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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from October 2010

the Claudy bombing: this time, don't blame the hierarchy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 1, 2010

Since the sex-abuse scandal reached critical mass sometime earlier this year, it has been open season on Catholicism, and journalists have been quick to blame the Church hierarchy for any perceived missteps. But sometimes the criticism is undeserved; sometimes the outrage should be directed at...

Elegance at the Core of Creation by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 1, 2010

The so called “new atheists” often try to denigrate what we call Creation by asserting that the more science learns about nature, the more we realize that everything we prize came from a few simple elements that are hardly worth our attention at all. So we shouldn’t marvel at the...

An Editorial Slip? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 4, 2010

On the cover of The New York Times Book Review for October 3rd, we find Annie Murphy Paul’s new book on fetal development. The title is: Origins. How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives. The Times editors had better be more careful in the future, lest they review more...

succession, yes; legitimacy, no by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 4, 2010

Time magazine has taken another stride in its campaign to confer some sort of media-inspired legitimacy on the women who masquerade improbably as Catholic priests. Having reported—with a straight face—about a Chicago woman who claimed to be a priest, Time now follows up with a...

Open to Discussion? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 5, 2010

“I look forward to the day when you have the courage to open up discussions on your website.” We get this sort of comment from time to time, almost always from those who do not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church. This particular quote was the closing of a long and irate...

playing politics by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 5, 2010

Let’s see. You reject certain Church teachings that have political implications. You wear an emblem that identifies you as someone who rejects those Church teachings that have political implications. You attend a Mass celebrated by a bishop who has recently affirmed those Church...

Fight for Your Joy by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 6, 2010

Sometimes things just don’t go right. You have that moment in the day when you want to pound your head against the wall and shout. Maybe you indulge in a private “Why me?” moment. Perhaps that one client (customer, coworker, friend, relative, or any situation) has driven you...

Vatican II on Priests: Priestly Ministry by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 6, 2010

Oddly enough, since the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church focused on bishops and the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity tended to overshadow everything else at the time, the Second Vatican Council has often been said to have ignored priests. But priests are the only group to which two...

Vatican II on Priests: Priestly Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 6, 2010

While the first two chapters of the Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis) dealt primarily with the ministry of priests (see previous entry), the third and final chapter covers “The Life of Priests” in three sections. The first section, “The...

No results? No problem. Nobel. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 6, 2010

The Boston Globe rejoices that a pioneer of in vitro fertilization has won the Nobel Prize for his work, and can barely contain its eagerness to see a similar award bestowed on someone—anyone—involved in embryonic stem-cell research. Today, 4 million human beings...

CCD by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 7, 2010

Most Catholic Americans, when they see the initials "CCD," think immediately of the Confraternity of Catholic Doctrine and religious-education classes. For me, since I am a hobbyist beekeeper, those initials carry a far more ominous meaning: the dreaded Community Collapse Disorder. Even...

a wall of separation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 7, 2010

Repeat after me: The media will always condemn a clergyman who becomes involved in political affairs. The media will always condemn a clergyman who becomes involved in political affairs. The media will always...

Wolves among the Sheep: The Collegeville Affair by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2010

Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minneapollis-St. Paul refused communion at a college Mass to students wearing rainbow sashes to protest Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual relationships. The incident took place at an evening Mass on September 26th at St. John’s Abbey in...

On Moral Communities: Collegeville II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 8, 2010

In reading my commentary on the scandal at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN (Wolves among the Sheep: The Collegeville Affair), some may conclude that I stretch things a little when I suggest that it is likely that the students have been misled concerning the issues at stake (gay...

rope trick by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 8, 2010

The Heights, the student newspaper at Jesuit-run Boston College, denounces the Catholic Church for “intolerance” toward GLBTQ people. (That’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, in case you’re not current on the preferred terminology.) The Heights editors...

The limits of free speech in a civil society by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 8, 2010

This week the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Snyder v. Phelps, which has been generally described by analysts as a case testing the limits of freedom of speech. With my apologies to legal scholars, I think the case tests something else entirely: our nation’s civility. A...

Slavery of the Mind: The Cultural Case against the Church by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 11, 2010

There are several ways that the example of slavery can be used to indicate how different societies can be culturally blind. But slavery cannot be used as an example of changing Church doctrine. In other words, you can effectively argue that a society which perceives abortion as permissible is very...

A Contemporary Example of Mental Slavery by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 12, 2010

The perfect example of the situation I describe in my latest In Depth Analysis (Slavery of the Mind: The Cultural Case against the Church) may be found in our own culture’s response to clerical sex abuse. Here we have both sides of a faulty argument applied not to different historical...

comparing news stories by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 12, 2010

For an interesting perspective how journalists influence each other, read these two stories about the Vatican announcement of the new Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. First read John Allen’s report in the National Catholic Reporter. Then read the AP wire story. Does is sound...

anything but that! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 12, 2010

The Anglican Church in Sydney, Australia, has “grave” financial troubles, reports Archbishop Peter Jensen. So grave, in fact, that the Sydney Morning Herald headline says Anglicans are taking dire steps: Anglicans warned church is on its...

The Way Forward: Addressing a Catholic Failure to Be Outcome-Oriented While Over-Emphasizing Thought Leadership by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Oct 13, 2010

As Catholics we are trained to reflect on the wisdom of the ages. We study the life of Christ and the history of the Church. We read the writings of the Saints. We study philosophy and theology. These things are important to understanding our Faith and deepening our knowledge of God and His works....

chicken-coop security excessive, foxes report by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 13, 2010

A year-long investigation conducted by foxes has determined that poultry farmers devote excessive attention to security measures for chicken coops. Details on this important study later. For now, the New York Times offers a similar report: A yearlong investigation by Naral Pro-Choice New York...

Sister Carol is watching by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 13, 2010

The sequence of events is interesting. First a Catholic hospital system in Scranton, Pennsylvania, went on the market, and the chief executive said that the effects of ObamaCare were “absolutely” a factor in the economic calculations that prompted the decision to sell. Then Sister...

consistory announcement coming this Sunday? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 13, 2010

Joan Lewis, the EWTN correspondent in Rome, has reported that Pope Benedict will call a consistory for the elevation of new cardinals very soon—in fact her informant thought it might happen today. If that informant was right in believing that an announcement is imminent (as many other...

Do it for the Children. Really. by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 13, 2010

The current issue of Life Issues Connector, published by Dr. John Willke’s Life Issues Institute, is devoted to the Girl Scouts. That organization has long since been co-opted by the larger secular culture, and is now a leading supporter of secularism, sexual self-expression, contraception,...

Ave Maria University and the embryo-research connection by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 14, 2010

Ave Maria University, the ambitious young Catholic institution in Florida founded by Domino’s Pizza entepreneur Tom Monaghan, recently announced it would sponsor several seminars and lectures to examine the relationship between religion and science. This is not purely an academic exercise, but an...

feeling no pain by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 15, 2010

Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska is pushing for federal legislation requiring that women seeking late-term abortions be informed that the procedure causes pain for the unborn child. Approving the legislation, he says, is “an issue of human compassion.” So who could possibly oppose the...

The Carla Bruni story that wasn't by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 15, 2010

Yesterday a CWN headline called attention to a report that Carla Bruni, the glamorous wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, had been asked to stay away from the Vatican, because Church officials were worried that her presence might encourage Roman newspapers to print semi-nude photos of the...

Vatican II on the Church and the World: Man’s Calling by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 15, 2010

The final document of the Second Vatican Council addresses the relationship of the Church to the modern world, and what the Church has to offer men as they struggle to develop and solve problems old and new. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et...

vandalism without bias by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 15, 2010

In northern New Jersey, a group of 5 college-age men face criminal charges for ransacking the offices of a gay-rights organization, tearing up shrubs and sign, ripping out lights. Bad news for the vandals: it was all caught by surveillance cameras. The young thugs are charged with trespassing and...

Coming soon: announcement of new cardinals by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 15, 2010

The most experienced and reliable journalists covering the Vatican—such as Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, and Paolo Rodari of Il Foglio—are united in agreement the Pope Benedict XVI will soon call a consistory to name new members of the...

Vatican II on the Church and the World: Community and Activity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 18, 2010

The remaining three chapters of the first part of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World continue sketching the contemporary human situation and the role of the Church. Having examined “The Dignity of the Human Person” in the first chapter, the Council focuses on...

not with a bang but a whimper by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2010

Bishop Richard Sklba was ordained as an auxiliary in Milwaukee by his Archbishop Rembert Weakland despite severe (and justifiable) misgivings in Rome. Sklba evidently repaid his patron’s confidence, keeping quiet about Weakland’s payment of hush money to a young man who charged the...

roll over, King Solomon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 18, 2010

New York court has given permission for a widow to harvest sperm from the body of her deceased husband. She said she doesn’t want his death to stand in the way of their desire to start a family. If you think you’ve now reached the ghoulish final depot for an absurd train of...

Vatican II on the Church and the World: Special Problems by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 18, 2010

Part 2 of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World is devoted to “some problems of special urgency.” Covered in five chapters, these problems are marriage and the family; the development of culture; economic and social life; politics; and peace. Chapter 1 is...

knowing your place by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 20, 2010

Enterprising undergraduates at Boston College, having learned from their elders that compassion is measured in latex, are distributing condoms to their fellow students. One of the leaders in this initiative, writing in the campus newspaper, The Heights, expresses dismay that some people see the...

Afterword: The Mythology and the Reality of Vatican II by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 20, 2010

I began our survey of the documents of Vatican II (starting with A Funny Thing about Vatican II) because it seemed to me that the Church was just now becoming capable of responding to them as the Council Fathers would have wished. The period between the closing of the Council in 1965 and...

Red hats, mixed messages: new American cardinals differ on a crucial issue by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 20, 2010

Most media reports on Pope Benedict’s selection of 24 new members for the College of Cardinals have focused on the heavy Italian representation among the Pontiff’s choices. But from the perspective of American Catholics, there is a much more interesting angle to this story. The two American...

Feminist contempt for women by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 21, 2010

Meg Whitman, candidate for Governor in California, has been described by her opponent’s aide as a “whore.” You might assume that the use of that ugly term would make feminists howl in outrage, and leap to Whitman’s defense. But if you made that assumption, you were...

Choosing cardinals: a modest proposal by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 21, 2010

In yesterday’s reflections on Pope Benedict’s choices of 24 new members for the College of Cardinals, I concentrated on the two Americans who will receive red hats: Archbishops Burke and Wuerl. Today I’d like to add a few more thoughts about the overall composition of the College, and how...

Government and the Lack of Prosperity by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 21, 2010

It’s economics, but perhaps we should talk about it anyway. In a recent column in the New York Post (First the stimulus, now the hangover), Nicole Gelinas argues that the State has contributed to and extended our current recession, first by continuing to expand bureaucracies long after tax...

the evil mind by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Oct 22, 2010

Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion has won a $1.7 million grant for a project to look into “the problem of evil in modern and contemporary thought.” By “modern and contemporary” in this context, I assume that we’re talking about the period...

all things to all men by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 22, 2010

Imagine that someone was a youthful revolutionary. After his fling with radical activism he pledges to refrain from any further violent efforts to overthrow the government (and since we are all gentlemen here, we’ll assume that he has honored that pledge). But he still identifies himself as...

Politics 101: Principles First by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Oct 25, 2010

With some people already voting through advance mechanisms, and with election day in the United States coming up in just a week, it is a good time to remind ourselves of a few basic Catholic political principles. These principles can be applied to nearly any political setting and situation, though...

A Jewish Defense of Vatican II? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 26, 2010

At a press conference explaining the final message of the Synod for the Middle East, Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros said, among many other things, that the Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation...

I know it when I see it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Oct 27, 2010

If you haven’t traveled to Australia for a while, be prepared for a change. In the past, the card that visitors submitted to customs officials asked whether they were carrying pornography. Now the visitor is asked whether he has any illegal pornography. You see the problem, don’t you?...

Discipleship: No Excuses by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Oct 27, 2010

Recently I had an interesting exchange with a reader who was concerned that I was too hard on the many Catholics who have simply been too spiritually lazy to take seriously the Second Vatican Council’s call to renewal in their personal lives (see Afterword: The Mythology and the Reality of...

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