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Commentary Archive

All Catholic commentary from November 2009

the full-court press by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 2, 2009

So what happened in your church this past weekend? Was there an insert in the parish bulletin from the US bishops' conference, urging you to call your Congressman and encourage opposition to abortion funding in the health-care reform bill? Did the priest mention the matter? Was there any...

The Vatican and Halloween: clarification by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 2, 2009

Last week CWN posted a story about an article that had appeared in L'Osservatore Romano, warning against pagan and occult influences on the celebration of Halloween. Our own short summary of that article in the Vatican newspaper was reasonably accurate. Unfortunately, CWN also linked to a story...

a 'self-described Catholic witch' by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 2, 2009

The Washington Post story recounted a Halloween marriage ceremony, uniting "one self-described Catholic witch and one pagan." If you're like me that phrase made you shudder, wondering what sorts of grotesque liturgical abuses were involved. Relax. The ceremony wasn't held in a Catholic...

Our Very Own Rogues’ Gallery by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 2, 2009

Listen up, people! I need you to bear witness, to share the faith, to inspire your neighbors. Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m not reminding you here of what Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wants you to do. No, this is about something more (well, okay, actually less). I want you to bear...

Society and Marriage: Quid pro Quo by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 2, 2009

The proposed law in the District of Columbia that would require institutions to provide the same treatment to same-sex couples as to married couples is just the latest in an apparently endless series of initiatives to enable same-sex individuals to claim the civil benefits of marriage. At the risk...

'told you so' by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 3, 2009

Back in September the Irish Catholic bishops encouraged the faithful to vote in favor of the Lisbon Treaty, waving aside pro-lifers' concerns by saying that the new charter of the European Union "does not undermine existing legal protections in Ireland for unborn...

Time lags in the news cycles by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 3, 2009

It's a frustrating business to watch the coverage of Catholic issues in the secular media. Every weekday we comb through the headlines, looking for new stories. More often than not we find old stories as well. This week, for example, we're noticing quite a few headline stories in the secular...

protecting children and young people-- from their parents by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 3, 2009

The London Daily Mail tells us that parents in Watford Council are outraged, because they've been told they can't accompany their children to the local playground until they pass a criminal-background check. This remarkable security policy was adopted to protect children from...

Politics and Ethics: Which Comes First? by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 3, 2009

Here’s an interesting conundrum for you: Which comes first, ethics or politics? Instinctively, I think, a Catholic would shout “ethics”. But not so fast. Consider another way of putting the question: Do we want our politics to be wholly determined by our ethical vision, or...

A plea to the Bridgeport diocese: Call off the lawyers by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 3, 2009

Could I make a request to the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut? Please, please: call off the lawyers. This week the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the Bridgeport diocese on a state court's ruling that called for the public release of documents showing how diocesan...

religious illiteracy, Italian style by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2009

Who's the boss at the Vatican?  No, this isn't a trick question. I'm trying to make a point. It's easy. The Pope is the boss. Everyone knows that. Right? Wrong. Check the lede from this news story: Vatican City, November 4 - Pumpkins will be more common than crosses in Italian classrooms...

pledge to heal, promise to protect by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2009

Canadian collector of kiddie-porn and retired Bishop of Antigonish Raymond Lahey has another court date today. This is Chapter Four of … twenty? … twenty-five? in Lahey's serialized tumbling act of painful legal slapstick. Before the jester takes the stage the media bring the...

the full-court press, continued by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 4, 2009

With Tuesday's electoral contests out of the way, politicians in Washington are now free to focus exclusively on the health-care reform proposal. The big vote is coming this week-- Saturday, according to the latest information. Legislators, lobbyists, and commentators are all fixated on that...

Christ’s death, in Italy and Illinois by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 4, 2009

It comes as no surprise that the European Union’s European Court of Human Rights has ruled that crucifixes in Italian schools violate student rights and must be removed. The Italian government will appeal, however, and that at least is a breath of fresh air. When a sign of God’s love for all...

a loss is still a big win for 3rd-party advocates by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 4, 2009

Yesterday was Election Day in many places across America. Although there were no contests in my own district, an election is always exciting to a political junkie like myself. This was certainly no exception. There were several high-profile contests. In Maine, pro-family voters reversed their...

...and she managed it without the Dallas Charter by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 4, 2009

Barbara Kenley runs a stable in South Carolina, and she takes the welfare of her horses seriously. Good for her.  If American bishops had been equally diligent in protecting the children of God, the Church in the US would be about $3 billion richer today.  That's just accounting for...

andrew sullivan's own-goal by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2009

Andrew Sullivan formidably strengthens the case against gay priests. How? By coming to the defense of gay priests. His petulant door-slamming and rhetorical flouncing in response to an imperturbable Church exemplifies that juvenile recklessness she insists is incompatible with the priesthood....

for art's sake by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 5, 2009

When I tell you that Rocco Landesman sees Barack Obama as "the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar," you probably won't be surprised to learn that Rocco Landesman owes his current job-- as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts-- to an appointment by Barack Obama. To be...

Once again, the 'Church' controversy by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 5, 2009

Bear with me, please, through this first sentence: In today’s news we find the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (NAOCTC) criticizing the work of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox...

Speak only the truth by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 5, 2009

Being able to address "the elephant in the room" or "the obvious major hurdle", when no one else wants to do so, is essential for the business consultant.  If the client doesn't want to acknowledge or address the problem, that is its choice. But the consultant does not do...

Randall Terry's tired act by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 6, 2009

On Capitol Hill yesterday a band of pro-life activists invaded the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tore up copies of the health-care reform bill, and generally made a commotion until they were arrested for disorderly conduct. What did they accomplish? Did they slow down progress toward the...

fried by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 6, 2009

Dr. Kirk Smith, the Episcopal Bishop of Arizona, is one seriously ailing hombre. It seems the announcement of a Personal Ordinariate for convert Anglicans splashed some seltzer onto his motherboard. The sparks are pretty before the circuits go (via Chris Johnson): What I think is missing is any...

Back to Nature by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 6, 2009

The other night I was out walking in the November chill. Many of the leaves had fallen, and the crystalline brightness of a full moon leapt through the branches of the surrounding trees. It seems odd to talk of the clarity of night, but here I was in a vast surrounding darkness that was completely...

the powerful new EU: a setback for democracy by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 6, 2009

If France suddenly ceased to exist as an independent state, would that qualify as big news-- a story that belonged on the top of the headlines? Well in a sense that's what happened this week. With the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty on November 3, France-- along with the other 26 nations...

Really, Really Hard Work by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 7, 2009

When I was trying to get my business off the ground, I would work really long hours to make sure that everything got done. For several years, I worked 60-70 hour weeks on average--some weeks more. Thank goodness, since the first year of my marriage I have never had a commute longer than 25 minutes...

gather me out by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 8, 2009

Affective maturity meets spiritual paternity in Pennsylvania: A priest in the Diocese of Scranton has been removed as administrator of three Throop parishes after he inadvertently displayed four photos of what a diocese spokesman called "minimally attired adult males" before the 8 a.m....

the unthinkable by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2009

Its story is headlined Abortion Was at Heart of Wrangling.  The New York Times comes close to tears in its sympathy for Nancy Pelosi's thwarted efforts to insure those darling wee homicides out of the public purse: Her attempts at winning them over had failed, and Ms. Pelosi, the first...

the hobgoblin of a large mind by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 9, 2009

Here's the headline for a news column by Ruth Gledhill, appearing in the Times online for November 9: Vatican holds line on celibacy for Anglican rebels Here's the headline for a blog entry on the same subject, by the same reporter, appearing in the same outlet on the same date:

one battle won; prepare for more by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 9, 2009

The adoption of the Stupak amendment, as the result of tough bargaining on Capitol Hill over health-care reform proposals, was a significant victory for pro-life forces.*  But let's keep things in perspective: it was a victory in one isolated battle, not in the whole campaign. There will be...

The apostolic constitution: a closer look by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 9, 2009

By releasing the full text of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Vatican has given us a much better understanding of Pope Benedict's historic effort to reach out to the Anglican communion. And the official...

A Gem from Newman by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 9, 2009

John Henry Cardinal Newman’s A Grammar of Assent is a systematic exploration of the varying acts of the human intellect which work together to produce assents of various kinds, and ultimately religious assent. Along the way, of course, the reader is treated continuously to...

Out of their depth by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 10, 2009

Was it only last week that I commented on how the secular media tend to lag behind-- by one, two, or more news cycles-- in their coverage of events within the Catholic Church? And that's if they ever get the story right at all. My thanks to the Washington Post for providing a vivid...

dangerous ideas by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 10, 2009

A New York Times report calls our attention to the campaign by Emmanuel Faye, a philosophy professor at the University of Paris, who wants the works of Martin Heidegger removed from the curriculum-- or, at a minimum, tagged with a warning label-- because of Heidegger's sympathy for Nazi...

why stand in the way of true love? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2009

I suppose it's only a matter of time before the Thought Police finally catch up with Amherst Professor Hadley Arkes and drag him off to his dungeon. Before that hour arrives, however, he always has something worthwhile to teach us. This from today's offering at The Catholic Thing: Fathers and...

tell me another by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 10, 2009

Get this. The Chicago Tribune digs up a doc who says the problem with the Stupak-Pitts amendment is -- can you guess? -- its threat to the health of the mother: Dr. Willie Parker, a board member at Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said the amendment could have the greatest effect...

Newswatch by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 10, 2009

The news can, at rare intervals, be rather fun. Catching up on a few back issues of Time, for example, I learned that 77% of Americans don’t think the Federal government’s economic recovery efforts have helped them, but 60% believe that those efforts were necessary to avoid deeper...

well ... we could bake something by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2009

Now here's a lousy idea. Ireland's talented Friar Joe wants to exhibit his artwork as "a visual response to the Ryan Report, a document which revealed widespread abuse in industrial and reformatory schools run by religious orders." No question that the Ryan Report deserves a response --...

Promises, promises by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 11, 2009

Addressing a joint session of Congress to promote his health-care plans, President Obama promised that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” If you think that promise was sincere, you might assume that Obama was grateful to the House of Representatives for passing the...

Nolo contendere by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 11, 2009

In a recent speech Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto addressed the moral responsibilities of bishops who learn about sexual misconduct by their priests or their episcopal colleagues: As for improper behaviour by those already ordained, I and all of us who exercise authority in the Church have...

success redefined by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 11, 2009

Sister Anne Doyle, RSM, is stepping down after a 4-year term as head of Vocations Ireland. She recognizes that the number of religious vocations during those years has not been great-- certainly not in comparison with the numbers a generation ago. The big numbers are over and gone and maybe it...

Prayer, Providence, and Human Events by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 11, 2009

The Community Healthcare Center was one of two abortion clinics operating in Pensacola, Florida until it closed on October 30th. It seems that the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration inspected the business earlier in October and found it had been operating without a license for over a...

how much risk is too much? by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 12, 2009

One of the most difficult issues to address for the Catholic In Business (CIB) is assessing the moral permissibility of assuming more than a certain amount of business risk. All businesses carry a certain amount of risk, but when deciding to pursue a particular business venture, how much is too...

Are our bishops all Republicans?! by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 12, 2009

On the Commentary blog, Eduardo Peñlaver reports that he is uncomfortable with Bishop Tobin's public denunciation of Patrick Kennedy. Bishop Tobin’s attitude towards being Catholic — accept teachings X, Y, and Z, or go to another institution that does not affirm them —...

CWNews & CatholicCulture Emails Inoperable 11/7 - 11/13 by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 12, 2009

LATEST REPORT: As of 10:00 am Saturday November 14th, CatholicCulture-based email seems to be operational again. Affected services included Catholic World News email dispatches, biweekly Insights messages from Jeff Mirus, and messages from users to our editors posted with our Contact form:...

Understanding Islam by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 12, 2009

Fr. James Schall has a fine article in the latest issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review entitled “The Ambiguity of Islam”. It opens with the following quotation: When some fanatics kill children, women, and men in the name of pure and authentic Islam, or in the name of the...

while you were away from your desk by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2009

Credentialed British theologian Nicholas Lash is in a froth about the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus ("Having Waited Too Damn Long Already"). The problem, you see, is that the bishops were not consulted ahead of time. The failure of “Rome” to inform the...

The Bishops at the Cliff: Tobin's Challenge by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 13, 2009

I see three challenges in Bishop Thomas Tobin's public rebuke of Congressman Patrick Kennedy in an open letter on November 12th. With respect to his pro-abortion stance, Kennedy had asserted that “the fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.”...

the limits of laissez faire by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 13, 2009

I once asked a friend who was an observant Jew why his fellow orthodox were not more active in pro-life politics. He answered (making it clear he didn't share the view), "Most have the attitude, Hey, we've got our own house in order; let the goyim go ahead and abort their young if they want...

don't worry; we understand by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 13, 2009

 Father Karl Clemens plans to be married on Saturday. No, he hasn’t left the priesthood for a woman. He’s ‘marrying’ another man, becoming the first Catholic priest to take that particular step away from sanity. "There will be Catholics who feel, because of their...

just one more reason... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 14, 2009

 .... why I'm a proud father....

Customer Attentiveness by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 14, 2009

Many companies want customers to be attentive to them, but fewer want to be truly attentive to their customers. As with many things, this is an area in which business imitates life. Think of the classic story: boy meets girl--a romance begins.  Within the romance, the boy (if he’s...

tell it to the judge by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2009

Tony Alamo, America's most vitriolic anti-Catholic bigot, will be spending the rest of his life in jail (unless he lives to the age of 250), after being sentenced for sexual abuse of children.   Alamo, 75, had denied the charges, claiming they came from a Vatican-led conspiracy against the...

ecclesia supplet by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2009

Former Diocese of Phoenix priest Dale Fushek is the founder of LifeTeen ministries. In 2005 he was charged with ten misdemeanor counts of criminal sexual mischief, which included indecent exposure, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and assault. One of the misdemeanors is alleged to...

a man of the cloth by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 16, 2009

He dumped two wives, two children, and the Catholic Faith, announced to the world he was gay, bailed from the governorship of New Jersey, and moved in with his lover-boy. So what's next for Jim McGreevey? Ministry as an Episcopal priest. The former New Jersey love gov has gone from Turnpike...

The Meaning of Newman’s Grammar of Assent by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 16, 2009

I’m down to the last few pages of John Henry Cardinal Newman’s An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent. Now that the Vatican is preparing to beatify Newman, and since, as I admitted in July in Newman the Writer, Newman the Saint, my failure to read this work lowers my credibility as a...

where are the Maccabees now? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 17, 2009

Listening to the 1st reading at Mass today, I found myself wondering how Eleazar would respond to the argument that although he might be personally opposed to eating pork, he shouldn't object if others enjoyed it. Something tells me Eleazar wouldn't buy...

To excommunicate or not to excommunicate by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 17, 2009

In the Sound Off! comments following my In Depth Analysis, The Bishops at the Cliff: Tobin’s Challenge, most readers express admiration for Bishop Tobin and relief that he is acting with courage to make the demands of the Catholic Faith clear. Two comments, however, express a different point...

hold the applause by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 17, 2009

It's happened again. A priest has strayed from the path of celibacy, discovered love, decided to abandon his vocation, and announced that decision to a stunned congregation.  This time it happened in Ireland, but the response was very similar to what we've often seen in the US: Following...

Archbishop Dolan goes too far by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 18, 2009

In another of its highly meaningful news stories, Zenit reported yesterday that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was well-pleased with the Yankees’ victory in the World Series. He ought to have been, as he won a case of Tasykakes from Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia. But he...

rondeau by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 18, 2009

"I think it's safe to say there is no safer place for children today than in the Catholic Church," said Bishop Blase Cupich of South Dakota, who presented the John Jay researchers to the other 230 bishops.  I think it's safe to say that there is no safer place to say "there is...

Newman’s Final Argument by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 18, 2009

At the risk of boring those who never intend to read the book, I should add one final point concerning The Meaning of Newman’s Grammar of Assent. It is an important point because, once Newman has established how it is that a human person comes to the truth of things, he immediately turns to making...

the bishops as policy analysts by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 18, 2009

What makes Catholic bishops think that they are experts on health care? That question has been asked frequently in recent weeks, mostly by critics of the bishops' efforts to ensure that the health-care reform legislation will not include subsidies for abortion. That portion of the bishops'...

and speaking of middle age... by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 18, 2009

It's no picnic, living through that stage of life that is optimistically termed as "middle age." In my youth I could touch the rim on a regulation basketball court: not bad, for a guy my size. Now when I jump, if you time it just right you can slip a sheet of looseleaf paper under...

see what you get for $1.8 million? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2009

Researchers at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice were unable to find a connection between priests who shave their legs and global climate change: Some Catholic leaders have contended that because 80 percent of the abuse victims were male, the crisis must have been caused by gay...

Europe's elite choose a new president by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 19, 2009

European leaders are meeting today to select a new president for the European Union. They will also choose an EU foreign minister. With the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the 27 member-states of the EU are now formed into a single entity, with a population of nearly 500 million and a...

connection/no connection by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2009

The John Jay report offers a brilliant insight into the background for the sex-abuse scandal: The pattern of deviant sexual behavior by clerics is consistent with several other behavioral changes in society between 1960 and 1990, including use of drugs, and an increase in divorce and criminal...

the ideal escape by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 19, 2009

Over on The Catholic Thing, Father Jim Schall announces: Nine months of the Obama administration have prompted me to flee, not to New Zealand or Argentina, but rather to Blandings Castle. A very sensible way to beat a strategic retreat from a careworn world. Father Schall devotes his column to...

a regrettably unthreatening threat by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 19, 2009

In the wake of the Washington admonition, the Abuse Tracker informs us of an organization that wants to put misbehaving priests -- gay or straight -- back in the news. From the Village Voice: ChurchOuting.org sets out to expose...

it'll be ready for you monday by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2009

In Rome this week for some Kwanzaa shopping and ecumenism, the Archbishop of Canterbury stopped by the Willebrands Symposium to explain that, if you crack a mirror yourself, you never have to worry about its breaking. Take the amusing example, chuckles Dr. Williams, of the ordination of...

help is on the way by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 20, 2009

So you're a diocese whose bishop was arrested with kiddie-pix on his laptop. What's the pastoral response? Obvious. You help your priests get in touch with their feelings. Priests in the diocese of Antigonish had the opportunity to express their feelings about the child pornography charges...

Spiritual Reading: The USCCB on Marriage by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 20, 2009

I’ll admit that the major documents issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have seldom impressed me. Too often they’ve read like they were drafted by a committee striving for the lowest common denominator. Sometimes this has vitiated not only their organization and readability...

Advent on the Way by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 21, 2009

It is getting towards late November, which means that here in Virginia the weather could be sunny with temperatures in the mid 60s, or it could be rainy with temperatures in the upper 40s. As I was coming home from work on a wet, chilly day earlier this week, I was reminded that it isn't just...

Business Relationship Complexity and Communication by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 21, 2009

As with any relationship, consultant/client relationships can be very complex. Here's an example: If I talk to a mid-level manager in a company about a strategic change of direction, I'm not just talking to that person. Through that person, I'm certainly talking to superiors and subordinates....

the cchd collection: possible alternatives by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 21, 2009

This is the weekend of the special collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Skepticism about the CCHD's bait-and-switch rhetoric has been expressed on this site often (go here, or here, or here, or here), on the grounds...

and here's another topic I'm not going to mention by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2009

For a guy who doesn't want any public discussion of his faith, Patches Kennedy sure spends a lot of time in public discussion of his...

the more things change, the more they stay the same by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2009

After meeting with Pope Benedict, and reassuring himself that Nothing Has Changed, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke with Vatican Radio. The interview is revealing in two respects: Few men can say "Hmmm," in response to a reporter's question, as beautifully as Dr. Williams. His tone is...

what the pope absolutely needs to hear by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2009

The Times of London is as concerned about the future of Christianity as the Abbey of Solemnes is concerned about the future of NASCAR racing (the analogy limps in that Solemnes often takes the trouble to inform itself before tumbling into print). Yet once or twice a year, when one of its liberal...

Ars gratia artis by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 23, 2009

 Why did Pope Benedict meet with artists last Saturday? A Reuters account offers a partial explanation: After a number of spats between the Vatican and artists in recent years, including a controversy surrounding writer Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, the latest overture to the artistic world is...

To Di or not to Di by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 23, 2009

From time to time we get feedback here to the effect that the wit of Diogenes (on display in Off the Record) is too sharp, or that Diogenes judges others too harshly, or that he presumes others are ill-motivated, or that he doesn’t love his enemies as Christ commanded us to do. These...

time travel by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2009

Logic question: How could Bishop Tobin, by writing a private letter in 2007, escalate a public dispute that began in October...

decline & fall by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 23, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford faces ethics charges he broke state laws more than three dozen times by violating rules on airplane travel and campaign money, according to details of the allegations released Monday. So ledes today's AP story on Mark Sanford, which tells us...

99% pure by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 24, 2009

A reading from the 2nd book of Samuel, Chapter 12, Verses 7-9, 13: Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives...

Rowan Williams’ Ego Meets the Catholic Thing by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 24, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury was obviously deeply annoyed by the Pope’s unilateral announcement that the Church would welcome Anglican congregations under a new Ordinariate. It could hardly be otherwise. And while he has retained the proverbial stiff upper lip throughout, and has uniformly...

Why Patrick Kennedy attacked his bishop by Phil Lawler in "In Depth Analysis" - Nov 24, 2009

Why did Patrick Kennedy pick a fight with his bishop? Because that is what happened, you know. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence has refused to back down, but it was the Democratic congressman from Rhode Island who took the first rhetorical shot—and then twice loosed a new salvo just as...

the solstice, maybe? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2009

The catalogue just arrived from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They're selling some beautiful Christmas cards, featuring different great artists' portrayals of the Madonna and Child.  Wait! Did I say "Christmas" cards? I beg your pardon. They are of course "holiday"...

creation= making something out of nothing by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 25, 2009

Sure, maybe the scientific data behind the climate-change theory is all phony. But that doesn't mean we should question the theory, the New York Times assures us.  The evidence...

3 things to do this week by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 25, 2009

1. Read these few sentences: We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths...

What would Galileo say about climate change? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 25, 2009

What's the worst thing a reasonable person could say about the way the Catholic Church treated Galileo? Let's not set the standards too high. Never mind whether or not the historical complaint against the Church is accurate. Let's only say that it must be plausible enough so that one could make...

writing Catholic doctrine into law? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 25, 2009

The many vocal critics of Bishop Thomas Tobin-- from Chris Matthews to the Boston Globe editorial page and beyond-- are complaining that (as the Globe put it)...

with an eye for the greater good by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 26, 2009

Remember Boston Auxiliary Bishop Robert Banks? In 1990, Banks slime-lined the notorious multiple molester Paul Shanley out to the Diocese of San Bernardino by writing him a letter of recommendation that said, "I can assure you that Father Shanley has no problem that would be a concern to...

no hypocrites were harmed in this war against hypocrisy by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2009

Outraged by the opposition of the Archdiocese of Washington to the District of Columbia's plans to legalize same-sex marriage, a gay rights organization called ChurchOuting.org was formed with the mission to "out" gay clerics -- and sexually incontinent hetero priests as well -- in order...

getting it backwards by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 27, 2009

The current Tablet has an article on the Church and AIDS. "We are seeing HIV heal the Church," said Gary Swart, who runs the Inspired Individuals programme. "The Church is having to face things it does not like to face such as how women are treated, marital infidelity and celibacy...

kiss another one good-bye by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2009

In the culture war incursions on the higher ed front, another shakily defended pass is about to be sold. From the Boston Globe: Emerson College students will soon be able to bunk with members of the opposite sex. Starting next fall, the university will pilot a housing program that assigns...

Everything OK? Just checking. Everything still OK? by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2009

The "Murphy Commission" report on the handling of sex-abuse complaints in the Dublin archdiocese was particularly rough on one former auxiliary: Bishop Donal Murray, who now heads the Limerick diocese. The commission saw his handling of one priest, Father Tom Naughton-- now a convicted...

Over-Parenting and the Spiritual Life by Dr. Jeff Mirus in "On the Culture" - Nov 30, 2009

Nancy Gibbs’ article on over-parenting in Time is a jewel. If you’re killing yourself living your kids’ lives, you really do need to read it and get a grip. But it’s Time, after all, so don’t expect a spiritual context. Gibbs’ article appeared in the printed...

waiting for another shoe to drop by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 30, 2009

If you've been following the public debate between Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Bishop Thomas Tobin, you should recognize the pattern by now: The Congressman tosses a rhetorical bomb, and the bishop responds. Then Kennedy lapses into silence, while his friends in the media carry the argument for him....

a title restored? by Phil Lawler in "On the News" - Nov 30, 2009

Today the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI met with "His Royal Imperial Highness Otto von Hapsburg, archduke of Austria." The Vatican protocol office thereby conferred upon the Austrian visitor a title that he himself had renounced. The heir to the storied Hapsburg dynasty, Otto...

the Grinch comes to choir practice by Diogenes in "Off the Record" - Nov 30, 2009

Anglican Bishop Nick Baines of Croydon is on a seasonal crusade. The author of Why Wish You a Merry Christmas? wants to abolish Christmas carols that include overly sentimental verses, and replace them with a more rigorously historical description of the Incarnation. There is, evidently,...

The Healthcare Debate and the "Moral Imperative" by Peter Mirus in "The City Gates" - Nov 30, 2009

Thus far, I've stayed out of the healthcare debate--mostly because it is a thorny and complex subject, which I do not pretend to know everything about. However, here is where I would like to comment: I have heard it expressed in many places that affordable healthcare for all people in the United...

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