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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2005

Dowd on Dowd by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2005

One of the signature slogans of modern-era feminism was "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Women's lib meant not just emancipation from masculine values and male-imposed roles, but a radical declaration of independence from men themselves. The 1970s movement feminists must be...

Alito in the ring by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2005

Sanguine (too sanguine?) predictions from David Frum: 1) Dems don't have the votes to stop [Alito]. To make an effective fight, they'll have to filibuster. But it's a little hard to describe circumstances as "extraordinary" -- or to condemn a nominee as somehow extreme or bizarre - when you...

way, way out there by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2005

It's Ex Corde Ecclesiae time, folks. Get your checkbooks out, tear off a check, and write "Santa Clara University" clearly in the payee line. All done? Good. Now read the following AP story: More than 40 Catholic colleges were represented on Saturday at a conference that was billed as the...

the good catholic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 1, 2005

It is the right of all of Christ's faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that...

a very simple woman by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2005

NCR contributor Peg Helminski gets a phone call from an African Catholic woman, agitated by a report that the Catholic Church was about to ordain women, and asking Helminski for reassurance that it wasn't so. Helminski sees a clash of cultures. In reality, there's a clash of faith: "Abena," I...

Principled Catholic Social Action by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 2, 2005

I’ve now written two articles on Catholic social principles, and no doubt to many of you it sounded like theory for persons, but left out personal activity. Many are frustrated at the fact that I’ve left out all the “solid stuff”. Basically, I’ve committed the sin of...

under false colors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2005

Isn't it about time someone threw an open-field block into the knees of U.S. Catholic? In its faux-folksy, Parade Magazine way, it gets up to as much mischief as America. The standard U.S. Catholic formula is the What Are Half-Catholics Saying About Sin? sociological approach, presenting a...

virtually regular? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2005

The glacier is calving. The Times reports new cracks in the C of E over "valid but irregular" ordinations. A new battle over homosexual clergy erupted in the Church of England yesterday after a South London church imported an African bishop to conduct an ordination service. The ordinations are...

Foregone conclusions by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2005

An editorial in the National Catholic Reporter, welcoming the results of the Synod on the Eucharist, contains this observation: It is gratifying, too, that the synod essentially endorsed the conclusions of the task force led by Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on the question of Catholic...

Kerry gets religion by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2005

A year after his failed bid for the White House, Senator Kerry has rediscovered his faith: As a Christian, as a Catholic, I think hard about those responsibilities that are moral and how you translate them into public life... Good, good. And...? There is not anywhere in the three-year...

A personal message from Phil Lawler by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

Ordinarily when I write to CWN readers, I stick to business: commenting on the news, or pointing out new features on the CWN site. I value my privacy, so I don't often talk about my private life. But now I'm writing about a personal matter, because frankly I could use your help. As you...

continuing Roman Catholic— Anglican dialogue by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

In his latest contribution to constructive ecumenical dialogue, Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson told a crowd of gay activists in London that the teaching of the Catholic Church is "vile." Robinson, the openly gay New Hampshire bishop, is in London making his Anglican colleagues uncomfortable....

seminary doc draft leaked by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

While emptying a wastebasket next to the third-floor photocopier, Nino Ganganelli, night-shift janitor of the Congregation for Catholic Education, discovered a typescript that looks to be the penultimate draft of the notorious Doomsday Doc on seminary admissions, here reproduced. Please do not...

plus ça change by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

Reading the CWN story on how the French bishops have responded to rioting in Muslim neighborhoods, I couldn't help reflecting on how little things have changed in Christendom over the past several centuries. As Pope St. Pius V said after the Battle of Lepanto, the Ottoman Turks were simply...

Laywoman issues statement on bishops’ response to rioting in France by Leila in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

Sue Brown, a homeschooling mother of eight, kicked the dishwasher closed with one foot while she reached down to tie her three-year-old son’s shoe. As she pushed the hair out of her eyes, she exclaimed, “While, as the French bishops put it, ‘recent urbanization, difficulties for young people...

Non serviam? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2005

In a Letter to the Editor published Tuesday by the London Times, the former worldwide head of the Dominican order comments on the likelihood that a new Vatican document will ban homosexuals from seminaries: If it were to contain such a ban, which is highly unlikely, most Catholics, at least in...

Episcopal Rhetoric quiz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2005

Which of the following paragraphs was actually written by an American prelate, about a meeting for priests of his diocese, and which are parodies? We will have some expert guides to bring us through the discussions of this brief period, and I am sure that our liturgies will be filled with life...

Single Issue Politics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 8, 2005

Leading up to election day, I heard again the so-called Catholic argument against single issue politics. This argument states that Catholic voters are not bound by the Church to vote a certain way based on any single issue. Instead, Catholics are obliged to weigh the total potential impact of each...

hey, it's only money by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2005

The LA Times reports that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles may be headed to court after all: After three years of failed settlement talks, a judge Monday placed 44 civil cases accusing the Los Angeles Archdiocese of failing to protect children from sexual abuse on track for trial sometime next...

"to be definitively held ..." by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2005

For today's quiz, compare and contrast: Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has...

Arkes on Dershowitz by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2005

Alan Dershowitz is an accomplished man of the law, but it would be hard to assemble a thicker compilation of mistakes about natural law than he has brought together in this slim book. Hadley Arkes slices up Alan Dershowitz's hat into bite-size pieces and feeds it to him forkful by plastic...

Intelligent Design, anyone? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2005

Last week a curial cardinal encouraged Christians to respect scientific evidence, and dozens of eager journalists pumped out stories. First the headlines said that the Vatican had embraced evolution-- a considerable stretch from Cardinal Poupard's actual words. Then they suggested that the...

Conflict of interest at the National Catholic Reporter? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2005

Back in April of last year, NCR editor Tom Roberts said good-bye to reporter Chuck Colbert: At that time, we talked about the situation and Colbert understood that becoming a public activist on the gay marriage issue would prohibit him from reporting on our pages. Roberts was acknowledging...

Italian paper quotes Doomsday Doc by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2005

Well folks, we lose. Reuters correspondent Phil Pullella points us to an article in today's edition of the Milanese paper Il Giornale, whose author claims to have seen the final version of the seminary instruction -- dated November 4th and signed by Cardinal Grocholewski, he says -- and giving...

the Good News, elucidated by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2005

Few clergymen are better able to reduce thorny theological concepts to their pristine socialist simplicity than Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. What is the reign of God? Well it means our being able to be fully alive as a human person. You know, I guess, if you wanted to put it in specifics, you could...

oops! wrong Klan by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2005

Phil Johnston, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, is outraged. It's not easy for a Democrat to be outraged in Massachusetts, where that party has a stranglehold on the body politic. Sure enough, the source of Johnston's outrage is from out-of-state. In Washington last...

Doom deferred? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2005

While I think the holes in the Holy See's new screen door are big enough for the entire Joffrey Ballet to dance through, I was pleased to see Phil quoted in today's New York Times, giving a more upbeat take on the (presumptive) Instruction: But several experts, some who support and some who...

holy mysteries by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams describes the spiritual transformation he underwent at age 14 after having attended a Russian Orthodox Mass: Dr Williams said: "When I came away, I felt I had seen glory and praise for the first time. I felt I had seen and heard people who were...

Mark Steyn by Leila in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2005

Mark Steyn as always cascades with mind-opening clarity on the situation in France and the world in this week’s Spectator. Every point in his piece, It’s the demography, stupid , materializes what had been a vague ghost of an idea before he gets a hold of it. He strips to the bone equally...

very, very convinced by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2005

Three years ago, a Chicago detective gave a brief character sketch of the late Mary Stachowicz: "She would definitely let you know what her religious beliefs were and would certainly want you to listen and to follow," he said. "As the detectives said from the [statement] that was made, she...

The Times meets the Evangelicals by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2005

It isn't often that Evangelical Christian scholars are quoted in a piece that appears on the front page of the Sunday New York Times Week in Review section. What did they do to command that attention? Oh. They said the Bible is ambiguous about abortion. Talk to Evangelicals at random, and...

threats we can live with by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2005

Rachel Zoll reports that the Doomsday Doc has provoked some of the least shudder-producing threats ever uttered: Anticipating the Vatican pronouncement, some gay priests are discussing collectively staying away from pulpits on a Sunday to show how much the church relies on them. Other priests...

executive session by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2005

The U.S. bishops plan to conduct much of their November meeting in sessions from which the media are excluded. The 275 bishops need time away from live television coverage to build relationships, said Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh. Post-meeting evaluations have shown that closed sessions...

where credit is due by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2005

The US bishops' conference has called for an end to the use of the death penalty in America. You may agree with the bishops on this issue, or you may disagree. And that's just the point. Many liberal politicians have used the bishops' position on capital punishment for leverage, saying...

score one by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2005

The seminary rector for the Rockville Centre, NY diocese, Msgr. Francis Schneider, has abruptly resigned, citing "personal reasons." The resignation came shortly after the seminary was visited by an inspection team, as part of the nationwide visitation of American seminaries. A spokesman for...

dialogue in the void by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2005

We seek a dialogue between Church leadership and gay/lesbian ordained and professed clergy and religious for the purpose of mutual understanding and respect and the furtherance of ministry to all members of the Church. Thus the "about us" section of a web site run by a group with the curious...

pot, meet kettle by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2005

The news story might have read like this: FBI officials got the "runaround" from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops when they wanted to know what the bishops' plans were for helping to curb sexual abuse, said the head of the FBI task force.... Even after several conference calls, "the...

goodbye to all that by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2005

Valerie Lyvers "slaps" Eva Timm during a play rehearsal at Adams High School on Monday. SB Tribune photo & caption. Erected on a scaffold of compromises, public education used to honor an unspoken truce regarding religion. When discussion of particular religious practices was...

when is a stand not a stand? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2005

Republican congressman Tom Davis of Virginia is jittery at the prospect that Roe may be reversed, and puts the RNC attitude toward life issues in lapidary form: That's what worries Davis. "It's nice to make a stand" against abortion, he said, when 'it's not a real bullet, it's more...

still a mystery by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2005

Turns out it is rocket science. JUDY VALENTE: Father Robert Silva is president of a national organization of priests. JUDY VALENTE: How can anyone determine with certainty that a man is a homosexual? REV. ROBERT SILVA: You can't, going in and saying, "This man is a homosexual," I just think...

priestly formation in L.A. by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2005

The LA Times has a bruising story on St. John's Camarillo, the seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The grenade graf says "About 10% of St. John's graduates reported to have been ordained in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1950 -- 65 of roughly 625 -- have been accused of molesting...

News from the U. S. Bishops, Whoever They Are by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 18, 2005

Three controversial issues surfaced at the U.S. Bishops’ November meeting in Washington: the death penalty, the rejection of Church teaching by Catholic politicians, and liturgical translations. All three are important; one would also think they are fairly straightforward. Yet the bishops clearly...

two-way traffic ahead by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Roman rep discusses the shift of Anglicans to Roman Catholicism and vice-versa: Bishop John Flack, head of the Anglican Center in Rome, said he meets people moving in both directions, yet the ecumenical dialogue has not explored the implications of their...

sound familiar? by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2005

Today the Catholic News Service reports reports that Pope Benedict XVI will attend the meeting of the Latin American bishops' conference, CELAM, to be held at the Marian shrine of Aparecida, Brazil, in May 2007. Why am I not...

fear of closure & the life of faith by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2005

Amid the falling masonry of a disintegrating communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been pleading for patience with the latest round of theological committee-work. Though sympathetic to the Archbishop's dilemma, Al Kimel at Pontifications pointedly quotes Lutheran Robert Jenson's review of...

still protecting the predators by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2005

A St. Louis priest stands convicted-- note that: not accused but convicted in a court of law-- of "abominable and detestable crimes against nature." He's sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting a child. He's going to jail. But wait! The archdiocese, which ignored the victim's initial...

something about Anna by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2005

Rallying the garrison in the abortion wars , Anna Quindlen lashes out at irrational bickering and asks: why can't we compromise and do it my way? Imagine how it could transform the landscape if somehow abortion were absent from government intervention or interference. Those who believe it is a...

the progress machine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2005

Celebrity saboteur Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, succeeded, in 2003, in breaching the Levitical dam ("If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, he shall gloat upon his bishopric for a twelvemonth on CBS and local affiliates"). Now, with murmurs of...

what crisis? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2005

A pair of pedophile priests in Brazil kept diaries of their molestations and recorded targeting tips on victims, apparently one element in a larger pattern of covered-up clerical abuse. The Italian paper Corriere della Sera relays the gruesome story, originally from a Brazilian news-magazine. John...

Phoenix, from the ashes? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 22, 2005

Lifeteen founder and Diocese of Phoenix priest Dale Fushek was arrested yesterday on ten misdemeanor criminal counts of sexual abuse, including indecent exposure, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and assault. Maricopa County DA Andrew Thomas had harsh words for Fushek and a good word...

Being Catholic the Rest of the Time by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 22, 2005

The feedback we received a couple of months ago on the question of recreational discussion forums led to some serious thinking here at CatholicCulture.org. The result is a new plan to address the issue of how to form Catholic culture during those times when we are not engaged in specifically...

The Instruction Arrives! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2005

Seldom have I been more happy to be wrong. The Doomsday Doc -- in what appears to be its final form -- has been leaked, and contrary to my own dire

rendering thanks by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2005

If you have a queasy stomach, you won't want to read the following near dinnertime. If you have diabetes, you'd better not read it at all. Quarried from that tin mine of 1970s liturgical dreck, The Prayer of the Faithful (New York: Pueblo, 1977), these are petitions to be read at Mass on...

Well then ... well then ... well then ... who's left? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2005

For those who complain that the mainstream media aren't interested in the theology of Mystici Corporis, check out today's New York Times, front page, above the fold: "Unless you get a critical mass of bishops and religious superiors who say, Now we can't admit any gay men, I don't think it's...

what no one else will say by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2005

In a LA Times op-ed, a former priest asks the right question: If you're celibate, as the Catholic Church already requires you to be, then what's the difference if you're gay or straight at heart? The answer is given quite plainly in the Vatican Instruction: Homosexuality is a disorder....

and the beat goes on... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2005

Father Timothy Radcliffe, former worldwide head of the Dominican order, tells readers of The Tablet how they should interpret the Vatican Instruction: I have no doubt that God does call homosexuals to the priesthood, and they are among the most dedicated and impressive priests I have met....And...

Control-C, Control-V by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2005

I've had occasion previously to call attention to New York Times religion reporter Ian Fisher's curious habit of silently helping himself to the work of other journalists. During the World Youth Day in August, he pasted two chunks of John Allen's reportage into his own stories, with only minor...

what Christian charity looks like by Phil Lawler in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2005

While millions of Americans lazily begin working off the calories from a big turkey dinner, as others launch furious assaults on the local shopping malls, the New Orleans Times-Picayune gives this humbling report from a country where things are a bit different: The Kireka slum clings to a stony...

sub-standard medicine by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2005

The Times reports on Britain's latest health-care scandal: survivors. A Government agency is launching an inquiry into doctors' reports that up to 50 babies a year are born alive after botched National Health Service abortions. The investigation, by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and...

smaller things first by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2005

Today's Chicago Trib has one of those novocaine-for-the-conscience articles on "childless by choice" couples. We begin with the personal note. When Tina Roggenkamp and her husband, Mark, decided to keep their marriage free of children they took a lot of things into account.They considered...

Control-X by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2005

New York Times reporter Ian Fisher has written CWN regarding your Uncle Di's contention that he has borrowed the work of other journalists. With respect to the World Youth Day cites, Fisher explains that he and the NCR's John Allen did the controversial interview jointly, and reminds us that the...

gracelessness by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2005

This story ran in the NYT last Thursday. So where do you direct your gratitude on Thanksgiving Day, when you don't believe there's Anyone to thank? If almost half of all Americans say grace in their daily lives, as a Gallup poll found in 1999, that means half do not. So for those who say...

practical steps for liturgical reform by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2005

On the Pontifications blog, Father Jay Scott Newman offers some fine practical advice. If you need to be convinced to read his whole piece, how about this sample: Take Cardinal Mahoney's pastoral letter on the celebration of parochial liturgy and throw it on the fire. Watch it burn. Now go...

armageddon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2005

We can't say we hadn't been warned. Three years ago already, the Episcopal Bishops of Massachusetts predicted the carnage that we are witnessing this very moment. The Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts, in a rare public challenge to the Catholic Church, are warning that a steady stream of...

wearing the uniform by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2005

A Catholic pastor in Arizona has resigned in protest over the Vatican directive on homosexuality in the seminaries. "It's like a Jew wearing a Nazi uniform," Walker said. "I could no longer stay in that institution with any amount of integrity." Since he's 58 years old, Walker has...

reactive by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2005

Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg has some interesting (if badly translated) ideas on why the Doomsday Doc is on target. Slate's William Saletan contends it "exposes the deeply rooted, incorrigible antigay tendencies of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI." USCCB...

instructed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2005

In reporting on the DDD, the BBC picks up on a point made last week by John Allen, viz., that the Instruction might not be promulgated in forma specifica, providing a possible out to those for whom the teaching causes problems. Canon law experts note that [the guidelines] were not issued in...

We Want You to Write for CatholicCulture.org! by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 29, 2005

Some confusion has followed the recent announcement of our plans to develop materials which address Catholic enrichment and leisure-time activities. We intend to begin deploying these materials in the Spring of 2006 in an effort to broaden our Catholic range and make CatholicCulture.org more...

Hope and Serenity Among the Thorns by Peter Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 29, 2005

These days, there is one question that I can’t escape: “Why are you still a Catholic?” Scandal grips the ecclesial hierarchy, and many called to represent the Christian standard at the penultimate level have ceded their moral authority to an immoral majority. Why am I still...

in a nutshell by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2005

Don't miss Terry Mattingly's excellent conspectus of the DDD issues -- and their treatment by the media. And check out his briefer but equally lucid remarks...

backing water and blowing smoke by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2005

A lot of bishops are twisting uneasily on their episcopal thrones today. The newly-released Vatican Instruction excludes from the priesthood men with deeply-rooted homosexual tendencies and, while it does not call for expulsion of homosexuals already ordained, the reasoning on which the document...

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