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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2007

you shouldn't have by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2007

The tradition of in-yo-face gift exchange continues at the Vatican. Sometimes, however, kindly fate intervenes and the planned calamity is averted. CNS's Cindy Wooden reports on a Paraguayan misdirection play gone awry: When a head of state meets the pope at the Vatican, the encounter unfolds...

making ends meet by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2007

Let no one claim Catholic educators have lost their knack for celebrating diversity, or their innovative spirit in supplementing tuition-based income. Kentucky Catholics know better. The principal of a Catholic high school in Bardstown received a citation from Louisville Metro Police on...

Favorite Targets? Anti-Abortion Arson by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 2, 2007

As part of its coverage of the recent widespread fires in southern California, Newsweek explored the larger problem of arson (“The Scorched-Earth Obsession”, November 5, 2007). The article notes that some arsonists are politically motivated, reporting that “abortion clinics are favorite...

home again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2007

Hillary Clinton visited her alma mater yesterday to let her 40-year-old feminism out for a romp in safe territory, and to soak up a little adoration in the process. This being one of the few occasions where she can relate to her audience viscerally and intuitively, we're treated to relatively...

just the facts, ma'am by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2007

Cherie Blair, the dismayingly ditzy wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, gave voice last week to some not-especially-penetrating insights into the ignominy of the full-face veil as worn by Muslim women: "... if you get to the stage where a woman is not able to express her personality because...

in the din of the present by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2007

Earlier this year I called attention to R.R. Reno's excellent remarks on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Allen Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Reno was mainly concerned how the changes Bloom described had affected university life. In the current New...

battles old & new by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2007

Great remarks by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver given at St. John's University Law School in Queens. Take a glance at the excerpts below, and consider the impact they'd have were they delivered by an Archbishop Niederauer or a Cardinal Mahony: As this audience already knows, Christian...

crimes of the heart by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2007

Today, from Indiana, come two news stories pertinent to hate-crimes legislation. The first concerns a noose found on the campus of Indiana State University: Indiana State University President Lloyd Benjamin is promising to help students upset by the discovery of a rope resembling a noose in a...

Another Chance for the Missal by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 5, 2007

Bishop Arthur Roche, Chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, has submitted a new translation of the Roman Missal to the English-speaking episcopal conferences for review and comment. The promulgation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal in 2002 occasioned...

Abortion, Tradition and Idol Worship by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 6, 2007

There is a great deal to comment on today. For example, New Jersey just passed a law which forces pharmacists to fill prescriptions for abortifacient drugs whether it violates their consciences or not. One wonders why the State can’t leave people free to determine what sorts of trade they wish to...

the gladsome glendon nomination by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2007

Now this is going to be interesting. Bush announced he'll pick Mary Ann Glendon as his rep to the Holy See. The Globe/AP story reporting the nomination wastes no time making sure she's properly tagged: President Bush plans to nominate Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon to be...

homecoming by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2007

Amy Welborn) links an interesting series of posts by Will Duquette relating his Catholic childhood, Anglican young adulthood, and recent "reversion" to the Catholic Church. The crisis that resulted in his return to the Church (and in his wife's conversion) had its beginnings in the Gene Robinson...

Onan's common ground by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2007

Lisa Sowle Cahill, the noted Boston College professor and former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, has graciously offered instruction to the US bishops on the proper approach to election-year debates. ...the bishops can help foster a more civil and productive dialogue...

if you can't be good, be careful by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2007

"Since they're going to do it anyway, they might as well do it safely." You might not be edified by that argument, but you shouldn't be surprised. It is, essentially, the argument for the distribution of condoms to teenagers, or clean syringes to drug addicts. You can hear similar arguments...

Opposition to the Death Penalty by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 9, 2007

On November 2nd the Community of Sant’Egidio and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty delivered a petition to the United Nations calling for an end to capital punishment. The petition was signed by five million people from 154 countries. Opposition to the death penalty has been growing...

bait and switch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2007

Yes, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is coming, and on the Sunday before the feast, Catholic Americans will be asked once more to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the bishops' project to change the world through citizen activism. Well, that isn't...

The Objectivity of Death by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 9, 2007

Sponsoring a successful bill requiring New Jersey pharmacists to dispense abortifacient pills even if it violates their consciences, State Senator Joseph Vitale explained that while he respects individual conscience, it “should not come into play when subjective beliefs conflict with objective...

what can a bishop do? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2007

Having given fair warning to the women who are planning an "ordination" ceremony this weekend, Archbishop Burke is now doing his best to preserve the faithful of the St. Louis archdiocese from the confusion that event will cause. Maybe a deft editor could improve on the archbishop's...

Paprocki's Science of Right by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2007

The Chicago Tribune reports on a Red Mass sermon by Chicago Bishop Thomas Paprocki concerning the legal attacks leveled at the Church since the Boston massacre was reported in 2002.  Bishop Tom sees the recent legal attacks as two-pronged:  "The settlement or award of civil damages (for...

another argument for monarchy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2007

This is what's known in diplomatic circles as a "frank exchange:" Spanish King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, angrily turned to Chavez and said, "Why don't you shut...

the vote to watch by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2007

The US bishops hold their annual meeting in Baltimore this coming week, with a few interesting items on the agenda. There will be an open discussion about the bishop's role in political debates; that promises to be lively and revealing. There will be a new report from John Jay researchers on the...

no offense by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2007

"We have all been enlightened." Remember those words uttered by the then-president of the US bishops' conference, addressing the sex-abuse crisis? Now, 5+ years after the Dallas meeting, we keep getting reminders as to just how much enlightenment has been achieved. Consider, for example,...

journalists without [bleep] detectors by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2007

Suppose you picked up your morning newspaper, and read that the local softball team, sponsored by Ken's Transmission Specialists, had won the World Series. "That doesn't seem right," you might say to yourself. The boys from Ken's are as good as any nine men when it comes to pounding the...

strange choice, strange timing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2007

Last week syndicated political columnist Robert Novak called attention to a spectacular blunder by GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who declared in a nationally televised interview that women should not be jailed for seeking abortion. Novak argued that Thompson-- who should have been...

The Mass and the Dominicans in Holland by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 12, 2007

The Augustinians and the Dominicans in The Netherlands have publicly gone off the rails. For some time, do-it-yourself liturgies have been performed each Sunday at the Augustinian Church in Nijmegen, where Protestant and Catholic laity jointly celebrate “mass” without the benefit of a priest. Now...

the hub of the universe by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2007

Pope will bypass Boston in US visit That's the headline on the Boston Globe story. It's accurate, as far as it goes. But here's a bit of perspective that might have escaped readers in Boston: The Pope will also "bypass" Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Brunswick, Hartford, Dubuque, Peoria,...

discount harlotry by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2007

God help us, the media advantages built-in to being a Lefty. Check out this AFP story on Hugo Chavez: Chavez on Tuesday defended his proposed controversial constitutional reforms that will be voted on in a December 2 referendum, saying that they aim to "give more power to the people." The...

free at last! by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2007

Mark Steyn notes the almost gleeful death-wish exhibited by the liberal christianities he collectively labels The Church of the Flavoured Condom: The other day, I spotted a small news item about the United Church of Canada -- ie, northern Congregationalists. Between 1961 and 2001, the country's...

in the spirit of civility by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2007

How do you know the right team is starting to score points? When someone issues an appeal for a kinder, gentler sportsmanship: Charging that the debate leading up to the 2008 elections "is increasingly filled with attacks on private conduct and recriminations," a group of prominent lay...

and waiting on deck,.... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2007

Let's get acquainted with the new vice-president of the US bishops' conference, since the odds are overwhelming that in another 3 years, he'll be elected president. Bishop Gerald Kicanas now heads the Tucson, Arizona diocese. But he's a native of Chicago: another product of the powerful...

The Breeze Freshens at the Vatican by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 14, 2007

Is a new wind blowing through Rome? Vatican officials suddenly seem to be speaking out against the abuses and deficiencies which have been so characteristic of Catholic life over the past generation. In short order, we have two cases in point. First, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine...

Conscientious Objection by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 15, 2007

The Pope’s recommendation that pharmacists exercise conscientious objection to avoid dispensing abortifacient drugs has struck a chord in several quarters, not least among Catholic pharmacists themselves and in an organization devoted to the social teachings of the Church. Pietro Uroda, the...

border crossing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2007

Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O'Malley said, "I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I'm concerned." At first glance Cardinal O'Malley's words to the Globe look promising. But on...

the bad news is you got the death penalty by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2007

The good news is that the sentence was handed down in writing: A Missouri surgeon who participated in dozens of state executions until he was barred by a federal judge concerned by his dyslexia and lack of expertise is aiding in federal executions, court records show. What -- the federal...

the gang that couldn't shoot straight by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2007

The hits just keep on coming for the hapless Boston archdiocese. The latest is a report on how poorly archdiocesan officials handled the sale of parishes that were closed. The highlight (or lowlight, if you prefer): a case in which a quick-witted investor bought a parish plant from the...

sanitized for your protection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2007

At the First Things blog, Patricia Snow has some thoughtful remarks on a Virtus workshop she attended called "Protecting God's Children for Adults," created by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group (an infelicitously named enterprise if ever there was such). A husband and wife facilitation...

The High Cost of Political Civility by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 16, 2007

Catholic World News chief Phil Lawler led the way for Trinity Communications in disagreeing with “A Catholic Call to Observe Civility in Political Debate”. When he reported the release of this statement by the Catholic Civility Project on November 7th, Lawler immediately editorialized...

this just in by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2007

America Magazine features an interview with Jesuit Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach: Q.: As general, what changes have you seen in the Society? Kolvenbach: Quoting the Holy Father, I would say that the Society of Jesus has become more spiritual, more ecclesial and more apostolic. Well...

gene drops the big one by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2007

In the lefty U.K. Guardian, columnist Andrew Brown laments the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury has failed in his attempt to keep the language of controversy cloudy enough to avert schism. He hankers after those bygone days when liberal ecclesiocrats were not subject to interrogation by...

can't wait by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2007

Won't it be great when government-funded universal health care finally arrives? On that glorious day, the folks who run the post office and the license bureau will bring the caring professions within the reach of...

The Politics of the Death Penalty by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 19, 2007

I don’t mean to harp on it, but the politics of capital punishment is interesting. Although the United Nations’ recent vote in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty was warmly welcomed by Renato Cardinal Martino (who had worked for some years unsuccessfully toward that end), it came only...

transformed by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2007

A story in the UK Telegraph assesses the wobbly standing of women priests in the Church of England, and obliquely suggests that the promised Pentecost (i.e., the gush of spiritual gifts consequent on admitting women to the altar) has never arrived: Supporters of women priests predicted that...

we're really good on the justice part by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2007

Clueless in Seattle: Jesuit Father Patrick Howell, Seattle University's vice president for Mission and Ministry and chair of the university's Catholic Character task force, said that Thursday's lecture was one component of a larger effort on the part of the university to strengthen its Catholic...

Can Faith and Reason Work Together? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 20, 2007

A recent Zenit news story was entitled “Faith and Reason Can Be Friends”. It was perhaps an unfortunate title, reminiscent more of Sesame Street than of the Catholic tradition, but it was based on a papal talk and raises a valid question. What is the relationship between faith and reason for...

a born-again koan by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2007

Much as I sympathize with him, and commend his practical political insight, I question how the Dalai Lama can choose his own successor. Sure, it makes sense for him to make the choice, rather than leave the decision in the hands of unsympathetic Communist bureaucrats in Beijing. Smart move....

hard science by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2007

Unrelated stories from unrelated sources from which a single moral can be drawn: in the first, William Saletan in Slate tip-toes around the explosive issue of heredity vs. environment in accounting for the racial disparity in measured intelligence. The current favorite alternative to a genetic...

magistra, si? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2007

From Maryland comes yet another while-you-weren't-paying-attention story about Catholic priests who just happen to be women. You don't need to read it (by now you could probably write it yourself), but the lede raises an interesting point: Priest Andrea Johnson of Annapolis, dressed in a white...

mordor incorporated by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2007

It seldom hurts to pay attention to what the opposition are up to. The Catholics for a Free Choice website provides us with a lengthy study of pro-life-ish tendencies within the progressive movement in general and the Democratic Party in particular, with a particular focus on Catholic...

best practices, personnel division by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2007

Better late than never. The Vatican's adoption of a system of merit pay is welcome, even if it comes a few generations after the same system became prevalent in the capitalist world. It's a bit harder to take, however, when the official Vatican announcement of the new policy trumpets the change...

a gift received by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 22, 2007

Many thanks to Rich Leonardi, for alerting us to this excellent Touchstone article by Anthony Esolen in which he reflects on life with his autistic son Davey. A brief excerpt: Emotional detachment? Never have I met a child less able than Davey to understand, at a glance or after an hour of...

happy birthdays by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2007

Remember the derisive chuckles that greeted a Vatican document that included traffic-safety tips, released in June by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and signed by that group's president, Cardinal Renato Martino? Do you recall how the same Cardinal Martino expressed sympathy for Saddam...

deprived by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2007

Progressive Australian Catholics gathered in Melbourne this week to deplore the shortage of priests: "We are not dissidents. We want to support the bishops," Mr [Paul] Collins said. "We think about 28 of the 42 Australian bishops are pastoral bishops. They are concerned that many Catholics,...

the legacy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2007

This is the feast day of Blessed Miguel Pro, a Mexican Jesuit martyred by a firing squad 80 years ago today in Mexico City. The President, a fiercely anti-Catholic Leftist named Plutarco Calles, famously blundered by publishing photographs of Pro's execution to serve as a deterrent to...

back at it by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2007

Remember the egregious Dale Fushek, Life-Teen founder, sometime Vicar General to Phoenix fee-nom Bishop Thomas O'Brien, known to the local cops as Dale Evans and known to have navigational

once the real work is over by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2007

U.S. presidential candidates, regardless of their heathendom, know they have to feign interest in religion to get elected, and typically hire consultants to coach them in the finer points of Christian doctrine, such as which half of the Bible the New Testament is found in. Europe is stuck in the...

an entirely respectable hatred by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2007

This rankles. The AFP photo above, taken from the BBC website, shows Soviet cartoonist Boris Efimov (sometimes transliterated Yefimov) reviewing a retrospective of his drawings in commemoration of his 107th birthday. A nostalgic occasion? It shouldn't be. Efimov was a classic Stalinist...

as abominations go, it's très chic by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2007

A lesbian Lutheran pastor in the Bronx is working to move her congregation beyond sola Scriptura: And a few members of Pastor [Katrina] Foster's church say they still are struggling with the passage in the Bible that many consider a prohibition on homosexuality: "Thou shalt not lie with...

vibes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2007

I can offer you the Nashville Dominican Postulants ... Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post has a patronizing yet grudgingly positive article on the Nashville Dominicans, who are opening a high school in the Arlington Diocese. The piece is framed, somewhat facetiously, along the lines of...

the monochrome rainbow by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2007

Harvey Mansfield famously wrote that, for his colleagues at Harvard, the term "diversity" meant "a fellow Leftist in a skirt." Mark Steyn remarks on the paradoxical distribution of diversity among the presidential candidates: As National Review's Jonah Goldberg pointed out, the mainstream...

what might have been by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2007

The mid-1960s were a time in which many traditional authority figures suffered a massive moral collapse. Accustomed to having their directives followed without question, and psychologically unprepared for widespread disobedience, they crumpled under the pressures brought by fractious and newly...

the open mike by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2007

An article in USA Today touches on blogging among believing Christians, and remarks on the frequently combative nature of the posts: "For Christ's sake, stop!" declared the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Frank Page, pleading for civility in the Baptist...

Scandal and the Catholic Publicist by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 27, 2007

I had a very interesting and worthwhile exchange with a priest concerning my blog entry about questionable Eucharistic theology in Holland (to which, out of respect for my correspondent, I will not link again here). The problem he posed was essentially this: How do I square the public criticism of...

weep a new church into being by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2007

The U.S. Catholic leaves no stone unturned in its effort to make us all liberal Protestants on the 1970s model. This month, the rocks turned over were in those "vibrant" churches of Holland and Austria. Guess what they found moving underneath? Though he is now quite elderly, Schillebeeckx's...

et tutu, brutute? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2007

Archbishop Desmond Tutu "declares himself ashamed that, on the 'long journey from Calvary to Lambeth', the Church [of England] has become homophobic" -- An article in the Church Times tells us so. And the BBC's former South Africa correspondent explains why the Archbishop is deserving of our...

into leather by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2007

From Britain comes a holiday season gift suggestion in quiet good taste. A book bound in the skin of an executed Jesuit priest was to be auctioned in England. The macabre, 17th-century book tells the story of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot and is covered in the hide of Father Henry Garnet. The...

tagged by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2007

An unsympathetic critic of blogs has referred to blogging as a sort of "high tech graffiti." While the comparison clearly wasn't intended as a compliment, it should be acknowledged that, like blogging, graffiti is not uniformly violent and uncouth. Most, of course, is. And always was. A...

How Not to Form Consciences for Faithful Citizenship by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 29, 2007

I’ve finally plowed through what we might call the U.S. Bishops’ quadrennial voting manifesto, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, released at their November 2007 meeting. Never has a document been so technically correct yet so utterly confusing. As a piece of practical voting advice,...

when less is more by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 29, 2007

"Number of Jesuits Declines, Identity Increases" says the headline of a piece in the Fairfield University newspaper. How do they work that trick? By inverting the meaning of "identity." Writer Peter Zysk found that between 2002 and 2005, the percentage of Jesuit faculty...

stakes, and mistakes by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2007

"Have you plunged forceps into your kid today?" asks a T-shirt Jeff Miller would fain submit to Planned Parenthood's campaign contest. The more thoroughly we plan our parenthood, the more leeway we allow ourselves in tidying-up remaining vexations. Still, the best-laid schemes of mice and mums...

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