kiss my ring" to "genuflect before my...

Teach the children by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2007

The Portland Maine school committee voted 7 to 2 last week to authorize the distribution of contraceptives to young teenagers without acquiring parental consent. The response from Bishop Richard Malone was swift… "I join the number of parents who have expressed their outrage and disbelief at the...

entente cordiale by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2007

Remember Michelle Bachelet, the fashion-conscious socialist and President of Chile? She showed up at the Vatican last week to discuss copper smelting with the Pope. The conversation was "cordial." As is customary, there was an exchange of...

you must remember this: a list is just a list by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 23, 2007

The newly-famous Msgr. Tommaso Stenico claims to have "a detailed dossier" of all the homosexual clerics in the Vatican "with a list of names and circumstances implicating a certain number of priests and even bishops working at the Curia" -- a report (we're told) that will make...

The Habit of Fidelity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 23, 2007

Some years ago, the parish where my parents had retired used a rather strange “altar bread”. It was so sweet that it seemed to have substantially more in it than wheat flour and water. When the oldest priest of the parish said Mass, he always brought his own traditional hosts. He never said...

amazing coincidence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2007

Here is the web site for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts. Make a note of the phone number for local calls: (508) 854-3300. Now here is the web site for student health services at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. Notice the number recommended to students who...

as our betters deem appropriate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2007

I wonder to what extent the press services that provide news photos are willing to vouch for the accuracy of the text that accompanies their offerings. The photo above, found at the BBC website via Agence France-Presse, is captioned thus: A homeless woman sits on a footpath in Paris as...

ransomed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 24, 2007

Reminding us yet again that the Church spreads AIDS by discountenancing the condom, public health wonks are concerned that it's those individuals rigidly scrupulous about Catholic doctrine, like Magic Johnson, who put themselves at risk of infection: The rapid spread in Latin America of the...

Conscience and Authority: The Protestant Dilemma by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 24, 2007

After writing last week’s column (Authority and the Logic of Revelation) I was distressed to read Gilbert Meilaender’s article in the November issue of First Things, entitled “Conscience and Authority”. Meilaender is a learned and deeply religious man who teaches Christian Ethics at Valparaiso...

the future is now by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 25, 2007

If, in 1997, you claimed the day was nigh in which guardians would be compelled to give their foster children gay-positive education, you'd have been denounced as a hate-monger, as someone trying to frighten the gullible with a maliciously improbable scenario. In the U.K., it appears, that...

in it for the money by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 25, 2007

Kansas pro-lifers succeeding in collecting the signatures on a petition forcing Sedgwick County to create a grand jury to investigate the case of Wichita's notorious abortionist George Tiller. Tiller claims the pro-lifer's action was brought in bad faith and wants the Kansas Supreme Court to halt...

off to school by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2007

In the Sapientia et Doctrina section of the university newsletter Inside Fordham, professor of theology Fr. Joseph Lienhard, S.J., begins a guest column with the following gambit: I invite you to imagine a letter home from a freshman at a university: Dear Mom and Dad,Thanks for the money. I...

you're not what was wanted, i'm afraid by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2007

Catholic News Service has an unsigned article about three Anglican parishes in Ireland that have asked to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. For the most part the piece is factual and objective, if somewhat stiff. Then we come upon the following paragraph: Pope Benedict...

biffed! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2007

Sandro Magister posts a very interesting review of the "pungent, ironic, and anti-conformist" memoirs of Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, former Archbishop of Bologna and the most prominent living conservative among the Italian bishops. It appears that Biffi is well aware of the liberty of expression...

noted by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 26, 2007

Professional scowler Pete Hamill is quoted by the New York Times: "They [the Catholic elementary schools] had a kind of madrassa in the morning: 'Hail Mary, full of grace.' It's like these kids you see in Pakistan learning things by rote. But I ended up in a Jesuit high school and the Jesuits...

The Church Hurts Our Eyes by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 26, 2007

In a recent episode of Boston Legal, a 15-year-old girl sues her high school for letting her catch AIDS by teaching sexual abstinence instead of promoting condoms. No, I don’t waste my time watching such programs; I learned about this elsewhere. But the argument apparently has a certain...

second collection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2007

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the Plymouth Duster of the U.S. Bishops Conference, a relic of early-1970s social activism that -- except for its value as a fashion statement -- was a disappointment when it was launched and hasn't improved with age. Yesterday we were given our...

the low-testosterone Bible by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2007

From today's Gospel: Luke 13:6-9, as given us by the RNAB Lectionary: And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search...

georgetown & friends by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 29, 2007

Ah, yes. Education in the Jesuit Tradition. Facing a difficult challenge mounted by students affronted by Catholic moral teaching, the Georgetown administration musters its formidable theological resources ... and folds. From the Georgetown Voice: Georgetown University President John...

the ministry of presence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 29, 2007

Promoter of up-to-date spirituality Ronald Rolheiser reports on the strange reluctance of younger priests to accept the eager ministrations of their elders: At a workshop recently, as we were discussing the tension that often exists today between younger and older clergy, a middle-aged priest...

America ♥ Gordon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 29, 2007

America Magazine is editorially enraptured by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The son of a Presbyterian minister, Brown seems guided by a moral vision that sees it as the government's duty to help the less fortunate. Translation: he's...

The Buck Seldom Stops with Pharmacists by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 29, 2007

Speaking to the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI urged pharmacists to conscientiously object to the dispensing of drugs prescribed to induce abortion or euthanasia. This puts pharmacists in a tough spot, because many of them don’t have the luxury of...

unintimidated by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 30, 2007

"Pell Backs Discrimination against Gays" gasps the headline of this Simon Lauder story from Australia. Sydney's archbishop appears to realize perfectly well that, by upholding Church teaching in the public sphere, he's being painted as the first cousin to a klansman. Doesn't seem to rattle...

Atheism for Christmas? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 30, 2007

On December 7th, New Line Cinema will release a film called “The Golden Compass” based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The books are vehemently anti-Catholic and anti-God but the movie has been altered somewhat. The final result remains to be seen. I guess it will come as a sort of...

hit me by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 30, 2007

A California priest threatens to hold back a treat unless his congregation agrees to play ball: Troubles at St. Anne Catholic School in Santa Monica were so dire at one point that Father Michael D. Gutierrez turned to his congregation for help. He refused to give his sermon until at least 10...

the state be with you by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2007

A trenchant observation by James Taranto. The Concord (N.H.) Monitor reports on a hilarious pronouncement from the lovely and talented John Edwards:Like other Democrats, Edwards named his top three priorities as ending the war in Iraq, enacting universal health care and overhauling the American...

decisions, decisions ... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2007

Remember the counter-behaviorist paradox called Buridan's Ass: the hypothesis that a donkey placed between two equidistant bales of hay would starve, because the exactly counterpoised stimuli of attraction could give him no cause to go for Bale A rather than Bale B? Your Uncle Di thinks this...

male and female He created them by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2007

The Religion News Service brings us the happy news about the former Rev. Ann Gordon, now known to the world as Rev. Drew Phoenix: About 18 months ago, after 46 years of feeling trapped in the wrong body, the Methodist minister had sexual reassignment surgery, at last aligning psyche and...

dash-2 too by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 31, 2007

The Bishop of Breda (Netherlands) Martinus "Tiny" Muskens caught our attention earlier this year with a number of consciously provocative remarks, among them the suggestion that popes should have a term limit of ten to fifteen years. OTR modestly suggested that Tiny put his guilders where his...

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