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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2008

what does it take to find an ACORN? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2008

 Bishop Roger Morin, who chairs the US bishops' committee that oversees the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), has announced an investigation into CCHD funding for the activist group ACORN.  The bishops want to know where their money-- check that, where the money donated by...

playing around by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2008

"I am not in favor of gay marriage," Senator Barack Obama told an MTV audience on November 2. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman." Good. So you'd support Proposition 8 in California, which defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman;...

is you is or is you ain't? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2008

When Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby warned that he was nearly ready to take canonical action against the radical leaders of St. Mary's parish, the Canberra Times quoted Bishop Pat Power, a famously liberal Canberra auxiliary, expressing sympathy for the parishioners. The question here seems...

out with a whimper by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2008

  The retired Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, has recently issued a book in which he is interviewed by a German journalist on matters of topical and religious concern.  Sandro Magister, in reviewing the work, rehearses Martini's cagey dissent from Church teaching on...

What's wrong with Catholic voters? What's wrong with Catholics? by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 5, 2008

Yesterday, according to the exit polls, between 53 and 54% of American Catholic voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama, despite the Democratic candidate's enthusiastic support for unrestricted legal abortion. Nationwide, Protestant voters supported John McCain, by a solid 54- 45% margin....

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 5, 2008

I spent a very long time today working up a blog entry which purported to prove from government statistics that one adult woman out of every three has not had an abortion. I still have a deep suspicion of that figure, which has been used repeatedly by both pro-abortion and pro-life...

the gravitational power of the moon by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2008

 California's attorney general Jerry Brown-- that proud product of Jesuit training who, during his earlier tenure in a higher office, was aptly dubbed "Governor Moonbeam"-- has announced that he will defend Proposition 8 against legal challenges. Proposition 8 defines marriage as a...

now all things are possible by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2008

 The Holy Spirit will no doubt be pleased to learn that, thanks to the achievements of Barack Obama, He may now be able to arrange the election of an African...

staying 'on message' by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2008

Father Larry Snyder, the head of Catholic Charities USA, has sent his "sincere congratulations!" to Barack Obama on his electoral success, thereby reminding the president-elect that Catholic Charities, which receives most of its support from Uncle Sam, could always use a few more federal...

fair and balanced by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2008

Writing on religion for the Washington Post (which, by the way, is like writing on rock music for the Christian Science Monitor, but never mind that), Father Tom Reese surveys the election results, with the solemn air of a serious young man who would stroke his beard if he could manage to grow...

the nadir campaign by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 7, 2008

Which American bishop delivered the best single message on Catholic voters' responsibilities? Archbishop Chaput would be a contender, certainly. And Bishop Finn. And the Dallas duo. Actually it's a tough call. Thank God for that. Now which bishop delivered the single worst message? That's an...

Discouragement and Faith by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 7, 2008

An impressively large number of people around the country prayed hard for the election of pro-life candidates on November 4th. Not only were there vast numbers of people praying privately, but there were innumerable publicly-announced prayer gatherings, novenas, chaplets, rosaries, holy hours and...

to teach, to govern... or to duck? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2008

Did you really think that the US bishops' conference was going to behave responsibly? What touching naivete! In the heat of the presidential campaign, with bishops issuing contradictory statements on the responsibilities of Catholic voters and politicians, the USCCB announced that the bishops...

...on again by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2008

 Was it just a trial balloon we saw floated by Religion News Service last Friday? Or did the panjandrums of the USCCB really believe they could avoid a discussion of the US bishops' public stand on the politics of abortion? We might never know for sure. But apparently your Uncle Di was...

The Women Who Have Abortions, and the Love They Need by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 10, 2008

The November/December issue of Envoy Magazine includes an article by Jane Brennan, entitled “How Could She Do That?”, about what motivates a woman to have an abortion. Jane herself had two abortions, worked with Planned Parenthood, and helped her sister get an abortion before she...

black magic woman by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2008

 The Call to Action conference in Milwaukee this past weekend was a joyous occasion, Father John Dear tells us. Obama was the president-elect and things looked good for the Catholic Left. Although to be fair, there was "a general agreement that, the election notwithstanding, our...

incoherence by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2008

 If Joe Biden plans to visit Pensacola, Florida anytime soon, he knows that the bishop there questions his fitness to receive Communion. But in his own home diocese of Wilmington the vice-president-elect has no such problem; Bishop Malooly doesn't "want to alienate people." The...

Government activism: from the ward bosses to FDR... to Obama? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 12, 2008

 Fifty years ago today James Michael Curley died, and the curtain fell on one of the most fascinating lives in American political history. For all his faults Curley-- who was Mayor of Boston, US Representative, and Governor of Massachusetts during his long checkered career-- was the...

what we have here is a failure to communicate by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2008

At their annual meeting this week, the US bishops elected Bishop Gabino Zavala-- of "we're not a one-issue church" fame-- to chair their communications committee. He was chosen over Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, author of one of the strongest episcopal statements about the...

how quaint by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 12, 2008

 In Boston, a town once famous for its Puritan ethos, an innovative dating service is customizing its appeal to married people considering adultery. "Life is short, have an affair," read the ads. The Boston Herald notes with a smirk that the agency is "unfazed by a quaint state...

personnel is policy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2008

Julia Duin, who covers religion for the Washington Times, has been covering the meetings of the US bishops' conference for years, and has learned how to spot trends in the bishops' thinking: One thing reporters have learned to look for is who wins or loses yearly elections as chairman of a...

Advertising and the Politics of Hysteria by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 13, 2008

The November 17th issue of Newsweek—the one with the Peanuts-like picture of President-Elect Obama smiling from the cover, giving the illusion of a big head on a tiny body—is devoted to a description and analysis of the campaigns of both candidates. It is an interesting wrap-up, though...

"very selective" by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 14, 2008

 Let's not be judgmental. They were young and needed the money. It's not as if they were Benedictines, after all. Boston College has cut a licensing deal with Victoria's Secret to market its logo on various delicate hand-washables. From the Boston Herald: Boston...

Has scandal become impossible? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 14, 2008

Writing on his blog as he traveled home from the US bishops' conference, Bishop Robert Lynch reported that he and most other American bishops do not think it is proper to deny the Eucharist to a pro-abortion politician (although the bishop, tellingly, uses the politicians' own preferred term,...

Modern Knowledge by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 14, 2008

In these modern times, knowing things is paradoxically very difficult. Whether in the university, on the street or within families, we find ourselves divided between absolutists and relativists, conservatives and liberals, believers and atheists, creationists and evolutionists, poets and...

about face by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 15, 2008

 When Father Scott Newman instructed his parishioners that they should make a good Confession before receiving Communion if they had voted for a pro-abortion candidate, he received both kudos and criticism. The most pointed criticism came from the administrator of the diocese, Msgr. Martin...

oh here's a surprise by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2008

The Washington Post has discovered a member of the Kennedy family who favors legal abortion, and is willing to talk about it.  In other news, Warren Buffett has revealed that he is active in the stock...

bad moon rising by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2008

For the 2nd time in just over a year-- or should I say barely over a year-- a Catholic priest is in legal trouble for appearing naked in public. Is this the beginning of an ominous trend? And if it is, who should be more concerned: the naturists who see an unacceptable government restraint on...

unprofessional by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 17, 2008

So here's the next move in the culture wars, an editorial cloud no bigger than a man's suspiciously well-groomed hand.  The Los Angeles Times has an editorial deploring the Holy See's newly-issued Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the...

Religious illiteracy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 17, 2008

 A tabernacle has been stolen from a church in Hialeah, Florida. That story is frightening, particularly when one considers the possible motives of those responsible for the theft. Archbishop John Favalora is right to ask the faithful to pray for the return of the Blessed Sacrament, and we...

No Communion for Obama Supporters? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 17, 2008

Fr. Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, SC, told his parishioners in the parish bulletin for November 9th that they must not present themselves for communion if they voted for Barack Obama, until they repent of their sin. After making a direct reference to...

The shameful betrayal of a courageous pastor by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 17, 2008

St. Mary's church in Greenville, South Carolina, is a model Catholic parish, with an outstanding young pastor. The liturgy is beautiful and reverent; the religious instruction is meticulous and orthodox; the lay people are numerous and active. There is a busy school (run by the Nashville...

you can't be any poorer than dead by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2008

Catholic shills for the Democratic Party enjoyed some success this year in publicizing the claim that abortions declined in the Clinton years because increased disbursements to social services allowed pregnant women to keep their babies instead of aborting them, whence we were to believe that the...

the march of history by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2008

A) Not so very long ago, some American states refused to recognize a marriage if the spouses were of different racial backgrounds. Today we all deplore that benighted attitude, and recognize the loving unions of racially mixed couples. B) Not so very long ago, many American states refused to...

Stem-cell breakthroughs we all can welcome by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 19, 2008

 Another medical miracle has taken place, thanks to stem-cell research. Doctors in Spain report the successful transplant of a tailor-made trachea. The organ came from a donor, but was treated with stem cells taken from the woman who received it. Thanks to that treatment, the surgeon...

if a hate crime takes place in a forest, and nobody hears it,... by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2008

In San Francisco's Castro district, a handful of homosexual activists were peacefully chanting slogans when they were set upon by a mob of angry fundamentalist Christians, who surrounded and hounded them, shouting obscenities and threatening to kill them. One woman was thrown to the ground and...

Some are more equal than others by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 20, 2008

The California supreme court, which unilaterally amended the state's constitution by inventing a "right" to same-sex marriage, has now agreed to decide whether the people of California can amend the constitution, following the legally prescribed procedure, to undo the court's...

hush, hush by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2008

Milwaukee's former archbishop Rembert Weakland raised eyebrows in 2002 when it was revealed the archdiocese paid off his lover Paul Marcoux in order to buy his silence.  A deposition taken last June, and now released, shows that Weakland was convinced Marcoux was blackmailing him if he...

Now and Tomorrow: The Universal Destination of Goods by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 21, 2008

Most Americans are fairly affluent. Most Catholics—at least those who take their Faith seriously—worry about this from time to time. If properly directed, such worry is very healthy. We weren’t created to feather our own nests, and if we expend too much of our time and resources on feathering, it...

How American bishops could respond to FOCA by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 24, 2008

 President-elect Obama has given his unequivocal support to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and with strong Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, this bill-- easily the most extreme pro-abortion proposal ever considered in Washington-- could soon be barreling down the...

Revelation Sheds Light on Natural Law by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 24, 2008

In a brilliant article in the November issue of First Things entitled “Natural Law Revealed”, J. Budziszewski explains why Revelation makes it so much easier for people to understand the natural law. One might think that since the natural law is, well, natural, we would not need any...

What the media don't notice by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 25, 2008

 The American Papist blog, which is always worth checking, notes the Pew Forum report on the under-reporting of religious affairs during the presidential campaign. "No kidding," The Papist drily observes. Then, noticing how little attention was paid (outside the Catholic...

top of the season by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2008

Re-heated for Thanksgiving, some pro patria perspective from the "misfit unassimilated foreigner" Mark Steyn:  Americans aren't novelty junkies on the important things. "The New World" is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on earth, to a degree "the...

If the polar icecap melts, will the common ground survive? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 28, 2008

 Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists.  Leading representatives of all the world's major faiths have gathered for a conference to address a topic they all consider urgent-- a topic which, they all agree, religious leaders must address. What is that topic? - Terrorism...

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