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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2003

All Souls Day, New Orleans by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2003

Code of Canon Law, n. 767 (1983): The most important form of preaching is the homily, which is part of the liturgy, and is reserved to a priest or deacon. Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, n. 134 (1993):...

The November issue of Catholic World Report is out! by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2003

The November issue of Catholic World Report will be hitting newsstands any day and here's what you'll find inside:Preparing for the Crucial Decision: With the appointment of 30 new members to the College of Cardinals, Pope John Paul has prepared the Church for the inevitable discussion: Who will...

Just asking... by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2003

Since sometime in 1999, President Bush has been saying that he's anxious to sign a ban on partial-birth abortion. Since October 22, he's had the opportunity to do so. But he hasn't done it yet. What is he waiting for? Just...

The Big Tent by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2003

Those who monitor trends in Catholic journalism will remember the exuberantly gay-friendly Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine -- the reviewer who heatedly defended the play Corpus Christi on the grounds that "all the sex was offstage." He's back -- this time pleading "don't jump!" to...

From China with Love by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2003

No SARS cases have been found in China at the moment as in the other parts of the world, and once a case is reported, the Ministry of Health will make it public in the shortest possible time, China's executive deputy minister of health Gao Qiang said Saturday. That's from the English-language...

Where's Waldo? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2003

"In good standing!" replies the Diocese of Bridgeport. Today's Cape Cod Times asks a question raised a couple weeks ago in OTR, viz., why is psychologist-priest-procurer Donald Turlick absent from the Catholic Directory? How does anyone (apart from his hairdresser) know whether he deserves to...

Consequences by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

OK, the Episcopalians have consecrated an openly gay bishop, and people on both sides of the issue are claiming the ceremony to be the most momentous event in the history of the Anglican communion, etc. It isn't. Media coverage apart, what's the theological difference between the claim...

"The Crusaders" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

A journalist named Charles Pierce has one of those "You Can't Tell the Players Without a Program" articles in the Boston Globe Magazine in which he tries to familiarize his readers with the high-profile operators among conservative Catholics in the U.S. Like many works of its genre, the story...

Victims by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

Well, the news crews were clearly out in force for the Robinson Elevation, which gave his supporters opportunity for some cheap shots. From the NYT: Stephanie Spellers, who attended the consecration with a group of fellow students from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., said:...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today (it's a long list considering the weekend and the feast days just concluded): Mark Shea warns that the toppling of despotisms in the Middle East paradoxically could lead to difficult times for Christians in those countries. Also,...

Another important doctrinal development from the hierarchy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

The Italian bishops have issued a message for that country's Thanksgiving Day, in which they announce that "water is certainly one of God's most essential gifts for life." Remember the dufflepuds in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, creatures who ran around pointing out the obvious:...

by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2003

Suppose you were hiring a new superintendent for your diocesan school system. Whom would you select? (a) A longtime Catholic schoolteacher. (b) A Catholic business leader conspicuous for his fidelity to the teaching of the Church. (c) A retired public school superintendent who (according...

news item by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2003

SCHOLARS, ARTISTS CONDEMN GAY ORDINATION by Julie Segert, CDN Staff Writer LONDON. (4 Nov 03) CLAIMING TO BE "very gravely concerned by recent developments," a Cambridge don deplored last Sunday's consecration of the Reverend Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire (U.S.A.), calling the...

a bit of a view by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2003

Australian Archbishop Adrian Doyle kept a priest in ministry for five months after he admitted abusing a boy, and kept another priest on the diocesan Professional Standards Committee after the admission that he had an "inappropriate" affair with a woman. Some of the faithful are calling for Doyle...

"mistakes were made..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2003

Fr. Brian Cox's multiple episodes of deviant sexual assault were (oops!) "mistakes." Fr. Ken Waibel's masturbating in front of a police office was (oops!) "a mistake." Fr. Dan McBride's paying $120 for underage gay sex was (oops!) "a tragic...

Boston priest silenced by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2003

There's a rumor going around that Father Dave Mullen, who has courageously opposed the outrageous "Talking about Touching" program, has been silenced by the Archdiocese of Boston. I called Father Mullen, to see if it was true. "I can't talk to you," he told me. 'Nuff said....

"A certain type" by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2003

Today President Bush signed into law a bill banning "a certain type of abortion," the AP news story tells us. By "a certain type" of abortion, they mean partial-birth abortion. But the abortion industry doesn't approve of that term, and AP is kowtowing, as usual, to the pro-abort crowd. In...

a kinder, gentler tyranny by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2003

We've had occasion before to point to the small but instructive idiosyncrasies of the Red Chinese People's Daily. Today's issue has a little "Today in History" sidebar on the front page, where the South Bend Tribune or the Orlando Sentinel might record the birth of the American League or the...

sporadically authentic priests by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2003

Q: How can you tell your pastor's an arch-conservative? A: He wears a collar even when he's not on the way to his arraignment. An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discusses the controversy caused by priests who are alleged sex-abusers turning up in court wearing clerical...

Essay question by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2003

Imagine that you are transported back in time, to speak with a saintly Catholic bishop who is heroically resisting pressure from a Communist regime. As this bishop discusses his future plans, what motivations do you think will be most important and least important in accounting for his conduct?...

Who loves ya, baby? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2003

The Massachusetts bishops insist that the media got it wrong in reporting that Bishop Daniel Reilly went wobbly on public benefits for gay households when the issue was considered by the state legislature. Bishop Reilly finished his testimony by telling the committee that the Church could "join...

'Loyalty in difficult times" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2003

FESSIO MADE PAPAL KNIGHT FOR SERVICES TO ORTHODOXY Sorry -- my mistake! It wasn't Fr. Fessio who was given a papal honor, it was the editor of The Tablet, John Wilkins. You might have thought that The Tablet's unflagging support for contraception, women's ordination, and liberalization of...

Top Ten Reasons for Thinking Your Pastor is an Archconservative by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2003

10. Says, "the Holy Father" instead of "this current pope"9. Earring in neither ear8. Genuflects before tabernacle when church is empty7. No "Visualize World Peace" bumper sticker on the CYO van6. Wears jeans only when changing shock absorbers5. Can recite Apostles' Creed without a crib...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: David Morrrison relates a story from California about two women who have been declared the "natural" parents of a baby girl. One donated the egg and the other carried the baby to term and an anonymous donor gave the sperm. So now a court...

Turmoil. Scandal. Constitutional Issues. by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2003

My goodness... This could jeopardize his succeeding his Mum as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Of course, he could always get consecrated a Bishop, though. God provides. Fr Wilson NYT NEWSROOM TURMOIL OVER PRINCE CHARLES GAY RUMOR Fri Nov 07 2003 16:45:11...

Partial Birth Abortion, and its friends by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2003

Mona Charen has a good piece on the Partial Birth Abortion bill, including a historical recap of the "march of mendacity" on the part of the abortion lobby: the Fewer than 500 per Year Lie, the Painless Death by Anesthesia Lie, the D&X'd Fetuses were Doomed Anyway Lie, among others. No...

ICEL Agonistes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2003

The Telegraph's Christopher Howse on liturgical language: A new eruption of feeling has spilled its emotional lava over an agreement between the Vatican and the committees responsible for liturgical language for English-speaking Catholics. The Vatican had sat heavily on a draft for a new...

MEN AT WORK by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2003

quote of the day: "Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg is publicly seeking Terri's death. In a homily recently, for which he received a standing ovation, he publicly said her parents should let her go to God. But Terri isn't dying so the only way she can go to God is by deliberate dehydration and...

extreme indignation by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2003

The People's Daily continues its grim self-parody with the following news item: The Kiribati government announced to set up so-called "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authority Friday afternoon, putting aside a long friendly and cooperative relationship between China and Kiribati.[Foreign...

Support Catholic friendly movies by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2003

Want to see a good Catholic movie that's being stifled by movie studios? No, it's not "The Passion." It's "One Man's Hero," starring Tom Berenger. It's the story of Irish Catholics in America in the 1840s who got fed up with anti-Catholicism in the US and moved to Mexico, a country that was...

Jerry Comes Home by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2003

New Hampshire priest Gerard Desmarais made a dramatic exit from his parish last week, telling his parishioners he was quitting because of the lack of leadership provided by Manchester Bishop John McCormack. At his curtain call, Desmarais received the now-obligatory standing ovation and tears of...

Not, I think, a parody by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2003

From the Catholic Campaign for Human Development...

doing what she does best by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2003

Catholic author Anna Quindlen steers the Partial Birth Abortion controversy out of the linear-thinking arena. Abortion-rights supporters have not kept pace with the technology. You're thinking Quindlen is referring to advances in curettage and evacuation techniques? Wrong. As...

Boys will be ... um, never mind by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2003

Remember New York's Harvey Milk High School, the publicly funded academy for gay teenagers? Our betters in the elite media patiently explained to us that such a school was a moral necessity in a pluralist community: homosexual students needed a place to develop a positive self image. The New...

Works righteousness by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president and spokesman for the US bishops' conference, puts the sex-abuse scandal in perspective for the media: I believe that it is important that we not lose context of all that the Church has done, and continues to do with such clarity, generosity, and effectiveness....

The truth of the matter by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

According to the Boston Globe, the US bishops may hire a public-relations firm to draw attention away from ... well, you know... and toward the nice things done by Catholic agencies. "We want the truth to be told, and the truth won't be told unless we make it available," Bishop Gregory...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #1 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

Distressed by some of the comments critical of the Florida bishops that are bouncing around the blogs, I thought it timely to give the broader picture, in order to put into better perspective the contribution to the Catholic faith made by these exceptionally dutiful shepherds. Back in 1989, a...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #2 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

Fast forward to 1997. Stunned to learn that the New Ways Ministry team would be conducting one of their green-lights-for-gays workshops in his diocese, concerned Catholics wrote to Palm Beach Bishop Keith Symons. His response? Since concerns have been expressed to me regarding the presenters,...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #3 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

In 1998, by a truly astonishing coincidence, Bishop Keith Symons of Palm Beach, the same man who snuggled up to New Ways Ministry, confessed to molesting five boys in three parishes when he was a priest. St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch, the interim administrator, regretted Symons' departure...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #4 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

In March of 2002, Keith Symons's successor as Bishop of Palm Beach, Bishop Anthony O'Connell, admitted that, as a seminary rector, he "touched inappropriately in bed" a high school seminarian in the years spanning the ninth through twelfth grades. Somewhat cryptically he announced there could be...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #5 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

In March of 2002, by a truly astonishing coincidence, Bishop Robert "We almost have a hang-up with sex" Lynch of St. Petersburg admitted to "crossing boundaries" by means of inappropriate demonstrations of affection for his Director of Communications: Urbanski alleged that the bishop: rubbed...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #6 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

In March of 2002, by a truly astonishing coincidence, Bishop Robert "Eye of the Beholder" Lynch is revealed to have "a close personal relationship" with another amateur triathlete, David Herman, a man who followed Lynch in moving from Fort Lauderdale to St. Petersburg in 1995, and to whom Lynch...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #7 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

We mustn't give the impression that a bishop's day is all play. Serious attention to the faith is part of the job. Back in June of 2000 Bishop Robert "Isn't David an Adonis?" Lynch ended the practice of Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist in his diocese, arguing that it diminished the role of...

Our Fabulous Florida Bishops, Snapshot #8 by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

In October of this year, confronted with imminent death by dehydration of a brain-damaged woman, Bishop Robert "Christ's presence in the gathered Body" Lynch offered his ... prayers. With the news that the feeding tube has now been removed from Terri Schiavo, my own prayers and those of...

Limited partial hangout by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

Back in October, Bishop Gregory told Reuters that the US hierarchy is studying the sex-abuse problem in depth because: "The bishops really want to be honest with our people and say, this is the data we want to share with you." And you know what? When that report comes out, I'm sure they will be...

NOVEMBER: THE MONTH OF THE DEAD by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2003

Yes, Diogenes, I love November too. Such a suspenseful month, isn't it? Shall we have to control our rising curiousity until the end of the week, or will they tell us what they think about salmon fishing in the Columbia River right away? About sixteen months ago, I wrote this in the Wanderer....

hope by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

In the entire history of the Church probably not a single saint was ever canonized for the conspicuous virtue of prudence, and many were, from a worldly standpoint, quite imprudent. This applies to canonized bishops, many of whom were martyrs and almost all of whom were involved in severe...

cruel & unusual by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

The Heights, Jesuit-run Boston College's student newspaper, reports on a panel discussion in which gay faculty examined "the myths regarding same-sex parenting," showed pictures of their partners and children, and discussed the hardships that attend a homosexual ménage. McDargh, when questioned...

a fine Florida bishop by Jeff in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

Bishop Victor Galeone, the bishop of St. Augustine since 2001, is a staunch defender of Humanae Vitae (click, then scroll down to "from the bishop"). In July, he issued an excellent pastoral letter on marriage. Three weeks ago, he said: No, the Church is not a democracy. Thirty-five years ago,...

Can't we all get along? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

The US bishops are getting really really unhappy about the number of Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion, the Boston Globe reports. They're thinking about taking action. But Chicago's Cardinal Francis George reminds the Globe that bishops must keep unity within their flocks, as...

dreaming of the perfect pre-nup by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

Caitlin Flanagan offers some observations on weddings, and near-weddings, in The Atlantic. Whereas a wedding once provided young people with a moment of transformation so powerful that even a modestly funded event was a momentous one, nowadays -- with marriage an iffy bet and with most...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea notes that Leftists who have thrown God out of the mix have elevated politics in His place. And when you do that, all kinds of bizarre motives and arise. Bryan Baldwin discusses an article that warns of the effects of too...

Hearing from all sides by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2003

Now that Boston's Archbishop O'Malley has found time to meet with Voice of the Faithful, do you suppose his schedule has opened up enough to allow for a meeting with loyal Catholic parents who oppose the "Talking about Touching" curriculum? Or with one of his own pastors, who has said that the...

Latex Lovers by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2003

Catholics for a Free Choice has decided to reinforce its pro-abortion advocacy by launching a Condoms4Life Campaign, with the customary ads in the Washington Post, etc. It's dismaying, if not surprising, to note that pro-condom Bishop Kevin Dowling earns hearty congratulations from Frances...

"Now this will probably sting a little bit..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2003

The bishops are already jittery about next February's release of a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice cataloging sexual abuse cases since 1950: "This is going to be devastating, from what I'm hearing on the inside,'' said Bishop Raymond J. Boland of the Diocese of Kansas...

Labels by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2003

Have you ever noticed that reporters find a lot of "ultraconservatives," but never an "ultraliberal?" That some American politicians are constantly identified in the media as conservatives, but very few are identified as liberals? You haven't been imagining it. A Wall Street Journal op-ed...

Archbishop O'Malley clarifies position on gay marriage by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2003

Archbishop Sean O'Malley is working to clarify his own stance on gay marriage. After the debacle of a couple of weeks ago when the Massachusetts bishops let Bishop Reilly of Worcester speak for them at the Legislature, it's high time for Archbishop O'Malley to speak out. What he has to say...

Crime or a sin by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2003

From a report on the US bishops' meeting:But the study that has the bishops most on edge is a survey by criminologists at John Jay College of all known allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the past 50 years. Bishops have expressed concern that false accusations would be lumped in...

Restoring Trust -- You or Paul Marcoux? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2003

From the Woodstock Center Panel Discussion, "Restoring Trust in Church Leadership": Question: Please indicate three top bishops who have earned trust of their people by their servant leadership and their collaborative outlook. Who do you think sets the pace, shows a good example, offers...

empowerment by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2003

Cardinal Keith O'Brien told the Scottish Daily Mirror, "If one of my priests comes to me and says he is going to go off with a man, I would help and counsel him. I would want to see that this was something he really wanted to do, that he had made up his mind to leave the priesthood." Faced with...

Never? Well, almost never. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2003

The bishops' Guidelines for Concelebration are now available online. On balance they're not bad; the overall thrust is in the direction of restored transcendence. But of course they're skillfully americanized. In many places they state a norm and then provide the loophole through which a...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Tom Fitzpatrick looks at some of the recent announcements by Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston. He's setting himself apart from a fellow bishop on the same-sex unions issue and says he's going to meet with Voice of the Faithful. Good or...

SHERLOCK ARISING by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2003

The Bishop of Dallas seems to have fallen asleep some time before last June; apparently someone has just woken him up. "Changes in church law that took effect early this year forbid U.S. Catholic bishops from accepting any priest who ever has sexually abused a minor. "Do we all have to do...

Scout's honor! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2003

From a PBS story on the bishops' meeting. Kim LAWTON: Some groups fear the bishops' energy and commitment may fade.Archbishop Timothy DOLAN: Can't happen. Can't happen. We never, never, Kim, want to go through what we've had to do. We just can't do it. We can't do it personally. I think we...

The Catholic Difference by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2003

Pro-life judges lose out. Painful -- if predictable -- reading in this morning's Washington Post: Democrats will "continue to resist any Neanderthal that is nominated by this president" for the federal courts, said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy...

Come sit on Santa's lap... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2003

In the San Francisco Archdiocese, Barbara Elordi is planning a Christmas party for people who were sexually abused as minors by priests. Have we got great healing techniques or...

Time for your Prozac, Excellency. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2003

I have an article here that appeared in the Mercy Corps Newsletter and I won't say who wrote it because she would be very embarrassed, I think, if I said her name but it's a marvelous expression of where you find God. I won't read the whole article but parts of it. ...In my most sincere attempt...

Toward a more inclusive bigotry by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2003

It was only a matter of time, I suppose. A University of Pittsburgh sociologist contends that female members of hate groups are correcting for masculinist bias: Some women Klan members describe the groups as too male-oriented, she said. Some Klan women tell of having abortions, using birth...

what we're about as a church by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2003

Returned from the USCCB meeting, the articulate and always lucid Bishop Joseph Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown holds a news conference in which he laments the constraints on communication imposed by litigation: “It’s sad. What we’re about as a church, it’s limited when we cannot do what we should...

four legs good, two legs bad by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2003

NYT columnist Frank Rich puffs a made-for-TV adaptation of the play "Angels in America" -- in his words, "a searing indictment of how the Reagan administration's long silence stoked the plague of AIDS in the 1980's." Got that? AIDS is a pestilence that Reagan "stoked" -- i.e., deliberately...

a priest forever by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2003

Still dismayed by Cardinal O'Brien's apparent unconcern for the spiritual destiny of priests who abandon their vocation, I was pleased to read Prof. Ralph McInerny on the subject. He writes of the moral shock he felt on first encountering a man who had put his priesthood behind him. The year...

head-scratcher by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2003

From an AP story headlined LA Archdiocese tries to keep abuse-case records private: Lawyers for the archdiocese said Cardinal Roger Mahony had favored openness, but his legal advisers had overruled him. Now think. What's wrong with this...

Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2003

Last year the USCCB website initiated an abecedary of "Religious Men and Women Worth Knowing." Some of the goofier specimens bordered on self-parody: Kookaburra Watcher Sister of Charity Marty Dermody is a photographer and also a birdwatcher who has bird-watched on five...

New Directions in Creative Ministry, cont. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2003

Today's Boston Herald reports on some follow-up investigation into the circumstances of Fr. Donald Turlick's role in the release of convicted rapist and alleged murderer Paul Nolin: A Cape Cod priest entangled in a Falmouth murder probe was a central figure at a Bridgewater treatment center...

accentuate the positive! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

The Erie Times-News is perplexed by Bishop Donald Trautman's take on the National Review Board: Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman had sharp words for an independent lay review board that is examining the scope of the clergy sexual-abuse scandal nationwide. Trautman on Tuesday said he...

The Smell of Napalm in the Morning by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

I suspect this rather ruined breakfast....

The Church Militant by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, the Archbishop of Minsk in Belarus, has published some diaries -- excerpted in the Italian paper Avvenire -- detailing and reflecting on his years in a KGB gulag north of the arctic circle and on the faith of the people. He's no chest-thumper, but a man clearly humbled...

The Price is Right by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has cut a deal with the DA backing down on its claims for the confidentiality of archival documents: As part of the agreement, the archdiocese will give prosecutors documents that it had previously argued were confidential communications between church officials and...

Making It Legal in Massachusetts by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

In a decision that surprised no one, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution. Andrew Sullivan is giddy at the prospect of being a virgin on his wedding...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea notices a new survey that finds most Christians don't think it's necessary to convert non-Christians. Mark Windsor has an extensive analysis of why the war in Iraq fits the just war criteria, even though weapons of mass...

Not time to panic. Yet. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

A (subscribers-only) article in the Weekly Standard by Dennis Teti argues that the Federal Marriage Amendment is a doomed cause. If some political miracle allowed the FMA to pass Congress and escape to the states, a higher series of hurdles awaits. Any 13 state legislatures can defeat it by...

DALLAS by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

It is always worthwhile, whenever someone in authority in the Diocese of Dallas says something, to stop and pay attention. It's like an achingly irritating soap opera to which one has become addicted. The Diocese of Dallas is highly incensed over an editorial commenting on a question...

life not worthy of living by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

A British woman got a late-term abortion because the baby she was carrying had "a serious defect" -- a cleft palate. The Telegraph reports that an Anglican clergywoman is taking action: A curate has begun legal action over a late abortion on a woman who did not want a baby with a cleft palate....

Of birds and marriage by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

Let's suppose that, 180 days from now, you can produce a document from a town clerk in Massachusetts, certifying that you're a bird. Does that mean you'll be able to...

Excellent: A Clear Voice by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

The Massachusetts bishops are now speaking with one clear...

High Price of Incense Causes Budget Shortfalls Says Vicar by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2003

Use has been made of the "impersonal passive" in dribbling out a little more sordid detail about the scenes from clerical life on the Cape. State Police are examining financial records at St. Joseph's Church after the Rev. Bernard Kelly admitted there was a "misappropriation of funds" while he...

Political propaganda on same-sex marriage by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2003

Standing the facts on their heads, a Boston Globe columnist warns Republicans that they will lose votes if they fight against same-sex marriage. That's arrant nonsense. The public-- even in Massachusetts!-- is overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex unions. If Republicans find a way to rally that...

Ever to Seek the Greater Good by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2003

The Cincinnati media are reporting that the Archdiocese will plead guilty or no contest to criminal charges of failure to report a felony as part of a deal with the prosecutor's office: The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is expected to enter a plea to a criminal charge today as part of a deal that...

Separation of Powers, RIP? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2003

Today, in a historic 4-3 decision, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that all existing state laws are null and void, the legislature is dissolved, and the 4-judge majority will re-write all state laws by themselves. OK, I made that up. It didn't really happen. But if it did,...

Intimate Moments in the Healing Professions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2003

Father Donald Turlick, the priest who helped spring alleged murderer Paul Nolin, had his own ideas of professional boundaries: Two former workers at the sex offender treatment center where Paul Nolin was incarcerated for 12 years said investigators recently asked them for details of Nolin's...

REFLECTIONS on RENEWAL by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2003

Baltimore Catechism (III), 1891Q. 491. What is the duty of the Teaching Church? A. The duty of the Teaching Church is to continue the work Our Lord began upon earth, namely, to teach revealed truth, to administer the Sacraments and to labor for the salvation of souls. Q. 492. What is the duty of...

Jeopardy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2003

I'll take Always Our Children for 10,000. In what is believed to be the nation's first criminal conviction of a Catholic diocese, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk on Thursday pleaded no contest to charges the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati failed to report child sexual abuse by...

What, me worry? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2003

Remember Fall River diocesan spokesman John Kearn's explanation of why Fr. Bernard Kelly hired a child rapist as his lawn boy? "Sometimes you have to reach out for someone who is having difficulty in his life. But that's the call of each pastor." You can say that again. The Boston papers...

It wasn't what you think by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2003

You know, the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court didn't do what so many people said it did. It did not reverse the discrimination that prevented homosexuals from getting married. In fact, homosexuals have been able to get married all along; no law prevented that. That's because marriage is the union...

Mothers United by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2003

The ever-vigilant Church Times features a story headlined 'Take HIV test before you marry' says Mothers' Union: In a new approach to the problem of AIDS in the developing world, the Mothers' Union is to encourage young people approaching marriage to take an HIV test. The campaign, Living...

Friends of the Groom? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 22, 2003

Jeff Miller raises the question of why the media have developed a stutter in reporting on the world's most notorious p-p-p-p- entertainer. Looking at the headlines on Michael Jackson it is interesting that the word pedophile is never used in connection with him. Google News returns about...

My soul magnifies the Lord by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 22, 2003

In this month's U.S. Catholic, Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., performs a makeover on "Miriam of Nazareth" and presents her as a 1970s In-Yo-Face feminist. Here's Johnson on the Magnificat: No passivity here, but solidarity with divine outrage over the degradation of life and with the divine...

Good MORN-ing, everyone! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2003

Not infrequently, when I catch sight of khakis and running shoes under a priest's Mass vestments, I wish I could call a time-out and ask him what he believes is taking place in the Eucharist and what role his priesthood serves therein. Some weeks ago I posted observations on the nature of ritual...

privileged communications by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2003

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is fighting to keep personnel records from being turned over to a grand jury investigating sexual abuse. Lawyers for the archdiocese say their effort is not a cover-up, but rather a simple matter of law. They are asserting a First Amendment privilege of freedom...

Anybody know which way is up? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2003

Boston's Jesuit Urban Center has been celebrated as the "Best Place to Pick Up a Mate -- Gay" by Boston Magazine, and operates as a kind of Pont Street for gay Jesuit debutantes -- a place for them to polish and showcase their talents (under the wary but generally benevolent oversight of the...

On judicial usurpation by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2003

The flagrantly anti-democratic approach to gay "marriage" in Massachusetts recalls an important in-house debate among American conservatives, several years ago. It all began when First Things put together a symposium on "judicial usurpation of politics," and asked a group of very perceptive...

At the name of Jesus by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2003

Why should the Boston Globe -- an aggressively secularist publication and no friend of the Catholic Church -- carry an article on the implementation of changes in the liturgy? Because it's war. The point isn't that the new norms are likely to convulse the Church, but that anti-Catholics...

The better part of valour by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2003

In his November Public Square essay, Fr. Neuhaus relates the following account of the notorious Interfaith Amity Brunch which allowed bishops a close-up view of orthodox Catholics: In the September meeting, several participants pressed the bishops on why they do not address the scandal of...

Sheep in wolf's clothing? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2003

Today's New York Times carries a fascinating front-page story about a lawyer who was representing the Church in defending sex-abuse cases, until he could no longer hold back his own complaints of sexual abuse. It's a novel perspective on the whole mess, worth reading. Among the many...

Around the blogs today by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2003

Here's what's new and interesting on Catholic blogs today: Mark Shea discusses whether Pacific Islander converts should start wearing clothes, notes Hollywood's destruction of the works of Dr. Seuss, and has suspicions about a lawyer who defended a diocese...

Update on Talking about Touching by Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2003

Here's some news about the status of Talking about Touching in Boston. Archbishop Sean O'Malley has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Richard Malone to form a committee to review the program, a committee that will include opponents and proponents of the program. Eight meetings have been scheduled,...

Touching a Nerve by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2003

Seven years ago (November 1996) Norman Podhoretz wrote an essay in Commentary titled "How the Gay Rights Movement Won." His analysis was spot on target then, and subsequent developments have only confirmed it. The final two paragraphs constitute a gesture of defiance of a sort that is fast...

from the Strange New Respect Dept. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2003

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has developed a sudden interest in the poor of the outback of El Salvador and Guatemala. Because he's fascinated by water purification? By problems of debt relief? By new methods of rural literacy education? Nope. What's important is that he's found...

THE CORNFLAKES DISPENSATION by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2003

Elsewhere I have written about the lovely Blessed Sacrament Parish in Dallas, TX., an inner-city parish ably shepherded by Fr Paul Weinberger. Journalst Rod Dreher wrote movingly of his first visit to Blessed Sacrament, an account I included in an article on the Liturgy. By coincidence I just...

VISITING BLESSED SACRAMENT CHURCH, Dallas TX by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2003

Interesting; I checked the link to the account Rod Dreher wrote of his visit to Blessed Sacrament Church in Dallas, and where it had worked, it doesn't -- and there's no reason not to post the text here: ________________________ “Just got in a few minutes ago from Dallas, where we were...

OF CANONS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES by Fr. Wilson in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2003

"...in order that the mutual relations of the Faithful may be regulated according to justice based on charity, with the rights of individuals guaranteed and well defined..." -Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution "Sacrae Disciplinae Leges," promulgating the new Code of Canon Law. On...

from the archives by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2003

And now Bill Clinton has announced, through his gay-liaison office, that he is "personally opposed" to homosexual marriage. This phraseology, a staple of the abortion debate, is a reminder not to let our premises stand in the way of our conclusions. Florence King, National Review June 3,...

Keepers of the flame by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2003

The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell has some mordant commentary on journalists' waving their pom-poms while pretending to report on the gay marriage decision: Predictably, our national media greeted the news with their usual hosannas for the homosexual revolution. Newspapers everywhere...

Clerical Depravity in Maine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2003

Two months ago the newly appointed Bishop of Norwich, CT, Michael Cote, took some flak because, when he was auxiliary bishop of Portland, ME, he returned Fr. John Harris to ministry after Harris admitted operating the pornographic St. Sebastian's Angels website and, moreover, kept Harris in a...

First Steps in Pastoral Restoration by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2003

The scandal concerning the Diocese of Portland discussed below ought to be shocking to Catholics, and that for two reasons: first, on account of the staggeringly depraved crimes of the priests involved -- of which their abuse of the sacrament of confession is far and away the most serious;...

newspeak by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2003

Today's New York Times carries a profoundly dishonest editorial pretending to "disheartening" misgivings about the future of women's health care occasioned by the debate over partial birth abortion: Abortions always mean ending a potential human life. But most people do not regard terminating a...

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